A/N: Da-dada-dah! Chapter 5! We finally get a little peek into Iruka and Naruto's history here!

Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters depicted here. If I did, this is what would happen.

. . . . . .

Iruka ran his hands over his face tiredly. Naruto's question rang in his head like an eternal echo, 'What… the fuck… was that about?'

In all honesty, the little teacher had very little idea as to what that could have brought that on. He went through everything Mizuki had said, specifically analyzing the comment about Orochimaru. Iruka had thought that monster was dead by his own hands. Had he been mistaken? Or was Mizuki trying to rile him up? Iruka watched the scenery pass by his window as he thought. The place looked vaguely familiar and he looked up questioningly when he felt the car stop. Sasuke had taken them to a medical clinic.

"What are we doing here?" Naruto asked, echoing Iruka's own thought.

"Iruka's hurt," he replied bluntly, turning off the engine and looking at Iruka in the rearview mirror expectantly.

"You mean this scratch?" Iruka said, gesturing to his neck. "It's fine. I'll just slap on a band-aid and it'll be good as new." Really, he had hoped that no one else would notice his other injury. He could take care of it himself. Iruka had been keeping his right hand in a tight fist to help stop the blood flow, but that was not stopping the wet red spot on his jeans from growing where he held his hand out of sight unconsciously.

"He's talking about your hand, Iruka." Kakashi's calm voice made him jump, as usual. He cursed the man at that moment as Naruto's head whipped around to stare wide-eyed at his big brother.

"Wait, what is he talking about? What happened to your hand?" piped in Naruto. Hysteria colored his voice as his face screwed up in concentration, obviously going through his memories to try to figure out what could have happened.

"It's nothing I can't take care of myself," he answered tersely. "Please, Sasuke, take us home and I can take care of it there." Sasuke looked like he was about to argue, so Iruka cut him off, "Trust me, I've gone through much worse and came out fine without a doctor. Please."

There was a moment of tense silence that filled the car. Even Naruto had lowered his eyes as he recognized the truth behind Iruka's words. Just when the silence was beginning to be unbearable, Kakashi broke it. "Do as he says, Sasuke. We can take care of his hand in private and then have a discussion about earlier."

Iruka's stomach dropped at the mention of the upcoming discussion, but he could not find a way around it. All of them were no doubt wondering why he had been attacked and, knowing Mizuki, they were likely to be targeted themselves just because they were seen with Iruka. Especially Naruto, if the white haired man's words were anything to go on. They deserved to know what Iruka had unintentionally involved them in. That knowledge did not make things any easier for the ex-assassin.

Sasuke started up the car without another word and drove them back to Iruka's house. When they finally stepped into the door, Iruka quickly locked it behind them and said, "Wait here." Before he could hear any protests, the brunette was already moving to do a sweep through the rooms. He opened every door and locked every window, making sure they were alone and that it would stay that way. Not that Mizuki was above crashing through glass, but it would give them a warning beforehand. He was debating on checking the small space above the house that they used for storage when he felt a hand on his shoulder.

Iruka's body gave an instinctual start and whirled around to defend himself. The fist he had sent flying was caught in a vice grip surprisingly easily and his body was suddenly pressed flush against someone else's. A couple of blinks later and the little brunette realized that he was nose to nose with Kakashi. The position sent a wave of déjà vu crashing over his hyper alert mind, leaving him dazed and confused. "There's no one here," he whispered. Cool breath ghosted over Iruka's lips and made him shiver unconsciously. "Now, let's get your hand taken care of. You're dripping blood all through your house."

Kakashi's voice was so low and calm as if he were trying to soothe a frightened animal. It was almost hypnotic. The brunette slowly nodded his head and allowed himself to be dragged into his kitchen. Naruto and Sasuke were already there with drinks in their hands, likely something sugary to take the edge off, sitting next to each other at the table. Iruka managed a reassuring smile at them both before being directed to the sink to have his cut washed. The pale hand that had been at his elbow moved down to his wrist to push the sleeve up and out of the way of the spray of water, making Iruka jerk in the iron grip.

"No," he said. "Don't worry about the sleeve." Iruka did not want Kakashi to see the marred skin and start asking more questions. Fate seemed to be frowning on him today, as his brother exhaled sharply.

