A/N: Because Jokerlove wanted fluff and Chicago is such good inspiration!
Disclaimer: They still aren't mine…
Summary: Kakashi wants to make sure that Iruka knows exactly what he's getting into when he promises to love a Jounin. KakaIru, One-shot.
Love Me Tomorrow
Kakashi put his book down, frowning slightly. No matter how he'd focused, the words of his beloved book just hadn't been sufficient distraction for his thoughts. He needed to do this. He owed his lover this much.
Laying the well worn orange book down, Kakashi climbed off the couch and crawled across the floor over to where Iruka was sitting, knees pulled up to his chest and back against the chair, reading a book on the theory of henge so that he'd be an expert on it- at least for class tomorrow.
"Iruka?" He asked tentatively, knowing it was a bad idea to interrupt the teacher during his lesson planning.
"Yes, Kakashi," the chuunin said without looking up from his book.
"I need to talk to you."
"Okay, I'm listening."
"Yes, Kakashi, I'm sure it is." Iruka turned the page of his book, shooting the Copy-ninja a look. He frowned a little at the expression he saw there before looking back at the pages. "What's got you so upset, 'Kashi?"
Kakashi took a deep breath, folding his hands in his lap, and looking at the spot where Iruka's eyes would be when the chuunin decided to look at him. "Loving me is a mistake."
Iruka didn't even pause in his reading, "no it isn't."
"I wasn't asking your opinion. I was telling you. It's a mistake, and you should stop."
Iruka licked his finger and turned the page. "I stand by my earlier statement. No, Kakashi, it's not."
The Jounin growled slightly in frustration. "Yes it is. Of course it is. It's probably the worst mistake you'll ever make in your life."
"I've made some pretty big mistakes in my life," Iruka argued back, using his finger to mark the line he was on while he looked up at the Jounin, "why would loving you be such a colossal one?"
"Because," here Kakashi paused, struggling to put in to words exactly what his distracting thoughts had been earlier. "Because I'm unstable."
Iruka snorted with laughter, pulling his book up higher to begin more serious reading.
Kakashi frowned darkly, "I'm serious, Iruka."
"I know you are, but if you think I didn't know that before I got into this relationship, then you're delusional as well and I should probably take you to see Tsunade-sama. Naruto talked to me, remember? I could recite scary amounts of things you did to train those kids that most people would call less than stable. I assign you missions; or rather I don't, so that says a lot about how unstable you are as well."
Kakashi sat back, slightly dumbfounded. This wasn't how he'd planned on this conversation going at all. "Well…the missions I take are dangerous."
Iruka glanced up, but only to cross-reference something in another book he had open on the coffee table in front of him. "I believe I just said that."
"Every time I set foot outside this village, I'm a target. Even inside it, I'm not completely safe. More people want me dead than Jiraiya is years old. And I'm not so delusional as to think I'll always escape. One of these days, I'm going to screw up, or meet an opponent stronger than I am, and I will die."
Iruka froze, his whole body slumping even as Kakashi watched. The silver-haired Jounin sighed a little mentally. There, he hated to do it, but he had to make Iruka see reason. He cared about him too much to not be fair to him.
When the chuunin spoke, it startled him even though it was barely more than a whisper.
"I know that, Kakashi. Even though most of the time I pretend to myself that I can keep you forever, deep inside I know that someday I'll lose you. But it's one of those things I've learned to deal with, because I'd much rather have happy memories of you when you're gone. No matter how much losing you and remembering you and going on without you would hurt, it's nothing compared to the pain caused by the regret of never knowing and always wondering what could have been. At least with having there is some closure, some answers. I could move on from that. I would be stuck forever if I could never know."
Kakashi couldn't really think of anything to argue with that. Would he trade never knowing the people he loved in order to spare himself the pain he felt at their lose?
He didn't even entertain that thought for more than a second, because the answer was definitely a resounding no.
"Well," he said, sounding less sure of himself now, as Iruka reached for a pencil to mark a passage. "I can't be just yours. I'm a ninja of Konoha. I have to do what's best for my village first."
