Meh. Angstish drabble of the I'm tired category. It started with a thought I've found myself repeating too often lately and spun off from there. I haven't abandoned my request ficcies; If you've put in a request, believe me, I'm still working on it. I promise.


Iruka sensei is tired.

It's an effort to push himself out of bed every morning. It's an effort to smile, to pretend that nothing's wrong. To laugh and to blow off people's semi-concerned looks (not much of an effort, people don't look that deep). To remember that it's important to do things. To remember why it's so important to keep going.

Naruto used to keep him awake, but Naruto's gone. Left the village with Jiraiya.

Sasuke used to keep him awake, but Sasuke's gone. The traitor.

Iruka's slow, gradual collapse isn't noticed in a village full of shinobi who break loudly, often and noisily. No one has time to really look at a chuunin who quietly does his job and makes no noise.

Iruka, sitting at the mission desk, lays his head on the cool wood and closes his eyes, giving in to the tiredness. It's too much of an effort to fight it anymore.

Kakashi is tired.

He's tired of the killing-he's been killing for as long as he can really remember. A tool, a weapon. He's tired of the blood, and they way he dreams about it. The way he can taste it every day, a lingering irony tingle in his mouth that never goes away.

Kakashi's slow, gradual collapse isn't noticed because the one and only other time he's broken, it was loud and noisy, full of tears and angst. The people who watch him assume his silence means he's fine. They don't, can't, won't look past the surface to see the blood that's rising inside of him, drowning him.

He walks into the mission office, clutching a half-assed mission report, and tries to ignore the way the blood is dripping off the walls. It's not really there and he knows it.

Kakashi handed his mission report to the tanned chuunin, bracing himself wearily for something. Harsh words, nasty glares. Something. He knows the mission report is half-assed, but he can't find the strength to care.

The chuunin takes the mission report, wearily lifting his head off the desk and glances at it. "Thank you for your hard work." The chuunin mutters, tossing the report into the pile. "Thank you."

The unexpected non-confrontation jolts Kakashi from his contemplation of the blood trickling down every piece of furniture in the room. He turns and looks down at the man's averted face.

And Kakashi notices that there's no blood on the chuunin's face. No blood in the chuunin's soul. Only shadows; he recognizes those shadows. And he looks-really looks-at the tanned man, feeling a shock of pain and recognition.

He doesn't realize he's moving until he's already around the desk and kneeling by the man's side. Iruka reacts too slowly, and Kakashi's hands are on his shoulders, pulling him up, pressing him against the wall. Iruka considers fighting, but doesn't. It doesn't matter anyway. In the long run, who gives a shit? And it might feel good; he can't remember if it feels good. It's been to long.

"Iruka-sensei…." Kakashi murmurs, kissing him sweetly. "What's wrong?"

"I'm tired." Iruka murmurs back. "So fucking tired."

"Hmm." Kakashi gently leans the smaller man against him, wrapping his arms around his muscular body. "Sleep with me, Iruka-sensei."

Iruka lays his head on Kakashi's shoulder and gives a soft, weary sigh. "Fine. Whatever."

Kakashi transports them to his house and carries the other into the bedroom. He sits him down and strips his clothing off, kissing him, caressing his tanned skin. When they're both naked, he pulls Iruka into the bed with him and wraps his body around him, settling Iruka's face against his chest.

"What are…what are you doing?" Iruka asks slowly, jolted from his uncaring daze.

"Sleep with me, Iruka." Kakashi murmurs gently into his hair. "Go to sleep."

"Kakashi…" Iruka mutters, confusion bubbling through his mind. "I thought…"

"Later." Kakashi laughs. He can taste the chuunin in his mouth, smell the chuunin's distinctive ink/paper/sandalwood scent. And he can't taste the blood anymore, or smell it. "Later. But you're tired; you need to sleep. Let's sleep together, ok?"

Iruka hesitates, then smiles slowly. "Ok." He snuggles his face into Kakashi's chest, taking a deep breath. "Thank you."

"Mmm." Kakashi laughs again.

Iruka throws the last of his lunch away and stretches, smiling. He feels…amazingly awake. Energetic. Even faced with the thought of a classroom full of pre-genin who are about to learn how to throw pointy objects for the first time, he wants to laugh.

It's hard to be asleep with a sneaky bastard jounin poking around at you, getting you when you least expect it. Like the lunch; Iruka had forgotten to take one, and Kakashi had shown up, clucking at him in disapproval, carrying a lunch. And then he'd made Iruka earn it. Iruka grins, licking his lips. He can still taste Kakashi, even past the lingering memories of the food.

He makes quite sure the windows were open; no sense is making the kids wonder what that smell was.

And damn if he wasn't going to get Kakashi back for that, Iruka thinks with a grin. The sneaky bastard wasn't going to get away with groping him in public yesterday, either. But Iruka was a patient man, and he was willing to wait for revenge.

Kakashi laughs and even sings in the shower again. It feels so good. He can't remember feeling like this before. There's no more blood on the walls; he can even look at his hands and see the skin, instead of the dried, red gloves he'd been seeing for awhile. The hands that had killed so many were now, instead, the hands that touched Iruka and made him moan in delicious desire. The taste of Iruka was always on his lips.

He feels Iruka slide up behind him and grab him, pushing him against the wall. Laughing, Kakashi turns his head to smile wickedly at the tanned man. "You need something, Iruka?" he purrs, and is rewarded by the blush and the quick, fierce grin of his lover, who proceeds to show him, in great detail, exactly what he needs.

Afterwards, glowing and content and wholly alive, they fall into bed, wrapping themselves around each other, touching and caressing. Kakashi arranges Iruka comfortably on top of him and pulls the sheet up over them, kissing the top of Iruka's head. "Sleep with me, Iruka."

"Ok." Iruka murmurs back, smiling.