A/N: This was written to cheer up my friend arcanina, because in her worldview any place that has lots of KakaIru fics is that much closer to heaven. This was done at her request from some hurt and comfort, and I hope I don't fall short of her expectations.

Disclaimer: I am no more Kishimoto-sama today than I was a few days ago or I will be tomorrow.

Warnings: Mild shonen-ai IruKaka. If you don't like it, then I don't know why you're bothering to read something clearly labeled as such, nor do I care.

Summary: Kakashi returns home from a mission badly injured, and Iruka does his best to try and comfort him. IruKaka One-Shot.

Title: 1:47 in the Morning

Chapter 1/1

Iruka awoke with a start and the very distinct feeling that he was needed somewhere at exactly 1:47 in the morning. He hadn't been woken up by such an intense feeling of being needed since Naruto was a small child and the village had left him to his own devices to see if the Kyuubi wouldn't manage to kill itself.

Naruto wasn't here, though, and Iruka doubted very much that fifteen-year-old needed him badly enough to trigger that sense in him when nothing else had for years. No, it had to be someone else, someone close to him.

Someone he knew and cared about deeply who'd been on an S-class mission for nearly a month now.

Iruka got to his feet, extracting himself from the tangle of blankets, and made his way quickly to the door. He didn't care how early it was or that he was dressed only in his flannel pajama pants. If Kakashi were in enough danger to trigger his sixth sense like this then Tsunade would just have to deal with it.

Iruka slipped into his sandals and opened the door wide…only to find the object of his increasing concern standing there. Not that it did anything to lower his concern, of course, because he wasn't so much standing as leaning heavily on the doorframe, key in one trembling hand.

From the very tips of his fine silver hair- that didn't look silver or fine at the moment- down to his bare feet, Hatake Kakashi was covered in blood. There was so much of the red substance, some of it dry and some of it not, that Iruka couldn't tell whether it belonged to Kakashi, an enemy, or where it had come from at all. There was nearly as much mud on him as there was blood, and only slightly less black muck than that. It was nearly impossible to see the actual Hatake Kakashi underneath all that. The only visible part of the other man was Kakashi's one brown eye, which was glazed over. Iruka could see the Jounin was trembling violently, his breathing coming in short shallow gasps, and his Chakara was badly depleted.

Not that he was complaining, but Iruka couldn't figure out how the Copy-nin was standing at all.

The Chuunin grabbed his lover's lower arm and pulled him inside, out of the frigid January air. "Kakashi! What are you doing here? We need to get you to a hospital!"

"Can't…promised…promised Iruka…I'd come right home…"

'Don't tell me you're suffering for me you, idiot,' Iruka thought, swallowing the tears that tried to reach his eyes. 'That doesn't make me feel any better.' "Kakashi, I said come home in one piece!"

"Nothing's missing," came the mumbled reply.

Iruka knew he should just take Kakashi to the hospital. If he was as badly injured as he appeared then the medical attention was needed. But…hospitals always distressed Kakashi so. He was almost always more exhausted when he got home than when he'd gone in, even if the physical injuries were healed. It always tore at the Academy teacher's heart to leave him there.

'Maybe I'll just see what I can treat here, and after that if he's still this bad I'll take him.' That plan now firmly in his mind, Iruka started to guide the exhausted Nin down the hall, firmly ignoring the trail of blood and muck he left on the floor.

When they reached the bathroom, Iruka's skilled fingers began to carefully relieve Kakashi of his clothing. In spite of himself and the gentleness with which Iruka was moving, Kakashi whimpered slightly with pain. Iruka closed his eyes, not wanting to see what he was doing to his lover, even if it was for the other man's own good. Once he'd striped Kakashi down to his boxers, removing both his forehead protector and his mask as well, Iruka took a quick inventory of the visible injuries.

His right shoulder was badly bruised. It looked as though it had been dislocated, and then none to gently put back in place. There was blood all over the other man's skin, and it was so mixed with mud and splattered everywhere that Iruka simply couldn't find the source. Kakashi's thin lips were tinged with blue, he was trembling violently, and Iruka wouldn't have been at all surprised if hypothermia had started to set in on top of everything else.

Iruka reached over and turned the shower to warm, knowing that any temperature was going to hurt Kakashi as the blood started to flow again but not wanting to overdo it. He then striped down to his boxers himself, dropping his pajama pants in a separate pile that wasn't tangled with Kakashi's clothes- that would have to be burned from the looks of them.

Taking both of Kakashi's wrists gently in his hands, Iruka lead his lover into the shower and sat down with him on the floor. Kakashi whimpered slightly again, closing his eyes shut, as he sat limply on Iruka's lap.

