Title: Festival Confessions
Author: Ashcat
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or its characters. I do not make any profit from this text.
Challenge Fic for the Festival Challenge on the kakairu livejournal. My prompt was from Starkblack . I hope you like it – I'm not a humor/fluff writer so you forced me to stretch and learn. :)

Author's Note: Kakashi and Iruka are wearing men's formal kimono in this story. They are not the same as a female kimono. Ka-mon is a family crest worn on formal kimono. In modern day Japan, they are worn at formal events like weddings and funerals.

Also humongous thanks goes out to DonAmoeba and pgrape for their fantastic beta work :) without you two this wouldn't have been worth reading!

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"You know, this would be more enjoyable if there were more dogs, tits, and alcohol. Oh yeah, and fewer brats too," Kakashi said in a perfectly serious voice.

Iruka whirled to yell at the jounin, but he was intercepted by two of his own students before he could get really get started.

"Iruka-sensei, Iruka-sensei, I want you to meet Sango!" exclaimed Udon as he ran up to Iruka, dragging a little girl with him. He jerked on Iruka's black kimono sleeve for emphasis.

Iruka crouched down, his feet feeling odd in the tabi and woven sandals. He was careful to keep his hakama from dragging too much in the dirt as he faced the young girl. "Hey, Sango-chan! You're looking very lovely today!"

"Hi, sensei," replied the friendly little girl.

Kakashi rolled his eye as Iruka was attacked by ankle biters for the eighth time since they had arrived—not that he was counting or anything. There was nothing but kids and parents crowding into the hastily-erected festival area in front of the local shrine. But, well, what else did you expect at a Shichi-go-san festival?

With a playful shove against Udon's grip on his sleeve, Iruka smiled happily at the little girl. "How old are you, Sango-chan?"

"I'm three," exclaimed Sango, who was now enthusiastically holding up four fingers.

"Sango, you are holding up four fingers instead of three! Now Iruka-sensei is going to think you're stupid," wailed Udon.

Kakashi snickered, but turned to cover it when Iruka shot him a death glare.

"I'm not stupid! You say Iruka-sensei is the stupid one 'cause he makes you stay at school."

Udon lunged at his sister, slapping his hand over her mouth. "Now Sango, don't be telling stories to Iruka-sensei!"

Struggling in Udon's grip, the little girl's obi was starting to pull loose as her muffled protest came through loud and clear.

Iruka grabbed Udon and jerked him off his sister. "Udon, let her go! You're going to ruin her festival kimono and suffocate her!" Iruka then fixed Udon with his best stern teacher look. "You should not be saying disrespectful things about the shinobi of Konoha, and that includes ME."

"I'm sorry, sensei!!" Udon tried to slither out of Iruka's grasp. The one good thing about the kimono he had on was that the sleeves were voluminous. They would assist him in attempting escape.

Berating Udon, Iruka made the mistake of not observing his surroundings until startled by a plaintive cry. Freezing, sensei and student turned as one to see the scene unfolding behind them.

Kakashi was casually slouched against a vendor's stall, his beloved Icha Icha Violence out. Jerking on the sleeve of his kimono was Sango, crying out, "Show me!"

With a strangled "Kakashi!" the chuunin dropped Udon's arm. He scooped Sango up and began walking her to the edge of the crowd. Iruka sat Sango down beside Udon. "We're going. Enjoy the festival with your parents!"

Udon let out a sigh of relief for escaping a full-blown lecture. "Thank you, sensei," he replied before formally bowing to Iruka and grabbing Sango's hand to lead her back to their parents.

" Bye, kids! Be careful and hold on to your sister," Iruka replied. He watched to make sure they made it safely through the crowds to their scowling parents before turning his full attention to Kakashi.

Having put the book away while Iruka was speaking with the children, Kakashi was now placidly waiting for the outburst he knew would come. He was glad for his mask as it hid the smug smile that was threatening to wrestle free.

"That is NOT appropriate reading material in front of children! How many times do I have to tell you that?!" Iruka hissed. He grabbed the jounin's biceps and shoved him further into the divide between the stalls.

Kakashi just chuckled and leaned in closer to Iruka, despite the painful hold he was in. "Nee, sensei, I didn't show her any of the good parts. The road of life meant for her and I to intersect!"

With a snort of disgust the jounin's arms were released. It would only reinforce the bad behavior to yell at the masked man. After all, Kakashi behaved like a naughty child when he wanted Iruka to be paying attention to him! He guessed he should be flattered to be so desired by the great Sharigan Kakashi, but right now all he felt was irritation.

Kakashi reached up gingerly to run his fingers through Iruka's chestnut locks. He divided his time between gauging Iruka's mood and watching the crowd.

