As always, please review!
Double 'as always' - I don't own Naruto. Not even a little.
It was an emergency. That was the only reason he was even here. Shikamaru sighed as he nervously eyed the three sleeping children. He was a jounin, surely he could handle this, right? For the first time in his life, he wished his mother was here.
He and Temari had been visiting Suna for the upcoming birth of Kankuro's first child with his wife, Ano. Sakura had come along at both Temari's and Gaara's urgng since Ano's pregnancy had been wrought with difficulties. There had even been some thought of taking her to Konoha for the duration of her pregnancy. She'd miscarried three times in the past, and everyone was deeply on edge. But as they'd prepared to travel to the Leaf Village, Ano had fallen sick with a respiratory ailment and put on bed rest. So Sakura, her husband Naruto being on an extended mission, had packed up their two children and come to Suna instead.
Everything had been going well until there had been an unexpected attack on a village outpost. An outpost that Kankuro had been touring in order to give a report to his brother, the Kazekage of the Sand Village. The Sand puppet master had barely been scratched, but some knucklehead of a genin had gotten the message wrong and Ano had gone into premature labor, thinking her husband seriously injured.
Shikamaru frowned. It was too soon. The child needed another few weeks to grow strong enough to survive outside the womb. Kankuro was an emotional wreck, and so Shikamaru had urged his frightened wife out the door to support Ano and her brother. That left him ...alone ...with three small children. How bad could it be?
An hour later, the shadow warrior was nearing panic. Yui, he and Temari's 18 month old daughter, was running around naked while screeching at the top of her lungs. She was running in circles around the small table, picking up small objects and throwing them with remarkable accuracy considering her age. It was too bad she took after his wife, and not his own lazy ass. Things would have been much simpler with a calmer child. His temple throbbed as he chased her waving her clothes as he tried to capture his daughter. Finally, he resorted to stopping her with his shadow jutsu, feeling like a coward by taking the easy way out. Temari would have his hide if she saw him do that! Not only that, but it only made Yui screech louder at being unable to move.
This woke up baby Momoko, who joined in with the yelling as Sakura's youngest started flailing her little arms and legs. And if he wasn't mistaken, there was a pungent scent suspiciously coming from her diaper.
But where was little Naota? The toddler was nearly a spitting image of his father, Naruto, and twice as micheivious.
Thanks to his shadow jutsu, he caught his daughter up in his arms and tossed her, screeching with happiness, into the air. He caught her on the way down. She loved this game with her father. Yui was bound to be a wind princess just like her mother. It took a while, but he finally got her into her clothes just as there was a knock on the door.
Shikamaru blew and errant strand of hair out of his face, his usual pony tail wasn't making it through this mission unscathed. Not with Yui's hands tugging on it while he'd been trying to get her shirt onto her wriggling body.
He opened the door to see a freaked out Kazekage.
"What's wrong? Another attack?" Shikamaru gasped, then bent down to grab Yui as she tried to run out the door and escape. She was an outdoors loving child and hated being inside the house. She babbled at him and pulled his hair again just so he'd know her displeasure. Meanwhile, Momoko was still crying and flailing in her crib.
Gaara shook his head. "No. They banished me."
Shikamaru's eyebrows flew up as he stared at the red haired shinobi. "B...but .. But, you're the Kazekage."
"Yah." Gaara nodded mournfully. "Sakura still tossed me out. And I got the impression she was willing to pick me up and physically throw me out if I didn't obey. She told me I was making everyone MORE nervous pacing like I was."
Shikamaru shook his head sadly and opened the door wider. Gaara walked in looking around. "Why is the baby screaming?"
Shikamaru shrugged, "Yui woke her up, and I think she needs changing."
"Changing? Into what?" Gaara's attention was caught as he put his arms behind his back and bent over to look at Sakura's youngest. Momoko stopped screaming and tried to grab his nose. Gaara jerked back, startled.
"Here, I'll do it." Shikamaru groused, it had been too much to hope for that Gaara would know how to change a diaper. "Hold Yui, and look out for Naota."
Gaara accepted the pass off with ill grace, holding Yui like he would a wild animal. Cautiously. "Why am I looking out for Naota?"
"You'll see." Was Shikamaru's ominous response. He picked up Momoko who kicked him several times on the way to the changing table. Gaara wandered over to watch, wincing as Yui yanked on his red hair.
"Pi'tty." The child babbled.
Gaara blinked. "Did your child just call me petty?"
Shikamaru laughed as he got everything ready, pulling out a fresh diaper and some cleaning wipes. "No, she called you 'pretty'."
Gaara grumbled, "That might be worse. I think I'd rather she thought me petty instead. Where do children pick up ... WHOA!" Gaara's eyes popped open wide and he backed away quickly as the smell hit him.
Shikamaru smirked at the Sand Kazekage, "coward." Yet he had to admit to himself, as poopies went, this one was pretty awful. What was Sakura feeding this child? He held his breath and cleaned her as fast as he could. He'd had practice with Yui and he knew to work fast, it minimized the stench and if you didn't, the baby would start kicking and flinging the poo in every which direction. He'd learned the hard way.
