Maze

Relations between Senseis: Chapter 4

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


Gai was up and in his spandex suit, ready to go when Bull made his way towards him. 100 laps in and Bull collapsed. Blinking down at the enormous dog, Gai jogged in place.

“Are you alright?” Gai asked the summons who for all intents and purposes looked as though he was dying. “I can carry you if you like?”

At this point Bull summoned his pride and made it 50 more laps before he couldn’t even see straight anymore. In a brief panic over what to do, Gai picked Bull up and ran him to the nearest Inuzuka clinic.

“Gai you are almost back to normal.” Hana observed before noticing the half dead animal on his back. Almost immediately Bull was rushed away and Gai sat on a chair waiting patiently. He didn’t want to earn Iruka’s wrath and that meant staying until Bull was well.

Four hours later, he found out that Bull had essentially had a severe case of dehydration and exhaustion. Combined with the fact that Bull wasn’t in the best shape physically to be running with Gai he had suffered a minor case of heat stroke. Getting the medicine for Bull, Gai felt horrible. The two of them took it really slow on the way back to the house. Gai felt so bad he brought Bull a steak.

When they finally made it back, Gai categoricaly gave up on the idea of completing his morning routine if only because he doubted Iruka would believe his excuses anyway. He really didn’t want to do therapy or tai chi or meditate. Of course, it was for the best but Gai still didn’t have to like it.

Iruka was pretty annoyed that Gai had been gone all morning when they’d been supposed to start Gai’s therapy today. When he heard the man finally return, Iruka made his way into the kitchen to find Bull licking languidly at one of the cheap steaks that they kept around for the pack.

“Oh you big, fat suck,” Iruka cooed, kneeling down to rub the dog’s belly. “And what did you do to earn that?” Looking up at Gai, Iruka checked his watch. “I suppose it doesn’t matter what order things fall in the day but be aware that if we’re not working a certain amount each day Tsunade might have you moved back to the hospital,” Iruka murmured in a cautioning tone. “And I just don’t think I could stand that so we’ll have to get started this afternoon. What kept you out so long?” Iruka asked, standing up and pulling out some things to make lunch from the fridge.

More than a little embarrassed Gai explained, “I had to take Bull to the vet because he collapsed during my training. I told him to rest but he insisted on doing my laps with me and then we had to wait for him to get fluids back into his system and for his body to cool down enough so we could leave.”

Iruka’s only reaction he could come up with was to laugh, especially with the way Gai was acting so sheepishly.

“Oh Bull,” he chortled; now noticing how exhausted the big dog seemed. “Awwwww, poor fatty. We’ll have to tell Kakashi how out of shape you are,” he cooed, scratching the bull dog’s stomach.

“I’m sorry, Gai. I thought he’d be able to keep up with you,” Iruka chuckled, noting just how hard Gai must have been going to wear the big dog out so severely. Bull gave him a look that only made Iruka chuckle more, knowing he would probably be in the same state if he tried to keep up with Gai’s morning regiment. “Don’t worry about a thing. They’re summons, they’re tough. Come on. Let’s leave him to his steak and have something to eat.”

Iruka brought out some fruit salad he’d made for breakfast and set out some light meats and vegetables, knowing Gai would probably want to eat light after his morning.

“Is there a place in the house or the yards that you seem most comfortable with?” Iruka asked politely, knowing very well that Gai had chose to sleep outside in the gardens the night before. “We could get started with our sessions there so you feel more at ease.”

“The gardens.” Gai spoke calmly. Bit by bit he ate certain vegetables and meats mentally calculating their values in his head as well as the proper amounts need for the activities he had engaged in. Finishing up the main portion of his meal he studied the fruit salad thoughtfully for a while before picking out certain pieces to eat. Nibbling on his food, Gai looked outside and contemplated other things to keep him occupied and hopefully sane. When he was done he put down his chopsticks and waited for Iruka.

Iruka was amazed at watching Gai eat how careful the man seemed about his intake. He even felt a little self conscious when he was still eating and Gai was finished.

“You know what; let’s just leave the mess for now. I’ll get it later. Go make yourself comfortable and I’ll be right out,” Iruka said with an encouraging smile. He quickly put the very perishable food away and grabbed his notebook before padding out into the the lightly shaded back yard.

“Alright. There are a lot of things that I think we could go over but I think it’s best to let you start. I want you to think of me as either your doctor or your friend, which ever makes it easier for you to talk to me. Is there anything right off the bat that you know you want to discuss?” he asked, picking a spot against a rock to lean against as he opened his book and rested it on his thighs.

For a while Gai pondered the question. Realizing that he wasn’t sure where to start he figured he would ask a question. Narrowing down the questions was a daunting process though so Gai lay on his stomach and slowly did push ups while he thought. Finally a thought struck.

“Where would you like me to start Iruka sensei?”

Cocking his head to the side as he watched Gai start to work out again, Iruka nodded at his decision.

“Okay, why don’t we start with what you’re doing right now, Gai,” Iruka pointed out. “You seem to work out... a lot. In fact you seem to defer a lot of your life for working out. Now I completely understand that in what you do, your body is your weapon, but do you really think you need to be doing push ups right now? I’m not being sarcastic when I ask if you’re capable of just sitting and relaxing, even if what you’re doing is uncomfortable.”

“I’m doing push ups because I think better when I’m moving. I also didn’t finish my morning work out so it serves a duel purpose” Gai answered Iruka’s question honestly and considered his last question thoughtfully. “I can sit and relax but I have to be doing some thing with my hands or my mouth.”

Iruka had to be very careful to control his expression at Gai’s last statement. “Hands or mouth, huh?” Iruka murmured more to himself as he made a quick note in his book. As he watched Gai’s body move up and down Iruka was astonished at how his body started to react. Suddenly he felt the need to move and squirm too.

“Tell me what you do everyday for exercise,” Iruka asked, crossing his legs and clearing his throat, trying to keep himself focused on the task at hand.

“What was I doing the day before? No wait...” Gai asked immediately because to him it is a legitimate question. His workout times were generally very regulated but his regime was subject to change regularly to keep his body guessing and always improving. “I switch up a lot to keep my fast twitch muscles engaged even though I have reconfigured most of my muscle make up. So the answer to your question is it varies.”

