Title: Perfect Theology – Chapter 9
Rating: PG-13 for now
Summary: Because no one has a perfectly foolproof method to approach love and life. Including Konoha’s famed Copy Nin.
And while Kakashi was happily purchasing his new book, Iruka had run haphazardly through the village until his legs refused to carry him any further. He couldn’t sense the Jounins chakra anywhere nearby, so it was probably safe. Exhausted, he stopped and looked around. Thankfully, it was quiet here. Vaguely, he noticed that in his panic, he’d eventually followed the familiar path to the memorial. Iruka came here regularly, to reflect on his life and his parents, and to pay tribute to the departed heroes of Konoha. He always felt a great calm coming here, and he felt it now, in the presence of his fallen comrades.
Once out of that stifling room, the Chuunin felt calm finally seep into him.
Approaching the memorial, Iruka crouched and once again traced fingertips over the engraved names of those gone too soon. He thought of his mother and wondered what she’d say if she could see him now. She’d probably be amused and say something like, you ran away from some books?
“I can’t believe you ran away from some books.” A voiced drawled from behind him.
Only slightly surprised, Iruka glanced over his shoulder to see Kakashi slouched a bit behind him. Unwittingly, he felt a smirk tug at his mouth. ‘Yes, that thought occurred to me as well.” He probably ought to be embarrassed but it was easier to be calm here, away from walls of smutty literature.
Gravel crunched softly as the Jounin approached slowly, until he too was standing before the monument stone. “Icha Icha isn’t that bad, you know.” He rummaged in a pocket, bringing out a few bills and coins. “Here’s your change.’
Iruka felt an uncontrolled bark of laughter escape him, and he pocketed the money with a smile. “Thank you, Kakashi-san.”
“Just Kakashi is fine.”
The Chuunin stole a sideways glance at the other man. The Jounin was noticeably different here in this most solemn of settings. He’d never seen the man so still. As Iruka watched, Kakashi reached out a hand, pressing fingers fondly over a name: Uchiha Obito. Iruka felt a question form on the tip of his tongue, but he restrained it. He wasn’t sure if the Jounin would take kindly to such a personal inquiry.
Kakashi however, seemed to sense the unasked question. “He was my best friend.” He didn’t meet Iruka’s startled gaze, instead moving his fingers over another pair of engravings. “Your parents?” Iruka nodded. He expected Kakashi to probe, but the man remained silent, pausing a while longer over the names before withdrawing his hand. On reflex it seemed, Kakashi rubbed a finger over his hitai-ate, over his left eye.
The motion was not lost on Iruka, who glanced from Kakashi’s covered eye to Obito’s name on the stone. So that’s where…the Sharingan.
He stood up straight, wondering if he should leave Kakashi to his reflections or if the man expected him to converse with him further. As Iruka waited there, he noticed a flash of orange peeking out from one of the Jounin’s vest pockets. “Can I ask you a question, Kakashi-san?”
It was another moment before the other man responded, his gaze lingering on the monument. “Sure, what’s up.”
“Why do you read those…books?” A voice in the back of his head chided him on asking such a direct question, but it was too late to take it back.
Not surprisingly, Kakashi smiled. It was just a small one though, not his usual mischievous smirk. The Copy Nin shifted, pushing hands into his pockets and slouching slightly. “I don’t know if you know this, but I was very young when I became a ninja.”
Iruka nodded. Who in this village hadn’t heard the rumors? The tale of young prodigy Kakashi had almost become legend in Konoha. He’d become Chuunin when Iruka and his friends had still been pretending to be ninjas in their play, and Jounin when most of his peers were still in the Academy. Being under the tutelage of the Fourth and his acquisition of the Sharingan elevated his status to near mythical. Iruka had also heard dark whispers of his accomplishments while in the ANBU.
“Sometimes, I wonder if we become soldiers too young. For the good of the village, we kill and we sacrifice.” Kakashi rested a hand over the top of the memorial stone. “Duty can be the greatest of joys.” Pausing, he let his fingertips once again slide over the carved names. “But it can also be the deepest of sorrows.” His gaze finally turned back to Iruka. “I believe in enjoying life however possible. Between missions and training my team, I don’t have a lot of time for hobbies.”
He said no more, but Iruka understood. Some people read novels, some people read magazines. Hatake Kakashi read porn. It kept him sane, and anchored him against the harsh life of the ninja. He’d never thought of it that way. He’d never thought of the Copy Ninja that way.
