Characters: Kakashi, Gai, Yamato, Iruka

Prompt: Kakashi likes to watch. Gai likes to show off. Yamato wants to please his sempai. Iruka's trying to run the show. Order of the pairing doesn't matter, though Iruka should not be the absolute top, otherwise he is running the show. It doesn't have to be full on sex, but something erotic that the three are doing independent of Kakashi, knowing he is watching.

Rating: Eh... R. I think.

A/N: This will be a long A/N, because there are several things I need to explain up front.

First off, this story isn't about sex. It is about a spiritual experience that has been part of tantric teachings for centuries. Look up 'Kundalini' on Wikipedia if you want to know more. I have simply taken that concept and perverted it to fit Naruto-verse, and then let the characters experience it.

Secondly, despite all the online-research I did into Kundalini and chakras (the seven non-Naruto chakra points), there was a point for me where I realized that to understand the things, online-research wouldn't be enough. I stopped there and let my imagination fill in the blanks. I might have hit the nail on its head on some points. On others, I might be dead wrong.

Third, I also did a lot of research into the Eight Gates of Naruto. Except for the Death Gate right in the heart and the somewhat strange distribution according to the official drawing (honestly, a Gate for the right eye and one for the left? Or what else am I supposed to make off the location of 1 and 2?), the Gates match nearly exactly with the seven Indian chakras. Their names and function though is completely different. I mixed them by keeping the Naruto-name and inserting the Indian function and location, and then twisted the Indian function in a way that it might also fit the Naruto-name.

To sum it up, I don't know why I went through the trouble of trying to recreate a real-world phenomenon that is already unbelievable enough in the Naruto-world. This is worse than Porn without Plot, because there isn't even any porn in it to justify the no-plot truth. I just know that it wouldn't leave me alone, and that after … I think almost two years of working on it, it is done.

So, read and (hopefully) enjoy.

Summary: Iruka gets roped into a surreal experience by Gai, Kakashi and Yamato. It involves a lot of nakedness, but not much sex. Or maybe it is all about sex?

WARNINGS: Porn without Plot? Then again, I don't consider this porn (thus the R rating). The No-Plot thing though is true, and I do consider this story containing erotic content. Mixing of Naruto-verse gates with Real-world chakra points and... argh, just read the A/N to know more about what I'm talking of.

The Rise of the Snake

Academy Sensei and current mission-room paper pusher Umino Iruka, nearly dropped the stack of forms he was carrying when he passed the open door of the Jounin Lounge. Mouth gaping open, he stopped and stared to make sure he had seen right.

But no, to his dismay, he wasn't suffering from hallucinations or any other visual impairment. Because the picture of Gai - youthful, exuberant, spandex-wearing Gai - stripping in the center of the Jounin Lounge, was more than clear. In color and with sound effects and flexing muscles and all.

Iruka spluttered to a halt. "Gai-sempai, what are you do-oing?" He flinched back with a mortified squeak when the self-proclaimed Green Beast suddenly appeared in his face in one of his Good-Guy poses. The up-turned thumb nearly poked Iruka's eye out.

"Umino-sensei! How hip and youthful of you to join us in our little evening demonstration! You are absolutely right that things shouldn't be restricted to Jounin only! Come in, come in, get comfortable and enjoy your Springtime of Life!" The Sunset Genjutsu worked like it always did, even if the Green Beast wasn't so much green at the moment as naked. Iruka had to squint to not get blinded from the light reflected off imaginary waves and Gai's teeth.

For some reason, Iruka felt like he had missed something. "Erh, what?" he managed between trying not to go cross-eyed thanks to the thumb an inch in front of his face, and keeping his blush to a minimum. Whoever had said that spandex showed off everything, clearly hadn't seen Gai without it. Not that Iruka was looking or anything.

Gai though didn't seem to care about Iruka's confusion and enthusiastically pulled him into the room despite making even less sense than Gai normally did when in one of his extra-sparkly springtime moods. There, Iruka was greeted by one curious pair of eyes and a single, lazy one.


Complete with a nonchalant wave that could also double as a sloppy salute.

In his desperation, Iruka locked onto the familiar figure that was the only one to seem even remotely sane. Not that he would have thought he'd ever use that adjective in conjunction with Hatake Kakashi, but at least he was still wearing clothes. Which definitely couldn't be said for Gai or the other jounin, who Iruka hadn't even seen at first due to the... impression Gai had made.

"Kakashi-sempai, what in the world is going on!"

Iruka was studiously ignoring the way the naked not-Gai jounin was leaning against the side of an armchair. And the way Gai came up behind the jounin and placed a hand on his shoulder to whisper something into his ear. And the way the jounin's slight frown turned thoughtful with a hint of-

Iruka focused back on the Copy-nin, who was comfortably slouched in a chair of his own. That was safer.

Said Copy-nin was as lazy and unflappable as ever, giving Iruka one of his upturned-eye-smiles. "Maah, Gai was just about to show us one of his techniques."

Iruka raised a doubting eyebrow, and would have crossed his arms if he wasn't still clinging to his stack of papers. "And for that, he needs to be naked. What about…" He substituted a wave into the other jounin's general direction for his name.

"Yamato," Kakashi helpfully provided.

"Yamato-sempai," Iruka repeated and had to take care not to stare at the other man. "What's his reason? Does he need to show off a technique, too?"

He was a bit ashamed that he hadn't recognized the other. However, he thought he could be excused because Naruto's current team leader didn't wear anything Iruka usually associated with the man. Like his trademark face guard. Or, you know, clothes.

If anything, Kakashi's smile got wider and more innocent. "Oh, Yamato-kun is only here to help with the demonstration. Kind of a… prop, if you will."

"A prop," Iruka dead-panned.

The last time he had heard such copious amounts of bull-shit had been half a year ago with his second year students. They had tried to convince him that, no, they didn't have any idea how Iruka's desk came to be filled with frogs and earthworms, and they honestly hadn't had a hand in it. Some of their explanatory theories had been outrageous. Like the one that Iruka hadn't looked into his desk for such a long time that a mini-evolution had taken place. Bacteria and amoebae evolving into invertebrates and amphibians, stuff like that.

As he had already said: copious amounts of cow droppings.

Iruka snorted. He was wondering a bit why he had asked at all when he knew that this was the best he'd ever get out of Kakashi. "And you couldn't have found a different location for your… demonstration? At least close the door, for heaven's sake. Not everyone wants or needs to see what you get up to on your free time."

