dedication: to rhea and paige
summary: baby did it hut when you fell from heaven?
notes: thanks for the support, everyone. also i would just like to point out i changed the characters this is under because i was getting tired of the "where's sakura" going on because really. she'll show up when she'll show up. calm thy asses down for the love of christ.
Hotaru didn't sleep alone.
Her crib was there for show, for Sasuke to throw her suddenly overwhelming collection of stuffed animals—seriously, Naruto brought her a new one every night—and little things like tiny slippers and the sort.
She didn't sleep next to him either.
Most of the nights, Sasuke found himself dosing off on the rocking chair with his head tilted back and Hotaru nestled in his arms.
Kind of like he was right now: his eyes closed and consciousness drifting back and forth as Hotaru continued to fuss in her light slumber. Sasuke felt the back of his head pulse with a migraine, his eyes stinging with lack of sleep and his arms feeling tingly because of his daughter's weight as she refused to be put down.
Still though, he rocked back and forth, stifling a yawn and hoping she'd fall asleep soon so he could cheat and tuck her into bed with him and get some proper sleep for at least just this one night. It was getting unbearable to fall asleep on the counter or under a car when he was supposed to be working.
She whimpered, shifting around and clenching the material of his shirt in her tiny hands. Sasuke held in his breath, his eyes snapping open as he straightened his head to look down at her.
In a second, she was sound asleep again and he could do nothing more but throw his head back and sleep, his arms secured around her, pressing her close to his chest.
Kiba sat on one of the chairs of the dinner table, staring at his new challenge in the face and trying hard not to snicker at the oatmeal coating her cheeks like a beard.
"Seriously kid," he said, scooping up a tiny spoonful of oatmeal. "Who exactly am I feeding?"
Hotaru paused from slapping her hands against her high chair, inspecting him with her dark eyes, puckering her thin lips and deciding she didn't really care enough. She chanted something in her baby language, clapping her hands against the table of her high chair and ignoring the scoop of oatmeal Kiba was offering her.
He sighed, setting the tiny pink bowl down and letting her do her morning ritual, settling into going through his phone until she was ready.
Of course, he should have known that this wasn't exactly what Hotaru wanted. The kid was exactly like her aunt (and her dad, Kiba didn't care if no one else saw it, Sasuke was a complete attention whore) and needed to be catered to even when she wasn't paying attention to the affection she was receiving.
So naturally, she began to chant louder, her chubby hands curled into fists and her toes curled, legs swinging back and forth. Kiba looked up from the screen of his phone and stared at her.
Her cheeks were red and her nonexistent eyebrows were furrowed and he really couldn't take her seriously with all that oatmeal covering her face.
Snorting, he reached for the pink hanky and began to wipe her face clean. Hotaru sucked in air, flailing her small hands and kicking her legs up and down, tongue peeking out of her mouth and fake-coughing when he wiped at her nose.
"You're a real drama queen, ain't you."
She let out a high-pitched squeal, opening her mouth when he offered her a spoonful of her breakfast. She puckered her lips up again, smacking them and savoring her meal.
This only made Kiba a bit excited—she was going to finish her damn oatmeal and then maybe hopefully fall asleep for at least thirty minutes and therefore give him peace of mind so he could maybe eat something?
Except, nope, Hotaru kept playing the game of only accepting spoonfuls when she wanted and only squealing in protest when he didn't shower her with attention.
Kiba wanted to bang his head against the wall. Cute kid but with a personality like her dad's, and that was just not cool.
So he sat there, sighing and observing her entertain herself with her constant hand slamming and screeches that were probably supposed to mean something but he couldn't really understand.
It wasn't until he found himself falling asleep and snapping up to a baby tantrum that he decided that enough was enough and this kid was gonna eat her oatmeal and she was gonna like it. And then, he didn't know, maybe he could shower her and dress her up or something productive like that.
"C'mon, Hotaru, look." He scooped up a handful of oatmeal and pulled his arm back. He whistled, slowly pushing his arm forward and bringing it to her lips. She stared at him all wide eyed and transfixed, opening her mouth and accepting the serving.
Bingo, Kiba grinned.
It didn't take long before he managed to get Hotaru to finish her entire meal, filled with airplane noises and whistles. In the end, of course, she was covered in oatmeal and so was he. Sighing and walking to place the empty bowl and spoon into the sink, he decided they both needed a shower.
Hotaru stared at him expectantly; flailing limbs resting as she observed his every movement. Kiba definitely knew that looked and it always ended with his hair yanked and his eye poked and his nose scratched.
She huffed and puffed and Kiba had no choice but to unstrap her from her seat and pick her up. As expected, she slapped a hand to his cheek, observing him as if she'd forgotten who he was. Then, she yanked at his hair, grabbing some of the longer droopy spikes and sticking them into her mouth.
Hotaru squealed loudly then.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah," he winced, "just don't yank so hard, it's stuck to my head y'know."
Wincing and groaning, he blindingly moved around in search for all the equipment needed to bathe her. He made his way to the ground floor's bathroom ("My bathroom, why does my bathroom havta have th' baby stuff?") in search of her baby bathtub.
The door opened, then and Kiba ignored it. Whoever it was, was just gonna have to suffer along with him in the hardest task of the day. He grabbed the pink plastic bathtub, grabbing the baby shampoo and bringing it out to the dinner table.
"What're you doing?"
"Oh, the douche decides to grace us with his presence."
"You have oatmeal all over, did you know that?"
"Yeah, fuck you." Kiba walked towards the sink, grabbing a pot and filling it up with lukewarm water. "Grab your kid, will you? It's already enough of a damn task to be doing this above feeding her."
"But she likes you," Sasuke said, taking the child and not even flinching when she placed his hair into her mouth.
