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A silver-haired guy sporting a pair of thick black-framed spectacles, just stepping out of the elevator was pinned to the nondescript blue and grey carpet by the imaginary line extending from Iruka's outthrust pointer finger. "Huh?"

Iruka dropped his finger and grabbed the guy - hauling him around the corner, into his cubicle and gestured to his fried desktop computer. "I need this fixed."

"I don't - "

"Are you or are you not with tech support?" Both men looked down at the rumpled plaid button-down and wrinkled khakis the guy was wearing. This look also took in the nylon messenger bag slung over his shoulder. It was emblazoned with the name and slogan of Lightning Hardware and Apps, a manufacturer of computer hardware so big even Iruka knew who they were.

"Okay, yeah, but - " the guy admitted.

"Then I need you." Iruka pressed his case. "Bad."

Under the fat frames, the guy blinked his eyes, one black, one scarred red.

Iruka knew he wasn't at his most coherent while panicking. He drew in a deep breath and said, "It's my first day making a big impression on a new collaborator - I called tech support and they said they'd already sent a guy up. That's you, right?"

"I do work in tech support -"

"Good." Iruka didn't hesitate to question this one good piece of news in the sea of crap he'd been wading in for the past 48 hours. "What's your name?"


"Hi, I'm Iruka." He chattered on, helpless. "I've only been here for a couple of months - and they just threw this presentation to me."

Kakashi quirked an eyebrow up.

"Yeah, I know. The lead presenter is out with the black plague, the second has been surprise!hired by our main competitor, the third is on vacation because, hey, who would think that the first two would be out of commission, right?" Iruka didn't mention the scrambling he had to do to pull things together, although he was afraid his wishes for the sudden and painful demise of everybody in the group was transparent. They hadn't even bothered to half-ass the report - it looked like they'd directed a three-year-old to put together a powerpoint presentation. Fuck. Who was in charge here?

He could have killed them, slowly, with his bare hands, but he'd been too busy trying to get all the background to give a credible idea as to what his company did and that they could do it better than anybody else. He resented it. After this, he barely felt like showing that his company did anything useful. But he would, because he was a good soldier.

"Tell me what's wrong, again?"

"I'm sorry," Iruka sighed. "It's been crazy here. I tried to write everything down in the support ticket, but I guess I wasn't very clear. The hard drive crashed and I need to retrieve my report from there. The woman on the phone said that maybe that you would need to link the old drive to a new drive? Whatever that means."

The guy seemed to think a moment, and then sighing, flipped open his case. The case revealed an eye-popping number of tools arrayed in layer after layer of nylon, neatly slotted into their own little kevlar slots. It was like a magic trick, there should in no way be that many tools in that size case. From the very back, the guy pulled a handheld, and dragged out a long grey cable and several adaptors. Then, with a quick twist, he flipped open the behemoth shell of Iruka's desktop and revealed the grey and black hard drive. After flicking through the adaptors, he attached the hard drive with the cable, and then began tapping on the small screen of his handheld.

"What's the thing you need?"

"The presentation, you mean?" Iruka looked to Kakashi to see him nod affirmatively.

"What's it for?" Kakashi asked, with the air of someone just making conversation.

"It's for Konoha Heavy Industries. We're trying to show how our education model works well in training modules for their staff. You see, standard industry practices indicate that distance training isn't useful, but our models indicate it's because there isn't a consistent approach towards the training, and there are all sort of interruptions. We partner with a group, Konoha Heavy Industries, say, and work out best practices for training."

"Like what?"

Iruka gave a mental shrug and started talking about the project. After a brief description, with Kakashi asking a few questions as he sorted through the crap on Iruka's hard drive, Iruka settled in.

Then Kakashi grunted like he was jabbed in the kidneys. "I might have gotten it. What's the file name?"


Kakashi blinked.

Iruka flushed. "Sorry. It's been a really hard project and I had to pull together at the last minute. I didn't really mean for anybody else to see it. I was going to rename it before I showed anybody."

The corner of Kakashi's mouth twitched.

"And uh, if you don't mind, I also need "Fuckmehard.docx" and "Rimmedeep.accdb."" Iruka felt his face burning up. "Sorry. I really really didn't think I'd be saying those out loud."

"It's okay. This must be frustrating for you - " the phone on Kakashi's belt chirped. He picked it up, and said, "Yeah? So? I'm busy." He paused, not looking away from the small screen in front of him. "Go on without me. I'll catch up." He turned back to Iruka. "Do you have a computer?"

"Uh -" Iruka looked at the pile of unconnected wires and drives and screws splayed across his desk.

Kakashi explained, slowly, "I'll email you the files if you have another machine you can access."

"Oh. Oh, yeah."

Kakashi looked at Iruka, waiting.

Iruka blinked. "What?"


"Oh, right." Iruka blushed. He told Kakashi his address, and then scooted over to Anko's station. With a quick explanation and apology, he got into his account. After he logged in, the files appeared under an unfamiliar address. Iruka jumped up and grabbed Kakashi, unresisting, into a quick appreciative hug. "My hero!" Even with the quick grab, Kakashi's shoulder smelled great. He pulled back with a huge grin, only to see Kakashi's pole-axed expression.

"Sorry," Iruka said, realizing what he'd just done. "Uh, hey. Uh, thanks a lot. That was great." He pulled back and picked at some imaginary lint on his sleeve. "Sorry. For the inappropriate touching."

To Iruka's great relief, Kakashi's phone chirped again breaking the horrible, horrible awkwardness. "Yeah? No. I don't need to be there. Yeah? Bring me back some leftovers. Talk to you later."

"I guess I interrupted your lunch," Iruka said. "I could make it up to you - "

Kakashi shook his head. "Not a big deal."

"Thanks so much. I really appreciate it." This time, it was Iruka's mobile phone ringing out an alarm in his pocket. "Shit." He hurriedly gathered up a copier box full of folders.

Kakashi's eyebrow lifted. "You going to answer that?"

"What? This?" Iruka smashed his hip against the edge of his desk, silencing the noise.

Kakashi's eyes widened in horror.

"Don't look like that - it's an old phone with a funky alarm. Only way to turn it off now. I'm sorry you had to see that, it probably gave you a techie heart attack, but I break everything - I bet there's a whole database with just the stuff I messed up since I got here. Anyway - I've got to go - I've got a meeting, with the files you sent me. Like ten minutes ago. See you."

Iruka's headlong rush was halted by Kakashi's voice. "Don't forget to back up!" He nodded, gracelessly waving as he went out, and then grabbing the box as it started to list out of his arms.

"Hey," Anko greeted Iruka as he slumped back into the office. They'd been friends for years. It was Anko who told him about this job, which Iruka had needed badly. Although if Iruka was asked about it today, he'd be sorry she did.

