Kakashi's Death: Naruto POV

I never thought it would hurt this much. I knew I would be sad, depressed, angry, and would feel resentment and loneliness again, but I didn't expect this much pain. I guess you were closer to me than I thought. You were like an older brother, or an uncle I could look up to, like Iruka-sensei. It still hurts. I didn't believe them when they first told us. I asked them, pleaded them, to tell me it was some sick joke and that you were just later than usual. But it wasn't.

I saw Sakura trying to hold in the tears that were sure to come. I saw Sasuke stop breathing for a moment before hiding his face, the sadness in his eyes were almost overwhelming. I couldn't believe it. I still can't. I waited at the training grounds for hours, thinking you were gonna be late as usual and come up with some lame excuse, but you never did.

That's when it really hit me. And it hit me hard. You're gone, and never coming back. It didn't sink in at your funeral, even when I saw almost the entire Leaf Village there, crying, mourning, and praying. There were even people from other villages and nations that came to see your funeral to say goodbye or thank you.

The other Jounin senseis were there too, holding back their tears as well. Some couldn't even look at your coffin as you were buried. It just hurt too much. Kurenai was crying openly on Asuma's shoulder, and even he had a tear in his eye. Gai was quiet, and he didn't have those fake, overrated tears, but genuine ones. I even remember hearing him whisper quietly, "You will always be my eternal rival…and friend."

I was still in a daze when Iruka-sensei laid a hand on my shoulder for comfort I didn't think I'd need. I was even puzzled why his eyes were watery and had a sad smile.

I know you wouldn't want a funeral, because most ninja that die on duty usually don't get a proper burial. But grandma Tsunade insisted. I was shocked to see how much you affected her. I was shocked to see how you affected so many people when you had such a short life. I was shocked when I realized how important you were in my life.

Now, your name is carved honorably into the Memorial Stone, next to your old teammate and friend, Obito and the Fourth Hokage. When I first found out about why you were so late to anything, you're stupid excuses didn't seem so stupid anymore. I can empathize now. Seeing the name of someone you care for written in a stone for those who are dead, it can be hypnotizing. Painful and sad, but I can't look away. I keep replaying the words in my head. I can understand the words, just not what they mean. It brings a sort of peace in the chaos of my emotions.

Even now as I stare at your name, I still can't fully accept it. Whenever Sakura and I meet for training with our new sensei, I always expect to see a shock of silver hair and a masked man, smiling even after being late. Or even your ridiculous orange book. But when you never come, my heart breaks all over again. I know it's the same with Sakura, but the difference is, she accepted your death. Something I'm still trying to do.

I know I shouldn't feel guilty, but I do. It's not my fault, I know that, but I just can't stop the crushing weight of my consciousness from destroying me from the inside out. If I knew it would hurt this much, then I much rather not be a shinobi. But if you knew I thought that, you would probably smack me, huh? I'm practically going back on my nindo, something I swore to right in front of you.

So im going to go on as a shinobi, trying my best to protect the ones I hold precious to me. I couldn't save you, but I'll definitely make it up to you.

Believe it.