A soft sigh indicated that Iruka wasn't really all that upset. After the gift Kakashi had given him this morning, it wasn't like he could stay mad at the man today. As if on cue, the jounin let his hand drop to began lightly tracing the ka-mon embroidered between Iruka's shoulders. The soft caress soothed the tension, and soon the sensei's shoulders relaxed.

Although he was sure that those little demons they'd been encountering didn't understand the significance of the identical black kimono the couple was dressed in, that didn't seem to apply to all the parents around them. From the mixture of looks they were getting, many adults had noticed. Unfortunately, they were attracting both disapproving stares and discreet thumbs up.

Kakashi gave the people with the hardest scowls a happy upturn of the eye and a pointed look. "Fools," muttered the copynin, squeezing the broad shoulder beneath his palm for emphasis.

Iruka had relaxed enough that he jerked at Kakashi's comment. He hadn't really noticed the crowd until he looked up to see who the jounin was talking about. "Ah, they've noticed."

"Our relationship is none of their business."

A small burst of happy warmth engulfed Iruka's chest at the words from the copynin, despite their frustrating conversation topic. It always made Iruka happy to hear Kakashi talk about how they were entangled. "Let them look. I don't care what anyone else thinks. I'm happy and the villagers can deal with it."

Kakashi gently brushed his hand against Iruka's, happily feeling the smooth tanned digits curling back around his pale ones. He knew his Iruka wouldn't let others' opinions influence him.

Letting his right hand settle on his chest over the small white embroidered crest that lay over his heart, Iruka started tugging Kakashi back into the crowd. He let the sensitive pads of his fingers stroke the oak leaf ka-mon as they returned to walking through the packed tent stalls.

Kakashi didn't miss the gesture, and he was pleased to see that his lover appreciated his gift. He let the warm feeling wash over him. Thankfully, he'd finally found a tangible way to express how he felt for Iruka. Now, if he could just get his tongue to untie and say the words, his lover wouldn't have any lingering doubts where his feelings lay.

"They just grow up so fast." Iruka gave Kakashi's hand a squeeze, keeping himself focused only on his lover. "I really like seeing the kids out in their first kimono."

"Mmhmm."

"And to see everyone with their families, it always makes me think of my parents. I remember when we had our photo taken when I was five." Iruka let out a wistful chuckle. "It reminds me of how much my dad hated being dressed up and out of his uniform."

Kakashi let his thumb begin tracing the faded scars on the back of his lover's hand. He was pleased to note that despite the thoughtful tone of voice, Iruka was still smiling.

"I always liked my parent's wedding picture the best. Both of them looked so elegant in their formal kimono." Iruka let out a small sigh.

"Maa, formal wear is overrated." Kakashi leaned in for a quick nuzzle in Iruka's loose hair, enjoying the smell of his lover amidst the backdrop of all the festival food aromas. "I think you look best wearing nothing at all," he added in a husky voice against the chuunin's neck.

Leaning away, he shot Kakashi a wry look before resuming their stroll. "Do you remember either of your Shichi-go-san festival days, Kakashi?"

A shrug was his only response; Kakashi never was comfortable talking about his family or past. His lover probably didn't realize this was the first time he'd worn his family's ka-mon since his father's funeral. Only Iruka and the desire to show how much the younger man meant to him could force him to commission the formal Montsuki kimono for this event.

Iruka continued on, used to his lover's silence concerning his past. "I would really like to see a picture of you as a little boy, especially in formal kimono. I bet you were adorable!"

"Nowhere near as adorable as you are, sensei," Kakashi teased as he gave Iruka a lecherous smile through his mask.

Iruka grinned and gently bumped shoulders with his companion before plowing ahead. "Do you have any pictures of you as a little boy?" He had hoped that the kimono he'd been given this morning was a sign that Kakashi would be willing to open up more.

With a non-committal grunt, Kakashi gave Iruka's waist a gentle squeeze to show he wasn't upset. Early on in their relationship, Iruka had asked Kakashi not to tell him those "outrageous lies." The chuunin explained that if he really didn't want to answer, then he didn't need to lie to avoid the question. Iruka had promised to honor his boundaries as much as possible, and therefore Kakashi felt more relaxed when conversation wandered into topics he'd rather not discuss.

Kakashi didn't really feel like anyone needed to know about his past. And he was sure that Iruka didn't really want to hear about how, once he'd made jounin, he'd methodically cut his own face out of every picture from his childhood. He couldn't stand the look of open innocence he saw in those photos, especially when it was missing from the face that even he didn't want to look at in the mirror anymore.