"Hey," Iruka said. He slung the near-empty box up against the cubicle wall.

"You look like crap," Anko commented.

"Thanks," Iruka replied. "I got my ass kicked during the presentation. I mean, who would think that the Q and A would last longer than the powerpoint? I think I fear-sweated through my shorts."

"Ewwww," Anko laughed. "Hey, your Tech Support guy is back."

"What?!" Iruka swung around, looking.

"He's hot," she said, waggling her eyebrows.

"Shut up," Iruka said, without heat.

Anko lowered her voice. "I think he's got a package for you."

"Geez, Anko," Iruka complained. "That's crass."

"No, duh - he came by with a box. I think he's really got something for you."

Iruka looked around his desk. Sure enough, there was Kakashi, prodding the open shell of Iruka's computer, next to him on the desk lay an open tool case and a small pile of boxes.

"Uh -hey - I wasn't expecting you to come by so fast- " Iruka blundered.

"Oh, hey," Kakashi said. "I got you a new hard drive."


"It's awesome," Kakashi said, his face temporarily lighting up. Then he spit out a list of specs and numbers and things that might as well be in an alien language. Iruka tried to look interested, but was afraid he just appeared deranged.

Kakashi took the hint. With a cough, he said, "I mean, it's sleeker and faster and got more memory than your old one. It's really durable. It should be impossible for you to destroy. I'll just finish hooking it up. After you make sure it works, I'll go."

"I really appreciate it," Iruka said. Then he remembered his inappropriate hug of earlier today. He stared nervously at Kakashi's left ear while Kakashi finished up. "What happened earlier today - I hope you don't think it's harassment - I get really happy when things work out - "

Kakashi looked at him, looked at the ground, said, "It's okay. It was...nice." He froze and said very quickly, "Lots of people aren't that happy when stuff breaks. So if you need anything, let me know." He then mumbled something Iruka couldn't catch and disappeared down the hall.

It was only after Kakashi left that Anko appeared by Iruka's side. "Damn," Anko said, "I've got to get me one of those."

"What do you mean?" Iruka asked.

"A guy who can fix things for you, and fast. Last time I called, it took a week for a total loser to come by. And he never followed up. How'd you do it?"


"You got him to come back and give you, you know, superior customer service. You didn't blow him under the desk did you?"

"ANKO!" Then, thinking about the hug, Iruka blushed. Fortunately, Anko didn't seem to notice.

"Damn. Like a techie ninja. You've got to tell me how you did it."

"I didn't do anything."

"And he's got a great ass. You lucky bitch."

"Do you know him?" Iruka asked, embarrassed but needing to know. Anko knew everybody and everything going on in the building, and even she'd been sideswiped by Iruka's team's mass defection.

"No - " she frowned. "But Tech Support has been doing a bunch of hiring, so maybe it was one of those guys. How else would he get in the building?" she said, logically.

"You're right," Iruka said. "I guess I was lucky that I grabbed someone competent."

"That's always a crapshoot, even if they are from tech support."

"It's just weird," Iruka said. "He sent me the files from his personal email address, not the work one."

Anko arched an eyebrow. "Maybe he wants you to have his personal address."

The following week, Iruka's computer came down with a massive virus. He dropped a quick email to Kakashi's email, letting Kakashi know his suspicions. Within 30 minutes, Kakashi appeared.

Now that Iruka wasn't in a feverish, homicidal mood, and he had forcefully had forgotten his workplace inappropriate behavior, he chatted with Kakashi. Just a bit. "Wow," he said, "That's some service."

Kakashi's eyes curved up, just a little. "No problem. Let me know if there's anything else you need help with."

"Look," Iruka said, "I know contacting you directly is against company protocol, and if you want me to go through the ticket system, I will. I really don't want to get you in trouble if you're actually assigned to other things."

"It's what I do," said Kakashi. "Bother me. Besides," he shrugged, "I don't really worry about breaking little rules like that."

"I noticed it's not a work email - "

Kakashi froze.

"- so if you think I should go through the official system - "

Kakashi gave a half-shrug, casual enough that Iruka thought he must be mistaken about Kakashi's momentary stillness. "Feel free to keep using that one. It'll get to me faster. For anything."

Oh. "Good to know," Iruka said.

"FUCK!" Iruka shouted. His computer had just gone down. Again. He typed in Kakashi's email address, having memorized it after the first half-dozen times or so he'd written. Immediately, an IM popped up. "Be right there."

And he was, decked out in a terribly ill-fitting golf shirt with a couple of buttons missing and what looked like swimming trunks with knee-length black socks and loafers. The ensemble, if such an outfit could be honored with such a sobriquet, hurt Iruka's eyes.

"Wow," said Kakashi, checking out the machine. "You really do break stuff." He fiddled with it some more.

"Sorry. It's much better that I'm in education than Tech Support."

"I don't know about that," Kakashi said. "You'd be great at meetings. You're really good at expressing yourself."

Iruka smiled, ducking his head down. "Thanks."

Iruka's next door neighbor starting thumping on the copier, and Kakashi coughed. "So, uh, I brought you another hard drive. Because you did something I really thought was impossible."

"That's what everybody says," Iruka sighed, looking at some expense forms. He'd have to redo them tonight. Then reminded, he said, "Hey, if you need a budget code or something - "

"Nah," Kakashi said. "The warranty should cover it. Besides, it's really interesting to see how you break things."

Iruka's eyes flashed. "I don't break things." Iruka's cell phone rang just then. Iruka pulled it out, looked at the screen and frowned. It kept ringing. Iruka pushed several buttons. It kept ringing. Finally, Iruka took it and smashed it violently against his desk. It stopped ringing.

Kakashi recoiled, as if it were one of his body parts being smashed.

"Don't worry about that," Iruka said. "Happens all the time." He cleared his throat. "I don't break things." The phone let out a feeble ring. "See?"

"Do you - do you want a new phone?" Kakashi asked, somewhat fearfully.

"I don't know if I'm supposed to get one - "

"No problem," Kakashi said. He pulled a sleek charcoal-colored case, about the dimensions of a stack of three playing cards, out of his pocket and handed it to Iruka. "Take this."

"It's too much trouble," Iruka said, frowning.

"None at all."

"My phone still works."

Kakashi looked skeptical. "If that's what you call working."

"But I'll have to transfer my info - " Iruka whined.

"Here - " Kakashi pulled out a small machine and plugged it into Iruka's old phone, then hooked up the new phone. After a minute, he handed the new phone to Iruka. "There you go."

"You sure?"

Kakashi nodded. "Sure." Then he paused. "You do know how to use it?"