Kakashi seemed to sense where Iruka’s train of thought had gone, and he smirked. “Don’t look so surprised, sensei. You should know better than to judge a book by its cover.”
Loud scuffling jolted Iruka from his reverie, and he slowly stretched his awareness, detecting several chakra signatures near his apartment. Cautiously, he peeked over the edge of the building down into the street.
Kakashi stood at the front of the building, arms crossed in front of his chest. His attention was focused on the foliage on the side of the road, which was shaking rather alarmingly. Curses and yells seemed to be emitting from the largest bush, punctuated by growls and the snapping of branches. The Chuunin sighed. What would his neighbors think?
“LET GO, YOU BASTARD!” Naruto suddenly appeared, dragged out feet first by what Iruka recognized as one of Kakashi’s larger ninken. The blond struggled furiously, but the dog kept his teeth locked firmly on a shoe, finally dumping the boy unceremoniously at its master’s feet. A minute later, a second dog came out of the bushes, this time dragging Sasuke out behind it. The Uchiha too was scrabbling at the branches and ground trying to get away, but ended up in a pile next to Naruto. Thoroughly caught, the two Genins looked up at their sensei agitatedly.
“What gives, you bastard! Why are you setting your mangy dogs on us?” Naruto poked an angry finger at the Jounin. Iruka almost laughed. Typical Naruto, defiant and loud to the end.
Kakashi rolled his eyes. “And what exactly were you two idiots doing in those bushes?” He smirked, glancing over at Sasuke fuming at his feet. “Were you guys making out again?” As Naruto started to splutter with predictable rage, the Jounin threw the envelope and condom at his head. “You guys are getting sloppy. Even a five-year-old could see right through this. What kind of ninja are you supposed to be?”
Naruto leapt to his feet. “This is all YOUR fault anyways! If you hadn’t sent us on that stupid mission in the first place we-”
The Jounin waved a hand nonchalantly. “If you’re going to sabotage a date, at least do it right. What’s the point of being a ninja if you’re caught so easily?”
Iruka blinked. So Naruto and Sasuke…had been behind that all along?
Sasuke suddenly straightened up, staring intently at Kakashi. “Shit.” He jumped to his feet. “Dammit, he tricked us, dobe.”
“What the hell are you talking about, asshole?”
The dark-haired boy pointed at the Jounin. “Why is he rambling on and on? Kakashi normally would just start some sort of punishment and explain later.”
On the roof, Iruka peered closely at the silver-haired man. Huh. It was a shadow clone. He hadn’t even noticed Kakashi switch himself with a bunshin. Where had the real Kakashi gone?
‘Kakashi’ grinned. “Maybe there’s hope for you after all, Sasuke.” The clone held up two fingers in victory. “Good luck getting to sleep tonight.” At their confused looks, he sighed. “Okay, you two idiots deserve a sporting chance. One of your houses is booby-trapped. The other is not. Have fun figuring out which it is!” And with a final smirk, the clone disappeared in a poof of smoke.
“What the hell! What is that supposed to mean!”
“Idiot, he was distracting us.” Sasuke berated himself mentally for falling right for it. Stupid stupid stupid! “He made that bunshin to summon the dogs and keep us here while the real one went to one of our houses to set up traps!” The Uchiha groaned. This had been a bad idea from the start. Now the Jounin would probably make the next month or so a living hell for the two of them. Dejectedly, Sasuke turned and started down the street.
‘Hey! Where are you going, teme!”
He didn’t bother turning. “Home. Kakashi said only one of our places was rigged.” He smirked as Naruto ran up next to him. “And I’d bet he did yours, seeing as you’re the one who got caught spying on Iruka and bought the ramen condom.”
The blond stopped dead in his tracks. Shit. Sasuke was right. “Wait, Sasuke!” He ran to catch up. “Let me stay over tonight!” There was no way he was going to spend all night dodging traps.
“C’mon, you asshole!”
Iruka watched as the pair made their briskly toward the Uchiha family compound, bickering all the way. What had he gotten himself into? First spying, now sabotage? He felt mildly appalled by Kakashi’s teaching methods. He was definitely well on his way to driving Team Seven crazy. Straightening, he gathered his chakra to his feet, and leapt onto the neighboring roof. It would probably be a good idea to make sure those two idiots were okay though. Knowing the Copy Ninja, he probably lied and rigged both their homes. As he jumped from roof to roof in pursuit of the two Genin, Iruka wondered where the Jounin had disappeared off to. Maybe their date wasn’t very important to him?
