I Should Have Kissed You
Summary: After being begged and bribed, Kakashi and Iruka take one night off from their friendship to try a real-honest-to-god date. Neither of them expect it to be anything but a disaster.
AN: Oh my word, this has been the most stressful 6 or 7 months I've ever had and there's no light at the end of the tunnel. I've been working on LM2 and a couple of other pieces if I get a chance, but this idea popped into my head, and it felt good to write a quick one-shot. It's crap and it's inspired by country music, forgive me. Thanks so much to Kiterie for betaing!
Give it one night, Anko had said. It's not going to kill you, she'd said. Staring down at the indeterminable gelatinous mass that took up the better portion of his plate, Iruka was inclined to disagree. He set his fork down to one side and swallowed the natural question of what exactly he was eating. Out of the corner of his eye, the bulk oozed slowly towards the edge of his plate.
Good god, was it moving?
Possible but unlikely. The more likely culprit was the broken leg on the far side of Kakashi's table. Almost two years ago, a stolen toy followed by the predictable mad dash through the house had ended abruptly with Uhei spinning out on the floor and sliding into the table. Iruka always found one of the many spare copies of Icha Icha to stuff under the table leg whenever he came over, but the book was rescued almost immediately thereafter.
He'd ignored the wobbly table tonight, feeling suddenly self-conscious about making crass remarks about Kakashi's apartment, clothes or – Iruka swallowed again and bravely fished out a forkful of whatever this was - food. That feeling had never assaulted him before, not in all the times he'd snarked about the constant diet of mission rations, the dilapidated couch with all the kunai scars, and the dog hair everywhere.
Tonight was different.
Across the table from him, Kakashi stabbed at a similar hummocky pile that was sliding across the expanse of his plate. His vague expression of disgust mirrored Iruka's own. The majority of his face may have been obscured, but in the last decade of being Kakashi's friend, Iruka had learned to read the minute changes around his eyes with eerie accuracy.
Good to know that he wasn't the only one freaked out about the food; he just didn't understand why they couldn't have had a normal dinner. He'd eaten at Kakashi's house before – he paused for a moment and tried to count it, more to stall on the actual act of placing the food in his mouth because he knew he couldn't count the number of times he'd been here.
They were friends. They were good friends. Possibly best friends, and probably the only real friends either of them had.
Iruka normally would have counted Anko in his list of friends, but she was the reason he was in this mess to begin with.
Anko perched on the edge of his desk, one leg thrown over the other and her hands laced around her knee. "You spend all your time together. Hell, half the village thinks you're dating. So why not?"
Iruka stacked a couple of scrolls in the cabinet and slid the door closed. "Why not what?"
"Why not give it a shot? Dating," she elaborated with an exaggerated eye roll.
"Dating?" He took several more minutes to catch up. "Kakashi?"
"No. I was thinking you'd grab some random guy off the street. Just bat those big brown eyes, and they'll be falling all over themselves." She leaned backwards over the edge of the desk and demonstrated. It earned her a punch in the arm, which she clasped and howled over despite Iruka's decidedly unimpressed stare.
"You think I should date Kakashi?"
Iruka glared. It had no effect. "He's my friend, Anko."
"Right. Sorry, I forgot that you're not supposed to be friends with your boyfriend."
He sighed, straightened the last of his desk, and slung his bag over his shoulder. Maybe if he just walked away, she'd forget the whole idea.
"Come on, you can't actually tell me you haven't thought about it."
The worst part of it was that the thought actually hadn't occurred to Iruka until she'd brought up this nonsense, and now he couldn't shake it. Even without the dubious edibility of the food, Iruka wasn't entirely certain he could stomach anything, not with the pack of butterflies already flapping around in there.
Anko'd hit Kakashi up with the same idea and through a strategic application of bribes, wheedling, and outright threats, had managed to convince both of them to try an evening that was designated as a 'date.'
