A/N: This was inspired by DarkAuroran's fanfiction Stranger Situations and was posted with her permission! I hope you enjoy!

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto, nor any of the characters depicted here. Or anything else. Just the plot (and that's kind of iffy since I have no idea what's going to happen xD). And the song I was listening to during writing this is Aura by Thomas Bergerson.

...

The assassin crept through the darkened halls of the mansion, searching for his target. He was always careful to stay in the shadows. The security cameras he had mapped out were motion sensitive, but if they could not see him, they would not activate. The full bodied, skin-tight black outfit helped things a bit. The thought of how ninja-like his gear looked almost brought a smirk to his scarred face. Iruka once more schooled his features beneath his mask into seriousness as he neared his destination. A streak of light spilled across the corridor as a door was opened and four burly men stepped out of it. Bodyguards.

Shit. That was the room he needed to get into. Time for plan B.

Iruka dashed into the nearest doorway before he could be detected. He had already memorized the blueprints and floor plans of the entire building and planned multiple points of entry for the assassination. His eyes roved the new environment and found what he was looking for: a heating duct. That specific heating duct went right the next room and was just big enough for him to crawl through, allowing him the access he required. This needed to be done swiftly and silently. One stupid mistake could cost him everything.

The lone assassin peeked through the slats of metal and saw his objective signing papers at a desk. Minutes went by as the assassin calculated his next move, waiting for the guards to close the door. Luckily, the corrupt CEO dismissed them abruptly and turned in his swivel chair, putting his back to the heating duct. It looks like tonight's my lucky night, he observed as he listened to the receding footsteps of the guards.

Taking the knife from the hidden compartment on his thigh, Iruka got to work on the screws of the grate quietly. The second grate was tricky, but he got the screws undone nonetheless. The CEO sighed softly from his chair and Iruka froze, holding his breath. It was now or never, he decided. He tossed the piece of metal forward and out of his way; the faint clang was further muffled by the plush carpet. Startled, the man turned in his chair just as Iruka lunged forward with his knife at the ready.

The man did not even have time to yell for help. The blade sank into his trachea to the hilt with little blood and virtually no pain. Iruka had felt the scrape of metal against bone, meaning he had successfully severed the spinal cord. A clean kill. He knew it was impractical to use a knife for an assassination, but it was very hard to conceal a sniper rifle in a travel case. Not for the first time, Iruka cursed the call he got while on vacation.

He removed the knife from the limp body carefully and laid the note from his employer on the desk in front of the body. Iruka had no idea why his client would be reckless enough to do such a thing, but the man's ego was insufferable. Orders were orders, however, and he shook his head slightly to clear his thoughts. It was not over yet. He turned to leave when a picture frame near the edge of the desk caught Iruka's attention.

Suddenly curious, he picked it up gently and saw the recently deceased CEO standing by a lake with a small child resting on his shoulders. The little girl could not have been more than 5 or 6 years old and looked remarkably like the man in the photo. The dead man had a family, a daughter.

Iruka closed his eyes from the onslaught of emotion that overtook him. The faces of father and daughter had shown such mirth in the photo, the killer's heart squeezed when he realized what he had just taken away from an innocent child. The same thing he had lost when he was her age. Images of his own childhood assaulted his mind brutally. Blood was everywhere and his parents were lying dead on the floor of his home because they tried to protect him.

At that moment, he had wished he had never taken the job. He wished he had never become an assassin, not that he wanted to in the first place. The memories of all his past kills, the families he destroyed, flitted through his mind rapidly, leaving the brunette feeling oddly saddened.

Iruka shook his head in defiance of his feelings and put the picture back in its place. What's done is done, there's no going back, he told himself. Now, the assassin had only to escape through the shadows unnoticed. Piece of cake.

As he turned to leave yet again, the door was thrust open and hurried words were heard about unconscious guards at the gate. Iruka had not expected them to find the men that quickly. Not good. All four huge bodyguards surged into the room, eyes wild and alert as they surveyed the area. Immediately, their gazes locked on Iruka and, too late, they realized what had happened. Iruka's mind spun as he tried to think about what to do.

