Author's Note: Inspired by the song Girlfriend by Avril Lavigne. Because it's just too catchy. Crackfic-ish. Set in the time-skip. Some of the lyrics appear in dialogue.
Gai found Kakashi at one of the casual dining cafés downtown, the kind where one ordered inside and then brought one's purchases outside to the sitting area to consume. He was in the middle of a crowded sitting area, surely unlike him, and furthermore, all he was doing was reading. It made no sense.
"Oi!" Gai waved.
Kakashi turned the other way.
"Oi!" Gai yelled again. "You!"
Kakashi raised his book to his face as a shield.
"Yes, you!" Gai pointed. "Kakashi! My Eternal Rival!" He bounded over to where Kakashi sat and stood in Kakashi's light.
"Maa…" Kakashi finally looked up at him. "I'm busy. Can't you come back later?"
"You're always busy," Gai declared, loudly enough for everyone sitting in the outdoor section of the café to hear. "What has you so busy all of a sudden, Kakashi? You have been blowing off my challenges for a solid month."
"Thirty-six days," Kakashi said absently.
Gai turned red. "Then you know!"
"I've been keeping track."
"Why?" Gai turned the word into an agonized bellow.
Kakashi blinked. He glanced at Gai. "I have a girlfriend. It takes up a lot of time. I told you this…maa…thirty-six and a half days ago."
"I don't like your girlfriend!" Gai decided this in an instant. This opinion had not formed rapidly. It had begun from all the glimpses he had seen of Kakashi and this girlfriend spending time together. Not to mention the time he'd spent following them and monitoring what was going on from outside Kakashi's apartment.
This was not as bad as it sounded. In the shinobi world, a new girlfriend could easily turn out to be an assassin from another village, not a girl at all, or worst of all, a psycho kunoichi from one's own village playing meek just long enough to lure in some fresh meat. Before Kurenai, Asuma had dated a series of increasingly psychotic women, all of whom he required intervention to get away from. It had taken hard work for Kakashi and Gai to steer him towards Kurenai.
Kakashi sighed and put down his book on the table, closing it. "Please don't say that when she comes back. I don't want you to hurt her feelings."
Gai stared. Kakashi had never cared about someone's feelings that way before in his life. Something was clearly wrong. His blunt Kakashi was turning into some kind of mincing…boyfriend-person he wouldn't even recognize in another month.
His only lame retort for that was, "No way…" He needed a moment to think.
"When she comes back with our drinks, please leave," Kakashi said, with just a hint of a plea in his voice. He didn't look happy about making the request.
"No way," Gai said again, bewildered all over again. "I'm not leaving. You haven't spent any time with me in a month. She should meet me eventually…"
Kakashi covered his face with his hand. "She's met you, Gai. Every night. Outside of our apartment. You always say, 'Good evening', as if you're supposed to be there."
Gai was hardly listening. He was too busy thinking of a solution. "I think you need a new one."
"What?" Kakashi said.
"A new girlfriend," Gai said. "I think you need a new one."
Kakashi gave him a look. "There aren't that many people willing to date me."
"I could be your girlfriend," Gai challenged, before he thought about the exact wording of that statement. "Boyfriend. Whatever."
Kakashi looked dangerously close to laughing.
Gai glared at his friend, feeling his cheeks heating up. "I know that you like me." He knew no such thing, but he propped his hands on his hips and looked confident anyway.
Kakashi looked up at him with wide eyes, turning pale.
Gai tossed his head. "You know it's not a secret." He was amazed that he'd actually scored on something, but he wasn't going to show it. He was going to run with this. He jerked his thumb at his chest. "I want to be your girlfriend – boyfriend." He corrected himself hastily.
Kakashi swayed as if he were about to faint. "You…what?" His voice was thin and wispy.
Gai laughed. "I want to be your boyfriend."
Kakashi looked around as if he were unsure if he were caught in a genjutsu or not. "Maa…why?"
Gai grinned his best grin and gave Kakashi a thumbs up. "You're so fine," he said casually. It wasn't as if he hadn't had ample time to appreciate Kakashi's virtues. "I want you to be mine because you're so delicious."
Kakashi turned chalk white, then rapidly turned red. He made a small, choked, inarticulate noise.
"I think about you all the time," Gai said. "You are addictive."
Kakashi blinked up at Gai as if he had seen Gai before. His face had definitely decided on red as its color of choice. "Maa…Gai…but…" He trailed off, then finally choked out, "How are you going to…what are…"
Gai wagged an index finger. "Don't you know what I can do to make you feel alright?" He was proud of himself for being up on that slang. "I thought surely in all the times you've read Icha Icha, you would have discovered what two men can do for each other."
Kakashi swayed and fell out of his chair.
Gai caught him before he hit the pavement and pulled Kakashi straight, an arm curled protectively around Kakashi's waist.
Kakashi recovered his balance and gently pushed Gai away. "Gai…I'm hardly…you're not…"
Gai laughed. "Don't pretend. I know you think I'm precious. You would not have remained my Eternal Rival throughout the years if you felt otherwise." He clenched his fists. "Give in to your feelings, Kakashi! I can tell you like me too, and you know I'm right!"
