I am truly an idiot sometimes. There's a KakaIru contest going on and I wanted to enter this. I forgot to read the little words that indicated, Theme: Death…and I realized that this has nothing to do whatsoever with death.

Nonetheless, I am truly proud of this story. I'd easily rank it in my top 15 ever written.

So, enjoy – I doubt you will be disappointed.

And, thanks go to my marvelous husband, Vampirycent for being my beta.

Disclaimer: Nothing.

-Kissing The Groom-

That loving curve, such an adorable smile – it was so perfect.

Kakashi was smiling, just because Iruka was. When that grin surfaced upon the brown tapestry and curled into his cheeks, Kakashi had to smirk. He practically leered. He even bit his lips when Iruka's were swaying into a sultry simper. They were such perverts.

The sun could never make him feel as hot as those lips did. He burned a brilliant red when that entire mouth sucked on his skin. He needed to kiss them. He never fought the urge. So soft and welcoming – those lips were his.

And the inside…never before had he yearned for something so relentlessly. He wanted to play with that tongue, tease it, suck it, and bite it. The taste was saccharine – addictive, overwhelming, irresistible…

Kakashi was hooked.

Iruka had fallen in love first and Kakashi loved how romantic their relationship then felt.

Naturally, he murmured that seal, with loving, mismatched eyes,

''Iruka, I love you – Marry me.''

Hai…

Yes!

Hai…

Iruka tried not to cry; he was happy, but so embarrassed. His cheeks flushed the color of their passion, as he leaned over and breathed out his content.

''I'd love too, Kakashi…''

Iruka was in love. His head swirled with emotions. He said yes a million times, and he was nowhere near being out of breath. 'Yes' could not even begin to describe the warm welling in his heart. His body went numb – shivers erupted on his skin and it prickled as if a surge of white-hot lightening filled him.

He had found someone…the right someone, and they were going to spend the rest of their lives together.

Every time he thought back at that shy moment, when he first asked Kakashi out for ramen, of course, no where else was adequate – he laughed. Sometimes, he cried. But he was still a man about it, not overly emotional or too soft. And he loved another man, so much – more than enough to marry the crazy fool.

''I knew I'd fall for someone like you…'' Iruka whispered happily one night, cuddled in Kakashi's arms.

They fell together, but the landing was soft.

Yet, reality still hurt. They realized the implications of their relationship. They knew whom they really were deep down inside. Shinobi. The power, the constraints, and the responsibility of the word were crushing. Their village, their missions, their loyalty, the hierarchy of their lives…

''I won't be your blushing bride, Kakashi. I'm going to be your handsome husband.''

Kakashi smirked deviously and his brow quirked into a fine, silver arch. ''Oh really…well, I don't mind being your blushing bride.''

The world they created for themselves far surpassed the real one. They lived in both individually, but often deviated to the other side. The spheres, however, could not be kept separate any longer. The division was painful and hard to keep secretive. To mingle, bind, blend…they managed to come together through their adversaries and they hoped the same for their lives.

They were just going to have to try, grin, and bare it.

''We want to get married.''

They had thought about it, contemplated, and considered their options. Their nights were spent cuddled and musing their futures. Their lips were stained with words of optimism, but their eyes clouded with doubt. It was easy to hope but just as easy to understand reason.

They knew what the logical answer would be.

''No.'' Tsunade did not even hesitate with her immediate response.

Iruka bit his lip hard. He tried this time. ''We want to get married.''

''No.''

''Is it because we are two men?''

''Yes, Kakashi – that fact plays heavily on my decision.''

''We understand this, Hokage-sama, but we do not feel like our union would hurt the village.'' Iruka blatantly hoped that reason would balance the decision to his favor.

Alas, the Hokage was not deterred.

''It would hurt each of you.''

''But we are not thinking about ourselves.''

Tsunade narrowed her eyes at the sole one, glossed by a layer of courage, pride, and fear.

''Yes you are. You are both selfish and only thinking about what you want. Your desire has nothing to do with the village.''

''Then why are you involving it?'' Iruka fell out of line and took a step forward.

He stood perfectly straight, hidden under a calm demeanor. But it slipped, cracked and revealed itself in his frown and unbridled statement – the anxiety and nervousness, it resonated in his words and fueled his conduct.

''It does not work that way, Umino, Iruka. I have no choice but to implicate this village because I represent it and can use it against you.''

Kakashi swallowed hard.

''Hokage-sama, if you represent the village, then you are in fact in charge. Your word will override the consensus of your village.''

''Hatake, Kakashi, I will not be manipulated by you. If I was to make decisions without consulting the people, then I would be a tyrant, one bending to your desires, which you are trying to impose on this village, through me.''

''How are you so sure that the village would not accept our union? We are not hurting anyone and are aware of the risks. We are willing to live with the consequences forced into to our vows.''

''I speak for the village. I am Hokage. But I will not be seen as a despot. Let us presume, for a moment that I allowed this to pass to a public vote; then, undoubtedly, we would be involving the entire village. Prejudices would surface and perhaps…perhaps Konoha would agree to your wedding–''

Tsunade glanced to either man, a quick flick of her dark, powerful eyes, as if to intimidate and threaten.

''But even if the village agreed, I would still say no– ''

Their fingers, loving and caressing, became hard and tightened, as did their hearts.

''I would say 'no' because passing this to public would make it a public affair and would draw much attention to you both. I cannot have that happening. If an enemy ninja were to be informed of our Copy-nin– ''

She singled Kakashi, pointed, and hardened her expression towards his reputation.

