Author: m o o g l e d a i m e PM
inuჯnaru crossover // When she traveled to Konoha, Kagome only wanted to ask a favor from the Uchihas. She never planned to fall in love with her first love's little brother. Not while she's still hoping for Itachi to return. — sasuke ო kagome ო itachi —Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Family - Kagome H. & Itachi U. - Chapters: 2 - Words: 16,271 - Reviews: 135 - Favs: 152 - Follows: 197 - Updated: 12-26-08 - Published: 03-27-08 - id: 4158375
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Five years ago . . .
What the hell just happened?
One moment he was bleeding on the forest floor, and the next he was flat on his back on a comfortable futon, warm blankets wrapped snuggly around him. He had no recollection of how he got here. He didn't even know where 'here' was. All he could remember was . . . wait, that was all he could remember at the moment.
He felt like he should be more panicked, but he found that the slight alarm at remembering nothing but a few minutes before he woke up in the unfamiliar room with everything unfamiliar around him, including himself, was all he felt. What kind of person did that make him?
"Oh good, you're awake," a gentle voice interrupted his thoughts.
He tried to sit up, shaking his head in an attempt to clear the fog and pain that made his vision fuzzy, but fell back on the futon feeling as weak as a baby instead. His head throbbed, triggering a scene from his memory.
"You should have joined us, Itachi. Madara-sama will rise to power and crush all those who oppose him. He gave you a chance and you blew it, now you'll suffer the consequences," the man with blood red eyes panted as he bled profusely from dozens of wounds on his body, one arm dangling on the side like a broken twig. "Together we will create a new world order!" he laughed maniacally.
Warm liquid trickled from his own forehead, above his right eye and he swiped at it, unconcerned about whatever injury he had or the fact that he was bleeding, probably as much as his opponent. "New world order you say? How do you plan to bring order to the world when you and your master can't even pull a clan massacre right? You're pathetic."
"Be careful, don't force yourself. You've been sleeping for two days straight and you've lost a lot of blood before I found you. Here, let me help you up." The voice spoke once again, shaking him out of the memory.
He turned to decline the unwanted help, he could sit up by himself and without help thank you very much, but whatever words he wanted to snap at her died in his throat. The heart slamming a wild beat against his sore ribcage distracted him as much as the pounding in his head. His mouth opened and closed, at a loss of anything to say. His rescuer was exquisite, to put it mildly. And he silently wondered if he was dead, if this was the afterlife and she was an angel sent to guide him.
Wait a minute.
That last thought made him pause. He had no memory of who he was and what he did in the past but his current behavior made him frown. Her skin might look like it was made of alabaster, hair like soft spun silk and her eyes, and oh god those eyes were the most appealing blue, but that didn't mean he should start acting like a besotted idiot. He was a stranger even to himself but he was no idiot. Or at least that's what he would like to believe.
"Who are you?" he asked in an attempt to take control of the situation. "Where am I?" he looked around the room as she helped him sit up, trying not to wince at the pain in between his ribs. Hell, everything hurt except for the tips of his hair at the moment.
"My name is Kagome and you're in the Higurashi Shrine," she answered in an amused voice that he found incredibly appealing.
Ugh. He was disgusted with himself. Was there nothing he found unattractive with her? She looked no older than a teenager and he had no idea how old he was. "Did I say something amusing?"
Her smile was like a ray of sunshine. "I'm sorry, I'm not laughing at you. I just find it interesting that you've asked me the exact same questions the last four times you 'woke up' and I've given you the same answers each time. I wonder if you're going to forget all about our conversation this time when you go back to sleep?" She sobered the next instant and patted his hand. "I'll just have to remind you again next time. You suffered severe trauma to the head and you can't even tell me your name when I asked you before. Don't worry. Our best medics said that given time, it may all eventually come back to you. You can stay here until you recover. Neesan was furious at me but I finally won her over. I wonder what we could call you for the mean time, though?" She babbled on, already listing her favorite names at the top of her head. "Hmmm. . . what do you think of Shinichi? Or how about Shunsuke? Do you like that name? I personally like those two best. If I ever have children I think I'll―"
"Itachi," he interrupted, sounding as lost as he looked.
Kagome paused in the middle of adjusting the blankets around him. "Excuse me?"
Bandaged hands fisted over the blanket on his lap, obsidian eyes looked into clear blue ones. "I can't recall much of anything, but I do have a memory of fighting someone, and he called me Itachi."
Present Day . . .
He woke up to a light buzzing in his ear and colors, so many of them. Bright spots danced in front of his eyes when he opened them. Even before he saw the dull white ceiling tiles he could tell where he was based on the sterile smell. His body felt like lead and his bones protested when he shifted, raising a hand to block out the bright sunlight drifting into the room.
"What the hell happened?" Sasuke croaked, throat as dry as a desert. The last thing he remembered was. . . "You!" he bellowed right into the face of the woman who was bending over, offering him a glass of water.
A mild look of irritation crossed her face before she schooled her expression into a neutral one. "My name is Kagome, not 'you', and here, drink this. You must be thirsty after last night." Upon waking up, a glass of water was what Inuyasha would always demand right after Kikyou let Asuka and Kochou unleash that attack on him.
"No thanks," his voice dripped with distrust as he pushed the glass away, no matter how thirsty he was. She looked irritated enough to throw the water in his face and he raised an eyebrow in response, silently challenging her to do it.
It was then that he noticed that half of his team was there with them in the room. Kakashi lounged by the window, engrossed in the latest Icha-Icha novel, while a very heavily bandaged Naruto sat on the hospital bed beside his as he relentlessly tickled the little boy on his lap. It was the same child with the woman last night but there were no signs of the other two little girls who attacked him. He was about to repeat his earlier question when the door opened.
"Oh good, you're both awake." Tsunade walked in followed by Fugaku and the rest of the highest ranking Uchiha clan council.
Kagome's eyes widened when she recognized Fugaku. She'd had her fill of studying Sasuke while he was asleep, but this was the first time she'd seen so many of Itachi's relatives in person. She thought the resemblance between the brothers was uncanny before, but now she could see that Itachi got his looks from his father and Sasuke probably had more of his mother's genes in him in contrast to his older brother.
