Title: Seeing Things Invisible
Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha or Naruto.
"Mama, what's wrong?" Kagome stared at her mother worriedly. She was very pale and looked ready to faint. Naruto and Souta shared a glance, each boy shrugging when Kagome looked over at them. "Mama?"
The older woman shook herself free of her shock and smiled reassuringly at them. "I'm alright, just a little shocked. For a moment there I thought I saw an old friend of mine. Minato had such brilliant blonde hair as well. It's nothing, though. Minato never had any children." Naruto found himself in a tight hug, Kagome's mother squealing happily. "You are just too cute, Naruto! I just bet that if Minato had kids, they'd look just like you." The blonde looked a little scared and Kagome came to his rescue.
"Mama, why don't you finish dinner? I'll set up the table. Souta, take Naruto upstairs and show him your room." Kagome pried Naruto out of her mother's arms and the two boys made a hasty retreat. She rolled her eyes at the pout her mother gave her. "Really mother, you shouldn't overwhelm him like that. That's the reason why Souta's friends don't come around anymore."
"Well, if you would give me grandbabies to spoil I wouldn't have to get my fix elsewhere, now would I?" The elder Higurashi huffed and turned back to her soup, stirring vigorously in an attempt to ignore her daughter. "If your father was alive, he'd-"
"He'd tell you the same thing."
"It's so sad that my own daughter talks to me that way. Those ninjas have corrupted you. I used to have such a polite, soft spoken little girl." Her mother pouted. Kagome sighed.
"Pouts don't work on me, I'm your daughter, remember?"
Her mother dropped the pout and smacked her on the back of the head. "Go make sure the boys wash up before dinner. It's just about done."
"Such abuse! Now I know where I get it from." Kagome dodged the towel snapped at her rear and dashed upstairs, laughing.
Dinner went fairly well. Kagome was able to thwart the boys' attempts at pranks and even managed to trick Naruto into eating his vegetables. The Higurashi matriarch herded Souta upstairs to get ready for bed and Kagome took Naruto home.
"Hey, Kagome-sensei, is Souta going to go to the ninja academy, too?"
"Our mother is very opposed to the idea. He'll be eight soon and he's been trying to convince her to let him go next year."
"How come you got to go?" The boy crossed his arms behind his head, eyes squinting in confusion.
"It was my father's wish. My older sister Kikyo had already finished her priestess training, so I really didn't need to go through it as well. It took him a few years to convince my mother that it would benefit the family if I became a ninja. Better paycheck and all that."
"What happened to your father?"
"He was killed during an exorcism. He underestimated the demon and paid for it."
Naruto winced and dropped his arms. "Sorry. I shouldn't have asked."
"It's alright. It's been years since he was taken. The pain has all but disappeared. Besides, I became a better student because of his death. When I first started at the academy I treated it as a game. I learned that to not take things seriously could cost me my life. However, there is one other thing I've learned, and that is," Kagome stuck her finger in her mouth, as if she was biting her nail. Without warning, the kunoichi pulled the blonde boy closer to her and stuck her wet finger tip into his ear. "to always have time for fun!"
"ARRGH!" Naruto batted at the hand and danced away, wiping furiously at his ear. "That's so gross! What kind of girl are you? You're so weird!"
Kagome laughed, arms around her middle. Really, Naruto was great at doling out the pranks and tricks, but he didn't know how to take them. A pout remained on his face as they continued on to the apartment building he lived in. Kagome noticed that the further they went, the conditions of the buildings got worse. She watched silently as Naruto climbed rickety stairs up to a dingy door and slid a key in. Inside the apartment wasn't much better. Part of the problem was the mess of clothes, empty containers, and random garbage that littered the floors. Naruto was only nine, he didn't have the responsibility and the discipline to keep his apartment clean. However, Kagome could see that the walls were badly cracked in the corners, something that happens over a long period of time, and the windows had large gaps around the frames.
The blonde turned to her, a light blush on his cheeks. "Sorry about the mess. If I had known you were going to walk me home, I would have cleaned up a bit." He kicked off his sandals and attempted to clean up the large amount of instant ramen cups. His garbage can was full, however, and he stood in his kitchen at a loss of what to do with the trash in his arms. Kagome cursed the mothering instinct she had and stepped forward.
"Naruto, why don't you grab a pair of pajamas and an outfit for tomorrow. I have a spare bedroom at my apartment. You can sleep there tonight. I'll help you clean up here after class." The look he sent her nearly made her scoop him up and hug him.
He looked so surprised and hopeful.
"Are you sure, Kagome-sensei?"
"Of course. Just because it doesn't snow here, doesn't mean the temperature doesn't drop at night. It's January, you've got to be cold with those gaps in the windows. Now, go get some clothes so we can go. My apartment is clear across town and it will take at least an hour to get there." She made shooing motions with her hands and Naruto dropped the empty ramen cups to hurry to his room. Kagome toed off her own sandals and quickly removed the full garbage bag and replaced it with a new one. It would be easier to clean if they had a garbage can ready to use.
Naruto returned a few minutes later, a small bag under one arm. His eyes were alight with excitement and, underneath that, wary hope. Kagome smiled at him and ruffled his hair. They put their sandals back on and locked up the apartment once more. Kagome tossed the garbage bag into the community dumpster and lead the way to her own place.
Kagome poked her head into the spare bedroom and smiled at Naruto. The blonde boy was sprawled across the futon, blankets twisted and half off the bed. The poor thing had run out of that seemingly inexhaustible energy and she was forced to carry him on her back.
She closed the door gently and tiptoed back into the living room.
Much shorter than I wanted it to be, but I've made you all wait long enough for an update. The next chapter will be longer to make up for it.