BY : Mannah_Pierce
Category: Naruto > Yaoi - Male/Male > Naruto/Sasuke
Dragon prints: 952
Disclaimer: This story has some of Masashi Kishimoto's characters from Naruto in a universe of my own devising. I do not own Naruto. I do not make any money from these writings.

Iteration’ is part of the space saga that began with ‘In the cold of space you find the heat of suns’ and continues in ‘Tales in Tarrasade’. There is also a one-shot ‘Silver Leaf Tales: Tying the knot’.

Thanks to Small Fox for being my beta. For this story he has also been my muse, suggesting a number of the ideas that have evolved to create this arc.

Thank you to those readers who have written a review and particular thanks to Dreamfool, Midnight Essence, kanazerosukenaru, richon, disembodiedvoiceofthedying, v, blugirlami21, angelj232000, Dorkchic, SunaoTsuji, Lixx, Moonmoore, Prism0467, sadie237, unneeded, ShadyDarling, YamanashiOchinashiIminashi, Aflyingmonkey123 and superflaj who reviewed after chapter 114 was posted.

It is wonderful to hear from readers. It is feedback from readers that keeps me writing this story.

Apologies if the characters have grown differently in their new environment.

This is posted in the Naruto/Sasuke section because it is part of a Naru/Sasu/Naru space saga. However, it does feature many other pairings (and a few threesomes). Apologies to those hoping for Sasuke/Naruto or Naruto/Sasuke action in every chapter.

Just to remind readers, the speech shown in italics coming out of a speaker or an earpiece.

Chapter one hundred and fifteen: Rout

They jogged through Level 5 corridors towards the next spoke. Inside, Sasuke was howling with frustration. He needed to be home, protecting Naruto and the children. They couldn’t get to the Hub. The direct route to the Maple had been blocked.

Sasuke could tell from Kakashi’s expression that he expected the next spoke to be closed and then the next. He was convinced that it was all part of the enemy’s plan to keep them away from the household.

Asuma appeared on his shoulder.

“If we could make it to Level 4, we might be able to find a shuttle,” he suggested. “Or at least suits.”

Sasuke heart lifted. He nodded; if they had to cross the gap in suits they would do so.

Shikamaru watched as the pods disappeared from his diagram. En-san was keeping up an excited commentary based on what he could see using the scopes. Naruto finished dealing with the pods on the surface and started on the others.

“It’s amazing!” En-san declared. “How does he do it?”

Shikamaru decided that it was a rhetorical question but answered it in his head anyway. It was Naruto’s phenomenal reaction time and skill combined with his computerised control system, Kotetsu’s interfaces and Izumo’s engineering.

He would collect all the footage later and watch it.

For now he was more interested in the intruders who had boarded. Five groups had made it in. So far, two groups had tried and failed to get into the infirmary while three had headed to the playroom. Kiba and Hana had dealt with two but the third were almost there.

Then there was the issue about how they intended to exit the station; there had to be a getaway craft.

Did they have some appalling plan B? Or, given the repeated challenges in the killing square, would that be plan C?

The Level 5 corridors were wider and less curved than those in Level 6. They were travelling three abreast; Sasuke had Sumaru to his right and Neji to his left. In front were Hamaki and Terai and, beyond them, Fu and Tatsuji.

A man was coming towards them, which was odd. Usually everyone ran in the opposite direction as soon as they saw Uchiha coming.

Tatsuji was almost on him.

“My name is Ishidate,” he shouted. “I have a message for Uchiha-sama from Angela-san.”

Sasuke called halt. Angela was one of Tennyo Three’s identities; the one that worked on behalf of Jizenkai. “I am Sasuke Uchiha,” he acknowledged.

The man was wary of the four elite fighters around him but not intimidated by them. He looked Sasuke in the eye. “Angela-san says that Sakura-san sends her regards. She can offer you assistance. The code words are ‘pink’ and ‘poster’.”

Sasuke recognised the reference to his conversation with Sakura-san on the Oak after the Warren. Neji’s hand signals were positive. There was no reason not to believe that this man was not from Shikamaru’s operative. “Go on, Ishidate-san.”

“Follow me,” he replied and began walking back the way he had come.

“Sasuke-sama?” Kakashi queried from behind him.

“I am satisfied the message is from Sakura-san,” Sasuke assured him.