Iruka had a dimple when he smiled, which, he noted with a touch of fascination, that smiling and dimpling made Kakashi turn pink in response. "Yeah, if it rings, I smash it - "

"No!" Kakashi's hands twitched, as if wanting to snatch the phone back. "I mean, uh, no, you, I don't mean - "

Iruka waved Kakashi away, phone in hand. "I'm okay. I'm just kidding."

"Oh." Kakashi looked dubious, but when Iruka dimpled at him again, whatever he was going to say just disappeared. "Okay." He rallied valiantly, pulling out a manual. "Read this before you use it."

Iruka tried batting his eyes.

Kakashi crumpled like a wet paper towel. "See you soon?"

"Holy shit!" said Naruto, eyes enormous as he stared at Iruka's new phone sitting innocently on his desk.

"Watch your mouth," Iruka said as he swatted the mail boy and his drool away from his work.

"You've got the Chidori T-6000 phone! How the hell did you get that? They're not even on the market yet." Naruto clutched the phone to his chest. He had one hand on the manual, thumbing through. Iruka thought he was probably just looking at the pictures. The kid couldn't possibly read that fast.

"I dunno. Somebody gave it to me."

"Well, damn."

Iruka sighed. "Your eloquence, Naruto, continues to astound. Look, as long as I have a phone that turns on and off, makes and receives calls, that's all I need. I don't need you hovering over it. Give it back."

"Who's Kakashi?" Naruto asked, shoulders hunched over the phone, scrolling through Iruka's contacts.

"None of your business," Iruka snapped, snatching the phone away.

"But Iruka - can't I - ?" whimpered Naruto. "It's so fast, and cool - "

"NO." Iruka nudged Naruto back toward his mail cart. He turned back to his desk. Damn. The kid had pilfered the manual. Oh, well. It wasn't as if he was going to read it anyway.

"I think he likes you in that blue shirt," Anko said, stirring her yogurt.

"Anko, how could you possibly know?" Iruka asked. There was no question as to exactly who they were talking about.

"He stares. But maybe he just likes staring at you."

"Shut up," Iruka said. He tried to focus his attention back onto his peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

"Especially at your ass. Not that I blame him."

"How do you know?"

"I am nosy as hell, that's how."

"You need a boyfriend," Iruka said. "Or a girlfriend. Or something. You've just got to get out more."

"Iruka, for all intents and purposes, you are my girlfriend. Or would be. But your boyfriend might have something to say about that."

"He's not my boyfriend."

"Not yet."

Two weeks after that, the network on Iruka's section of the floor went out. Kakashi appeared within minutes, and fixed it within a few hours. He was wearing a truly eye-searing fuschia and black short-sleeve button-down, a piano-key necktie and wide-wale tan corduroys, socks and open-toed sandals. Iruka fought the urge to cover him with his own plain navy sweater so he himself wouldn't go blind. Still, Kakashi had shown up and was super nice about it. The clothes shouldn't matter. Iruka felt bad that everybody else on the floor went home, so he stayed and chatted with Kakashi while Kakashi went about checking all the connections.

"Oh, hey, good news. I got that account that you helped me with the files for," Iruka said.

Kakashi half-smiled. "With names like Suckme, Rimmedeep and Fuckmehard - well, what client wouldn't hire you?"

Iruka laughed. "Let that be our secret, okay? I changed them all to very ordinary, serious names."

"What did you change them to?"

"Handjob, Frottage and Oralsatisfaction." At Kakashi's slightly incredulous look, Iruka laughed. "No. Something like Veryboringpresentation and Figurestoveryboringpresentation and Veryboringdatabase."

"I'd like to have received Frottage and Oralsatisfaction," Kakashi murmured. "Hell, I wouldn't mind getting a Handjob, either."

Iruka felt the tips of his ears go hot at the speculative look Kakashi was giving him. "Too bad you weren't at that meeting."

"Oh, but I would have missed this," Kakashi said, jerking his thumb at the mess of wires he'd pulled from the wall.


"What computer mess is happening that you needed to call your boyfriend for?"

"He's not my boyfriend!" Iruka hotly denied, blushing.

"How can he NOT be your boyfriend? He comes when you call, he fixes stuff, he gave you a new phone, you brought him coffee that last time, he ate from your candy dish AND you didn't care. When the mail-kid tried to have some of your M&M's you almost bit his head off."

Weaker, Iruka still denied it. "Naruto's always mooching my candy. He should be eating real food."

Anko folded her arms across her chest. "Okay. Here's a quiz. Yes or no. You laugh at his jokes. He laughs at yours."

"Yes and yes."

"You really think he just shows up to fix things?"


"You want to dress him so he looks better, but not too better, otherwise somebody else will notice and take him away."

"Yes - but, come on, Anko, you do too! Wearing bits of the carpet would be better than what he wears to work. His clothing gives me a headache."

"You have nothing between you two. There is no banter, there is no eyesex. You feel nothing when his silver hair and eyeglasses show up over the edge of the cubicle wall. You don't have a history of competency kink and you've never checked out his ass."

"Uhh. What am I supposed to say yes or no to?"

"Just admit it." Anko took a deep drink from her coffee. "Here's the real test. Have you or have you not ever wondered if you could create some kind of computer crisis just so you could call your boyfriend?"

"He's not - oh, okay. I have thought about it," admitted Iruka.

"Really? What were you going to do?"

"Something dumb. Maybe pour water all over the workstation. But that seems drastic and just ridiculous, so I'm just going to wait until something really goes wrong. Maybe there'll be a thunderstorm and lightning will fry the wires in the building."

"Geez. You are desperate. Maybe you stop fucking around and just, you know, ask him out. He doesn't look attached - no ring, no mention of significant other, right?"

"I guess. The clothes should probably be a clue. No attached guy would be dressed like that."

"You sure he's gay?"

Without hesitation, Iruka said, "Yes."

Anko looked at Iruka shrewdly. "There's always the employee picnic this weekend," Anko said, innocently. "You going?"

A smile growing on Iruka's mouth, he said, "Yes."

"Is Kakashi?" asked Anko, knowingly.

"I'm going to find out."

"As floor rep for the employee's association, I have to let you know that fraternization amongst employees during work time is strictly discouraged," Anko said. Then she winked. "So you know."

"Thanks. I'll take that under advisement," Iruka said, straight-faced. "In no way do I intend to fraternize on company time." Then he sat down to type Kakashi an email.

"Hey!" Iruka caught Kakashi at the entry of the park. Despite himself, the guy looked great in a really horrible teal tracksuit with neon yellow satin lightning bolts stitched all over it. "Come on. The main event is at the big pavilion. You hungry?"

"What's for lunch?" Kakashi took in Iruka's painted-on jeans and softly worn, tightly fitted t-shirt.

