Hello All, after about 15 years, I've long since migrated out of this fandom. Following a nudge from ChthonicUnraveling , I decided to put up what I had saved of my original ending.

CHAPTER SIX was never written, but the summary (as far as I remember it) included the following.

-Iruka at some point winds up being chased by Kisame through the woods around Konoha. His plan is to use Iruka as a hostage to lure out Naruto. Itachi is off somewhere else being suitably menacing and violent.

-During the fight, Iruka throws some kunai at Kisame, which he contemptuously bats away with Sameheda, the chakra eating sword.

-One of these is a glass kunai from the previous chapters, which smashes open and turns out to be filled with mercury. This causes the chakra seals in the sword to short circuit, and release all the stored energy. Kisame is vaporized (sorry dude) and the cavalry comes running.



"I'm an idiot" muttered Iruka into his hands.

"I absolutely agree" said Anko cheerfully as she threw herself onto the grass at his side. "What are you talking about?"

"I think I've done something really stupid" said Iruka quietly, staring at his feet.

"Stupid as in pissing off the hokage or as in…" Anko trailed off. Years of constant acquaintance had given her a certain insight into Iruka. "Holy shit, you've done it again haven't you?" She laughed. There was a bitter tinge to it that made his heart twist. "You moron. Didn't you learn anything from the last time? From spending years mooning over a person who never saw you as anything more than a pathetic, weak amateur." Iruka twitched, each word hitting like a blow.

"This isn't something I can control Anko-san" said Iruka quietly, arms wrapped around himself.

"Maybe not, but I bet I know what you're going to do. Hover around the background worshiping from afar, feed your love on scraps like a mongrel dog that's been kicked one too many times and hope that he notices your devotion and sweeps you away. Is that it?" Iruka frowned bitterly.

"Who is it exactly we're talking about Anko?" He 'eeped' as Anko grabbed him by the vest and hauled him over to stare, inches away, at crazed violet eyes.

"I'm not doing that again" she hissed at him. "I am not watching you bleed and shiver and wondering if you're going to wake up again." Her voice rose into a shriek and she shook him violently. "And I don't care how many people I have to kill to stop it." She drew the rattled Chuunin close again. She was a frightening sight, killing intent snapping around her like a flame. "Tell whoever the hell it is. Let them humiliate you. Get over it. Or I'll put a stop to it myself."

Anko threw him into a bush and stalked off, waving a kunai and muttering to herself.

Iruka sighed and extracted himself from the gooseberry bush, carefully pushing the thorny branches away. "Thanks Anko" he whispered, mostly to himself. "It's good to know you care."


Notes on missing content: Iruka confesses to Kakashi, who reacts like a jackass. Insert moping/angsting here.


Kakashi stared at the back of Iruka's house. Any casual observer wouldn't have been able to find an expression on his face, but inside he hurt. And like so many times before, there wasn't anyone to blame but himself.

He watched the Chuunin through the window as he did dishes. I could be in there right now. I could have my arms wrapped around him, have that warmth, that comfort. His heart twisted. I could tuck my head over his shoulder and breathe in his scent. If only I had said 'yes' instead. Or even 'maybe' or 'I'll need to think about it'. Anything except…


Kakashi jumped as the kunai thudded into the branch inches below his feet.

"I'd prefer if you found something to do other than stalking me Kakashi-san" Iruka called up to him before shutting the window firmly and drawing the curtain across it.

Humiliated, Kakashi started to slink off, and then froze. Underneath the underneath. Not 'go away' or even 'stop stalking me'. A mind practiced at seeing from a dozen angles at once rapidly turned the situation over and over and over. Can it really be not too late? Before he could talk himself out of it, Kakashi was in front of Iruka's house, ringing the doorbell.

It was only when Iruka opened the door that he realized he had no idea what to say.


"Iruka-sensei. Ahh…" You idiot say something ANYTHING nothingstupidplease… "I was in the neighbourhood." Peeping through your windows. Which you know. "And uh…" Kakashi trailed off. Lies tripped off his tongue so well, he'd almost forgotten what it was like to need words that mattered. And to know that everything depended on finding the right ones. Iruka was smiling at him, patience personified. If Kakashi had seen the faintest hint of mockery or amusement on his face he would have run, wounded to the core.

But there wasn't.

"It's always good to see you Kakashi-san." Iruka made no move to invite him in, but stood there in the doorway smiling at him.

Seeing the certainty and warmth in that smile suddenly made it possible to find the words.

"I'd like to come in for a bit. If it's not troublesome." Iruka stepped to the side and waved an invitation.

"Friends are always welcome Kakashi-san, even if they can be troublesome on occasion. Would you like some tea? It will take a minute to make." Kakashi started to reply, realized the meaning underneath, and smiled.

"That's fine Iruka-sensei. Good tea is worth waiting for."

The End. After 15 Years. Sheesh. Sorry for the wait!