|chibirisuchan (chibirisuchan) wrote,|
@ 2005-07-13 21:18:00
Sasuke had fallen asleep where he sat; his head had dropped
backwards to rest against the convenient mound of the baby-bulge. He looked far
younger in his sleep, unguarded and nearly wistful, and Iruka found himself
almost afraid to breathe lest he disturb the boy and shatter that completely
unselfconscious gesture of trust.
...He'll have a terrible crick in his neck tomorrow.
Awkwardly, hesitantly, Iruka tried to shift his hips forward
on the sofa a bit, so that he could make the baby's roundness a slightly more
comfortable pillow, at a slightly less clumsy angle; he froze when Sasuke made
a small groggy sound. But then the boy twisted in his sleep, hooking an elbow
up onto the sofa and nestling his cheek against Iruka's fullness with a little
sigh, and he dropped back into a deeper sleep.
Tentative, almost timid, Iruka brushed a stray lock of dark
hair from the boy's eyes; when he didn't stir at the soft touch, Iruka let
himself relax a little, and stroked his hair with a careful, light hand.
...So you do still trust, sometimes, despite it all? I'm
glad. I'm sorry that no one was there for you, for too many years. But I'm
honored that you trust me enough to let yourself sleep, that you'll let me be
here for you, even just tonight... even if you'd grumble and sulk and glare at
the suggestion that you might want or need the attention after all.
Just for tonight, little one, let yourself rest, and let
me take care of you too. I know you and Naruto fight like cats and dogs; but
the fact that Naruto has a special place in my heart doesn't mean that you
can't also have your own special place, if you'd let yourself want it.
Sasuke snuggled a little closer, with a soft little sound of
contentment, and Iruka smiled and let his hand rest gently atop the dark silky
rumple of the boy's hair.
He'll bolt the moment he wakes up, of course, Iruka
thought ruefully. But at least I can enjoy it while it lasts, for the both
There had been several groups of loudly still-partying
festivalgoers returning to their homes along the road that led to the
schoolhouse; it sounded like there was another group of them on the way. Most
likely a group of three; at least, the two who were singing the same song had
chosen wildly different keys to sing it in, and the third was on some other
Sixty-five bottles of beer on the wall, sixty-five bottles of beer--
Oh, I really should have known by the time you
drove me home--
--pass it around, sixty-five
bottles of beer on--
-by the vagueness in your eyes,
your casual goodbyes...
"...Hey wait, we already did sixty-five, didn't
"Who cares? --PASS IT AROUND, SIXTY-FIVE BOTTLES
"No wait, I know we did sixty-five!"
And the other singer was loudly off in her own little world:
"By the chill in your embrace, the expression on your face, that told
me: Maybe you might have -- Some advice to give --On how to be --
With horror running frigid fingertips down his spine, Iruka
realized that he knew those voices.
"Imbeciles," a still-sleepy-voiced Sasuke muttered
from the floor. The boy dug a frustrated hand through his hair, then stood and
yawned and stalked over to pull the door open before they could even knock.
Unfortunately, Naruto's fist was on autopilot. And aimed for
a point on the suddenly-removed door which lined up right about the center of
Sasuke's nose. The impact was enough to rock Sasuke's head back for him... but
not for long.
Iruka buried his face in both hands, because it was far
too late at night to be able to deal with the inevitable end of the chain
Based on the yelps, squawks, thumps, bangs, and a shatter or
two, Iruka guessed that Naruto had ended up inside the building -- just not by
walking. Ricocheting, maybe; 'bouncing off the walls' seemed an even more apt
description than usual, come to think of it...
And Sakura, who was still completely oblivious -- was that a
wagon she was sitting in? Yes, Kakashi was pulling a red wagon with Sakura in
it, and the girl was blithely starting another verse of her song without a care
in the world.
"How do you numb your skin, after the warmest touch?
How do you slow your blood, after the body rush..."
"Sakura-kun!" Iruka yelped, blushing fiercely.
