Kakashi's eyes stared blankly at the ground, the Hokage's words floating over his head in a jumble of talk that made no sense at all. His body felt so numb, so empty, so dead. Just like the clouds. They were gray. He liked that. The way they refused to show color on this day, choosing to be bland and depressed, stuck in the middle of black and white. Not everything was black and white, after all. Isn't that what his sensei always said?

It wasn't always one thing or the other, sometimes it was neutral. Sometimes it was undecided. Sometimes it was unclear. He used to hate that because he liked things to be straightforward and point blank. It made things so much simpler and easier to understand. But things were different. Things had changed. He had changed.

"It is regretable that we lose such a young life," Kakashi flinched. "but sometimes sacrifices are made on the battlefield. Such is the life of shinobi. Uchiha Obito will be dearly missed by all," here the Hokage's voice wavered slightly before picking back up in the calm tone he always spoke in. "and we will cherish his memory always."

Kakashi gritted his teeth and walked out of the crowd, turning his back on the mourners and the solemn faced Hokage and the picture of a smiling face perched delicately at the front of the transgression.

He had never felt so alone and abandoned. Was it possible to feel so detached? Was he even in his body still? He had to pinch himself for reassurance, to make sure he wasn't floating away, and swallowed thickly when the sharp prick of pain brought back some of his senses.

Shinobi Rule Number 32: A Shinobi Never Lets Down His Guard.

Kakashi stood stiffly from his seat in front of one of the practice logs. The same log that Obito had been tied to on their first day as a team. A smile twitched his lips and he shook his head.

"Shinobi Rule Number 25: A Shinobi Must Never Show Emotion." he muttered under his breath and fingers snatched out a kunai from his leg pouch. "No emotion, huh?"

His hand whipped out with lightning speed, chucking the kunai with deadly accuracy to a target hidden in the foliage. He heard the distinct 'thunk' as it hit its mark dead on. Of course.

'It's not your fault, Kakashi-kun. You're not responsible for this.'

His sensei was a fool.

Kakashi glowered and, walking to a nearby tree, slammed his fists into the pad strapped to its trunk that served specifically for training purposes. It was hard to throw the punches when one eye saw gray and the other saw red. It was confusing, like looking through a kalidoscope on one side.

Frustration flooded through him and he grunted as his fists hit harder and harder against the pad, leaving smudges of blood on its surface. He wasn't showing emotion. He wasn't. He was just being as stoic as ever, damn it.

'You're not responsible. Neither of you.'

Rin's glazed eyes. Shaking hands. Tears. She continued to cry, even after telling their sensei what happened. Kakashi didn't.

He slammed his fist into the tree, opening a gash on his knuckles. His chest heaved with labored breathes, more from his thoughts than actual exertion. Pulling away, he looked at the blood oozing over his skin and staining his sleeve before dripping to the grass, turning it black.

"You say we are not responsible, sensei," he squeezed his fist and the blood gushed down his hand. "But you're wrong. We are."

'I killed my best friend.'

'Don't cry, Kakashi.'

'Shinobi never show emotion.'

'Pathetic. Weak.'


Kakashi fell to his knees and screamed, hands fisting into the black grass, eyes screwed shut, and heart slamming painfully against his ribs. He yelled and he screamed and he cried out in pure, unadulterated agony. The plea of a broken child. The tears of a boy. The voice of a man.

Things had changed.

So I was digging through my documents looking for something completely different and I found this sitting there collecting dust. I can't even remember how long it has been since I wrote this, but I don't think it deserved to be rotting away in that folder! So please review, it is deeply appreciated!