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Where's The Line?

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“What?!” Iruka covered his mouth as soon as he let the cry out. It was probably loud enough for everyone in the village to hear, but of course the one person he regretted hearing him, was the person standing right next to him. Could he just sink through the floor right now and disappear?

“Iruka, I need you to be professional about this,” Tsunade chided, her eyebrows cocked as she silently questioned him why he was so flustered.

Before Iruka could apologize Kakashi spoke up, “Maa… I didn’t know you hated me so much.” Kakashi’s exaggerated frown was just barely visible under the mask and his single eye watched Iruka as if he were a sad puppy.

Iruka flushed and buried his head in his hands. Really, could someone just murder him right now?

“I didn-”

“Enough!” Tsunade barked, calling their attention back to her. The two of them snapped to attention. “You two are going on this mission, and it’s because I need your skills very specifically. I know you don’t go out on missions often Iruka, but it has to be you.”

Iruka nodded, he understood why he had to go, he even understood why Kakashi was his team member for the mission. It was just the one little detail that Tsunade had told them that was still throwing Iruka for a loop.

“You’ll be provided clothing to make you look like civilians, but you two have to make it look real. I can’t have you fighting out there. No arguing either. Nothing but one loving couple.”

That was the problem.

To pull this undercover operation off, Iruka and Kakashi were going to have to pretend to be a couple.


They set out on the road not long after their briefing. It was an easy path, but since they had been told to stick to the road they had to take it with all the twists and turns. Tsunade specifically instructed that they were to walk it, and not expend any extra energy on getting there faster. She listed out various other reasons, which all made sense, but it meant two plus days on the road with just Kakashi.

When they stopped the first night to make camp Iruka let Kakashi cook and he went back over the mission parameters.
They were being sent to retrieve an ancient scroll. Many had thought it to just be a rumor, but something happened recently that released an old chakra into the area. Members of their information gathering teams had caught wind of the change and reported it back to Konoha. The scroll was said to have information on the Kyuubi. What type of information was on the scroll had been lost to time, just the subject matter remained, and Konoha couldn’t let it fall into the wrong hands, or Naruto would be in danger. The rumors from years ago said that the scroll was protected by layers of seals, and with how old those stories were, Iruka was the only one that had enough knowledge to safely disengage them. Due to those that would want to get their hands on the scroll they had to prepare for the worst, ANBU from other villages or even missing-nin. That was where Kakashi’s specialties came in.

The nearby town was reported to be a perfect retreat for lovers, for people to both escape the troubles of their daily lives, and also to strengthen their relationships. This would allow them to be in the area without too many questioning eyes, and let them observe who else might be trying to get the scroll.

The last part of the brief included their safety net. Since they would only be able to go in a team of two, Tsunade was going to send a team of ANBU to follow them once they were expected to reach the village. They’d stay about half a day out from the town, close enough to help if needed, but far enough to not raise any suspicion. If missing-nin or other ANBU were involved it might cause civilian casualties.

“So, how did we meet?” Kakashi asked as he held out some food to Iruka.

“Huh?” Iruka had been pretty deep into the scroll and his own thoughts that he was thrown by the question. “We had that mission together right before I decided to…” Iruka trailed off when Kakashi started laughing.

“What?” Iruka couldn’t imagine what he’d said that’d make Kakashi laugh.

“I mean for our cover,” Kakashi explained.

Iruka flushed. He’d been so caught up in the details of the mission that he’d forgotten that they would have to make these types of decisions.

“I wouldn’t have forgotten our actual first meeting…” Kakashi said a bit quieter.

“I don’t know,” Iruka frowned, “aren’t you the one who reads the porn novels?”

It was Kakashi’s turn to blush. He coughed as if to cover his embarrassment before glancing at Iruka. “They’re adult romance novels, not porn.” Iruka eyed him, was that really much different? “If we take anything from there people will recognize it.”

“Not necessarily,” Iruka suggested, “We don’t have to take anything directly. Besides, we’d be able to play it off as the perfect storybook romance if anyone does bring it up.”

“I see I’m not the only romantic around here.”

Iruka bit his lip. Yeah of course he always wanted a fairytale romance, but it wasn’t going to happen for him, he knew that years ago.

“Ok, ok. How about this…” Kakashi offered up a story of two travellers. One rescued the other while their paths crossed, and they continued to travel together since their destination was the same. They come to find that they are two traveling merchants who take the same path, but are from opposite villages. So while they have made it home for one, the other is only stopping there for a short while before traveling back. They keep meeting on the road, sometimes getting to travel together, but many times just two ships passing in the night. Slowly their friendship turned into something more and now they are spending some time alone together.

“It’s…” Iruka mused over it for a moment, seeing Kakashi on the edge of his seat to hear what Iruka thought, “It’s perfect.”

Kakashi appeared composed, but Iruka could almost see him sighing with relief that he liked the story.

“Will we need to have fake names?” Iruka asked. He knew it was possible that they were necessary, but he was almost afraid to need them since it just gave more opportunity for him to mess up.

“It’s probably for the best,” Kakashi admitted, “My name is too well known, and we don’t want anyone tracking you back to Konoha. We can start using them now so that they will be easier once we’re in town.”

Iruka nodded. He’d never really been on an undercover mission like this, so he wasn’t sure if that was a common strategy or just something that Kakashi was suggesting to help him.

“What do you think of Rui? It’s close to your name, so you’ll recognize it.”

“I think that’d work. What about you?” Iruka asked.

“I was thinking of Hashi. It’s not quite as easy, but I’ll get used to it.”

“Hashi…” Iruka said the name trying to make it sound good in his mouth. It didn’t feel quite right, but he was gonna do his best.


As they continued on the road they practiced their names and Kakashi encouraged their closeness.

He grabbed onto Iruka’s hand while they were walking and it took everything in Iruka to not pull away.

“You’re gonna have to get used to it Rui,” Kakashi warned him, obviously feeling his strain to remain calm.

“I know k-Hashi…” Iruka couldn’t really explain to Kakashi what he was having a problem with. He was certain that once they were fully in their roles it would work out, but right now he wasn’t Rui. It was still just Iruka, and Kakashi was touching him the way a lover might.

Iruka knew he wasn’t the first person to have a crush on Kakashi, and he certainly wouldn’t be the last. Everything about this mission played at his heartstrings and confused his senses with a mix of things that felt so loving and things that he wanted to hear from Kakashi. Even the name they’d chosen for him, Rui, it was close enough to his own that it just sounded like a pet name that a lover might use for him.

