Chapter Eighteen

They'd had dinner--soup, salad, and bread, and Kakashi had apologized for it not being better, even though it was delicious--and then they settled down on the floor, Kakashi at Iruka's back. Iruka had realized pretty quickly that he wasn't going home tonight. He'd never seen the Jounin touch anyone so much, as if making sure that Iruka really was alive, and not a figment of his imagination. The ninja had even stripped Iruka's shirt off, insisting he needed to check the scars again.

Iruka just let him. He liked the contact, and Kakashi seemed to need it.

"I like your hair down," Kakashi said once, threading fingers through it. "Soft."

Iruka smiled slightly. It was almost dry, heavy on his neck, and silky. He liked it best at this stage. "So where am I sleeping tonight?" he asked, glancing around. There wasn't much room in the tiny apartment; no couch, and only the one futon.

"There," Kakashi said, pointing to the bed.

Iruka eyed it. "Then where will you sleep?"

Kakashi shrugged. "On the floor."

"Why don't I sleep on the floor, and you can sleep in your bed?"

There was a horrified silence.

"I haven't vacuumed in three days," Kakashi said.

Iruka rolled his eyes. "Three whole days?" he teased, glancing back. Kakashi continued checking the fresh scars, like he'd been doing for nearly twenty minutes, as if afraid they might open up again. At Iruka's question he just nodded solemnly, apparently not realizing it wasn't a serious query.

Iruka laughed and leaned back into the other man's chest. He felt Kakashi stiffen, then relax slowly. A moment later arms wrapped around the Chuunin's waist, a head of silver hair coming down to nuzzle Iruka's neck. Iruka sighed happily. He could hear Kakashi's heart thumping under his skin, slow and comfortable.

"Why do you wear the forehead protector in your home?" he asked, looking up at the masked face.

Kakashi shrugged. "The Sharingan gives me a headache. I can't turn it off." Then he reached up and pulled the cloth off, setting it on the floor.

"Well, if it makes you hurt, leave it on," Iruka said with a frown.

Kakashi smiled. "It won't hurt just for a night."

Iruka kept his frown. "If you're sure . . ."

"I've lived with it for fifteen years. Iím sure."

Iruka gave in and settled again, his skin prickling against Kakashi's shirt. He moved as the scars tingled. "Feels funny," he explained, when Kakashi made an inquisitive noise.

"It's going to feel funnier in a second, if you keep wiggling like that," Kakashi murmured.

Iruka frowned, started to say he didn't get it, and then saw Kakashi's face and both raised eyebrows. He realized how he was sitting--leaning back against the man's lap and chest--and blushed hotly. "Oh. Right. Sorry."

"I didn't say it was a bad thing." Kakashi's voice was low.

Iruka hadn't thought it was possible, but his blush deepened. "You're terrible."

"That's not what other people tell me . . ."

Iruka snorted and tried to elbow the Jounin. Kakashi just moved, swiftly enough to block it and lock Iruka's arms in place. "That's better," he said smugly.

"Bastard," Iruka muttered, trying to yank free.

Kakashi only shifted his grip and held on, fingers strong around the younger man's wrists.

"Let me go," Iruka said, scowling.

"What's the magic word?"


Kakashi laughed softly, breath gusting against the shell of an ear. "I don't think so."

Iruka struggled again. Kakashi started to move, inching them both back until he was sitting against the wall, Iruka in his lap. "You asshole," Iruka groused, twisting his wrists to break Kakashi's hold.

Kakashi's hold didn't break. "That's definitely not the magic word."

"Who talks about magic words anymore, anyway? Mothers do that to little kids, not--" he stopped.

"Not what?"


"What?" Kakashi asked, sitting up slightly straighter. "What were you going to call me?"

"Nothing," Iruka ground out. "Would you let me go?"

"No. What were you going to say?"

Iruka felt himself start to blush again. "You're an ass."

"We're going to sit here until you tell me what you were going to say."

"Please let me go," Iruka said, giving in.

"Too late for the magic word. Besides, the magic word is 'salsa.'"

"What?" Iruka yelped, laughing. "The magic word can't be salsa! That makes no sense!"

"What were you going to say?"

Iruka blushed harder and fell silent. He wasn't going to say it. It was embarrassing. What if Kakashi didn't agree?

"What?" Kakashi breathed into his ear.

