Finally !!!!! The final part of the final chapter...*sigh*..I'm already missing Ruka-chan ~!!!
THE TRUTH BEHIND THE MASK
“ There must be more they could do !!! ”
“ Naruto, they are doing their best for Kakashi. The Hokage herself is personally looking into it ” Maito Gai said with a kind smile, ruffling the boy’s blond hair.
“ But its not enough ! It’s been what ? Five hours ! Kakashi-sensei might die because of their stupidity ! ”
“ We all have to be patient for this ”
“ He’s right you know ” Sasuke pointed out flatly, speaking for the first time in hours.
“ Shut up Sasuke ! ” shouted Naruto, seriously annoyed with the cool Uchiha boy “ What do you know about feelings ? All you care about is your revenge and aside from that nothing else or no one else matters ! ” The Kyuubi boy yelled in frustration, barely noticing the sudden hurt look in the other’s eyes. “ You never did care for anyone…” wailed the blonde boy.
Without a word, Sasuke grabbed Naruto’s hand and dragged him out of the waiting lounge. “ Look ! ” he hissed pointing towards a lone figure sitting on a bench “ I care enough to know that Iruka-sensei is hurting too. And by getting hysterical will not help him to ease the burden ! ”.
Naruto was trembling now, the two most prominent people in his life were hurting and there was nothing he could do. He felt weak and useless as tears ran down his face.
I’m a useless fool ! I can’t even protect those I care !
Suddenly, to his utter surprise, gentle fingers reached out to wipe the fallen tears.
“ I care Naruto ” the Uchiha boy whispered softly, almost inaudible. “ Don’t you date forget it ”
“ Dobe… ”
“ Come here, Dobe…”
Slowly, the last of the Uchiha reached out and pulled his trembling teammate into a gentle embrace that would seal their fate forever. “ I care Naruto ”
I’ve always cared Dobe…
Especially for you….
* * * * * *
“ Iruka…” Jiraiya said coming up to the despondent Chuunin with two cups of steaming beverage “ Like some coffee ? ”
The Chuunin glanced up and shook his head.
The Sennin sighed and sat down beside him. They had been waiting for almost six hours, but it could well have been six days , or six weeks with all their anxiety. And during that time, he realized that Iruka has not moved from the position or uttered a single word.
“ It’s not good for you to be here alone ”
Iruka remained silent.
He stayed for a little while longer before decided to leave the Chuunin his privacy. He was about to stand up when Iruka finally spoke.
“ Why Jiraiya-sama ? ” the Chuunin asked, voice slightly hoarse “ Why would he do that for a worthless Chuunin like me ”
The Sennin paled when he saw the pain in the depth of the other’s beautiful brown eyes. Gently he gathered the Chuunin in his arms, running soothing fingers through the other’s thick brown hair. “ You’re not worthless Iruka ” he corrected “ You’re someone worth saving you know ”.
“ I’m so confused…I..I just don’t know anymore ” stammered the Chuunin, trying his best to hold back the tears. “ before he passed out, he even told me that he was sorry for giving me up and that it was for my own safety ” .Tears were flowing down his smooth cheeks “ I don’t understand him…”
The Sennin was suddenly silent. There was a conflicting thought running in his mind simultaneously.
You have given your word….was one, while the other screamed…But Iruka has the right to know
It was not his place to tell Iruka, yet after seeing the Chuunin’s suffering face, he relented. He has always liked the young Umino and he was not sure if what he was about to do would help him in any way or would cause him more pain.
But Iruka has the right to know…
“ Iruka…” he began slowly “ I know that most people would think Kakashi as cold and detached. But for as long as I know him, ha has always been an amiable person. Always putting the interest of others before his own especially for the ones he love ”
Iruka blinked the tears away and listened to this other side of the Copy Ninja.
