Note: Spin-off/revamp/sequelthing to Maternal Sonata. You'll see.
Disclaimer: I only own the obvious OCs. Every other character is of the Naruto series which I don't own.
A Wonderful Life SE
Chapter 1: The Almost Successful Parents' Day
For the past several years, Konoha had had their longest run of peace. There were a few quarrels with other villages, but for the most part The Village Hidden in the Leaf was left alone. There were no mass genocides or assassinations of public figures or even abductions. And with the new reign of the village's hero from year prior, life around town was steadily improving.
The air was especially fresh and crisp one Spring. One might say love was in the air, for that was the Spring many shinobi became deeply attracted to one another. Peace does tend to yield feelings such as love. Their hearts were finally calm enough to feel rationally. One after another, they paired off into loving couples that may have seemed out of character for some, but for others, there was only a matter of time before their love finally became completely mutual.
Like a contagious disease, the pattern of pairing spread to infect those closest to the lovesick. By the end of the year, most of the original Konoha 12 had already been matched up. The years that followed heeded repopulation that seemed to make up for the many lives lost in the war beforehand. However, there was a heightened sense of paranoia to protect the new generation of ninjas.
For the offspring themselves, well, they still had to endure the typical hardships of growing up. Feelings of inferiority, inadequacy and mortification plagued this generation. Embarrassing parents, first day of school blues, test anxiety, missing homework - these were just a few examples.
While they had a slimmer sliver of angst, they were a tad bit weaker as well. If there were an overlooming threat, the welfare of the village would not be able to rest on their shoulders lightly.
This Spring, the new generation enjoyed great weather once more with the occasional refreshing shower. Their graduation to Genins was nearing, but by mandate of the current Hokage, they were to remain under the tutelage of the academy until the set age of 16. This was only to fully educate them on the mistakes made by his own class of ninja, for often times, history is the most important subject. Of course, there were many new, revolutionary techniques to be learned.
Despite the perpetual joyous atmosphere, a certain boy with hair as black and blue as midnight couldn't contain his anxiety. He stared at the door to the academy classroom; his black eyes swirled with intensity so rapidly that the room itself spun. He dug his nails into the wooden desk he sat at as he tried to conquer the fear of what would be inevitable. His closest friend, both spatially and emotionally, failed to aid him at all. In fact, he may have been completely ignorant of the raven-haired boy's tense disposition - despite his public pleas for an excuse not to come to school today. Dry tears cascaded from the boy's restless bloodshot eyes as he mourned his reputation that would soon be destroyed. He dropped his head on the table, making a thud that was louder than anticipated.
"Hayato! What's got you so bummed? It's Parent's Day, bro!" said the boy with sour apple eyes and strawberry red hair who sat on the desk-bar. This was the type of kid that was nice, but not generous - he was quite self-absorbed most of the time and was often too busy to notice any change in tone or atmosphere. Even /he/ could see Hayato was having a hard time.
Hayato gave a fake smile with clenched teeth and a twitchy brow. "I told you, Mamoru... It's Parent's Day. And I feel like throwing up." He groaned and dragged his hands down his face. The buzz in his friend's voice snapped him back into the reality he was trying to ignore.
"Why? You have parents. Most of us have parents which is why we have Parent's Day. Dad said they used to couldn't have Parent's Day since their parents were dead," he explained loudly just in case someone in their vicinity didn't realize the importance of the holiday. "In fact, my dad made this holiday just to celebrate how much peace we've had. Pretty smart coming from my old man, aye?" Mamoru ran his fingers through his sleek hair, sliding his bangs back to look at the clock. It wouldn't be soon before long that they'd start giving their presentations.
"No, you know how weird my dad is. Especially around Mom and they're gonna be together in public so that's even worse! And then he's gonna see your dad and your mom and ughhh!" he gripped his hair with his fingers and shut his eyes.
Mamoru cracked his neck and stretched his arms towards the ceiling. He gave a half smile and shrugged before looking at the board. "Well, they're just gonna introduce themselves and show off a jutsu. It's not like he's gonna embarrass you," he assured as he patted Hayato on the back.
"Wah!" shouted Hayato, falling off his seat to the floor, "H-Hey, Jin." Sweat was still cascading from his forehead. He wiped his face to try to hide his nervousness from his twin sister.