"You-- should you know-- I mean... where did you hear a song like that?
"It was great!" Sakura said, drowsily.
"Kakashi-sensei took us to a karaoke bar!"
By this point, Naruto was curled up in a ball on the floor
whimpering at the payback he'd received for Sasuke's nose.
Sasuke, trying not to look too uncool with a
handkerchief shoved against his bloodied nose and split lip, said, "I'll
get her upstairs. Iruka-sensei, I'm leaving these two morons to you..."
"A karaoke bar?"
Iruka echoed, numbly. Something was wrong with this picture. Kakashi was
swaying back and forth on his feet gently, as though the evening breeze were
about to knock him over...
And then Naruto's eyes
focused on Iruka's overalls, and something pierced the haze long enough for a
disturbing spark to light in his eyes.
Naruto hiccuped, then stumbled across the room toward the
sofa and shoved Iruka's knees flat in order to plonk himself down on his
teacher's outstretched legs.
As Iruka stared down at the boy's shaggy blonde head, Naruto
curled up in the lap presented, and snuggled his cheek against the roundness of
Iruka's enticingly plump belly.
"Comfy," he mumbled, rubbing his cheek against the
fullest place; and then he passed out cold, jaw hanging open, snoring the snore
of the blissfully intoxicated.
"YOU GOT THEM DRUNK?!"
Naruto groggily protested the way Iruka's belly tightened
with the force of the shout, mumbling something incoherent and patting his warm
round pillow before dropping into snores again.
"Some people prefer the term 'well-lubricated,' you
know," Kakashi offered, rubbing his chin. "'Drunk' is such a cold
"HOW COULD YOU GET THEM DRUNK?!"
"Oh, it wasn't that hard," Kakashi said, taking far
too much care to enunciate without slurring. "I didn't do a thing really.
They managed it just fine by themselves--"
"YOU'RE DRUNK TOO?!"
"...Er. Right." He straightened up and laughed a
little sheepishly. "Not in the least. But it was so much fun watching
their faces when they think I'm drunk--"
There were simply no words left. Try as he might, Iruka
couldn't come up with a single coherent word, although he belatedly realized
his throat was raw from the force of the scream of pure outrage he'd just
Kakashi looked somewhat alarmed, which was far too
little far too late.
Thinking back on it later, Iruka didn't even remember how
he'd gotten Naruto off his lap; he hoped he hadn't just stood up and dumped the
boy on the floor, although in his state of boneless intoxication the boy
probably would neither have noticed nor minded much.
Iruka did remember one particular moment of clarity amid the
heaving sea of chaos; he remembered being oddly grateful for the change in his
balance brought by a woman's body and a ripening, increasingly fluid-heavy
womb. It was much easier to balance securely on one foot when one's center of
gravity had lowered from one's shoulders and settled solidly, deep and forward,
in one's pelvic arch; that left the other foot free for the roundhouse kick
that sent Kakashi tumbling head over heels out into the yard.
Iruka spent quite a while shouting at the top of his lungs,
until his voice broke, and the tears running down his face didn't help anything
at all; he kept scrubbing them away, shaking all over, incoherent with
exhaustion and rage and grief too tangled up to bear.
Kakashi made the nearly fatal mistake of stepping closer and
trying to comfort him.
"...and don't you TOUCH me, you asshole! Don't touch
me-- get out-- I don't want to see that goddamned smirk, I-- damn it,
I thought I could TRUST you-- they're underage CHILDREN, you
bastard! I thought I could trust you with our child, I
thought -- I -- but then you never have given a damn that they're
children; damn it, you--"
"I said I don't want to look at you right now! Just
Iruka scooped Sasuke's tent roll off the floor and flung it
full-force into Kakashi's face, then slammed the door.
Then he turned around and slid down the wooden frame to land
on the floor with a graceless thump, choking on sobs of rage and helpless
Naruto was still snoring blissfully on the floor.
