AN: So I tried to hold off 'til Saturday, because I have an updating policy that hadn't been met, but I just got too impatient and chapter four was short anyway, so...
Okay, I just wanted to acknowledge a concern brought up in one of my reviews. I can't say I'm glad someone brought it up, 'cause it's the sort of thing authors hope their readers will ignore, but the reviewer did have a point. Unfortunately, I'll have to talk about it at the end of the chapter in order to not ruin the beginning.
By the way. This is the last chapter of Pieces. Don't worry though. I'll be putting up some sort of sequel. Details of such are in the end note.
The first thing Iruka noticed when he came to was a rather intense but dull ache in the back of his head. He had experienced this sort of headache before and hoped that dizziness wouldn't accompany the sudden wave of nausea that hit him as he dashed to the bathroom.
After emptying his stomach of its meager contents - damn, when was the last time he ate? - Iruka stood and leaned his head against the cold glass of the mirror. How the hell had he hit the back of his head?
He remembered slipping off the armchair for some reason…
It all came crashing back to him when he noticed another face reflected in the mirror.
"I want you."
Ignoring that for now…
"How'd I hit my head?" Iruka asked, trying his damnedest to keep his voice calm.
Kakashi, mask back in place, gave Iruka what was probably a sheepish grin; he had to guess because all he had to go on was the curve of Kakashi's visible eye and how he was scratching his jaw nervously.
"Well… that's sort of my fault. When you fainted and slipped, I grabbed you and you lashed out. Instinct, I suppose."
Iruka, now carefully feeling the bump on the back of his head, sent a sharp look at the Copy-Nin's reflection.
"So I lashed out and you hit me over the head?"
"Aah- not quite. I sort of, um, dropped you."
Kakashi beamed then, his eyes turning into happy crescents.
"You dropped me?" Iruka asked, not quite believing that.
The jounin nodded happily.
"And I hit my head?"
"On the coffee table."
Iruka stared into his own confused brown eyes.
"On the coffee table," he repeated, not sure if he believed this situation.
"That's when you woke up, too," Kakashi offered, as if that would help matters. "I think I frightened you. Your own fault, you're the one that asked."
"Right," Iruka muttered, more to himself than Kakashi. He'd asked.
"I want you."
Kakashi had frightened him. He didn't know what those words meant and it really couldn't be anything good.
"I'm really not anything special," Iruka found himself blurting out. He refused to look straight at Kakashi so he was stuck with the mirror image of the man's reaction.
It wasn't much of a reaction, but the status quo was worse than change would have been at the moment.
"Really," Iruka replied. "That thing with the mask? That was just instinct too- that, and a bit of luck. And me catching you on the sly? That was a convenient prank. Nothing more."
Kakashi was leaning against the door frame now, looking rather unimpressed.
"You expect me to believe that a chuunin could trick an ANBU with a prank?"
Iruka shrugged. He was at a loss for what to do. He was itching to open the mirror cabinet at pull out some pain killers to stop the pounding in his head, but then he would loose sight of Kakashi. And that could be disastrous.
Instead, he braced himself against the sink, not sure why he felt the need to do so but thinking it would help.
"Yes. It was a stupid prank that I had set up for Anko because she broke my old couch with a trap she set in my living room. I made a weak henge of my old couch and set up traps around the room so no one would notice it. I figured you didn't really want to hurt me, so if I ran straight for you, you'd either dodge and I'd hit the couch or you'd throw me on it. When I hit it, the henge released into that cloud of smoke and I used that as a cover."
He rolled his shoulders backwards and then let them fall slack again in a tense shrug.
"Just a very convenient prank that you weren't expecting. I'm good at surprising people, but I'm not anything special, really. I can only ever surprise someone for the first couple of weeks anyway. Apparently, if you know me, I become predictable."
Kakashi didn't believe that for even half of a second.
"That doesn't change my answer," Kakashi intoned.
"It will," Iruka said, "in time."
"Probably. But for now, I want you. It's as simple as that."
At that, Iruka spun around. He sprung backwards - though he only went a couple of inches as the sink refused to let him just sink through it - upon seeing how close Kakashi suddenly was.
He knew he couldn't take his eyes off him… even for a half second…
He floundered for a moment before remembering himself.
"I'm not having sex with you."
Kakashi blinked, clearly surprised, and would have repeated that barking laugh again if Iruka didn't look like he was afraid to be pushed against the wall right then and there.