"I thought we specifically told you that this was a private matter, Godaime-sama." The oldest Uchiha on the council complained even as the door closed behind him. He glared at Naruto and Kakashi respectively, displeased by their presence. "This is a private matter that involves our clan and our clan alone. We will not allow outsiders to get involved in this."
The tension in the room grew and the temperature dropped by several degrees from the chilling looks the Uchihas shot their Hokage.
Naruto and Shun stopped their play when the new arrivals first spoke. By the time Fugaku finished his second sentence Shun scooted off the bed and took shelter behind his mother's legs, peeking from behind them and clutching the back of her skirt for security.
Tsunade was not as easy to intimidate. "As a recipient of the sharingan and one of the only two people in our village who have activated the mangekyou, Kakashi has every right to be here. And as someone who got involved in the fight last night and my successor, Naruto deserves to be here as well. Kagome also requested Naruto and Kakashi's presences here, so if you have any additional complaints, please talk to her about it."
That shut them up.
"Well then," Tsunade continued, "for those of you who don't already know, this young woman is Higurashi Kagome and this is her son Shunsuke. They traveled here from the Western Lands and had the intention of requesting a meeting with the leader of the Uchiha clan and me. However, she bumped into Sasuke last night and had a minor altercation. Her guards thought he was a threat so they attacked; their fight was witnessed by Naruto who was eating in a nearby restaurant, so he stepped in to aid his comrade. The resulting blast from the collision of their attacks damaged several properties around the area but thankfully, no one was severely hurt."
She pulled out papers from the folder tucked under her arm and handed them to Fugaku.
"These are the estimates for the properties damaged. No one else sustained physical injuries save for Naruto and Sasuke, and Kagome has graciously offered to cover the expenses of the property damage. . ."
When Tsunade went into a detailed account of the destruction and its costs, Sasuke took the opportunity to study the woman last night from the corner of his eyes. There had been no time last night, so as discreetly as he could, looking like he was intently listening on Tsunade's words, he gave her a once over, taking note of her features. Button nose, fair skin, long inky black hair and blue eyes. She didn't look anything like her son, as far as he was concerned. The boy must have gotten his looks from his father. She didn't look like someone who should have a child at that age either.
". . . Sasuke," Tsunade finished, suddenly jerking him out of his thoughts.
He realized everyone was staring at him then, like they were waiting for some kind of a response. He had no idea how to reply but thankfully, Naruto inadvertently saved him, poking his shoulder impatiently. "Tell us already why you attacked her first, Sasuke. Stop stalling, you bastard."
What was he supposed to tell them? That he was having a really bad day and she caught him off-guard when she mistook him for his brother? That he was suspicious of anyone who dared to mention Itachi in his presence because of the events surrounding his death? He looked stupid, even to himself, in hindsight. He shouldn't have reacted the way he did but he had a really terrible day yesterday, but he wasn't about to tell them that.
"She caught me by surprise and then she called me Itachi," he replied, sounding bored and uninterested at the personal interrogation. "I thought she was another spy so I reacted out of instinct."
Tsunade held a hand to her forehead, massaging the growing headache. She knew from Sakura and Naruto just how sensitive Sasuke was when it came to his brother, but she didn't realize to what extent until now. "Try to be more cautious and exercise restraint next time, okay Sasuke?" Golden brown eyes narrowed into irritated slits. "You're lucky she's not pressing any charges against you and what would you have done if civilians got hurt because of your temper!?"
"My son will keep that in mind, Godaime-sama." Fugaku answered in behalf of Sasuke. "I will make sure to remind him of that in the future and you can rest assured that such an incident will not happen again. Now if you will excuse me but can we get to the bottom of this? I would like to know why Higurashi-san requested this meeting with me and my clan council."
Tsunade nodded. "Higurashi Kagome is from the Western Lands. She arrived yesterday, bringing with her a letter from the daimyo and leader of their hidden village addressed to me. The West is not one of our allies but it has never been one of our enemies in the past either. Their country and their hidden village chose to remain neutral during the great wars and no country or power has ever been able to persuade them to think otherwise."
She walked over to the wall directly in front of Sasuke and Naruto's hospital beds and propped her back, finding a comfortable position before continuing.
"The Western Lands have always been very protective of their own, very secretive of what goes on inside their territory. No spy has ever been successful in unearthing their secrets and to my recollection, it is unheard of for their daimyo or shinobi leader to extend a hand in friendship or ask for assistance."
Everyone listened attentively, especially those of the younger generation who had never even heard of the Western Lands until this moment, namely Naruto and Sasuke. Some, like Kakashi and the older Fugaku, nodded their agreement at several of the Godaime's words. They'd heard a few of these rumors before through missions that took them to very far away lands before, but the rest was new information. Others who were the same age as Tsunade and older also agreed, keeping silent while they waited for their leader to continue.
Tsunade crossed her arms under her very ample bosom, eyes sharp as a hawk on her constituents in the room. "Contained in the letter was a request from the daimyo and the shinobi leader to take care of Higurashi Kagome and her son. If I agreed to the request I shall take them under my protection and see to it that no harm comes upon them for the duration of their stay in our village."
Molten liquid fire seemed to ooze out of her eyes as they slanted to look at Sasuke. "What you have done last night almost caused an incident between our villages. Be thankful that Higurashi Kagome has decided to forget about it and start anew."
Sasuke met his Hokage's ire with an unflinching stare but it took everything he had not to gulp. No one messed with an angry Tsunade. No one.
"They named her their emissary to our village and have expressed interest in creating an alliance if all goes well," Tsunade continued.
"What makes her so special and what does this have to do with our clan?" one of the Uchiha council asked politely.
"My family has always been close to the daimyo's family." Kagome explained, knowing that this was not included in the letter. "And my sister also mated our hidden village's leader last year. I wish to ask the Uchihas for a favor and in exchange, our village is willing to grant you a favor back by becoming your ally."
Kakashi couldn't help but chuckle as he lowered his book. "That's a very unorthodox way of becoming allies. Normally, the agreement to aid each other is an even trade-off so there's no need to ask something in exchange."
"Shut up Kakashi," Tsunade glared at him. "What part of 'the Western Lands remained neutral in the great wars because they're powerful enough to do it' do you not get?"
The copy-nin merely shrugged in apology.
