I ' l l. C a t c h. U p


He was aware of his heartbeat, the sound pulsing in his ears. It echoed in his body, the only thing that was constant and always there. The soft sound, like saturated drums.

"Kakashi…"

The voice was soft, a raspy hiss. To Kakashi, it sounded as if it had been forced from torn vocal cords.

Which was very likely.

And he just stood there, for an eternity of seconds. His mind seemingly unable to process the scene before him.

He was unable to process the crimson blood which spattered the green jumpsuit.

Unable to process the dark eyes, staring at him through a haze of obvious agony.

Unable to process the fact that this was his best friend sprawled on the ground.

Unable to process that he was dying.

And then there was a hacking sound, torn from the man before him's throat.

It was an awful sound, a rough, choking, gurgling. It was the sound of someone coughing up their own blood.

The sound of someone dying.

And it was at that sound that Kakashi's mind seemed to kick back into gear and he found himself kneeling on the mossy sand.

Without a moment's hesitation, he was supporting Gai, helping him to keep upright. Gripping his shoulders as he choked. Kept him upright as he purged his stomach of breakfast. And finally, stopping him from collapsing as fatigue over took him.

"Gai…" He was careful to keep his voice even, keep it cool, "What happened?"

"…Attacked…."

Kakashi raked his eyes over his friend's body, searching for any obvious injury. A large bruise was starting to form on Gai's cheekbone but aside from the odd cuts and grazes, he seemed fine. Aside from all the blood.

"How did they do this…?"

A grim chuckle left Gai's lips.

"They didn't…."

Kakashi frowned, "Then …."

"…I did…"

Kakashi's visible eye widened. With one hand, he reached forward and brushed his fingertips against the bruise on Gai's face.

It was getting bigger.

And it was at that moment he realized that it was much worse than he had though.

And the reason for the blood on his clothes became apparent.

"Gai…. You didn't…"

A soft smile appeared on Gai's tortured face, "…Eight…"

Kakashi bowed his head. He couldn't heal an injury that far down. He could heal the destroyed muscle tissue or stop the bleeding.

He couldn't repair Gai's dying heart.

And he didn't think anyone could.

"…then…"

Gai's breathing was slowing

"…Yes…"

Kakashi was still, he simply sat, supporting Gai in a more comfortable position.

Holding his body as it wracked with coughs.

His eyes shut.

"Why?" Kakashi's question was soft, gentle, but Gai's eyes became alert at once,

"My team…." He whispered.

Kakashi's eyes narrowed in realization.

"…You broke it too…" Gai's tone, still light with teasing despite his pain, made Kakashi's throat ach.

He said nothing more.

His hands were red now and Gai had lost all colour in his complexion.

He still said nothing.

After an eternity of silence Gai finally spoke, "…aren't you…going to say goodbye…?"

Kakashi smirks at the lighthearted tone.

"No…"

Gai's eyes slowly begin to drift shut and his breathing seems to slow completely till it's almost non-existent, "I'm going to say…." Kakashi whispered, "I'll catch up."

Kakashi shuts his eyes.

Kakashi was aware of his heartbeat, the sound pulsing in his ears. It echoed in his body, the only thing that was constant and always there. The soft sound, like saturated drums.

And this time, nothing interrupts his silence.


Second Part of the sacrifice Trilogy. What did you think?