Kakashi walked down the steps and found a seat in the coliseum. Nerves mingled with his excitement as he took his seat. His nerves had to do with the fact Iruka's note did not bode well, and neither did the fact he hadn't found any of Iruka's ninja gear anywhere in the apartment.
Excitement came from the fact this was the twenty-fifth year. Every twenty-fifth year something different was done during the Chunin exam to commemorate another twenty-five years of the ninja way. Twenty-five years ago it had been a free-for-all where the candidates had been put in groups consisting of Genin from each of the five ninja villages. Then they were paired with other teams until one team had won. It had been very difficult for the Genin as there had been a lot more tension between the hidden villages at the time.
It made him wonder what would happen this time, although he had the feeling Iruka would be involved somehow. Otherwise, why would Iruka's gear be missing? And why was Kakashi's presence in the audience requested? He hadn't seen Iruka in the crowd.
Eventually Tsunade stood from her private box and the crowd of Shinobi and civilians quieted. "Welcome," she said in a booming voice that had been amplified by chakra, "to the first Chunin exam of the year." Kakashi had to giggle – she'd probably forgotten what year it was, let alone how many Chunin Exams there had ever been. "Seeing as this is a twenty-five year anniversary, we have something special planned. Iruka, come onto the battlefield, please."
Kakashi looked down at the floor in the middle of the coliseum and saw Iruka calmly walk out of the shadows and into the center of the bare arena. "Umino-Iruka-san is a Chunin of Konohagakure, and he will be the proctor for this part of the exam. However, this will not be the traditional exam. Instead, the Genin who can capture Umino-san without being captured him or herself will win the match. The match will either be won when Umino-san is caught, or all of the Genin are caught. Genin, please form a line facing Umino-san."
Eight children between twelve and sixteen years of age, including Naruto and Sakura, moseyed out and formed a staggering line facing Iruka. For his part, Iruka showed no emotion. He just calmly looked all of the Genin over for a long moment. Then, when he opened his mouth he said, "This isn't a line. We aren't starting this test until your line is straight."
The Genin looked between each other, but the students from Konoha – all of whom seemed to have been Iruka's students at one time or another – snapped to attention in a straight line. The others shared another look but soon followed suit. Once the line was as Iruka wanted it, he gave a nod to the Hokage. "Let the test begin," she said.
There was a flurry of movement as the Genin spread out in the bare arena. Iruka stayed in his spot, his hands moving in a blur. With a strong punch to the ground, the earth seemed to rise in a great wave of water all around Iruka. As Kakashi watched, the water seemed to bubble up out of the ground – probably from an underground lake – and formed large waves around the dark-skinned Chunin and spread to cover the entire arena and just froze. Most of the Genin managed to jump up and avoid the water, but two had managed to become completely trapped.
Kakashi was impressed. Even if a ninja's talent was in water jutsu, that particular spell took a lot of chakra and an impressive amount of control. He couldn't help but notice that with the icy waves and rolls of water that had frozen, Iruka had managed to take a completely bare battlefield and create hiding places not only for himself but the Genin as well. Since Iruka's specialty was traps, Iruka had made a playing field that suited him best.
However, Iruka wasn't acting like he was in his element at all. He was just standing there in the middle of the glacial maze looking around. After a moment, the Chunin seemed to nod in satisfaction and smile just as a teenaged boy raced up to engage him in taijutsu. Iruka blocked the Genin easily, as if he blocked attacks like that every day. Being an Academy teacher, he probably did.
A second boy with blue hair tried to attack Iruka from behind, but Iruka ducked at the last minute and the Genin hit the other teenaged attacker in the teeth. While the two boys stared at each other, stunned, the little Hyuuga girl – what was her name, Hanabe? – activated her Byakugan. Slowly, she turned her head away from Iruka – who had been engaged by a well-coordinated attack between Naruto and Sakura as well as the remaining boy with white-blond hair. Hanabe's eyes seemed to settle on the loop of a frozen wave. Then she pointed a single finger at it and blew a hole in the thick shield of ice.
Three Irukas jumped out of the flying shards of ice, one of which jumped at Hanabe and started attacking her with a flurry of taijutsu moves, keeping the girl backing up on the defensive. Another clone engaged Naruto and separated him from his two companions while the third one attacked the first two attackers. Effectively, there were four Iruka's on the ice in four different battles, all of whom were backing their opponents into walls.
