Broken Kunai

BY : MisatosPenPen
Category: Naruto > Yaoi - Male/Male > Kakashi/Sasuke
Dragon prints: 4701
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto, nor the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

If anyone was following me on Facebook, my account was suspended. Either because Misato's PenPen isn't the name on my Birth Certificate or because I recommended a few yaoi manga and the covers might have violated a few community rules . . . guidelines . . . I'd use FetLife, but it isn't as much fun, but they allow pretty much anything.

Beta-ed by PhoenixInnocence 

----------

Sasuke was dozing again. Kakashi watched him fondly and caressed his naked torso for a while. It wasn’t even sunset yet; Sasuke was definitely part cat.

They had randomly started making out and ended back in bed, ending up having sex in the afternoon. Kakashi loved sex in the daytime with Sasuke because he was so beautiful.

Then the doorbell rang. Sasuke fully woke up and growled. Kakashi took his hand away, but didn’t move from his position on his side. He smiled as Sasuke got out of bed and fumbled with his robe.

Sasuke came back looking grave. “Leave’s been cancelled; we have an S rank mission. I have less than an hour to report to the gate.”

“Get in the shower; I’ll check your gear.”

“Thanks.”

Years of being an active shinobi left Kakashi more than qualified to check and pack his lover’s gear. He also dug out his own canteen, filled it, and put it with Sasuke’s; Sasuke kept looking dehydrated when he returned home.

Sasuke came out clean and dressed.

“I want to eat before I leave.”

Kakashi filled a large glass with water and put it on the table. Sasuke smiled and sat down to drink as Kakashi turned to make him a meal.

-----

They were finally at a safe house set up by one of Konoha’s spies deep in this country. They’d been hiding in trees, small caves, even rotted logs until now. Sasuke almost forgot what it was like to be clean. At least the mud covered their lack of hygiene.

A member of ANBU already entrenched in the country briefed them on the situation when they first crossed the border and it looked like it would be a month before they could head home—if they went home at all. But it was five weeks in and they weren’t near the end.

Akihito checked the security of their bolt hole while Hara and Mori checked the beds. By the loud snores, the beds were satisfactory.

Sasuke checked the rations. He was never so happy to see dehydrated cup ramen in his life. Cup ramen meant a well stocked larder and no one else had used the place since it was last supplied.

The ramen reminded Sasuke of Naruto. The dehydrated part reminded him of Kakashi; Kakashi had been worried about how little Sasuke drank on missions. Kakashi would be pissed at him at the moment; they were mostly drinking rain water. Even in this place they had limited water.

This mission was turning into the epic mission from hell, but no one was injured yet. At least there was one comfort from home: Naruto’s favorite brand of cup ramen.

-----

After clearing the air with Iruka, Ino’s team, and all of Kakashi’s friends, Kakashi’s nights out were more fun; more people were comfortable talking to him and having a drink. It made the news Sasuke would be delayed more tolerable.

One night, he was having a drink with Aoba and Raido. It was fun. He was swapping stories and laughing and feeling like one of the guys again. He needed this while Sasuke was on a long mission.

The Uchiha had been gone for five weeks, causing Kakashi to sink into a partial depression. He had little to do and more often than not, his friends were off on missions too. He could only train with his false leg for so long. His friends and long walks with his ninken were his only solace. He needed to find more in life. He wondered if he would have survived this long if Sasuke hadn’t burst in.

Birds entered through the open door of the tavern and landed on the shoulders of all the jounin in the bar, including Aoba and Raido, summoning them to the Hokage. Within seconds, the bar was mostly emptied. Kakashi was one of the few left behind. A few chunin and civilians. Kakashi’s head dipped. A civilian.

He finished his drink and resisted ordering another. He promised not to go down that road again. He went home. The streets were quieter than normal. Something big was going on.

Kakashi entered the quiet house and leaned back against the door. Why was an empty house so much more lonely since he moved in with Sasuke? What was going on to require so many jounin?

He was a jounin too, damn it! He hit the door. Why wouldn’t Tsunade summon him as well? He knelt and waited for a summons. He knelt there for an hour.

So, I’m useless. Even in an emergency. I’m just a civilian. Useless.

He created a clone who fetched his sword. His father’s sword. Not the broken chakra blade, but his washizaki. The one his father used to kill himself. He hadn’t cared for it properly, but it still rang when he unsheathed it. He ran his finger along the blunt spine.

Depressed didn’t cover it. Sasuke had said that he would still be useful in an emergency, but he wasn’t. His pride as a shinobi was broken. So this is what you felt like, father. Is this what finally broke you? Did you watch every other jounin go off and you were left behind? Father, you won’t blame me for this, will you? I wasn’t enough, never enough. I’m a failure. When did I ever do anything worthwhile? I was all talk. Talented? A genius? Never let my comrades die? I’ve watched so many of them die. I was just lying to myself. Lying to them. Please greet me again, father.

He pressed the tip of the blade to his stomach. It pierced cloth and skin. The old blade was still sharp. He gripped the hilt and prepared to pull the blade into his body.

Did you forget me? Or did you think you were doing it for me? Did you forget there was still a reason to stay? Did you forget . . . Sasuke.

Kakashi opened his eyes and dropped the sword.

Sasuke would hate me forever. He would hate me. He would never forgive me. I forgave you, father, but Sasuke would never forgive me.

The alcohol and depression had made him forget he had a very good reason to live, made him more emotional about being left behind. He wouldn’t leave Sasuke. He remembered what Iruka said: he had time with Sasuke to look forward to and it was pure selfishness to want to kill himself.

He stood up awkwardly and went to where he kept the framed picture of him and Sasuke. Sasuke’s mock annoyance, his smirk. His loving eyes.

The sword was out and his suicidal thoughts gone, so he decided to tend the neglected blade to clear his mind. But silently cleaning his father’s sword all alone in the house was not helping his depression and he hadn’t forgotten how he was left behind.

-----

Over two months. Sasuke and his team stopped for breath a mile from the gates. They were so close. He felt the others start to relax in relief, but Sasuke bristled.

“Not yet,” he said. “We haven’t made it home yet.”

Home. It was an odd thought in Sasuke’s mind. Though he now looked forward to returning to be with Kakashi, he still was never relieved to see the gates. Right now, he was relieved. For once since he was thirteen, he truly thought of Konoha as ‘home’.

He couldn’t blame his teammates for relaxing: they were all bruised, beaten, injured, tired, cramping, hungry, dehydrated, sore, and just generally ill used. They were so close to safety.

Once they had all caught their breath, they broke cover and headed for the village gates. They ran as if Death himself was grabbing at their heels. He had been for weeks. He wasn’t quite a friend, but they were all very intimate by now. So much so, Kakashi should be jealous. Sasuke smirked at the thought.

Just inside the gates, Mori and Hara collapsed. Sasuke and Akihiko took up defending postures. A dozen ANBU landed around them and Sasuke scrutinized them with his Sharingan. He tried to release any jutsu they might be under, but he determined they were indeed home. He stood down and Akihiko mimicked him.

“Welcome home,” one of the ANBU said. Sasuke perked up recognizing the voice, but he didn’t give any other sign he knew this ANBU.

“Thanks,” Sasuke said.

“Did everything go well on the other end?” Akihiko asked.

“Yes.”

“Good.”

“Let’s get you four to the Hokage and the medical unit.”

Sasuke nodded and helped up Hara.

-----

Kakashi was plagued with depression until Sasuke returned. He was lounging on the sofa when Sasuke arrived. He sat up. Sasuke held up a hand.

“I’m stinking, and not a good way,” Sasuke said. “I’ve got to shower before you get near me.” Despite saying that, his eyes were full of longing and relief. “Been traveling for eight days without bathing.” And hardly sleeping, eating, or drinking.

And with that he rushed to the bathroom. He wasn’t lying, but the real reason he rushed to the bathroom, avoiding Kakashi, was the blood, bandages, wounds, and bruises all over his body. It was close to sunset. He needed to kill time so Kakashi wouldn’t see them. He also washed the medicine smell from his body and peeled all the bandages away.

Kakashi met him when Sasuke opened the bathroom door, still drying his hair. Kakashi kissed him tenderly and languidly, caressing Sasuke’s cheek and neck. Sasuke let go of the towel, glad the sun had set. Kakashi ended it and wouldn’t look at Sasuke, kept his eyes closed as he moved to kiss Sasuke’s throat and neck, ending up sucking his earlobe.

Sasuke was surprised not to encounter any banter or even a welcome. But a loving kiss was just fine with him. He wanted to tell Kakashi how happy he was to be home, how he hadn’t been entirely sure he’d live through that mission. That was classified information and Kakashi was already worried about him, worried that he might die before he could father a child; Kakashi didn’t need to hear that Sasuke had feared for his life. He didn’t need to know he rushed to the shower so that Kakashi wouldn’t smell the disinfectant and ointments. He didn’t need to know. Sasuke’s eyes drifted closed and now he just let himself feel.

Kakashi led him to the bed and laid him down. His skin was still moist and extra warm from the water.

