|chibirisuchan (chibirisuchan) wrote,|
@ 2005-07-13 21:02:00
Side Effects, Chapter 16
(Sap alert level orange: High glucose levels to commence in
T-10 and counting)
(ChibiRisu-chan does the dance of joy) Thank you thank you
thank you! In the past one month, this story's gotten 10,000 hits -
that's over ten times as many as anything else I've written - and over 100
comments, which is twice as much as anything else... I'm still amazed people
like it, honestly, but I'm soooooo glad you do! ::happy squirrel glomps all her
Sooooo... I've got a special treat lined up for this
chapter! (Actually I'd been planning to do this at this point in the story all
along, but it sounds better if I call it a special treat, right? ^_~)
Chibi-Kakashi (half-lidded eye glowering): Hey now. That's
my kind of excuse. (Suddenly with the ear to ear grin:) I'm so proud! (hearts
and flowers, rhapsodical sigh) The days when I realize how I've corrupted
another previously moral-bound soul are the days I'm happiest to be alive...
Chibi-Iruka: That's... nice, dear.
Chibi-Kakashi (blinking up at his dialogue bubble, under his
breath to Chibi-Iruka): Er... how do you pronounce <3 anyway?
ChibiRisu-chan (massive sweatdrop): So, anyway.... on with
Chibi-Kakashi (practicing): ahem... <3... <3... --Have
I got the accent down right? Or should the stress be more on the second
Chibi-Iruka (patting his head): It sounds just fine to me,
Chibi-Kakashi (eyes lighting up): Or how about the accent on
Chibi-Iruka (bright red): I cannot believe you came
up with a smiley for THAT!
ChibiRisu-chan (desperately): So, anyway.... on with the
show! (nudges Chibi-Iruka:) That's your cue!
Chibi-Iruka: Oh, right... where'd I put that...
(Chibi-Iruka pulls a blackboard out of nowhere to hide the
ecchi-smiley-practicing Chibi-Kakashi, then writes in big letters on the
Public Service Announcement from the Reader Protection
For any diabetics in the crowd, beware the extraordinarily
high sugar-sap levels which are about to ensue.
Chibi-Iruka: (hunting in vest pockets for flashing lights
and 'Sap Crossing' signs and posting them around the entrance to the
chapter...) There, that should do it!
ChibiRisu-chan (cowering in corner with gloom clouds
hovering, mumbling to self): ...they're going to kill me...
Perched on top of a streetlight with the pigeons, Kakashi
looked around the festival for his lover. No one noticed him; of course, the
rest of the crowd saw three pigeons instead of two pigeons and a ninja.
...Apparently, so did the pigeons, because one of them was
valiantly trying to flirt with his ankle bone. The feathers tickled. Kakashi
glanced around out of sheer paranoia, then kicked the pigeon off the
streetlight. The flirting pigeon squawked its betrayed indignation and fluttered
away; the remaining pigeon looked at his ankle warily and edged a little
further along the post.
Satori had chased him out of the house before he could see
what she'd done with Iruka; she'd told him it would be a surprise, and told him
to find them later in the evening. So he'd wandered around the festival for a
while, fairly aimlessly.
The entire village had shown up, it seemed; the various
festival stalls and booths and displays took up the entire village square, most
of the main street, a couple of side streets, and the little park by the pond.
There were hay bales lining the edges of the streets, for improvised seating
space, but several musicians in the square had started playing danceable music,
and the hay bales weren't very occupied at the moment. Kakashi wanted to claim
a dance before they got done playing.
Perhaps Iruka had some reason for mistaking himself for
plain, Kakashi thought, scanning the various clusters of talking and laughing
people. He wasn't the sort of person who stood out in a crowd, particularly
when most of the crowd had dark hair like his own. (Kakashi had often cursed
his unruly silver thatch of hair during his own school days; it made it much
easier for the teachers to target him when something went wrong in certain distinctively
Take the fact that he was looking for a dark-haired figure
amid a crowd of largely dark-haired figures, and compound it with the fact that
he couldn't even look for that bristly ponytail, and it was a bit of a
Iruka never had been the sort of person who would turn heads
in a crowd, not the way all three of his genin were. Sakura's striking hair
color and graceful feminine poise stood out anywhere; Sasuke's startling good
looks were more a curse to the reserved young man than a blessing; and Naruto
somehow attracted attention, trouble, and scoldings in quantities rivaling his
capacity for ramen. Compared to the three of them, and even to the
silver-haired jounin himself, Iruka was unremarkable at a glance -- moderately
tall, sturdily built, and unobtrusive, without attracting attention through the
extremes of looks and personalities displayed by the vivid group of his
But that impression of an average man with an average face
and average talents didn't long survive exposure to Iruka himself. Not to
anyone of any perception, which Kakashi had always prided himself on being.
