Hey. This is Dorku no Renkinjutsushi...but not the one you remember...this is a shared account, and I'm the other half! Hey, my name is Sarah. Nice to meet y'all. Now read and enjoy. Is angst, because I is angst whore. And because I love KakaIru.

Iruka knows what ANBU means. For the member, it means a certain paycheck and a certain future…one that ends in death. For the mothers, it means fear outweighing the pride and pain outweighing the joy at their baby's success. For fathers, it means hidden fear and pain, despite their equally hidden pride. For siblings, the title means wondering. Will they come home again? Will this be the time their luck runs out?

And for lovers…well, for lovers, the title of ANBU means hell.

Iruka is no stranger to hell.

He's used to wondering if Kakashi will come home, if he'll survive. He's gotten used to waking up with questions on his mind (Where is he now? What is he doing? Is he ok? Will he come home?). He's managed to learn to thrive for days, even weeks without sleep, waiting for Kakashi. He's come to understand why some of his students continually check their watches and the clocks when ANBU missions are drawing to a close.

He wouldn't want to miss him when he got home.

He's learned just exactly how to pick fights with Genma (and win) when Kakashi's late coming home. He's learned that Tsunade will cave for the puppy face. He's learned that looking cute will get you ANBU clearance, even as chuunin. It helps him to answer those pesky questions.

(Where is he now? What is he doing? Is he ok? Will he come home?)

He's learned that half of ANBU thinks he's a pain in the ass, a chuunin who's a little too full of himself.

He knows they're right, but he doesn't care.

He also knows that the other half thinks he's cute, because he's willing to pick a fight with any of them, despite the bone-white masks of hell, all for the sake of his lover.

He needs the questions answered.

(Where is he now? What is he doing? Is he ok? Will he come home?)

He's learned to always be awake when Kakashi returns…no matter how ungodly the hour…and a jounin always returns at an ungodly hour. He's learned to never trust the silver-haired man when he says he's fine. He's learned how to locate exactly where Kakashi is hurting with nothing more than a few quick glances. He's learned (by trial and error) how to bandage a struggling man. He's also learned how to knock out a jounin.

Nothing should ever stand in the way of caring for his love.

He's learned just exactly how to find Tsunade at any hour of the day or night…and how to get her direct attention. He's no longer a stranger to the hidden warren that is the hidden ANBU ward, where the nurses are selected for secrecy and the patients have no name and no face.

He knows because he cares too much for his own good.

(Where is he now? What is he doing? Is he ok? Will he come home?)

he's learned that despite Kakashi's protests, he loves to have Iruka take care of him, to baby him and coddle him. He's learned how to manhandle a complaining, achy high-level ANBU jounin and get away with it. He's learned to lie to children and make them believe it without question.

He's learned that sometimes we have to hurt the ones we love.

He knows many things. He knows that he is human, and so is his lover. He's come to terms with this fact. He knows that it is more than likely that one day Kakashi will return to him as no more than dog tags and a beaten up and scarred hitai-ate. He knows that someday he'll be the one screaming in the Hokage's office (no, no, please, no, anything but that, oh please, tell me you're lying, please, say this is a lie, youhavetobelyingthisisn'ttruethisisn'trealyou'relyingpleasesayyou'relying…he's not…he…he can't be…)

(Where is he now? What is he doing? Is he ok? Will he come home?)

Iruka's definitely no stranger to hell.

But for everything Iruka knows and has learned, there's something he doesn't know. Some things he may eventually learn. Some he'll never learn, at least, not as long as Kakashi has his way.

He doesn't know that Kakashi thinks about him every second of every day when he's not with him. How the infamous Copy Nin has nearly gotten himself killed once or twice because he's thinking of a certain chuunin instead of the nin he's trying to kill. He doesn't know that Kakashi has several hundred candid photos of him (cooking, eating, sleeping, teaching, talking, smiling…hell, even some Kakashi'd had to set up the camera's for…) hidden in the same pocket as Icha Icha Paradise. Nor does he know that Kakashi takes these pictures out whenever he can't look at and talk to and kiss the real thing, no matter what.

It's probably for the best he doesn't know.

He doesn't know that almost every ANBU member is amazed by and respects him. They respect the fact that he's willing to do anything for his lover. They are amazed by the fact that the 'innocent' little chuunin is as determined as they are and occasionally more determined. They like the fact that he'll pick fights with them if it means learning something about where Kakashi is and what he's doing and if he's ok and most importantly, if he's coming home.

(Where is he now? What is he doing? Is he ok? Will he come home?)

They like the fact that he's strong enough to love a man with the title of ANBU.

It gives them hope for themselves.

Iruka doesn't know that Genma and Raidou and Ibiki actually stand in honest respect (and a slight tinge of fear) of him. He has no clue how strong he was in their eyes. No clue how much he impresses all of them. He doesn't know that Tsunade holds him in such high esteem.

He has no clue that he was probably the most respected chuunin, both from his underlings and equals and his ranking officers.

He doesn't know just how much Kakashi loves him. That was one of those things Kakashi doesn't want him to know…like many things concerning him. He has not clue number one that Kakashi fought for him. He doesn't know that, while on ANBU missions, and even on the ones he took with Cell Seven, he often awakes to a teammate's or Sasuke's hand over his mouth, preventing the rising scream from escaping seconds before it did.

He has no idea that the reason Kakashi thrashes and whimpers and nearly screams in his sleep is because he is dreaming of him, of him and him being in pain and him screaming and him thrashing and him whimpering and his death.

(Where is he now? What is he doing? Is he ok? Will he come home?)

He doesn't know any of this. And, if Kakashi has his way, he never will. That is just the way it is. To be truthful, it's probably safer for both of them this way.

But for all the hell Iruka goes through, there's always a little bit of heaven.

For every night Iruka spends awake and Kakashi spends being woken, there's one that they spend together, sleeping safely and soundly…when they sleep. For every time Kakashi has to be dragged off by Iruka, kicking and screaming in pain to see Tsunade, they spend time making each other scream for other reasons. For every night of terror, they get one of joy.

And for every time he wonders about whether he'll be getting pale, scarred, beautiful Kakashi or old, dented, scarred and stained and worn dog tags and a hitai-ate to match, he gets those old, battered dog tags pressed against his chest, warm from Kakashi's skin, and the battered and abused hitai-ate tied to his bedpost so that they'll remember to slip it over Kakashi's eye before going to sleep (because it would be absolutely humiliating to have to explain that to Tsunade…).

And so, for every bit of hell, there is a bit of heaven.

Iruka has learned to take what moments he can get and to treasure them and enjoy them. So that on nights like this one, he can take out those memories and play them over and over and over again, as something to stop the wondering and to tide him over. But mostly to stop the worried, scared, terrified, nervous, panicked wondering.

And he can hope that tomorrow night he will be there. And they'll both be asleep, Iruka first carefully snugging down the hitai-ate. And they'll sleep together, exhausted and sweaty and happy and sated and glad because when Kakashi returns, he returns with Iruka on his mind and in his heart.

But for tonight he will stay awake and worry, because he is alone and scared and worried and hoping and praying, because ANBU means a certain paycheck and a certain fate to those it calls members.

And he is scared. Scared for himself and for Kakashi.

(Where is he now? What is he doing? Is he ok? Will he come home?)

ANBU means hell to lovers.

But Iruka was no stranger to hell.

voila...Iruka-centric KakaIru angst...written in class and typed at one in the morning. Enjoy the fact that it's unbeta'd...and I don't care... (snerk)

peace, love, and KakaIru/ItaSasu/SasuNaru/GaaraANYBODY smut...