“ You see, Thirteen years ago….one of our Anbu team was sent on a joint mission with the Sands to retrieve some missing scrolls. It was there that the legendary Sand Ninja, Shikemazu Tenji first laid eyes on the young Hatake Kakashi and fell madly in love with him. Kakashi of course found such feeling between men despicable and shrugged the ninja away. This angered him and for that he vowed to kill anyone whom Kakashi cared for. You remember Rin, Kakashi’s teammate ? ”
Iruka nodded, remembering the beautiful girl who used to hang out with them.
“ She was the first to be killed. Tenji thought that she was Kakashi’s girlfriend. The poor boy has never stopped blaming himself for her death and because of that he was willing to sacrifice his happiness to protect the friend whom he cared for more than anything in the world ”.
The Sennin paused for awhile, looking intensely at the beautiful young man before him, “ The friend he was trying to protect was his most precious person; an orphaned boy named Umino Iruka ”
* * * * * *
“ Tsuande, how is he ? ” Jiraiya asked on behalf of the rest of the shinobi in the room.
The blonde woman sighed, looking exhausted and drained. “ To tell you the truth, I’m not sure” she began, slowly lowering herself on the sofa “ He’s still in a very serious state. The katana punctured his heart. We had to cast a jutsu on him to regenerate the damaged tissue ”
Jiraiya eyes narrowed “ Casting a jutsu on him while he’s in that state ? That’s dangerous even with all you skills Tsunade ”
“ You think I don’t know that ! ” snapped the Godaime. In spite of her outburst, they could clearly see sadness in her eyes “ I’ve tried everything. But the bleeding won’t stop. We can’t regenerate the heart tissue if it doesn’t stop pumping ”
“ So you decided to inanimate him ? ” Jiraiya looked quite angry
“ I had no other alternative. He would have died anyway ”
The three Genins paled. For once, they were glad that Iruka was not around.
“ We can only know if the method works when he wakes up” Tsunade said rubbing her tired eyes.
“ What if he doesn’t ? ” asked Sakura innocently
“ Then he will have to be put to rest ”
“ He’s not a dog !! ” wailed the blonde boy suddenly, tears of anger streaming down his face.
“ You’d rather see him living the remaining of his life as a vegetable ? ” asked the Godaime, eyes flashing with both resentment and grief.
“ You call that an option ? ” Sasuke asked, frowning.
“ No ” Tsunade answered, eyes softening a little “ I call that hope ”
* * * * * *
The Chuunin steeled himself before he pushed the door opened.
The room was dark and through the moon light that streamed in through the opened shutters, he could clearly see Kakashi’s still, almost lifeless figure amidst the intricate weave of wires and tubes.
Silently, he drew a chair next to Kakashi’s bed, and took the older man’s cold hand in his.
I’m here Kashi…I’m here.
* * * * * *
18 Days later…..
One thing for sure, Kakashi knew that he was still alive.
Slowly, he peered his eyelids opened and surveyed his surrounding with sleep-glazed eyes, silently noting the flowers, which was turning the small room into a temporary florist, some chocolate, plenty of cards which was scattered on the tables.
He stiffened momentarily when he realized a strange warm weight was pressed against the whole length of his left body and ….
Erk ! Wait. Was that someone breathing against his neck ?
With much difficulty, Kakashi tried adjusting his head to get a better look when his nose caught a familiar scent and a glimpse of long, silky brown hair, sprawled all over his shoulder.
* * * * * *
Iruka stirred, slowly waking up from sleep.
It was a while since he was able to sleep this well and the rest was doing him a lot of good. He muffled a yawn and nuzzled against the pale neck next to him, inhaling its sweet and distinctive scent.
The Chuunin smiled as he slowly wrapped his arm around the Jounin’s waist, holding him gently. Shizune would kill him if she found him all wrapped up against the Hokage’s personal patient, but his back was starting to hurt from weeks of sleeping on the uncomfortable chair and for once he wanted a good rest.
Last night, although Kakashi was still unconscious, Tsunade had informed him that the Jounin’s recovery was progressing well and that his injuries seemed to be mending perfectly. This news delighted Iruka to no end and after that he was not quite sure how he ended up sleeping next to the Copy Ninja on the narrow hospital bed.
