Sizheng: I was given ten prompts by my fiancée (now wife), Novocain, for the purpose of many drabblesprees to come. While she issues the prompts, I assign a pairing to each "decade". There will, hopefully, be ten decades, thus numbering a round hundred of these drabbles, hence "century". There will be different pairings, but most if not all will involve Kakashi (because we both love him to death).

Note that each decade stands as a collection of drabbles-snapshots within the same universe, and that each decade stands independently from each other. They are not linked to one another in any way. That said, please read, and I hope you enjoy them!

Century: Ten Times Ten

An anthology of Naruto snapshots by Zhang Sizheng

For Novocain

The First Decade: Cigarettes and Silver

1. Cigarette

Kakashi lies half-sprawled over Asuma's hard lap, watching smoke curl into fantastical beasts and creatures and whispers of gossamer dreams. There's a strong hand fisted roughly in his hair, and through the tight feeling in his scalp, Kakashi feels reprimanded and loved and just a little suffocated. The smoke tastes acrid on his tongue, but the only complaint he makes is to burrow his face against Asuma's hard belly, his entire body fully aware and humming for the thick bulge against his cheek. Asuma smells of cigarettes, like the smoke does, but it is an unpleasant scent that Kakashi tolerates and loves because it comes from Asuma, like the scolding hand and the glowing sparks that die just before falling into Kakashi's ashy hair and Damnit, Asuma, if you fucking set me on fire, this ass isn't coming anywhere near your stupid dick for the next five years, and I'll tell on you to Kurenai, see if I don't.

2. Navy

Asuma is a ninja and possesses very little imagination, so he doesn't think that Kakashi—masked, mysterious, fearsome Kakashi—is like the night. Because the night looks at the world through features of black-blue-navy-prussian, like Kakashi does, and Kakashi's hair might resemble starlight in the darkness. The night is unkind to any who resists and fights and fears her, and the night, too, is cloaked by mystery and revels in it, but is benign to those who accept and like her for her sake.

But Asuma is a ninja and possesses very little imagination, and the mask irritates him anyhow, so he tells his lover to take the damn thing off, because it's fucking annoying to eat cotton every time I want to do anything with you.

And sometimes it's just simpler that way, because Kakashi's stuffed full of metaphors the way a scarecrow is stuffed full of straw and Asuma can make do without tripping himself up with new ones anyhow. Simple is better, Asuma decides, leaving scratches on his lover's stubbly cheek as he claws down the navy mask and takes the laughing mouth in his own.

3. Exquisite

Exquisite is too dainty a word for Asuma—big, beefy, brawny Asuma, whose eyes and hair are dark like charcoal and snapping like the sparks in a fire. Exquisite is a word for crystals and young girls ripening to the cusp of womanhood and the young lights dew makes when sunlight shafts through it.

But not for Asuma. Never for Asuma.

Except when it is, because Asuma possesses a rough charm all of his own and Kakashi cares fiercely for him, and the odd emotion that catches him routinely off guard—a mixture of pain and sweetness and just a little laughter—means that sometimes, just sometimes—

When Asuma's short beard gives Kakashi stubble burn that rubs aggravatingly against his mask, when sweat slicks their bodies and eases their fucking into pleasure and their pleasure into tenderness oh, yes, there's no better word for which to describe Asuma than exquisite.

Except when it doesn't.

But Kakashi doesn't need words to describe someone he can see right in front of him, someone who has just hooked his thick thumbs into the belt loops at Kakashi's hips and is shuffling backwards, dragging him playfully to the kitchen and…

4. Glint

The look in Kakashi's eyes is so speculative that Asuma feels heated from just seeing it, and he wonders dizzily how the simple sequence of hanging up a coat and stretching out like a cat and yawning—Kakashi's lips stretch languorously beneath the mask, Asuma can see it clearly—shouts a cry for sex the way it just did.

Asuma doesn't know the answer, but he won't need to because he has his whipcord lover knocked flat and wrapped around him and strangling him and so close but so far, fuck, Kakashi, lift your bony ass so I can just…

And two sets of arousal-clumsy fingers are tearing at the same buckle and making half as much headway as one steady hand might, but it's off, it's off, and the speculative glint in Kakashi's eye is shut out as he closes it, throws his head back and his legs over Asuma's shoulders to receive him that much more deeply.

Asuma drives into him so harshly Kakashi's head beats on the floor and the eye snaps open again, affronted. Asuma doesn't let him look away, pressing a pattern of bruised communication into Kakashi's hips that will be there for days later. But Asuma doesn't care. And he doesn't think Kakashi does, either, not with that glint that glint holy fuck


And Kakashi does, and the speculative look is still there, it's there as his mouth parts in mute agony-pleasure-adoration, still beneath the mask, and they've not even kissed yet. Huh.

