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Spooks and scares and scarecrows

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(I don't own any characters etc etc)

 

"This'll be fun, they said," Iruka muttered to himself. "Come out for a Halloween night, they said."

He sighed and rubbed his face.

"Which way, which way..."

He looked left, right, ahead, and behind, but he was very lost in a haunted cornmaze, at night. Still, he continued to wander, grumbling along the way, when he wasn't being scared by the attraction.

"You're lost," a voice said from the darkness suddenly, and Iruka jumped.

He looked around, but saw no one.

"Who's there?" he called out.

"Just us scarecrows," the voice said, and Iruka looked around again. Sure enough, there were scarecrows scattered around here and there throughout the maze, but the area he happened to stop in led right through an area with more scarecrows than normal.

"Great, just great," Iruka sighed.

"Are you here alone?"

"You're asking rather nosy questions for a scarecrow," Iruka countered.

"Just for a scarecrow?" the voice asked, and Iruka couldn't help but laugh.

"Maybe. But no, I'm here with my friend, but his boyfriend is a chicken and they ran away and left me." Iruka paused and looked around. "Can you give me directions?"

"Maybe. You came with a couple? That's interesting."

Iruka rolled his eyes and crossed his arms. "Yeah, I know, I'm a third wheel. I didn't want to, trust me. And I've learned my lesson, at least for this type of thing. So, any help?"

"Don't get lost on the path of life."

Iruka rolled his eyes again. "I walked into that one."

"So, you're here with a couple, but no plus one for you?"

Iruka frowned. "Now you're being super nosy."

"You don't have to answer it."

"That's true," Iruka said, looking around. "But since I'm stuck here..."

"I'll help if you answer it," the voice posed.

Iruka pulled his jacket closer to him as he considered it. "Deal. No, no plus one. I haven't had a boyfriend for a few months, actually. Why, are you asking me out?"

"Would you say yes?"

"I answered your question, now give me directions," Iruka reminded the voice.

He was met with silence, punctuated by screams from elsewhere in the maze.

Iruka sighed. "Maybe I would say yes," he said. "I've been single for a while, sure, why not? I'll go out with a disembodied voice. It's a nice voice, at least."

"Thank you," the voice purred at him.

"Well?" Iruka prompted it, but was met with silence again. He sighed loudly. "You're no help."

"You should hurry along, it's going to rain soon," the voice warned him.

Suddenly, a new voice joined them.

"Iruka! There you are!" Kotetsu said. "Sorry we left you..."

"You should be," Iruka agreed.

"But, hey, I came back to help you get out! You've been in here a while..."

"I got lost," Iruka admitted. "Where's Izumo? He's too scared out here to be left alone..."

"I left him at the hot drink stand, where it's brightly lit," Kotetsu said, as they walked away from the scarecrows. "But, he's still coming into the ghost house with us next!"

_____

Iruka sighed and tried to collect himself.

He was alone, again. This time in the ghostly haunted house attraction.

"This just keeps happening to you, huh?" a now familiar voice said as Iruka walked through a dimly lit kitchen scene.

He jumped, eyes wide.

"Don't scare me like that!" Iruka shouted.

"Like what? Why else did you come here if not to be scared?"

Iruka tried to stop the heart attack he was having and peered around. "Where are you now?"

"Having a bite," the voice said. "Get it?"

Iruka sighed, as the kitchen scene was rather bloody. Still, he looked around again, and noticed a strange figure in a chair. He approached it and peered at a large scarecrow sat in the chair.

"What are you doing here?" he asked. "Shouldn't you be outside?"

"Maa, I told you it was going to rain, Iruka. So I wanted to stay dry."

Iruka jumped and shrieked, something he would later deny.

"You're real?! And how do you know my name?!"

"Your friend said it when he came into my area," the scarecrow reminded him.

Iruka watched in slightly horrified silence as the scarecrow slowly stood, growing taller and taller, until it was fully stretched out.

Iruka tried to remind himself it was just a man in a costume, but it was a tall, rather lanky man, and so was perfect for the costume.

They stared at each other as screams echoed from other rooms in the attraction.

Feeling grounded, finally, Iruka frowned.

"Are you following me?"

The scarecrow shrugged and put its hands in its patchwork pants pockets. "I wasn't, but now I will."

"Creeper," Iruka commented.

"Where did your friends get to now?"

