Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or Mass Effect.
Geth, News, and Intercom
(Location: ASV Shadow King)
Kaguya closed her omni-tool, letting the codex disappear. Her eyes turned towards the window besides her. All that was outside was the burning blue wave, showing they were traveling faster than light via chakra. The Shadow King was the first of its kind in any category, a cruiser with duel mass effect and chakra drive cores. When they had started this journey, they were able to use the mass effect core to get that initial kick, going as far as they could without a relay on the other end, and then changed to chakra for the remainder. Until it had been built, no one thought that such a ship could exist. Then again, she had been alive when they said a chakra drive ship couldn't exist. It was a little amusing. She knew she wasn't the only one who would've gotten a kick out of it. She also knew that her father would be proud that she was its captain.
Her smile dimmed a little when she thought of him. She could still remember his last days. It had been clear to her and her sisters that their father was getting weaker and more tired with each passing month. It seemed more and more difficult for him to get out of the bed and walk through the house, leaning on his cane. More often than not he sat out in the garden than did any actual work. But he was never sad about what was happening to him. Every time a doctor visited and offered something to help get well, he refused. When Tevilse finally blew up at him, demanding why he didn't care that he was dying, he waited until she was done and pulled her into a hug. He told her that he had accepted he was dying. In fact, his only disappointment was that he couldn't live to two hundred, saying it was a nice round number. That was their father, the oldest human in the galaxy and he was disappointed he couldn't live another three years just because he could hit it. It made them all sad but still laughed.
She started thinking about her life when her father was alive, she always did when she read his codex entry. The entry never mentioned Samantha because her parents never made it official. It had taken Kaguya nearly twelve years to figure out that her Aunt Sam was just more than a family friend (and it took her another year to figure out why she and her sisters were allowed to camp outside on the hill whenever she came to visit).
Then she learned that Sam fell in love with someone else, someone she had met when she was serving on the Normandy, under Aunt Ashley. When she came to the house and told her parents one night, Kaguya and her sisters had been upstairs, listening. There wasn't a fight, only a long and quiet talk they couldn't quite hear. Afterwards, Aunt Sam left the house and she didn't come back for three years. She kept in contact with her parents and they never seemed upset that she had left them. They had even taken her and her sisters to Aunt Sam's wedding.
But after those three years, she appeared on their doorstep again and talked to her parents. Kaguya learned the story years after the fact. Even though she was married, and happily so, Samantha still missed Naruto and Aria. The night she came back they all ended up in bed together. What could've been an affair became an open relationship between the three of them, something Samantha's wife knew about and was perfectly fine with. Kaguya had often wondered just how they were able to make that work. Her conclusion was often the same: her father had the chance to talk to everyone involved and that was it. She loved Aunt Sam all the same and was heartbroken when she died, the same as the rest of her family.
She wasn't the only person who visited the house (though she was the only one who slept with her parents). Everyone from the Normandy Clan would visit from time to time. It might've been for a day or it could've been an extended visit but she loved them all the same. She always liked hearing stories about what happened. The ones that were her favorite were the ones about how her father always threatened her Uncle Garrus and Uncle Wrex with marriage (including the one where her father and Uncle Paper duped them into believing they had gotten married for a week, thanks to a massive amount of alcohol, a quick flight to the Mountain, and a perfectly timed goat). She always laughed at their expressions as she bounced on their knees, horror mixed with annoyance. But her favorite people who came to visit had always been Jiraiya, Anko, and Hashirama. Every time they came, she always got a lesson in how to fight or how to hold a weapon. Her father or mother had always been nearby when she got the lessons, making sure she was okay. That was how she realized they had approved the lessons beforehand.
The codex was definitely right about those three being her father's only students. She remembered how a hopeful shinobi who was the hotshot of the year or who thought he had the right stuff to learn from Naruto Uzumaki would come knocking at their door, only to have him ask the same question he asked everyone, "You here about the job opening?" She and her sisters started betting how long it would take each person to realize that they weren't being trained and were just working in the garden. It was funny, until their father had them start working in the gardens and amongst the animals themselves. It was hard work at first but they grew to love it all the same.
Her family was a loving and happy one, something she missed even as an adult. Things were so carefree and easier back then. She knew her life was going to change when her mother died when she was twenty. They had been told by officials that it was a shuttle accident, could've happened to anyone. But it wasn't enough for her father. He had disappeared for over a month. When he came back, there was news of a crime syndicate that had taken over Omega being wiped out. They consolidated their power by ensuring any previous Omega rulers couldn't come back and take control. What was shocking was the syndicate's relation to several prominent members of the galaxy, all who ended up facing charges with undeniable evidence against them. It didn't take much for her to connect the dots.
