|chibirisuchan (chibirisuchan) wrote,|
@ 2005-07-13 20:57:00
Side Effects, Chapter 12
The next morning, Iruka woke to the smell of hot coffee and
something containing far too much sugar; he blinked his way back to
consciousness, and realized he was still lying on the sofa. At some point
Kakashi had tucked a pillow under his head and a blanket over him; a slurping
sound from the kitchen indicated that Kakashi was likely the origin of the
coffee smell, too.
The sugar-sweet smell was from an open box of donuts;
Kakashi had one in one hand and a mug in the other and a far too
self-pleased expression on.
"Who's good for nothing?" he needled with a grin.
"Breakfast and a solution to the money problems."
"I never said you were--" Iruka stopped, and
blinked again. There was a bag sitting on the table. It had the name of a bank
on it. It also looked suspiciously heavy. "...Kakashi, what did you
"Don't you even want a donut first?"
"What did you DO?!"
Kakashi took another sip of the coffee just to be maddening,
and then grinned up at Iruka's voiceless bristling. "The bank was terribly
helpful with loan arrangements."
"...You went to the bank and got a loan? --You
went to the bank and someone gave you a loan?"
"I'm hurt! Wounded to the soul..."
Kakashi tipped his head to one side, with one of his most charmingly
happy-go-lucky smiles. "You sound just like Pakkun when you growl
like that. That's so cute..."
"No problems at all! Walked in the door, walked out
with the money -- it was simple..."
Very carefully, Iruka sank into one of the kitchen chairs,
and braced both hands on the table. "...You're serious. Someone actually
gave you a loan?"
"No questions asked!"
Fingertips to his temples, fighting off a wave of vertigo at
the complete upending of everything he previously thought he'd understood about
how the world worked, Iruka said, "So what are the terms?"
"They had to mention a repayment deadline and a
"The terms are 'whenever we can, we'll repay them.'
Don't worry about it."
Something was deeply, profoundly wrong with this.
"Kakashi -- I don't care if the bank was being run by Hinata-kun's even
more saintly old grandmother, nobody does business like that! What's the
"There is no catch," Kakashi said, still smiling,
but his eye was sober. "I don't ever want that to happen again. You
worrying yourself sick over something that was my idiotic blunder... it makes
me disgusted with myself. It was my responsibility to repair, and let's just
say I've fixed it. There's no catch. We'll just repay them when we can. That's
"Let me see the loan agreement," Iruka said.
"You had to at least sign your name to a piece
of paper," he said, still disoriented.
Kakashi scratched behind one ear, with a sheepish
expression. "Well... they didn't mention that part."
"They didn't mention that part?!"
Looking even more sheepish, Kakashi mumbled,
Iruka blinked several times while he tried to parse that
"...Here. Coffee. Donuts. I'm sure you're hungry; I'm
sure the baby's hungry even if you're not--"
"Shhhh! Not so loud..."
"I didn't steal it!" Kakashi protested.
"I just borrowed it! People borrow money all the time. I'll pay them
"If they don't know you have their money, then
that's STEALING, you--"
"But they weren't doing anything with it!"
Kakashi said. "It was just sitting there in this room--"
"And how many locked and bolted doors did you go
through to GET INTO that room?!"
Kakashi sighed, and gloomily took another bite of his donut.
"Just a couple. They practically had an invitation hung on the door. It
was the most pathetic excuse for a security system I'd ever seen--"
Iruka spent the next fifteen minutes shouting at the top of
his lungs about how these people weren't ninja and didn't expect to defend
themselves from people with ninja abilities and just because he could do
it didn't make it right to do it no matter how much Kakashi
wanted to stop Iruka from worrying. In fact, he'd just come up with an entirely
new source of worries and Iruka far preferred the previous night's
impoverished honesty to this morning's guilt-ridden terror, thanks ever
Kakashi was staring at him rather blankly through the whole
"DAMN STRAIGHT I'M SERIOUS!"
"...But they weren't even doing anything with
it. It'd be months before they noticed. If they noticed at all. The kinds of
"I DON'T CARE!"
Kakashi scrubbed a hand through his hair, and sighed.
"You're really serious, aren't you."
"I have never in my life even contemplated
theft, larceny, or fraud, and I certainly don't intend to start now! Now of all
times -- alone, undercover, when I'm... like this... -- how could
Somehow, Kakashi took that one despairing question more
seriously than the rest of the tirade combined; he flinched as though he'd
been struck, and then he picked up the bag. "I'll take it back,
then," he murmured.
