Imaginary Love

Chapter 1: Every Kind of Love

Music: Imaginary Love—Rufus Wainwright and Memories—Within Temptation

Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto.

Iruka's POV:

I couldn't concentrate today. Even in class, I found my mind slipping away into thoughts of the past. At times it got so bad, I would close my eyes to right myself and continue with class. The youngest kids in the class would squirm in their seats whenever I did this. I wanted to dismiss my lack of concentration as being burnt out and waiting for the end of the week. But I knew that was not the case. My mind kept on coming back to a memory that I used to constantly dwell on. I still kept the pants with grass stains to keep the memory alive. Sometimes, when I was alone, I'd pull them out of an old chest and hold them close, breathing in their dusty and earthy scent.

"Iruka-sensei!" I heard a voice call out. One that I knew very well. I turned around and waved happily to Naruto.

"Naruto. How was your mission?" I asked. Naruto was very dear to my heart. Together we formed some sort of spiritual bond since we're both clumsy orphans. I chuckled wryly at the thought.

"Bor-ring!" Naruto said. "Are you getting ramen?

I smiled. "Sure." We arrived at Ichiraku's Ramen Bar, which was usually crowded. I noticed a certain silver-haired jounin just finishing his bowl of ramen.

"Are you paying for yourself this time Naruto?" I asked, teasingly.

Naruto pulled out his frog wallet and counted the coins. "Yeah. This time I am." And I sighed thankfully. If Naruto could, he would drain me of all my money just by eating ramen.

We both ordered ramen and I saw Kakashi get up from his stool and approach us casually. "Hello Iruka-sensei."

I coughed out of surprise. It was rare that Kakashi ever talked to me and when he did it was always about Naruto's progress. But I doubt he'd give such a compliment with Naruto present.

"The mission went well." He said before walking away. I sighed. I wished he say more. Even make dreaded small talk.

"Iruka-sensei, you should've seen the guy I beat—hey, sensei. Are you listening?" Naruto tapped me on the head.

"I'm not feeling well now, Naruto." Inwardly, I smiled as I said, "Could you handle the bill?"

"I—what—me—whyyyy?!" Naruto whined as I made a mental note to pay him back in the morning.

I went back to my apartment and paced. I didn't know why I felt so anxious, especially about Kakashi sensei. He was at a much higher level than I was at and we weren't friends so he didn't have a need to talk to me. But I wished he would. I knew that Kakashi didn't really talk to anyone. He was usually reading his book with his long legs stretched out in front of him. I sighed.

As a child, I knew of Kakashi but I never got to really know him. I saw him around Konoha, usually with Obito or Rin. Sometimes I would even catch glances of him training in the forest.

//Flashback//

It was a bright sunny day; nonetheless I hugged myself tightly as I ran off into the woods alone. I could already feel the warm wetness of my tears against my cheeks. I'm just not good enough. I'm not good enough to be a ninja. I kept telling myself as I felt the thump of my feet hitting the ground mimicking the beating of my heart.

But my thoughts were interrupted by tripping over a root. I didn't get up from the ground. I felt my chest heave against the cool dirt as I let out quiet sobs. But then, I head a rustling and immediately placed a hand over my mouth. I scooted closer, trying to stay hidden.

That's when I saw him. The jounin, Hatake Kakashi. He was only thirteen but he to me he was like seeing a humorless angel. His silvery hair blew slightly in the wind and his steely blue eyes were narrowed in concentration. The forest light seemed to play with his features making him seem to be a phantom. The way he moved in the air only furthered my fantasy. At first, I even thought he was an angel till I recognized his signature mask covering his features. His only imperfection, it seemed, were the pimples that grazed his forehead. But that didn't matter. Somehow I was comforted.

After a while Kakashi was breathing heavily, sweat formed on his forehead and his hair was slightly wet from the exertion. He lifted up his shirt—I made a little gasping noise—and wiped off his brow. Kakashi immediately looked up, hearing a noise.

"Obito?" Kakashi asked the air, dryly.

"Yes?" Obito came out, smiling. "Training again?"

"Yes." Kakashi said, gathering his kurenai and shuriken.

"You're not going to talk about it?" Obito said, raising an eyebrow.

"There's nothing to talk about." Kakashi said giving Obito a hard look, "And I said I was sorry."

"Did you know—?" Obito started to say, when Kakashi stopped him and nodded.

"Yondaime says we have a mission." Obito smiled and patted Kakashi on the back. I watched them exit, hoping I wasn't notice.

//End of Flashback//

Iruka closed his eyes and pulled the covers up around his neck. He needed to concentrate tomorrow.