BY : Mannah_Pierce
Category: Naruto > Yaoi - Male/Male > Naruto/Sasuke
Dragon prints: 1191
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 those who reviewed chapter 45 - The Horseman of Death, v, sadie235, Gaia77, unneeded, meow-ku, cynaga and disembodiedvoiceofthedying.

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 who are expecting Naruto/Sasuke or Sasuke/Naruto every chapter.

Chapter forty-six: Little Uchihas

Itachi walked and hummed, Mai cradled in his arms. It worked only if there was no hint of tension in him. Getting Mai to sleep had proved to be about mind over body.

Mai was a fretful baby. It took a long time to feed her and even longer to persuade her to sleep. Rin had assured them there was nothing wrong but Itachi knew that Haku felt responsible. Against all reason, he had decided that Mai was this way because he had put her in stasis for half a standard.

Itachi put such thoughts aside. All that mattered was getting Mai to sleep so Haku could rest. He was next door, with Kisame, listening. At the slightest hint Mai was unhappy all the tension would be back, Mai would pick that up and they would be off again.

Ten minutes later and Itachi was sure she was sleeping. He placed her in the cradle and set it to rock. Then he moved silently over to the gestator. It hummed obligingly, the display showing a reassuring amount of blue.

Inside was Shou; Haku and Kisame’s child.

Itachi still thought of Sasuke as Mai’s genetic parent. Between them, Mai and Shou combined Itachi’s three most precious people. He shut his eyes, overcome by his desire to protect them.

Then he glided soundlessly from the nursery to where his lovers were waiting.

Sasuke looked at Shikamaru and Shikamaru looked back.

Naruto had insisted that the two of them work together to optimise the triplets. He had said that they had done a great job last time and that they should not fiddle with a winning formula.

This time they were in Sasuke’s office.

“Just a quick look,” Shikamaru suggested.

The slightest encouragement was enough. Sasuke set the programme to 100% of Naruto’s humanised chromosomes. He then activated the function that showed the most likely appearance of the child.

The boy was obviously closely related to Naruto. He had a shock of bright yellow hair, less golden than Sasuke had expected, and Naruto’s blue eyes. He was round faced and had slightly tanned skin. He was short for his age and a little chubby.

Sasuke’s finger had increased the age without him even taking the decision.

They stared at the man. He was definitely not Naruto; he was purebred. He was above average height but not unusually tall; unlike Naruto his arms and legs were in proportion to his body. The face had slimmed to show a pointed chin and definite cheekbones. The hair was still shockingly yellow. The eyes were still Naruto’s eyes.

“Remember to deactivate the requirement for Uchihaness,” Shikamaru reminded him.

Sasuke scowled at him. He had no intention of looking at the profile.

Less than a minute later they were studying it in detail. It fell short of the parameters thought necessary for an Uchiha but in surprisingly few areas.

“Bara would have started out with a high quality human genome,” Shikamaru observed.

Sasuke stared at the image; a purebred version of Naruto with a normal lifespan who would be able to have children of his own.

“Wouldn’t it be a bit weird?” Shikamaru queried.

Sasuke did not deny that he was considering it. “He would not be my Naruto, just as the kits are not my Naruto. He would be less like Naruto than they are.”

“You would need to talk to Na-chan,” Shikamaru reminded him. “He gave his permission for you to combine his humanised chromosomes with yours to make babies, not to make a purebred version of him.”

Naruto knew that Sasuke and Shi-chan had been making decisions about the triplets. He had expected Sasuke to tell him that Rin was already working on the embryos and listened carefully to his description of two full-blood Uchiha girls who were half Sasuke and half him, like Haru was half Sasuke and half Shi-chan.

“That sounds nice,” he confirmed. He smiled. “You will have to start thinking about names, teme. No leaving it to the last minute like last time.”

Sasuke did not respond. Naruto had expected him to rile and remind Naruto that it had not been his idea to leave naming the kits until after they were born. Naruto felt his whiskers twitch.

“And the boy?” he asked, suspiciously.

Sasuke flushed slightly, confirming that something was up. Naruto leaned forward slightly and sampled his scent. Sure enough, Sasuke blushed deeper and he smelt distinctively embarrassed.

“What are you up to, teme?” he queried. “Not another scheme like when you conceived Haru?”

Sasuke’s chin came up. “I was going to discuss it with you.”

Naruto half listened to Sasuke’s disjointed explanation why he wanted the boy to have Naruto’s genome without the fox bits. It certainly did not bother him and Sasuke obviously wanted it very much.

“Fine,” he said.

Sasuke’s attempt to explain came to a shuddering halt. “You are sure?” he checked.

Naruto nodded. “Where’s the tablet? What do I need to say?”

Kiba concentrated; he could see four of the children and, if he listened carefully, he could hear the other six.

He understood the reasons for letting the children use both the old playroom and the new playroom but it meant that the children were spread across an area that was five times greater than it had been. Even with the new gym locked, it was difficult to keep track of them.

If he was being honest with himself, every aspect of looking after them was a challenge. Now Naruto was talking about three more babies and Haku-san had asked him whether he could help them look after Mai and Shou, the baby who would follow. During the conversation, the little girl Hamaki, Terai and Fu were gestating was also mentioned.

