Another story with the GenIru/IruGen pairing. My muse challenged me to make Iruka the dominating person here, without Genma loosing his manliness. And I took it, so this is technically an IruGen pairing. This whole thing started when my friend briefly talked about precognition and the idea all the more formed when I was in my lectures, killing off weird plotbunnies. This one stayed though, coz' it appealed.
Wanna thank muse for helping me out and along with v-chan for both of them beta-reading this and giving feedback. Luv yah guys!
Happy holidays minna!
Iruka barely managed to break his fall as he jolted and rolled awake. It was a good thing that he had the presence of mind to brace his weight with his arms, otherwise he would have sported a nice bump on his temple or a broken nose, neither of which he wanted. Movements and coherency seemed to have left him. There was a dull throb spreading from his hip region all the way to his shoulders and legs. An impish part of his mind pointed out that this was hilarious, something six-year-olds did when sleeping. He prided himself on being an organized man, and because carrying that label meant he was not associated with the Secret Art of Bed-Falling, the entire mini fiasco was a blow to his ego.
The logical part of him told him that the dream felt real, that it was the third consecutive time he was assualted in the same story of the past, and that it was holding him back from the move-on phase. A shaky breath tore out of his throat as he slowly pushed himself off the wooden floor and sat on the bed, rolling the worn gray shirt off his head and wiping away the beads of sweat on his face, neck and chest. His hands were trembling, like that of an old man losing his grip. The digital clock on his side table read four-forty-five, approximately three hours before classes started. Falling asleep again was out of the question, so instead he hobbled to the bathroom to take a cold shower.Only when he was about to turn the tap on did he realize he was covered in goosbumps. Sighing, he cranked the knob open and shivered under the cold spray, remembering his dream when he really shouldn't.
It was like it was only yesterday when he and Mizuki faced-off. That night meant choices. Mizuki had disliked the nine-tails from the beginning, ever since he lost his siblings and mother. Like Iruka, he felt bitter towards Naruto, which then melted off into genuine fondness between teacher and student, mostly because Mizuki bowed to the pranks. Both Iruka and Mizuki had been close as teammates and as working colleagues. But it was more than that. Iruka loved Mizuki as the fun, wild, smart and passionate man that he was. That night, when Mizuki 'showed' his thirst for power, he had been torn. But it was not all about gaining special abilities or the thrist for power. Mizuki had been afraid of the nine-tails, afraid that he'd take Iruka away like he had apparently taken his mother and siblings. Yet despite understanding Mizuki's pain and perhaps his insecurities, Iruka still chose Naruto. That was what Iruka kept seeing in his dreams, the shattered and painful look on Mizuki's face and how he had kissed him long and hard during the last time they exchanged words before he was executed, leaving him two parting words, "Remember me." Then he'd wake up drenched in sweat, rattled and afraid, not of the dream, but afraid that he was forgetting him, forgetting the times they shared and everything he learned from him.
It had been three years and he'd been single ever since.
Turning the tap off and drying up, Iruka couldn't help but feel afraid. It'd been three times already and since he was a child, he learned to trust the things he could see, things that others can't, either in his concious or unconscious state. Mizuki and Sandaime knew of his gift - or curse - and that was another thing nagging him. He never saw doing what he did that night. No such vision of such actions came to him, but he saw the kiss and the movement of his lips when he said "Remember me.". Only when it happened did it hit him like a broken dam. Mizuki was dead now, executed for betrayal and theft, along with breaking the law of 'talking about the nine-tails'. Iruka begged for his life, even if it was futile, but he kept trying - to correct his own mistake maybe? Iruka didn't like to think so, but it was the truth. He didn't do it for Mizuki but for himself, to make up for the lack of visions that he had started to depend on too much.
He sat on his living room couch and brought the palms of his hands to his eyes, wiping the tears gathering in the corners. He knew he should stop. So like everyday, he stood up and moved on.
At the end of class that Wednesday afternoon, a feeling of accomplishment washed over him. He didn't know if luck was on his side or not, but it was the first time in the whole semester that he was able to teach four chapters in one day and have all the students participate in class excercises. After that dose of angst he'd been experiencing all morning, the prideful and happy feeling was more than welcome.
