Unlikely Love

Unlikely Love

By Iamakunoichi

A/N: This is a series of drabbles for various pairings. This will be mostly request-based – I do reserve the right to turn down requests. For example, I refuse to write anything that is an animal/summon pairing. Sorry, too weird for me. This is also titled 'Unlikely Love', so there will likely be few, if any, NaruHina, SasuSaku, ShikaIno, or NejiTen. If I get enough requests I'll think about it. Other than that, anything goes! Yaoi, yuri, het….anything will go!

A/N: This first drabble will be Kurenai/Ibiki, because I said so.

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

IbiKure - Freaks Stick Together

He isn't sure the first time he noticed it.

It was little things, at first. A glance here, a nod there, fingers that lingered just slightly too long over his. He disregarded it – no woman ever looked at him that way. It must have been someone else she was looking at, one of his neighbors. Yet soon, he was running into her everywhere he went.

He went to the market? She was there buying milk. To the library? Returning a scroll. Each time, she would send an acknowledging nod or a wave in his direction. She did not speak, merely went about her business. He was unsure if he was truly running into her more or if he had just become more aware of her presence -–but that was preposterous, wasn't it? Ibiki did not fall in love.

He does remember clearly the first time he met her.

He was teaching one of the genin classes at the academy, filling in for a sick instructor as a favor to the Hokage. The whole class was fairly terrified of him, which suited Ibiki fine. He was only four years older than they, but he was already battle-hardened and it showed. His very appearance intimidated them – he was easily three times the size of most of them, and his scars must have looked horrific to their still-innocent minds. That, coupled with a no-nonsense attitude and a scathing lecture and glare for any who asked questions, frightened the genin thoroughly.

She had been scared too, at first. Well, not exactly scared, more like…wary. He was an unknown in her mind, and as such was to be treated with caution until she could ascertain exactly where he fit in her little power equation. Her eyes were guarded around him, her tone respectful. But he did not confuse that with fear, and he remembers being vaguely impressed with her mettle.

At any rate, the raven-haired genin had stared at him the entire lesson, evaluating. Her crimson-eyed gaze might have unnerved another teacher, but Ibiki was far past such things by now. He did wonder slightly what it was that had so piqued her interest in him, but he let it lie.

Anyway, Ibiki had other students beside the girl. He dismissed most of them as ignorant brats and set out to get the day over with as fast as possible. Most of them were incompetent fools, but a few looked able to become real ninja – a kid with bandages across his face, his friend that favored a bandanna, some sickly coughing kid whom was nevertheless one of the better students, a girl with long purple hair, a kid with a scar across his nose, and the crimson-eyed girl who'd been staring at him.

Yet despite her potential, the crimson-eyed girl seemed to be having trouble. Her grades were impeccable, to be sure, and her genjutsu was quite high quality. Her taijutsu, weapons abilities, and ninjutsu were passable. But what really stuck out most about the genin was her isolation from her fellow classmates.

She was smart and (in his private opinion) pretty enough. By all rights, she should have been popular. Instead her superiority turned her classmates against her. Her natural talent combined with her private nature automatically made her seem a snob in the eyes of her fellow genin. That combined with her unusual crimson eyes led to her being dubbed a "freak". Her classmates ignored her or spitefully uttered malicious comments. The few overtures made to her were general perverted remarks made by preadolescent boys about the size of her chest. Even those few promising genin who must have seen past such things chose to ignore it, instead hanging out in their own circles and thereby avoiding trouble.

And so was the genin made an outcast amongst her peers. She stood patiently through all the remarks directed her way, choosing to ignore all of the petty comments rather than retaliating – which of course, only made her seem more snobbish.

She tried not to let show how much her position as the class pariah affected her. She succeeded in hiding her private hurt from her classmates, but Ibiki's eyes were not deceived so easily. He was a trained interrogator, and his eyes picked up on the minute shifts and peculiarities of her behavior that betrayed her inner turmoil.

Ibiki took this entire situation in at almost a moment's glance and resisted the urge to snort with disgust. Really, these kids were supposed to be ninja someday? How could they ever hope to be a decent ninja without looking "underneath the underneath"? Still, Ibiki was merely here to substitute, not lecture on the philosophical aspects of ninjahood. He sympathized with the girl, but as there wasn't much he could do, he simply ignored it and moved on with the lesson.

