Kith & Kin
by Adriana S (hikari yuuko)
May 19th 2009
Part II: Practical Jokes
The day was bright and with clear blue skies, this was the perfect day, the kind of day he enjoyed the most. It came with his sunny disposition, he supposed, that he liked the sound of the breeze going through the trees, of the leaves rustling on the forest floor; he also liked watching the birds chirping happily and feeding their chicks and the squirrels jumping from branch to branch. He could sense the other little animals scurrying about and the stream running freely on the other side of the road.
It was then that the path on the forest seemed grow even wider, trees growing slightly more apart to give space to the visitors. The main house finally came to his line of sight, grand doors opened in welcoming.
He stepped into the Uchiha main house through the newly painted threshold. He'd been few times at the estate when he was young, but these grounds that had once seemed so eerily dark and lonely to him, now felt like they were a different place altogether. It was still quiet and not so many people lived in it, three (eventually-to-be four) in fact, but there was an air of calm and peace about it that hadn't been there in a long while. In time, Sasuke was going to surely bring back those glorious days of the Uchiha.
He played with the jingling bells that hung from the front porch to indicate his arrival; soon two pair of steps were heard coming his way. One was clearly running for there was a quick succession of 'tap, tap, tap' that evidenced it. The other person's steps were calm and precise like a clock. For him, it was easy to match a face to each set of paces.
"Naruto-jiichan! Naruto-jiichan! Welcome!" the boy grinned, his toothless smile was infectious as he ran up to the entrance porch, little arms reaching up at him.
"Up you go!" Naruto laughed as he raised the boy. He raised him up and down, gaining him more than a few chuckles from the four-year-old.
"Put my son down, dobe. I don't want him to suffer any head injuries if you happen to drop him." There was an edge of threat on the other man's voice. It warned of imminent danger.
Naruto looked around and found Sasuke's bland stare on him. The guy was wearing his casual clothes, no training gear on (at least visible to the eye, because he's sure as hell there are some kunai hidden somewhere, as one can never be too precautious), which made Naruto smirk. Sasuke had turned into the ideal of a family man and it was everything a blood-thirsty avenger wasn't supposed to be.
"Aw, come one, teme. Like I would do the same thing you did…" he muttered out loud, putting the child back on his feet and smoothing the wrinkles on his clothes.
"What?!" Sasuke turned to him, face red, either of embarrassment or anger, or possibly both. He fumbled for something to say, managing only to shout: "Shut up, I didn't do it on purpose!"
"Tousan dropped me?" A tiny voice interjected curiously and both men turned to look down at Shiro, who was by now looking up at his father with a mildly hurt look. Those incredibly dark blue eyes were beginning to well up in tears. "Why?"
Sasuke's eyes widened. "I… I said I didn't do it on purpose!" He was blushing more than his son had ever seen him before, except when he got drunk that time with Naruto-jiichan. "And it was his fault!" he then added, pointing accusatorily at his former teammate.
Naruto crouched down to be eye level with the child. "Don't listen to him, Shiro-chan. I can clearly remember that time. It was the first time your 'Kaachan let the teme… I mean, your father, in charge of taking care of you all on his own! He was always a disaster when it came to change your diapers; imagine the great distress that came upon him having to do it for a week!"
The boy frowned much like his father usually did, a tinge of embarrassment on his pale cheeks. "I don't use diapers anymore, Jiichan!"
"I know you don't, Shiro-chan," he tousled his mess of black hair. The pout on the child's face was irresistible; it made Naruto smile and Sasuke smirk involuntarily, as it reminded them much of the woman that had bore him into the world. "You're a big boy now. But you were veeery little back then."
"And he moved a lot," Sasuke added helpfully in a mutter as he leaned against the nearest wooden pillar of the porch, looking away. A blush much the same as the one his child was sporting was still evident, but he allowed the story to go on.
