Author's note: So one of my resolutions this year is to try to finish this story or at the very least add more than a couple chapters to it. And this small chapter is a way to get the ball rolling, if only to myself.

Chapter 19


Iruka slowed down his pace as he neared his classroom. His dark, brown eyes narrowed in suspicion at the silence. When he had left it, the class had been very loud. He hadn't been gone long enough for them to have grown bored, and fallen asleep as a lot of them had the habit of doing in the mornings.

On the other hand, he had been gone for enough time for a jounin of Kakashi's skill level to have done 'something' to the class. Iruka's mind was filled with images of the children stuck in 'Kanashibari no jutsu', the body freeze jutsu. Then, the chunin was struck with a worse idea, what if instead of the kids being controlled by Kakashi, the jounin had fallen prey to their deceptively innocent faces.

Dreading what he would find, and cursing himself for leaving Kakashi at the relentless mercy of his students, Iruka opened the door.

His eyes widened in surprise at what he saw.

Every single student had a Kakashi standing in front of them, or sitting next to them, answering their questions in low voices. Shadow clones, a lot of them, so that each student had the attention of one and, in some cases two, as they demonstrated a move.

The original Kakashi was sitting at the desk with his feet up on the counter and his favorite book in his hand.

Iruka bit back a smile. It seemed that having the jounin teach his class was a very good idea after all. Though, he was going to have to ask him to put THAT book away.

A frantic whimper caught his attention and he tilted his head as he followed the noise upwards.

There, flat against the ceiling, were two of his most trouble making students, when you didn't count Konohamaru and his friends. The boys' eyes were wide and frantic. Their own hands were clamped over their mouths but it was obvious that wasn't their choice from the pathetic noises they were making to catch his attention.

Startled, Iruka blinked and stared for a surprised second before looking back down and fighting back a smile. It wouldn't do for the kids to see their teacher laughing at them. Only a jounin of Kakashi's stature would be able to get away with doing such a thing, Iruka snorted mentally.

Iruka walked over to Kakashi biting his lower lip and reddening from the effort of holding in his laughter.

Kakashi peeked over at the chunin he'd been watching for since he sensed Iruka coming up the hallway that led to the room. The silver-haired jounin smirked underneath his mask when he saw the teacher's eyes widen at the sight of the brats attached to the ceiling. Well, that would teach them, he thought. Attacking a ninja of his level with that kind arsenal was the height of stupidity.

He didn't relax his pose on the chunin's desk when Iruka stood next to him. His face getting redder and his mouth flattened into a straight line. For a second, Kakashi feared that Iruka was angry at what he had done to the kids, after all he was older and more skilled then they were. Any unbiased observer could easily consider it an abuse of his higher shinobi skills. They weren't even genins but rather students who had just been accepted into the Academy. But then he saw the wild sparkle of laughter in the other man's dark eyes. Instantly, muscles he hadn't even realized had tensed up, relaxed and his visible eye curved up with happiness.

"I-I'm almost afraid to ask what they did," Iruka gasped, a subtle shade mirth made his voice tremble.

Kakashi silently reached into one of the desk drawers and pulled out the weapon of choice of those two pranksters.

The red water balloon in his gloved hand jiggled around as Kakashi presented it to Iruka.

Iruka snorted lightly and rubbed his eyes in chagrin wondering if this idea was partly his fault for letting his students play with the chakra created water bubbles yesterday. "Please, at least tell me that they didn't attack you directly," he begged, hoping to find some kind of silver lining from his students' actions.

"No. It was a direct attack." Kakashi said lazily.

Iruka groaned then turned and glared up at the troublemakers.

The two boys were instantly silenced and cowered. Which was a mean feat, since they were still glued to the ceiling. Both felt a sudden wave of relief to be out of their teacher's reach. Iruka-sensei was very, very scary when angered.

And not just the instantly temper trigger he had when he just yelled at them for a few minutes before calming down. No, he also had the slow smoldering anger that could keep going for days and days until you threw yourself at his mercy while begging for forgiveness. And seriously hoping he would put down that kunai he had clutched in a white-knuckled grip.

Iruka's thoughts sped quickly as he tried to figure out the best punishment possible he could put the two boys through. It had to be the perfect kind. They had, not only disobeyed him after he had told the entire class to behave but they had also disrespected a far more senior ninja. Really, using a jounin for target practice with water balloons was a near guarantee at a short life expectancy as it was possible to get while in the middle of the village.

The school teacher refused to let any students of his harbor such idiotic notions. Such lax thinking would get them killed. If they ever graduated from the academy. He was definitely marking their permanent record for this.

Kakashi watched Iruka with interest. He could almost see when Iruka decided to what to do with his students. A nearly malicious glint appeared in his dark eyes. It made Kakashi's insides flutter happily.

"I'm going to be taking them outside for a while." Iruka said calmly. "You don't mind staying in charge a bit longer do you?"

The jounin shook his head, silver spikes moving with water-like ripples. After the two boys had attacked and he had stuck them to the ceiling the entire class had not made a even the slightest move against him. If anything they went out of their way to be extra respectful.

It was a nice, though boring, change from the screaming disrespect he usually got from his team.

"You can let them go now." Iruka smiled at Kakashi. His brown eyes glinted with humor, "Feel free do drop them."

Kakashi's single visible eye curved up in response as he canceled the jutsu with an inaudible 'kai'.