And Iruka swore to himself that, should he ever become a jounin, he'd avoid the Jounin Lounge like the plague. Because he doubted that those three were the only ones to use it for… demonstrations. He really didn't need to catch STDs merely by sitting down on the furniture.

"But I think you'd enjoy it." Kakashi smiled as if butter wouldn't melt in his mouth. "You look so tense and work too much. A bit of relaxation would do you wonders, Iruka-sensei."

Iruka couldn't do much but sputter and try and keep his blush under control. Before he could recover again, he suddenly felt a presence appear behind him, so close he could feel the body warmth of whoever it was. Strong hands clamped down on his shoulders, and even stronger thumbs dug into his back through his flak jacket. He couldn't help but groan when the pressure eased muscles he didn't even know were sore. A quick look around the room confirmed that there was only one possible candidate for the impromptu massage, because both Kakashi and Yamato were looking at him in interest, and the Green Beast was nowhere in sight.

"You are absolutely right, my Eternal Rival! Iruka-sensei, you need to take care of yourself more! Your back is knotted up in a most unsightly manner! I swear that I will help you regain your flames of youth, or I will run fifty laps around Konoha!"

Thankfully, Gai had reduced his volume as to not deafen Iruka. But Iruka was too busy ignoring the fact that a naked man was standing behind him, to truly be thankful.

"Eh, that is very nice of you, Gai-sempai." He tried to extract himself but the hands were like iron vises and could probably break his bones with less effort than it took Iruka to carve an over-cooked chicken. "But I am still working. I need to bring these papers to the archive and then return to the mission room to-"

He got distracted by Yamato strolling up to him, completely unselfconscious of his nudity. With a deft move, the jounin plucked the papers out of Iruka's hands. "Mhm. But taking breaks is allowed. When is the last time you have eaten something?"

"Eh-" Iruka's eyes widened. "No! Don't put them down there!"

He tried to lunge for his papers. However, the vises that were thinly disguised as Gai's hands, kept Iruka securely locked where he was. Otherwise, Iruka would have had more success in saving all of his hard work.

He even got scolded for his efforts. "Iruka-sensei! You are tensing up most unyouthfully!"

It had taken him three hours to go over and fill in that stack of forms, and that butt-naked idiot was setting them smack dab into the middle of a huge coffee stain. A coffee stain that, by the way, hadn't dried yet, and that was still dribbling over the edge of the table onto the carpet. The nice, creamy white (and brown and yellow and singed and charred and - was that blood?) carpet.

… He had always known that jounin were blind. Just one more reason to never, ever visit the Jounin Lounge again, if that was their hygiene standard.

Iruka slumped with a defeated huff. After such a long day, he was too tired to muster the strength to become angry properly, especially with the way Gai's hands were loosening his muscles. And it wouldn't help him anyway.

Nonetheless, his voice was very much frosty as he glared at the naked jounin standing jovially in front of him. "If I could trust you to actually be of help, I'd make you redo everything that you've just ruined. As it is, it'll be faster if I do it myself. Now let go of me and let me see what is still salvageable before the coffee manages to soak through even more layers than it already has."

Of course Gai didn't let go. And Yamato's only answer was a raised eyebrow and Iruka's stack of papers getting waved in his face. A stack of papers that was dry as the desert. Iruka stared at the jounin who smirked at him slightly. "You were saying?"

Looking down at the coffee table (and ignoring that now his eyes were exactly at groin-level. Naked groin-level), Iruka saw that its surface had grown ripples that prevented his papers from ever coming in contact with the liquid. Had the polished wood warped that much just from a bit of spilled coffee? Iruka looked back at the jounin and his smug satisfaction.

Oh. Right. Naruto had told him of Yamato's mokuton skills.

"It would have made more sense to wipe that up instead of reforming the whole table," was Iruka's slightly bemused comment. "It's still dripping."

Yamato nodded sagely. "So it is." And set down the papers in exactly the same spot as before. When one had jutsu, one apparently didn't need common sense anymore.

"Alright, sensei!" Gai toned exuberantly, "Now that all your hard work is safe and sound, you can concentrate on rekindling the fires of youth in your own body! Do not worry, I, the mighty Green Beast of Konoha, am going to aid you in that endeavor to the best of my abilities!"

The automatic smile on Iruka's lips froze a bit. "That is very nice, Gai, but-" he batted away Yamato's fingers that were reaching for the zipper of his chuunin vest - "why does it feel like this involves getting naked? In the middle of the Hokage tower, with the door wide open so that anyone passing by can watch? While I am supposed to be on duty?"

"Mmh. What about that technique demonstration for me?"

All three of them turned towards Kakashi. The Copy-nin hadn't spoken very loudly, but with an intensity that made everyone listen. That lone eye focused on Iruka, and although there was laughter there, there was also seriousness.

Kakashi leaned forward, even going so far as to set his book aside. "Amusing as it is watching the three of you, this is getting nowhere. Gai. You were the one to drag him in. You explain things to Iruka. Iruka-sensei. Nobody is trying to force you into things you don't want. If you weren't off duty, you wouldn't have been able to see through the genjutsu I have placed around the door. Seeing how adverse you are to nudity in semi-public places, I can extend the genjutsu so that nobody will interrupt. The others know not to come in if the room's locked like that. Yamato, you…"

Kakashi trailed off, apparently having run out of things to say. He shook his head and leaned back, waving one hand regally while picking up his porn with the other. "You just stand there and look pretty while the other two hash it out."

"Yes, sempai."

Kakashi didn't see the smile crossing Yamato's face because he had already buried himself again inside the pages of his book.

"That was so incredibly hip and cool of you, my Eternal Rival! I will strive to impart the necessary knowledge on our valiant and hard-working sensei here in the most expedient fashion, and should I fail I will practice my explanation skills on the next fifty people I come across!"

Thankfully, Gai had finally let go of Iruka. The chuunin moved away almost immediately, because being sandwiched between two naked men was a bit too much for his tastes. At least, when he hadn't even been told what exactly the jounin wanted from him.

He really didn't know why he wasn't hightailing it out of there as fast as his legs allowed. Well, maybe he could claim temporary insanity combined with an unhealthy helping of curiosity (and a lot of time since his last horizontal tango, which made it all the harder not to stare inappropriately at all the rock-hard abs in the room).

He turned to look at Gai, who was still frozen in one of his Good Guy poses. With patience learned from getting thirty six-year-olds to listen to his instructions, Iruka waited for Gai's sunset genjutsu to disappear. However, since four thirds of his patience had already evaporated during his trying day (and yes, Iruka was quite aware that his math didn't really add up), it was small wonder that the teacher demanded Gai's attention after only five seconds.

