A/N: A cute little story, I guess. Naruto will be young, around six or seven. It just popped into my head and the idea of Kakashi spending more time with Naruto is more fun! :D So enjoy, and please review.
Awake – Chapter One – The Obvious
"History... is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake."
- Philip Roth
Hatake Kakashi didn't notice it at first. The small things, like how the boy ate one less bowl of ramen, and would stare into space for nearly four or five minutes, his mouth slightly open. He'd shake his head and suddenly, he'd be the same little loud kid everyone knew, and most loved.
But when he did begin to notice, Hatake Kakashi did not like what he saw. In fact, he didn't like it at all. It scared him, and he pretended not to notice for a day or two. Then it became so obvious to him that he couldn't help but notice. It was so clear.
Yet, Umino Iruka didn't even notice. Amaya, the girl working behind the stall of the ramen bar didn't notice and Haruno Sakura didn't notice either. To Kakashi, it was obvious that there was something troubling the young boy and Kakashi wanted to know what.
And on the fifth day, Hatake Kakashi decided to do something about it.
It is not enough for humans to know half of a secret. They need to know secrets, and all humans have their own secrets. Well hidden from the naked eye, and only certain people are clever enough to spot those lies. Kakashi was one of those people.
Instead of asking questions, begging to know the secrets, he sat back and watched. He watched the boy for five days, and it was plainly clear to him that one thing was bothering the child; nightmares.
Kakashi had suffered from them too. He was not immune. He got them every now and again, and when he did get them he'd wake up sweating and panicking. Sometimes, his dreams were about his father. They were so vivid that he felt like his father was still there.
Naruto probably had nightmares for a while now. Small dark circles were appearing under his eyes, but no one else other than Kakashi noticed; simply because Kakashi didn't ask the questions everyone else asked. He waited. Anyone who did see the circles assumed it was the light.
Nothing more, nothing else. Just a simple excuse like the lighting. That was easier than trying to find out what was really wrong with him. He waited calmly and Naruto only really knew Kakashi as the 'silver guy', because of Kakashi's gravity-defying silver hair. Sometimes Naruto called him Mask Man, only because of Kakashi's dark blue mask that covered most of his face.
"Is Mask Man eating with us today?" he asked eagerly.
Umino Iruka nodded and paid for some pork ramen. 'I'm in debt to the owners' he thought, chuckling. 'This kid is gonna cost me a fortune tonight.' He glanced at Naruto and noticed that Naruto was staring into space, his eyes glazed over.
"Naruto!" Iruka called, shaking the boy's shoulders.
Naruto almost jumped off his seat. "Uh, sorry Iruka-sensei. I was just thinking."
"Hello Naruto, Iruka," a calm voice called.
"Hiya Mask Man!"
"His name is Kakashi, Naruto."
"…Mask Man," Naruto nodded.
Kakashi chuckled and slid into the seat beside Iruka, and ordered some dumplings. Ayama nodded and smiled at him, before greeting other customers. Kakashi's visible roamed, watching Naruto without Iruka noticing.
Naruto yawned. "What are you lookin' at Mask Man?"
"Nothing," Kakashi smirked, a little impressed that a kid like Naruto had noticed, but Iruka hadn't. Funny how things can be so crystal clear to children, but adults couldn't see a thing.
Kakashi had offered to walk Naruto home, and surprisingly Naruto had brightly accepted. Kakashi walked, slightly leaned back with his hands stuffed into his pockets. He watched the young boy walk beside him and noticed he had no jacket. Just a white shirt, with a red swirl on the front and some blue shorts with sandals.
It was nearly winter. Naruto didn't seem to notice the cold, and if he did he didn't say anything. Naruto was slightly nervous of Kakashi going anywhere near his apartment. For one, it was messy and he hadn't bothered to clean it 'cause Iruka normally did it for him. Not that Naruto was lazy, Iruka was just like some kind of mother.
Naruto chuckled and glanced at 'Mask Man'. Mask Man wasn't looking at him, instead he kept his eyes firmly ahead of him. Naruto huffed and squinted at the lights in people's houses. It looked warm in there. He shivered.
Kakashi rolled his eyes and flung his green jacket at Naruto, who jumped. Kakashi chuckled, and Naruto began screaming at him.
"Calm down Naruto, you were cold, I just gave you my jacket."
"Won't you be cold?"
"Isn't it more important that you are warm?"
Naruto's eyebrows drew together in confusion. He cared if Naruto was warm or not. Mask Man was weird. And in Naruto's six year old mind, that was all he was. He glanced at the ground and kicked a pebble. Kakashi smiled, noticing that his jacket reached Naruto's knees. He almost tripped over it.
When they got to Naruto's apartment, Kakashi didn't rush to clean like Iruka did. Instead, he calmly opened the door, stepped inside, wished Naruto a goodnight and left. Or at least, that's what Naruto thought.
Instead, Kakashi watched all night, seeing if his theory was right. And of course, it was. Uzumaki Naruto, at the young age of six years old, suffered from nightmares so bad he tore at his skin. And Kakashi was sure he could so something to help him.