"You might as well give up hiding it, Ru. He's going to see them eventually, if you guys keep dating, anyway," Naruto said, impatience and exasperation evident in his tone. He glanced over his shoulder at the blond who was wearing a very serious expression for someone so full of optimism all the time. "Seriously, Iruka. The guy was willing to help you fight someone who was trying to kill you. I think he's earned a little bit of trust," he added dryly.

His brother did have a point on both ends, but he was still reluctant to let anyone who was outside of his close circle of friends see what lies beneath his clothing. No one but the guys at the orphanage and his doctor knew what his skin looked like. Iruka closed his eyes and slowly nodded his head in defeat. The sleeve slid against his skin almost hesitantly and there was a sharp intake of breath, barely noticeable to anyone who was not listening for it.

Brown eyes cracked open hesitantly to take in the familiar swirls and designs that had been etched into his skin all those years ago. To anyone else they might look like light colored tattoos, but a closer inspection would reveal the slight marbling of the scar tissue and puckering around the edges that could only be caused from burns. Iruka looked over at Kakashi to see his reaction, but he just looked on with a carefully blank face before guiding his clenched fist under the gentle flow of water.

The sting of the water flowing into his wound barely registered in his mind. Kakashi's pale fingers gently worked their way under Iruka's and tried to make them loosen so he could properly clean the wound. Taking a deep breath, he let his hand relax and swallowed the gasp of pain as blood surged into the deprived veins and inevitably began gushing from the cut alarmingly. The water turned crimson as it rolled from his fingers and swirled down the drain. Iruka reached for his wrist to cut off the blood flow again, but Kakashi beat him to it. He worked quickly and efficiently, seeming to know what he was doing as he grabbed a piece of paper towel to lightly dab the gash.

When Iruka's hand began going numb again from lack of circulation, the wound was finally clear enough to actually see how deep it went. It was not as dire as it seemed. From the way Iruka had grabbed the knife, it had only bit into the meaty part at the bottom of his palm, thankfully. Any farther up and it would likely have severed a few crucial tendons and damaged the mobility of his hand. It was deep enough that it needed something to meld it together so it would not begin bleeding again, but not so deep as to require a needle and thread. Iruka was positive that they had liquid stitches in the first aid kit in the bathroom that would suffice…

As if reading his thoughts, Naruto silently set the little white box with the red cross emblazoned on the front on the counter next to Iruka and rummaged through it without looking at his brother. It was not the first time he had had to help his older brother mend his wounds, and he had seen much worse. The blond was usually one to pry into every detail of his brother's life, but in the past when the brunette would come home with a bleeding appendage and a myriad of bruises in the middle of the night, Naruto wordlessly helped Iruka and the situation was forgotten about the next day. Being as young as they had been, they were able to pass the injuries off as clumsiness while roughhousing and learned how to treat them from Sarutobi-sensei.

With well practiced movements, Naruto disinfected the wound with hydrogen peroxide, then grabbed the liquid stitches and ran the little tube down the length of the cut to seal it shut. "Ease off his wrist slowly," he mumbled to Kakashi.

The silver haired man did as he was told and feeling crept back into Iruka's hand. He could feel the strangest sensation as the blood tried to flow through the gel in his wound, but it held and turned the skin a very angry red around it instead. Satisfied with their work, Naruto grabbed a square of gauze and folded it in half to lie across the cut to keep it clean. He pulled out the roll of medical tape and handed it to Iruka, looking him in the eye and nodding before taking his seat next to Sasuke.

Silence reigned as Iruka tried to find the words to begin his tale and his connection to Mizuki while he wrapped his hand expertly. He obviously had to omit the fact that he used to be an assassin until he and Naruto were alone. Although Kakashi had indeed been prepared to fight with him, there were just some things that needed to be left unsaid for the safety of everyone involved. While he was wondering where to begin, he just decided to start at the beginning. "I met Mizuki when I was twelve years old. Right after these happened," he said quietly, staring at his still bare forearm and lifting it in reference. "He wasn't part of our orphanage, so at one point we just decided to sneak out at night to see each other. Naruto should remember. I just never told you the name before because you were only six and didn't need to know." Iruka shrugged and snuck a glance up at his little brother to find him looking back solemnly. The brunette went back to gaze at his arm and continued his tale, editing it as he went. "We started dating officially when we were fifteen. Everything was great, but there was always something off about him. We were together for about three years and I broke it off when his… obsession with me took a giant leap into stalker territory."

