Cats, Smurfs, and Cake

Iruka sighed and tapped the eraser of his pencil against his desk, frowning. Tomorrow was his annual day off—the one day he always guaranteed to take off—and he had to figure out how to get Naruto away from Hatake Kakashi. It wasn't like he wanted to go up against the jounin, but he knew that if he didn't, Naruto would be very disappointed.

It had taken him so long to make Naruto see tomorrow as a holiday of sorts; he didn't want to make him view this day as something bad again.

Maybe… he could go talk to Kakashi and see if he would kindly give Naruto (if not all of team seven) the day off?


"You want me to do what?" Kakashi asked, raising a brow at the chuunin before him in surprise.

Iruka winced. This… was not how he wanted this to go at all. "I was wondering if maybe you could give the teen the day off tomorrow. Or!" he added quickly, seeing that the copy-nin was not taking his request well. "Or, you could just give Naruto the day off!"

"And just why should I give Naruto the day off?" The silver-haired man's voice was awfully cold.

"Because…" The brunet could just see the end of this conversation going down in flames.

"Iruka-sensei, if ninja got to take just any day off, we would be highly inefficient." Kakashi narrowed his eyes.

The younger man sighed and looked down at his leather bag, picking at some of the loose threads absently. "You're right. It was wrong of me to ask you that. Sorry for taking up your time, Kakashi-sensei."

As he began walking away from the older man, though, his warm eyes darkened angrily. He would not let this go without a fight!


Iruka frowned and crossed his arms nervously; he knew he was early—earlier than team seven—but he still didn't like waiting alone. He wondered vaguely why they chose to always meet at the bridge but quickly pushed the question to the back of his mind as he heard an excited squeal.


The academy teacher could only grunt and stumble back as he suddenly found a red and pink being attached to his person. "Ah-! Sakura, we're going to fall!"

"Oh! Sorry!" She released him quickly and smiled at him. "What are you doing here, sensei? Shouldn't you be at the academy?"

Iruka stood up straight and shrugged, smiling. "I always take today off."

Sakura's brows furrowed together in confusion. "Really? Why?"

"Don't you… know?" The brunet frowned before looking over at Naruto, who merely placed his hands behind his head and shrugged, as if unconcerned. However, he knew the look in his eyes quite well; he was disappointed. "Naruto?"

"Eh, it doesn't matter." The blond shrugged. "I'm sure they wouldn't care anyway. Besides, I already asked Kakashi-sensei if I could have the day off to spend with you, but he said no already. I guess we'll just have to spend some other day together, sensei."

Iruka scowled. So Naruto had already asked for the day off, and Kakashi hadn't told him? He must have looked like an idiot! Kakashi must have gotten a kick out of that! And he'd had the nerve to actually—

"What are you and Naruto talking about, Iruka-sensei?" Sakura asked, tilting her head and frowning; as one of the major wells of information for the gossip chain among people their age, being out of the loop did not sit well with her.

"Ah—nothing, Sakura, just—well…" He rubbed the back of his head. "Never mind."

"If you need to speak with Kakashi-sensei, he won't be here for another hour at the earliest," Sasuke informed him, smirking at the disgruntled noise his former sensei made.

"I see." He paused, then sat down on the railing of the bridge and crossed his arms, rubbing the scar over the bridge of his nose absently. "I'll wait for him, then."

At this, Team Seven immediately grew interested. Iruka was a patient man—he had to be, he was a freaking teacher—and he was endlessly kind and encouraging if someone had trouble doing something. However, you did not keep Iruka waiting. That was stupid at best and suicidal at the worst.

Suddenly, waiting hours for Kakashi-sensei didn't seem so bad.


Iruka glowered as the team's sensei finally showed up, sharply stating, "You're late."

Kakashi looked up from his book, surprised at not hearing Sakura and Naruto screaming the same statement and instead hearing it from the chunin. "…Yes."

"Why?" The brunet asked, raising an eyebrow, and his tone brooked no argument. He would hear the answer and he would hear it now.

"…Well, as I was on my way here, I saw this black cat caught in a tree," the jounin began, sighing and waving his hands dramatically. "And I thought, 'Hmm, I should help that cat.' Of course, I didn't know at the time that the cat was evil, so when I grabbed it, it began hissing and clawing at me. I let it go and began my way here again, but the damn thing wouldn't stop following me.