The tears were starting to slip over into hysterics; gasping
for breath, one hand pressed hard against a tight knot of pain in his side,
Iruka could hear the brittle edge in the hysteria, but couldn't seem to breathe
deeply enough to do anything about it.
Sasuke's footsteps were even quieter than usual, barely a
whisper of fabric against the floor as he moved to stand over Naruto.
It triggered something reflexive in Iruka even through the
panic; he scrubbed both hands across his face quickly, fiercely, and began to
chatter as though he could make everything all right if he just thought quickly
"Water -- he'll need to get some water into his system,
and painkillers too, they both will -- it won't fix everything, but at least it
might take the edge off how horribly ill they'll be in the morning -- they
don't even know where the bathroom is, I wonder if I should wake her -- them --
I wonder if they'd even remember if I woke them -- I -- damn it, one at a time,
I'll get the water first--"
"No you won't," Sasuke said, and turned and padded
into the kitchen. Iruka heard the faucet running, and then the boy was back
with two glasses of water -- one of which he handed to Iruka, much to the
As he knelt to coax the water into Naruto's near-totally-unconscious
figure, Sasuke murmured, "Crying dehydrates you. Sit there. Rest. Sip at
"But I -- he-- I'm sorry, you shouldn't have had
to see that; you shouldn't have to do this, give me a minute and I'll--"
"You don't have to take single-handed
responsibility for all the world tonight, Iruka-sensei," Sasuke said,
rather sharply. "You're exhausted. Calm down. Rest. Have the discussion
tomorrow, when you're both clear-minded." Under his breath, he added,
"Besides, I'm planning to have a 'discussion' with your thistle-headed
idiot of a husband tonight myself."
Iruka found that his hands were shaking so badly he needed
both of them cupped to the glass to be able to drink without spilling.
Silently, Sasuke lifted Naruto onto the sofa, and set a
wastebasket beside his head just in case. He put a blanket on the floor a few
feet away, and set his scroll beside it, and then he walked over to sit on his
heels by Iruka, with something strange and not quite as unreadable as usual in
his dark eyes -- almost pity.
"Do you think you're up for stairs, or shall I bring a
Iruka's spine stiffened despite himself -- and then he
nearly laughed aloud. So quickly the tables turn -- wasn't I just thinking
how hard it was for him to accept help, that I would be more sensible than he'd
been...? The gods of irony are sick, sick bastards.
Iruka cleared his throat, and some lingering remnant of
pride had him struggle to keep his voice steady while he said, "May I
borrow your shoulder?"
Sasuke's slighter height fit quite conveniently beneath the
curve of Iruka's arm; the younger man matched his steps to Iruka's carefully,
and helped him into the bedroom, and somehow managed not to comment at the pile
of books and papers Iruka had dumped on Kakashi's half of the futon earlier.
Iruka, looking at them, gulped hard. "Sasuke-kun...? Do
you think he's angry with me...?"
"Him angry at you? After tonight?"
Sasuke shook his head, and muttered something that sounded suspiciously like
'imbecile' under his breath. "Iruka-sensei, go to sleep."
With a quiet sigh, Iruka lay down on the futon and stared at
the wall. Sasuke considered it for a moment, then apparently judged it close
enough to resting. The dark-haired boy wavered for a long moment, then knelt at
Iruka's side and bent and brushed a kiss against Iruka's forehead.
Iruka's startled flinch nearly gave Sasuke's already-injured
nose a more permanent set of damage.
With his face burning a dull pink, Sasuke said, "Never
mind. Forget it. It's just... my parents would... oh, never mind; it's
just--" Sasuke bit his lip, and then said fiercely, "He doesn't
And the boy all but fled, leaving Iruka staring into the
dark, shaking all over, his mind awhirl in a dozen different panic-stricken
directions at once.