That was the thing about her father. He was a kind, warm, and loving man, with a slight habit for pranks (he always said it was to keep people alert), and who was able to poke fun at himself (he always said that his official title was He of the Too Many Damn Nicknames). But if he was angered or pushed too far, whoever caused it was a dead man walking. That was probably how he was able to make the informal peace conference at their house work. Having kidnapped the heads of state and keeping them on the grounds so they could talk only worked when they were a little bit scared of Naruto. It also helped that he stayed in the room and kept scowling when things started to turn ugly.
She looked at the clock by her bed. It read 0700. Normally this would've been the time she woke up, but recent nights had her waking up earlier than usual and unable to go back to sleep. She killed the hours by looking up random codex searches, just so she could read something. "Time to eat something," she told herself, pushing up from the table.
It was a short walk from her bedroom to the door but that because she had to walk through the living room to reach it. Her quarters were quite luxurious for a cruiser, with two spacious rooms as well as a bathroom with a roomy shower that had very good pressure. It was only fitting as she was the ship's captain. As she walked across the living room, she looked at a shelf on the wall. From end to end, in order, was her set of Bijū plushies. She had them since she had been a toddler and hated to leave them behind. She could still remember those times when the plushies walked and talked, having their respective Bijū placed inside them for her. Her sisters always had their doubts about that actually happening but she knew it did.
Her sisters. Even though they were Naruto's daughters, they were completely different from one another. Kaguya had been the one to follow in her father's footsteps as a shinobi, becoming the second asari to do so (after Hanabi). Naori was the brainy one and happily became a chakra scientist. Tevilse was the only one who had been born with biotics instead of chakra. She had been the one who took over the gardens after their father passed away. She even became a writer of children's books, using Kaguya's plushies as her characters (she might've doubted but that didn't mean she couldn't use the idea).
If there was one thing they had in common, it was that they were each a shameless Daddy's Girl. They loved their father because he was always there for them, offering support and giving advice when they needed it. But Kaguya was also quite sure that he was not above using that against them. When Tevilse, the wild one of them and most like him, ironically tried to follow in their mother's footsteps, going to Omega as a merc so she could end up ruling it, their father sent her a single message and she came running back fast. Kaguya was never sure what was in that message but she could guess it was filled with their father being disappointed but willing to accept wherever her decision would take her. Whatever it was, it did the trick. Tevilse went from trying to be a merc to working at the Sun & Moon Zoo on Isla del Sol, right up until she took over the gardens.
As she stepped out into the corridor, she looked at the door on her left. It was closed and locked. Her children were inside, sleeping. She had wanted them to go into hibernation at the start of the journey but they didn't want to. They got their stubbornness from their grandfather. So she allowed them to stay awake, along with a few other children onboard. The rest had been in stasis. She didn't go in and check on them. She knew that they were safe. So instead she went to the elevator and rode down to the mess.
The mess hall dominated the starboard half of Deck 3, complete with kitchens. Even though she had never seen it before, she had been told it was big enough to table the entire crew. Walking into it from the elevator, the first thing she saw was how empty it was. The dark colors on the walls and floors made it seem more cavernous. She had come in just before the shift change, where tables would fill up fast. She grabbed a tray and went to the kitchen line, grabbing a stack of pancakes. They were her favorite, something she indulged in when she could.
She saw someone sitting at a table close to the windows on the starboard side, eating alone. She walked over and sat down across from her. "Morning, XO," she said. She looked around the hall again, looking at the black walls and grey floors. Perhaps she should have the children onboard give the place a paint job. It would certainly brighten it up.
"Morning, Kaguya," her executive officer said. She glanced down at the plate across from her. "Enjoying the pancakes, are we?"
"Yes, I am. And please, try to remember that we're officers of the ship." There was a sense of decorum they had to keep.
She gave her a flat look. "We're alone and we're not on shift yet. Besides, at least I'm not calling you Aunt Kaguya."
"Yes, because you'd be in trouble if you did, Jack." Kaguya wasn't going to have anyone accuse her of nepotism. Her XO got her position through her own merits and work.
But they did have a family connection. Jack was a descendant of Ruko and Miranda. Usually one could tell if an Uzumaki was her descendant just by looking at her hair. Typical Uzumaki clansmen had hair that was colored a deep red, almost to the point of blood. But if there was an Uzumaki with blond hair, that meant he came from Ruko and by extension, Naruto. Try as they might've to come together, the two branches had remained separate for so long that people referred to them as either the red or yellow Uzumakis.
Ironically enough, Jack had red hair. Her mother had been the Uzumaki and she had married a man from the Frontier, taking his name. Their daughter had her father's red hair but brightened enough to have a fiery hue to it. However, there was no mistaking her blue eyes. They were Ruko's and Naruto's eyes. Kaguya knew that because she had the same eyes. The two of them worked well together as captain and executive officer.
"Got some news before I came down," Jack said. "We're going to be reaching the target today."
