Categories > Anime/Manga > Naruto

Twelve Days of Semi-Hell and a Few of Laughter

by Mako 2 reviews

the Twelve Days of Christmas, KakaIru style :D (with hints of SasuNaru, GenHaya, and a load of random Elite Shinobi pairings XD;;)

Category: Naruto - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Humor, Romance - Characters: Kakashi, Naruto, Sasuke - Published: 2005-05-04 - Updated: 2005-05-05 - 9564 words - Complete

ah, hi ^^; yeah, its my very very very late Christmas fic ^^;; sorry it\'s so late... i wrote about it at the bottom XD;;

'sa KakaIru - 12 Days of Christmas style XD (ended up being long enough for two chapters... oops @@;;)

Title: Twelve Days of Semi-Hell and a Few of Laughter
Author: Mako
Email/Mirrors?: Shastafuji @ yahoo . com / sure, just tell me where ^_^;
Genre: Romance ^^;; what else do I write? Seriously :P
Pairings: KakaIru, (just a smidgen/not really there) SasuNaru, GenHaya, and a load of random Elite Shinobi pairings XD;;
Comments: Ahah, haven\'t written anything in a long time ^^;; ahehe. Sorry? Here\'s my very late Christmas fic... enjoy?


\"On the first day of Christmas my True Love gave to me.... A partridge in a Pear Tree.\"


It was the 13th of December when Iruka noticed strange happenings around the village - lights and candles and sugar and pies... everywhere. Holiday music drifted in the air, the songs mixing together to make a strange harmony of voices singing \"Come all ye Faithful\" and \"I\'ll Be Home for Christmas\" over the streets. It was times like these that he normally chose to travel by rooftop, seeing the masses swarming in the tight streets trying to get home from shopping.

Konoha had been hit - Iruka figured - by a rather vicious Christmas bug. It had been made worse a few weeks ago when someone had managed to paint Santa hats on the Hokage memorial. Said culprit had been caught red handed and sent on a mind-numbing mission with his two teammates. His teacher had stayed in the village, laughing heartily at his foolhardy students. Iruka shook his head at the memory, and instinct made him look quickly up at the monument, making sure it was graffiti-free.

It was.

A light snow had started to fall a few hours ago, while he had been at the academy. Such did make him let the howling children out early, watching as they scampered out into the snow and as a number of snowball fights started.

Making it back to his little apartment, Iruka found a small parcel sitting on his front mat (that no one used...) and, curious, picked it up. It was tiny, fitting easily into his hand and lightly wrapped with green and red shiny paper. Without a tag, Iruka knew not of whom the early present was from but no matter. Shrugging, he brought it into the house and put it on the table as he changed.

He wasn\'t able to get back to the present (he forgot about it) until he nearly set his dinner down on the little thing. Putting his warm soup to the side, Iruka carefully tore the paper away. A little laugh escaped his lips when he saw the gift.

Lying in the crumpled paper was a small sprig of mistletoe, a pretty blue ribbon tying the ends together. On the ribbon was a tiny figure of - Iruka squinted - a bird?
A little slip of paper was tucked behind the gift, and as Iruka pulled it out, he shook his head. No easy exit on finding whom the giver was as the tiny script was a jumble of cutout letters. Whoever they were, they had a sharp mind and way too much time on their hands.

\"On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me.... A partridge in a Pear Tree.\" Iruka shook his head again, standing and walking to his doorframe. Reaching up, he was able to jam a kunai into the frame and hook the little sprig to it by its ribbon. With one last look at it, he went back to his dinner with a smile on his face.


\"On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me Two turtle doves...\"


The 14th of December found Iruka chasing rambunctious whippersnappers around the academy\'s yard, laughing and throwing harmless snowballs at his students. They, of course, threw them back, though as hard as the possibly could. It had become a lesson: Try to hit the laughing teacher and you get a candy-cane.

Of course he had to hide said candy-canes when he found Konohamaru and his cronies trying to sneak off with some when his back was turned. The act reminded him of a certain blond kid who was currently stuck in an aforementioned mind numbing mission set by the Hokage.

Iruka grinned, ducking another snowball, at the thought of Naruto. He\'d have to take the little sunshine boy out for ramen soon, seeing as he hadn\'t in a while and it was Christmas after all. Wondering if he should invite Naruto\'s team and that dastardly teacher of theirs, Iruka was beaned in the head by one very hard snowball.

\'Damn not concentrating,\' Iruka thought bitterly, sitting up from where he fell. His class all ran up to him, a range of different expressions on their faces. \"Who threw that?\"

He noticed, a little late, that his class wasn\'t looking at him, but someone right behind him. Turning, a hand still rubbing his abused skull (Had there been a rock or ice in that snowball? He would have to check...), Iruka was confronted with the blithely grinning face of one perverted sensei. His eyes narrowed.


\"Ah, Iruka~\" Kakashi snickered good-naturedly, sitting happily on the wall of the academy, \"That was a bit easy. How do you expect them to gain skills with a target so easily taken down by a snowball?\"

Iruka\'s face flushed, and as he stood his face drew back into a nasty grin; one that his students knew as bad news, \"Okay children, new game. Hit the jounin with a snowball and you get five candy-canes a piece. Rocks and ice-sickles are accepted in this game,\" a the children\'s cheers of excitement, he turned to the Jounin, \"I hope you don\'t mind, Kakashi-sensei?\"

The silver haired man grinned (or so Iruka guessed) and saluted wisely, staying perched on the balls of his feet on the thin wall. Iruka stepped back, his anger at being hit in the head slipping away as he watched his students fling snowballs as best as they could at the other teacher. As anticipated, they all missed, though there were a few close calls. (Iruka started to believe that Kakashi was doing that on purpose to let the students feel better about themselves.)

Iruka shook his head, laughing as his students got tired with flinging balls of snow at the Jounin and started flinging whatever they could get their hands on at the other teacher. A few had started to try and sneak up on the happy smut reading teacher, which, of course, he pushed off gently with his foot when they climbed too near.

