A/N: Because the world needs more KakaYama.
It was their second lunch break in as many days since the start of Naruto's training. Yamato looked down at his bowl of ramen, thoroughly disenchanted with his sempai by now. His dinner looked nothing short of a heap of dead worms and chopped vegetation, as if the chef had simply gone out the back with a spade and heated the results of his excavation in the microwave.
At least Naruto was happy. Yamato glanced sideways at him, wondering how he managed to keep up such boundless energy when the only food he ate had roughly the same nutritional value as dirt. Beyond the blond boy who was deliriously shovelling his dinner down his throat as fast as he could was Kakashi. He wasn't eating, as usual, but Yamato didn't know if this was whether he didn't want to take his mask down or if it was simply because he wasn't hungry. He hadn't been doing much over the last couple of days other than sitting around reading and occasionally voicing his lackadaisical supervision. Kakashi could probably go a few more days without food if that kept up.
Yamato knew he was a greatly feared ninja in his own right… but sometimes he wished Kakashi-sempai would act a little more appropriate to his rank and status.
By now the cute ramen girl had noticed that he was merely pushing his noodles around half-heartedly. "Is everything all right?" she asked pleasantly.
"Uh… do you have anything like salad?"
Both ramen girl and her father gave him blank stares. He might as well have asked if they sold high class jewellery. "Never mind," he sighed, hunkering down over his pathetic meal. He glanced across at Kakashi for a moment and was surprised to find him looking back over the top of Naruto's head. But perhaps it was just a coincidence, as the next moment Kakashi's gaze dropped back to Naruto's profile. "Maybe it's because you're trying to get it perfect first time," he said to the boy. "Maybe you should try blending smaller amounts of form and nature."
"You mean I should do it with a teeny tiny Rasengan?" Naruto asked.
"Yeah, sure, whatever."
Yamato pressed a hand over his face wearily. He was happy to help, he really was, but honestly he was beginning to feel abused. He didn't have Naruto's stamina, yet Kakashi expected him to be able to keep up at all times. It didn't seem fair that after all that hard work trying to hold back a mythical nine-tailed monster he was subjected to this crap they called food.
"Finished!" Naruto suddenly cried. "Let's go back and train!"
"Excellent," Kakashi stood up, "I'll meet you back at the grounds in ten minutes, ok?"
And just like that he disappeared in a puff of smoke and air. Naruto jumped up a moment later and clapped Yamato on the back. "See you there, Captain Yamato!"
And then he was gone too.
It took a moment or two for Yamato to realise he was the only one left, and the owner of Ichiraku was looking at him a little expectantly. He'd been stuck with the bill like yesterday.
How would they like it if he just dropped dead of exhaustion? Jeez, would they even notice? Well… probably, when Kyuubi came tearing out Naruto to start shredding people to ribbons. Then they might decide to pay better mind to Yamato's needs.
His wallet was getting worryingly thin when he opened it to pay the ramen girl, and Yamato had a feeling that by the end of this training, both his body, mind and bank account would be thoroughly broke.
With ten minutes to kill, Yamato exited the ramen bar and made a beeline straight for the nearest drink dispensing vending machine and punched out the code for the energy drink with the highest calories available. He slumped in the shade of the machine, cracking the can open with a snap and a hiss.
"So you don't like ramen, huh Tenzo?"
Yamato looked up, his gaze sweeping up Kakashi's silhouetted frame. "Not my favourite, no," he replied evenly. "And for the intents and purposes of this mission, Kakashi-sempai, I must insist you call me Yamato."
Kakashi sauntered over to lean on the wall beside him, half in and half out of the shade.
Yamato sipped his drink pensively. "Shouldn't we be getting back to training then?" he asked Kakashi carefully.
"We have a ten minute break," the copy ninja replied easily. "Aren't I allowed to spend it with my most favourite kohai?"
Yamato brooded quietly. He didn't know if it was true or not, but he had a feeling Kakashi was merely teasing him. He'd said something similar the previous day, though Yamato had come to realise since then that Kakashi was an awfully glib and manipulative fibber and the depths to which he would sink to keep from having to pay the bills…?
Needless to say, Kakashi was a particularly confusing man, and Yamato was no closer to deciphering the true meanings behind his words than he was when he'd met him all those years ago.
Taking another sip of his drink, Yamato let the fizz sit on his tongue for a moment before swallowing. "I'm not sure I can keep doing this," he said quietly.
"Yes, you can." Kakashi said it with his usual blunt confidence.
"You don't understand," Yamato looked up at him. "This is kyuubi inside of that boy. I know I'm designed to control Biju, but it's not a long-term ability and the nine-tails is the strongest of them all. It will break free if this pace continues."
"It has to." Kakashi's tone didn't let up.
"I know you and your team want Sasuke back as soon as possible, but this needs to let up. Because if things continue at this rate, the Kyuubi's chakra will eat that boy alive." His hand was beginning to tremble with fatigue and he quickly drank more of his drink. "Maybe the real Shodaime would be able to handle this, but I am not him."
