Title: Playing with Fire (part 1 of 2)
Genre: Alternate Universe (Monoshizukanohi)
Characters: Umino Irukua, Hatake Kakashi, with appearances by Neji and Kimimaro and a host of others as well.
Rating/Warnings: R for this first part, as it's relatively tame, but does have some nudity and sexual implications.
Summary: During demented_dee's The Devil's Mansion Kakashi promised Iruka that Kakashi would allow Iruka to do a fire play scene on him at Club Break, the BDSM Club that Kakashi partially owns. This is that scene.
Author's Note: This was done entirely with Demented_Dee's permission, but none of her help as this was for her D/S Naruto contest on Y!Gallery. It won the contest, barely, but I was kind of proud of being able to do this on my own, especially since this is my very first Naruto fic. This was also because Dee loves telling the story of how one of my characters set her character on fire, and I know I can't live that down, so I thought I might as well go all the way with it, and here it is. Many thanks to Seattle's C-Space for teaching me about fire play and letting me experiment with it with their guidance.
Disclaimers: I do not own Naruto or its characters. I do not make money from these writings.
Umino Iruka drove through the spring night, the interior of his Tesla roadster quiet. Streetlights flickered over the face of his passenger, and Iruka glanced over at Hatake Kakashi, trying to read the bartender's mood. The movement of light and shadow only served to obscure. Kakashi’s face was half-covered by a high leather collar, and in the sliding bars of illumination Iruka saw only Kakashi’s uncovered eye watching the road outside.
The white leather duster Kakashi wore over other accoutrements whispered and creaked whenever Iruka’s lover moved. Iruka swallowed on a suddenly dry mouth, knowing exactly what the pale folds hid.
Iruka turned his attention back to his driving, and the electric car surged forward, silent but for the sound of the wheels against the road. The blacktop was dry and bare, sometimes scatterings of petals would cloud the darkness: cherry, crabapple, plum, the trees were in full bloom. The winding mountain road twisted and turned its way to the cathedral of Bliss and the dungeons of Break beneath the shining battlements. The sprawl of Monoshizukanohi flung before them like a glittering pool of light and motion, ruby red rear lights flowing like blood cells bringing oxygen through the pulsing arteries of the city. The low-slung Roadster took the curves as if hugging rails, and Iruka frowned at the flood of second-guesses, fears, and uncertainties that flew through his head in the wake of uneasiness at Kakashi being so uncharacteristically silent.
It's going to be all right, Iruka thought to himself. All the thousand and two things he had orchestrated were going to work out. They both knew the risks, both knew the plan, and they were going to do this together. Their first public Scene at Break was going to be exactly as Iruka wanted it to be. Caught up as he was in his own thoughts, Iruka was startled by a tentative touch on his thigh. Iruka glanced down and saw Kakashi’s hand curled over Iruka’s thigh. Iruka silently, slowly, and very gently clasped Kakashi’s hand with his own.
"I've got you, Kakashi," Iruka whispered.
"I know, Sir. I know."
Kakashi's grip tightened, Iruka sighed and let go of all of his own baggage to make exactly one wish: Please, God, allow me to always catch him in his need.
"Remind me, why am I doing this again?" Kakashi asked, sitting on the bed in their bedroom, eying the handful of silver gray leather that made up the bulk of his costume for the night.
"We made a deal," Iruka grunted, as he rolled on the last few inches of his dark blue leather pants. Neji's tailor had fitted these pants to Iruka's build exactly, and the final waist hook fastener always took a few tries, especially with talcum slicked hands.
"I made dinner for a month of Saturdays. I went on that crazy family vacation, which you did not tell me it was going to end up being a cruise. Stuck on a boat in the middle of the ocean with dozens of your family and most of the blessed police force, half of which wanted a piece of my ass and not in that fun way..."
Iruka let Kakashi's nearly absentmindedly aggrieved tones wash over him as he straightened to study his lover.
Kakashi's gray hair stood up in all directions, still damp from his shower. The muscles of his shoulders and chest were solid under pale skin, and shone smooth and utterly hairless. Iruka itched to stroke the swimmer's build Kakashi had cultivated with regular workouts at home and at the Green Dojo. The spray of shrapnel scars along Kakashi's side was muted into dark spots by the warm lights in their bedroom, but when Kakashi turned to get something, Iruka saw the silver scars of what he and Kakashi would have sworn were marks left by the half-rotted materialization of a scorned demon woman.
Iruka moved on the bed, and Kakashi grunted and grew quiet when Iruka traced the half-moon curve of those cruel marks. What had looked like burned slashes wouldn't close and wept blood for days, until Iruka went to buy holy water to put on them, and then they'd closed up so quickly Iruka was left to ponder why. Still, the impromptu blessing had worked, and Iruka was glad to see Kakashi healed.
"I'm sorry the musk ox ate your hat," Iruka said quietly. "And that the glacier nearly calved on your kayak."
"In eight foot swells, mind you," Kakashi huffed. "What kind of entertainment is that? A lapful of ice water, seals and whales and God knows what under the hull of a kayak, and..."
