It was February in Konoha. Rain clouds were forming to the north as the cold front from the north was clashing with the warm front coming from the sea to the south. The winters in Konoha were usually mild due to its proximity to a large body of water and distance from the equator. A superstitious person might view this as an omen, but the twenty-five year old shinobi trudging through the giant gates was most definitely not superstitious. As he scratched the few, blossoming whiskers on his chin staring up at the clouds, his thoughts drifted from the now completed mission to his agenda for the evening. There was a time when he would return from a mission, head straight home and pass out on his bed. But she, yeah she, told him to meet her when he got back.
She said she expected me back an hour ago. Damn I'm gonna catch hell for being late. She said it was important. She might actually kill me if I don't show up this time. He thought to himself as his paced quickened in the opposite direction of his house.
The sun was setting in the west as a twenty-three year old woman sat in a rocking chair on her family's front porch. She watched the clouds forming to the north and sighed softly to herself. The weather was the least of her worries right now. Her thoughts were solely on the man she was supposed to be talking to at this moment and he was now over an hour late. If she didn't love him she would probably kill him if he ever showed his face to her again. Still, something inside her told her that he would make something out of himself some day. He had to and she was going to make whether he wanted to or not.
She could see his figure approaching down the road as a mix of anger and excitement enveloped her. After all, she really wanted to see him and she hoped that this time he wouldn't disappoint her. His pace was quicker than his normal sluggish one, which meant that he really wanted to see her.
As he walked up the steps, she rose from the chair and gave him a stern look.
"Your late." She stated in a harsh voice as she glared daggers at him. He slowed his approach and stopped three feet from her, just out of arms reach, guilt plastered on his face. He would make and excuse, but that would only make matters worse and he knew it.
"Gomen, sorry." He mumbled just loud enough for her to hear. As a defensive mechanism, he raised his hand to scratch the back of his head.
"When are you going to start taking things more seriously?" she asked tone still harsh, eyes still sharp.
He stood there silently; his hand still on the back of his head. He had learn some time ago that when she angry it's best if he just keeps his mouth shut. She said she needed to talk with him, but he knew that meant she needed to tell him something and he needed to say as little as possible.
"I swear, I thought you would be more responsible before…" she didn't finish that thought. She wasn't quite sure what she should say. "When are you going to step up and be a man?"
"What are you talking about!" he took offense. She was questioning his manliness. "I became a jounin. I've been putting aside money for two years now. I've built my own house. Hell, I've even asked you to marry me!"
Her love for him betrayed her for the slightest of moments before her anger took forefront again. "Don't raise your voice to me! That was a year ago, and besides you only asked after I talked to you about it incessantly for a week."
"And yet you still said 'no'" the look of sorrow now returning to his face. His hand defensively returning to the back of his head.
"I just wanted you to take some initiative." The sound of anger had left her voice and was replaced with one of concern. A small smile began to creep it's way upon her lips. "And besides, you're not the only one who's late, Shikaku."
His hand froze to the back of his head. His mind began processing the small amount of information he just received. Actually the rather large piece of information that the small amount implied. At this thought, his eyes opened wide as he stared at the beautifully strong women standing before him. Her dark brown hair and chocolate eyes contrast beautifully with her porcelain skin. Her soft smile made him forget about every harsh word that ever fell from those precious lips. His gaze drew down to her hands which were now cupping her abdomen. He took a step forward, removing his hand from his head and placing it on top of hers.
After a minute of letting it all soak in, his gaze slowly returned to her face. Her features were soft. Her smile even softer. This was why he fell in love with her. Suddenly, the words of his father crossed his mind. Son it doesn't matter how tough the woman seems, she will always show her soft side to the man she loves. This brought a small smirk to his lips.
The smirk did not go unnoticed by Yoshino. Still smiling, she furrowed her brow, threw him a questioning look, and said "what?"
Shikaku kept smirking. He slowly leaned in a gave her a soft, loving kiss and as he pulled his lips away he whispered, "well, I guess now you have to marry me now."
Eight months later.
Three friends sat together on a couch in the waiting room of the Konoha Hospital. The large man, holding a four month old baby boy, smiled warmly at him thinking random thoughts about his son's future. He glanced at the two men sitting next to him. The looks on their faces were far from the look on his. He smiled at them.
