A story about being alone, with nobody but the little raindrops to keep you company.
A/N: I wrote this years ago, so I'm sorry if it's horrid!!!! TT.TT
I can’t help but linger here on the top step of the stairwell, writing. The only noises are the soft pitter-patter of the raindrops on the roof of the school. I really hope no one will catch me here, even though it's recess and I have nothing better to do but sneak away and sit on the stairwell, wondering what will happen next.
There goes another crack of thunder. The rain pours down harder, almost attacking the school roof. It then softens, and soon you almost can’t hear it. It feels peaceful here--the rain, the silence.
Another crack of thunder breaks, and I jump with a yelp. I look up at the ceiling, and I swear, I could almost feel the raindrops pricking my skin, the wonderful feeling you get every time you go dancing in the rain. Don’t you love that feeling?
Two girls whom I had known since childhood, but never really been close to, Katie and Leanne, race up the stairway. I’m not surprised, because they always help the heath teacher during recess. Katie, the girl with long, light brown hair and coffee eyes, reaches the top of the stairs first, and dashes up the second stairway, then runs into the double doors that lead to the hallway. Leanne, a blond-haired girl who usually has a ponytail with blue eyes runs after her, yelling that Katie had stolen her shoe.
I giggle, and think that was really random. I’m usually like that.
So here I am, alone again, with nothing but the little raindrops to keep me company. It feels nice, the silence and the gentle rain.
Katie comes back again. “What’s wrong?” she asks. “You seem a little lonely.” She plops on the stairway, putting her sandals on. She clearly seems concerned for me, sitting on the top stair alone and all.
I shrug. “I’m just trying to write. Without all the noise, it’s easier in the silence, and it gives me inspiration.”
That was 100% all true. The silence had given me the inspiration to write, because I feel in a better writing mood when I’m alone.
Katie nods, then, after putting on her sandals, runs up the second set of stairs.
I can hear the clip-clop of high heel shoes coming down the stairs. I look up to see a teacher. “What are you doing here?” she asks, putting her free hand on her hip. She had brown hair down to her shoulders and brown, strict eyes.
“Writing assignment for English,” I lie. I don't think that my English teacher would ever assign something like this. Well, maybe she would, but she hadn’t so far.
The teacher shakes her head. “You aren't supposed to be on the stairway.”
I shrug. “The aids at recess know I’m here.”
She sighs. She knows I’m being stubborn. “Go up to the library.”
I nod, gathering my stuff. As soon as she leaves, I immediately put my stuff back down. No way I’m going to the library!
Then I think about it for a moment. She might come back, I decide, then move to underneath the stairs. No way she would look under there!
Underneath, I try to write. It’s way too dark!
So, I move back to my regular spot, aware of the risk I’m taking of being sent to the principal.
So...................I’m alone again.
Alone. Why is that such a sad word? I’m alone right now, but I feel happy, listening to the raindrops. It’s gentle, the pitter-patter, and the comforting yet eerie silence.
Nobody’s come for a while....Maybe I should move. Nah, I feel comfy right here, my feet dangling above the stairwell, and where the rain can be heard. It’s as if they’re telling me all their little secrets.
The rain let go a little. The pitter-patter is hard to hear now. I settle down in a comfy position, my legs crossed and me leaning down, looking down to the floor. It wasn’t a long drop, but I still was afraid of heights......just a little.
I start to think some more, very aware of the sounds surrounding me, the older students groaning at the sound of a week-long assignment, and the teacher telling them how to do it the easiest way.
I can hear footsteps coming towards the stairway. I scramble up, not wanting to get caught again.
It was just Cari, a girl a year below me. I nod to her, and she goes on her way.
...So I’m alone again.
I can hear people. The eighth graders groaning at a month long English assignment, and the teacher telling them how to do it the easiest way. I smile, and wonder if that’d be me in a few months. It was June of seventh grade. In a couple months, I’d be like them. But I think I’ll manage.
People keep coming to the stairway now. I should go. But I will come back, maybe tomorrow, if it’s still raining. I always want to hear the little raindrop’s secrets. And I always will, if I listen closely.
“Ne, Tsunade-baa-chan! What’re you doing here?” Naruto, the hyperactive, twelve year old blond we all know and love, was sitting in a hospital bed, bandages covering most of his face. It had been two weeks since the battle with Sasuke, and Naruto still had to stay at the hospital until who knows when.
