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The Box of Delights (The Candy Land Remix)

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Iruka used a spare kunai to cut through the packing tape (he couldn't find the boxcutter) and opened the lid of the box. He smiled fondly; it was marked 'office' in Kakashi's spidery scrawl which passed for handwriting. This house was larger than the old apartment they had shared in the shinobi quarters, and that meant they now actually had a room that could be converted into an office. Iruka would be able to grade papers without interruption. On second thought, perhaps not. He secretly enjoyed Kakashi's dry, sarcastic comments while he graded. It had become something of a ritual over the years.

Inside the box was a jumble of personal papers, a jar of pens of different colors, and a wooden ruler. Iruka pushed the ruler to one side. He would not dwell on the last time that had come into play since he actually wanted to get some of this stuff put away before Kakashi woke up. He began to stack the paperwork on the edge of the desk in neat piles, attempting something of a half-assed sorting process as he went. Better to do it now than to be faced with yet another task later on.

He grabbed the last pile of paper, surprised to find a wooden box at the bottom. The remaining papers got dropped haphazardly on the desk as he picked up the box. Where had he seen it before? It looked familiar; the box had a patina of age, and the wood was warm to the touch, worn to a smooth shine as if it had been held by many loving hands. He ran his fingers along the edge of the lid and paused. Should he open it? It obviously belonged to Kakashi, but Iruka wasn't sure what it contained. Was it right to pry into Kakashi's personal belongings? After this long together they had no secrets between them, but Kakashi had never mentioned the box.

Warm hands settled gently on Iruka's hips and a pointed chin rested on his shoulder. Wiry hair tickled Iruka's neck, and he turned just enough for his cheek to brush Kakashi's. "Good morning."

"Morning." Kakashi sounded like he was offering an opinion rather than a stated fact. He yawned. "I expected to find you all warm next to me in our new bed, not furtling around in the office. This is our first morning in our new house, after all."

"I do not furtle. I was organizing." Iruka leaned back against Kakashi, reveling in the heat of his body and the feel of his hard muscles. "Besides, you were probably hoping for sex." Iruka couldn't keep the smile out of his voice.

"I was aiming more for an extended bout of languid love-making, actually."

"You are a hopeless romantic. Even worse, you're a secret hopeless romantic."

"If I'm not mistaken, I sense some sarcasm in that statement." Kakashi sighed dramatically, his breath caressing Iruka's cheek. "However, I'm guilty as charged. What have you got there?"

Iruka detected the slight tensing of Kakashi's frame – only because he'd known him for such a long time. Kakashi was far too good a shinobi to give off visible tells, but Iruka could still recognize the caution in his voice. He held up the box so Kakashi could see it. "I found it at the bottom. It must have gotten packed in here by mistake."

Kakashi's body remained tense for a moment before he relaxed, molding himself to Iruka's back. He moved his hands from Iruka's hips to his waist, wrapping his arms around Iruka and giving a small squeeze. "Ah, I wondered when you'd find that," he said. "I wasn't exactly hiding it."

Iruka turned just enough so that he could make out Kakashi's face, hidden as it was by a mass of messy white hair. "Does this mean I can open it?"

Kakashi nodded, his chin digging into Iruka's shoulder. He was getting heavier by the moment as he relaxed, draping his weight across Iruka's back.

"Perhaps we should go sit on the couch," Iruka suggested as he turned. He placed a quick kiss on Kakashi's lips and unwrapped his arms from around his waist, ignoring the rumble of discontent.

Iruka led Kakashi down the hallway and into the living room. The sun burned brightly through the window and the air felt toasty, perhaps even a little burnt. Iruka opened the window, letting the light morning breeze circulate while Kakashi arranged himself on the couch, directly in the patch of sun. Iruka was reminded of a lazy cat, picking out his spot for the day.

Iruka set the box carefully on the kotatsu and took a seat next to Kakashi. He lifted the lid carefully, unsure what he might find inside. He knew it was nothing earth-shattering, because if it had been, Kakashi wouldn't have been watching him quietly from the couch with a fond smile on his face.

At first, Iruka was unsure what to make of the jumble of things nestled inside. Together, they made no sense: they were merely a collection of objects – until Iruka began to take a closer look. Iruka pulled out the first item, a strip of soft, silky material he recognized immediately as coming from the formal kimono he had worn to Naruto and Hinata's wedding earlier in the year. Below that was a token from the onsen they had visited last September. Iruka turned to Kakashi and smiled, puzzled. Kakashi merely returned the smile enigmatically and waved at Iruka to continue.

Layer after layer of small, silly, everyday things emerged from the box. A grocery list Iruka had written – he remembered it clearly because while he had been writing it, he'd been doodling in the margins. He could still make out his poor attempt at drawing Pakkun and the henohenomoheji in the top left corner. Below that was Iruka's old hitai-ite, which he'd thrown away because it had finally bent beyond use. He ran his fingers over the metal plate carefully, surprised to find he was glad that Kakashi had retrieved it. Under that, the key to their first apartment and an invitation from Izumo to the annual chuunin party over five years ago. This was followed by a rather risqué photo of Iruka sleeping. The sheets rested obscenely low on his hips, and he had one arm flung over his head, his hair tangled and spread on the pillow. He looked … peaceful. At rest, yet slightly debauched. Iruka had no idea Kakashi had taken the picture, and he wondered if Kakashi viewed him this way all the time as it was so unlike his own image of himself.

As Iruka uncovered each new treasure, memories of Kakashi flooded back. It was slightly jarring to be in the present with Kakashi, but at the same time washed with fond memories of the past they had built together.

"Kakashi, I had no idea – "

"Keep going." Kakashi's grin was infectious.

Iruka raised an eyebrow but turned back to the box. It was almost empty now. Nestled right at the very bottom was a single brittle leaf and a very old, desiccated chocolate.

Iruka remembered that night. It was when they had officially started their relationship. Iruka had just returned from a mission, yet held to his promise to meet Kakashi on top of the Hokage mountain to share a drink and view the stars. Kakashi had arranged a picnic, complete with sake and a blanket. He'd given Iruka his first box of chocolates and kissed Iruka under the moonlight. Almost giddy with both relief and excitement that Hatake Kakashi had kissed him, Iruka hadn't realized exactly how exhausted he really was.

"You have leaves in your hair," Kakashi had murmured and leaned back into kiss Iruka again. Deeper this time, slow and tentative, making Iruka's head spin. Iruka hadn't been able to formulate a lucid reply; instead, he had borne Kakashi backward onto the blanket and made sure it really was a memorable kiss.

Iruka turned to Kakashi, still resting on the couch, and said, "You kept the leaf that was in my hair – and stole one of my chocolates."

Kakashi grinned. "The chocolate smelled divine. I had to steal a couple just to see if it tasted as good as it smelled."

"You're evading the issue." Iruka leaned into Kakashi's space and placed a long, exploratory kiss on his lips. Kakashi tasted just like he always did and Iruka deepened the kiss. He pulled away with great reluctance. "Why did you keep everything?" he asked, intensely curious.

"Because they remind me of you," Kakashi replied simply. "And it's not so dissimilar to you keeping my chocolates." Iruka detected a note of smugness in Kakashi's comment.

"I guess we're both hopeless romantics, then."

"Damn right," Kakashi replied, reaching for Iruka. "Now come here, so we can make more fantastic memories. We have a new house to christen."

Fin ;)