|chibirisuchan (chibirisuchan) wrote,|
@ 2004-09-14 00:28:00
When Sasuke finally nailed the sleeves of Naruto's orange jumpsuit to a wall with three well-aimed kunai, the blonde terror grinned up at his rival a little nervously. "Good job distracting them," Naruto offered. "Where's the CD?"
From behind Sasuke, the bookseller said, "In my hands, brat. Where it should have stayed to begin with. Your friends here tell me they had nothing to do with your plan to shoplift adult materials from my store--"
"It wasn't shoplifting! I paid!" Naruto protested.
"--So it was your idea?"
"Well, yeah! 'Cause Kakashi-s-san likes 'em but Iruka-sensei would curl up and die of shame if I went and asked h-her to buy him something kinky as a birthday present from me, and I don't know anybody else that old around here, so this was the best idea I could think of..."
One of Sasuke's eyebrows was twitching dangerously. It had an uncanny mirror in the bookseller's nervous tic.
"You really expect me to believe you weren't 'acquiring' those adult materials for yourself?" the bookseller growled.
Naruto's jaw dropped open. "Say what?" he demanded, utterly outraged.
Sitting in a pile of pillows in a sunbeam with Iruka in his lap, three questionable 'reference' books in easy reach, a fourth in hand, and the other hand cupped under Iruka's top to rub and stroke contentedly, Kakashi sighed in pure bliss as he flipped another page with his thumb.
"...So then Kaori-chan and Kitazawa-sensei spend a couple of pages talking and he tells her not to feel so self-conscious about her body, because she's ripening with the most precious fruit in the world: the fruit of their love. --Which was obviously a good line to use, because two pages later they're in bed!" he added cheerfully, flipping a couple more pages to point. "And they're pretty creative about working around her bulge, too. See? ...Hey, would it work on you if I tried that line?"
Iruka, meanwhile, was torn between covering his eyes and peeking through his fingers in appalled incredulity. "...I don't think that's physiologically possible. I mean... hip joints just aren't meant to... --and besides, she couldn't be that flexible, not that late..."
"Actually, it's all got to do with back support," Kakashi said sagely, and reached for Hot Sex and Hot Mamas, flipping to a page he'd helpfully bookmarked in the third trimester section. "A couple pillows there and there, tilting your hips like that, and then just tuck your knees and brace your feet against the headboard or something and--"
--and someone was pounding on their front door; Iruka scrambled to his feet hastily, tugging the clothing back into place. "I should go answer that!" he said, and tried to open the door, and then swore under his breath at the kunai nailing the door shut.
"Oh well, too bad. Looks like we're not going anywhere," Kakashi said with a lazy grin, curving himself against Iruka's back and letting both hands wander up beneath the loose maternity top.
"But-- it could be-- s-something..." Iruka gulped hard, because one of Kakashi's hands was wandering up and the other was wandering down, and it took a great deal of concentration to finish the sentence: "It could be something important!"
"More important than my birthday?" Kakashi asked pitifully.
Iruka froze, and then turned in his arms and hugged him. "That's not what I mean! I just mean what if something happened to the kids--"
"Nothing happened to the kids."
"--or the kids happened to someone," Iruka continued determinedly. "And remember: that includes Naruto."
After a moment's wavering, during which the pounding on the front door redoubled in urgency, Kakashi sighed and reached over and pulled the kunai out of the doorframe. "We're on page 161 in volume 16," he said quite soberly. "I expect us to pick up where we left off."
"Yes, dear," Iruka said wryly, and tilted his chin up to brush a kiss against Kakashi's cheek before heading for the stairs.
"...I'm sure you're just as appalled as I am, Iruka-sensei, and of course I don't mean to call into question your suitability to instruct our children," the bookseller said -- except that his tone of voice said the exact opposite; only the fact that Iruka had his hand firmly against the back of Naruto's head to keep the boy bowing his apology prevented bloodshed at that point. Oblivious to the fact that he was risking his life at the hands of one of the most impulsive teenaged ninjas ever born, the bookseller continued obsequiously, "Still, the fact that one of your charges was responsible for stealing adult materials from my bookshop... it's completely unsupportable."
"Believe me, I understand," Iruka said, bowing as deeply as he could manage and leaning on the back of Naruto's head to keep his balance. "I'm so, so sorry."
Naruto made a desperate little squawking sound, but with his chin tucked under and his lungs shoved up into his throat, he couldn't manage much more than that.
