Thank you Taita, J.M.Captein, Mumei the Rogue, AloneOutside, pink raine, daisukiangel42, Heosic-chan, Senna-chan, Zezura, flowing tears and Alina11 for reviewing! The reviews have been very encouraging and have made me very very happy!

This is the last chapter! It's been a long journey and I've certainly taken my time to finishing it. But... this will finally complete it! Thank you to everyone who've read all the way until here and especially to my faithful reviewers who've reviewed almost every chapters and given me alot of encouragement. Thank you all for your support! Arigatou!

Chapter 15

Ino was arranging the flowers inside the shop when she spied a suspicious male figure loitering at the front door.

Sigh... another one of those pesky suitors I have to deal with. It's the price to pay for being too attractive.

Ino strode out to the front, "Now, I don't date people I don't kn... Kakashi-sensei? What are you doing here?"

"Ano, I was going to the hospital when I lost my way." Kakashi said sheepishly.

Ya right. Ino secretly rolled her eyes. Smiling politely, she asked instead, "Since you are already here, why not buy some flowers for Iruka-sensei?"

"Ahh! You're right! What a fantastic idea. I think I will do just that." Kakashi bestowed Ino with a wide smile (under the dratted mask of course).

Ino chuckled softly, it had been his intention all along. He was just too shy to admit it. Oh men! Smiling brightly, Ino asked, "So, Kakashi-sensei, what flowers do you want to get?"

"Um..." Kakashi casted a look around. "Those?" He pointed to the colourful carnations sitting at the window.

"No way!" Ino exclaimed. "Carnations are more suited for funerals than for well wishes! Really Kakashi-sensei, I thought you would know better."

"Saa..." Kakashi gave an apologetic grin. "I hardly ever pay attention to these things."

Ino gave an exasperated sigh. Grabbing Kakashi's arm, she dragged the jounin into the shop before he could protest. "How about these sunflowers? They're bright and cheery, pretty much like Iruka-sensei's disposition. And they are so pretty to look at."

"Okay. I'll get them then."

"Yay! I'll give you a 20 percent discount on the account that you're getting it for Iruka-sensei." Ino skillfully arranged the sunflowers in a bouquet and handed them to Kakashi. "Send my regards to Iruka-sensei!"

Kakashi smiled happily to himself as he walked out of the shop. After Iruka had woken up from his long coma, Kakashi had fallen into a peaceful sleep beside Iruka. Tsunade had woken him up 2 hours later and had demanded that he return back home to rest before she finds her hands full with yet another patient. Kakashi barely remember the trip back home. He had fallen asleep as soon as he had landed on the bed.

After sleeping for one full day, Kakashi felt recharged and he couldn't wait to see Iruka again. With the flowers in hand, Kakashi quickly made his way to the hospital.

"What do you mean he doesn't want to see me?" Kakashi was almost outside Iruka's room when he was intercepted by Sakura.

"I don't know. Iruka-sensei just said he didn't want Kakashi-sensei to enter." Sakura said quietly but firmly.

Bewildered, Kakashi tried again. "Is this a trick you and Naruto came up with? Ahh.. I see Naruto... Naruto! You can cut the act now and let me through."

Naruto looked up at Kakashi. "Ano... Sakura-chan is telling the truth. Iruka-sensei really doesn't want to see you."

Stunned, the flowers dropped from Kakashi's limp hand. Iruka didn't want to see him? How could that be possible? But Iruka was so happy to see me when he woke up... Kakashi didn't understand.

"I'll take these flowers to Iruka-sensei." Sakura said kindly, picking up the sunflowers as Kakashi stood rooted to the ground.

"Kakashi-sensei, what did you do to Iruka?" Naruto asked, somewhat accusingly.

"I didn't do anything. I haven't even seen him after he woke up!" Kakashi said bewilderedly.

