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i'll see you in your dreams

Chapter Text

Fugaku is ten years old when his father brings him into the living room, his mother waiting for both of them with a curious wrapped bundle in her arms. Her eyes are soft when they meet his, but she quickly shifts her attention back to the wrappings, murmuring softly as she paces around the room. It is dark and late; Fugaku should not technically be awake right now, but the remnants of training this evening are still singing in his blood.

“I need to talk to you about something very important.” His father’s voice is gentle as he sits Fugaku down in front of the kotatsu, waving for his mother to come nearer as he takes the bundle from her arms. Fugaku might be imagining it, but he thinks it moves.

“What is it?” He looks toward his mother’s face, her soft and sad expression as she comes to sit next to him, her arm slipping around his shoulders to hug him tightly.

His father kneels down, carefully holding the bundle as if whatever is inside of it might break if he is not as cautious as possible. “There was a mission team that left a few days ago. Do you remember? Two of the jounin who went were our people.”

“Yeah, I remember.” Fugaku’s eyes drift toward the bundle again just as he sees a tiny hand stretch out, fingers curling around empty air. “They didn’t come back, did they?”

“Most of them didn’t,” his mother confirms, and he winces slightly at the implication.

He shifts slightly closer to his father, watching as the bundle shifts again and certain he cannot be imagining it this time. “Is this…” He trails off, not sure he wants to say aloud what he knows to be true. Two of the jounin were Uchiha, and this is their child.

It happens. Fugaku knows it happens; his best friend, Minato, lost both of his parents when he was very young and that’s why he lives with Tsunade-sensei and Jiraiya-sensei even though they aren’t his real parents. When shinobi and kunoichi have to go on dangerous missions, it sometimes means that they may not come home, which is why diligent training and teamwork are so important to the foundation of their system.

“Yes.” His father clears his throat softly, and the bundle gives a small, distressed sound in answer. “This is Obito. He’s going to be living with us from now on. He has no other family who can take care of him, and Hokage-sama asked us if we’d be able to take him in.”

“Like… He’s my brother now?” Fugaku asks carefully, his eyes widening when his father nods and offers the bundle to him with the express command to be careful.

A soft sense of wonder sets in as Fugaku accepts the baby, letting his mother instruct him on how to hold Obito properly so that he’s safe and sound in Fugaku’s arms. He’s tiny, too. He must be a newborn or close to it, with the same dark Uchiha hair and eyes that most of their family has, and tired from the way he yawns and nestles into Fugaku’s arms.

“Do you think you can handle being his big brother?” His father’s voice is gentle, though there is a warm undercurrent to it. “It’s a big responsibility, and I know you probably weren’t even thinking about it before now. We’ve certainly never talked about it.”

Fugaku blinks down at Obito, who yawns at him again before wrapping a tiny hand in the loose fabric of his yukata. “Where would he go if he couldn’t stay here?”

“Probably the orphanage,” his mother says, and Fugaku tenses up at the thought. It isn’t the same, he knows. Minato never had anything to say badly about it, but he’s different now that he has a proper home and parents who love him. “But we were hoping—”

“He can stay.” Fugaku has to adjust his hold so he can take Obito’s tiny hand in his own, a small gasp leaving his lips when small fingers curl around one of his. “Welcome home, otouto. I promise I’m going to take good care of you.”

His mother croons softly and kisses the top of his head, but Fugaku only keeps his attention on Obito, who babbles softly up at him as he holds onto his aniki’s finger.

Chapter Text

When Sasuke sneaks out of the house for the fourth time in one week, Itachi gives him just enough time to gain favorable distance before he leans to the shadows and follows.

He trusts his little brother to make good decisions with his life and he loves him so much, but the thought of Sasuke sneaking off to get into trouble has been in the back of Itachi’s mind since he realized Sasuke was doing it. Their parents never get the time to notice, since Sasuke is always back in his bed by morning, exhausted and claiming nightmares so that their mother gathers him up in her arms and lets him sleep in late.

Tricky little brother. Itachi huffs soft laughter under his breath as he soundlessly trails his brother through the village, curious to see where Sasuke is getting off to these days.

His footsteps come to an unexpected stop, his mouth falling open a little as Sasuke stops just outside of a window that slides open silently at his arrival. A very familiar child bundled up in orange tumbles down into the bushes below; Itachi can hear soft swearing and softer laughter from Sasuke as his brother helps the Hokage’s son to his feet.

Now this is interesting. Itachi purses his lips thoughtfully, not having expected it.

Well… He supposes he can let them off just this once and talk to Sasuke about making sure he gets some sleep sometime tomorrow afternoon when it’s just the two of them.

Itachi realizes that there is another presence in his home that is awake when he returns and makes no attempt to conceal himself; his father would know no matter what he did. Instead, he leaves his sandals on the mat at the door and finds his father sitting at the kitchen table with a mug of tea, a few candles lit around the room for light.

“Did you finally figure out where Sasuke has been sneaking off to?” he asks lightly.

“You knew?” Itachi sits across from his father, offering him quiet thanks when Fugaku pours him a mug of tea and offers it to him. It’s always best right before bed.

“You thought I didn’t?” Fugaku arches a brow at him and Itachi shrugs, not having thought about it too much if he is being honest with himself. “I trained under one of the sannin and you think your little brother crawling out his window wouldn’t get my attention.”

“Fair. He’s sneaking out to see Naruto.” Itachi raises the mug to his lips and sips, a pleased sigh rising in his chest. One day he’ll be able to make tea as good as his parents do.

Fugaku rubs a hand along his jaw, expression thoughtful before he chuckles and shakes his head, his eyes crinkling warmly at the corners as he sips his own tea. “Of course he is, I should have known from the moment I realized he was leaving in the first place. They spend half of every single day together and it’s still not enough.”

“I think,” Itachi opines, “that Sasuke might have the smallest inkling of a crush on him.”

“The son of the Hokage and the jinchuriki of the kyuubi.” Fugaku’s smile widens into something more of a grin, and Itachi tilts his head toward his father in curiosity. “Why am I not surprised that your little brother chose only the worthiest person to like?”

The thought makes Itachi smile too, finishing his tea and pushing himself to his feet. “I need to go back to sleep. I promised Shisui I’d spar with him this afternoon.”

“Ah, then you should be getting off to bed. Wouldn’t want you both too tired to function tomorrow morning.” Fugaku stands as Itachi passes by his chair, arms held out to him.

Itachi steps into his father’s arms and hugs him in return, well-aware of how lucky he is to have such a loving, affectionate family when the lifestyle of the shinobi means that they could lose each other at any time. There has never been a moment where Itachi did not feel loved and valued as a person and he knows Sasuke must feel the same considering the little brat feels free to climb out his window without worrying about punishment.

“Tell Shisui he can come by for lunch if he’s inclined,” Fugaku says, patting Itachi on the back before letting him go. “And thank you for looking out for Sasuke. You’re a good big brother, Itachi, and I’m proud of how much you care about him.”

The praise makes Itachi smile widely up at his father, nodding as he heads down the hallway to go to bed. Tomorrow morning should be a fun breakfast discussion about Sasuke sneaking out, but until then, Itachi will rest safe with the knowledge that his parents love them both and that Sasuke, as their father said, made a good choice.

Chapter Text

When they find Shisui, his hands are still wet with his best friend’s blood.

He does not struggle when one of the jounin gathers Shisui up in her arms, bearing his weight easily as she spirits him away to the hospital to be examined. Being the son of the Hokage means that Tsunade herself comes to attend to him, her hands gentler and her voice soothing as she looks him over for injuries before washing the blood from his skin and helping him into dry clothes before tucking him back into his hospital bed.

None of it registers to him as he stares unblinking at the ceiling over his head, his entire body numb and cold. All he can feel is the dull ache behind his ribs, the one that bloomed shortly after he’d watched the light in his friend’s eyes snuff out.

“Shisui?” The familiar voice of his brother reaches his ears, though Shisui does not turn toward the sound of it. “Sorry, dads are all busy right now… Are you all right?”

It takes effort to make his mouth move, his voice a croak that does not resemble words before he clears his throat and tries for a second time. “‘M fine, aniki.”

“Tsunade-san said you weren’t hurt, but…” Asuma lets himself fully into the room, closing the door behind him, his steps slow and measured as he walks up to Shisui’s bedside. His hand is rough but warm as he touches Shisui’s cheek, forcing Shisui to look at him. “Shit.”

“What?” Shisui’s voice is small and faraway, distant even to his own ears.

Asuma sits down heavily on the side of his bed, his fingers soothing through Shisui’s hair as he exhales shakily. For a long moment, he says nothing, his expression shifting through several emotions that Shisui cannot put a name to— But having his brother here is a comfort, meager as it may be. Enough of one that he pushes himself up on trembling arms before Asuma catches on, sliding onto the mattress fully to hug him.

That he doesn’t argue when Shisui crawls into his lap despite being too old and too big to do this anymore says more than words ever could about how much he’s hurting.

“I’ve got you.” Asuma folds around him, rubbing soothing hands up and down Shisui’s back, chin resting on top of his head as he lets Shisui fold himself up as small as he can. “Aniki’s right here. I wish I could have been there when… I’m sorry, Shisui. I’m so sorry.”

The silence between them is heavy; Shisui burrows closer to Asuma, listening to the sound of his heartbeat before rapid footsteps catch the corner of his attention. Despite the speed, the door opens quietly and closes just as softly. Shisui leans up just a little to see Danzo standing across the room from the two of them, his face crumpling slightly as he meets Shisui’s eyes. He must notice what Shisui felt as soon as it happened.

“Papa,” Shisui says, holding a hand out to him even as the pain chokes him. “I— I couldn’t—”

Danzo is there in an instant, crushing both of them in his arms, quieting Shisui’s attempted explanations. “Thank the Sage you’re all right. I was so worried about you. I heard… You were both there and there was no one to protect you, and I was so afraid—”

“H-he protected me.” Shisui sniffles pitifully, his eyes welling up with tears at the thought and the quiet strength and the warm smile he knew so well all cut down in front of him.

“I’m sorry.” Danzo’s face presses down against the top of his head and Shisui hiccups as he buries his face in his father’s chest, clinging to him as tightly as he can without letting go of Asuma in the process. “I’m so sorry we couldn’t be there for you, Shisui.”

The security of his father’s embrace is what it takes to break Shisui the rest of the way down, sobbing helplessly as flashes of that moment appear before him again and again. The glint of kunai, his best friend standing in front of him, the bright crimson of his blood, the rain, the cold, the sharp agony, the chakra gathering in his eyes— Shisui wails , and Danzo hugs him tighter, coaxing him to let it out. To not bottle the anguish up in his heart.

By the time Hiruzen and Kagami arrive to check on him— both of them exhausted , Shisui realizes— he’s quieter now. Still hiccuping softly, still huddled in Danzo’s arms, but the pain has returned to a dull ache, and his tears have nearly run dry.

“His eyes,” Kagami says, and Shisui reaches for him, pleased when Kagami comes over to the bed, wrapping himself around Danzo to keep Shisui between them. “What happened?”

Danzo shakes his head, and Kagami frowns before nodding, pressing a kiss to Danzo’s temple. “Later. For now, let’s just take Shisui home and get him in bed. He’s exhausted.”

“You did good coming to check on him.” Hiruzen claps Asuma on the shoulder, who just nods and shifts on his feet. “Let’s get both of you home. It’s late.”

Shisui closes his eyes, willing his new Mangekyou Sharingan to deactivate so he can sleep.

Chapter Text

“You know,” Rin says, not lifting her eyes from the book Tsunade gave her to borrow on iryou jutsu, “Kakashi didn’t use to care when Guy wanted to fight with him.”

Obito shifts his attention from where he sits next to her, practicing the fluid weaving that will allow him to access his katon quickly and efficiently to see Kakashi and Guy sparring out in the sunlight not far from them. “I guess he decided to care.”

“Maybe.” Rin smiles at him, but Obito shrugs and goes back to his hand signs.

Truth be told, what Kakashi does and does not do with his time has never really interested him, confident to the point of being cocky and annoying to work with on a good day. Obito likes him, and he thinks Kakashi is a great shinobi and will become a legend one day, but that does not mean that learning alongside him is easy or enjoyable. He grasps every concept with such ease while Obito only feels like he’s falling behind. If he wants to spend their day off sparring with Might Guy, then he might as well do whatever he wants.

When he gives her no more reply, Rin sighs and shuts her book. “Are you telling me you didn’t notice what changed? Come on, you’re smarter than that. You notice things.”

“Since when?” Obito gives his hands a quick twist and is pleased when he breathes a long, thin flame from his lips with ease, extinguishing it with a firm nod. “That was better. What were we talking about again? Nii-san said he’s going to teach me how to—”

Rin groans and falls back on the grass, and Obito just blinks at her before going back to his hand signs. “I can’t believe you didn’t notice that Kakashi only started to show off when Guy started talking to you more. How can you not have noticed that?”

“Am I supposed to have? Why does it matter?” Obito needs to master a few more common katon and then his brother will teach him the more complicated ones, which is exciting to him. It’s something that Minato-sensei isn’t able to teach him because he can’t do it.

Not that Minato-sensei never has anything important to teach them, but there are Uchiha skills that Obito wants to learn so he can do his clan and his village proud.

“Because Guy likes you,” Rin says. “That’s why Kakashi accepts his challenges now.”

The concept is so foreign to Obito that he loses his focus entirely and turns to look at her, eyebrows furrowed as he considers her words. Then, he gives his head a shake. “No, Guy doesn’t like me. What makes you think that? He’s just a nice guy.”

“Just a nice guy,” Rin echoes, pushing herself up and counting off on her fingers as she speaks. “Always says hi to you, always asks you how you are, talks about how cool your jutsu is, bought you lunch like four times now, gushes about how youthful you are—”

Obito groans and drops his head into his hands. “Oh Sage, and I didn’t even notice.”

Kakashi noticed.” Rin points to them, and Obito peeks through his fingers to see them smoothly dancing around each other, Kakashi dodging more than striking because his taijutsu levels are just not the same as Guy’s. “And now he’s jealous, and now he’s showing off. For you. I heard Hatake wolves always like to show off like this.”

For their mates, Obito corrects her mentally, because he knows plenty about Hatake wolves. The Nidaime Hokage was a Hatake wolf who courted his way into the Uchiha clan when Konoha was still young, something Obito was told about as a child when he probed into their clan’s history so he could learn more about their family.

Rin nudges him with her elbow, flashing him a smile when he glances at her. “So, so? Do you like either of them back? I don’t think Kakashi is really your type because he’s kind of rude sometimes, but Guy is really nice! And he’s always kind to you.”

“You’re just saying that because you like Kakashi.” Obito pushes himself to his feet, dusting his pants off as he does. “I’m going home. Nii-san said he would teach me more katon and I don’t really want to deal with that .” He glances up toward Kakashi and Guy. “Right now. Today. Or ever. Bye Rin, have a good day.”

He does not dare spare a glance behind him to see if Kakashi and Guy have noticed him leaving, though he does wonder if their sparring will wind down without him present.

Chapter Text

“Are we going to try to walk today, Sasuke?” Mikoto coos, stretched out on her back in the warm grass with Sasuke set on her stomach, her hands around his small waist holding him steady as he blinks at her. “Hmm? Do you want to impress Kushina and show her you can?”

“Do you want help?” Itachi calls from the engawa, already setting down one of the books that has been propped on his lap since he came out to join them in the afternoon air.

Mikoto shakes her head, waving a hand toward her son. “You’re fine, baby, just keep reading. Sasuke’s going to show Kushina how he can walk all by himself now.”

“Walk,” Sasuke echoes, his small face scrunching up as he stretches his hands toward her.

“Yes,” Mikoto agrees. She gathers Sasuke up carefully as she sits, folding her legs beneath her and settling him down in her lap, stroking her fingers through his soft, feathery black hair. Though he was far too young for his features to have settled into what they would become as he grew older, everyone said he was just like her, and it made her thrilled to think about it. “Do you want to see, Kushina? It’s just a few steps, but he can.”

“Absolutely.” Kushina is most vibrant in the sunlight, the warm gold spilling down into her crimson hair, though it shines much more brightly in Naruto’s soft blond. He looks so much like Minato already that Mikoto is certain she already knows what he’ll look like grown.

Gently, Mikoto helps Sasuke to his feet, her hands pressed to his sides for balance as he gets his legs beneath him and steadies them. Even behind him, she can imagine the determined little expression on his face, the one that reminds her so much of Itachi growing up that it always makes her heart soften, makes her want to tuck her face away for how sweet it is. She lets her hands drift away from his sides slowly, not wanting to quite let go of him but knowing she has to, as he takes his first shaky but sure step.

“You can do it, Sasuke!” Itachi calls out from the engawa, clapping his hands together.

Sasuke makes a little noise in answer and Mikoto smiles softly, her heart swelling with affection for her boys and their relationship with one another. Itachi has been such a gentle and patient big brother, has been there to help as much as he can without being asked. He takes after his father, and that’s good for him, and good for Sasuke.

Kushina makes a soft crooning noise and claps her hands together gently as well when Sasuke takes another step. “You’re doing so good, Sasuke! You’re so big now.”

He looks up at her and takes another step, his confidence growing a little more with each few centimeters forward he manages. When he wavers slightly, Itachi is there in one fluid and graceful movement, giving Sasuke his hand to hold so he can get his balance back.

Itachi is the perfect big brother; Mikoto hopes he knows how wonderful he is for Sasuke.

“You can do it,” Itachi tells him, and Sasuke looks up at him with the same dark eyes while Itachi soothes his fingers through Sasuke’s wild hair. “Where are you going?”

Sasuke’s eyes crinkle slightly at the corners and he looks back at Kushina, pointing to her— More specifically, to where Naruto is sitting on her lap, watching them all with his wide, brilliant blue eyes. “See Nart,” he says, and Mikoto hides a giggle behind her hand.

It’s the closest he’s been able to get to Naruto so far, and she thinks it’s precious.

Kushina oohs and leans around, gently tapping Naruto on the end of the nose. “Did you hear that? Sasuke’s walking over here to see you! Isn’t that nice of him?”

“Sasuke!” Naruto, in contrast, can say Sasuke’s name almost perfectly and leans forward in Kushina’s lap, hands grasping for Sasuke as a huge, bright smile spreads across his face.

Itachi lets Sasuke go so he can walk on his own, though he shadows him, offering his hand if Sasuke needs it but otherwise letting him walk on his own. A delighted little squeal leaves Sasuke’s lips when he finally reaches Naruto, who tumbles out of Kushina’s lap entirely and spills both of them into the grass. Sasuke giggles and they roll around in the grass together, and Mikoto might be imagining it, but she thinks Naruto is doing his best to mimic Kushina’s kyuubi-influenced growls when someone she doesn’t like comes near her family or someone tries to get a little too familiar with Minato.

Mikoto presses a hand to her heart and watches her littlest with soft eyes, and Kushina catches her gaze with a mischievous little wink of her own.

She thinks Kushina shares her sentiment that their boys are going to be close forever.

Chapter Text

The mission was not quite supposed to be such a royal fuck-up.

Itachi swears as he ducks out of the way of several kunai thrown in his direction, a hand braced on the ground before he’s up and moving again. It takes exceptional skill to lock in genjutsu when the opponents are moving but Itachi has few options left to him. He should have known they would end up in a situation like this, caught off-guard by vandals looking to ransack the caravans Itachi agreed to help guard on the way to Kiri.

He grits his teeth and reaches for his own kunai, aiming for the throat of one of the enemy shinobi. The man drops like a sack of rags and Itachi ducks a katana blade—

And runs directly into an enemy shinobi, who darts toward him with his knife raised.

Before Itachi can react, something huge and dark cuts the pale air before him, blood splashing against his face as he skids to a stop before he runs face first into whatever the hell has stopped his enemy. The shape of it is all wrong for anything he might have been able to guess on his own and his mouth falls open in shock and wonder as the object seems to writhe, gray scales parting wide to reveal sharp and dangerous teeth.

A huge hand catches him by the shoulder and hauls him back. “Watch out, Konoha-nin!”

It takes only seconds for Itachi to gather his bearings and bolt back into battle, but he spares a well-aimed glance over his shoulder and his gut gives a lurch when he realizes that huge dark thing was a sword. What kind of sword moves in the way this one does?

When the battle is over and the enemy has been dispatched, Itachi wipes the blood off of his face and tracks down the wielder of the impressive sword. He aims to thank him for his assistance and to thank the Kiri-nin personally, because it takes Itachi next to no time to realize that a sword so impressive must belong to one of the Seven Swordsmen.

A white-haired waif of a man greets him with a nod as he approaches, and Itachi realizes the rest of his company has fallen into step behind him. “Not that you needed the assistance, Konoha, but you were close to home, and we could smell the bloodshed.”

“Far be it from me to turn down assistance when we were blindsided. You know the area better than we do, after all.” And not all of his company have the access to the Sharingan that makes handling combat even in the Mist relatively easy for the Uchiha.

“Hozuki Mangetsu.” The man shifts his other rather impressive blade so he can offer Itachi his hand, which Itachi shakes. “You are Uchiha Itachi, I presume.”

“Your Mizukage informed you of the members of our company?” Itachi nods when Mangetsu inclines his head in affirmation. “That is me. I wanted to thank you for the help.”

“There’s no need. You were assisting us to begin with. We simply aided you the rest of the way.” Mangetsu shrugs off the gratitude, and Itachi can respect that.

He turns his attention to the man bearing the impressive sword, watching as he carefully wraps the irregular blade. “What do they call you? I wanted to thank you personally for stopping the enemy trying to reach me. Your sword is quite impressive.”

“She is.” The man looks up at him, and Itachi does not let his surprise show on his face. The man is inhumanly handsome, a sharp jaw and matching cheekbones, a broad straight nose and curious dark eyes that meet his own without hesitance. His skin is an odd shade of blue, but Itachi picks out the gills on his face and wonders what they must feel like, and how this man would react if he touched them. “She’s Samehada. And I’m Hoshigaki Kisame.”

“Kisame.” The name is surprisingly soft for a man so formidable; Itachi likes it. “And Samehada. I’ll remember that in the future. And thank you again for the help.”

A slight smirk tugs at Kisame’s lips as he runs one broad hand through the soft, pettable fluff of his dark blue hair— And his hands are huge, massive. Itachi’s mouth goes a little dry at the sight. “Sure thing, Uchiha. Let’s get the caravans into Kiri. We’ll be safe there.”

Itachi waves for his men to surround the caravans once more as they fall into step behind the Seven Swordsmen, though he keeps his eyes affixed to Kisame’s back, taking in the ease in which he bears Samehada’s likely-considerable weight as his hands twitch. While he is in Kiri, he is damn sure going to make the time to get to know this interesting man.

And maybe he’ll get to see if Kisame’s hair is half as soft as it looks.

Chapter Text

The Uchiha must have a natural talent for stealth because Naruto does not hear Sasuke coming or even realize he’s near until something soft and heavy falls across his shoulders, followed by familiar hands tucking it around his neck. A curious noise leaves his lips as he turns to see Sasuke standing behind him, a fond little smile on his lips that never fails to make Naruto go soft through the middle every time it’s leveled in his direction.

He’s never seen it aimed at anyone else, so he thinks that must mean he’s pretty special.

“Cold?” Sasuke asks him, stepping into the warmth of Ramen Ichiraku properly as his hands yet again move to Naruto’s shoulders, smoothing something down. “I brought this for you.”

Naruto twists around to see sleek black fur wrapped around him, glancing up at Sasuke in confusion. “What’s this? Where’d you even get something like this?”

“Kagami jiisan can summon wolves. Didn’t you know? Nidaime-sama was part Hatake, too.” Sasuke sits down on a stool next to him and Naruto sets his chopsticks down to give Sasuke his undivided attention; Uchiha clan history is so interesting to him, because it’s Sasuke’s family, and Sasuke is proud of them. “It’s common for a nin-wolf to gift their pelt to their summoner when they pass on because nin-wolves and Hatake are pack together.”

“I didn’t know that! That’s so cool.” Naruto is careful as he touches the fur, marveling at how soft it is, how much care must have gone into preparing it.

Sasuke’s smile is unrivaled in how warm and gentle it is as he nods, fingers darting out to adjust the mantle once more. “Jiisan gives them to us sometimes as gifts, especially when winter comes. Nothing is as warm as wolf fur. Kakashi-sensei even knows that.”

That’s true; Naruto has noticed he tends to wear wolf pelts during the winter, and that Guy-sensei and Obito-sensei wear them, as well. He just never connected the dots to realize those were gifts from Kakashi-sensei. “So you’re giving this one to me?”

“Yes.” Sasuke clears his throat a little, and Naruto wonders at the little blush he can see creeping up Sasuke’s neck, mostly hidden behind the high collar of his shirt. “To help you stay warm during the winter, you know? There’s nothing better than this.”

“You’re the best, Sasuke!” Naruto twists around to throw his arms around Sasuke’s shoulders, half-hauling him off of his stool in his attempt to hug him as tight as he can.

A soft squeak in his ear makes him laugh as he presses his cheek against hair even softer than the fur wrapped around his shoulders. Wolf pelts are an important gift even if Naruto doesn’t fully get it, isn’t a Hatake and didn’t grow up with their values. But he knows it must be important, because Kakashi-sensei has only given them to the two people he counts as his most important, and his father only gave one of them to his mate.

Sasuke has always been the best, always been nice and kind and considerate at least where Naruto is concerned, but he’s never not grateful for how Sasuke treats him.

He’s momentarily startled when Sasuke slings an arm around his neck to draw him in closer, blinking at the wall over Sasuke’s shoulder when gentle fingers card through his hair. It’s soft , softer than Naruto is even used to from Sasuke, and he gets the best of him.

“Well, you’re mine,” Sasuke says, as if that explains it all, “and that means I’m supposed to take care of you. Besides, I can’t have you freezing all winter. You’ll get sick.”

It is Naruto’s turn to blush, but he tilts his head to hide it in Sasuke’s hair as the gentle words settle warmer in his gut than the ramen has. Sometimes he wishes his parents would just tell him what he’s supposed to do and say when Sasuke is like this, or even give him a hint, because the two of them are married so surely they must know. Or at least point him in the right direction so he doesn’t say something that would be wrong to say.

“I should take care of you too,” he says, and Sasuke hums softly in his ear and hugs him a little tighter, which must have been the right thing to say this time. “So you should let me treat you to ramen! Get whatever you want and I can pay for it.”

Sasuke huffs laughter in his ear but nods, leaning back for just a moment— Before he tilts his head up, brushing a faint kiss between Naruto’s eyes right below his hitai ate. “Far be it from me to turn down free food. Thank you, Naruto.”

There is absolutely no hiding the flush of heat in Naruto’s face this time.

Chapter Text

When Shisui joined the ANBU, he was immediately assigned to a squad of team members whose skills were inhumanly powerful with the assurance that he would fit right in. Months later and he is certain his parents were right to make the recommendation, finally at home in missions that challenge him and force him to be his utter best. Years down the line and he has no regrets even if it is difficult to find time to spend with his family.

Itachi nudges him lightly in the ribs on their way to meet the commander, dark brows raised as Shisui cocks his head at him. “Heard you have a new recruit for your squad.”

“Do I?” Shisui bounces on the balls of his feet at the thought. Making captain had made everyone so very proud of him; Touchan kept switching between playing with his hair and kissing all over his face to tell him how proud he was. No one was supposed to know the details of the ANBU, but Shisui’s parents are different. “That’ll be a nice change.”

“Change is always good. Keeps things fresh and exciting.” Itachi winks at him and Shisui laughs, but he has to agree. They thrive with constant changes and obstacles.

Shisui would like to think of himself as accomplished enough a captain to be able to handle any new recruit, and he and Itachi are lucky enough to land some of the most talented shinobi that ANBU has to offer. If this new recruit is willing to work in a team and willing to learn, then Shisui is certain they will work out just fine with him.

Their commander is waiting for them, and there is a few more minutes of waiting as the last few ANBU captains trickle in. The organization is bigger than it used to be and kept under his parents’ careful watch to ensure that all of them are taken care of.

“Uchiha.” The commander’s eyes drift to him and Shisui straightens up immediately. “Come and collect your new recruit. You have a relatively simple mission to start off with. Ensure that he works well with your team and that his talents will be utilized.”

“Yes, Sir.” Shisui bows his head then walks up to him to collect the mission scroll and the man standing beside him— And he almost stops walking before he forces himself to move.

The man is… Very handsome, Shisui thinks, with shaggy hair the precise color of the earth beneath their feet, cut jagged like he might have done it in a hurry. His eyes are wide and dark, and it feels like they pierce Shisui straight through, laying all of his secrets out before him. Strong jaw, nice lips… Shisui could enjoy having him around quite a bit.

“This is Tenzou.” The commander gives Shisui a sharp look, and he sobers quickly. “Ensure that he does what needs to be done. If anything goes awry, you report on that.”

