A/N: Finally, the epilogue. Please enjoy!
Set a fair bit in the future of their relationship. I want to show a world where they're both happy.
Disclaimer: Not mine. I do own a lot of the merchandise though. ^-^
Kakashi liked to watch Iruka teach. It wasn't always entertaining, though the chuunin's class certainly had its moments. However, it reminded Kakashi that Iruka was alive, he was safe, and that he was happy. Lately he'd been having nightmares where Iruka was dead or dying and it set him on edge. That was partly his subconscious warning him of what could happen—the jounin had lost more than one special person before, and he wasn't keen on experiencing that sort of hurt again.
It certainly didn't help that he had actual memories of a bloodied and battered Iruka, fuelling his imagination in the weaker moments of his night. So Kakashi watched Iruka teach when he had the time and energy to remind himself that the risk was worth it. Seeing the brown-haired man laugh was worth everything and anything.
"Kishi, the reason you're now blue is because you set off a new prototype of mine, an exploding tag I've been working on, along with some of the Nara researchers. I'm glad you liked to test it out. When you try to emit chakra in my classroom without my authority, it'll dye your skin blue. Now you know that you do not jutsu in my class unless I say so, okay?"
Iruka sounded so innocent, Kakashi was sure that he could trick anyone into anything. Sometimes he wondered whether that's how he got stuck with some of the more boring chores... It made his heart unclench that tiniest bit to hear his lover berate a student as usual. It meant life was normal. Well, as normal as a ninja could hope for.
Though, occasionally, Kakashi wondered what exactly made Iruka seem so sure. The younger man was so adamant about their relationship, not caring for the slander it sometimes brought, indifferent to the judgemental gaze of some elders.
Memory was enough to momentarily set Kakashi's chakra up and out of its controlled, muted state, flaring wildly and sharply before being repressed. A month and a few weeks after he'd moved into Iruka's apartment (because it was bigger and smelled like cookies), a councilman had the audacity to approach Iruka one day after class, unbeknownst that Kakashi was waiting outside, and berate him for supposedly 'brainwashing' the great Copy-Nin, taking away the chance of 'genius offspring' for the village.
Their relationship had been rather 'off-the-radar', but moving in together set the wheels of gossip in motion. Since all their close friends knew, along with the Hokage, they didn't particularly care much for the outbreak of their status. No one had enough balls to approach Kakashi, and Iruka was rather scary in his own way. This was the first outright confrontation to their relationship.
Whilst Iruka had nodded and blandly smiled, calm and uncaring of the smaller man's opinion, Kakashi had lithely leap into the room and casually draped his arm around the teacher in a territorial move. There was a kind of sick sense of pleasure of watching the council member blanch white at his appearance.
Iruka told him afterwards that, although Kakashi didn't yell, his voice was fucking terrifying and ice-cold. Normally that would have made Kakashi uncomfortable, but Iruka was laughing his ass off at the recalled events; the man had apologised profusely and run off, almost in tears, after the Copy-Nin had discussed how "his personal matters were not of the Council's concern".
It was unsurprising that they never heard from the Council after that, though the Hokage did see fit to have a few 'stern words', which really translated to sharing some alcohol with the pair in congratulations, telling them it was "about time the Council had gotten their heads out of their asses".
Umino Iruka was only human, but he was an amazing man. He didn't seem to give a shit of the threat it carried being the lover—and consequently, weak point—of one of the most dangerous men in the world.
The first assassination attempt came during the night, when Iruka was training by himself in one of the many fields open for that very purpose. Evidently, the attackers underestimated the strength and skill of a Leaf chuunin, because the pair were killed relatively easy—which, by ninja estimates translates to 'no back-up was needed and nothing huge was destroyed the in the process'.
Two others followed—one when Iruka was out of the village on a diplomacy mission—although both of the same calibre of the first, it discomforted Kakashi. Death and murder was nothing new to either of them, but it churned guilt in Kakashi that Iruka was being targeted for no other reason than loving their real target.
Irony was, if he was targeting another strong target, the jounin might have resorted to similar measures.
The Copy-Nin was not stupid enough to insult Iruka by telling him to back out of their coupling for his own safety. Perhaps it was also partly in selfishness that the older man wanted to keep the schoolteacher for himself, but the younger man was far from complaining about it.
