An Unexpected Proposal

Hatake Kakashi had never been more afraid in his life. He was still shaking slightly, though he had tried to force his nerves to calm down. Get a grip, Hatake. You've faced far more fearsome things. But he couldn't get a grip, even if he wasn't exactly sure what it was that was making him so scared. Am I afraid of failure? The worst that can happen…is for him to say "no."

"And of course the worst is the most frightening part about it," Kakashi mumbled to himself as he reached inside his pocket.

His gloved hand closed tightly around a small black box. Inside that box was the cause of his worry – an engagement ring. The jounin had bought it quite a while ago, picked it out himself. That part had been easier than he had thought. Rings seemed to have a bit of a personality to them, and all he had had to do was find one that matched Iruka's most closely. No enormous diamond rings here. The ring Kakashi had picked may have looked a bit plain in other's opinions, but upon closer inspection, he had found it to be the most unique and beautiful of them all. Just like you, Iruka.

Now he just had to use it in addition to the question that just did not want to come out of his mouth. He had tried. Really.

"W-will you…will you m-ma…Mar me! Please! Just mar me now!" Kakashi half-yelled to his reflection in the mirror.

The mirror made no response, but its silence seemed to suggest that Kakashi really was acting as pathetic as he thought he was. Frustration washed over him and made him clench his fists tightly at his sides.

"It's not supposed to be this hard!" the silver-haired man grumbled as he fell down to one knee, defeated.

Well, at least he had the pose right. Maybe if he just groveled at Iruka's feet, the chunnin would have him. I'll have to try eventually, Kakashi thought. Slowly, he stood up and made his way out the door.

It wasn't as if Kakashi hadn't tried before. He had – a couple of times in fact. His attempts just never seemed to go well. He remembered the incident last week, when he had first decided that the time was right. The only problem was that he had been just as shaky then as he was now. He figured a direct approach wouldn't work, so he had tried to hide the ring in the bathroom, under a pile of rose petals. Kakashi normally wouldn't have resorted to this, but he had thought this way, Iruka would be touched by the memorable method of proposal and the jounin would also be spared the direct confrontation. Of course it had not gone as smoothly as he had thought.

"Kakashi!" Iruka had shouted upon entering the bathroom.

Kakashi remembered the way his body had tensed with anticipation and nervousness, awaiting Iruka's response to finding the ring.

"Don't leave a mess in the bathroom!"

The chuunin never figured out why Kakashi had sulked the rest of the night, but he figured it was a jounin thing. Being an elite ninja didn't excuse you from household duties! Kakashi would have to learn to clean up after himself.

To the jounin's disappointment, Iruka had never stopped to wonder why the petals had been there in the first place. Part of him must have been too afraid to. When curiosity finally got the better of the chunnin, Kakashi mumbled something about a rose petal jutsu and left it at that.

Fortunately, the silver-haired man hadn't let his first failed attempt discourage him too much. He just had to find another way to get Iruka to see the ring. One night, he debated hiding it in Iruka's food or a glass of wine, but after watching his lover devour his meal hungrily after a busy day at the academy, the jounin decided Iruka might appreciate a safer method – one that did not carry the possibility of him choking on the engagement ring.

A few days later, he had thought up the perfect plan. He could get someone else to play the middleman! Or middle-boy, as it was. He felt silly asking an adult to do it for him, and it only made sense that he should ask one of Iruka's students. The chuunin might even think it was cute that his lover had chosen such a conveniently sneaky method.

"You want me to give this to Iruka-sensei?"

Large blank eyes had blinked at Kakashi.

"Yes."

"And ask him to marry me?"

"Exac- What?! No, you're asking him to marry me."

"Who are you again?"

"Kakashi," the jounin had repeated for the third time.

"So I say 'Iruka-sensei, will you please marry Kakashi-san?'"

" Not like that! All you have to say is 'This is from Kakashi-san,' and give him the ring. Simple enough?"

"Yeah. Okay…"

Stares had followed.

"…What?"

"Why can't you do it yourself?"