"You looked like you enjoyed the hula hoop contest, though, even with Granny Shizune in there with you," Iruka said dryly, remembering just how much of his family ended up chasing Kakashi all over the boat, clamoring for stories, games, and drinks. Whatever else Kakashi could do, the bartender certainly knew how to party. "And I loved how all the the ship's bartenders let you have full run of their stock."
"They just wanted my recipes, and hell, they weren't going to turn down those tips." Kakashi's grin brightened suddenly. "And I loosened your cousin up with a few of my Slingshots."
"Sato..." Iruka shook his head. "Did you have to dare him to jump the rail, though?"
Kakashi finally laughed, a full out belly-laugh that made Iruka smile. "Yes, yes I did. I was surprised he did it, though. Didn't think he had the guts."
"It was very fortunate that you're just as good with your aim as you are with your mouth, my Sergeant," Iruka said with a wry smile, remembering everyone running around Kakashi in a panic until the ex-Special Forces solder calmly grabbed a life ring off the side of the boat and tossed it to the floundering boy.
Kakashi stilled. This close, Iruka could smell Kakashi's scent, mixed with traces of shaving gel, shampoo, and soap. The missing fragrances of Kakashi's habitual deodorant and aftershave made Iruka dizzy at the knowledge of Kakashi's obedience to the letter of Iruka's law.
Iruka took a slow, deep breath in and saw his motion mirrored by Kakashi. Then slowly, ever so slowly, Iruka tilted his head and touched his mouth to Kakashi's, lips met and melded, and suddenly Iruka found himself crushing Kakashi with the force of his kiss, tongue plunging between suddenly pliant lips, and the vibration of both their groans lingering in the air. The damned tight leather pants reminded Iruka as to why this might not be such a great idea, and reluctantly Iruka pulled away, gratified to see that Kakashi was gasping for air nearly as desperately as he.
"That's why," Iruka said, voice rough, hands even rougher on Kakashi's arms. "My Kashi, you know I love you?"
Mismatched eyes flickered away and back, as Iruka saw Kakashi fighting. Iruka stroked gently along Kakashi's jawline, and Kakashi's gaze dropped to the floor. "Yes, Sir, I know that you love me."
"What do you think playing with you on the public stage at Break will do for who and what we are, my love?"
Kakashi drew a deep breath. "Let everyone know how much I'm... yours?"
"Partially," Iruka said. "You allow me to lead you into Break on a leash, and everyone knows that we play exclusively with each other in your room. Break understands our relationship, but how many people do you know play with fire?"
"Nearly none at Break." Kakashi's tone grew distant, almost cold with disdain. "Haze did a lot of branding, using it to mark their slaves permanently, burned open cuts to scar, and some bastards used it directly to torture, but..."
"But they don't play with it," Iruka interrupted. "We can use it to enhance an experience, working with the fear and the risk to make something extraordinary to delight us both. What do you think of that?"
Kakashi chuckled and kissed Iruka lightly on the mouth. "I think you're going to light my ass on fire, Sir, in front of hundreds of witnesses, and there are no words that are going to make that easy for me. Still..." Kakashi paused and reached up to stroke Iruka's cheek with a tender touch. "I'd to anything for you, Sir, and..." Kakashi's gaze turned sly. "It doesn't hurt remembering that you promised me your ass after."
Laughing, Iruka shook his head in wonder at the mix of humor and subservience and wondering when it would be that Kakashi figured out exactly how much impact their play would have. For now, he would let Kakashi have the diversion. "Good then."
"Damn all flexible Doms," Kakashi muttered, but a smile crinkled the edges of his eyes. He couldn't be too panicked, then. Turning back to the bed and the rather small pile of leather, Kakashi nodded. "All right, then, Sir, would you please help me get these damned things on?"
Iruka had started his research two months before the public scene.
He deliberately scheduled a stage at Break for the week after St. Patrick's day. It was the nowhere land of the calendar after the insanity of the holiday season, the rush of St. Valentine's, and before the summer heat and crowds. He used the normal reservation system for the special substances stage at Break, the one that could handle everything from blood to controlled gasses. Since Iruka intended to have plenty of fire retardant equipment on hand, he wanted the stage that was easiest to clean. He didn't mind Kakashi knowing when or where it would be, and with it on the standard schedule, Kakashi would know. None of this was intended as a surprise for his submissive; however, the day after Iruka scheduled the stage, Neji had called.
That was a surprise, but the offer Neji made was one he couldn't refuse, for Kakashi's sake. In response, Iruka started even earlier than he'd initially intended with his experiments with fire.
The basements of the University's buildings were all connected by steam tunnels, and the rooms were bare concrete, riddled with pipes, conduit, wires, and shafts so that maintenance could get at everything easily. Iruka found a locked room in the basement of the English department, the key held by the department's secretary. He bribed Lucy with a box of dark chocolate covered salt caramels, and she handed him the key for the month.