"Then why is Iruka-sensei so sad?" Naruto said. "He smiles and acts like he's happy but when he thinks we're not looking he has this sad look on his face. And you're the first one he saw when he woke up so it has got to be your fault!"

"Hey, that's unfair. It's not my fault. Look, Naruto, let me in. I want to see Iruka, I'll talk to him and make him happy okay?"

"No." Naruto crossed his arms.

"Naruto..." Kakashi said threateningly.

A flicker of uncertainty flitted across Naruto's blue eyes. He knew how formidable his sensei could be when he was riled. However, his loyalty towards Iruka came first and he shook his head stubbornly.

Grrr... Kakashi growled in frustration. The great tensai copy-nin Kakashi never begged!

Kakashi took a deep breath... "Please... I'll buy you ramen tomorrow... for a week, a month!"

"No. Iruka-sensei said no and that's final." Naruto said and then hurried off before he could be tempted by Kakashi's offer.

Left forlornly outside Iruka's hospital room, Kakashi slouched against the wall, his heart heavy. Iruka! How can you do this to me! He was so close and yet so far.

Could Iruka be upset over what he'd said before he left? Kakashi groaned. He had been so busy worrying about Iruka he had almost forgotten the hurtful words he'd flung at Iruka. I have to find a way to apologise to him and explain everything...

Kakashi leaned his head back against the wall. He could hear Iruka's cheerful laughter from the other side of the room. As long as Iruka was not alone, Kakashi could not get in without encountering resistance. Kakashi dragged heavy feet out of the hospital, his slumped shoulders a picture of defeat.

"Iruka-sensei, these flowers are from Kakashi-sensei" Sakura said as she placed the brightly coloured sunflowers into a vase beside the bed.

"Thank you Sakura-chan." Iruka smiled.

"Sensei... I know it is not my place to say, but why don't you want to see Kakashi?" Sakura blurted out, unable to keep her curiosity anymore.

Iruka's smile faded and for a moment sorrow flickered across his face. "I... I just need some time to think that's all."

"Its okay sensei, we're with you all the way." Sakura threw a kind smile at Iruka.

Just then, Naruto entered the room. "Iruka-sensei! I turned down Kakashi's ramen bribe! Aren't you proud of me? Promise me you'll go have ramen with me when you're discharged! Promise promise?"

Iruka laughed. "Of course, Naruto. I'll treat you to as much ramen as you can eat."



When all his visitors had finally gone (almost all his students came to visit him), Iruka removed one sunflower from the vase and fingered it thoughtfully, a small smile gracing his serene face.

Does Kakashi know I love sunflowers?

Not that it matters. Nothing about Kakashi mattered anymore. Iruka's smile vanished. Before he left, Kakashi had made it very clear that he wanted nothing more to do with Iruka. I'm not stupid enough to throw myself back where I'm not wanted.

"But why don't you want to see Kakashi-sensei?" Sakura had asked.

Because it'll break my heart. Iruka thought sadly. What happened between us was history. I can't expect him to treat me with anything but indifference now. And I don't think I can bear it if he's cool and polite to me.

Kakashi had seemed full of concern for Iruka when Iruka woke up and he'd heard of how Kakashi had stayed 24/7 by his bed when he was still in coma. But all that meant nothing. Kakashi probably just felt indebted to me for saving his life...

I don't want his gratitude! I want his heart...

"It will be best if we go on our own separate ways." Iruka whispered to himself.

So why did his heart ache so badly? Iruka sighed and burrowed deeper into the warm blankets. His pillow grew moist as tears spilled out of his eyes. It's alright, it's just a temporary heartache. I'll get over it.

It was late at night, or early in the morning, depending on how you looked at it. At exactly one hour past midnight, a masked ninja climbed stealthily up the wall of the hospital building. He'd already identified the ward his prey was in. Now all he had to do was to break in through the window.

With skilled and practiced hands, he picked open the lock at the window and stepped into the room. The ward was clean and smelled faintly of antiseptic. His quarry was curled up soundly on the bed, the blanket twisted around his waist.