Not to anyone with the eyes to see how his entire face lit
up with joy when one of his students accomplished a task they'd been working
hard with, or how carefully and gently he spoke encouragement to one who
struggled on the verge of giving up. Not to anyone who could see the depth of
quiet strength and compassion in him, the purity of soul, the utter sincerity
and devotion to his cause -- and the passion he held for that moment of excited
realization when a child looked up at him with a new comprehension in shining
eyes. And not to anyone who could see through his stern reproval to any student
who wouldn't bother to try. Because Iruka felt personally responsible for the
lives of every child who passed through his hands -- and he mourned their
injuries, and celebrated with their joys, and he unreservedly gave everything
that he was and could be for the benefit of those entrusted to his care.
And he thought of himself as dull and plain, 'homely as a
clod of mud scraped off someone's shoe,' despite all that...?
If anyone else had said such a thing of Iruka in Kakashi's
hearing, their next stop would have been the nearest hospital to have their
tongue reattached -- after an up close and personal examination to see what had
caused such a ridiculous phrase to come from it. But Iruka had said it of himself...
How could anyone who paid such tender attention to coaxing
out the hidden potential of each of his students be so upset over a shallow,
surface-level appraisal of himself...?
Like Satori, Kakashi had certainly meant well when he nudged
his lover into the girl's hands for preparations for the festival. But he was
beginning to wonder if he'd done more harm than good. Satori couldn't precisely
be blamed for the fact that she treated Iruka like a fashion-conscious teenaged
girl; she was a fashion-conscious teenaged girl herself, and her priorities in
life were arranged in that order. And she had no way of knowing that Iruka was
anything other than a shy young schoolteacher, new to town, and self-conscious
about her increasing pregnancy. Sakura-chan probably would have done much the
same with a shy new young woman she befriended in Konoha -- well, laced with
warnings about not getting too close to her Sasuke and not letting Naruto or
Lee get too close either...
It was just that Iruka was so very devoted and
meticulous about everything. Of course he'd never paid a minute's
thought to makeup beyond camouflage; he'd spent a quarter century as a man.
Satori's mindset that fashionability was the natural center of any woman's life
had combined with Iruka's self-consciousness about how well or badly he was
playing an unfamiliar role, and the results had been... unfortunate. And this
was one place where simply taking Iruka up to bed and loving him to exhaustion
wouldn't really solve the problem, much as Kakashi would have enjoyed it if it
So how do I convince him that he's been doing fine just as
he is, when he knows I'm not an innate authority on women's minds and behavior
either? If Sakura-chan were here, she could talk some sense into him...
provided I got to talk some sense into her first, that is...
No, no delegating this one to underlings and going off to
read your smut in the corner, scarecrow. You're at least half responsible for
his situation; you fix it yourself.
Kakashi really did regret
the loss of Iruka's distinctive hair for the evening; totally aside from its
value in dolphin-spotting, that adorable little rumple-fluff of a ponytail was
almost an emotional weathervane in itself. He swore it bristled more when Iruka
was agitated, and drooped when he was sleepy or depressed, and ordinarily it
waved behind him like a happy puppy's tail, all fluff and bounce and
enthusiasm. Kakashi called it
"attitude hair"; Iruka either replied with blushing vexation or a
Kakashi's hair had only
one attitude, though, and its attitude was best summed up as
"whatever." Iruka's hair was almost as adorably expressive as his
face some days...
In any case, his own eye
wasn't doing much good in the crowd, and using Sharingan around this much
bustle and commotion would probably knock him flat for a week; so Kakashi
shrugged a little, and closed his eyes, and jumped down from the lamppost with
his eyes still closed.
There are other senses than sight, after all...
The festivalgoers saw a
rather scruffy-looking mongrel idly ambling through the streets; someone's
child tried to tempt him with a piece of grilled sausage.
Since of course it would be out of character not to accept, Kakashi
happily wolfed it down, never one to pass up even part of a free meal. And he
let the kid excitedly rumple "the doggy's" shaggy hair as he let his
other senses search the crowd, eyes still closed.
