This was written for deathjunke's Valentine's Day at the kakairu comm on lj. Each chapter heading is a prompt.

"The worst lies are the lies we tell ourselves. We live in denial of what we do, even what we think. We do this because we're afraid. We fear we will not find love, and when we find it we fear we'll lose it."
Richard Bach

01: sincere

Kakashi remembers the first time he saw Iruka, soaking wet, hiding behind a tree. He was going through a gangly stage, arms and legs narrow, but face still round and soft with youth. He'd stared at Kakashi in almost fearful awe. It just emanated from him.

Within a second his awe changed to sheer defiance. It was unexpected, admirable, and, cute. Kakashi had laughed at the realization that he found this crying, defiant boy cute, but he had and he wasn't one to worry over what such things meant. He just took it as it was.

He'd held out a hand and after a moment of glaring, Iruka took it, and Kakashi helped him up.

It was the start of something tenuous, but he'd always wanted so much more, even then, young as they both were.


02: windows

It was a long, long time before he got close to Iruka again. That embarrassing shouting match at the genin nominations was the most recently he'd said more than 'Good Morning' to him and that was… too long ago. He often sat and thought of things he could say to Iruka, ways he could break that ice that seemed to separate them despite all that connected them.

Friendliness and small talk was never his strongest point, so he'd just about decided it was futile.

Until that morning he'd crossed the bridge and met Iruka, literally, half-way. He was going the opposite direction as Kakashi, so Kakashi turned and walked with him.

He tried to keep a casual feel as he strolled along. Iruka's silence wasn't hostile, so by the time they reached the Mission Office, where he'd just left after turning in a report, he decided it was time.


Iruka had looked up, eyes wide, though as windows to the soul went, his were politely shuttered, and waited.

"Want to have dinner tonight?"

Iruka's response, "Ah, sure," didn't sound like a winner, but Kakashi was pretty certain he would have declined if he'd really not wanted to.


03: liars

What Kakashi wasn't certain of, was this: Iruka spread out before him, a delicate flush across his face, hidden under crossed arms.

Why is he doing this?

Dinner had been nice and quiet, and a little quick until Iruka invited him in for tea. 'Would you like some tea, Kakashi-san?' he'd asked in a not completely polite voice; there'd been a breathless hint to the words that Kakashi could not refuse. Then, he couldn't refuse a polite cup of tea either.

Is he just doing what I tell him?

He pushed Iruka's arms away only to find closed eyes beneath. He pulled his mask away, leaned down, pressing his thumbs against Iruka's eyelids and kissed him.

Why am I doing this to him?


04: romance

Their first time together had been Iruka's first time ever. Kakashi had loved every second of it, from Iruka's tense excitement, to his breathless moans, begging Kakashi for more. Knowing, as he touched and teased that soft entrance, it was his alone; knowing he was the only one to elicit those whimpers from Iruka's mouth as he teased the head of his cock with gentle teeth, tongue working a delicate rhythm against the head while fingering him into a helpless state of arousal.

When he finally pushed into Iruka, his cock harder than he'd ever felt it before, it was like no other warmth he'd ever felt.

It was centering, like something he could hold on to, something he could depend on, and it was terrifying.

Kakashi found that Iruka was surprisingly easy to push away.


05: gifts

Kakashi was still as Iruka changed his bandages. He did so neatly and efficiently, not pressing too hard, even peeling the bandages off gently, as if Kakashi were a child. Delicate.

"Stop this."

"I have to change them, Kakashi, they're dirty. Did you go wading in them?" Iruka spoke in a stern tone, but he was smiling up at Kakashi.

Kakashi stared down as Iruka ducked his head, the chocolate brown hair worn down for a change. The way he was angled, he couldn't reach Iruka. If he stretched out his hand, it wouldn't touch. He stretched his hand out anyway, and could see Iruka slipping away.

"Hmm?" Iruka looked up from re-bandaging Kakashi's ankle.

He looked nothing like he had the day they'd brought Kakashi into hospital. Kakashi had never seen Iruka so pale. 'Hey,' he'd said, grinning, before passing out from the pain. He'd woken up to Iruka standing at the end of the bed, pale, hands twisting together.

"Ok, let me do your arm now." Iruka looked at him expectantly, a smile hinted at on his face. Always a smile.

I can't do this.

"Arm, please," Iruka said again, patiently, but hinting at impatience.

"I can't do this, Iruka." Kakashi didn't look at Iruka as he spoke. He picked at the bandage on his thigh, already cleaned and redone by Iruka. The bandage reminded him of Iruka, firm, steady, and healing. He picked harder as he spoke.