"So your 'tousan over there was a bit clumsy with babies, you see," Naruto pointed back at his squirming friend. The blond ninja was enjoying this very much. "It was three and a half years ago…"
Sasuke frowned, watching the crying baby wail, and wail, and wail, and wail nonstop. His cute little eyes were swollen and red, and his face was a mess, with tears and, ew, other ugly fluids running down his nose. He scrunched up his nose in distaste. He'd never seen a child cry this much. Worst of all, it was starting to get on his nerves because he was now feeling rather helpless.
He had tried everything: feeding him his bottle of warm milk, helping him release trapped air in his chest by patting his back softly, soothing him down with gentle cooing (which, by the way, was great hit to his ego), trying to distract him with hand puppets (again, poor ego)... Nothing seemed to work… Except…
"Check if he needs to get his diapers changed, ok?" Sakura had smiled at the uncomfortable look on his face. She was witness to how much he particularly disliked said task; he'd been the kind to avoid it and let her take care of the diaper changing most of the times. "You remember how to do it, right?"
"Of course, Sakura," he told her blatantly, as if she should know better, and his arms moved to receive the infant child. The baby was sleeping now; Sakura had taken care of bathing him before leaving on her first mission since her pregnancy.
"Well then, if you remember this and everything else I just told you, you'll be fine." She pecked him on the cheek and then turned to the child in his arms. "I'll be home soon, sweetie. Take care of your Touchan."
He frowned further, hands on his waist.
"Shiro," he said forcefully, and the baby momentarily stopped his wailing to blink up at him with round, blue eyes, hiccupping a bit. "I'm going to check your diaper."
After taking a peek, he decided that he would definitely need to change it. And, nodding to himself, took upon this (nasty) mission. He'd gotten as far as wiping clean the baby and putting on a bit of powder, and was about to fasten the new diaper, when a loud crash informed him of an intruder inside the house.
With senses now alerted by the sounds, he looked back at the baby, who was quietly staring back at him and pursuing his mouth, and then back at the door. He hastily snapped the fasteners on place, laid the baby on the bed with a pillow next to him to avoid him from falling (the pillow wasn't so tall, but surely, he couldn't move that much), and ran to the living room as fast as though the devil was running after him. Typical Sasuke-like.
He froze upon entering the living room and finding not an enemy intruder, but one Uzumaki Naruto, tangled up with the rug and holding a piece of what used to be his wife's favorite flower vase.
"TEME!" Naruto greeted as he looked up and met the smoldering gaze of his best friend. He began brushing up the pieces of broken ceramic stuck on his clothes and stood up, waving at him, even when he was still holding what was left of the vase.
"Naruto, you idiot, what happened here?" Sasuke growled with impatience, unconsciously letting out a sigh of relief. At least he wasn't dealing with enemies… Though who could be more dangerous, an attacker or Naruto, who could ever know? Naruto could be equally house-wrecking. Sighing, Sasuke imagined how he wouldn't get the end of it when Sakura returned and found her home turned into a complete chaos.
Naruto chuckled, looking mildly apologetic. "I broke your vase, sorry." The blonde said matter-of-factly and handed him the large piece of pink ceramic. "I came over to help with Shiro-chan. Tripped when I was trying to get in…" he offered as an excuse.
'Idiot.' Sasuke groaned to himself. He crossed his arms and frowned at his old rival, glancing at the clock on the wall. It was already getting late. "Hn. Aren't you supposed to be with your future wife right about now?"
"She… She knew Sakura-chan left today so she sent me over," he admitted abashedly, scratching his nose. Still, there was something that he was leaving out. Sasuke being Sasuke quickly realized this.
The Uchiha clan leader arched his perfect, dark eyebrow and smirked at the blond idiot in front of him. "You angered Hinata?" he guessed, smirk flawlessly in place, "What did you do now?"
