Maze

Relations between Senseis: Chapter 2

Title: Relations between Senseis
Pairing: (KakaIru, GaiIru, KakaGai with eventual GaiKakaIru )
Rating: NC17 for Sex, Violence and Mature themes
Warnings: Attempted Suicide, Violence, Polyamorous Relationship
Summary: There is a lot more to Maito Gai then meets the eye and unfortunately it takes some bad things happening before Kakashi and Iruka realize it. (Summary not so great but story is better)
Author’s Note: This was written with the assistance of the lovely Hiashi who helped me pull this together. This was written in response to a prompt from one of the kink memes. Of course now that I have written this I can’t find the blasted prompt. Anyway the prompt asked for Kakashi/Iruka in a relationship with Gai. The main point of the prompt was that Gai wasn’t the but of some joke but actually a serious part of the relationship. So this is in the beginning stages and I hope ya’ll give it a chance.
Begin Here


Slowly Gai began to realize that the white light wasn’t caused by heaven but instead the tiled ceiling of the hospital illuminated by fluorescent light. Gai tried to remember why exactly he shouldn’t be surprised he was here when the events slowly began to filter through his head. The damn jutsu. It had made him try to kill himself in the mission room.

For a moment Gai tried to get up but found himself in restraints. It made sense he supposed. He needed to be strapped down because they didn’t want him to try to injure himself again. Though now that he realized he couldn’t move his arms freely he noticed that his nose was inching. Tilting his head just so Gai rubbed his nose against his shoulder.

The movement did pretty well in terms of relieving his itch but there was still the ningling. Feeling a familiar presence Gai was about to give his normal cheerful greeting but realized that the boiling nature of the chakra he was sensing did not lend itself to someone in good humor.

Slowly Gai turned his head and gazed at the owner of the tumoltous chakra.

“A very youthful afternoon.” Gai smiled toothily as his mind raced to figure out the best way to explain what had happened.

“Don’t do it. Don’t start with the youthful bullshit right now, Maito Gai,” Tsunade growled, noting the very anxious look on Kakashi’s face despite his ardent belief that Gai couldn’t have tried to commit suicide. “This is not a laughing, or even a smiling matter,” she snapped, though she moved to the side of his bed and rested a hand over his with a gentleness that her voice didn’t carry.

“Going to tell me what the hell you were thinking?” she asked, arching a blonde brow, her lips pursed into a tight line.

“Slowing my heart rate down so I didn’t bleed out on the mission room floor.” Gai replied evenly treading carefully over the ground that was Tsunade’s legendary temper.

“Gai.” Kakashi growled, actually growled his fingers clenching through his pants pockets.

“Yes my esteemed rival?” Gai queried automatically.

“Did you or did you not attempt to kill yourself in my mission room?” Tsunade’s voice was deceptively mild.

“I did attempt to kill myself,”

“Why would you want to kill yourself?” Kakashi asked lazily even though his hands remained fisted in his pants pocket.

“I didn’t want to kill myself.” Gai responded calmly.

“You inserted a knife into your chest going straight to your heart.” Tsunade tapped her fingers on the end of the bed pointedly.

“Yes but I didn’t want to.” Gai attempted to explain about the jutsu but found himself unable to even begin to form the words for his explanation. After several failed attempts at explaining further Gai tried to figure out a different way to get his point across.

“So you didn’t want to insert a knife into your chest, did you intend to aim the knife somewhere else?” Tsunade asked crossing her arms over her ample bosom her mind thinking about the way Gai was answering.

“I thought to slit my throat but that would have been too messy.” Gai was mildly horrified that the words had come out of his mouth.

“Why does that thought shock you?” Tsunade’s golden eyes studied Gai’s body language closely.

“I don’t want to die.” Gai answered truthfully.

Kakashi had retreated to leaning against the wall; posture still slumped and hands still in his pockets.

“You could have fooled the people assembled in the mission room.” Tsunade commented evenly.

