Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto and Bleach. They belong to their respective owners, Masashi Kishimoto and Kubo Tite.

Shihouin Naruto: Power of the King

Chapter Three: Experiences

00000000

—"Perhaps they are clueless, helpless and weak

But they are children

And their smiles

Are the most precious treasures

That one could ever cherish"

00000000

Present Time

Sighing, Yoruichi pushed back from the table and stood up with her mind back to the present, stretching her slender body to get some of the kinks out of her bones, like a cat. An old habit of hers. She glanced at the clock, and sighed when she saw it was barely past six in the morning.

She rubbed her eyes warily.

Now normally, she'd be up by eight, and she was barely awake even by then. Cat's needed their sleep, after all.

Lately however, Naruto kept having these nightmares that woke him up earlier than little boys like him should be. There was also the constant paining on his neck, from that weird looking scar that she was always very weary of. She'd be awake the minute his feet touched the floor, thanks to her honed senses that kept her alert even when asleep. There was also that niggling feeling in her stomach she only gained recently.

She suspected it came with the job though.

Motherhood, that is.

She bent down and started on the table with her lips quirked down. A year ago Naruto kept having these symptoms as well, just a few days shy of the incident that more or less changed the blonde haired boys' life, and she heard from the doctors nightmares that came from overwhelming grief were potentially deadly.

It was understandable where the grief came from, but the doctors came up with zilch when explaining how he got the scar.

They asked Naruto if he were near any animals before the incident, since the scar looked like something that came from an animal with sharp fangs. To this the blond boy gave a curt reply of no, and told them that he had no idea where it came from when inquired if he knew how he got it.

She narrowed her eyes in thought, picking up the plates and glasses, walking over to place them in the sink, her subconscious reminding her to tell Naruto to do his chores later.

She looked down, and sighed.

Yoruichi took one plate and opened the faucet to start cleaning it herself.

She was still a bit guilty on what she did earlier. Normally, the little boy would have been able to laugh at her little joke, but she should have realized that he was just not in the mood this morning, and her stomach felt very tight when she thought back on the tears that formed in the corner of his cherubic blue eyes.

It suddenly wasn't very funny. And felt very, very painful to know that she was the cause of that.

Finishing the plates and glasses, the Shihouin washed her hands and dried them with the towel from the sinks' side. Leaning in with her back to the sink, Yoruichi placed one of her hands to the tiles of the kitchen sink and paused, looking down and remembering that she was actually wearing an apron from the waist down.

Her hand took hold of the hem of the cloth, her lips curling into a smile as she rubbed her fingers over the yellow and blue fabric.

Naruto's colors

In her century of exile, Yoruichi developed an interest in cooking. It was fun to mix ingredients and create other types of meals. But she found that while it is enjoyable to eat something delicious, the greatest joy comes from the time spent waiting for it. Especially if it was something for the ones you care for. Or perhaps she was just spending too much time with Urahara then. Him and his stupid creepy scientific urges.

The meals however, sometimes got to her clothes while she was on the stove. It was very irritating to wash those off. So she decided to get an apron.

Not her style, really, 'cause even with her new interest she still wasn't the type to cook all the time.

Well, raising a child wasn't too, but hey, look at what she was doing now.

Shopping for it was another thing though, since no one would take care of Naruto when she was gone; she took him with her, and promised that they'd get lunch outside after that. And maybe even buy something else for him while they were at it. She knew that Naruto would come with, even without that promise, but she said that because she wasn't feeling like cooking that day and hey, she could spend some money on her child, right?

Of course, she was a woman, and a woman must always take her time when deciding what to wear, so it didn't exactly take just a few minutes to find what she was looking for. She needed something that suited her perfectly, something not too girly and not too motherly.

This took quite a while and Naruto, as she was browsing through another rack, went to her and tugged at her shirt, making her look down and see the impatient pout on his lips.

And there it was, lying perfectly for her to grab.

The blue fabric that coated most of the cloth was almost as blue as her Naruto's sapphire eyes; the outlines were just the perfect yellow color to match his sunny blonde hair. It was on the lowest rack and it was quite fortunate that Naruto made her bend down too.

Strangely, it was also the last one on the rack, as if it was waiting for her.

She kissing his forehead then, making him blink at the sudden show of affection as she grabbed the apron from the rack and bought it from the clerk.

Naruto looked up at her with those irresistible curious blue eyes when as they exited the store, the question behind them clear as day.

'Why did you pick those?'

She merely directed a mischievously unreadable smile at him and said that it was time that she made good on her promise to treat him out. Those cute chubby cheeks stretched to a beaming smile as his tiny hand grabbed hers and led her to the destination of his liking, making her laugh all the while.

As her mind left memory lane once again, Yoruichi breathed out another sigh and let the apron slide down her fingers. She lowered her head momentarily and closed her eyes. As a Shinigami, she was destined to live a long life, longer than humans, because well, she was technically dead already.