The stainless steel lab bench was -- borrowed -- from the chemistry lab, along with a Bunsen burner. All the other equipment Iruka brought himself. Length of soft deerskin leather, dozens of metal and glass containers, bottles of various flammables, a can of foam hair mousse, half a dozen different kinds of rod, rolls of cotton batting, cotton gauze, asbestos camping lamp wicks, cotton balls, swabs, cotton thread, lighter test chain, cotton rope, and a couple of old floggers that Iruka hadn't used in years.
Iruka started by holding all the various types of rods to flame.
Glass insulated well, but held the resultant heat too long. Metal was worse, as it conducted the heat right to Iruka's hand and kept it. Wood, cotton twine, and bamboo insulated his hand, but all of them eventually burned. Plastic melted and clung so tenaciously to even the sleek steel of the bench that Iruka just shook his head and tossed all of those away. Leather held off the burning longer, but stunk horribly when it finally went. When Iruka arrived home that first night, Kakashi took one sniff and told the professor that dinner wasn't going to be served until he'd scrubbed himself thoroughly.
Iruka complied, and under the hot spray, realized his first attempt at figuring things out had gotten him no where.
After dinner, Iruka closed the door to his office and called his one-time mentor, Sarutobi Hiruzen, who directed him to three different players in Monoshizukanohai who knew how to play with fire. Two of them Iruka rejected outright, Nagato and Orochimaru were far too unbalanced, so far as Iruka was concerned. The third was Abel Nightroad, who happened to be in town for another engagement. That was a rare find, and Iruka was glad for good luck when he spent most of a week working with Abel. He came out of the sessions with functional torches that he'd made himself, and his next move was to trash everything that Abel had shown Iruka would not work. The demonstrations the man had done showed Iruka what was possible. The remonstrations about the inherent risks made Iruka think some more about what kind of safety measure he should have even in the Department's basement.
Iruka added wet towels, a bucket of water, and a standard kitchen fire extinguisher. That was when Iruka felt safe enough to experiment on himself.
Wanting to get a feel for exactly what his tools would do, Iruka wanted to try more of the flames on himself than just the taste he got with his teacher. He knew that he had a lower pain threshold than Kakashi did, but this wasn't about hitting Kakashi's limits. Iruka liked building sensations, layers on layers for interactions. He wanted to approach the line where Kakashi could give over control gradually, nudging his submissive over rather than throwing Kakashi over a cliff. Going slow would keep Kakashi from going on the defensive, and the effects were far more sustained when Iruka finally got through.
Setting aside all the fuels he'd originally thought of trying, everything from white gas to drinkable spirits (as Iruka loved the blue flames he could coax from bandy in a flambe and God knows Kakashi had a supply of alcohol that would never run out), paraffin to charcoal lighter fluid, Iruka brought out a glass dish of 70% rubbing alcohol. All of the others burned too hot, too sticky, or too briefly to be put directly to skin. Hair mousse flashed across the surface of the foam in a burst so quick, Iruka hadn't been able to see it.
Naphtha, or Coleman fuel and kerosene and lighter fluid could be used for juggling torches, not to be applied to skin, but the flames could be used to light tracks and trails. If handled with care, they could be safe and would burn far more spectacularly than the safer rubbing alcohol. Iruka bought a juggler's torch with a can of kerosene and after soaking the head in the liquid overnight, he lit it.
The flickering flag of fire whipped and snapped in the breeze of every motion Iruka made. He nerved himself for it and flipped the torch into the air. Heat kissed his forehead as the lit end flew by, but he caught the torch, easily, by the handle. Iruka couldn't see trying to juggle two of them, but with one... he twirled it like a baton, and the sound and ribbon of light it made in the basement darkness made him nod, as did the fact that the handle grew almost too hot to handle after a bare fifteen minutes of full-on flames.
This would have to have a short place in the proceedings. Not against Kakashi's skin, but part of the show. For show it would be, even on a back stage of Break, there would be those that would want to watch. Iruka didn't fool himself on that point, and he had to orchestrate it so that Kakashi would shine.
The alcohol torches were next. Iruka wanted to be at utter ease with them, because the only things that would tame the adrenaline rush and attendant blindness were experience and practice. It helped that the flames were cooler, bluer, fainter than the juggling torch. He brushed the head of the torch against the skin of his forearm, and the scent of burnt hair filled the air as he watched it leave a trail of blue light. Abel had always brushed the track out almost as quickly as it went on, but this time Iruka consciously let it burn, fighting the fear that screamed for him to just put it out. He was fascinated by the fact that it didn't seem to...
Iruka's right hand slapped the flames out without conscious volition as the pain suddenly leaped into his awareness. Reflex. The quick motion intrigued him, as did the delay on the sensation. With the flame gone, Iruka didn't feel much of anything, and he presumed that the effects were minor. Then Iruka stroked another line of flame onto his arm, and bit his lower lip as it burned. Quickly, he wiped the back of his hand against the flames, putting them out.
So. Herein lay dragons.
