A/N: I, unfortunately, do not own Naruto or any of its characters. They belong to the crazy talented Kishimoto Masashi.

The rating for this one may go up in the future. And the planned pairing in KakaIru(eventually). I'm not all that used to posting my stuff up here, so feedback would be greatly appreciated. I hope you enjoy!

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He groaned, eyes barely glancing out through the window before lazily rolling to the opposite side. The figure beneath the covers curled up, becoming nothing more than a haphazard ball of bedding tossed carelessly aside.

From what he could tell, it was going to be a gorgeous day, if it wasn't already. The sun was shining brightly, the village seemed to be in a bustle – as people could be heard chattering excitedly outside, and the birds were merrily singing their songs for all to hear.

But they were disturbing him from his sleep, damn it. And Kakashi was not a morning person to begin with.

Lazy eyes glanced at a battered clock sitting upon a nightstand. He groaned again, this time sitting up, swinging his legs from the warmth of a well-worn comforter and placing his feet upon the cold floor. Coldly glancing outside, he squinted briefly, allowing his one open eye to adjust to the intrusive rays.

Silently cursing the singing birds perched outside, said silver haired Jounin couldn't help but to wish, if only for a brief moment, that the window was fully open. The exposed tip of his handy-dandy kunai stashed beneath his pillow was gleaming wickedly. He shrugged it off, remembering what happened the time before when he tried that. That would be the first, and last time, he reminded himself. In a village full of ninja, the birds all seemed to have adapted a sixth sense to any pointed, shiny objects headed in their direction. No matter how unaware and utterly dense they appeared, their beady little eyes could always give away what they were thinking. And he really wasn't aiming for the clothesline, but apparently, "it was the birds fault, blame it for flying away", just didn't cut it with some people. And he could have sworn that same bird had been watching him, with its hollow beady eyes fixed into a malicious gaze, as he had to endure a lecture about animal cruelty from his elderly, across-the-street-neighbour.

He never cared much for that old hag from the beginning, but, he decided, it was well worth enduring her lecture after having team 7 scavenge around town in search for her missing clothing and clothesline. And, utterly priceless, at the face Sasuke made after returning a pair of her oversized undergarments.

Chuckling quietly to himself at the memory, Kakashi slowly stood up and scanned the floor. He'd fallen asleep in his uniform pants the previous night, and was in no worry to change them. They were warm, and comfortable. And… still clean, he reasoned. No use in putting on stiff, cold pants, especially when he was already half dressed. And, of course, it would be unfair to his students to take anymore time in dressing, as he planned to be earlier than usual. Still late, by anyone else's standards, but his students had been working so hard lately. Not to mention that they seemed to be bickering amongst themselves a bit less than usual, either that or he had finally figured out how to effectively tune them out when need be.

Sighing, he picked up his black turtle neck and vest, quickly dressing in them before setting out in search for his fingerless gloves. His hitai-ate, the final piece in his morning dressing ritual, was securely fixated in its usual place. Shoes were found easily by the door and his mask was pulled up into place. Making a few hand signs, he exited the building in a cloud of smoke – re-appearing a few minutes away from where he assumed his team would be located at.

He smirked to himself behind his mask. Sakura and Naruto's indignant screeching and questioning was something he learned to tolerate now, and he even expected it. It always amused him as to how they could be so surprised with his late arrival each morning, and even more so at the reaction he elicited from them when he made up his daily excuse.

Sasuke, on the other hand, was the complete opposite from his two other team members. Kakashi would be lucky if he even got a quiet snort out of that stoic boy. Usually it was just a cold, quiet death glare.

Staring up at the thin, wispy clouds, Kakashi closed his one visible eye in the expected, hidden smirk he greeted his students with each morning – or afternoon.

He waited for the cries of outrage.

And waited.

Come to think of it, he didn't even recall hearing them as he approached. No weapons clanging against each other or whizzing through the air. No heavy breathing or panting from sparring with each other. No insults or verbal wars. No nothing, except for the sound of chattering forest creatures and the light wind rustling through the grass.

