Not Exactly Shakespeare, or The Fine Art of Running Away and Tactical Retreats
It was not often Guy was surprised by Kakashi. Sure, there were the occasional modern responses that took him aback, but these were to be expected from his tradition-breaking rival. This, however, was not something Guy had ever quite foreseen.
"You, Hatake Kakashi, my Eternal Rival, are a VIRGIN?"
"Say it a little louder, Guy, I think they couldn't quite hear it in the Hokage's tower. I'm sure inquiring minds there want to know." Kakashi had turned into his version of sulky, flopping back onto the bed.
"So when you said you read Icha Icha for the plot," said Guy, tone unintentionally incredulous, "you were telling the truth?"
Kakashi rolled his visible eye and slouched a little further down into the pillows. "Yes, Guy, exactly. I read it for the plot."
"But—" Kakashi could look rather scary even without his sharingan revealed and his mask covering his lower face. It really was amazing how much untold violence one dark eye could express. Wisely, Guy changed the subject for the moment, deciding not to pursue a topic that made his rival so obviously uncomfortable. They could discuss other things while Guy visited Kakashi during his recovery (and made certain at the same time that he actually stayed in the hospital bed).
"So, I thought you might get bored and brought something that would stimulate your mind and provide you with endless pleasure." Kakashi twitched and Guy decided not to dwell on how his last statement sounded. "Cards! Hours of entertainment. Shall we play Assassins? If I cannot win three rounds out of five, I will do fifty laps of the village on the palms of my hands while balancing a teacup on my head!" Guy dealt the cards and ignored the way Kakashi's eyes drifted longingly to the window. He would not escape and do further injury to himself on Guy's watch!
To his shame, Guy couldn't let it go entirely. Just a week later, he found himself pursuing the subject again. "But you poked fun at my relative inexperience with various carnal pleasures," he said, concentrating markedly on scooping up his rice.
When he finally glanced up, mouth full, half of Kakashi's bowl was empty and his mask was back up. "No. I made fun of you because you've only slept with Anko," Kakashi clarified. "Seriously. Anko."
"Anko is a well-respected shinobi and an honored colleague."
"And really fucking crazy."
Guy found it difficult to disagree when even now he remembered that one evening she'd come home with the snakes and the zipped face mask, the evening that also marked their last night as a couple. Still, he also felt some obligation to try. "She has her unusual quirks and proclivities, yes, but so do we all. The stress of one's jounin duties may at times lead to unusual dress and activities—"
"Like spandex and speeches," Kakashi interjected with a faux helpful tone.
"Or masks and porn." Guy returned Kakashi's pointed look with one of his own.
"Touché." Kakashi smirked; at this point in their friendship—mask or no—Guy could tell. "But Anko. One has to wonder if it's all the perverts you're attracted to, or just the crazy ones."
Guy opened his mouth, unsure what, exactly, he was going to say, only that it was a long time coming—
Tenten burst into his apartment. "Guy-sensei! It's an emergency, Lee mixed up the wine and the fruit punch and—" She stopped to stare at Kakashi and their half-finished dinner for an uncertain moment, then continued, "Naruto and Neji are helping and led him out of the restaurant, but they've already torn up part of the streets and one storefront."
Kakashi stood. "I think that's my cue to leave."
Guy watched Kakashi for one long moment, wondering if he was more or less of a coward for choosing his students. "Feel free to stay and finish your meal," he said. Kakashi made a noncommittal sound and sank back down onto his cushion.
"Now, Tenten! I will be glad to help! Lead me to them!" Guy whisked her out of the apartment, carefully not looking back at Kakashi picking up his chopsticks to resume eating, at whatever expression Kakashi might be making—at whether he'd picked up his book as he usually did whenever he needed an additional mask.
By the time Guy returned, Kakashi had already left and the dishes had been cleared away.
Drinking was definitely not a good time to bring it up, Guy discovered, staring up at Kakashi's masked face and trying to remember what his lips looked like.
Guy had seen Kakashi's face before, but Guy had never done something so rude as stare, and it had always, always been while his attention was directed elsewhere—whether at the enemy nin that had thrown the exploding tags that had clipped them on the outskirts of Fire Country when he was nineteen, or on forcing air back into Kakashi's lungs during that S-class mission to Wave Country two years ago. Guy found himself wondering not for the first time what Kakashi's lips would feel like under his in different circumstances, what they would feel like warm and responsive—when he wasn't shaking and wet and cold, clutching Guy's shoulders only in a reaffirmation of life.
"What are you thinking?" Kakashi drawled, slit-eyed, leaning back with lazy grace into the couch.
"Probably how he ended up in your lap when there are so many attractive women available," Anko laughed.
"Better mine than yours." Kakashi's low chuckle was a little too sharp, but Anko apparently didn't mind; just smirked their way and pulled a reluctant-looking Iruka closer. He'd been circling the couch the entire evening, but it was with the desperate, despairing air of a moth ever attracted to the flame.
