I know, I know, the absolute LAST thing I should be doing is starting another fic. But I have no intentions for this to be a long fic like most of my others. And i actually have most of my next chapter for Mission Kiss Me Deadly (for those of you who have read it) typed up. I'm just having trouble figuring out where exactly to end it. Anyway, enjoy!
It had been a perfectly normal day for Iruka Umino. He had held classes with only minimal disruption, wasn't on schedule for the mission room that day, and had just settled into a nice groove for grading papers at his desk. Yes, it was perfectly normal and peaceful… until he showed up. He was never quite sure what business the copy-ninja had with him when he appeared out of nowhere, but it was usually nothing good.
"Yo." Kakashi perched on the windowsill of the classroom and smiled brightly.
Iruka blinked over at him. "Umm… hello, Kakashi-sensei. Can I help you with something?"
Kakashi stepped lithely through the window, stuffing his hands in his pockets. "I want a girlfriend."
"Or a boyfriend," Kakashi continued, cocking his head slightly to the side and looking off into space. "I won't pigeon-hole myself. Though I'd prefer a girlfriend… I think."
Iruka stared at him, thoroughly confused and blinking stupidly. "Umm… ok?"
Kakashi returned his gaze to the chuunin. Neither spoke.
Iruka finally raised an eyebrow and gestured at Kakashi as though to say "So?"
"I want you to help me," Kakashi finally supplied, as though that should have been obvious.
Iruka leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms. "Do I have 'matchmaker' stamped on my forehead?"
"I don't need you to help me find someone. I can pick my own targets." Iruka's eyebrows almost disappeared into his hairline at Kakashi's choice of words. "What I need help with is the approach. The social interaction slash 'dating' part."
Iruka rubbed the bridge of his nose. "You can't tell me you've never spoken to a woman in a flirtatious manner before."
"Well, yeah, when I was trying to get into their pants." Iruka's eyebrow twitched. "Sex, sure, I have no problem with that. But I mean, when I'm trying to get with someone for more than sex, I seem to have trouble."
Iruka sighed, and pushed himself to his feet, assuming his stern teacher posture and expression. "Kakashi-sensei… I don't know what this is all about, but I don't have time to help you find a girlfriend."
"See, you're still not getting it," Kakashi continued in his same languid manner, as though Iruka hadn't just blown him off. "I don't need you to find me a girlfriend. I just need you to teach me how to act in order to obtain a girlfriend."
"I don't have time to do that either!" Iruka snapped, glaring at the jounin who stared steadily back at him.
"Sure you do. You go on vacation in a couple of hours. You have two whole weeks to help me."
Iruka blinked for a second, then scoffed. "I don't know where you get your information from, Kakashi-sensei, but I am not about to take vacation time."
"Yes you are. I filed for it this morning."
Iruka started and gaped at him. While he was doing a marvelous impression of a fish out of water, Kakashi continued, looking very pleased.
"They approved it right away. I was really impressed. Though, I think that may have had more to do with the fact that it was you – apparently your fellow chuunin and the hokage have been trying to convince you to use your vacation time for quite awhile. You never cash it in. That's not healthy, you know. It worries people."
Iruka, having finally regained the ability to speak, was now trying very, very hard not to scream all the profanities that were running through his head, seeing as he was still in the academy and there could still be impressionable students wandering around somewhere. So instead, he gritted his teeth and put his hands on his hips to settle his shaking from rage. "Kakashi-sensei… how did you even put in a request for me? Not only would you have had to henge into me, you would've had to forge my sig –" He stopped abruptly as he suddenly realized he was talking to the copy ninja. Kakashi just continued to stare at him innocently. The chuunin took a deep breath and closed his eyes, bringing a hand to cover his face. "I'm going to talk to the hokage and get this sorted out. I'm not going on vacation. Especially not for two weeks."
"But Iruka-senseeeei," Kakashi whined pathetically, trying to give him a puppy-dog look. "If you tell the hokage that I impersonated you and forged your signature, you'll get me in trouble. You don't want to get me in trouble, do you?"
"You brought that on yourself!" Iruka growled.
"Maa, but then I'll get suspended from duty, and I will have absolutely nothing else to do with my time than visit my favorite chuunin sensei every single day while I'm suspended. Either way, you're stuck with me for two weeks. You may as well enjoy a vacation while you're at it. Your substitutes have been lined up for you already and everything."
Kakashi continued to smile at his genius-ness, but felt a distinct chill run through his body at the absolute death glare the brunette was sending his way. Sure, he knew Iruka would be mad, but surely he would get over it… right?