Her life was already past two centuries (a fact which she grudgingly accepted) and the memories she made, good or bad, were already blurry. She can still remember growing up, making friends, and all that important stuff. Those were exceptions, she'll never forget those. However, she can scarcely remember how she lived her life in between, sometimes they were merely fragments that she sometimes needed to piece together before truly remembering.

But with Naruto, every little moment seemed to be stuck in her head, like every second she spent with him seemed to be an important moment that she couldn't forget, every smile he made was always something she wanted to remember, every little laugh, every frown…

Try as she might she could not remember ever being this happy, never remember smiling as much as she had now, never remember how much she laughed as she had now. Naruto, even the few months that she'd spent with him—a pale comparison to how long she existed—changed her life in a way that she never expected.

She sighed—something she had been doing a lot since this morning, she noted—and pinched the bridge of her nose. No matter how small a mistake it was, it was still her fault. As an adult (One that's lived hundreds of years, at that) she should have known better. And it was up to her to make it right.

With that, she untied the ribbon of her apron from her back and placed on the dining table, reminding herself to pick it up later after she finished more important business as she walked up the stairs in a determined stride.

00000000

There was a knock at the door, but Naruto stubbornly refused to answer. He just hugged his favorite stuffed toy—a black cat he named Kitty—tight and frowned at the door. It was very, very clear to him that she just wanted to apologize, but that was why he didn't want to open the door. The blond boy was still a little upset at what happened earlier, and he knew as soon as the words 'I'm sorry' left her lips again he wouldn't be able to stay righteously angry at her anymore. Naruto just wanted to be angry at her a little longer; it felt better to be right now.

"Naruto," her voice was followed by another knock. "Please open the door." Naruto could hear the plea in her voice, and it was becoming harder and harder to not just walking over there and opening the door. Naruto shook his head petulantly to wash away those thoughts. He sniffed a bit and buried his blond head in Kitty's soft artificial fur to prevent looking up and looking at the door again.

"Naruto," Another knock. "Please."

Naruto looked up a little at this, noting that her voice was somehow a little desperate than before, and he never heard her that way before. Naruto always saw her with that smile on her face, and rarely has he ever seen her sad. It was new to him, the way she sounded right now, like she was about to lose something very important and was very frantic to find a way to get it back.

Naruto stared at the door for a few more moments in silence. He wasn't aware that at the other side of the door, the woman he called his mom had taken a deep breath, preparing herself for what was to come.

Eventually, he sat stood from his bed headed to the door, still hugging Kitty close to him. He hesitated for a fraction of a second, before tiptoeing— why did the door have to be so far away anyway?— and turning the knob of the door with one of his tiny hand.

-and was immediately swept up in the arms of the dark skinned woman, his face peppered with kisses.

"I'm so sorry, honey. Mama's really new to this whole mother thing." She apologized sincerely.

Naruto's response was to sigh and hug her back, "'s okay, Mama." He says, before giggling, "The hair monster was actually really, really funny." He tightened his embrace on her with his little arms, "'Cause I know Mama wouldn't let it eat me!" he exclaimed confidently, smiling a smile full of trust.

She laughed; glad that this little mess up was over. "That's right." She stroked her hand on his blond locks. "Mama will never let anything hurt you." She kissed the top of his head before burying her cheek into his hair.

"Never." She finished, quietly—determinedly. No hollow, monster or no nothing, will ever hurt her son.

Absolutely nothing.

Naruto giggled again, adding, "And Kitty too, right?" he gestured to the stuff toy that was now crushed between them. "Kitty will always protect me too!"

Yoruichi looked at the small black cat, her lips curled in a secret smile. "Yes, honey." She patted the stuffed animal on the head. "Kitty too."

Right now Naruto was her priority, it didn't really matter whatever kind of trouble comes. Her son was the very warm center of her new world

Maybe she still wasn't all that used to being a mother, but that was okay. She had all the time in the world to learn, time she could now spend raising her son. One day, she was going to let her son go be his own man, make his own decisions and leave her to create his own destiny. When that time came, she knew it would be the hardest thing she will ever do, but she will never regret letting go. Because she knew she had done a great job at the hardest task of all. Being a mother.

00000000

A few ways away from the Shihouin household, a small fox with fur red as blood, observed the mother and son from the window of Naruto's room. Sitting down on top of a wall on the street, its yellow eyes glinted intelligence that belied its species with its small tail swished behind it, as if in thought. Finally, after a few more minutes, the little animal closed its eyes, ears twitching, before turning back and jumping down the wall.

A sound similar to that of a human chuckling could be heard later, fading away into the night.

000000000

…ohhhhh man. Hahaha, I' done screwed up didn't I?

I'm really sorry about that, but life had to come first and I just started college when I began writing this, so I guess I underestimated how busy I would be. Couple that with the overall shit that life threw at me, I guess you could say that….

…I totally forgot about this fic.

NOW WAIT!

Before you throw that tomato at me, know that I will try, emphasis on try, to update more. Stil, no promises that I'll do it frequently, on my most busy year after all, what with getting a parttime job and entering my last year in college.

Okay, go ahead and throw that tomato at me now. Or whatever it is you're gonna throw.

Just don't forget to read and review!