Dwindling Inferno - Bookwormsoup - Naruto (Anime & Manga) [Archive of Our Own] (2024)

Chapter Text

The first night with the baby was the longest night of Sasuke’s life, and that’s saying something. Ms. Namura came in after a few hours to heal Sasuke’s incision site, although personally Sasuke had a theory that she just wanted to put off chores and finish closing the store down stairs so that she could feast her eyes on the adorable pup.

Feeling was beginning to come back throughout his body, which was both a good and bad thing. He powered through the tinges of pain though, because above anything else, Sasuke was amazing at ignoring things. If it were a profitable skill, he would have been the richest person to have ever lived.The way he so naturally refused to acknowledge things that invoked even a shred of complex emotion in his shriveled little heart was truly a talent.

Like how his pup had been pawing at his sore and swollen chest for the past minute, despite Sasuke having tried to redirect his determined little fists each and every time. Sasuke couldn’t even be upset, he was far too caught up in his pride of having had such a stubborn little boy.

“I think he’s hungry, kiddo.” Ms. Namura sighed in amusem*nt. She was seated in an adjacent chair from where Sasuke was propped up on the couch still. It was too early to try and move him, she’d said, making Sasuke feel guilty that he’d taken over her home in such a chaotic way.

The omega froze. Realistically, he’d known that eventually he was going to have to breastfeed the baby. Formula was hard to find in the outer villages who followed more traditional methods of childrearing. Besides, it was an impractical use of the funds he’d saved up. Breastfeeding was more efficient and inexpensive.

Logic was both friend and foe to an omega like Sasuke.

But still, he hadn’t actually thought about the fact that he’d have to let a little food goblin quite literally suck the life out of Sasuke’s body. His body that now had things like cellulite and- the omega shuddered- fine little lines that created valleys in his skin on his thighs and hips. Once, only powerful and perfect muscles and flawless, porcelain skin had been all that he cold associate with his form. Now, his physical being had been transformed even on the tiniest of levels.

“I don’t-” Sasuke stammered, unbecoming of his famously aloof persona. The pup’s small little whisker marks crinkled under the pressure of the miniscule little frown that had started to drift onto his baby’s face.

Sasuke pretended not to remember Naruto’s cheeks doing the same thing when he was upset back when they were still enrolled at the academy. Any time Naruto had thought there was an injustice that was committed, the whisker marks on his tan cheeks had done the same thing. Of course, now they probably didn’t because Naruto had frustratingly lost all of the chub of childhood and was now all height and muscle and defined jaw while Sasuke was now a blob with a layer of fat covering his once similarly defined muscles.

Seeming to sense his internal struggle, Ms. Namura closed the book she’d been perusing and sat it on the table next to her. The book looked out of place next to the stuffed fox toy that the baby had tried to rip apart only two hours prior and the mountainous but necessary stack of diapers that had been desperately shoved onto the surface as well, although Sasuke, in his frenzied state of trying to be a parent, couldn’t quite recollect when his sword had ended up on the table as well.

“Sasuke?” She inquired with muted concern, making sure to keep her tone even. Sasuke appreciated it, as he didn’t know what he would’ve done had she not been the rock of solidarity he’d so desperately needed.

His pup whined longingly up at him, breaking Sasuke’s shriveled little heart all in one go.

“I didn’t think I’d ever get this far.” He breathed out. He didn’t bother looking over in her direction. Sasuke was too familiar with looks of pity to see one etched onto the old woman’s weathered but iron face. Instead, his eyes stayed locked with his pup’s. The blue of his tiny little irises were becoming as watery as Sasuke’s haywire emotions were beginning to feel.

It was amazing that in the span of forty-eight hours, he had murdered a legendary sanin, given birth, undergone a severe medical procedure that he nearly died from, and had learned how to get his baby to sleep.

The hardest part had been dealing with the obsessive need to watch his baby’s chest rising and falling as he slumbered, but he would never tell anyone that. No one needed to know that the strong and mighty Sasuke Uchiha was already a helicopter parent.

“Oh honey,” Sasuke ignored the way the pet name put him at ease, just like he ignored his son’s tiny little heel digging into his side, “It’s a natural thing. You don’t have to even think about it, it just fits like a biological puzzle being put together.”

That did little to quell Sasuke’s worries. Although, in fairness, Sasuke wasn’t even totally sure how to articulate his worries other than acknowledging the white hot embarrassment that was currently pumping itself through his veins.

Orochimaru’s training to deny his omega nature had done a number on him, as had the years of ninja training that had taught him to never let anything get so close to his body.

Not that his baby was hiding a kunai to stab him with or anything. Though, with his genetics, Sasuke wouldn’t put it past him. Uchihas had a history of attacking other Uchihas.

“What if it doesn’t come naturally to me?” He voiced out, annoyed at the innocent helplessness that had forged its way out of his mouth and into his words. The only thing that had ever come naturally to Sasuke was seeking vengeance.

His son whined again, this time his face was starting to grow blotchy and red. The grey cloth of Sasuke’s shirt was rough where his son had bunched it up in his fist, yanking and tugging in uncoordinated and sloppy movements.

“It will.” She hummed with knowing eyes. She abandoned her seat in favor of coming to hover just behind the new parent, and Sasuke didn’t miss the way her hands shook ever so slightly as they helped maneuver the baby to face Sasuke’s chest at a more comfortable angle for both mother and pup. Probably the onset of arthritis if he had to guess.

“You wanna know how I know? Because every omega has had this same worry. And nearly every time, it’s been proven just that- only a worry. If you can kill Orochimaru while in active labor, you can breastfeed your baby.”

When she lectured him fondly like this, it reminded him of one of Kakashi’s pep talks from back in the day.


Sasuke took a breath and a leap of faith. Trying not to cringe as he wiggled his shoulder, he forced his very loosely tied shirt to open and fall down one of his shoulders. Instantly, as if he’d been waiting for this moment all of his life, which in hindsight he probably had, seeing as though he was only a day old, the baby stopped fussing.

His wide little eyes creased with delight upon realization that food was just within his grasp. Drool had gathered in the corners of the infant’s mouth, which was open wide, making an ‘o’ shape as his little tongue curled, accidentally sucking on air instead of his prized and long awaited milk.

Sasuke craned his neck to Ms. Namura seeking guidance and found the old woman giving him an encouraging, hopeful smile. The light coming from the windows behind her lit her grey hair up like a wisdomous crown. He inhaled and exhaled slowly- a trait he’d learned back in the academy to help center his focus and slow his hammering heart in his chest.

He’d come this far. Sasuke just needed to push himself even farther. He could do that, right? All he had to do was bend and break his boundaries of bodily autonomy with a small adorable creature that depended on him for survival 24/7. He could manage that.

The omega shut his eyes, fearing for the worst, as he supported the newborn’s head at an angle that would allow him to latch onto his chest. It took a moment for his son to figure it out for himself, and then, like a bombshell had been dropped on him, Sasuke’s entire world changed for the umpteenth time in two days.

He opened his eyes slowly after realizing that he’d been waiting for something bad to happen that would never come. The sensation was odd. He felt the gentle pull of the baby suckling at his breast, but also the subtle flow of the milk that he hadn’t even fully realized had built up within his chest either.

His body truly was a stranger to him now.

Sasuke’s eyes zeroed in on the small blanket that he’d wrapped around the baby coming undone and hastily rushed to fix it. His son needed warmth and security. Sasuke would be the one to ensure that he never had a moment of discomfort.

“See? That wasn’t so bad, was it?” Ms. Namura hummed. Sasuke could feel her soft, encouraging presence behind his back, supporting him silently with the unspoken promise of watching over the mother and son at such a vulnerable and important time.

As a shinobi, it was unheard of for someone to let their guard down enough to let anyone out of their immediate sight. But, as an omega, Sasuke also understood that sometimes, it truly was best to simply trust his instincts when it came to safety. Ms. Namura posed no threat to him and his son, and had proven it time and time again.

That was why, when everything was said and done, Sasuke had decided to repay his debt to her by offering her a place in his clan’s compound after he returned to the village. If he returned with both the heads of Orochimaru and Itachi, he would be able to negotiate his way into very little, if any, consequences to his defection. It wouldn’t be too hard to eventually get her clearance to move to the leaf village.

The baby clenched and unclenched his right fist, as though he was trying to express how delighted he was at being fed. Stray rivulets of milk were cascading down his chin from the messy, unpracticed suckling. Sasuke couldn’t help the loving smile that pulled at his face while he rolled his eyes fondly. His baby was as messy of an eater as Naruto.

It went on like that for another five or six minutes before the pup had decided that Sasuke was no longer of use to himself, and had promptly pulled away from Sasuke’s breast as though the action were beneath him. It was nice to see that the haughtiness of the Uchiha was genetic.

While the omega shifted the infant to free one of his hands to fix his shirt back to where it had been before the feeding, Ms. Namura clapped her hands together in determination. Sasuke gulped. The sunlight pouring through the window caused the metal of her bracelet to glare at him from where she lounged in the armchair. Sasuke hadn’t even noticed her moving back to her seat.

“And now you get to learn how to change a diaper.”

Sasuke felt faint. Maybe he could circumvent having to change the diapers by creating a jutsu or creating a contract with a summons that had opposable thumbs. Maybe a monkey summons could be tricked into it.

The baby made another face and instantly, a horrifying smell began to taint the air. Ms. Namura laughed at the probably deeply troubled look on Sasuke’s face, but Sasuke was not laughing as he held the adorable, cute, disgusting, perfect little guy away from himself.

Everything was new to him. Having to care about and take care of something else so inherently was against everything he’d forced himself to be up until this point.

