.:Nakama ga Soba ni Iru Nani mo Kowakunai:.

A/N:

OMG IM SO SORRY! To all those who thought this was an update on my FFX2 fic... HONTO NI GOMENNASAI! Trust me, its not dead. Its just I havent been able to play FFX2 for so long coz my ps2 broke! Its not dead I swear, I have the next chapter almost finished! But this story popped in to head so I had to get it out.

To those of you who havent read my other story...

Hey People! Hows things? Well, Im just dandy. OK onto the story. Its KakaIru. As in Kakashi and Iruka are… wait for it………..GAY (shock horror!) This is M for a reason dudes. I hope to not be banned from here but Im gonna give it a good try! XD

So some notes about the story. Its NOT AU In a sense that it IS set in the Naruto world. It is however a little, uh, different. It assumes that the adults have a life outside that of the kids (heaven forbid) and that they do the normal things that adults do, ie: drink, have sex(!) , have adult problems and so on.

There are some Japanese references, the first is prolly the most important, and that's Obon. It's a Japanese holiday to celebrate a persons dead ansestors. Its held on the 14th to 16th of the 7th month of the old Japanese calendar, which is August. This year it fell on a Monday Tuesday Wednesday, so assuming that Academy teachers get Saturdays and Sundays off, that gives Iruka a totally of 5 days off. Its also a holiday for everyone else in the village, so no missions, save for those already on missions. This story is about those 5 days.

Umm, if I use Japanese words, Il always put the meaning after it. (its so annoying to have to scroll down to the end of chapters to find meanings) but I wont use them a lot. Even though you ppl reading this prolly have small Japanese vocab anyway, ne?

Ok that's about it. Enjoy the story and PLEASE PLEASE review! Sends little kunais of happiness into my brain. ;)

Oh and the title "Nakame ga soba ni iru nanimo kowakunai" means "With close friends around, theres nothing to be afraid of." I had to shorten it for the official title.

Oh and cicadas are rather large flying insects that are almost everywhere in Japan during the summer. the sound effect teh japanese use for them is minnn... thats how its written in mangas. they are always associated with summer.

Ja na!

...

Iruka looked at the clock on the wall. Normally he wasn't one to 'pot-watch', but today was possibly the slowest day he'd had in a very long time. It didn't help that it was summer and the days had, quite literally, become longer. Not to mention hotter, sweatier, rainier and louder. Iruka had just about had it with the incisive minnn minnn minnn minnnn of those cicadas just outside the classroom window, their chirps quickly becoming more irritating than even the whiniest of students.

Speaking of his students…. Iruka glanced up at the class. They were unbelievably quiet today. This was bizarre because today was Friday. It may have had something to do with the fact that he had told them that if they could finish the weekly Friday afternoon test with a score above 85, they could leave as soon as they were done and Iruka could mark it.

Minnnn minnnnn minnnn…

Iruka tapped his pencil on the desk, trying to drown out the cicadas. A few of his students looked up in annoyance so he stopped that and stood up. Maybe if he went to the back of the classroom, making it look like he was checking on his students, the offending chirping would be less… well, offending. Wandering up to the back, glancing at the students tests as he passed, he noticed that they were all doing a very good job. And he wouldn't have expected any less from his students…

Reaching the back of the room, Iruka still couldn't get the peace his ears craved from the annoying insects. It was too hot and way to close to the weekend for Iruka's nerves to take much more of this. Students he could handle, he could threaten. But cicadas?

He walked back to the front and stood behind his desk with his eyes closed. A few of his students had noticed his irritation and were watching him indirectly, not wanting to be caught staring at the obviously already annoyed sensei. Iruka took a calming breath in and held it. Count to ten…

One… two… three…

Minn minn minnnn

Four… five… six…

Minn minn minnn

Seven… Minnnnnnn… Eight… Minnnnn…

"Ugh!" The sensei balled his hands up and slammed them onto the table, successfully startling the entire class. Iruka stormed over to the window and leaned out.

"For crying out loud! If you will not shut up then I will personally came out there and kunai every one of you to a tree!" He screamed at the cicadas and slammed the window closed. Of course it was way to hot to have it closed for long but he just couldn't take it anymore. He glanced up at the clock. 30 minutes until lessons finished… But Iruka didn't care. He turned to his students, who all were trying their hardest not to laugh at their sensei's outbust at the insects, even though, in all fairness, the cicadas had been annoying everyone.