Shisui nods, already tugging the cord off of the scroll so he can read it. “Of course, Sir. I wouldn’t dream of lying to you if a new recruit doesn’t work out in my ranks.”

He might be far more lenient and willing to work with people than most of the ANBU captains, but if that is meant to be viewed as a weakness rather than a strength, Shisui has yet to find this out. Rather, he thinks they keep him around because of it.

With a bright smile, he offers his hand to Tenzou, who merely raises an eyebrow at him. “Nice to meet you, Tenzou. Let’s work well together, okay? I’m sure we will.”

“As you say, Buntaichou.” Tenzou accepts his hand, and Shisui marvels over how warm his skin is, taking in the texture of his calluses and the roughness of his skin, just like so many shinobi that Shisui knows. “I look forward to working with you.”

There is a certain buoyancy in Shisui’s chest at his words, and he bites back a small smile as he nods, already reaching to tuck his mask into place as he leads Tenzou back to where his squad is waiting for them. Simple is a funny way of putting this mission if they are meant to be doing undercover snooping in Suna, but Shisui is game. And they will get to work directly with Itachi’s squad, which is always a welcome delight.

Shisui is prepared to do whatever it takes to ensure that Tenzou fits in well with his squad. He’s never given up on a man so far, and that is not going to change now.

Chapter Text

Escorting the Yondaime Hokage to Suna is not how Itachi thought he would be spending the current week of his life, but then most in Konoha never thought peace with Suna would be easily achievable. Itachi was away from the village when it happened, coming home to tales of escort units assisting in the assassination and removal of the Yondaime Kazekage for the good of the village and the reinstatement of the Sandaime, who was supposed to be dead. Itachi thought he was dead. Everyone told Itachi he was dead, anyway.

But the man on the other side of the wide desk is very much alive as he favors Minato with a warm smile. “The bastard was not nearly as good of a father to his children as you seem to be, Hokage-sama. Little Naruto is a very happy child. You’ve done an admirable job.”

“If he’d come to us with discussions of an alliance, we would have heard him out. These steps were unnecessary.” Minato’s hands are everywhere at once, catching Naruto every time the boy tries to tumble out of his lap. “I’ll bet Gaara-kun and Naruto could even be friends. It’d be the best for our villages if the two were able to get along.”

The Sandaime chuckles softly, his eyes warm as he regards where Naruto is trying to climb up and over Minato’s shoulder. “He’s an energetic little thing. You’re welcome to introduce him to Gaara if you’d like. He could use as many friends as possible.”

“Tachi!” Naruto makes grabby hands for him and Itachi bites back a smile. “Help!”

“Maybe that would be for the best at this moment.” Minato glances over his shoulder, his expression pleading as he manages a smile. “Itachi, not to trouble you, but how would you feel about taking the day off to cart Naruto around Suna? Keep him occupied.”

Itachi bows his head. “Of course, Yondaime-sama.” As if he’d ever mind that.

Naruto crows in happiness as Itachi steps forward to rescue him, content to wrap his little chubby arms around Itachi’s neck and be carried swiftly from the Sandaime’s office. Chuckling softly, Itachi presses his cheek against Naruto’s own, baby soft and familiar as Itachi’s mother and Naruto’s have always been close friends. He loves the boy dearly and would do just about anything for him, and Naruto seems to return the sentiment.

A sloppy wet kiss on his cheek makes Itachi chuckle softly. “Thank, Tachi.”

“Of course.” Itachi tickles along his ribs and Naruto laughs and squirms in his arms.

Suna is warm and airy despite the heat, but all of them dressed for it and so it is hardly as daunting as Itachi feared it might be. He lets Naruto down when the boy wriggles free of his arms, grasping one hand tightly in his own as they walk together. Finding the jinchuriki of the one-tail should be easy enough; Itachi is a talented sensor in his own right.

They find Gaara with a group of other children all gathered around a red-haired man Itachi does not recognize, though he smiles faintly when he realizes the man must be one of the famed Puppet Brigade that Suna is known for. One hand is raised, fingers twitching faintly, pale threads of chakra just barely visible to Itachi’s eyes as the puppet he has dances and does tricks for the children, who laugh and clap at its antics.

Gaara must sense them coming because wide blue eyes ringed heavily in black turn at their appearance, but this does not deter Naruto, who runs right up to him. “What’s that?”

Very blunt and forward, Itachi thinks, chuckling softly to himself as he slowly joins Naruto, resting a hand on his head, giving his hair a gentle ruffle as he does.

“Sori-nii’s puppet,” Gaara says, turning and pointing to where the wooden… Not quite a man really but a caricature of one turns toward them, one hand raised to its nonexistent ear as if it’s listening in on them. Itachi clicks his tongue at the fluid movements.

“And who do we have here?” The puppeteer turns sharp hazel eyes toward them, his smile lazy but curious as his puppet skitters up to them— Up to Naruto, anyway, who shrieks and grabs Itachi’s leg. “Aww, little kitsunichi, there’s nothing to be afraid of here.”

He knows? Itachi cocks his head at the puppeteer. “You don’t strike me as a sensor.”

“I’m full of surprises, Uchiha Itachi.” The man smiles at him, his puppet reaching up to tap Naruto on the arm to get his attention. “Welcome to Suna. I am Sasori of the Red Sand, one of the highest-ranking captains of the Puppet Brigade. I’m also the de facto guardian of our little tanukichi. I know everyone important who crosses Suna’s borders.”

That bears out. Itachi bows his head slightly. “You already know who I am. Your Kazekage sent us to find Gaara so the two boys could meet and hopefully get along.”

“Wise of our Sandaime.” Sasori shifts closer, his free hand drifting to Gaara’s back, nudging him forward gently. “Go on, tanukichi. Go meet your new friend.”

Suna, it seems, has more surprises than Itachi was prepared for.

Chapter Text

Despite Guy-sensei’s exuberance at having the three of them over to his house for dinner, it is only his insistent hands nudging them forward toward the house that has them moving at all. Lee is not normally shy but the thought of having dinner with Sensei’s family is startling to him. Though he has heard things, there has never been any proof of those things as far as he’s seen when Sensei and Kakashi-san are together.

The house they stop in front of is beautiful, homely and warm even from the outside, and Sensei hurries them all up to the front door and throws it open so he can usher them inside and out of the chilly autumn air. “Come on! Make yourselves at home. Be comfortable here! You three are my precious students and I insist upon that.”

Neji sniffs as he slowly toes out of his sandals at the door, stepping into a pair of slippers. There are three set out that are smaller than the others; Lee thinks they must have been set out for them. “Hiashi-sama is going to be upset with me if I am late returning home.”

“You were with your sensei. I’ll talk to him if necessary.” Sensei strokes a hand through Neji’s dark hair while Lee and Tenten change out of their own shoes.

There is the distinct scent of cooking food in the air, and Tenten laughs as her stomach rumbles, rubbing a hand over it and smiling ruefully. “Sorry, sensei! It just smells good.”

“No need to apologize!” Sensei pats her on the shoulder gently. “You’re here to eat with us, and it’s surely a compliment that you’re already looking forward to it.”

Someone must be here cooking, though Lee struggles to conceptualize the idea that Kakashi-san is someone who would cook. He wonders about it but says nothing, smiling brightly when Sensei pushes them all toward the kitchen without hesitation. There is someone standing at the stove with his back to them, though the dark hair means he cannot possibly be Kakashi-san after all. The rumors must simply be that: Rumors.

“Good evening, beloved!” Sensei’s voice, impossibly, grows louder, booming off of the walls of the kitchen as he rounds the table. “Sorry to have kept you waiting.”

“No worries. You’re actually here on time for a change.” The man at the stove laughs softly when Sensei throws his arms around his waist, hauling him in close to kiss him on his cheek. Though the angle is not at all right for it, his cheek looks scarred from here.

An elbow catches Lee in the ribs, Neji’s expression solemn as he turns to him. “That’s Uchiha Obito-san. I thought everyone said that Kakashi-san was Sensei’s partner?”

The door opens and closes once more, and the man at the stove— Uchiha Obito, if Neji can be believed, and he’s usually right about such things, glances over his shoulder. And now Lee can see the scars etched into his pale skin. “Oh, he’s actually on time as well.”

“Sorry, sorry.” Hatake Kakashi sweeps into the room, patting Tenten on the head as he passes her on his way around the table. Lee is shocked when he stretches a hand up to tug his mask down so he can press a proper kiss right against Obito-san’s scarred cheek.

“Does it hurt when he does that?” Lee blurts out without thinking, yelping when Neji stamps on his foot, shaking his head in utter disbelief.

“No.” Obito-san smiles kindly at him and laughs when Kakashi-san makes an odd rumbling noise in his throat, kissing over the scars again. “They’re just scars now.”

Sensei beams, his arm slipping around Obito-san’s waist, and Lee may not know any better, but he thinks that Sensei and Kakashi-san must love Obito-san a lot. He’s seen a lot of married couples around the village, but some of them aren’t half as affectionate as the two of them are with Obito-san. “Our beloved carries such brave battle scars from the moment in his childhood when he saved Kakashi’s life. Truly, he is a beacon of goodness.”

“You’re ridiculous.” Obito-san kisses him just the same, then shakes both of them off and turns back to the stove. “Get your students seated and comfortable, hmm? I already brewed tea, and there’s plenty for everyone. Kakashi can get it.”

“Sure thing.” Kakashi-san drops a kiss on Obito-san’s shoulder, then brushes past him toward one of the cabinets while Sensei ushers all of them to sit down.

Lee watches the three of them in awe. One day, he hopes he can find someone to love half as much as Sensei loves Obito-san, and he’ll be just as good to whoever they are.

Chapter Text

They cut it dangerously close. Leaving behind the village and the bodies of the dead that will need to be gathered, leaving behind Itachi and Sasuke and Mikoto with the hope the three of them are safe, Fugaku moves as quickly as he can. He does not and will not ever have Minato’s speed, but if he is fast enough, if he is sure-footed enough and if his sensor powers do not lead him astray, then this night can be salvaged after all.

Tsunade’s hands dig into his upper arms tightly enough that he knows there will be bruises come sunrise, but he hardly cares. “I can see the kyuubi from here. Touch down there!”

Fugaku nods, not telling her that he knows, not telling her that he is well aware of where Minato is. Sensory is not an Uchiha gift only, but their generations have been trained as strictly as possible to hone as much of the gift as they possess. He knows where Minato and Kushina are, and he’d swallowed the flair of panic when he sensed a smaller chakra as well, easily figuring out why their unknown assailant chose tonight to attack.

His hawk touches down not far from where the kyuubi has been restrained, snapping and snarling against the chain barrier Kushina has erected to keep it back. As soon as she sees Kushina, Tsunade takes off toward her without a care in the world.

“You’re here.” Minato’s voice is throaty and hoarse, his eyes red and wet as Fugaku quickly approaches him. “ Please tell me the rumors about your ancestor weren’t just rumors.”

“They weren’t. Of course they weren’t. How else do you think Hashirama throttled the kyuubi so easily?” Fugaku turns his attention to the kyuubi, hands curling into fists at his sides even though he knows that this creature has been used against them.

As a proud Uchiha clan head, Fugaku knows the history of the Uchiha clan in building Konoha and in protecting it. Uchiha Madara’s Mangekyou Sharingan, born from agony and suffering, prevented the destruction of their village when he used it to stop the kyuubi’s rampage. And Fugaku reaches for that power now, his eyes spinning into the Mangekyou he has been keeping to himself as he turns his attention to the kyuubi.

Kushina is weak, and keeping her chains in place will weaken her further. Even with Tsunade here to heal her, she does not need to suffer so much unnecessarily.

“What are you doing with the kyuubi?” Fugaku asks Minato, flexing his control over the kyuubi as he stops the snarling and growling, as it settles its huge body against the forest floor at his subtle mental command. “I’ll hold it still until you’re finished.”

Minato looks at him with such overwhelming gratitude that Fugaku instantly looks away from him once more. “I’m going to seal half of its chakra into myself and half into Naruto. Kushina… She’s too weak. It would kill her, even with Tsunade-sama here to watch her.”

“Understandable. Do as you need to do.” Fugaku keeps his attention on the kyuubi, intent that should their assailant return to gain control of this beast, he will defeat them.

The sealing process takes longer than is comfortable, each passing minute making Fugaku all the more paranoid about their enemies returning to take them down. But in the end, the kyuubi disappears into Minato and Naruto, and Fugaku heaves a relieved breath as he turns his attention to the infant Kushina cradles in his arms. He has Minato’s hair.

“Thank you, Fugaku.” Minato half-pounces him for an embrace and Fugaku catches him, patting him on the back as he drags him over to his wife and newborn son.

“Of course. What else did you expect me to do?” Fugaku sets him down on the ground, relieved to see Kushina already looking better under Tsunade’s careful hands. “You’ll have to bring the baby over to visit when you get a chance. He and Sasuke will be right around the same age, and you should see Itachi’s face where infants are concerned.”

Minato smiles softly up at him, then gently tugs Naruto out of Kushina’s arms so that Tsunade can focus more adequately. “Would you like to hold him?”

“You’re sure?” Fugaku watches as Naruto squirms in Minato’s arms. “I’d love to.”

Naruto is so small, so fragile, and the seal looks so odd on his small tummy, but Fugaku wraps him up tighter in the blanket he’s wrapped in as he holds him close to his chest. He has Minato’s soft golden hair and the tiniest little whisker marks on his face, and he blinks huge blue eyes up at Fugaku as he holds him closer.

The village is safe, Minato and Kushina are alive, and Naruto is perfectly unharmed.

They can pick up the pieces from here as necessary.

Chapter Text

They take Fugaku’s hawk back to Konoha because only a cruel joke of a human being would make a new mother and an infant walk home. There are several people waiting for them at the village entrance; they touch down on the path leading into Konoha, and Fugaku thanks his hawk for the assistance once more as he turns to see his wife and his sons waiting, safe and sound. It relieves him to know his family has made it through this night.

Itachi offers Sasuke to Mikoto before he takes off at a sprint toward them, and Fugaku runs to meet him, sweeping Itachi off of his feet and crushing him against his chest as he kisses him on the forehead. Safe. Itachi is safe and alive and well, his little boy, his firstborn, his precious prodigy of a son who learns so fast and loves so hard…

“Tousan.” Itachi clings to him, burying his face against Fugaku’s neck, and Fugaku hushes him as he rubs a hand up and down his back, adjusting him so he can carry him. “I was so scared. I saw… I saw it and… And I thought… I was so scared.

“Everything’s over now. We took care of the kyuubi.” Fugaku holds Itachi closer to him just the same, letting him be as close as he wants to be as they head into Konoha.

Mikoto walks up to them, Sasuke whining and squirming as he reaches for them, and Fugaku frees up an arm to take their infant son in his free arm. Immediately, Itachi turns to look at his little brother, cooing softly down to him and petting the side of his face until Sasuke quiets under his attention. Truly, the one most suited to taking care of Sasuke in the family is Itachi, and Fugaku is glad for it. It reminds him of his own relationship with Obito, which… Where the hell is his brother? And did he make it out all right?

As if sensing his disquiet, Mikoto leans up to kiss him on the cheek. “Everyone is fine. Obito-kun came to make sure the boys were safe before he went to check on the rest of the village. He’ll come by in the morning to reassure you that he’s fine.”

“Good to hear. I was worried about him.” Because Obito still puts Konoha before himself even after nearly dying to save Kakashi. Fugaku is proud of him, just worried about him.

“Kushina, are you all right?” Mikoto hurries to her friend and Kushina smiles tiredly as she nods, her arms wrapped around Naruto who is quiet now, having fallen asleep while they were in the air. “Oh, I’m so glad to see you’re both all right. Thank the Sage for that.”

A hand on his shoulder distracts Fugaku from watching the two of them, and he finds Danzo standing in front of him with his other hand braced on Itachi’s small back. “You did an excellent job for Konoha tonight, Fugaku. You should take your sons home and let them rest now. We might need you yet. There are a lot of casualties in the village.”

“Of course. Thank you.” It amuses Fugaku gently that Danzo, Hiruzen, and Kagami are still so determined to watch over the village they no longer govern together.

Kagami walks up to him, offering his hands with a small smile. “Would you like me to take the boys tonight? Shisui’s probably going stir crazy. I told him he wasn’t allowed to leave the house until we were certain the situation is under control.”

“If you don’t mind?” Fugaku noses Itachi’s hair, and his eldest blinks up at him sleepily. “You want to go spend the night with Shisui? And watch over Sasuke for me?”

Immediately, Itachi’s eyes widen as he nods, his small features settling into a mask of determination that Fugaku knows well from him. “Yes, Tousan, I’ll take care of Sasuke.”

“I’ll take Itachi,” Danzo says, and Itachi immediately turns around to reach for him without a moment of hesitation; the marriage with Kagami makes Danzo and Hiruzen as much a part of their family as their blood relatives, and Itachi has always loved all three of them. “Darling, you can carry Sasuke. In case he starts crying again, hmm?”

Kagami scoffs but accepts Sasuke without a word, crooning down to him when Sasuke makes a small chirping sound. “I’ll pretend you’re not questioning my formidable strength, husband. Hiruzen, are you going to stay here to assist Minato?”

“If you’d please,” Minato says quietly. He hasn’t moved his arm away from Kushina’s shoulders once. “I’m exhausted. I’m going to need the assistance around Konoha.”

“Of course.” Hiruzen turns his attention to Jiraiya and Tsunade. “You two, take Kushina and Naruto home and watch over them. No arguments. We’ll discuss any and all details after the village has been assisted, but for now, watch over your grandson.”

“Naturally,” Jiraiya agrees, and Tsunade just nods, hugging Kushina closer to her.

Fugaku tugs Mikoto’s elbow gently and she nods, the two of them falling into step beside each other as they head into the village proper to help pick up the pieces.

Chapter Text

Shisui bounces off of his bed as soon as he hears the front door open, his heart beating staccato against his ribcage. Being confined to the house is such a pain but he knows his fathers only want him to stay safe, and so he doesn’t bother trying to sneak out and then trying to beat them home so they never know he was gone. Instead, he waits patiently and now breathes a sigh of relief as he sees two of his fathers in the doorway.

And Itachi! Immediately, Shisui bolts up to them, reaching for him. “Itachi! You’re here!”

“It wasn’t right to keep the boys out any longer.” Kagami’s hand is gentle as it comes to rest on top of Shisui’s head, fingers combing through his short hair while the other remains buoyed around— Sasuke! “You’re fine? Good. Has your brother been by yet?”

“He came by about twenty minutes ago to make sure I was okay.” Even if the two of them don’t always get along, Asuma always looks out for Shisui. Always.

Itachi wriggles free of Danzo’s arms and throws both of his own around Shisui’s neck, Shisui hugging him back enthusiastically, glad that Itachi is alive and safe. Of course he was worried about him. Shisui has more reason to be concerned that there are precious people he loves who will not come back than most children his age, his Mangekyou Sharingan a remnant of the friend he will never have back in his life again.

“I’m glad you’re okay,” Itachi says, and Shisui hugs him just a little harder.

Danzo kneels down next to them, easing an arm around both boys, and Shisui leans into his father’s touch without a second thought, glad that he too is okay. Knowing that he left home not to help people, but to fight, to risk his life as he has so many times before.

“What happened?” Shisui asks, freeing up an arm to throw around Danzo’s neck.

“Someone freed the kyuubi from inside of Uzumaki Kushina,” Danzo says, his voice grave, and Shisui feels the bottom of his stomach drop at the thought. “But it’s been resealed. There are going to be a lot of upset people in the morning, Shisui, so be careful and watch your tongue. A few mistaken words could break somebody’s heart.”

He understands that and nods, kissing his father on the cheek. “I’m glad you’re home.”

“We wouldn’t go anywhere we couldn’t come home to you from,” Kagami reassures him. “Now you two need to get washed up and in bed, and I’m going to lay Sasuke down.”

“Wait.” Shisui leans back once more. “I thought Tousan said that Hokage-sama’s wife was going to have the baby soon. Are they okay? What happened to the baby?”

Danzo squeezes him gently. “Everyone is alive, Shisui. Now off to bed with you.”

The relief sets heavy on Shisui’s shoulders and he hugs Itachi into the bathroom so the two of them can wash up for bed, loaning him one of his old yukata that is just the right size for Itachi to wear. There are spare rooms in the house for visits but Itachi crawls into Shisui’s futon without a word, and Shisui doesn’t argue with him. He remembers being afraid, remembers curling up in his brother’s lap in a cold hospital room.

If Itachi needs comfort tonight, Shisui can do that. And in the morning, everything may not be fine, but their families will all be back together and life will go on.

“I saw the baby,” Itachi tells him when Shisui lays down with him, rolling over to look at him in the shadowy darkness of Shisui’s bedroom. “He’s so small. He looks like Hokage-sama but he has little whiskers on his face. Like a little kitty cat or something.”

Shisui giggles at the thought and makes a mental note to go bother the Hokage so he can see the baby himself. “That’s cute. Everyone is really okay? You saw them?”

“Kushina-san looked really tired, but she was all right. Tsunade-sama was with her, so she’s going to take care of her.” Itachi nods firmly, and Shisui agrees, because Tsunade is the best healer he’s ever heard of. “We’re going to have to watch over him as he gets older, though, because I saw his belly even if they didn’t think I did. He has a seal on him.”

“Like Kushina-san?” Shisui blinks slowly, letting himself digest that when Itachi nods.

So be it. If the Hokage’s son is the jinchuriki of the kyuubi, then Shisui will help watch over him to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again.

Chapter Text

When dawn is bleeding into the sky over their heads and the horizon shows signs of a sun prepared to rise, Kakashi drags himself through the village with his nose in the air until he finds a sign of his mate, urgently tracking him through the wreckage.

Most of the jounin have been assisting injured villagers and gathering the bodies of the dead throughout the night. It may be wrong, but Kakashi has said a prayer of thanks to the Sage every time he finds another still face that does not belong to one of his precious people, one of his pack. He’d seen his father just briefly out of the corner of his eyes, a glimpse of him every so often, and his mother even fewer times, but still there.

And of course he’d seen Guy, who had caged his own exuberant nature for the seriousness of the night. But Obito has been nothing but a shadow, unseen yet surely there.

Kakashi finally tracks him down assisting a pair of small children in locating their parents, hanging back to watch as they squeal and hurry up to their father and mother. The scene is a pretty one and Kakashi smiles softly as he slips up behind his mate, arms sliding around Obito’s waist to pull him back into Kakashi’s chest. He nuzzles his scarred cheek through the mask; tonight has been nothing but a reminder that he’d almost lost half of his heart.

“Good morning,” he breathes, and Obito squirms in his embrace, laughing softly as he slips a hand back to cup the back of Kakashi’s neck. “I wanted to see what you were up to.”

“You were worried about me,” Obito translates, and Kakashi frowns at his tone of voice.

For as much as Obito’s near-death had brought them together, there was also a wedge there Kakashi could not quite budge free. “How could I not be worried? Everyone all night has been looking for the people they love to make sure they’re still alive.”

“Fair enough.” Obito turns to look at him, and that doesn’t hurt now as much as it used to. Not because Obito has scars, because… Because he is damaged as some people in Konoha have whispered, forgetting that Kakashi is a Hatake. But because looking at him reminds Kakashi that it is his fault his mate was injured. “You found me. You satisfied?”

“I am.” Kakashi frowns, cups Obito’s face with both of his hands. “I just wish you weren’t so displeased that I had. I didn’t think… I hoped you were okay, but I had to know.”

Obito presses his mouth together into an ugly line, then sighs. “I’m not… What happened doesn’t hold me back, Kakashi. I can still fight. I’m still a jounin, like you.”

He is, now. Had gotten the promotion much to Kakashi’s pride and satisfaction. “I didn’t think it had anything to do with that. But a lot of people died. Good people who fought hard. And I almost lost you once. It’s hard not to think of… Of…”

Of losing him permanently. Of having his heart ripped out of his chest. Sage, it’s selfish, but Kakashi doesn’t think he could survive if he had to lose Obito for real.

Obito’s face softens and he leans into Kakashi’s touch, eyes sliding shut as Kakashi dares to pull him closer, pull him into a timid embrace. When Obito sags against his chest, Kakashi hugs him tight, rubbing Obito’s back soothingly as he noses into soft, dark hair. His mate, his darling, the love of his life, safe and warm in his arms—

“Ah, rival!” The cheerful tone of voice has Kakashi hissing behind his mask even as Obito laughs softly against his neck. “You’ve found our beloved. What a keen eye you have.”

“Nose,” Kakashi mutters against Obito’s hair, and Obito giggles this time, soft and airy.

Guy has to nerve to collide with both of them, throwing his arms around them, probably trying not to tear them apart but honestly, how dare he? Kakashi bites back a growl and lets Obito lean away from him just enough to turn and give Guy a small, affectionate peck on the cheek. Infuriating how Guy won because Obito doesn’t want to choose between them, and Kakashi… He’s content with Obito being loved as much as he deserves.

And that means sharing him, even if it’s with someone like Might Guy.

“I need to go home and see my brother,” Obito says, and Kakashi cocks his head. “I promised nee-san I would. He was with the Hokage last night. I’m worried about him.”

“Do we even know what happened yet?” Kakashi asks, and both Obito and Guy shake their heads. Hopefully someone important knows what happens, or the assailant was caught, or something. “All right. We can walk you home if you want.”

“I’d like that.” Obito smiles gently up at him, and Kakashi stretches a hand up, tugging the mask down just enough to give Obito the proper kiss he deserves.

Chapter Text

Itachi has learned how to give proper chase over the years, and now is no different.

Peace with Iwa will not be easily won, but war is easily fought; the Iwa-nin trailing him are slower than him and not as skilled, so Itachi will lead them somewhere quiet and dispose of them before he returns to his company. He had it drilled into his head as a child that his comrades are important, that he should be willing to do what is necessary to ensure that as many people come back to Konoha alive as possible. Konoha-nin are not disposable.

This is simple enough, and Itachi is skilled, and besides all that, he has a break period coming soon, and he plans on heading back to Kiri to speak to Hoshigaki Kisame once more.

A kunai soars by next to his head and he snorts, casting a glance over his shoulder—

Only for something behind him to explode, and screams of agony to fill the air a second later. Startled, Itachi finds a safe place to stand, half-shielded by a stone jutting up from the ground to his right. What in Sage’s name just happened to his pursuers?

“What the hell are you waiting for?” The voice has him tilting his head to see an unfamiliar shinobi perched high above him, golden hair lifting with the sharp cool wind wafting through the mountains. “Get the hell out of here before you die, you idiot.”

As Itachi watches, the man’s hands shift and something small and white soars down, another explosion rocking the ground beneath his feet. This must be a member of the infamous Explosion Corps, but why would an Iwa-nin be attacking his own?

“Why?” Itachi demands, and the shinobi turns to look at him, scoffing down at him.

“Sorry, but I’m not exactly well-liked around these parts.” The shinobi leaps down to him, landing in a neat crouch, all that golden hair cascading around his shoulders before he shakes it back and stands. He’s beautiful, which Itachi does not expect but certainly should at this point. “Stealing kinjutsu and all that tends to get you blacklisted.”

“You were on your way out when we arrived?” Itachi guesses. His life has always been full of the best teachers, everyone there to help him shape his talents and abilities, but no one ever warned him about the sheer amount and quality of beautiful shinobi who would enter his life. “What kinjutsu did you steal? Why are you even stealing in the first place?”

The shinobi scoffs at him. “For my art, yeah? And I did it.” One hand is thrust toward his face, and Itachi blinks dazedly at the… The open mouth on the man’s palm.

Not that he can or should comment because Itachi shares a village with shinobi who thrive while infested with parasitic insects, so he bites his tongue and forces out a small nod. “What art form would that be? I’m afraid I’ve not seen explosions as art before.”

A sharp blue eye looks him up and down, then snorts. “It’s a special art form pioneered by me, hmm. Fits my kekkei genkai perfectly . Anyway, I’ve got work to do. Take the free exit I just gave you and be glad I’m just clearing my path and not amassing a body count.”

He will be an enemy in the future, certainly; Itachi might look forward to fighting a more unique enemy for once. “The south exit is clear. It’s the way we came in. If you take that route, you likely won’t have to clear much of a path for yourself.”

“Telling me how to escape when I just told you what I’m doing? How interesting.” The Iwa-nin raises an eyebrow ta him, though he looks like he thinks Itachi is an idiot.

Itachi shrugs a shoulder at him, already turning back toward the village proper now that his pursuers are dead. “Considering it a repayment of the debt of saving my life. Iwa are our enemies, and that makes the two of us unlikely allies for the time being.”

