Unlike Amir, Hassan is above all a loyal and courageous friend. Hassan shows his loyalty to Amir repeatedly: He carries out his duties as a servant, and he acts as Amir's kite runner, retrieving the last kite at the end of the contest, refusing to give it up even when confronted by Assef and his friends. He maintains his loyal stance toward Amir after he is accused of theft, refusing to pronounce his innocence; he knows that in doing so, it will implicate Amir as the guilty party. Even after he is grown, Hassan returns with Rahim Khan to Baba's house, where he faithfully maintains it in the hope that Baba and Amir will someday return. Even in his letters that Rahim gives to Amir, Hassan maintains his admiration for his old friend. Hassan shows his courage on several occasions, particularly when he defends Amir with his slingshot when Assef threatens the two younger boys. Long after Amir and Baba have moved to California, Hassan refuses to vacate Baba's house when demanded to do so by the Taliban, and he pays for it with his life.