Repaying the Favor

Sorry for the super long delay, the Naruto fandom died for me but I'm starting to drabble in it again. If you would like please review, let me know what you think and I will hopefully update again soon.

Chapter 2: Peaceful Moments

The high pitch screech is what woke Rin, causing the medical nin to jolt upright, eyes scanning the small bedroom for the source of the shriek. The cocoon of blankets and pillows that serves as Naruto's makeshift bed is empty; the indention of his body still warm signaling that the eight month of hadn't been gone from her side very long. Another squeal followed by a giggle makes the young woman smile and snort into the sleeve of her night shirt before running a hand through her sleep tousled hair. The bed creaks threateningly as she moves but Rin manages to make it to the edge without complication and stands, stretching out her back. Pushing the accordion door to the side Rin is greeted with a sight that makes her giggle directly across from the tiny bedroom.

"Morning Rin." Kakashi greets without taking his attention from the splashing and kicking Naruto, long fingers gently running a pale orange wash cloth over the child's skin.

"Morning, when did you get back?" Rin greet, watching her friend for a moment longer before sliding past him and the wall to the coffee machine, smiling at the Jounin's thoughtfulness in having a full pot ready for her. Naruto giggles again, this time at the floating duck in the water, his small fingers reaching out to grasp it.

"About an hour or so ago, he must have heard me come in because he started to fuss so I grabbed him before he could wake you." Kakashi replies easily, pushing the duck down to the bottom before releasing it, allowing the toy to shoot to the top and bob theatrically, much to little Naruto's delight. Rin finishes prepping her morning dose of caffeine and takes a swig before moving back between the wall and her friends back to smile and wave at the happy baby in the sink, his rapidly growing blond hair stuck up in a Mohawk of Kakashi's design. Naruto squeals in pleasure and begins to babble tirelessly, tossing the rubber duck around the sink, conversing in his own language to the plastic plaything.

"How was the mission?" Rin asks, leaning against the kitchen doorframe to watch the lithe Jounin play with the baby.

"Successful." Is the only answer she gets and she's satisfied, her eyes roaming over her friends narrow body for any signs of injury, satisfied when no apparent injuries present themselves.

"I am off now till the next one, so I can watch Naruto if you want to take time for yourself, get out of here or whatever." He stumbles, picking the wet baby up out of the sink and cradling him against his own bare chest, his free arm groping for the towel on the counter as Naruto squirms and grabs at the Shinobi's hair, excited to see the view from the taller man's shoulders. Rin giggles and hands her companion the towel, moving behind his shoulder to distract the baby by making faces, causing Naruto's cheeky face to light up and give a belly laugh.

"He's growing really fast." Kakashi remarks, slight amazement lining his voice as he moves out of the small kitchenette and into the living space, placing the squirming and kicking baby on the couch before placing himself of the small coffee table and grabbing at the diapers, speaking softly to the small baby as Naruto babbles back. Rin watches as the man who is a celebrated warrior renowned for his skills in the field and ability to strategize several steps ahead of the enemy, communicates with an eight month old.

If only those in ANBU could see how much of a marshmallow their fearsome leader turns into.

"What do you think Naruto? I'm thinking pants and this blue shirt with the bird on it." Kakashi smiles behind his mask, long fingers reaching out to tickle the baby's stomach.

"He's going to need some new clothes soon." Rin considers, taking in the thinning knees on the small pants from the baby's constant movement. Kakashi nods and sighs, picking the baby up and placing him on the floor in front of several of his toys, donated to the two teens by Rin's mother and the Hokage. Naruto continues his conversation with a ball while his guardians watch, bemused by the child's vigor and energy.

"I can pick up a couple of more missions…" Kakashi begins but is cut off by Rin's vicious glare, his single eye curling upwards in an attempt at a placating expression.

"You will not. You just ran three consecutive missions, two of them ANBU related." She snaps annoyed at her inability to hold down more shifts at the hospital. Due to the village's discrimination against Naruto and his guardians there are few babysitters to be had, leaving Rin to stay home with the little one, treating cases from the small apartment as Tsunade's request. Kakashi, being the one to bring most of the income had been taking mission after mission since Naruto was barely six months old and although Kakashi tries to be an active participant in Naruto's life the missions that keep him fed and clothed keep the warrior away a lot.