“I’m assigning an ANBU to your room, brat.” Tsunade spit back, hiding a smile in her lips. “It was requested we get you an ANBU for about a week or so.”
“What?! No way, Baa-chan! I don’t need an ANBU!” Naruto shouted back, pointing a finger at Tsunade.
Tsunade grinned. “Maybe not.” She said. “But it was requested by a specific person you have one.”
“Whaaat?! Who?! I’m gonna kick their ass!” Naruto yelled, jumping up, only to get pushed down by Tsunade. “Was it Ero-sensei?! It’s gotta be Ero-sensei!”
“Sorry, but that’s classified.” Tsunade said, sighing. “Just get along with the ANBU. I’m only assigning one,” She said, smiling. “You two’ll get along great.”
Naruto huffed. “I still don’t need an ANBU babysitter.”
“Sure you don’t. H-san!” Tsunade called. “H-san! You can come in now.”
A tall, blond haired ANBU whose hair defied gravity entered the room. Naruto couldn’t tell the gender of his ANBU babysitter because of the dog mask that covered the persons face, but whoever it was, this person were definitely older then he was. Naruto could see all the cool weapons lying at the ANBU’s disposal. Wow! He thought. This might not be bad if this ANBU teaches me cool ANBU moves!
“Naruto, this is H-san. H-san will be your bodyguard until further notice. I’ll let you two get acquainted.” She said, leaving the room.
Naruto grinned. “Hi! I’m Naruto!” he said cheerfully. “I don’t like having an ANBU babysitter, but if you could teach me some awesome ANBU moves, that’d be great!” he said, his eyes shining.
The ANBU, H-san, didn’t respond. H-san stood there, unmoving.
Naruto sighed. “Geez, you’re boring.” He sighed. “How the hell did you get to be an ANBU?!”
H-san didn’t reply.
Naruto was getting irritated. “Come on! Say something!” he urged.
“…nice to meet you, Naruto-san.” H-san said quietly, a feminine voice. Naruto instantly recognized the voice as a girl’s.
“So you’re a girl, huh? That’s okay. Did you not want to talk ‘cuz you’re a girl?”
H-san nodded a bit.
“You seem a little spacy.” Naruto commented. “That’s okay, though.”
H-san nodded again, then reached out her hand. Naruto thought instantly that she was going to smack him, but H-san just scruffled his own spiked blond hair. “I might…..teach you a few moves.” She said slowly. “Later. When you get a little stronger. Okay?”
Naruto grinned. “Okay!” he cheered, pumping his fists in the air. “Then I’ll go and get Sasuke back with my awesome ANBU moves!”
If H-san was taken aback, she didn’t show it. “So you want your friend to come back.” She commented. “I heard about the whole thing from Tsunade-sama.”
“Really? Awesome!” Naruto grinned. “That means a lot of people know about me, right?”
“Yes….I suppose so.”
“Alright! One step closer to being Hokage!” Naruto cheered.
“So you want to be Hokage? That’s….a nice dream.”
“We’re going to get along great, H-san!”
It had been two days since H-san and Naruto met. Naruto was getting stronger and healthier every day. Maybe it was because of the Kyuubi's chakra...or it could be because Naruto was excited that H-san would teach him jutsu once he healed enough.
“Ah! H-san!” he cried, jumping out of bed when the ANBU girl came in. “How’re you today? Am I healthy enough yet to train?”
H-san chuckled sweetly, one thing an ANBU is not supposed to do. Then again, ANBU aren’t supposed to do a lot of things that they do anyway. “Not yet.” She said, her voice quiet and delicate, as if it would break if someone touched it. “But soon, okay? Don’t rush it. You were greatly injured.”
“This? Oh, it’s nothing! You should see the other battle scars I have!” Naruto boasted proudly.
H-san must’ve smiled, but Naruto couldn’t see underneath the mask. He stared at the dog mask, as if he were trying to rip it off using brain power. Then again, Naruto doesn’t have much brain power.
“What’s your name?” Naruto turned to H-san. “Your name can’t be H-san. That’s so stupid. Who would name their kid that?”
“I can’t tell you that.” H-san’s voice was quick, as if she were trying to hide something. “A-ANBU orders…I can’t tell you my name.”