Their interactions had always been very neutral before. It was easy when Naruto was there as a buffer between them. Although they’d grown to be more friendly as they started having dinner with the lonely boy, and those dinners had still continued even though he’d been away for almost a year already. Still there was a separation for Iruka between real life and his fantasy, and this mission was starting to blur the lines.


In the early afternoon of the third day they arrived at the village, walking straight through the main gates as if it were a vacation. Iruka was fully settled into his Rui character now thanks to the physical differences. This morning he had changed into a yukata instead of his uniform and styled his hair into a loose bun on his neck. The identifying scar across his nose had been covered up by a makeup that was provided to them with their outfits. Kakashi by his side was wearing casual clothes, which Iruka had never seen. With his hair slicked back out of his face and his face unmasked Kakashi looked like a completely different person. He had put in contacts to cover the sharingan, and used the same makeup to cover his own scar.

They walked into the village side by side, fully embodying their roles as Rui and Hashi. Iruka opted to walk with his hands held behind his back, taking each step with a grace nobody would have expected of him. Kakashi walked just a touch too close so that they practically bumped each other with each step. It wasn’t the same as holding hands, but to Iruka it felt almost as intimate.

“Rui, what do you think of this place?” Kakashi asked, gesturing to the lavish hotel to their side.

Iruka tried to not belie his role by letting his eyes bug out at the thought of how expensive that hotel must be. While they’d been given some money for the mission, and promised to be paid back for any further funds used, that hotel made him afraid of even walking into it.

“I think that one feels better,” Iruka said pointing to the one across the street. It was still a nice hotel, just not quite as extravagant. Kakashi frowned at the suggestion, but Iruka knew just the right thing to say, “Hashi, I’d rather be able to spend a week with you in this one, rather than waste our money all on one night in that one.”

Kakashi’s face reddened, “I just want the best for you Rui, but I love your thinking.” He linked his arm with Iruka’s before turning towards the hotel.

Iruka was amazed at how well Kakashi could force himself to blush like that. Well unless he was just really into his character and let those emotions take over. Either way it was impressive.

At the counter Iruka stepped back and let Kakashi deal with getting the room. He’d gone for a more androgynous look so that people could think what they wanted to think. Since they were trying to limit their use of chakra to avoid detection, a henge was too much. Besides, Tsunade had already said it was unnecessary. She told them that this town didn’t mind all kinds of couples, but it still made Iruka nervous waiting to be turned away.

Kakashi got the key and led them into their room. Iruka walked around like a child in a shop exploring every little detail. He acted like it was amazement, but really it was a chance to examine every nook and cranny to make sure that there was nothing that they needed to be concerned about.

Once they’d both swept the whole room, Kakashi gave Iruka the signals for seal and silence. Iruka nodded and took out a handful of tags. He placed them around the bedroom and initiated their power. It was a bit rudimentary, but it was the least use of chakra and didn’t leave a lingering effect that people would catch onto.

“Report,” Kakashi commanded.

Iruka was surprised at how quickly he could flip the switch between his two personalities. At least Iruka knew how to handle this one.

“No obvious enemies. I feel something, but it’s faint, we’ll have to explore to pinpoint the location of the scroll. I counted 3 restaurants that I think would be good observation points.”

Kakashi nodded, “Agreed. We should also ask the hotel staff if they have any recommendations to see what there is to explore around town.”

They unpacked their bags, making sure to hide their weapons from the casual observer. Kunai were placed all over so that even if one was found they would have more available to them.

Just as they were ready to leave for dinner Iruka undid the silencing barrier and took down the paper seals. Everything had to look perfectly normal when they left the room.

Stopping by the desk they asked about the best places to visit in town. They were directed to a few restaurants, and cafes. There was apparently a small walking path through the forest just outside of town, and a waterfall that they were encouraged to visit.

Iruka let Kakashi lead them to one of the restaurants that fit their needs, and was on the recommendation list. Just because they were undercover didn’t mean that they wanted mediocre food.

Asking for seats on the outdoor patio allowed Iruka and Kakashi to get a broader scope of what was going on around them.

Iruka listened to the couples that were passing them by in the streets and realizing how different they appeared in comparison. It wasn’t necessarily bad, but so many of the couples here were freely showing their affection from hand holding, to even holding each other around the waist. Kakashi and Iruka on the other hand looked like a couple that had been together forever. They didn’t show off their affection so outwardly. The type of couple that knew exactly what was on each other’s mind. The thought urged Iruka to reach his hand across the table and hold onto Kakashi’s sleeve while they waited for their food.

Kakashi glanced at his hand and wordlessly turned over his own hand as if to welcome Iruka to hold hands with him, which he did. They were still wholly focused on the conversations going on around them, but looked more connected than ever.

“Would you like to go on a walk, Rui?” Kakashi asked as he was paying the bill for their dinner.

“That’d be nice,” Iruka replied letting Kakashi guide their way. The sun had already started to set, so they got a nice view of the sunset as they walked along the path that the hotel had told them about. Before they got back to the start of the path it had gotten completely dark and Kakashi started to guide them off the main road.

They wandered through the forest until they found a mountainside to guide them. As they walked along it, Iruka held his hand against the wall and felt for an old chakra. It was faint but there was something obviously there. As they rounded a corner the chakra got stronger, but there was also a second chakra that didn’t feel right. There was something wrong with it, and it almost made Iruka sick to his stomach.

He realized after a few more steps that the second chakra was getting closer to them. Iruka had to think fast and grabbed onto Kakashi and pushed him to the ground. He didn’t take the chance to apologize, just started kissing Kakashi and loosened his top so that it was hanging off his shoulder. He felt Kakashi tense a little, but only for a second before he started kissing Iruka back and running his hands up Iruka’s side.

“What are you doing here?” a gruff voice demanded. Iruka looked at the man to connect him to the chakra he was sensing, but it just didn’t match up. He just looked like a grumpy man that found some kids in his yard. Still Iruka couldn’t get the chakra feeling out of his mind.

“Ohh, sorry. We were just out watching the stars,” Iruka tried to play his part. Kakashi signaled him Off, so Iruka rolled off of him and Kakashi put himself between the two of them. Iruka grabbed onto Kakashi’s shirt and watched the man above them.

“Stars?” the man looked up and Iruka could see that it was a fairly cloudy night, which just made them look like more lovestruck fools.

Iruka tried to feel the embarrassment of being caught in the woods with one’s lover so that his cheeks would flush. “Did we disturb you?” he asked, giving the most innocent of looks that he could.

The man seemed to believe him, but didn’t look pleased. “This area is dangerous, I’d recommend that you stick to the main road for your safety.”