They wound their way through the Level 5 corridors, finally ending up outside a door just like all the others they had passed. Ishidate pressed the announcer three times; two short and one long.

A mousey woman answered it. She kept her head down.

“Are you Arella?” Ishidate asked.

She nodded.

“This is as far as I go, Uchiha-sama,” Ishidate told him. “Arella-san will look after you.”

“Thank you, Ishidate-san,” Sasuke acknowledged as the man turned away.

Once Ishidate had gone, ‘Arella’ looked up. Sasuke could see that it was Sakura, just as Angela was Sakura. Her colouring, expression and demeanour were different, but it was the same person.

“Uchiha-sama,” she acknowledged.

“Arella-san,” he replied.

She gestured them in. They would have to walk single file. The apartment was that small.

“Sasuke-sama?” Kakashi queried.

“I am sure,” Sasuke assured him.

‘Arella’ led the way through corridors and into a room. They went through what looked like a closet. She did something, Sasuke did not see what, and part of the wall slid open, revealing a hatch with a ladder beyond.

“It’s one of the secret ways,” Konohamaru declared. He sounded like an excited child.

Sasuke did not blame him. Their childhoods had been filled with stories that featured secret routes between levels. It was part of Tarrasade folklore.

Trust Shikamaru to find, and own, a fairytale.

“You will need to let yourself out,” ‘Arella’ told him.

“Thank you, Arella-san,” he replied. “Please thank Angela-san and Sakura-san for me.”

She smiled at him. “I shall, Uchiha-sama. It is a pleasure.”

They lined up and started to climb.

Haru was between Ran and Kazuki. Without To-chan, Papa, Kiba-san or Shi-chan, having Kazuki and Ran close was the best way to feel safe.

He wanted his plushie. He knew he shouldn’t, he was seven, but he did.

Biwako-san was standing in the way that told them that she was about to say something.

“You might hear some scary things through the intercom or through the walls. The floor may feel strange,” she began.

They had already heard lots of scary stuff through the intercom. Biwako-san had tried muffling it, but Kazuki had still heard and told them. Haru knew that there were bad people in the household. He knew that Moegi-san and Kotetsu-san had killed some and that Kiba-san and Hana-san had killed others.

“Your job is to stay still and quiet,” Biwako told them. “We know how hard that is, but it is very important.”

It was going to get worse. Haru shrank further into Ran. In response, Kazuki pressed even closer.

There was a thud and the floor shook. Kazuki yipped. Haru stroked him; every sound was at least ten times louder for the kits and Ryuu. Te-chan started to cry and that set off Ta-chan and Konan-san’s baby, Nagato-chan.

Biwako was speaking into the intercom. She was keeping her back to them in the hope that they would not be able to work out what she was saying.

Then, to his surprise, Sumiko was in front of him.

“Want cuddle,” she demanded.

Haru stared at her. They hated each other. Why didn’t she go to Hoshi?

“Nii-san not here,” she stated.

He was going to tell her to go to Hoshi when there was a huge noise and the whole room shook. Sumiko dived towards him and he grabbed her; held her like Ran was holding him. Kazuki was trying to push further into the huddle; his ears flat against his head, whiskers drooping and his tail tucked between his legs.

Haru managed to control his fear enough to look about the room. Ryuu was looking towards the door that led to the corridor. He was growling.

There was another huge blow. This time Haru saw the wall shake.

The bad people were on the other side. Haru knew that the room was special. It had thick steel built into the walls, ceiling and floor. The only holes were the vents and the doorways but slabs of steel had sealed those when the alarms started. He was pretty sure that hitting the door wasn’t going to work.

Then the screeching started and the whole room started to vibrate. Kazuki covered his ears and began whimpering. Ryuu threw back his head and howled.

They were cutting their way in; Haru wondered how many of the others had guessed that.

Unlike most of the other little ones, Sumiko was not crying. She had made fists in Haru’s top. She looked up at him.

“Is Nii-san dead?” she asked.

Haru understood why she was thinking that. The bad people were at the door, so Sumiko thought they had killed Shi-chan to get there.

He hugged her more tightly. “Shi-chan is in the control room, trying to save everyone.”

Then, suddenly, Kazuki’s ears perked up. “Kiba-san!” he said, his eyes shining.

