The Assassin and the Dolphin
Rating: M for language
Pairings: Kakashi x Iruka
Warnings: AU – yaoi (two guys in a relationship), OOC, OCs
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto
A/N: Waves a white flag. It's been a really, really long time since I last posted, but see I haven't forgotten! I want to thank everyone who has posted reviews. It's amazing to still be getting them even when the last update was over a year ago, so a big thank you to everyone who still wants to see an ending to this fan fiction. Now on to the next chapter and hopefully it doesn't prove too disappointing for the wait.
Iruka watched in silent worry as Kakashi slammed the payphone back in place. The human had been tense since they left the bank in a rush about twenty minutes ago and Iruka didn't want to upset him further by asking questions.
"No cancellations. The best I can get is a flight tomorrow morning."
Iruka nodded as if he understood perfectly, which he of course didn't. Though, he suspected the 'he' was the Orochimaru fellow he heard Kakashi mutter in his sleep.
"One more call and then we'll find someplace to sleep, all right Iruka?" Kakashi tried to give him a reassuring smile, but failed miserable. The squeeze to his hand was a better attempt though and Iruka returned it before Kakashi let go to pick up the phone and drop in some more coins.
Moments after dialing a memorized number, Kakashi returned the phone to the cradle with as much force as before. "They're not home. Damn." Then a second later said, "Double damn. Christmas was two days ago. They might be visiting Haku's sister."
"So he might not be in New York when we get there?" Iruka ventured to ask.
"Maybe…" Kakashi sighed and wrapped an arm around Iruka's waist. He pulled him close and rested his head against Iruka's shoulder. "We'll find someplace to go."
"You mean somewhere to stash me while you go off on your own to meet Mr. Yamanaka?"
Kakashi managed a weak laugh. "Got me there." Kakashi moved back so he could look at Iruka. "I don't want you to get involved. It's too dangerous and if something happened to you…" Kakashi didn't finish. Instead he placed a warm hand on Iruka's cheek.
Iruka leaned into his touch. "I don't want anything to happen to you either."
"Neither do I, but I can't make any promises, which reminds me." Kakashi moved away from Iruka much to the merman's disappointment and reached into his pants' pocket. He pulled something out and without Iruka seeing what it was stuffed in into the front pocket of Iruka's pants.
"Don't let people see it. We don't need to be mugged." Kakashi grabbed Iruka's hand when it moved towards the pocket.
"What is it?" Without letting go of his hand, Kakashi started walking away from the phone booth.
"Money. If something should happen, I want you to go back to your home."
"What kind of something?" Iruka didn't like the way this conversation was going.
"If we get separated or I don't come back for you." Kakashi suddenly stopped and turned to face Iruka. Then in all seriousness, he said, "I need you to promise me that you won't try to find me or meet Mr. Yamanaka on your own."
"But maybe I could…"
"No!" Iruka flinched at the harsh sound. "This is the mafia we're dealing with Iruka. I doubt that means anything to you, but it does in the human world. These people don't fuck around. I need you to promise me you won't do anything stupid to get yourself killed."
"So I have to promise and you don't? It doesn't seem fair."
"No it isn't, but I'll be able to get through this easier if I know you will be out of harm's way even if I fail."
Iruka gave in. He was already a burden to Kakashi so if there was any way to ease the human's mind he felt obligated to cooperate.
"I promise Kakashi. I'll go home, but it will only be after a very long wait. I won't give up on you so easily."
Kakashi smiled in relief. "That's good enough for me, my dolphin." Kakashi leaned forward and kissed Iruka's forehead. Not satisfied with that, Iruka reached up and wrapped his arms around Kakashi's neck and pulled him into a hug.
"I love you Kakashi," Iruka muttered into the collar of Kakashi's coat. He smiled when he felt strong arms wrap around his waist. Kakashi didn't respond with words, but Iruka didn't care as long as Kakashi was there to hold him like this.
"Iruka?" Reluctantly Iruka lifted his head. "Not that I mind this, but it's about 10 degrees out here and we're blocking the path." Kakashi whispered. Iruka glanced around at the despondent people on the sidewalk. Some of them were cussing at them; most scowling as they had to walk around them and a few with looks of disgust which Iruka could surmise the reason without difficulty. Was there any place on land where they wouldn't be scorned for being in love with someone of the same gender? Iruka released Kakashi from his embrace, but was glad when the other took hold of his hand.
"Still hungry?" Kakashi asked.
"Yes." The queasiness of his stomach from earlier had settled while they were walking.
"Let's eat then."
"Home sweet home." Kakashi pushed open the door and flipped on a switch. The room revealed by the dingy light left much to be desired, but at least it was clean. He moved inside and over to the small table, setting down the shopping bags.
"It's wonderful!" Ok…Kakashi blinked and glanced over at Iruka who appeared to be in awe of the tiny motel room. Iruka set his half of the bags on one of the full size beds and promptly began investigating everything. This consisted of opening every drawer, peeking into the small fridge, admiring the terrible painting of a flower between the two beds, and then continued on into the even tinier bathroom.
