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The Lady Scarecrow and His Dolphin- Part 2
The Lady Scarecrow and His Dolphin- Part 2

To Read from the beginning

“Iruka sensei!” Naruto beamed at Iruka from his doorway before pulling the other man into his apartment. “What are you doing here?”

“Iruka sensei.” Neji greeted Iruka politely as he entered.

“Neji-kun I hope I am not interrupting.” Iruka smiled at the brunette who gave him a small smile in return.

“Not at all I was just about to make dinner.”

“Still trying to get Naruto to eat his vegetables I take it?”

“Iruka sensei!” Bellowing Naruto waved his arms up and down at his sensei frowning.

“Like I was going to cook ramen.” Scoffing Neji made his way into the kitchen leaving the two men alone.

“What’s up?” Tilting his head, Naruto flopped on the couch and regarded sensei with a raised eyebrow.

“Is there an Icha Icha Paradise book coming out that Kakashi doesn’t have yet?” Iruka cut right to the chase and Naruto eyes practically lit up with humor.

Hearing a crash from the kitchen, Neji walked out and stared at Iruka for a moment before looking at Naruto. “I refuse to believe that you didn’t put him up to this!”

“Put me up to what?” Iruka remarked curiously.

“Oh I just bet him that you would make a move on Kakashi sensei soon.” Naruto wave his hand lightly a Iruka before standing and walking over to his bookshelf. After some shifting around, Naruto pulled out two red books with gold trim.

“This is the special yaoi edition not due out for two more months. It is an advanced copy with illustrations and signed.” Holding up the first book for Iruka to see and then the second book he held up for Iruka’s inspection. “This is the same one but not signed. Kakashi always gets two copies the ones he reads till they are dog eared and the ones he cherishes.”

“What do I owe you?” Iruka tilted his head slightly at Naruto determined for the moment to ignore the fact that he apparently was transparent.

“Don’t break his heart. There isn’t a whole lot of damage it can take.”

Looking into blue eyes Iruka realized that Naruto was deadly serious. “I would be more worried about him breaking mine.”

“Then I’ll break his legs and drop him in the middle of one of your classes during kunai training.” Grinning madly, Naruto gave Iruka a quick hug before kicking him out.

Walking home Iruka mentally braced himself. He was a chuunin and he had a man to win. Now to deliver the merchandise.

It was much, much later that Kakashi climbed from his couch and smiled down at his friend, who had fallen asleep during their movie-watching. As usual, he slid his arms under the girl and took her to his bedroom, laying her down gently and pulling the covers up to her chin, smoothing her pink hair from her face as she slept on. It was an old tradition of theirs; after long missions, Kakashi would unwind with Sakura or Genma, sometimes both, and then Sakura would always get the bed while Kakashi normally grabbed the couch… or, if Genma was there, Kakashi would end up sprawled in the armchair.

He collected his extra pillow and blanket and headed back to the living room, before hearing a curious sound near his front door. With a frown, he dumped his armload onto the couch and went over to the door, feeling with his chakra for someone on the other side. There was nothing… so Kakashi just sighed and glanced back at his dark couch. No, he’d heard something.

Carefully, he pulled open the door and peered outside, almost expecting to find Gai hanging around to issue a challenge or something.

What he didn’t expect was the small package at his feet. Kakashi blinked in mild surprise, looking both left and right to see if he could spot anyone that could have left it. It certainly hadn’t been a courier ninja… they preferred handing things to the recipient than just sitting them outside the door without even a knock. Well… the least Kakashi could do was take it inside and check it out. He scooped the package up and closed the door behind him, glancing back once more before it clicked shut, and headed for his still-brightly-lit kitchen to place the box on his small table and stare at it blankly for a moment.

Should he open it? Was it even meant for him? Nothing had rattled when he’d picked it up… what could it possibly be? With a long sigh he pulled the box toward him and carefully opened it, not entirely sure it wouldn’t explode in his face.

Only when it was completely open and nothing had popped out did he peer inside… at a treasure he certainly wasn’t expecting.

His eye widened, and he pulled the two books out carefully, as though they were fragile and would fall apart at the slightest jostle. He… couldn’t believe it. The special yaoi edition Icha Icha?! There were illustrations! One was signed! It was like someone knew he’d been waiting for this Icha Icha installment, and knew he always bought two… Well, that could really be anybody in his circle of friends. But why in the middle of the night, with no note or even any interaction? Surely his friends knew that to get him something like this was sure to put him majorly in their debt…

Who would rather drop something like this off at his door instead of handing it to him face-to-face? It was a mystery… and Kakashi was determined to solve it.

Feeling like his heart was beating a mile a minute, Iruka looked at the envelope that held the note he hadn’t quite managed to get in the box before he had dashed away from the doorway. Sneaking slowly back to the doorway, Iruka smiled when he saw the box gone before beginning the walk back to his own lonely apartment.

The following morning Iruka woke up extra early. Note firmly in hand Iruka discretely went to a non Yamanaka floral shop. Purchasing a small fern, Iruka labeled the card with a note reading Mr. Yoi. Then sneaking to Kakashi’s apartment, he left the note and the fern at the front door before shuffling away. His smile bright. He could sense Kakashi nearby. So he knew the other man was up.

