A/N: Hi guys! Yes, I know I should be posting new chapters of my other stories but I was just itching to get this one down on paper! So here it is, part one of a two part story.
Yeah, I still don't own Naruto nor do I think (unless I win lotto or something) I ever will.
I hope you enjoy, and please please review and let me know what you think!!
Song is Those Eyes by Aussie band Thirsty Merc (Check it out - it's a great song)
Sometimes, Kakashi cursed the day he decided to become a shinobi.
Sometimes - like today – being highly attuned to the world around him did not work in his favour.
He heard the creak of the bar's front door opening and closing over the sounds of the inane chattering, and the drunken slurring. He heard it over the sporadic sound of pool cues striking ball against ball, the darts as they collided with their mark, the faint hum of the fluorescent lights leading the way to the bathrooms, and the old-fashioned and overplayed melodies singing out of the equally old-fashioned jukebox, perched in the corner like a conspicuous eye-sore.
He felt the breeze which flowed through the open door like an invisible river, washing up against his face and body like fingers of ice, harsh in comparison to the previously warm, smoky and stagnant air in the small but over-crowded Konoha pub.
The ice-fingers scratched against the three-day silver stubble which peeked over the top of the scarf that was wrapped securely around his jaw and stopped just over the bridge of his defined nose. He pulled the sides of his camouflage-green jacket hood closer around the sides of his face to keep out the draft, which had brought with it a particular smell, a smell his highly sensitive nose could detect even though it was covered, and it was a smell he did not want to acknowledge right now.
It was her shampoo.
There's something about you girl
I can't put my finger on
Just what it could be
He tried to stay focused on the bar in front of him; on the burly bartender with the Marley t-shirt and his long, tortoise-shell dreadlocks, or the lonely drunks to the left and right of him (to his left was an old-timer one shot off being a dribbling mess on the counter, to his right was a man he recognized as an ex-sensei from the academy, years ago now - obviously the years had not been kind), or the rows and rows of bottles that lined the rear of the bar in front of him; Jack, Jim, Jules, Jameson, Johnnie . . . his new soiree of friends ever since this fever had struck him – why the hell did they all begin with J?
He focused on their labels and colours; this one's label had been half scratched off, this one was leaking its sticky substance in a long liquid vein down one side of the glass, it pooled on the tabletop below – anything to keep his mind occupied and his face pointed in this direction, so that he couldn't see what was unmistakably in the bar behind him. He scrutinised the caps of each bottle; his sharp eye could see from where he sat – even with his Sharingan eye covered by an eye-patch – where the caps had been hurriedly returned at close the previous night to the wrong bottles, he had just began to count how many when a flash of very familiar pink moved in his vision, and he realised he had almost made a fatal mistake.
There was a giant mirror behind the bottles.
Kakashi glanced quickly down at his now empty glass sitting hollow on the counter of the bar. He swallowed, and felt the friction within his dry throat as his larynx rose and fell, his sandpaper-tongue scratching at the surface of his soft palate. He slowly raised his visible eye back up to the dreaded barman, and raised one arm and two slightly shaky fingers to call for a refill. Rastaman complied.
He leaned forward and rested his weary head on his palms as his drink was poured in front of him. If he could hide here for just a moment, maybe he could avoid the pain. He could just sit here and drink his drink, and mind his own business, and stay the fuck away from that side of the bar and who knows? Maybe the source of his torment would miraculously disappear.
But ever since you walked in
A different energy
Has taken my mind and heart away
A tinkle of melodic harmony came to him then, as sweet as the chords of pipes made from honey, and he knew without turning that it was her. He tried to block it out - Kami help him, he tried - but the sound infected him, tore straight to his heart like a poisoned arrow.
His silver eyebrows knitted as he clenched his teeth against the sound, which cut into his throbbing brain like a scalpel. He clasped his glass firmly between both hands, and he stared apprehensively into their depths as he swilled the alcohol over and around the fresh ice cubes which filled it.
He needed to concentrate on something other than the pain. He forced himself to focus on the ice cubes, cool and refreshing - glistening in the overhead lights of the dim bar - and see-through, the cloudy solids a looking-glass to the blurred and twisted images beyond like some bizarre alternate dimension-
Too warped. Something real . . .
Ice equals water, water equals transparent, equals clarity; and clarity was what he needed.
Clarity could see that he needed help. Clarity knew that he wasn't just a sick old sensei with a not too healthy obsession for his very young student. Clarity knew that he was just a man, a man in love with a woman, a woman who just happened to be taboo to him.
Clarity could see that he was a man hovering on the edge of sanity.
His fingers relaxed around the glass they had been threatening to crush as the tentacles of pain inside his head receded. Brain bugs, he called them. They were his curse. A constant reminder of what he can not have, his punishment for years of death, and killing, and remorse. And guilt.
Kakashi sighed with relief.
He had managed to distract himself from the pain. This time.
He clasped the glass again lightly in his right hand and swilled the liquid within one more time, before quaffing the lot in one mouthful.
The liquor burned and soothed harmoniously in a strange sensation as it trickled down his throat to warm his chest like liquid fire.
