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“Ah, Kakashi?” Iruka stared down at the wrapped gift box in his hands, unsure whether to be touched or terrified. The present was meticulously, beautifully presentable, complete with an aquamarine ribbon and matching bow. The snowflake wrapping paper was a nice touch. It was so unlike Kakashi to put this much work into a gift. Most times Iruka got a shopping bag handed to him with the tags still attached. 

“Yes, Sensei?” His fiance drawled from his perch on the arm of their sofa.

“You know I love you right?” He lifted the box with both hands to study the bottom of it. A shinobi’s paranoia made him double-check for likely traps. Kakashi had declared vengeance after Iruka’s last prank left his hair an abhorrent shade of fluorescent green. Gai enjoyed the accompanying sparkles, at least. 

“Of course, I love you too.” Both grey eyes curved into his signature smile. Iruka was still getting used to the sharingan’s absence. 

“Then please tell me,” Iruka looked from the box to his fiance and back again. “Why does my present have air holes?” He knew exactly why. Whatever the gift held was alive and wiggling rather enthusiastically. Maybe he was just curious to hear Kakashi’s explanation for it or maybe it was a last check to make sure whatever it was wouldn’t try to eat him alive.

Jounin were unique, their taste in presents even more so. Kakashi was nothing, if not among the more peculiar of Konoha’s elite. “I suspect you’d dislike the gift if I didn’t let it breathe.” 

Okay, that didn’t make him any more eager to open the damn thing. “Kakashi Hatake, if you’re attempting to give me something poisonous again-”

“Mah mah, Sensei, that was one time-” 

“The theobromine in those chocolates almost killed me!” 

The jounin clapped his hands together, mask crinkling in a way that showed his amusement despite half his face being covered. “And now we know not to purchase sweets from Otogakure again.” 

“Why would you purchase anything from Otogakure?” 

“I wanted to bring you back a treat from my mission.” Kakashi motioned to the box in his hands. “You should open that now, Sensei.” 

Iruka eyed the jounin suspiciously. He finally relented with a sigh, “fine.” Studying the box one final time, he pulled the delicately tied ribbon holding it together. As soon as the ribbon was free, the box’s inhabitant pushed the lid off from the inside and-

Iruka jumped, the lid clattered to the floor, forgotten.

-and barked!!

“A-A puppy,” the words were out of his mouth before he fully realized what he was saying. The chunin stared in absolute awe at the tiny, wiggling fluffball trying desperately to crawl out of his present box. Dropping the wrappings, Iruka grabbed the little thing before it squirmed itself into a five-foot plummet to the floor. “You got me a puppy?!”

“No, I got you a ninken.” Kakashi leaned forward, elbows braced on his upper legs. “She just requires some rearing.”

Whining, the puppy pawed at his chin, trying in vain to lick his face. Iruka held it -her- out to get a better look at her. Fluffy white fur patched with black and the clearest, biggest blue eyes he’d ever seen on a dog. Her little tail waggled as she gnawed on Iruka’s thumb. How was it possible for something to be so cute?! “Some? How old is she? What is she?” 

“Momo is a ten weeks old bi-blue sheltie.” His fiance sound far too pleased with himself.

Iruka lifted the puppy up over his head. “Momo,” he repeated the name and found it suited her surprisingly well. She yipped when the chunin hugged her to his flak jacket. She was so soft and cuddly! “You really got her for me? She’s all mine?” 

“It seemed appropriate considering you’ll be a Hatake in a few months.” Kakashi slid onto the sofa and patted the spot next to him. His engagement ring peaked ever so slightly from beneath his plated glove. “She’ll be your personal ninken as soon as you sign the summon contract.” 

Iruka curled up at Kakashi’s side with Momo cradled carefully in his arms. Nerves fluttered through his stomach. “Are you sure this is a good idea? I don’t know the first thing about rearing a puppy -ninken or not. Between the Academy and the Mission Desk, I’m mostly village bound anyway-”

Pulling his mask down to his chin, Kakashi silenced the chunin’s protests with a gentle kiss. “Mah, Sensei, I took that all into consideration.” 

“You did?”

“Of course.” Momo’s little ears perked forward when the jounin scratched under her chin. “Shelties are a highly intelligent breed historically used for herding. They’re social, agile, and active without being overly aggressive. She’s the perfect ninken for an educational environment. She’ll get plenty of exercise helping to wrangle your more… adventurously creative students.”

“You really did put a lot of thought into this, didn’t you?”

“I think having an Academy sensei with a summon will be beneficial for your students."

"Considering clans like the Inuzuka and Aburame partner with animals from a young age, that's definitely a good point.”

Kakashi unzipped Iruka’s flak jacket just enough to tuck the pup inside. “Close contact will help you two bond. Shelties are one of the loyalist canine breeds. She’ll be around Pakkun or Bisuke’s size once she’s fully grown.” 

Iruka nuzzled his face into Momo’s soft fur. The puppy yipped and licked his jaw. She was so affectionate, so trusting. He loved her already. “Will she be able to talk?”

“She will, you can start teaching her as soon as you’d like.” 

Iruka rubbed Momo's back through the thick, green material. He could feel her tiny tail thumping against his sternum. “...You’ll help me with her right? I don’t want to mess this up.”

Wrapping an arm around Iruka's shoulders, Kakashi hugged him to his side. “I will, but I know you’ll do excellent with her. That’s just the kind of caring, compassionate person you are, Iruka. It’s why I fell in love with you.” 

Turning his face into Kakashi’s neck, Iruka murmured softly against his cloth-covered skin. With a final wiggle and a yawn, Momo settled just over his heart. 

“Thank you, Kakashi. I love you too, so, so much.”