Icha Icha Consequences
Chapter 3: Girl Talk
Naruto's visit had taught him some valuable lessons. When Genma and Anko stopped by, Iruka made sure he was in bed and practically swaddled in blankets. He pretended to be sicker than he was, and guilt tripped Anko into fetching him some ramen. After they'd left, Iruka imagined he knew what it felt like to be his mysterious, masked boyfriend. While his friends looked appropriately concerned for his wellbeing, they were obviously desperate to catch a glimpse of what he was hiding.
It was small satisfaction, but Iruka took joy in denying them both the opportunity. He slurped down the rest of his ramen and sighed when there was yet another knock on the door. Kakashi set aside his favorite set of knives and the sharpener he'd been using, and stretched wearily.
"I hope this is the last of them," Kakashi complained. Iruka was too polite to agree with him aloud, but he hoped so, too. He'd had enough of feeling like an animal in the zoo.
Kakashi swung the door open to reveal Sakura and Ino, both of them carrying pretty bouquets. Sakura had a small bag around her arm that was bulky with items, and instantly Kakashi's curiosity was piqued. He ushered them in with a greeting of "Yo" and a shrug of his shoulder towards the open bedroom door. Self-consciously, Iruka tugged the blanket back up.
"Hello girls," he said with a smile.
"Hello Iruka," both girls chorused back, allowing Kakashi to take the flower offerings. Sakura shared a quick glance with Ino and then her eyes landed in a sharp, assessing way on her team leader.
"Maybe you'd like to find a vase for those flowers in the kitchen, Kakashi-sensei? Ino and I have a few things we'd like to discuss with Iruka," Sakura none-too-subtly hinted. A little surprised, and even more curious, Kakashi merely sighed and shuffled off to the kitchen, assuming Iruka's modesty was safe with the two teenage girls. He was not surprised to hear Sakura close the bedroom door.
"I hope you don't think this is strange of me, Iruka-sensei, but when I heard the news from Shizune and Tsunade-sama, my first thought was if anyone had prepared you."
"Prepared me?" Iruka asked, a hint of nervousness creeping into his voice. Ino gave him a pitying look and moved to the foot of the bed, sitting gracefully and catching the bag that Sakura tossed her way.
"If you're going to be living as a woman for awhile, you're going to need a few things. I'm sure you know the theory behind it, even if you've never experienced it before."
Iruka's eyes widened and his tan skin flushed a deep, dark red when the bag was dumped at the foot of the bed and he realized what 'it' was—a small mountain of feminine products, including medicine for cramps, a hot water bottle, several pink and pale green boxes containing tampons and pads, a seemingly random assortment of makeup, and most embarrassing of all, a few shiny foil-encased condoms.
"W-w-why did you bring those?!" Iruka stammered. Sakura blushed, but Ino merely smirked as she expertly sent one flying towards him, throwing it like a shuriken.
"We didn't know if you used protection or not, but you have a uterus now. If you're not careful, things will start growing in it," Ino said with a wink.
Iruka's eyes went wide, and his flush faded into a shocked pale pallor. Sakura's brows knitted together in worry.
"We aren't too late, are we? I didn't know if Tsunade-sama thought to remind you, but then I reasoned with you being so sick that surely Kakashi-sensei wouldn't…but he did, didn't he?" Sakura asked, biting her lower lip nervously.
Ignoring all the menstrual products for a moment, Iruka could only stare at the innocent little square of foil in his hand. It had all happened so fast, and he'd never had to even consider the risk of pregnancy before. He was a man, for god's sake! His fist clenched, crumpling the safety precaution.
"Maybe…maybe I hadn't been transformed long enough. Maybe it's fine," Iruka said tightly, feeling his heart race ten times too fast.
"You've only been a woman for two days and you're already having your first pregnancy scare. Harsh." Ino shook her head pityingly at him, and Iruka got the feeling she knew what he was going through—that suspicion was almost enough to distract him, after all, Ino and Sakura were only sixteen. Neither one of them should even know where to buy condoms, much less understand what their purpose was.
'Okay,' Iruka reasoned, 'Maybe they're old enough to be experimenting—but not to be having pregnancy scares!'