Iruka could sense the threat in his words, but it wasn’t because of the place. No… the man himself was the obvious threat, and they needed to back off or they might break their cover too quickly.

Kakashi was the first to stand up. “Thank you for your concern sir. We’ll be sure to take your advice,” he told the man before helping Iruka to his feet. He once again guided Iruka, as Iruka continued his naive act and waved to the man as they set out to find the main road again.

The grip that Kakashi had on Iruka’s waist wasn’t loosening with each step, but instead tightened. Iruka desperately wanted to ask what was wrong, but he knew it wasn’t the time. Instead he just walked side by side with Kakashi back towards the hotel. Just before they were about to turn and go back, Iruka broke free from Kakashi’s grip and grabbed his hand to drag him a completely different direction.

A lit up shop caught his eye and he made his way there when he saw it was a small cafe still open with some dessert options.

Iruka walked in and started looking at the desserts that were displayed in the case.

“Do you want anything?” Iruka turned to Kakashi and asked.

Kakashi frowned and shook his head. Iruka could tell from the expression that Kakashi wasn’t too happy with him, but Iruka had his reasons for his detour. He looked again at the sweets and asked for a simple white cake with some fruit on the top. With a few coins given in exchange he took the cake over to a table by the windows and sat down to eat it.

The first bite was absolutely delicious. It hadn’t really been the reason he’d done this, but after that bite he had no regrets. Iruka put another bite on the fork and held it out for Kakashi to eat. Kakashi just stared at it like it was going to hurt him, almost breaking their illusion of a happy couple. Iruka started to pull back the fork, but before he could Kakashi grabbed onto Iruka’s hand and guided the piece of cake into his mouth.

“It’s good,” Kakashi admitted before letting go of Iruka’s hand. Iruka could see his cheeks flushed a little before he looked out the window.

Iruka smiled and continued to take small bites of the cake, really taking his time to get through it all. He occasionally offered another bite to Kakashi, who responded by eating it even though he still looked upset.

While he ate, Iruka’s free hand found its way to Kakashi’s hand and slid up his sleeve to rest on Kakashi’s forearm. To the casual observer it looked obscenely intimate, but Iruka had only one reason to do it.

Followed, he signed against Kakashi’s skin, to tell Kakashi why he’d come to the cafe instead of back to their hotel room.

“I know, I love you too,” Kakashi replied out loud. Iruka flushed at the statement even though he knew it was meant to be a way for Kakashi to confirm Iruka’s observations without feeling out of the ordinary. It must have looked like a romance novel to the cafe owners watching them from behind the case of food.

Before Iruka could recover, Kakashi stole the fork from him and put the last bite of cake on it, and held the bite out for Iruka to eat. Iruka took the bite, but it almost killed him it was so embarrassing. He couldn’t believe that he’d done the same thing to Kakashi this whole time. The only good thing he could say is that it made them look more like a couple.

By the time they were finished Iruka could no longer sense the presence of anything, which made him feel much safer about heading back to the hotel.

Once they were back in their room Iruka asked if he should put the sound barrier back up, but Kakashi shook his head. He went rummaging through the room and then sat down at the small desk off in the corner. Iruka came up behind him and watched as he wrote something on a small piece of paper.

Too dangerous to use too much chakra right now. I’ll burn this paper after we’re done.

Iruka nodded and took the pen and paper from Kakashi.

I sensed something coming from inside the mountain, I think the scroll might be in a cave there, but I felt him too. His chakra didn’t feel right. I don’t know if he’s trying to protect it or looking to get his hands on it.

Kakashi nodded.

Did you sense anyone else?

Iruka thought back to that moment and shook his head. He’d been pretty distracted by the man’s chakra, but he only remembered the two distinct signatures. Hopefully he was right about that.

Did you? Iruka wrote back to Kakashi.

Kakashi took a moment and paused. He closed his eyes as if he were accessing old memories, but eventually opened his eyes and shook his head.

I’ll need to find an opening and check out the seals to understand what we’re up against. That’s going to be hard if he’s still there tomorrow.

Kakashi nodded in acknowledgement. I think I can get you an hour tomorrow, so keep it to recon only.

Standing up from the desk, Kakashi took the piece of paper to the bathroom. In a flash the paper went up in flames and slowly burned to ash before Kakashi washed the remnants down the drain.

They both stayed quiet, unsure of what to say as they got ready for bed. Iruka got under the covers first, and watched as Kakashi turned out most of the lights. He slid into the bed with his back to Iruka.

“Night,” Kakashi said as if they were nothing more than acquaintances.

“Good night,” Iruka replied, turning out the light at his side table and pulling the covers up to sleep.

He was restless for who knows how long. It felt like hours before he was able to settle down as his mind reminded him how it was to share a bed with someone like Kakashi, someone he liked. Iruka was sent through endless memories of them eating together at home, both alone and with Naruto. How it felt every time that Kakashi flirted with him. If Kakashi had ever really been flirting with him?

Now here they laid, back to back, ever so carefully not touching, but close enough that Iruka could feel the heat radiating off of Kakashi.


Iruka woke to a feeling of a weight lifting off his back. He had no idea what was happening, but he couldn’t keep himself awake enough to find out. The last thing he heard was the water of the shower turning on and he dozed back to sleep.

When Iruka woke again it was because Kakashi put a hand to his shoulder to wake him up.

“Ready for some breakfast Ru?” Iruka could still feel himself heat up when he heard that name, but he hoped that it wouldn’t be noticeable since he was already trying to bury himself under the pillows in an attempt to get more sleep.

He groaned into the bed knowing that this wasn’t a vacation. This was a mission and he had to be professional about it. Iruka got out of bed and took a quick rinse off before getting dressed. He ran his hands up and down the yukata after he put it on. It was kind of nice to be wearing something so different, and he was amazed at how much it made him feel like Rui instead of Iruka.

As soon as they were out of the hotel Kakashi grabbed his hand and led them to a new restaurant.

Today they decided to talk to each other instead of quietly listening in on the clamor of the town. It was just mundane stuff, as they completely improvised off of each other.

“How’s your mother?”
“Is your sister happy being married?”
“Has the rain hurt your business?”

Iruka felt the eyes watching them more today than they had before, but he wasn’t sure if it was because they had messed up last night.

When Kakashi got up to pay the bill, he leaned over to give Iruka a kiss on the forehead before he walked away. The moment he did that, Iruka could sense the tension was gone from the room. It was almost as if the crowd was watching them as a couple. While that idea made him completely uncomfortable, at least it meant they were doing their job right.

