"Can you stand

So sorry that this chapter is so late but I had exams and was dead busy. This is the last chapter of this story and I have combined two chapters together to make this one.

By the way, in the manga, has Naruto stopped calling Kakashi "sensei"?

Enjoy!

"Can you stand?" Jiraiya asked Kakashi gently. Jiraiya knew that he should actually carry Kakashi, but he didn't feel like supporting the weight of a fully grown man.

Kakashi was still lying down but he nodded bravely and pushed himself to his feet. He suddenly let out a pained yell of surprise and fell back down groaning. Jiraiya noticed too late that shards of glass had been pushed up the soles of Kakashi's feet. The watching nin dogs growled at Jiraiya.

"Guess I'll have to carry you now." Jiraiya muttered. He bent down and carried Kakashi in a bridal style. He noticed that the fabled Sharingan Warrior had slipped into unconsciousness. Jiraiya shuddered slightly. Not even wanting to know what kinds of tortures had been inflicted on Kakashi to make Kakashi black out.

By using his speed, Jiraiya managed to get out of the lair with Kakashi quickly. He avoided the battle which was taking place and slipped out of the entrance of the cave where Naruto and Sakura were barely able to restrain Sasuke from going after Itachi.

Jiraiya layed Kakashi into the ground grimly. He could see the confusion in Naruto, Sakura and Sasuke's faces. They couldn't recognise their own sensei with his mask off.Sasuke was the first to understand.

"No…sensei!" he gasped, shocked at Kakashi's state.

Naruto and Sakura gasped as well as they realised who the man Jiraiya had brought out was. The silver haired man looked terrible with so many bruises and cuts. But he was still obviously a very, very, very (I can go on forever) handsome man.

Tears flowed down Sakura's cheeks as she started to heal her sensei. Sasuke aided her by tying scraps of cloths over the bleeding wounds which Kakashi had. All thoughts about killing Itachi was forgotten (impossible really).

Naruto remained motionless. He stared at his sensei, his mind numb with shock and horror. He had always wanted to see what was under Kakashi's mask, but he had never dreamed of finding out like this.

Naruto was weighed down with guilt. It was his entire fault that Kakashi had been tortured.

Kakashi was one of the first adults who had accepted Naruto for who he was. In a strange way Naruto couldn't explain, Naruto felt as though his sensei had always understool what he was going through. He felt as though Kakashi sensei had suffered through prejudice and discrimination the very same way that he had.

Naruto was angry. Angry at himself and the Akatsuki. If he hadn't came out before the all clear signal was given, the Akatsuki would never had taken Kakashi away. But it was due to the Akatsuki that Kakashi was in this condition.

Still looking at the guy he saw as an older brother, Naruto bit his lip. He oculd hear the loud noises of the battle taking place in the lair. Naruto felt an overwhelming urge to join the ninjas fighting the Akatsuki. Rip the Akatsuki to shreds. Naruto wanted to make the Akatsuki pay for what they did to their sensei.

Naruto saw red, demon red.

--

Everyone, both Konoha ninjas and the Akatsuki turned at the horrified scream. The entrance wall of the lair had been ripped open and thrown away. There, at the huge gap of the wall, stood Naruto.

Only it wasn't Naruto. Gai, Kurenai, Asuma and any other jounins or ANBU who knew Naruto realised that immediately. Naruto's eyes were red and orange chakra flowed out from his body. Fangs curved out of his mouth and truth to be told, Naruto looked terrifying.

The Akatsuki moved. While some of them continued to detain the jounins and ANBU, the others went towards Naruto. They wanted the demon inside him.

Hidan and Kakuzu advanced but Naruto flicked them away easily by using one of the tails. Tobi and Pein received the same treatment but with an addition. Growling with anger, Naruto crushed the two of them into the wall.

Anyone else would have died but the Tobi and Pein Naruto had crushed were clones.

"Retreat," Tobi declared. "He's too powerful in this state."

And with that the Akatsuki vanished.

"Where did they go?" Gai asked, looking flabbergasted.

"Don't bother looking for them," Asuma said darkly. "They're probably long gone – those cowards."

Sasuke was looking outraged that he had missed his chance to kill Itachi. Sakura was looking concernedly at Naruto who was changing back to his normal self again. She smiled as the red eyes turned back to blue but her smile faded as Jiraiya called out to them from outside the cave.

"Get out of the lair now!" Jiraiya yelled.

