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The red hair and the string of destiny

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The Konoha 11 were all standing in front of the Hokage with their senseis. A mission has been given out, and as always, Naruto wouldn’t stop complaining.

“Baa-chan! This isn’t fair! I don’t want to do this!” He complained, waving his hands around as if that would help him in any way. Tsunade’s usually firm and professional face was filled with concern and guilt this time around. The 15 year old in front of her didn’t deserve this, but it wasn’t like she could say ‘No’ to that woman. The expression on her face made everyone else in the office question this whole situation. Did Naruto know something they didn’t?

The blond walked over to the desk and slammed both of his hands on it angrily. “I beg you… Don’t make me do this!” He raised his voice an octave higher strangely which made him sound a bit like a woman. Nobody ever paid attention to this habit of his. Their minds were all thrown off the tracks when Tsunade-sama stood up and walked around her desk so that she stood next to Naruto. She touched his shoulder and he turned to face her. He was still a little shorter than her, but that didn’t stop him from giving her an upset glare.

She sighed before pulling him into a hug and patting his spiky hair gently. “I’m sorry Naruto but it can’t be helped. She asked for you personally this time. I tried to avoid it the best I could, trust me.”

At this point he was just letting out his frustration. “I’m begging you! Don’t let them order you around! She’s not your queen! And you’re older than her! I’m begging you, tell them I’m in no condition to travel or something! Please!” He cried out, knowing perfectly well it wasn’t of any use at all. The older woman hugged him closer but he never made a move to hug back. He just stood there and enjoyed the warmth of another person. “Please…” He whispered once more before giving in to the silence of the room. To think there were 17 people in there was bizarre.

Soon enough, Kakashi stood forward and took his student away from the Godaime Hokage’s grip. Naruto’s eyes never left the ground as he walked back to Sakura’s side with Kakashi. “Naruto,” Tsunade spoke once more. “I’ll get you some proper kimono and I’ll do your hair tomorrow morning before you leave. Maybe it’ll help soften her heart.”

At that, Naruto lifted his head and scoffed. “As if! She’s colder than ice.” He rolled his eyes and crossed his arms, exactly like a moody teenager he is. Except he has problems. Problems like no other teenager does.

Tsunade tells them to go and get ready for their trip. They are to go to Uzushiogakure for...something. They were told further instructions would be given to them when they arrived. They were all nervous and confused. It wasn’t the fact they have never been to Uzusio, nor were they concerned about what their mission could be. They just couldn't stop thinking about the accident they witnessed a few minutes ago. Before they slowly parted ways, each one of them carefully stole a glance at Naruto from time to time. He looked irritated but not exactly worked up. It didn’t seem like he was gonna destroy anything or fight anyone, so it was… all right.

Finally, everyone took their separate paths home and Naruto was left alone. Well, more or less he was. He still felt somebody’s presence behind him.
“What is it, Kakashi-sensei?” Naruto asked, venom in his voice. He wasn’t mad at his sensei, he was just mad at the world.

“Naruto, I don’t know what exactly is going on, but I want you to know if you need someone to talk to I’ll be right there, okay?” The silver-haired man said while ruffling Naruto’s hair slightly.

“Thanks….. Nii-san.” The blond responded teasingly. Kakashi rolled his eyes at the comment but didn’t seem all that bothered.

“Maa maa… Don’t call me that in public, Naruto.” The older one warned before disappearing in a swirl of leafs. Naruto laughed to himself before disappearing as well. They both reappeared in their shared home just moments later.

Kakashi took Naruto under his wing when the boy was 11. At first Kakashi didn’t want to see Naruto due to him looking so much like his father and he thought they were treating him as good as possible in the orphanage. Then something about Naruto started to feel fishy and when he investigated a bit more he found out that his sensei’s son hasn’t been to the orphanage since he was 4! He’s also been absent from the academy for about 6 months when he was 9 and nobody even looked for him. Hatake was scared that if he took Naruto in as a toddler, he wouldn’t be able to manage as a ninja and a caretaker at once even if he really wanted to. But since Naruto was older already he adopted him officially and took him in as his little brother. Naruto was overjoyed when that happened. In his last year at the academy he finally had good grades and a nice teacher too. He passed with flying colors.