The chuunin in question was silently debating just how quickly he would die and how many painful hits he would be able to land on the jounin before he died and if it would be worth it if he chose to attack the man of a thousand jutsu. A quick analysis had him deciding that, unfortunately, it wouldn't be worth it. So instead, he silently turned around, gathered his things, and stormed out of the building.
Kakashi, in all his genius-y glory had decided it would probably be a good idea to let Iruka cool off a little before approaching him again. However, patience wasn't a big strong point of his, and two hours later, he had decided that had to be plenty of time for Iruka to get over it, and he was standing at the chuunin's door.
Iruka opened the front door, Kakashi's eye curved into a smile and he chirped "Yo!"… and the door slammed in his face.
Kakashi could take a hint… when he wanted to. But seeing as he was on a mission, he didn't much feel like it at the moment. 20 seconds later, he was standing in Iruka's kitchen, watching the chuunin stir something on the stove. "You should really put better locks on your windows."
The jounin might have laughed hysterically for a good five minutes straight if he didn't have a stoic reputation to uphold. Iruka jumped a good foot in the air, the spoon he was stirring with flying out of his hand and into the wall. Kakashi mourned the fact that he didn't have his sharingan revealed to capture the absolutely priceless expression on the chuunin's face in that moment.
The brunette growled and quickly flung a barrage of shuriken at his head. Kakashi, of course, quickly dodged them all, but he pouted at Iruka through his mask. "Hey, now, you knew it was me by the time you threw those."
Iruka glowered at him. "Exactly."
"Aww, that's cold."
The chuunin stalked across the room, retrieving his spoon. "Get out of my house, Kakashi-sensei."
"Alright now, I know you're upset." Kakashi ignored the demand and proceeded to sit down at the table. Iruka's eyebrow twitched dangerously. "But you can spend your whole vacation being angry and stressed out, which defeats the entire purpose of vacation, or you can accept that what's done is done and use the time to relax… and help me, of course."
Iruka sighed and shook his head, looking disgusted. He rinsed off his spoon and returned to the stove, falling back into his stirring pattern. "Kakashi-sensei…" he sounded weary now as opposed to angry, which Kakashi decided was an improvement. "I don't know why you did what you did, but even if I decide not to tell on you and return to work, why on earth do you think I would spend my vacation helping you find a girlfriend?"
The jounin sighed and folded his hands as though he were explaining something to a moronic child. "Once… again..." he started slowly. "I don't need helping finding –"
"WHATEVER!" Iruka exploded, interrupting him. "Why would I help you with anything!?"
Kakashi actually paused for a moment. He 'hmm-ed' and titled his head, seeming to ponder the question. "Well…" he began hesitantly. "Because it took a lot for me to come to you for help, so I would think you'd be able to appreciate that."
Iruka sniffed at the half-insult. "I have a hard time believing you're even serious."
"I went through the trouble of making sure you'd be free for two weeks to help me. Why would I do that for the sake of a prank?" Kakashi stared at him levelly.
Iruka glared back out of the corner of his eye. After a moment of silence he sighed. "Where is this coming from anyway?"
"Well, you want me to spend my vacation helping you with a personal problem. So either you give me the information I need, or I can't help."
Kakashi huffed and stuffed his hands in his pockets, looking petulant.
"Kakashi-sensei, you've already admitted to me that you want help getting a girlfriend. It can't be that much more embarrassing to just tell me why."
The jounin heaved a long sigh and leaned back in his chair, looking at the ceiling. "Fine… Yesterday, Gai and I were in the middle of one of our challenges…"
Kakashi smirked internally as he won yet another round of janken, though he kept his exterior demeanor stoic and cool as ever as Gai burst into manly tears. Not that he would ever admit that he took such great pride in his prowess at a children's game, but he was thoroughly enjoying kicking the other jounin's ass.
Which is why he was completely thrown off when Gai suddenly looked at the sun and cried out in dismay, announcing that he was terribly sorry but he had to take his leave. Kakashi blinked. "Where do you have to be?"
Gai flashed him a blinding smile. "I HAVE ANOTHER DINNER DATE WITH THE FAIR AYAME! I MUST HURRY HOME TO GET READY!"
Kakashi cocked his head to the side. "Huh?"
The blue beast laughed happily. "OH, MY ETERNAL RIVAL, I HAVEN'T YET TOLD YOU!" He flung his arm around the silver-haired man's shoulders and grinned maniacally. "Last week, I asked the beautiful and virtuous Ayame, of Ichiraku's ramen stand, if I could have the great pleasure of courting her, and she has accepted my proposal! This will be our third date!"
