Space for a Generation: Chapter Two
Only two days out from the rendezvous with unit ten Kakashi had begun refusing to leave his quarters for anything other than a fatality. There were ten more day of travel before the reached Red Wave station, but Sasuke and Naruto were more concerned about whose territory was where rather than what territory they were flying through at the moment. Kakashi had locked away all the registered weapons and even some possible ones after Sasuke's overactive suspicions got the boy nearly killed when he attempted to attack an unfamiliar figure in a dark corridor. Naruto had quickly reminded him whose engine room his barely woken blood-brain was walking into. The resulting fight had Sakura patching them both up while Kakashi decided that even though they were standard issue, neither firing weapons nor bladed ones would be needed on either of the boys until they were docked.
Even though the two boys refused to get along, Sakura had come to terms with her new teammate, and even found a decent sparring partner in him. The first time she had dodged Naruto's overactive claws had her grinning as they began a no-holds barred fight. Sasuke and Kakashi had sat to the side and watched as she was finally able to use the strength she'd inherited from her homeworld against an opponent quick enough to dodge until Naruto realized the damage she could possibly do to his ship. From then on he had done his best to block and attack instead of dodge and attack as his instincts led him to do. The Bijan was slowly learning the basics of fighting even as he used amazing tactics to pull a win just before Sakura slammed him into defeat.
Kakashi was proud of them, but continued to avoid his team as they began to flourish in small but important ways. By the time they reached the halfway mark in their journey to Red Wave Space Station the three genins had reached an agreement of sorts. Kakashi had stumbled over the final confrontation that had paved the way to an understanding. Sasuke had finally convinced the Bijan that he didn't have a problem with his tail; one of their louder arguments. Sharingan eyes could be quirky in what they were drawn to, and constantly moving dark tipped appendages seemed to be their current favorite. Kakashi would remember that conversation until the day he died...
"Look, it's not something I can control just yet. It's my eyes," the dark haired boy had explained while pinning the growling blond to the wall. "I'm an Uchiha, our eyes see things in the past and your tail just keeps waving around like a great big peacock fan behind you."
Naruto had stopped squirming at that point with a face full of curiosity. "They do what?"
Sasuke had stepped back when he realized his opponent wasn't fighting anymore. He pointed to his eyes as he began their change. Slowly two dark spots began swirling in his blood red iris. "They're called Sharingan eyes. Those two dots act like extra pupils only they see things that have already happened, not what's currently happening. They catch every single bit of movement that is happening and has happened and your tail is constantly moving. Of course I'm going to automatically look at it!"
Naruto grabbed his furry appendage and looked at it with a serious gaze. "So, you really can't help looking at it?" Sasuke shook his head. "You don't think it's weird?" Again Sasuke shook his head. The Bijan sidled away a few steps and peered hesitantly at Sasuke's still spinning eyes. "You can see the past?"
Before his genin could explain Kakashi had butted in with what he knew would be learning experience for the newest member of his team. "Only up to a certain point," he said. "The Sharingan allows its users to see farther into the past with each tomoe that develops. If you look closely you can see that Sasuke has three total, one in his left eye and two in his right. At this stage he can see past actions, but only if that person is standing right in front of him and only for a short period of time past. Then he sees the movements like a recorded memory all happening in the same space you're currently standing in."
Naruto had only blinked in obvious confusion until Sakura had given him the explanation he needed. "It's like a light trail, Naruto," she explained. Both his eyes and his ears perked up as she continued. "You've seen light trails of fast moving objects, yes?" He nodded. "Well," she waved her hand in front of her quickly. "Sasuke can see past movements like a light trail behind whatever he's watching."
Finally the blond nodded in understanding. "So you're not even staring at my tail because it's well groomed; you're just staring because you keep seeing it flip around all over the place and time?"
"Right now you look like you have nine different tails sticking out from behind you," Sasuke explained huffily. "You look ridiculous." The fight had started again after that, but Naruto seemed to pounce with a lighter heart than before now that he understood his teammate a bit more.
