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Without the mask, where will you hide

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“Kakashi, you’re drooling.”

Kakashi came back to reality and looked at Sakumo over their breakfast spread on the low table on the porch. He involuntarily raised a hand to his naked face to wipe it. Nope, no drool. “No, I’m not,” Kakashi said, petulant. The birds were chirping happily in the garden around them. It was a shiny nice Summer morning, too nice to stay inside the Hatake compound.

“You might have been. Whatever you were daydreaming of, it was sure a nice thing. You were spacing out hard. Is something wrong?”

Kakashi rubbed his neck. “No. I’m just tired of playing the Hokage. I wish Naruto would replace me already.”

Sakumo knew him too well to fall for his easy reply. 

“Right. So when you sulk about your paperwork you make the same face as when you look at that nice Academy principal that helps you now and then with the office organization, don't you?”

Kakashi jerked up. “No, I—uh…”

“You should talk to him, you know?”

Kakashi tried not to deflate in front of his father. “I don’t think that’s a good idea. I’m happy with things staying as they are. Don’t want to scare him away—I don’t know what I would do if he wasn’t around.”

Sakumo heard what Kakashi didn’t say, that he was not only talking about who would keep the paperwork organized.

“What if he says yes?”

“What if he says no?” Kakashi replied, softly, and came back to his breakfast, like it wasn’t a big deal. 

“I guess we’ll never know, then. If it makes you feel better, I’ve seen him look at you, too. I think he’ll say yes.”

“Hm. When are you going back to Kiri? Will you attend the War Memorial next Thursday? It would be nice if you could give a short speech. Konoha’s people haven’t seen you much around since you became ambassador; it would be nice to remind them you’re not dead.” 

Sakumo indulged Kakashi with the change of subject. They spent the rest of the breakfast time discussing the Memorial ceremony details.



Iruka exhaled a satisfied huff and leaned back on his stool at Ichiraku, considering whether to ask for seconds. No, he was pleasantly full, and wanted to stay that way.

“Good night, Iruka-sensei. May I sit with you?”

Iruka looked at the soft smile of the stranger talking to him. Ah, not a stranger. Iruka smiled back. “Sukea-san. Of course, but I’m afraid I’m almost finished.”

Sukea sat by him, placing his ever-present camera on a spot on the counter where it wouldn’t fall or be messed up by a ramen mishap. “It’s okay, sorry for intruding. I just wanted to say hello. We haven’t talked in a while, have we?”

As they made small talk, Sukea—well, Kakashi—felt intensely happy just to be there enjoying Iruka’s company. He mentally thanked again this fake persona that allowed him to approach Iruka without all the baggage of Rokudaime Kakashi. 

The place was quiet that night. They were the only two customers left—another minor grace Kakashi thanked his stars for. 

Somewhere along Iruka’s animated talk about the new program for gifted students he was trying to set up, Kakashi had a realization.

Sukea could be bold and try to hook up with Iruka for a night. 

Sukea could risk Iruka rejecting him and never talking to him again. Kakashi would still see Iruka twice a week and be able to bask in his presence.

Kakashi had nothing to lose. Win-win operation. What could go wrong?

Would it be too bad if he leaned right now and kissed Iruka? No, that would be abusing his trust. Instead, Kakashi decided to start attacking Iruka’s fort with all the Icha-Icha bad seduction quotes he could think about. 

I hope I won’t overdo it, Kakashi thought. After all, he didn’t have much real experience with these matters. But he was a genius, wasn’t he? He would manage. He mentally rolled up his sleeves, and wished away the little drop of sweat starting to roll down his neck.

So, full front attack. No prisoners. Scorched land.

Sukea’s gaze softened, and he smiled in a way he hoped was charming. “You look amazing tonight, sensei—well, you look amazing always. Tonight’s a splendid Summer night. Would you go for a walk with me to enjoy the breeze and watch the moon? There’s a full moon tonight. Perfect for lovers.”

Kakashi leaned a bit into Iruka’s space and put his hand over Iruka’s hand.

Iruka moved his hand away.

Oh, shit, Kakashi thought.

“Sukea-san, I’m sorry. I think I’ll go home now. Good night.” Iruka started to push his stool back to stand up.

“No, wait, Iruka. I’m sorry, please, wait.” Something was different in Sukea’s voice and it made Iruka stop and turn his gaze to him.

Iruka wanted to leave. He knew he should leave now before things got more awkward. But he made the mistake to look into Sukea’s eyes once more. 