Both men watched the two pranksters hit the floor with a simultaneous thuds. Their hands were finally free from their mouths, so both boys groaned loudly pretending to be more hurt then they actually were in hopes of evoking a smidgen of pity from their school teacher.

Not that Iruka would fall for such a transparent attempt to garner sympathy. He knew his students too well. And he knew the limits of punishment that they could take. That kind of fall wouldn't even leave bruises.

He walked over to them and tapped a sandaled foot in clear warning for the boys not to continue to try his patience. This made both younglings scramble to their feet all while trying to look innocent.

"Follow me," Iruka said, his voice tinged with exasperation. Then he lead them out the door.

Kakashi watched them leave and flickered his eye onto the class just in case one of the brats was inclined to attack him again. But all he saw was the rather sympathetic expression on their little faces and the empty seat were Konohamaru had been sitting.

All was well…..

Iruka would come back soon…..

…And find an empty seat……

……where a student….should have been…..

Alarm, of the mild non-life threatening sort, flared red hot inside the jounin. And made him scan the room in one swift, yet incredibly probing, glance.

No Konohamaru anywhere in sight. Though his two friends had that too guileless, 'I Have No Idea What is Going On' look that set off Kakashi's alarm to higher frequencies. They knew exactly where the boy was and exactly what he was doing, if they didn't he would never wear his mask again!

The jounin briefly regretted that he had agreed not to hurt any of the little bastards too badly. A good interrogation would have cracked those two and they would have spilled on exactly where Konohamaru had gotten himself to. And the fastest method of interrogation worked best when physical pain was involved. It was only when you had the prisoner captured and could take your time with it, that psychological methods could be used that could peel a mind like a grape and never harm the body. But Kakashi didn't think he had that sort of temporal freedom.

When had the brat gotten away? He had been here when Iruka entered the room. Kakashi was certain of that fact.

Kakashi felt a slight flush rush up into his cheeks as realization dawned on him. When Iruka had entered the room all his attention had focused on the chunin. Naruto at his clumsiest could have snuck out and he wouldn't have paid much attention to the racket. Even the very most paranoid part of his mind that monitored every possible threat had relaxed and been enjoying Iruka's presence.

He cursed himself, and made a mental note to ask that Iruka never be teamed up with him on any mission in the foreseeable future. At least not until he had eradicated his newly discovered weakness in his defenses. Otherwise such a mission with the chunnin would just end with both of them dead and that would serve no one. Plus he wouldn't be alive to enjoy the other man's presence.

He could see the class watching him out of corner of his eye. Some were pretty good, taking small casual glances that would have seemed completely normal if it wasn't for the rare few that were openly smirking and staring at him as if waiting for his reaction.

They were evil little critters. Kakashi respect for all the academy teachers rose by several notches. He also felt a sympathetic pang for the teachers he'd had in the past. The only soothing thought was that he'd only been in the Academy for only a brief time compared to regular students. So, he couldn't have brought his teachers that much trouble…could he have?

He had the sinking feeling that he'd be composing letters of apologies to his long ago instructors before the day was out.

Not bothering to be stealthy about his actions, the jounin signaled his a couple of his clones to pick up Konohamaru's friends.

There were forms of interrogation that left no physical traces. And he wouldn't even need to use the any special jutsus. Though he did feel somewhat strange over having to break out Anbu skills on children. Even if they were evil.

He decided he would take them out of the sight of the rest of the class. But first he set a gen-jutsu so that none of the other would take this as an opportunity to try to escape. He was exasperated enough about having to chase down a lone academy student without making increasing his search thirty-fold.

And he was under a time constraint. He had no idea when Iruka would return from whatever torment he was inflicting on his students.

Kakashi didn't want the chunin teacher to return to a class with a missing student. Well, to be honest with himself he didn't think that the chunnin would be that terribly upset since Iruka had Naruto experience when it came to dealing with rowdy kids. Kakashi just hated to think that the man would feel any kind of disappointment in him. He didn't want to risk the slightest chance that he would fall in Iruka's esteem.

That more than anything was the driving force behind his determination to get Konohamaru back.

He found an empty classroom just a couple of doors over, which was rather fortunate, since the kids were squirming and loudly complaining in his grip. He didn't feel like dragging them too far, and the closer he remained to the rest of the class the better.

He decided to start this off easy, "Okay, brats. Talk."

Both kids, exchanged a look with each other before turning back to face Kakashi. The girl child made a locking motion with her hands over her mouth before she passed an invisible key to her friend who sniffed moistly before also locking his mouth and tossing the key over his shoulder.

Kakashi's visible eye narrowed. So, they wanted to this the hard way.

Just as his hands started to meet up to start a sequence of seals that would set in motion a specific interrogation gen-jutsu, Kakashi heard the pitter patter of running kid feet heading towards them.

The kid was laughing, obviously delighted with something. And Kakashi, recognized that laugh.


As the grinning boy ran past the door of a room he thought was empty, a gloved hand reached out with lightning speed to snatch him and drag him inside it.

The boy barely got the chance to yelp in terror before finding himself deposited beside his rather wide-eyed friends.

Kakashi's satisfied, and rather frightening, grin was wide enough to be visible to the children even under the mask.

"One more chance brats. Talk."


A/N continued: I want to give HUGE thanks to everyone who's reviewed this story. Even though its been a while. I especially want to thank those who've poked to me to remind me that I do have a story that's incomplete as I would forget is sheepish. Keep those kunai sharp just in case!