"Talking."

Thinking.

Telepathy.

The Chaos Theory

by Bullwinkle's Lady

Chapter 31

Mirai Hinata banged on Mirai Naruto's door with her free arm, the baby clutched against her in the other. She was shaking, her new emotional capacity hampering her rather than helping her. She couldn't compose a coherent thought.

Sakura...dead? When? How? What did he mean Sakura was dead!?

"N-Naruto-kun, please open the door," she said, and received no response from the other side. Naruto. Please. She remained unaware of the tears running down her cheeks. And it wasn't on Sakura's behalf.

"Hinata."

She looked up to see Sasuke in just his slacks. His eyes shifted from the baby in her arms, to her tear-streaked face. He was breathing heavily. He could feel her distress.

Hinata lowered her hand from Naruto's door. She parted her lips and didn't know what to say.


He felt the morning before he opened his eyes. The rays of the sun, hitting him so unpleasantly. He lifted his eyelids and looked at his wife across from him, sleeping silently, her soft draws, in and out.

Mirai Sasuke had a few comforts.

She was among them. His eyes shifted to the baby sprawled on the mattress between them. Oftentimes he found himself turning to her childish guidance, her fresh eyes, and innocent mind. But Kasai simply squirmed and gurgled, and tried to take hold of his too long bangs.

I'm getting too old for this, the Uchiha mused, twenty-five but estimating he'd accumulated the experiences of a man in his sixties.

He turned onto his back and stared at the ceiling, reflecting on Sakura. The things they'd been through together, she might as well have been his sister. He should have paid better attention. He had noticed the appearance of the diamond on her forehead in result of her past self inheriting Tsunade's genesis of rebirth technique, but had never realized the extent of its impact on her. He had been absorbed in preserving his family as hers crumbled in the meantime.

"You're hurting." Hinata was awake.

Sasuke didn't look at her. Any interruptions in his apathy were usually a private matter, but not with the new link between them. It was still unsettling. He sat up and left the bed, exiting the room into the hallway. He went to Naruto's door, and turned the knob. Locked.

With a swift spin, he kicked the door open, breaking the lock. He proceeded into the room and glanced around. The bed was unmade, the window open, and the curtains billowing with the intruding breeze.

Sasuke rubbed his head. Naruto was gone.


A bit of electricity flickered across the young Sasuke's fingers. Kakashi's one visible eye narrowed. "I thought I told you to take the night to cool down." He stood between the teenage Naruto and Sasuke. Every so often, they tried to attack each other. They reminded him of cats in heat.

"I wasn't doing her," said Sasuke, wincing as Kakashi grabbed a chunk of his hair to keep him from going after Naruto. "And it wasn't me. It was the – other – me. And it wasn't sex. It was just a hand-" he trailed off as he noticed Sakura ogling him.

"I know what I saw," Naruto screeched, infuriating him more. "You and Hinata-!"

"We were standing right beside you!" Sasuke's eyes were red, tomoe spinning. Kakashi had never seen Naruto rile him up to such a degree.

"Pervert!"

The jounin had to wrestle Sasuke to the ground to keep him from using chidori. Privately, Kakashi remained skeptical of Naruto's claims. He wasn't necessarily doubtful of Sasuke's capacity for the antics Naruto described (as the Uchiha could have been a depraved lecher for all he knew), but of the innocent Hyuuga heiress' alleged participation. Then there was Sakura's pallid stare, and the way the corner of Naruto's lips twitched upward every so often. He was antagonizing Sasuke on purpose.

Eventually Kakashi resorted to sitting on Sasuke's back, squashing the boy beneath him. Had Sasuke not been so frazzled, he may have utilized some of his considerable ninja skills to remedy his predicament. Instead he grunted something about not being able to breathe.

Kakashi dug one of his novels out of his shuriken pouch. He idly flipped through the pages. "Naruto, stop hassling Sasuke."

The blonde retracted his accusing finger and released an awkward chuckle, scratching the back of his head.

"And Sasuke, stop trying to kill Naruto."

There was no response. He might have fallen unconscious.

"Sakura, stop gaping like that. You're making me nervous."

Sakura jumped slightly, seeming startled by the mention of her name. She wiped her face clean of its dazed expression, and took to looking at the grass, biting the corner of her lip. She was crestfallen.

