Naruto wriggled under the coffee table determinedly. He had to find it because he couldn't finish the picture without it. It hadn't been in the box, so maybe it had fallen out and rolled under the table. It had definitely been there yesterday because he had used it.
"Naruto, it's time for... what are you doing?"
Naruto banged his head on the table and scowled at his dad's feet as they brought him closer.
"I'm looking for the grey crayon," he pouted.
His dad's feet carried him around the coffee table, "have you looked in the box?"
Naruto rolled his eyes and scooted back out from beneath the table, "yes," he sighed in irritation, "it's not there!"
His dad smiled sympathetically down at him, "well, why don't you just use another colour? Like orange, you like orange."
Naruto goggled up at him incredulously, "I can't use orange!"
"Why not?" his dad chuckled.
"Because!" Naruto pointed to his drawing on the table, "Kakashi would look stupid with orange hair!"
His dad blinked in surprise and looked down at the picture, "oh, I see. I didn't realise that was Kakashi."
Naruto shook his head in exasperation; his dad could be really stupid sometimes, it was obviously Kakashi.
"It's past your bedtime anyway," his dad grinned, "put your crayons away, alright?"
"But it isn't finished!"
"You can finish it tomorrow," his dad replied as he walked back out of the room and into the kitchen.
Naruto huffed and scooped all of his crayons together to stuff them back into the box. The orange one was nothing more than a tiny stub, and the yellow one was broken, but he still hadn't found the grey one and how was he supposed to draw Kakashi without the grey one?
He went very still when he heard the door open. He knew who it was when he heard nothing else after that. Only one person could ever move so silently through the house without Naruto's dad going to investigate. Naruto hurriedly swiped up his drawing and darted frantically around the room looking for somewhere to hide it. It wasn't ready yet, he didn't want him to see!
He could hear his father talking cheerfully in the kitchen, and a softer voice replying. Naruto jammed the picture beneath the couch and then scooped up the box of crayons and launched them across the room until they landed in the corner. He threw himself onto the couch and sprawled across the cushions, eyes closed.
The voices in the kitchen went quiet, and Naruto bit his lip to keep himself from smiling. He couldn't hear anything apart from his dad pottering around in the next room and humming to himself. He had no idea where Kakashi was until he felt two strong arms wind around him and lift him easily from the couch.
He couldn't keep the smile from his face then, but he pressed his face into Kakashi's chest and hoped that Kakashi couldn't see it. Kakashi probably knew that he was awake, he probably always knew. But he never said anything; Kakashi always played along and carried him up to bed.
His dad would carry him up if he asked. But he didn't want to ask, because he wasn't a baby, he could take himself to bed perfectly well. But it was nice when Kakashi picked him up and swept him silently up the staircase. It made him feel safe and cherished, and he wasn't a girl or anything, but it was nice.
Whenever he tried to feign sleep with his dad, he would shake Naruto and tell him to get to bed. Kakashi would pretend with him, and it was Naruto's favourite bedtime routine. Kakashi would carry him to bed and then his dad would come and tuck him in, and then their voices would lull him to sleep from downstairs.
It was just a shame that Kakashi didn't come around at bedtime very often. He came around during the day all the time, and sometimes for breakfast too, just hardly ever at bedtime.
Naruto snuggled into Kakashi's chest to hide his smile. Kakashi moved in utter silence, he always did. Naruto knew that his dad could be just as soundless when he wanted to, but he preferred to be noisy. Naruto couldn't blame him, he liked being noisy too, but it was cool the way that Kakashi never made any kind of noise unless he meant to.
Naruto bit his lip again when he was shifted away from the warmth of Kakashi's chest, and the steady drumming of his heart, to be lowered onto his bed. He kept his eyes closed as Kakashi smoothed the covers over him.
"Goodnight Naruto," Kakashi said softly, with an amused lilt to his voice.
A giggle finally escaped Naruto, and he opened his eyes in time to see Kakashi close the door behind him.
Naruto yawned, and listened for the voices of his dad and Kakashi. Eventually he heard them talking down in the kitchen. He couldn't make out what they were saying, but it was nice to be able to hear them both. His dad always sounded much more cheerful whenever Kakashi was around.
He blinked tiredly when the door to his bedroom opened after a few minutes, and his dad snuck in.
"Why aren't you asleep yet?" his dad whispered.
Naruto shrugged and yawned widely.
"Dad?" Naruto wriggled as his dad tucked the covers firmly around him, "do you love Kakashi?"
His dad's eyebrows rose a little, and he sat back onto his heels beside the bed, "of course I do," he replied before he leant over to place a kiss atop Naruto's forehead, "not as much as I love you though."
