|chibirisuchan (chibirisuchan) wrote,|
@ 2005-07-05 21:15:00
"It's not my fault!" Naruto said desperately.
"I was so worried about Iruka-sensei -- I could hear all of 'em yelling --
and you wouldn't let me out -- and the door wouldn't come open -- and
Sasuke-bastard was blowing it all off and I wasn't going to leave Iruka-sensei
to get yelled at so I had to blow
down the door and it was all Sasuke-bastard's fault I missed because his stupid
chirpy thing went and knocked my aim off and--"
"--did you seriously expect me to stand there and watch you put that ball of chakra
straight through my skull, moron? Of course
I was trying to block; I don't happen to feel like dying out here!"
"But you could've just dodged and let me take out the
door! If you hadn't gone and screwed it all up I would've just busted down the
door and then I could've gone and rescued Iruka-sensei and kicked those
bastards' asses and it all would've been fine but nooOOOOOooo mister human
icicle had to be all 'hmph, moron' at me and go and knock my aim off and it's
his fault, it's all his fault, it would've gone fine if he hadn't--"
Kakashi's fist went straight through what remained of the
wall. He wasn't wearing his metal gloves.
"Naruto," he said through gritted teeth,
breathing, very, very carefully. "Just shut
Naruto made a little squeak like the helium escaping out of
a suddenly-deflating balloon, and landed on his butt on the floor with a thump.
Even Sasuke had more respect for his own skin than to add a
'hmph' to the conversation just then.
Kakashi leaned his forehead against the crumbling plaster,
eyes closed tightly, and silently cursed life, fate, and half the universe.
It was silent enough that he could hear the splintered
boards crackling as the house's weight shifted and stressed them further out of
true. That meant there was a load-bearing something involved here somehow; that
meant he really ought to stop staring at the insides of his eyelids cursing the
PTA party and Naruto's blind impulsive stupidity and his own taste for pranks
and the owner of the bar who hadn't thrown them out and the damn flaming eggs
and every single other contrivance that had managed to insinuate itself between
what he'd been trying to say for months and what kept him from saying it.
Because in the end he was a coward. A coward who hadn't
slept for going on thirty-six hours, who was running on the ragged ends of
adrenaline and snapping at everything, who'd spent eight months carrying around
a set of rings trying to find the right moment just to have a chunk of the
building get blown away or an assault from a band of bigots and gossips or even
just his own nerve failing -- because he didn't know what he would do if Iruka
misinterpreted it. Because now, now that they'd had their 'marital status'
flung in their face by the PTA from Hell, now Iruka might think he was only proposing for propriety or because
Iruka was pregnant or from guilt or for their cover or any of a thousand other
things that would add up to not because
he loves me but because he's obligated.
...Which was why he should have proposed that very first
day, before he'd told Iruka that he'd realized what was happening, before the
burning pancakes even; because anything he said after Iruka had realized about
the pregnancy could be taken as obligation or duty along with or instead of love.
And Iruka was already convinced he never did anything for only one reason.
And ordinarily Kakashi would have agreed with that
assessment, that there was never only one reason for anything he did -- except that
this time there had to be a clear and
unequivocal case to make for this has
nothing to do with obligation; I just love you, you idiot, in order to be
able to fight through Iruka's own spectacular case of personal-blind-spot-itis.
Iruka's distinctive case of self-deprecating tunnel vision told him things like
'I'm just a chuunin, just an academy
teacher,' and 'someone like the
legendary Sharingan Kakashi is so far out of my league that I know I can't be a
truly equal partner no matter how much I try,' and then there was the kicker
of 'I'm the responsible one; he's only
responsible when he has to be, so I can't ask him to be responsible or he'll be
miserable and resent it,' and the issue of the pregnancy had just doubled or
tripled that part of Iruka's complex. In spades, no less.
Because Iruka still
wasn't truly giving him credit for even the simple things, like being
responsible enough to cook or having good judgement around children or being able
to hold down a consistent job -- not that his job had ever been consistent to
begin with, but unfortunately that was more a point for Iruka's side than his
own. And the events of the past twenty-four hours had certainly given Iruka
plenty of reasons to be skeptical and no reasons at all to trust him.
Kakashi had thought he'd managed to both make and patch over
as big of a mess as he could possibly make with the bar the previous night. But
he hadn't been factoring in Naruto's unholy powers of mayhem-making. It was an
oversight he was cursing himself for. Because it was bad enough trying to dig
his way out of a hole he'd made himself; now he was sitting at the bottom of a
canyon that wasn't even his own fault and...
"Do you think he fell asleep?" Naruto whispered, a
little too loud.
"Structural analysis," Kakashi said succinctly.
"He means figuring out what's broken, moron,"
"By standing there thumping his head on the wall?"