The noise stopped with one last, stuttering screech. There was a soft thud of something against the wall. Kazuki’s whiskers were forward and his tail fluffed.

“Kiba-san and Hana-san are killing the bad men,” he announced.

There was a short silence before the intercom clicked.

“Kiba here. The group attempting entry into the safe room have been eliminated. Where next, Shika-san?”

“Shikamaru here.  It looks like all intruders have been dealt with. Naruto-san and Choza-san have destroyed the others before they could enter the ship.”

Haru’s heart leapt. To-chan had killed the other bad men. He gave Sumiko another squeeze. “See, Shi-chan is alive and in the control room.”

They climbed quickly. The tube they were in was narrow, only wide enough for a single person. Sasuke imagined someone paying for it to be hidden in one of the struts that ran up to Level 1.

At the top of the ladder was another hatch, another opened section of wall and a luxurious apartment.

They were in Level 1. Sasuke started to head for the exit and home.

“Wait a moment,” Neji suggested, switching on the entertainment console and selecting a news channel.

Sasuke could see that made sense. He made himself wait and listen.

“The explosion of the freighter Mammoth Five has generated large quantities of fast-travelling debris, some of which has hit the station. Emergency services have responded inside and outside the station. There is a pan-station high amber alert and red alert has been declared where impacts have occurred. Residents are encouraged to go to their safe place.

“Multiple hits have been reported on the main ring and the Hub. This means the Hub is closed. There are also reports of at least one impact on Level 1.”

There was some video of the explosion and the usual images of residents walking calmly but purposely to their safe places. Nothing about an attack. Nothing about the radio blackout.

In this apartment the only indication that there was a crisis was a small, pulsing amber light in the corner of the room.

Perhaps it was all in Sasuke’s mind.

“I don’t believe a word of it,” Kakashi growled.

“Home, now,” Sasuke agreed.

A high amber alert was enough to keep everyone out of the corridors. They headed at a jog towards the main entrance to the Uchiha household.

They slowed as they approached the open area where Level 1 met the Hub. In front of the elevator, close to one of the emergency airlocks, was a five-man paramedical team. Sasuke assumed that there was an ambulance docked at the airlock.

Sasuke strode towards them, wanting to know who had summoned them and why they were there. He wondered why they had not rushed to the reported casualties. Perhaps they were the second of two teams; the back-up.

Kakashi was interrogating the Level 1 security personnel on duty; he obviously knew them. Asuma was inputting the codes to open the outer doors of the household.

One of the men in the emergency team was looking at him oddly. They were suited, as one would expect. Their helmets were open but they were wearing breathing masks.

Sasuke wondered if there had been reports of smoke or gas.

The man had strange, yellow eyes. He turned away and started walking towards the airlock. His team followed. Sasuke wondered if they had been told to stand down.

Neji was frowning.

Then Kisame was on them. The yellow-eyed man was knocked to the ground and there was a sickening crunch as Kisame stamped on his hand. Other paramedicos were stunned with blows or hit walls.

Sumaru was immediately between him and the action. Sasuke tried to see but Sumaru was pushing him back and Hamaki was shielding him with his body.

Sasuke managed to glimpse Kisame lifting his foot; there were the remains of a trigger in the mangled hand.

Itachi pulled the man to his feet, wrenched the mask aside and pressed a knife to his throat.

It was Orochimaru, or more likely a mindprinted clone of him.

Sasuke said nothing. He understood if Itachi wanted to kill this resurrected version of the monster who had raped him.

Gai and Tatsuji were through into the ambulance, intent on disarming the bomb if there was one. Itachi threw Orochimaru towards Terai and followed them.

Fu and Sumaru were restraining the other prisoners.

Then the Orochimaru clone did something; Sasuke could not see what. His body contorted into a spasm and died. Before they knew it the other four had followed his lead.

Sasuke wished that Itachi had slit his throat.

Asuma had the outer door of the household open. There was a flashing red light; at least one breach. Sasuke darted out from behind Hamaki, dodged Kakashi and threw himself at the intercom.

“Sasuke here. Report.”

Was it working? Then there was the familiar click.

“Shikamaru here. Reporting from the control room. We have been under attack but have the situation under control. Boarders have been repelled. There must have been a getaway craft, but I have yet to locate it.”