Sighing, Iruka regarded the tools and materials on his bench. They weren't the danger, he could test them to make sure that they would not melt or come apart at the wrong time. That he could plan to deal with and it could be controlled. The real risk in this whole venture lay in the delay of response, both to the initial destruction and to the sensations caused. Iruka knew his Kakashi, knew that the ex-military man already asked for more than most human beings could handle, and that was when the pain was immediate. Floggers, paddles, and single-tails were notoriously good at conveying immediate ache, and the destruction they wrought was relatively small in comparison to the magnitude of the pain they inflicted. Iruka rubbed his now smooth forearm, the touch only now started to tingle.
With fire it was the opposite way around. The damage it wrought could well be great in comparison to the initial sensations of pain.
Remembering how Abel extinguished the torches in the demonstration, Iruka held the torch in his left hand, nerved himself, and snapped his right hand around the flaming, golf-ball sized head. He did it from the side, because all the heat flowed up. The quick motion snuffed the flickering flame out, and was showy enough for what Iruka intended. Pleased by the success, Iruka went on through the other equipment on the steel bench.
Three weeks later, Iruka felt sun burnt on both forearms and the tops of his thighs, all of which he was using for testing purposes. He'd remembered to shave the testing areas, for all that he got odd looks from Kakashi when they were in bed. Iruka didn't like the smell of burnt hair and was relieved to find that the simple solution worked quite well. Now, Iruka could handle a torch as smoothly with his left as his right hand, and he no longer felt that huge rush at just lighting his tools. He could focus on much more than just the living flame itself, and felt more confident about being able to pay enough attention to Kakashi when the time came. Fire was becoming familiar, not commonplace, never so, but he was more at ease than when he started.
Of course, Iruka's experiments became more complicated. He was using larger torches now, and something he'd found on the Internet, a flogger that had heads that could be lit. The damned thing was tricky, though, as the metal cables got hot, and the heads had to be weighted to fly right so they hit a lot harder than Iruka wanted anything that was flaming to hit. The worst thing, however, was that the amount of fuel on them proved difficult to judge. Iruka had no intention of flinging fire into the audience. While Iruka had to admit that the image of some burning droplet lighting Neji's smooth tresses did amuse him, he had to take into account Kakashi's horror.
After swinging three flaming tails against a leather-clad dummy and realizing that the heat going up meant that he had to keep the thing in constant motion, Iruka discarded the whole idea, and dumped the thing into the University's trash bins.
The next day he concentrated on the torches again, this time he just used the torch to light a pre-drawn trail of alcohol. Laboratory squirt bottles, brushes, and pipettes all seemed to allow a measured dose, and Iruka experimented with varying amounts. First on the deerskin leather and then on himself. Straight lines lit beautifully, and Iruka started interconnecting lines in a fine mesh.
When the mesh blurred because of too much alcohol in a pipette, Iruka absentmindedly seized and squeezed the torch he'd been using to light the botched pattern. The torch was freshly loaded with alcohol, as he'd expected to have it burn through multiple trials, and when he grasped it with his right hand to snuff the flame, the sensation of warm alcohol coursed between his fingers and down his forearm.
Then it all lit.
For an instant, Iruka just stared at the flames wreathing his entire forearm and hand. It was eerily beautiful. Then a lightning jag of pain flared, and he flailed the entire limb. Most of the fire went out. Iruka slapped the remaining flicker under his elbow as if it were a buzzing fly, and then stood shaking until he could control his knees enough to slide down and sit on the concrete floor.
"Damn it all to Hell," Iruka whispered. "If I'm going to tie Kakashi down for this, he isn't going to be able to..." He trailed off, eyes closing, feeling the sharp ache all along his right arm. The pain seemed to bore into the very bones of his hand when he moved the limb. Awkwardly, he wrapped a wet towel about his reddened limb.
"I can't do this," he muttered to himself. "I'd need two more hands to put them all out!"
Iruka froze. Two more hands.
The words echoed in Iruka's head. He frowned.
Iruka gingerly pulled his cell phone out of his pocket with fingers that, thank God, weren't blistering. He paged through his contacts, frowned harder, and then sighed as he dialed.
"Hello, Neji? May I ask you for a favor? I think I need some help."
That night, Iruka tried to hide the consequences under his long sleeved button-down shirt and a pair of gloves. He arrived home to the sound of sizzling, the roar of the vent over the grill, and the scent of seared meat through their shared townhouse. Dumping his briefcase in his office in the front room, Iruka went to the kitchen to find Kakashi in nothing more than skin-tight biking shorts and a sheen of sweat from his workout.
Iruka deliberately scuffed his shoes on the kitchen floor, to warn the ex-special service soldier of his presence before walking up behind Kakashi, pressing his nose against the back of Kakashi's neck, and setting lips on the knob of bone at the top of a beautifully curved spine. Kakashi's tousled gray hair was damp, and Iruka breathed deep of Kakashi's musk. Iruka felt more than heard the groan as Kakashi pressed back against him, and his tongue stroked a few salty inches of skin before he bit down.
The jerk and buck of Kakashi's hips made Iruka's breathing go fast, and he deliberately wrapped his arms about Kakashi and held both of them still before he kissed the dented skin.
"Keep going like that, and everythin's gonna be well done," Kakashi rasped.
"Can't... can't have that," Iruka managed.