"I won't say it was a mistake, but…" He shrugged. "We should have known better." He smoothed the bandage back in place, sighed, and looked up at Iruka.

Iruka was staring at him, eyes wide and clear. He reached for Kakashi's arm and started unwinding the days old bandages.

"Of course," he murmured, applying ointment neatly, his hands still gentle, still soothing. He finished the bandages quickly and stood, not looking at Kakashi. He moved toward the door, then stopped and looked back. He was smiling. It wasn't a real smile.

I am weak, and a liar.

"We'll know better next time, won't we?" Kakashi just barely caught a glimpse of pain on Iruka's face before he was gone.

It's better this way, Iruka. I'm giving you something much better. Safer. For… both of us.


06: chocolate

It didn't seem like long, weeks, maybe a few months, before he heard that Iruka was seen with Genma.

It was said to him in such a way that he wondered exactly what Genma was doing, what Iruka was doing.

What he had done.

He passed Iruka on the bridge one day, the first time he'd seen him in weeks since Kakashi had pushed him away. He nodded and continued on, sensing Iruka's pause of expectation.

It reassured him he was doing the right thing, but made him sick to his stomach as a result.

Weeks later, when he heard more whispers about Genma and Iruka, he though maybe he should do something. Say something. Just… make sure. No point in his idiocy ruining Genma and Raidou as well as Iruka. He tried to convince himself it wasn't for himself, but for the best, that he was doing this. Just like pushing Iruka away was for the best.

The leak that drove him out of his home was a perfect excuse, a sign, and maybe a warning too.

Iruka was too nice to refuse him a place to sleep, but he half-wondered if Iruka might refuse him out of sheer spite. When Iruka opened the door, annoyed, half-dressed, and sleepy, Kakashi had been tempted to take advantage. So very tempted.

But Iruka had shrugged and wordlessly let Kakashi in, brought out a futon for him, and, still silent, went to bed.

It took a week before he could actually speak to Iruka, other than a murmured 'Thanks' for breakfast or for catching the door.

"Are you sleeping with Genma?" he'd asked, over dinner, his, alone. Iruka had already eaten. He'd looked at Kakashi for a moment, almost frowning, pausing as if he didn't know how to respond.

"What if I am?" he asked and Kakashi was reminded of the young crying Iruka who'd been so defiant.

'What if you were?' he asked himself, trying not to. He didn't want to consider these things: Iruka sleeping with anyone, Iruka being touched by someone else, Iruka hating him, despising him, finding him weak.

"Did you…" He couldn't do it, couldn't ask this. Don't really want to know, it turns out.

"Why do you care, Kakashi? We know better." Iruka had smiled as he spoke, but it wasn't a smile Kakashi liked.

He'd paused, thinking about an answer: Why do I care? But I do, I do care. Nothing came to mind, so he watched silently as Iruka shook his head and left the room.

Iruka remained defiant.

A few more days passed and his leak was fixed. He wanted to tell Iruka, thank him, be forgiven, something. He needed something from Iruka, he didn't know what. Or how to ask for it. He had the idea maybe he'd had it already and returned it. He didn't know if he deserved a second chance.

He woke up earlier than usual and made himself tea. Though he knew Iruka would wake shortly, he didn't bother making him any. He wouldn't drink it anyway.

Moments later, Iruka entered the kitchen, barely glancing at Kakashi.

"I just thought I'd tell you… the leak is fixed. I can… go. Um, here. Thank you." He placed a box of chocolate on the table between them.

"Mmm. You're welcome." Iruka nodded as he set about preparing his own tea. There was something ritualistic in the way he made it and Kakashi didn't do it right. Though, if he recalled their third night together, Iruka had liked his tea just fine.

He waited until Iruka was facing him, fingers touching the box of candy. Kakashi had never bought anyone candy before. He wasn't sure if he could have a piece or not. Was that allowed? To eat his own candy?

He stared at Iruka's hands. Wondering if they'd…

"Where were you last night?" he asked, fingers running around the edge of his tea cup. He couldn't look at him, but Iruka was in his line of vision. He saw him glance up quickly before turning away.

"Does it matter?" Still so defiant, thought Kakashi.

He tilted his head briefly and thought about it. "No."

Iruka zipped up his vest and turned to leave for the Academy.


He reached out to touch Iruka's shoulder, letting his hand drift down Iruka's arm, stopping at the elbow, holding him without holding him.

"I think I know what my mistake was," Kakashi said simply. He could only hope Iruka would want to know.


07: grass

'I'm not afraid of you,' Iruka had said.

He came home at lunch, just as he'd promised.

Kakashi was waiting, lying across Iruka's bed on his belly reading Icha Icha, when he felt a tickle on his ankle. He turned, rolling half over and smiled at what he saw.

