Iruka awoke to an empty bed – not entirely unusual, but certainly not the optimal condition under which to awake. He lay still for a moment, listening hopefully for the sound of the shower running or breakfast cooking, but the apartment was silent. He sat up, and bit back a disappointed sigh when he saw a familiarly-penned note on the bedside table.
It read simply: love you, back soon.
Not even a happy birthday? Iruka thought bitterly. Oh well, he was probably in too much of a hurry. I'm sure he didn't forget.
Iruka flopped back on his pillow and stared at the blank ceiling of his apartment. As of ten pm that day, he would be twenty-four years old. For a civilian this was relatively young. For a ninja it bordered on mid-life.
That was a thoroughly depressing thought.
I wonder if the village code of conduct permits me to have some kind of crisis?
After a heavy yawn and one long, luxurious stretch, Iruka swung himself out of bed and ran on auto-pilot through his morning routine, without Kakashi to distract him with whining and well-placed hands. Twenty minutes later, freshly showered, chewing a piece of toast and fastening his headband, he looked down at the note again. The novelty of those first two words brought an irrepressible smile to Iruka's face. Kakashi had only used them for the first time less than two weeks ago, and the traitorous part of Iruka's mind was still waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Iruka took the note, carefully folded it into a tiny square, and tucked it safely in his pocket.
Iruka sidestepped to the hallway wall just in time to avoid being tackled by Anko, thus saving the armload of important documents he was supposed to be delivering to the Hokage's office from being thoroughly disorganized and/or crumpled into oblivion. Unfortunately, Anko had anticipated his well-timed dodge, and proceeded to jump him from behind, knocking them both to the floor in a graceless heap, sending papers scattering in all directions.
"Birthday tackle!" she announced gleefully, ignoring Iruka's yelps of terror and fury as her breasts pressed his face into the floor.
"Anko goddamnit! Get the hell off me, I can't breathe!"
Anko rolled sideways, and ended up stretched out on the floor with her head propped up on her arm, gazing at Iruka with what she clearly thought were innocent doe eyes.
The effect was somewhat ruined by the leer on her face.
"Awww…" she cooed as Iruka staggered to his feet and began gathering up the scattered papers, grumbling bitterly to himself, "But you used to love my birthday tackles Iru-kun…"
"Yeah," Iruka snorted, "When I was nine."
"What's the matter? Getting too old Jii-chan?"
"Now just a damn minute," Iruka rounded on her, cheeks burning with outrage, "You're almost two full years older than me, so who are you calling Jii-chan?"
Anko rolled effortlessly to her feet and made a placating gesture with her hands, though her grin hardly wavered, "Alright, alright. What are you doing here anyway? Since there are no classes today, shouldn't you be at home getting your brains fucked out – or fucking your brains out, or…ya know, there are just some things that I really shouldn't be thinking about."
Iruka scowled at her toes as he picked up the last of the papers. They were horribly disorganized now, but he didn't want to sit out in the hallway putting them back in order, "You really shouldn't," he confirmed, "I drew the short straw last week, so I have to help the Hokage with her paperwork so that Shizune can finally have a day off. Not that matters anyway; Kakashi's out on a mission."
When he stood up, Anko was looking at him in obvious confusion, "Are you sure? I was working the mission desk all morning with Genma and I don't remember seeing Kakashi come in."
Iruka was caught momentarily off guard. But of course, Kakashi was ANBU – he took missions that no one else in the village knew about. Just because he hadn't gone to the mission room, didn't mean he wasn't out on a mission. It just meant that he was out on a particularly dangerous mission. Something which Iruka didn't particularly want to think about.
"Listen, I have to get these to the Hokage – I'm going to be here most of the day as it is."
"Drink later?" Anko offered, "My treat."
"Sure," Iruka turned quickly and headed in the direction of the Hokage's office. When he pushed the door open with his foot and stepped inside, he found Tsunade with her face down on the desk, snoring lightly, a tiny ribbon of drool at the corner of her mouth.
I think I might have that crisis now…
Iruka swaggered home just after ten through the dark, cool night, still dressed in his uniform, still smelling of old paper and ink, full of cheap food and comfortably tipsy. He'd drunk just enough, he decided – comfortably inebriated but not so much so that he wasn't in full control of his faculties – he very likely wouldn't have a hangover tomorrow. It had been a good idea not to get involved in stupid contest with Genma and Anko. They had been far more wasted in the end than Iruka had, contest notwithstanding, thanks in part to pre-drinking before Iruka had even arrived at the bar. Anko, at least, had still been in control of herself enough to walk home- under the watchful escort of Kotetsu and Izumo, who were more than a little tipsy themselves; Genma, on the other hand, had to be carried home by Raidou.
