A/N: Something fun and light-hearted to take the place of 'Snow Day' in my Pieces arc, and also to introduce two new characters that will be appearing in the next chapter of 'Falling Like Stars'. While they're easy enough to explain there, I thought it might be fun to have them here.
Disclaimer: Kakashi, Iruka, and the Ninken belong to Kishimoto. Toshio and Kozue are mine, though.
Summary: You can choose your friends, and you can choose your mate, but you can't choose your mate's family. Silly KakaIru Pieces One-shot.
Meeting the Kids
Eight pairs of eyes, and one pair of sunglasses, looked from Iruka's face, down to his arms, and back up again. The chuunin sensei forced a kind smile onto his face, trying to pretend that being the focus of Kakashi's dogs didn't make him at all nervous.
Kakashi just leaned back deeper into the couch, a grin on his bare face. He'd warned Iruka that this probably would not end well, but the teacher seemed to think it was important, so Kakashi settled back for some very promising entertainment.
Urushi looked back at his master, teeth bared, one dark eye narrowed through the mop of white fur on his head. "He's kidding, right, pup?"
"Doesn't seem to be," Kakashi grinned all out, curved up eye and all.
Now two sets of yellow eyes were looking up at Iruka, the same question in them. Iruka could only sigh helplessly, and shrug as best he could while keeping his arms out in front of him. "I thought you guys would like to meet the rest of the family."
It wasn't clear who he was talking to, but with that statement chaos was unleashed. One of the snakes, a purplish viper looking creature that had hither too been wrapped securely around Iruka's arm, now unwrapped itself to slide up to the Chuunin's shoulder. "If you think I'm going to share you with those CREATURES, then you're sadly mistaken, Iruka-kun." The other snake, this one a dark dusky brown cobra, nodded in agreement.
All eight of the ninken whirled on Kakashi and started talking at once. "Family? He can't be serious! Those things are…" "Snakes, Kakashi, snakes!" "Did you see the way they looked at us? We look like lunch to..." "Oh, shut up, Guruko, they're not that big." "Snakes!"
The Jounin held his hand up for silence, still fighting not to laugh. "Guys, it's not like Iruka summons them much anyway. He just thought you'd like to know in case he does need them sometime." Because Iruka, unlike Kakashi, didn't summon his snakes out just for the sake of having their company; although Kakashi suspected this was more because of the prejudice that was bound to come if it was ever revealed the chuunin COULD summon snakes then a dislike for the snakes themselves. Kakashi himself had even been a little shaken by the revelation, because there were just too many bad memories associated with them.
Iruka was stroking the head of the snake that was now curled up on his shoulder. The snake had closed its eyes, looking content with the motions.
"Kozue," the chuunin shook his head fondly, obviously addressing the snake. "You know I'm not really asking your permission here."
"You never do," the snake hissed, running his head in a feline like way against Iruka's chin. It was a mildly disturbing thing to watch. "You'd get in less trouble if you asked my advice more often."
"The old man smells like the four-legs, too," Toshio, the snake still wrapped around Iruka's arm, observed.
It took Kakashi a moment to realize it was talking about him, and he sat up with an angry growl. "Hey! I'm not old!"
Toshio didn't look convinced, and neither did Kozue. Iruka used his left hand to flick Toshio on the head. "Play nice!"
Bull whimpered, looking like he wanted to jump to Iruka's rescue as the snake hissed at him in annoyance, but was too scared to. Kakashi bit his lip, trying to keep back a laugh. Bull was easily two hundred times the size of the relatively small snake—it was still about as long as Iruka's arm from nose to tip—but Bull was obviously petrified of it.
The snake on his lover's arm, Toshio, Kakashi reminded himself, unwound and dropped from Iruka's arm to the floor with a dull thud. All nine of his dogs winced in unison. The cobra then proceeded to slither towards the pack, looking amused as they took a step or two back. Toshio looked almost gleeful as he raised his front half from the floor and opened his hood. "You have a problem with us, four-legs?"
In two steps, Iruka had crossed the room, grabbed the snake by the tail, and was holding it upside-down so that he was nose-to-nose with it not a heartbeat later. From what Kakashi could tell, the snake was grinning as innocently as possible. Iruka looked distinctly unimpressed.
"I told you," Kakashi chuckled, shifting so he was now sitting cross legged on their new, quite comfortable, couch. "This isn't going to work."
Iruka shifted his glare from Toshio to Kakashi, who shrunk back slightly. That look was scary.