"It's a record." He said, smiling to himself as he glanced around the empty classroom. Upon habit, he began to pick up all the discarded crumpled pieces of paper on the floor and tossed them into the bin. He had spent the first few hours before classes started catching up on marking test papers and homework sheets along with arranging all the old projects on the shelf. He also got lucky because he got to choose his breakfast sandwich when the bakery around the corner made its morning deliveries to the Academy canteen.
A knock sounded from the door, revealing it to be Aoba, waving a folder. "Am I disturbing you, Iruka-sensei?"
Iruka shook his head and gave the man a reassuring smile. "Just clearing up. Can I help you with something?"
"Here's the batch of newly graduated genins. What's left is in your care." Aoba set the folder on the table.
"Ah. Thanks." Iruka nodded, shoving the trash bin to the far corner wall with the toe of his sandals.
"Oh yeah, there's an outing tonight. You know, the usual stuff. Bar, a few drinks, a round or two of poker and I heard Anko is rooting for karaoke. Why don't you come along? It will be a change of routine, what do you say?" Aoba asked, poised by the door.
"Sounds nice." Iruka answered, appalled at himself that he was even thinking about it. But heck, after all the haunting memories plaguing him, drinking didn't sound so bad. A few glasses and a few nibbles of those disgusting roasted peanuts sounded like a grand way to spend a lonely night. "Sure. Which bar you all meeting at?"
Aoba blinked, a bit surprised at Iruka's decision and the fact that he didn't need more convincing. Iruka was never the type to be associated with drinking. He was too respectable for that. But he grinned after gawking for a few seconds. It was actually quite amusing to watch from Iruka's point of view.
"Red Glass, at around seven-thirty." Aoba replied, waving. "See you then."
"Yeah. And thanks." Iruka tapped his finger on the folder, nodding at Aoba's wave as he left the classroom. A quick glance at the clock told him it was already close to four. He began to gather his things, his mind set on getting something to eat.
He arrived at the Red Glass at eight and he was not surprised to see Anko waving a sake jar wildly in the air for he had such a vision ten minutes before arriving. The vision also showed her throwing the said jar in his general direction in greeting. He took a step to one side just as the jar swished past him and smashed against the door. He toed the broken pieces to one corner, waved at Anko's loud and drunken greeting and took a seat at one of the bar stools.
"Sake please.The strongest you have." He said. The barman set his order down and went towards the entrance with a broom to get rid of the broken jar pieces. Nobody seemed to pay him any attention to which he was grateful for. There was a bunch singing with Anko sounding like dying animals and a man pouring out his problems to a crying female ninja with manly tears in his eyes. A few were already heaving their guts out in the washroom behind the bar. Smirking in amusement he poured himself a cup and drained it in one sip, his senses suddenly feeling like they were on fire after the sudden strong alcohol intake. Aoba suddenly smacked him on the back in greeting, saying something too slurred to be understood before hobbling over to Anko and Ibiki, all the while swaying. Iruka shook his head and drained his cup.
"Didn't think this would be a place for you."
Iruka turned his head, setting his empty cup down as Genma slid on to the stool next to him. Iruka gave a small slightly wavering smile. "Yes well, you don't know me well then." He waved the cup. "Sake?"
"Don't mind if I do." Genma answered, smirking, needle, for once, not in between his lips. Iruka shook his head in reply and poured him some of the cool drink in the cup, handing it to him. Genma took one swig at the cup and coughed. "God, sensei. You drink sake this strong?"
Iruka chuckled. "Maybe you should get something lighter." His hand moved automatically to refill the glass before downing it in one go. He didn't worry about his alcohol tolerance. He knew the exact amount before he got completely smashed.
"Didn't know you had a thing for alcohol, sensei." Genma said, smirking, though the aftermaths of the strong alcohol seemed to have shaken him pretty hard. "Here, I'll pour for you."
His hand accidentally brushed against Iruka, unintentionally but it was enough to send Iruka's field of vision reeling into what looked like a short preview of what was to happen. The breath caught in Iruka's throat as a different scene unfolded before his eyes.
He could see the same scene as the one he was in, only thing different was that the stool Genma was on was slightly unstable and that it collapsed under his weight while he was pouring the sake.
