Disclaimer: I own nothing and am amongst the Great Unemployed, so I'm not making any money off of this.

As a quick explanation, the first part is an introduction to the fic in general. The drabble (yes, it's exactly 100 words. I counted.) introduces some concepts that the rest of the fic will loosely deal with in a bunch of semi-related one-shots. It's up to you to decide what's what.


To say that Kakashi likes reading porn for the plot is…inaccurate. He finds that the stories are too flimsy, too contrived to be pleasureable. In fact, they don't even deserve to be called "stories."

But to say that he's perverted is inaccurate too. He's never minded the accusing glares of those who didn't understand, or the sympathetic nonchalance of those who did. He's not looking for attention, like Naruto, or obsessive, like Sasuke. And he's far too unbalanced to care about his image like Sakura. Kakashi is long past the point of explaining or saving himself.

But he can try.

Although it was the orange colour of the cover that first caught his attention, it was the happy faces of the people on it that held it. He bought the book on a whim, without even looking at the back. When he got home, he propped it up on the tiny splintering table in his bedroom, next to his warped shaving mirror. Then he sat down at the foot of his bed, knees dangerously close to the table's rickety leg, and stared at it.

The sunlight streaming in from the window on his left did nothing to make the book's glossy front less eye-catching, and Kakashi found himself studying it. The cheerful, unembarrassed colour of the cover and the light, childish sounding name contrasted vehemently with the carefully chosen neutral bedspread and unadorned whitewashed walls of his small bedroom. For someone who had spent his life ruthlessly suppressing his emotions, the garish joy that the cover exuded was overwhelming.

He gave up trying to take it all in and turned his attention back to the people on the cover. There was a civilian man chasing a civilian woman. She was laughing, with her arms spread out as though she were about to fly; her smile crinkled her eyes into crescents.

Kakashi wondered what it would be like to smile like that.

Slowly, under his mask, he stretched his mouth into a grin, pushing his lips wider and wider, until his jaw and cheeks ached, but his reflection showed that above his mask, his one good eye was still open. Suddenly, he was reminded of his sensei's fierce smile and flashing white teeth, and how his eyes also used to close when he grinned. Kakashi dropped his own parody quickly, feeling sick and twisted and very alone.

He looked back at the cover. The woman was still smiling. Quickly he flipped the book over so that he wouldn't have to look at her face. The back, instead of featuring the short blurb he'd expected, simply had a no entry sign. The corner of his mouth twitched upward briefly as he lightly touched his mask. It seemed that he and Icha Icha weren't completely different.

He picked it up then, its smooth cover cool against his fingers. It felt good in his hands, not too big to be a burden, but not too small to be insubstantial. Turning it over, he looked at the front again. She was still smiling her wide, impossibly happy grin. He stared at it a while before turning the corners of his mouth upward slightly in response. When he realized what he was doing, he quickly squinted his uncovered eye until it was almost shut, careful not to let his mouth sag in the process. He felt like an idiot, and glanced in the mirror for confirmation.

His warped reflection showed him that he looked just like the woman on the cover, like his sensei--approachable, normal. Or, at least, as normal as he ever could look. The corners of his mouth spontaneously turned up further until he was genuinely smiling, ridiculously, inexplicably proud of his achievement. Kakashi couldn't see himself anymore--his eye closed completely into a perfect crescent.

The next chapter has a bit more action. I'll try my darndest to have it up by Thursday, but my betas have real lives (unlike me). Speaking of which, many thanks to sub_textual over at LJ for her beta of this chapter.

This is my first non-collab fic, so I would really appreciate concrit. If someone was walking around in a pitch black room, you'd give them a flashlight, right? Or at least, tell them where the furniture is so that they don't stub their toes. I'd threaten you with more extended metaphors, but I'm out :) Cheers!