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- Naruto - Death and Taxes by Hoshiki - I will grant ahead of time that you likely have to be in the mood for crack to read this fic, but... yeah, I've got a big ol' soft spot for KakaIru vs GaiIru stories. And I was enjoying this story, it was cute and played up the crack and it was funny and the author has a way with a turn of phrase, but the part where I was totally won over? Besides Kakashi and Gai spying on Iruka who casually knocks them both over into a nearby pond, that is. When Iruka is cornered and they force him to choose a duelling method and... HAHAHAHAHAHAHA, that TOTALLY made me laugh my ass off because the author's sense of timing was perfect for that scene. It's totally cracked out after that, but that part alone would have been worth the price of admission. And, okay, I liked the ending here, too. XD (Kakashi/Iruka, Gai/Iruka.)

- Naruto - Ramen Maker 5000 by Hoshiki - Annnnnnd we have more crack that's really just sort of... you do have to be in the mood for it, but I found it to be really rather FUN. Like the previous story, the author has a strong sense for a turn of phrase and comedic timing, so the flow of the fic is done very well. And I really liked that the scenario used to further the crack (the Ramen no Jutsu contest techniques in this case) were actually rather developed, giving me a good, clear picture of what was going on, rather than skipping over too much and making it feel like 'empty' crack. And, okay, the ending was totally corny, but... eh, I'm a KakaIru fangirl. Like I care. ^_~ (Kakashi/Iruka.)

- Naruto - Small Heroes by Sunfreak - How stupid, he thinks, to be jealous of two adolescents over the attentions of a twelve year-old. Sunfreak is one of those authors that I will consistently read Naruto shortfics for because she has this way with the characters that makes even a 300-word story such a little gem. This story is a little longer than that and it is an absolutely gorgeous Iruka piece, the kind that makes my little fangirl heart turn over in my little fangirl chest and want to wobble in the corner for awhile. The writing is deft and lovely, bringing home what a fascinating character Iruka is without beating us over the head about it. The parallels between Iruka and Naruto are beautifully, beautifully drawn here, all the more lovely for that they're not the point of the story or even a major focus. The focus is Iruka and what's going on inside him, the way he sees the world, and this... there's a heartwrenching quality to it because I love the character so much, yet it's not sad. That's what this kind of writing does to me, the lovely way the words form the pretty images and sentences. And the ending with Kakashi is so sweet for me as a fangirl right now because it's not about the relationship, it's barely even there, it's just a fraction of Iruka's current thoughts and that's so, so, so exactly what I wanted. I have such wibbling love for this story. (Almost pure gen with a faint hint of KakaIru.)

- Naruto - An Affectionate Couple by Sunfreak - You know what I like about this? I love that most of the KakaIru fangirls I know have a sense of humor about ourselves and the pairing (as well as our own obsession with it) and this fic... it's not quite poking fun, but it is having fun, while at the same time presenting the idea of them as a couple in a way I rather like. It's not always spazzy fun, sometimes it's just quietly sitting next to someone and eating your apple/reading your book. Plus, oh, god, this fic is brilliant for it's observations about the characters and the series that are quietly woven into the narration. I love, love, LOVE that things are so simple here. It's beautiful. ♥ (Kakashi/Iruka.)

- Naruto - Bedtime Stories by Sunfreak - So, I read this fic immediately after "An Affectionate Couple", which already had me laughing. Then I read the first three sentences of this fic. And I must be in a good mood, because I suddenly couldn't stop giggling, Sunfreak has this way of turning a phrase that hits me just right and leaves me in a pile. And then the real parody starts, Kakashi treating Team 7 like children ready to be tucked in and being an INSANE FREAK and corrupting his students and I could not stop laughing. Each line is the kind that was another joke that built on the last one and the ending did seem to lose a little steam (or, perhaps, got too far off into parody to lose the thread of connection to the canon), the build-up on the way there is so worth it. I laughed like a loon for this. XD ( Lots. Yaoi and yuri and hentai.)

- Naruto - The Perfect Trap by Maldoror - You know what I love about this fic? Even if I might quibble here and there (though, as the fic gets further along, it tightens up and I have zero complaints about the second half of the fic), the writing isn't just decent, the humor isn't just smile-inducing, it's FUCKING FUNNY, more than once I had to put the fic down for half a minute to just laugh hilariously. It also does an awesome job balancing out all these various elements to the story, the kind that left me with stars in my eyes by the time I was done. I mean, you've got genuinely clever and sharp humor that's written with a damned fine sense of comedic timing, you've got jutsus at work and the theories behind them and how they made sense, you've got some really fabulous characterization, there are heavy and weighted things between them but there's also genuine amusement and attraction, Kakashi is his BATSHIT INSANE genius self, Iruka is his good-natured and warm self, but there's so much more than that going on with both of them, and you've got beautiful, beautiful writing. This thing was approximately 60k long and I didn't stop ONCE while reading it, didn't even THINK of it, because it was so brilliantly smooth to read.

And it's not just that it has these things at different points in the fic, no everything is blended together and balanced out, so it's complex and layered the entire time and it just fed my love for this pairing, because it was just... it felt like the Naruto series. I could believe this, without reservations, especially the ending. Oh, man, this rec is totally fangirl-squee, I'm sorry. I wish I could be cooler and more hip when I'm detailing what I like because this story deserves better, but it left me with such a perfect fic-high that I'm just going to explode over everyone's shoes instead. This fic was awesome. (Kakashi/Iruka.)

