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Perfect Imperfections

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The sound of Kakashi returning home made Iruka smile as he stood in their kitchen, cutting up vegetables for dinner. He wouldn't be cooking, he'd leave that to Kakashi. A dozen years together hadn't improved his culinary skills in the slightest, but he could usually manage the prep with minimal catastrophe now. Usually.

A chilly blast of winter wind had snuck in with Kakashi, causing Iruka to shiver. Arms wrapped around his waist from behind and cold fingers slid under the hem of his shirt, looking for warmth to steal. Kakashi's chin came to rest on his shoulder. "I'm home."

"Welcome home," Iruka said. "What was the challenge of the day?"

"Wheelchair races," Kakashi replied, pout clear in his voice. He rubbed his cold, bare nose against the side of Iruka's neck. "He lapped me. Twice."

"In your defense, he has had a lot more practice."

"In my defense, the man is hell on wheels."

Iruka chuckled, carefully setting the knife down before turning in his arms. Kakashi, all smooth skin and youthful eyes, went to kiss him, but Iruka turned his head away before he could. Lips brushed against his cheek instead of his mouth.

"Drop it," Iruka said, caught somewhere between exasperation and fondness.

Kakashi scrunched his nose at him, the skin around his eyes smoothing out the moment he stopped. Iruka made the same face in return, knowing it'd just cause his crow's feet to crinkle that much more. He leaned closer. "Drop it," he said again.

Kakashi muttered something that sounded suspiciously like "I don't want to."

"You're wasting chakra," Iruka said for what felt like the fiftieth time. Or maybe it was the hundredth. They'd had this conversation so often, he'd lost track.

"No more than the Sharingan constantly drained," Kakashi said, giving his equally well-worn reply.

Iruka just shook his head. "And people think I'm the vain one."

"It's the hair," Kakashi said matter-of-factly, tugging on a strand. "So shiny and pretty."

Iruka snorted. They both knew why he kept it long; half in memory of his father, half because he just couldn't be bothered to cut it more than once or twice a year.

Calling Kakashi vain for using a transformation jutsu to keep up the appearance of youth wasn't entirely fair, Iruka knew that too. For the most part, vanity wasn't the main reason. It was more about not wanting to show the perceived weakness of old age. Though the idea that a few wrinkles could make Kakashi any less deadly was laughable. Anyone who thought that deserved the ass kicking they were bound to get.

All that aside, Iruka just didn't see the point of Kakashi hiding the signs of aging, not with him wearing his mask 99% of the time anyway.

"People are going to think I have a thing for much younger men," Iruka teased. He had long since come to terms with his own wrinkles. They were badges of honor earned through years of worrying about his students, mourning over fallen friends and family, and living his life to the fullest. Laughter had drawn far more lines on his face than sorrow, and he couldn't bring himself to try to hide that.

If Kakashi wanted to keep up appearances for the outside world, that was fine, but not here, not in their home when it was just the two of them.

"Drop it?" Iruka asked, hands moving to Kakashi's to twine their fingers together. "Please?"

Kakashi shut his eyes. Only a brief moment of concentration passed before he opened them again, watching Iruka's reaction.

The jutsu faded away. Lines and wrinkles slowly etched themselves across Kakashi's face. Iruka met his steady gaze and smiled. He was the only one Kakashi let see him like this, the only one he trusted enough.

To Iruka, it didn't matter how old he looked. Kakashi without all his masks would always be perfect.

He leaned in and finally welcomed Kakashi home with a kiss.