By the time Iruka climbed the stairs to his apartment, fumbling a little with his keys, he was humming "happy birthday" under his breath and smiling to himself. It was amazing, really, what a good dose of sake could do for one's outlook on life. His smile faltered when he opened the apartment door and realized there was no one waiting for him.
He pulled the folded note from that morning out of this pocket and considered it in the dim light, straining his eyes and his alcohol-fogged brain. Back soon, it said.
Of course, Kakashi's definition of 'soon' left much to be desired, even at the best of times.
Iruka shut the door with his foot, wrapping himself in darkness, and scowled. He had really been hoping that Kakashi would be back.
After a moment of petulant irritability, Iruka came back to his senses. This was the life of a ninja. If he hadn't thought he could deal with the trials of separation, he would have chosen a civilian as his lover, not a fellow ninja, and certainly not a Jonin.
Of course, it wasn't really a matter of choosing, but that was beside the point.
He hoped, really hoped, that Kakashi's mission, even if it turned out to be a long one, wasn't a terribly dangerous one.
With a sigh, Iruka kicked off his sandals and shuffled his way into the bedroom, stripping out of his clothes as he went, and collapsed naked onto the bed. A heartbeat later he rolled onto his back and stretched luxuriously, testing the reaction time of his various extremities. He didn't feel tired; only mildly drunk, seriously disappointed, and more than a little horny.
There was more than one reason that he had really, really been hoping that Kakashi would be home to greet him.
He lay silently watching the shadows on his ceiling as he considered what to do about his problem. The fact that the bed sheets still clung tenaciously to the sweat, soil and warm fur smell of Kakashi's skin made the decision terribly easy.
Iruka slid his hand over the flat plane of his stomach, made a loose fist around his half-hard cock, letting his eyes drift closed. That first, slow pull was good – not as good as Kakashi's hand or Kakashi's mouth – but good enough to make Iruka's skin shiver and his mouth go dry. He ran his thumb over his tip and arched his back a little, thrusting into his own fist. He had already decided that he wasn't going to stretch it out, wasn't going to test his stamina; those sort of games were only fun when he had Kakashi's hand around him and Kakashi's voice whispering encouragement in his ear.
Iruka was right on the cusp of orgasm, groin suffused with aching heat, testicles pulling tight, tip throbbing fiercely, when a voice growled:
"Oh this is perfect…"
Iruka twisted, grabbing the nearest projectile and hurling it in the direction of the voice. The pillow sailed harmlessly over the intruder's head, out the open bedroom window and into the night.
"Pakkun!" Iruka bellowed in mortified outrage, "What the hell are you doing?!"
"The brat sent me," the droopy-eyed pug responded, "Do you want me to give you a minute?"
Iruka instantly forgot his arousal and embarrassment, "Kakashi? What's happened?"
"Nothing's happened," Pakkun snorted, eyes pointedly turned towards the ceiling, "he's just a little bruised up and whining like a baby."
Iruka grabbed his discarded pants from the floor and vanished into the bathroom. Moments later he emerged, icy rivulets of water trickling down his face from the matted tendrils of his hair, dampening the waistband of his pants. He grabbed a t-shirt from the dresser and yanked it roughly over his head before turning to his unexpected guest.
"Take me to him."
Iruka paced the waiting room anxiously, still awash in goosebumps, water from the loose curtain of his hair soaking the collar of his shirt. Pakkun watched him go back and forth with heavy-lidded eyes. He had tried to tell the Chunin that there was nothing to worry about – as a summon Pakkun could sense changes in his master's chakra that would have signalled if Kakashi's life was in danger. So far, the Jonin was in pain, anxious and deeply annoyed, but certainly not on the verge of dying. Of course, Iruka wasn't hearing any of it.
The examining room door swung suddenly open, nearly hitting Pakkun who barely darted out of the way in time to avoid having his face further flattened. Iruka rounded on the medic that stepped out so quickly that the man nearly thought he was being attacked.
"How is he?"
"Fine!" the medic threw up his hands in obvious alarm, "It's only a shoulder wound. There was some concern that the blade of the kunai might have been poisoned, but that doesn't seem to be the case."