And so, Kakashi opened his eye and scanned the area. He looked behind bushes and in trees. He searched in the tall grass, and looked in and around the stream of water that flowed peacefully through the area. He stretched out his senses and didn't feel the presence of any of his students.

So, he did the next best thing. Being such a nice day out, he hopped up into a tree and settled on one of the thicker branches – leaning up against the trunk. He scanned the field again, sighing before reaching a hand into his breast pocket and pulling out a tattered, bright orange book.

Yes, times like these just beckoned for Icha Icha novels. And people actually wondered why he carried it around with him everywhere. It was still captivating no matter how many times it was re-read, so why not carry it around? People sometimes puzzled him. Opening up to one of the many dog-eared paged, Kakashi sighed contentedly and started reading. If his team doesn't bother to show up after this chapter, he reasoned, then he would go back home and sleep.

If they didn't show up, it's not like it was a big deal. There wasn't one time he could recall them missing or not showing up before today, without good reason, of course. He didn't really feel like supervising them today anyways. But tomorrow…

Tomorrow, he would hunt them all down at the crack of dawn. And work their little genin asses off until sunset. Yes, that sounds like a good plan, he chuckled darkly to himself before becoming entranced by the captivating little orange book in his hands.

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Oh why, why can't you see that she's only using you, Kakashi thought, biting his knuckles in the suspense of the novel. Even though he'd read this scene over 100 times the drama still made him wish he could suddenly appear before the main character and slap some sense into him. Or at least tell him that the woman he's so in love with is only using him to get to his brother. His twin brother, mind you. Sighing exasperatedly, Kakashi snapped the pages closed and tucked his book away safely as he heard voices drift into hearing range.

He hadn't even gotten to the best part yet. And all he got out of the fifty some-odd pages was a few steamy kisses, an unexpected nighttime encounter, and a fierce verbal fight between the two brothers.

He cloaked his chakra and switched locations so that he couldn't be so easily spotted. Naruto's loud, and somewhat obnoxious cheers could be heard from a distance away. He was sure it was them.

Maybe he'd have them chase squirrels today. Or as punishment for being late, maybe he'd have them train with Gai-sensei for the day. And force them to wear those horrendous one-piece green spandex uniforms that both him and his scary-alike student insisted on wearing each and every day. Naruto might be willing to participate, but Sasuke and Sakura? Just imagining the cries of protest and death glares made a small smirk tug at his lips.

Kakashi glanced over to the four figures making their way across the bridge and towards the field.

…wait.

Four? Surely he had been mistaken. Naruto was definitely there. He could spot that orange outfit from the other end of the village. A figure emitting girlish squeals topped with bright pink hair? – check. A dark broody aura emanating from a gloomy figure? – check. A smiling, bright-eyed, scarred nosed chuunin? – check. Unexpected, but, check. At least the unknown fourth-person was identified.

Furrowing his brows, or what was visible of them anyways, Kakashi made his way down to the trio…plus one. He disappeared in a cloud of smoke, only to re-appear right behind the group, going unnoticed for a disturbingly long amount of time. Sheesh, he thought, I know what we're going to be practicing today

"Ahhhhh! Iruka-sensei, thanks! I didn't have breakfast, so I was so hungry! Good thing Kakashi-sensei is always late though!" Stretching his arms over his head, Naruto yawned – glancing over towards Sasuke. Who, as per usual, shot him a cold glare.

The silent, 'see who can glare the longest' competition between the two boys ensued.

Each boy glaring until their eyes were squinted almost shut. Iruka laughed it off, knowing what was coming. And Kakashi, well, he stayed unnoticed for the most part.

"NARUTO! YOU JERK! Stop staring at Sasuke-kun like that!"

Kakashi sighed, figuring that if they hadn't already noticed him, then only something obvious would bring him to their attention.

"Now, now. No need to argue. It's such a beautiful day outside. The birds are singing, the sun is shining…"

His visible eye curved at their delayed reaction. Everyone but Iruka seemed surprised by his not-so-sudden-appearance. Surprised may not quite be the most suitable word for Sasuke's reaction. He didn't seem too outwardly surprised, but, Kakashi noted, his eyes did widen considerably. And even though he may not have made a sound, he could tell it was still somewhat of a shock to him.

