Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto.
Another new story and again AU. I just had so much free time while overseas due to blizzards that I spent a lot of time writing whatever popped into my head. I've read tons of stories where people, mainly Naruto, go back to change things but what about Iruka? And what if he's hiding something, something very big?
Yes, I admit he's my favourite character with Kakashi and Naruto coming in a tied second.
Pairings suggestions? Except for Iruka and Kakashi, they're just too cute together!
Kakashi stopped as he heard a noise. He was close enough to Konoha that he usually wouldn't bother investigating but with Sound around…he looked down into the clearing and blinked in surprise. The Academy teacher, Iruka, was sitting against a tree, humming as he went over some papers with a red pen, Academy marking Kakashi assumed. Deciding not to disturb the man while he was relaxing Kakashi moved away.
Iruka relaxed once he could no longer feel Kakashi, that had been a little too close for comfort. He stood and the papers vanished as he ended the illusion. Stretching he moved back into the clearings centre and began his exercises again. Soon he'd be ready to begin and hopefully things would be as they should again.
"Anyone noticed anything odd about Iruka lately?" Kakashi paused in his reading. He hadn't seen the sensei since that day in the woods but that wasn't unusual especially with Naruto away from Konoha. So what had Kurenai noticed?
"Odd?" Raidou asked cautiously and for good reason. Shinobi were naturally suspicious, especially when people began acting 'odd' and no one wanted to be the reason a friend found themselves under unnecessary suspicion.
"Has anyone seen him outside of the classroom or missions desk?" She clarified and from the looks on their faces the answer was no.
"I have." Kakashi found himself saying before he realised it.
"He was doing some grading in the forest, looked like he was relaxing, enjoying himself." He shrugged.
"See Kurenai, the poor guy just needs a break. You know how close he was to Sandaime and that date is approaching. And with Naruto out of the village for most of the last two years it's no wonder he wants to be alone. He'll be back to normal soon." Kotetsu said with a smile and the others nodded.
Iruka ran a gentle hand over the picture of him and Naruto taken just before the disastrous chuunin exams. He missed those days fiercely, missed Sandaime's comforting presence and acceptance. Only the old Hokage had known Iruka's darkest secret and he had still accepted him, had helped him as much as he could. And when the time had come for him to repay that kindness he had been too busy with the children to notice he was needed. He sighed and put the photo back down. Just a few more days and he could start making things right. Sensing a familiar presence he didn't react since technically he shouldn't be able to sense him, he didn't want to make him suspicious after all.
"Yo." Iruka started slightly, spinning to face the intruder.
"Kakashi-sensei, what are you doing here?"
"Was in the area, thought I'd stop by."
"And the real reason?" Iruka gave the other man a stern look and he shrugged.
"People are worried about you. No one's seen you outside of work lately." Oops, that would look a little suspicious.
"I didn't realise…Guess I've had a lot on my mind." He sat down, absently rubbing his scar.
"Care to join me for some ramen?" Iruka looked up, surprised, but then he smiled.
"Sure, why not?"
Kakashi couldn't help but smile slightly as he watched a few of the female shinobi mothering Iruka. Since it had been pointed out that he was isolating himself Iruka had begun frequenting his usual haunts much to everyone's relief. The smile faded as he continued to watch the chuunin, something was definitely going on with him. Several times he'd caught Iruka looking at someone or something as if he'd never see them again and it had him worried. Was the man planning on doing something stupid?
Iruka laughed at Izumo's story, ignoring the growing lump in his throat. So far he didn't think anyone suspected anything, which was good. He wanted to make a clean get away tonight. He knew that no matter what happened he wouldn't be back but he could give them all a better future and that was all that truly mattered.
Sneaking out of Konoha had been simple and he quickly made his way to 'his' clearing only to freeze in shock.
"Going somewhere sensei?" Kakashi drawled, seemingly relaxed but on the inside he was disappointed that he'd been right. Iruka gave him a sad smile and entered the clearing, putting his pack down and sitting against the same tree he'd been leaning against only two weeks earlier when Kakashi had seen him.
"So much has happened, so much that shouldn't have. If you could make things better would you?" He asked softly, making sure his hands remained still and fully in sight. Kakashi watched the chuunin warily; he was way too relaxed for a traitor caught in the act so was he wrong?
"What do you mean?" Kakashi asked cautiously, ready to move in an instant but Iruka just sat there, smiling sadly.