"Breathe, Iruka-sensei. You look like you don't know whether to lecture us or send us to get you a pregnancy test," Sakura said astutely. Ino rolled her eyes.
"For a medical prodigy, you're a little slow on the basics, Fantastic Forehead. Even if he got a test, he wouldn't know. The most accurate one won't tell you until eight days have passed since sex," Ino informed. Both Iruka and Sakura blushed. "If I didn't know better, I'd swear you were both virgins! We're all adults here. We can say 'sex' without having to whisper it," Ino chastised. Finally, Iruka recovered from his shock.
"You, young lady, are a teenager. You are entirely too young to be having any experience with…with…this!" Iruka held up the condom in a flustered sort of way. "What boy is pressuring you? Is it Shikamaru? Because I'll put a stop to that right now. I may not have my chakra anymore but I can drag that boy's head out of the clouds long enough to put the fear of…"
Iruka trailed off upon realizing both girls were grinning knowingly at him, barely containing their giggles.
"What?" Iruka snapped.
"It's just cute, Iruka-sensei, you acting all…motherly," Sakura teased.
"But you're way behind the times, Iruka-sensei. I'm an empowered woman—no boy pressures me into doing anything I don't want. If anything, I have to do all the coaxing. Chouji is so shy, and I never thought I'd be into that, but I just can't help it. He's hard to resist, once you get to know him," Ino said. Sakura smiled and sat on the bed, clearly getting comfortable.
"Sometimes I think I should start dating, but Tsunade-sama keeps me so busy, and between missions and hospital work the only boys I see are Sai and Naruto, and eww, on both accounts," Sakura replied.
"Whatever, Sakura, Sai is so hot. I love that he's an artist. How come you get all the dreamy, pale guys with issues on your team? Sasuke-kun, Sai-kun, even Kakashi-sensei!"
"Kakashi-sensei is not dreamy. He's a pervert, and he's never on time. Plus, I'm not into the whole gray hair thing…no offense, Iruka," Sakura shot back.
Hopelessly lost, Iruka just moved his head in a vague, 'I-can't-believe-this-is-my-life' sort of way. Oblivious, Sakura continued. "Besides, you have Asuma-sensei, who is way hotter than any of the older guys. I know smoking is a terrible, gross habit…but he looks so rugged when he smokes. He and Kurenai-san are super hot together."
"Yeah, but what's with how secretive they are? I mean, everyone knows they're banging like rabbits."
"Ino!" Iruka squawked, appalled at her language. He still held the crinkled condom, and truth be told, his mind hadn't moved much further beyond the words "pregnancy scare."
The door opened, and Kakashi's only response to the scene was a single, raised eyebrow. Ino and Sakura hastily stood, trying to act as if they hadn't just been gossiping and sharing makeup and menstrual products.
"Maa, sorry to interrupt...whatever this is…but it's getting late, and Iruka really does need his rest. You girls can gossip together some other time."
"I was not gossiping!" Iruka insisted, glaring at Kakashi in irritation. His boyfriend just smirked beneath his mask and showed the girls to the door.
"Spread the word that Iruka's had enough visitors for awhile, and tell Tsunade I'll make sure he gets to his appointment tomorrow afternoon," Kakashi said, directing the last part of his instructions to Sakura. Both girls nodded and turned to wave at Iruka.
"Bye, Iruka-sensei! Remember, eight days! Try not to stress too much till then," Ino said. Kakashi's gaze shifted uneasily to the pads and tampons. Did he only have eight days before Iruka started to transform? Kakashi had worked with enough women during their time of the month to have a healthy respect for PMS, enough so that he personally thought it should be considered in the same category as some of the more deadly jutsu. Sakura and Ino, it appeared, had been the bearers of bad news. He was happy to shut the door on them.
"Sorry I didn't rescue you sooner," Kakashi said, sauntering towards the bed with his hands stuffed in his pockets. Iruka had been staring at something in his hand since the girls left with fiery intensity.
"Iruka?" Kakashi asked worriedly. Iruka looked up slowly, and his fist uncurled around the foil square of doom. For a second, Kakashi was confused as to why the girls had brought his boyfriend condoms, and then it hit him like a ton of bricks.
"I won't get a good reading on a pregnancy test until eight days have passed," Iruka clarified. Kakashi had reached the doorframe and now he leaned against it for support, as his legs suddenly felt like jelly.
