Yesterday as I lay in my bed, I pictured this tale. It's monotonous, but seeing as to how the muses haven't been favoring me too much lately, I'll take what I get. heh...

right, disclaimer, clearsthroat

Disclaimer: All characters are borrowed from Kishimoto's Naruto

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There was nothing different.

They kissed as usual under the Konoha gate. Kakashi smiled as he walked into the whispering forest. Iruka smiled as he waved him farewell. They smile for each other's sake, smiled so that Iruka won't worry, so that Kakashi won't worry about Iruka worrying.

While Kakashi was away, Iruka would do nothing different. He ate alone, taught patiently, and manned the desk diligently. Occasionally he would look up from the pile of papers and wonder about the night's dinner, Naruto's progress, and Kakashi. Then he would pinch the bridge of his nose and get up to find the answer to the first two.

When news came about Kakashi, the teacher received it with wide eyes and a frozen smile. Then he went on grading quizzes. He wasn't even present when the Jounin arrived. Nor was he there when they carved his name into stone, the only mark proving the man had ever existed.

Iruka acted no different. He still smiled everyday, at everyone. He still blushed at the slightest embarrassment. Three years later, he married a pretty civilian girl, had two children, a girl and a boy. He taught and graduated 35 classes, and personally named three grandchildren. Iruka finally died at the glorious age of seventy-four, of heart failure. His name was carved into stone, right next to his wife's.

Those who attended the funeral say he was a good man, that he lived a good long life. Those who knew him, however, knew better. They knew that Umino Iruka had died a long time ago. They knew he had lost his soul along with his lover. His heart had failed the moment he learned of his death. And he lived on only because he dared not die when Kakashi would want him to live. He lived as a hollow mirror of the man he once was, once could've continued to be, if nothing had been different.

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AN: My first angst and fanfiction, sort of. Comments are more than welcomed, but seeing as to how its my first time, go easy on me please.Did I do my disclaimer right?