Warning: Yaoi/Slash, BoyLove, Language
Disclaimer: I own nothing. It's sort of obvious, don't you think?
Pairing: HayateGenmaKakashi with a side of implied AobaRaidou, KotetsuIzumo
Chapter One: Feverish Fright
Hayate stood on the roof of his apartment building watching as the sun just started to peak over the horizon line, his chest tight as his lungs couldn't quite manage to take in enough oxygen. Something he'd managed to grow used to, to a certain extent. He fisted a hand against his chest, rubbing slightly, before moving said hand to cover his mouth as he coughed deeply a few times, awareness never wavering from the brightening sky in front of him as his body started to shake. He felt a slightly dizziness overcome him, but shook if off with mere pride and willpower. He'd lived with this sickness too long to allow it any type of control over him, no matter the situation or conditions.
He felt the pulse of chakra a few moments before he heard the soft sigh over his shoulder. He felt his entire body tense for a moment before placing the chakra as familiar and unthreatening. With a soft sigh he realized who it was seconds later, forcing his muscles to relax once again, keen eyes glued once again to the highlighted horizon. Moments like this were precious, the slowly rising sun and the calming fresh air, you learned as a shinobi early on that life often times was taken abruptly. Being a shinobi meant the possibility of losing your life at any moment, and the small things really did matter in the chaotic world of blood, pain, and loss that surrounded them all. He stood almost too still, forcing himself not to turn around, and waited for the man behind him to speak, as Hayate knew he would eventually.
"Awake quite early again, aren't you?" Genma asked softly from behind him, his voice slightly gruff still laced with slight sleepiness and something that was uniquely Genma's voice, husky and penetrating. Genma had an exotic voice that made people want to listen to him, wanting to hear more of the sound as it rumbled pleasantly through their ears, whether in pleasure, anger or indifference it always held the same tone. And the fact that Genma wasn't the type to talk just to talk made hearing his voice that much more pleasurable, almost like a gift. He tended to only speak to those he deemed worthy of his thoughts, outside of his close friends not many people had even heard him say more than a few words since his days as a genin.
"Mmm," Hayate said, not committing to an actual answer, because the truth was he hadn't actually slept at all yet. He was simply still awake. He could almost taste Genma's sudden tension in the air around them; felt the flare spike of chakra as it rolled over his body like a fire attempting to consume him. Drawn to the man behind him Hayate had to force himself not to turn around for the second time. Looking into Genma's eyes had always felt like both a gift and a curse – he had beautifully yet oddly expressive eyes. Eyes that didn't belong on an elite shinobi's face, it was one of the things that drew people to Genma, aside from his voice. His eyes were like open doors, drawing people in, pulling them closer and threatening to devour them. But those same expressive eyes could also become so cold and devoid, latching on and then sucking emotions from someone else's eyes as well. Hayate had never been very good at lying to begin with, which was why he often times just buried himself into the simple silence of non-commitment instead of trying to outsmart the human lie detector that Genma had become over the years. One of his specialties as a shinobi was learning about and knowing the people around him, enemy and comrades alike, and as the years continued forward his abilities only seemed to progress further and further.
Genma sighed deeply, running a hand slowly over his face. His entire body was tense; it usually was when he was within any vicinity to the younger boy standing mere inches in front of him, though the reason behind the tenseness varied often. They'd been incredibly close for a few short years now, and only seemed to be growing steadily closer. Yet Genma still couldn't quite figure the kid out, and not being able to figure someone out left Genma feeling vulnerable and exposed. It was his specialty to be able to read the people around him, but it seemed the more his emotions got muddled up into it the less he could truly figure out. He remembered vaguely being 18 years old, having barely been made jonin by then, unlike Hayate who had already been a jonin for nearly 4 years now. Genma bit down on the senbon in his mouth tightly the metal clashing against his teeth clicking loudly as Hayate's lithe body was wracked with a sudden fit of heavy coughs. Hayate lurched forward slightly, one hand pressing against his thigh to hold him up and the other fisted over his mouth tightly, trying to calm himself down enough to breathe properly, as his chest tightened considerably.
