Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto and make no profit from these writings. Applies to all chapters to follow.

A gritty, dark tale of man's inhumanity to man, and the light of hope that's both a curse and a promise. OOC a lot? A little? Spot on? You make the call. KakaIru, but it might not be fun. OK, lot of it is not going to be fun. But hopefully, it will be interesting.

1. I Did it All for the 'Biki

'We are very different, you and I . You live in the moment, knowing every day may be your last, and that whatever you have in your hands at any given time is all that's yours, and that's enough for you. But I'm not like that. I have wonderful friends, a comfortable home, and my work of course - but even with all that, I still feel like there's something essential missing.
I used to think that I'd found it when we first started seeing each, that feeling of love in the beginning was amazing. We've grown past that, sadly, but I'm glad we've been able to remain friends.
But I don't think that love is what I was (and am) seeking anymore, I just don't know what it is. It's like there's a missing part of my soul, and the longer I hide behind my desk at the academy, the bigger it gets. I know I'm not explaining this well - but for once, I'm asking you to back off and just trust me. I'm taking a little career risk right now. I can tell that it doesn't make sense to you, so you'll just have to believe me when I tell you that I'm doing what I think is best, for a number of very good reasons.'

Kakashi folded the note shut, regarding its author critically.

"Well, that's a cute note, I appreciate the time and effort. But, Iruka - it's Ibiki - he's not a career counselor, he's a fucking professional tormentor. That man scares me at times. Was it just because he looked at you? What, you scratch his kinks somehow?"

"This isn't about sex. The subject hasn't even come up."

"Maybe you just don't recognize it. Does he touch you? Does he…put anything on your body?

"Oh please. I told you this is my non-negotiable personal business."

"It's not just personal. He's not supposed to do anything with chunin, period, unless he's supervised. It's unprofessional, and in his profession , that's really dangerous. Experimenting on you, it's - you wouldn't teach the first years deadly force, would you? It's that kind of gap."

"You compared me to first-graders?"

"In the torture and mental-destruction arena you're an infant, Umino. You wouldn't know what he was up to until it was too late."

"Why are you so sure he's up to something? Experimenting? I haven't told you anything about what we've done."

"It doesn't matter. It has to stop. It's a violation and there are damn good reasons why it's forbidden."

"I can't…, I mean, I don't want to. This is legitimate, Kakashi."

"Can you even tell me what you've been doing? Are you clear, in your head, can you remember everything that happens when you're there? Or is it hazy when he's close to you."

"It's clear," Iruka protested. "I know what I'm doing and why. There are good reasons. Don't get involved."

"I'm taking this to the Hokage, do you hear me? And you're coming with me. I want you in sight until we get this resolved." he caught Iruka's arm and hauled him up, despite his protest that the Hokage was well aware. They glared nose -to - nose. "I can force you to go with very little effort, chunin."


"What do you think when you touch your scar, Iruka?" Ibiki asked levelly.

Iruka pulled his hand away from his habitual touch to his face.

"I didn't say to stop. Touch it again. What do you think when you touch your scar?"

"I…it's just a habit, I don't think of anything."

"Touch it again. Do as I say."

He slid his fingers up uncertainly.

"Tell me what your feeling is." Ibiki ordered, arms folded.

"I'm embarrassed that you're making me touch it like this, because you ordered me to."

"If you 're embarrassed you must think that it's a bad thing to do."

"Well, uh, it might annoy others. It might be rude, I guess."

"You touch your face to show me that you're bad. Do you want to be punished?"

"No! Of course not."

"If you touch your scar in front of me again there will be punishment. Do you understand?"

Iruka suppressed a gasp.

"And you won't know what your punishment will be until I give it to you. It could be…anything."

Ibiki leaned in closer. "Now touch one of my scars. Pretend it's on your face."

The air seemed to thicken and there was a strange resistance as he obediently skimmed his comparatively soft fingers across the dry, hard scar on Ibiki's cheek.

"Tell me what your feeling is now."

"I…it's not a bad scar,"

"NO! What did I ask you?"

