Disclaimer: I claim no ownership of characters used. All are licensed to their respective owners. I am not making any money through authorship of this fic.
(But keep in mind that this is a sequel so please take a gander at 'An heir's responsibility,' to keep that charming oO off your face! XD)
"Natsuki, thanks again for agreeing to look after him for me!," Mai said to her friend as they stood at the front door.
"I told the taxi guy I'd hurry up and that he shouldn't stop the car engine, otherwise we might miss the train. Mikoto and Tate are waiting for me… Sorry to have to run!," she continued while already walking away in a rather brisk manner.
"Ok Mai, safe trip!," Natsuki called after her friend and was about to walk off into the kitchen to offer her services to her wife… until she remembered that she was holding something important… And that Mai had good reason to be thanking her.
Looking down at the bundle attached to one of her hands, Natsuki was hit with a number of consecutive thoughts…
'Hmm, this is rather odd. Why has Mai put the dog in a carry pram thing? Is it because he's a puppy? I like puppies, ah well, better take a look… (!)… What in the…'
As her thoughts tapered off, Natsuki found herself with only one open option.
"Shizuru!!," the girl yelled at the top of her lungs. "Something not right has just happened to me!!"
The slightly older girl quickly ran to the aid of her wife, apron clad and all.
"Natsuki, what is it are you alright?," Shizuru asked the raven haired girl who was considerably paler than usual.
"M-mai… Mai…," Natsuki tried to say.
"Calm down sweetie and tell me what's wrong ok?"
"It's Mai! She tricked me!"
"Shizuru!," Natsuki repeated again between nervous deep breaths while keeping one arm very still and using the other to point at what she was holding.
"It's not a puppy!"
A minute later Nao's S.U.V pulled into the driveway of Shizuru's estate.
Walking past the still speechless couple standing at the front door, (with one half of the couple standing comfortably in her 'Ara' pose and the other still pointing), Nao took a quick look at the pram, then threw a smirk over her shoulder.
"Baby?, wow you guys move fast," she said simply. "Blink and you'll miss maternity…"
"Hey its not mine!," Natsuki called after her.
"Don't worry Natsuki, I'm sure Shizuru is very sorry and that you'll both manage to talk this one through," Tomoe said as she followed Nao into the house.
But at Shizuru's look, she gave the newlywed couple a sheepish smile and added…
"Sorry, learning bad habits from you know who..."
"So Natsuki, what's his name?," the red head in question asked as soon as the four adults and one adorable baby were comfortably situated in Shizuru's favorite lounge.
"Uh…," Natsuki started. 'Geez, I don't even know this kids name,' she thought.
The three other young women in the room raised eyebrows at her before the one with a spitfire mouth let out a laugh.
"You don't even know his name?," Nao asked, wiping tears from her eyes. "Geez, what was Mai thinking?"
Tomoe leant closer to the baby and held out a hand to stroke his head.
"Are you sure he's even a he?"
"Of course I am!," Natsuki replied after shooting Nao her 'shut up and die' look. "Mai said 'thank you for taking care of 'him.' So yes, I'm sure he's a he."
"But you didn't even ask his name?," Nao continued to ask as she poked her cousin, self preservation skills still somewhere between 'gone' and 'never actually existed.'
Natsuki blushed and mumbled something incoherent.
"What was that?," Nao asked… risking her life by leaning even closer.
"Dogs wear tags ok?! I expected a puppy! A puppy who would have been wearing a tag!"
"Oh my God! You didn't even know you'd have to look after a kid? That's insane! … and also very… no I give up, its just mostly insane," said Nao threw her head back and let loose another laugh.
Tomoe and Shizuru winced before deciding to wander out of the room to go make tea, with the older of the two somewhat glad Natsuki hadn't had a chance to move in any of her weaponry yet.
Meanwhile at a train station…
Tate and Mai were waiting for their next train.
"Hey, its alright to leave your friend's baby with Natsuki right?," Tate asked, already a little worried.
Out of the two Kuga siblings it seemed the elder of the two was graced with mothering skills.
"Uh huh, Shizuru's there. I'm sure they'll be fine playing happy families just for the day," Mai said, answering the question nonchalantly as she flicked the page of her magazine over.
"Well yeah… but Nao would be there too wouldn't she?," Tate asked pointedly, waiting for Mai to click as to how potentially dangerous the situation was.
