In truth, Iruka didn't do a lot of things he used to do. He didn't get dressed, and he didn't eat breakfast. He didn't get out of bed, even when Kakashi grabbed his hand and yanked as hard as he could. Iruka didn't really live, and Kakashi couldn't seem to make him take a breath and smile.
"Get up," Kakashi snapped, and Iruka's legs came up closer to his chest, body curling into a tighter ball. "Get the fuck up, Iruka."
"Shuddup." It was halved by the thick quilts and pillows Iruka was shoving his face into, and Kakashi grabbed the topmost blanket, yanking it off the bed.
"Get. Up." He threw the blanket across the room in disgust, turning to storm back to the kitchen. "Now."
Some three hours later, when Kakashi was pouring another cup of coffee, his seventh, Iruka shuffled into the kitchen, pushing scraggly hair back from his face. The once-teacher sank into one of the hard wooden chairs, hands lying limp in his lap.
"Eat," Kakashi said shortly, pushing a plate of cold, congealing food across the table. Iruka looked at the food for a moment, then picked up a piece of toast, tearing it to bits, then biting hesitantly into one of the larger pieces. When Iruka was throwing up, some twenty minutes later, Kakashi poured another cup of coffee.
"I'm going on a mission," Kakashi said a few hours later, pulling a pack of cigarettes out of his flak vest. Iruka shrugged half-heartedly, picking at the blanket in his lap, and Kakashi tossed the pack, minus one fag, onto the couch next to the younger man. Iruka tapped the pack on his hand, shaking out a cigarette, and Kakashi leaned forward, flicking a lighter.
Iruka didn't smoke much, either. He took a few drags, let out a few puffs of smoke, then sat there, staring at the window, cigarette burning down in between his fingers. Kakashi reached out, jostling Iruka's hand, and some ash fell from the tip, scattering dark charcoal grey across Iruka's pajamas.
"You're burning your fingers," Kakashi said gruffly, and he yanked the cigarette from between Iruka's fingers, stamping it in an ashtray that was overflowing. Iruka didn't turn away from the window, not when Kakashi turned Iruka's hand over, inspecting the burnt fingers, or when Kakashi rubbed his thumb over the burns, pushing chakra into the hot, red skin.
"When do you leave?" Iruka was still staring at the window, and Kakashi looked at it too, a sickened curiousity in his gut.
"What'cha lookin' at, Iruka?" He forced carelessness into it, pumped the words full of idle thoughts and empty meanings, thousands of them, layers after layers after layers. Iruka, for a moment, looked away from the window, glancing at Kakashi through the side of his eyes, and Kakashi pulled out another cigarette, thought about another cup of coffee.
"Moon's red," Iruka murmured, and he held his hand out for Kakashi's cigarette, fingers shaking. Kakashi lit the cigarette, handed it to Iruka, and waiting until Iruka was exhaling, sharp acrid gray, before plucking it out of Iruka's fingers. "When do you leave?"
"Tonight. I'll be back tomorrow." Kakashi smoked the cigarette in a haze, handing it to Iruka again and again, only to snatch it away when Iruka's eyes slid back to the window and his hand began to droop to the blanket. When it was burned down to the filter, Kakashi stamped it in the ashtray, and Iruka sank into grey.
Ninety-three hours later, seventy-nine hours late, Kakashi unlocked the door and afternoon sun spread across the floor, dust-motes in gold that burned his eyes. He kicked off his sandals, dropped his vest in a chair, and dug through his pockets, searching for a crumpled pack of cigarettes.
Iruka was on the couch, and Kakashi knew, in his gut, that it was a still. Still on the couch, still sleeping, still gone in some world that turned the once-man into gray. There were dogs, everywhere, on the floor where Iruka's hand rested, curled on the couch next to Iruka, sprawled over Iruka's legs and onto Iruka's chest, and Kakashi grabbed the chakra snaking from the dogs to him, snapping it with bitter thought. The dogs disappeared, the faintest displacement of air and chakra pop-ping, and Iruka's eyes opened.
"Awake?" Kakashi asked, and Iruka closed his eyes again. "Iruka, get up."