Shaking his head, Kakashi went back to the door to shut and bolt it before emptying out the bags onto the table. Supper had been entertaining as well when watching Iruka eat Chinese food for the first time. The merman had tried imitating his casual use of chopsticks only to give up on them after dropping his food a dozen times. At least forks and spoons weren't beyond his capability or Iruka would have been really frustrated.
A shout from the bathroom drew Kakashi away from sorting out the day's purchases.
"Iruka?" He stepped onto the linoleum floor and only paused to take in the sight of a half drenched Iruka standing in the shower. With a chuckle, Kakashi went to Iruka's rescue, reaching past him to turn the shower knobs into the off position.
"Most humans remove their clothes before they take a shower."
"I know that." Iruka shivered and Kakashi became alarmed. Iruka hadn't shown any sign of being cold all day so why would he only now…then it struck him... water….
Kakashi's arm went around Iruka for support. He wouldn't want Iruka to hit his head when his legs changed underneath him.
"Iruka?" Iruka sneezed then pushed Kakashi away to step out of the shower.
"You…you're not changing?"
"Changing?" Iruka looked perplexed then felt his wet coat. "Oh. The coat's wet now. I don't have another to change into. I'll hang it up to dry."
"I meant…your tail."
"Oh." Iruka smiled and shook his head. "No, it's only water."
Kakashi felt rather relieved. It hadn't occurred to him to even ask about such things and he should have. If they had been caught in rain, Iruka's legs turning into a tail might have drawn a little attention if not the National Guard.
"So it has to be salt water for you to change forms?"
"Nope. Only ocean water will cause the change. Sakura did some experimenting and was kind enough to let us be her guinea pigs. We already knew rain didn't, but she checked out salt water at different concentrations of salt and some other things. The results were only water taken from the ocean could start the change and even then one of our kind have to be fully submerged. So if someone would throw a bucket of salt water on us, say while we were sitting on the beach, nothing would happen."
"Good to know." Kakashi gave Iruka a quick hug, but pulled away at the wetness. "Maybe you should take a shower."
"Why, do I smell?"
"Like a fish."
A raised eyebrow, "And you don't."
"I'm trying to be a gentleman and let you shower first."
Iruka had caught the glimmer in Kakashi's eye, but Kakashi was already turning away from him. He didn't doubt for a moment Kakashi wanted him, but for some reason the human was holding back. Iruka wasn't sure if he should be relieved or disappointed after all Kakashi's flirting back in the cave.
Kakashi came back with a pile of new clothes and set them on the sink. "I'm going to try calling Haku again." The bathroom door closed behind him.
With a frown, Iruka began removing the damp clothes. He had expected as least some attempt of molestation from Kakashi. Whatever had upset him at the bank must still be affecting him, he thought despondently. He wished Kakashi would trust him enough to explain what had happened this afternoon, but he suspected Kakashi had a reason for keeping him in the dark. Hopefully this would be settled soon and with little danger.
Iruka groaned and sat on the edge of the bathtub so he could rub his feet. His feet and legs hurt something awful. Walking was an unfamiliar use of his muscles so it was only to be expected. Not that he would tell Kakashi and give the man more to worry about.
After a moment, Iruka leaned over and fiddled with the shower controls. For some reason, the idea of using hot water to relax his tired body seemed a rather appealing luxury.
Twenty minutes later, Iruka stepped out of the steamy bathroom. He had decided he was very relieved Kakashi hadn't tried anything. Washing himself in this human form had been bad enough without anyone being there to witness it. Certain body parts just weren't in their normal place...also those boxers Kakashi had insisted on buying were uncomfortable.
Iruka wiggled, trying to get the aforementioned article of clothing in a more secure position when he realized Kakashi was gone.
At the unknown voice, Kakashi hesitated a second before asking, "Is Haku or Zabuza there?"
A snort. "Does this friend have a name?"
Then in the background Kakashi heard a recognizable voice. "Asuma! Your damn brat just threw up on my shirt!" Kakashi felt a tug on the corner of his mouth; Zabuza and a baby were two things that should never be mixed.
"Well clean it up you lazy bastard," called out the man who had answered the phone.
"Stop yelling!" A third voice hollered over the other two, this one belonging to a woman.
Thankfully Kakashi heard a soft voice in the soon to be yelling match, "Who called?"
"Don't know. Wouldn't say."
There was a fumbling noise, a baby's crying mingled with the angry adult voices in the background which faded as the phone was taken to another room, and then "hello?"
"Sounds like your sister Kurenai is visiting."
"Oh, she's dropping off Nate so she and Asuma can do some shopping for their New Year's Eve party." Kakashi could hear the smile in Haku's voice. "How are you?"
No name. Good boy.