After they left the restaurant, Kakashi started leading them out towards the woods.

“The girl behind the counter told me why the waterfall is so famous,” Kakashi started.

“Ohh?” Iruka feigned interest.

“Apparently if two lovers swim under it together, they’ll stay together forever.”

Iruka was pretty sure that was bullshit, people believed what they wanted to believe even when it wasn’t real. Still he sighed longingly at the thought and leaned up against Kakashi's shoulder as they continued to walk.

The first sign of the waterfall was the telltale sound of water rushing down the cliffside. Next the top of the waterfall came into view, but before they could make it all the way there Kakashi pulled Iruka off the path. Iruka was pulled in up against Kakashi as they leaned into the shade of a large tree.

Kakashi put a kiss to Iruka’s neck before he whispered into his ear. “Give me a 15 minute head start, then you should have 50 minutes for recon. Meet back at the room as soon as you can. Wait for me there.” Iruka shivered as the hot breath tickled his ear. It was almost breaking him to have such a juxtaposition between the serious details of the mission, and Kakashi whispering in his ear like a lover.

Iruka couldn’t say anything, but nodded in agreement to Kakashi’s plan.

Kakashi turned them around and pinned Iruka to the tree, leaning in for a kiss. When he pulled away he gave Iruka a smile and walked off. Iruka couldn’t even process what had just happened. He slid down the tree until he hit the ground and just tried to breathe. Those 15 minutes were mostly going to be spent getting his mind back on the mission.

A giggle broke through his thoughts. Iruka looked up to see a pair of women smiling at him before they continued on their way towards the waterfall. Now at least he understood why Kakashi had kissed him.

The minutes counted down in Iruka’s head as he waited to get started.

After enough time had passed Iruka got up off the ground and looked around. There were far too many couples for him to be too obvious, but he saw a shady spot just off the path that would let him get to the side of the mountain. When he touched the wall, he sensed the same chakra as he had last night. Only the chakra of the seal was present, which was a good sign, but he was going to have to move fast to not waste Kakashi’s efforts.

Iruka followed along the wall as the chakra got stronger. He hesitated for a moment when he felt the vile chakra of the man, but it was faint, like a lingering smell so he pressed on.

Soon Iruka found himself at the mouth of a cave and knew he had to be close. He entered the cave, cautious to his surroundings since he didn’t know who else might be watching. As he continued deeper in the cave Iruka could feel the power that emanated from the seal, and had to wonder how nobody had found it yet.

Just as he was losing the light from the sun outside, a glow from something inside started to fill the cave. Iruka walked forward until he saw signs of a broken seal. Something had been written right along the ground, but it was now torn up as if someone had managed to strongarm their way through it instead of dispelling it properly. This seal was probably what had been keeping people from being able to feel the more powerful seal underneath for centuries, and then someone broke it.

He took a few more steps and came across another seal. There was an almost invisible bubble that sat just within the new seal that glowed in the darkness. It looked like a bubble because of the strange distortion when he looked through, but nothing was visible within it. Iruka walked the perimeter of the seal and memorized the symbols that were there. He didn’t have enough time to try and translate it now, so he just had to remember. What he wouldn’t give to have Kakashi’s sharingan here to help him capture it perfectly, but Kakashi was out somewhere else making sure that he stayed safe.

Iruka looked around and saw a strange pile of something in an alcove of the cave, he walked over, but the light was weak so he started a small fire in his hand for light and nearly screamed when he did.

It was a pile of human bodies, maybe three or four of them all lying there. They looked almost hollowed out, as if the life had been sucked out of them. It was hard to tell how long they had been there, but since they were all in one spot Iruka had to imagine that they’d all been killed by the same thing. A porcelain mask sat near the bottom of the pile, one that looked like it belonged to an ANBU from Kirigakure which meant this thing was strong.

The sight of it was horrific, so Iruka backed away. He wished he could do something for them, but he was almost on borrowed time himself. Iruka took one last look at the seal and made his way out of the cave before he ran out of time.

As soon as he was near the path, Iruka had to take on the personality of Rui again. He tried to make himself look graceful, but sped along as fast as he could without calling attention to himself.

Iruka was back in the hotel room before his fifty minutes were up, but when Kakashi didn’t show up, Iruka started to worry. He trusted Kakashi’s skills, but this was a dangerous mission and Iruka wasn’t sure how to feel sitting here alone. Ten minutes passed, then twenty, and as it approached thirty the door opened.

Iruka jumped up when he saw Kakashi walking in looking haggard. He went to check Kakashi over for any wounds but didn’t see anything. Before Iruka could look any more, Kakashi pulled him into a hug.

“Hashi?” Iruka questioned. He wanted to ask so many things, but he knew it probably wasn’t safe.

Kakashi pulled back and put a hand up to Iruka’s cheek with a sad smile. “I love you, Rui,” he said before he pulled Iruka over to the bed and gently pushed his shoulder to get him to lay down. Kakashi got onto the bed next to him and let his hands start to wander underneath his slightly parted yukata. Iruka felt as Kakashi’s hand inched its way down his side until it was near his hip. It was then that he felt the sign against his skin, Sorry.

Iruka looked at Kakashi worried, but Kakashi leaned in for a kiss. He pulled Iruka close to him so that their bodies were pressed together as his hand continued to tiptoe against his side.

It was then that Iruka pieced together what was wrong. Kakashi had been followed back.

Iruka wasn’t quite sure how they were supposed to handle this so he let Kakashi take charge. Maybe he’d been taught how to handle this… maybe he’d even been through this before.

Kakashi pulled away long enough to pull off his own shirt and loosened the belt of Iruka’s outfit so that it fell open. Iruka felt kisses placed on his chest up until Kakashi got to his neck, and they turned to nips. It was obvious that he was looking to leave marks as he focused on a few spots in particular to suck and bruise Iruka’s tanned flesh.

Iruka let out an involuntary yelp at one particular bite, and he felt Louder signed against his chest. Embarrassed wasn’t a strong enough word to describe how he felt at that moment.

Kakashi finally left his neck alone, and started kissing down his chest. His hands wandered down until he reached the edge of Iruka’s underwear and stopped.

“Is this ok?” Kakashi's timid question made it sound like a lover asking his partner, but Iruka understood the underlying question. How far could he go to keep their cover?

Iruka nodded, but Kakashi didn’t move an inch lower.

“I need you to say it, Ru…” he teased. The words were completely overwhelming Iruka’s senses, but the layers to Kakashi's questions still got through.

“Yes, please…” Iruka begged, barely managing to stop himself from saying Kakashi’s name.