"Mom's here, too and they're up first since /someone's/ parents are late..." Jin glared at Mamoru who shrugged it off. "And would you get up from the floor?" Her eyes and hair were the same color as Hayato's, but while his hair spiked slightly towards the back, hers was long and silky. Her intimidating eyes alone made anything she'd say sound stern and condescending. Nonetheless, they were elegantly strong and able to sway others to her whim.
Hayato got back to his seat and took a deep breath. "Why are you sitting next to me?" he asked with a polite smile, for she usually sat on the opposite end of the classroom and the young shinobi made it his objective to keep her seat opposite.
"Assigned seats," Jin stated nonchalantly with her eyes closed and sweat shining on her temple. It was out of character for her to even acknowledge the rules. "You know how mom gets when I break the rules. And you know how dad gets when mom gets like that."
"Y-Yeah," Hayato nodded, scratching the side of his head and smiling sheepishly.
Mamoru shook his head. "I'll never understand their family," he thought to himself.
"Bark, bark, bark, bark!" chirped a little brown dog that ran across the desks. He stopped to glomp on Hayato, licking him in the face.
A boy with equally brown hair yelled from behind them. "Cheese!" he yelled excitedly. His black eyes glistened with enthusiasm. "Can you hand him over, Haya-kun?~" Even without his perpetual partnership with the dog, the red-painted fang marks on his face were a clear indication that he was of the Inuzuka clan.
"Bakura, you shouldn't let your dog do as he pleases all the time. You'll never know what kind of trash he'll find," said the boy that was clearly a Hyuuga with his mauve eyes. He laughed haughtily and crossed his feet on the desk.
"Oi..." said Mamoru behind gritted teeth. Hayato held him back.
Bakura and his kind but naive words smiled and tilted his head. Though his eyes were black, they shined beneath the florescent lighting making him look even younger. "Shin, why do you always talk to your cousin like that? That's not very nice. Admit that you care about him!" he pointed an accusing finger at Shin. The puppy jumped in the Dog clansman's lap.
Shin rose two fingers. "We come from two different clans. I'm of the superior Hyuuga clan," he claimed, looking up to Hayato, "while you're of the inferior..."
"Uchiha Sasuke..." announced the famed raven ninja himself in a bored, monotone voice. By the look of his sullen eyes, it seemed like the poor anti-social shinobi was being forced at gunpoint to do a presentation. He carried a fairly large scroll and wore a cape with the Uchiha fan on it.
The class went silent. Unbeknownst to them, the Uchiha leader was just as uneasy as they were.
Although he was usually confident, the crowd of children unnerved him for one reason or another. He glanced over his shoulder to the doorway and after a nod from his wife, he cleared his throat and searched for his children. "My name is Uchiha Sasuke... You all... go to school with two of my children - Jin and Hayato," he explained between pauses, trying to remember what he practiced. He brought along a few cards to help him along the way. The ink was slightly smudged by the sweat of his hands.
Sasuke hated messing up, and he especially hated messing up in front of others. He stared at his daughter, a small smile grew on his face that bordered a smirk of pride. "Princess..." he thought aloud but quietly to himself.
Hayato heard and he may have been the only one, but that didn't stop him from dying of embarrassment. "Don't start that, Dad," he whispered to himself, "please."
"In a way, Hyuuga Shin is like a nephew to me and so is," he stopped to grind his teeth, "Uzumaki Mamoru," he growled. "But you all are part of my big. happy. family." At this point in his speech he was panting. His loving wife had written this in hopes of him coming across as the family man he truly was.
Yet from Hayato's perspective his strained expression made him look like a flaming demon - fangs and all.
"I love my wife very much - well, that's true," he shrugged, half-way mumbling to himself, "and together we have 5 children together - I said that twice."
Jin wasn't even paying attention. Her eyes were focused on the window as a few clouds in the distant sky began to form shapes that were more appealing than anything that was being said.
This left Sasuke a bit disgruntled. "Jin-hime, am I boring you?" he said with a frown.
"Yes, you are, Sasuke," she said without giving him a second glance.
"Hey, you, kid!" the dark ninja called out one of the many boys that had been staring at Jin the entire time. "Don't look at Jin-hime like that!" His sharingan had suddenly activated and tiny sparks were flying from his left hand. "And why are you so close to her, Uzumaki? Just because I know your father doesn't make you suddenly betrothed to her!" His eyes shifted between the walls of the classroom as he searched for his son, "Where are you, Hayato?"
