The Face in the Mountain

"Uncle?"

A kindly face bent forward, all-knowing eyes shadowed in the evening lamplight.

"Yes?"

"I saw Mommy today…she was doing the dishes, and looking up at the mountains…why does she always get so sad when she looks at the mountains?"

The middle-aged man exhaled, looking out at the fireflies in the dusk. He really hadn't been prepared for that one. Tiny fingers suddenly clutched at his hair, and he couldn't help but let a small, lopsided smile flit across that proud face.

"Well you see…" He paused, forgetting the words just as they came to him. The child's big, pleading eyes urged him on, however, and he fought to continue. "Your mother…she loved your father very, very much.

How true that is...

He shook his head, wondering how it was that the silly girl had ever fallen for… but then he remembered, and found to his surprise a sizable lump in his throat.

The same reason we all loved him.

"But your father had a great responsibility. A promise he had made, and wanted to make good on."

He had dreamed, and accomplished. He remembered. And then all that was left was to fulfill, and he had done that too. With all the love, and kindness, and mercy of a man ten times what he had been given credit for. He was better than us all, and still he bore no grudges. He loved everyone.

"What do you mean, Uncle?"

He frowned then. Hyuuga Neji was not a man to cry, or to show any emotion at all, for that matter. But the words of a child can be a powerful influence sometimes. The stately Hyuuga brow furrowed, his face the image of distress as he searched his soul for words.

"Your father…was a great man. In the end, when nothing else could be done, he gave his all to protect his precious people. You. Me. Everyone."

"Oh…" He could see her struggle with the concept of death, the concept of nothingness. He knew the feeling well, life's waning was a difficult idea to grasp. You lived, and then you died, but what after that? "So… is that why I don't have a daddy?"

At this, the older man's eyes blazed. Standing, he took her upon his shoulders, and faced the great Hokage mountains. He pointed at the cliff face, and turning his burning gaze towards his niece, the blonde haired, white eyed, lasting Legacy of the greatest of all the Hokage, he spoke softly.

"Whenever you miss your father…" He reached out, fingers splayed as he gestured towards the last and largest of the monuments, voice cracked ever so slightly. "You just look up there, and remember he loved you, and loves you. You," He smiled, vision blurry as the pearly eyes of his dearest friends' only daughter scanned his face intently, "Will always have a father."

Sitting back down and replacing the child in his lap, he spoke one last time. "For him, changing things for the better was a way of life. In my darkest hour he saved me. To help was his way, he knew nothing else. And as much as his thick-headedness drove us all crazy sometimes…" He broke off, a tearful grin covering his normally stoic face.

"For him it wasn't how you died that mattered, so much as how you lived."

He looked down, and she was asleep. As he carried the heir to the Uzumaki clan inside to put her to bed, he looked once more at the stone face of his passed friend. He could swear it was smiling.

No regrets.

-

I hope you guys liked this, I know I haven't written anything in a while, sorry >

I really enjoyed writing this lil drabble, and i hope it plucked at your heart strings just a bit :p

Grum