Howdy, everybody! Sorry this has taken a bit long to get down, but I've been busy trying to get into college. Thank you to everyone who reviewed (and to everyone who didn't, I don't know who you are, but if I did, you can be damn well sure that you'd be getting a mostly sharp glare from me!).
DangerX- Go right ahead. I'm interested in seeing how mistletoe jutsu mania will affect the world of fanfiction.
Kakashi Unmasked: Take 2
Epilogue- The Discovery
The morning after the PLAN was conceived, carried out, and completed, all of Konoha seemed off-kilter. For one thing, Haruno Sakura wasn't stalking Uchiha Sasuke. Secondly, the aforementioned Uchiha was very purposefully avoiding one Uzumaki Naruto, without a near death experience to explain the awkwardness. Next, Umino Iruka was late to the Konoha academy. And finally, the certain sign of the appending apocalypse- Hatake Kakashi was… on time… meeting his team on the bridge. No, really. He was. Had anyone else in Konoha seen this frightening phenomenon, they would have either promptly ran to the Fifth Hokage for some very strong medications, or barricaded themselves in bomb shelters to (hopefully) survive the alien invasion that would imminently follow.
How did Team Seven plus Iruka become wrapped up in this strange thread of occurrences, one might ask.
Haruno Sakura was not stalking Sasuke because she was too busy replaying in her head Sasuke and Naruto's accidental kiss from the first day Team Seven was formed, trying to decide if they belonged together. Were they too cute together to interfere with their long denied love, or was Sasuke too damn to give up on? The female nin tried to use her rational thinking to come to a conclusion, but Inner Sakura kept interjecting very unhelpful comments ("Sasuke-kun is too damn fine to let Naruto have him! Our true love will conquer ALL!" "Jump him, Sasuke-kun! Show that Naruto who's boss!"; Inner Sakura was split as well) and breaking her concentration.
Naruto and Sasuke were entangled in a delicate game of 'trying-to-look-at-you-without-you-noticing', with much blushing and glaring when one caught the other, because neither could decide whether their shared kiss was the answer to all the confusing feelings they felt, or just a means of escape from Iruka-sensei's mistletoe jutsu. After they had freed themselves the day before, both boys had fled. (Yes, another sign of certain doom: Naruto had forgotten about ramen.) Since nothing had been resolved, Sasuke and Naruto were stealthily observing one another to see of the other would reveal a clue about how he felt. Both wished that they could settle it with a fight, like usual.
Iruka arrived at the academy a full forty-five minutes late, a dreamy expression on his face. Even his class of exceptionally rowdy five year old ninja didn't affect him, and they had already left the unfortunate chuunin who had been pulled off the streets to act as a substitute for that three-quarters of an hour in need of a good three weeks of intense emotional counseling. Iruka just kept doing what he had been doing during the time he was supposed to be getting to the academy and teaching; he daydreamed about the evening before, when he and Kakashi had made ou… had an adult conversation. A conversation that he hoped would be continued after the teaching day ended…
Hatake Kakashi had a certain way of doing things. His life was a series of routines. On a given day, he would wake up at six o' clock, throw a kunai or seven at the annoying birds that had woken him up with their sickeningly cheerful singing, go back to sleep, wake up again, visit the memorial stone and chat with Obito, grab a bite to eat, read his porn, and finally meander over to the bridge and meet with his irate team. He was always exactly three hours and eight point four minutes late, and he always had a solid excuse ready for his questioning young charges. For an elite genius jounin, he was surprisingly predictable. But today was different. He had woken up at six, like usual, but the birds' song hadn't seemed so annoying. Instead of launching his daily attack at them and going back to sleep, he had gotten ready and went to the stone early. After an hour of telling Obito how wonderful it was to be alive (no offense to him, being dead and all. Kakashi knew his former teammate was understanding enough to not hold it against Kakashi that he was alive while Obito was not), the jounin had bought breakfast from a street vendor and headed off to the bridge, three hours and nine point six minutes earlier than ever before. He didn't even stop to read his Icha Icha Paradise vol 4. After all, why would he want to read about a beautiful blonde heroine with heaving breasts showing through her translucent dress when there was an adorable brown haired sensei waiting for him, not a mile away? He waited one point two minutes before appearing in front of his students (enough time, he found out, to recall exactly four of yesterday's kisses from Iruka). He was a kind, caring sensei, after all. Even before he reached the bridge, he could sense that something was off. He knew the added shock of Kakashi-being-early might kill them. It had nothing at all to do with the four kisses. Not at all. Kakashi was so selfless that it hurt sometimes.
