There it was again… That feeling… Iruka lifted his head, and looked around, his heart pounding fast. It was a quiet mid-afternoon in the mission room; and there were only a few people waiting in lines, but none at his. His eyes drifted from the left of the room, to the right, then to the back; and besides the people in line, there was no one else around.
Suddenly the sensation grew stronger - his chest was beginning to swell with warmth and affection, like he was around someone he loved; and his soul felt like it was being ignited, though the sparks hadn't exploded yet. What could it be? Why did he feel so strange? How did it work?
Iruka put a hand over his heart as he continued to search. The first time it happened was when he was a teenager. He had been grocery shopping, when a stranger gently tapped his shoulder to request he move, so they could pass on by. Then a few seconds after they touched, for an instant, everything changed, like a loose string suddenly became taut.
For an instant, he felt complete, and his soul was filled with excitement and desire; something thrilling that sent goosebumps across his skin, and tingles up his spine. For an instant, he had felt something special; and he knew, when the sensation had gone away and everything went back to normal, that he had met someone important; someone he was supposed to meet. The only problem was, he never saw who it was; and he hadn't been able to find them since.
"Oh, Kakashi! I didn't see you there!" Iruka nearly yelped.
He turned and smiled up at him from his desk, taking in his usual laid back profile and content expression; and he masked the sinking feeling lingering in his chest. As much as he liked chatting with Kakashi, he was a little disappointed seeing him right then; but he really shouldn't have been surprised - it wasn't the first time he had appeared and interrupted him in the middle of his search. Like clockwork, he would be looking for the person causing the sensation; and Kakashi would appear and chat with him. Then by the time they were done and he left again, the sensation would be gone, too. If Iruka didn't know any better, he'd say Kakashi had an instinct that drove him there every time. But it wasn't like he knew what was going on with him. Right?
"Maa, it's fine." Kakashi said. "You did seem pretty lost in thought when I came in, so I'm not surprised you didn't notice me. But I did see that you were surveying the room, too. Were you perhaps looking for someone?"
"Oh, no, I was just zoned out!" Iruka laughed sheepishly, running a finger across the scar on his nose.
How could he tell him that, once again, he had been looking for someone he didn't even know? That he knew in his heart that he needed to meet them? That for whatever reason, he might even love them?
It was different to love at first sight, which was felt in the heart. Yes. This was special, like his soul had fallen in love with someone, instead, and was still trying to chase them, to reunite with them. He fell in love over and over whenever this person was nearby; and he was almost desperate now to find out who it was. Who did he love; and why did his soul know before he did?
"Hmn…" Kakashi studied him pensively.
He knew Iruka wasn't telling the truth. He knew Iruka had been looking for him ; but yet again, he hadn't realised that who he was looking for was right in front of him. Kakashi couldn't blame Iruka for not knowing, though; because when he had first felt the connection, he had run away. The sensation of being touched by an angel, of feeling so intensely had scared him; and he hadn't been ready to meet the person who had done that to him. But although he'd run away, he had spied on the crowd to at least see who it was, who he was tied to; and Iruka had been easy to spot. He had been the only person desperately looking around, like he was searching for something important.
"Kakashi? Are you okay?" Iruka asked hesitantly.
Kakashi had taken on an absentminded stare as he gazed into his eyes; and he seemed almost as out of it as he, himself, had been just before. But at the same time, it was like he was trying to read his thoughts; and as Iruka studied him, he became worried about what may be on his mind.
Suddenly, Kakashi's expression softened, returning to his usual pleasant state; and he crinkled his face into a smile, and placed a mission report on the desk as though nothing had even happened.
"No need to worry about me, Sensei; but I appreciate the thought." He said. "Do you mind putting this through for me?"
"Sure. Let me take a look."
Iruka perused the report, almost relieved to be given something to do; and he scanned through it quickly, eager to finish serving Kakashi so he could go back to looking for the person tugging at his soul before they disappeared again. This time, there was nothing to go through or fix up; and he looked up at Kakashi with a grin.
"Everything's great! I can file this right away!" He said. "You're free to go!"
Iruka watched as Kakashi gave him a two finger salute then turned and left; and as he slipped out of sight, Iruka began his search for the mystery person once again - he was determined to figure out who it was once and for all. But it soon became clear that they were travelling further and further away from him again.
Iruka sighed, a little disheartened. Just once , he would like to be able to catch them after talking to Kakashi. What was with that, anyway? Why did Kakashi always seem to be around whenever he sensed this other person he was drawn to? It was almost as if… the person he was looking for… Iruka's eyes widened in shock.
No, it wasn't almost as if.
Kakashi. It was him.
Kakashi was the person he was looking for. He was the one he was destined to meet.
Iruka's heart was pounding heavily as adrenaline rushed through his veins; but he sat frozen in place, staring at where Kakashi had once been, as the sensation weakened again, like the string connecting them was being unravelled once more. Iruka didn't know what to do. His heart was telling him to chase after him; but his brain was telling him to find him after work, when they would have more time to talk things through. But what if he couldn't find him then? What if it would be too late?
All these years… All this time spent wondering why this other person he was tied to didn't want anything to do with him, wondering why they didn't feel the same way as him; when really, they'd been there all along for as long as he could remember… Kakashi had always been there, listening, and paying attention to everything about him; he was always trying to be one step closer to him, cautiously creeping past his walls, and loosening his own barriers; and he was always coming up with excuses to be by his side and spend time with him. Kakashi had been trying to get him to notice their connection this entire time; and Iruka had just been looking right through him, as though he wasn't there.
