Kakashi had had the strangest week. Iruka was barely there. The guy left before Kakashi woke up, stopped by long enough for a quick nap and some dinner, then rushed off to the Mission Office where he worked for four hours. Then he came back to the apartment and started grading the academy exams.
So, on the first Friday after Iruka had become Kakashi's roommate, after a couple of hours of training his students – he'd been trying to wake up to find out where Iruka went so early but hadn't found him yet, so he shocked his students by showing up on time – Kakashi went to a furniture store.
Naruto had actually made a comment two days previously to Sakura that he was surprised Iruka wasn't having any problems with Kakashi's lumpy couch. Sakura had asked Naruto why he'd said that and the blond had responded by telling a very interesting story. Kakashi had put down his Icha Icha in order to hear every detail about how, after Naruto's Genin exams, the poor, dejected boy who had failed had been tricked by an evil man named Mizuki into stealing the village's secret scroll. Iruka-sensei had found him before Mizuki could and had seen that the boy had been practicing a jutsu from the scroll.
They were going to head home when the Evil Mizuki had shown up and demanded the scroll from the unsuspecting pre-Genin boy. They started arguing, and the fact that the boy was the Kyuubi container had been revealed. Then the Evil Mizuki had attacked the boy, and Iruka-sensei had heroically thrown himself in front of the weapon, taking a giant shuriken in the back for him. The boy had run, but Iruka had flushed out the Evil Mizuki and confronted him, despite the severe injury to his spine and declared that he didn't think the boy was a monster despite the beast inside of him – the beast that had killed Iruka-sensei's parents. Then, the boy had used his newly-learned Multi Shadow Clone Jutsu and beat the Evil Mizuki to a pulp.
Seriously, Jiraiya couldn't have written a better story. What was so sad was that Sakura could only focus on the fact that Naruto was the container of the Nine-tailed fox. Kakashi had watched over a discussion about Naruto's abilities and the Kyuubi, all the while thinking about the information he had just acquired.
Iruka had taken a giant shuriken to the back, and then he had continued to run and fight despite the severe injury. That alone took strength and determination. Then, he had taken a hug from Naruto and walked with him back to town and into the hospital. Sai had inquired into Iruka's injuries – to Kakashi's amazement – and Naruto had said that Iruka had suffered three ribs broken at the spine, and a chip off of one of his vertebrae. Naruto tried to remember which one, but he'd started rambling and it became clear he had no clue what he was talking about.
Thus, Kakashi had decided to buy Iruka a bed. The man had been walking stiffly most of the week. Kakashi wasn't sure how much of that was just Iruka's exhaustion and stress versus how much was from his bad back. Then, he'd noticed Iruka had nowhere to put his spare clothes except into his pack, which he kept by the side of the couch along with that gaudy old shield. It didn't help that Iruka had no privacy, either.
It felt very odd… suddenly Kakashi felt like his apartment was wrong. He needed something different to accommodate Iruka. He'd thought briefly of inviting Iruka to join him on his bed, but Pakkun had quashed that with a resounding no. The bed wasn't big enough, and the dogs weren't going to give up their positions for Iruka just yet. The pug had huffed and turned his head away when Kakashi told him that sleeping on the bed was a privilege that could easily be taken away.
So, he found himself walking into a furniture store to purchase a bed and a dresser for his temporary house guest.
Iruka walked home and stopped in the entryway.
Where was his couch?
Seriously, where had it gone? It was missing! In its place was a huge bed with a dresser right next to it against the far wall. From the ceiling hung a track with curtains that draped down and could be pulled around the bed to create some privacy.
What. The. Hell?
"Kakashi!" Iruka shouted, desperate for some answers. "Kakashi! Are you here?"
"Give me a minute," came a muffled voice from the direction of the bathroom. Then Iruka heard a flush. A minute later the door opened and a completely relaxed Jounin came wandering out.
"What's wrong, Iruka-sensei?" Kakashi asked as he stood between the kitchen counter and the new bedroom-ish-thingy.
"Where's my couch?" Iruka asked, pointing at the bed. "I had a couch there, but now its gone."
"I put it in my storage facility," Kakashi said with a shrug. "I don't think it was doing your back any favors."
Iruka just stood there for a moment, stunned. "But you bought me a bed?" he asked, completely confused.
