A/N: This plot bunny came out of nowhere and bit me. Hard.

I seem to like writing fics that begin with a death/near-death scene... Morbid much? -shrugs-

Has anyone been seeing a pattern? I have no idea how that happened. Ah well.

I've been working for a while on this chapter, and asked several of my friends to critique and poke logic-shaped holes. Thankyous to Bluu Inkblot for giving me her opinion of my 13456137615th draft (That was just an estimate. It is probably very off.), and to Hikanin Shirona for her logic-shaped biscuit cutter, and all my friends who have helped me with this! :D

Nowadays my inspiration always strikes in the form of scenes. And after that I have to try my very best to come up with a good skeleton plotline so as to continue the fic... Sigh. So don't be too surprised if you see random fics here and there which start off in the middle of the action. (Maybe I just don't like prologues? Haha... never really tried writing one. Or maybe I'm just lazy. Hmm...)

I'm not as happy with this title as I am with Windchime (I seriously loveloveloveloveLOVE that title. ^^) but I guess it'll do for now. I have rather grand plans for this fic, but I can always post my continuation as a sequel, and take my time coming up with a new title. -bangs head- Titles are just... so troublesome...

Anyway! Hope you'll like the fic, and don't freak out, the second chapter won't be nearly as depressing. (:


"It's impressive that despite not being an Uchiha, you can still use the Sharingan with such proficiency. However, your blood is not like ours, thus you are less suited to use it."

Kakashi grimaced internally. 'Unfortunately, he's right. I tire easily.'

"Why is the Uchiha clan known as the strongest?" Itachi mused. He closed his eyes, and despite how it should seem like an opening for attack, (under normal circumstances and with normal shinobi, it would be, but nooooooooooo, this was Uchiha-friggin-Itachi and treating the current situation like something normal would be suicide.) Kakashi felt himself tense. He was going beyond high alert into something that was more like extreme, constant paranoia. "I will let you experience the true power of the Sharingan... our clan's real strength!"

'Shit!'

"Both of you under no circumstances are to open your eyes!" He snapped. The panic was evident in his voice, a clear contrast from his normally mild tone. Though startled, Asuma and Kurenai were quick to obey the ex-Anbu captain's command, both squeezing their eyes shut.

Kakashi closed his right eye and stared straight ahead with his Sharingan, hoping it would be enough, hoping it could match up to whatever hellish power the traitor Uchiha had gained...

A very heavy feeling of dread settled in his stomach.

"Listen carefully: do not open your eyes. If you do, that's the end." He instructed grimly, in a flat tone that allowed no protest. "It's most likely that only another Sharingan can counter this."

"Correct – as long as one has the Sharingan, it is possible to resist this Mangekyou Sharingan," Itachi remarked carelessly. "But this is a special ability of my doujutsu: the genjutsu Tsukuyomi. Only another Sharingan user with the same blood as me can hope to counter it!"

'Sasuke,' He realised. 'Crap.'

Then Itachi opened his eyes, and three things happened in front of Kakashi.

Three very terrible things, which would haunt him for a long time to come.

One. A very familiar blonde blur barrelled into Kakashi.

Two. Grimly determined blue eyes met Itachi's blood-red ones, a black pinwheel-like shape already formed in each.

Three. As Itachi snarled "Tsukuyomi!" despite his surprise, Naruto flicked a kunai towards his own neck.

The world swirled into red.

"In the realm of Tsukuyomi, I control everything... Space, time, even the mass of objects," Itachi's emotionless voice droned. "For the next seventy-two hours, I will continuously stab you with these katanas."

There was no fear in Naruto's eyes as the sword plunged into his gut.

As Kakashi made a mad lunge for the boy, the kunai pierced his throat with deadly accuracy and buried itself up to the handle in Naruto's neck.

"Fifty-two hours, thirteen minutes and ten sec—"

The crimson world jerked violently, shattering, and Itachi felt himself flung out of the genjutsu. He ignored the blood that trailed from his eyes and struggled to get over his disorientation.

There was no way to break his Tsukuyomi. Not a single person had ever, ever managed to dispel his strongest – the strongest – genjutsu.

His head spun. Just what did the Kyuubi boy do?

Blood sprayed.

Both of Kakashi's eyes were stretched wide in horror.

He scarcely noticed Itachi mutter something to a puzzled Kisame. The other two jounin exclaimed in surprise, asking what in the world just happened; Asuma's hands were balled into tense fists, and Kurenai had bitten through the skin of her lip to stop herself from opening her eyes. They were worried, anxious, fearful.

But Kakashi did not care. Not when his student was dyingdyingdead and it was all his fault.

(Again.)

Obito's eye burned. (for it was never his, it was Obito's as it was Obito who died to save him, Obito whom he failed and Obito who would never have failed Naruto.)

He barely caught the falling boy.

Naruto struggled to speak, but his vocal cords had been cut clean through along with his windpipe and the damned jugular, and nothing but more blood made its way out of his mouth. Kakashi's flak jacket was stained scarlet as he shoved his chakra into one of the few medical ninjutsus he knew, but Naruto was not healing – why wasn't he healing?