The intruder padded silently towards the bed. Umino Iruka...


Iruka had heard the intruder when he was outside the window. Although not a light sleeper, he was having a restless night when he thought he heard disturbance at the window. Granted, the intruder had been extremely quiet. But Iruka was a shinobi and his keen sense of hearing told him that the intruder was coming nearer.

Iruka's hand closed on the hilt of the kunai below his pillow. The masked ninja was almost beside his bed.


Iruka swung his kunai up at the face of the intruder, catching him by surprise. Unfortunately, the intruder was too fast for him and he dodged immediately, grabbing hold of Iruka's wrist and pinning him down onto the bed.

"Iruka, it's me!" the intruder gave a loud whisper.

"Kakashi?" Stunned, Iruka looked up and his heart gave a tumble. It was indeed Kakashi.

"What the hell are you doing here? It's what... 2 am in the morning!" Iruka lashed out at Kakashi while trying to calm the tumultuous emotions inside of him. Decked out in his ninja suit and illuminated by the moonlight, Kakashi looked as handsome as ever.

"Well, what did you expect me to do? You wouldn't see me in the morning and you had practically everyone in Konoha against me, forbidding me to enter your room." Kakashi glared at Iruka.

"I... I..." Iruka stammered, not sure of what to say. "I thought you made it very clear you wanted nothing to do with me." Iruka retorted as he looked up challengingly at Kakashi, as if daring him to say the contrary.

Kakashi released his hold on Iruka and looked away from Iruka's compelling gaze. There was a silence before Kakashi finally spoke up. "I lied. That day I left, everything I said was a lie. I didn't want you to be upset if anything happened to me... I thought if I pushed you away, if you hate me, you won't get hurt."

"You called me a whore." Iruka accused.

Kakashi turned to look at Iruka, anguish in his eyes. "I... Ruka-chan, I'm sorry. I'm sorry I called you a whore... I'm sorry you got hurt. I'm sorry I pushed you away. Forgive me."

Iruka looked straight at Kakashi in the eye. "If saying sorry was enough, then we wouldn't need policemen would we?"

Kakashi's insides twisted as he saw the coolness in Iruka's stare. "I... I love you." Kakashi stammered out.

Iruka gave a sad sigh. "If you loved me, you wouldn't have pushed me away. You should have trusted me with your love and not shut me out. Besides, you've already told me through your words and actions that you don't love me. What you feel is gratitude, not love."

Kakashi felt like someone had thrown a sucker punch into his gut. He hurt so bad inside. This can't be happening. He had to make Iruka understand. Kakashi pressed on, "You said you loved me, Iruka."

Iruka's face fell even further (if that was possible). He dropped his gaze and stared at the fingers locked in front of him. "Yes. I loved you and I still do." Kakashi's heart gave a leap of hope.

"But I'll try my best not to love you anymore."

Kakashi couldn't believe what he was hearing. No... this cannot be true.

"You don't have to feel indebted to me, I went after you because I loved you and I couldn't bear it if you died. But now that you're safe and well, I won't bother you anymore. I'll forget you and whatever that had happened between us and you won't have to be make yourself believe you're in love with me to make me happy.

What was Iruka saying? He wasn't making sense? Kakashi didn't know what was happening. All he knew was that Iruka was slipping further and further away from him and if he didn't do anything about it he would lose Iruka... forever. "Iruka, listen. I know what I'm feeling." Kakashi grabbed hold of Iruka's cold hands and held them tight. "I love you." He emphasized.

The look of pity Iruka gave him tore Kakashi's heart in pieces. Gently, Iruka extricated his hands from Kakashi's grasp. "You don't love me, Kakashi, you don't know how to love. Please... just go... I don't want to see you again."

With that, Iruka turned on his side and pulled the covers tightly around him.

Standing stiffly beside the bed with his hands clenched tightly by his side, Kakashi spoke quietly, his voice tortured and anguished. "Is this what you really want?"