"Here," said Hayato, raising a single hand from behind the desk. "I know, I'm supposed to protect Jin. Natsume's not going to do anything. That's just the way his face looks."
"Exactly!" yelped the poor green-haired boy.
It was known by the Uchiha clan that Byakugan was activated by stress and Sharingan was activated by anger. So when Hayato emerged from behind the desk with veins throbbing on the sides of his eyes, it became clear to Sasuke that he was causing his son stress.
Luckily his wife was right around the corner - literally. In a wordless, eye to eye plea, he beckoned her near to alleviate the crisis everyone had caused him by forcing him into public speaking. He crossed his arms and went silent as she entered. His eyes returned to cool, ebony stones and the energy in his hand became stagnant.
"Hello, children," greeted his wife with a contagious smile. She bowed before Sasuke muttered something about the kid not being worth such kindness. "My name is Uchiha Hinata."
The atmosphere of the classroom lightened up. Hinata, in the past years, had become a mother-figure to the children of the village. She had finally found her niche as a teacher who could inspire and instill a productive work ethic in the coming generations. Confident and cool, she commanded the attention of the students the moment she entered the room.
"Uchiha-san, you look really pretty today!"
"Thank you, Mamoru," replied Hinata, casually.
"Grer...brat, you shut your damn m-..." began Sasuke before his wife clung to his arm.
Hinata smiled, going the extra mile to calm the elite shinobi. "I am the wife of Uchiha Sasuke and the mother of Hayato-chan and Jin-chan. Now, we at the Uchiha manor typically practice fire jutsu. But since I'm from the Hyuuga clan, our fighting styles have merged into one that involves both long-range and short-range attacks. Our children can activate both Sharingan and Byakugan."
Things were going smoothly for a while. Hinata was about to finish up by teaching the hand signs for Eight Trigrams Palms Revolving Heaven and then they'd be done. And then everyone could breathe and go on with their lives.
But then, a loud "bam" erupted and Naruto came flying back into the classroom. He rolled to the wall, opposite to the door, limp as a cooked noodle.
Then entered Sakura, panting with a smoking fist.
"Mom, Dad! I couldn't hear what Uchiha-san was saying. Even I know to wait my turn," said Mamoru as he hopped across desks, to lecture his father. He crossed his arms and cracked his neck, waiting for a response. "And why are you so late? Jeez, do you know how embarrassing this is?"
Sakura walked over to Hinata and Sasuke to bow. "I'm sorry, guys," she apologized and then turned to the class. "Class is dismissed."
The class dispersed immediately in a rushed manor. The only thing scarier than an angry Sakura was death itself. The children of those that stood at the front - Hayato, Jin and Mamoru remained.
"What's wrong?" asked Hinata who was concerned that something serious might have happened - something that warranted the dismissal of class.
The pink kunoichi sighed, palming her face. "This morning, Naruto was finalizing the teams for the genin this fall. And he did so without consent, but everything's set in stone now."
"Just as long as Uchiha are with Uchiha," stated the Uchiha leader plainly. It was a long-standing tradition to pair Uchiha up with each other. In fact, as soon as Sasuke entered the academy, he knew who his team was arranged to be. Uchiha worked well with Uchiha because they were trained together early on. He then walked over to talk to Jin and Hayato who were still ignoring everything that was going on in the room.
Hinata actually stopped to read Sakura's reaction to what Sasuke had said. The way her eyes suddenly widened then shifted must have meant that things did not go according to plan. She leaned in slightly. "Is that not the case?"
Sakura shook her head. "This idiot messed everything up. He made everything completely random without giving the team placements a second thought," she explained in a whisper.
"You shouldn't worry. Sasuke will learn to handle it," assured Hinata with a smile. It might take a few years for him to get over it, but in time. She simply wanted to take the pressure off of Naruto for the time being.
"I don't know... Jin's in the team with Lee's son - you know, the kid with the green hair," said Sakura, grabbing a lock of her own hair.
"Oh, no, he's liked her since he first met Jin," Hinata said, covering her mouth to stifle a giggle. Soon Sakura joined her.