"So what is this favor and what does this have to do with us and why do we have to be here?" Naruto piped up.
"And what does this have to do with Itachi?" Sasuke added, the image of her face last night when she thought he was his brother still fresh in his mind. Speculation was starting to form, his eyes darted from the woman to the child, but he didn't have a definite conclusion yet.
"If you may?" Tsunade turned to the woman in the center of it.
Kagome smiled tentatively at her audience before gathering Shunsuke in her arms. She could see her baby boy's wide-eyed gaze even through his goggles. Giving him a loving kiss on the forehead, she hugged him quickly and then took off his eyewear. Feeling inexplicably shy at the undivided attention all the unfamiliar adults were giving him, Shunsuke hid his face in the crook of his mother's neck.
Kagome cooed softly at him and walked toward Fugaku. She gently coaxed her son to face the old man and Sasuke watched, enraptured at the shock that froze his father's features.
"Shun-chan, say hello to your grandfather," Kagome instructed.
The silence that followed that statement was deafening. Shunsuke decided he didn't want anything to do with his grandfather and clung more tightly to his mother, using her hair like a curtain to cover himself with.
Blood roared through Sasuke's ears and it took him several seconds to find the right words to say. "Wh―"
"Is that what I think it is?!" an Uchiha council member gasped while their leader remained frozen, unblinking eyes fixed at the child in front of him.
Sasuke didn't know what he was talking about, the woman and child had their backs turned away from him. "What―"
"My god!" another Uchiha gaped, stumbling on his own feet when he stepped closer for a better look.
"What the hell is going on?! What are you talking about?!" Sasuke demanded, fed up with the various interruptions. His clansmen gathered in the middle of the room, surrounding the mother and child. Shunsuke kept a death grip on his mother, showing uncharacteristic shyness due to the undivided attention from the adults.
"The child has the sharingan!" Fugaku finally found his voice then blinked, looking from Kagome to Sasuke then back over and over again. "Did you say grandfather?"
Sasuke could almost see the incorrect conclusions forming on his father's mind and quickly jumped into his own defense. "Don't look at me like that, I only met the woman last night!"
Kagome's eyes rounded when she caught on. "Oh no, no, no," she emphatically shook her head. "Shunsuke is Itachi's son, not Sasuke's."
"How can that be possible? Your boy is too young to have been fathered by niisan because he's been dead for five years!" Sasuke exploded from the bed. To say that he was very sensitive about discussing Itachi was a really big understatement.
"No he hasn't!" Kagome whirled around to face him.
"So you're saying he's still alive?" Sasuke asked, dripping with cynicism. Pain crossed her features, killing the little hope that sprung within him.
"I'm not sure," Kagome replied. "But he didn't die five years ago. He's been missing for several years now, but I'd hoped he would've found his way back here when he didn't return to us."
"His sharingan is blue!" another clan council member who had just recovered from his own shock suddenly blurted out. "Why is his sharingan blue? It's supposed to be red."
All eyes in the room once again shifted their attention back to the boy, brows raised in question. Even Tsunade's ― when she met with the mother and son the boy had been wearing dark goggles which were too big for his face. Suddenly the too-big eyewear made sense.
Kagome shrugged as she attempted to smooth down her baby's hair. Seeing Sasuke's hairdo, she could now tell her family and friends that the gravity-defying hair was inherited from Itachi's side of the family. "The only sharingan I've seen in person until last night was Itachi's and it was red, but I didn't know there was only one color until much later. I just assumed it was normal and was thankful my son inherited at least one trait from me."
Now that they thought about it, goggles out of the way, Shunsuke was the exact miniature copy of Itachi, with the exception of the color of his eyes which he inherited from his mother and his hair that greatly resembled Sasuke's. Said eyes were currently as wide as saucers, trained on the freaky people observing him like a specimen that dropped out of the heavens.
"How did you meet Itachi?" Fugaku asked, still unable to take his gaze off his newly discovered grandson.
"When did the boy's sharingan manifest?" a clan member inquired at the same time, setting off a barrage of questions from the rest of them. How long did he take to get three tomoes? What techniques can he perform? He can perform techniques, right? How old is he again? The idea of Itachi fathering a child without any of them knowing was a hard concept to wrap their minds around, but the truth was hard to ignore when it was staring you right in the face. The child couldn't be mistaken for anyone but an Uchiha.
Tsunade held up a hand and said, "One question and only one topic at a time. This is getting really confusing. Start with how you met Itachi, please. I'm curious to know how he survived when we all thought he was assassinated five years ago."
Kagome shifted Shun from her numb arm to the other, rubbing soothing circles in his back. Still keeping a death grip on his mother's neck he peeked over her shoulder at the Uchihas who were just as curious about him as he was with them. Twin blue eyes with three commas each ― all the Uchihas counted several times ― kept a close watch on the clansmen, as if memorizing each and every detail.
"Five years ago," Kagome began, "I was training with my brothers in the forest when I stumbled upon him. He was heavily injured and I initially thought he was dead, but I managed to heal him enough to take him back to our home. He suffered a blow to the head and lost a lot of blood but we managed to patch him up. Then the fever started and he came in and out of his coma for several days until he finally woke up."
They didn't need to know that Shippou wasn't really her brother through blood or that she, Souta and Shippou had skipped their daily lessons and snuck out of the shrine that day. Instead she told them about the only memory Itachi had upon waking, going over to her yellow backpack to get some crackers for the fussy Shun. She peeled him an apple to snack on earlier but the excitement or fear of the new adults must've gotten to him. He stopped fussing the second she opened the package for him and even went to sit with Naruto again, listening to his mom's story. While the boy nibbled on his crackers, Kagome prepared two cups of instant ramen ― her trusty yellow backpack was a treasure trove of snacks and odd knickknacks ― continuing with the tale of how she met Itachi and gave them the shortest version of the days she spent with him afterward.
Three minutes later, Kagome handed one cup to her son and the other to a salivating Naruto, disposing of the empty cracker packet her son just finished devouring.