That got her attention. "The Andromeda Galaxy." That's what the Shadow King had been flying towards. "Any idea where exactly?"
She shook her head. "No, she wasn't sure. But she said that she would have additional information later when we get closer. Maybe once we enter the galaxy proper, we'll be able to find the Initiative."
Kaguya agreed. That was the whole point of this mission. When the Shadow King was being constructed, she had been informed of an initiative that happened during the Reaper War. The Andromeda Initiative was a one-way trip to explore the Andromeda Galaxy, at least that was the official reason. She learned that the actual reason was to protect a portion of the Milky Way's civilizations from the Reapers. The Initiative took off before the Reaper War began and spend a 600-year trip to the Andromeda Galaxy. Now, the Allied Council wanted to send a ship to meet up with them, check on their status, and reestablish connections with them. That was why the Shadow King had the duel drives. It was the only way they would be able to make what was normally a trip that lasted six centuries in a year.
"When we enter the galaxy, we'll search for the Hyperion," she said. "That'll give us a way to be introduced to the Arks and the Nexus."
Jack nodded in acknowledgment. "How long are we to stay in the Andromeda Galaxy?" she asked.
"Initial belief is a year before we head back to report in. But there's a chance that the stay will be longer." That was why the Shadow King had civilians and children onboard. They wanted to settle in the Andromeda Galaxy.
"So roughly two years before we're back home, maybe more," she said, looking out the window. "That's a lot of time."
Kaguya put down her fork and looked at her. "You knew that was a risk when you signed on for this trip," she reminded her. When she had learned that Jack was going to be her XO, she made sure she knew what they were getting in for. She had agreed to the trip all the same.
"I know. But I'm just thinking about all the things that'll happen in the Milky Way while we're out here. We'll be missing out on a lot of stuff." She looked back at her. "For all we know, the Allied Council will collapse into a burning heap by the time we get back." She might've been serious, if it wasn't for the slight smirk on her lips.
Kaguya saw through it. "Very funny, Jack." Despite her humor, she knew her niece (all of Ruko's descendants were her nieces and nephews) believed in the Allied Council. So did she.
After the Reaper War, the Citadel Council was weakened. The supposed government that held the galaxy together had lost a lot of face and strength. The asari had especially been hit hard. Thessia might've escaped destruction but several of their colonies had been laid to waste. In response, humans, quarians, and krogan started to gain power thanks to chakra and ancient schematics recovered from Rannoch. Together the three formed a group that could match the Council. They even helped rebuild the batarians into a much better form of life.
The Council didn't like that and did their best to match the newly formed Galactic Alliance. It was slow but tensions began to mount over the years between the two. Everyone was expecting a war again, the clash between biotics and chakra going public. That is until her father came out of retirement, somehow managing to reactive his status as the Shodaime Takaikage and as a Spectre agent with record speed, and kidnapped all the heads of state, bringing them to their home for that conference. Not only was peace made before any war was called for, but a decision to merge the two groups came out of it too. Thus, the Allied Council was born.
It hadn't been a smooth process and there were plenty of problems that had to be addressed over the years. More than a few people didn't like the sudden change in government and tried their best to muddle things up or just make it worse. It had begun to work and it looked like the Allied Council would tear itself apart before it could really show its worth. Kaguya's father had seen it, he sent all the heads of state a message, asking if he had to come out of retirement again.
Even if some of the heads had been new, they all had heard about when he came out of retirement the first time. Whatever tensions had been festering and growing calmed down, dying away before they could become an actual problem, and the Allied Council stood strong. It had been staying strong for the past 600 years, power shared amongst all the races who could travel the stars, a peaceful harmony.
"We'll see the Milky Way again, Jack," Kaguya assured her XO. No matter what would happen in the Andromeda Galaxy, she would bring her ship back home.
"I know," she said. That was the thing about her captain. Just like her father, she always kept the promises she made. She would move hell, high water, and the galaxy, but she would keep that promise. She grinned as a thought came to her. "I'm sure your family would be causing hell the way they usually do, with Akatsuki leading the charge."
"He's been doing that since he became an adult," she replied mildly. "At least he's grown responsible about it." And she was glad for that.
"I'd thought you'd defend him."
"I am defending him. He's my son, after all." She finished up her breakfast and checked the time. "I'm heading down to the armory. Care to join me?"
She shook her head. "I have to check in with Finn. He's going to want to be sure about the drives after we enter the galaxy."
Kaguya smiled when she thought about her Chief Engineer. Finn had worked alongside her almost as long as Jack had. After the Reaper War, people would've looked twice at an Earthborn quarian. Nowadays, they just wonder if they were able to understand his accent (especially when he was drunk but that was always the fun part). "Make sure you check in with the rest of the Knights too." The Shadow King's tactical team, informally known amongst the crew as the Royal Knights, were Kaguya's team. They were as eclectic as the Normandy Clan was, which was in fact where she drew the inspiration (how else would she have a foul-mouthed geth unit as well as a krogan who was in the habit of composing poetry in the middle of a firefight?). She had recruited each of them in the years the ship was being built, worked with them too. By the time the Shadow King had left the Milky Way, they were truly a team.