Another folly of snow balls were aimed at the silver-head, him dodging each and every one of them, until one big, fat, icy cold slush-ball hit him square in the back of the head. Kakashi blinked, turning to stare at where a victorious
Iruka-sensei stood, grinning. The children, thinking this as an entrance, started up with their flinging as Kakashi started his own attack on the other teacher. [1]

Laughter and cold wetness (much like one of Kakashi\'s dogs\' noses) ruled supreme in the schoolyard.


When Iruka returned home after class, bone tired and just wanting a right hot bath, he found another gift on his doormat. He grinned, picking it up (after checking it warily for a trap or strings attached) and took it inside. While taking his shoes off, the teacher glanced up at the mistletoe, pondering if this gift was from the same person.

By the looks of the shimmery red and green wrapping paper, it could possibly well be from the same person.

He set it down on his bed as he changed out of his work cloths, opting for a comfortable set of pajama pants and a light shirt. With a flop, Iruka stretched out on his bed and picked up the innocent looking present. His mind wandered to what a certain silver haired jounin would get him (if he felt so obliged) and figured it would probably be something... dirty. Or somethin\'.

Easily ripping through the paper, Iruka found two small wooden ... turtles? Closer inspection found them to, yes, be turtles, made of a dark, soft wood. At the edge of their shells, where their back feet should be, though, were the ends of two small wings apiece. Winged turtles?

And, like before, there was a little slip of paper hidden in the wrapping. With deft fingers, Iruka picked it out and unfolded it, finding that it was just like the other note. Cut out words and letters made up the little saying again. Iruka laughed.

\"On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me Two turtle doves...\"

Grinning childishly, Iruka held up the two wooden figures, shaking his head, \"Winged Turtles. Hah, Turtle Doves of the most literal sense.\"[2]

The two \'turtle doves\' were left on his bedside table as he went to take a nice, long bath.


\"On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me Three French hens...\"


Iruka woke up on the 15th of December apprehensive. If the gift giving continued like it was, he did not know if he wanted the gift. If he could remember right, wasn\'t the third day of Christmas something about... chickens? Or some other kind of bird? What would Iruka do with a bird? Unless it was another wooden figure; but still! What could a shinobi-sensei do with a chicken? Or three, for that matter? What would he do with the two wooden \'turtle doves\' for that matter other than keep them and wonder?

An insane thumping on the wall next to his headboard brought Iruka out of his morning ponderings with a muttered curse and a sigh. Thump-a, Thump-a, Bang, Bang, Moan, Bang. If he had anything hanging on that wall, the teacher was sure that they would be either rattling or falling off their hooks. [3] It was almost as bad as when they\'d bring a drunken party into the next door apartment at one in the morning, only to stay up way past 4AM screaming, laughing, and vomiting (on the carpet, Iruka guessed), all the while keeping Iruka on edge. Their voices echoed through the walls clearly enough to make it feel like he was almost in the same room, or apartment as the smelly drunks.

He had found early on in their Thumpa Thumpa exercises that pounding on the walls did not help the situation in Iruka\'s favor, only made them pound back angrily and continue what they were doing.

Rolling out of bed and hissing as his warm feet touched the cold floorboards (missing his slippers) Iruka trudged out to take a shower. In the bathroom he knew that he wouldn\'t hear his neighbors\' exercises. Would he get breakfast this morning? A glance at the clock showed that no, he would not. He was late as it was.


He was out of the shower and dressed before the clock reached 6:50AM, and grabbed a bit of money. Maybe he could grab some lunch on the way to school?

The snow was still lightly falling in the early morning light (or lack there of), making Iruka remember that he did not own anything that could somewhat act as a hat. Well, not unless he wished to sacrifice his snuggly scarf to cover his head and look like a little milkmaid. Cold already, Iruka\'s brisk pace brought him quickly to a little kiosk (an early opener) where he was able to buy a pack of musubi when his eye caught sight of one silver-haired jounin.

Said jounin was... watching him? He gave a small smile and raised a hand in greeting. The other mimicked the movement, his one visible eye curved happily.

\"Ah, Iruka-sensei. Off to class, I presume?\"
\"Good morning Kakashi-sensei. What are you doing up so early?\" Truly it was puzzling that the lazy jounin was to be seen any time before noon.
\"Ah, just buying a few last presents, nothing to worry about,\" Kakashi nodded towards the bag he was holding, \"Would you like company on this cold walk to school?\"

Iruka grinned, amused that the other teacher would both be up and wishing to go any place other than back to bed, \"Sure.\"

The walk was brisk, and cheerful; Iruka was again surprised that he could keep a decent conversation with the other teacher for the entire trip, minus a few comfortable silences. They chatted about students, about the sky; a brief recap on the snowball fight and a few snowballs of their own got them laughing in the chilly morning light.

By the time they reached the school, Iruka was shivering, his laughter not able to keep him warm any more. Before he could disappear into the academy (after saying a hearty farewell to Kakashi), the jounin called him back.

\"You don\'t have a hat do you?\" Kakashi asked, eyeing the other teacher.

Iruka flushed a little with embarrassment, \"Nope. Never got around to buying one... though I should, shouldn\'t I?\"

\"And you always tell your students to bundle up, too,\" Kakashi mumbled, shaking his head, \"Hypocrite.\"

Before Iruka could snip back that he was planning on buying one, Kakashi was jamming something warm over his head and ears. The hands left, and Iruka was left with one wooly, knitted hat tugged down over his eyes and ears. Pushing it up and nearly off, it resting at the back of his head - over his pony-tail - in his hands, he blinked owlishly at the face nearing his, his surprise keeping him in spot as the other teacher kissed him gently on the now bare forehead. A part of his brain registered that two cold hands were cupping his face, the long fingers brushing against his cold ears.

\"So pretty in the snow,\" the lips whispered against his skin, sending a shiver (that had nothing to do with the cold) down his back.

The soft lips were gone before he could react, their owner grinning down at him with a pat on the head and a slight farewell with the promise of seeing him later. Kakashi was gone in a puff of smoke, leaving Iruka alone in the lightly falling snow.