The vision melted away in a sudden flash, sending Iruka snapping back slightly, frowning and blinking away the brightness. While Genma was pouring him some sake, he set his cup down and quickly grabbed Genma by waist, just as the stool crumbled. For a moment, the whole bar went silent as the wood and poor metal clattered to the ground. Genma was being supported completely by Iruka's arms, the jar of sake still in his hands, no longer pouring for he was stunned. Seconds passed, then the noise in the bar resumed back to its norm. Genma regained his footing and set the jar down, blinking and studying the fallen chair.
"You just saved me from a nasty bruise on my ass." He said, taking the seat on the other side of Iruka.
"No problem." Iruka said, draining his cup once more. He moved to pour himself more but Genma's words stopped him.
"You sure you ought to be drinking that much sensei?" There was a hint of concern in the jounin's voice, like from comrade to comrade.
Iruka stole a glance towards Genma, taking but a few seconds to note the way the man wore his forehead protector and how bright his eyes were - Iruka found himself staring at the endless pools of honey. It was too bright, yet dark from all the gore a shinobi witnesses. There was strength and a strong presence in Genma. He was taller by a few inches, and he wasn't as tanned as Iruka, but there was a striking similarirty between him and Mizuki. At this, Iruka quickly looked at his cup, realizing that although the forehead protector was worn in a bandana-way in reverse, Genma's hair framed his face the same way as Mizuki's did.
It might have been a trick of the light but he could have sworn he saw Mizuki's smiling face peering over his shoulder, shaking his head at him while he was staring at his cup. His hand slammed the cup down with such force that it cracked, startling the barman and Genma. His breath started to shake, and he knew if he stayed around a moment longer, he wouldn't be able to hold back his guilt and grief. Standing up as calmly as he could, he dug out a few bills, left them on the bar and stalked out into the night, the cold air hitting him harshly on the face. He shivered since he didn't have his flak jacket with him.
"Dear god." He whispered, pinching the bridge of his nose, shutting his eyes tight as little tears gathered at the corners.
The door behind him swung open and Genma appeared beside him. "Hey, hey, don't get mad or anything at what I said. I was just - you know." Genma gave him a shrug.
"No, I'm not mad at you, Genma-san." He said, rubbing the bridge of his nose. "Just remembered something, that's all." A deep sigh escaped his lips, the taste of alcohol thick in his mouth. The brief shed of tears was uncalled for, but it just came. The torment that he was in was something he'd been trying to avoid unsuccessfully and as a result his voice was shaky. "I - I should get going."
Genma nodded, shoving his hands in to his pockets, the Chuunin's state not going unnoticed, but he chose to give him his privacy and not comment. Afterall, why else would shinobi drink unless it is to forget something? "Right. Good night."
"Good night." Iruka waved politely and began to walk home, fighting to control his emotions. Only when he was in the safety of his bed, wrapped tightly in his blanket, did he finally release the frustration in him, because shinobi or not, he was still human, and so he let his tears fall freely.
He bolted awake at six-thirty in the morning from a dream of his past relationship with Mizuki. It had been flashes, like a film reel on a projector of different times - having breakfast with him, the small fights over the last cup of coffee in the teacher's lounge, their sparring moments, their love making, the little stolen kisses when no one was looking and all the pranks they both pulled off as teenagers.
"Oh please." He begged silently.
His conscience told him that if the dreams didn't stop soon, his performance in the academy and whatever missions that came up would be affected. The morning was too cold for some reason, and the alcohol consumption the other night had given him a pounding headache. It was like he was being kicked in the head from the inside. Only it wasn't just alcohol. He had cried himself to sleep out of sheer frustration and helplessness. Every now and then he thought of Mizuki, but lately the torment of old memories was too much. He didn't think he'd be this affected and he knew that he should find a solution soon and fast.
Like any other day, he got up and got dressed, jogged to the academy for good body circulation and started with writing the notes on the chalkboard. He debated whether he should fetch some breakfast. He still had roughly about forty-five minutes before the children started pouring in so he made his way to the canteen. He needed food if he wanted to last the day, and maybe some coffee or strong tea to will the headache away. The two aspirin tablets he took before leaving his home didn't seem to be helping at all.
