Welcome to Shadows of the Next Generation! If you have NOT read Shadows of Heroes do not read any further and be sure to read that first or this will make no sense at all!

DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT OWN NARUTO! MASASHI KISHIMOTO DOES! I only own the OCs used in the beginning of this chapter. (I don't wanna say their names just yet. ;D)

WARNINGS: Violence, adult themes, blood, gore, and swearing.

A/N: The beginning of this is in Kaoru's POV. Not telling you who he is quite yet, though. :) P.S Beware of long, but super important A/N at the end!

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Chapter One: The Top Secret Mission. Meeting the Family.

Tick… Tock… Tick… Tock… There was a sigh from the darkness and my boots shifted on the ground, the sound of dirt crunching followed and I let my lilac eyes shift through the dark before locking back straight ahead. It was eerily silent, except for that annoying clock over the doorway.

Tick… Tock… Tick… I jerked my head up, staring at the ticking hands. A dark purple thread slithered off my index finger and shot up, smashing the glass and knocking the clock to the floor with a crunch. For some reason, I felt sad for doing it as the clock gave a final tick.

Ticcck-shing…

CRUNCH.

My eyes flickered as a shoe stomped on the clock. My eyes traveled along a black cloak, patterned with red clouds before meeting an orange, swirled mask. The thread from my finger, which had been hovering like a snake for a moment, shot back into place, settling on my skin almost like a tattoo, but much more painful and permanent.

"You shouldn't break things that aren't yours." The man's calm voice scolded, pushing off the face of the busted clock and stepping over it. I lowered my eyes.

"Sorry." I replied quietly. There was a sigh before the man tilted his head to look the other way.

"You made sure you weren't followed?" He asked. I nodded and he reached up, cupping a hand over his mask and taking it off to reveal his face and a pair of dangerous red eyes that glowed in the darkness of the cavern.

"That's a good boy," He told me, putting on a fake smile that seemed almost sinister, "I hope you've trained hard. I've been patient long enough. I'm sure twelve years has given you plenty of time."

"Yea."

"Konohagakure. They've had peace since the attack by Kuromura Kotaro. Only small attacks sent by the Land of Rivers, but of course, they'll be silenced when I'm finished with them… Go to Konohagakure, but mind you, you're not staying there for long. Just stick around, take a report on what's going on over there. Be sure to have a story ready. You're a creative boy, right, Kaoru?" Uchiha Madara asked, cocking his head to the side, as if to dare me to disagree.

"Very." Was my obedient response. Madara nodded, rubbed the inside of his mask with a sigh.

"This façade is starting to annoy me… Be sure to find her, by the way. Itachi's girl… Or, rather, woman now. She's probably all grown up. I guess you can make some friends with your cousins while you're there." He shrugged. I frowned, clenching my fists in the pockets of my gray jacket, that hung to my knees in a baggy fashion.

"Yea, right… I don't need any." I replied and waited to see if he'd scold me, but he smiled and that had me relieved.

"Of course not. Akatsuki's the only home you need… It's going to be a bit lonely, but I'm sure we'll deal. Be cautious and don't get yourself killed, all right? I don't want to send someone out for your body to retrieve it." Madara explained. I shrugged and looked at him past my slate hair.

"It's fine. If by some miracle I do, I'll burn myself up." I answered. Madara smirked, but it looked unnerved despite my assurance and he nodded, gesturing toward the exit.

"All right, Kaoru. I'll see you when you get back… Don't betray me or I'll have to see to it that you're punished."

"Yea, I know. I have no reason to anyway." I said and turned my back to him, heading for the exit. I could hear him replace the mask and faintly mutter something, but I was out of ear shot and figured it was a good thing I couldn't hear him. He never really had anything nice to say anyway.

Stepping out into the moonlight, I glanced up at the millions of stars dotting the sky before I took off into the forest of trees, surrounding the 'abandoned' temple behind the sheer cliff of the shore.

Find my cousins, do a report, come home, work some more. Sounds pretty easy to me.

Konohagakure (Ruriko Tsukuyomi)

Tmp, tmp, tmp, tmp, tmp. I listened to the sound of dark ninja shoes tromping on a tree branch nearby and my eyes narrowed as I ducked low on the perch that jutted into the trees from a memorial at the training grounds. My black jacket hung around me and over the edge of the perch, my sleeves billowing around my elbows. The breeze of the spring afternoon brushed through the fishnet legs of my pants and the belly part of my shirt.

Shing! I slid back out of the way to avoid the kunai that shot through the leaves, slicing several apart as well as a black butterfly. I blinked as the wings fluttered in front of my face.

"Heads up!" A voice yelled. I smirked and jerked my head up, swinging my hand up to block the kunai attack that slammed into the metal brace around the wrist of my fishnet gloves. A pair of adorable cloudy gray eyes stared at me in surprise at my speed before I twisted my hand around and caught his wrist, squeezing and making him yelp and drop the kunai.