"I summoned my dogs to perhaps chase it away, but they were afraid of it, so Pakkun finally told me the feline was hungry and wouldn't leave until I fed it—punishment for waking it up, you see. So then I had to go find a fish for it, but it refused to eat it, and I found that it had to be the freshest fish; just caught, if you will. So then I had to go find a fishing pole and had to sit for an hour trying to catch a fish that was big enough to suit the cat's expectations. Then, as soon as it was satisfied and ran off with its fish, I came as fast as I could."

Iruka blinked at him for a moment, eyebrow still raised, before he sighed and stood up straight from leaning against the railing of the bridge. "That was elaborate, Kakashi-sensei, and I almost believed you for a moment. However, then you made a slip, and now I cannot accept your story."

"…What?" Kakashi asked in surprise, blinking at him in confusion.

"The cat did not wait for an hour for its fish; cats get bored much too easily. It ate the fish you bought it, ate all of the fish you caught, and then ran off with the big one that you caught for yourself that you planned on having for dinner since you were already fishing anyway, and you chased it for about five minutes before deciding to meet your team. That took all of thirty minutes."


When the man blinked at him again, the brunet smiled. "You see, Tomiko is my summon, and since I heard you have a tendency to be late for things, I sent him to keep an eye out for you and to come and tell me when you were on your way. He was quite disgruntled, to say the least, but he was placated by the large fish he was holding. And I must ask you not to call him evil, because he is not. Cats are just mean, and he says you smelled like dog slobber and reeked of laziness."

"…You can summon cats?" Kakashi asked in interest; as far as he knew, domestic cats were too independent and spiteful to be summoned; one who summoned them was in danger of being the target of attack themselves, so most shinobi hesitated to make pacts with them.

Iruka shrugged. "Oh, sure. His mother taught me everything I know about cats, and when he was born, I smuggled him to school with me. When he said he wanted to be a ninja, too, his mother wrote a pact for us to sign. Now I can summon him anytime I want, and I'm obligated to care for any kittens his chosen mate might have." He frowned suddenly, sending the jounin a scathing glare. "But that doesn't excuse the fact that you're late by two unexplained hours. However, I must digress. Tsunade-sama has graciously given the order for Team Seven have the day off!" He smiled brightly and clapped his hands together. "So I'll just take Naruto and go, okay? Ja ne!"

Naruto let out a sound that was akin to a 'squee' and pounced on him. "You're the best, Iruka-sensei! Let's go get ramen!"

"I already ordered it, so it should be ready to go by the time we get there," the brunet answered, smiling, as he sat the boy back on his feet and continued walking. "We'll take it to my place."

The rest of Team Seven blinked before both children suddenly turned toward their sensei. And then they darted away. Kakashi wondered what the hell that was about before he noticed that part of Iruka's chakra had not left and looked down just in time to see the exploding tag right before it combusted, immersing him in a cloud of blue smoke.

He blinked again. It hadn't hurt him. Had the chunin just meant that as a warning, or was he just really bad aim? He was warned that something was amiss when Sakura began laughing at him and grabbed her stomach, shaking with the giggles coming from her mouth. Sasuke even gave an amused smirk.

An amused Sasuke smirking never boded well.

"What?" he asked lazily, though he was internally scowling at them.

The Uchiha merely shrugged and turned to go, intent on spying on his blond teammate; he was curious as to why Naruto had asked for the day off and why Iruka had assured it happen. "Hnn."

Sakura continued laughing and pointed at him. "Ka-! Kakashi-sensei's a smurf!"

"What?" Blinking in befuddlement, the silver-haired jounin looked over his appearance. Seeing a bit of blue dust on his clothing, he turned to lean over the side of the rail to see his reflection in the water.

He was blue. His hair was tinted blue. His skin was tinted blue. His clothes were tinted blue. His weapons were tinted blue. His fucking book was tinted blue! Oh, that chunin was in for it! He'd punch him in his pretty little face!


Kakashi was surprised to find Sasuke standing on the same roof he had traveled to. "What are you doing here?"

"Hn. Same thing as you. Watching."

