Any two people using the same word will never mean it in exactly the same way. There are a number of factors involved in this: region, culture, personal experience, and plain old individuality. So how can we ever truly speak the same language?
Kakashi was hoping that Iruka wouldn't just passively allow himself to be touched this time, but found that as soon as they were back in his bed, he was in control again. He shrugged it off mentally, simply setting himself about bringing Iruka pleasure. Anything to slake the lust in those deep dark eyes, he decided, kissing every inch of skin he uncovered as he divested Iruka of his clothes. At least this time Iruka was helping with that part of it, but he still wasn't really touching Kakashi at all. Kakashi found himself going down on Iruka again, and let his mind go, let himself simply feel the pleasure of having his beloved writhing beneath him with ecstasy he was causing.
"No," panted Iruka, and Kakashi pulled back, looking at him quizzically. The expression on Iruka's face was an exquisite blend of bliss and agony. "Not like this, not again," Iruka said firmly, pulling Kakashi up his body and then kissing him. Iruka started helping Kakashi out of his clothes, calmly exploring with his hands as he went, running gentle fingers over scar tissue old and new, and the smooth skin between. Kakashi had never been touched so gently, that he could remember. He let Iruka flip them, let himself be explored, thrilling when Iruka's hesitant mouth joined his hands in roaming across Kakashi's body.
He had never actually believed Iruka would touch him this way. "It this a gift?" he asked Iruka suddenly, and Iruka leaned back a bit, his eyes sliding slowly up to meet Kakashi's.
"I don't know," he admitted. He stilled, one hand resting on Kakashi's chest where it had been playing idly with a nipple, his other hand resting on Kakashi's erection. "If I say 'yes' what will you do?"
Kakashi thought about that one for a moment, his whole body screaming with sensation, his heart full of joy at the gentleness he was being shown. He couldn't come up with an answer, so instead he wordlessly thrust upwards with his hips, pressing himself into Iruka's hand. Iruka smiled but let go, leaving Kakashi confused.
His confusion didn't last long. Iruka lay back and then pulled Kakashi so that he rolled on top of him again, and suddenly Kakashi's mind was back on the question of the balance of power between them. Iruka was putting him here, on top, and he wondered if there was a thought behind it. But the longing in Iruka's eyes didn't made it seem he had much room in his mind for plotting at the moment, so Kakashi merely let himself be pulled onto Iruka, kissing the tan column of throat beneath him. He felt Iruka grind against him, and wondered how far this was going to go.
He had to ask, he decided. As nice as it would be to not think, he didn't want to deal with the guilty look this time. "Iruka…" he started.
"No," said Iruka again, in the same firm tone he had used before, reminding Kakashi that he was a teacher. "I don't want to think, and I don't want to talk… what I want is you inside me, before I go mad."
Kakashi's dreams about sex with Iruka had been many and varied, but he hadn't really expected Iruka to let him penetrate him like that. After their first quasi-sexual encounter, he'd pretty much figured him pleasuring Iruka or letting Iruka take pleasure in him was going to be as good as he got, and he'd been fully prepared to let Iruka fuck him if that was what he wanted. But this… he hadn't expected to have it asked of him. He wanted to say "thank you" but knew he couldn't, knew it wasn't the right time for that. So instead he did as Iruka wanted, jumping up quickly to find something to use for lube first because he knew he'd better not mess this up if he wanted to have a chance at fixing things in the morning, and then coming back to carefully prepare his lover. Iruka pulled him down to kiss him as he did so, and wouldn't relinquish Kakashi's mouth until Kakashi pushed carefully into him.
Kakashi took it slow, desperately wanting not to hurt Iruka. He'd done this before, but not with someone he loved, and he couldn't believe how much difference it made in the way he looked at things. He found himself praying Iruka didn't like it rough, because he was pretty sure there was no way he was going to be able to do that for him. Instead, once he was inside, he started with slow grinding circles, working his way up to languid thrusts, smiling as he felt Iruka's hands start wandering his body again. Those dark eyes just looked up at him, demanding, and Kakashi finally picked up his rhythm and started fucking Iruka in earnest, earning himself a gasp. He reached down to fist Iruka's cock, which earned him another gasp, and a whimper as Iruka came, and finally a whispered "Kashi". It was that last that did him in, and he came hard, his spirit racked with pain as surely as his body was racked with pleasure.
They slept together in his bed again that night, this time with nothing between them, and did not speak of the fight they had, or the fact that Iruka had nearly left him, or the sex that had followed. Kakashi didn't dare say "Thank you" as he wanted to, and didn't dare ask if Iruka was still going to leave him. All he knew was what he had been allowed, and that afterwards he had seen no guilt in the other man's eyes, only bliss and a sort of simplicity, perhaps peace.
The next morning passed much as the one before. Iruka made Kakashi breakfast before leaving to get ready for work. Kakashi wanted to say something about the night before, but every time he tried to, Iruka would just shake his head. "Not yet," he'd say. "We'll talk soon, but not yet."
"Will I see you tonight?" asked Kakashi, trying to ignore the whine he could hear in his own voice.
Iruka shrugged. "I don't know yet." He must have seen the hurt on Kakashi's face, because he added, "I want to, but I have a very busy day today. I can't promise when I'll be done, but I'll stop by here afterwards, even if it's just to say good night." He kissed Kakashi on his way out the door, tenderly, and then was gone.