“I didn’t mean to do anything.” Gai tried once again to get out words about the jutsu but he still failed to make himself understood. “I just wanted to hand in my report.”

“Gai your report was a blank page.”

Sitting on the bed, Gai was quietly trying to figure out some way of communicating what he desperately needed to say.

“Look underneath the underneath.” Gai finally hit on something that should help them understand. “I don’t want to die. I did not try to kill myself.” Speaking slowly Gai hoped he got his message across.

Her golden brows furrowed at the cryptic words, Tsunade looked to Kakashi, hoping he could shed more light on what the black haired jounin meant.

“He’s definitely trying to tell us something specific,” Kakashi mused, tilting his head to the side slightly more than a little calmed by the fact that Gai was looking restless and irritable. “But he can’t for some reason?” he asked, looking to Gai for confirmation. When he got a smile, Kakashi nodded knowingly. “Something happened on the mission that made you stab yourself in the chest?” When Gai gave what one could only assume was a nod, jerky though it was, Kakashi and Tsunade both made relieved sounds. “There must be some kind of technique or something on him...but he can’t explain it,” the silver haired nin supplied to which his leader nodded.

“This means we have to figure out what it is before we can possibly let him out of here in case he tries to do it again. I’ll get a team on it but it could take a while,” Tsunade murmured more to Kakashi than to Gai. “It sounds like something Ibiki might use. Maybe he’ll know. And you,” she snapped, rounding on the dark haired nin. “Don’t you ever do that again, against your will or not. You got blood all over the missions’ room.” Glancing back at Kakashi, Tsunade asked. “Are you staying with him?” When Kakashi nodded, she nodded back in agreement. “Don’t forget he has a visitor outside. I swear I’ve never seen that man so rattled,” she murmured before slipping out of the room.

Sitting himself on the very edge of the bed, his posture still very lax, Kakashi glanced at Gai out of the corner of his eye. “I’m sorry but I can’t take the restraints off yet. You alright?” he asked casually.

“Nothing can dampen my youthful spirit.” Gai responded smiling widely and attempting to give a good guy pose but being severely hampered by restraints he only managed to brighten the room slightly.

“Who is my visitor? You shouldn’t keep them waiting if they are anxious, yon rival. I know it isn’t my team for they are expected back from their mission for another two months at least.” Nodding at his own wisdom Gai waited for Kakashi to see whomever it was in.

When Kakashi opened the door and nodded for him to come in, Iruka stuck his head around the corner and slowly made his way into the room. His uniform was still covered in Gai’s blood and his usually dark skin was looking a little pale.

“Hey,” Iruka said softly, walking right up to the bed and taking Gai’s hand. “You scared me half to death,” he murmured, managing a very weak smile. “Are you going to be okay?” he asked, looking at Kakashi for the answer as well but always turning his attention back to Gai. “You...lost a lot of blood,” Iruka whispered, rubbing the scar on his nose with his free hand and rubbing his lips together anxiously. The warmth of Gai’s hand in his was reminiscent of the blood that had poured over his skin a few hours or so before and made Iruka want to cringe at the memory.

“Never fear most honorable Iruka sensei. I am of a most hearty constitution.” Gai tried to laugh heartily and winced slightly as he had a stinging sensation arch across his chest. He was a good enough ninja that only the most skilled observers would have noticed his agitation. “You are not looking so youthful at the moment. Cleanliness is an essential part of the youthful disposition.” Feeling as though a change of subject Gai had attempted to be discrete but it wasn’t a strong point for him.

At Iruka’s very anxious chuckle at Gai’s comment, Kakashi rested a hand on his lover’s shoulder, knowing that laughing was the last thing Iruka really felt like doing just then. “We tried to get him to go home but he wanted to wait to see you,” Kakashi supplied, lifting his eyebrow to emphasize his point.