“Okay...” Iruka started, realizing that getting Gai to really talk to him was going to be even worse than when he and Kakashi had started being friends.

“On an average day, outside of working with your team and missions, how many hours usually do you spend training?” he asked, making a couple more notes.

“Four hours or five.” Gai answered immediately.

Nodding, Iruka wrote down his response. “That’s a little higher than average but not all together unheard of. Now, say you or your team didn’t have a mission. How many hours of exercise would you get with your team?” he asked, having a sneaking suspicion that unlike Kakashi, Gai would be doing everything that his team was doing only twice as hard.

“Good question.” Gai started doing one armed push ups while scratching his chin with his unoccupied hand. “Usually they would arrive at about nine physical works and sparring in the morning which would be about four hours. Then after lunch, theoretical and strategy work. Some times games and weapons practice. Usually that is another four hours, maybe six depending on who joins.”

Nodding Iruka leaned back against the rock, shaking his head when he realized he was staring at Gai’s muscular shoulders as the taut body lifted and lowered.

“And what do you like to do outside of working out. Tell me about the hobbies that you enjoy on a daily basis,” Iruka asked, noting he hadn’t asked exactly how much Gai did during his four or five hour personal work outs.

“I...” Gai frowned thoughtfully and as he opened his mouth to list his hobbies he realized that some weren’t exactly what Iruka probably had in mind. Switching arms Gai continued his push ups before speaking again. “I write and I also can build weapons.”

“Good, those are both excellent hobbies. Creative and cathartic. We’ll talk more about those in a second but I just thought I’d point something out first. Gai, when was the last time you took a good look at yourself?” Iruka asked, glad when the man’s incessant push ups paused.

“You are in amazing shape. Some would say superhuman shape. Maybe it wouldn’t hurt to put more time into your hobbies and a little less into working out. Have you ever thought about offering instruction on making weapons or joining a writing group?” Iruka asked, trying to gauge Gai’s interest in being around people.

“I don’t work out every day.” Gai was slightly confused. He didn’t put more time into working out then he had to. He liked being in shape because it was something that he had going for him. He knew that in terms of facial beauty he was never going to win any awards.

Latching on to the last part of what Iruka had said, Gai stopped doing push ups and sat crossed legged in front of Iruka. “I teach people how to make weapons and I would never want to join a writing group.”

To Gai his writing was not some thing that he wanted to take the chance that anyone recognized. In all actuality he wrote a very popular romance series. In the series he got out all the romantic gestures and ideas that he would have loved to use on some one. Gai figured that if he couldn’t use them than someone else might as well.

Worried he’d offended Gai, Iruka sighed softly. It wasn’t usually this hard to make himself understood. He didn’t seem to be picking up on Gai’s subtext and the fit jounin certainly wasn’t reading between his lines.

“Would you tell me about your writing? Poetry? Fiction? Have you been doing it for long? Why does it appeal to you?”

Of all the topics Iruka could have cottoned onto he would pick the one that sent Gai into a mini tail spin. “I don’t like to talk about my writing.” Gai tried to squash the anxious feeling but he was failing big time. Standing up, Gai began to pace in an attempt to calm himself down. “It allows my ideas to be heard and I guess that’s why I like it.”

Sighing, Iruka underlined yet another topic that he’d have to work his way into. “Gai, I do understand that it’s terrible to have to speak about the intimate details of your life against your will but you do know that everything you say to me is in strict confidence. I have to report to Tsunade on your progress but she doesn’t need to know any details unless I think you’re going to hurt yourself or someone else.” He tried to smile reassuringly, praying that Gai would loosen up for him a bit.

“Can you tell me a bit about your friends, Gai? Do you spend much time with them?” he asked, knowing that Gai and Kakashi didn’t spend much time together outside of group gatherings and Gai’s challenges.

“Sure.” Gai relaxed a bit and smiled. “I enjoy Raidou’s company when he has time. Anko, Ibiki and I get along fairly well most of the time as well. I spend time with Lee and Naruto too.” The thought of Lee and Naruto made Gai chuckle lightly because of the way they all interacted. The outcasts that yearned to be acknowledged, they were all his friends. “I see them all for some period of time at least a few times a week. Not so much lately because of missions though.”

“It can be hard to get together with everyone when missions get into our schedules and routines. I hear Lee has been spending a lot of time with the Kazekage,” Iruka added with a grin. “I know what it’s like when a friend is away for long periods of time.”

Pausing to look down at the names he’d written down, Iruka chuckled at the randomness of the group. “I’d like to discuss why you’re close with each of them but I’m curious, you didn’t list Kakashi in that group. I can tell he that certainly thinks of you as a friend.”

Not sure how to explain why Kakashi didn’t fit into the friends group, Gai continued with the first part of the question first. “I taught Raidou how to make weapons and he has always been someone that I can be around. Anko and I get along because I don’t mind that she is absolutely insane most of the time and cuddly the next moment.”

“Ibiki is one of the funniest people I have ever met. Naruto has so much determination that I have always helped him in one way or another. Lee I have known his entire life and watched him grow up. I am proud that I can talk to him man to man.” Smiling happily at the memory of his friends those that he cared about unconditionally and he knew in their own way adored him. Then Gai remembered the rest of the question.

“Kakashi is my rival.” Shrugging because that was all there really was to it.

Iruka was floored by Gai’s answer about Kakashi. Every day that Kakashi and Gai spent any time together Iruka heard about it and usually had a chuckle about it with his lover. And it was rarely at Gai’s expense. He was probably Kakashi’s best friend now but outside of that Gai would be Kakashi’s simplest response to that question.

“Huh,” Iruka mused, surprised that Gai seemed to be better socialized than he’d expected, assuming the man was being being completely forthcoming. From the previous night he’d thought Gai would be more the type that was actually standoffish when it came to people.

“So Ibiki is funny,” he recovered, not wanting Gai to get the wrong idea. “I never would have guessed,” he added with a grin. “Now what about relationships? Do you date much, Gai?” Iruka asked, surprised that in all the time that he’d known Gai that he couldn’t remember Gai out with anyone more than once.

“Not often no.” Gai had no problem admitting that his dating life was close to non existent. “I don’t really have anyone that I can date.” Shrugging in weary acceptance, Gai waited for the next question and hoped this would be over soon.