And he got Kakashi as a Jōnin instructor too! Speaking of that, their team originally had 4 members instead of 3. The fourth was Uchiha Sasuke, who - after barely a year of being a ninja and an overly aggressive behavior towards his teammates - got taken down by his family to get prepared for being the clan head. His older brother already became a ninja so instead of forcing him to abandon that after years of fulfilling his duty, they took Sasuke instead. And Sauke didn’t complain at all. He always wanted to be more than his older brother. That’s the only reason he became a ninja in the first place. Just to surpass his ‘nii-san’. Strangely, they have never been given a replacement. They were just fine without him anyway.

When the two men appeared in the living-room of their small apartment, a beautiful smell hit them.

“Grilled pork with vegetables…” Naruto muttered under his breath. It was a game he and Kakashi played ever since Kakashi taught him how to infuse chakra into his nose for a better sense of smell. They both tried to guess what the smell was and the one who was right didn’t have to do any chores for a day.

Kakashi looked up thinking, “Nope, there’s rice too.” He said confidently, pulled down his Hitai-ate and placed it at the coffee-table. They both walked closer to the kitchen to confirm the silver-haired man’s suspicion when all of sudden Iruka crossed their path.

“No interfering with my cooking!” He threatened pointing a ladle at both of them. He was wearing Kakashi’s apron - basically a piece of Icha Icha merch that was decent enough for Naruto to see - under the apron was white T-shirt he wears at home and a pair of dark-green sweatpants. He looked like an angry house-wife when you stepped on the newly washed floor with dirty shoes and Naruto was inches away from bursting out with laughter. Kakashi on the other hand probably wanted to take Iruka to the bedroom and have some… fun. The brunette looked down at Naruto with a glare that translated to ‘take one step closer to that stove and you’re done young man’.

This - even if it was supposed to be a threat - made the blonde lose it completely and before he knew it he was on the ground laughing. Kakashi gave a little chuckle before pulling down his mask and pecking his boyfriend’s cheek. Iruka’s face flushed bright red, earning another chuckle from Kakashi’s mouth which made him mad so he pulled Kakashi in by his collar teasingly. The Hatake looked ready to use one of the tactics he learned from Icha Icha before they heard a fake cough from underneath them.

“I’m still here!” Naruto warned before getting up quickly. “But I’m going to my room to change now and as a hormonal teenager it will take me at least 20 minutes to decide what to wear even though it’s just for the inside of this house~” He said teasingly with a smirk. Iruka looked shocked like he didn’t expect Naruto’s ‘innocent’ 15-years-old mind to understand such things but also a bit angry with the boy for thinking he’d trade a make out session for his dishes’ perfection. Kakashi on the other hand gave Naruto a little too innocent-looking grin before putting his hand on the back of Iruka’s head and -

That’s where Naruto turned away and walked down the corridor to his room with an evil giggle. He plopped down on his bed and turned to a chair where his usual home-outfit was… Oh man! Iruka must’ve decided to have a laundry day. He stood up and walked over to his dresser. He had about 5 outfits in total, which isn’t much but it’s enough. He pulled out a shirt with the Uzumaki clan symbol on it and put it back down quickly. He shook his head and sighed. He had already pushed tommorows mission away and now that stupid T-shirt just had to remind him! Maybe he really will take 20 minutes this time around…

When Naruto beat the living shit out of his pillow, changed into navy-blue sweatpants and white shirt with Konoha’s symbol on it, he headed back to the kitchen. It was approximately 23 minutes and 48 seconds since he left so he hoped he wouldn’t walk in on… something. Luckily all he saw were innocent traces - like Iruka’s messy hair that fell all the way down to his shoulders since Kakashi stole his hair band and used it to pull his own hair back instead. The brunet’s face was still flushed - making his scar stand out even more - while he cursed Kakashi out and called him names like ‘pervert’ and ‘horny Jōnin’, Naruto could have sworn he heard something like ‘Ero-baka’ as well. He let out a laugh to let them know his presence and they both snapped out of their lovey-dovey world.

He smiled innocently. “I even gave you 3 minutes to spare! Aren’t I nice today?” He teased while getting their chopsticks and putting them on the table. Iruka looked like he wanted to hit Naruto with that pan he was cleaning for making such comments but held himself back.

Kakashi gave the blond that smile again. It was so overly innocent and confusing. Like- what’s he trying to achieve?! Naruto - by now - put it on the shelf with ‘thank you’ expressions. Iruka has already set the table and - to be honest - Naruto was surprised how this man was still a teacher. He could have been a professional chef by now! He sat down and stared at the food, his mouth watering.

