May 172007
 

Title: Something Stupid
Co-author: Beatrisu
Characters: Kamizuki Izumo, Hagane Kotetsu, Shiranui Genma, Gekkou Hayate
Rating: E
Warnings: Expletives, yaoi, mild violence
Notes: This is all Beatrisu’s doing. She infected my brain with this pairing, and I found myself unable to resist its siren call when she finally called upon me to write it with her. Look for more of this madness from us, in the future, including an in-depth study of the sneezing scene from Chapter 3 of Always Second Best!


Izumo crouched on the ground, hidden by some dense shrubs and bushes near the hideout of the target of their current mission. He could see his partner, a mere shadow on some of the higher branches of a tree close by, scouting the area ahead.

He had wanted to laugh when they’d gotten this particular mission. It seemed much too simple, laughably so, and the man who had requested it was just too amusing for his own good.

However, as their progress had gone, Izumo had begun to think twice about the labelling of the mission as simple, clean and easy. There had been far too few traps, and the few they had found had been simple, only meant to alert, which could imply that their target was stronger, or at least more self-secure, than they had initially expected. He had come to understand that being cautious and patient would be the only good solution to this, and he also knew that his best friend, Kotetsu, was sorely lacking in both departments.

Kotetsu was a bit too loud and incautious for proper stealth work, so he had a tendency to leave the sneaky parts to Izumo while he handled diversions and open combat. In this case, there were what looked like run-of-the-mill rent-a-guards standing between the two of them and the building they needed to get into. Civilians were not going to be a problem for either of them, but in the interest of time and his own amusement, Kotetsu decided to handle them while Izumo went on alone to claim the set of swords they were here to rescue. He tapped Izumo on the arm, pointing toward the guards and holding up four fingers — there were only four that he had spotted patrolling the exterior. He tapped his chest, crossed his wrists, and waved both hands toward himself. I’ll fight them, and the ones inside will rush out. He pointed to Izumo and then to the building. When they come out, you go in.

Izumo rolled his eyes and sighed silently. Kotetsu always came up with the easiest plans possible, yet he didn’t mind. If this would do the trick, he was willing to go along with it. He gave a slight nod, but couldn’t hold himself back.

He tapped Kotetsu’s hand lightly, running the point of a finger down his own arm, ending with a dismissive motion. Don’t get yourself killed, Kotetsu. Or heavily injured. He pointed at the guards, then indicated his own hitai-ate and clothes, tapping Kotetsu’s chest with the point of his index finger. I know they’re only civilians, but you need to be careful.

When he got an affirmative nod and the trademark shit-eating grin from Kotetsu, he knew this wasn’t going to go well, as planned, or anything along those lines. Yet, he slipped into position, stealthily edging closer to the house as Kotetsu prepared himself for battle.

Examining the guards, Kotetsu decided that flashy was the way to go. He’d attract as much attention as possible, so that no one would notice Izumo. Removing his hitai-ate, he tucked it into his pocket. Flashy and ninja didn’t need to be in the same sentence. That sort of gave the game away. He snapped out a scroll, calling forth his favourite enormous battle axe, and strolled into the clearing with no attempt at concealment.

The first guard to notice him just stared for a moment. The guard then pulled out a whistle, and summoned his compatriots. As the four guards rushed him, Kotetsu just smiled, tapping his foot to the rhythm of that fantastically poppy Shakka Zombie song that was on the radio when they were leaving the village. Civvies. Pfft. This was going to be a cakewalk.

He didn’t figure on killing them — not at first, anyway. He liked to keep the death rate fairly low, and it should be easy enough just to knock them out. Kotetsu swung his axe at the first guard to reach him, turning it at the last moment with the intention of knocking the guy upside the head. And then the guard vanished. Oh, shit. Shinobi. He turned the edge of the axe back out and continued to turn with it, hoping to make contact if the guard had landed behind him. Unfortunately, this was not his lucky day. As two more guards rushed out of the building, Kotetsu decided that it was, in fact, an intrinsically shitty day to be him. He let go of the axe, allowing it to fly towards two of the guards and pulled another scroll out of his pocket. This was not the time for an axe — the loss of speed would get him killed. He needed fast, long, and sharp, and the dual-bladed glaive was obviously the way to go.

Lunging forward, Kotetsu swept the glaive in a surprising backward arc that brought the obvious blade out of the enemy’s path. The second blade took the surprised shinobi between the legs, and split him to the chest. That was one down. Now all he had to do was survive.

Inside the building, Izumo wondered idly whether Kotetsu was done finishing those civilians or if he was having troubles. He could hear the ruckus outside, and understood that his friend had chosen the flashy way of fighting as opposed to being tricky and sneaky. He heaved a mental sigh and rolled his eyes, wondering when his best friend would develop some common sense. Sure, he was intelligent… He just didn’t know how to use the wits handed to him. Unfortunately.