- Naruto - The Same Sad Songs by Pickled Death - Okay, ignore the whole 'Ruka-sensei thing. I know it's tough, it distracts me, too, but if you can get past this, this is really quite an excellent Kakashi/Iruka fic. Because it's quiet and strange and nothing in particular happens, but there's this lovely sense of time passing by, of seasons changing while this non-relationship is strange and not really at all life-changing. It seems like it should have been confusing, all that really happens is that they sit near each other in the restaurant a few times, Kakashi gets in Iruka's sunlight a few times, Iruka finds him strange but doesn't think too deeply about it a few times, and somehow it's a special dynamic without being terribly dramatic at all. This is all topped off with lovely descriptions in the prose, the kind of writing that gives me just enough detail without going overboard, and somehow manages to feel entirely like the series. I'd love for the author to tackle the pairing more often. And. You know. Maybe make it an actual pairing next time. ^_~ (Kakashi/Iruka.)

- Naruto - At the edge of the ocean by hercat - I dunno. There's just something about a story that starts out with Kakashi pretending to be absorbed in his porn, Iruka and Naruto talking, Kakashi ignoring Iruka, then Iruka moving closer so that Kakashi will insticvely move away to maintain personal space and run straight into a lamp post. And there are a lot of things that could really be tightened up on this fic (slight bits of surface characterization here and there, the use of fangirl Japanese, etc.), but I found that there were enough little moments that made me genuinely laugh that I was won over. (Lines like, after Naruto calls to Iruka-sensei: Kakashi wondered at how that title seemed to be so firmly linked with Iruka in everyone's mind, trailing behind like a baby duck after its mother. or just about any of the endings, which all pack a nice punch.) And there's banter! And there's actual clever moments and the heart of this story is very, very solid.

Whatever concerns I may have had at the beginning smoothed out by the time I was done, somewhere in these first four chapters, the story found a better rhythm and became a story that was actually rather sharp and clever. None of the characters are perfect, each have their own burdens to bear but still get on with their day, it's not a schmoopy romance (hell, right now, it's pure friendship and may stay that way for the entire fic), and it makes really good use of the background world. (Iruka stocking up on weapons while talking with the shop owner was rather a delight to read about.) Iruka is nicely three-dimensional but still warm-hearted and caring. His relationship with Naruto is lovely and perfect, especially the moments of reflection after Naruto leaves with Jiraiya. And Kakashi is weird and tired and amused and weird and distant and weird and it somehow worked for me. (Not Kakashi/Iruka, but not not KakaIru. Borderline between Gen and Preslash, I'd say. But mostly friendship.)

- Naruto - As Plain As by The Hoyden - *squeaks* Oh, my god, you have no idea how fangirly I'm about to get. It's just... *flaps hands uselessly* my pairing! Done so brilliantly well! The take on the characters here just hits me like a ton of bricks, the way Kakashi can be so distant, especially when he's just gotten home, the way Iruka is okay with what he gets from the relationship and doesn't ask for more because he doesn't think Kakashi can give it, but without being bitter about it or compromising himself, not really, the way they can maybe find a space for them to genuinely connect in between. And, god, Iruka is just... he's perfect here, the way he's so utterly recognizable as the character I love, the beautiful writing, the gorgeous sex they have, the way it ties into their relationship dynamic so well, the way how they have sex is a reflection of them, the way it's like the best sex you can get from fic--both hot and very insightful. Just... oh, man, this fic hit pretty much every KakaIru button I have, so sharp and really brilliant usage of the stray cat metaphor throughout the fic and with that imperfect brilliance the series itself has, just a fantastic story. ♥ (Kakashi/Iruka, NC-17.)

- Naruto - Warning Sign by Carcinya - There's just something about a fic that has this sort of line in it: "Are you aware that this kind of behavior is usually associated with four-year-olds?" Iruka said sternly, glowering. at Kakashi. Because, yeah, this is the kind of fic that makes my little KakaIru fangirl heart glow with happiness and warmth because they can be so cute together and Carcinya's writing has this certain sort of charm to it that makes me fall in love every time. And, yeah, okay, I've got a weakness for strong!Iruka fics and advancing him up to Jounin, but not making a Mary Sue out of him... I geek on that pretty fiercely in the right author's hands. And it's the little touches that do it for me, too, that even when he's feeling something intensely on the inside, Kakashi still holds himself still or keeps up the lazy appearance, little things like that do a lot for me. :D (Kakashi/Iruka.)

- Naruto - Midsummer by Pirate Burn - Oh, I really wish Pirate Burn would write more often, because there's this... it's a difficult quality to describe, but there's a certain beauty and weight to the writing that you don't see too often in fic, at least not without the author overshooting the style and hitting pretentious writing instead. It's not overly dense writing, it's clean and smooth, but it somehow evokes these images and feelings in my mind, like I could actually be in the grass or hot summer right along with the characters, like I could almost feel the summer heat on my skin. But, at the same time, that's not the point of the writing, it's just a side effect to the real story, which is interaction between Kakashi and Iruka when they were kids. I love that the author remembers that Kakashi was an overly serious little twit and that Iruka was rather loud and tending towards getting in trouble, but still making them so very recognizable with the characters I know.

Yet, even more than that, what got me was the way Kakashi's life was so... it's not angsty, it's not emo woe sort of pain, but it's hard and harsh and that's just the way things are because Kakashi has the genius and talent and determination, even at that age. I really adored this story because there are details in the fic, the kind that give the story a certain depth that I am crap at explaining properly. It's not the kind of fic that knocks me on my ass and steals the breath from my lungs, it's the kind of fic that feels like it's wrapping around me instead, the kind that slowly pulls me in and I can sink into the writing instead. I'm not sure why that is, I'm not sure what makes me feel that way or what exactly it is that does that, just... that's what I felt. I love fics that can evoke physical sensations for me, especially when they're backed up by lovely characterization for both of them, and a genuinely interesting set of moments in time for both of them. Want. More. (Hints of Kakashi/Iruka, but nothing's happened yet.)