"Well, Gai-san, you have made me curious. You have mentioned something about a demonstration?" There. Sufficiently vague, and hopefully not enough material to send Gai off on yet another one of his springtime rants.

The taijutsu master grinned at him blindingly. "That is very commendable of you, sensei! Curiosity is the hallmark of those fresh in body and mind! Tampered by wisdom, it bears witness to your youth and your fire of life!"

Or not.

"But fear not! I will show you the mythical and legendary technique that is called 'Rise of the Snake'! It is a most wonderful experience that transmutes mere chakra into a springtime of spiritual awakening and rejuvenation! I promise that you will feel safely grounded in the Pleasantry of Life afterwards, sensei!"

"'Rise of the snake'?" he couldn't help but repeat incredulously. Gai and his euphemisms…

A chortle from Yamato. "It's not the same kind of snake you're thinking of, sensei. Although that will probably rise, too."

Not the same kind of snake… well, sue him for getting wrong idea when two naked men were prancing around unselfconsciously in the middle of the Hokage tower. Iruka was quite sure he was blushing. But since he couldn't see his own face redden, he decided to act as if nothing happened. "Alright, then what exactly are you doing? And why does it seem to require a substantial lack of clothes?" It really wasn't his fault that his thoughts had jumped to that conclusion.

"A snake of youthful energy! It climbs through your Channel of Control to crest in the crown of your head and shower you with its renewal of spirit!"

Sometimes, Iruka thought that Gai got a kick out of being as youthful and uninformative as possible. Gai was a trained ninja, and ninja were taught how to give vital information in short, concise, and most importantly, understandable packets. Gai's mission reports certainly showed that he was capable of such skills. But either that didn't extend to verbal reports (improbable), or Gai was actually completely sane and just putting on an act to be as annoying as possible (also improbable - not the annoying part, but the sane part). In any case, Iruka doubted that he'd get any kind of straight answer from Konoha's Green Beast.

So he looked at Yamato in the hopes of getting a translation into normal speak. Fortunately, Yamato understood his silent plea. "You know how most of the eight gates are located along the spine? When opened in the right order, from seven to one, they are supposed to release a wave of energy that allows a communion with the gods. At least that is what temple monks claim. They call it the Kundalini energy, or snake energy, because it starts out at the base of the spine and then rises to the head like a snake winding its way up the spine. It's a way of removing imbalances in your chakra."

Hm. The 'communion with the gods' bit sounded seriously funky to a non-believing ninja, but that wasn't Iruka's problem with the whole situation. He frowned. "Open the gates? For one, it's dangerous, and for another, I have no clue how to do it."

"That is Gai-sempai's job. He will open your gates, and it's safe because you won't be actively using the energy you get from the gates. The only condition is that you trust Gai-sempai enough to allow him to manipulate your chakra." Yamato's lips curled upwards in a slight smile, because he understood the enormity of the trust needed for that as well as Iruka did.

It was one thing letting medic nin mess with his body. They knew their anatomy and had their nice little green healing jutsu. Iruka was sure that Gai had the same level of anatomical knowledge as them, but although healing jutsu were green, Iruka hadn't heard anything about the Green Beast being very proficient at them. Additionally, medic-nin were taught how to fix things instead of how to pound them into dust in the most expedient fashion.

"Sensei, I promise that I am not going to hurt you, or I will put myself at your complete mercy for 365 days! I have learned this most esteemed of secret arts through dedicated study, and I mastered it after three months of daily practice! You are most safe in my hands, Iruka-sensei!"

Iruka looked from Gai's dedicated grin to Yamato's slightly amused smile, and then to Kakashi's invisible face. As if the copy-nin could feel Iruka's indecision, his lone eye surfaced from behind his book shield. "Relax, Iruka-sensei. There's nothing harmful in it. After all, I'm quite healthy, am I not?"

If that was supposed to reassure him… then it actually didn't do a half-bad job. As insane as those three jounin were, their self-destructive tendencies normally didn't extend towards violence against their comrades. If Kakashi had tested it on himself and deemed it harmless enough to use on fellow shinobi, it probably was exactly that. The copy-nin was famous for putting his comrades' welfare before his own.

Additionally, Iruka was tired enough that he didn't really feel like arguing with three crazy jounin for a long time, because he knew that they wouldn't let him go without trying their hardest to convince him to stay. And between Kakashi and Gai, it was nearly impossible to come up with an approach they hadn't covered.

So he resigned himself to the inevitable. "Alright, alright, I give. What am I supposed to do?"

And of course, the dry spell that had been going on for more than five months already, didn't have anything to do with it. Neither did the fact that Iruka was quite appreciative of the nude male form, especially when it was as well-built as Gai or Yamato.

Or that he was getting quite curious about the gates Gai had mentioned - opening them was a jounin-level technique that only very select few ninja knew, and Gai was a master of it. Iruka had always loved watching masters practice their craft.

"Why, Iruka-sensei, I thought it would be obvious!" Kakashi's single eye curved up in an exaggerated smile. "You're wearing too many clothes!"

Iruka rolled his eyes, feeling the heat rise to his cheeks once again. He had left himself wide open for that one. "Well, I would have already started on it, but I still haven't heard an explanation why it's necessary to take them off. Gai-sempai doesn't take his off, either, when he opens his gates during battle."

Then again, whenever Gai was forced to resort to the Eight Gates, his spandex tended to be quite battered already. Would Gai be even more fearsome if he fought in the nude?

… And now Iruka was trying to get the image out of his mind of a naked Gai decimating a battlefield of stunned and horrified enemy-nin.

"A most attentive observation, sensei! However, you will not be opening your gates on your own, so skin to skin contact is necessary for me to influence your youthful energies!"

And exactly what kind of skin-to-skin contact was Gai talking about? Seeing that the Green Beast was nude, too, that pretty much ruled out a standard hands-on practice. Although, Iruka guessed that hands-on practice could also be quite stimulating…

Well, he'd better do his best to get his mind out of his gutter. After all, he didn't want to be the first one to blow the jounins' pretense that this was simply a demonstration of jutsu skills. In short, it meant that he didn't want to be the first to pop a boner.

Turning his thoughts to situations where undressing and nudity was completely unrelated to anything sexual, like public bathhouses or doctors' appointments, Iruka unzipped the front of his chuunin vest. However, before he took it off, he gave the door a pointed glance. "This is not going to happen with half of Konoha watching."