"Class dismissed." Iruka walked back to his chair and sat down. When not one of his students moved, he looked back to them. "Tell me those infuriating insects have not made you immobile as well as deaf?" He wasn't angry at them. He was being rather strange at the moment from his students point of view. One student raised his hand.

"Ano.. Sensei… there's still half an hour left…"

"Just go. Leave your tests on your tables. Think of this as an early start to Obon."

Slowly, one by one, the students stood, gathered their things and shuffled out the door, still unsure as to why their normally quite strict teacher was letting them out early, wondering if it was some kind of test. When Iruka did nothing to stop the first few, the rest leapt up and ran out the door.

Glancing up, an empty classroom greeted Iruka's eyes. Sighing heavily, he laid his forehead down on the desk.

………………………………………………………………..

"If you will not shut up then I will personally came out there and kunai every one of you to a tree!"

Both Kakashi and Genma froze midstep, glancing sideways at eachother without moving their heads.

"We weren't talking that loud, were we?" Genma whispered to Kakashi, who only shrugged in response. Genma, wondering why the normally placid Iruka would scream at them from an open window, decided to investigate further. Holding his finger to his lips, he then pointed to the classroom. Kakashi nodded and jutsued to just outside the window, but hidden from anyone inside. Genma quickly followed suit.

"Just go. Leave your tests on your tables. Think of this as an early start to Obon." They heard the teacher say in a tired voice. They then heard the students start to leave and when they heard the last of them run out the door, dared to peek over the windowsill. The poor teacher looked like he had fallen asleep as soon as his head had hit the desk.

"Think we should check on him?" Kakashi whispered.

"You go. I'll take that report to the Hokage. Besides…" Genma whipped the senbon out of his mouth, flung it at a nearby bush and silenced one of the bothersome insects. "These cicadas are starting to piss me off…" Kakashi nodded and Genma jutsued back to the path.

Appearing in a puff of white smoke in front of the academy sensei, Kakashi studied his colleague. Not asleep… He thought. But maybe if I…

"What can I do for you, sensei?" Iruka mumbled from under his arms.

Eyes in the back of your head, eh. Helps with the students I suppose… Kakashi thought.

"Yo." Kakashi raised his hand in greeting.

Iruka sat back in his chair and looked at Kakashi. "Sensei… Unless there is something urgent or you can silence all those cicadas with one of your copied jutsus, then I'm very sorry, but I'm awfully tired and, well, annoyed and would just like to go to sleep." Iruka hadn't been impolite but he had been to the point.

"Well…" Kakashi started. "The whole 'kunai-ing Genma and I to a tree' had Genma worried…that and the fact that you just sent your class out early…"

"You and Genma?" Iruka looked confused. Kakashi just nodded. Iruka scratched his head in confusion. Then realization hit him. Any passers-by would think he had yelled at them! Quickly standing up, he bowed deeply to the higher ranking nin.

"I'm so sorry, sensei. I wasn't talking to you!"

"Then who were you talking to?"

Iruka looked up from his bow. Afraid to stand up as he had affectively told one of the most dangerous ninja in all of Konoha to 'shut up'…

"I was talking to the insects, sensei…" A tinge of red appeared on Iruka's tanned cheeks as he realized how stupid 'talking to the insects' sounded.

Adorable… Kakashi mused.

Iruka looked back to the ground and stood up, slightly uncomfortable under the Jounin's stare. Then he felt a strong hand grasp his shoulder.

"No harm done, sensei." Kakashi's eye arched up in a smile and Iruka visibly relaxed. "Join Genma and me in some Friday afternoon drinks to make up for it."

Iruka looked startled. Did THE copy-nin Hatake Kakashi just invite him for drinks? Him? A mere academy teacher? He didn't even know the man beyond his connection to Naruto and Team 7. Where did this come from all of a sudden? Hatake Kakashi wasn't well known for his social skills and he sure as hell wasn't one to waste time on those he deemed not worthy of it. So why me, and why now? Iruka thought.

"I'm honored that you asked, however I must respectfully decli…."

"Not 'buts' Iruka-sensei." Kakashi grinned… "Come on. It's not like you have to work tomorrow, or for the next 5 days for that matter…And I promise…" Kakashi picked up the teacher's bag and put his other arm around Iruka's shoulders in a friendly way, "There won't be any crickets." At this Iruka gave a small laugh under the larger mans arm, decided a chance to socialize with the silver haired mystery man would be too good to pass up and walked willing out the door with Hatake Kakashi forgetting all the tests on the tables and all his afterclass work.