Kakashi could be heard distinctly sucking his teeth. "You done bitching now?"
"Are you even listening to what I'm saying?" Yamato pressed. "Naruto could die with this kind of training. And if Kyuubi escapes I won't be able to stop it, I assure you. And is that Uchiha heir really worth this kind of risk?"
"To Naruto, sure." Kakashi folded his arms, surveying the busy street before them.
Yamato promptly sat on the floor, crossed his legs and closed his eyes. "In that case I refuse."
"Eh?" Kakashi blinked at him.
"I refuse to go along with this any more," Yamato told him shortly. "You'll have to find someone else with the Shodaime's DNA spliced into their genes, because I am not going to take party to this insanity. Good luck, Kakashi-sempai."
Kakashi looked down at him with mild disbelief. Then suddenly his expression cleared. "Oh, I know what this is about," he drawled. "Come on, Tenzo, we need you. Naruto can't train without you and you know how much these means to him."
Yamato chewed his cheek sullenly.
"You're just upset about the ramen thing, aren't you, Tenzo?"
"It's Yamato for the remainder of this mission, sempai, and no, I'm not 'just' upset about the ramen. I'm upset at the fact that I am liable to have my head bitten off by a demon fox shortly. You know as well as I do that when that thing comes out it'll be heading straight for me."
Kakashi laughed mildly and slid down the wall to sit at Yamato's level. "Nah, you're just feeling unappreciated."
Yamato fumed quietly, his face turning decidedly hot because Kakashi had quite easily hit the nail on the head. Yes, he was feeling a little unappreciated, but his concerns about the training were still valid. "I think we should have more people at hand in case Kyuubi emerges again. My ANBU squad would be happy to-"
"You won't let it happen again," Kakashi cut him off abruptly. "And if it does, you'll contain the problem. I trust you, Tenzo."
Yamato sighed. "Trust is one thing… my ability is another matter entirely. I don't think I can live up to your expectations at the-"
"But you consistently do and I'm positive you'll continue to do so." Kakashi smiled at him amicably. "And you always have me to back you up."
"Hm." In Yamato's opinion, Kakashi was still recovering from his last fight with the Akatsuki. It was possible that Kakashi was in no fit state to back anybody up just yet.
Kakashi's hand came out. "May I?" he asked, indicating the can of brand energy drink.
Yamato handed it over to him without thinking, and watched as Kakashi tugged his mask down to take a small sip.
Now, Yamato didn't make a habit of ogling men. He considered women to be far more easier on the eye than the average man, and he had never in his life been flustered by good-looking men before.
But one glimpse of Kakashi-sempai's face and he had to look away with a small smile and a faint blush. The man was attractive, but not excessively so. But it was a face that suited him so well that it almost made him laugh. It was almost as if Kakashi had never worn the mask before in his life because the face beneath it was so familiar and fed up that Yamato felt like he'd known it forever.
"A bit sweet for my liking," Kakashi said, smacking his lips as he attempted to pass the drink back. When Yamato didn't accept it, he waggled it temptingly. "I didn't drool on it too much, Tenzo."
Yamato ignored him. "I spoke to Maito Gai a few days ago."
"Always risky." Seeing as how Yamato wasn't taking back his drink, Kakashi took another swig. "Tell me, did you come away with all your brain cells intact or do you feel you lost a few in the crossfire."
"He says I shouldn't underestimate your wit or 'hip' attitude, and that I'm not to be concerned if I never see your face as he's known you for most of his life and he has yet to see it." Yamato grinned a little. "I feel a little honoured now."
"Oh, Tenzo stop, you're embarrassing me," Kakashi drawled with the flat expression of a man who wouldn't have the decency to be embarrassed even if he was stripped naked, dipped in tar and feathers and strung upside down from the Hokage's balcony. "Though I'm amused Gai felt the need to warn you against me."
"Well, considering since we began training you've tricked me into paying for everyone's lunch twice now, I think he was quite right to do so." Yamato looked down into his lap as he sullenly added, "And I don't even like ramen."
"You think I tricked you?" Kakashi cocked his head. "How so?"
Yamato rolled his eyes. "Telling me how I'm the only kohai you acknowledge. I should have seen that one coming."
"How do you know I didn't mean it?" Kakashi asked ruminatively.
"…well, did you?"
"Mm, of course I did."
"Hmm." Yamato scowled unhappily. "I can't understand half of the things you say to me. Sometimes I think you only say certain things because you know it confuses me."
Kakashi clicked his tongue and shrugged carelessly. "I only do it because I think you're sexy and I'm trying to impress you."
"See!" Yamato jabbed a finger at him. "Just like that! You only say such things to distract me and make me forget about the real issue at hand."
"And the real issue at hand is… what again?"