Naruto sighed, jumping back on his bed. “Not fair! This totally sucks.” He muttered, throwing the covers of the bed over his head. It was clear that he was mad. “I wanna know your name! H-san is a boring thing to say!”
“Eh?” Naruto’s head popped out of the covers. H-san was standing besides his bed. There was something about the way she was standing that struck Naruto funny, but he couldn’t figure out what it was.
“My name is Hime. My father gave it to me.” H-san, or Hime, said, her voice fragile and quick. “Now don’t ask anymore stupid questions, okay?”
Naruto grinned. “Sure, Hime-nee-san!” he said cheerfully.
Hime was silent for a moment. “Do not call me that.” She said, her voice getting louder. “Do not call me that! Just call me Hime-san! Hime-san!” her voice was now shouting, another thing an ANBU should never do. “Call me Hime-san!”
Naruto was taken aback by this temper tantrum. “…sure, Hime-san.” He said, a bit disappointed. He had always wanted a big sister, but it was clear that this girl did not want to be one to him.
Hime quickly rushed out of the room.
“What’s her problem?” Naruto said to himself. “Geez….that was almost as bad as I get sometimes…”
The Next Morning……
“Hey, Naruto!” Jiraya’s annoying, loud voice filled the room. “How’s that ANBU I set you up with doing? Quit already?” The toad sage walked into the room, a grin on his face.
“SO IT WAS YOU, ERO-SENSEI!” Naruto shouted, throwing a kunai at the older man, missing by just a hair. “Damn, I should’ve aimed better.” Naruto muttered.
“Hey, hey, no reason to be angry!” Jiraya said, inching away from the kunai. “Geez…I just thought you’d need some company. And what better company than an ANBU?”
Of course, Jiraya didn’t tell him that he was also being protected by the Akatsuki. Naruto needn't know about that just yet. Then he would know that the ANBU really was his babysitter.
Naruto huffed. “It’s fine. She’s actually pretty quiet. Sometimes I don’t even know she’s there. Hime-san is really weird, but she’s gonna teach me—“
“What did you say her name was?” Jiraya said, looking into Naruto’s blue eyes with his own tiny black eyes. “Her name is Hime-san? That’s a pretty cool name. You know it means ‘princess’, right?”
“It does?” Naruto, of course, was clueless. “That is cool. She said her dad named her that.” He grinned.
“She was named by her father……?” Jiraya’s face took a serious tone. “Who was her father?”
Naruto blinked. Ero-sensei never looks this serious… “Are you just going to collect ‘research’ on her, you old perv?” His eyes narrowed.
“Now, now, not every girl I want to know gets research done on her,” Jiraya said cheerfully.
“That’s a lie, and you know it,” Naruto said simply and quite bluntly.
“……Well, so? What are you, her mother?” Jiraya sighed, taking a seat at Naruto’s bed. “Geez. I just wanted to know who her father was……” he placed his hand on his head, rubbing his forehead. “Don’t have to go all mother-in-law on me….”
“Well, I wouldn’t tell you, even if I did know!” Naruto said, sticking his tongue out at his master. “So you’re outta luck, Ero-sensei!”
“Whaaat?! You’d do that to your sensei?!” Jiraya stretched out Naruto’s cheeks. “You deserve a punishment—A JIRAYA punishment!” The two started roughhousing, pulling at each other and yelling.
Hime stood at the door, watching them quietly. She had been there the entire time. Her mask was in place, so her expression was unknown. She placed her hand on her chest. “Jiraya-sama……” she uttered quietly, so quiet that the two hyperactive idiot ninja didn’t hear her. Hime quietly tuned and walked out of the room, her hand still on her chest. “So you’re here, Jiraya-sama.……..? I better not disturb them.”
Hime stood at Kakashi Hatake’s door. She had made her way from the hospital and wound up here. She knocked quietly.
“Oh, Hime.” Kakashi said as he opened the door to his home. “It’s been a while. What’s up? Why’re you here now?”
“Kakashi-nii-san…” Hime uttered. “I’m his bodyguard.”
Kakashi’s eye looked surprised. “Now, really? You’re Naruto’s ANBU bodyguard I’ve been hearing so much about? That seems nice. You can get closer to him now.” Kakashi stood back, opening the door wider. “Come in, Hime.”
