Character/Pairing: Kakashi/Iruka and Team 7 antics
Summary: Wherein Iruka is a mother hen, and Kakashi is a horrible father figure to three rather precocious students, and there are cherry blossoms. Early canon, Kakashi/Iruka
A/N: comment_fic author's choice, cherry blossom season. / The gauntlet: 8. blush like a cherry blossom
Iruka couldn't remember in hindsight what had drawn him to the outer limits of Konoha. Here the trees were thicker and the sounds of the village down to a dull roar, so perhaps it was peace or a burgeoning headache that drew him away. Whatever it was, it was long forgotten when he caught sight of Team Seven's teacher.
Kakashi-sensei was seated, perched, really on a stump. He wetted his thumbtip and flitted to another page. Iruka didn't have to step closer to see what his fellow teacher was reading, for he could guess quite easily. Kakashi was somewhat notorious for his reading habits. The men would chuckle at their compatriot's brazenness, the women – or at least some of them – would feign minor irritation at this. Some, like Anko would openly pat him on the back for his reading habits.
Iruka mostly ignored it, except when Naruto – and all children were involved. As a teacher, Kakashi-sensei was left to his own, if doubtful means, though the line had to be drawn at one point.
He stayed a second, hoping to catch Naruto finally succeeding in something when he noticed just how quiet it was. There was just birdsong and the occasional flutter of pages turning and he could actually hear birds singing. No cries of teme! or yells at all.
It was far too quiet for Naruto to be around.
Iruka drew a bit nearer. He could have sworn that they would be out training at this hour. Maybe they'd gone home early, but no, that didn't make sense... And then he caught sight of them. All three of them were all caught in a hole that was pushed around them like a vise. It looked as if they might also be gagged, which would explain the silence.
"What on— What are you doing to them?!" Iruka gasped.
Kakashi looked up languidly. "Training," he said.
"But, they're bound, and gagged–"
"The point is for them to escape," Kakashi said.
Naruto looked up at him and muffled a mmmhhhphhf at him.
"How long have they been like this?!"
"And hour or two," Kakashi said. "They're taking an awful long time to escape."
Iruka reeled. An hour (or two) in the hot sun with no food and no water.
He bent down and quickly untied the gags from each child. Naruto spat out the rags and let them flop to the ground.
"Sensei is horrible! He even ate in front of us!"
Iruka looked stern.
"Kakashi-sensei, I'd like to hear an explanation," he said in his very best Strict Teacher voice.
Kakashi didn't even flinch. He seemed to shrug it off. "If they wanted to eat they should have escaped. It was their only duty for the day."
"The knots were really tight! How were we going to get away?" Naruto said.
Despite his methods, Iruka had to admit that the method was a common, and sound one. It was also a fairly easy one, up on the level of using chakra to climb trees.
Though eating in front of them might have been a bit much.
"Well, Sensei. Shall we show them how one gets themselves out of rope?" Kakashi-sensei said.
"It's only fair as you interrupted out training."
"Well, if it's for school," Iruka relented.
Kakashi tied him to the post with a little too much enthusiasm. He then stepped back out of Iruka's vision, though he was pretty sure that Kakashi-sensei was still watching him.
Iruka focused chakra to his palms, and the moved it to his wrists. It only took a few seconds for the built up energy to make a clean cut through the ropes.
"Wow, that's really cool, Iruka-sensei!" Sakura said.
"Iruka-sensei is the best – when he's not being a total jerk and making us do homework," Naruto said.
"Of course now with Iruka-sensei right here would be the best time to mention that," Kakashi-sensei drawled.
Naruto's stomach let out a load growl.
"Idiot," Sasuke muttered. It was the first thing he'd heard Sasuke say since he got there.
"I'm not an idiot, you're the idiot!" Naruto yelled back.
"How about we all go out for Ramen?" Kakashi said as a peacemaking gesture. "Iruka-sensei is paying."
"What?!" Iruka said.
"Don't you want to take care of your students, sensei?" Kakashi said.
"Please, Iruka-sensei! If we stay any longer Kakashi-sensei might make us do more training on an empty stomach!" Sakura pleaded.
"Yeah! Please sensei!"
Sasuke crossed his arms.
Naruto kicked him. "Help us out, or sensei might not feed us!" he hissed.
Sasuke kicked right back and it scaled to another fight.
"Alright, Alright! I'll take you all, but only if you stop fighting this instant."
"All of us?" Kakashi said with a trace of hopefulness.
"Yes, even you," Iruka said. "But not your Ninken. You'll have to feed th on your own paycheck."
"They don't care for Ramen anyways," Kakashi said.