"How I feel."

"Answer me."

"I'm uncomfortable! I don't want to touch it! And I don't like the way you're talking to me!"

"Better. Why did you come to me?"

"I volunteered. It was time for me to step out of my comfort zone, try something new, I tried to explain this to Kakash.."

"Bullshit! I asked you why, now you tell me the fuck-honest truth!"

Anger flashed in the deep brown eyes. "Truthfully? Because the Hokage was assigning you a chunin, and she was down to deciding between two of my former students. And I didn't want them to come here for this."

Ibiki liked that answer. It reeked of the truth. And it meant that Umino didn't dare drop out for fear that his students would replace him. Unlike the rest of the sots in the village, Ibiki had little regard for Iruka. He was just a little too cute, and his sweet sincere act was disgustingly submissive.

Ibiki just might make a man of him yet. But first, he had work to do.


Long day at the academy. Even longer afternoon/evening at the mission desk, including an ugly scuffle between two angry nin returning from a failed mission, trying to lay blame on one another via report. Iruka had ended up mediating and helping them write a joint report. He took a number of undeserved insults in the process and got no thanks even though the two left with their differences patched and their arms slung around each other's shoulders.

And now he still had three hours of Investigative Unit assisting before he could even start grading the spelling tests. He sighed several times on the way to get it out of his system, because it wouldn't do to be sighing around Ibiki. No noise at all was the best approach. He rubbed his scar extra times to make up for the period of not being able to touch it, and to remind himself not to do so.

Kakashi was following him. As ex-boyfriends went, he was quite a pip. Iruka had been clear. When they separated there would be no doing it for old times sake, nor a shift to casual banging now and then. Over meant over. It rekindled the copy-nin's interest only because he was being denied. Iruka knew that the minute he spread for him, Kakashi would make nice for a while and disappear again, just showing up once in a while when he was bored, returning to his habit of finding greener pastures.

Iruka knew he'd rather not have Kakashi shadowing him. But it didn't piss him off enough to confront the eccentric man. Elite jounin that Kakashi was, he was fully aware of this. He just couldn't tell if Iruka was submitting to being tailed because he was amenable to having Kakashi around, or if he was nervous about Ibiki after all.

Ibiki scowled when Iruka came in as the whiff of the watching Kakashi came with him.

"If you have to be escorted here we can terminate your participation now."

"It's a relationship issue, Ibiki-sama. Not related to work."

"Re-lay-tion-ship issue. I see. You have as little success in managing your relationships as you do your professional path. You rank just below unwed mother in the desirability department, so if someone like Kakashi had relations with you it was probably just to wipe the smell of his last lover off of his dick. Perhaps now he wants to snuff you, so that no one finds out about his momentary lapse of taste in ass."

Struggling to keep his hands from raking at his scar for comfort, Iruka snapped back hesitantly.

"That's extremely personal and uncalled for!"

"I would never mention your personal life if you didn't have it displayed so unprofessionally right in front of me. Don't ever let me catch you being escorted again. Perhaps you can find a ninja to teach you how to move from place to place without being followed."

Reddened in embarrassment and with no small measure of buried resentment, Iruka bowed his head and made the proper apology. His flawless recital of the memorized formal statement garnered him a pardon for the night.

Ibiki stood at the window looking out into the darkness, hands clasped behind him. Iruka finished hauling all of the files out of the bottom drawer of the cabinet, stacking them on the table and setting to his task of rehoming them in classification folders, associating newer information and pulling outdated documents for storage in the archives. He worked quickly and efficiently, pointedly not lingering any longer than the bare minimum to recognize the proper disposition of the papers. The information in his hands was among the most closely-guarded in Konoha. He wanted no part of knowing what the content was, and he had no desire to see what Ibiki might do if he thought Iruka was taking any of it in.

The archive pile grew steadily and the work was going very smoothly, Iruka had fallen into a rhythm that sped his hands and freed his thoughts to wonder if Kakashi was still lingering outside. Ibiki had abandoned his post at the window, drawing the blinds shut when the folders began to open to prevent prying eyes. He sat at the desk across the room and wrote on a yellow lined pad, glancing up sourly to check on Iruka every so often.