"Understood," she said, putting her tray away alongside her captain. Together they walked out of the mess. At the exit, they were going their separate ways. "I'll see you on the flight deck, Captain."
"See you there, Jack."
She smiled slightly as she checked her watch. "We're on the clock now, Captain." She might be informal off the clock but once she was on, she knew the rules and the regs. If she was going to be addressed by her name, it was by her surname.
Kaguya nodded in acknowledgement. "As you were, Commander Shepard." They separated. She went to the elevator.
As she rode it down to the armory on the fifth deck, the conversation she came back to Akatsuki, her son. That was another reason why she knew her father used their Daddy's Girl against his daughters. He mentioned that a downside of having asari children was that he wasn't going to have grandchildren to spoil. He said that while they were still in their Maiden stage of life and suddenly, they started thinking about children (another factor was the fact they thought of themselves as humans, since they were raised by one). Naori was the only one who was able to resist the urge to have children until she felt like she was ready. She had been focused on her profession.
As the firstborn, Kaguya was expected to be the one who had the first child. She got pregnant from her boyfriend at the time, a fencer from the Frontier called Alan (she had a weakness for men with good swordsmanship). When she gave birth, she shocked the entire galaxy by having the first asari male. The only ones who hadn't been shocked were her and her family. Years before, their father had taken them aside and revealed a shocking truth: that not only had male asari existed at one point in time, but he had found and protected the last sample of their DNA. He told them this because he wanted to inject the DNA into them, to bring back the male asari.
He told them that if they refused, he wouldn't force it. None of them did. Having heard the truth, they wanted to bring back male asari, to heal their own race as it were. It was why Kaguya named her son Akatsuki. He was the start of something new for the asari. If he hadn't been surrounded by love from his friends and family, things could've been a lot worse. A lot of people looked at him like he was weird or a freak when he was growing up, something his grandfather helped him out with. When he became an adult, it turned into fascination and curiosity. It was also how they learned that a male asari could only impregnate a female asari. But in doing so, his child was in no danger of becoming an Ardat-Yakshi.
While he did live a wild and free life for the first three centuries of his life, Akatsuki did finally settle down and had a family. When Kaguya had left the Milky Way, she had four grandchildren and a great-grandchild was on the way. Naori had a child of her own too. Out of the three of them, Tevilse had the biggest family, thanks to how many people she slept with over the years. She had inherited their father's charisma and knew how to use it. It was something that she shared with Akatsuki (while the family might joke that the galaxy never had a chance against an asari's natural beauty and Naruto's charisma, the number of people they, Kaguya, and even Naori had slept with proved it to be true).
And while she was glad that she had grandchildren and great-grandchildren to spoil, Kaguya had missed having children of her own to raise and hold in her arms. So she had the twins nine years ago. Asari twins were rare and she had it beat when she gave birth to a boy and a girl. Sasuke and Aria could drive her to distraction and up the wall, but she loved them with all her heart. So did their big brother and their nieces and nephews.
She walked into the armory and said, "Morning, Grunt."
The old krogan turned from where he stood at the workbench. It served as his official desk in the armory. "Morning, little one," he said back.
She gave him a look. "I'm over 600 years old, Grunt, a Matron close to becoming a Matriarch." Not only that, he was only a year younger than her, maybe two.
He smiled. "That may be, but you'll still be a little one to me, just like your sisters." He might be the same age as Kaguya but he had always seen them as nieces. And they certainly used it to their advantage (no one wanted to piss off the scary krogan uncle, especially insistent ex-boyfriends).
If the Grunt from her childhood met the Grunt of now, he would notice the difference and not like it. But she liked the Grunt she had now. The Grunt who served as Kaguya's weaponmaster on the Shadow King had years of experience and battles. He had taught countless generations of krogan children how to wield their chakra. He had been the one who forged a Summoning contract with Kalros and the thresher maws (a story he never told anyone). He was acknowledged as the first Krogan Sage in thousands of years, yet he still enjoyed working with weapons. In regards to his temper, he had, in his own words, mellowed the fuck out. His hobby off-duty was having philosophical discussions with Khay, the batarian in the Knights.
"Are you here to train?" Grunt asked her.
She nodded. "The usual routine."
"Of course." He could prep the simulation room as they walked. "Can I interest you in trying out a pair of SMGs?" he asked, despite already knowing the answer.
And she didn't disappoint. "No thank you, Grunt. Bring me my Queen." He disappeared amongst the racks of weapons, going all the way to the back. Anyone less experienced with weapons and the ship's armory would've gotten lost easily. But Grunt knew the armory and he knew his system. There was no way he was going to get lost.
