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The Lady Scarecrow and His Dolphin- Part 3
Title: The Lady Scarecrow and his Dolphin

The Beginning

After running himself around the village fifty times, Iruka was sweating profusely and quite sure he needed a shower again before going out to complete his day. The only problem at the moment lay in the fact that Naruto was currently eyeing him. Leaning over slightly, Iruka tilted his head at Naruto askance.

“Did you want something?” Breathing deeply through his nose, Iruka started to settle himself.

“Let’s spar. Anything goes.” Giving Iruka a foxy look that he was sure he was reading correctly.

“Why exactly do you want to spar with me?”

“If you intend on pursuing my sensei I need to make sure you have the stamina for it.” Blunting shrugging off his jacket and getting into a ready stance Naruto gave a cocky grin.

Cracking his neck, Iruka pulled out his retractable naginata. “Bring it Naruto.”

From that point on life was a blur. Ninjutsu were flying, taijutsu was brutal and Iruka thanked all that was holy that Naruto couldn’t do genjutsu or it would have been its own special type of hell. Between transforming into clones to hide and place complex genjutsu to smacking Naruto around with his naginata and getting cut by his kunai Iruka was having a good time. Though his shirt was torn to hell.
tattoo over heart tattoo on back

It was around that time that Kakashi arrived on the scene, having decided to use that particular area in his own morning training that day. When he glanced up from his book, however, Kakashi found himself stunned into stillness. Before him were two other men, one of which was instantly identifiable from that shock of blonde hair, and they were locked in an intense spar. The area around the duo was a little worse for wear, most likely because of whatever ninjutsu they had used, but Kakashi’s eye was locked onto the bare, tattooed back of the shinobi facing away from him.

There was something familiar about him, but Kakashi couldn’t put his finger on it until a very impressive evasive maneuver revealed the stranger’s face. Oh dear lord, that was Umino Iruka! He gaped in a very undignified manner and decided to teleport to his favorite reading tree and watch the spar while remaining out of sight. All sorts of things were running through the jounin’s mind. Who had known that Iruka had a tattoo?

No, wait, there were two of them, the one on his back and another one on his chest, over his heart, but Kakashi couldn’t make it out from his position. The one on his back was amazingly done, despite even the large scar from a few years ago when Iruka had saved Naruto’s life from that psycho Mizuki.

Iruka was one of the last people Kakashi expected to have ink done... so what did that say about how much Kakashi even knew about the man to begin with? He was obviously more than just the academy teacher, mission-desk chuunin that Kakashi saw nearly every day, and that intrigued the Copy Nin more than anything. Like Sakura had pointed out, Iruka was Naruto’s surrogate father, and that alone should have made Kakashi try to interact with him more.

“Oh sweet baby Jesus.” Sakura breathed walking onto the training grounds and watching what she could only describe as poetry in motion. The spar having reached critical mass. Movements a blur and instinctual moves mixed with careful calculations. Then in a low crack it was over.

Naruto was on the ground panting and Iruka was standing on one of his wrists, blade of the naginata resting lightly under Naruto’s chin.

“I yield.” Naruto grumpily sighed.

“Good job.” Iruka smiled down at the boy he had partially raised before helping him up. “For a minute there I thought for sure I was going to be knocked into the next country. You telegraph quite a bit of your moves though.”

“I managed some things without handseals.”

“Yes believe me. The first time I realized that you had managed to switch with my tessen I knew you were going to give me hell.” Laughing with sweat pouring down his face, Iruka grinned shaking out his ponytail from its tie he retied it up.

“You owe me a shirt by the way.” Smiling at Naruto’s grumbling, Iruka waved at Sakura who he noticed gaping at his chest.

“Don’t oogle Iruka sensei.” Naruto teased Sakura who blushed at him. “It is called a tattoo.”

Kakashi remained where he was, though he did take care to clamp down on his chakra. Sakura and Naruto weren’t expecting him for another 4 or 5 hours, at least, and he suddenly found no interest in his own morning training… or even in his book. Watching Naruto and Iruka spar had brought to mind his conversation with Sakura the night before… about how his potential lovers had to spar against Sakura and Naruto and win. Looks like Iruka was halfway there, and he wasn’t even in the running, as far as Kakashi knew.

Hmm. Maybe he’d have to keep his eye on the chuunin… he was far more interesting now that Kakashi had seen him doing more than thanking other shinobi for their hard work and taking reports… and yelling at Kakashi for not doing his reports right.

