(A/N; Ok, so 'the ayes have it', but anyone who liked the ending as it was and didn't want an epilogue, can simply ignore this entirely and pretend that I never wrote it.)
Sasuke wandered aimlessly about the large playground behind the big brick building. Children of all different shapes and sizes ran to and fro from the swings to the jungle gym. Enough of them that he felt overwhelmed by it all. Some of them shrieked with laughter while some just shrieked. They mainly ignored his presence, though some turned to give him interested glances as they raced past or circled around him.
He tried to pay attention to all of them as he slowly made his way through the yard, observing the different groups and behaviours. There were the ones who hogged the balls and the ones who stood uncertainly on the sidelines. There were those who teased or bossed around the others, the ones who seemed to burst into tears at the drop of a hat, and a couple who seemed to scream out the words,' I'm telling', very often. As the oldest of them were around ten or eleven, the girls kept mainly to themselves on one section of the playground, only a certain few venturing out to play with the rougher boys.
As Sasuke was keeping an eye off to the side while he more or less followed the fence-line. He didn't notice anything in front of him and almost tripped on a particularly short little fellow. He managed to catch himself and looked down at his little 'road-block'. A small boy, well coated with a layer of dust and dirt and awkwardly holding an equally dirty yellow bulldozer, looked back up at him and flashed a smile that squinted his huge blue eyes.
"Hi!" he said with childish over-enthusiasm, and Sasuke couldn't help but smile back. Those eyes reminded him of someone else's.
"Hello," he answered more quietly.
"I'm Reiji," the little boy announced importantly. "Who are you?"
"My name is Sasuke."
"Hi Sas'ke. Look! I got a 'chine!" he said, holding up his bulldozer as high as his little arms could manage.
"Oh, a machine huh?"
"Yeah! You wanna play?"
"How old are you Reiji?" Sasuke asked.
"I'm three." He shifted the big truck even more awkwardly under one arm and struggled to get three fingers to stick up while holding the pinky down, only half successfully. Sasuke chuckled covertly at his efforts, and the tip of his tongue that poked out while he frowned in concentration.
Naruto walked into the large, brightly colored room and looked around with wide eyes. It was almost surreal to see so many babies and toddlers in one place. He stood there by the door taking a sweeping look around the whole room and noting each child's position and activity. It took a second look, to spot one little blond tyke in overalls, standing on tiptoes and clinging to the window ledge with his tiny nose pressed to the glass. Intrigued, Naruto picked his way through all the plushies and blocks that littered the carpeted floor to see what had caught his eye out there.
He knelt down at the window beside the quiet little guy and took a look outside. The window looked out over the side yard and there were no children playing there as Naruto had expected. In fact there was nothing happening or even moving out there at all. He looked over a the boy, who didn't look like he could even be two yet, but the child seemed quite fixated on the view of grass and a single tree surrounded by a tall hedge. Naruto shrugged.
"Well I guess it is a really nice day out there. Not a cloud in the sky," he said. "Do you want to go outside little guy?" At that, the chibi turned his head to face him, his blue eyes looking rather hopeful as he began to babble in an obvious attempt to answer the question. "I'll take that as a yes," Naruto said with a grin. "Can't say that I blame you. Wait here." The tiny child watched him thoughtfully for a moment as he left, before turning back to stare longingly out the window again. Naruto went back over to the door and spoke quietly with the kindly looking lady who stood there, watching over the brood, then came right back.
"Ok! Let's go outside!" he cheered, ruffling child's blond hair.
"Yah!" the kid said happily as he turned and lifted up his chubby little arms, wiggling his fingers in a silent demand to be picked up. Naruto's heart just about melted to his toes.
