Title: A Chuunin by Any Other Name

Pairing: Kakashi and Iruka… though there really isn't anything going on in this fic.

Genre: Drabble (but it's a little more than a 100 words I'm afraid… so if that bothers you consider it a short fic)

Rating: G/K

Spoilers/Warnings: This is too short to have any spoilers or warnings, unless an implied yaoi relationship offends you.

Summary: Umino Iruka is baffled and befuddled that his live-in lover Hatake Kakashi uses so many different pet names for him.

AN This was the first little Naruto drabble I ever wrote. Actually the first Naruto anything I've ever wrote. Hope you like it.

Umino Iruka didn't understand it. He responded whenever he was spoken to, but he simply didn't understand it. Hatake Kakashi found it made perfect, logical sense. He was, after all, a recognized genius. After all, when one took the time to think the way Kakashi did, everything was entirely clear.

He was Iruka-sensei when the young academy teacher first managed to draw the copy-nin's exposed eye away from his precious Icha Icha. Maybe it was because team seven was now dissolved, that he was now acutely aware that he had failed Sasuke, that Naruto was better off being trained by someone else and that even with his gifted Sharingan eye he couldn't see the obvious fact that Sakura was never really cut out to be the sort of ninja Kakashi knew how to teach.

He was Iruka-sensei because he didn't approach the canine summoning jutsu user in his self-depreciation with lectures of I-told-you-so's or accusations of being the reason why Naruto had left to seek training from Jiraiya-sama. He was Iruka-sensei because he once again proved that though he was out-ranked and out-classed he understood the ninja mind better than anyone, perhaps because he helped turn Konoha's youth into that strange oxymoron of compassionate deadly shinobi. Notably, he was Iruka-sensei because he managed to teach the jounin genius lessons he hadn't realized he needed refresher courses in. Lessons on friendship and forgiveness and strength.

When the actual courting began he was simply Iruka. Though the chuunin sensei was overly polite and well mannered and had a hard time remembering to drop the honorific, despite the silver-haired man's constant persistence, Kakashi hadn't found it all that difficult to call his lovely dolphin by first name only. He was Iruka because his patience, though worn thin by the snot nosed children of the village's ninja force, seemed infinite, even as the infamous jounin continued to bumble through the dating process. A process which was frequently interrupted by mini A-ranked missions and obligations to piles of mission reports to file and pop quizzes on proper equipment maintenance to grade.

He was Iruka even as Kakashi found the brunet a constant fixture in his day to day activities, even though sharpening his kunai throwing skills was more important than allowing his mind to ponder if the cute chuunin with the scarred nose wanted to get lunch before he was due at the mission desk. He was Iruka when they had ramen, when Kakashi managed, with difficulty, to only be two hours late and he explained how he had to save a lost kitten on a rooftop on the way over to the ramen stand. He was still Iruka when he was invited back to the sensei's house for a sake nightcap and had been asked as he was being led into the bedroom by his gloved hand if dango would be alright for breakfast.

He was Ruka-kun when they were alone. Ruka-kun when the Copy Ninja pulled down his face mask and laved all the exposed skin on his adorable Ruka-kun's face. He was Ruka-kun when he found himself falling dangerously, spiraling out of control, spilling out of his skin, unable to maintain any semblance of reason around the brunet shinobi. Ruka-kun when he couldn't pull himself away before a long mission. Ruka-kun when he was nearing the village wall and the jounin imagined pinning his Ruka-kun to the nearest hard surface and doing things that would make Icha Icha suitable for children in comparison.

Kakashi wasn't sure where Ruka-kun had come from. He hadn't been paying much attention to the pet name, but he was Ruka-kun when nothing else in life mattered, when he could sit next to his lover in the living room that was now theirs, one looking over essays on field tactics, the other rereading a particularly naughty scene involving a school teacher and a ruler in a dirty book. He was Ruka-kun because everything that was good was somehow tangled up in him. He was Ruka-kun because Kakashi wasn't all that sure it wasn't the chuunin sensei that made the sun come up in the morning or made the grass a bit greener on their side of the street. He was even Ruka-kun despite the fact that he, an elite and proud Konoha ninja, could so easily be caught thinking ridiculous poetic-dribble when his whole life had been built on discipline and logic.

He was Rukie-chin when he tried to get out of bed before Kakashi gave him permission. He was Rukie-chin when Kakashi wanted a little more snuggling, or he needed to be babied after a harsh mission. Or when he had a cold. It was always said in a whiney child-like voice and despite the fact that the Rukie-chin in question quite hated the childish, ridiculous pet name he still managed to lie next to him in bed for a few more minutes, or snuggle into him even though he was busy washing the dishes, and read him his favorite passages from his favorite volumes of his most favorite erotica series of all time when he had a bad cold, even though he blushed a deep crimson when he got to the school teacher parts.

Most especially, he was Rukie-chin when Kakashi was his most vulnerable. When the jounin, a skilled killing shinobi, let his guard down almost entirely. He was Rukie-chin because at those moments his lover could do anything he wanted, and could request anything he wanted and the silver-haired man was forced to comply. He was Rukie-chin when he was injured in laid out in bed, or in the hospital, when the only person he'd let see him so bad was his Rukie-chin. He was Rukie-chin because Kakashi trusted him completely, something he hadn't done since the Fourth. He was Rukie-chin when the jounin was the most playful and the most serious. And because his Rukie-chin knew how to read between the lines, see underneath the underneath, and interpret the very complex inner workings of the Copy-nin's mind.

He was Iruka when they went grocery shopping, his cinnamon tinted lover blushing pink when the jounin added half the shelf-worth of lube into their shopping cart while they were in the pharmacy aisle. He was Ruka-kun when they got home and argued over where all this lube should be stored, his Ruka-kun insisting it didn't belong in the same cabinet as the green tea. He was Rukie-chin when Kakashi used all his known skills in the art of domestic relations and begged and pleaded to use some of the extra lubricant now and worry about unpacking the groceries later. He was Iruka-sensei when he finally caved in, found the ruler he kept in the drawer and in his most authoritative no-nonsense sensei voice told the Copy-nin he had misbehaved and would need to be punished, ala Icha Icha style.

Hatake Kakashi never got confused, even though his lover found it something of an amazement that the jounin could never seem to settle on one name, pet name or otherwise even after all this time together. It was simple really if you understood the logic behind it. He was Umino Iruka, his Iruka-sensei, his Iruka, his Ruka-kun, his Rukie-chin. His. His love. It didn't get much simpler than that.