Calm Before the Storm

by paxnirvana

Fandom: Naruto N07

Characters: Kakashi Iruka

Rating: PG-13

Date: 10/28/04

Notes: Manga continuity, if you please (for minor differences). Um, just keep in mind as you read this arc that not all characters know everything, okay? Particularly in ninja-land where secrets can mean one's life.

Disclaimer: Belongs to Masahi Kishimoto, Shueisha, and VIZ. I just make people love them more and want to buy stuff to show it. Now hurry up VIZ so I CAN buy it... grrr!


Iruka was in the mission office keeping busy by sorting old reports for filing when the news spread through the administration building like wildfire. All three of the rookie genin teams had passed the first trial. All of them. Including Cell 7. He sat frozen at his desk, mind whirling with stunned shock as excited talk swirled around him.

Naruto had passed the information gathering exam without being caught? Naruto? His Naruto?

A mission sheet was lifted out of his slack hands and dropped back on the stack in front of him. He clutched after it reflexively, too late even as he dimly realized someone was standing in front of his desk looking down at him. Iruka blinked up at Kakashi in shock, catching a distinct twinkle in the one eye.

"Ah. You've heard." There was a soft chuckle. "Asuma said I had that same look on my face too."

"How?" he breathed, still overcome. Naruto was the least-sneaky ninja he'd ever trained in his life. The boy didn't know the meaning of the word 'discreet'. Literally. He wasn't sure Naruto could even spell it. He'd hoped against hope that the more time the boy spent in Sakura and Sasuke's presence, the more he might appreciate the value of subtlety. But so far...

A laugh from Kakashi made him jerk his gaze up as the jounin shrugged and shook his head, his warm gaze still fixed on Iruka. "Don't know yet. I'm going to pry details out of one of the proctors later though. Sounds like it should be a good story."

Iruka could only nod dumbly in agreement, still feeling vaguely as if he'd taken a shock to his chakra. Somehow Sakura and Sasuke had pulled him through. It had to be. Iruka silently rejoiced in the proof that Naruto's teammates would work so hard for him. Clearly, he'd won them over at last. But a touch of somber dismay struck as well; this was an acceptance of a sort he wasn't sure Naruto could quite appreciate yet. The boy was still looking for the flash and glitter of a parade, not the simple warmth of steadfast allies at his back.

Still... it was clear to him that Naruto had allies now in the remote Uchiha heir and the Sasuke-crazy Sakura.

Pride filled him for more than just Naruto, but for Sasuke and Sakura as well. Made his heart ache oddly in his chest. Even if the five-day ordeal now to come in the Forest of Death stopped them from advancing through the rest of the exam – he had only a few fears for Naruto's survival there; the boy was remarkably hardy – he'd already passed that first, and perhaps for him the most difficult, trial with the help of his teammates.

Kakashi was still grinning at him from under his mask, the expression rounding his cheek and crinkling his eye. Iruka returned his grin happily, only adding a slight edge to it after a heartbeat or two.

"You didn't think they'd make it this far."

Kakashi laughed carelessly, scratching at the back of his head with one hand while the other disappeared into a pocket. Iruka kept his gaze steady on the other man, his smile fixing. Abruptly Kakashi's laughter stopped, his expression going serious before he shrugged again, just one shoulder this time.

"No. Not really," he admitted somberly despite the amused glitter already creeping back into his eye, "yet they made it anyway. But they keep surprising me like that, so I have to keep giving them chances."

Iruka shook his head back and forth slowly, letting out a deep sigh as he pushed himself deliberately to his feet, hands braced on the table. "Kakashi-sensei..."

The eye opened slightly wider at his ominous tone. "Eh?"

Iruka glanced up at him from the corner of his eyes, a tiny smile dancing on the edge of his lips. "I seems you're a better teacher than I thought... so..."

"So?" Kakashi was grinning again as Iruka slowly circled the table toward him, both of them aware of but ignoring the speculative looks cast their way by some of the other people in the room. Konoha ninja only, at least, and no civilians since they weren't accepting new missions for the duration of the chuunin exams.

