Another chapter is now ready for those out there that actuallly give a damn. I know it's been...*Checks calender...Then a Sundial...*Dammit...over 5 months since the last update? Like I've explained before, my mind is a cluttered place right now and I've had this chapter sitting half finished for a couple of months. I just finished it while eating in a Denny's, hoping that some food would help. I guess it did. Now, I'm sitting in a Starbucks, using their free Wi-Fi to upload it. Damn, that Java Chip is good...
Anyway...If you want a re-cap, read back a chapter to get back up to speed.
Six people flickered just beyond the door to Sarutobi's office, startling the poor secretary who was getting ready to leave for the night.
"AHH! WHAT THE...WHO THE...?!" Yoshino Nara yelled at them.
"Easy there...We're here to see Hokage-jii." Kushina informed her weakly.
Yoshino's gaze went wide-eyed at the haggard condition her old friend was in. She was carried in by her eldest son with her other two children in tow, Rin and the young man the Hokage welcomed to the village the pervious day. Kushina looked pale and tired, with bruises, cuts and scrapes.
"What happened to you?" She whispered.
"We can't tell you right now, but we will later. Is Hokage-jii here?" The red head asked.
"Y-Yes...Here, go in." The Nara woman replied, opening the door in a hurry and the group all entered the office quickly to see Sarutobi waiting for them.
"I was hoping to get a little quality time with my book..." The old Hokage grumbled before turning to face the newcomers.
"Oh...You're here. Now, will you please explain WHY Kakashi tried to kill you, Kushina?" Sarutobi asked, to which they all took turns explaining. His expression afterwards was NOT a happy one. He just learned that his old teammates could possibly be conspiring to overthrow him along with certain shinobi and the Civilian Council...Seriously, how would YOU feel?
"He has brought shame to his father's name and has spit upon the teachings of his sensei, as well as what it means to be Konoha shinobi. These offenses are bad enough by themselves, but he has not only conspired to sedition, he also tried to murder the wife of his sensei. The consequences for these actions will be very severe." Sarutobi said as he looked over Kushina, who was standing with some assistance from her two eldest.
"Are you alright? Will I need to summon a medic?" He asked until Rin coughed.
"Right...Sorry." He added sheepishly as Rin got to work on healing her injuries and purging the poison.
"Now...I want to know what will be done. He went too far with trying to kill my mother after she just came back into our lives. Who will be his interrogator?" Anko demanded.
"Ibiki will be handling this one and Inoichi will be backing him with a mind dive to see what else they can find." Sarutobi informed her.
"WHAT? WHY CAN'T I DO IT?" Anko yelled.
"You should know why, Anko. You are involved in this case so any evidence you submit will be considered comprimised. Please...Try to understand." The old man told her. She looked like she was about to protest, but she knew that he was right and relented.
"I wanna see that bastard fry! I never knew her until a few months ago and we nearly lost her to that asshole!" Naruto exclaimed, Haku and Ichigo nodding behind him, Ichigo giving a fierce scowl that was almost daring him to go lightly on the Copy-nin and Haku's frosty gaze was leaving a chill in the air.
"Easy...I will do whatever I can to make sure he gets a stiff punishment for this. I cannot guarantee the desired outcome, but rest assured that I will try." Sarutobi assured them but remembered the slight bit of news that he had heard from his son, Asuma.
"By the way...I believe that congradulations are in order, my boy. Didn't I tell you over a year ago that you'd find the right one?" The old man smirked as they discussed further arrangements, such as location and the fact that he offered to officiate over the marriage personally.
He proposed using Hokage Mountain as the place, since the time frame coincided with the blossoming of the Cherry Blossom Trees in the nearby orchard. They all loved the idea and Kushina told Rin that the cake and flowers were already taken care of. Miho Haruno came forward to both design and create a wedding cake while the Yamanaka's would handle the floral arrangements. Hiashi and Tsume were offering to have some of their clans provide security for the ceremony, while Chouza Akimichi and Teuchi Ichiraku were both wanting to provide catering, Chouza offering his entire restaurant, Shushuya's, for the reception and after party. Shikaku and Yoshino referred her to a tailor for the dresses and tuxedos for the groomsmen and bridesmaids, while Shibi and his wife Shina referred Kushina to a jeweler for the rings.
"Wow...You've been busy, mom." Ichigo replied to all of that in a daze.
"Eh...I could probably do better, but since it's one of MY boys getting married, I wanna pull out all the stops!" Kushina claimed, her spunk returning with the poison's removal.
"Oh! I still haven't told Ai-chan yet! I couldn't find her all day with what's been going on!" Rin exclaimed as she turned to her husband-to-be.
"I'll go and find her...I want her to be the Maid-of-Honor!" Rin yelled as she rocketed out of the building to find her best friend.
"Well, I think we should all get outta here and stop by that diner you boys love so much for some grub." Kushina suggested as they agreed and left as one big group.
"There is a storm coming...And I have a feeling that the Uzumaki family will be the target." Sarutobi murmured as he picked up his book.
"Oh well...Time to pick up where I left off!" The old closet pervert cheered as began reading again.