"Sandaime's death, Sasuke's betrayal. Would you undo it if you could?"
"No one can change the past Iruka." He frowned slightly, had it all been too much for him? Had Iruka lost it?
"No one human Kakashi. I won't let Naruto grieve for his brother anymore." Iruka looked up at the sky and sighed.
"Do you know what I regret most?"
"No, what?" He just needed to keep him talking a little longer. Once he got Iruka back into the village the hospital could evaluate him and hopefully help him recover.
"This." Kakashi suddenly felt his body crumple, no longer in control but still aware. Gentle hands caught him, lowering him to the ground as Iruka knelt over him, eyes sad. Kakashi felt a flash of fear, he was utterly helpless and in the hands of either a lunatic or traitor, not good circumstances to be in. Much to his surprise the chuunin closed his eyes, pulled down Kakashi's mask and kissed him. Iruka slowly pulled back and smiled as he replaced the mask before re-opening his eyes.
"I've wanted to do that for years." Iruka gently caressed Kakashi's face through the fabric.
"Don't worry, you'll be able to move again in a while. Tell Naruto I love him, that he's the closest to a son I have and I hope he'll be happy. Whatever fears or doubts you have about me my loyalty will always lie with Konoha." All Kakashi could do was stare upwards, no matter how hard he tried he couldn't move or speak. He could hear Iruka moving about the clearing and then he reappeared above him, his pack over his shoulder. Iruka leant down and kissed him once more, this time through the mask.
"Goodbye Kakashi." He whispered sadly and then he was gone.
Tsunade looked up as the door flew open to reveal a rumpled Kakashi.
"What happened to you?"
"Umino Iruka. He's crazy or something, I don't know. He was talking about changing what has happened, time travel or something. He said he was going to make things better before taking me down without even moving. I couldn't move or speak at all. He said goodbye and left." Her eyes widened and she called for Shizune.
"Summon every spare jounin and chuunin immediately." Shizune nodded and left.
"I won't send Anbu after him yet. It sounds like his mind's snapped but why now?"
"We all noticed that no one was seeing him outside of work. I confronted him and he said he had a lot on his mind. Everyone assumed with the anniversary of Sandaime's death he was simply grieving."
"Obviously it hit him harder than anyone realised." She waited until the group was assembled.
"You all have a mission, to track down Umino Iruka and bring him back alive. Be careful though, he may be delusional at least. Try to talk him into coming back without violence but knock him out if you have to." She ordered.
"Watch yourselves, he disabled me before I even realised he was up to something. But he was careful to make sure I wasn't hurt." Kakashi warned.
"At least he can still tell friend from foe but that may not last." Tsunade commented mostly to herself.
"Why us Hokage-sama? Why not Anbu?" Genma asked from the back.
"A familiar face will hopefully help and he needs treatment, not a kunai to the throat. Hopefully we can help him heal. Go." She watched as they left and frowned. She knew how much Iruka meant to Naruto and dreaded having to tell the blonde Iruka had gone mad.
"I can't believe it, Iruka crazy?" Raidou shook his head.
"He was fine last night."
"Unless we missed it because we didn't want to see it. He has been acting differently lately." Gena answered as they searched.
"We have to find him before something happens."
Iruka crouched out of sight, watching the guards. So far he wasn't all that impressed with Sound, he'd gotten in even easier than he'd gotten out of Konoha. Now he just had to get into the main compound. Spotting his opening he slipped in, masking his presence totally and walking quietly down the halls. He smiled as he sensed a familiar presence behind one of the doors and knocked softly. The look of shock on Sasuke's face before he collapsed was very amusing. Iruka hid the teen carefully and then went in search of his two remaining targets. He found Kabuto in a lab with the body of a Mist-nin. He closed his eyes in pain at the sight before stepping into the room.
"Playing with the dead?" He asked and Kabuto spun, eyes going wide with disbelief.
"Umino Iruka? Surely the Hokage isn't dumb enough to send a lowly chuunin after Sasuke-kun." Iruka chuckled.
"Sasuke is no longer your concern."
"Oh, what is then?" Kabuto asked, humouring the soon to be dead man.
"Your part in Sandaime's death and how long I can drag your death out because of it." Iruka stated flatly and Kabuto felt the first twinge of fear, this was not the friendly sensei everyone in Konoha knew.
"You, kill me? Tsunade really needs to rethink her assassins."