All the ninjas saw what the Toad Sage meant as the ceiling of the cave began to crumble. Rocks and stones fell from the ceiling as the ninjas dashed out. To everyone's relief, no one was trapped.

Jiraiya had moved Kakashi to a large clearing nearby. Naruto, Sasuke and Sakura rushed back to their sensei as the other jounins and ANBU crowded around.

"That is not Kakashi." Kurenai gasped in disbelieve. Asuma scowled as she blushed.

"My Eternal Rival has a face to rival mine!" Gai declared.

"Enough about how the brat looks without his mask on. Kurenai assess his condition with your medical jutsu." Jiraiya ordered.

Kurenai nodded seriously and moved forwards towards Kakashi's still form.

"He needs to get to the hospital immediately or he will…"Kurenai bit her lip. Kakashi's nin dogs stared dolefully at their master's face.

Without saying anything, Jiraiya scooped up Kakashi in his big arms and set off for Konoha quickly. Asuma barked out orders at the ANBU to follow Jiraiya and act as back up.

Naruto looked at his teammates.

"Kakashi sensei is going to be all right," Naruto said, trying to assure not just his teammates but himself as well.

Sasuke nodded and Sakura smiled at Naruto comfortingly. They followed in Jiraiya's trail.

--

Kakashi looked down at himself. To his surprise, he was in his ten year old body. He blinked with both his grey eyes and viewed his surroundings. He was in Konoha, only it looked slightly different.

The place was deserted which made Kakashi feel slightly anxious. He glanced at the Ichiraku Ramen stall beside him. The place both Minato sensei and Naruto worshipped.

Kakashi scratched his head as he tried to figure out why he was ten years old again. And where was his jounin vest? Why did he not have his Sharingan? What the hell was going on?

Kakashi's eyes widened as he heard a familiar voice call his name.

--

"beep…beep…beep…beep"

Naruto, Sakura, Sasuke, Jiraiya, Gai, Asuma, Kurenai and Iruka watched as Tsunade sama frantically worked to heal Kakashi. Naruto was sick and tired of the silence which hung over them.

In the end, Tsunade sighed and moved away from the hospital bed. She bowed her head and closed her eyes to stop the tears threatening to fall.

"I'm sorry." Tsunade said. "Kakashi has only got a while left to live."

The shocked silence was so much more worse that she could ever have imagined.

"What do you mean Granny?" Naruto yelled angrily. "Heal Kakashi sensei now!"

"Tsunade! Surely you can-" Jiraiya began.

"I can't!" Tsunade exclaimed. "It's all about willpower Jiraiya! Kakashi is already almost dead! He doesn't want to come back!"

--

"Sensei?" Kakashi gasped.

A blnd haired man laughed and pulled Kakashi into a tight embrace. Over his sensei's shoulder, Kakashi could see Obito and Rin smiling at him.

"What..how?" Kakashi could only murmur uncomprehendingly. Obito grinned at him.

"You have no idea how long we have been waiting for you teme!" Obito said.

"Baka!" Kakashi responded automatically. Rin shyly stepped in and hugged Kakashi warmly.

"We've all really missed you Kakashi." Rin smiled. Kakashi smiled back at her, he had forgotten how pretty she was.

"I've missed you all as well." Kakashi whispered. He squinted at the far distance going further into the village. His throat went dry as he spotted the faint outlines of his father and mother, and many others he knew who were already dead.

Kakashi couldn't believe it. He was with his three most precious people. A warm feeling of happiness engulfed Kakashi as he realised that he was finally home.

--

"Of course Kakashi sensei wants to live!" Naruto screamed at the 5th Hokage.

"I'm sorry Naruto," Tsunade said painfully. "There's just too many people waiting for Kakashi."

Tsunade was feeling terrible. She was so fond of the witty, back talking, silver haired brat. Not to mention that Kakashi was the only living reminder she had of Sakumo.

"Kakashi sensei has us." Sakura sobbed. "He won't want to leave us! Please Tsunade sama, do something!"

Sasuke said nothing but he was screaming on the inside. He didn't want to loose his sensei- one of the few adults who actually cared for him.

The other jounins and Iruka were silent. They all felt sad and shocked that Kakashi was about to die. Gai looked especially dumbfounded that his Eternal Rival was dying.

"Kakashi sensei was – is always there for us!" Naruto choked on his words. "We can't just let Kakashi sensei go!"