That bastard was teasing him. He was certain of it. Kakashi's pinkies moved, drifting up and down Iruka's bare skin. Iruka didn't squirm. He would not squirm. And damn it, he wasn't going to get turned on, either, because if he thought blushing was embarrassing, that was even worse.

He felt Kakashi's nose drift behind his earlobe. "What were you going to say?"

Crap. He was getting turned on, and in a minute Kakashi was going to know that, and--crap. "I was going to say," Iruka bit off, "'Mothers do that to little kids, not adults who are dating.'" He was pretty sure no one had ever died from blushing before, so he hoped when it happened to him he at least got an award for it.

"Dating? Is that what we're doing?" Kakashi was still speaking into his ear, breath warm against Iruka's skin.

"I don't know," Iruka said, managing not to stutter. "Are we?"

"Hmm. I'd like that."

His heart dropped out of his throat. He turned his head slightly, catching Kakashi out of the corner of his eye. The man turned too, nuzzling at his neck.

Iruka swallowed. "Kakashi?"


He wasn't sure what he was going to ask, so he just stayed silent. Kakashi nuzzled his throat and then around, warming the skin, lifting his hair.

"Will you let me go now?" Iruka asked quietly.

"No," Kakashi said into the nape of his neck. "I thought you were dead. I'm not letting you out of my sight."

"I'm not dead. I wasn't anywhere near being dead, and you can't exactly come to class with me," Iruka said, trying desperately not to think about how tight his pants were getting. He brought his knees up. "That would cause questions."

"Mmm." Kakashi didn't seem to care. He blew on Iruka's skin, making goosebumps.

"Kakashi . . ."


He bit his lip. He didn't know what to say. He shivered when Kakashi's pinkies shifted again, rubbing against his ribs. He turned his head, because at least he could kiss back, and saw mask.

He'd be damned if he was going to kiss cloth. "Take the mask off?" he asked quietly.

Kakashi froze.

Iruka's heart sank. "Kakashi, Iím not kissing a mask," he said patiently, hoping. "Please. Take it off."

The grip on his wrists released, freeing him. He rolled forward, crouching, lust rapidly replaced by fright. The neurosis couldn't be this strong. Please, please it couldn't be this strong.

"I can't . . ." Kakashi said quietly, refusing to meet his gaze. Then the eyes flickered up, filled with pain and confusion and a scary dollop of fear.

Iruka's heart sank. He stood slowly, nodding, and walked toward the door.

"Iruka--" Kakashi started, the word almost choked out.

Iruka paused. Outside, a dog howled. "It's all right," he said softly. He reached out and turned off the light. Blackness fell so completely he couldn't see his hand in front of his face.

Everyone had neuroses. He had known this would be a strong one. "Take off the mask?" he asked into the dark, softly.

There was a hesitation, and then the sound of cloth being pulled away. Iruka made his way slowly back to Kakashi, for once glad that there was so little furniture to trip on. He knelt when he found the man, fingers on Kakashi's shoulders to guide him. He slid his hands down wiry arms, feeling the tremble beneath the shirt, and then, when he was on the floor, slid his hands back up to the Jounin's shoulders.

He hesitated there, afraid to push, but--

He brushed his fingers up Kakashi's neck, over his jawline, drifting over the man's mouth. His skin was damp from the moisture trapped by the mask, but mostly smooth. Iruka could feel a scar on one cheek, and suspected it was the continuation of the one over the Sharingan eye. Something thin trailed down the side of his neck. An old scar, cutting frighteningly close to the jugular.

Kakashi let him feel for several seconds before trapping his fingers and pulling them away. The Jounin's hands were still trembling. Iruka leaned forward and kissed him. After a moment, with a shaky breath, Kakashi kissed back.

Iruka tugged until his hands were free, then slid them around the back of the Jounin's head, through soft hair, pulling him closer. His stomach trembled with nerves, his skin tingling.

Kakashi's mouth opened, and his tongue licked teasingly out. Iruka parted his lips but it was already gone. Kisses feathered over his jaw and down his neck, whispers of sensation that sent heat trailing through his body.

Iruka tilted his head back to give the man better access, biting his lip and closing his eyes. He let his hands slide down the Jounin's neck, over skin pulled tight across tendons, and hit cloth. Kakashi's hands drifted down his back, careful over the new scars. Iruka shivered when strong fingers flexed, nails testing his flesh, and Kakashi shifted nearer. The man kissed his shoulder, open mouthed, hot and wet, tongue teasing his skin.