The little teacher's eyes grew glassy as he was lost in his memories, completely forgetting about the others in the room as if he were simply speaking to himself. "Things took a turn for the worse because he already got very easily jealous of every male I talked or even walked too close to when I went shopping with Sarutobi-sensei. Apparently he followed and watched me during the day and I would always hear about everything when I went to see him at night. The last night got to be too much and I ended it. He… didn't take it very well. Things got violent and I got banged up pretty badly. Naruto took care of me when I got home," Iruka let out an ironic chuckle, "he had gotten used to waking up at the early hours I would sneak back into the orphanage so he could make sure the 'coast was clear.' The first time it happened I yelled at him about kids needing their sleep, but I gave up because I couldn't get past his stubbornness.

Anyway, I never saw him again until tonight. I'm guessing that he attacked me out of jealousy because we've gone on a couple of dates." Seeing as Iruka's only relationship in life had been Mizuki, he did not know if going on a couple of dates was considered 'dating.' He had heard from the murmurings of his female students that there was a difference between the two. There was also that kiss, but Iruka was not about to bring that up in front of the teenagers. Namely a certain exuberant blond.

"That doesn't explain his comment about Naruto," Sasuke said sharply, breaking the silence that had fallen when Iruka had finished explaining.

"He had always been that way about my brother. Mizuki's jealousy made him think there was more than a brotherly bond between us," Iruka explained simply.

Sasuke's stoic expression hardened into determination. "He mentioned Orochi-"

"Sasuke, that's enough," snapped Kakashi. It was barely more than a mumble, but the underlining tone of sheer command had the boy backing down grudgingly. He shot daggers at Kakashi with the intensity of his glare.

Perhaps he was just imagining things, but had that been a note of recognition towards Orochimaru? Iruka did a mental calculation of everyone he had trained with, and the young Uchiha was not one of them. Then again, the snake most likely had more than one hideout where he turned children into killers. There was a tense air in the room as everyone seemed to process everything that had happened and everything that was said.

A glance at the clock showed Iruka that it was nearing ten p.m. Now came the decision on what to do next. He could send Kakashi and Sasuke home in an attempt to get them as far from him as possible to protect them, but there was no telling how long his ex-lover had been keeping an eye on them. For all Iruka knew, Mizuki had already spied on Kakashi after their first date and probably knew where he lived. On the other hand, keeping them here was also a risk if Mizuki came after Iruka again, but he would be prepared this time. Assuming Mizuki would be able to figure out what Iruka would do, having Kakashi and Sasuke stay with him seemed to be their best option if the chocolate haired man wanted to protect them. He nodded his head once to himself and lifted his head to address the rest of the room, then his blond idiot cut him off.

"So, how we gonna do this, Ruka-nii? You gonna bunk with me and let them have your room?" Naruto proposed.

"What are you talking about, dobe?" Sasuke retorted snidely, but was not altogether unfriendly. Naruto bristled and grew a snide grin in return, but his brother talked over him.

"For your own safety," Iruka explained, "it would be best for you and Kakashi to stay here. If we split up, there would be no telling if he would target you two just to get back at me. This way, I'd be better prepared to keep everyone safe."

"Iruka's right," Kakashi cut in. "Honestly, Sasuke, did you really think I'd let him out of my sight after that?" he teased in his signature bored tone.

The teacher nodded once in agreement before his thoughts caught up with him. "Wait a minute, what?" he asked intelligently. "You were planning to stay even before I said anything?"

The silver haired businessman chuckled in reply. "I'll just let you ponder that on your own while I go take care of some business." With that said, he turned on his heel and walked out of the kitchen, phone in hand.

Iruka gave the receding back an exasperated shake of his head, but did not comment any further. He had other things to worry about. The brothers lived in a two bedroom house that was all on one level; it was small and efficient for their needs. The thought of him sharing his room with Kakashi and having the boys share Naruto's room was quickly discarded. Despite the teens' unspoken truce, Iruka was trying to prevent someone getting killed, not provoke it. He thought for a moment later before deciding his brother's idea was probably the best. "Sasuke-kun, would you mind sharing a room with Kakashi for the night?" Receiving a nod, he continued, "Then I'll go set things up for you two. I'm sure we have an air mattress around here somewhere for camping so you won't have to share a bed. Naruto, would you mind lending our guest a pair of sleeping clothes? And you are more than welcome to make use of the shower, Sasuke-kun. Towels are in the closet in the bathroom."

