Tenzou thumbed casually through one of the books lying on the coffee table in front of Kakashi's ragged couch. He wasn't really paying attention to himself or his actions. It was involuntary, just something to pass the time as he waited for Kakashi to bring him a mug of warm tea. Midwinter was always cold for the people who lived in the village hidden in the leaves. Tenzou was chilly and eager to get something warm into his body.
Kakashi wandered into his small living room carrying a tray with two mugs of tea and three small containers filled with a bit of honey, cream, and sugar. He looked comfortable in his standard jounin pants, a standard black undershirt, and a warm looking sweater on top of his other clothing. Of course the silver-haired man was still wearing his usual mask, but he seemed more casual than he normally dressed, mostly because he wasn't in a flak jacket and donning deadly weapons.
"Looking for pointers?" Kakashi asked with an amused smirk.
Tenzou gave his sempai a confused look. "Pointers?" he asked quietly, which was his nature. He was a polite and soft-spoken man most of the time, and Kakashi rarely saw the other side of him. That part of Tenzou's personality was specifically reserved for his misbehaving subordinates.
"The book," Kakashi motioned to the novel Tenzou was holding as he handed the other man his tea. "Are you looking for pointers?"
It was then Tenzou realized he was flipping through one of Kakashi's pornographic novels by the great and deceased sannin, Jiraiya. Tenzou's jaw went slack and his mind reeled for a minute. He didn't know what to say. He hadn't even realized what he had been doing. Tenzou immediately dropped the damned book back onto the coffee table.
"I'll take that as a no," Kakashi told his friend with a chuckle. He looked at the man sitting beside him tentatively before slipping a finger up to his mask and tugging it just below his lips. Tenzou stared at the copy-nin, just like he was prone to doing when Kakashi allowed him to see any of his face. Kakashi laughed again and bumped Tenzou in the ribs with his elbow. "Or maybe," he said with a devilish smirk, "You are looking for ways to seduce me."
Tenzou wasn't a person who was prone to blushing like a silly kid back in the academy, but there was a definite nervousness that quivered in his voice as he shook his head and said, "No, that's not what I was doing." Kakashi's uncovered eye rose suspiciously at Tenzou, but he didn't dispute anything much to Tenzou's relief.
The copy-nin dripped a plentiful amount of honey into his tea and gently swirled it with a spoon until it dissolved. He seemed so normal in situations like this, but Kakashi was a very unusual person. Like Tenzou, Kakashi had two distinct sides of himself. There was the hard-assed, no-nonsense man who was able to bring almost any squad of ninja home from even the most dangerous mission; but there was also a very kind and dedicated person who gave himself willingly to his friends and teammates. Kakashi was a devoted individual through and through. The older Tenzou got, and the longer he worked with Kakashi, the more this became apparent to him.
"We could drink some sake again," Kakashi suggested to Tenzou. "That was a fun night."
Fun night his ass! Tenzou gritted his teeth and this time there really was a deeply set flushed color on his cheeks. The last time he and Kakashi had spent time together, the copy-nin suggested they go to a tavern, have a little sake, and check out the ladies. Unfortunately, Tenzou never was very big on sake. It always had a very detrimental effect on him, and inevitably led to mishaps and misunderstandings. Sake that night made Tenzou a little loose with his lips. During his most drunken moment, Tenzou admitted to Kakashi that he might be a tiny bit interested in the copy-nin.
Kakashi had taken the admittance about Tenzou's small crush on him in stride, but gently made it clear that he wasn't interested in something with another man. Tenzou, in his right mind, and not stuck in some foggy, drunken haze, also agreed with this type of assertion. He wasn't into men. He was just a little enamored with Kakashi and only Kakashi. It wasn't exactly a sexual kind of crush, but more about affection and respect for Kakashi than anything else.