Outside of the tower, Airi had been waiting for them to come out and followed them, awaiting the chance to snag her objective alone.
They had all gotten home with full bellies and with Kushina in a much better mood as they all headed for their respective rooms to get some much needed sleep. Ichigo headed for his room and yawned loudly, tossing his blades, vest, and top off to the side and crashed into his bed with only his pants on...or he would have crashed into his bed but he hit something vastly different. He landed face first into a pair of suprizingly bountiful breasts, but that wasn't the real shocker. No...The real shock was who those breasts belonged to...one Airi Hyuuga.
"A-A-Airi?! Wh-What the hell are you doing here?!" He exclaimed as he tried to scramble off of the bed, but she held him fast by the waistband of his pants.
Her only answer was a light giggle.
"Ichigo-koi...Now I have you alone, all to myself without that selfish bitch to keep you from me..." She told him in a sultry voice as she tried to go for his waistband, but he held her off.
'No...This is SO wrong! There's something that's not right here!' He called out in his mind.
'I know what you mean. It's like something has a hold over her will...A hypnosis. A powerful one, at that.' Sakuhime answered him, trying to figure out what she was doing.
'Hypnosis? Come to think of it...Her chakra feels outta whack and her eyes are telling me that she's not here at the moment. Can you break it?' He asked his angelic friend.
'I believe I can, but you will need to immobilize her somehow.' Hime told him just as his door burst open to reveal the rest of his family...More like Kushina pulling a Shock and Awe on his door with the others following her in.
"WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE, 'ETTEBANE?!" Kushina roared, her long red locks rising up in their infamous tails.
Ichigo explained what was going on and she could feel that something wasn't kosher here, so she aided him in holding her down, Anko assisting.
"Hey, nii-san, wha...?" Naruto mumbled as he walked into the room with Haku, only to get their first eyeful of a woman's no-no parts and promptly faint from the overload.
"Saves me the trouble of yelling at 'em..." Kushina sighed in relief that her son and new addition to the family were such prudes as she struggled to hold the now irate Hyuuga woman down.
"UNHAND ME, YOU FILTHY WOMEN! I WANT TO BE WITH MY BELOVED!" She shrieked, getting the attention of yet another person, Rin, who was stopping by to tell them that she couldn't find Airi.
"Hey, guys? I couldn't find Airi...That's so wierd..." She said as she noticed what all the commotion was about.
"What the hell is she DOING?!" Rin yelled, to which Kushina explained and Rin felt for herself. Airi wasn't terribly pleased to see her and attempted to lash out, but was still restrained by Anko's snakes.
"Good! Hold her down and Hime can do the rest! HIME! DO IT!" He shouted.
"Here we go! LIBERATIO!" The Angel shouted as a wave of purifying light washed over her target, who stopped struggling almost instantly.
"Did it work?" Anko asked.
"Her chakra is back to normal...Whatever Hime did fixed her." Rin answered as Ichigo draped his blanket over the nude Airi, who was starting to stir.
"Wha...? Where am I?" The Hyuuga maiden asked in a daze.
"You're in my son's room, Airi-chan. What's the last thing you can remember?" Kushina asked, kneeling down to meet her confused gaze.
"I...I remember that I was at the hospital. I was resting in the break room when someone came in..." She told them, straining her memory to remember anything else.
"Good...Who was it and what did they do to you?" Kushina encouraged.
"It was...Sharingan..." She murmured, her memory of that moment broken due to how forcefully the technique was used on her, but the mention of the Sharingan said it all.
"Kakashi...That son of a bitch...He tried to turn my own friend against me..." Rin snarled with all of the hate and rage she could muster.
"R-Rin? I have to talk with you about something...In private." Airi spoke up.
"Wh-what's wrong?" Rin asked, but she noticed that her eyes were flickering back and forth between her and Ichigo. Kushina got the hint, though.
"Alright, c'mon Icchan, Anko-chan. Help me get these two prudes to bed. A little sleep'll help set 'em straight. I think seeing Ai-chan's body like that made Naru-chan hit puberty!" Kushina snickered as she hefted her youngest son onto her shoulder while Ichigo picked up Haku, delievering them to their beds and Anko giving them space.
Now that they were alone, Airi felt that she could get what had been bothering her off of her chest.
"Rin-chan...Remember a couple of weeks ago you asked me if there was something wrong?" Airi asked.
"Yeah...Come to think of it, you've a little depressed...Care to tell me why?" Rin replied with a question of her own.
"Yeah...How come you didn't tell me that you and Ichigo-kun were getting married? Didn't you trust me?" She asked, nearly pleading with her for an honest answer.
"Well...I didn't know until last night. I was going to tell you today, but all of this happened..." Rin answered, but noticed that her friend still had something to say.
"There's something else...Isn't there?" Rin asked.
Airi couldn't hold it in anymore. She just let it all out.
"I...I was so jealous of you! That was how Kakashi was able to do that to me! I'm in love with him, too, but...You're my best friend...I couldn't tell you that I want the one you're with! I wanted you guys to be happy!" Airi cried, finally getting her confession off of her chest.