“Allies, hmm? What a foolish concept.” The Iwa-nin shoves a hand at him, and Itachi shakes it without thinking, just able to feel the texture of teeth against his palm in a sharp grin. “Deidara. Take note of my name. You might be pursuing me one day.”

“I’ve no doubt about it. But for now, not so much.” Itachi brands the name Deidara into his mind and for just a moment allows his Sharigan to flare to life, assuring himself he will not forget this man before he takes off toward his company once more, leaving Deidara to his escape. It technically isn’t against the mission rules not to take him in.

After all, a traitor is hardly a true member of a village anymore.

Chapter Text

The Uchiha are pack, Sakumo tells him growing up, his voice taking on its rare tone of solemnity over this particular topic. Never forget that, Kakashi. They’re pack, too.

Kakashi slips out of his house early in the morning, taking a deep breath of the cool spring air as he crosses the meadow-like space between the Hatake clan’s territory and the Uchiha clan’s home. He takes deep breaths, head tilted as he listens to the twittering of birds as they hop about in the trees above and the smaller mammals scuttling in the underbrush. He has found memories of this shadowy grassy space, of playing with dark-haired Uchiha children— Always a little more careful, they weren’t Hatake after all.

Their clans became close before Kakashi was born, probably because of the Nidaime and his husband. He grew up alongside the Uchiha and he assumes this is the reason that the Academy saw fit to assign Sasuke to him in the first place.

No worries. Kakashi was there when Sasuke was born. He can handle one lively pup.

The sun is just peeking over the horizon as various Uchiha slip from their homes to start their days; Mikoto raises an arm to wave to him as she steps outside with a cup of tea in her hand, head cocked toward it. Kakashi waves back but shakes his head; he’ll be taking Sasuke and going if she allows it, wanting to get an early start on training.

After all, Sakura is an early riser, and he doesn’t like to keep any of his pups waiting.

A smile touches his lips when Sasuke comes wheeling out of the house behind his mother, half-tripping down the steps of the engawa. He doesn’t have Itachi’s natural poise or grace but Kakashi likes that about him, laughing softly to himself as Sasuke almost hits the dirt before getting his feet back beneath him and flying to where Kakashi is waiting for him.

As soon as Sasuke is within reach, Kakashi shifts his body weight and pounces on him. He’s babysat enough cubs growing up that he knows how to take Sasuke’s feet out from under him without letting him fall, twisting them around so that Sasuke never touches the earth. Instead, Kakashi twists and tosses him up, catching him on the way back down, arms wrapped around his back to keep him safe as they roll through the grass.

“Sensei!” Sasuke slaps him on the shoulder and Kakashi laughs, bumping his forehead against Sasuke’s as they come to a stop in the grass. “We have to train this morning.”

“I just wanted to get your blood moving this morning,” Kakashi says, giving Sasuke’s hair a ruffle as he pushes himself up to his feet. “Better than just sparring, isn’t it?”

Sasuke pouts at him for half a second before he laughs, and Kakashi catches him under the arms, lifting him easily to his feet. “I guess. Come on, though, I got up early and everything so we could train today and you said you had a special lesson for us today.”

Chuckling, Kakashi nods, patting Sasuke on the shoulder as they lope off toward Konoha where Sakura is no doubt waiting for them. He is surprised— and pleased— to see Naruto standing with her. He’s not typically an early riser, so Kakashi has been structuring his training around Naruto always arriving later in the morning than his other two students.

Before he can comment on it, though, Sasuke shifts next to him. Every muscle coils before he springs, taking Naruto down in one swoop. Sakura doesn’t quite manage to avoid them and goes down with them, and Kakashi sighs as he watches his students wrestle on the ground. But it’s laced with fondness because this is something he understands.

This is his pack. These are his pups to look after until he’s raised them as strong warriors, and he’s just… Glad to see the three of them getting along and having fun together.

“All right.” Kakashi claps his hands together until his students look up at him. There is a smudge of dirt across Sasuke’s nose and blades of grass in Sasuke’s hair. “Let’s get started on training. Thank you for showing up on time today, Naruto.”

Naruto sticks his tongue out at him, scrambling to his feet. “Well Sasuke complained.

Kakashi chooses not to comment on that one. “I have a special training lesson for you three today. So let’s get to work. I want to see if you can do it.”

Chapter Text

Shisui is effortlessly graceful in every strike, precision clear in every well-thrown kunai and smooth dodges out of danger that leave his team gossipping about his parentage more often than not. There is nothing Shisui has to hide; most people know that Uchiha Kagami carries the Hatake blood on through to the next generation, though Shisui is not sure just how much of their natural fluidity he was gifted with when he was born.

He breathes easily beneath the mask, his feet barely touching down on the branches beneath his feet as he leads his men out of danger once again. The enemy was quickly and silently dispatched, ensuring another successful mission for Shisui to bring home to Konoha. With any luck, he might just have some time off after all.

They stop only when they are clear of enemy territory to recuperate. When Shisui stretches, his shoulder smarts; his fingers come away smeared with enough blood to amuse him. Something must have nicked him in battle, but not enough to do any meaningful damage and not enough to cause him pain until he had time to bother noticing it.

But it won’t scar. Anbu work does not leave room for scarring. If someone lingers in position too long and becomes wounded enough to scar, they are not efficient enough.

“Buntaichou?” The soft voice catches his attention as he retrieves a kerchief from his pocket, wiping the blood off of his fingers as he has many times before. “Shall I look at that for you? Even small wounds can become infected and dangerous.”

“Oh?” Shisui cocks his head, smiling faintly behind his mask. “That would be nice.”

It might be a mistake to let the enemy know they have an iryou-nin among their number, but Tenzou is right in this instance. Even a small, insignificant scratch can become a much larger problem if left unattended, and Shisui would not be able to return home and look his fathers in the eyes if he let himself become sick due to infection when Tenzour is here, when Tenzou is able to heal with the same ease that Senju Hashirama once did.

There are whispers that he might be a Senju bastard, one of the last living members of the clan, but Shisui never puts much stock and store into such silly gossip.

Tenzou steps closer to him, the moonlight set behind his shoulders so that his mask is dark and Shisui cannot see his eyes behind it. But his fingers glow with a familiar green flame as he touches them so gently to Shisui’s shoulder as if he fears aggravating such a small and painless wound. The warmth that slips beneath Shisui’s skin is pleasant just the same, a gentle buzz of sensation as his skin knits itself back together again.

“There.” Tenzou strokes over where the cut once was, and Shisui does his best not to shudder as he tilts his head to see the skin once again flawless and clear. “Let me know if you find any other scratches, Buntaichou. We can never be too safe.”

A soft heat touches Shisui’s cheeks and not for the first time, he is grateful for the mask their numbers wear that hides so much of his face. It only allows him the use of his Mangekyou when he needs it to assist him, but he tries not to do that too often.

He has no desire to go blind at such a young age, after all.

“You’re correct.” Shisui rolls his shoulder, and the faint sting does not make itself known again. “Excellent job as always. Go on and attend to the others now.”

None of them are gravely injured, but, well… Scratches and shallow wounds.

Shisui will go home and file the appropriate reports for the Yondaime, and if things go well, he can take some time off to spend with his family. As much as he loves running missions, stretching his skills to the breaking point and seeing what he is capable of, he likes the warmth of hearth and home just as much. The familiarity of the same bed beneath his head and the reassurance that the only people who might wake him will be his family checking in on him or telling him to come down and eat with them.

He casts a glance over his shoulder and smiles ruefully, wondering if Tenzou might like to meet his parents officially when they have a moment to themselves.

Chapter Text

It takes Sasuke a solid fifteen minutes into dragging every single spare pillow and blanket out of his closet to pile them up on the floor to realize something is wrong.

Not wrong, perhaps, but different. His hands are fisted in the bedding as he corrects the shape he wants it to be in, lower lip caught between his teeth as he sits back on his heels and realizes he is nesting. That the soft, floaty sensation in his head is not because he didn’t get enough sleep last night, but his mind shifting from conscious thought to instinct as he tries to build himself a comfortable nest. A large nest at that, one larger than he typically assembles for himself when he’s sick or tired and just needs the comfort.

A nest large enough for two people, as if he’s expecting another person to join.

“Sage,” he whispers, rubbing a hand over his face. His cheeks and forehead are warm to the touch, almost feverish. If he’d been wearing anything other than the near-transparent yukata he sleeps in during the warmer days of spring bleeding into summer, he likely would have noticed even sooner. “I’ll have to tell Tousan before it gets too bad.”

His father would be disappointed in him if he holed up in his room alone for his first heat.

Sasuke can’t say he’s surprised. Omegas go into their first heat typically in their late teens, and at eighteen years old, he has been expecting it for a little while. He just never really put the time and thought into what he would do when it arrived and who he would spend it with, or if he wanted to scent lock his room and try to tough it out alone.

As if. Sasuke has never known an Uchiha omega who would willingly choose that.

He scrubs his hands over his face and stands, tying the sash around his waist a little tighter as he stumbles out of his room in search of his parents. A soft whine drifts from his lips and he clamps his jaw shut tight. He remembers Itachi’s first heat, and Itachi had been poised and put together despite everything. Sasuke can only wish for that.

But the whine is enough. Fugaku meets him in the hallway, having just left his office, which is a marvel in and of itself because when does he ever leave his office when there is work that needs to be done? “Sasuke?” His hand is rough but gentle as he cups Sasuke’s cheek, brows drawing slightly together as he draws Sasuke closer. “Ah, it’s that time, isn’t it?”

“Yes, Tousan.” Sasuke huddles closer to him, relieved when Fugaku lets go of his face to wrap an arm around his shoulders. Sometimes Sasuke forgets that Fugaku is an omega too; he wants to be like him, like Itachi, so much. “I n-need to send for someone soon.”

Fugaku nuzzles into his hair and Sasuke sighs and leans into him, into the familiarity of his woodsmoke scent and the softer, sweeter scent beneath. It’s comforting right now, when Sasuke needs it the most. “Would you like me to send a falcon away for you?”

“Please?” Sasuke butts his forehead against his father’s shoulder, smiling softly to himself when Fugaku laughs and kisses the top of his head. “Thank you. Do you know who to—”

Thankfully, Fugaku does not make him say it. Telling your father who you want to have sex with your first time is… Awkward, really, and Itachi is lucky that his alpha followed him all the way back to Konoha without a second thought. “I know who. Just gather up some some food and drinks to take back to your room. Plenty of water and fruit if you can.”

“I know. Thank you.” Sasuke tilts his head up to kiss his father on the jaw before hurrying off to the kitchen, relieved to have some of the stress taken off of his hands.

His mother is sitting at the table and lifts her head when he walks in, then stands and strides up to him. Her nose touches the top of his head as she inhales and Sasuke shivers slightly, letting her scent him before he starts gathering up the supplies he needs to make sure his heat is bearable and that he has to leave his room as little as possible.

“Do you need anything?” Mikoto asks him, hovering just behind him as he starts piling things onto a tray. “I can carry that for you if you’d like.”

Sasuke sighs softly and shakes his head. “I can do it, Kassan, but thank you for offering.” He can’t fault her for it. Alpha parents have the instinctual need to protect their children at times like these, after all. “Naruto is coming over. You’ll let him in when he comes?”

“Of course.” Mikoto kisses the back of his head. “Let me know if you need anything at all, and I’ll be there in a heartbeat. And so will Itachi and Kisame if necessary.”

Naturally. The Uchiha clan has always been a tight one. “Thank you. I’m just going to go back to finishing my nest. Tousan is sending the falcon for me.”

“All right. Just remember that we’re all here if you need anything your alpha can’t give you.” Mikoto hugs him, then gives him the space he needs to breathe.

His body is… Starting to heat up, so space is good and necessary.

As soon as he has his food sorted, Sasuke will go back to bed, finish his nest, and wait for his alpha to come and take care of him. After all, they’ve both waited long enough.

Chapter Text

The morning breakfast conversation is interrupted by an insistent tap against the window.

Minato does not have to look to know what is waiting for them on the either side of the glass. He smiles at Kushina as he stands, crossing the small room to open the window and offer his wrist as a perch for their new visitor. The falcon is one of Fugaku’s, sleek and dark-feathered and serene as she comes to sit on top of him. Her talons fold neatly against his skin without nicking him, which is a pleasant change from those that think poking him with their sharp little claws is all in good fun.

“Good morning!” Minato always tries to be cheerful and polite with Fugaku’s falcons. Most of the birds that the Uchiha make contracts with are like them, and Minato likes the birds even if the sentiment is not quite returned. “Does Fugaku-san need me already?”

“I’m not here for you at all, Hokage-sama.” The falcon almost hits him in the face with her graceful wings as she flutters over to his son, perching on Naruto’s shoulder with ease.

A bright yet curious smile touches Naruto’s face as he tears a piece of fish to offer to the falcon, who snaps it up greedily. “Why me? What does Uchiha-san want with me?”

“He isn’t the one who requires your assistance today. I was simply sent because a hawk could not be currently sent in my place.” The falcon informs him of this in a rather cheerful tone of voice before she catches a lock of his hair and starts to preen it.

“Hawk? Is Sasuke okay?” Naruto’s smile dims slightly, concern edging in as he stretches up a hand to stroke the speckled breast feathers of the bird.

The falcon nods, giving his fingers a gentle nip. “Sasuke is fine. But his first heat is starting this morning, and I was sent to retrieve you. Congratulations, fox boy. You’ve been chosen by my summoner’s son to be his alpha if you think you’re up to the challenge.”

“So it’s finally that time.” Kushina winks as he leans over to ruffle Naruto’s hair, and Minato snorts when he sees his son’s face start to redden. “You’ve both been waiting.”

Everyone in their respective families have been waiting, to be fair. Naruto went into his first rut a few months ago, nearly tearing apart his own bedroom in the process and leading Minato to the assumption Sasuke’s first heat would be soon after. The two of them spend enough time together that he’s only slightly surprised that they didn’t just happen at the same time, but being this close together already pretty much seals the deal.

The cohesion really only happens in properly mated pairs, anyway. Kushina’s rut aligned just enough to fit Minato’s heat cycles after she put her teeth in his throat.

“I’m definitely up to it.” Naruto offers the falcon another piece of fish, then stands. “I’m going to pack some clothes and things right away. Oh, and bedding, right? Because he might want some of my pillows and a blanket for his nest. Is there anything else I need?”

Minato chuckles softly, turning his attention to the falcon. “Let Fugaku-san know that my son is on his way if you will. We’ll just help him get ready and then we’ll send him off.”

The falcon clicks her beak at him before stealing the rest of Naruto’s fish and flying off.

Kushina stretches her arms over her head, and Minato… Takes a selfish moment to enjoy the sight of her, the sinewy pull of the muscles in her arms and shoulders. “I really have been waiting for this. All right, Naruto. Clothes and bedding, yes, you’ll need that. Just get something clean from the linen closet, though, and scent that appropriately.”

“Got it.” Naruto kisses Kushina on the cheek and darts to his room, fast enough to make Minato hum in appreciation as he lifts his tea to his lips to take a sip.

Dark, mirthful eyes meet his own as Kushina tips her head toward him. “Remember the first time you went into heat? Tsunade-san wouldn’t let me in the house. I had to sneak up to your bedroom window to whisper to you so she wouldn’t hear and she almost caught us.”

“Oh, she definitely did. I think she only pretended to let Tousan distract her so we could keep talking.” Minato shakes his head fondly; his parents have always been on just this side of overbearing, but he’s the only kit they have, so he can scarcely blame them for it.

Despite their best efforts, Minato is an only child. He’s done his best to ensure he isn’t quite as worrisome as his parents were, but having an alpha child definitely makes that a little bit easier, and Naruto… People make quick judgments but he’s smart, and even if he wanted to see Sasuke during his first rut, he kept his bedroom door locked and sent along messages with Sasuke’s hawks instead. A good boy at heart, and Minato cherishes him.

“You know,” Kushina muses, “we’ll have the house to ourselves while he’s away. First heats can last a few days, sometimes even longer. Mikoto says that Fugaku’s can last so long it’s almost a hassle. There’s a lot we could do with that amount of time.”

Minato wrinkles his nose. “ Please ask for sex without bringing up my police chief’s sex life at the breakfast table. I promise it wasn’t like I would turn you down if you didn’t.”

Kushina laughs and leans over the table to kiss him.

Chapter Text

Only minutes after his father’s falcon found him at the Academy, Itachi returns home.

His feet barely make a sound as he lands on the soft grass, his body posture perfect. It would have been the picture perfect return with the grace of the assassin Itachi used to be if not for the thrilled squeal from inside the house, the sound bringing a smile to his lips as he lifts his head. Though it takes some years to properly train their sensory abilities, Shizuma always seems to know the exact moment when Itachi arrives home.

He leaps up onto the engawa just as the front door opens, his mother greeting him with a warm smile and Shizuma balanced on her hip. “Welcome home, sweetheart. I hope the Academy wasn’t too upset about losing you for the rest of the day?”

“Not at all. How is Sasuke?” When Shizuma reaches for him with grasping fingers, Itachi closes the distance between them. He sweeps Shizuma out of Mikoto’s arms and kisses his small face right over one set of gills, sending the boy into mad fits of laughter.

“He’s fine.  It’s probably just an overreaction, but your father wanted you home.” Mikoto smoothes her fingers through his hair and Itachi huffs softly as he nuzzles into Shizuma’s soft hair. The milky scent of infancy has mostly faded; he smells like the sea, now, like Kisame does. “Naruto-kun is on his way, so if you want to see Sasuke, now is the time.”

Ah, of course it’s Naruto. “Thank you. I’d rather be home in case he needs me, anyway.”

Shizuma wraps his arms around Itachi’s neck, nuzzling against his dark hair while Itachi slips into the house and heads for Sasuke’s bedroom. He can already smell the beginning soft notes of pre-heat in the air and chuckles softly to himself, rubbing his hand up and down Shizuma’s back to keep his son calm and quiet in his arms. How many times did Itachi joke that he’d be mated and have children before Sasuke’s first heat ever came?

He never knew he would be serious, but well. He’d trade the entire world for his little pup.

“Did you miss me?” Itachi asks him, chuckling softly when Shizuma chirps and hugs him tighter. “I suppose that’s a yes. Have you been a good boy today, baby?”

“Good,” Shizuma insists and smiles, showing off the sharp, sharp teeth no other child his age would have. But shark pups are different, Itachi has been learning. “ Best.

“I’m glad to hear that.” Itachi hoists Shizuma a little higher in his arms and raps his knuckles against Sasuke’s doorway, waiting until he’s allowed in before stepping inside.

Sasuke has been nesting based on the pile of blankets and pillows around his futon, on the bright slashes of color across his cheekbones. He still lights up when Shizuma chirps at him, already holding his arms out for his nephew, who instantly turns around toward him.

Itachi sets Shizuma carefully in Sasuke’s arms, though he stays out of the nest proper as he watches Sasuke nuzzle Shizuma’s dark hair. “Are you feeling all right? I thought I’d come and check on you before your alpha showed up to do all the real work.”

“I’m fine. Just… You know.” Sasuke pulls a face at him and Itachi nods while Shizuma laughs, leaning up to grab a fistful of Sasuke’s shirt. “I’m glad you’re home. It’s a relief. Sorry if I yanked you away from your students because of all of this, but at least you can spend time with Shizuma while I’m… Well. While I’m busy, I guess.”

Gently, Itachi smoothes his fingers through Sasuke’s hair. His forehead is warm. “I’m happy to hang around the house in case you need me like I told Kassan.”

“You’re a good brother.” Sasuke kisses Shizuma on the forehead, then holds him up to Itachi. “Not to kick you both out, but he’ll be here at any moment, and, well…”

Challenging alpha scents can be… Interesting, Itachi knows, but the major concern is that if Naruto even accidentally flares up at him out of instinct alone, Itachi will spit and snarl at him and challenge him right back. Omegas are meant to be protective, and with Sasuke in heat and Shizuma in the room, Itachi is likely to be twice as scary as any alpha could ever hope to be, much less the bright sunshine alpha that Sasuke has fallen for.

“What do you think?” Itachi looks down at Shizuma, who has busied himself with trying to pull off Itachi’s hitai-ate. “How about I make you some lunch? Does that sound good?”

“Yes.” Shizuma succeeds in removing Itachi’s hitai-ate, wrapping the fabric around his chubby fingers and trying to chew on the metal plate. “Lunch please.”

Lunch, then. Itachi assumes Kisame will be coming by shortly and makes a note to prepare food for all three of them, letting Shizuma chew on his headband while he carries him into the kitchen. Naruto will take care of Sasuke, and Sasuke’s first heat will be fine.

Itachi hides a smile in Shizuma’s hair and wonders how long it’s going to be before he has a cousin or two that he can play with.

Chapter Text

The front door of the Uchiha house is unlocked when Naruto vaults through it, kicking off his sandals and sliding into a pair of slippers as he skitters toward the hallway. The weight of the pack on his back is unnoticeable now when it was a deterrent to his progress at first, so much so that he almost does not notice it any longer. What he does notice is the sharp scent that cuts directly across his nose, stopping him in his tracks.

Uchiha Itachi stands in the doorway that leads to the living room, Sharingan eyes fixed on him. The sight is enough to make Naruto gulp down what little air he can take.

“Naruto,” Itachi greets him. Naruto is not an idiot. Despite popular opinion, he isn’t. He grew up with the Uchiha boys and he remembers watching Itachi grow into every bit of the dangerous and cunning shinobi he is today, the most terrifying omega in all of Konoha probably— Second to Sasuke, maybe. “You’ll take care of Sasuke properly, won’t you?”

There are more scents in the house— Two of sea salt, one more mild than the other, and woodsmoke and sweetness and all of them pale in comparison to Itachi. “Yes, Itachi-nii.”

“Good.” Itachi’s eyes uncurl back to black, and Naruto exhales shakily. “Do that, then. He’s been waiting long enough for his first heat. Make sure it’s an enjoyable one.”

With a quick dip of his head, Naruto darts down the hallway toward Sasuke’s room.

He doesn’t begrudge Itachi the mild threat, really, he doesn’t. He would do the same in Itachi’s place and is happier it was Itachi who delivered that, and not Fugaku or Mikoto or Sage forbid Kisame, who is terrifying when he wants to be. Better Itachi that Naruto loves and cherishes like his own older brother because Itachi was there for him, too. Better Itachi, who Naruto trusts to know that he will do right by Sasuke.

In the hallway, he stops and slaps the fuinjutsu scrolls he prepared before leaving home all around the doorway. Scent seals and sound seals to ensure that their mating will be confined to just Sasuke’s bedroom for the maximum privacy possible in a family home. Seals are the art of the Uzumaki clan, and Kassan has been adamant he needs to learn them and master them so he can pass them on to his future children as well.

Just before he slaps the scent seals into place, he allows himself a single deep inhale, the honeyed sweetness under Sasuke’s peppery scent rocking him down to his core.

His knuckles rap against the wood and he waits for the soft answering chirp that tugs at his instincts before he lets himself into the room. “Hey, Sasuke. Sorry to keep you— Oh.”

A single inhale is all it takes to short circuit his brain and cut off whatever the rest of his sentence was going to be. Some placation that his omega obviously doesn’t need based on the way heavily-lidded eyes meet his, already glazed over with arousal.

The curtains have been pulled and Sasuke is naked in his nest, long lean limbs wrapped in pale shadows and raven hair mussed softly around his face. Naruto swallows hard at the sight of him and decides not to examine how fast his body responds to the sight, shrugging his pack off of his shoulders and pawing through the indecently large thing until he finds the bedding he’d scented just this morning for Sasuke to use.

He doesn’t even see Sasuke move before clever hands snatch the pillows and blankets away from him, and he rocks back on his heels as he watches Sasuke incorporate the new bedding into his nest, dragging his wrists across all of it until it smells like both of them.

“Are you just going to stand there?” Sasuke’s eyes sweep over him, and the annoyance in his voice has lost its bite when there’s a softer, breathier quality to it.

Naruto has never heard him sound like that, and not even school, or Jiraiya’s novels— that Naruto has absolutely not read, ever, not once in his life thank you very much— have ever covered the way Sasuke’s voice sounds in this moment. It reaches deep into him and his hands are already moving to his shirt. Why is he wearing so many damned clothes?

Movement catches his attention and he watches as Sasuke settles back into the nest, his fingers stumbling over the waistband of his pants when Sasuke looks directly at him and then lets his lean, strong thighs fall apart. His cunt is heat-swollen and wet, slick smeared along the insides of his thighs and glistening in the dark curls on his mound. Naruto has kept him waiting entirely too long. He needs to learn how to hiraishin like, yesterday.

Seams split and fabric tears and Naruto nearly pounces Sasuke in the nest, catching himself on his hands and knees so that he doesn’t harm the omega beneath him. He’s embarrassed by how fast he moves but Sasuke purrs up at him, which makes the chagrin worth it, and then long fingers are carding through his hair and tugging his head down.

Sasuke’s lips are sweet and soft beneath his own and Naruto groans as he sinks down against him, against hot hot skin and Sage, he can feel Sasuke’s cunt pressed against his thigh, smearing slick all over both of them when Sasuke cants his hips up to grind. The friction must do something for him because he whines and squirms, teeth tugging insistently at Naruto’s lips. More. He’s asking silently, but he’s asking just the same. More.

What kind of alpha would Naruto be if he didn’t give his omega everything he wanted?

Chapter Text

The hot, hard pressure of his alpha’s cock digging into his hip is lovely. His alpha wants him, throbbing and erect because of him, but Sasuke bites back a frustrated growl because the angle is wrong and there are better places that cock could be right now. Like sheathed inside of him, soothing that building irritation in his gut that he’s never felt before. Even masturbating while he waited for Naruto to show up did not take the edge off of it.

Now he understands why the Uchiha clan are so adamant that spending heats and ruts alone should not be viewed as the norm if there are people willing to assist.

Naruto’s lips are warm and wet against the side of his neck and Sasuke’s brain threatens to short circuit when he feels sharp teeth drag over his scent gland. The promise is there and Sasuke arches his neck into it, happily baring his throat. He’d do this for no one else but Naruto… Has earned him in every single way that can be possible.

“Alpha,” Sasuke whines, wriggling until his legs aren’t tangled with Naruto’s anymore, until he can spread them wide in invitation. The cool air of the bedroom whispers over his sensitive cunt and he hisses because his body is so, so hot. “Touch me or I’m going to die.

A rich rumble of laughter has him squirming again for entirely new reasons and Naruto steals a kiss and then is gone . “I have an idea I think you’re going to like.”

It’s on the tip of his tongue to snarl at his alpha not to try anything right now, he needs to be pinned down and fucked and then Naruto slides down the length of his body, hands braced on the insides of his thighs to keep them spread wide. Sasuke chokes just a little and permits that because Sage, his alpha holding him down feels good right now.

He has just enough time to see Naruto flash him that cheeky smile he loves and loathes so much and then Naruto licks him, drags his tongue over Sasuke’s slick folds until his head spins. An embarrassing yelp leaves his mouth and the falls lax against the futon, hands sliding into soft golden hair as he drags his alpha’s mouth closer to his body. Even if he’s torn between begging Naruto not to stop and begging him to just fold Sasuke in half and knot him, he’s not turning this away. He’s not turning any contact away.

“Is that fine?” Naruto’s tongue strokes hot and wet over his clit and Sasuke’s eyes roll back in his head, his mouth falling open around a soundless moan. “You look like you like it.”

There’s just enough doubt in his voice that Sasuke realizes he has to say something. “Shut up,” he wheezes, yanking Naruto’s hair harder. “Shut up and get to work please.

Soft laughter vibrates across his cunt and has him gasping, and then Naruto’s tongue is there, stroking between his folds. He licks up and over Sasuke’s clit, sucks it until Sasuke’s toes curl and he thrashes from too much too fast too soon , teases the edge of his entrance before thrusting his tongue inside. It’s wet and messy and Naruto makes the most awful noises against him but Sasuke can only whine and pant and beg him not to stop because it feels so good. It feels better than his clumsy fingers ever have.

He makes the mistake of looking down at the same time Naruto looks up at him, and the sight of his pale blue eyes sparking amber-gold has Sasuke’s back arching. Right, he’d almost forgotten, but the kyuubi is there, too. Kurama is wherever Naruto is.

Well, if the fox bastard has complaints, he sure isn’t trying to voice them.

The hands on his thighs shift up to his hips and pin him down with more force than Naruto ever has or ever would. That is answer enough for Sasuke; his omega pride purrs at the thought of not just entrancing one of the most powerful and kindest alphas in the village but the tailed beast that lives inside of him. This is how it should be.

