A/N: Good day all! Before I even begin, I want you to know two things. One- this is my first attempt at writing a Naruto fic (besides that, I'm REALLY rusty on slash pairings). I've only seen about the first 34 episodes, but I've done a great deal of research so I hope it turns out well. Secondly, I totally stole the basic plot idea from Pepsi Dragon from her story "Train A Dolphin to Swim". I only read half the first chapter before this idea took over and I had to stop reading to write, so any similarities after that point are completely coincidental. I don't believe there will be, as mine is a much more serious take on the situation judging from what I read.
That said, I want you to all know that this is a Kakashi/Iruka fic that takes place sometime during the time skip and is mostly for my own amusement. Don't like it? Tough cookies, I'm writing it anyway.
Before you all skin me alive, I also want to point out that yes I KNOW Iruka is still a Chuunin in Part II. It will all make sense by story's end, trust me.
Finally, I'm attempting to break all the stereotypes of Kakashiruka that annoy me. Iruka isn't going to be a bitch, Kakashi won't be a pleading, sniveling, idiot, and Tsunade is NOT playing matchmaker (the bet is real, and she has no intentions of them hooking up romantically at all).
Title: All the Broken Pieces
"You want me to what?"
Had Tsunade been any less of a woman, she would have flinched under the glare Kakashi was giving her with his one visible eye. Of course, had she been a lesser woman, she wouldn't be Hokage and none of this would be happening in the first place. She leaned back against the desk, folding her arms across her rather large breasts.
"I am assigning you to train Iruka-sensei to become a Jounin. We all know he's capable, and we feel it would be best if he had more training to teach the students with."
Kakashi wondered mildly if Iruka-sensei himself was included in 'we' but decided this wasn't a battle he particularly felt like fighting at the moment.
"On top of that, we need all the upper ranked nin we can get at the moment," the fifth Hokage added confidently, "when we know more powerful enemies are approaching our doorstep."
"Which is exactly why you want me to train him," Kakashi said, focusing his eye away from his superior and instead on the wall behind her.
Tsunade's eyebrow twitched on it's own accord. "Of course. You're the very best in the village, and I'm sure you'd be the fastest one."
Kakashi directed his eye back at her, and grinned even though she couldn't see it behind his mask. "So, you have a bet with someone."
Tsunade didn't respond, so Kakashi continued in a slightly bemused tone.
"You bet someone I could train anyone in the village, and they picked the most pathetic chuunin they could think of, ne?"
Tsunade's eyes flashed as she regarded Kakashi. "Bet or no, Iruka-sensei is not pathetic. I meant it when I said he could be Jounin ranked. He has the skills, but lacks the confidence. I wouldn't underestimate him if I were you, Kakashi-kun."
Kakashi would have scowled at her, but he'd long ago found that it was a waste of energy to do so, and instead merely shrugged. "How long do I have?"
"Two months. I'm glad you've chosen to accept, Kakashi. Working with Iruka-sensei is exactly what you need," the fifth Hokage exclaimed with a grin. She remembered some of the gossip she'd over heard that Kakashi and Iruka didn't get a long very well and never had. Aside from the fact that he most certainly would get her to win the bet, maybe a bit of an argument would drag Kakashi out of the completely disinterested state (also known as a return to before) that he'd been in since Team 7 dissolved.
Kakashi closed his eye, trying to figure out when he'd agreed to do this and- more importantly- when it was he'd actually had a say in the matter. "I have two months to turn a school teacher into a really ninja."
"If you want to look at it that way."
Kakashi pondered this for a moment. Tsunade was probably just bragging up Iruka's ability- he certainly hadn't been that impressive at the Chuunin exam- to make Kakashi feel this was more doable. However, it was something to do while he waited for the next volume of Icha Icha to be released. He shrugged again.
Tsunade smiled widely at him. "Now, keep in mind Iruka-sensei is probably a little rusty. He's been a Chuunin for nearly ten years, and because he's the academy's best teacher he's only been on three missions in that time. The last one was four and a half years ago."
Kakashi didn't bother to hide his mild surprise. "A little rusty?"