A hand went up to touch where the lips had brushed his skin lightly, then moved away as if burned to pull the hat back down over his burning ears and most of his forehead. He could feel a terrible blush coming on, along with a slight headache, quickly turning to enter the school and wondering if there had been any witnesses.


That night there was nary a present nor a note waiting for the tired teacher upon his arrival home. A touch disheartened, Iruka took his shoes off, shrugged his coat off and hung his scarf on the peg with his coat. He moved to take off the hat, and nearly laughed when he finally got a good look at it. All day he had been meaning to give it a glance, to check out what the perverted sensei had given him, but had been distracting and busy for most of it.

Now, sitting on the ledge between where he took off his shoes and the smooth wood of his hallway, he had a chance to take a look. The white wool was strong, and Iruka had found it to be much warmer than it looked. At the front were stitched three little red chicken, simple is as simple do. Iruka shook his head.

At the back of the hat was pinned the note that he was looking for, a little white card with the same cut-and-paste letters as before.

\"On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me Three French Hens...\"

Below, in small, scrolling print were the brief words, \"Sorry I couldn\'t wrap it first.\"

With a snort of laughter, Iruka hung the hat up on the peg. His eyes shifted up to the mistletoe hanging over his doorway: did this mean that Kakashi was the person who gave him that as well?

If it was, and if Kakashi was, indeed, trying to woo for Iruka\'s affections (the chocolate haired chuunin blushed at the thought), then the dance would just have to continue. Iruka\'s embarrassment became gentle; he would have to thank the
jounin somehow. But how?


\"On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me Four Calling Birds...\"


On the fourth day, December 16th, Iruka found a music box on his doorstep. The porcelain antique sang a sweet song of raindrops falling - four little birds flying in different directions, their beaks open in song. The note (which had been hidden under the music box) simply said:

\"On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me Four Calling Birds...\"

Iruka put it next to the two turtledoves on his desk, winding it up before he went to bed to listen to the song as he fell asleep.


\"On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me Five Golden Rings...\"


On the 17th of December, Iruka found a small box on his doorstep, four little golden bands snug within. That didn\'t make sense, though - it was supposed to be five, he thought. Slipping one on his left thumb, left middle finger, right index and right ring finger, Iruka scratched his head in wonder.

If Kakashi was to follow the song, he was missing one...

It came during dinner, the knocking at his door. A tad excited, Iruka hurried to the door and was a touch disappointed to find his sunny-haired student standing there. He smiled, though, and welcomed Naruto in, closing the door behind them.

\"Would you like some dinner? I just sat down...\" The boy, of course, agreed and they spent their dinner in happy conversation, Iruka asking about how the mission went (Naruto was very bitter against being sent back out to the ranch to rake up manure) and how training was.

It was through the conversation that Iruka found out that Kakashi would be giving his students a break - holidays setting in and all. Plus, Sakura was near rabid in her shopping urges, and Naruto had been caught sneaking off with holiday cookies.
They all need the break desperately, and were all very pleased to have the one. Sakura could finish her last minute shopping (\"Gotta find the right thing for Sasuke-kun... I wonder if he\'d like a new shirt? Would he like it in red? Or blue?\"); Sasuke didn\'t seem to care one-way or the other; and Naruto seemed happier than usual about the holiday.

\"What are you going to do for Christmas, Naruto? Did you want to stay over here again?\" Iruka asked, clearing the table after their dinner. Naruto bounced up to help, shaking his head.

\"Nah, Sasuke-be - that perv - invited me over,\" Naruto stuck his tongue out, \"Said he didn\'t want to spend the holiday alone either, and somethin\' about how his house was too big when it was empty. Psh.\"

Iruka grinned thoughtfully, starting on the dishwashing. Naruto stood next to him, drying the dishes that were passed to him quickly and stacking them. When they were finished, Naruto dug around in his pocket, coming up with a little box with a card tied to it. Iruka eyed it skeptically.

\"Who\'s that from?\" Iruka asked, then, when Naruto handed it to him, \"What, for me?\"

Naruto grinned, nodding. \"Kakashi-sensei told me to give it to you.\"

\"Does he know that you\'re telling me this?\" Iruka asked, holding up the box and thinking \'I thought he was going for secrecy or something...\'

\"Uh...\" Naruto grimaced, scrunching up his nose as if he\'d smelled something rancid, \"Shiznuts, no, he didn\'t. Hell. Uh...don\'t tell him I told you?\" Blue eyes looked at the teacher beseechingly, \"Please?\" Wibble.

Smiling gently at his ex-student and ruffling his golden hair, Iruka nodded, \"It\'s our own little secret. Now, you should be getting back home; it\'s getting late and much colder these days.\"
Naruto bounced over to the shoe rack, grabbing his sandals and sitting to put them on, \"Yep! Sasuke wanted to train tonight, so yeah. See ya later, Iruka-sensei~\"
Iruka saw the bundle of energy off, laughing as the boy bounded not down the stairs but off the railing, catching onto the opposite apartment\'s roof\'s overhang and swinging to dash off across the roofs. Iruka laughed harder, though with a bit of pity, as he saw Naruto slip on a patch of black ice hiding under a layer of snow on a roof, sliding down to the gutter before he caught himself and continued on much wetter for ware.

Closing the door on the cold night, Iruka looked down at the little box. So they were from Kakashi-sensei. What did they mean? Affection? Was it a joke? Or was it true? Did he expect Iruka to respond in some way? Why had he had Naruto deliver the gift? Should he ask Tsunade-sama about it? He would have asked Sandaime, but didn\'t know if he should with the Fifth Hokage, not really knowing where he stood with the busty woman.

Shaking his head, Iruka carefully ripped the paper, finding what he thought to be a little jewelry box. Resting neatly within the off-white padding within rested a tiny -Iruka squinted again- dolphin? On a bracelet? Picking it up, Iruka snorted a laugh, finding a small golden bracelet, a small golden dolphin jumping high over a little scarecrow.

He slipped it on his wrist, thinking, amused, \'He must really think I\'m a woman, sending me all this jewelry. Hell, what can a person do with all this? What would a female shinobi do with all this stuff? Hell.\' The note was the same as always, just repeating the lyrics to the old song.