- Naruto - Perfect Theology by Mariemaia1 - There were a few moments here and there where I wasn't fully onboard with the characterization (Kakashi's inner praisings of his own genius for example felt rather forced to me), but then they would be countered with moments of absolute sparkliness (like the way his Theology Tenets were worked into the fic or the way he handles his students) that I was won over. The writing is clean and smooth, very easily readable (which adds a lot of charm to the fic, because clean writing can bring into focus those ideas that have potential, like what happens here) and I like the basic characterization/plot that the author is using, and... okay, I admit it. I'm a sucker for things like Kakashi getting Iruka to supervise his team while he's away on a solo mission and using the kids to spy on Iruka so that he can get "information" on the teacher because he's curious about him. It's a scenario that can get really old really fast, but the author pulls it off here, making it genuinely interesting, amusing, and entertaining, to the point I would really like more of this one. >D (Kakashi/Iruka.)

- Naruto - Tryin' To Get To Heaven by Hey-Diddle-Diddle - I admit, the first chapter of this felt a little... mm, sudden, I guess. To be thrust into the middle of a story where Konoha has gone to war with Sound, to have not seen the build up to the Kakashi/Iruka relationship. But the writing was solid and the author achieved a properly dark and gritty tone for the war she was writing and I kept at the fic. Then, somewhere in the middle of the second chapter, the whole thing just sort of clicked for me and I started to really like the fic. The author's characterizations are solid, but even more than that it's the atmosphere she builds, that war and fighting really do suck, but not in the sense that we have to be told this, we see it, you can almost feel it. The author also doesn't just focus on Kakashi or Iruka (though, they are the main characters largely), you also get to see very important roles from characters like Raidou or Ibiki or Gai or Asuma.

And even if you are shoved into the middle of the war with this fic, the author isn't really glossing over too much--it's not so much about the fight scenes, but the in between moments, when it's not quite so easy to not remember that your loved ones are dying, that so many people are already dead, but when you still have to get up and fight. I'm not explaining it very well, I don't think, but it is really a rather good story, the author is writing it very well, the style is very smooth and readable, the painful tone needed for a story like this comes across very well, and I really, really want more of this one. Even if the ending will most likely be terribly bittersweet at best. (Some Kakashi/Iruka, a little Genma/Raidou in the background.)

- Naruto - Angstylocks and the Three Ninjas by sexybee - How on earth am I going to explain my love for this fic without degenerating into all caps or screaming fits? Because it's difficult to get across the utter glee and sparkle-laden enthusiasm I had for this fic's humor, especially given that it's a Naruto/Goldilocks fusion, which could have been so trite and cliche. But the author was really great about all the little details worked into the story (the reading material Angstylocks flipped through utterly cracked me up) and the writing was really smooth and clean, so the fic wound up just utterly working for me. I totally cackled at the ending and beamed the entire way through. ♥ (Very, very faint hints of SasuNaru and KakaIru, but it's not really the point.)

- Naruto - Fireflies by WinterOfOurDiscontent - I liked this story for the way it balances several moods without feeling schizophrenic. At times, it's sweet and romantic, at times it's almost philsophical, at other times it's humorous and snarky in that way that made me fall in love with these two. It's very short, but it was a sweet, gentle little read that made me feel all warm and fuzzy. (Kakashi/Iruka.)

- Naruto - Butterfly in Reverse by Bite the hand that feeds - [ part 10 - part 11 - part 12 - part 13 - part 14 ] - Admittedly, there were a few chapters towards the beginning of this batch (and, you know, this is the third time I'll be rec'ing this fic, which I sort of feel weird about, because anyone who's interested has probably read it already by now, and yet... I'm not sure, somehow I still feel the drive to rec these particular chapters, perhaps just to show I'm still reading, that I haven't drifted off? Or, more likely, because I have things to say often times, and good luck getting me to be quiet over here.) that I didn't feel were quite up to par with the rest of the fic, they did feel a little slow, but things quickly picked back up again and I continue to find this story to be one of the most readable I've come across lately. It's one of those rare longer stories that I don't wait for it to finish up, I don't wait months between chapters to catch up all at once, because the author is really good about giving the readers something satisfying every few chapters.

Which is helped, of course, by that each chapter is about 50k, so if you wait for five chapters to build up like I did here, you've got a good 250k of story to read. It helps that the story is developing a plot, that Kakashi has to undertake a rather stressful mission, but the charm of the story continues to be the character interaction between the rest of the village. Watching Sasuke, Naruto, and Sakura trying to figure out what the hell to do with the puppies Kakashi left them was delightful. Getting to read a really rather nice Asuma/Kurenai scene or watching Kurenai's team be cute together or even the slight hints of Neji/Tenten was all a lot of fun. I do think that it's fairly telling that the author is wandering along as she goes, that she's lost some of the focus she had early on, that she's getting further and further into her own atmosphere for the characters, that it's losing some of the edge it had in early chapters, but I also think it's still one of the better longfics out there in the fandom. It keeps my attention the entire way and there's not a lot of Narutofic above 100k that can do that. And it really is one of the best fics I've read for balancing the sprawling cast that it does. ♥ Plus, OMG. Jiraiya and Iruka having a conversation? LOVE. (Some Kakashi/Iruka, but it's more a side-thing than it is a main focus. A little bit of Asuma/Kurenai, a little bit of other common pairings you might see.)

- Naruto - Hunter's Moon by Maldoror - I stayed up far too late reading this fic when I really should have been sleeping. Especially since I wanted to save it so I could really pour over it, rather than greedily gobbling up all the words on the screen about as fast as I could go. But, jeez, it was one of those stories that just sucked me right in and wouldn't let me stop reading until it was done. It's also one of those genuinely good stories that shows why this pairing can be so fascinating, that it can be done brilliantly well, that it can keep those sharper and darker edges to the characters and still make them believable. The thing I adored about this fic was that it kept the balance between the differing levels of power between Kakashi and Iruka, that even when they're fighting against each other, even when Iruka is giving everything he has and pulls out some rather impressive moves for a Chuunin, he's still a Chuunin fighting against a Jounin. That Iruka isn't overwhelmed by Kakashi's ease or grace or casual chase, but neither is he super-powered up.