Sighing, Kakashi climbed up from his human chair. He surveyed Naruto, Sakura, and the unconscious Uchiha. "Ready to get started?" He paused when he noticed three other figures approaching in the distance. This should be interesting.

In Tsunade's death, Kakashi was originally to be asked to take her post as Hokage until he chose a successor. Because of the actions of the time travelers, Tsunade didn't die, and Kakashi was never faced with such an obligation. In fact, he would continue to contently lead team seven in the years to come and guide each of his students to jounin ranking.

In consequence, Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura would stay young longer, and maintain the closeness of siblings throughout Kakashi's tutelage and their eras as sannin. The periods of distrust between them were not to be.

Sakura was not to be loaded with responsibility in the premature death of her sensei, Konoha's premier medical ninja. Naruto was not to be anguished because of it. Kakashi would see a drastic change in the course of his own life. He might even officialize that thing he had going on with Anko someday.

A fraction of normalcy was restored to their lives and their relations. In fact, it made perfect sense that Sasuke and Hinata would have their child later than they had her originally.

Kasai's declining age couldn't be blamed entirely on the shock of Mirai Sasuke and Mirai Hinata getting frisky in the forest. Though it was definitely a contribution.

"Kurenai sent us to train with you," said Kiba, as he, Hinata, and Shino joined team seven. They gathered around and stared at Sasuke's unconscious figure sprawled on the grass.

"Is he okay?"

Everyone paused to stare at Hinata, wondering why she would inquire about whether Sasuke was okay. She herself began to wonder why she would ask such a thing. Maybe it was because she had a decided investment in his future, so it was her place to inquire. Maybe her responsibility, even!

Then her courage shrunk, and she recoiled.

Naruto, the innately compassionate one, nudged Sasuke with his foot and shrugged. "Seems fine."

"Let's get to work," said Kakashi. "Naruto, you're with Sakura today. Sasuke, with Hinata. And Kiba with Shino."

As Hinata remained frozen before the unconscious Uchiha, the other teenagers grumbled and wandered off to individual areas. Kiba and Shino gave the heiress encouraging looks, Sakura, an eerie one, and Naruto, a cheeky grin. Hinata was at a loss as they left. She leaned down, peering at Sasuke.

"Uchiha-san?"

They had spent time together, getting to know Kasai, then becoming distracted by one another. They had sparred together on a number of occasions. He had asked her to be his girlfriend on the roof of her house, only to be gracelessly rejected.

He had found her the night she was attacked by Cloud nin. He had protected her. Taken her home. He was the future father of her child.

It might have warranted something less formal than 'Uchiha-san.'

"S-Sasuke-kun?" Hinata inquired. She knelt down and poked him. Once, twice, thr-

Sasuke abruptly sat up. She yelped, and fell on her bottom.

Sasuke was breathing heavily, his eyes darting about wildly. Their gazes met for a moment, then they both glanced away from each other. Sasuke rubbed his face.

Around them, the others were only pretending to spar. They employed awkwardly slow maneuvers, some that flat-out missed their opponents, instead observing Sasuke and Hinata. Kakashi seemed too absorbed in his novel to care.

Sasuke climbed to his feet and offered Hinata his hand. Slowly, she took it, and allowed him to pull her to her feet. She looked down in an effort to hide the heat rising to her cheeks. He was being...nice. Maybe everything would be okay in the end.

"You knew," Sasuke mentioned.

He watched Hinata's face catch fire. She looked up. "W-what?" she stammered, confirming her guilt.

"You knew about them – us. If you hadn't known, you would never have shown your face here. You'd be hiding in a ditch, or migrating to the Lightening Country."

Hinata swallowed. She fidgeted madly, and tried to construct words.

"Why didn't you tell me?" Sasuke wanted to know, moving closer to her. She took a step back.

Hinata felt sweat form on her temple. Migrating did seem like a good idea right then. If she left within the hour, she could make it to Kumo in four days. Hinata tried to back away, but Sasuke caught the front of her jacket. There was a strange victory in his eyes. He pulled her close, until his lips brushed her ear. Told her something only she could hear.

"You're mine."

Someone cleared their throat above them. Sasuke and Hinata looked up to notice the least intimidating of the time travelers peering down at them.