Not sure how he would take to having a secret admirer, Iruka was very nervous but also very determined. He had finally gotten his nerve up enough to do it and now was the time to follow through. Happy that he had had the foresight to dress in his work out clothes, Iruka started to run laps around the village. He knew he wouldn’t ever be in jounin shape but he definitely wanted to at least be at a better fighting shape. Particularly if he went up against Naruto or Sakura in the foreseeable future.

Kakashi glared good-naturedly over his cup of coffee as Sakura ooh’d and aah’d over the fern that Kakashi had found outside his door when he’d gone out to enjoy his first cup of coffee, which was just something he and Gai always did in the morning; Kakashi would drink his coffee, and Gai would be doing his morning workout, and they would just enjoy each other’s company. That morning, however, Gai had waited for Kakashi to show himself before pointing out that he had a present… and Kakashi had promptly picked up the fern and the note and disappeared back inside, offering no explanation for it.

Gai had begun his workout soon after the door closed, no doubt used to his Eternal Rival doing such things.

So, Kakashi had found himself in his kitchen, leaning on the counter and watching his newly-roused student look at the fern. She had burst into giggles when a card was produced, proclaiming that the fern was named Mr. Yoi, and Sakura suggested that they put Mr. Yoi next to Mr. Ukki on Kakashi’s windowsill. The Copy Nin hadn’t been amused.

“There’s a note, too,” he said after a moment, tilting his head toward the note. “Figured I’d let you read it so I can ask your opinion on the situation.”

“Awwhhhh you have a secret admirer.” Sakura giggled lightly reading the note and blushing faintly. “It is so romantic.” Clearing her throat Sakura read.

‘To Kakashi,

I know it may seem strange to you that someone would get you gifts and call themselves your secret admirer. Mostly it is because I wish to be closer to you but I don’t know how to present myself in such a way that you will take me seriously. Knowing that everyone wants you for your reputation or your body or both I figured it would be best to show that I know you or at least want to get to know you as a person better.

The yaoi edition Icha Icha has a surprisingly nice plot. I won’t spoil it for you but it is much better than the het version in my humble opinion. Though it isn’t something I could ever read in public. You are braver than I in that respect.

Mr. Yoi I got to keep Mr. Ukki company when you go away. As a fern Mr. Yoi is perfectly happy to follow orders and though he has no obvious attributes as defense he is quite good at removing toxins from the air and a common remedy for some of the more nefarious poisons in the ninja world. In short Mr. Yoi is a hardy and steadfast companion.
I look up to Mr. Yoi in that respect. If only because he already gets to have his companion to standby. Hopefully you give me a chance as a express my interest through this courtship.

Your Secret Admirer’

“Alright I demand you figure out who this is immediately. This is too cute.” Sakura squelled jumping up and down. “I wonder who it could be?”

Kakashi hmmed, sipping his coffee. “Well, someone who doesn’t read Icha Icha in public… which actually doesn’t narrow it down at all, seeing as I’m one of the very few who does. Someone who knows about Mr. Ukki, which means they’ve been in my apartment or knows someone who has… Well, gee, Sakura, with these clues, we’ll figure it out in at least an hour,” he drawled, sarcasm lacing his voice. It wasn’t that he minded having a secret admirer; in fact, it was quite the opposite. He was flattered.

But if there was someone out there who was content to leave notes and gifts at his doorstep, even while Kakashi was at home… Well, Kakashi decided that he was going to start either wearing his mask around the house or pull the curtains closed. Just for his own peace of mind, really. There was a reason he covered his face, and he wasn’t about to let a secret admirer get a sneak peek before Kakashi decided he even wanted to pursue whoever it was.

“Oh hush you know you are excited at the prospect.” Sakura chuckled. “Though if you think about it. Whoever it is has to have connections to people around you or be able to see you regularly. I will do some gossip digging and let you know what I find out.”

Stretching lightly, Sakura smiled. “When I figure out who it is would you like me to tell you or wait until you figure it out?”

“As much as I adore the thrill of the chase, I don’t think I can be patient with this sort of thing,” Kakashi mused, setting his cup on the counter behind him. “Though I do want the satisfaction of figuring it out. How about, if you figure it out, you can hint at who it is but not straight up tell me?” Without waiting for an answer, he nodded once, firmly, and went to his bedroom to get dressed. Once he’d returned in full jounin attire, he smiled once at Sakura before tugging his mask into place, and waved her toward the door.

“I’ll walk you home so you can change clothes and get ready for training, and then we’ll meet at the training field in about 4 hours. I’m going to do a bit of digging on my own.”

Leaving Mr. Yoi on the table – Kakashi wasn’t surprised that he was already calling the fern by the admirer’s choice of name – the duo headed down the stairs and off toward Sakura’s house, Kakashi waving half heartedly at Gai as they passed.

Despite his uneasiness about the admirer, the Copy Nin wasn’t going to let his gifts go to waste, and pulled out his new book, flipping it open and starting on the first page as he escorted Sakura through the market.

When they reached her house, Kakashi ruffled her hair affectionately and walked off, nose still in his book and looking every inch the aloof jounin that the village was used to. With at least four hours to spare, he would drop by the memorial stone for an hour or so and talk to his old team, and then probably start his own morning training in some training ground that wasn’t his usual meeting place with his students. After that, of course, he’d go back to his book until he decided that he’d better go to the meeting place and start team training.

All the while thinking about who this secret admirer could possibly be, and why they were fixated on him.

Part 3