He wasn't sure the baby had enough built in immunity for dealing with the raw insanity that was Nao. Plus, God only knew that many other odd people were in the habit of dropping in on the newly married couple for no apparent reason.
Mai turned to Tate and the young man saw a tell-tale twitch develop in her right eye.
"I don't suppose we have time to turn back now?," she asked.
About half a meter away sat a smiling Mikoto. The chances of finding any 'Ninas' and 'Arikas' at their family reunion was slim to none. For that she was more than thankful but… she did feel a little sorry for the baby.
Back in casa de Fujino…
When they were finished in the kitchen and were about to walk back into the lounge, Shizuru and Tomoe both stopped and stared at the sight of their significant others.
Nao and Natsuki were both in deep concentration as they stared down at the smiling baby, both speaking in baby talk in order to keep him happy.
Are they even speaking in... you know… human?," Tomoe asked Shizuru in a whisper.
"I'm not really sure how to answer you… but the baby seems to be having no problems understanding them."
"Should we be worried?"
"Maybe. But Natsuki looks so cute I'd much rather be busy taking photos."
"Suuure," Tomoe said with a knowing look. "You'd rather be busy "taking photos."
"Tomoe!," Shizuru said. "Please don't unnecessarily add winks and nudges to the innocent things I say."
"Right, the "innocent" things you say," the green haired girl said with another 'learnt from Nao' smirk.
Oblivious to the playful banter the relatives were enjoying just outside of the room, Nao was struck by a spontaneous urge to stroke the baby's head and reached a hand out to him…
…only to have it smacked away by Natsuki.
"Hey! What was that for? I was only going to introduce myself."
"It's best not to touch him Nao. Honestly I can't have two of you running around. Can you imagine that? Two idiots. It would be the end of me… just after I've made sure it was the end of you."
"Always have to add that death threat on the end huh Natsuki? And yes of course…me touching the kid will turn him into an absolutely awesome and unbelievably cool Nao-clone. You should be thankful. At least he'd be more cool and less all… trigger happy."
Natsuki rolled her eyes.
"I am not trigger happy," she said. "I am a gun enthusiast."
"Geez, just lemme hold the baby!," Nao replied impatiently.
"Fine fine, here I'll carry him and then you can introduce yourself. That way he'll at least know what normal is because he's got me holding him.
Natsuki then proceeded to cradle the baby in her arms as he took hold of both Nao's pointing fingers.
"Aww! He's so cute!," the redhead crooned. "Aren't you cute? Yes you are! And I'm the coolest cousin aren't I? Yes I am!"
"I hope he pukes on you," Natsuki mumbled.
Natsuki's puke comment aside, Shizuru and Tomoe smiled at each other as they both tried not to 'aww' audibly at their lovers, lest they be caught spying.
Unfortunately, interruption came by way of extended family…
"Fujino, are you in here?," Haruka called as she searched.
"Oh there you are," she said when she found the two looking into the lounge. "Yukino and I just decided to drop by and… hey what are you two watching? Whatever it is, leave it alone and pay attention to me instead!"
Poking her head around the corner and into the bedroom to see what Shizuru and Tomoe were so happily immersed in, Haruka quickly found herself screaming in mild panic.
"Oh my God who gave those two idiots an infant?! Shizuru make them give the child back immediately! Preferably before someone calls the police!"
At the sound of Haruka's voice Natsuki and Nao straightened themselves up and tried to look as non-cute as possible.
"Why isn't any one listening to me?!," the blonde asked impatiently. "Is it too late? Have the police already been called? … Yukino, quickly! We should leave."
"Relax Haruka," Nao said with an eye roll. "Don't go popping a vein or anything… we're just baby sitting. Right Natsuki?"
"What? No way Nao! You're baby-sitting. I was just watching," Natsuki replied impudently before passing the baby over to her red headed cousin and wandering over to Shizuru.
"Hey! Don't run away you idiot!," Nao said as the baby attached his small hand to her nose.
"Yes don't leave the boy alone with Nao!," Haruka said. "That's how teenagers like Nina get raised! Too much oddness being fed into the brain at a young age!"
"Hey, I resent that you know," Nina said as she walked in, followed of course by Arika."
"Oh yeah, Fujino I forgot to tell you we brought those two along," Haruka said.
"We found them walking home from school together," Yukino added with a smile.