Hime shrugged. “I guess so.” She said, stepping into the house. “He really is similar to the fourth Hokage. I was surprised.”
“Now, really? Even after watching him all these years, you’re surprised at his energy?” Kakashi laughed. “Really, Hime. It’s Naruto we’re talking about. Of course he’d be energetic.”
“It’s not that.” Hime replied, placing herself on one of Kakashi’s couches. “Kakashi-nii-san…he’s so nice. He really is the kind of person who can easily make friends, and could become Hokage one day. He doesn’t need me watching over him now.” Hime's hands gripped her shirt desperatly. “I wasn’t even able to protect him that time. He’s so strong…”
“Now, Hime.” Kakashi placed his hands on top of Hime’s hand. The blond spikes poked out from under his hand. “He does need you. Even if he doesn’t know it, he needs you. Don’t give up just because of that.”
“Kakashi-nii-san.” Hime cut in. “You’re his sensei. You’re supposed to help him grow. But me…..I’m just a bodyguard. I can’t do anything to help him right now. I’m just……useless.”
“I-I can hardly tolerate being so close to him. It just hurts so much…” Hime looked up. “You understand, right Kakashi-nii-san?”
“To put it bluntly, no.” Kakashi replied. “You’ve been watching over him for five years, and he doesn’t know how much you care about him--he hardly knows you exist. He doesn't even know about the time you went after him during the mission to get Sas—”
“Do we have to go into that?!” Hime shouted, standing up. “I didn’t do anything! You were able to get there first! I didn’t do anything!"
“So I didn’t make it in time…” Kakashi said, standing over Naruto’s unconscious body. He picked up the blond boy. Kakashi looked at Naruto’s face, the serene, yet sad look. “He wasn’t able to stop Sasuke.”
“Kakashi-nii-san!” Hime’s loud voice cut into Kakashi’s thoughts. Hime appeared next to Kakashi. “Kakashi-nii-san, is he okay?!” Kakashi could tell from Hime’s tone that she was worried.
“You followed me?” Kakashi sighed. “Hime, you’re an ANBU. You shouldn’t be following me.”
“It’s not about you. It’s about Naruto.” Hime panted. “Is he alright?”
“Yes, he’s fine.” Kakashi said, motioning to the sleeping genin in his arms. “You shouldn’t worry so much. I know you’ve been trying to protect him and all, but you have your own—“
Hime fell to the ground, panting hard. “Thank God.” She huffed. “I was so scared that he wouldn’t be OK.” She reached up and scruffed the blond boy’s hair. “I’m so sorry I wasn’t able to make it in time, Naruto. I’m so sorry.” She stood up. “Can I hold him? Just for a minute.”
Kakashi handed Naruto to Hime. Hime stroked his hair, holding the boy like a mother would a newborn baby. “I’m so sorry….” She whispered. “Can you forgive me….little brother?”
Hime quietly entered hospital room 403. It was very late, around midnight or so, and Hime had been at Kakashi’s place for far too long. Hime was lucky she didn't get kicked off of the mission to protect Naruto.
Hime approached Naruto’s bed. The blond genin was sleeping peacefully, a small grin on his face. Hime tussled Naruto’s hair. “You’ve grown so much.” She whispered. “I can’t believe it.” The dog mask on her face was crooked, but Hime didn’t bother to fix it.
“So, it really is you, Hime-chan.”
Hime turned around quickly. There stood Jiraya, our favorite perverted toad sage, hiding in the shadows. “So you’re here, Jiraya-sama.” She uttered. “I can’t believe I didn’t feel your chakra.”
“Now, now.” Jiraya said playfully. “Not many people can feel my chakra when I conceal it like I just was. I knew you wouldn’t come near the place if I was still here. But,” he continued, “I needed to talk to you. It’s important that we speak, and now, so if you don’t mind leaving him for a few minutes…..”
“I don’t mind.” Hime said abruptly. “Let’s just get this over with.”
And so, the two quietly walked out of the room. Hime followed silently, not saying a word.
When the two reached the outside the hospital, Jiraya stopped. “Now.” He began. “I would like to know why you aren’t dead.” He glared at Hime.