Iruka brought his other hand over to lightly caress the jounin's upper arm, feeling the undercurrent of tension there. "It's okay. We can talk about it some other time."

"That's the problem!' thought Kakashi as he tensed further. They didn't have any guaranteed time together. That was why he had to find a way convey to Iruka how much he did love the man. He was well aware that he was living on borrowed time as it was, given his duty to the village. If only he could just say the words back to Iruka. But he'd never been good at expressing his feelings, especially not with traitorous words that could be molded and shaped into sinister meanings by others. He wanted to show Iruka how he felt, and he hoped that the kimono would be a lasting talisman of his true feelings.

This unhappy Kakashi was not acceptable. They'd been having such a good day so far, no sense in ruining it. Iruka turned and gave the jounin's shoulder a quick peck. "I really liked how you helped me get dressed in my present today. You really made me feel special and loved with your gift."

Kakashi jerked a bit at the confession. He wasn't sure how to react, but at least he knew his present was received in the spirit it was given. He quickly pulled down his mask to place a tender, chaste kiss on his sensei's soft lips. He pulled his mask back up before replying with a lewd, cloth-covered grin, "I think you'll enjoy me undressing you tonight much more, sensei."

"Indeed," Iruka murmured as a light blush dusted his cheeks. They meandered on towards the thickening crowds around the game booths, wrapped in companionable silence.

'Ah ha, just what we need to lighten the mood,' thought Iruka as he turned to grin at Kakashi. He stopped a couple feet away from a particular booth, pulling his lover to a stop with him. "Look, it's a goldfish booth!"

"Want a prize?" drawled the sensual sensei as he let his hand slide across Iruka's back to curl around his hip.

Iruka leaned into the touch as he stepped closer to Kakashi to reply over the loud din of noise around them. "As much as I'd love to see a show of your much-proclaimed prowess..." Iruka let his sentence trail, "I believe I'll be the one to win you a prize this time." He then turned suddenly to face the stall owner, offering him a few coins he pulled from the small pouch dangling from his waist.

Kakashi just chuckled, his eye arching up into its half-moon of happiness. He leaned in close to Iruka's ear as the proprietor was handing over the paper net. "I love it when you take charge, sensei," he purred.

Iruka casually slapped the frisky hand that was playing with the front tie of his hakama, the long sleeves making the movement clumsy. "I'm glad you like it. You're going to be seeing that side of me more, now." Iruka let his fingers graze over the ka-mon above his heart again as he began gathering up the sleeves. "Help me out here? It's been a long time since I've worn something so formal."

Kakashi took the opportunity to brush as much luscious tan skin as possible while he helped Iruka tie his sleeves back. It wouldn't do for the chuunin to have them dip into the water tanks during the game. After a lingering caress across the sensitive underside of Iruka's forearms, Kakashi stepped back. He enjoyed watching Iruka, especially when he was observing the small play of muscles beneath the cotton kimono as Iruka stretched and readied himself. He adored how his white ka-mon looked standing against the ebony fabric over Iruka's shoulders, marking him as Kakashi's. He had never thought he'd be so happy to see his family's symbol that he'd shunned long ago.

Noticing all the tiny details was what Kakashi excelled at, and he liked nothing better than to carefully study of his lover. To watch how the loose strands of hair tickled the sides of his face after a hard day of work, the trail of a single sweat drop as Iruka concentrated on holding back his release during sex, or how the dark skin looked in contrast to his paleness as they relaxed on the couch with fingers loosely threaded. He especially loved Iruka's expressive eyes; how the sensei held nothing back when they were together. Emotions were always dancing within their brown depths: love, anger, happiness, or desire. Kakashi never had to wonder if Iruka loved him. Not only did the sensei occasionally whisper it while they were basking in the afterglow, but he showed him in hundreds of ways every day. He was suddenly mesmerized watching the thick locks of hair fall over the chuunin's shoulder as he leaned forward to make his first try for a fish.

Iruka grunted when he was unsuccessful. He had his eye on a reddish-gold fish that was languidly circling the tank. It seemed appropriate to find the lazy one for his lover. The awkward bunches of fabric from his sleeves were throwing off his timing as he swiped again and missed. A badly stifled snort of laughter in response from his lover was not appreciated. He turned to glare at the jounin before resuming his careful stalking of the fish.

Struggling to smother a snicker, Kakashi marveled at the amount of effort his lover was pouring into the silly game. The tanks were always set up so that light was filtering in oddly from the sides and bottom, throwing off one's perception. However, he knew the chuunin would be miffed if he didn't win it after his boast.

Iruka scowled as he was on target the third try but the soaked paper let the fish flop back into the water just as it broke the surface. He was interrupted mid-growl by the sound of someone calling his name.