Naruto mouths against his cunt until Sasuke’s breathy cries build to a crescendo, and it has to hurt, the way he pulls Naruto’s hair. There are no complaints though. Just his own whines and moans and pleading because it’s not enough, not enough, not enough

His hands are shaking when he shoves Naruto off of him, chest heaving and skin burning as he rolls over onto his knees, his cheek pressed against the futon beneath him as he spreads his legs wide in invitation. He can’t see himself but he knows it has to be an alluring sight, folds spread obscenely wide like this. His hole clenches tight around nothing and Sasuke swallows back a sob because he wants to be full, wants to be fucked

“I’ve got you.” Naruto’s voice is a half-growl as his warm chest blankets Sasuke’s back, knees pressed inside of Sasuke’s own to keep him spread wide. As if he’d want to close his legs now when his alpha is moments away from fucking him. “I’ve got you, Sasuke.”

Of course he does. He always has. Sasuke doesn’t have to doubt him anymore.

A pleased, delirious keen rips from his throat when something large nudges at his entrance before the tip catches. Naruto’s hips thrust against his own and Sasuke wails, hands fisting in the bedding as his cunt stretches obediently around the cock that slides inside of him. Finally finally the heat stops rampaging through his body, and Naruto rumbles soothingly in his ear, filling him in slow and easy rocks of his hips.

And then Sasuke feels that bright lash of chakra against his own and sinks his teeth into his fist, knowing damn well what that means.

Chapter Text

The agreement between the two of them has been unspoken until this very moment.

Naruto has been trained alongside the rest of his friends, brought up in the Academy, assigned to a genin team, taken the chunin exams as is expected of him. But Touchan and Kassan had other lessons to teach him, namely how to keep the seal inked into his stomach strong so as not to accidentally release Kurama, and how to let Sasuke in so that he could soothe the fox should his chakra ever become something tenuous and uncontrollable.

Time has mellowed out their relationship with one another, though, and in this one area, the two of them are in perfect agreement: Sasuke belongs with them.

You’ve kept him waiting too damned long, Kurama grouses at him, and Naruto swallows a chuckle as he leans down, taking one of Sasuke’s hands in his, twining their fingers together as he kisses the back of his shoulder. Fuck him like the prized bitch he is.

That is maybe a little rude but the sentiment is there. As far as Naruto is concerned, Sasuke is the smartest, most powerful omega in Konoha and he has grown up watching Sasuke become everything he was always going to be and, impossibly, more . The only omega Naruto has ever had feelings for— and he grew up among quite a few of them— the only one capable of soothing the kyuubi, the only one who’s ever meant this much to him.

And Sasuke is in heat and all but begging , and Naruto really has kept him waiting too long.

“Oh thank the Sage,” Sasuke wheezes when Naruto shifts, realigns his center of balance and starts fucking him like he deserves. “Oh, it feels so good, oh alpha .”

“Omega,” Naruto whispers against his skin, letting his chakra hug Sasuke tight, the warmth and the strength of it setting him to whining and purring as he basks in the pull of it. “You feel so good. I’ve been waiting so long to have you just like this.”

Managing the kyuubi during his first rut was hell. All he did was spend the entire three days rearranging his room, nearly cracking the furniture in the process, and knotting his own fist while he thought about what Sasuke would feel like, look like, just like this. Stretched out beneath him, all that pale skin flushed and warm and bared to him, cunt gripping him so wonderfully tight, milking his cock while Naruto ruts against him.

Sasuke thrashes beneath him, the violet-black of his chakra rising in the air around them, meshing so neatly with Naruto’s own that it’s miraculous. It was meant to be this way. “Don’t you ever fucking stop,” he half-sobs, shoving his hips back against Naruto’s own, unpracticed but needy and desperate. “I want your knot, you owe it to me—”

His mouth is right there, so soft and ripe and already bruised from kissing that Naruto can’t resist kissing him again, licking all of his sweet sounds off of his tongue.

Too caught up in wringing every sound possible out of Sasuke’s mouth— along with the absolutely divine litany of his own name chanted in a songlike rhythm— Naruto doesn’t realize how close he is. Not until Sasuke’s cunt seizes up tight around him and Sasuke screams , slick dripping down Naruto’s thighs with the force of Sasuke’s orgasm.

That’s how you’re supposed to treat your bitch, Kurama informs him, and Naruto shoves him back and makes a note to talk to him about language in the future.

But for now, he gives a few more thrusts, Sasuke so tight around him now that it draws the orgasm out of him with a shudder and a groan. He grinds and Sasuke mewls so sweetly for him, and then his knot swells and catches, tying the two of them together.

Perfect. Naruto kisses the back of his neck and nuzzles his scent gland, and when Sasuke bares it to him properly, he hesitates. Hesitates just long enough for Sasuke to hiss and squeeze around his knot, startling a yelp out of him, and even Kurama snarls at him for second guessing for even a second. He’s an idiot. He really is as stupid as everyone says.

He drags his tongue over the skin there, letting himself be enveloped in the sweetness of Sasuke’s heat scent, and then sinks his teeth in deep. They’re sharper than any other alpha’s because he isn’t really human and Sasuke arches into the bite and comes again with a sob, so tight it almost hurts. But that’s good. His omega deserves this pleasure.

Touchan and Kassan didn’t technically tell him not to mate Sasuke during his first heat anyway, and he’s pretty sure Itachi wouldn’t have bothered to keep him in line all these years if he hadn’t been expecting this. Everyone would have seen this coming, right?

Naruto hauls Sasuke down into the bedding, giving his newly-bitten mark gently apologetic licks to soothe the pain and close the wound while Sasuke purrs and snuggles back into him. It’s rare to have Sasuke acting like this, all warm and lax and sweet, so Naruto eats it up while he can. He’s the only one who ever gets to see him like this. He’s sure of it.

Sasuke slips a hand around the back of Naruto’s neck, a silent command to stay near. As if he’s going anywhere. They still have a few days to get through, and he isn’t about to leave.

Chapter Text

“You better be glad I thought ahead in the first place,” Sasuke tells Naruto later that evening, perched in his lap, his heat soothed enough for him to speak coherently once more. “We just made jounin. I’d have to take off as soon as I started showing.”

Naruto nuzzles his neck, tongue darting out to lick over the mark he’s been taking care of for the better part of the day. “Ah mou, I know that. You’re so smart, Sasuke.”

There’s the slightest hint of irritation in the chakra wrapped so lovingly around him, and Sasuke rolls his eyes and activates his Sharingan so that his chakra reaches a little deeper. It makes Naruto choke a little at first, but the two of them are well-practiced enough at this that it’s easy for Sasuke to do this, stroke his own chakra along fiery orange fur until the kyuubi goes lax under his touch. The irritation eases immediately.

“Stop that,” Sasuke tells the fox directly. “I know what you want, and you’ll get it, but not right now. You’d be mad if I went on missions when I was pregnant, anyway.”

Kurama borrows Naruto’s mouth to speak, which is normal now. It freaks the others out sometimes, but Sasuke is used to it because that’s how the two of them can communicate with the most ease. “Can you blame me? You’d be perfect for carrying our kits.”

The praise brings a soft flush across his cheeks and Sasuke tries not to squirm in Naruto’s lap, tied together as they are. Lying beneath him was certainly an attractive position when Sasuke was in the throes of heat-sickness, but now his mind is a little clearer and he likes where he is right now, arms and legs wrapped around his alpha, seated firmly on top of him. It’s a little more awkward for cuddling, but he doesn’t mind that so much.

And it takes several sessions for Naruto to notice the seal on his skin, the one that will keep Sasuke from getting pregnant during his first heat.

That was the one aspect of Itachi’s first heat that the two of them discussed at length. It didn’t happen at home; it happened when Itachi and Sasuke were on a joint mission in Kiri, assisting the Kiri-nin with a complicated political situation. It was on Sasuke to send a hawk back to his parents to reassure them that no, Kisame was a genuinely good alpha and maybe he… Left out the shark part because it was just easier at the time.

Anyway. Itachi was pregnant after his first heat. He says he has no regrets in that, loves Shizuma more than words could possibly say— and Sasuke does too— but that isn’t for Sasuke, not right now. Not when he’s made jounin and has the Police Force to think about as he gets older, not when he only just now took the mating bite.

But they will have children. Sasuke is already firmly of that belief because he wants them, because he’s grown up with his younger cousins and children around the village and he knows. And he’s watched Naruto with the younger kids. Naruto would be a great father.

“And I’m going to,” he says, shivering when hot chakra strokes down his back. It can imitate fur when Kurama wants it to, when he’s more directly touching Sasuke himself. “I want to, but just not right now. You’ll get plenty out of me, don’t you worry.”

When Kurama uses Naruto’s mouth to smile, now, Sasuke understands why their friends still freak out about that. His teeth are sharper, deadlier, and his eyes shine with that almost-bloodlust that Sasuke knows all too well when it comes to the kyuubi. It’s taken the better part of their lives to bring him around to not wanting every human nearby to die.

“Glad to hear it.” Kurama is the one who kisses him, because it’s rougher and harsher and sharper and Sasuke’s toes curl just the same because his, the kyuubi is his in the same way that Naruto is his. He’s lucky. The only other alpha to have that claim in all of Konoha is Uzumaki Kushina, and he thinks that’s cheating, because she started with the kyuubi.

And he doesn’t like her the way he likes Sasuke, so it’s different anyway.

“You’ll glow,” Kurama insists, and Sasuke does not blush. He doesn’t, he’s an Uchiha omega, a jounin shinobi, and he does not blush. “You don’t even need an alpha to protect you. There’s never been anyone or anything you couldn’t handle on your own.”

Now that gets a purr out of him, and then Naruto’s blue eyes are back and he’s murmuring apologies as he cards his fingers through Sasuke’s hair and kisses him. He doesn’t have to apologize. Kurama is rude, and ill-suited for proper conversation when Sasuke is in heat perhaps, but… It’s nice, in a way, to be wanted like that by the kyuubi of Konoha.

Naruto’s knot goes down and Sasuke groans in relief. “All right,” he says, “I want a bath before we do that again. And we need bedding that’s less damp for the nest.”

“You get in the bath and I’ll get whatever you want,” Naruto says, and Sasuke smiles at him as he stands and stretches, ignoring how sticky his thighs are with semen and slick. He has a good, thoughtful alpha, and he’s lucky for that. Not everyone has what he does.

And they aren’t going to. Sasuke does not share with anyone.

Chapter Text

“You two are finally back,” Kakashi says when Naruto and Sasuke meet him outside of the Academy two days after the end of Sasuke’s heat. “I thought you’d gotten lo— Oh.”

Naruto bites back a smile and tucks his arm around Sasuke’s waist, barely resisting the urge to preen and parade his omega around the village for everyone to gawk at. Certainly, Sasuke is one of the most intelligent, capable, and skilled shinobi in Konoha and he would have made an excellent mate for anyone, and he is Naruto’s. But he stays here with Kakashi-sensei instead and he does not think about growling at him when he leans in to pull Sasuke’s collar away from his throat to get a better look at the mating mark.

Kakashi effects his instincts in strange and occasionally troublesome ways. An omega, Naruto should be fine around him if perhaps a little uncomfortable when he was younger because Kakashi is just so… He’s everything , but he doesn’t register as an omega in the front of Naruto’s brain more than half the time. He registers as a challenge, and it took quite a few weeks for Naruto to figure out why that would be in the first place.

Sasuke tips his head back, sunlight slanting across his pale skin, highlighting the fading bruise on his throat and the bite slowly scarring over with a purr. “Surprised, Sensei?”

The older omega scoffs. “ No. Why would I be? Hopefully this means you two can stop hissing and growling at everyone who looks sideways at the other.”

“Are you telling me,” Naruto says, “that you didn’t ever hiss at anyone? Ever? Because that’s not what I heard. I heard that every time Guy-sensei went near Obito-sensei—”

The speed with which heat floods Kakashi’s cheeks is frankly adorable, and he clears his throat loudly as he smoothes Sasuke’s collar back into place. “Hush the both of you. My childhood isn’t what we’re discussing right now. Your parents take it well?”

“They did,” Sasuke confirms, and Naruto breathes his hundredth sigh of relief as he thinks about how badly it could have gone if they hadn’t. The Sharingan is terrifying, and Mikoto and Fugaku can be scary when they want to be. And Itachi is the worst.

“Touchan cried,” Naruto adds. As soon as he came home to tell his parents, Touchan caught him around the shoulders and sobbed into his hair while he had a mild anxiety attack.

No alpha that he knows has ever been able to handle a crying omega with grace.

“Sounds about right,” Kakashi says, clicking his tongue against the roof of his mouth. “Ah, Sakura-chan’s coming. I told her that you two should finally be back today.”

They could have been back yesterday if they really wanted to be, but Naruto took full advantage of taking care of Sasuke as much as his newly-mated omega would allow him to. He’s lucky that Sasuke demands being spoiled, that Uchiha pride finally meshing perfectly with his own, because Sasuke expects an alpha who will kiss the ground he walks upon. And as far as Naruto is concerned, that is what alphas are supposed to do in the first place.

Sakura nearly bounces up to them, glowing all the way up to the roots of her hair, and Naruto wonders if her rut cycle might have been recent. “You’re back, I’m glad— Oh!” She stops, her eyes widening as they land on Naruto’s neck. “You marked each other!”

“Of course we did,” Sasuke says, tugging aside his own collar to show off his matching mark. “Hmm. I thought you’d expect us to. I’m sure everyone else did.”

“With you two, nothing’s ever predictable,” Sakura says, and Sasuke sniffs at her while she leans closer to him, her gaze fixed on the mark. “Wow, that looks deep. Naruto, did— Um.”

It isn’t until all three of them turn to look at him that Naruto realizes there is a low, rumbling growl vibrating up the length of his throat. As soon as he does, his face burns with shame and he groans, scrubbing his hands over his face as he swallows down the familiar shame. He’s never been able to be normal around Sasuke and he thought the mark might cement that Sasuke is his, and there’s no reason to compete with anyone else.

Evidently, this is not true, and Naruto will go on being stupid about Sasuke after all.

The soft answering purr has him peeking through his fingers to see Sasuke flushed with pleasure as he smoothes his collar back into place. “You’ll have to forgive my alpha,” he says, his dark eyes full of wanton promise as they meet Naruto’s. “He nearly went into sympathy rut for me, so he’s still coming down off of that.”

Kakashi whistles. “Great. Just like old times for us. Well, the students are waiting. Try not to start any fights today if you can manage it. I expect the best from all of you.”

Sakura winks at him as she brushes past him into the building and Naruto bites back a groan, perking up as soon as Sasuke presses up against him again. He nuzzles Sasuke’s mark— a little reassurance never hurt— and escorts him up to the Academy building so they can collect their students for the day.

And hopefully he doesn’t growl at any more of their friends before the day is over.

Chapter Text

There is someone sitting on his kitchen counter when Kakashi enters his apartment.

Relief sweeps through him slow and simple as he closes the door behind him, twisting the lock for good measure even though it evidently has not kept his guest out. He fumbles for a light, fingers clumsy despite the fact this is his home, to confirm this is not just an assassin watching him make a fool of himself tonight. The hour is late; he and Minato spent an inordinately long time training, not that Kakashi has any complaints about it. A genius grows bored if they have no one who can assist them in flexing their talent.

Uchiha Obito sits with his legs folded beneath him, his hands resting on his knees, his Anbu mask sitting on one thigh. “You had your door locked. Just so you know.”

“I thought so.” Kakashi is exhausted, sweaty and grimy from training, and he needs to change and wash up and eat before bed, but all of that comes second to this. “When did you get back? I don’t even know how long you were supposed to be gone, but—”

“Two hours ago. I had time to finalize my report to pass off to Hokage-sama before I came.” It is odd to hear Obito refer to Minato like that, but… Well, Minato has not been his sensei since he joined the Anbu several years ago, so that makes sense.

Has Obito been waiting for him? Better not to ask those questions. They always seem to annoy Obito, and Kakashi never receives a straight answer for his efforts. “How was the last mission, then? And when is your next one? I know you never stay long, but—”

“I’ll be leaving after this visit.” Again, Obito interrupts him. Kakashi understands. His time is precious, and he likely doesn’t want to waste these brief moments on pointless questions. “Hokage-sama did not want to send me away so soon, but we have work to do.”

No one is supposed to know the identity of those who are within the Anbu, though it is difficult to hide such a thing from those who are close to them. Kakashi knows. He remembers sitting in the hospital room, relieved down to his core that Obito was finally awake and speaking and moving on his own, only to find himself numb with horror when Obito asked Minato specifically for the Anbu assignment. He earned it, of course, by rescuing Rin, but Anbu? For someone like Obito? It felt wrong then.

It no longer feels that way now. There is something sharp and strange in his dark eyes, and Kakashi has learned to swallow back his discomfort at the thought of Obito being… Hard enough for the Anbu, to be what the Anbu needs to accomplish their goals.

They are assassins in the truest sense of the word, after all.

The light in the apartment throws Obito’s scars into sharp relief. The scars that are Kakashi’s fault. “I watched you train before I came here. You’re better now, Bakashi.”

At least the nickname is still there; Kakashi smiles thinly and takes a seat at his kitchen table, giving Obito ample room. He’s learned not to get too close to him, that Obito’s personal space is meant to be left alone. “Thank you. Minato-sensei wants me to become a jounin-sensei soon. I think I’m going to tell him yes. It seems like a good idea.”

“You’ll be a good teacher, I’m sure.” Obito shifts slightly, and Kakashi notes a bandage peeking out from beneath the back of his shirt. “Just remember what Hokage-sama taught us and you’ll do fine. Keep those kids from being as snotty as you were, anyway.”

“Well, I don’t know,” Kakashi says, trying for a light and teasing tone, but it’s hard. “Are you hungry? I don’t have much but there’s some things around if you are.”

Obito tilts his head, dark eyes meeting Kakashi’s for a long, breathless moment before he inclines his head just once. Once is enough for Kakashi now. It’s all he ever gets.

There really isn’t much around his apartment because he’s been putting off shopping, but he finds just enough to make them something suitable to eat before Obito heads off on his next mission. Letting him go is hard. It’s the hardest thing Kakashi has ever done, and it never gets easier every time he watches Obito’s back disappear into the night.

Life was never going to be easier after the accident, but he thought Obito would stay in Konoha and they could have a true, proper friendship with one another. Head bent over the hospital bed, weeping into the sheets, praying that all of the experimental iryou would be enough to save him, only to watch him walk away as soon as he was strong enough to walk… Kakashi doesn’t understand. He just knows that so much of this is his fault.

“I’ll be going now,” Obito tells him once he’s done eating, stretching his arms over his head, all lean muscle developed on missions Kakashi has never and will never hear about. “Take the jounin-sensei position when he offers it to you. You’re really suited for it.”

Kakashi nods. “Take care of yourself. I know what you do isn’t easy, but…”

“Of course.” Obito slips his mask over his face and gives Kakashi his back. “Bye, Bakashi.”

He’s gone so quickly once he climbs out the window, but Kakashi stands staring after him into the darkness until his legs are nearly numb beneath him. He wonders what he’s supposed to do when Obito doesn’t come home from a mission.

Chapter Text

The surface of the pond ripples as long streams of water are drawn from its surface, swirling up into crystalline ropes that twist and swirl in the air, spraying droplets out in smooth arcs. Bare feet touch down delicately on the surface, never dipping beneath as lithe, pale limbs move to the beat of a song Itachi cannot hear. All he can do is watch, breathless, as Mangetsu shifts smoothly through his dance as if it is as simple as breathing, as if his chakra control has not been perfected for just this moment.

When he finishes, the water cascades back into the pond, splashing up around his ankles as vibrant violet eyes meet Itachi’s. “Were you just watching, or did you want something?”

“I came out to tell you that breakfast was ready if you wanted to eat with us.” Itachi pushes himself up from where he’s been leaning against the door frame. “In all the time I’ve seen shinobi walk on water, I’ve never seen one dance like that.”

“To be expected. You only just moved to Kiri.” Mangetsu glides across the surface of the pond, bare feet sinking into the grass as he peels his damp shirt up and over his head.

Itachi shrugs a shoulder, pushing himself off of the door frame he’s been leaning against as he comes to meet Mangetsu in the yard. “It’s a Kiri tradition, then? Kisame never said anything about it. Of course, I wouldn’t have known to ask.”

“A tradition mostly among omegas,” Mangetsu corrects him, and Itachi hums thoughtfully as Mangetsu wipes down his neck and shoulders with his shirt. “Though you don’t perform it dressed like I was. No reason to bring out anything nice when I’m practicing.”

“Is that why you let yourself get wet?” Itachi eyes the splotches of dampness along his pants and shirt. He knows Mangetsu. The chakra control he has would have ensured none of the water touched his skin unless he purposefully allowed it to.

Pale lips pull back into a lopsided smirk, sharp teeth exposed as Mangetsu shakes his head and brushes past Itachi on his way to the engawa. “Not at all. You’re supposed to get wet when you water dance. In more ways than one, if you catch my meaning.”

“Ah, I see. It’s for courtship purposes.” Itachi turns to follow him, unbothered at the implication in his words. He thinks the Swordsmen expect him to be flustered at the lewd comments they make, but Itachi was Anbu before he was Kisame’s mate, and one has to be made of sturdier stuff than that. “What does one traditionally wear for a water dance?”

“I can show you, if you’d like. I have the clothes on me.” Mangetsu wings an eyebrow up at him and Itachi nods, curious. He should learn more about Kiri. He lives here now.

His parents were not immediately happy with his choice to move away from home, and Sasuke will miss him, but standing beside Kisame during the reformation of Kiri means too much to him to remain safe and sound in Konoha. If needed, Itachi can protect both of them as well as his ragtag found family composed of the members of the Seven Swordsmen who have remained behind to oversee those changes. And if Itachi is going to assist them, he may as well take the time to learn about his new home.

Mangetsu’s bedroom is starkly empty, ensuring he can pick up and leave at a moment’s notice if it should become necessary. He tosses his wet shirt on the floor and opens the closet door, pulling out something at the very back to hold in front of Itachi’s eyes.

“That fabric is white and transparent.” Even on someone as pale as Mangetsu, there would be no hiding his skin in such a thing. “That’s… Very aggressive courtship, is it not?”

“You don’t dance for an alpha unless you’re trying to hop on their knot, Itachi.” Mangetsu snickers at him, running his fingers over the soft fabric.

Carefully, Itachi touches the thin kimono, rolling the thin fabric between his fingers. “I see. I suppose you haven’t danced for an alpha yet?”

“Maybe there will be one worthy of me one day, but right now? Not a single one.” Mangetsu’s eyes glitter as if that is a threat, but Itachi bites his tongue instead of broaching the topic of who Mangetsu drags off to his bedroom when it’s time for his heat. “Do you want to learn? Your chakra control is excellent.”

“To dance?” Itachi considers. Learning to walk on water was something he learned as a child, and he supposes that dancing is just an extension of that skill.

Mangetsu smiles, the sharp points of his teeth exposed. “Might be a nice surprise for Kisame, hmm? Unless you don’t think you can do it, Itachi.”

That is a thought. Itachi considers what Kisame’s expression might be if he chose to grace him with the same fluid movements Mangetsu effortlessly practiced on the koi pond in something this revealing. He’s seen Kisame’s face when Itachi demonstrates his chakra control in other ways, through battle and combat. This might be a pleasant change.

“I’ll accept your offer,” he says, and Mangetsu snickers through those sharp, sharp teeth.

Chapter Text

The emissaries from the Otsutsuki Clan have been on Sasuke’s last damn nerve all night.

He should be grateful that their arrival was not an automatic declaration of war. Should be relieved the pale wraiths from beyond the stars did not announce themselves by attempting to murder as many of Sasuke’s precious people as their advanced techniques and power levels would allow them to do. Should be happy they seem willing to speak to Naruto instead of challenging him outright or making some effort to steal the chakra within him in the same way Kaguya once tried to do to the both of them.

Maybe Sasuke would feel any of those ways, except that Otsutsuki Momoshiki has not kept his Sage damned hands to himself since the moment he and Naruto first met.

Who knew Kaguya’s clan would be so touchy? Who knew they would be so affectionate? Sasuke grits his teeth every single time that strangely deep voice lilts on the nickname kitsune, fingers twitching toward the katana he knows he should not have brought to the banquet with him but snuck in under the justification that anyone could attack them.

“I don’t understand,” Momoshiki says, and Sasuke grits his teeth at the sound of his voice, the way he inclines his head closer toward Naruto, the way pale lashes sweep delicate shadows over paler cheekbones. Did he have to be so pretty? “Explain it to me again.”

Naruto laughs, and Sasuke presses his lips together as he stares down at his plate, completely uninterested in the food in front of him. “Well, it works like this…”

On and on with the pair of them to his disgust. He sighs and adjusts the collar of his shirt, willing neither of the other two Otsutsuki present to notice anything wrong with him as he casts his eyes toward the doors. Maybe he should step outside and find a place to quietly blow through a few katon exercises to cool himself off before it’s too late.

He doubts the Otsutsuki will want to remain peaceful if he presses his katana to the most delicate part of Momoshiki’s throat, but right now he is sorely tempted.

Perhaps Momoshiki is not valuable enough for them to notice the loss in the long run.

“Something bothering you, Uchiha Sasuke-san?” The question comes from the man positioned directly across from him at the table, eyes of the palest lavender possible fixed on him. Only a fool would fail to notice the way the veins framing those eyes have strained, Byakugan activated and pinning him down. “You seem awfully tense, ne?”

Sasuke offers him a thin smile. “My apologies, Otsutsuki Urashiki-san. I’m afraid that I’m not well-suited to political discussions. My husband has always been more inclined.”

He does not stress husband no matter how much it would please him to do so.

“Politics are only one part of the spectrum,” Naruto says, his hand coming to rest on top of Sasuke’s, their fingers slotting neatly together, his bandages warm with the flow of chakra that keeps his prosthetic arm mobile. The angle is a bit awkward, as he has to lean over slightly to reach Sasuke’s far hand, but he does it just the same. “Sasuke has a number of strengths that are invaluable to Konoha and to me. He’s one of our core protectors.”

The praise has Sasuke glowing from within as he smiles, hiding it behind the curtain of his hair as he frees his hand to pick up his fork. Might as well eat something instead of pouting if his husband is going to the trouble to say such sweet things about him.

“Oh?” The sound of Momoshiki’s voice has Sasuke’s fork skittering against the porcelain of his plate, but no one seems to notice— Save for Urashiki, who is grinning at him when he glances across the table. “What strengths are those that are so valuable?”

The curiosity in his voice is likely as innocent as it sounds, but Sasuke has never trusted anyone who touches Naruto in such a free manner without thinking twice about it. “Perhaps a sparring session after dinner? I could show you some of my talent myself.”

Naruto makes a low, displeased noise in the back of his throat, blue eyes blazing with intensity as they meet Sasuke’s own. “Ah, I don’t know if that—”

Momoshiki interrupts him, which is either a blessing or a curse. Sasuke is not quite sure which it is yet. “That would be enlightening. I’m not as practiced in the art of kenjutsu as you likely are to carry a sword on you at all times, but I can offer my best.”

“I’m sure your best will be suitable.” Sasuke doubts it. Few had the chance to study beneath Orochimaru himself, and the snake bastard was good for at least one thing. “I’ll look forward to seeing just what the Otsutsuki clan is capable of.”

And maybe when Sasuke leaves him panting in the dirt, Momoshiki will stop touching his fox.

Chapter Text

Joining the Akatsuki was not supposed to result in a situation like this one.

Itachi braces a hand against the edge of the bathroom mirror as he leans over the sink, taking slow and deep breaths to ease the aching cramps in his gut as he debates about what he can do in light of this situation. His first heat. Damn it, he thought he would be more prepared when the day finally arrived, would have an alpha who agreed to see him through it and have his nest prepared so he hardly had to think about anything.

He was supposed to be ready for this. He was supposed to be able to handle anything.

His exhales are shaky, his knees growing weaker beneath him the longer he forces himself to stand. The bathroom is colder than usual this morning, but it only feels like a balm for his warming skin as he stares at his reflection and debates about what he can do.

Yahiko will give him the days off necessary to handle his heat, and he knows this. Every time Nagato cycles out for a few days, all three leaders of the Akatsuki have to disappear because Nagato never spends a heat without both of his alphas to care for him, much less alone. No one would question if Itachi needed the time to himself.

The issue is that he sort of thought he would have an alpha to assist him through his heat, and he hasn’t asked a single member of the Akatsuki. How does one broach the topic?

So he never did, and now he’s going to spend the next few days paying for it.

A sharp knock at the door catches his attention and he winces, swallowing back a whine as he pushes himself into a firmer standing position. “S-sorry, I’ll be out in a minute.”

“You’re a bigger diva than me, Uchiha.” It is Deidara on the other side of the floor, the Iwa-nin with the talent for explosions and art that Itachi never can quite understand. “Hurry up, there are other people living here who aren’t you, ya know.”

The tone of his voice is nothing special or particularly upset, but Itachi still has to bite back a whimper and the urge to make himself small and apologize properly to the alpha scolding him. Damned instincts are not going to get the better of him, heat or not. “I’m aware, Deidara. I didn’t realize I’d been in here for so long.”