Kakashi traveled down Sasuke’s chest with small laps at his skin. When he reached Sasuke’s ribs under his peck, Kakashi started kissing again. Sasuke tensed with pain, but it seemed like just a normal sensitive twitch. Kakashi moved slowly down to the side and then across toward the center of Sasuke’s abdomen.

Sasuke gasped when Kakashi finally turned his attention to his cock. He lapped at it with a very wet tongue. It felt so good and tender, Sasuke was lost. Probably because of his habit of meditating, he was able to just let go and feel, not begging for more, just enjoying it. Because of that, he missed the melancholy way Kakashi was acting.

He kissed Sasuke’s scrotum, pleasuring just the right side, kissing and licking it. His bare cheek rubbed against Sasuke’s hot, firm cock as he moved. He took the length into his mouth. He worked slowly, moving downward faster and coming back up slower. He pulled away again to kiss at the base of his cock and the center of his balls.

Kakashi wrapped his hand around Sasuke’s firm flesh and teased his slit with his thumb. He kept his hand in place as he moved up to Sasuke’s face. He stared at Sasuke’s face for a moment in the dim twilight. His mouth hung open and eyes were closed with pleasure. He was beautiful.

“I love you so very much,” Kakashi breathed.

Sasuke moaned and opened his eyes. “I love you. Make love to me. I want you inside me.”

He sounded like he was aching to be filled. It had been over two months. Kakashi hesitated, Sasuke loved and trusted him so much. And desired him. Kakashi coated his fingers and eased into the young man. His slick, hot insides felt good around his fingers. Sasuke’s body was used to being entered so there wasn’t any pain or resistance with just his fingers, but it had been long enough that Kakashi knew he needed stretching. Sasuke’s still open eyes grew vacant and his breathing increased. Kakashi sought out his bundle of nerves. Sasuke sucked in a breath and looked almost orgasmic. His eyes fluttered closed.

Kakashi wondered what felt so good. He was happy he could give Sasuke such pleasure. At least he could do that. It was all he could do.

Kakashi kissed him. Sasuke absently kissed back, distracted by the fingers playing with his insides. His hands came up to Kakashi’s sides and stroked his sensitive, normally protected skin. His bones were too defined; he’d been a healthy weight when he left, but he’d gotten too thin again. He ignored that while Kakashi pleasured him.

Depression was a horrible thing for the libido, but Sasuke’s body was too tempting and the thought of how much Sasuke loved this allowed Kakashi to sustain an erection and slip inside him. Sasuke’s slick heat felt so fucking good.

Fuck, he was useless. He was a useless old man. What was he doing making love to this young Adonis? He loathed himself. Everyone was right: he was a lecherous old man. How could he touch him?

Because this is the only thing I can do anymore, Kakashi thought as he kissed Sasuke’s cheek.
Sasuke’s eyes were hazy when he opened them so he couldn’t see the self-loathing in Kakashi’s face. The meditative patience was wearing thin as Sasuke felt his orgasm approaching.

“Faster. Fuck me.”

Kakashi tried not to think, just allow his instincts to take over. He concentrated on the pleasure of his cock sliding through Sasuke’s tight, slick body. He stroked Sasuke’s hair and his forehead. He kissed his mouth and nose. Sasuke was moaning and writhing in pleasure, panting and sighing. He was so sexy. And then Sasuke came. Seeing and feeling Sasuke’s climax brought Kakashi closer to his own. A few more thrusts and he came as well.

“Fuck,” Sasuke breathed once he calmed a bit. He pulled Kakashi’s head down to his chest—careful to avoid the ribs he injured—and played with his hair. “I could sleep for a week after that. Sleep.”

Kakashi hummed. Yeah, he wanted to sleep. Nuzzled against Sasuke’s broader chest, Kakashi did just that.

-----

Kakashi didn’t wake up when Sasuke dragged himself out of bed. Despite his pain, he was able to sleep due to his utter exhaustion. Kakashi had shifted off his body during the night, so Sasuke didn’t have to push the man off him. Sasuke hated waking up and he was still exhausted, but he forced himself to get up or it would be harder when he had to for a mission.

He just stood for minute with his eyes closed. He hated mornings. What to do? He hated the fact Kakashi did almost all the chores so he wanted to do them today even though he should have just been resting after a hard mission and injuries—which Kakashi had not noticed yet.

What needs to be done? Back when he lived with Orochimaru there weren’t a lot of chores, just do your own laundry and keep your room as clean as you want. Cooking and dishes were done by servants—slaves more like. Living alone left far fewer things to be done. Sasuke decided to start with laundry; he had a pack full of soiled clothes. That needed to be done before Kakashi saw them.

Once the laundry was started, Sasuke made himself breakfast and made enough for Kakashi for when he woke up. He washed his dishes and decided he should dust and then clean the floors. He cheated as he learned from Naruto and made two clones to get the work done quickly.

His body was in pain, but he didn’t want to slack off and let his joints stiffen and muscles swell. He really wanted to sleep for a month, preferably in a bed made of ice. Cleaning the floors made his back and ribs hurt, but he needed to move. He just wanted to curl up on the floor.

He took out the clean laundry and put it on the line in the back. Sasuke wasn’t really thinking about the task, just taking the clothes and hanging them, his mind wandering. His attention was focused whenever he found a tear or any other flaw. He hadn’t realized how many cuts and tears had accumulated on his clothes during this mission. He thought on that for a moment: he really had nearly died. As he put up the next shirt, he wondered if he should mend these clothes or just get new ones.

Then he put up one of Kakashi’s shirts. There was a hole in an odd place, especially for a man no longer going out on missions. It was over his stomach. The only reason for a tear over his abdomen was . . . seppuku.

Kakashi’s languid motions and quietness last night came back to him. The bastard was depressed and actually considered it. Attempted it!

Sasuke was angry and half turned to storm in and yell at Kakashi, but he stopped. That wouldn’t help matters. He went back to hanging the laundry, more distracted this time.

Finished, Sasuke listened and let his chakra flow outward to check on Kakashi: still asleep. He knelt, pulled out the vial of Kakashi’s blood, and summoned one of his ninken. He focused and successfully summoned Pakkun.

“Yo, Sasuke-kun.”

“Pakkun, what’s happened while I was gone? Kakashi’s depressed again.”

“He wouldn’t talk to us, but we’ve noticed as well. We thought he might have been worrying about you, but we’re not sure.”

“Thank you. I’ll do my best to cheer him up.”

“Hai.” Pakkun vanished.

Sasuke wondered what could have happened. He wanted to find his ANBU friend, but he didn’t want to leave Kakashi and he wasn’t sure how to find the Captain. They hid their friendship well while the Captain presented Sasuke’s team to the Hokage and provided information for their report. He would have to ask Kakashi.

The chores were finished, so Sasuke went back to the bedroom to find Kakashi still asleep. Sasuke climbed back into bed and snuggled up to Kakashi. His body was warm and his familiar scent was comforting. Kakashi was on his stomach, otherwise Sasuke would have sought out the wound. If he lost Kakashi, this comfort, Sasuke didn’t know what he would do. He’d probably turn back into the man he was when he was at his worst.

Sasuke’s arm tightened around him. Sasuke never wanted to lose himself like that again. He was still ashamed of his behavior and how he allowed others to manipulate him. Never again. He nuzzled Kakashi’s shoulder. There were few things tying him to this village anymore. If Kakashi were to die, he couldn’t stay here. It’s not like he liked it here either. This wasn’t the village of his loathed childhood, but he still didn’t like it. He still held a small flame of hatred for these people who benefited so much from his own misery. But it was home now.

Kakashi was all he loved. He had a few friends, a few acquaintances, but he had no love for this village. His loyalty was not with the Hokage or Konoha. He did his job, a job he loved and was suited for, but he didn’t do it for the village; it was just a job.

It was late morning, nearly noon. Kakashi had been asleep for a long time. Sleeping a lot was a sign of depression. Sasuke curled up a little more. He never thought his own happiness would ever depend on another’s happiness like this. If Kakashi wasn’t happy, he wasn’t happy. And it pissed Sasuke off.

Sasuke got back out of bed without any grace or consideration, he wanted to wake Kakashi up. It worked. The bed moved quite a bit when a shinobi wasn’t trying to be sneaky.

Kakashi stretched and yawned then sat up. The sheet fell away from his torso, showing the small mark left by the blade tip. Kakashi looked at Sasuke who was glaring at the mark. Kakashi instinctively covered the mark with a hand.

“Why?”

Kakashi looked away. “I was feeling useless. Everyone else is being sent on missions, but I’m always left behind. Something was going on a few weeks ago and it seemed like every jounin was summoned but me. I’m just a civilian now and it really struck my pride.”

“I can understand that.”

“It was thoughts of you that stopped me. I knew you would never forgive me and I couldn’t bear that thought.”

“You’re right; I would never forgive you. Let’s have breakfast.”

Sasuke served Kakashi the breakfast he prepared earlier and made a small meal for himself. They ate in silence for a while.

“You really need to look into getting a job,” Sasuke said. “It’s not that I mind you not working, but you need to be doing something that will prevent you from getting depressed and feeling useless. Just look into it, okay? I’m worried about you.”

“You’re right. I just don’t know what to do or what I can do. I’m also worried about being rejected because I can’t do something.”