Rin didn't know what to say. On one hand, she now knew that Airi was in love with her fiancee and she was a little peeved about it, but she came out and told her in private instead of trying to go behind her back. On top of that, it was better to find out about this now rather than later on down the road and get blindsided with it. She was still her best friend and she needed to say something.
"Ai-chan...I don't really know what to say about this. Part of me wants to keep you away from him, but I know that all of this just now was brought on by that bastard Kakashi. I just don't know what to do..." Rin told her friend sadly until the Uzumaki matriarche made her presence known in the room.
"K-Kushina-san! I-I'm so sorry about what happened!" Airi exclaimed with a yelp.
"Don't worry about it, dear. It was that asshole Kakashi that started this." Kushina waived off the apology, but addressed the second issue that she just overheard.
"But...I DID overhear that you've taken such a shine to my eldest son. As you know, the CRA clause that Naruto will fall under enables him to take more than one bride. What you didn't know was that Ichigo-kun ALSO falls under that clause. Unfortunately, he's already declined it once. You might be able to convince him to take it, but don't get your hopes up." Kushina told Airi regrettably.
Airi looked as if she was going to cry, but she swallowed her tears and relented. It was Ichigo's decision, after all, and if he declined, she decided that would honor his wishes.
'It'll be tough at first...But... If he declines, I have to let him go. I shouldn't keep chasing after what's not mine to take...' Airi reasoned as she wiped away her tears.
"I...I understand. A lot of guys would have jumped at the chance to have a harem of girls, but he didn't. It's just not for some people and he never knew how I felt for him." The Hyuuga woman reasoned.
Rin couldn't believe that she was giving up so easily. At first, she wasn't willing to share him with just anyone, but if it was Airi...
'Maybe...That wouldn't be so bad. She would never betray us and loves him just as must as I do. If he decides to take the CRA, this will work. I need to talk about this with him first with Kushina, then let Airi tell him about how she feels.' Rin thought.
"Ai-chan...Don't give up so easily! I...If it's you, then...I would be willing to share him. You're my best friend...like a sister to me and I don't want things to get wierd between us, not after all we've been through together. We've known each other since we were little girls and nearly grew up together. If you were willing to give him up just for me, then you've just earned the right to claim him alongside me." Rin told her honestly.
Kushina smiled at her answer. She knew Rin was a smart girl and would find a way to resolve this on her own. Airi was also a very intelligent young woman with a very kind soul, just like her elder sister Hitoe and her niece Hinata.
'Both of my boys are getting the cream of the crop for brides and I'm gonna be up to my armpits in grandbabies! All we need is a good man for Anko-chan...Maybe Iruka-chan can fit the bill!' The red head cheered, a talk with a certain Chuunin in mind.
Airi couldn't believe her ears. Rin had accepted her.
'Now...All we need is to tell Ichigo-kun how I feel and hopefully he accepts me, too.' Airi thought, a spark of hope coming alive within her.
As luck would have it, the man in question was walking back into his room to get a little sleep.
"Hey...What're you all still doing in my room?" He yawned loudly.
"Ichigo-kun...Ai-chan and I have something that we really need to talk to you about." Rin told him.
"Aw man...Can this wait till morning?" He whined. He had a long day and it was already 2 in the morning.
"Please, Ichigo-kun...This is very important and we need you to listen." Airi urged.
"Well...Uh...If it's that important..." He replied, leaving his statement hanging as the girls got started.
"Icchan...Do you remember when you first came here, what you talked about with the Hokage?" Rin asked him, making him think while half asleep. That usually doesn't work out too well. When he's sleepy like he is now, he's about as sharp as a sack of wet mice.
"*Yawn* Lemme' get some coffee, first. We can talk about this over a fresh cup." He told them in mid yawn, leading them down to the kitchen.
Once there, they threw on a fresh pot of coffee to keep themselves aware and functional. Now, with caffine running in their systems, they continued their chat, starting from where they left off.
"I...Think I remember. The old goat was saying something about starting a clan and being forced to get married." Ichigo recanted for them.
"Well...Keep that in mind. Ai-chan...Has something she wants to tell you." Rin said as she let Airi have the floor. Airi was very nervious, understandibly so, but Rin gave her an encouraging nudge.
"I-Ichigo-kun...I...From the moment I first met you, I felt there was something special about you. I...Fell in love with you over time. But...Since you were Rin-chan's boyfriend, I held myself back from saying anything. I hid it from everyone...even her. I didn't want to feel so jealous of her. She is my best friend and I shouldn't have lusted after what's hers, but I couldn't stop myself from feeling that way about you...I'm sorry..." Airi stammered out, choking back a sob as she fought with everything she had to keep from running away.
Ichigo was stunned, if not a gross understatement. This was blowing his damn mind! Airi was easily one of the prettiest girls he knew as well as one of the most kind and nurturing. She was also very graceful in many ways, yet she was able to roll up her sleeves and get her hands dirty with the best of them. She and Rin shared so many qualities that it made his mind spin. He needed some help to sort things out, so he used his link with Sakuhime to ask her what to do.
'Well...Ai-chan is a wonderful girl and Rin-chan DID say to keep your conversation with Jiji-chan in mind. Maybe it has something to do with that.'The angelic being reminded him.