Suddenly, the Iruka fighting Hanabe turned to water and flew over her and froze, encasing her in ice. Kakashi had to look close, but he noticed a good-sized hole allowing the girl to breathe. He recognized that justsu as well; it was a lost art of the Hidden Mist Village. Essentially it encased a ninja in ice, but it didn't freeze them. It just rendered them immobile and blanked out any chakra they tried to use. Only an extremely powerful ninja could break out of it. Everybody else had to be released.
Iruka had once said he knew some bastardized versions of Hidden Mist jutsu. Now he had shown exactly what he was capable of.
The blue-haired boy saw the water clone freeze over Hanabe and he immediately disengaged from the Iruka clone he'd been fighting, leaving it free to freeze his battle companion. Instead he dove into a cave in the ice, which instantly blew up from an explosive tag he had triggered. When the boy landed on his face on an open stretch of ice, the ice he was lying on seemed to melt. As he sank he rolled onto his back and the water re-froze, only his face sticking out of the ice.
The battle had only been going for five minutes, and out of the eight original Genin being tested only three remained, leaving only Naruto, Sakura, and the white-blonde boy to fight Iruka.
"Hey, Iruka-sensei, has that Kaka-Baka corrupted you? You can't fight us for real?" Naruto shouted into the arena. The Iruka clone he'd been fighting suddenly melted and froze in the ice at the same time as Sakura's and the other boy's clone. Iruka emerged from behind a frozen wave, red-faced and clearly irritated.
"Naruto-kun! What have I told you time and time again about respecting your elders?" Iruka shouted as he stormed over toward Naruto. He slipped on a slippery patch of ice, but managed to catch his balance.
Unfortunately, he wasn't watching as the white-blonde boy zipped up behind him and shoved a Kunai into his back. Iruka's eyes widened as there was a pop and a block of ice appeared where he had been standing. Another Iruka – Kakashi's Sharingan was covered, so he couldn't tell if it was the real Iruka or another clone – zipped up behind the boy and pushed him into the ice, which instantly surrounded him and froze him in place.
Now it was just Sakura and Naruto against Iruka.
Iruka didn't wait for either of his past students to initiate an attack. He fled into a cave in the ice. Sakura ran after him and punched the wall of his hiding place, causing it to shatter and collapse. There was no Iruka in sight.
Naruto and Sakura glanced at each other and dodged just in time to avoid being hit with half a dozen kunai. They split up and hid on opposite sides of the arena.
Suddenly, there was a feminine screech followed quickly by the sounds of fighting under the ice. The sounds lasted for a few minutes and Naruto reappeared, searching desperately for Sakura. There were a few loud bangs and the ground shook, one corner of the arena's ice collapsing with the shock. Then all was quiet for a very tense moment while everyone, including Naruto, wondered who had won the under-ice scuffle.
Then a large cube of ice shot up from the middle of the arena and fell back to the ice, Sakura trapped inside.
Clearly Iruka had opened some sort of tunnel system under the ice that Sakura had found. Then they'd fought and Sakura had lost. Now it was just Naruto facing his old teacher.
Iruka climbed out of the rubble that Sakura had been shot out of and dusted glittery snow from his flak jacket. "Naruto, I guess you're last," Iruka said with a wry little smile. "I have no idea what I can do that would take you out."
Naruto seemed to glow with pride. "Just hold still, Sensei, and I'll make this quick," he said. Then he seemed to start to concentrate, his eyes squished closed at the effort.
Kakashi took a breath and held it. Was Naruto going to summon his modified Rasengan to knock Iruka out? The air was starting to gather in his open palm and swirl in that odd way only Naruto and Jiraiya could make it.
Iruka's hands flew through a series of seals. Wait… Kakashi recognized those seals… it was…
"Sexy no jutsu!" Iruka shouted at the top of his lungs. There was a bang and flash of smoke, and in Iruka's place stood a beautiful brunette woman, naked but for the clouds of smoke that strategically his certain parts of her exposed anatomy.
Kakashi could hear the whole stadium freeze. Naruto's eyes were open very wide, staring at Iruka's Sexy Jutsu in open-mouthed shock, his Rasengan disintegrating in his hand. Slowly, Naruto seemed to tip. Then he was down – passed out in shock.
Damn, Kakashi thought, Iruka used Naruto's special jutsu against him. Who would have thought that it would have worked? Naruto seemed immune to hot women.