“You’re becoming a shut in.”

“It’s easier for me to just stay here and hide.”

“And wallow. I know. Believe me, I know. I wish I could just stay home and huddle in the corner sometimes.”

That’s right, Sasuke’s had a much harder life than he’s had. It was probably equal, but Sasuke had more pain in a shorter life. Kakashi was ashamed for overreacting to a wound to his pride.

“At least we’re similar enough; we understand each other.”

“Hn,” Sasuke agreed.

“I’ll start looking once you leave again.”

“Thank you. I just can’t stand to see you depressed.”

“I’ll do my best for you.”

“I wish you’d do it for yourself. Fuck. Our happiness depends on the other. Kakashi . . .”

“What?” he asked when Sasuke didn’t finish his sentence.

“I don’t know. I really just wanted to say your name. Any plans for today?”

“None.”

“Let’s just go back to bed for a while. I just want to be with you today.”

“Sounds good to me.”

They slid back into bed. Kakashi had slept enough and Sasuke had dosed, so they just laid together, Sasuke spooning Kakashi, just holding him, not talking, nothing sexual, just touching and letting their chakra mingle.

They finally decided they had to get out of bed. As they sat up, Sasuke said, “Coming home to you is the only thing I look forward to. If you die . . . I have no reason to come back to Konoha. Maybe there’s a long term mission or something, but I couldn’t stand living here without you. Don’t ever forget that.”

“I won’t.”

Sasuke pulled Kakashi’s head closer and kissed his temple. He struggled with telling Kakashi what happened. He decided he should tell him something.

“Kakashi, I think I know why Tsunade didn’t summon you. I really shouldn’t talk about it, but the mission I was on was very important. I won’t go into detail, but if we had failed, it might have meant war. That’s probably why she summoned all the jounin. She probably didn’t summon you because she didn’t want you to know we were in danger. We almost died. I had to use Susanoo to protect us. I nearly died from chakra exhaustion. She knew something was wrong because we didn’t report in. But we succeeded. I expect none of our loved ones were summoned; you’d all run out to find us.”

Kakashi inclined his head. Yeah, that was probably it. Tsunade would know Kakashi would try to leave the village. “I’m sorry, Sasuke.”

“I can’t blame you for feeling as you do. I was under house arrest for over a year. No missions. Little human contact. I was as good as in prison, just a comfortable one. I might have despaired if I wasn’t used to being alone and having meditation as a hobby.”

Sasuke was certain he couldn’t hide his wounds from Kakashi for long, but he decided not to tell him. That cut on his leg had shaken Kakashi; if Kakashi knew how badly they were injured, he would be even worse off. They would be having sex only in dark for a while. Hopefully Kakashi wouldn’t notice a new scar. Or six.

He made sure his shirt was closed, offering a shiver as an excuse. “The laundry should be dry by now.”

-----

Sasuke washed up in the bathroom. He dried his hands and looked at his reflection. He opened his shirt and touched the healing sword thrust very close to his liver. Luckily, it didn’t hit anything vital, but it went straight through. He was lucky. He peeled his shirt off to reveal the cut on the back of his forearm and another on his bicep. There was another wound on his back, a burn. The one Kakashi was most likely to find was the cut on his hip. The only thing Sasuke wasn’t expecting on that mission was two expert swordsmen on his own level.

But he had to smile. It had been a challenge. It was . . . fun.

However, Kakashi was not going to take it well.

Being run through, even if not through an organ or artery, bled a lot; he nearly lost consciousness from blood loss. That’s when he got the small burn from another shinobi who came to back up the swordsmen.

If Kakashi knew how badly wounded he was in enemy territory . . . how Akihito had to support him in order to find cover. Akihito had to use a bottle of cheap sake to disinfect the wound and medical thread from his emergency pack and stitch the wound closed. All without any painkillers.

Despite the sake, the wound was slightly infected. The medical-nins here in Konoha had to reopen the wound and re-stitch it. The new stitches were small and tight. He took a deep breath which did hurt. Bruised ribs. Bruises on his arms, side, hip, and thigh made him sort of glad Kakashi had been so depressed; he’d been too distracted to notice.

Sasuke put his shirt back on. He sighed. He’d have to keep his shirt on as long as possible until the scars lightened. He didn’t like having to hide something from Kakashi.

Fortunately, it was winter; the days were shorter and it was getting colder. Darkness and complaints of being cold might save him. Maybe he could track down something to kill their libidos for a month. Maybe he could convince Kakashi to be bound and wear a blindfold.

Straightened up, Sasuke went back out.

Kakashi was in better spirits today. He fully accepted Sasuke’s explanation of why he wasn’t called up with the rest of the high ranking shinobi.

Sasuke returned to the living room. He stood with his back to the room at a cabinet where he kept his sword supplies. He needed a new pin for the hilt of his sword; the work out it received on this mission loosened it. It also needed a cleaning; blood had gotten everywhere. The reddish black color of dried blood looked like a part of the color scheme of the sword at this point. He would have to take it completely apart, maybe even repaint parts of the wooden hilt and sheath. Sasuke didn’t really mind; he liked the meditative process of cleaning his sword and the rest of his weapons.

He also hoped it would keep a certain amorous ex-jounin at arm’s length.

Kakashi came up behind him and kissed his hairline, placing his hands on Sasuke’s sides. He used his chin to move the high collar further down. He kissed his neck. His hands slid up his back firmly, feeling his muscles. Then he placed his hands on the outside of Sasuke’s neck. He slid his hands down, catching Sasuke’s collar on his wrists to pull his shirt open. His hands were moving down Sasuke’s back, pulling his shirt down, pulling at the zipper. It felt so good. He loved Kakashi’s touch.

Sasuke suddenly shook Kakashi off and pulled his shirt back into place. He wanted it, but he couldn’t let Kakashi see his back.

“Eager?” Sasuke asked.

“A bit.” He put his hands on his clothed back and rubbed it. “I don’t have you home all the time. Not in the mood?”

Honestly, he wasn’t. He was too scared that Kakashi would see his wounds and it was cold and Kakashi’s touch felt good, but more comforting than sexual.

Kakashi’s hands continued to map Sasuke’s muscles through his shirt.

“That feels really good though.”

“Lay down and I’ll give you a massage.”

Sasuke stiffened. “Just continue what you’re doing.”

But then Kakashi pressed Sasuke’s bruised ribs. Sasuke instinctively pulled away.

“Sasuke?”

Sasuke hesitated. That gave Kakashi enough time to yank Sasuke’s shirt down. Sasuke wasn’t wearing any bandages so that Kakashi wouldn’t feel them. So there was the fist size burn on his back and the heavy bruising on his ribs plain to see. Kakashi yanked it down further and saw the sword thrust. He forced Sasuke around and looked at his chest and stomach.

Kakashi’s eyes were wide and focused on the wound. The seconds stretched. “What else?” Kakashi asked in a quiet voice.

“Arm, hip, and thigh.”

Kakashi put his fingers on the stitches. Sasuke’s abs tightened at the touch.

“How bad?”

“Blood loss and chakra exhaustion. Except for the sword thrust, my life wasn’t in danger.”

“Who could have . . .”

Sasuke huffed. “I was having fun. I could have used Susanoo or just killed them both before the fight, but I wanted the challenge of a good sword fight. I got hurt because I was being reckless. I rarely go up against talented swordsmen. There were two of them.”

Kakashi finally looked at Sasuke’s face. “All these injuries from one fight?”

Sasuke shifted. “No. I didn’t tell you about it because you got so worried about that cut that was nothing. Yes, my life was in danger. Yes, we were all nearly killed. We were pinned down in enemy territory and we couldn’t get a message to Konoha to even say we were alive. We all came home. I never wanted to lie to you or keep anything from you. I just didn’t want you to worry.”

Kakashi grabbed the back of Sasuke’s head and forced their lips together. He needed to taste and savor his lover.

“I guess I’d rather you be honest,” Kakashi said when they parted.

Sasuke smiled. “I never had a reason to lie until now. It’s easier for me to be honest.”

“I can’t lose you.”

“I can’t lose you either.”

Kakashi stroked Sasuke’s cheek. “We worry each other too much.”

“Hn.” Sasuke agreed.

“You took off the bandages.”

“I didn’t want you to feel them.”

“Idiot. Come on, I’ll put ointment and bandages on them. They’ll heal faster.”

Sasuke pouted. “I know. I’m not an idiot.”

“But you are cute.”

He added a frown to the pout.

“You know, I thought you didn’t know you were cute when you did that, but I’m starting to suspect you know full well what you’re doing when you do that.”

His eyebrow went up. Kakashi laughed.

“Come on, I’ll tend your wounds.”

-----

Sasuke went to the hospital. He was bandaged up, but didn’t need any further medical attention. He was here to visit Hara and Mori. Both had been injured worse than Sasuke and Akihiko.

The two men were sharing a room. Sasuke came in and stood between the beds with his arms crossed and a scowl on his face.

“Hey, Sasuke-kun!” Hara greeted.

“Sasuke-san,” Mara greeted.

“Pathetic,” Sasuke sighed. He took a deep breath—which hurt—and asked, “Anything I can do to help?”

“Awww, you can kiss it and make it better,” Hara cooed.