"Uh… kinda…" Naruto mumbled, offering a grimace, but then evading the question and looking around the room for something. He paused in his search and turned to his friend, looking mildly confused. "Hey, where's Shiro-chan, by the way?"
Sasuke didn't even have the time to react to the simple question.
Two words came to Uchiha Sasuke's mind at that sound.
Of course, who would have thought his child had decided to crawl for the first time just the moment he'd left him alone?
He'd rushed to the hospital, a screaming Naruto in tow, only to be scolded by Shizune for being so clueless. And later, by Sakura. Oh, she had lots of things to say. The baby had merely gained a little bump on his head when he'd fallen from the bed, while his father had had the fright of his life.
"And that was how your irresponsible father dropped you!" Naruto was story-telling excitedly.
Shiro blinked, glancing at his squirming father, who looked the most uncomfortable he'd ever seen him. He was glaring at his uncle for the whole story, but had managed to calm the urge to behead the eager, orange-clad shinobi.
"But nothing happened to him," Sasuke argued, blushing pink (which was itself a surprising and rare thing to see). As they all entered the living room, he sauntered over to the couch, sat, and crossed his arms over his chest, as was the usual. Grunting, he added, "He was perfectly fine, anyways."
"Surely, because he is Sakura's son," Naruto grinned, throwing a victory sign at the kid that was looking up at both of them and following the exchange with curious eyes. "And because his fabulous uncle Naruto was there to take care of him!"
Sasuke seemed exasperated, turning to Naruto with a full-blown death glare. "If you hadn't showed up, I wouldn't have been distracted at all!"
Naruto proceeded to, very maturely, one shall point out, stick his tongue out at the fuming man, who in return looked away and proceeded to ignore him. Shiro laughed, for only his uncle Naruto could be so funny and make his dad squirm like this.
Four years later…
The streets were bustling with life, street vendors happily offering their latest products to the passerby or already dealing some transaction. The weather was fairly nice, soft breezes ruffling the skirts of the women as they strolled with their children, in pairs, or even alone, getting their groceries or buying flowers or catching up to the latest gossip at the small, but popular café in the heart of Konoha. Men filled up the lively crowd as well: walking along with their wives, carrying the shopping bags, and looking distressed; hauling the loads into the stores; together with friends in the bars, getting an early snack; or checking out the latest gadgets at the ninja store. And there were children, running up and down the streets, playing games, buying sweets, hiding from their worried mothers.
It was pure coincidence to find himself back in Konoha this early in the afternoon. The sun was shining brightly over the village and there was still much time before night rolled in, but there also was much to do upon his return: fill reports, check into the hospital, visit the ramen stand, and get home to a moody wife... He sighed tiredly. He was happy with his wife and all, but lately she'd been so, so weird that it made him want to (secretly) sit down and cry… in a manly fashion.
Pregnancy, as he'd discovered from past experience, was never good news for a man's health, at least during said period of one's wife (more so if she happened to control a technique that practically drained you out of chakra). He'd had more sleep during the last three-day mission than the week before leaving. And… Come on, how could she be so disgusted with the smell of ramen!? That was outrageous!! To him ramen was and would always be the best thing of the world!
He'd tried to sneak in an instant cup or two. That hadn't been the smartest thing, trying to fool her was useless. A kunoichi's senses were already keen, a pregnant kunoichi's senses were incredibly intensified. It certainly hadn't worked well the last time he'd tried to eat ramen at the house, hidden inside their closet.
"Hi..wata-cham?" He babbled as he slurped a particularly long noodle. His wife looked at him with a sickened face, her nose wrinkled in revulsion. That should have been clear enough for him, but Naruto being who he was, was blissfully unaware. "What's wrong?"
"Naruto-kun… I told you to throw away… all the… the… ramen…" Hinata mumbled as she took two steps back and covered her mouth and nose, her other hand was carefully circling her swollen belly. "Why… Naruto-kun…?"
