First of all... MINATO!
Second of all... GO CHECK OUT MARIKO'S ASK PAGE on deviantART! (link on my profile)
Third of all... I don't know what this is... lol.
Fourth of all... STATE CHAMPPPP! (giggles nervously)
Fifthly... I still don't know what this chapter is, lol. Went differently than I originally planned. Meh. (Then again, there was no plan in the first place...)
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto because suddenly Kakashi talks a lot, and Obito doesn't have a heart, and Rin was the jinchuuriki of the-whaaaat.
Note: Warning - messed up timeline and randomness ahead!
Chapter 44: A Restaurant and a Hair Salon
Tobirama was so tired of holding Takeshi's hand, simply because the boy would not stop moving.
The child was nearly seven years old, overly happy on Academy Entrance Day, and the fact that he was bouncier and more excitable than his mother was just plain annoying. Nonetheless, the Second Hokage found himself heading down the stairs of the Hokage Tower to the Academy, ready to welcome the new, incoming batch of little children, his own enrolled son on his arm.
"Papa," said Takeshi excitedly, "Will I be a boba?"
Will I be a boba.
"You'll be a fine shinobi, son," replied Tobirama flatly, trying not to get irritated at Takeshi's tendency to pull his sleeve down heavily. The boy burrowed his head of blue hair, ruffled fondly by his mother from its morning nest, into his father's side and giggled. No matter what age he was, Takeshi was always a toddler at heart.
"Papa," he repeated.
"What if I dun wanna be a boba?"
"If you do not wish to take the path of the shinobi, I will not force you," Tobirama sighed, glancing down at the boy.
"And if I wanna be a boba?"
"Then I am sure you'll become the finest shinobi in your class," his father reassured him, patting the familiar blue bobble of hair. Takeshi smiled a smile that was so much like Mariko that he was not quite sure what to do — the overwhelming cuteness of this smile was too bright and intense for him.
"Then why is Mommy not a boba?"
"Mommy didn't come from a shinobi background," Tobirama attempted to explain, pushing the door open so that the boy could walk through. Takeshi bounced in the direction of the Academy, looking overly eager.
"Aren't girl bobas called noisy-cheese?"
Tobirama was not sure if his son was seven years old or three.
"Yes, the women are called kunoichi," Tobirama answered hesitantly.
"They are nosy. I'm not sure they smell like cheese, though," Takeshi mused to himself, squeezing Tobirama's hand and giggling. (A subtle pigeon choir assembled itself as they meandered their way to the new ninja school.) "Kori smells like cheese."
Tobirama wanted to hit his head against a wall. Meanwhile, someone snorted, and Takeshi dove behind Tobirama's leg in fright. Lo and behold, it was the mighty Boogieman, Sarutobi Hiruzen, stifling his laughter with the back of his hand. The white-haired Senju glared at his student, but it did little to fend off the brazen, young monkey. Instead, it lured the fire-breathing chimp a little closer, scaring the living daylights out of poor Takeshi.
"Hey, Takeshi, you're gonna have to learn to be brave if you want to be a shinobi," Hiruzen said, peering around Tobirama to see the blue-haired boy.
"I wanna be the Sunkage," retorted Takeshi, a snarky scowl scrunching up his nose, "not a boogie-boba like Uncle Saru." The blue boy had gained enough confidence to actually speak to Hiruzen, but unfortunately for the young monkey, all of those words were mostly Tobirama-style insults. In fact, Takeshi would grow up to be the sweetest boy in all of Konoha, save his streak of witticisms that he'd inherited from his father. (His sister, on the other hand, would be the sharpest, snappiest girl in the Academy, with a soft spot for cute things and shiny gems.)
Boogie-boba. Tobirama chuckled, and supposed that he'd have to add that one to the list.
"I'm a jounin, thank you very much!" sputtered Hiruzen, hands on his hips.
"You're a no-nin," replied Takeshi.
"Tobirama-sensei, your son is—"
"My son is what?" challenged the Senju, quirking a brow at his student. Hiruzen shut up and sighed.
"Tobirama?" came a shrill, dainty voice. Of course, the mother, nagging forever and ever. But, then again, that was what mothers did, and now that she was one, Mariko would tail her husband with complaints until the Juubi resurrected. "Are you still here? You two are going to be late!"