This was bad. This was very bad.

One of them was pointing a condemning finger, screaming, "Murderer!"

While his title was true, it still stung. Protocol called for absolutely no witnesses, but the lone assassin was outnumbered. Yes, he could take them all if he had had the time. Unfortunately, time was something he had little of and he did not intend to waste it on guards who could prove to be more troublesome than they were worth. Besides, his mask covered his entire head except for a slit for the eyes, so there was no way he could be identified and his gloves hid his fingerprints.

Instead of killing the guards, Iruka quickly reached into the tiny pack attached to his inner forearm, pulled out two small orbs, and smashed them against the floor. They filled the room with acrid, pepper smoke, making everyone's eyes instantly water. It was the perfect distraction for the guards, giving Iruka enough time to leap through the open window behind him and escape into the night. He landed on the hard packed ground with bent knees and froze.

The night was filled with light and sounds of dogs baying as the grounds were searched for the assassin. It was a wonder he had not heard the commotion before he dove out of the window. Shit.

So much for hiding in the shadows, he thought bitterly, mentally kicking himself.

As quickly as he was able, he darted into the shrubbery close to the building for some sort of cover. Iruka made his way down the side of the building, heading for the woodland behind the structure. Sure, he had messed up his escape, but he always had a backup plan.

He could hear the hounds hot on his trail behind him, barking madly. Panic began to seep into his mind unbidden and was violently shoved into the recesses of his consciousness. The panic-induced adrenaline was put to good use when he sprinted through the low cut grass and burst through the line of trees.

As the nimble assassin continued to jump over fallen branches, his body began screaming at him to stop and breathe. The shouts behind him grew faint from the delay of the forest. Even so, they made the man ignore his body's protests and push himself to go faster. He could not get caught. He would not get caught. Not with everything at stake. Blond hair and blue eyes filled his mind's eye as he hurtled himself through the woods. He neared the electrified fence that bordered the property and climbed the tree he had quickly deemed sturdy and tall enough to get him over the barrier.

Iruka cautiously made his way onto a branch overhanging the fence, cursing the need to take his time to avoid breaking the tree limb. His legs jarred from the impact upon landing on the hard packed earth for the second time that night. The barking and shouting came closer, but it just made Iruka smirk. He could lose them easily from this point and did just that.

The assassin kept running through the woods until he found the creek he had discovered a few hours before. Like any good assassin, he had scoped out the security and found out about the hounds beforehand. He took a quick dip in the stream to wash away his scent and waded carefully upstream until he was a good distance away from his entry point. Water rolled off of him as he exited and he was careful to only step on rocks to avoid leaving a trail of footprints.

Iruka's heart rate started to calm down as he made his way over to the hollowed out tree that he hid his normal clothes in only hours before. He could hear the sirens as he removed his mask and quickly changed into his long sleeved shirt and jeans, but he was not concerned about it anymore. They have never caught him before and they never will. All that was left was to report to his client and rescue the most precious thing in the world to him. Iruka's long brown hair hung low into his eyes annoyingly, but in his haste, he had forgotten to pack a hair-tie with his gear and had to leave his hair down.

He was zipping up his pants when the hairs on the back of his neck suddenly stood up, sending tingles down his spine. He was not alone and Iruka's instincts have never proven wrong before. He whipped around and checked his surroundings. Nothing.

There was no one there.

Confused by the false alarm, he turned back to finish packing his things and stopped dead in his tracks, nose to nose with a stranger. The only thing Iruka could see were the pair of mismatched eyes that trapped his gaze. The eyes were like nothing he had ever seen. One was such a dark grey it was almost black, while the other was blood red with three comma-like marks surrounding the pupil.

"Gotcha," the stranger whispered. Entranced in that uneven gaze, Iruka watched as the markings in the red eye slowly began to spin. Round and round they went, fascinating the dark haired man despite having been caught. "Sleep," the deep voice before him commanded.