"Oh, come on…" He swallowed and pleaded his case. "Hinata-chan, it's just an itsy bitsy cup of ramen!!" he told her, pushing behind him other five cups of said ramen. "It can't hurt…"
Hinata shook her head visibly upset. "I only asked that of you, Naruto-kun…"
The dark-haired woman flinched as her husband stood up and walked over to her, knocking several pieces of clothes as he stumbled out of the enclosed space. He reeked of noodle soup, and of course her sharp eyes had not failed to notice the cups he'd previously pushed aside, it was too much for her to handle. "I h-hate you, Naruto-kun!"
"Uh… No, no, don't cry!" Naruto's eyes grew large as saucers, noticing the way the pregnant woman's pearly eyes began watering. A sense of panic was too overwhelming as he tried to get out of the closet and get close to the wailing woman. "HI-HINATA-CHAN!"
So… why did he ever get her pregnant… again?
The answer was, of course, because there was all that about the joy of life and children and laughs and teaching them cool stuff and preserving the blood of the ancestors before him through those angelic beings. But, he thought dramatically as he walked down the relatively busy street, couldn't the baby growing inside the mommy's tummy part be as fun as the baby making part for a young father?
Despite it all, there was no way in hell he'd ever regret having Minako. She had stolen his heart the very moment she was born. For him, it was a true wonder how someone so small could have such an effect on a man. And now, there would be a second set of feet running around his dusty old house; a little boy that would play pranks on his older sister, sweet talk his mother, and make him run out of patience. And he would love him, as much as he loved Minako or Hinata.
Brushing wild strands of hair, he sighed once more and kept walking. He could afford a little time strolling around the marketplace. It was on his way to Hokage Tower, in any case, and a bit of window shopping wouldn't hurt (besides, he could probably get a gift for Hinata and earn some very needed brownie points). That was when he saw him, trudging quietly along the market streets. He couldn't avoid the wistful smile on his face as the child came nearer.
He was growing up to be like his father: tall, lean, pale, and even broody sometimes. Even those eyes, despite being a dark shade of blue, looked every bit like his; they could bore into your soul. He was easy to talk to, contrary to popular belief, but not of the kind to initiate a conversation. He was shy, you see; though people just preferred to think of him as cold and reserved like the man he resembled so much. He saw beyond that, for this was also Sakura's child. He had her wild, loving spirit and it reminded him so much of her that, at the times, he couldn't believe he was his father's son.
The kid was also one of the kindest, purest people he'd met – and he'd met lots of people to that effect. It was probably because that was how she was and how she'd taught him to be. And well, Sasuke hadn't been all that bad either. He'd called him an arrogant bastard a thousand times, with justification, but that didn't mean he didn't like him. Sasuke was his best friend, with a stick up his ass, but his friend anyway.
"Naruto-jiisan," the boy acknowledged him as they met upon the streets, a smile on his face. He didn't expect him to jump in excitement like he did when he was a toddler; at least it was more than a nod like the one he usually got from Papa Uchiha. "You are home. How was your mission?"
That brought a large grin to his face. "Hey, hey!" He beamed at him, showing him the Victory sing with two fingers. "Success, dattebayo!"
Shiro smiled back at him, eyes almost saying "As expected of Naruto-jiisan"; instead, he replied good-humoredly, "That's good, Jiisan."
"Shiro-chan, where are you going today?" He smiled, briefly catching his own reflection on the glass window of the establishment in front of him. (Were those wrinkles around his eyes!? NO WAY! Where was Tsunade-baachan when he needed her!?)
The boy scrunched up his face. "Jii-san! I told you not to call me that. I've grown up!"
He patted the young one's hair fondly. "Not enough, brat."
"I'm eight-years-old, Jiisan!" Shiro settled for a scowl and crossing his arms over his chest. It made Naruto chuckle.