"Itachi never meant to hide from you," she continued. "When he got his memory back the first thing he wanted was to send word back to Konoha that he was fine, but then someone named Madara appeared. Itachi was concerned about the threat he posed to our baby, at that time I was heavily pregnant, so he went to answer the challenge." Sad blue eyes watched fondly as Naruto tried to unsuccessfully coax Shun to share his ramen when the older demolished all of his in a few seconds. "But he never returned from the fight and not even our best trackers could pinpoint his location."
According to Inuyasha and Sesshoumaru, it was as if they both vanished into thin air.
"Madara who?" Fugaku asked, dread settling in his stomach, but Kagome could only shrug and say she didn't know what his last name was.
The Uchihas and Tsunade had tons more questions after that, and Kagome answered them truthfully without revealing her village's secrets. For formality's sake, a quick jutsu was performed on Shunsuke, which only proved what everyone already found obviously true anyway ― Shun was definitely an Uchiha. Sasuke remained silent throughout the whole process, intently observing Kagome.
So this was the type of woman his brother liked. All his life he'd never known Itachi to be interested in anyone of the opposite sex, so he was surprised to find out that his brother preferred her type.
After thoroughly examining Shunsuke and his eyes, the questions now turned to the circumstances of his birth. Everyone wanted to know when he activated his sharingan, in which Kagome blinked and asked, "Activated? I don't recall. He was born with it; the tomoe were there ever since he first opened his eyes."
All the Uchihas looked positively floored. Some of them haven't been lucky enough to awaken their bloodline limit and only a handful of members in their entire clan's history have ever achieved the ultimate stage of the sharingan, but here was a mere child with a unique set of eyes inherited from them who didn't even have to experience the required near-death experience needed to awaken the power. It was hard to believe but the facts were hard to ignore when they stared you in the face.
Or spat in his eye, in Sasuke's case. Just when he was finally gaining the clan's approval, slowly emerging out of his brother's shadow, fate decided to remind him of his incompetence. Possessing the mangekyou didn't look as impressive now when compared to a toddler who had unlimited potential.
"Itachi activated his sharingan at age eight. Maybe his superior skill had something to do with his son's advanced development?" one council member wondered.
"No," Tsunade, ever the medical genius, shook her head. "I think the change was brought upon by Kagome's genes. The sharingan has always been consistent, passed down from one generation to the next along with your coal-black eyes and dark black hair. Uchiha genes have always been dominant, but I think that the genes the boy inherited from his mother enhanced the traits that he inherited from his father. Does you family have a bloodline limit, Kagome?"
Blue eyes flickered in remembrance at her sister's warning.
"My family comes from a line that has been known to possess strong spiritual ki. That's not what I'd call a bloodline limit exactly, but that's the closest I can think of that's 'special' in my genes," Kagome shrugged. "My family also has an abundance of boys, if that counts. Producing females in my family is considered very rare. Having two females at once, and in the same generation happened only to my sister and me so far. Before us, our clan's last female was from more than five hundred years ago. Does that count?"
"Interesting," Tsunade mulled it over. "The abundance of males in your family sounds like it's significant, but I can't form a hypothesis unless I have more to investigate with. I'm guessing you and your sister possess strong spiritual ki as well?"
Kagome smiled at the Hokage's sharp observations. "Yes, but I'm a novice compared to my sister. She's not a fighter but she's considered the third strongest in our country." Or second only to Sesshoumaru, because they all knew Inuyasha could never lay a hand on Kikyou, but that's one of those little facts that the Konoha shinobi didn't need to know either.
Fugaku looked satisfied, eyes taking on an almost evil glint. "Even without his memories my son chose well for his wife. Welcome to the family, daughter-in-law."
"We never got married," Kagome said simply.
The entire room looked aghast, at a loss for words. The oldest of the Uchihas kept mouthing 'not married?' over and over again, but he seemed to have lost his voice. However, Fugaku quickly recovered with a calculating look on his face. "Not to worry! My youngest Sasuke is young and still single. He will rectify the mess my oldest Itachi left you with and you will be married as soon as possible."
"I sincerely hope you're kidding, father."
Father and son glared at each other silently in a battle of wills. Fugaku was furious that Sasuke dared to speak against him, but Sasuke didn't care.
"The mother of my grandson cannot be unwed. I don't want anyone to look down on her. My grandson will have a proper family with a mother and a father and only you can take on the responsibility that your brother left, Sasuke."
Sasuke snorted. "Yes, it's always been like that, hasn't it?"
"Um, excuse me but don't I get a say in all of this?" Kagome interrupted with a tight smile on her face. "I don't really care what people think of me. Back at home, agreeing to stay together and loving each other is as good as any silly rituals made by humans." She did not want to explain the concept of mating to these people but she had to make them understand somehow. "Itachi and I weren't 'married' by your standards but we exchanged vows and were recognized as an official couple in my country, just like my sister and her mate are."
Everyone was understandably confused. They also recalled that not once did she use the word 'marriage' when she spoke of her sister earlier. Sasuke thought her speech pattern was weird due to the fact that she lived far from Konoha, but now he wasn't so sure.
"What about the child?" Naruto asked. "Is Shun an Uchiha or a Higurashi?"
"Traditionally, all Higurashi females don't change their surnames when they get married or mated. We are free to choose from mating or marrying, but we have always regarded mating the better of the two. All male children from female Higurashis are free to choose which surname to adapt. We haven't had a lot of females, but in all of our recorded history, they've always opted to remain Higurashis. All female children from female Higurashis are going to remain Higurashis, according to our rules, but none of our female ancestors have ever birthed a baby daughter before. Neesan and I retained our maiden names, but for different reasons. Kikyou-neesan followed tradition while we didn't know what Itachi's surname was when we mated. He's known as Higurashi Itachi in our country, not Uchiha Itachi."
Inuyasha and Kikyou's mating was also different from hers and Itachi's due to the differences in their natures and heritage, but Kagome didn't think they needed to know that. Sesshoumaru had been the one to give the birds and the bees talk to Itachi due to the latter's lack of knowledge in mating rites. She'd prefer not to be the one to give that talk to all these people, thank you very much.
"So in other words, you and Itachi had what we normal folks would call a common-law marriage, am I correct?" Kakashi summarized.
"It's not exactly the same, but yes, I guess it's similar to that." Kagome smiled at the copy-nin, pleased that he somewhat understood.
All the Uchihas were visibly scandalized.
