|chibirisuchan (chibirisuchan) wrote,|
@ 2005-07-13 20:39:00
Side Effects, Chapter 2
The past three months had been fairly uneventful, but
Kakashi was still worried. They'd arrived in their assigned village, pretending
to be a married couple, and settled in as a teacher (Iruka, of course) and a
professional slacker (himself, of course).
Iruka complained about it, since Kakashi's
originally-intended facade had been "carpenter" rather than
"slacker," and he'd pointed out with a reasonable amount of
justification that Kakashi was good with sharp things and must have been trying
to half cut his thumb off carving a bedpost.
Kakashi had replied that he showed far more natural
talent in the slacking field than in the carpentry field, which not even Iruka
could argue with.
That was, of course, perfectly true. But there were two more
reasons why he'd quietly excised himself from the carpentry business and taken
over the position of "world's best-articulated bar ornament." As a
carpenter, he needed to work at other locations. As a slacker, he could go
wherever he liked, whenever he liked, and overhear whatever might be
interesting. And working on other people's houses kept him too far from Iruka.
It had taken more out of him than either of them had
expected; the daily, ongoing use of energy to maintain the female form was something
he'd never done before. Iruka had been a teacher, not a field scout and
assassin. He wasn't used to maintaining martial forms for so long. After a
while, Kakashi had managed to harangue and embarrass his partner into not
bothering with the sexy-no-jutsu, and just employing a couple pairs of
rolled-up socks and some makeup in its place. That had been a couple of weeks
ago -- but Iruka was still losing weight, and sleeping badly, and waking with
shadowed circles under his eyes.
Iruka must have worn himself further past the limits of his
endurance than Kakashi had ever suspected. Either that, or he had actually
taken ill while he was draining himself like that. As a trainer and a field
team leader, as a person responsible for the lives of the people under him, it
bothered Kakashi badly to have misjudged the situation that much.
He'd even taken over trying to do some of the cooking, to
let Iruka rest after a day's teaching -- he didn't cook particularly well, but
then they'd both been bachelors for a long time, and Iruka mercifully didn't
tease him about the scorched omelets, and not even Kakashi could manage to burn
Iruka would tease him about everything else, but not about
something that Kakashi did out of concern for him. Kakashi suspected he was
embarrassed to be a chuunin seen as needy by one of the top jounin, and also
suspected that Iruka had been hiding as much of his weakness as he could
manage, for too long. And that was another miscalculation that Kakashi couldn't
You had your fun teasing him into dressing up like a
woman. And he's so damn cute when he blushes like that. You never stopped to
think how he might take that. Adding that to the fact that you're always on top
when we make love... you make him the woman in everything; of course there's
only one way he'd take that.
You were too busy having your fun to stop and think that
he might seriously believe that you thought him weak, too scholarly,
effeminate -- and you were too busy laughing to realize that he'd be hurt by
that thought, and that he'd do more than he ought to in order to try to prove
you wrong. You let your own entertainment blind you to your partner's needs.
How magnificently well done of you, scarecrow.
It was deeply unsettling to be sitting on the roof of their
house, listening to Iruka's gently wearied voice explaining the stroke order of
the kanji for "prayer" to his class, and feeling the unaccustomed
brush of wind against his face -- because he went without his mask here; the
masked, faceless Sharingan Kakashi was a legend, but a shaggy silver-haired and
goofily smiling slacker with an eyepatch, a stubbled chin, and some highly
implausible stories of "carpentry accidents" was quite another. The
entire situation had him on edge in a way he couldn't even define.
It's almost... peaceful.
No, that IS the problem. It IS peaceful, here, living
like this. It's too peaceful. I can keep myself braced for a surprise assault
for a week on end if I have to. But twelve months... I've got to be sure that I
still know when to jump at the right shadows, after spending so long
learning how to live amid all this edge-dulling peace.
And what the hell is wrong with Iruka?
There was a sudden chatter of little voices, and children
burst out the front door, scattering toward their homes; Iruka stood in the
doorway smiling, and leaning a little against the doorframe for support.
Kakashi swung down from his perch on the edge of the roof,
and looked at the younger man. The makeup was surprisingly plausible,
after this many weeks to practice, but the dress now hung too loosely on his
frame. Iruka felt out of balance, as though he were leaning precariously
forward trying to overcompensate for struggling up a hill that wasn't there.
Iruka noticed his scrutiny, and smiled at him, reaching up
to rumple his hand through Kakashi's untamed silver thatch of hair. "Stop
worrying," he said. "I'm not that weak."
"I never said you were," Kakashi murmured, hating
Iruka's eyes widened a bit, and he bit his lower lip, and
then looked away.
