As they walk in silence down the winding hallway, Yamato let his mind drift in another direction - one which took him to a far away, better left forgotten chapter of his life.
Back when he was still a member of the Foundation, he came to know Kakashi during an unintentional joint mission; Kinoe was his code name then. On another mission where he was assigned to kill Kakashi and steal his Sharingan, they ended up working together, escaping a trap which would have killed them both. He was booted from the Foundation, given a new direction in life and a new name (Tenzou), when he joined the ranks of the regular ANBU.
A timid, socially awkward youth, he was assigned to Team Ro, under the leadership of Hatake Kakashi.
Rumors of this young man’s intelligence, tactical proficiency and prowess garnered the respect of his peers and captured the attention of the higher ups inside ANBU headquarters and the Foundation. He counted himself fortunate in all but one respect - ANBU operatives have code names to protect their true identities; he was stuck with the unimaginative ‘Cat’ whereas Kakashi was ‘Hound.’
The moniker suited the man.
Loyal to a fault, Hound would willingly lay down his life in defense of the village that owned him. He also derived a sick sense of pleasure in following the orders of his master to the letter. Like a bloodhound, he’d relentlessly track and pursue an enemy for days--weeks if necessary, fueled only by soldier pills and an ungodly thirst for blood.
“Whatever it takes to accomplish the mission, that I will do,” was a credo both Kakashi and Hound lived by.
Hound was a force of nature … the ultimate killing machine. Efficient, ruthless and sadistic … hardly anyone could work with him for long. That all changed when Hound of the ANBU took an interest in his training.
Yamato was thrilled to bits and a little terrified because
Hound was … in a word … insane.
His instructional methods, extremely harsh -- some would even call them inhuman. But in spite of, or perhaps, because of the barbed words of reproof and sparse morsels of praise, Yamato was spurred on to do things he never thought possible. He weathered the rigorous training of his body and mind without hesitation, in awe that such a man would deign indoctrinate him into the life of an assassin.
But once a mission ended, so too did their interaction.
Kakashi on the other hand, actively sought him out, they spent time together, getting to know each other; becoming more than comrades … they thought of one another as friends.
He almost laughed out loud recalling some of his lame attempts at emulating his senpai.
One of them began as a training exercise; seeing how long he could spy on Kakashi without being detected. In the stillness of a deserted training field, he watched from the shadows as his captain went through his katas; Kakashi’s lithe body moved with a fluidity he did not yet possess. Envious at first, over time he realized his fascination with this young man was breeding a skewered sense of possessiveness. It was also during those times that he fell deeper under the charismatic sway of this man; soon thereafter he was consumed by an overarching need to please the staid man in whatever way he would have asked.
Blatant hero worship in turn became infatuation,
infatuation became obsession,
an obsession that led him to question
his sanity and his sexuality.
Embarrassed and ashamed, he pled with the Third Hokage for a transfer from Kakashi’s command; that request was flatly denied. As it turned out, the Third had already pegged his captain for a more important long term mission. Word soon came down the pike - Kakashi was leaving ANBU that he might lead a team of neophytes from the Academy as a jounin-sensei. Naturally, there was a tremendous sense of loss and rejoicing in some quarters too, but Yamato knew it was for the best – finally he’d have the opportunity to stand on his own two feet.
And on this rainy night, so many years later, though he stood beside his captain as a battle hardened and confident man in his own right, four days and three nights spent in Hound’s company saw him revert to that puerile state of mind.
And for the first time in years,
he was locked in battle against the twin demons
of lust and self-loathing.
***** ***** *****
At this time of evening, the bathhouse was busy, yet Kakashi somehow charmed his way into a private room.
“Won’t do to have innocent ears privy to the drunken ramblings of two tired shinobi,” he whispered to the blushing hostess.
Something’s definitely off, Yamato thought while the bath attendants briskly scrubbed at their bodies. He’s too carefree …too giddy and too chatty.
The moment he entered the bathing area, Kakashi called out, “The sake’s warm and it smells wonderful. Come … join me.”
Even when lazing about, naked as a jaybird, Kakashi possessed an intimidating aura. Completely unarmed, this man was as deadly as a nest of cockatrices.
Through the rising steam, he made out the play of whipcord muscle in an arm casually draped over the bath’s edge; sweat glistened on a broad chest littered with scars normally hidden by a bulky breastplate or flak vest. Well-shaped hands and fingers, better suited to a piano’s keyboard, were equally at home flicking away tiny waves in the water as they were to ripping the windpipe from an enemy’s throat.
Sinking down into the still, soothing water, his steady breaths made ripples beneath his nose.
Maybe it was the heat …
maybe it was the proximity to his captain
or possibly, it was the effect of a half cup of premium sake,
– whichever the culprit, something about Kakashi’s hair had him waging a losing war against nervous laughter.
Those silvery spikes which defy gravity under normal conditions,
apparently shake their fists at humidity as well, he laughed to himself.