Fugaku looked like he was on the verge of a heart attack. "My grandson is a bastard!"
"He is most absolutely not!" Kagome's back stiffened in outrage. Naruto clapped his hands over Shun's ears.
"Your son has brought shame to this family!" The oldest of the Uchihas ranted at his leader, looking like he was going to burst into tears at any second. "What your son has done to this young woman is unforgivable!"
"No really, you don't understand. . ." Kagome tried to explain, but was completely ignored as the Uchihas squabbled amongst themselves. The uncharacteristic show of behavior surprised all the other Konoha shinobi present; Kakashi wished he had a bowl of popcorn.
Kagome could only sigh, reminding herself that people outside the Western Lands had different views about life and many other things― very, very different views, from the looks and sounds of the arguing Uchiha council and its leader. Not even the Godaime could calm them down and it took several minutes before they settled down, Fugaku furiously whispering a plan under his breath to appease them.
Acting as spokesman, Fugaku turned to his almost-daughter-in-law, "Excuse our behavior, you took us completely off guard. The news that Itachi didn't die five years ago has shocked us, and knowing that he left a legacy behind is overwhelming. I'm afraid many of our clansmen will have the same reaction we did when we inform them of this."
"Of course," Kagome smiled tiredly. "Your reaction is perfectly understandable. There's no need to apologize."
Sasuke suppressed a shiver when his father smiled back. A cloud of impending doom loomed at him from the distance.
"Can I ask you something? Many of us were under the impression that you came to Konoha to join our clan, but we see now that that's not the case. Why did you come here?"
Kagome didn't hesitate to answer, "I wanted to ask a favor from your clan, but specifically from Kakashi-san."
Kakashi's brows shot up in surprise.
"Shun has the sharingan. You've all seen it and it is blue," Kagome repeated what they already knew. She picked up Shunsuke from Naruto's bed and gently brushed the bangs from his eyes, giving him a soft kiss on the forehead. He cuddled into his mother's chest, loving the attention. "He's had it from birth and he doesn't need to turn it on, it's probably the reason why he's advanced for his age. With it he's able to see something only once and then imitate it to the best of his physical capabilities the next time. Because of that we started his training earlier, but our country does not have the resources to properly teach him of his bloodline limit."
"So you came here to find him a sharingan tutor," Tsunade guessed correctly. "But why Kakashi? There are countless of other Uchihas who I'm sure would be delighted to teach one of their own."
At this, Kagome had the grace to flush a little. Instead of replying to the question, everyone watched, puzzled when she whispered to Shunsuke. They all strained to hear what she told the boy, but they weren't left wondering for long when they felt a sudden spike of power from the child. Eyes closed, brows furrowed in concentration and little fists clenched as he strained from the effort, the boy tapped into his spiritual power just like his aunt Kikyou taught him to.
And just when the Konoha shinobi thought the mother and son couldn't possibly surprise them anymore, they proved them wrong.
Sasuke stared at Shunsuke in disbelief. "You have got to be kidding me."
"How did you know I had the mangekyou sharingan?" Kakashi asked, gaping at the mutated blue version in front of him.
Kagome rubbed her arm, embarrassed. She couldn't meet anyone in the eye as she replied, "We sent people to investigate the sharingan thoroughly when Shun unlocked his advanced stage and found out that you were the only available person who could teach him about it. I wouldn't have found out about Sasuke's if he wasn't forced to use it in front of me last night."
Naruto's rasengan split Kochou and Asuka's attack in two and Kagome's shield sufficiently covered Sasuke, but in the end it was Sasuke who saved Naruto by using his mangekyou to temporarily shift them to another dimension. He'd seen Kakashi use it once against Deidara, copied and used it against his fight with the same person, and used it again last night. It was the fastest he'd ever moved to date, but he wasn't fast enough to dodge the entire thing and it grazed him and Naruto, knocking them both out until they woke up in the hospital. If not for his efforts Naruto would've been Kyuubi-free by now and not just half-fried.
The rise in spiritual pressure was gone in an instant, but it was enough to raise the hairs on the back of Naruto's neck. His eyes were wide as ramen bowls, fixed on Kagome in wonder. "Is it just with Itachi or can you produce super babies for everyone?"
Kakashi leaned forward to smack his student for his lack of tact but Tsunade beat him to it.
"Ow, that hurt!" Naruto complained, rubbing his well-deserved bump.
"Think before you speak idiot! Don't ask such inappropriate questions or I won't hold back next time!" Tsunade shook her fist threateningly, and Naruto shrank back in the knowledge that the old lady could kill him with one blow if she really wanted to.
Kagome and Shun laughed at their friend's antics. Naruto took advantage of this and grinned as he pointed out to Tsunade that if they didn't take offense then why should she? The Hokage countered that as her successor, Naruto should show respect and that he shouldn't address Kagome by only her first name, but Kagome came to his defense saying it was okay. Naruto was their first friend in Konoha; if he wanted to call her and Shunsuke by their first names it was fine with them.
None of the Uchihas looked happy at this, but didn't voice their concern.
The next few hours followed the distinct pattern ― the Konoha residents questioned Kagome, and Shunsuke to an extent but he seemed less and less friendlier as the hours went by, and she answered their questions to the best of her knowledge. Whenever the topic got too serious, Naruto broke the tension by cracking a joke or drawing attention to something silly, and then the cycle repeated once again. Kakashi agreed to teach Shunsuke how to control his gift while the Uchihas also offered Sasuke's time on his behalf. In exchange, Kagome promised Tsunade that Sesshoumaru's official representative would arrive to finalize talks between their countries.
"He should be here within a week or two, if he left on time," she assured the Hokage.
They all got along just fine, although there was one very tense moment when Tsunade marveled at Shunsuke and wondered out loud what would happen if the same thing could be done with other clans' bloodline limits. Would the Hyuugas' byakugan mutate, she speculated. And if so, what would it evolve into? Was this the same with everyone or was it an effect of the union with an Uchiha only? What about Shunsuke's children? What would happen if he picked a girl with a bloodline limit in the future? Will it cause further evolution or will the more dominant bloodline limit dominate?