Natsume had been bold enough to pay visits to the Uchiha manor in the past.
"Sakura..." mumbled the poor blonde Hokage. He grabbed for his son's leg instead, tripping him.
Mamoru quickly performed a clone jutsu to literally catch himself from falling to the floor and free him from his father's clutch. "Hey! Watch it!" he clamored with a frown.
"What do you mean I embarrassed you? I'm one of the strongest shinobi in the world!" exclaimed Sasuke, a distance away with flailing arms.
"Yeah? Well you suck at public speaking and I'm ashamed to call you my father," said Jin, still not looking at him. "You were ridiculous up there!"
The young father dropped his shoulders and his hands and let out a sigh of defeat. He had finally let go of impressing his daughter for the day. It seemed like since the day his children were born and they looked to him with trust in their eyes like he was the protector of their world, he hadn't wanted to let them down in any way, shape or form. Even if it was something as simple as talking to a group of brats, he didn't want to fail in their eyes.
For most of his life, Hayato thought he took after his mother the most. The rounded eyes, the Byakugan proficiency, the pale skin all traced back to Hyuugan characteristics. But hearing his father's dejected sigh from Jin's merciless ridicule, he finally saw himself in his father. The feeling of inadequacy could be found in even the strongest ninja. He smiled and said the words he always wanted to hear the man say, "At least you tried. Thanks, Dad."
Sasuke smirked. "Tried? Do I really seem so pathetic that I need pity?"
"No, no that's not what I meant!" said Hayato, raising his hands in defense. Subtly, he was annoyed by how un-receptive his father was to whatever he said. Words were rarely taken lightly.
His father's smirk widened. "I did try... kind of..."
"Do or do not there is no try," said Jin as she put her hands into her pockets and opened her eyes to see a crowd of people gathered in the foregrounds of the classroom.
Sakura was very apologetic to the crowd of disgruntled parents.
Fortunately for her, her husband had recovered in time to take a stand at the podium. "Ladies, Gentlemen, comrades, I officially declare Parents' Day over. Thank you and goodnight." He took a bow.
Of course there was harmless protest.
Tenten was the first to speak up. "You know, I really thought this was a good idea at first, Naruto - showing off our cool jutsus, telling the kids our cool stories, but I don't get why you had to cancel it. Neji had a big mission to do today, and he stayed back just for to come talk for Shin's class." After marrying Neji, she had suddenly become the voice for the entire Hyuuga clan. Teaching wasn't Neji's forte, but he was forced to come anyway.
From a distance, he stared at Sasuke and his kids. He still looked at the oldest Uchiha like he robbed something from him. Those black eyes taunted him most of all. Just knowing that he chose to reproduce with the innocent Hyuuga heiress made his stomach churn. This caused a permanent trench to form between them. For the past decade, at least, they barely spoke at get-togethers, holidays and ceremonies. With the exception mutually heated glares and mocking smirks and snarks and scoffs, few words at all were exchanged. There was one moment in history where they had a heart to heart for Neji's benefit mostly. That was the night after Sasuke proposed marriage to the heiress, and though Hinata's heart was set, nothing was finalized until Neji approved it.
Unfortunately for Neji, Sasuke won that conversation by hitting the Hyuuga where it hurt and went as far as to describe the times he had his way with her. The proof was in the pudding when Hinata gave birth to twins and then another child and then another child and then another.
Neji took a deep breath as he felt his mind spiraling down. At least Hinata seemed okay. In fact, she seemed happier and stronger and confident. Requited love provides that kind of glow as he knew first-hand as well.
Tenten broke his contemplation with a hard pat on the back, "But who doesn't know about the Hyuuga clan's abilities anyway, right? Haha!"
"Tch," scoffed Kiba, "I'm glad my sister didn't quit her mission to do a presentation. Bakura seemed excited to see me show off Akamaru though..." He patted the gigantic dog on the head. Speaking of which, where did his rambunctious nephew run off to? "You better not cancel it by the time my daughter gets into the academy." The Inuzuka was one of the closest clans in Konoha. Kiba always treated Bakura like his own son since the boy's mother was an ANBU Black Op and the father was out of the picture.
Bakura was social, but pretty unpopular with those who couldn't keep up with his flighty personality. For whatever reason, he enjoyed clinging to Shin Hyuuga in a submissive fashion. Shin didn't mind the service either. "Hey, Hinata-chan, I want to visit you at your house! Can I? I've never been before!"