"Is that right?," Nao asked, her eyes glittering with mischief. "The last time I checked your High Schools were no where near each other…"
"We were not!," Nina argued. "She was chasing after me and I was trying to run away!"
"Sure, sure Nina," Haruka said with a smirk. "And that completely explains why we caught you two holding hands!"
"I was worried she'd get lost! She's an idiot you know!"
Nao laughed out loud at Nina's failed attempt at an excuse.
"That's too pathetic a thing to say, even for you Nina. Listen to yourself… you're not making sense at all! Besides, the fact that you're carrying her books for her is a dead giveaway. You're just as big a sap as Natsuki over here. I think your best bet is to just give up, turn red and marry the Fujino."
'Hey, what's that supposed to mean?,' Natsuki wondered as she half listened to the conversation.
Nina smirked, causing Nao to look confused.
'Damn, did that insult go wrong somewhere down the line?,' the red head asked herself.
"Whatever idiot," the 'young Natsuki' said. "I'm not the one carrying the kid."
"Hey! He's Natsuki's, not mine!"
"Uh huh, that's why his hand is attached to your nose and also why Tomoe is taking pictures of him in your arms…"
"Sorry… you two just look so cute together," the green haired girl said sheepishly.
Ignoring Tomoe's ooh-ing and ah-ing over her girlfriend, Nina walked over to say hello youngest in the room.
"So does this baby have a back story?," she asked, the question being primarily directed at Natsuki.
The baby then grabbed at her nose while still keeping a hold of Nao's.
"Yeah, who's kid is he then?," Nao asked her cousin.
Natsuki just shrugged.
"How long is he staying for?"
Again, another shrug.
"Natsuki, what the hell do you know about him?"
"Umm… Mai gave him to me?"
"Mai gave you what?," Chie asked as she walked in with Aoi and oddly enough Reito in tow.
"Holy crap, you guys have a kid now?," Aoi asked. "How'd you manage that?"
"Isn't it a bit early? We only just got back from the honeymoon…"
"Must have been quite the honeymoon for them huh?," Nao said, feeling the intense need to place herself in Natsuki's line of kaboom.
Reito remained silent as he tried to answer the questions in a logical manner in his own head... trying to keep as silent as possible lest saying the wrong thing lead in unnecessary injury.
Finding that he couldn't actually come up with anything, he just smiled and continued looking like a polished gentleman. He was good at that.
Meanwhile at the Tokiha family reunion…
"Ok, you ready?," Mai asked Tate before knocking on the door.
"How can I not be?," he replied with a confident smile.
'That's true,' Mikoto thought. 'How could you not be fine? You survive your friends and family easily enough, and that's like… basic training in psycho.'
"Hey Mikoto! Quit daydreaming!," Mai said, "And please make sure to say lots of nice stuff about Tate ok?"
"Sure," Mikoto replied simply. "I'll just describe him as someone who is the opposite of Arika."
"Uh, never mind… look food!," the younger girl replied before making a hasty exit.
While perusing the extensive food spread (it was a Tokiha reunion after all), safe in the knowledge that no stray Kuga's and Fujino's were about to show up and cause havoc, Mikoto was greeted by the smiling face of her favorite cousin.
This girl was Mikoto's favorite for two reasons, one because they were the same age and the other… because she restored Mikoto's wavering belief that there actually were some normal teenaged girls in the world.
"You're around food so… shall I wait until later to give you a hug?," the young blonde asked with a smile.
Mikoto answered her with a laugh.
"Fine Erstin, one hug should be fine. Just make sure an odd photograph doesn't end up anywhere weird. I swear, teaching our parents the meaning of the word 'blog' was a terrible, terrible mistake."
"Agreed!," her cousin replied before reaching over and pulling Mikoto into a warm hug as promised.
When they broke apart, the two girls found themselves smiling in the direction of Mai and the now nervous young man she had on her arm.
"I see your sister has brought someone," Erstin said with a smile as she looked out at her older cousin and the now nervous young man attached to her arm.
"Yeah, Tate Kuga. He's a good guy," Mikoto said, in between sampling her favorite family dishes. "Actually, its pretty lucky he's an actual guy. Most of Mai's friends like to date girls."
"Is that right?," Erstin asked while wearing a look on her face that Mikoto couldn't quite read.
"Uh huh. Except for Natsuki of course… she went and married hers," she replied.
Then, while pausing with a thoughtful look on her face she added; "Actually hold on…"
"What is it?," Erstin asked.