"I don't plan on just watching," the jounin stated, turning his glare on the Ichiraku.

The Uchiha sighed. "At least wait until they're in private. I wouldn't want anyone to see how a chunin bested my former-ANBU sensei. And I want to see why they were both so hell-bent on Naruto getting the day off that Iruka-sensei went to Tsundade-sama."

Realizing that he was actually very curious as to the reason too, Kakashi sighed and resigned himself to following the two ramen-lovers. "Fine."

They didn't have long to wait; the pair was in and out faster than you could say 'thank you for the food!' Iruka must have paid when he ordered earlier. They left the ramen joint at a run, each toting a bag full of bowls in each hand, and made their way to what they assumed was Iruka's apartment.

Hurrying to follow them, the other two shinobi bolted silently across the rooftops to catch up to them. They found the blond and brunet sprinting toward a large apartment complex. Iruka pointed to a window he'd left open and ran up the side of the building swiftly. He ducked into the window as if this was something he practiced often, then stuck his body halfway out again, grabbing the other two bags as Naruto threw them up to him before climbing the tree up to the window.

This part perplexed both Kakashi and Sasuke. They were both well aware that Naruto could have run up the side of the building as well and ducked into the window, if not as gracefully as the chunin. And the moves were fluid, practiced, and executed perfectly. It would be stupid for him to have run up the building's wall; he made it through the window a record three seconds after the older man.

Iruka hesitated in closing the window. When he heard something behind him, he turned, then nodded slowly and left it propped open a little.

They needed to get closer if they wanted to discover what the whole secret was. Luckily, instead of using the tree—they would expect eavesdroppers to do that, because it was so easy—they could crouch on a lip of bricks outside the window and peek in.


Iruka made his way from the window and sat down at the table that Naruto had set with cups and chopsticks. He couldn't help a rueful smile as he saw Naruto pouring his bowl of ramen out of the styrofoam bowl it came in and into a yellow plastic one with little orange foxes marching around in a single line just beneath the rim. He'd already poured the brunet's into a blue plastic bowl with dolphins leaping just beneath the rim. A third bowl was placed on the side facing away from the window, green this time, with a row of kittens pouncing on mice. A forth bowl was placed opposite that, red, with a row of dango-toting puppies.

Okay, so they were bowls for children, but they were cute and perfect for lifting their spirits and picking fun at each other.

He looked up as his door slammed open and couldn't help a smile. "You're late. Perhaps you're picking some things up off of Kakashi-sensei?"

"Aw, go to hell," Anko replied, flipping her bangs out of her eyes as she placed a box on the counter, before she ruffled the blond's hair on her way to the seat with the red bowl. "Heya, kiddo. What kind of ramen did you get me?"

"Something spicy," Naruto replied, smiling.

She shot him a dirty look but smirked. "You smart ass."

"I got you sweet and sour chicken, Anko," Iruka sighed, rolling his eyes, but sat down in front of the blue bowl. Naruto sat down in front of the yellow one. It took a few minutes, but finally, their forth guest arrived.

The black cat sprang onto the table in front of the green bowl and sniffed deeply before letting his breath out in a big sigh, a goofy smile coming to his face. "Ah, shrimp ramen."

Naruto frowned at him before pouting and crossing his arms. "You could at least say 'hi' first, Tomiko! And didn't you eat a boatload of fish before you came?"

Tomiko turned to the boy and raised a furry brow. "What? You're here?"

"I'll kill ya!"

Iruka sighed and forced the blond back into his seat. "No killing each other at the dinner table!"

Anko frowned. "Aw, come on. That looked like a good fight."

"…I'll never cook for you again," the brunet stated, shooting her a glare.

At this, she sighed, before the three humans clapped their hands together (the feline clapped his paws as well, though it looked strange), and they all exclaimed, "Thank you for the food!"

The humans ate at a rapid pace, dumping bowl after styrofoam bowl into their plastic ones once they'd finished the first ones. The cat followed at a more sedate pace, but it only had one bowl, so perhaps it was to savor…? Ah, hell, that cat was eating fast; he just looked better doing so.