"Too slow." I stated and tore him down on the tree branch that hung out beneath my perch. Despite my attack, I did it as gently as I could as I didn't want to hurt him, no matter how strong I wanted him to get.

I think that was one thing my son didn't like about me. My going easy on him, which was why he was better training with Itachi than me.

"I'm not finished yet!" He protested, jerking his head up to glare at me past the leaves. I smiled down at him, taking a moment to take in his appearance. He was almost an exact copy of Itachi, save for his eyes. My son, my little Mitsuru was twelve-years-old and seemed to have inherited my small height. His hair was the same black as mine, but almost as long as Itachi's was at that age. He wore a gray shirt with an inverted collar that became a black hood, matching elbow pads and kneepads, his shorts dark gray with sewn slits in the sides. He proudly wore his headband around his waist.

He leapt up at me, this time his gray eyes glowing red with the Kekkei Genkai he got from his father, Sharingan. I leapt back, back flipping before I landed on my hunches, catching Mitsuru's fist to jerk it away from its path to my face. He went to punch me in the gut, but I swung my foot up and kicked it away. He swung his foot out, knocking me back. He went to attack me again, but I caught his fist.

"Mitsuru, some people use their heads… And you use…?" My voice trailed. Mitsuru smirked in my face.

"My teeth." He filled in and lunged in, biting down on my arm. I winced as his sharp canines dug into my flesh, piercing it. I jerked my arm down, just barely managing to escape his teeth and swinging my other arm around, getting him in a headlock.

"Argh, damn it! Mom!"

"Sorry, honey. That's all for today."

"Hmph." Mitsuru pouted after I let him go and hopped down to the ground, glancing up at him with a closed eye smile.

"Don't make that face. Come on. Your dad's probably got lunch ready and you still need to meet up with Shisui. You promised you'd go with him to the hot springs." I pointed out. I always wanted Mitsuru to stick by his word, especially to his cousin. Shisui was a good kid, unlike his father. He was always happy and reminded me of Naruto sometimes…

I felt a pang of annoyance as I managed to smile, Mitsuru hopping down beside me before we headed to the village.

Uzumaki Naruto. Konohagakure's number one knucklehead ninja. Not only my boss, but now Konohagakure's Sixth Hokage. He was doing a great job, that was for sure. The village had been at peace ever since he'd become Hokage. No drama, no war. Naruto also kept up public appearance, showing up in town to shop for books and movies.

Most people are making a fuss that Naruto had yet to find a wife, but that didn't seem to concern him. He had become the next 'Pervy Sage' as he frequently bought a familiar series written by the legendary Sanin, Jiraiya, as well as joining the old man to peek into the bathhouses.

Yea. Great Sixth Hokage.

Comforting music filled the air as we entered the busier parts of the village. It was average and sounded like drums and a flute. People were swaying to the music as they shopped or sat down for lunch. Mitsuru stayed by my side, like he always did. Mitsuru was a pretty obedient son. He always stayed by me and didn't care if people called him a mama's boy or anything. He was so cute~

"Oh, mom," Mitsuru began, sounding a bit nervous, which probably meant something bad was coming along, "You know the window in the pantry? The one with blue and red paint on it?"

"Yea…?"

"… Haruke broke it." He replied, as if he easily come up with a reason to suddenly regain confidence. Either he was telling the truth somewhat or he had broken it in an attempt to attack his brother, which would only get him in more trouble. I sighed, rubbing my forehead.

"Why do you guys always fight? I told you to ignore everything Haruke says that bothers you. He's just trying to get a rise out of you." I scolded. Even I knew it was true that Haruke was a bit of a brat. I didn't quite know where he got it from. He always spoke his mind, whether it was awkward or hurt someone's feelings. He'd even talk back to Itachi and I, which was pretty aggravating.

"It wasn't my fault! He was playing with those weird… Voodoo doll things…" Mitsuru muttered. I frowned.

"He wasn't making one of you, was he? I told him to destroy the last one he made. He almost broke Miwa's wrist with one of them." I grumbled. My youngest and only daughter, Miwa, was pretty rambunctious for her age and completely different from her twin brother, Manabu, who was more shy and timid. Really, I had so much trouble trying to control Miwa and Haruke that it was unbelievable. They fought a lot more than Mitsuru and Haruke, except Miwa was the one to make it violent.

What bothered me was that they would dare attack Haruke after Itachi's set rules. What broke both of our hearts was Haruke had an odd disease that Akira and Lady Tsunade called CIPA, or Congenital Insensitivity to Pain. His sensory nerves weren't connected to the part of his brain that could recognize pain, so he was technically unable to feel any kind of pain or even sweat or tell the temperature. This was particularly dangerous as a shinobi because he could contract an illness or even a mortal wound without even knowing it.

He'd gotten a bad fever only months before and the only reason we found out was the weekly doctor's visits and the fact that his cheeks had turned red. He was a real pain because he took advantage of his disability and pushes people to their limits until they can't stand his criticism and was finally beaten up.