"Oooh, you're a smart one aren't you," he exclaimed, swinging the tiny boy up into his arms. The toddler's eyes sharply took in everything around them as he was carried to the side exit of the building. His feathery hair was so light that it flew about in little tufts with every movement of his head. Naruto marveled at the silent nature of the child in his arms. The way his eyes lit up with a smile was the only indication of his joy when they reached the yard, as he otherwise rode along quietly. He set the child down and watched him toddle about the grass, stopping now and then to squat down and take a closer look at something or other on the ground. Naruto sat down under the lone tree and the little boy looked over at him before stooping to pick up a pebble. Holding it gingerly in his little fingers, he ran over to him and held his prize up to him for inspection. Then he, very carefully, sat in Naruto's lap and looked at his pebble, beginning to babble on quietly, pointing to it now and then and looking up to see if his escort was listening. Naruto listened to the, apparently very serious and in depth, story about the stone with a huge grin on his face. Finally, he couldn't stand it any more and squeezed the little creature, who placidly allowed it.
"God! I could just 'eat you'!" he squealed. It was around that moment that he he caught a movement out of the corner of his eye and looked up to see Sasuke meandering slowly around the corner of the building. Realizing right away that his husband wasn't alone, he curiously looked over the small boy, who looked like he'd just rolled in a pile of dirt, that was walking beside Sasuke, dragging a toy bulldozer half his own size and seemed to be talking a mile a minute. The kid had brown hair and blue eyes so huge and bright that the sparkle of them was clearly visible even at this distance. He had an excited bounce to his step and had to pause every few seconds to hitch up his over-sized jeans. He and Sasuke seemed to be quite absorbed in each other because they hadn't even noticed their audience yet.
"You like to dig too?!" The boy was saying when he came within hearing range.
"I'm an archaeologist," Sasuke answered. The kid screwed up his face in confusion and Sasuke gave him a little smile. "That means I dig in the dirt for a living," he clarified, and the boy grinned hugely.
"Really?!" Suddenly the kid noticed the blond pair under the tree and he let out a whoop. "Shinta!" he shrieked and dropped the bulldozer without a thought, running toward them full tilt. Naruto's eyes widened in surprised when the speeding ball of dirt hauled up short, just before them and leaned over to gently hug the baby on his lap.
"Hi 'eiji," the tiny blond greeted quietly. He solemnly, patted the bigger boy on the back with one hand, the other still carefully holding his pebble.
"Naruto," Sasuke called as he followed along behind the boy. "Who have you got there?"
"Shinta, apparently," Naruto answered uncertainly.
"Yeah, that's Shinta," the little brunet confirmed with a nod. "He's a baby."
"I see," said Sasuke, his lips quirking with restrained humour.
"Ah, you've found both brothers, have you?" came a voice from the side. All of them looked over to see the director herself, coming toward them from the side door.
"They're brother's?" asked Sasuke, somewhat surprised.
"Yes. Miyamoto Reiji and Shinta," she replied, then dropped her voice to a murmur. "Both of their parents were lost in an accident. They've been here about five months. Thankfully they're both young enough to bounce back with minimal difficulty."
"Oh, they're brother's!" Naruto was squealing, watching joyously as Reiji grabbed his little brother's hands and started playing pat-a-cake with them.
"I'm the 'big' brother," he told Naruto proudly. Naruto laughed and both boys giggled along, though they likely didn't know what was so funny.
"I want them both!" Naruto looked up at Sasuke with big pleading blue eyes and two other sets of blue eyes blinked up alongside him. "Sasuke? Can we have two? Please!"
"Everyone's so excited to see you," Naruto was chattering to the kids as they all rode along in the limo.
"I can't imagine that there's anyone more excited than you Naruto," Sasuke commented with a smirk. Naruto stuck his tongue out at him, causing Reiji to burst into giggles and Shinta to copy the action. It was probably true though, he thought to himself. His chest felt like it might burst at the very idea of bringing their children home. He couldn't wait to show them around and show them off.
"Now look what you're teaching them," Sasuke teased, gesturing to Shinta, who was poking his little tongue out repeatedly now.
"Oh never mind that," Naruto huffed. "Your new grandma is going to love you two to death! And Cousin Takara can't 'wait' to meet you. He's nine, but he loves little kids like you. And there's Grandpa Fugaku and Grandpa Arashi and Uncle Itachi and Uncle Neji too!"