There were too many smells
for anyone but Pakkun to sort them all out, of course, but he could still listen. For that distinctive ripple in the laughter he
adored, the light, soft-spoken tenor of that beloved voice, the way it could
almost be heard when he was blushing,
usually with a tinge of embarrassed not-quite-panic in his tone... the warmth
of the joy that shone out of him when he spoke of his students'
accomplishments, even something so simple as learning another kanji... and that
deep, almost subliminal song of his living, the vibrant echo of the child's
life-energy cradled within his own...
Kakashi followed the
almost-heat-shimmer of Iruka's life-force through the crowd, feeling rather
than seeing a path to the warm, comforting glow of him. Sasuke burned with a
cold fire, and Sakura glistened like sunlight dancing through forest leaves,
and Naruto varied dramatically with the amount of strain on his seal -- Iruka
was simply warm and welcoming, the gentle radiance of embers in a hearthfire, a
sheltering strength that softly warmed and protected those he loved, and flared
up fiercely in their defense...
...and once he was close
enough to hear his voice as well, Kakashi would have laughed if people wouldn't
have stared at a laughing dog.
Of course he thinks of a festival as 'the chance to track
down his students' parents and deliver a progress report.' Everyone's gathered
in one place, it makes it convenient... lovebird, I adore you, but you're not going to spend the night working. Not when
I have much more entertaining plans for
There was a flower stall
nearby; Kakashi-the-dog wandered behind it and scratched at an ear with one
foot, glancing around for spectators, then yawned and stretched and
Kakashi-the-man wandered around to the front, leaning on a pole with a lazy
grin at the slightly startled flower-girl.
"So, how much for one
of those roses?"
He paid the girl, hid the
rose behind his back, and crept up beside Iruka silently.
...For all her chattering,
Satori-chan really did have excellent taste; the dress she'd chosen was a
shimmering blue edged in sea-greens and gold. It set off Iruka's tanned
complexion nicely; the neckline showed just enough to make Kakashi's inner pervert
sigh in bliss, and the soft fabric gathered beneath the bustline to rest
against the sweet curve of the baby before falling away in loose ripples, like
a silken waterfall.
Iruka's hair was partially
loose, a few carefully chosen locks left free to dance in the breeze and draw
attention to his face and eyes; most of the length of it was bound up with more
blue ribbons, echoing the rippling-water effect. The kanzashi she'd chosen were
two silver-and-blue enameled dolphins leaping from sunset-gilded waves, beneath
a third pin showing a cloud-edged sunset with golden chimes that glittered like
sun-warmed rain. The chimes murmured a quiet song in the summer breeze, and
danced whenever Iruka moved; he'd clearly gotten used to the sound, because he
didn't hesitate when he nodded vigorously at something his student's mother
said, brushing his wind-ruffled bangs away from his eyes.
blossomed this summer," he told the woman happily. "I was concerned
for her this spring -- some of the other girls are much more extroverted, you
see. Not that that's a bad thing, of course, but I wanted to take care to see
that Tomoko-chan wouldn't be overwhelmed in the crowd. I think the smaller
summer classes have been good for her self-confidence, and of course having
Satori-san around to help each of us pay more individual attention to the
students has been invaluable as well..."
Tomoko's mother's eyes
wandered past Iruka's face for a moment, looking at Kakashi standing there too quietly beside them, but she tried to keep her face
straight as she said, "I'm glad to hear it, Iruka-sensei. Honestly, I
never thought I'd hear my daughter say she wanted to go to summer school -- but the trip to the bakery certainly got her
attention! She keeps asking if we can go on a field trip to the bakery and get
'samples' of all the cookies too."
"Next time I'll have
to take them to an apple orchard or someplace with healthy snacks," Iruka admitted, laughing.
Kakashi simply watched,
entranced. Satori had kept her promise; she'd barely changed anything at all,
simply provided a few strategic accents. Of course the scar was hidden, but
that was nearly all -- just a light dusting of some softly glittering powder
and a faintly pink lip gloss, so that every shift in his own expression was
clearly visible. Including that delightful tinge of pink that warmed his cheeks
in the evening breeze, and the pure, unsullied radiance of the way his joy lit
his face from within... Kakashi couldn't resist leaning a little closer, and
blowing a stray lock of hair away from Iruka's cheek in preparation for
planting a kiss there.
