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When You're Gone by Yumi

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Story notes: This story was inspired by an AMV picture from a doujinshi I saw on youtube. I don't recall which one it was, and I have no idea which doujinshi it is.

Anyway, it's incredibly sad and morbid. If you're not in the mood to cry, I suggest not reading this.

Thank you. Please leave a review.
When You're Gone

He couldn't remember quite how he got back in Konoha, but that could have been due to several things. The mission he had taken was quite dangerous. It had been a while since this had happened, but there were several of his comrades who had been critically injured, and a few whom had passed on. He, however, managed to escape the fight with hardly a scratch it seemed. Kakashi wouldn't have been surprised if he had forgotten how he got home. When he was actively in Anbu, there were days when going home was just automatic, and he wouldn't remember what day it was, when he had eaten last, or why he was home. With this mission, he figured that he had simply gone back to those ways.

However, it bothered him a little. Genma had been at the gate when Kakashi arrived, and the man hadn't even bothered to say hello. Kakashi waved a little, but Genma didn't see him. It perturbed him a little until he found Genma's eyes drooping off into sleep. It seemed that he hadn't sleep in days perhaps.


Genma had been on the mission with him, hadn't he?

Kakashi shook his head. Maybe he had been mistaking someone else for Genma this whole time. Still. . . Oh well. Kakashi took out a soldier pill and left a couple in a folded paper for him. He probably needed it.

As Kakashi walked through the village, he noticed something odd. Normally, there were gossipy women talking about how inappropriate Kakashi was while he read his Icha Icha Paradise books. However, today not even the most active ones were whispering, and Kakashi was reading the most outwardly provocative one of the bunch. In fact, no one seemed to pay him any mind, not even in the busy streets of Konoha. Kakashi had to be the one to take the initiative to move out of people's way so that no one would collide with him. It was almost like no one saw him. The Jounin pinched his face, feeling the stretch of muscles and flesh. Well, at least he wasn't dreaming.

"Tadaima!" Kakashi shouted, entering through the open door to his home. No one answered back. "Iruka?" he called. Still no one answered. Kakashi took off his shoes and walked in, finding all the lights off and the windows shut. Was Iruka not home?

Hold on. . . was there a robber?

Kakashi took out a kunai and tentatively approached his and Iruka's room, which was the only room with the door shut. Slowly, he opened the door and peered around the corner, not seeing anything but a television that had been left on. That's when he saw Iruka lying asleep on the bed, and Anko stroking his head, crying. The entire place was littered with used tissues and empty boxes. Kakashi entered and Anko looked up.

"What happened?" he asked Anko. She sighed, and got up, walking toward him. He got out of the way and watched as the woman quietly shut the door and went back to comforting Iruka. "Anko, what happened to Iruka? Is he sick?" Anko did not say anything, just continued to stroke Iruka's head and cry. At first, Kakashi thought that maybe Iruka had died, but then he saw the Chunin shift in his sleep, and that there was tissue in his hands. "Anko! What's going on?!" he shouted, hopefully getting both of their attentions. He wanted to know what was going on, and hell if he was just going to be ignored by them both when he had a right to know why Iruka was in this state.

Yet, nothing had changed.

"Fine." Kakashi said. "I'll come back later." he said, opening and slamming the door shut. Anko jumped, and Iruka woke.

"Kakashi!" Iruka shouted, tears running down his cheeks harder than before. Anko, put her hands to Iruka's shoulders and shook her head.

"It's just the wind. That door needs to be replaced later." she said. "Just get some sleep, okay? You've had it rough these last few days." Iruka nodded and lay back down, blowing his nose for the millionth time since he began to cry.

Kakashi decided to kill some time and eat dinner some sit-down restaurant. He usually didn't treat himself to this, but he wanted to just because he needed to fill some time. Kakashi entered the busy restaurant and went up to the desk to ask for a table. The woman there was smiling as he approached and then asked how many where in the party.

"Party of five, please." the man behind Kakashi said. She nodded and repeated the party number. "Under the name Goro."

"All right it'll be about fifteen minutes." she said. "Next!" Kakashi began to protest against the girl's actions, when the next person put down a reservation. . . and the next. . . and the next. Kakashi finally just yelled at the girl, who didn't seem to notice, and left. He could go somewhere else and get better treatment.

However, every time Kakashi would find a new place to eat, he would encounter the same issue. It was like the whole village had decided to pull this crappy little prank on him just to get him angry. Well, it was working.

Kakashi decided that he wasn't hungry anyway, and that he'd wasted enough time to head back to his house and see how Iruka was doing. He was probably sick, and Anko was still taking care of him. He'd tell Anko to go home and that he'd take care of the rest.

