I'm not sure what kind of reaction I was expecting from my lover. Of course I did not expect him to jump up and weep with joy at the news. Sasuke was not a baby person; he had made that clear when he said he was fucking me only because I would not get pregnant. Anyway the baby was quite unplanned. Until my morning sickness started I did not even realize that it was possible for me to conceive, and we weren't exactly being careful about birth control, since we were both guys. Sasuke's face was blank. It was a relief that he was not throwing a hysterical fit and demanding the baby to be aborted, but it also made me nervous. It felt a bit like a calm before a storm.
"No matter what you say, I'm keeping it, so don't even mention getting rid of it unless you want me to knock all of your teeth out."
Sasuke's face remained expressionless, and his dark orbs looked hard and cold. His pale skin looked even paler than usual. The early spring breeze felt chilly to the skin, but it carried a wet floral scent that promised the arrival of life soon. Sasuke's dark bangs framed his oval face, waving awkwardly against the wind until they gave up and covered his face. I took a deep breath, preparing for his reaction. Anger? Confusion? Hostility? Denial?
What I did not expect, though, was for Sasuke to turn aside without a word and walk away.
This was definitely not the first time that my lover acted weird. There were many times when I could have sworn that Sasuke was an alien from outer space, because his way of thinking was so—unusual, to say the least. But this total lack of reaction against the news of his lover carrying his child was something that even I did not predict, and confused I stared at Sasuke's retreating back. Then I shrugged and returned to my apartment.
Who needed that moron with personality problems, anyway?
1 + 1 3
Collaborated work with Bhodi Li-sama. Thank you so much for the lovely idea!
"Then make sure to take your calcium, okay?"
I took the package of vitamin and calcium supplements and smiled my thanks. I huddled over and wrapped my shawl tightly around my shoulders as I left, slowly and carefully making my way through the crowd at the central. Pregnancy made me feel cold and tired often, and I wasn't even allowed to use my chakra since it may negatively affect my baby's development. My morning sickness wasn't bad, but it made me lose my appetite and I often felt nauseous.
Hearing stifled giggles I turned to look at a happy couple walking away from the hospital. The woman was heavily pregnant, and the man was holding her protectively and lovingly against his arms, whispering something to her that made her giggle. For some reason my eyes started to hurt—stupid pollens—so I angrily wiped my eyes with the back of my hand. I wasn't crying. Something went into my eyes and tears came out a little, that's all. Clutching the vitamins more tightly against my chest, I went home and promptly dozed off even though I had a mission.
In the middle of the night I woke up because it was so cold on the floor. I tried to stand up, but because I didn't eat anything since morning I didn't have the strength to do so. I crawled into my room and it was the triumph of human efforts that I managed to get into the bed. I started to shrug off my shawl, but I felt cold so I kept it on underneath my blanket. The bed faintly smelled of Sasuke. He favored a crisp scent that had smelled mint-like and lemony. I pulled the blanket tighter against me, as if seeking a comfort from Sasuke's nonexistent presence. Since when have I come to depend so heavily on him?
I wasn't the one who started our relationship. After a mission that had nearly killed us, heavily injured Sasuke refused Sakura's offer to treat him. Instead, bleeding and one of his limbs hanging askew, he had dragged me off to the forest and promptly raped me. I had resisted, of course—at first I didn't even get what he was trying to do—but I couldn't really fight against someone who was so badly hurt, and anyway I was very hurt and tired, too. When he was finished with me he had put on his clothes and left without looking back even once.
"Why me?" I had asked him. Men get excited in moments of danger. When he feels that he's about to die, he feels the most urge to reproduce; to leave his genes upon this earth before he dies. So it wasn't like I didn't understand why he needed to have sex—I was aroused, too—after that mission. But Sakura was there. If he had only asked her or any of the girls at our village, I was sure that they would have willingly slept with him.
"Because you won't get pregnant," he had coldly told me. "And you won't come crying to me about your lost virginity, would you? If I did that to a girl she might force me to be responsible for her, and I'm not a family man. I would never get married. Being responsible just because of a quick fling—that's so old fashioned and ridiculous. Since your face is not half bad and you have quite a stamina, I thought you'd make a good bedmate."
I didn't have delusions about sex. I didn't think it would be the most wonderful thing in the world to be cherished with my first love or anything, so I accepted his explanation. When he knocked at my window few weeks later, I had let him in. Sasuke only came to me at nights. Those nights felt blurred and distorted. I only remembered our sweaty bodies writhing together, Sasuke's well-muscled body close against mine, the wet sloppy kisses we've exchanged. What remained most clear in my mind was the afterglow after what we've done. Sasuke would look at me kindly and brush back my hair, and would sometimes whisper sweet things to me that would make me blush. More than sex, I looked forward to those moments. Sex was messy and painful, even though it could admittedly feel incredible if done right. But after sex Sasuke was sweet. Sometimes he would even fall asleep in my arms, and I would be allowed to pat his soft hair and admire his handsome face that looked childish and relaxed in sleep. For those moments I had allowed him my body.