Iruka lifted a hand to
brush away the stray tickle; he startled when his hand connected with a face,
and turned sharply, and found himself nose-to-lips with a happy Kakashi, who
promptly planted his kiss on Iruka's nose instead.
offered, then yelped and lunged to catch him before Iruka's reflexive jump
backwards could result in an awkward fall.
"How long have you
been standing there?!" Iruka
demanded, shaking all over.
"A few minutes,"
Kakashi said, happily. "Just admiring the view!"
"Why... I... you...
Kakashi made a mental note
to commend Satori later; Iruka's blushes showed perfectly through the soft glow
of the powder, and the entire effect was one of breathtaking radiance. He
lifted Iruka's hand to his lips to set a kiss against the back, and then the
palm, and then a soft nibble at the inside of his wrist, and whatever protests
Iruka might have been planning to make were cut short when his breath caught in
With a giggle, Tomoko's
mother said, "We can finish our conversation later, Iruka-sensei."
"But... I meant... --stop that, Kakashi--"
Tomoko's mother shook her
head, and said, " School reports can happen anytime. But festivals are for
young lovers. I'll talk to you next week, Iruka-sensei!"
"But... oh... --oh, dear..." Iruka finally found the strength to pull
his hand away from Kakashi's insinuating lips, still blushing bright as a
Kakashi grinned at him,
and produced the rose with a flourish, and said, "May I have this
"Since you've chased
away my student's parents, I suppose there's nothing else to do," Iruka
said, still a little too breathless to manage a proper grumble. "But I
don't know how to dance..."
"Neither do I,
yet," Kakashi admitted, and lifted his eyepatch for a few seconds to
analyze what the dancers were doing in the square. "...All right, that
looks painless enough... come on."
"But I still don't know--"
A few seconds later,
standing on the edge of the circle of dancers, Iruka said, "How do you do
these things to me...?"
Kakashi said with a chuckle, and snapped the thorned stem off the rose in order
to tuck the flower carefully into the arrangement of Iruka's hair. "Shall
"But I don't know
"Your hands go around
my shoulders," Kakashi said, "and mine go around your waist, and then
you just reflect what I do. Like practicing kata with a mirror. You step back
when I step forward, I step back when you step forward... and of course, the
closer we stand, the easier it is to feel which way we're going..."
Iruka leveled a glare on
his partner. "You could not have
seen that with Sharingan."
"Nope, but doesn't it
make a great excuse for how everyone else is rubbing themselves together...? We
want to blend in, remember..."
that," Iruka said with half-lidded eyes, though there was a grin tugging
at the corner of his lips that he was fighting not to admit to.
let his hand wander down to the hollow of Iruka's back, rubbing gently at the
point most strained by the baby's increasing weight, and stepped close enough
so that their bodies were pressed together; Iruka shivered despite himself,
more to do with the sudden intimate warmth than at the slight chill of the
Even without Sharingan,
Iruka always had been a quick study, Kakashi thought with pride. He picked up
the pattern of the dance with a little careful guidance, and then let himself
relax into Kakashi's arms once he was confident of it.
And it was surprisingly
pleasant, simply being able to stand together like this and not worry who might
see them together; being able to hold each other, to touch each other, and to
see nothing but smiles around them from other couples sharing the same joy.
Almost by blind reflex,
one of his hands wandered down Iruka's back toward the curve of his rump; Iruka
cleared his throat with a clear note of warning, and Kakashi chuckled.
"All right, I'll be
good. Don't want to tarnish the schoolteacher's reputation too much, do we... even if we are married here..."
Iruka replied, suddenly delighted. "That's right, we are... --But still,
don't do anything I'd need to scold a student for!"
Kakashi said with a grin.
"Hmph." A moment
later, though, he relented, nestling his head against Kakashi's shoulder.
"This... this is nice, isn't it... I mean, I could... get used to
Kakashi said, with a chuckle they could both feel. "Close your eyes if you
like; I'll take care of the steering."
After a quiet moment,
Iruka did close his eyes; the chimes in his hair jingled as he snuggled closer.
half-ritualized protests and grumblings earlier, it wasn't long before Iruka's
hands spoke the words his lips could never admit in public; he let his
fingertips trail almost shyly through Kakashi's hair, blushing a little at his
own forwardness, because neither of them were accustomed to being able to touch
like this in a public place. Charmed by the sweet not-quite-boldness of it,
Kakashi tightened his arms around Iruka's waist, careful not to press too
firmly but wanting to share every breath, every beat of their hearts.