Some of Tsunade's theories were very interesting to Kagome, and others were very agitating to the Uchihas. The Godaime posed questions that were all on their minds but the clan felt possessive of this new discovery. None of them wanted to share it with any of their rivals, especially the Hyuugas. They weren't sure if it was something in Kagome's blood but what they were definitely sure about was that they would rather die than share this advantage with those bastards.
Kagome also introduced them to her sister's emissaries and some of their guards. Naruto was quick to extend a hand in friendship, last night's incident quickly forgotten. Sasuke didn't share his friend's sentiments, but thought it beneath him to carry a grudge against shikigami, even if they almost kicked his ass. Hell, they weren't even human so why bother?
What drew his concern more were their other bodyguards. Three were introduced to them, startling Kakashi when they entered through the window. The flamboyant Jakotsu's bright kimono blinded him ― was the guy hitting on him? And the quiet observation of Suikotsu was unnerving, but it was the one with the humongous sword who bothered him the most. Bankotsu, Kagome introduced her head of security.
When and how they were able to infiltrate their village so easily intrigued and annoyed the Konoha residents, especially when they looked so unapologetic about it. Sasuke looked very irritated when Bankotsu dismissed the incident last night as something "minor", deeming it beneath him and his squad to step in when "the little girls" were enough to easily handle it. Taking the blow to his pride personally, Sasuke only smirked and replied, "Why don't we step out so I can show you what I'm really capable of."
But Bankotsu looked even more conceited when he answered, "No thanks. You're no threat to my mission and I don't want to hurt Itachi-san's little brother. I had great respect for the man."
Sasuke was curious about what he said, but he'd be damned before he'd ask the man to elaborate. He'd only met the guy but he didn't like him already. Thankfully, Jakotsu was willing to share some of his opinion.
"Oh yes," the colorful resident of the West positively gushed. "Itachi-san was such a pretty, pretty thing. It's too bad we don't know where he is or if he's still alive, but at least he left us with a souvenir before he left. Shun-sama is so adorable. He's so lucky to have inherited his looks from his sexy father. Not that I'm saying you're unappealing, Kagome-chan," he mumbled something that sounded like 'but you're not my type' under his breath. "But you have to admit Itachi-san was the finest piece of―"
"Jakotsu!" Bankotsu interrupted before his subordinate could finish the sentence.
"What? I'm just telling it as it is. Shun-sama is going to grow up looking just like his father, save for the color of his eyes obviously, and I can't wait to see the day when he blossoms into a great piece of man mea―"
"Jakotsu!" Bankotsu admonished again, glaring.
"And now you understand why our security have to stay incognito and stay in the shadows," Kagome muttered exasperatedly, palm on face. She was used to Jakotsu, but new people always needed some time to get used to his quirks. Her shoulders slumped at the disturbed looks the Konoha shinobi sported, but Jakotsu only harrumphed and turned his attention to Kakashi, sending him a flirtatious wink, who looked alarmed at the unwanted attention.
"You knew my son?" Fugaku questioned.
Bankotsu grinned. "He was a great sparring partner, I learned a lot from him."
The Uchiha patriarch could only nod, still getting used to the idea that his eldest lived a completely different life with such interesting and . . . colorful individuals when they thought him to be dead.
Tsunade was reluctant to allow the incognito activities of the Western guards, hated that she had no complete control of the situation, but agreed to it anyway as a sign of good faith. What harm could three men and two girls possibly do to them, right? Bankotsu and his squad were content to disappear back into the background after promising not to interfere with any of the Konoha shinobi's business.
"We don't really care unless it affects Kagome-sama or Shun-sama's safety and good health directly," were Bankotsu's exact words.
"Are they staying with you?" Naruto asked his new friends after the three guards left. "Wait, where are you staying exactly?"
"We rented a room in that inn near Ichiraku's." Kagome answered. "And no, they're not staying with us. Kochou and Asuka avoid getting seen as much as possible and Bankotsu's paranoid about having all of us together at the same place. They pretty much keep amongst themselves and appear only when we need them. They're very self-sufficient."
"It sounds like they take their job too seriously," Sasuke commented.
Kagome looked amused. "You have no idea."
"Why don't you stay with us instead?" Fugaku suddenly offered.
Much later ― after Sasuke and Naruto were discharged from the hospital, Tsunade dragged the latter off for more lessons, and Kakashi went off on his own to read his precious book ― Fugaku and Sasuke escorted Kagome and Shunsuke as they checked out of their rented room. The current head of the Uchiha clan then ordered his men to carry Shunsuke and Kagome's luggage home and turned to his grandson.
"What would you like for dinner, Shun-kun?"
"Oden!" Shunsuke answered immediately. "We were s'pposed to eat it last night but. . ." he trailed off, frowning pointedly at Sasuke.
"Then we'll have that tonight in our first meal as a family."
Sasuke almost choked on the air he breathed in disbelief. Was this really his father? Ever since his father found out he was a grandfather he'd been acting weird. He'd never seen the man act so accommodating and, dare he say it, almost pleasant. "There are no groceries at home," he reminded.
"I could go shopping for some if you point me in the right direction," Kagome offered. "It's the least I could do." She was thrilled they were going to get the chance to get Itachi's family better.
"Non-sense. You're family now," Fugaku replied.
"I need to go to the market anyway, if I have any hope of keeping Shun-chan happy. He gets very cranky when he's hungry."
"Okay then," Fugaku gave in, compromising. "Sasuke will take you to the market and help you carry the groceries home. Do you have enough money with you, Sasuke? Go pay for Kagome's purchases and make sure she doesn't strain herself. I'll take Shun ahead and get him settled, maybe introduce him to a few of the clan members along the way. What do you say, Shun-kun?"
Shunsuke wasn't excited with the idea but Fugaku was able to lure him with a box of pocky, after much convincing from his mother. Reassuring the boy that he could call out for any of his guardians if he was in trouble and promising him an extra treat before bedtime, he finally relented and transferred to his grandfather's arms, looking like an abandoned puppy sadly waving at his mother goodbye until they disappeared from view. He looked so pitiful that it was all Kagome could do not to chase after him and never let him out of her sight.
"He's usually not this clingy," she told Sasuke as he reluctantly led the way. "He misses his playmates and he's a little homesick, so he's been more attached to me than usual. He's usually very friendly, even to strangers. He's already taken a liking to Naruto and I think it's just a matter of time before he warms up to you and your father, too. He just needs to get used to the concept that he has family on his father's side, too. The only uncles and grandfathers he's had are all from my side so far, having new ones must be making him hesitate."