"Just go!" Kakashi had growled impatiently, reminded why he disliked small children.

He had further reason for his dislike when the child had come back to find him again later.

"I lost it."

The two had spent the rest of the afternoon retracing steps and hunting the school grounds. Iruka was long gone by the time they found it.

Needless to say, Kakashi was determined to be successful on his next attempt. This is my last chance. If I can't do it myself…Then maybe it just can't be done at all. I'll have to give up. But it didn't take the jounin long to convince himself giving up was not an option.

Tonight, Iruka was meeting Kakashi at a restaurant on the other end of the village. Neither had been there before, but it had a good reputation. Iruka had been surprised by the shakiness in Kakashi's voice when he had asked him if he wanted to eat there. He knew the jounin was going to be late too, as he often was to most of their dates, so Iruka took his time getting to the restaurant. Kakashi was surprised when he didn't find him there. After all the trouble I went to to be on time for once…He's not here? Maybe he forgot or decided not to come. Wait! He wouldn't really stand me up, would he? Not after all this time, right? What if he's not coming?

Kakashi had to mentally slap himself to get his mind back under control. He was a jounin! How could something like this be bothering him so much? He knew Iruka better than that. Panic was just taking over his brain and making him lose his logic, it seemed. Still, Kakashi felt much better when Iruka finally arrived – only ten minutes after the time they had agreed on.

"Oh, Kakashi! You're here already? I'm so sorry; I hope you haven't been waiting long."

"No, not really," the jounin admitted, though to him, those ten minutes had seemed so much longer.

"That's good. Let's go inside," the chunnin said, taking Kakashi's hand and leading him through the restaurant doors.

Kakashi followed behind trying not to drag his feet into the place he knew he'd have to ask his frightening question. Once they were seated, Kakashi couldn't look straight at Iruka, even though the chunnin was smiling brightly at him. Before or after dinner? After. After's definitely better.

"Are you okay, Kakashi?"

"Hm?" the jounin almost squeaked, daring a glance into those chocolate brown eyes, "Yeah, I'm fine. Sorry."

"What do you think looks good?" Iruka asked, glancing over the menu, "I can't make up my mind."

"The fish looks good, doesn't it?" Kakashi said as his eyes landed on the first thing on the menu.

"Yeah, I think so too," the chunnin replied, "I think I'll get that."

"Great," Kakashi said, "I'll order that too."

The waiter came, and the couple gave him their order. Only then did Kakashi realize that he didn't really like fish. Oh well…

Iruka glanced around the restaurant appreciatively.

"Great choice, Kakashi."

"Hm?"

"The restaurant – it's really nice."

"Oh. Glad you like it," the jounin replied, attempting a smile beneath his mask though he knew it was a wasted effort.

They chatted on and off until the food came. Kakashi was too nervous to think of much to say, so Iruka dominated the conversation. The jounin tried to reply with the best responses he could muster, but his mind was far from the conversation, thinking about the proposal he would make once the meal was over. Iruka must have noticed, because he stopped talking for a while, looking a bit disappointed. Kakashi felt a pang of guilt. He didn't feel like himself at all; nothing had ever quite affected him this way. He hoped Iruka would understand once it was over.

Luckily, the waiter arrived with their dinner not too long after, so Kakashi was able to use the food as an excuse to keep his mouth busy, for the time being. Iruka seemed somewhat relieved too, but mostly he was just hungry. He ate the fish with much gusto as Kakashi watched him, taking his own bites slowly and not quite so enthusiastically. Fish or not, he didn't have much of an appetite either way.

The slower I eat, the more time I have, his mind sighed. He still hadn't thought of exactly what he was going to do or say. It seemed so simple in his imagination- just kneel down and pop the question. Was there another way it could be done? One he could actually manage without stuttering or messing up somehow?