'Right. I have a feeling that if I had met Airi first...We would be getting married soon, too. Damn...This is so confusing.' He lamented in his head as Rin started to speak.
"Icchan? You can tell me what you think. You have my word that I won't get hurt or offended." Rin swore.
"Well, um...Airi, you are a very beautiful woman inside and out and I'd have to be blind not to notice that. I have this feeling that...If I had met you first, I would have asked you to marry me. I have this feeling that you would have been a wonderful bride and wife." Ichigo told her honestly, making Airi's heart leap.
'He really would have loved me!' She cheered in her head.
Rin was happy with that answer. She now felt even better about the bombshell she was about to drop.
"Icchan...You mother told me something very interesting an hour ago that would solve our problems. Naruto-chan isn't the only one under the CRA. You are also eligible for it and you have two women who would love nothing more than to marry you...If you will accept it." Rin said, laying it all out before him to choose.
Before he could get a thought in edge wise, Hime put her two cents in.
'Oh la la...TWO girls, Ichigo-kun? And these girls are EXACTLY the type that will never break your heart. They're just like Hitomi, don't you think?' She told him.
The mere mention of his first love made him give some serious thought to this CRA business. At first, he thought that women would be forced into it so he rejected it, but these two were doing this completely of their own free will and were willing to share him. After going over more Pros and Cons about this situation, he came to a decision.
"I'll...Do it." He said, kissing Airi on the cheek.
"I'd have to be stupid to throw Ai-chan's feelings back in her face after she risked so much to tell me. The CRA offers us all a way to have a happy ending...And I love you both very much." He admitted to them.
Airi looked over at Rin as if asking for permission for something. Rin simply nodded with a smile as the blanket-clad Hyuuga maiden nearly tackled the hapless strawberry, kissing him full on the lips. Rin knelt over to him and gave him a kiss of her own, and with no less passion, either.
"I guess some adjustments will have to be made to the wedding plans." A voice called out from the bannister.
Kushina was listening in on the conversation and was pleased with the way they all handled the situation. She was very pensive about the idea due to how her attempt at it went. You see, she and Mikoto Uchiha had tried the exact same thing with Minato. Fugaku found out that Mikoto had honest feelings for Minato and that she and herself were both dating him, so he pulled the rug out from under them by evoking his rights as Clan Leader to take a bride. Un-surprizingly, he chose Mikoto and forced her to marry him within the week. Within the month, she was pregnant with Itachi since the clan elders demanded an heir. There was nothing she nor they could do to stop it since the Hokage was forbidden from interfereing in Clan affairs at the time, something that Minato had wanted to change the moment he became Hokage. Even though she was married to Fugaku, she told Kushina that her heart still belonged to Minato, up until the night she died.
Just thinking about the heartache Fugaku had caused was spoiling Kushina's good mood and she tried to put it out of her mind, but she couldn't help but think that if Fugaku hadn't pulled that stunt, Mikoto would still be alive today. She placed the blame for her death squarely on his shoulders, but was still really pissed off at the council and at Itachi for killing her. He wasn't number one on her shitlist right now, but he was close enough that she wanted him broken and bleeding at her feet in the worst way. Mikoto would die of shame if she saw what became of her sons. Oh yes...The Uzumaki matriarche owed the council and the remaining Uchihas the asskicking of a lifetime.
"M-MOM?! You were listening to all this?!" He exclaimed.
"Yeah...I couldn't get back to sleep, so I decided to see how this all turned out. Besides, you really need to lay off the coffee, kiddo. You're like a zombie without the stuff in the mornings." Kushina commented idly, while digging in her ear with her pinky in a most unlady-like fashion. But then again, this WAS Kushina, biggest tomboy on the planet when she was younger. To those who knew the woman, shock and surprize at anything related to her was overrated.
"D-do you approve then?" Airi asked of the woman who might become her future mother-in-law.
"Hey...It's his choice and he's a big boy. But...for the record? Welcome to the family, Ai-chan." Kushina replied as she hopped down from the bannister and pulled the half-naked young woman into an embrace. Now normal people would use the stairs, but since when was a house full of shinobi considered normal? To her, stairs were for wimps and non-hackers.
"I'll go with you when you tell Hiashi about this and help to explain, but I know he'll give his blessing." Kushina explained to her, making her feel easier about telling her much older brother in law.
"For now though, I'll lend you some of my clothes so you won't have to use my son's blanket as a dress to go home at almost 3 in the morning." Kushina smirked as she led the young ladies up stairs to her bedroom while Ichigo himself...Conked out at the dining table.
When the women came back down, they found him out cold at the table, sawing logs with his body slumped forward and forehead on the table. Kushina just sighed.
"That son of mine...He'll sleep anywhere. Well...Since it's so late, you girls just share his bed and he'll sleep here. I don't have work tomorrow and neither does Anko, and I'm guessing Team 8 will have some down time, as well." Kushina told them as she turned to them and clapped her hands.
"Come on...Let's go." She told them in a motherly fashion as she herded them back upstairs and off to bed. Once that was done, she put herself down as well.
THE NEXT MORNING...AROUND NOON OR SO...