"It was only twice, and you might not have even been fully changed the first time," Kakashi tried to reassure. Iruka just shook his head, apathetically sweeping the items off the foot of the bed and collapsing back against the pillows. He felt like he was floating, like his life had become too bizarre and so he'd just detached. Kakashi finally stumbled to the side of the bed and sat, taking Iruka's hand in his own.
"What if it's positive?" Kakashi asked. Slowly, Iruka's big eyes settled on Kakashi's face.
"Then I guess we'd be parents in nine months. I never thought…I thought Naruto was as close as I'd ever come to…" Iruka trailed off. Both men sat wrapped up in their own thoughts, gently holding hands.
The possibility alone was both startling and terrifying, like witnessing a lightning storm or watching winds tunnel up into a hurricane. For a breathless, shared moment, Kakashi and Iruka wondered what a positive would mean for them, for their lives together.
Iruka's hand gripped Kakashi's more tightly, but Kakashi swallowed thickly and pulled away. Before Iruka knew it, Kakashi was gone in a swirl of leaves.
"That commitment-phobic bastard," Iruka hissed, furious he didn't have the chakra to follow after him—no doubt to the memorial stone. "He can't just run away from me! I don't care what body I'm stuck in!" Iruka scolded the empty bedroom as he flung off the covers. In the closet, he swapped his pajama pants for a simple pair of black uniform pants that Shizune had brought, along with a blue sweater over Kakashi's T-shirt. Stuffing his tiny feet into his new sandals, which were still a little too big, Iruka angrily left the apartment.
It was early evening, which fortunately meant most of the village was tucked away inside their homes, eating dinner and preparing for bed. Iruka unsteadily made his way to the edge of the village, hoping to avoid anyone he might recognize by taking the path along the woods. It was a cool evening, and the wind seemed to rip right through Iruka's sweater. He realized he was accustomed to simply warming himself up with chakra, a process so natural it was as automatic as breathing. Now, without it, he shivered and huddled his shoulders pathetically against the wind. Everything was harder in his weakened state. His balance was entirely off, though he didn't know if that was due to the new additions to his chest area or the chakra drain.
Iruka was so wrapped up in dark, angry thoughts, and so distracted by the cold, that he hardly noticed the rock in the path until he'd tripped over it. For a ninja, Iruka was the first to admit he was a little clumsy. He tended to go everywhere in a rush, with his arms full of paperwork, and so he was used to having embarrassing spills from time to time. This, however, was different. He was ridiculously off balance as he fell, and there was no chakra to absorb the impact. Like any ninja, Iruka was well accustomed to pain, so he didn't make even a whisper of sound as he felt his ankle cleanly snap.
After a moment passed, and realization settled in, Iruka let out a very un-ladylike curse.
"Fuck!" he half-shouted, angrily pounding a small fist against the path. His sweater was torn and dirtied, he was cold, and his ankle was throbbing like mad. It was all Kakashi's stupid fault.
"Are you okay?" A kindly voice asked from somewhere above him. Iruka's eyes slammed to the tree line in alarm, but he was relieved when it was a familiar face that dropped down in front of him. Yamato (or was it Tenzo?) took in his situation with concerned, almond shaped eyes.
"Yamato-san, you scared me," Iruka said, offering the man a weak smile. Yamato merely looked confused.
"Do I know you?" he asked. Iruka contemplated explaining everything but then just sighed in annoyance.
"Err…no, your reputation precedes you. I'm afraid I've broken my ankle," Iruka said. Much to Iruka's embarrassment, Yamato didn't hesitate to scoop him up off the ground bridal style. Iruka flushed with color and had to remind himself he was in the body of a beautiful woman. It was going to make the men around him treat him differently than they would if he were in the body of a man.
"I'll carry you to the hospital. It's not far. I'm afraid my medical skills are far too brutish to try fixing something as delicate as your ankle, miss," Yamato said with a kind smile. Iruka's heartbeat accelerated without his permission. Sure, Yamato's eyes were a little unique, but he had such a kind, caring aura. It was hard to stay annoyed and flustered around him. "What's your name?" Yamato asked, looking down on him gently. Iruka felt like the situation was swiftly spiraling out of control, but it would be too weird to suddenly reveal he was Iruka.