"So, where are you off to now? Did Sakura-chan send you grocery shopping again?" There was unhidden mirth in his words. His nephew of some sorts hated buying the groceries (because it meant exposing himself to the crowd of fangirls that hovered over him everywhere) as much as Sasuke tending to the garden (because that meant not training and fighting cabbages instead), but still, they would both surrender to Sakura's... gentle orders more often than not.
He shook his head. "No, I'm running an errand for 'Tousan."
Naruto arched a brow, blue eyes twinkling with puzzlement. "For the teme? ...I mean, uh... your father?"
"Yes," Shiro nodded once. Then, the boy leaned in, seemingly to share a piece of secret information with his uncle. Naruto lowered down to his level and smiled conspiratorially. Shiro's voice dropped to a whisper. "He is sending me over to Ino-obaachan's to get some flowers for 'Kaachan. But he doesn't want to come himself because it might ruin the surprise."
He nodded, his eyes now sparkling with something altogether different to his previous confusion. Now there was mischief glinting in them. So Teme wanted to surprise their dearest Sakura, huh? And why did he get the idea that the fact of Sasuke of not going himself was partly due to avoid further embarrassment as it was? (For God knew how much Ino had tortured Sasuke prior to marrying Sakura, and especially when it came to wooing and romancing the pink-haired woman.) Hm, this was interesting.
"Really now, Shiro-chan?" Naruto's foxy grin spread through his face. His brain was already working quickly, scheming, scheming… Sakura would be proud.
At the nickname, Shiro scowled a bit but let it pass. The tone on his uncle's voice… Oh, he'd heard it before, and it always meant trouble. And trouble was always so much fun when it was linked to Uzumaki Naruto.
"Well, how about we do something to surprise your old man too, huh?" Naruto's eyes wrinkled around the corner once more as he offered his little accomplice a huge, foxy grin.
Who cared about reports, anyway? This was the opportunity he had been waiting for and he was going to take it. Tsunade would have to wait, for mischief was contagious, like in the old days.
"So, firstly, Sakura-chan is not home, right?" Naruto asked very seriously.
The boy looked up at him conspiratorially. "She's on her way to your house, Jiisan. She took Keiko-chan over there to play with Mina-chan and Hinata-obaachan."
"Hmm," the blonde man rubbed his chin thoughtfully, "Good, that means the teme is alone on the compound, hmm? Very well, very well." He bent to the Uchiha child's level and told him, "Now listen, Shiro-ch… Shiro, first we need to get those flowers for you Kaa-chan, you do need to keep up with the promise you made with Sasuke. Then we need to find a way to help your old man sleep a bit, eh…"
Shiro looked up at his uncle curiously.
"Sasucakes, we're home!" Naruto yelled as they entered together the Uchiha household. As usual, he fingered the jingling bells in the porch of the house's entrance porch. He received a grunt coming from the office.
"Tadaima, tousan," Shiro mumbled as well. He ran to find a vase in which to place the flowers his father. It was difficult since most of them were secretly kept. It was known his uncle was a menace against vases ever since that one incident in which his father had left him, as a baby, alone in bed (only to fall later) because his Naruto-jiisan had literally crashed into their house.
Naruto found his way to his friend's private office, eyes wandering around the walls decorated with old Japanese paintings. He found Sasuke immersed in reading. "Eh… what are you doing, teme?"
Sasuke looked up at him and spared him a bored glance. "None of your business," he muttered in annoyance as he went back to the scrolls in his hands.
"Ah… but if it's just paperwork!" Naruto exclaimed as he circled the dark oak desk and quickly glanced at the papers Sasuke was focusing on. He laughed merrily and slapped Sasuke's shoulder in excitement. "Tsunade-baachan surely works you out, ne?"
Sasuke let out a surprised "Oaf!" when Naruto's large hand made contact with his back. He growled and turned to glare at the blond man. "Unlike idiots like you, I prefer to do my reports thoroughly," Sasuke stated with a matter-of-fact tone, grimacing as Naruto leaned down to peer at what he was writing down. Naruto's cheek was too close for comfort.