Pursing his lips, Iruka noted Gai’s distaste for the question. “There’s always someone to date, Gai. Sometimes the people you don’t expect make the best partners. Do you find it gets to you? Not dating much?”

Setting his book aside, Iruka smiled disarmingly at Gai. “I barely dated at all for years, you know. In fact I lived a pretty small existence for a lot of years when Naruto was my student and when he was working with Kakashi. Most of the time outside of teaching and working the missions desk I spent most of my time marking at home. I’d manage a night out one or two nights a month but I never realized how much it was getting to me until I actually started spending more time with other people. I thought it was normal to feel so isolated and unhappy. If you’re really interested in dating I’m sure there are more than a few people who would be interested in you. I’ve used that excuse too, though. No risk, no reward.”

Scuffing his shoes Gai tried to figure out how to explain that he did date, and then realizing he may as well own his relationship misfortunes, Gai looked at Iruka. “I do date occasionaly; I just don’t feel the need to subject myself to it that often. I have dated Ebisu, Iwashi and Tonbo as well as some women. What I want I can’t have so I see no point in going for what I don’t want.” Realizing that last bit was not something he had wanted to make known but figuring it didn’t matter now, Gai waited to be dismissed. Surely he was done.

Finally Iruka sat up a little straighter, feeling like he’d finally hit on something that needed some attention. Gai clearly was fixated on someone and Iruka had to know who in order to help the man see that here was more than one option out there for him.

“And who do you want, Gai?” Iruka asked directly, not leaving any time for the man to try to take back what he’d said.

Looking upward Gai contemplated the sky for a while in order to avoid it looking like he was rolling his eyes. “Not someone I can have but someone I am happy that is happy in life.” Smiling quietly, Gai looked at the ground and began to walk this time going to the other side of the garden before slowly returning.

Very carefully watching Gai’s reaction, Iruka sighed softly in understanding. He was asking incredibly personal questions but he’d really expected something more prominent to jump out at him about what was bringing Gai down so much. He figured he’d give it one more try before giving Gai a break.

“That’s very big of you, Gai. It’s not always easy to be happy for others if you wish things had turned out differently. This could potentially be important though. Are you sure you don’t want to tell me? I’d really appreciate it if you did,” Iruka prompted, raising his chocolate brows hopefully.

Gai was pretty sure his attraction to Kakashi was probably the most obvious thing in the world but he had no intention of saying this to Kakashi’s wet dream inspiring boyfriend. Tapping his fingers together lightly Gai began to do lunges while he thought about how best to put what he wanted to say. When he start doing lunges towards Iruka again he stopped looked Iruka squarely in the eye and said, “I think you are more intuitive than that. You already know or are suspicious. I will repeat that as long as he is happy and I can see he is happy than I am happy for him. Can I go now?”

Iruka was slightly stunned, glancing back at his notes to see if he’d missed something but he honestly couldn’t see anything that jumped off the page that screamed unrequited love.

Sighing and closing his book, Iruka stood up and shrugged. “Go where?” he asked, giving Gai a pointed look. “I know this is uncomfortable but in our next session it’s important for you to commit and remember that this is for you. Now we’re not done just yet. I’m going to lead you through some tai chi. I want you to concentrate on focusing your energy into slow, fluid movements,” Iruka instructed, motioning Gai to follow him into a sunny patch. Raising his arms, Iruka started moving through the elegant positions, glancing over his shoulder to make sure Gai was following his movements. “Try to clear your mind and be completely in the moment.”

Gai tried he really did but tai chi was not his forte. He could make himself move anyway he wanted to but this type of meditation exercise tended to annoy him. He much preferred zen walking meditation but he was doing his best. As Gai followed Iruka through the movements he realized that he didn’t really want to do this. So he concentrated on other things keep a part his mind aware of Iruka.

Iruka could tell that Gai wasn’t enjoying the exercise but he made the man stick to it for twenty minutes. He wasn’t a huge supporter of holistic healing but since he’d moved up to the hills with Kakashi and started daily tai chi and working in the gardens he’d noticed an amazing sense of calm in his life.

“Alright,” Iruka finally sighed, dropping his arms and trying to keep the disappointed expression off his face. He’d really thought that Gai would be one of his more compliant clients. “I’ll let you know when dinner is ready,” he murmured, giving Gai permission to leave.

Nodding Gai jumped into the trees and fled. When he was far enough into the woods, he flopped over a tree branch and waited patiently. Soon enough Anko jumped him, knocking him to the ground and slugging him hard in the face. Gai took the hit with a wry smile and chuckled as Anko began to methodically check him for injuries and then finding none she hit him again.

At this point Gai couldn’t help laughing. With a huff and a grin of her own, Anko left Gai. For his part, Gai just managed to jump clear of the exploding tag that Anko had left with her departure.

Relieved that some things stayed the same, Gai headed back towards the house, resolved to at least give Iruka’s therapy sessions a little more of a try. Really the first one had been disastrous so there was nowhere to go but up. Coming in sight of the house, Gai contemplated how he really felt and then realized that maybe it was time for him to have a temporary sabbatical to the ladies and men of the night.

Hopefully that would relieve some tension.


Iruka was about as relieved when Kakashi got home that day as he was when his lover had been gone on a dangerous mission. Squeezing the silver haired man tightly, Iruka sighed against his shoulder. “Am I loosing my touch?” he asked softly, soaking up the affection from his lover as Kakashi turned them slowly in a circle like they were dancing.

“Never. You just started. They don’t always come easy, remember?” Kakashi murmured, having done this with Iruka more than a few times before. It had been months since his lover had gotten a new jounin to counsel though and Iruka had the tendency to forget it was hard to get them to open up. “You might just need a new tactic with him. Gai isn’t a usual ninja.”

Chuckling softly, Iruka nodded. “None of you are usual, Koi,” Iruka teased, knowing all the jounin in the village had their quirks. “Do you think you’d try talking to him? He seems so...resistant to me. Do you think I did something to upset him that I’m not aware of?” Iruka asked his lover.

Kakashi scratched the back of his head, not exactly eager to have any heart to hearts but willing to do just about anything for Iruka. “Yeah, alright. I’ll talk to him later. Now what’s for dinner?” Kakashi asked, changing the subject smoothly.

