A/N: Finally. The long awaited, meticulously planned, much-sweated-over giftfic for my beta, Blood Zephyr. I tried to include everything she specified. I really hope she likes this attempt...

Beta: my muse, SasuNaruForever17

Lost in Reality

"Can't Kurenai take this lesson?"

"She's on a mission." Tsunade's voice was curt. Her eyes scanned a report on her desk. "If I'm assigning it to you, that would indicate that she is unavailable, wouldn't it?"

The sting of rebuke had him shifting his shoulders. It would be unwise to contradict her further. And yet... "Hokage-sama. There are circumstances that I feel should be taken into consideration."

Since the man either couldn't or wouldn't accept her refusal to make eye contact as the dismissal it was, Tsunade threw her pen down and moved the report she'd been signing to one side. She leaned her elbows on her desk, folded her hands before her mouth, and pinned him with a stare.

"And what circumstances would those be? The one that occurred when Kurenai gave you the lesson, or the one that occurred because Kurenai gave you the lesson? Neither is my concern. The schedules for these lessons were drawn up months ago and will not be altered now because of your personal preferences. Do I make myself clear?"

At last taking the tone of her voice for displeasure, and an end to the discussion, he bowed. "Perfectly, Hokage-sama."

He hesitated outside her office door, seriously considering outright refusal. He would rather take whatever punishment she dealt than go through with tonight's lesson. What had him dropping his hand from the door handle and turning with a heavy sigh was his own pride, and confidence in his ability to keep things under control. He told himself that he was neither young enough, nor emotionally vulnerable enough, to let tonight's potential for disaster get out of hand. He tightened his mouth grimly at the thought, though. He worked hard at keeping his life on an even keel. This lesson could not only rock the boat, but smash it to pieces and sink it. If he let it.

As he exited the Hokage building and turned for home, one thought refused to go away: She couldn't have picked a more volatile combination than me and those other two. Damn.

The village was brightly lit tonight, Genma noticed. It had snowed earlier in the day, but that was now all brown slush. Only rooftops and the Hokage monument held lingering white coverings. Icicles hung from doorways and street lights. People called greetings, still bubbling over with holiday spirit, on their way home from various jobs.

He could attempt to divert himself with insights on the village he saw everyday, but his focus still remained wholly on the man who walked just as briskly at his side. Genma could see, from the periphery of his vision, that his companion had his hands shoved into his pockets to keep them out of the wind, just as his own hands were. He considered suggesting they stop for hot sake, something to loosen their nerves (since they were both clearly nervous) and warm them up.

And so he could have a chance to confess his feelings.

But no. He wanted the confession, if he ever made it, to be given when they both had the time to appreciate it, not when they were focused on an upcoming lesson.

Still, his belly remained tight at the thought of what the man beside him would do once they were both under. One of the basic rules of these lessons was not to enter into them in a state of emotional instability or upheaval. Again, he considered telling of his feelings before hand, and again he decided to wait. It was selfish to want to have Iruka's attentions on a recent declaration in order to distract him from any lingering feelings he might have for a former flame. Selfish and childish. Genma was not an insecure man, to pull such a stunt.

Hurrying now so as not to be late, they both broke into a light jog.

He thought he'd had more candles. Frowning down at the two stubs in his hand, he reasoned that they would have to do. Then he remembered the last time he'd used candles, the night that had cost him no undue amount of trouble, and muttered a curse. He wasn't thinking about her, or what he'd done in a moment of stunning weakness and stupidity.

She'd been the one giving the lessons to begin with. His lesson had come up first; the Hokage had wanted him to learn so that he could also give lessons, and thus seed the jutsu quicker throughout Konoha's elite. Well, he'd gone. He hadn't misinterpreted her wordless invitation that night. He'd behaved with a (again, stunning) lack of his usual common sense. He'd let his insecurities and fears guide him, something that he could honestly say he hadn't let happen since the day Obito had died. Afterward, she'd been afraid and accused him of -

Knocking. Thank god. He hated thinking of that night, and of her. Of what he'd done.

Iruka felt the nerves strumming through his body reach a high, twanging pitch as Kakashi opened his door. Their eyes met. For a moment he didn't think he'd be able to walk across the threshold. Everything they'd meant to each other rose up and screamed inside him, freezing his insides. His breath got caught at having that dark eye land on his face; his face immediately felt hot from the glance. But then Genma brushed past him as he entered and Iruka was left with no choice but to follow.

The apartment was scrupulously neat, and dimly lit with the sputtering flames of two candle stubs. He looked around at the living room furniture, places he and Kakashi had marked with their tempestuous romance what seemed like lifetimes ago. He had to clench his hands in his pockets. Fiery resentment burned a path up his chest, but he swallowed it down. He realized his eyes were closed and forced them open. Both Kakashi and Genma were looking at him.

He was the lowest ranking ninja present, as Chuunin. He hoped to qualify for Jounin status with mastery of this lesson under his belt. It was irrational, but he felt like the stares of the two Jounin present were condescending. He wasn't about to let his baggage embarrass him in front of them. Especially not in front of Kakashi, the cause, origin, and creator of his baggage.

They knew the deal. So did he, though this was his first lesson; they all made themselves as comfortable as possible by removing coats, shoes and weapons. The area Kakashi had set up for tonight was in front of his couch, specified by the arrangement of large cushions and pillows. He wordlessly took a seat on one, while Genma took a seat in front of him and to his right. He looked up at Kakashi as he regarded them both.

Might as well get on with this, Kakashi thought. "I know you're new to this, Iruka, but Genma how much training have you had?"

"This will be my third lesson." Genma looked around the apartment and added, "I thought these lessons were supposed to take place on neutral ground? Kurenai said personal places give unfair advantage to whoever is giving the lesson."

"This lesson wasn't supposed to be taught by me in the first place. Since it is, and I'm forced to accept the Hokage's commands, you both will have to deal with my choice on where to give it. Any further objections?"

Genma maneuvered his senbon in his mouth, perhaps clamping his teeth on it in response to Kakashi's tone of annoyance. He shook his head no. Iruka merely sat, staring at the guttering flame of one candle stub.

Kakashi let out a short breath, and forced himself to calm down. He turned his back on them to close his curtains. While he did so he said, "The sooner we begin, the sooner we can finish. Standard time for first lessons is an hour, Iruka." He turned back around and found Iruka looking at him. Kakashi noted the lingering bitterness in his eyes, the lips compressed in remembered hurt…and made himself speak casually. "We'll try and push it to ninety minutes, but let me know if you're having any trouble." God, if he'd known it would sting this bad just being in Iruka's presence, he really would have pushed the Hokage harder to reconsider. I can't apologize to him anymore than I already have. There was no forgiveness in Iruka's expression.

"I've spoken to Tsunade-sama," Iruka said tonelessly to Kakashi's face. "She agreed that if I'm up to it, we can go the standard three hours for third lessons. I'm up to it. It's not fair for Genma to be held back due to my inexperience."

Genma shifted awkwardly, as if he wanted to refuse in some way. The glance he gave Iruka's profile showed he understood that it would dishonor Iruka if he protested; it would imply that Iruka was weak. Genma returned his eyes to Kakashi.

Kakashi noted the way Iruka's hands were fisted on his knees in determination (or anger), and gave a single nod. "As you wish. I'll now go over the lesson itself for your benefit, as well as Genma's-"

"I know what the lesson is about," Iruka interrupted. His fists closed a little tighter.

"I'm sure you do," Kakashi shot back smoothly. "But it's customary to go over the procedure before each lesson, no matter if it's your first or tenth. May I continue?" His one eye was unblinking on Iruka's chastened face. How much longer would they all continue to speak in tones of forced calm? The tension in the room was thick enough to cut.

"Of course," Iruka murmured. He cautioned himself to be cool, calm, and collected, but just being in Kakashi's apartment was shredding his nerves. His back crawled with dread at the coming lesson. His stomach burned with his sense of injustice and Kakashi's perceived nonchalance. He took a deep breath as quietly as he could, through his nose, and forced his body to relax. "Forgive me."

Kakashi dipped his head in acknowledgment. He needed a moment to firm his own resolve; seeing how hard it was for Iruka just to be here was not making this any easier.