Iruka nodded vigorously, he was afraid he would start sobbing if he opened his mouth. From the corner of his eye, he saw Kakashi turn to leave. At the window, Kakashi paused as if he had more to say but thought better of it. As quickly as he had arrived, Kakashi left the room, leaving behind only his faint body odor and the dying echoes of his voice in Iruka's memories.

When he was certain that Kakashi had left, Iruka clutched his pillow to his face and cried himself to sleep.

7 days later

Sakura helped Iruka pack his belongings as Iruka prepared to be discharged. During his stay in the hospital, his students visited him every other day, telling him how they had missed his lessons and updating him on their newest escapades. Naruto remarked loudly on how he hadn't seen Kakashi-sensei around these few days, warranting a hard knock from Sakura who quickly shushed him up before he could say anymore. Iruka told himself that he should be glad that Kakashi was staying away. The less he saw of the jounin, the easier it would be to forget him.

9 days later

Despite Tsunade's advice that he stay home to rest a few more days, Iruka returned to teach at the academy. His class was surprisingly obedient today. He took advantage of their obedience and piled them with lots of work. However, as a reward, he gave an exciting account of his fight with Kabuto. His students left the classroom all eager and excited to become a ninja. Iruka went around saying hi to his friends in the academy. He told himself it was because he hadn't seen them for a long time and wanted to reassure them that he was alright. It was most definitely not because he was looking for a particular silver-haired jounin.

12 days later

Iruka hadn't heard anything of Kakashi. It had seemed that all of Konoha had known of the conflict between the two of them. Iruka's friends were careful not to drop Kakashi's name when Iruka was around and the jounin seemed to have disappeared from the face of the earth.

14 days later

Iruka was at the market when he saw a flash of silver hair in the crowd. Walking faster, he approached the man only to realize that it was Jiraiya. Of course I knew that, Iruka said to himself. Greeting Jiraiya cheerily, Iruka ignored the stinging disappointment he felt inside.

18 days later

The plan to forget Kakashi didn't seem to be working. Iruka hadn't seen Kakashi in 18 days. Pride prevented him from asking where Kakashi was and given that everyone knew of their delicate situation, he couldn't just casually drop the question of where Kakashi had been the past 18 days. Iruka was making lesson plans at home when he caught himself idly sketching a picture of Kakashi. Angry at himself for being obsessed with the jounin, Iruka tore the sketch up and burned it with relish.

21 days later

It was exactly three weeks since he last saw Kakashi. Iruka summoned the courage to ask Tsunade where Kakashi had gone. Tsunade looked at him with piercing eyes and said she didn't know. Kakashi had just said he needed to take a break and Tsunade had given Kakashi a one month's holiday. In truth, she said, Kakashi had resembled a zombie when she had last seen him and she felt he deserved to rest. Iruka left Tsunade's office with a heavy heart, burdened by the knowledge that he might have been the one to put the haunted expression onto Kakashi's face.

22 days later

Iruka acknowledged that he still loved Kakashi and he also realized that he would love Kakashi till the day he died. If Kakashi were to return now, Iruka promised himself that he would never let the jounin go again. Iruka felt that this self-realization was cause for celebration and so after classes he went to the bar and ordered a bottle of sake for himself. 5 hours later, Kurenai found him terribly drunk brought him back home. Iruka vomitted all over her, much to his chagrin and he offered her his bathroom and clothes to clean up. Kurenai stepped out of the bathroom only to find Iruka crying all over his sofa, wetting the cushions with his tears. Iruka found himself wrapped in Kurenai's arms and he clung to her like a kid as he sobbed. "I love you. Where are you... Don't ignore me anymore. Don't leave me alone anymore... come back and hold me please..."

