Traditional Blah-Blah-Blah Disclaimer: Neither of us own Naruto but if we did, it'd pretty much stay the same. Except for…well, just a slight change involving a certain Jounin, Chuunin and the making-out thereafter.
Author Note: Okay, guys. This is Kakashi/Iruka fiction. KakaIru. Kakashi x Iruka. As in guy-on-guy action. It isn't heavy- it IS possible to skip over and just pretend they become good friends instead, but it is present. Think of this as a rated R movie for all the best reasons (sex, language, violence. Ninjas.) Other than that, enjoy!
Leaves in the Wind
Chapter One: Observe- Umino Iruka.
Ninja: Members of the Japanese mercenary agents who were trained in the
Martial Arts and hired for covert operations such as assassination and sabotage.
When everything was done, a mission set in motion or a mission completed, there was nothing that could change what had transpired and what that would initially do to the people involved. When someone had experienced their first attempt at stealing life from another man as means of retaining political 'harmony' or as merely a way of displaying pride for their village, their faces would crack. Just a little, but it was always enough for everyone around them to know. The second mission would come shortly after, then the third, then the fourth and so on. Some ninja would stop at a certain level and the jobs would come slower, usually scouting missions or something of a lesser rank. Still, others would give up all together and never bother with the prospect of hazardous exams, with strenuous techniques, or with the paranoia that lurked even in their unconscious states.
Yet, there was always someone willing to go beyond Chuunin rank, someone who was brave according to some, foolish according to others, or perhaps heartless enough to rise to Jounin rank; someone who would risk not only their own lives, but the lives of three Genin as well. They risked life in the present, and they risked lives in the future. All it took was a misplaced breath, a small, miscalculated movement and it could end as quickly as it could begin.
The ninja stationed in the Missions Department had seen everything in the faces of their fellows. They looked upon death and took what was handed to them without comment. They saw ninja deteriorating into madness, shutting the world out so that they might live another day, and they saw Ninja who were already there. One couldn't avoid analyzing or being analyzed in a secret village, thus all that was left was to ignore it or become someone who was ignored.
Umino Iruka took the missions report with a straight face. "Thank you, Nakura-chan."
Here, another ninja who had learned quickly to keep emotions shut out and a smile jammed on. It seemed like a popular strategy among Jounin as of late. They either scowled or they grinned. "Haha, yes, it's been a while Iruka-sensei."
She vanished before he could reply.
Umino Iruka was a ninja with average abilities and an average appearance; he didn't stand out. There was no oddly colored hair or eyes, no distortion of features. The only defining characteristics he possessed were a horizontal scar marring his face and a particularly potent glare that was used only in a classroom. Which had been later affectionately dubbed as the 'Iruka-sensei death glare' by one blonde-haired, blue-eyed hellion. He was widely respected as one of the best Academy teachers in the village, but though this respect was still upheld long after graduation, most students and civilians alike tended to forget his presence.
He did nothing unusual to counteract his average looks. Iruka stuck to routine as habitually as the chakara-free denizens of Konoha. He would get up, train for a while, teach, go to the Missions Office -on odd days, the order would change leaving him in the Missions Office and then teaching for the remainder of the day- eat ramen at Ichiraku and return to his apartment to sleep.
"Thank you, Gai-san."
"Has my rival been-?"
"I'm sorry, Gai-san. No."
He'd had his share of excitement when Naruto had been his student. For just a brief moment, attention had been on him as he was forced to release his friend. It vanished and here he was again, beloved but -if it could be possible- affectionately ignored by the entirety of Konoha. His bond with Naruto, something that appeared to have been initialized by their encounter with Mizuki, actually sprouted from a seed buried far deeper in sorrow. They shared pasts. They shared loneliness. They shared hope.
So Umino Iruka had connections with interesting people, but no, he wasn't interesting himself.
Another Missions report file was stuck under his nose, one covered with mud, and he sniffed indignantly before he took it. "Thank- Ah, good afternoon, Kakashi-san. Gai-san was looking for you."
A lazy eye stared down at Umino Iruka. "Yo, Iruka-san." Hatake Kakashi was a tall, slender, but well-built Jounin. He wore his hitae-ate over his left eye and a black mask covered his face from the nose down. This was his usual, casual appearance. No one had seen under the mask, and Kakashi seemed to like it like that. The Jounin was often called a copy-nin because of the Sharingan eye he kept hidden. It was rumored that he'd copied over 1000 moves, but none wanted to find out for themselves. Hatake Kakashi, unlike Umino Iruka, was well known.
