In Memoriam

Title: In Memoriam
Pairing: KakaIru
Rating: G
Status: Complete
Summary: Some KakaIru. A shinobi has many hard days, but for most, Mother’s Day is the hardest of all.

A/N: Mother’s Day themed. For those who don’t know, “in memoriam” is Latin for “in memory of.” Since Kishimoto has yet to mention the names of Iruka’s parents or Kakashi’s mother, I made them up here for the sake of having a proper noun to use. Kujira means whale, Sakana means fish (because Iruka is a dolphin), and Nōka means farmer (because Kakashi is a scarecrow and Sakumo means crops). This is set with the assumption that Naruto already knows who his parents are.

.

Naruto pounded steadily on the door, his hand barely pausing between strikes against the weathered wood. “Senseiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii! Open up!” He didn’t notice the neighbors pop their heads out, each of them frowning as his yelling increased in volume. “Iruka-senseiiiiiiiiiiiii!”

Abruptly the door jerked open, and a hand shot out and clapped over his mouth, muffling the screech. With a slightly harassed look, Iruka gave nervous smiles to his neighbors, who seemed just seconds away from pitching Naruto out onto the street. “Sorry, sorry,” he said hastily to the small cluster of agitated people, before pulling his struggling student into the apartment and out of harm’s way. “Naruto, you have to learn to keep your voice down. Other people live here, you know!” He released his hold on the young ninja, giving him a stern glare.

“Eh, sorry sensei.” The blond grinned, easily disregarding the glare aimed at him. “But Iruka-sensei! Let’s go get ramen! And Kakashi-sensei gave us the day off so-” He stopped, seeing a hesitant look on Iruka’s face. For the first time, he noticed that instead of the usual Chuunin attire, Iruka was wearing a pair of plain slacks and a clean dark blue shirt. On the kitchen table lay a bouquet of white roses, still looking crisp and fresh from the Yamanaka flower shop. “Oh. Do you have plans already, sensei?” Naruto took another sly look at the flowers. “A date?”

Iruka laughed, shaking his head. He toed on his sandals, picking up a jacket resting on the couch. “No, not exactly. But you’re welcome to come. And we can stop by Ichiraku afterward.” He carefully picked up the roses, holding them lightly in one arm and opening the door with the other. “Grab the umbrella, would you? It looks like rain.”

The pair made their way out the door, down the stairs, and into the day-lit street. It was still fairly early, not quite afternoon yet. Most of Konoha was still either slumbering or just beginning to wake up. But after all, it was Sunday. Iruka waved at a few shopkeepers, setting up for the Sunday market, glancing worriedly at the gray clouds that were starting to gather overhead. It was a bit unseasonably cold, with a stiff wind blowing occasionally against his jacket.

“Where are we going, Iruka-sensei?” By now they’d left the busier part of the village, approaching the open edges of Konoha where shinobi teams usually trained.

“Well, since it’s Mother’s Day,” he caught the uncomfortable look that flickered across his student’s face, but offered a gentle, reassuring smile. “Kakashi-sensei and I wanted to pay a special visit to the memorial.”

“Oh…” Naruto fell silent for the rest of the walk, a sober expression on his face.

As they neared the monument, a lone figure came into view, standing in front of the carved tablet quietly. Kakashi turned a bit as they neared, eyes crinkling from a small smile at Iruka. To Naruto, he lifted two fingers in his customary greeting. “Yo.” He, too, held a small bouquet of flowers in his hand: white carnations.

The blond shinobi smiled at the Jounin, but remained silent, eyes morose as he looked at the memorial stone.

Sighing, Iruka stepped forward first, kneeling before the stone. His hand automatically went up, fingers finding a familiar set of carved names easily from habit. He first traced his father’s name gently- Umino Kujira– before sliding a few lines down to find his mother’s: Umino Sakana. Softly, he set the roses he’d brought on the ground, murmuring, “Happy Mother’s Day.”

As Iruka reminisced a few more minutes in front of the monument, Kakashi glanced sideways at his student. He effortlessly spotted Naruto’s discomfort, and it only took a quick look at the cenotaph to see why. As a former student of the Fourth Hokage, Kakashi knew well where the name Namikaze Minato was carved; it had been set in a place of honor near the middle. For years though, he was also aware that there was a name that was glaringly absent from the columns: Uzumaki Kushina. It pained him that his sensei’s wife had not been included among the honored dead, but such was the aftermath of the Nine Tail’s attack on Konoha: the Yellow Flash had died a hero, but his son had been vilified and his jinchuuriki wife forgotten.

Observant man that he was, the Copy Ninja also noticed Iruka’s worried eyes look quickly over the rows of carved names. They’d discussed it briefly before, and Kakashi knew it bothered the other man. “Here, Naruto.” Kakashi plucked two flowers from the bunch in his hand, offering it out to the boy. After a pause, it was received with limp fingers.

Iruka finally rose to his feet, stepping back to allow Kakashi more room. As he moved forward, the silver-haired man brushed his hand against Iruka’s, giving it a quick, reassuring squeeze.

Lowering himself down on one knee, Kakashi removed the paper wrapping the remainder of the carnations. Holding them aloft, he allowed the white petals to feather over his mother’s name: Hatake Nōka. For a long few minutes, he closed his mismatched eyes, thoughts wandering to grasp at fleeting memories of the woman who’d pillowed his young head and held him close. It was a collection of fuzzy memories, a foggy vista of a time when he hadn’t been a soldier, a killer. When his soul had known nothing but warmth and love.

He’d joked once to Iruka that perhaps that was why he was so attracted to the younger man: the Chuunin had a mothering streak a mile wide and possessed a heart big enough to easily accommodate both a lonely blond boy and the cold Sharingan Kakashi. Of course, Iruka hadn’t seen it as a joke. He’d merely hugged Kakashi close, understanding the vulnerability beneath his humor.

“Your turn.” Iruka pushed Naruto forward encouragingly.

“But…” He seemed unsure of how to express his discomfort.

“It’s okay.” Iruka steered him to Kakashi’s side. “We wanted to do something for you.” He nodded at Kakashi.

Reaching into his leg holster, Kakashi took out a kunai. It was smaller than the usual weapons issued to ninjas, usually used by Academy students for training. “Your father,” he said, running a finger over Minato’s name, “Was my sensei. But I also knew his wife, Kushina.” There was a small gasp of surprise from Naruto. “She was a very kind person, and deserves to be remembered as a hero too.” There was a small space under the Fourth’s name, and he placed the tip of the kunai here. He made a quick seal with his free hand, and the blade started to glow a faint blue. Carefully and with slow, precise strokes, Kakashi painstakingly carved neat characters into the smooth marble: Uzumaki Kushina.

Iruka rested his hands on Naruto’s shoulders, steadying the slightly shaking jinchuuriki. “Go on.”

Wordlessly, Naruto walked the few steps to the center of the memorial. His hands trembled as he lay the two carnations between the bouquets his two senseis had brought, blinking back tears. He gulped, voice thick with emotion as he brushed his index finger over the crisp, new carvings.

Kakashi stepped back, straightening back up and threading his arm around Iruka’s waist. He gave his lover a quick look, conveying a question without words: will he be okay?

Iruka nodded, leaning into the embrace. He turned his head, pressing a kiss to the shell of Kakashi’s ear as he whispered, “Thank you.”

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