\"On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me Five Golden Rings...\"

That night, Iruka was visited by a silvery ghost who snuck through his window to his bed. The apparition woke him up, but feeling a familiar chakra did not attack, nor wake up fully. Rough fingers ghosted over his cheek, across the bridge of his nose and scar and up across his eyelids. The chuunin tried to keep as still as possible, yet keep his breathing even like one deep asleep. It was difficult, especially when one was being kissed on the forehead (Again!) by a certain sexy (\'Sexy?! Since when?\' his mind hollered,) jounin...

...who was laughing quietly to himself. Iruka knew that Kakashi knew he was awake, daring to crack open an eye to glance up at the other, who smiled gently down. The barest light coming from the window backlit the other teacher, giving Iruka a sense that Kakashi had moved to sit back on the bed, his hands resting limp at his sides.

Before Iruka could move to catch him - and interrogate him, no doubt - the blasted jounin was gone nearly without a sound, a poof of scent-less smoke swirling around where he had just rested.

Iruka groaned, flopping back on the mattress with a pout. Damn the man for disappearing again. Damn him.


\"On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me six geese-a-layin\'...\"


The 18th of December found a pair of flannel tan pajama pants wrapped carefully within a box, a blue satin ribbon wrapped around it. Strategically sewn into the fabric were six small blue geese, all sitting on what Iruka guessed to be little nests for those eggs they were supposed to be a-layin\'. Iruka grinned - nearly laughed - at the thought of Kakashi sewing anything other than to fix ripped pants, throwing the pants into the wash (with his other laundry) so that he could wear them that night.

The little note was taken out of the left pocket, first, though.

\"On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me six geese-a-layin\'...\"

Taped to the back of the note was another note with Kakashi\'s easily recognized scribble sprawled across it:

\"Kurenai\'s party is tomorrow night. Hope you can make it? The little dolphin needs to swim again...\"


\"On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me seven swans-a-swimmin\'...\"


The 19th ended up on a Sunday, making Iruka ponder whether he wanted to go to Kurenai\'s annual Christmas party. She had come up to him, asking if he wished to come earlier that day having caught him shopping for dinner. \"There will be eggnog,\" she had said, \"Fresh eggnog and a poooooool. And good company.\"

Who would think that good company meant a drunken Gai-sensei prancing around in a loincloth, Iruka would never know.

But the eggnog had been what settled the deal, and Iruka found himself on the doorstep of Kurenai\'s rather large apartment at seven o\'clock sharp. Kurenai dragged him in even before he could knock, ripped his coat off and pushed him in to the party.

And what a razzling party it was. Iruka found himself standing at the edge of Kurenai\'s apartment\'s swimming pool in the freezing night air, watching and laughing as drunken shinobi of many different ranks flung themselves into the heated water, laughing and splashing.

\"Looks inviting, doesn\'t it, Iruka-sensei?\" a warm breath wafted across his right ear, shocking Iruka out of his gazing to glance over at the jounin. He looked back at the pool, a kind smile on his face.

\"Those twits won\'t remember tonight at all in the morning, and a lot of them have work tomorrow as well,\" Iruka laughed, \"And I bet more \'n half of them will call in sick tomorrow, saying that they\'ve caught colds, have broken bones, broken hearts, or are truthful and say that they have deadly hang overs from hell and that they are irritable.\" Iruka waved a hand at the drunken swimmers, \"More the reason not to get drunk.\"

He felt, more than heard, Kakashi\'s rumbling laughter at his back, and slowly moved closer to the warmth, backing up so that his back nearly touched Kakashi\'s chest, \"Aww, but that\'s no fun. I know you\'re right, but hell if it\'s not fun to watch them at least. Or to swim-\"

Which was all the warning Iruka got before he felt to strong hands push at the middle of his back, sending him head-first into the pool, his paper-cup of eggnog flying. Those swimming somehow got their legs working and were able to paddle out of the way for the flying dolphin, totally forgetting about the chuunin after a moment.

Kakashi laughed again, watching as Iruka bobbed to the top, his hair loose and his cloths sticking to his skin. Crouching down, Kakashi snickered at the furious chuunin, taking a sip of his own eggnog. One strong hand snaked up to grab his collar while he was distracted with his nog and dragged him into the water as well, and no matter how much he might have tried to stay dry, Kakashi found himself soaking wet next to the now smirking Iruka.

The night wore on, the two teachers battling in the pool and taking part in a game of marco-polo with the other teachers in the pool. Iruka never knew how they were able to get their minds to play the game, being dead drunk, but didn\'t ask.

And sometime over the night, someone spiked the eggnog. That someone also handed it out to all those on the roof.

Needless to say, both Iruka and Kakashi were feeling the aftermath of a heavy night of eggnog and rum the next morning (afternoon...), both sprawled haphazardly across Kurenai\'s floor. Iruka awoke first and was pleased (through his splitting headache) to find that he was fully clothed and not the only one to be seen resting on a certain jounin. A slight grin made an appearance on his face - which hurt and felt grimy - when he noticed the out-cold Gai-sensei, Asuma, Aoba, and Raidou all asleep in a chain, each with their head on the previous\' stomach and Gai\'s on Kakashi\'s.

Genma was passed out on Hayate, who was curled up like a cat, his hands curled up by his face and his knees folded up by his chin. Iruka did not know how he did it. Izumo and Kotatsu had passed out next to the couch (not on it though...), a bundle of legs and arms and half-dressed bodies. Iwashi and Tonbo were asleep next to them; Tonbo\'s bandages coming unraveled from his face. Iruka always wondered how he was able to see with all the bandages over his eyes and then his hitai-ate over that. Ibiki was alone, awake, and glaring spitfire at the sunlight that shown happily through the window, his hold on a coffee cup deadly and his bandana gone and his collection of scars out for the world to see. If looks could kill, Iruka bet that the sun would have passed out in pain, leaving the moon in its place. Iruka grimaced and was glad the glare wasn\'t aimed at him.

