All Naruto characters belong to Masashi Kishimoto and Viz Media. I'm just the hellion on the beach that goes around and kicks down other people's sand castles.
Title comes from DEL Negociante by Los Plebes del Rancho de Airel Camacho. Which, when my mom listened to it, smirked and asked: "Don't you know this is a Mexican cowboy song?" I think the machismo fits very much with a married Sasuke. (And yes, I did know, I picked it out.)
A oneshot written because the fact that Sasuke and Naruto are bad fathers in canon is heartbreaking.
It was touch-and-go there for a while but, despite some hiccups, Uchiha Sasuke is a good father.
Hinata ponders this as she sits nestled under the kotatsu. It is a particularly chilly day and while Hinata enjoys sitting on the porch watching the snow fall, the wind was enough to deter her. Also, their son has just gotten over a cold and she refuses to risk a relapse.
He seems not to mind. She set him to work, asking him to draw her a picture and every cell in his five-year-old body vibrates with excitement as he obliges. Watching him indulgently, the thought crosses her mind that she has a never-ending list of things to do, despite having the help of Nanami, their housekeeper. But she cannot manage to leave this room, warmed by the heater and the joy of her child.
She senses Sasuke's chakra at the gate and tracks it until he is sliding open the door. A beat, and then he shuts it before any more heat can leak out into the hallway. He paces quietly over and carefully picks up a lock of her hair and shifts it through his fingers in greeting before he sits on her right.
Too busy with his artistic endeavor, their son can only manage a distracted: "Hi, Dad! I'm drawing!"
Hinata hums and smiles at Sasuke. He smells like sharp ozone from his trip outside and she takes a deep breath. Yet, he is cold and she curls her legs away when his sock-clad feet touch them. He notices and smirks before jamming his toes under her thighs.
Hissing, Hinata jumps. "How was work?" She asks, frowning.
He grunts and unzips his slightly damp vest. It makes a loud thud when he tosses it in the corner. Too disciplined to jump, their child is startled enough to flick his eyes in that direction.
"Situational awareness," Sasuke reminds before answering Hinata's question. "I had more interviews today. Nara thinks we might have a couple decent candidates but…" He trails off and his long suffering eye roll communicates his exasperation.
Hinata smiles and leans over to catch his hand in hers. Their fingers tangle before he submits and lets her peel his glove off. He even places his other hand by her elbow so she can take off the other one without her having to prompt him to. Someone is feeling generous.
"As long as you don't forget to have patience. This is a new situation for everyone." One cannot establish a new Military Police Force without taking some chances. Or making mistakes.
But Sasuke has zero tolerance for mistakes, despite the fact that he is only a man. Hinata sends up an encouraging thought for Naruto and Shikamaru. May they have endless patience with my husband.
After a short pause, Hinata answers Sasuke's silent question. Over the years, she has learned to read most of his non-verbal cues. Maybe it's a certain hooded glance or a restless fan of his fingers over the table. Still learning, because some of them are so oblique or minuscule that only a certified mind-reader can pick up on those. And Hinata is not a Yamanaka.
"Hanabi's strategy meeting went well. I did not have much to offer seeing as she knows how I stand on the incorporation of Branch members to the Council but she knew I was an ally so maybe that helped her confidence a bit."
"Hn." He is about to say something else before a loud cry interrupts.
"Daddy! Look!" The youngest member of their family crows, waving a paper in the air. "I drawed this! Look!"
Practically rolling over the table and scattering crayons in the process, he throws himself into Sasuke's side. Hinata winces at the thought of having to scrape mashed wax out of the tatami. Again.
Sasuke obediently peers down at the masterpiece with a serious air. The picture is apparently of a running dog, done in that childish way of knowing that a dog has four legs and a tail without knowing why.
"Why is its tail curly?" Sasuke's eyebrows draw together.
"Because it has a pig's tail!" The little one pushes his nostrils up with a thumb and snorts twice. "Oink!"
It is in that moment, when Hinata hides her smile behind a sleeve that she realizes. Despite all odds, Sasuke is a good father.
Which is a miracle if anyone is being completely honest. For the short time that Sasuke did have a father, the relationship was not a good one. Then, Sasuke's life had been so consumed with revenge, he did not have time to search for a surrogate father figure to validate him.
When Hinata announced her pregnancy, Sasuke had stared at her for a long moment before standing and walking out of the room. He never brought it up again. But he was there for all the doctor's appointments and arranged for Sakura to help Hinata shop for supplies.
When faced with something insurmountable like this, it is easy for Sasuke to distance himself. To slide into apathy. And he did many times, taking many more missions than usual and rolling over in bed, leaving Hinata to deal with the late night entreaties of their newborn.
Yet, something has changed over the years. She has never been able to suss out what exactly happened. But the Sasuke of before would have never curled a hand around his child's shoulder or absently flicked a dried piece of rice out of wild hair. Casual affection is not something Sasuke is comfortable expressing.
Sasuke takes his child so seriously. The legendary nin listens to the baby babbles with a look of concentration, like he listens to Hinata, Kakashi or Shikamaru. (Naruto does not count because Naruto.) Every scrape is patched with gentleness, every tear wiped with determination to right the wrong.
Hinata watches everything with a particular kind of awe that has been building in her chest for a while now. She knows she is not quite capable of helping him. Her father is not a good reference point at all and she would be guttered if her own child's experiences mirrors hers. Neji has overcome his own handicap which gives Hinata hope.
While not easy, being a mother comes natural to her. There was enough time to practice, with Hanabi and Kiba and Shino. Later with Mirai. She does not, cannot, understand hesitation in that regard. Hinata is built to love with her whole being and sliding into a state of indifference feels too much like failure. It makes it difficult for her when Sasuke's first instinct is to withdraw.
She also suspects that fatherhood is one of those nebulous things that cannot be communicated to the other gender. Sasuke will never experience the feeling of carrying a new life, tucked inside your being. Maybe in the same regard, there is something that Sasuke and his son will share that is uniquely theirs as well.
Although, Nanami is fond of telling Hinata about the times the housekeeper happened upon Sasuke carefully cradling the baby in practically one hand. The shinobi had been so dazed in fact, that he never noticed Nanami sneaking away to give them privacy.
It still soothes some of Hinata's worries.
Sasuke peers at the picture once more and does not speak until he is sure he has his son's full attention. "It's good. You're getting better."
Sasuke never exaggerates but he never withholds praise. He knows what it is like to grow up without validation, without the security that your father will be your ally instead of enemy. Hinata blinks against the heat building behind her eyes when she sees her child light up, sees Sasuke pull the tiny body closer.
Overcome, she stands. The blanket slides off her legs and she moves to leave Sasuke a solemn, grateful kiss in his hair.
"I brought leftovers from the meeting, I'm going to go heat them up."
He nods, although in response to her or their son's chattering, she is unsure. But she leaves anyway because she is finally secure in leaving them alone together. She saw Sasuke's non-verbal cue.
She saw the love in his eyes.
It will get better; she is sure of it. Sasuke is a fast learner and if he could figure out how to finally express his love to Hinata, he can definitely do the same for his child.
Children, she thinks suddenly with a smile she cannot suppress. Maybe he is even ready for that prospect as well.
She laughs softly as she pads through the hallway. They will definitely have to talk, verbally, about that and soon.
*Sasuhina baby has no name because naming a baby is a lot of pressure. Even a fictional one. The housekeeper having the name of Nanami is a nod to a wonderful Sasuhina story: "Ikigai" by Lanse.
Have a great day/night, thanks for reading.