Songs cited in the mad karaoke spree:
"Every Breath You Take" (Police)
"Why do you want him?" (Green Day)
"As Long as You Love Me" (Backstreet Boys)
"Insensitive" (Jann Arden) / "Ninety-Nine
Bottles of Beer" (public domain)
"Ode to Ramen" (Destroy)
....and yes, I'm serious, "Ode to Ramen" EXISTS. I
couldn't have made that up. If I'd been making it up I would have made
more, I don't know, lyrical lyrics or something... (sweatdrop)
Obligatory note and/or hazard alert: I'm a J-pop addict who
hasn't even entered a recovery program. But I'm mercifully restraining myself
from inflicting untranslated J-pop on you, no matter how tempted I was
by several insanely appropriate J-pop songs for this section. Besides. If
Sakura spoke English and got drunk in a stateside karaoke bar, you just know
she'd be singing Backstreet Boys... mwahahaa!
(The scary thing is chances are good she'd end up singing Backstreet
Boys even in a Japanese karaoke bar. The karaoke places have tracks for just
about any American song you can name, too.)
If it weren't for the fact that Kakashi was having far more
fun dropping hints about singing something while neatly sidestepping the actual
singing itself and snickering to himself about how the kids hadn't managed to trap
him yet... I really really wanted to use a song that Inoue Kazuhiko
(Kakashi's voice actor) had sung himself, because damn but the man can
sing (see also my mad transliterating and translating spree over at
AnimeLyrics.com). But the song that would have been absolutely perfect
for him and Iruka to sing on a tipsy night in a karaoke bar also required Iruka
to be there. Which just didn't work this time. Maybe some other story...
The one I desperately, desperately wanted the excuse to work
into this chapter was a duet between Inoue Kazuhiko and Seki Toshihiko (Kakashi
and Iruka's voice actors). It's a duet called "Furigana (Rubi)" from
Warera Konsen Gasshoudan and it's fall-on-the-floor hilarious. They
sound like a drunk-out-of-their-minds pair of literary snobs holding either the
world's most embittered flame war or the world's most horribly-gone-wrong
long-distance pen-pal love affair, or both... I translated it over at
AnimeLyrics if anyone wants to see what it's about. It's on a two-CD set called
Seiyuu Graffiti (VICL-40159 and 40160) which is tricky to find but well worth
the hunt. End of fangirl rambling now...
So that's why I tried to find some American equivalents by
people at about the same popularity level despite the fact that I don't
actually listen to American pop much -- so that the true horror of this could
be appreciated by an English-speaking audience. After all, what use is
inflicting writhing misery on unsuspecting victims unless they understand
that they're being abused? mwahahaha(chokewheezehack)erm... right.
Oh yeah, and I couldn't help making one bemused observation
from my stats page about relative size of fandoms. The "Sound
Effects" spinoff has gotten more hits in three weeks than any of my Cain
fics have gotten in six months... and the "Gravitation" fic has
gotten more hits in two weeks than ALL my Cain fics put together in six
months. ^^;;; Which is just as well in a way, because I haven't got time to
finish the Cain mystery for the foreseeable future -- mystery-writing requires
enough time to sit down and work out the details of a twisted whodunnit
without tipping my hand, and regular non-mystery plotting is about all I have
time to pretend to juggle at the moment, but still. Interesting perspective on
how many fans different series have...
Small preview, aside from what you know is happening in the
next release because I'm too fried now to finish this one properly (see also
the rant at the top):
Now that the kids are here, Iruka's going to have to find
some way to come up with a cover story and non-ninja occupations for
them too. (da-da-DUMMMM... and no he's not letting Kakashi do the
guidance counseling, lest Naruto decide his new calling in life is to become
the world's first professionally-slacking bar-prop ramen-taster.)
Chibi-Naruto (hic): Hey, but we have jobs-- our jobs are
learning, uh, whazzuma... suh... not sundae... sutterty no jutsu! 'Cause
it's, like, advanced an' stuff!
Chibi-Sakura (hitting him over the head with the rather
thick karaoke book): Yeah, but we can't say that to people, you idiot!
Chibi-Naruto: Er... uh... right. (scratching behind ear)