Because Sasuke needs a talking to and, at this point, I think Boruto knows Sarada a little bit better. This does follow canon so please be respectful.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything.
Uzumaki Boruto couldn't say he liked Uchiha Sasuke very much.
He also couldn't say he knew him very well, but that was part of the problem. No one knew Uchiha Sasuke very well except perhaps some of the adults, and even they could only sometimes shake their heads when they talked about him. It was frustrating and aggravating and damnit! why did he have to show up now? Did he always have bad timing or was this an age thing? Sakura-ba-chan hadn't even been out of the hospital a day and he just shows up out of nowhere like he hadn't been missing the last twelve years.
Boruto had to give Sarada props – she was taking this a lot better than he would have. If his dad just popped up out of nowhere he'd probably have exploded. Sarada didn't. She was dazed and confused and somewhat troubled, but there was no temper tantrum, no string of deviancy, and no outward display of disillusionment. But she was hurt and Boruto knew this. He was her best friend (sort of, rival, sisterly friend he didn't like to acknowledge in public) and he could tell when she was bottling her emotions up. It was clear to Boruto she was about to break. Sarada wasn't very hard to read.
Unless, of course, your name was Uchiha Sasuke and you had the social capabilities of a rock.
A part of Boruto felt pity for the man. It was obvious he had no idea what to do with a daughter, especially one he hadn't seen in years and who had grown to an age where she was able to form her own opinions, but then Boruto would remember it was his own damn fault for missing all that time and his pity would shrivel. Still, he didn't like seeing Sarada so morose and if mending her relationship with her father would help, Boruto would do everything he could to fix it.
Even if he did think Uchiha Sasuke was a pompous, arrogant, ignorant man who didn't deserve his daughter's love and acceptance.
Boruto took a deep breath as he observed the man from where he sat alone on the porch. Neither Sakura-ba-chan nor Sarada were home; both of them were out shopping for new furniture and clothes. Their house had been rebuilt quickly, though it was still rather barren. A lot of things the two women held dear were lost in the destruction; awards, presents, pictures, heirlooms – most of them destroyed. At least no one was hurt, though the mental pain at losing such precious things, coupled with Sasuke's sudden return, hadn't helped Sarada at all. Boruto grimaced and his hands balled into fists the longer he watched. Stupid Sasuke.
"I know you're there," a deep voice cut through the morning silence and Boruto froze, his eyes widening and his fists relaxing at his side. "Either come out here or leave."
For a moment, Boruto didn't move, didn't even breathe, before he remembered why he was here in the first place and his resolve hardened. His eyes narrowed, a scowl formed on his face, and his hands once again turned back into fists. He pushed away from where he'd been hiding behind the gate and stomped his way over to the unflappable Uchiha.
Sasuke watched as the boy made his way over, taking in the shaking shoulders and way he kicked up dirt as he walked. The Uchiha raised an eyebrow. He knew this was Naruto's kid; he didn't even need to recall the Hokage's introduction to know that. The child was a perfect clone of his father, albeit with Hinata's face and a brain – or, at least, half a brain. Most Academy students wouldn't just walk up to someone like him as Boruto was doing without perhaps an army of jounin at their backs. So, half a brain, and Naruto's foolishness. It was about what Sasuke expected.
What he didn't expect was for the boy to actually get up in his face and level him with a glare Sasuke might have been intimidated by if he were twenty years younger.
Sasuke blinked. "Can I help you?"
Boruto's glare intensified and his cheeks puffed a bit. "You're hurting Sarada."
"I know," Sasuke said, taking a sip of his tea.
The blond boy sputtered and leaned back. Sasuke's expression of nonchalance didn't change, though he did eye the child as if asking if he really wanted to continue this conversation. Boruto did. "Y-you know? You know and you're still here? What is wrong with you? Why the hell did you bother to come back? She was a lot better off without you, 'ttebasa!"
Sasuke took another sip of his tea. "Is that all you wanted to say?"
"I-is that all?" Boruto gaped. Then he puffed up his chest and his face screwed into one of disgust. "No, you know what, that's not all. You come waltzing back in here as if you didn't just up and leave for more than a decade, with no explanation and not even an, 'I'm sorry, Sarada'. Do you know how many times she's come to me to complain about how much she wished you were here? Countless. We practically shared a crib. I know almost everything about her. I know how she likes to put two tablespoons of sugar in her tea in private, but none in public. I know she likes sakuramochi because they remind her of Sakura-ba-chan even though she's not a big fan of the taste. She likes to dance and climb trees and go swimming in the river even when it's ice cold. She says she hates ramen, but always eats at least three bowls whenever dad takes us to Ichiraku's. And I know that every year on her birthday she would wish for you to come home and every year on her birthday she was disappointed. I could go on and on and you would never know it all because you weren't here."