Sneaking into the room with the heirloom swords was actually quite simple once he had it figured out. There were no traps, a fact that was somewhat nagged at the edges of his brain, something which could only mean that these guards were stronger than they had originally assumed.

However, Izumo had faith in his best friend. He was strong and could handle himself well. If he was quick when it came to snatching these wretched swords, they could probably escape with minor scratches. He kept telling himself that as he made his way into the chamber where these objects were said to be located.

Spinning with the glaive tucked under his arm, Kotetsu managed to clear a space around himself. There were still five of them and only one of him. He seriously considered that he might have fucked up, finally — that this might be the one he wasn’t coming back from. He couldn’t spin forever – he needed a plan.

As he tried to figure out how to extract himself from this wholly ridiculous situation, the rain of kunai began. He simply refused to die, and hoped it would be enough. The glaive danced in his hands, clearing most of the blades before they struck, but those few that got through made a mess of his arm and back. Kotetsu stopped spinning suddenly, and lunged, but he only clipped one of the guards. Another tried to leap onto his back, sword drawn, but was deflected by the second blade.

Kotetsu hoped with all his heart that all of the guards were outside. For all that Izumo was competent and stealthy, an unexpected foreign shinobi would seriously skew their plans. And somewhere in the back of his head, Kotetsu still thought of his best friend as delicate – well, delicate for a ninja, anyway.

Stealing the swords was an easy task. There were two civilian brutes there, but they were disposed off quickly, with kunai to the throats. As he rolled the two swords into the protective cloths and secured them neatly, he couldn’t suppress the nagging fear lingering deep inside. He was worried for his wild friend, even though Kotetsu wasn’t exactly delicate, per se, he was still a little too quick to draw conclusions. This trait made it easy for him to underestimate people, which in turn got him landed in bed with large wounds. Izumo was fond of his best friend, make no mistake of that, he was just not so fond of dragging his sorry, wounded and rather heavy ass back home to Konoha all by his lonesome.

He hefted the pack onto his back and drew a couple of kunai out of his pouch, quickly attaching exploding tags to them – just for security. If Kotetsu had gotten himself into trouble, he was the one who had to save his sorry backside, and he intended to be prepared.

He snuck out a back-door and hurried up onto the roof, and, following the noises of combat, he made his way to the front of the house by rooftop. The sight that met him made him let out a strangled, irritated groan.

Down below was Kotetsu, occupied in battle with what appeared to have been six shinobi, the numbers of whom had been reduced to four. Izumo shook his head silently in wonderment and let four kunai soar through the air to dig into the backs of the ones remaining. He’d been lucky that he was intuitive, he thought as he jumped to the ground, smirking to himself as the four shinobi sunk to the ground, the exploding tags having removed quite some portion of their backs.

He quickly cleared the ground between himself and his best friend, giving him a firm smack upside the head and an angry growl. He glared at Kotetsu, his eyes turning an almost eerie black with anger.

"What the hell kinda trouble are you getting yourself into, you fucking idiot?!"

"You’re alright." Kotetsu’s relief was evident as he leaned heavily on the glaive. "Then I did what I meant to do. As long as you’re alright, and you’ve got the stuff, everything’s fine."

There was a truly alarming amount of blood on and near him, and Kotetsu was having trouble figuring out how much of it was his own. He pulled out a few of the more painful kunai and dropped them – at least he told himself he’d dropped them. Really, they’d just sort of slipped out of his fingers.
"Let’s go while the going is good, hm?" Kotetsu offered his friend a wan smile, and limped off toward the edge of the property, using the glaive for support. A trail of blood followed him, and he had to confess that maybe just a bit more of it was his than he might have liked to admit. He smiled bak at Izumo. "Come on, let’s just get out of here, before we find out there were more of them."

Kotetsu wobbled dangerously and finally submitted to the damage. His eyes rolled back in his head as he slumped to the ground, leaving the glaive driven into the grass, like a beacon marking his unconscious body.

"Shit. Shit, shit, shit." Izumo looked patently irritated. "You fucking retard. Don’t you dare die on me."

Izumo sighed heavily and hefted his best friend onto his shoulder. He thanked whichever gods existed that he was taller than Kotetsu, so he wouldn’t have to drag him along the ground.

As he tugged the heavy chuunin along, he wondered idly what the hell he had been stuffing his face with – he was abnormally heavy, or so he thought. It might have also been the fact that his body was completely limp, he was unconscious, after all, and thus seemed heavier than usual.

"You’re such an idiot, Kotetsu," he remarked, more to himself than anything. Kotetsu wouldn’t be able to answer him anyway.

"You know, I always thought you had some brains in there. I mean, you seem intelligent enough, most of the time. And you know what? I was wrong, so I’m sorry. I don’t think I’ll ever forgive you for this, you damned retard." Izumo was a little angry, and a lot terrified as he carried his best friend toward Konoha. He would have to stop for rest sometime during the night, and most likely stay awake to make sure that this fucking idiot stayed alive.