"I'm ready to say to hell with everything and just order a pizza after you've fucked me breathless," Kakashi quipped and turned around in the ring of Iruka's hold. One eyebrow rose, and Kakashi stroked the back of Iruka's hand. Iruka had to fight to not flinch at the touch on tender skin under the cloth of the gloves. "What's with the Michael Jackson impression?"
Faced directly with his foolishness at trying to hide anything from Kakashi, Iruka sighed and slipped off the gloves.
"What the hell were you doing?" Kakashi drawled on seeing the reddened skin, his quick touch felt cool against Iruka's heated skin.
"Testing." Iruka didn't quite trust his voice for much more than the one word at seeing Kakashi's protective tendencies flare to life.
"Damn it, Professor," Kakashi said, drawing back Iruka's sleeve and exposing more of Iruka's folly. "That's what I'm for, you idiot."
"No, I'm responsible..." Iruka began, trying to go for dignity only to have his composure shattered as Kakashi picked up and shook Iruka by his lapels in a very hard to ignore demonstration of Kakashi's strength. "Kashi..." Iruka tried and just got another teeth-rattling shake. "Damn it. I fucking know what I'm doing."
"You got hurt." The anguish behind the anger in Kakashi's tone brought Iruka up more abruptly than the fists dangling him above the floor. He met Kakashi's mismatched eyes, and the fear in them knocked the breath from Iruka's chest.
"My Kashi," Iruka whispered, soothing and rueful around a tight throat. He stroked the bunched muscles of Kakashi's arms. Slowly, the bigger man let Iruka down back onto his feet. "I'm all right. It's not bad, not even any blistering, and I learned what I had to know from doing it."
"Sir," Kakashi started, then he shuddered hard and wrapped Iruka in his arms.
"Yes, you are mine, and I will take every tool within my grasp to do this well. Thank you for your protection of me," Iruka murmured against the edge of Kakshi's ear.
Kakashi kissed Iruka breathless.
The steak burned.
They ended up having pizza much, much later, tangled up on the couch by the fireplace in the living room.
"You're not going to do any more testing without me," Kakashi insisted after the second slice.
"No," Iruka conceded, and Kakashi's hand closed tight about Iruka's uninjured hand. "I'm not going to do any more testing. I think I have what I need, and how it's going to go, and I want and need your consent for my plan."
Together, they went over every step of what was going to happen. Iruka even brought out his sketch book to show the setup, what he was going to require of Kakashi, how he envisioned Kakashi's outfit and bindings, and exactly what tools he was going to use. The bartender bent over the plans, pointed out better possibilities given the space, and asked for two bindings that would hold him even more helpless for what Iruka wanted to do.
Iruka shivered, and Kakashi's crooked grin and heated cheeks over the exact details made for an even later bedtime.
"Friday night, what were you thinking, picking a Friday night?" Kakashi asked as they pulled into the overflowing parking lot for Bliss.
The huge, white cathedral of a building was spot lit fiercely by beams that sliced through the murk of a spring overcast. The lights could be seen clear across Monoshizukanohi. At ten in the evening, the night was just getting started. All the beautiful people, so young Iruka thought of them as kids, already dancing, kissing, and nearly fucking each other all stood in a line that reached halfway into the parking lot. Enjoying the wait to get into the pulsing beat and flashing strobes of the most popular dance club in the city.
"I was trying for a quiet night, Kakashi," Iruka said gently. "And we are an hour early."
"Good thing, or we'd be hitting the steps that same time as Shikamaru."
Iruka laughed, thinking that the lazy Nara was often late, but that when Neji's desires were on the line, Shikamaru got moving.
They walked through the sea of parked cars, and in the distance, under a shadowed copse, Iruka spotted an old Bentley with a chauffeur seated under the map light, reading a thick book propped up on the steering wheel. There were several other stretched vehicles in a line with it, two ridiculous looking Humvees, half a dozen limos, and two distinctive shadows of old Rolls Royces. Iruka tried to keep his expression completely neutral on realizing one of the Rolls was a Silver Ghost. No need to give anything away, when he'd worked so hard to keep it to himself.
"I think you failed on the quiet, professor." Kakashi's dry tone didn't bite Iruka the way it could have, but he gave a low grunt of affirmation.
Burly Christopher, the front door bouncer, nodded on seeing them, and let them through ahead of the line. The murmuring of those that waited rose like seagulls at the sea: Is that Kakashi? and Oooo.... aren't the owners dreamy? and Look at that build, must have taken years... and Oh my God, what I wouldn't give for that collar and those pants!
Kakashi's full-length white leather duster was buckled in silver up the front, and the white collar that covered throat, chin, and half of Kakashi's face made him look like the ghost of a pirate, menacing in a way that cleared a path for both of them. And, as Iruka had wanted, the white made Kakashi stand out like a candle in the darkness, especially against all the kids wearing black.
The thrashing, screaming music didn't just spill out of the doorway, it forcibly shoved everything from its path. Iruka lowered his head and shoulder, ducking under the tsunami wall of sound and into the press of close bodies. A leash went from Iruka's hand to Kakashi's collar; and now he was glad of it as they waded through. Kakashi led, his physical prowess cutting a clean path through the leaping, dancing crowd. Whenever Kakashi had to touch someone on the shoulder, he startled them into jumping out of the way. Both of them soon reached black ominous doors that led into Club Break.
