Title: Crush

Pairing: Kakashi/Iruka

Warnings: Can't think of any.

Iruka giggled as he held hands with Mizuki, walking together down a forest path. The white-haired teen kept softly whispering things to his younger counterpart and making him laugh. It wouldn't be quite as joyous if they'd noticed the mismatched pair of gleaming eyes watching them. In a tree not too far away from them was a fuming Kakashi Hatake. He watched the two and pouted under his mask, grousing in his mind about how Mizuki hogged Iruka's attention.

It'd started out as a strained friendship, but not long after Kakashi met Iruka, he got a strange liking for the exotic-looking preteen. He wasn't sure if it was the boy's ever changing moods, his intriguing scar, or perhaps something else that caught his eye, but for some reason he couldn't keep his thoughts away from the other for too long.

And now, it'd grown into a full blown crush, like the one everyone knew Kurenai had on Asuma. Kakashi couldn't be as straightforward as the girl was though, opting to hide and follow Iruka, rather than sneak glances just when he was near.

He told himself in the beginning he'd just been looking out for the younger boy's safety, since he wasn't too skilled of a ninja yet at all, and liked to go off on his own a lot. But soon he'd follow the boy anytime he saw him around town, sometimes spending an entire day just watching Iruka do whatever he liked.

Even for Kakashi at this age, it seemed wrong. But he couldn't stop, he wouldn't. Not till he found a way to get Iruka for himself. He peered through the leafy top of the tree to see the two friends almost out of his sight. He silently hopped closer and closer until he was in a tree so near that he didn't dare make a sound.

Despite what most thought, Kakashi was sure Mizuki had feelings for Iruka. How he'd always offer to hold his hand, and buy him ramen, and walk him home every single day. That spelled out more than friendship. He doubted, and hoped, that Iruka would ever catch on, he was still too naive.

The two had drifted farther down the path again, and Kakashi was about to follow when he heard a rustling sound from behind. He swiftly turned around, a kunai out and right at the throat of the person who'd appeared behind him.

"What great reflexes Rival!" the booming voice of a young Gai called out. The white-haired chuunin twitched and put his kunai away, clapping his hands over his mouth and looking through the leaves at Iruka and Mizuki.

The brown haired boy had turned slightly in confusion, but didn't dwell on it long as Mizuki tugged on his hand and suggested they get some dango. His answer was a cheer as Iruka ran off, dragging the grinning 16 year old behind him.

Once out of his sight, Kakashi sighed in relief and let the fuzzy-browed ninja loose, giving him a light glare. "God Gai, ever heard of whispering?" he muttered, still glancing back at the way Iruka ran off, to make sure no one came back.

His rival let out a chuckle and slapped his shoulder, a shining grin on his face. "Now Rival! Why were you hiding in a tree?! Surely you are more clever at hiding than this!!" he accused, looking to completely ignore the question asked of him.

With a sigh, Kakashi contemplated what he'd say before giving Gai a bit of a once over before looking him hard in the eye. "Gai. Would you be willing to help your 'rival' out?" he asked tentatively, almost dreading any answer.

The bowl-cut wearing teen looked surprised for a moment, before he did the well known 'nice guy' pose and grinned brightly. "Of course Rival!! It'd be my honor to assist you, though I'm sure you'd be fine on your own! What will we be working to do??"

Kakashi slumped slightly in relief before an odd smile curled beneath his mask, his one visible eye twinkling. "We're going to get me with Umino Iruka."