Title: "To Love is to Loose"
Author: Admantius Rating: R (for lots of angst and a twist ending)
Warnings: lots of OOC, slight AU, and possible spoilers

Disclaimer: Naruto belongs to the magnificent Masashi Kishimoto and all related parties. I am not one of those parties and am not making any money. Go sue someone else.

Notes: I had a mildly disturbing dream, which is what inspired this one-shot. Honestly, my subconscious mind is a thing to be greatly feared. Now, this is my first attempt at any sort of kakairu fanfics, because I mostly stick to art, and it's un-betaed. Fear the un-betaed-ness! Within this fic is a great big helping of steaming angst and general unhappiness. BEWARE! Rated R for making the author very unhappy, in an obscure sort of proud way... Remember what I said about my subconscious...

Iruka sighed as he bent over another corpse, carefully closing the eyes of the missing-nin he had just --'murdered,' his mind supplied. He mentally shook himself, avoiding that train of thought like he would the plague. No time for regrets now. Take care of the living.

He stood and wiped the blade of the bloody kunai on his pants leg, ignoring the slight twinge of revolt at having the blood of the other man on him. 'Staining my hands.'

Suddenly aware of a soft sound to his left he spun around to face a possible attacker, but the sight that met him curdled his blood. There sat Kakashi, in the nook between two giant tree roots, tightly gripping his thick silver hair and softly sobbing. Iruka's mind did a three-sixty. How could this be? This surely wasn't the infamous copy-
ninja of Konoha on front of him, showing such weakness.

Sure, Iruka knew that Kakashi had his share of horrible memories. Half-
whispered confessions and almost-intangible bouts of brooding sometimes showed up in their late-night conversations while atop the roof of Iruka's apartment complex. But showing it so openly? Impossible.

Moving forward cautiously, to avoid surprising the distressed man, Iruka bent down over the gently rocking figure.

"Kakashi-san?" he probed, hand reaching out, then pausing when the other man jerked. Iruka thought he heard some incoherent whispers escaping the jounin's lips.

Leaning closer he thought he thought he heard things such as 'not real' and 'it'll go away soon' breathed softly between the sobs that racked the crying man's whole body. Concern jabbed more insistently at his heart. Kakashi seemed to be lost in some sort of flashback, perhaps having to do with his lost teammates. Iruka only had a small inkling of what had happened during that fatal mission, but he knew it was an extremely touchy memory for the jounin.

"Kakashi-san," he tried again. "I need to get you back to the village."

The other just shook his head, still muttering under his breath. Iruka sighed and sat down. He didn't have any formal training as a med-nin, and he was afraid to forcibly move the distressed copy-nin. Leaning against the tree he stared up at the sky through the canopy of trees, trying to ignore the stench of blood and death that was starting to overwhelm the area.

They had been ambushed on a simple recon mission, a group of mist ninjas appearing out of nowhere to rain needles and weapons among their three-man group. Iruka looked up, remembering that Genma had at some point been separated from them during the skirmish. He quickly located the man a few yards away. He moved more closely to the bandana-clad ninja and made a quick once over to make sure he was still breathing. It looked like he had simply been bonked over-zealously on the head during the intense fight, and after dispelling his enemies had lay down for a nap. That was just like him.

Iruka rubbed the back of his head, noticing distractedly that his ponytail had come undone at some point, and made his way back over to Kakashi. The man with the shockingly silver hair was still clutching so tightly to his its roots that Iruka was afraid he might rip out huge chunks by mistake. Sitting down against the tree again, Iruka started to puzzle over his predicament: one teammate in a comatose-like nap, the other going through a break down while in the field. Things didn't bode well for him.

He felt slightly disconnected from his surroundings, as if he were looking at everything through a slight haze, and his limbs seemed to be getting heavier as time went by. Hmm, seemed like he had gotten wounded at some point, just now noticing the slash running across his stomach. It wasn't bleeding anymore, luckily, but he knew he had lost a lot of blood. He poked at it gently, wincing when the wounded flesh stretched slightly with the movement.

He jerked as Kakashi suddenly said something coherent for once.

"Why are you still here?" Kakashi's voice was muffled since his head was still cradled between his legs and his arms, knees drawn up to his face. Iruka noticed that the hitai-ate that normally covered the infamous Sharingan eye was still up around Kakashi's forehead, and the mask over his concealed face was slightly ripped on his cheek, showing off a gash of red skin where a knife had almost gotten him in the face.

Iruka found himself staring at that patch of inflamed skin as he responded, "What are you talking about, Kakashi-san? I'm a member of your team."

"Not real," Kakashi murmured, seeming to shrink into himself again.