Iruka didn't even bother trying to defend his choice of days to Kakashi in the midst of the chaos. He mostly hoped that all the insanity would distract Kakashi from seeing that Gaara wasn't DJ'ing in Bliss tonight, and that none of the usual crowd was here in this portion of the connected Clubs. It was another bonus he'd gotten by calling Neji the second time.
A thoughtful Hyuuga made for thorough plans.
So they were here, ostensibly an hour early, in order for them to set up all the equipment, check the St. Andrews cross, and ready for the evening's show on one of the back stages of Break's main floor.
The massive double doors between the two clubs were closed, but Aaron, one of Neji's bodyguards who also served time as one of Break's security members, was standing by the doors. For all that people were stepping on each other in the rest of the building, they cleared a half-circle for the enormous doors. When Iruka and Kakashi walked up, Aaron spoke into a mouth piece and nodded to them both.
Kakashi dragged out his dog tags with the silver rose embossed on them, and waved them over the security pad. The small light glowed green, and Aaron grasped the doorknob and wrestled with the enormous door.
It swung open on an empty, carpeted narthex. Art, gothic mirrors, and antique furniture lined the hallway in neat array. They both stepped through, and Aaron closed the door behind them, snuffing out the all-encompassing music.
"Looks like we found your quiet, professor. It's like a ghost town," Kakashi quipped. "Especially after that mosh pit."
Iruka saw Kakashi's one eye dart back and forth, and sighed at the squaring of broad shoulders. It was something Kakashi only did when he was bracing for disappointment.
"We're early, Kakashi, that's all," Iruka said, trying to reassure.
Kakashi seemed to ease back, and he gave Iruka that look. The one that was all shine and glitter and didn't touch the edges of Kakashi's eye.
"Guess no one wants to see my ass lit on fire. Smart bastards," Kakashi said, the smirk in the lilt of his voice.
Iruka wondered how it was that Kakashi couldn't hear Iruka's heart crack, but he firmly kept his lips together. He gripped Kakashi's upper arm in a quick squeeze and unable to trust his voice, he led Kakashi to the coat check.
Rose waited behind the counter, dressed in top hat, frilled dress shirt, and tails over fish net stockings and high heels that glittered with silver chain over the insteps. Her long curling black hair fell in cascading ringlets, and a single tea rose graced the lapel of her silk suit. She greeted them both with a chipper, "Good evening, sirs!"
"Good evening, Rose, you are looking dapper tonight," Kakashi flirted smoothly, sounding so happy that Iruka wanted to just pull him aside and either hug him or hit him.
"Thank you, Mr. Hatake!" Rose dimpled as she checked their ID's and cell phones. "I wanted to dress up for you tonight."
"For me?" Kakashi blinked and went stone still. A move that Iruka knew was reflex in the face of uncertainty.
She nodded her pretty head and smiled. "It's good to see you, sirs. May I take your coats?"
Kakashi slowly drew off his coat to show pale leather cuffs spanning each strong wrists. A ragged, thin white t-shirt was stretched across Kakashi's broad shoulders, all the hems entirely ripped away. The near-translucent fabric displayed and highlighted very ridge of abdomen and plane of chest muscle in a way that simple nakedness could not. Leather pants the color of old iron stretched over powerful thighs and ass, held together by chrome buckles up and down the outside of each leg. Pale skin, rippled by old scars, showed under the metal buckles as he moved, and disappeared into big combat boots.
Rose gave an appreciative sigh. "You are amazing, sir."
"I agree with her," Iruka said, and smiled at Kakashi's snort. Iruka pulled off his coat and chuckled under the keen scrutiny of both Kakashi and Rose. The skin-tight dark blue leather pants felt warm under their looks, but he wore a black mesh tank that fell like shadows against his dark skin. His long hair was tied back twice, to be absolutely sure it didn't fall into flame. Iruka handed over both their coats, and received the check tag, which he tucked into the miniscule back pocket of his pants.
"Thank you, sir!" Rose chirped. "Go on in."
Kakashi was giving Rose another one of those intense looks, and Iruka caught Kakashi's elbow gently, deliberately not pushing his partner, just holding. Iruka's touch caught Kakashi's attention more surely than any words.
"Kashi," Iruka said gently. "I need your help with the equipment, shall we go?"
The question did it. There was no hint of an order in the request and that got Kakashi moving when, by all rights, the ex-special forces man should have added up Rose's greeting statement with the emptiness of the entrance. Instead, they walked side-by-side through the double-doors onto the stages of Break.
They stepped into music that resembled the low throbbing of a beating heart and an enormous room lit by a galaxy of glittering star lights that spangled the floors and walls in slow arcs of motion. People gathered about the front edges of the central stage. They were seated on leather upholstered lounges or knelt by the sides of their Masters and Mistresses, all by tables set and served with drinks and food. Candles flickered, casting a warm glow on all the faces that leaned over them. Waiters in full tuxes and waitresses in tuxedos much like Rose's outfit circulated among the guests.
