Kakashi wanted Iruka up, and Iruka knew it. Pots were banging, pans were falling, and water had boiled over. Iruka covered his head with his pillow and tried to drown out the noise.
"Iruka-sensei, I know you're awake," Kakashi said from the kitchen.
"I know," Iruka groaned. "It's my day off, so I'm not getting up!"
"Well, that's stupid," Kakashi said as he set a pan on the stove; for real this time, Iruka hoped.
"I'm sorry you feel that way," Iruka said as he rolled over.
"It's just that I'm making breakfast today, so you should get up and get ready or else you'll miss it." Kakashi said.
Iruka rolled back over so he could look at Kakashi, who was turned away from Iruka and toward the stove. "You're saying that you're making me breakfast?" he asked.
Iruka tossed his blankets aside and nearly ran into the bathroom.
Iruka stared down at the glop on the plate in front of him and stifled a snicker. It looked awful. It was an omelet. It didn't look like an omelet, but he had been told that's what it was when Kakashi plopped it down in front of him.
For what it's worth, it didn't taste bad. It was a little bland, but it wasn't bad. The way Kakashi's eye crinkled showed that he didn't like it very much. It was just too funny to think that Iruka, the cook of the duo, was fine with the simple meal but Kakashi, the great eater of food, didn't like it.
"I don't know what you're so grumpy about," Iruka said around a mouthful of egg. "It isn't bad."
"It's not good," Kakashi said. His food was gone, or else Iruka wouldn't be looking up at him during the meal. "Kurenai said that this was a good recipe."
Iruka looked down at his plate, surprised. "This was a Kurenai recipe?" he asked.
"Yeah," Kakashi said with an irritated tone.
"You must have forgotten the spices or something," said as he took another bite. "Normally I can't eat her food because it sets my mouth on fire."
"Well, I did leave out the jalapenos," Kakashi said. "And the chilies and the peppers. I think I left out the cayenne and chili powders, and the garlic…."
"You could have left the garlic," Iruka said. "Usually I leave in the actual peppers and stuff in, but I only use a quarter of the spices, but leave the garlic. Garlic is good."
Kakashi blinked at Iruka. "You and Kurenai exchange recipes?" Kakashi asked.
"Not anymore," Iruka mumbled. "Most of her recipes are awful. I'm impressed Asuma managed to stomach them."
"Well, Asuma couldn't taste," Kakashi said. "He smoked too much. But you're evading the question: how is it that you know Kurenai well enough to exchange recipes with her?"
"Erm… she always turns in her mission reports on time," he said, but it was clear Kakashi was still waiting for the full answer. "And she's a nice lady who likes to chat." Kakashi was still waiting. "And she and I were teammates for a while a long time ago when she was still a Chunin, and I had to cook for her as she recovered from injuries she received on a mission. After that I kind of taught her how to cook…"
"Oh… so it's all your fault!" Kakashi said as he banged his hand on the table.
"I can't help it if she's so insensitive that fire won't burn her!" Iruka said defensively. "She can't taste different spices, so she makes her food hot enough that she can feel it."
"Wait… you're telling me that Kurenai can't taste?" Kakashi asked, completely in awe.
"She was injured on her tongue during our last mission as teammates," Iruka said slowly to his plate. For some reason he wouldn't look at Kakashi. "There was some permanent damage to the surface, but not enough to slur her speech once it healed. It's just that with so few taste buds…"
Kakashi watched Iruka. The lowered head – the lack of eye contact – meant something. "Iruka-sensei, was it your fault that Kurenai can no longer taste?"
Iruka's head snapped up and his eye's met Kakashi's. Then he looked away again. "It saved her life," he said. "I'm lucky it didn't do any more damage."
"What didn't do more damage?" Kakashi asked.
Iruka opened his mouth as if to answer, but when he looked at Kakashi he seemed to freeze. Then it was like he changed what he was about to say. "You know, I don't think I'm supposed to tell anyone. It's kind of embarrassing to Kurenai."
Despite the fact it was an obvious lie, Kakashi accepted the answer. He'd just go to Kurenai later and ask her for the details.
They lapsed into silence. Then Kakashi asked a question to change the subject. "So, what part of the Chunin Exam are you proctoring?"
Iruka smiled as he took his and Kakashi's plates to the sink. "I thought I told you," he said as he put them down on the counter. Surprisingly, he just left them there and went over to sit on his bed. Kakashi followed and made himself comfortable next to his roommate.
"You may have told me," Kakashi said, "but I don't remember."
"What?!" Iruka asked in mock surprise. "Sharingan no Kakashi actually forgot something!"
