Title: "Glorious Messed Up World"
Timeline: 7 years into the future (SPOILERS for the latest chapters)
Summary: Dreams and reality rarely match up. Seven years after the end of his world Naruto finds himself entangled in a far more sinister web of events that leads to unexpected encounters and shocking revelations. [kind of Naruto/OFC, implied SasuNaru] Please R&R!
Disclaimer: Naruto belongs to Kishimoto Masashi. Partly inspired by So Off To Bed With You, My Cute Little Students by runespoor7 and Be Careful What You Wish For by Helike.
A/N: This by far is the most insane, messed up, completely wtf-ish thing I've ever written! It's heavy crack with a dose of angst – and OMG, there are four major OCs in this one! I scare myself! Just don't let me scare you. XD
Dedication: to Yuko whom I promised a Mexican drama and a lot of kids in Narutoverse. Darling, do you have any idea how much you rock? Because I do!
Glorious Messed Up World
It is common knowledge that men usually fall for women that remind them of their mothers. If Naruto had ever seen or heard of Uzumaki Kushina he would have had to agree than he had (almost) fallen victim to that complex as well.
Shiro, the former hunter-nin for the Hidden Mist Village, has long red hair and riant eyes, a sunny smile and the level of pig-headedness and determination precisely of the Uzumaki kind. She is fast and agile like a wild cat, absolutely lethal in battles, yet gentle and caring towards those precious to her.
…Yeah. As if.
'Shiro', of course, is an alias (she wouldn't tell him her birthname and he gave up prying after an attempt number one hundred and sixty-five).
The fact of the matter is: they are not married. Not officially at least. Most of the time, just thinking what a nightmare it would be to divide their property should they divorce, Naruto is darn happy about it.
The fact of the matter is: she consumes more ramen than he does and scatters empty plastic cups and cutlery all over (his) floor. When she combs her hair, she throws the hairs that came out on the carpet, and they get stuck to the pile. Once, she used the necklace he'd won from Granny Tsunade to sharpen her set of kunai. In turn, he polished his sandals with her toothbrush.
The fact of the matter is: he is never bored with her, but most of the time he hates her.
Finally the fact of the matter is: he (accidentally) got her pregnant (twice).
The good thing is that shortly after she recovered from the second delivery, she started taking more and more missions and is now absent for months in a row with only small intervals in between. The drawback to that is that he got landed with two kids and absolutely no idea how to bring them up.
He likes them… sort of. At least when they are calm. One of them is a boy (for some time he wasn't really certain about the junior one, and Shiro who barely spent time with them at all wasn't much of help; that turned out to be a girl). Both of them inherited his blue eyes; the younger one also has his hair. Naruto hasn't cut it for her for ages, and by the time she is four, little Sachiko looks like a miniature copy of Ero-sennin.
Deep inside Naruto understands that he sucks as a parental figure, but the thought that Shiro sucks even more keeps him going.
She drops by occasionally, throwing around presents from foreign lands (which in truth she happened to buy in the local souvenir shop ten minutes away from Naruto's place), chats Naruto to mindnumbing drowsiness by retelling him the details of her missions (every time he tactfully refrains from mentioning that it's a civilian village and she's a rogue nin for hire and how immoral, illegal and anti-shinobi that is in his opinion). Then comes his favourite and his least favourite part of the evening at the same time: a bedtime story.
They have an unofficial rule, for themselves rather than the children. The bedtime stories tell only about the things that took place before their meeting. This way they learn more about each other without having to endure the humiliation of asking questions.
"I could never imagine I'd end up with your mother," Naruto muses. "I used to have my eyes on another girl. She was cute, smart and kind…"
"Her name was Ri Su," Shiro adds sardonically. "Ma Ri Su. A foreigner, I s'pose."
"She was a lot nicer than you anyway!"
"Why didn't you get her knocked up then? Kids, your Daddy was a virgin before meeting Mommy!"
"I was not!"
"Mommy, what's a virgin?"
"Shiro!" Naruto fumes and glares daggers at her, but it's useless: they decided a long time ago that they would deal without cabbage patches and storks and all the rubbish parents normally tell their kids only to be accused of lying when said kids grow up and learn about sex.
"What story would you like us to tell you today?" Naruto wants to know.
"About leaves!" Jiraiya, the eldest, exclaims. He loves that one because there is action and fighting and treachery and heroism.
"And clouds!" Sachiko seconds gleefully. She loves it because there is love and friendship and girls that kick ass almost as great as mommy does.
'Konoha, Akatsuki and Oto,' Naruto chuckles inwardly. 'And Team Hawk.'
"My, this is going to be interesting!" Shiro perches on the broad window-sill while Naruto makes himself comfortable in the arm-chair near Jiraiya's bed, and flashes him a sly smile.