"K-keiko," Iruka stuttered, praying that he'd never run in to Yamato again while in female form.
"Keiko…a beautiful name for a beautiful lady," Yamato said with a roguish smile. Iruka smiled weakly in return, sternly reminding himself that he had a boyfriend. A stupid, commitment phobic boyfriend that had just run out on him upon hearing they might have a baby together—but a boyfriend, nonetheless.
'Oh, yeah, and there's that tiny little detail you're overlooking—Kakashi's knows you're a MAN!' Iruka yelled at himself. Luckily, Yamato interpreted his disgruntled expression as pain.
"You're being very brave for breaking a bone. You can cry if you need to. I won't tell anyone," Yamato promised. Iruka just shrugged his shoulders delicately.
"I'm clumsy. I'm used to tripping over things and running into doors," he replied. Yamato shifted his hold on him slightly, bringing Iruka's face uncomfortably close to Yamato's neck. He could smell the man's aftershave and a hint of sweat, as if he'd just been training before he found Iruka.
"Ah…I'm sorry if stink. I was training," Yamato said, clearly nervous. Iruka immediately shook his head.
"No, you smell nice…I think we use the same aftershave," Iruka replied. Then he mentally slapped himself. Yamato had paused mid-step, but recovered and kept walking, clearly using his shinobi training to keep his expression steady. Iruka, however, blushed wildly. "I uh…I mean…I use men's aftershave because I don't like all that flowery crap when I shave my…legs. I guess that's weird for a girl. Which is what I am—not a man. Heh heh."
Yamato let out a huff of dry amusement.
"You're not like other girls, are you Keiko-chan?" Yamato asked, grinning. Iruka arched an eyebrow, though he knew from his position Yamato couldn't see it. Yamato was seriously flirting with him—already using 'chan' like that at the end of his name. Iruka's reply was reproving.
"Don't you think it's a little soon to be so informal with me?" Iruka asked pointedly. Yamato's cheeks reddened slightly, but he was confident in his reply.
"Well, I am carrying you to the hospital. Doesn't this make us friends?" he asked. Iruka's eyes widened when that statement sunk in—they were going to the hospital! Tsunade would let the beans spill for sure, and it would be so embarrassing to be caught lying after he'd told Yamato he smelled nice, of all things.
The whole situation was a nightmare. Stupid Kakashi! Iruka needed to think quickly. True, he no longer had most of the tools of a ninja at his disposal, but he still had an advantage over Yamato. He just had to be ruthless enough to exploit it. His desire to avoid embarrassment made him ruthless enough.
"Um, this is going to sound like a strange request, Yamato-kun, but I prefer not to go to the hospital. You see, I really hate them. There's a healer that lives over by the market. Do you know of him?" Iruka asked. Yamato's brows knitted together in protest. The healer Iruka spoke of was much more affordable than what the med-nins charged at the hospital, but he did things the old-fashioned way. For a broken ankle, he'd put Iruka's foot in a cast or a splint.
"It would be so much faster if you let them heal you at the hospital with chakra…" Yamato protested, though he stopped walking in the direction he'd been going in. Iruka really didn't want to be caught in his lie, so he batted his eyelashes and called on the puppy-dog eyes. They usually worked on Kakashi.
"Please, Yamato-kun? I'd be very grateful," Iruka purred. Yamato swallowed thickly, and quickly averted his gaze from Iruka's pretty features.
"Of course. I'll take you wherever you prefer," Yamato replied. Inwardly, Iruka rolled his eyes. Were all men such suckers for a big rack and pleading eyes? The prankster in him raced with ideas, to all of which the teacher in him firmly replied "No!" It was enough to manipulate Yamato into avoiding the hospital. He didn't need to keep using his powers for evil.
They walked in silence for a few moments and as they reached the market, Yamato had obviously worked up his courage.
"Um, Keiko-chan…do you think I could, err, take you out for a drink some time?" Yamato stared straight ahead, his cheeks a little pink. Iruka smiled. He was just too cute. Alas, Iruka wasn't on the market, no matter how stupid his boyfriend was behaving at the moment.