"I think there are wieners," Iruka laughed, "and beans. And coleslaw and desserts. And there shall be no fraternization on company time. It's a rule."

Kakashi nodded. "You know how I feel about rules."

Iruka caught Kakashi's eye. "I don't think we have anything to worry about. Not on company time, anyway."

Anko came over to say hello, as did some of Iruka's other co-workers. They almost mowed down the head of Iruka's division. Mr. Sarutobi, whom Iruka liked well enough the few times they came into contact, seemed to do a double-take when he saw Iruka. "Hey, Mr. Sarutobi," Iruka greeted.

"Iruka," said Sarutobi.

Kakashi had disappeared into thin air.

"I thought you were with someone - ?" Sarutobi looked around.

Iruka coughed. "Heh. Yeah. Kakashi. He's in Tech Support."

"Hm." Sarutobi considered his words a moment and then said, "Well done." He looked at Iruka with almost an avuncular air and then ambled off.

Yeah, Iruka thought. It was well done. He turned around and there was Kakashi, holding a plate of food for each of them.

"I've been in the mood for some sausage since I saw you," Kakashi said.

Iruka couldn't help but laugh, and groaned as he accepted the plate. "How hungry are you?"

Kakashi's eyes twinkled. "Starving."

He was such a slut, Iruka thought, waking up next to Kakashi the next day. Still, it was totally worth it. There had been plenty of exchanges of various types of, ahem, data. It hadn't always been easy, with moments of awkwardness on both sides, elbows and knees and hips in unaccustomed positions. Still. The sensations of heat and musculature and skin and hair after so long. Worth it. He cuddled against Kakashi, grinning smugly. Kakashi looked amazing naked under all of those horrific clothes. Who would have guessed?

Kakashi grunted, tucking Iruka into his side. "You want to go out for breakfast?"

Iruka wiggled further into Kakashi's side. "How about we stay in?"

"Hmm," Kakashi said, turning, rubbing his cheek on the top of Iruka's head. "I like that idea."

Kakashi's phone rang. "Sorry." He reached out one long, pale, bare arm from under the sheets and picked it up. "Yeah? Okay. Today? You sure Genma can't handle it?" He sighed. "Fine. I'll be there as soon as I can." He turned toward Iruka. "I've got to go in today. I wish I didn't have to."

"What? It's Sunday! There's a mainframe going down?"

Kakashi gave a little shrug. "Something like that."

"Do you want breakfast?" Iruka slid out of bed.

"I'd have to leave really soon," Kakashi warned, his shirt half-buttoned, scrambling around Iruka's small one-bedroom as he tried to find his pants.

"Toast won't take too long - " Iruka said, scrambling into his postage-stamp sized kitchenette. He started up the coffee and threw jam and butter on the table, thinking he totally should have more food on hand for when he sexed up a hot computer tech. (Like that ever happens.) His greatest fantasies of the evening couldn't even had touched on what the reality was. The way Kakashi sounded in arousal...

Iruka leaned on his fist, sighing and staring at Kakashi. God, Kakashi was gorgeous, half-dressed, jam and toast crumbs on his lips with the slant of the mid-morning sun coming through and highlighting his silver hair. He could imagine their future - commuting into work together but being all skulduggery about their dating status (so there had to be at least five minutes between their entry into the building) until the wedding invitations dropped...

"What?" Kakashi asked, aware of Iruka's regard.

"I had a great time last night," Iruka said, flushing at his boldness. "It's been a long time since I've brought someone home."

"How long?" Kakashi asked.

Iruka stopped to think. Had it really been that long? "Almost a year. How long for you?"

"Since I -?"

"Since you last slept with someone?"

"Oh, about that long," Kakashi said, staring down at the last piece of toast.

"That long?" teased Iruka. He pushed the plate toward Kakashi.

"Maybe a little longer." At Iruka's rapt attention, Kakashi said, "Listen, I've got something to tell you - " Kakashi's phone chirped again. "Crap," he muttered, reading the text on the screen. He leaned over and gave Iruka a buttery kiss. "I've got to go, but I'll call you." He crammed the last whole slice of toast into his mouth and headed out the door.

Iruka came into work to find a tremendous bouquet of red and pink roses and lilies sitting in front of Anko's desk. "That's beautiful," he said. "Who's it from?"

"I should ask you," Anko said, pushing the vase forward. "This is for you."

Iruka picked the card off the little plastic stalk stuck into the bouquet. On it was a simply scrawled 'Call you later, K.'

Iruka's phone buzzed. Kakashi had left a message, Meet you at 7. with an address.

Happy, Iruka dropped the bouquet on his desk. He wondered how long it would take for Kakashi to call. Then, inspired, he went down to the sub-basement, where the Tech Support department dwelled. Their receptionist, a hollow-eyed paper-pusher named Konan, told Iruka nobody named Kakashi worked in that department.

When he talked to Anko about that, Anko shrugged. "Konan's kind of different. I wouldn't take her too seriously."

When Iruka approached the street, he saw Kakashi waving on the corner.

"Hey," Kakashi said.

"Hey," Iruka replied. And then, he couldn't help it, he watched Kakashi's approach, the little flutter of his hair, the way Kakashi jammed his hands into the pockets of his unzipped jacket, the long lines of his legs. Helpless, Iruka flushed.

"You want to eat dinner?"

"Sure." Iruka turned around, ready to walk down the street, but Kakashi stood still.

"I meant here," Kakashi said.

"Here?" Iruka looked up at the awning, and his eyes widened. "Have you ever been here?"


Iruka looked through the window of the restaurant, seeing pristine white tablecloths, crystal, shining silverware, multiple wine glasses and many layers of silverware, waiters in white coats, clientele in fancy dress. Then he looked at Kakashi - in a t-shirt that proclaimed 'Team Building 2006,' torn jeans and worn clogs. "I just don't know - "

"You don't like French food? It's prix fixe."

"Do you know what that means?"

"Fixed price," Kakashi said, proudly. "I checked with google translate, just to make sure it wasn't something I'm allergic to."

Iruka said, "I'm kind of nervous - look, we can't go in there!"

"Why not?"

"Because it'll be really expensive. It's really nice."

"It's okay," Kakashi said, insistent. "I'll pay for it. It's supposed to be really good."

"No," Iruka said. "We've just started going out. We can't go there."

"Don't worry about it," Kakashi said, flashing his open wallet with its meager supply of bank plastic in Iruka's startled face. "I've got good credit."

"You won't after going there," muttered Iruka.

Kakashi's face fell.

Iruka felt like he had crushed some puppies underfoot. "What is up with the expensive restaurant?"

"Someone told me it was good."

"No, no, no," Iruka said, shaking his head. "Who told you that?"

