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Kakashi is like a stray cat, and Iruka knows damn well that he shouldn't feed Kakashi if he doesn't want Kakashi to keep coming around. Sometimes he makes up his mind when he's alone in bed -- I'm not going to do this anymore -- but then Kakashi turns up on his doorstep again, and Iruka forgets his careful list of reasons why this is still a completely stupid idea, and feeds Kakashi and lets Kakashi fuck him into the next week.

So when Iruka pulls the door open to see Kakashi, looking rumpled and dirty and obviously having just returned from a mission, Iruka finds himself saying, "If you'd like, you can shower while I get dinner ready."

Kakashi raises an eyebrow. "Well, hello to you, too." There's something still chilly and distant about Kakashi, but Iruka knows that when Kakashi comes back down from the shower, the Kakashi covered in mud and filth and sharp coldness will be gone. In his place will be the Kakashi with a laughing gaze and perverted jokes and warm fingertips.

Iruka stares at his refrigerator with frustration, and decides that if Kakashi doesn't want the soup he made last night, then Kakashi can damn well go eat some place else.

When Kakashi comes back downstairs, his hair is wet, and he's wearing the robe that Iruka has taken to leaving for him on the back of the bathroom door. Iruka tells himself that he bought it because it was on sale, and not because he thought the dark blue would look good against Kakashi's pale skin.

Iruka has warmed up two bowls of soup, and Kakashi sits down with a pleased little sigh.

"How was your day?" Kakashi asks. It's a teasing question, not serious at all, but Iruka decides to answer him honestly.

"Five-year-olds got snot all over me," Iruka says.

Kakashi's eyebrow goes up again. "And here I thought my day was disgusting."

Iruka almost doesn't ask -- because it's very possible that Kakashi can't tell him, and Iruka doesn't want to be a nuisance. But he's feeling just a little bit off today, just a little belligerent, and so he asks, "What happened?"

Kakashi lifts a spoonful of soup under the kerchief that's taking the place of his usual mask (it matches the robe, something else Iruka refuses to think about). "Frogs," he says finally.

Iruka can fill in enough of the blanks to wince in sympathy.

They finish dinner in comfortable silence, and the combination of a long day and a full stomach are taking their toll on Iruka. He rinses their bowls out in the sink, and then turns around and leans back against the counter. "Kakashi."

"Hmm?"

"Listen," Iruka says, scrubbing one hand over the back of his neck. "I'm really beat. I kind of just want to take a bath and go to sleep. So, you know, you don't have to stay..."

Kakashi tilts his head, just a bit. "Are you throwing me out, Iruka-sensei?" he asks lightly, his visible eye almost shuttered.

"No," Iruka denies hastily. "I just...I'm going to go take a bath."

"Ah," Kakashi says, and Iruka escapes upstairs to the bathroom.

When he opens the door, he realizes the cover is on the bathtub, and he blinks for a moment, because he's pretty sure he left the cover in the corner when he scrubbed out the bathtub yesterday.

And so he lifts the cover, and realizes that Kakashi -- Kakashi -- ran him a bath while he was upstairs, and set the water to warm while they ate dinner.

Iruka is not entirely sure what to make of that. So he just washes himself off outside the tub, and then lets himself sink down into water that is, truthfully, a little hotter than he likes it, but he's not going to complain.

He pulls on his own robe and towels his hair dry, and when he walks into his bedroom, Kakashi is already in bed, and apparently asleep. He's nude under the covers save for the hitai-ate and the kerchief, and Iruka shrugs out of his own robe and carefully crawls into bed beside him.

Iruka would never go so far as to snuggle up to a sleeping Kakashi, but he does edge a little closer than normal. And as he's finally falling asleep, he thinks he feels Kakashi shift near, but Iruka knows it's one thing to coax a cat in from the cold, and another thing entirely to settle it in your lap.

It's the middle of the night when Iruka wakes up -- or, more precisely, when Kakashi wakes Iruka up. Kakashi is running his callused fingertips over Iruka's hip, tracing patterns that dip into the crease of Iruka's thigh. Iruka still feels dreamy and not quite awake when Kakashi curls his fist around Iruka's erection, and his tongue traces a hot, wet trail over the curve of Iruka's ear.

Iruka decides he's not dreaming when Kakashi nudges his cock against Iruka's ass, his hardness fitting in between Iruka's buttocks. Iruka pushes back a little against Kakashi, and then pushes forward into Kakashi's fist. Kakashi exhales sharply in Iruka's ear, and Iruka shudders, and knows that however this goes, it will be good -- Kakashi always makes sure of that much, at least.

Kakashi never speaks when they have sex, only gasps, and on occasion, when Iruka has done something particularly good, groans low in his throat.

Iruka wants something in this darkness -- wants words, wants something different. What he gets is the obscene wet sounds as Kakashi kisses down his spine, and then the echoing sounds of his own helpless moans as Kakashi parts his buttocks and licks his way into Iruka.

It was Kakashi who first did this to him, Kakashi waving one of those filthy novels he reads and teasing Iruka into letting him try. Iruka had been leery at first, but he's become quite fond of it. The feeling of lying spread open is one he only associates with Kakashi, and somehow, he can't imagine allowing someone else to do this to him.

He moans as Kakashi sucks at him and thrusts his tongue in and out, and even he can hear how erotic the sounds he's making are. Kakashi thinks silence is just a challenge, so Iruka doesn't bother trying to be quiet anymore, just lets himself go.

"So good," Iruka says, speaking for the first time. He doesn't care that Kakashi won't speak, but he won't let it keep him silent anymore. Because it really is good, it's incredible and it makes his toes curl, but he wants more, and manages to say in a strangled voice, "Kakashi, hurry."