The former heiress put a hand to her cheek. "Never? Of course you can, Bakura-chan."
Kiba bonked Bakura on the head, "Don't call her that, Bakura. She's your elder!"
"But Hinata-chan is my friend, too!" protested the young ninja, protectively clutching onto Hinata's sleeve. "I'm going home with her!" He pushed his face into Hinata's side causing her to giggle.
He crossed his arms behind his head. "Fine, go ahead. I have a few errands to run now that my schedule suddenly opened up," he proceeded out the door.
Mamoru cooly proceeded into the conversation with his hands tucked into his pocket. "Well, I'm bored. It's about time for me and Hayato to spar." He tapped on a front row to get Hayato's attention from across the room. "Hey, come on!"
Hayato shot up, happy to get out of whatever conversation or lecture he was enduring at the time. Walking down the stairs, however, he tripped over himself and almost fell to the floor when Sasuke caught him.
Even if the boy fell, he probably would've been okay physically. But Sasuke developed a habit of saving his children from any kind of pain whether it be physical or emotional. And falling down the stairs might have scarred his son's delicate self-esteem. "You okay? You shouldn't be so careless. Ninja are agile!" he commanded. Soon the boy would be a genin - out on his own missions. If he couldn't even walk down a flight of stairs, then how could he survive on a real mission? Sasuke wouldn't always be there to protect him. Raising a child opens the mind up to frightening scenarios such as those.
"Well if ninja are agile then why didn't you just let me fall?" he yelled, hearing his own voice boom throughout the room shook his voice. His entire body was trembling. Wrinkles appeared on his forehead. "Then I would've learned my lesson!" From his father's words, he heard what he heard all his life - doubt. There was no doubt that Sasuke cared for him, but to question his aptitude as a ninja was none of his business. It might have been that he doubted himself or maybe he had finally grown tired of fearing his father's reaction. And here, he had finally said we he'd been thinking since the day Hayato was born. Whatever emotions he was feeling at that moment came to a firey boil in his gut.
When they finally made eye contact, a smirk grew on Sasuke's face. At that moment, he was under the heat of the famed Red Stare - the initial version of the Sharingan had evolved from the black coals in his son's eyes for the first time. A mixture of pride and guilt stirred in the Uchiha when he finally saw what he'd been looking for. "Hey, Naruto, I don't think it's a good idea to let your kid spar with a Sharingan user. You think he could handle it?" He took Hayato by the shoulders and turned him around.
"What? Sharingan?" Mamoru flinched, jumping back after seeing the red in his best friend's furious eyes. Cold sweat slid down his temple.
Jin finally jumped from her reclined position. From her angle, she could see the pride radiating in her father's face. There was no way her pushover brother got Sharingan before she did! She was angry every day. And though they were barely 12, she had been determined to be the first Uchiha heir with Sharingan. After all, she was much stronger than her twin brother. There was no time to be wasted, and so she immediately she discreetly left the room to go to the private Uchiha training grounds. On her way out, she grabbed her cousin Shin who was leaning against the wall in a corner. He was, after all, the second strongest in their class.
He too was thrown off by his cousin's sudden burst of power. His potential as a Byakugan and Sharingan carrier had finally been revealed. And so, he made a silent agreement to train with Jin as soon as possible. With a nod, they left.
The Hokage clapped his hands and cheered. "Wooh! He looks just like you did. I'm getting goosebumps."
And so it could happen like that - so anti-climatic, less than poignant. No one died that day. No one even got hurt. Hayato simply got mad at his father in that instant and his pent up rage was so uncontrollable that it burst out of him without warrant. What if there was more inside of him? He rarely showed his anger, but at that moment, when it finally did come to surface for such a trivial reason, it was the blind sort of rage.
As he got stronger, would that rage become more unruly? Would it rule him? He had heard rumors that the same thing once happened to his father, but that couldn't be so. Sasuke could only be irritated if someone threatened his family or gave Hinata attention or Jin or any of the Uchiha women. Otherwise, he was calm as a still pond.
If it felt so wrong to have that power surge, then why was his father praising him? Why was everyone suddenly looking at him like he was worth more than they thought?
"Um, how do I turn it off?"
