A/N: And yes, here's the final chapter. I'm starting on the sequel, so I hope I would be able to start posting the first chapter by tomorrow or the day after. Thanks to all your support during the progress of this story and I hope that this chapter will somehow lighten the angst in previous chapters. Thanks, you guys! And I look forward to your feedbacks for the sequel as well.
Chapter 25: Will You?
Tsunade sighed heavily as she looked at the group standing in front of her desk.
"I'm sorry, Kakashi. I should have been more alert about this."
Kakashi shrugged. "No harm done."
"Not yet." The blond lady glared. "If you had come to me any later, you would be suffering worse damages. In the worst case, you could die!"
"Wait, let me get this clear. So the cause of the memory loss wasn't that foreign drug?" Anko asked incredulously.
"Not totally. From the lab results, it seems that the effects were only temporal. After a while, it will just dissipate from the blood. My guess is that, this drug is used against enemy shinobi who are on spying missions, to prevent them from bringing out a village's information back to their own territory. Thus, when they come in contact with it, they will lose their memories. By the time they recover from it after a month, the information that they have would have already become obsolete." Tsunade sighed tiredly. "I think that is the reason why there isn't a cure available. The drug doesn't last long enough for researchers to find one."
"In other words……" Raidou raised an eyebrow.
"The memory loss was caused by the medications that Kitou prescribed for Kakashi. Since that drug which Kakashi previously came in contact with had already repressed his memories and made his brain cells inactive, the medications only serves as an additional suppressant to prevent him from remembering things. Even when the drug cleared eventually, the pills were able to keep Kakashi's mind in a dormant state." Tsunade shook her head.
"I guess we should have brought this up the very first time we noticed something was out of place. But we didn't, thinking that it was normal. So, we are partly at fault too, Tsunade-sama." Genma scratched his head.
"Nobody would have expected Kitou to give that kind of a medication to Kakashi-san." Shizune tried to reassure them.
"Perhaps they won't know. But I'm a medic-nin. I should have discovered this earlier. Especially with Kakashi-sensei's strange outbursts. I should have taken a look at his medications when I was at his house." Sakura bit her bottom lip. "I'm sorry."
"It's not your fault, Sakura." Tsunade waved her hand. "Like what Shizune said, nobody expected him to do such a thing."
"So what kind of medications were those exactly?" Asuma folded his arms.
"Medications for patients with mental issues. Usually used for breakdowns, schizophrenia, overly-stressful or anxiety cases and such. These medications are used to suppress their over-active brain cells and keep them from imagining too much. That's why, when Kakashi took it, he was feeling tired most of the time, because the medication was shutting down his body to make him stop thinking and take more rest."
"However, the pills will make a person restless if he is not getting enough sleep to let the medicine do its work and calm the nerves. And that's the reason why, Kakashi wasn't able to keep his own control over his emotions and is always irritated and having all those major mood swings."
"And the violence tendencies come with it?" Yamato frowned.
"The violence tendency is a side effect that arises because of over dosage." Tsunade growled as she was reminded just how close Kakashi had been to being damaged permanently. "God damn it. Kitou was really trying to kill him. Giving him so many different kinds of pills."
"Geez… Kakashi-sensei, I'm sorry for thinking you were a jerk. That wasn't even your fault." Naruto scratched his head sheepishly.
"Iruka, are you alright?" Tsunade stared at the chunin, who had been quiet throughout the whole exchange.
"Y…… Yes." Iruka stared at the floor. Tsunade sighed.
"Alright, all of you, get out of my office. I want to talk to Kakashi and Iruka in private."
"Eh?" Anko blinked. "Can't we listen in?"
"No." Tsunade snapped. "Do you understand what it means by 'in private'? That means, no outsiders allowed! Now, go!"
Grumbles of discontents were heard. But all of them made their way out, not wanting to incur the wrath of the sannin. Finally, when Shizune stepped out of the room and closed the door behind her, Tsunade looked at the two men and stretched herself.
"You know, it's been such a hectic day. I'm tired. So, I'm going for my dose of sake. The two of you can talk things out now without disruptions." Tsunade stood from her seat. "But please refrain from damaging anything in my room."
"There isn't much to talk about, is there?" Kakashi frowned. Iruka looked at him, open-mouthed. And then he turned away despondently.
"There's plenty to say, brat." Tsunade glared. "I believe you still need to apologize for that punch."
Kakashi sighed. The day just got longer. Tsunade waved to them as she walked towards the door. "Take your time."
The door slammed shut. Silence hung in the air. Kakashi looked at Iruka, who was still staring at the floor. He sighed again.
During the last few days, when he had been able to think from a clearer point of view, he had to admit that he had treated the chunin pretty unfairly. Even though he didn't remember who Iruka was, it just wasn't like him to hurl such abuse at a fellow shinobi.
