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[Podfic & text] Upkeep

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Kakashi looked up from the latest volume of Icha Icha just in time to see a genin team storm from the Mission Room. Both girls looked near tears while the boy’s expression was murderous. It was a strange occurrence but nothing that set any alarms off for Kakashi and he returned back to the adventures of Charlotte and Tom. Apparently Charlotte was pretty bossy in bed and Tom liked it that way. Kakashi snickered to himself as his perverted thoughts turned to a rather bossy chunin. His thoughts were drifting to his own version of Icha Icha starring said bossy chunin when the Mission Room doors once again flew open. Genma, Izumo & Kotetsu nearly fell over themselves in their haste to get through the door.

Genma rolled the senbon to the other side of his mouth as he glanced up at Kakashi. "I hope you're not planning to go in there." He pointed a thumb over his shoulder towards the Mission Room. A trickle of smoke was now seeping under the door and Kakashi’s uncovered eye widened in alarm.

Kakashi lazily closed his book, but did not move from the spot where he was leaning and drawled. "What's going on?

"It's Iruka!" Izumo said as he rubbed his jaw, a small bruise starting to form. "The man's gone crazy."

Kakashi frowned. "Crazy? How so?"

Kotetsu and Izumo both began to speak and gesture wildly. Kakashi could only make out one or two words. Such as, angry, fire, oh my god that horrible trap, feathers everywhere.

Kakashi blinked.

"It's that time of year." Genma said. He leaned against the wall, mirroring Kakashi as Kotetsu’s and Izumo's gestures grew broader and their voices louder.

"It's Christmas?"

Genma gave him a sidelong glance but didn't dare call Kakashi an idiot out loud. "No, worse. It's the annual cleanup of the records room. Hokage’s orders."

Kakashi made a small scared noise in the back of his throat. "Already?"

Genma smirked and nodded before he patted Kakashi on the shoulder and began to herd the two rambling chunin away. "Have a good evening, Kakashi," he called over his shoulder. "Bet tonight's going to be a fun one for you when you get home."

Shit. Oh shit! Kakashi thought. Last year had been an eye opener when he learned that Iruka was in charge of the yearly cleanup. They had just moved in together when the annual cleanup began. To say that Iruka was scary was an understatement. Kakashi wasn’t looking forward to going through that again.

“Come on, Hatake, you’re a genius. Think!” he muttered to himself, slipping his book into a pocket and starting to walk while his brain turned over ideas of how to avoid Iruka for a couple of days – at least until the cleanup was over.
It was too late to get a mission because there was no way he was going to the Mission Room to ask for one. Not with Iruka there and in full cleanup mode.

Maybe, he could take the dogs and camp outside the village for a couple of days. No, no, he didn’t want to hurt Iruka’s feelings and let’s face the facts. It was Iruka. He would know exactly why Kakashi was avoiding him.

“Kakashi-san! What brings you here on this beautiful day?” a familiar young woman’s voice interrupted his thoughts.

Kakashi realized he had ended up in front of the Yamanaka Flower Shop and inwardly berated himself for not paying attention to his surroundings as a well trained shinobi should.

“Yo,” he said lowly and nodded in Ino’s direction. She seemed to not have a mission either, if she was helping out around the shop.

“See anything you like? Just let me know,” she said sweetly. “The tulips are in season and I’m sure Iruka-sensei would love to have them brighten up his day.”

You could almost see the lightbulb blink on. “Yes! I will take the tulips and whatever ever else Iruka likes. Just have it ready for me to pick up in, oh say, ten minutes.”

Brilliant, this was just brilliant. I am a genius. Kakashi ran around town collecting all the items he needed for his plan, including stopping back for the flowers. He just knew this was it. There was no way he was going to end up in the dog house like last year. He would get Iruka to smile instead of scowl and maybe, just maybe, he could even coax him into a little nookie. He had a feeling he was pushing things but he would mostly settle for not being yelled at and having to sleep on the couch or worse, on Genma’s couch. He shivered with distaste. Who knew what Genma did on that couch?

