Sasuke stared up at the man that stood stiffly in front of him. Pain filled his heart, but his pride wouldn't allow him to show that pain. A proud son of the elite Uchiha family, Sasuke was accustomed to always getting his way, and never having to give anything of his own away. Now, he stood watching everything slip from his grasp, the tighter he held on the more it seemed to slide away from him. It was an unfamiliar feeling and it made him angry. Anger he understood. Anger he could deal with. It had been months since he'd gotten so angry and while it was a relief for a moment, he felt shame quickly growing behind it because of all the lessons he'd learned in the past two years, the lesson about controlling his anger and the arrogance that usually went with it was the one he'd learned the quickest and the most completely.
As Sasuke remembered the way his life had been from the moment he'd met his tutor, his anger slipped away. Always before, he had been the spoiled younger son, pride of the Uchihas for his intelligence and potential. Too important to be trusted to the likes of just anyone, his parents had brought in a string of tutors since he uttered his first word, not trusting even the most highly touted private schools with their son's education. Sasuke always managed to chase every tutor away eventually, finding fault in every one and not wanting to learn from someone he viewed as lesser than himself. Things changed the day the tall silver haired, dark eyed Kakashi Hatake had walked into his room and introduced himself as Sasuke's new tutor. He knew that his parents had grown frustrated with the number of tutors Sasuke was going through, but seeing the stern look in those dark eyes as he peered lazily up at the older man, Sasuke began to get an inkling of just how frustrated his parents were. The man appeared lazy, emotionless, but his eyes belied that impression, burning with a dark intensity that immediately annoyed Sasuke. Before the man had even finished introducing himself, Sasuke had decided that he had to go, no matter what his parents may think. Already in a bad mood that day from a run-in with his smug older brother, Sasuke was more than ready to lash out at this stranger standing in his room. Drawing on lessons learned when he was younger, Sasuke dropped into a crouch, a precise fighting stance, and lashed out with his fist, aiming to land a blow to the older man's solar plexus, knowing this was the best way to deter him from keeping the job he'd been given. It had worked several times in the past for Sasuke.
The next thing Sasuke knew he was laying face-down on the floor, arm pinned painfully high on his back, hand pressed between his shoulder blades. When he moved as if to struggle, the older man had promptly settled a knee in the middle of his back, effectively putting a stop to any and all resistance as his weight settled on Sasuke. "Tsk, tsk, Sasuke-kun. Is that any way to greet your new tutor?" the older man had asked with a trace of amusement and annoyance in his voice. "Don't worry, your father informed me in great detail about your past and your general attitude. At the same time, he granted me permission to use any means necessary to turn you into the respectable young man that you should be. Any means, Sasuke-kun," he added in a crooning voice as he leaned over Sasuke, his breath brushing along the side of his face, "as long as I do you no permanent damage, is permitted. You remember that the next time you feel the desire to strike at me."
When Kakashi had finally let him him, Sasuke was so angry that he couldn't see straight. Kakashi had just stood back and watched him silently, amusement clear around his eyes, though his mouth remained free is any hint of a smile. Sasuke tested his new tutor several times over the first few weeks, though he gradually came to respect the man, and though he wasn't willing to admit it out loud, he started to look forward to their sessions every day. At first, he would lash out at the older man when his temper got the better of him, but after many punishments, several of which were embarrassing to the point of mortification to Sasuke, he'd learned to hold his temper in check until his tutor had left for the day. He'd slip out into the night, wandering the streets looking for fights. His parents questioned him often and angrily about the bruises and cuts he'd turn up with unexpectedly, but he would never tell them what was going on. Kakashi asked him once and Sasuke and turned away, looking pointedly at the book he had been reading under his teacher's orders. Kakashi had left him alone after that, never bothering to question him about the marks again. That was the moment Sasuke began to respect the older man.