"Don't hit your brother," I said at last as we turned onto the street toward our home, "Ignore everything he says. If he makes one of those silly dolls, tell your dad or I and we'll deal with him, understood?"

"Yea, whatever." Mitsuru pouted, but it fell away when I saw someone standing in front of our house, leaning on the wall just outside. I 'tsked' in annoyance.

Uchiha Sasuke. He was not only the leader of the Uchiha Clan, but now the obnoxious leader of the Police Force, which also included my department of Criminal Investigation.

He confidently wore a Jounin vest over a navy turtleneck, black pants with white diamonds trailing down the sides and a pair of ninja boots with no heel and shin guards.

"Ruriko." That was how he always greeted me. No, 'hello' or 'sister-in-law', it just my first name spat at me like a curse. I rolled my eyes and patted Mitsuru on the back, stopping just a couple feet in front of the door.

"Go on inside, Mitsuru. Tell your dad I'm gonna be a bit late for lunch." I told him. Mitsuru frowned a bit uncomfortably, giving Sasuke an uneasy look before nodding and going inside the house. I sighed and turned to Sasuke, folding my arms over my chest.

"All right, what'd you want now? I completed all today's missions, so it better not be that I skipped." I retorted. Sasuke frowned and pushed off the wall, his arms dropping to his sides.

"No. Not exactly. It's about a mission that Naruto's sending us; meaning the Uchiha clan, on. It's pretty big to send our platoon there."

"I'll say. If it means that both Itachi and I have to go, the kid's be alone, but I'm sure that's no problem on your part." I muttered. Sasuke's eyes seemed to glow hatefully, his teeth obviously gritted behind his closed mouth. Sasuke's divorce with Sakura a couple years prior was a touchy subject as it was mostly Sasuke's fault that Sakura left him. They'd kept up a good relationship and had two lovely sons, but Sakura couldn't stand Sasuke's attitude. Her fan girl act for him began to shatter and she eventually packed up her things and moved closer to the hospital, where she now taught some medical classes and became an official medical nin.

"Shisui can take care of himself and his brother just fine," Sasuke said stiffly before averting his eyes with a frown, "The mission is important. Naruto marked it as an A-rank as well as top secret. It's got to do with Akatsuki." My eyes flickered and I stared at him, tensing up. The dangerous criminal organization led by Uchiha Madara. I hadn't heard much about them, except the recent death of a Jinchuuriki somewhere in the east.

"All right," I sighed, "I'll let Itachi know and we'll meet at the office after lunch."

"Good. Don't take your time." Sasuke added and turned, heading to his house just two buildings down. I rolled my eyes and went inside, taking off my boots and setting them against the wall on the mat near the door. I heard chatter from the dining room, which meant they were already eating lunch.

Walking in, I was almost tackled by Manabu and Mitsuru.

"Mommy!" Manabu beamed at me and held onto my leg, snuggling his face close to me as I ruffled his grayish blue hair, smiling. Mitsuru hugged me before pointing at Haruke, who was sitting across from him.

"He tried to blame the broken window on me! Mom, I swear I didn't do anything! He threw one of his stupid dolls at me!" He protested. Haruke clenched his fists at the table, his dark blue eyes getting darker in annoyance.

"Oh, shut up, Mitsuru. You're such a tattletale." He huffed. This coming from a ten-year-old. Miwa stuck out her tongue at him, shutting her dark purple eyes.

"You be quiet, dummy!" She accused.

"Shut up, tomboy. You're not even in this." Haruke retorted.

"Haruke, that's enough," Itachi said, coming into the room with a bowl of noodles, "Miwa, you too. Don't taunt your brother."

"Hmph!" They looked pouted stubbornly, looking away from each other, but at least they stopped arguing. Manabu and Mitsuru went to sit down as I took a seat at one side of the long table set up on the floor for lunch; soba noodles, sliced fish, and onigiri.

"Sorry I'm late," I sighed, smiling apologetically at Itachi, who just nodded in my direction, "Sasuke wanted to talk to me about a mission that we need to attend to have lunch… Unfortunately, it's going to be a long one that includes us both so the house is-"

"All to ourselves," Miwa cheered, clapping her hands, "Yay! That means I can have friends over!"

"Miwa." Manabu whined and covered his face with his hands. Haruke smacked his forehead, then scowled at Miwa.

"Are you stupid? You don't yell that in front of the parents."

"You're stupid!" Miwa responded with a huff.

"So," Itachi cut in, giving both Haruke and Miwa another stern look before looking back at me, "Did he mention anything specific?" I frowned, twisting my noodles around my chopsticks before shrugging.

"It's top secret." I replied. Itachi's expression seemed to take on a distasteful look as he swallowed his food. The table was quiet now and I could tell the kids were fully attentive about it, but I dared not mention what I already knew as it was useless and maybe dangerous to tell them. When I didn't say anything more about it, Haruke spoke up.