"I… forgot." Something about out of control biju… and did Kakashi really think he was sexy? He didn't feel sexy, but then-
"Tenzo," Kakashi said with a long-suffering sigh. "Not everything that comes out of my mouth is a lie. Sometimes when I say I respect someone, I actually mean it. Whether or not that kind of admission leads people to do nice things for me is a total coincidence."
"Yeah, right," responded Yamato somewhat dryly.
Kakashi gazed at him, thinking thoughts unknown to Yamato. After a moment he took another sip of the energy drink and drummed his fingers against the can. "Tell you what," he began casually. "I have kinda been pushing you quite hard lately. When Naruto passes out this evening, I'll bring you back here and I'll buy you a proper meal. How does that sound?"
Too good to be true, that's how it sounded.
Yamato stroked his masked chin. "You're paying?" he affirmed.
"And it won't be ramen?"
"You can choose where and what we eat, if you like."
"I do like."
"Good." Kakashi beamed at him and stood up. "It's a date then."
"Um…" Yamato had no idea if Kakashi was just speaking in cliché or if he meant 'date' quite literally. After a bit of hedging, he opted for the former. It was a safer bet. "Ok then."
Kakashi held out a helping hand. "Come on. We should get back to Naruto before he starts up training without us."
That would be a distinctly bad thing, so Yamato resigned himself with a nod and accepted Kakashi's hand as he rose to his feet. He took a moment to straighten his vest before stepping forward, ready to follow his sempai.
"Hang on a moment," Kakashi said, turning back to Yamato sharply as if he'd forgotten something.
Before Yamato could even contemplate what exactly Kakashi could have forgotten, he found himself shoved back against the side of the vending machine with a bang. For a split second he thought his sempai was actually attacking him, then the next thing he knew was a warm hand lodged against his nape and a pair of even warmer lips pressed against his own.
Yamato floundered. Kakashi was kissing him and he didn't know what to do. They were in the middle of the street and he didn't know how to react. Someone was using the vending machine he was pressed up against – he could feel the whirring mechanical noises and the tumbling vibrations as a can fell into the pit – and Kakashi was still kissing him. A coaxing tug of lips and the gentle tap of a tongue.
Did the man have no shame? Yamato's hands hovered near Kakashi's shoulders, torn over what to do with them. It seemed rude to just push him away, but then it was even ruder to kiss someone without warning in the middle of am extremely bust street.
Teeth nipped his lower lip and the hand that wasn't occupied on his nape moved down to give his rear a definite pinch. Yamato made a sound like a squashed yelp and suddenly slithered sideways out of Kakashi's hold and into the wall behind the vending machine. He didn't need a mirror to know exactly how red his face probably was at that moment. "Why did you do that?" he demanded.
Kakashi shrugged. "Because."
A lengthy silence stretched between them.
Yamato nodded, encouraging him to continue his explanation.
Kakashi's smile widened.
Yamato cleared his throat. "You're insane."
"All geniuses are to some degree."
"And unbelievably arrogant." Yamato touched his hand to his lips. "I can't believe you just did that. And in the middle of the street! What if someone saw?"
"What if someone saw?" Kakashi shrugged, making it clear that he didn't care one way or another. "Would it bother you if someone were to see you kissing another man?"
"I don't – what?" Yamato shook his head, as if that would help clear some of the confusion. "Well, no, I'm quite secure with my sexuality, thank you very much, Kakashi-sempai. But I'm also pretty sure I don't, you know… swing that way, I'm afraid."
"Really?" It was as if this confession had surprised him. Kakashi looked at him thoughtfully. "Can I just check something?"
"Certainly you – mmrrph-"
Kakashi pulled him back sharply into another kiss, not giving Yamato the option of escape. His lips were warm, coaxing but commanding and moved in such a way that Yamato found himself rather enjoying it. It was definitely different from kissing a woman who was all soft, yielding curves and delicate lips. Kakashi's frame was equal to his, in height and build and muscle mass. It felt odd having it pressed against his so intimately.
Belatedly, Yamato realized he was kissing back. Kakashi was as glib a kisser as he was a talker, and with very little effort he'd persuaded Yamato to play along. And it wasn't so bad. He didn't particularly mind when Kakashi began to use his tongue, dipping it into his mouth almost playfully to tap against his. That hand was back on his ass, giving it a faint squeeze, and this time Yamato could only give a faint groan and fist his hand tighter into Kakashi's hair. Just when it had found its way there was anyone's guess.
Kakashi suddenly stepped back, attempting to catch his breath as he dabbed a thumb to the corner of his mouth. His expression was nothing short of smug as he looked at Yamato leaning against the wall in a state of shock.
"You sure you're not into men?" Kakashi asked.
Yamato nodded faintly, his heart hammering. He wondered if this was simply a new form of abuse that Kakashi was enacting against him. "Yes… I'm sure."
"Well…" Kakashi glanced at his watch. "We still have five minutes. That's plenty enough time."
"For what?" Yamato asked, frowning.
"To convince you otherwise," Kakashi replied, shrugging.