I need to stop thinking about how I'm going to do this and start thinking about why. Why did he want to marry Iruka? Because I love him. It seemed like such an easy answer, even though there was much more to it. I love the way you smile at me when I come back from a long mission. It's what I look forward to the most. Kind eyes to comfort me. Soft lips that kiss away the terrible memories of all the people I've killed. Warm hands that make me forget the pain from my wounds when you wrap your arms around my waist and just hold me, like no one else does. I love everything about you, every hair, every inch, every moment I spend with you. That's why I want to be with you forever. How could he express all that in just a few simple words?

"Kakashi."

Iruka's voice caught his attention and pulled him back to reality.

"Kakashi, are you all right? You've been acting kind of strange lately. If you're not feeling well, we can-"

"No!" Kakashi burst out suddenly, "No, no- I'm…I'm fine."

He took a breath. It was time. He knew it was time; he just had to…argh! The words weren't coming. He reached into his pocket and squeezed the ring box until he was afraid it would break. No, breaking the ring…That would be bad. Just do this! It's just one simple question! Now - into position!

Kakashi stood straight up immediately. Iruka's eyes opened wider in surprise, then narrowed slightly in curiosity and confusion.

"Kakashi?"

The jounin took a step forward and stumbled suddenly. He didn't even know what was going on at first. His head was spinning, but suddenly, he realized what had caused him to fall…Shoelaces. Darn it! Too many days wearing sandals and he had neglected to tie them!

Iruka stared down at him for a moment with a dumbfounded expression on his face. The great Sharingan Kakashi, elite jounin…bested by footwear. He shook his head and sighed. He knelt down next to Kakashi as the silver-haired man recovered from his fall. The jounin's face was burning red under his mask, and he thanked Kami-sama that Iruka couldn't see it.

"Are you okay?" the chuunin asked him, trying his best not to laugh despite his lover's lack of grace.

"Fine," he mumbled embarrassedly, keeping his eyes averted.

Iruka smiled at him.

"Are you sure? You really don't seem like it."

Kakashi turned his eyes back to lock onto his lover's. His expression was serious, but his voice was soft and sincere.

"I'm sure, 'Ruka."

"Good. Because I have something I want to ask you."

Kakashi stared at him, puzzled. He was the one with the question, so what did Iruka-

"Kakashi," the chuunin asked, reaching into his pocket, "will you…marry me?"

The jounin's eyes widened. He couldn't believe what he saw in Iruka's hand- a ring box! Not too different from the one sitting in his own pocket. Iruka opened the small black velvet top with a hand that was only slightly shaking, and Kakashi's jaw dropped at the golden ring with a small sapphire jewel shining in the center. The jounin stared at it until Iruka squirmed uncomfortably, anxious to hear his lover's answer. His leg was cramping up too…

"Iruka," the jounin breathed finally, "I- You- You beat me to it!"

Overwhelmed, he fell backwards, catching himself with his hands. Iruka laughed, nervousness shaking out of him.

"Can I take that as a yes?"

With the speed of a former ANBU, Kakashi leapt forward from his position, grabbed the ring box, and tackled his lover so that they both fell to the floor together in a heap. Iruka lay there, startled as Kakashi snuggled into his shoulder and kissed his neck through his mask. The chuunin tried to remember what had possessed him to be the one to pop the question. He should have known his lover would make a scene. The jounin didn't seem to intend to move from his spot on the floor or let his lover out of his arms.

"What do you think?" he whispered into Iruka's ear.

By now, they were attracting more than a few stares. Some people from the other side of the restaurant had stood up to walk over and get a better look at what was going on. The chuunin blushed horribly and laughed quietly as he tried to push Kakashi off. Kakashi pulled down his mask and caught Iruka's mouth in his just as he was about to protest his behavior. The sound came out muffled, and the chuunin sighed as he gave up and instead started kissing his lover back. It was one of those once in a lifetime moments, after all, and Iruka intended to enjoy it fully. They didn't rise from the floor until the waiter brought the bill.

Owari


A/N: Hope it made you laugh. XD I wrote it mostly during my hyper moods, so hopefully Kakashi didn't come across too OOC. I can't believe I actually wrote a short fic. O.o Most of mine end up being monsters. XD Let me know what you think!