Hello kittens-

Here is a short story that my grandmother inspired today when I went to see her.

It's going to be sad so be ready to cry.

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He always held her hand.

It was just something that he did. Out of habit. Out of need. He didn't really know what drove him to grasp the little orphan's hand when he saw her crying. It just seemed to be the easiest way to make her smile. And if that didn't work he took her out for ice cream or bought her a nice new toy.

Time passed and the little girl grew up into a hyper active, loud, and sort of obnoxious pre teen who had been placed on his genin team to be trained. He couldn't really keep himself form thinking how different she was from the quiet and lonely little girl that he had once known.

The loneliness was still there, there was no question of that. It was just buried deeper.

But it really came out the day that they had finished their mission to wave. It was late in the night and he was walking around his room when he happened to pass by his window for the hundredth time in the past twenty minutes and saw a dark figure moving towards the tree line. Growling in irritation he grabbed his mask and weapons and headed out to see who was skulking around outside at such an ungodly hour of the night and was surprised to find Naru a little ways from the house, hidden by the trees, standing over Zabuza and Haku's graves crying.

He frowned and stepped out behind the girl, thinking that maybe she needed someone to stay with her and put his hand on her shoulder, startling her a little bit. She looked at him and started to wipe away her tears but he stopped her.

"There's nothing wrong with crying for them Naru." Because they hadn't been such bad people, and everyone deserved to have someone to cry for and remember them once they were gone.

She stood there for the better part of an hour crying her heart out and finally when he couldn't take it any more he reached out and took her hand like he used too when he was an Anbu and just stood there, saying a silent prayer for the lost souls of the two rogue nin laying so still and cold in the ground.

It wasn't fair. They should have lived much longer.

But life was often unfair.

Time passed and Naru grew even more. As a shinobi and as a person, Kakashi couldn't have been prouder of her. Especially the day when she had returned to the village and fought and defeated Pein.

Everyone in the village was sitting around a large bon fire singing and drinking and celebrating Naru's victory but Naru herself wasn't there. She had wondered off somewhere to be alone several hours ago. Kakashi had been counting the minutes and then finally decided that she had moped around enough and set his drink aside and stood up to go look for her.

He found her in the flower feild on the far side of the village, looking at the large crater of destroyed earth, and homes, her head bowed and her shoulders shaking in silent sobs. She was in mourning because this had happened. Because she had failed to return sooner and prevent it.

He walked up behind her just like he had so many times before and slipped his hand around hers. She didn't look up, but then she didn't really have too.

He held her hand and let her mourn just like he would when she was forced to kill Sauske, and like he would when she laid Tsunade and Jiraiya to rest along with Gaara and so many others.

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She sat by his bedside.

Counting each breath he took knowing that the next one would probably be his last and looked at his face.

He looked so pale, his eyes rimmed in red, his cheeks and eyes sunken in. Time had caught up to her sensei.

He was dying.

The combination of his old wounds and illness had sapped what energy and strength he had left causing him to age beyond his years. He was thirty five and he already looked like he was sixty.

His eyes fluttered open and he looked at her, he blinked and seemed suprised to find her sitting next to his bed. He forced himself to smile. "Hey, I didn't know that you were here."

She smiled at him and looked down as he worked one of his hands free of the blankets on his hospital bed and inched it close to her own. She grasped his hand and he squeezed it and for a second he looked like he was going to cry.

"Sorry. I didn't want to wake you. You seemed to be resting pretty good."

"I was. I was dreaming about you." He said weakly as he turned his head a little more so that he could look at her directly.

"Really? What about?"

He frowned and was quiet for a moment. "I can't remember. But it was really nice."

She smiled at him and noted that he was having trouble breathing and knew that he didn't have much longer. His eyes fluttered closed for a few minutes and she wondered if he had gone back to sleep when he opened them again and said.

"Your amazing." Really there was nothing else to say. That pretty much said it all.

She blinked at him and he smiled at her for a second and then got a pained look on his face and looked like he was going to cry again. "I think I'm-" He started to tell her that he was scared, he could feel himself slipping away from her and he didn't want to go.

Not yet.

But he was so tired.

He never finished his sentence, it was just too difficult to speak, and he was having trouble catching his breath. So he just lay there and let her speak for him since she seemed to know what he had wanted to say anyways.

He fell alseep listening to the lyrical drone of her voice and never even noticed when he stopped breathing...

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Naru knew the moment he stopped breathing that he was gone.

She stood up and started to move to go get a nurse when she felt a small tug and looked down. His hand was still curled around her own, tightly clutching her even in death. She sat back down and waited.

It would be pointless and cruel of her to get a nurse at this point. They would just bring him back and make him suffer more.

So she sat there quietly counting down the minutes until she was sure that he was gone, she wouldn't be able to let go of his hand until she was sure he had passed on without fear or worry that he might be left alone.

One hour passed, then easily slid into two and finally she slipped her hand from his and put it back under the covers and leaned over him and kissed his cheek and straitened her spine and walked out of the room.

Each step away from him hurting her more and more.

She just couldn't believe that he was gone.

Not when she had always held his hand when he had needed her too.

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Kakashi's funeral was a quiet affair.

Every man woman and child was there to say goodbye to the man who had helped protect the village and help them win the last great war.

Naru herself didn't really go, but she was close by.

Close enough to make shadow clones and send them to stand beside everyone at the funeral and take their hands.

After the service was over and everyone was starting to leave she managed to over hear Shika and the other rookies talking about her.

"Naru's something else right?" Sakura asked as she wiped her tears away with the back of her hand.

"She's like Kakashi. It's just second nature to her-" Shika said as he pulled out a cigarette. "She may not always be around when we're looking for her, but she's always around to hold our hands when we need her too."