Time passed and in spite of his early expectations Sasuke did learn from Kakashi, and he learned quite a bit. He picked up several lessons from the older man that perhaps his parents had never intended, but since Sasuke barely talked to anyone in his family, nobody knew that the youngest of the Uchihas was falling in love with his tutor. Sasuke was never sure quite when he started to love the man, but the first time he caught the heated looks Kakashi had begun to give him when he thought Sasuke was absorbed in some lesson or another, he became very aware of the growing feelings he had for the older man. On his sixteenth birthday, Sasuke had finally dared to confront the older man with his feelings and his thoughts on the way he was sure his tutor felt for him. Kakashi had been mortified and promptly dismissed the idea that he had feelings for his student, quickly packing up his things as if to leave, though their lessons for the day had only just barely begun. Sasuke had reached out and placed his hands over Kakashi's stopping the older man from packing away his books and forcing him to look back at him. Rather than say anything further, Sasuke had leaned in and pressed his lips to Kakashi's. The older man and stiffened and Sasuke pressed himself closer, trying to push past Kakashi's resistance. Gradually he felt his tutor relax, his lips beginning to move tentatively against Sasuke's. With each indrawn breath, Kakashi relaxed further into the kiss and took charge, teaching Sasuke to kiss as he'd taught him so many other things.
The sound of someone moving down the hall toward his room had snatched them from the moment and Kakashi had jerked back away from Sasuke, his hand flying up to his mouth as if it pained him. He looked back over his shoulder at Sasuke's open bedroom door for a moment, and when he looked back at Sasuke, his face had taken on it's usual indifferent mask. He finished gathering up his things in silence, then just before leaving he murmured a few instructions for lessons he wanted Sasuke to work on, then wished him a happy birthday and left just as his older cousin Obito walked into the room. It was nearly a week before Kakashi came back after that. Sasuke thought at first that the man was going to quit and he wasn't sure how he felt about that. He knew he would miss the man if he didn't come around every single day for their lessons, but at the same time he thought he had a better chance of winning Kakashi's love if they were no longer in the position of teacher and student. When Kakashi strolled into his room a week later, half an hour late for his lessons as was usual for him, he professed to have been down with the flu for the past week and apologized to Sasuke for missing his lessons. Not believing this excuse for a second, Sasuke turned on the older man, confronting him for running after their kiss. When Sasuke told him again that he loved him, Kakashi had quickly dismissed the kiss as a mistake, and one that wouldn't be repeated. Every time Sasuke brought the kiss up after that, Kakashi would always change the subject and give him even more work than usual. Eventually Sasuke stopped bringing it up, though he didn't miss the way those surreptitious looks continued.
His frustration growing, Sasuke began slipping out at night again a few months after that ill-fated encounter with his tutor. As he wandered the streets, it wasn't a fight that he sought, but a release of a very different sort. Though it wasn't ideal and it chaffed at his Uchiha pride, Sasuke found himself giving his virginity to some kind hearted prostitute that only slightly favored his teacher. The man seemed to understand Sasuke's need and didn't question it or comment when Sasuke called him Kakashi in the heat of his passionate first release. At first he was ashamed of what he had done, feeling that Kakashi would think less of him if he ever found out what he'd done, but gradually his need to find release that was constantly denied him sent him back out to the streets late at night again. Over time it became easier, but less satisfying for Sasuke until he found the thought of letting anyone other than Kakashi touch him filled him with such a dark despair he could barely breathe.
On his seventeenth birthday Sasuke meant to confront Kakashi one more time, but the older man called to wish Sasuke a happy birthday and informed him that he was giving him the day off from his lessons as a gift. When Sasuke's protests had shown no sign of changing the older man's mind, he'd snapped that his father would be very unhappy that his son wasn't receiving the lessons he was paying for.
"I have already spoken to your father, Sasuke-kun, and he gave his permission for you to have this day off. You've been working very hard lately, and we both felt you've earned the break. I will see you again tomorrow."
All arguments effectively blocked, Sasuke said his goodbyes through numb lips and hung up the phone. When Kakashi returned the next day, Sasuke immediately confronted him with his feelings and with his knowledge that the clandestine looks he was receiving from his tutor bore the same heat as the looks he was turning on the older man. Kakashi denied the looks and his feelings and Sasuke grew angry, but let it drop. He brought it up several more times over the next few months, each conversation having the same outcome. Finally, at the end of his endurance, Sasuke came to realize that it was time to let go; to give up on the man. Pride, finally bruised beyond the point that could be bore, welled up in Sasuke and he planned one more try; the last. That same pride was now trying to hold strong in the face of opposition he hadn't expected. In his mind, he knew that if he delivered his ultimatum, Kakashi would relent.