The young Uchiha had that odd, surprised look on his face again, as if he were not used to such kindness. Iruka chose to ignore this and just offered him a warm smile before walking out of the kitchen and heading to his bedroom to make the sleeping arrangements for his guests. He could hear Kakashi's low voice in the living room, presumably taking care of his 'business,' whatever that was. Mentally shrugging, the little teacher pulled the air mattress out from the back of his closet and set it up next to the bed, leaving the little electric pump running while he fetched some bedding. He left the pillow, sheet, and quilt folded on the little mattress for the user to spread as they saw fit before going around the room and checking on the real reason for putting his guests in this room.

Even though he had wanted to leave his life as an assassin behind him, Iruka could not bring himself to disable the traps he had strategically placed around the house. They were mostly located around the bedrooms where they were most vulnerable while they slept. Some would trap intruders and others would set off alarm systems. None of them were visible to anyone who did not know they were there as they were built into the walls and around the windows. They were all specially made to only activate from an outside intrusion, which Naruto learned the hard way when he had tried to sneak back into his room one night. In short, they made him feel safe. Seeing that all of the traps were fully operational, he made a quick trip to Naruto's room to check the same thing and came out with the same result.

Feeling suddenly drained now that his checklist of things to do was finished, Iruka shuffled to the kitchen for a nice cup of tea to calm his nerves. The usual ritual of setting up the kettle to boil the water for the tea leaves was more comforting than the scarred man had ever thought. Iruka turned and leaned against the counter, tiredly rubbing at the tense muscles of his neck and finally noticing that he was alone in the room. As the thought entered his mind, he heard the water turn on for the shower and guessed that the young Uchiha had taken him up on his offer for a shower. He allowed himself a few minutes of rest against the countertop while he waited for the water to boil, closing his eyes with his hand still grasping sore muscles of his neck.

"How did you get those scars?" said a voice from the doorway. Iruka gave a little jump of surprise and looked at the speaker. Sasuke was standing there, mimicking his guardian's earlier posture of leaning against the doorframe with his arms crossed over his chest. Belatedly, Iruka realized that he never pulled his sleeve back down and his scars were still showing.

Self-consciously, the honey-toned man pulled the sleeve back down and kept his eyes on the young teen's face as he said, "Trust me, that's not a story you want to hear."

"Try me," Sasuke pressed.

Iruka sighed sharply and pinched the bridge of his nose in irritation, massaging where the scar crossed it. "Look, I appreciate the part you played in the rescue, but there are just some things that you don't need to know and that I don't want to tell you. Not because I'm trying to hide it to protect you or anything," he cut off the teen's protest. "But, because I am… for lack of a better word, deeply ashamed of them and would rather not talk about them. Just like I know you wouldn't want to talk about your parents if I asked you about them. So please, just leave it, Sasuke." Finishing his tirade, the little teacher slumped against the counter completely exhausted. He ran his hands over his face, wishing his student would take the hint and leave him in peace.

"My parents were murdered," Sasuke whispered, causing the older male's blood to freeze. "Orochimaru had them killed."

Iruka's head snapped up in shock, but the boy had already gone and his kettle had begun whistling to signify the water was boiling. With rushed motions, Iruka pulled the kettle off the stove and poured it into a cup with a packet of tea leaves to sit. That done, he left the kitchen to find Sasuke only to see him going into the bathroom just as Naruto was coming out of it. The look on the blond's face as he watched the door close said it all. Sasuke was not okay. And it's all my fault, Iruka realized. Damn it!

"What's wrong with him all of a sudden?" Naruto asked, gesturing at the bathroom door with his thumb.