"Someone at work. They said - " Kakashi looked away.


"They said it was a place to take someone special."

Iruka felt something tighten in his chest. "Yeah. I'm sure it is. But, ah, I'll be kind of uncomfortable. I mean, I'm not really dressed for it."

Kakashi looked at Iruka's office-casual, and smiled, his face going lopsided in adoration. "You look great."

"Aww. You do too," Iruka grabbed Kakashi's arm. "Come on, ya big lug. I know a great pizza place. What'dya say?"

Kakashi and Iruka were half-way through one of Luigi's famous pizzas, and well on their way to an innuendo-filled evening when Kakashi's phone rang.

Kakashi looked apologetic. "I've got to get this," he said.

Iruka tried not to eavesdrop. In that regard, it was helpful that Kakashi's phone manner was so terrible.

"Yeah. Yeah. No. No. Don't. Yeah. Did you check the blalblahdiddyblah-?"

Iruka found out something important that evening: eavesdropping was not useful if the eavesdropper didn't understand the terminology.

Kakashi sighed. "Okay. I'll be in later."

Iruka looked up when Kakashi put the phone away. "You heard?"

Iruka nodded.

"I'm sorry. I'll make it up to you." Kakashi kissed his cheek and left, dropping some bills on the table.

Sullenly, Iruka looked at the remains of the pizza. It's hard being happy about the evening when he was being cock-blocked by Kakashi's phone!

"Hey." A familiar figure in shiny silver shorts and worn t-shirt sat down on the edge of Iruka's desk.

"Hey." Iruka didn't say much more, not bothering to look up from his keyboard. He and Kakashi hadn't had an evening together that wasn't interrupted by one thing or another over the past couple of weeks. Iruka was starting to feel irritated.

Kakashi fiddled with the lanyard around his neck that held his workplace ID. "I'm really sorry about last night."

"And the night before that and two nights before that - "

"Yeah." Kakashi ran a hand through his hair.

Iruka sighed. "You're great, but - "

"Oh no," Kakashi said, anxious. "You're not giving me the talk."

"I never see you," Iruka said. Then he frowned. "I hated the way I sounded there. I want to see you. I show up, you show up, but then - "

"I know - I know. I'm going to try to work on it." Kakashi sighed. Then he frowned. Not a mean frown, but a thinking frown. "Hey."


"I got a, uh, departmental thing. A party. A departmental party thing. You want to come?"

"Are you going to be there?" Iruka said, snippily. "I'm sorry," he said immediately after. "I suck."

"Please come. As my date."

Iruka paused.

"It would mean a lot to me."

Iruka hmmed.

"No interruptions after that. I promise."

"Oh, okay," Iruka acquiesced.

Iruka arrived at the address Kakashi had sent him, his mouth dropping slightly when he realized he was standing in the storefront of a well-known menswear designer. The concierge collected him and sent him to the back, where a few clerks consulted each other over his measurements and then produced a tuxedo for him to try. "Uh," Iruka said, trying to calculate out when his credit card payment was due relative to his next paycheck, "How is this being paid - ?"

"Oh, Mr. Hatake doesn't want you to worry about that."

Deciding to go with it, despite 'going with it' not really being part of his personality, Iruka selected a tie, a very nice white shirt, and a set of shoes.

The concierge appeared shortly and lead him to Kakashi's dressing room. After knocking, they entered to the sight of a clerk struggling with Kakashi and his strongly vocalized desire to not wear a tie.

"Wow," said Iruka, leaning against the wall. He took in the vision of Kakashi in a very well-fitting tuxedo and placed it carefully in his memory, to be referred to later. "I just never thought - that this - and you -"

"What?" Kakashi looked nervous, perhaps even ill-at-ease. He looked in the mirrors in the large dressing room. He pulled at the cufflinks on his new white shirt. The clerk twitched, unhappily, tie still in hand.

"How did you know about this place?" Iruka asked.

"Somebody at work told me to come here. They said it was nice." Kakashi shrugged, as if the idea of him knowing about a place like this was unfathomable.

"It is nice. Very nice." Iruka took pity on the clerk and suggested in the kindest possible way that he would take care of this.

"What're you going to do?" Kakashi asked after the clerk had bidden them a grateful and hasty farewell.

"Make you look even better than you do right now," Iruka murmured into Kakashi's ear. "Lift your chin."

Kakashi lifted.

"How do you know how to do this?" Kakashi asked while Iruka was doing the last series of knots in his silk bow tie.

"Years in an exclusive prep school --keep your chin up, please--where even scholarship students are taught how to dress properly." Iruka pitched his voice low, aware of how close his mouth was to Kakashi's ears. Those ears in particular, Iruka knew, were very sensitive indeed.

With a last smoothing, Iruka looked back upon his handiwork.

Kakashi looked more and more nervous. "How do I look?"

Finally, Iruka blurted, "You should fuck me right now. Leave the tux on."

Kakashi looked gobsmacked.

"Or I could fuck you. But you have to keep the tux on."

A strangled cough came from Kakashi, his eyes darting to the door of the dressing room.

"So, um, yeah," Iruka said, clearing his throat, suddenly remembering where they were. "I mean to say, you look great. Maybe we should go before I embarrass myself further."

"You really like the tux?" Kakashi seemed unreasonably delighted.

"Oh my god," Iruka said. "I like. I like. Please, Kakashi, stop smiling like that. We're never going to make it to your party."

Iruka circulated with Kakashi, who held onto his hand. Iruka had been concerned that they wouldn't fit in, that the tuxedos were overdoing it, but his fears were unfounded. Most of the other guests were also in formal evening wear; the men in dark suits, the women in gowns. They had been handed drinks as they entered the gilded ballroom of the Grand Hotel, and an endless series of waitstaff circulated with an endless variety of hor d'oeuvres.

"You okay?" Kakashi asked, arm around Iruka, where it had been all night, when it hadn't been stuffing his face full of little mysterious food items on crackers, wrapped in little rolls or perched on toothpicks.

"Is it just me," Iruka wondered, "or is everybody in here looking at me funny?"

"You look great," Kakashi said. "But they're not looking at you. They're looking at me, wondering how I got so lucky."

Iruka couldn't help it. He smiled.

"Besides," Kakashi said, "I've never brought anybody to anything before."

Ah. "That's funny," Iruka said.


"I don't see anybody from work. You did say this was a work party?"


"Don't you want to go and talk to some people?" Iruka asked.

"No." Kakashi grunted softly next to him.

"What?" Iruka asked. Then he looked a bit closer at Kakashi. He had a light sheen of sweat on his forehead. "You okay?"


"You don't look okay." While Kakashi was pale, he wasn't normally sheet-of-paper white. "You want to go to the bathroom?"