Kakashi challenged Gai to a taijutsu match earlier than he would normally even be seen out, and he ignored every question the green-clad man asked him, grateful when his friend and rival finally took the hint and shut his mouth. After the match, he played with his dogs for a while, finally dismissing them when Pakkun refused to stop yapping about Iruka. He went home early, just in case, and spent hours after dinner lounging on his couch lazily reading one of his precious books. It was starting to get him down a bit, though, because all the sex involved made him want to relive last night's experience with Iruka, the memory of which was a little too bittersweet for him to handle right now. So he abandoned the book in favor of a poetry collection that Iruka had left at his place… just one of many things he had been leaving lying around lately, as if he lived there.
The soft knock at the door woke Kakashi instantly. He looked up to see that the room was dark, and a glance at the clock revealed that it was three in the morning. He shoved himself to his feet and padded his way to the door. One hand went to his mask, but he knew who was standing on the other side of that door already, so he didn't bother, merely opened it and let Iruka in.
The younger man looked exhausted and in pain, and Kakashi helped him take off his shoes, hitae-ate, and vest before leading him into the living room. Iruka sat on the couch, and when Kakashi sat beside him, Iruka leaned over and pillowed his head on Kakashi's chest. They didn't speak at first, and then finally Iruka said, "I told you I had a long day today. Not only with paperwork, but there's some other stuff I've been putting off for too long. I haven't been able to get my mind off you long enough to work lately, unless I was with my students."
The admission startled Kakashi. "How can you say things like that?" he asked, but his tone had no bite to it.
Iruka shrugged. "You don't understand what it's like to be me. I love everyone. Think about that for a moment."
Kakashi did. He reached up to lay a hand over his right eye, thinking that the boy who had originally owned it also loved everyone, probably. While Kakashi might carry on the ideal of teamwork, and putting comrades before anything else, he couldn't honestly say he loved everyone. He was indifferent to most people, allies and enemies alike. He liked his friends, and he could probably say he loved his students… ex-students. And his dogs. And most of all, Iruka. But everyone? No. What would it be like to love everyone? To suffer when anyone suffered, friend or foe? To no matter how angry you become, never be able to truly wish harm on someone else? It boggled his mind, and what boggled his mind even more was how anyone who felt this way could become a shinobi. So he asked.
Another shrug from Iruka, his shoulders moving against Kakashi because of their positions. "Because I love everyone. I teach, and I protect, and that's my path."
Kakashi was back to thinking, and finally he realized what Iruka was telling him. "If you love everyone, then you love me too… but how can you tell if your love for me is any different from your love
for anyone else?" Iruka nodded, letting Kakashi know he was on the right track. "How would you ever know what kind of love it was you were feeling towards someone?"
"It's been used against me in the past, you know," Iruka said softly. "Anko could tell you that story, and will, if you ask her. I can't, not yet at least. The point is, though, that when you say you love me, you know exactly what that means. The type of devotion you have, I can't imagine having that. I give of myself so freely, to everyone, little bits of myself being handed out like cake at a party. But I always keep my own piece, because I have to, and you haven't done that."
"No, I haven't," said Kakashi softly, not knowing what else to say. Iruka didn't seem to be moving, didn't seem likely to stand up and walk out the door, but all the same he was beginning to wonder if he still might be losing him. "Iruka, what are we going to do? Are we anywhere different now than we were the night before last, or last night?"
"We are," said Iruka firmly. "Today, I was working so hard, and I had to not think about you, because that's what has been keeping me from working. And then someone said your name, and I looked up as if it had been my own name. And it hit me… I don't know what one kind of love feels like to distinguish it from another, but when someone says your name and it feels closer to me than my own, I have a feeling it means I'm in love with you."
Iruka wasn't looking at him, he was still lying snuggled against his chest. Kakashi pushed him away gently, just far enough to see his face. Iruka wasn't smiling. His expression was pleasant, but subdued, and definitely not the "lie" smile that Kakashi saw on him so often. Kakashi grinned then, and kissed him. Then he remembered, and said, "So last night, you didn't know you were in love with me then?"
Iruka blushed, and shook his head. "No. I knew I wanted you. I knew I had been driving myself crazy keeping my hands off you because I didn't want to use your feelings against you. I knew that I couldn't hold back any longer without leaving, and you wouldn't let me leave." He blushed deeper. "Is that okay?"
Kakashi laughed. "If you had said you knew you loved me then, I would have been annoyed with you for lying. So can I be your lover now?" he asked.
Surprisingly, the blush disappeared, to be replaced by a smirk and a sultry voice. "Do you mean you want to call yourself my lover, or that you want to make love to me now?"
"You're far too tired for the second, so I guess it'll have to be the first," Kakashi replied. "However, my dear Iruka, if you'd like to sleep with me tonight, I promise I'll make the breakfast in the morning. Or lunch, if you decide you'd rather call in 'sick' to work and spend the morning in bed," he added with a wink.
Iruka fake-coughed loudly, and Kakashi grinned. "I will no longer apologize for loving you₁" he quoted softly, his eyes catching on the book of poetry he had dropped when he fell asleep on the couch earlier. And he realized, he would never again feel like he needed to apologize for his feelings.
Note: The quote Kakashi uses here is from a poem titled "After Years of Listening, A Stone Comes to Life" by James Tipton.