"Well, don't die then. I don't want to be stuck with Mitsuru or Sasuke. I can't even tell which one is worse." He stated. Mitsuru visibly twitched and flung a slice of his fish at Haruke, who tilted his head out of the way with a laugh as it stuck to the wall. I glared.

"Mitsuru, go pick that up and throw it away. Don't waste the food like that. Haruke, if that's what concerns you, don't worry. As dangerous as it may sound by simply saying top secret, it's probably not that hard. Besides, Sasuke is also joining us. I'm putting Mitsuru in charge of the house because he's the oldest." I informed, glancing at Itachi for approval of the idea and he gave a nod of agreement. Mitsuru grinned and Haruke huffed.

"Oh, please."

"And if we're not back by tomorrow, Mitsuru, you can ask Akira to come over and check on Haruke. Miwa, Manabu, you're both to go to the academy like you always do. Haruke, while Mitsuru goes on his missions with his teammates, make sure they get to the academy safely before you come back home. I might have Akira stay and make sure you don't hurt yourself-"

"I'm not going to hurt myself!" Haruke protested and looked genuinely upset that I mentioned it, but I couldn't help it. Being accident prone and unable to tell if you're hurt is a dangerous mix. Who knows? Maybe Haruke could jab himself with the needle and not know it while making his dolls, or fall down the stairs or something really creepy and I just hated thinking about it!

"Haruke, it's just a precaution," Itachi said calmly, "Your mother is just worried. I understand where she's coming from. You have the tendency to get in a lot of trouble, especially with the Genin exams coming up."

"Tch!" Haruke scuffed, but said nothing more and just stabbed at his food. I felt uncomfortable leaving my kids alone in the house, but I also felt some confidence for Mitsuru. He was a great older brother. He took care of his siblings and even took the liberty of learning how to cook for them. Of course, Haruke and Miwa took advantage of him from time to time, but Mitsuru handled it. Not always gracefully, but enough so he could be called well-behaved.

After cleaning up our lunch and washing the dishes, Itachi and I got ready to leave and meet Sasuke. We said goodbye to our kids, but it was a little hard. I hated leaving them, like, so much.

"You guys behave," I told them firmly, "Don't run around, don't throw parties, go to bed at a decent hour, make sure you eat all your dinner tonight. If you guys have any problems, call Akira. Please be careful. I don't wanna come home to find the place in a disaster." They all nodded, some later than others, making me smile. Itachi looked at them, nodding in agreement.

"Basically everything your mother said. Mitsuru, please take care of your siblings. Watch them carefully and whatever you do, keep your appetite at a minimum." He added, referring to Mitsuru's cannibalism. Mitsuru just beamed up at him confidently before we bid them farewell.

Moments Later. (Uchiha Mitsuru)

It didn't take more than five freaking minutes for my control to completely dissipate like a sugar cube in coffee. Miwa was running after Haruke up and down the stairs and hallways, screaming at the top of her lungs things that I wouldn't even say. Manabu was hiding behind me, watching with a little sigh.

"YOU DUMMY! I'M GOING TO KILL YOU AND FEED YOU TO THE CROWS! MITSURU WOULDN'T EVEN EAT YOUR DIRTY CORPSE!" Miwa screamed, heaving up a shoe from the mat by the door as Haruke darted toward the kitchen. She threw it hard and it slammed right through the hallway wall, inches from Haruke's head.

"Missed me." Haruke taunted, sticking out his tongue. Miwa fumed and started to after Haruke, but I gave up keeping calm and grabbed the back of Miwa's pale blue, short-sleeved kimono top while at the same time, reaching out and snatching Haruke by the front of his black t-shirt.

"That's enough! Miwa, look what you did! Mom and dad told us not even five damn minutes ago not to ruin this place! Tell me how you're going to fix that!" I snapped at her, watching her stare at me with wide eyes.

"I…"

"You don't know your own strength! Be careful! And Haruke!"

"Oh, here we go again. Lemme guess! Nag, nag, nag. Nag, nag. Nag, nag, nag, nag." Haruke ranted, sighing and tilting his head to the side in annoyance. I twitched and tensed up in rage.

"That's it! YOU'RE DEAD!"

"Hahaha, now who's losing his calm?" Haruke cooed, only to be slammed into the floor. He didn't wince, just flailed a little at losing his balance before looking up in time for me to tackle him to the floor. I tried to pin him, but he kept squirming just out of my reach.

"Punch him in the face, Mitsuru!" Miwa cheered, clapping her hands and giggling. Manabu sweat dropped, shifting from foot to foot as he twiddled his thumbs.

"If he does that, mom and dad will see the bruise."

"Who cares? Haruke's a jerk and deserves it!"

"He can't even feel it."

"So? It feels good for us!"

"That's not very nice, Miwa."

"No wonder we're failing the academy, Manabu, you're too nice to be a shinobi."