His spirits were brought down when he realized that there indeed was rice next to pork and vegetables on his plate. Damn you Kakashi. He thought about all the dishes he’ll have to wash later, when he heard Iruka kick Kakashi out of the kitchen to go change his clothes and wash his hands before dinner. Then the brunette sat across from Naruto with a somewhat calm, motherly expresion. Naruto smiled.

I’m sure you must be wondering who this Iruka who just had a make-out session with Kakashi is in the first place. Well, Naruto basically set him and Kakashi up 3 years ago at a parent-teacher conference. They were both so awkward for about 15 minutes they weren’t even able to discuss Naruto’s grades and behavior so he just decided to get it over with. “Iruka-sensei if you wanna go on a date with Nii-san he’s free tonight at 7.” He remembers it very vividly when both Iruka’s and Kakashi’s faces turned so red they could match the notebook Iruka-sensei was holding. His big brother scolded him plenty after they left but they still did go on that date.

And now, 3 years later, Iruka has been living with them for about a few months. It all started when he forgot to go home one morning after he spent a night with his lover and Naruto caught him making coffee only wearing his boxers and Kakashi’s favorite shirt. Naruto almost killed him with that set of shuriken he threw when he saw someone other than Kakashi in their kitchen but can you blame him? The accident was easily forgotten anyway and now they all get along in the small apartment like a little family. With Kakashi and Naruto being active ninja and Iruka a teacher, the brunette is like the house-wife for real. And he doesn’t even mind it! Or realize it. Naruto wasn’t sure which one.

Finally Kakashi came back dressed in a more casual outfit made out of black sweatpants and a dark blue turtleneck that was long enough to use as a mask if needed. Kakashi only really showed his face to the people he trusted the most. No one had seen it for about 12 years before Naruto came into the picture. And 12 years is a long time. He sat down between the two men and smiled. The dining area was small so the table was pushed against a wall, with only 3 chairs remaining around it’s free sides.

As soon as the silver-haired man’s butt hit the chair, Naruto clasped his hands together happily. “Itadakimasu!” He yelled before diving into the food hungrily. The other two repeated his actions before eating themselves.

“See Naruto, there’s rice.” Kakashi pointed at his plate with a shit-eating grin. Naruto looked at him annoyed with his chopsticks still in his mouth. He swallowed before speaking up.

“I get it. I have to wash the dishes tonight.” He said irritated.

“And hang up the laundry.” Kakashi added, still smiling even though it was painfully obvious that he was trying to provoke the blond big-time.

“Shut it nii-san… I’ll do it or whatever.” He said absolutely not-on-purpose ‘forgetting’ every piece of manners he had in his life, putting his elbows on the table and chewing with an open mouth.

“Maa Naruto, you’re being childish.” Kakashi sighed. What the?! He started it!

“You want me to use my hands instead of these?” The blond asked while holding his chopsticks up carelessly, like he wanted them to fall on the ground, count to 6 and say ‘Oh no! They’re useless now!’ even if they weren’t food with the 5-second rule.
“STOP PLAYING AROUND AND EAT YOUR FOOD!” Iruka suddenly yelled and successfully shut them up. Which was usually hard for other people. He didn’t even have to try. We should respect this man.

After the dinner, the youngest one of them took all of their dishes, put them in the sink and started washing. The two others stayed in the kitchen as well, sitting at their assigned seats, with Iruka grading some tests and Kakashi reading a newspaper for a change.

When the blond finished washing and drying the dishes he threw the wet sponge angrily into the sink and stomped to the washroom to get the newly washed clothes and hang them up. He mumbled something about ‘Stupid Takara’ and disappered behind the corner.

Iruka looked at Kakashi with a raised eyebrow. The man in the question set his reading material on the table and let out a dramatic sigh. “Does he have a crush or something?” The brunette asked sheepishly but always ready to find something to tease Naruto about.

Kakashi shook his head. “We got a new mission and he doesn’t like it very much.”

Iruka nodded, already used to this kinda behavior. “Another D-rank?”

“Actually,” Kakashi let his hand fall backwards into an empty space, showing his frustration. “It’s a B-rank, may even turn into an A-rank. But I think I understand where the frustration is coming from. We’re going to Uzusio and-” He was interrupted by Iruka, who cursed no-so-silently as he accidentally made a random red line with his pen on one of the tests he was correcting.

“You’re going to Uzusio!?” His boyfriend yelled at him in shock and if Kakashi wasn’t a professional ninja he’d probably fall off the chair.

“Yea-”

“AND Tsunade-sama didn’t say anything to you!?”