Stop it! Stupid thoughts like these are why
I’m facing a dressing down tonight.
The last thing I need to do now is piss him off
or give him something else to tease me about.
Just then, one of the servers slid back the door on the other side of the room. “Honored guests,” he said. “Your meals will be ready in five minutes. Shall I prepare the dining area?”
“Please do,” Kakashi replied bowing his head slightly. “I don’t know about you, kiddo, but I’m starving … let’s go.”
Hoisting himself from the water, the skimpy cotton towel hastily wrapped around his waist slipped down to reveal a sharp hipbone.
“Like what you see, Tenzou?”
A snappy comeback never made it past his lips, his breath caught in his throat as he diverted his eyes. The tense set of his shoulders however, told Kakashi everything he needed to know.
Dinner passed in silence, a mechanical parody of satisfying their bodies need for refueling. After the hostess cleared away their empty plates, a growing knot of anxiety in his stomach threatened to present the rapidly eaten meal in a most embarrassing manner. He swallowed hard, wishing to get past the reprimand and slink back to home to lick his wounds.
Kakashi chose not to look at him, fiddling with the rim of his sake cup instead. “What you did when you went off on solo reconnaissance was selfish and extremely dangerous.”
At last … the other sandal dropped.
“I’m sorry senpai,” he said, contritely bowing his head. “I . . . I don’t know --”
“Unfortunately for us, Tenzou, the enemy had a sense of smell almost as keen as mine.” Raising the cup to his lips, he drained the small amount of sake remaining and slammed the cup down on the table.
“The scent of your spunk gave away your location - damn near jeopardized the mission. Thank the gods that ass wipe was a missing ninja - his death shouldn’t cause a problem between the nations.” This time, he leaned closer, his chin cupped in the heel of his hand. “Don’t get me wrong …I enjoy a good yank myself now and again, but there’s a time and place for everything.”
What was worse?
Knowing Kakashi knew his shame, or
knowing his life may have ended
simply because he couldn’t resist his baser instincts?
That eerie sense of foreboding he’d felt in the Hokage’s office returned with a vengeance. I’m sorry, sir,” he mumbled, “won’t happen aga--”
“Don’t trouble yourself about it, surely you know me better than that, Tenzou,” he said, that off-register lilt in his voice. “Certainly wouldn’t include that detail in the official report … I’m not that petty.”
In a flash, he lifted his head and saw the anger blazing in Kakashi’s eye.
“However, I’m gonna help you remember how to conduct yourself appropriately in the future.”
It’d been years since he heard that tone of voice, yet it still carried the power to knock the wind out of him.
He can’t be serious!
“Kakashi … senpai, you have my word, that I’ll never --”
“As my kohai, you will accept whatever discipline I deem necessary. End of discussion.”
The frostiness of his voice lowered the temperature in the room by a few degrees, and once again, Yamato was inwardly transformed into that uncertain youth of the past.
This was a threat wrapped up in a promise, a command he dared not disobey; it jangled against threadbare nerves, for you see,
Kakashi Hatake never issued idle threats.
Puerile: childishly foolish; immature or trivial.
A cockatrice was a legendary monster, part snake and part cock (male rooster), that could kill with a glance. Stumbling upon a nest of them probably wouldn’t have been a pleasant experience.
Kakashi: promoted to rank of jounin at age 13, assigned to ANBU under the Fourth Hokage’s command at age 14. First met Tenzou when he was 16 years of age
They worked as a team for three years, making him 19 years of age. Twelve years passed since they were a team, making him 31 years of age for the purposes of this story.
Kinoe/Tenzou/Yamato: Age 13 when assigned to Kakashi’s ANBU team, they worked together for three years (age 16). Twelve years have passed since their time in ANBU, making him 28 years of age for the purposes of this story.
Tsunade is Hokage, and Team 7 is off on puppy walking, weed pulling and river cleaning duty until Kakashi returns from this mission.
TMTC TMTC TMTC
Charred flesh . . . that’s a smell Yamato never got used to, yet the cloying scent of death kept muscling its way inside his porcelain mask like it belonged there, forcing him to accept its presence as it coated his nostrils and deposited an acrid film on his tongue. Squeezing his eyes shut, he drew in a shallow breath and tried not to retch; it just wouldn’t do to puke his guts out in front of the Hokage’s desk.
Speaking of guts, his once spotless, steel grey breastplate, and other armaments, were mottled with blood and other grotesque biologic matter that defied description; that sort of thing was a badge of honor for the ANBU, something which signified a successful mission, but now it was just a vivid and smelly reminder of a colossal cockup. Stranger still, the torrential downpour they’d run through wasn’t enough to wash away the mess.
Yeah, he thought, that’s gonna be loads of fun to scrape off later.
