The figure in the chair was slumped forward; arms limp by its side, forehead braced against the desktop.

'What in the world are you doing?'

Iruka stood at the doorway, squinting into the darkness. His arm reached out towards the wall, red-ink stained fingers fumbling for the light switch for a moment before finally locating it and flipping it on.


Still dark.

Click click.

No light yet.

Click click click.

Nope. Nothing.

'What the….Kashi! Did you…did you remove the light bulb again?'

Silence. Well, mostly silence if you discount the rhythmic exhalations of the still slumped figure at the desk.

'I know you're not dead. I can hear you breathing.'

Silence. Utterly so.

'Right. Hold your breath. That's so mature.'

Iruka crossed his arms across his chest; feet nonchalantly crossed as well. He propped one shoulder against the door frame, silently counting off.

One, two, three…

Patience was something teachers breathed in along with the pong of sweaty pre-adolescent ninja socks.

Eighty eight, eighty nine, ninety….

….milk, dishwashing liquid, lube and that vanilla coffee thing that Kakashi liked so much. Yep. That about completed his grocery list for the week….

One hundred and fifty seven, one hundred and fifty eight, one hundred and…

Vaguely bored, Iruka stared at a particularly large ink spot on the fourth finger of his right hand. Rubbing distractedly at the green stain he-

Iruka started slightly.


Where did that come from? Red, always. Purple, not surprising. Blue, well, occasionally. But green? He almost never used green. Green was….green was just so…green was just so….so Gai. And heaven knew that the last thing the village needed was more gleeful spring time, bird chirping, flowers sprouting, of the youthful nature type green.

The silence broke.

A gasp.

Iruka looked up.

'Not bad. And you didn't even use chakra.'

The rustle of cloth.

The vaguely peeved glint of a reddish eye flashed before a forehead loudly, and oh so melodramatically thumped against the wooden desk top once again.

Iruka tried, he really did, but his eyeballs seemed to have developed wills of their own.

He couldn't quite stop them.

They rolled.

Venting a breath that smelled suspiciously like exasperation, the young sensei strode purposefully into the dark room.

He held out a hand.

'Gimme the light bulb.'

The disheveled silver white hair quivered.

'I said GIMME.'

His lean, tanned, mostly red inked stained hand shook once, emphatically, emphasizing that it would take no nonsense from the still reclining figure. Plus he had used his scary yet sexy teacher voice. That never failed.

More disgruntled rustling.

A light bulb slowly emerged from the magic ninja depths of the jounin's dark uniform. It was quickly snatched away.

'Of all the-' Iruka cut himself off. He wasn't even going to ask when or where Kakashi had developed this light-bulb kleptomania. This was what happened when you pushed your kids too far, too young. They grew up loopy. Genius his pert ass.

After replacing the recently displaced bulb the young sensei returned to the light switch and flipped it again.



A soft whimper emerged from the listless form on the chair.

Iruka sighed.

He walked over to the jounin and snapped out,

'I love you, I really do. But we definitely have to talk about the way you mourn each and every time you reach the end of your newest Icha Icha novel.'