And, man, it was a fight, like a real honest-to-god action scene, one that came across fabulously well in prose, that didn't need a visual medium to be graceful and painful and intense all at the same time. It also had fabulous Iruka characterization, that he's a ninja, that he's been trained to fight with everything he has, to survive, and you got to see the harshness of what being a shinobi meant, what being in a village full of ninja meant, what being with someone like Kakashi meant. Add to that the relationship between the characters that was warm and honest without being fluffy or losing the sharp edge, the way it was genuinely clever characterization (the scene at the end was just... perfect) all the way around... yeah, this fic was a fantastic read. *happily drowns in floaty fic vibes* (Kakashi/Iruka.)

- Naruto - La Luna de Miel by The Hoyden - ....*stares* I... I... I have no idea what part of this fic was my favorite. Was it the humor? The sparkling writing? The sex scenes? I do not know. But, man, did I totally squeak and sparkle over this fic. I love stories that are actually clever about their premises, the way Kakashi and Iruka are still in the honeymoon phase, the way they react when they have to part because Kakashi has a mission to take care of, the way the characters are just so vibrant and the humor genuinely sparkly. (There's just something about Gai being on Iruka's doorstep at 6am and the phrase Iruka could swear he heard Gai give Kakashi a thumbs-up. that sends me into peals of laughter. Because I half suspect it's true. Or the banter! There's banter in between the sex and the yelling at Kakashi for being a retard and I love, love banter when it's sparkly and clever!) And did I mention the sex? Because yum. It's not the long, drawn-out kind, it's more the shorter, going-to-have-you-now kind, but that was what this story seemed to call for. ♥ (Kakashi/Iruka, NC-17 content.)

- Naruto - Only Polite by granate - *shimmers* Oh, this was just... it wasn't sweet, I wouldn't say that, but it was... heart-warming, in that gentler Naruto sort of way. The kind that left me with a smile on my face afterwards because it was lighter than a lot of the heavier KakaIru fics out there, but not crack or humor precisely, it was just... nice. Because I could believe these characterizations of Kakashi and Iruka, because the author doesn't ignore that they got off to a bad start, but made me believe they could move on from there and get along in something that's almost like friendship, but also a lot like Kakashi using the excuse for a free (and good) meal. Nor did the story forget that they're teachers, yet not use that as the be-all, end-all of their connection (discussing the reasons Iruka put the various teams together especially made me smile ♥) and the hints of interest that slowly start to crop up are nicely done. Not much really happens, it's preslash if anything, but the story works so much better for that and I really liked this one. (Kakashi/Iruka, but nothing happens.)

- Naruto - line meme drabbles by Kelsey - I've already rec'd this post of Kelsey's for the HanaKimi shortfics, but I had to include the two Naruto ones I requested of her for two reasons. ONE. LEE READING SAKURA POETRY. It was brilliantly funny and I think I wheezed with laughter the entire time. And, oh, my god, the ending. I squeed quite madly as well. TWO. KAKAIRU AND A BOOK OF PORNOGRAPHIC HAIKUS. *cracks up* Man, I love Kelsey's brain so much. (Lee/Sakura, hints of Kakashi/Iruka.)

- Naruto - How to File Form 39-B by the Hoyden - ....did I never rec this? *facepalm* Shame on me! Because I love her Naruto fic with such intensity. ♥ I just... I have no idea which part of this fic that I enjoyed most. Because you've got the stellar interaction between Kakashi and Iruka, you've got a pitch-perfect Iruka just after being betrayed by Mizuki and getting used to being around Naruto, you've got an adorable Naruto who comes across perfectly in text form, loud and obnoxious, but not overly hyper, and then you've got the bored Jounin milling around to add that extra dash of fun, but there's also Kakashi who is so insane and doing it on purpose that I just crack the hell up and twirl around in glee and then--...well, yes, you see the problem I have. ^_~ It's just... it's clever and the writing is so teeth-achingly perfect and sharp and the dynamic between Naruto and Iruka just floored me because it was so damned perfect, because it was everything that these fabulous characters should have written for them, filled with details and perfectly described small gestures of hands and, god, dialogue that works so damned well. And a really lovely, stellar, believable dynamic between Kakashi and Iruka (seriously, the word play they have going on, the way they got drunk together or the way Kakashi keeps teasing him or the way Iruka knows a lot more than one would expect him to, the way every character in this fic is special just because they're themselves, not because they're special-special, but because that's the way they make me feel) and, god, I swear, I felt like I was going to cry from the tension or sweetness or whatever when Iruka realized that he was wrong about Kakashi's motivations/perspective about Naruto and went to apologize after the Chuunin nominations and that conversation was just....

There are so many things I wanted to comment about, with more than just run-on sentences, but I kind of wrote this while I was reading, because I got so wound up by it that I had to do it immediately, because every few screens there was a scene that I just absolutely had to squee over. Because the pacing of this fic was just fabulous, one of those stories that really does build up the tension between them, builds an actual relationship, it doesn't come out of nowhere or they're not just dropped into the middle of it. Because it's one of those stories that's complete, not just a snippet or a piece of what I wanted for them, because the sense of satsifaction by the time they finally sleep together is wonderful. And! There are running gags! That are actually funny! And Naruto isn't forgotten, not really, and, oh, god, KakaIru where they're being all cutely flirty and the interaction just sparkles and the characterization is flat-out awesome and, and, and--!! And, just, oh, god, I'm ending this rec now before it becomes even more apparent that my brain has dribbled out my ears. Because this whole story... oh, just... yes. Yes. One of those stories that I would happily point out to even non-KakaIru fans. ♥ (Kakashi/Iruka, but worth reading for the Iruka - Naruto interaction, too.)

