Not in Love: The Last Shinigami
By
Squall Morpheus Leonhart


Rain fell harshly on the stone streets of the Konoha, a quick repetition of tap-taps over stone, such a beautiful sound to those that love the rain. Darkness had long descended on this weary town of Shinobi more than two hours ago. The rain lasted for a week now and the nightmares came and go with the splatter of raindrops, yet so did the hopeful dreams of one rurouni that walked the wet paths of the Shinobi village. No lights could reach him other than the light he made on his own. He was too far away from the village itself.

Soft blue flames emerged from his outstretched right hand. The same color glowed in eye shaped lights underneath his weathered black cloak. It was his only protection against the harsh winds and the equally cruel rain. Normal people would find shelter in this weather but not he. He had a task to do and it could not wait, he had put it off too long.

Lightning flashed and his face was revealed momentarily. Unlike before his eyes still retained their pupils of russet chocolate. His hair remained normal but tied in a low ponytail at the base of his neck underneath his cloak. To the normal eye, he would be same ordinary Iruka-sensei; he always had been minus the fact that there was a blue flaming dancing in his hand that was not powered by Chakra.

Tap-tap-tap. He was soon drawing near the place he wanted to be, the place he had not seen for over 10 years, a place that was hidden from prying eyes and only let those of the Shinigami or blessed by them to enter. The Grove was made by the first trinity of Shinigami which consisted of Kryus of Illior and two unknown others. This garden was hidden in another dimension not unlike the High Realm but instead of being able to enter it, one must enter through the doorway that was near the ocean cliffs at the borderline of the Leaf Country. The reason on why he was so close now was that after leaving the site of the village, he shadow transport to the door.

It was time of his second death when he had last visited this place. Everything was the same despite the rain that fell on his head in undisturbed rhythms. The birch and sakura trees swayed harshly against the cruel wind. The small stream grew into a large rapid river. Yet among it all, a stone statue of a winged man that stood melancholy amongst the stormy squall.

He had black wings made of ebony stone, his head down cast toward his right side. A black katana of the same material leaned against his left hip. His face was chiseled smooth. Wayward hair was haphazardly thrown behind his back as if he could feel the storm itself. Iruka looked up to the face that once mirrored his own.

Behind this statue of marble and ebony, stood two others yet one remained hidden in the shadows regardless of the light that emerged from the Dolphin's hand that spread into a wide radius. However, Iruka knew that the shadowed statue was made of ebony stone alone whereas the other that seemed to absorb the light of his small flame was composed of marble alone. Three statues of the three Shinigami, the trinity of life and death, they were the Three and always will be. Kouen Seirei, Mizuno Sutemi and Shikyou Rei, they alone once represented the trinity until the Corruption when many other trinities of Shinigami succumbed to the treachery of the so-called Beautiful One.

That was when he had suffered his second death. Iruka sighed and walked to his mirror image, knowing that though this statue was of him, it had not the scar that marred his face. This was after all his true form but the scar was his reminder, his constant reminder of his first death.

Of the three, only he was bound and only he was considered the last of the Shinigami lest he should make himself an apprentice. Naruto was no Shinigami, but he did had the potential of their powers and perhaps create a new generation of Shinigami. The Shinigami legacy was about to end and soon and Iruka was desperate for it be so. Naruto was, perhaps, the one that the prophecy foresaw.

His free hand rose and touched the wet marble of his mirror face. "Gomen, Iruka-kun," he started, "I just didn't want to remember."

A soft childish laughter sounded through the clearing. Emerging from the shadows came out a small boy no older than eight in a white shirt and shorts with black fishnet mesh underneath. His brown russet hair was tied in a high ponytail, sticking upward like his namesake's tail. Iruka-kun ran from the shadows behind the statue and stuck out his pinkish tongue and yet he was not wet. "You certainly took your time, Rei-nii," he sang out.

Rei, the older version of Iruka, looked at the boy and soon collapsed on his knees to envelop him in a hug. "Gomen nasai, Iruka-kun. This place…t-this place holds too many memories for me and you." Ever since his second death, Rei never wanted to come back here though he knew that he had to keep in contact with Iruka-kun in order to retain part of his lost humanity and create the charade that Umino Iruka still lived.

Still smiling, Iruka-kun brought his arms around the older man and leaned in more to the touch. "I know, Rei-nii," his childish voice whispered, "I know."

A sad smile graced the Shinigami's lips; this child knew everything that went through him, everything from that first death at their tender age of eight years. More than once, the thought of what if he had refused to be a Shinigami came to his mind. Yet what was in the past was the past, it was over now. This boy was his last remaining humanity. It was from him, that he learned to become human again and the boy received nothing in return except to live life through his eyes. Rei tightened his embrace.