He wouldn’t have it any other way though, because his goals may have lied in the past, but Sasuke had found hope for the future in his son.

Sasuke just hoped that they all survived the diaper change to see his hopes become reality.


“Naruto are you even paying attention right now?!” Sakura’s voice snapped him out of his daydream.

He’d been thinking about babies, a topic that had been permanently branded on his brain since the revelation. He’d been trying to picture a tiny amalgamation of himself and Sasuke, only possessing the best qualities of each of them, but every time he pictured what their baby might look like, he only saw a tiny version of Sasuke.

How cute it would be to see a chubby, innocent baby with the harshest frown and endless dark eyes glaring at him as he played peek-aboo with it.


Naruto had no idea whether it would be a boy or a girl. A girl would be perfect. She’d have Naruto wrapped around her tiny pink finger. A boy would be just as amazing. He could teach him all of his pranking wisdom as the boy grew older. Well, he could teach both a son and a daughter that, but Naruto had noticed that girls got in trouble more than boys did, and he wouldn’t want anyone to yell at his little girl. He’d teach her all the ways he knew to sneak into Kakashi sensei’s apartment as a joke instead.

Despite his refusal to admit it, Kakashi secretly had a soft spot for pups. There was no way that he wouldn’t love the child of two of his students.

Naruto was going to be a father. Sasuke was going to be a mother. They were going to be a family and ride off into the sunset with a baby in their arms, an anbu tattoo on Sasuke’s shoulder, and a hokage hat on Naruto’s head.

He often wondered if-

“Naruto!” Sakura admonished again.

The blonde groaned, a little perturbed at having his thoughts interrupted. “Yeah, yeah, I’m listening!” he huffed, crossing his arms and turning his head to ignore everyone with a pout.

“Oh yeah? Well if you were paying attention, what was the last thing Kakashi sensei said then, huh?” Konohamaru retaliated.

Normally, Naruto would bite back his own sassy remark, but things between him and the little boy were still a bit shaky after the pack request had been denied. He didn’t want to upset whatever mild balance the two had conjured up.

“I highly doubt he will be able to do it, Naruto does not seem to possess the skills necessary to recall important information.” Sai hummed thoughtfully from where he was perched on the windowsill. After Kakashi had offered him a place to sit, Sai had declined, stating that he was not yet aware of the social intricacies of being invited into someone’s home and would prefer to stay on the sidelines.

Naruto thought he was just trying to avoid getting manhandled by Sakura in her overzealous attempt to arrange everyone’s seating to her personal tastes.

The blonde wished he’d taken a page out of Sai’s book, because his shoulder still throbbed from where she’d grabbed him to yank him down into the seat next to hers.

“What are we all even doing here? It can’t be for going over a mission because Konohamaru and Iruka sensei are here.” Naruto asked.

Kakashi sensei sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. He was wearing a bright green mask today instead of his usual greyish black one. He’d been doing the laundry and the only clean mask had been one that Gai sensei had apparently gifted the grey haired man, so the Hatake had told them.

The sight was unholy, but equally hilarious.

“I’m glad you’ve asked, Naruto.” Kakashi sensei hummed.

The blonde fidgeted in his seat when he saw his two senseis share a look between them.

“I know about your pack denial, and have instead issued my own request to start a pack, Shizune expedited the paperwork process for me, and- well, if the four of you are still willing, you are welcome to be a part of my pack.”

Konohamaru’s lip wobbled and Iruka was immediately there beside the pup to comfort him.

Sakura questioned their sensei, “Wait- so- does that mean-”

Kakashi answered her quickly, “Yes. I’m an alpha. I would appreciate it, though, if we didn’t focus on that part very much.”

Naruto’s mouth was agape in shock. All this time, they’d all secretly wondered what designation their sensei was, but to find out this way was well, surprising to say the least.

“A pack consisting of only alphas and a pup is uncommon.” Sai spoke up. He hadn’t even bothered to look up from the picture he was drawing.

Naruto knew he was honored by being included, though. Slowly, but surely, the Uzumaki had begun to learn Sai’s subtle hints to his moods. However rare it was that the alpha even had a mood, that is.

Iruka spoke up, “But not unheard of, Sai. There is a very famous pack in the land of water that is made solely of omegas. Besides, pack rosters can change and grow over time.”

Naruto knew that Iruka sensei was addressing Sai, but that last part had felt targeted at himself. Pack rosters could change. Sasuke could join when Naruto brought him back and become the pack omega. Their baby could grow up with Konohamaru as a big brother of sorts.

Their baby could have a family. A large, strong and close family that could teach them all the wisdom of the shinobi world, and back it up with a safe and secure childhood. Konohamaru would be a close friend, maybe even a mentor of sorts down the line, given the age gap. Sakura could teach the baby all about the importance of taking that nasty cold medicine even if it tasted bad. Sai could draw various things and bring them to life to entertain the pup. All while Kakashi sensei’s p*rn book collection was dutifully banned once and for all, for the sake of the baby’s innocent mind that it, and not at all because it was a last ditch effort by everyone to get him to see reason and find a new hobby.

Naruto looked up, determination oozing from every pore in his body. He would make those short little glimpses of hope a reality, even if it meant that he would not be the one at the helm of achieving it by being the pack alpha.

“I’m in.” he declared as his eyes found Kakashi’s. The look shared between them wasn’t one of teacher and student or even between friends. It was alpha to alpha, laying bare all of the trust that flowed between them.

It was Naruto submitting his will to Kakashi’s for the sake of finally belonging. Even the dumb green mask that Kakashi had been forced into wearing by poor circ*mstances didn’t take away from the sincerity of the moment.

“I’m in too!” Sakura cried, yanking Naruto into a celebratory hug with a death grip that he wasn’t sure she was aware of. “Agh-” He cried out, flailing his limbs to be free. They were close enough that some of her pink hair had gotten in his eye. “Sakura- you’re killing me- someone, help-”

“I accept.” Sai hummed with a nod of his head, ignoring Naruto’s broken pleas for his help in freeing the blonde from Sakura’s grip.

Iruka stopped whispering whatever it had been that he’d been saying to Konohamaru as the kid burrowed into his blue scarf. Naruto hadn’t missed the fact that it was the same scarf that Sasuke had scented before leaving all those years ago.

Konohamaru didn’t look up when he spoke, “You were Uncle Asuma’s friend.”

Kakashi hummed, “Yes. I was.”

Konohamaru continued, “My grandpa really liked you too.”

They all had known the grey haired man long enough to see his tells when he was experiencing certain emotions that he would have rathered force back into the dark abyss of his mind. He adjusted the mask, using it as an excuse to look away and cover the harsh, pained swallow that Naruto pretended not to see.

The pup raised his red rimmed eyes in Kakashi’s direction, hesitant in a way that Naruto both rarely saw, yet had seen far too much of lately, “Will I have to live alone still?”

At the shifted tone of the room, Sakura released Naruto. He wheezed, finally able to get some air in his deflated lungs. He could have sworn his shoulder had been crushed, but when he pawed at it, it felt as normal as it usually did.

Kakashi shook his head in a firm ‘no’. It was no secret that Konohamaru’s parents were absent at best. Everyone in the room, minus Sakura, were too familiar with the silence of an empty home and the stress of raising themselves.

No one was going to allow that to happen to Konohamaru.

“No, you could still spend the night with me or Naruto, or even your Aunt Kurenai.” Iruka assured him, rubbing the spot between the boy’s shoulder blades in a soothing pattern. Naruto remembered when Iruka had done that for him, when he was still young enough for the show of affection to still be appropriate.

The pup still looked unsure. His small frown spoke whispers of the betrayal he’d felt the last time he’d been offered a place in a pack. The sting of failure to give Konohamaru some stability smacked him in the face like the taste of one of Sakura’s food pills.

When Naruto rescued Sasuke and their pup, would he be able to do right by them and keep them both comfortable and safe? He’d need to find only the best materials for Sasuke’s nest to make sure their baby was as warm and cozy as possible. He’d need to be strong enough to take as many missions as possible so that his small family would want for nothing. So that Sasuke wouldn’t ever feel the stress of leaving their child alone, like he’d been left alone.

He’d need to save up for a new apartment with enough room for both a mate, a pup, and Konohamaru. He’d need to ask Iruka sensei to teach him how to cook, because Sasuke might be the mother of his child and an omega, but he was also a person, and no one deserved to do all of the chores on top of being a parent and a shinobi. The Uzumaki loved him, so for him, he would start working on himself to make their future even better.

But first, he would start with Konohamaru.

“Look, Konohamaru, I know the first pack attempt didn’t go so well, but we’ve got Kakashi sensei as a pack alpha now. He’s never let anyone down before, and he won’t let you down.” Naruto spoke, trying to convey the careful wisdom and uplifting hope that he was known for.

Konohamaru looked at him with trust in his eyes, and Kakashi moved to ruffle his hair. Iruka gave Kakashi a knowing look, but the grey haired man shrugged, moving away from the pup as if nothing had happened. Sakura giggled, mumbling about how funny their sensei was when he was embarrassed.

“Besides, if this pack fails, there is an organization that would take you in. Lord Dan-” Sai was abruptly cut off by Sakura throwing one of Kakashi sensei’s p*rn novels at his head.

“Sai you bird brain! He’s already traumatized, we don’t want to give him to some emotionless cult!”

“But I turned out fine-”

Kakashi pointedly groaned, “You turned out a shell of a human being.”

Iruka snorted from his crouched position next to Konohamaru, “Oh, yeah, you’re one to talk.”

Naruto beamed as everyone around him began to argue. The pack thing was already turning out perfectly.

