Summary: Five-Six years in the future life in Konoha.
AN: Disclaimer in chapter 1
...ooO Life Goes On Ooo...
Uchiha Kagome winced as she chased after two identical ebony haired, onyx eyed boys.
"Souta! Miroku! Get back here!!"
The two toddlers merely giggled and evaded their mother with ease. Not that it was much of a challenge in her current condition.
Finally Kagome gave up and pushed her hair back from her sweaty brow. "Rin! Help me catch your brothers."
The four-year-old blinked innocently. "What do I get okaa-san?"
Kagome glowered then laughed. "You get to hear about my old friend, the one I named you for."
At that the older child lit up and shot off after her younger siblings.
"You are too relaxed with them." A cool disapproving tone interrupted her musings.
Kagome looked up at the familiar face of her brother-in-law, Sasuke. He was with his old team and their significant others: Sakura, Lee, Naruto, Hinata and TenTen. They had grown so much in the past five years she had known them, struggled through the conflicts without losing hope. There had been past relationships, stormy break-ups, attempted reconciliations, and such before they had settled into their current relationships.
It had been a difficult first year. It took months of work before Sasuke accepted the facts and reality. Then Sasuke and Sakura had tried and failed miserably to make a go. Naruto had flitted from girl to girl before Kagome pushed Hinata to make her claim. Sakura found Lee on the rebound and was surprisingly happy. It took Sasuke the longest to settle down, afraid of rejection and fear. TenTen had given up on her stalled relationship with Neji and had been consoled by a gentle Hinata when Sasuke entered the picture.
Kagome had to restrain a smile. It was worse than high school with Konoha shinobis. Understandable given most preferred partners who understood the lifestyle. Even more given the limited pool of potential romantic interests of suitable age.
Kagome had set up several couples in the past five years. Some had to be bullied, others needed a little nudge, a few simply needed the blinders to be taken off. Her time as an observer had honed her knack of dissecting personalities to find common ground. It helped her in her role as unofficial counselor for Konoha shinobis. The older generation resisted her efforts but the younger ones out of the Academy were in awe of her.
She smiled as she forced her attention to the present. "It is my job Sasuke. I am their mother. Besides they get plenty of discipline from their father and teachers."
Loud twin cries of protest interrupted the conversation.
Rin had returned with her younger siblings.
"Okaa-san! I have them!!"
"Okaa-san! Wanna play!"
"Rin big meanie!"
"Ow! Okaa-san! Souta kicked me!"
A soft chuckle broke through the loud clamor. Everyone turned to the source.
Leaning on the door frame was ANBU trainer-captain Uchiha Itachi.
"Otou-san!" Triple shrieks and squeals blasted adult ears as the three Uchiha children scrambled madly to get to their father.
The younger adults winced and watched bemused as the stoic, cold, infamous Uchiha accept the innocent childish displays without a qualm.
- - -
Sasuke winced. He still had problems with people invading his personal space. He still couldn't understand how his controlled elder brother reached this point. Then he watched his sister-in-law glide over the polished bamboo floors. He watched the children giggle but move away without complaining. He watched them watch their parents kiss giggling but with no other curiosity or embarrassment. It was clearly a much witnessed display in this particular household. Sasuke could not remember any public displays of affection between his parents, only cold tokens of acknowledgement. It was clearly different in this Uchiha household. Then he looked up at his brother.
Itachi had changed, softened yet so much stronger. He was metal tempered in some unknown fire, tested and tormented by the power of the not-so-mythical Shikon. That tempering made him stronger but so much more flexible. He felt no desire to maintain a public mask of strength like their parents or the Hyuugas and other clans. He was strong enough to display his affection because he was certain about his abilities to protect and shield his loved ones. Anyone who thought otherwise learned that the hard way.
In her own way Kagome was just as strong. She helped people find what they needed to become better, stronger, more capable. He had watched her work her magic on Itachi and Konoha. Other Hidden Villages knew to be wary when the Godaime sent Uchiha Kagome to the negotiating tables. But despite it all her first priority was her family.
'They are my reasons to be strong. Without them why should I care for material wealth? Or status and prestige?'
It had been hard. Finding out why his adored elder brother snapped all those ears ago. Watching his brother find a place in Konoha. Struggling to find his own place. Watching the two of them dance around before formalizing their bond. Seeing someone else make his brother love and laugh. Waiting with Itachi when Kagome labored to give birth to Rin. Watching over three beautiful babies that were the focus of unrestrained love from their parents, love he and Itachi never received from their own parents.
It was a standing joke in Konoha that the elder Uchihas were determined to repopulate the district by themselves. Two pregnancies resulting in three children and a fourth child on the way, in less than four years. Whenever the kunoichis teased his sister-in-law Kagome just smiled and said she wanted a large family. Sasuke had expected to be the one to revive the clan; he never expected the one who destroyed the clan to revive it.
He came to the present and stared.
Itachi had an arm around Kagomes back, hand resting on the prominent curve of her belly. There was a curiously understanding expression on her face. He looked at his brother, his black eyes were more distant but much warmer than his memories from Before.