Losing time during a heat is common, so Itachi needs to work fast. He needs to alert Yahiko to what’s going on— though his scent should be ample proof of that— and then go secure himself in his room. Scent seals and sound seals should keep the room private enough, and he supposes he can get through it on his own. Plenty of omegas do.

Itachi just never wanted to do it alone. The Uchiha clan tends to err on the side of caution and encourage having a partner to help heat and rut be slightly more bearable.

He opens the door, unsurprised to see Deidara waiting on the other side of it, hands perched on his hips as he surveys Itachi with his one exposed blue eye. The other is hidden behind a curtain of honey-gold hair. “Apologies for making you wait.”

“Yeah, that’s…” Deidara trails off, his head falling to the side, eye narrowing as his nose twitches. “ Oh, that’s why you were taking so long, un! You should have said something before you let me bitch at you about it. Yahiko’s in the kitchen if you need him.”

“Thank you.” Itachi makes to brush past him, freezing when a hand catches him around the wrist, very aware that Deidara is an alpha, and Deidara is touching him.

Specifically, Deidara’s fingers are touching the scent gland in his wrist.

“Get back to bed as soon as you tell him.” Deidara is not trying to put a command into his voice, but Itachi finds himself nodding just the same. “You don’t look so hot, yeah.”

“Heat-sickness is a hell of a thing,” Itachi mutters, and Deidara winces at him.

He isn’t prepared for a hand pressed to his forehead before Deidara hisses and pivots, pushing Itachi back to his bedroom. “Go to bed. I’ll tell Yahiko myself.”

“Thank you, Deidara.” The kindness from the younger man is unexpected, but going back to bed right now is an excellent idea, and Itachi has seals to apply, anyway.

His skin itches a few steps down the hallway, and when he turns, Deidara is still standing at the bathroom door and still watching him. There is no mistaking his reaction, not when Itachi has seen alphas react to an omega in heat before now. The way his pupil dilates, the way his scent picks up that slightly aggressively spicy edge, lips pulling back from his teeth like he’s prepared to growl at the first alpha who tries to touch Itachi.

Then he gives himself a shake and steps into the bathroom. “Bed, Uchiha. You need it.”

Itachi goes without another word, swallowing back the urge to follow Deidara into the bathroom if only to ask him if he’s interested in providing himself as a heat partner.

Chapter Text

Joining Akatsuki should have come with an information pamphlet, and that pamphlet should have included a host of important information about joining the organization. Information such as not even looking at Nagato on the cusp of his heat because Yahiko is an angel but Konan can and will have the knot of any alpha she thinks is making eyes at her omega. Information such as living in close quarters with several other alphas and the balance that would need to naturally occur so that no one’s fuse runs too short on bad days.

Information such as the fact that Uchiha Itachi has apparently never had a heat before, or he would have been prepared way in advance because of how picky he is about details.

Deidara is in and out of the bathroom as quickly as he can wash himself up, yanking a brush through his hair and yanking it into a tight tail as he makes his way to the kitchen. He’s evidently given Itachi enough time to get his scent seals up, but there is still a smokey sweetness in the doorway where he lingered that stops Deidara in his tracks.

Damn him. All these conversations about how loving and attentive the Uchiha are as a clan and a family, and apparently none of them gave him enough information to be ready and not scent bomb the rest of the house with his sweet, tempting scent.

Yahiko is at the stove when Deidara walks into the kitchen and perks up when their eyes meet, lifting a hand to wave to him. “Deidara, you’re up! How do eggs sound?”

Speaking of eggs. “Itachi’s gonna be down for a few days. He’s going into heat right now.”

“That would explain why your color is abnormally high.” Sasori raises an eyebrow at him from the far side of the table, tapping his chopsticks on the edge of his plate. “Itachi let you catch his scent, I’m assuming? How interesting. I wouldn’t have expected that—”

Ignoring the implied insult in those words, Deidara drops down at the table. “He didn’t do it on purpose. I’m guessing he’s never had one before. That’d be late, wouldn’t it?”

“Never?” Yahiko frowns at him, shifting a pan on the stove and wiping his hands down with a dish towel set on the counter. “Come to think of it, Itachi’s never come to me to request time off for a heat before, and I would have expected that by now. I can’t believe I didn’t notice. When Nagato comes back, I’ll send him upstairs to check on Itachi.”

“Where’d he go this early?” Though Deidara could guess a few local locations, at least.

“Just scouting for supplies with Konan. His heat’s not far off so he’s getting a little restless.” Yahiko leans against the counter, arms folded across his chest, face shifting into the same tactical countenance that Deidara is only used to seeing on the battlefield. “Are you feeling all right, Deidara? Not going to do something I’ll have to punish you for?”

Punishment likely means being pinned down with Yahiko’s teeth near the back of his neck until he regains whatever logic and common sense he might lose. “No, no, I’m fine, un! I’m not going anywhere near the princess’s room. He just smelled nice for a second.”

“Deidara can control himself around a pretty omega,” Sasori offers, something finally nice.

“Thank you, Danna.” He could have said it the first time, but Deidara will take what the snarky bastard offers. “He’s probably waiting for Hoshigaki to make the offer, anyway.”

Yahiko tips his head back with a sigh. “I suppose so. We’ll just have to wait and see.”

During his short time within the Akatsuki, Deidara has never been under the impression that Nagato needs to be protected from anyone or anything. No one quite understands the extent of his strength when coupled with that of the Rinnegan he carries in his eyes, but his own skills as a shinobi are notably powerful. So when he and Konan return home with supplies in tow, it is entirely unreasonable for Yahiko to drop everything so he can pull his omega into his arms, checking him for nonexistent wounds and harm.

Rolling his eyes, Deidara finishes his coffee and stuffs another bite of rice into his mouth.

“I need you to do one thing for me,” Yahiko says, and Nagato cocks his head at him. “Itachi’s going into heat. You mind taking him some breakfast? He hasn’t come down yet.”

“Probably won’t. I’ll go check on him.” Nagato steals a kiss and picks up the plate Yahiko prepared and set aside to take upstairs, and Deidara breathes a sigh of relief.

Sue him, but his alpha instincts are just a little jumbled with a needy omega upstairs.

The string that catches him around the wrist has him moving automatically to twist his hand free of Sasori’s chakra. Bright hazel eyes meet his from across the table, and Deidara scowls at him. “What do you want? Don’t be grabbing me like that, yeah.”

“Spar?” Sasori’s eyes drift up toward the ceiling, and Deidara bites his tongue, because he thought he was keeping it together. “You’re not the only one who needs it right now.”

Fair enough. Deidara finishes his food in seconds, then stands up. “You’re on.”

Chapter Text

Itachi drags himself up from his nest with a groan and fixes his yukata so that it shows nothing revealing before answering his bedroom door, unsurprised to see Nagato on the other side of the doorway. He offers a gentle smile and holds a plate up, loaded down heavily with rice and eggs, fish and fruit, food that looks far too good right now.

“Yahiko asked me to bring you up something to eat. He cooked it, so you can be sure it isn’t poisoned.” Nagato eyes the room over his shoulder— likely Itachi’s nest, carefully constructed around his futon. “Do you mind if I come in for just a second?”

“My heat isn’t that bad just yet, so it’s fine. And thank you for bringing me food.” Itachi takes the plate with him back to the nest, ignoring the prickle beneath his skin, the unease at having left the space he deemed safe for himself for the next few days.

Nagato sits at his desk, skirting around the edge of his nest. His scent is soothing still instead of challenging, which Itachi is thankful for, because he would feel bad growling at Nagato to get out of his room whether it is due to instinct or not. And he has a lovely scent, the brine of the sea and the sun-warmed sand on a hot summer day, fresh and alive in the constant, rain-drenched atmosphere that Ame offers.

“Is this your first heat?” Nagato asks him, fixing violet eyes on him with a smile.

There is always a part of Itachi that will be alarmed pinned beneath that gaze, but only because he knows those eyes are the key to Nagato’s powers. “It is. From what I understand, late heats are not uncommon in my family, but not exactly expected.”

“Interesting. I wonder if the Uchiha are naturally predisposed to them for some reason.” Nagato watches him intently, and Itachi takes the hint to start eating. He needs the food now while he can build up his energy. By the time he exhausts himself enough to sleep, he’s going to have needed it. “I should ask if you want any of the Akatsuki alphas to assist you through this heat. Spending them alone isn’t really all that enjoyable.”

“Have you ever spent one alone?” Itachi is curious. Yahiko and Konan’s teeth marks have been clearly visible on either side of Nagato’s throat ever since Itachi came here.

The edges of Nagato’s smile dim slightly before he clears his throat, giving his head a little shake. “Not truly. I tried to spend my first heat alone. A few hours in, I was all but crying for my alphas to come help me. We’ve been mated ever since then.”

Crying? Itachi swallows a piece of egg roughly. “I see. I should have thought ahead and chose someone so we could have had a proper conversation about this day.”

“It’s easy to think about planning ahead when you think you have time. It happened to me, but I was lucky.” Now, Nagato’s smile brightens. “I had Yahiko and Konan to help me.”

There is a history there, but Itachi has no desire to press for details when he can tell it must have been something upsetting. Ame is not a kind place to grow up from what he has seen, though Akatsuki are doing their best to change that. Their desire for peace had drawn Itachi’s interest when word spread to him, and he removed himself from the Anbu so he could come to Yahiko and request to be allowed to join his movement.

He has no regrets, though being at home with his family would feel safer. “I don’t know who I would ask. I wouldn’t be surprised if Deidara is angry with me for running into him in the bathroom. Should have warned him through the door before I opened it.”

“Don’t worry. Deidara is fine. I saw him in the kitchen before I came up to check on you.” Nagato’s face softens, though he does not make a move to get any closer. Having uninvited scents in the nest can be… Troublesome. “What about Kisame? He typically serves as your partner, so I assume the two of you have a decent relationship with one another.”

They do. Itachi has never had a single issue working alongside Kisame— Yahiko prefers them to work in pairs for maximum protection from threats— and would likely have asked him if he thought about it. Kiri alphas value strong and powerful omegas from what Kisame has said of his village, though Itachi has never been there.

He would like to think he qualifies as such considering he’s spent the majority of his life honing his skills and ensuring no one can serve as a proper match for him.

“Would you mind asking him on my behalf?” Itachi asks, and Nagato makes a small, surprised sound at him. “I would ask him, but with the way I smell, it would be difficult.”

“Ah, of course. I’ll ask him when he wakes up.” Nagato holds his hand out for the plate when Itachi finishes with it. “Anyone else I should send up if he chooses not to?”

Rejection would sting during a heat, but Itachi is an adult, and he can handle it. “Sasori or Deidara would be fine. Just don’t let them fight each other.”

“Of course not. Rest, Itachi. You’ll need it.” Nagato offers him one more gentle smile and then takes his leave, letting the door close behind him.

Chapter Text

Kisame awakes to the sounds of yelling outside his bedroom window and rolls his eyes as he sits up, stretching his arms over his head before making his way down to the kitchen. Deidara and Sasori are earlier risers than he will ever be, and something must have crawled up their asses this morning to have them already sparring outside. It isn’t a surprise so much as it is an annoyance, but he hardly has the patience to care anymore.

Later, he might pin them both down and wrangle out a promise to wait until at least noon until they start on their favorite activity of beating each other senseless.

“— Still gone,” Yahiko is saying when Kisame steps into the kitchen, pleased at the scent of fish in the air as he runs a hand through his rumpled hair. “Probably be back this evening at the latest. Kakuzu doesn’t like to be out for days on end, after all.”

“Good morning, Kisame.” Konan lifts her mug toward him from her side of the table and Kisame makes a small noise in the back of his throat as he bows his head to her.

Most packs tend to favor a single alpha to whom everyone answers without hesitation, but the Akatsuki are rare in that there seems to be no hierarchy between Yahiko and Konan. Kisame would put money on her in a heartbeat if they ever battled each other for the top spot, but he doubts they would squabble over something so stupid.

He pours himself a cup of coffee, leaning against the counter with a sigh. “Why in Sage’s name are those two idiots outside fighting? It’s too early to fight.”

“If I had to guess, I’d say Deidara has a little tension he needs to work out if he’s going to go on with the rest of his day.” Yahiko snickers softly but Kisame only raises an eyebrow at him, not entirely sure what to think of that remark. “Sorry, you were asleep. Itachi went into heat this morning, and I guess he must have scent bombed Deidara by accident.”

Oh. Oh. Kisame takes a sip of coffee almost too hot to drink and bobs his head in understanding. “Pretty sure that’s how Zabuza ended up mated in the first place, actually.”

“Zabuza from your old pack? Interesting.” Konan sets her mug down on the table, her expression thoughtful, but Kisame doesn’t ask what she’s thinking about.

The sound of soft footsteps and the clear, clean scent of rain and burnt ozone announce Nagato’s arrival to the kitchen just before he makes it. Though an omega, Nagato is by far one of the most frightening shinobi Kisame has ever known, and he used to make his home with men who tore throats out with their teeth if they were in the mood for something a little more vicious than their swords. He tells himself it’s the kekkei genkai he still doesn’t understand, but there’s something a little more predatory about Nagato in general.

“Oh good, Kisame, you’re up.” Nagato smiles at him, and Kisame tips his head.

Wait, what? “Yeah. Sorry if you needed me for something, but I spent half the night not being able to get to sleep, so it was gonna be a late one today.”

“No worries. We don’t have any pressing matters to worry about or anything.” Nagato grips the back of Yahiko’s chair, and it’s almost pitiful how Yahiko leans back, immediately looking for a kiss and pouting when Nagato doesn’t look down at him. Instead, those odd violet eyes are still trained on Kisame. “Itachi wanted me to ask you a question.”

“How’s he holding up? It’s his first heat, isn’t it?” Because it has to be. Because Kisame has been working with Itachi for over a year now, and he would know if Itachi had been in heat prior to now. But there was never a moment where Itachi so much as wavered in anything that he did, and even Kisame usually gets knocked on his ass when he goes into rut.

So either Itachi is a thousand times the man the rest of them are— which Kisame would believe readily— Or this is his first time going into heat.

Nagato nods and combs his fingers through Yahiko’s hair, which soothes his alpha’s bruised ego. “It is, and he’s doing fine from the looks of it. I made sure he ate breakfast when I checked on him. Anyway, he wanted me to ask you if you’d partner him through his heat.”

The statement has Kisame pausing with his mug halfway to his lips again, his eyebrows drawing together in disbelief because no. No, there is absolutely no way that prodigy Uchiha Itachi, who could have absolutely any alpha he wants without even trying, would request Kisame to partner him through a heat. That would never happen, so this must be a joke, though Nagato isn’t exactly boasting a great sense of humor.

He drains the mug before setting it on the counter behind him. “He sure about that?”

“Itachi has never been uncertain about anything in the time I’ve known him,” Nagato says, which is… Helpful, certainly, but Kisame still frowns. “He asked for you. You can always say no if you don’t want to help him, and I can ask one of the others.”

Kisame cocks his head. “Was I his first choice, or the first one you’ve seen so far?”

“First choice.” Nagato winks at him, the corners of his lips twitching.

He was Itachi’s first choice? Kisame needs a minute— But Itachi is in heat now, so he doesn’t have even a minute to spare. “Right. I guess I’ll go let him know I’m willing.”

Itachi chose him. Kisame isn’t going to be able to accept this until he has proof himself.

Chapter Text

In the time they have been working together, Itachi has all but memorized Kisame’s scent.

Kisame smells like sea salt and brine and the metallic tang of blood on metal, and the scent never goes hot and spicy like the other members of the Akatsuki do. Instead, he goes cool and sharp like the edge of a blade, the oceanic tang growing stronger and more noticeable when his rut is close, or when he’s angry. Itachi remembers long missions with longer nights spent with his back pressed up against Kisame’s, inhaling the comforting aroma and allowing himself, for just a moment, to take comfort in it.

He sits up in his nest when he picks up a fresh trail of that scent, nose twitching as soft, heavy footsteps follow slowly in its wake. A soft, excited little whine bubbles up in the back of his throat and he furiously swallows it back down, tugging his yukata around himself even though he knows he looks nothing close to cool and composed.

Besides, if Kisame is coming to his bedroom, then he said yes. He said yes.

A soft knock at the door sounds and Itachi takes a slow, deep breath as he pushes himself to his feet, almost tripping over the edge of his nest as he darts to the door. He has to stop himself, to calm down, before he opens it, head tilted up to meet his alpha’s eyes.

“Itachi-san.” Kisame’s voice is not as deep as most of the alphas Itachi knows, but it shivers down his spine in a way none of them ever have. “I believe you called for me.”

Saliva runs thick on Itachi’s tongue and he swallows it back, his nose and throat full of Kisame’s scent. “I did,” he says, and his voice sounds off to his own ears. Breathy and light.

Omega hindbrain says to drop the yukata and drag Kisame back to his nest, get it scented properly with his alpha’s mouthwatering scent and then get on his hands and knees and plead with Kisame to fuck him. It isn’t an urge Itachi is familiar with, but he would be lying if he said he never saw Kisame as attractive. Who wouldn’t want him?

“You sure about that?” Kisame smiles at him, all sharp teeth and Itachi’s skin runs with goosebumps. He imagines what those would feel like sinking into his skin

And then his brain snaps back to the present and he frowns. “Why wouldn’t I be sure?”

“It’s your first heat and I’m just the alpha you spend the most time with.” Kisame leans against the doorway and Itachi wants to drag him across the threshold, but something is wrong. Alpha doesn’t think Itachi would choose him? “One of the others—”

“No.” Itachi knows there are options, but Kisame is the one he trusts the most, he one he trusts to have his back in the field, the one who watched over him and worked alongside him. “Unless you don’t want to. I won’t force you. But I want you .”

Kisame leans down just enough that his forehead bumps against Itachi’s, and the contact already has Itachi swaying closer to him, the starch fading from his muscles. Alpha is here, alpha will take care of him. He’s sure of it. “Hell of a compliment coming from you.”

Itachi inhales and this close, Kisame’s scent is intoxicating. His hands move of their own accord though he hardly has a mind to stop them, fingers gathering in the fabric of Kisame’s shirt to draw him closer. “Kisame,” he murmurs, throat thick and tight with want. “Alpha,” he says, tugging Kisame into the room, pulling him in closer.

That seems to be all the reassurance Kisame needs— and why wouldn’t Itachi choose him— because he wraps an arm around Itachi’s waist and then hauls him up. It startles a squeak out of him and then an appreciative purr, hands splaying across Kisame’s broad back as he drags his face against the side of Kisame’s neck. Because Kisame is strong enough to hold him up off of his feet with one arm while he closes the door with his free hand, carrying Itachi back to his nest like he weighs nothing. To Kisame, he probably does.

He’s tossed into the softness of his nest like a doll and is barely scrambling to prop up on his elbows when Kisame drops down on top of him. It’s one singular, predatory motion, landing on his hands and knees so Itachi is wrapped in his heat and scent without bearing his weight. His pulse races. His cunt runs hot and wet with want and need.

Oh, he chose correctly. He most definitely chose the proper alpha for his heat.

“Comfortable, Itachi-san?” Kisame brushes his nose against Itachi’s and a low whine tears itself from Itachi’s throat. Not fear but excitement, his body squirming on his futon. “You’ve made such a pretty nest. I should have known you would.”

The compliment has Itachi’s face burning hotter and he reaches for Kisame blindly, hands sliding into the thicket of his hair as he drags him down and close for a kiss.

Not that Itachi has any idea what he’s doing because he’s only kissed a few people in his life, mostly when he was younger and not sure about what to do, how to move his lips or where to put his tongue, but Kisame is more experienced than him. Cups the back of his head and kisses him until he’s weak and trembling with want, until his legs are twitching apart and then curling around Kisame’s waist to pull him down, an open invitation.

He’s never had sex before, but if he’s having sex with Kisame, it’s going to be amazing.

Chapter Text

Deidara smells like fire and clay and ash, an aroma that is pleasant when he is in a good mood and downright pungent when someone runs afoul of him. Despite offering to help him work out the tension lining his muscles ever since encountering Itachi, Sasori regrets saying a word as he coughs, swinging his arm up to ward the scent away from his nose. His free hand is occupied with his chakra strings, currently coiled around Deidara’s limbs.

“What the hell is your problem?” His eyes sting with Deidara’s sour scent, so sharp and harsh that not even the rain that always falls in Ame dilutes it enough to make it bearable. If he keeps this up, that scent is going to start seeping into the house.

“I don’t have a problem, un!” Except Deidara’s bright blue eyes are almost entirely black, his pupils swallowing up his irises as he bares his canines at Sasori in open challenge.

This is not behavior Sasori has ever seen out of Deidara because none of them have been stupid enough to challenge each other within the Akatsuki. Distantly, Sasori remembers a handful of Suna-nin, remembers the cocky alpha who looked at Sasori— smaller and less of a visible threat than most, almost pretty in a way— and bared his teeth like that.

It is also distinctly the protective behavior of an alpha shielding an omega. Sasori has never seen himself like this but he remembers shielding a crying child with hair a deeper red than his, remembers the rumble of an unfriendly growl in his throat and the reflection of his bloodthirsty expression in the eyes of the man he killed to protect that child. Worth it in the end; Sasori would never turn his back on a child in need like that.

“You don’t?” Sasori’s vision blurs but he advances on Deidara just the same, snarling when Deidara growls at him, like two vicious wolves about to pounce one another. “You’re literally burning the inside of my nose and you don’t have a problem? Tell me the truth!”

He yanks the chakra strings hard enough that Deidara goes sprawling in the mud where he tries to scrabble to his feet. Golden hair has fallen out of the tie that Deidara keeps it in, spilling into his face and doing nothing to soften the feral rage in his expression.

The coil of vines and tree root comes directly from the ground, catching Sasori around the waist and the arms, wrapping around Deidara’s entire body and lifting him from the mud. They both struggle against the hold too strong for either of them to break; Zetsu pouts at them from the back porch, one hand draped over the railing and spilling down into the earth. Clearly, he was what stopped them from taking this sparring session any farther.

They probably would have, Sasori thinks. They probably would have drawn blood.

“Are you two quite done?” The question comes from Nagato, leaning against the railing beside Zetsu, lips twisted into an ugly scowl that makes Sasori’s stomach drop. “I expect better from both of you. Acting like children will give the Akatsuki a bad name.”

Yahiko and Konan are the ones who should likely discipline them for acting this way but it makes Sasori feel worse hearing it come from Nagato. He lowers his head in shame just as Deidara squeezes his eyes shut, his scent finally edging back toward something normal. Both of them are muddy and have been fighting, have been nearly approaching true violence with each other for reasons Sasori doesn’t even think he can properly understand.

“Let them down, now, Zetsu.” Nagato stretches out a hand and brushes his fingers along the fleshy pod that encapsulates much of Zetsu’s upper body. “Thank you for helping.”

Always eager for praise, Zetsu beams and lets them down gently. “No problem, Nagato.”

“Get inside and get washed up.” Nagato shakes his head at them and Sasori rolls his shoulders, offering a hand to Deidara and pulling him up out of the mud. “You’re both idiots. You should have asked Itachi himself what he wanted before fighting over him.”

Sasori stiffens. “We weren’t…” And then he stops, because, well, weren’t they?

“Sorry, Danna.” Deidara scrubs a hand over his face, sweeping wet and muddy hair back out of his eyes. “My fault. I should have just taken a cold shower or something.”

Nagato considers the two of them from where he stands, then sighs and rolls his shoulders. “Do me a favor,” he says, “and check on Itachi and Kisame when you’re done washing up. Konan and I were out this morning, but you two have been here.”

Fair enough. Sasori nods and slings a companionable arm around Deidara’s shoulders, rubbing a hand up and down his arm as he guides him back into the house. The fact that Deidara only leans on him and doesn’t complain about the coddling says that his ego has been suitably bruised this morning, and he appreciates the comfort.

Wash up, check on Itachi and Kisame, and maybe drag Deidara into his room for some help on one of his newest puppets. At least it gives them both something to do.

Chapter Text

The sound of a faint knock at the door has Itachi’s head swiveling toward it, nose twitching as he scents the air from where he is perched across Kisame’s hips. His yukata has been tossed aside to bare his overheated skin to the air, and he shivers as Kisame’s broad hands trace up his sides, smoothing over his hips and squeezing faintly. As patient as ever, Kisame has been content to let a naked omega in heat sit on top of him and explore.

Alpha, the scents on the other side of the door say, and Itachi’s skin prickles. Fire-ash-clay and sun-sand-venom , a pair of scents that slot so neatly into each other that finding the thread of difference between them is more difficult than it should be.

If he did not know better, Itachi would assume Deidara and Sasori have mated each other.

“Seems like we have guests.” Kisame tilts his head, and Itachi glances down at him, tries to pick up any hint of possessive or anger or challenge, but there is nothing. “Up to you what to do about that, Itachi-san. I wouldn’t presume to make your decisions for you.”

“Maybe they were sent up here for something.” His words are off to his own ears, his voice dipping into a lower register as he pushes himself up off of Kisame’s lap.

He should put his yukata on but he ignores it, stumbling to the door and cracking it open enough to see Deidara standing on the other side of the doorway. The one blue eye he can see widens slightly before Deidara clears his throat and twists his gaze away.

That gesture bares the side of his throat; Itachi runs his tongue across his lips.

“Nagato wanted us to check on you two and make sure everything was fine.” Deidara’s voice is flat, carefully so Itachi thinks, but he barely cares about that. This close, Deidara’s scent is unmistakable, tinted slightly with rainwater but otherwise so clean and close.

Itachi does not realize what he’s doing until Deidara’s body stiffens against his own. Does not remember opening the door wider so he could press his face against Deidara’s throat to scent him properly. He smells almost like an Uchiha except for the earthen richness beneath the fire and ash, rich black soil Itachi wants to sink his fingers into.

“Um, Itachi?” Sasori clears his throat, and Itachi tilts his head just enough to aim an eye in Sasori’s direction. “I’m sure you aren’t intending to make him uncomfortable, but you’re in heat right now, and… Believe me, you smell incredible. Too good, even.”

“And it’s going to kill me if you don’t get back.” Deidara’s voice is lower, deeper, a vibrating rumble that resonates in Itachi’s chest and curls in the pit of his stomach.

Instead of answering, Itachi tilts his head, brushes his nose against Deidara’s throat and revels in the way he shivers. “You smell good. Both of you smell so good.”

“You have an alpha in your nest already last I checked.” Deidara shudders but makes no move to push Itachi away, rather twisting his head back a little, baring more of his throat.

Irritation itches beneath his skin. Itachi glances back over his shoulder to where Kisame is watching him, propped up on his elbows, body posture lax and unworried. He eyes the sides of his nest, then tilts his head back toward Deidara. “I can make the nest bigger.”

“What is it that you want, Itachi?” Sasori asks. His pupils are dilating, black eating up the delicate pale hazel, pressing himself in closer, scent hot and savory and perfect.

“Kisame, do you mind?” Itachi looks back at him, pleased when Kisame just chuckles and shakes his head. Confident, his mind whispers. An alpha assured of his position and not threatened by others, which means Itachi can do exactly what he wants. “Good.”

Because Deidara is closer to him, it’s simple to cup a hand around the back of his neck, keeping him in place for Itachi to drag his tongue over Deidara’s scent gland. The low groan he receives for his efforts pools low in his gut, and he shoves his thighs together as slick drips down his skin. The meaning is clear enough. A moment later and Deidara’s arms wind tight around his waist, mouth hungry as it finds Itachi’s own.

He still has a hand free and he uses it to pull Sasori into the room, stumbling and nearly tripping over his own feet in the process. The bedroom door gets shut one way or another and the moment he’s free from Deidara’s kiss, Itachi leans over him to seek out Sasori.

“Are you sure? Three alphas for your first heat?” Sasori cups his face, groans when Itachi licks into his mouth impatiently. Yes, he is sure. He never makes decisions lightly.

“What better way to spend it?” Kisame calls from the nest, and Itachi purrs in answer.

“Believe me, I’m fine with sharing.” Deidara leans back only to pull his shirt up and over his head, and Itachi’s hands are there a moment later, exploring warm slightly damp skin.

Just this once, he deserves to be selfish.

Chapter Text

“As pretty as the three of you look together, I’m getting tired of just lying here and watching.” Though Kisame would be lying if he said that having a front row seat to watching the three men in front of him kiss and touch one another was not a treat.

His eyes have pinned on Itachi for the most part, noting the way he arches and stretches into very gentle caress of his soft pale skin, watching him flush and squirm the bolder that Deidara and Sasori grow. There is something charming about watching Itachi confidently drag both of them into the room only to seemingly remember his lack of experience right away, though he is in good hands. Kisame has plenty of experience on his own.