They were so close that
Kakashi could feel it when the baby moved; surprised and delighted, he touched
his fingertips to Iruka's side.
"I felt that
Iruka caught his breath, a
soft, aching little gasp; concerned, Kakashi stopped them both where they
"Not... not that
way..." Iruka bit his lip, then looked away.
With his head bent, Iruka
murmured, "Why do we have to leave...?"
Kakashi stared down at the
top of Iruka's head, startled. "What do you mean...?"
"I mean why do we
have to leave this place...?"
"...You don't want to
In a breaking voice, Iruka
whispered, "In Konoha, we can't... be like this. We can't hold each other
like this. We can't dance in public, we have to hide for the sake of the
school's reputation -- I can't imagine how we're even going to begin to explain
the baby -- maybe I adopted it or something -- but I want it to be our child, not just mine. I want this baby to have two
parents. I want to be able to have the sort of family neither of us had, not
for long enough... but I can't even hold your hand, not where anyone's
watching, or they'll talk..."
"Do you really think
we're that well-kept a secret, love? In
a town full of ninjas? And ninja students?"
administration asks us to at least keep up the pretense," he murmured.
"And in Konoha, I have to worry every single time you leave for
He stopped, and gulped
hard, struggling to finish the rest around the pressure of unshed tears.
"Here... when you
leave, I only wonder whether you'll get scratched by somebody's kitten --
but... at home, every time you leave... every single time, I wonder... whether
you'll be all right when you come back... or... or whether you'll come back at
Kakashi wrapped both arms
around him and nestled his cheek against the crown of Iruka's head, unable to
speak the easy lie of I'll always come back.
He lied easily when the answer didn't really matter -- but this answer
did, and there was nothing that he could do to change it. Because nobody could
promise that they would always come back; it was a lesson they'd both learned
too well, too many times over.
Instead, blinking back a
treacherous rush of his own tears, he said, "I'll be careful. For your
sake. Because I don't want to leave you alone."
replied, his face buried in the shoulder of Kakashi's soft black turtleneck.
"Don't ever leave me alone."
careful," Kakashi said again, feeling unaccountably helpless.
Iruka nodded against his
shoulder, and streaked a hand across his cheeks, and managed a cracked
half-laugh. "I'm sorry -- I don't mean to be so needy; it's probably all
the hormones... I'll try to be stronger. I'm sorry..."
Kakashi shook his head a
little, and murmured, "Don't be sorry. I love it here too."
"But I know you're
probably bored," Iruka murmured, looking away. "This place can't
really use your full potential; I know that."
"Sometimes it's a
little dull," he admitted. "But it's worth it. Because I love being
able to be with you, without anyone looking over our shoulders. I love sitting
together in the evenings, waking up beside you every morning, all of it; I... I
don't know if I can give that up again.
Orders and reputations be damned; I love you, and I want to be able to love you... and I want to be able to dance
wherever we want."
A little hoarse from the
tears he was trying to fight back, Iruka asked, "What if I didn't go
"A missing nin--?! Why--"
"No, not like that," Iruka said hastily, and gulped, and tried
again. "What if Umino Iruka didn't go back? What if it was your new wife,
your wife 'Iruko'... maybe blonde or something... not scarred, a different
height... just a different pretense, but enough that we could be together without causing a scandal for the
"I'm not going to ask you to live a lie for the rest of your
life," Kakashi growled. "And the academy superintendent can put that
in his pipe and smoke it if he doesn't like it. I love you, you twit, and I'm tired of hiding that. That's
Bitterly, he said, "I
know they can't afford not to use me as much and as hard as they can; I know
that's the price I pay for being what I am. But I've never asked for anything
in exchange, and I've damn well earned that right by now. They can't guarantee
you my safety; nobody can. But the least, the very least they can do is to let us stop hiding. To let
us have as much time together as fate allows us..."
Kakashi stopped, and
sighed, and brushed a gentle kiss against Iruka's brow. "I can't promise
you that I'll always come back," he murmured, "but I can promise you
that you'll have everything until that day. You'll have everything I can give
you, as long as I live. It's not enough, but... it's better than nothing. And I
want you to have everything I can give. And I want it for myself."
He traced an unsteady
fingertip over a tear-track on Iruka's cheek, and said, "If we can be
together, if we can be together without hiding ourselves -- will that make it
easier for you to go home without hurting like this...?"