With a bang and a puff of smoke the beautiful brunette disappeared and Iruka stood fully clothed – what a shame – in her place. Iruka looked around and said, "Seems everyone has been captured, Lady Hokage. I'm going to release them." With a simple hand sign all of the ice melted and the captured Genin were set gently on the ground. Aside from being wet and a little cold they seemed to be all right. The only one who was unconscious was Naruto, and the boy had never been hit.
The stadium suddenly erupted in applause. With a signal from Iruka the Genin all lined up on the muddy ground before the Hokage. Naruto was still lying on the ground unconscious, so Iruka went over to him and shook his shoulder. The blond ball of sunshine opened his eyes and looked at Iruka. His lips moved, but Kakashi couldn't hear what was said. Iruka smiled at whatever it was and said something back, earning a smile from his past student. Then Iruka offered a hand and helped Naruto to stand, causing the audience to only clap harder.
Once Naruto trotted to his place in the line of Genin Iruka shouted a short command. The Genin stood to attention and bowed at the Kage's in the Kage box. Then they all stood tall and marched out of the arena, followed closely by Iruka.
Kakashi finally released his breath. That had been the most stressful ten minutes of his entire life.
Kakashi waited on Iruka's bed for his roommate to get home. He'd been vibrating between emotions so quickly ever since the final exam that he couldn't figure out what he felt. One moment he was afraid that Tsunade was going to punish Iruka for beating the Genin so quickly, and then he was angry Iruka had never told him about those jutsu he knew, and then he was back to fearing Tsunade was going to turn Iruka into an ANBU.
Iruka wouldn't do well as an ANBU. He was too human to survive such a cold lifestyle!
In the end, he wasn't prepared for when Iruka finally walked through the front door. The man looked beat, like he'd just had the longest day of his life.
"I'm home," came the tired voice from the doorway.
"Welcome home," Kakashi said. Iruka's head snapped up and brown eyes spotted Kakashi on the bed. Iruka froze there, bent down with one foot lifted with the sandal halfway removed.
"I saw your fight," Kakashi said. "How did the exam debrief go?" he asked.
Iruka seemed to unfreeze at the casual question and finished removing his shoes with a sigh. "Well, Tsunade was completely stunned. She'd told me in the briefing this morning that I had permission to use my family jutsu during the fight. I guess she had a bet or something with the Misukage from Mist about me, but I don't have the foggiest idea what it was. She just seemed completely thrilled that I'd won, especially since the blue-haired coward was a Mist ninja. The gleam in her eye could have come from the three empty bottles of Sake on her desk, but I get the feeling that I won some bets for her."
"That's completely likely," Kakashi said with a smirk.
"Then she promoted me to Jounin," Iruka said as he approached the bed. "I guess on Monday I'm going to be assigned a team and go on my first mission as a Jounin."
"Are you okay with that?" Kakashi asked, patting the bed beside him. Iruka climbed on and settled next to Kakashi. Their arms touched but they weren't cuddling by any means.
"I don't think so," Iruka said with a sigh. "I never went for Jounin because I like my job at the academy. But, when Tsunade gets an idea in her head we all have to hop to it. Now I'm a Jounin. In a few days when the dignitaries have all cleared out, I guess I'll get a Jounin apartment.
Kakashi thought about that. Iruka would have his own place, and it wouldn't be Kakashi's. He found he didn't like the idea of Iruka sleeping so far away.
"Have you given it any thought?" he asked. "The offer's still open if you want to stay here."
Iruka seemed to think about that for a minute. Then he asked, "Would I be in my bed out here?"
"Actually, I was thinking that we move this bed into my room and donate my bed to someone who lost their apartment in the fire. I think…" wow, this was harder than he thought it would be, "… I think I want to have a real relationship with you."
Iruka turned onto his side and looked up at Kakashi, eyes sparkling and a wide smile brightening his face. "I think I'd like that, too. I think I'm ready to give us a try."
Kakashi was so happy, he couldn't bear it. He almost forgot to remove his mask as he bent down to give Iruka a long, sensual kiss. Suddenly Iruka pushed Kakashi on his back and climbed on top of him. "So, that means you'll have to tell me how to have sex with you. I've only ever done it with girls before."
Crap! Kakashi hadn't expected to be the Uke. Iruka was just full of surprises.
Oh, well… that's what made Iruka so much fun.
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