Kakashi was not very good at expressing his feelings. More often than not, he let his actions speak for him. Life was infinitely simpler that way. Letter writing then, was close to impossible for the experienced jounin. Short notes like
Have mission. Crap. See you in a week. Remember to miss me a lot.
Kakashi. [drawing of a small, wobbly looking heart-shaped object]'
were about as literary as Kakashi ever got. He just wasn't very good with words, definitely not as proficient as Iruka had shown himself to be. But then again, there was a reason why the chuunin was a school teacher and he was just a porn reader. Not that school teachers didn't enjoy the occasional pornographic...Anyway, moving on. Iruka's letter was just so...his letter was so... his letter was the reason why Kakashi was currently sprawled out on his bed, pen in hand, paper before him, trying to string together a reasonably coherent sentence. Or at least one that wasn't completely incoherent. However, good intentions didn't always yield satisfactory results.
Kakashi's first try amounted to,
'My dearest Ruka,
I think that what you wrote that you felt was what you truly felt. And I feel the same way too.'
Er. Maybe not. Simple, keep it simple.
His next try began,
Of course I love you. Is it you are stupid?'
But after staring at the last sentence for a bit, and repeating it back to himself a few times, Kakashi decided that there was a chance that the younger man might take it the wrong way. He already had a splinter in his left ear, he didn't need more injuries. Plus, although Kakashi wasn't certain, he suspected the sentence, 'Is it you are stupid' was grammatically incorrect.
His third try was relatively short-lived, he wrote,
His forth and final try resulted in violence.
Kakashi sighed deeply as he distractedly poked a finger through the pen-shaped hole in his comforter. So maybe letter writing wasn't the way to go. Why did Iruka have to write him a letter anyway? He had a mouth, he knew how to use it. Hmmm...boy, did Iruka know how to use...Anyway, how could that idiot ask if Kakashi was in love with him? The jounin always, always, ALWAYS, made it a point to draw a little heart next to his name whenever he left Iruka a note. What more did the chuunin want? Grand, elaborate declarations of his undying love and affections?!
Kakashi sighed. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.
This wasn't working out the way he had expected. Iruka was supposed to demand that Kakashi take off his mask and Kakashi was all set to portray righteous indignation and anger. He, bastard that he knew he could be, was intending to foist the blame of the chuunin teacher. He was planning to remind the younger man that it was he, Umino Iruka that came up with the devious little ploy of wearing a mask underneath his usual mask to foil Naruto and gang when they became obsessed with un-masking their jounin sensei. This essentially made Iruka Kakashi's partner in crime. And, as the jounin would have made an effort to point out, the plan also showed just how much Iruka understood Kakashi's delicate feelings. Following this, he would then attempt to elicit sympathy from the younger man by expounding on said delicate feelings.
He would first start by telling Iruka that the mask had become a part of who he was and that he, sniff, no longer knew how to separate the man from the shinobi. That was what his mask represented, his dual self. He even came up with what he felt was a suitably poignant symbolic reference. His mask was thin enough to show the outline of his features, but not thin enough for the outside world to see his face in its entirety. It was, sniff, his way of reminding everyone, and himself of course, that he was a shinobi first, human being second. At this point, with Iruka sufficiently chagrined, Kakashi would then talk about the importance of his role in the Konoha village.
Hatake Kakashi, the child prodigy. Gennin at age 5, chuunin at age 6. The only non-Uchiha clan member to bear the burden of the Sharingan eye. Dramatic pause. He was the infamous Copy Ninja, an experienced and deadly jounin. He was also planning on subtlety inserting a reference to his years in the ANBU. The village had created a legend, a hero if you will. Hatake Kakashi was that hero. And as with all heroes, he carried a heavy burden. He had on his pale but strong shoulders, the weight of their aspirations, their hopes and dreams, their trust and their fears. Sniff. He, like all other heroes before him, refelected the needs and wants of his age. His presence reassured them, allowed them to sleep peacefully night. He didn't have the freedom of human weakness, he didn't have the luxury of showing emotion, he couldn't just be Kakashi. He was, for now and forever, Hatake Kakashi, the masked shinobi.
Iruka would at this point be close to tears and would try to comfort Kakashi but Kakashi wasn't done yet. He still had to say, 'How could you Ruka! I expected you, pause, I expected you of all people to understand! Sniff.' And then he would add in a bit more stuff that showed exactly how noble and self-sacrificing he was. It would then end with Iruka promising to do anything, ANYTHING Kakashi wanted to make it up to him. This would of course be of the sexual nature. Preferably with a lot of licking involved.
But that idiot Iruka, contrary as he was, didn't quite act according to they way Kakashi had mapped out so carefully.
[Keep it on. Keep it on forever. Just promise me that you'll never die.]
What could he say to that? How in hell was he going to promise that?
He was already one of the few shinobi that had lasted at jounin level for more than a decade. And even though, given his training of Cell 7, he went on more D and C class missions lately, he was still needed often for A and S class missions. Particularly since the death of Sandaimei and other high level ninja. But ever since Iruka entered his life, he found himself acting more and more cautiously, holding back when he would have previously throw himself heedlessly into battle. He was afraid to lose all that he had so suddenly and so wonderfully gained. And it wasn't just the young chuunin teacher.
It was Naruto who always trying to get a glimpse of the inside of Icha Icha Violence and receiving a painful poke in the butt, a poke he was rapidly learning to dodge. It was seeing Sakura's eyebrow twitch as she held back whatever she really wanted to say and instead grimace sweetly. It was Sasuke trying to hide a smile as his fellow team-mates yelled at their sensei for being late yet again. He wasn't ready for all this to end just yet. Every morning when he visited the memorial and said hello to Obito, he asked,
[I know you're probably busy but if you could, just watch over me and Ruka, and Naruto and Sakura and Sasuke for just another day, ok? I'd really appreciate it.]
Still, Kakashi knew there was no guarantees to anything. Just because we wanted desperately to hold on didn't mean that we could. And even if he did die....Kakashi jerked suddenly, it came to him just then, what he had to say to Iruka.
It was raining the next morning, and Iruka was just entering his classroom, shivering slightly from getting caught in the sudden downpour. He wondered if Kakashi got drenched as well. Probably, given the man's lack of attention for his own well being. And then he saw it, a small slip of paper resting innocuously on his desk, still damp from its owner's hand. The young man reached out and hurriedly opened it, eyes rapidly scanning the short note. A pause and then Iruka looked up and gazed out the window, across the small field, where the offending tree stood. The bell rang. Iruka started, then smiled. He carefully folded the note and placed it in the pocket of his flak jacket, shamelessly choosing the one closest to his heart. The day had begun.
I can't promise you what you want. But I'll love you forever regardless.
Kakashi. [drawing of a small perfect heart]'
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