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 YamanashiOchinashiIminashi, lonelylulaby, blugirlami21, Aki-san, v, richon, Darling425 and sadie237 who reviewed chapter 80. To answer YamanashiOchinashiIminashi’s question, Udon and all the other scavengers are purebred.

Feedback from readers is hugely appreciated.

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.

Chapter eighty-one: Foundling

Sakura stared at the small, bloody bundle. What in known space did she do next?

“Do you want me to get him back?” Ishidate asked.

She nodded. He and Kongo took off after the Scavenger.

“Looks newborn,” Karenbana observed. “Won’t last long without its mother or medical attention.”

‘Angela’ pulled herself together. She would approach it like any other problem she was asked to solve. She began by working out how to carry... she checked ...him.

Luckily Karenbana had relevant skills. They were improvising a baby carrier when Ishidate and Kongo rejoined them.

“Lost him, Angela-san,” Ishidate admitted. “It’s like a maze down here.” He looked at the baby. “What next?” he asked.

“I take him back to my apartment and find someone to care for him,” ‘Angela’ replied.

The three of them looked at her. She sighed. Now they were certain she was crazy.

Two hundred minutes later she crossed off the fifth option on her list, laid her head on the desk and made small moaning noises. She had made the error of assuming that Tarrasade was like her home planet, where child care facilities were commonplace and there had been agencies supplying suitably trained professionals. In Tarrasade there were neither. Some wealthy families had servants employed to care for the children but otherwise children were cared for by family members. Sakura had yet to work out why. Maybe it was because families were terrified that their children would be kidnapped.

Whatever the reason, it was easier to hire an assassin than a nanny.

There wasn’t even an orphanage, which she already knew because it was one of her tasks to establish one.

She started on option six; caring for the baby herself until she could employ someone. A few moments’ research yielded a list of things you needed to care for an orphaned newborn. Almost all of them were only available from specialist suppliers; the baby would be dead before they arrived.

She briefly thought about option seven, which was to take the baby and a large bag of gold credits to Level 6 in the hope she could find a mother who was willing to feed the baby alongside her own. The problem was finding someone she felt she could trust. Also, she would need her bodyguards and she had not asked them to be available.

A soft chime announced an incoming message. She opened it quickly, hoping it was a positive response to one of the many messages she had left.

In a way it was. The first thing she had done on arrival at the apartment had been to record a quick report and send it to Chaaruzu-san.

His response was brief. She scanned the words on the screen.

Take the baby to Uchiha. Go as yourself. They will be expecting you. Chaaruzu.

Sakura gave a long, shuddering sigh of relief.

Udon had heard the big men coming after him. He had ducked down one side corridor and then another before hiding. Once he was sure they had gone he came out and headed home.

It had not been a successful night; he had neither found a body nor filled any of his rooms. Even so, he felt good. The baby might have a chance. The woman had looked at him. She had even spoken to him.

The woman had been very beautiful; her skin had been flawless.

His uncle was annoyed that he had gone out but Udon was not sure if he was cross at him or at his aunt for giving him permission and then not telling him she had done so.

The morning followed the usual pattern, which surprised him. He had thought that his uncle might insist that Udon stay with him for the entire day but he was released midmorning to look for bodies. Instead he made his rounds.

None of his people had died, which was both a good and a bad thing.

He was tired. He battled the temptation to nap in one of his empty rooms. If he fell asleep there was no way that he would report back to his uncle on time.

He tried not to think about what might have happened to the baby.

Sasuke was in his office reviewing Itachi’s initial report. He was suggesting securing two of the guest apartments as a temporary measure; one for Zetsu and the other for Konan, Hana and the baby. It would need to be done quickly; the Maple would be back the day after tomorrow. Sasuke uncapped his pen and began making notes.

The intercom clicked and he stopped writing.

“This is Konohamaru. I have a priority and secure message for Sasuke-sama from Shika-san.”

Sasuke frowned. He activated the intercom. “This is Sasuke. Please send it through to my desk, Kono-kun.”

It was secured using the code set aside for private communication between the two of them. He entered his passwords and watched the fractal pattern unfold into a holographic projection of Shikamaru.

He looked suspiciously apologetic.

“There’s a bit of a mess,” he began. “It all started when Na-chan went down to Sublevel C.”

Sasuke listened to the ins and outs of another of Shikamaru’s schemes. By the time he got to the part about the baby Sasuke was on his feet pacing. The urge to yell was great but he resisted it; there was no point in yelling at a recording.

He punched the intercom. “This is Sasuke, I need Itachi, Kiba and Iruka in my office immediately. Naruto, please could I speak with you as soon as is convenient.”