Iruka made an exasperated sigh, then said, "Kakashi-san, please snap out of it. We need to get Genma back to the village, I think he might have a concussion."

A brief flash of the red-tinged left eye told Iruka that Kakashi had glanced towards their fallen comrade. Then the man laughed softly, slightly crazed. "That's just like him."

"Yeah, that's what I said." Iruka hoped that this was a sign that Kakashi was coming back to himself. The silence between them stretched out for several uncomfortable minutes, where the chuunin found himself starting to squirm.

"I loved you, you know."

Iruka looked up sharply at that, staring with disbelief at the bold statement.

"Kakashi-san, I -"

"Always with the honorific," he said, almost sounding like he was scolding the schoolteacher. "I would have thought that we were closer than that."

"I -" Iruka said again, dumbly floundering for something to say. "Kakashi, why so suddenly?"

"Was it sudden?" the jounin asked glancing at brunette, seeming to look right through him. "Funny, I've felt this way a long time. Too bad you had to leave."

"Leave? I've never gone anywhere," Iruka replied, confused. Perhaps Kakashi wasn't as back to normal as he had originally thought.

Kakashi simply chuckled, in that same slightly-less-than-sane way as before. "Yeah, I know. Here you are." He gestured at the general area in which Iruka sat.

"Why?" Iruka asked suddenly, his mind switching gears in mid conversation.

"Why are you here?" Kakashi asked, sounding confused.

"No, why do you say you loved me?"

"Did, still do, always will..." Kakashi trailed off, smiling wistfully.

"Okay, but why? I'm not all that much. I'm a low ranking chuunin academy teacher who's only on a field mission because the village's forces have been so drastically depleted. I can't offer you anything." Boy, this wound was sure itching, and he thought he might be losing some circulation to his legs.

"No, I suppose you can't anymore, can you?" Great, the silver haired man was still talking funny. "I love you because you are you. I can't really explain it, so don't ask me to. But I know I've been feeling it since that time when I nominated team seven for the chuunin exams, and you confronted me."

Iruka gasped. That long? And he had never noticed? God, what kind of shinobi was he?

"After that, when we became friends and started talking more regularly, it was all I could do to not break down and confess to you. But it never felt right. I wasn't sure how you felt, so I just continued on, content with what I had. I was afraid of loosing you, like I had lost Obito and Rin."

Iruka just nodded, not sure if Kakashi had seen the gesture or not. "I suppose I understand. I've always been afraid to get close to someone after my parents died, as you know." They had had this conversation before, in small snippets through the years. Most of this information wasn't new to either of them. After a long pause he turned his head towards Kakashi slightly, but not looking at him directly. "And I think I love you, too."

The jounin's head shot up in surprise, eyes searching Iruka's face, Sharingan swirling slowly.

"I -" Kakashi started, then cut himself off with a shake of his head. "I never thought you'd say those words to me. It's like a dream."

Iruka reached out a hand towards the jounin, "Kakashi, I -"

But the man jerked back suddenly and violently, eyes wide in something akin to fear. "No!" he hollered, backing up against the tree root. "Don't touch me!" Then he crumpled up into the rocking fetal position again, head once more buried between his knees. "If you touch me it'll all fall apart," He practically whimpered.

"Kakashi-san...!" Iruka said, startled by this reaction. Moving forward despite the other's warning he reached his hand out automatically to try to placate the shivering wreck of a man, the wound in his gut tearing slightly with the sudden move.

His hand never made contact. It seemed to slip right past the cowering form of the man he loved, like so much rain down a gutter. Jerking back, he wondered if Kakashi had raised some sort of jutsu in an automatic defense, but he hadn't felt any chakra manipulation. He stared at his hand, with a sudden intensity that came from years of dealing with disobedient academy students. That disconnected feeling that had been at the back of his mind during the whole conversation suddenly came back full force and his vision blurred slightly.

Confused he stood up quickly and backed away a few feet. His misguided feet came into contact with something slippery on the forest floor, and he found himself falling backwards over the other tree root that was behind him. Landing with a crash that knocked the air out of his lungs, he found himself staring into the face of another dead man that had been killed during the earlier ambush. He blinked a couple of times, the eyes of the corpse staring unblinkingly back at him, milky white with the loss of life. The wound in its stomach obviously the cause of death, a deep cut that had severed muscles and organs in one faithful sweep of a katana. . The stuff he had slipped on was the blood that was still slowly leaking out of the jagged opening. The corpse had dark brown hair and a horizontal scar across his nose. He was staring at his own face.

Iruka suddenly found himself chuckling as insanely as the jounin had been earlier. Leave it to Kakashi to forget to mention the most important detail.

END

Please don't kill me, I am not responsible for my mind's misgivings...