Izumo kept walking for hours, until it was too dark to continue. His burden was heavy, with the swords and the limp man hanging on his back, and as he picked out a nice spot to rest, he tried to deny the ache in his heart and the burning behind his eyes. He was furious!

"If you survive this, I’m going to kick your ass so hard you won’t be able to stand for a fucking week, much less sit, you damn bastard!" He let Kotetsu hit the ground a little more harshly than he had initially intended, and immediately felt a pang of guilt. He fought it down as he set up camp.

Turning to look at his best friend once more, he grumbled quietly, "If you die… I’m going to come after you, and when I find you, I’ll kick you right back alive."

He dragged his friend into the tent and checked over his injuries, prodding and poking at him. They were pretty bad, and some might be lethal if he didn’t tend to them at once. He cursed himself and Kotetsu under his breath as he rubbed ointments into the wounds to prevent infections and wrapped him in bandages.

The prodding must have been a little rougher than he thought, because Kotetsu let out a soft groan, and his face scrunched up in pain.

"You… don’t have to be so rough, Izumo."

"You can shut up, you bastard. I’ll be as rough as I fucking want to. I have to drag your sorry, fat ass back to Konoha, anyway, so don’t you dare complain!" Izumo surprised himself with how angry he sounded, how terribly hurt he sounded, and was barely able to fight back tears as his voice cracked.

"My ass is not fat!" Kotetsu struggled to get up, splitting open a scab on his side. Suddenly, his back stiffened and his eyes rolled back as the pain ripped through him. He fell back to the floor of the tent with a muffled curse. Luckily, he hadn’t managed to sit, yet, so it wasn’t very far.

"I’m glad you’re okay. That’s the important thing." He flinched as he tried to raise his arm, but managed to touch Izumo’s shoulder, before losing control again, and dropping his hand back to the floor.

He’d promised himself, many a long year past, that he’d keep Izumo as safe as he could – good stealth agents were hard to come by, and he really didn’t want to wind up working with someone else. Well, that and he didn’t want to lose his best friend (somehow that was harder to admit). And, so, he spent most returns getting carried home after playing decoy. He was getting pretty good at it, even if Izumo was getting tired of carrying him home. This one had just been a truly appalling mistake.

Rolling to the side, Kotetsu coughed up wet clots of blood. He hurt everywhere, but he refused to worry that he might die, since that simply wasn’t going to happen. Right? Right? Right. There was no time for him to die. He had work to do when he got back.

"Not going to die. Too damned busy to die. Just going to lie here and hurt a bit, okay?" He threw up, rather violently, and to little effect. Ration bars don’t give a man much lunch to lose. "Just need to sleep a while."

Izumo was unable to stop the tears. "You fucking asshole! How can you always do this to me? Why? It’s not like I deserve to always worry about you, Kotetsu! You’re my best friend, no? My. Best. Friend!" He more or less shouted between sobs, and his voice was hoarse with hurt and pain. His eyes were burning, and he rubbed at them, while the ache in his heart seemed to be unbearable.

He was aware, in a detached part of his mind, that he shouldn’t be panicking. Kotetsu had always sacrificed his own safety for him, and always ended up getting hurt. However, Izumo was more than capable of taking care of himself, something he felt like Kotetsu couldn’t understand.

Izumo continued prodding Kotetsu’s wounds, and eyed him warily, before he spoke.

"Stay awake, Ko. If you fall asleep now, you might never wake up again, and I don’t want that. Besides, you don’t have to keep doing this for me. I’m more than capable of taking care of my own ass, thank you very much, and if you can remember it, I handed your ass to you the last time we sparred. I’m pretty sure I can hold my own in a fight, any time. And then you have this neat little thing called stealth. Do you know what that is?" Izumo’s voice took on a strangely calm, yet clearly annoyed quality, the one signifying one of his lectures coming up.

Pain occupied almost the entirety of Kotetsu’s awareness. "Stealth won’t get the hidden ones out. Just trying to keep them off you. Not going to die. You take good care of me. My best friend, too." He smiled weakly.

His sentences had become short and simple – almost bulleted points that he meant to hit. He wanted more than anything to explain himself to Izumo, to make his friend understand, but the complicated syntax required for such an endeavour was momentarily beyond him. "Don’t want you to get hurt. Need you to take care of me, so I can take care of you."

The sentence sucked, frankly. It didn’t convey even half of what he meant, but it would have to do.

"Not dying. Just broken." He tried to vomit again, but nothing would come up. "Hurts. Quit poking. Water?"

Kotetsu tried desperately to fend off the pain-induced hallucinations. Mad things that couldn’t and shouldn’t have been there. His lips moved in some strange prayer to the tiger goddess who took Izumo’s place in his vision, but she slipped away, and Izumo’s frightened and angry countenance filled his line of sight. "Pomegranates. For you. When we get home. For the tiger."

He coughed again, a sick burbling sound. "Water. Soldier pills. Have to get home."