Just like the family he’d always envisioned for himself when he was a child.


Shikamaru stood and stretched, welcoming the symphony of small pops and cracks that accompanied the movement as he stood. He’d just finished labeling what felt like a hundred boxes but in reality, had only been about thirty.

“Kurenai sensei! Let me get that for you-here!” Kiba exclaimed, jumping in to take a large box from his sensei’s hands.

The seasoned shinobi did not seem too pleased to have her task being stolen from her, but she acquiesced easily, clearly too tired to really put up much of an argument.

Teams seven and eight were worried about her. Going through a pregnancy alone with no alpha was extremely difficult on the mind and body. Asuma’s death had left more than just one hole in Kurenai’s life, and the couple’s students were trying desperately to fill that void in hopes of making her pregnancy as comfortable as possible.

Shikamaru was glad he wasn’t an omega. They seemed to have much more to lose in life than alphas.

“Really, you guys. I can handle things on my own. Between you and Anko, I feel like I’m drowning in support.” the wild haired omega commented. Her exhaustion was almost palpable.

Shikamaru smirked lazily. He’d run into Anko a few times while he was checking in on Kurenai, and boy was it hard to believe that he and the rest of the shinobi from his year had once feared her during the chunin exams. She was crazy and a wildcard, sure, but she was also quite the fool. Especially when it came to those closest to her, like her widowed pregnant best friend.

Shikamaru had just barely been able to stop Anko from moving herself into Kurenai’s apartment. Shizune had been a big help in dissuading the overzealous omega.

“Kurenai sensei, take it from someone from the Inuzuka clan, you can never have too much support!” Kiba grinned mischievously, probably knowing that everyone going so overboard was driving her just a little insane.

Shikamaru rolled his eyes when Kiba flashed his signature cheesy thumbs up at his sensei.

The loud sound of tape being unrolled and plastered onto a box cut through the room. Shino had been put in charge of the tape duty. At first, the task had been awkward for the alpha because of his sporadic bugs almost getting stuck to the sticky side of the tape, but eventually, as the clock had ticked on, he’d gotten the hang of sufficiently keeping his insects out of harm's way.

“Indeed. Support is very valuable to someone in your condition. Why? Because-” Shino was interrupted by Ino.

“Awe, give it a rest Shino, poor Kurenai sensei doesn’t need a lecture. She needs lunch! Here, me and Choji picked this up for you on the way back from dropping your boxes off.” Ino exclaimed as she barreled through the doorway with Choji hot on her tail.

Ino stepped over the spot where Shikamaru had been at work, completely ignoring the fact that she’d stepped on his labeling paper, to hand the pregnant woman a takeout container. She left a footprint, but he didn’t have the energy to try and scold her.

Kiba went back to stacking the boxes by the door for when Ino and Choji made their next trek back to Kurenai’s new home. They’d all been surprised that she’d decided to move halfway through the pregnancy, but had been supportive, nonetheless. Shikamaru had a theory that the woman was tired of the happy memories that haunted her there.

A graveyard of love was no place to raise a baby, after all.

“You’ll love it! It’s the yakitori from the skewer place you’ve been wanting!” Choji beamed, beating Ino to her explanation.

Well, that explained what had taken the two so long to get back and take the next round of boxes already.

“You shouldn’t have! Thank you. How much do I owe you?” She asked, eyes wide with delight as she rummaged around in her pocket to find her wallet.

“It’s on us, sensei, don’t worry about it. You just relax and enjoy your food.” Shikamaru cut in before Ino could, sharing an amused look with Choji.

“Would the two of you let me talk?!” the blonde omega stomped her foot petulantly.

Shino and Kiba began to talk amongst themselves. “Man, aren’t you glad Hinata isn’t like that with us?”

“Hm. Yes, Hinata is not very confrontational with us. Likely, it is due to her upbringing.” Shino confirmed.

Man, for someone who seemed like such a quiet guy, Shino really was the sort of person who loved to explain things. He couldn’t even agree with Kiba over something small without trying to psychoanalyze Hinata.

“Speaking of Hinata-” Kurenai interrupted herself to snag another bite of her yakitori, “Have any of you seen her lately?”

Since Kurenai had been placed on medical leave, she’d been pretty much kept out of the loop on a lot of things, like Hinata and Hanabi’s death match that was fast approaching. Shikamaru had deemed it too troublesome to tell the grieving woman, so he’d instead been lying and saying that the eldest Hyuuga daughter had been on a mission whenever she’d been brought up.

Hinata, in truth, had been so busy training that she’d kinda dropped off the face of the earth, if Ino and Choji’s worried conversations were anything to go off of. With it just being the two of them now, they’d stopped having their bi-weekly omega club meetings. Ino had started hanging out with the other girls more instead and both Tenten and Sakura had quickly dissuaded Ino from some of her more… extreme views on alphas.

Choji had been a different story, though. He still hung out with Shikamaru a lot and sometimes ran into Naruto at the ramen stall, but he’d thrown himself into taking on missions more and more than hanging out with Shino, Kiba, Sai, Neji, and Rock Lee whenever Shikamaru asked him to join.

The genius had a hunch that Choji felt a little out of place among all their friends of their year without Ino or Hinata there. They were the only other omegas, after all.

Ino nudged Kiba, who spoke up with a guilty glint in his eyes, “She’s been going on a lot more missions now that she’s grown into her fighting style.”

Kurenai smiled as she politely put the bamboo skewers that were now devoid of the Yakitori back into the empty take out container. Shikamaru was glad she’d eaten something, Anko had mentioned in passing that sometimes it was hard to get her to want to eat anything.

“I always knew she could do it.” Kurenai hummed, proud of her shyest pupil. She rested her hands on her growing midsection, and not for the first time, Shikamaru felt a pang of guilt that his sensei was missing out on this. Asuma would’ve been losing his mind with putting cribs together and trying to baby proof his massive collection of chakra blades.

“Alright you guys, break’s over. If we want Kurenai sensei to be moved into the new place by tonight, we need to get a move on.” Shikamaru announced, hoping that getting their hands busy would distract Kurenai from asking anymore Hinata questions and keep his own thoughts from going to those darker, more mournful thoughts.

“Says the guy who’s just labeling boxes! Me and Choji and Kiba have to do the real work!” Ino argued with no real fire.

Kiba chose that moment to trip over a cord that had been laying on the ground, sending the contents of the box that was in his hands flying. Shikamaru’s lightning fast reflexes saved the numbskull from toppling over with his shadow possession jutsu, while Choji’s quick thinking with his partial body expansion jutsu provided the perfect tool to give the various kitchen related items a safe, non shattering landing.

“Maybe we should have hired a moving company after all.” the world’s most birdbrained Inuzuka laughed awkwardly.

Everyone groaned, “Shut up Kiba.”


Ms. Namura had refused to let him start training to pass the time while the baby slept, citing his not at all healed body as her main argument. Sasuke had tried to disagree and sneak out when she was busy with her weapons shop downstairs, but she always managed to find him just before he stepped foot outside and waved a wooden spoon at him threateningly.

Sasuke had learned to be more scared of the wooden spoon than a chakra blade.

Today, instead of sneaking out after he’d changed the baby’s diaper and prepped food for lunch, the Uchiha had decided to help her in the store. In fact, Sasuke had just finished polishing the new inventory for Ms. Namura’s shop when she asked him the question that had been niggling in the back of his mind for a week now.

“So, have you come up with a name yet?” She’d called out to him from two shelves away. She was in the process of reorganizing a few of the gadgets that a customer had blatantly rifled through with little care.

Sasuke did not think he would ever have the patience to put up with the general public like Ms. Namura did.

The Uchiha glanced down to his chest where his son was strapped into the sling he’d picked up months ago and hidden safely away in his storage scroll, along with all the other baby necessities he’d stocked up on.

The infant had been adjusting to life fairly well. He was fascinated by shiny objects and loved when Ms. Namura would flicker the lights for him by playing with the light switch when she entered a room. He’d proven himself to be a smart little thing too. He’d figured out that by widening his eyes and sticking his fist in his mouth, he could pretty much get Sasuke to do anything he wanted.

Sasuke was aware of the innocent manipulation, yes, but his heart was not strong enough to deny the cuteness. When he tried to be cool about it, and pretend like he didn’t give in to his son’s nonverbal commands almost immediately, Ms. Namura would tease him for it. ‘Mr. Cool’, she’d nicknamed him, using the name to refer to him any time Sasuke was caught trying to force himself to not coo at how tiny his son’s hands were. It wasn’t his fault, they were just so tiny and chubby.

“No.” He responded with neutrality.

The omega wiped his hands with the rag he’d sat on the table, just out of the baby’s reach for safety reasons, to rid himself of any residue left over from the polish. His son had tried to grab at a few of the weapons Sasuke had been working with a few times, but Sasuke had made a big show of ‘hurting’ his finger with one by slicing his finger with one of the sharp edges, and his pup had been quick to understand that the weapons were not toys and that he needed to stay away from them.

Already, the infant was proving to be a genius at only a few days old. If Sasuke could just somehow figure out how to potty train the baby later in the day so that he never had to touch one of those unholy diapers ever again, life wouldn’t be so bad.

“Oh? Haven’t found one suitable enough yet?” She inquired loudly so that her voice would carry over to where Sasuke was rather clearly.

Sasuke’s ears picked up the faint sound of paper being sifted through, so he concluded that she had moved on to counting the ryo in her cash register. She did it at least three times throughout the day. Once before she opened the store for the day, once at around noon, and then after the store closed that night for the final time.

