Inspired by LordRaine-
"Good work team, you have the rest of the day off." Kakashi said with an eye-smile.
Team seven had been formed only a month ago and despite his reservations the kids seemed to start understanding how to collaborate on the D-ranked mission he had them doing daily.
Sure, Naruto complained about those mission were just chores, Sasuke scowled ninety percent of the time, and Sakura would rather die then go a full day without asking the Uchiha out, but all in all they were beginning to relay on each other.
However, there was something that worried the Copy-nin.
In the past week Naruto's complaints had lessened, when he called the day off and dismissed them he didn't shout how he wasn't tired and could keep going, he had stopped inviting his two teammates to hang out and asking Sakura out.
Kakashi knew that the boy wasn't doing this to distance himself, it was painfully obvious for him that the blond really like spending time with them, probably because it was the first time he could say to have friends, or just people who didn't look at him coldly and with barely conceited disdain.
But the young jinchuuriki seemed strangely eager to go back home lately. This behaviour left the jounin perplexed, after all he had heard from Iruka that he hated staying at home.
Kakashi could understand that, he himself couldn't stand the thought of spending more then five minutes in his home when he was a kid, after his father took his life. The house was just too big, too silent, and the ghost of his father had hunted him in his nightmares.
It had taken a long time Minato's and finally Obito's help for him to accept the past, but he still hated having to spend time at his home alone. He'd rather staying in the hospital where at least the medics checked on him regularly, and that was saying something.
Sasuke had a similar problem, he knew the dark haired youth hadn't lived in his old house since that tragic night in which he lost all his family, opting to move in a building at the outskirts of the Uchiha clan's properties. And he went back there only when he absolutely needed to, training in the forest or walking through the village the remainder time.
And yet, as soon as he had dismissed his team, Naruto said his goodbyes and sped towards the village.
Kakashi was worried, he had tried to ask but the blond had shrugged off his questions. So he decided that in order to know what was wrong with his student and help him he'd go the ninja way.
The one eyed jounin waved at Sakura and Sasuke and disappeared in a shunshin, only to materialize on the roof of a building that Naruto had just passed. Then with stealth that came naturally to him after many years of missions, he followed him.
Naruto ran down the road in the direction of his apartment. Along the way he saw men, women, shopkeepers and ninja on the street, all people who had always been too busy ignoring him to notice a blond kid in bright orange clothes crying and screaming for attention with despair in his heart.
But today he was the one ignoring them.
Turning another corner his apartment building came into view and a small smile formed on his lips. He didn't slow down, on the contrary, he ran faster down the street, into the building, up flights of stairs until he found himself in front of his door.
He paused to catch his breath, then made a handseal and murmured the name of his favourite and most powerful jutsu, following with another handseal for the best of his academy skill.
He took out his keys and opened the door.
"Welcome back dear, how was your day?" A feminine voice answered from the kitchen where she was heating up some ramen.
The woman, who smiled at Naruto kindly while greeting him, had long brown hair and clear blue eyes the exact same shade and shape of his own. She was wearing blue robes with a orange apron on top of them.
Naruto went and hugged her while the woman hugged him back and kissed the top of his head.
"It was good, Kakashi-sensei made us do another stupid chore passing it off for a mission, though."
"Really?" A new voice asked, "That's such a waste of your talent!"
The person who spoke appeared to be a man with spiky blond hair and brown eyes, who was wearing the standard jounin attire. He made his way towards Naruto and the woman and ruffled the boy's hair.
"Yeah, I was saying the same thing to Kakashi-sensei, but he keeps on saying we need to practice more teamwork and that we've just graduated so we have to do those stupid missions."
"Don't worry son, I'm sure you'll receive an important mission soon, and then you'll become our hokage in a heartbeat." The woman said with another smile at him while the blond man squeezed the boy's shoulder lightly to show his support.
They were shaken out of their conversation by a loud shout from the door that lead in the other room.
"Hey, otoutou is home? Why didn't you tell me? Granny, Naruto's home!"
The brown haired woman went back into the kitchen as a girl around fifteen years of age with blue eyes and blond hair tied in two ponytails came to hug Naruto, followed by a old woman who walked with a cane and had white hair who patted the boy on his head.
"So how's it going with that girl on your team?" the old woman asked.
"Ah-ha, my otoutou has a crush, he has a crush! Isn't he cute?"
"Aww, shut up Onee-chan" Naruto whined, though there was a smile of pure happiness on his face.
The girl stuck out her tongue at him and laughed before taking him by the hand and dragging him to help set the table for dinner. While the two sibling were doing that they could hear their mother humming from the kitchen while their father and grandmother were providing a background of idle talk.
Three minutes later they all sat down as the blue eyed woman brought ramen for all of them. While they ate together, they were asking Naruto about his day and the boy eagerly told them about his mission, Kakashi-sensei, his rival Sasuke, his Sakura-chan, his training, everything.
During the entire meal Naruto displayed his usual enthusiasm for his favourite food, but instead of suggesting him about eating something more healthy or reprimanding him for his poor manners, his father joked lightly about the fact that he and his sister were eating his part too, but their mother shut him up saying they were growing and needed it. Their granny winked at them too.
After the meal they all cleared the table together, Naruto was putting away the dishes that his sister dried with a towel after their mother washed them. Meanwhile their father was cleaning the kitchen and their granny watched them work.
The rest of the evening was spent on table games, shogi, mahjong, playing cards, everyone played something until it came time to go to sleep.
Naruto and his sister said goodnight to their granny first, then went to their room, Naruto taking the bed while his elder sibling took a futon beside him. Their parents came soon after, their father watching them from the doorstep while their mother sat down on naruto's bed and hummed a song gently for a while waiting for the two to fall asleep.
The young jinchuuriki closed his eyes with a smile on his face, and fall asleep with a strange, almost foreign sense of fullness and belonging. Soon after his family disappeared with a poof of smoke.
Kakashi couldn't sleep that night.
He had seen the despair as Naruto ran home like a man drowning that swum in search of air.
He had seen the happiness while he talked with his 'family'.
The first true smiles he had seen from Naruto, and they were the result of a lie the boy was telling himself. How desperate really was that blond urchin to resort to a couple of jutsu just to experience affection?
Kakashi revised his thoughts. Naruto wasn't a drowning man in search of air, he was a child who had a dream and didn't want to wake up to see how much worse and cruel the world really was compared to that dream.