Kakashi suddenly noticed that Iruka was rather easy on the eyes. Not that he was going to do anything about it. Unless the schoolteacher had killed a nun in a previous lifetime, he didn't deserve s...
AN: The first evah Naruto fanfic I wrote. I'm reposting it here because I'm writing a sequel, which should come out eventually. This was written before I got to the end of the Follow Sasuke arc, so I assumed (haha) that Sasuke would come back to Konoha with Naruto. This makes this story, where Team 7 are Chuunin together, an Alternate Timeline fic.
Written for laughs, and a bit of a counter-reaction to too many Iruka-is-too-nice-weepy-cute-blushing-virgin fics...
Spring fever can be a distracting ailment, even for Shinobi.
Spring came to Kakashi's attention as he and his three recently-promoted Chuunin minions- underlings- gofers- students that is, were resting after a violent fight on a B-class mission. While the rest of Team 7 lay around and panted like hounds, the Jounin noticed a small shy bloom pushing its way towards the spring sunshine on a nearby bush.
Kakashi used it for target practice with his shuriken, and gave himself a perfect ten when he managed to slice the small flower into four sections on the same throw. His students, who panicked when he started hurling weaponry through the foliage, got a minus five each for not following their teacher's train of thought and for flying off the handle so easily.
That was it as far as Kakashi noticing the season went.
They returned to Konoha and Kakashi tossed his report - bloodied, dog-eared, used at one point to clean his kunai and now held together with duct tape - onto the table and got a long-suffering look from Iruka in return. That was when the insidious spring season retaliated. Kakashi suddenly noticed that Iruka was rather easy on the eyes.
His thoughts, inspired by Paradise Publications Inc. material, were actually somewhat cruder than that, but that was the gist of it.
Not that he was going to do anything about it. Iruka was a very nice person. Shy, prone to blush, caring, kind-hearted, honest, polite, meek even, everything that Kakashi was not. Hell, Iruka was even punctual. More to the point, Iruka had never harmed Kakashi in any way, and unless the gentle schoolteacher had killed a nun in a previous lifetime, he didn't deserve something like Kakashi happening to him.
Normally Kakashi only saw Iruka at the mission desk or at occasional teacher's meetings. Team 7 was on a week-long break between jobs for rest, recreation and extensive training, but their Jounin-sensei's schedule was widely different than that of the studious schoolteacher; Kakashi should not have seen the slightest hint of that pony-tail anywhere near him for a certain time.
Apparently spring wasn't done with Kakashi yet, because he accidentally ran into Iruka four times on the first day and three times on the next. And then there were the schoolteacher's appearances in Kakashi's dreams that night. Something about a school desk and a ruler- Kakashi had done his best to inflict selective amnesia on himself, because he wasn't sure he could deal with that one if he didn't have anybody to kill for at least another week.
Since the blasted spring fever wasn't dying down on its own, Kakashi decided to learn more about his unattainable target, in the hopes that that would convince his libido that this was Not Going To Happen. The only other solution he could think of would be to find a dark-haired prostitute with a scar across his nose, and what were the chances of that happening and being anything less than very expensive?
Like the information-gathering expert that he was, he started rounding up his facts.
"And when I brought out my own special move- the centerfold, yanno- man, I thought Iruka-sensei's nose had exploded for a moment." Naruto paused to tip his bowl up and swallow. "Then he yelled at me for twenty minutes straight, which I think is a record- was that the record, guys?"
"No," Sakura corrected automatically, stirring in some soy sauce. "It was the time you finally managed to transform correctly into the Third Hokage, and to road-test it you marched into the teacher's lounge and cancelled school for the rest of the week."
"Oh yeah. Pity that didn't work."
"That's because your transformation skills are pathetic," Sasuke stated around his chopsticks.
Kakashi decided to ignore the ensuing fight, so long as it remained verbal and didn't destroy the restaurant before he'd finished his lunch.
So Iruka reacted that much to the Sexy No Jutsu? Surprising. Kakashi's life depended on being able to read people, and he was pretty sure Iruka didn't swing that way. Besides, the schoolteacher looked so...proper, so nice in Kakashi's eyes. He could imagine Iruka fainting, or being horrified, or- Then again, that spell was extreme; it had felled even the old Hokage himself. Kakashi was the single male in the village above the age of sixteen who didn't hemorrhage at the sight of that particular 'special move', and that was only thanks to massive desensitization. He'd tried to get the Expenses Department to reimburse the cost of his Icha Icha Paradise collection under the header of 'ninjutsu resistance training', but the harridan at the head of that office hadn't been impressed by his arguments.
"And he nearly stopped me from graduating," Naruto growled. Apparently the fight had died down already. It had only been a two point five on the Team 7 Disaster scale, since nothing had actually been broken.
