Overwhelmed


Gai remembers the day Kakashi lost an eye. He remembers it better than Kakashi, he thinks. For Kakashi it was a blur from start to finish, all happening too quickly to react to. In the hospital, pumped full of painkillers, it's no easier to comprehend. After Gai takes him home, Kakashi confides that he really doesn't know what happened. Minato's there, and he's hysterical, and he wants to take Kakashi home with him, to Kushina, but Kakashi won't let him, and everyone is too upset to keep Kakashi from doing what he wants, which is to go home to his own house and hide.

For weeks the only person Kakashi will allow to see him is Gai, but Kakashi confesses he doesn't remember that part very well at all. Day after day, Gai would visit, because he had no choice, if he stayed home he would go insane with worry, and everyone else is counting on him to deliver presents and cards and pleas to come out of the house.

"We're not angry," Minato says, taking Gai's arm and pleading with him. "We're not angry at all. Please tell him that. We just want to see him."

Gai nods, stunned to be this sort of go-between, and promises that he will tell Kakashi that.

But when he sees Kakashi lying limply in bed, a fresh bandage over his eye, he knows the last thing Kakashi cares about is anyone else. Kakashi doesn't care if anyone is mad at him. He's too busy grieving Obito's death.

Like everything else, Kakashi does his grieving by himself.

Gai sits down on the end of the bed and asks, "Won't you see them? They're your team."

"I won't see anybody," Kakashi intones, staring at the ceiling with one eye.

"Then why am I here?"

Kakashi finally, after so many weeks, looks at him. "Because you won't overwhelm me with your grief."

Gai reaches out, then, and takes Kakashi's hand, squeezing it.

Kakashi doesn't pull away.

They seem to stay that way for a while, at first holding their breath, and then both of them thinking.

Gai wishes he knew what Kakashi was thinking.