Sasuke wondered why she was telling him this but remained silent. Perhaps if he stayed quiet she'll eventually shut up.
"He just needs to get used to the new environment and he'll start opening up to people, you'll see," Kagome continued.
Sasuke walked faster in hopes of shutting her up but he wasn't so lucky. Kagome didn't notice the subtle hints and kept on talking, sharing details with him that he didn't need to know.
Their first stop was a vegetable stand, the owner of which recognized him instantly and tripped all over himself to give them the best and freshest produce. The old man's special treatment drew the attention of the other vendors and shoppers among them, and Sasuke glared at everyone who dared to gawk their way. Oblivious to it all, Kagome merrily shopped away, delighted at the discount and extras the vegetable man gave her.
They stopped by the fruit stand next, and several others before they bought meat and fish. He was increasingly getting more and more annoyed at the amount of things he had to carry, but what little gentlemanly pride he had and the order from his father made him grit his teeth and put up with her anyway, even if the woman seemed determined to visit every market stall in Konoha.
Arms full with her purchases, Sasuke took comfort in the fact that the yakitori stand was literally the only place left they haven't visited or bought anything from yet. His brother's woman was emotionally and physically exhausting.
"Shun-chan will like this as an appetizer before dinner," Kagome explained.
Sasuke sighed. He prayed they'd be done soon, so a silent glare was his only response. Hoping to find distraction with the sights and sounds of the market he looked around, senses alert even without any visible threats. He reached out, attempting to sense the presence of her bodyguards, but just like the dozens of other times earlier, failed to find them.
He found something else, though. Fast approaching his direction, Sasuke saw the last thing he wanted to deal with right now.
Five years ago . . .
The clothes they provided him were very comfortable, but somehow, the matching threads that made him blend in like a local didn't feel like him at all. However, the only set of clothes that he came with were useless to him now, the remnants of what looked like a high-necked black shirt was burnt beyond recognition and the tattered remains of his khaki shorts were too mutilated to salvage even for rags. He had no choice but to accept whatever clothing they prepared for him and he had no complaints, but a little voice in the back of his head told him his current attire wasn't really his style.
But what did an amnesiac know, right?
After a week of recuperation and several days of being guided around by Kagome, Itachi was able to roam the grounds freely, but was advised not to venture outside the castle grounds as a precaution. For someone who had only been here for a short time, he was familiar enough not to get lost in the halls.
His savior had to be forcibly dragged from his side by a brown-eyed doppelganger a few days earlier. The older, more stoic and composed replica of the girl who'd attached herself to his hips paid them a visit early one morning, took a thorough examination of him, deemed he was healthy enough to live and all but dragged the blue-eyed girl by her ear while lecturing about missed lessons in a monotonous voice.
Kagome later on snuck back into his room to eat lunch with him and informed him that was her sister Kikyou, the oldest of the Higurashi siblings. Their younger brother Souta was one of the three people whom he first met. He and Shippou, the third person who helped drag him back for treatment, dropped by to check on his progress everyday and spent time with him as they tried to escape from their tutors.
Itachi enjoyed their visits, but not as much as he enjoyed Kagome's company; just being in her presence put his mind and body at ease. He stopped in front of the dojo and took a look inside, eyes scanning for the familiar head of bluish-dark hair.
"Itachi-san!" a young man with dark violet eyes waved at him enthusiastically, beads on right hand clattering against the staff he held as he weaved through the people sparring on the floor. "Did you come to watch again or did your personal nurse give you permission to train with us now?"
Itachi smiled and shook his head. "Kagome is not my personal nurse, Miroku. And yes, she said I could spar with you if I wanted, but not right now. I was actually looking for her and I thought she'd be here."
"Did you try the archery range?" Miroku asked.
"Nobody was there."
Miroku's brows knit together in thought before a proverbial light bulb lit on top of his head. "Oh! I remember! Some minor noble or other suddenly dropped by today, so she might've gone to the main castle. I haven't seen Souta or Shippou either so they might be there with their sisters right now."
"Ah, I see," Itachi nodded in understanding.
It was difficult to reconcile the carefree and mischievous teenager who saved him from certain death to the pampered and sheltered princess who was waited on hand and foot, but Kagome played both roles perfectly.
Miroku placed a comforting hand on his shoulder. "Don't worry, you can hang out with us for the mean time. Would you care to spar? I know Kagome got permission from Sesshoumaru-sama for you, so don't give me that excuse this time. Let's see what hidden talent you've got and how bad you are at it to have been beaten so hard and left for dead," he joked easily.
Itachi let out something between a huff and a snort, smirking as he crossed his arms. "Last time, I wasn't given a choice whether to stay or leave the dojo before I was forcibly dragged away."
"Yeah, yeah. You don't have Kagome's skirt to hide behind this time, so prepare yourself for a sound beating!"
A spot on the spacious dojo floor was immediately cleared for them. Itachi wasted no time doing warm up exercises, just like the ones he'd seen Miroku and his men do, and others his body just felt right falling into. Everyone around him speculated that he must've been a fighter, but if he was a shinobi by trade or just someone with amateur training nobody knew; they found no other possessions to indicate the former ― a forehead protector would've been a big clue, but besides his burnt beyond recognition clothes and sandals he had nothing else.
"Don't hurt him too much, Miroku-san!" taunted one of the spectators as the two faced off. Miroku easily dodged light kicks from Itachi and returned them with easy punches, both parties testing the waters before getting serious.
"I'll try not to hit his pretty little face, Bankotsu!" Miroku grinned and then shuddered, "I wouldn't want Kagome to be upset with me."
"Oh! That was a nice kick from our handsome contender!" Jakotsu suddenly said, taking on his best announcer's voice as the events happened. Miroku glared at him but the distraction only worked to Itachi's advantage as he landed a punch on Miroku's jaw. "What a nice follow up with that punch and wow, he's not only pretty, he's fast, too! And Miroku-san's swing misses!"
