Through the roof of the tent, Juugo can almost see the moon. It’s the eye of good fortune, milky white with blindness, staring dully down at him as he sits awake in the campground, the black grass alive with cricket song. The lingering embers of a long dead campfire leaving behind their smoky fragrance in the air, and the soft intakes and exhalations of breath seeping out from the other tents keep him conscious of the quicksand time. But on nights like these something strange and ancient climbs inside of Juugo and forces him to stay awake and watch Sasuke sleep. Moments before he had crept soundlessly into the tent and sat crossed legged beside the motionless boy, desperate to catch a glimpse of the ghosts in his lungs. And now he can almost feel Kimimaro breathing through the heave of Sasuke’s chest. Kimimaro’s spirit the dead language that Sasuke’s body speaks fluently. Even as he sleeps. His blood alight with the insatiable heat of Kimimaro’s immortal will.
Lazily, Juugo scratches at the back of his neck. He watches Sasuke turn groggily onto his side, his black bangs plastered to his face with sweet sweat and imagines the deep trenches that death must have dug through the war zone of his old friend’s body. Nobody told Juugo the bad, heavy news for three years too long. The hours of not knowing flooded his system like a cold, drowning rain that there was no sunlight to wash away. Yet patiently he counted the raindrops.
Patiently, he had half convinced himself that the savior of his resurrected belief in the human heart would rise and return to him again, brush the blood off and say “I’m still alive. I wouldn’t leave you here alone”. But the other half of him knew. The other half of him only hoped he would be given the opportunity to bury his friend’s bones somewhere the sunlight could kiss them.
Even now when he can bring himself to think the kind of thoughts that dig into him like razorblades, thoughts about Kimimaro, Juugo thinks about the darkness. The impenetrable blackness of all the rooms inside his own head. The darkness of the cell they shared together for so long. Somewhere in the shadows. Consumed by the wild beasts of one another’s hopes then. He remembers Kimimaro’s eyes large and clear and round, like twin meteors crashing through the atmosphere of the lonely planet that was Juugo’s heart. Kimimaro’s broken whisper the first time he felt safe enough to touch, when he brushed Juugo’s shoulder with his hand and said “We will get out of here, friend.” His skin felt so cold and so hard like the secrets sleeping placated beneath it, and in that moment Juugo found it hard to swallow. He had never before been given the gift of that word. It was a gift he hardly trusted himself to open, did so with shaking hands. Had Kimimaro really said it? Friend?
Sasuke frowns in his sleep. Kicks a little. Restless. As if he can feel the weight of the heavy past laid out across his chest like a sleeping elephant. Juugo finds words in the familiar darkness that he could not know in the light. Words that bend his heart although there is nothing left that could break it. Almost nothing. “Don’t worry.” he says quietly. I’ll protect you. I won’t let anything happen to you, friend.”
Because someone wanted this rebloggable