Iruka didn't wait to be given permission to see the Jonin; he pushed right past the hapless medic and into the room. Pakkun looked dolefully at the startled man, shrugged his shoulders, and vanished in a puff of smoke.
Kakashi sat on the edge of the examining table, fussing with a thick swath of bandage around his right bicep.
"Don't poke at it," Iruka scolded automatically, striding right across the room and taking Kakashi's face in his hands, looking him over intently.
"Yes?" Kakashi ventured, after a long moment of being regarded like a piece of meat.
"You scared the life out of me!" Iruka declared furiously, "Sending Pakkun to get me like that – I thought you were dying or something!" He was shaking and he knew it, cold and fear and mild intoxication all swirling together in his mind to leave him a nervous wreck.
"Hey…" Kakashi purred soothingly, caressing Iruka's cheekbone with his thumb, "It's fine pretty baby. I didn't send Pakkun to get you – he was supposed to tell you that I was okay. I know how quickly information spreads around this village, and I didn't want you to hear the wrong thing and worry."
Rather than soothing Iruka, Kakashi's admission increased Iruka's fury exponentially, "And you didn't think that the news might worry me regardless?!"
"But…" Kakashi began, and Iruka cut him off immediately.
"Forget about it, I'm taking you home."
'Home' as it turned out, was Iruka's apartment – which amused Kakashi in a way that he couldn't describe. The unlucky Jonin was forced to submit to his second examination of the night, as a still anxious Iruka made certain that he didn't have any injuries that the medics had missed. They had done quite a good job of healing the gash on his shoulder, covering it with a layer of tender, parchment-thin skin that would have to be protected behind a bandage for the next twelve hours so that it could fully heal. Otherwise he had a bruise here and there, but nothing serious.
"You smell like you've been drinking," Kakashi commented playfully as Iruka busied himself examining Kakashi's skull for unusual lumps or tender spots, heedless to Kakashi's assurances that he had not fallen on his head at any point during the mission, "sake-breath."
"Anko was paying," Iruka answered blandly, "You smell like you've been out in the field – time for a shower."
Kakashi allowed himself to be effectively manhandled into the bathroom, stripped of his clothes, and urged under a warm spray. He turned to Iruka, about to assure him that he could, in fact, still bathe himself, and saw the Chunin stripping out of his clothes.
"Didn't you already have a shower?" he asked, amused.
"I had a cold shower," Iruka groused, worming his way into the small shower stall. The limited space meant that Kakashi was left with very little elbow room and a chilly Chunin all but plastered against his back, which didn't bother him in the least, "because your dog had to interrupt me while I was – uh…"
"Attending to certain needs?" Kakashi offered tactfully, and Iruka grunted in agreement, "Ah…no wonder you're so annoyed with me."
"I'm annoyed…" Iruka closed his teeth around the join of Kakashi's neck and shoulder with just enough force that Kakashi shivered from the sensation, "because I thought you were really in trouble – and because Pakkun saw me with my pants down. Now be quiet you, and hand me that soap."
Kakashi complied, and moments later, Iruka began massaging his back and shoulders with soap-slicked hands.
"Does your arm hurt?" he asked.
"Itches," Kakashi barely suppressed a sigh of deep satisfaction as Iruka's skilled hands found a particularly nasty knot in his shoulder muscles and worked it loose.
Iruka laughed softly, "I hate that."
The hands on his back were heavenly, banishing his pains and worries, making the last 16 hours seem like a bad dream, "Shouldn't I be doing this for you? It is still your birthday."
"Is it?" Iruka's lips brushed the back of Kakashi's neck playfully, and Kakashi felt the Chunin growing hard against him.
"What?" He laughed, "You think I forgot?"
"I guess I'm supposed to get one wish then."
"Mmm…that's right," Kakashi leaned against the shower wall, resting his head on his forearm. His injured arm hung loosely at his side and he reached back, brushing his fingers against Iruka's hip encouragingly.
Iruka chuckled, flicking his tongue against the nub of vertebrae at the base of Kakashi's neck; his soapy hand slid lower and Kakashi shifted his weight to give his lover easier access. Iruka's fingers slipped down to the cleft of his ass and it took all of Kakashi's willpower not to tense in delighted anticipation. An instant later, Iruka's breath swept hot over his ear.