To tell you the truth, because of those moments, I had harbored a hope that Sasuke may actually want the baby. Sasuke was always acting like an asshole anyway; maybe he would actually like the idea of becoming a father. He didn't have to love me. But if only he would accept the baby, then I wouldn't feel so miserable about the little life growing inside me.
But the cold, indifferent look he gave me when I told him about our baby was more than enough. He didn't want it. He didn't want me anymore, either, since I've disappointed him. How dare I, with my male body, bear his child? But the thought of little Sasuke growing inside me, nursing in my arms, smiling at me—growing up and having a life that his father never had—made me happy. I'll make you happy, Sasuke.
When I went to check if I could make up my mission the next morning, I found out that I have been fired. Since I didn't have any mission lined up for weeks, I got worried. I rapidly calculated the monthly rent and utility fee and almost felt like crying. There was no way my savings could last until I gave birth to the baby, and even after I had the baby I would need few more weeks to recover before I could start working again. And who would take care of the baby while I was working?
I sat down on the bench next to the missions office and started to cry. I wished that I wasn't pregnant, and then I immediately apologized to my baby again and again. It wasn't the baby's fault. It was my fault for being such a loser. It was my fault for allowing a bastard like Sasuke my body. It was my fault for not being more careful. It was my fault that I wasn't talented enough to make more money.
I wished Sasuke was still with me.
He might look like cold-hearted bastard, but actually he always listened when I had worries. He wouldn't offer half-hearted, cheap sympathies. He would just always be there for me and offer me a shoulder to cry upon, and if there was anything he could do to help, he would help out. In the beginning he offered money when he spent the night with me, but that made me feel like a prostitute, so when I got mad he didn't say anything about money again. Even now, if I asked him for it, I was sure that Sasuke would give me financial support. But I would rather die than to ask Sasuke for help, especially when he made it so obvious that he didn't want to do any more with me or with our child.
I looked up. Shikamaru looked at me like my dog died or something.
"You poor bastard. I'm so sorry."
Ah. I wondered how he found out about my pregnancy. I raised tear-filled eyes and gave him a watery smile.
"Look, if there was anything I can do… But what can I do?"
Shikamaru brushed his hair back, looking frustrated. Of course, what can he do about someone else's baby? He had enough worries of his own, what with his jounin exams and his upcoming engagement to Temari-san.
"I'm thankful with your feelings alone. Don't worry about it; I'll take care of it."
"I'll be there no matter what, so… Okay? And if you need help, just ask."
I wiped my eyes and smiled a bit more brightly as I nodded. Knowing I had friends like him, I felt a lot better. Surely, everything would work out eventually. Shikamaru gave the last sympathetic pat on my shoulders before he left me.
I stood up and started for home. Even though there was no prospect of income, I felt a craving for strawberries, so I wondered if I should get some. The medical nin did say that I should try to eat whatever I crave at the moment, since morning sickness could affect my appetite negatively.
"All right, baby, we'll get some strawberries," I told my belly, and I smiled. I still couldn't feel any life moving within me, but soon I would, and then a lovely baby that would look just like Sasuke would be in my arms. The thought of small, warm, helpless bundle that would only belong to me, would only love me, felt so precious that I itched to hold the baby in my arms, even though it would be a long time before we would meet.
A familiar voice called out to me, and I had to step aside to avoid being pummeled by a green blur. Bushy Eyebrows enthusiastically grabbed my hand and swung it up and down so quickly that it felt like my arm would fall out of its socket. He had the widest grin on his face, as if his world couldn't be any happier.
"I heard the news! Oh, youth is a wonderful thing after all, isn't it? Congratulations! So when is the blessed event? At what hour? I'll be there! If there is anything I can do, Naruto-kun—"
"…It's Rock Lee, Naruto-kun, but yes!"
"…Do shut up."
And people say I'm hyper.
"I don't know what hour it'll be. And what do you care? It has nothing to do with you."
Bushy Eyebrows flinched, looking very hurt. What? Why would he want to see me giving birth to my baby? It wasn't like he was the father.
"H, how mean, Naruto-kun! I thought we were friends!"
"So of course I would be there! You're not inviting me! If I'm lucky enough to hold that kind of event with Sakura-san, I would be sure to invite you!"
Invitation has nothing to do with child-bearing;; Or rather, Sakura would kill me if I went to watch her giving birth to her child. Anyway, Sakura wouldn't be the one who would parent Lee's child with him, if Gaara had any saying in this.