Kakashi looked away, his shoulders hunching. "Well…"
Gai knew he had to go into hyper-sell mode. Kakashi was in his waffling, indecisive stage. His friend could be stuck here for days unless he pushed. "She's like…so…" Words failed him for once as he tried to condense down how he felt about this woman. "…Whatever." He moved on. "You could do so much better!"
Kakashi glanced at him doubtfully.
"I think we should get together now," Gai said, giving Kakashi his best impatient look. That look never failed to motivate, albeit slowly at the glacial pace Kakashi was best known for when making interpersonal decisions.
Kakashi looked around at the crowded outdoor café. He sighed. "And that's what everyone's talking about. Now." As soon as he looked at the people at the table across from him, they stopped whispering at each other and looked at him with wide eyes.
He groaned and turned away, shielding his face with one hand.
Gai needed to recapture Kakashi's attention. He took Kakashi's shoulders and made Kakashi face him. "Oi. I don't like your girlfriend. There's no way I'm leaving without you. I think you need a new one, and I could be the person you're dating from now on. All you need to do is say the word. I know that you like me. You know it's not a secret." His expression softened. "I want to be your boyfriend." He rubbed Kakashi's arms and removed his hands. "Please…just let me do this."
No matter how tempting it was, if he dragged Kakashi out of here bodily Kakashi wouldn't speak to him about this ever again. He'd lose his chance of dating Kakashi forever. Kakashi hated to be forced as much as he needed to be convinced.
"I see the way –" Gai stopped at the look Kakashi gave him. He swallowed and proceeded carefully. "I see the way you look at me."
Kakashi looked away again.
Gai said firmly, "And even when you look away I know you think of me." Not just now, but every time in the past when Kakashi had pretended to ignore him, dating back to when they were small children.
"I know you talk about me all the time," Gai said with a smile.
Kakashi turned to him. "You know because you've been eavesdropping on our conversations."
Gai grinned triumphantly. "Again and again and again."
Kakashi groaned. "You know, that is when most people would feel bad for spying and violating my privacy."
"Ha!" Gai propped his hands on his hips. "I am not most people."
Kakashi smacked his forehead. "No kidding."
"My uniqueness clearly draws you to me," Gai said, before Kakashi could spin off into negativity.
Kakashi walked back to the table calmly and picked up his volume of Icha Icha, tucking it into his vest. He pushed in his chair. "Fine. There's no arguing with the fact that you possess a peculiar kind of magnetism. It's one of your better-known qualities."
Gai gestured. "So come over here and tell me what I want to hear." He grinned. "Better yet, make your girlfriend disappear."
Kakashi stared at him. "I am not killing her for you."
Gai snorted, and then burst into laughter. "I meant merely that I don't want to hear you say her name ever again."
"Then how am I supposed to refer to her?" Kakashi asked skeptically.
"Don't," Gai suggested.
Kakashi smacked his forehead again. "Maa, no one could argue that you're not direct. Fine, Gai. I won't mention her ever again. Right after I tell her that things are off because you've come to claim me."
Gai grinned. "Satisfactory."
Kakashi sighed. "I may as well get this over with." He walked between the tables, going inside.
Gai extricated himself from the crowded seating section and waiting outside the door of the restaurant.
Kakashi came out less than two minutes later, covered in something thick, dripping, and pink. "Maa, let's go." He started down the street as if nothing were wrong, sticking his hands in his pockets.
Gai walked alongside him. "What's this?" He poked the pink stuff. It was cold.
"Strawberry shake," Kakashi said.
Gai blinked. "But you don't like strawberry milkshakes."
"No, but she does," Kakashi said.
"That was foolish." Gai frowned, considering the illogic of women. "She should not have wasted her desired treat on an ineffective means of chastisement for something that was your rightful decision to make."
Kakashi shrugged. "Maa, at least my vest's waterproof. My Icha Icha's in no danger of being damaged."
Gai smiled. "That is indeed fortunate." He noticed that by unspoken agreement they were on the way back to Kakashi's apartment.
Kakashi glanced at him. "Well, what is so great about you that it won't make me immediately regret my decision to break up with one of the only women in the village willing to give me a chance at dating her? Not to mention the way she'll blacklist me among the other women. I'll never get a date again."
"Give me a chance, and in a second, you'll be wrapped around my finger," Gai said confidently.
Kakashi raised an eyebrow. "Oh? Why is that?"
Gai grinned. "Because I can do it better."
Kakashi didn't ask him what he meant by that. But then, Kakashi didn't have to. Gai obviously referred to the activities he'd seen performed by the now-no-longer-relevant-girlfriend. Activities such as hand holding, going to restaurants, carrying on conversations in bed, cooking breakfasts and dinners and little treats for Kakashi to consume, and watching movies on the sofa while cuddling.
Gai took in this silence with satisfaction and nodded. "There's no other." He took Kakashi's hand.
Kakashi didn't object.
In fact, his friend looked happier than he had been in a long time.
And now it's starting to sink in, Gai thought, flushing with triumph.