"If your have any injuries I still don't know about, now would be the time to tell me, because I've been wanting this for hours, and once I start, I definitely won't be able to stop."
Kakashi fessed up immediately; because that was the fastest way he knew to get Iruka inside him, "Just a bruise forming…on my ribcage…left side, an inch above the bottom rib."
"I swear…" Kakashi rolled his hips back, felt Iruka's hardness press more firmly against him.
Iruka's hard-on was back with a vengeance, so intense he could barely breathe. He pressed against Kakashi's pale, lithe body, lapping at the skin over his shoulder blade, sliding one hand down the cleft of his ass and wrapping the other around the Jonin's body in search of damp silver hair and throbbing arousal. Kakashi moaned wantonly as Iruka simultaneously slid one finger inside of him and took hold of his cock, stroking the tip with his thumb.
"Ugh…gods pretty baby," Kakashi's hand gripped his thigh, fingers kneading anxiously, "don't wait…just go for it."
Truthfully, there was nothing he wanted more in the world; but the urgency in Kakashi's voice was honestly a little frightening, and Iruka hesitated, "Are you sure?"
Kakashi rocked his hips back and forth, panting, "Positive."
Iruka had once heard that only fools are positive – fools rush in – fools in love – he smiled against the side of Kakashi's neck and drew his finger out, taking the soap and slicking himself, then pressed carefully against Kakashi's entrance, easing in, plastering himself against Kakashi's back and waiting for the almost unbearable pressure surrounding him to ease up.
Kakashi took two deep, shuddering breaths, and Iruka felt the muscles around him turning to liquid, loosening and drawing him deeper. At the first thrust the Jonin's entire body shuddered in all the right ways; by the fourth he was rocking back against Iruka and gasping innumerable encouragements, most of which Iruka couldn't even understand, but it didn't matter; he let the sound itself overwhelm him, losing himself in the rhythm of water and sex, keeping his hand loose around Kakashi's arousal so that the Jonin could thrust into his palm.
"Come for me," he breathed, peppering Kakashi's temple and the side of his neck with kisses and flicks of his tongue, "That's my birthday wish – come for me and say my name."
Kakashi seemed only too happy to grant that wish, moaning and gasping, barely coherent as Iruka pushed so deep into him that their bodies locked together.
"Ooh Iruuuka…" he groaned, expending himself in one long rush through Iruka's fingers. Iruka threw his head back in ecstasy, water that was now only lukewarm spattering down on his face as he thrust a handful of times more, and then let himself go.
They cleaned up before the water could go cold and made their way to the bed, tangling together in a damp, satiated heap beneath the sheets. After a moment of contented cuddling, Kakashi looked over at the bedside clock.
"Look at that – I still have two minutes to give you your birthday present."
"Leave it," Iruka sighed, "you think I'm not used to you being late by now?"
"One minute," Kakashi wriggled out from under Iruka just enough to reach over the side of the bed and grab his vest, pulling something out of a pocket, which he concealed in his fist, "close your eyes pretty baby."
Iruka complied with a long-suffering sigh, and Kakashi set something small, cool and metal in his palm.
"A dog tag?" Iruka regarded the gift curiously, holding up above his head by the chain. It wasn't an ordinary dog tag, however; on one side was what appeared to be an engraving of a henohenomoheji, and when he turned it around…
"Dolphins are mammals," Kakashi corrected.
Iruka looked very seriously at the Jonin, one eyebrow raised, "Even Naruto never gave me anything this silly."
"Be honest, you love it," Kakashi grinned confidently, settling deep into the bed and pulling the blankets up around his chin like a child.
Iruka rolled his eyes and smiled, lifting his head off the pillow so that he could put the tag around his neck, "I do. Thank you Kakashi."
The Jonin snuggled happily against him, kissing his cheek chastely, "I love you."
"How do you make that sound so good?" Iruka nuzzled his neck and nibbled the freshly washed skin.
"Because it is," Kakashi answered simply, pulling him into a tight embrace, "happy birthday Iruka."
"Mmm…" Iruka laid his head on Kakashi's shoulder and fingered the tag around his neck, "I love you Kakashi."
They laid together, basking in the pleasant afterglow and the sensation of closeness with another human being. Iruka knew that had never had anything like this before, and it made the prospect of being twenty-four seem not the least bit depressing or daunting. He would save the midlife crisis for later, he decided, because he could already tell that this was going to be a good year, and he didn't want to spoil it.