"I've been telling you for over a year that I'm in love with you, Kakashi. You haven't wanted to hear it. You won't even admit that you feel the same way for me, so I think it would be for the best if you just left now. I'll be starting college this spring, you've taught me all I need to know to get into the best college. It's over. Leave me what little pride I have left. Let's part now before this gets any more painful than it already is."
Kakashi stood staring down at Sasuke, his face a stiff wooden mask that hid all emotion, though his eyes were a flood of emotion that roiled too wildly for Sasuke to pick out any one emotion. As he began to think that the older man was still going to stand stiffly silent, staring at him, Kakashi finally spoke, voice quiet and oddly empty. "Sasuke-kun, don't do this."
"Do what? Get on with my life? Hold on to the tattered remains of my pride so that I at least have a chance to one day find someone who is willing to let himself love me back?" Sasuke finally snapped, a bit of his earlier anger returning, though it left just as quickly as it came. "I can't do this anymore, Kakashi, and I don't think you can either. I love you, and I know you love me. I can see it in your eyes when you think I'm not looking. If you're not willing to allow those feelings to be known, then you need to just leave."
"Sasuke-kun... we can't do this. It's not legal. It's not right," Kakashi tried again, his voice giving the barest hint of emotion: desperation.
"Bullshit," Sasuke snapped. "I'm seventeen now. It's not illegal. As for you being my tutor, as I said, I'm about to head off to college, so you won't be my tutor for much longer. And I don't care about right or wrong. I just know I want a chance to love you and be loved by you."
Sasuke watched the emotion leak out of Kakashi's eyes and finally push that wooden mask away as it played over his face as well. Finally resignation filled his eyes and his shoulders slumped. "I do love you, Sasuke-kun. I have almost from the moment we met. I ache to touch you, to hold you, to make love to you, but it's just not right. What would your family think?"
"What the hell do I care what they think?" Sasuke snapped, hands clenching into fists at his sides. "This isn't about them, this is about us!"
"I don't want to leave. I don't want you to push me away."
"Then it's time you decide: Are you going to love me, or are you going to keep denying it? I can't take this anymore. I need to either feel your touch, or I need you to be away from me so I can forget you. And I need you to be sure. I couldn't stand it if you gave me your love, then took it away from me again, drawing back like you did after our first kiss. So, decide Kakashi. Do you love me? Do you want me? Or are you going to leave me?"
"Sasuke," Kakashi whispered, dropping the affectionate, yet childish honorific from the end of his name for the first time since they'd met.
"Please, Kakashi, I can't take the hurt anymore. Just love me."
Kakashi stood stiffly for several minutes longer and Sasuke just held still, biting his tongue, his tattered pride not allowing him to beg any further. Just as he was about to give up for good, he saw Kakashi break, emotion pouring over his face. He caught and held his breath as Kakashi's resignation bled into a look of such need that Sasuke's breath remained locked in his chest until he started to grow slightly dizzy from his need to draw another breath. Kakashi's first step was hesitant and leaden, but the next came easier, and with the third he was rushing to close the distance between them. When he felt Kakashi arms at last wrap around him, Sasuke let out that held breath in a shuddering sigh, drawing in the next with a gasp as his arms lifted and wrapped around the older man. At last he felt everything fall into place, the happiness he'd been too long denied finally warming him as his life finally began.
AN: So, recently I've been extremely busy with life outside of the little world in my laptop. This means I've had no time for writing. At last things settle down and I have time to write once more. Sadly I find that my extended time without writing was a detriment to the functioning of my muse. After dealing with writer's block for a few days I gave up. Last night, a song I hadn't heard in at least 10 years popped into my head and I couldn't get it out. So, I went online and DLed the song. As I sat listening to it, this story began to form in my head. By the time I was able to sit down and give this story a chance to come out, it had built to this huge beast in my head that wouldn't be denied! So, on autopilot I wrote out this story late last night. I was relieved to be writing again when I finished and proud of the story though I only vaguely knew what I'd written. ;) This morning when I did my reread edit I decided I had a right to be proud. I think this turned out quite well and I love the entwined angst and fluff.
The song, for those that are curious is the same as the title. One More Try by George Michael. You younger folks likely haven't a clue who he is since the song is from the 80s, but I still think it's worth checking out. It's a beautiful love song (IMO), and was the inspiration for this story.
As always, thanks in advance for faves and for reading. A special thanks for those of you that have read all of my ramblings down here. ;)