A calf length, black woolen cloak concealed most of the gore splattered across his uniform and the gods only knew what else was clinging to that thing; it was heavier and itchier because of the rain, but the overabundance of guilt and shame that weighed down his soul almost made his knees buckle. He shivered slightly despite the warmth of the room, and as he did so, tiny water droplets slid down the curves of his stylized cat mask to join the growing puddle at his feet. For the briefest of moments, he wanted to sink down inside the wet patch on the floor and disappear without a trace. But running away and hiding from his mistakes had never really been his style; so here he stood, his arms at his sides, his bruised and bloodied fists clenched beneath the sodden cloak.
This whole thing was my fault.
Theirs had been a routine intelligence gathering mission. All they needed do was keep track of the enemy’s movements near Konoha’s heavily forested western border and relay that information to the Hokage. A mission monotonous in its simplicity; a supreme misuse of his skills and abilities, yet at its core this was a test. Reuniting him with his former commander – could they work as well together as they had done in the past? The Hokage needed to see that for herself …
and nothing was ever routine
when he teamed up with the man standing to his right.
In a moment of unparalleled stupidity, he’d shamed himself and almost lost his life. Away from the watchful eye of his team leader, he plopped down behind a screen of tall wild grasses to rest; rest led to daydreaming and daydreaming turned into a nightmare. A momentary lapse of focus and the enemy was upon him; caught in a compromising situation - unable to defend himself, his captain engaged the enemy.
Once more, he closed his eyes and breathed in the sickening scents of failure and death. If his mistake were made known, his days in ANBU would surely come to an end; even if it weren’t mentioned in an official report, he’d never forget this.
His conscience and his team leader would surely see to that.
And as it had done when they were in the forest, the voice of his captain intruded on his thoughts - once more he wanted to flee; there was nowhere to run from that man’s pervasive presence, no hiding place from that libidinous baritone which resonated in the stillness of the cave-like room, and in the depths of his being.
Damn that man and his voice; it’s what drove me to distraction in the first place.
He didn’t need to open his eyes as his commander continued speaking, for he could picture him standing there, gloating over the first kill of the mission with his white cloak splayed open and his chest puffed out fully displaying his own gore covered uniform like a garish trophy.
What a bastard;
always did have a miles wide sadistic streak in him.
The man to his right, rather the legend behind the porcelain dog mask, was none other than ANBU’s Hound, one of Konoha’s elite assassins. Judging from the tone of his voice, he could tell how proud Hound was of the bloody finger prints smeared across his armor, as well as the gouge of the enemy’s katana above his hip and the seared bits of flesh that stuck to his breastplate. The slightly muffled voice behind the mask was chilling, its inflection never varying as he graphically described how they stalked and brought down the missing ninja.
Wait . . . that wasn’t at all how it happened!
Why is he lying to the Hokage?
He opened his eyes in time to see the spider’s web of clotted blood hanging from the enemy’s hitai-ate which Hound held in his claw-fingered glove; though the mask concealed it, he knew there was a self-satisfied sneer on Hound’s thin lips as he described the terror in the enemy’s eyes right before he decapitated him. He felt the unabated killing instinct reawakening in the man beside him as he recounted the grisly tale, which in turn reignited Yamato’s urge to flee from Hound’s murderously charismatic aura, the same aura that enthralled and likewise disgusted him.
Scratch that –it was his lack of restraint when it came to this particular man that frightened and disgusted him.
You see, within the ANBU, espionage, kidnapping, torture and assassinations are part and parcel of their everyday existence; in order to retain a semblance of humanity, certain coping mechanisms had to be developed. Some ANBU members became functional alcoholics; others practiced self-mutilation either to punish themselves for the horrific things the job required, or to feel something … anything other than the ever present numbness. Others found their sense of balance engaging in risky sadomasochistic behavior, you know … the whole whips, chains, razor sharp kunai and hot candle wax scene.
None of these things ever appealed to him.
Being of a more pragmatic nature, his way of coping came through time spent salvaging items from the junkyard which others deemed beyond repair; restoring them to full functionality or repurposing them to a new life of usefulness, that’s what kept him sane. Over time, this ‘hobby’ of his began coloring his interactions with society at large; he found himself hopelessly attracted to ‘damaged goods,’ of the human variety. In his commanding officer, he found everything he wanted and needed in a dysfunctional relationship, all bundled together in a tidy five foot eleven psychotic package.
You see, Hound was the alter ego of Hatake Kakashi and as such, a distinctly separate personality; he was the coping mechanism that kept Kakashi sane. The homicidal rampages, the slaughter of innocent women and children, these were the things that delighted Hound and repulsed Kakashi.
He’d secretly witnessed his captain’s transition from one persona to another once before; it was an amazing spectacle. With each piece of the ANBU armor his captain donned, the man everyone thought they knew was swallowed up by Hound until he became the cold-hearted killing machine feared by allies and enemies. Hound, was the repository for every nightmarish act Kakashi committed for the security and continued peace of the Hidden Leaf village. Hound was the epitome of unrestrained savagery, such as exhibited hours before when he disemboweled, beheaded and incinerated the remains of their enemy before Yamato’s shocked eyes.