Kurenai seemed to have invited the entire faculty, what with the number of other bodies strewn around the room.

So there had been a bit of petting and a few random nibbles - no harm done, right? Right. A taste or two never hurt anyone, right? Right again. Never mind that Iruka had found himself snuggled at Kakashi\'s side, his face pressed to the warmth between the jounin\'s neck and shoulder.

Iruka could feel his hair stick up on one side, the side he had had pressed against Kakashi. A quick ruffle of the hair (after taking it down) made it fall relatively normal again, though still feeling greasy and dirty. He started to wonder why they had not been able to change out of their wet cloths the night before? Trying to think back only caused more of a headache. It would be just his luck to get sick for Christmas again.

\"G\'morning, Iruka-sensei,\" the soft voice of Kurenai spoke from the doorway to the kitchen, \"First up in the chain, I guess? How ya feel?\" Kurenai\'s long black hair had been tied back in a messy ponytail, her already scarlet eyes red-rimmed by the look of a hang-over and a night of trying to keep drunken shinobi alive. Keeping them alive meant keeping a semi-clear mind and making sure that no one pulled out any sharp pointy objects over the night.

We take this moment with Kurenai to doubt that she will ever be having another Annual Christmas party with eggnog and rum (and Gai-sensei in a loincloth).

\"Feeling,\" Iruka rubbed his dry, groggy throat, \"Alright, considering. Thanks.\" He gladly accepted the warm cup of cocoa from Kurenai, \"Who put the rum in the eggnog?\"

Kurenai shrugged, \"Don\'t know. You don\'t have any classes today, either. Called ahead - these drunk ducks couldn\'t move to save their lives anyways. They should be thankful that they don\'t have to worry about screaming hellions.\"

\"You\'re a saint,\" Iruka felt better after the cocoa, \"How will you get them out of your house?\"

Kurenai smiled, pulling her fluffy robe closer around her strong figure, \"There\'s that festival going on later tonight. It just so happens that it has been set up in the street right in front of this old shack. The sound will drive them away for sure.\"

\"When does the festival end?\" Iruka wanted to go! But... he didn\'t want to go feeling like he needed to empty his stomach projectile-like on someone\'s shoes.

\"It\'ll continue until Wednesday. You have time. Here,\" Kurenai knelt next to the befuzzled Iruka and handed him a slip of paper, \"A certain dog lover wanted me to give this to you.\"

Iruka nodded thanks, and after Kurenai moved away to see who else was awake, he opened the little note (he knew he already knew what it would say, but best read it anyways).

\"On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me seven swans-a-swimmin\'...\" There was a bit of Kakashi-brand-scribble next to the cut out letters, \"Well, in one way or another. Cheers to ninja drunk on eggnog and rum swimming in the winter.\"

Below it, in smaller writing, \"I can\'t wait \'till the pictures get developed.\"

\'Pictures? Shit,\' Iruka\'s mind swore as he stumbled up, casting one last glance at Kakashi (he was very, VERY glad that Gai had decided to pass out on his stomach and not his back, the Teacher of Burning Youth having lost his loincloth and being stark naked sometime during the night) before trying to find Kurenai.

Pictures? @_@


\"On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me eight maids a-milkin\'...\"


Having been sworn a copy of the pictures, Iruka had dragged himself back to his apartment on the twentieth of December.

...which was very cold, having had the heat left off all night and most of that day. Hell. A long, hot bath was taken, the hot shower before hand (while the water was heating) had washed away most of the grime of the previous day (-night) and he found that he felt better almost already. He was half asleep when he pulled himself out of the cooling water, and nearly had to force himself to eat a small dinner. At least the hang over was gone for the most part.

Falling down on his bed, Iruka nearly missed the little package next to the two \'turtle-doves.\' Two gifts in a day? Well, if Kakashi wanted to keep up then he would have to, Iruka guessed. Stretching over, the sleepy chuunin deftly opened the wrapping paper, flinging the brightly colored paper to the floor to be picked up tomorrow.

His eyes nearly popped out of his skull, his face flushed as he pulled out a copy of \"Icha Icha Milk-Maids\" and the tiny note that came with it. In his embarrassment, Iruka nearly tore the little slip of paper in half.

\"On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me eight maids a-milkin\'....\"

A little heart and a smiley face was drawn next to the words, making Iruka\'s blood burn. What was the jounin THINKING giving HIM one of those-those-those perverted books?! Milking-maids! Good lord, Jiraiya could make ANYTHING PERVERTED! Iruka scritched down another name on his mental hit list.

Pushing the book off his bed with a sheet, Iruka curled up under his puffy blankets, dead set on ignoring and forgetting everything about the perverted book. If he were lucky, he could just... push it under his bed where he wouldn\'t find it for decades. If ever. To hell with spring-cleaning.

\'Please let tomorrow be alright...\'


\"On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me nine ladies dancing...\"


\"Ah, Iruka-sensei! Good morning~\" A cheerful voice halted Iruka\'s way to the market on the twenty-first of December. He knew that voice.... oh did he know it. He knew those lips, too, somewhere through his foggy memory of the party. Where they had been, he did not know.

Turning to glare at the cheerfully grinning Kakashi, Iruka greeted him - \"Hello, Kakashi-sensei,\" - with the sweetest voice he could. Ended up right vicious, but Kakashi wasn\'t one to care, \"You were the one to put that... that THING in my room yesterday, weren\'t you?\"

\"Ah, you found it! I was worried that you wouldn\'t!\" Kakashi laughed as Iruka\'s fingers made their way around his throat,
\"Now now, Chuunin-sensei! Can\'t be killing off a jounin in the middle of the street, even though there\'s nearly no one out here~" Wrapping his own arms around the still embarrassed Iruka, Kakashi sent them up to the nearest roof. The change of scenery was enough to make Iruka lessen his hold on Kakashi, who deftly broke the strangle hold and pinned the other\'s arms to his sides.

