Notes: Inspired by an lj generated haiku and way too many versions of Gloomy Sunday. Rather Kakashi-centric.

heavily lidded
eyes as kakashi licked
at his bars his cage

It was just a dream.

I'm dreaming, just dreaming, it's just a dream—

but there are bars, cages, humiliation, and possibly pain, he isn't sure. Things aren't hurting the way they are supposed to, the way they usually do, and that's how he convinces himself—

It was just a dream.

There is an instant, a moment where time stops and his heart stops and there is no cage, he isn't trapped, he's free, there are trees, leaves, a core of fire within him. He needs to open his eyes, but he can'twon'tdoesn'tisn't and a tiny drop of sweat, or maybe a tear (does that mean there is pain but he just doesn't realise it?) rolls across his cheek and he licks, realising the mistake as he licks, tastes salt, and—

they are upon him, Itachi's instruments of pain, torture, weapon after weapon plunging into his immobile flesh and this time it hurts, each cut pulls ribbons of blood, flesh, and time, and it is almost beautiful except for the way they rip and tear into him and each time he feels his chakra seeping out of him, each time he feels his last breath, a scream of pain—I'm not screaming—it starts over. This is no dream, this time he feels it and it is excruciating, almost freeing, so painful he's crying

I'm dreaming, just dreaming, it's just a dream—


There is a voice and it's warm, concerned, pained and accompanied by the body beneath him.

Awareness blooms across his senses in a cold sweat breaking over him in terrifying relief, such complete respite, safety, he is snug and safe and warm. He feels like a trapped dog and wants to bite, attack, and rip flesh to get free, to escape the arms around him, the steady heartbeat under his ear, the concerned voice, the hand on his spine touching, pressing, circling, leaving fingerprints. He tenses and relaxes, breathe, tenses and relaxes, just a dream, tenses—

"It's just a dream, Kakashi. I've got you."

It was just a dream.

He stills; his eyes too heavy to even open and acknowledge, let alone attack.

He stills and buries his face in a warm pulsing neck, smelling, tasting the blood and fire running under Iruka's skin.

He stills and still feels.

He still feels blades slicing across his back, piercing, ripping, killing.

I'm dreaming, just dreaming, it's just a dream, Iruka—