Author Notes: Hello everyone! Welcome to my first attempt at a pre-KakashixGai story. Two jonin who belong together in my opinion. Enjoy :)
Disclaimer: Naruto belongs to Masashi Kishimoto.
- Story Start -
Sixteen year old Kakashi Hatake woke up to find himself staring at an unfamiliar ceiling. He looked around, moving only his uncovered eye and realised he was in a small hut, lying on what felt like a bed.
Ah, that's right - he and Gai were on a mission to locate and take down a team of skilled rogue ninja. He had exhausted his chakra completely after using his Sharingan and the last thing he remembered was falling onto his back and Gai's concerned face filling his vision before everything went dark.
The fact that there wasn't a circle of armed ninja glowering menacingly down at him was reassuring, but Kakashi sighed. He couldn't have been out for long if he was still too weak to do more than turn his head. He was wearing his headband pulled low over his left eye, but his mask had been pulled down to below his chin. In its place was a soft cloth over his nose and mouth and, judging from the knob at the back of his head, tied there just below his headband knot.
One of Gai's large orange handkerchiefs by the smell of it.
As if his thoughts had conjured up the man, solid and familiar footsteps sounded from outside and a long shadow fell across the room.
"Ah, so you are awake, my esteemed rival!"
Gai marched over to the bed, solid and muscular and dependable. All jovial personality, huge smile, ultra white teeth... and a suspicious shine to his eyes.
"How long was I out?" Kakashi asked.
Gai leaned over and stared down at him, one large palm flat on the bed beside Kakashi's head to support his weight. Staring down at him the same way he had been staring the whole time Kakashi was unconscious, no doubt. Kakashi kept quiet, but Gai's blinding grin faltered after a moment.
"About two hours."
Gai's grin returned full force, if somewhat... forced.
"As I'm sure you've noticed, Kakashi, I have removed your mask!"
"I... uh, I just wanted to make sure your jaw wasn't injured! You took a punch to the face if I recall correctly."
"No, I didn't."
"No? Well, my eyes must have deceived me then! But no matter, I made you another mask. With my handkerchief!"
Another blinding grin burst forth.
"Don't worry, it's clean. I only used it once. Or twice."
They stared at each other before Gai shifted on his feet.
"Should I put your mask back on then?"
Gai nodded. His hand flipped onto its back and slid around the back of Kakashi's head, cupping and lifting it with ease. Deft fingers of his other hand pulled at the lower knot and withdrew the makeshift mask.
Feeling exposed and a little vulnerable, Kakashi waited for his own mask to be pulled up in place.
- o -
Gai froze, both hands now flat on the bed on either side of Kakashi's head, arms straight and locked at the elbows. He stared down at the masterpiece that was Kakashi's unveiled face, one he had already committed to memory over the past two hours. The pale smooth skin and the right heavy lidded eye that crinkled in the most adora - ehm, that crinkled when he smiled. The straight slim nose, narrow jaw and perfectly normal looking lips.
Nothing really out of the extraordinary, but arrange them all together on the face of his eternal rival and best friend and the result was astoundingly good. Very, very easy on the eye.
"Why do you hide it? Your face?" he found himself whispering.
"I have my reasons."
Kakashi didn't whisper, but his voice was so soft he might as well have. Then he cleared his throat.
"My mask, Gai."
Gai nodded and hooked his index finger in the soft dark blue material below Kakashi's chin. Then he stared blankly down at it as if he had no idea what it was.
"Pull it up for me?" Kakashi prompted, his tone neither a command nor a plea.
Gai nodded again and started pulling up the mask. Then he froze.
They were both alone right now. More importantly, Kakashi was unmasked and quite unable to move.
Was Gai not going to do anything about it? Really?
Placing his palms flat on the bed again, he slowly bent his elbows. A bit... and then a bit more. And more still until his face was hovering over Kakashi's, seeing that uncovered eye grow wide. Only six inches separated their mouths, warm breaths starting to mingle. Kakashi's remained slow and even, but Gai's turned shallow - unforgivable, considering the countless hours he had devoted to mastering every part of his body.