\"Now, see? Isn\'t this better?\" Kakashi grinned at the flushed - embarrassment? Or fury? Who knew? - Iruka, holding him just a touch under arm length, \"And about the book: it was one of Jiraiya\'s firsts, very toned down compared to his latest releases. And how else could I get you eight maids a milking?\"

\"So it IS you,\" Iruka\'s anger diminished a bit, his dark eyes still glaring up at the other.

\"Yes yes, it\'s me. Why, do you want me to stop?\"

\"But why? Why are you doing this?\"

Kakashi\'s grip on Iruka\'s arms loosened, his smile becoming more genuine, \"And why not? Everyone needs to be shown how precious they are once in a while.\"

\"Precious? Me?\"

\"See what I mean? You don\'t seem to realize it,\" Kakashi grinned, moving closer to the other, \"You are more precious than you give yourself credit and I just feel like showin\' the fact to you.\" Two strong arms rested on Iruka\'s shoulders, making him look up, \"Hoping you would come with me to the festival tonight?\"

Iruka narrowed his eyes at the one-eyed-one, skeptical, before grabbing hold of the sides of Kakashi\'s vest, holding him there, \"Why?\"

\"To get your present, of course,\" Kakashi grinned, pleased, \"Plus, it\'ll be fun.\"

\"Fine. I\'ll meet you there,\" Iruka resigned, sighing. A rough hand ruffled his hair, disrupting the ponytail and a laughing voice was all that was left when Iruka looked up again, the culprit having fled the scene. \"KAKASHI! DAMNIT.\"

It would be a long day...


...And was it ever. Eight explosions; four fights; eleven broken shuriken with eleven bleeding children; twelve chickens let loose in the classroom (show and tell had turned into a \"Lets see how many of these we can multiply without Sensei catching us!\"); two lost kites; one run in with ten still hung-over teachers and test instructors who had nearly killed Iruka\'s squealing students; seven misplaced tests and three misplaced children (they got sidetracked and had wandered off on their little field trip).

Iruka was ready to pass out on his bed when he got home, but before he could slip in to the soft embrace of slumber, a loud knocking started up at his door. Iruka knew that knock, and was sorely tempted to tell Naruto to come back later. But old habits die-hard.

\"IRUKA-SENSEI!\" Add one very loud Naruto to the list of the day's casualties.

One Naruto and one grouchy looking Sasuke standing on his doorstep did not bode well, especially when they were both donning heavy haori [4] and looked ready for a night of chaos at a festival.

\"Let me guess, the festival?\" Iruka found it in his heart to grin at the boys, \"You are looking sharp.\"

It was true. Sasuke seemed to have dug up an old kimono, a dark blue (did the boy ever wear any other color? No...) fabric with a stiff maroon obi. The haori over his shoulders was black, the crest of the Uchiha clan shown boldly on the back. As for Naruto, Iruka guessed that he had spent his allowance buying his get-up and maybe barrowed a few things from his current roommate (i.e. Sasuke). His kimono was a bright blue, bringing out the color of his eyes very well. His obi, stiff like Sasuke\'s, was a golden orange; his haori a dark blue as well. Unlike Sasuke, Naruto wore a pleated hakama; it\'s color a tad duller than the bright color of the rest of his kimono. Iruka could bet a paycheck that Naruto had been the one to sew his personal crest on the back of the haori, giving it a familiar touch.

Naruto looked at him skeptically, \"Where\'s yours?\"

\"Yeah! You gotta wear yours at a festival!\"
Iruka didn\'t feel like arguing the fact that no, you didn\'t, \"Do I really have to wear mine?\"
Iruka groaned, letting the two boys in, \"I bet it\'s been eaten by moths by now...If it has, can I stay home?\" Iruka\'s voice gained a child-like quality: he wanted to stay home, damnit.

Naruto pretended like he didn\'t hear him.

It ended up that there was only one moth hole - a tiny thing at the hem of the inner fold of the kimono. Since it would not be visible, Iruka seemed to be destined for the festival and begrudgingly (though amused on the inside) went to change. He hadn\'t taken the old thing out ever since the last festival he had gone to, maybe three years ago. \'Heh, we\'re just going to be a flock of blue people, aren\'t we?\' he thought, pulling on the undergarment, then the old kimono. The person he bought it from had called it \"Sea Crest Blue,\" a deep - though light in certain areas - sapphire blue. He had splurged on it, getting it custom-made with small waves printed at the bottom. That was another reason he did not wear it often; he worried like only Iruka could worry about if the waves were too much. At least the dolphin on the back of the haori was simple.

Shrugging on his also dark blue haori, Iruka dragged himself out to where the two boys sat waiting, \"Shall we go?\"

\"Iruka-sensei, you forgot your sandals!\"
\"Remind me why we\'re wearing our formal outfits to a blinkin\' festival again, will you?\" Sasuke muttered as Naruto handed the teacher his sandals, \"Won\'t we feel over dressed?\"

Iruka had to agree and looked over at the blond boy.

\"Because Yukata are boring! And none of us have any!\"
\"Excuse me, I do,\" Sasuke snipped, sounding nearly insulted.
\"You don\'t know where it is, though. Plus, why not? I\'m sure no one will notice.\"
\"Yeah, like they wouldn\'t notice a group of guys wandering around in formal wear at an informal festival, dobe.\"
\"Shut up, bastard!\"
\"Boys! Quit it!\" Iruka intervened, halting their growing spat, \"We\'ll just go in these and if people stare at us it doesn\'t matter.\"
\"They\'d stare because we look so sharp, right?\" Naruto bounced, his Sasuke induced-sour mood forgotten at the drop of a hat.
\"Sure,\" Iruka grinned, \"Now lets go.\"

The festival was swarming by the time they reached it. The snow had been swept to the side, leaving the ground to twinkle merrily with patches of easily avoided ice. Warm light shown out of the stalls, the hunger inducing smells drawing customers in like flies to fruit. Above the street hung strands of lights, all criss-crossing from building to building, stall to stall, shining like a million trapped fireflies. It was beautiful.

