Blood stained his skin and clothes, drying and caking on him like a scar that would never go away. The memory of every life he took burned into his memory and drowned him a little more each time. It was a miracle he had made it this far, that he himself had not met the cold grip of death and fallen into the comforting darkness that waited for everyone at the end of the road. It was either a blessing or a curse that he had not confronted Death yet.
After seeing so much blood shed, one would think a person would be impassive and hard set to the world. He was, but that was because he was slowly being killed from the inside. Seeing death from the day he could walk to the very end didn't seem like something that should be exposed to anyone. If he had it his way, he would easily wipe out all the madness and evil intents of the world and hide it away from the innocent eyes of everyone else. Especially his students. For them, he would take it on himself, even if he died in the process.
Or what was left of them.
One's emerald eyes were becoming as hollow and empty as his own, and he didn't want that to happen. He didn't want her to yearn for death when she was still so young and still had so much promise in the world. She had a place, while his was mostly faded away. He wanted to give her hope and show her that not everything was as bloody and tragic as it was now. There would be better times, she just needed to find them. It wouldn't be easy, in fact it would most likely get worse before it got better, but that would only make the discovery of happiness that much sweeter in the end.
The other was just a shell of what he had once been. After everything he had strived to achieve and prove, it had all cut at him bit by bit until he was half of the man he had grown to be. It was a sorrowful sight, to see once bright and smiling blue eyes, now dull and saddened by the unfairness of life. He hated this, watching them slowly, slowly fall and spiral into the same steel trap he had slipped into. He wasn't the first to succumb to the torturous blows of life, and he was certainly not the last. But just because he couldn't save himself, it didn't mean he couldn't save them before he left.
That's why, as his quiet gasping breaths whispered past his cracked and bloodied lips, his mask ripped and pulled down away from his face, his mismatched eyes searched for them through the destruction. Rain pelted him, and his vision blurred in and out of focus, but he didn't stop looking. More and more comrades fell in his sight, and as each recognizable face danced before his eyes, the pain slashed it's sharp claws at him again and again.
The war boomed around him, repeating the vicious cycle of death again and again and creating the spiral he slipped into easier to fall through. It was getting cold, and staying awake was becoming too much of an effort. He had to do something though. He had to get them to see…they had to see what he wanted them to open their eyes to.
Two sets of voices called out helplessly to him, and he tried to stand, tried to go to them. But it was futile. His body was too weak, too cold and he didn't have the strength to find them. The colors began to blur more, distorting every image before him, and his eyes slipped closed against his will. He struggled to open his eyes, he needed to see them.
"KAKASHI! OPEN YOUR EYES!"
The voice screamed at him, and yet he couldn't open his eyes. He knew who it was that was hopelessly raking their hands over his chest, trying to push in their chakra to sustain him. But it was too late. Her voice was filled with panic and anguish as she screamed his name over and over as she pushed her chakra into him at an alarming rate. It did nothing to slow the flow of blood pouring from the many wounds on his body.
"KAKASHI, PLEASE DON'T LEAVE ME!"
'I'm sorry, Sakura. I couldn't be a sensei to you, I abandoned you just like Sasuke did. I'm no different than a traitor to the village. I'm a traitor to you.' His lips wouldn't move, it hurt to breathe, and it was so cold. He knew he was dying, it was inevitable and they both knew it. A numbing began to overtake his senses, incasing him in a dull pain. In a way he was grateful for it, the feel of his numerous wounds were beginning to be too much for even him to handle.
"Kakashi, pah-please… d-don't do this… to me."
It was a broken whisper, and he barely caught it. Either she was talking so quietly that he wasn't able to hear it, or he was slipping further and further out of reach. He believed the latter. He yearned to tell her not to cry, that it would be okay, that he was sorry for everything that had happened and that if he had a second chance, he would make it better. It was all his fault, the reason she was becoming yet another zombie like himself. He had left her behind to train a traitor. He had left Naruto, too. Everything was his fault.
"Kakashi! Sakura, what's going on?!" Another alarmed voice broke through the fog thickening around him.
"Naruto! I can't stop the bleeding! He's going to die if I don't do something!" Sakura's distressed tones cried and screamed in panic, and Kakashi felt sick at the sound of her fear.
An explosion erupted somewhere close to them, and Kakashi felt the ground shake as debris flew around them. His body never flinched, and his eyes remained shut. Sakura yelled at Naruto, shouting a warning to him as she threw her body over Kakashi to shelter him from the harm that was raining down upon them, mixing and swirling with the rain pouring from the unforgiving sky.
His arms ached to cradle her against him. She needed reassurance. Life wasn't always like this, and she needed to understand that. She needed to know that everything would be better. Kakashi's chest burned at the last thought. He had promised her that once before, when Sasuke was still around, that things would go back to normal, get better. He had promised. He had lied. Things had only gotten worse since then.
"Naruto go find Tsunade! Hurry!"
Again he felt her chakra leaking into him, and he wanted to push her hands away from his wounds. She shouldn't waste her reserves on someone who wasn't going to last and didn't even deserve it in the first place. Her cold hands touched his face, and one of his eyes were opened. A blurry image was all that he could distinguish. It was like looking through a fogged window and only seeing the more prominent of colors bleeding into the rest of the landscape.
"Kakashi, you're going to be alright, I promise. Just stay with me."
'I can't. I can only try, but it's not going to happen, Sakura. I'm so sorry.'
It was no use, she couldn't hear his apologies, and as she removed her hand from his face to return to knitting his organs back together, his eye slipped closed once more.