"Well, well…" Naruto straightened up, circling the desk once more to stand in front of his desk. "Then, I guess I'll have to play with Shiro-chan instead!" he pronounced, just as the aforementioned boy entered the office.
"Jii-san!" Shiro howled in disagreement, upset at the nickname.
Sasuke grunted and looked at the two for a good second before murmuring, "Don't break anything."
"Oh, you hurt me so!" Naruto dramatized. Then his eyes narrowed as pout transformed into a grin. "Just to prove you how reliable and good friend I am, I'm gonna get you a cup of tea. Come with me, Shiro."
"Okay!" The boy immediately forgot the previous distress and beamed at his uncle. Then, as if remembering something important, he ran up to his father, who looked at him expectantly. "Tousan, I left the flowers in your room like you asked. I used mom's favorite green vase."
The older Uchiha allowed himself a small smile and tousled the black-haired child's hair. "Thank you, son. Well done."
"Bleh!" Naruto mocked. "Come on, come on, Shiro! Let's leave your grumpy dad alone."
"Weirdo," Sasuke huffed as Naruto and Shiro retired from his office and once again returned to work. He would need to be alert, however, in case anything happened. With Naruto inside the house, one could never know.
And as he went back to work, meanwhile in the kitchen, it didn't take long for Naruto to brew a simple concoction of tea. To this he added three drops from a bottle he'd brought out from his jacket.
"Just a few drops of this, we stir…" Naruto eyed the beverage up-close. He nodded when the stirring was done to his satisfaction. "There!" He turned to the awaiting child. "Now, take this cup of tea to your father and run back over, ok?"
Shiro nodded obediently. "Yes!"
Sasuke stared at the Oolong tea a long time after Shiro neatly placed it in front of him with a plate of crackers next to it. The tea was still steaming. He brought it close to his nose and sniffed. It didn't smell bad nor could he notice on the surface any kind of strange substance. He stared at the crackers Shiro had provided for him as well, taking one between his fingers and playing idly with it. Naruto couldn't have added anything to these, he was sure. At last, he took a bite of the salty treat and swallowed.
Nothing had happened. Good.
He glanced back at the tea. Sasuke would hate to admit it, but he was actually quite thirsty, not having something to drink for over two hours. Sighing, the brooding ninja decided he might as well try it and was surprised, then, that it actually tasted good. Surely, Naruto couldn't have tricked him this once.
It wasn't long, however when he realized how wrong he had been. Naruto had indeed helped him to sleep, just like he had promised the Uchiha's offspring.
"What the… Damn it… Naruto… just what the hell…?" His long fingers reached to his temples in an attempt to massage them lightly.
Uchiha Sasuke cursed once more as everything became unexpectedly blurry.
"Naruto-jiisan?" Shiro looked up questioningly at his uncle, who was peering into the office and looking very pleased with himself. Shiro wasn't as happy however; he was frowning with worry and regret. "What are we going to do now? Tousan is going to get very mad when he wakes up."
Naruto looked kindly at the boy, understanding his concern. "Don't worry, your Tousan will be happy because we've helped him rest," the blonde shinobi told him as he quietly closed the door of the studio. He smiled in complicity. "You know how hard it is for him to get some decent sleep."
"Oh," Shiro considered it for a moment. It was indeed true that his father had trouble to succeed falling asleep. Then again, his Naruto-jiisan would never lie to him, either. And even if his father did get mad, he knew his mom would be happy to hear his insomniac father had taken a nap. That was enough for him. "Ok," he nodded as he trailed after said uncle.
"Well, kiddo, follow me. I think it's time I pass down onto you my great wisdom," he explained as they walked over to the backyard. "I'm gonna teach you the best technique ever, dattebayo!" Naruto looked very proud. "It's a jutsu that will surely impress all the boys and girls in your class. Even your teacher will be surprised that you can handle this high-class technique."