Kakashi slumped, thinking briefly that he used to consider the ramen-shop girl to have much better taste (she did blush at his face, after all). "Third date, eh?" he drawled. "So, your place is all set?"
"Eh?" Gai looked confused.
"You've got your wine, your condoms, your porn locked, loaded, and rewinded in the VCR? You really don't want to be screwing around with that in the moment – kills the mood."
The other man gaped for a second before it clicked in his mind what his friend was getting at. "KAKASHI!" he cried, scandalized. "THE FAIR AND VIRTUOUS AYAME AND I HAVE NOT YET REACHED A PHYSICAL RELATIONSHIP!"
Gai 'tsk-ed' and shook his head at his companion. "Kakashi, ROMANCE is more than sex! It takes time to cultivate and grow! It takes nurturing!"
"Hmm…" Kakashi looked away, feigning disinterest.
The spandex-clad jounin grinned at him, almost conspiratorially. "One day, you'll understand, my friend."
Kakashi snorted and turned away. "Doubtful." Before Gai could say anything else, the copy-nin had jumped away.
Normally, nobody's relationship would ever get into Kakashi's head and bother him. But shortly after leaving his rival, he had wandered into the mission room to try to distract himself with a short mission, and caught the two desk chuunin, Kotetsu and Izumo, in the middle of a sickening tickle/grope/makeout fight.
He stared for a second at the display, as they seemed far too wrapped up in themselves to notice him, then decided he really didn't want a mission that badly and sauntered away, shaking his head in disgust at the sight of two grown men having a tickle fight.
Not being able to go on a mission, he had then attempted to train. However, on his way to his favorite training field, he passed another, currently occupied, field and paused for a moment to watch its occupants – Ibiki and Anko.
Ibiki was standing behind the crazy kunoichi, trying to mold her hands into the patterns he wanted. Anko was looking thoroughly annoyed. "Ok, I know! You showed me that already!" she snapped, jerking away.
Ibiki stepped back calmly. "It's ok, Anko. It takes awhile to get it up to speed without mistakes."
Anko huffed. "Yeah, yeah," she grumbled, assuming a starting stance. However, her next attempt had her stumbling over her own feet halfway through. "DAMMIT!"
Ibiki quickly captured both of the tense arms from behind her and pressed himself against her back. He landed a quick kiss to her neck more tenderly than Kakashi had ever thought was possible from the interrogation expert. "You'll get it. Just try again."
Anko instantly deflated and took a calming breath. The copy-nin quirked an eyebrow. Sure, he knew the two were a couple now, but he had still never seen Anko so quickly talked down. He shook his head again and sprung away. That had to have been one of the strangest sights he'd ever seen. He honestly didn't know if he even had it in him anymore to go beat up poles and trees after witnessing the two craziest jounin he knew (besides himself) being so… intimate.
Instead he wandered into the heart of the village, intent on going to the bookstore for some smut. He didn't really care at this point if it was Icha Icha or not – he needed something carnal to get all this mushiness out of his psyche. On the way, he passed Kurenai and Asuma snuggled up on a bench, giggling as Kurenai wiped remnants of lunch off of Asuma's cheek.
He sighed. Those two weren't so strange, but it still was curious to see his comrades – high-level jounin who he had seen murder countless people in cold blood – to be doing such things as cuddling and giggling and making googly-eyes at each other.
He definitely needed to get to the damn bookstore.
He sprinted inside and breathed a sigh of relief. It was almost deserted and he couldn't spot any couples in sight. Good.
However, whispers and quiet chortling started to float to his ears as he approached the 'adult' section. He turned the corner to find everyone's favorite sex-addicts, Raidou and Genma sitting in the aisle, poring over a book that seemed to have many 'informative' pictures.
Kakashi nodded to himself. Alright, this was ok. This he could understand. Sex and dirtiness and picture books and planning new 'adventures' – that was well within his understanding.
Until Raidou whispered something into Genma's ear that apparently was so scandalous that it made the bandana-clad man drop his senbon. He recovered quickly however, and grinned at the scarred man, pulling him against him tightly and claiming his mouth in a passionate kiss. "God, I love you!" he growled.
"Oh, come on!"
Both jounin on the floor startled and jumped apart at Kakashi's outburst. He hadn't meant to, but it was just all too much! He glared at them, annoyed.