Iruka was quick to wave Kakashi off, not wanting to sound so serious when Gai really did seem to be his old self. “It’s alright. They all told me you were going to be fine but I’m stubborn that way,” he added with a smirk. “I am glad you’re alright, though,” Iruka added, rubbing the back of his head. “I was worried about more than just you bleeding to death. You’re one of the only jounin in the village that fills out a full missions report properly.”

“How do you feel physically?” Kakashi asked, having noted the slight indications of pain from his rival.

“Never fear valiant Iruka sensei your reports from me shall always be filled out in their entirety and turned in promptly as well.” Gai once again attempted a good guy pose but had to settle for an extra wide smile.

“Rival I am most wonderful physically. No injury shall keep me from challenging my most respected rival and upholding my current lead of 65-63.”

“No more nice guy poses until the restraints come off,” Kakashi ordered, rubbing Iruka’s shoulders, glad to feel the knots were finally starting to loosen up as Iruka relaxed. “You should go home and...clean up, Ru,” Kakashi suggested, to which Iruka nodded.

“I’ll bring you guys something to eat when I come back,” Iruka murmured, giving Gai’s hand a quick squeeze before getting up and waving.

As he left, Kakashi fell silent for a few moments, regarding his friend idly before shrugging. “Want to play twenty questions? Try to increase your lead?” he offered, never having been all that good at heart to hearts.

“We played a game of wits last time.” Gai protested, “I do not wish to repeat challenges types so close together.” Conveniently Gai decided to ignore the comment on the nice guy poses as well as ignoring the way his heart had throbbed slightly watching Kakashi and Iruka together.

“You do not have to keep me company I am quite content to occupy myself during my convalescence.” Gai spoke cheerfully. “I imagine you have had a long day instructing your squad on the shinobi way and wish to get lost on one of your walks of life.”

“I’ll stay for a bit,” Kakashi murmured, shifting lower on the bed. “Thumb wrestle?”

XXXXXX

“They’re not going to keep him there forever, ‘Kashi,” Iruka purred in the tone that always got him his way. “And you know he shouldn’t be going home to an empty house. He’s your best friend...and we have the room. We could look after him until they figure out what is wrong with him at the very least.” The chuunin nipped at his lover’s ear, smirking when Kakashi groaned lustily.

“He’s not a pet, Ru. We don’t just get to decide to keep him. He has a say in the matter and more importantly it doesn’t matter what we say if Tsunade isn’t going to let him go.”

“He’s been in those restraints for two days, Kakashi!” Iruka complained, his chocolate brows furrowing. “even his nice guy pose is getting pretty weak. He’s got to get out of there before he actually does go crazy! I...”

Iruka was cut off as a hawk began pecking at their window and he got off Kakashi with a sigh to let it in.

“It’s from Tsunade. They think they know what is wrong with him. I’m going back to the hospital for a bit. We can talk more about this later,” he murmured, giving Iruka a quick peck to the top of the head before disappearing from the room.


“The death wish,” Tsunade proclaimed, turning around a book for Kakashi to see. “It’s a very complex jutsu, designed to alter a person’s thinking. Here’s the problem, it’s made to tap into desires the victim has that he wouldn’t normally act on. Thoughts and feelings strong enough to trigger the jutsu. This means...”

Kakashi let out a long breath he didn’t realize he’d been holding. “Gai...I don’t believe it. How could he want to kill himself? He’s the most positive person I know,” he breathed, dragging a hand through his silver hair.

“Or maybe none of us know him as well as we thought.”
xxxxxx

“Hello my rival,” Gai tried to imbue his personality and good humor into his voice but he could tell he failed from the way Kakashi was looking at him. “Kakashi?” Gai tilted his head and watched Kakashi’s body language. “You seem troubled. Nothing has happened I hope?”

Kakashi stared down at his old friend as if seeing him for the first time, completely at a loss as to what to say. Sighing, Kakashi slowly undid the binding on his friend’s wrist. “We’ve figured out what’s wrong but we’re not sure how to fix it yet,” he left the 'if ever' silent and reached over to undo the other cuff. “Iruka and I were wondering if you wanted to come stay with us for a bit. There are a few... residual things that need addressing. I think Tsunade is just arranging a specialist for you now before she comes down to speak to you.”