"I also bought you a dresser for your things," Kakashi said brightly, his eye turning up in a smile. "And then I bought a wall rack for your shield." Iruka noticed the rack and shield attached to the wall directly above the bed. How had he missed that?
"So you just… walked into a store, bought a bed, and brought it back here?" Iruka asked.
"Well, they said it would take a day to deliver it, so I asked them to bring me the one in the back and I transported it and the frame here. Then I went and did the same thing for the dresser. The shield rack and the linins I just purchased from the store and brought back. Iruka-sensei, are you okay?" Kakashi asked, concern showing from his eye.
Iruka was not okay. He felt himself weaving, and his legs felt weak. First Kakashi had given him a place to stay, then he'd loaned him some clothes and bought him dinner, and now he'd given him a bedroom set?! Some kindness was to be expected from all Shinobi, especially if Shizune or Tsunade demanded it, but this furniture? Mattresses and dressers were expensive – almost investments.
"Okay, Iruka. Come over here and sit down," Kakashi said in an easy voice as he reached for the overwrought academy teacher. He guided the younger man over to the bed and eased him down. "Now, doesn't that feel nice?"
Iruka bounced a couple of times on the squishy mattress and couldn't help but nod. It felt nice, like it would be firm enough to give support but soft enough to be comfortable. But that was beside the point. "You bought me a bed?" he asked again.
"Yes," Kakashi said with a smile. "Do you like it?"
"It's fine," Iruka said.
"Just fine?" Kakashi asked with a teasing lilt to his voice. "I spent a lot of time picking out a bed that would be comfortable. I hoped it would be more than fine."
"It's great," Iruka said sharply. "That's not the point. You bought me a bed!"
"Yeah, I bought you a bed," Kakashi replied, his smile suddenly looking a bit forced.
"Why did you buy me a bed?" Iruka asked. "I don't get it!"
Kakashi stared at Iruka. Was he going to have to explain it? Really? Couldn't Iruka just take the gift as he'd meant it – as a kindness? The Chunin had nothing, he worked himself to the bone, and he was always there for others. The previous day, Kakashi had learned Iruka had been selected to proctor the third part of the Chunin exam, and that Iruka had accepted the task. He'd learned about all the kind things Iruka took on as he read through Iruka's file – and paid complete attention this time.
Although… it did make sense that Iruka wasn't prepared for this kind of gift. Kakashi supposed it was kind of big – and expensive now that he thought about it. Guys just didn't buy other guys presents like that without a reason, he supposed. Iruka deserved to know what it was.
"I got you a bed because it felt right," Kakashi said. "It didn't seem right that you slept on the couch with no place to put your stuff, so I got you a bed and a dresser and a rack for your shield. You're going to be here for about a month or two, depending on how long the exams take, so you may as well get comfortable." There, that wasn't too hard.
"Kakashi-san, I won't be able to pay you back."
Was that what Iruka was worried about? Well, he had to put an end to that.
"Maa, Sensei, I don't expect you to pay me back," Kakashi said with a smile. "You are a good man. You deserve this at least!"
Instead of the reaction that Kakashi expected – for Iruka's face to soften, smile, and say thank you – Iruka's eyes narrowed and he looked at Kakashi with suspicion. "What do you mean I'm a good man?" he asked in a hard voice.
Kakashi's eyes widened in surprise. "You were a great mentor for Naruto," he said. "You teach little brats to become Shinobi. You work in the Mission room. The pack likes you. You make me dinner. You're a good person, and you deserve to have your own stuff and a place to call your own."
Iruka just stood in stunned silence. He did all that? And Kakashi… noticed? It made Iruka feel kind of… special.
"Earth to Iruka-sensei. Iruka-sensei, are you okay?" Kakashi said as he waved his fingers in front of Iruka's eyes, causing the brunet to jump backward.
"I'm just surprised," Iruka said with an awkward chuckle. "Who knew the Copy Nin noticed an unimportant Chunin?"
Kakashi frowned and stepped toward Iruka angrily. "Who knew that a Chunin who refuses to listen to any gossip about anyone else would listen to the bullshit people say about him!" Kakashi snapped. "You're a smart man, Sensei, and you're caring and you take on the two hardest jobs in the village, and yet you believe you're stupid? Lowly? Insignificant? How many of your students are Chunin now? How many are Jounin? How many of your students have helped lower the death rate among Shinobi? Those are individually small things you've done, but they led to big things and those big things make all the difference when high and mighty people like the Copy Nin have to lead them into battle!"
