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Lay Me Down

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Christmas Eve arrived and Iruka was dressed and ready to step out on stage. He took a deep breath and calmed himself. Then he stepped out and nearly lost his nerve at the sight of all the people in attendance. He noticed the special VIP area where many of the civilians and shinobi invited specially by Tsunade sat. They were the reason for this concert. This year so many shinobi were out on long-term missions and their Hokage had felt this might help boost morale at home. Iruka wasn’t sure he agreed but if she thought it would help then why not?

He started off with several upbeat songs and then decided that he would debut a new song. “I know many of us are missing loved ones, so this one is especially for them. I know how you’re feeling and we all want you to know how much your own sacrifices are appreciated. People often forget that the families are very much a part of it all. When your loved ones are here, you help keep them grounded and make sure they remember their humanity. When they’re gone you keep the family going, many often caring for children alone over long periods of time. You give them hope to return to. I hope that all of our loved ones know how much they mean to us. Thank you and I hope you like this.”

Yes, I do, I believe. That one day I will be where I was right there, right next to you.

And it’s hard, the days just seem so dark. The moon, the stars are nothing without you.

Your touch, your skin, where do I begin? No words can explain the way I’m missing you.

Deny this emptiness, this hole that I’m inside. These tears, they tell their own story.”

*Flashback – Within the last two weeks*

Kakashi burns the message he received from an undercover courier sent by Sand for Konoha. So Tsunade had sent him new temporary orders. He wasn’t sure how the change would affect his current mission but he couldn’t go against his leader and it wasn’t exactly detrimental. He headed to bed, knowing he would need a good night’s rest before starting his next mission.

Elsewhere in the world, other shinobi received changes in their orders. A few weren’t sure what their hokage was thinking and worried about the change in mission status. Only a handful weren’t able to get their mission scrolls because the couriers felt it would cause more harm than good. Their part of the mission over, the couriers headed home.

*End Flashback*

“Told me not to cry when you were gone. But the feeling’s overwhelming. It’s much too strong.”

Iruka couldn’t stop the tears from falling. He closes his eyes and thinks of his silver-haired love.

“Can I lay by your side? Next to you, you.

And make sure you’re alright, I’ll take care of you.

I don’t want to be here if I can’t be with you tonight.

I’m reaching out to you, can you hear my call? This hurt that I’ve been through I’m missing you, missing you like crazy.”

At this point, many in the audience are quietly shedding tears, missing their spouses and partners, shinobi and civilian alike.

“You told me not to cry when you were gone. But the feeling’s overwhelming, it’s much too strong.”

Iruka begins to sing the chorus. “Can I lay by your side?” His voice captivates everyone and no one notices or cares about the few latecomers. Just as he is about to sing the next verse, he feels arms wrap around his waist and a familiar and most beloved voice whispers into his ear. His background singers, bless them, continue on with their part as Iruka tries to regain his composure and continue.

“Lay me down tonight, lay me by your side.

Lay me down tonight, lay me by your side.”

Iruka finally finishes off the song, “Can I lay by your side, next to you, you.”

It’s then that he swings around and kisses the copy ninja like there’s no tomorrow. He’s so deep into his reunion that he doesn’t even notice the many other shinobi that have snuck in to surprise their own loved ones. Gasps and sobs can be heard as everyone realizes what is going on.

Tsunade approaches the stage and explains how she has recalled everyone that she can to spend Christmas Day at home, returning to their regular missions afterwards. She turns to thank Iruka but notices that he is no where in sight. Smirking, she turns around and sends everyone home, wishing them all a Merry Christmas.