Seems like only yesterday
Life belonged to runaways
Two years. It had been two years since I had seen either Naruto or Sakura - even longer since I had seen Sasuke, my traitorous shadow. I never envied Jiraya or Tsunade for over Naruto and Sakura's respective training, mostly because I knew I hadn't much expertise to offer to them. But Sasuke… I always thought I'd be the one to train him. But circumstances change, so currently, I was without pupil. It was ironic since I hadn't wanted any in the beginning and received three. Now, I yearned for at least one, but all Tsunade offered me were missions. Fancy that.
Isn't it odd that after we grow so used to a routine, and then reluctantly change it, we never return to the same routine? I discovered quite quickly how dissatisfying my pre-team seven routine had become after Sakura had officially become a student of the fifth. But I wasn't about to fall into a rut, reminiscing about the past. On reflection, maybe that was when things started going down hill - when I refused to let them. Refusing to let something happen is basically admitting it can happen, you just don't want it to, and humans have never really been known for their victories over the inevitable.
Nothing here to see, no looking back
I instead fell into the routine of my fellow shinobi, Raito and Genma. The mantra became party hard, work hardly, and I loved it, right up until Iruka slapped me across the face (yes slapped) and asked me if I would be able to look my students in the eye when they returned, knowing I had been doing fuck all, the entire time.
Needless to say, that didn't sit well with me. But I continued my new ways - not because I enjoyed it, but because I had nothing else to do. Everything was beginning to fade slowly, everything was completely useless unless it was completely consuming. In a way I did fall into a new routine, the classic one of work hard, play harder. I would only train if, by the end of the day, I could no longer form thoughts, not to mention move. And on the odd occasion I could move, I'd more then likely drink myself under the table.
I knew it wasn't healthy, I knew it was bad for me, I knew it was unreasonable, and irresponsible. Worst of all, I knew why I was doing it. I'm a living testament to the fact that being a genius doesn't mean your smart.
It began to feel a lot like I was drifting when I was sober. I know, classic symptom of alcoholism. But I didn't care, facing the root of my problem seemed unimportant - I've always been terrible about realizing the emotions I attach to people. I stopped reading, and I'm pretty sure my night weren't filled with partying, as the word party itself is used to describe a group of people where I was getting drunk by myself. It became so I spent my time either drinking, training, actually fighting on missions or in a state of unconsciousness that could be equated to sleep, but never called it.
Every sound monotone
Every colour monochrome
Light began to fade into black
Such a simple animal sterilized with alcohol
I could hardly feel me anymore
One night, I lost whatever it was that was keeping me from floating off the face of the earth. I didn't realize it at first bit it slowly started to sink in. why was I even alive? Nobody - nothing needed me. I felt I had reached the limit of my abilities. I had no purpose. I was pathetic.
Desperate and meaningless
All filled up with emptiness
Felt like everything was said and done
Laying on my bed, drunk and half-conscious, I started thinking about the boy who had stolen my hope, ridded me of what little faith I had, and altogether deconstructed me with his very absence. Over the sound of my own breathing, I could easily hear the sound of the door opening in the darkness.
"Kakashi - sensei?" A worried female voice cut through the air.
"Sasuke?" I said stupidly, seeing as it was a girl and Sasuke never used an honorific when addressing me. The owner of the voice moved towards me carefully. I saw her shake her head, short pink hair swaying.
"It's me, Sakura." The concern in her voice had grown. She had just been mistaken for her AWOL teammate.
It seemed she was concerned, but not afraid as she unhesitantly sat on the edge of my bed. I had sat up as soon as she had mentioned her name. My heart rate had sped up as I analyzed her appearance in the dim light of my room. A sense of relief washed over me as if I were a piece of beach glass caught on the shore at high tide. I realized then that she had somehow become dead to me. Seeing her now was - elating.
"Sakura," I voiced, wincing at how gruff my voice had become from unuse. I couldn't take my eyes off of her it was as if she had risen from the dead. She had come alive in my eyes once again.
I lay there in the dark
And I closed my eyes
You saved me the day
You came alive
"What happened to you Kakashi - sensei?" she asked, taking in my disheveled appearance. I wasn't wearing my vest or jounin over shirt, so she could plainly see the bruises and abrasions I had acquired from my reckless training. I felt so ashamed, her pale green eyes might as well have had the same properties as a ninja from the Hyuuga clan. I tried to explain myself, but everything just -
"I - I don't know. I can't do anything, nothing makes sense…" I muttered, and suddenly Sakura did something she'd never done before, probably because she'd never felt the need to. She reached out and lightly rested her hand on the side of my face. The phenomenon of physical contact was so foreign I actually drew in a sharp breath. I slowly reached up and covered her hand with my own.