He liked the idea of babies to care for. Then he thought of bad days, when Haru was running rings around him, Yuki needed extra attention, Kazuki could not sit down and Hikaru was in one of his moods.

He missed Ranmaru very much.

He was relieved when Biwako-san arrived midmorning. She managed to get them all sitting down around the tables involved in building models out of clay. Kiba was surprised that she hadn’t started them on the learning games, but only until she came over to him.

“You have not sat down since I arrived, Kiba-san,” she observed.

He did not reply. He hoped she did not expect a reply.

“We need to rethink,” she suggested. “I think we should move Akemi, Misora and Keitaro’s lessons to here; we can extend the facilities if necessary. I think we should ask Kurenai-san if she could assist. I think we should discuss with Kono-kun if he would like to help with the children rather than just visiting. I think we should extend the programme of activities to involve more crew members.”

Kiba decided to let go; he would have to if he was going to be caring for another three babies, perhaps more.

They asked Kurenai and Konohamaru to supervise the children for part of that afternoon while Naruto, Biwako, Iruka and Kiba discussed Biwako’s plan.

“Perhaps we should try a twelve day cycle,” Biwako suggested. “There will be many, routine, everyday things. There will be time to spend with each individual child. However, I suggest we try to find activities, two a day, that they do as a group with people other than Kiba-san, Naruto-san, Kono-kun, Kurenai-san or me to do them with them.”

“Sasuke does music with them,” Naruto began. “He prefers regular slots so that he can work around them. Maybe two slots over the twelve days, because they like it a lot.”

“Excellent,” Biwako encouraged. “Perhaps the children could perform their music for the crew.”

Naruto and Kiba looked at each other.

Biwako smiled. “It does not have to be good, Naruto-san, just the best they can do.”

“Kakashi does training with them once every three days,” Iruka added. “That’s four slots.”

“Shino-san may be able to offer something,” Kiba suggested. “He thought of stuff for Keitaro when he was about their age.”

“Cooking,” Iruka stated with confidence. “Choza-san is good with them.”

At the end of the meeting Kiba looked at the table. On it were twenty-two of Iruka-san’s cards with activities written on them, plus two blank cards, arranged in two rows of twelve. They had decided to keep two sessions free and flexible, to accommodate matters that arose, or to visit Shikamaru’s level.

“Some activities will need more supervision from us than others,” Biwako admitted.

Kiba eyes went to Haku’s session. Surely even Haku-san could not manage to teach the kits and Ryuu to sew?

By day six of the first cycle Kiba was convinced. He had not appreciated that there would be so many advantages to the new system. Firstly, the activities used up a lot of the children’s energy. Secondly, the variation was excellent; he was discovering that the children had talents he had not even suspected. Thirdly, by being peripheral rather than leading the activity, he or Naruto was there to give a child who needed it a little extra attention. Fourthly, he no longer went to bed each night exhausted and anxious.

Day six in the morning was Haku’s slot. Kiba waited with trepidation.

Arriving with Mai was a good start. The children all wanted to see her. When Haku put her to sleep in a basket he warned them that they would wake her up if they made too much noise.

Kiba was impressed. Haku had given the children a real reason why they should try to be quiet. Normally they were quiet because they knew that he or Naruto would growl at them if they were too noisy.

Haku asked the children to sit down. He then smiled at them.

“I know you like painting pictures for your Papa,” he began. “When I go to his office I see your pictures on his wall.”

“He puts the old ones in our books,” Keizo told Haku.

“There are ten books,” Yoshimi explained, “one each.”

“And ten boxes,” Kuuya added.

“’Cos some things won’t fit in the books,” Yasushi said helpfully.

Ryuu frowned. “When the shelves are full, Papa puts some into the boxes.”

Kiba tensed slightly. If Haku was going to wait for every child to make a comment Kazuki would be bored before they even started. He was already looking about.

Haku distracted them by picking up a large fabric bag. Out of it he brought a rectangle of brown felt. On one side was a picture of flowers made by sticking down other, smaller pieces of felt that had been cut into various shapes.

“I thought that, today, we would make a new type of picture for your Papa,” Haku told them.

It was a good idea. Haku had lots of different coloured rectangles of felt so that each child could choose their background colour. The felt shapes they cut out, sometimes on their own and sometimes with Haku’s help, gripped to the background so that they could add new pieces without all the others falling off. Kiba noticed that Haku had thought through the process very carefully. He pinned each child’s background felt to a board. That made it easier for them to manage their picture; they could even pick it up to show people without it collapsing.

He even understood children enough to keep the glue well away.

Halfway through Mai woke up and started crying. Kiba offered to feed her and change her. Haku looked at him with suddenly vulnerable eyes.

“Or I could supervise the children, Haku-san, while you see to her,” Kiba added hastily.

The Haku-san he knew was back. “No, Kiba-san, it would be most appreciated if you would see to Mai’s needs.”

Kiba made sure he stayed where Haku could see him. Yuki and, to Kiba’s surprise, Ryuu came over to watch for a while.