Kakashi knew that Gai would be just as set against regular sessions with a psych nin as any of the psych staff would be about treating him and he wondered just who Tsunade would be able to rope into helping.

“Oh I would not think to impose on you and your special person.” Gai’s voice boomed as he attempted to jump from the bed, conveniently forgetting that his feet were strapped down and therefore almost braining himself on the IV pole.

Being a ninja Gai quickly recovered and smiled a bit bashfully. “Besides I would rather not be subject to your enthusiastic displays of youthful tumultousness and intercourse.”

Kakashi was tempted to chuckle, not having thought much about how having a guest would interrupt his and Iruka’s fun time. Even though they’d been seeing one another for over a year, they still got frisky in some fashion nearly everyday they both were home.

“Well, don’t worry about that. You’re going to have to stay with someone, might as well be us. Besides, Iruka really wants you to come. Seems to think you’re a hurt puppy he gets to look after,” he said with a hint of a smirk. “There’s some...things that Tsunade will talk to you about. I don’t think they’re going to let you stay home alone in case the jutsu is still active.” Kakashi undid the cuffs on Gai’s legs, but held up his hands, gesturing to the man for him to stay down for now.

Gai coughed but sat up and pulled his legs towards his chest stretching the sore muscles. He really didn’t want to intrude if he could help it. He would never admit that the thought of his rival and his lover made him get a little hot under the collar. To counter the thought from taking any effect on his frame, Gai started to do sit ups as he thought.

“You have dogs that you can summon for Iruka sensei to play with.” Gai finally pointed out pragmatically his tone unusually mild.

“I don’t think it has anything to do with dogs, Gai,” Kakashi murmured with a smirk, resting a hand on Gai’s shoulder to make him stop. “Why don’t you just think about it until you hear from Tsunade?” After a moment of silence, Kakashi pulled his hand away and shoved it in his pocket. “Gai...how are you doing? I mean that. Just a straight answer.”

“I am in the spring time of my youth and vibrant flowering of the season.” Grinning at Kakashi, Gai started to continue to expound on his good health but was interrupted by the entrance of Tsunade.

“I see you are the picture of health.” Tsunade commented evenly her eyes taking in Gai’s appearance noting that there was still that weird variance in his chakra but no where near as obvious as it had been a few days prior. “Your chakra is still infected by the enemy jutsu. We did however find the name of the jutsu.” Tsunade continued to explain the nature of the jutsu but left out the bit about it reacting to emotions and feelings that were already there. “Now then you will have to stay with someone and you can either stay with someone of your own free will or I can choose for you.”

When Gai just gave Kakashi a slight frown, Tsunade nodded. “Good then that is decided you will stay with Kakashi for the duration and that makes a few things easier as well. Kakashi and Iruka will be able to monitor your chakra, they will as your guardians so to speak. In order for them to be able to tell when something is wrong with you, I will place a seal on your stomach. It will be set to give regular reporting pulses to Iruka and to a lesser extent Kakashi about your general mental state and well being.”

“I would not want to be a bother...” Gai attempted to object but found himself met with two steely expressions.

“Gai we either do this or I put you in full lock down in the psych ward.” Raising an eyebrow at Gai she noted his slightly defeated posture and got to work on the seal.

“Good,” she said in an almost pleasant tone. “Now... The available psych staff who has told me they have the time for the extensive treatment that you will require...is small. However one name on the list stands out to me,” she murmured, flashing the sheet of paper to Kakashi. “If you have no objections, Gai, Iruka-sensei will be your therapist. You will meet with him every day, for as long as he deems necessary. Is that understood?” she asked, making it clear that the therapy was not the part he could object to.