Without his permission, Iruka's body immediately went slack and his mind slipped into the dark oblivion of sleep as the stranger had told him to.

...

Iruka woke up to the feel of a cold, wooden floor pressed against his cheek. The ache between his shoulder blades and press of rope against his wrists told him they were tied behind his back. He cracked one bleary eye to take in his surroundings. From his view point on the floor, he could see the legs of a chair against the wall and the only source of light in the room came from the moonlight streaming in from the window. The air smelled musty and damp with an overlay of years of dust. Abandoned building, he guessed.

He refrained from wrinkling his nose in distaste and expanded his hearing as far as he could, searching for any sign of his captor. It was strangely humiliating to have been caught so easily. He could not even remember how it happened. Iruka was just packing his things to leave and then… what? No memory surfaced from his thoughts and frustrated the man further. Hearing nothing but the faint breeze coming in from the window, Iruka tried to sit up to better get his bearings.

He was in a very small room with the chair being the only piece of furniture present. A door stood slightly ajar behind him, just a sliver of blackness where the moonlight could not reach it. Needing the use of his hands, Iruka lay on his back and slowly maneuvered his wrists over his rump. Finally, he pulled his legs out from the loop of his arms and got to his feet. It would be easier to defend himself this way and it gave him a better view of the knot that bound him. It was simple, but efficient in the way that it tightened the more he pulled.

Iruka looked around for anything he could use to cut the rope and came up empty, he had removed all of his weapons and gear before being caught. He played with the idea of breaking the window and using the sharp edge of the glass to cut it, but dismissed it quickly. He did not want his captor to know that he had awoken. Even then, Iruka knew he had precious moments to figure out an escape route. He needed to get out of there as soon as possible. The assassin quickly strode to the window and looked down. They seemed to be at least four stories above the ground. The building was not one he recognized from this angle, but he did recognize the surrounding area.

Iruka was smack in the middle of one of the abandoned Industrial Districts of New York. The wind carried the musty scent he noticed earlier. It must be a trait shared with abandoned buildings. He looked up to survey any possible ways to climb safely and found none. He cursed under his breath and weighed the options of walking out of the door behind him. No matter what, Iruka had to report his success soon. He did not want Naruto to be in any more danger than he needed to be.

"You know, jumping wouldn't be your best option." A voice spoke from the darkness, causing Iruka to jump. Even with all of his senses on hyper-alert, someone had been able to sneak up on him. Remarkable.

Slowly, Iruka turned to face the owner of the voice and was met with a tall, muscular man slouched against the doorframe. He was wearing all black, much like Iruka had for the assassination. He even wore a mask that covered the bottom half of his face. The only difference was the off-black hoodie that he wore. The hood was up, covering his hair and left eye, and the pockets bulged from where the stranger's hands rested in them. All in all, the stranger's posture was lazy and nonchalant right down to the single black, half-lidded eye that watched him.

It was unsettling at how relaxed the other man looked. It made Iruka wonder how the other man had been able to subdue him, a master assassin, so easily. There was no pain in his skull to indicate being struck to the head. His mind felt clear and there was no sting from a tranquilizer dart anywhere on his body. How had the stranger done it? More importantly, who was he?

Iruka eyed the taller man warily, trying not to fidget with the ropes encircling his wrists, and looked for any possible weaknesses. "Who are you?" he asked, more to distract the other man than to voice his own curiosity.

The dark eye almost seemed to curve upwards as if he were smirking. "Uh-uh-uh," he responded, shaking a finger at the smaller man. "What good would it do to tell you now, when keeping you guessing is so much more fun?" his voice was like liquid velvet. Smooth and deep. Iruka imagined the face that went with the voice would have been equally as attractive.