- Naruto - Not so bright ideas by ChibiRisu-chan - Goddammit, not even halfway through this fic and I'm cracking the hell up and rolling around with laughter on the floor. Santa qualifications, as far as Kakashi could tell, involved the ability to get in and out of places without getting noticed and leaving surprises behind. and Santa left fewer explosives and more candy canes, but hell, an elite jounin's job description also involved being flexible. and THAT is precisely when I lost it, had to put my head down on the desk, and laugh for awhile. I'm not sure how well they work out of context, because what ChibiRisu-chan is so damned adept at is building a scene with subtle timing and cues, so that when she gets to the punchline, you're ready for it, and you just crack the hell up. Plus, the ending made me smile in that goopy way I love with this pairing. XD (Kakashi/Iruka.)

- Naruto - Strays by aki_omoi - This was a lovely Kakashi-and-Iruka fic (it's not precisely romantic... I guess calling it "preslash" would be the best way to describe it) with a lovely metaphor in the way Iruka takes care of strays, the way he worries over them, the way he takes care of those that no one else takes care of, the way he feels better when he doesn't have to worry about them so much, because they're well-fed and accounted for. It's actually done with a lot more deft and talent than I make it out to sound, there's a real warmth to the writing that's necessary to pull of worried!Iruka like this, but there's also a casual sort of distance with Kakashi that strikes me just as hard. Because he doesn't immediately open up, he might not tell Iruka anything for years, maybe never, but he's also not super-angsty, either, he's just... distant, even underneath the way with words he has or his sense of humor. I thought it was beautifully done, the delicate connection being built that wasn't really as cliche as I make it sound. :D (Kakashi/Iruka, except not just yet.)

- Naruto/Fruits Basket - Iruka and Hatori by ChibiRisu-chan - I suspected that a Naruto/Furuba crossover would be fun coming from this author... but I certainly wasn't expecting something that has such a beautiful point of commonality to it (given that it's set in the author's "Side Effect" universe, it's probably best to be familiar with the premise of that fic first) or something that would utterly engross me and not let me so much as flicker my gaze away from the screen until I was done reading. The characterizations were just lovely--I was really impressed with the level of comfort with the medical details (though, not so much that they overwhelm the fic, just enough to give it a very comfortable feeling of being set from the POV of a doctor) which was helped by Hatori's noting of so many little details of his patient, but also that it felt so very... Hatori. The bittersweet feeling of checking on a pregnant woman, the faint aching of explaining about the differences in their 'curses', getting me to believe that Hatori would react the way he did and say the things he did. It's one of those fics that... I'm not describing this very well, but the brilliant thing is that there's actually a point to the story and real moments of connection between Hatori and Iruka. It's not just randomly tossing the characters together, somehow the crossover managed to work. And, oh, the ending was beautiful. So incredibly beautiful and what I wouldn't give for that scene, too. XDDDD (Some Kakashi/Iruka, but it's entirely not the point.)

- Naruto - The Kakashi Mission by JBMcDragon - I'm a little out of sorts trying to figure out how to describe this fic, because... it doesn't quite mesh with the way I see Kakashi in canon... but to say that also feels like I'm not giving the fic the props it deserves. The characterization is actually really intriguing, I find myself very fond of the author's takes on the characters, the way Kakashi is written as sort of a nuerotic mess who's still as brilliant and talented and deadly as ever, which maybe shouldn't work because I don't think of Kakashi as a nuerotic mess, but the little details, the sheer amount of clever dialogue or little touches to the way Kakashi things... it all charms me and kept me reading the whole way through. I think you could make a case to nitpick at the characterization, but I also think fans of Kakashi (and the Kakashi/Iruka pairing) will enjoy the hell out of the story.

One of the great things about it is that it achieves its goals so very well, especially in the regards of the pacing of the relationship between Kakashi and Iruka... as well as Kakashi's friendships with the other Jounin around him. The author never forgets that Kakashi's head is a weird, weird place, a not very happy or sunshiney place, but also a place that has entirely too much fun watching other people squirm. Because it's funny. Every scene (as well as every flashback) is used very well, each one furthers the plot and characterization along or reveals another piece of the Kakashi puzzle (as well as Iruka, but this is a story that focuses more on Kakashi, given that there's more to work with) and the pacing is grand.

The characterization is also very nice and never too over the top. Iruka's characterization is fantastic, someone who is warm and caring and wonderful, but not perfect, he has his flaws and reacts like a human being. And, okay, I'm a sucker for anything with Yondaime and Kakashi interaction, which... wasn't a huge part of the fic, but it was in there enough to make me happy. Overall, this was a really good read that actually kept my attention and had a smut scene in it. Can I really ask for more than that? ^_~ (Kakashi/Iruka, graphic content in two of the chapters, the rest are PG-13 or so.)

- Naruto - All About Sex by JBMcDragon - I would suggest reading the author's longer work (The Kakashi Mission) before reading this one, since that one more deeply explores the type of characterization Kakashi has, as I'm not sure how this one stands up on its own. Which sounds like I'm only half-complimenting it, which I don't mean to do, because this is a hilarious little oneshot that just sailed right along. Kakashi and Iruka are just... so cute. Not cute-cute, but fun cute. And it's one of the better stories I've read with Iruka being curious about Icha Icha Paradise--the image of him getting caught with it and Kakashi's reaction is just about perfect here. ♥ (Kakashi/Iruka implied. Maybe.)

- Naruto - Saving by zooie - Omg, pack-rat!Iruka carried off with humor and intelligence, so that it works with the character and gives him depth rather than just making a parody out of the character. Eeeee, so much love. The writing is lovely, it's just light enough that the fic doesn't sink into dramatic angst, but not so light that it's crack-addled, instead creating something that put a giant smile on my face to read. And, man, I really loved the Kakashi POV for this fic, he's just weird enough while not being too weird, especially when trying to deal with Iruka's weirdness of his own and... okay, I'm clearly failing at describing why this fic totally made my day. But it was good! And I totally sympathize both with living with packrats and being a packrat myself (Those things seriously can come in handy! You never know!) and I love, love that it's not just one-dimensional surface cuteness, that the author managed to weave in important character moments along with them. *happy sigh* (Kakashi/Iruka.)