Sasuke’s eyebrow ticked. Mori couldn’t stop himself from laughing.

“You could peel and feed me some apples,” Hara continued.

“Well, I can see you’re both doing alright.”

“We’re okay,” Mori said.

The doctor came in. “Sasuke-san, how are your wounds?”

“Fine.”

The doctor came over to check his main patients. “You being here saves me the trouble of tracking you down. Let me check your wounds before you leave.”

“My bandages have been changed.”

“Not what I said.”

Sasuke narrowed his eyes, but the man didn’t see it. Sasuke went over to the window, turning his back to give his teammates a little bit of privacy while the doctor looked them over. He overheard them, however. They were recovering well; no lasting damage. He took a painful breath. It wasn’t the most lethal situation he’d been in, but it was dangerous and they had survived. He could feel a little proud.

The doctor turned to him and herded him to one of the other two beds across the room. Striped, poked, prodded, and rebandaged, Sasuke had to sit through it.

“The burn on your back and the stab wound are inflamed. You took off the bandages, didn’t you?”

“For a short time.”

“Keep them covered,” he said sternly.

“Hn.”

“Are you sleeping?” he asked as he looked at Sasuke’s eyes. Sasuke had noticed it when he looked in the mirror: he had bags under his eyes.

“Yes.”

“But not well. At least make sure you rest.”

Sasuke finished redressing as the doctor left. “Let me know if you need anything,” he said to his teammates.

“Awww, thank you, Sasuke-kun,” Hara cooed.

“I was talking to Mori.”

Laughter followed him out.

-----

Sasuke didn’t want to go to this little gathering they’d been invited to. Kakashi was always up to feel like a shinobi again, so when a bunch of jounin invited him somewhere, he would go. Sasuke was invited as well and assented to going because Kakashi wanted to and Sasuke knew he needed to be more social.

Sasuke wore a black cloak which hid his ever present sword and weapon pouches. He hadn’t gotten around to cleaning the sword yet, so it still gave off a slight scent of blood. Kakashi wore dark colored civilian clothes and none of his gear. He still felt exposed without his uniform and gear, but not as much as before.

When they reached the open doors to the bar where the get together was being held, they stopped; it was normal for shinobi to hesitate before entering a confined space.

However, Kakashi never expected to feel this particular aura from Sasuke. He was familiar with Sasuke bristling, but Sasuke was always in ‘fight’ mode rather than ‘flight’ mode when something raised his guard. Always. For the first time, Kakashi felt ‘flight’ radiating off Sasuke. Something was telling Sasuke to flee.

Kakashi felt nothing, saw nothing. There was no threat. But something was hitting Sasuke with enough force to make his hackles rise.

“I don’t think I should be here,” Sasuke said. “Go on, I’ll just go home.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah.”

Sasuke took a few steps backward before turning towards home. Kakashi struggled whether he should trail him. He made a low chakra clone and sent him to shadow Sasuke. If anyone attacked him, the clone would release and Kakashi would know. Kakashi entered the room, characteristically late.

Kakashi knew a few people here. Genma waved him over and he sat with several of his friends. A few others he knew, but didn’t consider friends, came over as well.

“Where’s the Uchiha?”

Kakashi’s own threat sense stood up. He didn’t know this man well and why should he care if Sasuke joined him?

“Hey, Eiji. He wasn’t feeling up to socializing.”

“I heard he was wounded,” Umeko said, another man Kakashi wouldn’t call a friend.

“Very minor. He only got hurt because he was being reckless; he wanted to have fun with a pair of swordsmen, get a little ‘cardio vascular’.”

“Not really suppose to be talking about S class missions.”

“I pressed. My lover had a wound,” Kakashi said with a playful pout. “I was concerned.”

“Huh. I heard it was serious. He was near collapse when he limped through the gates.”

“Healthier than an ox.”

Kakashi sensed someone else. They were very interested in this conversation. He felt that person become intense and then left quickly. Kakashi wondered if he was going to go attack Sasuke or protect him. Protect. No one would go looking to attack a healthy shinobi, but if that person thought these men were expecting an injured shinobi, they probably were gunning for him. Kakashi relaxed. Sasuke was always a force to be reckoned with and someone beside Kakashi had his back.

-----

Kakashi’s clone kept back, trying not to put Sasuke more on edge than he already was. He didn’t see any threat, but he followed Sasuke all the way home. Sasuke turned to scan behind him as he opened his gate, his Sharingan activated. He saw Kakashi’s clone and the corner of his mouth raised slightly. He entered the property and the clone relaxed.

Then another presence approached. He turned and saw a familiar ANBU landing on a neighboring rooftop. He looked down at Kakashi and nodded. He signaled that he would watch Sasuke. The clone vanished.

-----

Kakashi felt better knowing the Captain was there for Sasuke. He leaned forward among his friends, the others having wandered away.

“Is there something off?”

“What do you mean?” Aoba asked.

“Sasuke actually came with me tonight. He felt something and decided to go home. When those guys started asking about Sasuke, a member of ANBU tensed up and went after Sasuke. I sent a clone to keep an eye on Sasuke and that ANBU is one we both know; he’s looking after Sasuke to make sure he’s alright. Something isn’t sitting right with the three of us.”

Raido looked around and those men were gone. So were some others. Nearly half the gathering had vanished. “I think we should blow this party and check on your boyfriend.”

Genma, Aoba, and Ibiki looked around too and they were all out the door within moments. It was difficult for Kakashi to keep up with his leg, but all the training he’d done since they returned from Suna kicked in. His chakra thread work was now instinctive in a crisis.

-----

Sasuke felt someone following him, but he could feel it was Kakashi’s clone. He smiled a little. It was his lover looking after him.

Once he was inside, he ignored the clone and checked the property. He felt and saw no foreign chakra. He took off his cloak.

Another chakra hopped over his fence, but he knew this one too.

“I feel a threat,” the Captain whispered from the window. “I’ll just perch nearby.”

“Thanks.”

Sasuke went about cleaning up for bed. He shut off the lights.

-----

A shadow moved through the hallway.

He came into the bedroom and behind the figure about to slip into bed. The shadow stabbed him high in the back. But instead of crying out or collapsing to the ground, the man poofed out of existence.

Before the shadow could finish comprehending what happened, he was hit in the back of the head and dropped to the floor. Sasuke slipped into the shadows better than his attacker had.

-----

They all stopped near the house. There was battle, but Kakashi held up a hand to stop his friends. “Those two are fighting them; they might not be able to tell which of us are the enemy.”

Kakashi uncovered his Sharingan to see the chakra of the people behind the wall. He knew the ANBU captain enough to recognize him and of course Sasuke’s darker chakra.

He watched the two familiar chakra subdue the foreign ones. Once they were finished, he covered his eye and signaled for his group to leap over the gate. They were greeted by a tense ANBU. Kakashi put up his hands and the Captain stood down once he recognized Kakashi.

“How many?” Kakashi asked.

“Five.”

“Did either of you use any unique techniques?” Ibiki asked.

“No.”

“We’ll take them to the Hokage. It’s best if she doesn’t know Sasuke assaulted anyone, justified or not, and we should keep ANBU out of it.”

The Captain nodded.

“Where’s Sasuke?” Kakashi asked.

The Captain’s mask moved slightly to look at the others with Kakashi. “He decided not to stay here. If there was to be a larger battle, he didn’t want to fight it here. He just left.”

“We’ll say we stopped their attack,” Kakashi said.

The Captain nodded.

Kakashi and his friends went around picking up fallen shinobi. He leapt away with the others. His leg giving him a little trouble.

-----

The offenders were dropped off to ANBU and the group of jounin gave their statements that they suspected Sasuke was in danger and followed him. Kakashi kept Sasuke out of the fight while the rest of them stopped the attackers.

Kakashi thanked the others and headed back home. The light in the living room was on and Kakashi came in through the door to keep his lover and his friend at ease. He only found one of them.

The Captain was looking at the photos on a bookcase. The ones Sasuke and Kakashi had taken together. He couldn’t see the man’s face, but Kakashi thought the man looked embarrassed to be caught looking at those pictures.

“Where’s Sasuke?”

“The shrine.”

“Thank you, for helping him and keeping an eye on him. He needs to know people have his back.”

“We should fetch him.”

Kakashi nodded and they headed toward the Naka shrine. As they were leaving the property, they sensed others nearby. Shinobi on a hunt.

“Go to him. I’ll go t—” the Captain stopped. “I’ll stay and keep an eye on the shrine, make sure he’s safe. You go to the Hokage herself and see if this is official.”

“She wouldn’t authorize a hit on Sasuke,” Kakashi argued.

“Just make sure.”

“I will.”

So, Kakashi ran back to the Hokage tower, but half way there, he had to stop. He had to push down his own depression; he couldn’t run like he used to. He couldn’t keep manipulating the chakra strings and his body just couldn’t cope with the different way of moving. He had to walk painfully the rest of the way.  He demanded to see Tsunade. She made him wait only two minutes before she let him into her suite of rooms.

“This had better be important, Hatake.”

“Sasuke was attacked.”

“What?!”

“My friends and I realized he was in danger and we stopped them. We brought them here. I have to ask: was the attack authorized?”