The brunette snapped his thoughts out of that direction. He needed to concentrate on his escape and he needed to know how big of a threat the stranger was to him. Considering his bound hands and previous state of unconsciousness, he was looking to be a pretty big threat. Not for the first time that night, Iruka cursed his lack of a weapon or anything to get his hands free. Carefully keeping his face blank, Iruka asked, "What do you want?"

The stranger took a moment to consider the question, weighing it in his mind. "What I want isn't important at the moment. My employer, however, wants you dead," he said, the one visible eye curving again with an odd glint.

"So, you're here to kill me then," Iruka stated, not showing an ounce of the fear he felt. Though, the fear was not for himself. It was for Naruto. Iruka refused to think about what would happen to the teenager if he failed to report to his client. "It shouldn't surprise me, he added grudgingly.

The dark stranger stayed silent for another moment in thought. "No," he said simply.

After a few moments of waiting for the man to elaborate, Iruka asked impatiently, "No, what? No, you're not here to kill me or no I shouldn't be surprised?" The larger man's vague antics were quickly growing stale.

"Both."

Iruka let out an exasperated grunt. "What the hell do you mean?"

"It shouldn't surprise you that I am here to kill you," he said simply. "But, I'm not going to." The odd smile left the eye as he gazed at the bound assassin, analyzing him from head to toe. The gleam in the stranger's eye made him look strangely predatory. "What is your name?" he asked suddenly, glancing back up to meet Iruka's suspicious gaze.

Iruka could not stop the scoff that escaped his lips. He asked dryly, "You honestly think I'm going to tell you my name when you refused to tell me yours?" Not that he was going to give his name at all. Only a fool gave their name in his profession.

"I never refused such a thing," he said. As Iruka began to protest, he continued, "You asked who I was, not for my name."

All Iruka could do was stare at the taller man in frustration. "Fine, then," he replied stiffly. "What is your name?"

"Kakashi," the man replied immediately. The honesty in his tone caught Iruka off guard. He had not expected the other assassin to give him an answer. It had to be a lie. What kind of assassin gave their name? "This is the part where you tell me your name. It's only polite, after all," Kakashi prompted quietly.

Iruka's eyes narrowed. "Takumo," he lied smoothly. Two could play at this game. This was a waste of time.

"There," Kakashi said calmly. "Was that so hard?"

"Why does it matter?" Iruka asked in return.

"I told you. It's polite." He sounded serious. What was he playing at?

"If you're not going to kill me, can I go now?" Iruka asked harshly. "I'm on a bit of a tight schedule, if you don't mind." He took a couple of menacing steps forward, staying in a position that could flow from defense to offence easily. When Kakashi stood up from his slouching position on the doorframe, Iruka froze. Kakashi was bigger than he thought; nearly an entire head taller and much broader in the shoulders than the dark-haired assassin.

He stepped closer to Iruka slowly, posture still relaxed. The smaller assassin stood his ground and stared defiantly into the single black eye, calculating how he could take him down. Kakashi finally moved into the patch of moonlight and Iruka noticed silver hair peeking out from beneath the hood of the jacket. He also saw that Kakashi's other eye was not just hidden by the hood; it was covered by a piece of black cloth. Iruka briefly wondered what could be hidden beneath it. A flash of red flitted through his memories only to be lost a moment later. Kakashi stopped his advance just before his chest could come into contact with Iruka's raised hands.

In the blink of an eye, fingers wrapped around one of Iruka's bound wrists and held firm as he jumped in an attempt to back away. Long, pale fingers gripped the brunette's wrist while Kakashi's other hand pulled out a wicked looking knife. Under any other circumstances, Iruka would have admired the workmanship on the blade. At that moment, however, he could only picture wide blue eyes pleading with him to survive.

Iruka began to thrash around to jostle the larger man's grip and gain the upper hand, but the strong fingers only held tighter. "Hold still," he commanded softly, pointing the blade carefully away from their bodies when Iruka had begun to struggle. That one observation stopped Iruka in his tracks. Why would he point it away if he was going to kill him? Moonlight glinted off the blade as it darted forward and Iruka closed his eyes as he waited for the pain.