Kakashi lit the candles on the table and checked the casserole warming in the oven one last time. It was late but he was hoping that Iruka would be home soon or he would have to dump the dinner plans and just go for …

The traps at the front door pinged against his chakra as they were undone and Iruka stepped through the door.
“I’m home,” he said, the weariness in his voice making it low and rough.

“In the kitchen,” Kakashi called out. “I hope you’re hungry!”

He pulled the casserole from the oven, burning his thumb slightly, but he was a great ninja and managed to not drop their meal.
“Dinner is served,” he said as he set the dish down on the table proudly and sat down across from Iruka.

Kakashi peered around the large vase filled with spring flowers in the center of the table expecting to see Iruka’s face alight with happiness, or at least a smile for him. He nearly rubbed his hands together with glee.

However, what he saw through the wild array of different colored tulips was Iruka frowning.

Alarm bells began to ring in his brain and Kakashi nearly panicked. What could he possibly have done wrong? He’d clearly not researched this enough and now had a very unhappy Iruka on his hands.

“Kakashi? What’s going on?” Iruka asked. His frown deepened.

“Nothing’s going on. I just thought we could enjoy a nice quiet dinner together.” Kakashi was proud of himself for not twitching beneath Iruka’s gaze.

“You made dinner?” Iruka’s tone was rising and Kakashi looked down at his empty plate trying to figure out where he had gone wrong.

“I thought …”

“You never make dinner, And what’s with the flowers?” Iruka interrupted.

“But I …” Kakashi began again but was shocked when the vase was swept off the table. It fell to the floor and smashed into pieces, broken tulips lay limp amid the debris.

He leapt to his feet. “Iruka … Why?”

Iruka looked devastated. His eyes were shining with unshed tears and he was trembling slightly, shoulders curved in as if to protect himself from a physical blow.

“Are you … are you breaking up with me?”

“What? Fuck no, Iruka! Why would you think that?” Kakashi moved quickly to Iruka’s side, avoiding the mess on the floor and knelt next to him.

“Ayame said when her boyfriend broke up with her that he was feeling guilty and showered her with flowers and gifts right before he left her to move in with someone else. So are you cheating on me Kakashi?” Iruka’s face looked angry and heartbroken.

Kakashi‘s chest clenched in pain. He had really got this one wrong. So much for him being a genius. He had not only upset Iruka, but worse! He had hurt him deeply. He cupped Iruka’s jaw and tilted his face so he could look into the deep brown eyes that would forever be so very dear to him. “Iruka, I haven’t cheated on you and I am not leaving you. I love you.”

Iruka blinked at him a few times. “Really? But why all this? It’s not our anniversary or my birthday. You have never done anything like this before. What was I supposed to think?”

Kakashi chuckled as he stood, pulling Iruka to his feet as well. “Obviously, I stupidly hoped that it would make your day better. I heard from Genma earlier that it was time for the yearly cleaning of the records room and I didn’t want a replay of last year. I just want to make you happy.”

He tugged his mask down and kissed Iruka gently, letting their lips slide together for a long moment – ending the kiss with a soft bite to Iruka’s bottom lip.

“You just wanted to make me happy?” Iruka asked before a smile spread across his face.

“Yes, love. That’s all it was.”

At that moment, Kakashi noticed that Iruka’s smile had turned devious and he felt the hand-signs behind his back just as Iruka completed a transportation jutsu. The smoke cleared and Kakashi looked around from the circle of Iruka’s arms to see that they were in the center of the records room – documents piled high all around.

Iruka smirked. “If you really want to make me happy, you could help me.”

Kakashi laughed. “You tricky, evil man.” He pulled Iruka close, leaned in and licked along his ear. “So what’s in it for me?”

“Well, Iruka said breathlessly. “I know you have always wanted to … umm … well … “ Iruka blushed. “No one will be here until morning.”

Kakashi stood as still as a post. Had his Iruka just offered to have sex in the Mission Records Room with him? He pulled away and held Iruka at arm’s length.

“What?” Iruka asked worriedly.

“Clones.”

“Clones?”

“Oh yes, then we will be done faster and I can have you on top of every surface in this room.” His hands flew through the signs while Iruka grinned and began to form hand-signs of his own.