Yamato smiled with a bit more tooth than absolutely necessary and briefly looked towards Kakashi. Iruka didn't know why, because the copy-nin was once again pretending to be totally absorbed in his book. However, the non-reaction seemed to give Yamato an answer of its own, and the jounin relaxed slightly.

"Pushy, pushy," the wood user mumbled as he stalked towards the door and closed it with a shove. Then he looked at Iruka expectantly.

Freshly out of opportunities to stall, Iruka proceeded with his removal of clothes. It wasn't that he was self-conscious about his body. He knew that he was well-built and that he kept himself in shape.

No. His main problem lay in not being able to read the situation. He didn't know what this 'technique demonstration' included, what was expected of him, what was going to happen. Despite telling him a lot about gates and rising snakes, the jounin had completely failed to mention how this was put into practice. And that was what made Iruka a bit loath to part with the imagined protection his clothes gave him. Especially when there was one other person in the room who was still completely dressed.

"If you want to, you can keep your boxers," Kakashi helpfully provided without ever raising his head or surfacing from behind his book.

Iruka gave him a look that said he was not being very helpful at all, and tugged down his pants. He'd bet half his monthly salary that the copy-nin had said it to produce exactly the reaction Iruka'd had: Namely one of metaphorically sticking out his tongue and saying 'go screw yourself'.

At least not all three of them had been watching him. Yamato had taken to rearranging the lounge by shoving some of the furniture aside that an empty length of carpet emerged in the center of the room. Then the wood user knelt down facing Kakashi, and closed his eyes. It almost looked like he was meditating, completely oblivious to the fact that he was doing so stark naked.

Gai on the other hand though… Iruka was sure the man was trying to be helpful, but it was a bit unnerving to have someone practically quivering with non-sexual energy waiting to undress him. Thankfully, the man restrained himself to grabbing Iruka's clothes as soon as he had taken them off, and folded them neatly.

Iruka was impressed. He hadn't thought that Gai, with his full-body spandex, would take into account that clothes made from other materials tended to wrinkle when thrown haphazardly into a corner. Like Gai had done with his own suit. At least the Green Beast had had the good sense not to do the same with his leg weights, because they'd have created a very pretty hole in the floor.

Finally naked - yes, he had taken off his boxers - Iruka looked at Gai a bit aimlessly. Before any more discomfort could come up though, the man grinned at him blindingly, and the calloused hand patting Iruka's shoulder felt natural.

"Excellent! Now, please sit down, Iruka-sensei!"

Gai was pushing him towards the empty length of carpet next to Yamato, but Iruka resisted with a glance at all the stains. He was so not going to sit down butt naked in who knew what had soaked into the carpet.

A chuckle from Kakashi - why was Kakashi still there? Didn't he have better things to do than pretending to read porn while watching a naked Gai doing funky chakra stuff to two other naked guys?

And just why had Iruka just asked himself that, when the answer was glaringly obvious?

"Don't worry. We autoclave the carpet regularly. It's probably the most sterile surface in the whole Hokage tower." Which didn't say much.

Iruka scanned the woolen monstrosity critically. While it didn't cover the entire room, it was still at least four by five meters. And it wasn't thin. He was properly skeptical. "This thing? I've seen the size of the autoclaves at the hospital. It'd never fit."

A nonchalant shrug. The Copy-nin kept reading his thrice-cursed porn, but at least deigned to answer. "We make our own. Doton and suiton - rock basin filled with water and covered with more rock. Katon to heat it, pressure cooker style. Whoever makes it explode first is the winner."

"Ah." There was absolutely nothing one could say to that. It probably also explained the singed spots.

Iruka rubbed the bridge of his nose exasperatedly. Had he already mentioned it? Jounin were insane. Without further comment he sat down where Gai directed him to, facing away from Yamato at a right angle. It probably made things easier for Gai to have both of their backs within easy reach.

He closed his eyes to block out both Kakashi's presence somewhere to his left and the veritable nest of disease the carpet had to be. If he couldn't see it, it wasn't there. If he couldn't see it, it wasn't there. If he couldn't see…

The last time that had worked for Iruka had been when he was five and still scared of the monster under his bed.

Thankfully, Gai didn't leave him to stew alone and come up with half a thousand reasons why this hadn't been a good idea at all. Gai resumed the massage that had been interrupted earlier, and Iruka was grateful for it. The way Gai was expertly sniffing out all the sore spots along Iruka's neck and shoulders was quite phenomenal, even though the way his fingers were digging into Iruka's back almost hurt. Keyword was 'almost', and Iruka already felt more relaxed than he had in weeks. When had Gai become so good at massages?

"Now, sensei, turn inwards to revel in the natural flows of your youthful energy! Don't try to force anything or mold chakra; just observe and feel."

Humming in the back of his throat, Iruka slipped into one of the basic chakra meditations. It had been a long time since he had done a similar exercise himself. Mostly, he just taught them to his Academy students to prepare them for finding and drawing out their energy. They didn't have the innate chakra sense yet that all ninja needed, and chakra meditation helped with that. For anyone genin and above though, molding and measuring and moving chakra was such an instinctive part that they hardly ever thought about how they were doing it, let alone pay any attention to what their energies were doing when not in use.

One of Gai's hands had left him, probably to attend to Yamato. The other though was stroking slowly along Iruka's spine, up to the nape of his neck, and down to the swell of his buttocks - a bit further every time. The motion was constant and soothing to a hypnotic degree. And whatever Gai was doing, it seemed to exert a magnetic pull on Iruka's chakra. It followed Gai's hand like a tide that was swelling and receding. Iruka did his best not to fight but relax into it. Yamato had said that he'd need to trust Gai to manipulate his chakra.

One especially long stroke drew it down to his tailbone, where Gai's finger wedged in between his buttocks and poked against the strip of skin between his balls and his hole.

Iruka nearly jumped out of his skin.

While he had known intellectually that the seventh gate was located at the perineum, he hadn't quite made the connection that Gai was going to touch him there.

"Relax, Iruka-sensei. Nobody is going to penetrate you. Just feel the flow of your energies. I'll help you along a bit, but it's nothing to fear. Relax."

Slowly, Iruka followed the instructions. The warm finger against his sensitive skin was distracting, but he managed to block it out. It was a bit harder to block out the rest of the hand that one finger was attached to, because it was completely impossible for Gai's palm not to cup Iruka's ass when trying to reach the seventh gate. But with a teeth-gritting determination he managed to forget it – and Kakashi-sempai watching all this – and focus back on his meditation.

