Sturdy as a tree trunk and twice as stubborn was his Yamato. Strong, reliable and caring to a fault even if Kakashi often used it against him when they went out to eat with others. His team for this mission were also some of the best in his opinion. Strong and capable all around with two veteran chunin he’d worked with before and a extra jounin named Haji to back them up. The rapports were inconsistent so they’d been warned to be extra cautious and this group needed to be dealt with yesterday. But now...
There was blood everywhere. In puddles on the ground, and splattered on the trees in wide arcs like some overexcitable artist with a love for red had lost control of their brush. Oh, how Kakashi wished it was just some crazy civilian. If Kakashi could he would ignore the gore in the clearing and just pass out next to the man beside him. But he had a job to do, he needed to get them home. Shaking hands reached up to unhook the clasps keeping his sealing scrolls contained as he crouched down next to what remained of one of the chunin and unrolled the first of the scrolls. The mission had gone haywire at the first opportunity and their opponents had been more skilled than anticipated. Kakashi did his best to collect the right people and stacking what he thought belonged to whom on top so it all would get sealed in right. But with every use of his chakra he felt himself grow weaker.
Fighting against the chakra exhaustion clouding his head and eye he rose to his feet from kneeling on the forest floor. Rubbing the worst of the blood off on his pants for an easier grip later. (Even if it would never wash out. Not this time.) Once he’d finished checking him over he reached a hand out and helped the brown haired man on to his feet. Slinging one of his arms around Kakashi’s shoulders he half dragged Yamato away. Just getting away from the grisly scene took strength he wasn’t sure his body had left over from the brutal fight. At the same time as he was trying to fight against the urge to hurl as the smell of opened intestines entered his mouth and nose with every breath.
Kakashi couldn’t hear any breathing from around them of the rest of their team or the unlucky (or lucky god damn it) missing-nin who they had been sent out to deal with. Pockets of missing-nin cropped up all the time, but these ones had been particularly vicious in their attacks. Vicious enough to cut down more than half of their team before the fight’s end.
With emptiness closing in on his mind Kakashi gritted his teeth and kept his eyes facing forwards. He could feel himself shutting down bit by bit as he forced his body to take step after step in direction of Konoha. He didn’t have enough chakra left to call his ninken for help but he needed to move, needed to run. To get away from that awful still place.
There was too much blood there.
Sluggishly walking through the woods even with the added weight of his love cradled against his side. Steering Yamato’s feet away from jutting rocks and clingy roots to avoid injuring him further if they’d get caught somewhere and take a tumble to the hard ground. Shifting his weight yet again as Kakashi’s arm slipped he frowned. Stopping at the base of a hill he slowly guided Yamato to the ground so he could get on his back. When Yamato failed at that Kakashi took it upon himself to move him to a more comfortable traveling position. Hefting him up his back and apologizing softly when he accidentally jostled Yamato he sat out again at a slow gait to get them home.
Kakashi mused aloud that from where they were, it would take quite a long time to reach the gates with their speed. Weary to the bone and with sweat clinging to every surface of his body from the hours long walk it was mostly muscle memory and on autopilot he staggered the last mile to reach open ground. If he wasn’t so exhausted he would jump for joy at seeing those gates illuminated by the glow of the cheerful sun. (home home home do you see tenzou we’re almost there).
''H-Hatake-san! Yamato-san, wha..'' His arms around his kohai’s legs had almost gone numb from carrying his full weight for so long but he was so delirious with relief that Kakashi missed the chocked gasps ringing out. Now they could get help, and return to pick up the pieces of his team. Staring at the horrified form of Izumo with his partner Kotetsu retching behind him he opened his mouth:
''Mah, he’s just a little out of it.''
Yamato who hadn’t breathed a word since he took a attack meant for him didn’t say anything now either. Even as a sob escaped between clenched teeth and a wave of dizziness from the strain of the past day slammed into him like one of Gai’s particularly hard hugs.
''He’s probably just tired.''
(Don’t you dare no no no!)
Dark soulless eyes stared blankly at the gate ninja frozen in place around the bloodsoaked pair. Aborted movements to come closer to do something, or run away to get the hokage keeping them in a limbo as Kakashi the copyninja half carried half dragged a corpse into Konoha.
''Someone get Tsunade-sama!''
''-oh sweet god is he-''
''He’s…-'' swaying in place Kakashi managed to grit out ''-going to be f-fine.'' before the darkness almost claimed him and the world spun. Panting in exertion and lashing out at the grey trying to claim his vision he befuddled watched as an ANBU rocketed away from the group in the direction of the Hokage tower.
''Sensei!? Sensei what happened to-''
Home is where the heart lies, but the heart is a fickle thing, and easily damaged no matter how close to home you are. And as Kakashi fell forwards in a dead faint, he mused that the heart lies sometimes. Because it didn’t feel like Yamato’s heart was beating anymore.
(Home is where the heart lies. Because it’s supposed to be beating!)