The other stages lay dark. No one and nothing moved on them.
Kakashi stopped stock still. Even from here, Iruka could pick out the people in the crowd. Gaara in the DJ booth with Kiba standing by his side; Itachi with Haku lain across his lap as he lounged in a red velvet lounge, sharing a table with Abel; the Police Chief's foursome drank beers in tipped back chairs around a black and white table; and Gai and Lee looking a little uncomfortable, but sipping tea by the stage. Tenzou was missing, something to do with the artist boy. Every member of the wait staff were people who had been vetted by Kakashi, most found their positions through his help.
Naruto and Sasuke were on a Caribbean cruise, planned since Christmas, and the absence, knowing how Kakashi felt about being vulnerable in front of those particular ex-students, was welcome. There was also the very conspicuous absence of anyone that wasn't included in the circles of Kakashi's life. Iruka knew that on the other end of the complex, the Vault doors were closed and guarded by Neji's other bodyguard, Cale.
Neji swept toward them, black hair flowing in the breeze of his passage. He wore a neat gun metal gray silk suit that probably cost more than several years of Iruka's professor's salary could afford. It was tailor-fit to his slender frame, with tails, the neat silver pinstriping of the vest matched a few silver strands he'd had placed in his hair. Long pointed collar tips overlay a cool blue cravat carelessly wound about his slender throat, emphasizing its grace and length. Still, it was less flashy than most of Neji's outfits, and Iruka was struck by the idea of Neji trying not to take center stage in this event.
Pacing measured strides along the walkway, Neji arrived with Shikamaru, a shadow at his back. Neji's boy was dressed in nothing but a leather harness and a chastity sheath studded with diamonds that flashed rainbows, and the park ranger's frame carried it all off beautifully. Though, as far as Iruka was concerned, it was Shikamaru's confidence in his master that made it entirely alluring.
"Neji." Kakashi's tone was curt to the point of rudeness, a far departure from his usual banter and tenderness with his employer. His posture was wide, ready for anything. "I see you've been busy."
Neji smoothly drew off one glove. "Indeed. It was my pleasure to be able to come so quickly to the aid of a valued colleague's dear partner."
The glance Kakashi's mismatched eyes turned on Iruka should have burned right through him.
"I just scheduled the stage for today," Iruka said in an even answer. "Neji offered to make it more exclusive, and I took him up on it."
"Exclusive? So you could..."
"... so I could make this lovely space more secure for you, where only deserving gazes would fall upon your Scene, dear Kakashi." Neji's tones were sonorous, declaration rather than capitulation. "It was a simple thing, really, announcing the closing of Break for the event and issuing exclusive invitations to those who would be welcome."
Kakashi looked over the crowd, and something in the line of his shoulders and neck softened as his head bowed. That might be all the concession they'd get, Iruka thought, but then Kakashi surprised them both.
"Thank you, Neji and Sir."
Neji bowed, slowly and more deeply than Iruka had ever seen before. "You are very welcome, Kakashi."
Then without warning, Neji stepped forward and hugged Kakashi fiercely. A startled sound came from underneath the high collar. Kakashi's back and shoulders flexed, and then very gently, Kakashi wrapped his arms about the slender man who was the leader in the crusade Kakashi fought for with all his heart. The tableau held like a reflection in a pond, until a breath, an unseen motion broke the embrace. Both men nodded at each other, Neji stepped back and walked away, Shikamaru in tow.
Iruka stepped up next to Kakashi, and acted as if he didn't notice the haunted look in Kakashi's eye.
"He cares a great deal for you, my Kashi," Iruka murmured.
Kakashi nodded, hands flexing, and Iruka got a good feeling for just how much events were affecting his lover, when Kakashi didn't say a word. Kakashi always had something to say.
"Please, come with me," Iruka said softly. "I wish to examine the stage and my equipment setup."
This time Kakashi fell in half a step behind Iruka, and Iruka briskly led the way to the stage before everyone. He saw Gaara's head go up in the booth, and he shook his head to signal that he didn't want the spotlights on, yet. He saw the red-head nod back, and they both walked onto the stage. People took their cue and kept going about their conversations. The clink of glassware and the murmur of voices were soothing, but Iruka saw Kakashi suddenly stop and stiffen as they got closer to where the St. Andrews cross and table laden with neatly arraigned equipment stood by a man sitting seiza, very still hands perfectly placed on muscled thighs.
"Looks like Neji's little minions have been busy."
"Mm," Iruka hummed noncommittally before he finally admitted. "Actually, it was all my minion, and he's done a very fine job."
Kakashi's tone turned dangerous. "Who is it?"
"Kimimaro, please come here," Iruka commanded.
Light glinted off of Kimimaro's dozens of visible piercings and glowed in candy floss colored hair, as slender Kimimaro arose gracefully and bowed to them both. He wore black leather pants so tight they were nearly leggings, a black tank top that hugged his upper body closely, and simple black boat shoes: the stage hand attire Iruka had dictated.
