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Iruka loved quiet afternoons like this one; no mission desk duty, only a half day of classes at the Academy, and nothing to do with the rest of day except be lazy. Not that lazy was really in his personality, but over the years he had probably picked up a few bad habits from Kakashi. Unavoidable, really, but that didn't mean he liked it. So instead of dropping onto the couch in imitation of a slug he had stayed in the house just long enough to drop off his bulging satchel before setting out for the market. The least he could do with this few hours respite was take the time to make one of Kakashi's favorite dishes for dinner.

He found the perfect eggplant at his favorite produce stall, even wrangling a reduced price out of Naoko-baa-san, the old lady that ran the stall. Iruka was one of her favorite customers and he had long suspected she harbored a bit of a crush on Kakashi, so telling her that it was for one of his favorite foods guaranteed a discount. He never felt guilty about those little bits of manipulation; he was a regular at her stall so she earned more than enough money off of him. That and he was convinced that she always knew what was going on and enjoyed the game as much as he did.

He was smiling when he headed towards home, taking a short cut through one of the older residential areas of the village, an area mostly populated by civilians. Since it was mid-afternoon most people were off at their jobs so the street had a peaceful, almost somnolent quality.

“Is that an eggplant in your pocket, sensei, or are you just happy to see me?”

Iruka was startled, but he managed not to show it too much. The only outward sign was the soft thud as the grocery bag he had been holding hit the ground. He closed his eyes and took several deep breaths, counting backwards from ten before opening them again. A quick glance around revealed Kakashi clinging to the blank wall of the building to Iruka's right, barely a foot above his head.

“If that's the best you can do then I am definitely not happy to see you,” Iruka replied. He was smiling as he spoke, though, in that why-do-I-love-you-you're-such-an-idiot way that always managed to make Kakashi's heart all but burst out of his chest. Of course, his heart did that around Iruka just on general principle.

Iruka took a long moment to run his eyes over Kakashi, taking in his full uniform and battle ready weapons, then bit back a sigh. “Mission?” he asked, doing his best to keep the disappointment out of his voice.

Kakashi stepped closer, coming down the wall until he was more-or-less even with the top of the chuunin's head before crouching so their eyes could meet. “A short one,” he said with a nod. “Four, maybe five hours.” He pulled his mask to his chin and grinned, looking down at the eggplant in the bag. “Keep the soup warm for me?”

“Always,” Iruka sighed, rising slightly on to his toes, craning towards the good-bye kiss that he knew Kakashi would bestow.

Kakashi laid a hand against the other man's cheek, tucking some stray hair behind Iruka's ear before angling his head and kissing him gently, almost playfully, with just the tiniest flicker of his tongue against the chuunin's lips. “I'll be right back,” he whispered. And then in a puff of smoke and a swirl of leaves he was gone.

Iruka's smile when he straightened up with the groceries in his hand was pure thanks-for-reminding-me-why-I-love-you.