When Kakashi arrived back home, Anko had already left, and for that Kakashi was most thankful. He wanted to wake up Iruka and find out what was wrong. Maybe then he could help his love regain his health. Kakashi opened and closed the front door, slipped off his shoes, and found that Iruka had gone out onto the couch and was watching television with the sound turned off. Tissues were slowly taking over the trashcans and floor space, just like the bedroom had been earlier.

"Iruka," Kakashi said, sitting next to Iruka and his blanket. "How are you doing?" Iruka blew his nose, and took another couple of tissues.

"I'm so stupid." he whispered, bringing forth more tears. "I knew it would happen one day."

"What?" Kakashi asked, touching Iruka's face. The brunette jumped at the ghost of a touch.

"Kakashi?" Iruka gasped, looking in front of him, away from where Kakashi actually sat. "No." Iruka went back to his tissue.

"Iruka, what's going on? What's wrong with you?" the Jounin asked firmly. Iruka just kept crying, pain stabbing through his entire body. There weren't enough tears for him it seemed. Kakashi wished he could do something for Iruka, but at the same time there was something off kilter. There was no way Iruka couldn't have seen or heard him. Why was he crying anyway?

That's when the door knocked.

"It's *sniff* open Anko." Iruka said, blowing his nose again. A few minutes later, Anko appeared from the hallway and had hot soup and a bottle of alcohol in her hands. "Domo." Iruka muttered.

"I want you to eat this now, okay? I don't want you see that you stuffed it in the refrigerator again." Iruka nodded and took the soup.

"Again?" Kakashi exclaimed. "When was the last time you ate?" Neither of them answered. "Iruka! Answer me!!"

"Anko, there's. . . something weird." Iruka began, taking off the lid to the to-go ramen. "I could swear that Kakashi is here."

"Iruka! Stop that!" she said, tears forming in her eyes again, and she knelled down to look into Iruka's eyes. "He's not here. Stop telling yourself that. It's only going to make it harder."

"What the fuck are you playing at?!?" Kakashi shouted. This was the last straw. Fine. Genma hadn't greeted him at the ate, the townspeople were ignoring him, and the waitresses wouldn't seat him for dinner. But he'd be damned if Iruka was going to pretend he didn't exist! Kakashi pushed Anko out of the way and was going to look at Iruka but. . . he never got a hand on Anko. He went straight through her. "What the. . ."

"Iruka, look at me." Anko said, tears falling from her eyes again. "Kakashi isn't coming back. It's been a week. We both have to face facts." Iruka shook his head and wiped the tears from Anko's eyes.

"I can't. . . not yet." he said, resting his head on the back of the couch. "I'm. . . not hungry."

"Iruka, it's been four days since you've even partially eaten. At least drink the broth." she said. "I don't want you to die too." Iruka nodded and raised the foam bowl to his lips. "There you go. Feel better?" Iruka nodded, though barely.

"Hai, a little." he said, putting down the bowl. "Thank you, Anko." She smiled sadly.

"What are friends for?"

Kakashi left the room and went to the kitchen, looking in the refrigerator. There he saw that the normal food that had been there was molding and bad, while styrofoam take-out bowls and boxes filled the empty spaces, all still full of food. Had Anko been getting him food every day? When was the last time Iruka really ate? He decided not to ask and just sat at the kitchen table, eventually falling into sleep.

It seemed that Kakashi had slept for several days, for when he woke up Iruka was almost back to his normal self. He was currently cleaning out the very full and dirty fridge and throwing away even more take-out packages than Kakashi had originally seen. Empty alcohol bottles lined the sink, presumably still there so that Iruka could recycle them. Still, there was something wrong with the man. He was still so sad. It was as if he wanted to cry, but he had run out of tears.

"What do you think?" Iruka quietly muttered to himself, but almost as if there was someone else there to answer him. "Gross enough?" He tossed the last of the uneaten food away and held his chest as if it hurt. "It's all clean now, though. No more worry." Iruka face contorted again, though no tears came forth. His chest just ached. Kakashi stood up and tried to hug Iruka, but found that he slipped through him, just like his hand had slipped through Anko.

Iruka walked out of the kitchen and went to the bedroom, picking up the last of the tissue that had been scattered around the room. Then, he sat down on Kakashi's side of the bed and stroked the empty spot. The bed had been made up again, unlike how tousled it had been before while Iruka had been crying. The sheets had no been changed, and it seemed Iruka wanted it that way. He laid down and closed his eyes, breathing in the smell of the cloth.

"You stink." he said, laughing a little. "You always did after missions."

Kakashi looked at his hand, seeing how solid it looked. He could see everything as if nothing had ever changed, yet. . . why could he not touch anyone? He opened the door, didn't he? He could close them too and move chairs. . . But. . . Kakashi just wanted to hold Iruka again. The brunette sighed.