Shiro scrunched up his nose, he didn't want to upset Naruto but he told him sincerely: "But Tousan already taught me the katon jutsu…"
"No, no!" he reprimanded, cutting short the youngling's reply with flailing arms. "This is way better than throwing fireballs from your throat."
Shiro arched a brow incredulously. What was more impressive than that at his age? "Then what technique is it?"
Naruto cleaned his own throat to gain the kid's attention. "Don't worry, you'll find out shortly. Now, watch carefully; we'll be starting with the correct hand seals. You need to move your fingers like this. Got it?"
"Yes," the boy confirmed as he paid attention to his uncle's hands. His father had explained it would take a while before he could learn the Chidori… but perhaps, perhaps Naruto-jiisan was going to teach him the Rasengan already? He watched in earnest.
Naruto proceeded to show him the appropriate hand movements once again, fingers crossing like this and that, reminding him that his hands had to be moving in perfect synchronization with chakra flows as they had taught him at the Academy. Shiro repeated them, one after the other, until he'd memorized the way it was to be done (feeling strange, as he didn't remember the Rasengan using this kind of hand seals at all; so perhaps it was the shadow clone technique?).
"Ok, you've managed the seals quite well. No doubt you're my Sakura-chan's kid." Naruto nodded in excitement. His orange suit was bright in July's blaring sun. "Now, for the final touch, you need to know the name of what I am teaching you, right? This is going to be the best gift when Sasuke sees it…" Naruto told him excitedly as Shiro nodded, even when the boy was thinking that that should have been the first step. "Repeat with me: oiroke no jutsu!"
"Oiro… what?" Shiro looked at his uncle with great surprise, unable to get the name correctly. He felt a bit disappointed that it was not the Rasengan, after all. But still, if Naruto-jiisan said it was so great…
"Oiroke!" he exclaimed. "Now try it, dattebayo!"
"But, Naruto-jiisan, I've never seen this technique done before," the boy replied worriedly.
"Hmm… I guess it is better if I show you first. Watch closely and listen well," he told him. Of course, the kid had never seen his great technique in action and would need to see it at least once to know what to expect. He was going to be surprised, Naruto told himself, as he began moving his hands in a number of seals and then screamed: "OIROKE NO JUTSU."
A "poof" sound was made and Naruto was enveloped in a cloud of white smoke before Shiro's incredulous, midnight blue eyes.
"Oh," a feminine voice, sharply interjected as the puff of smoke slowly started to dissipate. "What are you guys doing?"
"Sa-Sa-Sakura-chan." Naruko was standing in Naruto's place, hands flying to cover exposed parts. There was an extremely shocked and nervous smile on the blond woman's face. "You are home early. Uh, nothing, nothing… We're just playing."
"OOOOOOOOOOOOOH!" Shiro was looking at her, wide-eyed. He looked back at his mother and pointed at Naruto's transformed body. "'Kaachan! Uncle Naruto has boobies!"
The young mother's pink brow twitched. That couldn't be good. Her free hand was clenching into a fist.
"Kaachan! Shiro-chan said boobies!" The three-year-old girl holding onto her other hand exclaimed, bursting into a fit of giggles.
That was all Sakura needed. She softly but hurriedly ushered Shiro and Keiko into the house. Soon after, her fist was glowing with green energy and her eyes flashing with such anger that it made Naruto shudder.
"Sakura-chaaaaaaan! I'm sorry, please, please, stoop! Ahhh!" He was running as fast as his feet let him. Sakura was just as fast, chasing him as he uselessly pleaded for his life. "Please, Sakura-chan, really! Sorry, sorry, sorry!!"
Sakura wouldn't have a word. Her fists connected a few times with Naruto's cheek and chest, but she didn't have enough. "YOU… YOU…!"
"Sakura, what's going on in here?" Sasuke interjected, still visibly sleepy and hair completely tousled.