He knew it was a fatal wound. But – Was Kyuubi's chakra not enough to heal him? Was Kakashi's medical jutsu and Naruto's own regenerative abilities not enough to save him? The boy was able to bounce back from everything. Or so Kakashi had thought, and he prayed, let this not be an exception...

Maybe he's a Kage Bunshin, his mind rambled distractedly. Maybe he's just a Kage Bunshin and the real Naruto hid himself somewhere else. Naruto tends to jump into stuff but he'd never do something like this just to save me from Itachi, right?

It was uncharacteristic of him to give in to panic and desperation, especially in the middle of a battle. But...

Come on... it has to be a Kage Bunshin. There's no way Naruto would kill himself, no way he would die...

...even the famous and infamous Copy Ninja was only human.

But Kage Bunshin don't bleed. Humans do. Kage Bunshin disappear when hit. Humans get injured, and humans die...

He knelt there on the blue-turning-red water, a dying student in his arms, his failure to protect his comrades crushing his shoulders, and horror-fury-grief shaking him – keep still! He must not injure the boy any further—

A hand tugged weakly on his sleeve, and he tore his eyes away from Naruto's frowning face and pained eyes to see his hands slowly forming hand-signs.

"Sorry... Don't panic I'm okay... This... not... what you..." The corners of the boy's mouth twitched upwards weakly, trying to reassure his distraught sensei.

Obito's eye was crying. (Because Kakashi had no right to when he had failed, yet Obito was still willing to cry for him.)

His Sharingan spun furiously as it etched the disjointed message into his memory, reflecting the colour of blood and—

(Oh, Kami – all that blood...)

His eye and Itachi's eyes, his (green) jacket and Naruto's (orange) jacket, his (pale) hands and his (silver) hair and his (dark blue) mask... they were all one colour.

The colour of blood, the colour of death.

(And then he realised – black is for mourning, and red is for dying.)

He sensed movement, head snapping up on instinct—

—And this time there was no one to save him (even though he shouldn't be saved, shouldn't because he was not worth it and never had been) as he was dragged into another Tsukuyomi, as he was pulled away from reality and failure and Naruto and his student's death...

But Itachi was significantly weakened when Tsukuyomi was forcibly broken (when brave, reckless Naruto killed himself), and Kakashi could tell – the Uchiha's bleeding red eyes held less menace than before, unwillingly showing bewilderment and discomfort.

Kakashi barely registered the pain as Itachi stabbed him, even as a ragged "Guuaargh!" tore its way out of his mouth. (It tore out of his throat, like the knife tore Naruto's.)

He refused to make any sound after that, and showed no acknowledgement of pain, focussing on hate and fury and he realised that he really wanted to kill Uchiha Itachi.

In an act of fierce defiance (it would have made Naruto proud), Kakashi forced his body to move and stabbed a kunai – the same kunai that had killed his student – forward blindly. It felt like he was trying to move something from far, far away, trying to connect to something that was not there... He almost expected nothing to happen, as Tsukuyomi was supposed to prevent the victim from moving and attacking anymore.

Itachi coughed violently, spitting out a mouthful of blood. The genjutsu realm shuddered.

But it did not break.

And then that bastard finally caught on to something. The traitorous Uchiha made him relive the exact moment of his student's sacrifice instead.

This time, he screamed. He yelled in fury and grief and denial, because there was just too much blood, too much dying, too much sacrifice and too much that were his fault.

Something broke. Maybe it was him.

He remembered finding his father in the study, broken and bleeding to death over the tatami mats ("I'm sorry, Kakashi."), Obito crushed under that rock ("I don't care what the village says, 'cause you're a great ninja, Kakashi..."), Obito giving him his Sharingan ("Sorry... From now on, I will become your eye and see the future for you."), Sensei falling as his soul was taken ("Sorry, Kakashi... Take care of yourself and look out for Naruto for me, okay?") and Naruto trying to smile one last smile at him even as blood poured and poured out of his neck...

("Sorry...")

Why were they apologising? He was the one who should be sorry, and he was the one who should not have lived

And for the first time in Hatake Kakashi's life, he truly wished for death.

For he had failed.


Itachi was forced to deactivate his Mangekyou Sharingan and release Tsukuyomi before the three illusion-days were over, weakened as he was. He threw his best genjutsus at Kakashi with his normal Sharingan, one after another, but the Copy-nin tore through them like paper.

"We're getting out of here, Kisame," he grunted, shaken.

He stumbled back unsteadily as Kakashi lunged forward with a Raikiri, murder in his eyes. Kisame grabbed Itachi's arm, and with a few hand-seals and a splash of water they were both gone.

None of them realised that through all of his attacks, Kakashi had not once let go of the boy with bloodstained blond hair and glazed blue eyes.

Panting heavily, Kakashi collapsed onto the water surface. The last thing his mind registered was the body of his dead student slipping out of his arms, sliding out from his slackened grip and slowly sinking into the lake. He tried to grab the boy's jacket, but he could not lift his arm... it was too heavy, and he could not move...

His mind slipped away into unconsciousness, where nothing but pain, guilt and loss awaited him.


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So... was it good? I'll try to get the next chapter up by tomorrow. There's a bunch of stuff I want to clean up and being the perfectionist I am, I will not let bad ficwork get away! (:

Do leave a review? (:

~rakku