Being as no one was quite acting normally on this fateful day, Team Seven's usual yell-at-Kakashi-sensei was likewise disturbed. When Kakashi arrived at the exact time he had specified, Sakura and Naruto didn't shout at him in unison. Naruto gaped and Sakura blushed as she remembered the handsome face under the mask, and what it had been doing to Iruka-sensei. Sasuke stuttered "You're…on time?" He looked at his teammates questioningly, and realized too late that he had just made eye contact with Naruto. The avenger quickly looked away. Kakashi watched with his visible eyebrow raised. He would have seemed very contemplative indeed, if he hadn't been humming like a love-sick puppy.
The strange happenings didn't stop there. As Team Seven completed three D-rank missions, a C-rank, and went about their ninja duties, none of them spoke to each other. There interrupted by nosebleeds quite often: whenever Iruka was mentioned or thought about by the sensei, whenever Sakura looked at Kakashi or at Naruto and Sasuke on the few occasions where they came near enough to each other to be seen together, whenever Sasuke looked too long at Naruto, and whenever Naruto fantasized about a pool filled with ramen. At first, Kakashi had attributed the strangeness to his own prompt arrival. After he noticed that the awkward silences and blushes weren't caused by that, he figured it was just because it was a Tuesday. However, being the elite jounin that he was, he soon used his ninja skills to deduce that something else was going on. He observed for a few minutes before mentally cracking his knuckles. Time to put his interrogation skills to good use…
Kakashi decided to go after Naruto first, since he was the most clueless and therefore least likely to figure out what his sensei was doing and warn his friends.
"Naruto. Come here!"
"What is it, Kakashi-sensei? Are you going to teach me a new kick-ass jutsu so I can beat up that Sasuke-teme?" Ah, Kakashi had to admit, he always found Naruto's enthusiasm and naivety extremely amusing. On an exceptional day like today, it was hard to restrain his laughter.
"Why would you want to beat up Sasuke, Naruto? I thought you were getting along now. Is something going on?" Alright, it wasn't the most subtle of approaches, but Naruto wouldn't have recognized subtlety if it tangoed on his nose, and Kakashi was a little distracted by images of Iruka in a translucent dress quoting passages from Icha Icha vol 4, so he'll have to be forgiven.
"Hell yeah! That bastard said we could get ramen yesterday, but then he skipped out on me after the kiss and I had to go home and make instant ramen, but I didn't have any left and the only edible thing in my house was that fruit basket that you sent but I hate fruit and I had to go a WHOLE DAY without RAMEN! That has to be against the law or something, sensei! I must have REVENGE!" Naruto kept rambling about how when he was Hokage, there would be a mandatory ramen eating decree, and any Uchiha bastards who kept the good citizens from following it would be forced to supervise Academy detentions (which were ranked the most traumatic experience in Konoha, followed closely by torture by Ibiki and abduction by Orochimaru).
"What was that about a kiss?" Kakashi asked slyly. With any luck, Naruto would reveal what was going on.
"Kiss? Oh, shit! Umm… there was no kiss! Nothing happened! I-I've gotta go, sensei!" With that, Naruto fled.
"Oi, Sakura-chan! I need to speak to you for a moment!" Kakashi called. Operation Interrogate the Students was going quite nicely.
"What do you need, Kakashi-sensei?" Sakura asked, carefully not looking in his direction.
When Naruto came back to the training area, Sasuke noticed right away that he looked upset. Not that he was looking, or anything. Uchihas were just naturally gifted observers.
"Hey, dobe! What did Kakashi-sensei want?"