He felt the tendrils of warmth expand as the liquor entered his blood stream, and flowed to the outer extremes of his body; arms, hands, fingers, legs, feet, toes, nose . . . ears. As the fire spread he could feel its flow, like chakra, lighting the gates as it passed through the channels, igniting his energy and charging him up like a wind-up doll.
He could feel it more intensely now, the clarity which he desired. He needed to see clearly lest the pain consume him. He needed to see clearly to fight the pull from her.
The brain bugs came more frequently lately. As if he didn't see her enough, day in and out, training and missions, meetings, debriefings, and those dreaded shinobi functions - those were the worst - where she would undoubtedly be dressed to the nines and oozing sensuality and the confidence of youth.
It was no wonder it had come to this. The others came and went, drifting in and out of his life as they liked, missions, family and other commitments a higher priority than one lonely old man. But not her. She was the one constant in his life. They were the same in that way, both alone, both tied to the village by ghosts of their past.
At first, he had taken it to be just a crush. A lonely old man's solution to fill in the many hours of boredom. A temporary fantasy to entertain a stale mind.
But as time wore on, and they spent more and more time alone together, and she had matured and grown into a woman with spunk and spark, he realised that instead of fading, his feelings had intensified.
That wouldn't have been so bad . . . had he not suddenly found himself acting on impulsive desires that before he would never have dreamed of entertaining.
It started with one sunny afternoon after training. One day, no different from any other. Except that when he waved goodbye to his rose-haired student as always, and prepared to walk back to his apartment in the other direction and pick up where he had left off his most recent Icha Icha escapades, as always - this time he stopped.
And turned back around.
And followed his student home.
He didn't remember much of the actual journey to her house - he walked in a daze, as if a man possessed, and when he thought back on it now, he thought . . . maybe I was.
What he did remember clearly was sitting in the giant oak opposite her home, perched on a large branch hidden amongst the abundant leaves. Watching her every move as she entered her second storey bedroom, as she attended to her nightly routine which he now knew so well; Fourteen steps to the second floor, four steps from the stairs to her room. Light on, pack off – thrown onto the middle of the bed. Two steps to the ensuite, and five minutes inside to wash her face, as evidenced by the small towel that she would bring out of the bathroom with her to toss carelessly into the hamper in the corner, and the stray, now cerise strands which would cling to her damp cheeks. Three steps to the dresser, sit, pick up brush. Twenty brush strokes on the right side, twenty one on the left. Twenty one. Always twenty one on the left, he didn't know why it bothered him so.
Now she sat, and this vexed him more, she sat at the dresser and studied her reflection. Every night.
What could she be thinking, every night, as she studied herself in the glass? He had wondered this over and over again, as he sat, on his branch, and watched. He knew it wasn't vanity; the expression on her face was not smug, or proud - in fact, if he had to call her expression anything he would say it was . . . sad.
He sighed. Yes, he had spent far too many hours watching her. But, as fate would have it, time had passed, and his crush, had turned love, had turned addiction.
And it really was an addiction.
He craved her. He barely ate or slept any more – he didn't need all of that – all he needed was to see her. Hear her. Smell her familiar shampoo.
Touch her? Now that was a notion he was eager to avoid. As it was he almost lost it when they had to have contact during training, he could barely think straight, and she had triumphed in competition against him a few times because of it.
No, he was trying to quit her. To quit her like a nasty habit.
And he was trying. Kami knows, he was trying. He couldn't go cold turkey, because he was still her teacher in a sense. He was the leader of whatever team they could pull together at the time, a team which lately mostly consisted of just her and the decrepit old relic which he saw in the mirror every morning.
So he had to cut back. Frankly, he would rather swallow razor blades.
Have you ever tried to quit something? Ever tried to quit something that you love, while it is being dangled in front of your face all day on a piece of string? Let me tell you it is no easy feat, even for a man as revered as Kakashi. Stronger men had tried, and failed, before.
And Kakashi was teetering on the edge. The brain bugs were the biggest problem. It was catch twenty-two; when he didn't have his daily dose they would come and nest in his head, their scurrying, hexapedic, scratching death-march whispering to him like haunted voices. Begging him for more.
And when it finally got too much for him, and he found an excuse to see her, or just trudged the familiar path to her house and sat in his familiar old tree on that familiar old branch - to watch, - or if it was late at night and her curtains were drawn he would just stare at those pitiful scraps of material as if he could see right through them, and wonder what she was dreaming about – and then a new feeling would overwhelm him.
Shame in himself, that he – a thirty two year old man – was so sick and perverted that he needed his seventeen year old student like his lungs needed air to breathe.
And you're crossing the room
And you're talking to me
And now I know what I see
One way or another – he couldn't escape her. Either he felt the pain of the brain bugs which demanded more of her, or the pain of the shame of knowing that he was old enough to know that he must stop this unhealthy fixation now.
Either way there was pain. It didn't matter where it came from really. And the fact was, she was the bright to his darkness, the shaft of sunshine through the shadows he had cast throughout his life. She was the focus of his whole miserable existence. And the truth was he didn't want to give her up.
He was a junkie, and she was his fix.
Those eyes are gonna make me fall
One look I want it all
You've got me hypnotised
Those eyes are gonna see me through
Pretty girl, I'm loving you
have got me hypnotised
A/N: Hope you're liking it so far . . . Part 2 coming soon!