"I've never had any grammies and grampies and uncles and stuff."
"Well that's ok, because you're about to get the best ones ever," Naruto declared, leaning over to give Reiji a hug. "Oh Sasuke! Turn that up. It's my newest song!" Sasuke smiled as the blond sang along softly with the music on the radio, and assured him when it was over, that it was one of his best works to date. "Isn't Haku amazing? I just love his voice so much. It's absolutely perfect." Sasuke nodded, knowing that he didn't really need to answer. Naruto had spoken those words every time a new song was released, for years now. Personally Sasuke preferred his husband's own voice to any other, but Haku was very good and extremely popular and he had to be grateful to him for helping Naruto achieve his dream. The Gods had surely been smiling upon them when they had met that day in Moon Country. It had blossomed into the perfect partnership.
The car slowed down and both children looked avidly out at the huge house as they crawled up the long driveway. They came to a halt before the main entrance and a moment later, the door was opened for them by the chauffeur.
"Thank you Lee," said a Naruto as he got out of the car, turning to help Reiji out behind him. "Impeccable job, as always."
"Oh, thank 'you' Uzumaki sama! It is my honour to serve you! And your family! he added with a smile that could blind people. Reiji smiled back and mirrored the man's thumbs up perfectly, bringing tears to Lee's eyes while he began to ramble on about how wonderful it was to have such youthfulness in the home.
Sasuke got out of the car with little Shinta in his arms and shook his head, heaving a sigh as he wondered yet again, how Naruto had managed to convince him to employ this nut-job. Oh well, at least the guy was a hard worker. He shifted the toddler in his arms to the side and followed the bouncing Naruto and Reiji, marveling as Naruto had before, at the way he calmly allowed himself to be passed around and carried along, just taking everything in.
"It's nice to know that at least 'one' other member of the family will be well-behaved," he whispered to Shinta, smiling when the child just looked at him curiously. He pondered over the fact that Naruto had immediately gravitated to this quiet, studious little fellow, and he himself had found a kid that... well, acted a lot like Naruto. They were awfully cute together though. His eyes softened fondly as he watched Naruto excitedly telling the little boy all about his new home, making Reiji more and more excited and hyper every second.
Naruto considerately kept the tour short, showing the kids only the rooms that were most important in their day to day living, so as not to overwhelm or confuse them too much with the size of the place. They visited the dining room and living room, the backyard with the pool that Naruto had already had fenced off, and ended the trip with the huge playroom that connected Reiji and Shinta's individual bedrooms.
"We didn't know if you'd rather have your own room or share with Shinta," he explained to Reiji. "If you want, we could move things around so that he stays with you." Reiji didn't respond as he looked around his room in awe and then looked through the side door to the playroom.
"TOYS!!" he finally squealed and ran off to explore the boxes and shelves and cupboards filled with toys. Naruto had admittedly gotten a little over enthusiastic when it came to stocking the playroom.
"Well, I guess we're going to have to wait until bedtime to get a real answer," Sasuke concluded, setting Shinta down and letting him toddle after his brother. The little blond headed straight for a plush rocking horse and pet it's nose before throwing his arms around it's neck in a loving hug.
"Made a new friend, huh?" Naruto chuckled. He picked the toddler up, setting him on the horse's back and held him carefully in place as he rocked him back and forth.
The two new parents let the children spend the day getting used to their new surroundings in peace. When supper time rolled around though, there would be no holding back the onslaught of family any longer. Nearly everyone showed up dutifully early for the meal, eager to meet the new additions. Only Itachi hadn't been able to rush over as he was stuck at the office a little later than he would have liked.
"Where are my grandsons?!" Mikoto's voice rang out as soon as she and Fugaku entered.
"Nice to see you too Mother," Sasuke smirked.
"Oh you know I love to see you Darling. It's just so exciting! Oh 'there' they are!" She zeroed right in on the children as Naruto ushered them into the room. "Hello sweetheart," she cooed to Reiji, who walked right up to her with a face splitting grin and not the slightest hint of shyness.