It wasn't until the second drawer was done that Iruka began to get a bit stiff and slow in his task. His neck cricked and he stopped to rub it, making the mistake of doing so with a folder standing open.

Ibiki was on him in a heartbeat.

"What are you reading?" he demanded, ripping the folder away. Luckily for Iruka, the folder was only open to a copy of the privacy statement. Ibiki jabbed his forehead with the folder then slapped it down in front of him.

"Secure this mess and get out, your time was up twenty minutes ago. And don't think that working over is sufficient ass-kissing to put you on my good side. I expect you here tomorrow on time. Rested. Alone."

Iruka thought better of rubbing his painfully poked forehead and tidied up quickly, bowing and politely thanking Ibiki-sama before fleeing into the night.

He almost fell when his foot landed off the edge of the path, such was his difficulty seeing while scrubbing at his forehead with his left hand to ease the pain while fingering his scar somewhat desperately with his right hand to ease his strain.

A hand caught him, familiar chakra pasting him at the same time so he wouldn't be alarmed.

"Thanks, but you really have to stop following me." Iruka looked up at him wearily, too tired and mentally fatigued to put up a fuss.

"Let's get you home," Kakashi said, and before the protest made it to the chunin's lips they teleported into Iruka's bedroom.

"Oops," Kakashi said, smiling. "Should have tried for the living room. Old habits die hard."

Iruka peered at him over his shoulder, waiting. The arms still wrapped around him, they stood in silence.

Just because he had come to the realization that being near Kakashi would always hurt on some level didn't make it easier to bear. Especially when the man made it clear that the only thing that stood between them was Iruka's stubborn insistence that they couldn't have a casual, non-exclusive relationship.

Wasn't some better than none? Especially when he was soooo good at the 'some' that he took special pride in making a certain chunin lose consciousness when he came? Had loved him into trembling bits at one point or another in every single square foot of this apartment, including closets, kitchen counters and back porch? What difference did it make what happened when they were apart?

When the masked nose snuffled into his neck just below his chin, Iruka reluctantly removed the jounin's slowly roaming hands from his body and stepped away. Losing the warmth hurt like ripping a fresh scab from a weeping wound.

"You have to stop following me."

"And let you break an ankle?"

Iruka sighed and gifted Kakashi with the exact quote from Ibiki's rant, right down to the dick smells and the need to have a ninja teach him stealth.

"He hates you." Kakashi looked a bit stunned and very serious.

"You think?" Iruka sat on the bed, wishing his tests were corrected. The sanctuary of sleep sounded so good right now…

"Iruka, pay attention. I mean he really hates you. Ibiki doesn't talk to people like that."

"He tortures people as his chosen profession. I'm sure he can get a whole lot nastier than that."

"Sure, if you're a prisoner. He doesn't talk to his own people like that. You need to get Tsunade in on this again." Kakashi sat down next to him heavily.

"Oh, no no no. You stay out of this. I wouldn't have had this problem if you hadn't followed me. Just don't do it again. I'm only detailed to his unit for ninety days, if you'll butt out I just might survive it."

Kakashi patted his knee, left his hand there.

"Ahem." Iruka shook his head. "you're on my bed."

"And not nearly in a meaningful enough way," Kakashi said, dropping his voice into a deep, sexy drawl.

Iruka wanted to pound the walls and scream until his lungs bled. Instead, he rose and held out a hand.

"I'll make you some tea if you like. I have grading to do."

Kakashi gave him a disappointed, bored look. "Nah. Gotta go."

"Don't follow me, I mean it. You'll cause me a lot of trouble."

The irritated look made Iruka a little nervous as Kakashi bamphed away without another word.

Of course it was the bed or nothing. He knew tea and company would not hold any interest at this point.

Thank the gods he hadn't bent to that sexy voice.

It still made him pound the table with his forehead several times before he could start grading.