"You wouldn't want to date me, Yamato. Trust me," Iruka said. "Appearances can be deceiving," he added. Yamato frowned, glancing sideways at him for the briefest of seconds to reveal his hurt expression.
"If you don't want to, it's alright. I understand. I'm sure a pretty girl like you gets asked out all the time. You probably have your pick," Yamato reasoned. Iruka clearly felt the tug on his heartstrings.
"No, it's nothing like that! I'm just…sort of seeing someone. It's complicated. It wouldn't be right for me to go out with you, but I wish I could. You're very kind, and handsome…and you have good taste in aftershave," Iruka joked, hoping to lighten the mood. It worked, and Yamato chuckled. They'd reached the small house of the healer, and Yamato knocked somewhat awkwardly, considering his arms were quite full.
The door opened after a short wait, and the old man quickly sized up the situation.
"Ah, a damsel in distress I see, and her knight in shining armor," he joked. Both Iruka and Yamato blushed. "Come on in, kids. Let's see what we've got here."
The medic made short work of ascertaining the severity of the break, and applying a cast, explaining there wasn't too much swelling so there was no need for a splint. Iruka endured the uncomfortable procedure, but about an hour in wondered if all the hassle was worth it. He glanced at Yamato waiting patiently in the medic's foyer and felt a little guilty for wasting everyone's time. Why didn't he just come clean? Iruka realized he wouldn't do it, even though it made more sense. It wasn't in his nature to confess to something before he'd been caught. He hardly ever saw Yamato. If he could make it through one uncomfortable evening, and he could just avoid the man till things were back to normal. Hopefully.
"Alright, it's dry and you're good to go. I'll send you home on a crutch. I'll need the amount listed on that bottom paper there tonight, though, I'm afraid," the medic said. Iruka had signed the papers hastily, not really reading them. His eyes widened in alarm and he hastily flipped through the paperwork. It wasn't a large sum of money, but he certainly didn't have it on him.
"I've got this. Don't worry, Keiko-chan," Yamato said with his charming smile. Before Iruka could even protest, the money had exchanged hands and Yamato was helping him down off the examination table. Iruka winced, but it was not because of putting weight on his ankle. Now he'd have to see Yamato just once more—to pay him back. Surely he could sneak off from Kakashi long enough to do so. Kakashi was always out of town on missions or going off by himself to think or read. It wouldn't be hard.
"I really appreciate it, Yamato. I'll pay you back, of course," Iruka said. The kindly Jounin just grinned. Then Iruka realized his next problem. He couldn't very well go back to Kakashi and his apartment—Yamato probably knew where Kakashi lived. Iruka's quick brain helpfully supplied an answer. He was pissed at Kakashi anyway. Finding somewhere else to stay for the night was a good idea. Naruto was home, and Iruka knew where he kept the spare key. Likely the blond would either be out training, or he'd be getting ramen. It was rare he returned to his apartment until he was ready to sleep.
"I think I'll stay at my friend Naruto's place tonight. You work with him occasionally, right?" Iruka asked. Yamato looked surprised.
"You know Naruto? I guess that would make sense. I can't think of how else you would have heard about me. I hope he only said good things," Yamato said, gallantly offering to support Iruka on the side that wasn't aided by the crutch. They said their goodbyes to the medic and set off towards Naruto's apartment.
"Yeah, he's quite fond of you," Iruka replied.
"So how did you meet Naruto?" Yamato asked. Iruka decided to give an answer that was at least semi-truthful.
"We used to live in the same apartment complex," Iruka said.
"I take it you moved?" Yamato prodded.
"Yeah, I moved in with that boyfriend I mentioned," Iruka replied. Yamato looked disappointed.
"Oh, so you two are pretty serious, huh?" he asked. Iruka nodded. "Then…why don't you want to go home?" Yamato asked. Iruka easily got caught up in his emotions and probably said more than he should have.
"He's afraid of commitment, and in the middle of an important discussion, he just ran off. I was trying to track him down when I fell," Iruka replied.
"Well, that doesn't sound like he's a very nice guy. In fact, anyone that hesitated to commit to you would be pretty stupid in my book," Yamato said. Iruka huffed.
"I agree. We've been together for three years. Three years. I know we're a little different than most couples, but that's still a long time to make me wait for a wedding ring."
