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Through the glitter, something new

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(I don't own any characters etc etc)

Iruka sipped his coffee as he sat back in his desk chair, staring at the science journal he was reading.

A feature story had caught his eye, of one Kakashi Hatake, a fellow researcher at Konoha University. Not that they directly worked together, but they saw each other here and there. General hello, how are you? That sort of thing. Though....there was some overlap on a project of each of theirs...a small overlap, but still...

Iruka sighed as he stared at the picture in the article. Kakashi was as dashing as ever, he thought. The man was shown outdoors somewhere, in his standard field "uniform" of a black turtleneck (sleeves rolled up! Iruka's brain registered, because every detail counts, he was a researcher after all....), black gloves, and black cargo pants tucked into boots.

Iruka sighed, he had it bad for the man.

Around campus Kakashi could be found wearing equally flattering clothes, though more often than not he was in the field and not on campus...

Iruka sighed again and glanced down at himself. He had dressed extra comfortable today, and was wearing a t-shirt from a conference he had been on a panel on, two years ago, a blue hoodie, jeans, and sneakers.

Not Kakashi-worthy, but true to himself, he thought, shrugging.

The silver lining, his brain reminded him, was that his work helped Kakashi with his own, even if it was usually indirectly, since they were in the same department.

It was, after all, for the greater good, advancement of science, those sorts of things.

He finished his coffee and set the cup and journal down on his desk as he picked up an envelope that Mizuki had sent him.

Why his office mate had had something delivered to him, Iruka couldn't figure out, but he similarly didn't trust it.

He rummaged in his desk to find scissors but soon gave up and walked over to grab ones from Mizuki's desk, opening the envelope midway between their desks...only to find it was a glitter bomb.

Iruka let out a string of curses at Mizuki as he stood there, wearing some of the shower of silver glitter that had sprung out. Iruka exhaled, grateful for his quick reflexes, as he had dodged most of the glitter, though both of their work stations had taken the resulting mess.

Just then, the door opened, and Iruka watched, wide eyed, as none other than Kakashi came in.

"Yo," he greeted Iruka, pausing for a moment to take in the scene in front of him. "I was wondering if you had results from last week ready..." he said, trailing off.

Iruka nodded and silently rummaged in his desk, drawing out a folder and passing it to the other man. He always got butterflies from their interactions, though this time the butterflies were weighed down by standing in an office of glitter.

"Thanks," Kakashi said, accepting the folder and watching Iruka continue to rummage in his desk, in a different drawer.

Iruka pulled out two spray cans before dropping the offending envelope in the trash. He sprayed one can on his own work station, including the desk, chair, and floor.

Kakashi remained in place, watching as Iruka grabbed the other can and sprayed the other work station, where the glitter was only on the desk and chair.

"I can't help but ask, what are you doing?" Kakashi said, finally addressing the situation in front of him.

Iruka sighed. "Payback," he said, as he grabbed paper towels and easily wiped up the glitter on his own area. "This one helps to get the glitter up quickly, so housekeeping doesn't have to do it and scrub. The other one," he said, nodding at Mizuki's work station, "set it in more, and will glue it onto all of that. Housekeeping is under orders to never clean his desk due to his paperwork, so Mizuki should have fun with all that."

"I take it he's not exactly an innocent bystander in all this?" Kakashi ventured as he set the folder down to grab a tissue and wipe up a spot of glitter, and Iruka laughed and nodded.

He missed seeing the other man's eyes widen as Iruka took off his sweatshirt to shake the glitter off into the trash.

"Did you go to that conference?" Kakashi asked, and Iruka turned to look at him, following his gaze to his shirt.

"I did," Iruka said. "Did you?"

"Yeah, it was great!" Kakashi said.

They talked about the panels they saw, and Iruka was caught off guard when Kakashi mentioned none other than the panel he had been on.

"What? How did I miss that you were there?" Kakashi said, shaking his head. "All of you had so much good information to share, and such great discussion points!"

Iruka smiled. "I don't think we had met yet, I had heard all about you but you had been in the field for a few months before that I think? Although, my hair was also shorter then," Iruka admitted.

"Well, it all inspired me and my current research," Kakashi said. "I had to finish a few other projects, but what I'm doing now was started from an idea I had that day in that panel. Perhaps we could talk more about it over dinner sometime, I could pick your brain about it all?" he asked Iruka, just as the office door opened and Mizuki entered.

Mizuki took note of who was there, as well as the state of the office and Iruka, and began to laugh.

"Got you good, huh?" he sneered at Iruka, as he walked to his own work station. He saw the glitter on it and let out a string of curses. "I can't believe this mess! Housekeeping better get their asses in here and clean this up, pronto!" he yelled, reaching for his phone.

"But you have a strict policy with them to never touch your work station," Iruka sweetly reminded him. "They'd have to talk to their director, and I think you told him 'no one better lay even a finger on this, ever.' Good luck with it," Iruka said, shrugging.

Mizuki glared at him. "Yeah, well, Kakashi, don't waste your time on him," he said to their guest. "His research is lame, what does he know? He never even goes out into the field like we do. My offer from last week still stands to go out, us field men have to stick together, you know?"

Iruka looked at Kakashi, who shrugged.

"Maa, all research has merit," Kakashi said, and Iruka let out a breath he hadn't realized he was holding.

Mizuki shook his head. "You know what Iruka's claim to fame is so far? He published a few measly papers and invented some outdoors heated cushion that inflates a bit, nothing special."

Iruka blushed at the mention of it. "I know a bunch of the athletes here and worked on it in my spare time, and it got patented and all," he defended it. "The university has especially appreciated it, as have some other schools and sports leagues. I know it's not going to save lives, but it's warm and comfortable."

Kakashi's jaw dropped. "That was yours? One of my friends, Gai, is a coach here and gave me one. That thing saved my butt so many times in the field, I can't even tell you!" he said, to the shock of the other men. "I swear it's kept me from getting hypothermia when I've had to sit out there for long stretches, just watching and waiting. You have to let me take to you to dinner now!" he said to Iruka, who nodded, eyes wide.

"I'll be in touch," Kakashi said, smiling and waving as he left.

Iruka watched the door close, blinking several times.

"Whatever," Mizuki said, and Iruka turned to him. "You're a sorry excuse for a scientist," he said to Iruka, just as the door opened and Kakashi came back in.

Kakashi cleared his throat. "I forgot the folder," he clarified, grabbing it from the desk. The dark look he shot at Mizuki let them both know he had heard the comment directed at Iruka.

"Kakashi," Iruka said, feeling determined. "Would you like to grab something now? I need to get out of here," he said, glancing at Mizuki.

"I'd love to," Kakashi said, smiling, and they headed out, forgetting all about the other man.