"Shuddup." Iruka pulled his arm up from hanging off the couch, curled it in against his chest, and turned his head to the back of the couch. Kakashi snarled, grabbing Iruka's arm, and yanked the younger man upwards.
"Get the fuck up, Iruka." He pulled Iruka to the kitchen, yanking to keep Iruka upright when the man stumbled, and pushed him into a chair. "You look like shit. Go take a shower, shave, and get dressed." Iruka glanced up at Kakashi, rubbing his fingers against stubble that'd become an uneven beard, and when Kakashi finished talking, he stood up, straggling from the kitchen.
Seven hours later Iruka was sitting on the couch, picking at loose threads in the blanket. Kakashi scratched as his head, still-damp hair cool against his fingers, and clutched a cup of coffee with his other hand. "You okay?" Kakashi asked, but Iruka was staring at the window, shaking fingers twitching, pulling the loose threads looser.
"Did you see Naruto?" Iruka's voice was tired, full of indifferent grey wisps, insubstantial and uncaring. Iruka's fingers tightened around the blanket, strong for a moment, and he glanced at Kakashi, and his face looked disgusted. "Did you see him, Kakashi?"
Kakashi didn't feel guilty. He wouldn't feel guilty, because it was Iruka that'd pushed him this far, that'd made everything in life a chore. It was Iruka, who didn't get out of bed until Kakashi screamed and cursed and pulled. It was Iruka, who forgot he was holding cigarettes until they'd burned away to ash, his fingers red-hot and white-blistered. It was Iruka, who threw up anything he ate, but didn't eat enough to throw up, and who was wasting away, a little more each day, with skin that clung to bones. It was Iruka that Kakashi hated, wanted to kill, wanted to strangle, that pushed Kakashi to this, because for once, for once, Kakashi couldn't push back, because Iruka wasn't there.
"Shut up," Kakashi snapped, but Iruka was already looking at the window again, and his face was as empty as his eyes. Kakashi drank his coffee, drank Iruka's, too, and poured another cup in the kitchen, drank it as he leaned against the counter, looking through the doorway and hallway and doorway, to watch Iruka stare at the window. He drank another cup of coffee, and another, until he felt sick, and then he poured the rest of the coffee down the sink, watched it drain away, staining the white a sickly yellow-brown-black, like Iruka's skin-hair-eyes.
When he returned to the couch, palming the crumpled cigarettes, Iruka glanced at him, watching as Kakashi threw himself into a chair, fingering his lighter, and there was a smile on Iruka's face.
"What?" Kakashi asked, and he lit a cigarette, then held it out for Iruka. Iruka took it with thin fingers, smile pale on his face. "Why're you so happy?"
"Moon's red," Iruka whispered, like it was a secret, and he took a draw, let out a breath of gray that faded away to nothing, just like he was. He turned back to look at the window, and Kakashi watched as the cigarette burned down. Kakashi didn't snatch it away until he could smell skin burning, and Iruka didn't blink, didn't look away from the window, not when Kakashi healed his fingers, or when Kakashi kissed his mouth, or when Kakashi jerked him off with fingers that were stained yellow from coffee and nicotine and a life that was dragging on far too long.
"Goodnight, Iruka," Kakashi said to Iruka, in the room that didn't have a window, because they couldn't afford an apartment that did have windows, because last time there was a window, Iruka opened it up wide, and smoked a cigarette, and jumped out, falling to the fucking ground like a fucking bird with broken wings. "Goodnight," Kakashi repeated, and Iruka didn't say anything, just stared at a window that didn't exist, and Kakashi watched, from the doorway, as Iruka slipped away, in little bits of smoke and gauze and souls that were sucked out with careless kisses from careless boys.
Iruka didn't leave the house anymore.
JB's note: Now, go read it again. Hey-Diddle put three pairings in there. Go on. You know you want to find them. ;)
The pairings are: KakaIru, KakaNaru ("Did you see him, Kakashi?"
Kakashi didn't feel guilty. He wouldn't feel guilty, because it was Iruka that'd pushed him this far…) and IruItachi ("Why're you so happy?"
"Moon's red," Iruka whispered, like it was a secret…)
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