Sasuke furrowed his brow for a moment. He never really thought about it before. All he had to do was will it gone and his eyes would go back to normal. "Um," he started.
Neji interjected, "Try to deactivate it as you do with the Byakugan - calm your mind." He found himself proud that Hayato was finally starting to show his potential even if he wasn't his own child.
"Thanks, Uncle Neji." He gave his signature sheepish smile and cleared his head, closing his eyes. The flame in his gut subsided and he finally felt normal. He walked down the stairs, cautiously. "Come on, Mamoru."
"You're not actually gonna use that thing on me, are you?" asked the Prince of Konoha, his hands already quivering. Of course he'd read about tales of the Sharingan. There was no way he was prepared to combat it.
The Inuzuka boy followed after them, skipping along, "Hey, can I come, too?"
Hayato to left without giving his father a second glance. Otherwise, he seemed to be back to his normal self.
Sasuke scowled, "Tch, I can tell my own son how to use our bloodline limit."
"What?" Neji yelled, slipping out of his controlled persona, "Then why couldn't you tell him right then?" More importantly, isn't there something wrong with triggering the enough anger in ones son to activate the Sharingan? But Neji held his tongue for Hinata's sake who currently held a palm to her face.
The room went quiet for a uncomfortable second. Naruto spoke, "I'm hungry. You guys hungry? I'll treat you all to ramen."
This was classic Naruto to try to ease everything over with eating. Sakura made a face. "You're the Hokage and the best you can do is ramen for treating your best friends?"
"I'm not eating with him..." said Neji and Sasuke, in their low, monotone voices.
The Hyuuga was finally wanting to say all the things he couldn't the first night they talked.
12 years ago
At a restaurant, at midnight when most people they knew were already at home, the Hyuuga and Uchiha sat side-by-side, not yet saying what was on their minds. Neji had wanted to have a peaceful discussion with Sasuke about his recent proposal to Hinata. The former rogue ninja didn't even bother getting permission from the clan - although the clan failed to see this as an issue for someone they were going to marry off anyway.
It was winter and the wedding would take place before the end of the year, according to the heiress who, at the time was already preparing for the small celebration. The wind was bringing coldness swiftly, and so the two men were under dressed and twice as uncomfortable as they would've been had they been prepared.
Alcohol was an option. They were both of age for the village of Konoha being at least 18. But both seemed hesitant to touch it, for they wanted to have full control of the conversation.
"How did you two meet?" said Neji, breaking through the thick silence so he could at least breath regularly. He let out a deep sigh. "I mean, I know you went to the academy with her, but you didn't start talking to her until you got back from your...expedition." The way he said 'expedition' was as condescending as he felt he should've been. It caused them both to narrow their eyes at each other, scrupulously judging the new tone of the conversation. This had suddenly turned into a confrontation. But Neji knew to speak carefully, for if true conflict did arise, he'd be lucky if he could even hold his own against the Uchiha's wild strength.
Sasuke lightened his grip on the counter. His eyebrows jumped as he relaxed into a smug smile. "Well yeah, I went to the academy with her, but as soon as I came back and back to my senses, I realized she was the one I've been looking for. And since the night of her birthday party last year, there was no doubt that I'd get her." He sipped the complementary glass of water and watched for the Hyuuga to reply as if they were amidst a game of chess.
"I see," said Neji. A sly grin grew on his face. This was just what he assumed of a rogue ninja. "So she's just Ego Fuel for you. You knew she liked Naruto and so, with your rivalry in mind, she was just another way for you to beat him."
"Hardly," he said, setting the glass down firmly into the wood. There were many times when he tried to tell himself that the only reason he liked her because she liked Naruto - because she was the ungettable get, but it never rang as true. And hearing it outloud, it sounded even more ridiculous. "But you know, they say: Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. So maybe, in the end, she did become ego fuel. I'm a lot stronger than I was." Formerly, he would've gagged at himself, spitting out romantic quotes of ancient philosophers like some...romantic, but he never knew any quote to be more true.
They ordered their food as Neji thought about what to say next. There was a chance that what his cousin's suitor was saying was completely absurd, and there was the chilling possibility that he meant every word of it. With such predilection in his eyes, the latter seemed to be getting dangerously close to the truth. "You didn't do anything with her that night, right?" he asked, glancing at the clock. Twenty minutes had already passed. He jumped when he heard Sasuke chuckle.