"Maybe my mother can take Naruto a few more times next week and I can work a few more shifts at the hospital." Rin wonders out loud, trying to figure out how much she will need to work in order to get the growing baby into new clothes.

"Rin, relax." Kakashi states softly, placing one gloveless hand on her shoulder in a comforting gesture but the medical nin only shakes her head, the severity of the situation suddenly crashing down on her. With a muffled sob she leans into her friend's bare chest, the sound of his heartbeat almost soothing.

"How are we supposed to keep him clothed? Fed? Gods 'Kashi, when he hits school age he'll need supplies and books and.." she trails off. Kakashi allows her to sob into his chest, understanding the stress has broken through the thick skin Rin had developed over the years of Shinobi training and the past months of parenthood.

He would never admit it out loud, but there were times when he too cracked under the stress of trying to provide for Rin, Naruto and himself. Long hours spent in the field only to return to a too small apartment with a screaming baby often caused the Ninja to curse his misfortune. But, one look at the smiling face and wide, blue eyes of his Sensei's son made his exhaustion and the overwhelming feeling of it all fade away.

Rin just hasn't had the time to step away from the situation for a while is all, Kakashi is sure of it.

"Alright, listen. I want you to go in, shower as long as you want. Get dressed and then leave this apartment for a whole day." He orders sternly, causing the young woman to sniff and look up at his masked face, confusion clear.

"You're getting a day off. Go forth and explore the world you've missed out on!" his visible eye crinkling upward and Rin knows he is smiling under the black mask.

"Who will take care of Naruto?" she asks slowly and watches as the eye crinkle grows.

"Me of course!" he responds happily, tone causing Naruto to giggle and squeal happily from the floor.

"He likes the idea… don't look at me like that." He abolishes lightly and spins the smaller woman around and ushers her towards the bathroom.

"Go, we'll be fine." He assures and Rin slowly moves away, unsure of leaving Kakashi and Naruto alone but also enjoying the idea of getting some time away from the tiny apartment. Rin does as she's instructed, taking a long shower in the cramped bathroom before heading out, giving one final skeptical look back at her friend and little Naruto. Kakashi holds the baby close and is urging him to wave, which Naruto does enthusiastically, his cheeky face breaking into a wide smile.

"Are you sure you'll be okay?" She asks one final time, halfway out the door. Kakashi rolls his single eye and makes a lazy shooing motion.

"Go, it's time for 'guy time'." He assures and Rin laughs, stepping out onto the small porch and closing the door behind her. She breathes in deep, setting down the steps without the familiar feeling of Naruto's weight on her hip. She stops at the bottom, suddenly missing the comforting weight of the little blond but she's determined to cease the free time, even if only for a little while.

Several Hours later

Rin pushes the apartment door open and quickly moves inside, the downpour having come on rapidly enough that she got caught in it down at the market. Her purchases shoved through the door first she quickly follows, kicking off her sandles and pushing clingy wet strands of hair out of her face. Looking around the apartment she's about to call for Kakashi, having yet to hear the sounds of the Jounin or baby but stops, stepping further into the tiny living area, avoiding the squeaking floorboard with skilled ease to peer over the top of the tiny couch.

Rin smiles at the sight before her.

Kakashi is sprawled out on the old couch, his long legs hanging over the arm comically while his neck is bent in such a way that suggests stiffness upon waking, his breathing even and deep signaling a deep sleep. Little Naruto is resting comfortably on the silver haired ninjas chest, tiny fingers curled into the fabric of the black tank top, face pressed against the junction of his neck and shoulder. Both boys have a peaceful look on their faces –as much as Kakashi's is exposed- that Rin finds herself lowering herself silently into the plush chair across from the couch, wanting to just sit and watch.

"Sometimes the peaceful moments are the ones that you have to witness to have full appreciation for how far you've come." Rin whispers, the words of her Sensei flowing into the silent space as she curls up on the chair and settles in to enjoy one of those peaceful moments that are so rare when in the company of little Naruto.

Author Note: done. I was talking to a friend of mine who had recently celebrated her daughter's 2nd birthday and she gave me the idea for this I guess. More to come hopefully!