Genma retrieved his senbon off the floor. "Geesh, Kakashi, scare a guy half to death. We're trying to have a little privacy back here."
"You're in the middle of a public store."
Genma glared back at him and popped the needle back into his mouth. "The hell is your problem anyway? Not like we've never made out in front of you. Hell, on our last mission together, we practically got it on on top of you."
"Thank you for that cherished memory," Kakashi rolled his eye.
"So…?" Genma still looked irritated at the interruption.
Kakashi sighed and crossed his arms, leaning against the shelf. "It's just… what's going on with everyone lately?"
The other two jounin looked at each other, then back at the silver-haired man. "Um… you're gonna have to be a little more specific," Raidou prodded in a slightly kinder tone than his boyfriend.
"Just… with all the affection and stuff…"
"Still need a little more, buddy."
Kakashi sighed again and began to recount his day, all the way from Gai taking off early to get ready for his date, through to finding the two of them wrapped up in each other in the aisle of the bookstore. By the time he finished, he had slid down so he was sitting across from them, looking tired. "I just don't understand it, I guess. Sex, sure, I'm good at that – I understand the point behind it. But why 'date' someone? Why be in a relationship? What's the point? I mean, is it even possible to actually like someone that much?"
"Well, yeah, Kakashi," Raidou started softly, grabbing Genma's hand off the floor for emphasis. "It's possible to actually love someone that much."
Kakashi snorted softly. "And then there's that word. I don't even know what that means."
"It means, dumbass," Genma twitched his senbon in Kakashi's direction. "That you care about someone more than yourself. You'd give your life for them."
"I'd do that for any of my comrades," Kakashi interrupted stubbornly. "I certainly don't love you guys romantically."
"Let me finish, asshole! It's not just that. It means that you care about everything about them. You care about their personality, their likes, their dislikes. You make decisions not just based on you, but them as well."
"Sounds troublesome," Kakashi grumbled.
"You feel different when they're around – it's like the world around them is always brighter than the rest," Genma continued, ignoring him. "The sex is important but it's not the number-one thing. It's a supplement to make everything else that much better. Though, I won't dispute that one of the perks of a relationship is knowing that you always have someone to have sex with - no trolling at the bars."
"So what's the number-one thing, then?" Kakashi tried to sound disinterested, but he cocked his head, staring intently.
"It's…" Genma trailed off for a second, thinking hard. "It's… seeing them smile."
The exposed silver eyebrow raised skeptically. Seriously? That was it?
Raidou smiled proudly at his boyfriend. "Being in love is when someone makes you so happy that you would do anything to make them happy in return."
Genma lit up and put an arm around the scarred man. "That's why I keep you around! Sums it up perfectly!"
"Good god, I never realized you two could be so revolting."
Genma glared and opened his mouth for a nasty retort, but Raidou cut him off. "Kakashi, you've seriously never been in love?"
"Love?" Kakashi snorted derisively. "I've never even been in a relationship. Even after all your flowery words, I'm not seeing the point."
Raidou chuckled softly. "The point is someone to make you happy. Someone who's there for you. Someone who makes you laugh. Someone who's waiting for you when you get back from a mission – someone who can instantly brighten your world again when you've spent weeks in darkness. The point is having someone you can share the good moments with and someone who can chase away the bad moments. Someone to pick up the slack and have your back so you don't have to go it alone all the time."
"Hmm…" Kakashi pondered for a moment. Someone to wait for him after missions… ok, that didn't sound ridiculous. Someone to pick up the slack and have his back. Alright, he could get behind that. Even the 'guaranteed sex' thing didn't sound so bad, even if it meant sexual exclusivity."Do you… have to love someone to be in a relationship with them?"
"Uhh…" The other two jounin froze for a second. "Well, no, you don't," Raidou started slowly. "People usually date for awhile before deciding if they love each other and saying the L word."
Kakashi sat quietly for a moment, then nodded once, as though making up his mind. He stood abruptly. "Thanks for your help. See ya." And he disappeared in a poof of smoke. Genma and Raidou looked at each other worriedly. Was that a good or a bad thing?
Kakashi had spent the next hour trying to approach various women throughout the village. But he always stopped and turned awkwardly a few steps away. He just didn't know what to say. He had plenty of experience with pick-up lines – the kind that were used and only worked in cheaply-lit bars with half-drunk patrons. In fact, the jounin honestly couldn't recall the last time he had attempted to pick someone up sober… God, there was a depressing thought.