Considering it was near the end of the school day, the last day of the official working week, Iruka was looking strangely vibrant, and not at all as haggard as some of the other teachers Kakashi had seen in the passing. You'd think the constant sex would make him more tired, Kakashi mused, but all it did was make him more energetic.
Endorphins were a wonderful thing. Stretching his arms while adjusting his seat in the tree, he passed the time by carving a heart with 'K + I' inside of it. Underneath, he added, 'Kinky + Intelligent'. One day Iruka would notice it and he'd either yell or kiss him senseless. While the latter was preferable, and the former more realistic to happen, they'd probably both take place if the Copy-Nin had anything to do with it.
The class were rowdy, Kakashi noted, as the old, battered clock on the wall was signalling that it was nearly time for their escape to temporary freedom. Iruka was studiously going through the finer points of poisons that can be made from plants readily found in most countries, especially the forest surrounding their village. Kakashi assumed the class was a little less chaotic than other classes, as it was working under the hinted threat that their teacher was looking for 'volunteers' on which to test his sample potions.
Evil came in many shapes and forms, but the jounin decided that he liked Iruka's design best.
"Oi, pervert!" Naruto was below his tree and his voice carried easily in the worst of circumstances. Before curious eyes from Iruka's class could catch his face from behind the leaves, Kakashi jumped down, barely catching Iruka's smile at his general direction.
"What is it, brat?" Kakashi walked towards Naruto, frowning though he wasn't mad. He always seemed to get called 'pervert' and since Naruto knew that he was dating his former teacher, it increased in use, but lessened in antagonism, which was something, he supposed.
No longer fit to be called a boy, still too young to be called a man, Naruto was surprisingly accepting after the initial shock of, "You're both guys..." In Iruka's kitchen, he had loudly declared that he blessed the union, so long as Kakashi never left Iruka. Or he'd release "the fox from his cage and hunt him down like a dog".
Unnervingly, the last bit was said with a grin, in a voice without real humour, so neither man could be sure whether the threat was entirely jest or not. Fortunately, Kakashi had no plans of leaving Iruka, and thus would never need to find out.
"I've just come back from a three-day long mission and the first thing you call me is brat?" Naruto scowled, crossing his arms. Dirt smeared his cheeks and his black-and-orange uniform was covered in splotches of dust. Mud crusted his open-toed sandals. From the looks of it, it was a basic delivery mission, C-rank; nothing to get worked up over.
"Since I don't see blood," Kakashi drawled, "then yeah, brat is my appropriate response."
Sticking his tongue out, the blond continued in a long-suffering voice, "I was coming here to ask Iruka-sensei to an early dinner, but since you're here already, you can come, too; if you want."
"If you're paying, then I'm all aboard," Kakashi replied cheerily. "I've wasted my wallet on your stomach far too many times to count."
Huffing, Naruto added, "So, you're not only a pervert, but a cheapskate, too. You're just brimming with redeeming qualities, aren't you, Kakashi?"
Shrugged, Kakashi replied, "Iruka seems to think so."
"Bah," Naruto snorted, "that doesn't count. He's blinded by love."
"At least he's happy."
"He better be, for your sake."
"That I am, kiddo," agreed a voice from behind them.
Iruka walked out from behind the shadow of the tree, immediately receiving a loving tackle-hug from Naruto, who never seemed to grow out of that particular immaturity. Dusting the grass from his pants as he got up, the chuunin explained that he sent his class home early because Naruto's yells were a tad distracting. The blond at least had the decency to look abashed.
"Don't worry, Naruto," consoled Kakashi with a hidden, feral grin. "I've done worse. There was this one lunchtime in the spring when I caught the good man off-guard, and on the desk we—"
"DO NOT NEED TO HEAR!" yelled Naruto, fingers in ears, humming loudly, eyes shut, as if sensory deprivation would save him from the mental images.
Laughing lightly, Iruka entwined his fingers with Kakashi's as they walked to the main streets to choose a restaurant. "Should we tell him that we honestly only did paperwork on the desk, or torture him a bit?"
"Ahh, let him stew a bit. After all, ninja should never jump to conclusions."
A/N: The story has come to a close. I want to thank every reader, reviewer and lurker who has accompanied me in the making of this little story. For what is the point of any literature is there is no one to read it? ^3^
For the last time, I ask for a review. Though whether you leave one is entirely optional. ;-)
"Easy reading is damn hard writing"—Nathaniel Hawthorne.