A/N: This is fairly sad, but I'm working on a fluffish piece as I type, so all's well!
Hatake Kakashi had always been a collector. It was inevitable, what with being a ninja; you had to collect to survive. Whether it was a habit of collecting food, or hoarding up fighting tricks, everyone had to do it. With some compilations, they stopped after a while. Others, lasted a lifetime.
Kakashi (the fighter) collected different Jutsu's, Taijutsu's, and everything in between- battle styles that his Sharingan and brilliantly sharp mind catalogued away to help in his fights against the enemy.
He collected scars; (or Kakashi the ninja did anyway), and it was a collection that would cease to grow only when he died. There was an ugly scar running down the entire length of the left-hand side of his face, there were a barrage of nicks from his genin years when an army of shuriken had been thrown at him…and there were the stab wounds, littered over every single part of his body that twinged painfully on particularly cold days or when he'd taxed his muscles too much. In this respect, his collection was larger then others.
Kakashi (the lover) had a very small collection when it came to romantic liaisons. There were, of course, the customary fucks, the forced, fake, illicit relationships when he was on reconnaissance missions and had to play his part carefully, but for Kakashi, when he found his greatest treasure, his Iruka, he quite happily ceased to care for his previous lovers. His collection of one was more then enough for him.
The worst thing Kakashi (the father, the friend, the brother) thought though, the very worst thing as he stared numbly at the blood-soaked identity tags in front of him was the growing collection of pain. And of loss, and the indescribable feeling that his world was falling apart. On his neck, he carried many of these reminders; the tags of his long-dead best friend, of Rin, of his beloved teacher…and now, with a choked sob, he took the tags from the openly-grieving Hokage, and as the small- far too small, he thought numbly, necklace pooled into the leather of the ANBU-issued glove on his palm, he had to strain to listen to Tsunade's words over the muffled screaming in his ears. His own grieving sobs.
"He…" sob "…wanted you to have this. Asked that they specifically went to you."
He brought the dog tags upto his eyes, his sharingan crying behind his hitai-ate and his grey one eye solemn and sad and lost. He stared closely at it, tracing with shaking fingers the name Uzumaki Naruto that was stamped into the fine metal. He gently scraped the drying blood off of the necklace, and then clenched the item to his chest, head bowed.
Later that night, as Iruka curled up beside him and sobbed openly too, for Naruto was worth openly grieving about, Kakashi slowly added one more dead family member, one more dog tag, to the collection already around his neck.
Hatake Kakashi had always been a collector. But it didn't mean he hated it any less.
A/N: Please Please review! I love your quirky and thoughtful comments, and they always inspire the way no muse can!