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Pandora's Box

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Kakashi went home and showered, all the while trying to come up with a plan. He knew that Iruka was one stubborn sensei and would probably lose his temper if he felt that Kakashi was giving him charity or thought that he would see him as weak. Kakashi needed to come up with a way to address Iruka’s problems without letting him know that he had been keeping an eye on him all this time. Yeah, like that would go over well with Iruka, Kakashi scoffed at himself.

So what would he do? He needed to get him out of the house. Well, dressed first, then out and to the party. He knew that Iruka was not going to want to stick around long enough to be caught up in drama from drunken shinobi or embarrassment from a drunken Anko. As he looked in his closet he realized how annoying it was to find something decent to wear to a party. Grabbing a button-up navy blue shirt, he had an epiphany. He could play the hopeless socially inept card and make it seem as if Iruka was helping him out and not the other way around. It’s not as if it would be a total lie. Kakashi really wasn’t as perfect as everyone made him out to be. He suffered PTSD and depression. There were days all he wanted to do was sit in a tree and read. He lost himself in Icha Icha goodness so that he could forget about the seriousness of the world, the broken teams he had been a part of, the missions gone wrong, and the assassinations that involved the young. Kakashi sighed and ran his hand through his hair. Things like this were partly why he needed someone in his life that would help keep him grounded, give him reason to return home other than to collect a paycheck.

The silver-haired jonin shook his head and told himself to worry about Iruka for now. He looked through his clothes to find things that might fit the slightly shorter chunin and rearranged his dresser to make them more accessible but not obviously so. He then went to check the kitchen to see if he had enough ingredients for a simple balanced meal. Alright, I guess it’s time to see if this will work or not, Kakashi thought to himself. He double checked his apartment to make sure it was tidy and headed over to Iruka’s.



Iruka woke up with a start at the loud knocking. Wha…what time is it? He wondered. He looked at his clock and saw that it was early evening. He rolled over and stared at the ceiling. I must have fallen asleep earlier, guess it’s a good thing someone knocked on the door. OH! The door! Iruka got up and went to answer the door and found a rather sheepish looking copy-nin standing there. “Kakashi-san, what are you….is something wrong? Did the boys do something?” Iruka was perturbed and unsure of what was going on.

“Mah, Iruka, I have a huge favor to ask of you. I promised Anko that I would go to her party but I’m not much for big parties with crowds and was wondering if you’d go with me? We won’t have to stay long, just long enough to make an appearance and make Anko happy before she gets too wasted to care. I know you don’t go out much so if you don’t know what to wear I can help you figure something out. What do you say?”

Iruka just stood there staring at Kakashi, mouth hanging open. He wasn’t sure whether to slam the door in the jonin’s face out of suspicion or cry out in joy that his evening’s problems could be fixed by one man without even losing his dignity. He could keep his promise to Anko but escape before it all became too much, and not have to do it alone. Kakashi even offered his clothes, which was great considering how much weight Iruka had lost. The pants might be a little long but at least shirts would fit a little better. Hmmm…we don’t talk very much, why did he come to me? Iruka couldn’t help but question Kakashi’s motives. “It’s an excellent offer, Kakashi-san, but why me? Aren’t you the great copy-nin who isn’t afraid of anything?”

Iruka felt a little guilty when he saw a hurt expression flit across the jonin’s face. “Well, I may be great when it comes to being a ninja, but when it comes to being social I am not oh so great. I don’t like parties, but like everyone Anko knows, I was forced to promise with threat of bodily harm.” He chuckles at this. “As for why you? I know from Naruto that you don’t really like to go to these things, but I know that you and Anko are close friends. I also decided to play on your kindness. You wouldn’t let a poor colleague like me go through that nightmare alone, would you? I’ll even cook you dinner in appreciation!” Iruka couldn’t help but laugh at the fake pout that could easily be seen through the shape of his mask. He wanted nothing more than to stay home and wallow by himself. However he knew he had to get this night over with. “Fine. I really hope you don’t mind but I do need to take you up on that offer of borrowing an outfit. I’m afraid mine consists of uniforms, sweats, and t-shirts. I can’t believe I’m doing this, but you’re right, we have to keep our promise to Anko or suffer. Um...”

“Let’s head over to my place for some clothes. It’s not a problem so you can quit looking at me like that. Come on, I really want to get this night over with. Don’t you?” Kakashi grabbed a hold of Iruka’s arm and transported them to his place, laughing at the baffled look on the chunin’s face.