- Naruto - Discarding by Zooie - The companion piece (sequel?) to "Saving" and it's just as much fun to read. ♥ So much of it is that the author walks the line between humor and something more serious with the pairing, working in Kakashi's batshit insanity, but in such a way that it's not parody, instead it's... not quite a cover for something else, Kakashi really is that weird, but... it has a depth here. Not to mention it's actually clever as he tries various methods of trying to get rid of all the junk Iruka has stored around the place and, god, the arguing. Such beautiful arguing and I love them both and it's such fun because I can't decide who gets the better lines except for the second time Kakashi tries to throw his things away and Iruka realizes just what he's done and kicks him off the stairs, leaving Kakashi where he falls because he knows the bastard let him do it. It's just... the fic is littered with a zillion moments of clever amusement without feeling like it's constantly setting up punchlines. It just is sparkling and funny. (Kakashi/Iruka.)

- Naruto - Echo by Zooie - In a way, this is a very simple fic, it consists of various ways Kakashi and Iruka are different, loud vs quiet, but... I liked it because the author was clever and creative in the way the theme was used in so many different ways even in such a short fic. I also liked it because of the way the contrast came together at the end, the way it first showed the characters seperately and then showed them together and illustrated their relationship. But I also just really liked the imagery, of explosions or ghosting through Konoha so quietly you never knew he was there, it worked well for these two. (Kakashi/Iruka.)

- Naruto - When They Were by Zooie - I never quite know how to treat fics like this, that are almost too short for a proper rec, but... the opening lines of this one hit me so hard that I had to give it a proper rec. The difference between Kakashi and Iruka as children, what they were doing at different ages, at three, at five, at seven, at nine, the difference hits home just how terrible some lives are, how painful lives can be in different ways. What really struck me about this fic is that it, once again, brought home just how much Kakashi's life sucked because he was far too brilliant far too early, how much the character has endured in his life simply because he's too talented. It's such a simple fic, but... it contains a lot of intensity in it. I really, really liked this. (Kakashi/Iruka implied.)

- Naruto - Underneath the Underneath by ann89103 - Speaking of stories that are simple but manage to pack a certain punch, this was lovely. It's straightforward and clean in writing, but still sparkles and manages to get quite a lot of little details in so that it has a fully developed feeling to it. The way Kakashi and Iruka are comapred and constrasted against each other works wonderfully here, each illustrating and highlighting the other character very well while showing the progression of their interaction. It's just... light and fun and... not exactly adorable, but sort of in that direction, the kind that puts a smile on my face because I love them both. (Kakashi/Iruka.)

- Naruto - Between the Lines by Zooie - I have such affection for this fic because of the Kakashi POV that's loopy and weird and a little insane, but not so far over the top that Kakashi becomes a parody of himself or goes out of the bounds of what's actually a very serious character. For all that the author apparently struggled with this story for some months, there's a certain natural flow to the characterization/narration that utterly charmed me while he looks around his apartment or watches Iruka behaving oddly and it's not that he doesn't get what's going on so much as he doesn't think in entirely the same patterns, but he's still brilliant Kakashi. It's a balance between the two that the author utterly pulls off and makes this one of the better fics I've read recently. Plus, omg, the details and a fantastic Iruka--who apparently has to get drunk to work up the nerve to go apologize to Kakashi after the Chuunin exames and it works so damn well in this fic--and it's just a really good, fun, smooth read. (Gen fic, though, it may be of interest to KakaIru fans, despite that there is no romance here.)

- Naruto - Smoke and Snow by marmaladecat - I must have missed this the first time, but aki_omoi pointed it out the other night and I settled down to read. It was... one of the biggest draws for me was the atmosphere of the fic, the way the imagery and prose worked in the way the author intended, so it was like there was this blanket of quiet around a smaller, intimate circle of noise, like footsteps on snow on a cold winter day. This is in addition to quiet, subtle characterization that fits with the tone of the fic beautifully well, it's serious without being depressing, it's almost... thoughtful, but with just a sprinkling of the harshness for the Naruto characters' lives. The imagery the author used is lovely, even while they're just standing in front of the obelisk to remember the dead. I really liked that no metaphor was lingered on for too long or overused to beat it into the readers' heads, there was something like a mercurial quality here, but the flow from one point to the next was lovely. It was a very, very good read, I thought. (Not Kakashi/Iruka, it's more gen than anything, but.)

- Naruto - Oekari by nachtmusik & sakurahoshi - Given that the fic is by two different authors and the rotating style of it (one paragraph from Kakashi's point of view, one from Iruka's point of view, one from Kakashi's point of view, etc.), I would be rather surprised if this fic hadn't been written role-play-style, which is something I tend to shy away from, because they rarely have smooth enough narratives to interest me. While I did take note of the revolving POV, the two authors' styles fit quite well together and it actually did read like an actual fic with an actual storyline running through it. And there was a certain mellow quality to the fic that I liked, the way it wasn't really about romance, just about two adults talking who rarely got a chance to do so, something like a friendship unfolding between them without moving too fast too soon. I also appreciated all the little details tossed in... in that time of the timeskip, there were a lot of things going on and this fic did a good job of not overwhelming the story, but in remembering so many of the things happening in Konoha at the time. (Kakashi/Iruka, though, it's far more gen than anything.)