Izumo sighed, for the umpteenth time that day. "You don’t make any sense, Hagane-san." He dug through his pack for a while and found a bottle of water and a soldier-pill, helping the injured chuunin to successfully get both components down his throat and not all over his chest. He slid his fingers gently across his brow, which was damp with sweat and chilly to the touch. With a frown, he formed a couple of simple medic hand-seals that all ninjas knew, sealing some of the wounds shut.

The gesture, along with the stress of that day, had him exhausted. He laid down next to Kotetsu and pulled him close, careful not to jar any wounds or possibly cracked ribs.

"Rest, hon. I’ll take care of you, make sure that you’re alright and warm and good." He was babbling nonsense to make himself feel more secure, but he could sense that his best friend’s pain had subsided somewhat, and that reassured him. Placing a gentle kiss on his cheek, something he hadn’t done since they were children and he’d told Kotetsu that he loved him, he nuzzled into his neck and fell halfway asleep.

Kotetsu mumbled quietly, not quite coherent, but with a vehemence that implied a hidden meaning that bore no alliance to the words. "Left side… peanuts… prestidigitation… regard them kindly…" What he’d meant to say was entirely different, and had he been wholly conscious, he’d have been very glad it didn’t escape his mouth: Izumo, I don’t mean to worry you. It’s just that I love you, and I can’t bear the idea of you being hurt, when I could just as easily have taken it for you.

He’d never confessed his love, sure that Izumo would hit him so hard his teeth would rattle. Izumo cared, sure, but it wasn’t that sort of thing. They were just friends. No matter how lovesick Kotetsu got, he knew he couldn’t change that. It was best just to take what he could get and hold onto it.

He thought he felt Izumo snuggling up to him, but he wrote it off as a fever-dream. There was no way that could be real. He coughed again and finally succumbed to the siren song of sleep.

[CHAPTER BREAK?]

Izumo cursed and swore heavily as he dragged a half-coherent Kotetsu through the gates of Konoha. It had taken them a lot longer than it should have, because he’d thought that it would be wiser to stay cautious and careful, so as not to be spotted. His plan had worked like a charm, and they weren’t harmed further before they returned.

At the gates, they were met by a very confused couple of jounin, mainly Hayate and Genma, and before they could say a word, he flipped them the finger and continued struggling his way towards the hospital.

"Hey, Izumo, we can totally help you carry him," Genma tried, but Izumo swore at him and nearly bit his head off, so he just made a pacifying motion with his hands, as if to say that hey, he didn’t wanna die. Kotetsu had been mumbling incoherently the entire trip and Izumo was so pissed off, had his friend not been dying already, he’d have punched him so his teeth rattled.

Genma and Hayate stayed in the background, but they were both obviously worried, so they followed at a safe distance, sending each other glances that spoke volumes. ‘Kotetsu’s done it this time.’

As the world swam in and out of focus, Kotetsu could see bits of the village passing him by… and was that… Hayate? Probably. Hayate and his porn-star boyfriend. Kotetsu would have snorted derisively, but suddenly he had forgotten what was so worthy of derision, and the two smug cats who followed his slow, backward progress didn’t seem to be sharing.

Slowly the sense drizzled back into him, along with a great deal of water and various medicines. The palace full of unicorns resolved into a hospital room that contained two worried-looking tokubetsu jounin, a very busy medic, and one extraordinarily pissed-off Izumo. Kotetsu swallowed hard as he recognised his friend. The other chuunin was sitting in a sling-chair with Genma in his lap, holding him down, and Hayate trying to talk sense – or maybe that was cough sense – next to his shoulder.

"Come on, Izumo, you can’t knock his teeth in until they’re absolutely sure he’s not going to die from it. I’d be really sad if you killed Kotetsu. I kind of like him." Hayate coughed quietly and then resumed his attempts to placate Izumo. Genma wisely kept his mouth shut, for once in his life, and just nodded at what Hayate was saying.

Izumo noticed that Kotetsu’s eyes had opened, and he tried to leap to his feet, but was stopped when Genma grabbed the back of the chair, pinning him to it. "Stay down! You can kill him after they’re sure he’s not going to die of anything else."

Hayate coughed and stuttered for a moment, and then smoothed Izumo’s hair affectionately. "It’s going to be fine. He’s not that badly hurt, thanks to you. I’d hate to think what he would have looked like when you found him. I know yo —"

"He looked like dogmeat when I found him! I should have just left the bastard there to bleed to death, but… but…" Izumo had thought he was done crying. It seemed he was wrong, and that just seemed to enrage him further. He launched himself out of the chair, dumping a very surprised Genma on the floor, and covered the space to the bed in two steps. "What do you have to say for yourself, you fucking retard?"

Kotetsu seemed to cower into his pillow, nervous eyes on his best friend. "I’m glad you’re not hurt? I’m sorry I’m so heavy? Thank you?"