"KAKASHI-SENSEI" Naruto and Sakura shouted in unison. "YOU'RE LA-"

Kakashi cut them off, raising a hand to shush them before they could finish.

"I actually arrived earlier than usual," A proud gleam appearing in his eye, "and noticed that it was you three that weren't here."

Straightening out his posture and crossing his arms in the telltale 'angry-sensei' fashion, he stared blankly at the trio.

Trio plus one, he reminded himself.

His students stood silent. Sakura was blushing, looking down at the ground. Apparently, she found a stray pebble in the grass quite amusing. Kakashi looked down at said pebble momentarily, quirking his eyebrow and shrugging it off. It really didn't seem that interesting.

Naruto had fixed a hard glare at him in defiance. And Sasuke, well, Sasuke was looking off in the distance. Probably at a tree or something.

Turning to Iruka, Kakashi was sure that he had to have something to do with the lack of, well…the lack of team 7's presence at practice. He eyed Iruka carefully, trying to look as intimidating as possible.

He really wasn't angry or anything. Well, maybe a bit irritated, but definitely not angry. Annoyed maybe, but nothing than a more-intense-than-usual practice couldn't cure. But his curiosity was piqued by the chuunin's presence to begin with. He stared, probably for much longer than need be at Iruka. But the chuunin didn't seem to be affected by it. Odd, Kakashi thought. Usually he could elicit some kind of reaction out of the brunette. But nothing. No flustered response, no angry outbursts. Just a gaze to match his own.

Growing slightly more annoyed, Kakashi was just about to turn and question Naruto, when a brief look of something passed across Iruka's features. Mischief..? Guilt..? And then the expected reaction came.

"Kakashi-sensei. I'm sorry" Iruka bowed slightly before continuing on. "This is my fault. I was walking and they were by themselves in the field. So I offered to buy them lunch. And you weren't here so…" Trailing off, Iruka looked up at Kakashi, a slight blush tinting his tanned cheeks, making his scar stand out even more. "I'm sorry Kakashi-sensei. I didn't know you'd be angry." Bowing again, out of habit. "We were only gone for an hour. Sorry again."

"Ahh..don't worry about it Iruka-sensei." Kakashi's gaze trailed down to each of his students. Sakura and Naruto were nodding feverishly, seemingly lost for words and in agreement with Iruka. And Sasuke, well he gave a small grunt and nodded. Eyes reverting back to their previous position. Probably looking at that tree again, Kakashi though drolly. "We'll just have to make up for lost time then, now won't we?"

They groaned.

Letting out a small laugh, Kakashi led the team into the middle of the field. Iruka said his goodbyes to the team, making sure to apologize to Kakashi yet again – that strange gleam still present in his eyes, and turned making his was back.

"Oi! Iruka-sensei!" Naruto yelled across the field. Iruka halted and turned around. Kakashi's eye darted between the two for a while. "Thanks a bunch! You're the greatest!" Waving a frantic hand at his former sensei, with a grin so lopsided and big it was covering nearly a third of his face.

Iruka smiled widely, and turned around to part again. He raised a hand behind him and laughed, a sound almost mute to the team now.

"Anytime, Naruto." And them he was gone, traveling back across the bridge and towards the village.

All eyes were fixated upon Kakashi now. Waiting for instruction on what to do for the rest of the day.

Kakashi looked down at the trio and smirked.

"Okay, kids," Sasuke frowned, Naruto whined, and Sakura blushed, "I want you all to spar with each other. Each man for himself – or herself, two against one, whatever. Weapons are allowed, so is chakra use, just deal with it amongst yourselves and decide."

"AND AFTER EVERYTHING YOU SAID BEFORE?!" Naruto gazed at him. Sasuke shot him a look before the exuberant blonds muttered something incoherent under his breath and plunked down on the ground, pouting.

"I'll be back throughout the day to make sure you're all working hard. I just have some business that I need to attend to."

They all stared, mouths agape. Kakashi grinned.

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Aha! I've been wanting to do a Naruto fic for sometime, but haven't gotten around to it until now.
The plot will develop as the story continues. If you guys enjoyed, please review!