Sasuke tried to hide a yawn that was cut short when he realized just what was happening in his backyard. His kids were sitting by his feet on the porch, swinging their little legs as they watched interestedly. Then there was his pink-haired wife chasing Naruto, looking just like a madwoman, and Naruto was running about, boobs bouncing and pigtails flying about…
"SAKURA-chaaaaaaaan!" Naruto huffed, pausing to change back into his male form. Sakura conceded him the pause as she bended over to recover her breath; Naruto's moment of peace was cut short when she straightened up to look at him with that crazed glint on her eyes once more. "P-please, please, don't. I want to see my kids grow up!"
"Look, Tousan," Shiro stood up to show him, moving little fingers into the animal signs Naruto had taught him. "Naruto-jiisan is teaching me how to do the Oiroke no jutsu to impress my friends!"
Sasuke narrowed his eyes and stopped the child's practice, placing his hand on top. "Forget that, your mother will be sad if you use it. I'll teach you something better tomorrow," he explained to the bewildered boy, who after comprehending the last sentence simply beamed at his father. Shiro bend down to sit again with his amused sister.
Sasuke looked back at the whimpering man; he had something to say to Naruto about this too, but it could wait, Sakura was doing a fine job. "Che… That imbecile."
"Tousan! No cursing!" Shiro scolded adamantly, covering his Keiko's ears with his small hands.
Sakura paid no heed to either of them.
"Today was fun, Jiisan," the eight-year-old grinned up at him. "Let's play again soon, ok?"
"Yeah, back there at you, kiddo." Naruto grinned back, muscles aching as he tried to move his shoulder. Sakura certainly had something to say about his magnificent training. And then Sasuke had given him a piece of his mind too. He had two black eyes to prove that. "Tell your old man he should improve that left hook."
"I will, jiisan," Shiro grinned. "And tell I said 'hi' to Hinata-baachan, and Mina-chan, and the baby!"
The bright-haired man nodded. "Sure…" He waved at the child and turned around to leave.
Naruto grinned, despite the pain on his swelling face, simple days like these were what made his life so great.
Oh, my… Hinata-chan was going to be really maaaaaaaad if she found out.
Disclaimer: Naruto and its characters belong to Kishimoto-sensei. I only own the plot, if any, and Shiro (and the other kids).
I'm sorry for the lateness, I haven't been writing or editing drafts in a very long time. This draft was actually begun as far as December 21st 2007.
I had much I wanted to write for this chapter and there was a mess with flashbacks within flashbacks within flashbacks… and you get the drill. I took a major decision in moving my opening scene after Naruto's story-telling, but I think it was for the best.
I decided that, this being more about Naruto and Shiro, it was going to be more light-hearted. I think, in this way, each chapter reflects my idea of the characters: Sasuke is angsty, Naruto funny… Sakura will probably be drama and love, with lot of self-sacrifice… sort of. Who knows?
In this story, Shiro first is 4 (one year younger than in the past chapter), then a few months old in the flashback, and finally 8 in the rest of the story. Keiko, who is Shiro's younger sister, is 3 and Naruto's first child, Minako is 4 (Naruto making a tribute to his father?); Hinata is expecting, as mentioned on the fic, and it's an unnamed boy…
Concerning the child's name… I should have thought of actually looking for name meanings BEFORE I settled on Shiro (though to be truthful, I pretty much thought... ah! This is it! And couldn't change my mind even when other names came up.) For a moment I thought Shiro could be my character's complete name. But when I did some research, it turned out that it stands for the "fourth born son". And, you see, my Shiro is certainly not the fourth. So I'm probably going to settle in Toushiro (talented and/or intelligen) or Shiroki (white).
And so, chapter two finishes. One more to go.
Thanks to everyone that has left a review, they've encouraged me to keep writing even if my mind seems to be all set on school right now. (Thank God it's over for now!). Please do so once again if you've liked this one.