"Jus' because I couldn't produce a clone that could actually walk- but I showed him! Then...well, he was kinda...after I beat up that bastard Mizuki and all, Iruka-sensei was actually pretty cool."
Naruto stopped talking and fingered his forehead protector, eyes distant and warm. Kakashi wondered what 'pretty cool' was. Now if it was him, it would have been 'Kakashi-sensei was pretty cool because he only hit me about the head a tiny bit for falling into Mizuki's trap and robbing the Hokage in the first place', but he was ready to bet that Iruka had forgiven the little pest instantly.
Kakashi leaned past the momentarily stilled and quiet ramen-eating machine, to interrogate his other students.
"What about you, Sasuke. What do you think of Iruka-sensei?"
Sasuke didn't bother to glance up. "Who?"
"He was pretty strict- but I guess he was nice with the young kids, and he always gave me extra points for my essays. Of course he played favorites, and wasted his time with desperate cases who couldn't learn even the simplest henge for ages."
"And he let Kiba bring his dog to school, which just can't be right, not when he yelled at me for bringing in a couple of snakes," Naruto mumbled around a pork cutlet he'd managed to fit into his mouth (apparently what Sakura had said hadn't actually registered, and probably wouldn't for another few minutes). "And he's got no sense of humor, and he barges into my place about once a month and makes me /clean/, and-"
If they can be so harsh on a wonderful, compassionate teacher like Iruka, I wonder what they say about me, Kakashi wondered. Whatever they say, they probably can't make it scary enough.
"Yeah, but that's because he loves you, right?" he mused absently.
Naruto spurted miso broth from his nose, and spent a couple of seconds choking.
"Lo-you-wh-Iruka-sensei- I mean, he's okay, like- and he stands up for me, sure I guess you can say he kinda likes me a bit, but saying love is like saying girly-"
Then Naruto's brain visibly factored in the 'Kakashi' element.
"Are you calling Iruka-sensei a perv?!" Naruto bellowed, immediately stopping all conversations in the restaurant, the kitchen, the street outside and the entire west side of Konoha.
"No, no," Kakashi murmured, instead of quartering his student and burying the body in four different graveyards. "I'm just curious about him. He put up with you lot for all those years. And he hangs out with you and buys you ramen on a regular basis, right? That's got to mean he's a kind, loving guy." Or possibly a masochist.
Naruto's face was a picture, the kind found on circus posters when the freak show's in town. Next to him, Sakura and Sasuke had frozen over their bowls of Kakashi-provided ramen.
"You think buying somebody a bowl of ramen means there's some pervy emotion involved?" Naruto asked in the kind of voice that Kakashi normally associated with the kid's demonic guest.
"No, no," Kakashi repeated, hoping he sounded honest, kindly and well intentioned. Sasuke and Saruka were still staring at their bowls as if the noodles had turned into snakes, so obviously their teacher hadn't mastered such an unfamiliar register.
"I bought you guys lunch because you'd done so well on the mission," he added, trying to make it sound convincing.
There was a moment of silence while his students apparently contemplated that possibility. Sasuke slowly pushed his bowl away and Sakura took a long gulp of her water. Naruto looked like he was on the cusp of a life-shattering inner battle as he clutched his noodles and shuddered.
"Okay, I treated you guys because you didn't screw up too badly this time," Kakashi sighed, letting his chin sink into his hand. Better change the subject. He'd bought the ramen in the hopes of pumping his students for information, but looked like that was a waste of time and money. Hell, at the speed Naruto had been going through bowls a few seconds ago, the prostitute would have been cheaper.
He didn't know what the boy was getting uptight about. It was obvious just observing them together that Iruka loved Naruto like a kid brother (the screw-up clumsy kind). They hung out occasionally; Iruka would meet Team 7 after some of their tougher missions and groan and roll his eyes over Naruto's bruises and sliced up clothes; Naruto would make out that he'd saved the entire team single-handedly, and Iruka would listen without bursting into laughter; then Iruka would toss food Naruto's way, and smack him when the boy ate like a starving tiger on a fiber diet-
Come to think of it, this was definitely a guy-only way of saying they liked each other. Love...Kakashi doubted Iruka had ever phrased it to Naruto that way. But it would be impossible to spend that much time with the kids and not love them, if you were a nice guy like Iruka.
Hell, if Kakashi were tortured - red-hot pokers, thumbscrews, Gai's lengthier proclamations, the works - he would himself have to admit that he rather lo- lik- could stand his students better than most of the people in the village. He wouldn't go so far as to say that he lo- liked them, of course; he was a killer, a tough no-nonsense Jounin. You didn't go around lo- liking people when you had that kind of reputation to maintain.
But in his more serious moments, he'd told them that he'd die for their safety, and he meant that. If you tied up those same Chuunin students and starved them for five days, they'd probably admit that they relied on their seemingly easy-going teacher a lot more than they let on, and that his approval and guidance were more important to them than they cared to admit.