Once all of the ramen had been eaten (there had been some exchanges made during the meal, though Anko refused to touch any spicy beef ramen and had nailed Naruto in the head with a piece of the meat after he'd accidentally traded one with her), the group settled back in their chairs. Or, in Tomiko's case, he laid out on the table for some (what he believed) well-deserved tummy rubs. Anko obliged.

Naruto let out a burp and sighed in satisfaction. "Excuse me."

"Hmm, you're excused," Iruka replied lazily; after so much good food in such a good meal, he felt tired. He frowned a little. "Hey, Anko, I haven't seen you in the mission's office lately, but I heard you were off on a few missions. Where were you?"

"Tch, I got finished with all three of them in two days," she mumbled, rolling her eyes. "So much for A-rank. Academy students could have completed them."

The brunet chuckled softly. "Not at the rate they're going. Some of them would have trouble with D-rank missions, they're so bad. I swear, some of them are worse than Naruto was."

"Hey!" Naruto squawked, scowling as the two adults laughed. He pouted and crossed his arms. "Well, I'm better now! I almost beat Sasuke-bastard in sparring yesterday!"

"Aw, come on, Naruto. You don't hate him that much," the chunin sighed, rolling his eyes as well, and one could see how he and Anko had been friends for a while. "Really, you say he's your best friend."

"Doesn't mean I don't want to be better than him!" the blond retorted, sticking his tongue out at him.

Anko blew a raspberry. "Oh, please. You're just trying to hide the fact that you like him."

The blond looked horrified. "I am not!"

"Yes you are. You want to date him, and marry him, and have his babies," she began, ticking off a finger for each statement.

"Is that the guy that's always with the dog-slobber man?" Tomiko asked, looking appalled. "I vote for no! Naruto can find a better mate!" He sniffed indignantly. "Like that Shikamaru character. I wouldn't mind him."

"That's because he's lazy, like you," the kunoichi replied.

Naruto took that moment to explode at them. "I'm not gay! And even if I was, who would want me, huh?!" His angry expression sobered into a hurt and sad one. "…It's just giving the village another reason to hate me…"

"Oh, Naruto, it is not," Iruka sighed, pulling him into a hug.

Anko gave him an affectionate noogie. "Yeah! Besides, if this village had anything against gay people, they wouldn't like Iruka so much!"

"Anko!" the brunet exclaimed, glaring at her.

Naruto frowned thoughtfully. "Yeah, I guess that's true."

"And besides, I don't hate you. And if anyone says anything bad about you or gay people, I'll just stab 'em with a kunai!" she added brightly.

The blond winced a little. "Um… thanks, I guess."

"You're welcome." She smiled at him, then looked over at the box she'd left on the counter. "Who wants cake and ice-cream?"

"Ugh, I could use a break from food for a few minutes," Iruka muttered, sighing. "Maybe later."

"May I open my presents?" Naruto asked, leaning back from the hug he'd been pulled into. "I promise I'll clean up the wrapping!"

"Weeell…" The chunin tapped his chin in mock thought, eyes glittering with amusement as the blond's bottom lip began to jut out, prepared to make a puppy dog expression if he had to. "I suppose."

The blond cheered and ran to get his gifts from the coffee table as Iruka stood to clear the styrofoam bowls into the garbage. Anko helped to clean off the table by grabbing the chopsticks and plastic bowls and placing them in the sink to do later, after the cake and ice-cream. It would be easier to do everything all at once. And she had a better chance of the chunin helping her then, too.

Bringing over three brightly wrapped gifts, Naruto cheerfully sat down in his seat and began kicking his legs back and forth, waiting for both adults to sit back down before he started. Tomiko jumped from the table and soon returned with another small gift, the ribbons clenched in his mouth. He dropped his gift among the others and sat down, curling his tail around his feet, and waited patiently for the blond to open his gifts.

Once everyone was seated again, Naruto grabbed the one from Tomiko, genuinely wondering what the cat would get him. "It's not anything that used to be living, right? That mouse you gave me that one time was kind of gross."

"I knew you liked food; it hadn't occurred to me that you wouldn't like mice," the feline answered coolly, tail twitching. He was still a little miffed that his gift had gone unappreciated that year. However, he'd been given the mouse to eat for himself, so he really couldn't complain; that was one damn good mouse, if he did say so himself.