He snuggled closer and smiled. The knowledge that his best friend was alive was very elating and making him almost dizzy with happiness.
However, as the sun began to rise, the more practical part of Iruka’s mind started to reason out and reminded him of his duties.
“ Good Morning Kashi ” he whispered, not really expecting an answer. It has become a routine for him to greet Kakashi every morning before starting his day.
With a sigh, the Chuunin hesitantly got up, stretched for a bit and grabbed his toiletries before heading towards the bathroom.
* * * * * *
Kakashi slowly opened his eyes when he heard the bathroom door clicked shut. He blinked a few times, not exactly sure what was happening. With the bits and pieces he managed to observed, he summarized and concluded on the following:
Firstly, he had just recovered from a near death experience and was still in the hospital.
Secondly, he was lying on a narrow bed, practically naked save for the thin blanket covering him.
And Thirdly, Iruka actually slept with him. Literally coiling his warm body against his in that deliciously innocent manner that made his heart ran amok.
It was not as if they have never slept together. In the past, they have often shared the same bed and even cuddled on occasions, but why was this time any different.
Baka ! It’s because at that time you were only eleven and he was just ten….his subconscious mind answered, berating his status as a genius.
The Copy Ninja sighed as his hand wandered to his neck, touching the warm spot where the Chuunin had tenderly nuzzled and breathed his morning greeting. He could still feel the tingling sensation there and frowned
Why was he so effected by this ?
Suddenly the bathroom door clicked opened and Kakashi immediately closed his eyes, feigning sleep.
He heard the Chuunin moved about the room, humming softly a familiar tune which he immediately recognized. Kakashi fought back a smile. It was a tune from a song they used to love back then and Iruka would hum it every time he was feeling exceptionally happy.
“ Time for your bath Kashi ” the Chuunin said suddenly and the Copy-nin almost jumped out of the bed.
Did he say a bath ?
Kakashi stiffened when he felt the sheets began to slip down the length of his naked body. He struggled for control as Iruka’s cloth covered hand skimmed across the muscled plains of his upper body. The feeling was sinfully good and he had to bit his lips from groaning when it went towards his flat, muscled stomach.
Alarm bells of all sorts were ringing in his mind as the cloth slipped lower still.
“ Not so fast Chuunin ” he croaked, reaching out suddenly to grab the very naughty hand which was delving for his private parts.
“ GAAAAHHHHHH…..! ” cried Iruka before stumbling backwards in shock. His expression was priceless and Kakashi almost laughed aloud at the way he had caught the prim sensei red handed in a most uncompromising act.
“ S..sorry Kakashi-sensei ” Iruka stuttered an apology as he slowly got up from the floor “ I was just…”
“ Molesting a poor unconscious man ? ”
“ NO !…” Iruka looked mortified, blushing as red as a lobster “ I…I was just trying to c..clean you up ”
Although he had no doubt that Iruka was telling the truth, Kakashi decided to torture the Chuunin-sensei a little bit more since he looked so adorable when flustered. “ Really ? ” the Jounin said, raising a perfect silver eyebrow “ Then, please continue ”
Iruka looked horrified at the request. He tried to resume his task, hesitated, then paled before blushing three different shades of red.
“ K…Kakashi-sensei…I…I… ”
“ Well ? You said you were giving me a bath ? What’s stopping you now ? ”
Kakashi was enjoying this immensely at Iruka’s expense. He could clearly see that the Chuunin was trembling and close to tears in spite of his status as a shinobi.
Then, to Kakashi’s disappointment, Tsunade came to his rescue.
“ Kakashi you pervert ! ” cried Tsunade suddenly from the doorway, trying to sound angry despite the amused look in her eyes “ What are you trying to make Iruka-sensei do ?! ”
“ Giving me a bath of course ” the Jounin answered, curving both eyes into a happy smile as he pulled the blushing man into a warm hug.
The End (For now…)