Naruto beamed at the attention, "then why can't Kakashi come and live with us?"
His dad sighed heavily and smiled, but he looked a little sad, "Kakashi has his own home Naruto," he replied.
"So?" Naruto yawned; his eyes fluttered closed, "don't you want him to live with us?"
But if his dad had an answer, Naruto was asleep before he could give it.
Kakashi stretched his arms over his head until he heard something pop loudly. He had spent the entire day hunched over a desk pouring over scrolls for his ex-teacher, and even though such a task was far beneath his skills, he didn't really mind.
"That sounded painful," the Hokage winced as he strolled back into the kitchen.
"Felt kind of nice actually," Kakashi admitted as he peered into the cup of green tea on the table in front of him. He liked being in his sensei's house, it made him feel like he had a home to return to, not just a drab little apartment and a potted plant.
It wasn't actually his home though, and he was more than aware that he had a tendency to outstay his welcome whenever he came to visit. Not that the Hokage would ever say anything. Like now for instance, when it was obvious that the man was tired after a long day and he would want to read over the scrolls Kakashi had found for him before he went to bed, but Kakashi was sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of tea and was loath to leave.
"You should take better care of yourself Kakashi-kun," the Hokage chastised him as he wandered around the table to cast fleeting glances at the scrolls resting there, "you creak like an old man sometimes."
"You're one to talk," Kakashi taunted. He could see his sensei frowning at the scrolls, and he knew that that was his cue to leave and let the man work in peace, but he really didn't want to. The Hokage's house was warm and colourful, and there were little pieces of Naruto dotted all over the place; from the pictures on the fridge to the bright orange clothes neatly folded on the chair, and the scribbles on the wall that Kakashi knew Naruto had gotten into heaps of trouble over.
"Are you trying to say that I'm past it?" the Hokage pouted at him, and Kakashi chuckled.
"Brat," the Hokage sniffed, "at least my hair hasn't gone grey yet."
"Hey," Kakashi narrowed his eyes, "I was born this way."
"I know, and what a tragedy that is," the Hokage placed his hand over his heart and sighed.
"You're evil sensei," Kakashi informed him as he rolled his shoulders and tapped the side of his teacup. He really should leave. The Hokage would never come out and tell him to go, so it was up to Kakashi to take the initiative. But his sensei and Naruto were the only real family that he had, and he despised the fact that he had to steal time with them whenever he could. He always felt as though he was intruding, like he was tainting their perfect little family by just hanging around like some lost puppy.
"What am I going to do with you?" the Hokage sighed in exasperation. Kakashi blinked in surprise when he felt his teacher's hands drop onto his shoulders, he hadn't even noticed the man move around the table.
He groaned loudly when the Hokage began to knead the tension out of his shoulders, and then blushed hotly when the sound he had made registered in his mind. But he couldn't hold onto his embarrassment with his teacher's hands unknotting his neck, he wanted to melt into a puddle right there on the kitchen floor, it felt like his bones had turned to mush.
"Kakashi," the Hokage cried softly, "you're as tense as piano wire!"
"Meh," Kakashi let his head drop forwards and his eyes fall shut, "unlike some people, I actually work for a living."
The Hokage cuffed him over the ear before he went back to the massage, "cheeky brat."
Kakashi chuckled softly and sighed. He hadn't realised how tense his shoulders had been until his ex-teacher had taken it upon himself to smooth out the knots there. He just wanted to flop over the table and fall asleep under the Hokage's hands, but something else woke up inside him when his sensei began to rub small circles into his neck, and a blush settled into his face due to something entirely different from embarrassment.
He shivered despite himself. There was a lazy sort of excitement skipping for joy in his stomach. He really needed to leave now, because it wasn't right to let the man touch him like that when he had no idea what it did to Kakashi.
"Are you cold?" the Hokage asked suddenly, and Kakashi could hear the frown in his voice.
"Huh?" Kakashi swallowed thickly.
"You shivered," the Hokage said, "you aren't getting sick are you? You've been eating properly right?"
Kakashi smiled at the man's concern and at his own stupid fantasies, "I'm fine sensei," he replied, "but uh..."
The Hokage's hands fell away from his neck when he straightened himself to his feet, "I should get going."
He pushed the chair under the table and tried to will the flush out of his face before he turned around to face his teacher. The Hokage frowned at him.
"You haven't finished your tea."
Kakashi pulled his mask back up and smiled at the man. He hoped that with the mask covering his face the Hokage wouldn't see how strained his smile was.
"Sorry," he replied, "but I'm kind of tired."
The Hokage nodded suddenly, "oh, of course. You should go and get some rest then. You really do need to start taking better care of yourself Kakashi-kun."