It was Iruka's turn to shrug. "I don't know. Izumo was more scared here than he was at the corn maze, so I wouldn't be surprised if he made Kotetsu take an emergency exit out. Which means they probably can't come back in, right?"

The scarecrow nodded, giving him a smile that went up to his eyes, which curved into smiles themselves.

It was surprisingly endearing, Iruka noted. The contrast with the blood and gore around them was not lost on him, however.

Iruka sighed. "I'd better get going. I want to get my money's worth, and I still have two more areas to get through."

The scarecrow looked at him in surprise. "How do you know that?"

"What?" Iruka asked, shrugging again. "I looked at the map online."

"You what?"

"Well, yeah," Iruka said. "I wanted to see what I was agreeing to, and there's a layout posted to draw people in. So, I've been to the basement, the hospital area, and now this part."

"Hmm," the scarecrow hummed in agreement. "I guess I'll see you around, then."

"Won't you get in trouble?"

"Nah, they just don't want me outside getting my costume wet. Til next time, Iruka," the scarecrow said, sauntering off.

Iruka sighed and shook his head. "Kotetsu owes me big time..."

_____

The scarecrow, it seemed, had nothing better to do than pop up periodically and scare the pants off Iruka. It seemed to have drawn the attention of the other actors, as most seemed to get the people ahead of Iruka and leave the scarecrow to scare him.

Iruka, sick of having endless endorphins flooding his system, clenched his fist in midair, lest he actually throw a punch at a scarecrow.

"Why do you keep jumping out at me?!"

"It's my job?"

"Well, you're too good at it," Iruka sighed.

"Thank you, you're too kind."

Iruka groaned. "What do you want from me? Just drag me off and kill me, finally."

The scarecrow looked at him in surprise. "That's clowns, not scarecrows. Honestly, way to stereotype us!"

To his surprise, Iruka couldn't help but laugh, which seemed to catch the scarecrow off guard.

"You're crazy," Iruka said, and the scarecrow shrugged.

"I suppose so. But you're the one who studied a ghost house map."

"I looked at it for like two minutes," Iruka countered, as they began to walk. "I just have a good memory."

"This is the big exit," the scarecrow suddenly whispered to him. "We'll go out running on the count of three, yeah?"

"Why should I trust you?" Iruka whispered back.

"Because you said you'd go out with me, so I can't let you be taken by monsters," the scarecrow said, giving him an eye smile again. The scarecrow held out a hand, and Iruka accepted it, speechlessly

"One, two, three!"

They ran, dodging bursts of air, flinging doors open, and sprinting past several actors shouting and chasing them.

Laughing, they came to a stop at a safe distance and ended their grasp as they tried to catch their breath. The rain had by now dropped down to a slight drizzle, which was refreshing after being in the house for so long.

Iruka looked around, as they were back in the central area where people were buying tickets for the attractions and food. It was brighter there, and he finally caught a glimpe of the scarecrow's face as his friends walked up. Underneath the makeup, the man looked quite attractive, Iruka noted. Suddenly, being chased by this man didn't seem so bad...

"Sorry, Iruka," Izumo said sheepishly. "I don't think I'm cut out for scary things..."

"Who's your new scarecrow friend?" Kotetsu asked, curiously, and Iruka looked at the scarecrow.

"I...I don't know," Iruka admitted.

"Kakashi," the scarecrow said, holding out a hand. "Iruka here has agreed to a date with me."

Kotetsu and Izumo looked at Iruka in surprise, who shrugged as he returned the handshake.

"It's a long story," Iruka told his friends. He turned to Kakashi as he pulled out his phone and entered his number, calling so the other man had his.

"Here," Kakashi said, taking off his straw hat and rummaging around in it before pulling out slips of paper. "Coupons for hot cider," he said, passing three to Iruka.

"I have to get back to work," he sighed, putting his hat back on and tilting it just so. "I'll be in touch, and let me know if you guys wants passes to come back." Holding his arms out, he took a step back.

"How do I look?"

"Like a scarecrow," Iruka offered, and Kakashi gave him a mock salute before walking away.

The three set off to use their drink coupons.

"I want details," Kotetsu said, and Iruka laughed and nodded.

"But we don't really have to come back, right?" Izumo asked, worriedly.

"But the scarecrows are so friendly," Iruka laughed.

"It's too scary here," Izumo said. "Was I really the only one who got scared?

When he received no response, he paused as Iruka and Kotetsu continued ahead.

"Guys? Really? Wait for me!" he shouted, running to catch up.