“I was never dead.” Hime replied. “After the Kyuubi invaded, my mother took me and ran. She told me my father and my newborn baby brother were both dead. She took me to a different house in Konoha. She was hiding there with me for years. I didn’t know until a few years ago that Naruto was, indeed, alive.” Her voice had no emotion, and she stated everything in a calm voice. “My mother was like all of the damned villagers here. She was afraid of Naruto, afraid of her son!” with this, Hime’s voice became louder, and angrier. “My mother abandoned my brother because of some damned demon!”
Sobs broke out of the ANBU dog mask. Hime’s shoulders were shaking, and she was taking deep breaths.
“So Kushina is alive?” Jiraya said, astounded.
Hime shook her head. “No. No, she’s not. She died when I was eleven. I don’t know how, or why, but one day I found her nearly dead, stricken with fever. I didn’t know what to do. She died because I was useless.” Hime gripped her fist so hard it bled.
“Now, now, there’s no reason to get angry.” Jiraya said calmly, placing his hand on Hime’s shoulder. “I understand why you’re angry at your mother, but pull yourself together so you can tell me the rest of your story.” His facial expression was saddened by the young girl. “Now, what else do you have to tell me?”
Hime’s mask looked up. “I’m so sorry, Jiraya-sama.” Her voice cracked. “I’m so sorry, I’m useless…..even now I can’t gather the strength to tell him about me, and father, and……” she sobbed.
Jiraya quietly removed Hime’s mask. “Now, come on, take off your mask. Otherwise, your face will get sweaty.” He smiled. “Why don’t you tell him? Naruto would be quite happy to know he had a sister."
Hime opened her crystal blue eyes. “Jiraya-sama…..I-I can’t do that after all these years! He’d absolutely hate me!” the tears came even quicker than before. The image was heartbreaking.
“First off: Stop calling me ‘sama’. Call me Ojii-chan, like you used to.” Jiraya said quietly. “Second off, Naruto won’t care about any of that. You’re his sister, and that’s all that matters to him. He doesn’t need the details.”
“Ojii-sama…” Hime hiccuped. “I just don’t know what to do.” Her eyes fell downcast to the floor. “I’m still afraid...even ANBU get scared." She wiped her eyes. “I can’t tell him right now. He’s sleeping. I’ll……try. Tomorrow, I’ll try. And if it doesn’t work…..” Hime trailed off. She turned back to the hospital. “I’m going back.”
“Good bye.” Jiraya said, a small smile on his lips. “And good luck.”
Hime quietly made her way into Naruto’s room. Dawn was almost breaking. Jiraya had kept her for longer then she had wanted, and although she had missed her Ojii-sama all those lonely years, Naruto was the one she wanted to be with.
She slowly caressed his yellow-blond hair. “Can I really do it? Can I really be the best for you?” she said aloud. “Can I protect you? Will I be able to protect the one I hold the tightest?” She removed her mask, revealing her crystal blue eyes. “I want to protect you, Naruto…little brother…”
Slowly, Naruto stirred. Hime quickly put her mask back on. “Good morning, Naruto-san.” She said, sitting in a nearby chair. “Did you sleep well?”
Naruto sat up. “Ugh…..” he muttered. “I had a really bad dream…….”
“Really? They say it’s best to tell someone about bad dreams.” Hime smiled underneath the mask. “How about you tell me while we train?”
“Huh?” Naruto looked up. “Training?! You mean that I can train now?!”
Hime nodded. “It seems you’ve healed enough. Why not? I have a special move I want to show you.” She scruffled Naruto’s hair. “Come on, kid. Get dressed.”
"All right!” Naruto cheered, jumping out of his bed. “That’s great! Now I’m full of energy!” He smiled. “You’re the best, Hime-nee--!” Naruto stopped abruptly. “Ah! Wait, I didn’t mean to say ‘Hime-nee-chan’! I meant to say…er……Hime needs to get out of the room so I can change!” Naruto flushed, pushing the older girl out of the room. “I’ll be out in a minute!” he yelled, slamming the door, and waking up many of the other people in the hospital while he was at it.
Hime slowly smiled. “Hime-nee…it sounds nice.”
The door to Naruto’s room opened with a slam, Naruto standing in his orange jacket and orange pants in front of Hime. “I’m ready!” he exclaimed. “So let’s go!”
Hime nodded. “Right.”
“So,” Hime looked towards Naruto as they walked out of the hospital. “What was your dream about?”