"You're my new Grammy Mikoto right? I'm Reiji !" Mikoto shook his little hand, which Sasuke had already ensured was nice and clean for the occasion. He had a feeling that would be a rare state for the little boy however. "Aren't you just a little doll !" Mikoto gushed. "And who's this little man?" She turned to Shinta, who regarded her silently with a serious expression. She held out her hands and he obediently came forward and allowed her to pick him up. She cuddled him close and he just stared at the shiny pendant at her throat, touching it gently with one finger. He looked up at her suddenly and babbled something that seemed to have a questioning tone. "Oh Naruto kun, he's just precious! They both are!"
"Well thanks," Naruto giggled. "We picked them out ourselves."
Reiji had already moved on to meet his new grandfather. He didn't seem to find Fugaku even remotely intimidating, and was happily telling him all about his new room and all the toys he'd gotten to play with today. At times like this, Uchiha Fugaku seemed about as stern and threatening as a kitten. He was clearly already hooked, and Reiji was going to find himself good and spoiled by his adoring Grandpa.
A few minutes later Takara came rushing in, nearly breathless, stopping when he spotted his new cousins and getting right down on his knees to greet them. Reiji was ecstatic to meet the bigger boy, who seemed ready and willing to play with him, and a life-long reign of hero worship began at that very moment. Sasuke could see it now; years of listening to Takara this and Takara that, can we go see Takara and Takara's so cool. He contemplated getting them a set of walkie-talkies to try and head off the flow of obsessive chatter that he was predicting, as Reiji would hopefully get his fill of his cousin.
Neji, who had brought the nine year old over, followed Takara in more sedately and took the time to greet his best friend before being introduced to the children. He took an instant shine to the reserved Shinta, and agreed that Reiji was also a very sweet child in his own rambunctious way. Arashi wasn't too far behind the rest and they all sat in the living room to wait for dinner. The older Uzumaki drawing in the children's attention with his jokes and rumbling laughter.
Sasuke had allowed himself to get caught up in a conversation with Neji and his mother when Reiji suddenly showed up, tugging lightly on Mikoto's sleeve, to get her attention.
"Yes dear?" said Mikoto, turning to him with a smile.
"Grammy?" Reiji stood up on tiptoes to cup her ear and stage whispered quite obviously. "You're really pretty."
"Oh," Mikoto nearly sobbed while Neji smirked and Sasuke's eyes narrowed. "You're just the sweetest thing! I'm going to take you out for a big bowl of ice-cream tomorrow! Would you like that?" Reiji's eyes lit up but Sasuke noticed how he quickly glanced over his shoulder at someone in silent question before turning back and nodding enthusiastically. A quick look of his own confirmed it. Sai was standing off to the side, shoulders shaking slightly with his amusement. When had he gotten here? Naruto must have greeted him. Sasuke excused himself and went to talk to the man.
"What exactly are you teaching my children Sai?"
"Life skills Sasuke kun," Sai smirked.
"You were right Uncle Sai!" said an excited Reiji, as he bounded over. "I'm gonna get some ice-cream!"
"Excellent job!" Sai replied.
"Reiji, we have a rule in this house, and that rule is, never listen to a word 'Uncle Sai' says." Reiji, didn't seem to know what to make of that and Sai chuckled.
"Aww look. Now you're just confusing the poor boy." Sasuke rolled his eyes, wondering why it was that they could never seem to get rid of this guy. Not that he hadn't proven himself useful now and then, Sasuke thought, fondly remembering the Sakura scandal.
The pink princess, who apparently wasn't quite as smart as Naruto, had fallen easily for Sai's deceptive charms and had run away to elope with him, much to her parents' ire. She's been horrified when she discovered that Sai wasn't nearly as wealthy as she'd thought him to be, and that he wasn't able to keep her in the manner to which she longed to be accustomed. 'Stupid bitch', Sasuke mentally scoffed. Had she waited a little longer, she would have realized that Sai was incredibly resourceful if nothing else. Now, just a few years later, Sai had amassed quite an amazing fortune. Of course the fact that he'd played up his 'heart-break' perfectly in court and come away with half of his now ex-wife's assets, had made for an excellent stepping stone. Sakura, her money dwindling and her reputation sullied, wore a perpetually sour look these days, that never failed to brighten Sasuke's mood.