Hayate closed his eyes against the sudden onslaught of pain, as Genma stepped forward in a flash placing a strong, warm hand onto the back of Hayate's neck he rubbed softly with his fingers, hoping to ease the pain he knew the younger boy was in. Hayate continued to cough and wheeze pitifully, dragging in ragged breathes every few moments. Genma cursed under his breath softly, before wrapping his free arm around the younger man's middle and dragging him back tightly against himself. Hayate sucked in a deep breath, his head knocking harshly against Genma's shoulder at the sudden unexpected movement and he closed his eyes against the sudden flush of nausea that raced through him. He could feel his heart beat stuttering at a slightly alarming rate, and he couldn't quite get his eyes to focus.
"Steady," Genma said softly, when Hayate's entire body trembled. "I've got you, just calm down." Hayate allowed his head to lull pathetically into the curve of Genma's neck, his breath hot against the taller man's smooth neck. Genma forced back a shudder at the feeling, and held onto Hayate tighter. Hayate moaned hoarsely, as his coughing fit seemed to slowly die out, his small body still shaking in Genma's arms.
"That was unexpected," Hayate said roughly, his voice scratchy and strained. He sighed into Genma's neck, and allowed his body to go lax in the strong arms that had latched onto him tightly, basking in the familiar warmth. Genma looked down at the boy in his arms his chest tightening in concern; he seemed to be worse than usual. He nearly looked like walking death today, which was bad even for Hayate.
"I don't think you should do much of anything today, 'Yate." Genma said softly, frowning as Hayate just sank further into his arms as if he was melting. Hayate simply nodded his head, and buried his face further into Genma's neck. Hayate's body was gravitating towards the warmth of the older man holding him so securely within his arms; he could feel his entire body slowly shutting down and didn't even try to fight against it. He really didn't feel so good at all, his head was spinning and there was a pounding pressure at the base of his skull. He whimpered softly, pressing back even further into the warmth as if he was trying to embed himself into Genma. Hayate shuddered, suddenly feeling so cold. A frown creased across Genma's face as he hauled the shivering boy against him tighter.
"Okay. Bed?" Hayate said tightly, his voice soft and weary, "So tired." He felt like he'd just been tortured for days endlessly. His entire body ached inside and out, a slow burning sensation had covered his entire body as he became to heat up at a steadily increasing rate, a film of sweat breaking out across his face instantly. Every inch of his skin ached against anything that even brushed against it.
Genma hefted Hayate up into his arms easily, before disappearing down the roof and into his own apartment bedroom with ease. Living in the same apartment building as all of his closest friends, was a convenience Genma had always taken for granted until this exact moment. Now he was nothing short of grateful for the small luxury. He quickly pulled back the covers, before softly laying Hayate onto his bed. Placing a cold hand against the boy's forehead; Hayate instantly sighed at the coldness and then whimpered miserably when it disappeared just as quickly. Genma bit down forcefully on the senbon in his mouth again, the clicking sound echoing in the room. Turning quickly on a growl, he spit the laced senbon at the wall behind him sharply, watching it stick before turning his attention back to the boy sprawled across his bed.
"Burning," Hayate whispered so lowly that it was inaudible to Genma's ears, as he lifted his hands weakly to his own vest, tugging at it as forcefully as his aching limbs would allow.
"What's wrong? Do you want your vest off, Hayate?" Genma said softly, kneeling next to his bed and placing his face close to Hayate's as he continued to whimper and whispered, while pulling weakly at his own vest still.
"Yes, yes, hot." Genma instantly moved Hayate's hands softly to his sides again, before starting to carefully undress the helpless young boy. He noticed that Hayate's shirt under his vest was stuck to his sweating body, clinging like a second skin and worrying Genma instantly. He continued along with his pursuit of undressing the shaking boy as quickly as he dared, careful not to jostle him too much. He heard Hayate's quiet sobbed sigh when Genma's cold hand came into contact with his burning and bared chest. Genma carefully ran his cold hands over the boy's heated flesh, hoping to offer some form of comfort.