When he felt nothing happen, he slowly opened his eyes to observe the man in front of him. The single black eye looked back steadily, showing slight mirth at Iruka's obvious confusion. There was an odd scratching sensation on his wrist and when Iruka looked down to see what caused it, he saw the ropes that had restrained him were neatly cut and falling to the floor. They landed with an inaudible heap and Kakashi let go of Iruka's wrist. The warm fingers slid against the fabric of Iruka's shirt as they fell back to their owner's side. Cold seeped in to replace the lingering warmth and Iruka almost wished Kakashi had not removed his hand. Almost.

The smaller assassin gripped his sore wrists tenderly, easing the ache where the rope had dug in too hard. "Thank you," he whispered, letting the barest amount of true gratitude to colour his tone. He moved to walk past Kakashi and get a shot at the back of his head. Unfortunately, he was stopped by a hand on his shoulder.

"One more thing, Takumo," Kakashi whispered. There was an emphasis on the fake name that made warning bells ring in Iruka's head.

The larger male turned the shorter towards him, their chests and faces were barely inches apart and Iruka could feel the heat radiating between their bodies. Damn, it had been too long since Iruka had felt that kind of warmth. He found himself leaning into the touch slightly, despite himself. That masked face was just so close…

Before he could utter a word, Kakashi's other eye was uncovered and what stared back was a crimson iris. It truly was mesmerizing as the black marks rotated around the pupil. "Forget about me. When you leave this place, you will forget about our little encounter and not remember a thing that happened after the assassination."

Numbly, Iruka nodded his head in understanding. "Good," Kakashi said quietly. "Now go."

Robotically, Iruka moved past the silver-haired man and walked through the door. He found some stairs and took them all the way to the ground floor and exited the abandoned building. The assassin did not even turn to see what kind of building he had just come from. As soon as he was out of the Industrial District, he finally regained his senses.

He took one look around and wondered what the hell had happened. How did he get here? Where was here? More importantly, what time was it? He looked down at his watch and pressed a button on the side to make the digital numbers glow. 1:24 a.m.

Shit. Shit!

Iruka glanced around frantically, trying to figure out his location. He had somewhere he needed to be, and he needed to be there over twenty minutes ago. He checked his pockets for his cell phones only to find them empty, save for his wallet. How the hell could he have forgotten his cell phones?! He raced down the street toward the sound of civilization and looked at the nearest street sign. Iruka was miles away from where he needed to be and getting a cab in this city was nearly impossible at this time of night. All of the bar hoppers would be using them right now. Iruka cursed again and started running, plowing through crowds of people and not caring if they fell. He had no time to waste. Who knew what they had already done to Naruto?

Iruka crossed a few streets and had to dodge traffic every time, but he was making progress. Extremely slow progress in his opinion. Damn it! What had I been doing in that place anyway? Iruka yelled at himself as he narrowly missed getting clipped by a truck. Luck seemed to smile down at him as he noticed a couple getting out of a yellow cab. He jumped into the backseat before anyone else could claim the vehicle.

"You seem to be in a hurry," the cab driver observed, noting the disheveled hair and breathlessness of his passenger.

"I am. Now please step on it," he replied and gave the directions to his destination. He could only hope that luck would continue to smile on him.

It seemed as though it did; the cab made its way through the maze of streets and came out the other side of the busy city with little delay. A few blocks away from his goal, he told the cabbie, "Stop. Here's good."

The car slowed and Iruka was out of the car before it even stopped. He began to walk away before a throat being cleared behind him reminded the assassin of cab fare. Iruka let out a frustrated sigh and searched his pockets for his wallet. Weird that he would forget his cell phones, but remember his wallet. Nonetheless, he pulled out more than enough money to pay for the ride and tossed it through the open passenger window. He heard a grunted thank you as he quickly made his way through the suburb, glancing from house to house.