Tenzou reached for his own mug of tea. He chose a little cream and sugar instead of honey. Kakashi knew he liked his tea that way. That man was more observant and thoughtful than many gave him credit for. Tenzou couldn't help himself, he really was enamored with the copy-nin. It wasn't a driving kind of need or wanton desire. Instead, liking Kakashi was similar to a subtle warmth in his heart, not a blazing fire. The other man was someone Tenzou identified with and could fully put his trust in.
Despite the tension in the room, Tenzou didn't try to make idle chit chat, he knew it would be too hard to form coherent sentences at the moment. He chose instead to sip silently at the warm drink Kakashi had offered him. Tenzou leaned back into the couch cushions and lowered the mug to his lap. He rested the warm cup on his leg and avoided Kakashi's gaze. He could tell Kakashi was watching him, probably wondering when Tenzou was going to try to jump him like a horny little genin. What had happened in that tavern was stupid and embarrassing, and despite the fact he did have a little crush on his friend, he wasn't going to act on it. Tenzou had hoped when Kakashi offered to hang out with him today that it wouldn't be as uncomfortable as the night in the tavern. Unfortunately, it was.
Kakashi set down his mug of tea on the coffee table. Tenzou watched him carefully out of the corner of his eye. He could see the copy-nin's unease, and it was completely his fault. Why had he let his emotions get the better of him just because he had a little liquid encouragement? Had he accidentally ruined over a decade of friendship with an amazing person over a tiny slip of the tongue? If it wouldn't have seemed absolutely insane, Tenzou might have smacked himself for his own idiocy.
"I'm not good at this," Kakashi mumbled. "I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable. It was just a joke."
Tenzou wasn't sure he'd be good with it either if someone he wasn't interested in had confessed to him, especially someone of the same gender. Had Sai or Naruto made some half-assed, drunken declaration of their feelings, Tenzou might have found it more than disconcerting. Hell, had Kakashi been the one to broach the topic, despite his slight affinity toward his sempai, Tenzou doubted he would have welcomed that kind of omission either.
Kakashi's thumbs hooked into the corners of his mask, which were settled just below his mouth. Tenzou was sure the copy-nin was going to replace the fabric barrier back to its normal position, but he didn't. Kakashi lowered it further, letting the material bunch around his neck until it pooled by the collar of his sweater. Kakashi's hands rubbed the back of his own neck. Tenzou wasn't sure if it was a nervous habit, or if the entire situation had become so stressful that it had manifested itself physically in the form of tense, sore muscles.
"I'm really not good at this," Kakashi repeated himself.
"I can leave," Tenzou suggested. He didn't really want to go, but at the same time, he didn't want to stay either, not if it caused such a negative reaction from Kakashi. Maybe some more time would help heal this odd wound that he had opened and let fester.
Kakashi looked away and sighed. He muttered under his breath and ran his fingers through his spiky, wayward hair. Kakashi's hands left his head and planted themselves on the couch. It looked like Kakashi was going to get up. His body tensed as his muscles prepared to transfer himself off the couch and away from Tenzou. The younger ANBU captain couldn't help but be a little hurt by this. It wasn't as if he was trying to make Kakashi so uncomfortable that he had to move. If it was that bad, then he really should leave.
Tenzou shifted, making his own move to get off the couch and head for the door, but before he could even stand, one of Kakashi's hands was laid on his leg. It firmly and silently told Tenzou to sit. "Just give me a second," Kakashi mumbled as he gave Tenzou a disapproving scowl, "I told you, I'm not good at this."
It was almost like a game, like the bell test Kakashi was so fond of, but something told Tenzou the bells were in his possession this time, and Kakashi was chasing him to get them. "So…" Tenzou began, trying to make idle conversation, but Tenzou didn't want to make conversation. He wanted answers. "Was it really that horrible what I did?" The question just tumbled out.
Tenzou was normally very thoughtful and planned with what he said. Kakashi, unfortunately, seemed to have the ability to make his head spin. In short, Kakashi had Tenzou wrapped around his little finger. He respected Kakashi too much to usually let something come flooding out so thoughtlessly.