Gai nodded and tried to give some type of upbeat gesture but realized that his heart wasn’t in it. Whether he wanted to or not he would be seeing the two people who had some thing he wanted on a regular basis until he was ‘cured’. Feeling the seal pulse slightly at his despair, Gai blinked steadily at the odd sensation. Wearily he began poking at the seal on his stomach noting that it didn’t seem to affect his muscles at all.

“Will I be able to train?”

“You won’t be allowed to use weapons but you can still do your taijutsu.” The Hokage responded evenly having recognized early on that if she didn’t allow Gai some physical outlet he would probably be dead within a week.

Kakashi could feel the embarrassment pouring off of Gai and he pitied the man who was easily one of the strongest and smartest ninjas the village had. He’d been reduced to incredibly light duties like this before and it stung the pride.

“Don’t worry. With Iruka looking after you you’ll be back on your feet in no time. Either that or we’ll never be able to get you to move back out,” he added teasingly. It wasn’t far from the truth though. Iruka had been bringing him his groceries after he’d been injured on a mission when they’d started dating. There was little better in the world than the way his lover looked after people.

“Now why don’t we go to your place and gather your things. We can get you settled right away,” Kakashi suggested.

“Of course.” Gai coughed standing up. With a quick signal he was gone. Reappearing in his apartment, he looked around for what he wanted to take with him.

Then Gai realized a few things pretty quickly, one of which was that while thinking of home he didn’t go to the apartment he kept in the jounin block where everyone knew he lived. Gai had purchased his little studio apartment in the red light district on a whim and found that it was a perfect oasis when he just had to be alone for awhile.

The second thing that came to his mind was that Kakashi had no idea where this apartment was and would likely be hunting him soon. Gai did not want anyone under any circumstances to find out about this little haven. Using his world renowned speed which was only slightly dampened by his hospitalization, Gai threw his sleep pants, weights and reading in a bag. He quickly threw in underwear, two spandex suits and some regular civilian wear, with shoes in the bag and jutsued himself back at the hospital.
Scratching his head sheepishly he went in search of Kakashi, his duffel bag hooked over his shoulder. While he was at his apartment he had changed into some long black shorts, flip flops and a long sleeved green shirt. The outfit was pretty casual and screamed off duty ninja.

It was ten minutes before Kakashi rematerialized at the hospital, his visible eye twitching slightly as he nodded towards the doors and started trudging slowly towards his home, thinking Gai could use the fresh air. “I had meant we’d walk to your place,” he grumbled but didn’t give Gai any harder a time.

He and Iruka had both given up their apartments six months ago in favor of moving into his old family estate that sprawled along the hillside. They’d renovated it and fixed it up after years of being abandoned and Iruka had planted cherry trees, flower and vegetables everywhere he could. To Kakashi it was till a stark reminder of finding his father with a sword in his stomach but Iruka had practically had fits when they’d first walked the property and seeing his tan lover making it into their home was quickly banishing the old ghosts.

“There’s lots of room so you can have as much space as you want,” Kakashi mumbled, still not entirely sure about having someone else in his space, even if it was Gai. As they approached the traditional Japanese dwelling, Kakashi smirked an gave his friend a little elbow as the common sight of a shirtless Iruka moving slowly through Tai chi moves on the stump of the massive tree they’d had removed.

“Yeah, you can expect to be doing a lot of that,” Kakashi informed Gai before waving at the chuunin.

Grinning, Iruka hopped down and draped a towel over his shoulders, the hot summer sun making small rivets of sweat run down his forehead and neck.

“Hey boys. I’ve been apprised of the situation. “We’re very glad to have you, Gai,” Iruka said with the utmost manners. Iruka had already managed to put away all of the display weapons in the house and put a very complicated locking jutsu on their armory, as well as make up one of the beautiful guest rooms for Gai.

“I’ll show you to your room if you’d like to get settled,” he offered, giving Kakashi a quick peck on his masked lips before wrapping a bare arm around the tallest jounin’s back. “I...like your new look. Is that your choosing or just part of the jutsu?” Iruka asked, giving Gai a good up and down.