I never mentioned
which structure I was analyzing, now did I? And yes, from the reverberation I
think my skull must be filled with rocks. Right. ...Time to Be Good at them
Kakashi looked up from the wall with his brightest,
sunniest, wildest smile plastered onto his face. Both of the boys blanched and
flinched away. Kakashi wondered approximately how undead and/or insane he
looked with his hair and face covered with plaster dust, and mentally filed the
tactic under psychological warfare to
test on enemy combatants even as he took a deep breath and turned around,
and inwardly smirked as they flinched again.
he announced, with all the terrorizing force of mad-eyed perkiness that he
could bring to bear.
They were actually huddled against each other now, both of
them with eyes the size of teacups, shivering together in the conviction that
they were about to die, slowly, painfully, and with a great deal of screaming.
...Not bad. Good, in
fact. Very good. Mute obedient terror I can work with. Let's see how long it
"All right, team," he said, bending over their
cowering little huddle with a particularly bright, glazed, horrifying smile.
"New private lessons this weekend, just for the two of you -- don't you feel special!"
Naruto was whimpering. Sasuke wasn't. This was going to have
to be corrected. Sasuke was clearly a tougher nut to crack.
"Our mission for the weekend is stealth
carpentry!" Kakashi announced, picking up a cracked board and thumping it
against his palm. "And yes, Sasuke, this means stealth from both of you. So if you don't know how to
keep the rest of the world from noticing that your painfully orange teammate is
hitting something with a hammer loudly, then it counts against both of
The whites were showing all around Sasuke's eyes. Better.
"K-kakashi-sensei--" good, the terrorized stammer's good too-- "what do you mean,
stealth carpentry? I mean... hammers are
problem!" Kakashi informed them, with a good dose of happy-go-lucky vindictiveness.
"Because nobody in this town is going to know that the schoolhouse has had
another major reconstruction happening. Nobody.
Because you don't want poor Iruka to be blamed for that too, do you? When Iruka
didn't do anything at all wrong? Especially since Iruka is the schoolteacher
whom they're going to shout at if the repairs cost anything, interfere with
classes, or even get noticed. So!" He clapped his hands together with a
small cloud of plaster dust, and rubbed them briskly. "No hammer noises, no clouds of dust, no
swearing, no landing each other in
the hospital, no paint spills, no nothing. Nothing at all out of the ordinary is going on in this building. Got
"But -- but -- hammers -- saws -- how--?"
"Great! It's settled then," Kakashi said, dusting
his hands off. "I'm going to start ripping away the wallboard to figure
out how many studs we're going to have to replace. I'd suggest the two of you head
for the forest. Be sure to take plenty of bug repellant, now; we wouldn't want
you getting stung..."
...And that little pathetic baffled whimper was Sasuke.
Kakashi was vindictively proud of himself. Apparently, when
applied with an eye to maximum pain, guilt, and suffering, strategic
tactical assaults of nice (applied
with sadistic levels of perkiness) truly could be quite valuable in
demoralizing and confusing the enemy. He'd have to thank Iruka later. This was the most useful 'punishment' he'd ever received, and he planned to milk it for all it was worth.
"You two! Out in the forest! The big tree-filled forest
where nobody is standing around listening
for stealth carpentry!" Kakashi said, in a voice he personally
classified as 'perky with extreme prejudice.' "Big dry things you can cut
into boards with that supply of monofilament wire in your ninpack. For
starters. And we're going to have to think up a way to mix some non-explosive version of mortar that we
can color match to the rest of the plaster. Speaking of which -- we may need to
stop this afternoon and get you two library
Naruto's eyes had glazed over. Sasuke simply blinked. Yes,
Sasuke was definitely the tougher nut to crack, but Kakashi wasn't about to
give up yet.
"Just think of it. Libraries.
Full of books, study materials, respectable people who shush you, and not a single
bladed weapon in sight-- not even scissors! And you can't hit each other or
you'll be thrown out! Both of you, no
matter who starts it."
Sasuke had started twitching, spasmodically, like a rabbit's
nose. Feeling the warm happy glow of merciless triumph, Kakashi drove the point
"Ah, libraries," Kakashi gushed, palms folded over
his heart. "Wonderful things -- definitely good practice for stealth work!
We'll have to drag you two over to
the library. In dress clothes, so that you're respectable-looking. Without
weapons, because they're picky about sharp metal things near the books. --And make
sure you wash behind your ears too."
Naruto had turned positively green. It probably wasn't kind
to mention respectable shushing people compounded by the lack of Sasuke-hitting
facilities while the boy was still hung over.
On the other hand, Iruka had never made Kakashi promise to
be kind... just good.
And Kakashi was planning to be good with a vengeance. The brats deserved whatever
they got, really.