Bankotsu could only shake his head at his subordinate's antics. As the fight progressed, Jakotsu gave a detailed play by play report, doing his best sportscaster imitation. No weapons were used, but that didn't mean they inflicted less injuries on each other. Saliva splattered the same way when a particularly hard hit landed on Itachi's gut and bones cracked the same way when Itachi retaliated with a knee to Miroku's cheek.
They were thoroughly enjoying themselves.
The spectators had taken to cheering from the sidelines, and the shortest of them, Mukotsu, began taking bets from his companions. Suikotsu, the kindest of the group when his temper hadn't snapped, disapproved greatly but was ignored. While the others stuck to betting on Miroku either from familiarity or loyalty, Renkotsu wagered on Itachi to come up on top. He wasn't a master strategist for no reason. Miroku might've been their commander, ranked higher than all the rest of them in status and skill, but something in the way their amnesiac guest fought told Renkotsu he wasn't just some ordinary chump. All the taunting didn't help Miroku either.
It took a couple more minutes for Miroku to learn that his opponent didn't like being teased about a certain female, but by the time he caught on he was already sporting a bruised eye and a split lip. He quickly evened the injuries on both sides, however, which got them both in big trouble when Kagome found them a while later. Miroku just scored another point for himself, pinning Itachi on the floor with an arm twisted above and behind him when an icy chill ran up his spine. He looked up and stared right into hardened blue slits.
"What in the world are you doing?"
Every person in the dojo winced at the high-pitched tone and what it meant. Ginkotsu, more than twice the size of a normal man, tried to discreetly hide behind Renkotsu for protection.
Miroku quickly released a struggling Itachi and helped him stand up, brushing imaginary lint and dust on him in an effort to make him look less beat up― a futile effort, considering the splatters of blood on his clothes and rapidly turning purple bruises on his arms and face. "We were just practicing, Kagome," the fake cheer injected in his statement didn't fool anyone.
"Just practicing, huh?"
Itachi stood still and unblinking when her blue eyes landed on him, suddenly making him feel like a guilty criminal facing justice.
"Yeah, no harm done, right Itachi?" Miroku stifled a wince when he lifted an arm to pat Itachi on the back, his sides burning like hell. They really did get a little carried away.
Kagome advanced, pulling out a handkerchief from the folds of her kimono. Itachi backed away when she started mopping the blood and sweat from his face, but she merely followed and then finally gripped the front of his haori to keep him still. "And what would you have done if you gave him another head injury, huh?"
Miroku grinned in the face of danger, "Maybe another head injury is what he needs to cure his first one!" But as soon as the words were out of his mouth he immediately wished he could take them back, since the air crackled with the miko's unleashed temper. "N-not that I'm saying that's a good thing, b-because it's bad, and I was careful not to hit him too hard on the back of his head or near his temple and―" he shut up when he caught Bankotsu vigorously shaking his head behind Kagome, belatedly realizing he was only digging his grave deeper.
"Itachi is free to practice with you whenever he wants, according to Sesshoumaru, but the medics and I think that it's best if he refrains from strenuous activities until we know for certain that he is fully cured."
"And when would that be?" Miroku mumbled under his breath and then flinched under the weight of Kagome's stare.
"When he regains his memories, of course. And you shouldn't do anything to aggravate his injuries, obviously."
"Of course," Miroku agreed into thin air. Kagome was already out of the room, tugging Itachi behind her.
They walked a fair distance, through unfamiliar halls and corridors Itachi had never been to before, until she finally stopped in front of the infirmary. Some of the best doctors in their country looked up to welcome them, but one look at their princess' expression sent them running for safer ground. Ignoring the men who fled like mice, Kagome gathered the necessary supplies and sat Itachi down to treat his bruises.
Neither spoke for a long time, one concentrating on her task and the other staring at the top of her head, trying to judge her mood. Kagome was the first to break the silence.
"Naraku came today and tried to negotiate an engagement," she didn't look him in the eye, instead busied herself with putting away the supplies as she spoke. "Neesan refused him politely of course, so he tried to make the alliance through his brother and me instead; he was very persistent. Inuyasha nearly lost his temper, but Sesshoumaru kept a tight leash on him. You can't put those two with anyone from the Onigumo clan and not expect any bloodshed, but today was a good day."
"Should I congratulate you on your new engagement then?" he asked stiffly.
"It wasn't that good a day," Kagome laughed. "They wish! Neesan would have a bigger chance of massacring the innocent townsfolk than even remotely consider marrying me off to any of Naraku's kin."
A moment passed as his irritation vanished. The injuries he sustained were minor, but she insisted on healing them anyway, and the relaxing effect of her ki halted any objections he might have wanted to make.
"There is still no positive report from the scouts Sesshoumaru sent."
Itachi observed that Kagome tried to sound as neutral as possible, just like every other time this subject was broached. "Contrary to the gossip Miroku has been spreading, I do not cry myself to sleep at night because nobody wants me, Kagome."
Right on the mark. He almost smiled when the guilt showed clearly on her face.
Cheeks flushed, Kagome held his hands with both of hers, eyes shining. "Don't worry Itachi, I'm sure your family loves you very much and is doing everything in their power to look for you right now. And if the worst case scenario happens, you do know you have a place here with us, don't you? Neesan was very impressed by your progress and she trusts you already, which is so rare for her to do with someone she barely knows, but my sister has always been the best judge of character."
Kikyou had the uncanny ability to look at someone and see their true self.
"I mean, it's not so bad, is it? To stay with us?" Belatedly realizing that she was invading his personal space she dropped his hands suddenly and mumbled a quick apology. She was too touchy-feely compared to her sister, too emotionally-driven; Kikyou made swans look ungraceful. The Higurashi heir never fumbled with words or lost her temper in her entire life. "Souta and Shippou are very fond of you," she hurriedly explained. She didn't want him to think she thought she owned him or he owed her because of the whole finding in the forest and saving his life thing . . . or that he was bound to her now or something. "They would be very sad if you leave so soon. You're still vulnerable without your memories."
Itachi resisted the urge to pat his girl-woman savior on the head and reassure all her fears. Instead he touched a gentle hand on her arm and looked right into her worried eyes.
"I'll stay," he promised. After all, it wasn't as if he was someone important and had people looking for him, right?
I hope the format wasn't confusing. It'll be like that until the timelines merge.