Tsunade was horrified, but Kakashi’s eye was hard and piercing. “I swear, I did not order any harm to the Uchiha.”

Kakashi’s eye softened. “Honestly, I didn’t think you did, but I had to ask. There’s at least two more who want to attack him. I felt hostile chakra near the house.”

“Why would they do this?”

Kakashi thought for a moment. “He’s just returned from a very long S class mission. He went to the hospital this morning to visit his teammates. People must think he’s weakened, wounded.”

“Go stay by him. I will look into this.”

“I think I should keep him hidden or take him away for a while. He might be angry.”

“Do what you need to. Just keep me informed.”

“Hai.”

“I’ll assign two ANBU to guard the area around your home in the meantime.”

“Thank you.”

“Was he injured?”

“I don’t think so.”

Kakashi tried to hurry, but it was painful to even walk. He over did it. He didn’t hold it against the Captain, but the man knew Kakashi was not in the best state to defend Sasuke if needed and that’s why he was sent to Tsunade. But having to hobble across town wasn’t easy either.

He was cautious as he approached the shrine, making sure no one was watching him to find the entrance into the secret chambers underneath. The Captain was the only one nearby. He came over to him.

“Well?”

“She didn’t order it. I believe her.”

“Good. I think they’ve stopped searching for him. I’ll leave you to it.”

“Thanks. I might take him away for a few days. I’ll let Tsunade know if we leave.”

“Right. Take care.”

“You too.”

The Captain leapt away and Kakashi waited until he knew he was alone. He went inside the shrine and found the tami mat and opened the secret chamber. He didn’t stick head or hand inside, afraid a jumpy shinobi might attack.

“Sasuke?”

No attack, so Kakashi climbed down and replaced the mat. There was a light coming from further down, but it was faint. Kakashi slowly made his way down to the where the stone tablet was. Sasuke was sitting in front of it with a single candle lit.

“Sasuke?”

His lover didn’t respond. Kakashi sat next to him and looked at his face. Sasuke’s eyes were unfocused, but they were black, not red.

“They’re gone.”

“Hn.”

At least he made a sound.

“I talked to Tsunade. She didn’t have anything to do with it, if that makes you feel better.”

“I knew it wasn’t her. She values my bloodline too much.”

“She’s putting a guard around the house. ANBU.”

Sasuke scoffed.

“You’re really hard to read; are you angry?”

“No. Actually, I’m not. It’s not unusual to have people want to kill you, but in your own village? I wanted to become the villain, unite the world against me, but I’m on a different path and I’m happy that I am. I shouldn’t have to watch my back in my own village. And coming back from this last mission, I finally felt like Konoha was home.” He didn’t sound sad or angry, just tired.

Kakashi put a hand on his back. “No, you shouldn’t have to deal with this. Maybe they’re really enemy shinobi.”

“Hn.”

“Want to get away? Go visit a hot spring outside the village?”

“I don’t want to be seen running.”

“I understand. Let’s go home.”

“No.”

Kakashi scooted closer so that their sides touched. Kakashi straightened his false leg to go under Sasuke’s folded knee. He draped his arm over Sasuke’s shoulders and pulled down his mask.

“This the wallowing you were talking about?”

“Hn.”

They sat there for a while facing the stone. Kakashi didn’t activate his Sharingan to read it.

“It’s cold down here.”

“Hn.”

Kakashi moved behind him, molding his body to Sasuke’s and wrapped his arms around his waist. They sat like that for several minutes, their body heat mingling.

“I’m sorry you missed your party,” Sasuke said.

“Not your fault.”

“But if I wasn’t around, you wouldn’t have these issues.”

“If you weren’t around, I would have committed suicide months ago. Look what I did when you are in my life. Without you, I wouldn’t have survived the humiliation of this leg. Let’s go home. Sleep on a soft and warm bed.”

“Hn.”

Sasuke helped Kakashi up with a little grimace.

“They didn’t injure you, did they?”

“No. It’s just my ribs. They’re not healed yet. I took out those fools without moving my ribs much.”

Once they were back outside, they noticed the Captain was gone. As they got closer to home, they sensed another pair of ANBU standing guard.

“They both guarded me before; we can trust them.”

If Sasuke was relaxed, Kakashi wasn’t going to question it.

As they got ready for bed, Kakashi could feel Sasuke’s gaze. He turned to look at him and Sasuke raised his eyes to his. He’d been looking at his false leg.

“Sorry. It’s giving you trouble. I could tell as we walked.”

“Yeah, I overused it.”

Sasuke’s eyes were weary. “I’m sorry.”

“For what?”

Sasuke shrugged.

“I’ll look into this in the morning. I’m sure Tsunade is already delving into it.”

“You’re in pain?”

“I’m okay. Running and carrying a man were more than I could handle. Get in bed. And sleep in in the morning.”

“Hn.”

Sasuke finished changing and slipped into bed. Kakashi finished as well and sat on the bed to take off his false leg. The stump was red, but not blistered.

“It’s okay?” Sasuke asked.

“Yeah.” Kakashi turned off the bedside light and laid next to his lover.

Sasuke didn’t yield the blanket; instead he turned and cupped Kakashi’s leg with a hand, feeling for injuries.

Sasuke got up and brought back ointment and a towel. Kakashi was getting a massage whether he wanted it or not.

There was no moon tonight, so he couldn’t see Sasuke as he gave his thigh a rub down, being gentle on the tender part that had chaffed. He was harder on the upper part of the thigh’s knotted muscle. When finished, he turned to his intact leg which had been stressed compensating for the other.

Kakashi hoped this was a distracting activity for him, but he was probably thinking and brooding.

Sasuke wiped up the extra oil from Kakashi’s legs and his own hands. He dumped everything on the floor, laid down, and pulled the blanket up. Kakashi turned to cuddle him.

“Thank you.”

Sasuke said nothing. Kakashi wanted to sigh. Sasuke was depressed again.

-----

Kakashi sent a clone to Naruto’s apartment the next morning.

“Kakashi-sensei?” Naruto had just woken up, so he was hazy.

“Yo!” Kakashi appeared to be his usual, cheery self. “Do you have a mission today?”

“No.”

“Any plans?”

“Um, no.”

“Good.” Kakashi’s smiling eye turned into a happy rainbow. “You should hang out with Sasuke today. Hang out or train. At least until I get back.”

“Get back?”

“I’ve got a meeting, but Sasuke’s lonely. Keep him company?”

“Sure.”

“Breakfast is waiting for you. It’s ramen.”

“Thanks.”

As soon as the door shut, the clone vanished.

Back in the house, Kakashi went ahead and made ramen along with Sasuke’s meal; he already ate his own.

Once everything was cooking, Kakashi went to the bedroom and rubbed Sasuke’s back to wake him.

“I’m going to go see the Hokage about last night. I asked Naruto to come over and keep you company while I’m gone. I’m making you both breakfast; he should be here shortly.”

“Hn.” Sasuke rubbed his face and sat up.

Kakashi was concerned. Sasuke moved around a lot during the night and let out several moans of pain. He was sure Sasuke barely slept.

“I’ll leave once Naruto gets here,” Kakashi said.

Kakashi went back to finish preparing their meals. Naruto was always prompt when ramen was mentioned and he arrived as Kakashi finished making it. Sasuke staggered out, his clothes looking a little big on him and his hair was extra tousled.

Assuming Kakashi would sit across from Sasuke, Naruto sat on the side between them. But Kakashi only served two meals.

“There’s a whole pot of ramen for you. See you later.”

Sasuke gave a nod.

“You’re not eating with us?” Naruto asked.

“Already ate,” he said as he left.

Naruto was fine not talking as he downed the first two bowls of ramen Kakashi made for him. He also knew Sasuke second best in the world and knew Sasuke wasn’t one to initiate conversation.

“So, where did Kakashi have to go?

Sasuke shrugged.

“Something happen? I know you were on a long, important mission; did something bad happen?”

“Not really. We succeeded.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen you so depressed. And that’s saying something.”

Sasuke sighed. “I think I made a mistake.”

“On the mission?”

“No. With Kakashi.”

“Huh?”

“Since we got together his reputation took a hit and then last night—” and then Sasuke remembered who he was talking to.

“What happened last night?”

“Nothing,” Sasuke vainly tried to erase that little mistake.

Naruto thought about it. “Kakashi has a meeting even though he’s not a shinobi anymore, he asks me to stay with you, and you’re all depressed. Were you attacked?”

“Hn. I guess I can’t call you ‘dobe’ anymore. Yeah, a few men tried to attack me last night. Kakashi and I were invited out, but I could feel hostility so I decided to come home. Once we were separated, they attacked. Of course, I knew they were coming and they didn’t even touch me. Kakashi realized what was happening and came to back me up with his jounin friends. They took them to the Hokage. Kakashi’s gone to see what Tsunade learned. You’re here mostly because I’m depressed, but there were others who probably would have tried to attack if I hadn’t decided to lay low in the shrine. Kakashi sensed them when he came to find me.”

For the first time, it was Naruto, not Sasuke, giving off an angry aura. That made Sasuke smile a little.