Kakashi, especially without the mask covering his face, seemed thoughtful and considerate as he contemplated what Tenzou had asked him. "Well," he began, "You didn't do anything horrible, Tenzou. It's just a confusing situation." Tenzou's face betrayed him, and for once he wished he had a mask like Kakashi did to hide behind. The whole thing hurt, even though he knew it was stupid to feel pain from something like this. It was just a stupid crush. He wanted to tell Kakashi that until his sempai added very quietly, "You should never be ashamed of your feelings, Tenzou. You should always be true to them."
Tenzou bit his tongue. He knew Kakashi never lied. He was the most honest man Tenzou knew, but there was still an unshakable question he felt compelled to inquire about. "Is that how you really feel?" Tenzou asked.
"It is," Kakashi replied softly, but resolutely. The older jounin shifted on the couch, but this time Tenzou couldn't watch him or look at his face. Maybe that was why it took Tenzou by surprise when he felt warm fingers ever so gently brush against the skin of his cheek. The touch solidified as a strong hand cupped Tenzou's face. He finally found the courage to look up, only to find Kakashi staring down, only inches from Tenzou. "I told you, I'm really not good at this," Kakashi reiterated for the fourth time.
Kakashi leaned forward and clumsily pressed his lips against Tenzou's. It wasn't stellar, in fact, it was practically the furthest thing from great a kiss could get; but that was not how it felt to Tenzou. To him, Kakashi's kiss felt sweet and honest and completely heartfelt. That kiss was Kakashi.
Kakashi's mouth grew more confident as it cautiously worked over Tenzou's. It was slow and deliberate. Tenzou noticed straightaway how soft Kakashi's lips were as they moved against his. The awkward beginning gave way to sweet, leisurely advances. Teeth nipped teasingly at Tenzou's lower lip and then suckled the pain of the bites away. It almost took Tenzou's breath away when Kakashi's tongue pressed gingerly against the crevice of his mouth. Tenzou accepted the invitation to part his lips and allowed Kakashi entrance. The talented tongue swept across his own tongue and then deep into Tenzou's mouth. The younger jounin particularly liked when Kakashi added that sweet pressure by sucking on Tenzou's kiss-bruised lips and tongue. In a moment it was all finished. Kakashi and Tenzou had shared their very first kiss.
Kakashi's brows crinkled in confusion as he pulled away. "I've never kissed another man before," he admitted, his voice bordering on perplexed. "I kind of liked it."
"I haven't kissed a guy either," Tenzou agreed with an airy laugh. His heart was beating fast and hard. It was the best feeling in the world. "But it was kind of nice," he amended himself.
Tenzou swore the infamous copy-nin had the slightest flush of red splayed across his cheeks. "Yeah," Kakashi said as his eye crinkled happily, his mouth smiling just as wide as that eye of his always did, "It was nice." Kakashi reached over and laid his hand atop of Tenzou's, giving it a gentle squeeze. "I'm not making any promises, Tenzou. I'm old and stubborn. I'm also not sure how I feel about attempting a relationship with a man. And of course you know my idea of romance is purely derived from dirty novels. I'm not exactly a good catch."
Tenzou shrugged. It wasn't like he was a great catch either. He definitely had some of his own hang-ups too. Anyone who had been a lab rat as a baby, injected with someone else's DNA, forced to work in the ANBU since they were a child, and then assigned to live under an assumed identity because they were actually a top-secret DNA-spliced clone of the first hokage would undoubtedly have their own set of issues. Tenzou had qualms some days even considering himself human, but Kakashi had always stood by his side, no matter what he did or who he was. Because of that, Tenzou was willing to take whatever the copy-nin was willing to give.
Tenzou gave his sempai a quick one-over, being sure to make his mock scrutiny obvious. After a thorough inspection he told Kakashi, "I think you'll do," and pulled the other man in for a second kiss.