"Rei-nii, he's coming back, isn't he?" Iruka-kun pulled away but only a centimeter, "The one that loved you and killed you? Kouen is coming, isn't he?" Three mere questions that could do so much comfort for the Shinigami but damaged him just the same.

"Hai," gasped Rei as the Shinigami clung tighter to the boy, "Kouen is coming and he will get what he wants unless I get my power back from this place. Iruka-kun, you know what is going to happen. You know that I will fail, that I will let another die––"

"IYA," declared the boy as he broke their embrace, "It was not your fault, Rei-nii. You could not be there when Sandaime-sama died; you were only doing what he asked of you that day. You could have not known," he comforted, "You can't see into the future and he knew that he was going to die, so why not in a battle?"

"Demo…"

"Usura tonkachi! Baka yarou no temee yo! Dobe no Rei yo!

Rei whipped around, his eyes widened in surprise, "Riku…?"

A boy that seemed to have seen 15 summers stepped out of the shadows of the completely ebony statue. The rain did not touch him like Iruka-kun though Rei thought that it should as the boy's silver locks shone better wet. From the darkness, the boy's midnight blue eyes, almost black, watched him, so alike the ones that Kouen had when he watched Rei train all those years ago. Unlike the shadows and darkness he was supposed to represent, he wore white clothing; white coat, white shirt, white pants just like his Shinigami counterpart. Sapphire eyes narrowed disgust as he hissed his insults, "This is the last Shinigami that kneels before me and he is emotionally unstable? This is the last of our kind showing weakness and fear when there should be none? Pitiful."

Iruka-kun was quick to react. One moment he was in front of Rei and another, in front of Riku, his fist already making contact with the pale moonlike skin of his companion. "Don't you dare say that to Rei-nii," hissed the brunet harshly, "He is the last of our kind and thus is the most powerful. You remembered the prophecy, only the last will bring the new and death shall become life."

"The way he grovels makes me doubt that he is even the last of us. No power could ever belong to such a weakling, regardless of he being the last or not. He is not worthy of such a title!

"Groveling like the weakling he is, the disgrace of our sacred legacy. He was never supposed to be the last. You goddamn know that Iruka!!! You know that Arashi was the one we wanted and yet, she chose him for his replacement. A boy not even worthy of carrying the Sword of Kryus. The Sword that belonged to the Lightbringer and was forged by the Warrior God and the Maker. That man I see before me is not worthy of such a sacred Sword. You should not even be here," spat the fair boy.

"Yeah, well, Rei-nii is still a Shinigami regardless of what you say! Sutemi-nee chose him and me too, if you think about it. We were chosen, baka yarou! We were chosen to be Shinigami! Just because you and Kouen are already in your sixth lifetime does not mean that you are superior! We may still be in our first life and second rebirth but we are as powerful as you, if not more! You and Kouen are only Sakor blessed but we are Illior blessed!

"Stop thinking that you are so great when you're not! We can and will surpass you! You can make sure of that! Just you wait and see, your Kouen will be groveling at Rei-nii's feet and Rei-nii will be victorious, just you wait and see!" Iruka-kun was huffing by the time he finish his retort.

Rei felt a hint of a smile growing on his lips as he heard Iruka-kun's retort. However, bitterness had already set in his so-called dead heart from Riku's insults. He knew that Riku was only the humanity, as all Shinigami spirits were, of Kouen, a frightening thought when Kouen was concerned, as sometimes the spirit would reflect the Shinigami himself. However, Riku withdrew himself into himself, becoming not unlike Uchiha Sasuke. This quarrel between the two spirits seemed to be similar if not the same as the ones Sasuke and Naruto had. Yet, his heart plummeted more as he heard Riku's next insult.

"Him, being more powerful than Seirei? Hah, why would a man that allows himself to be used by others be more powerful, especially if he acts more docile than a Shinigami should, which by the way shouldn't be at all!!! Your Shinigami is weak for allowing people to step all over him and not complain. He fucking allows himself to be taken over and used by others!!!"

Rei's heart froze and his body becoming numbed. That insult came to close to the truth, if not the truth itself. True, as Iruka-sensei, he had done all of that but did that consider him weak? Was that what the Konoha thought of him? Weak, emotional fragile Iruka-sensei who didn't have a backbone? Had he gone too far in his charade and finally made himself into the charade himself? Who was he? He was beginning to question his life all over again.

Rei stood and the meaning of Riku's insult sunk into the fair boy's mind. Riku turned and hoped to still find Rei and apologized, yet the Shinigami was gone. All that was left was a hole in front of the marble and ebony statue, large enough for him to top the bottom with his fingertips.

Iruka-kun looked at his companion and growled out, "Look what you done!" Then he faded into darkness.