"Damn right you’re sorry! If you ever do that again, I’m going to stuff a fucking kunai so far up your fucking useless, unworthy, retarded ass, you’ll have to ask Hayate to dig it out with his fucking sword, you piece of shit!" Izumo was so furious he wasn’t certain what he was doing, and he nearly dragged Kotetsu out of the bed as he grabbed hold of his collar and hoisted him up.

Hayate gave a slightly affronted cough from behind them, having just recovered from his shock, whereas Genma was still sitting on the ground, trying to puzzle out how Izumo suddenly got so strong.

"Ew! Come on, Izumo, have a little respect for a well-made weapon! If I have to pull a kunai out of his ass, I'm doing it with a broom!" Hayate’s nose crinkled in disgust.

Kotetsu’s eyes were wide as he looked into the now completely black eyes of his best friend and saw death approaching. He was so certain that Izumo was going to kill him off, that when the chuunin dumped him roughly on the bed, he was gaping senselessly while groaning in pain.

"I’m not talking to you again, Kotetsu. Not for at least a week, you fucking ass," he shook his head and added in a quiet tone, "I wish I could hate you…"

Biting his lip, Izumo closed his eyes and let out a shaky sob before turning to walk calmly out of the room.

Kotetsu looked around in absolute confusion. Izumo had just shouted at him, threatened him, and stormed out of the room. This was not normal. Genma and Hayate were staring at the door in mild amazement.

"What did I do? There’s not a scratch on him! So, I got stabbed a few… well, more than a few times. I’m not going to die from it!" He wheezed, and the medic pushed him solidly back down onto the bed.

"Hagane-san, you would have died without him." The medic arranged the sheets that Izumo had disarrayed and reconnected the few sensors that had been pulled off.

Hayate smiled at Genma. How many times have they said that about us? He walked over to the bed and sat next to Kotetsu’s knees. "Um, Izumo really cares about you. I mean, kind of a lot."

Kotetsu looked confused. "Of course he does; we’re best friends."

Genma rolled his eyes and Hayate suppressed a giggle. "I, um, I know that, Kotetsu. It’s just, um, he’s… well… Look, just try not to do anything stupid for a couple of weeks, alright? He’s really worried that you’re going to die, one of these days." Hayate leaned down and hugged Kotetsu, carefully. "I’d be kind of pissed if you died, too. Friends are there to keep you alive, right? Just think about how you’d feel if Izumo got mauled like you just did."

A couple of bedside monitors began to beep in alarm and Hayate apologised to the medic as he jumped back off the bed. "I should go. I, um, yeah. Izumo will kill me if you wind up in here for longer because of something I said." He grabbed Genma’s hand and dragged the other tokujou out of the room.

Kotetsu blinked up at the medic, who just shrugged and returned to making notes.

[BREAK EITHER HERE …]

Izumo had decided to give Kotetsu the cold shoulder as soon as the other chuunin returned from the hospital. It proved more difficult than he’d expected because… Well, damnit! He couldn’t ignore him! It was simply put much too difficult, especially because his heart had decided to leap into his throat every time his best friend entered the same room as he was in.

In addition, Hayate and Genma kept snickering and avoiding them both, as if the two tokujou knew something they didn’t (something that irked Izumo to no end), and refused to tell him what it was. At the end of the week, Kamizuki Izumo was so pissed off that even Anko avoided him.

Still, he kept his resolve firm and kept ignoring Kotetsu no matter how many times the other ninja cornered him with a concerned look in his eyes, trying to pick up the broken pieces of their friendship. Izumo wouldn’t let him, however, no matter how childish it made him seem. And he knew just how childish he seemed. Hayate kept informing him of that.

"Izumo-" The time Kotetsu had tried to apologize or whatever in the kitchen and he’d walked out of the room as if he hadn’t heard him was the first. Izumo could barely keep himself from running back in there and kissing that hurt look right off his face.

"Izumo…" Kotetsu had tried again later that night, only to have the door to the bathroom slammed in his face.

"Izumo." He’d tried several times later that week, but to no avail. Izumo had apparently decided to behave as a child, and Kotetsu was soon straddling the threshold of anger; he was going to make Izumo talk to him again, even if he had to kiss him first, reveal his own feelings, and get himself booted out of their shared apartment.

It happened in the middle of the mission room. He’d tried to apologise again, and Izumo had tried to walk away. Kotetsu finally lost any sense of propriety. "Fucking listen to me!" he shouted, and grabbed Izumo by the vest with both hands. In the background, Hayate fumbled the clipboard he was holding as he tried, once again, to impart some sense of what a mission report should look like to Genma, who was studiously ignoring him in favour of the scene about to erupt across the room. The clipboard bounced off the back of Iruka’s head and clattered to the floor.

"Do you have any idea why I keep throwing myself in front of every pointy thing that moves? It’s because it might hurt you! I love you, you goddamned idiot!" The room was oddly silent, and every shinobi in it was watching as Kotetsu kissed Izumo on the lips for the first time.