Yeah, if you dug down deep enough, it was unfortunately evident that they all rather lo- liked each other. A bit.
Kakashi gave his students a tender, affectionate look, just for the pleasure of seeing them stiffen and edge away in open alarm. The brats weren't too bad, really. So fun to mess with. And a bunch of little hellcats in a fight. Team 7's enemies could attest to that, if you consulted said enemies with the help of a good medium.
And they'd been trained by Iruka, who might have been a bit stricter with them than Kakashi had previously thought. Come to think of it, the man had turned Naruto into a seedling ninja of sorts. True, Kakashi hadn't been very impressed with the result when Team 7 first came together under his leadership, but after dealing with the kid himself, he wasn't sure he could have survived, let alone train, a pre-teen Uzumaki. So...Iruka had to be a very nice, very patient man; that definitely proved it.
But Kakashi wasn't going to get any real details out of his students; he might like them (a little bit) but he knew them well enough to realize that they were as self-centered as a trio of tops. They obviously had no powers of observation in regards to grownups.
Time to go to the source. Because Kakashi was getting curious, even discounting the prompting of his hormones.
"Class." Iruka clapped his hands. He sounded remarkably cheerful for someone who'd met a large group of six-year-olds at the ungodly hour of eight in the morning. "Come together please. This side of the field, away from the targets."
Kakashi was up a tree, well hidden from the grounds below. He watched with interest and the occasional shudder. He eventually came to the conclusion that stuff like B-class missions were a piece of cake.
Screw endurance training. Kakashi didn't think he'd ever withstood any survival exercise that could beat watching these hellions for a single day. The only reason Iruka wasn't a super-elite ninja by now was that he must be too tired to pass the exams.
"Katsuo! Don't stab your little friends with a kunai."
Maybe he was in training to take over as Hokage.
"Okay, who threw that shuriken?"
Either that, or there were no children in the target range at all, only Iruka clones, and the real kids were buried somewhere in the woods out back.
"I know it was you, Yorike Ichiro. If you ever get to be a genin - which at the moment I doubt - you'll know that a Shinobi can trace the direction of a shot from the impact angle. That was my last warning. Start running, and don't stop until I say so."
A couple of old ladies had paused beneath Kakashi's tree to discuss the latest gossip. Kakashi had been keeping an ear open to their chat for any potential blackmail material, so he overheard the following:
"Oh look, there's a new class in for weapon's training today. They've not settled down yet, I see. Umino-sensei is such a kind and patient man."
"He'll have them as well-behaved as the other classes in no time, I'm sure. He's so good with the children. Such a nice man. Everybody says so."
Yes, Umino-sensei's been doing this for several years now, and he's not become a psychotic killer. Or at least he's not been caught. Go him.
"Good throw, Yoko. Now, try hitting the target you were actually aiming at, okay? Go on, try again. Oops-
"Don't worry, pigeons are tougher than they look."
Kakashi watched the bird shoot out from the yard, minus a few tail feathers. His tree was behind the kids and their teacher, but he was starting to wonder if he was quite safe up here after all.
Iruka directed his charges through exercise after exercise. Kakashi factored in the age and lower stamina of the participants, and decided that if he put Team 7 through the equivalent of this course, they would howl loud enough to put a Sound ninja's sonic attacks to shame. Kakashi watched in growing amazement. Occasionally, he took notes.
"Don't worry, the cut's not that deep. Go to the infirmary, then go home. And by the end of the week, I want an essay from you on safe handling of bladed weapons - like the contents of my lecture yesterday - and why throwing it like that was not a very good idea. Right?"
That little twerp Yorike Ichiro had been running around the field all this time at a progressively slower pace. Each time he passed Iruka, the Chuunin just happened to be looking elsewhere than at the kid's wretched face. He was doing it so artfully that even Kakashi had fallen for it the first three times. But each time the kid stopped for a breather-
"Ichiro, you're not running?! Did you even manage one lap?! If you think you can become a Shinobi with that kind of weak attitude-"
Kakashi wondered if Ichiro would dare say a word for the rest of the class year. He also wondered if Iruka would be interested in taking over Interrogator Ibiki's post when the latter retired.
"Lunch? After seeing some of you aim, I'm not sure eating with pointy chopsticks is a good idea. Tell you what? Why doesn't everybody concentrate real hard and try again. If we can all hit the targets, we'll go eat."
Iruka nodded brightly, as if the groans and glares were cries of assent. Kakashi knew it took a hell of a lot of practice to be that oblivious. His experience also told him that it was going to be long past their usual lunch hour before these kids saw anything remotely edible, pigeon-sushi excluded. He could tell this from the tight, toothy way Iruka smiled when one of the shuriken went way wide. Kakashi was also ready to bet Iruka had had a very big breakfast this morning; it's what Kakashi would have done.