Sasuke looked towards the ambulance. “Sasuke here. We may have located that. Who is in command? Have there been any casualties?”

“Shikamaru here. No casualties.” There was a pause. “As for who is in command, I guess I am.”

Naruto was still patrolling the outside of the Uchiha compound when his radio crackled. Encouraged by the unexpected sign of life, he tried transmitting on their usual channels.

“Naruto reporting.”

“Na-chan!” Shi-chan replied joyfully before pulling himself together. “Shikamaru here. We just located the jammer. Someone must have deactivated it. Do you want me to patch you through to Sasuke on a private channel?”

“Please,” Naruto admitted.

“Dobe?” Sasuke’s voice was low and husky.

“Teme,” Naruto acknowledged. “Are you all right?”

“Fine. It’s me who should be asking you that.”

“I am fine. The Blossom is a great little ship. How is everyone?”

“The children are safe but we haven’t opened the safe room yet. No casualties. All the intruders were killed. We have located a getaway craft masquerading as an ambulance. It contained the jammer and a bomb. The bomb has been disarmed. We took an Orochimaru clone alive but he and the men with him, probably more clones, killed themselves before we could work out how to stop them.”

Naruto thought about it. “An ambulance couldn’t go far,” he suggested.

“I know but the chances of finding the ship it was going to rendezvous with in a system as busy as Tarrasade is low,” Sasuke reminded him. “Itachi is taking the ambulance apart and feeding any information he finds to Shikamaru.”

“Shi-chan saved us,” Naruto told him. “He was so quick. I was still thinking about getting the children safe just in case when he had seen the threat, identified targets and told Choza and me to launch the Cherry and the Blossom.”

“You all did brilliantly and you saved me, dobe. If you hadn’t given your tags to Haku I would have been up against a hybrid fighter without a hope.”

“It’s my job to keep you safe,” Naruto whispered.

“I love you,” Sasuke murmured in reply. “When can you dock?”

“When I am sure the threat has gone,” Naruto insisted.

Kakashi escorted Iruka to the crew room, which was untouched, and then walked to the control room. Inside were Shikamaru and the Zetsus.

“Tatsuji-san will be in your crew room soon,” he told the Zetsus.

They looked at Shikamaru, who nodded and smiled. “Thanks for your help, En-san, In-san. We couldn’t have done it without you.”

They slipped past him and out the door. Kakashi sat down in the chair they had vacated. Shikamaru looked at him for a moment or two before turning his attention back to the displays.

“Well done,” Kakashi admitted.

“I didn’t do it like you would have,” Shikamaru countered.

“You made it work, despite having almost no resources. Who took the decision to release the prisoners?”

“Naruto,” Shikamaru replied.

“And to use Kiba and Hana as a mobile force?”


“And to launch the Cherry and the Blossom?”

“That was me, but Choza had suggested launching the Sakura.”

“When did you realise it was an attack?”

“We were suspicious when radio communications went down. Naruto decided to move the children to the old playroom and told me to come here. Once we had the video from the scopes on the screen I saw it.”

Kakashi knew there was more to it than that. “How?”

Shikamaru let loose a long, shuddering sigh. “I opened my mind. There wasn’t time for anything else.”

Kakashi was not sure what that meant but he knew that Shikamaru usually avoided doing it. He thought of it might be like using an implant that had huge side effects or Naruto deactivating his controller and risking going berserk.

He put out a hand and rested it on Shikamaru’s shoulder. “I am very proud of you.”

Shikamaru looked directly at him. Kakashi had braced himself and managed not to look away from the overpowering intensity of his gaze.

“Kakashi-sensei,” Shikamaru whispered.

“Shika-kun,” Kakashi acknowledged. “Let’s check everything out and then you can go and assure Neji and Iruka that all is well.”

Once Shikamaru had gone Kakashi allowed himself a short, belated panic. It had been so close. The station gunners had not received Shikamaru’s message; it had been queued despite all his efforts to alert them to its urgency. They had not fired on Choza and then Naruto because they were more worried about offending Uchiha than saving what they thought were spacers who had abandoned ship.

Without Choza or Naruto many more intruders would have made it through. Who would have thought that fat, out-of-condition Choza, who had never excelled at being a pilot or a gunner, would have done so well?