"Boys will be boys, I know. But both as the guardian of this one and the instructor of many more, you should be more careful to make sure you teach children their proper place."
"I know," Iruka said again, bowed as close to double as he could. "I'm sorry. Trust me -- it won't happen again. --Will it, Naruto."
The bookseller opened his mouth to make another condescending comment when something about the tone of the mild-mannered schoolteacher's voice sank in. Something that put him more in mind of a crime boss about to shed blood than of a children's teacher about to pass around milk and cookies. He closed his mouth hastily and said, "As long as we're clear on that then," and turned around and not-quite ran for his life.
Iruka only let go of the back of Naruto's head when the bookseller rounded the corner at the end of the block. Naruto straightened up and brushed off his jacket irritably, scowling like a little thundercloud.
"I'm gonna kick his ass! He had no business blaming Iruka-sensei!" the boy complained to the room at large. "Iruka-sensei, you shouldn't have apologized to him, you should've let me kick his ass for talking to you like you're responsible for me getting in trouble or something! I do that just fine all by myself--"
Then he noticed the others' eyes, and stopped short, and gulped. But he made a valiant attempt at recovery nevertheless: "Well, it's true, isn't it? It's not Iruka-sensei's fault I wanted to get Kakashi-sensei a birthday present he'd like! Let me go kick his ass-- I paid for it and everything and he took it back! That's illegal or something!"
"Illegal?" Sasuke murmured, with a brow quirked. "Coming from the idiot who was going to go light a fire in the bathroom sink to cause a distraction to let you smuggle X-rated material out of that bookstore? How illegal is that?"
"But I paid for it! And it wasn't going to be for me, it was going to be for Kakashi-sensei! It's not my fault I'm not old enough! I couldn't tell Kakashi-sensei to go buy himself his birthday present from me with his eyes closed or something, now could I?" Naruto looked up at Iruka for support, and then his eyes went very wide and he sat down on the floor with a thump. In a very, very tiny voice, he said, "You're mad, aren't you, Iruka-sensei?"
"You did interrupt a very pleasant morning we were having," Kakashi said, and slipped an arm about Iruka's enlarging waist in order to stroke and rub. "Practice your breathing, love. Slow deep breaths, for the baby's sake..."
"And this is your fault as much as his, you pervert!" Iruka exploded. "He knows you far too well -- don't even pretend you wouldn't have been delighted if he'd actually pulled it off!"
"Of course I would have been," Kakashi replied, all sober and righteous indignation. "And I'm quite disappointed that he didn't. A ninja should have better planning, better stealth, and most importantly of all, better success than that--"
"And DON'T you try to pass this off as a failed training exercise either! He's trying to sneak pornography out of a bookstore because YOU had to go and inspire him!"
"But aren't we here to be role models in their lives?" Kakashi settled a palm to his heart and sighed angelically. "To think I've touched my students' lives so -- it makes a teacher's heart overflow..."
"To think that you've warped your students' lives so--"
Sasuke was very, very slowly edging toward the door. He might have made it unnoticed, but Sakura's brighter hair passed through the sunbeam as she edged toward Sasuke, and Iruka stopped in his tirade to Kakashi in order to fix his best teacher-glare on the pair of them as well.
"And you two! You should either have stopped him or helped him -- preferably stopped him!"
"I tried," Sasuke muttered, and bowed to Iruka in apology. "Obviously, I didn't try hard enough. I'm sorry, Iruka-sensei."
Kakashi said far too ingenuously, "Actually, I think they should have chosen to work together. It's all about teamwork--"
"No," Iruka retorted, "it's all about you getting your hands on your latest pornographic fixation!"
Sakura made a little 'eep!' and sprinted for the door; Sasuke was hot on her heels.
"Well, teamwork and pornography, two birds and one stone, what can I say?" Kakashi shrugged.
Naruto made a little hiccuping sound, and Iruka turned to glare at him, about to deliver a tonguelashing if he thought anything about the situation needed laughing at-- until he realized the boy's blue eyes were brimming with tears, and his face was screwed up into little-old-man wrinkles trying not to bawl out loud.
"I'm... I'm s-s-sorry...!" the boy choked, scrubbing at his face with the back of a sleeve. "I wanted to get Kakashi-sensei a birthday present he'd like... but... but... --that cranky bastard shouldn't have yelled at Iruka-sensei and... and now you're mad and it's all my fault...!"
Iruka gave a great sigh and settled himself beside Naruto on the floor, looking at the boy soberly. "Do you understand why that was wrong?"