Genma suddenly wished much more forcefully than usual that Kakashi wasn't off on some mission, but that the lazy-nin was here to ground Genma's erratic thoughts and settle the heart that was quite literally attempting to beat right out of his chest. Kakashi had the odd yet comforting ability to keep himself at least partially detached and unemotional in situations; it would really come in handy right now. Genma was laid-back himself, but when it came to certain situations, and more importantly certain people that were important to him he often times found himself losing his ability to think clearly and logically. A frantically emotional Genma, was not a side of himself he was overly proud of. But it was something he'd learned to deal with, because it was inevitable that at times he was overwhelmed.
Genma shook his head sighing, Kakashi was just so much better at these situations than he could ever hope to be, and he ached for the men's soothing presence and guiding hands now. His hands shook, as he stared at the younger shinobi feeling a sense of helplessness wash over him in waves. He knew he should be getting a medic-nin or someone but he couldn't even remember how to move, he was too tied up in knots and far too concerned. He was worried and very much out of his element. He put his head into his head, shaking it slightly as Hayate continued to writhe and moan on the bed eyes clenched closed in pain.
With a sudden burst of logical thought, Genma quickly went to the window hanging out partly and yelling up towards the window above his, "Raidou! Aoba!" He sighed when two heads quickly popped out of the window side by side.
"Genma, be civi - What's wrong?" Raidou asked tightly, instantly noticing the tension on his face and the missing senbon. Two things that were always instant clues that something was off, Genma was almost never seen with a senbon and his face was set in a perpetually lethargic mask of indifference and defiance.
"It's Hayate," Genma said tightly. Aoba and Raidou looked at each other in alarm before, looking back at Genma. Genma turned his head back into his room when Hayate coughed weakly a few times. "Come down here," Genma said quickly, his voice urgent as he pulled at his hair slightly before looking back towards the two for a moment, and then disappearing out of sight. Seconds later Raidou and Aoba flanked Genma, and the three looked at the small, pale boy moaning pitifully and twisting on the bed before them. "Something is really wrong," Genma said softly, his throat tight with unexplainable emotions. Raidou placed a hand on Genma's shoulder and squeeze tightly, offering what comfort he could.
"What happened," Aoba said tightly, his voice quiet. Genma shrugged once, and then his body sagged forward slightly, his chin hitting his chest forcefully.
"I found him on the roof, like usual. We were talking, then all the sudden he went into this massive coughing fit and it wasn't stopping. So I grabbed him, and tried to rub his throat to help the spasms. He stopped eventually, but he turned boneless in my arms. And then could barely rasp out a few words before I got him back here into bed, and he started whimpering about being hot. I need Kakashi, but he's on a mission. Fix him, I don't know what to do" Genma said, his voice straining at the end as he tried to hold back the emotions threatening to overtake him. Aoba and Raidou shared a concerned look, Genma was always the life of the group with a casual and jokingly superior air about him. Genma was also one of the few shinobi that had an uncanny ability to just roll with the punches, and was only ruffled under serious situations. The normal Genma, the one they were used to encountering was not the one currently going slowly insane before them, breaking apart at the edges. And they could tell that this wasn't something he was used to seeing, nor did it seem to be something he could handle seeing either.
They had all gone on missions plenty of times together, the four of them and Kakashi. And somewhere along the line Kotetsu and Izumo had wiggled their way into the group of friends also, even though the two knuckle heads where chunin, they'd been welcomed with open arms. Mostly because you just couldn't not enjoy spending time around the two best friends, who were quite literally attached at the hip, hand, and mouth almost constantly. They all worked well together though, all knew their strengths and weaknesses on the missions and knew just what everyone was capable of. They meshed in a way, only truly close friends could. They were all very strong and capable elite shinobi. Each had suffered from their share of injuries; mental, physical and emotional alike. But this was something entirely different, this wasn't a battered bloody comrade or a friend returning half-dead to the village, this wasn't an emotional wreak of a man breaking down into sobs or tears, and this wasn't a man still caught up in a traumatic mission lashing out at the people around him without realizing it. This wasn't a mission at all, it was just everyday life – And Hayate was suffering from something all alone, something they all knew they really couldn't fix, or patch up.