Sasuke looked at the boy's heaving chest. The little snarl on Boruto's face coupled with how tightly his fists were clenching said it all. But Sasuke still did nothing. He just continued to look at the boy with that aggravatingly passive expression and Boruto's heaving slowed. His body slouched and he felt his face tingle as it fell out of the sneer and into something more desperate.
"Why won't you say anything?" Boruto yelled. "Don't you care? Don't you care that you're hurting her? Or was she right when she told me that you weren't here because you didn't want them?"
"That is not why." Finally, a reaction. Sasuke sat, black eye drilling a hole into Boruto's blue ones, but the boy stupidly didn't back down. He rode out the stare, sweat forming on his brow as he realized just whom he was glaring at. This was Uchiha Sasuke, the only man known to be able to fight his dad on equal grounds, and Boruto was one step away from threatening him.
But this was for Sarada and for her, for his best friend, Boruto wouldn't back down.
"Then tell me why?" The boy urged, because he wanted to know and Sarada deserved to know and it needed to come from Sasuke.
The older man released a breath, but his eyes soften just a bit and he no longer looked so terrifying. "No."
"Why not?" Boruto asked, incensed at the man's stubbornness.
"Don't be so dramatic," Sasuke sneered. "I cannot tell you. Take it at that."
Boruto didn't want to 'take it at that,' but he was smart enough to realize that Sasuke was more of a brick wall than his father had ever described. He still didn't like it, though. Sarada deserved an explanation.
"You're doing it wrong, ya know," the boy said. He crossed his arms and continued to stare the man down. Sasuke quirked an eyebrow at the sudden changes from angry yelling to calm fact.
"Doing what wrong?" He asked, his curiosity overriding his desire to send the boy away.
"Coming back," Boruto replied. "You come back like nothing's changed, but they have. You expect Sarada to be a little girl and she's not. She doesn't know you and you act like she should. She deserves to know why you weren't here and if you won't tell me, you better tell her."
Sasuke eyed the boy, simultaneously angry at his insistence and amused by it. "Sarada will know, but not now."
"When she is ready for it."
"And how will you know when she's ready for it if you don't know her?"
Sasuke stared. He blinked. "Are you sure you're Naruto's kid?"
Boruto rolled his eyes. "She knows you're avoiding her," he fired back as if Sasuke never spoke. "And yeah, she's avoiding you too, but you two need to talk, and I can't believe I'm the one that has to tell you this. She's waited a long time for you, but you come back and you don't say 'I'm sorry' or 'this is why I left' and you just settle in like she's supposed to accept it. Well she hasn't. She can't."
"And what would you have me do?" Sasuke pushed. He set his teacup down on the wood and looked Boruto in the eye. "As you said, I've been gone a long time. Sarada doesn't need me-"
"She does need you!" Boruto interrupted, startling Sasuke. "That's the problem. She needed you, but you weren't here. And now you are here and she doesn't know how to talk to you or how to react when you're around. You're her dad and you don't even know her favorite color. I mean my dad and I have our issues, but even he knows that."
Naruto knew his favorite color was magenta even though he said it was black. He also knew Boruto's favorite food was pork ramen and that he couldn't function before he'd had his morning cinnamon bun. His dad had been there for birthday parties, sick days, and nightmares. He'd told his son bedtime stories and played with him (even if sometimes it was just a clone). Boruto had these moments and was astute enough to realize that for all he felt like his father didn't have time for him anymore, Sarada had daddy issues just as, if not more, pressing that his own. Knowing a similar pain, he wanted to help.
Sasuke sighed. "It's not that easy."
"No, it's not," Boruto agreed. "But she's your daughter and if you want to know her at all then you've got stop avoiding her and pretending you haven't been gone. I don't care what reason you have."
The boy watched as Sasuke's lip began to twitch, his eyebrows rose, and his chest began to heave. At first, Boruto thought he was going to cry, but then there was a coughing sound and before he knew it, he was watching Uchiha Sasuke laugh.
It wasn't a hulking laugh, not a boisterous as his dad's or as happy as his mom's, but it was a laugh nonetheless. Boruto stared in shock. "A-are you laughing? Why the heck are you laughing? This isn't a laughing matter!"
Sasuke continued to chuckle, though it quieted until the only thing that remained was a slight upturning of the lips. "Perhaps you are Naruto's son after all."