The rest of the household managed to pry themselves out of bed around high noon due to the late hours they kept the previous night because of Kakashi's crap. Haku and Naruto rolled out of bed and poured themselves into a chair in the kitchen to find Airi already in the kitchen humming a happy tune with their mom's pink apron on, making breakfast and the others already there.
"Good morning, boys." She greeted the two youngest members of the household, who yawned and flopped their heads on the table until Kushina banged the table, getting them to perk up with a shared gasp.
"Heads up, boys. Manners..." She chided with a smirk, turning to the young Hyuuga maiden.
"Ai-chan, thank you for cooking breakfast. I really appreciate it, especially after the night we've had." The red head thanked her as she took a tug on her coffee.
"Airi-san is that good of a cook? Like Anko-san?" Haku asked curiously.
"She really is. If she ever quit being a nurse at the hospital, she could open up her own restaurant." Rin replied as the woman in question called out from the kitchen.
"Food's ready!" Airi announced as she brought a huge skillet filled with a rice stir fry and piled it onto their plates. Haku took his first bite of her cooking and was surprized yet again as his tongue was assualted by a flavor explosion.
"Wow...This is really good!" Haku exclaimed. He was really coming to enjoy all of this good cooking.
"Thank you, Haku-kun. But is it better than Anko-san's?" Airi teased.
Haku was about to give her a resounding yes, but he stole a look at Anko, who was daring him to say it. With a shudder, he realized that saying what he was about to say would have been tantamount to suicide.
"I...Think I'll decline to comment on that and just say that this is really, REALLY good." Haku answered, getting a nod from Anko that said "Good boy. You get to live another day.", while Airi couldn't pass up the chance to tease the boys and ease some of the tension that had been building as of late. She knew that it would be a little while still until things simmered down, and she still had to talk with Hiashi later today to inform him of this latest development.
The family plus extras all ate their breakfast in relative harmony, since nothing really fazed them for very long, and went to get dressed and go about their days. Naruto wanted to spar with Haku while Anko wanted to check out a new movie that came out, contemplating on dragging Kurenai with her. Rin was due for a shift at the hospital while Kushina would be talking with Hiashi with Airi. Ichigo shrugged and tried to go back to his room to sleep...but Kushina snagged him by the collar of his shirt.
"Oh no you don't, kiddo...You're coming with me. I'm not gonna hog ALL the fun for myself." She said as she told him to clean up and get dressed while she and Airi freshened up a bit, Kushina lending her some of her clothes. It was then that she discovered that Hyuuga's don't really look good in orange, prompting the red head to search deeper until she found a white sundress that barely caged in Airi's generous chest to a socially acceptible level.
'Geez...What is it with Hyuuga girls and huge boobs? I swear, that's the other Bloodlimit of the Hyuuga...Hitoe's were massive and Hinata's boobs are already getting there!' She grumbled as she managed to wrangle the young woman's breasts into the frock.
"Man...The passersby are gonna flip when they see this..." Kushina lightly cackled at the potential for pranks this presented. She could see any number of accidents happening. I mean, Airi had this shy expression with these...Massive boobs and a tight dress.
'The Hyuuga maiden's capacity for moé is truly a frightening thing...' Kushina thought.
After a few minutes, Ichigo came down, fully dressed and shaved. If he didn't, well...Let's just say that Kushina is really, REALLY good at getting her point across and just leave it at that.
"No son of mine'll smell like a wet yak in summer and look like a bum!"
Yeah...A good example is always best for children to follow, no matter what age they may be. A good, healthy dose of mortal terror helps, too.
All joking aside...The three were finally ready to head out to the Hyuuga compound to deliver the news to Hiashi about his much younger sister-in-law's decision.
Hiashi was busy pacing back and forth in the main tea room nerviously. He had been up all night, waiting to Airi to come home and he was worried sick. The servants had been bringing him cup after cup...after mug...all the way to whole pots of coffee to keep him going. By the end of all this, it was safe to assume that Hiashi and caffine weren't really compatable, especially since Hinata spooked him so easily when she told him that breakfast was ready. It took her, Neji, and a crowbar to pry him off of the ceiling. Now, his youngest daughter had taken to lightly mocking the now very highly strung Hyuuga Lord's movements and was about to pop a paper bag behind him to make him freak when he heard someone call for him.
"In here!" He squeaked out, but cleared his throat back to his normal, Clan Head voice.
"In here!" He called again. The shoji door slid open to reveal the one he'd been worried sick over, plus company.
"Airi! I'm so glad that you're safe! Hitoe would have killed me if something bad happened to you!" He fussed, the red, bloodshot veins around his eyes, his normally well kempt and groomed appearance now looking like he'd rolled out of a dumpster hot on the heels of a meth bender, making for a comical sight.
"And you told me to not look like a slob..." Ichigo whispered to his mother...Who stomped on his toes quickly.
"OWOWOWOW!" He whined, hopping around on one foot while he babied the other.
"That's right. What about it?" She countered, taking on a rough, Yakuza like tone and persona.
"Eh heh...Nothing, mother! You're right!" He quickly apologized. She changed gears on him so quickly that he was thrown off guard.