Right then, though, Kakashi was content to sit back and watch the show. After all, he wasn’t one to pass up the chance of appreciating a good-looking shirtless man, He had time to spare, why not?

“Well you won so you fight Sakura-chan!” Naruto sat up seeming to have made a full recovery.

“Now I am sure Sakura has something else she can do.” Iruka waved his hands in front of himself hurriedly.

“Everyone always says that the student must surpass the teacher to show they have grown.” Sakura teased pulling on her gloves.

“I am sure that it applies to your current sensei.” Iruka scratched the bridge of his nose looking at Sakura warily.

“No I think I prefer to go in order. So it has to be you first Iruka sensei. Don’t hold back. I won’t.” Smiling serenely Sakura exploded at Iruka in a flurry of movement and Iruka swore.

Two hours of hell later and Iruka was ready to give it all up. Sakura had a completely different skill set from Naruto. Finally in a fit of sheer desperation Iruka used a kage bunshin. Set a trap and caught Sakura in it before knocking her out. Falling on the ground panting, Iruka stared at the sky.

“Stick a fork in me. I’m done.” Iruka groaned stomach twitching lightly. His bruises had bruises at this point.

“Not bad sensei.” Naruto stood over Iruka and helped him up before walking over to Sakura. After a few minutes, Sakura was sitting up blinking at Iruka slowly.

“Why aren’t you a jounin?” Sakura asked curiously and Iruka shook his head.

“Not crazy enough.” Grinning Iruka shrugged and groaned when his shoulder popped.
“Though apparently crazy enough to fight you both on the same day. What the hell was I thinking?”

Oh dear lord, Kakashi thought, now fully gaping at the trio below him. Beating Naruto wasn’t too impressive if you knew how he worked, which Iruka certainly must have known, but beating Sakura, too? Iruka couldn’t possibly know about Sakura’s requirements for dating Kakashi, could he? Besides, the rumors about Iruka ogling him were surely just that: rumors. It was just coincidence that Iruka had defeated both of Kakashi’s students the day after Kakashi and Sakura had talked about the dating rules. Right?
Not that Kakashi would object to dating Iruka. Hell, he’d been with chuunin before; it was just a title, really. The academy teacher had just proved that it didn’t necessarily mean skill level, what with sparring against both his students, back to back. With a quick hand seal, Kakashi poofed away from his tree, reappearing about 15 feet away from his students and Iruka.

“Well, nice to see you both warming up for today’s training,” he said offhandedly, looking bored as he kept his eye focused on the pages of the book. He was earlier than they’d probably expected, as both of his students looked mildly surprised to see him, but he was still at least a half-hour late. He had being late down to an art, these days. “I do hope you didn’t wear yourselves out… though I have no problem if you did. It’ll just make it interesting.” He glanced up for a moment, studying their faces. Sakura smiled knowingly, though Naruto just raised an eyebrow at the book his teacher was carrying.

Finally, Kakashi glanced over at Iruka, feigning surprise. “Iruka-san, I didn’t expect to find you here. Was there some test I wasn’t aware of that required you to see how far they’ve come along? I mean, you’re welcome to join our training anytime, I just assumed you were a very busy man.”

“Haha, Kakashi san. I didn’t mean to intrude.” Iruka blushed lightly crossing his arms over his chest. “Sparring with different people is always a good way to keep your skills fresh and make sure you work on obvious problems. Otherwise how do you learn.”

Rubbing the scar on his nose, Iruka studied Kakashi thoughtfully. “No test at all. Just making sure they were learning something.” Grinning at Kakashi in a teasing fashion, Iruka winked. “Learning something besides a million and one reasons someone can be late.”

“Iruka sensei don’t you have class today?” Naruto inquired tilting his head.

“Nope they have supplementary classes today and I get to grade them.” Shuddering Iruka grimaced. “Times like this I wish I could just set up an obstacle course and give them a field practical instead of actual written work. All the book smarts in the world isn’t going to help you if you don’t have the practical know how.”

“Iruka sensei you have no idea how true that is.” Sakura agreed having been a prime example of that herself. “You should think about making an obstacle course as part of the final exam. It would definitely help weed out the non committed.”

“True. What are your thoughts, Kakashi san?” Raising an eyebrow, Iruka tilted his head and studied Kakashi.

“Well, of course I agree with Sakura,” Kakashi said, nodding firmly. “This is a dangerous life we lead, and not being fully committed to completing missions and protecting our comrades and our village can mean death, to ourselves and to those around us. It could save lives if the non-committed were weeded out in the beginning.”