“This is just how I look?” Gai frowned at Iruka. “I just pulled my hair back. I don’t look different at all.”

Shifting his weight so that his duffel bag fell between him and Iruka forcing the other man to let him go, Gai walked beside Iruka. “Wow the gardens are really beautiful. Your home is extraordinarily lovely.”

Noting the way the man had deliberately separated himself from him, Iruka tucked his hands behind his back. “Thank you, Gai. I’ve done a lot of work on them,” he said with a smile, not letting Gai’s little dismissal bother him at all. It was something that he could ask about in time, once he and Gai had started working together.

Leading the man through to the inner court yard and around the interior decking, Iruka pointed out many of the changes they’d made to the home, especially to the inner courtyard space where Kakashi had found his father. He asked his lover all the time if it bothered him but Kakashi always just smiled and kissed him in response.

“Maybe you could tell me what your usual routine is like so we can set up some of the activities that I think will help you get back to yourself,” he murmured, thinking of all the meditating, tai chi and therapy that they’d have to do each day to try to get Gai back in balance.

For a moment Gai tried not to shudder at the thought of what therapeutic activities Iruka was going to attempt to plan. Then a thought occurred to him.

“Can’t you just feel my moods through this seal?” Gai tapped the seal on his stomach lightly for emphathsis.

“We can feel it but only when your normal balance is disturbed not so much what has disturbed it.” Iruka hedged not letting on that they could also tell to an extent the primary emotion that caused the disturbance. “There is of course a margin set into the seal that doesn’t tell us when you are only a little off balance; it has to send a signal through your chakra system to effect the seal.”
“Oh.” Gai thought on that before realizing that he hadn’t answered Iruka’s questions. “My day is pretty routine normally. I wake at 4am for a protein shake and morning exercises to maintain my youthfulness. Two hundreds laps around the village, pole work and forms. Then I eat breakfast and go train my team or take a mission or two. Then afternoon workouts, free time and bed by 11pm or so.”

“Mmm,” Iruka hummed, knowing there was no way he was getting up at four to keep an eye on Gai in the mornings. “Well, if you want to keep your morning routine we might have to send one of Kakashi’s summons out with you. I’m sure Bull would love the exercise. I know it seems excessive to have to have someone around you all the time but we just have to make sure that nothing happens to trigger the jutsu again when we’re not around. If you hadn’t been surrounded by ninja in the missions’ office you probably would have bled out.”

Sliding open the door to Gai’s room, Iruka gestured him inside. “You’ll be taken off your team for the time being. I think Raidou is going to take them over for now so they’re in excellent hands. After breakfast we’ll do two hours of traditional therapy and half an hour to an hour of elective therapy. After lunch would be a good time for your down time or personal time. Before dinner we’ll do an hour more of traditional therapy and after dinner you can either have to yourself or most nights Kakashi and I would really enjoy it if you joined us. We usually just watch a movie or play games but I think ti would be great if you could join us.”

Smiling weakly, Iruka sighed in understanding. “I know it’s a change but look at it like a vacation, a chance to reset your mind and your body, which everyone needs. even someone who stays in the kind of shape you do.”

Not wanting to be rude to his host, Gai gave a general mumble of some polite phrasing as he poked at his room. It was nice and spacious with a bed and a small table with floor cushions. They had passed the bathroom he could use on their way towards this room.

“Thank you for your hospitality and I will try not to be a bother while I am here.” Gai bowed formally to Iruka and mentally hoped he left so Gai could attempt to get comfortable in his surroundings as well as set up some wards and traps around his room. He wasn’t among the most paranoid ninja but he didn’t just stay somewhere and not take extra precautions.

In all the times that Iruka has spent time with Gai in groups he’d never felt so dismissed before. It worried him in a sense; he’d agreed to give up his teaching to work with Gai because he thought the man was comfortable with him.

