Actions

Work Header

Loophole

Work Text:

Iruka is elbow-deep in the pile of paperwork generated by the latest war between the gods and its resulting casualties among the human populace, and so he doesn’t hear the footsteps or even realize that he is no longer alone until the stranger standing in the doorway of his office clears his throat to catch his attention. Even then, it takes a moment or two for him to register his presence. 

“Maa, it’s rude to ignore visitors.”

Iruka does not jump in his seat, he does not shriek in surprise and he most certainly does not throw his inkwell at the person invading his office. The person who dodges his projectile smoothly and studies the new (but not the only, everyone needs some cathartic throwing things and yelling sometimes, alright) ink stain on the wall. “Is that any way to greet your boss?”

“My what?” Iruka blinks, confusion swirling in his over-worked brain for a good long minute before he realizes. “Ah, you are Lord Danzō’s replacement, the new god of death?”

He almost goes back to his work before he pauses and frowns. “What are you doing here?”

The new God of Death raises his single visible eyebrow. “I am the God of Death now. It seemed appropriate to visit the Underworld.”

Iruka waves a hand tiredly. “Death and the Underworld are two completely different things. I can count on one hand the number of times Lord Danzō graced us with his presence.”

He isn’t too disappointed in himself for the sarcastic twist the last phrase takes on. He wasn’t particularly fond of the previous death-bringer, even before the god was discovered to be plotting against the rest of the pantheon and set in motion a civil war which had only ended recently with Danzō’s execution. The most contact Iruka’d had with him, for the most part, had been the daily messenger who took the bundle of paperwork from Iruka’s desk, often when he himself was not there and returned it the next day, signed and approved.

“We will be working together though,” The new death god says, cheerful in a way that feels very fake to Iruka. “I just thought I’d stop by.”

“Okay.” Iruka realizes he is still sitting and jumps to his feet to bow. “I apologize, I am Iruka, chief administrator of the underworld. It is an honor to meet you, Lord...?”

“Just call me Kakashi,” the other deity shrugs, hands in his pockets. “No titles necessary.”

Kakashi. Iruka does a quick mental check of his files. Kakashi, god of the hunt. Son of Sakumo, the wolf-god of the mountain roads.  

A wild god.

This should be interesting.

And interesting it is.

Iruka expects that Kakashi will show up one or two times and then just disappear and become yet another distant figure from the pantheon. (It’s somewhat isolating, running the Underworld.) What he gets instead is random visits at all points of his routine, and piles of paperwork that desperately need signatures on his desk.

“How do you stand it, Iruka?” 

At this point, Iruka doesn’t startle anymore. He just looks up from his stack of final judgment appeals and blinks wearily at his supposed co-worker. “How do I stand that?” He points his quill at the much larger stack of Affirmation of Collections that he’d relegated to a corner two days ago. “Because I’ve been asking myself the same question. Those have to be signed and notarized within fourteen days of Date of Death or else I have to go back and audit all of it . On top of handling the upgrades to Elysium and Authorizing the Perimeter Check for the Barren Fields.” 

He glares at the somewhat startled looking deity in his doorway. “ And I have to find a new guard for the front gate because you stole Bull!”

“He was lonely.”

And you won’t send anyone to pick up your paperwork!”

“I sent Pakkun-”

And you won’t send an approved courier to pick up your paperwork.”

The small hound at Kakashi’s feet looks like he considers being offended by that but ultimately decides its too much effort and instead plops to sit and ignore them both. Iruka wishes that he had that luxury. And once in a month was not enough for the amount of paperwork even if Iruka was willing to hand it over to him.

“Just sign the papers.” Iruka says tiredly and he turns back to his own work.

 


 

“Seriously though,” Kakashi says again the next time he shows up with no warning. “How do you stand it down here. You’re basically alone and you work all the time.”

Iruka pushes a stack of completed Feedback Forms at him. “Because someone has to do it and no one else showed even basic competence with the filing system.”

“And you’re the god of paperwork,” Kakashi says, dry as a bone, not even trying to hide that he’s fishing.

“No.” Iruka says.

 


 

It finally gets to the point where Iruka has to leave the Underworld and track Kakashi down.

He finds him in a forest glade, surrounded by dogs (including Bull, who still has not been replaced at the gate) and being yelled at by three young demigods.

“Iruka!” Naruto beams at him, forgetting his anger at Kakashi as soon as he catches sight of Iruka. “What are you doing up here?”

Iruka storms over, Sakura and Sasuke tripping over each other in their rush to get out of his way, and shoves a scroll into Kakashi’s chest. “This.” He bites out, sharp with frustration. “Is the notice for the death of a human king, one of the worst tyrants currently reigning. A notice that you have to sign off on before it can be enacted.”

He glares, putting the full force of his exhausted rage behind it. “In the three days since this man was supposed to die, do you know how many of his subjects have died before their time? Do you know how much paperwork that generates? Do you want The Fates to come after you?”

Kakashi pouts while he signs the scroll with the pen Iruka throws at him. “Why can’t you just sign it?”

“Because I don’t have the authority to.” Iruka snaps before he pauses and thinks about that for a moment.

He leaves without saying goodbye to Naruto, Sakura, or Sasuke, he’s thinking so hard.

 


 

The next time Kakashi finds him, it’s not in his office, but rather in the library, up to his ears in ancient law parchments. The laws set down by Hashirama when he first united the pantheons.

Iruka looks up to greet him, wild-eyed.

“We need to get married.”

Kakashi freezes in the doorway, his eye wide over his mask. His face shifts a bit like he’s opening and closing his mouth, speechless. Iruka barrels on, ignoring him.

“I’ve gone through all the records and its the only thing I can find that will allow me to sign in your name.”

Kakashi just stares.

Iruka runs his hair through his hair for the millionth time in he doesn’t even know how long it has been. His ponytail is coming down so he just pulls it out and shakes his hair loose.

Kakashi’s eye grows even wider.

Iruka shoves the book he’s holding back on a shelf so he can use both hands to tie his hair back up. “Even if you named me your second,” he says, muffled by his arms. “I can’t actually act on your behalf for all things. But if we get married, then in the eyes of the celestial law, my signature will be of equal standing to yours and I won’t have to track you down every time someone needs to die.”

He pulls his arms down, hair tied up once more, and he’s grinning. “The perfect loophole.”

“Oh,” Kakashi says, numb and a little floaty. “You’re a trickster.”

This time the grin is all for him.