He shrugged after a moment, glancing at his two students. “It’d also save a lot of training time if the genin are fully prepared for what their jounin sensei are going to teach them. The only reason these two passed my test and became my students was because they understood the value of teamwork, even if it meant going against direct orders. Neither of them were very good at applying their knowledge in a practical setting… and it took a while to teach them how to do just that.”

Wiping the serious expression from his face, Kakashi turned back to Iruka and smiled behind the mask. It felt strange to be speaking to the chuunin in a completely social setting, without the mission desk between them. Not unpleasant, but definitely strange. He could get used to it. “That’s just what I think. It’s completely up to you. I don’t know much about children, certainly not as much as you do, but that’s how I see it.”

“More than likely they would treat it as a game.” Shifting his weight slightly on the spot, Iruka tapped his chin. “Well when the time comes I hope you all know that you have already be pre hired for the mission of assisting me. “So you may want to start researching now. I expect fresh ideas and a willingness to torture the younger generation in an effort to prepare them for real ninja life.”

“Why do I get the feeling that I am going to kick myself for agreeing with this idea later?” Asking the rhetorical question, Iruka smiled at Naruto’s maturity. Though still occasionally absent, Naruto had come a long way.

“Because you just said you expected a willingness to torture the younger generation,” Naruto pointed out, grinning. “And if there’s one thing Kakashi-sensei knows how to do, it’s torturing little kids in the name of training.”

“Oh, come on, Naruto, he never tortured us!” Sakura cut in, though she couldn’t help but laugh.

“He’s tied me to a stump! He takes pleasure in sparring with me just to point out my mistakes and use them to his advantage… very painfully! Come on, Sakura, he’s ruthless!”

Kakashi just chuckled fondly, not denying any of it. “Well, if you dislike my training methods that much, maybe I should start getting Gai to help you? You could use some more bumps on the head, maybe it’d knock some sense into you.”

Naruto fell into a shocked silence, gaping at his sensei as though he’d just sprouted another head. Kakashi chuckled again and stowed away his book. “Now, I know after all that, you must be hungry. How about we grab some lunch before official training begins? Iruka-san, you’re welcome to join us… maybe you can tell me exactly what they did that enabled you to defeat them?”

“I need to grab a shirt.” Iruka started to decline but a Naruto clone appeared with a black tank top. Looking at Naruto with a raised eyebrow, Iruka put the shirt on as the clone dispersed. Looking at Kakashi with a grin, Iruka responded. “I would love to come.”
Swatting a grinning Naruto over the head for being a smart ass he continued. “Defeating them is easy. I don’t know why you need me to tell you how I did it.”

“Ha!” Naruto exclaimed. “You forget when I was little and jiji use to bring me to watch your fights with him and his bo.” Launching into a story about Iruka sensei and the Third’s ‘legendary’ spars.

Iruka blushed to his toes before smacking Naruto on the back of the head. “What have I told you about deception being a ninja artform? Hiruzen jisan was holding back I am sure and I hardly ever won.”

Wincing Naruto turned and gave Iruka a speaking glance that made Iruka very very worried to what he would say next.

“We should get ramen!” Iruka grabbed at the only thing that he could think of to distract Naruto. At Naruto’s torn expression, Iruka struggled to keep a neutral expression. When Naruto’s eyes squinted Iruka got nervous.

Kakashi watched the duo with barely contained interest. What had that expression been on Naruto’s face? Why on earth had Iruka looked worried? They were two very good questions, and Kakashi decided that he wanted to get the answers to them… and that meant he was going to have to poke and prod and pry, while maintaining his aloof demeanor. Of course, with Sakura’s help, it wasn’t going to be all that difficult, as long as she remained firmly on Kakashi’s side in all this.

Not that he thought she would switch to a different side, or anything. There wasn’t even a different side to switch to. Oh well, Kakashi still wanted Sakura as his confidante in all of this secret admirer business, and in pursuing his own interests. Which right now included finding out more about Iruka, and figuring out what he was trying to keep under wraps that Naruto knew so much about.

“Right. Let’s go, then, before Ichiraku’s gets crowded. They do make the best ramen in the village,” he said after a long moment, shoving his hands in his pockets and tilting his head toward the training ground gates. “I’m sure Teuchi-san is missing his best customers already.”

For another moment, Naruto studied Iruka seriously before a bright smile stretched across his face. “Fine I will be bribed with ramen but I want an introduction to your tattoo artist!” Leading the way to Ichiraku’s Iruka facepalmed in dismay. Shuffling along.