25 days later

Kurenai appeared at his doorstep with a look of determination in her eyes. She gave Iruka a tight slap and admonished him sternly for moping and giving in to self-pity. Dragging Iruka to the bathroom, she doused water over Iruka's head and made him take a good look at himself in the mirror. Drenched in cold water, Iruka saw himself for the first time in 3 days. He looked awful. No wonder Kakashi stayed away from him.

1 month later

Iruka closed his book and announced the end of the lessons. He waved goodbye cheerily as his students spilled out of the classroom. Clutching his books in his hands, Iruka walked briskly to his desk. He had alot of missions to sort and file today. It was already dinner time and his stomach growled in protest. However, there was work to be done and Iruka had procrastinated long enough.

It was near midnight and Iruka was sorting through the S-class missions when he came across a newly filed report. It was the mission concerning Kakashi's Sharingan. Iruka's heart gave a lurch. It had been one month since I've seen him. Yet Iruka could conjure the image of Kakashi in his mind as easily as if he had just seen him yesterday.

Iruka looked up from his file and blinked. He stared and blinked again, hard. There, standing across the room with his hands across his chest was Kakashi himself. Iruka rubbed his eyes. He was probably too tired and was seeing things.

"Hello." The Kakashi figure walked over to Iruka's desk.

He's real.

Iruka drank in the sight of Kakashi greedily. It had been one long and cruel month since he saw Kakashi and he took in the extra lines on Kakashi's face and the wariness in his eye.

"Where have you been?" Iruka asked, somewhat accusingly.

Kakashi stared hard at Iruka. And then his lips twisted in a half-mocking smile. "Why, doing what you told me to. To get out of your sight, your life."

Iruka cringed at the sarcasm dripping from Kakashi's voice. I deserve it... "How have you been?" Iruka asked softly.

Kakashi grabbed a chair and sat down facing Iruka, his elbows propped on the table. "Oh, not too good." He said casually. "I know you said to get out and for us to forget each other and even though I definitely have accomplished the first, I'm afraid I'm not having too much progress with the latter."

Kakashi looked hard in Iruka's eyes. "Truth is, I can't forget you. You said I wasn't capable of love but if what I'm feeling isn't love then I think I'm down with some disease or something. Don't worry. I'm not here to disturb your peace or anything. I just had a desperate urge to see your face and now I'll be gone." Kakashi stood up abruptly and pushed the chair away.


"Kakashi wait!" Iruka cried out. He jumped across his table and placed himself in front of Kakashi.

Iruka stood before Kakashi. He had a million things to say. He wanted to say how sorry he was to chase Kakashi away. He wanted to say he had missed Kakashi desperately. He wanted to tell Kakashi that he loved him, not just the lover in his bed, but the man who calls himself Hatake Kakashi. But standing in front of the man he had dreamed about for the past month, Iruka was tongue-tied.

"You haven't asked how I have been." He said finally.

Kakashi's expression was wary as he looked at Iruka. "Alright... so... how have you been?"

"Bad." Iruka bit out. "I've been missing you the moment I asked you to leave one month ago. And I've missed you for an entire month. I realize now that I've said many foolish and wrong things. I... I..." Iruka stopped, unsure of what to say.

"I should go." Kakashi said, as if he hadn't heard what Iruka had said, as if what Iruka had said didn't matter to him.

"No! Kakashi, please don't go. I still love you, I still love you very very much and I don't think I can ever stop loving you. Please, if you still love me, don't go." Iruka pleaded.

Kakashi looked at the tears that had filled Iruka's eyes. He had tried valiantly in the past month to forget Iruka but he had been unable to accomplish that. Tonight, when he had returned to Konoha, his feet had impulsively taken him to Iruka's office where he knew the chuunin would be around. He just wanted to take one look at Iruka and then he would be gone. But what Iruka had said just now...

Kakashi lifted his hand to wipe away the tear that had rolled down Iruka's face. "Do you really mean what you say?"

Iruka nodded. "This time I do, with all my heart I do."