Kakashi should have just shoved it off – he tolerated Anko, but any discussions between them usually dissolved into a crossed arms and dark looks – but he'd listened and agreed before Iruka could splutter out a protest. Kakashi had rationalized it later that it wouldn't be anything different from usual, and it was easier than arguing with her.
Anko was an immovable object once she'd made up her mind.
Internally, he knew that Kakashi was right. It shouldn't have been any different, and yet here Iruka was, behaving so far from the norm that Kakashi was sure to notice something was up. He wasn't sure there was any suggested protocol for how to tell your best friend that you may have been harboring romantic feelings for him and that you only just realized because your other, nosey friend forced you to think about it.
If Kakashi decided to bring it up, Iruka could always claim it was because he was so thoroughly rattled by the fact that they were, for some reason, sitting at the table. It was yet another thing that made this night different from all of those that came before it.
Perhaps Kakashi was just worried that Anko would follow through on some of her more dire threats if they didn't have a proper date. It would certainly explain the attempt at formal food that was currently slipping ever closer to the edge of his plate.
"This is a disaster, isn't it?" Kakashi made a face at the food.
Surprised laughter bubbled up from the base of Iruka's throat no matter how hard he tried to suppress it. This was more like the evenings he'd come to love. He leaned forward and whispered conspiratorially, "I think it's alive."
"Can't be." Kakashi's cough did a poor job of covering his snicker. "I cooked it for almost three hours on the highest temperature the oven could go."
Iruka ducked his head to giggle into the plate instead of directly at Kakashi. "What about the smoke alarm?"
"Maa, you know, I've never really approved of the use of Icha Icha to prop up the table," Kakashi leveled a scalding glare at him before continuing, "And it can only do so much to level out the surface. This configuration is not only convenient, but is much more preferable for making the table useful."
Iruka'd never actually been at the table, with or without a wedge under the leg. The couch was the seat of choice, complete with a movie so terrible that most people wouldn't even fess up to renting it. They usually took turns yelling at the screen about plot holes, bad acting and just generally bad physics. He glanced down at the busted leg by his right foot and spotted the missing circle of white plastic.
He didn't even bother to try to suppress his snort of laughter this time, and found himself grinning at Kakashi across the table. The flock of butterflies chose that moment to do a series of dizzying barrel roles in the confines of his stomach.
Kakashi's grin faltered. "What are we doing?"
The bottom of his stomach shuddered under the impact of hundreds of plummeting butterflies. He was doomed. He was also capable of shoving this strange shift to the side and returning to their friendship to normality. "Making sure we don't get our closets switched with fishnets, garter belts and corsets?" Iruka offered.
"I see she got to you too."
"Well, I don't know about you, but I think I could rock that whole outfit." Iruka continued over Kakashi's choked splutter. Ten years, but he could still surprise him. "Bail?"
A flicker of relief washed over Kakashi's face. "Bail," he agreed.
Neither of them was really cut out for this. They were both too submerged in the shinobi lifestyle and too warped by the genes of generations upon generations of ninja to have a normal relationship. It was, perhaps, why they had gravitated to each other on the first place. He swallowed to try to clear the lump in his throat. Damn Anko for forcing them to try this.
Having the feelings dragged forward into the front of his mind and being confronted instantly with the knowledge that the other party thought this was all a gag to pacify Anko was just a bit too painful. Tomorrow, he would look back on it as a temporary moment of insanity, but now he could at least try to salvage the evening back to something that they'd normally do. He sagged down onto the couch; the familiar creaking protest from the old springs brought a slight smile to his face.
Behind him, Kakashi made an exaggerated gagging noise as he scrapped the inedible mush off the plate into the garbage.
Iruka turned around just in time to see him smash the lid back on the trashcan. "Trying to keep it from escaping?"
"I'm worried it might try to take on the dogs." His attempt at a serious face was ruined by Pakkun wandering through and eyeing the garbage with noted trepidation.