''And killed Iruka to weaken you – I will not tolerate this type of scenario when it can be avoided. What will I do when the prejudices of these villagers start forming against our academy teacher and they refuse to let their children be taught under his care? I may listen to my village, but I will always retain the last word.''

The silence was short-lived for Iruka was short-tempered.

''But the village will understand that this is in fact our decision and that we are willing to take this risk.''

''Perhaps they will.'' Tsunade's rebuke was sharp, poignant, and immediate. ''But you are asking them to acknowledge you and your desires, when you refuse to acknowledge that the damage you bring upon your own heads will inevitably affect the village.''

''Then we'll make it a private affair; no one has to know. I am willing to hide one more secret.'' Kakashi said through his mask.

''You are forcing me to swallow your secret and bury it within my own conscious. You should not be asking me this, for it directly implicates me in your matters and defies what I have just explained.''

There was no reply.

''Your decisions should be based on the village and your duty to it, as shinobi. The village is easily swayed by emotions; we are all human but their judgment and mine, shall not be founded on the yearning of your hearts.''

The exchanged words weighed down and on the loving spirits. Words were so easily spoken – too easily. They are lies and deceits, meant to blind and confine. The life of a shinobi, they knew and revered, was unquestionable. They had to swallow their anticipations and the relentless hypocrisy of their words. Only actions could truly express the depth of their desires.

Kakashi stepped forward; his body was numb. But his voice was low and thick – a warning sign that represented the very essence of his heart.

''Tsunade–''

Iruka was right beside him. He had sacrificed so much already for his heart and to keep it from shattering, he began to untie the cloth.

Together their headbands clanged against the venire coat of the Hokage's desk.

Tsunade smiled. At first, there was but an insulted smirk, but it grew until finally flushed across her mouth and she hated it.

''I'm not surprised…'' She murmured and shook her head.

The echo of their actions spoke the volumes of their desperation.

''You'd give everything up and leave together?'' Tsunade asked, a final time, the tone in her voice just as grave as their decision.

Neither of them flinched.

The room was cold and far too quiet.

The lovers firmly stood their ground. It was sacred – and no one could walk all over it, not even the Godaime. Their ambition was not wrong, not corrupt, and not mistaken; it was held together by fingers, hearts and devoted lovers.

Love always involved betrayal – they were willing to leave their home and their priority to become selfish, indulgent, lovers. Not fighters, or even ninjas. They would just retire and think about each other before everyone else. Never would they betray themselves – only others.

The alternative life sounded perfect.

Tsunade resisted, nevertheless. She could not simply crack and give in. But even the strength of the village was not enough to overpower love. She didn't like losing, at all. But love…it was never lost. She knew that all too well.

Ghosts and even memories could love.

''Shizune…'' The Hokage called, sighed, and slumped forward onto her hands.

She looked childish, facing them and their situation, with such a dejected look and crumpled in her chair.

''Yes, Hokage-sama?'' The subordinate arrived instantly.

The formalities were dismissed, with the wave of one hand and the eldest woman addressed her secretary, engaging her in the dilemma, for she was a member of the village but more importantly, trusted by the Hokage herself.

''Should I let them get married?''

Eyes of youth, untainted, and pure glanced down at the meshing of gelid fingers and up to their faces. The men were not looking at her, and only each other. Nothing but their love was important – with or without a confirmation.

With a blush and a shy smile, Shizune nodded. ''I think you should, Hokage-sama''

Kakashi smiled because Iruka smiled, and they leaned in a little closer.

Tsunade threw up her hands, exasperated and groaned aloud. ''Why are kids always right?''

Shizune left just then and fetched the wedding books.

There was a squeeze – it was simultaneous from both sides.

They had won. Iruka wanted to cry; it was so hard to keep such a straight face. Kakashi kept playing with his fingers, he could barely hold still.

''Let it out – get it over with…'' Tsunade rolled her eyes dramatically and dug a pen out of her desk.

She was going to approve.

Iruka pulled Kakashi against him, no sooner were the words spoken. He nuzzled his face into the masked neck and let out a happy squeak of pleasure. Kakashi's hands then kneaded the thick green vest hard, enough to feel the curve along Iruka's back. They were laughing quietly, together – just as together became official.

A wedding…a ceremony…a union…a marriage…theirs.

Shizune returned with the book. Tsunade signed it and two sets of hands twitched nervously.

''You first…you asked me out first.'' Kakashi grinned and slipped the quill between brown digits, as anxious as his own.

''You should sign first…you were the one who asked for this.'' Iruka passed it back.

The Hokage and her assistant stared at the hands, slowly, but gleefully signing their love into the official record books of the village. The signatures were almost as perfect as the swell of joy threatening to burst from their chests.

They continued to absorb the authenticity of their actions, spelled out on the parchment as the profound bliss from the page surged through their veins like a shot of adrenaline. They stood dazed and leaning on one another. The book was cleared away and they were given a certificate.

''You should never let something go, when it's so precious to you.''

Tsunade was staring at the hitae-ate still on her desk, as she held out their paperwork but the lovers were fixed on each other.

And they were smiling.

-EndE-

What was that?! From a sweet first line to passion…to a softer, lighter romantic aura, then right into the drama – a little angst and then happiness…with a sweet closing line. Did I cover it all? I tried to add a little mystery…with some vagueness and poetry but yeah…maybe next time I'll throw in a sci-fi plot.

Did everyone catch the significance of Tsunade's last words? The hitae-ate should be the most precious thing to a ninja, for it represents the village they serve faithfully, but our lovers have completely forgotten them on the desk, because they were too engrossed with one another.

Yay.