And not to mention that he had in fact, had some flashes of memories of the time he had spent with Iruka. Perhaps, it was time that he started sorting out his thoughts.
He knew he owe Iruka an apology and at the most, hope that they would be able to get along fine if they ever have to work together in the future.
Kakashi cleared his throat. "Iruka-san, I'm sorry. For all those things I've said and for attacking you the other night. You don't deserve all those and I can only apologize for what I have done." He ran a hand through his unruly silver locks. "If there's anything I can do to make it up, tell me. I will do what is within my means."
Before the jounin could even blink, he had his arms full of a sobbing chunin.
"I'm sorry, Kakashi. It's my fault that you were taking all those medications for such a long time. The very first time you questioned Kitou about the change in prescriptions, I should have taken notice and check with Hokage-sama on it. But I didn't and I told you to go along with those prescriptions. Anko is right. I just trust people too easily. And because of that, I almost got you killed. This is all my fault."
Kakashi stilled. He blinked a few times, trying to register what was going on. And then, as he stared at Iruka who was wrapping his arms tightly around the jounin's waist and crying into the broad shoulders, he wondered what to say to comfort the distraught man.
A wave of familiarity washed through him. This scene looks familiar to him, like he had done this so many times before, except that this time, he didn't know what to say.
Without thinking, he wrapped his arms around Iruka to pull him closer. He didn't say anything, just stroking the chunin's back soothingly.
Iruka buried his face deeper into Kakashi's shoulder as he clung on tighter. He didn't know what had gotten into him to give him the courage to hug his lover. He just knew that he needed some form of comfort at that point in time. And he was surprised that Kakashi didn't shove him away like he usually did.
And he didn't want to let go, knowing if he does, Kakashi would definitely push him away again. He couldn't be bothered if Kakashi was just sympathizing with his anguish or that the jounin had finally managed to recall something. He doesn't even dare to hope that his lover had finally started to remember him. All he was aware of was that this time, it was Kakashi holding him and he would hang on to it for as long as he can, because he didn't know when will be the next time he gets to relish in this familiar warmth again.
The two stood there, in each other's arms, until Kakashi felt the chunin calming down and the hitching in Iruka's breath began to soften. The older man let out an inaudible sigh and started to pull away.
His vest had a dark stain from where the chunin's tears had fell. The copy nin merely sighed and released his hold on the younger man, looking at him.
"Are you alright?" Kakashi asked uncertainly, still feeling a little weird from the close contact.
Iruka closed his eyes and nodded, trying to keep the memory of the warmth from a moment ago. "I'm sorry." He mumbled.
Kakashi eyed him for a moment before shrugging. "It's not your fault. Don't worry about it. I'm still alive."
Iruka looked up. Kakashi flinched inwardly when he met the teary eyes. Somehow, those eyes struck a chord in him. He shifted awkwardly and looked away.
"Well, if there's nothing else, I will be making a move." Kakashi shoved his hands into his pocket and turned towards the door. As he placed his hand on the knob to turn it, Iruka spoke again.
"Kakashi." The soft, almost desperate voice made Kakashi's heart clenched. "Now that everything has been cleared, will you remember me?"
The jounin froze in his steps. He closed his eyes and swallowed subconsciously. Then, before he could even process his brain for an answer, he spoke.
"I promise I will."
Thanks to all of you for reviewing this story.
Special thanks to Ryu Earth, XxxblackpearlxxX, Serenityof the matrix, DevilishDeity, ChibiOokamiGirl, Sonar, DarkAngelJudas, Arukas Sato, jazzy2may,Ally Plz and KakashiKrazed for following all my stories till now.
And thanks to ninbunny alchemist, RetickLover, erobern, Lugga, primaaryet, The Silver Spork, XimeB, iNsAnE nO bAkA, Heihachi-Katayama, Maeva83, J o o n g S t a r r, Dancing Roses and Sunny Rain, AngelinaIraki17, Mirai-Kung, Kitkat973, mnmonroe, Julieanna333, mini-kero, eve, Googledi, aoh, kyela, meshalaX, Khirruy. Thanks for following this story till the end. It's nice reading all your reviews. I'm sorry if I haven't been able to answer some of your questions.
Sorry if I missed out anyone. But, I still do appreciate all those feedbacks you have provided.
To meshalaX: Yup, I guess perhaps in this story, the bond between Kakashi and Iruka weren't really clear and thus, wasn't able to explain why Iruka found it so hard to give up. But in the sequel, there will be some insights on the stuff that Kakashi did when they were together. I can't promise on a prequel, but I will keep it in mind and if I find the right inspiration, I may just write it. ^_^