I know this one is extremely short, but so have most of the other chapters been lately. There is a new update on my profile explaining this matter, not to mention the fact that it's getting difficult to write this story and not have it greatly contradict the manga.

Nightfall came with the lack of stars to light the sky. Instead, a multitude of lightning, and many rumbles of thunder assaulted their eyes and ears.

One particularly close bolt of lightning startled Temari so badly that she dropped a plate she was carrying. The shattering of the china when it hit the floor woke her son who then went running straight into Shikamaru's arms even as he tried to help Temari pick up the pieces of the ruined plate. Hayai's screaming woke up Akaiko, who grabbed Itachi, who jumped up and grabbed Obito.

The twins had been crying the whole time, though. It was their first thunderstorm, let alone one so close by. Sakura was frantic trying to find a way to calm them down, ordering an unwilling Suna girl to follow her example with each change she made, trying to remember what she'd done with her first three to get them calmed down durring their early storms. Nothing short of messing with their systems with chakra was working, and she certainly wasn't going to do that to a baby.

"Oh, I quit!," the Suna girl, Natsu, walked out of the room and shoved Nami into Sasuke's arms. "You're their father. YOU do something!"

When the girl was passed over, she quieted immediately, leaving Natsu, Sasuke, and Sakura all confused. Thus, Sakura began yelling at him.

"Oh, Kaa-san's really mad now..." Obito said, almost conspiratorially, to his brother and sister.

"But why?" Akaiko asked, confused. "I thought she wanted Usagi and Nami to be quiet. Nami is quiet now that Sasuke-san has her. She shouldn't be yelling!"

Both boys were quiet, at a loss themselves. When Sakura handed over her youngest son and walked off in a huff, all three cringed.

"Akaiko-nee-chan?" Itachi grabbed her hand. "Don't grow up like Kaa-san. Please? I don't want another scary woman around."

A shadow fell over them, in the shape of a man. "What are you three doing out of bed?"

All three lashed out at once, startled because they hadn't yet identified the man. Obito kicked at one knee, while Itachi went for a foot, and Akaiko jumped up to try and hit the man in the face. Instead, she ended up being brought up into his arms and tickled roughly, her brothers pushed back to the floor with ease. The man's wet clothing was so saturated that she was soaked by the time he put her down and completely shook off the boys.

"Can I get a towel now?" Kakashi asked, happy that someone had thought to turn on a light when Akaiko shrieked. It revealed his identity and let him know someone was being a bit more watchful around here. Sure, he'd kept himself hidden very well up until that point, but he'd meant to catch someone doing something a bit naughty, and he'd gotten his wish in the form of three peeping toddlers.

But that wasn't the only reason.

"What are you doing here, Hatake-sama?" Shikamaru queried, holding his still crying son close to his chest. "I thought you weren't due for another day, meaning two...?"

"Plans changed," Kakashi straightened up. "You and your family, along with all the Suna-nin have to get out quickly. The Konoha Council of Elders has sent out a group of old ROOT ANBU to check the area out at dawn. Leave no trace."

"Why are they still using them?" hissed another voice, trying not to shout and wake the babies again, or startle Hayai once more. "I thought they were all being kept under very close watch after the things Sai revealed once his seals were removed."

Kakashi nodded, "Yes, that's true, Sasuke. They're being watched by fifty more ANBU that I trained alongside. I went ahead as a scout, so I know where they're camping for the night. You won't have long once dawn comes, sunny or not. Leave."

"But he just got the twins to quiet down again," Shikamaru rolled his eyes in annoyance. "And what about Sakura? Who will be here with her when you all come through in the morning? I can't stay, and nobody from Suna can. Though, you could just give them what they were sent out for and make Uchiha stay. I'll be happier."

Sasuke snapped back at him, "Easy for you to say. You're not the one they want to kill in order to cover up a string of mistakes in the past."

"I didn't give them reason to keep hunting me," Shikamaru spat.

Kakashi stepped in, seeing the coming fight, "Cool it! Now get out of here! There's two teams coming around the back way to take up with her in your place. All of them friends who know what's going on. Now, go."

Shikamaru hugged Hayai just a little tighter and looked over his shoulder to consult Temari in nothing more than a series of looks and small gestures. Though Temari was actually in charge of every Suna citizen, she always heard him out before making a full decision on things like this. Shikamaru wanted to stay, but Temari overruled him. They would all be going.

The two teams were entering the back of the farm house already...but the front door was also opening...

"Matsuri!" Shikamaru whispered harshly, "take Hayai out the window with the rest of out Suna-nin. Quickly!"

"Shikamaru?" Temari looked over, about to object.

"I'm not taking any chances with him," Shikamaru answered.

Sakura looked her own children over. The first lock on the front door was disabled, and the second of three was going pretty quickly. She couldn't hear what the people who filed in from the back were saying to Kakashi, but she knew that if the people at the front really were friendlies, she wouldn't have to wonder what was being said. Hell, they wouldn't be coming through the front door period.