Like everything else about his employer, he could not figure out why he had set the meeting place where he did. Iruka glanced down at his watch. It was almost 2 a.m. He had to hurry. He ran as fast as his body would let him, after all of the exertion he had already put on his body that night. He ran all the way to the richer part of the suburb, where the houses grew farther and farther apart, and finally stepped up to the one he needed. He pounded on the door and waited, nerves frayed from worry. When the door opened, Iruka's heart nearly beat out of his chest.

"Ah, Mr. Assassin. You're late," observed the doorman. Iruka gave him an impatient scowl and shoved past him, into the large house. Ignoring Iruka's rudeness, the doorman gestured for Iruka to follow him to the upstairs part of the house. There was only one lit room, so Iruka needed no assistance from there.

He stalked into the room and faced his client with a blank face and straight shoulders. "Mission accomplished, sir." Iruka said in a monotone. The man before him was much shorter than Iruka and had thinning grey hair. The spectacles on his nose teetered dangerously as the man looked at Iruka over them.

"You're late, assassin," he growled. He had never bothered to learn Iruka's name, just as Iruka had never learned his. That was the way Iruka liked it.

"I was delayed, but the mission is accomplished as promised," Iruka replied in the same monotone. "Now, where is Na- my brother?" He caught himself before he let Naruto's name slip.

"He's still knocked out in the next room, unharmed, as promised."

"Good, now you can pay me and get this over with," demanded Iruka, impatience leaking into his voice. He did not want Naruto to awaken anytime soon. They said they had given him enough sedatives to keep him asleep for the whole night, but Naruto's body recovered very quickly and would most likely burn through the drug in a couple hours. Iruka prayed to whoever was listening that they could make it to the airport before Naruto woke up.

The other man simply looked at Iruka. Then, he did the most unsurprising thing Iruka could think of. His client began to laugh heartily as if told the best joke he had ever heard. The assassin refused to let his weariness show on his face. "You really are as dumb as you look! Did you really think I was going to pay you? Since that lazy bum couldn't kill you off, perhaps this will."

At some unseen signal, six men stepped into the room from a side door holding various weapons. This was getting old. Three of Iruka's previous employers had tried to do the exact same thing to avoid payment.

The assassin let out a harsh breath and looked at all of the thugs in turn, debating on where to start given his weaponless situation. Only one of them had a gun, and it just had to be the one farthest away from him. At least it had a silencer so they would not wake Naruto. Might as well get this over with, Iruka thought.

As soon as Iruka made his lunge to the side, he heard the bullet whizz by him harmlessly. He needed to be quicker or the thug would likely empty the clip before he could get to it. The thug closest to him was holding an old fashioned bat and aimed for Iruka's head. It was easily dodged as Iruka got behind the behemoth of a man just as another shot was heard. Thug number one grunted in front of Iruka and fell to his knees, clutching his chest.

Wasting no time, Iruka grabbed the bat from the floor and dispatched Thugs two and three with quick hits to their skulls. The sickening crunch of bone beneath wood made Iruka's stomach churn, but he could not stop.

Before a third shot could go off, Iruka launched the bat at the shooter and managed to knock the pistol from his hands with a curse. As Thug number six scrambled to pick it back up, Thugs four and five charged the master assassin. One had a crowbar and the other had a rusted pipe that looked like it would break after one hit.

Iruka let the one with the pipe hit his arm as he blocked, making it split just as he had predicted. The end was made into a sharp, jagged piece of metal. Thug number four stumbled after the break and gave Iruka the opening to snatch the pipe away from him.

Iruka sidestepped the blow from Thug number five and plunged the sharp, broken end of the pipe into Thug number four's throat before yanking it out savagely. Blood sprayed hot and sticky over his sleeve, but Iruka paid it no mind. Thug number four fell, spasming and gagging on the floor, and somehow caused Thug number five to trip.

Quick as lightning, Iruka lashed out with the pipe and sliced open the other man's knuckles. His hands automatically released the crowbar right into Iruka's waiting grasp. In one quick movement, Iruka swung the curved end of the crowbar into Thug Five's face and threw the jagged pipe expertly into Thug Six's chest just as he was about to point the gun at Iruka.