"Yeah," Kakashi groaned.

Twenty minutes later, Iruka trailed the stretcher that had Kakashi on it. "You following?" asked a young EMT.

Iruka nodded and was told which emergency room Kakashi was going to. He immediately hailed a taxi. That was his man on that stretcher. There was no way he wasn't going.

The doctor looked around the stark waiting room. Iruka stood, nervously clutching Kakashi's tuxedo jacket. "You the boyfriend?"

"Yes, ma'am," Iruka said.

"It's good you called right away. He had a really terrible reaction to some food. Probably shellfish, based on what you and he said. I suggest taking a few days off. This kind of allergy is no joke." Kindly, she said, "You can go see him in recovery, but he might not be in the best state of mind."

Iruka walked in and tried not to gasp at the horrible sight of Kakashi hooked up to a drip, and a couple different kinds of monitors. His hair was unbelievably messy, and without his glasses, his eyes looked all unfocused and vulnerable. It made Iruka's heart clench.

Kakashi made a weak beckoning gesture and Iruka rushed over to grab the hand that wasn't all wired up. "Some excuse to not socialize at a work function," Iruka said. He tried to smile, but the corners of his lips refused to cooperate, they kept turning downward and wobbling.

Kakashi said something, but his voice was so low, Iruka had to bend over and turn his ear almost directly onto Kakashi's lips. "...should've spent the evening fucking you through the tuxedo."

Iruka tried to laugh. "Yes. Fucking me. That'll cure what ails you. At least you're not allergic to it."

"Wouldn't care. I'd do it anyway." Kakashi smiled, so unguarded it made Iruka's heart clench in another, wholly novel way.

"You're all loopy," Iruka said, trying very hard not to choke. He tentatively reached forward to stroke Kakashi's hair.

" beautiful…" Kakashi closed his eyes and relaxed into sleep.

Iruka had gone home and dressed, and then went to Kakashi's apartment to get some clothes for Kakashi to come home in. He pulled up short when he realized where Kakashi lived; one of the nicer addresses in the city. Iruka made it through the inspection of the quietly judgemental doorman, the long, slow walk through the long, silent hallway, into the elevator and up to near the top floor, and then through the short walk to Kakashi's door. He took one look at the enormous loft space, containing only the barest minimum of bargain store furniture; bed, desk, a single chair and several computers. A mountain of laundry sat next to the open closet, which contained a lot of unused hangers and several hideous items of clothing.

Kakashi had an even tinier kitchen set-up than Iruka did, something Iruka found well-nigh unimaginable until now. A pile of take-out containers sat in the garbage, along with a pyramid of paper take-out cups from a variety of coffee bars. The refrigerator contained several cans of highly caffeinated soda and a few old-looking frozen meals.

Was this how Kakashi took care of himself? Was there nobody else who had taken care of him? Iruka thought, definitively, that there was no way Kakashi was going to come back to this. He couldn't spend the night here.

And when Kakashi was released, Iruka had no compunction in hustling him back to his own place.

The swelling had gone down in a day, the nausea in about that same time. Iruka had withheld Kakashi's phone for only the first 24 hours, and mostly because the phone remained silent, his co-workers having seen the state in which Kakashi had left the event. The internet, however, remained in Kakashi's hands.

"You don't have wifi," Kakashi announced, pulling out his handheld.

"Nope," said Iruka.

"Why not?"

"What's the big deal?" Iruka asked. "You didn't need it before."

"Yeah, but I've got work things to do."

"You can call out sick for a few days. You almost died," Iruka reminded.

Kakashi looked stubborn, but relented. Iruka should have realized that was a clue that the conversation had been recorded but not resolved. A little while later, Iruka came into the bedroom, carrying a tray of toast and tea, to find Kakashi sitting upright on the bed, thumb-typing furiously on a handheld.

"What're you doing?"

Guiltily, Kakashi shoved the handheld under a pillow.

"You're supposed to be healing." Iruka placed the tray on the nightstand.

"Healing's boring," Kakashi complained.

"So what were you doing?"

"I, uh, borrowed a bit of your neighbor's bandwidth."

Iruka's eyebrow crinkled. "You stole Mr. Ukki's wireless?"

"Not stealing, exactly. Just borrowing. He doesn't need it, anyway. His usage over the past couple hours is next to nothing."

"He's at the senior citizen center. And how did you do this anyway? I mean, it's supposed to be password-protected - " Iruka's eyes widened. "You hacked into his service?"

"Uh." Kakashi smiled lamely. "He used a really weak password."

"I can't believe - "

"You need to get some wireless. Pronto." Kakashi reached for his phone.

"What're you doing?"

"Getting you into the twenty-first century. I'll just set you up with some 4G service -"

"I can't afford that!" Iruka cried.

"You don't know what it is."

"I know that it sounds like I can't afford it."

"I'll get you a couple of days - "

"What kind of plan is it for only a couple of days - "

Kakashi shook his head and held his finger to his lips. He seemed to be chatting with a friend, and while Iruka sat there, listening, Kakashi tried to whisper something to the affect that "No, don't fire them," and "Nobody knew I was allergic to all of that stuff. I didn't even know how allergic I was," and, "Set up that account I was telling you about last week," after a few minutes, hung up, with a definite sense of accomplishment.

"Kakashi," Iruka sighed. "I can't afford this - and here's the phone - " he placed the Chidori T-6000 on the bedside table.


"I can't afford this, and more than that, I can't have you pay for everything. I don't want you to get in trouble for giving me things from your job."

"Iruka, let me do this. I won't get in trouble for any of this. It's really for me, and I can - "

"Who took care of you when this happened last?" Iruka asked, exasperated. "And did you make it so hard on them?"

Kakashi raised a single shoulder, shielding part of his face. "I'm sorry. I can go - "

"Oh, god, I'm sorry," Iruka said. "Don't go. The wireless is not important - but you can't work. You need to rest. Okay? Please? At least not in front of me, okay?"

Kakashi slowly nodded. "But you've got to take the phone. It's got my number in it."

"Okay." Iruka put the phone back into his pocket and stood. "Do you want this tea? I can reheat it or make new if you want it fresh."

"You don't have to - "

"I want to. I want to take care of you. When you were in the hospital - it made me feel so bad - "

"It's okay," Kakashi said. "I didn't care, although - "

"And the tuxedos? God," Iruka said, his eyes widening as he remembered, "I haven't returned them!"

"Iruka, those weren't rentals."

"Not rentals?" Iruka cried. "This is going to cost you a fortune."

"Nah. It's on the company."

"How can you be so nonchalant about it?"

Kakashi shrugged. "I don't care about that kind of stuff."