“Well,” Naruto started, “I dreamed that I was back at the Academy. And I was swinging on my swing—I was about four or five years old, I guess. Then a girl appeared, and looked at me with sad eyes. It was depressing.” Naruto sighed. “Then a bunch of older kids started to hit me. I think it was from when I was little.” Naruto looked back at Hime, who had abruptly stopped. “Sorry, was that too depressing?”
Hime shook her head. “No…well, it was a bit depressing, but that’s okay.”
There’s that weird position I saw the other day. Naruto thought. That funny position.
“Anyway, Naruto-san, we’re here.” Hime said, stepping into one of the training grounds. “So do you want to learn that jutsu now?”
“Oh yeah! Now you’re talking!” Naruto grinned. “Let’s do it!”
So the two trained--sparring and attempting random jutsu. That is, until...
“Now, Naruto-san, here’s the jutsu I want to teach you. It took me a couple of years to get it, so don’t get frustrated if you don’t get it at first.” Hime assumed position. “It’s called the Thunder God Jutsu...”
“The Thunder God Jutsu? Weird name.”
“It was named that because the man who used it had yellow hair.” Hime replied. She concentrated, closing her masked eyes. She immediately appered behind Naruto. “See? Easy. Just concentrate on where you want to go, and you’ll appear there.”
Naruto looked behind him. “Woah! You’re fast!”
“That’s the point.” Hime smiled. “Now it’s time to go back to the hospital—I can’t keep you here too long. Tomorrow, we’ll practice again, okay?”
“Whaaaaat?! No way! I didn’t even get to try it!”
“Eh?” Naruto turned to the ANBU girl. “Did you just call me ‘kun’?”
Hime nodded. “Is there something wrong with that?”
Naruto shook his head. “No way, Hime-san!” he grinned. “Let’s go back.”
And so the two headed back to the hospital, and all the people they passed could have sworn that the two were siblings.
Naruto stretched. It was almost seven thirty in the morning, and he had just had a great sleep. He looked around for his ANBU buddy, only to find she was nowhere to be found in the room. Naruto huffed impatiently. “Where is she?” he muttered aloud. “She’s always watching me sleep…..now she’s not here!”
“Oy, brat. What’re you doing up?” Tsunade said, stopping by Naruto’s room. “You should still sleep. It’s not like you have anything to do.” She smirked. “Now get your little butt back to bed before I chain you there.”
“Hell no, grandma! I’m waiting for Hime!” Naruto exclaimed, pointing at Tsunade.
“You’re not allowed to address an ANBU that un-formally." Tsunade sighed. “And she’s not coming, so go back to bed.”
“She’s not coming?! Why?! Is she sick?!” Naruto’s voice grew louder and louder with each question. “Hey, hey, grandma, why isn’t she comiiiiiing?!”
“I said that she’d only be around for a week, right? Well, it’s been a week. So she’s not your bodyguard anymore.” Tsunade sighed. “Go back to sleep. I’m bringing out the chains…..”
Naruto jumped out of the room, over Tsunade’s head. “I’ll be back later!” he yelled, sprinting down the hallway. Tsunade attempted to follow, only to lose him in the fourth hall.
I need to say goodbye! I need to see her again….. Naruto thought wildly. I know what she looked like back then, when I first found out her name—she looked as if she was going to cry! I need to see her!
Naruto skidded once he was in the main part of town. “There’s no way grandma can find me here.” He muttered. The blond genin looked around. “Now that I think of it, there’s no way I could find Hime here, either……” Naruto jumped on top of a roof, looking down at all the people, searching for the blond haired ANBU woman he had become close to, but with no avail.
“Where are you……” Naruto stepped back. “Hime...HIME-NEE-SAN!!” he yelled. “HIME-NEE-SAN, WHERE ARE YOU?! I NEED TO SAY…goodbye.” Naruto trailed off, wiping the tears out of his eyes. “Hime-nee-san……”
Naruto turned quickly to see if she was there, only to find a dog ANBU mask, leaning on a picture frame. Naruto questionably picked up the ANBU mask and the frame, which had no pictue in it. “Hime-nee-san……” He put the dog mask on his head, tying the string around. “I guess this is…..goodbye.”
“Hime!” Kakashi called, knocking on Hime’s apartment door. “Hime, open the door!”