Genma watched Iruka unobtrusively. He wanted to put his hand over the fist on Iruka's knee, to offer some form of support. Such a gesture would most likely confuse the Chuunin or anger him. Even though Genma knew of what had happened between Kakashi and Iruka, more or less, Iruka himself didn't know that he knew, or that Genma had any interest in him. Genma kept his hands loosely clasped before him, his elbows on his knees. Kakashi began speaking, and he focused his attention on him instead.

Kakashi had seen the look Genma gave Iruka. He had to look away a moment. Any negative emotions on his part would only make him susceptible when they were under. Besides, he never stooped to jealousy. He pushed aside all personal issues to begin the lesson with an overview. "As you know, Genjutsu is an art that disrupts the flow of chakra in one's brain. The five senses can then be manipulated extensively. If the caster is skilled, emotions may also be tweaked to a certain extent.

"Genjutsu has been successfully cast over multiple opponents by wielders of vast chakra stores, or by those in possession of the correct training of their Doujutsu. However, it has long been speculated on whether or not a Genjutsu can be cast by more than one wielder at a single target. In other words, two or more people join forces to cast a Genjutsu at a single enemy. Thanks to Jiraiya's information regarding Fukasaku-sama and Shima-sama, we know this is possible. As such, the Genjutsu becomes exponentially more powerful.

"It is not easy to master. Joint casting requires trust between the collaborators, and a willingness to achieve the same goal. If the casters are not in agreement on the outcome of the Genjutsu, it is then impossible to meld their chakra sufficiently enough to have the Genjutsu take effect."

Kakashi paused, looking back and forth between Iruka and Genma. Both of them had serious expressions, clearly paying close attention to every word. He went on.

"The procedure is simple in theory: There must be one who leads and one who follows when there are multiple casters. The support caster is there to shore up the lead caster's chakra. Both must focus on the intended outcome; this ensures a one-two punch that all but guarantees success. If, however, only the leader is focused on the desired result and the support caster is focused on something else –or vice versa- the Genjutsu will fail. Worse, joined in mind and chakra as the casters are, the target would then have the opportunity to overwhelm them simultaneously and cast a Genjutsu of his own. Is this clear so far?"

Iruka and Genma gave nods that it was.

"All right. Tonight, as I'm sure you've guessed, I am your target. You will both attempt to subdue me. Initially, I will not resist. After, I will actively resist you in order to test your accord and resolve on the same outcome. But first…" Kakashi looked directly at Iruka.

Iruka felt his heart do a painful, sickening lurch against his ribcage. He used to look at me like that right before he would-

"-will be targeting you so that you can have an idea on what to expect your first time under," Kakashi was saying.

"I'm sorry?" Iruka felt his face heating up at being caught with his mind wandering. If ever there was a time when he needed to be at his most attentive, this was it. "I didn't catch all of that."

"He said that he and I will be targeting you first, with a mild joint Genjutsu," Genma said. He hesitated, then asked, "Are you all right?"

Iruka nodded. "Fine. My apologies."

"This isn't a lesson one can do with their mind elsewhere." Kakashi said this to the room at large, but it was clear he was speaking to Iruka. "Or if there are issues one feels would impede the process."

Iruka stared hard at Kakashi. All present were very aware of the sudden escalation in tension.

"Do you feel there are such issues present?" Iruka asked quietly.

For a moment, it seemed that Kakashi wouldn't answer…which would have been a telling answer in itself. Then he shook his head. "No. I don't."

Conceited, unfeeling bastard, Iruka thought. His heart did another one of those painful lurches before it settled down to ache dully in his chest. He felt the very last of his hope that tonight would reveal some measure of remorse on Kakashi's part wither and die. He breathed in deeply once, twice. Then he swallowed. He was okay. He could and would deal. "I don't have a problem then. We can proceed."

"Very well," Kakashi nodded. "To continue. Casters meld their chakra by having the lead caster aim a small Genjutsu of his own at his partner. This allows them to enter each other's minds. Once done, they decide on the desired outcome of their Genjutsu. Here, too, who leads and who follows is decided by the support caster willingly submitting to the lead caster. All clear?"

They nodded.

"Excellent. Genma?"

Genma sat up a bit straighter and spoke for Iruka's benefit. "Since I will be Kakashi's support I must hold my mind in a state of receptiveness in preparation for his Genjutsu. Once he's in me, we will approach you, Iruka."

Iruka watched closely. Kakashi lifted his forehead protector. Genma made direct eye contact with his Sharingan. There seemed to be a few seconds wherein Genma went imperceptibly limp. Then they both turned toward him.

He assumed he was supposed to look into Kakashi's eyes, since Kakashi was the one leading. The Sharingan seemed to swell in his vision as the tomoes did a lazy revolving dance.


There was a difference, Iruka decided, between having a Genjutsu catch you unawares, and willingly sitting down to let one have you. The moment of contact was clearly discernible; not being in a combat situation, there was no adrenaline, fear, pain, or anxiety to detract from the precise moment his mind became snared.

It was something like having your awareness vacuumed up into a powerful hose. It was as close to a description as Iruka could come. He knew he was sitting rigidly on a cushion in Kakashi's apartment, while all his senses told him he was standing in the middle of a sunny field of wildflowers. He could feel the heat of the sun on his head, see butterflies flitting from flower to flower. The grass was cool where it brushed his ankles and the breeze was warm, redolent of the flowers around him. A bee droned past his ear. He could hear birdsong in the distance. The Genjutsu was complete and seamless.

"Try to break free."

This voice was everywhere and nowhere, recognizable as Kakashi's. Iruka had some skill with dispelling Genjutsu, but doing so now felt like trying to move a mountain with his bare hands. "I can't," he said.

Iruka blinked in the sunlight, and found himself back in Kakashi's apartment. He blinked again, having felt no trace of the Genjutsu leaving, the way he'd felt it take hold of him. He took a moment to catalog what he'd learned. He did this while staring toward the window. The curtains were drawn, but he knew it was night. And winter. The opposite of the Genjutsu.

"Did you get that?" Kakashi asked when Iruka had turned back to them.


"All right then. It's your turn." He gestured with both hands to Genma and Iruka.

Genma turned a bit so that he and Iruka were facing each other. "I'll go first, as lead."

Iruka nodded. When he met Genma's eyes, he thought he saw him give an uncharacteristic smile of encouragement. It was a small smile, and gone as soon as it was given. Iruka had trouble believing he'd seen it. Thus distracted, Genma's Genjutsu caught him somewhat by surprise.

Having Genma in his head was unquestionably weird. He didn't know the man that well, and this was a surpassing level of intimacy to share with someone you hardly knew. The Genjutsu was barely there, hardly disrupting his chakra at all. He felt immobilized, instead, by the large and somehow solicitous feel of Genma's consciousness. He distinctly felt emotions coming from this consciousness, feelings that couldn't quite be classified as friendly, but that weren't malicious or negative in anyway. If anything, the emotions were more than friendly. There was a restrained eagerness about Genma's consciousness that was very at odds with his taciturn demeanor. Iruka was given the uncomfortable impression that Genma badly wanted something from him. That, of course, was absurd. He belatedly remembered to leave himself open for Genma.

He was enveloped in that strange, eager, overly-friendly consciousness. His chakra, which he'd prepped and held ready, was plucked from his control deftly; he barely sensed the transfer until it was done. He studied the way it was done, then signaled to the foreign consciousness that he was ready to try it himself.

He fumbled at first. Truthfully, he flubbed the first few attempts, but Genma was patient. Iruka was able to cast his Genjutsu just fine. The sticking point came when he tried to grasp control of Genma's chakra, which Genma held ready and waiting. The way Genma's mind hummed with…'welcome' was the only word he could think of describe it, was distracting. Genma's mind was unnervingly welcome, just as it had been overly friendly when inside Iruka. He told himself that Genma was just trying to put him at ease and thus facilitate the transfer. Eventually, he succeeded. He grasped and released Genma's chakra several times to make sure he had this first stage down. When he was sure he did, he and Genma turned to Kakashi, who'd sat silent during all this time.


Kakashi's sharp eyes, sharp senses, and even sharper nose all combined to feed him information he already knew: Genma wanted Iruka. Intensely. He could very well see the way he looked at Iruka. He heard the tiny exhalation of air Genma gave when Iruka finally mastered the transfer. And he could smell the faint odor of Genma's attraction in the light sheen of sweat that coated him from the heated apartment. When Iruka and Genma turned toward him, he had to consciously keep the glare out of his expression. His jaw was tight with the effort. Deliberately loosening all his muscles, he managed to resume in a neutral tone.