“Calm down,” Sasuke said. “Kakashi and the Hokage are looking into it; you needn’t get involved.”

Naruto settled down. “But what about Kakashi? You said you were depressed about Kakashi.”

“I was attacked. They waited until we were separated, but I don’t think that was the original plan. Maybe get one or both of us drunk or drugged then attack, but when I came home alone, they took advantage. I think they were going to attack us both. He’s retired, he’s not supposed to be in danger anymore.”

“That’s it? His reputation wasn’t damaged—people got over it—and I doubt Kakashi is thinking about his own safety right now.”

“Yeah. But I’m gone a lot and he gets depressed. I just wonder if he would have been happier if I hadn’t started this.”

“You do know how stupid you sound, right?”

Sasuke didn’t respond, but his eyes drifted to say he did.

“Do you really think he’d be happier without you? He tried to hide it from me and Sakura, but we could tell he was really depressed after he was retired. He may miss you when you’re gone, but he’d be that depressed all the time if you weren’t here. I also think he’s bored enough that he would almost hope more people would attack you so he could fight.”

“Yeah. Maybe I should start calling you ‘teme’ and you can call me ‘dobe’.”

Naruto laughed.

“He didn’t ask you over because he feared an attack. He’s just worried about me when I’m depressed.”

“Well, you do tend to go off the handle when you’re depressed.”

“Three times,” Sasuke halfheartedly defended.

“Yeah, but those three times were pretty bad.”

“Puberty can be a bitch.”

Naruto laughed as much at the joke as the fact Sasuke had made a joke. Sasuke wasn’t nearly as depressed anymore.

“You’re right about Kakashi,” Sasuke said. “He didn’t have a thought about himself. He even overworked his leg because of me. I just can’t stand to see him depressed or hurt.”

“’Cause you really love him.”

“Yeah.”

Naruto bumped his shoulder against Sasuke’s. “I’m glad you’re both so happy together. It really shocked me at first, but I get it.”

“Yours is probably the only opinion I care about. If you were to abandon me . . .”

“Never. If I didn’t give up on you all that time, I never will.”

-----

Kakashi arrived to a far less depressed Sasuke and a slightly hostile Naruto.

“So who was behind it?” Naruto asked the moment Kakashi came through the door.

“I couldn’t hide it from him,” Sasuke said.

The pair had migrated to the living room. Kakashi had to smile at Naruto’s bluster. He joined Sasuke on the sofa.

“A shinobi from Kumo.”

“Figures,” Sasuke sneered.

“He found men who had a grudge against you.”

“You weren’t a target?” Sasuke asked.

“No. But Kumo might not have minded if I died too. Separating us wasn’t part of the plan, but they were happy to adapt.”

“Drunk? Drugged?” Sasuke asked.

“They knew I drank and hoped I’d be impaired and they could keep me out of the way while they dealt with you. They were also hoping you’d get drunk too.”

“I’m technically still underage.”

“Like anyone would try to stop you, teme,” Naruto laughed.

“Ply me with alcohol and hope I couldn’t defend myself.”

“They did think you were tired and injured from that mission. They were unaware what the mission was, but they knew you’d been gone quite a while and that you’d been to the hospital yesterday.”

“Didn’t think I’d be visiting my teammates.”

“Your anti-social reputation really hurt you this time,” Naruto joked.

“Well, the Kumo shinobi will be bargained back. Ibiki had a little fun with him. The Konoha shinobi are charged with aiding a foreign power, trespassing, and attempted assault. Tsunade will keep some protection around the property until they find all the conspirators.”

“What did tip you off?” Naruto asked Sasuke.

“Unease. I felt several people lying in wait. It’s like the feeling when you look into a deep dark cave and you have no idea what might be hiding inside. It was just instinct. Honestly, I would have felt the same if it had been a surprise party.”

“I will be sure never to plan a surprise party for you.”

“Wise,” Kakashi said. “He’d either high tail it out of there or fill half the guests with kunai.”

“I’m going to talk to Granny Tsunade,” Naruto said. “I’m friends with Killer Bee and A trusts me. I want to know if they were behind it.”

“Thanks for having my back,” Sasuke said.

“Of course, dobe.” Naruto gave him a bright smile.

Kakashi walked him to the door. “Thanks, Naruto.”

“Let me know when stuff like this happens; I want to help.”

“I will for now on.”

“See ya.”

Kakashi came back into the room and stood opposite his lover. “Naruto made you feel better,” Kakashi observed.

“He’s cheer and optimism incarnate.”

Kakashi chuckled. That was certainly true.

“One thing I could never deny: he is a good friend. I trust him. He’s already shoving his nose in diplomatic affairs. He will be Hokage one day.”

“As long as I don’t become Hokage, great.”

Sasuke sighed and sat back. “Hokage. So much for a stupid title and empty power. Danzo had more power and he exercised it. Maybe when Naruto becomes Hokage I can be on his council. I can do my part to make sure history doesn’t repeat itself. Again.”

“Good idea. I should join you as the more mature, experienced shinobi.”

Sasuke gave a small smile. “Hiruzen had his former teammates as part of his council.” His smile faded quickly. “How’s your leg?”

“Better. Thanks; the rub down helped a lot.”

Sasuke stood up and hugged Kakashi. “I want to go far away. With you.”

Kakashi rubbed Sasuke’s back. The pain in his chest was oddly pleasant.

“I do want to run, but not out of fear. I just want to leave all this behind. I felt safer as an outlaw in Orochimaru’s caves than I do in my own hometown. I never thought that could hurt me so much.”

Kakashi felt his face flush and his eyes fill with unshed tears. That was the deepest cut of all: he felt safer with a man who wanted to steal his body than he did in the village he served.

He wanted to run away with Sasuke too. A new life with nothing hanging over them, not Sasuke’s past, not Kakashi’s leg and the wounds to his pride. But he knew that was impossible. He doubted Tsunade would send ANBU to hunt them down and kill them, but they would be in every Bingo Book in the ninja world.

They both knew that and that’s what made the idea of leaving so much more painful. In a sense, they were trapped.

“Tsunade said we could leave for a few days, get you out of here.”

Sasuke paused, really considering it this time. “Like I said, I don’t want to be seen as running.”

“Nobody knows about this.”

“But they haven’t caught the second wave yet.” He nuzzled more into Kakashi’s shoulder.

“If it weren’t for your wounds, I’d say at least let’s go to Konoha’s hot spring. You know, I haven’t been out of the village, except for that trip to Suna, since my injury. You’re not running, I need to get out here.”

Sasuke hummed. “Say that in public and we’ll go.”

“Okay.”

“Hn,” was Sasuke’s amused answer.

“How are your wounds?”

“Healing. They still hurt. Sitting up and down hurt.”

“You should tell me what’s hurting you; I don’t want to hurt you further.”

“Everything still hurts. Even lying down; it’s either my burn or my ribs. Or the sword thrust.”

Kakashi pulled away, afraid their embrace was hurting him further. “They could give you painkillers.”

“That would dull my senses.”

“I’ll protect you.”

“I know. I can live with the pain. It’s only for another few days.”

Sasuke tensed a few seconds before the knock at their door. Kakashi answered and was relieved to recognize that mask.

The Captain gave him a short bow. “We’ve captured the rest of them.”

Sasuke came up beside Kakashi. “How many total?”

“Eleven. Twelve if you count the Kumo guy. I don’t think you have to worry about anyone else wanting to attack you; that Kumo shinobi found all the ones who really wanted to do it.”

“It’s still disheartening.”

“You should be happy; only a dozen shinobi in this village hate you. You thought it was more.”

“Hn.”

“Don’t worry about it. Not one of them were ANBU. If ANBU were against you, then you’d be fucked.”

Kakashi laughed. Partially because a former member of ANBU was fucking Sasuke.

“You’ll keep your ANBU guard for another two days just to be safe. I’m going to get some sleep. You look like you need some too.”

“Thanks. I really appreciate your friendship.”

The Captain nodded, the only way he could emote with the mask.

“Thanks for looking out for him,” Kakashi added.

“Didn’t really need my help, but . . .” He shrugged.

“Thanks all the same.”

The Captain left.

“He stayed up all night,” Sasuke commented.

“Hunting the others. He knew their chakra signatures. Let’s go out. You’ll be home for a while so we should stock up.”

“Not right now. Come to bed.”

“Huh?”

“Come to bed,” Sasuke urged. His eyes and tone made it clear what he meant.

“I don’t want to have sex with you while you’re injured.”

“I’m fine.”

“I don’t want to hurt you.”

Sasuke’s eyes narrowed. “I know what I need and what I can handle. Come to bed.”

Those eyes made Kakashi stir. Sasuke led the way to their bedroom. It had been two days since Sasuke returned and two days since they had sex. Looking at that broad back, Kakashi’s mind flooded with images of that sculpted back beneath that shirt and the taste of his skin. His eyes fell to the motion of his muscular ass. Sasuke inspired lust so quickly that Kakashi grew lightheaded. Only two others ever seduced him this quickly, but Sasuke was the only male who could incite him like this.

Sasuke stopped before he reached the bed, turned, and fell to his knees in front of Kakashi. He pulled Kakashi’s pants down and pulled Kakashi’s cock out to his lips.