The best part was that the sensational scandal of that whole incident had rendered Itachi's divorce rather uninteresting to all the gossips of the circle. Fugaku's shock at learning that his oldest son, who'd been married for years and had a son, was actually more interested in men, was smoothed over somewhat by the lack of remark from the public. He became all the more accepting when Itachi took up with Neji, who was an excellent connection to the powerful Hyuuga clan. Fugaku was, after all, a very practical man, as was exemplified by how swiftly he forgave Sasuke's disobedience upon learning that his engagement to Naruto was back on and no hard feelings were held by the Uzumakis.
Soon enough, the meal was ready and the whole group moved into the dining room. Itachi showed up just in time, congratulating Naruto and Sasuke on the addition to their family. Mikoto, who had been helping to get the kids settled into their booster seats, took this as her cue to harass him, yet again, about marriage. She was determined to make Neji an official member of the family and hopefully get a few 'more' grandchildren out of the deal. It seemed, however, that Itachi wasn't much interested in a second marriage and the two of them were quite content with their current lifestyle.
The family stayed after supper until the children's bedtime. Even Takara was yawning as he was shepherded out the door. Mikoto kissed both children and then hugged their parents. Fugaku gave them a gruff goodnight and got a big hug from Reiji.
"That's a good boy you've got there Son," he told Sasuke. "Good, strong, stout-hearted lad. I think he'll do us all proud."
"I wouldn't be surprised Father," Sasuke answered with a subtle kind of pride.
"Well Shinta may never make much of a boxer, but I think he's going to be 'very' smart," Mikoto countered as she pulled her husband out the door. Naruto chuckled, rocking the baby in his arms, and looked over at Sasuke, who was just picking up a sleepy Reiji. They made their way up the stairs together and the children were already half asleep by the time they laid them in their beds.
"It seems we still couldn't get an answer out of him about the rooms. Ah well, this arrangement will have to do for now," Naruto whispered.
"...Well, how does it feel to be the mother of my children?" Sasuke asked after a moment's pause, his tone serious.
"It's... wait, Mother?" He blinked at Sasuke's innocent look. Sasuke was expecting a punch and a long-winded rant. So he was considerably surprised when Naruto leaned in and wound his arms around his neck, blue eyes taking on a promising gleam just before he found his lips caught in a provocative kiss that sent a familiar fire scorching along his veins. The blond pulled back slowly with a playful nip to his lower lip.
"I think you may have forgotten some important details about my anatomy," Naruto teased. "Perhaps I should give you a little refresher course." He slipped away from Sasuke and sauntered off toward the master bedroom without a backward glance, and Sasuke followed, gaze narrowed in on that ever-tempting body as he contemplated the rewards of playing the good student. Then again, bad boys do seem to have a lot of fun...
(A/N; Alright, that's it. For those of you who were gunning for some Ita/Neji development, I really didn't want to make an epilogue that just went off on a tangent about a couple on people who weren't the main characters and I had only ever wanted to hint at their relationship anyway. I got an awful lot of suggestions for what to put in this epilogue and I couldn't possibly accommodate everyone, so you all just get what I give you. (Man! I feel 'drunk' with power! Mwahahhahaa) Seriously though, the vote was a landslide and I know that I rushed through the end pretty abruptly, so you guys deserve a little something extra.
For those of you who wanted a sequel however; the reason I rushed to finish this was because I didn't care to write about it anymore. I just didn't want to leave it hanging. So starting a sequel would kind of defeat that purpose. I know that I left a few avenues open, and maybe some time in the future I'll feel like getting back into it, but for now, I can promise nothing. Anyway hope you're all at least somewhat happy. I love all you guys! Thank you so much for taking the time to read and to write such encouraging reviews! Later!)