"About the guy thing, I could be wrong. Tate is… kind of a girl too."
"Yeah, I know. It's all just a little wacky."
"Sounds like it," her cousin agreed.
"And you weren't even at the wedding…"
"The Kuga, Fujino? I heard from Mai earlier that you all went along to the honeymoon as well."
Mikoto nearly choked on the latest food product that had just entered her mouth.
"Sorry Ers, but that's no really something I can talk about yet."
"Maybe," Mikoto agreed. "But most likely never…"
The blonde gave a small laugh at the disturbed expression Mikoto was now wearing.
"It was a little difficult for you then?"
"Let's just call me traumatized and leave it at that…"
Since it was already after dinner and Shizuru and Natsuki's "guests" were still showing no sign of leaving any time soon, the couple sent them all off to pick a room to settle in for the night.
Shizuru herself wandered off into the kitchen again to thank the staff for the way they easily handled the cell-like growth of the number of people that stayed for dinner. As was becoming a common occurrence… the number was ten times more than was originally expected.
This of course left Natsuki alone… except not quite.
Still in the lounge, the raven haired young woman was lying on her stomach as the baby was tangling his hands in her hair. Sighing, she removed one of his hands only to have it wrapped around her finger.
"I really wish I knew your name little guy… sorry I forgot to ask Mai."
The baby… being a baby, couldn't really say anything so he just blew spit bubbles and smiled at his baby sitter.
"Geez," Natsuki said as she dabbed at his mouth. "I remember when Nao used to do that just to annoy me… of course its no surprise really, she just did it a couple of weeks ago… hey wait a minute. You are kind of like Nao! You're messy, and you make other people say odd things about me… and yet its comforting to be around you."
Kissing the baby's head before lightly tapping his nose and giving a very uncharacteristic giggle, Natsuki came up with the perfect idea…
"You're like Nao so… I shall name you… son of Nao!," she said as she picked up the recently nicknamed baby, lay on her back and lifted him into the air.
"Ah, you're so cute… when you grow up I bet all the girls will be after you! Oddly enough, you're kinda like Nao in that respect too. But when you date them, please don't constantly forget their names… or even worse, tell them yours is 'Natsuki' because you think its funny and you're trying to get me in trouble. That would be too Nao-like."
Natsuki then put the baby down gently back onto the carpet and watched as he went straight for a remote control.
"Shizuru! You have to see this, the baby's being cute!," she said, hoping her voice would carry to wherever Shizuru was at the time. "He keeps putting odd things in his mouth and he's flashing this 'I'm innocent' look at me!"
At the lack of reply, Natsuki called again…
"Heey Shizuru! Come see! This baby is like a smaller version of Nao!"
"Natsuki sweetie are you teaching the baby odd things?," Shizuru asked as she walked into the room.
"Of course not wife of mine, in fact I'm trying to teach him to only keep the traits of Nao that I like."
"Traits of Nao?"
"Of course! He is after all, son of Nao."
"What? No he isn't…," said a tired voice.
"Ah, Mai's back!," Natsuki proclaimed, but made no move to return her new friend. "With my brother… who has lipstick all over him… back to Mai, who isn't wearing any lipstick…"
"Yeah, let's just say Tate was a hit with all my 'aunt-aged' relatives," Mai said with an amused expression. "I think some of them gave him phone numbers… And hey what's this about Nao having a baby?"
"Oh yeah, that's his new name. Son of Nao."
"Riight, well I'm too tired to argue so is it ok for us to stay here tonight?," Mai asked while trying to keep the 'weirded out' look from off her face.
"Sure," Natsuki replied. "I don't suppose you people have an actual reason though?"
"Not a one," her brother conceded.
Shizuru laughed and pointed in the general direction of the corridor.
"Pick a room any room," she said.
"Actually… could we maybe pick two?," Mai asked.
"You're fighting?," Shizuru asked.
"Tate you idiot!," Natsuki began mockingly. "You didn't get too friendly with one of the aunts did you?"
"Shut up Natsuki! What are you, Nao?"
"Actually no Natsuki… we've brought two more along with us," Mai answered as she tried to stop the sibling fight from escalating to poked out tongues and growling. After all Natsuki never really resorted to actual violence with Tate… she hated it when he cried.