They walked in silence through the village in the afternoon summer sun. It was hot. Damn hot. And having the larger Jounin drapped over his shoulder wasn't helping. Not totally afraid of the copy-nin, Iruka was still very much intimidated. Kakashi would be a very formidable enemy… but an even better ally or, heaven forbid, friend.

"So where will we be drinking?" Iruka broke the silence that had lasted from the Academy, trying to discreetly wiggle his way out from Kakashi's arm.

Kakashi nodded towards the Hokage mountain. "In the evacuation caves." Kakshi grinned at Iruka's surprised expression. "It's cooler in there. And no crickets."

"Oh." Was the only thing that came to Iruka's mouth other than a slight smile.

They walked in silence until they got to the entrance to the caves that, during the chuunin exam, Iruka had evacuated the students into.

"Shouldn't we get something to drink first?" Iruka wondered, if they were going to be having Friday afternoon drinks, and they didn't have any drinks with them, where did the 'drinks' part of the plan come in…

"Raidou will have everything prepared." Kakashi, the man of few words, replied.

"Oh. Wait, Raidou? I thought it was just you and Genma." Iruka noticed that once they were in the caves, Kakashi took his arm from his shoulders. The change in temperate was significant enough to cause Iruka to shiver slightly. It didn't go unnoticed, and Kakashi smiled.

"When you make as many enemies as we do being shinobi, its not wise to show weakness. Friendship can be seen that way." Kakashi sounded like he was quoting straight from the book that Iruka might well have written.

"I know that sensei, but what I mean was… uh…"

"I don't seem like the sociable type?" Kakashi said with a hint of feigned hurt.

"Well…its just that… um…" Iruka didn't quite know how to put it politely.

"I am sociable with those who are sociable with me, however most fail to see past what's on the outside to who I really am…"

"I'm sorry sensei." Iruka apologized. "I didn't mean it to sound like I…" Suddenly loosing his footing in the dark corridor, Iruka stumbled forward. Faster than Iruka could see, Kakashi was beside him, grabbing his hand to steady him.

"Thanks…" Iruka mumbled, embarrassed again. First I'm talking to insects, now I'm tripping over. Kakashi-sensei must think me a right idiot…

"Don't mention it. And don't be sorry. It's not easy to know what is beyond what you see when you've never really been there." Kakashi eyes creased up in a smile.

Iruka gave him a quizzical look. "Do you always talk in riddles, sensei? No wonder you constantly confused Naruto…" Iruka hadn't missed the fact that Kakashi was yet to let go of his hand…thanking the darkness for covering his slight blush.

"Don't you think that actions are often more confusing than words?" Kakashi asked cryptically.

Iruka was about to answer when he realized he didn't have anything to say. So closing his mouth, Iruka stood in silence in the dark tunnel, hand in hand with the Hatake Kakashi.

"Did I interrupt something?"

Iruka instantly pulled his hand away from Kakashi's and spun around to see Genma.

"Genma!" Iruka said, slightly too loud for the small space they were in.

"Yo, Genma." Kakashi put his hands back into his pockets, missing the warmth of Iruka's hand in the cool caverns. "Where's Raidou?"

Much to Iruka's satisfaction, Raidou said nothing about Kakashi holding his hand. Instead he continued to walk past them.

"He should already be there. Probably pissed that we're late." Genma glanced at Iruka with a polite 'what are you doing here' look.

"I was talking to the crickets…" Iruka offered up the excuse for his earlier outburst. "Kakashi told me I had to come." Genma blinked a few times, then laughed and clapped the Chunin on the back.

"Well, welcome to the group!" He walked past Iruka and turned down another path further down the walkway.

Iruka turned to Kakashi, who held his hand out in a 'you first' gesture. Iruka blushed again, happy for the semi darkness, and followed Genma.

Kakashi and Iruka arrived at the dimly lit room a few minutes later. Genma and Raidou were seated in large sofas around a small table covered in sake bottles. There was one empty sofa left and once again, Kakashi offered it to Iruka, he sat down meekly, not really know any of the men in the room beyond their jobs.

Kakashi plopped down next to him with an exasperated sigh.

Raidou laughed. "It can't all be that bad, Kakashi."

Kakashi snorted a laugh. "Now that we have someone new to drink with, I'd say things are looking up!" He said with a grin at Iruka.

"Yes, do tell, Iruka." Raidou grinned at Iruka who blushed again, not wanting to go over his stupidity again.