Gai did his best to maintain a chipper attitude during dinner. He even went so far as to offer to make his special curry so they could understand his passion for it. Restricting himself to the grounds for his evening work out. When he went to bed that night Gai sat up halfway through the night. Quickly he wrote a note before sliding the note somewhere his host could find it.

Slipping into a pair of tight fitting briefs, Gai contemplated what clothing he should wear. Finally deciding from his limited selection on a black and green hakama. Sliding on his black boots, Gai calmly exited the house. When he was far enough away he started running, he was careful to keep his mood relaxed.

Once he arrived at his preferred brothel, Gai was quietly shown into the young man that he tended to see when he came for sex. The man in question was calm and reassuring. Taking off his clothes, Gai let the man touch him and do what he wanted.

Gai felt his release flow through him calmly and take him by some surprise. Once it was over Gai felt relaxed but some of his self loathing started to grow as he paid and then began the walk back. Trying to stifle the tide of feeling wasn’t going to happen so Gai let it come and wash through him before it finally settled and he was okay.

On the walk back he hit upon the idea to turn this entire experience into a romance novel. The idea soon distracted Gai enough that he was genuinely excited and happy. Happiness at having some thing to take his mind off his worries made Gai smile brightly during his walk. The only thing that would have made it better is if they had never noticed he was gone.

Sitting out on the porch, Kakashi shook his head at Gai’s return.

“You’re very lucky I sent Iruka back to bed. He was right ready to tear a strip or two off you. I’m sure you’ll hear about it in the morning. I hope you enjoyed yourself at the very least because you’re pretty much going to be on lock down for a few days and you may be subject to some of Iruka’s more cruel exercises. That’s assuming he cools down enough to work with you tomorrow. I have to say, I didn’t expect you to be the type who would so blatantly flaunt the rules like this.” Smirking in amusement, Kakashi adjusted his robe over his pale, naked chest.

“So what were you up to that you had to sneak off?” Kakashi asked, enjoying the sweet torture of making Gai squirm.

“I went to visit someone.” Gai replied smiling. “Yes flaunting the rules is more in your territory rival of mine. I decided to take it for a spin and found that while not to my liking at least some good came of it.” Moving slowly to lean against one of the poles on the porch, Gai blinked at Kakashi slowly. “Didn’t you get my note?”

“We did, but you’re assuming that was acceptable, which it wasn’t. But Iruka will get into that tomorrow.” Grinning broadly behind his mask, Kakashi tucked his hands behind his head. “Did you have fun?” he asked cheekily, leering at his friend and gesturing for the man to sit down as he poured a couple of cups of sake for them.

“I suppose.” Gai sat down and studied his sake cup for a moment. “There is reason springtime and winter are so close and fall so far away.” Making a mental note to put that into his book later on. “I guess I am more a prisoner than a guest at this point then.” Gai observed warily. Some anxiety rippled through him but it settle down, when Gai thought about his writing.

Snorting, Kakashi sipped the drink through the mask. “But at least the jail has booze.” Able to tell that Gai was anxious to move on, Kakashi sighed and rolled to his feet. “Remember, this is in lieu of you being in the hospital getting your head examined day and night. Try to take it easy on Iruka. He takes his counseling work very seriously and I’m the one who has to sleep with him.” Smirking a little wider, Kakashi clapped Gai on the shoulder. “Actually, speaking of which he might be worked up enough that I can help him blow off some steam before he goes back to sleep. Iruka when he’s mad isn’t something to be missed. We’ll try not to be too loud. Just knock on the door in the morning and I’ll get up so you can work out,” he said, winking his uncovered eye at the raven. “Assuming I survive.”

“Enjoy your youth.” Gai raised his glass to Kakashi and vowed he was sleeping in the gardens as far away as possible. When he was sure that Kakashi was gone, Gai also resolved to get plastered. It would hurt less. Two bottles of sake later found Gai face down in the garden with no interest in moving anytime soon.

When the sun was hot on his back, Gai awoke and wished for death if only because his head would stop hurting. Staggering into the shower, Gai took a quick rinse before getting dressed in work out clothes. It was alot later than he normal slept and Gai felt cranky but he set about using his nunchucks and going through the normal katas to give himself some resemblance of normalcy. Once those exercises were completed Gai stopped. He gave up on getting himself into a normal state through physical exertions

Gai tended to turn to his slightly altered form of walking meditation would help him get a handle on his wayward behavior; Gai started the practice by imagining the maze of his thoughts. The maze established Gai began to walk through the maze some times shifting around flowers and occasionally stopping to view a tough problem before continuing.
The feeling of being watched pulled at him but Gai continued to the completion of his exercise in order to prepare for Iruka.

“Yo,” Kakashi muttered, lifting a hand in greeting. “Iruka had some work that he had to look after so you’re spared for a bit. There’s something you should know about him though. There was a time where Iruka wasn’t treated very well by the upper ranks. Most of the chuunin were. Sometimes he can be a little over sensitive to how he thinks jounin treat him. Right now he thinks you don’t respect him, though doing what he can to work through it because I know that’s not the case. Today would be a very good day to be compliant though. I don’t know if I can take another night like last twice in a row.”

Chuckling softly as he remembered fondly the look of intensity in Iruka’s eyes last night as he’d violently ridden him.

“Anyway, he’ll probably take it out on the missions’ room and be in much better spirits. Did...you stay up drinking last night?” Kakashi asked, scratching the back of his head as he looked around the garden.

“The jail has booze.” Gai retorted with a shrug. He wanted to dwell on the fact that Kakashi and Iruka were pretty much made for each other but he didn’t want to send the seal into a rush of emotions. Gai instead wondered exactly how he could get himself out of the mess he had created.

“I respect Iruka sensei greatly for his dedication to his causes and precious ones entrusted into his care.” Nodding, Gai scratched his chin and thought for a few moments before speaking, “Are there any makings for curry in the house, I would like to cook in order to apologize for my bad manners and behavior.”

“There are, but why don’t we go for a walk first. Plenty of time to cook later,” Kakashi suggested, nodding to one of the paths that lead into the woods and up on top of the hokage monument. “So it’s not like you to binge drink. Anything you want to talk about?” he asked casually, digging his hands into his pockets.

“No.” Gai responded picking a large rock and beginning to kick it at they walked along. As they passed a tree, Gai took note of an Anbu who was watching them. Continuing onward, Gai concentrated on his self imposed task.