Well okay, Iruka had poofed when the older man had arrived, but still! He could have at least waited a bit…
A sudden, shrill scream shattered the still evening, tearing Iruka away from his thoughts. Landing on the building directly across from the Uchiha residence, the Chuunin looked down amusedly.
Naruto and Sasuke stood in the doorway, covered from head to toe with pink…stuff. Iruka guessed it was some sort of gelatin. Except far stickier, judging from the curses coming from the blond’s mouth and his futile attempts to wipe it off. Sasuke was scowling at an empty bucket hanging over the open door, apparently the source of their pinkness. It looked like Sasuke had been wrong in his assumption. He stifled a laugh, unsure if he should feel sorry for them or be amused.
“Wait til they try to go into the bathroom, it’ll get really funny then.”
Iruka whirled around, startled. Sitting contentedly a few feet away was none other than Kakashi. In the darkness it was hard to tell, but the Chuunin thought he looked extremely pleased with himself. The Jounin patted the space next to him. “Pull up a bit of roof, sensei.”
Hesitating a moment, Iruka slowly sat down next to the older man. “So…” Down below, another yell pierced the night, but he ignored it for now.
“So.” Kakashi pulled out a large paper bag. “Things didn’t go quite according to plan.” He drew out a plastic container and a pair of chopsticks, handing both over to Iruka.
The Chuunin snorted, opening the container. He stared at its contents in surprise. Take-out ramen. He watched in amazement as the silver-haired man also brought out little plastic cups and a bottle of sake. Filling a cup generously, the Jounin passed it over to Iruka before pouring his own. “However, I hope you find this acceptable.”
Iruka felt a smile start, then a blush colored his cheeks. He thanked the gods it was dark. “Thank you, Kakashi,” he managed. He distractedly started eating his ramen, hoping Kakashi wouldn’t notice his sudden shyness. His consideration was touching, and Iruka was more than a little impressed at his ability to both teach his wayward students a lesson and still make some semblance of a date at the same time.
The Copy Ninja’s lone visible eye crinkled in amusement at the embarrassed Chuunin, before turning his attention back to the unfortunate boys down below. “Hm.” He squinted through one of the open windows. “I think Naruto managed to dodge the booby-trapped sink.” He shrugged nonchalantly. “He won’t be so lucky with the toilet.”
Iruka laughed, almost choking on his meal. “How did you manage to set up so many so quickly?”
“It wasn’t too hard. I sent a bunshin here and a couple to Narutos.”
“Narutos?” He quirked an eyebrow. “I thought you said you only rigged one of their houses?”
Kakashi laughed, rubbing the back of his head sheepishly. “Well, I thought it would be a valuable lesson for them to learn. You shouldn’t trust what your adversary tells you to be true, after all.” Mirth was plainly evident in his voice. “Underneath the underneath, you know.”
And Iruka found himself laughing more freely than he had in a while. The Jounin certainly wasn’t the most gentle or ethical of instructors, and under normal circumstances, Iruka would’ve been appalled. Tonight however, under the light of the moon and with a container of ramen in hand, he found himself more open to things. Digging into his meal once more, he looked up as another bang and some more yells shattered the evening. “What happened?”
Kakashi shifted forward a bit, squinting. “Looks like the exploding toilet only got Sasuke. Naruto’s trying to escape through the window, but that’s a futile endeavor.” He glanced over at the other man and smirked. He had an expression that plainly said where-in-the-hell-do-you-learn-to-rig-a-toilet-to-explode. “Hey, I am a genius, after all.” In fact, he and the other Jounins had invented some traps that would make the prankster king Naruto Uzumaki green with envy. But the Chuunin didn’t need to know that.
Iruka was only mildly surprised to see Kakashi’s ramen container already empty, chopsticks stuck neatly inside. He’d heard about the Copy Ninja’s eating habits from Naruto and Sakura, but it still amused him to see it up close. At Kakashis last words, he smirked. “Sometimes I think the people in this village give the title of ‘genius’ too easily.” He found himself giving the other man a gaze that was both playful and taunting. Somewhere in the part of his mind that wasn’t caught up in the hilarity of this ridiculous date, Iruka was slightly shocked at how he was behaving.
But sitting here on a rooftop with Kakashi somehow brought his usual reserve and polite demeanor crashing down, and…he liked it.
“Maa, so cruel, sensei.”