"But - but, I'm worried -"

Kakashi grabbed Iruka's wrist, pulling him down to sit on the mattress beside him. "If I could tell you that it's taken care of, would that make you feel better?"

"Only if it's true," Iruka said.

"Believe me," Kakashi said. "Don't worry about the phone or the tuxedos or the internet - those just come with the job."

Iruka, feeling the solid warmth of Kakashi's hand on his arm, nodded. Besides, in a few days Kakashi would be gone and Mr. Ukki would never know about his purloined bandwidth.

Half-asleep, Iruka smiled at Kakashi's intense focus on some celebrity magazine Anko had left behind. The cover featured a movie star, and promised "Details on Their Celebrated Love Life."

"Hey. How many people have you slept with?"

Kakashi swung his head to face Iruka. Iruka loved that, the total focus Kakashi gave him. Although, right now, when he asked a question semi-seriously, to be faced with that serious expression made him feel even sillier. "What?"

"It's like a game. How many people have you slept with?"

"That's not a game. That's a question."

"Then 20 questions." Iruka continued, feeling weirdly committed to this line of questioning. "I mean, I knew that you probably didn't have a lot of partners - you acted sort of funny the first time we talked about it. How many?"

Kakashi raised a hand and held out three fingers.

"So I'm the fourth? That's nothing to be ashamed of -"

"If I'm not counting you, then - " Kakashi dropped a finger.

Iruka blinked. "So I'm the third man."

"If we're talking men -" Kakashi dropped another finger.

"I'm the second man you slept with," Iruka said. "You sure?"

"I'm sure." Then he reconsidered and no fingers remained. "If you're talking about sleeping with after. Or giving me breakfast."

"But why? You're so hot and - " Iruka said, genuinely puzzled.

"I finished college when I was 16." The explanation came grudgingly.

"But that's great - wait a minute - you're a genius!" Iruka said.

Kakashi gave a twitch of acknowledgement. "And I developed late. I wasn't interested until way after the rest of my cohort and then there wasn't a lot of opportunity. I was working really hard and didn't have time. It's not like my job is actually very glamorous or anything." He coughed and looked down at the comforter. He drew a few doodles on the time-worn cotton cover with his finger. "Uh, how many for you - "

Iruka groaned. "I'm going to sound like a whore next to you. Let's put it this way: somewhere between your number and two or three times your number."

"Why not?"

"I dated some in college, but let's face it, a gay male elementary school teacher isn't going to find a lot of opportunities in a small town, okay? So when Anko told me the job in the city was available, I thought it might be nice to change."

"Did you like teaching?"

"Oh yeah," Iruka said. "I mean, some things about the administration made me batty, and the students can really give a person an aneurysm, and nobody really appreciates the amount of work grading is and the amount of prep it really takes, but then, I guess I'm the kind of person that really enjoys being driven crazy."

Kakashi half-smiled. "Good for me."

Iruka had taken two days off, just to make sure Kakashi was okay. They both went back to work on the third day. "Hey, want to catch the train together?" Iruka asked.

"I, uh," Kakashi's eye flickered to the door. "I've got a meeting. In another building."

"Oh." Iruka frowned, disappointed. "I guess we can't do the whole secret sneaking around dating thing then."

Kakashi smiled. "Maybe tomorrow."

Anko came by Iruka's cubicle, holding a newspaper nervously. "Hey, Iruka," she said.

"What?" Iruka jerked out of his fantasies about the curve of Kakashi's shoulder as it was removed from some hideous over-sized sweater. Honestly, Kakashi in a tuxedo was the daydream he preferred but reality had a habit of rearing its ugly head into Iruka's fantasies. Still, Kakashi in a tuxedo, with the tie undone, the first couple of buttons opened...

"Your boyfriend - ?"

"Kakashi. Yeah." Iruka shook his head to rid himself of the image starting to form.

"Do you know that he - "

"Iruka?" Sarutobi said, standing at the entry to Iruka's cubicle, looking at Anko in a directed manner.

"Sorry," she said, withdrawing. Behind Sarutobi's back, she mouthed "Later" to Iruka.

"Do you think you could sit in on a meeting with me? Just to take some notes and maybe provide some feedback after?" Sarutobi requested. "Now?"

Swallowing, Iruka agreed. He grabbed a pad and some paper and pens and ran off down the hall. He had taken his seat, squirming when he looked up and caught a surprised expression in a very familiar face. He was introduced to Kakashi Hatake, Chief Information Officer of Konoha Heavy Industries, who was interested in Iruka's training regimes.

Shit. He was totally fucked. He'd gone and fucked (and happily sucked and fondled and been blown by) one of the top officers of their new collaborators. How did that happen?! How did he not know?

"We are acquainted," Kakashi said, nodding.

That Iruka kept from freaking out was a small miracle. He felt frozen with the effort to not display any surprise. He just smiled and nodded like a dummy. His attention faded in and out, but he tried to take notes. For the sake of whatever snowball's chance he still had at his job.

At the end of the meeting, Kakashi stood and said to Iruka, in front of the entire room of senior officers, "Let's meet after this. I have some ideas I'd like to hash out with you."

"Okay," Iruka said, his lips stiff. "I'm going to have to debrief (shit, why did that sound so terrible now), I mean, consult with Mr. Sarutobi right now."

Sarutobi had very little to say after the meeting and Iruka fled to his cubicle. He clutched at his shoulders, his brain racing. He was going crazy. The phone rang. He looked down, and saw that it was Kakashi's number. He reached down and turned it off.

Anko came by. "You okay?"


"Because, uh, you've been muttering to yourself since the meeting ended and you've scared the crap out the people around you."


"It's okay."

Iruka looked around, as if to apologize. To his surprise, most of the cubicles around him were empty.

"It's also half an hour after everybody left and you haven't moved. You sure you're okay?"

Iruka nodded, jerkily. "You wanted to tell me something?"

"Yeah," Anko said. She wordlessly handed over a newspaper over to Iruka. The cover of the business section had an old photo of Kakashi in a t-shirt emblazoned with a sci-fi movie logo. The headline read: "Boy Genius Strikes Again!" The article went on to breathlessly detail the collaboration between Konoha Heavy Industries and Iruka's company. Kakashi had always been smart; learned to read at 2, graduated from the prestigious Konoha Technical Institute at 16. He was working on his Ph. D. in computer science when he started-up his own company selling computer peripherals and internet applications, and then sold it to Konoha Heavy Industries for a fortune, gaining the position of CIO for himself two years ago, making him, at 27, the youngest CIO in the Fortune 500.

Looking at the article made Iruka's stomach hurt.

"You okay?"

"I, uh, I think I'm going to go home," Iruka said to Anko's concerned face.

"You need help?"