Just as she expected, he came back with the familiar case within five minutes. He placed it down on the bench and stepped back. She opened the case and pulled out her weapon. While its official name was the AR75 Hardback Assault Rifle, Kaguya had customized it so much that it could no longer be called that. Everyone just called it the Pirate Queen and there was no doubt in anyone's mind that it was her signature weapon. It carried an ammo clip of 80 bullets, both for thermal and chakra. Both were able to fit into the clip opening on the bottom. If she wanted to change the nature of the chakra bullets, all she had to do was channel her chakra through the gun and concentrate on what she wanted it to be. And if she pulled the trigger handle back, the firing mechanism would disengage and the omni-blade would activate, turning it into a spear.
She quickly checked it over and found nothing wrong. It was just like how she had left it. "Ammo," she said.
Grunt placed two clips on the workbench, one thermal and one chakra. "You should never stay to one gun, little one," he told her as she took the clips, inserting the thermal and clipping the chakra to her belt.
"You know I don't." But when it came to her training, she always went for her Queen first. It had saved her life more than once in her career as a shinobi.
"Will you take a secondary inside?" She usually didn't but he liked to be surprised.
She thought about it for a second and nodded. "I'll take a Beast."
He went back and picked out a Beast for her. The current model was descended from Naruto's original pair and were common enough to be sold anywhere to anyone who wanted it. The original pair had stayed with Naruto until he died, then were donated to the Shinobi Museum. Grunt and more than a few krogan felt that he should've been buried with them, taking a weapon with him to the other side. But the only thing that had been buried with Naruto had been his headband, clasped between his hands. When he thought about it, he knew that was much more appropriate.
When he came back with the pistol, he noticed the pensive look on her face. "Something the matter, little one?" he asked as he placed the gun on the workbench along with the clip.
She took the pistol and checked it over. She inserted the clip and placed it on her hip, the magnetic seal making sure it wouldn't fall off. "I was codex searching this morning," she said. "Ran across my dad's entry."
"I just wondered what he would say if he saw what I was doing here, now."
Grunt smiled. "Knowing Naruto-sensei, he would just ask you to bring back a souvenir."
She smiled back. "Yeah, he would say something like that, wouldn't he?" Her father was able to keep a straight face when he was given news that was life-changing and say something that would throw the other people off-guard. He always said it kept him entertained. Having done it a few times in her life, Kaguya could say she found it fun too.
"Yes, he would. And he would be proud of you. He always was, little one. He was proud of each of his girls."
"That's true." Her smile turned nostalgic as she remembered something. "Did I ever tell you which one of his sayings was my favorite?" Her father had plenty of sayings, some of which might've sound ridiculous but were still true.
"No. Which one?"
"If you're going to pull something off, make it thorough, make it work, and if people aren't going to like it, make sure you're somewhere else." The main reason that her father was never arrested for his kidnapping maneuver was because the authorities could never prove that it was him. He had an alibi for each kidnapping ("The wonders of the Kage Bunshin," he'd say when she or anyone in the family would ask him about it).
Grunt laughed. "Yeah, I remember that one. Personally, I prefer one of his more direct ones."
"If you're going to shoot someone in the head, be considerate and don't go overboard." He always interpreted that as not using anything that caused an explosion.
Kaguya laughed. Yep, that was Grunt. He may be a mellowed-out krogan, but he was still a krogan. "Shall we get started?" she asked, her hands on her Queen.
He nodded and gestured to the door off to the right. "You go down. I'll get you started."
"What's the location?"
He smiled. "You know I don't tell."
She went through the door and started down the spiral staircase. This part of Deck 6 could only be accessed from the armory. It kept anyone without clearance from getting into accidents and hurting themselves. When she stepped through the next door, she found herself into a ruined cityscape. There was ash in the air and she could smell the fires around burning. The simulation room really made her think she had walked into a warzone.
It also brought the danger right off the bat. She saw an asari coming towards her with their biotics flaring. She engaged her Queen's spear and charged, skewering her before she could attack. Another asari appeared from behind rubble, jumping over with a gun raised and pointed. She pulled her Queen free and spun it around, moving with the momentum. She found the second asari and took her down easy. And that was the first ten seconds. More would come.
She wasn't worried. She was an Asari Matron who was close to becoming a Matriarch. She didn't get this far in life by being slow in speed or reactions. And she had her skills. While her father might have invented the Tekken style of Taijutsu, he always claimed he was never a master. He preferred to stay with his Beasts. Kaguya, on the other hand, could not only wield any kind of gun with ease but had mastered both Earth-style and Rannoch-style Tekken, able to use each intermittently. No one else could claim such a thing as it took years of training and dedication. It was why Tekken users referred to her as the Grandmaster, a title eventually used by everyone.