“Why, Naruto why?” Iruka looked heavenward mournfully as Sakura giggled. “Not you too Sakura!”

“I have never seen your tattoos either, sensei. Who knew you had such a collection? Do you have any more?” Sakura teased and Iruka staggered.

“You have been hanging out with Naruto too long. We need to find you someone else to be around regularly surely Shino will work he hardly talks at all.” Quickly stepping out of range, Iruka dodged the hit of Sakura and lightly maneuvered around Kakashi as Sakura chased him.

Kakashi felt a warm smile tugging at his lips as he watched his students and Iruka banter back and forth. Normally, he would have stepped toward one side or the other to either assist Sakura in catching Naruto or to hinder the girl, but with Iruka, the jounin just let them go. He wasn’t one to get between anyone and their students, and Naruto and Sakura still considered Iruka as a teacher, even if Kakashi was their sensei and team leader.

“I must admit I’m curious, too, Iruka-san,” he piped up, his smile growing into a full out grin beneath the mask. “Do you have any more? I didn’t even think of you as the sort to have tattoos, so this is an interesting development.” Who exactly was the man known as Umino Iruka? Somehow, the mother-hen image didn’t work for him in Kakashi’s mind anymore. Oh, sure, Iruka was still very much a mother hen, especially when it came to his students, both former and current, but now it was more of a … papa wolf sort of thing.

Kakashi made a note not to get on his bad side where students were concerned. Screw testing out Sakura’s theory about hot-tempered pranksters in bed; he had a feeling he wouldn’t live long enough to even begin extending the invitation. Now, pushing Iruka’s buttons and sparking his temper without bringing kids into the mix… hell yeah.

“Come on, Iruka-sensei, tell us!” Sakura begged in a singsong voice, ducking around Kakashi to get to the chuunin. “I wanna see ‘em if you do!”

Paling significantly, Iruka shook his finger at Sakura and Kakashi both. “No I will not show you. What has Kakashi been teaching you?” Throwing his hands up in the air in an exaggerated fashion, Iruka ran off. Sakura followed behind laughing and yelling.

With a sigh, the real Iruka popped up from an alleyway and grinned at Kakashi. “Gotta love how the old clone trick still works no matter how old students get. Remember when they were so short that you could still see the tops of their heads when you smacked them. Ahhh memories.” Giving Kakashi a conspiring grin, Iruka put his hands in his pockets. Greeting the different villagers by name as they went along.

“To think that one day Naruto wants to run the village and Sakura wants to run the hospital. The image is terrifying in its plausibility. I do wonder though what the great former sensei of Team 7 will be doing when the time comes?”

He’d end up right back on ANBU duty, and Kakashi knew it. Sure, teaching the brats was fun and all, but he was the Man of a Thousand Jutsu, the Copy Ninja, one of the very few people alive that possessed the Sharingan. He had only been taken off of the active ANBU roster because the Third had decided to dump a genin team on him, and Kakashi would go right back when he had the chance.

“Oh, you know, taking a few missions here and there, having challenges with Gai, showing up to everything late, reading Icha Icha around the village and causing mothers everywhere to increase their dislike of me.”

Kakashi shrugged, tilting his head back to glance up at the sky, as he normally did while walking through the village if he didn’t have his nose stuck in his books. “I have a feeling life will be a lot different without Naruto and Sakura as my students… you know? They’re really something.”

“Oh believe me I know.” Iruka nudged Kakashi with his shoulder. “They won’t let you fade into the black. Who knows they may drop another genin team on you just to make your hair go white.” Giggling at that particular mental image, Iruka smiled. “Even though you won’t necessarily be directly teaching them you are still their sensei even when you kick them out of the nest so to speak. Them succeeding reflects on how well you teach them what lessons that they needed to learn in life.” Feeling contemplative, Iruka smiled privately. “Though they will never know a tenth of what you know they gain their own knowledge.”

“Besides if Naruto is the Hokage you get to still make his blood pressure skyrocket by being late or you get to see if he finds a way to make you on time.” Chuckling when another mental image assaulted him Iruka continued, “ When you inevitably end up in the hospital Sakura will find a way to keep you there until she feels you are ready to be let out. Hopefully your skills are still up to par with escaping or you have a willing accomplice.”