The canteen was emtpy save for the old man who was arranging the sandwiches and trays for whole meals behind the glass window display. A casual greeting and two minutes later he had a tuna sandwich and a large hot steaming cup of coffee. He didn't know why he picked tuna all of a sudden because he didn't like the aftertaste it left. The order had stumbled out like it was something he always liked and ordered. He stared at the sandwich in his hand, stopping mid-chew. One memory nagged him, like an itch at the back of his head.
"Tuna and coffee please!" Mizuki said, joking with the man behind the counter of the Academy canteen.
"Tuna?" Iruka blinked, staring at him as if he were an abnormal person. "Tuna? In the morning? You want your breath to smell like fish?"
Mizuki paid his breakfast and took his tray. "What's wrong with tuna? Besides, the bitterness of the coffee would make the after taste go away." He shrugged, smiling at him, waiting while Iruka ordered his usual ham and cheese sandwich and led them both to their usual chair by the window.
"Still. Fish in the morning?" Iruka said while unwrapping his sandwich.
"Try it!" Mizuki shoved the bitten breakfast in front of his face. "Come on, just one bite!"
"Mizuki!" Iruka cried out, trying to back away but Mizuki childishly and cutely continued holding the sandwich in front of his lips.
"Come on! For me." A smile accompanied the statement.
Iruka complied and bit in to the sandwich, chewing. It wasn't bad at all, but the after taste would linger and that was what he didn't like. "It's not bad, but the after taste -"
"Drink your tea. It'll go. If not, I've got some mint gum if you want any." Mizuki continued eating his food. "I can't believe you don't like tuna. And your name means dolphin! A sea creature."
"I'm not going to reply to that." Iruka said, face tainted with a blush.
"Aww!" Mizuki squeezed his hand, giving him a gentle smile. "I hope a day will come when you'll have tuna instead of that ham and cheese for breakfast."
"I love you Mizuki, but that is something that will never happen." He squeezed the hand back, enjoying the feel of Mizuki caressing his thumb with his, and continued eating his breakfast.
The sandwich dropped back to his tray from his limp fingers. Mizuki always teased him about wanting him to eat tuna for breakfast because it was seafood and helped with thinking or something like that. Now that he finally did, Mizuki was nowhere to witness it. A sudden tightness began to fill him that made his chest hurt. He suddenly wasn't very hungry and for a moment, his headache disappeared. Without even thinking, he stood up, picked up his tray, tossed the contents into the trash and left the tray with the old man behind the counter, who looked at him funnily. Who wouldn't? He just threw away a perfectly good sandwich and coffee.
He headed back to the classroom and sat on his chair, dropping his head on his folded arms on the desk. The memory kept playing and playing in his mind, until the first few tap-tap of children's footsteps sounded in the hallway. Ten minutes later, the classroom was filled with students. Upon routine, he began to teach the rest of the curriculum for the next six hours. Time seemed to have blocked his sense of reality since he was completely focused on the students and occasionally tossing pieces of chalk to those who were already snoring while sitting upright. He gave them their regular dose of classwork and homework, dismissed them ten minutes earlier than usual before cleaning up the room. It was not obligated of him to do so since genins were paid to do such things as D-rank missions and such from the Academy management. But he still did it.
He had report filing to do next. Gathering his belongings, he made his way to the mission room, where a box of reports was already waiting for his attention. He was aware of the biting hunger he's been feeling since the morning. An impish part of his mind told him that he shouldn't have thrown that tuna sandwich away. It had reminded him too much of Mizuki and he couldn't stand it. He was dead, and he was moving on. He kept reminding himself that dwelling in the past wouldn't do. It was futile and useless, because it's not like it would bring Mizuki back from the dead. Gathering concentration, he began to work on the reports, tackling them one by one.
Check, stamp, arrange, place in new box. Check, stamp, arrange, place in new box.
A folder was placed beside him, breaking the concentration he managed to maintain for two-and-a-half hours so far. He looked up and found Genma standing before him, hand pulling back from the action of placing it on the table. The needle was not between his lips but inbetween his fingers, and for a moment, the image before him dulled. He blinked his eyes to refocus and found a tall young man, bandana holding back silver hair, dressed in the chuunin/jounin uniform.
"Good afternoon, Iruka-sen -"
Iruka blinked quickly and found Genma standing before him, a polite smile on his face (smirk really) just as he said the last syllable to the word sensei. He mentally reminded himself that this was Genma, not Mizuki. Not Mizuki at all, for he was dead.