As she fought through the simulation, using her Queen, the Beast, and her training as a shinobi, she allowed her mind to go blank a little. It went back to her father again. This time, it was a memory. The last time they had spoken.
"Dad?" Kaguya said as she walked into the garden. While the Botanical Gardens stretched all over the hill, this garden was the original one her father planted and worked on. Enclosed inside a greenhouse to protect and keep its shape, the only way someone could walk through those doors was with an express invitation. But that was only for people outside the family.
She didn't find her father in the garden itself. She found him out on the patio that looked out to the rest of the gardens. He was sitting in his chair with his cane by his side. He looked like he was dozing off in the sunlight. She reached out and touched his shoulder. "Dad?"
He opened his eyes and looked up. "Huh? Who are you?" He narrowed his eyes like he was trying to focus on who was in front of her. "Aria? Is that you?"
Oh Kami, was he starting to go senile? He had been fine before! She started to panic, then she noticed the slight grin he had. She frowned. "Dad, stop it," she admonished. If he was younger, she'd slap him on the shoulder.
He chuckled. "I'm allowed my moments of humor, Kaguya."
"They just happen at the wrong times, sometimes."
"Nonsense! They happen at exactly the right time!" he declared. "So, was there something you need? You know, I got a message from Akatsuki recently. He sounded okay and seemed intent on claiming Thessia as his own personal harem."
She groaned immediately at those words. "Please tell me he didn't say that exactly." Knowing Akatsuki, that would be something he said.
"Alright, I won't." He paused for a moment, letting the implication sink in. Then he chuckled again. "He didn't. He just said that Thessia was a lot of fun and he was getting a lot of attention from the ladies, which he likes. Apparently, he's even got the attention of the Matriarchs, and I do mean in a manner involving the bedroom."
She fought the urge to rub her forehead to get rid of a headache. "That boy is going to be the death of me, I just know it." An asari never had menopause. It was very likely her son could end up getting a Matriarch pregnant. If that happened, a whole lot of trouble was going to happen.
"No, he's not. He loves you too much to let that happen," he reassured her. He knew that because he gave her the Shodaime Hokage's necklace when he felt she had deserved it and she had done the same thing to Akatsuki. "Now, was there something you wanted to tell me?"
She nodded. "Got another mission. I gotta head out."
"I see. Can you make it tomorrow?" He looked out at the hill. The sun was nearing the horizon and starting to spread its orange color. "It's going to be dark soon and I enjoy having dinner with my girls. Tevilse wants to run some ideas for a story by me. She could use your input too."
A smile came to her lips. Even though they were all adults and had their own lives, she and her sisters were always his girls. "I'd liked that." She could always leave in the morning. "And it will be fun to watch Tevilse prod you into writing another book."
"Not going to happen. That was a one-time thing."
She knew that, just like she knew the reason why he wrote in the first place. The truth was that his first book was actually written by her Aunt Ruko, and it was all about Naruto and Aria. Whether she intended to publish it or not was never known. Her father stole the manuscript, completed it, made enough tweaks to make fit his writing style, and published it. As a revenge prank, he wrote his second novel, The Princess & The Wild Girl, which was all about Aunt Ruko and Aunt Miranda. What really drove it home was the fact that both books sold very well. Aunt Ruko always scowled when the books (or the shows based on the books) came up but never accused her brother of stealing her work. That would mean she had to admit that she had starting writing and she never did.
"Are you going to sit down?" Naruto asked her, gesturing at the chair beside him.
"Sure." She sat down and looked over at her father. His face was tanned and full of crinkles. They came from him smiling all the time. He liked smiling. His hair had turned white 50 years ago. She remembered when it was blonde and spiky. The spikiness had faded over the years, enough that he could tame his hair into a ponytail. His eyes never lost their spark though. They were still as lively and mischievous as when she was a child.
"So, I heard something interesting," he remarked, looking at her.
"You refused a spot in the Normandy Clan."
Ah, he heard about that. She wasn't going to lie about it anyway. "I did," she said with a nod. "And I turned down the offer of a Spectre agent too."
That he hadn't heard. There were only a few people who had refused being a Spectre. "Why did you do that?"
"For the same reason I turned down the Normandy Clan. They weren't asking me because of what I could do." She looked out at the hill. The gardens were beautiful. Beyond them, the gorillas were moving through the forest. "They were asking me because I was your daughter."
"Oh Kaguya, how could you know that?"
"Do you know any Spectre agents who are Maidens?"
She looked over at him. "Without a joke to being a virgin, please?" This was a serious conversation.
He did as he was asked, stopping before he began. "None," he finally said, being serious.