Peace didn't reign over the ship after that, but it was a bit quieter. Naruto proved true to his word from when they first met. He would occasionally interrupt Kakashi's reclusion to bring in specs and information on Kyuubi that he had decided his Captain needed to be aware of. The Jounin was looking forward to finishing this mission and getting into some clear space to give his new bird a workout. Not only was she an amazing piece of engineering, but she had two detachable fighters and enough ammunition in a protected hold to end a small war.
Both Sakura and Sasuke easily took to the newer style of the navigation boards and had been grudgingly offered a bit of Naruto's respect as he watched them control his ship with ease. He had even done some customizations to Sakura's board after they had a lengthy conversation over key placements and intelligent s-chips.
Sasuke had asked for and received the manual for the fighters and gained a promise from Kakashi to test them out as soon as this mission was done. It was only a mid-level, and hostile activities were not expected even though stealth was. The fighters were flashy little birds, but not stealthy at all with their bold colors and bright engines that gave them their amazing maneuverability.
They were all easily working together only a few days after the confrontation as they docked and made their way onto the station. The Commander of Red Wave Station grinned when they arrived on his bridge and escorted them all into his office with a wave of his hand. "You're finally here," he said in a whistly voice. "We've been so worried, and every day that passes brings new ones. Our friend, Umino needs to be found as quickly as possible now."
"Are there any more details about him that we should know," Kakashi asked. "The report wasn't very informative."
"Well, he's the kindest of gentlemen," the Commander started. "A sweeter boy I've never known. He started working here while very young, came aboard with a merchant ship and decided to stay if I recall. He started working in navigation then moved to weapons then engineering. The boy's able to do near about anything he puts his mind to, but he settled down in our civilian services department as a teacher. The young kids were just enamored of him and, well, when things started changing and the parents thought they wouldn't understand; those kids took it all in stride. They're a good bunch, our newest crop. We've got several shipping out to Main Wave Station for the college there."
"When things started changing," Kakashi questioned. "What changed?"
The Commander pursed his lips then smiled wide. "Our young man had a bouncing little boy, he did. Cutest little tyke I've seen this side of Sol and smart to boot. Why, he was he crawling before he was three months old, and stealing little sausages out of our pockets just a bit afterwards. Sneaky little guy, but he loved those tiny spiced sausages. They're a specialty here at our station; the head chef of the Supply Department makes them from scratch. We all started carrying them around, and that little feller got to be quite a chunk." He chuckled shortly before continuing.
"Then Umino received a letter from home, or that's what he said, and took off with the little guy. We expected him back after eight months, but it's been a year now and we're all worried. We sent over a request as soon as we could afford it. Umino is not the type to desert his post." The Commander stood and took a few nervous steps in a circle before glancing at the three silent genin quickly. "He went home to Suiror." The man said with his gaze fixed firmly on Kakashi's exposed eye.
"Ah," Kakashi said with a nod. "I see, the man is a GenR, and the child you mentioned is truly his." The Commander nodded and sat back down with a sigh.
"Good, you understand then." He was quiet for a moment then perked back up with a smile. "Will you be wanting to see his rooms? I've kept them locked since he left and some of his friends should be getting off the day shift if you want to catch them to speak to. You should have dinner in the orange cafeteria, the chef is making some old style noodle dish tonight." The Commander became distracted as his office doors slid open to admit a slim man in engineering colors, his short break now truncated the Commander quickly dismissed them. "Come back this evening," he directed the team while waving them out. "If you have any more questions, just ask for me at the bridge. My assistant, the blonde woman with red stripes, has some credit tags for your stay here."
Kakashi could only nod as they were rushed out and sent on their way into the main concourse of the station. Several flimsy pieces of plastic were slipped into his hand as he passed a woman who matched the Commander's description, but she only smiled as the door slid shut with her on the other side. He turned to see his genin watching him carefully with badly hidden amusement evident on their faces.
He offered them a hidden smile and held up the brightly colored tags. "Anyone hungry?"