The blond let the paper fall away and tilted his head, then smiled. "Is this a picture of you as a baby, Tomiko?"

The black cat folded his ears back and looked away, appearing embarrassed. "I know how much you like baby animals, so…"

"Aw, you were so cute!" the boy cooed, reaching out to pet him. "How could such a tiny little cutie turn into a big mean tomcat like you?"

"Excuse me?!" Tomiko exclaimed, ears twisting backward for a new, more violent reason.

Iruka caught him as he stood and pulled him into his lap, petting him soothingly. "Open your other gifts."

The blond smiled brightly, pleased that he'd gotten away with the slight tease, then turned to the large gift in front of him. "Who's this from?"

"Tsunade-sama sent it home with me from the mission room yesterday," the chunin explained, smiling. "She was adamant you have it."

"From Tsunade-baasan?" Naruto asked in wonder, ripping the paper away. He smiled ecstatically when he found a huge, economy size box of ramen. "Ah, Tsunade-baasan! She's the best!" He squealed as he found a ticket for an all-you-can-eat meal at Ichiraku's on top, along with a card saying 'happy birthday, brat.' "Squee!"

Anko frowned and looked up at her friend, pouting a little. "How are we supposed to top that?"

"Praying?" Iruka guessed, shrugging helplessly.

"I'm sure I'll like your gifts, too!" the blond added quickly. When he only received skeptical looks, he scowled. "I will! Just watch!"

He tore into Anko's gift next, and was delighted to find a fox plushie with five all-you-can-eat tickets for Ichiraku attached to a ribbon around its neck and sitting atop a package of new, sharp kunai. "Thank you, Anko-neesan!"

She waved it away, though she wore a pleased smile. "Anything for you, kiddo. Just paying you back for the stuffed dango you got me."

"He made that himself you know," Iruka stated as the blond carefully set the gift on top of the one from Tsunade.

The jounin's eyes widened. "No! Naruto? I didn't know he could sew!"

"He made me that dolphin plush, too."

The kunoichi made a squeak. "Oooh! Now I want a puppy plushie so I can put my dango with it!" she squealed, turning to Naruto quickly. "Like on my bowl!"

"Um… okay," the genin replied, frowning, before tearing into the gift from his favorite sensei. He smiled brightly as he found the package contained a new plastic bowl—orange, this time, and with a row of green frogs hopping around the rim. Inside the bowl was a little fox statue, asleep in some old leaves that had fallen to the ground.

He may have hated the fox gag-gifts he used to get—some even with the foxes mutilated and torn—but he adored the ones from his family-figures. They were always in one piece and cute, and they reminded him that even though he was the Kyuubi's container, they still loved him. And that's what he cared about most.

"So who's ready for cake?" Anko asked, standing up and clapping her hands together. "'Cause I know I am!"

"I'll take some now," Iruka replied, smiling.

Naruto tilted his head. "May I have three scoops of ice-cream with my cake?"

She raised an eyebrow at him. "…And what do we say…?"

He blinked at her for a minute, confused, before he smiled innocently. "Please!"

"Of course you can, birthday-boy," the kunoichi stated, smiling, then suddenly turned and walked toward the window she'd been facing. She opened the window and leaned outside, looking to the right and left inquisitively. "You guys want some cake to—"

Iruka frowned in concern as she cut herself off, laughing, and immediately leaned back inside the window to rest against the wall so she wouldn't fall down. "Anko…?"

"Kakashi-!" She stopped to let out a burst of guffaws, then continued. "Kakashi looks like a smurf!"

The chunin paled as the jounin sensei climbed in through his window, followed immediately by Sasuke. He hadn't expected to see Kakashi for a few days—until he turned in his mission—and thought he'd be a little cooled down. However, the man was glaring at him, and had his arms crossed, and was tapping his foot on the ground expectantly—

Kakashi wouldn't kill him, would he? Not with three witnesses!

…That… he could kill just as easily…

He smiled nervously. "K-Kakashi-sensei! What a surprise!"

"Is it? You must have known we were there, just like Anko had," Kakashi stated, his voice in a deep monotone that didn't reveal his feelings. "Could you please tell me why I'm blue, sensei?" This was not a request. It was an order.