Elsewhere, a blond boy with fox-like whisker scars bolted awake from his slumber. Vibrant sky blue eyes jolted from corner to corner, scanning the room in fear as his blood pressure rose and his breath heaved from his chest. Lightning struck and then he plopped back down unto the borrowed futon in the guest room of the Uchiha Main House. Glancing to his right, green hued lights shone the hour of midnight on their digital luminous screen.

Team 7 had returned from their mission but only a mere three hours ago. All were injured but content to finally allow the rain to soak them to the bone in their hometown of the Konoha as they walked through the south gate. It was a harsh mission, not unlike the one in the wave country three years ago. It was supposed to be a D class but instead turned out in the end to be an A class and this was not a mistake on the client. Kakashi almost lost his left arm, Sasuke his eyes, Sakura her life, and Naruto…he almost lost control over the Kyuubi Kitsune sealed in his body.

Their mission was to retrieve an item from the Mizukage and return to the Konoha immediately after. However, things didn't go as planned. They were ambushed as soon as the Mizukage left them and they were outnumbered. The only thing Naruto remembered was a scream, blood and then darkness. He knew that it was then the Kyuubi took over until he managed to control the demon once more. By then, almost everyone was unconscious except Kakashi.

Apparently, the Kyuubi still managed to remain a secret as Sasuke and Sakura were knocked out only seconds prior to Naruto's transformation. So far his secret was safe but for how long? Naruto violently shook his head.

After taking Sakura home, Kakashi left them in a whirl of wind. All Naruto wanted to do was to go home and snuggle into his appealing comfortable bed. However, Sasuke stopped him from turning the last alley toward his apartment….

"Dobe," one simple insult that could do so much but at the moment cause Naruto to stop his running stride to his home. Naruto looked back at his teammate, still standing there where Kakashi left them, becoming more soaked to the bone by the rain as the seconds ticked by.

He had the urge to growl an insult as a reprimand for stopping him and keeping him from his cold but much warmer than outside apartment. Somehow he managed to stop himself and answer with a small shaky question, "Nande desu ka?"

Sasuke looked hesitant as if he was unsure of what he was doing. That was a first, Naruto thought. Without preamble, Naruto started to look over the brooding Uchiha. He still wore the same outfit he did during the Chuunin Exams. His left arm was donned with wet bandages and his hair stuck to the sides of his face. All in all, he was a deadly drowned kitten. Kitten? Naruto was sure that he was the same.

"Usura tonkachi," the prodigy of the Uchiha clan started, "Do you…I mean…would you like to…anou…" Naruto's eyes widened in surprised. This was the first time that the blond rascal had heard his rival stutter minus the time with Orochimaru in the Forest of Death but even then there was no true stuttering just fear, a fear of death.

For the moment, the invincible Uchiha Sasuke was starting to act human, a nervous wreck of a human but a human nonetheless. Taking a deep breath, the avenger continued but this time in a calm monotonous voice "Do you want to come over to my house? It's much warmer than your apartment."

Naruto doubted that but agreed anyway, it was better than staying at home alone and perhaps this was the first step of Sasuke finally seeing him as an equal or at least more than a dumb dobe.

Looking back, Naruto knew that he had been entirely wrong; this was Sasuke's way of returning a favor, a favor that was concocted when the blond saved Sasuke's life or at least his eyes, even if the bastard wasn't awake during that event.

Yet that was not the most important thing to think about. That dream…

It was so familiar yet at the same time so foreign, especially since he had never heard that voice before or had he? The scenario, however, was familiar, as if a scene being played out from behind a foggy piece of looking glass. Naruto knew that he had somehow played that scene but he could not remember when, that is if the scene was not from the memory of the Kyuubi. The first thing that he remembered was a female voice…

"Shimatta yo!" A gasp and then body dropping into the moist ground as the newly begun rain fell unto the earth. "Daijoubu desu ka? K'so, we're too late! Oi, wake up, wake up Yon—"

Another voice interrupted the first, "Sutemi, urusei yo! Someone might hear!" This voice was that of a male, a man seemingly younger than this Sutemi by the sound of his voice. Naruto stirred slightly thus causing a warm slim hand to caress his neck in search of a pulse. "You know what are mission is, ne Sutemi?"

"Hai but you know as well I do that if he dies before we can make the offer, we can't bring him back," Sutemi replied, "Seirei, we still have to make him last a bit longer, Dalna knows how long he has!"

"Not Dalna, Sutemi, nor Sakor but Illior, remember this is Illior's candidate we have here and he is at least somewhat conscious, look his hand."

"Dalna's Hands! How could I miss that?!" The warm hand on Naruto's neck moved to cup his chin, "Yo! Open your eyes!" And Naruto complied.

