Title: War Games
Author : desolate butterfly
Pairings: Iruka/Kakashi, Naru/Saku/Sasu if you try really hard, Asuma/Anko if you squint.
This fic takes place after Sasuke has run his emo self off to Orochimaru.
Genre: One-shot, humour.
Disclaimer: Naruto is owned by Kishimoto, not me.
Iruka reached into the tall glass jar and fished around in it for a few moments, hoping that the next scrap of folded paper he pulled out wouldn't make Anko glare at him like that again. Or make Gai grin quite so widely, as he seemed to be scaring the newer Jounin seated beside him.
"Hitoki Azubeme…Hitoki Azubeme…"
Anko's eyes narrowed and Iruka briefly thought about becoming a missing nin, just to avoid what he knew was coming in three…two…one…
"THIS IS RIDICULOUS!"
"Saa Anko, calm down, it's just a game." Asuma puffed thoughtfully on his cigarette and thought briefly of offering the seething young woman one. It might calm her down.
Or she could put it out on my nose…which is more likely?
Asuma wisely decided to keep all his cigarettes to himself.
"I DEMAND that you call at least ONE of my hits," Anko growled, putting a hand to the kunai tucked in its brace across her ribcage.
Iruka gulped and lifted his hands, making vague soothing motions that only seemed to work on his younger students.
"Anko-san, I don't avoid yours on purpose! I'm just pulling random names…"
"Are you sure you do it with your eyes closed?"
Tsume, seated behind Anko, suddenly snickered.
"Hey Anko, that's kind of a personal question to be asking Umino-kun, isn't it?"
"What are you tal…hey, shut up Inu-pervert, I didn't mean it that way!"
"What way?" Oh great, now Gai was looking curious and if Kakashi was laughing underneath that damned mask Iruka was going to kill him…
Iruka cleared his throat, bringing up a hand to rub at his face (in exasperation, not to hide a blush, dammit).
"I'm sure I'm not peeking when I draw a name, Anko-san. But if it makes you feel better, we could always get someone else to do it…"
Please, please make someone else do it!
"No, that's okay. I trust you, Iruka."
He sighed and dunked his hand blindly back into the jar. After a few moment, a promising scrap brushed his fingertips. And gave him a papercut.
"Ouch! Uh, shit…Roga Nadare…Roga Nadare…"
Everyone turned to glare at Hatake Kakashi. If looks could kill, he'd be six-feet under by now. Then again, Kakashi had trained Uchiha Sasuke, so perhaps he was immune to death-inducing glares.
Anko's shriek could have shattered glass. As it was, Asuma dropped his cigarette in his lap and spent the next few seconds patting flames out on his thigh.
Gai's face had crumpled and he was now blowing his nose noisily on his sleeve.
"Kakashi, my eternal rival! You have beaten me again, but I swear to you that I shall run fifty times around Konoha on my hands while singing traditional songs in order to make up for my failure!"
"I'm sorry, did you say something?"
"Oh, so hip! That response…you are a cool one, Kakashi!"
Iruka rolled his eyes and tried to get the group resettled. Jounins were typically worse than his youngest class when it came to organization. And, at least in the classroom, Iruka didn't have to worry about metal-edged projectiles being tossed behind his back.
Let's just get this over with.
"Kakashi-san, would you please call out your names?" he asked.
Kakashi stood up and read from a card with several photos stapled to it. Actually, the card had several other sheets attached to it and was beginning to look a bit like a booklet. You could usually tell ANBU members from the rest of the jounin by how many extra cards they had scattered across the tables.
"Kimigaku Horou…Jujenai Hibiki…Momochi Zabuza…Hatori Genzu…"
"That one doesn't count," Anko whined. "You got him by accident while aiming for Hamake Rin!"
Iruka shook his head. "It's a kill, it still counts. Go on Kakashi-san."
"Denzen Fujimaka…and Roga Nadare. Plus Hokage-sama's free square."
"That's a bingo. You win again, Kakashi-san."
Anko huffed and sank back down in her seat, muttering. Asuma might have comforted her if the hole burned in his pants hadn't been in such a…strategic area. As it was, he had his hands full covering it up.
Kakashi slowly made his way to the front of the room, careful not to make eye contact with Gai, lest another challenge be shot his way, and dodging to two shuriken that Tsume threw at his back. They thudded into Iruka's desk instead and a vein throbbed in his head as he considered making Tsunade up his pay for property damages.