“I don’t think I’m follo-”

“He’s been to Uzusio!” Iruka yelled and slammed his hand at the table angrily as he stood up. Kakashi could only stare when Iruka grabbed his hand and started to pull him towards their bedroom to explain everything without Naruto overhearing.

“Don’t be too loud.” The mentioned boy said with a grin, carrying a basket full of water-soaked clothes to the balcony. He earned a smirk from his big brother and his boyfriend seemed too worked up to even hear him. Not that he complained really. A comment like that would probably earn him a bump on the head.

Iruka threw Kakashi inside their bedroom and locked the door behind him.

“When are you leaving!?” Iruka asked, his hand gripping onto his hair, almost as if he was never gonna see them again.
Kakashi blinked in surprise. What the hell is going on today? “T-Tomorrow?” He stuttered out.

“T-to-tomorrow…” Iruka repeated as if to confirm he heard right. Then he jumped to his lover, took him by the shoulders and shook… violently. “Kakashi, you. have. to. promise!” He said, and only let go when the silver-haired man nodded slightly.

“To promise what?” The scarecrow asked when he caught his breath that was literally shook out of him.

“Promise you’ll look after Naruto 24/7!”

“Why? He’s perfectly capab-”

“Kakashi.” Iruka said in that voice he always used to tell his students to keep their traps shut or else… “Naruto has been to Uzusio when he was 9, or 10. He left with a happy face and an invitation from his distant aunt, their respected leader. You know what? I won’t make it any softer. She’s basically a queen, a goddess in that village and to tell the truth Naruto was actually supposed to stay there and live with her until further notice. And he’d surely enjoy living with his family, but one day he came running back to the academy. I checked. No personal belongings, no change of clothes. Just him in his kimono and the orange jacket over it. Something fishy is happening in Uzumakis’ village.”

Kakashi’s mouth fell slightly open. Is that where he disappeared for half a year? Why wasn’t it in the papers if it was permanent and why come back? Questions built up in his mind but before he had a chance to ask any of them, Iruka spoke up.

“So, you promise?” He asked in a faithful voice, like when a child asked their parents to bring back a souvenir from their journey.

“I promise.” Kakashi said, without a second thought.

There was a knock on the door. “Umm, Sorry for interrupting but I’m done with the laundry, y’know?” Naruto’s voice came from outside of their bedroom. “And, I’m going out tonight, so I thought I’d let you know.” He laughed nervously at the end, which made both adults smirk internally. Sounds like their little bro has got himself a date. On that note, Iruka decided to be nice. “Be back by 10!” He yelled. A dramatic sigh was heard before Naruto shouted ‘Hai’ in response, knowing there’s no negotiating with the man. After that they heard the front door open and close.

Kakashi chuckled.
__________________

Naruto ran down the street and made his way to where the training grounds for genin were. The Third Training ground was their meeting place for ages. His and… well…his best friend’s. The streets were still buzzing with people even though the sun had already set. The dim light of the street lamps barely shone onto the bridge that he had to cross to get to the meeting place and the only source of light once there was a small lantern brought by his friend. A small smile decorated both of their faces as they sat there on the cold dewed grass and stared at the stars together. No words were necessary in this relationship. Naruto turned his head to stare at his ‘friend’. His dark hair wasn’t spiky and messy like the blond but he had an unmistakable duck-butt hairstyle he couldn’t get rid of since they were kids. The pale skin looked outstanding in the moonlight and Naruto wasn’t ashamed to think those thoughts. He knew the other one thought the same way. He saw the other boy’s dark eyes stare back at him and for a minute they exchanged stargazing for staring into each other’s eyes instead. The dark-eyed boy’s hand was usually resting on the blond’s cheek by now but tonight both of his hands were resting in his lab.

Maybe…

Naruto reached his own hand out and the other did the same. Their fingers touched gently, but the friend took his hand and placed it back to the blond’s side. Naruto was surprised at the least, but maybe he just wasn’t in a touchy mood today, right? That’s what he thought for a moment, until he met his eyes again. Smile no longer decorated the pale lips, instead a frown settled on that face. He pushed himself away a little to make a distance between them. Just a few millimeters really, but it was more than enough for Naruto. He took a deep breath while looking ahead instead of at the blonde.

“I’m getting married.”

What…?

“When?”

“Hn.”

“Where?”

“Hn.”

“To who?”

“Hn.”

“Sasuke?!”

Naruto leaned closer to make up for those few millimeters of distance Sasuke put in between them. His blue eyes tried to catch a glimpse of the other boy’s face but failed when he turned further away.