"Good. Now that you've mastered the first step, you may both come at me. As I mentioned earlier, I won't resist. Decide which of you will lead."


Genma said that seeing as how Iruka needed more practice, he should be the one to lead. Iruka accepted this. He took control of Genma's chakra easily this time. While joined, they decided on a simple goal: To see Kakashi's face. Genma's idea.

Iruka had seen Kakashi's face many times, of course. Genma hadn't. Arguably, getting Kakashi to expose his face seemed more like mind control than manipulation of the five senses, but Genma insisted that if the Genjutsu was strong enough, and done correctly, that Kakashi would do what they wanted.

Kakashi, even unresisting, was an intimidating target. His mind was tightly controlled, his senses not easy to manipulate, even if he was compliant. Viewing the high steel walls all around him, walls that represented Kakashi's inner mindscape, Iruka swallowed. We are strong together; we can overpower the walls, Genma thought along their link. Iruka took heart, before squinting up at the walls.


It was a novel sensation to feel Iruka be assertive in any way, Kakashi noted. He, along with most people in the village, tended to see the man more as a boy. A notion no doubt caused by his easy-going personality and readiness to please, and helped along by the fact that he was still Chuunin at his age. It was hard to remember that he was a man, especially when just about every top in the village that Kakashi knew of was dying to make Iruka theirs. Including, Kakashi thought possessively, Genma there.

Iruka seemed to master his floundering resolve, and walked up to the steel walls. They formed a high, narrow box around himself and Genma. Iruka placed his fingertips against one wall, pushed lightly, and it fell outward. Kakashi felt the Genjutsu slide into place and let it.

Kakashi saw that he was in the hot springs. Alone. Warm water lapped around his chest. Leaning his head back, he saw a Sakura tree blooming over the wall surrounding the bath. He groaned, feeling tension drain out of his muscles as he relaxed. His mask soon became sodden with steam, obstructing his breathing somewhat. Wanting to be completely comfortable, he reached up without opening his eyes, and hooked the tip of his index finger in the edge of his mask covering the bridge of his nose. He pulled downward, and let his jaw drop in a deep breath as the material bunched under his chin. He spread his arms wide to either side of himself on the rim of the bath, now utterly at ease. He stretched his legs out beneath the water with a content sigh.

"Well. The mystery revealed at last."

Kakashi's eye flew open. Genma and Iruka were standing hip deep in the water a few feet away, staring at him. Iruka looked neutral. Genma looked very alert. His eyes ran over Kakashi's face. It was Genma who'd spoken.

Realizing how completely he'd been under, Kakashi sat up straighter in the water. They would had to have sucked him under very deeply in order for him to forget, even momentarily, that he was in a Genjutsu. No doubt the idea to interfere with his awareness had come from Genma. Iruka was still learning. No use berating either of them for violating his privacy, either. He'd pulled his own mask down; the Genjutsu was superbly cast. He clapped slowly a few times. "Well done. If you both are through gawking, we'll try this with a bit of resistance, shall we?"

Genma and Iruka released the Genjutsu. The three of them opened their eyes to find themselves back in the warm apartment, still sitting on the cushions in a triangle formation. They hadn't moved since sitting down some forty minutes previously.

"Right," Kakashi began. "Before we go under, let me remind you both that I will be actively resisting you. You will need to strengthen your Genjutsu if you hope to snare my mind. A warning, though." He saw Iruka glance in question at Genma, and for some reason this infuriated him. "The stronger your Genjutsu, the deeper you risk going under. The deeper you are, the greater the potential for things to get out of hand. What you did just now, putting me so far under, is not advised unless dealing with an enemy. There are things in the mind that tend to get lost in reality. While under, however, they become exposed. I repeat, if there is anything now that could surface and cause a problem while you're under, please take the time to set it aside. The deeper you are, the more the Genjutsu seems real. Perception is reality, I needn't remind you. If you feel you can't go beyond this point, now is the time to mention it." He looked at them both, but his eyes lingered on Iruka.

Iruka didn't back down. "I have nothing troubling me."

Fine. If that's how you want it. He ignored his own slow burn of defensive anger. "Right now, set your internal clocks to three hours. When the time is up, we should all surface regardless of how deeply we're under. Now would also be the time to mention that three hours will seem a lot longer for the duration the Genjutsu is in place. Are there questions?"

There seemed to be none.

This was it. Kakashi knew very well that there was a wealth of bad feeling between him and Iruka. It would be exposing himself to put himself at Iruka's mercy. Still, the lesson had to be given. And he was confident that, though they were there, the feelings he harbored were sufficiently buried deeply enough so as not to be a problem.


Iruka wondered if he would be able to overpower a resistant Kakashi. Then he wondered what the goal should be. He swallowed nervously. A shiver passed through him.


Genma let the dread he'd been feeling off and on, and in varying degrees of intensity, settle like a stone in his stomach. Things could go a number of ways when they were under, with feelings people normally kept hidden being exposed as they were. Iruka might decide he wasn't over Kakashi yet. Or Kakashi might do something to encourage Iruka to forgive him. Or I could make my own move, he thought with some unease. He didn't want to. Not like that, in a Genjutsu. But like Kakashi said, things had the potential to get out of hand. Iruka would be the one leading, which would leave anyone else with little control.


Things were different from the first. As soon as Iruka, in possession of Genma's chakra, entered Kakashi's mind this time he met up with walls taller and thicker than the previous walls. Additionally, Kakashi himself stood with his arms folded in front of the wall directly before Iruka and Genma. It was clear that the resistance would be stiff.

Instead of a hand-to-hand combat right there, as Iruka thought there would be, he heeded Genma's advice, and focused on their joint chakra. Kakashi was highly skilled, but did not have large stores of chakra himself. Genma had a fair amount, more than Iruka. Together, they pressed their attack, steeling themselves against Kakashi's retaliatory strike.

The battle was fierce, but manifested itself simply: Genma and Iruka each latched onto one of Kakashi's arms and held them, preventing him from calling forth an attack. Kakashi's chakra swelled, causing their strange four-sided room to pitch alarmingly. Genma and Iruka grimly bore him, struggling and glaring, to the floor. Kakashi managed to get an arm free and began overpowering them.

For his part, Iruka felt anger come to his defense. He tried to tell himself that the rage he felt was sudden, coming out of nowhere, but the moment he'd known of tonight's lesson and who the instructor would be, his temper had been on a low simmer. His students knew very well just how explosive his temper could be. His colleagues, however, had little experience with it. It surprised Genma and Kakashi both when Iruka indulged it now. A yell escaped the mild-mannered Chuunin, and Kakashi was virtually slammed to the floor. A glance from Iruka up at the walls, and they were gone in a blink, replaced with an attractive room as his Genjutsu fell into place.

Iruka calmed down slowly. He blinked at Kakashi, then glanced around. The room was in an old-fashioned inn, complete with shoji screens for doors, tatami floor mats, and a large futon. Flowers were arranged artfully in tiny vases here and there on diminutive stands. There was candle light. One of the screens was opened onto a garden shrouded in night. The trees outside the room were lush, as was the neatly cropped grass. There was a small, man-made waterfall tumbling over rocks that ended in an equally small, natural-looking pond that was for the exclusive use of whoever occupied the room.

A simple setting, but fraught with significance. He'd come here with Kakashi. This was where he'd confessed his feelings to him. This was where they'd made love for the first time. He looked back at Kakashi, and saw this knowledge in the way his eye narrowed at his surroundings.


Everything Kakashi had been denying since leaving the Hokage's office suddenly came rushing to the fore. Iruka hadn't touched him since that fateful night. Something electrifying passed through him at this contact with Iruka now, but he ignored it. Ignoring things was what he did, how he lived. And though it had been the cause of this mess, he did so again now. He shoved Iruka away from him and stood up. "This is low, even for you," he chided. His mask hid the faint sneer on his face, if not the one in his tone.

Iruka heard it clearly. "And what's that mean, 'even for me'?" He got right back into Kakashi's face. It felt good to get these words out at last. When the event itself had occurred, he'd been too hurt to do more than walk away from the relationship. "You're the dog here, Kakashi. You're the one who cheated on me with a woman."

