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Walks, Talks and Lessons Unlearned

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"How many now, sensei?" Kakashi hinted towards the small, plastic bag Iruka held clutched to his chest.

"Leave it alone." Iruka warned without breaking stride.

"Sensei…" Kakashi fell into step.

"I said leave it alone," Iruka snapped. "It doesn't matter."


"It's not like he means for it to happen."

"He never means for it to happen."

"Right," Iruka quickly agreed. "He doesn't mean it, therefore it doesn't matter."

Kakashi shook his head deprecatingly. "What's the point? You know he's only going to do it again."

"It's the principal of the thing."

"Because you're trying to teach him a lesson?"

"He has to learn." Iruka bit out.

"Yes, but does he know that?"

Iruka remained silent.

"Sensei?" Kakashi prompted.

"No, he doesn't know." Iruka gave in.

"Because you haven't the heart to tell him?" Kakashi drawled.

"Yes," Iruka grated. "Okay, yes. Is that what you wanted to hear?"

"But of course," Kakashi answered with faux enthusiasm before quickly sobering. "You're too lenient. He's abusing a gift and each time he does, it hurts you."

Iruka cast a quick, curious glance at the older man. "And you noticed this when? Just now?"

Kakashi scowled. "I notice things. Ex-ANBU here."

"Of course," Iruka agreed amicably. "Trained to observe, stalk and loiter with intent."

Kakashi said nothing to deny the thinly-veiled accusation.

The two came to a halt beside a little, out-of-the-way, inconspicuous storefront.

"After you," Kakashi offered ominously.

Iruka sneered and jerked open the front door, a small bell chiming overhead. Before either had a chance to comment, the store's proprietor bustled in from the backroom.

"Ah, Umino-sensei!" the elderly man greeted. "Naruto-kun kill another fish?"

Iruka wilted.

Kakashi threw a commiserating arm around his shoulders, snatched the bag from his hands and held it up. "Got any that can feed themselves?"