The Jounin yawned and flipped his fingers through his silver hair, consequently flicking mud on Iruka's orderly desk. With a glance at the paper, Iruka could see he'd been dog walking with his three Genin: a class D mission, but apparently dirty nonetheless.
"Ah, Iruka-san…" Kakashi started, placing his hand on the desk as he leaned forward. "Naruto-kun didn't stop by here, did he?"
"No, I haven't seen him." Mud on his desk; he'd scowl if it weren't Kakashi he was talking to. Of course, if it were Asuma, who was grinning and pointedly watching them from across the room, he wouldn't have spared the ninja a second thought before planting his fist in the Jounin's face. Kakashi was a lucky man. "Did you loose him again?"
Iruka was still holding Kakashi's Mission report, dangling it over the floor. He watched dirt flecks drift lazily though the air. It was just like Kakashi, possessing an attitude infectious enough to affect dust particles.
The ninja sighed, standing up straight and placing a hand on his hip in his traditional manner. "I see…" He glanced around idly, spotting Gai, but pointedly ignoring the 'rival's' challenging grin. "Fine. I'll go ahead and collect our next assignment while I'm here."
"Truly sorry, I don't have anything for you today." Carefully sliding the offending paper in a desk drawer, Iruka used his free hand to procure a blank slip from a pile in front of him. It was caught by the currents circulating around the room and it wafted past Kakashi, twisting wildly before descending forlornly to the ground. "It's been slow this week."
Every self-respecting ninja in the Missions Office suddenly became very interested in filing or the execution thereof.
"I challenge you!" Apparently, at the sight of Kakashi standing there, looking so bored, Gai could no longer hold in his enthusiasm.
Kakashi blinked and turned his head to look at Gai, who was currently pointing an accusatory finger at him and breathing heavily. "Huh? Gai-san. Did you say something?"
"AHHH! SO COOL!" Gai thrust his hands in the air, throwing his head back. "Thwarted again! It is now clear that I must train HARDER!"
Exactly what was 'thwarted' here, no one had the balls to ask that massive, fuzzy-browed green blur. They only watched with disdain as Gai left, leaving the scent of fresh spring flowers and the song of birds chirping lingering in the room. Well, that was random but….
"Heeey, Kakashi," A cigarette butt flashed briefly over Kakashi's head before the Jounin caught it and snuffed it out. Asuma was still grinning at them when attention was finally his. He waved. "Since you apparently have no missions, wanna get in a few drinks?"
"Asuma-san," Iruka cut in, "I believe YOU have C rank mission with Team ten that needs to be completed by-"
"Ah, shit, so I do." The Jounin grinned, producing another cigarette from god knew where. "Well, looks like you're on your own tonight, eh?"
Iruka sighed, wondering why these men were still in the Office when they should be elsewhere. Preferably looking after their students. "Kakashi-san…"
Kakashi silently stared at Iruka. He then swiftly leaned down and picked up the blank paper the sensei had dropped. He held it out to him. "I suppose I must find-"
"Naruto-kun!" Sakura's desperate shout echoed down the hallway and the Missions Office doors burst open. A yellow-haired ninja dashed in, irritatingly waving around a blue cloth. "Uzumaki Naruto! Give back Sasuke-kun's hitae-ate before he kicks your ass!"
"Aiya…" Kakashi raised a finger to his forehead.
"Iruka-sensei! Don't tell Sakura-chan I'm in here or she'll try to get Sasuke-bastard's hitae-ate!"
"If you hadn't yelled just now, you might have gotten away with it." Iruka grinned at his former charge, motioning for Naruto to hide beneath the desk as he scooted his chair out. It wasn't worth much, but it was an appreciated gesture. Normally, he'd chastise this sort of behavior but hell, it was Naruto. It would shock the youth of Konoha's population into premature cardiac arrest if they learned that the infamously 'boring Iruka-sensei' was once one of leaf village's master pranksters. He related to the situation. Besides, Sasuke-kun could use some exercise in social interaction.
As Naruto scrambled and pulled on a last minute concealment jutsu, the Chuunin raised a brow at Kakashi.
Kakashi's form blurred for an instant as he casually leaned against the desk when a pink-haired girl charged in the swinging doors.
"Naruto-kun!" The Sakura exclaimed, pointing towards Kakashi. "Kakashi-sensei! Where is Naruto-kun?"
Kakashi shrugged. "You're a ninja, Sakura-chan." His eye smiled at her.
The girl seethed and stalked forward, absolutely silent and completely alert.
"Hello, Sakura-chan." Iruka nodded at her, smile innocuously bright. "How has training been?"
Sakura nodded to him, and paused to check behind a sign. Her glare became sardonic. "Naruto-kun. I'm going to kill you."