Genma watched in leery fascination the way their surroundings flickered between Iruka's projection of some room, and Kakashi's projection of high steel walls. He rather thought the argument was sudden, but then he had no idea what feelings they may or may not have kept hidden. What he did know was that Iruka had neglected to agree on a goal for this second foray into Kakashi's mind. He wondered, as the room at the inn seemed to settle itself as the dominant Genjutsu, if this argument was the goal.

Kakashi thought he'd murder Iruka if he had to listen to his accusations one more time; they were too close to the truth. They'd been over this. Iruka couldn't make him feel worse than he already did. "Yes. All right. I fucked the bitch, but I'm telling you, as I told you then, it wasn't a case of me lusting after her. She seduced me." Calm. He had to remain calm, but Iruka had always made it so difficult to do what he'd long ago polished into an art form.

Iruka snorted. "You? Seduced? I have trouble believing you're that weak or that her Genjutsu was so far above your ability to break. But let's say I believe you. You and she came out of the lesson and picked up where the Genjutsu left off. Do you deny that?"

Kakashi couldn't. And again, Iruka was perilously close to the truth. They'd been in his apartment. Iruka had walked in, and…"I've apologized enough. I told you I had no feelings for her. You were the only one I was interested in. What happened was an accident. Get over it." He moved to sidestep Iruka. The room flickered back to the steel walls.

Iruka stood his ground. "An accident," he said flatly, "You fucked her by accident. After which she accused you of rape. And then you went to her, confronted her, at which point you and she engaged in more accidental fucking." Iruka sniffed, disgusted to see just how much the whole mess, six months in the past, still hurt him. "I don't think you've ever cared about anyone but yourself, Kakashi. Admit it. What we had meant nothing to you."

"This lesson is over."

"Just say it. Say you never had feelings for me," Iruka pressed. He knew he was dishonoring himself by begging, but honestly, Kakashi was insufferable in his lack of contrition.

Kakashi had had it. He would not be bludgeoned to death by one mistake, not in his own mind, and not by Iruka. He walked right up to Iruka and leaned down into his face. "You want to hear it? The truth?"


The true truth, of course, could not be uttered. He settled on a variation thereof. "Fine." He felt as if the blood pounding heavily in his temples would soon drive him crazy; Iruka wasn't over him or this argument wouldn't be taking place. The knowledge was dangerously seductive, potentially devastating to his carefully crafted veneer of disinterest. He never got this worked up over anything…but then Iruka had always been able to do that to him."The truth is I loved you. The truth," he nearly hissed as he leaned closer to Iruka's face, "is that I won't put up with this shit anymore. What happened, happened. I slipped. You left. And here we are. If you're willing to get over your melodrama, fine. If not, then get out of my house. And don't speak to me again."

They stood nose to nose, breathing heavily. Genma watched tensely, aching for Iruka's pain.

Iruka was shocked. Not even when he'd caught Kakashi with his pants down, had he displayed this much emotion. Kakashi was notoriously even-tempered. Laid back. And so he had been months ago, while telling Iruka that he'd been seduced. What had happened since then? Admittedly, he hadn't seen Kakashi in all that time. He was not vain enough to think their separation had caused a crack in Kakashi's shell.

For the moment, he focused on Kakashi's backhanded invitation. That it had been issued at all was cause for some amazement. "So all I have to do is forget what you did and you'd take me back? Does that mean you want me back?"


"Do you?" Because that could change things. "Do you, Kakashi?"

Kakashi turned away. Unforgivable, that he'd been sucked this far into his own emotions. Damn Tsunade! But he'd known the risks. He'd known and gone ahead with the lesson anyway. He didn't want to think about the fact that he'd subconsciously wanted this confrontation. That he wanted Iruka still. He merely turned his back and hoped things could be shoved back out of sight.

Iruka snagged him by the side of his forehead protector, along with a fistful of his gray hair. He dragged him back around, yanked down his mask, and just held there…a scant hair's breadth from their lips touching. "Answer me."

Kakashi didn't react. Only stood there as if it was his choice, as if Iruka didn't have a death grip on his chakra. So close. So close to him, that the unbridgeable chasm between them seemed to be nonexistent. Iruka…

Iruka seemed to hear. His grip loosened a bit as he took the opportunity to pull the mask away entirely. He dropped this fragment of material to grab the back of Kakashi's neck, pulling his head down to kiss him.

Kakashi managed to resist just before their lips touched. He pulled his head back. "No. Either you forgive me or not, Iruka. I won't be subjected to your revenge, if that's what this is." But his eye lingered on the lips beneath his. His gaze caressed them, as if imagining their taste, longing for it.

Iruka saw Kakashi's reluctance as yet another rejection, much as he'd seen his infidelity. His hurt and anger came sweeping back. He took hold of a handful of Kakashi's shirt beneath his vest. "Resist me, then." He pulled on the shirt. "End the Genjutsu."

Kakashi frowned, then glanced around. The room at the inn was back. Genma stood staring at them both unblinkingly, senbon glinting in the candle light. Another yank from Iruka had Kakashi re-focusing on him.


If there was one thing Kakashi insisted on in his relationships, if you could call them that, it was his right to do as he pleased. He didn't tolerate being held accountable for his actions, or needy partners, or claims made on him. Somehow Iruka, unassuming and heart-breakingly earnest Iruka, had touched the knot he kept tied around his feelings and undone it. He'd felt himself unraveling into love. Worse, the twine of his emotions was rapidly wrapping itself around Iruka, re-knotting itself around the lovably innocent younger man. He was used to his feelings being so far beneath his ability to reach that they'd more or less ceased to exist. He'd felt that the constant mayhem of emotions Iruka made him feel had the potential to lead to things he'd rather not explore.

What had happened, happened because he'd been out to prove he was still in control. That what had been happening between him and Iruka wasn't as serious as he knew it was. But it had backfired.

Kurenai had issued an invitation. He'd accepted. Halfway through it he'd been disgusted with himself, but hadn't stopped. He'd ended up being rougher than he'd intended, prompting Kurenai's accusation. And then to top it off, Iruka had walked in and caught him at it. He would never forget Iruka's face as he turned and walked right back out. Iruka had ripped him to ribbons with that simple action; the twine had pulled taut until it snapped and left behind a frayed mass of raw pain. In an effort to deny these bloody remains, he'd done the only logical thing: pretended indifference. What else could he have done? Not run to Iruka and beg. Hatake Kakashi never begged for anything.

How he'd missed Iruka. It did not bear consideration, yet he'd considered it daily. Beneath his mask, both literal and figurative, he'd considered it with feverish intensity. It came down to a decision: did he want to live his life as he had been doing since his father died, or did he want to take a chance on sharing it, himself, with someone at last? He'd more or less settled on the first option.

But the bloody remains of his feelings quivered in the air, seeking, yearning…and now, faced with Iruka, they latched onto him and immediately the pain Kakashi lived with was mollified to a throbbing echo of former passions. Resist? End the Genjutsu? If only he had the strength.

He was reminded of the fact that they weren't alone. Genma was witnessing all of this. He'd seen far too much already. He had to assume Iruka was too far under to behave with his usual discretion. Kakashi did resist then. He wanted this lesson put to rest before more damage was done.


Iruka recognized impending defeat in the strength of the resistance. Then he noticed Genma edging sideways, into his line of sight. There was a question on his face. Iruka caught his eye and gave an affirmation along the mental link they shared.

Well, Genma thought as he moved into position behind Kakashi. Not the most well thought out goal. He didn't have too much choice in the matter since his chakra was temporarily in Iruka's control, and Iruka's mind was locked in a Genjutsu battle with Kakashi's. If Genma hoped to get out of this before three hours were up, it would behoove him to help Iruka. He didn't like it, though. This was none of his business. He thought this was a prime example of how things could go drastically wrong with joint casting.

Then again, he could admit to himself that it would give him no small measure of satisfaction to see Kakashi brought low for hurting Iruka. He had a wealth of resentment of his own for how dejected Iruka had been the past few months.