"A long time ago," Naruto begins, "Daddy lived in a far away place called the Hidden Leaf Village."
"Mommy lived elsewhere because she would have gone bonkers if she's had to grow up with Daddy!" interrupts Sachiko and quotes one of Shiro's statements from before, proud of having memorized such a long sentence.
Naruto rolls his eyes and goes on. Just when he gets to the formation of Team Seven and the description of his teammates, the children applaud, whereas Shiro makes a traditional 'boo!' sound and glares at him as if she is jealous of those figures of the past long left behind. (If he didn't know her he would have thought she was.)
"Yeah, we get the picture," she butts in when it comes to Sasuke. "He was ace, you were lame. Your children have enough reasons for the inferiority complex as it is."
Naruto ignores her willfully, knowing full well that Sasuke annoys her. He nearly skips Sasuke's defection to the Sound, but Shiro seizes the moment to gloat anyway.
"In the end the Wonder-boy ran away from the perfectly wonderful Pink-Hearts-and-Castles-in-the-Sky Village to live with two scary villains: Opedomaru and the good doctor Kabuki. The moral is that you, sweeties, should watch out making friends. They might just want you to upgrade their eyes."
Naruto gave up on the names she was making up a long time. Trying to explain to her that Orochimaru wanted Sasuke's body for something other than the dirty thoughts she had in mind was futile. The kids don't get half of her caustic remarks anyway.
"We met again almost three years later," Naruto continues.
"Snow-white grew up to be even more gorgeous, and that's when Daddy fell in–."
"Someone is about to fall out here," Naruto emphasizes menacingly. Shiro giggles and moves away from the window, just to be safe.
"Why didn't he go home with you, Daddy?" Sachiko asks.
"Silly, because Pedomaru wouldn't let him!" Jiraiya explains in his faux grown-up tone. Being a full year older than his sister, he has grown to be very conceited about it.
"But there are also new enemies, compared to which Pedomaru and his gang are a big fat zero," Shiro pipes in. "A whole band of wackos. They have a walking plant there, and a foul-mouthed guy who can survive even if his head's cut off – bet you'd love that, wouldn't you?" She winks at Jiraiya who stares at her ecstatically like it's the first time he hears about these characters. "There's also a messed up in the head person that wears a mask and pretends to be a retard but is in fact…"
"The evil leader!" Sachiko declares readily.
"And don't forget that Sasuke's brother is among them," Naruto fights for attention again. "When the story begins he is a bad guy too, but it turns out it's just part of a plan to protect Sasuke."
He pauses here and chuckles when Jiraiya pats his sister's head brusquely. If that part of the story has taught them anything, it is to watch for one another. It seems strange that Naruto should use Itachi as an example, but considering how things turned out, it's the least he can do to commemorate him.
He summarizes the murder of Orochimaru and the formation of Team Hebi briskly, passes over the Uchiha battle and plunges straight into his training with the frogs and Konoha's invasion. The story gets darker here. Sachiko dives under the blanket and refuses to come out; only her huge blue eyes show up from time to time, enchanted, unblinking.
"Sasuke is an idiot," Jiraiya states finally. "Why does he fight against Konoha if his brother wanted to protect it?"
"My thoughts exactly," smiles Naruto.
He used to think this part of the story was too gruesome for a bedtime fairytale. But back in the Leaf five-year-olds had already been students of the Ninja Academy. Besides (although it is always hard to admit), in a way Shiro is right: friendship has many surprises in store, and they ought to be ready.
Shiro never interferes when he is on the battle for Konoha. She keeps staring out of the window, her face unreadable, as he describes the ferocious stand of the Leaf shinobi against Pein, the coming of Madara and Sasuke taking his revenge on the village. He shuts his eyes for a minute, and fountains of fire explode behind his eyelids, currents of Katon and Chidori swirling all over the ruined buildings. Sasuke is standing on top of the Hokage Tower, his bloodied sword bared, his eyes flaring with the light of his new Sharingan.
"But Sasuke knew that what he did was wrong," Naruto concludes. "In fact, it was his plan all along: to make Madara feel safe and then bring him down. We joined forces and naturally won."
The children are drowsy and overexcited by now. Looking down on their tired, happy, smiling faces, Naruto can't hold back his own smile.
"Daddy wanted to rule the Leaf Village ever since he was a little kid like you," Shiro speaks in the end. "But he grew bored of that village and traveled the world and now he rules this village we live in, which is much bigger and better."
The children giggle. As the parents turn to leave the room, Sachiko mutters good night and Jiraiya mumbles something unintelligible. Everything is as it should be.
"Haven't heard you telling this story for a while," Shiro notes.