Iruka jumped up from his seat and hurled himself over his desk, racing straight for the door.
"Iruka, are you okay?"
"I-I have to go! Cover for me!" He called to whoever had spoken to him, rushing straight through to the village.
He had to find Kakashi. Now.
Iruka looked all around him, searching desperately through the crowded streets, trying to spot Kakashi's familiar figure, and find out which direction he had gone; but much like the very first time they ran into each other, he couldn't see him. He wasn't going to give up, though. He'd kept Kakashi waiting long enough, and it was time to reunite with him, to tell him that he knew now; that he'd been looking for him this whole time but had been too blind to see ; that he's sorry for not figuring it out sooner; and that he's here now and wants to be with him and explore these feelings he's had since the moment they first met. He was ready for the next step.
Suddenly Iruka sensed Kakashi again, like he'd tugged on the string tying them together; and he sprinted off in the direction it seemed to be coming from, darting through the countless villagers blocking his path. The more he ran, the stronger the feeling became - his heart was fluttering wildly, and his chest was swelling with the warmth and fondness of being close to someone he loved, like Kakashi was already there in front of him, his arms wide open, inviting him in; and the stronger this sensation became, the more desperate Iruka was to reach him.
Finally, Iruka could sense Kakashi so strongly it was like he was as close to him as he had been in the mission room; and this time when he scanned the crowd, skimming through nameless villagers, he found him, slowly wandering through the markets, right by the very first place they had met, where all this began.
"Huh?" Kakashi stopped walking. "Iruka?"
Kakashi turned around, becoming more aware of himself and his surroundings; and came face to face with Iruka hurrying towards him, his expression emotional and desperate. His eyes widened in shock, and his heart skipped a beat as his body began to tingle all over, like it was dynamite, and a spark was creeping along the string, ready to explode; and he felt an invisible force trying to tug him even closer to Iruka, trying to keep them together. And it looked like Iruka was experiencing the same thing, too.
Kakashi swallowed nervously as butterflies fluttered in his stomach and adrenaline rushed through his veins. This was it. This was the moment he'd been waiting for ever since he'd come to terms with the fact he was connected to Iruka. After so many years of stalking him and trying to investigate the sensation on his own, waiting patiently for Iruka to notice that it was him he was always looking for, him that he loved without knowing why, they were finally going to be united with whatever future fate had tied them with.
Suddenly, Iruka slammed into him as he leapt from the ground; and he wrapped his arms around him tightly, holding him close against him. Kakashi gasped in surprise as an intense euphoria shuddered through him, like everything he'd held in his heart had burst, like the dynamite inside of him had finally exploded; and every inch of skin that was touching Iruka felt like it was being massaged tenderly by an angel, like he had travelled back in time to when they first met, and he was experiencing everything for the first time all over again.
But this time, rather than being scared of what he was feeling, rather than wanting to run away from the love and affection that was being offered to him, that he was feeling, himself, Kakashi held onto it like it was his lifeline, like it was the most precious thing in existence. This time, he wanted to embrace it and see what fate had in store for him. He wanted to be with Iruka.
Kakashi held onto him tenderly as his feelings exploded inside him, as his chest swelled with a fondness and love more powerful than anything he had ever experienced before; and the invisible string that had led him to Iruka seemed to tug at him more urgently, like it was wrapping itself around the both of them, speaking in the only way it could to tell him that there was something else he had to do, that he had to be even closer to Iruka. Then as the warmth from Iruka spread across his body, and he became drunk off his scent, the butterflies in his stomach pounded their wings even harder; and his heart began to race even more as he soon realised what it was that he had to do; what he had wanted to do all this time.
Kakashi gently pulled back, resting his hands on Iruka's waist as he gazed into his eyes; and he grew weak as he took in his infatuated and amorous expression, his heart melting with every moment he stared. He could see that Iruka wanted him more than anything else, that he was lovestruck; and he reached for his face, put under a spell, enchanted by Iruka's presence.
Surprise, desire, and need flooded through Iruka all at once as Kakashi carefully pulled his mask away; and as he leaned forward experimentally, Iruka grew dizzy in anticipation, his head spinning, and heart shooting a growing euphoria throughout his veins as he waited for Kakashi's lips, to have them pressed against his. Then after what felt like an eternity, Kakashi finally kissed him; and an explosion of ecstasy rode through him, filling him to his core with its exhilarating bliss.
Iruka let out a small gasp as he pressed his mouth back against Kakashi's, closing his eyes as he tightened his grip around him. He had never felt so good in his life. Being with Kakashi like this was what he needed, what his soul had been craving all along; and he didn't want to part from him - couldn't part from him, as the string that bound them together tied them in place, unifying them for good, now that they had found one another. They were finally together, the way they were meant to be.
Eventually, they parted lips, being wholly satisfied with their kiss; and Kakashi gazed into Iruka's eyes, a warm blush tinging his cheeks, and an amorous expression radiating from his face; the entire world around him forgotten.
"Iruka, I… I'm in love with you." he murmured breathlessly, gently brushing a stray strand of hair behind his ear.
"Me, too…" Iruka replied softly. "I have never loved anyone like this before."
"Then, do you want to…?"
"Did you really need to ask?" Iruka smiled lovingly, leaning in to kiss him again.
"Of course I want to be with you."
He didn't know why the universe had led him to Kakashi, but he knew that things happened for a reason. So if that reason was so that they could fall in love, then who was he to deny that? And if this was only the beginning, he couldn't wait to see how everything played out.
Because he had finally reached his happy ending.