Iruka tapped his forehead protector lying on the coffee table next to his book with the pencil. "So am I, remember? I would never ask you to say you're completely mine when I know you can't be."
"I've got tons of emotional baggage."
"Name me a ninja that doesn't."
"She does too, and will only get more as she gets older. It's part of becoming an independent ninja. Try again."
Kakashi frowned. He couldn't think of a ninja close to their age who hadn't either lost somebody dear to them- in most cases more than one- suffered some childhood trauma, or been tortured in some way. Iruka included.
"I like to read porn. I'm bad for your reputation."
Iruka grinned a little to himself as he circled a paragraph. "It's not porn, it's erotica. Besides, my reputation could use a little tarnishing. Being a saint is exhausting work."
"We fight all the time."
"It keeps life interesting."
"I could end up hurting you. Sometime I could wake up from a nightmare and…" Kakashi bit his lip behind his mask. It was a scenario he'd had nightmares about since Iruka had become or more or less constant bedfellow for him. He wasn't used to sleeping with somebody else within arms length.
Iruka put down his pencil and grabbed one of a different color to jot a note in the margin. "I'm not stupid, 'Kashi. I know not to wake a ninja from a nightmare without some kind of protection, and to get out of arms reach if things start looking really bad. And I know you'd never hurt me on purpose unless ordered to do so- and if I did something bad enough to get you ordered to do so I deserve it and you damn well better do it to."
"Will you stop shooting down my arguments?"
"Stop using faulty arguments then," Iruka chuckled to his paper, reaching for his mug of tea by his side.
"I…I'm a weakness to you. I could be used against you."
Iruka looked up at him over the edge of his mug, one eyebrow raised. "Do you really think ten-year-olds are that big a compromise to your safety? Because, they could threaten to hurt you all they'd like, but I don't have to be concerned unless they can actually do it."
"What you really mean by that statement is that I'm a weakness to you, and that I could be used against you while on a mission."
"No! Loving you isn't…well…you're loving me would put you in danger! If they tried to hurt you, or kidnapped you, or…"
"You would do what you had to in order to ensure that your mission was completed."
"I couldn't do that. I couldn't be responsible for losing you."
"Then it would be you making the mistake loving me, wouldn't it?"
"It's not a mistake," Kakashi shot back, indignant. "You're the best thing that's ever happened to me, Iruka. You make it," he gestured helplessly, at a loss to describe exactly what it was, "hurt less. I'm a better ninja, a better person, because I want you to be safe and happy. I want you to be proud of me. And if loving you is a mistake then it's one I want to keep making, always!"
Iruka looked at him directly then, pencil frozen on the page. Slowly, he smiled. "And you have just won this argument for me. Because I know all the risks I'm taking on you, Kakashi, but I'll still willing walk beside you for as long as you'll have me- be it just until tomorrow or until the day I die."
Kakashi blinked his eye several times, dumbfounded. The more he thought about it, the more he realized that Iruka's actions had said this all along, and the more foolish he felt. Slowly, he smiled, and reached behind him to grab Icha Icha from its place. He dragged himself back, and cuddled up to the chuunin's side. Iruka was back to working on his lesson plan, but Kakashi didn't miss the smile that crossed the chuunin's face before he lay his head on top of the silver bush Kakashi called hair.
"I love you, Iruka."
"I love you too, 'Kashi. Now, read you book so I can get this done."
"Okay. Just one more thing, 'Ruka."
"May I borrow one of your marking pencils? This chapter is giving me some good ideas…"
The chuunin burst out into a fit of contagious laughter, half-heartedly pushing Kakashi off him. "I take it back. Loving you is the worst mistake I'm ever going to make." He managed to stop giggling long enough to look at the Jounin, brown eyes sparkling with delight. "But I'm enjoying every second of it."
"You'd better be. Most people would give their left ear to make the mistake you are," Kakashi shot back with a grin.
Iruka shook his head, handing Kakashi one of his pencils before settling back in place. They were silent for a few minutes before Iruka murmured idly, "what would you do with all those left ears, anyway?"