"Of course, sweetie!" She chirped as she pinched his cheek while Hiashi had his minor mental breakdown, Airi calming him down a bit.
"Ahem...I am very glad that you are in good health and the Kushina-san let you stay at her house, but I must ask, though, why is Ichigo-san here?" He asked, puzzled.
"Well, Nii-sama..." The 25 year old woman began to explain with a blush on her face. She started out with what happened with Hatake, which nearly made him go on an SND (Search and Destroy) mission for Hatake, but he was then told that they already handled the problem, with extreme prejudice. That seemed to satisfy him as he drank some tea to calm his nerves...Only to spit it back out when he was told of Airi's decision to marry Ichigo.
"B-But...I thought you were marrying Rin!" He exclaimed.
"He still is, Nii-sama. Kushina-san said that Ichigo-kun falls under the CRA just like Naruto-kun and since I came right out and told him and Rin-chan how I felt after all that happened, he accepted it and now...We're gonna get married!" Airi gushed.
Hiashi didn't know how much more his already frayed nerves could take. On the other hand, this was a happy occurance. He had been waiting for his much younger sister-in-law to find someone and now she finally had and he couldn't have been happier about who. He trusted that Ichigo would treat her right and that Kushina would be more than happy to take over Hitoe's role.
"Now...I will deal with the clan council should any issues arise. I will not let anyone ruin this happy occurance. I give my blessing to this union as the head of the Hyuuga." Hiashi announced.
"And I, Head of the Uzumaki, give mine." Kushina replied formally. She then turned to her eldest son.
"And there you go! One Hyuuga maiden, ready to go!" She chirped, making everyone sweatdrop.
"Mom...You made her sound like a takeout order." Ichigo facepalmed.
"Ooops! Sorry about that!" She replied.
"Typical, textbook Kushina..." Hiashi muttered, shaking his head in exasperation.
"I'm not THAT bad, am I?" She asked with a pout.
"Should I really answer that?" Hiashi asked with a with a dry look, an eyebrow arched.
"Anyway...C'mon! We still have people to talk with! Time's a wastin', kids!" Kushina belted out, dragging the two of them with her just as Hinata was coming to see what the commotion was about.
"Dad? What's going on?" She asked. She was answered with a grin.
"Your aunt Airi is getting married!" He told her happily.
"She is?! To who?!" Hinata gasped, her smile literally lighting up the room.
"To your sensei!" He told her. He explained that he fell under a special circumstance that allowed him to marry more than one girl. It made sense to Hinata, who knew that her aunt was still very young compared to her father and that she had feelings for her sensei for a while now. Hanabi came running in, asking to be the flower girl.
"Ne, papa...Can I?!" The knee-high heiress begged.
"You'd have to ask Airi, but I see no problem with it." He told the excited girl, who skipped out of the room merrily. Sure, it wasn't proper Hyuuga behavior, but he discovered that if they were happy, they were many times more effective.
"When is the wedding?" Hinata asked.
"I was told that it would be soon. Within a few months time and after the Chuunin Exams." Hiashi explained, Hinata getting excited. It got her to thinking about a wedding day that could possibly be hers to her Naruto someday, making her daydream as she walked off to her room in a happy daze. Neji came walking in afterwards, wondering what had them in such a good mood.
"Oh...Kushina Uzumaki was just here to deliver some good news." Hiashi told him.
"I wonder what that could have been?" Neji wondered aloud.
"It was concerning your Aunt Airi. She's getting married." Hiashi explained with a grin on his face.
"Really? That does sound like good news then...Aunt Hitoe would have been happy, that's for sure. Who is she marrying?" Neji inquired, his interest piqued.
"Oh, yes...She will be marrying the eldest son of the Uzumaki's, Ichigo." The clan head replied as they opened more topics of conversation over some tea. He was glad that he took the time to repair his relationship with his family.
WITH NARUTO IN THE MEANTIME...
Naruto had left the house to mainly roam around the village and see what his friends were up to today. He tried to go see Shikamaru, but his mom had him cleaning his room. He offered to help him out with his Kage Bunshin, but Yoshino politely refused.
"Thank you for the kind offer, Naruto-kun, but I want lazy bones here to do it himself." Yoshino told him as he shrugged and left, bound for Kiba's place.
Upon arriving at the Inuzuka house, he was ushered in by his elder sister, Hana, who told him he was just in time for some lunch if he was hungry. Being who he is, food was always near the top on his priority list.
"Hey bro...Whatcha' doin' here?" Kiba asked as they served themselves. Hana had made a beef stew for lunch and the smell was almost intoxicating. They each took a bowl full and a smaller bowl for Akamaru, and ran back to his room to eat and chat.
"Eh...Just wanted to see what everybody was up to today. Oh yeah...Did you know my brother's getting married soon?" Naruto told his friend excitedly.
"No way! That's gnarly, man!" Kiba exclaimed with a grin.
"Yeah...I was surprized to hear it, too, but damn...I'm glad it's to Rin-neechan and Airi-neechan." Naruto replied.
"Yeah...That's...WHAT?! How the hell did he get TWO hot chicks?!" Kiba asked, his eyes bulged out.