Kakashi took a half a step back—all his lowered pants would allow—hesitant to do any harm to Sasuke.

Sasuke’s eyes narrowed. “My mouth and throat weren’t injured.”

Kakashi resumed his previous place and Sasuke took him again.

Sasuke’s mouth was warm and wet, but he didn’t tighten his lips. His tongue moved lovingly along the underside. His hard palate gave way to the soft back of his throat. The back of his tongue pressed upward. Kakashi’s shoulders slackened and his head fell back. Sasuke moved back and forward. Wet sounds of his cock moving in Sasuke’s mouth made him even harder. The pulling away from his soft palate made an obscene sucking sound.

As more blood fled to his loins, Kakashi stumbled back in ecstasy. Sasuke steadied him and drew back. Kakashi’s hand grabbed Sasuke’s head for balance and then he rubbed the soft hair. Sasuke guided him to the bed. Kakashi sat down and Sasuke took off his leg.

Sasuke took Kakashi’s hand from his head and licked a fingertip. Somehow, that was just as erotic as licking the head of his cock. He licked the length of his finger, then his palm. He licked at his hand slowly, painting it with his saliva. Then he took two fingers into his mouth. He sucked and teased with his tongue. Kakashi watched that mouth work on his hand and the closed-eyed, blissful expression Sasuke wore.

Sasuke leaned away, letting go of Kakashi’s hand. He leaned in and licked at the weeping head of Kakashi’s cock. He slowly took him back into his mouth for a long, slow blowjob, using his lips more this time.

Still conscious of Sasuke’s injuries and determined only to let Sasuke do what he wanted, Kakashi kept his hips still and didn’t dare return his hand to Sasuke’s hair.

Sasuke abandoned the cock in his mouth and turned his attentions to Kakashi’s leg.

Fingertips, lips, and tongue glided over his scars. Parts were numb, parts were dull, some were normal, some were highly sensitive. Sasuke’s hands moved to caress his thigh as his mouth made love to his wound. With his hands on his thigh, Sasuke would be able to tell where all his sensitive spots were by the way his muscles tensed.

“What are you doing?” Kakashi asked breathlessly.

“Trying to fire you up so you forget I’m slightly injured.”

“Well, it’s working.”

“Then take me.”

Well, fuuuuck. “Stand up.”

As soon as Sasuke stood, Kakashi pulled at his clothes, revealing Sasuke’s own erection. He paused briefly when he uncovered the bandage covering the wound on Sasuke stomach, but he pulled Sasuke to him. He stretched his neck to suck a nipple. He ran his hands down Sasuke’s sides. Sasuke put his arms around Kakashi’s head and leaned into him.

Feeling Kakashi’s cock touching his own, Sasuke moved his hips to rub their erections together. He couldn’t keep standing there; he slowly placed his knees next to Kakashi’s thighs, easing closer to his lover. Kakashi stopped using his mouth and just looked up at Sasuke’s beautiful face.

Sasuke rolled his hips, finding a perfect angle where the head of Kakashi’s cock caressed the underside of his perfectly. The precum dripping from the head of Kakashi’s cock eased his way. Sasuke shuddered with pleasure. Sasuke looked ready to just use him as a masturbation post, but Kakashi couldn’t bring himself to end Sasuke’s obvious pleasure. Watching Sasuke cum like this might be enough for him.

The only sound in the room was Sasuke’s breath, heavy with passion. He really was riling Kakashi up. The friction against the head of his cock was tantalizing, but not nearly enough to make him cum, whereas Sasuke seemed close.

“Kakashi,” Sasuke sighed.

Kakashi finally lost his patience. As Sasuke wanted, Kakashi forgot about his injured ribs and other wounds. He grabbed Sasuke by the waist and forced him around onto his back. He didn’t prep Sasuke, merely coated his own cock with a palmful of lube. The bastard wanted him to fuck him, Kakashi obliged him.

Sasuke cried out. He could never get enough of this. Kakashi felt so good inside him. Even if the jolt going through his body with each thrust jostled his ribs and caused the muscle around his wounds to tighten, the rubbing of his insides, the stroking of his prostate, and his closeness to Kakashi made sex worth the pain. As long as he didn’t start bleeding, he was happy to lay down for his older lover, whatever state he was in.

He reached up to brace his hands on the headboard, stretching his ribs and abs. He could care less about the pain as Kakashi moved within him.

Kakashi hadn’t completely forgotten that his lover was wounded. He bent Sasuke’s right leg to relieve the stretch. But the thrusts with his leg up was pressing into those injured ribs. He didn’t say a word though; he didn’t care about pain, he’d been enduring hard training practically since he was born. Not to mention some of the hellish training and injections Orochimaru gave him. The injections that made him immune to venom. The injections that made his blood burn his entire body.

Kakashi burned his insides in a completely different way.

No matter how much he loved sex with Kakashi, he was eager for Kakashi to finish them both. It was a strain on his body.

Kakashi was close. He stopped thinking and just pounded the hell out of Sasuke’s hips. Sasuke locked the elbow of one of his arms and jerked himself off with the other hand. They came almost at the same time, Sasuke just a few heartbeats behind Kakashi.  

Kakashi looked down at the satisfied, panting young man beneath him and noticed the bruise on his chest, reminding him that his lover was injured. He laid next to him and put a hand gently on his chest.

“Did I hurt you?”

“I’m fine.”

“I hurt you,” Kakashi concluded.

Sasuke gave him a soft smile. “I’m really fine. You’re one of the very, very few who could break me, but afternoon sex isn’t going to do it.”

Kakashi huffed. He lay there awhile and let the endorphins do their work in his body.

Sasuke turned onto his stomach and hugged the pillow while Kakashi got out of bed to clean up. He whined. “I don’t want to go out today.”

“I’ll go pick up some essentials.”

“You don’t need help?”

“No. You can stay home. You do need sleep.”

“I’ll work on my sword; I never did get started on it.”

Kakashi came over and rubbed his back. “If it will distract you. I’ll pick up fresh ingredients and make you curry.”

“Sounds good.”

Kakashi got dressed while Sasuke continued to lay nuzzled in the sheets. He dozed off by the time Kakashi was ready to leave. He smiled fondly down at him before going out.

He didn’t head for the market though. Kakashi headed for another residential district. The pinkette who answered her door was surprised to see her sensei.

“Kakashi-sensei?”

“Have a few minutes?”

“Of course.” Sakura ushered him in and to a chair.

“I need to ask: do you hate Sasuke?”

The question shook her. “No, of course not.”  

“Listen, Sasuke acted brashly during his last mission and got a few wounds. He’s in pain but he refuses to take pain killers and his sleep is fretful because of the pain. Can you give me something for him? I’m going to sneak it in his food. I’d lie and say it was for me, but you know he’s immune to venom and other poisons. I need something that will work on him and not harm him. There are few I feel we can trust with such things.”

“Oh? Why don’t you trust anyone?”

“Some people don’t like Sasuke. I know we can trust you. I just want him to have one peaceful night.”

“I’ll write you a prescription in your name. You don’t need anything for your leg?”

“No. I just get knots in the muscles and a little chafing.”

“Let me give you a cream for that too.”

She found the proper form and wrote out several preparations. “Here, these should have no ill effects.”

“Thank you, Sakura. I am proud of you. Such a brilliant medical-nin.”

Sakura demurred.

Kakashi left Sakura’s apartment while wadding up the paper she gave him.

The library was his next stop. He looked up what drugs would work on and not harm someone immune to venom.

-----

Sasuke was sanding the wood of his sheath when Kakashi returned with a bulging sack in his arm. He didn’t turn and Kakashi set right to making dinner.

Sasuke finished the first coat of paint when dinner was ready. He left the sheath outside on the deck to dry.

They ate in introspective silence, both mulling over their own thoughts. Sasuke hummed as they were finishing. Kakashi noticed.

“You didn’t sleep well; go back to bed,” Kakashi suggested.

“I am suddenly awfully tired.”

Kakashi stood and helped Sasuke up and to their bed. He was out even before Kakashi finished easing him to the bed and his head on the pillow. He tucked him in and resolved to watch all night.

-----

Sasuke groaned when he woke. His joints felt like they were made of water and his muscles didn’t seem to be awake.

Kakashi sat next to him and stroked Sasuke’s hair. He whispered his name and Sasuke groaned in response.

“Sleep longer if you can.”

Sasuke instead tried to sit up, but he was groggy. Kakashi supported him then picked up a cup of cold tea and offered it to him. Sasuke drank, his mouth dry. Life began to flow back into his body.

“You son of a bitch,” Sasuke groaned. “You drugged me.”

“You needed sleep and wouldn’t take any painkillers otherwise. I learned on a mission that curry was the perfect thing to cover up the taste of some drugs. I was careful, don’t worry. And I stayed up all night. I had a clone watch when I had to piss.”

Sasuke turned to look at him and growled.

“You have ANBU and me guarding you. I just wanted you to sleep. Don’t worry, I looked up the ingredients and had it made as if for me.”

“I don’t like being defenseless.”

“I know. The painkiller won’t disable you. Take them, they’ll help you recover. I only got one dose of the sleeping drug. I just wanted you to sleep.”