"You don't want it to be this way; fine, I'll take it
"Right now? In the middle of the day? What if someone
Kakashi gave him a half-lidded look. "I am a
jounin, you know," he said. And he vanished in a puff of smoke, just
because he could, before Iruka could protest further.
Iruka paced circles around the kitchen, torn between panic
and outrage, until Kakashi popped back in ten minutes later.
"...And you didn't even devour the rest of the donuts
while I was gone? Dare I hope that means I'm forgiven?"
"It means I'm too worried even to think about
food, you moron!" Iruka caught him close, torn between hugging him
breathless and shaking him until his teeth rattled.
Kakashi offered a rueful, crooked smile. "One of these
days I'm going to have to do something about these morals of yours. You seem to
spend a lot of time making yourself miserable with them... --yes, yes, I'm
kidding. Smile for me, love. That's all I really wanted..."
Iruka shut his eyes tight and dropped his head forward
against Kakashi's shoulder. "It terrifies me to realize that you're not
lying this time."
"Because I can far too easily see you deciding that it
was a good idea to go out and rob a bank just because you thought it might make
me smile! Because the chain of events in your head went 'Iruka is worried about
money' to 'Where do I get money' to 'Banks have lots of it just lying around!'
That is what went through your head, isn't it..."
"That and a couple other things," Kakashi admitted
with a grin. "It did seem more likely that I could get away with
money by robbing a bank than by convincing anyone around here to give me a job.
Easier, too. I figured you probably weren't going to go for the idea, though.
But it was worth a shot..."
Iruka said nothing, for a long, long moment.
Fluffing Iruka's ponytail with playful fingers, Kakashi
said, "This sounds like I've messed up again. Is this the point where you
scold me for another hour or the point where you beat me with the frying
"Do you have any concept of why that was
"Of course," Kakashi said. "But it was less
wrong than some of the alternatives."
"What alternatives are more wrong than robbing a
"I'm a Konoha jounin," Kakashi said, with a quiet
sigh. "We both know I could sell my talents on the black market quite
easily. Somewhere within a few days' ride of here, I'm sure there's someone
willing to pay good money to see someone else dead. But I didn't want my
mistakes to be paid for with blood money. This way, I didn't hurt anyone, and
no one even knew the difference, for the two hours it was on loan
"I knew the difference. You should have too."
Kakashi sighed again, and snuggled closer, turning his
talented hands to rubbing at the hollow of Iruka's back.
"I do know you, love," he said, "and your
morals. I wouldn't do anything that I couldn't undo without talking to
you first. I do promise that."
"And if you'd been caught?"
"Me? Caught by anyone in a hundred mile
Iruka sighed, and nodded against his shoulder. "Just don't
do it again. Because I really would far rather work two or three jobs
myself than try to raise a child alone while you're waiting for a release from
"Fortunately, we don't have to worry about either
one," Kakashi said lightly, fingers laced together around Iruka's waist.
"Relax, okay? You're so uptight sometimes..."
"By comparison with you, a jellyfish is uptight,"
"Jellyfish are uptight," Kakashi replied
drolly. "Cranky little bastards. Lousy tempers, sting like a demon from
hell if you even look at 'em funny..."
"The point here is finding a way to pay off our debt,
not debating about the personality traits of jellyfish!"
Kakashi held up both hands, laughing. "Easy there! See,
I told you you needed to relax-- no, don't hit me yet, you haven't even eaten
your breakfast. There's some perfectly good donuts--"
"Which are about as far from nuitritious as it's
possible to get and still call it edible--"
"--which is why you have the prenatal vitamins--"
"--which is why I have actual food in the
refrigerator, you twit--"
"--which is just fine because that leaves more of the
good stuff for me. And like I was about to say, just relax with your
boringly healthy whatever it is you're planning to eat. We're both teachers.
We're in the business of reshaping defenseless children's lives in ways that
either mold them into their future selves or scar them permanently. Or both!
Surely we can figure out something besides homicide and slacking that
I'm actually good at."
Iruka sighed, and made himself a bowl of cereal, and
sprinkled some blueberries on the top of it, and sat down and glared into his
Dammit, I want a donut and coffee...
He shook his head sharply, and made himself take a bite of
An educational challenge. I'm an educator. That's what I
do. This is my chance to reeducate this infuriating scamp into...
...no, I'm not a miracle worker.
But I can be a guidance counselor. All the children at the
academy want to become shinobi, but some of them never do; what would I say to
one of those students...?
Iruka took a deep, steadying breath, and willed himself to
Pretend he's just a teenager who's having difficulties
finding his way. All right. I'm helping
a troubled teenager find a new path for his life. One that doesn't involve juvenile delinquency...
