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Seals and Shorebirds

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Kakashi woke up to a mouthful of brown hair, a dead arm, and more warmth than he had felt in years. It took him all of thirty seconds to piece together the reason for all of these things was the man asleep next to him. Iruka. He had known the man for about a month and since the day of his arrival, his thoughts had circled him like a compass to a magnet.

Kakashi’s gaze drifted to the row of rocks along the windowsill and his heart fluttered a bit at the fact that Iruka had kept them. All of them. He glanced down at the frazzled head beside him before finally giving in and gently climbing out of the bed to go relieve his bladder. He passed by the sitting room and relaxed when he saw no one was there, going in to make some tea. While waiting for the water to boil he decided he might as well start a fresh pot of coffee. Once both were done, he grabbed his book from the table, two mugs (one coffee one tea), and went back to sit at Iruka’s desk.

Iruka woke up around noon. By that time Kakashi had already sent fifteen emails back and forth with The Foundation (from his phone), finished his book, and was getting very worried that Iruka was ill, despite Izumo assuring him that Iruka always slept in late when he didn’t have to work. Kakashi didn’t actually believe anyone could sleep that late.

“Hey.” Iruka sleepily poked his head out of the blanket cocoon he had made after Kakashi left the bed.

“Good morning Sensei. Did you sleep well?”

“Had the weirdest dream.”

“I certainly hope it wasn’t like the one I have where Gai decides to take up aqua aerobics.”

Iruka laughed briefly, the smile remaining on his face. “Nah. It was actually about you.”

“Was I doing aqua aerobics?”

“hmm. No. But there were other aerobics involved.”

“other aerobics? Were those aerobics with you?”

“Towards the end. After you convinced me to build a snowman and we cuddled in an igloo.”

“That doesn’t sound so strange.”

“The snowman looked like Gai.”

Kakashi laughed, “Alright that is strange.”

“You even put a green tracksuit on it.” Iruka yawned sleepily.

Kakashi laughed and held out the mug of coffee to Iruka who unborrowed and sat up. He had gone and replaced the coffee a few times so it was still hot. Iruka took a sit before holding it to his chest and closing his eyes. “I have a confession.”

Kakashi’s breath caught in his throat. He knew this had been too good to be true.

“I have a roommate. Sort of like my brother? But also sort of a son?” Kakashi let out a breath.

“A brother son?”

“He’s fourteen. We went through foster care together for a while. He’s been living with me for five years now.” Kakashi let that sink in. He didn’t really have family aside from a few close friends and his dogs. Oh. Iruka didn’t know about the dogs.

“I have a confession too,” Iruka looked up at him with his brow pinched in concern and Kakashi fought a laugh, “I have eight dogs.”

Iruka blinked, “eight? Where do you keep them? Were they with you in the arctic? Why are they not here?

Kakashi couldn’t help his smile at the tone Iruka used as if the dogs not being at the research facility was a crime. “A friend of mine was watching them while I was in the arctic and he’s watching them now too. Tsunade told me I absolutely could not bring them with me. I tried.”

“Bosses take the fun out of everything.” Iruka drank some more coffee, “Where are you planning on heading after this?”

“My father owned a few real estate places that I rented out to friends for income. There’s a few about forty minutes from Konoha. I can probably crash at one of those for a bit until I find my own place. I will have to go to HQ a few times for appearances but the job is mostly remote so I don’t have to worry too much about where I wind up.”

“Oh! That’ll be good! My apartment is in Konoha. That’s where I teach.”

“So quick to get me to your place? We haven’t even been on a date yet.”

“Hmm.” Iruka’s cheeks flushed, “you’re right. We will have to fix that.”



The day finally came for Iruka to leave. His time was up and while Izumo and Kotetsu still had winter preparations to do, Iruka was a volunteer and had already pushed the limits of his stay. Iruka sighed as he looked at his bag sitting against the desk in the now bare room. All of the rocks Kakashi had given him had been removed from the windowsill and placed in a small pocket in his jacket. Their weight pressing against his side. Iruka closed his eyes and breathed in the smell of the place once more before finally moving to pick up his bag.

Everyone was gathered at the door talking. Kakashi was also leaving that day and was already wrapped in his scarf, jacket, and hat. Iruka managed to pull his shoes on before Izumo and Kotetsu crushed him in a hug. Iruka managed to get them to let go when he promised to visit them on the mainland more. Gai shook his hand firmly, saying something about how they will surely meet again and how it was a joyous occasion to have met him and work with him and how happy he was that he and Kakashi were finally getting along. Iruka grinned and waved as Kakashi pulled him out the door by his hand. When Kakashi start the hike across the island to the dock, Iruka pulled his hand from his.

“Wait.” Iruka turned toward the door and ran his fingers along the plaque with his parents’ names. “Until next time.” He kissed his fingers and placed them against their names before turning and catching up with Kakashi.

“So, where do you want to go for dinner?” Kakashi asked as they walked hand in hand, the breeze blowing and the sun shining against the ocean. Turns cried out on the shoreline and the seals lay about in piles and Iruka smiled because for the first time in years he was ready to go home.