"Sasuke," Sakura turned to him, "go. Take them with you."

"Like hell--"

"They are the future of your clan, Sasuke!" she hissed, wanting to yell but knowing better than to raise too much suspicion. "You can't be seen here in any fight. So, you can take those children with you and let the rest of us sort this out, or you can fight here and risk all their lives!"

One of the people from the back door approached her. Neji's kekke genkai was active. He had to inform them, however, "It's too late for that. We're completely surrounded by Mizu-nin."

"Is there anywhere the children can be kept?" Tenten asked from her husband's side.

Matsuri spoke up, "We can take them to the cellar. It's like a well-house. The spring has a hidden drain."

"She's right," Sakura agreed. "I put the genjutsu over the exit to that drain the moment we found it. They can't have found it yet!"

"And if they did, they'd be burned to death..." Sasuke added, "so how do you expect them to make it out of the drain alive?"

"The secondary tunnel," Matsuri shrugged.

"How will you clear that out?" Sakura queried.

The second lock popped. Both teams that had just arrived were quietly taking up positions near the door.

Matsuri's brother raised a hand, "I can do that."

"It's the best we're going to get right now," Shikamaru nodded. "Go."

"Sasuke, you too," Kakashi ordered.

Sasuke looked down at the tiny faces in his arms. One drooling a little, and the other with a snot crusted nose. There was a time he would have been disgusted and forced them onto someone else to clean up. Now, though, he loved. And he loved that drooling mouth and that snot crusted nose. He made them. They were his to protect. He had to protect them.

"Only for their sakes," he grunted back at Kakashi, then turned his eyes to the triplets. "You three keep close to me. Got it?"

The third lock popped. Matsuri took off with Hayai in her arms. Her brother scooped up Itachi and Obito, one per arm, while Akaiko dashed behind him, her father on her heels with Nami and Usagi secured in his arms. Natsu, the third Suna-nin on Matsuri's team, hesitated. She didn't really want to go with the others, but one look from Temari was enough to light a fire under her ass.

Sakura held back at first. When the door opened, the Mizu-nin stopped dead in their tracks when they saw the Konoha-nin facing them, all nothing but black figures to their eyes except with the flashes of lightning.

"Hand over Uchiha Sasuke," the lead Mizu-nin ordered.

No one answered him.

"We know you're harboring an internationally wanted criminal by the name of Uchiha Sasuke," the woman spoke again. "Konoha has broken its agreement in capturing him, and thus it has fallen from the Shinobi Alliance and is subject to war on all fronts from the Shinobi Alliance. You will hand over this criminal, or we will engage you here, and we will take prisoners."

Sakura chose to turn on the lights. "Take me instead of him."

"What the hell are you doing?" Kakashi demanded. He didn't know what was worse; her showing off all of their positions and faces, or her offering herself up in Sasuke's place. "You can't just--"

"I can," Sakura cut him off. "I am."

The Mizukage herself was standing before them. No one had expected that woman to be coming for Sasuke here.

"Haruno Sakura?" the woman asked, just as shocked to be addressed by Sakura as the rest of them were to see the Mizukage among them. "The woman Sasuke has had spitting out his kids for him? What a pleasant surprise..."

"There's a lot of surprises tonight," Sakura nodded. "Like you bringing so many people here to attack us. Sasuke is not here."

"Then why are you here with so many other Konoha and Suna nin?" the older woman asked knowingly.

Sakura already had her answer, "My children are under attack in Konoha. This was the only way to protect them."

"Now why don't I quite believe that?" Godaime Mizukage asked, taking a few confident strides into the room towards Sakura. "Your Kage is known to have hunted down their father relentlessly, but never to kill him like the rest of us have. You were with him most of those times. And, as I hear it, your Elder Council wants to re-develop the Sharingan as their tool again. Seeing as the only surviving official shinobi of Konoha to have the Sharingan is unable to pass it on, and no one has dared take it from him... Sasuke has to be somewhere near here. If he's attentive enough to make the children, he should be around at least a little while after they're born, right?"

"That is not how these children were conceived, Mizukage-sama," Sakura said, still very confident, and meaning her respect for the woman before her. "I am a medic-nin, and many people believe that I have surpassed my teachers. I have other ways of getting pregnant besides the conventional means and conventional medicine. The Hokage's son is a perfect example of that."

"So then, you're going around and stealing the foetuses of women that Uchiha Sasuke knocks up? I doubt it. The girl has your hair, and the boys have a few of your features, too. The Hokage's son has no features of yours. I know that you aren't telling the truth. Where is he?"

"Not here."

"Chojuro," the Mizukage called, "you heard her. She wants to be taken in Uchiha Sasuke's place. Bind her and bring her with us."