Somehow both Ibiki and his temporary students made it through the day without any permanent harm done (he was almost positive the one kid's finger hadn't actually been broken, just….sprained). As each of his students went home, the raven-haired girl stayed behind.

Ibiki raised an eyebrow at her antics. "What are you doing?" The girl looked startled at being addressed. Nevertheless, she quickly regained her composure.

" I am waiting." she answered.

"I can see that." Ibiki replied. " What are you waiting for? I'm sure the pleasure of my company isn't worth staying behind for."

The girl evenly stated, " I am waiting for the others to go home." Seeing Ibiki was not going to settle for the meager explanation, she sighed and began to elaborate.

" If I go out now, some of my more idiotic classmates will try to harass me. It's too much of a hassle to bother with, so I stay here until they are tired of waiting for me and go home. Sensei already knows. He lets me stay here." The unspoken 'But he doesn't stop it.' hung in the air.

Ibiki vowed to find out who the normal sensei for this class was and have a word with him. A real teacher would not stand idly by while one of his students was threatened. For now however, he sat next to the girl. When he sat, her expression once again grew guarded and wary. Her posture tensed, and she seemed almost ready to take flight.

" Calm down." Ibiki commanded her gruffly. " I'm not some monster that's going to eat you, you know."

Her posture relaxed, but her expression did not change. " I know."

They sat like that in silence for a while. Finally Ibiki spoke up.

" It's hard, isn't it? To be feared because of what you are, what you can do."

Those crimson eyes trained on him. Slowly, the wary genin nodded.

Ibiki continued, " But such is human nature. If something different comes along, the first response is to fear it, to kill it. To overcome that natural prejudice is a long and difficult journey. People will call you names, threaten you, spit at you, fear you, hit you, ignore you, turn their children away from you in disgust – but they don't know any better." He sighed, " It isn't easy, being different."

The girl appeared to think on his words. Finally she spoke up, albeit a bit uncertainly. " Ibiki-san? What do you do? About being different, I mean. Is there any way to….to make it easier?"

Ibiki's voice rumbled in his chest as he spoke. " We are ninja, girl. For us, there is no easy path. We fight and we fight and we lose or we don't. They only way to move ahead is to keep trying. To slowly forge our way forward, one person at a time. The grocer that ignored you? Compliment him on his produce. The child that sneered at you? Offer to play ball. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I'm not going to lie to you girl – there are no shortcuts. It may take blood, sweat, and tears to win people to your side – some people you can never sway over. But we still keep trying, because it's all we can do."

Ibiki's voice softened a little from its stern tone at the girl's solemn expression. " But you can do it. And you've already begun winning people over – starting with me. I would be honored to be called your friend. After all, we freaks have got to stick together, huh?"

For just a moment, Ibiki truly smiled –and it was like the sun lighting up. His face became gentle, his eyes bright. For just an instant, his guard lowered and he allowed his inner kindness to show through – then the moment was gone, and Ibiki was back to normal again.

The girl stared in wonder at Ibiki, actually a little teary in her gratitude.

Ibiki spoiled the mood by clapping her on the shoulder. " C'mon, none of that. The idiots should have gone home by now, so both you and I can leave." He began to head out the door, then stopped and turned back. "And gaki, if the idiots bother you again, just punch 'em. After all, if they're that empty-minded, a few knocks to the head won't change anything." He winked at her.

The raven-haired genin with the crimson eyes stared after the man who had become one of her few friends. She bared her teeth in a grin as she shouted proudly back to Ibiki, " I am not a gaki!"

Ibiki merely waved in reply.

He doesn't remember much after that little encounter – except that for some reason, the little genin's sensei got fired and then seemed to vanish mysteriously without a trace….but Ibiki cannot remember details, and it wasn't like it was so important…besides, he has the present to focus on now, not the past.

Speaking of the present….

Ibiki sighed as he sank onto the couch in his apartment. He propped his feet up on the couch, removing is bandanna and scratching at his scalp. Suddenly two ivory arms snaked themselves around his neck.

"Hello Kurenai." Ibiki stated.

Kurenai pouted. " That's it? I've been gone on a mission all week and all I get is a 'Hello Kurenai.'? Couldn't you have at least been a bit more enthusiastic in your greeting? You make it sound like I'm forcing you to be here!"

