"Kakashi! You're coming with me!"
Kakashi's eyes widened in fear as Kurenai grabbed his wrist and started dragging him to the dance floor. He didn't want to be here, let alone right in the middle of everything. He hated being in the spotlight, and he felt like the entire school was staring at him. Maybe they weren't, and they were just dancing; but it felt like everyone's heads were turned in his direction, judging him, wondering who he was behind his hound mask, and who was tugging him along in the black cat mask and tight red dress.
As they ventured deeper into the sea of bodies, Kakashi's heart began to race. Where was Kurenai taking him? Did she want to dance with him? Why? Wasn't she happy enough being with her boyfriend, Asuma?
They seemed to be speeding up now; and when Kakashi looked up, he spotted a girl in a purple and black corset dress and matching black lace mask - it was so grand, it was almost a crown that covered her eyes, really; and trailing along behind her was a shorter guy in a simple black suit, probably a couple of grades lower than himself, his body language clearly expressing that he had been kidnapped, too, and wanted to get out of here.
It was only a moment later that they met; and the Goth girl approached Kurenai and whispered something in her ear. Kakashi could hear them giggling; and he internally sighed as he looked towards the other guy, who was being gripped hold of so tightly his darker skin seemed to almost be changing colour around his hand. He shot him a sympathetic look, forgetting that his face was covered, and that he wouldn't actually be able to see any facial expressions; but somehow the guy knew, and a small smile crept on the lower half of his face, below the dark fox mask.
They stared at one another, wondering what the hell was going on, and why they'd been forced out of their hidey holes, where they'd felt safe; then suddenly, Kurenai let go of his wrist, and pulled her mask aside to speak in his ear over the music.
"Kakashi, this is Iruka. He's one of Anko's friends; fifteen, musician, gay, cute, and single as hell… We think you'll make a great match."
"No, you're not setting me up again."
"He's a good guy, I promise." Kurenai assured. "Just dance with him during the next song; and if you don't like him after that, you can leave."
Kakashi glanced at Iruka, who looked like he was having a similar discussion, and was also freaking out about it. But the way Anko was grinning - he was surprised he hadn't recognised her, actually; he knew he didn't stand a chance of getting out of it. Neither of them did, really, if both of the girls were involved…
"Fine." He grumbled. "But one song only."
When the next song came on, Kakashi glared at Kurenai and Anko, who had wicked grins on their faces, clearly having known that they'd be making him and Iruka slow dance. He was going to kill them for this. He shook his head and turned to Iruka, who looked like he was about to have a heart attack; and he approached him and extended his hand.
For a moment, all Iruka could do was stare at it, his eyes wide through the slits in his mask; and as the seconds passed, Kakashi began to panic and wondered whether he should just retract his hand and give him some space. But then, a bright blush crept on Iruka's face, and he reached out to take it.
With Iruka's hand in his, Kakashi stepped back into an open space on the dance floor, guiding Iruka along; and when he stopped, he gently pulled him closer, keeping their hands connected as he hooked his free arm around Iruka's side, and rested it along his upper back. Iruka stiffened when it brought them even closer; and he tentatively lifted his free hand and rested it on Kakashi's shoulder, along his navy blue suit jacket.
It took a moment for them to find their footing, but once they got into a rhythm, they smoothly glided around a small section of the dance floor as they slow-danced together; and second by second, Kakashi began to relax as he focused more on Iruka and what they were doing, rather than the curious heads around them, watching them, whispering about who the cute couple was.
Iruka was trying to focus on Kakashi, and the dance, too; but he couldn’t help but feel all the attention on them both, and it was making him flustered. He wished more than anything, that he could disappear right that very second.
"Don't worry about them - no one knows who you are." Kakashi murmured when he felt Iruka's grip tighten, and he had to save a misstep.
"I guess so..." Iruka replied uneasily.
Kakashi gently dipped Iruka back, indulging in the way his loose hair flowed with the movement; and when he brought him back up again, he saw a small smile on his lips - a sign that his distraction had worked.
"Tell me, what would you be doing right now if you didn't have to be here?" He asked.
"I'd be… at home… in my room…" Iruka replied thoughtfully. "Probably… either reading, watching a movie, or playing my guitar."
"Kurenai told me you're a musician. Are you good?"
"My friends seem to think so, but I still have a lot to learn…"
"If they think you're good, you must be wonderful."
"T-Thank you." Iruka blushed.
"What do you like to play?"
"Um, all kinds of things, really. I use an acoustic guitar, so I like to make softer versions of heavy songs."
"You sound very talented." Kakashi said. "Do you write your own songs, too?"
"Sometimes, but they're not really perfected yet…"
"Well if you ever want to show them to someone, I'd love to hear you play sometime."
"T-Thanks. I'll uh, keep that in mind."