As the rock continued to rocket slowly onward, Gai looked at Kakashi for a moment. “Are you happy with your life?”

“Me?” Kakashi asked a little surprised at the question. He didn’t have to think about his response though. “Hell yeah I’m happy. Have you taken a look at how I’m living lately? Never thought I’d have something like this,” he murmured, smiling slightly behind his mask. “It’s not perfect. It never is, and the work might even be harder on me lately now that I have someone I have to be normal for but day to day I’m happier than I’ve ever been. Why do you ask?” Kakashi asked, looking back towards the place where the well concealed ANBU had been hiding.

“It helps me to know that those around me have happiness.” Gai smiled as he continued to kick the rock. “Knowing that happiness isn’t a human illusion or genjutsu makes trying to fight for people and their happiness more of a reason to stay alive.”

“Gai, I think the more important question is why you aren’t happy?” Kakashi murmured, wishing it could be Iruka doing this and not him but he did know it would be good for everyone if he could get some answers. “And don’t tell me that you are. You pretty much just admitted it,” Kakashi murmured, nudging his hiatai up off his forehead so he could capture all of Gai’s expressions.

“What did I do to earn the dubious honor of having your Sharingan pointed in my direction?” Gai glanced sideways at Kakashi his heart clenching briefly as the thought that there was nothing that he did or was worth recording. Turning his back on Kakashi, Gai contemplated how best to answer for a while but gave a shrug at last. “If I am not happy, I am content to not be happy but to know happiness exists.” Keeping his head down Gai kicked the stone again watching it split and erupt into pieces.

I am the stone. The thought crossed Gai’s mind so quickly and his chakra spasmed so hard that Gai forced his emotions back into a box only for the seal to send him to his knees. The harder he tried to be completely emotionless the worse it got until Gai dry heaved. Gai forced himself to present calm. Holding onto a tree for support Gai let his head lull down.

Moving in quickly to brace Gai’s weight, Kakashi sighed and squeezed his friend’s shoulder. He hated seeing the man like this, especially when things had finally started to come together for him.

“I don’t think you are content with it. We’ve all been there, Gai. Do you think that after Minato-sama died that everyday for years wasn’t the worst day of my life? Every ninja in this town probably has gone through a spell like this, brief or long in duration. It’s why you’re staying with us. It’s why the Hokage got Iruka to work with you. If you give him a chance he could do great things for you. He changed everything for me, for a lot of people you probably wouldn’t expect,” Kakashi murmured, ruffling a hand through Gai’s hair affectionately.

Tears started falling down his face at Kakashi’s words. He was so oblivious he didn’t have a clue and Gai himself had only just realized why he wasn’t jealous of Iruka for having Kakashi’s attention. His crush got worse; it had spread to include Iruka too. Gai practically somersaulted away from Kakashi as though he had been burned.

“I may not be content but I have nothing left if I’m not.” Gai stated before he began a quick jog up the Hokage mountain in an attempt to calm himself some before he had to speak with Kakashi again. At the moment he wanted it to be over more than anything but he knew that it wasn’t to be. When he reached the top of the mountain, Gai gave into the urge to do something he hadn’t done in years.

Flopping down on top of the monument, Gai looked out over the village and tried to guess who was where. He had enjoyed the game a lot when he was little because of the sheer improbability of of him being right. Gai’s enjoyment of the game was more in the thinking about the weird places people could be and then later he could write down ideas for his books.

Burying his hands back in his pockets, Kakashi wandered up behind his friend, a little anxious with how close to the edge Gai was sitting, though he knew that the built in survival skills they all came with were harder to overcome for ninjas than most thought.

“You okay?” he asked, watching Gai out of the corner of his eyes. “If you let us we can help you find more for yourself. You can be happy, Gai.”

“Would you really help me find more for myself?” Gai turned and looked at Kakashi intently reading him more seriously then most people were aware he could be. Not seeing anything to back up that statement, Gai backed off, “I am okay. I will be happy eventually and like most ninja I can fake it until I make it.” Gai smiled slightly. “I appreciate you and Iruka trying to take care of me but I somehow doubt what I want will ever happen so let’s just leave it for the time being and enjoy the lovely view.”

“You won’t even give us a chance, Gai. What are you so worried about?” Kakashi asked, starting to understand why Iruka had gotten so flustered. “It’s easy to feel pessimistic if you don’t have more faith in the people who care about you, Gai.”

“My eternal rival you are quite right. I shouldn’t worry so much.” Bounding to his feet, Gai had a thought cross his mind about another thing he hadn’t done in years. “I challenge you to a race rival. A race to the bottom of the monument, no transportation jutsu just getting there how you can.”

Turning and looking out at the village again, Gai smiled when he heard Kakashi’s acceptance. “One thing I love about you Kakashi is that you are can be strangely predictable. See you at the bottom.” Smiling wide, Gai jumped off the monument. Putting his body in a straight line, as he free fell and picked up speed once he got to the point where the monument started to slope he threw out his arms and legs to slow his descent. Then Gai began the exacting process of sending just the right amount of chakra to his feet that he slide down the rock surface. At the end he gave a mighty jump and landed at the base of the monument. Feeling exhilarated, Gai looked around for Kakashi but didn’t see him.

“Gai!” Kakashi gasped, terrified for a minute that his friend was trying to hurt himself again. Relieved to see it was just part of the challenge, Kakashi quickly used a series of replacement jutsus to get down to the bottom. He watched from a clump of trees as Gai looked around for him, a triumphant smile on his face.

“What took you?” he asked lazily smirking when Gai stuttered. “What? You said no teleportation jutsus. I didn’t use one,” he argued, knowing it was semantics. In a sense it was a form of teleportation and they could both argue for and against the fact that Kakashi had cheated.

“Come on. We should go home if you want to cook before Ru gets back,” he said with a grin.

“You and your hip attitude.” Gai shook his head smiling like he use to. “Never fear eternal rival, semantics will not keep me from staying ahead of our rivalry though now the margin is of my winnings are smaller.” Having not felt the urge to do a pose in a while, Gai surprised himself by popping one complete with rose petals in the wind and shining sun. Laughing heartily Gai started the walk back to the house, in a good mood.