“Jealous, un?” Deidara peers at him from under a fall of ruffled honey hair, having long since last the elastic band holding his hair up and out of his face. Itachi snapped it.

“Why would I be?” Kisame raises an eyebrow. He needs no further reassurance from Itachi that he is wanted considering he was Itachi’s first choice, and the lack of challenge from either Deidara or Sasori assures that he is going absolutely nowhere.

Deidara’s tongue is obscenely long and wet when he drags it over his lips, the rich earthy roll of his scent drawing a pleased rumble up from Kisame’s chest. He spent most of his time in Kiri lodging with alphas and a single omega. He learned to adapt to it.

“Don’t try to start fights you can’t win, Deidara.” Sasori lifts his head from Itachi’s throat, eyes heavily lidded, lips kiss-swollen and red. One pale hand darts out, smacking Deidara on the shoulder hard enough to draw a growl from the younger man. “There’s no reason you can’t find enjoyment in more than Itachi while you’re here.”

Oh? Kisame glances between the two of them and wonders if the rumor that they serve as more than simply partners has any merit to it. “I’ve always wondered what else you use those hands of yours for. Surely they aren’t just for chewing explosive clay.”

Any true predator knows how to bait their prey successfully, and Kisame is no different.

A neat twist of his head has Deidara dropping a quick kiss on Itachi’s shoulder before he pounces, lean and limber grace as he lands on top of Kisame. The weight knocks him off of his forearms and then Deidara leans over him, the ends of his hair tickling Kisame’s face as he leans down for a kiss. It’s rough and hot and wet, and Kisame gives as good as he gets, palming Deidara’s ribcage as he hauls the smaller alpha closer to him.

He has to give Deidara credit for neatly evading cutting his tongue on Kisame’s teeth.

“Hmm, is this for Itachi only?” Deidara shifts his hips, rocking back and down, all but grinding the swell of his ass against Kisame’s erection barely confined beneath the underwear Itachi had yet to remove. “Or am I allowed to have some fun with it?”

So Deidara is interested in alphas. Good to know. “Have at it, pretty boy.”

“Oh, I like being complimented.” Deidara smirks at him, then slides down Kisame’s thighs. He hooks his fingers in the waistband of his underwear and rips, shredding it in seconds.

Kisame chuckles and tucks an arm behind his head. “Remind me to do it more often.”

Deidara inhales sharply as he wraps a hand around Kisame’s cock with a confidence that few outside of Kiri have ever shown. The size is not what intimidates people so much as the firm ridges along his shaft, but Deidara hardly seems fazed as he traces the shape of them with his fingers. And then he flexes his hand, and the mouth on his palm gapes open in a wicked grin, long tongue spilling out from the opening in his flesh.

“I give the best handjobs. Ask Sasori if you don’t believe me.” And then he wraps his hand around Kisame’s cock again, tongue wet and squirming around his shaft.

Every stroke has Kisame groaning, the tight grip and wet slide enough to have his hips bucking up, fucking into the curl of Deidara’s fist. It’s divine and better than anyone’s hands have ever felt, but Deidara is not just anyone. And maybe Kisame enjoys the way his cheekbones flush and his tongue lolls out of his smiling mouth just as much as he enjoys the quick twists and turns of his wrist. Sue him, but he’d collect pretty boys if he could.

“Knew your dick would be big.” Deidara loosens his hold just to curl his tongue around the head, and Kisame is sensitive enough that he curses. “You put this in Itachi and he won’t be able to walk for days, but that’s all right. We’re keeping him here for at least that long.”

Kisame snorts and palms Deidara’s still-clothed thigh, wondering what he looks like naked and hard. “Guess we’ll have to find ways to pass the time when he gets tired.”

“I can think of a few.” Deidara’s free hand darts up, fingers skittering across Kisame’s chest, the wet warmth of an uncurling tongue following in its wake as he grins.

If Kisame has his way, Itachi won’t be the only one unable to walk at the end of his heat.

Chapter Text

Sasori tips his head as he presses a kiss to Itachi’s throat, watching Deidara and Kisame out of the corner of one eye and hiding a smirk against Itachi’s skin. He should have known Nagato had ulterior motives when he sent them in here, but he isn’t about to complain when Itachi is going for his pants with more enthusiasm than Sasori has ever seen him show anything save for a fresh order of dango brought specifically for him.

And Sasori is going to give him so much dango. Spoiling him during his heat is important.

“Do you want some help?” His voice is high and breathy as he nudges Itachi’s wandering fingers away only because he can get out of his own clothes just a little faster.

“Much appreciated.” Itachi’s eyes sweep up and down his body without hesitation, hungry and dark and then they spin into a familiar array of crimson and black and power.

Itachi just wants to remember his first heat. Sasori can hardly blame him for that.

“What are these?” Itachi’s hands are all over him a moment later, fingers tracing over the scars on Sasori’s skin, various reminders of the war and the final battle he fought in Suna before leaving the village entirely. “Since when does anyone get close enough to scar you?”

“I was younger. Less practiced than I am now.” More arrogant and reckless and willing to challenge the alphas who bared their teeth at him to prove he was worthy. “And some of them are from the Fourth Kazekage. I paid him back double for what little damage he did.”

In all fairness, Sasori had never faced Gold Dust before that moment. He was unprepared.

But Itachi is distracted now that he has his hands on Sasori’s body once again, tracing him with the same curious reverence that Sasori reserves when constructing another of his puppets. It is gratifying to have such a powerful and desirable omega touching him like this and looking at him like this, and Sasori rumbles in the base of his throat as he wraps a hand around the back of Itachi’s neck to draw him in for another kiss. He tastes even better than he smells, and Sasori is not going to waste time when Itachi is right here.

His boldness pays off when the hands wandering along his chest dart up to his shoulders, squeezing tight and pivoting both of them just to send Sasori stumbling back into the nest. It’s all soft and warm so his landing hardly hurts, and then Itachi is on top of him.

There are omegas in Suna who remind him of Itachi now, predatory and powerful in a way normally associated with alphas. That quality is far more dangerous in an omega.

Itachi is also naked which means that when he settles across Sasori’s hips like he belongs there, it puts a lot of slick wet heat right on top of Sasori’s cock. It’s hard not to arch up into that, grind himself against Itachi’s cunt just because he possibly can.

“Oh, that’s a pretty picture.” Deidara glances at the two of them, but his eyes are glazed over and thoughtful the same way they were when Sasori first teased him about whether he thought he could take another alpha’s knot. Like he’s thinking about that.

A glance at Kisame’s considerable erection makes Sasori pause. That could feasibly fit—

And then he’s distracted by Itachi doing exactly what he thought of doing himself, rolling his hips down to drag the slick heat of his swollen folds along Sasori’s shaft. A sharp breath sucks through his teeth and his hands dart up to grip Itachi’s waist, not sure if he should tell him to stop or encourage him to keep going as much as he wants to.

“I was first choice,” Kisame informs him, and Sasori huffs up at him. “So you can enjoy him rutting against your dick all you want, but I’m the first one fucking him.”

“Works for me,” Sasori says, and Itachi purrs, leaning down to drag his tongue along Sasori’s throat. Just like Deidara did, Sasori tilts his head back and to the side, baring his throat in open submission. For Itachi, he’d be happy to lie back and let him take control.

Deidara clears his throat. “Should probably fertility seal if we’re gonna go three-on-one. Not gonna be able to dodge getting knocked up with three alphas knotting you, Tachi.”

Itachi cocks his head, eyes flicking between the three of them before he drags his tongue across his lips, smearing them slick and shiny. “I was raised with a large family. I intend to have one of my own. I’ll leave sealing up to each of you individually.”

...Well then. Sasori’s rumbling reaches a deeper pitch, hips rocking up against Itachi’s own. “Far be it from me to deny a beautiful omega my kits if that’s what he wants.”

“Oh hell yeah,” Deidara says, and he gives his hand a twist right before Kisame opens his mouth, drawing a long, low groan from the older alpha.

If kits are what Itachi wants, it looks like kits are what Itachi is going to get.

Chapter Text

Itachi is not prepared for his first heat enough to know which alpha he wants to bring back to his nest without Nagato prompting him for an answer. He never thought about it much before joining the Akatsuki, though his parents were proponents of the idea to have a heat partner in mind, to have asked about it ahead of time, so he would be able to just turn to whoever was necessary and not have to worry about anything else.

Mostly, alphas have never affected Itachi in the way they do other omegas. He used to think he might have been… Broken, maybe, or like his instincts were hardwired wrong.

But having three handsome, musk-scented alphas in his nest is doing it for him in a big way. In a great big, embarrassing instinctual way he never expected.

And he refuses to inspect it closely now. Instead, he hooks his teeth into the side of Deidara’s neck right beneath his scent glands and hisses, giving his skin a gentle tug. Off of Kisame is what he thinks, because he is entirely for the idea of Kisame being his first in more ways than one. He’s the alpha Itachi trusts most in the world besides his mother.

“Trade me places,” Deidara says, though his voice goes soft and lax in a way Itachi has never heard before as he slides off of Kisame’s lap. His hand makes a disgustingly lewd wet noise when he tugs it away. “Got him nice and wet for you, Tachi. Should make it easier.”

All Itachi can manage is a purr and a grateful nip to Deidara’s neck before he climbs back onto Kisame right where he’d been before his room was full of handsome, receptive alphas.

“Comfy?” Kisame looks entirely relaxed beneath him, which is not something Itachi would expect from an alpha considering the optimal breeding position puts them on top.

“Yes.” It would be a lie to say anything else, though Itachi adjusts so he can press down on Kisame like he was Sasori. It’s different. There’s texture there, and his breath catches tight in his throat. Oh, but it's a good texture. “Any objections to this position?”

Kisame flashes him a smile that is all teeth and Itachi wonders what it would feel like to get bitten by him. “Not at all, Itachi-san. I’ll never complain about you on top of me.”

It probably says more than Itachi can process that Kisame is still referring to him respectfully when Deidara has dropped all pretense and opted for a nickname— Itachi doesn’t really care. Kisame is a good man and a good alpha and Itachi is going to ride his cock until he can’t think about anything, much less all this confusing diatribe. His instincts sing at the chance to have such a powerful, jutsu-strong and physically strong alpha willingly beneath him, offering him his knot and kits and that is far too much right now.

Kits? Maybe pups, in Kisame’s case. Shark pups that would be equally cute and equally dangerous because Itachi remembers being told their teeth come in sharp.

He slips a hand between their bodies and wraps his fingers around Kisame’s cock, hot and hard and slick with spit and his own wetness. Kisame’s hips buck up toward his touch and he’s only given a moment to really enjoy that before his needs demand that he sits down on his alpha’s cock, fills that clenching emptiness inside of him.

“I’d go slow—” Sasori says, but Itachi ignores him entirely, wetting his lips as he lifts his hips and sinks down, splitting himself open with Kisame’s cock and keening.

He’s thicker and harder than he looks and Itachi throws his head back at the stretch and the pressure, not overwhelming but teetering on the edge. His body hardly minds, his cunt eagerly stretching and swallowing Kisame’s cock down, walls squeezing tight around him as Itachi eases his way down. There’s so much of him to take in that Itachi doubts all of it can fit, but that’s just a challenge. Itachi will make it fit.

“Oh fuck,” Kisame wheezes, and Itachi blinks at him bleerily, aware that his mouth is hanging open. That he’s panting. That there is drool dripping down his chin, but he doesn’t care. He just lets go of Kisame and slides himself down the rest of the way.

His instincts are purring at seeing Kisame flushed and trembling beneath him.

“Impressive,” Sasori says, but Itachi is only barely aware of his presence, hyper aware of Kisame’s hands on his hips, of how full he is, how satisfied he’s going to be when he has Kisame’s cock and knot inside of him. “Itachi isn’t breakable at all.”

“Might break me instead,” Kisame admits, and Itachi grins around his panting.

That would be a hell of a goal to aim for. He’ll settle for making Kisame swear again.

Chapter Text

Deidara has seen some impressive feats in his life, but watching Itachi sit on Kisame’s inhumanly sized and shaped cock is definitely up there. Top five for sure. The sight has him licking his lips and raises that instinct deep in his gut to fuck and knot and breed, especially when Itachi is panting and drool and taking it so well.

He could probably take Deidara and Sasori together. Maybe not their knots, not at the same time— Or maybe he could. They have plenty of time to experiment about that.

Sasori makes a low, pitiful noise in the back of his throat that redirects Deidara’s attention and reminds him that Itachi makes a hell of a pretty shot, but he isn’t the only person in the room. Far from it for that matter, and Kisame is looking at Itachi like he’s the only thing in the world, canting his hips up when Itachi plants his hands on Kisame’s chest and starts riding him like he’s done it a thousand times before.

Fuck, Deidara wants to pin him down, put his teeth in Itachi’s throat and hold him there, fuck him until he’s wrapped sweet hot tight around Deidara’s knot.

But Itachi is occupied, and he is far from the only one in the room who would submit.

“Hands and knees,” he snaps downward, sliding off of Sasori’s lap and bringing a hand down flat on his thigh when he doesn’t respond as quickly as Deidara wants him to. “ Now.

When Sasori tips his head forward to peek at Deidara through the fan of his crimson lashes, it goes straight to Deidara’s cock. “Is that how you want me, Alpha?”

“Fuck yes it is.” And because Sasori is not moving fast enough for his tastes, Deidara’s hands snap shut around his waist and force him over onto his stomach, at which point Sasori gets his knees underneath him and presents. “Oh, now that’s what I like to see.”

“I knew the two of you were—” And then Kisame cuts off entirely when Itachi does some little rolling motion with his hips, greedy enough to want three alphas in his nest and greedy enough to want all of the attention on him. Deidara can respect that. He’s going to have a hell of a time putting his teeth and his scent all over that pretty body.

And he’s going to put his teeth in Kisame’s neck just to prove a point, too. But for now, Sasori, who makes a little inviting noise as he spreads his thighs wider.

Deidara’s hands do a better job at getting anyone slick and hot than any lubricant could ever dream and he wastes no time with Sasori, teeth catching at the back of his thigh as he slots a hand over the curve of his ass. Kinjutsu probably is not meant to be used like this but Deidara is an artist, a visionary, and the way Sasori whines when the tongue on his palm licks its way inside of him is well worth the trouble Deidara went through for this.

“S’what I like to hear, yeah.” He knocks his elbow into Sasori’s knee to push his legs wider apart, cupping his free hand around Sasori’s cock. The way he groans at the wet slick curl of Deidara’s tongue on his swollen flesh only burns deep in Deidara’s blood.

He can do the work of three people without even having to try. He’s an amazing alpha.

“How’s that feel, Sasori?” He rubs his fingers along slick skin, massaging the spot just behind Sasori’s balls that has his hands fisting in the nest, one foot nearly kicking Deidara in the face. He only grins and bites Sasori on the calf. “Oh, that’s a memorable reaction.”

“You’re such a fucking tease.” Sasori twists his head around to look at Deidara, flushed hot along the cheekbones and panting open-mouthed. “Put something else in me, asshole.”

“This not enough for you, baby?” Because Deidara’s tongues are longer than the one in his mouth, he can reach far more creative places. It’s easy to rub the length of his tongue over Sasori’s prostate, and it really does it for him when Sasori keens at him.

And then Sasori flutters his lashes and pulls his lower lip between his teeth and pouts at him. “Alpha,” he whines, “I want more. You’re going to give me more, aren’t you?”

In some parallel universe, Sasori is the whiniest, poutiest, brattiest omega in the entire fucking continent, and Deidara is the alpha roped into working with him who cannot resist giving him everything he begs for. “Absolutely, un. You know I take good care of you.”

His hole’s wet enough that two of Deidara’s fingers go in smooth and easy, and he rumbles as he presses a kiss to the small of Sasori’s back. And he catches Kisame’s eyes over that smooth pale plane, smirking at him just as Kisame raises an eyebrow. If he thinks Deidara isn’t going to make a very serious play to have him pinned down after he’s sat on that knot, well… They’ll figure it out when they get there. And they so will get there.

But for now, Deidara is content to listen to Sasori moan around his fingers, sliding a hand down to get his cock good and wet so it’s all one slick slide when he fucks him.

Chapter Text

Being inside of Uchiha Itachi for the first time is everything Kisame hoped it would be and more, and the very loud alphas next to him don’t subtract from the experience.

Itachi’s lean, strong body rises and falls in smooth, swift motions, head thrown back and all of that silky hair clinging to his cheeks and throat and shoulders from sweat. His skin is beautifully flushed and glowing, his hands sure where his fingers dig into Kisame’s chest, simultaneously pinning him down and giving Itachi the foundation he needs to ride as hard as he wants. And every slick stroke of his cunt drives Kisame a little crazier.

He takes it better than any mouthy, confident and sure omega ever has. Most of them shut up once Kisame is actually inside of them, too wide and thick to handle, shaped too strangely. He doesn’t blame him. There’s a lot to take in but Itachi bottoms out with breathy moans, nails digging in so hard he’s going to leave marks in Kisame’s tough skin.

“You take cock so well, Itachi-san.” He shouldn’t be as mouthy and certainly can’t match Deidara in that regard, but saying nothing feels wrong. Dark eyes slide down to meet his, swollen lips parting around a low, soft cry as Itachi ripples around him. “Sage, that’s—”

Pale hands dart up to his shoulders as Itachi leans down to kiss him, tongue licking the words right out of his mouth before he can finish the thought. Not that he’s complaining. He strokes a hand down Itachi’s spine, admiring the lean muscle there, the way Itachi tries to keep grinding down against his cock even in the new position. He needs it.

Black and crimson flash right in front of his face when Itachi leans back to breathe, lips swollen and slick, face hot and pink. “Kisame,” he whispers, and Sage, it does it for Kisame to hear Itachi say his name like that. So reverent, like a prayer. “Alpha, it feels so good.”

“Does it?” Kisame cups his cheek, watching Itachi turn to nuzzle into his palm even as his own breath catches when Itachi squeezes tight around him. “You feel like heaven.”

Teeth catch at his palm as Sharingan eyes meet his once more, and the thrill of danger that runs down his spine only makes it better. Those eyes are a reminder that between them, Itachi is stronger, Itachi is more capable, and Itachi could have put him on his back and kept him here with nothing more than a request. Kisame would have done it for him.

Slender fingers stretch up to trace the line of his jaw as Itachi pushes himself up on his other hand, black hair spilling over his shoulders. He’s a vision, a dream. “I’m glad I could feel good for you, Alpha.” He wets his lips and Kisame could come from that alone, Itachi poised above him like a predator considering his next meal. “Now put your back into it.”

There is command in Itachi’s voice and Kisame grins up at him, flashing his teeth as he grips Itachi’s hips tight and rolls up into his next downward stroke. It punches the air out of Itachi’s lungs and has him scrabbling for balance, but Kisame doesn’t let up on him.

After all, Itachi asked him for it. What kind of alpha would he be if he didn’t give his cock to his pretty, panting omega just the way he wanted it?

Itachi barely weighs anything and Kisame carries a sword heavier than him on a daily basis. It’s too gratifying to listen to his moans pitch up into yelps and keens, nails dragging down Kisame’s chest so hard they leave marks as Itachi throws his head back. His throat works furiously around every helpless little sound, every cry, every breathy plea for more, don’t stop, alpha please, and Kisame is not about to tell him no.

“Close, Itachi-san, you gonna stop me?” He palms one pale thigh, digging his nails in until Itachi looks down at him, all flushed and wrecked and gorgeous. “If you let me knot you while you’re in heat, there’s a good chance you’ll end up with my pups.”

Good. ” The word is a half-snarl as Itachi grinds down on his cock, almost ruthless in his demands for what he wants. “I want that. I want all of them. Only me.

That… Kisame will bring up later, when Itachi comes down from the pheromone high and can think again. “Whatever you want, Itachi-san. That is, if you can handle it.”

He can feel every flutter and squeeze and ripple of Itachi’s cunt and he knows when he’s close, knows the moment when Itachi reaches the tipping point and comes undone on top of him. Knows it in the way he tenses up all over and wails, back arched, throat exposed and begging for a bite, thighs quivering so beautifully. Kisame rumbles low in his throat, pleased to see his omega swallowed up by raptured bliss just like it should be.

A low sound of confusion pulls from his throat when Itachi lifts off of him just as his knot begins to well, and he thinks Itachi might have changed his mind after all. Wouldn’t blame him— And then the Sharingan pins him down in place, Itachi’s breath coming in sharp little pants as he meets Kisame’s eyes, his own hazy with pleasure.

And then he sits down hard, swallowing Kisame’s knot inside of him in a sudden motion that jars Kisame into his own orgam before he can even properly process that.

“Fuck, Itachi!” He throws his head back against the pillows, panting hard, hands biting bruises into Itachi’s hips that the omega must not mind as he says nothing about it.

He feels lips brush against his jaw before Itachi whispers right up against his ear. “I can take everything you throw at me, Alpha, and more. Don’t forget it.”

Chapter Text

The predatory rumble against Sasori’s back coaxes an answering complaint from his own throat as Deidara’s knot finally goes down enough for him to slip free. Sasori is a little sore but is used to the slight discomfort, shifting to make it bearable; an alpha’s body was not made with taking another alpha’s knot in mind, but he and Deidara have spent the past six months or so proving there is literally nothing stopping them if they try hard enough.

He grumbles and shifts a little more out of his own slick spill of semen, watching through half-closed lashes as Deidara prowls around the nest to where Itachi is curled up on Kisame’s chest. The two of them make a beautiful picture, the sharp contrast of Itachi’s lean body against Kisame’s muscular frame, fitting together in a way that defies logic.

Sasori flicks a tongue against one of his canines, idly wondering if sharkskin can be easily punctured by an alpha’s bite or if it takes much more force than that.

“Deidara,” Kisame says, cracking open one eyelid the moment Deidara’s pheromones flare up in the air. “Wanna tell me what you think you’re doing, hotshot?”

In answer, Deidara flashes a smile, flattening himself down in the nest next to Kisame, looking for all the world like a wolf prepared to pounce his prey as his lips pull back from his teeth. “Just waiting my turn nice and patient. See? I’m not even touching you.”

“For the first time in your life, you’re actually keeping your hands to yourself,” Sasori quips, reaching for a loose blanket to pull up over himself, nuzzling down into it.

Sue him, but growing up in Suna means he’s used to heat, not the cold.

Kisame shifts, and a large hand slips beneath Sasori’s head, palm rough against his cheek even as he presses down into it with a thankful rumble. The two of them have been members of the Akatsuki longer than Itachi and Deidara have, and Sasori can’t remember having a single issue with Kisame in the past. On the rare occasion the two of them had to work together— partnerless and with a need to complete a mission— they got along well enough despite being the most potentially opposite members of the group.

And if he can take Deidara’s knot with only slight discomfort after the fact, then there’s no reason to find out if he can take Kisame’s as well. How much bigger can it really be?

“I can keep my hands to myself,” Deidara snaps, but there’s no heat behind his words.

“Stop arguing.” Itachi shifts on top of Kisame, tilting toward Deidara, eyes once again the lovely glossy black Sasori is familiar with. “You’re awfully close, Deidara. Are you going to pounce me as soon as his knot goes down? Or were you going to try to pounce him?

Deidara grins, wide and fierce. “I’m not picky, Tachi. I’ll take whatever I’m given happily.”

“I should like to clarify one thing, though it’s a bit late for one of us.” Sasori is careful as he shifts closer to Kisame and Itachi, not wanting to jar them while they’re still tied together. “Were you serious about wanting children with all of us? Whether Kisame is successful or not would have no bearing on Deidara and I sealing ourselves.”

The last thing he wants is for Itachi to… Get wrapped up in the heat of the moment and to make a choice he perhaps was not prepared for. Sasori has no doubts Itachi wants children, has seen him interact with the orphans in Ame enough to know better, but—

Itachi turns his head, resting his cheek against Kisame’s chest as he raises one slender dark brow at Sasori. “I said what I meant to say, Sasori, though I’d like to thank you for taking the time to double check. It’s up to the two of you what you want to do with that information. I won’t hold any choice you make against either of you.”

Deidara chooses this moment to slink forward, tucking his nose against the side of Itachi’s neck and ignoring Kisame’s low warning growl. “Not like I’m gonna pass up the chance to sire a few pretty Uchihas, un. Call me old-fashioned for getting started early. It is what it is.”

Sasori rolls his eyes. He’s heard Deidara’s dirty talk before, so he is hardly surprised to hear those words come out of his mouth. Itachi ignores him for the most part, eyes fixed on Sasori, obviously waiting for him to give a proper response to his words.

The thought of children makes Sasori’s heart flip against his ribcage, reminds him of red hair darker than his but just as messy, eyes as green as the sea, small hands gripping one of his own and a small body huddled against his leg. When the snarl rips its way free of his throat, even Deidara stiffens, pressing himself down flatter against the nest with a small, questioning sound. It takes Kisame’s hand slipping around to pull at the hair at the nape of his neck for Sasori to remember he’s here, in Ame. Not in Suna. Not anymore.

“Sorry.” He tucks his face down against Kisame’s arm and bites back a sigh. “I’m not adverse to children. I used to watch over them in Suna. They liked my puppets.”

Itachi’s hand is gentle, fingers tracing down the side of his face. “So do the orphans here in Ame. One day, you’ll tell me what provoked that reaction in you?”

“Of course.” But not today. For now, Sasori just tucks his face down against Kisame’s arm and wills the memories not to come back before he’s ready to talk about them.

Chapter Text

Deidara is pushing his luck. And he is well aware of how dangerous that can be.

A deep, playful rumble rolls up his throat as he watches Itachi slowly ease himself off of Kisame’s cock. Surely a lifetime has passed since the two of them were tied together, or at least it feels that way as he inches closer to where Kisame is resting, an arm thrown over his eyes. Evidently, Itachi was only cooling off while he waited for Kisame’s knot to go down, because he pounces Sasori as soon as he can, a beautiful tangle of pale, strong limbs.

For a moment, Deidara is distracted by the display. Sasori has been his partner almost since the two of them started working together, and Itachi is a beautiful fertile omega who pretty much laid out the offer to knot him and breed him. And Deidara’s instincts are a little torn about what his goal should be before he gives himself a rough shake.

“What are you doing, Deidara?” Kisame asks him, not moving his arm when Deidara presses up against his side, giving his forearm a nip to get his attention. “You’ve got guts to be using your teeth. Want to tell me why you think I won’t return the favor?”

Instead of backing down, Deidara grins up at him, nudging Kisame’s arm with his forehead. “Who says I’d mind that? Kakuzu can always stitch me back up if you get creative.”

“You’d really pester that poor fucking man instead of just learning your place.” Kisame huffs, but the arm over his eyes does not shift. Deidara huffs at him.

He rolls his tongue over his teeth, then eases a little closer, his hair spilling over Kisame’s chest as he sets his teeth against the curve of his shoulder just past his gills. Those are sensitive, and biting them would just hurt. “Maybe you should pay attention to me.”

Young alphas are known for testing the limits of their pack, posturing themselves against older alphas to find their place and never quite settling so much as they keep testing. Of course, Deidara would not really be surprised if Kisame thinks this is what he’s doing instead of just realizing that Deidara wants to fuck him. If he was a patient person, he might talk his way around it until Kisame understands him, but Deidara is not patient.

When he presses his teeth in again, Kisame drops his arm, eyes narrowed down at him.

Having his attention sends a little roll of pleasure down Deidara’s spine, and he gives the barely-there bite mark an apologetic lick. “What’s your refractory period like?”

“Should’ve known you wanted something like that when you bothered me.” Kisame huffs at him but shifts on his back, carding his fingers through Deidara’s hair, and he doesn’t even bother to resist the urge to snap at his fingers even as a grin tugs at his lips.

“You real sensitive after?” Deidara cocks his head, leaning into Kisame’s touch. “Yeah?”

When he makes a move to grab Kisame’s cock, a much larger hand catches his wrist, giving it a warning squeeze. “Ask before you grab, Deidara. Or you’re going to lose a hand.”

“That’s an exciting prospect.” He doesn’t point out that Kakuzu could just stitch it back on, because that would take the fun out of it. “Can I touch your dick, Hoshigaki? I promise I’ll be real gentle, and you seemed to like what I was doing with my hand the first time.”

“Give me a minute. Sage, I forgot how horny alphas your age are.” Kisame huffs at him and slings his arm back over his eyes, and Deidara pouts but decides to let it go.

Instead, he rolls over onto his side, careful not to knock over the wall of pillows next to him as he skates a hand over Kisame’s broad chest, admiring the muscles beneath tough, warm skin. Kisame tenses for only a moment before he seems to realize that Deidara is not about to go for his cock, then relaxes back into the nest with a huffy sigh that has Deidara grinning in response. Nice. Looks like he’s going to get his way at least a little bit.