The Ichiraku stand was well used to the group, especially Naruto and Iruka who came there often. Naruto slurped up bowl and bowl, as if he'd been starved for weeks instead of only missing one meal.
Well, there went this week's check.
Sasuke didn't eat as much. On occasion he stopped to shake his head and seem to marvel at the sheer amount that Naruto's stomach could take.
"We're opening at the cherry blossoms tomorrow for the Hanami," said the vendor. "Please support us there too."
"Oh yeah the Hanami! I almost forgot!"
"Without Naruto, we might go out of business," the vendor joked.
"Will you go with the Hanami with us, sensei?"
"Please, please!" Naruto and Sakura chorused.
Sasuke continued to roll his eyes and distance himself from the group.
"Please, sensei," Kakashi joined in. He even put his hands together, just as two of his students did.
Iruka sighed in resignation. "Fine, I'll come."
"Yes!" chorused Sakura and Naruto. Kakashi was more restrained in his happiness.
Sasuke rolled his eyes again and continued to pretend he wasn't associated with these idiots.
All of Konoha was filled with pink. Iruka brought a picnic basket full of goods. He'd included some Hanami Dango and cleaner, finger food like Onigiri. He didn't trust the group to not spill something like soup, and could only see disaster by going down that path – especially if a fight broke out and Naruto threw the soup at Sasuke.
Besides, they were bound to eat at the Ichiraku vendor here. They'd all but promised.
There were vendors of all kinds. Selling yakisoba, akonomiyaki, takoyaki, not to mention many sweets. Naruto looked especially fond of the sweets. And the Ichiraku, of course.
They set out a blanket beneath a particularly luxurious tree and settled down. Around them there were many other teams doing the same. Sasuke sat at the edge, sullen and ignoring his teammates, especially Naruto.
Kakashi-sensei had brought a bottle of Shōchū for the both of them. He clinked their bottles as they both drank. Iruka gasped, his face turning red.
"Can't hold your drink, Iruka-sensei?" Kakashi drawled.
Iruka coughed. "This is stronger stuff than I'm used to!"
"Can I have a drink, sensei?" Naruto said.
"It's not for children," Kakashi said and took a swig.
"It'll make you vomit," Iruka hastily added, for he knew Naruto all too well.
"Then why are you drinking it?"
"Who know why adults do anything, I certainly don't," Kakashi said lightly.
Not too far from them, Team Gai was laid out. Tenten was admiring the beauty of the trees while Gai and Lee practiced their kicks. Neji wasn't present, and apparently been summoned to the Hyuga family's party.
"Sakura-chan! Look! I'll kick every petal to show my love for you!"
"Ergh," Sakura said and hid her face. "I'm not looking! I can't see your love so it doesn't count!"
Lee looked crestfallen for a moment, then set out kicking every petal that fell in an impressive display.
Iruka felt for the boy. "If I was a girl, I'd be pleased," he said
"You don't say," Kakashi said.
He handed the bottle to Iruka and got to his feet.
"Kakashi-sensei, what are you doing?" Iruka said.
"You'll see," he said.
He walked towards the cherry tree, and then up it using chakra. The branches weren't enough to sustain his hanging upside own, so he stood at a half angle. The tree glowed with energy for a moment, and then everything was pink. Cherry blossoms rained down, a rainfall of fragrant petals arranged to fall mostly around them from the outer branches moving in.
"It's snowing flowers!" Tenten said. "It's so romantic!"
Naruto looked up and focused hard at Kakashi-sensei. "Sensei, sensei! You've got to teach me that one to impress Sakura-chan sometime!"
"As if!" Sakura shot back.
Iruka thought he caught the hint of a smile on Sasuke's lips at his teammates, but he quickly went back to frowning when he realized he was being watched. He even rolled his eyes for good measure and muttered about the stupidity of his teammates.
Kakashi-sensei must have used the pandemonium of their fighting to slip down unnoticed, as Iruka didn't even hear him until he was right behind him.
"So sensei, are you impressed yet, or do I have to make the whole forest rain down?"
Iruka colored, a shade not unlike the cherry blossoms themselves.
"...I'm impressed," he admitted.
"Why don't we slip away to a hanami of our own, eh?"
He traced down the back of Iruka's neck with his finger. Iruka flinched from the touch from surprise. The second time Kakashi-sensei touched him, there was no surprise, just pleasure.
"I'm not going to ditch the children," Iruka said, sounding motherly and stern all at once. "...but once dark comes and they have to go home..."
"I'll be waiting," Kakashi-sensei said.
Pink rained down. It really was a romantic, even magical gesture. Perhaps he had misjudged Kakashi-sensei all along.