The Uchiha had developed a habit of tracing the marks on the baby’s cheeks as of late. The marks were still tiny and barely there, but the omega couldn’t help but remember the way Naruto’s had grown out like stubborn little birthmarks that refused to be ignored. Sasuke had always wondered if they were some sort of clan marking or had something to do with the nine tailed fox instead.

Sasuke found that the newly acquired habit soothed a part of himself that he hadn’t been quite aware of being in pain for all these years away from the village.

“Something like that.” he responded coolly.

The truth was that even thinking about leaving Naruto out of such an important decision made Sasuke want to curl up by the nearest toilet and vomit out of guilt. He’d already missed out on his pup’s birth and the baby’s first scenting.

Sasuke didn’t have the willpower to soldier through another one of his baby’s milestones alone, without the beautiful, blundering idiot to share the moments with him.

Of course, that very line of thinking also sparked a sense of anger within himself. He’d had a lot of time to think while he’d been chained up in Orochimaru’s lab. Logically, it had all made sense. Naruto’s team was no longer also Sasuke’s team. When faced with a choice of saving Naruto or Sasuke, it would have been Naruto in a heartbeat.

That wasn’t the part that he felt slighted on.

It was the fact that the supposed mission had been so horribly botched, so unprofessional. They’d just up and left when Naruto surely had been able to reign the nine tails in. Only, something had to have happened, because Sasuke knew Naruto. He had to have been severely hurt or at the very least suffered a monumental chakra drain due to the kyuubi, and therefore, likely rendered unconscious. It was the only way Sasuke saw Naruto would have left there without a heavily pregnant Sasuke.

What had hurt the most was waking up and being confronted with the fact that his pup had been left to be tortured at the hands of Orochimaru, because the woodstyle user, Sakura, and Sai hadn’t even tried to salvage the mission. For days, Sasuke had rotted in that lab, terrified and abused in ways he would never even allow himself to fully recall, and they hadn’t even tried to send a recovery squad.

That was why, when he’d noticed he was in active labor, his first thought hadn’t been to try and get back to the leaf village- to Naruto. The betrayal was still raw then in a way, he never would have been able to give birth in an environment where he didn’t feel supported. The birth had been terrible enough, and that had been in a supportive environment that Ms. Namura had created for him. He didn’t even want to think about what the outcome might have been if he’d had the baby in the Konoha hospital handcuffed to a hospital bed with anbu guarding every exit and entry of his room.

Because, yeah, Sasuke may have been Naruto’s soulmate and a mother, but he was still a dangerous deserter to the village. They probably wouldn’t have even let him hold the baby before he was being wheeled away to an interrogation unit.

Sasuke loved his pup’s father. But, as ironic as it was, a part of that trust he’d always put into the blonde had been broken when he’d opened his eyes to the beeps and whirrs of Orochimaru’s lab, and not in a calm, clean room with Naruto right beside him.

Still, Sasuke knew that his delirious thinking when he’d held his son for the first time wasn’t viable either. He couldn’t stay here with Ms. Namura forever. He needed to make the world a safer place for his son to grow up in, and unfortunately, that meant that he would need to leave sooner rather than later, and start his original plan of gathering Karin Uzumaki, Suigetsu Hozuki, and Juugo to help him take down Itachi.

Of course, he’d have a baby strapped to his chest all the while, but stranger things had probably happened. Right?


Kiba’s back ached as he dusted the dirt off of his pants. He still hadn’t fully gotten over his injury from that mission in the land of waves a few days ago, but outside of letting time do its thing, there wasn’t much to be done, so like any seasoned shinobi, he ignored the slight pain as he went about his daily routines.

He’d finally managed to flee his mother and sister’s wraths about an hour ago, who’d been nagging at him constantly for weeks now about everything under the sun, and had taken the chance to get some fresh air by enjoying the cool breeze at the park. The alpha had decided to take a page out of Shikamaru’s book and had watched the clouds.

It had been a total snooze fest, but it had been peaceful too, so it hadn’t been all that bad. But, it definitely would not be a hobby he would be pursuing any further.

“Kiba?” a soft, startled voice halted him in his tracks.

He whirled around, surprised and relieved to see the girl who’d made herself so scarce as of late, “Hinata?”

He got a good look at her thanks to the sun that shone proudly in the afternoon sky. She’d lost weight, her face was less round and her legs, while still muscular, were missing that bit of softness that they’d once had. Her hair was longer than before- her black bangs gleamed a dark violet with the sun beaming down on them from where the fringes were covering the top most parts of her eyes. Hinata had never been someone who liked her hair getting in the way, so it truly was a testament to how hard she’d been training that she hadn’t even gotten a trim lately.

She still looked beautiful, though. Even with the bags under her eyes that were as purple as jer jacket and the bandages that were layered onto her fists.

“I was on my way to the training grounds-uh,” She broke off, hesitating. The wind caught in her hair, sending the inky strands cascading through the wind. Vanilla lavender bloomed on the air currents, bringing Kiba’s sensitive nose the gift of her otherworldly scent. “-I wanted to say hi.” she finished.

He watched her do that thing she always did with her hands when she was unsure of herself. Some kids started playing tag in the background, but Kiba paid their loudness no mind.

“Hinata-“ he broke off, so surprised to have gotten the chance to see her. In the beginning, when Hanabi had just barely presented, Kiba had fought to see Hinata. Even if it had meant sneaking into her home and narrowly missing having his neck sliced open by one of the Hyuuga maids in his desperate search for his teammate.

Shino had taken the more logical approach, which had been politely knocking on the door and asking her father if Hinata was available for team training. Of course, her stern father had refused, but that was probably more due to his irritation at having found an ‘Inuzuka mutt’ tied up by one of those lethal maids in his living room.

“Before you go train, will you come with me?” He asked, gaining the courage to show her something that he hadn’t had the chance to in the past few weeks.

It was his own back up plan for her. Neji, Hanabi, and Shino were all in on making sure Hinata won the tournament and would not be cast aside to the branch family, and Kiba was too, but he also knew that Hinata could be a wild card when she wanted to be.

Everyone had told her she was a failure all her life, but she’d made genin. She’d made chunin. She’d had the courage to face impossible odds against her cousin Neji in a fight, and though she’d lost the match, she’d won something far more important. She’d come up with her own jutsu, the gentle step twin lion fists, all on her own, no thanks to anything other than Neji offering to train with her to help her hone the jutsu.

She was unpredictable in her own way. Wildly soothing and politely rebellious. It was that quality that had made Kiba fall so deeply for her in the first place.

It was also that quality that wanted him to have a back up plan. Hinata could win the tournament, and keep her spot as the Hyuuga heiress, and everything would be fine. Or, she could win, and decide to do something wholly unpredictable, like abdicate the spot to Hanabi, and ex-communicate herself from the clan entirely if she thought it would cause less strife for everyone in the long run.

His surprise for her was for if something drastic happened. He wanted her to have a safety net.

“S-sure Kiba. Where are we going?” She smiled sweetly. Man, she smiled like she’d never had a bad dream in her entire life. The alpha wanted to do everything he could to keep her always smiling like that.

“Oh, nowhere, just have a surprise I’ve been meaning to show you.” He played it cool by shrugging one of his shoulders and doing his best to keep his excited grin from melting onto his face.

The two made small talk comfortably while he led her to where he wanted to go. Occasionally, villagers that they were familiar with called out to them in greeting and they waved. The sweets shop had gotten a new coat of paint, it seemed. Used to, it’d had a worn green exterior with little paint chips here and there. Now, it stood a proud, soft yellow, with pristine white trim and an updated sign that had little carvings of dango surrounding the writing.

Team eight used to go to that shop after a successful mission to celebrate. They hadn’t gone in a while- not since they’d all passed their second attempt at the chunin exams. Maybe, after Hinata’s death match with Hanabi, they would be able to celebrate the outcome there, just like in the old days.

Hinata began to ask him about his sister as they rounded the street corner. Some kids were playing a ball game in the street a little too close to the sidewalk. The ball they were using, thrown by a small, unsteady hand, veered off course and to the left, right at where Kiba and Hinata were walking.

He caught the ball easily and tossed it back, “Watch out! You kids might hit someone!” He warned them, thinking nothing of it. Until he glanced down at Hinata that was.

See, she’d always had a soft spot for rowdy kids. They entertained her in an endearing kind of way. Hinata had always gravitated towards bigger personalities too. She’d once had that crush on Naruto, she’d befriended Ino, the most opinionated Yamanaka to date, and she adored her little sister Hanabi, who’d always been as stubborn as a mule. So, it kind of made sense.

However, seeing the way she looked at those kids moved something inside of Kiba’s chest in a funny way that he wasn’t quite familiar with. It wasn’t like how some girls would look at kids and get baby fever or something. It was like Hinata wanted to forget herself and ask to join them. Like, if she could, she’d be right there with them, causing mischief and the sort of mayhem that came with childhood.

But, she’d never allow herself. The Hyuuga children were not children that were taught how to play.

“Kiba? Are you alright? Your scent is-”

“Ah, sorry about that Hinata. I was just thinking about something.”

He quickly reigned in his slightly bitter scent, cursing himself for not having a better control of it. The Inuzuka clan was far more intune with their instincts, and as a result, had a much harder time at learning to control the simpler aspects of their dynamics. It was the complete opposite of the Aburame clan, who had to keep a tight lock around their instincts to accommodate their insects. Team eight was full of juxtapositions like that.

Kiba took a moment to collect himself and was grateful that Hinata was used to his tiny little slip ups enough that she didn’t inquire about it. She just shrugged and continued to follow at his side, probably just happy that she was getting a moment of reprieve from training.