When he came back to the main room at the front of the house, Iruka’s chocolate brows were knitted and he flopped right on top of Kakashi in the chair his lover was reading a book in.

“Frustrated with him already?” Kakashi asked, running his hand up and down Iruka’s naked back as he pretended to keep reading his green book.

“No, I just... may have made a miscalculation about the nature of our friendship. But it might be better that way if I’m going to be poking and prodding at the most intimate parts of his life,” Iruka sighed, nuzzling Kakashi’s hair and reading over his lover’s shoulder. “Maybe he’s still just a bit shell shocked,” Iruka surmised, to which Kakashi hummed in agreement.

Finishing up his warding of the room, Gai unpacked his things and then set about going for a nice brisk walk around the premises to give himself some thing to focus on besides the fact that Iruka would like be poking at him for the foreseeable future. Hopping out the guest room window, Gai found himself walking deep within the flower garden before laying down in one of the rows. Taking deep breathes Gai tried to meditate and achieve some form of peace.

Rubbing his stomach and humming lightly, Gai let his chakra system flow as it will. Escaping into his own mind for a while, Gai belatedly wondered what would happen to his carefully crafted eating regimen now that he was under house arrest and doing what equated to rehab.

“Kakashi put your book down and go find him. I’m going to start dinner. Do you know if he doesn’t like certain things or has any allergies?”

Groaning and shaking his head, Kakashi hauled himself to his feet, heading out the back door an out towards the defensive marker in the gardens that Gai had set off. When he found the man lying between two big blooming flower beds he kicked off his sandals and lay down beside him.

“At least for a couple of days just let us know when you’re taking off, okay?” Kakashi murmured, tucking his hands behind his hair. “What are you thinking about all of this?” he asked casually, determined to leave the real counseling to Iruka.

“I didn’t leave the property.” Gai pointed out helpfully as he brought himself back from his meditation. “Considering the security wards you have set up I doubt you would ever not know where I am on the property but if that is what you wish I will respect that.”

Sitting up he popped his neck and stretched his arms out lightly. He didn’t like the fact that he wasn’t currently wearing any weights but he respected his body’s limits and didn’t want to unduly strain them.

“I don’t really have many thoughts on this arrangement other than the necessity of it to maintain my spring time bloom longer.” Gai gave a slight shrug before flipping himself into a handstand. Letting all the blood go to his head Gai slowly lowered himself into a crouching position. “If Iruka sensei believes he can assist me then I will do my best to cooperate with his prescribed treatment.”

“Not like it will work. You will still be a third wheel. It would be so much better if you were dead.” Guy squashed that traitorous thought, more than a little exasperated with the fact that where before the thoughts had been spoken in someone else’s voice and now those words had been in his. Frowning, Gai jumped up and shook himself out to loosen up his joints. One of the reasons Gai wasn’t big on meditating or sitting still voluntarily for long periods of time was his joints tendency to lose some of their springiness.

It had been small but Kakashi had felt it, a flickering across Gai’s seal just before he’d jumped back to his feet. Kakashi debated mentioning it but decided to just make a mental note of it and mention it to Iruka. Clearly Gai wasn’t in any danger at the moment with him right there.

Nodding, Kakashi pulled a few of the bright yellow blossoms from one of the plants and inhaled the scent. “I think Iruka is starting dinner. If there’s anything in particular you don’t want to have you should go tell him now,” Kakashi warned.

For a moment Gai was torn between being extremely polite about the food situation and being more hands on. Walking slowly towards the house, Gai made his way into the kitchen where Iruka was cooking. Smiling, Gai observed Iruka at work before offering his services.

“Would you like some assistance?” Gai asked and when Iruka declined but asked him about his favorite foods Gai was quick to answer. “Curry and anything spicy really. I don’t like anything greasy or watery.”