"Excellent," Gai commented more softly than Iruka had thought him capable of. "I am now going to push a bit of chakra into your gate to help it open up."

As deep in his meditation as he was, it was no problem for Iruka to feel the blunt cone of chakra that Gai slowly began to press inwards. And, incredibly, something inside Iruka answered.

It almost felt like Gai was pushing against an opening that was being held shut by muscles. Chakra muscles which Iruka hadn't even been aware of, and which the gentle pressure asked to relax.

"Mmh, you're doing most wonderfully, Iruka-sensei! Relax and let your youthful energies flow through your Gate of Wonder!"

The gentle pressure grew, making the 'muscle' clench a bit harder in response. The only feeling Iruka could compare it to was the first time he had been penetrated. Kotetsu had been infinitely patient in coaxing Iruka's ring to relax, and eventually he had slipped inside without resistance.

Iruka tried to apply the same feeling of letting go to the metaphysical muscle, but it took quite a bit more of Gai's gentle pressuring to finally get somewhere.

All of a sudden, Iruka felt something deep inside himself unclench, and a soothing wave of relaxation made him sigh. It felt as if he had released a large burden for the first time, and now his strained muscles were singing for the respite.

His second association was with that one brief moment when Kotetsu had slid himself completely into Iruka's passage, and Iruka had been relaxed enough to put up absolutely no resistance. Afterwards, his muscles had clamped down from the pleasure, but for that one moment, Iruka had felt totally open.

This time though, the openness didn't vanish when Gai lifted his finger, and Iruka continued to bask in that incredible feeling of relaxation and freedom.

"Very well-done! Now you can rejoice in your springtime of life, sensei! Watch the Flower of Manliness bloom and spread its seed across the world so that the Will of Fire might blossom everywhere!"

The flower.

Of manliness.

Despite his relaxed state, Iruka couldn't quite contain a twitch. And morbid curiosity demanded that Iruka ask himself how literal Gai had meant the 'spreading seed' part. Yamato to his left had a similar reaction, but Gai's hands were there almost immediately and smoothed out the muscles.

"No tensing, sensei!" Gai's enthusiastic voice scolded. "You need to relax so that I can unlock all those youthful energy flows of your body!"

A throat cleared, and Iruka was suddenly and uncomfortably aware of the fact that Kakashi was still in the room. And watching. Intently, with his Sharingan revealed. "Gai? You might want to see to it that the Flower of Manliness doesn't spread to the carpet here. Genma and Kurenai would kill you."

"But of course, my Eternal Rival!" Iruka could practically hear the 'ping' of light glinting off Gai's sparkling white teeth. Well, that answered his question of the 'spreading seeds'. Could he go ahead now and be uncomfortable?

On the other hand, he was feeling a bit too relaxed to truly protest the condom he was handed. After all, he had been warned of the possible side-effects. With a minimal amount of blushing, he got the latex to its intended destination, and even managed not to turn completely red when he found out he was half hard already.

"Alright, sensei! Listen to your body and let it show you its beauty!"

Gai's hands came back and were smoothing along his shoulders, his chest, and his spine. Strong fingers plucked and tugged at folds of skin in a manner that was borderline painful, but that also seemed to ease his breath and left a tingling warmth. Now that Iruka's muscles were nice and loose, he almost felt light-headed. Especially with the way his Gate of Wonder continued to gape open and felt like his hole had just been stretched and well-used.

Gradually, the hands wandered lower, and despite their impersonality Iruka felt more blood relocate towards his groin area.

"You are doing most wonderfully, sensei! Just breathe deeply and rejoice in your youth! Next is the View Gate."

His finger came to rest right on top of the sacrum, a collection of vertebra that had grown together sometime over the course of human evolution. It was at groin level, just on the dorsal side.

Just like with the Wonder Gate, Iruka felt a blunt force of chakra press against something he couldn't name. This time though, the association was immediately sexual. Iruka could feel his heartbeat speed up, his breathing deepen. His groin was tingling, coming to life as Gai pushed harder.

As relaxed as the Wonder Gate had made him, the sudden arousal on top of it was mind-blowing. It spread from his member to his stomach and chest and down into his legs and up into his arms and head, until his whole body tingled with the same insistence as his groin.

Iruka had never felt anything like it. It wasn't an arousal that demanded for release. It was an arousal where he could hover and enjoy the sensations running through him. Every breath suddenly became interesting, every twitch of a muscle was a study in sensation. He floated on a warm wave of pleasure, and he almost missed the moment the gate opened completely. It was completely anticlimactic, nothing more than a small crest before Gai's finger moved away and Iruka sank onto a slightly lower state of readiness.

He just breathed, feeling both chakra and pleasure flow through him. He didn't know for how long. He didn't care. He lived in the moment, and although he heard Yamato inhale sharply with the opening of his own gate, the knowledge didn't really touch Iruka's brain.

That was what being high must feel like.

After an indeterminable amount of time, Gai's fingers returned. Instead of a deep massage though, they merely teased along the skin of his back until they started to rub circles around one of the lumbar vertebrae. One at approximately the height of his navel.

"Breathe in deeply, Sensei, and exhale over a period of five counts. Imagine that you are slowly opening your wonderfully supple chakra core. At the count of five, there is nothing more separating it from the joyous world all around you."

Iruka hummed low in his throat, too doped up on all the pleasure flowing through him to feel any anxiety about Gai's suddenly much less flowery and exuberant speech. He inhaled slowly, and exhaled just as slowly, listening to Gai count.

"One. Two."

The pressure of Gai's finger stayed the same, but somehow it began to feel more immediate. More air streamed out of Iruka's lungs, and together with it barriers around his core fell that he had never known he possessed.

"Three. Four."

Iruka's skin started to feel thin and brittle, as if he was somehow getting too big for it. Where Gai's finger met his body, he felt especially brittle.

"Five." The last word, Gai whispered just as the last of Iruka's breath tapered out.

For one incredibly long moment, he felt like he was hovering on a brink. He was trying to override age-old instincts of keeping his core contained within himself, of shielding it from the surrounding world.

A slight flare of Gai's chakra gave the tiny push needed, and Iruka suddenly felt like a punctured balloon.

If the Wonder Gate had been soothing and the View Gate arousing, the Limit Gate felt like a punch in the gut. Only in reverse. And somehow it didn't hurt, but it winded him nonetheless. For several incredibly long seconds, he felt like he'd never be able to breathe again. All he could focus on was the explosion of energy in his center, which was almost more than he could bear.