Feeling too tired to explain common manners to Bushy Eyebrows, I shook my head. "Oh, whatever… You can come, if you want to."
"I'll be sure to bring a fat envelope!" Bushy Eyebrows declared before he happily sauntered away. Envelope? What envelope?;;
I shoved Bushy Eyebrows out of my mind as I resumed my quest for strawberries. He was a nice person, but at times I didn't quite understand what he was thinking. (I admit his green tights were cool, but the way he acted scared even me sometimes.) But before I managed to find my strawberries, I ran into Kiba and Hinata, who greeted me and looked at me over like I had sprouted another head. Did they know I was pregnant, too?
I realized that one really couldn't keep a secret in a tiny village like ours. What happened to privacy?
"So, Naruto," Kiba casually started, even though it was obvious he felt uncomfortable.
"You're not coming!" I snapped. Why did everyone insist on coming to see my baby being born! I wanted Sasuke to come! Was it some kind of unwritten law of Konoha that if the father refused his baby, the mother's friends all came to witness the baby being born or something! "It's embarrassing! I don't want you guys to all come gawk at me while I'm giving birth to my baby!"
"…What baby?" Kiba asked, confusion written across his face. Hinata gasped and covered her mouth, blushing a bright pink. An understanding dawned on Kiba's face. "Wait a second, that's why you are….? Oh you poor thing! I can't believe this; Sasuke's so quick with his hands!"
…If they weren't talking about the baby, then what…?
"Dear members of the Konoha!" A loud female voice boomed throughout the plaza. Kiba, Hinata, and I looked up at the Old Hag's voice. "This is a public announcement, brought by your local friendly Hokage! As you are all aware, we are very short on the population of this village. To recompense for that, get busy and make babies like there is no tomorrow, you young ones! It's spring, after all!"
She cackled before she absolutely broke off, and middle-aged mothers whispered to themselves, no doubt horrified by our liberal leader. I found myself smiling crookedly at that. She probably did not have someone like me in mind when she urged procreation. Well, like it or not, I was going to add one more person to this village in not too distant future.
Hinata's face had taken on an impossibly bright red hue, and I realized that Old Hag's announcement had been too much for someone as innocent as she was. (I doubted poor Neji even managed to get a kiss from her yet.)
"We're still young, so it's not like that applied to us," I tried to reassure her. But she started to look like she'll cry, so I stopped while I was ahead. Kiba, once again, awkwardly tried to change the topic.
"So what time is it?"
"…What time is what?"
"You know, this Friday—"
Suddenly the speakers started to crackle again. Thinking that the Old Hag had forgotten to announce something, I looked up again, but was startled to hear another familiar voice ringing across the nearly full plaza.
"Dear members of the Hidden Leaf Village. It is of the greatest pleasure that we, Uchiha Sasuke and Uzumaki Naruto, cordially invite you to our wedding this Friday at 15 o'clock at the Hidden Leaf Central. Everyone is invited, both to the ceremony and to the reception afterwards."
"—you're getting married to Sasuke. Right?"
…No, wait a second;; Who's marrying whom? What? Where?
While I was busy trying to figure this out, Kiba slapped my back and loudly laughed.
"Well, we're at that age, and some of us can't help when our youthful blood is boiling, right? I don't hold it against you that you guys broke your speed limits and you got yourself a husband like Sasuke because he knocked you up. At least he's taking the responsibility, right?"
No, aside from responsibility, how come we're getting married and I never heard about this?;;
"And you must have let him fucked you because you like him, right? I mean, he's the last person I'd want to spend rest of my life with, but your choices are your choices, and…"
That finally made my brain function again. I ran like I never ran before towards the Hidden Leaf Central, where they make the public announcements. I managed to catch Sasuke coming out of the central, looking as smug as a cat with a fish. He raised his hand in greeting, smiling a smile that was known to cause heart attack or meltdown amongst young damsels.
"Naruto. I'm glad that we ran into each other. We should get a fitting for your dress—"
I grabbed his collar and pulled him down towards me, standing on my tiptoes to glare at him as hard as I could. I pulled my lips back and snarled, "What the hell is this marrying business about, Uchiha Sasuke? Who's getting married to whom?"
"Of course you, with me. You're the one carrying the Uchiha successor inside you, aren't you?"
Sasuke was saying this as if he was discussing the weather with me. I suddenly felt tears welling up in my eyes. Exactly what was he playing at! First he acted like he wanted neither me nor the baby, and now he's announcing to the whole village that we're going to get married when I didn't even hear about our wedding until I heard it in public broadcast! What kind of sick joke was he trying to pull?