"Of course you won't!" Kakashi exclaimed instead, making his tone as cheerful as possible. "You seem to be close to the Third and if he found out I deflowered his sixteen-year-old chuunin, it'd be nothing but rank D missions for the next year- if he doesn't just throw me in jail for a couple months to let me think about who I'd done."
Iruka didn't have the presence of mind to become enraged at the use of the word who instead of what. He was too busy being enraged at something else in that statement.
Kakashi reeled back, stunned at the outburst. Iruka had been practically quivering moments before…
"Well, that is one of the acceptable terms for taking someone's virginity, yes," Kakashi explained slowly, wondering where he'd lost the other nin.
"Deflowering is for kunoichi and gardens! I'm no woman, Hatake. And how dare you just assume that I'm a virgin or that I'd let you deflower me!"
So the brunette had a temper. This definitely wouldn't get boring.
But Kakashi couldn't very well let him think he had the upper hand here. He was not the kind of man that let his girlfriend walk all over him (and really, it was Iruka's fault that Kakashi was henceforth going to refer to him as such; bringing up kunoichi and then refereeing to Kakashi deflowering him? Kakashi would be nothing but a disappointment if he let that go unnoticed).
The next thing Iruka knew, he was pushed up against the wall with a very hard body pressed against him. It was more contact than Iruka had ever had with a human being and he found himself thinking Whole new meaning to rock and a hard place… as he tried not to dwell on the implications of the situation.
Kakashi's nose nudged at his cheek, nuzzling it in faux tenderness. His breath was hot against Iruka's ear and the teen couldn't help but shudder as he started murmuring words directly into the sensitive lobe.
"Deflowering is a beautiful metaphor for the act of making love, Iruka, and nothing to take lightly."
There were hands on his hips, then his waist, and then back on his hips. At first, Iruka thought he wasn't sure what to do with them, but the movements seemed far too delibrate. Like the soothing motion his mother used to make against his lower back when he'd had a nightmare except wrong.
It was all the more wrong for how very right it felt.
"Kunoichi are rather undervalued in our society. Which, really, is a shame because they have far more tools in their artillery than we men."
One hand had been dragged around to his stomach, barely touching, fingertips just teasing the end of his shirt.
"Gardens are really very beautiful, Iruka, and should be treated with the utmost respect. They live for us to see; it'd be doing a disservice to disrespect them so."
Somewhere, Iruka knew that Kakashi was getting further and further from seriousness, that he was just saying things and not meaning them, not really. And Iruka should be getting angry, because this was nothing if not ridiculous and those words made no sense. But Kakashi's voice was getting husky and his knee wasn't quite pressing into Iruka, but it was there and bent and Iruka wasn't very tall yet and when Kakashi shifted to nuzzle the other cheek, to breathe into the other ear there was friction and he hated the man and never wanted him to move but just move like that one more time…
"There's nothing shameful about being a virgin, Iruka."
The way he said his name made the chuunin squirm and gasp.
"It's really just part of the process. It's like asking not to be born to be alive. It's where we all start out."
There it was again, that movement. Iruka couldn't help but arch into the man, a whimper in his throat that he wasn't sure if held in properly.
"Women are strong creatures capable of producing life and maybe you're not a fan, but it's really very admirable. They're far stronger than us men, Iruka, and don't flaunt their weaknesses like a horny schoolboy."
With that, Kakashi stepped away from Iruka and left the young man alone in his bathroom.
The chuunin didn't move for a very long moment, eyes wide and mouth parted in what had been a gasp but was more disbelief now.
"And about me deflowering you?" Kakashi called, most likely from the kitchen. "Well, we'll just have to see about that, won't we? But I certainly know when it happens" not if, never if with Kakashi "you will let me. I'm no creep, little Iruka, I'm not going to force a kid like you into anything."
Iruka would very much have liked to dispute that fact, but he was currently trying to decide if he should kill the man now or let himself calm down enough so that the guards that came to arrest him didn't jump to conclusions about his… situation.
After a couple minutes - in which there were no sounds coming from his kitchen and really, that was probably not a good thing - Iruka felt comfortable enough to exit the bathroom.
Kakashi was leaning over the table, his elbows propping him slightly as he stared at the mask in his hands.