"I am taking care of myself sensei," Kakashi replied as he moved towards the hallway.
"Hmm," the Hokage hummed in disbelief as he followed Kakashi towards the door and watched him slip his shoes back on, "you'll end up turning me just as grey as you are."
"Yeah, but the colour wont suit you as much as it does me," Kakashi smiled as he pulled the door open.
The Hokage grinned, "no, I don't suppose it will."
Kakashi paused in the doorway. He didn't want to go out into the cold and return to his lonely little apartment. But he had no right to stay either.
Naruto twisted himself around on the swing and grinned over to Sakura. The pink haired girl scowled at him and turned away, flicking her hair.
"Would you like a riceball Naruto?" Chouji asked, holding out his hand to offer Naruto the triangular shaped treat, "my mum made them."
Naruto grinned and took the gift, studying the plum that was sitting in the middle, "Chouji," Naruto called before the boy could turn away, "what's it like? Having a mum?"
Chouji looked confused for a moment; his eyebrows furrowed in thought, "I don't know," he admitted, "I've never not had a mum, so I can't say."
"It's troublesome," came a drawling voice from the other side of the tree, "they nag all the time, and make you tidy your room."
"Yeah, but my dad makes me tidy my room," Naruto pondered.
"They cook for you," Chouji tried, "and help you with your homework."
"My dad does that too," Naruto replied pitifully.
"Well if your dad does all that stuff," Shikamaru strolled around the tree, "what does it matter?"
Naruto shrugged and tried to shove the entire riceball into his mouth in one go.
"You're dad can't be your mum at the same time," Chouji said.
"But I don't have a mum," Naruto mumbled around his mouthful, "I just have my dad and Kakashi."
"Yeah, but Kakashi's not your family," Shikamaru sighed as he sank down to the ground to lean against the tree in the shade.
"Yes he is!" Naruto cried heatedly, "he looks after me when my dad's busy."
"Then he's your babysitter," Shikamaru replied.
"He plays with me and stuff," Naruto continued, "and he brings me things back from his missions, and he reads me stories and buys me ramen when I'm upset, and he gives me medicine when I get sick and yells at people who are mean to me, and... all kinds of stuff."
Shikamaru was giving him a strange look. Naruto fidgeted uncomfortably and frowned at the ground.
"What are you idiots doing over here?" Sasuke moved gracefully into the shade of the tree and smirked at Naruto.
"Naruto was telling us about how Kakashi is his mum," Shikamaru replied.
"What?" Naruto squawked, "no I wasn't! Kakashi can't be my mum! He's a guy!"
"So?" Sasuke asked.
Naruto goggled at him.
"Yeah, why can't Kakashi be your mum Naruto?" Chouji smiled, "my cousin doesn't have a dad, but she kind of has two mums, so isn't it sort of the same thing?"
"Yeah but..." Naruto chewed his lip and looked back at the ground, "even if... even if he was sort of like... like a mum... he doesn't live with us or anything, and he and my dad aren't... you know. Aren't mums and dads supposed to kiss and stuff?"
"My parents don't," Sasuke frowned.
"I can see what he means though," Shikamaru mused, "you want your dad and Kakashi to be like a real couple?"
Naruto went rigid. That wasn't what he had been saying! He couldn't imagine his dad and Kakashi... being all kissy and stuff! That was just... yuck!
But then he couldn't imagine his dad being kissy with anyone. In fact, just thinking about his dad doing that sort of stuff with anyone other than Kakashi made something hard and cold settle in the pit of his stomach.
"W-what if I did?" he asked Shikamaru suspiciously.
"Then you have to get them together," Shikamaru replied as he slouched further against the tree, "if they were a real couple then Kakashi would move in with you and your dad."
"He would?" Naruto asked, eyes wide.
Chouji nodded, "yeah, that's what adults do when they fall in love."
"But my dad already loves Kakashi," Naruto frowned, "he told me."
Shikamaru frowned over at him, "tsk, grown-ups. They're more trouble than they're worth."
"Then why doesn't he tell Kakashi?" Chouji asked.
"I don't know," Naruto admitted, "what should I do? I want Kakashi to come and live with us, but all my dad says is that he has his own home."
"You just need to get them to go on a date or something," Chouji replied.
"Hm?" Naruto looked up, "a date? What for?"
"That's what couples do before they move in together," Shikamaru explained, "everyone's parents will have been on dates before they started living together and had kids."
Chouji was nodding, and Sasuke was tilting his head in a way that meant 'I agree, but I'm not admitting to it.' Naruto scratched the back of his head absently.
"So," he began, "what sort of things do people do for dates?"
Chouji beamed, "don't worry Naruto, I'll help!"