"I got myself in a bind actually. Hotels are booked up for the holidays and I was wondering if a friend and I could crash at your place a few days."
"A friend?" As far as Haku knew, Kakashi had no other 'friends' beside himself and Zabuza.
"He won't be any trouble." He really didn't know what could be going through Haku's mind right now, but as long as he would help him out, Kakashi would willingly explain everything when they were face to face.
"When should I be expecting you?"
"We'll be home."
"I'll show you my new project. It's going to be huge."
Haku paused. The young man knew exactly what kind of work Kakashi did. After all, four years ago, the then-teenager while chained to a wall, had watched Kakashi kill his kidnapper/rapist. No, Haku was by no means unaware of how fucked up the world was.
"Will you need any assistance or equipment?"
"Does Zabuza still paint?"
"No, but he still has brushes."
"I might need to borrow some then."
"I'll tell him to bring them out."
"I'll see you tomorrow then. And thanks again."
"You're welcome. Safe journey."
Kakashi hung up the payphone. Good. That would make one less stop to make if Zabuza had kept most of his personal arsenal. As soon as they cleared the airport, they could go straight to the couple's apartment near Central Park. Then once Iruka was in a safe place, Kakashi would be able to concentrate on how to meet with the head of the New York yakuza.
The room was as Iruka had left it, minus one human. Had something happened while he was in the shower? He hadn't heard anything and Kakashi had left his bag. Surely he wouldn't have bought all those clothes just to abandon them a few hours later?
'He wouldn't abandon me…but he already tried to once when he left the cave.' Iruka shook his head to clear the thoughts away. No, he must not think that way, the circumstances were different. Kakashi would be back. He just…he just…left…after giving Iruka money for a plane ticket back to the coast and making him promise to go back if something happened.
No! He didn't know if anything happened yet. Just because someone is trying to kill Kakashi for reasons he was vague about, didn't mean they were in danger this minute. Those people thought he was dead and the others at the bank hadn't acted like they recognized him. They should be safe.
Glancing around again, Iruka whirled around when he saw movement from the corner of his eye, but it was only his reflection in the mirror. Trying to keep his panic to a minimum, Iruka sank down on the bed furthest away from the door.
"Where is he?" The words were hollow even in Iruka's ears. There was no way he would be able to sit and wait for Kakashi once they reached Haku's place. What if Kakashi was killed trying to fix whatever this problem was? Iruka would be left wondering and worrying for who knew how long. There wouldn't be anyone to come around and tell him what happened. Kakashi would just be…gone; as if he never was.
Well that wouldn't do. Iruka raised his head to stare at his reflection and saw his own resolve in his eyes. He refused to be left behind to sit and wait. He could fight. He would fight! He wouldn't let Kakashi out of his sight for a second. And while at it, he decided to give the human a thorough lecture! How dare Kakashi take off without a word! Kakashi was not going to leave him behind anymore! Now if he would only show up so Iruka could tell him so.
The sound of the door opening startled Iruka, but he was still upset so he threw what was closest, the TV remote. It hit the wall beside the door with such force the back popped off and the batteries flew out. One hit Kakashi's knee as he paused in the doorway. Well, it wasn't what he had intended, but he got his point across.
"Nothing good on TV? You shouldn't take it out on the remote."
Or maybe not.
"Where were you?" Instead of answering, Kakashi stepped further into the room so he could close and lock the door. Iruka noticed the bag in his arms.
"I forgot a few essentials," Kakashi finally answered, dropping the bag onto the bed. Rummaging through it, he pulled out a toothbrush and tossed it to Iruka. "I also picked up some Dramamine© for the plane trip tomorrow."
It was harder to be mad at the man when considering he had been out getting something for him.
"Why didn't you tell me you were going out?"
"I thought I would be back before you were out of the shower." Kakashi lifted his head to meet Iruka's eyes. He seemed taken aback by his look because he then said, "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make you worry."
"Well," Wasn't he supposed to be lecturing him about now? "Please don't do it again."
Kakashi nodded once before adding, "I was able to get a hold of Haku. They're expecting us now."
The merman blinked and actually looked at Kakashi then. The human looked tired, very tired. Iruka didn't have the will to stay mad at him or even bring up his resolve to not being left behind.
Iruka reached over and hugged him. "You need to rest. We can talk in the morning."
"I need to shower."
"You can shower in the morning."
"I smell Iruka. I haven't had a proper shower in five days."
"I don't mind."
"Thanks for the reassurance, but even if you don't mind, I do."
Iruka reluctantly released him. He watched Kakashi pick out clean clothes before heading to the bathroom. The door was shut and Iruka waited for the sound of the shower to reach him before he dropped back on the bed. The bed was quite comfortable, much softer than the pile of rags in the cave or a sandy ocean floor. Iruka wanted to stay awake so he could speak to Kakashi, but after his exhausting day it wasn't long before his eyelids drooped down.
Iruka was sound asleep by the time Kakashi finished his shower.