“Who the hell broke into my apartment,” Iruka thinks to himself as he creeps in through his front door, “and covered the ceiling in mistletoe?”
His first thought is Anko. She’s broken in before to steal all his toilet paper because she’s weird like that and thinks it’s funny (it’s not). He’d retaliated with breaking into her place and stealing all of her feminine hygiene products, after which she apologized and they declared a truce. But a glance towards the liquor cabinets scratches that idea. The bottles haven’t been ransacked, still full and sealed firmly shut, so it definitely wasn’t her.
Who else? Naruto, maybe?
Iruka glances at the lower cabinets and quickly discards that notion. Nope, not him, either. Ramen is untouched. Negative on the Naruto. Besides, he’d have pulled a much more immature prank, like putting dog poop in his stocking or something. It’s happened before.
Kami, it’s like a carpet up there. His entire ceiling is a sea of green, peppered with spots of red from the berries, the mistletoe hanging from every square inch of space, swaying like tendrils of a rain forest. Iruka admits he hung the one above the front door as a joke, but he’s not laughing now. He hopes he won’t lose his security deposit over this.
Cautiously setting his shoulder bag down, he reaches up to touch one of the hanging plants. They have a strange, almost nonexistent buzz of energy to them, but otherwise seem harmless. Annoyance wins over caution. Iruka tightens his grip and pulls.
He yanks this time, hard. Still nothing.
“That won’t work.”
Iruka freezes, blinking. Then he glares over his shoulder at Kakashi, who is leaning against the doorframe, smirking triumphantly behind his mask.
“Did you do this?” he demands. Kakashi looks wounded.
“Iruka, I would NEVER-”
“Then who the hell-”
“I had the dogs do it for me.”
Iruka has to sit down or he’ll do something stupid, like break Kakashi’s legs.
“You had the ninken stick chakra-infused mistletoe all over my ceiling,” Iruka states slowly, still trying to grasp the sheer idiocy of the situation. “…WHY?”
“Why do you think?” Kakashi replies, then pulls his mask down and puckers up.
“You get plenty, Kakashi,” Iruka growls out. “What’s so special about a mistletoe kiss?”
“They taste like Christmas.” Kakashi doesn’t even flinch at Iruka’s murderous scowl. “C’mon, Iruka. A kiss, and I’ll take it down. I promise.” He bats an eye at him flirtatiously. Iruka would tell him how silly he looks doing that if he wasn’t already busy fuming with rage. After a long, drawn-out pause, during which he has an internal debate over his choice of significant other, he lets out an angry huff, crosses his arms, and stands up.
“Get over here.”
Iruka forces himself not to head-butt Kakashi in the face and instead settles for an angry peck on the mouth. Kakashi grins happily, reaches up, and rips off one of the bunches of hanging mistletoe. One.
“You said you’d take them down.”
“I said I’d take IT down. One, not all. I’ll take one down for each kiss.”
“For EACH- can’t we just have sex?” Iruka bursts out, exasperated.
“No, that’s cheating. It has to be a kiss, ” Kakashi says firmly. “…But it wouldn’t hurt-”
“Kakashi, so help me, I will deck your BALLS-”
“Calm down! What’s a couple…HUNDRED kisses?”
“WHAT’S A COUPLE HUNDRED PUNCHES-”
“Iruka, I don’t understand. I was trying to be-”
“Destructive? Ridiculous? Annoying?? Because it’s working!” Iruka shouts, exploding as he reaches the end of his rope, which, frankly, ran out about an hour into his shift at the mission desk. Friggin’ Genma was sure as hell getting slapped with another sexual harassment complaint, and Kotetsu had shown up late, half-drunk on eggnog. “Look at my ceiling, Kakashi! It’s a mess! I could get evicted for this! The last thing I want to do right now is give you a kiss!”
Kakashi has visibly deflated under the verbal assault, his shoulders slumping in on themselves and eye falling to the floor. Even his hair seems to have wilted. He’s silent for several moments after the outburst before finally answering in a quiet voice.
“…Sorry,” he mumbles. “I didn’t know you’d get so upset. You’re right, I went too far. I…I’ll take them down.”
Iruka watches him turn away without another word and begin ripping down the mistletoe, a pit opening in his stomach. He doesn’t know how to handle this Kakashi. Never does. He tries to ignore the guilty feeling bubbling in his gut, instead reminding himself that he has every right to get mad and yell over something like this. Kakashi was in the wrong, he was being absurd and silly and completely out of line.
When suddenly it hits him.
This is Kakashi’s way of being romantic.
No, it isn’t a candle-lit dinner, or a walk under the stars, or even a simple bouquet of flowers. It’s a roomful of mistletoe and mess and a pain to clean up afterwards and a promise of a thousand kisses. And it’s a hundred percent Kakashi.
Iruka feels like a lump of coal.
“Kakashi.” Iruka’s voice is soft as he reaches out and touches his shoulder. The Jounin stops his efforts but doesn’t turn around, back still stiff and tense. “I’m sorry for yelling. It’s just…been a long day, at the classroom and the work desk, and I…I took it out on you. That was wrong of me. I’m sorry.” Kakashi still hasn’t turned, instead idly playing with a strand of mistletoe in his hands. Iruka clears his throat. “So anyway, tell me…do longer kisses count for more than one mistletoe?”
Kakashi finally looks at him, the twinkle back in his eye, which crinkles as he smiles.
“…Depends how long it lasts, I suppose.”
“Tell you what.” Iruka pats his shoulder gently. “I’ll go change out of my work clothes, and then we’ll find out, alright?”
Kakashi nods eagerly, and Iruka grins, heading down the hall towards the bedroom.
He opens the door and freezes.
Spread out on the bed is a pair of tiny red shorts, made of some satiny, silky material, and a Santa cap made of the same material laying beside it. It doesn’t take him long to figure out who it’s meant for.