Kakashi felt the surge in chakra from Iruka. It gave him pause. Long enough for Iruka to take his wrist from Kakashi's unresisting hand, and lean in. Kakashi still had enough fight in him to back away, but he came up against Genma…whom he'd momentarily forgotten again. Iruka's handsome face, made endearing by his scar, drifted closer to his. Kakashi gave a shove that did nothing to move the shorter man, but then found one of Genma's arms around his neck. The hold was restrictive without being oppressive. It merely symbolized what Kakashi already knew at that point: he was successfully subdued, all ability to actively resist exhausted. His pride took a hard hit even as a tremor turned his insides over in secret anticipation. "All right," he muttered. "You made your point, and learned the lesson well. You can release me."

Iruka removed Kakashi's forehead protector. "I don't think so." It dropped to the floor with a faint clatter.

"This is petty." His vest was removed, as were his gloves. Why was he bothering to maintain the charade of indifference even has his breathing quickened? "Iruka-"

"I need closure."

"Rape isn't the way to go about it."

Iruka paused with his hands on the hem of Kakashi's shirt. He looked into his one open eye. "I agree." He tugged the shirt up from the waist of Kakashi's pants, then ripped it down the center. He pulled the shreds away, exposing the lean chest, as Genma continued to hold Kakashi still.

"What-" Kakashi flinched. Then his nipples rose at contact with the air…and at Iruka's intent expression.

Iruka stepped in close again. "It's just sex, Kakashi. Isn't that what you told me when I confronted you about Kurenai?"

Just sex, indeed. Sex was never just sex. Kakashi could have pointed this out, despite what he'd said in the heat of the moment back then, if he hadn't just had a thought. "Wait...don't tell me you're seriously thinking of topping here?" The rape comment had been a joke. He never bottomed. Not for anyone. And he was not into voyeurism, so if Iruka thought anything was going down with Genma right there watching, he was very, very mistaken.

Let the man see who Iruka preferred, a wayward part of him whispered slyly. Disabuse the senbon-chewing hound of any ideas he has.

No. The thought shocked him. He usually wasn't possessive (he conveniently forgot his earlier possessive thoughts when Genma had glanced Iruka's way), just as he didn't appreciate possessive partners. But then, Iruka was an exception. Jesus, would this mess never end?

Apparently, with Genma present was exactly the way Iruka intended for this to go down; Iruka moved to place a tender kiss on his chin.

His last shred of resistance was given by turning his head aside and managing to bring up one hand. He sensed Iruka exchanging a glance over his shoulder with Genma, right before his resistance was quashed summarily; he didn't release it… Iruka's chakra, enhanced with Genma's, swarmed over and covered his own. Swallowed it.

There was a moment of deep shock as Kakashi realized Iruka's potential to become a Genjutsu expert to rival Kurenai. A fog muzzled all his senses, drowning out his own will even as he watched. Iruka drifted closer to him and Kakashi felt his eyelid grow heavy. With both eyes closed, he was left to feel what Iruka wanted him to feel.


Genma gave a nod to Iruka, confirming that Kakashi was completely under. He raised his brows in question.

They met each other's eyes. Kakashi's head lolled between them, on Genma's shoulder. Communication slid along the link Genma and Iruka shared. Their previous goal was revised, amended.

Genma had by now set aside his desire for revenge. He was more about helping Iruka. If this plan helped him achieve closure, helped him move on, then he would go along with it. As plans went, it was certainly questionable, but not that distasteful. Genma wasn't alone in harboring a secret fascination with the masked and enigmatically sexy Jounin. He could admit that a certain amount of curiosity went towards making him amenable to this turn the lesson had taken. The chance to see what Kakashi was like in bed was not an opportunity anyone in their right mind would pass up. True, he didn't relish the thought of seeing Kakashi and Iruka making love, but the fact that it would essentially be himself and Iruka joined against Kakashi went a long way toward quelling his jealousy.

Iruka shifted the Genjutsu just a bit. Kakashi seemed to rouse himself and come to his senses. He opened his eyes, both of them this time, and stood looking at Iruka. Waiting, it seemed.

Genma lowered his head to Kakashi's neck and let his open mouth rest on the firm skin. His humid breath fanned the pulse beating there, and Kakashi swallowed convulsively. He stiffened, resisting even though resistance was futile now. Genma slid the hand not around Kakashi's throat over his bare chest. His fingertips found and teased one nipple.

Iruka took this chance to tease the other nipple, watching Kakashi's Adam's apple bob in another swallow. "I can feel you resisting," he breathed against his parted lips. "Just let yourself go, Kakashi. I know you want to…"

God, yes. He did, but that didn't mean he would. "I…don't…" Kakashi bit out. He was sweating, still striving to throw off the Genjutsu.

He wasn't the aggressive sort when it came to sex, but having Kakashi at his mercy left Iruka feeling suddenly drenched in heat and desire. A need to dominate swamped him, and he lowered his hands to Kakashi's hips. He pulled them forcefully against his own, working his knee between Kakashi's hard thighs. "I can make you want to surrender. I can make you want a lot of things."

The more he used his enhanced chakra like this, the more Iruka learned all the subtle ways he could manipulate it against Kakashi. He did so now, caressing both the amygdalae and hypothalumus glands in his brain so that Kakashi melted in pleasure between the two men holding him. The fight was gone from him.

Iruka knew a moment of shame then. Using this Genjutsu as payback was both petty and low, just as Kakashi had said. Seeing the proud man he'd admired limp and helpless brought home to him the realization that he was being a bully. It made his stomach roil and his mouth twist in revulsion. How far would he go because he'd been hurt? Would he actually shame himself by displaying how weak and insecure Kakashi made him feel? He pulled his chakra back and turned away, intent on ending the Genjutsu.

Kakashi admitted it. He wanted him. He missed him. And if Iruka wanted him, even in anger, then he would take it. Besides, as shameful as it was to admit, the bloody remains would not bear a second separation. Not now.

He stopped Iruka mid-turn, but hesitated before setting his long-held façade aside.

Iruka assessed the look of grudging pleading on Kakashi's face. He was caught off guard by this display of vulnerability, by this glimpse into the depths Kakashi had always kept hidden. It called to the love still in him, the feelings he'd as yet been unable to rid himself of. He'd stayed away from Kakashi until tonight, aping his air of unconcern, but to see how much he actually did care left him on shaky ground.


It seemed both of them wanted it, yet were paralyzed by whatever history they had. Genma helped them out. He reached out to lightly grab the back of Iruka's neck, and gently pulled him forward. He pulled until the Chuunin's face was close to Kakashi's. He added light pressure until their lips came together in a quiet meeting that had both men sighing.

He watched a moment. Saw the way both men caved completely, letting the kiss devolve into a hungry, greedy display of need. Iruka seemed not to notice when Genma lifted his shirt over his head; he broke from Kakashi only long enough to let the garment be tugged up past his face, before diving back in and pressing Kakashi against Genma's chest. He enjoyed the feel of them both squirming against him, before reaching behind his own neck and pulling off his top as well. Shirtless, he worked his hands between the two bodies in front of him, while lowering his mouth to Kakashi's shoulder once more.

Kakashi knew exquisite pain at the moment Iruka kissed him. Pain at reuniting with him, pain at loving him so hard that he was reduced to this demonstration of his agony. Iruka tasted the same, but there was a new flavor to the act. Added spice from Iruka's control over him and his aggression. Above all there was the sweetness of knowing Iruka still felt this strongly for him. The younger man pressed against him in his hunger and he welcomed it. He had Iruka by the arms, holding him close, preventing him from stepping away.

He felt the lips on his shoulder, how soft they were, how warm the tongue was. He liked how pleasantly sharp the teeth were. They needled and nibbled his skin in a way that had a shiver racing down his spine; he'd always enjoyed a little biting, a little pain in foreplay. He felt Genma slide his callused hands between his body and Iruka's. One hand slid low, between his legs, into the sensitive crevice between thigh and scrotum. The hand rubbed firmly several times, causing Kakashi's pants to abrade his flesh deliciously. The lips moved sideways, traveling across his shoulder to move up his neck. The teeth nipped his ear. The hand below his waist turned smoothly, and suddenly Kakashi's jewels were being cupped and handled with more expertise than the Copy Ninja would have believed possible from such a reserved man. The heat already warming him took a sharp turn toward his loins and pooled there. His flesh rose willingly and strongly in response.