"Who said she knows I'm here? And you're already dieing Kabuto. Every Sound-nin here is though their deaths will be far swifter than yours and Orochimaru's." Kabuto stared at him in shock.
"You poisoned us." Kabuto whispered and began running diagnostic jutsu's on himself.
"Don't bother, you won't find anything." There was no mistaking the sound of several bodies hitting the ground in the hallway and Kabuto paled.
"How?" Iruka's gaze wondered to the dead man again.
"My grandfather was from Mist, not that I ever knew him. But he carried the means to kill you to Konoha, passed it on to his son and through him to me. Neither of them were aware of it, couldn't use it but I can. Sandaime knew but he didn't care, he never treated me any differently and you helped kill him." Kabuto watched Iruka warily. A Mist bloodline? One that had lain dormant for generations and now a Konoha-nin was using it to kill them all.
"Can you feel it yet?" Iruka walked over and gently closed the Mist-nin's eyes, smiling slightly as he sensed Kabuto approach.
"Killing me won't stop it." He warned and Kabuto stopped.
"What is going on?"
"Hello Orochimaru, don't like my gift?" Iruka asked, back still to the rest of the room.
"Who are you?"
"Umino Iruka, he's a chuunin Academy instructor for Konoha. He claims to have poisoned us all."
"I never said it was poison, just that you're all dieing." Iruka corrected.
"If we're all dieing then I'll just have to use your body Iruka-kun."
"You can only use that jutsu once every three years. Although it might be interesting to see the results if you tried." Iruka was getting bored and tired of listening to them so he sped the process up a bit.
"Why send you now?" The sannin demanded and Iruka turned to him, smiling.
"Who said anyone sent me? I'm doing this to make sure everyone I care about is safe and happy, especially Naruto."
"Maybe, but look who's talking."
"Hokage-sama!" Tsunade looked up at the chuunin that burst in.
"What is it?" She demanded.
"It's what?" Izumo swallowed.
"Gone." He whispered.
"What do you mean gone?" She asked in shock.
"The village is there but the people…" He trailed off looking a bit green.
"Show me." He nodded and they quickly left Konoha. A day later she had her answer.
"What could have done this?" Anko asked in shock.
"Their bodies have been completely dehydrated." Tsunade stated, looking around.
"Hokage-sama! We've found the Uchiha, he's alive."
"Where?" She followed them to a well-hidden alcove and saw that someone had carefully placed him there. She pulled him out and ran a scan over him but he appeared healthy. Her eyes widened as she noticed the seal was gone from his neck.
"Anko check your seal." She ordered and Anko's shocked gasp was all the answer she needed, Orochimaru was dead.
"Hokage-sama! We've found…you need to see this." Once again she followed one of her ninja, this time into a lab and paused as she saw Kakashi gently cradling something. Moving closer she closed her eyes briefly in grief. Umino Iruka lay lifeless and pale in the copy-nin's arms. Was the chuunin somehow responsible for all this? But how?
"Hokage-sama." She moved further into the room and looked down. Although dried out and shrivelled she still recognised the bodies of her old teammate and his assistant.
"He said he was going to make things better." Kakashi said softly. Iruka's hair had come loose from its holder and he gently brushed it back from the dead mans face, tenderly stroking the cold skin.
"But how did he do this?" Tsunade asked in shock.
"You think Iruka did all this?" Anko asked in disbelief.
"Who else would have left the boy alive? Those two are the only ones who haven't been dehydrated."
"A bloodline?" Raidou asked.
"Wouldn't that be on file?" Anko countered. Tsunade looked around the room; something about it was bothering her.
"Whose blood is this?"
"Only the three of them where in here and none of them have any open wounds." Raidou answered.
"Which means there was a fourth person here. Did you move any of the bodies?" Raidou's eyes flickered to Kakashi and she understood. She hadn't realised the two were so close but perhaps it was a case of realising your feelings when it was too late. Either way Kakashi would need help after this.
"Where was he?" She asked softly and Raidou showed her. She frowned in thought and then her eyes widened.
"What did you do Iruka?"
"Look at the blood pattern, it's not random at all. Someone used it to draw something and then stood in the centre before collapsing." She pointed it out.
"Copy these, I want Jiriaya to have a look. Burn this place to the ground, bodies included. Bring two stretchers for Uchiha and Umino. For the destruction of Sound I'm posthumously promoting Umino Iruka to jounin. His body is to be taken home for burial."