Chuckling softly at Gai’s exuberance, Kakashi followed him home, surprised when he found Iruka already there. He could tell immediately that Iruka was upset from the way the usually perfectly sure limbs flinched as he slowly moved the energy around him.

“Babe?” he asked gently before falling silent, noting that Iruka needed at least a couple more minutes of solitude before he’d be ready for conversation.

Sitting on the deck and watching carefully, Kakashi waited until Iruka’s hands fell to his sides before calling out to him again. “What happened, Ru?” he asked, knowing it was more than just being upset at Gai at this point.

“A team of my students,” Iruka murmured his eyes downcast but his voice steady. “Two dead, the other is coming for a session tonight. Young ones,” Iruka said, sinking to the deck with a heavy sigh. “Important documents went missing from filing and Hokage-sama was unimpressed with my first progress report.” Laying his head in Kakashi’s lap, Iruka looked up sadly at Gai, not having the fire to chew him out anymore. “We should probably talk for a bit now as I’m going to be busy after dinner now,” he murmured, not in a hurry to move away from where Kakashi was gently stroking his hair.

“It’s okay. I can make dinner and talk.” Gai smiled quietly. “That way it keeps me occupied in such a way that I can’t escape readily and I am reminded of why I am cooking in the first place. Guilt is a very heavy stone.” Nodding with authority, Gai realized he had forgotten something.

Kneeling at Iruka’s feet Gai bowed. “I humbly request your pardon for my actions last night. I was rude and it was inexcusable of me to abuse the boundaries you set for me in such a way. As a person I hold in high regard would you accept my apology.” Gai didn’t look up but stayed bowed and patiently waited for his answer.

Extending his arm, Iruka dragged his fingers through Gai’s silky hair, pulling a few pieces out of place and shifting them back, his big brown eyes soft and affectionate but sad. “It’s alright,” he murmured, attempting a weak smile. “Seems pretty insignificant now, doesn’t it,” he added, continuing to stroke Gai’s locks as he let his eyes fall closed, the texture against his palms soothing him. “You guys just sit with me for a minute?” Iruka mumbled, swallowing hard to rid his throat of the emotion creeping up in it.

Gai stretched out more to allow Iruka easier access. For a time Gai allowed himself to enjoy the closeness of other people. As Iruka continued to stroke his hair Gai allowed himself to dream about what his life could be like. He wasn’t sure how long it lasted but Gai was perfectly calm, through out.

Soaking up the physical comfort, Iruka revelled in the feeling of being so safe and surrounded. Not that he ever needed more than Kakashi but the thought of two strong men looking after him on a horrible day like this was appealing.

Finally he let out a long sigh and rolled to his feet, brushing the little bits of moisture he hadn’t been able to blink back from his eyes. “Thank you,” he murmured gratefully, giving each man their own soft smile, feeling far more like himself again.

“Can you make yourself scarce for a bit babe while Gai and I cook?” Iruka asked, giving Kakashi a quick kiss when he nodded. “Okay. Gai, I’ll be right in. Do you want to go get started?”

When Gai headed inside, Iruka fell into his lover’s arms for one more embrace. “How was today? Anything of note happen? I felt something a while ago...” he murmured softly making sure that Gai couldn’t over hear them.

Gai began to set up the curry stock, making sure he had all the ingredients. He wasn’t going to be able to make it as spicy as he like but it would still be nice. Humming away, Gai began to get everything set up putting aside the vegetables he would needed chopped. Setting up the rice he waited for Iruka to come help him.

Iruka listened carefully as Kakashi recounted his day, going quiet with contemplation as his lover mentioned the details and Gai’s breakdown during their walk, not to mention what had been said between them the night before.

His mind was full as he headed into the kitchen a short time later, smiling distractedly as he stepped up beside Gai and immediately took over preparing the vetegables.

Some of the pieces were fitting together now but Iruka wasn’t sure if he should bring them up now when he was on a time frame.

“I’m sorry about that. I know it’s silly but I really do think of my students like my own kids. It’s so hard to lose them,” he murmured softly, giving Gai a quick one armed hug.

“Gai...tonight I want to start off by getting you to talk about yourself. What comes to mind when you think of yourself?” he asked gently.

“There is nothing wrong with your students being your children. It means that you get to be prouder for their accomplishments and more aware of their faults then if you were their parent.” Gai patted Iruka’s arm gently before continuing his work. Once he had the stock and the vegetables simmering away, Gai perched on the counter to think about Iruka’s question some.
“I am earth.” Gai shrugged. “I am solid and steady. I grow things but at the same time I weather away.”

Chuckling just a bit in exasperation, Iruka nodded that he understood, though he really wasn’t thinking fast enough to probably get the full meaning of what Gai had said.

“Don’t talk in riddles honey, not tonight. Just tell me straight forward. When you think about yourself, who you are, how you are and what you do how does it make you feel? Proud? Embarrassed, disheartened, youthful?” Iruka asked, his small smile widening a little. “There’s no wrong answer but it might be an important one.”

“I was not speaking in riddles. I am a teacher who would die from my students the same way I would die for my comrades or anyone under my protection. I have things I will always believe true and maintain my ninja way. I am not proud but I can never be truly humble. I am embarrassed that I was laid low by a jutsu and mostly I happy to be alive even if there is no certainty.” Shrugging Gai realized some thing, “I love deeply and completely which is why I don’t try to love, if I am hurt I don’t recover well. Does that answer suffice?”

Iruka was seriously tempted to give up but the thought of Gai locked up in a hospital was too horrible to take. “Gai, I’m not talking about the things that happen to you...” Pausing to think, Iruka hummed softly to himself. “Okay. I’m going to start a sentence and you’re going to finish it, okay?” Iruka asked, looking at Gai for a nod before starting.

“Okay. When I finish writing a story I feel...” Iruka started with something easy to get Gai warmed up.

“Excited.” Gai answered automatically.

Smiling and nodding as he passed Gai a big handful of chopped vegetables, Iruka continued. “When a friend goes on a mission I feel...”

“Hopeful that they will return.” tilting his head, Gai tried to figure out where this was going.

“When I think of Lee going to Suna to be with Gaara-sama I feel...”

“Happy that my student has found happiness and fulfillment.”

“Anything else?” Iruka asked, knowing it was easy to have conflicted emotions about such things. “Be honest now,” he chided.