Sure, he could pull off the suave gentleman thing when he was on missions, but he wasn't looking to date or sleep with his mission objectives. He just honestly had no idea how to approach a woman for a date – or 'courtship' as Gai had called it – rather than just sex.
Maybe he should ask someone to train him. It worked in other things right? If you could train someone in ninjutusu, surely someone could train him in the art of dating.
But who? He was loathe to go back to Genma and Raidou for advice, especially since he was sure that by now they were probably trying out positions from their new book. He had absolutely no interest in observing Gai's dating habits. He couldn't imagine Ibiki's advice would be any good – anything that worked on Anko probably wasn't fit for normal social interaction. Kurenai was a possibility, but he didn't want to give her any funny ideas about finding him a 'soulmate' or some starry-eyed, girly crap like that.
He was jumping home, observing the villagers below him, assessing their potential tutoring ability when a familiar brunette head caught his attention. Iruka Umino – Naruto's old academy sensei – had just exited the Hokage Tower, calling goodnight to someone behind him.
Kakashi paused and watched the bubbly man take off for home. The chuunin was greeted by several people as he made his way down the street – and Kakashi was positive he saw a couple women (and men) blush when they called out to him.
Not that Kakashi had ever thought a tremendous amount of the tan man's ninja abilities, but it would be stupid to dispute the fact that he was very well-liked. He had women and men going goo-goo eyed over him everywhere he went. Everyone smiled at him – everyone was at ease. And Iruka surely was the kind of man who would know how to woo a woman properly, not just pick her up at a bar for a one-night stand. Yes, he was totally a relationship guy. And he was already good at teaching hopeless cases! It was perfect!
Only problem was that Kakashi wanted to get his Mission: Find a Girlfriend off the ground as quickly as possible, and the chuunin was a known workaholic, especially since Naruto's departure from the village. How could he ever find enough time with the man to get proper instruction?
The jounin headed for home. He would figure it out by morning. He was a genius after all.
By this point, Iruka had loaded two plates full of food and was looking more tired than anything, though Kakashi was sure he could detect a smirk under the surface. The chuunin slid a plate in front of him and sat down on the opposite side of the table.
"So let me get this straight," and here Kakashi could just slightly make out the laughter in his voice. "You want a girlfriend for all the… 'practical' benefits…"
"And rather than go to someone who is, oh I don't know, IN a relationship, you came to me?"
Kakashi blinked at him. "Well… yeah…"
"Kakashi-sensei, when was the last time you saw me with anyone?" Iruka glared at him with annoyance, but there was a slight blush of embarrassment on his cheeks.
The jounin scratched his neck. "Well, I haven't. But then again, I've never paid that close attention to your love-life. Either way, Iruka-sensei," he continued before the teacher could protest. "Whether you have a plethora of actual dating experience or not, you are still much better at social interaction and making people like you than I am."
Iruka snorted. "That's just called 'not being an ass'."
Kakashi smiled brightly at him. "See! I'm learning so much already!"
The chuunin bowed his head and pushed the food around his plate. "I really don't know – " A pair of chopsticks clattered to the table across from him and his head shot up again. Kakashi was leaning back in his chair, mask firmly in place, staring at him… over his empty plate. Iruka blinked. "Uh… um… anyway, I don't really know how much official help I would be…"
"I'm not asking for some 'official' course with a syllabus and a grade, sensei," the other ninja teased lightly.
Iruka quickly stuffed his own food in his mouth to avoid an immediate answer. Kakashi waited.
Finally, when there was nothing left on his plate to stall with, the teacher sighed, rubbing at his scar. "Fine," he finally choked out. Kakashi's face lit up. "I can't just leave the poor women of Konoha at your socially-retarded mercy. BUT!" Iruka held up a finger and assumed his best sensei stare. "If I'm gonna help you with this, you have to actually listen to me. Don't pretend like you want my help, then just go rogue when you don't like my instructions."
"Yeah, yeah," Kakashi waved his hand. "I'll be a perfect student."
Iruka shook his head, wondering what the hell he had just agreed to. "Meet me here tomorrow morning." He stood, walking to the door and holding it open for the jounin.
The other man stood and strode outside. "Yes, sir!" He saluted semi-comically.
The chuunin glared up at him, then turned away haughtily, not meeting his gaze. "And just for your information, I've had plenty of one-night stands!" He slammed the door.
Kakashi blinked stupidly for a second, letting those final words penetrate his brain. He finally chuckled. "Well, well, sensei." He wasn't sure if Iruka was still on the other side of the door, but he had a feeling that the other man was blushing.