Rolling his eyes, Kiba brought the pot to the table. Sasuke followed after him, pulling Hotaru's violet shirt off and unstrapping her diaper.
There was a gleam in her eyes as he sat her down on the tub; Kiba figured it was excitement or something. Who the hell knew, babies thought about sunshine and rainbows and glitter so she was probably pretty happy about that among other things like gurgles.
She sucked in air when he poured some of the water onto her, her eyes shutting tight before snapping them open to stare up at them. Kiba and Sasuke wore the same expression on their faces: eyebrows meeting their hairlines and identical crooked smirks.
Hotaru flailed her arms and kicked her legs, the water pooling in the tub splashing both of them. Sasuke neared her, pouring a dime size portion of the shampoo onto his palm and gently beginning to rub it onto her head full of short dark curls. She opened her mouth, eyes blinking before shutting completely just as Kiba let down a shower of water down her head.
In the end, Sasuke and Kiba were just as soaked as she was and it only grew worse when Hotaru refused to be taken out of the tub.
"She's definitely your kid."
"What's that supposed to mean, asshole?"
"Exactly what it means, douchenugget."
They sneered at each other before Sasuke pulled Hotaru out after wrapping her in her pink towel. She screeched, flailing around and beginning to throw a tantrum that Sasuke promptly ignored in favor of taking her upstairs to his room so he could find her some clothes.
Kiba grumbled; of course he was gonna be left with the task of cleaning the mess downstairs. Goddamn.
Sasuke lay on his bed, unable to move an inch save for his right arm. Upon dressing her up in a flower print dress, Hotaru had fallen asleep while lying on his chest and one movement of his—not counting the slow rise and fall of his breathing—would wake the child up and then he'd be forced to deal with her wailing again.
So Sasuke settled into going through his phone; deleting old messages, clearing his call log, wondering why the hell he had certain apps he didn't remember downloading and even going through the small amount of pictures he had saved.
That's when he spared his daughter a glance, the way her hands were curled into chubby fists, her cheek looking squished as it pressed to his chest, her lashes looking long against her pale skin and overall looking… Looking…
He snapped a picture.
And so began a new hobby.
"I just want m'food."
Naruto sighed and rolled his head around to loosen the tense muscles of his neck and shoulder. Seriously, how the hell did Suigetsu's parents deal with his lard ass?
He tried to ignore it, moving around the kitchen and getting the paper plates ready because using the good porcelain that Neji had invested in was out of the question in a house inhabited by five guys (and a baby) who refused to do dishes.
(Those were always reserved for when someone's parents came over for dinner, anyway.)
Sometimes, though, Naruto wondered how he became the basic soul that took care of the kitchen. Like, okay, he understood that he cooked the best (EVEN BETTER THAN NEJI AW YEAH) because he was such a mama's boy and as a mama's boy he would help his mom in the kitchen. And there was seriously a thing about someone like Naruto moving around the kitchen that he supposed was calming or something.
Mostly, all the other assholes were too lazy.
"Shut the fuck up, fatass," he sneered, rolling his blue eyes and looking for the Parmesan they kept in the fridge.
Suigetsu looked up from his phone's screen and glared at him with his stupid violet eyes. Naruto scoffed at him and before a snark match could begin, the doorbell rang.
Hotaru looked away from the screen of the TV and blinked at them for a second before returning her attention to the screen, completely engrossed in the baby channel, forcing Kiba, Sasuke and Neji watch with her.
"Yeah, no, don't move—I got it." Naruto rolled his eyes and walked into the foyer, pulling his wallet out of his back pocket.
Two minutes later, he walked back into the living room balancing three boxes of pizza in one hand and a bag with two two-liter sodas in the other, half glaring at his obnoxious friends. He placed the boxes on the center of the dinner table along with the sodas, walking into the kitchen and came out with a roll of paper towels afterwards.
By then, Suigetsu was sitting at the table and trying to steal a slice of pizza. Naruto whacked him with the paper towels, "Can't you at least wait for everyone to come to the table. Jesus Christ, you fat sack of shit."
Just then, Neji appeared and trailing behind him was Kiba and behind him was Sasuke with Hotaru attached to his hip.
He sat her down on her high chair, moving to the kitchen to find a jar of Gerber to feed her. Hotaru got really jealous if she didn't eat when they were eating or if they didn't give her any of her food.
She just didn't seem to understand that she had no teeth and couldn't really swallow anything but sometimes to keep her quiet, they'd let her suck on the bread or fruit or whatever, watching her smack her lips together like she'd just done the greatest task ever while they finished their snack.
Once they were all seated at the oval table, they began to eat.
Dinner was made up of greasy food and soda pop, sarcasm and witty banter thrown left and right. But sometimes it was also about catching up—like Neji and his classes, Naruto and Hinata, Kiba and Ino, Suigetsu with the funniest crap he sees at his job and Sasuke with his life adjusting to his daughter.
But that was the thing—it'd been almost two weeks since Hotaru dropped into their life and they quickly adjusted themselves to her. They each had babysitting duty when they were off and Sasuke had to work, if they could, they'd do her laundry (everything set to delicate), wash her bottles and anything they could to help Sasuke out until he came back.
They all adjusted their schedules so at least someone was available at some point and when they weren't, the option was to hand her over to Sasuke's mother, his sister or to Ino.
Naruto observed his idiot best friend feed his kid before snatching at some of the cheese that Suigetsu's pizza slice drooped back down to the box.
"I'm gonna kick your ass!"
"Don't throw paper towel balls, idiots," Neji hissed.
Kiba's snickers, Hotaru's yelling and Sasuke's sighs were in the background, like sealing the deal that they were a very weird and dysfunctional family and the baby's arrival only amplified rather than changed it.
"Goddamn it, Uchiha, that's mushed sweet potato on a brand new shirt!"