Kakashi’s hands inched lower, exploring his thighs before moving their attention to something else. Iruka had been starting to feel aroused since Kakashi started kissing his neck, and watching Kakashi kiss down his chest had only gotten him harder. It was almost painful when Kakashi’s hand finally touched him; Iruka couldn’t stop the moan that escaped his mouth.

Slowly Kakashi eased Iruka's underwear off leaving him exposed and bared to Kakashi’s darting eyes. Iruka watched as Kakashi lowered himself to the floor between Iruka’s knees and leaned forward to touch Iruka’s erection. Even though he watched it happen, Iruka nearly jumped when he felt the contact. Kakashi had a bit of a devilish smile as he leaned in closer and licked from base to tip.

Iruka let out a moan as Kakashi continued to give his erection his full attention. Kakashi worked his mouth around Iruka and started to bob up and down until Iruka was in a haze. At this rate he wasn’t sure how long he’d last.

Before long Iruka could feel himself inching towards his peak and encouraged Kakashi off. Kakashi took Iruka out of his mouth, and found a spot against Iruka’s inner thigh to mark as he continued to help Iruka climax. Iruka moaned out with his release, feeling unable to move after feeling so sated. Kakashi got up and grabbed a towel to help clean Iruka up. After he threw the towel towards the bathroom he laid back down on the bed next to Iruka.

Iruka was still in a bit of a haze and scooted in closer to Kakashi, letting his hand wander. Kakashi stopped Iruka’s hand and signed Gone. That snapped Iruka out of his sated trance, a harsh reminder that it had all just been for the mission.

He didn’t say anything, just got out of the bed and went for a shower to get cleaned up. Iruka stood under the water trying to wash away the reminder that he’d finally had a moment with Kakashi. It felt no better than a one night stand after the bar, except he was completely sober for this experience.

After the walls steamed up, Iruka found himself writing out the symbols from the seal. He hadn’t gotten to work on it before since he was so worried about Kakashi’s safety. Iruka started trying to piece together what the words meant even as the water started to lose its heat.

“Are you ok?” a voice questioned through his haze.

“What?” Iruka snapped his head up to see Kakashi peeking around the corner to check on him.

“Are you ok?” The question was dripping with concern.

“Ohh…” Iruka looked around at the wall as his strokes faded with the steam. He looked back at Kakashi and blushed, remembering why he’d come into the shower in the first place. “I’ll be done in a moment…”

Kakashi nodded, but Iruka could feel as his eyes lingered for longer than necessary.

Iruka waited until he was alone and took in a deep breath. He had to focus on the mission. Turning off the shower and drying off, Iruka realized he’d forgotten to grab any clothes before he came in. He tied the towel around his waist and walked into the room to put something else on.

Again Kakashi’s eyes were trained on him, and Iruka wasn’t sure why he was being watched so carefully. Was it because he’d run away? Or was it because he’d spaced out for so long in the shower? Kakashi was probably trying to evaluate his mental state before they proceeded any further on the mission. It wasn’t like there were any other choices here, they were the two made for this mission and it had to be done now.

After Iruka was dressed he pointed towards the walls and asked, Silence?

He knew it was probably a little risky after what had just happened with Kakashi, but he needed to talk about what he found in the cave. If he had to write it all out it was going to be exhausting.

Kakashi looked around, and then closed his eyes for a moment. Iruka held still waiting to see what Kakashi thought, and was relieved when he saw the slight nod of agreement that he could put up the seals.

“I was able to get inside the cave earlier,” Iruka explained after the barrier was up. “There was a seal that looked like it was broken by force, then there was a set of symbols in a circle around the outside of a barrier. I was trying to piece it together in the shower, but I’m guessing pen and paper will work better though.” He hoped the joke would both lighten the mood and explain why he’d taken so long to get out of the shower.

Kakashi sighed, sounding relieved when he heard the news. “Good.”

Iruka started writing down the signs before he lost them, so he could start trying to figure out how to break the seal.

“What happened?” Iruka finally asked. He needed to know, not only for his own curiosity, but for the sake of the mission.

Kakashi tensed a hair before he started his report, “I was able to get the target out of the area by letting out some chakra. It gave me the chance to lead him away from the cave, but when I tried to lose him he kept finding me. I closed off my chakra again and blended back into the streets, but I could tell he was still following me. He didn’t seem to take any of the bait of me shopping around town, so when it had been too long after I said to meet back here, I decided to take a different approach. I hoped he’d go away as soon as I made it clear what we were doing, but it took a bit more convincing than I expected.”

Iruka felt his face heating up as he thought back, which seemed to panic Kakashi. “I’m sorry if I overstepped my bounds.”

“Don’t,” Iruka chided, “This is a mission. We’re undercover and we have to keep that cover as best as we can.” Iruka wasn’t sure who he was trying to convince more, Kakashi or himself.

“I-”

“I’m not upset, if that’s why you’re trying to apologize...” Iruka cut in. He actually was a little upset, but not for the reasons that Kakashi had to be thinking. If it had been anyone else on this mission with him, it would be easy to let it go as part of the mission, but it being Kakashi held too much baggage to forget.

Still, he needed them to get past this and back on track. The room was silent except for the scratches as Iruka continued to write down the symbols around the seal, and started to translate it.

As each moment passed Iruka could feel the tension start to drop and Kakashi relaxed enough to lean in over Iruka’s shoulder to read what he was writing.

“There is one other thing I saw in the cave,” Iruka paused in the middle of his writing. Kakashi hmmed in his ear to acknowledge he was still listening. “There were bodies of shinobi that had been murdered. I don’t know what happened to them, but they looked gaunt as if their life had been sucked out of them. Unfortunately that made it hard to tell when they died, but one had a Kirigakure ANBU mask, and it still looked new. They were within the destroyed seal, so I think whatever forced its way in killed them. I’m starting to think that man has something to do with it so we need to be careful.”

“He might, I think we should avoid getting near him again if we can,” Kakashi agreed.

Iruka started piecing together the words. They were old and the seal was much more like a prophecy than most modern seals.

“Be blessed by the water from the sky before you enter this cave of mine. Two together can open me, and only then will you be able to retrieve,” Iruka read aloud.

He kind of understood it, but it felt like he was missing something.

“Water from the sky…” Iruka mumbled, more to himself, but Kakashi shrugged when Iruka glanced at him. “I don’t think we’re expecting rain any time soon so that might be a problem.”

Iruka read through it a few more times. He just couldn’t quite piece it together.

Kakashi put his hand on Iruka’s shoulder, “We’ll figure it out eventually. Stressing about it won’t help.”