As for Naruto, Kakashi had viewed the video from the scopes. It had been amazing. He had pushed the Blossom to her limits.

He made one last check and then opened a channel. “Kakashi here. Naruto-san, it is time to come home,” he instructed.

Naruto was prepared for getting the safe room open to be a challenge; he remembered what had happened on the Oak. He waited patiently while Shikamaru convinced the time-lock that a day had gone by rather than merely three hundred and sixty minutes.

Once that was done, Naruto had allowed himself to anticipate holding his children. This proved to be premature.

The damaged panels were jammed. Izumo and Kotetsu had to disconnect them from the lifting mechanism before the others could be moved. It soon became clear that this was difficult and very time-consuming.

Naruto insisted on waiting in the new playroom until they were ready to open the linking door. He had suggested that Sasuke go to his office but Sasuke had refused to leave him.

One problem with being in a buggy was that you could not pace; rolling back and forth was just not the same.

“Sweetie, they will call us as soon as they are ready,” Sasuke reminded him.

Naruto suppressed a growl; Sasuke did not deserve to be growled at.

“What about waiting in the snug?” Sasuke suggested.

That idea had merit; it was nearby and they could have a cuddle. Naruto parked his buggy next to the huge bed and used the handle they had installed to pull himself onto the mattress. Meanwhile Sasuke made sure that people knew where to find them before entering the room, closing the door and crawling up the bed.

Naruto curled an arm about him, pulling him close. They talked. Sasuke told him about what had happened in Levels 3, 6 and 5. Then Naruto described how they had defended the household, emphasising how much each person had contributed.

“You don’t think we should be locking Hana up,” Sasuke observed at the end.

“No, I don’t,” Naruto replied. “She fought for us. Konan never mentioned Pein. It was like she knew the attack wasn’t anything to do with him. She is convinced he is dead.”

“I’ll think about it,” Sasuke promised.

Naruto just looked at him. Too many times ‘I’ll think about it’ meant that nothing changed.

Sasuke sighed. “I will speak with Konan,” he added.

Naruto nodded; content. He pulled Sasuke closer and began grooming his hair.

They had begun exchanging some gentle kisses when there was a knock on the door. It slid open a little.

“We are ready,” Shikamaru told them.

Naruto was off the bed, in his buggy and out the door. The room was filling up with the other parents. Shikamaru had a tablet attached to the safe room controls. He placed his thumb in the depression, looked into the iris-reader and spoke his name. He then handed the tablet to Neji.

Neji did the same. The tablet then went via Iruka to Naruto and then Sasuke.

Finally Shikamaru hit the switch and the steel shutters began to rise.

Kazuki was, of course, the quickest. He went to Naruto first and Sasuke second but then he ran up Kiba’s back and clung. By that time Naruto had a lap full of kits and Sasuke was hugging Ryuu. Naruto beckoned Kiba over. Kiba took Ryuu from Sasuke and held him close.

Naruto lifted Yasushi and Yoshimi down so that Keizo and Kuuya could have their turn on his lap.

Hikaru was next. Sasuke and then Naruto hugged him.

Hoshi, Yuki and Haru were among the last out. Hoshi was carrying Teruko, Yuki had Takara and, to Naruto’s surprise, Haru had Tsuneo.

“Your To-chan and I are going to take the babies into the snug,” Sasuke told the children. “You can join us there when you are ready.”

Naruto had one last look about. Shi-chan was holding Sumiko. Ayame was with Izumo and Kotetsu, who were exhausted and filthy from disconnecting the jammed shutters. Asuma and Akemi were greeting Misora and Keitaro. Kisame was carrying Mai and Shou. Hamaki had Naomi. Ran was permitting Iruka to hug him.

Konan stood isolated. She was holding Nagato. Then Hana was beside her, taking the baby bag. Naruto watched them walking away; bound for their prison.

Sasuke’s hand was on his shoulder. “I will see to it, dobe. I promise.” He smiled. “Group cuddle.”

They were soon all on the bed. The children were tired. Naruto felt his eyelids droop; it was far more exhausting to push himself to his limits since his injury. Sasuke was watching the babies while he answered Hikaru and Hoshi’s questions. Haru was asleep on Naruto’s chest. The kits and Ryuu were pressed close around them.

They were safe in the den.

Naruto slept.

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