"Not bad, kid," he relented, eye crinkling into a happy crescent once more. "It's pretty close to what it used to look like and it doesn't even look like it's been broken."
That kudos was in his voice again, as well as the surprise that Iruka could do such a thing.
This time, no little boy jumped for joy within the chuunin.
He marched over to the table and stared hard at the jounin. Kakashi looked back at him, a slight bit of wondering in that black eye. With a very deliberate motion, Iruka reached forward and took the mask from thin, pale fingers. Bringing the mask close to his chest, he stared down at it before spinning on his heel and hurling the thing to the ground.
Kakashi just stared at the mess. It hadn't shattered like before, having been covered with some sort of laminate or glue to make the mask look new again, but it probably couldn't be fixed this time. The glue would have to be cleaned off it first and Kakashi just knew that that would rip the paint off and further chip the already damaged porcelain.
He could have prevented it, he mused, staring at the pile that still resembled his mask. But he just hadn't thought Iruka would resort to such malicious tactics.
He would have, of course, but he was hardly a moral compass. Not one calibrated properly, at least.
Finally, he looked up into the furious brown eyes of his little chuunin. Iruka was glaring at him something fierce, but did not utter another word.
He probably doesn't want me turning it around on him again, Kakashi thought, vaguely amused. He doesn't have anything else to break, after all, if I do it again.
Iruka was the one to break the eye contact as he turned towards the table. He reached for Kakashi's forgotten shuriken pouch (he'd have to remember to take those shuriken out of his pocket when he got home, because they were a bitch to accidentally put in the washing machine) and then stooped in front of the pile of vanquished mask.
Careful of possible sharp edges, Iruka scoped the jumbled mess into the shuriken pouch - slightly difficult as it wasn't as small and uniform as the original pieces had been - before turning back to Kakashi.
"Well, here's your mask," he said, fake cheer suddenly lighting up his face. "I hope I didn't take too long returning it to you. I'm sure you're a very busy man. In fact, I'll understand if you have to leave right now."
Jounin and children alike (though, really, how weren't they alike?) would come to fear that fake voice someday. It would be used for the more serious of mission report abusers and cause them to immediately go into a corner and rewrite everything; it would be used against the worst of pranksters and cause tears to shine in young eyes as the mouth just a couple inches bellow promised never to do it again. But today, only one jounin knew of it and he couldn't help but be extremely amused and slightly curious about it.
What on earth could Iruka do to him that he should leave, after all?
But, for now, he could humor the chuunin. With a mock salute and a cheeky grin, he used a teleportation jutsu. Partially, to impress Iruka a little.
Mostly, to make a mess of leaves in the teen's kitchen.
AN: Hope you liked it. If you did, review please (just a hint, my review policy is that I refuse to update until my new chapter has the same number of reviews as the one before it, so by not reviewing, you're keeping me from updating). Now on to the concerned reviewer!
The reviewer was concerned that Iruka fainting wasn't necessarily in-character. Normally, I'd agree. That's not in-character. But, in this case, I think it's acceptable as 1) he's sixteen, 2) he's just days into his chuunin… hood? and 3) he's a "tough" guy. "Tough" teenage boys that feel they have huge responsibilities are actually fairly easy to make "flash faint" (read: faint just long enough to fall over but come to almost immediately. If you've seen this in real life, it looks a lot like they're swooning. If you tell them they just swooned, occasionally they'll do it again, which is hilarious). Especially when put under odd forms of stress.
Also, that'd be pretty terrifying, you know? You meet the legendary Copy Nin, he harasses you for a while, his eye makes death threats (silly Iruka, an eye can't promise death), and then he says he wants you? That's a big step into any relationship that's only lasted… 10 hours? Two, if you throw out all the hours they didn't see each other.
Sequel to Pieces- I had just finished writing the sixth chapter of Pieces when I realized that the story was already over. Well, the Pieces plot, at least. Pieces is about Iruka breaking, fixing, and returning Kakashi's mask. Of course, since it's still broken, that leaves an opening for another story (although it will have nothing to do with Kakashi's mask). I already have the first chapter done (that's what Pieces chapter 6 will be) and will be posting it soon. I'm not sure what I'll be calling it yet, but it will probably be out by tonight around 6 or 7. Just check my authors page and look for something that says Sequel to Pieces in the summary. Oh, and stop by my blog and leave a comment on the stories I have there. If I get a few comments, I just might complete those stories and post them here.