"What's he waiting on? After three years he should know whether or not he wants to be with you," Yamato replied disapprovingly.
"We've been fighting about it a lot recently. Now I might be…well…I might be pregnant. He really freaked out," Iruka confessed. He felt a little better about mentioning he might be pregnant. Surely that would scare Yamato off.
What the man did next totally threw Iruka for a loop. He stopped, moving in front of Iruka and gently lifting his chin to catch his attention.
"I may be biased, but it sounds like you're with a loser. There are better guys out there, Keiko-chan, ones that wouldn't be afraid to stick by you."
Iruka felt the pressure of tears in his eyes. It had been an awful night, and Yamato's words hurt him more than Iruka could say.
"It's been a long night, Yamato. While I appreciate your concern, I'd have to think long and hard before making a decision like that," Iruka said, suddenly uncomfortable and just wanting to be alone. Thankfully, they had reached Naruto's apartment building. Yamato looked torn, but clearly steeled himself and worked up his courage again.
"Maybe so, and it's obvious you're situation is pretty complicated, but I don't think we met by chance tonight. Please say you'll let me see you again," Yamato asked fervently. Suddenly feeling awful for even having put himself in such a situation, Iruka shook his head and pulled away from Yamato's gentle touch.
"I need some time alone, Yamato. You've been very kind tonight, and I appreciate it, but I've got it from here. Have a nice night," Iruka said firmly, hobbling into the building swiftly, leaving Yamato standing behind him with a concerned, yet determined, expression on his face.
"You flirted with Yamato-sensei?!" Naruto asked disbelievingly. "But you love Kakashi-sensei!"
"It was weird, and I was upset, and my ankle was hurting. I don't know why I did it, okay? I'm just as confused as you are," Iruka groused, hiding his face in his crossed arms. His adopted little brother sighed and then comfortingly rubbed his back.
"It's going to be okay, Iruka-sensei. Joking aside, I know this situation is really messed up, but it'll get sorted out. Kakashi-sensei will come to his senses. You want me to talk to him?" Naruto asked, sounding a little threatening. Iruka quickly shook his head.
"No, Naruto, it would just make things worse if he knew I'd talked to not just one, but two people about our personal problems in one night. You know how he values his privacy. I've just made a mess of things. I'll crash here tonight and hopefully it will be better in the morning."
"Yeah, everything looks better after a night of good sleep. Did you get any dinner? I've got some pain pills for your ankle if you want them," Naruto offered. Iruka gave the blond a warm smile.
"Since when do you take care of me, huh?" Iruka asked. Naruto grinned proudly.
"I'm not a kid anymore, Iruka-sensei. You're one on my most precious people. Of course I'll take care of you!" Naruto promised. Despite his bad day, Iruka's heart melted. At least he'd always have Naruto.
"Dinner would be great. Got any instant ramen?" he asked. Naruto flashed a bright smile and a thumbs up.
"Of course! Just sit tight. One of the house specialty coming right up!" Naruto bounced into the small, adjoining kitchen and began to cook, while Iruka stretched out on the sofa and tried to get comfortable. His eyes strayed to the door, and he wondered why Kakashi hadn't come looking for him yet. Did he even realize he'd left the apartment? He'd simplified the story for Naruto, merely saying he and Kakashi had been fighting. He wondered what Naruto would say if he found out Iruka was pregnant. Would he be excited? Or would he think it was too strange?
Iruka placed a hand on his flat belly and wondered. How did he really feel about the possibility? He imagined a little girl with tan skin and unruly auburn hair, or a little boy maybe, with his daddy's fondness for mischief. Iruka's heart warmed, and he smiled softly.
'It wouldn't be so bad,' he thought, his smile widening, 'No, it wouldn't be bad at all…'
A/N: The vote was for Iruka to say in girl form a little longer, which is good, I suppose, since it means I don't have to rush the 'cure' so much. I intended for this chapter to be funnier, but it kinda went all dramatic on me, lol. Oops. Yamato was also unplanned, but he makes things interesting, no? I'll be curious to see how this one plays out…(which sounds weird, considering I'm the author, lol. Hey, at least I'm motivated to write since I don't know what's going to happen yet!)