“And here we are.” Kiba beamed a short ten minutes later.

The pair had arrived at their destination. Nestled between a small communal garden and a bookshop in the quieter part of Konoha’s downtown district, was a small house that had been renovated a few years back. The house had originally been part of the same property that the communal garden resided on, but the old owner had died and the person who’d bought the property afterwards hadn’t wanted to put up with the upkeep of the garden, so she’d sold it off and just kept the part of the land that the house was built on.

And then, as luck would have it, the owner, a strict, no nonsense alpha woman with a severe hairline but a knowing smile, had seen Kiba admiring it one day on one of his walks with Akamaru. She’d talked with him for a minute before casually mentioning that she was going to be moving in with her ailing father to care for him, and would be renting the property out.

Kiba had gone home that night and had dinner with his argumentative sister and his brazen, boundaryless mother, and had made up his mind to wake up first thing the next morning and ask the woman if she would let him sign a lease.

The alpha had intended to move out and live on his own for a while, but hadn’t had the chance before the whole thing with Hinata and her family had happened, so he put his wants on the back burner for a while, and instead had fixed up the inside of the home for Hinata instead, should she need it.

He’d put in new counter tops that Kurenai sensei had pointed out as “Every cook’s dream come true!” as she’d flipped through the pages of a magazine when Kiba and Akamaru had visited her. He’d removed the carpet and put in hardwood flooring, and even repainted the original dark green walls to a more neutral, calming hue to fit Hinata’s tastes more.

All under the amused permission of the owner, of course.

Kiba opened the door and covered Hinata’s eyes all in one smooth motion.

“Kiba-” She exclaimed, not having seen the sudden lack of vision coming. Of course, she could have used her byakugan, but there was no fun in that.

“Okay okay, but a surprise isn’t a surprise unless-” he cut himself off in shock when she sneakily tore his hand away from her eyes to peer inside.

She gasped, totally surprised. He couldn’t help the gleeful chuckle he let out as he ushered her inside.

Her eyes caught on the airy, lacy curtains, and Kiba’s ears went red from embarrassment. Tracking down a fabric store and then shopping in the omega textiles section had been kinda awkward from the stares he’d gotten, so he was glad that he’d picked correctly, but man, that memory burned him like a hot iron sometimes.

“Kiba, when did you get a house!?” She turned to him suddenly from where she’d stood. Kiba had leaned himself against the entry way as he’d watched her take a look around. Her fingertips traced one of the bookshelves.

And, then came the hard part.

“Well, it’s not actually mine.” he shuffled his feet.

“What do you mean?” Those eyes stared into his soul.

“It’s for you. The place is yours. I wanted you to have a safe place to go if things don’t go the way we want them to during the match. You deserve options, and that’s what this place is.” He couldn’t look her in the eyes, too bashful over what he’d done now that he actually had to explain it to her.

Maybe he’d gone a little overboard- maybe the purple couch and the shiny stove were too much.

A gentle, pale hand clasping around his elbow finally made him raise his head to meet her gaze. This close, he could almost scent her if he’d wanted to. And he did, he really did. But he also wouldn’t ever make her uncomfortable, so he kept himself in check.

“Kiba, I can’t accept this- it- it’s too much and-”

“No Hinata, it’s yours. I’m not gonna live here if you won’t and I signed a two year lease agreement. I’m stubborn enough to waste all my money on an empty house.” he declared, urgently trying to get her to understand that no monetary amount of gifts would ever be too much for him to give her.

“But, what would Neji think? And-and my clan? Omegas don’t live on their own. They go from their childhood homes to being mated off. Even if their alphas die from old age before they do, their children take them in to live with them in their last years. I would be breaking so many rules-”

She began to frantically list all of the ways she would get in trouble, but Kiba silenced her gently with brushing her bangs out of her eyes.

“Hinata, that’s the thing. I’m giving you a choice here- one that’s entirely yours to make, that the people who truly care about you will support you in making no matter what. This place is yours to do with as you please. It’s freedom. No one around to watch you, no maids to lock your windows shut, no angry dads hiding in the living room. You deserve a choice, and you deserve a safe place.”

Her tired eyes watered just a fraction, but Kiba put some space between them regardless. The kind of closeness they’d shared mere seconds ago wasn’t the kind of space that two friends shared. Especially two friends with different dynamics.

“Kiba, I-” She cut herself off with a sniffle, “Thank you!” She cried out, lunging forward to wind her arms around his neck in the best feeling hug he’d ever received in his life.

Kiba thought that he could stomach his mom smacking the back of his head every ten minutes and his sister forcing him to walk all of the ninja dogs on his off days if it meant that Hinata could maybe finally find her own freedom.

If she kept her arms around him just a little bit longer, he was sure that he could face anything that came his way.


Kakashi had just finished up giving Lady Tsunade a report on the intel he’d been trying to gather for where Orochimaru might be keeping Sasuke, when the dreaded thud of Danzo’s cane tapping against the old wooden floors had interrupted them.

Instantly, the room had turned to an icy cold atmosphere. That old alpha sure did know how to ruin a moment.

“Tsunade.” Danzo muttered, pointedly not using her proper title. “Hatake.” he added on, turning his head ever so slightly to address him. Kakashi didn’t say anything back. He’d hated that man since he’d tried to manipulate a grief stricken Kakashi into betraying Lord Third all those years ago.

Kakashi had no proof of this, but he’d always had a feeling that Danzo had been working with Orochimaru for a time as well. How else would a human experiment like Tenzo have wound up in Danzo’s clutches?

“Didn’t your mother ever teach you that it was rude to interrupt others?” Tsunade grumbled, crossing her arms and raising her eyebrow challengingly.

Danzo huffed, and Kakashi was not nearly blind enough to notice the white knuckled grip that the old man had on his cane. “I would hardly call what the two of you were hen pecking about to be something important enough to apologize for intruding on.”

“And I could hardly call what you’re packing underneath your robe to be-”

Kakashi cut off whatever brilliant insult Tsunade was going for with a yawn, “Shall I excuse myself, m’lady?”

“At least someone has manners!” She muttered. Danzo harrumphed again.

Where was Shizune at a time like this? Probably keeping Anko from setting a small fire in an orphanage to make their electric bill less expensive or something, but still! She should be here so that Kakashi could find an easy out and leave the awkwardness that had filled the office to go home and play fetch with his ninja hounds or something.

“Hatake, word had reached me that you’d finally settled down and started a pack.” Danzo changed the subject.

Kakashi hated how that man needled into every little thing. There was no doubt in his mind that Danzo had been the sole reason that Naruto’s pack request had been denied. He’d always had it out for those under Hiruzen’s protection as well as those with innate, powerful abilities that were not under his direct authority.

“Yes, I’m fortunate in that regard.” The grey haired man smiled through his mask, though his eyes did not change from their dead stare.

If Danzo noticed the plasticness of it all, he didn’t let on, “Though, I was surprised that you did not go through the more traditional route. In a rush, were you?”

Kakashi wondered if he started reciting excerpts from his p*rn book, he could embarrass the alpha into jumping ship and leaving the office.

“Luckily,” Kakashi hummed, shrugging nonchalantly as if he weren’t talking to the devil incarnate, “I didn’t have to go through the proper channels. Our gracious hokage thought a pack bond would help improve team seven’s teamwork, so she was able to bypass the usual legality surrounding packs in Konoha.”

“Yes,” Tsunade agreed with a twinkle in her eyes, “Truly, it has already greatly improved their training. I’m excited to see what great levels they rise to on missions now, wouldn’t you say the same Danzo?”

Knowing he’d lost the battle but not the war, Danzo agreed. Kakashi made a note to keep an eye on things to make sure that Danzo wasn’t sticking his nose where it didn’t belong.

And the tension carried on.


Scenery of various colorful shapes whirled and rippled around him as Obito’s kamui dispersed.

The room he’d landed in was dark. Only the light from the stars in the sky that shone from the uncovered window guided him to find his target. It wasn’t much of a target, he decided while peering closer at the sleeping omega. Held tightly in his arms was the object of Obito’s most vast and unprecedented curiosities.

A child born of two of the Hidden Leaf Village’s most powerful clans. Half Uchiha, half Uzumaki. The potential was endless.

Obito watched as Sasuke Uchiha’s chest rose and fell. Such a fickle thing bodies were. They relied on so many different factors to properly thrive. Like, for example, oxygen. How easy it would be to crush Sasuke’s throat in his sleep and steal the pup away in the night. Only a mild amount of pressure. The pup probably wouldn’t even wake up as its mother was murdered just beside it.

But no, Obito would not be killing anyone in this room on this night. He had plans in store that could not be interrupted. Killing Sasuke would mean having no replacement for Itachi when Obito inevitably told Sasuke the truth of the massacre. Stealing the baby away now would only force Sasuke to unite with the nine tails jinchuriki and reclaim their progeny together, throwing a wrench in Obito’s plans to use the pup against the nine tails.

No, tonight, Obito would only allow himself to watch as his plan continued to be set in motion. His curiosity
would remain only that as he twisted the omega’s future path into his own gnarled image. If Sasuke proved useful, perhaps in the infinite tsukuyomi, the masked alpha would allow Sasuke his happy ending, sparing the pain of the Uchiha massacre by erasing it entirely.

The infant smacked its lips in its sleep as it shifted to nestle closer into its mother’s scent gland but did not stir otherwise.

Obito lazily wondered if the child would be able to unlock the sharingan, but that was not the idea that had sparked his visit.