Once Mai was back sleeping in the basket, each child brought his or her design to Kiba or Haku for the pieces to be stuck down.

Kiba could see that the activity had come to its end. The children were tidying up. Nothing more could be done until the glue dried. He started to plan what to do when the session finished early.

“Who knows that your Papa can sew?” Haku asked the children.

“I do,” answered Yuki. “He made Dolly’s kimono and his uniform.”

“Who would like to hear the story about what happened when we got caught without uniforms?” Haku asked.

The children were fascinated. Even Kiba was captivated. Haku was almost as good a storyteller as Shika-san. It was interesting to hear about when the current crew had still been in two parts. It was good for the children to know that their father sewed, even if he was Uchiha-sama, and that, when faced with a challenge, everyone pulled together.

“That was a great session, Haku-san,” Kiba admitted at the end when Konohamaru had appeared to supervise hand-washing before the midday meal.

Haku bowed. “Thank you, Kiba-san. I confess I am grateful that you only have me down for one session every twelve days. It will be a challenge to think of things for them to do. I shall take the pictures away and, when they are fully dry, embroider each with the maker’s name.”

“I could make ten thin boards the correct size, to mount them on,” Kiba suggested.

Haku smiled at him. “That would be excellent, Kiba-san. Thank you.”

The next free afternoon, Naruto took the children to give their felt pictures to Sasuke in his office. Each picture was admired and hung on the display board while Naruto did his best to keep an eye on what every child was doing.

Nevertheless, Shikamaru’s voice sounded over the intercom.

“Shikamaru here, Sasuke-sama. Haru is accessing the data streams via the terminal in your office.”

They watched as a sheepish Haru came out from under Sasuke’s desk. Naruto held out his hand and was given the hardware Haru had been using for the hack. It would join Shikamaru’s growing collection of Haru’s creations.

“I locked it,” Sasuke insisted and then went back to admiring Kuuya’s picture.

“It slows him up,” Naruto told him, hoping that was some consolation. A giggle from some of the children drew his attention as Yasushi announced, “It’s To-chan with no clothes on,” and Naruto realised that one of them had the pointer for the display flame.

“Put it back to show the picture of you all,” he insisted, “and then give me the pointer.”

“Are you going to make us tea, Papa?” Hoshi asked.

Sasuke hung Kuuya’s picture and picked up Kazuki’s. “No, Ho-chan,” he admitted. “Once we have hung all the pictures we are going to Shika-san’s level. That’s if your To-chan does not start growling before then.” He turned to Kazuki. “The blue against the orange is very nice, Ka-chan. I like it a lot.”

The children picked up the threat. They piled into the comfortable chairs and tried to be good, which consisted of tussling with each other rather than touching stuff they knew they should leave alone.

Naruto could feel a growl coming on. He suppressed the urge. If he growled Sasuke would not hesitate to cancel the outing to Shi-chan’s level. He wished Sasuke would hurry up, but nothing would persuade him not to give each child his or her share of attention.

Next time he would arrange for them to visit Sasuke in pairs rather than one big group.

Finally Sasuke hung the tenth picture and they were off.

He and Sasuke sat on the grass and watched the children paddling in the pool or climbing on the frame. One by one, and then by twos or threes, they decided that they had climbed or paddled enough and came to sit with their To-chan and Papa. Finally Yoshimi, Yasushi and Kazuki had a race from the climbing frame to the huddle. Kazuki wormed his way through the others and onto Sasuke’s lap. Naruto watched Sasuke cuddle him and scratch behind his ears.

Naruto took a deep breath. “We have something to tell you,” he began.

Sasuke gave him an encouraging look.

“You are going to have two little sisters and a little brother,” Naruto finished. It seemed a bit stark but being subtle would only confuse Ryuu and Kuuya.”

“Are they hybrids or purebred?” Haru asked immediately.

“Children are children, Ha-chan,” Sasuke reminded him but picked up Naruto’s slight frown and answered the question. “They are purebred.”

“What do they look like?” Yuki asked.

“At the moment they are too small to look like much,” Naruto replied. “They will be put into the gestators in a few days time and, for now, the gestators are going to be in our bedroom.”

“They will need a nursery,” Hikaru pointed out.

“And a book and a box in Papa’s office,” Keizo added.

There followed a long list of things that babies needed. Naruto assured them that they would gather everything together before the babies were born.

“What are their names?” Ryuu asked and all the children fell silent, waiting for the answer.

“Your Papa will decide the names,” Naruto told them. “He’ll decide before they are born.”

Ryuu frowned. “Please decide soon, Papa. Babies need names.”

“I will do that, Ry-chan,” Sasuke promised.

Once all the questions seemed to be over, they took the train back to the playroom with Sasuke driving and Naruto walking along beside the engine. Naruto noticed that the children headed for the nests in the old playroom rather than those in the new. He sat in one of the rocking chairs and Sasuke in the other.

“I think that went well,” Sasuke suggested.

Naruto considered. “Yes. I shall keep a close eye on Ryuu.” His mind went back to the ten of them in Sasuke’s office. “We are crazy to be having another three,” he observed.

Sasuke smiled at him. “Completely crazy,” he agreed.

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