Naruto nods absent-mindedly. It's because of the fake happy ending that he doesn't like it very much. It's because every time he shuts his eyes he sees Kakashi-sensei's body next to Chouji's, Sakura-chan and Granny Tsunade trapped in the collapsed Hokage Tower, Captain Yamato buried underneath the heavy rubble, Sai with a hole in his stomach, and everyone he knew dead, dead, dead.
He comes too late. Why haven't they called for him!?
Then there is Sasuke, so cold and distant and empty. They fight, and somewhere in the middle of this Sasuke suddenly reveals (indirectly) that it was indeed his intention to overthrow the Akatsuki. But it's too late. Everyone is gone. The Kyuubi breaks free, raging and sowing devastation, and everything falls.
By the time Naruto has regained his consciousness, nothing is left. There is a huge crater in the middle of the village. Naruto falls to his knees. Blood drips from his pores. He screams; tears splatter all over his face. He calls Sasuke, Sakura. Kakashi-sensei, Granny Tsunade, Iruka-sensei. But they are dead. Everyone is.
Eternity after he finds himself walking aimlessly through some field far away from the Fire Country. Succulent ears of wheat sway all about him. His black and orange clothes are in rags, the necklace with a broken cord is clutched in his fist, the forehead protector is missing. He is dazed and cannot remember how he got here. An old man finds him when he is about to faint and takes him to the nearby village.
Naruto stays there. At first he helps in the field to provide for himself. Later he enlists in the police force after he accidentally lets slip that he is a former shinobi. He meets Shiro somewhere along the way and his mental health definitely goes downhill from there, but his social status is inexplicably the best he's ever had. In the end when the old Chieftain retires people choose Naruto. He doesn't see fit to refuse.
"You're doing it again," Shiro says, snapping him back to the present. "Playing a creepy shut-in."
"Am not!" Naruto pouts. "What is it with you anyway? You've grown awfully quiet towards the end."
Shiro sighs. She looks oddly serious, and he doesn't like the looks of it.
"I have a confession to make, Naruto. I'm not who you think I am. This image is just a Henge. In truth I am…"
She performs a seal, and Naruto tumbles backwards in shock. Sasuke is standing before him, almost the same as he remembers, save for a long scar crossing his face. His hair is slightly longer too, falling almost to his shoulders. A fleeting smirk crosses his lips. Naruto struggles to breathe.
"You should see your face, dumbass," Sasuke scoffs. Suddenly a huge, out-of-character grin pops out on his face. "Got ya! Shouldn't have said I was too quiet."
"SHIRO!!!" Naruto bellows as soon as he can breathe again and jumps her. She bursts out laughing as they roll on the floor, and Naruto's heart constricts with a violent pang: she still looks like Sasuke and Sasuke never laughed – and oh, how much he would have wanted to see him laugh!
Shiro releases the Henge and stares at him with her own amber eyes.
"Why do you have to be such a pain?" Naruto asks gruffly.
"You wouldn't have lasted a day with any other girl," she shrugs and pushes him off. She has a point.
They stay awake that night, lying on the mattress on the balcony and looking up at the stars. Shiro asks him to hold her hand. He is surprised by the request, but he fulfils it nonetheless. He may not really love her (she's more like an annoying friend than a girlfriend anyway), but he has to admit that she helped him survive. For that he is grateful.
"Our family may be really fucked up," Shiro murmurs as she buries her face on his shoulder, "but you know what? I wouldn't have it any other way."
Me neither, Naruto agrees silently.
In the morning they predictably argue over housekeeping. Naruto can't understand why the almost-married village Chieftain should wash the floor and fix the leaking roof, and Shiro can't understand why the powerful kunoichi should do the dishes and laundry. They come to no agreement (predictably as well). Water bubbles in the sink. Shiro scrubs the plates like they are her personal enemies while Naruto mops the floor, eyeing it as if he plans to glare it to cleanliness. Shiro can see his tired face in the small mirror fragment above the sink and thinks that perhaps he's been working too hard.
"Say, Naruto," she wonders detachedly. "Isn't today seven years since you came here?"
"Er… I don't think so."
"Six years since we met then?"
"That's in March."
"In October. What are you getting at?"
Shiro whirls around, looking annoyed. He almost starts feeling guilty for none of those dates falling on today.
"You remember the story I once told the kids about the Wishing Jar?"
Naruto gives a slow nod. It's a family tradition, the one and only time he's ever heard Shiro mention her family. Her mother used to keep a special jar at home. Little Shiro and her two brothers would put scraps of paper in it, stating their wishes. Later they would find new scraps, telling them their wishes were granted. Jiraiya and Sachiko had naturally demanded they had a similar jar at home, and Shiro had undertaken to make it.