"Am not…" I lost their conversation when Haruke shoved his hand up against the bottom of my jaw to keep me pushed up as I grabbed a handful of his hair, glaring down at him. Haruke glared back like he was going to kill me, but I smirked and backed off, making him study me closely.

"All right," I decided, "Forget it. I need to go meet up with Shisui so we go to the hot springs. While I'm gone…" My voice trailed and Haruke's eyes grew murderous.

"Don't you dare!" He seethed, but I already moved my hands into a hand sign.

"Aw," Miwa pointed a finger at me, "Dad said you weren't allowed to use Genjutsu on him!"

"If it gets him to shut up." I retorted and finished the hand signs, swinging my hand out to release the jutsu. Haruke skidded back across the floor and into the wall, slumping to the side, fast asleep. I smirked, clapping my hands together before putting my hands on my hips.

"That's one way to shut him up. You guys should learn some of that Genjutsu." I pointed out to Manabu and Miwa who stared at me with identical stares of surprise. I walked over to Haruke, easily hoisting him over my shoulder and taking him up the stairs. I went into the room that I shared with him, dropping him on the bed and throwing the blankets over him before I went to the window and locked it, heading back downstairs to find Manabu and Miwa staring into the hole in the wall.

"All right," I announced, making them look up and stiffen in attention, "I'm going to hang out with Shisui for a couple hours. Hopefully the jutsu will last that long. If it doesn't and Haruke wakes up, stay out of his way and ignore everything he says. If he tries to antagonize you, just get out of the room."

"What's that mean?" Miwa asked, tilting her head.

"Antaguh-nize." Manabu echoed. I sighed.

"It means to make someone mad. If he tries to make you guys made, just walk away and let him be by himself. You two should probably just do some homework, play a game or something, then go to bed if I'm not home by then. If so, then we'll all play a game, I promise."

"Okay!" The twins beamed at me and I nodded, patting them both before exiting the house, heading down the road to Shisui's. Of course, since his father is the leader of our clan, he gets a nice big house with plenty of run around space and a nice pond in the back with some training space.

I walked up to the front door across the deck, not bothering to knock since Sasuke wasn't home and walked right in. I peered around, kicking off my shoes and cupping a hand around my mouth.

"Shisui! Shisui, ya home? You better be! You said we were going to the hot springs!" I called and paused before stepping into the living room, where Shisui's brother was doggy-earring his book. Hiding behind the large black dictionary was Uchiha Nakusu, a thin and kind of fragile kid.

Nakusu had navy blue hair that always looked like he just got out of bed, some hanging in his face. His right eye was covered by his crooked headband as a mockery of his sensei, the infamous copy ninja, Hatake Kakashi. He wore a simple long sleeved black shirt with slits in the shoulders and a pair of matching dark gray pants that seemed to hide his bare feet as he sat scrunched up on the sofa.

"Is knocking no longer a requirement before entering someone's home?" He asked, raising an eyebrow. I shrugged carelessly. Nakusu always talked like a grown up, but he was just a year older than me.

"Where's Shisui?" I asked. Nakusu stared at me flatly, adjusting his headband slightly.

"He is probably in his room-" He was cut off when stomping came down the stairs, making Nakusu frown in annoyance as I turned just in time for Shisui to come barreling into the living room and almost knocking me clean off my feet in a hug.

"Hyaaaa! Mitsuruuu! My little Mitsuru!" Shisui sang happily, snuggling his face against my cheek. I grimaced and tried to pull away from him, but Shisui had inherited his monstrous strength from his mother and there was no way he was letting go until he realized he was choking the air out of me.

Not only did he gain his strength from his mother, but also her soft and long hair. Shisui's hair was bright, deep blue and hung to about halfway down his back, but it was always flipped up into a hairclip, kind of like my mom's. His eyes matched his hair and were always wide with excitement. His figure was definitely girlish, but no one dared say so because Shisui had a really scary temper. His tight black long sleeved-shirt with a collar that wrapped around his neck, rings hanging off the side of the collar that matched his black bellbottom jeans and shoes.

By some miracle, Shisui had convinced his father to let him piece his lower lip with a silver hoop and the side of his nose with a diamond stud.

"Shisui, you are killing him." Nakusu stated. Shisui blinked and finally let go, allowing me to gasp for air dramatically, flailing just a bit.

"Damn, Shisui! You almost squeezed the lungs right out my throat!" I snapped angrily, but Shisui just beamed, sticking out his tongue sweetly and holding up two fingers innocently.

"Ne, sorry about that, my little Mitsuru~ I was so excited. Today's turning out great so far! I finished a mission, got paid, you're over, and my dad is gone!" Shisui beamed happily. I sighed. Shisui and his dad had one of the worst relationships I'd ever seen between a father and son. Sasuke hated Shisui's sexual preference and his girly attitude while Shisui hated his father's sexism and nasty temper. Personally, I think that's where Shisui got his temper, but if I ever said that, he'd punch me in the face.