The knowledge of Orochimaru’s death had spurred his interest once more. Sasuke Uchiha, said to possess more talent than even his brother Itachi, had been the one to do him in, so the rumors had spread. Only, there had been no mention of a pregnancy, or even Sasuke’s true dynamic, among any of the whispers Obito had overheard. The masked alpha singularly knew how truly amazing of a victory Sasuke had pulled off, it seemed.

Fugaku’s second whelp was proving to not be such a disappointment after all. He had a will far greater than Itachi’s, it appeared. A will that would so greatly come in handy for the Akatsuki later down the line.

Oh yes, Obito was pleased.

In fact, he was so pleased that later, when he’d left the parent and child and gone back to his duties, Deidara’s moodiness didn’t even irritate him. Ever since the blonde omega had said his final goodbye to Itachi weeks ago, he had been a pain in Obito’s side.

The first few days after the pair’s bitter end to the pitiful excuse of a romance they’d shared had been hell- and Obito would know very intimately what hell felt like, so he felt that his observations held at least some truth to them. Deidara had raged at the tiniest of setbacks, taunting anyone he could find into fighting the insane omega. Deidara had even taken to tormenting his fumbling idiot of a partner, ‘Tobi’. ‘Tobi’ had pretended to forgive him, but Obito was not pleased at all with the explosive moron.

Then, the small quirks had popped up here and there. Things like Deidara refusing to eat what ‘Tobi’ had caught for dinner on their travels, or becoming far too emotionally moved by the sights of small animals in the forest. Then Deidara’s scent, which had natural tones of honey to it, had shifted ever so slightly.

To someone with untrained senses, it would have been indetectable, but to Obito, the shift had been glaringly obvious. It had all made sense after that.

Itachi Uchiha would be leaving this world soon, but he would also be leaving behind a continuation of his bloodline in the form of a pup raised by an artistic maniac of a mother. Obito had naturally been overjoyed once he’d figured it out. The Uchiha brothers just kept surprising the masked man with the amazing gifts of potential they kept spawning.

And, even better still, Deidara and Itachi were completely unaware of the tiny heir of evil that currently rested in the blonde’s womb. The Jinchuriki of the leaf village was out of the loop as well. It would be easy to take Deidara by surprise before he figured out his condition and force him under a masterfully crafted genjutsu for the duration of the pregnancy and steal the infant away.

Sasuke would be an obstacle, but only slightly. Obito had many irons in the fire and just as many ways to bend Sasuke Uchiha to his will when the time came.

It was only a matter of time that was keeping Obito from his goals, but, luckily, he was a patient man.


Tsunade had lived an eventful life. She had been taught to gamble at a young age by her beloved grandfather, Hashirama himself. She’d become the first omega hokage. She’d traveled the world in a drunken stupor, picking up a student who had become more like a daughter as time had passed. She’d fallen in love, joined a team, fought a war. She’d lived through many deaths and she’d saved countless lives.

In her own right, Tsunade had become a legend.

It was because of this, of her amazing and weighty image, that people often forgot one key factor to her personality: she was not emotionally equipped to deal with everyone’s bullsh*t.

Bullsh*t like Orochimaru’s gleeful, predatory aura every time they’d encountered a dead alpha during the war or like Jiraiya coming to her, begging her to go along with whatever excuse he’d made up to get all the angry, spied on women to stop pelting him with shoes.

Bullsh*t like somehow, in a twisted game of fate, Naruto had not only found Sasuke Uchiha, the third most dangerous missing nin of the leaf village, during his heat, but had also managed to knock him up.

Shizune squeaked beside her as Tsunade’s pen broke in her hand. Her frustrations as hokage were often taken out on the writing utensils. The village leaders had started a small, but admirable fund dedicated solely to the supply and demand of pens to Tsunade’s office.

They figured it was better than constantly having to rebuild desks or walls or even floors that would need fixing after her outraged spurts of strength had ‘redecorated’ the office.

“Would you cut that out!” Tsunade sighed, pointing in the direction of the root ninja who had no last name with the jagged remnant of her pen. He’d been smiling emptily and unblinkingly for the past seventeen minutes.

“Yeah Sai! Quit it- you freak everyone out when you do that!” Sakura teased him, although the tone seemed to be lost on the weird Sasuke look alike.

Tsunade needed a drink, an aspirin, and a paid vacation to a casino to be able to deal with the headache of the genetics of the fourth hokage, the Leaf village’s two most willful jinchuriki, and the naturally slightly insane genes of the Uchiha being twirled around into the dna of a pup that Orochimaru firmly had under his control more likely than not, because there was no way that an omega like Sasuke would have actually chosen to continue the pregnancy.

Sasuke was driven, as far as she’d been able to tell from the few times she’d met him. He was damaged and traumatized, and visibly had no idea how to care for things, much less for a pup. Orochimaru had to have forced him to continue the pregnancy, there was just no other logical explanation.

She and Kakashi had discussed it at lengths, gone over every possible scenario, and that was their only logical conclusion. Naruto had seemed to not consider that key part, but the boy had led a very sheltered life in the sense that he was an alpha, and therefore, did not have to consider the horrors that came with being an omega. Instead, Naruto had taken it to be proof that Sasuke still loved him, and that he was being forced to stay away by Orochimaru, not by the Uchiha’s own goals.

Tsunade was worried. She worried that Naruto would leave and bring back an unwilling omega and try and play happy family with a baby while they were still so young themselves. She worried about what was happening to Sasuke Uchiha, who despite being a Konoha missing nin, had never fully turned her back on. Especially after being briefed on the true story of what had happened the night Itachi Uchiha had murdered his clan in the personally sealed scrolls of Sarutobi sensei’s.

She worried that there would be another generation of Uzumakis and Uchihas that grew up under terrible circ*mstances. She worried for what that might mean for the village, for her students and her pseudo-grandson.

“You look like you could use a drink, Princess.” Jiraiya hummed cheekily.

Her eye twitched. Shizune shuddered, knowing what usually followed.

“What’re we all doing here, anyway?” Naruto asked, scratching the back of his head.

“Jiraiya, would you please perform the seal for a sound barrier in the office? What we’re about to discuss cannot be overheard.”

Everyone remained surprisingly quiet as they watched the toad sage do what needed to be done. The old omega made eye contact with her student, who shot her a questioning, if not pensive look. Tsunade did not miss the disheveled locks of pink hair on Sakura’s head, nor the slight blankness of her pupils.

The hokage made a note in her mind to cut Sakura’s down at the hospital down to about twenty for the next few weeks to let her regain her energy.

“Alright, we can speak freely now.” Jiraiya commented as he reclaimed his seat, having made quick work of his task.

Tsunade remembered years ago, what felt like three lifetimes ago, when Jiraiya had tried to make his first ever seal. It had backfired, naturally, and gone up in smoke. Sarutobi sensei’s eyebrows had been singed off, and Tsunade couldn’t remember a single time where she’d laughed louder than she had that day at the look on the white haired fool’s face.

She missed that day. She missed it very much.

“What’s with all the secrecy, Granny?” Naruto asked, swiveling his head to look between her and Jiraiya suspiciously.

She pinched the bridge of her nose. Now came the part of her day that she’d been actively dreading since the moment she’d woken up with an even worse hangover than usual: acknowledging the fact that Naruto had spawned with the Uchiha brat.

“Listen up,” she commanded in full hokage mode, “Everyone in this room all possess top secret information that cannot be shared with anyone under any circ*mstances. It cannot be freely acknowledged, it cannot be discussed flippantly, either between yourselves while alone, or around anyone who may hear.”

Kakashi and Sakura made noises that hinted that they’d caught on to where this was going. Naruto looked dumb with little heart eyes, like he was daydreaming about a baby with blonde hair and pale chubby cheeks. She was almost certain that she was correct in her theory.

“We all know that over half a year ago, Naruto decided to think with his knot instead of his concerningly small brain-” she remarked, eyeing the Uzumaki with hawk eyes.

Sai interrupted, “It is not to worry, his knot is surprisingly small as well-”

“Aw come on Sai! Not this again- you haven’t even seen it-” Naruto wailed.

Sakura took his wounded pride as a chance to join in on Sai’s fun, “Uh, Naruto- do you want Sai to see it?!”

Naruto recoiled in absolute disgust as he stood up from his chair and waved his arms like a maniac, “Wha-NO! There’s only one person that I want to-”

Tsunade sighed, “Naruto, if you finish that sentence, I will knock you into next week.”

He stopped mid-sentence and gulped harshly. She’d made good on her threats enough times before to scare him into obedience. Good. Finally, something could reign that kid in.

Naruto spluttered some apologies while Kakashi didn’t even bother to hide his laughter from the back of the room. With how good the Hatake was at masking his scent, she’d almost forgotten he was there to begin with.

“Now, back to what I was saying, I’ve deliberated on this for a few days and have decided that the best course of action is to swear each of you to secrecy. You all have to go about business as usual- Naruto that means no shopping for baby clothes or trying to go hunt down Orochimaru to steal your omega back.”

She took no pleasure in the way his face so openly showed his heartbreak at her decree. “He’s not mine.” He whispered.

Tsunade raised an eyebrow, “The baby in his womb says something entirely different.”

Sakura raised her hand, Tsunade nodded at her to speak, so the alpha girl cleared her throat politely. “But, sensei, if we can’t acknowledge the situation, how can we get authorization to go on a mission to retrieve him and the baby?”

Sai added on, not giving Tsunade to respond, “Time is of the essence, I’m afraid. I’m sure we’ve all done the math, and Sasuke Uchiha should be nearing his due date very soon. There are a number of horrors that could happen to the both of them if we do not act swiftly.”

The hokage spun her chair to face the grand office window to look at the view of Konoha instead of at the troubled faces in the room with her.