"I don’t care that you don’t love me back, but for the sake of my sanity, just let me keep you safe." Kotetsu’s shoulders slumped and he stared at the three inches floor between them. "I’m not going to say stop taking missions. That would be stupid. Just please leave the getting stabbed to me. I don’t ever want to see you bleed."

Izumo’s heart was thudding wildly in his chest at this point, the confession running on replay in his head. "Just shut up, Kotetsu. I don’t want to hear that you don’t want to see me bleed. I don’t give a shit, frankly, because I always have to end up seeing you bleed on my behalf."

Around them, everyone were holding their breaths. Iruka had forgotten to scold the two tokujou for bouncing the clipboard off his head, Genma and Hayate had forgotten their reports, and all were sitting on the edge of their seats, trying to guess what would happen next. Would Izumo slap Kotetsu upside the head and tell him that he was an idiot? Would he walk out from there and never talk to his best friend again? There were a lot of guesses, but none of them were right.

Izumo shook his head silently and smiled gently, stroking a hand down Kotetsu’s cheek. Leaning forwards, he brushed their lips together, like the soft fluttering of a butterfly’s wings. He didn’t want to admit his feelings quite yet, because he felt that it was something they should share just to themselves, so he left it with that and simply stood and left the room. Kotetsu would return to their apartment later, and they would talk them.

When Izumo left, chaos broke out within the mission room, and everyone were stumbling over their words, trying to figure out what that had meant. Would Izumo tell Kotetsu that he loved him, too?

Genma let out a soft sigh and wondered idly if he and Hayate would be left to pick up the pieces of a broken heart that night.

Hayate patted Iruka on the shoulder apologetically and walked across the room, to where Kotetsu stood, dazed. He took his friend firmly by the shoulders and shook him a bit. "I told you so. Repeatedly and at length, I told you so. Now hurry up and go after him."

Kotetsu didn’t move. "But —"

Hayate stomped his foot and glared up at the frozen chuunin before him. "Shoo! Don’t make me talk to you like I do to Genma."

"Hey, no fair! He’s not —" Genma’s protest was cut off as Iruka pulled him into a chair and slapped a hand over his mouth.

Hayate continued to stare down his significantly larger friend. "Now, Kotetsu, before he thinks you’re regretting it."

Kotetsu sighed and left the room, determined just to go home and put a pillow over his head until Izumo came back and kicked him out. He worried himself sick as he walked through the streets of Konoha, wondering where he’d gone wrong – what had finally pulled those words out of his mouth. Thoroughly nauseated and wholly ashamed of himself, Kotetsu opened the door of his apartment.

[OR HERE… MAYBE BOTH]

Izumo, in turn, had been worrying himself. He knew that Kotetsu could be rather dense at times, and only hoped that Hayate would force him to go after him, or that he would at least come home. What if he regretted what he said? What if… No, he couldn’t think like that.

So when Kotetsu entered their apartment, he sent him a slightly nervous smile. "Kotetsu… We need to talk." He could more or less feel the fear radiating off of his friend in large waves, and he smiled apologetically as he sat down on the couch, patting the space beside himself.

"Come here. I’m not going to yell in your ear. I’m not even going to yell." He nodded reassuringly as his best friend moved closer to the couch and sat down tentatively on the opposite end of it.

Izumo fiddled with the flap on the pouch he carried around his thigh, trying to figure out how to voice his thoughts. Deciding to dive into it and just go with whatever came to mind, he cleared his throat.

"In regards to what you said earlier, I’ve thought a little." Izumo’s brow furrowed in thought, and Kotetsu glanced at him, his innards doing flip-flops inside him, and the nausea and shame climbing to even higher levels than before. He couldn’t do more than watch him silently, so certain that he’d finally lost his best friend, his love, his… his everything.

Biting his lip, Izumo looked over at Kotetsu from the corner of his eyes. He let out a soft sigh and turned to face him, legs drawn up in front of him on the couch, butterflies fluttering around in his chest and belly. How would he say this without sounding like a complete dork?

"I uh…" No… He definitely couldn’t say, so he decided to do the next best thing. He crawled over to Kotetsu and straddled his hips, running his hands through the wild tresses of dark hair. As if thinking about his next actions, he bit his lip, before finally leaning forward to claim the extremely kissable lips of the man he was so in love with in a tender, yet needy kiss.

Kotetsu pulled back in shock. "Izumo, you don’t have to… I’m not…" Words failed him, and he paused to collect his wits. Nothing was happening quite as he had expected it to. "I don’t expect anything from you. I don’t mean for you to throw yourself at me, just to make me happy."

He wrapped his arms around Izumo, holding his friend tightly against his chest. "I know you’ve been angry with me. You don’t have to make it up to me. I don’t want you to do anything you’re going to regret, later."