"I know about the kiss, Sakura. And I know that you saw it." Sakura's eyes bugged out of her head. A small 'eep!' came out of her mouth. 'Busted!' Kakashi thought to himself. He was pretty sure he knew what had taken place the day before. Sasuke and Naruto had finally gotten a clue and kissed each other, and Sakura, who would have been stalking Sasuke, had naturally seen everything. Now, the two boys couldn't look at one another, and Sakura was embarrassed about knowing about it. And now Asuma and Gai owed him a lot of money! Life was so very, very good today!
Naruto and Sasuke came charging into the forest were Sakura was being interrogated, shouting.
"Don't tell him ANYTHING, Sakura!" The Uchiha yelled.
"Don't kill Iruka-sensei, Kakashi-sensei! We put him up to it!" Naruto added, with tears in his eyes.
"Shut up, Naruto!" Sakura and Sasuke screamed.
Kakashi eyed his students, confused. He decided a more intense interrogation would be needed.
For Iruka, the day passed by in a blur. Six hours seemed like six minutes. After he had only just arrived, it was time for dismissal. He released his students with a dreamy sigh. And if he had forgotten to collect their homework, assign them more, give them the scheduled test he had promised, and send home notes with a few ill-behaved pupils, they certainly weren't going to ruin his day by mentioning it. They considered it divine intervention that instead of being tested on their replacement techniques, they were given three times the normal recess time. His students weren't sure what had happened to Iruka-sensei, but they did know that they wanted it to happen everyday (Had Iruka known, he would have agreed.).
After the children left and Iruka finished straightening up the classroom, the chuunin heard groaning coming form the next classroom. (He noticed with a pleasant shiver that it was that classroom, the one that just yesterday had been covered in mistletoe.) In his giddy, Kakashi-induced state, he decided to check out what was going on, not by the giant shuriken holes hidden in the shadows, but by going into the classroom.
He found Kakashi (his heart leaped, and a smile formed on his face)… and Team Seven…bound and gagged and hanging upside down on the ceiling (the smile went away quite quickly).
"Yes?" Kakashi at least had the decency to look a bit sheepish.
"Why are my students tied to the ceiling?"
"What students?" Kakashi asked, looking around, feigning confusion. He decisively didn't look up.
"Kakashi!" Iruka used his best 'angry sensei' voice (which he might have avoided if he had had any idea of the dirty thoughts it inspired in the silver-haired jounin).
Naruto bit at the gag and finally pulled it off. "Run, Iruka-sensei! He knows! Save yourself!" His huge blue eyes were still brimming with tears. One fell, unable to fight gravity any longer. The classroom fell silent. A murderous intent filled the room. Iruka drew a kunai and, with the flick of a wrist, the three genin were on the floor, pulling off the ropes that had restrained them.
"You'd better leave now, children." Iruka said, in his freaky, quiet 'you're soooo in trouble I'm not going to yell at you' teacher voice. They were gone before he finished his sentence, even though they knew The Voice wasn't directed at them. "You made Naruto cry." The sensei told the recipient of The Voice. "Explain, in ten words or less, before I'm forced to punish you.
At any other time, Kakashi would have flashed a lecherous grin (or so one would have to gather from his visible eye) and begged Iruka "Punish me, please, sensei!" But, being the elite jounin that he was, he knew that this wasn't the time, as he was quite fond of having all his limbs and appendages.
"You used the mistletoe to see my face yesterday!"
"I thought it was a pretty good prank. You disagree?" Iruka asked, somehow looking mischievous and innocent at the same time.
"I thought that…I mean… It didn't mean…" Kakashi trailed off and turned away. Alas, even an elite jounin like Kakashi couldn't be expected to be a genius at everything. He looked so sad and vulnerable that Iruka felt guilty.
"Kakashi… look at me, Kakashi! I might have tricked you a little, but I wouldn't have kissed you if I didn't like you. Do you think I would have risked pissing off a jounin just because those three wanted to see what you look like? "
"They said they promised you ramen." Iruka could hear the pout through the black cloth mask. Dealing with jounin could be surprisingly similar to dealing with children sometimes. Iruka sighed.