He wasn't going to back down though. Maito Gai never did. He would steal a kiss from his beautiful rival or be haunted for the rest of his life if he didn't. A quick one. Just a peck on the lips. Kakashi couldn't - wouldn't - shouldn't - kill him for this, should he?
Yes, they were rivals, but they were trusted rivals!
So - a kiss. Yes. Gai deserved this much. He bent closer until their lips were just an inch apart and then he stopped, cursing himself mentally. He couldn't. He would be kissing someone who wouldn't be able to stop him.
It wouldn't be fair.
"Why are you stopping?"
Guy swallowed, a litany of stupid, idiot, baka and the like echoing ceaselessly through his brain.
"I don't know," he said on a groan.
"You know I can't stop you."
A raised eyebrow signaled Kakashi's puzzlement.
"Because you didn't say yes," Gai confessed at last. He was nothing if not an honest person.
"Well, you didn't ask."
Gai's eyes opened wide at that, bushy eyebrows shooting up.
Gai's nostrils flared as he uttered another groan, made up of one part amusement and three parts pain. It sounded a lot like an animal dying.
Squeezing his eyes shut, he took a deep breath to center his thoughts as well as compress - as tightly as he could - the destruction going on inside his chest. Then optimism surged up inside him again, eternal and youthful optimism, full of hot blooded passion. And with it came realisation.
"But you can't stop me now, my esteemed rival," Gai pointed out quietly.
"You are right. I can't."
With renewed resolve, Gai closed his eyes as well as the gap between them. He had never kissed anyone before and he didn't want to botch it up. His lips were wet while Kakashi's were dry, but the resultant touch was... oh so soft.
They stayed like that for several moments, just touching and breathing, eyes squeezed shut. Then just as Gai started to raise his head, Kakashi's lips puckered. Gai jerked back in shock, eyes flying wide open again.
"You kissed me back," he said in wonderment before a joyful grin burst forth. "You kissed me back, rival."
"I did not." Kakashi glanced to the side, looking bored.
"You so did!" Gai insisted, now grinning from ear to ear. He lowered his head and pressed his lips to Kakashi's again, tilting his head to make them fit better. This time, Kakashi's lips puckered almost immediately, moulding to his.
With his heart pounding away in triumph, Gai lifted his head and gave another blinding grin.
"You kissed me back, Kakashi!"
Kakashi just huffed. He looked bored as usual, but there was a slight pink in his cheeks. Gai beheld that wondrous image for as long as he could until his vision wavered and blurred, thanks to the flood of inevitable tears.
"I did not," Kakashi said, "but if a drop of that snot lands on me, you are so dead."
Gai stopped grinning just long enough to wipe the back of one hand across his runny nose.
"I am not crying."
"Yeah, sure you're not."
Kakashi's uncovered eye and lips were smiling, and his voice had turned very gentle.
That was it. Gai straightened up and rushed out of the hut. He blew his nose on the handkerchief he found clutched in his hand, the resultant loud honk scaring a flock of birds out of a nearby tree.
He wasn't crying. OK, so he was, but they were manly tears, and only because he was relieved he wasn't dead yet. Well, of course he wasn't. Kakashi was powerless right now, unable to move or get up from the bed, let alone fight him in any way, method or form.
Of course Gai could still end up dead later, but there was no denying Kakashi had kissed him back. Putting his hands on his hips, Gai gave the trees around him his trademark toothy grin complete with sparkle. He would stay with Kakashi until he recovered his strength and then the two of them would return home to the Leaf Village.
"Gai. My mask."
Blinking, Gai turned to head back into the hut, his grin widening further. He would steal another kiss - or a few more - from Kakashi before pulling up his mask for him.
Just because he could.
And also because there really was no telling how fast his esteemed rival would recover.
- Story End -
A/N: Thank you for reading! *nervous smile* So... how was it?