Smiling at Iruka, Gai couldn’t help but tease, “You wanted what first came to mind and that finished the sentence. The second thing that came to mind was if Gaara hurt Lee would I be able to kill the Kazekage and get back here before I was missed.”

Tsking the taijutsu master lightly, Iruka shook his head. “I asked you to finish the sentence, not for the first thing that came to mind. Gai, I think you have a real problem accepting your negative emotions. Pretending your emotions don’t exist doesn’t make them disappear. It’s an important part of growth to acknowledge feelings that you have. Even if they’re not helpful emotions. Perhaps thinking of Gaara and Lee might make you feel envious? Frustrated that even though you and Lee are so similar that he found someone who loves him the way he is? Possessive that Gaara might be taking him away from you?” Iruka suggested. “It doesn’t make you a bad person to think those things. It’s natural. It is important to be aware of such things and give those feelings some acknowledgement so you can process them.”

Standing up and stretching Gai started to pace a bit around the kitchen as he thought how he really felt. Anger suddenly pulsed through him and he looked down at the seal when it pulsed. “I’m angry, really angry. I wish he could stay nearby; I don’t like it when people leave me behind. I should be use to it by now but I’m not. I’m frustrated because I had hoped he would realize that being from different villages would add adversity into their relationship.”

Putting his hands on the island he studied the grain quietly. “I could never be envious though. Lee has went through so much that I want him to know, even if it is only for a little while, about true love.”

Touched and relieved to finally have gotten and honest answer from the man, Iruka rested a hand on Gai’s arm for comfort. “It does more damage to deny that you feel these things. It doesn’t mean to you care for him and want the best for him.”

Stirring the curry so it wouldn’t burn, Iruka went back to his chopping, motioning for Gai to relax. “When I look in the mirror and see my reflection I feel...”

“Unattractive.” Gai sighed mildly depressed because being honest with himself was a not some thing that he liked to do very often.

His brows furrowing, Iruka nodded in understanding. He’d thought of himself much in the same way for a long time.

“When I think of love I feel...” he murmured, working his way up to the big questions that he knew Gai would have a hard time with.

“Hopeful. I can’t be anything else.” Gai began to get down the tableware.

Swallowing thickly, Iruka turned and looked at Gai’s back. “And when I think of Kakashi, I feel...” he started, the way Gai froze and the pregnant silence telling him everything. No wonder the man had been acting so strangely since he’d been there. No wonder he’d been so hesitant to open up to him.

“How long have you been in love with him?” Iruka asked softly, careful not to sound angry at all.

“Too long for it to matter.” Gai felt a weight simultaneously lift off his shoulders while a lodestone descended on his neck. “He has you and you are the best thing for him. He is so happy now that I can’t even imagine him otherwise with anyone else. It hurts but he has light in his eyes that hasn’t been there in a long time so it doesn’t matter.”

Gai wiped his eyes briefly, before going around Iruka to check on the curry. “All done. Why don’t you go get him?”

Turning the burner off, Iruka captured Gai’s arms gently. “He can wait. Why did you never tell him?” Iruka asked, lifting Gai’s chin off his chest with a finger. “It was less that he needed me than it was that he desperately needed someone. He probably could be just as happy with you as he is with me.”

“Iruka I don’t know if anyone has ever pointed it out to you but you are sex on legs.” Gai pulled away from Iruka and walked outside. “I am nothing more than a punching bag for his ambitions at best and a nuisance at worst. Take care of him for me and let him know I won’t be a bother to either of you anymore. I won’t hurt myself either; I will be out of the way.” In the next moment Gai was gone. He didn’t go far just to the Hokage monument to breath for a bit.

In a swirl of leaves two masked nins appeared at Gai’s side, each resting a hand on his shoulder when it was clear that they meant him no harm.

Looking up from his desk as the black-ops transported his friend into the room, Ibiki nodded stiffly in dismissal before turning his attention to Gai, making very clear note that Gai was upset, very upset.

“Gai...you really need to stop taking off like this. I’ve gotten more notices about you in the past three days than I have in your entire career.” Nodding towards the bar hanging off the wall, Ibiki waited until Gai had jumped up to it and started doing pull ups vigorously before continuing. “Is there a problem with you current arrangement, Gai?” he asked, knowing sometimes it was an actual issue and sometimes therapy just meant being pushed harder than one would like.

“You couldn’t come up with a better torture plan.” Gai sighed, as Ibiki leaned back and watched him. “You know how I feel about Kakashi and then Iruka, I mean, just Iruka is just I have gotten to know him too.” Switching to the one armed pull ups Gai thought about that situation for a bit and as he switched arms he hit upon the rub. Letting himself hang for a moment Gai looked at his old friend who was waiting expectantly.

“I want them both, how bad is that? Listening to them have sex is going to drive me insane. We all know I am only so good with restraint.”

“You mean to say you don’t really have any.” Ibiki commented dryly.

“Right. I mean and they are so romantic with each other and...” Gai stopped and began doing leg lifts. “Did you know that out of our group I am the only single one left?”

Pausing, Ibiki was shocked to realize that Gai was right. “It could be worse, Gai. It could always be worse. Kurenai was the first of us to love and she was the first widowed,” Ibiki murmured, having been reminded of the woman when he’d seen her in town with her little boy that morning. “It’s not surprising to me that you want them both, Gai. They’re very attractive individually but as a couple they have a strength and warmth that most of us can’t even understand anymore.”

“Sitting back and tenting his fingers, Ibiki nodded. “I know it’s hard but I think it will do you good to be there. Tell me, do you think that one night with both of them would help or hurt?” he asked, studying Gai closely.

“Kurenai loved though and had her love returned. Even though she lost it she still has her son. He is the product of that. You loved your wife and you have memories.” Gai stopped realizing he may have stumbled over a topic that was best left undisturbed. Jumping to Ibiki’s last words, Gai sighed, “One night isn’t on the table and it would probably end up breaking me anyway.” Dropping from the pull up bar Gai studied the ceiling.

“I never knew you were a coward Gai.”

“It’s why I wear green, it camouflages the yellow.” Gai replied thinking.

“Gai I really hope that is the damn jutsu talking.”

“We can hope.” Gai sighed studying his friend. “I am going back again aren’t I?”

“Kicking and screaming if necessary.” Ibiki confirmed.