When Iruka broke the kiss to let his mouth travel down the other side of his neck, he didn't protest; Iruka's hand had joined the one below his waist. It swiftly unfastened his pants and took hold of his straining, leaking shaft. Kakashi gripped the back of Iruka's head as that hand squeezed, and Genma's hand kneaded…he was fast losing it. He breathed harshly through his nose, jaw tightly clenched. He was nearly dizzy.


Iruka's other hand came up to gently push Kakashi's face aside, giving himself room to firmly suck the frantically beating artery there. This put Kakashi face to face with Genma, who took firm hold of his jaw and proceeded to kiss him hotly.

He would never have believed Kakashi was capable of being this submissive, even in a Genjutsu. His control of the Genjutsu was in shreds; Kakashi could have broken free at any time he chose. That it remained intact at all was due, no doubt, to Genma's steadying influence and the fact that they were both still intent of having Kakashi. As if to emphasize the disordered nature of the technique and the fact that they were all hopelessly tangled in each other's minds and feelings, their surroundings now were nothing more than a kaleidoscope of color. Deep red, black, and gray whirled and writhed around them, shapeless and undefined, much as their thoughts were.

Kakashi quivered in his grasp and trembled beneath his lips. There was satisfying desire for him from Kakashi. It soothed his hurt somewhat, but he was too entrenched in his gladness at touching him again to give this more than a cursory acknowledgment. How well he remembered the texture of the velvety skin he held in his fist. He drew his head back from Kakashi's neck a bit, watching Genma kiss him. Sensing his look, Kakashi broke away from the kiss and met his eyes. The eyes usually sleepy with boredom, were now drowsy with lust. Hazy, yet focused on him.

"Kiss me," Iruka breathed. "Kiss me the way you used to." As if your life depends on it.

Kakashi dragged him in by the hair.

He could feel the pounding thud of Kakashi's heart, and his own. Kakashi's hands reached around him, down his pants, to grab his ass, squeezing and massaging hard. His mouth was likewise hard, and Iruka throttled the throbbing shaft in his hand as he at last stroked up and down, heedless of the lack of lubrication. Kakashi swelled in his palm. The organ beat and pulsed in time to its owner's growing excitement.

"Harder," Kakashi broke the bruising kiss long enough to grunt. "Iruka…damnit."

Kakashi bit Iruka's lower lip when the younger man complied. His hands dug into Iruka's ass painfully, his nails dangerously close to breaking skin. He rocked Iruka against him, adding to the pressure of the brutal hand job, until he stiffened. His muscles all locked rigidly, and his lips sucked hard on Iruka's own for a moment, before his body loosened and twitched hard with his silent climax. Only when it had passed did he breathe again in harsh gusts. He dragged air painfully into his lungs as he clasped Iruka's face in his hands, and pressed their foreheads together.

He could feel Kakashi trying to gather some measure of control over himself. The man's chakra was growing and solidifying into something that would no doubt allow him to turn the tables and put him and Genma in his control. For a moment, he was tempted to let him. He wanted to be taken. He wanted Kakashi's remorse, sure to be considerable if he still cared this much, to manifest itself as hours and days of sizzling sex. He wanted to be cajoled by mind-numbing orgasms into forgetting how blasé Kakashi could be, and how the man had deliberately pissed on the budding beauty of their relationship.

He wanted to. It called to him, that need to submit. And because he didn't want to want that, he let his desire and longing feed his newly-discovered taste for dominance. Signaling to Genma, he stepped back and got to his knees. The control was firmly his again.

And the room at the inn was back.

For a few moments, he thought about stopping. But if there was ever a way for him to show Kakashi how much he'd meant to him, this was it. He wanted Kakashi to come apart at the seams. He wanted his ever-present armor ripped away at last, for him to realize, even if only in Genjutsu, just what they could have had, and how much he'd lost when he'd cheated on him.

He looked up and caught Kakashi's gaze on him.


Iruka had never been spectacular at blow jobs. Kakashi was the expert there. Iruka was great at being submissive. At knowing what pleased Kakashi and providing it without being told. Kakashi had never asked or demanded such submission. He was content to exist equally with Iruka, and top only in the bedroom. Their entire time together had been one of placid contentment: easy conversations, frequent and amazing sex, and mutual understanding. It had been so perfect that he'd gone and purposely fucked it up, afraid.

To see the look of passion and determination in the glance Iruka sent up at him made him realize with wonder that there was much to the younger man that he'd never suspected. Much of his feelings, his thoughts. Before he could begin to guess how this could be, he was swallowed whole.

The hands he moved to grab Iruka's head were in turn grabbed and forced up in a full nelson as Genma immobilized his arms. Genma's linked fingers pressed on the back of his head, forcing Kakashi to stare downward at the way Iruka's lips stretched around his girth, while simultaneously exposing the back of his neck for Genma's talented mouth. It was a position of utter subservience, a fact that had Kakashi's pleasure unwillingly twisting into a tight coil inside him.

Either Iruka had learned a few new tricks or he'd never been honest about his oral abilities. His mouth glided slowly downward so that the entire underside of Kakashi's cock was abraded on the rough surface of his tongue. So exquisite was this 'pain' that Kakashi's knees became unhinged. Genma intensified his hold, supporting him by the full nelson. That same mouth dragged slowly upward again, the lips leaving behind generous amounts of saliva mixed with precum. They tightened around the head of his cock, sucking frighteningly hard for all of one second, before moving down once more. Each time Iruka moved downward he took in more of him, then a little more, until soon Kakashi was able to feel his knob wedged tightly in Iruka's throat, teased by the muscles there whenever he swallowed. This was almost too much to bear. "God…Iruka…"

Iruka pulled off with a gasp, precum coating his chin. "I'm not going to stop."

"I don't want you to."

A pause. "You want it?"


"Beg me for it."

Kakashi closed his mouth, but his hips humped outward, toward that wide, hot mouth..

Iruka grabbed the stiff cock to prevent the hips from returning to their former position. "Genma."

Genma managed to maneuver one hand so that he cupped Kakashi's chin, while now maintaining a half nelson. He pulled Kakashi's head back slowly, until his neck was craned at a sharp angle. After sucking his ear lobe gently a moment, he whispered, "Do what he wants."

Kakashi would not beg. Give in to his love for Iruka at last, yes. Beg, no.

He was forced to stare at the ceiling, thanks to Genma's restraining hold, but he felt that heated mouth surround him again. He couldn't repress his convulsive jerk of pleasure. The arm Genma had released in order to grab his face, now reached behind him to snatch at Genma's hair. He caught his forehead protector instead and pulled the bandana free. He felt Genma's hair swing loose, brushing his neck, before the full nelson was reinstated.

The way Iruka bobbed along his length, increasing pace and suction, had him gritting his teeth against a cry of release. The release was there, filling his balls and clawing its way through his belly with molten talons. His climax was reluctant this time, having already come once, but Iruka was relentless. He sucked furiously, choking the base of Kakashi's cock with his free hand while he reached his other hand up to stretch the sac beneath it. He pulled and sucked until Kakashi's climax rolled through him. He bucked against the full nelson hard. A moan left him between his clenched teeth as Iruka swallowed and swallowed, continuing to do so even when Kakashi was spent. This added stimulation finally did the job of tearing a yell of agonized pleasure from him. Only then did Iruka get to his feet.


Genma released the full nelson to catch Kakashi's unsteady body against his chest. The man rested his head on the shoulder provided, eyes closed. "Turn him," Iruka said. Genma did this, draping Kakashi's arms over his shoulders as Iruka got down on his knees again.

Kakashi stirred at last, blinked. Then instinctively reared back at feeling his nether cheeks spread and the pucker they hid laved with a mobile tongue. Genma wrapped his arms around Kakashi's torso. "Easy there. Just enjoy it. Relax." He helped Kakashi do this by distracting him with a deep kiss.

Kissing Kakashi before had surprised him. He wouldn't have guessed the man was such a passionate kisser, or that his tongue was so incredibly kinky. The things he'd done with it had given Genma one staggeringly hard boner. He kissed Kakashi eagerly now, keen to see if it would be the same, while lowering his hands to the man's lean hips. This allowed him to drag Kakashi's cock against his, while simultaneously spreading his cheeks for Iruka's onslaught.

