Title: Moving Forward
Summary: Letting go isn't easy, but moving forward does have it's rewards.
Warnings: AU, Yaoi Pairing
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto and I didn't make a penny writing this. I just enjoyed playing with the characters.
Dedicated to: PurpleDragon42
A/N: I hope you like this, hun.
"Coffee. Black." Iruka smiled and held the styrofoam cup out.
Kakashi regarded him for a moment, tucked the bright-orange novel that he was reading into his jacket, and then accepted the cup. "Thank you, Iruka-sensei."
"They'll be graduating soon." The words set a little butterfly free in his stomach the way anything that Kakashi seemed to say or do did. He nodded towards the kids who sat eating lunch on the grass. Smoothing his hair back, Iruka tightened his ponytail and sighed.
Lifting the medical mask, Kakashi took a sip. "Mah... that's true and they won't be your students anymore. They'll be employees and the tools of corporations or soldiers."
The thought sent a pang twinging across Iruka's chest. "I'm not sure they're ready for that."
Kakashi scoffed and shook his head. "I'm not sure that you are."
Iruka frowned. "Ass." He hated this condescending asshole side of Kakashi. The man was attractive with his odd silver spikes and pale skin, but he was also often an ass. Iruka readily admitted the man's looks were better than his own. He looked more like a rice farmer with his tan skin and his dark brown hair and eyes were nothing unusual or striking. Likely that was part of why Kakashi got away with so much. The fact that he was attracted to him didn't help. The fact that the man said some of the most insanely dickish things didn't even change that. Irritated, both with himself and Kakashi, he reached up and rubbed the bridge of his nose, his finger brushing harshly over the scar that bisected his nose and cheeks.
"Maybe. However, it is true." He leaned back against the brick wall of the building and turned a lazy, miss-matched gaze toward Iruka. "Don't you believe in them?"
"YES! Of course I do!" Iruka snapped. It wasn't that simple. They were his students, his kids, of course he believed in them. He was also terrified for them. Some of them wouldn't be ready for the cut throat business world or the harsh, strict life of the military and he was terrified of where that could lead them.
"Then--" Kakashi raised an eyebrow, "--you don't believed they've earned this?"
"That's not it!" He wanted to punch Kakashi right then. Only the knowledge that the man was at one time military special-ops kept him from doing so. All of the teachers at The Academy were ex-military, himself included, but those of Kakashi's rank were rare.
"Then?" The question was stated simply, blandly, and in an almost bored tone; Kakashi eyes never strayed from Iruka's though.
"I guess... I'm just going to miss them and somebody has to worry about them." The student body was made up of trust fund kids for the most part and more than a few of them were orphans with only corporate guardians or distant relatives to look after them. Of the ones that still had their parents, many of those parents were graduates of The Academy and worked for the Konoha Corporation or one of it's subsidiaries. They were 'future leaders', and Iruka wondered how many people remembered that they were also kids. Soon they'd be adults, but he couldn't help but wonder if it was too soon.
Frowning, Iruka looked down at the ground, unable to meet Kakashi's measuring gaze anymore. It was true. Naruto hadn't started off as his favorite, but he was. Iruka loved Naruto like a son and he was terrified of what life after graduation held for him.
Kakashi laughed softly, downed the rest of the coffee and set it on the window sill behind Iruka. "You're such a mom."
He punched Kakashi in the shoulder and glared at him. "I'm not a woman!" It was only after the words were out that he realized what he'd done. His breath caught and he could feel the blood leave his face.
Kakashi narrowed his eyes at him, the rest of his face covered and unreadable.
Iruka felt his stomach drop out from under him. "Well I'm not! Just because you're eager to see them out of here doesn't mean I have to be." He very deliberately glared right back at Kakashi. "You spend all your time with your nose in those perverted books when you're supposed to be evaluating the kids so of course you're not going to miss them," he huffed. "All it means to you is that you'll have more time to read."
Looking up towards the horizon and the mountain, Kakashi chuckled. "Minato-sensei would be glad to see he has you to look out for him. You have the same temper...ment that his wife had."
Flattening his expression, Iruka gritted his teeth. "I'll take that as a compliment this time," he mumbled, unimpressed. There was a chance that it actually was one; Kakashi had been under Minato back in the war and it was a known fact that they were very close.
Kakashi closed his eyes, in what was the man's rendition of a smile. "Good, because it was one."
At best it was a back-handed one. "You need to work on how to give them then."
Opening his eyes, Kakashi lifted a brow. "Perhaps you could help me with that over dinner?"
The request surprised Iruka and he blinked. "I..." He really hadn't expected that.
"Mah, Sensei, don't look so stunned." Kakashi tilted his head to the side and the faintest blush colored his cheeks where the mask didn't cover them. "I do put my book away when I talk to you, I thought it was fairly obvious that I was interested."
His own cheeks warmed and Iruka looked away. "I hadn't... it wasn't... uh..." His chest tightened and the butterfly in his stomach decided to have a party with about a thousand friends. He'd thought Kakashi was just putting up with him because he was stubborn and hard to ignore.
"If you'd rather not-"
"No!" Iruka cut him off, looking up. "I would. I would very much like to have dinner with you." The flush on his cheeks warmed further, crawling down his neck and leaving him feeling overly warm even in the cool winter air.
"Ah..." Kakashi shifted his weight. "Then... after school?"
"Today would be nice, yes, though I have some paperwork to finish so later? Like seven?" Iruka didn't have a damn thing that couldn't wait, but he wanted to get a shower and change before so he needed the time.
Kakashi nodded and looked back at the kids. "I'll miss them too."
It was obviously a distraction and Iruka took it. They still had half an hour for lunch and an entire day to get through. A change, or return to topic, was welcomed. "Especially Naruto?"
Their kids were graduating and leaving soon, but at least he now had something to look forward to. Iruka smiled and slid a little closer to Kakashi.