"Are you staying for dinner?" Kagome asked cheerily. "Or do you have plans?"
"We have plans." Sasuke murmured. "Shizune-san asked us to remind you of your check-up tomorrow."
Kagome frowned. "Oh. I had forgotten." She glanced over at her spouse who was frowning. "Don't worry. It is a standard pre-natal appointment." She caressed her belly. "Tsunade thinks I might be carrying twins again. If I am she wants to modify my diet."
Itachi relaxed and nodded. He had grilled the medic-nin during his wifes first two pregnancies.
Kagome smiled at the younger adults. "All right then. You should get going. Hinata, Sakura, I'll see you at the hospital tomorrow."
There was a chorus of goodbyes as the children protested letting go of their favorite uncle Naruto.
"Don't be silly." Kagome chided her two youngest. "You'll see him tomorrow. He will pick you up from the daycare."
Naruto nodded vigorously. "Yup. Naru-jii-san and Hina-ba-san will be here tomorrow."
Sasuke looked up sharply. Itachi answered the silent inquiry.
"The final rounds of the trade talks with Iwa and Suna. It should be wrapped up with a formal dinner. I would have asked you but Godaime is giving you an assignment tomorrow. You'll be in the field for at least two weeks."
Sasuke visibly relaxed and nodded.
The six shinobi said their farewells and left.
Itachi brushed his lips against his spouses' ear.
Kagome giggled and wrenched free. "Ah ah ah." She rebuked her husband with a finger. "First dinner. Once the children are in bed you can have dessert." She murmured with a teasing wink.
Itachi sighed but nodded. She was right. He looked down at his confused children and forced his tense body to relax.
"Why don't the three of you wash up and go to the kitchen?"
Rin opened her mouth to protest but then obeyed seeing the stern expression on her fathers face. Otou-san would not change his mind when he had that look. They weren't going to hear about her namesake after dinner. Then her expression brightened. She could probably get Naru-jii-san to tell them of his genin adventures and Academy pranks.
Much later once the children were settled in the nursery and the couple in their bed Kagome asked the question that lay heavy on her mind.
"Do you regret? Do you regret staying in Konoha, with me?"
Itachi looked at her with a faint smile. "No."
Kagome twisted the sheet in her hands. "But you could have traveled and improved yourself!"
"I did that. And was alone and empty." He responded gently.
"But you haven't learnt any new jutsus in months! You've been doing paperwork and teaching for weeks now."
Itachi shrugged and removed the tie holding his hair back. "Training field agents is important. Teaching them how to kill and survive is important." He slipped under the sheets clad in a traditional cotton sleeping yukata. "Besides I've been working on creating my own jutsus. Being off the on-call list means I have time to do my personal research and experimentations." He leaned against the pillows. "I have time to watch my children grow." His eyes were very serious. "I never thought I would have children Kagome. Before, I was too intent on training, on becoming the best. Later, it was a forlorn thought; no sane woman would bear the child of an infamous nukenin, an Akatsuki. After, no one in Konoha trusted me, and I wasn't very inclined to be nice. If it wasn't for you I would have left Konoha within six months."
Kagome frowned. "Then why didn't you? I mean we weren't together then. You could have easily left and returned periodically like Jiraiya."
He reached out and held her pointed chin with scarred fingers. "We weren't together. But it doesn't mean I wasn't interested in you."
Kagomes eyes were wide. She shrugged off his grip and held the hand within her smaller ones. "Even then?" Her voice was filled with skepticism. "You sure didn't indicate any interest."
"You were my friend Kagome. I wasn't going to risk our friendship." Thin lips quirked in a faint smile. "Besides I wasn't sure I could handle you."
Kagome sat up straight feeling affronted. "What do you mean?"
Itachi laughed softly. "Not control you. Be with you." The laughter faded. "You are very demanding. You want everything, for people around you, for yourself. I wasn't sure if I could give that to you. It was far more stressful than my jounin exams. I felt like I was being overwhelmed by you, what I wanted, what you would want. At one point I almost gave up; felt it was too much."
"What made you change your mind?" Kagome wanted to know.
"Kakashi-san?" Kagome was confused.
"Hai. He had persuaded you to go out with him. You were really enjoying his company."
"Yes. But he reminded me of Miroku from before." Kagome wrinkled her nose. "A bit of a pervert but solid as a rock. Besides he's happier with Kurenai-chan. I'm glad she decided to give him a chance. It takes a strong soul to grasp at a second chance at love."
"I didn't know that at the time. I was afraid I would lose you. I had nothing else to lose."
Kagomes eyes softened as she reached out and embraced her husband.
"Do you regret? Taking that risk? Agreeing to have less field work? Teaching haughty self-centered shinobi from puffed-up self-important clans on the dangers of bloodlines? Raising a large family?"
He moved back and angled his head to brush a soft kiss against her lips.
"Iie. I don't regret accepting more than I thought I could handle."
AN: I wrote quite a while ago. This was meant to be a one shot that somehow grew out of control. No plans for any fillers or back story.
AN: Enjoy the New Year!!
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