That’s not to say Kakashi wasn’t a unique amalgam of compassion and brutality on his own; he was honest to the point of cruelty and one of the smoothest liars the gods ever permitted to walk the earth. A man who projected a lazy, uncaring mien, all the while completely alert and in control of whatever situation he found himself in.
And here’s where things got twisted.
Though attracted to Kakashi’s charm, his physical presence and dry sense of humor, it was Hound who captured his imagination. Hound was intriguing and dangerously compelling; an entity that dwelt in a place of utter darkness, abject brokenness and death.
Never before or after had he been physically or sexually attracted to another man, there were times when his fascination with Hound felt as if he were being unfaithful to Kakashi. A ridiculous notion of course, as he and Kakashi shared nothing more than a love for their village, and a desire to protect its people by any means necessary.
This ‘thing’ with Hound was an obsession he’d learned to live with - something he thought he’d outgrown, that is . . . until this latest mission.
A squeal of protest came from the humidity swollen casement and warm, gentle breezes carrying the fragrance of more rain, jerked him from these reflections when the Hokage cracked open a window behind her desk.
Suddenly, a brilliant white light ripped through a cobalt sky, illuminating the slumbering village as if it were midday; seconds later came an ear shattering explosion and the floor beneath their feet trembled. The massive wall of windows behind the Hokage’s desk rattled in their frames and dishes all over town probably shook behind closed cupboard doors.
As quickly as it came,
the curtain of darkness was drawn tightly over the night sky.
Near the eastern edge of the village, an angry red orange fireball pierced the darkness as it blossomed over an electrical substation sending greyish black plumes of smoke, like gnarled fingers reaching for the bright yellow moon. Six smaller explosions erupted in rapid succession and once more, instant darkness thick enough to be felt smothered the land.
One second …
passed before the metallic cadence of an alarm sounded in the distance, summoning shinobi to their emergency stations.
His heart rose in his throat, sable brown eyes widened behind the narrow slits of his mask; at last, a legitimate reason to depart had literally come down from the heavens. With one word from the Hokage he could be far away from this confined space and even further away from that man.
It was not to be,
for this wasn’t an act of sabotage, rather a random occurrence of nature, an action against which, there was no defense. This mind-numbing debriefing took precedence over all else, he knew that and though his overtaxed muscles coiled in readiness, he dared not move from his place.
Still, it was difficult to concentrate on the matter at hand.
In the relative quiet beyond the plate glass windows, every sound was magnified tenfold in his ears.
A distinctive click of gears
engaging the hospital’s emergency generators, a mile away …
Frantic voices issuing commands, a quarter mile away…
Lastly, the sound of sandaled feet,
sloshing through puddles in the streets beneath the Hokage Tower,
keyed into his anxiety.
Despite the commotion, the man to his right droned on with his report. The nonchalant tone of his rich voice floating through the stagnant air in the room, its timbre soothing, and somehow, aggravating at the same time.
Later, he’d blame it on boredom or just plain old fatigue, but he was daydreaming again; transfixed by the slow moving, wispy clouds above the rising smoke as they drifted past the moon, their shadows painting a kaleidoscope of brown across the barren office walls. The crackle and hum of fluorescent lights tore him away from his thoughts, as they grew stronger, banishing the shadows, he was left with a creepy-crawly sense of foreboding. He’d spaced out long enough that Hound’s report had come to an end and now the Hokage was leaning back in her chair, staring directly at him; a slender, manicured index finger tapping at her bottom lip as she mulled over the information provided.
“I could have done without the gory details, Hound,” she said. “And I would have preferred him brought back alive … you screwed up a chance of gaining valuable information.”
“My apologies, Hokage-sama, “he said with a curt bow.
Folding creamy toned arms beneath her ample bosom, she shook her head.
“What’s done is done. I expect a full report, including justification for your actions on my desk within twenty-four hours.”
“As you wish, Lady Tsunade,” said Hound.
The full weight of her amber eyes rested on him now; he stood a bit straighter while avoiding direct eye contact with her.
She’s gonna to scold me because I wasn’t paying attention, he thought.
“Hound … Yamato … I had serious reservations about you two working together again. Thought sure there be some lingering unresolved issues. Obviously, I was wrong.”
Of course she had reservations, he thought. No doubt she’d studied our personnel files beforehand and she knows I requested transfer from Hound’s command on several occasions. Thank the gods … she will never know why I had to get away from Kakashi and Hound.
“So … Yamato, what was it like?”
“It was fine … everything was fine ma’am,” he hastily said.
The foreboding he felt earlier made sense now.
She’d been watching him intently all along; waiting for a hitch in his breathing, any small movement signaling dissent while Hound was speaking. Her eyes searching for the tiniest inconsistencies in his body language indicating signs of discontent or emotional duress.
Looks like my habit of daydreaming kept me out of trouble for once. Since my mind was preoccupied, my body didn't have a chance to betray me. Excellent!
“… unless you have something else to add, Yamato,” he heard her say.