The two boys ran off shortly after arrival, leaving Iruka to wander to where the little parade was supposed to take place. Still no sign of Kakashi, but Iruka put it out of his mind as ornately designed floats were carried down the street. Cheers ran through the crowd as peaches burst into little boys, showering the observers with streamers and good luck notes; cries went up when a tiny representation of a shaggy black bear was chased to the end of it\'s run and shot dead by the little boy with a gun. Light bounced off of the old wood and the well-worn metal, dazzling Iruka.

\"How do you like it, Iruka-sensei?\" Iruka\'s skin jumped at the sudden warm breath at his ear, \"You\'re looking dashing yourself.\"

Iruka turned around, looking the other teacher up and down quickly before settling on Kakashi\'s still masked face and smiling.

\"You misplace your yukata as well?\" Iruka grinned, seeing Kakashi decked out in formal wear as well. Truth be told he had gotten a few glances, especially with the two boys in tow, on the way to the festival. One woman had asked if there was a wedding she didn\'t know about happening, and another had asked of a funeral. Iruka had denied both, slightly embarrassed.

Kakashi\'s outfit, while formal, wasn\'t as dressy as Iruka\'s. Black fabric made up the kimono, the hakama a lighter navy blue. His haori was black as well, though hemmed with white fabric, giving it a dashing appearance. Hitai-ate band-less, Kakashi\'s silvery bangs fell every which way, the main body of his hair still defying gravity. And then there was, of course, the mask.

\"Nope,\" Kakashi\'s eyes crinkled in a grin, \"I just happened to see three little birds all decked out for a wedding heading this way and decided to join them in the formal wear.\"

\"You went back to your apartment to change?\"
\"You late ox,\" Iruka snickered, turning back to the parade, \"Always late.\"
\"Better then not here at all,\" the warm body was behind him again, sending a tingle down his back, \"Nice haori.\"
\"Hm, I\'m almost afraid to look at yours,\" Iruka responded, leaning back just a touch towards the warmth, \"I\'m sure it\'s somethin\' perverted or has to do with those books you read.\"
\"That\'s a good idea, but no,\" Kakashi\'s warm breath puffed against the back of Iruka\'s neck in laughter, \"I\'ll have to talk to Jiraiya about that.\"
\"Hn, you do that.\"

The floats were past, followed closely by a number of dancers. Men with miniature taiko drums pounded the beat to a group of dancing women, all a swirl of colors and sounds. A warm arm wrapped itself around Iruka\'s middle, pulling him back to the strong chest behind him, engulfing him in warmth.

\"You look cold,\" Kakashi leaned his chin on the other teacher\'s shoulder, \"Take note of the number of dancers, precious one.\"

\'Pet names so soon?\' part of Iruka\'s mind, the more perverse side, laughed. Nine dancers swirled by, flowers and confetti raining down on those attending. Mother nature decided to join in, sending big flakes of snow down on the festival, calming the atmosphere. Iruka shivered.

\"On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me nine ladies dancing,\" Kakashi\'s voice was soft and filled with humor.

\"Eight maid\'s a-milking and so on and so forth,\" Iruka responded, tentively placing his hands over Kakashi\'s on his stomach.
\"Yes, \'and so on and so forth\' as well.\"

The parade ended, and the night dragged on with Kakashi following Iruka around with Sasuke and Naruto. Sasuke was able to win a goldfish then gave it to Naruto, saying that he had no use for a fish. Naruto, in turn, won a stuffed black cat and gave it to the Uchiha, quoting him. Iruka had laughed at the two.


\"On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me ten lords a-leaping....\"


The twenty-second of December found a note taped to Iruka\'s door when he opened it, hearing someone knock. When he stepped out on the porch, he laughed. Below him stood (?) ten ... interestingly dressed faculty members, doing a jig. Oh how Kakashi must have bribed them into doing that.

Scarred Ibiki had donned his long black cape and was swooshing it around dramatically; Gai-sensei (was thankfully not in a loincloth again...) was jigging around in his normal attire (Kakashi must have felt it to be sufficient); Genma and Hayate were brutally massacring a two-man cotton-eyed joe; Kotatsu and Izumo were ... were the taking turns jumping over a jump rope? Iruka laughed. Tonbo and Iwashi were line dancing with Raidou and Aoba. Having no classes to teach (Children off on a much needed holiday break) left the faculty bored silly, it would seem, and easily bribed.

Laughing hard at the motley crew, Iruka watched them for a long time after, then dared to invite them in for a bite of lunch.

\"On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me ten lords a-leapin\'...\"


\"On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me eleven pipers piping...\"


The twenty-third of December found Iruka with a pile of one-line Christmas cards and eleven of his students, both past and present, playing horrendously off tune outside his window. And if that hadn\'t woken him up, his dear sweet neighbors decided to kick off the holiday with another round of Thump-a Thump-a Bang Bang Moan Bang.

After Iruka sufficiently chased off the hell-raisers (a glance at the bleary eyed, sleepy, disheveled Iruka could send even the sweetest of granny\'s running and the bravest of heroes following close behind) and finally brought himself to have a Word with his neighbors, Iruka growled back indoors. Pretty much flinging his bowl of white rice on the table next to his scrambled eggs, Iruka mentally wrote down Kakashi\'s name on his mental hit list again - scritching it over the many times removed name.

At least the two bunnies next door shut up.


He found the slip of paper in his mailbox when he went to check his mail again (he knew the mailman was a crafty bastard who had too much time on his hands and liked to deliver things both very early in the morning then again at noon). He had calmed down by then, sparing the little note a painful wripped up death.

Once again, the cut out letters spelled out another line to the well-known song.

\"On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me eleven pipers piping...\"

A small arrow pointed to the side, wordlessly telling him to turn the paper over. On the other side was more of Kakashi\'s chicken scratch, \"So sorry you didn\'t enjoy the show.\" Next to it was a little heart.

Iruka put a dent in the wall.


\"On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me Twelve Drummers Drumming...\"


It was noon on December Twenty-fourth, Christmas Eve, when Iruka realized that he hadn\'t been awoken by a hodge-podge band of miscreants. Sure as all hell felt like it, though. A headache like a bulldozer had woken him up that morning, kicking him out of his warm bed in the wee hours of the morning i.e. four A.M.