Kakashi and Iruka fell silent again; and for the first time since they started dancing, Iruka was finally feeling relaxed and enjoying himself a bit - the conversation with Kakashi had calmed him; and he felt safe in his arms. It was strange, because he had never met Kakashi before, yet it felt like he'd known him for years; and he was surprised at how quickly they'd clicked. Maybe something would come from this, after all…
Iruka looked up at Kakashi, gazing into his gentle steel blue eyes; and his heart skipped a beat, and he felt his face grow hot when they made eye contact. There was something alluring about the way he was looking at him, like they'd seen each other a thousand times before; and Iruka wished they weren't at a masquerade dance, so he could see what Kakashi looked like and maybe figure out why it felt like he knew him.
Kakashi and Iruka continued to dance in silence, comfortable in each other's company; and in no time at all, the song came to an end. But when the next song started, another slow song, they didn't separate right away; and instead, simply swayed along as they soaked up the moment together.
"You've been really sweet." Iruka said shyly. "Thank you for turning this into a nice experience."
"Maa, I don't know what you're talking about - you're the one who's made it this nice."
"But I didn't do anything."
"You've been good company." Kakashi replied. "Plus, you know how to dance, so it's not as embarrassing."
"I guess you're right - it's good being able to dance with someone who knows how to." Iruka said. "I had lessons when I was younger; but what about you? Where did you learn to dance?"
"A certain friend of ours forced me to learn."
"Anko?" Iruka laughed.
Kakashi's heart skipped a beat. Iruka's smile was contagious, and his laugh was music to his ears, so much nicer than the song that they were dancing to.
"You guessed it." Kakashi replied. "Speaking of, let's get out of here before she and Kurenai finds us again…" And so we can enjoy this date without people staring at us.
When they walked off, Kakashi kept Iruka's hand in his; and they made their way through an open side entrance, out to a small patio that had been set up for people who wanted a breath of fresh air. There weren't many people outside, just a few couples; and Kakashi and Iruka were able to find a small bench to sit at, along the wall of Konoha High's hall, away from most of the light. It was the perfect place to get some privacy.
"I can't believe they made us do that!" Iruka exclaimed. "Girls are so crafty when they get together…"
"More like cruel and evil." Kakashi joked.
When Iruka laughed, he leaned towards Kakashi; and when their arms brushed, Kakashi turned his attention him, his heart fluttering wildly. He barely knew Iruka - he didn't even know what the top half of his face looked like because of his mask, but for some reason it felt like he had known him for a while; and all he wanted to do was get closer to him.
"But in saying that," Kakashi continued, experimentally putting an arm around Iruka, "I am glad I got to meet you. There's something about you…"
"T-Thanks." Iruka replied, his face growing hot. "I'm glad I got to meet you, too."
"So, um, tell me a bit about yourself."
"Sure. What do you want to know?"
"I ah, am not exactly sure…" Kakashi laughed sheepishly, running his free hand through his hair. "I just know that you're supposed to ask someone that on a date."
"Wow. You clearly don't go on dates much, do you?" Iruka giggled, leaning against Kakashi and relaxing into him.
"Is that a bad thing?"
"Some would say so, considering you're seventeen and all; but I think it's cute." Iruka replied, smiling warmly. "And I like that you're selective about who you go out with, and aren't doing things just because other people are."
"Maa, I wouldn't say the dating thing is so much a choice - have you seen some of the guys at this school?"
Iruka burst into a fit of giggles, his laughter making Kakashi feel warm inside; and when he was calm enough to speak, he started sharing stories about some of the ridiculous things he'd seen other guys in his grade do; and he and Kakashi quickly got lost in conversation.
As they chatted and got to know one another, Kakashi and Iruka found themselves enjoying the masquerade dance a lot more than they thought they would; and they became more and more fond of each other. Time slipped away from them; and well before either of them realised, the other people that had been outside, too, had gone back inside, and no one else had come on out; and they were entirely alone.
"You know… I've had a really good time tonight." Iruka said, pulling away from Kakashi to face him.
"Me, too." Kakashi replied warmly.
His heart fluttered when Iruka reached out and took his hands in his.
"Um, I was actually wondering…" He began nervously. "If you don't mind, may I see your face? I'd love to know who I've been on such a nice date with."
"I was just thinking the same thing." Kakashi murmured. "So I'll show you my face if you show me yours, too."
Iruka took a deep breath as he raised his hand to his mask. He was anxious to find out who Kakashi was and whether he'd seen him around the school before; but he was also afraid showing his face. He was self-conscious about the giant scar that ran across his nose, and was afraid that Kakashi wouldn't like him, and would reject him because of it. He knew it was a stupid thing to think, considering how much of a gentleman Kakashi had been so far, and that he didn't seem the slightest bit superficial; but he just couldn't get the idea out of his mind.
Kakashi could practically feel Iruka's nerves from where he was. Or at least, that's what he was telling himself as he took his mask off. What did he have to be afraid of? He was just showing Iruka his face, which plenty of people had seen at school - it wasn't that big a deal. Except that it was. He wanted Iruka to like his face, to like all of him, because he sure as hell liked all of Iruka - he already knew there was a cute face hiding under that mask; and he wanted to date him.