"Master Kakashi and Master Iruka, I am honored to serve you both tonight."
"Serve?" Kakashi's tone was harsh.
Kimimaro's expression fell, though his regimented stance changed not a whit.
"Yes," Iruka said firmly, even when Kakashi's eye turned on him. "I am very pleased to have you, Kimimaro. I am very happy that your contract was available and that you were willing to fulfill my utmost desire."
The hope that lit in Kimimaro's face silenced whatever Kakashi was about to say next, made Kakashi's eye close on an emotion that Iruka couldn't quite identify.
Iruka had debated this move over and over again, knowing he needed help, but also knowing exactly how hard it would be for Kakashi to allow anyone else to touch him while he was helpless. Neji's suggestion had taken a great deal of debate before Iruka could accept the possibility, but the kicker for Iruka was finding out that Kakashi had been the one to ready Kimimaro for the mystery contract, whom everyone now knew was written and masterminded by Itachi.
Kakashi could never help truly caring for someone that the ex-sergeant was required to protect. Neji's reminder, and the half a day's negotiations of parameters, requirements, and desires between Iruka and the always-deferential Kimimaro had sealed the deal. Kimimaro knew about the physical limits of a human body in ways even Iruka hadn't tested, and he shuddered to think about how the past slave had learned those things.
Kakashi's fists clenched. "Don't I get a say in this?"
Iruka regarded Kakashi, meeting the angry gaze with his own. "What would you say, my Kashi? You have seen the evidence of what I cannot guard against on my own." Iruka ruthlessly used his own injury if it would protect Kakashi from them. "I have contracted Kimimaro to serve as my own hands. Take his touch as you would my own."
The grinding of teeth was so quiet, only Kimimaro and Iruka heard it, and Kimimaro politely kept his face perfectly still.
Hands unknotted so slowly that Iruka could almost hear tendons creak.
"His touch as your own? An extension of your will, Sir?" The tone was low enough Iruka had to lean in to hear.
"Yes, my will for you, my Kashi." Iruka saw rather than heard the sigh that filled and emptied from Kakashi's chest. "Kimimaro, please state your understanding of the arrangements."
"As you wish," Kimimaro's eyes went down, head bowed. "Master Iruka has told me that I am only to touch you on his command, though that includes anything I have to do to put out flames that get away from Master Iruka. I may be asked to bind you, touch you, support you as he asks, Master Kakashi, not as you direct."
Iruka met, head-on, the look Kakashi shot at Iruka with that particular caveat Kakashi's head tilted as Kimimaro continued with the list.
"I am now fully trained to use the fire extinguisher in case anything happens, and trained on some aspects of the immediate aftercare. Master Iruka, with my Master's permission and supervision, inducted me into some of the base reflexes and tells for real damage."
Kimimaro looked up, right into Kakashi's visible eye, and Iruka suppressed a sound of surprise. It was not often that the slender submissive broke protocol with the owners of Break, Kimi seemed to think of them all as masters of one sort of another.
"Master Kakashi, please." The naked pleading in the words made Iruka wish he could close his eyes, but he fought the tide of emotion when he saw Kakashi sway in its wake. "Please allow me to serve you and your Sir? It would be an honor I would cherish for all my days."
Kakashi grunted as if he'd been gut-punched. Iruka had heard less pain when he took a single-tail to Kakashi than was in that single tone.
"Kashi..." Iruka whispered.
Kakashi shook his head as if maddened by some biting fly. "Damn it, Sir, you're going to kill me before you even have me strung up."
"I couldn't think of any other way to solve the problem of not having four hands and the ability to be in two places at once," Iruka said with an entirely neutral tone and then let his voice warm. "Besides, it's something of an ego boost to find so many who adore the man I love."
Kakashi clutched at Iruka's wrist, and Iruka hid the motion from their audience by closing with Kakashi and hugging him tight. Kakashi sighed harshly through his nose, and it took several minutes of fighting himself before he touched his forehead to Iruka's shoulder.
"You'll do fine, my love," Iruka said gently, and he reached up to stroke Kakashi's wild hair. On touching the buckles for the collar, Iruka pulled lose the tongue, and slipped the restraint from Kakashi's face. The resultant sigh was accompanied by just a tiny bit more weight against Iruka's shoulder.
"You've pleased me so much simply by getting on this stage," Iruka whispered, handing the high collar to Kimimaro's eager hands to be whisked away. "We've already taken the first steps together. It's just a little bit further my Sergeant."
"Sir. Yes, Sir," Kakashi said softly and looked up. The vulnerability in Kakashi's mismatched eyes, usually so guarded or masked with an easy smile, made Iruka swallow on a dry mouth.
Looking up and taking a deep breath to regain his own equilibrium, Iruka met Gaara's watching eye. Iruka nodded. The heartbeat began to throb faster, whorls of flowing melody were sent spinning through the air, spotlights grew steadily brighter on the cross and the stage. He saw Neji sit down, and the small audience settled, hushed.
Iruka led Kakashi the few steps it took to reach the St. Andrew's cross.
TBC>> The Next Chapter