- Naruto - The Space Between by asahii - Continuing in the trend of finding surprisingly dark-ish Naruto fic, this time it's a Kakashi/Iruka fic that's... bittersweet is a good word for it, I think. It's complicated and messy, this thing between them, it's harsh and makes Iruka confused and conflicted while still making him such a strong, interesting character. The author's use of language is lovely in this piece, where I can almost feel the tightness winding in my chest because of the distance between the characters, the way so much isn't said about Kakashi. And I love the way Kakashi appears through Iruka's view here--which makes it sound like it's sappy or cliche maybe, but it's actually the opposite of that, it's good, a really effective use of perspective and it's so... Kakashi, even when he barely says more than a handful of words or sticks around for more than a few hours. I love that everything is so messy and tangled for Iruka here, but the author really does convey that pull he feels with the relationship, I love the way he comes across here, even when he can't stop. (Kakashi/Iruka, hard R rating.)

- Naruto - untitled by ChibiRisu-chan - God, a KakaIru shortfic with the prompt of "goldfish" should not be this clever or work this well, but the author really did a brilliant job with it. It was the little touches that won me over, the way Kakashi is so Kakashi when he seems to be ignoring Iruka and then making the worst comment ever and I laughed like a hyena and fun was had by all. Yes. (Vaguely Kakashi/Iruka, but it's implied at best.)

- Naruto - beso rojo by asahii - There's a fabulous intensity to the writing for this story and, yes, it's about sex, but it's also about something else. About seeing Kakashi at his most intense, seeing the way Iruka deals with that, the way it sweeps over him, but he doesn't lose himself to it, either. The author walks a fine line with the piece, but she walks it well, Kakashi in ANBU!mode here and it makes sense to my views of the characters and... well, okay, and it's really, really hot. ♥ The intensity is just as much about characterization as it is about the physical, they reflect each other as the author itends. The same for the harshness without it being painful, instead it's just that extra bit of bite to two fighters who aren't gentle or soppy with each other. It's the kind of fic that reminds me of why I keep reading porn. ♥ (Kakashi/Iruka, NC-17.)

- Naruto - Spies Like Us by thehoyden - thehoyden is one of those writers who... I may take forever to get around to reading her fic (which is absolutely terrible of me and I think I do it because I want to ration out the truly good fic with this pairing), but once I get started, I cannot look away. Her writing is brilliant, her characterization is brilliant, the way she weaves a plot where Iruka meets a jounin of Konoha and they start an affair and he doesn't even know the guy's real name, but it's filled with these amazing little details and gorgeous characterization where Iruka is strong but warm-hearted and Kakashi is cold and brilliant except when he's almost too hot to touch, and somehow it all works. Not just works, it's brilliant. The kind of fic I wish I could write a better, more insightful rec for because it deserves it and there's a thousand little details the author deserves ego-petting over, but I just sort of seize up and keyboard mash with how incredibly strong this story is. It's humorous! It's beautifully emotional! It's goddamned clever! The sex is incredibly hot! The pacing and build-up are fabulous! It never short-changes anything and never over-pads a scene! The intensity and payoff in the fic are grand! It has everything it needs. ♥ (Kakashi/Iruka, NC-17 content in some scenes.)

- Naruto - An Evening in Spring by Maldoror - I haven't read much KakaIru fic lately, there's been too little that's caught my attention, much less managed to make me sit up and sparkle like mad. (To be fair, I haven't been looking lately, either. I've been branching out more towards gen.) But then this author posted this fic and I had to at least start it, I figured, and then I promptly could not put it down. The writing is gorgeous, this is why KakaIru works for me, why it's such a brilliant, fun, awesome pairing. Because Kakashi is weird without being a chariacture of himself, the author being so goddamned clever that I spent the entire fic alternately shimmering or laughing out loud. Her Iruka is much the same, he can snap back a retort or be remarkably human and it's a gorgeous, gorgeous foil for a character like Kakashi. Even the OC in the story fits so damn perfectly into a world like Naruto and, holy christ, her Ibiki in this story, even when he's barely on the screen, has to be my favorite portrayal of him, like, ever.

The writing is that smooth, gorgeous kind that's fantastically done on a technical level, but also the kind that lets you see all these little quirks to both characters even while the story's plot (such as it is, with Kakashi and Iruka out on their 'date') rolls right along. The conversation is perfect. Iruka's thoughts/feelings are perfect. Kakashi's just... asdlfkjalsdfj, I can only jibber out of love because goddamn he's brilliant here. I sat down to read this fic and I didn't get up the entire time, I even had to force myself to slow down, because it was the kind of fic that I kept zooming forward in an attempt to get more, more, more of it. I just. Fuck, yes, this is why KakaIru is still my favorite pairing. (Kakashi/Iruka.)

- Naruto - The Sixth Dodge by JBMcDragon - [ part 01 - part 02 - part 03 - part 04 - part 05 - part 06 ] - I wondered for a few minutes whether I should rec this fic or not because my canon details h0 was nitpicking some of the descriptions for the characters, especially since it felt like there was an agenda behind them, but then I sort of mentally smacked myself on the forehead for that thought because even if the fic wasn't perfect, there was some incredibly awesome stuff here. The first chapter alone had me giggling and practically taking someone's eye out with my sparkle fit because the author is brilliant at portraying insane!Kakashi in this really clever, hilarious way. This is why Kakashi and Iruka and the KakaIru pairing are awesome, why people fall in love with them and write fic about them. The potential between the characters, Kakashi being so weird and Iruka being sane until you get on his bad side and the cats-and-dogs dynamic between them here, the author uses it brilliantly to make a fascinating read.

A lot of it is that the fic is just plain funny as Iruka tries to scare Kakashi off, tries to avoid him, tries to get rid of him anyway he can. Kakashi just keeps coming back and isn't quite exactly the way you expect him and he's actually sort of really cool underneath the insanity. Which just drives Iruka even more nuts. And oh. my. god. The friendship between Iruka and Anko is a thing of beauty. I've long had a fascination with the idea of them being friends (or even more than that in other fics), so it was bonus that it appeared here at all. But the way the author writes them? So fabulous I cannot even begin to tell of it. But you know what was even more awesome? Gai/Anko OTP. Holy crap, my mind melted with the sheer, flat-out awesome of them in this fic.