Face flushed from running, shirtless and crawling out of his pants, Iruka stood by the end of the bed, a hesitant smile on his face.

"Hi," he breathed.

"Hi." Kakashi rolled fully over onto his back and watched as Iruka undressed, tossing his clothes to the floor. When done, he crawled on the bed watching Kakashi carefully. "You really came."

Iruka nodded. "I don't have long…" He looked as if he was going to say something else, but Kakashi pulled him down for a kiss.

He savoured the warm, flushed, nearly clammy hot body against his, letting Iruka slide between his legs as he kissed him, hands moving across his back almost kneading, massaging all that he could touch. He moved his hands down to Iruka's ass, rubbing and squeezing the compact roundness closer to him.

Iruka shivered in his arms, panting turned to a near whine as he kissed, nuzzled, and bit at Kakashi. Kakashi shivered as Iruka nipped at his nipples, biting and sucking as his hips worked against Kakashi. He hummed in contentment, but Kakashi knew he wanted more. He wanted more.

He raised up to wrap his arms around Iruka, then rolled them over. Iruka let himself be pressed down, opening his legs and wrapping them around Kakashi.

As Kakashi explored his skin with his tongue and his fingers, he was reminded of their first time and Iruka's first time. He rose up and as he rolled Iruka onto his side, he pet him gently, hands feeling over skin that would be his again. He worked one finger inside Iruka, the soft sensitive skin tightening just as he had the first time, pulling deep, throaty moans from Iruka interspersed with whimpers and appreciative murmurs.

"More, Kakashi, please, more."

Kakashi reached up to the nightstand for the oil he'd found earlier and poured it in his hand, wrapping his hand around his cock and stroking slowly, covering himself in the warm slickness. He ran his hand between Iruka's cheeks, rubbing briskly, pushing another finger in and out slowly. Iruka whined, pushing himself back, nearly rolling over until Kakashi steadied him back onto his side.

He knelt on the edge of the bed and lifted Iruka's leg by the ankle, bracing it across his chest. He guided himself in, pushing slowly, as Iruka gasped, moaned, and tried to relax his body. Once inside, Kakashi was still for a moment. He kissed Iruka's ankle then began moving, slowly. He rubbed Iruka's ass with his free hand, circling the soft, now oily flesh over and over as he thrust into Iruka.

He let go of Iruka's leg, pushing his legs apart, until Iruka shifted onto his back. Picking up his pace, he worked himself, pounding hard in time to Iruka's pleas, hurrying, losing himself in it.

As Iruka's legs clamped around his backside, he felt the build-up and leaned down to touch Iruka as he arched up into Kakashi's touch. He wrapped his fingers around Iruka's hard cock, bouncing with each movement.

The moment he touched him, Iruka jerked, crying out, and came over Kakashi's hand, body twitching and tightening around Kakashi. He leaned down to kiss Iruka, throbbing with—almost, almost there—then he grabbed Iruka's arms, clenching his fingers as the climax took him, still thrusting, Iruka's legs around him, and wetness between them. He panted, holding himself up over Iruka until Iruka's arms wrapped around him, pulling him close.

They panted together, Kakashi swallowing compulsively to wet his suddenly dry throat. He eased out of Iruka, relishing the deep moan Iruka made as he was emptied of Kakashi.

They tilted to the side, facing one another. Kakashi let his eyes drift closed. He felt Iruka shifting before he leaned in close. He opened his eyes right as Iruka licked his lips.

"They looked dry," he said shyly.

Kakashi smiled.

"I have to go back."

"I know," Kakashi said.

"Will you come… will you be here, tonight?" Iruka didn't meet his eyes, looking instead at Kakashi's chest as he traced it with his fingers.

"I have a mission. I'll be in Grass for a few days."

"Oh. Of course." Iruka smiled again, and it was another one of those smiles that Kakashi didn't like. A sad smile. A lying smile. He was reminded of the day he'd pushed Iruka away. Broken his own heart and Iruka's as well. It seemed the fractures were still painful.


"Hmm?" Iruka looked up, not quite meeting his eyes.

"I'll be here when my mission is over."

"Oh. Oh. You don't have… I mean, its ok, this is fine." Iruka flushed and Kakashi reached for him, pushing him flat against the mattress as he kissed him, trying to convey everything in the kiss. Trying to make that smile real.

"I meant what I said. I love you."

Iruka looked up at him, lip between his teeth and stared for a moment before he smiled again and this time, it was real, honest, and true. The one Kakashi remembered from so long ago, the real Iruka. Defiant, but smiling.

"I love you too, Kakashi."