Author Notes: Hello again everyone! Thank you once more for your wonderful reviews for the first chapter! You've all persuaded me to write the second one so I hope you enjoy it just as much :)

Warnings: None.

Rating: 'T'

Disclaimer: Naruto belongs to Masashi Kishimoto.

- Chapter Start -

Seventeen year old Maito Gai opened his eyes and squinted up at a canopy of leaves, pinpoints of sunshine showing through. He looked around and found himself lying in a small clearing, the ground dappled with sunshine.

Ah, that's right - he and Kakashi were on a two man mission to retrieve a stolen scroll. They managed to confront the thieves who turned out to be three jonin level ninja. Gai had exhausted his chakra completely after opening the Fifth Gate to take down two of them. The last thing he remembered was collapsing to the ground, Kakashi's alarmed voice calling out his name before everything went dark.

He didn't see any of those rogue ninja around which was reassuring, but where was Kakashi?

As if his thoughts had conjured up his eternal rival, familiar footsteps sounded with the soft crunch of dry leaves. A shadow fell across his face.

"Awake now, Gai?"

Kakashi crouched down beside him; slender, skilled, serious... and completely dry eyed at the close shave his teammate had had.

"How long was I out?" Gai asked. He wasn't pouting. It wasn't as if his life had been in real danger, wasn't as if he had opened the Eighth Gate or anything like that.

Kakashi sat cross legged on the ground and rested his hands on his knees, his uncovered eye darting around the clearing.

"About an hour."

"I see."

"I'm sure you've noticed we're not at that cliff side anymore. We should be reasonably safe here while you recover your strength."

Gai nodded and wondered how Kakashi had carried him here.

Over one shoulder like a sack of rice?

Piggyback style with Gai's face buried in that mass of soft silver hair?

Or bridal -

Gai gritted his teeth, keeping his question firmly behind them.

"I owe you one, rival," he said instead.

Kakashi's uncovered eye crinkled at him in that adora - never mind.

"Let's call it even," he suggested. "You took care of me during our last mission together."

Gai beamed up at him. Kakashi remembered! Well, of course he did; Kakashi was a prodigy and his memory - like every last bit of him - was exceptional. Not that Gai would ever tell him that.

Besides, said mission was only two weeks ago. Fourteen days in which neither of them had had a chance to talk about what happened. Gai had been sent on another mission the morning after they returned to the Leaf Village while Kakashi was laid up in the hospital. When Gai returned almost a week later, he found Kakashi had been sent on another mission. And so it went until they were finally paired up again this morning.

There hadn't been a chance to talk about it then either; retrieving the scroll was of utmost importance. Kakashi had set a blistering pace which Gai was able to keep up with. But now that the scroll was inside Kakashi's pack and they had some time to themselves...

Biting his lip, Gai wondered how to broach the subject. He watched absently as Kakashi fished out a flask and unscrewed the top. The jonin half turned away as he started to pull down his mask and then he froze, his uncovered eye going to Gai.

Gai stopped breathing at once. His heart started to pound faster but time slowed down, each second dragging out with the memory of their tentative kisses between them.

"Don't turn away, Kakashi," he said. "I know what you look like, remember?"

Kakashi didn't move at first and Gai almost turned blue in the face as he waited, still not breathing.

Finally, Kakashi shrugged and pulled down his mask in one quick motion, his uncovered eye closing as he took a drink.

Gai took in several noisy gulps of life giving oxygen as he stared. He knew he was staring, but he couldn't stop himself. He continued staring even after Kakashi lowered the flask and returned his look, that same silence stretching between them once more. Until...

"So."

"So."

Great. They had spoken together.

"You first," Gai offered.

"Are... are you thirsty?" Kakashi asked, holding up his still opened flask. His other hand was gripping the cap, fingers tightly clenched around it.

"No. I - I mean, yes!" Gai would have smacked himself in the head if he had been able to lift his hand. He had his own flask, but Kakashi was offering! "Yes, I am. Very thirsty."

It was true, he told himself, he was parched all of a sudden. His mouth got drier when Kakashi balanced the cap on his own knee before sliding a hand under Gai's head and lifting it a few inches off of the ground. It got drier still when Kakashi shifted closer, that same hand sliding further to clasp Gai's shoulder, causing his head to fall in the crook of Kakashi's elbow.