"So," he said as Kakashi approached, "I think Anko's going to murder you if you win next year. That's the third time in a row."
Kakashi only tilted his head to the side. He was probably grinning behind that mask. Bastard.
"If she does, then she can add me to her bingo book list and maybe she'd win next time."
"Don't joke. She'd do it."
"Who said I was joking?"
Iruka rolled his eyes and then took out a pen and notepad.
"You know the drill. Winner gets one favour from the Hokage within reason."
They had added that clause five years ago after Jiraiya had asked for a vat of jello, a camera, and all the unmarried women in the village.
"So, what'll it be," Iruka asked, pen tapping against the paper impatiently. "A new apartment? You've been wanting more bedroom space for a while now…"
Kakashi leered at him a little, stepping a bit closer into Iruka's personal space.
"If you'd sleep over in my bed like I've asked and not insisted on dragging that stupid futon out, then I wouldn't need more bedroom space, would I?"
"Kakashi!" Iruka hissed, feeling the blood rush to his cheeks.
He surreptitiously glanced around to see if the others had heard, but Gai was rather loudly making a speech about the springtime of youth. And even Tsume, who had a bad habit of eavesdropping due to her Inuzuka sharpened hearing, could not compete against Maito Gai when he was in full lecture mode.
'Time to change the subject."
Iruka sent a glare Kakashi's way and tried again.
"You could ask for a raise in your salary. Konoha has the budget for that now, I'm pretty certain. Shizune has been managing the finances with that new system of hers. Oh, and she hid all of Hokage-sama's sake bottles. Or you could ask for new equipment. Shiba-san showed me a brace of shuriken he'd had custom made in Suna and they look really nice. Or maybe you could ask for—"
"A festival day."
Of all the things Hatake Kakashi could have asked for, this was not the one Iruka expected.
"A festival day? Why do you want that?"
Iruka racked his brain for memories of the last festival day, but from what he could recall, Kakashi had only shown up for the light ceremony and had then gone home to bed. Nor did Iruka remember him joining in the festival games, watching the performances, or taking advantage of the market. Kakashi, to tell the truth, was a bit of a stick in the mud when it came to festivals.
"W-e-l-l," the grey-haired jounin drawled, glancing nonchalantly at the ceiling, "festival days are good for…team spirit."
Iruka had to puzzle that answer out in his head for a few moments before it hit him. On festival days, Haruno Sakura actually forgot about Uchiha Sasuke's defection to the Sound for a while and smiled like she meant it instead of the strange half-smile she'd taken to giving people. And when Sakura smiled, Naruto was happy. And when Naruto was happy, he wasn't usually off begging Jiraiya to teach him dangerous techniques, or bugging Tsunade to let him journey to find the Hidden Sound village, or moping around the forest punching trees and pretending they were Orochimaru.
On festival days, the children of Team Seven actually acted like the children they never got to be; careless, innocent, and hopeful.
"That's…really thoughtful of you, Kakashi," Iruka said, softly.
Kakashi raised his eyebrows and laughed.
"Why Iruka-sensei! You never said you enjoyed the cheap sake on festival days as well…I would have invited you drinking with me."
"Whatever," Iruka said, jotting down Kakashi's request, "I'm onto you, Hatake Kakashi."
"Not yet," Kakashi breathed, and all of a sudden it seemed he was standing a lot closer. "But you will be."
Iruka managed to discreetly stomp on Kakashi's foot without looking up from the notepad he was writing, which meant that he didn't get to see Kakashi's exaggerated wince.
"Pervert. Now, about the festival…I'm pretty sure Hokage-sama will be okay with it, but what reason should we make up for having it? Spring festival was just two months ago."
Kakashi scratched his chin thoughtfully.
"We already have one of those. It's in the Fall, remember?"
"Oh, right. Well how about pineapple?"
"Those don't even grow in Leaf."
"Pick something that's not a fruit."
"Icha Icha Festival?"
Iruka sent a punch Kakashi's way, which he dodged, grinning.
"Forget it. I'll ask Shizune to name it or something. Go away."
Kakashi gave a mock salute and Iruka smiled as he watched the man leave.
'The Scarecrow Festival…has a nice ring to it.'