Kakashi stills for a moment, but he recovers by thrusting slick fingers into Iruka, lazily moving them in and out. And then he says, his voice low and amused and dripping with desire, "Hurry?"

Iruka has no more than a moment to realize this is the first time Kakashi's ever said anything in bed, and maybe Iruka had been thinking of something more, well, substantial, but still. And then Kakashi is sliding up in bed and pulling Iruka onto his side, drawing one of Iruka's thighs up and then pushing in, slow and steady.

"Oh," Iruka sighs when Kakashi begins to move.

Iruka can feel Kakashi's soft, rhythmic exhalations against his cheek, and realizes after a moment that he can also feel Kakashi's bare face against his own. His eyes widen, because this is another first, hard on the heels of Kakashi actually saying something in bed. But Kakashi doesn't give him time to linger in shock, and he pulls Iruka's chin back toward him and kisses him.

Iruka could pull away, could say that he thought they didn't have that type of relationship, but he can't help but be weak against Kakashi holding him and Kakashi in him and Kakashi panting against his lips in between soft kisses.

"Iruka," Kakashi breathes, still moving slowly and deliberately. Iruka had resigned himself to the strange anonymity that characterized their encounters before, with Iruka always on his stomach and Kakashi always masked. He doesn't know what to make of this, whatever it is, with Kakashi curled around him and barefaced and occasionally speaking; even though it's pitch dark and Iruka still can't see, he can certainly feel. And there's something just a little bit tender about the splay of Kakashi's fingers over Iruka's stomach, something soft and generous in the kisses that Kakashi presses to the nape of his neck.

It's too much all at once, too much change where Iruka had expected none. Iruka will fight tooth and claw for his students, for Naruto, but he's learned the hard way to be happy with what he himself has. Iruka would rather not ask for something than to be disappointed when he doesn't get it.

Maybe he should have asked -- he just assumed that he couldn't presume on Kakashi, that Kakashi would give whatever he wanted and that it was useless to hope for more. The sudden possibility is heady, but also just this side of frightening, because it's not a choice that he ever expected to have to make.

Iruka thinks that Kakashi's caring might break him.

Kakashi begins to move his hand down, but Iruka traps it against his stomach by interlocking their fingers. Kakashi squeezes his hand after a moment, and uses his grip on Iruka's shoulder and stomach to change the angle, and that's it, that's perfect, and Kakashi is thrusting harder now, and Iruka hears himself moan long and low when he comes, all over the bedsheets. He feels Kakashi moving within him, short and uneven and desperate before he seizes up in silent orgasm, his hips still rocking slowly as he finishes.

Iruka wakes up to find himself not alone in bed. Kakashi is asleep beside him, kerchief safely around his face again, one side of his face buried in the pillow in lieu of cover by his hitai-ate.

Iruka wonders for a moment if last night actually happened, but the lingering ache in a variety of places tells him it did. And anyway, he's not sure he could have imagined what Kakashi did. He'd thought it so outside the realm of possibility before so as to not be worth asking for.

If he thinks about this much more, he's going to panic, he just knows it. So he decides to take care of practicalities -- namely, breakfast.

Iruka reaches forward to shake Kakashi awake, and changes his mind at the last minute in favor of a kiss dropped on Kakashi's cloth-covered nose. As he expected, Kakashi's eyes open slowly, lazily, in a way that tells Iruka that he's been awake for quite some time -- probably before Iruka woke up. "Good morning," Iruka says, his voice a little hoarse.

"Morning," Kakashi says easily.

Iruka just looks at him, really looks at him, and sees a man with terrible bedhead, a quiet gaze that is neither frightening nor mocking, and something else -- something else, and Iruka wonders if it's been there all along and he couldn't see, or if it grew over time and he'd stopped looking properly.

It's faintly chilly outside but still so warm under the bedclothes, and the cold air clears Iruka's head and he makes a decision, right then and there. "I want two things," he tells Kakashi in a steady voice.

"What's that?"

Iruka leans closer. "I want a good morning kiss. And then I want breakfast."

Kakashi blinks. "I really don't cook all that well."

"I'll cook," Iruka says impatiently.

"Deal," Kakashi says.

Kakashi just lies there, waiting, so Iruka leans forward, and he's about to press his lips against Kakashi's cloth- covered ones when Kakashi says, "Please tell me you're joking."

Iruka jerks back, disappointed -- nothing's changed after all -- but Kakashi stops his retreat through the simple expedient of wrapping one arm tightly around Iruka's waist.

"You said it was okay," Iruka snaps, instantly defensive.

"And it is," Kakashi says. "Get a clue, Iruka." When he says it, it almost sounds fond.

Iruka is about to retort sharply, but he stops and takes a deep breath and meets Kakashi's eyes. And then he reaches over for the kerchief knot, and says, "Ready?"

"Sometime this morning," Kakashi agrees.

Iruka pulls the kerchief off slowly, half-afraid that Kakashi will change his mind. But then it's gone, and all he can do is stare and think, He has no business hiding that.

Kakashi submits to a few moments of Iruka's unabashed staring, before saying, "Hey, I thought there was supposed to be some kissing." He gives Iruka a rather hilariously over-exaggerated leer, which makes Iruka laugh almost in spite of himself, and takes that moment to lean over and kiss Iruka absolutely silly.

"Can we have waffles?" Kakashi asks afterwards.

Iruka tries to look sort of outraged, but his heart's not really in it. "Waffles? I'll give you waffles," he says, mock-threatening.

"Oh, good," Kakashi says, his grin every bit as obnoxious as Iruka always thought it would be.

Breakfast is much delayed, but thoroughly worth it.