Mirai Naruto was not impressed.

He watched as the young Sakura distractedly kicked his young counterpart in the crotch. The young Naruto collapsed, and clutched himself, whimpering, but kept one of his eyes glued to the young Sasuke and Hinata, seeming otherwise absorbed in their conversation.

Mirai Naruto sighed and leaned against the tree trunk. He pulled one of his legs to his chest.

Everyone thought Naruto losing his number-one-most-important-person-in-the-universe would be an epical event. The grounds would tremble. Kyuubi would reign free. The world would crumble.

On the contrary...

He couldn't summon the anger.

With weary eyes, he continued to watch the young Sakura and his young self pretend to spar. They were so happy, so stupid and carefree.

...it was all his fault. He shouldn't have warned Tsunade about her death. It had prompted her to make preparations, and pass her technique down to Sakura. She had died in her stead. Everything was wrong.

I'd do anything to get you back.

The young Sakura tripped over his counterpart's prone form and fell face-first in the grass. Mirai Naruto's lips lifted slightly.

I'll get you back. I promise.

He cleared his throat. He hadn't realized he had done it particularly loudly, but that was a downside of being a Naruto. Six pairs of eyes darted his way.

Mirai Naruto coughed. Scratched his cheek. He offered them a guilty smile. "Hey."

The teenagers said nothing, just stared at him like frightened children.

Mirai Naruto dropped from the tree branch and fifteen feet below to the earth, the teenagers backing away from him where he landed in a crouched position. But then they approached again, tentative, like stray animals.

Mirai Naruto straightened. "So...what do you want to know?"

The young Sakura gazed on him thoughtfully, and Kiba stuck his finger in his mouth. The young Hinata blushed and fidgeted, and the young Sasuke looked angry all the sudden. Shino adjusted his sunglasses, and the young Naruto seemed flustered.

Kakashi hadn't moved from the tree stump upon which he was reading, but Mirai Naruto could tell he was listening in.

Mirai Naruto forced a smile. He nodded to the young Sasuke. "What about you, bastard? You must have something on your mind."

The Uchiha stiffened. "Dobe," he seethed, fists clenching.

Mirai Naruto's smile softened as he absently fantasized about beating up the whole lot of them. That would be a story to tell his grandchildren. "Nothing?" he said, instead turning to his young counterpart. "Ne, dead last? Ask me anything."

The young Naruto looked appalled. He pointed at himself questioningly, sure there was a mistake.

Naruto sighed. "No give? Melon-fucker," he addressed Kiba. "C'mon, you caught me in a good mood. I'm willing to reveal anything."

By then, Hinata's blush had faded, and the young Sakura stared in horror at what Mirai Naruto might call her.

"Naruto," someone called.

Mirai Naruto looked up and spotted Mirai Sasuke and Mirai Hinata standing a few yards away. Both looked solemn. The group of teenagers watched Mirai Naruto warily as he walked off to confer with his companions.

"Naruto-kun, what are you doing?" Mirai Hinata whispered as Mirai Naruto approached. Over his shoulder, she glanced at the young members of team seven and eight, who were ambling clumsily towards them like pigeon-toed babies. Several looked traumatized. The young Naruto had tears in his eyes, and was still pointing at himself questioningly.

"We're just having a talk. You know, they've been dying of curiosity about their futures," said Mirai Naruto casually. He didn't meet her eyes, but idly examined the blue crystal about his neck.

Mirai Sasuke frowned. Naruto had reached an angry stage of mourning. "We need to talk. And not to them. They – saw us. Kasai's age is regressing-"

"What?" Mirai Naruto looked up.

Sasuke shook his head. "Don't tell them anything else. They know too much as it is."

"Or do they?"

Before Mirai Sasuke could inquire as to what the blonde meant, Mirai Naruto grabbed Mirai Hinata by her shoulders. He pulled her into him, causing their lips to collide, and he proceeded to dominate her mouth. Mirai Sasuke's jaw fell slack.

When Mirai Naruto finally pulled away from her, Mirai Hinata was beet red. Flustered, she tried and failed to compose words.

"There. Problem solved," said Mirai Naruto. He grinned at Mirai Sasuke.

Then everything went black.