Both men fell in a heap and Iruka calmly stepped over their bodies, avoiding the growing puddle of blood, to grab the pistol and point it at the retreating form that was his client. Iruka did not earn the title of 'master assassin' lightly.

Fear glistened in the older man's eyes as the barrel of the gun pointed at him. "Now, now. Let's not be ha—" His words cut off as Iruka pulled the trigger and shot his client in the center of his forehead. Iruka already knew that if his client did not intend on allowing Iruka to live, Naruto would have been next to be killed. Iruka would never let that happen.

The door he had entered through creaked open and the doorman stepped in with a smile on his face. "Sir, would you like your tea, now that the assassin is…" He trailed off as he realized Iruka was the only one standing in the room. The old man's eyes only had time to register shock before a bullet was put between his eyebrows. No witnesses.

The old man's body had not even hit the ground before Iruka was on the move. He had to remove all evidence of his presence here and check for any other potential witnesses in the house. He did it effortlessly from experience. Removing fingerprints and searching for stray hair had become part of his routine after every kill. Iruka had only just gotten to use his all black cat suit on this mission because it was given to him by his client to avoid any evidence being left at all. It had done its job, but now he had no idea where it was. He decided to worry about it later.

Finding no one else in the house, Iruka left the room to collect his brother. Naruto was not his brother by blood, but he was close enough. They had only just finished the paperwork a couple of weeks ago to make Iruka Naruto's legal guardian, but they had been together much longer than that. Iruka was not about to let something like this take him away, especially not after what they had been through.

He found Naruto sprawled on the bed unharmed as promised. The whisker-like scars on his cheeks stretched and contracted as he snored open-mouthed. Despite the situation, Iruka actually let out a snort of amusement before walking over to the teen and putting his arms under him to carry the sleeping boy.

"You got heavier," he grunted to the limp form in his arms as he straightened. It made him smile when Naruto instinctively snuggled closer to him as he did when he was younger. "Let's go home," he whispered.

As he stepped from the house, he sighed wistfully, remembering his lack of a cell phone to call a cab. So, he began his long trek to the nearest public building in search of a phone. Thankfully, Naruto had chosen New York as their vacation spot this year. No one questioned a blood spattered man carrying an unconscious teenager into the gas station. He asked the clerk if he could use the phone and they handed him the cordless without even glancing up from the magazine they were reading. Iruka did not care about the lack of customer service, he was just happy to have the phone. He dialed the number for the cab company and waited for the dull yellow car pull into the lot.

Carefully, he buckled in the sleeping blond and quietly gave the driver directions to the motel they were staying, ignoring the suspicious looks he was given in his bloody state. Iruka was glad when the driver shrugged and let go of whatever he was thinking. He had probably seen weirder passengers.

When they arrived, he changed his clothes and quickly washed off any flecks of blood from his skin. Everything was packed in record time and Iruka gave the place a quick wipe down to get rid of all their prints. The cab was packed quickly and they were off to the airport.

It was an amazing stroke of luck that today was their day to head back to Japan. Iruka would just have to pay a couple fees for an earlier flight and then they would be on their way home with Naruto none the wiser of what had happened. Naruto did not know about Iruka's other life, the life as an assassin, and he planned to keep it that way. He could just tell him something came up with a friend back home, so they had to catch an earlier flight and he did not want to wake Naruto so early in the morning.

Iruka nodded to himself as the airport came into view, that is exactly what he would tell Naruto. Personally, Iruka hated lying, but it was necessary to protect his little brother and he would do anything to make sure the teenager stayed safe.

Glancing down at his watch showed that it was nearly 4:30 a.m. as he plucked the sleeping boy from the car and paid the cab driver. He carefully leaned Naruto's weight against his side as he carried both of their bags into the main building. The driver had offered his help, but Iruka waved him away politely.