"Didn't you trust her when she told you the truth?"
"One cannot always be sure to trust someone who is in 'love,'" he gagged out, playing along with the scenario. This was a classic example of denial.
"Well, I can only confirm what she said. But I will say that since then, we were sure to spend more time at my apartment than at her estate, and," he began but stopped and looked at the clock.
Neji quirked an eyebrow. His ears perked up, waiting for the boy who was barely a man to continue. What he said was disturbing enough, but the fact that there was more caused the pale-eyed ninja to stir. He crossed his feet - an old habit that occasionally came back from his childhood. The sides of his eyes twitched violently. "W-What?" he stuttered out. God, he doubted he be able to handle much else.
The cook came forward with both of their simple dishes. Sasuke had ordered curry while Neji ordered a bowl of rice - his appetite was running low. They thanked the chef, concentrating on their food. Well, Sasuke got straight to stuffing his mouth. Neji did say he would pay.
The rice sat as a perfect mound. He stabbed it with his chopsticks. The servers flinched. "Don't tell me you've been sexually active," he ordered.
Sasuke stared up from his food. He swallowed what remained in his mouth. "Okay, but she is pregnant," he state matter-of-factually.
Now his Byakugan was fully flaring. The chopsticks in his hand were in pieces and his free hand was clutching the collar of the Uchiha's shirt. The longer he looked into the shinobi's dead, stoic eyes, the more powerless he felt. He just stood there, breathing heavily. His mind racing, blaming Sasuke. Soon, after minutes had passed and the food went from steaming hot to lukewarm, he dropped the Uchiha. He calmed down the best he could and returned to his seat.
"She wanted you to know before we got married, and she was scared to tell you - scared you'd be mad," he snorted, glancing up at Neji who was closing his eyes and chanting some mantra. "Oh yeah, and I need your blessing."
A picture of Hinata flashed in Neji's mind and he tried to pretend that that wasn't the person they were talking about. "I've been the one to guard Hinata since were children. I've been the one to stand up for her and stand by her for the longest. I've been the only one to care about her. And suddenly she runs off with you with the assumption that you've suddenly turned into a good guy when you once wanted to kill Naruto and the entire village. How the hell am I supposed to trust you?"
"If I'm not mistaken, you tried to kill her specifically," he spat. Those were of the thought patterns built on self-brainwashing.
"I'm not the same child anymore. That's goes back to our childhood!" he tried to defend himself, but failed. They were standing on equal grounds. Neji had the most duplicitous past while Sasuke had the most violent.
Now they were both up in arms. They had worked their way into an argument that they couldn't get out of.
"Naruto saved both our asses. He gave us a reason to think that there was something out there," Sasuke said after finally finishing his food. "And I realized that Hinata is that something. Ass out - I told you how I feel. You might have protected her life, but I'm gonna make her like it."
"Okay," he said, knowing he'd regret what he was saying. "I can't imagine telling her I don't approve. And I'm not going to call your unborn child a mistake. And I don't want to cause her excessive stress to any degree. But just know that I've never liked you and I never will."
Sasuke tucked his hands in his pockets and got to his feet. "Alright," he performed a slight bow - a habit from his childhood that occasionally returned when he got what he wanted. A simple approval was what eventually wanted from the cousin of his fiance. Whatever she wanted, he found himself wanting.
"Stop fighting," Hinata pleaded with tears in her eyes, "Please. I didn't know you two hated each other so much."
Neji and Sasuke both stopped to stare at her. They had both flashed back to that night and had just awakened from thought.
"You heard her!" yelled Tenten as two kunai flew towards their faces which they nearly escaped.
"Fine, I'll go, but I'm not sitting next to him!" yelled both Neji and Sasuke.
*Fun, but disrespectful at an Asian restaurant. Don't try this at Chinatown, kids. ;)
hmfan24: So I wrote the premise for this 5 years ago. And I'm just now revamping this. The previous edition was very terrible. Don't read it. . OCs, I know, are a lot more fun to write than to read, but these character have literally been in development for years and they're my pride and joy.
I really should rename the OCs to go along with the puns and patterns of the actual Naruto names. But I cbf. Lazy. I know. Don't care.
More to Come.