"I wuv, wuv, wuv you, so – so – much!"

It was three AM, and Sasuke was eying her from across the crib, longish hair hanging in his red-rimmed eyes.

Karin's gaze didn't deviate from her child's grin. "Just...hormones," she mentioned awkwardly, and lightly touched the baby's nose.

Sasuke's dead stare didn't waver, a faint twitch developing beneath his left eye. Karin felt his glower and suppressed a smirk. It was nice to see he was finally enjoying the "parenting" thing.

"I'm happy you're happy," the Uchiha deadpanned, quickly handing her the bottle. "I trust you've got this one?"

She narrowed her eyes, finally looking up to meet his. "I just carried him for nine months! I just pushed him out of my-"

"I know," her lover interjected, running one of his hands through his hair – a rare indication of his withering composure. "I have a mission in the morning," he muttered. It was a weak excuse, and both of them knew it. What could possibly make Uchiha Sasuke stoop to such a level?

Karin scowled. "Then you should be eager to spend all the time you can with him."


The drooling, blubbering, never sleeping, perpetually crying...utterly adorable...creature, sucking his toe and staring up at them with those huge crimson eyes of his.

"-in case you die or something," Karin unceremoniously finished.

Sasuke grit his teeth as he watched her leave.

Karin glanced over her shoulder. She was beginning to see...new sides of Sasuke. Sides, unlike the ever-poised, always-indifferent, shadow of a being she had fawned over for years. The baby was the cause. She didn't know if she liked it.

And ninjustsu was his answer to everything. With the tomoe in his eyes, he could send the baby to a nice place, a quiet illusion, where he would sink into deluded dreams and be pleasantly silent.

But that was demented.

"You...can't cast genjutsu on a baby," Karin mentioned uncertainly. She knew the prospect would cross Sasuke's mind, once, twice – constantly? It had plagued hers since the moment she'd seen the sharingan directed toward the child, just one time as Sasuke examined its chakra. "It's – not okay."

Sasuke raised his eyebrows, but said nothing.

"And if you do, you won't have a baby when I find out," Karin continued. "He won't have you. You won't have me. You won't have anyone...because we'll be gone."


It was so odd.

Karin exited the bedroom and entered the one she and Sasuke shared. Climbing into the bed, she crawled beneath the covers, closed her eyes, and hugged her pillow. She was glad not to be pregnant anymore, as pregnancy had offered her nine of the most uncomfortable and vulnerable months she had ever endured. The baby had been unplanned...unwanted...but now he was so much more.

She thought of her threat, and wondered if Sasuke would mind if they left. If Sasuke was giving the baby the bottle, or just staring in annoyance at the dissimilar eyes.

He'd never really wanted to be a father, had he? Just to have children, to spread his name. The two things were entirely different.

She awoke at sunrise, opening one eye and then the other. Sasuke wasn't back in bed. Had he already left for his mission?

Yawning, Karin climbed to her feet, wrapped in a nightshirt, rather, just one of his old shirts.

She entered the baby's room to find that Sasuke had not left. He was sitting in the armchair in the corner of the room, body hunched, and head bowed, exuding slight nasally draws that could pass as snores for anyone else. In his lap, was the baby, wide-awake while industriously tangling and tugging his father's dangling bangs.

Karin could only blink. Was he really that tired. "Sasuke?"

He jerked at the sound of her voice, as though it was a pitched blade or a whispering senbon. He then winced as his hair was jerked in his son's grip, bowing his head again before attempting to untangle those troublesome chubby fingers.

"Karin," he countered hoarsely, finally raising his head and offering his hand to the fitful child, who feebly grasped it. "About the name..."

The baby seemed unsatisfied with his father's offering, and began a sob that would surely escalate. Sasuke frowned slightly at the child's watering eyes, but Karin was wholly transfixed with his remark.

About the name...

She numbly watched a stray spark of electricity crawl across Sasuke's nose, but he distractedly brushed it away. The man was tired, or dizzy, or both, but only sighed and lowered his head again, allowing his child to take hold of his too-long locks. He closed his eyes and muttered, "Ryou."

Karin swallowed. "Okay."


So maybe she had underestimated his taste for fatherhood.

The End