"Damn right it's not," Guruko growled, hackles rising as the snake in Iruka's hand twisted to look at them again. "We won't associate with anything that's belonged to Orochimaru." The others, except Pakkun, muttered their agreement.
The chuunin looked shocked, even a little hurt, by this statement. Kakashi chose to fix it by hitting his excitable little dog on the head.
Guruko yipped and looked up at his pack leader indignantly. "What was that for, kid?"
"For being an insensitive idiot," the Jounin supplied the grin on his face much more malicious then before.
"Iruka-sensei was Orochimaru's student," Pakkun supplied in a growl.
Guruko's dark brown eyes were revealed as they widened comically in shock, nearly knocking his forehead protector askew. "Oh! I-I didn't mean YOU, Iruka-sensei! You can't help who your Jounin-sensei was, and we like you! You make the kid happy." He wagged his tail apologetically.
Kakashi still thought it weird that Guruko insisted on calling him kid when the dog acted so much younger than the Jounin.
Iruka's hurt expression softened into a sad smile as he placed Toshio on the shoulder Kozue wasn't already occupying. "I appreciate that, Guruko. But you know, Toshio and Kozue don't really have a say in who signs the contract, either."
"And we don't serve that Orochimaru-bastard," Kozue snorted indignantly. "Even the Snake King doesn't like him. We serve Iruka-kun."
The ninken didn't seem to know how to respond to that. All of them would (probably) follow and order given them by the Hokage, but they were by no means obligated. They didn't even HAVE to follow Kakashi, as the Copy-nin himself remembered well from the first times he'd summoned them as a boy, but they chose to because they cared about him.
And, if the current meeting was anything to go on, it would seem that Iruka's snakes, at least, were the same.
There was a small pause, a few minutes probably, before Bisuke crawled forward on his belly, ears back and tail lowered. "Do you care about Iruka-sensei, snake-sama?"
The rest of the dogs looked a little betrayed, but the two snakes seemed pleased with the deference. Toshio playfully patted Iruka on the head with his rather long tail. "Iruka-kun is ours to protect."
"I'm not a little boy anymore, I can look after myself," the chuunin muttered. Kakashi smiled. The lack of care for age seemed to be something their summons had in common. Whether Kakashi was 5 or 50, his dogs would probably still call him pup.
This seemed to satisfy most of the dogs, and they relaxed a little. Akino tilted his head to the side, peering at the pair intently through his sunglasses. "So, what is it that you two can do?"
The snakes exchanged glances, and though Iruka let out a yelp at them to stop, the pair shot forward. They were wrapped around his dog in a blink of an eye, and though they weren't doing any harm it was easy to see how they could. Their two long bodies could crush, and Kakashi could see frighteningly shiny fangs in their mouths.
"They're fast," Pakkun grumped, looking like he wasn't sure whether to attack back or not. Bull whimpered; Kakashi took pity on him this time and starting scratching the frightened dog's head.
"We watch Iruka-kun's back when he gets in more trouble than he can handle," Kozue hissed in Akino's ear, his snake mouth turned up in an obvious grin.
"Or get me into more trouble." The chuunin grumped, holding out his arms. "Get back here."
The snakes complied, retreating to wrap around Iruka's arms again like living bracelets. The ninken let out a collective breath of relief.
Kakashi laughed at all of them, and himself a little too because he hadn't realized how tense he was while Akino was in the clutches of the pair until they had let go. "Iruka and I are going to be living together now so…" He trailed off when he realized that all the dogs had turned to stare at him with shocked expressions. "What?"
"Well, it's just that," Uuhei said, "you don't seem the type to move in with somebody, that's all."
"Meaning you're an antisocial clean freak," Shiba translated gruffly. "We're just wondering where you're going to go when Iruka-sensei kicks you out."
"I'm not going to kick him out!" Iruka protested, and glared down at the snakes on his arm to ensure they knew that he knew they'd been thinking that he should. "I love Kakashi, and I like spending time with him. He spends almost all his free time in my apartment anyway, so we thought it would be easier if we got a slightly bigger place that we could all share."
The happy little bubble that had swelled in Kakashi's chest burst as all his dogs pounced on him at once. "Does this mean we'll have to share a room with the snakes? I'm not doing it!" "I'm not sharing a room with YOU, Urushi, you smell!" "Can Iruka-sensei make us dinner?" "Snakes, Kakashi!"
Iruka and his summons stared at the chaos as Pakkun trotted over, the only dog not currently trying to get some of Kakashi's attention. He smiled, enjoying their looks of horror at the scene before them. "Welcome to the pack."