When he had been young, Kakashi had believed in angels. Not the kind that saved you or wrapped you lovingly into their arms, but the kind that only showed you how to fly. Angels turned their backs, and jumped away to soar. They were only there to teach the way of your wings before abandoning you like everything else in the world did. They were cruel, the things he believed in. Seeming like they taunted you with their beautiful feathers as they hovered over you, egging you on to come at them, because it was the only way to learn. It was all he knew, you had to be able to hate something, before you could learn to love something else.
He hated those angels. Hated them for being able to fly while he was left on the harsh ground. Hated them for leaving him behind and turning their backs. Hated them because he loved them.
As the rain got heavier and heavier, and the voices around him slowly began to dull and fade, Kakashi remembered the dreams filled with angels that had haunted him. It would always start out with him standing on nothing. Just a blank expanse of blinding light in every direction with a light that hurt his eyes and forced him to squint.
In the beginning he would feel nothing, but then like a train, panic would hit him so hard he staggered and collapsed on the ground in a gasping, whimpering heap. His eyes would dart from side to side, trying to understand why he was so frightened and alone. But there was never any answer. Just as he would start to calm down and climb back upon shaky feet, the panic would attack again.
Stumbling backward, his eyes would widened in shock as the ground below him opened up and swallowed him whole. This was the part he hated the most. As he fell, faster and faster, crashing toward the ground, the panic would become too intense and too real. His screams would feel the air around him, but it was never enough to stop the fall. It only served in making everything worse in hearing his own fear.
He would continue to plunge swiftly at the oncoming ground, a flap of angel wings would reach his ears and his eyes would be drawn to the creature plummeting next to him. Every time, the angel's look was the same. Cold eyes and a taunting smile. It's wings would flap once more before it jerked up and away from him, turning it's back and soaring away, leaving him plummeting to his impending death.
Just as he would reach the ground, the second before his crashing body could connect with the earth, he would wake up in a cold sweat and heavy breathing. Like any young man, he had grown out of his childish nightmares, and believed he had left them locked up in his subconscious.
He was wrong.
Kakashi was faintly aware of voice shouting around to him, but they seemed to be so very far away. Almost echoing back to him.
"He's going into shock! Someone help me! DON'T MOVE HIM!"
"KAKASHI!" "KAKASHI!" "NO! TSUNADE, DO SOMETHING! HE'S DYING!"
Who were they talking about? Where… where was he? Who was he?
Everything was so numb now, and it almost seemed…peaceful.
'I'm so sorry, Sakura. Naruto. Forgive me.'
The thought flashed through his mind, and he found himself wondering who Sakura and Naruto were. What was going on, why was he so numb? Why was everything so quiet now?
He opened his mouth to speak into the darkness now surrounding him. Suddenly, he felt himself falling down, tumbling and crashing so fast downwards that it ripped a yell from his lungs. A faint voice could be heard so far away, and he knew it was calling him back, but he couldn't reach it if he tried. He was gone.
The memories assaulted him as he fell, everything from when he was a child to when he first met the smiling faces of his students and the moment when he saw them for the last time before heading out to fight in the war.
"We'll show them how Konoha ninja kick some ass, eh, Kakashi-sensei?"
"Naruto, we're equals. It's just Kakashi now."
"We know that, Kakashi-sensei, but there is still so much Naruto and I can learn from you."
"Sakura. Naruto." They're eager faces, so full of life at that moment. Being with them, he didn't want to leave it. He didn't want to forget them. "Be careful."
"You don't have to worry about us, Kakashi-sensei!" Naruto's bright smile. Sakura's agreeing nod. How could he do this to them? To himself? "Let's show them what he got!"
A flap of wings ripped Kakashi from his painful thoughts as the whistling wind around him had him plunging faster and faster head first to the ground. Another flap, and Kakashi knew what was next to him. He didn't need to see the wings. He didn't need to see the cold eyes. He didn't need to see the taunting smile. He knew.
Kakashi felt rage surge through his body, and he whipped out at the creature, yearning for his fist to connect with the smooth skin of the angel. Wanting justice in this unfair world he had lived and died in. Wanting some kind of understanding.
He had expected his hand to hit flesh and bone, to find solidity, instead, he felt fingers enclose around his wrist and pull him up. His falling slowed as his mismatched eyes cut to the angel holding him.
What his eyes beheld had a choked noise of despair and hurt cut from his throat, and Kakashi wanted nothing more than to understand at that moment. Why?
His blood red and gunmetal eyes stared into shocking, electric blue hues. A blonde disarray of messy spikes framed a familiar face and warming smile and Kakashi whispered something he thought was long lost in his words and memory.
The smile grew and a soft laugh followed. It couldn't be. No. This wasn't real.
"It's time for you to fly, Kakashi-kun."
Fly? He didn't understand. What was happening to him?
Minato drew Kakashi up and wrapped his arms easily around him. Kakashi felt like a small child again and the hurt clawed at him over and over.
"Fly for me, Kakashi-kun. Forget your pain."
His sensei's whisper thrummed through his body, and Kakashi felt himself being push away from Minato. His confused eyes searched the blue depths of the other man, and found them smiling at him. His body warmed and he felt….okay. Like everything was going to be alright now. With a nod and serious look of intensity, Minato let go of Kakashi and allowed him to fall from his grasp.
Instead of plummeting to his pain and confusion and everything he had known, Kakashi spread his new wings and soared away from the tragedies that he had constantly surrounded himself with. He left behind the tears that had been shed, and the hurt that been his companion over the years. He was free, for the first time in his life, Kakashi was finally free. The chains were finally broken.
So, was that okay? Please, tell me what you thought of it, I really really REALLY want to know okay? Yeah, I know it wasn't a KakashixSakura thing, but you can see it if you squint. There was no couple in this thing. No Yaoi either, so don't even ask that. Please tell me what you thought! Thank you for reading!