Shifting uncomfortably, Kotetsu came to the mortifying realisation of exactly what effect Izumo’s warm and somewhat predatory assault on his senses was having. His eyes squeezed shut as he hoped that Izumo wouldn’t notice the lump he was sitting on. Still, he held his friend close, stroking his back and enjoying the smell of his hair.

As Kotetsu shifted, Izumo had to bite his lip to stifle a moan. "Don’t be an idiot, Kotetsu. I wouldn’t kiss you if I didn’t mean it." To prove his point, he pressed his lips to those of his best friend in a bruising kiss, hard, needy and passionate. He let out a soft, husky moan, almost inaudible, simply because he couldn’t stop it.

"I love you, too, dumbass…" He murmured against Kotetsu’s lips before plunging his tongue inside the slightly shorter man’s mouth, letting his own pierced, slender and slick muscle spar with Kotetsu’s tongue.

Kotetsu moaned into his friend’s mouth, fingers digging into the tall chuunin’s thin hips. He’d wanted this since he was sixteen, and now – now Izumo was all his. Sitting in his lap, lapping at his tongue, and rather passionately turning him on. He fought with one hand, convincing it to let go so he could use it to open Izumo’s vest. Sucking on his friend’s – lover’s? – tongue, Kotetsu slipped a hand under the other man’s shirt, enjoying the incredible sensation of skin on skin.

He pulled back, just barely, licking Izumo’s lips between words. "I’ve wanted you for so long," he panted, "Tell me you’re real. Show me you’re really you. I don’t want this to be a dream."

Kotetsu’s hips rolled of their own volition, lifting slightly off the couch and pressing his insistent erection against Izumo’s ass. He gasped, one hand gripping a hip even tighter, the other tracing faint scratches across the taller chuunin’s back. "Please be real." He dove hungrily back into the kiss.

Izumo gasped softly as Kotetsu lunged again and promptly rolled his hips in response to the feelings. He reluctantly broke the contact, pressing one soft kiss to Kotetsu’s slightly bruised lips before licking a trail along his jaw to bite down at the juncture between neck and shoulder.

When he spoke, his voice was husky and low, raw and passionate. "I need you, Kotetsu. I want you and need you more than you can imagine." He kissed his best friend turned lover fiercely, tasting blood, hands wandering all over the other chuunin’s torso, which was, for the moment, halfway bare, shirt and vest pushed up to reveal freshly scarred skin, his fingers tweaking an erect nipple as they ghosted by.

"Please," he whispered, his tone seductive, husky and raw, his eyes hooded with lust and need, "please… Kotetsu, I need you to fuck me."

Kotetsu’s mind went blank, suddenly. He saw stars. The world seemed to have turned inside out. "Say it again. Oh, Izumo, say it again."

"Fuck me, Kotetsu!" Izumo’s voice was more forceful, this time, his desperate lust vibrantly apparent.

Kotetsu’s entire body tensed in that moment, back arching as he pulled his lover against him. As he caught his breath, he slipped out from under Izumo, and braced his new love against the couch. One hand slipped back under the other chuunin’s shirt as he stood up and moved behind him. He stood between Izumo’s heels, one hand flicking and pinching a nipple, the other hand working to open his lover’s pants. "Is this what you want?" he asked as he got the pants open and closed his hand around the warm cock inside them. "Tell me how you want to be touched – how you want to be taken. Talk to me, Izumo."

Izumo let out a loud, wanton moan, utterly devoid of shame, simply revelling in the feeling of Kotetsu’s hand on his cock. His hips rolled on their own, grinding against Kotetsu’s crotch before thrusting into his hand, all the while letting out whorish moans of pleasure. He tried to wrap his mind around what the other chuunin was saying, which took him a good few moments. When he finally managed to gather his mind, he purred and licked his lips.

"I want you to fuck me… hard and fast, Kotetsu," he let the name roll off his tongue in a sensual manner as he bit his lip and turned his head to look at his lover. He enjoyed this, listening to the way Kotetsu groaned and growled huskily, the way his hand seemed to tighten on his cock, the way his fingers pinched harder at his nipple. Izumo let out a gasp, and threw his head back, just letting the feelings flood him. "God… Feels so good, Ko," he moaned, biting his lip.

With a whimper, he ground his ass back against the straining erection his lover sported. "Please, Kotetsu… Suck me, fuck me… Do whatever you want, just… Just do something!"

Kotetsu gritted his teeth as both hands suddenly struggled to remove his lover’s pants. He nearly dislocated his thumb three times, losing his grip as his hands trembled, but finally the pants were on the floor and Izumo stepped out of them. Kneeling, Kotetsu licked the inside of both bare thighs, revelling in the taste of his beloved best friend’s skin. As he stood, he spit into his hand, letting the liquid run down his first two fingers. Pressing the wet fingers against Izumo’s entrance, his other hand took it’s place on the taller man’s cock, caressing it slowly and gently.