Moegi ran up to Iruka, carefully carrying her own treasure. "Iruka-sensei, look! I got a big one!" The child thrust the bag holding a large black goldfish towards Iruka.

Forcing his features into a smile, he replied. "That's great, Moegi. It's a whopper!" He started to ruffle her twin spiked pigtails with his wet hand.

With a duck and loud squeal, the student took off into the crowd. She paused to shout over her shoulder, "Bye, Iruka-sensei. Good luck catching a fish!"

Iruka gave her a jolly wave before turning back to the stall vender with a scowl. He would not be shown up at a goldfish booth by one of his students!

Kakashi let his hand slip back around Iruka, toying with the tie in the front of his black and white pinstriped hakama before letting his pale hand slip down to ghost over the sensei's tantalizing groin. He leaned in close to whisper, "You're so sexy when you're determined..."

Jerking at the feel of warm breath rippling over his ear along with the jounin's caress, Iruka gasped. He discreetly removed the copynin's hand. He didn't have a prayer of catching a fish if they got into those sorts of games right now. With a frown directed at his lover, Iruka returned to studying the tank. It had to be some trick of the light that was throwing him off, he just knew it!

Kakashi stood watching the way the fine lines and scars danced on Iruka's hand as he tensed and released his grip on the scoop's handle. God, Iruka's hands were amazing. They could be so gentle when they threaded through his hair in the aftermath of a nightmare, so steady when handling a kunai or shuriken, and so deft as he chopped the vegetables for his famous miso and eggplant soup. It was just another thing he loved about him, but then Kakashi knew he loved all of Iruka. Even this irrational side that wouldn't let him back down from a challenge! It reminded him so much of Naruto when Iruka got like this. He suspected that was the reason that Iruka was now paying for another net since his current one had just torn.

After several tries, Iruka finally caught the fish. He smiled brightly as he presented the bag to Kakashi. "A new pet to help keep Mr. Ukki company." Iruka let his grin turn lecherous as he added softly "Since you aren't going to be spending as much time in your apartment…."

A happy eye crinkled up until it was closed with his smile in return. "Thank you, sensei. That was a fine display of skill." He leaned in and began pulling his mask down as he added, "And here is your reward." Kakashi soundly kissed Iruka, wrapping his arms around the man and pushing him back against one of the tent posts.

Almost as soon as it started it was over, and Iruka let out a soft pant as Kakashi pulled back, readjusting his mask. A deep blush was darkening Iruka's cheeks as he hissed, "Not in public!"

Kakashi plucked the bag from Iruka's nerveless fingers. "Then let's head to your place so you can continue showing me how forceful you can be, sensei." He chuckled as a he side-stepped to avoid the jab from Iruka's elbow. "Besides, I think Taimai-chan would like to meet Mr. Ukki right away!"

With a chuckle the chuunin did start walking towards home. Kakashi noted some of his fellow jounin gaping at them when they saw Iruka's kimono. He just raised an eyebrow at them before swooping in to give Iruka's neck another nuzzle, his arm wrapping possessively around him.

"You are an irredeemable pervert," Iruka replied as he jabbed at Kakashi again. He hadn't managed to ignore the stares of their fellow shinobi as they hurried through the edges of the festival. He never enjoyed being the center of attention like this.

"Ahh, but you know you love it!" Kakashi went in for a good grope but Iruka's hand was already there to intercept him.

"Well… I do know I love you." Iruka cast a sideways glance at Kakashi to see how he'd take the words. Iruka had only rarely said them, afraid that it'd seem like he was pushing for Kakashi to reply before he was ready. Iruka sometimes wondered if he'd ever be ready.

Kakashi just kept smiling, his mask hiding the nervous twitch of his lips as he took a deep breath and replied, "Me too, Iruka."

Iruka couldn't stifle his small gasp and neither could he prevent the blush from spreading across his scar. He did, however, have enough discipline to restrain himself to only grabbing the jounin's warm hand and giving it a quick squeeze. For a moment, they walked in silence.

"Thank you, " Iruka whispered at last.

There was no doubt about how happy Kakashi was from the closed half-moon of his eye. The juunin leaned in to whisper in his lover's ear. "I wanted to make sure you knew."

Iruka smiled as he brought the pale gloveless hand up to rest on the ka-mon embroidered over his heart. "I knew, Kakashi," he pressed the scarred fingertips close. "I knew."

--Owari--

Note: A man's montsuki kimono is tucked into hakama pants (think divided skirts) and often has a haori (coat) over it if the weather is cold. Taimai is the name of a Japanese sea turtle.