She marches across the room up to the bookcase where the jar is secluded between two heavy volumes, takes it and hands it to Naruto. Confused, he reaches inside it and produces a crammed piece of paper that bears an address from the neighbouring village, by the looks of it, and the word 'Granted'. Naruto wrinkles his forehead.
"Have you always been such a dummy!?" Shiro exclaims. "My little Henge feat, for hell's sake! Why didn't you ask me how I knew what to do?"
There's a photo of Team Seven on his nightstand. She could just… But he was twelve there. And…
"Yes, but the scar? The voice?"
Naruto scrutinizes the address, then looks up at Shiro. Suddenly his eyes grow wider with understanding and his breath catches in his throat. Shiro merely winks at him.
It is Sasuke.
Holy f–. Seven years later, so far away from their last clash, it is still Sasuke, alive, real…
…and had a kid!?
Naruto watches him from behind a thick hedge as he says goodbye to a very Uchiha-like child around Jiraiya's age. Sasuke has his back on him; but the child's face, he can see. It's a handsome, open face with delicate features, slightly detached, and it looks like it's frozen halfway between Sasuke and his elder brother.
"Blockhead," Sasuke says as soon as the kid is off, "you can come out now. I know you're here; you're leaking your chakra all over the place."
Naruto's stomach twists. He jumps out into the road and stands stock-still. Sasuke turns round, his countenance calm and resolved. There is indeed a scar going from his left eyebrow over his nosebridge and down across the right cheek. It doesn't ruin him; rather it contributes to everything Sasuke's been through.
"You bastard!" Naruto growls and jumps up to him, lifting his hand for a stroke, but Sasuke dodges it, and they both trip and skid over the flat earth and collide into the fence of what is probably Sasuke's house. "You could have told me you were alive! Seven fucking years, Sasuke!"
"I was wondering when you'd show up," the bastard whispers.
Naruto pauses. "You knew I was–?"
"Naruto. You're the ruler of the nearest village. I'd recognize a moron like you even from a hazy description." Sasuke's gaze softens for a moment. "I'm glad to see you too."
Naruto pulls him into a hug, presses his rough, marked cheek against Sasuke's cheek and, to his dismay, feels tears well up in his eyes. He wonders how long Shiro has waited before revealing Sasuke's whereabouts and doesn't know who he wants dead more at the moment: Sasuke or her.
"So…" he says awkwardly when they finally pull apart. "That kid. Yours, huh?"
"Hn. Itachi." Sasuke catches Naruto's bewildered gaze and elaborates: "I named him Itachi. Yeah, he's mine. At least that's what his mother told me."
"And she is–?"
"I got two." Naruto grins at the grimace Sasuke makes: like the new Uzumaki generation is the worst thing imaginable. "Hey, what if–?"
"No way in hell," Sasuke cuts him off.
Naruto grins. He was going to suggest their kids should meet (mainly because his newborn father complex just screamed in his mind that their childhood rivalry could find a new resolution in their kids; and damn if Jiraiya wasn't way more awesome than that little copy of Itachi!). Now that Sasuke, seemingly having read his mind, has refused, he is twice sure this is a great idea.
Shiro is leaving on a mission today, but she stayed extra-time to watch the little Uzumaki meet the little Uchiha. She seems to be enjoying it far more than the kids do.
"I'd say you two are a perfect match," Sasuke notes. Naruto simply glares at him.
The kids stand opposite each other, Sachiko clutching Jiraiya's elbow and blushing fiercely. Itachi looks completely indifferent, if only a bit apprehensive, whereas Jiraiya glares at him with outright animosity.
"These two will be rivals," Shiro chuckles, then draws an imaginary line from Sachiko to Itachi. "She's gonna have a crush on him. Just please, not vice versa."
Naruto growls, tired of her insinuations. She smiled charmingly both at him and Sasuke and makes for the house to pack her weapons.
Meanwhile, Sachiko makes an attempt to grasp Itachi's attention. The best way to do it, in her opinion, is to say something smart and unconventional (perhaps she follows her mother's example in that).
"My Daddy was a virgin before he met my Mommy," she declares proudly.
Should have gone with storks, Naruto whines inwardly. Sasuke skews up on him, his eyes holding a hint of humour.
Itachi opens his mouth, his face never changing from the almost serene mask it looks like, and parries:
"My Daddy was a virgin before he met your Daddy."
There is a moment of silence, and then someone bursts out laughing. Naruto turns to regard Shiro who lingers on the doorstep, doubled over with uncontrollable laughter. Sasuke grits his teeth, trying hard to keep his cool.
Looks like their family is going to get even more messed up. That makes Naruto wonder what kind of bedtime stories Sasuke tells his son.
November 9–11, 2008