Kakashi slipped his mask off and put it on the bench in the space beside him; and when he turned to Iruka, his heart skipped a beat as he caught his curious gaze; and when he quickly took in all his features, his eyes widened in surprise.
Iruka's eyes lit up brightly, and a shocked smile crept on his face as he stared at Kakashi.
"You're the library guy, who always gives me book recommendations when you see me!" Iruka exclaimed. "Wow, I can't believe it! This is a real surprise!"
"A bad surprise, or…" Kakashi asked nervously.
He'd been giving Iruka recommendations for months, in an attempt to try and get closer to him, but he'd always been too shy to say much once he'd approached him, and ended up running off pretty quickly after giving him the book; and he was afraid that his past actions would make Iruka think he hated him, and that he would be rejected.
"Oh, n-no, not bad at all! Actually, if I'm being honest…" Iruka said shyly. "I've kind of, um… had a crush on you for a while…"
"W-Wait, for real?" Kakashi asked in surprise. "You like me back?"
"Yeah." Iruka blushed. "I've been wanting to ask you out, but I've never been able to get a chance to, since you always have somewhere to be. So I'm really happy that I finally got my date with you. Even if I didn't know it was you for most of it."
"I uh, feel the same way. The date itself has been nice, but finding out that I've been on it with you has made it so much better."
"Hey, you two!"
Iruka jumped, reflexively reaching for Kakashi; and Kakashi stiffened in response, his face becoming bright red. They glanced at each other, their hearts racing, and eyes wide with fear; and they turned to the person speaking to them.
"Y-Yes, Ms. Senju?" Iruka called out to the headmistress nervously.
"The dance is ending in about twenty minutes, so you need to come back inside." She paused, assessing the situation, and smirked to herself when she saw how embarrassed Kakashi and Iruka were, and that she had clearly interrupted something important. "I'll give you five minutes to sort yourselves out; and if you're still out here then, I'll be dragging you back in so I can lock this door."
"Thank you, Ms. Senju." Iruka said as she turned to walk off. When she disappeared, he turned back to Kakashi.
"Oh my god, she scared me." He sighed, leaning against his shoulder.
"Me, too." Kakashi replied.
When Iruka didn't make any effort to move, Kakashi tentatively put his arms around him and pulled him closer. He liked how warm he felt against him; and being able to physically feel him there, and smelling his alluring cinnamon-like scent was helping him confirm that this wasn't just another one of his daydreams. It was all so surreal; and Kakashi didn't think he would ever be able to convince himself that it actually happened, and was happening.
A few minutes passed, and Kakashi suddenly noticed the shadow of someone hanging around the door.
"Hey, uh, we should start heading back in." He said, loosening his grip on Iruka, and gently rubbing his back to get his attention. "If Ms. Senju comes out, she's either going to interrogate us, or cause a scene; and I would really prefer neither of those to happen…"
"Yeah, same here." Iruka replied, sitting back up again.
"But um, before we go in…" He began, glancing away shyly, scratching the scar along his nose nervously. "Can I... Would it be okay if I kiss you?"
"Uh, y-yeah…" Kakashi stammered, his face growing very hot. "I'd like that."
Before Iruka could change his mind, he twisted around until he was half in Kakashi's lap, and hooked his arms over his shoulders, leaning in, his eyes darting from Kakashi's lips, to his eyes, and back again; and when he felt Kakashi's hands settle around his waist, he smiled, and closed the distance, placing a gentle kiss on his lips.
Iruka held himself there, the shock of his brain realising what he was doing, and the sudden explosion of fireworks in his system keeping him from moving; and as he tried to find the strength to actually do something, Kakashi pressed his mouth further against his, deepening the kiss.
Iruka tightened his arms around him as he melted into him, his heart racing wildly. He had kissed several people before, but none of them ever felt like this, like he was truly connected to them; and he knew, in that moment, that Kakashi was special, that he was meant to be with him.
Kakashi felt Iruka smile into the kiss and he gently pulled away to gaze at him.
"What are you thinking about?" He murmured.
"Just…" Iruka locked eyes with him, his cheeks becoming even more red. "Will you be my boyfriend?"
"Of course I will." Kakashi smiled fondly, leaning in to steal another kiss from Iruka. "Did you really have to ask?"
"I guess not." Iruka laughed.
He carefully climbed off Kakashi and stood up.
"Come on, we need to go back in before Ms. Senju finds us and the whole school discovers we're dating."
"Oh? You're dating now?" A smug woman's voice chuckled from the patio.
"Who's dating?" A curious voice asked, poking their head out from the doorway.
Kakashi and Iruka turned towards the door; and when they saw both Anko and Ms. Senju watching them, they glanced at each other, their faces filled with panic.
They were too late.