Damn it … I zoned out again!
“No ma’am,” he stuttered. “Hound’s report covered everything.”
Leaning back in her seat once more, she locked eyes with him; even when she bent down, retrieving a flask of sake and a lavender colored cup from the open desk drawer beside her knee, the scrutiny didn’t let up.
“Sure you’re okay, Yamato?”
“Yes ma’am … a little wet and sticky, that’s all.”
“Very well then,” she said, measuring out a shot. “Now, get the hell outta here; you’re dripping god knows what all over my floor.”
With her dismissal came a rush of blessed relief; he’d soon be free to return to the shadows. None however could set him at liberty from his perfidious thoughts … those he’d deal with later, in the privacy of his own apartment. But before he could weave the signs for a transportation jutsu, a black gloved hand grabbed his wrist.
“Not so fast, boy,” snapped Hound. “Need to hash out a few details before I turn in our final report.”
Bastard! He only calls me that to keep me in my place …
a reminder of my feckless youth.
But that word also ignited yearnings which lay dormant for years; now they were brought to the forefront when a cold, steel grey eye raked over him, looking right through him, choosing to see that which he could not hide.
He was still Hound’s ‘boy.’
Though small their point of physical contact, it sent a spike of adrenaline rushing through his body; familiar, yet alien . . . fight or flight. Better judgment prevailed and he silently cursed the years spent following orders without question.
With their mission complete, the persona of Hound vanished as soon as the door to the Hokage’s office slid closed. Now, the full force of Kakashi’s disapproving glare radiated through the mask; the power of that solitary grey orb provoked another shudder.
“Let’s head over to central supply first,” Kakashi suggested. “We’ll pick up some regular uniforms and hit one of the bathhouses in the civilian district.”
There was a teasing lilt in his captain’s voice, one he hadn’t heard in years; it set off an alarm in his head, even as it sent a jolt of electricity to his groin.
“We can have a hot meal, my treat of course,” he continued, “and we’ll have the privacy needed to discuss one ‘critical’ element of that mission.”
Yamato knew all too well …
there was no such thing as a free meal with this man.
With a silver tongue and a crooked smile, he’ll surely devour what’s left of my honor and dignity as a ninja.
Pretty sure I deserve far worse, but I can deal with this.
If I’m lucky … another twelve years will pass before I see him again.
Hatake Kakashi, elite ninja warrior of the Hidden Leaf Village, known and feared throughout the ninja world as a fierce and deadly opponent; one who would not willingly bow his head in defeat even though outnumbered, low on chakra and severely wounded. Logic, strategy and years of experience dictated the movements of his body when he engaged in battle; for his allies, watching him fight was like watching a beautifully choreographed dance of death. Moving with lethal grace and speed, this dance, was the last thing his foes saw before they were dispatched from this world.
With a mind sharper than a two-edged sword he could anticipate and counter the responses of an opponent with remarkable accuracy; one more reason foes of the Leaf Village were ordered to ‘flee on sight’ of this man.
Respected by his peers as a charismatic leader, they knew him as a man who would put his life on the line to preserve theirs; one as economical with his movements as he was with his words. But they saw the other side of him as well; a ticking time bomb with too much blood on his hands, one capable of slipping through the tenuous grasp of reality and plunging headlong into madness without warning. They gave him a wide berth and eyed him narrowly as he strolled among them; few ventured close enough to really know him.
Inside the walls of the Hidden Leaf Village, Hatake Kakashi was revered by the civilian population as an enigmatic and peculiar defender of their freedom; drawn by the allure of power and mystery he wore like a cloak, comely young women tried in vain to catch his eye – he politely ignored their clumsy advances at every turn. The elderly women of the village however, knew him as a kind and mannerable young man, one who would take time from his busy schedule to carry their groceries from the market, to rescue their precious cats from trees and to listen patiently as they prattled on about their grandchildren.
It boggles the mind then, how a tiny scrap of paper tacked to the front door of his apartment could elicit such a terrified response from the stoic warrior that no foe could; the black inked words apparently possessed some type of power, a forbidden jutsu perhaps that made him tremble in his sandals.
“Hatake-san, meet me in my classroom when my shift ends,” the note read. “I have a matter to discuss with you.”
His palms were sticking to the soft leather of his fingerless gloves, and a cold shiver raced down his spine when he recognized that familiar sloped handwriting; as he read between precisely lettered lines of text, Hatake Kakashi knew he was in deep dippity do. The same agile mind that outwitted countless enemies came up empty, supplying him with none of the creatively unbelievable lies that would excuse him from ordinary situations.
‘Iruka-sensei’ as he was fondly referred to throughout the village, was a mid-level ninja, an instructor at the ninja Academy and an overworked mission room assistant. He was known and loved as a man with a kind heart, a good head on his shoulders and an explosive temper when provoked.