"Breathe, sensei," Gai's voice urged him, "use that to control your chakra! Don't let it flow away from you."

Iruka breathed, and it felt like he wasn't the only one breathing but his chakra, too. It entered and left his body together with the air in his lungs, shimmering around him in nearly visible currents.

Gradually, the feeling of having been punched receded as he got used to having his chakra flow around him like that. And the only thing he was left with was a strength that he knew could shatter boulders with only a touch.

Limit gate, indeed.

He looked around slowly, still breathing energy and tingles of arousal, and he found that Kakashi was watching him intently. The sharingan had locked onto Iruka, Kakashi's expression being one of fascination.

Iruka wondered what he could see. The sharingan was said to make energy flows visible - did that mean that Kakashi could actually see the currents Iruka could feel flowing from and around himself?

Next to him, Gai was quietly tending to Yamato until Yamato's presence gradually flowed out in the same way as Iruka's. Breathing, swirling, too much to be confined to the restrictions of skin and bone.

Kakashi's focus went to the other jounin. Iruka didn't mind; he was too fascinated by the way Yamato's energy tasted - woodsy with a tiny flavor of earth and water. And it was immense, much bigger than Iruka's easily controlled pool. It felt like sitting next to a breathing dragon. Kakashi was a dragon, too, but one whose breath stayed inside and only leaked through his exposed eye.

Compared to that, Gai was a hotly controlled furnace at his back. Iruka was remotely surprised to feel just how much chakra Gai had at his disposal. However, his mind was too drugged to think any more into it.

This time, Gai didn't even have to make contact with Iruka's skin for Iruka to feel his hand. The chakra swirling around him acted like a second skin that gave him information a long time before anything came in contact with his actual skin.

Gai immediately went for a thoracic vertebra, about the height of Iruka's sternum. He was a lot less gentle, too, practically forcing the gate open with a controlled stab of energy.

It was nearly instantly that Iruka realized why: had Gai tried to nudge it open gently, Iruka would have done his best to resist. Because what flowed out was not strength or arousal, but emotions. For no explicable reason, he suddenly felt like he wanted to cry and laugh, as if all barriers he'd ever had had fallen at once.

His throat clogged with feelings that churned in his chest, a chaos of love and hate and desperation and happiness and grief and too many nuances to name. He was shivering and scrabbling for control, fighting to stay afloat of the sudden tide.

If this gate had been opened first without the other three before, he might have had a better chance. As it was though, his body was in such a relaxed and altered state that his mind couldn't help but go along with it, and his mental defenses were lower than they had ever been.

His breath turned ragged as he tried not to be completely drowned.

A hand settled on his shoulder and squeezed slightly, steadying him a bit in reality. "Let go," Kakashi said from much closer than he should be on the couch. "Cry with all you have bottled up. It helps, I promise."

And as if yet another gate had been opened, tears started flowing down Iruka's face. Despite his overwhelming turmoil, they were silent tears without sobs. They ran quietly over his cheek and dropped to his lap, and the warm hand on his shoulder kept resting there.

Once again he lost track of time. But when the tears subsided, he didn't feel empty. The energy he was still breathing prevented that. Instead, he felt quiet and more at peace with himself than he had in a very, very long time.

He simply breathed.

A wet cloth came to softly pat the rest of the tears off his face, and Iruka realized only then that he had had his eyes closed the entire time.

"The monks I learned this from call it Anahata, or Heart Chakra. The location of feelings and emotions," Gai's voice spoke softly, soberly. No Youth or Springtime. "But there's only one gate located directly in the heart." Yes, Iruka knew which one Gai was referring to. It was the eighth and final one. The Death Gate. Gai continued, "The gate the monks are talking about and that I have just opened, doesn't sit in the heart but in the chest. Shinobi have another name for it. The Gate of Pain."

Truly a fitting name.

Iruka could both hear and feel that Yamato hadn't reached his equilibrium yet, and so he waited quietly. With all the energy flowing in and around him, breathing alone had turned into a meditation that he could easily lose himself in. He felt more peaceful and calmer than he ever had, somehow scoured clean of the many emotions clogging his mind.

A squeeze of the hand on his shoulder brought him out of it, and he opened his eyes just in time to see Kakashi retreat to his seat on the couch. The hand was gone. Once again, they were being observed with the red clarity of the sharingan.

And Gai's hand came back, settling on the nape of his neck. "I absolutely promise that the rest of the gates will be easier! They will unlock the most youthful of your energies, and prepare you for the Rising of the Snake.

"Life Gate."

Gai was right. After the turmoil of the last two gates, it felt completely anticlimactic. Gai's hand emitted a soft warmth, and that was enough to push away something in Iruka's throat that apparently had been lodged there without his knowledge.

Iruka hummed in appreciation, enjoying the way his own voice vibrated through his chest. Only gradually did he realize the full effects of this new openness. It was a very subtle untwisting inside him that made him feel more secure in himself than he had ever been.

If anyone had asked him something, he would have spoken freely, even if it was personal or embarrassing. He didn't feel compelled to tell the truth; it was more like he suddenly saw how his personal insecurities had been hampering his communication, and how he had been worrying too much about saying the wrong thing. Now he felt like he could say what needed to be said, and find the right words for it.

But since there was nothing to say at the moment, he merely hummed again.

Next to him Yamato seemed to struggle more; at least that was what his flowing energies were telling Iruka. Even with more gates being opened after the Limit Gate, Iruka had never lost his extreme awareness of any and all chakra in the room. Especially Yamato's burned in his mind, because the other jounin's was flowing similarly unrestrained.

If Iruka strained, he'd probably be able to feel where everyone in the Tower was. But he didn't really feel like straining. He felt calm and relaxed, and even the low presence of arousal only tied him more closely to his body.

Iruka didn't know how he could tell, but suddenly he knew that Yamato's Life Gate was as open as Iruka's. There was no swell of chakra, no change in breathing pattern or vocal sign. Nothing. But Iruka knew it as certain as he knew that Gai had sensed the same.

So it was no big surprise when Gai's attention returned to him, for the first time since the View Gate touching him with two hands again. Gai threaded both hands through Iruka's hair and started a strong massage. His fingers rubbed circles into his scalp, his temples, his neck, motions Iruka was very well used to for treating his own headaches.

But Gai didn't leave it at that. At certain spots he pressed harder than Iruka thought would be safe, and Iruka's skull answered with slight cracking sounds. As if bones were snapping back to their original position. There was no pain to accompany it, just a mostly mental jolt and a feeling of tension leaving his head.