"I'm sorry, Kakashi. How can I make it up to you?"
"You did betray me. I don't know if I'm ever going to recover from the emotional scarring. I put a lot of work into being mysterious to my kids, and now that's all gone." Anyone who thought genius ninja were serious and noble had never seen them sulk, Iruka thought to himself.
"There must be something, Kakashi."
"Well, if you're really sure, there is one thing you could do that might earn you my forgiveness." Kakashi appeared next to Iruka suddenly and whispered in his ear. And it wasn't just the warm breath that caused the flush on his face.
"Kakashi!" he shouted, scandalized. "This is a classroom! We can't!"
"You didn't seem to mind yesterday, sensei. Didn't you say you wanted to make up for your betrayal?"
"That reminds me, Kakashi. Speaking of yesterday, about what Naruto said about your mission report… It turns out that of the ninety-three mission reports you've turned in over these past few months, you've turned ninety-one in to me, eighteen of which you've given to me off hours."
"All right. You don't have to 'punish' me here if you don't feel comfortable…"
"Furthermore, when I asked my students, they said that they've been seeing flashes of silver outside of the classroom windows during class time. I thought it was just me, and that I must be seeing things, but they've confirmed it…"
"And it doesn't HAVE to be Icha Icha vol 4! That was just a suggestion!" Kakashi said desperately.
"In the last four weeks, you've paid no less than five students and three teacher aides to take pictures of me when I'm not looking…"
"I forgive you! I forgive you!"
"You've been stalking me, Kakashi! I thought I was going crazy, but it's been you all along."
Kakashi reminded Iruka of a guilty Konohamaru, looking only at his feet, awaiting judgment. Iruka laughed.
"I guess that makes us even. You stalked me, I showed Team Seven your face. Now, ask me out to dinner, before I decide you're too much of a basket-case to consider dating."
"Huh?" Kakashi looked up. Now he looked like a masked puppy, with that adoring gaze. "Oh. Iruka-sensei, would you like to go out to dinner with me?"
Iruka pretended to consider for a moment. "All right. But only if you kiss me."
Kakashi happily complied.
Out in the streets, Sakura and Sasuke were desperately trying to console Naruto.
"Kakashi-sensei won't hurt him. He likes him too much, Naruto!" Sakura told him, patting his shoulder.
"I think Kakashi-sensei's the one we should be worried about. Iruka-sensei was using his teacher voice." Sasuke added. Dealing with emotions wasn't his forte, but he was willing to try for Naruto. Because he was a good team mate, and an emotionally unsound teammate would be a liability, not because the sight of Naruto crying made him feel like his clan had been slaughtered five times over…
"But if he hurts Iruka-sensei, it'll be all my fault, and I love Iruka-sensei." Sasuke didn't feel a spike of jealousy at that. He only grimaced because he'd been bitten by a bug at that exact moment. "He's like a father to me and he buys me ramen and he doesn't care that everyone else hates me and-"Sasuke placed a finger on Naruto's lips to cut off the rambling.
"Listen to me, dobe. Iruka-sensei isn't going to die. He has Kakashi wrapped around his fingers. Now, let's go get some ramen. Your hunger is obviously messing with your limited ability to think." Sasuke offered Naruto a hand to help him up. He turned to ask Sakura if she'd be getting ramen with them, but she'd disappeared.
"Are you treating, teme?" Naruto asked, all traces of tears gone. Sasuke nodded, and stumbled when Naruto tackle-glomped him.
"I love you, Sasuke-teme! Come on, let's go!" Naruto detached himself from his teammate and sprinted for the ramen stand. Sasuke waited for a moment, to regain his composure. It simply wouldn't do for the sole heir of the Uchiha clan to wonder around the village with a love struck grin on his face.