Kakashi hesitated for a mere second before abandoning his composure. He crushed Iruka into his arms. "Oh Ruka, I've missed you so." His voice thick with emotion as he whispered in Iruka's ear. "I've missed you too." Iruka murmured into Kakashi's neck as the jounin held him like he would never let go.

Iruka and Kakashi stood with their arms wrapped tightly around each other for a long time. They had almost lost each other and both were afraid to let the other go again.

"I'm sorry for the hurt I've caused you. Kakashi, will you forgive me?" Iruka said regretfully.

"Of course, Ruka-chan. Will you forgive me too?"

"I've forgiven you long ago." Iruka's quiet admission touched Kakashi's heart.

Kakashi drew back and looked down at the chuunin, the Iruka he loved so much. Iruka's lips were parted and his face was tear streaked. But Kakashi thought Iruka had never looked more beautiful. Kakashi stared at Iruka's parted mouth. It had been so damn long... Kakashi's eyes grew dark with desire and his hand reached up to remove the mask from his face. Then, he slowly lowered his lips to Iruka's.

Iruka saw the moment Kakashi's tender gaze lighted up with passion. His breath caught as he looked up at his lover's beautifully sculpted face. His lips parted invitingly as Kakashi's mouth covered his.

The soft chaste kiss quickly burned into a passionate one and Iruka was left trembling in Kakashi's arms. It wasn't enough, Iruka wanted more. Sliding his hands beneath Kakashi's shirt, Iruka trailed a line of kisses down Kakashi's throat.

And he felt Kakashi stiffened under him.

"No..." A harsh note tore from Kakashi's lips. "No... stop... please stop..."

Kakashi pushed Iruka away and turned around, head bowed as memories of his betrayal flooded his mind.

"Kakashi... what's wrong?" Hurt by Kakashi's actions, Iruka stood helplessly by the side.

Kakashi dragged a ragged breath from the air and braced himself for the confrontation. "One month ago, when I was caught, Kabuto came into my cell one night. Except he wasn't Kabuto. He was you, Ruka-chan. And I didn't know he was Kabuto, I thought it was Ruka-chan who had come to save me. Hell, I didn't even know I was awake. I thought it was all a dream. And then Ruka-chan, no Kabuto he... we... we had sex that night.."

Kakashi paused as he finally dragged the confession out. "I swear I didn't know it was him until I woke up and wondered how that wonderful dream had come about and then I looked and it was Kabuto and then everything turned into one hell of a nightmare." Kakashi rambled. "I'm sorry I betrayed you, I don't deserve you, I..." Kakashi broke off. His heart felt heavy. Iruka must hate him now. Kakashi couldn't bear to turn around to look at Iruka, for fear of the condemnation and disgust he would see in Iruka's eyes. Kakashi's heart sank with the realization that he was going to lose Iruka again.

"Kakashi..." Iruka placed a hand on Kakashi's shoulder and turned him around. He held Kakashi's chin and lifted it until the jounin was once again looking in his eyes. Caressing Kakashi's jaw, Iruka spoke "I know you don't mean it. I don't deny I'm angry and I don't like it one little bit, but I also know it is not your fault. Don't turn me away again Kakashi, let me share your burdens. Besides, I've already told you I forgive you and I love you and that's all that matters."

Awe and amazement shone in Kakashi's eyes. He couldn't believe that this perfect compassionate chuunin loved him and didn't hold it against him. Touched by Iruka's words, Kakashi placed a kiss on Iruka's forehead. "I'm never going to lose you again."

Iruka smiled, "And you're never going to get rid of me. Let me stay with you forever."

Kakashi's eyebrows furrowed. "You should know that I'm a dangerous shinobi and I've got missions to complete and I may lose my li..."

Kakashi's words were cut off as Iruka captured Kakashi's mouth with his, kissing the older man fervently and passionately.

"You talk too much." Iruka said when he finally broke the kiss. "I'll rather take the risk of losing you then to lose you for good. Besides... I'm too stubborn to let you die easily."