Iruka hummed questioningly, curious what exactly Gai was doing.

Gai chuckled and answered with his usual high spirit. "Do not worry, Sensei! You are most safe in my hands! Your head is just releasing the noise of discontent, until your youthful mind can shine unhindered once again! There are several points that need to be manipulated before it is safe to open the Healing Gate."

Very informative. But the way Gai was massaging his scalp and rubbing his skull made it too hard to think, so Iruka let it slide.

Time was coming more and more sporadic to him. And when Gai rested a single chakra-laced finger between Iruka's brows and braced the back of his head, it felt like he had taken a sledge-hammer to Iruka's brain. His thoughts shattered completely, until there was nothing left but clear stillness. Iruka felt everything around him with a new clarity, but he didn't really think about it beyond reacting to it on an instinctual level.

"I didn't discover you by accident," he heard himself say, mostly without his conscious input. "You were waiting for me to find you in here. You wanted me to experience this."

He didn't get an answer, but he knew it as certain as the sun rising in the East. It was simply all the puzzle pieces falling into place. The open door. Gai stripping just as Iruka walked by. Them trying their best to put him at ease and get him to stay.

Only, Iruka didn't think all that in words. He just knew it on an intuitive level, and if asked he would be hard-pressed to explain how he had come to his conclusion.

Once again time slipped and slid in indeterminable intervals. Iruka blinked occasionally, noted Gai's words to Yamato, but didn't hear them. He saw Kakashi stare at the other jounin with his sharingan, knew that while Kakashi was aroused by Yamato's nudity Yamato liked Kakashi more than that. When Iruka's legs threatened to fall asleep, he merely guided a bit of his breath down to them, and they felt fresh and rested.

Yamato's Healing Gate opened, and energy raced through the room for a brief second. Iruka smelled it and tasted it and knew it for what it was. Without looking, he could feel that Yamato was also shedding his thoughts to enter this curious state of no time.

Gai was saying something to Kakashi, and Kakashi responded. Gai said something else, and Kakashi responded again.

He felt Yamato and Gai shuffle behind him, rearranging themselves. Yamato gasped. His energy was so close to Gai's as to be virtually on top of him.

"Iruka-sensei. Turn around."

Like in a dream, Iruka turned around. He saw Yamato sitting in Gai's lap, their arms wrapped around each other. Yamato was slumped slightly, enough to rest his chin on Gai's shoulder. The angle of his hips indicated that Gai had slipped into him. Yamato stared off into nothing, but Gai was looking at Iruka.

"Watch," he said, and started stroking a hand up and down Yamato's spine. "The Rise of the Snake. The energy is going to well up and unseal the Gate of Opening, to allow a communion with the Gods."

Gradually, Yamato's energy started pulsing, just like Iruka had felt his own pulse when Gai had done the same to him. The gentle ebb and swell grew in strength with every stroke of Gai's hand, and even Iruka could feel it tugging at him.

Yamato started panting, making small noises in the back of his throat. He was squirming slightly on Gai's lap, clenching and unclenching his arms around Gai. More and more energy laced the room, and Iruka saw that it was beginning to overwhelm Yamato. The jounin sweated and trembled, and still the strength of the tidal waves grew.

Gai finally turned all of his attention to Yamato, whispering something into his hair about letting go and going with the flow. Yamato whimpered, and the swell still increased. It had reached nearly unbearable proportions for Iruka. For Yamato, who was right at the center of it, it had to be worse.

"Tenzou. Relax."

Iruka didn't know who Tenzou was, but he could clearly feel the effect Kakashi's words had on Yamato. The jounin's entire chakra gasped with recognition and obedience-fear-pleasure. Gai nodded at Kakashi gratefully, and incredibly the pull increased again.

On the next cycle, Yamato went completely limp on the downward surge, only his twitching fingers giving away that he hadn't passed out. He melted into Gai, and when the energy surged upwards again, he didn't put up any resistance at all. He merely whimpered a bit, burrowed his head against Gai's shoulder, and let the momentum of the energy carry it up, pool behind that last barrier, and then punch through to spill from the crown of his head.

The gate was open.

Even Iruka was affected by the powerful release, panting from the mere pressure of it. Uncontrolled chakra flooded the room with mind-blowing ecstasy, pleasure, presence, and there was no way to block its arousing effect. Gai, who was much closer to Yamato, was even more affected. The Green Beast held on to Yamato, thrusting up slightly. Energy continued pouring from Yamato, who languidly let his head loll backwards in bliss. That was when Iruka realized that the release wasn't over yet, that Yamato was still flying and ascending.

Gai didn't last very long anymore. He dragged Yamato harder against him, thrust once, twice, and then shuddered in his own release. More energy flooded the room, and Iruka's time once again shattered into immeasurable bits.

"Look at me, Iruka," Kakashi's voice drew him out of it. "Look at me."

Languidly, Iruka met a red and a grey eye. "Mmh?"

"Will you allow me to take you through the last gate?"


Time was too disjointed for Iruka to catch a complete thought, let alone voice it. But he wasn't startled when Kakashi reached around to ghost a hand along his spine; it felt like a natural extension of the situation. The expected pull at his chakra was a bit different from Gai's, more... crackling and unsure how to mesh. But it evened out with remarkable speed, and the tidal waves slowly picked up strength.

It was – if Iruka had still been capable of finding and joining words together, mind-blowing would have been too weak an expression.

In the beginning, Gai had shown him a faint echo of that tidal pull. It had felt strange but good. But then, all of Iruka's gates had been closed. With his chakra core being open and his entire body sensitized and his mind floating on an incomparable high, the pull reached down to things Iruka hadn't thought could be touched. He felt adrift in his own body, the increasing power of the ebbs and flows in his chakra taking his mental feet out from beneath him. It was powerful and frightening, and yet at the same time it sung with the promise of ecstasy.

Iruka was panting, and he stared wide-eyed at Kakashi's sharingan. The blades were revolving slowly around the pupil, completely focused on what Iruka could only feel. Kakashi's finger was tracing a hot line up and down Iruka's spine, up and down and up and down again, and that insidious pull at Iruka's chakra increased. Up and down, and he could feel it brushing against the wound gate with its emotions, the view gate with its sexual arousal, down to the Gate of Wonder and the memory of his first penetration. And then, the chakra wave rose again, teasing the gates in reverse order and accumulating more energy from every one of them. It crested in his head, making him incapable of thought with all the energy flooding his brain, but then it went down again.