"I guess we should get going, shouldn't we?" he whispered, sitting up and grabbing the flowers in the vase by the bed. Kakashi knew where he was going. It had been a ritual for Kakashi to take the fresh flowers on the nightstand and go see his fallen comrades. Iruka had come along as well, paying homage to his parents, and it seemed that he was finally well enough to do it again.

Kakashi followed Iruka to the KIA stone and knelled down next to him to find Obito's name again. It wasn't as if it was difficult. He had gone there almost every day since the boy had died and knew where the name was by heart. However, the names had shifted slightly because of the mission Kakashi had been on. Iruka, too, knew where the names of his parents were, and could find them blind if he was forced to. However, Iruka's hand drifted lower, to the newer names.

"Hi, Kakashi." Iruka said, tears falling again. "Sorry I'm so late today."

Kakashi stood upright, horrified.

He looked down at his hands again and then back at the stone.

There, right above Iruka's rough fingers was Hatake Kakashi.

"I miss you so much." Iruka whispered, putting his head against the grave marker. "I wish I had stopped you from going." He laughed once through the tears. "I know I say that everyday."

Kakashi kneeled down beside Iruka and tried to touch him, hug him. . . do something. Yet, his body passed through Iruka's every single time. Soon, out of sorrow and frustration, Kakashi too began to cry. Listening to Iruka speak to him. . . it broke his heart.

"I need you so much right now." Iruka whispered. "I wish you were here. You'd know just how to comfort me, and you'd be there to take care of me." He sighed. "I feel so helpless and alone. It's even worse than when my parents died. At least then I had something to get my mind off of the sadness. Now, I have nothing left." Iruka looked up at the name and ran his hand over it again, the smiled. "Would you still love me if I became old and wrinkly? Would you still want to hear the ramblings of an old man?"

"Of course I would." Kakashi said, though he knew now that Iruka would never hear it. "I would want to hear you because I love you. . . so much. . ." Iruka clutched his chest again.

"I hope that you still would. I. . . I can't give my heart to anyone else. It's so broken right now." he said, squeezing his watery eyes shut. "I don't know what you want to do with the pieces, but they're yours. They always will be." Kakashi let out a desperate cry, wanting so much to be able to hold his love. . .

And the rain came.

Both Iruka and Kakashi looked up at the sudden change in weather. The rain came down so hard that it was almost deafening.

"Well, I guess that's my cue to leave." Iruka said. "Hey, I might just die to pneumonia and join you." he said, morbidly, tears still streaking his face. "I'll be happy to join you."

"No!" Kakashi shouted, trying again to touch Iruka, but again falling through him. "Iruka, you can't die! I don't want you to die!"

"You'd probably shake some sense into me if you were here, ne?" Iruka said, turning away. "Saying that it was stupid and that you didn't want me to die. Still," he said, hugging himself. "At least I would be with you. It's better than being alone." Iruka sighed and looked back at the stone. "I'm going to go home, now. I promise I'll be earlier tomorrow, okay?" Kakashi stood up and reached out to grab Iruka's arm, knowing he'd fail but not caring. . .

This time. . . he didn't fall through.

Iruka gasped at the ghostly contact, and looked up, seeing a drenched, foggy figure before him.

"Ka-Kakashi?" Iruka asked, frightened.

"You. . . you can see me?" Kakashi whispered, not believing what was happening. Iruka nodded, and Kakashi squeezed tighter, almost as if that was the connection linking them and if that connection was lost. . . so would he be to Iruka. "Iruka–" The Chunin pressed his lips into Kakashi's gossamer ones. There was no flesh to attach his kiss, but they shared all the love and emotion of one. When they parted, Kakashi saw Iruka's tears had begun again.

"I miss you." Kakashi nodded.

"And I miss you."

"Will. . ." Iruka tried to stroke the face before him, this time his hand fell through. "Will you always be here?" he asked, whispering through the sobs. Kakashi nodded.

"I will. I always will." he said, kissing Iruka and feeling the skin there. "Even in the rain." he breathed. Iruka's lips trembled. "Especially in the rain." Iruka brought the hand grabbing him to his cheek and caressed it.

"I. . . don't want to let you go."

"You never will." Kakashi said, putting a hand to Iruka's other cheek, feeling himself fading from Iruka's sight. "You don't have to."

"Kakashi! Don't leave!" Iruka said, grabbing at the ghost before him, but never getting hold of anything. "KAKASHI!!"

'I love you, Iruka.'


When you're gone
The pieces of my heart are missing you.
When you're gone
The face I came to know is missing too.
And when you're gone,
The words I need to hear to always get my through the day
And make it okay. . .

I miss you. . .


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