“There are feathers in your hair.”
Shisui very determinedly doesn’t twitch, doesn’t reach up. Smiles instead, even though his heart feels like it’s pounding in his throat, and tips one shoulder in an easy shrug. “And you look like a wolf that licked an electric fence, but I guess we all have our struggles.”
Grey eyes crinkle, like a hidden smile, but Kakashi doesn’t move. He’s carefully out of touching range, hands tucked in his pockets and weight rocked back on his heels, but Shisui isn't stupid enough to think it leaves him off balance or vulnerable.
“No need to be rude,” Kakashi says lightly, and the tone is joking but Shisui still feels his heart rate kick up, his fingertips tingle with adrenaline. He can't blow this; if this arrangement falls through, if he ruins things with an incautious word, that’s every last bit of hope gone.
“Sorry,” he says, though the word sticks in his throat.
Kakashi hums, studying him in a long sweep of that sharp gaze, and then says more seriously, “There's no backing out of this once we start.”
“I know that,” Shisui says, on the edge of fierce. Only remembers belatedly to restrain himself, then takes a breath and wonders if it even matters. “I know that,” he says, more quietly, and clenches his hands into fists. The beat of his heart is hummingbird-quick, and he can feel feathers brushing across his bones. “I'm not going to back out. if our courts keep fighting, it’s—”
“Going to be the end for both of them,” Kakashi finishes for him, and that smile is a mask, doesn’t even begin to reach his eyes. He doesn’t move, just watches, but the line of his shoulders shifts just a little, turns sharper.
Shisui steels himself, stepping forward. Reaches out, opening his hand, and when Kakashi just watches him with assessing eyes he offers up the ring. “This is all I can offer right now. Until the announcement—”
Deft fingers catch his hand, pluck it from his palm, and Kakashi smiles at him, steps close. He runs hot, hot enough that Shisui can feel the heat of his body even with a few inches left between them. There's a rustle, a crinkle of paper, and Kakashi pulls a small package from one of his pockets, dropping it into Shisui's open hand where the ring just rested.
“It’s been a long time since the Uchiha broke away from the court,” he says, and it’s light but his gaze is steady. “Some traditions might be different now, but I thought these were a safe bet.”
Carefully, Shisui pulls his hand back, tugs the paper to the side, and swallows. A pair of earrings, moonstone drops with wolf teeth dangling from them, and they’re definitely the kind of thing that’s gone out of fashion with the Uchiha, but everyone will know precisely what they mean.
“Thank you,” he says, and the words feel like they don’t fit right in his mouth. What are you supposed to say, really, when someone gives you a piece of their spirit-form? Especially under these circumstances. Shisui wishes treason came with some kind of manual. Maybe a book full of helpful hints. When plotting to overturn decades of hatred and stop a war by lying to the whole world, be careful not to offend the man giving you his teeth to wear as earrings.
Kakashi smiles at him, then lifts the ring to study it. Black metal, a red stone, a single black feather etched into the ruby—Shisui's always personally thought it was ostentatious, but no one listens to him when it comes to family heirlooms. “It’s not the family crest,” he says, before he can stop himself, “but it means I'm next in line. I thought—maybe it’s not appropriate, but it’s the biggest gesture I can make.”
“It should be more than enough,” Kakashi says, and he doesn’t put it on, slips it into his pocket instead. Shisui's a little relieved; if Kakashi put on the ring he’d have to put on the earrings, and his stomach twists at the thought, nerves rising.
Abruptly, startlingly, Kakashi steps closer, right into Shisui's space. Shisui twitches hard, goes to step back, but Kakashi catches his elbow, slides his fingers up to Shisui's shoulder and then reaches up to touch his hair. The breath knots in Shisui's throat, his heart tripping forward into triple-time beat, and he freezes where he is as Kakashi slides his fingers into Shisui's curls, fingertips grazing the crow feathers hidden there.
“Maa, maa, don’t look so tense, Prince Shisui,” Kakashi says, teasing, and there's a wry, crooked smile just visible above the scarf he’s wearing. “Don’t you remember we’re madly in love?”
Shisui's breath jars out of his throat on a laugh, and he closes his eyes, forces his muscles to unknot as he ignores the wingbeat-frantic pace of his pulse. “Sorry,” he says, and smiles, leaning into Kakashi’s touch like they're old friends. Like they're lovers. “Sorry,” he says again, more softly, and Kakashi’s eyes are dark and steady in the fading light.
“Only be sorry if we fail,” he says.
“We won't,” Shisui whispers, and it’s a promise. He steps back, fingers tight around the moonstone earrings, and lets Kakashi’s hand slip out of his hair as he turns. One quick step, a breath—
The feathers in his bones fill the world, just for a moment. The wind rises, catching him like careful hands, and in his crow-shape Shisui rises into the sunset, circles.
Below him, Kakashi raises a hand, then turns. There's no visible shift, no strain; one moment a man is walking away and the next it’s a white wolf, fur scattered with silver, that slips into the shadows beneath the trees and is gone in an instant. Shisui circles for a moment longer, trying to focus on the air under his wings, but all he can focus on is the heat of Kakashi’s skin when he stood so close, the grey of his eyes, the slant of his mouth.
The earrings are still in Shisui's grip, caught in a claw, and he carefully tightens his grip on them as he turns back towards the mountain.
Don’t you remember we’re madly in love?
Shisui breathes out, hits a thermal and lets it spin him higher, send him soaring into the sky as it’s stained with color by the setting sun. From here the world looks so small, so still. He almost can't see the traces of the last battle the courts fought, Uchiha against the collective fury of a dozen shapeshifter clans under one banner. The Uchiha won't survive more clashes like that, and Fugaku doesn’t care, but Shisui does.
Shisui cares enough to marry a man he’s only ever known as an enemy, cares enough to lie to everyone he knows and say he’s in love. The heirs of both thrones saying no, enough might stop the fighting, and that’s all the chance Shisui needs to take the risk.