Iruka could not bring himself to care that his brother was once more walking around in nothing but a towel with guests in the house. He also could not bear to lie to him or brush him off any more. "He asked about my scars," he said resignedly. "And I kind of told him off and mentioned his parents. That was wrong of me, and I shouldn't have even brought that up—"

"No, Iruka. Sasuke was wrong to push the issue," Kakashi interrupted from behind the elder brother. The ex-assassin must have been either too tired or too used to the businessman's antics of showing up silently to be startled. Something about repeated exposure and adaptation ran through Iruka's mind, but was put aside as irrelevant as he turned to respond to the other man.

"I still need to apologize," Iruka insisted. It just would not do in his book to leave such a conversation like that. Sure, he had been defending his own privacy, but that was still no excuse to have said what he did.

"Look, we're all just tired and stressed from what happened. After we've all slept and cooled our nerves, we can talk things through in the morning," Kakashi proposed.

Iruka knew he was right, but his heart was breaking after having made someone divulge information like that. To placate his guest, he nodded his head slowly in agreement, allowing his shoulders to slump in a not-so-forced display of exhaustion. "I already set up my room for you and Sasuke. I hope you don't mind sharing a room with him, but I put down an air mattress to make things easier." He held his hand out in a gesture for the other man to go ahead of him, and instead, Kakashi caught his fingers and laced them through his own shamelessly. Iruka blushed, but did not comment as he led the taller male down the hall to his room. "I don't think I have anything for you to sleep in, unfortunately. You're, uhh… quite a bit bigger than me," Iruka added.

"Maa, no worries," Kakashi said, lifting his bag that Iruka had not noticed before. Upon seeing the shorter man's questioning expression, he continued, "I always keep a change of clothes in the trunk in case I get caught up in the office over night."

"Oh… Smart," he commented absently, suddenly a little nervous as they stood in the doorway to his personal space. No one other than Naruto and probably Kotetsu or Izumo had ever been in his room without him. With all of the warning bells that went off around the charismatic businessman, Iruka was a little apprehensive about the whole situation. Then again, 'the whole situation' was because of the run in with Mizuki, so perhaps the ex-assassin was more than justified in his anxiety. "Well… here you go," he said uncertainly. "Let me know if you need anything else."

"Well, there is one thing…" Kakashi drawled as he stepped into the room, turning to face his host. The silver haired man leaned forward with both of his elbows resting on either side of the doorframe, putting both men at the same eye level. Then, he leaned forward slightly with a devilishly sexy grin on his face and said, "A goodnight kiss would be nice."

A goodnight kiss? After everything that has happened over the night? That is what was on the man's mind and not the fact that they could be in danger, even at that very moment? Iruka could not understand, but some part of him whispered in the back of his mind that he had been on a rather pleasant date with the man beforehand and would have come to this situation regardless.

The little teacher's body seemed to understand this as it leaned towards the taller male on its own and his cheeks colored with blush. He was not sure who leaned forward first, but as soon as their lips made contact, Iruka could not hold back a small gasp when he felt the velvety smooth texture against his mouth. The kiss was light and sweet, the complete opposite of the hungry and feverish kisses that Mizuki had stolen from him as a teenager. As the older man began to pull back from the kiss, Iruka almost whimpered at the loss before Kakashi pressed another small peck at the corner of his lips and leaned in further to whisper in his ear, "Goodnight, Iruka." The deep baritone of his voice and the way he always seemed to half purr, half growl his name made his knees go weak.

All too soon, the door was closing on a very lightheaded and pink-faced teacher who could only manage to whisper a goodnight in return as the door latched. Iruka stood there for a few more moments in a daze before he finally came to his senses and walked over to his brother's room to find the blond sitting on his bed with a roguish grin spread across his features. It took a few moments, but when the brunette figured out what had caused the look, he braced himself for the onslaught of questions his little brother was about to unleash on him. Another few moments of silence passed and the teacher grew weary. Naruto simply shrugged off his brother's awkwardness and turned to lie down on his bed, leaving enough room for the older male. He said, "I'll ask you about it later. You're dead on your feet, so get over here and sleep."

Iruka could not stop the small chuckle at the usually hidden side of his brother that was actually considerate. He grabbed one of Naruto's baggier sleeping shirts and stripped his pants to sleep in his boxers. Noting how the t-shirt fit him made Iruka inwardly cringe at how much his little brother had grown. At this rate, he would not be able to call him his 'little' brother for much longer. He lay down next to the blond and turned off the bedside lamp, casting the brothers into darkness.