"I need to be alone for a bit. I'll call you." He gathered up his things and left.

Kakashi was waiting for him outside his building. Iruka sighed. If he had been a bit quicker, he could have avoided this whole thing. "What? You stalking me now?"

"You're not responding to your phone, your email, your tweets, your tumblr, your IM - "

"How did you find my tumblr - ? "

Kakashi gave him a look that said 'I'm a computer genius' and Iruka subsided. "You might as well come up."

Once they had the door safely closed and Iruka felt they could argue in privacy, he turned and hissed, "I couldn't believe you just showed up at the meeting like that! You couldn't have told me?"

"I'm sorry," Kakashi said. "I meant to tell you - "

"Why didn't you?"

"At first, I thought it was just funny. And then it was interesting. You were one of the first people I'd met in a long time who didn't seem to know anything about me. Did you?" Kakashi asked.

"Of course I didn't," Iruka said. "I would have definitely not flirted with the CIO of Konoha Heavy Industries." Iruka threw himself on to the couch. "You need to tell me how you got away with not telling me. I mean, god, I'm not that stupid. Am I?"

"There were some close calls, I admit. But Konoha Heavy Industries is looking into merging with your company, so getting security clearance is pretty easy."

"But you came so quickly when I emailed you - "

"I really really wanted to be there. I think some execs thought all I did was hang around the coffee room waiting for your emails."

Iruka's eyes narrowed. "The hard drive - the phone? - "

"The hard drive was a prototype I happened to be hanging onto for some other project. Your participation in the test was useful. The phone was one I was going to use myself, but I wanted you to have it."

"The internet and Mr. Ukki - ?"

"I own part of the company that delivers wireless to this part of the city. I called my AA and he made it happen. Mr. Ukki shouldn't be getting a bill for a while."

Iruka deflated. "I thought you were - were like me."

"Like you?" Kakashi cocked his head. "We are pretty different. I'm a lot better at computers than you are. The way you treat technology is downright frightening. I hope you get better at that."

"Of course you're better at computers than I am! I meant funny and gay and into each other!"

"Of course we're the same when you're talking about the things we find important. Why else are we together?" Kakashi wondered.

"I meant not rich. You know, scraping by financially, paying off loans, couponing, pinching pennies?"

"It was sort of nice that you were doing that, thinking of me. At first, I thought you were being insulting, insinuating that I couldn't pay, but then it turned out to be pretty sweet that you cared that much."

"Insulting? Okay. How rich are you?"

Kakashi shrugged. "Rich enough." He pulled out his handheld, typed in a few letters and then showed Iruka the results of his internet search.

Iruka leaned against the wall, closed his eyes and breathed hard. The estimated figure given by the Wall Street Journal of the sale for Lightning Hardware and Apps, Inc. had made him dizzy. "That's, uh, that's quite a lot. Good for you," Iruka managed.

"It's not all liquid. Some of it is in stock and some of it is tied up in an annuity, but that's about right, not including the annual salary and end of year bonuses."

"Right," said Iruka, his eyes still closed. "So, uh. You want to take your things and go? Find somebody to make fun of the poor guy you slummed around with?"

"Are you crazy?" Kakashi started.

"Why am I the crazy one?"

"The money is your problem. Your feelings about it are my problem. Maybe that makes me the crazy one." Kakashi slowly nodded. "I'm staying."

"That's crazy! You can do so much better - "

"I can't and I won't. It's insulting to both of us that you think I don't know what I'm doing." Kakashi looked annoyed. "Do you need me to spell it out for you?"


"You were so cute - I couldn't tell you and maybe ruin it. Besides, it did look like you needed the help - at first, it was just sort of funny and the problem wasn't too bad, and then you - "

"Cute? I was trying to keep my job!" Iruka's eyes widened as realization dawned. "Oh, god, and now I'm going to lose my job - "

"No, you're not."

"What the hell do you know? You're in charge of a whole other company, you have no idea - "

"I do. I have an idea. There's going to be a merger and you're going to stay, if I have to hire you myself -"

"Isn't that nepotism?"

"I don't care."

"What if I don't want -"

"Then you can go anywhere you want. I want to do whatever is going to make you happy."

"What?" Iruka wasn't certain he was hearing things properly.

Kakashi swallowed, as if he had said too much. Then, enunciating, he said, "I want to make you happy. Whatever it is."

Iruka blinked. "Why?"

"Why? Because I want to be there for you for as long as you'll have me. You're funny, and you're surprising, you're not afraid of me and you're great at blowjobs and so damn sexy, and I'd never had better toast or better company."

"...oh." Iruka's voice was very small. "Well," he said, looking down at his hands like he didn't know quite what to do with them. "All right then."

Kakashi's lips quirked upwards. "This is where you tell me how awesome I am and you like me for my own sake and not the money or the status."

"Of course I like you for you and not the money or the status. Why else would I worry about that stuff for you if I didn't care about you? You make me laugh and the idea of you being hurt and sick - it just - it just tore me apart. I want to feed you shellfish-free soup and make you socks."

A lop-sided smile started on Kakashi's face. "Soup? Socks? Really?"

"Really. I don't even know how to knit, but I'm thinking I should learn. Just to make you things. And, uh, take care of you."

"That's love," Kakashi said.

"You bet your ass it is," Iruka declared. "But with your money, anybody would - "

"That's the point. You're the one who does! You don't think I want to take care of you? To give you what I can and try to impress you with what I know how to do? Do you know how frustrating it is for you to not accept any of that? That's all I can give you - all I can do for you. I'm not good at the traditional 'showing I care' part of relationships. I'm good at buying."

"Wha - ? oh. Okay." Iruka's voice was very small. "I'll try to be better and accept your gifts of phones and wifi and fancy dinners." He fidgeted a moment. A frown gathered on his forehead. "There isn't anything else I should know?"

"Besides the fact that I'm the youngest CIO in the Fortune 500, my parents live across the country, and I don't have any debt or dependents?"

Iruka considered. "Anything else?"

"I love you."

"Anything else?"

"I'll never lie to you again. About anything. I promise. And I will try to work less and spend more time with you."

"Ahh," Iruka smiled. "That's a promise worth it's weight in gold."

Kakashi gave Iruka a peculiar, half-lidded look.

"What?" Iruka asked, alarmed.

"Just so you know, I'll be happy to put on a tuxedo anytime you like."

Iruka considered. "A tuxedo is a good start. I also have a thing for tweed, and um, houndstooth, and three-piece suits. You'd wear that, right?"

"If I can fuck you in it."


Iruka kept trying to get Kakashi to work less and dress and eat better and sometimes succeeded, and Kakashi kept trying to give Iruka things and and accept his value was above money and sometimes succeeded. And they lived happily ever.