"... I think we need to talk over a few things about our mutual... students." Iruka swerved away from him and strode briskly from the room. He paused just outside the doorway to cast a single heated look over his shoulder at the jounin before vanishing in a tidy swirl of smoke.

Iruka stepped through the teleportation spell onto the roof of the administration building, relaxing his hand from the seal as he took a few steps closer to the two trees planted in a low box built in the center of the wooden decking there. Kakashi would follow easily, he knew, particularly since he hadn't made any great effort to hide his path. A carved bench seat circled the box. The trees' spreading branches cast a welcome pool of shade over the patio that had been made of this end of the roof. It was a restful and quiet spot above the hustle of the village below. He smiled and lifted his face toward the sky as a swirl of wind that had nothing to do with the rather pleasant breeze surrounded him. His mouth curved up even more when he then felt an arm slide around his waist. He let it draw him back against a firm chest, deep into another's aura.

"Talk, is it?" Kakashi murmured into his ear, cloth-covered nose rubbing lightly along the upper curve of it. Iruka quivered slightly, raising a hand to skim it along the arm around his waist until he found the other man's bare wrist, clutched it even as he turned his face toward the other's and rubbed his cheek across smooth cloth.

"Hm. Yes. About the weather, I think. Does it look like rain to you?" Iruka said, his own voice dropping to a hushed whisper.

Kakashi cocked his head away to the side, looked up. A low, amused hum came from his throat as he rolled his eye dramatically at the brilliantly clear sky above.

"No. But how 'bout you get a better look at it anyway?"

Iruka found himself flat on his back with his hands pinned beside his head, palm to palm with Kakashi's, fingers threaded. The jounin knelt above him braced on one knee, bushy head bent over his. Iruka blinked once in surprise. He hadn't even felt the impact with the ground, so smooth and controlled had the move been. His pulse heated, throbbing slow and heavy in his veins as he lifted his gaze to Kakashi's face. Then he smiled.

The mask was already down even. Ah. Jounin indeed.

"I don't think I'll be able to check the weather this way, Kakashi-sensei," Iruka scolded quietly, heaving a mock sigh that went far too breathless as Kakashi leaned even closer, head blotting out the rest of the sky. And then Kakashi's mouth found his and all urge to tease vanished.

Hot and sleek and probing. Lips and tongue. Breath. Warmth. A soft sound of pleasure that came from one or the other of them. Iruka didn't know or care which, his eyes already closed, his blood throbbing in his ears.

It was just like two nights ago. Except now he knew the flavor of Kakashi's mouth and craved it. His mind spun with emotion. There was longing. There was the relief for Naruto filling him. And pride. There was the realization that Kakashi had come to tell him the news himself. And the thrill of the touch of another again welded to the heat of rising need. Then there was the aching realization that moments of pure joy like this came far too seldom to let pass. He let his tongue wind around the one filling his mouth, lifting his head off the decking to press even closer, seeking in turn.

Hands flexed under Kakashi's, gripping tightly. He was pulled up then, rising easily with the pull until he was wrapped tightly in the other's arms, cradled against his body. Heat and hardness, the rustle of vest on vest, the sound of panting breaths as they broke for air at last. Kakashi's lips skimmed across his face to the point of his cheekbone, the end of his brow, the bridge of his nose; peppering his skin with small, urgent kisses.

Iruka moaned, arching his head back. The lips followed, skimming down his chin to his throat, making his skin tingle. "Kakashi..." he whispered.

"Hmm?"

"Your place or mine?"

Lips froze against the pulse throbbing wildly in the hollow beneath his ear. He felt them curve slowly, then felt a sharp gust of heat against his skin as Kakashi let out a quick, startled breath.

"Mine's closer," the man holding him said, his voice shaking slightly.

Iruka just smiled and closed his arms tighter around the other as they disappeared in a swirl of wind.

-- end --