"Good afternoon, Genma-san." He managed to croak out, his throat tightening. It seemed hunger was starting to get hold of him. "I assume the mission went smoothly?"
"Yes. No troubles." Genma replied, placing the needle back in between his lips. "New mission?"
Iruka picked up the folder Genma just submitted and his eyes widened, his vision blurring then and spinning fast. It focused on a vision of Genma in a very weakened state, supported by his friend and teammate Raido, returning from a mission that evening. His shoulder was bleeding badly from an infection. He heard Raido speak in a scolding manner.
"I thought you said you got that wound checked! What if it was poisoned, you fool?"
The image melted away in a flash and everything was back to normal. He looked up and found Genma looking at him strangely, but did not comment on his sudden tensing up.
"There is a new mission for you, sorry to say. I know you jounins are being over-worked. But there is nothing I can do. I'm under strict orders to give missions to capable jounins once they return. You understand, I'm sure." Iruka said, digging through the folders in another box marked missions beside him, looking for B-ranked ones. He was going to hand him an A-ranked one, but after that vision, he decided to give him a lighter one.
"Yeah, I understand. I'm not the only one anyway." Genma shifted his weight to his other leg and sighed.
"Here's a B-rank mission." Iruka said, placing the folder beside him and marking the mission number on the scroll sheet and who was going to undertake it. "You may take a companion with you."
"I'll take Raido. He's free." Genma shifted his needle to the left, and chewed it.
"Okay." Iruka noted it down then handed the folder to Genma. Just before Genma's fingers brushed the folder he withheld it. Genma frowned. "Get that shoulder of yours checked before you leave. It might be infected."
Genma stared at him in slightly stunned silence. "What did you say?" He asked slowly.
"Get it checked before leaving. If the medics advise you to rest, then rest." He still kept the folder out of reach. "Think you can promise me that? As a comrade."
Genma unconciously rubbed his left shoulder, a crease appearing in his brows. "Yeah, I'll get it checked. Ninja's honor." He gave an unsteady smile and took the folder from Iruka's now outstretched hand. "Very considerate of you."
"I was going to give you an A-class, but becuase of your injury - mind you, I'm not underestimating you. I'm very well aware of your reputation and skill." Iruka began to rummage through the folders in front of him, looking for a document to use as referrence. "But it's bad enough we have less active ninjas after what happened. If possible, I'd like to reduce the amount of damage to mission-undergoing shinobis." He found the document he wanted and began to scan it. He then looked up to find Genma reading the mission briefing. "Please take care."
Genma paused in his reading and gave Iruka a smirk. "Yeah, sure. Thanks." He waved the folder. "I'll drop by the hospital like I promised."
"Yes." Iruka nodded, a smile coming to his lips. It was easy to come, and it felt nice to be genuinely happy and that hit him. He didn't understand it. "You do that."
Genma gave him a friendly mock salute, smirking the whole time, and left the mission room. Iruka continued working. Half an hour later, another vision hit him in which Raido and Genma were returning home later that evening. Only this time, both were simply walking tiredly instead of Raido supporting a weakened Genma.
Iruka had a smile on his lips the whole day after that.
As usual, he remained in the academy till late evening to complete the filing of reports. It was in his nature to finsh tasks the that he could instead of leaving them undone for the next day. Everybody was working double time to recover the village's loss and maintain its level of prestige and power so why couldn't he tackle a few more reports? There wasn't anyone else free to do it anymore. He was given the choice earlier either to be an active chuunin and undergo missions or choose to handle the paperwork. He chose to do paperwork because no one else would. He wanted to do missions, yes, but he was told that a need might arise that more shinobis would be required. So he counted on that prospect.
Even so, he couldn't take the fatigue anymore and fell asleep on his desk, arms for his pillow. He wasn't aware he fell asleep until he felt a hand shake him awake. He blinked awake, eyes focusing and sat up suddenly, berating himself for falling asleep. There was some ink smeared on his cheek from the document in front of him, and as his waker saw this he shook his head, smirking.
"Sorry I fell asleep. Welcome back, Genma-san." He said politely. He glanced at the clock and saw it was already one AM. He'd been asleep for two hours! Genma pointed at his own cheek, while gesturing to his face. A hand clamped to his cheek, rubbing away the ink smear which only got worse.