But it's there, the glint is there and it doesn't fade completely, not even when Kakashi is hobbling about with sex-stupid movements as he hunts for the missing buckle and points out that they never even made it off the doormat, you horny bugger.

Asuma laughs.

5. Bite

Kakashi wakes up because Asuma's kicked him out of his own bed for the third time that evening. The cold of the winter-chilled flooring is a sharp bite against his bare flesh, and Kakashi, staring at the ceiling and peeling his sticky back off the floor, decides that some measure of revenge is in order.

So he climbs back into bed and braces himself against the headboard and his feet against Asuma's shoulders. A powerful shove sends Asuma skidding across the floor and into the wall and Kakashi has never felt so vindicated in hearing a thud-yelp combination before.

And then Asuma crawls back under the covers and tries to steal them and they wrestle for a few short, heated moments, too tired to have sex and yet too cold to simply roll up on opposite ends of the bed. So they writhe about and there are feathers escaping abused cushions because neither really care that pillow fights are only for teenaged girls with bright dreams and clear-skinned smiles who have never killed a person in their lives, the silly, naïve creatures…

And by some unspoken agreement, the blanket-pillow-bed wars are declared a tie and Kakashi finds his face tucked into the corded muscle under Asuma's chin and he half-resents the tender position the way he wouldn't resent a rough hand fisted in his hair, snarls that if you wanted a fucking girl you have Kurenai, you asshole. But Kakashi likes the feeling of the stubble peppered lightly across Asuma's throat and he burns what is exposed of his face in rubbing it mindlessly against the short, rough hairs.

6. Brush

Asuma wakes to find a bloodstained wraith squatting in a sea of newspapers with its features masked by red-splashed porcelain and Asuma's favourite calligraphy brush pen clenched in a white-knuckled hand. Asuma almost wants to tell Kakashi that it's the incorrect grip, but the words are lost in his mouth as Kakashi makes an arrested movement that could have been a stroke, jerking a black arc across the newspapers.

And then Asuma flinches, because the realisation that Kakashi's hands are trembling so much that he can't produce his own name with any degree of legibility is a little frightening, and it means Kakashi is borderline fucked if his body has usurped his iron control over it.

He hates to think he can't help Kakashi, but he knows he can't—those wounds will heal, and the trembling will abate, but Kakashi will not forgive Asuma if he doesn't pretend deafness to the low keening and shaking shoulders and…

Lying in bed and pretending he's asleep when his heartbeat is just a little too quick and his breathing a little too ragged, Asuma dreams of another life. He dreams of a life when Kakashi practices his calligraphy after sex, has just crawled out of bed—leaving Asuma in the cold—and taken up the brush (because even if Kakashi isn't a killer or a pathological liar or chronically tardy in that life, there's no question of him being a little screwy in the head, because come on, it's Kakashi) and is gracefully scribing characters like ai for love and kokoro for heart and Asuma might call out to him to come the fuck back to bed and not to pretend he wasn't sore or that Asuma hadn't just nailed him twice into the bedsheets, the little...

But that's another life, and in this life, Kakashi's still hunched in the corner and he'd be so mortified if he was in the state of mind to realise Asuma wasn't asleep, and Asuma just has to make do as he does. So he turns on his side, and pretends he can't hear the dry sobs echoing behind the ink-stained porcelain.

Ninja aren't supposed to dream. It hurts.

7. Fingertips

Kakashi's long, blunt-fingered hands are scarred from playing with his puppies, and summoning his dogs and catching knives. Asuma will catch Kakashi bending his fingers absently into seals, the silvery lines twisting with each subtle movement. It just figures—no twiddling thumbs for the ninjutsu master. Just ox-rabbit-monkey-ox-rabbit-monkey over and over and over again as the air thickens… then Kakashi snaps his beautiful, beautiful fingers and the electric current sparking about him disappears.

His hair is always just a bit wilder afterwards, and Asuma steers clear of him until Kakashi zaps himself on some metal appliance. Then it's safe to laugh, and to touch.

And Asuma touches with a vengeance. Kakashi's fingers—one of the only parts of him not covered up, the damn tease—are clean and free of battle gore and taste like metal and flesh and not a little salty. Asuma sucks them into his mouth and laves at them until the flush glows beyond Kakashi's cheeks and all the way to his pale brows.

8. Teeth

Kakashi throws back his head and feels Asuma's teeth scrape cleanly over the pulse in his throat and is just so glad Asuma likes him, because wouldn't it just suck if he had his throat torn out just like that?

Asuma's teeth are blunt and not dry but not wet, and Kakashi feels Asuma's hot breath on his neck and every hair on his body bristles in anticipation and the chuckle is dark, rumbles through his skin and into his blood and damn if his heartbeat didn't just pick up, and he hopes the bastard doesn't notice—

Kakashi's not swooning. He isn't. He only blanks for a moment and he's right back looking into a pair of dark, laughing eyes and the deadpan expression is the last straw.