Iruka bit down on an ear. The Jounin jumped and breathed a laugh over him. Smiling, Iruka licked, and was rewarded with a shudder. He kept licking, nibbling the shell of the man's ear, tasting salt and musk. He managed to keep kissing while he pulled Kakashi's shirt off. Only fair that they were equally naked, after all.

Skin slid softly around his waist, down over his pants to his hips, then suddenly Kakashi lifted and pulled. Iruka bit back a yelp and found himself sitting in the other man's lap, one knee on either side of Kakashi's hips.

"You're sure about this?" the Jounin asked quietly, nuzzling the underside of his jaw.

Iruka swallowed, then blushed when he realized Kakashi probably heard that. A tongue flicked out, velvety soft, following the pulse in his throat. "I--yeah." He dragged his nails down the man's stomach, over defined muscles and scarred flesh. Softness was broken by ridges of tissue, battle scars both old and new. He traced them with his fingers, felt the way they skipped and started, eventually fading into nothing.

Kakashi's breathing hitched. "You weren't before."

Iruka ran his hands back up, then brushed the pads of his fingers up Kakashi's neck, around his jaw, and he held the man there while he kissed him again. This time, it was Iruka who opened his mouth and smoothed his tongue over Kakashi's lips, licking soft skin. The man's mouth opened. Iruka dipped his tongue, sliding into the other man, into heat and wetness and everything slick. A hand slid down his back, pressing him closer, chest to chest.

Eventually, Iruka pulled far enough away to breathe. "I was covered in paint, before," he said against Kakashi's mouth, lips tingling.

"Oh." Thumbs trailed around, over his pants, down the crease of hip and leg. His muscles tightened as Kakashi brushed along the inside of his thigh, soft and careful. His breath shuddered against the other man, and he realized--good grief, he was going to come in his pants at this rate, and that would just be humiliating.

Iruka squirmed. Kakashi stopped instantly.


"No--it's all right, I just . . . um . . ." How was he supposed to explain this? 'Kakashi, I need you to stop petting me because you're just too damn hot, and also, what exactly do I do with my hands?' wasn't something he felt he could say. Kakashi's chest and shoulders were nice and all, but there were far more interesting areas, and what if he did something wrong?

He realized he was blushing furiously about the same time an amused voice said, "Iruka? Are you sunburned again?"

The blush deepened. "Yes," he said on a rueful laugh. "I am."

There was a moment of awkward silence, and Iruka became very aware that he was straddling the other man's lap in a most undignified manner.

"If you don't want to do this . . ." Kakashi started.

"No! I mean, I do! I just . . . don't know how," he finished miserably.

"Oh." They were silent. "There's not exactly a right way and wrong way, I don't think . . ." Kakashi said. His hands moved, stroking up and down the outsides of Iruka's arms, more soothing than anything.

This was so embarrassing. "There's always a right way and wrong way," Iruka muttered. "The way that it's good is the right one, and the way people don't like it is the wrong one."

Kakashi chuckled.

Iruka frowned. That hadn't sounded like Kakashi's normal chuckle. His half-smirk, amused-at-you sort of way. It sounded more like . . .

He reached a hand up, feeling for the man's face. He sensed Kakashi pull away and then freeze, holding still while Iruka rubbed a hand along his jaw. Iruka took a deep breath and leapt. "Are you nervous?"

"I--no! What do I have to be nervous about?"

Iruka's eyes narrowed. Those words were much too fast. "I'm nervous. Because I've never done this, and if I screw it up then we might not want to do it again. And--" he started to blush again. "And it's really embarrassing to ask what to do, but Iím not sure what I should do--"

Kakashi leaned forward and kissed him. Iruka opened his mouth, letting Kakashi's tongue slide between his lips, tasting.

Okay. That was nice.

"Bed?" Kakashi asked, murmuring the word against his mouth.

Iruka nodded. Beds were good.

Kakashi rolled to his knees--not an easy feat, with Iruka on his lap--and then up, carrying the Chuunin.

"I really wish you wouldn't do this," Iruka muttered against his shoulder, clinging for dear life, certain he was going to be dropped. He was pretty sure he weighed more than Kakashi did, and besides, it wasn't at all manly.

"But friction is good," Kakashi grumbled back, and shifted his grip so Iruka moved.