"Yeah--!" He sniffled and scrubbed at his face again, scowling fiercely. "If I hadn't gotten caught, the lousy rat bastard wouldn't have come and yelled at you for stuff I did, 'cause that just wasn't right! It's not your fault I'm a screw-up! He had no business--"
Iruka put his hand over Naruto's mouth; the other hand was rubbing at his temples, trying to fight off an incipient stress-headache. "No, Naruto," Iruka said carefully. "He did have every right to come and make me apologize for your actions. I was your teacher; I helped raise you. What you do is a reflection of what I taught you to do, and not to do. What you do is a reflection of what this child may become, as well. And what you do reflects on my skill as a teacher, as a parent, and as a person. So it was his right to demand an apology from me."
Despite his best efforts, the tears spilled down the boy's face. "I'm sorry~~!"
"So am I," Iruka replied tiredly. "I'm sorry I've failed you as a teacher, and as a foster parent of sorts. I thought I'd taught you better than this, you see."
"You haven't failed anything!" Naruto said hotly. "I'm the one who screwed up and got caught!"
"Your mistake wasn't in getting caught," Iruka said. "Your mistake was in trying it in the first place."
"But..." Naruto stopped, and gulped, and nodded. "...Yeah. If I hadn't tried it I couldn't have gotten caught."
"That's not what I mean," Iruka said. "You could have gotten Kakashi a present that you were allowed to give. Or you could have asked me for help."
Naruto gave Iruka a look. "No I couldn't."
Iruka sighed. "You don't trust me enough to ask my help...?"
"That's not it! I trust you -- it's just -- it's you, Iruka-sensei, I couldn't ask you to go into the kinky-pervert section of a bookstore! You're too respectable!"
Kakashi made a peculiar sound, clamped a hand over his mouth, and twisted away, shaking with half-muffled hilarity.
Naruto glared at him and tried again to explain. "Kakashi-sensei's not polite or respectable or anything, and neither am I, so it doesn't matter if we do it, nobody'd be surprised; but you're just too... I don't know, too innocent or something..."
Iruka could feel the corner of his mouth twitching despite himself, and put a hand over his mouth to try to hide what he could. Unfortunately, Naruto misinterpreted completely.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to hurt your feelings or anything!" Awkwardly, Naruto reached up and patted Iruka's shoulder, and said in a tone of great sympathy, "I'm sure you can be plenty non-respectable-ish if you work on it some--"
"The boy has got bright ideas," Kakashi managed, and then went back to fighting off the need to roll on the floor in hysterics.
"Naruto," Iruka said, fighting hard to keep the treacherous laughter out of his voice. "Naruto-kun. Look at me." Iruka gestured down at the body he was living in, gently touching the swell of a child-ripening belly. "You do understand how children begin, don't you? I'm really not as ignorant of these things as you think I am."
"I don't think you're ignorant!" Naruto protested. "It's just -- I know you're not a kinky pervert like Kakashi-sensei! There's a difference!"
Kakashi lost his grip then; he toppled over sideways and hit the floor with a thump, absolutely convulsed with howls of glee.
And the hell of it is I can't even tell him he's wrong, Iruka thought, rubbing the bridge of his nose to try to keep fighting the losing battle against that tension-headache. The entire problem is that he knows us both too well -- and he knows Kakashi would be delighted by a successful mini-ninja stealth operation in the name of Icha Icha Paradise at least as much as by the actual book itself...
And I CAN'T just tell him 'all right, maybe the problem was just the getting caught after all.' I have to at least try to provide a balanced role model to contrast with Kakashi's complete lack of normal human inhibitions...
Iruka sighed deeply again, and reached over to rumple Naruto's hair a little. "Tell you what," he said. "Let's go find your present for Kakashi together. Just the two of us, since it won't be a surprise if he comes along."
Naruto's jaw dropped open. "...You'd actually let people see you buy the Icha Icha Paradise CD?"
"That won't work anymore," Iruka said, hoping his face wasn't burning too visibly at the mere thought. "We need to find him something that would be a surprise now."
Kakashi said, "What about page 161?"
"I'm still holding you more than half responsible for Naruto coming up with this insane scheme to begin with," Iruka warned.
Kakashi put on the puppy eyes.
A trembling lower lip joined the puppy eyes.
"Look, do you want to get re-interrupted the next time he has a brainstorm about illegal ways to acquire the perfect adult-rated birthday present to give you?" Iruka asked under his breath.
After a moment, Kakashi heaved a morose sigh and said, "I hate it when you're right like that."