Hayate was the youngest of their close group of friends, only a year younger than the tag team chunin, but still younger. And Hayate had this childlike, innocent air about him still that many of them had lost far too many years ago. Hayate had been a jonin for a few years now, and had seen things lesser shinobi could never even hope to comprehend but Hayate had never lost his grip on reality or life. He continued to enjoy life, the smallest moments granted to him with a sort of innocent naivety that the others could easily admit to envying. None of the men in the room had ever seen Hayate this helpless before, even on the battle field half-dead and bleeding from anywhere that could be seen he'd still always stood strongly and never backed down. It wasn't comforting to see him like this, for any of them.
Raidou stepped around Genma, and kneeled next to the bed without hesitation. Reaching out he laid the back of his hand against the young jonin's forehead.
"We need to get him cooled off," Raidou said evenly, his voice calm and soothing. Genma straightened disappearing from the room instantly. He was back within seconds a large bowl filled with cold water in one hand, and a few pieces of cloth in the other.
"Do you have any ice, Genma?" Aoba said, as Genma placed the bowl next to Raidou on the floor.
"Yeah, I should." Genma answered, kneeling beside the bed and handing two of the cloth pieces over to Raidou. Aoba left the room soundlessly, as the other two began to softly run the cold water laden cloth pieces over Hayate's thin body. Genma softly ran his rag over Hayate's face, and down the side of the other boy's neck. Hayate's mouth parted in a heavy sigh, some of the tension fading from his body.
Aoba returned to the room, with a small bowl of ice chips in his hand. He instantly went to the bed, sitting against the head of the bed. He carefully maneuvered Hayate's shoulders and head into his lap, propping the small boy against his chest easily. He picked up an ice chip; slowly running it over Hayate's partially opened mouth, until the young boy opened his mouth a bit wider. Carefully placing the ice into Hayate's mouth, Aoba let out a soft sigh when he began to suck on it softly. The three troubled friends continued until the boy before them was breathing evenly, his eyes closed and head tilted to the side slightly.
"He's fallen asleep," Aoba said softly, drawing the attention of the other two shinobi. Raidou and Genma sighed softly before allowing themselves to relax and lean back away from the bed. "I think he's going to be just fine. He's been pushing too hard, and he's just completely exhausted. I didn't notice until he fell asleep just how low his chakra is right now, I'm sure that has some small part to play in this as well."
"He should be well soon then?" Raidou asked, looking up at Aoba.
"As well as Hayate can be, yes." Aoba said, with a soft smile. No one knew the reasoning behind Hayate's chronic cough. It wasn't a health problem necessarily because there wasn't a cure or fix for it, but it did plague him every day and there was nothing that anyone had been able to do about it. He took medicine daily, but it still didn't keep the coughing at bay entirely and it worsened the more exhausted his body become. It often times left the youngest of them feeling exhausted and weak, because it would keep him awake at night for days on end. Lack of sleep often resulted in the boy looking even more sickly and pale, just from the simple exhaustion. But he had never gotten this bad before, how long had the young Jonin been forgoing sleep to have crashed so completely.
"Thank you guys, I was so out of mind I could barely think. I wish Kakashi was here though" Genma said softly, closing his eyes ashamed at his own weakness. He startled when a hand clamped over his shoulder, opening his eyes to look up at Aoba.
"I would be the same, had it been Raidou," Aoba said softly, his head tilting to the side. Genma felt his cheeks begin to burn; aware that he was blushing he turned his head away only to make eye contact with Raidou who he'd forgotten was sitting next to him. Raidou was looking at him with a soft intent in his eyes; they were brimming with understanding, slight pain and sympathy.
"As would I, if it were Aoba," Raidou said, maintaining eye contact with Genma. Genma cursed himself for obviously not being as careful as he'd previously thought he was being. He'd cared about Hayate for much longer than he even dared to admit to himself, of course he'd always cared about his friends in some way or another. But this was different, this caring caused a heavy weight in his mind, a tight wrapping around his heart, and a burning need in his stomach.
Genma sighed, "I never meant for anyone to know."
"That's both selfish and unfair of you, Genma." Aoba said tightly, his hand dropping away from Genma's shoulder. Genma turned his head sharply, looking up at his friend with sad wide eyes. "To keep something like that hidden from him and from Kakashi, I never thought you to be a coward." Genma's eyes tightened as he glared at the man standing before him, pushing himself from the floor suddenly. How they knew about both of them, he had absolutely no clue. There was no way he was that easy to read.