After situating Naruto into a chair semi-comfortably, Iruka strode up to one of the lines to wait for his turn. The entire time he was waiting, he kept a very close eye on everyone in the room. Particularly, a sleeping blond.

When it finally came, he successfully changed the time on the tickets to the flight out of New York in an hour. Before, it would have been a straight trip to the Tokyo International Airport, but he could deal with a couple of stops between here and there as long as he got out of New York. Iruka sat down heavily beside Naruto and finally let his mind slow down and think about things other than immediate survival. Unsurprisingly, the assassin found himself wondering how they had gotten into this situation at all.

Iruka had stepped out to get breakfast from Naruto's favourite fast food place when he had gotten a call on his special cell phone. He knew exactly why this person was calling, although he had no idea how they had gotten the number. Nonetheless, he grudgingly took the job and met up with his now deceased client. After he was done, he had taken the packet of information and new gear and left to scope out the target area, typing Naruto a quick message from his personal cell phone about traffic and telling him not to eat the furniture while he was gone.

Now that he looked back, it probably was not the best idea to go back to the hotel to gather the weapons hidden in various compartments in his luggage. Iruka figured that that was how they had found Naruto later on.

He had just set out for the mission when his business phone vibrated. He answered to hear that they had Naruto drugged up and waiting for the success of the mission. That was when Iruka had been given the time limit that pushed him forward with his plans. Now, he sat victorious in his endeavors and felt strangely sickened and exhausted.

The exhaustion was easy enough to reason out; Iruka had been awake for nearly twenty-four hours and engaged in serious physical activity. The sick feeling in his mind and gut was not a new sensation, but definitely an unexpected one. He had killed before and had no qualms about it. However, Iruka quickly figured out the reason why this time was so different.

This time, Naruto was put into harm's way.

About fifteen minutes before it was time to board the plane, Naruto finally stirred from his drug induced slumber. He glanced around lazily, taking in his new surroundings. When he finally laid his eyes on Iruka, he asked groggily, "Why the hell are we at the airport?"

There were a few glances from other people around the duo. In his sleepy state, Naruto had accidentally spoken in Japanese. Iruka felt no reason not to respond in the same. "Kotetsu called me a little while ago. He said that he needed my help, so I figured we could head out early since we didn't have any plans for today," he said, rubbing at the edge of the scar on his nose.

"But how did we get here?" he asked, squinting his eyes around the room again.

"I carried you. You were sleeping so deeply that I didn't want to wake you," Iruka replied truthfully. Naruto was usually good at telling when someone was lying, but it seemed like he was too tired to notice. "And now that you're up, you can carry your own bag. It's almost time to get on the plane."

Naruto grumbled something under his breath about waking up this early being illegal and grabbed his bag obediently. They walked to the boarding line and handed the attendant their tickets. Just as they stepped through the doors, Iruka noticed a shock of silver hair board the plane. It was odd how familiar it looked. He shook his head and got on the plane, taking his seat next to Naruto. They were finally on their way home.

Several times during the flight, Iruka caught himself just looking at Naruto and being thankful that he was not hurt. Perhaps it was a good thing that Iruka had lost his special cell phone. He had almost lost the only family he had. Remembering that, Iruka thought about all of the families he had taken away and finally felt the guilt of it.

It did not matter if the only jobs he would take were ones that involved bad people. That did not mean that those closest to them were equally guilty. What would it have done to Naruto if those thugs had succeeded in killing him? Granted, they probably planned on killing him next, but Naruto should never have been put in that situation in the first place.

Finally, Iruka made a decision. If it meant that Naruto would never get put through danger ever again, Iruka would stop being an assassin. That last job would be his final kill. He would make sure of that.

...

A/N: Thank you all for reading! Let me know if you liked it or not! I actually have a goal to get at least 100 reviews on any one of my fanfictions, so feel free to drop one and help out a bit! Thanks again! If I can get at least 5 reviews, I just might give you more of this story!