"Well...Kaa-chan said it was something called the CRA. It allows a near dead clan to repopulate. Since ours is nearly gone, he's old enough to marry, and the women are willing to share, he took it to make them happy. He was about to refuse it until Airi-neechan told him how she felt last night." Naruto explained, but his whiskered face was soon marred by a scowl.
"But that asswipe Hatake nearly ruined everything." Naruto growled.
"What the...What happened?" Kiba asked, puzzled but gravely concerned as to what his sensei did.
"He's been after Rin-nee for a long time, but he never said anything and after he found out that she was going to marry Ichigo-nii, he turned into a real jerk. Right after we all got back form that Wave mission, he tried to sabo...Sab...wreak their relationship. When it didn't work, he went after Airi-nee and tried to get her to wreck it by putting her under a Genjutsu. That didn't work either, so he tried to kill our mom. He poisoned her, but she still put up a huge fight. He was ready to kill her until Haku-nii froze him in place and we all kicked his ass. He's been arrested." Naruto explained to his buddy, who was shellshocked.
"That's...Messed up, man. I knew that guy was a jerk since he always kinda ignored me and Shino...But that?" The Inuzuka answered, still in shock.
The two kept on talking and eating until they were done and Naruto wanted to move along.
"Cool. Thanks for stopping by, man. See ya." Kiba said in farewell, Akamaru yipping along with him.
"Later Keebs, Akamaru..." Naruto replied, bending down to scratch the puppy's chin as he left to wander around for a bit.
Wander he did until he wandered over towards Haruno-ya, Sakura's mom's bakery, where she was working behind the counter and her mom was bringing out a fresh batch of sweet buns when the spotted him.
"Naruto-kun!" Sakura greeted him enthusiastically, her mother giggling at the sight.
"Hey Sakura-chan, Miho-san! I just thought I'd drop by and see what you were up to." He said casually as he saw Miho going back to the kitchen.
"I could lend a hand for a while if you want. You guys look busy." He offered.
"You're such a sweet boy...I could use some help in the back if you don't mind, Naruto-chan." Miho told him as she handed him an apron and set him to work loading up ingredients and helping with the mixing for various batters, leaving Sakura to supervise him while she ran the counter for the midday rush.
"So...What's new, Naruto-kun?" She asked her shared boyfriend.
"Nothing much..." He replied, but told her that his brother was getting married in a few months as he continued stirring.
"Really?! Eeeeee!" She squealed in girlish delight as she poured some batter onto a cookie sheet and into a waiting oven.
"Sensei really deserves it! I hope that he and Rin-san will be happy!" She replied.
"Yeah, I hope so too...But it almost didn't happen." Naruto said, her eyes now narrowing.
"What happened?" She asked. He then explained the events of yesterday and last night to her and to say that she was upset with Kakashi was selling it short...Really short. She was furious.
"That jerkoff! What the hell is his problem?!" She fumed angrily, but had to admit that all of this had a silver lining. She didn't know that a law like the CRA existed, but was happy that he was able to put it to good use and keep them both happy.
"I'm just glad sensei managed to make all of this work out and that Auntie Kushina is alright." Sakura sighed in relief. She had met Airi before...several times, actually. She thought that Airi was a beautiful woman and very kind, too. What made things even better was that like Rin, she had a hidden wild side that could catch you off guard and she was really open minded. However, since she was Hinata's aunt, she knew that Hinata would look like her when they were older.
'Damn...She's gonna be hot when she's older...' Sakura groused inwardly.
"You know...If we were lesbians...I'd totally do her." Inner Sakura stated bluntly, making her other self fluster and leak a bit of blood at the thought before she remembered what was just mentioned.
'Wait a damn second...The CRA? Then...Wouldn't Naruto-kun fall under it, too?' She asked herself.
"I think you're on to something here...If he is...Heh heh...You know what I mean. We could share that foxy blond of ours and not really have to worry." I.S. chuckled perversely.
"Yeah...But I gonna need to ask about this. I didn't even know such a law existed. I need to ask Auntie Kushina when I get a chance..." Sakura said as she further concentrated on her baking, putting a glaze coating on a batch of doughnuts.
"Do you think Foxy-kun knows that he could fall under it himself?"
"Probably not...Or he would have been really excited about it? Wouldn't he?"
"You've got a point...But we need to know more about this and we need to tell Hina-chan and Ino-chan, too."
Sakura snapped out of her thoughts in time to hear one of the timers going off and pulled a batch of pastries out of an oven for her mother to bring up to the front. She looked over at the clock and saw that it was just past one in the afternoon.
"Oh my...We've been at this for over an hour." She commented as her mother popped her head into the kitchen.
"Naruto-chan...Thank you for being such a dear and helping us out today. For some reason, we were busier than usual for our midday rush." Miho thanked him as she pulled out a bag from under the counter.
"Here...Some sweet buns and strawberry tarts to take home." She said as he was getting ready to depart, but the door chimes went off again, telling them that they had another customer.
"Hello! Welcome to...Kushi-chan?" She began to greet the customer, only to see her old friend standing there.
"Hey, mom...What's up?" Naruto asked.
