A World Beyond Ours - Chapter 10 - SocialArtist45 (2024)

Chapter Text

"Kakashi!" Iruka turned to glare and yell at his friend. "How can you be so insensitive?"

"It's fine, Iruka." Shadow lowered her head a bit. "I know it must seem weird, a wolf raising a human child as if he was a pup." She whispered softly. "I had expected one of you to ask me that at some point."

"I admit, it did seem a bit strange to me." Iruka turned back to her, a small frown of sympathy upon his face. "But, that was only at first."

Shadow lifted her head sharply, taken back when she wasn't met with the condescending, disappointed look she had been expecting from the human.

"I was taken off guard by him and how you didn't treat him any different than your own pups. I've never seen an animal, mother or otherwise, interact with a human, like the way you interact with Naruto, before. Many of the animal companions I've seen interact with their Ninja's with mutual respect and out of beneficial cooperation or obligation."

Here he paused to glance back at Kakashi with an agree-with-me-or-I'll-hurt-you look, who wisely said nothing and nodded.

"There is no easy way to ask you such a question, and I'm sorry for the bluntness with which it was asked." Kakashi's shoulder stiffened just slightly in a flinch. "But I can tell you with upmost certainty, that even though we've known you for less than an hour, the amount of love and care you have for Naruto, would put many human mothers to shame."

"Th-Thank you, Iruka." Shadow has met a lot of humans in her life, so many that she's lost count, and not one of them, except possibly the one who gave her Naruto, has ever treated her as if she were their equal. Or at least didn't talk down to her like she was just a stupid animal.

"I apologize for the way I asked, but I'd still like to know the answer." Kakashi spoke up. When Iruka turned back towards him, glare in place and a shout on his lips, he quickly added, "If you don't mind answering, of course." Shadow huffed out a chuckle as she shook her head.

"I suppose I don't mind." She shifted herself once again to dislodge the awkward atmosphere; moving a bit closer to the fire. "To tell the truth, when I first found him, I had every intention to eventually return him back to the village."

"Eventually?" Iruka questioned, caution very evident in his voice.

"Mmm. When I had found him, the sun had already started setting in the sky. It would have been too late to try to find his family so I took him back to my den. As well, my pups weren't old enough for a trip into such a populated area or for me to leave them alone for however long it would've taken me to find his parents." She explained. She unknowingly drifted into her 'Mother' mode, and began to use her lecturing tone; the one she usually used when she tried to explain something to the pups.

"That's understandable." Iruka drew his blankets snugger against himself as he leaned on his knees. Kakashi started to poke at the fire again, for it had dimmed a bit.

"However, when I found that note within the folds of his blanket, I knew I could never give him back. Not just because of what it said, but because I knew I had fallen in love with his chubby little face the moment I laid eyes on him." A corner of her snout curled up in a wolfish smile as she recalled the memory. "It also seemed my pups had instantly taken a liking to him. I had taken him from his basket to lay him with them so he would be warmer and they curled themselves around him not a moment after. Looking at them all, snuggled up to each other as they were, I knew I couldn't have separated them again, even if I wanted to."

"A case of love at first sight, huh?" Kakashi chuckled.

"It seems so, doesn't it?" Both Shadow and Iruka started to chuckle as well, until all three of them began to laugh in good humor. Shadow's laughter sounded more like she was huffing or snorting, but the men didn't care in the slightest. When they calmed themselves down a bit, a cry from a snow owl made them all jump.

Shadow's ears began to twitch as she surveyed the branches of the nearby trees. She spotted the creature not too far away on its rather low hanging perch. She let her eyes glance upwards and they widened when she caught site of a few stars blinking in the dimming light.

"I hadn't realized it was so late." She stated as she lifted herself up. She stretched backwards then forwards to release the kinks and tension in her limbs before she shook her fur, dislodging any snow that may have clung to her when she rose. She bowed to Iruka, then Kakashi as she said, "It was a pleasure to meet you both, but I need to be heading home now."

"It was a pleasure to meet you as well, Shadow." Iruka stood, letting his blankets pool around his rock, and stretched out his own limbs. "I do hope we'll see each other again."

"I'm sure we will." She nodded once before she turned and leapt over the bush she had entered the clearing from. She trotted a few feet into the trees and stopped when she jumped up on a large rock. She turned back towards the direction of their camp, leaned her head backwards, snout to the sky, and let out a deep howl. She let another one fill the air and then dropped off the rock to finished the short run back home.

The twins were sitting on the log in front of her den, curled tightly against each other and shivering lightly, when she finally got home. She slowed to a walk as she approached and Kon's head lifted when she crunched a patch of thicker snow. Fent was shivering more than his brother, so he didn't raise his head, though he did lift a paw in greeting.

"Th-th-there you are!"

"W-w-we w-w-were w-w-wond-d-dering…" Fent's teeth were chattering so much that his words were slightly drowned out by the noise. Kon pat his back in sympathy and repeated what he had tried to say.

"We were wondering when you'd get home."

"Why didn't you two just wait inside?" Shadow said with a fond shake of her head. Kon lifted a shoulder in a shrug as Shadow lifted herself over the log. She leaned over and nudged them both with her snout. They stiffly scrambled up onto it and held on as she grabbed the bush with her teeth to drag it back into place. "I hope you guys realize I'm forcing you to stay here for the night."

"I-i-if you i-i-insist." Fent sighed out, trying to bury himself into the fur of her face.

"I do believe you boys planed this." She chuckled out as she walked over to her pups; all three were curled up together, already on the bed and fast asleep.

"We don't know what you mean." Kon responded.

"Either way, thanks for watching them for me, guys." She circled around the pups a few times before she settled down behind them, her back to the opening of the den.

"Anytime, Shadow." The twins jumped from her snout when she lowered her head to lick the top of each pup's head before she let it rest on her front paws. Each pup move in closer: Naruto snuggled up to her neck and laid his head on her shoulder, Sun-Dance curled around his legs and snuggled closer to Shadow's chest, and Moon-Fang settled in behind his sister and made himself comfortable against Shadow's stomach.

Shadow's tail curled itself around all three. Kon curled himself around his brother where they were both settled between Shadow's snout and the tip of her tail.

"Good night you two."

"G'night."

A single yawn escaped her snout before Shadow let herself fall asleep.

A World Beyond Ours - Chapter 10 - SocialArtist45 (2024)

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