Healing gate. Life gate. Wound gate. Limit gate. View gate and wonder gate. On the downstroke, sexual energy was pooling and pooling in his groin, and he thought he was growing mad with it.

Reverse. Up and up and up and more chakra swelling, and Iruka was losing what little touch he had had with reality. And the red eye continued swirling and Iruka didn't know if he tried to look away and couldn't, or if he never tried in the first place.

The wave crested in his head. Iruka was struggling against the feeling that he was going to explode. His eyes, locked with that red one, felt as if they were glowing from inside, almost painful.

"Iruka. Relax."

Later on, Iruka would wonder about those words, if it was simply the words or if they had been reinforced with the Sharingan. They were the same Kakashi had already said to Yamato, only with another name. And they had about the same effect on Iruka as they had had on the other jounin.

On the next down-surge, he stopped struggling.

If Kakashi hadn't anticipated his reaction, Iruka would have fallen on his face when not only his mind but his body, too, went limp. But Kakashi's hand braced him in the center of his chest and the other was trailing goosebumps down to his tailbone. Desire-want-need curled against more chakra than Iruka had ever handled. It compressed down and down and down until Iruka couldn't do anything but moan helplessly at the pressure inside him.

Just when he thought he couldn't take it anymore, the pull upward came. And Iruka went with it.

Later on, he wouldn't remember many details after that. Just a tiny smidgen of fear as the upward surge of chakra swelled completely beyond his power to contain, soothed by yet another "Relax". Was he trembling? Maybe. Was he scared? A little bit. Was he glowing with all the energy pulsing up his spinal gates? No, according to Kakashi.

But it felt like it. It felt like he was glowing and growing brighter and brighter as the chakra went up and up and up -

and something gave.

Iruka would remember an impression of spilling out of his own skin, completely subsumed into the world around him. Not only his chakra, but his mind, his soul, whatever made Iruka Iruka. He would remember a sensation of floating that went beyond pleasure and beyond ecstasy, but of which even memory was just a pale copy. There was nothing and everything, and it was right.

When he came down again, he found himself wrapped in a blanket and curled on his side, staring ahead blankly. Had he passed out with his eyes open?

If he had, he didn't mind. He felt relaxed and refreshed in a way no mere sex had ever done for him. Maybe hours of love-making, but not simple sex. But he hadn't had sex, had he? It might be a stupid question, but had he even released?

"You with me again, Iruka-sensei?"

Kakashi. Iruka turned his head. The jounin was – sitting in Iruka's rocking chair?

Iruka blinked. He hadn't even realized that he wasn't in the jounin lounge anymore. He was in his own living-room, lying on his own couch, and Iruka was quite sure that he was wrapped in his own blanket, too. He must have been really out of it to not have felt them move him. Nor, he twitched his hips briefly, take off the condom, from the feel of it.

"Yes," Iruka said. Then, after a pause, "That was..."

He trailed off because he couldn't quite find the words for the experience. Not when he was still basking in the afterglow of it, his chakra all tingly and responsive, his body all relaxed, and his mind caught in some feel-good space.

Kakashi chuckled softly and finished for him, "a renewal of your youthful energies of springtime?"

Iruka craned his head at that and looked around. Thankfully Gai was nowhere to be seen. He flopped down on the couch again and smiled. "That sounds a bit corny. But yes, I think Gai has hit the nail on its head with this." A thought. "He can do that... that Rising Snake thing consciously without anyone helping him? If he's always feeling like I do right now, that would actually explain quite a lot."

A surprised, barking laugh. "Sorry to disappoint you, sensei, but Gai has always been like that. Good guess though."

"Mmh." There were several questions he still had, like how Kakashi had known where Iruka lived, or why exactly three jounin had decided to share this... technique with a chuunin. But he felt too lazy to get involved in a discussion that would need more than his currently half-drugged train of thoughts. However, one question was still burning on his mind. "What were you doing there, Kakashi-sensei?"

The jounin shrugged. "I like to watch." He chuckled slightly at Iruka's disbelieving expression. "Gai did tell the truth; it was a technique demonstration. I was trying to see how much of Gai's chakra manipulations I could catch with the Sharingan. I can't do that when he does it to himself – I'm no Hyuuga – and I can't do that when he demonstrates on me," a shared look of remembered ecstasy that would surely take away the chakra control necessary to operate something as delicate as the Sharingan. "So we went for the obvious solution." He smiled slightly. "It was nice of you to provide a second set of data, Iruka-sensei. I learned a lot from comparing your responses to Yamato's. And..."

Kakashi trailed off, visibly uncomfortable. But before Iruka could say anything, the jounin pulled himself together and faced Iruka head-on. "And I want to thank you for your trust. That you let me pull you that last gate."

The weight in Kakashi's gaze showed just how much the jounin was baring his feelings. And how uncomfortable he was saying these things aloud.

The brief quip about Iruka thinking himself a pretty good lab-rat, died on Iruka's lips. It was completely inappropriate for the mood.

"You're welcome," he managed. "Thanks for staying and telling me that." And oh boy wasn't this becoming awkward fast.

Thankfully, Kakashi had used up his daily – well, probably monthly – quota of soul-baring openness and eased the situation with a chuckle. "Well, someone had to check if you went back to normal again. No open gates, no damage to your chakra or your mind and, most importantly," the jounin fixed him with a mock-serious glare, "no flowery springtime of youth. You don't feel like imitating Gai's speech, do you, Iruka-sensei?"

Iruka nearly swallowed his tongue before bursting out into hearty laughter. "No, Sir!" he finally managed to salute between chuckles. "No excessively flowery springtime of youth and renewal." He thought briefly. "At least not right now." Or ever. This village couldn't take yet another Gai clone.

"Then my work here is done," the jounin smiled. "Oh, and I had someone take care of the papers you left in the jounin lounge. No need to worry about your work." He gave a brief wave and dissolved into smoke before Iruka could say anything else.

The chuunin blinked at his suddenly empty living-room. While he didn't doubt that Kakashi had roped someone into dealing with that stack of forms, Iruka did doubt Kakashi's reassurance that he didn't need to worry. Who knew who the jounin had found...

But for once, he'd leave it for the next day. There hadn't been anything time-sensitive in those papers anyway.

He sighed contently and settled back onto his couch. He felt too relaxed to worry. And he had every intention of keeping it that way.

At least until tomorrow.

A/N: If you're a bit confused about the point to all of this, go back and read the longish A/N at the beginning. For everyone else: feedback is very much appreciated. Even if it is to tell me that you didn't like this story.