Both hands shoved against
his mouth to try to stifle the sound of sobs, Iruka nodded; Kakashi gathered
him close again, resting his cheek against Iruka's hair and breathing the
fragrance of the rose, swaying them both back and forth in rhythm with the
music, so that no one would stop in the twilight to interrupt them and ask what
"But... I'm... I'm
being selfish again," Iruka choked, half muffled against Kakashi's chest.
"If I were stronger... I could just live with it; we lived with it
before... I don't want to make the Hokage angry with me for asking something so
wait," Kakashi murmured. "You're not asking the Hokage
"You're not asking
him anything," Kakashi repeated, more firmly. "I'll be telling
him how it's going to go."
"If he doesn't like
it, he can send us back here, trade us to some other village, whatever... but I
think he has brains enough to know we're both too valuable to lose over
something he could give us so easily," Kakashi murmured, still rocking him
back and forth. "And it's not like the village's prejudice is going to do
us any harm we can't survive. Naruto's lived with it all his life, and we were
there for him. I'm sure he'll be there for us when we're the ones who need
support, he and the others. --And don't underestimate your schoolkids, either.
There's a hell of a lot to be said for the emotional impact of one teary-eyed
little face looking up at some bigot and saying, 'But why can't Iruka-sensei be
in love just like mommy and daddy are?' Which is a damn good question in
itself, come to that..."
Kakashi stilled him with a
fingertip to his lips, and said, "And all that is for later. Right now, we're having a perfectly good evening
with no Hokage and no council and no shouting and arguments at all; let's not
waste it worrying about the future when we can enjoy each other
Iruka nodded, and scrubbed
a hand across his cheeks fiercely, and turned a determined smile up to him.
"You're right. I love this. I love being able to be with you like this,
while we still can... so I'm not going to waste a minute of it. --Kiss
"That's one thing you
never have to ask twice," Kakashi
said, and took him up on it for quite a while.
They couldn't dance the
entire night away, much as Iruka would have liked to; the musicians changed to
faster tunes, one that seemed to involve a great deal of jumping around
thrashing on the part of the dancers, and Kakashi decided it was time to make
their escape before he lost the other eye too. So he let his nose lead them
toward a yakitori shop, and handed a cluster of skewers to Iruka, and they sat
and ate and laughed -- but even sitting on a haybale eating their improvised
dinner off bamboo sticks, Iruka kept hold of Kakashi's hand, with a silent
stubborn possessiveness. And he kept holding that hand as they wandered through
the festival; he would laugh and point at the puppet show in the square, or
stop to speak with a little cluster of his students, or gaze longingly at an
ice cream seller that Kakashi promptly hauled him over to despite uncomfortable
protests about sugar and healthy food -- but Iruka never once let go, as though
trying to make up for all the times they hadn't been able to hold each other's
Kakashi was torn between
teasing him about it and keeping his mouth shut and enjoying it. 'Enjoying it'
had quite a lot to be said for it, of course, but so did 'enjoying it while
Iruka was blushing and squirming and looking everywhere else'...
Kakashi finally settled
for 'enjoying it with no teasing, so that Iruka wouldn't pull away and rub the
remnants of the ice cream cone in his face.' Because Iruka with the first ice
cream he'd allowed himself for six months was a sight well worth the watching -- the dreamy pleasure in his
eyes as the tip of his tongue barely caressed the edge of the ice cream, trying
to prolong the treat as long as he could without letting it melt away entirely,
interrupted every so often by a little sigh of pure bliss as he savored each
Partway through the cone,
in a bit of mournful dismay at the fact that the ice cream was almost gone,
Iruka glanced over at Kakashi for a moment -- and turned completely scarlet.
asked, with his chin propped in his hand.
"You're... you're... watching!"
"Of course I am."
"No, I mean... you're
watching, like... like that, like... --like you shouldn't be watching someone in public, you..."
"Of course I
am," Kakashi said again, grinning. "You're putting on a hell of a
"No I'm not! I'm just eating my ice cream before it melts, you...
--and no, I don't want to know what
melting ice cream reminds you of! I'm sure I can guess..."
Iruka ate the
last three bites of his cone far more quickly than the rest, licked a drip off
his fingers, and then flinched away from the way Kakashi was appreciatively
watching his hand.
"You... I swear, I shouldn't take you out of the house
without a leash!"