“I guess…” Iruka huffed. He should probably destroy this before anyone else got their hands on it.

“At least you’ve got me here, it sounds like you’ll need my assistance.”

“Any warm body would do.” Iruka let the words out before he realized what he said. It wasn’t just that he’d said it, but it was the hurt and upset from earlier that manifested itself in the statement.

Kakashi froze.

“I-” Iruka knew there was no way to recover from it. He’d fucked up and Kakashi now knew he’d lied when he said he wasn’t mad.

Kakashi frowned, probably not used to having his emotions displayed so openly, and walked out the door.

“Shit!” Iruka cursed himself. He lit the paper on fire and rushed to pull down the silence barrier so that he could run after Kakashi and apologize. He had known the incident bothered him, but this was a mission. Why couldn’t he just keep his mouth shut?

Iruka walked out into the street just as the sun was setting. The dark was going to make it harder for him to find Kakashi, but he was still determined to do it. He started searching through the shops, and looking at the restaurants, but didn’t see Kakashi anywhere.

Turning around Iruka started towards the waterfall and where Kakashi had left him for his recon just earlier that afternoon.

He was halfway down the path when he felt the sinister wave of chakra. Iruka looked around but saw nothing. He only made it a few more steps before he was slammed to the ground in the nearby bushes.

“You went in my cave…” the man above him growled. It barely looked like the same man they’d seen just last night. His eyes almost glowed in the dark and he looked absolutely feral.

“I- what?” Iruka tried to play innocent. He wasn’t prepared to deal with this… thing. He hadn’t expected to run into him, so all of their weapons were still hidden in the room. Kakashi had to be sulking somewhere in the village, and Iruka was all on his own.

The man raged above him letting out more and more of his twisted chakra, and it nearly made Iruka pass out from the sensation.

“That scroll will be mine,” he snarled, “I won’t let you take it from me.”

“What use do you have for it?” Iruka asked. His innocent act wasn’t getting him anywhere, so he could at least get information that he could try to pass on to Kakashi, even in the worst case scenario.

The man laughed above him. It was a strange gargled sound almost like multiple people were laughing at the same time. His voice was no longer clear when it spoke again, “How strange. I would think that you of all people could tell.”

Another wave of chakra emanated from him and Iruka’s eyes went wide. There was an overwhelming sense of dread that hit him. Something that he had only felt a few times before. He still remembered the first time he felt it… it was the night his parents died.

“How?” Iruka tried to hold it together. He just couldn’t understand how this thing had managed to intertwine its chakra with that of the Nine-tailed beast.

“Ahh, so now you understand…” Iruka watched as the movements above him became even less human-like. “Surprising how someone so intertwined with the beast took so long to understand.”

“Tell me how!” Iruka demanded. Fear was taking over him. He was scared, but not for himself. If this thing was after the scroll, then Naruto was certainly its next target.

It laughed at him again. The creature had shown enough pride that Iruka hoped it desired to tell him everything before it finally tried to kill him.

“This host has a unique ability to eat chakra,” the intertwined voices finally told him. “He had a run in with the beast many years ago… We’re the only thing keeping him alive after all this time.”

Iruka finally understood that this is what had killed those people in the cave. He must have stolen their chakra and encompassed them with his own. That was why it was such an overwhelming feeling when Iruka sensed his chakra. With at least 5 chakras all melded together with that of the Kyuubi’s they must have been clashing in a way that was never intended by nature.

The man above Iruka snarled at him again as a bubble of murky orange chakra started to encompass his body. There was a warmth at Iruka’s shoulder where he was still being pinned down, and it quickly exploded into pain.

Iruka couldn’t stop the cry from coming out of his mouth as it started burning through his clothing and began to make contact with his skin.

“Yes…” the voices cried out, “We’ll need your power. That chakra of yours will allow us to get close to Kurama himself.”

Iruka had to think of something. He needed to stop this thing, but as the creature pushed down on his shoulder Iruka knew he was running out of options.

Before he could get his hands together to form any signs two large dogs came barreling towards them, and dragged the man off of Iruka. They whined in pain from the chakra skin, but held their prize where he was.

Kakashi rushed in, first taking a glance at Iruka’s wounded shoulder, then over to his ninken to sedate the creature.

Iruka watched the man stop struggling against the dogs and the chakra receded as he and Kakashi were stuck in a staring match. He realized that Kakashi must have been using genjutsu against the man, but Iruka could tell it was straining him.

“Iruka, I need you to seal his chakra.”

“What!?” It wasn’t just about the fact that Iruka was completely unprepared to create any seals, but also that he’d been told that he should never use such forbidden techniques.

“You know how to do it, don’t you?” Kakashi asked. If they had been in any other situation, Iruka probably would have pummeled Kakashi for the insinuation.

“Yes, but I wa-”

“I know what you were told,” Kakashi cut in. The talking was starting to strain him even more as he tried to keep a grip on the man. “Iruka, you have to. It’s the only thing we can do to stop him.”

Iruka knew he was right, even Kakashi was struggling with the man’s power. If Iruka could cut off his chakra then they’d be able to handle the situation. Iruka pushed himself off the ground realizing that it was going to be tough with his damaged arm. Kakashi tossed him a kunai so that he could get to work.

Iruka sliced at his index finger and started writing symbols all around the man. He’d never gotten to practice this, but he’d memorized the symbols and patterns many years ago out of curiosity. He urged the ninken to let go of the man so he could finish up his work with a handful of more symbols to his chest.

Taking in a deep breath Iruka nodded to Kakashi. Iruka started through the hand signs and Kakashi broke the genjutsu just as Iruka finished the last sign. Everything felt like it was in slow motion as Iruka put his hands against the man’s chest.

The seal burned against Iruka’s palms as it wound tighter and tighter. Iruka felt the pain of the chakra being ripped from the man’s body. Everything evaporated until there was just one small mark on the man’s chest. Iruka watched as the man’s lifeless body started to decay right in front of their eyes, and shattered into dust.

He tried to jump back, but fell to his knees from over extending himself on such a powerful seal. Kakashi kneeled down by his side and started to check him over, but Iruka nudged him away. “I’m fine… but that’s not how that seal is supposed to work. It shouldn’t have killed him.” Iruka knew that it was likely they would have needed to kill the man anyway, but something just felt wrong.

Kakashi lit a fire in his hand so he could better observe the human shaped dust on the ground. After a moment he put out the light and went through a few hand signs. With a slap to the ground the earth folded in on itself and swallowed the dust deep into the ground.

“Did you learn what he was?” Kakashi asked.