Iruka slowly sat back again and waited for what Sukea had to say.

“I’m sorry if I offended you, sensei. I apologize.” Sukea looked appalled, like he wanted to be anywhere but there in front of Iruka’s worried gaze that was flaying him alive.

Iruka was struggling to find words. “No, you didn’t offend me. It’s just I—you—there’s another person.”

Kakashi felt those words like a punch to the gut. “Ah, you’re with someone? Sorry, I didn’t know.”

Iruka tried to explain. “No, no one knows. I mean, he doesn’t know either. I mean—” Iruka rubbed his face, and failed to see Sukea’s little hopeful reaction on hearing the word ‘he’. “I’m not making much sense, am I?” Iruka sighed and composed himself. “I have feelings for someone, but I’ve never told him. He doesn’t know, but he’s in my heart.”

Sukea nodded and looked altogether like a kicked puppy—Kakashi wasn’t used to have his face exposed, after all.

“I wouldn’t mind to take that walk with you, Sukea-san, if things were different.”

Kakashi launched a last hopeless attack attempt, not daring to look into Iruka’s eyes. “You know, if you wanted to spend one night with me, I wouldn’t mind if you'd think of him when we were together.”

Iruka reached a gentle hand to touch Sukea’s chin and make him look up again. “That wouldn’t be fair to you. And I would feel horrible later.”

A good soldier could see when a battle was lost, and focus on minimizing losses. Kakashi braved a tentative smile. “Why do you have to be such a wholesome person, sensei?”

Iruka blushed and leaned back, scratching his nose, as he often did when he was self-conscious.

“Who’s he, if I might ask?” Sukea said. Kakashi had always had a self-punishing streak.

Iruka smiled politely. “You might not. This isn’t something I can risk to be out in the gossip vine.” 

“Why?” Kakashi insisted.

Iruka looked at Sukea, considering if he should tell him. “Because of Konoha’s safety. And because I don’t think he feels the same.” Iruka smiled sadly.

Kakashi was puzzled. “How can anyone possibly not be over their head if you loved them?” His brain couldn’t process that concept.

Iruka laughed, embarrassed. “Ah, it’s been a long day for me. I really should leave now.” He stood up, this time for good.

They walked out together and stood awkwardly in the street, looking for a way to say goodbye. The moon was really beautiful that night. Kakashi found it difficult to think straight, watching Iruka under that eerie light that changed the colors of everything and made things look mystical, magical. 

Kakashi couldn’t help it. “Could I try to rob you of a kiss for the road? So I will have something to remember.” He moved closer to Iruka, expecting him to move away again. But Iruka was frozen in the place. 

Perhaps Iruka was enthralled too by the sight of Sukea under the moon.

Kakashi leaned in and placed a soft kiss on Iruka’s lips—a few seconds of a tender touch of their mouths that felt eternal and too short at the same time.

When he opened his eyes and leaned back, Iruka still had his eyes closed.

Iruka opened his eyes and looked at him for an intense second. Then he threw his arms around Sukea, holding him tight.

Kakashi returned the hug. “Iruka,” he said, unable to remove the emotion from his voice.

Iruka stiffened and moved away. He stared at Sukea. “Say that again.”

Kakashi looked at him, puzzled. “Iruka?” he said, in a very different tone.

Iruka frowned. “No, say it like you said it before. With the other voice.”

“The other voice?” The treacherous sweat drop was back again in Kakashi’s forehead. “What other voice?” He gulped.

Iruka deadpanned at him. “Kakashi’s voice.”

Oh shit, oh fuck, fuck, fuck, Kakashi thought, and started to move his hands frantically into the hand seals for a teleport jutsu.

“Don’t you dare.” Iruka grabbed Kakashi’s hands, cutting the signs short.

What he said and did after was not what Kakashi was expecting.

“You’re an idiot. I’m an idiot.” Iruka grabbed Kakashi’s yellow scarf and pulled him into a kiss. This one was not so subtle as the previous one. This one had tongue. Glorious tongue, Kakashi thought, in the middle of his confusion. Why was Iruka kissing him instead of kicking his ass into Suna?

Iruka broke their kiss for a short breathless rant. “It’s you. You’re him. The one I was talking about. It was you all along, Kakashi. For years. Are you blind? You’re not the genius they say you are.” Iruka kissed him again, grabbing his ass and pulling Kakashi into him delightfully. 

As Kakashi’s very much distracted thoughts slowly got what Iruka was saying, he felt happy for the first time in years.

He focused to return Iruka’s kisses and gropings.