Iruka hadn\'t been pleased to find that he couldn\'t get back to sleep.

Hmm, but it was Christmas Eve; he felt like he should feel better. But if wishes were horses then dreamers would ride and the headache stayed with him for the better part of the day. Something niggled at the back of his mind, almost as if something important was supposed to happen.

Kakashi\'s twelve little dummers hadn\'t appeared yet, that was for sure. Was that it? Lack from contact with others? He hadn\'t seen a soul all day long, and his house was feeling empty.

\'Damnit,\' shrugging on his heavy winter jacket, Iruka stomped out the door, locking it securely behind him and made his way to the market. Maybe a long walk in the snow would make him feel better? With his headband tied around his neck instead of his forehead, Iruka\'s bangs had started to fall into his eyes. Hellbells, he had forgotten his hat. Had his scarf, but the hat was missing. Grumpy, Iruka picked up pace, stomping past the inviting stalls, left over festival goods, and holiday decorations.

It was much later when Iruka found his way back to his apartment. Opting for the roof instead of going inside (hat forgotten fast enough), Iruka was slightly startled to find a certain jounin sitting at the arch of the gently sloping roof. Their eyes met, and Kakashi grinned, patting the place next to him. Iruka joined him.

The pale winter sun was just setting, casting the two teachers in a cold, yellow glow. It was frigid out, Iruka soon realized, having not noticed during his walk. Trying to be as quiet as possible, Iruka scooted closer to the seemingly ever-warm Kakashi, who pretended to not notice.

The comfortable silence wore on as the stars poked out through the winter haze, a half full moon shining brightly down on the village. Iruka was dozing off when he felt two strong hands push something warm over his head again, shaking him to full wakefulness. The hands were gone and a soft rumbling laugh followed as Iruka pushed the edge of the wool hat up past his eyes, grinning a tad embarrassed.

\"Meant to tell you,\" Iruka started, looking back at the village, \"Thanks for all this.\"
\"Hmm, you\'re welcome,\" Kakashi sounded distracted, \"Even though I couldn\'t really find anything for the twelfth day. Today.\"
Iruka grinned, and, feeling rather bold, rested his chin on Kakashi\'s shoulder, much like the jounin had done earlier, \"\'sa alright, I\'m sure.\"
Kakashi turned his head slightly, grinning at the other teacher, and kept silent.

\"Hey Kakashi?\"
\"You want dinner?\"


Dinner was simple and delightful, a well cooked chicken, tender as the day it was born with a strangely sweet sauce over top. The two drank a bottle of red wine between the two of them, and, feeling merry and cheerful, had made a batch of cookies on whim. It was reaching midnight by the time Kakashi finally decided to go home. Iruka saw him to the door.

\"Hey Kakashi-sensei?\"
\"Yeah?\" the jounin turned back, standing in the doorway. A gentle snow had started again, the world seemingly asleep in its peaceful fall. Iruka grabbed hold of his collar, pulling him close as if inspecting the fabric for lipstick smears and perfume.
\"Thanks again,\" quickly, Iruka pulled down the barrier of black masks, baring the pale skin beneath, and kissed him. Silenced him for a good long time, too. Iruka pulled away a breath, each of their breaths haggard, \"For everything.\"

Handsome lips turned up in the first smile Iruka had ever seen, \"Anytime, beloved.\" And Iruka found himself inside his apartment once more, the door closed, pushed against the hard wood as a pair of lips attacked him, nibbling, sucking, lavishing him with attention of the highest degree. Iruka could feel the smile, could feel the gentle rumble of laughter (he would later wonder why Kakashi loved dogs so much if he purred like a cat) through the thin fabric of Kakashi\'s shirt, his vest being thrown to the ground upon entrance.

They pulled away, both looking up at the same time, \"Mistletoe, hm?\" Kakashi grinned, rubbing the bridge of his nose against Iruka\'s, \"I wonder where you got that from?\"
\"You\'re a dingle-berry.\"
\"A dingle-berry? Such creative names, Sensei,\" Kakashi laughed, resting his forehead against Iruka\'s, \"Am I... Am I allowed to stay?\"

He had almost sounded worried, he did. Iruka smiled, leaning foreword to kiss the other teacher again, \"Listen, can you hear the bells? It\'s Christmas...\" with a twinkle in his eye, Iruka pulled the other man further into his house, \"Can\'t say no on Christmas.\"


The night wore on, and certain words were spoken, bonds made, laughter and joy bringing them closer. A night of new beginnings, a night of new trusts. The longer the night, the deeper their dreams were - the longer they slept on in their utopia.

Daylight broke into their dreams, waking them to their partner\'s sleepy face. Fingers tangled in silver hair, kisses were bestowed on a scarred nose. A smile, a taste, a dream. It was Christmas morning.


The end n.n


[1] \"Atamaru Bashou\" anyone? XD;;
[2] Heh, have a little figure like this. Got it from a strange little fair thing happening back at home. \'sa cute :3 (though one of it\'s wings is chipped ;_;)
[3] personal experience here. shoots a glare at the wall next to her our glorious neighbors, who I have been told are very nice wrestler boys who are very loyal to their girlfriends, are freakin\' loud sometimes. Hell, all the time. Just lately have you been able to hear the girl in-between the BAM BAM THUMPA THUMPA as my little glass angels rattle against the wall. Not to mention the other people in this damned place. >>;
[4] a haori is worn outside of the kimono to keep it from being abused by the elements. Kinda like a coat over.


Comments? Critiques? Anyone? Please? pathetic/begging XD;; I\'m sorry it\'s so late TT;; it\'s a rushed affair, it is; sloppy and written in a hurry. Not beta-ed because I wanted to just get it out to you, the readers... 'sa another downfall of myself ^^; hell TT; Never again will I write a holiday fic with a deadline. Screw muses who hit you three days before the holiday and won\'t leave you alone until you force it all out. You know the kind. This fic kinda reminds me of \"Flowers for Iruka-sensei\" XD;; unintentional, I swear ^^;
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