Even ten minutes after I finished, while I'm writing this rec, I can't stop grinning like an idiot or giggling under my breath at a particularily hilarious line from the fic. It's especially wonderful because it's humor fic, but it's not parody fic, it doesn't just throw the characters together (well, except the background ones), it actually builds the relationship, but it's funny while it does so. So, the physical descriptions didn't ring true for me, despite my usual overly nitpicky nature (this is my fault, not the author's), I wound up enjoying the hell out of this fic and will put it among The Good KakaIru Fic Out There, yes. (Kakashi/Iruka, some background het.)

- Naruto - Telephone by Pru - I don't even remember how I got here anymore! I'm sure there was a link somewhere or someone recommended it and I'm being horrible by not remembering where (omg so sorry ;__; ) but... sheesh, I had also very nearly forgotten how much I actually really loved reading really good Naruto fic. It starts so simple, a rumor that Kakashi and Iruka are together and Team 7's reactions which are completely hilarious and beautiful and their slow coming around to accept the idea of it and there are so, so many moments of win here. I love that it's not really about KakaIru (though, there's enough of that, too ♥) it's about interaction between all of them, it's about Team 7 as a larger whole, it's about each of these characters being utterly awesome, it's about a great ending that I keyboard mash over. Both funny and touching, this fic makes me want to dive back into the Naruto fandom, dammit. (Some Kakashi/Iruka, it's only half the point.)

- Naruto - Dog Days by Aishuu - I say this about half of the time I rec a fic with KakaIru in it, but it's still true every single time--it's stories like these that are why I love this pairing so much. Because it's just rife with potential for stories like Iruka and Pakkun trying to cohabitate Kakashi's life. And the way Aishuu writes Iruka trying to deal with the obnoxious dog is so great, because I can just see it happening, because she comes up with some great examples, and because I love the way she wrote the whole thing. The Chopstick Incident wasn't just vaguely referred to, it was actually written and lived up to truly being an Incident, and the ending of that incident? So hilarious. So, so hilarious. Also, the ending of the fic itself is really great as well, I'm so glad Aishuu returned to Naruto for awhile to write this. And it totally doesn't hurt that it was promised for me, too. ♥ (Kakashi/Iruka, but it's not really entirely the point.)

Naruto: Paper Cut by measuringlife - Okay, this was just total cuteness with Iruka getting a papercut and Kakashi manages to show up at ~*just the right time*~ and you get the sense that somehow he knowsssss. But you can't help being attracted to him anyway! Damn Kakashi. And the fic was just this really fun piece that served to get me slowly back towards being in a Naruto mood again. :Db (Kakashi/Iruka.)

Naruto: Tied to You by aviss - I've had a small but growing list of Naruto fic I've been meaning to read for ages, always waiting for that time when I was really super in the mood again and I didn't think that would be today, but... I was going through springkink's latest posts and thought, well, I'll at least read the beginning. What I really liked about this fic was the way it started--Kakashi's first person POV notes that Naruto isn't stupid, that he often plays the fool but isn't actually dumb, which was a really nice little observation. From there, it's this cute, fun fic where Iruka and Kakashi are handcuffed together for the day, where Kakashi knows that there's something between them on both sides and it's just... fun and charming and light-hearted, all things that are nice to read in this fandom sometimes. (Kakashi/Iruka.)

Teach Your Children Well by AvocadoLove, kakashi & naruto & sasuke & sakura & iruka + mild kakairu implications, time travel, 37.8k
    After Madara final attack on the village, Rokudaime Kakashi uncovers a time-travel scroll. Now he's Team Seven's sensei again. And this time, he's going to do things differently. A time travel fic.
    TIME TRAVEL FIC, YES, GIVE ME THAT RIGHT NOW. I will give the caveat that this story was first published two and a half years ago, so the updates are often after long waits, but there's nearly 30k of the fic here and it gets the story up through the Wave Country arc, and I think it's genuinely worth reading already. When you have a series like Naruto, often times so much goes wrong or people are lost that you want to see back or just so much has changed over the course of things, that you want a time travel fic because then you can fix things or play with the potential of what might have been! You need an author with a solid focus and grip on the characters, but, oh, this author has it amazingly well. This Kakashi is exquisitely spot on, both for the core of the character being recognizable, the little tricks and details are brilliant, and how this is a Kakashi from a terrible future and that anger stays with him, even as he buries it in order to reshape the future once he's gone back.

The author does brilliantly at Kakashi's relationships with the characters around him, the things he fixes right away (Naruto's living quarters, focusing on getting more tailored training to Team 7, etc.) and the things that just take time. His hate for Sasuke and then the slowly growing hope that maybe this time he could help guide the kid back onto a better path, all balanced with that sense of something nearly like detachment that's pure Kakashi? All of it is gorgeous. And I am dearly in love with how the author doesn't ignore the team 7 dynamics or any of the team members, each of them gets their screen time and focus specifically on them. Of particular delight to me is that Sakura is an important member of this team and the author absolutely does not leave her out or forget that she's there and, oh, seeing her come into her own right along with Sasuke and Naruto is amazing.

But it's also just that the fic is gorgeously written and paced, it has all the things that would make a good storyline in the actual manga--it has action scenes even! It has training sessions! And they're interesting even in text form! It was so easy for me to just sink right into this fic and then not come out until I was done and feeling like hardly any time had passed, because the writing is so smoothing and beautifully done. It's everything I could have asked for from a story like this (especially as a Kakashi fan who loves how weird he is sometimes, but it's always... the author gets that combination of eccentricity and brilliance and deeper purpose to everything he does and that's fucking perfect) and I'm hopeful that we'll continue to get new chapters of it soon!

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