"Hey there, Mii-chan, Naru-chan. I just have a couple of arrangements to change..." Kushina started to explain to her about the added bride. Miho then began to giggle and titter madly, getting Sakura's attention from the kitchen.
"Hey mom, who's...Oh! Auntie Kushina!" Sakura greeted enthusiastically, bounding up to her possible future mother-in-law.
"Hello, sweetie...What's my son been up to around here?" She asked her goddaughter.
"Naruto-kun's been helping us out with the lunch rush!" She answered. Kushina turned and smiled at her youngest son before she continued on with what she needed.
"It'll be no problem to change the basic design of the cake." Miho told her with certainty. Kushina nodded and was ready to leave, Naruto came with her for the time being since he wanted to go see Ino next and see what she was up to.
Sakura bade them good bye, but the question she wanted to ask Kushina slipped her mind until they had already disappeared from sight.
"...What the Hell? You FORGOT TO ASK?!"
Kushina and Naruto walked along the streets, headed towards Yamanaka flowers while Naruto was thinking about something. He thought about the CRA and how Ichigo invoked it, so he asked his mom.
"Hey...Mom?" He asked her.
"Yes, sweetie?" She replied
"You know how nii-chan took up the CRA, right?" He inquired.
"Yes...What about it?" She replied with a question of her own
"Well...How would I...Err...Could I...*Sigh*...I really like Ino-chan, Sakura-chan, and Hinata-chan...I really do...I don't wanna hurt them..." He tried to ask, but only muttered at the end. She did, however, hear him. She steered them off of the main street and sat down on a bench, having him sit next to her.
"I know what you're trying to ask me, Naru-chan. I knew about the CRA for a long time and I'll tell you something I haven't told very many people. There was another woman, her name was Mikoto. She was possibly one of my very best friends and we both loved your father, kind of like what you and Icchan are going through now. Mikoto was easily one of the kindest people I've even known, despite her clan. We had these big plans for the future and we had a date set, but...Mikoto belonged to one of the founding clans...The Uchiha." This revelation made Naruto's eyes go wide.
"You see, she was the elder sister of one of his students, Obito. After he died, she became very close to us and eventually, she fell in love. Since he was the hero of the war and chosen to become the Yondaime, he was allowed to invoke the CRA, so he chose us. Like I told you, we had set a date and everything. However, the leader of the Uchiha at the time, Fugaku, was sore about not being chosen for the position. He wanted a way to get back at us for getting in the way of what he wanted, so he invoked a right that the Clan Heads had at the time...The right to take a bride of their choosing and he chose Mikoto. There was nothing that could be done, since this was completely legal at the time and the Hokage could do nothing to stop it from happening. Fugaku ripped us apart and forced her to bear his children, one of which you went to the Academy with." Kushina confided in her youngest son.
"No way...Sasuke?" He asked in sheer disbelief. He had a rough time believing that if this woman was as kind as she said she was, how could her sons turn out the way they did...A murderer and a total creep and asshole. On top of all that...This Mikoto woman would have been like a second mother to him but he also had a memory flash. A woman that matched her description had once given him some food and hid him from a mob. She muttered something that she owed it to someone to do it.
"Yes...Sasuke is her youngest son with Itachi being her eldest. Even after she gave him two sons, she confided in me that her heart still belonged to your father. I want the girls who will marry you to be just as loyal, so that is why I hid that knowledge from you and the girls. I can't easily shake off what they were before the incident over a year ago, two rabid fangirls and a timid doormat. I can honestly say that they have made incredible progress and their maturity in sharing you like they have is nothing short of astounding...but I want to be sure." Kushina explained softly to her youngest baby as she hugged him, the memories from all those years ago still haunting her.
Naruto was struck speechless by all that his mother had admitted to him. On one hand, he was a little miffed that she hid this from him and caused him to pour over it day and night for over the past year...But he now knew she had a damn good reason for doing it.
"I...Mom...I never knew...Do Ichi-nii or Anko-nee know about this?" Naruto asked.
"Ichigo doesn't, but Anko might and the same with Rin. Just...Please. Keep this to yourself for now. I'll have a talk with your brother tonight about this and let him know that this could very well happen to the two of you. I don't want the two of you to go through that like Minato and I did. You see, Hinata and Airi are members of the Hyuuga Main House and while I trust Hiashi completely, I don't trust the council. I just...Didn't want you to get hurt like we did. I should have just told you from the start...I'm so sorry..." Kushina apologized to her youngest, hugging her youngest baby to herself tightly.
"It's...Okay, momma. I understand..." He replied, hugging her back. They stayed like that for a minute longer, until Kushina stood up and calmed herself down.
"Okay...Let's get going to the flower shop. You can see Ino-chan there." She told him as they went on their way.
A/N: Chapter 10 done...5 months of writer's block...But as stated in my notes above, I've been working on this for a while. My newest creation, Dog Days of a Shinobi, gave me the inspiration needed to work on this again. I hope no one's put off by gratuitous use of the CRA, but for those that are...Don't even bother flaming me, because I couldn't even be bothered to give two shits and a piss about it. Done...Tired...Sleep...
I had to fix a few things! Sorry it took so long! The files got lost and I barely found them again!