"Maa, Iruka-sensei, you sound a little shocked. Is it so possible that I cannot ever forget everything?"
Iruka smiled mischievously at Kakashi. "Well, considering the rumors and the legends about you, I'm surprised you don't remember what you ate for breakfast on today's date twenty-two years ago. The legends and folklore about you build you up to be something very… impossible."
"Oh, so now I'm impossible?" Kakashi asked. He leaned forward into Iruka's personal bubble. Surprisingly, Iruka leaned forward, too.
"Of course you're impossible, Kakashi-sensei. You tease me constantly, annoy the shit out of me, and you turn in terrible mission reports. If that's not impossible, I don't know what is!"
Kakashi noticed that his and Iruka's lips were very close together – only about three centimeters apart. So he darted his head forward and placed a quick, chaste kiss on Iruka's lips before he bounced off of the bed. "Maa… Sensei, I haven't teased you since you got here!"
Iruka seemed frozen for a long minute, but then he seemed to shake himself out of whatever trance he was in and said, "What do you call all that banging when you're awake before me? No Shinobi is that much of a klutz. Even Rock Lee never had those kinds of problems in my class.
"I was just trying to wake you up so I could make you breakfast. If there's a better way to do that then just tell me what it is!" Kakashi said. His lips tingled, even though they hadn't touched Iruka's directly. None of his one night stands had ever made him tingle. Iruka was definitely special.
Iruka cocked his head to the side and squinted his eyes a little. He seemed to be concerned about something. "You don't know how to wake someone up gently?" Iruka asked.
Kakashi shrugged. "Nobody's spent the night in a long time. It wasn't a skill I ever needed to learn."
"Even on missions?" Iruka asked.
"I usually take first watch," Kakashi replied. If he took first watch, he never needed to wake people up except for the next person on watch, and they usually woke when he walked near them because of their Mission Sensitivity. Everyone would sleep lightly while on missions – except for Naruto, but it usually worked out that Sakura or another teammate would have to wake him up.
But Iruka knew all that, having been on his own missions in the past. He seemed to nod his understanding before he said, "Then all you have to do is call my name from a little ways away. If that doesn't work, then you can gently – and I mean gently, Kakashi – shake my shoulder. I usually wake up pretty quickly when you do that."
Kakashi smiled and nodded. "I'll keep that in mind."
Oh…. My…. God! Kakashi had just kissed Iruka. He'd just been kissed by Kakashi. Iruka had been kissed by a guy! He'd been kissed by Kakashi wearing a mask. His heart was pounding as Kakashi continued their conversation as if he hadn't just shattered Iruka's world. Iruka did his best to participate, but half of him was thinking, "Come on, kiss me again. I want to make sure that's what really happened."
Then Kakashi demanded to know how to wake Iruka up without being annoying. He wanted to shout, "KISS ME, BECAUSE IT'LL BE A SWEET WAY TO WAKE UP!" Instead he'd told him to call his name or to shake him. What irritatingly normal responses!
After they finished their little conversation, Iruka had gotten dressed and gone to train. Poor trees… they didn't see what was coming. Halfway through the most dangerous jutsu Iruka knew – the Frozen Hurricane Jutsu – an ANBU appeared at his side right in the path of the little hurricane of icy water and mud. Iruka bent the hurricane around the ANBU, just barely missing the Leaf Shinobi, before he managed to cancel the spell.
"I'm sorry…H… H…" Oh, SHIT! It was Hound, the most legendary of all ANBU. And he was crouched down in front of Iruka as if he hadn't just been about to be pelted with frozen earth and ice.
"I am fine," came the deep voice from behind the white mask. "The Hokage requires your presence."
"Yes," Iruka said. With speed so fast that Iruka only saw a blur, Hound grabbed Iruka and transported them to the Hokage tower.
Lady Tsunade was sitting behind her desk sneaking a cup of sake when Hound brought Iruka in. When Iruka opened his eyes to see his new surroundings, he saw her taking a long drag from her cup and he had to resist the urge to roll his eyes. Same antics as usual. And as usual, Shizune wasn't around to see it.
"Lady Tsunade, you summoned me?" Iruka asked.
Just then there was a wet cough. Iruka jumped in surprise and turned to see Morino Ibiki wrapped up in a blanket with his bald head covered in a woolen hat. "Damn, Ibiki-san, you must be boiling in that," Iruka said.
Ibiki grunted, but he seemed to shiver. Tsunade said, "He has the flu, so he won't be proctoring the first test tomorrow. He worked despite his fever, and now he's going to be admitted to the hospital as soon as I'm done here. The idiot's going to get some bed rest if we have to sedate him to do it."
Iruka stifled a chuckle. Ibiki looked very put out at the whole thing.