Oh. Oh. Iruka clung and dropped his forehead against Kakashi's shoulder. Friction was good.

The world fell as Kakashi nearly crashed onto the futon. Iruka braced, but the Jounin caught himself before collapsing entirely. Iruka felt a nose push at his jaw and he moved. Lips and teeth nibbled at skin, and a wet tongue licked just behind his ear. Iruka shivered and slid his hands down along Kakashi's back, wrapping his leg around the other man's knee and rubbing up with his foot. He heard the Jounin hiss, and then the man was kissing his collarbones, alternating licking down his chest and he bit a nipple--

Shit, Iruka had never really realized nipples could be sensitive. He felt teeth on his skin, trailing down the line of his abdomen. A tongue licked a stripe over his belly button, hot from Kakashi's mouth and cold from the air, making Iruka hiss. The Jounin paused there, flicking into his navel and out again before moving on. There were teeth on his hip, and hands sliding under his pants, lifting and pulling.

Iruka couldn't reach Kakashi anymore; not more than wisps of silver hair. He dug his fingers into the blanket instead, his body drawing tighter. The sweatpants, too big to begin with, pulled off easily and--oh, geez--a tongue licked the crease between hip and leg.

"Ka--" He didn't finish the word, biting it off as Kakashi's tongue went farther down, sliding against the base of his cock before licking a line up. Iruka's body pulled tight, hands knotting in the sheets. This was going to kill him, but it would be the best death ever. The Jounin breathed against his head, then it was hot and wet and, lords help him, that was Kakashi's mouth sliding down over his skin--

Iruka bit down on a scream, his entire body pulling together into one white point that seemed to drag on forever, pulsing through him like heat lightning, whipping across nerve endings over and over. He felt Kakashi move up, shifting above him, thrusting against his flesh, and nearly cried because the man's dick was rubbing against his, smearing semen, and that was too damn sensitive and at the same time very, very good. He reached up, wrapping his arms around the narrow chest and biting down on the shoulder near his face.

Kakashi stiffened, his own cry muffled into Iruka's neck, and trembled for a long moment before collapsing half to one side.

They both lay, a little voice in the back of Iruka's mind telling him that maybe coming that quick was embarrassing, too. But Kakashi had, and so . . . well, he would worry about it in the morning. Some vague part of him wondered what had happened to their clothes, and how much of a mess they'd just made. Most of him really didn't care. All of him was rapidly drifting into sleep.

He woke a bit when Kakashi sprawled half over him, reaching out. Iruka turned his head and saw a black pile of clothing, barely a shape in the dark, the Jounin shaking something free. With a frown Iruka realized it was the mask.

He held out a sleepy hand and stopped the other man. "Don't," he said softly, fingers on Kakashi's forearm. Deep in the back of his mind, he wondered how bad the compulsion was, that Kakashi would feel the need to wear a mask to bed.

Most of him was too tired and sated to think about it much.

Kakashi hesitated, then completed the motion, bringing the mask to the futon. There, he paused again, and just set it on the nightstand rather than putting it on.

Iruka sighed happily and let himself go to sleep.


Kakashi stared in the mirror, peering at his face. He looked like his father. He looked like his entire family.

He rubbed away the dried blood on his lip, knowing his sensei would ask questions if he saw it. He didn't want to say that the Genins tried to beat him up, and he let them. That would only cause more questions.

His hands were shaking. He didn't want to look at himself. He couldn't not look. Ugly, and horrible, and--and--

He made a fist and smashed it into the mirror. The mirror was stronger than he was, though, and held. He wanted to scream at it. Slash his skin off so he looked nothing like that man that was his father. So people wouldn't hate him so much.

But that would cause questions.

He stumbled back, dropping onto his futon, and stared at the floor.

He would cover it up. That would work. He would cover his face, and no one would ever see him, and everything would be better. His sensei might ask questions, but--but--ninja used to cover their faces. He would say it was out of respect. Sensei would believe him.

Kakashi looked around, eyes finally falling on his bedsheet. That would do. He grabbed a kunai off the dresser and ripped into it, tearing off a corner. Once he had a long enough piece to wrap around his head he stood, walking back to the mirror.

He stared hard at his reflection. Then, slowly, he covered his face and tied the black cloth tight around his skull.

He never wanted to see himself again.


To chapter nineteen
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