The faces were still blurred but he managed to see two colors through the dim darkness of his sight. They were red and white eye-shaped glows looking back at him. The white color was closer to him and Naruto concluded that this was the female. "W-who are y-you?"

"If we allow you to live for eternity," she started, "Would you take it? Would be a Shinigami, Blessed of Illior?"

The blond's voice carried the words he did not want to say. "I have done enough in my life; I have given my life for my people, for my son, for a peaceful time. I have no wish to live again, as a Shinigami or otherwise. I am happy as I am now. I am at peace. I will not be your candidate; my answer remains the same, Mizuno-san. It is no…"

A flash of light.

Naruto found himself hovering over the body of seemingly dead body of a boy no older than eight. Like before, this scene was all a blur. What he could make out was the boy had chocolate colored hair drenched with blood that ran freely from some unseen gash and not the gash that lay across the bridge of his nose. His white outfit was also drenched from the wounds that were placed upon him. Beside him, two black figures laid dead, one female and one male. Naruto was about to move away when one of the boy's hands moved.

"Okaa-san, Otou-san…Doushite…yo?" It was so soft that Naruto strained to hear it. It seemed so, so familiar only. Like I heard it before only with slight differences. Who is he? Someone I know???

Soon the image began to clear and before Naruto could finally see the boy's true face as two figures came into view along with a massive shadow that grew bigger as it descended on the new group, he woke up…

Iruka soon found himself in front of his apartment door. He spent a majority of his time after the incident at the glove at his favorite bar, drowning glass after glass of his favorite strong suicide drink. It was just another night of misery for the sensei of the Konoha Academy and Shinigami of Illior. Just another lonely night of betrayal that spoke only of more pain as the moon continued to rise in the sky above, behind the storm clouds that continued to pour cruelly unto the street of the village.

He could never get truly drunk, being a Shinigami prevented that and there was also the fact of his bloodline had a part in that as well. Yet the faint touch of being drunk had come only when he drunk his favorite drink. The bartender said that it was considered suicide since with one sip, one can already be as drunk if they had a thousand sakes or vodka shots. Thank the Lightbringer for some small mercies, right? Wrong.

Even in public, Iruka would still swear to his God of Knowledge and Madness, of Thieves/Shinobi and Summoners. It was only common for him to do so as he was the Shinigami of Illior, a trait that every God of Death had. They were to swear and only to swear to their respective deity, it was the only unspoken rule they had and perhaps the most important if the scrolls that Sutemi left with him were accurate.

One of his hands was about to grasp the doorknob as some forced pushed him hard against the wood of the door. Cloth-covered lips began to caress his neck and Iruka moaned out, "Not now Kakashi…"

Yet Kakashi did not relent and why should he? They both needed this release of emotions and physical tension. They were after all, for the lack of another word, fuck consorts. Vulgar as it may be it was what they named it. They were not friends of any sort; they have not even known each other until Naruto formally introduced them to one another. They then only knew what rank and each other's name were but now they had a face to put to the name, if only a cloth-covered masked face for one of them.

Despite Iruka's initial protests, the duo found themselves in the dolphin's room, on the bed running hands and lips over every part of the other's half covered body, though Kakashi still wore his mask, the scarecrow still managed to mark the other. The only thing they avoided was the touch of lips. When Kakashi as about to dip his had, Iruka turned. "This is not part of the deal, Hatake-sensei." Then they would continue without interruption.

Later that night, Iruka looked up to the ceiling and inhaled softly. "Am I really just letting myself used? I wish you were here to tell me…Seirei…" Iruka then fell asleep to the sound of rain hitting the windows and roof. Kakashi slept undisturbed and unknowing to the turmoil that rest in the other's soul.

AN: I really hate this chapter, I really do. I was supposed to have it finished by May 26 for Iruka's birthday but I couldn't, plus I did have this finished but…when I saved it on a floppy disk at school and brought it up to my home computer's hard drive, the fucking thing wouldn't read. I spent about the last couple week's wallowing in rage and sorrow. There was even a Lemon in the first version of this Chapter!!! I may add it later as an extended scene but not now. I dedicate this to the person who showed a certain Yahoo group a glimpse of a possibly OFFICIAL unmasked Kakashi pic from the movie. You know who you are and here is a literary Kakashi and Iruka plushy for you, even if you don't read this story. My site is being updated right now with more in depth info on this chapter and the series itself. I plan to have the newest update soon. Hopefully the third chapter will come up soon and for anyone who wants to know my progess on this story, I have my own Yahoo Group which is called Umino Iruka Ai, which is dedicated to all Iruka Yaoi Pairings, please join and make this author happy! =U=

Make sure you remove the spaces to go the sites!!

Bound Shinigami – www . geocities . com / squallmorpheusleonhart / enter . html

Umino Iruka Ai – www . groups . yahoo . com / group / uminoirukai /