But still, he didn't pull
Grinning, Kakashi said to
the ice cream seller, "Another, please? This one chocolate and
up," the ice cream shopkeeper said, with a matching grin.
"No," Iruka said firmly, turning away from the
chocolate ice cream with an effort of sheer will. "I shouldn't have had
the first one--"
should," Kakashi said. "The first one was for you; this one's for the
baby! You do have to eat for both of
you, after all. I'm sure the baby's never tasted chocolate ice cream with
caramel before, and I'm sure you won't be so cruel as to deny that innocent
child one of life's greatest pleasures."
calculating, manipulative..." Iruka stared at the ice cream cone the
shopkeeper was holding out, swallowed hard, and closed his eyes. "I shouldn't..."
Kakashi reminded him smugly. "Cho-co-late... sweet and rich as velvet, and
melting in your mouth... the way the caramel hardens when it's chilled, but
always softens against the warmth of your lips, the heat of your tongue --
yielding its sweetness in such supple, pliant surrender..."
With his shoulders hunched
around his ears, Iruka wailed at the top of his lungs, "You've been
reading those again, haven't
Even the shopkeeper was
blushing a little as Kakashi paid for the cone. With a sheepish grin, he said,
"Young man, I'll make you a deal. Come find me next week and I'll give you
all the ice cream your pretty mother-to-be can eat, if you'll write advertising
copy for me!"
"Sounds good to
me," Kakashi said.
Kakashi took one slow,
unbelievably sensual lick of the ice cream and moaned his wildly-overaffected
appreciation of it, just to see the way Iruka swallowed convulsively and looked
away. Chuckling at his lover's embarrassment, Kakashi stepped closer and
touched the cone to Iruka's lips.
bastard," Iruka murmured, eyes closed.
"Guilty as charged,"
Kakashi replied cheerfully, and then deepened his voice to a breathy purr.
"Go on, love. Lick for me."
things like that!" Iruka exploded.
"There are children--!"
"--Who see their
teacher eating an ice cream cone, of course," Kakashi said, far too
innocently. "Unless you'd rather we leave the ice cream here and find
something else for you to l-"
That did it; Iruka
snatched the ice cream cone out of his hand and licked at it vigorously, in
trembling desperation to keep Kakashi from getting any more 'creative' with his
He was still sulking
twenty minutes later, as they walked through the park looking for a place to
sit by the pond to wait for the fireworks in the square. Kakashi hadn't laughed
aloud; but he'd pulled up the neck of his turtleneck in sheer self-defense,
because Iruka often took just as badly to certain types of knowing grins, and
he'd left his mask at home in a drawer.
"I don't see why I
couldn't lick your fingers for you," Kakashi said mirthfully.
Iruka made a little
grouchy sound, and kept walking.
"So what kinds of ice
cream would you like me to bring home from my new job?"
"None at all!"
"I don't work for
free, you know."
Iruka ducked his head, and
said, "Please. Just... don't. I have to think of what's good for the
"But an ice cream
cone once in a while really isn't going
to hurt anything," Kakashi said ruefully. "You don't have to be so strict with yourself."
"The problem is I
like it too much," Iruka mumbled.
"I don't want to let myself get used to having it around; I know I'd eat
too much, I don't want to get fat..."
Kakashi couldn't help it;
he burst out laughing.
Iruka did pull away then, and walked faster, only stopping to
glare down at the edge of the pond in his path; Kakashi hurried to catch up,
and caught him still with playful arms around his enlarging waist.
"You're going to get
fat anyway," Kakashi said, "and I'm looking forward to it. I've got
no problems at all with there being more of you for me to hold! And you can think of yourself every once in a while too, you
know. This is the best excuse you're ever going to get to eat ice cream in the
middle of the night, just because you're craving it. Don't just take care of
what the baby needs; take care of what you want, too. It's all right to be
selfish every once in a while."
He turned Iruka around and smiled into
those sweet brown eyes, then tipped Iruka's chin up with coaxing fingers and
bent his head to capture his lips with his own. Iruka still tasted faintly,
sweetly, of chocolate and caramel, and he made a soft breathless sound when
Kakashi licked at his lips...
...and the world's most
badly timed pair of feet were crashing out of the forest toward them, combined
with a bone-chillingly familiar voice.
Kakashi braced them both
reflexively; it was a good thing he had, because an orange human cannonball
came shooting across the grass and crashed into them both, staggering them
despite Kakashi's efforts.