Sakura watched the hug and departure of her male teammates from her hiding space two stories up. Once she had seen that SasuNaru moment coming, she'd made herself scarce. After all, she knew how frustrating it was to have someone interfering with love. She quietly followed Naruto and Sasuke. All day, she's wondered what she was going to do with herself. Stalking Sasuke when he liked someone else had seemed wrong to her. Now, she felt a whole new purpose. Sasuke and Naruto were both idiots when it came to romance; they'd need time, opportunities, and more than a few pushes before they'd be willing to admit their feeling s for each other. They'd need to be sheltered from the less understanding Uchiha fan-girls, who'd try to break them apart. In short, they'd need someone helping their relationship along silently every step of the way. Sakura loved both her teammates, and she'd devote her honed stalking skills and romance savvy to helping them be happy together. And if she happened to see them kiss, make out, or maybe even do more, she'd grin and bear it… and take a HELL of a lot of pictures for herself and Ino to squeal over later.
Three months later, there were whispers throughout Konoha. Things had gone back to normal for the most part: Kakashi was back to being late and reading his porn, Iruka was getting to class on time and collecting assignments, Naruto and Sasuke were settling all disputes with their fists, and Sakura was happily stalking. But a few changes had been noted by the more observant members of Konoha Village. The boldest of the Uchiha fan-girls met with very strange accidents if they tried to press their affections on Sasuke too much, especially if they did so when he was with Naruto. Kakashi could still be seen outside Iruka's classroom sometimes, but he no longer made an attempt to hide himself. But the strangest piece of gossip came from Gai.
"I was training my Beloved Students in the Springtime of their Youth, when I met up with my Hip and Modern Eternal Rival, Kakashi. I challenged him to a Contest of Wits and Strength, which he accepted with a Cool and Distant Response." Gai would tell his enraptured audiences, with many hand gestures and blinding smiles. He would describe the Contest, to carve the 'Most Beautiful and Youthful Sculpture, using only Kunai, Artistic Genius, and Youthful Inspiration'.
"He won, which brings our score to ninety-eight to ninety-seven, with a Hip and Wonderfully Realistic image of the Beautiful Iruka-sensei, the Masterful Teacher of my own Adored Students. And then, the Brilliant Iruka-sensei himself appeared and asked to speak with my Rival. Kakashi followed him with Enthusiasm befitting a Peer of mine. But he left behind his Book of Adult Literature and Free Love. I myself resolved to deliver to back to him safely, or I would do five hundred upside-down push-ups. I picked up my Eternal Rival's novel, and some photographs fell out. I would not have looked at the Private and Sacred Property of my Rival, because the Sensitive Nature of the Book might taint the Purity of my Youthful Innocence, but as I was placing them back inside the Novel, I caught a glimpse of one. It was a picture of the Marvelous Iruka-sensei, Sternly Correcting a Youthful Student on Kunai Throwing Techniques. All the pictures that had fallen out were of Iruka-sensei."
At that, the audience would gasp and whisper amongst themselves. And Gai would politely refrain from mentioning that the other pictures he had found inside the book were less innocent. He was glad to know that instead of reading porn and stalking the object of his affection, his rival was in a healthy two-way relationship. Ah, the Sacred Springtime f Love brought tears to his eyes. Kakashi was well ahead of him in the field of romance. Gai swore with a bright flash of teeth and an extended thumb that he would find love as well, or else run two hundred laps around Konoha backwards.
It was hard to tell who the happiest person in Konoha that year. Kakashi and Iruka both found something that was starting to like more suspiciously like love every day, Naruto and Sasuke began hanging out with each other with no physical violence involved, and Sakura no longer suffered from unrequited love and had found a new calling in life. However, the happiest creatures in Konoha seemed to be the birds outside of Kakashi's window. They were free to sing their songs and spread their cheerful happy peacefulness around the village, because Kakashi no longer through kunai at them every day. They could make music to their heart's content, and Iruka kept Kakashi happy enough that he wouldn't take his rage out at them. And they also enjoyed the beautiful sensei/sensei action they caught through those windows. But really, it was about the spreading of joy. Really!
No, I don't believe them either. But the point is, this ending coming up right down there, it's a happy one. We won't begrudge our birds a little denial, no matter how jealous we are of them. Who knows, maybe they'll send some pictures our way?
The end of my first slash fic!
Hope you all had fun!
If you want more slash, tell me so
And this won't be the only one!
I love you, my audience! Thank you for reading!