The mouth of the flask was placed at Gai's lips and he drank.

Drank down the cool water which tasted like the sweetest drink on earth because it was from Kakashi's flask and his lips had already touched it.

Drank in the sight of his esteemed rival's beautiful face so close to his, that one grey eye focused on his lips.

It was all Gai could do to swallow the water without choking.

- o -

Kakashi knew he was staring, but he couldn't stop himself. He continued staring even after Gai drained the contents of his flask. He had kissed those lips two weeks ago, or rather, been forced to kiss them. Again and again.

No. That wasn't true. Gai hadn't forced him. In fact, his sense of honour would have made him back off if not for Kakashi's subtle goading. Not that Kakashi would ever tell him that. He slid his arm out from Gai's shoulders and recapped the flask.

"Thanks."

"You're welcome."

Kakashi kept back his flask before reaching for the soft blue cloth under his chin. It was an automatic gesture, but a hand shot out lightning fast, strong fingers closing around his wrist.

"No. Don't."

They stared at each other.

"You can move again," Kakashi said, pointing out the obvious.

"A little," Gai replied. "Not enough to sit up and kiss you though."

Kakashi's lips twitched. He should have known Gai wouldn't beat about the bush, not with that determined glint in his eyes.

"I'm quite sure you could run all the way back home if you really wanted to," he countered.

Gai didn't even blink.

"Don't change the subject, Kakashi. I really want to kiss you," he said solemnly.

Kakashi's expression didn't change, but his heartbeat quickened.

"Why?"

Gai's cheeks turned pink, but he didn't break eye contact.

"Because I haven't been able to think of anything else for the past two weeks," he confessed in that same serious tone.

Kakashi exhaled softly. He supposed two Gai confessions equaled one Kakashi confession... more or less.

"Me either," he admitted, his lips quirking when Gai's eyes widened and his eyebrows shot up.

"So you did enjoy them, my esteemed rival!" The sheer volume of Gai's declaration made Kakashi wince. A ripe plum fell out of a nearby free, followed by a few more.

"I didn't say that!" Kakashi quickly denied. One admission was more than enough for Gai to blow things out of proportion; Kakashi didn't dare think what a second one would do.

Seeing Gai's eyes starting to brim with tears, Kakashi gave another quick glance around before bending down until his lips were a scant inch from Gai's. Then he stopped.

"Why are you stopping?" Gai whispered.

"I don't know."

"You know I can't do anything right now."

"I know."

Slowly, Kakashi closed the gap between them, intending it to be a quick peck on the lips - he didn't want to come across as desperate. As soon as their lips met, a large hand cupped the back of his head and pressed it down firmly.

"Mpff!"

"Kiss me," Gai whispered against his lips.

At least that was what Kakashi thought he said; it sounded more like 'Khiff vee'.

"Mpff!" Kakashi struggled to raise his head. When he felt the pressure of Gai's hand lighten, he jerked his head up, annoyed.

"You were squashing our mouths together!" he scolded.

Gai squirmed and looked sheepish.

"I'm sorry, Kakashi. I was afraid you would..." he trailed off.

Kakashi narrowed his uncovered eye at him.

"You were afraid I would what?"

Gai squirmed again.

"Ehm. Not... kiss me properly."

"Are you saying I don't know how to kiss?" Kakashi demanded. Granted, the entire sum of his kissing experience was with Gai two weeks ago, but-

"No! No, that's not what I meant!" Gai protested, looking dismayed. "You kissed wonderfully! I... I was afraid you would just give me a brief one and that would be it."

Staring down at that earnest face, Kakashi exhaled. Gai was more intelligent than he let on and a lot more intelligent than other people gave him credit for. He had already guessed what Kakashi planned to do and circumvented it, almost without him realising it.

"I won't," Kakashi promised and lowered his head again.

The resultant kiss was long, slow and immeasurably sweet, leading to a few more that had them grinning like fools when they parted.

Kakashi was still smiling when he pulled up his mask, ignoring the loud groan of protest from Gai. He should quit while he was still ahead... because there really was no telling what Gai would do once he recovered his strength.

- Story End -

A/N: Thank you for reading! Please do leave a comment if you enjoyed it :)