"AAAARGH!" Gaara yelped and Shikamaru turned, alarmed. Only to crack up as he saw little Naota with his baby teeth sunk into Gaara's ankle.
"Never thought you'd miss Shukaku, eh?" The Leaf shinobi teased. Ever since the sand demon had been forcibly removed from Gaara, things had changed. The sand still protected him, but it was no longer automatic. Gaara had to direct it to protect him. Evidently, there being no malice in the toddler, Gaara hadn't sensed any type of attack coming.
"What is this, a commando toddler?" Gaara awkwardly reached down, trying to remove the child from his ankle while still holding Yui. The little girl was twirling her fingers in his red hair. Shikamaru wondered how long it would take Gaara to realize she'd been eating a jam sandwich not too long ago. Sticky fingers in the hair, yep.
"I told you to watch out for him. Apparantly Naruto has been teaching his son quite a bit." Finally done, Shikamaru turned, holding a still crying Momoko. "I think she's hungry, I'll be right back."
Shikamaru went to make a bottle for Momoko, leaving Gaara to his own devices without a qualm. When he returned, he saw that Gaara was holding Naota by the scruff of the neck and was holding the wildly swinging child away from him. "What's he doing?"
"Play ninha wif me!" Naota pouted as he tried to hit Gaara who was bewildered and a little alarmed.
Gaara shook his head, "Perhaps I was better off facing Sakura instead of her child. This one is acting strange."
"Naota! We'll play ninja tomorrow, if you're good tonight. There's chocolate cake in it for you if you behave." Shikamaru bribed without remorse.
"But we're alweady playing!" Naota told him with a wide grin so reminescent of his fathers. "I case a diwaxion."
Gaara sighed and eyed a relaxed Shikamaru as he sat on the couch, Momoko calmly sucking on her bottle. "Switch with me." He whined.
Shikamaru shrugged, "Take off your Kazekage robe, she might spill some on it."
With that, the two men switched places. Gaara sat on the couch with the quieter of the children and held the bottle for a happy Momoko while Shikamaru picked up Naota.
"Er ... Gaara? Where's Yui?"
Gaara looked up, shocked. "She was right here a moment ago. I had to put her down to pull that brat's teeth out of me."
Both men looked around frantically.
"I told yu, I case a diwaxion. We playing!" Naota told him smugly.
"Can you decipher?" Gaara asked, his stomach suddenly nervous.
"Diwaxion?" Shikamaru asked Naota intently.
"I make you look ofer way, Yui neaks out."
"Distraction!" Damn that Naruto! What was he teaching this child!
Suddenly there was a loud yelp and Shikamaru turned to stare at a horrified Gaara. Momoko had thrown up all over the Kazekage. "D...di ...did I break her?" He whispered, looking pleadingly over at his brother-by-marriage.
"It's just some spit up, it'll stink, but it will come out. Go clean her up while I look for Yui."
Suddenly both men heard the sound of the toilet flushing down the hall. They both rushed over to see Yui gleefully trying to flush Shikamaru's headband protector down the toilet.
Several hours later, all three children were sound asleep. Gaara looked shell shocked as he sat on the couch, not an ounce of energy left in him. Shikamaru didn't look one bit better. And the house was a disaster area.
"How do we explain the broken chair?" Shikamaru asked.
"I'm the Kazekage, I don't have to explain anything."
"Temari will be the one asking."
Gaara winced. "It was Naota's fault. The game was his idea."
"You could have stopped him." Shikamaru pointed out ruthlessly.
"Everytime I did he started begging and Yui started bawling. I couldn't take it."
"Sucker. So, does this mean you'll be wanting some of your own soon?" Shikamaru teased.
Gaara looked appalled and horrified. "Never."
The door opened, but neither man had the energy to look up.
Temari walked inside and eyed her husband and her brother, Gaara's new wife looked around wide eyed. "So, did you two manly ninja survive?"
"Barely." Shikamaru answered with a small smile. "You look happy, I take it everything is alright?"
Temari nodded wearily. "Yah. Ano's resting and the contractions have stopped. With any luck she'll finish out another two weeks before she goes into real labor. Kankuro is holding her hand. They had to set up a cot next to her hospital bed."
Both men nodded, Gaara getting up to leave. He walked over to his wife to hug her. But Hinata stepped back, sniffing. "You smell horrible."
Shikamaru laughed. "He got spit up on and then later, while he was distracted with Momoko, Naota decided to play 'sneak attack' and threw a 'bomb' on him."
Hinata giggled, "A bomb?"
Gaara scowled. "A stink bomb. And apparently the stinkest thing he could find was Momoko's diaper."
The women started laughing and didn't stop for five solid minutes, even with Gaara fuming at them. Shikamaru just smiled, relieved it hadn't been him.
"We're never having children." Gaara decreed loudly, looking sternly at his wife.
Hinata blushed and looked down at her hands, trying to keep her laughter under control. "It's a little late for that, Gaara."
Gaara's eyes went wide as Shikamaru laughed at him.