It had been three days since Hime had said her ‘goodbye’ to Naruto. Kakashi knew everything.
Kakashi kept pounding on the door. “Open up, Hime.” He coaxed. “Come on now, your father made me promise to take care of you after he died. Now, you don’t want me to break that promise, do you?”
Slowly, Hime opened the door. The sight almost brought tears to Kakashi’s eyes…err……eye. Her blond hair was even messier than usual, and her blue eyes were red-streaked with tears. It looked as though she had been crying there the entire time.
“Now, Hime.” Kakashi walked into the lonely apartment. “What’s wrong?” Kakashi stroked the younger girl’s hair. “I need to know so I can help you.”
Hime shook her head, pushing Kakashi’s hand away. “Kakashi-nii-san……Why do people die?” her innocent look, along with her question, took Kakashi by surprise, not that he would show it. “Why do people have to die?”
“Well. It’s the circle of life. Everything is born, and everything dies.” Kakashi said, his calm voice attempting to sooth her. “You can’t do anything to stop it. Why are you asking me this?”
“I asked why people die, not why it happens. I know how people die—I know it—but I…….I just……Why? Why did father have to die? Why did mother have to die? Why do I…..why do I have to die?” Hime looked up at the older man. “I don’t want to. I don’t want anyone to die! I don’t want…..Naruto-otouto-kun…..I don’t want him to die…!!” she sobbed.
“So that’s it.” Kakashi took the young girl and wrapped his arms around her. “Shhh…..it’s okay, it’s okay, Hime-chan. He isn’t going to die. I promise.” Kakashi smiled at the blond ANBU girl. “I’ll protect him, just like I protect you. So you don’t have to cry. Okay?”
Hime nodded. “I’m scared…..I’m scared……” She shut her eyes, attempting to stop the tears from falling. “I’m scared, Kakashi-nii-san….”
“Hey. Do you remember when you were younger—about Naruto’s age?” Kakashi pulled the younger girl away from him and looked her straight in the eyes. “Do you remember that every time it started raining, you would run to me, because you were scared of the thunder? You didn’t have a mother then, so you ran to me.”
“What’s your point?” Hime hiccupped.
“My point is, that when you’re scared, you can come to me. Or better yet,” Kakashi’s eye glinted. “ to Naruto.”
Hime looked up. “What are you implying? I’m nothing to him. Not anymore.”
“Are you sure?” Kakashi smiled underneath his mask. He let go of the ANBU girl and stepped out of the apartment. “Naruto’s getting out of the hospital tomorrow.” He said cheerfully. “Make sure you visit him!” and with that, he disappeared.
“What is he saying…..” muttered Hime. “Is he saying that Naruto cares about me…..a useless bodyguard who didn’t even do her job….?” A smile played on her face. “I wonder…”
“Geez.” Naruto huffed. “I’m finally out of the hospital, and since Pervy Sage is nowhere to be found, the first thing I have to do is go on missions!” Naruto paced around impatiently. “And Kakashi-sensei’s late, as always.”
Naruto wore his standard attire, his orange jacket and orange pants. What was different about him that day was the fact that the ANBU dog mask was tied to the side of his head, resting on his yellow-blond hair. Naruto fiddled with the mask. “I wonder how she’s doing.” He said aloud. “I haven’t seen her since….was it five days ago? I can’t remember.”
“Sorry I’m late. I was comforting a young girl who’s been going through a rough time.” Kakashi appeared next to Naruto, ruffling Naruto’s hair. “Hey, nice ANBU mask. Did someone give it to you?”
“YOU’RE LATE!!” Naruto roared. “Could you PLEASE not be late once?! PLEASE?!”
“Ah, all right, all right. I will…eventually.” Kakashi sighed. “So you’re finally out of the hospital. How’s it feel?”
Naruto sighed. “At least I can train now.” He muttered.
“I heard you had an ANBU friend.” Kakashi grinned. “Did you have fun with her?”
“No way! Kakashi-sensei, you old perv!” Naruto shouted, pointing at the Icha-Icha obsessed man. “I swear, you’re almost as bad as Pervy Sage!”
Kakashi smiled. “Now, now.” He said. “By any chance, was her name…Hime?”
Naruto stopped and looked at the white-haired sensei. “Y….You know her?”