"Kakashi made me come." He said finally. Kakashi grinned at the unintentional innuendo in Iruka's words.

"Well." Raidou poured the four men a drink, "This deserves a toast." Each man took a small sake cup and held it up. "To old acquaintances becoming new friends" he said and all the men put the cups together.

"Kampai!" (cheers) and they all downed the clear liquid. It was bitter and Iruka screwed his eyes shut.

"Okay! Let's play a game!" Kakashi said as he placed his cup back on the table.

"A game, sensei?" Iruka questioned as he looked at Kakashi. Suddenly all thoughts left his mind.

Kakashi had taken his mask down.

Well of course he had, he had to drink somehow, Iruka rationalized. But Iruka had never, EVER seen the man without his mask. His face was perfect. Iruka had always figured Kakashi wore the mask to hide a scar or something, but there was nothing but smooth white skin. Iruka smiled for some reason.

Kakashi saw Iruka's smile and knew it was a thank-you. A thank-you for trusting me smile.

"Yes Iruka-sensei, a game. It's called the ton-ton game. Now besides the name this has nothing to do with Shizune-sans pig…" Genma and Raidou laughed. "Ok, the rules. First, and most importantly, every time you lift your cup, or the sake bottle, when you put it down you must tap it twice on whatever it is your putting it on." Iruka nodded in understanding.

Raidou continued where Kakashi had stopped. "Second. No pointing. At anyTHING or anyONE." Again Iruka nodded. This sounded simple enough.

"And lastly," Genma took over from Raidou, "No honorifics." Iruka looked confused. "That means, no calling anyone sensei, or –san. Whoever–kun and whoever–chan are acceptable however."

"Any breaking of these three rules and you must down a cup of sake." Kakashi concluded. "starting now." Kakashi then poured them all another drink and passed them to the others.

"Thank-you, sensei." Iruka took his cup only to be bombarded with laughter and cries of 'driiink' from Genma. Maybe this was going to be harder that I thought… Iruka cursed himself as he downed his second cup for the afternoon.

The night continued and everyone in the small dark room was getting rather drunk. Had Iruka been a little less inhibited, he might have noticed Raidou and Genma leaving, holding hands. He might have noticed Kakashi moving closer to him until their shoulders rubbed together. He had to admit though, he hadn't had this much fun in a while. In a place far away from the public view, namely his students and their parents, it was nice to be able to let his hair down, both figuratively and literally.

"Iruka-kun…" Kakashi leant on Iruka's shoulder with one arm and played with the loose strands of his dark hair So soft…

"Yes, Kakashi-chan…" I ruka replied and couldn't help but laugh at the drunken snort that came from Kakashi at the feminine prefix.

"You should wear your hair down more often." Kakashi smiled and ran his fingers though Iruka's hair, his finger tips lightly grazing across Iruka's scalp, sending shivers down the Chunin's spine, not having been touched like that for a very long time.

Two can play at that game…Iruka thought uncharacteristically teasingly as he turned to face Kakashi. Reaching up, he ghosted his hand across Kakashi's normally hidden cheek.

"You should wear your mask down more often, Kashi-sensei" He whispered.

Kakashi froze at Iruka's touch, as gentle as a butterfly kiss. His mind, which had been previously somewhat clouded by the alcohol, suddenly became very clear and very focused on the blushing Chunin in front of him.

"You just called me sensei…." Kakashi grinned, knowing that Iruka couldn't drink much more.

"I did? Well I better… get myself… Another drink…." Iruka tried to stand to pour himself another drink, but tripped over air and fell back onto the sofa. Feeling suddenly tired, Iruka fell over sideways from his sitting position, his head falling right into Kakashi's lap.

"I hope that's a kunai in your pocket, Ka… Kashi..Sen..sei…" Iruka closed his eyes sleepily before he could see Kakashi smile and curled into a small ball on the sofa. "I'm going to figure you out, Kakashi" He said softly.

"Is that a promise, Ikura-kun?" Kakashi replied, putting his hand on Iruka's forehead.

"Mmmm…" Iruka replied and promptly fell asleep.

A/N: YAY! its only just starting. its kind of light hearted in this chapter, it does get a little more angsty as it goes along. Oh and at the end of the chappy, kakashi called Iruka 'Ikura-kun' this is not a typo its a play on spelling and words. Ikura is japanese for Salmon eggs. they are faily big red balls very popular on sushi. I immagined Iruka to look like one, kind of pink from the booze and curled into a little ball.. heh.