...Damn. I'm pissed at me, not at him, but it looks like
that's not what he heard. How do I say that without embarrassing us both?
Naruto, of course, would just say it -- probably accompanied
by a scalp-scrubbing noogie, a sticking-out-of-tongue, and a race to the ramen
shop. Sakura would blush and stammer and giggle for two or three hours and only
belatedly realize the other half of the conversation had walked away without
her. Sasuke... who am I kidding? Ah, hell...
Well, there are some shameless advantages I can
take of the fact that everyone knows the poor hard-working schoolteacher's been
hitched to the most incorrigible good-for-nothing for miles...
Not caring who might be watching, Kakashi caught Iruka by
the shoulders and pulled him into his arms and proceeded to kiss the living
daylights out of him. It took a while for the tension of surprise and
embarrassment to drain away and leave Iruka completely limp, breathless, and
blushing in his arms. Fortunately, Kakashi enjoyed every moment of his work.
And he says I'm not a craftsman. --Well, not a carpenter
anyway. If he wasn't so tired out, I'd remind him I know a thing or two about
pounding and nails and...
...stop it, you lecher, he's all but passed out in your
What do you mean stop it? You just half-suffocated him
unconscious from the kissing. Best opportunity a man's going to get,
suggested a small impish corner of his mind.
Iruka blinked bliss-hazed eyes up at him, and said huskily,
"Why the hell did you stop there?"
See? See? said the little imp, vindicated. When faced
with persuasion like that... well, who needed dinner anyway. And there
was always takeout.
Kakashi swung Iruka off his feet despite a yelp of
startlement, and carried him inside, and kicked the door shut and elbowed the
latch into place. That was as good as it needed to get; there was a perfectly
usable floor lying right there waiting...
Kakashi's conscience nudged at him again, and with an
internal sigh, he carried Iruka upstairs to lay him on the futon. Softer, and
more comfortable, and better for resting afterwards. He wasn't going to think
about the possibility that Iruka might be seriously sick. That wasn't a
possibility. He was just being considerate. That was all.
Consideration lasted about as far as getting the dress off
him. After that, he considered he'd made enough of an effort at being
gentlemanly already, and with all that temptation lying right there, it would
have taken a saint to resist any longer.
When they were both sated, an exhausted Iruka fell asleep in
his arms, smiling, with his head nestled into the hollow between Kakashi's
shoulder and throat. Iruka's hair was softer than it looked when he just
dragged it up into a bushy ponytail and left it to fend for itself; unbound, it
spilled partway down his back, and Kakashi found himself stroking it smooth and
thinking things he had to classify as uncharacteristically mushy.
...I told him he didn't need sexy-no-jutsu for anything.
Kakashi closed his eyes, and listened to the rhythms of
their lives, and of the world around them. There was one unusually
"bright" spot dancing away downstairs -- Kakashi had discovered that
Iruka harbored a secret and somewhat baffling passion for strawberries. Natural
strawberries wouldn't be growing for at least another month, so Kakashi had
found some seeds and given them a bit of a nudge. Now they were exuberantly
strawberrying away at the world in general. Iruka blushed whenever he saw them,
so Kakashi kept moving the plants around, to surprise him in new spots,
although he claimed it was just to make sure they got as much sun as possible.
By the end of the week, another batch of them would be
perfectly ripe for the harvesting, if Iruka hadn't surreptitiously picked and
eaten the lot by then. If there were any left, Kakashi resolved, he was going
to get some housewife around here to dip the things in chocolate, and see what that
did to their normally-so-proper schoolteacher...
There were many, many advantages to not needing to
even pretend to hold down a full-time job...
Even inside his own mind, Kakashi blinked. Something else
nearby was brighter than it ought to have been, like the strawberries. No
threat, though - not even consciousness, just... a spark of something. An odd
almost-echo of something familiar and yet unfamiliar...
Kakashi opened his eyes, and looked down at Iruka, sleeping
in his arms. Looked as deeply as only one of their kind could -- Kakashi still
didn't see anything resembling a disease in him, just more warmth than he'd
expected, and that odd sense of overbalancing, overcorrecting, even when he'd
given up the rather silly sexy-no-jutsu and...
...Iruka. Overcorrecting for something. Unconsciously,
overcorrecting for something that didn't need correction...
...Echoes. A too-warm spot nestled deep in the flow of his
chakra, something he was trying too hard to compensate for...
..."Iruko" had been "alive" for almost
two and a half months, but she'd never...
...wait, that was ridiculous, they'd never... not
while he was a she, that was...
...but they'd certainly been busy when he wasn't a
she, and then he became a she, so then...
"Oh my God," Kakashi said, and then started
laughing. "Oh, God, Iruka, you're going to kill me."