His fingers slipped inside, to be met first by a tightening of muscle, a gasp, and a whine. After a tense moment, Izumo rocked backward against Kotetsu’s hand with a quiet groan. "God… yes… touch me… Take me!"

Again, Kotetsu saw stars as the words struck him straight to the groin. He thumbed the head of Izumo’s cock as his fingers slid in and out, making way for him to fuck the beautiful begging creature beneath him. His lips peeled back from his clenched teeth as he tried to keep control of himself long enough to avoid hurting the one he had loved for so long, but the earlier plea echoed through his mind. Hard and fast. He slipped his fingers out and clawed at his own pants, trying to open them one handed as he continued to fondle Izumo’s hardness with his other hand.

Finally, he figured out his own pants. He didn’t remember them having been that complicated, but his hand wouldn’t stop shaking. He placed the head of his cock against Izumo and painted the juncture with spit. "Are you sure about this?" The words were tense, drawn through gritted teeth and chased with a drizzle of spit. "Last chance to tell me not to do this."

Izumo pushed back against Kotetsu with a heady, lust-filled moan, tilting his head to the side to give his best friend better access to his neck. He swallowed and clenched his eyes shut, trying to find words, but his mind was so utterly blank, as if all blood had just left his head to just fill his now leaking cock to the point of breaking.

"Kotetsu," the sound of his voice was so sexual and Kotetsu bit his lip, waiting for either refusal or affirmation. Izumo cut himself off with a moan.

"Kotetsu… Fuck me." Izumo let out a strangled, whimpering growl. He gritted his teeth and ground out, "Now!"

His body twisted itself, responding to the desperate lust in his lover’s voice, and Kotetsu found himself sheathed in Izumo’s warm, tight flesh. With a strangled gasp, he steadied himself, gripping the smooth curve of Izumo’s hip hard enough to bruise, and slowly pulled himself almost all the way back out, rolling his hips as he pulled away, feeling for the point that would best please his friend.

Suddenly the affirmation he sought burst from Izumo’s lips. "Ah – god – yes – please!" A rising moan, accompanied by a bent-backed, demanding thrust onto Kotetsu’s half-buried cock, pushing him all the way back in, to snarls from above and pleading squeals from below.

It was more than he could take. Kotetsu became an animal, driven by lust, seeming to consist only of grabbing hands, grinding teeth, and the ramrod cock with which he pounded into Izumo. One hand still contained his lover’s amazingly hard cock, and he clenched that hand occasionally, drawing gasps as it slid through his fingers. He could smell how badly he was wanted as he finally listened to reason and began fucking Izumo hard and fast.

Izumo’s mind was hazy as Kotetsu hit just the right spot inside him, and his hips bucked of their own accord. He moaned loudly, sometimes whimpering, sometimes growling as that hard cock slid in and out of him. "God, Kotetsu… You drive me… insane!" His admission was met with a feral growl as his lover sunk his teeth into his neck, and Izumo howled with pleasure.

He continued driving himself harder and faster in a steadily rising pace onto Kotetsu’s cock. The sensations were flooding his mind. Kotetsu’s hard cock buried deep inside him, over and over, hitting that spot which made him see stars, which made his cock twitch in pleasure, along with the feeling of Kotetsu’s hand on his own unbearable hardness – it had him undone.

Letting out a guttural cry, his entire body tensed as he came, spilling all over the pillows on the sofa and Kotetsu’s hand, as he clenched tight around the cock buried deep inside of him.

Kotetsu growled, tasting blood as Izumo spattered the couch. His body jerked and writhed, striking desperately into the soft warmth that had suddenly, almost painfully, tightened around the hardened flesh it had so pleasurably accommodated. Clawing at Izumo’s flesh, but finding little purchase on the slim, muscled form, Kotetsu was at last completely lost to his lust. His legs shook and every sensation increased tenfold, nearly blinding him with the tactile rush. He felt soft skin and rough cloth, smelled blood and sweat and sex, and heard nothing but the arrhythmic breathing and quiet, panted moans that Izumo made, beneath him, as he poured what seemed to be every last drop of the lust he’d held back for all these years into his best friend’s – his lover’s – incredible, beautiful body.

Jaw loosening as relief flooded his body, Kotetsu finally found the will to speak. "My god, Izumo, don’t ever leave me."

Izumo collapsed onto the now-ruined sofa with a soft moan, body completely boneless and a soft, slightly dopey smile grazing his lips. He looked up at Kotetsu with a slightly humorous gleam in his eyes before tugging him down on top of himself to sprawl uncomfortably on the sullied piece of furniture. "I promise to never leave you if you never leave me." When the words finally came, they were only half-recognizable through Izumo’s rather heavy, sex-induced slur.

Pressing a soft kiss to Kotetsu’s lips, he snuggled close to him with a content sigh, long arms wrapped tightly around the other man’s torso. Kotetsu had to smile at the apparent innocence of this man who could kill with no regrets before he kissed the top of his lover’s head gently, stroking his back in a soothing manner.

"I promise."