"And they offered it to me. I could see why they were offering it. That's why I turned it down." Even though she followed her father and became a kunoichi, she made a promise to herself to be her own person. And she kept that promise. She took no holdouts and busted her ass (one time literally). When she became a Genin and was selected to be one of Hanabi's students, she worked doubly to show no nepotism was involved. She proved to everyone that she was more than just Naruto Uzumaki's daughter.
He leaned back in his chair, his eyes staring out at everything he had built. "Perhaps one day they'll offer it to you because of you then," he remarked. "Shame I won't be there to see it."
She hated the solemnness in his voice. She got out of the chair and knelt down in front of his, taking his hands into her own. "Don't say that, Dad," she told him.
"Can't deny it, Kaguya. We know it's coming. I'm not immortal, despite what a lot of people would like to think." He looked down at her and smiled. "Tell me what's on your mind, little hime."
She used to love that nickname, then she hated it, and now she cherished it. Hearing him say those words, she felt like a little girl again. "I don't want you to die," she said, her voice suddenly becoming thick. Everything that she had been holding in since she heard just started bubbling up without much help.
He reached out and wiped away the tears she didn't know she had. "I've lived too long, Kaguya. I lived longer than my friends, twice now. It's about time that I passed on. Besides, I'm not scared." He knew what came next. He would see all his friends and family again, and he would have the chance to annoy that furball again. Kami was he looking forward to that. "Death is a natural thing. You know that."
She sniffed, doing her best not to cry. "Doesn't mean I have to like it." She didn't like it when her mother had died or when Aunt Samantha had died of heart problems. She also knew there was no chance of them being resurrected by the Edo Tensei. Her father had destroyed it after the Reaper War.
He kissed her forehead like he used to when she was little. "You know that I won't be gone, Kaguya, not entirely. As long as you keep me in your heart, I'll be there." He reached out and cradled her head against his lap. He couldn't hold her like she was a child. This would have to do.
She didn't argue with it. She liked it. She felt safe and secure, like she used to as a child. In the beginning of dusk, things didn't seem so bad now. "Tell me a story, Daddy?" she asked. She'd like to hear one of his stories now.
He smiled. "Of course, little hime," he told her. "Did I ever tell you about how I managed to trick your mother into marrying me?"
It got her attention. That was a story he had never told anyone. She hadn't known what was going on when it happened. Her father brought her to Konoha, had her wear a nice dress, and took her to a shrine where his friends were waiting. She remembered they looked just as confused as she was. Not ten minutes later her mother came running in, wearing a wedding dress. Her panicked look quickly turned into a scowl when she figured out what was happening but she went with the ceremony. Nothing happened afterwards but when her parents came back from their honeymoon a month later, her father had a black eye and a busted arm while her mother was walking with a limp but both were smiling happily. Eight months later, Naori was born. "No. Tell me?"
They spent the dusk on that patio with her by his side, listening to his story. It felt perfect.
That was the last time she saw him. Three weeks, later, she got the news. He went to bed and never woke up. A week after that, his body was escorted to Konoha, to be buried in its cemetery. Naruto insisted that he'd be buried right where he had crashed into Earth after firing the Crucible, saying it was an omen.
Throughout the entire funeral, Kaguya felt as if she was on autopilot. She noticed how the streets were packed with mourners, how the skies were full of grey clouds, all threatening to spill out a deluge of rain, and they were heading towards the cemetery. But she couldn't put any effort for more than that. Her only connection to the world was her hand on her father's casket. Her sisters were the same, and their families.
The funeral was a strange mix of blurry and crystal-clear details. They could hear the priest's voice but not the prayer he spoke. One second the casket was beside them, the next it was placed in the grave and it was being filled. All three of them knew things were happening around but they couldn't focus on them. Their father was dead.
Finally, it was the three of them left in the cemetery. The well-wishers were waiting outside along with their families. Kaguya knew her son was standing guard at the gate, letting them have one last moment. She stared at the headstone. The writing was simple, her father's name, his title and how long he lived. It was no different from the other tombstones. Why did that feel wrong and yet right at the same time?
None of them said a word. They didn't have any. Their parents were gone now, both of them. Sometimes, it felt like a joke. Their father would come walking around the corner with his mischievous grin, glad that he could still prank them. But as much as they wish that could happen, just so they could be annoyed with him, it wasn't going to happen. He was gone.
Suddenly they felt a wind blow pass. It was a strong wind, strong enough to blow away the clouds and leave behind the sky, but they didn't feel that. All they felt was a gentle caress of fingers against their shoulders. And Kaguya knew that her father's soul was giving them one last goodbye.
She remembered an old asari prayer that he always liked, something that reminded her of what he said. She looked at her sisters. "He lives in you."
Naori smiled. "He lives in me."
"He watches over," Tevilse said.
"Everything we see," they said as one. And they knew it was true. It raised their spirits and let them walk out the cemetery. Their parents were watching their every step.