Ibiki smirked and stood up. " You want a greeting? Fine!" His arms wrapped around the startled kunoichi, pulling her to him. His lips crashed hungrily onto hers, searching for the reassuring comfort that she was still there. Kurenai melted against him, giving in completely. Her arms went up to encircle his neck. His fingers played with her wild tresses as the other arm went around her waist, holding her to him. He deepened the kiss, Kurenai eagerly yielding to his demands. His kiss was fire that scorched her veins, and yet still underneath held gentleness that soothed her aching heart. Her kiss was sweeter than the sweetest strawberry, addicting as a drug to him. They stayed wrapped up in each other, lost to the world. The make-out session continued for quite some time, only ending when they broke apart for air.

Panting, Ibiki asked, "Was that enough of a greeting for you?"

Kurenai smirked devilishly, eyes sparkling. " I think I might need a few more – to make up for the ones I missed while away, you understand."

Ibiki replied straightfaced, " Of course."

……several minutes and passionate kisses later……

Ibiki and Kurenai were both sprawled on the couch, Kurenai's head pillowed in Ibiki's lap. Ibiki stroked her hair as he thought, while Kurenai gently took his hand and began kissing his knuckles one by one.

Ibiki sighed contentedly. " I still can't believe I ended up with someone like you, Kurenai."

Kurenai sat up, indignant. " What's that supposed to mean?"

Ibiki smiled at her. " Nothing. I just never thought someone like you could fall for someone like me. It seems unreal, you know?"

Kurenai held his face in her hands, staring him in the eye. " It is very real, Ibiki. You are mine, and that's not going to change anytime soon. You are the sweetest-" She kissed him. " most decent-" She kissed him again. "and most wonderful man I have ever met." She kissed him a few more times for good measure. " You were one of my first friends and greatest inspiration. I love you Ibiki Morino, and don't you forget that."

If he had been a man prone to tears, Ibiki might have shed some just then. Instead, he cleared his throat, and said, " But I'm not handsome."

Kurenai flared up. " Handsome! Handsome?! What does handsome have to do with anything? You are more of a man than those preening peacocks that call themselves 'handsome' will ever be!" She pounded her fists on Ibiki's arm in her anger. Ibiki grasped her wrists to stop the blows. She stared determinedly back at him. " If you are not handsome, then I am not beautiful. We go well together, ne?"

Ibiki gaped at her. " But you're gorgeous Kurenai!" he disagreed.

"But I have demon eyes, the eyes of the devil, bloody eyes that resemble nothing but death." Kurenai replied bitterly. " How could I ever be beautiful?"

It was now Ibiki's turn to grab his partner. " Kurenai, look at me. You are the most gorgeous, hot, drop-dead sexy kunoichi I have ever been blessed to meet. Your eyes make you you – and they are beautiful too."

Kurenai's eyes shimmered with tears. " Really?"

Ibiki nodded firmly. "Really."

Kurenai's tears dried up immediately. " You said I'm beautiful –that means you're handsome." She announced happily. " I'm so glad you agree with me!"

Ibiki smacked himself on the forehead. He walked right into that one. Why oh why did he always fall for that?! He was the head of Torture and Interrogation, he should not be taken in by Kurenai's crocodile tears! And yet he fell for it every time. Seeing that Kurenai was not going to drop this, Ibiki raised his hands in mock-surrender.

"All right, you win. I'm handsome."

Kurenai brightened up immediately. " Good!'

Ibiki chuckled at his sometime childlike lover's antics. He captured her again, pressing his lips to her hair as he inhaled her sweet scent. His hands caressed her back. He laid his cheek atop her head, whispering in a voice so full of tenderness it bordered on breaking, " I love you too Kurenai."

If any of his coworkers had heard him at that moment, they would never have believed it was Ibiki. This loving and gentle image did not fit with their view of the sadistic and brutal interrogation master.

Kurenai looked up at him, softly kissing his scarred cheek. When she drew back, she smiled. " Of course you do. After all, we freaks have to stick together, huh?"

The both laughed.

End.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

A/N: Wow that was long! I do believe this is the longest single chapter ever written. I apologize for any OOCness, but I liked their personalities in this so you'll have to deal. I'm not promising all drabbles will be this long – it depends on if I like the pairing. So make requests. All pairings will be considered, and any rejections will be based n characters and not on sexuality (meaning yaoi, yuri,or het). All reviews are accepted!

Iamakunoichi