The teacher finally managed to coax the class away from causing indiscriminate havoc to the training field and each other (and the passing wildlife), and direct them into causing more precise havoc against the target dummies. They were showing a lot of 'high spirits' as the ladies below the tree put it. Kakashi, more familiar with students, recognized those 'high spirits' as homicidal frustration unable to be directed against its legitimate target on the grounds that said target was the teacher.
Through it all, Iruka kept alternatively smiling with encouragement or shouting with disapproval as needed. He had a good drill instructor's voice, Kakashi noted with bemusement (he'd almost fallen out of the tree the first time Iruka had bellowed like that). Now that he thought of it, he'd heard that voice before, echoing through the village these past few years, generally with the word 'Naruto' tacked on to the end; he'd just never associated that kind of lung power with the mild-mannered teacher he regularly met.
And talking of drills...Kakashi remembered that he'd asked his own little soldiers to assemble at eight sharp at the other end of the village, and he was getting late even by his standards. Reassured about the future defense and attack potential of his village - especially if they kept up those 'high spirits' and directed them towards the enemy when the time came - Kakashi left to watch over his own students, who were in for a few nasty surprises after all that inspiration.
He would be back to observe Iruka later though. He was more and more intrigued.
After a day that would have turned a saint into Orochimaru's bigger, nastier brother, Iruka watched the little monsters leave with a smile of pure affection that left Kakashi flat on his ass. Fortunately the Jounin was already sitting down - in a tree outside the classroom, chakra carefully masked - so his staggering amazement wasn't noted.
The last student limped out; the beasts were considerably tamer now, and Iruka had only had them for a couple of days. Iruka patted the last one on the head as the kid exited and closed the door.
Kakashi watched with morbid curiosity, wondering if the teacher would crack, implode, cry, break things, swear, fetch a bottle from out of his desk-
Instead of briefly leaving the classroom to go and torture small animals, Iruka sat himself down at his desk and started grading scrolls. Some of them were locked with jutsus, so they were probably from a more advanced class of his. He corrected at a good clip, but paused over one of the papers. He picked it up and smiled slightly as he examined it. Kakashi, craning his neck, observed there was a little doodle on the scroll, and not much essay to go with it.
The schoolteacher chuckled. He must find that innocent and charming, Kakashi thought a bit uncertainly. Then Iruka murmured something.
Kakashi had expected it to be along the lines of 'aww cute' or 'at least the kid tried'. But his hearing was excellent, and he didn't think that was what Iruka had said.
It had sounded more like: 'Little twerp...but I'll turn you into a ninja if it kills me.'
Kakashi shook his head sharply. That tore it. Iruka wasn't the man Kakashi had thought he was. Sure, he was completely committed to his job and his pupils, but he was also quick-tempered, strict, stubborn, inflexible, gruff, astonishingly loud when he wanted to be, and quite possibly just a little bit crazy, because that was the only way Kakashi could explain the equal measures of common decency and inspired sadism he'd witnessed today. The fact that Iruka probably saw the latter as 'guidance' instead of 'out and out mental torture' only made it worse.
Well, Kakashi knew the truth now, a truth nobody else in the village seemed to suspect. Time to move on. He had better things to do than hanging around windows watching this guy now that he knew what the real Umino Iruka was like.
Iruka's hand drifted from the paper he was correcting, with a copious application of red pen, to rest on his weapon. He must have felt Kakashi's presence. The latter decided to announce himself and avoid any nasty pointy accidents.
Iruka's eyes flashed towards him in something like annoyance that the Juunin had snuck up to within five feet of him in his own classroom. That just confirmed Kakashi's conclusions.
"Kakashi-sensei. Is there anything I can do for you?"
Can't hope for a better opening than that. "Yeah, there is. Want to go out with me?"
He waited awhile for Iruka to stop spluttering. When the teacher finally fell silent, Kakashi glanced up from the fingernail he'd been cleaning with his kunai. "Well?"
Iruka was looking at him with open suspicion, although the solid red blush on his cheeks was promising. "Why?"
"You're not quite the pansy I thought you were. I've decided you're mean enough for me."
"I'll pick you up at eight." Kakashi sheathed the knife and left with a wave.
The lack of shuriken between his shoulder blades was undoubtedly a 'Sure, Kakashi, I'd be delighted to go out with you!'. Kakashi walked away, filled with a quiet contentment that was very unusual and slightly disturbing.
The trees were flowering enthusiastically all around him; birds chased other birds in the intent of making yet more birds. Kakashi realized that he was actually planning to be on time tonight, plus or minus thirty minutes. Man, he had it bad.
Ah, spring. What a romantic time of the year.
Sequel maybe eventually soon perhaps ^_^ Possibly a lemon thrown in for good measure, if I can grind it out and if Iruka doesn't kill Kakashi in the next part.