Kakashi watched as the Chunin that he'd faced breathed deeply, trying to catch his breath after Kakashi's rant. Slowly the eyes lost their surprised roundness and his breathing evened. He slowly scooched forward back toward the edge of the bed – he'd jerked himself back when Kakashi had started a slow, threatening advance toward him. Then he looked Kakashi in the eye and said, "You are the Great Copy Nin."
"That's what they tell me," Kakashi said. "It's not like I listen to that crap that they spread around about me."
"Really?" Iruka asked as stood up and stretched. "There's a story going around that you once slept with four women at the same time, and your lovemaking was so wonderful that all four of them proposed to you the next day."
"Huh… I don't remember anything like that," Kakashi said as he watched Iruka opening and closing drawers on the dresser. "Iruka-sensei, are you looking for something?"
"Where's my pack?" Iruka asked.
"I put it under the bed," Kakashi said. When Iruka shot him a questioning look he just shrugged and said, "It's not like I know where you want to put any of it." With an acknowledging nod Iruka reached for his pack and started putting things away.
"What about the one where you sleep with someone new every night?" Iruka asked with an amused smile on his face.
"Honestly, Sensei, have you seen me bring anyone home?" Kakashi asked, a little put out. Did people really think him so much of a slut?
"Of course not," Iruka said with good humor. "Of course, you are a super-ninja. You could sneak them in and I'd never know."
"Iruka-sensei!" Kakashi started in surprise.
Iruka glanced over at Kakashi and smile. "Seriously, Kakashi-san, most of the rumors about you are completely unbelievable. It's just kind of fun to hear what people will come up with next."
"I've never done anything like… that," Kakashi said, waving his hand from side to side in reference to the stories Iruka had just told. "I was pretty prolific when I was young, I guess. But I don't do stupid things like that anymore. At least, not since I had chlamydia."
Iruka stopped and stared at Kakashi over his shoulder. "You have chlamydia?" he asked, stunned.
"No, I had it. I took medicine and I'm fine now. After that I stopped sleeping with people unless I knew they were clean. That was not comfortable!"
"I'd imagine not," Iruka said as he tucked his pack into a particularly large drawer. "I guess it would put a damper on things.
"I haven't slept with someone in…. hmm…. I guess its been about a year? Maybe a little less."
Iruka shot a skeptical look at Kakashi as he stepped up on the bed. "I find it hard to believe that a handsome man like you has been celibate for so long." Then he reached up and took the shield off the wall hanger and flipped it over before replacing it on the wall. "There, now its right-side up," he said. "Can't have my family shield facing the wrong way."
"Your family is from the Land of Water?" Kakashi asked. He'd figured it was a shield picked up on a mission that had saved Iruka's life or something. He'd had no idea that it had been a family heirloom.
"Several generations ago my some-odd-great-great-grandfather helped the first Hokage start this village. He was from the Village Hidden in the Mist and had betrayed his village in order to start Konoha. We kept the shield and our jutsu as part of the family tradition, although I'm sure that by now we've bastardized it so much that no one from Mist would ever recognize it."
"Interesting," Kakashi said. "I thought it was just a trinket."
"It is just a trinket," Iruka said. "It used to be a pretty trinket, but the paint all burned off in the fire. But it used to be a family crest. My parents told me that we used to be part of a big clan in Mist, but we were an offshoot branch without a bloodline limit."
"You could have been part of the main family," Kakashi said evenly as he moved over to the kitchen table to grab a chair and sit. "My clan doesn't have a bloodline limit, but we once held a lot of power in the village."
"True," Iruka agreed. "Either way, it's little more than a family legend. I belong to Konoha, so it doesn't matter what position my family held before we came here."
"I suppose it doesn't," Kakashi said from his new seat across the room. "You need to try lying on the bed."
Iruka didn't need urging. He sat back down on the side of the bed and flopped back, his arms splayed out beside him. "This is nice," he said.
Kakashi felt an impulse and he followed it. He followed it over to the bed, where he sat down next to the academy teacher and flopped back next to him.
"Yeah, this is nice."