In any other situation, that question might have been funny, Iruka thought dimly. "…Well, when you have an exploding tag—"

"Because Kakashi-sensei deserved it!" Naruto spat, getting between his former and his current teachers. He glared at the silver-haired man angrily. "Now get the hell out! You're ruining my birthday party!"

At this, both Sasuke and Kakashi glanced around in surprise. They had suspected as much, but… it wasn't much of a party. Where were Naruto's friends? Surely he had more than Sakura and Sasuke, but—and why hadn't they been informed?

Naruto got Sasuke and Sakura gifts for their birthdays. Sasuke got Sakura a gift too, as she'd gotten a gift for him. Hell, they'd even all pinched in and gotten Kakashi a new Icha Icha book for his birthday! So why hadn't it occurred to them that Naruto never received anything?

…Were they really that selfish?

"We have a birthday party hear every year so that the villagers can't get to Naruto," Anko stated, sounding as if she was stating a law that had just been broken. In her eyes, maybe one had been broken. "Iruka found him outside the Ichiraku when he was seven, wanting to go in, but knowing he couldn't because the other villagers would just scream at him and chase him out. Of course, since Iruka's such a softie, he grabbed the little guy's hand and brought him in when he was supposed to meet me.

"We adopted him as our little brother, since none of us have families, and have protected him from the village. Every year during the festival—that in fact starts tonight—Naruto stays here, unless we escort him out to enjoy the fireworks. Even then, some people try to take shots at him." She frowned, sighing softly. "The hokage has given us plenty of scolding about that. So." She shot the newcomers a glare. "If you're only here to make trouble for Iruka or Naruto, I'm afraid I'll have to toss you out the window from whence you came."

There was silence for a few minutes before Kakashi turned to Iruka and, biting his tongue, bowed to him. "Excuse me for the intrusion. May I use your bathroom to wash this off?"

"You'll have to beat it out of your clothes, or else it's going to dye it," the chunin stated, blushing and rubbing the back of his head. "And brush it out of your hair. It only washes off skin."

Again, that blasted silence. The jounin blinked for a moment, then nodded thoughtfully. "That's clever. You're a tricky little chunin, aren't you?" he asked, placing his fists on his hips, before looking around. "Where would one find the bathroom of your lovely apartment?"

The brunet blinked at him in surprise. "Uh… down the hall and to the left. There should be a brush near the sink."

"Thank you." And he disappeared down the hall.

The group looked back to Sasuke, who was shifting from foot to foot. Of course, he wasn't nervous. He would never be nervous. He was an Uchiha, and Uchihas didn't get nervous.

"…Sasuke?" Iruka asked quietly, and the boy looked up at him like a deer caught in the headlights. "…Would you like some cake?"

"I… didn't bring a gift. I didn't know," the raven-haired boy answered, just as quietly if not quieter, and looked down at his feet. "Excuse me for the intrusion. I didn't… I…"

Naruto tilted his head, and decided he didn't like this new, timid Sasuke at all. He marched up to him and grabbed his wrist, dragging him to the table. "Sasuke-bastard wants three scoops, too!"

"Ah, I don't like ice-cream, moron!"

"Then you can give it to me! I like ice-cream!"

Anko blinked, then smiled and looked at her friend. "Disaster averted, sir."

Iruka groaned and put a hand to his head. "The next time I get the bright idea to prank a jounin, stab me with a kunai, okay?"

Her smile brightened. "Will do, Iruka-chaaan!"

"…I don't like you when you get happy at the idea of violence," the brunet stated truthfully, walking back to the table. "Let's have cake."

Anko grabbed the box she'd brought in and set in on the table in front of the birthday boy. "Aaand this year's cake looks like-!"

Naruto gasped as the lid was lifted off. "Mina! Look, sensei! She even got her colors right!"

"Am I good, or am I good?" the kunoichi asked, mentally patting herself on the back for her baking prowess.

Iruka smiled. "You're good, Anko. Now stop being full of yourself."

"What? Never!" she cried, glaring at him playfully, before beginning to cut into the goldfish-shaped cake and serving a piece to each person, while Iruka placed scoops of ice-cream next to them.

He couldn't help but smile as Sasuke grimaced and hurriedly shoved his ice-cream onto Naruto's plate before he looked up at Anko. "Is Kakashi having cake and ice-cream?"

