Now (Yes. Right now.)

He woke slowly, to a pounding rhythm in his head. Not the good kind either, that told you that you had just a bit too much fun the night before. Not even the neutral kind, that told you there was a storm coming. No, it was the distinctly unpleasant kind that told you, "Hey! Someone bashed you over the head recently, and you probably look like Naruto after Sakura's done beating on him!"

It couldn't be a good thing.

He tried to search his memory. He remembered finishing up at the mission office. Locking the door. Thinking he needed to do laundry soon, because he was starting to smell funny (though he blamed it solely on Genma, and the fact that the man seemed to think it was hilarious to throw things at Iruka and see if he ducked in time. Usually, the man didn't throw food, and Iruka could only be glad that his reflexes were good for a Chuunin--undoubtedly from years of defending himself against Genma). Then he remembered pain.

Using his brilliant deductive powers (plus the fact that he remembered someone bashing him on the head) he deduced that he'd been bashed on the head.

Which led him back to the 'couldn't be a good thing' conclusion he'd had earlier.

Iruka opened one eye slowly. Very, very slowly, because he'd had these kinds of headaches before, and they were often followed by vomiting.

He didn't vomit. He did notice that he was lying on a bed. And someone was humming. He opened the other eye.

"Ah! Good! You're awake!" Kakashi said brightly, eye crinkling above his mask. "I wasn't sure if I was supposed to serve white wine or red wine--"

Iruka stopped listening. It was either that, or make his brain reboot due to total and utter confusion.

Even more carefully than before, he sat up.

He was on a bed.

In Kakashi's apartment.

In fact, he was tied to the bed.

In Kakashi's apartment.

He pulled at his ankle. Not a difficult knot to get out of. The talking had stopped. He looked up.

Kakashi wasn't glaring, because Kakashi never glared. He was, however, looking distinctly unimpressed.

"Kakashi-san," Iruka said slowly, "how did I get here?"

Kakashi's eye crinkled again. "I brought you."

"Jounin are insane," Gai had once told Iruka happily. "It's a requirement." Iruka tried not to think about that.

"I can see you brought me here," Iruka said patiently. "Do you mind explaining why?"

Kakashi motioned to a very small table that Iruka hadn't noticed. There were candles on it, still with the plastic wrapping around them, and food Iruka didn't recognize. "Dinner."

Most people, upon meeting Iruka, thought him to be a very pleasant and polite man. And he was. However, much like Gai was the most melodramatic man in Konoha, and Sasuke had been the most brooding teenager in Konoha, Iruka had the worst temper in Konoha. But unless one had taught Iruka, or Iruka had taught them, there was no way of knowing this.

Kakashi had done neither of those things.

Iruka was working hard to control said temper. "Kakashi," he said quietly, in a voice all his students knew meant they were a hair's breadth from dying and now would be a good time to either offer mangos or start making a hasty retreat, "did you hit me over the head, knock me out, and bring me here?"

Kakashi, who didn't know that tone of voice, and didn't keep mangos in his apartment anyway, only smiled behind his mask. "Actually, I hit a nerve cluster. It's for dinner."

"Why would you kidnap someone after they've already said they don't want to have dinner with you?" Iruka roared, twisting out of the rope and flying to his feet. "You stupid, arrogant, conceited, stupid--"

"You already said that," Kakashi said, backpedaling.

"Doubly stupid!" Iruka yelled. "Take me home! Now!" He supposed he actually could get home on his own, but it was the principle of the thing.

"But . . ." Kakashi looked truly confused. At least as confused as someone could be while wearing a mask, and with only one eye showing. "Dinner." He pointed at the little table.

The little table that had sharp chopsticks on it.

Iruka snatched them up and twirled them once. "You do NOT kidnap people just because you want a date! Especially when those people have already said no!"

"But I got new clothes," Kakashi said.

Iruka really didn't care. And, until Kakashi had pointed it out, he hadn't actually noticed. Once it was pointed out, he had to admit the clothes were nice. They certainly-- he yanked his mind away from that train of thought. He was angry, dammit. One did not kidnap one's acquaintance just so one could have dinner with them.

"You idiot!" he shouted, just to ramp up his fury once more.

Kakashi flinched.

Iruka flung one chopstick. As expected, Kakashi blocked it. "Take me home! Now! And apologize!" Iruka snapped.

"I'm sorry for blocking the chopstick?" Kakashi said, smiling.

"Not for that, you stupid insane Jounin! For kidnapping me!"

"But you're not kidnapped," Kakashi pointed out reasonably. "You know exactly where you are, and I'm not holding you against your will."

"You tied me to the damn bed!" Iruka yelled.

"Only so you wouldn't wake up and leave while I was in the kitchen."

Iruka stared. Kakashi smiled innocently. Once more, the mask ruined the effect.

This was the last time Iruka was taking on any secret missions from the Hokage.


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