"So tell me," he said. "If you couldn't have
been what you are -- what else would you like to have been? I know you were one
of the youngest chuunin in history; one of the youngest jounin, too. Did you
ever think that there was anything else you might like to do with your life?
Anything other than being jounin?"
The part of Kakashi's face that was visible over the edge of
the coffee mug looked thoughtful. Iruka took this as an encouraging sign.
"It doesn't have to be realistic," he said.
"Just tell me what you dreamed about. What you thought you might have done
if the world had moved differently. Anything that you love to do, anything that
it makes you happy to think about being... anything that suits your vision as
well as your talents."
Kakashi set down the coffee mug with a grin. "You're
not going to like it. It's not very practical."
"We can be practical later; right now, I'd just like to
know what your dream job would be. --Your other dream job, aside from being a
jounin," Iruka clarified wryly.
"You really want me to answer this question?"
"How can we find something that's truly suited to you
without finding out the characteristics of the types of work that really excite
you? You're going to want a reason to get out of bed on time in the mornings,
you know. For me, it's the light that catches in the children's eyes when they
finally understand something -- that's why I listen to the alarm when it goes
off; that's why I look forward to every new day. What motivates you like
"Don't say I didn't warn you."
Iruka nodded, putting on his best helpful-listening-teacher
expression as he took another bite of cereal.
With a broad grin, Kakashi said, "I always wanted to be
a porn star!"
Iruka choked, wheezed, and sprayed milk across the table.
"Think about it, though," Kakashi said gleefully.
"Getting to have wildly creative sex all the time and getting paid
for it? And smut sells, so they probably pay pretty well--"
The edge of the table cracked under Iruka's grip as he
struggled to both breathe and calm the impulse to scream the roof down.
Don't kill him just yet. I did ask. My own fault
for asking. I should have known better. Parameters. You've got to use
parameters with him. Clarify this RIGHT away...
"What else do you think of as a dream job?"
Iruka asked through gritted teeth, making an attempt at smiling.
"Well... I can't draw, but maybe I could write scripts for
a hentai manga artist. Some of the plots in Icha Icha Paradise are getting kind
of stale; I'm sure I could think of much more exotic ways to get two or
three people naked and shagging each--"
"Try again," Iruka growled. "Better yet --
here." He stalked out of the kitchen, grabbed a handful of paper off the
desk, and slapped them down on the kitchen table in front of Kakashi.
"Let's make ourselves a graph. Five columns. Name of
job. What you like about it. What you don't like about it. Whether they're
likely to have that sort of job here. And whether or not I'd break several of
your bones and/or your neck for trying to get that job. How does that
Kakashi considered two or three responses, realized that the
cast-iron skillet was still in easy reach in the dish drainer, and decided the
best option was, "Yes, dear." He picked up a pencil, and added with
just a hint of woeful puppy-eyed reproach, "But you did ask what I
got excited about..."
Try as he might, Iruka just couldn't resist that expression.
"...I'm sorry. I did tell you to talk about your dreams."
"Yes, you did.
"...I was just hoping that some of those dreams might
be legal and not X-rated."
"Picky, picky." Kakashi tried the puppy eyes
again. "Kiss and make up?"
Iruka pushed his bowl across the table, then walked around
to sit in Kakashi's lap. He kissed his cheek gently, so as not to let them get
too distracted from the task at hand; then he glared at his boringly virtuous
cereal and picked up the spoon again.
"Taking up residence?" Even with both hands
occupied, one with breakfast and the other with the pencil, Kakashi still made
the way he rubbed his chest against Iruka's back into something very nearly
illegal. Some people didn't even need hands to grope with.
Trying not to acknowledge the blush he felt heating his
cheeks, Iruka replied, "Sanity-checking your answers to the fifth
"Hmm..." Kakashi took another bite of donut, and
then kissed the curve of Iruka's throat. "...Yep, like I thought. You're
sweeter. Take the clothes off so I can taste some more."
The blush redoubled itself. "You have got such a
one-track mind...! Aim the tracks at the job hunting, all right? Just until
we've got a better option than porn star, hentai manga artist, or--" he
glanced at Kakashi's scribbles, and then yelped, "...or local crime
"I know a thing or two about keeping subordinates in
line and enforcing things. And this town definitely has a vacancy in that
"That's because it's too small and peaceful to have
mobs or street gangs!"
"Like I said, a definite vacancy..."
"...Which you are not going to fill by organizing
"...Yes, yes, whatever..." Kakashi sighed and
crossed it out. "All the legal ideas are no fun, though. And legal jobs
never pay as well."
With a sigh, Iruka reminded him, "That's why they call
it work, you know."
"...Oh. Yeah. Right."