Warnings for whole series: a little language, a smattering of violence, implied past character death, alcohol, and angst. This doesn't have a happy ending, so for fluff, don't read this. It made quite a few people cry. Thanks to the KI community on LJ for initial feedback and motivation after I'd gotten stuck on this story. Most of all, please enjoy.


pt. 1

by vernajast

kakashi x iruka

What are you doing?
You know you should be training.
I did.
Then, you should be on a mission.
I was.
What about your team?
They don't need me.

That shut Obito up long enough for Kakashi to finish his paragraph and snap his book closed. It rested in his lap, dangling between his knees with his hands.

Now what?
I'm bored.
Yeah, I got that.
I need something to...

The thought trailed off when his eye fell on an apartment building he was sure he'd been in before.

Your friends Raidou and Genma live there.

What he'd noticed wasn't its familiarity, but the corner that was situated farthest from the road, shaded by a particularly large tree.

The darkened window he saw there was actually "darker" than it should be. There was no reflection on the glass.

No, it isn't.
You're no fun, bastard.
Crybaby. Bored to tears, no doubt.
Shut up!

Kakashi had lied. It was at least a little interesting. Compared to reading his book for the sixth...seventh time. And an open window in a ninja village was an invitation to enter.

The traps on the window weren't complex, but a reliable deterrent to most of the graffiti-prone hooligans and petty thieves one might expect to try and break in. Kakashi took no time disabling them and moving on, hopping down onto the floor, landing lightly on shag carpet that turned out to be a rug over hardwood.

His first impression of the room he had entered was 'sparse,' followed closely by 'bland.' And 'dusty,' though that seemed more to blame on the apartment seeming to be unlived in for a while. He was poised beside a window in the living room, a connected dining room off to the side abutted a bar that separated it from the kitchen. A hallway likely led to the bedroom and bathroom, a few abstract paintings hung on the long wall. Everything was covered in a sheen of gray dust.

Leaving the window open to keep from bringing further attention to the apartment, Kakashi took a few tentative steps forward, listening, sensing, prepared for anything, including more traps. There was nothing.

A couch sat in the middle of the room, printed with birds and leaves in pale colors, and in front of it, a TV. Off to the side was a desk cluttered with papers and pens; the only disorganized section of the apartment, he guessed from the way the books on the nearby shelf were organized alphabetically by subject, title, author. The owner of this apartment seemed to have real issues.

And you don't? You broke in.
I was invited.
Were not, baka! You're trespassing!
At your request.

Kakashi shrugged slightly, a twitch of the shoulders at best, when Obito fell quiet, and continued inward, toward the beckoning hallway. He still didn't know who lived here, but the dust would indicate they were definitely gone. Anyone going on a long-term mission would have the foresight to cover their belongings with sheets, so it only left one option. The owner of this apartment was dead, and no one had bothered clearing it out. He flipped the light switch in the hallway experimentally, immediately flipping it off again when the corridor filled with light.

No one had bothered with the electricity shut-off order. Interesting.

I told you it would be!

Ignoring Obito, Kakashi stepped into the bedroom and looked around, not at all surprised by the lack of anything personal on the walls or shelves. More scrolls on weaponry and basic strategy, a hazy old mirror, a bed. Kakashi's eyes slid over the bed, calculating silently. The sheets were pulled back and mussed, but there was a definite man-shaped hole in the blankets where someone had been burrowed in underneath and then rolled out hastily. A corresponding indention was pressed into the dust-covered pillow. Without hesitation, Kakashi touched the spot where the owner had last slept, cocking his head to the side.

Roaming around the rest of the room, he found a few keepsakes he hadn't noticed on his first glance because they were so seemingly inconsequential. There was a teaching award and a commendation from the Third Hokage. A few photos in frames lined the windowsill, including, strangely enough, one of Naruto and another featuring a couple he thought he recognized, though he couldn't say from where. On another desk similar to the one in the living room, a small plant with a card in it that read 'Get well, soon, sensei!' had withered and died surrounded in papers beside an inert computer.

Pursing his lips, Kakashi retraced his steps across the room and out into the hallway, headed to the bathroom and wondering if the plumbing still had access to the public water system. When he flipped on the lightswitch, he was again surprised that the room was illuminated fully, and when turning on the sink produced water, he shook his head and went about his business, using the toilet, flushing, considering the sound of the water filling the tank. Irresponsible.

His curiosity was really starting to get the best of him, so on a whim, he went back to the bedroom and poked the power button on the front of the computer, smirking behind his mask when it hummed to life.

That's snooping!
Don't you care?

He could practically hear Obito's huff and sigh in his own. Why was he bothering? I hate being bored.

Curiosity killed the Hatake.
No, Hatake kill themselves, one way or another. Get out of my head.
Pfft. I wish; it's crazy in here.