If he didn't like me so much, that is. I shuddered at the thought, then flinched when Shisui hugged me again, but a bit more gentle this time.

"Let's go the hot springs! Nakusu, come with!"

"It is not my thing." Nakusu replied flatly. Shisui pouted and let go of me to put his hands on his hips.

"Oh, don't be like that! Come on! Maybe we'll find you a girlfriend!"

"As if I need one."

"You sound like dad, ew! Come on! Please!"

"No."

"Shisui, if he doesn't want to come, don't make him." I pointed out, but Shisui just flung his hand back into my nose, making me yelp and clasp my hands over my nose as it throbbed lightly in pain. My eye twitched as I watched Shisui plead with Nakusu to join us.

Eventually giving in, Nakusu was following us down the street toward the hot springs, obviously not enjoying it. He probably only gave in because Shisui threatened him with his piercing gun. Poor Nakusu.

Shisui babbled most of the time and I zoned out, glancing at Nakusu, who just flinched whenever Shisui got too close to him. I never understood Nakusu's fear of physically being close to people. Maybe it was the stink or something, but he just wouldn't get within a foot of us as we walked.

We turned down a street with tall wooden fencing on either side and I noticed someone sitting on the fencing up ahead. He was just sitting there, staring at nothing really. He wore a heavy gray coat, a deep red scarf around his neck, and baggy black pants. His jacket was buttoned up some of the way, but it was obvious he wasn't wearing a shirt… Or, well, it seemed like that. His slate colored hair was straight and choppy, not quite short, but not quite long either. Shisui noticed him after I did, stopping just as we approached him.

"Hey, what're you doing all by yourself?" He asked curiously. I sighed. Shisui was a social butterfly and made it his duty to know everyone in Konohagakure. The boy on the fence glanced down at us, his eyes lilac, but I saw something weird on his face.

No, more than one thing. Dark purple marks on the right side of his face that looked almost like visible veins or maybe just vine-like tattoos. I glanced at his hands and saw them trailing along his fingertips as well as his chest. I stared, amazed at the amount of them and wondered if they really covered every part of his body. He frowned at us slightly.

"Sitting, what's it look like?" He asked, his voice mature. Shisui pouted a bit, then smiled.

"My name's Uchiha Shisui! I haven't seen you around here before! Are you new?" He questioned. I saw the boy's eyes widen for a fraction of a second before he averted his eyes, turning his head slightly so we couldn't see his face.

"I guess you could say that."

"What's your name?"

"Kaoru."

"Oh, that's a nice name! Kaoru~ Do you want to hang out with us? We're going to the hot springs!" Shisui boosted. Kaoru looked at us flatly.

"Don't like hot springs."

"Why not? They're really relaxing." Shisui urged, but Kaoru just shook his head and hopped down off the fence. I noticed Nakusu take a jolting step away, giving Kaoru an uncomfortable look at getting so close. Shisui just kept smiling away like the constantly excited kid he really was.

"I don't like water." Kaoru replied and I tilted my head as he mindlessly buttoned up his jacket, pulling his sleeves over his hands and letting his hair fall over his face. That way, you could hardly see the marks. I guess Shisui didn't even notice the marks and I wondered if Nakusu saw them at all. He was a genius and was supposed to know everything.

"Well, fine," Shisui stated, putting his hands on his hips, glancing up at the sky as if to hope for an answer as he licked at his piercing before beaming at Kaoru, "At least come and watch! Just to hang out with us. It'd be fun and you wouldn't be so lonely!" I saw Kaoru's eyes flicker for a second and he looked away with an almost sad expression before he shrugged.

"All right, but I'm not going near the edge."

"That's fine! But why are you so scared of the water?"

"Not so much the water as what's in it." Kaoru muttered, averting his eyes. That was weird. What kind of fish would be in a hot tub? I decided not to ask since I wasn't as social as Shisui. I waited for people to talk to me first. Nakusu just rolled his visible eye at Shisui as we started walking again.

"You are much too talkative. No wonder father is annoyed by you." He sighed. Shisui huffed, folding his arms over his chest tightly.

"Psh! He's not talkative enough. You know, sometimes you're so much like him, it's annoying." He muttered. Nakusu shrugged, averting his eye.

"I rather be like him than mother."

"Jerk!" Shisui accused, but Nakusu just gave a faint smile in return. Kaoru frowned.

"Who's your dad?" He asked. Nakusu looked at him, but obviously avoided eye contact.

"Uchiha Sasuke. You do not live in Konohagakure, do you?" He asked. Kaoru shook his head and averted his eyes, looking sort of neutral.

"Nope. I'm all over the place most of the time. My dad takes us everywhere." He replied calmly.

"You got a big family?" I asked. Kaoru blinked and tilted his head a bit.

"I dunno. I never thought of them as a family… Just a bunch of people who hang around my dad." He replied, shrugging lightly. I frowned and Shisui beamed, like he always did.