"His loss, Iruka's win," she said. Iruka let out a small squeak as she pulled his head down into her lap, claiming his hair tie and running her fingers through the dark locks. Iruka's smile was justifiably nervous.
Guy could remember that feeling.
He looked back up at Kakashi, suddenly tired. "It wasn't just her," Guy said, pressing his face into the fabric of Kakashi's pants.
Guy wanted to explain, but he was too comfortable, breathing in the scent of cotton and sweat and sake, summer night warm and lulling. Kakashi's voice came at a distance he couldn't quite reach.
He woke with a stiff neck and the embarrassing realization that he'd drooled a little on the pillow someone had stuck under his head. The door to Anko's bedroom was closed and the loud snoring he'd come to associate with a night of vigorous sex drifted from the other side. The small cups and large bottle Kakashi had brought were gone, but the pillow smelled like him.
Guy sat up slowly. He gathered his vest, but left Anko the mostly-depleted bottle of plum wine he had brought, as well as the dumplings that remained as yet untouched. With some measure of guilt, Guy took the pillow. The casing needed washing and he would be a bad guest to leave it for his hostess to do.
He didn't quite forget the pillow on his couch over the next two weeks, but by the time he'd finally cleaned it, there were other things on his mind.
Such as that though sometimes Guy wished he could teach Kakashi to stand his ground, at times like these he was glad that Kakashi's preservation instincts for when to run away held out so strongly.
"How bad?" he asked, assessing Kakashi's wounds. The worst were dressed with bandages hastily wrapped over clothing; along his shoulder and around his left thigh, traces of blood were already seeping through. The gashes on his forearms and slice along his temple were unattended, mixed with dirt and leaves from the hollow he'd hidden in.
"I can walk," said Kakashi, levering himself up shakily from his crouch. He was suffering from chakra depletion, face pale, limbs trembling.
"Neji and Lee are running a distraction and Tenten has cleared a way through, but there are still several enemies in the area." All pretenses were dropped with just the two of them. The argument was over in seconds.
Kakashi sighed. "Fine," he said. He more collapsed than climbed onto Guy's back, more tired even than he first appeared. "But you're letting me down the moment we're out of danger."
"Of course," Guy agreed. "The very instant we're safe in Konoha's hospital."
Kakashi's strangled words were mostly lost to the passage of the wind.
"We have to stop meeting like this," said Kakashi, only reluctantly moving his foot away from the hospital window.
"You can't run away from everything," said Guy, moving through the window and into the space Kakashi had provided.
"Actually, I can. It's just that Tsunade sends people like you after me." Kakashi's expression was once more one of long-suffering.
"So is it not to your advantage to save your energy for other, more enjoyable pursuits?" Guy smiled one of his better smiles, tilting his head to catch the light.
Kakashi's visible eye widened, then blinked twice, rapidly. "Couldn't you have just sent a fruit basket or something?"
Guy held up the deck of cards. "You've tired of Assassins already? I thought you enjoyed the game."
Kakashi regained a little of his color. "Only if you make none of your ridiculous promises. Watching you run laps of the village is tiring and you're running out of teacups." Guy's smile widened as he herded Kakashi back into the hospital bed, adding another victory to his running tally.
They played ten matches before Kakashi drifted off to sleep, cards still clutched in his hands. Guy tugged them out gently, putting the deck away. He smoothed down one corner of the blanket before he left to once again check on Lee, whose enthusiasm had probably overcome his earnest desire to follow medical orders, and who was likely doing one-armed push-ups again.
"Is that," Kakashi pointed an accusing finger at Guy's couch, "my pillow?"
Guy blushed. "Ah, no. That belongs to Anko."
Kakashi leveled his glare Guy's way. "No. It belongs to me. It was left at Anko's apartment after one of her parties and she said it was lost. Or rather, stolen." Guy scratched his nose sheepishly, formulating excuses and discarding them. He was never one not to own up to his misdeeds and responsibilities. The accusations that followed next, however, were patently untrue. "I thought she had used it in one of her kinky sex games, realized it was mine, and burned it." Kakashi paused, expression turning from ire to one of horror. "It, it wasn't, was it? Tell me you did not have some weird threesome with Anko and Iruka after I left."
"You're reading too much porn," said Guy, a little faint with horror himself at the idea.
"That's not an outright denial."
Kakashi was so very paranoid, Guy thought almost fondly.
"No. I did not have sex with either Anko or Iruka. Neither has that pillow been used for sexual activity." Guy paused a moment. Kakashi relaxed a little. "That I'm aware of."
Guy grinned and flashed Kakashi a thumbs-up. "But I can assure you that it has, in fact, been cleaned twice, and if it does not meet your standards, I will—"
"I'm sure it's fine," Kakashi interrupted. "Weren't we going to make dinner? Or rather, I was going to make dinner." Kakashi edged toward the kitchen.