Realizing there was less than twenty minutes before the last shift in the mission room ended, a fluttery feeling of panic settled in the pit of his stomach. Adrenaline and arousal; a malapropos convergence of need, clouded his mind and temporarily confused his body.
If I show up in the mission room first, he thought, with a smile and an invitation to dinner, I might be able to talk my way out of this.
From the recesses of his heretofore cooperative mind, came the memory of the last time he tried something like that; the ‘discussion’ which followed was rather . . . intense and thanks to the Sharingan, that memory was warming more than the cockles of his heart.
Nope, he woefully shook his head, that’s not gonna work.
With a wistful sign, Kakashi removed both the kunai and the note. “Oh well,” he said apologetically to his gouged out front door, “time to face the music.”
In one fluid motion, he was balancing on the rickety porch railing surrounding his apartment; concentrating his chakra to the soles of his feet, he raced up the side of the building and onto the eaves. Bounding from rooftop to rooftop, his trepidation intensified with each forceful leap. It was a rare thing for Iruka to use his classroom as the site of one of their ‘discussions,’ which meant this infraction was serious, and the consequences of this meeting would be severe.
The mere thought of Iruka, standing beside his desk, ruler in hand and a stern look on his face was all the incentive Kakashi needed to quicken his pace.
The Academy’s façade was something he paid little attention to in his daily life, but tonight as he drew closer, the building seemed darker, more foreboding and not just because it was partially shrouded in shadows. Perched on a roof near Iruka’s workplace, Kakashi briefly considering scaling the Academy’s walls that he might let reach his destination quicker.
Another bad idea ,for Iruka was the only instructor in the Academy that set traps outside his classroom windows; students who tried to sneak in after the tardy bell rung found themselves tangled in a sticky web until lunchtime and served detention cleaning every bathroom in the building after school.
Even if he evaded capture, Iruka would somehow know that he’d flouted the conventions of good manners; he always did. Besides, he needed to conserve his chakra for whatever adventures Iruka had in store for him this evening.
Landing quietly on the cobble stoned street, Kakashi walked the short distance to the appointed meeting place. The Academy’s main entrance was unlocked; he wasn’t surprised . . . Iruka, you see never overlooked the slightest detail.
The closed up building reeked of chalk dust, sweat, and industrial strength disinfectant and underneath it all, there was a faint trace of Iruka -- sandalwood and cinnamon. He took the stairs two by two, until he reached the third floor; the winding corridor leading to Iruka’s classroom seemed so much longer at night -- it was so deathly silent, he could hear his own rapid breaths echoing off knotty pine paneled walls.
There at the mouth of the corridor was Iruka’s homeroom.
Good . . . he’s not here yet.
Peering into the classroom, the pale yellow moon illuminated a lone object sitting between Iruka’s massive desk and the student’s smaller ones; his breath caught in his throat and a shudder rippled through him.
There . . . in the middle of the classroom sat a straight backed wooden chair; on its seat lay a heavy wooden hairbrush, and a small, thin leather strap. A trickle of cold sweat snaked its way behind his ear before being wicked away by the dark blue fabric of his mask.
It was too late to turn away.
Tremulous fingers slipped off the door handle the first couple of times he attempted to enter the room; stagnant air rushed past him when finally he stood inside the large space. His eye locked on to the implements resting on the chair as he quickly removed his flak vest and shuriken, laying them neatly beside a stack of ungraded classwork on Iruka’s desk. His hitai-ate soon joined the vest as did his hip pouch; Iruka, he’d learned, was very strict about having everything in its proper place.
It was as if lead weights were attached to legs and feet as he slowly moved to his place before the chair; his head bowed in submission and his hands folded below the curve of his bottom as he’d been taught. Here he would remain, with his eyes closed as his mind conjured up images of how the implements of correction would be employed.
For what felt like hours . . . he waited, listening for the footfalls which foreshadowed his abasement. Finally, in the distance, came the brisk, measured footsteps he’d dreaded – longed for, as the stirrings of arousal prickled through his loins.
When the footsteps halted and the door creaked open with excruciating deliberateness, Kakashi dared not look up; no sense adding disrespect to what was sure to be a protracted round of ‘discussion.’ Still, there was a part of him wanted to see the fiery determination in Iruka’s warm brown eyes, or that little smirk of satisfaction on his full lips.
It sufficed him, for now just to hear Iruka stride boldly into the room. He could feel Iruka’s eyes critically inspecting each piece of neatly folded equipment as it lay on the desk and Kakashi breathed a sigh of relief when Iruka made no comment. However, the fact that Iruka refused to turn around when he addressed him was a fearsome indicator of how angry he was.
When finally Iruka spoke, his tone was authoritative; his voice deep and with tinged with irritation.
“Hatake-san, do you know why I wished to speak with you this evening?”
“No sir,” Kakashi meekly whispered.
From the corner of his eye Kakashi saw a flare of chakra which preceded the placement of a silencing jutsu on the room itself. With a secondary chakra flare, the classroom’s windows and the pane of glass at the door were turned into one-way mirrors. Kakashi swallowed audibly.
