Chocolate-brown eyes watched the sleeping ninja. They were usually so warm, and filled with love and kindness. They still were, but now there was determination and sadness in them too.

The girl looked around twenty or so, but the truth was that she was only seventeen. Being a ninja did that to a person; the harsh life caused all to age prematurely. Her brown hair was cut short, just above shoulder length, as it had been all her life.

Not a single tear rolled down her cheeks, where a purple stripe could be seen on each side. Despite the emotions swirling within her, Rin raised her head high as she turned away from the white-haired shinobi lying asleep on the bed.

"Are you sure you want to do this, Rin," the Fourth Hokage asked her kindly. Not a single doubt showed in her face as she answered.

"No, Minato-sensei, I don't want to. I have to though, so please don't tell Kakashi I won't be returning from this mission."

Minato flinched when she called him sensei, like she had when she had been a young genin. Now, as a fully qualified jounin, she called him Minato-sama or Hokage-sama like everyone else did.

"If you think that it would be best that way, Rin, then that is what I shall do. But remember, you will always have a home in Konoha, Rin. You and the little one."

The girl placed a hand on her stomach as she went to pick up the bag that rested at the doorway. She couldn't take all her possessions; Kakashi would notice. But she had a lot more than she would usually take on a mission, and had left nothing that she prized greatly behind. She just hoped that Kakashi wouldn't notice.

She opened the door silently and slipped out. Kakashi didn't even stir as the door clicked shut, and Rin bowed her head in sadness as she left their shared apartment for the last time. She would not return to Konoha.


Minato sat calmly behind his desk, the work in front of him only a pretence.

"Five…Four…Three…" He muttered under his breath. "Two…"

Pounding footsteps echoed of the walls of the corridor outside.

"One…"

The door flew open, smashing into the wall behind it. Minato frowned as the protruding handle smashed through the lovely wood; he had expected Kakashi to be angry, but he didn't appreciate his office being destroyed.

"Where is she?" Kakashi yelled, barrelling into the room. Minato noticed with sadness that his usually stoic student was in a frenzy that usually was only ever associated with Rin. The hokage realised that he would miss this now she was gone.

"Why hasn't she returned from her mission?" Kakashi asked. A pair of Anbu sidled into the room. Minato wondered why he bothered keeping them as personal guards; they wouldn't have been much help if Kakashi, or someone posing as Kakashi, had intended to harm him.

"Would you like us to get rid of him, Hokage-sama?" One of the anbu asked.

Minato shook his head. "No, he is fine. Would you mind giving us some privacy for a moment?" Once the anbu had left, Minato sighed heavily. "I am sorry about this Kakashi, but Rin has left Konoha."

Kakashi was silent for a moment. When he spoke again, Minato distinctly heard his voice crack.

"What do you mean? She can't have left…"

"She has. The mission she went on was her last; it was top secret, so I can't tell you its location, but she left from there as soon as it was completed. She seemed to think that you might try to go after her if she left a trail."

"And I will!" Kakashi exclaimed. "I need to find her! Where was her mission?"

Minato shook his head. "I can't tell you that Kakashi. But I have a message from Rin. She said that she left a note for you, buried directly in front of the memorial stone."

And then Kakashi was gone, without even so much as a goodbye. Minato smiled sadly. Out of all of them, Kakashi would miss Rin the most.


Hands scrabbled frantically in the dirt, feeling for something, anything, that would bring word of Rin. In desperation, Kakashi overturned the earth, relying on touch alone to find what he so sorely desired.

It wasn't long until he found it: a small glass bottle with a light brown, wooden stopper in the top. Through its transparent sides he could see a small bit of paper, curled neatly and tightly.

With shaking fingers, Kakashi unstoppered the bottle. He reached inside, only to find that Rin had not considered ease of access when she placed her message in there. His digits could not reach far enough in to get a firm grasp on it; a feather-light touch was all he could manage.

He cried out in frustration, and raised the bottle above his head before bringing it down with extreme force upon the hard memorial stone before him. The shards of glass flew in all directions and a crashing sound was heard throughout the clearing.

Kakashi didn't care that he had practically defiled a memorial and showed disrespect to countless numbers of dead shinobi; indeed, it barely registered. How could he care about that when Rin was at stake?

He searched the ground for the slip of paper that dropped when the bottle smashed. He quickly located it and pulled it open. This he treated with the utmost care and gentleness, being careful not to rip it.

Dear Kakashi,

I am sorry to do this to you, my love. I can only guess at how frantic you must be, having discovered that I have left. I hope you haven't harmed anyone.

I had to do this, Kakashi. Perhaps you will see why in the very distant future, but for now, all you need to know is that it is necessary. I know how much this must be hurting you because it is hurting me in the same way.

Please don't attempt to find me. It is a waste of your time, as you will never succeed. I have gone where no one can reach me, and I shall remain here for a long time. Do not blame Minato-sensei for allowing me to leave; it was my decision and no one else.

I am so, so sorry. I know that this will be hard for you, and, after everything you have been through, you of all people did not deserve more heartache. I remember you listing that as one of the reasons why you turned me down all those times.

I am sorry to prove you right.

I will never forget you Kakashi. I love you, and will hold you in my heart always. No one can ever replace you, and I would say that I hope no one replaces me, but that is not fair on you. I want you to find someone beautiful and kind and loving, because you deserve all that, and more. I thought that I could be that person, but it turns out that I can't.

My eternal love and apologies,

Rin.

Kakashi dropped the letter and sunk to his knees, not wanting to believe what he had read. Rin, his Rin, had left him. She wasn't coming back.

How could she leave him? She had spent over five years worming her way into his heart, before Kakashi accepted that she was the one person who would never leave him, and that he could risk loving her back. But now…

She was gone with all the rest of them. Kakashi crouched in front of the memorial stone in a familiar position that caused Obito's name to be directly in front of him. He ran his finger over the engraved letters, mouthing them out beneath his mask as he did every time he came here.

Her name might as well be on there now. Perhaps not killed in action, but lost to the life of a ninja. The shards of glass that were the remnants of the bottle, now littering the grass beneath the masked shinobi's feet gleamed in the sunlight. How ironic that was; instead of a broken body being returned to the village, it was a broken bottle. Well, Rin always had liked to claim that she was different.

Methodically Kakashi began to collect the tiny pieces of the bottle. He had some crazy, half-formed notion about piecing it back together, but he promptly gave up on it when he saw the miniscule sizes of the pieces. There was no way he would ever manage it.

Instead he simply buried them in front of the stone. In a way, he was putting Rin's name there along with the rest of his comrades. Then he covered his face with his hands as sobs wracked his body.


Five months later, a young woman with purple marks on her cheeks and a distinct bump in her abdomen entered a small, forgotten village. She pressed a hand to her stomach as she surveyed the place.

"One day," she whispered to the growing baby inside her. "One day we'll return home."