“It sounds like you’re underestimating me, Iruka-san,” Kakashi said simply, chuckling. “I avoided taking a genin team for years, and if I did get stuck testing one, I normally failed them. As for getting out of the hospital…” He smirked. “Sakura-chan knows perfectly well that I recuperate better at home, in my own bed, than in the hospital with nurses in and out nearly all the time. And who knows if they’ll try to peek under the mask while I’m out? Call me paranoid, but no way.”

He shook his head and glanced over at his companion. “And I will always be late, unless something’s really worth being on time for. Ever considered the fact that I may just love making dramatic entrances? Really, if I showed up on time, Naruto would declare me an imposter and I’d be taken in for questioning. Being on time isn’t worth it.”

By then, they had reached the ramen stand, with Sakura and Naruto already there and saving them seats. Kakashi’s mind was spinning. He could have sworn Iruka was flirting with him a little back there… but he wasn’t sure, because it was so… well, it sounded slightly flirty, but surely the rumors were false, so why would Iruka flirt with him?

And if they were true? Well… then he’d better get the secret admirer business over with soon.

For a moment, Iruka was slightly thrown by the fact that his subtle attempts at flirting had been ignored or brushed aside. Really he was baffled a bit. Kakashi had seemed interested but maybe Iruka was reading too much into things. Though the two of them had held a conversation walking through the village without Kakashi pulling out his book. So on the one hand that was a good sign, on the other hand.

Sensing Sakura’s fist coming towards him, Iruka caught it and kissed her knuckles lightly. “Now Sakura chan, why are you so violent towards me today. Don’t you love me anymore?” Teasing the pink haired girl into a blush was highly rewarding and Iruka grinned merrily.

“You have to answer my question. You sent me chasing after a clone!” Sakura shook her finger at Iruka and Naruto laughed.

“I can’t believe you fell for it!” Naruto laughed.

“You fell for it when we were sparring.” Iruka pointed out diplomatically as they began placing their order.

“Come on Iruka sensei,” Naruto wheedled. “At least answer one of our questions.”

“Fine, you three can each ask one question and I will answer one of the questions of my choice.” Iruka responded after some thought.

“All right, Iruka-sensei. Since you wanna play that game...” Naruto said, smirking in such a way that Kakashi was suddenly reminded of the demon fox that resided within the boy. Talk about a predatory look… good thing Neji wasn’t around to see it, or the Hyuuga might just drag the blonde off. “Who do you have a crush on?”

“If we’re going there, are the rumors floating around true?” Sakura cut in, looking excited. If she could set up her two teachers… that would be amazing!

“I thought this entire conversation started because we were talking about his tattoos,” Kakashi said, sounding surprised. “I’m keeping my original one.” He glanced back at Iruka and raised a brow. “If you have a third tattoo… where is it?” Oh, he could imagine some answers to that question… and even if Iruka didn’t choose to answer Kakashi’s question, he was sure he’d be able to find out the answer another way.

For a moment silence reigned and then Iruka burst out laughing. “You mean you finally can ask anything and I mean anything and I have to answer one of your questions and the best you can come up with is....” Clenching the table for support, Iruka laughed helplessly before pulling himself together. “So I only have to answer one question. Now which would be the easiest one or rather who should I answer.”

Thinking for a moment and standing Iruka grinned at his dining companions. “After some thought I have decided that it would be prudent to answer Naruto’s question if only because he knows the answer already and is just trying to embarrassment I am sure.”

“Consider it payback for our spar.” Laughing Naruto dug into his ramen while, Iruka toed the ground bashfully.

“I have a crush on Hatake Kakashi.” Mumbling his statement, Iruka blushed, coughed and then sat back down. Addressing himself to his ramen and appreciating the silence for a moment before Sakura shrieked.

“I KNEW IT!” Sakura stood up pointing while Naruto laughed into his ramen.

Kakashi nearly choked on the ramen he’d managed to sneak a bite of. He coughed, and Sakura took pity on him and clapped him on the back. When he was finally able to breathe again, he looked up at the chuunin with wide, shocked eyes. So the rumors… they were true? But…

And then there was the point of his secret admirer. Whoever it was, they had written in the note that they certainly didn’t want him for his body or his reputation… actually one of the first to do so, besides the ones that were his friends before the brief relationships. And… well, like Kakashi had told Sakura last night, he didn’t normally trust people. But he couldn’t deny that the chuunin interested him enough to at least give him a chance.

“But… why?” he croaked after a moment, rubbing his throat and willing away the ache that had arrived when he’d nearly died eating ramen. What a horrid way to die, especially for a shinobi. “What could you possibly like about me? I’m… I’m… well, I’m me!”