“He said something about the host body being able to eat chakra. It sounded like he’d gotten part of the Nine-tail’s chakra and it was sustaining him…” Iruka tried to give Kakashi the most important details. “It was like the chakra had taken over him.”

Kakashi thought for a moment, “I’d guess that the chakra was the only thing keeping him alive. When you sealed off the chakra his body aged until it deteriorated. He must have been kept alive for centuries.”

Iruka nodded, Kakashi’s theory felt like the only logical conclusion to what they’d witnessed.

“We need to finish the mission before someone finds us,” Kakashi reminded Iruka, “Did you figure out the seal?”

“No,” Iruka shook his head, “I tried to come after you, but he found me first. I’m sorry about what I said.”

Kakashi frowned, “We should focus on the mission for now. We can discuss that later…”

Iruka sighed, he’d really fucked up. He thought back to this afternoon when they’d been able to just pretend they were a couple. If they were a real couple they could be doing better things than fighting. They could be out at dinner, or swimming under the supposed magic waterfall.

The waterfall… had it really been that simple this whole time?

“It was right there,” Iruka murmured under his breath.

“What?” Kakashi questioned.

“The waterfall,” Iruka said it outloud as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. He jumped up and started running towards the sound of the rushing water.

Iruka looked at the lake shining in the moonlight. It was empty as the waterfall sat there pounding against the pool below it.

“What’s going on?” Kakashi asked as he caught up with Iruka, his ninken following behind him.

“Water from the sky,” Iruka reminded Kakashi of the words from the seal, “I think it’s here.”

Iruka looked around them to make sure they were alone. He kneeled on the ground and focused, letting the noise of the waterfall drown out everything else so he could find it. Iruka listened in and could picture the cave entrance that was hidden deep behind the waterfall.

“I think I found it,” Iruka told Kakashi.

Kakashi nodded and turned to his ninken, “Catch up with Pakkun, and tell the team that we’ve handled the threat and will be out there as soon as we’ve wrapped this up.”

Iruka watched curiously as the dogs nodded and ran off.

Kakashi noticed Iruka’s stare, “After I felt the chakra, I sent Pakkun off to prepare the ANBU team in case we needed backup. I grabbed a few things from the room and got here as fast as I could. I’m sorry it wasn’t fast enough to stop that,” Kakashi pointed at Iruka’s shoulder.

Iruka looked over at the reddened skin, and shook his head, “No, I think you did the right thing.”

“Come on,” Iruka waved Kakashi to follow after him as he dived into the water and swam over to the waterfall. His clothes were dragging him down a bit, but he didn’t want to leave anything behind.

There was a small ledge in front of the waterfall to stand on where he waited for Kakashi to resurface. Kakashi stood up next to Iruka, “I thought anybody would do?” he asked.

“I lied. I was upset, and I shouldn’t have said that,” Iruka explained, “It can’t be just anybody.”

Iruka took Kakashi’s hand and walked under the waterfall and into the cave opening underneath it. As they started through the dark corridor Kakashi created a small fire to help guide them along.

Soon the cave opened up into a larger chamber and a glow lit up their way as they came up to the seal that Iruka had found earlier. He started pacing around it trying to figure out what was next. With each step he dripped water around and noticed a second set of symbols that started to appear.

Iruka wrung out his sleeves and encouraged Kakashi to do the same thing so that he could read the revealed symbols.

“Okay so we have to do these eight symbols. With us on opposite sides of the circle, and in perfect unison.” Iruka showed Kakashi the symbols in order, wincing in pain at the motions, but let his adrenaline fuel him through.

Iruka walked around the circle until he was opposite to Kakashi. He laughed, and when Kakashi gave him a questioning look he explained, “I guess with the sharingan you really are the perfect person to help.”

Kakashi smiled for the first time since their fight, “Glad to be of service.”

“Ok,” Iruka said with a strained breath. He really didn’t want to mess this up.

They locked eyes and slowly started to breathe in unison. Iruka put his hands together in preparation for the first hand sign. He nodded to Kakashi, and took in one last breath before they started through the signs.

There was a fizzle as they slammed their hands down to the ground completely in sync with each other, and Iruka watched as the symbols from the seal swirled its way up the invisible bubble and the illusion broke to reveal a scroll atop a small altar.

Iruka dipped his toe just inside the circle where the seal had once been to make sure it was safe before he walked up to the stone altar. He stared at the scroll sitting there waiting for him to grab it, but he was scared. After the night he’d had, Iruka knew there was some dangerous information on this scroll. He looked out to see the bodies again. They had all come seeking this scroll, and had all died for it.

“I don’t see anything else,” Kakashi said, misunderstanding Iruka’s hesitation.

“Understood,” Iruka replied. He put a hand to the altar and realized that with the seal gone there was no lingering chakra that would call people to this place.

He took one more deep breath and picked up the scroll.

“Let’s pack up and get out of here before anyone finds us,” Kakashi ordered.

Iruka nodded and led Kakashi out the other side of the tunnel that he’d found that afternoon so that they wouldn’t have to exit back out under the waterfall.

They slipped into the hotel to pack up and get out of town before anyone could notice them.

It was a hard few hours as they raced to the meeting spot where the ANBU would be. The day had already been a long one, and Iruka had spent so much chakra on the seals that he was starting to feel a strain he was no longer used to.

When they got to the campsite where the ANBU were, Iruka was worn out. Kakashi didn’t look quite as tired, although it was harder to tell now that he was wearing his mask again, but Iruka was pretty sure that he felt the exhaustion too.

One of the ANBU tended to his shoulder, healing the ache, but it looked like the welt would remain.

“Two hours, then we should move out,” the bird-like ANBU spoke, “We’re taking a straight shot back, so rest now.”

Iruka nodded and changed into his uniform before practically collapsing on the ground.

He was dead to the world for what felt like minutes, but it must have been the full two hours because he was being shaken awake to get back on their journey. Iruka glanced over at Kakashi wondering if he’d gotten any sleep himself.

As they leaped through the trees on the straightest path back to Konoha, Iruka could feel them getting faster. Everyone was desperate to get back without an incident.

Since the path they took to the village had twists and turns, getting to cut through the forest made for a much quicker return to Konoha. Their two and a half days turned into something just under a day with the aid of chakra to speed them up even further.

Iruka could feel the relief when he saw the gate to the village only meters away. It was finally done.

There were still a few loose ends to tie up, not just with the mission, but between him and Kakashi, but they were almost there.

The day had turned back to night before they made it into the village, and the ANBU escorted them directly to the Hokage tower and into Tsunade’s office.