Gai smiled, “Iruka is going to kill me and it will be all your fault.”

“Not if Kakashi doesn’t get there first.” Ibiki chuckled.

“If Iruka could hear you now he would understand what I meant when I said you were funny.”

“Don’t go telling people that,” Ibiki snapped, though a smile hinted at his lips. “I have a reputation to uphold. You’d better get back there. Iruka says your dinner is getting cold,” the torture specialist murmured as he read yet another tiny note that appeared on his desk from thin air. “Think about addressing this, Gai. You will get closure one way or another and that’s for the best.”

“Curry will keep.” Gai shrugged before he thought about what Ibiki had said. “Closure is such a final sounding word. It means something ends or to make peace.”

“It also can mean a new beginning.” Ibiki waved Gai out of his office.

Bowing to Ibiki, Gai left walking through the village in thought. As he moved he contemplated the different facades of his predicament. It all came down to a few essential points. He was going to have to work with Iruka. If only to figure out why he became fixated. Maybe he could achieve peace within himself if he just got it out of his system. This thought was firmly in his mind as he crossed the wards onto the compound and felt the zing of them locking. Turning around, Gai attempted to walk back out and got a nasty shock for his troubles.

Squaring his shoulders Gai realized that the die had been cast. Now it was up to how he played his hand. Thankfully Gai’s luck wasn’t horrible, just different in the way things tended to work for him.

Feeling Gai’s presence, Kakashi headed back to the dinning room, waving to Gai and gesturing out the sliding doors to the inner courtyard where Iruka was in process of putting up a light barrier jutsu, mostly to dampen sounds. When the final seal was finished, Kakashi watched his lover embrace the young jounin, who’s fingers dug into Iruka’s shirt firmly as he buried his face in his old sensei’s shirt.

“They shouldn’t be able to hear us now. Can you watch them for a second? I’ll get your plate. The curry was great by the way,” he added, leaving Gai to keep an eye on his lover for a moment. Returning with the plate from the oven, Kakashi sighed and shook his head.

“They always give him jounin. I hate it. Especially the young ones; they’re so unpredictable.” Looking back at Gai for a moment, Kakashi sunk into the chair at the table that looked out the door and set the plate down in the seat adjacent to him. “Go ahead, they won’t hear us now.”

Despite his relaxed posture, a rigidity and readiness to strike was apparent in Kakashi, if from nothing else from his unblinking gaze on the pair in the gardens. As Gai sat next to him, one of Kakashi’s hands fell on top of his arm and squeezed gently, though his gaze didn’t alter. “Ru said you were upset from your talk,” he murmured, leaving the question of are you okay unsaid.

“Therapy isn’t easy.” Gai sighed happy that Kakashi had enjoyed the curry. “I really don’t like it but you have to do what you have to to survive.” Shrugging, Gai finished his curry and took his plate into the kitchen. Cleaning up quickly he went to his room and took out a scroll.

Figuring out where to start was usually the hardest part for Gai when he began writing for a new project. It tended to take him days to come up with something he felt that would grab his readers and hold on. In this instance he felt as though he had so much to say that it would all get jumbled together. Keying in on the fact that being inside wasn’t helping him; Gai took his writing supplies and went out into the garden. Sandwich in among the flowers, Gai began to write the story from his point of view.

He wasn’t sure how long he stayed out in the garden writing but soon the lantern he bought was lighted as Gai finished sheet upon sheets of paper. Out of his pen poured the story of Jiro and his unrequited love.

It was painful to write but it was beautiful. Soon Gai had tears in his eyes but he felt no urge to stop. When he finally did he smiled at the pages he had written. Binding them together, Gai stood and stretched.
He had managed to get down alot of details and gotten all of the characters introduced. Kazuo and Akira were getting together as Jiro watched on. He had never written a gay romance and he wasn’t sure if it was any good.

Going into his room Gai pulled out a transfer jutsu and transferred what he had written to his editor, curious and what the man would have to say. Stretching his muscles, Gai put on his sleeping pants and for the first time slept on the floor of his room with a pillow. He was too tired to attempt to ward the garden again.

Trying his best to be patient, Kakashi watched and waited, eager to get the volatile young man out of his house. His eyes followed them through Iruka’s traditional steps of bringing out and cooling the emotions and he jumped to his feet a couple of times when fists had flown, but were expertly caught and held by his lover. When Iruka finally led the man to the front door, Kakashi sighed in relief and followed a safe distance behind. Wrapping his hands around Iruka’s shoulders he waited a minute until Toshi was out of earshot before nuzzling and whispering against his jaw.

“What do you need, Ru?” he asked, not surprised at all when Iruka spun in his arms and a pair of full, hungry lips were pulling at his. Lifting Iruka off the floor and carrying him back into the dinning room, Kakashi ground himself between Iruka’s gripping thighs, his hand releasing the chocolate silk from it’s bindings and tenderly brushing a tear away.

“I...need to feel it...” he heard Iruka breathe as he lay the chuunin down on the table and immediately pulled back on his brown locks. The way Iruka trembled and gasped for him as the adrenaline rushed into his system was completely erotic and Kakashi quickly began tearing their clothes away, eager to get at his lover’s skin. Riding the natural high the dominance brought, Kakashi let it fuel him with every satisfied moan Iruka would make through their rough foreplay.

Gai heard the noises. Blinking slowly he sat up, hearing the moans and groans wafting through the air, Gai was torn between taking a peek and staying where he was. Ultimately he went to his bag and retrieved a sleeping pill. Within moments he was asleep the empty bottle resting on the nightstand.

Next Chapter

I have to admit, this is my first real kakairu story. I was drawn to it because I had a strange craving for Gai deconstructed. I think you have done a fine job so far, leaving little to complain about. The only thing that I think might add something to it might be a little impromptu drop-in by Naruto. I know he's kinda dense, but he has that ability to bring out the best in people. Goodness knows, he a virtual expert at unrequited love *cough*Sauske*cough*.
Lol eventually I will work my way through all of the people Gai thinks of as friends, I think. I appreciate the review. Gai is one of those characters for me where I know he isn't upbeat and happy all the time. I felt this intense need to pick him apart and this seemed the vehicle to do it from. Thank you for giving this a chance.
Outstanding! I am really enjoying this deep look into Gai and the potential threesome....