She folded her hands together, not liking one bit of what she was about to have to say. “I’m ordering all of you to stand down on this. Sasuke is in too delicate of a situation- we can’t just send a barrage of random team seven members after him. When a few more of my affairs are in order, I will personally travel to retrieve Sasuke myself, with Jiraiya as back up. There’s no telling what we could be walking into, and I would rather save you all from seeing what very well may be happening at this very moment.”

Silence. A chair clattered to the ground- probably Naruto’s. A gasp. Then, arguing. Tsunade watched the wind flutter through the treetops below regardless of the chaos behind her. What a beautiful village Konoha was. She felt a large, warm hand on her shoulder. She looked up, and saw Jiraiya’s trusting face looking down at her with worry. No matter how many years passed, no matter how many wrinkles or other signs of age that the man garnered, he still always looked at her with that same weighted look.

For such a beautiful village, Konoha sure did house an insurmountable amount of turmoil and despair.

Out there, somewhere, probably being tortured at this very moment, was the soulmate of the child she’d come to care for as her grandson. Her office was not safe from the spying and plotting ears of Danzo’s nauseating followers. Her dead sensei and dead grandfather’s prolific stone faces stared at her through the glass of the window.

Konoha’s trees grew tall and proud, for their roots were held firm and deep in the blood of those the village was built on- of those it continued to be built on. Tsunade sincerely hoped that Naruto’s mate and child would not be added to the mix.


“You’ll want to make sure that he keeps to a semi regular nap schedule, starting it early will save you lots of grief later on.” Ms. Namura explained.

“You seem like you’re talking from experience.” Sasuke addressed, not taking his eyes off of his babbling baby. The little thing had worn himself out from how much ‘talking’ he’d been doing.

Sasuke grimaced as a drool covered fist poked at his slender cheek, but couldn’t be upset when those big blue eyes stared at him so innocently. Normal Sasuke, the Sasuke that did not have a slobbery baby on his hip, would have shuddered in disgust. But Sasuke wasn’t normal Sasuke anymore, he was parent Sasuke. And parent Sasuke had discovered that he was able to put up with a lot of the more…unpleasant sides of caring for a pup.

Ms. Namura paused for a nearly invisible moment before she continued sweeping. She hated when customers would track dirt in with their sandals. Sasuke respected that about her.

“I had a baby once.” She confessed, broomhandle rigid in her hands as she rounded the corner to sweep behind the display cases.

The old woman’s back was turned to him, so he couldn’t see her face, but his heart plummeted to his stomach regardless as the shock of her statement began to wear off. His son had only been alive for a week, but he knew that he could never be able to live a life without him now.

As if reading his thoughts, the infant snuggled his tiny little nose into Sasuke’s scent gland, looking for warmth and comfort. The omega decided to take it as an apology for his slobbery fist having wreaked havoc on his mother’s clothing.

“She was beautiful.” Ms Namura continued, “Bright red hair and an even brighter spirit. She was three years old- I was fifteen, an early bloomer- when our village was attacked. All of the nations had banded together, too scared of the powerful techniques possessed by the shinobi there to attack individually. “

Sasuke knew of the incident she was referring to. The Hidden Eddy Village, a powerful shinobi village that had once been located in the Land of Whirlpools, had been home to a notorious and strong clan that had once held close ties to the Leaf Village.

The baby made a small noise but Sasuke shushed him, too lost in thought to fully pay the baby any mind. Continuing her sweep, she broke off of her anguished tale to reach for the dustpan on the floor near the display of kama and yumi that Sasuke had just dusted.

If Ms. Namura’s child had been three years old when she’d died, and Ms. Namura had been fifteen, then that meant that Ms. Namura had presented roughly around twelve years old. An entire year earlier than was considered the normal presenting age.

It didn’t take a genius to know what had likely happened to her. Omegas had come far in their various rights movements in the last forty years, but those movements had only occurred well after Ms. Namura’s youth.

“What happened to her?” Sasuke found himself asking, feeling a rare but powerful twist of sympathy in his heart.

“I’d left her at home with my younger sister to go pick up a few things for dinner that night. My daughter- she’d been going through a phase where all she wanted to eat was grapes, so I’d gone to the market to get fresh ones. That was when the first explosion had happened. Bodies- they were everywhere. People I knew, people I didn’t. People I’d loved and hated, all of them, just gone.”

Sasuke knew that feeling. He knew what it was to stumble upon bodies of everyone and everything he’d known. He knew what color that brown soil and thick red blood made when mixed together.

Sasuke remembered it so vividly still.

“Terror had naturally overwhelmed me, but I’d pushed through because I had to get back to my daughter and sister. What I’d found in the place of where our home had once been was rubble and flames. I’m sure you know what burning flesh smells like, I won’t go into detail beyond that, but I’d known I’d lost her.”

Sasuke swallowed and held his baby impossibly closer to scent him. It did wonders to soothe the flashes of bloodied Uchiha crests and frozen, horrified corpses in his mind.

Ms. Namura was more like Sasuke than he’d initially presumed. Maybe it was their shared pain that had made the woman want to take him under her wing.

“How did you escape?”

The old woman sighed, tensing ever so slightly. “A man found me amid the rubble. He wore the headband of a village that had once been our ally. He took me in, gave me a new name and a new purpose.”

Sasuke could understand. For a time, Orochimaru had posed as a similar figure in his life.

“I’d thought I’d loved him.” She breathed, exhaling as if her body was physically trying to rid herself of the memories. “I was wrong.” Her voice hardened, and Sasuke was not tone deaf enough to not know when a conversation was over.

The baby began to grow restless. The somber atmosphere was probably too much for his sensitive instincts to properly process. Both of the omegas turned their attention to the pup. Suddenly, the spell of Ms. Namura’s backstory was broken.

They began to finish cleaning like nothing had happened. Both were probably too emotionally stunted to fully talk about what had happened in her youth. Sasuke saw himself in someone for the first time, and he was terrified of what he saw. A childless mother, alone and broken, living in a dark pit of crime and futility was not the future he would allow for himself.

He would keep his pup safe from all harm. That was why, as the bell connected to the door clinked and chimed as a customer walked in, Sasuke decided that he would finish his quest to get rid of Itachi sooner rather than later. Naruto, as much as he hated to admit it, could wait. Their pup’s safety was much more pressing.

The baby did not seem to like the customer that had waltzed in. His little nose wriggled and twitched as he shuffled his face away from her and towards Sasuke’s scent gland to fill his nose with the reassuring scent of intertwined oranges and lightning.

She was an alpha, that much was obvious from the way she carried herself. She walked as if nothing had ever opposed her, and no one would ever look down on her.

That much was probably true.

“Can I help you?” Ms. Namura addressed the alpha, all business. She was behind the counter now, eyeing the customer in a no nonsense way that she usually carried out all of her business transactions with.

The woman hummed thoughtfully, “I was told this was the best shop to find what I was looking for.”

She kept her wording vague on purpose. Her fingers by her side were tapping amongst themselves. Either she was running from something, or running towards something.

Ms. Namura co*cked an eyebrow, no doubt glancing at the dirt the woman had just tracked in on her freshly sweeped floors. Sasuke would re-sweep it later for her after he’d put the baby down for his nap.

“Yes, and what is it?” Sasuke had known the old omega long enough to know when she was getting annoyed.

The alpha fished a piece of paper out of her pocket and slapped it on the counter like she was the one who had built it. Sasuke rolled his eyes. Ms. Namura did too but hid it well by taking her sweet time inspecting whatever had been written on the folded up scrap.

“Well?” The customer asked, shifting on her feet impatiently after Ms. Namura’s reading proved to not be fast enough for her liking.

“You young people, always expecting the world to fall at your feet.” Ms. Namura sighed, glancing up pointedly at the customer before informing the woman that she needed to go get a key from the backroom. Once her back was turned, Sasuke could see the gentle sag of old age on her shoulders.

Sasuke watched the customer like a silent guard dog. The woman was odd, and he didn’t like her one bit. She seemed testy, like a wild animal both on the run from something big, and on the hunt for something much bigger.

The baby had seemed to not care though. One of his tiny hands had found it’s way into his mother’s hair, pulling and tugging with fascination. Having learned that it was impossible to get a baby to release their grip on hair by now, Sasuke suffered in silence.

“Cute kid. What’s her name?” The alpha tried to make small talk with him while Ms. Namura went to find the key she needed for the display case in the backroom. The baby had found special interest in his own foot. Every time one of his small toes wiggled, his mouth widened in awe, not quite understanding that he was the cause of the phenomenon.

Sasuke glared. “His name is none of your concern.” He emphasized every word, making his irritation known to cover up for the fact that a small part of himself was embarrassed.

It had been days since he’d given birth and he’d still been unable to come up with anything to call his son. Traditional ‘Uchiha’ names felt wrong as he mulled them over in his head. Other honorable names had just felt stupid. Too stuffy, too regal for an infant with the world in his eyes.

The omega was too scared of messing up to give his son something as permanent as a name. On top of that underlying fear, Sasuke also couldn’t bear the thought of not including Naruto in the process. What last name was the baby even supposed to have? Children typically took the alpha’s last name, but Sasuke was from a prestigious clan whose legacy needed to be carried on.

“Ouch. Real feisty for an omega with a pup on his hip with no alpha in sight.” The woman fired back.

Just once, Sasuke would like to be rude and insulting to someone, and have them actually respond with a retort that was on his level. Not the basic, over done ‘haha but you’re an omega and I’m a sexist so you suck’ types of responses. He deserved respect enough to have an insult personally tailored to himself.