"Wha… what are you crying for?" Sasuke asked, looking confused. I pushed him away from me and I started to run away, crying at the top of my lungs. He was trying to run me out of this village! He was trying to make me so embarrassed that I couldn't even live in this village any longer!
"Slowpoke moron… Dead last! Wait!"
"Fuwaaaaan—Do, don't follow me!"
What with crying and being tired and pregnant on top of that, it didn't take long for Sasuke to overtake me. He grabbed my wrists and pulled me against him. I struggled and cried, but he held me against his chest tightly and wouldn't let me go. Basking in the familiar warmth and scent, I sniffled and buried my head against his chest, feeling the comfortable beat of his heart against my forehead. I was probably getting tears and snot all over his shirt, but he didn't seem to care.
"Now, you moron. I know your hormones are going crazy with the baby in your stomach—"
Oh, maybe that's why I'm having these mood swings…
"—but really, it isn't good for you or the baby to run around like that. And what are you crying for?"
When I didn't answer, wrapping his arm around my shoulders, Sasuke started to walk towards heaven knows where. I followed him without knowing where he was leading me. Before I realized it Sasuke had pulled me inside a small store with fancy tuxedoes and dresses, and only after a while did I recognize the store as a wedding shop.
…He wasn't seriously thinking about…?
"A suit or a dress? I prefer to see you in a dress—I think you'll look really beautiful—but if you're more comfortable with a suit, that's fine too." Sasuke said, not releasing his hold on me. Maybe he thought I'll have another crying fit and run away again if he let me go. I stared at him, not a little confused, while the lady from the store came up to us with a big smile on her face.
"I heard the announcement a little while ago, Uchiha-san. So, the lucky bride is…?"
"I think cream color will look good against Naruto's skin, right?" Sasuke said, pushing me a little forward. "Of course he'd be beautiful no matter what he wears, but maybe a pink dress will bring out his eyes."
I heard pride—maybe even a foolish sentimentality—in Sasuke's voice, and I turned to look at him, dumbfounded. Sasuke was wearing the stupidest, lovesick grin on his face, as if he had just gotten the world's prettiest girl's hand in marriage as he made flustered gestures with his hands.
"Be careful when you help him dress, though, won't you? It's only beginning of his pregnancy, and it's only his third month and that's supposedly the most dangerous month—of course we could have waited until the baby stabilized somewhat, but then Naruto would be bloated with the baby and he might not want to get married until he had had the baby, and I didn't want to wait until then."
Who the hell was this chatterbox with sloppy, lovey-dovey grin on his face and what happened to the usual asshole, cool as a cucumber Sasuke?
I could only watch in open-mouthed wonder as Sasuke happily chose the dress and suit. He made me feel as if—
As if he really wanted the baby and me.
It was only after getting married that I heard about what Sasuke had done. After I had told him the news about our coming baby, he was apparently too stunned to react at first. And then, as soon as I was out of sight and he could think clearly again, he started to run across the village and grab any villager to excitedly tell them that he was going to be a father and grinning his head off. After the whole village thus learned about my pregnancy in less than ten minutes after Sasuke heard about it, Sasuke decided that the sooner we got married, the better, so he had started arranging for the marriage right away.
"But why did you tell me you didn't want a baby?" I asked Sasuke who was resting his cheek against my belly, listening to our baby playing in my stomach. The baby gave soft little nudges against my stomach as it played. I was patting Sasuke's hair, and Sasuke grabbed my hand and pressed his lips against my fingernails.
"…Because I thought you couldn't conceive."
"Well, to revive the Uchiha clan… Actually what I wanted more than anything else was to have lots and lots of children. But when I realized that the one I loved was you, a male… I decided that babies weren't worth it; I'd much rather have you."
Sasuke's dark eyes met mine. He softly smiled.
"If you knew that I was serious about you, I thought you might feel pressured and push me away… So I made excuses and acted like I only wanted you for a sex partner, because I knew I loved you too much to stay as only friends with you. You wouldn't understand how I felt when you told me that you were carrying my—our—baby, Naruto."
"It would've made everything so much easier if you just told me from the start that you liked me, though," I grumbled as Sasuke lifted his body and pecked my lips with his. I pushed him away. "Do you know how much I cried when I thought you didn't want me anymore? B, because I grew to like you and depend on you so much…"
"I am very sorry about that."
Sasuke softly pressed his lips against mine, and this time I didn't refuse him. His tongue entangled almost frighteningly sweetly, gently with mine, and then he pulled away and whispered against my lips, "Let me make it up to you in bed?"
I looked at him gazing at me in earnest and couldn't help a little smile breaking out from my lips. "You'd better make it really good, then, Uchiha Sasuke…"
He didn't need further encouragements.