Pushing past Tsunade, Naruto ran towards his sensei's almost dead body. He began to cry as he pounded Kakashi's chest with his fists.

"Wake up sensei!" Naruto screamed. "You can't just leave us! You can't leave me! Everyone else could only watch in quiet despair as Naruto continued to yell.

--

Kakashi stopped laughing as he heard the faint screams. The happiness which had filled him before started to fade away.

"Come back Kakashi sensei!"

"Naruto," Kakashi whispered. He turned to find his sensei and teammates smiling at him sadly.

"You can't just leave your team like that Kashi." Minato said gently. Kakahsi clung to his sensei's arm desperately.

"I don't want to leave you all!" Kakashi said, tears threatening to overflow.

"Don't be stupid teme!" Obito grinned.

"We'll always be with you." Rin smiled softly.

Kakashi started to cry for the first time in his life. Having the contentment which had descended on him snatched away seemed too cruel.

Minato hugged Kakashi comfortingly as Kakashi wept. He could still hear Naruto's faint screamings.

Kakashi sensed rather that feel Rin and Obito join in with the hug. They remained frozen in the embracing hug for a brief moment. The genius leader, the joker, the healer and the reluctant survivor. The team which had never known peacefulness.

"We'll always be waiting here Kashi."

Those words were the last Kakashi heard as his world turned around again.

--

"I haven't become Hokage yet! You can't die on us now!" Naruto cried.

Iruka tried to pull Naruto away but Naruto resisted. The room was silent apart from Naruto's cries. Sakura noticed with a shock that Kakashi's dogs were fading away, already their outlines were hazy.

"beep…beep…beep..beep-beep-beep-beep"

Tsunade gasped in wonder as the heart rate monitor started to accelerate. It was impossible. Sasuke saw that the nin dogs were coming back to focus. Wild hope leapt in his heart.

"Impossible." Tsunade whispered. "Kakashi's coming back to us."

There was a murmur of shock and surprise as the crowd in the room watched Kakashi slowly, so slowly and blearily open his eyes. Jiraiya sighed in relief.

Naruto oblivious to everything, continued to yell and pound at his sensei.

"You promised to buy me ramen and you said you'll always be there for me. YOU CAN'T LEAVE ME!"

"Naruto," Kakashi murmured weakly.

"What?" Naruto said, not recognising where the voice was coming from.

"Be quiet. This is a hospital you know." Kakashi smiled.

"Shut up sensei!" Naruto said angrily. "Can't you see that I'm upset! My Kakashi sensei is going to die and- KAKASHI SENSEI!"

Everyone else smiled as the No.1 Knuckleheaded Ninja hugged the startled elite jounin. Sakura dragged Sasuke and forced him to get into a group hug.

"You had us all going brat." Tsunade smirked. Her heart clenched as the mischievous grin Kakashi gave her mirrored Sakumo's perfectly.

"How was your trip to the other world brat?" Jiraiya asked playfully. Kakashi merely smiled at him but it shocked Jiraiya to see the longing that were in Kakashi's eyes.

"Don't ever scare me like that Kakashi sensei!" Sakura said reproachfully. Naruto crossed his arms and looked at Sasuke who as usual was hiding his emotions.

"Will you stop acting like a zombie Sasuke!"

"Shut up baka." Sasuke growled.

"Teme!"

"Idiot."

"Idiot yourself!"

Kakashi smiled even wider. Even though his team was still arguing, and yes, Naruto and Sakura were strangling him with their continuous hugs and oh no, Gai, Asuma and Kurenai were coming over – looking ready to kill him for worrying them like that, Kakashi still felt happy.

For it was comforting to know that he had precious people waiting for him up in heaven and precious people who cared for him down on Earth.

And as Kakashi closed his eyes for a moment, he could still hear an echoing voice.

"We'll always be with you Kashi…we're always with you."

OWARI

I feel like crying now. I can't believe how sad Kakashi's life is – to keep loosing someone you love.

And I feel really guilty now, because I'm hoping that Kakashi would die a honourable death in battle rather than die of old age. I can imagine him as the 6th Hokage and sacrificing himself for the village like his sensei.

I hope everyone has enjoyed my story and I have enjoyed writing it. I am going to continue "Kakashi's choice.", though I do still need more ideas.

PS: On the manga, what on Earth does Sasuke think he's doing, that idiot!"

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