"I'll do as I see fit," Genma whispered hotly, his hands fisted at his sides, his expressive eyes flashing so many emotions in rapid succession that it was hard to tell what he was actually feeling. Wishing for once in his life, he'd been able to keep something hidden from his friends. But they'd grown up together in a way that was far closer than he had with the other two men mentioned. Which was why Raidou and Aoba were his best friends, but Hayate and Kakashi were more, so much more. Raidou stood slowly, walking to stand next to Aoba.
"He is right Gen, and deep down you know it's the truth," Raidou said slowly, his voice soft and calm as if he were talking to a frightened and cornered animal. And maybe the situation was in actuality quite similar. Genma felt as if he'd been pushed and backed into a corner, and his eyes were spitting with a fire that burned brightly with both anger and agony equally. "We've known you a long time Genma, a very long time. Long enough to know you almost better than you truly know yourself. You shouldn't keep it all locked away, you're only going to end up hurting yourself and both of them also, if you choose to go down that road, keeping things as important as this from them."
"And you know, both of them will be pissed if they find out how much you're suffering, because of it," Aoba said softly.
Genma sighed, closing his eyes tightly against the tears that had sprung up out of nowhere. He was far too old to be acting like a teenage boy all over again. Cursing himself, he shook his head sharply before looking back at the two men standing before him. He knew they were right, hell they were always right about nearly everything. Separate Raidou and Aoba were challenging and intelligent people; though with far different personalities. But together, it was even worse. Together they had enough brain power to rival Kakashi's own genius mind.
"I know," Genma finally whispered. He stepped around the pair to look down at the sleeping boy in his bed, smiling slightly at the irony. He had always wanted to get him exactly where he currently was, but under far different circumstances. Those circumstances didn't seem to matter at this moment though; he was too caught up in worry for it to matter right now. "I know that you're both right, and I will. I just. I need a little more time."
"Soon," Aoba said knowingly, his dark eyes softening as he watched as Genma hunched forward, his body curling in on itself in a protective gesture that didn't go unnoticed by the other two conscious men in the room. Raidou and Aoba knew the younger shinobi well enough to know just how much he had been suffering, just how much pain he'd been constantly putting himself through.
"Yes… Soon," Genma turned to look at his long time friends; stepping forward into their arms he allowed them to comfort him for a few moments, losing himself within their warmth, and love. Allowing his mind to clear, and his body to relax, he burrowed deeper within their arms. Raidou shared a look with Aoba over the top of Genma's bowed head; the pain was evident in their eyes as they looked at each other. The three of them had always been so close, Genma was like their brother. And when he ached, they ached right along with him. Genma stepped out of their embrace, and looked up at them with blurry eyes. "Thank you."
"You're welcome, little brother," Raidou said with a soft smile, rubbing Genma's bowed head and messing up his continuously backwards hitai-ate. Genma jokingly glared at him, causing Aoba to laugh softly.
"I'm not that much younger than either of you. Aoba is barely older than me at all!" Genma said petulantly, crossing his arms across his chest and pouting like a child. The two slightly older men laughed at his antics. "Alright, out the two of you. On with your wretchedly boring lives," Genma said dramatically, practically shoving the two jonin out his window, laughing at their agitated faces as he whispered conspiratorially "banging like bunnies!"
"One of these days Genma," Aoba said in mock threat, as he disappeared up into his own apartment a slight flush across his cheeks, Raidou silently following behind him like always. Genma smiled up at their window for a moment before ducking back into his room, shutting the window and curtains securely behind him. He blinked as his room was encased in darkness. He walked to the bed checking on Hayate, pulling the sheet up to the boy's waist before walking to the doorway. He turned back at the door, unshed tears sparkling at the corner of his eyes once again. The pain in his chest all too familiar yet foreign, as he turned away harshly, forcing himself to leave the room.
Genma sat up in the living room, body tense and mind blank staring at the wall without actually seeing it. Time continued to pass by slowly, but he paid no attention to it. He felt numb for the first time in a while, yet couldn't find any comfort in the absence of feeling. And so he stayed as he was, stoic and unmoving, as the day continued to slide by unseeing tear stained eyes.