With his back still turned to Kakashi, he heard Iruka ask, “When exactly did you return from your last mission, Hatake-san?”
Kakashi had intentionally delivered his mission scroll to another chunnin that night; just because he knew it would jerk Iruka’s chain and violate their agreement. “Three days ago sir,” was his tentative reply.
“Were you injured on your mission?” Iruka of course, already knew the answer before he asked.
“No sir, I was not.”
Suddenly…silently, Iruka stood before him, his warm breath gently ruffling Kakashi’s hair when he spoke. “Tell me Hatake-san, what was our agreement about your duty when returning from missions uninjured?”
This was always the most difficult part for Kakashi; standing chest to chest with anyone whilst being interrogated triggered a desire to fight or pull away, even though the warmth radiating from Iruka’s body, the faint aroma of sandalwood and Iruka’s unique scent was drawing him closer.
Squeezing his eye shut, he leaned in to respond, “I . . . I am to report directly to you within two hours of my return . . . Umino-sama.”
Iruka leaned closer as well. “You seem to have forgotten something Hatake-san. I am not to be trifled with,” he whispered roughly. Turning away, he walked back his desk and over the resonating ‘thunk’ of his flak jacket hitting the desk, Kakashi heard him say:
By Kakashi’s own estimation, it took approximately forty-seconds for him to strip down to his underwear, neatly fold his uniform, place it on the desk, stow his sandals near the desk, and assume his previous position.
Definitely a record, but Kakashi had another pressing matter to contend with.
The one part of his body which refused his mind’s commands, was straining quite proudly against the waistband of his standard issue white briefs; he could feel the heat of a rosy blush rising along his uncovered cheeks. This situation wasn’t going to reverse itself anytime soon, especially since Iruka was now circling him slowly, appraising every twitch of lean muscle under his smooth, pale skin.
As the preliminary inspection concluded, Iruka silently took his place beside the sturdy oak chair, reaching down to gather up the implements, before taking his seat. Under the fringe of long dark eyelashes, Kakashi saw Iruka’s crooked finger, beckoning him to step forward.
Obediently, he draped himself across Iruka’s warm, itchy, cloth-covered thighs.
This is was the part of their ritual Kakashi enjoyed the most; the thrill of uncertainty, as he twined his fingers around the cool wood of the chair’s stout legs.
His breathing turned ragged when Iruka’s left forearm rested against the small of his back; the contact was gentle, but all that was needed to keep him firmly in position. Once more Kakashi felt as if his skin were set on the most deliciously excruciating type of fire when Iruka’s eyes trailed a searing path from his curled toes to the nape of his neck.
Without warning, Iruka’s palm brought his wandering thoughts into focus; the sting spreading from the point of contact and warming his entire body; it snatched his breath away and the sheer force nudged him forward, pressing his arousal against Iruka’s firm thigh. Time lazily stretched onward as Iruka meticulously and briskly addressed every inch of his now rosy warm nether cheeks. Knowing it spurred Iruka on when he took his punishment silently, Kakashi was willing to do whatever it took to win Iruka’s approbation.
So focused was he on this goal, it took a few minutes to realize Iruka was tugging at the waistband of his underwear. Without hesitation, Kakashi raised his hips, bracing himself for the fall of Iruka’s palm – but it never came.
Instead a disbelieving gasp escaped his lips as the sharp bite and blazing heat of the thin leather strap took him by surprise. Its aim, repetitive and unerring had him twisting in delicious agony, gripping the chair’s legs as if his life depended on it.
Suddenly, the strap hit the floor, but he would not have a chance to catch his breath, for the back of the hairbrush powerfully fell as Iruka meticulously covered every inch of his bottom. By now, he was shamelessly squirming about, each small movement inching his hardening cock into the tight space between Iruka’s thighs.
In response, Iruka clamped his thighs tighter, effectively trapping him by the short and curlies. As chastisement rained down on him with enviable speed and accuracy, Kakashi felt himself breaking inside. Iruka knew exactly how to bring him to the point of atonement . . . for the heinous things he’d done in defense of the village . . . for the disservice he did to himself by holding on to past regrets and failures . . . for resorting to trickery to get what he wanted . . . needed from Iruka in this very moment.
And just as he felt the weight of the world lifting from him, a hot, lone tear skipped down his cheek from Obito’s eye. His grunts of pain suffused the room for the last time as his shoulders slackened in surrender. Right then and there, the hairbrush loudly clattered to the wooden floor.
Warm, incredibly gentle fingertips traced over the outlines that the hairbrush and strap left in their wake. Allowing him a moment to compose himself, Iruka leaned forward; the smooth, cool surface of the buttons on his shirt, and the weight of his chest against the hot, tender flesh of his bottom, inadvertently made Kakashi raise his hips as Iruka’s hand skidded down the back of his leg.
When their breathing calmed, Iruka raised up slowly; leaning back against the chair, the pads of his fingers tingled against Kakashi’s skin, leaving behind a trail of healing chakra.