“Oh, how original. I suppose I should let you keep talking, maybe eventually you’ll say something intelligent.” He snorted.

The omega adjusted the way his son was propped up against him. He still had his sword tied to his back. If she became aggressive, Sasuke would be able to deal with her easily.

She co*cked her hip and crossed her arms, opening her mouth to argue, but Ms. Namura returning with the key interrupted whatever lame reply she was going to have.

“I would like to remind you that I have the right to refuse service to anyone I see fit, young lady, so you’d better watch your words very carefully.” She scolded with a sinisterly arched eyebrow.

The air grew tense as Ms. Namura stood at a stand still with the customer for a lengthy minute. The old omega clearly held all of the power in the situation and the alpha knew it. Sasuke loved it.

However, baby decided that it was the perfect time to sh*t his diaper, causing Ms. Namura to laugh at Sasuke’s own misfortune, and causing Sasuke to gag as the heated alpha threw her hands into the air with a sharply angered cry of ‘To hell with this!’, and promptly left the shop. The door slammed behind her, startling the baby from his uncomfortably full diaper enough to make him start crying.

Sasuke was going to have a long day.


A week and a half was all that Sasuke could afford himself before he had to hit the road. He didn’t want to over stay his welcome with Ms. Namura, and he also didn’t want any chance of rumors about his whereabouts or his situation to reach Itachi. He’d known for a long time who he would assemble to help him on his journey, and the longer he waited after Orochimaru’s demise, the more time he would have to waste by trying to find them as they left their respective hideouts.

With his goal so close to being achieved and the pull of the scent bond to go to Naruto getting worse with each passing day, Sasuke had no choice but to leave. Ms. Namura had been so against it, but she knew that it was hard to tether a wandering shinobi for long. She also knew that Sasuke had unfinished business, and despite the growing comfort he’d found in her home, eventually, his restlessness would have turned bitter.

So, she did what she’d always done. She’d argued him into leaving in the late morning hours and insisted on cooking him breakfast and helping him pack. It was her own way of showing that she cared and understood Sasuke’s reasoning. Though, she was old and stubborn enough to never ever admit it to his face.

Sasuke found that he actually preferred it that way. It made it easier to leave, somehow.

The baby had woken up in a pleasant mood. Maybe in a sense, he’d figured out that a big change was happening today and was excited about it. Or, in a more likely case, he was excited to have a full day ahead of him full of feedings and yanking on Sasuke’s hair. Truly, a fun filled day for the pup.

The pup was swaddled in his makeshift crib while Sasuke packed the last of their things. His sealing storage scroll really would come in handy, the omega noted with dry amusem*nt as he finished folding the last pile of onesies that Ms. Namura had ‘accidentally’ bought and ‘accidentally’ shoved in his hands two days after the baby had been born.

Her reasoning? “You have a terrible taste in baby clothes. What child wears grey!?!”

He felt her presence before she’d even entered the room. The omega stepped back from what he’d been doing to face her. “Breakfast’s done.” She murmured with an air of somberness. She looked tired, like she hadn’t slept very much the previous night. Sasuke hadn’t either, but that had been because of his very stubborn pup waking him up every few hours to feed him.

The young omega glanced at the baby before meeting her eyes. “Thank you.”

If his appreciation had been welled with layers of other, more meaningful things, well, both would be too stubborn to admit to it anyway.

After his few measly bags were packed and stored safely within the travel pack he’d snagged from a nearby corner store and he’d gotten the baby changed and ready for the day, the two adults sat down to eat.

She spooned rice into his bowl in a nitpicky sort of way that told him she was nervous about something. He redirected the pup’s straying fist away from the cup of tea that sat temptingly to the right.

“Is everything alright?” Sasuke asked with a raised brow. She wasn’t usually one to show her emotions so easily.

“I just don’t like the thought of you and the pup out there alone so soon. Poor thing doesn’t even have a name yet, but he’s going with you to save the world.” She fretted.

As if knowing that he was being talked about, his pup shifted from where he’d been nestled firmly against Sasuke’s chest, and halted his suckling in order to give possibly the sassiest look that had ever graced the features of a newborn, as if to say ‘I could take on the world in my sleep’.

Sasuke hoped that his pup didn’t grow up with the determination and penchant for trouble that either of his parents had. A child with Naruto’s willpower and Sasuke’s cunning would be in a class all of its own.

Ms. Namura chuckled at the baby, “Oh hush you, you can’t fight bad guys with your mother if you can’t even walk yet.”

An hour later found the two adults and baby standing in the doorway to Ms. Namura’s shop. The pup was asleep- Sasuke had decided that it would be easiest to start the journey during the baby’s nap time so that they would be inconspicuous to any passers by. He had his travel pack strapped firmly to his pack, and had said a firm, but warm goodbye to the woman who had looked after him for so long.

Just as he was about to turn and walk away, and down a path that he would not be able to come back from, she called out his name.

“Sasuke- wait!”

He halted his stride, glad that the streets were relatively devoid of anyone to watch the scene unfold.

“What is it?” He asked, not unkindly.

She looked unsure. It was a foreign look that didn’t fit quite right over the woman’s features. “There is something that you should know, before you go.”

The teen co*cked his head to the side and wondered where this could possibly be leading. They’d already said their goodbyes. Maybe she had some intel she’d come across on road closures or shinobi check points that would help him.

“Years ago, on the day we met, later that night a man approached me. He wanted me to keep an eye on you for reasons he did not share- Sasuke he is a bad man. A dangerous man. He threatened to use his sharingan to torture the omegas I’d been helping get away from their mates if I hadn’t complied-”

The weight of the baby carrier being strapped to his chest felt like an anchor against the news. Had it been windy a moment ago? Sasuke didn’t recall. But there was a breeze flowing through his baby’s inky locks, so there must have been one.

“Someone wanted you to spy on me.” He breathed out, feeling like his life line was about to snap in half.

Itachi was the only person it could have been. She’d mentioned a sharingan. Who else would want to keep up with Sasuke’s whereabouts? He’d probably been looking for the right moment all this time to finish the job and kill Sasuke.

“I-stopped when I came to care for you. Back then, it was business as usual, but then things changed.”

Things had changed. He’d noticed that she’d put a hold on taking in strays, but he’d just assumed that it had been because Sasuke and his issues had been more than enough for her.

“Did you tell him that I had the-”

“No!” she stated frantically, firmly, as if she would never dream of it, “I didn’t. No one knows that it’s the two of you now.”

“When I leave, how will I know that you won’t tell him?”

Sasuke was a tired, tired man. He didn’t even flinch at the betrayal, because, really, it was just business as usual like she’d said. With his heart hammering in his chest and a blank face, he regarded her with distrust for the first time since their meeting.

“Never. I’ll die first.”

“Good. Keep it that way”

And just like that, the part of Sasuke that had opened up and become less of a shell had reverted and clicked back into the space filled with nothingness in his heart like it had never left at all.

This was the woman who’d saved his life and helped him prepare himself for being a parent. The woman who had guided him on omega culture and become a sort of role model. Sasuke had cared for her, and even still, after hearing the truth, he cared.

That was why he turned around, with his back to her, and ignored her heart wrenching tears.

“Thank you, Namura, for all that you have done for me.” Sasuke, despite being an asshole, was still a good person at heart. “From here on out, you and I are strangers. For your sake, I hope our paths never cross again.” Sasuke, despite being a good person at heart, was also an asshole.

He had to be. In a world like this, betrayal was as cheap and easy to come by as oxygen was for a person’s lungs. He’d been born into it- raised by it. For him, this was just another day in another step in his life. He would get past it, he always did. Sasuke never allowed for any other option.

And then, he walked away, leaving behind a past self that he would never greet as an old friend. He left behind his son’s first home, and the woman he’d come to appreciate as a mentor. There would be no going back, only forward.

If Itachi had been gathering intel on him for at least a few years, then Sasuke needed to hurry up and gather his team. He didn’t have time to make a stop in Konoha and give Naruto the baby. That would only slow him down.

With his baby soundly asleep in his carrier, hours later, Sasuke allowed his thoughts to run wild. His feet never lost their brisk pace.

“Sasuke!” he would later remember her calling out his name in shock after he’d broken into her shop.

He would remember her old, frantic hands dragging him up the stairs with a surprising strength. He would remember how she pulled his sweaty hair back for him and advised him to drink a herbal tea for the pain.

The pushing, the crying, the blood, so much blood, all of that would be singed into his mind forever.

But most importantly, he would remember that she had genuinely helped him when he’d had no one to turn to. He would never forget her kindness. He would never be able to repay her for having ensured that both he and his pup survived the birth.

Maybe that was why, when the moon had long since hung in the sky, and his baby was softly nuzzled in his arms, Sasuke let himself shed tears of gratitude and relief.

Without her, his son could have died. Would have died.

Without her, Sasuke likely would have burned the entire world down, himself included, in grief. In time, maybe the sting of her betrayal would have healed, and he could forgive her. Maybe then, he could acknowledge her as the caretaker he’d come to love and value as a sort of weird, sarcastic aunt, and not the secret informant she’d turned out to be.

Sasuke wanted to forgive her, but in doing so, he would need to forget, too. Sasuke was not the type of person who could forget so easily. He was haunted by his own sharp mind.

But, for his son, who slept soundly on this earth because of what Ms. Namura had done, Sasuke would learn to forgive her in time. So, he continued to put a foot forward. Then another, and eventually his silent tears dried, and he was as right as rain.

Everything would be fine soon, because each step led him closer to his goal, and closer to a brighter future.

Dwindling Inferno - Bookwormsoup - Naruto (Anime & Manga) [Archive of Our Own] (2024)


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