“Of course I do, Naruto! I was an ANBU once.” Kakashi smiled and winked. “Hime is actually a close comrade of mine.”
“Are you serious, sensei?! Could you tell me where she is?!”
“Of couse I can.”
“Sensei…..” Naruto glomped Kakashi. “You’re the best!” His face shone like a thousand candles. A thousand happy, hyperactive, orange candles.
“Naruto, calm down!” Kakashi pulled the genin off his body. “I can tell you where she is, but you have to promise me something first.”
“Sure, sure, anything!” Naruto was very estatic. “Anything, sensei!”
“Promise me, no matter what, you’ll stay with her.” Kakashi pointed his glove-covered finger at the young, naive boy. “No matter what, you have to promise to stay by her side when she cries.”
“Eh? Hime-san cries?” Naruto blinked. “Whatever you say, sensei.”
Now what will you do, Hime?
“Here’s her address……..”
Now that he’s coming to you….what will you tell him? It’s your chance, Hime.
Naruto approached the apartment complex, his heart beating. What if…..what if she doesn’t want to see me? He wondered. Naruto was having his doubts, but he still walked up to the apartment and knocked on the door.
The door slowly opened.
Naruto’s eyes widened. There stood Hime, her blond hair a mess, wearing a simple orange nightgown. Her blue eyes were bloodshot red. Hime stood in surprise. “Naruto-kun?”
Naruto stepped forward. “Hime……san?”
Hime nodded. “Yes?” She grabbed a fox ANBU mask—clearly a spare one—and hastily put it on her face. “What is it?”
Naruto wasn’t sure what to do. He stood there, unmoving at the shock of the ANBU woman.
Hime gasped. “Come in!” she said, opening the door all the way. “I’m sorry I didn’t invite you in sooner….you took me by surprise, Naruto-kun. Did you get out of the hospital?”
Naruto hastily stepped into the room. “Yeah, I did.” He replied, looking over the place. There wasn’t much there—a couch, a futon, some weapons—standard attire. Naruto looked back at Hime, who was apparently making tea. “Hime-san……”
Hime turned to him. “Yes?”
“I noticed it before…but we look a lot alike, don’t we?”
Hime stopped in her tracks. “I guess so, Naruto-kun.” She said, her voice lacking emotion. She turned back to the tea. “I guess so.”
“Why were you crying? Did something happen?” The blond boy approached Hime. “Was it something I did? Who made you cry? I’ll kick their ass!” Naruto yelled.
“Ah……it’s nothing…….” Hime put the tea kettle down. “I’m just angry at myself for……well, let’s just say I’m a coward, you know?” she chuckled. “I can’t bring myself to do something, even if I know it’s the right thing to do. I can’t bring myself to tell someone something.”
“What? What do you need to tell someone?” Naruto asked, standing next to Hime.
You have to stay by her side when she cries. Kakashi’s words rang through Naruto’s ears.
“I need to tell someone that they really aren’t as alone as they think.” Hime took off her mask. Her eyes were still bloodshot, but they had to do. “Naruto-kun…..what do you see in my eyes?” she lowered herself to Naruto’s height.
Naruto stared into her eyes. “I see……blue?”
Hime laughed. It was a nice laugh, Naruto realized. “I guess so. You can’t see what people are thinking, right? People’s emotions are hidden underneath the eye.” She smiled at Naruto. “I realize what a fool I’ve been lately. Can you forgive me?”
“Eh? Of course, Hime-san.”
“No need for the formalities. Just call me Hime-nee.”
“Hime…..nee-san?” Naruto cocked his head. “But I thought you—“
Hime ruffled the smaller boy’s hair. “It’s the only appropriate thing for my little….” Hime paused. “…..my little brother to call me.”
Naruto blinked. “Little……brother……?"
“When I was younger, my father told me I would have a baby brother. But the day he was born, the Kyuubi attacked, and my coward of a mother ran away from him, and took me with her, because my baby brother had become the container. I hope he can forgive me after all these years.” Hime smiled at the genin. “Will you forgive me, baby brother?”
Naruto stood still for a second, his brain processing the information. He then instantly hugged the ANBU. “Of couse, big sis!”
Hime smiled as she looked out the window. “I’m so happy…..Thank you.”
And there stood Kakashi, standing outside her window, smiling underneath his mask.
And the two siblings were finally united.