"Don't worry guys. Everything is going to be fine."
"That's easy for you to say. You've already gone through this." The blond mumbled.
"That's how I know everything is going to be fine."
Somehow these words don't seem to ease the minds of his two companions, the black haired one especially. He looked light he hadn't slept in weeks. His mind was somewhere else oblivious to the conversation the two men next to him were having. While the blond next to him was shaking nervously, fidgeting his fingers in his lap as he was kneading dough. The black haired man just sat there in what seemed to be a complete calm staring at some random spot on the wall. At least that's what it appeared to be on the outside. Inside, his mind was racing over a thousand different thoughts with over a million different outcomes, most of which end in his demise at the hands of his wife. A few thoughts ended with the famous word, "and they lived happily ever after", but these thoughts were quickly overwhelmed by the ones of death and sorrow.
His thoughts were interrupted by a blood curdling scream that echoed through the three floors of the hospital. This took a second to register in his brain. It took a couple of shakes from his friends to snap back to reality. When the feeling flooded back into his body, he leapt into action sprinting down the hall faster than either of his friends could ever remember seeing him run.
Arriving at the door, he peered through the window to see his wife violently fending off the now thoroughly frustrated nurses. She caught a glimpse of his face in the window and screamed.
"Shikaku!!!!, I can't believe you did this to me! You better get your lazy ass in here before I tear your head off and rip out your fucking soul!" she emphasized the expletive.
He threw the door open and rushed two steps into the room before pausing and sheepishly sliding over to her bedside under the glares of everyone present.
"I've been in labor for fourteen fucking hours, goddamn it! Why won't he come out! The little bastard is as stubborn as you!"
Shikaku knew better than to say anything. He just stood there quietly, holding her hand, and gritting his teeth through the pain. He thought about switching the hands, but felt it unwise because then he would end up with two broken hands. He wouldn't be able to hold his son, help care for him, or take care of wife. A scenario he played through early in his mind. One of which ended in his own demise.
His mortifying thought process was interrupted by the doctor's elevated voice. "Yoshino-san, I going to need you to push now."
Yoshino let out a scream that would make bears run in fear and pushed with every ounce of energy she possessed. Shikaku knew she gave it her best because his broken hand now had multiple fractures.
"We have a head." The doctor said as nurse began to move in all sorts of directions. "Now comes the hard part, we need to get the shoulders out."
Shikaku winced. Now it was going to be worse. After three more agonizing pushes and three more bones in his hand broken. The baby boy slid all the way out. The doctor held the boy as one of the nurses checked for a cleft pallet. The nurse nodded and the doctor held the boy up and smacked him on the butt.
The doctor did it again.
A look of concern shadowed the faces of the medical staff which was quickly picked up by the couple who were looking on with anticipation.
The doctor tried again. Nothing, again. Silence in the room as everyone looked at one another for an answer.
Then, a soft, low murmur broke the silence. A few incoherent syllables. Relief flooded the room. A few unintelligible sounds nothing more, but years later Yoshino would swear that she heard him say "troublesome".
Shikaku, however, didn't care. As one of the nurses handed him his son wrapped in a towel. He smiled down at his son who looked peaceful as he slept in his arms. Shikaku's hand was throbbing, but he did care. He had a son.
Yoshino's touch on his arm broke his thoughts. He slowly lowered the sleeping boy into his mother's arms.
"He has your face." She said softly as she looked up at Shikaku.
"And he has your smile." He said looking at her.
She smiled at then said shortly. "well, let's hope that's all he got from you."
He just smiled back to her.
Their silence was broken as doctor said shortly. "congratulations, he's a perfectly healthy young boy. Now if you would excuse me, it is now midnight and I'm going home." With that he turned and walked out the door.
They sat there taking turns holding their son, commenting on who features he had and what his future holds. Before they knew it three hours had gone by.
Suddenly their peace was broken as the door flew open. The blond man from the couch earlier stood in the doorway trying desperately to catch his breath. The couple looked at each other questioningly.
Shikaku spoke. "Inoichi, what happened? Is something wrong?"
The blond man still trying catch his breath managed to squeeze out a couple of words.