"And your mother?" Nakusu pressed. Kaoru seemed to smile faintly.

"She's dead. I think she died a year after I was born. My dad took me away from her." He responded.

"Why would he do that?" Shisui asked, confused. Kaoru shrugged.

"I dunno, but I don't really care. He said it was all a big accident, that she got pregnant, that is. Probably a good thing that she's dead or else I'd of killed her myself. I hate stupid people who do stupid things like that." He explained.

"What kind of parents says his son's birth was an accident?" I demanded in annoyance. His dad shouldn't tell him that! No parent should say that. I know my parents didn't plan me, but I know they're both happy that I came around. Same with Haruke. They planned to have a third, but they got twins instead, which probably just made them all the more happier. I could tell both my mom and dad loved kids.

"Why would you kill your mother?" Nakusu asked. Kaoru averted his eyes.

"It's personal." He said. Shisui went to open his mouth, then yelled happily when the hot springs came into view. Nakusu sighed, but he followed us anyway as we entered the hot springs. Just like he said, Kaoru avoided going near the water and instead sat on a rock a ways away from the pool. Nakusu just dipped his legs in, keeping his headband on and closing his visible eye to relax. Shisui jumped in, splashing most of us with water. I just laughed at him, slipping in and relaxing with a content sigh. I loved hot springs, so warm and relaxing. Definitely nice after a hectic day.

"And you," Kaoru said, looking at me after avoiding conversation with Shisui, "Who're your parents?" I blinked and tilted my head at him.

"Uh, Uchiha Itachi and Ruriko." I answered. Kaoru frowned.

"What's your mom's original surname?"

"Tsukuyomi. Why?"

"I dunno. She sounds familiar."

"She said she caused a lot of trouble when she was younger. Probably."

"Did she ever tell you what kind of trouble?"

"Huh? Well, no… Not really… She just said she was kidnapped because of her job."

"Oh." Kaoru looked away thoughtfully, resting his head in his hands, his sleeves hiding the marks and his hair too. I was losing sight of his lilac eyes too. I wondered if I should ask about those marks, but by the way he was hiding him, he didn't seem to want anyone to know, so I didn't bother. Although, I was still left pretty curious as the relaxation time came to an end and we were walking out of the building.

Shisui heaved a heavy sigh, throwing his arms back to stretch and yawn before folding his hands behind his head.

"Well, that was great! We should do that again!" He smiled happily as we walked into the village. Nakusu frowned.

"You got me soaking wet when I rather not have." He responded. Shisui huffed.

"It's a hot spring! Get used to it!" He retorted. Kaoru sighed, but said nothing, looking the other way. He was quiet a lot, but I guess he just wasn't social.

"So, are you staying anywhere?" Shisui asked him after a while as we walked. Kaoru shook his head. Nakusu frowned. Shisui blinked in surprise.

"You're not? Then did you just get here?" He asked. Kaoru shook his head again, glanced at the sky thoughtfully, then held up two fingers.

"Been here for two days." He replied.

"Then where have you slept?" I asked. Kaoru shrugged.

"Around. No where specific."

"You can't just sleep in the streets. You can stay at my house if you want." I offered. Kaoru looked at me, as if not expecting it. I probably shouldn't have offered because my parents would freak if I let a stranger in the house, but Kaoru didn't look harmful at all.

"Let's have a party at Mitsuru's!" Shisui declared. I sweat dropped.

"Shisui-"

"Nakusu and I will show up later too! Just give me some time to pack! We should invite some more friends too!"

"SHISUI!" I protested angrily, but he ignored me and went on expressing how fun it was going to be to hang out with everyone again and I just rolled my eyes and looked at Kaoru and Nakusu.

"Shisui." Nakusu sighed and shook his head, reaching up to adjust his headband with a frown. Kaoru averted his eyes and looked a bit uncomfortable at a big party, but there was no point in trying to tell Shisui to shut up. He was already running back home ahead of us. No wonder people didn't believe him if he was an Uchiha.

(Kaoru)

I was ashamed to say I was related to that guy. He was so hyper and excited and reminded me of a freaking Chihuahua. Only he looked nothing like a Chihuahua. When I first saw him, this guy, Shisui, I seriously thought he was an angel, like the statues that you see in cemeteries. I don't know what kind of fool wouldn't say that the guy was really angelic, despite his obnoxious attitude.

It was kind of awkward, you know, another guy complimenting another, which is why I didn't vocally say anything about it. He'd get the wrong idea and obviously like it. However, romance was so far out of my mind right now that it didn't even exist. I didn't like girls, but I didn't like guys either. Neither of them were attractive for loads of reasons.

I was also amazed at how Mitsuru invited me over and he just met me. I didn't recognize pity or sympathy or just being plain nice, so I didn't really know what to say. I just followed Mitsuru to house after we were done talking with Nakusu and Shisui.