“Mission successful?” Tsunade asked.

“Scroll has been acquired and the additional threat neutralized,” Kakashi reported.

“Good job,” Tsunade praised them. She stood up and held out her hand to take the scroll.

It felt like the whole room turned to Iruka, who had been unwilling to let go of the scroll the entire trip. Still Iruka hesitated to hand it off. He trusted Tsunade, but there were far too many people in positions of power over this village that he just couldn’t let it go so easily.

“Iruka?” Kakashi was the first to speak up about his hesitation.

“How do we keep it safe?” Iruka asked. “How do we make sure that nobody can use it against Naruto?”

Tsunade took back her hand and frowned at his insinuation. Naruto had told him everything that happened when they brought Tsunade back to the village. She had grown to care about the boy too, and Iruka knew that she wanted to keep him safe just as he did.

She dismissed two of the four ANBU and then led the rest of them down the tower. Down further than Iruka had been before, deep into the basement. Tsunade and one of the ANBU put their hands on a door and released some chakra into it to unlock it.

The doors swung open and Iruka felt a wave of chakra as he took in the room. There were dozens of different seals keeping scrolls and other objects protected from being tampered with. As Iruka looked around he started to wonder what was being protected down here, or worse what were they protecting the village from.

Tsunade walked down the aisles and stopped in front of a pedestal. She indicated for him to place it down, “Would you feel better if you made the seal yourself?”

Iruka’s breath caught. Would it?

There was a part of him that thought he wasn’t good enough, that someone stronger, more experienced could help keep Naruto safe, but then he thought about it again. Seals were something he was good at, they were something that needed the willpower behind them to do it right.

Iruka nodded, “Yes.”

Tsunade turned to one of the ANBU and nodded. They disappeared and reappeared with a bevy of tools for Iruka to use. Iruka knew a few different seals that should work, he just had to pick the right one. He took a mental catalog of the pros and cons to each and made a decision.

He picked out the tools he needed before realizing that everyone was watching him. Iruka wasn’t used to this process with an audience, but it didn’t look like they were going anywhere. Each stroke was done with purpose and precision, so the process ended up taking Iruka over an hour to get it all done. He was still exhausted from their run and the scant two hours of sleep, but he had to get this right.

When it was all finished Iruka checked over every bit of the script. This was it… He started through the hand signs and held his hands over the scroll as the seals compressed and wrapped their way around to protect the scroll.

As soon as it was done, Iruka felt ready to collapse.

It wasn’t just the exhaustion from racing back to Konoha, or even the over use of chakra, but also from the emotions that flooded him now that this was complete. He was doing what he could to keep his only living family safe.

Tsunade put a hand to his shoulder, and he nearly jumped away from the touch. “Good job,” she said with a smile. “Go get some sleep. We can debrief in the morning.” It was probably obvious that he was in no shape to spend the remaining hours of the night going over details that could wait until tomorrow.

Iruka acknowledged her statement and followed like a zombie back up the stairs and out of the building. He waved and started his journey back to his home, and his comfortable bed that he’d be lucky to reach before passing out.

It wasn’t until he was halfway home that he realized Kakashi had been following him.

“Kakashi?” Iruka questioned the man.

“We should talk.” It was said with a stern but concerned tone that made Iruka want to run away.

“Now?” Iruka looked at the moon that was starting to set in the sky indicating that they didn’t have many hours left before they’d be called back.

“If you’re up for it.”

Iruka wasn’t sure that he was up for it, but Kakashi looked so apprehensive that he didn’t have it in him to say no. Besides, he knew that Kakashi was right and they had to talk about what happened between them eventually.

When they got to Iruka’s place, he invited Kakashi in and went straight for the stove to boil water for tea. He’d need something to keep him awake for this conversation.

“I’m sorry,” Kakashi said when Iruka placed a cup of tea in front of him.

“Apologizing isn’t talking…” Iruka replied, “Besides what are you even apologizing for? I think I’m the one that owes you an apology.”

Iruka sat down across from Kakashi and watched him pull down his mask to start sipping at the tea. It felt so intimate to see him like that even though he had just spent the last few days without it.

“Iruka, I know you aren’t used to these types of missions. It felt like I took advantage of you.”

“It was a mission. I told you it was ok.”

“But-”

Iruka was getting tired of this, “Stop, Kakashi. I can handle myself. I make my own decisions.”

Kakashi swirled his finger around the lip of the cup, “I know, but you seemed so upset with me afterwards.”

Iruka froze. Kakashi was right, but Iruka didn’t know how to explain it. “I wasn’t upset that it happened…” He sighed and frowned. Iruka wasn’t sure that he was ready to tell Kakashi all this, but he felt like there was no other choice. “Kakashi, I was upset because… because it wasn’t real. It hurt when I realized that you would have done the same thing even if I was someone else.”

He looked down at his tea, unable to gather the courage to look up. It had already taken all of him to say it out loud.

A hand reached over the table and rested on his own.

“Iruka.” Kakashi’s voice was soft as he said his name. The thought of it made Iruka want to bolt. Still he rolled back his shoulders and prepared himself for the worst before he finally looked up at Kakashi.

“It’s true, I might have done that with anyone else for that mission,” Kakashi admitted, “but that doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t want it to be real too.”

“Huh?” Iruka wasn’t expecting that. He thought that Kakashi would have just told him that it wouldn’t work out. “You what?” Iruka asked, trying to make sure that he’d heard Kakashi correctly.

“Why do you think we still go out to dinner even though Naruto isn’t around? Why do I stop by the academy just to say hi?” Kakashi pointed out.

“You…”

“Iruka,” Kakashi teased, “You’re smart. I thought you would have understood this.”

Iruka flushed. “I thought I was just seeing what I wanted to see…” Iruka admitted.

Kakashi let out a light laugh, “Iruka. I like you.”

Iruka paused trying to swallow the information.

“I like you too.”

Kakashi pulled Iruka’s hand to his lips and kissed it. They locked eyes and just stared at each other for a long moment.

“Well… now that’s been solved, I’m gonna go pass out until Tsunade drags me out of bed,” Kakashi admitted.

Iruka chuckled, it didn’t sound too far off from how he felt.

“Do you want to sleep here?” He wasn’t sure what came over him, whether their discussion was making him bold or if it came from the lack of sleep.

Kakashi’s still uncovered face flushed a deep red. “I… uhh.”

“Just sleeping,” Iruka stated, “ but my bed is big enough for two.”

Kakashi looked as if he was about to faint from the suggestion, but managed a nod.

Iruka stood up, grabbed his hand and led them to his bedroom.