Even in the pale moonlight, she was still beautiful. Her pale eyes, half-lidded in pain, were still mystifying. Her lips, despite the crimson blood trickling slowly from both corners, were still full and rosy-pink. Her long, dark hair, matted and sweaty, was still cascading down her slender shoulders tenderly. And her heart was still as pure as ever, despite the single kunai that had pierced it. She was still beautiful, even when she was dying.

And he knew it all too well.

When she started to fall, too weak to remain on her feet, he was there to catch her. She thanked him softly, but he told her to be quiet; save her strength. She tried to smile at him, but the tenderness of her smile was laced with pain. He looked at her with his dark eyes, full of tears.

He wanted to tell her so badly.

He wanted her to be okay.

He hated the thought of her dying.

He wanted to tell her so badly.

How could he though? She had given up on love a long time ago. Love had broken her. Love had almost destroyed her. She didn't trust love anymore.

And he knew it all too well.

He knew she had a good reason for fearing love. After him, how could she not? He knew what she had witnessed. Seeing that blond ninja kissing someone so passionately had shattered the only concept of love that she had ever known.

And he knew it all too well.

She had come to him, desperate and looking completely lost. She cried against his chest for what felt like hours. He tried to comfort her, but she seemed beyond consoling. For weeks she had been completely depressed. Nobody could do anything for her. He wanted to tell her how he felt, fill that empty space in her heart, but he knew that would never work. She had only seen him as a friend. She couldn't trust love enough to see him as anything more than that.

And he knew it all too well.

And even now, when she was slowly dying in his arms, he couldn't tell her. He could only reach out and grab her hand. She gave his a slight squeeze, almost as if she wanted to reassure him that she was still there. She started to cry softly, her tears running down her pale cheeks slowly. He tried to hold in his own tears, but they soon escaped as well. Both were crying, his hand holding her own tightly.

She closed her tear-filled eyes. He willed her to open them again. He couldn't bear the thought of a world without her. He told her to stay with him; never leave. She gave his hand another slight squeeze, telling him without words that she wasn't going to leave him. But she knew, deep down, that he time was almost up.

And he knew it as well.

The stem of a lavender orchid was clasped tightly in his hand. His wild brown hair was being tugged by the gentle breeze. His dark eyes, filled with tears of pain and despair, were focused on a pure white tombstone. He gently placed the delicate flower on the freshly dug earth in front of it.

Just like her eyes.'

"You're still here."

He slowly turned to see his best friend standing beside him. He shut his eyes and managed a pained smile.

"And you never got to tell her, did you?" Shino asked.

He shook his head and continued to stare at the pure white tombstone.

"How could I have?" He asked sadly.

Shino just nodded; he understood perfectly. "At least she can be truly happy now."

And with that, Shino turned and left. He watched his teammate alk away, and then, when he saw that Shino was out of sight, turned and knelt down in front of the tombstone. He placed his hand on the top, and then let his head fall forward until it hit the pure white stone.

"I love you...Hinata." He murmured softly.

Slowly, he stood up. With one last look, he turned and started to walk away. But he stopped suddenly when he heard her gentle, caring voice in the wind.

'I love you too...Kiba.'

The one thing he hadn't known. His love wasn't as one-sided as he had seemed to believe.