"It's not fair for you to have to shoulder the entire burden in your still-healing state!" Guy protested, trying to follow the quickly changing subject. Yes, his cooking could do with a little improvement, but with hard work it was slowly improving. Surely it would be better for Kakashi to rest and relax rather than deal with—
"You are not setting one foot in my kitchen." There was no arguing with that voice.
Guy tried. "It's my kitchen."
"And that was my pillow. I'll trade you." Kakashi crossed back to the couch.
"But—" Guy caught the pillow before it hit him in the face.
"Too late," said Kakashi. "You accepted. It's agreed. Your kitchen is mine. Step foot in it and die." Kakashi ducked away, fleeing before Guy could argue further.
Guy stared down into his tea, smiling. "You've really outdone yourself! The entrée is delicious and even the tea is superb."
"It's just curry and green tea, Guy."
Guy looked up to see roughly a quarter of Kakashi's meal had disappeared. "It's not 'just' anything! I would walk ten thousand miles to eat food half this fine every day!" He scooped up another mouthful, beaming with joy at the home-cooked meal. Kakashi really was the better chef.
"Why, Guy, are you proposing?"
Guy choked. Kakashi laughed and smacked him on the back until he stopped coughing. Guy managed a few deep breaths before downing half his tea. He decided to ignore the jest, concentrating on eating his curry.
"I don't mind." Guy looked up, surprised at Kakashi's voice so soon. Kakashi's food was no further decimated, but his mask was down. He held a spoon in one hand.
Voice rough, Guy managed to force out, "Don't mind what?" Kakashi's gaze was so intense it felt more like the sharingan than his regular eye. It was all Guy could do to meet that unexpected stare.
After a fraught moment, Kakashi lowered his eye to the table. "I don't mind you watching me eat," he said. "We have dinner together often enough that it's troublesome to deal with the mask, isn't it?" As if proving his point, he took a spoonful of curry and placed it in his mouth. The spoon looked almost indecent going between his lips.
Guy had to wrench his gaze away. "I don't mind, either," he said. Kakashi smiled in his peripheral vision. "I've been working around it for years." Guy tried not to think about how Kakashi's smile went oddly smooth, like bed sheets pulled tight.
He determinedly continued to not think of it until the next week when he received a note from Kakashi to stop by his apartment instead of continuing on as usual to Anko's and meeting there. And if Guy thought of it then, that weird smile, it was only the strange effect of reading Kakashi's scrawled writing and scarecrow signature. Guy wasn't going to push, not on this.
"Are you finally ready?" asked Guy, hefting a bottle of peach wine and waiting patiently.
"Let's not and say we did." Kakashi slouched against his door frame, sandals still off and own alcoholic offering conspicuously absent.
"Better yet, let's do and say we did." Kakashi shifted from lounging to predatory in under a second, padding closer.
"What?" asked Guy, slightly alarmed and putting the bottle down for whatever his rival had planned. Normally Kakashi was the one who wanted to go to the usual jounin gatherings, but perhaps he had suddenly realized that it had been an entire week since their last challenge.
"I'm bored," said Kakashi, pulling down his mask and placing his hands on either side of Guy's vest, "with running away."
For the second time in as many months, Guy felt himself at something of a loss.
"I'm inviting you in," said Kakashi, leaning in close enough to bump noses, "and not to play some damn card game." He abruptly pulled away. "Or you can go to Anko's with the rest of the jounin." Kakashi walked deliberately indoors, back toward the bed.
Guy leaned down to pick up the bottle and followed Kakashi in.
Guy prided himself on never asking more than Kakashi could give. He watched his rival closely, observed when it was best to push and when it was best to let Kakashi pull away. That the latter occurred more often than the former did not discourage him. When Kakashi started to slip out of bed, however, Guy couldn't help but reach out a hand to clasp Kakashi's forearm.
Kakashi froze, half out of the covers. Guy had heard one foot hit the floorboards, but the other failed to follow. He tightened his grip, keeping his face firmly in the pillows. "Stay."
Kakashi sighed. "Guy."
Guy didn't look up, but he let go. He was almost surprised at the sudden hand against his shoulder, rubbing idle circles into the tense muscles. He was surprised at the lips against the back of his neck, the whisper of "I was just going to grab coffee, moron." The lips trailed down his spine, came to rest on his ass. Teeth bit gently in and Guy groaned, clutching the sheets. He turned over, pulling Kakashi up into a hard, biting kiss that segued into a softer one with more lips and tongue than teeth. Kakashi pulled back, breathing heavily. "Though I suppose it can wait."
Kakashi pushed Guy down into the covers. The coffee was put off until afternoon.
End Notes: Originally written for a kink meme, this is a slightly censored version of the original--I took out one explicit scene that was unnecessary to follow the greater story arc and that would have kept it from being posted due to ffnet guidelines. I'm sure you can guess where. All my original work can be found on my lj fic journal, though in this case I think it's unnecessary.