Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto, but if I did, I would have NEVER have killed off Asuma. sob

Caution: This oneshot contains spoilers from chapter 328 of Naruto.

So, here is my little tribute to Sarutobi Asuma's death. I totally didn't want him to die!!! So now I am saddened.

It was hard to believe. And hard to cope with. So very hard.

Shikamaru didn't know how he'd pull through.

He watched as people around him started walking to the casket. His vision was blurred by tears, but he could still make out the plump form of his best friend. He watched silently, willing the tears to stay in his eyes, as Choji placed a flower on the casket. Soon, he would have to go up and place the flower in his hand on the casket.

But after he let go of that flower, then what? Would he finally be admitting the reality of it all? He still couldn't wrap his mind around the fact that he was dead. It seemed impossible. Unreal.

Behind him, Kurenai walked up to the casket. There were tears in her eyes. It looked like she accepted the fact he was dead. And Choji was coming back to stand by Shikamaru. His eyes were tear laden also. So why couldn't Shikamaru just accept the fact Asuma was dead?

Maybe it was because after spending so much time with his sensei, he had started to think nothing could ever happen to ruin their friendship. Not even death. But now that death had finally torn them apart, Shikamaru was at a standstill. What would he do? Asuma was his sensei, his shogi and Go partner, his friend. Now Asuma was gone, and it felt like his death left a gaping hole in Shikamaru's heart.

There were only a few people left, placing their flowers on the casket. It reminded Shikamaru of the Third's funeral. Shikamaru stared upwards at the carved monument of the Third's face. It looked like Asuma. Like father like son. Shikamaru gave a bitter smirk that was hardly visible.

It was hard to believe. And hard to cope with. So very hard.

Ino didn't know how she'd pull through.

Asuma's death was so sudden, so unexpected. She didn't know what to think about it. Ever since they had returned to Konoha with Asuma dead, she had cried. And cried. She couldn't stop crying. It was all she could ever do. Even now, at his funeral, she found she was probably crying the most, apart from Kurenai and Choji. Shikamaru wasn't crying. But that was expected. He was supposed to stay strong.

But Ino knew. He wanted to cry. Even if he wouldn't let his tears go now, he was going to soon. And when he did, then she'd cry even more. Having Shikamaru cry was going to be the thing that made her realize Asuma wasn't coming back. That this wasn't some cruel genjutsu that the Akatsuki members were doing. That he was really dead.

She thought back to that day when she had witnessed Asuma's death. How Shikamaru had started smoking that cigarette, blaming the tears in his eyes from the smoke. Thinking about that little sentiment made her want to cry her heart out even more. She let out a small, barely audible sob.

There were only two people left with flowers. Him and Ino. The kunoichi started to take a step, but she noticed that Shikamaru wasn't moving at all. He was staring at the flower in his hands, his dark eyes clouded over. Silently, Ino took his hand, the one that wasn't holding the flower and led him up to the casket. He followed along, not saying anything, although Ino knew that his mind was filled with a jumble of thoughts.

They had reached the closed casket. Ino stared down at it with grief. The last time she had seen Asuma, there had been a cigarette in his mouth, and there was blood splattered all over him. But he looked at peace when he died, and all Ino asked was that he had a good afterlife.

Ino placed her flower on the casket. Shikamaru followed her example, although he was hesitant. She squeezed his hand, assuring him that Asuma was in a better place, that even though he wasn't there anymore, they would be okay because even if Asuma wasn't there physically, he'd always be with them, no matter what. It would be all right. They would be all right.

The kunoichi's eyes softened as she felt Shikamaru squeeze her hand in return. She gave him a sidelong glance and he was looking back at her. They turned away and looked at the casket that held their sensei. They had both accepted that Asuma wasn't with them anymore, but everything would be fine. Asuma was going to look after them, just as he looked after them when they were genins. And even if Asuma wasn't with them, alive, they still had each other. They would stand by each other for as long as they needed. That way, his death wouldn't be as painful.

It was hard to believe. And hard to cope with. So very hard.

But they'd pull through. Together.


Henry (imaginary friend): Lily-Finn is in denial right now. Pay no attention to her.

Shut up you! punches Henry away

Anyway...I'm in a mourning. It's a good thing I decided to wear all black today! But that was before I read chapter 328...SOB goes into corner of woe Gaara's in mouring, too, aren't you Gaara? turns 2 Gaara sweater

Henry: Stop looking at your new Gaara sweater like that. You're scaring people.

me: I can't help that Gaara's the only one who can comfort me in my time of mourning. Besides, it's a cool sweater.

Henry: 0.o

Okay...well, here's my little tribute to Asuma's death. I wanted to write about Kurenai, but instead this ended up as a slight ShikaIno-ish oneshot instead. But that's okay, cuz I luvs ShikaIno!! Sorry for all you Choji luvers, because I didn't include him that much. Maybe next time I'll write more about Kurenai and Choji.

And to peopel who have read my others stories, I'm sorry it's taking me so long to update. I lost the original files that I saved the chapters to, and so I have to type the chapters to my other stories all over again, so that means I have to remember what I wrote. But I'm working on my other stories, so maybe I'll get an update...soon...maybe...But that's a big maybe.

Now please review & comfort me in my time of mourning! Maybe I'll write another chapter of this to anyone who reviews & gives me a cookie!!!! cookies are perfect for mourning!!