Just outside the front door…
"Now remember what I told you," Mikoto began. "Seriously Erstin, you're my cousin and I care about you so listen to my warnings ok? Coming back with us was dangerous and it may actually result in death… possibly through suicide. There are two main reasons I say this… one is called 'Arika' and the other 'Haruka'."
"Geez Mikoto I'm only here to see the city, not to cause any trouble…"
"You're not listening to me!," said Mikoto as she placed her forehead on Erstin's. "You don't need to go causing trouble on your own! There are many people here who will do that for you!"
"A little harsh don't you think?," Nina asked smiling as she leaned on the door frame.
"Nina! Hey!," Mikoto said as she craned her head to try and see behind the girl.
"Relax, Arika's in the shower right now… hence the attempt at hiding from her."
Mikoto nodded and visibly did as Nina suggested.
"Good to hear, I'm a little tired as it is… anyway I should really introduce to my cousin Er… umm Ers? Why are you blushing?"
"Huh? Oh… I," Erstin stammered as she stole a quick look at the new person in front of her.
"I'm Nina," the slightly older girl as she held out a hand.
"Oh I'm… I'm…"
"Erstin?," Mikoto offered helpfully.
"Yes! That's right… I'm Erstin," the young blonde said as she took the offered hand.
"Pleased to meet you," Nina replied, with a charming smile.
"Yes well more meeting and much less flirting thank you very much!," Arika said, causing the other three to jump.
"Geez Arika! Don't freak people out like that!," Nina said. "Since when were you standing there?"
"Since the flirting!"
"What flirting? There was no flirting!"
"I… we weren't… I mean she wasn't… but I wasn't either!"
Mikoto placed a hand on Erstin's shoulder to calm the girl and indicated with her expression and a shrug that the unexplainable 'Arika, Nina battle' was a common occurrence.
"Look Arika, how many times do we have to say it? We weren't flirting."
"You two are still holding hands!"
Erstin and Mikoto looked down and found that the fact was indeed true.
"Oh geez," the latter said.
The former just blushed even harder.
Walking over to prove her point… and to stop any more hand holding taking place, Arika made to stand between Nina and Erstin.
Unfortunately… she was an anomaly of the Fujino line as she failed to inherit any in built grace, style… or common sense and found herself once again tripping over her own feet and landing directly on top of…
"Oh my God! Arika get off my cousin!"
"You have got to be kidding me!," Nina said as she tried not to look.
"Get off, get off, get off!," Mikoto continued. "Arika! What are you still doing on top of her? It's like you only have fast reflexes when you're falling and we both know that's not right!"
From a window nearby, Nao, Natsuki and son of Nao were watching the scene. Half amused and half worried for their younger cousin, Nao said with a grin:
"Ah young love, what a serious pain in the ass."
Natsuki, holding the baby, nodded slowly.
"Nina's gonna learn that little lesson soon enough I think," she replied.
"She's really a hit with the girls huh?," Nao continued. "It's because she has our genes of course."
Natsuki nodded again before putting on her thoughtful expression and sharing the new thoughts with her cousin.
"Hey… Nina's a little screwed isn't she?"
"So screwed," Nao agreed.
"Who's screwed?," Tomoe asked from her bedroom, her tone both amused and a little annoyed at the same time.
"Not me!!," Shizuru answered from hers, laughter in her voice.
The Kuga cousins shrugged and grinned at each other before making to get up and wander into their respective rooms where gorgeous girls awaited them.
A second before either of them reached their respective destinations however, a huffing Haruka ran in to collect the baby from Natsuki's arms before walking back to her room.
"Honestly," the blonde mumbled. "What the hell was I thinking leaving a baby with couples perpetually in the honey moon mind frame? Ridiculous."
Reaching her bed room, Natsuki smiled at the young woman in the bed before getting in herself. Leaning in to give Shizuru a kiss, Natsuki then settled in and pulled the young woman closer to her.
"Tough day puppy?," Shizuru asked as Natsuki stroked her hair.
"Yeah… but for some odd reason I kinda wish every day could be this tough."
Just before fading into sleep, Natsuki had just one more thought for her wife…
"Is it just me, or have all our extended family taken to living with us?"
Shizuru stifled a yawn before snuggling in closer.
"It's not you," she replied. "… But I don't mind one bit…"
AN: Apologies to everyone! I tried to get it out by last night but obviously… I failed. Hope you guys enjoyed this chapter! And yes lol, son of Nao's background will be explained. Thanks for reading and I hope to catch you again soon!