He tucks himself in against Kisame’s ribs and just lets himself lazily explore now, pretending that he isn’t listening carefully for every single exhale, every small stuttered sound, every gasp as he tries to map out which places are sensitive and which are not.

Deidara is an artist, after all, and a body makes a wonderful canvas.

Chapter Text

The low, competing growls of the alphas next to him hardly registers to Itachi as he curls down next to Sasori, nudging under his jaw so he can gather his scent, wood chips and sun-warmed sand that draws a happy little purr from his lips. Every alpha in this room smells delicious and their scents fit together so well that Itachi feels particularly lucky to be prepared to lay claim to all three of them. He does not and will not share…

Outside of sharing them with each other, because he can pick up traces of Deidara’s musk on Sasori’s skin and wishes he’d paid better attention to the two of them together.

“Hello, Itachi.” Sasori’s hand is gentle as it combs through Itachi’s hair and he purrs in answer, nipping the thin pale skin of Sasori’s throat and imagining his teeth set into it where everyone can see. “Does this mean I get you all to myself right now?”

“Yes.” He presses himself up against Sasori, careful not to harm anything particularly sensitive as he slips a hand around to stroke up the smooth line of his spine.

His scent had gone horribly sour for a moment when they were talking about the potential of having kits together, but he seems mellow now, seems calm. The thought still sets Itachi’s teeth on edge and he wonders briefly what Sasori left behind in Suna when he came here, what drove one of the most respected puppeteers out of the sand.

Their loss, he thinks briefly, tangling his legs with Sasori and tipping his head up to go for a kiss, relishing the way Sasori curls around him. He tastes as warm as he smells and Itachi presses his tongue inward, clumsy but intense, searching for more, for everything Sasori will let him have, hands mapping out where Deidara has left teeth imprints on his skin.

But no mating mark. It makes Itachi wonder what the two of them have been waiting for.

When his fingers skate down to the curve of Sasori’s ass, he hesitates, bumping their noses together until glazed-over hazel eyes meet his. “I’ve never touched an alpha here.”

“I’d expect not. You were a virgin before today.” Sasori smiles pleasantly at him, and Itachi feels the tug of something at his wrist. The air shifts slightly and he activates his Sharingan once more, easily picking out the threads of chakra around his wrist.

Curious, he follows the pale lines with his eyes, finding them attached to the hand Sasori has resting on the pillow above his head. “I almost forgot you could control living people.”

“It isn’t exactly easy unless they cooperate with me.” Sasori leans in to kiss him, but it’s a barely-there brush that has Itachi more frustrated than satisfied. “If you allow me, Itachi, I can show you just how to touch me so that it’s all pleasure and no discomfort.”

Itachi nods. He doesn’t think Sasori would use this to hurt him. “Very well. Go ahead.”

Ceding control of his hand even for such a mundane reason is strange, the sensations in his fingers slightly off, but it isn’t unpleasant and Sasori touches himself with much more confidence than Itachi would have managed. He only needs to twitch a finger to have Itachi’s hand sliding along his ass again, shifting a leg forward to ease the way. And then Itachi’s breath hitches when his fingers slide over the hot, twitch muscles of his hole.

“Deidara always makes a mess out of me, so my apologies.” Sasori’s eyelids flutter as he eases two of Itachi’s fingers inside of himself, biting back a low moan that makes Itachi shiver. “See, Itachi? It isn’t so hard. Especially when the way has been opened up.”

He’s slick from Deidara’s come and so hot, his walls smooth under Itachi’s fingers as they’re worked deeper inside of him. There’s no resistance at all and Itachi feels a little thrill of excitement in his gut at the way Sasori croons and squirms for him.

“Right here is where it feels best.” Sasori’s fingers twitch and Itachi’s find a place just inside of him, the texture a little different. He presses down carefully and Sasori sighs, lashes fluttering and casting delicate shadows on his cheekbones. “Just like that.”

“Do you and Deidara mate often, Sasori?” He can’t help but ask, painting pictures in his mind since he wasn’t unfocused enough to pay them more attention. But it’s easy to imagine with Deidara’s forceful personality and the way Sasori sighs and rumbles at every careful brush of his fingers, every focused touch against his prostate.

“Often enough.” Sasori tucks his face in against Itachi’s throat and his omega instincts purr at the closeness of an alpha’s teeth to his scent glands. “Keep going. Just like that.”

Itachi is more than content to listen to his alpha’s pleased little sounds.

Chapter Text

“All right.” Kisame shifts his arm off of his face, glancing down to where Deidara is half-wrapped around his hip with his fingers carefully mapping out the muscle in Kisame’s thighs. “If you wanted to touch again, feel free. Made you wait long enough.”

Absolutely fanatical glee burns in Deidara’s eyes as he pulls himself up and over Kisame’s leg, shoving both of them apart to insinuate himself between them as his tongue smoothes over his lower lip. Young alphas, Kisame thinks, rolling his eyes as Deidara wraps a hand around his cock, the familiar slick slide of his tongue just slightly catching Kisame off-guard. Sue him, but working with Deidara does not exactly prepare someone for having one of his stranger mouths in a place it’s never been before.

Silky golden hair drags in cool paths down Kisame’s stomach as Deidara leans down, his actual tongue tracing the hollow of Kisame’s hip. A tease of teeth against his skin has Kisame growling low in his throat, because Deidara evidently needs to be taught a lesson.

“Stop growling at me.” Deidara flashes a predatory grin from behind the curtain of his hair, licking over where he’d pressed his teeth a moment ago. “I’m just having fun.”

“Alphas trying to mark up other alphas is fun now?” It’s a challenge, if anything else.

Deidara scoffs at him and drags his tongue lower, flicking it against the far thinner and more vulnerable skin on the inside of Kisame’s thigh. “It should be fun. I’m not trying to pin you down and knot you like I do Sasori… But you know, it’s not like he complains —”

“You really think you could handle that?” Kisame watches his pupils dilate, watch him run his tongue over his canines as if he’s thinking about trying his luck for it now.

“Think I couldn’t?” Deidara holds eye contact, setting his teeth right against Kisame’s thigh, as if daring him to say something and stop it. He’s a brat. He’s an awful alpha brat, and Kisame is kind of charmed by how petty he is. “I think I could. And I think you’d like it. I’ve never had a bed partner tell me I left them unsatisfied.”

Kisame glances over at Sasori, thinks about asking him if that’s true and shuts his mouth when he sees how he and Itachi are curled up together. Best not to disturb them. So he glances back down at Deidara again, breath catching for just a moment when Deidara flicks his tongue at the base of his cock at the same moment he strokes up with his hand. The cocky little smile on his lips implies he knows exactly how good that feels.

“Last alpha who said that to me didn’t get the job done,” he says, and Deidara perks up slightly, head cocked to the side. Curious as ever, of course. Nosy as fuck, too.

“Who was that? Someone in Kiri?” Deidara drags his tongue up Kisame’s shaft, cups his palm over the head and rolls the hand on his tongue around it. “Bet I’m better.”

In all honesty, he probably is, but Kisame doesn’t want to make it easy on him because then it’s too much like he got what he wanted. “What happened to the tough little alpha who thought he could take my knot? Backing down from the challenge, Deidara?”

“No. Tachi’s heat’s gonna last a while, and I’m gonna have plenty of time to try that out, too.” Deidara licks over the base of his cock again right where his knot would swell, then over the ridges on his shaft. “I bet these feel amazing. Your whole clan like this?”

“It’s a clan trait.” Kisame watches his eyes widen in consideration and wonders if they might have someone about to defect to Kiri to go have some illicit fun.

Instead, Deidara tilts his head, a flash of canine showing before he gives Kisame’s cock another kittenish lick. “Can’t say there’s anything fun or special about my clan. My hands are all my doing, after all. But I can do more with them, if you want to see.”

“Show me.” Because if the hand on his cock feels this good, Kisame can only imagine what else he’s experimented with. Deidara seems to be making the most of his kinjutsu.

Though, privately, Kisame wonders if whoever developed this particular jutsu would slip into a corner to quietly put out their eyes if they knew what Deidara was using it for.

“Yeah?” Deidara slithers his free hand under Kisame’s ass, his face flushed with clear excitement as a slick heat brushes itself over Kisame’s perineum, startling a choked moan out of his throat. “Oh, you are going to like it. Lay back and let me do the work, Kisame, you know I’ll make sure you enjoy it. Look how much Sasori did.”

Huffing, Kisame slips a hand into Deidara’s hair, tugging his mouth back toward his cock. “Put your mouth to work and you can do whatever you want.”

Chapter Text

“Boruto?” Sasuke calls out to his son from the laundry room, sighing as he picks through the assortment of clothes he needs to get through today in order to keep them from piling up worse than they already have. “I think one of your jackets is missing. The green one?”

“Huh?” Boruto’s head pops around the doorway, blue eyes lit with momentary confusion, and a small stab of fondness pierces Sasuke’s heart as he looks down at his son, so much like his father. So much like Sasuke’s mate. “What jack— Oh! The green one. Yeah, I don’t have it right now. Shikadai was cold yesterday so I let him borrow it.”

Of course you did. “I see. Also, I think you’ve misplaced the blue yukata you used to sleep in. At least, I haven’t been able to find it, and I checked your room.”

Boruto gives his head a little shake. “No, I didn’t misplace it. The last time Mitsuki was over here, remember? He ended up staying too late and we just let him sleep over? Well he obviously didn’t have anything to sleep in, so I let him borrow it. And just, uh, have it.”

“Oh, I see.” Sasuke bites the corner of his lip thoughtfully as he starts adding clothes to the washer, fidgeting with the settings and clearing his throat when his son starts to slip away once more. “And one of your black shirts? I wasn’t able to find it either, the one—”

“Well, remember the last time Kazekage-san came by for a little? Shinki was with him, and we were training. His shirt got a little messed up and he doesn’t like going without one under the cloak so.” Boruto shrugs a shoulder, as if it means nothing to him, while Sasuke does his best to hide the grin starting to steal across his face. “He tried to give it back before they left but I have more black shirts, so I said it was no big deal.”

“I see. All right, thank you.” Sasuke stretches out a hand to ruffle Boruto’s hair and sends him on his way, letting out a little bark of laughter at the current situation.

A familiar scent tickles his nose just as he closes the door on the washer, and he purrs in greeting when Naruto embraces him from behind, planting a kiss on the side of his neck right over the scarred impression of his teeth. “Sorry I wasn’t home to help start the laundry. I could hear you laughing down the hallway. What’s so funny, Sasuke?”

“Are you aware that Boruto is giving away his clothes now?” Sasuke glances back at his mate, pleased at the curious expression on Naruto’s face. “He’s let Shikadai make off with one of his jackets, Mitsuki has one of his sleeping yukata, and Shinki has one of his shirts.”

Naruto stills against his back, his brow creasing as he rubs a hand over Sasuke’s stomach thoughtfully. “Those… Are three of his omega friends, specifically, I’ve noticed.”

“Funny how that works,” Sasuke agrees, swallowing a giggle as Naruto tilts his head toward where Sasuke can now hear the twins arguing with each other about something.

“Does he not realize..? Look, I know…” Naruto sighs and rubs a hand over his face, and Sasuke purrs as he leans up to kiss him on the cheek, too amused with the situation to do anything but. “I know Boruto can be a little slow at picking up on some subtle things, but surely by now he’s realized that’s a very subtle form of scent-marking.”

Sasuke shrugs, then sighs when the volume down the hallway increases minutely. “Well, far be it from me to suggest our son is trying to build a harem of omegas, but—”

“Boruto!” Naruto darts down the hallway so fast that Sasuke is almost left unbalanced by his disappearance. Then he leans against the washer and laughs, cupping his hand over his mouth to muffle the sound of his husband’s absolutely hilarious outrage.

Of course, Boruto is exactly like his father. Of course he is, because Sasuke could not count on his one remaining hand how many times Naruto tried to shove his orange jacket off on Sasuke when the weather was slightly cool, or when it might have rained. Second only to scenting an omega’s possessions directly, sharing clothing imprints scent just barely, just perceptibly enough for other alphas to pick up on it and know.

And he can just imagine how well it must have gone down in Suna when Shinki returned home either carrying or outright wearing another alpha’s clothing.

Chapter Text

“This is outrageous!” One of the elders stands, her braid of silver hair shifting against her yukata as she spears them with an expression of absolute fury. “Allowing him to galavant around with an alpha was one thing, but coming home smelling like—”

Chichiue sighs, resting a hand lightly on where he has one leg folded over the other. “I’m sure I have no idea what you mean. Allowing him to borrow a shirt is hardly scenting.”

“That’s a primary example of how to get away with it.” This comes from another elder; Shinki barely resists the urge to roll his eyes as he slumps back in his hair, fingers shifting restlessly under his iron sand and hidden from sight for the moment.

“I highly doubt that Uzumaki Boruto is that kind of an alpha.” This comes from Uncle Kankuro, who shifts forward with a glitter of promise in his eye, of threat. Even though he is only a beta, he manages to subdue the elders, who lean slightly away from his presence in a way they never do for Chichiue. “You know his father would never raise him to behave in such a manner. And allowing a friend to borrow a shirt is not a claim.

Shinki drums his fingers on his thigh and waits for the meeting to end, pleased when he is never asked to speak before the meeting is dismissed. As soon as they stand, Chichiue folds an protective arm around his shoulders, his expression neutral but displeasure clear in his scent as he guides them from the room. There is nothing there to suggest Shinki is in trouble for borrowing a shirt from someone that Chichiue wants him to be friends with anyway, so this was for nothing. Hours wasted to come to no true conclusions.

Sometimes, he thinks Suna would be better off without a council to assist in guiding it.

“Go do as you please.” Chichiue combs his fingers through Shinki’s hair, and the sea foam of his eyes softens as he offers a small smile. “Try to stay out of trouble. The next time it happens, I’m certain they’ll try to insist I should plan to marry you off.”

Shinki’s jaw twitches at the thought. “I’d like to see them try to do that.”

“So would I.” Kankuro’s hand twitches; Shinki sees the thin chakra threads for just a moment before they vanish from view. “Idiots. This is just like when they tried to mate you off because of Shikadai. Absolutely no logic or patience to be found.”

“As if Shikadai would ever want to become Kazekage.” Chichiue brushes this off and Shinki hides a smile, giving his head a shake at the thought. As if . He’s loyal only to Konoha.

Chichiue nudges him on the shoulder once more, and Shinki bids him farewell as he slips off to his room to decompress before he tries for any sort of contact with other people. Today has been a long day even though it has just begun, and he doubts anyone in Suna would begrudge the omega heir to the Kazekage position an afternoon nap.

He closes his bedroom door behind him softly and lets his cloak of sand fall away for the time being. The air in this room is warm, but not unpleasantly so, and he stretches in the languid heat before making a beeline for his bed. A nap sounds perfect, an easy way to forget the way the elders looked at him. As though he was betraying their village because he was making friends. As if that even makes sense to wrongly assume.

No one will disturb him in his bedroom, at least. Chichiue grew up without any privacy of his own and so he makes it very clear that no one should invade another’s space without asking permission and knocking at the door, and Shinki does not have to answer if he doesn’t want to. It’s unusual and not at all what he was used to growing up, but he values it.

It means he can slip his hand under his pillow without anything seeing, tugging the shirt free of where he has it hidden away so that no one realizes how close he keeps it.

There are detergents specifically made to remove unpleasant scents without taking away one’s own natural scent. It means that when he tucks his nose into the fabric, all he can smell is the sunshine-fire scent that belongs only to Uzumaki Boruto.

The tension bleeds from his body as a tentative purr vibrates in his throat, and he keeps his nose tucked against the soft cotton as he slowly drifts off to sleep.

Chapter Text

It is rare for the three of them to be home together at the same time now, rarer still for Orochimaru to be free of any experiments that are necessary and require his patience and presence. It means that at the end of the night, Mitsuki and Log are drawn into the private bedroom their parent keeps and to his nest, as soft as any omega’s but twice as dangerous for the ring of coiled-up, gently hissing serpents that surround it.

“Wouldn’t want anyone to sneak in thinking to take advantage of me while I sleep,” Orochimaru told him when Mitsuki asked why he thought the snakes were necessary. “Even I have reason to doubt that the Konoha guard would do their utmost to protect me.”

Mitsuki does not question that. He merely chuckles when Log rolls his eyes but steps over the snakes and the edge of the nest, careful not to disturb either structure.

Orochimaru settles down first, opening his arms to them with a soft smile that cannot be denied, though Mitsuki has rarely wanted to. His parent is an eccentric one to be certain, has perhaps done far more harm than he could ever do good to counterbalance it, but Mitsuki loves him. He suspects it would be hard to properly turn him away.

He settles down against Orochimaru’s side, hissing softly when Orochimaru purrs down at him and gathers him in closer. Serpents have naturally cooler body temperatures, but it is slightly worrisome just how low his parent’s temperature has become.

“Are you well?” Mitsuki looks up at him uncertainly, stretching up a hand to touch his cheek in order to confirm that his skin is far cooler than it should be. “You seem ill.”

“There’s nothing to worry about, little one. I’m fine.” Orochimaru kisses the top of his head, and Mitsuki can do nothing but take him at his word. Perhaps one of his experiments kept him busy far too long. “Come here, Log. Settle in and we can rest.”

“You sure you’re not sick?” Log is far less gentle than Mitsuki, slapping a hand across Orochimaru’s forehead hard enough that Orochimaru hisses in displeasure at him. “Mitsuki’s right. You’re cold, and you wear layers. What’s going on?”

Orochimaru rolls his eyes— their eyes, the eyes of their family— and yanks Log down next to him, tucking an arm around his shoulders and pulling him in closer. “I simply took a walk this evening and was perhaps out longer than I should have been. Far be it from me to allow myself to become ill. I am not the one who galivants about in the cold, wet air now.”

Log bites back a smile, reaching for a blanket to pull up over the three of them. “Well, can you blame me? I have to get used to it if I’m going to chase him down. I heard Kiri marriage hunts are a bigger pain in the ass than normal, and he’s a Kiri native.

Smiling, Mitsuki leans over to poke his older brother on the nose. “You’ll have to swim.”

“That’s all I need is to have to travel all the way to Kiri so I can drag your frozen corpse out of the ocean.” Orochimaru grumbles softly, quieting only when Log tilts his head up, purring against their father’s hair with a knowing smile on his face. “Very well then. I suppose I will allow it for the time being. Now get to sleep. It’s very late.”

Log stretches an arm across them both, and Mitsuki is leaning into it thankfully when clever fingers give the sleeve of his yukata a pull. “This smells very familiar, Mitsuki.”

“Boruto gave it to me.” Mitsuki tilts his head, rubbing his cheek against the fabric, worn from repeated washings, a scent that he can only think of as sunshine and happiness clinging to the fabric. “He said I could have it the last time I stayed at his house.”

Orochimaru clicks his tongue against the roof of his mouth. “I see. That’s very kind.”

“Your little boyfriend’s real cute,” Log says, and Orochimaru hisses at him. “What? That’s what he is. I don’t care if they make it official or not, that’s what he is!”

Mitsuki listens to his brother and parent squabble with each other and only purrs contentedly, happy to be here with his family and wrapped up in a familiar, comforting scent.

Chapter Text

“Is that Boruto’s jacket?” The question stops Shikadai just as he reaches the front door, one hand occupied with adjusting the zipper to the perfect height. He didn’t even realize his father was in the living room. “Since when do you have Boruto’s jacket?”

He glances over his shoulder at his father, aiming a smile at him as he turns to look at him, tucking his hands into the pockets. It still smells like Boruto even though it’s been washed, and frankly he’s surprised that literal genius Nara Shikamaru has not managed to notice its presence in his wardrobe just yet. Granted, he only takes it out when it’s chilly because he is not trying to die of heatstroke. Maybe he should beg for something lighter.

“Since he gave it to me?” He rocks on the balls of his feet, smiling brightly at the memory, how nice it was and how automatic the gesture, as if Boruto wasn’t even thinking about it. “He said I could just keep it, so I did. It’s really cozy inside.”

Oyagi stands up and walks toward him, nose twitching as he leans down toward Shikadai’s shoulder. He scrunches his face up at him. “Mm, I don’t know. It smells like him, huh?”

“Kind of thought that was the point of me having it, to be honest.” Shikadai beams up at him, biting back a smile at the way color ever-so-subtly drains from his face.

“Oi, don’t let him go around scenting you without permission.” Oyagi gives his sleeve a tug and Shikadai scoffs at him, smacking his hand away. He likes this jacket, and Boruto is his best friend. “Does his father even know about— No, there’s no way. He can’t know.”

Shikadai huffs at him. “Who cares if he knows? It isn’t any of his business, and it isn’t any of yours, either. I’m allowed to wear his clothes if he lets me have them.”

“It’s not just wearing his clothes if it still smells like him.” Oyagi leans back, a hand propped on his hip, his gaze shifting as it often does when he starts overthinking literally everything that is not important. “I really should have seen this one coming. Of course —”

“What does that mean?” Shikadai straightens his spine, scowling up at his father.

“Oi!” Kassan leans into the room from the kitchen, her expression one that basically translates to you better not be fighting in my house. “What are you two arguing about?”

Shikadai sees his chance and takes it, darting across the room to tuck himself up against his mother’s side, trilling softly when she combs her fingers through his ponytail. “Oyagi is giving me a hard time because Boruto let me have his jacket. I’m allowed to have things.”

“Did he now?” Kassan leans down, her nose brushing his shoulder before she sighs and stands back up. “I see. Well, you could do much worse than Uzumaki Boruto I suppose. Just try not to let it become an issue, I know some of the alphas your age are awful.”

“Shouldn’t we be even minutely concerned that he just did it without asking? ” Oyagi asks.

Kassan looks thoughtful, her hand brushing over the top of Shikadai’s head, and he smiles in triumph as he leans his cheek against her ribcage. “Well, maybe a little ruffled, but Boruto is very… Thoughtless with such things, I think. He probably just let Shikadai borrow the jacket without thinking about it meaning anything.”

“...” Oyagi sighs and tips his head back, rubbing a hand over his face. “Yeah, I suppose.”

“Exactly.” Shikadai leans up to give his mother a kiss and then darts out the door, tugging the hood up over his head when a light chill makes him shiver. It really is cold today.

He rubs his cheek against the inside of the hood and purrs softly, remembering the way Boruto grinned at him as he folded the jacket around Shikadai’s shoulders. “Here, I don’t need it, and you look cold. And hey, no one’s going to mess with you if you smell like me.”

The jacket smells like warm summer days and bonfires and Boruto, and Shikadai is not going to even dream about giving it back.

Chapter Text

Sai does his best to help around the house as much as possible, and laundry duty is easily enough handled on quiet afternoons like this one. His alpha is out and about with their pup since training has been postponed for the day, which means he has the house to himself and all the peace and quiet he could ask for. Even if Sai is not quite the typical omega that one might expect him to be— he’s doing better every day still, trying harder for his mate and their child— he does like assisting in taking care of their home.

His hands brush over the clothes in the laundry basket as he picks each one out to hang in Inojin’s closet. The clothing smells like his pup, like wildflowers and mortar and a freshly unwound scroll. It draws a small little purr from the back of his throat. Inojin has been the best part of his life since the moment Sai held him in his arms for the first time.

The sound of the front door opening and closing, followed by the excited chatter he knows so well, has him smiling as he picks up a shirt to hang up. “Welcome back!” he calls out, carefully sifting through the clothes already hung up to find where this shirt should go.

He doesn’t think Inojin bothers with organizing them, but Sai likes to do the best he can so that everything can be easily found. Even saving just a moment or two is preferable.

“Laundry?” Ino asks him from the doorway, her warm voice stroking along his spine like the touch of her hand. Her smile is all for him, soft and sweet. “I would have helped you.”

“I like doing it. It’s soothing.” The easy rhythm and routine of sorting and washing and drying and hanging leaves Sai alone with his thoughts, and he likes having these moments for his creativity as well, to ruminate on ideas and how he might go about accomplishing them. “Did you two have fun today? Where’s Inojin?”

“Just setting a few bags on the kitchen table. We brought home lunch.” Ino glances over her shoulder thoughtfully, then steals into the room and wraps her arms around Sai’s waist, leaning up to plant a kiss on his jaw as she rumbles up at him.

Laughing softly, Sai tucks the shirt away where it belongs and turns to wrap his arms around his wife, pressing his forehead against hers as he purrs in answer. “What’s that for? You weren’t gone so long that you’d need to miss me that much.”

“What can I say?” Ino slips a hand up into his hair, dragging her nails down over the back of his neck and making him shiver. “Watching the prettiest omega in Konoha take care of the prettiest pup does things for me. How would you like another one soon?”

“You know I’m always happy to give you another child.” And Sai would be lying if he ever said he hadn’t enjoyed just how much she spoiled him when he was pregnant with Inojin.

The small sound of footsteps prefaces Inojin’s arrival. “Oh, you’re having a moment.

“We were talking about giving you a little sibling,” Ino informs him, brazen as always, and Inojin huffs up at her as he picks his way over to the laundry basket.

“Don’t talk about that in my room, ” he says, and Sai smiles fondly as he watches his son pick up the haori on top of the basket— And then pausing, because that was the one he meant to ask Inojin about when he came home. The one he didn’t recognize.

“Whose is that?” he asks, leaning around his wife to look down at his son. “I know that one isn’t yours because I’ve seen all your haoris. Did you borrow it from someone?”

Inojin shakes his head, holding the haori up to his nose to give it a sniff before he moves to hang it up himself. “No, Boruto gave it to me. He said I’m allowed to have it.”

“Boruto?” Ino leans down herself, nose twitching before she straightens. “Oh, I guess it does smell like him. Well, that was nice of him to do. And I suppose that keeps the other alphas your age from bothering you since he’s Naruto’s son.”

“I mean, I think you scare everyone more than Boruto does.” Inojin’s smile is sly, but Sai bites back a smile and shakes his head, because it works. Ino positively beams . “I think he’s given something to like, every omega he knows now? At least it smells like it.”

Every omega…” Sai trails off, then presses a hand to his mouth, amused at the prospect and remembering the argument Naruto and Sasuke had just before the marriage hunt when Sasuke accused Naruto of marking every omega in their group of friends.

Alpha instincts make them protective and possessive. They form packs. That’s all. Though… Sai watches the way Inojin brushes his fingers over the sleeve and stills slightly when his son purrs, glancing at Ino and catching the spark of interest in her eyes.

Uzumaki Boruto isn’t exactly like his father.

Chapter Text

“Your race has very interesting courting rituals.” Momoshiki waves the delicate paper fan that was gifted to him before his face, clearly unhappy with the recent hot weather.

“It’s not—” Naruto protests, snapping his mouth shut the very moment he sees Boruto tuck a possessive arm around Shikadai. Volunteering him to lead the emissary of the Otsutsuki around is awful. He needs to fire Shikamaru for not just doing it himself.

This entire situation is just the worst. Of course Naruto has to handle public relations for the village as the Hokage, but this is possibly the most important one of all. This is the one where they might not be able to rally and win if the rest of the clan were to come down from wherever they hide amongst the stars and brought a war to Konoha’s doorstep.

He would be able to handle it a little better if not for his beloved but idiot child.

“Isn’t it?” Momoshiki cocks his head, pale hair sliding against his shoulder as his bright eyes shift to where the two alphas have dared to step a few feet closer to Shikadai.

Traditionally speaking, sharing clothes and protecting an omega are not necessarily the making of courtship, though the actions do rank up there somewhere. Usually they only start after an alpha has made it clear they want to participate in courtship and once the omega has grown softer toward them after the first few presents. It isn’t always the case, because Sasuke had a nasty habit of making off with Naruto’s jackets long before he ever deigned to recognize him as anything but a nuisance in his life, but just the same…

Boruto bares his teeth. His growl is much smaller than Naruto’s own, but the vicious snap of it has the two alphas before him stumbling back. Instincts flare and tell them to avoid Boruto, that he is stronger than them and he will be willing to fight.

And he shouldn’t fight, because that would look so bad when Naruto is the Hokage.

“Well, it’s part of it, but they aren’t officially…” He trails off again when Shikadai preens, just barely catching the sound of his trilling purr over the general noise of the village. It is much easier to catch the way he turns his head and kisses Boruto on the cheek.

Shikamaru is going to kill him. Temari is going to leave him alive and make him regret it.

Momoshiki chuckles softly and fans himself more, aiming resentful eyes up toward the blazing sun before he takes a half-step closer to Naruto. Slender fingers brush his shoulder, snapping him out of where his attention has been focused on his son and his admirer, because evidently Boruto just lied to him when he said it wasn’t about trying to scent mark any of his omega friends. It was definitely about that. Of course it was—

“It’s cute,” Momoshiki says, peering at him over the fan. “You should let them have fun.”