Tobirama sighed and turned to glare at her, the way he always did. And then, she shot him one of those incredibly adorable, soft pouts that had him melting on the inside. His outside, however, remained completely frozen, an ice statue to keep him standing because his insides were cooing as loudly as the pigeon choir. "What," he snapped.
"You're going to be late," she repeated, annoyed now. The blunette stomped over, revealing a five-year-old Kori dawdling behind her skirts. The little girl whose curtain of snow-white hair practically covered her face squeaked and latched onto her busy mother again. When Kori spied Hiruzen staring at them, her face morphed into a glare so mighty that Tobirama would have flinched.
"Sensei, why do your kids hate me?" Hiruzen asked out of the blue.
"Figure it out yourself, Saru."
"I mean, seriously. This one," Hiruzen said, gesturing to Takeshi, "is like the sweetest thing in the world, except that he hates me." He glanced at Kori. "While that one is vicious, but you seem to think she's cute."
"Did you just call my daughter vicious?" hissed Mariko.
Hiruzen, who had more than a head on Mariko, cringed.
"No-nin," laughed Takeshi from his father's side as his blue-haired mother stalked up to Hiruzen, lips set and arms folded.
"Sensei," whimpered Hiruzen. "Why is your family so angry today?"
"I'd like to know why too, Saru."
Mariko turned on Tobirama. He silently cringed.
"You'll be a chuunin for the rest of your life. Forever. The eternal chuunin." "At least I'm not an eternal genin."
"Are you insulting Kousuke-nii-san?"
"Will you two just be quiet?!" snapped their mother, slamming a hefty pot of soup between the two of them. The girl obediently closed her mouth, and her brother followed suit. The pair of siblings cautiously eyed the harried blunette bustle around the table, followed by a rather lethargic Mito and a seriously lazy Second Hokage.
Mito, understandably, was tired after an entire day of caring for baby Tsunade.
Tobirama, it seemed, was just tired of his paperwork. Typical.
Mariko, lastly, was just annoyed at her children's squabbling, a constant chatter to their dinnertime conversation. Kori, who had caught up to her older brother and attained the status of chuunin, was currently making fun of her "eternal chuunin onii-chan" who did not excel as much in ninja arts.
"At least you can walk on water," Tobirama stated flatly. Mariko threatened to drop the pot on him, but the Second Hokage merely waved her off dismissively.
"Dad," Kori snorted in the same, dry tone, "You're awful."
"You're all on your mother's side, aren't you?" Tobirama sighed, dodging a spoon that swung precariously near his face. Mito, somewhat exhausted in her laid back position, snorted at this.
"That's because the mother of every household is the most fearsome figure of all," she declared, straightening and peering at her brother-in-law, amused. At this, Mariko smugly slapped down silverware for everybody, nearly stabbing Tobirama with the ladle for the soup. The Senju, unsure of how a round utensil could harm him, found out the hard way when his spouse nearly whipped hot soup at him.
"Well, that's because you always yell at us," Takeshi said.
"I do not yell at you," replied Tobirama.
"I mean," Takeshi mended, "to say that you always seem annoyed with us."
My family is talking about its issues, Mariko thought in wonder. This never happens…
"Your father is very busy," she told her children.
"But he always tells us 'Your mother will skin your hides if you don't do this and that and blah, blah, blah' and stuff," protested Takeshi. Mariko turned to look at Tobirama, who simply shrugged and casually slung an arm around her waist. The blunette wiggled her way out of his grip and sat down across from him, ignoring the foot that teasingly brushed her shin. "And he also thinks he's always right," Takeshi added, nodding thoughtfully.
"I am," growled Tobirama. At this, Mito snorted again. She looked like she was about to burst into laughter, but was simply too tired to spare the effort. The Uzumaki shook her head and attempted to change the subject.
"Has anyone seen that one scroll of mine? You know, the one that says Fuuton style on it?" she mentioned, waving her spoon casually. Takeshi, in an incredible feat of nonchalance, shook his head with a rather blank expression. Kori smirked, because usually his fairly tanned complexion would have paled considerably in horror. Proudly, she folded her arms and watched her careful nonverbal body language training take effect. The girl had taught her brother the secrets to shinobi-like expressions.
