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An Apple A Day

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Kakashi dropped out of the tree, wincing at the stinging sensation as his legs took his weight. He went down on his left knee to study the cut on the right; it was deeper than he had originally thought. Thankfully not enough to require stitches, but bad enough that delaying treatment would not be a good idea. He sighed and looked up at the tree he had just been in, but without really seeing it.

His thoughts all turned inward. He knew he had been a little distracted since his father's. . . death (he refused to use the other word), but to have slipped like that in a simple maneuver from one branch to another was almost unthinkable, the sort of mistake normally reserved for heedless genin. And to have been unable to correct his position in time, causing his knee to make abrupt and painful contact with the tree's trunk, just made it worse. The only good thing about the entire situation was that he had been training alone (against Minato-sensei's explicit instructions) which meant that his moment of inattention hadn't been witnessed.

The sound of an apple crunching behind him made Kakashi tense and pull a shuriken out of his holster. He had been so certain he was alone; a part of him still was, as he could only feel the faintest of chakra signatures. So faint that it was either some distance away or. . .

He turned his head. Or it belonged to a child. A too-young-for-the-Academy, untrained, pudgy-cheeked child. Who bit into an apple even as Kakashi watched.

“Hi!” the younger boy all but chirped in a high-pitched voice. Kakashi just nodded in response. “I'm Iruka,” he went on, not at all bothered by his companion's lack of response. “What's your name?”

Kakashi didn't say anything, just studied the other boy. He looked to be about five years old, still padded with a layer of baby fat, especially in his face. But there were signs of what would one day be a strong jaw and chiseled features. His bright eyes were nearly the same shade of brown as his hair, which was caught up in a short ponytail high on his head. The smile on his face was infectious, and Kakashi felt his lips twitch for the first time in months. Luckily the mask concealed it.

He was just about to answer the other's question when the little boy's voice plowed on, regardless. “You're hurt!” he exclaimed, pointing at the cut on Kakashi's right knee, which was still oozing blood. “Mama says blood is good, but it looks scary. It cleans wou. . . woun. . .” Iruka's face wrinkled up as he concentrated, trying to remember the word.

Kakashi took pity on him. “Wounds,” he said, and felt the twitch of his lips become a full-fledged grin when the other boy bounced up on his toes with delight.

“Wounds!” Iruka shouted gleefully. Then the bouncing stopped and he suddenly looked serious. “Mama uses magic to help,” he said as he squatted beside Kakashi. And before the older boy could say a word Iruka was handing him the apple and leaning forward to press a feather-light kiss on his knee, just below where it was cut. Then he rocked back on his heels, grinning. “Kiss it and make it better!”

Twenty-five years later. . .

“Iruka, I've got a paper cut!”

Iruka rolled his eyes and continued to focus on his work. He knew he wasn't going to get out of some sort of conversation about the damned paper cut, but he was hoping to put it off, at least for a while.

“You have to fix it.”

A pale hand, still in its glove, waved in front of his face, and Iruka could clearly see the small bead of blood gathering on one fingertip. He looked up from the file in front of him and raised an eyebrow. “Seriously, Kakashi?”

Kakashi glowered. “If you hadn't asked me to help you sort this mess out it wouldn't have happened.”

Iruka felt a smile curling his mouth. “Well, if my Hokage hadn't appointed me Headmaster of the Academy the mess would not be inside our home, and you wouldn't be helping with it. So who's fault is it, Rokudaime-sama?” He deliberately used the title, knowing that it would distract Kakashi.

Who's cheeks were turning a delicate shade of pink above his mask. He stepped closer, crowding Iruka against the paper-strewn table at his back. Iruka felt his own face start to flush as desire stirred in his gut, a normal reaction to his husband's close proximity.

“Kiss it and make it better,” Kakashi purred, eyes focusing on Iruka's mouth, which suddenly felt impossibly dry.

Iruka took Kakashi's hand in his and raised it to his face, separating the cut finger from the others. He pressed a soft kiss to the end of the digit before flicking his tongue out to catch the tiny bit of blood, enjoying the way Kakashi shuddered when he did. Then, making sure to keep their eyes locked, he took the tip of the finger completely into his mouth.

Kakashi made a mewling sound in his throat as his eyes drifted closed, the pink color on his cheeks growing more intense. When Iruka opened his mouth to release his finger Kakashi wrapped his arms around the other man and pressed their forehead's together, the metal plates on their hitai-ate clinking softly.

“Better now?” Iruka asked in a hushed voice, brushing his lips across Kakashi's cheek.

“All better,” was the reply before their lips met.