"Sakura…" I whispered. It was like she had broken the hold of some horrible genjutsu over me. I felt more like myself then I had in months, and I was suddenly aware of how unusual the situation was, but at the time, I didn't care. And then the nausea hit.
"I'm sorry, I have to…" I trailed off, stumbling slightly as I made my way to the bathroom. Sure, dropping to my knees and hearing what little remained in my stomach was horrible, but the fact that I was doing it in front of one of my students made me feel much worse as I sobered up. Sakura was unaffected though, proving silently how much she had changed, and at the same time how little. I realized then that I wasn't wearing my mask as she watched me, wide eyed, her mouth set in a stubborn firm line in the unforgiving light of the washroom. I flushed the toilet, wiping my mouth on the back of my hand and shifting to lean on the wall. I know what its like to watch your heroes fall from grace, and although I've never thought of myself as one, the pained expression Sakura tried to hold back told me more than I ever wanted to know.
"I'm sorry, Sakura" I told her, swallowing the acid aftertaste of bile making me grimace. From my position on the tile floor, I could see her fists clench and unclench.
"I missed you, sensei, and when Iruka - sensei told me about - well about this, I knew I had to come and see you." She told me, voice unwavering. My stomach tightened as I noted that she couldn't even mention my state. "is this really all about Sasuke - kun?"
"What?" I looked at her in bewilderment. "how did you know?" Sakura looked confused, her expression probably similar to the one still evident on my face.
"Iruka told me you told him everything one night, after you - " she stopped herself, was she blushing? Interesting. I have to say I never remembered telling Iruka anything, never mind everything. "Well," Sakura restarted, " he said it was because Sasuke - kun left, and you thought it was your fault and that - ".
"- I should've known." I cut her off, my words reeking of finality. That was right. I should've known, I should've treated him - I don't know - differently. Maybe if I had just told him more about myself, what had happened, why I could relate so well… Suddenly it felt like Sakura wasn't even there; I got that awful feeling in the pit of my stomach that had nothing to do with being sick just moments before. It was usually that queue that I needed to consume more alcohol. I made to stand up and miraculously succeeded.
Still I tried to find my way
Spinning now was end of days
Burning like a flame behind my eyes
I made my way back into my room, bee lining towards the half-empty sake bottle situated on my desk. As I raised the bottle to my lips, Sakura sounded a shocked ( and slightly reprimanding) " Kakashi - sensei, don't you think you've had enough to drink?"
I made the mistake of snorting, and received the second slap that month, this one more powerful than the last. The bottle of sake slipped from my grasp and, although it did not break, it proceeded to loose its contents on my hardwood floor. I gave Sakura a dejected glare for taking away my medication. Her wide eyes grew bigger - I'm not sure if it was because she had actually landed the hit or if it was because she had just struck her emotionally unstable teacher. Still, what I did next was totally unacceptable and something I'm still ashamed of to this day. I lashed my arm out, the back of my hand connecting solidly enough with the side of Sakura's face to cause her to stumble back a little. I knew instantly I had fucked up big time.
"Oh my gods, I'm so sorry, Sakura, I didn't mean - " I stopped; she had already left.
Drowning it out, drinking it in
Crowned the king of suffering
Prisoner, a slave to the disguise
What was wrong with me? One of my beloved students whom I had been unconsciously mourning the loss of had come back to life before my very eyes. I had worried her, fallen from grace in front of her, and physically harmed her for a petty incident. She had been my savior just moments before. I slammed my fist on my desk, unable to stand myself. I opened the drawer where a bottle of unopened sake resided. I disgusted myself, even as I grabbed the container out of the drawer, opened it and drank the burning liquid greedily. A newly formed bruise on porcelain skin viewed in the light of the moon, the last image in my mind before everything went blissfully black.
Disappear the only thing
Knew it was time to say goodbye
I lay there in the dark, and I closed my eyes
You saved me the day you came alive
I knew that that amount of alcohol was going to kill me; I was planning on it. Maybe I was supposed to go out this way, in the footsteps of my father, I had thought. A stupid, selfish thought, to compare myself to my father, who had taken his life for a reason a thousand times more worthy than mine. Still I felt there was no reason good enough to keep it. I just felt the need to no longer exist finally take over. However, Sakura had other plans for me. When I returned to consciousness, I was soaked, although I barley noticed it. I was to busy wondering
a)why I was still alive
b)why my heart was beating like it was unwillingly trapped in my chest.
c)And why a blurry pink, white, and read blob was hovering over me, repeating my name.