“I won’t be able to see you anymore.”

Why does this sound like a break-up? Why does this feel like a break-up? They were never together for Kami’s shake!

“So, this is the farewell. Let’s make the most out of it.” Finally, finally, raven’s hand reached out towards Naruto but this time, the blonde didn’t want it anymore. He clenched his fists in his lab.

Wind picked up as they stayed still and silent for a few minutes. Flame in the lantern between them flickered, threatening to burn out any second now. Naruto felt his hair tickle the skin of his cheek before he realized how close Sasuke’s hand was. He jumped back and stood up shakily.

“I… I have to be home by 10.” He muttered before taking off. He ran back to the streets full of nightlife with his eyes shut tight more or less. He bumped into a few people along the way, his mind too cloudy to think about using rooftops as a way home. Somewhere, someone called out his name. He didn’t know or care who. Only thing he knew and cared about at the moment was that he wanted to lock himself in his room and… no… but… maybe… yeah… He just wants to cry.

/////

The clock just struck 9PM. When Naruto arrived back at their apartment he barged through the front door loudly. He didn’t exactly want to attract attention but he also couldn’t help but feel angry. First thing he saw was Kakashi filling out some paperwork and Iruka preparing their lunch for the mission tomorrow. He shook off his sandals and threw them wherever in the hall. Iruka was about to lecture him about putting his shoes away when he comes home but never got the chance when the blond speed-walked through the corridor and shut the door of his room behind him.

Both men exchanged worried looks. Kakashi stood up from his paperwork and walked over to Naruto’s door. He knocked first. When a response didn’t come in 30 seconds he put his hand on the door handle.

“Naruto? Can we come in?” He asked softly, looking at the concerned Iruka standing by his side. Naruto said something, but none of them could make out the words from that sound he let out. The silver-haired man opened the door carefully and saw Naruto laying on the bed with his face hidden in the pillow. That’s probably why they couldn’t hear him clearly. Kakashi walked over and sat on the foot of the bed while Iruka stood in the doorway. Light was shining from the hall into the dark unlit room, but didn’t reach too far since the brunette was now in its path.

“What happened, Otōto?” Kakashi asked softly. The blond didn’t respond verbally, instead he had his hands wrapped around Kakashi in an instant. The older one was surprised but returned the favour nevertheless. “What’s wrong? Can you tell me?” Kakashi repeated the question in a different form this time.

“I take it the date didn’t go well?” Iruka tried to lighten up the mood, but only earned an angry glare from Kakashi. Naruto figured it couldn’t get any worse. Telling them won’t be so bad and no one said he had to use names. He didn’t even have to tell them the details. Those were the perks, and it’s not like he had anything to lose anymore.

He pulled away from Kakashi, but only enough for him to speak clearly. On the emotional rollercoaster and in the middle of his first heartbreak, he didn’t care if they took whatever he said the wrong way.

“He broke up with me.” He whispered into the darkness of his room, but well aware of who was listening. Iruka and Kakashi were both shocked at the least. They had honestly had no idea he was seeing someone in the first place. Sure, there were suspicions and teasing along the way every time Naruto said he’s going out but… those were just silly jokes, childish games.

Kakashi was - for the first time ever - completely clueless. In the 29 years he has spent on earth, he has never once been through a break-up. A broken heart? Sure. But not the kind you get when a person who you love leaves you by their own choice. Well, he’s been through similar things, but not quite the same. He looked at Iruka, silently begging him for advice. The other man walked over to the bed and sat down, next to Naruto. Now the blond was sitting there, watching the floor with his big brothers on both of his sides. Iruka placed a hand on Naruto’s back in an attempt to comfort him.

“On a scale of 1 to 10, how bad is it?” He asked out of the blue. Naruto looked up at him for a moment, then back down.

“... 9….” He breathed out in a broken voice. Iruka nodded and continued rubbing Naruto’s back.

“Well then,” The brunette sighed as he stood up and stretched. “I’ll make hot cocoa and get some amazingly unhealthy sweets we can eat while watching a sad movie. Then I have a surprise game up my sleeve. We can all play that, but then you two have to go to sleep. Does that sound okay?”

“Uhm.” Naruto agreed quietly.

“Great, come on.” Iruka said in a motherly tone while holding out a hand for Naruto to grab. The boy reached out hesitantly but eventually took a hold of the hand and let himself be dragged to the living room.

Kakashi has never felt stupider in his life.