"You have a point, and I won't refute that, but there are things you don't know, things you aren't ready to hear, and neither is Sarada."
"Can't you tell her anything?" Boruto murmured, subdued.
Sasuke eyed him before sighing and reaching out to trace the rim of his cup. "I will, but when I do, it will be when she is ready, and that isn't now. I can't give her what she wants."
Boruto stared at him, searching for something. "She wants a dad."
"I'm not very good at that."
"You haven't tried." He fidgeted under Sasuke's gaze. "I mean you won't know until you try, right? And Sarada's waited a long time, and she might shout at you, she does that sometimes, but she'll calm down eventually and then you can talk."
"I don't think it will be that easy."
"I don't think it will be that hard."
Sasuke eyed him, a smirk tugging at his mouth. "You don't give up do you?"
"Did you expect me to?"
The Uchiha chuffed. "No."
Boruto nodded, decisively like he was passing some sort of greater judgment. "Then you should know I won't stop until you fix this. Sarada's my frien-rival, and this whole thing with you is messing with her head. She's all moody and not fun. She can't even train properly."
"And this bothers you so much you were willing to come yell at me?"
"She's the best training partner I have. When she's off her game, so am I."
Sasuke looked at him like didn't believe this in the slightest, but Boruto didn't flinch. Sarada had given him worse looks. The man hummed under his breath. "You are far too much like your father. Stop. I can only handle one of you." Boruto opened his mouth to yell, but Sasuke cut him off. "Still, you've given me something to think about."
"So you'll talk to her? Like actually sit down and let her yell at you, maybe even punch you a few times?"
The man's face deadpanned. "I don't remember saying that."
"But if she needs to, you will? Cause that's what dad does when he knows he's done something really stupid. He lets us call him out on it."
"Yes, well," he looked off to the side, "we'll see."
"Good, because if you don't start fixing this soon, I'll come back here and kick your ass."
Sasuke snorted. "You could try."
"And I'll succeed. Because I don't like you, but Sarada deserves a lot better from you and you better let her know you know that."
"Your threats leave much to be desired."
"I don't care."
Sasuke chuckled and then smirked. "Go home, kid. You've made your point."
"I better. I'll check tomorrow to make sure you at least talked to her."
The Uchiha made a shooing motion with his hand. "Of course you will. In the meantime, I would like to enjoy the remaining silence."
Boruto glared. "Dad was right. You are a bastard." He shuffled his feet a bit. "You will talk to her, right? Promise?"
"I promise, kid. Now go."
"Good, because dad always says not to break a promise," he stated like Sasuke hadn't just waved him away.
"Oh I know," the man groaned. "But unless you want me to break a promise and send you flying over that wall, you will leave."
"…You've made a promise not to send me flying?"
"No, I promised never to harm a citizen of this village. Do you want me to break that promise?"
"Good. Then leave." When Boruto didn't move, he did the shooing motion again.
The boy sighed. "Just talk to her."
Sasuke nodded, but didn't give a verbal response. Boruto realized he wouldn't be getting anything else from the man and shoved his hands into his pockets. He turned to go, but before he left he glanced back at his dad's supposed best friend and said, "You're still her hero." The boy then turned back to gate and walked away, his feet scuffing up dirt as he moved.
Sasuke watched him leave, his fingers continuing to run along the edge of his teacup. A smile tugged at his lips. Boruto certainly had a lot of spunk – definitely Naruto's kid if a bit more eloquent. He might even learn to like the boy.
His thoughts sobered a bit as he took in everything the child had said (yelled). Boruto had a point, even though he didn't have the full story. There was a lot Sasuke couldn't tell his daughter yet; a lot he didn't know when he could tell her. It was strange to come back here, with all these children he didn't know running around. Of course, he'd visited before, from the shadows, but this wasn't the shadows. All these children were real. They had personalities and likes and dislikes – dreams for the future and the will to make them real. It was strange, this Konoha. And awkward. Very, very awkward.
Sarada was her own person now. She was no longer the baby he used to hold in his arms or the infant that would reach out to him and giggle. She didn't know him and he didn't know her.
Boruto was right; they needed to talk. He stretched his senses out to see if he could feel her. It took only a second, but there she was. Both his wife and his daughter were still in the city center, shopping. Good. That gave him a few hours to think. Boruto's words looped in his head.
'You're still her hero.'
Damn those Uzumaki.
Now to figure out what to say.
And that's that. Hope you all enjoyed! Please review, but refrain from flaming. I appreciate constructive criticism, but flames don't help writers improve. Have a great evening!