“No one knew you were getting the drugs?”

“Nope,” he lied.

“I smell dog. You didn’t lay a trap? You weren’t using me as bait?”

“I wouldn’t drug you and use you as bait.”

“I don’t believe you. You’re a shinobi just like me. I would use you as bait, drug you, and stash you under the bed.”

“True.”

“Was I bait?”

“Sort of. It was unlikely, but probable. If ANBU wasn’t watching over the house, I wouldn’t have knocked you out.”

“You suspect someone? Who did you dangle the string in front of?”

“Not important; no one came.”

“Asshole drugged me.”

Kakashi kissed his temple. “I love you.”

Sasuke let his body drop back into the bedding. “Hn.” He snuggled back into bed.

Kakashi rubbed Sasuke’s scalp. Sasuke didn’t need to know about the sounds of battle outside during the night and that Kakashi had summoned all eight of his ninken to patrol the house.

-----

Sasuke continued on his sword when he finally shook off the last effects of the drugs in the late morning. Kakashi was pensive, but Sasuke was consumed with his task.

“I’m going to take my ninken out for a walk,” Kakashi told him.

“Be careful.”

“Always. If Pakkun comes back alone . . .”

“I’ll roast your ass for being reckless.”

“You want to talk about reckless?”

“Get out of here.”

Kakashi chuckled and headed out. He summoned his pack and started their walk toward the forest.

As they approached the forest, the whole pack noticed the ANBU leaning back against a tree.

“I was hoping you’d venture out today.”

“Didn’t want Sasuke to hear about it?” Kakashi asked.

“You haven’t mentioned it, have you?”

“No.”

“Who did you lay the trap for?” he demanded of Kakashi.

“No one in particular.”

“Who could know Sasuke was drugged last night?”

“Perhaps the apothecary I got the drugs from. Because Sasuke was wounded, they might have, rightly, guessed that the drugs were for him. Or they might have thought I would be the one asleep. What did you find out from them? Who were they?”

“Two former members of Root.”

Kakashi straightened with an intake of breath. That was almost as bad as ANBU. “Well, that at least makes sense. They have reason to hate him since he was responsible for Danzo’s death. And they could spark Sasuke’s self-preservation instinct more than a bunch of jounin and chunin.”

“It seems they were among those laying in wait for the two of you in the tavern. They knew Sasuke would not be slain if he wasn’t drugged and they aborted while the others attacked and hunted him afterward. Drugging him was always the plan. They knew he was drugged last night, but from whom they learned that, they will not confess. Who did you tell? Or did you know who they were and let them hear you?”

“I think it’s more likely they were following me and overhead what I was getting.”

The Captain looked through the mask at Kakashi, weighing that theory. “That seems to hold. Very well. Next time, tell ANBU when you plan on drugging him.”

“That might have lured out more conspirators,” Kakashi agreed, even though he knew the Captain didn’t mean it that way.

“You think there are more, some among ANBU?”

“I don’t know. I’ll keep my guard.”
The Captain hesitated. “I’ll keep mine too. You are resolved to keep him in the dark about the third attack.”

“Yes.”

“Fine. I’ll leave that to you.”

“Hey, I want to assure you that I have complete trust in you. But I was in ANBU; not everyone was upstanding. When it comes to my lover, I’m not going to take any risks.”

“I can understand that. The people guarding you now are all people I know, so you’re safe.”

“Thanks.”

“And I agree with you: Sasuke shouldn’t know about the what happened last night. Don’t use bait again unless someone else knows to back you up.”

“I’ll remember that next time.”

The Captain jumped away to let him resume his walk.

-----

They did go out to dinner once Sasuke felt certain the sleeping drug was completely out of his system.

“By the way,” Kakashi said a tad loudly half way through the meal, “I’m going stir-crazy. I haven’t been out of the village in months, not since Suna. You’re at liberty for a few weeks; let’s go on a trip.”

“You want to travel when I’ve returned from a long mission, most of which was travel, and do that during my scant free time home.”

Kakashi gave him rainbow eyes.

“Fine. But I’m getting a bloody horse. I’m not walking anywhere.”

And so Kakashi created a reason for them to leave town for a few days.

-----

Kakashi had one errand he needed to attend to before their trip. He went to Sakura’s apartment one more time. She was startled when she opened the door.

Kakashi gave her a rainbow-eyed smile and raised a hand in friendly greeting. “Sasuke and I are taking a short trip, but I wanted to see you before we left.”

“Oh. Come in.”

That cheery demeanor vanished once the door was closed and they were both seated.

“So, what was the drug you wrote down?”

Sakura froze.

“I didn’t give it to him. I sensed something off with you so I found a drug to help him sleep on my own. Nevertheless, the house was attacked that night. I stayed up with my ninken to catch them, but ANBU was guarding us and they took them down. You collaborated with men from Root to kill Sasuke?”

“I didn’t know what they—”

“Don’t. Don’t. I’m covering for you. I haven’t said a word to Sasuke, Tsunade, or ANBU about any of this. And I won’t. Tell me the truth. All of it. Who first contacted you?”

“The two men from Root. They told me Sasuke was dangerous. They pointed out how he attacked me, that he was a hair trigger.”

“How did they know about that? Only your team, Tsunade, and I knew.” Kakashi sighed. “And a few ANBU.”

“He said Sasuke was just biding his time, that he would betray us again. His temper would snap again and he’d burn the whole village down. That is Sasuke. We all know it. He does have a temper. He’s betrayed us, he’s tried to kill us.” She rubbed her elbow in that little girl way she always had. She tilted her head and just couldn’t look him in the eye.

“What was their plan?”

“They knew he just returned from a long hard mission. They said he was exhausted and bloodied. They wanted a drug to incapacitate him. They knew I knew his medical history, what he was immune to.”

“The drug you gave them and the drug you gave me?”

“It was a neurotoxin that would be strengthened by the residual venom in Sasuke’s body. Anyone else and they would feel numb, maybe partial paralysis. Sasuke would be completely paralyzed, completely defenseless. They also said he visited the hospital. He was wounded, tired, and with the toxin, he would be easy prey.”

She finally looked at him, looked into his eyes. “Honestly, sensei, I didn’t want anything to happen to you. They assured me you’d be okay. They only wanted Sasuke. They were hoping to separate you. They knew you drank and you had friends there. They could get you apart. I thought I was doing the right thing. Sasuke’s turned from enemy to enemy. Orochimaru, Akatsuki . . . He even fought Naruto again! He attacked me!”

“Go on.”

She calmed herself and looked down again. “Sasuke wasn’t there. The others went after him. The two Root guys knew they had no chance without Sasuke being drugged so they aborted the mission, left the others to attack him on their own.

“I didn’t hear about Sasuke being attacked or anything, so I thought the whole thing was scrapped. Then you visited. I went to the meeting place, where I gave Root the drug. One of them saw me and I told them that I gave you the drug to give to him.”

“Well, they didn’t give you up. That’s one thing I have to say about those Root bastards. Look, Sasuke’s stable. Sasuke was approaching happiness. He was almost content. Then someone tries to kill him.”

Sakura slipped her hands under her thighs and looked at the carpet.

“Leave Sasuke to me. I’m in every way the closest to him. He’s even talked to me about . . . He feared I doubted his loyalty and he assured me that shacking up with me wasn’t part of some plan to attack Konoha from within. He’s finally settling in. He’s almost happy here, Sakura. This set him back. I’m taking him away for a few days so he can just be away from the scheming and things that depress him. Just stay away from him, Sakura, stay as far away as you can. Keep your nose clean.”

He stood up, his false leg straightening slowly. “And stay away from me too.”

“Sensei, I . . .”

He put up a hand. “You tried to get me to give a neurotoxin to my own lover and make me partially responsible for his murder. No. That was either thoughtless or cruel.”

“Sensei, I didn’t mean—”

“And there was no guarantee they wouldn’t have killed me too. I’m not popular in Root.

“I am proud of you, Sakura. But stay away from me and my lover. I’ll keep your secret. Just never do anything like this shit again.”

She could only nod.

Kakashi left and Sakura broke down.

-----

“So, where are we going?” Sasuke asked as he shouldered his bags.

“Seaside. We have outposts of shinobi all along the coast to protect from sea attacks; so I haven’t been out there in a long time. It’s lovely. And maybe no one knows your face. It’s unlikely, but they are more isolated.”

“Yay.” His tone wasn’t enthusiastic, but Kakashi knew Sasuke well enough. He was rearing to go.

They planned to go on horseback. Neither of them had much experience with horses, but Sasuke was somewhat confident in his skills. They made for the stables, but the Captain stopped them once they were out on the street.

“I managed to arrange for you two to travel with a merchant convoy. You can ride in a wagon in exchange for defending them if they come under attack.”

“Thanks. That will be much more comfortable.”

“And I’m being sent with you to make sure no one comes after you two.”

Sasuke narrowed his eyes, but not angrily. “If you keep getting yourself assigned to us, Tsunade is going to realize we’re friends.”

“She chose me. She observed that you never objected to me and you appear to trust me, so she thought I would be the best choice.”

Sasuke smirked. “You’re welcome to join us. Maybe we can actually relax for once.”



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