"You'll need water for that, sensei." Genma said, chuckling.
Iruka's mind suddenly reeled. The chuckle, the words, it was like his. Like Mizuki's.
"Oi! Oi! Iruka, wake up!" Mizuki shook him awake, dressed in nothing but a bathrobe. "Sheesh, I would have thought you stayed in bed."
"Marking. Have to finish it." Iruka replied, yawning.
"You make me feel useless." Mizuki shook his head and rubbed at his own cheek, gesturing towards Iruka's.
He quickly clamped a hand to his cheek and vainly tried to get rid of the red ink from his marker pen. "Gone?"
"You just made it worse." Mizuki said in his teasing voice. He leaned close and kissed him lightly on the cheek. "Come on, you'll need water for that, sensei!
Mizuki dragged him to the bathroom then.
Iruka swallowed with difficulty. "I - Yes. Ink won't go away with me just rubbing my cheek."
"You're tired. Go home. Rest." Genma said.
Iruka ignored that. "How's your shoulder?"
"It's fine. They dressed it properly and all." Genma shrugged. "Still don't know how you found out."
"It's my duty to, because I assign you active shinobis missions." Iruka said, choosing the most obvious and easy reason that would receive no questionings. "If any of you is injured, I am left to judge whether you are fit to continue or whether you should be given a break." Genma looked a bit offended at that. Iruka smiled as he cleared the desk, taking the folder Genma was handing him and placing it amongst the other folders that would need his attention the next day. "But you handled it well, ne?"
Genma shrugged. "Yeah."
Iruka stood up and got ready to leave. "You have about six hours before you report here tomorrow morning for your new mission. I think you can handle A's, hmm? Izumo and Kotetsu will assign you your new assignment."
Genma pocketed his hands and began to walk towards the door while Iruka turned off the lights. "A new day and more work."
They both exited the academy, said polite partings and headed home. Iruka didn't even bother to wash the ink off his face or change his clothes anymore. He was too sleepy and too tired to even remove the wrappings on his calf. With a tired sigh, he collapsed on his bed, facing the window. It was about one-forty-five, and he only had about five - six hours if he planned to skip breakfast and run to the acedemy - of sleep. He remembered nights like this, when Mizuki would be sitting cross-legged on one side of his bed, staring at the moon outside after hours of gentle and slow love-making. The white light would make Mizuki's hair look more like liquid silver and that was when Iruka would sit up, wrap an arm around his lover and lean his chin on the firm shoulder. They would remain like that, in peace and quiet, with each other's presence and comfort before scooting under the covers.
The memory saddened Iruka, making him turn his back to the window and curl up on one corner of his bed. If he closed his eyes and imagined, he could feel the weight on the other side of the mattress, like Mizuki was still sitting and watching the moon outside. Iruka briefly wondered if he could ever take in another lover. Better yet, he wondered if he could ever love another person the same way he loved Mizuki. The mere thought of it made his head reel from hurt. Iruka didn't want to think that he was disgracing the memory of Mizuki, but still. He didn't think his heart had completely healed yet.
The world brightened around him as his field of vision changed to that of another bedroom. He was lying on the strange bed, in the same clothes as he was. Iruka stood up casually, and turned around to look at the bed, since he felt the weight on the mattress from the other side. He found Genma dressed and ready to go, the sun rising from the horizon outside his window, only the man didn't look like he'd be getting up anytime soon. He was flushed with fever, tired and delirious. The door behind him opened as Raido dragged in Shizune to take a look at Genma. He really didn't look like he would be going anywhere.
The vision faded and he was back on his bed, staring at the wooden surface of his side table where an old photograph of his former teammates sat. He and Mizuki were both grinning ear to ear and holding up the peace sign. As he stared at Mizuki's grinning face, he realized that he'd been having visions of Genma far too much. He reached up and set the picture face down on his side table before slowly drifting away to sleep.
"He looks like him." He mumbled, eyes dropping close. "He looks like Mizuki."
Hnn .. I write long chapters. Part two is about 18 pages long and I'm going to break them so that one chapters is like about 13 pages long. I use font 10, Arial, so that's alot! Oo