'I'm going to kill Tsunade for sending him alone,' Iruka thought as he gently wiped a clump of hair off Kakashi's face. 'I don't care how low on shinobi we are. If it was this bad, he shouldn't have been alone!'

Reaching up, Iruka took a washcloth from off the shelf. He made sure it was thoroughly soaked, and therefore softer, before he began to grueling task of cleaning the other man off. He started just below Kakashi's eye, wiping away the grime from the part of his face that would have been exposed when it was covered.

Kakashi, still shivering, opened that eye in a sleepy sort of way. It wasn't focused very well, but at least now he seemed to have some grasp on who was holding him as he smiled. "I told you I'd come back, Ruka-Ru."

"Yes you did," Iruka whispered back, turning up the water temperature slightly as he rinsed out the washcloth and began running it over Kakashi's long hair to try and get the worst out. "Although, I think if you die now that it won't really count as keeping your promise. Dieing in Konoha from a mission or dieing while on the mission still leaves you dead."

"I'm not going to die," Kakashi said simply, closing his eye as he leaned his head against Iruka's shoulder. "You're taking care of me."

Iruka laughed, deciding he could blame the wetness of it on the shower and the steam instead of the tears that were threatening to fall again. "Yes, 'Kashi-kun, I am taking care of you. I'm going to do the very best I can."

Kakashi didn't answer, the last few sentences seemed to have drained him a great deal. Getting as much of the muck out of his hair as possible without the aid of shampoo- the shampoo and soap would come next- Iruka rinsed the cloth again and started working his way down from Kakashi's face.

There seemed to be no end to the amount of things coated to his lover's skin. Sometimes it took four swipes of his quickly darkening cloth for Iruka to find the pale skin underneath. By the time he'd reached Kakashi's feet, the Jounin wasn't shivering nearly as violently and looked considerably more like himself. The source of most of the blood seemed to be three cuts on Kakashi's body- one on his forehead just above the Sharingun, one long but thankfully not deep cut that went from his left shoulder down to his right hip, and a much deeper cut that went mid thigh to his knee.

Kissing the man's forehead, Iruka set him down on the tiles- being as careful as possible with the man's injuries. Kakashi opened his eye again.

"Where are you going?" Kakashi looked at him, the unspoken plea in his dark brown eye. 'Don't leave me.'

Iruka kissed his right temple again, gently brushing back his hair. "I need another wash cloth. I'll be right back, I promise."

Kakashi nodded a little bit, leaning heavily against the shower wall and trying to force himself to relax. Iruka turned up the water again slightly, since Kakashi wouldn't have Iruka's body heat to help keep him warm for a couple of minutes. Iruka walked across the floor of the bathroom, doing his best not to slide on the wet tiles, to the cupboard above the toilet. He dug around until he found the softest two washcloths and the fluffiest towels in there. The towels he placed on the edge of the sink for later use before climbing back into the shower.

The steam seemed to be helping Kakashi's breathing considerably, the blue from his lips was nearly completely faded, and he wasn't trembling nearly as bad. Iruka grabbed his soap and one of the bottles of shampoo off the above shelves before sitting next to Kakashi and gently taking him in his arms again.

He kissed Kakashi's cheek, rubbing the other gently with his thumb. "You ready for this, 'Kashi-kun?"

Kakashi's head went down once before rising again, in what Iruka could only assume was the most exhausted nod he'd ever seen. Iruka opened the bottle of shampoo and empty a good amount of the contents into his hand. He was deliberately using his shampoo that Kakashi liked best. He had a feeling that his presence was greatly comforting the Jounin, and that being able to smell Iruka even if the Chuunin wasn't there would only be a good thing.

Carefully, he massaged the pine-smelling gel substance into Kakashi's hair, using nimble fingers to work it into a lather. Kakashi muttered something that sounded sort of like 'feels good' into Iruka's water slicked chest, but Iruka couldn't be sure.

Up until now, Iruka had kept them both at the very edges of the spray in a place where the water could hit them but it wouldn't really cause Kakashi's wounds to sting. He couldn't do that anymore if he was going to get the shampoo out. With another loving kiss for reassurance, more for himself than Kakashi, Iruka scooted them over more towards the main spray.

Kakashi didn't cry out at the sudden increase in water pressure on his much too sensitive skin, but Iruka suspected that was only because he was biting the inside of his lip to stop it.

The chuunin used one hand to both tip his lover's head back and cover his eyes, while the other hand was rubbing small circles between Kakashi's shoulder blades. "I know, love, I'm sorry. We'll be finished soon, I promise."

He rinsed the shampoo completely out of Kakashi's hair, and then repeated the process twice more until Kakashi's hair had been restored to it's normal silver sheen and Iruka was sure the pine-scent was strong enough that Kakashi would notice it when needed.