But, of course, Mito was far more perceptive than the average Saru, and she caught on immediately.
"Who has it?" she asked.
"Who has what?" Takeshi blurted back, so innocently that no one could tell if he was faking it or genuinely curious, because it was his nature to be so adorable (even at twelve).
"The scroll," drawled Mito dryly, pursing her lips.
"Takeshi," muttered Tobirama, glaring at his son. The blue-haired boy shot his father a look so helpless and confused – again, was he faking it, or not? – that Tobirama was befuddled for a moment.
"Why do we call Uncle Saru our uncle if we don't call anyone else our uncle?" Kori suddenly broke in. "I mean, we call his teammates Koharu-nee and Homura-nii."
"Saru's an old man," replied Tobirama gruffly, seeming to completely forget that they were supposed to be on the subject of Mito's scroll. He and his children had the tendency to change subjects without much hesitation; one minute, they were discussing ambush strategies during a mission in Iwa, and the next, it was something about ducks eating papayas with senbon needles for toothpicks.
"He's an old man," echoed Mariko, frowning. "Really, now. Are you sure you aren't the old man?"
"I'm not old," said the Senju defensively.
"My scroll," insisted Mito, rubbing her forehead.
"Uncle Saru has it."
"Danzo-nii has it."
Both Takeshi and Kori turned to face each other, eyes wide.
"No, we agreed on—what do you mean, Danzo-nii has it?!"
"I thought we said that he did!"
"Does he really?!"
"I don't know, I thought you knew!"
"I thought you knew!"
Mito wanted to pull her hair out.
"Hey, watch where you're goin', old geezer!" growled the shinobi, completely ignoring the fact that he'd been the one careless enough to bump into a defenseless, elderly man humbly shuffling his way down a busy market street. "Who do ya think you are?"
"I'm simply an old man who owns a restaurant and likes to visit his cousin's daughter every once in a while," replied the man, still handsome with sparkling garnet eyes through the worn wrinkles of his age. He had creases by his eyes; he was a man who smiled a lot.
"Watch where you're going," snapped the uncouth young shinobi, "us shinobi have a lot to contribute to society!"
"Young man," said the old one, "I come from a time where shinobi built this current village you have now. My father would have called you the useless one."
Every once in a while, besides visiting family members, this lovely old man liked to retort with a witty comment or two. He was the friendliest old man, the sweet manager of the foreign cuisine restaurant down the street, growing in popularity. There was bound to be a dish that one liked in that restaurant – most of Konoha would agree.
"Excuse me?" said the shinobi, growling. He whipped round and stepped up to the older man. "Well, your father can go rot in hell and disappear."
"First of all," chuckled the old man. "My father has been through hell and back."
"Secondly, he is forever immortalized on Hokage Mountain. I doubt you can do anything about that, child." Smugly, the old man whose hair still maintained a fine shade of blue mixed with slate and silver, folded his arms and jutted his chin out at the young man.
The shinobi was quiet.
"Now, if you'll excuse me, I was going to send a message from my cousin's daughter, the Hokage, to Uncle Saru's family."
Takeshi looked over the broad-shouldered teen in front of him.
"Child, you may consider a haircut. My sister is a hair stylist in her retirement."
The shinobi stared at him blankly.
"Now, don't give me that face, you've plenty of time to consider the fact that you've met the Second Hokage's son. Go along, now."
He would forever hold the rights to boast about his title, even if he only felt the need to do so in his old age.
"I swear on my white hair that I saw him."
"My hair's going white too."
"Nonsense, your hair is as blue as ever." Kori rolled her eyes, and Konohamaru yelped as the woman nearly took off his ear with the scissors.
"Watch it, Kori, you're going to take off little Saru's ears," muttered Takeshi, folding his arms and watching his sister cut the genin's hair. Even though she had taken on many years, Kori was still elegant and slim, holding herself with an air of grace and dignity. Her long, silver hair was swept up neatly into a bun, held in place with a pin that once belonged to Koharu.
"He's got big ears," Kori said, pinching the boy's cheek. Konohamaru giggled, and then winced, and his teammates snorted in the background, laughing. Kori added, "But I did see him."