No reason left me to survive
You saved me the day
You came alive
And then everything went dark again and I prayed for this mysterious figure to leave me alone so I could just die. It didn't even occur to me that it was Sakura and she had come back for some unknown reason and that she was trying to revive me even after the wicked backhand I'd dished out to her. Not until later, in the hospital. It also didn't occur to me that she alone dragged me to the hospital, after administering a shot of epinephrine to my pulmonary artery, and performing CPR.
I lay there in the dark and I closed my eyes
You saved me the day you came alive
The afternoon after my near-death experience I received the worst tongue-lashing in my life from no one other than Tsunade.
"Malnutrition, exhaustion, numerous neglected injuries, excessive alcohol consumption resulting in alcohol poisoning - Damn it Kakashi! What the hell were you thinking? You're one of the best shinobi Konoha's ever seen! We need good ninja at this point… Augh!" she threw her hands up in the air, exasperated. "I can't deal with him right now, I really can't - the new Kazekage is supposed to be arriving any minute now, and I'm reprimanding the infamous copy ninja for trying to kill himself. You deal with him Sakura, he's your teacher."
Tsunade left the light blue hospital room in a flash of green robes. Sakura turned to me, a blank expression present on her face. I suddenly felt very, very stupid. The bruise on her cheek had disappeared, but I found myself holding my breath as she approached me. As she drew closer, I realized with sad surprise that her eyes were welling with tears.
"Sakura -" I said in a soft tone, and she broke out in tears.
"I heard you fall - that's why I went back - you weren't breathing, I panicked" she chuckled slightly, " I poured a bucket of water on you before I realized it wouldn't work - I thought you were going to die." She choked on the last word and before I knew it she was in my arms. I winced even as I hugged her tightly, realizing that some of my ribs were at least fractured. I must have tensed up because she pulled back suddenly and looked at me in alarm.
"Oh! I'm sorry! I must've cracked some of your ribs while I was performing CPR."
"Who knew first aid was so great for payback?" I commented hesitantly. Sakura laughed lifting a weight off my chest that had been there even before she had entered the room.
Nothing wrong to give, I can finally live
You're laughing at me I can finally breath
For the rest of the day, Sakura updated me on what she had been doing with Tsunade for the past two years. It seemed she had been quite busy.
"I'm not completed in my training yet, but I'm close. Hopefully I'll be ready by the time Naruto gets back." She told me cheerfully, and then yawned. I glanced at the clock above the doorway and I realized it was already seven o'clock in the evening, and Sakura had stayed up late the night before, having visited me close to midnight and then having to deal with what happened afterwards…
"Do you mind if I just lay down for a minute?" Sakura asked her voice (probably unknowingly) sleepy. Her head had already hit the pillow before I could reply, her eyes falling shut. It was times like these I thought about how my own children would act if I ever decided to have children, that is. Sakura curled up beside me, her knees drawn up. A medic-nin entered the room and couldn't hold back the look of surprise.
"I - uh - er, visiting hours are over." The man told me apologetically.
"it's okay, she's fine" I told him, leveling my gaze at him. The medic-nin nodded silently and left, turning off the lights as per hospital regulations. I'd let him off with that one. "Sakura - Sakura shouldn't you be going home now?" I asked her; she'd probably be much more comfortable in her own bed, in her home. Not to mention the bed was clearly only made for one occupant. Which was me. She groaned and snuggled in more, which would have been attractive - had I been Naruto. As it was, I wasn't particularly partial to having a 14 - year old girl in my bed.
"Five more minutes, sensei," the light pink haired girl mumbled. I sighed, unable to argue. The medication they'd served me with my dinner obviously kicking in. to be honest I didn't even remember my head hitting the pillow.
I was forced to wake up when my body realized I wasn't getting enough oxygen. My eyes snapped open to witness a sea of pink - for a second I thought I had lost my mind. Then I noticed it was just Sakura's hair that was suffocating me. It was around five in the morning - the sun was not yet over the horizon yet, but its promising glow had started to hide the stars. I discovered that I couldn't sit up; due to the fact that my arm was pinned down by Sakura's head. My other arm, having no place to go, had settled on her waist. I removed it quickly, the sudden lack of pressure causing Sakura to stir.
"Kakashi - sensei?" I heard Sakura say in a quiet voice.
"I missed you."
"I missed you too, Sakura."
I lay there in the dark
Open my eyes
You saved me the day you came alive