"So, Iruka-sensei, I've decided that you're going to proctor the first test instead," Tsunade announced casually before taking another swig of her sake.
Iruka was floored. "What?" he asked. "What would make you think I could proctor that test? I'm not psychedelic enough to get people to rat out their own team members or give up in order to save their team or whatever trick he's got planned for the Genin this year."
"I'm not that convoluted," Ibiki croaked before launching into a horrible-sounding coughing fit.
"You're a crafty devil, and your record is a long one," Tsunade said as she pulled a file off the stack on her desk and opened it for Iruka to see. Iruka's twelve-year-old face looked back at him happily. The Chunin stared back in open-mouthed shock. Beneath the picture was a list of every prank he ever pulled. Gingerly he reached out and flipped a couple pages. Everything he'd ever been caught doing was written there in black ink followed by a second list of things he'd done but for which he'd never been in trouble.
"I doubt you were caught every time, Iruka-kun," Tsunade said with a smile, "because the pranks mysteriously stopped when you were thirteen, but the kind of havoc you used to wreak continued until you became an academy teacher. This file," she pulled out another, much thicker, file from the stack, "contains all of the pranks that you were suspected for, but nobody could prove it was you."
Iruka looked through the second file. It was surprising how many things he'd managed to get away with. Except… "I didn't do that one," he said, pointing to the last item on the list. "Kotetsu did it after I planned it because he didn't want it to go to waste."
"See, Iruka-kun? You're pretty clever. The only reason you were ever suspected for these pranks was because of your history before it. The only person who suspected was the Third Hokage, and he only kept a record on you was so the future Hogakes and I could know what you're truly capable of. Speaking of which, keep an eye out for a message that will summon you to your Jounin Interview."
"I… what?" Iruka asked, completely winded. Not only was he suddenly proctoring the first exam instead of the third, but he was also going to be forced into an interview for a promotion? How the hell had that happened?
"Now, you are dismissed so that I can get this idiot…" she pointed her thumb over at Ibiki "… into the hospital." When Iruka didn't move immediately to follow Hound to the door she shouted, "SCRAM BRAT!"
Hound dropped Iruka off at Kakashi's door and then promptly disappeared. Everyone in town watched Iruka follow the famous Hound, who hadn't been seen in years, through the village. Hound never said a word, but his presence was a comfort to Iruka as his mind churned through the events of the last ten minutes. When he let himself in he found that Kakashi wasn't there. He was probably out training Naruto and the others as he should have been doing instead of making Iruka breakfast that morning.
Iruka sat and thought for a long time, but the uncomfortable nature of his thoughts made him antsy. He went out and trained a little bit longer, but he wasn't able to focus on his jutsu at all, so he went back to the apartment and finished that book he'd started the day before. There was a sex scene; just one and it was tastefully orchestrated. Then he cleaned the apartment and found another book to read. By the time Kakashi made it home, he managed to come up with a plan for the next day.
Kakashi was nervous as he entered his apartment. Iruka had had all day to think about what Tsunade had told him. Normally they talked during dinner. Mostly it was about random things, but usually they started off talking about their days. So, he figured he'd be finding out how much Iruka told him about his day.
The meal started off normally. Iruka mentioned cleaning the house early, which was odd because Iruka seemed the type to assign a certain day of the week for chores. He also finished the book he'd been caught reading the day before and started reading another – a heterosexual mystery, much to Kakashi's disappointment. He'd gone to training – which Kakashi remembered seeing as he was Hound and had interrupted a very impressive water/air/earth jutsu that he'd never before seen – and then Hound had arrived to summon him to the Hokage.
That's where the story got interesting. Iruka didn't really seem to have any interest in Hound other than to say that he was there, which was a little saddening to Kakashi. He'd hoped that his dangerous alter-ego had impressed Iruka, but aside from the initial shock Iruka mostly focused on what Tsunade had to say. But… considering the shocks Iruka received, Kakashi supposed he could accept that Hound would drop dramatically on the list of things that were exciting in Iruka's day.
"So, you're proctoring the first test?" Kakashi asked. He hoped he sounded impressed. He'd been worrying all day about how Iruka had taken the news.
"Yeah, and at first I wasn't sure what I was going to do about it, since Ibiki-san's made such a high standard for the test." Kakashi noticed that although Iruka had been pretty informal in the Hokage's office, he was using very respectful language toward the torture specialist and Hokage now. "But, I think I know what I'm going to do."
Kakashi waited, but Iruka didn't elaborate. So he asked, "Maa, Iruka-sensei, what are you going to do?"
Iruka just smiled. "I'm going to be an ass!"