Once her training was done, Kaguya continued on being the captain of the Shadow King, reading over the reports and ensuring that the right orders were carried out through her XO. She also took the time to be a mother to her twins, waking them up and making sure that they had breakfast. Sasuke was rambunctious while Aria seemed to be the calm one today. That could always change when she wasn't looking. Once breakfast was done, she sent them off to their lessons and continued on with her work.
She got the notification around noon and immediately headed to the flight deck. Jack was already there, waiting for her by the elevator. "Captain."
"XO." She walked out of the elevator and headed for the cockpit. "How far out are we?"
"I was told a minute. We're finally here, aren't we?" She smirked mischievously. "I wonder how many people I can trip up with my name." People always assumed that when they learned her name was Jacqueline, she wanted to be called Jackie. Nothing of the sort. She liked to be called Jack, saying it was a callback to her ancestor.
"Save that for your own time."
"Aye, aye, captain."
As she walked into the cockpit, she went to the officer in the radar seat. "EDI."
EDI turned around. "Captain," she replied. The AI looked just like she had 600 years ago. After Joker had died, she had gone into a semi-retirement, helping out the Allied Council when she felt like it. She had been the one who designed the Shadow King, with the condition of joining the crew and being allowed to approve or disprove the captain's choice for pilot. "Are the twins alright?"
She nodded. "They are. They expect you after your shift is done." It was an unexpectant thing, at least for her. EDI was more than willing to play nanny to her children. They loved her, often referring to her as the Super Nanny.
EDI smiled. "I look forward to them."
Jack asked, "Harley, how are we doing?"
Amy "Harlequin" Moreau (she preferred to be called Harley) turned her head back to look at her. "We're flying, Jackie," she said. She was the only one who could call her Jackie, thanks to them going through the Academy together. She looked over at EDI. "She really does state the obvious, doesn't she?"
"It's a habit of hers," she replied easily. Just like Kaguya's family, EDI kept in touch with Joker's family. Joker might not have had any children, but his sister did and they were raised on his stories. It became a tradition in the family that if a member becomes a pilot, they chose a nickname like Joker's.
"Right here, people," Jack reminded them.
"We know," Harley said with a grin.
"Harley," Kaguya said, all business. "Status?"
Her pilot got serious as she looked back to her console. "We're entering the Andromeda Galaxy now. Slowing down to normal speed in three, two, one." The blue fire surrounding the space outside the ship faded away. They saw stars in the darkness, twinkling like little lights. "Ladies and gentleman, we have arrived at our destination. Keep your hands and legs in at all times and hang on for the ride."
"EDI, start a search for the Hyperion."
"Searching now," she replied, looking at the radar. Her fingers raised and moved gently through the air as she worked the radar. "I've got a hit. It's coming from what's been identified as the Heleus Cluster. I'll have more information as we approach."
"How far?" she asked.
"A half hour, maybe less."
"Laying in a course now," Harley said, taking hold of her controls. "I'm going for the less."
She looked over at Jack. "Prep the Knights, have them ready to ride," she ordered.
Jack nodded. "On it." She turned around and walked out of the cockpit.
Kaguya looked back at the cockpit windows, watching the stars start to move past her ship. They were in the Andromeda galaxy now. They reached their destination. Now came the job they had been given. She whispered her old prayer, the same one her father said at the start of every mission. "Time to play the game."
Author's note: Thank you for all the reviews you've sent me.
Well, here we are at the end of the road. Six years I've been writing this story, and now it's done. Just a few things left to say.
First off, I would like to thank Kurogane7 for his help throughout this entire story. Without his help, I don't know how many of those codex entries I could've come up with.
Some of you were wondering about what came next. Probably a few were hoping that something would happen. Sorry, but there's not going to be a sequel to this story. The way I saw it, they arrived after the events of Andromeda, so anything could happen. Although, I will I admit I kinda see Kaguya taking Peebee under her wing a little bit, probably see her as a surrogate daughter.
For the people who wanted to see Shepard in the story, here you go. Probably not in the place you imagined but she's there all the same. Also, I hope you like the implication I did with Kaguya and her codex searching.
If traversing dark space in a single year seems impossible even for this universe, please remember that more than 600 years has passed since the Reaper War and they left. Things have changed. It took them this long to invent a ship that had dual drive cores.
This might be a little vain of me to ask, but would anyone be able to put this story into TV Tropes? I don't think that I should do it because I'm biased and I don't know all the tags on that website. But I do believe that it deserves to be on the website.
Now I know you all would like to see what else is banging around my head, waiting to come out. And believe me, there are plenty of those. But I'm going to finish Paragon of Korra first before I make any other decisions regarding fanfiction. Also, I'm taking down Woken from Exile. That way, I can take a good hard look at it, see if I could still work with it. My style of writing has changed since I last touch that story and I can see problem in it. I'll let you all know when I'm done with Paragon.
I'll see you all in the next story!