There was a sudden thud from under Iruka's desk and a pained shout from Naruto. Kakashi turned around. "Sasuke-kun?"
"Hmph." The black-haired ninja crawled out from under Iruka's desk, tying his hitae-ate to his forehead and flipping back his hair. "Afternoon, Kakashi-sensei, Iruka-sensei."
"Sasuke-kun! I knew you would get it," the girl cooed.
"Kage bunshin no jutsu!"
Iruka's bemused expression fell, Asuma's cigarette dropped. From behind a desk, Genma -who'd tried to slip in while everyone's attention was diverted- twitched, stubbing a toe and absent-mindedly cursing.
"Naruto! No! Not here!" The Chuunin's words were lost on the boy. Eleven Uzumaki Narutos surged away from the broken desk, launching at Sasuke while shouting simultaneously 'Sasuke-bastaaaard!'. Iruka gazed down at the remnants of his workplace, noting that Kakashi's report was ironically still intact.
"Shit!" Sasuke placed his arms in front of him, preparing for the massive Naruto attack.
Kakashi disappeared out of the corner of Iruka's eye. As the Narutos began to charge Sasuke, they all began to poof out of the air with one swift knock upside the head from Kakashi. Finally the real Naruto was knocked into the ground face first, and to prevent Sasuke from assaulting, he was picked up by the scruff of his shirt as if he were a kit.
The lazy Jounin sensei stared down at his blonde pupil. "Hey, Naruto-kun. What are you doing?"
"Lemme hit him, Kakashi-sensei! I have to teach the Sasuke-bastard not to mess with me AGAIN!"
Iruka's hands had curled into fists that now shook at his sides. His eyes were still trained on his recently deceased furniture.
"Hahaha, you still got your hands full, eh, Kakashi?" Asuma inhaled deeply and exhaled, the smoke haloing his head. "At least my team stays in one place. Most of the time."
Genma leaned over and muttered something in Asuma's ear. The Jounin jerked in place, glanced at Iruka and a grim silence instantly befell the two.
"Kakashi-sensei!" Naruto whined. "Pleeeeease?!"
Sasuke muttered loudly and crossed his arms, still dangling in the air. "Idiot."
Kakashi clicked his tongue, taking note of Iruka in the back of his mind. "Naruto-kun, do you remember our little discussion about teamwork?"
Sakura scooted away from Iruka in the background.
"Yes! What's that got to do with Sasuke?" Naruto shot up, regarding Kakashi with skepticism.
The ninja's head swiveled, his eyes widening oh-so slightly as he noticed Iruka standing, head bowed, fists clenched, gaze burning holes into the pile of wood that had once been his desk. Uh oh. He'd made Iruka-sensei angry…that was…bad. Very, very bad…. Bad in the 'no free ramen for the rest of your life' sense of the word.
Sasuke was suddenly glad Kakashi was standing between him and Naruto and therefore Iruka-sensei.
"Ah… Iruka-sensei. I need my pupils in one piece, if you don't mind." The Jounin grinned sheepishly. "How about I take you out for some sake while my students rebuild the desk?"
"Kakashi-sensei!" Sakura instinctively protested but quickly cut herself off.
Naruto winced as the 'Iruka-sensei death glare' bore into him, flickered, and died. Iruka inhaled, unclenched his fists and sighed deeply, waving a dismissive hand at Naruto. "It's fine, Naruto-kun." He offered a hearty laugh, putting the ninja around him at relative ease. "I shouldn't complain. It can get dull in here. Any distraction is welcome."
"Thank you, Iruka-sens-!"
"However." Iruka narrowed his eyes. "I think I'm going to take Kakashi-san's offer." He knelt next to the ruins of his beloved Office companion and plucked the report pinned beneath two boards, casually handing it to Naruto. "Please give this to Asuma-san."
Kakashi let out a metaphysical sigh of relief and grinned at Iruka, dropping Sasuke to the ground.
"Team Seven, start cleaning. Your task better be done by closing today."
Sakura nodded, "Yeah…."
"Iruka-san-!" Kakashi wrapped a winsome arm over the Academy teacher's shoulders. "I know a great place for sake."
Iruka snorted, politely removing Kakashi's arm. "I'm sure you do, Kakashi-san."
Boring Umino Iruka. Dull day. Crazy but routine Office antics. Who would bother with such a man?
A raven took flight from its perch with a startled 'Raawk' as a cigarette butt expertly nailed it in the back of the head. It left in a flurry of feathers, but not without turning a glistening eye on the pair of ninja leaving the Missions Office.