Almost immediately, Naruto began to snore as he dropped off into the realm of dreams. Iruka, on the other hand, was not so lucky. The sounds of the shower running stopped, reminding the older male of his other guest and how he had slighted him not too long ago. Guilt weighed heavily on his conscience, making him get out of the bed carefully so as to not wake his brother, and slipped out of the room silently to wait for his student to finish his business in the bathroom.

When the raven haired teenager finally stepped from the bathroom, Iruka stepped forward and cleared his throat to announce his presence. "Sasuke-kun," he began.

"Don't," the teen cut him off. "Don't apologize over something so unnecessary." Sasuke's tone was flat and emotionless, but even in the dark the ex-assassin could read the tiredness and regret in the boy's eyes. There was also a certain look of time to his gaze, as if he had had to grow up far too quickly for his age just like he himself had, which pulled at Iruka's heart. Before he even knew what he was doing, he pulled the young man to him in a small embrace.

"There is no excuse to have said the things I said, and for that I am sorry. As for everything else… just let me tell you that I share your pain, in more ways than you know," Iruka found himself saying gently. When the younger male stiffened in response, he realized belatedly that he was hugging his student in a pair of boxers and a t-shirt. Ignoring the burn of embarrassment and forcing the blood from his face expertly, why he could never seem to do that around a certain sexy businessman, he would never know, Iruka cleared his throat and released the boy, pointing at his bedroom door. "That's where you'll be sleeping. Goodnight, Sasuke-kun."

Foregoing a response at all, Sasuke simply turned on his heel and stalked silently down the hall and disappeared behind the door. Iruka slumped against the wall of the hallway, mentally kicking and yelling at himself for not having better impulse control. He let out a long sigh, rubbing at the still tense muscles of his shoulders and neck. Now that his guests had finally retired to possibly the safest room in the house, other than Naruto's, and his brother was fast asleep, Iruka made his way to the living room to keep watch in case Mizuki decided to pay him a visit again. The threat had never left his mind and meant that he would not be able to sleep even if he tried. Stress had a way of keeping the tanned male awake and putting a damper on his appetite.

The thought of his appetite had him retrieving his now cold cup of tea that he had made earlier. Not even considering putting it through the microwave to warm it back up, he dumped the contents and rinsed the cup with automatic movements before going back to the living room. He paced the small area, taking what comfort he could from the familiarity of it. Time passed as the angle of moonlight spilling from the window moved across the floor and furniture.

He went through every scenario he could in his mind, preparing himself the way he would before a mission. Obviously, the decision to ignore any and all of his skills as an assassin had been a mistake. If the cut on his hand was any indication, Iruka should not have let his skills waver despite removing himself from the profession. As if thinking about his abilities had awakened them, he managed to stay perfectly still as a voice rumbled from the darkness.

"Can't sleep?" Kakashi said quietly. The silver haired man stepped from the shadow of the hallway and made Iruka's heart skip a beat as he stepped into the moonlight. The silver strands turned almost iridescent and the man's face appeared more angular as shadows danced on the planes of his facial features. If Iruka had thought the man sexy before, now he was drop dead gorgeous.

Iruka kept his features schooled in a mask of calm, although he was unable to keep the blush from rushing to his face as usual. He scowled mentally as he thought that he needed to improve on that skill. In response to the other man's question, the brunette shook his head and said, "Neither can you, I see."

A deep chuckle filled the room, sending an almost imperceptible shiver through Iruka's body. "What shall we do to remedy that, do you think?" Kakashi asked, stepping closer and closer to the younger man, causing him to blush further. At the sight of the cute, pinkish hue dusting across a scarred nose, the businessman let out another low chuckle before bending down to kiss the startled man lightly. Oh, this is going to be fun, he thought to himself, knowing the petite teacher was going to need a hefty distraction if he was going to get any rest that night. The sly smirk that braced Kakashi's lips was the only warning he gave before deepening the kiss and guiding the shorter male to the couch.

. . . . . .

A/N: I know that is a horrible place to end a chapter, but please don't kill me yet! *dodges random flying objects* If it makes you feel any better, I did it because of the ridiculously long time it takes me to write… scenes like that because they get very lengthy with me. So, hopefully that will make up for it somewhat.

Other than that, what did you think? Pleeeaassse let me know! Til next time!