"Make yourself at home," Mitsuru said, opening the door and gesturing around, "We have a guest room upstairs to the far left of the hall, right hand side. Uh, be careful about-" He was cut off when a boy made his appearance at the top of the stairs. His hair a dark blackish gray and hanging over his right eye, to the nape of his neck, and his eyes a deep, angry blue.

"Mitsuru! You asshole, you put me to sleep!" He accused angrily, his fists clenched. Mitsuru scowled at him.

"Shut up, Haruke. It was necessary since you were being a brat, again."

"Bite me."

"I will."

"Ew, no! Who's the guy?" Haruke asked, folding his arms over his chest and frowning. I was almost tempted to flinch. The look he gave me was so awfully familiar that I felt uncomfortable with him staring at me like that. I just dropped my eyes to the floor as Mitsuru sighed.

"His name is Kaoru. He's got nowhere to stay while he's here in Konoha. I'm sure mom and dad will understand- Hey, where are the twins?" He asked, suddenly sounding worried. I got even more uncomfortable. How many cousins did I have? Haruke just smirked all-knowingly.

"Backyard. They were playing with one of mom's shuriken."

"HARUKE! They're nine- Never mind!" Mitsuru bolted past the staircase and down the hall, the sound of a sliding door opening and slamming shut following. Haruke looked at me and I looked the other way, frowning, making sure the left side of my head was visible rather than the right, where my hair was starting to part off to the side and reveal my face.

If he was just like everyone else, I had a feeling he was going to bother me too and I was just not in the mood for that, especially from a kid that was a total brat.

"Your name is Kaoru?" Haruke asked and sat at the top of the stairs. I frowned and glanced at him.

"What's it to you?" I asked. Haruke blinked, then huffed, giving me a cocky smirk that I had commonly seen.

"Tch, nothing. Are you some kind of freak or something? It's warm out. Wearing a jacket like that is stupid."

"It's just the way I like it, brat. Keep talking and I don't care who you are, I'll rip your stomach open." I replied as calmly as I could muster. I could feel the threads on my fingers wiggling around on my skin, making me want to wince in pain. Haruke glared at me, annoyed.

"Whatever. I'm not scared of anything."

"You're just a kid. You don't know anything."

"Beg to differ, freak."

"Oh, cork it," I sighed, mellowing out, "Judging by the fact that you seem to be a lazy sort of person, you're not even a shinobi. You're scared, but in denial, which means you're pretty worthless." Haruke blinked and stared at me before clenching his fists and glaring some more.

"Yea right. Useless… I'll show you who's useless." He muttered and got to his feet, heading back upstairs. I frowned, getting an uneasy feeing from that kid. What a creepy brat. I glanced down the hall, catching a glimpse of Mitsuru looking for his twin siblings before I went up the stairs. I peeked down the hall to see Haruke go into a room, slamming his door shut. I waited and quietly moved down the hallway, my boots careful not to make a squeak or scuff.

I peeked into a few rooms before I found the one I was looking for. I stepped into the master bedroom to see the bed sloppily made. A huge bookcase made up the opposite side of the room. I glanced around quickly, carefully to make sure there was nothing reflective before walking up to the dresser.

A few books were piled up and I picked through them, but found nothing. I curiously poked around in the dresser, but only clothes occupied the space. I went to the walk-in closet, peering around. Some more clothes, but more formal. A couple kimonos, lots of shoes and jewelry. The plastic case reflected the light when I turned it on, so I quickly shut the light off, staring at the jewelry case before glancing to the side to find a wedding kimono in plastic.

Looked like an average home with no suspicious sights… Except that. My eyes landed on a white box inside the jewelry case, but I made no move to grab it. It looked like it was partially opened, with a black ribbon hanging out. The kind of black ribbon that people used to mark their page in a book. What kind of book?

I wondered for a second until I heard a door open and close, so I jerked out of the closet and shut the door quickly before heading out of the room to glance down the hallway. I guessed Mitsuru was back in as I could hear the sound of voices yelling downstairs, so I carefully moved for the stairs.

I'd have to make a mental note to be back tonight.

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A/N: YAY! I finally got around to finishing the rest of this. lol. Okay, onto the important stuff. Unfortunately, I neglected to mention that you need to put your OCs occupations as well as their children's teams! The sensei are all still available from the original SoH and there are some new ones, such as Akira and maybe some of your OCs as well! Right now, I haven't come up with any specific people on teams, except that Nakusu is on Kakashi's team. I will need to know who is on who's team and I would really like it if you gave me a bit of information on your OCs feelings for mine because it would help so much! If you'd already sent me the bios, you don't have to resend the entire thing, just the needed information I just mentioned. If you have any questions, please, do not hesitate to ask me! I'm always online (even during the school year). Note, there are also several arcs for this series, so it's gonna be a long one, MAYBE even longer than SoH was. Well, I think that's it for now. Thank you so much for reading, hope the characters are in character, and your reviews are greatly appreciated!