At first Kakashi was passive, still dazed from his two orgasms. Gradually his arms tightened around Genma's head in an uncharacteristic show of lust. He slanted his face against Genma's and kissed back eagerly. His desire seemed to restore itself the more Iruka pleasured him; whenever the sucking, slurping sounds from Kakashi's ass increased, Kakashi would in turn suck or kiss Genma harder. He began grinding his groin against Genma's turgid cock.

For his part, Genma grabbed a fistful of the thick gray hair at the back of Kakashi's head and pulled so that the head was almost resting on his shoulder. Their heights were the same, but with his head twisted at this angle, Kakashi was made shorter and Genma was able to lean over him and deepen the kiss. He let his tongue forage and plunder the drooling mouth beneath his, forcing Kakashi's mouth open wider. Having such an aloof man at his mercy was a heady turn on; his hand tightened in the gray hair even as he pulled one of Kakashi's thighs up to rest on his hip.


Iruka stood up again, and divested himself of his pants. Nude, he walked up and pressed himself against Kakashi's equally naked backside. Only Genma still wore his pants. Iruka rubbed the thigh Kakashi had on the other man's hip, as he rubbed his nose between his sweating shoulder blades. He placed warm, open-mouthed kisses on the pale skin, moving down the shallow valley of his spine, before kissing his way back up. He waited a moment, then lightly touched Genma's arm.

Kakashi was released. Iruka took hold of his cock and massaged the head a few times, bringing himself to a rock hard readiness, before resting it against Kakashi's spit-drenched hole. "Lean forward." He waited until Kakashi had braced his palms on the wall above his head.

He was careful about the entry, not only because Kakashi had never received, but because he himself had never topped. It was awkward at first. His aim was off a tad. He had to angle his hips. Kakashi stiffened, hissed, but arched his back so that his ass was pointed correctly. There was a breathless moment when they both thought the pain of getting past the tight sphincter would have them crying. Then Kakashi pushed those muscles outward, Iruka popped past, and he slid into the hot, muscled inferno of Kakashi's rectum.


He was larger than average. Kakashi had never thought about the size of his lover's cock much before, but he could definitely say he was larger than average. The pain of being breached was bearable. He was a seasoned ninja after all, but it was more than just the pain that had him dropping his head between his arms. Iruka struck up a steady, forceful pounding and it felt…incredible…to have something hard and hot rammed up his ass.

The essence of submission, beyond yielding to the discretion of another: wanting to be owned, possessed, dominated, and controlled.

He hadn't counted on missing Iruka so much. He'd loved the man, but it was more than that. He missed the companionship, missed having someone to come home to, missed the way Iruka would kiss him when he came home, and the way he would intuit when Kakashi needed space, or when he wanted attention. He just missed having him around.

He missed being loved.

He felt Iruka's arms come around his midsection and squeeze as the thrusts picked up strength. He dropped one hand from the wall to put over Iruka's where it circled his stomach, even as he felt Iruka rest his chin on his shoulder. Kakashi turned his face toward Iruka's, not quite able to kiss him, but able to feel the other man's breath on his lips. Pleasure howled and screamed through them both, soaking them with sweat, wringing ragged moaning and breathing from them that they exchanged with the proximity of their mouths. Kakashi closed the hand he still had braced against the wall into a tight fist as those driving hips fucked him hard enough to chatter his teeth.

Here, laid bare. The knotted twine finally undone. The seams of his mask picked apart and the mask itself cast off, cast aside. He hid nothing now; an offering he hoped would tempt Iruka back to his side.

"I'm sorry," Kakashi breathed.

"I know."

"If you want me to beg, I will."


"I screwed up."


"I need you, Iruka."


"Come back to me. I'll be better. I promise to try. Just…don't leave again. Not after this."

Iruka brushed the gray hair back from the furrowed brow as he put his lips by Kakashi's ear. "You left me first, remember?" he said softly.

Kakashi hung his head again, showing that he did. The proud and previously tightly controlled Jounin didn't beg outright, but he showed a degree of servility through the powerful plumbing of his ass that was as close to begging as made no difference. He let himself be pushed to the wall, let his legs be spread wider, as Iruka at last took him as hard as he could.

He couldn't breathe. His breath was hammered in and out of him in time to those violent thrusts. He'd never suspected Iruka capable of passion of this magnitude. God, it was intense. The pain, the pleasure, all of it. He gathered his fading strength and shoved backward in blatant demand, ramming himself against that slick pelvis whenever Iruka humped forward.

It was interesting to discover just how much complete surrender enhanced the act of physical love. He'd had fantastic sex before. Hell a lot of it had been with with Iruka, but this was different. He felt deep emotional resonances, psychological profundities that rocked him and had him voicing his dire pleasure. "Yes," he growled low. "Give it to me. Give it to me." He wanted it harder and faster, wanted to be marked and claimed by the man sweating on him.

He sensed Iruka signaling to Genma, then felt the other Jounin maneuver himself between him and the wall.

Genma gently pushed Kakashi back enough so that he could get down on his knees and take the Copy Ninja's swinging cock into his mouth. He skipped any urge to drag out the process and got right to sucking the sizable meat with all the force he could muster.

Kakashi was reduced to throwing his head back against Iruka's shoulder. He gave a muted roar to the ceiling at the red hot, sizzlingly brilliant sensation of being sucked and fucked at the same time. Chords stood out on his neck. Genma held his hips still for the mindlessly hard thrusts, held them still as he sank all the way down to the base of Kakashi's cock. It leaked heavily, the salty fluid sliding slickly down his throat. He called forth a strong hum that vibrated the pulsing cock in his mouth.

"Oh! God!"

The ultimate manifestation of their success, Kakashi's bellow signaled his final climax. His seed roared out of him, flooding Genma's throat in such amounts that it leaked from his nose, and coated the close-cropped thatch of gray hair at Kakashi's groin. His hips snapped back and forth, making Genma gag before he could pull back. He grabbed the balls beneath the spurting cock and milked then completely of every drop of cum they had to offer, causing Kakashi to yell yet again.

Iruka came during the heat of Kakashi's release, and held himself buried deep inside that scorching cavern as he emptied himself richly. He gave short, sharp, shallow thrusts in time to each gush of cum that rolled heavily out of him. Only when Kakashi's ass was full and running with the hot stuff did he pull out slowly. He rested his head on Kakashi's back.

It was Genma who led them both to the futon, once he'd shucked off his pants. Kakashi rolled to his back, a forearm over his eyes. Iruka collapsed beside him. Genma knelt and straddled Kakashi's hips.

He gave the man a moment. Kakashi's breathing was labored. When it had more or less evened out, Genma gently pulled his arm down and looked into the one open eye. It didn't waver from his face as Genma positioned himself between Kakashi's legs. Iruka rolled to Kakashi's side and reached down to hold one leg out of the way, giving Genma more room. Genma himself watched the way Iruka half leaned over Kakashi to kiss him as he entered the warm, saturated hole in a single smooth thrust.

He was bigger than Iruka. Bigger than Kakashi too, for that matter. He entered him easily, thanks to Iruka's contribution, but it was a tight fit, one that had Kakashi twisting from Iruka's mouth in order to give a quiet gasp. Genma pressed forward, relaxed, pressed, relaxed, until he was seated firmly to the hilt. He let Kakashi feel him throbbing deep inside him for all of three seconds before pulling out completely, pausing, then slamming himself back in.

Kakashi's head came off the pillow as he grunted in pain. It fell back again as pleasure took over, making him knit his brows together.

Iruka had to hold Kakashi by one shoulder to keep him from being fucked into the low headboard. He could feel the force of Genma's thrusts through the hard jerking of Kakashi's body. Kakashi himself held onto the hand Iruka had on his shoulder, using his other hand to brace against Genma's rippling stomach muscles. It didn't do any good. Genma battered Kakashi's hole hard enough to have the remains of Iruka's cum splash his ass cheeks. Kakashi's one eye stared upward at Genma's set face, but Genma was staring at Iruka.

The Chuunin stared back, caught by the intensity of the gaze. Their link was hazed and blurred with passion at the moment, but he caught a glimpse of those welcoming feelings again. This time he was able to look past them to what they really meant.

Genma wished he was fucking him instead of Kakashi.

He was able to see more than that as Genma, aware of Iruka's understanding, let everything he felt for him rush along their connection. He gasped softly, searching Genma's unblinking eyes.