Naruto had never been off Konoha station before they had sent him and Kyuubi to Cpt. Kakashi. His eyes were wandering all over the walls and faces as his team walked through the halls. Many people quickly moved out of the way for the official looking hunter unit, easily told by their uniforms. Even more stopped and stared at the impossibility of what they were seeing, an immature full blood Bijan roaming around a space station. Once he began instinctively growling, it surprised Naruto that it was Sasuke who slowed down to walk beside him as he trailed behind. The dark haired boy had easily glared at any and every one who was staring at his teammate. The crowds moved on and Kakashi smiled underneath his mask.
The team found the small apartment easily, and the search began. Sakura plugged into the small personal computer lodged into the wall and began copying files while Sasuke took a look around with his immature sharingan and finally had to shake his head. He'd been unable to see anything useful. Naruto turned out to be the most useful in the apartment with his strong sense of smell.
It was small and clean with very few personal objects scattered about. It seemed that their target had done a good job of packing until Kakashi opened up what was supposed to be a locked closet. Hastily stacked boxed full of baby toys and clothes spilled out along with piles of worksheets from various station departments. This was an apartment that Umino Iruka had intended to return to, not abandon.
"I can still smell him," Naruto loudly announced as he stood in the bathroom doorway. "He smells… nice." The Bijan continued to sniff around and started poking through the closet until he found an ancient looking picture album. He handed it over to Kakashi and waited.
Kakashi turned the pages and stiffened in slow stages with every new picture. Without a word he took another long look around the small apartment then once more with his headband raised up. His sharingan could show him past images, but the entire time his normal vision had been experiencing very heavy déjà vu, and now he knew why. The tomoes of his sharingan eye revealed someone very familiar standing next to the bed; someone naked and bathed in starlight. Kakashi grinned as the events came back to him.
"Well, this should be a fun mission."
Naruto watched him oddly as the tall man slouched out of the small apartment then jumped to follow when the door slid closed.
The map was subtly marked, strong indentations pushed into the thick paper with a blunt edge. It was too big of a risk to have an actual trail inked out. If they were captured and the map taken, it would have spelled the end for any future travelers of this road, but Genma still swore.
"Aren't we the last ones," he yelled. "Don't we deserve a map that I don't have to bend and turn and destroy my eyesight trying to read?" He threw the wildly unfolding paper as far as he could.
The tanned hands that picked it up smoothed it carefully. "You're the one who marked it," Iruka flashed dark eyes at his traveling companion. "It's not that hard, just turn it at…" Iruka looked at the map. "Maybe in this direction…" Genma decided to laugh as he watched his friend go through the very same contortions before giving up in a much grander manner.
A shout of young giggles had them both looking towards a shaking bush. A sturdy little boy came running out with a wide smile and huge leaves tied all over his body with twine. Genma continued to laugh as the small jungle covered imp attacked. It took a good while, but the forest creature was finally subdued and hoisted over Iruka's shoulder. "Dinner, Genma?"
"I dunno, he looks a bit old what with that hair. Really, Iruka, who did you sleep with to get that hair color?" Genma stood and walked over to tickle the little boy. "He looks old and stringy," he explained to babbled protests from the breathless child. "Too tough to eat without any sauce." The little boy screamed with happiness as Iruka spun him around and away from Genma.
A mysterious smile had shown up on Iruka's laughing man's face when he stopped spinning and faced his friend. "You wouldn't believe me if I told you, but he really wasn't old."
"But he was definitely hot, yes?" Genma raised his hands to take the child from Iruka's shoulders. "A night to remember?"
"Haven't forgotten it yet," Iruka said smugly then sighed. "I don't think I'd ever be able to forget that night. It's what gave me my little heart." He looked to the boy now in Genma's arms. "Isn't that right, little bird?" The answering grin was wide and slightly crooked, but almost heartbreakingly familiar. Iruka grabbed up his son again and threw him into the air. "Come on, both of you, it's time to fly!"
To Be Continued…
A/N: You know that really wrong thing to do when you write a scene then write another scene then another and another and you don't just write a chapter straight out, but then you have to go through and connect all those scenes and change tenses because you're hideous at that and not to mention your spelling and grammar (thankyouspellandgramarcheck XD) Yeeeah.. this chapter got stuck there… enjoy it.