She tilted her head, humming in thought, before turning and shouting, "OI! KAKASHI! DID YA WANT CAKE?!"

"Oh my God—You didn't have to yell!" he hissed, glaring at her and hoping the neighbors wouldn't mind.

There was a pause before the jounin came trotting out, wearing his pants, mask, and hitai-ate, but nothing else. "Is it chocolate?"

Anko blinked as her friend turned red and immediately looked down at the gallon of ice-cream in front of him before her lips twisted into a grin. "Chocolate."

"Sure. No ice-cream, please. I find I'm a bit… ice-cream challenged."

Naruto frowned at him. "How the hell can you be 'ice-cream challenged?' Ya just scoop it up into your mouth."

Kakashi pulled at his mask by way of answer, then suddenly turned to Iruka and leaned down. "Did I get it all out?"

"Uh…?" The brunet blushed again, slightly disoriented. What was he being asked? He decided no one could blame him for being distracted by a half-naked Kakashi. What was he talking about…? Oh! The blue dye! "Um, yes? Yes, it's all out."

"Thanks." He reached out for the piece of cake being offered to him and sat down. Noticing the chunin's stare, he added, "I would have put on my shirt, but I only had time to shake out my pants before something screeched at me."

"I did not screech!" Anko exclaimed indignantly, looking quite put out.

Kakashi put a hand to his ear. "Wait, there it was again. Did you hear it?"

The kunoichi was spinning that cake cutter a lot like a kunai, Iruka noticed… He snatched it out of her hand and shoved her into the remaining seat. "Sit. Stay. Eat."

She shot the other jounin a glare as her friend scooped some ice-cream onto her plate. "You're lucky he thinks you're sexy or I'd 've thrust that blade through your good eye!"

"Just shut up and eat!" Iruka exclaimed, blushing again and looking away from both jounin, even though they both look quite pleased with his embarrassment.

Naruto tilted his head. "Iruka-sensei? Do you like Kakashi-sensei?"

"Why would I-!? Why would you-?! You're all against me!" he exclaimed in frustration, to which the adults just chuckled and the teens blinked.

"…Are you gonna eat your ice-cream?" the blond asked after a few moments of awkward silence (other than the adults chuckling, but he could tell it was at Iruka's expense).

"…Yes, Naruto, I'm going to eat my ice-cream," he sighed, lifting his plate and beginning to eat his cake.

Anko turned toward the blond and smiled brightly. "So! Naruto! What are our plans for the night?"

Naruto tilted his head thoughtfully. "Hmm… I figure I'll just stay here. I can see the fireworks from the window. You guys can go to the festival if you want."

"I don't want to leave you here alone," Iruka began, but was surprised when Sasuke finally spoke up again.

"I'll stay with him. I'm not interested in going to the festival this year." He grimaced. "All of the girls try to get me to go on the Ferris wheel with them."

The blond looked delighted. "Hear that! Sasuke'll stay with me! You don't have to worry about me, sensei!"

He could see the good intention in the Uchiha's eyes. Sighing, the brunet smiled and nodded wearily. "Alright."

Kakashi tapped his fingers on the table absently, plate miraculously clean and mask in place. He ignored the fact that he was being gawked at and looked up at Iruka. "Say, sensei, if you're not going to be busy, perhaps we could go to the festival together."

"Ooh, is Kakashi-kun trying to get some?" Anko asked, grinning, but dropped the jovial expression when the blond across from her blinked innocently.

"Trying to get some what? I'm sure Iruka-sensei would be happy to help him get whatever it is." He smiled and looked up at his beloved former sensei. "Right, Iruka-sensei?"

The academy teacher blushed and looked down at his plate, trying to ignore the fact that Anko had just dug him into a hole; neither of them had given Naruto the sex talk yet, and they weren't looking forward to it, either. "I… would love to help you find what you're trying to get, Kakashi-sensei," he sighed finally, but did not look up from picking at his food.

The jounin smiled brightly. "Great! I'll pick you up at six, hmm?" He reached over to ruffle Naruto's hair. "Happy birthday, Naruto."

"Thank you!" the boy replied, before the crazy man disappeared in a puff of smoke.

Iruka shot Anko a glare. "You. Are. Dead."