Smirking softly at how quickly Gai had responded, Iruka made a mental note to add a little wasabi to the salad that evening. “We actually eat a lot of raw foods. ‘Kashi got used to them for when he can’t have fires on missions. If things aren’t to your tastes don’t be afraid to tell me. I love to cook to I’m more than happy to play with different recipes to find something that works for you. We really want you to feel at home here,” Iruka added, taking the very sharp knife out of it’s holder in the drawer and carefully sliding it through the fresh tuna he’d gotten at the market. “Actually if you wanted to help you could wash up the cucumbers and the leeks,” Iruka said with a smile, liking having someone in the kitchen with him. “How is your room? If you don’t like that futon we can bring yours over later,” he offered, trying to get a read on how Gai was feeling at this point.

Washing off the leeks and cucumbers Gai smiled at Iruka. “I couldn’t ask for a better room. Thank you for your hospitality. Raw foods are fine I never have really tried the macrobiotic diet of that sort so I look forward to observing your cooking style.”

Gai purposefully avoided looking at Iruka as he cut the tuna. Something about watching Iruka’s fingers work Gai found more interesting then was appropriate. Initially Gai had wondered if it was the knife itself that he found most interesting but the knife, though wickedly sharp, held no appeal outside of the knowledge of where it was in case he needed a weapon to fight with.

As Iruka continued to pepper him with questions Gai answered thoughtfuly but avoided looking at Iruka directly if he could help it. The thoughts he had about Iruka were troubling to Gai because he believed that he was some how sullying something sacred by having those type of thoughts about his rival’s boyfriend.

When Iruka had finished the meal, Gai helped set the table and arrange the food. Kakashi appeared shortly afterwards. As the three settled down Gai contemplated his plate thoughtfully, trying to figure out where to start. Like most ninja, Gai had an iron stomach but new foods still gave him pause. Wielding his chopsticks thoughtfully, Gai began to systematically eat his food. His gaze stayed on his plate but he did look at Iruka to speak.

“You are a most excellent chef.” Gai gave Iruka a bright smile before continuing his meal.

His face furrowing in amusement at the way that Gai was quite literally keeping his head down, Iruka shot Kakashi a confused glance to which his silver haired lover just shrugged.

“Thank you, Gai,” Iruka replied, pleased that his meal had passed the test. “I’ll make something a bit spicier tomorrow. We could use a bit of variety in our diet, couldn’t we, Kashi?” Iruka asked with a wide grin, knowing that Kakashi was pretty particular about what he ate too. In fact, most of his jounin friends were; his chuunin companions would eat just about anything.

“So one thing the house came with is an amazing library and it’s not just filled with orange porn books,” Iruka teased, elbowing Kakashi and giving Gai one of his dazzling smiles. “There are books there on everything if you’d rather just take a book somewhere quiet. I know he’s not much fun,” Iruka murmured, grinning when Kakashi flicked a piece of cucumber salad at him.

“Hey, I’m fun,” Kakashi said indignantly. “It’s my night to pick a movie so it’s action night,” Kakashi said, a bit of food disappear from his chopsticks without his mask seeming to have moved at all.

“I will be sure to wander into the library later and then make myself scarce.” Gai chuckled quietly at Kakashi still wearing his mask in his own home. Quickly finishing his food, Gai excused himself determined to make himself scarce in order not to intrude on their couple time. Taking Iruka’s comment to heart, Gai went into the library determined to find something to distract him. Not being someone who read for pleasure at all, Gai looked for something that he would find educational and was a bit mortified that he ended up with a gay sex manual in hand. While Gai had no problem writing about the more creative images his mind provided him with it was an entirely different matter to have it broken down so clinically.

Almost throwing it back on the bookshelf, Gai went around the library once more until he found an old fashioned romance. Slightly embarrassed about his choice but at the same time needing to know that other people’s romantic aspirations worked out, Gai took his book and retreated to his room. Shifting the wards up and laying on the futon on his stomach, Gai soon lost himself in the story of Petals and her love, Rushmore.

Chapter 3