A/N: I know from experience that it's hard to look at the picture of a loved one who's passed away; it's a bittersweet feeling, and it can make your chest tighten and your heart stop, it hurts so much. This was written while I was in that state of mind, and after re-watching Hayate's death, I felt like writing something for him and Genma (I love them both). Also, please check out my fics at my joint account with my friend; it's Dragonfly and K-Chan. It says in the story summary which ones are mine.
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto and goddamnit I never will, so stop making me do these!
One day, Genma decided, he would put it back in its proper place. But for now, it would stay where it was.
Childhood friends. At the funeral, someone had walked up to him and offered him their condolences, because they knew that he and Genma were childhood friends. It was true; they had known each other since they were young. Back then, Genma had been 14, and the other had been 7. He'd still had that cough back then, and a lot of children refused to play with him because of it. They thought they'd catch whatever it was and get sick. Genma was always a daring person, however, and he talked to him one day, partially out of curiosity, and partially out of pure friendliness. They'd hit it off pretty quickly, and soon they were inseparable.
Genma didn't care about the age gap; the kid was quiet enough, aside from the coughing, and he wasn't annoying or anything. He had slight circles under his eyes, his face was a little thin, and he had a mop of dark brown hair that reached his ears. Genma himself had light brown hair that almost reached his shoulders, and his face was full and had that somewhat mature look to it. The boy, his best friend, had always been fascinated by the fact that Genma wore his hitai-ate backwards, and used to ask him why he did it. Genma would shrug, smile, and say, "Because I'm different."
The kid had really liked the idea of having a bandana style hitai-ate, and said that when he graduated, he would get one just like it. Genma had smiled, ruffled his hair, and told him that a bandana wouldn't look good with such short hair. The boy had pouted, which was extremely cute, and said that he would just grow his hair out, then. Genma never took him seriously.
So three years later, when Genma had become a jounin, and the boy had become a genin, he had been a little surprised to see him running towards him, excited, with his hitai-ate tied firmly around his head. It was a bandana, just as the boy had said it would be. The boy's hair was long enough then to reach his chin, although it was somewhat coarse instead of smooth. Genma had wanted to say congratulations right away, but he'd had to wait for the 10 year old to start breathing normally again. Then he'd told him to quit running around like an idiot, since it was taking a toll on his health. The boy had ignored him, instead choosing to point proudly to his new headband and say, "Told you."
Another question the kid used to ask him was, "Why do you always have a senbon in your mouth?"
Genma had grinned, shifted the senbon from the left side of his mouth to the right, and answered, "Because I need it at all times. It's my weapon of choice, and I have much easier access to it then a kunai or a shuriken."
"I never saw you use kunai or shuriken," the younger one had said in a slightly accusing voice. "Don't all jounin need to know how to use them?"
"I'm a tokubetsu jounin, so I don't need to," Genma had said.
"Yep. It's a special kind of jounin that specializes in one particular field of weaponry. Mine's senbon," the older one had explained. The kid's eyes were huge, and he had seemed awestruck by the idea.
"Really? That's cool! I want to be a tokubetsu jounin too, and I already have a weapon picked out for it," he's said enthusiastically. Genma had raised an eyebrow.
"Really? And that weapon would be...?"
"Swords!" His dark eyes had been shining, and Genma's senbon had almost fallen out of his mouth."
"Swords? Kid, that's dangerous for your condition, ya know. If you chose that as your weapon, it'd be a hell of a lot harder to deal with being a shinobi," Genma had said seriously. The shaggy-haired kid before him had frowned.
"I always use swords anyways," he'd said stubbornly. "The least I could do is make sure that all my training comes to use."
"Kid-" Genma had started, but the glare of his friend had made him stop, so he just sighed and said, "Whatever. If that's the way you want to be...good luck then." Then he'd smiled and hit the boy (who was shorter than he was) playfully on his head.
Seven years later, the boy (who wasn't a boy any more), had come striding up to Genma, grinning in a way that had made his gaunt face look a little brighter. He was wearing his katana strapped to his back, and Genma had had a feeling that he knew what the news would be.
"I did it," he'd said, in a voice that was truly happy. "I'm a tokubetsu jounin now. Want to guess my weapon of choice?"
Genma had leaned his back against the wall of his home, sucking absently on his senbon. "Hm, I wonder," he'd said sarcastically. The other man had chuckled a little, which ended with him coughing. Once he'd recovered, he'd said,
"Sword fighting. Want to guess the technique I'm going to be practicing from now on?"
"Geez, you have a lot of guessing games tonight, huh?" Genma had said, although he'd been truly curious that time. "Well, what?"
"Konoha's Crescent Moon Dance," the other male said, the slight excitement in his voice making him sound like a kid. Genma's eyes had widened a little in surprise.
"Really? Damn, you'll be in for some hard work."
"It will be worth it." Genma couldn't help but smile at his friend's eagerness, and he'd clapped a hand on his shoulder.
"Well, good job. I'm proud of ya, buddy." The teen had looked up at him, his grin having faded into a small smile.
"You sound like an old man, you know." Genma had punched him lightly in the shoulder, shaking his head.
Now it was six years later, and they'd both become pretty skilled at their jobs. But the other one's last 'mission' had been amazing. He'd finally, after six, long years of practicing and slaving and visits to the hospital for training to hard, completed his goal of learning the Crescent Moon Dance, and he'd used it so well, and at only 23, that any of the other sword's masters in the village should've been embarrassed. Genma just wished that he was alive so that he could tell him how proud he was.
Friendships like the one they'd had were often hard to come by among shinobi, for the exact reason that was causing Genma so much turmoil. Everyone knows that shinobi can die at any given time. Friendships just make that death harder.
So maybe, someday, when it stopped hurting to just say his name, and when his chest stopped constricting every time he thought about him, Genma would take Hayate's picture off out of his drawer and put it back up on his wall. But that day would probably never come.