Giggling, Iruka traced a pattern in the wood of the table before he answered. A blush coloring his cheeks. “You are honest in your own way. Observant, not afraid to be who you are. Stubborn as all get out in your convictions, loyal to those you deem worthy, protective over your precious people and determined. What’s not to like? You tend to say what you mean in your own way and you are challenging. There is no easy switch with you and I can appreciate that. Though it does occasionally make me want to wring your neck.”

“That doesn’t sound like a crush. It sounds like love.” Naruto commented wisely. “Not a single comment on his body or his power just personality and the way he is.”

“NARUTO!” Iruka bellowed giving Naruto a look of intent that had Naruto downing his ramen and scooting away from the counter.

“Sensei remember your inside voice.” Naruto teased.

Sakura meanwhile had stars in her eyes.

“Well… all right then,” he mumbled, scratching the back of his neck. “I suppose those are good reasons to like someone.” He dutifully ignored Naruto’s comment because he wasn’t sure how to take it. But how to proceed? Ask him to dinner? No, Sakura had cooked for him last night, so he had to return the favor…

“I know!” Sakura exclaimed, snapping out of her daze. “I’m supposed to have dinner with Kakashi-sensei tonight and discuss my training schedule, but I can’t because something came up, so Iruka-sensei can go in my place!” She turned big, shiny eyes toward the jounin, who gaped at her. “Come on, Kakashi-sensei, you’re going to be cooking anyway, and I can’t get out of it tonight!” She turned to Iruka and pulled the same expression. “That way you two can talk and get to know each other! Come on, it’s perfect!”

Kakashi sighed, but a chuckle escaped him before he could stop it. “Well… all right. What do you say, Iruka-san? Dinner with me?”

“You know you want to, Sensei!” Naruto whispered loudly.

Pinching the bridge of his nose, Iruka regarded his former students and Kakashi for a moment before nodding. “I would like that Kakashi san. Shall I bring anything?”

“Woot! Iruka and Kakashi sitting in a tree...K-I-S-S-I-N-G----” Naruto was abruptly cut off when he was smacked in the back of the head.

“Sakura are you sure you don’t have time though?” Tilting his head, Iruka suddenly gasped. “Oh no I owed Lee dinner, too.” Shaking his head, Iruka sighed. “Well there is no help for it. If I am taking your place that you can take mine. We had reservations at the Golden Eye restaurant.”

“Well I...” Sakura sputtered torn.

“It is just a friendly dinner.” Iruka smiled. “Besides you will be one of the privileged few to see Lee out of spandex.”

“I will admit that Lee out of spandex has a certain appeal.” Scratching his chin and nodding Naruto regarded Sakura thoughtfully. “You are always looking for an opportunity to dress to the nines and this would be it. Not to mention the youth talk tends to rarely make an appearance outside of work.”

“Fine, I mean it is only dinner, right?” Sakura agreed thoughtfully. “But what will I wear?”

“Don’t look at me. I am male and I can coordinate colors but that is about it.” Iruka held his hands up.

“I wear an orange jumpsuit regularly and Neji dresses me for fancy occasions.” Naruto put in.

“I know what looks good though!” Naruto and Iruka chimed together laughing.

“Don’t worry about bringing anything unless you want to, Iruka-san,” Kakashi said thoughtfully, already going through his cooking plans for the night. If Iruka was going to come to Kakashi’s house for dinner, then he’d have to go through and stash away his beauty products. Sure, he’d invited the man over, thanks to Sakura ‘canceling’ on him and subsequently getting an invitation somewhere else for dinner, but Kakashi wasn’t exactly ready for his secret to get out just yet. He didn’t know Iruka that well, and it’d taken Genma years before Kakashi told him.

“Kakashi-sensei, did you want me to…?”

“No, Sakura-chan, I can clean up my own apartment. You, Naruto, and Iruka-san can figure out what you’re going to wear to dinner and then you can send Iruka-san along when you’re done.”

She pouted at him. Normally they took hours getting her ready for her dates, dressing her up, pampering her… getting ready for anything at Kakashi’s was like going to a salon. But she knew that he had to ‘clean’ and cook on top of that, and didn’t have time to bend to her whims. Not like it was a date anyway, she told herself firmly. Just friendly dinner, so Lee wouldn’t be alone and Kakashi-sensei and Iruka-sensei could have a nice, romantic dinner.

Part 4