This is a drabbly side-story to Brightness in the Dark. Luna Knyte has adopted that fic, and so far, plans on continuing it. I believe she has chapter 1 up already, and is currently working on chapter 2. I actually wrote this a while ago but never posted it for reasons I can't remember.
Feedback's always welcome. No warnings - pretty low key stuff coming from me.
He didn't realize he was different until she grew older, her once bright hair fading to a dull grey. Her glittering eyes were framed by crow's feet, and her once full lips were thinned and sagged down into a frown. Her fit, strong body had been weathered away by the years, leaving nothing but a thin, skeletal shadow covered with liver spots and leathery soft.
He still looked no older than twenty five.
Given their profession, it was a miracle they'd lived for as long as they had – many of their friends were long gone, killed in the field. She was just lucky; she had him of course, and after the loss of so many of his precious people, he was more protective than a mother bear guarding her cubs.
But he, he was just weird. There was no luck in his case. He threw himself in harm's way more times than most shinobi could boast, and yet, despite all the times he'd been hit, critically or not, he'd always survived, healing quickly with not even a single scar marring his skin.
He'd always known his tenant would do anything to stay alive, but making him immortal? Not allowing him a respite from the agony that is living an eternally youthful existence while his friends and family died and aged around him? He'd never planned on living long – he thought he'd get killed long before his friends. He'd hoped for it.
But instead, he was forced to live a damning existence until the end of days.
He loved kids, he always had. They were brats, yeah, but they were little and hadn't been tainted by the world's darkness yet, so it was completely understandable. He enjoyed their brattiness, encouraged it even – anything to keep smiles on their chubby faces and sadness out of their giant eyes.
When he had first met John Winchester, he'd thought the guy was a giant ass. After knowing the guy for a few years, he still believed the giant hulk of a man was an ass, but he knew John had a completely legitimate excuse for his behavior.
Losing the love of your life to a monster tends to suck the friendliness out of you.
John Winchester had two bratty little kids – Sam and Dean. Sam was the epitome of everything a kid should be; happy, trusting, goofy and curious. He was damn smart, too, and more insightful than was safe for someone his age. But he was a good kid, and he latched on to Naruto almost instantly. All it had taken was for Naruto to listen to him spout off random facts, then add to the kid's wealth of information by throwing in a few interesting tidbits himself.
Dean was a bit trickier. Dean was more mature than someone his age had any right to be, and he resembled a certain bastard so closely, that Naruto had first thought the kid to be the duck butt's reincarnation. But Dean was different than Sasuke; he had the capacity to love, after all.
And love he did, with every fiber of his being. He loved and protected little Sammy to the point where he would go without food just so his baby brother could eat. He gave up everything he wanted, so he could give Sammy everything he wanted. Their relationship had nearly brought Naruto to tears.
Dean and John had an odd commander/soldier relationship, but Dean worshipped the ground his daddy walked on, and John adored his kids more than life itself. He was negligent and downright bastardly sometimes, but Naruto had no doubt that the man loved his kids.
So he had decided to tag along with the Winchesters, babysitting when John was out on a hunt, and being back up whenever he was needed. He made sure Dean and Sam smiled more, John too. He made sure he gave them as much of a childhood as he could in the few weeks he was there. He taught them things only he knew, and he protected them from the things he wished they didn't know.
He gave John a break from the stresses of the single father life, and he helped the man relax for a short while. The respite from their dark and terrifying life was good for all of them, and Naruto could see a light in their eyes that hadn't been there before.
John hadn't discovered his little problem until a few weeks into their partnership. The kids had been attacked by some lowlife monster, and Naruto had lost his relatively short temper, going all Kyuubi on the bastard's ass. John had arrived just in time to see the blood red eyes, the darkened whiskers, elongated claws and fangs, and the bloodlust radiating from his body.
He'd then pulled out a gun and shot Naruto right between the eyes. He didn't even fall, just stood there staring at John as the Kyuubi pushed the bullet out of his skull and knitted the skin together as It faded back to the recesses of Naruto's mind.
"What the fuck are you, Nathan?" John had growled, his gun still pointed at Naruto.
Naruto had stared silently at John for a long minute, before he'd decided to just spill it.
"Have you ever heard of a race called Jinchuuriki?"
John had taken the story pretty well, all things considered, and had reluctantly agreed to allowing Naruto to stay with him and the boys until after they caught the werewolf they were trailing.
After Naruto had killed the werewolf, he'd bid the boys and John farewell, and returned to his lonely wandering of the world. He didn't mind that John had kicked him out, despite how well they'd all gotten along. Hell, he hadn't expected anything different.
After all, who would want to be friends with a monster?