Tsunade shook her head. "Training five-year-olds to throw shuriken without killing each other or himself is harder than some C ranked missions, and he does it every day. You have to give him that much credit. The basics, you don't have to worry about. It's the application area you may have issues."
"So, new moves shouldn't be too difficult," Kakashi muttered to himself, cupping a hand under his chin.
"Exactly," she grinned at her underling with a look that would have terrified anyone but the famous copy nin. "You'll be training him after his regular work, and he gets off shift in an hour. I would suggest you go introduce yourself to him today."
'Not that he doesn't know,' Kakashi thought to himself, secretly proud of his reputation. He stood and bowed to Tsunade before walking toward the door.
"And Kakashi," Tsunade said, causing the other ninja to turn back.
"Try not to kill him."
Kakashi just smiled his characteristic one-eyed smile and walked out the door, making no promises.
As he waited for them to all file out, Kakashi had to wonder just how many small bodies could fit into one classroom and how one person was supposed to keep his eye on every single one of them. He also wondered how it was possible he was even late and he still had managed to run into them.
There seemed to be an endless stream of children, today's lot not being the aforementioned five-year-olds, but older students around the age of ten or eleven. They wandered past him, most not even noticing the older ninja. He feared for the future of Konoha if they were it.
When all but one of the noisy brats had filed past him, Kakashi walked into the classroom, still not greeting the younger man as he seemed otherwise occupied with one of the girls.
She seemed upset about something, but Iruka simply smiled at her and ruffled her short hair. "We'll just have to tell Kemaru to play nicer tomorrow, then, won't we, Imoto."
The little girl nodded as her teacher stood up, fitfully wiping away her tears. She offered a water smile up at her teacher as she turned and ran for the door. "Ja mata, sensei!"
"Ja mata," Iruka smiled after her, waving. His dark brown eyes followed her progress to Kakashi, but once he realized the other man was there he momentarily froze. He straightened up, head held high and fighting the blush that was slowly rising in his face.
"Konnichi wa, Kakashi-san."
"Yo," Kakashi said in return, raising his hand in greeting.
Silence fell over the classroom as they looked at each other awkwardly. Finally, Iruka moved to begin gathering up his papers. "If I'm not being to forward, Kakashi-san, may I ask what you're doing here?"
Kakashi scratched his head, biting down the urge to snap something about him always questioning the motives of his superiors. His pride was still stinging- true- but it would be much easier to teach someone who was willing to listen to him. "Tsunade-sama sent me."
Iruka looked up, surprised. "What does Hokage-sama want with me?"
The very inner Kakashi groaned. 'She didn't tell him.' Outwardly, he grinned. "She said I'm supposed to teach you how to be a Jounin."
Iruka dropped the paper's he'd been holding as Kakashi pulled out his favorite book to stare at the pages. He wasn't really reading it, but figured the other man would be slightly more comfortable if Kakashi had something else to look at.
Iruka continued gaping, his shock and confusion evident on his face. Kakashi made a mental note that he would have to train that out of Iruka in the next two months. Pity. He kind of liked watching the human goldfish.
"M-me?" Iruka asked once he'd gotten control of his voice again. "She wants me to be a jounin?"
Kakashi turned the page lazily. "She said something about needing more advanced nin in the future."
Iruka nodded. It made sense. He was one of the oldest chuunin in the village, the others his age group either already dead or having moved on long ago. That didn't make him feel anymore ready for the jump.
"And she's assigned you to be my teacher?"
"Seems to think it'll speed up the process."
Iruka sighed, restacking his papers. "When will we begin training, Kakashi-sensei?"
Kakashi glanced listlessly up at the clock. It said four-thirty, and he gauged it would take Iruka ten minutes to get home, changed, and out on the training ground. "We'll begin in half an hour."
'Meaning five-thirty,' Iruka thought, resisting the urge to roll his eyes and smiling instead. "Sounds fine. I'll see you then, Kakashi-sensei."
Kakashi raised his hand by way of parting before performing the teleportation jutsu and vanishing in a small veil of smoke. Iruka sat down in his chair, running and hand across his eyes. He didn't know what god he'd pissed off in another life to make him spend all this time with Hatake Kakashi, but whatever it was he was certainly very sorry for it now.