"I didn't mean anything by it I swear!" she exclaimed, before diving out of her seat. The cake knife embedded itself in the chair, knocking it over with the force of the man's throw. She squealed and ran out of the room. "Iruka wait let's talk this out!"

"Dead!" he roared, reaching into the sink for all of the chopsticks, and chased after her, ready to impale her with their eating utensils.

Sasuke watched them for a few seconds, then looked at the blond and raised an eyebrow. "What are they doing?"

"Apparently, they used to do it all the time when they were kids," Naruto answered, shrugging. "They were in the same class at academy. Anko says that Iruka-sensei had a temper even then, too."


This was so awkward. He really didn't know what to say. Kakashi had picked him up (even Anko had been unnerved when he'd been on time) and they'd gone to the festival. They didn't really talk much. Kakashi apparently didn't have much to say and Iruka felt like he was only amusing the other man when he spoke.

So they were both silent, and the only thought going through Iruka's head was, 'Awwwkward turtle!' He blamed his students. They'd been the ones saying 'awkward turtle' whenever there was a dull moment in class.

Placing his hands behind his head, he sighed. "Awkward turtle…"


The brunet blushed and squeaked. Had he really just said that out loud? "Uh…"

"What did you say?" Kakashi asked, turning to look at the younger man.

Iruka blushed even more and quickly brought his hands from behind his head, rubbing the scar over the bridge of his nose anxiously. "Uh… I said 'awkward turtle.'"

"'…Awkward turtle,'" he repeated, raising an eyebrow. "What does that mean?"

The brunet laughed a little and rubbed the back of his head. "Well, the students at the academy do it whenever there's an awkward silence or a dull moment. I guess I just picked it up from them."

The jounin smiled a little. "So which is this? Awkward or dull?"

"I wouldn't call it dull," Iruka replied shrugging slightly. "I'm too nervous for it to be dull."

Kakashi tilted his head. "Nervous? What are you nervous for?"

What was it Sandaime had said when he had something on his mind but was too afraid to say it aloud? If there's an elephant in the room, introduce him [1]?

Turning toward the older man, he crossed his arms and sighed. "What are your intentions for me, Kakashi-sensei?" he asked bluntly. He was tired and anxious as hell; he didn't want to beat around the bush.

The jounin blinked before smiling. "Iruka-sensei, I want to date you."

"…Ha…?" Iruka blinked. Surely he couldn't have heard that right! "…What?"

"I said that I want to date you," Kakashi repeated, nodding to himself. "Because everyone else seems to love you, so I decided to get to know you more."

"Everyone else?! Who the hell is everyone else!?" the brunet exclaimed, blushing when some mothers of young children shot him dirty looks for saying such a bad word within hearing distance of the minors' ears.

The older man hummed softly and began ticking off on his fingers. "Raidou, Genma, Asuma, Kurenai, Gai, Hayate, Anko, Naruto, Sasuke, Sakura, and basically just about any student—and parents of those students—that you've had. Ever."

The chunin could only blink at him for a moment before answering, "Oh."


Iruka jumped a little and quickly shook himself back out of his thoughts. "So, what?"

"So, can I date you?" Kakashi asked, tilting his head.

He looked like a curious puppy, the brunet decided, and sighed. At least he liked puppies. "I guess, if you want to."

"Great!" The silver-haired man smiled cheerfully, then suddenly sobered. "But no more of that blue dye, alright?"

Deciding that if Kakashi was serious he'd have to get used to his playful side, Iruka shrugged and began walking again. "That's alright. I've got pink and green dye, too."

"…Hey. Wait a minute!" the jounin exclaimed, and the brunet squeaked and ran off. He paused in thought. Well, he could certainly see where Naruto got his prankster qualities. Hmm… Well, at least it made for interesting conversation.

And he wouldn't mind being pranked if he got to see the man blush like that again.

So, what else was he to do? He ran after the chunin, intent on tickling the locations of such dyes out of him so they could not be used on him.


[1] This is a quote from Randy Pausch, from The Last Lecture. If you don't know what it is, Google it. I enjoyed it. :3

Also, I know, terrible ending, and there wasn't even much romance. But still, you must have enjoyed it enough to read it to the end, right?