Pakkun stopped at Iruka's feet and looked up at him. "He couldn't make you eat it either? He tried to foist that crap off on us earlier."
A warning growl spilled from Kakashi's throat.
Pakkun rolled his eyes up at Kakashi and ambled off across the floor towards one of the many worn, drool-covered pillows piled in the corner.
Kakashi collapsed onto the couch next to Iruka, remote in one hand and two beers in the other. He handed one to Iruka and leaned back into the well-loved cushions. "Much better."
Three hours, two movies, and four energetic yelling fits at the screen later, far more alcohol had been consumed than was absolutely necessary, and Iruka'd managed to strategically put the awkward date-like experiment out of his mind.
Dozing against Kakashi's shoulder, however, was helping. Even though it wasn't even close to the first time he'd done it, it felt different now. He shoved himself upwards as nonchalantly as possible and made half-hearted noises about returning home.
No amount of insisting could convince Kakashi that he could make his way home alone. He wasn't drunk enough to the point of staggering, but walking still required more concentration than normal. Every time he stepped slightly wrong, Kakashi's hand would dart out to stabilize him.
Just gentle touches to his elbow, his shoulder, and once to his hip because his arm was up over the back of his head scratching at the base of his ponytail. Nothing more and nothing less and nothing new, and yet his skin tingled long after the touch was removed.
This was horrible. He really shouldn't have drunk anything.
What was even more horrible was the briefest flash of hope when those fingers remained for just a millisecond too long that maybe – just maybe – Kakashi was in the same boat he was. He shoved that hope aside, knowing that Kakashi was just as tipsy and probably looking for some modicum of balance.
He dragged his attention back to his surroundings just in time to realize that he was facing his own door and that Kakashi was deftly hooking his keys out of his pocket. He stumbled inside with a mumbled goodnight, not trusting himself to say anything else. He managed to get his shoes off more out of habit than anything else, but stopped in the dead center of the room.
No. He couldn't leave it like this. The date hadn't worked, but if he was absolutely honest, he didn't have a good track record with normal dates. Perhaps this was just what worked for them. It had certainly worked so far.
He was across the floor and yanking the door open before he'd even formulated a plan. Kakashi had to still be close by – even jounin weren't immune to the effects of alcohol, although he was sure that Kakashi had some jutsu to clear it from his system. He stepped into his shoes and over the threshold. If Kakashi had made it all the way back to his apartment, he'd just hammer on the door until he opened it.
The dogs would bark and howl from the minute that his hand hit the door until he stopped. Kakashi would have to open up, and then Iruka would at least be able to ask him if maybe, just maybe….
He skidded to a stop in the center of the balcony, only narrowly avoiding crashing into Kakashi. To say that it was unexpected was a bit of an understatement. Iruka had expected at least a couple of minutes to get a plan of action together and at least to rehearse some words of explanation. Without the planning, his mouth opened and absolutely nothing came out. Sheer panic descended over him as he struggled to find something to say that wasn't a complete cop out.
Before anything occurred to him, fingers curled into the front of his shirt, pushing him up and back until his shoulders collided with the wall. It took him several moments to realize how close Kakashi was, and by that point, Kakashi's mouth was on his.
The kiss was gentle at first, and if Iruka's brain hadn't been spinning its wheels somewhere in the background, he would have recognized the apprehension, the worry and question, in the gesture, but all he could manage was to tilt his head back and press closer.
When they finally broke apart, Iruka caught the briefest glimpse of a smile playing around the corners of Kakashi's lips before Kakashi nuzzled down against his jaw and into the crook of his neck.
"Oh." It felt like something more needed to be said, so he gathered his scrambled thoughts just long enough to breathe out. "You too?"
Kakashi just hummed against his throat.
...Not much to say. This little idea popped into my head, and I tried to throw something together from it. Hopefully I'll get a chance to write something halfway decent in the next little bit. ^_^