"Stop dreaming, sister. We're at war – we must focus on the now."
Takeshi's words nearly wiped the smiles from the children's faces, and he was regretful that he'd said them. Konohamaru, in particular, sank into his seat and looked dejected. Too young to be part of the war effort, he could only stay at home and defend the village the best he could.
"Little Saru," Takeshi said. The boy perked up upon hearing his name. "You and the Corps," said the old man, gesturing to Team Ebisu, "should come to the restaurant tonight. Bring some friends, it's on the house."
"Really?!" exclaimed Konohamaru, jerking to enthusiastically that he nearly had his ear taken off a second time.
"Sure thing," Takeshi said, patting the boy's arm. "I'm going to go prepare you kids a fine meal." He glanced at Kori. "Sister, don't forget to buy some flowers, all right?"
"Thank you, Takeshi."
He was surprised then; she hardly ever thanked him these days. But the look in her eyes told him simply what he already knew – it was not as if she had anything better to do. She had no children to care for, since they'd died long ago, only a granddaughter who bore a striking resemblance to their mother and wasn't too shabby at throwing a kunai. Takeshi himself was not a fan of the ninja life, having watched his wife and children die and forever hating Kumo without a real reason save a bitter wish for revenge. Nonetheless, he smiled and touched her shoulder lightly, sauntering out of the beauty salon and down the street.
The patter of rain, familiar yet not. He knew this feeling like the back of his hand, yet it was such a nostalgic sensation that he began to doubt its presence. It was like a raindrop, slipping off of a maple leaf and lightly pinging in a steady rhythm onto the pavement. Being held in someone's arms and realizing that he was home, he was home, and excitedly going for the door. Always accompanied by the scent of fresh air and rain and sometimes the sweet green tea of his mother.
Takeshi turned on his heel and ran. He may have been getting along in his years, but there were some things that the son of the Second would not lose – strength and life.
For a moment, he feared it was just his imagination, just Kori's words getting to his head. He felt so many presences, familiar yet not, flooding into his relatively dormant chakra system naturally. He did not mean to sense them; they came willingly.
One was a forest, a mighty tree that rooted itself within the boundaries of his sensory abilities. The second was the rainfall, so familiar and achingly close that Takeshi could almost reach out and touch it. The third was a familiar face, a steady boulder as great as a mountain. It evoked laughter and pain and fear and love, and a hearty chuckle that one simply could not forget. The fourth was a young man, a flash of lightning that Takeshi had not witnessed for 16 years.
He looked up at Mount Hokage, and perched on their own heads, the four deceased Hokage.
His father held up a hand, silently. Takeshi could almost hear the armor clink and the wind rustle through his father's fur collar.
And then they were gone.
He felt a million roving presences, each one a citizen of a Konoha sunk into the earth and in the process of rebuilding. He'd felt a flash of familiarity, and turned to see a woman staring at him. But the group was swift, he and Hashirama at the front, and they were gone within a second. He realized who the woman was, and felt a warmth creep into his bones, into the chilled curse of Edo Tensei.
And then, as Hashirama declared their departure and they each leapt onto their respective heads, a blurred sensation.
It was a hand, sore and stiff from lack of use, the extent of a former shinobi who could have been the greatest sensory nin in all of Konoha, had he chosen that path. Just like his father.
Tobirama looked down, and the head of blue hair, far, far away, tugged at his heart so hard that he suddenly remembered that it was there. Hidden in a false body after years of supposedly peaceful death, his heart reemerged. He knew, now, that this was a world where so many did not exist anymore. He could not sense the fiery aura of Mito, nor any of the brooding Uchiha clan members.
Most of all, her presence was not alive, only the memory. It saddened him greatly, to see her son – their son – looking up at him with a lost, bewildered expression on his face. He held up his hand in a silent greeting, but also a subtle farewell.
"Let's fly!" exclaimed Hashirama, overly enthusiastic as was usual.
Hardly a second passed, and Tobirama's hand of chakra gripped his son's firmly, and then they vanished.
The title was meant to have no real effect, lol.
That, and I don't know, I just don't know...welcome to OC-world!
Well, that was depressing, ne? No? Okay. We're just all waiting for next week's Kishi troll! I mean...Hokages' arrival!