“Maybe just for now.” Naruto sighs and rubs a hand over his face. He shouldn’t be surprised this is happening considering just how many of Boruto’s clothes appear to be missing. It’s too hot for a jacket, but that seems to be fine. Shikadai has a shirt of his.

“Do your omegas ever take the active role in courtship, or is it just the alphas?” Momoshiki asks, and Naruto makes an effort to steer him away from the scene with a mental note to talk to Boruto about this a little more seriously when he comes home tonight.

“Sometimes they do. It depends more on the individuals than anything else. My husband pretty much demanded I needed to earn him.” And he was right. He doesn’t think he needs to say that, though, considering the fact the two of them have been married for so long, have two kids, and are trying for a third now that Boruto and Sarada are older.

Momoshiki hums thoughtfully behind his fan, his brow crinkling slightly. For a moment, Naruto wonders if he’s keeping the fan to hide some of his expressive face. “That’s very interesting. Omegas aren’t supposed to take the active role where we come from.”

“We’re a bit different than other nations, for the record.” He shudders when he remembers Gaara’s horror stories of what marriage hunts in the sand are like.

“So if an omega were to be interested here, it wouldn’t be undue for them to offer gifts instead of the alpha?” Momoshiki presses the point and Naruto thinks that his home planet must be fucking awful that this seems like such an alien concept to him.

Alien. Sage. Sasuke is going to kill him if he ever says that thought out loud.

“Absolutely. My former sensei is an omega, and he took the active role in courting both of his mates.” And what a disaster that had been, though Naruto doesn’t have to talk about that out loud. “I think another sensei did the same thing, though I don’t really know. Anyway, yeah, omegas can do the active courting if they want to. That’s fine.”

“Interesting.” Momoshiki folds his fan up, the harsh snap of it making Naruto jump. “Show me the training grounds. I’d like to see how you handle new shinobi.”

The sudden change in topic is welcome. Hopefully, just being around Konoha for a few days will help Momoshiki realize that Naruto was just being honest with him.

Chapter Text

“You know normally I wouldn’t stick my nose into family business that doesn’t directly involve me, but Gaara is busy right now and it isn’t as though Kankuro can just up and leave the entire village.” Temari sits on the other side of Touchan’s desk with her elbows braced on her knees, her expression solemn as she glances to where her nephew sits next to her. “But if the elders are raising this much of a fuss, it should be properly dealt with.”

Boruto pretends not to feel his father’s eyes burning into the side of his head as he stands next to his chair. “What’s their problem? It’s not like I even did anything.”

“To you, it isn’t anything,” Touchan tells him, and Boruto scrapes his teeth over his tongue to keep himself quiet. “But it is something to a lot of people, and Suna may have different values than we do. Scenting an omega is usually indicative that you’re interested in them.”

“So?” It’s the wrong retort; Touchan’s eyes widen significantly while Shinko only tilts his head to the side, hiding the slightest hint of a smile that touches his lips.

Temari rubs a hand over her mouth, but Boruto thinks he sees her hiding a smile behind it. “You know, this is the same attitude that had the elders breathing down Gaara’s neck to take a Suna alpha as his mate. Because he borrowed that sweater from Lee one time.”

“Oh, I remember that.” Touchan leans back in his chair, looking significantly older than he did a moment ago. “Are you actually interested in any of the omegas you’ve been… Loaning clothes to? It’s a pretty significant amount. It’s hard not to notice around the village.”

On the other side of the room, Shikamaru very carefully neatens a stack of paper.

Well, Boruto may as well be honest. He can play this cat-and-mouse game with his father for the rest of his life and hope he never catches on, or he can just be honest with him… Or maybe he should just keep messing with him. “Well, I let Kawaki borrow my clothes when he first moved in, and you didn’t say anything about that.”

“He’s your brother, ” Touchan reminds him, sound more and more exhausted by the second.

“How is Kawaki?” Temari asks, and Boruto is glad for the distraction. “He fitting in well?”

“He’s still a little jumpy because Papa doesn’t know how to not be overbearing when he’s worried, but he’s fitting in okay,” Boruto tells her. It’s true. Kawaki just doesn’t know how to live inside a pack right now, not used to parents who love him and siblings who will look after him until he’s settled and comfortable. Papa is just the worst of that.

Touchan clears his throat loudly. “Boruto, are you interested in Shinki or not? If the Suna elders need a direct answer, it would be best to send them one so we can figure out where to go from here. If you aren’t, then we can just tell them no, and—”

“I don’t see why it matters,” Boruto says. “ You smell like Momoshiki-sama now and no one is saying a word about that! I mean, not that you can hear, but…”

The sheer speed at which Touchan loses his color is incredible; Temari snorts loudly and Shikamaru nearly drops something on the other side of the room. “What did you say?”

“He smells funny because he’s not human, right? He’s the one who smells kind of…” Boruto struggles to put a finger on it, because neither of the Otsutsuki emissaries smell anything like he’s used to an omega smelling. “Like, I don’t know… Air? Where it’s really thin up on the mountains. And lightning, kind of like Kakashi-san, but not really. And—”

Touchan stands abruptly, his face flaming crimson as he clears his throat. “Temari, I’m sorry, but you’ll just have to tell Gaara that Boruto wouldn’t give me a straight answer. If this causes problems in Suna, we’ll try to figure out some way to alleviate it.”

Temari waves a hand at him. “Your son’s a good boy. He watches after my Shikadai just fine. The elders can either handle it or throw tantrums about it. It’s simple.”

Boruto beams at her just as Shinki turns back to them once more, and he waits until he’s certain none of the adults in the room are looking at him to wink in Shinki’s direction. It’s gratifying when Shinki sits up and beams at him, just a tiny bit of iron sand peeling away for Boruto to see his shirt on underneath it. Nice.

Maybe he can shove something else off onto him before he goes back to Suna. Touchan’s going to be too busy trying to figure out what’s going on with Momoshiki to notice.

Chapter Text

The haori is a deep, rich blue edged in white and like absolutely nothing Itachi has seen in his son’s closet in the eighteen years they have shared a home together. The sharp, acidic tang of a scent that lingers on the fabric has him turning to follow Shizuma’s movements as he crosses the room to the front door, eyes narrowing when he realizes precisely who that piece of fabric belongs to. Of course he does. There’s only one person.

“Shizuma,” he says, and he can see the exact moment his son silently sighs before turning to face him with a perfectly-crafted smile. “Don’t look at me like that. Whose is that?”

“This?” Shizuma smoothes a hand down the haori, brushing his fingers along the hem of it.

Itachi blinks at him, setting his book down carefully on his lap. “Yes, that. I don’t recall you owning anything in that color, much less something that smelled of serpent.”

“Isn’t it nice?” Shizuma dodges the question entirely as Itachi knew he would, as he has been ever since visiting Konoha for Boruto and Sarada’s birthdays went spectacularly strange. “I don’t normally wear things like this, you know, but I think it’s—”

Right. Okay. “Of course it’s nice. What I’m asking is who it originally belonged to.”

“Didn’t you just say you know who it smells like, Touchan? So I don’t have to answer that question.” Shizuma beams at him, and Itachi rubs a hand over his mouth.

He plucks his glasses off and sets them on the coffee table, slowly rising to his feet, marking his place in his book so he can set it down. “You know I’m just worried about—”

“His parent, I know. I get it, I do. I didn’t have to be around to see what Orochimaru did to know he’s bad, you know.” Shizuma scowls at him, and Itachi supposes he deserves that at this point. They live in Kiri, so Shizuma knows a thing or two about who is trustworthy and who is not, how to protect himself from danger explicit and implicit. “But Log isn’t Orochimaru, right? So you should be giving him a chance independent of that.”

Kisame’s opinion, nearly word for word. “That doesn’t mean I’m not going to be concerned. And why did he give you such a heavily-scented haori? Did he aggressively scent it?”

“Of course he did.” Shizuma raises the sleeve up to his cheek and practically purrs . “So that everyone will back off a little. I mean, your little nephew’s been doing the same thing.”

“Excuse me?” This is what Itachi gets for being unable to spirit himself off to Konoha to check up on Sasuke and his niblings as much as he wants to. But Kiri needs him and his family, and against all odds, this is the village he chooses to call home. “He’s been what?”

Shizuma grins . “Where do you think Log got the idea? Boruto’s done it for Mitsuki.”

Of course he has. Itachi combs a hand through the back of his ponytail and decides to send a raven off to Konoha to see what Sasuke’s family has been up to. Of course Boruto would choose to mark Mitsuki, because as much as Itachi loves that boy, he has no sense, and Naruto forgives too easily. They need to be on their guard against Orochimaru.

Itachi wouldn’t put it past him to be using his own sons as sleeper agent shinobi because he knows the man. Worked alongside him well enough to get to know his odd… Quirks.

And he still betrayed them in the end, so Itachi would know better than anyone.

It would be hard to explain that to the children of Konoha, who have the luxury of living in relative peace and only have to worry about the danger of missions their senseis should field for them on their behalf. Shizuma did not grow up in Konoha and should know better— But Itachi also remembers his own idiocy within the Akatsuki. His initial mission and how the moment his first heat struck, he could not be parted from Kisame’s side.

Maybe he needs to afford a little sympathy for his son. “If he ever hurts you, Shizuma, I will take my pound of flesh. But if he remains true to you… Then so be it, I suppose.”

“That’s much better.” Shizuma leans in to kiss him on the cheek, and Itachi will let this be. Perhaps he should invite the young man over for dinner to speak to him. “I thought you’d be more concerned about the kenjutsu practice than him scenting me, anyway.”

“Just be safe—” As soon as Shizuma is out the door, Itachi rips it back open. “What did you just say about kenjutsu practice?”

Chapter Text

Otsutsuki Momoshiki smells like chakra burns and dying stars, like sweet air in strange worlds and the way scent warps from dimension to dimension. Sasuke picks up on his scent the first time the two ever informally meet one another, an eccentric enough scent that he doubts he would ever forget it. And that is how he knows precisely what is lingering around Naruto as if begging to be noticed when his husband comes home each evening.

Sasuke knows this, and he plots and plans with a smile and chooses not to divulge what Naruto is aware of him knowing. Of course he knows. Did Naruto think he would miss the obvious clues that Momoshiki leaves behind? He is asking for Sasuke to smell him.

He finishes a letter to Itachi, attaching it to the foot of the handsome raven who came to visit him this afternoon, and sends the bird off into the dying sunlight. As much as he loves his brother, as much as he would have burned down the world for him, Sasuke cannot deny how amused he is at the prospect of Itachi being frazzled over Shizuma’s crush.

He wonders if Log being an omega— like Orochimaru— makes it better or worse for Itachi.

The sound of soft conversation below draws his attention to the pathway leading up to their house, and he hides a smile behind his hair when he realizes that it appears Naruto has brought Momoshiki home with him. This isn’t entirely surprising; he’s come to visit a few times as Naruto fumbles with exactly how to be a proper host to him.

Trying to avoid an interstellar war is tricky, though. Sasuke doesn’t entirely blame him.

So he smoothes down his vest and steps out of the bedroom, checking on each of his children in turn to ensure everything is fine with them before heading downstairs. Boruto has his nose buried in a video game while Sarada has hers buried in a scroll, and neither of them so much as glance up at him when he lingers in their doorway.

Kawaki has wedged himself against the window frame, head turned toward the setting sun, eyes distant and quiet. He turns his head when Sasuke lingers for a moment. “Yes?”

“I was just coming to check on you.” He doesn’t dare cross the boundary into Kawaki’s bedroom, wanting him to have a sense of privacy and ownership associated with this space.

Privately, Sasuke also wants Kawaki to learn to come to him when he needs him and wants him, not to just think Sasuke will show up only when necessary. It’s a process, he knows, because there is no way to simply make things better. There is no way to simply patch over all of the awful wrongs done to this boy that he now calls his son.

“I’m fine.” Kawaki starts to dip his head, as if he plans to expose the back of his neck, then stops himself with a little shake. Good boy. “Let me know when dinner is, okay?”

“Of course.” Sasuke smiles fondly at him, then decides to leave him be.

He makes it downstairs just as Naruto lets Momoshiki into the house, and the hairs on Sasuke’s arms prickle slightly in the presence of his otherworldly chakra. Sensing is a relatively new skill to him gifted with the Sage’s chakra, and he’s still learning to master it.

“Welcome back to our home, Otsutsuki Momoshiki-san.” Sasuke bows his head in acknowledgement, his voice perfectly smooth while Naruto looks at him with wide, startled eyes like he didn’t expect Sasuke to just show up down here. “How has your day been?”

That Momoshiki doesn’t make any effort to properly challenge him is not surprising in the grand scheme of things. Sasuke is not an idiot, and he well knows what Momoshiki is after. The scenting has not been subtle, but there has been no threat within it.

“It’s been a lovely day, Uchiha-san. How has your day been?” Without hesitation, Momoshiki crosses the distance between them, linking his arm through with Sasuke’s.

“Very relaxing. I’ve just been with the kids today while I was doing a few things around the house.” Sasuke ignores Naruto’s confused and worried gaze as he steers Momoshiki toward the stairs. “Why don’t we find you something more comfortable? The veil is a lovely touch but I imagine wearing so many layers every day must be tiring for you.”

Momoshiki peers up at him with Byakugan-pale eyes. Up, because without his geta, he’s much shorter than Sasuke. “That would be nice. It has been very hot today.”

“Sasuke—” Naruto starts behind him; Sasuke cuts him off with nothing but a smile.

“Do me a favor and turn on the stove and oven so they’ll be hot when I start preparing dinner,” he says, and Naruto shuts up and nods. “I think I should try teaching Momoshiki how to cook. If he’s going to be here for an extended amount of time, it may help.”

The Otsutsuki chuckles softly but leans against him, and Sasuke takes that as a yes.

So he’ll wrap Momoshiki up in one of his own yukata, smear his scent all over the emissary, and ensure that he never returns to his home planet permanently. An alliance with the Otsutsuki could net them more than anything else ever has.

And Sasuke has taken on far more dangerous gambles in his life than this one.

Chapter Text

Sarada is the first one to make it to the kitchen when she hears her omega call for her, her nose telling her that someone strange is in the house even before she sees the familiar face following Papa around the kitchen. The Otsutsuki emissary has been hanging around her parents almost since he arrived here, but that makes sense. Her alpha is the Hokage and her omega is the one who guides him from the shadows, so it’s only natural that the two of them have been doing the majority of communications with him.

She still hesitates slightly at the sight of Papa’s familiar black yukata contrasting so sharply with Momoshiki’s bright white skin, but neither of her parents seem bothered.

“Are your brothers coming?” Touchan asks her, and Sarada nods as she takes her place at the table, adjusting her glasses where they set on her nose. “That’s good— Wait.”

“It’s Chocho’s,” Sarada says before he can ask, already expecting the question. She’s been listening to him badger Boruto about this constantly, and figured it was only a matter of time before he realized that was going on. “I already know what you’re going to say, so—”

Touchan groans and drops his head into his hands. “He’s making a bad example for every child in Konoha. I knew it. I just knew this was going to spiral wildly out of control.”

“Not just Konoha,” Papa quips from the stove, turning to dish something out of a pot and into the bowl Momoshiki holds for him. “But Oto, too. Log has taken Boruto letting Mitsuki have his clothes to mean he really should start scent marking Shizuma from afar.”

“Oh, no. Oh Sage, no.” Touchan rubs his hands over his face and Sarada giggles but says nothing more on the subject, playing with the hem of the haori wrapped around her.

Truth be told, Chocho probably did get the idea from Boruto, but Sarada would have accepted literally anything from her. She thinks she spends half their time together just… Looking at her, drinking in her smile and her confidence and how well she handles herself. Sarada couldn’t ask for a better friend, though she’s not going to pretend her stomach didn’t break out into nervous fluttering when Chocho wrapped the haori around her.

Kawaki is near-silent as he comes downstairs to join them, but Boruto announces his presence with loud, thumping stomps. As soon as he reaches the table, Touchan just looks at him, and Boruto grins and drops down into his seat.

“Oh, Momoshiki-senpai’s visiting?” he asks, and Sarada cocks her head at him. “What?”

“Since when did you call him senpai? That’s not proper.” Though she doubts the Otsutsuki would wage war over an incorrect honorific, she still thinks he should be polite about it.

Boruto scoffs at her. “Well, Urashiki-senpai already calls him that, and—”

“Where is Urashiki?” Papa interrupts, and Boruto shuts his mouth immediately. Sarada preens and stands to help arrange the food on the table so that all of it fits properly. Everyone in the house listens when her omega speaks. “He arrived here at your side, Momoshiki, but I don’t recall having seen him more than once or twice.”

Momoshiki tilts his head for just a moment. His eyes are almost distant, then he gives himself a small shake. “I believe he’s just been exploring the countryside and the edges of the other nations to determine if there is anyone else we need to speak to.”

“Any idea if he’s made any passing judgment on that?” Touchan asks.

“I’m of the opinion that it’s not necessary to speak to any of the other Kage directly as you appear to be the strongest of them by far.” Momoshiki smiles, and the expression is far more pleasant than any Sarada has been from him so far. He looks… Comfortable in her home, and relaxed. “That is, you and Sasuke-san put together.”

Sarada beams at him. “Touchan and Papa are the strongest people we’ve ever known by far. And I think everyone trusts them to do their best to welcome you here.”

“Thank you, Sarada.” Papa smiles softly at her, and her smile widens so much it hurts. It’s just, she loves her omega so much. Every time someone tells her that she takes after him, it fills her with a pride unlike anything else she has ever known.

“I’ll try to corral him back into Konoha so you can speak to him properly.” Momoshiki brushes his fingers along Papa’s arm; Sarada would not miss that. Not a chance, even without her Sharingan activated. “If you’d like to, that is.”

Papa bows his head, and there is something unseen that passes between them. “Of course.”

It isn’t her place to ask. Besides, as long as everyone is getting along, Sarada is happy.

Chapter Text

As soon as he steps into the office with Itachi cradled in the crook of his arm, Fugaku bears witness to his Hokage yelping with excitement as he leaps out of his chair. His foot catches the corner of the desk he tries to walk around far too fast and Fugaku bites back a snort at the way he stumbles, arms thrown out, to catch himself. But Namikaze Minato is a shinobi through and through, and he rights his position and bounds across the floor like an excited child. All the while, Itachi does not so much as make a sound.

“I believe Mikoto mentioned that you wanted to meet him, Hokage-sama.” Fugaku keeps his expression straight as he glances down at Itachi, who holds the corner of his blanket in both hands and blinks up at Minato with inquisitive dark eyes. So much like his mother.

“Of course I did.” Minato crowds closer to him and Fugaku bears it, rolling his eyes when Minato coos down at Itachi. “Oh Sage, he’s so beautiful. Nice to finally meet you, Itachi.”

Fugaku smiles faintly. Yes, his son is beautiful. “He’s a rather quiet, well-behaved child.”

“I don’t doubt that at all. Look who his father is.” Before Fugaku can even comment on that, Minato goes back to cooing, his eyes absolutely lighting up when Itachi makes a small noise up at him in return. “This is the best. Can I hold him, Fugaku? Is that all right?”

The fervor in his voice is difficult to ignore and Fugaku sighs, shifting Itachi in his arms and glancing down at him. He doesn’t seem particularly opposed to the idea— But he’s a baby and seemingly content with anyone that holds him considering half the clan passes him around at any chance they get so they can hold him. But of course they do.

He’s the future clan head of the Uchiha, and everyone is happy over a baby.

“All right,” he finally relents, and Minato beams at him. “Make sure to support his head.”

Minato takes Itachi from him with careful hands, his face glowing as he situates Itachi in his arms just as Fugaku was holding him a minute ago. Of course, Itachi is quiet, more interested in fussing with his blanket and babbling softly than he is to be passed from one person to the next. Minato’s face softens into a smile so genuinely warm that it startles Fugaku, for he thinks he must have never seen one like this on his face before.

It’s been a long time, he thinks. And the two of them don’t speak so often anymore.

“Darling little thing, aren’t you?” Minato shifts Itachi in his arms, brushing his fingers over the thick thatch of dark hair already appearing in small tufts on Itachi’s head. “What a beautiful baby. I bet you’re going to grow up to be a great shinobi just like your parents.”

Fugaku says nothing as he watches Minato carry Itachi over to the window on the far side of the room. As if he could possibly process just a sight when he’s so young—

“Look at all this,” Minato says, and Fugaku does his best not to roll his eyes when he knows the Anbu are watching them from the shadows. Doing their duty in protecting their Hokage. “This is your home! You’re going to grow up nice and strong here, I just know you are. And if you’re half the shinobi your father is, you’re going to be an amazing man.”

The compliment catches him off-guard, though Fugaku schools his features.

Minato returns to him a moment later, a slight regret touching his face as he hands Itachi back to Fugaku. “Apologies if bringing him here disturbed or bothered him in any way. I’ve been up to my elbows in paperwork and so I couldn’t come properly visit. But I will.”

“There’s no need to if you’re busy. I’m well aware that—” Fugaku starts, but Minato interrupts him, a hand coming to rest on his shoulder so gently, so easily.

“I do need to,” he says. “You and Mikoto are still important to me, and Itachi is your firstborn. So I’m going to make time to come visit the Uchiha compound with Kushina.” And then he brightens, solemn expression chased away. “And I’m going to bring presents! So many presents. I’m going to spoil Itachi until we decide to have one of our own.”

“You’d ruin him as a child and as a shinobi just because you don’t have one of your own to spoil yet,” Fugaku jokes, and Minato squawks at him in protest.

All the while, Itachi merely watches them from his blanket, quiet and content.

Chapter Text

The Kumo-nin intercept them halfway back to Konoha, and Kushina snaps.

She does not mean to, but she’s exhausted. The mission has lasted a week longer than it should have, and despite coming home successful, every single one of them are exhausted. Mikoto has done her best leading them, ensuring they were on the path back home as quickly as possible, but some things are entirely out of control. And Kushina knows she wants to get back home, because Itachi is just two years old. He needs her back home.

So when the Kumo-nin appear out of seemingly thin air, Kushina is already not in a good mood. Not that she would ever be in a good mood to see them, not after her time spent as a genin, not after— Not after that, even if she is grateful to have Minato in her life.

But it would have been fine. All she has to do is get close enough to each of them to seal them, her hands still painted with the seal she uses to incapacitate enemies just in case. She always keeps it on her when they need to cross enemy territory because it can turn the tide of a battle that quickly, and she likes to be prepared if she can.

It was the last thing Uzumaki Mito taught her, and she holds it in high honor.

The problem is that the Kumo-nin grab Mikoto, and Kushina… Something in her pops.

Something metallic clangs and the snarl that leaves her throat is not human, the red-hot angry chakra rising up around her not hers. It is her anger and her hatred and the sharp lash of protective instinct through her entire middle that gives just enough freedom to the kyuubi that his chakra surges through the seal and suffuses her entire body.

What’s wrong? His tone is mocking, vicious. Do you have need of me, Uzumaki container?

“Yes.” Kushina does not hesitate. Not now. She should, because this is dangerous— But hadn’t Mito-sama once needed his assistance, and hadn’t he provided it? “Yes.”

Very well. I’ve been itching to stretch my legs since you put these chains on me.

His chakra moves independently of her own body but Kushina is fast. Not as fast as Minato but fast in her own right. Kurama’s chakra lashes out at the Kumo-nin specifically holding Mikoto hostage and Kushina’s hands are right there, slamming into their throats. She feels one of their windpipes crunch against her hand and presses hard. Good. You deserve it!

Mikoto has a son to go home to, a husband to return her. Mikoto is her best friend and the thought of these bastards putting their hands on her is wrong. Kushina will punish them.

She doesn’t even pay attention to her comrades, too focused on the task at hand: Getting her seals onto as any of these bastards as possible. One of them is foolish enough to try to come at her from behind, crying out when Kurama’s chakra lashes out and draws blood. Do they truly have no idea what a jinchuriki is possible of? That she is a kunoichi?

Kushina will teach them, so they can take the lesson back home to Kumo with them.

It doesn’t even occur to her that her control is slipping, that her voice is more and more growls and snarls and animalistic sounds until a pair of arms catch her around the middle gently from behind. Her body stiffens at the thought of threat but no shinobi would risk touching her this lightly if their intention was to capture her once again.

“Easy, Kushina.” The voice is Mikoto’s, as are the arms around her, the hands that press against her ribs to keep the hold firm. “I’m right here. It’s over. You can stop now.”

For a moment, Kushina rocks on the balls of her feet, dizzy with the realization that Mikoto is embracing her. But she can feel the warm spark of Uchiha chakra against her own, calming the rage in her heart, soothing her like a warm blanket.

You get too attached, Kurama informs her even as he slowly lets his influence slip. You’ll regret that one day, Uzumaki container. It’s going to ensure you lose everything.

But not today, Kushina thinks, suddenly exhausted as she regains control of her body and her chakra. She feels winded, like after a particularly nasty training session with Tsunade. Like she might have pushed too hard and too fast and still made no headway.

Mikoto hums softly in her ear and Kushina is aware of her body, soft and warm against her back. Of Mikoto’s hair whispering against her neck. “It’s all right. We’re all safe.”

“Okay.” Kushina leans back into her arms without thinking about it, letting her eyes flutter shut for a moment. Just glorying in how close Mikoto is, how nice she smells, that faint ember-ash-smoke that all of the Uchiha carry because of their katon.

The chains clink neatly back into place, and she can breathe easily.

Chapter Text

When consciousness returns, the first thing Shisui is aware of is the scent of flowers.

A soft, confused sound leaves his throat as he timidly opens his eyes, hissing at the brightness of the room and the sharp pain in his head. He strained his Mangekyou, and he knows it. Pushing it as hard as he did is unacceptable, and the last thing he needs to do right now is go blind and risk his Anbu squad losing out on his leadership.

He sits up slowly and his heart climbs up into his throat and firmly sticks there when he realizes his father is sitting on the far side of the room, book in hand. The moment that Shisui shifts on the bed, Kagami looks up at him, wary dark eyes meeting his own.

“How are you feeling?” he asks, not bothering to mark his place as he stands. “You gave us quite the scare when you were brought back unconscious. What happened?”

“Ah. I may have pushed too hard.” He doesn’t need to explain to Kagami what happened, not when he knows all too well what happens if the Mangekyou’s abilities are pressed.

Kagami sets his book on the chair behind him and crosses the room, his hand warm as it comes to rest against Shisui’s forehead, nudging him to lay back down. Worn, familiar hands drag the blanket back up, tucking it around Shisui’s shoulders, and he lets himself be babied for a moment because he knows this is for Kagami, not for him. Both of them are well aware that Shisui is capable of taking care of himself for the most part.

“I’m sorry for worrying you,” Shisui says, and Kagami leans down to kiss his forehead.

“I know you are. You wouldn’t intentionally do something like that unless you had no other choice, but I’m begging you to find a way around it.” Kagami takes the chair beside his bed instead, and Shisui realizes there is a vine of flowers wound around it.

He gives himself a shake. Focus on Touchan. “Of course. I will. I’ll train with Itachi more, we were making breakthroughs the last time we had time to spar with each other.”

“Thank you.” Kagami brushes a finger along one of the white flowers on the vine, and Shisui realizes there are more of them. Another vine is wound around the head of his bed. “You had a visitor while you were resting. One of your squad came to see you.”

That information alone is enough to guess who the flowers are from. “Was he worried?”

“Of course he was worried.” Kagami plucks one of the flowers and holds it out to him, and Shisui accepts it, cupping it carefully in his palm as he looks down at the fragile white petals that are so soft against his skin. “He was the one who carried you in, according to Tsunade. You should try to worry him a little less, too, if you can. He cares about you.”

The gentle words bring a blush to Shisui’s cheeks and he ducks his head, brushing his thumb along the edge of one petal. “Yeah, I’m… I’m aware he does. I know that now.”

Now, ” Kagami teases, and Shisui groans as he lets his head thump back against the pillow. “You’ve known quite longer than that, I think. There’s no shame in having feelings in return, you know. He’s a lovely young man, and he’d be very lucky to have you.”

Shisui rolls his eyes. “Was that what your parents said when someone liked you?”

“Well, you know my fathers were from a very different time period and generation, so they were a big protective, but ultimately, they were happy to accept Hiruzen and Danzo into the family without issue.” Kagami leans back in the chair, and a petal slips from a bulb at his side and wafts gently to the floor. “And we will do the same for you, you know.”

“I’m aware. I’m just taking my time about things. You never know what might happen in the field.” And with the missions that Anbu often takes, Shisui does not… Really want to leave anyone grasping after him should something go horribly wrong.

Kagmai pats him on the shoulder. “Of course. You do what you need to do and what you think is right. Take your time or rush off to tell him your feelings. Just do me a favor and let him know that you’re all right at your earliest convenience, yes?”

Shisui promises, and Kagami kisses him on the forehead.

He wraps his hand around the flower and sighs, looking up toward the ceiling with a small, tentative smile.