Iruka then grabbed one of the washcloths, wet it more thoroughly, and then rubbed his honey and lemon smelling soap all over it, still operating under the theory that the smell of him would help soothe the Jounin. He started rubbing the cloth on Kakashi's cheeks, and then used the other washcloth he'd grabbed to wipe the soap away.

"You really got worked over this time, didn't you," Iruka whispered in his best soothing tone as he began to clean Kakashi's head wound to try and distract the Jounin from the pain.

Kakashi flinched slightly at the stinging soap, but didn't pull away. "Yes, well, ANBU level missing-nin tend to be harder than most."

Iruka growled, his arms tightening around Kakashi slightly more protectively. "I wish Tsunade-sama would leave those things to the Hunters."

"That wasn't my original mission," Kakashi said, deciding it best that he say something in Tsunade's defense before Iruka decided revenge would be necessary. "It just sort of ended up that way."

"Then you should have called the hunters," Iruka scolded gently, moving down from Kakashi's face to his neck. He began to wash his bruised shoulder as gently as he could. "You don't always have to be strong, you know. No one will think less of you if you asked for help when you needed it."

Kakashi said nothing to this for a minute, doing his best to keep his breath steady so Iruka wouldn't see how badly it hurt for that shoulder to be even touched. Once he'd moved on, Kakashi let his head fall back against Iruka's shoulder. "Yes they would. They would all think that the great Copy-nin was losing his strength. They would begin to lose hope. That's what happens when you're a symbol."

Iruka buried his nose in Kakashi's hair, shaking his head as he did so. Not because he though Kakashi was being just a tad egotistical, but because it was true. "You aren't just a symbol," Iruka said at length, running his cloth over the chest wound. "You're human too. And don't you think it would be even more demoralizing if you died than simply lost your strength."

"I can't afford either," Kakashi muttered, shifting slightly to give Iruka more working room.

"And I can't afford to lose you," Iruka whispered back.

Kakashi opened his eye in surprise, looking up into the face of his lover. Iruka's eyebrows were knit together in concentration, and there was a deep running pain in those hazelnut coffee brown eyes.

"I wouldn't be able to stand it if I lost you." Iruka whispered, not looking at Kakashi and instead focusing on washing him. "You're my most precious person, and I don't care how strong you are as long as you're still you and still here with me…"

The silver-haired Jounin suddenly felt very selfish for thinking he could take on the missing-nin alone. Yes, true, he'd won in the end but…this cost of seeing his Ruka-Ru hurting, even if it was only a little bit, because of him was not worth it. Nothing was worth this.

"I'm sorry."

"Then don't do it again."

The hot water was beginning to fizzle out by the time Iruka was satisfied Kakashi was clean. He set the other man down again, knowing Kakashi was too weak to stand on his own for any length of time no matter how he protested. He turned of the water and grabbed the towels.

Kakashi soon found himself standing, sodden boxer shorts removed, and completely wrapped in warm fluffy towels. He became drowsy as his dripping lover dried his off as gently as possible, an activity he certainly wouldn't have allowed normally and certainly without a few attempts at groping, and was nearly asleep by the time Iruka guided him into the bedroom and lay him down on the bed.

The tan sensei changed his own clothes quickly before pulling the first aid kit out of the closet. He sat down on the bed, pulled Kakashi's head into his lap, and began bandaging him up as best he could. Really, Kakashi was still too pale but Iruka guessed it was from chakara depletion more than blood loss, as he was showing no other signs of the later. The blood must have mostly been from the enemy.

The good thing about chakara depletion, Iruka mused, was that it would keep the Jounin still out of necessity for a good while. Although good was a relative term, he supposed.

Kakashi was asleep by the time Iruka finished bandaging him and had gotten him into the cleanest and softest clothing Iruka could find in the house. Smiling gently down as Kakashi snored softly; Iruka pulled the blankets up to his lover's chin and looked at the clock.

It was now exactly 3:03 in the morning. He still needed to get Tsunade and tell her Kakashi was back, and preferably have her check that Iruka had done everything correctly. He also needed to get Kakashi's things out of that particular uniform before he burned it for being irrecoverable. Although, perhaps, he could conveniently forget to get whatever volume of Icha Icha Kakashi had left in there…

Iruka shook his head with a fond smile. The second of those tasks could wait until later, as could cleaning up the bathroom and the trail of stuff Kakashi had left on his way to the bathroom. Before standing up to leave, he placed a gentle kiss on his lover's smooth forehead. "You rest here while I go get Tsunade…and you owe me a story as to what on earth happened to your sandals for me not taking you to the hospital. So it better be good."