|chibirisuchan (chibirisuchan) wrote,|
@ 2005-07-13 21:34:00
"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 go beat 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 up."
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 really was a load-bearing something involved there 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 saying it 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 in Iruka's mind to not
because he loves me but because he's obligated.
Iruka still wasn't truly giving him credit for even the simplest 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, no reasons at all to even want to say yes if Kakashi ever managed
to find both the occasion and the nerve to ask, and somehow, every day that
passed seemed to give Iruka more reasons to say no... the kids at the karaoke
bar, the idiots on their bigoted rampage, the repeatedly exploding schoolhouse
that seemed almost to be perversely rigged to prevent him from ever, ever
having anything resembling a chance to ask... he wasn't quite paranoid enough
to call it a conspiracy just yet, but the explosion-timing was positively
Kakashi had thought he'd managed to both make and patch over as big of a
mess as he could possibly make with the events surrounding the karaoke bar
the previous night. But he hadn't been factoring in Naruto's unholy powers
of mayhem-making. Or Naruto's equally unholy powers of collateral damage.
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," Sasuke supplied.
"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 again.
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.
"Right, then!" 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 lasts.
"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 loud..."
"That's your 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 it?"
"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 -- the first stop this afternoon has to be to 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
Sasuke had started twitching, spasmodically, like a rabbit's nose. Feeling
the warm happy glow of merciless triumph, Kakashi drove the point home.
"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. Go on, go make yourselves presentable."
Naruto had turned positively green. It probably wasn't kind to mention cooping
the two of them up in a building full respectable shushing people compounded
by a complete lack of Sasuke-hitting facilities while the boy was still hung
On the other hand, Iruka had never made Kakashi promise to be kind...
And Kakashi was planning to be good with a vengeance. The brats deserved
whatever they got, really.