"Oh Ruka..." Kakashi sighed contentedly as Iruka snuggled closer to him. His pulse quickened as he felt Iruka's roaming hands caressing the sensitive spots of his body. He adjusted the two of them so that Iruka sat perched on his desk while Kakashi stood between Iruka's wantonly spread legs. Kakashi lifted his face just as Iruka lowered his mouth to meet Kakashi. Their mouths fused together in a hungry kiss. Kakashi thrust his tongue into Iruka's warm wet mouth and took delight in Iruka's soft moan. Iruka clung to him as Kakashi licked, teethed and made love to Iruka's mouth.

Suddenly, the clothes between them were too great a barrier. Not caring that they were in Iruka's office with the lights still brightly on, they removed each other's clothes in double quick time. Bare skin slid across bare skin and pleasure shook through their very bones as they found release in each other's arms.

Later that night when Kakashi and Iruka were snuggled together on Iruka's bed and they were both basking in the afterglow of their lovemaking, Kakashi asked the same question Iruka had asked many nights ago. "Ruka-chan... why did you choose me? How could you fall in love with me? I was so cold and arrogant. I chased off anyone who could get close to me. What did you see in me?"

Iruka twisted in Kakashi's arms until he was facing Kakashi and then he said solemnly. "Because you need me to show you that you're capable of loving and I need you to show me that I'm capable of protecting the people I love."

Kakashi stared at Iruka, stunned by Iruka's wise words. Iruka frowned at Kakashi's shocked expression. "Did I say anything wrong?"

Kakashi shook his head. "No... you are too uncannily right. How did you become so smart anyway?" Kakashi asked as he lightly traced Iruka's back.

"Well... I chose you didn't I?" Iruka grinned. He sighed with pleasure as Kakashi massaged the knots in Iruka's back. With regret, he stilled Kakashi's roaming hands, "No more... Let's go to sleep. I've got school tomorrow and I won't have students accusing me of being a bad teacher because I've been rolling around with a certain disreputable jounin." Iruka remarked.

"Rolling?" Kakashi asked incredulously, amused at Iruka's choice of words.

Iruka blushed. In the dark, Kakashi could feel the heat from Iruka's cheeks. Chuckling softly, he slid his hands over Iruka's bottom and pulled the chuunin on his aroused body. "Hm... so could I persuade you to do more um... rolling"

Iruka gasped as Kakashi found a particularly sensitive spot. "Kakashi..." His retort came out as a plea instead. It looked like Iruka wouldn't be getting much sleep at all.


The next day, Kakashi accompanied a yawning Iruka to work, grinning happily as Iruka scolded Kakashi for keeping him awake all night.

At the academy, they bumped into Tsunade who took one look at Iruka and exclaimed loudly, "Why Iruka! You have the most awful eye bags. What were you doing last night?"

Iruka blushed darkly while Kakashi said in all seriousness. "Nothing Godaime-sama, Iruka was just dong a bit of rolling."

Iruka gave a strangled cough and dragged Kakashi away quickly, muttering something about stupid jounin and being late for class. Tsunade stared at their retreating backs and scratched her head in confusion. Rolling? Now what the hell is that supposed to mean?

Tsunade shrugged her shoulders. Whatever, it doesn't matter. She was just glad that the two love birds had finally come to their senses and realized what everyone else had known all along.

They were made for each other.

That's the end!

I'm a little sad that this story has finally ended. After all, it has accompanied me for almost two years. There were times when I've despaired over finishing it but I'm glad that I picked myself up and continued the story. For the sake of everyone who read my story and for myself too because I know what it is like to read a story that doesn't end.

Oh well, sometimes something that looks very much like an end is actually just the beginning of something new. Although because of work it will be quite some time before I write something else again.

I really hope you like the story "Caring for you" and please review and tell me what you think.

Once again, thank you for all your wonderful reviews. I really do appreciate them greatly.