At last he heard Iruka ask, “Hatake-san, will we have to address the issue of tardiness in this manner anytime soon?”
“No sir,” spilled the choked response from Kakashi’s parched lips. “We will not.”
“Hmm . . . he quietly said, “Only time will tell, for old habits die hard. But for now, our ‘discussion’ has reached its conclusion. Come along now,” he said helping Kakashi to kneel and then stand to his feet. “Get dressed.
His erection at half-mast, his legs, rubbery and eyes lowered, Kakashi mumbled, “Thank you sir.”
Iruka leaned to his right, gathering up the discarded implements lying by his feet; in an instant he was brushing past Kakashi to stow them away in the bottom drawer of his desk.
“You will meet me at my home in exactly fifteen minutes Hatake-san. I expect all to be in order when I arrive.”
Approaching the desk, Kakashi dressed quickly as Iruka occupied himself by erasing away that day’s lesson from the old black slate chalkboard. When he turned to face a fully dressed Kakashi, all vestiges of sternness were long gone.
“Thank you Umino-sama.” Uncertainty thickly woven in his voice, Kakashi asked, “May I have my other gear now sir?”
“You’ve used up three of your fifteen minutes Kakashi," he said, holding the aforementioned gear in his hands, " Better hurry.”
“Yes sir,” Kakashi murmured with a polite bow.
Note: Iruka addresses Kakashi more formally when dispensing discipline.
For me, it's a means of reducing stress, placing my favorite characters in outlandish situations and circumstances, having them say or do things that make me laugh . . . or cry.
I don't write to change the world, to challenge or debate someone's beliefs, but I write to give myself an outlet for the ridiculous notions that mosey through and set up camp in my mind, to give myself an opportunity to improve or clarify my stream of consciousness, and to educate myself about myself.
It's an exercise I attempt each day and like any other, there are days when I just don't want to do it, or feel I have nothing left to pull out of my gray mater. Still, I do it, just because of the freedom it offers to escape for a few hours.
Is it my dream to have my convoluted ramblings published for the masses to consume? No.
Is it my desire to have legions of fans clamoring for the next installment of my bombastic and often blatant smatterings of willful verbicide? No.
It is my desire to explore the freedom I have to write however and whatever I wish, to spread a table before me, overflowing with fanciful and disconnected ideas for my own consumption.
Some days, I just have to get things off my chest . . . like today.
Will I feel differently tomorrow?
Perhaps. Perhaps not.
Muscular shoulder blades twitched in humbled embarrassment and Iruka's oh so irresistibly squeezable bottom, raised high in the air tensed slightly.
Looking over his right shoulder, he quickly lowered his gaze to the ground saying, “I’m sorry Kakashi-san, this was my fault. Trust me; I won’t let it happen again.”
Iruka’s voice, so rich with just the right amount of contrition struck a chord of need deep within Kakashi. Realizing he could no longer suppress his secret desire to . . . well, show exactly how he felt, Kakashi had to say it.
“Iruka” . . . he whispered roughly.
“Yes, Kakashi-san?” came Iruka’s barely audible response.
“Iruka, you really should watch where you’re going.”
That flush of embarrassment gave way to a crimson stain of irritation, and sable brown eyes narrowed. “Perhaps if you hadn’t stuck your big foot out and tripped me, I wouldn’t be on my hands and knees trying to gather up all these files. Now quit smirking like an idiot and come help me!”
"I am but yours to command, Iruka-sama," he said bowing deeply.
Behind the twinkle in Kakashi's eye, and the smirk beneath the mask, Iruka immediately understood what Kakashi wanted, and desperately needed. "If you're trying to rattle me Kakashi," he calmly said, “you’ve failed miserably."
Rising to his feet and crossing his arms over his chest as Kakashi dropped to his knees, he said, "Looks like I'll have to teach you a lesson...again."
The knot of tension between Kakashi's shoulders slowly unraveled. Looking up at the man who had done what no other could, he grinned, "I'd like that, very much."
"Well, then," he smiled, "let's get this place cleaned up and head back to my house."
Before Iruka could snap his satchel closed, every file was gathered together and neatly placed in the center of his desk.
As they walked toward the exit, Kakashi was practically vibrating with excitement; at last, the chance to release the frustration he'd bottled up for two agonizing weeks was literally minutes away.
"Don't look so smug," Iruka joked. "I don't understand why you're being this stubborn Kakashi. Would it kill you to admit you've finally met your match?"
Halting at the doorway, he grabbed the grinning jounin by the elbow and gave him the once over.
"I won't hold back tonight; you've earned a good thrashing, and that's exactly what you're going to get."
Kakashi smiled and said nothing, for he was equally determined to turn the tables on the overly confident chunnin and give him a taste of his own medicine.
After all, Kakashi's reputation as Konoha's reigning Shogi champion was on the line.
NOTE: Shogi is a game of strategy; Japanese chess.