Genma felt immediately shy at revealing himself that way. He hadn't meant to. He switched his gaze to Kakashi, who was now fisting his cock in brutal strokes. He bore down and thrust even more forcefully in an effort to forget how he'd exposed his thoughts to Iruka. He pumped his hips faster, digging in as hard as possible at the quivering walls that squeezed his cock in a retaliation. He was close, unbearably close to coming out of his skull.

Iruka leaned up and kissed him hard.

His orgasm spiraled out of him at his surprise, but he was entirely focused on Iruka's warm hand behind his neck, and his hesitant tongue in his mouth. He just managed to get a hand up to thread in the wet pony-tail as he finally returned the kiss. He was dimly aware of Kakashi coming at that moment, but he didn't release Iruka or pull out of the overused ass.

Surfacing from the Genjutsu was swift and disorienting. Their minds disconnected and unraveled from each other, reeled in by their respective owners. Chakra was sifted and sorted until each man was in control of his own once more.

The three hours were up.

They were stiff from sitting for so long. Mentally and emotionally numb from the depths they'd recently come from, and the events that had taken place therein.

It was quiet. The village was sound asleep; its occupants habitually turned in early on winter evenings. Things had probably settled down not long after they'd entered Kakashi's apartment.

It was dark. The candle stubs were long since burned out. Faint light from street lamps seeped through the tiny crack between the closed curtains. Accustomed as their eyes were to the dark, they saw perfectly well. Snow was falling thickly again outside. The faint shadows the flakes caused as they passed the street lamps were like dark, spectral tears traveling down the faces of the three unnaturally still men.

All three stared at their laps.

Kakashi could not get over how thoroughly he'd been subdued. Everything, from his thoughts to his emotions, down to his very body, had been completely at Iruka's mercy. His own unresolved issues regarding the man had come into play and made him further susceptible, just as he'd known they would. Just as he'd hoped they wouldn't. He had to close his eyes at the things he'd revealed, the words he'd said. He swallowed his bitter mortification and injured - no, demolished- pride in order to analyze the lesson.

Ordinarily, mind manipulation came up in second or third lessons. Enforcing one's will on another was a tricky operation at best. Done incorrectly the results could be disastrous…as evidenced by how neatly he'd been controlled, he thought with quiet wrath. Iruka had unknowingly let his chakra be swayed by his emotions, his desire for Kakashi to beg, and his wish to dominate. Thus empowered, and possessed of Genma's boost, Iruka's chakra had effectively shorted out Kakashi's brain synapses. Kakashi considered himself lucky to have his faculties intact, what with such crude tactics unwittingly used against him.

And as for the things he'd said…well, he couldn't take them back now. He looked up and found Iruka slowly getting to his feet.

He'd come here tonight hoping to get through the evening with a minimum of friction, but with the secret desire to know if Kakashi regretted any of his past actions. His hope had been ripped to shreds, but the rest…

It broke his heart. He'd always longed to know just what it was that Kakashi felt he had to keep hidden about himself, why he always behaved as if he took everything in stride. He'd been patient, hoping his own undemanding personality would get the Copy Ninja to loosen up with time. And just when he'd thought they'd been getting closer, the man had cheated on him. At least now he knew why.

The confessions of missing him, needing him, the raw plea for Iruka to come back, had not been able to hide the fact that Kakashi simply did not trust emotional ties. His father had committed suicide, his best friend had died because of him, and his other team mate was likewise dead. It was often the strongest who proved to be the most vulnerable, and Kakashi followed this rule. He was too distrustful of emotional commitment to ever let himself be truly loved for any serious length of time. He was in pain, yes. Iruka had seen clearly how much Kakashi was hurting over their break, but until he learned to trust himself he would never trust another. No matter how much he missed them.

Still, as he stood up, feeling his legs tingle from having been asleep, these revelations about Kakashi were not what dominated his thoughts. The last thing he'd been doing before the Genjutsu ended was kissing Genma.

There had been a moment before that kiss. A moment when he'd looked into Genma's eyes and finally seen the meaning behind his odd feelings. He'd seen more than that, past those feelings to the solitary man behind them. Though they shared the same trait of being loners who operated behind a wall of calm indifference, Genma could not have been more different from Kakashi. Kakashi's mask hid ugly, broken, and irreparable pieces of a man too set in his ways to change. Genma's placid manner wasn't so much indifference as it was calm equanimity. Genma was at peace with himself and the world around him.

That wasn't to say he wasn't capable of feelings or passion. Iruka had been able to see evidence of the latter, and intuit deep wells of the former. And Genma was lonely.

He was also in love with Iruka.

He had been for some time. Iruka, during that endless glance, had seen the fertile soil of Genma's heart and known at that second that love could and would flourish there, would put down deep roots and be nourished by Genma's quiet, yet unshakable confidence in himself and in whoever he chose to love. In this case, Iruka. Seeing all this, understanding all this, something in Iruka had responded, had cried out to be cherished by someone whose smile didn't hide dark rivers of self-loathing and doubt. He'd kissed Genma impulsively, but he hadn't regretted it.

And he could still remember what it had been like.

If he was in the slightest doubt about what he'd learned, or had the faintest suspicion that maybe he was wrong about Genma, he need only look at how the lesson had gone. As soon as he'd discovered what Iruka had in mind, Genma could have made known his objections. He hadn't. Instead, he gone out of his way to help him, to take part in subduing Kakashi in a manner anyone else would have been outraged at. For Iruka. To help him. Iruka badly wanted to talk to Genma, to broach the topic now while it was fresh, before their newly exposed feelings became lost in reality again.

Before he could approach him, though, Genma quickly located his weapons, vest, and coat, donned them, bowed to him and Kakashi both, and let himself out of the apartment. His footsteps were heard rapidly descending the stairs.

Kakashi did nothing to stop Iruka from opening the door and quickly following Genma out. There was nothing to be said. He felt a keen urge to bury his face in his hands, or throw up, or possibly destroy everything in his apartment.

He sat perfectly still on his cushion, his face perfectly composed beneath his mask. All the masks he wore.

Iruka's fading footsteps on the stairs were the only sound. He'd given a single regretful look at Kakashi before he'd left.

He could stay or he could go after him. Stay or go? Lies or truth? Love or loneliness, with or without him, die or fly, yes or no? Could he even mend the breach he'd caused? Did he want Iruka enough to try?

Well, do you? he asked himself honestly.

Genma hunched his shoulders and walked quickly. He was nearly jogging, wanting to put as much distance between himself and that apartment as possible. Despite his best intentions, somehow he'd let his feelings be revealed to Iruka. He'd seen comprehension and shock in his wide-eyed stare, right before their kiss.

God, that kiss.

Well, it was over. Having witnessed the depth of Kakashi's feelings, having seen him stoop low enough to ask Iruka to come back to him, Genma knew he'd never be able to compete with that. No doubt Iruka and Kakashi were talking out their differences right at this moment. There would be heartfelt apologies, meaningful explanations, and possibly tears. And then there would be sex. Lots of make-up sex which, if what he'd witnessed in that Genjutsu was any indication, would be hot and wild and-

"Genma-san? Please wait!"

He turned and found Iruka jogging up in the snow. He stopped when he'd reached him, and just stood there, exhaling great plumes of frosty air into the night. Genma waited to see if Iruka would say anything. He wanted to ask what had happened with Kakashi, but thought that would be too forward. Besides, Iruka's presence pretty much said it all, didn't it?

His stomach did a lazy flip-flop. Suddenly he wasn't so cold. Iruka, though, had his hands shoved deeply into his pockets. Reminded of their walk to Kakashi's place earlier, and his idea of stopping for sake, Genma considered that maybe now was his chance.

Iruka stood looking up at him, shivering slightly in the biting wind. A few stray snowflakes clung to his eyelashes as he gave a small smile. An inviting smile.

Genma reached up a hand and gently brushed the snowflakes away. Iruka's smile widened at the touch, and Genma felt emboldened. "There's an all night bar not too far from here," he said quietly. "I believe they serve hot sake…if you're interested?"

Iruka took Genma's hand before it could leave his face. The hand was warm. "I'm interested."

Smiling now too, Genma blew on Iruka's frozen fingers before turning with him to resume walking. After a few steps, Iruka edged closer to him. They huddled together for warmth, and soon disappeared in the thickly falling snow.

Kakashi, having seen it all, stood where he was for a moment. Then he turned and went back to his apartment.