Kakashi sinks back into the pillows and accidentally elbows Asuma in the face, only because it serves the smug bastard right.

9. Blurry

Asuma loves Kurenai the way a man like him is supposed to love a woman like her—fiercely, tenderly, softly. A love full of candlelight and lovemaking and firsts, with her dainty hands teasing gently at his face and wreaking havoc with his senses when they walk the dimly lit streets of Konoha, playing at being sweethearts (playing because not all's as it should be; Asuma is fumbling blindly in this game, grasping at its truths and untruths). A love full of kisses and smiles.

But Asuma loves Kakashi the way a man like him should never love a man like him—harshly, reminiscently, sweetly. A love full of whispers and low laughs and lasts, with Kakashi's blunt fingers planting blue-green-purple bruises that flower for days (and that Asuma shows off in the privacy of Kakashi's tiny apartment). Sometimes they fuck without kissing, and only Asuma laughs, because Kakashi sometimes has to remember to smile with his mouth and voice and not his eyes.

The lines are blurred, and Asuma wishes the world could be inked out in just blacks and whites and a whole lot less silver-greys… if those fuzzy non-lines could just disappear, he's sure decisions would be a lot easier to make and to deal with.

Because Kurenai is there and perfect and beautiful and almost as deadly as Kakashi (with her blood-tone eyes and masses of hair that are glossy like the wings of a crow and smell dichotomously of metal and honey) but Kakashi is there, too—has been there since the beginning, no, since before the beginning, since before Asuma…

So it's only right that he cares for Kakashi, and only wrong that he's grateful for Kakashi's understanding that Asuma just can't quite leave, although he wants to so badly. The lines are just so blurred and he's helpless tracing their borders, which fade in and out of one another and it's all so confusing he could howl.

But sometimes, when they're all three of them laughing together, with Kurenai pretending she doesn't know, bless her, and Kakashi drawling something deep and morbid and utterly hysterical, and the three of them are laughing together…

Asuma thinks of coarse silver hairs and fragrant black curls tumbling and meshing together against his pillows and the image sprouts a tiny bud of arousal in his groin that unfurls into his chest so that it grasps his heart sweetly and he's gasping, he wishes it could happen, just once, just forever…

He's greedy, he knows he's greedy and selfish, but it feels good. Asuma dreams.

If only we could all be together…

10. Shards

Kakashi is a ninja, and he doesn't have a future.

He only has the present and the yawning chasm of the past and he tries every day to forget he treads the razor edge. But things like this…

Well. He isn't going to shed any tears over the latest death in his life, because wouldn't Asuma be tickled to know that Kakashi cried for him? He wouldn't. He wouldn't give Asuma the satisfaction of knowing that he'd made the Big Bad Copy Ninja bawl like a schoolgirl over a paper-cut, not when the big jerk had gone and done something as inconsiderate as die.

He doesn't cry when he receives the missive. He doesn't rage or shout or sob or break the messenger's neck, because it won't bring Asuma back. If it would, he might just, but—

Kakashi goes home first and makes for the bed, yanking his mask down and burying his sensitive nose into the cool sheets in desperate search of Asuma's scent. Whywhywhy had he washed them that last time? It's stupid, because he feels a little like hitting something, but instead he fills a glass at the tap and takes a sip before sharp, cruel shards are raining down into his hair like tears and he can't even recall when he threw the cup but now it's broken and he just… fuck.

The world spins crazily, and that's dangerous, so he clutches at his head for a long moment and goes very, very still.

He doesn't remember falling asleep, but he's suddenly not asleep so he chances a guess that maybe he was. He stumbles off the bed and towards the kitchen and cuts his foot on two shards. They glisten like the tears he won't shed and he slumps against the counter and buries his face in his hands.

He wonders what Kurenai thinks.

But it's hard to care what Kurenai thinks when he's lying on his bed again trying to remember the sensation of fingers wound tightly into his hair and pulling on his scalp and the acrid scent of cigarettes that he hated but tolerated because it was from Asuma, and…

He gets out of bed again and steps on the glass splinters again and his blood blossoms beautifully across the floor. He thinks that maybe he'll visit the Memorial Stone and trace Asuma's name until the grooves are worn down and…

Kakashi drifts out the door to grasp at the present and the past and to maybe kill the bastard who killed Asuma. Because—

Asuma was a ninja, and now he's stone cold, dead in the ground, hahahaha the laugh trails off and Kakashi can't stop, can't stop, traces Asuma's name twice—once for himself and once for the ghosts—and then…

Kakashi's been burying his friends and lovers and comrades for so long he doesn't remember how to do it any more—he just does.

Kakashi thinks it's because he's a ninja, and he doesn't have a future.

End. Snuff the cigarettes, dash the silver…