Itachi arrived first. Sasuke explained that something else had come up and that, while he needed him to begin preparing the two apartments as planned, there was an ally who was probably on her way now and they needed to have one of the security suites ready to receive her.

He could see Itachi’s mind turning over all the possibilities. It did not help that most of the team that usually received guests was on the Maple.

“Will you be present, Sasuke-sama?” he asked.

Sasuke had no intention of being in the pink-haired fangirl’s company unless it was absolutely necessary. “No. It will probably be Kiba-san and Iruka-san. Possibly Shizune-san.”

Itachi bowed. “Leave it in my hands, Sasuke-sama,” he replied and left.

Kiba was next. He did not turn a hair when Sasuke told him that they were going to be caring for a newborn that had been abandoned at birth.

“Purebred?” he asked.

Sasuke nodded and Kiba was on his way to make the necessary preparations. Iruka, Naruto and the babies arrived as he left.

A short briefing and Iruka left to prepare to receive their guest while Naruto spread a blanket for the babies and settled into a chair.

Tsuneo set off for the desk.

“Who is with the children?” Sasuke asked.

“Haku and Biwako-san,” Naruto answered. “Why is Sakura-san bringing us a newborn baby?”

Sasuke scowled at him. “You, apparently,” he replied.

Naruto whiskers twitched. “I don’t think so,” he replied.

“You wanted Shika to find a way of founding an orphanage and a hospice for hybrids,” Sasuke reminded him.

“Yes, but I still don’t see how that links up with Sakura-san,” Naruto complained.

Sasuke had insisted that Shikamaru gave him permission to tell Naruto. “Dobe, Chaaruzu-san is one of Shikamaru’s identities.”

“Is he? I thought he was Klennethon Darrent. How else do the Tennyos have improvers?” He fell silent for a moment. “Shi-chan has improvers of his own?” he queried.

“I knew,” Sasuke assured him. “I am fine with it. When we needed them, like getting to the Warren or looking for Shika and Haru, the Tennyos worked with Uchiha. It’s a secret, dobe. Only four people know; you, me, Shika and Klennethon Darrent. Not even Sakura-san and the other Tennyos.”

Naruto nodded his acceptance. “I'm still struggling to see how Sakura-san ended up with a baby,” he admitted.

“Apparently you suggested it was important to get a contact among the Scavengers. A Scavenger gave the baby to Sakura-san, who was down in Sublevel C in one of her disguises,” Sasuke told him.

“That’s good,” Naruto replied.

“Good?” Sasuke queried.

Naruto smiled at him. “A baby who was going to die will get a chance to live.”

And, suddenly, what Sasuke had been thinking of as an inconvenience became a joy.

Sakura remembered the man who ran Uchiha-sama’s household, Iruka-san, and the way the hybrid, Kiba, handled the baby was reassuring. She recalled Naruto-san mentioning in one of the interviews that Kiba was the Uchiha children’s guardian.

It was nice to think that the baby was being cared for by the person who looked after Sasuke Uchiha’s children.

She had rather hoped to see Uchiha-sama himself or Naruto-san or even Shikamaru-san. Instead Kiba vanished with the baby and she was offered tea. She declined and Iruka promised to contact her about the baby’s progress before showing her out.

Her arms felt surprisingly empty. She could not shake off the feeling she had lost something. She mentally shook herself and went back to her apartment, reminding herself as she entered that she had established the fact that ‘Solange’ had a pink-haired, green-eyed female friend.

Once inside she poured herself a cup of wine; she told herself she deserved it. Then she reset her nanobots to ‘Angela’, cleaned up the mess she had created trying to look after the baby and composed a report for Chaaruzu-san.

She wondered how she was going to find the Scavenger youngster. He had read the poster and he cared enough to want to save the baby.

He was ideal.

As the afternoon progressed, Udon realised that his actions the night before might have consequences. One Scavenger woman pointed him out to another. Then it happened again.

As soon as he crossed the threshold that evening his aunt started. Apparently everyone knew he had cut a live baby out of a body.

He could see that his aunt was impressed but did not want to be. She called him effeminate, for doing something only a woman would do, and berated him for not bringing back the mother’s body.

“Yone, leave the boy alone,” his uncle said to the astonishment of the rest of the family. “Udon, what did you do with the baby?”

He had his part lie ready. Part lies worked better than whole lies. “I saw an inspection team,” he replied. “Two women and two men. I gave it to one of the women.”

His uncle was surprised but accepted it. “Good idea,” he acknowledged. “Well done.”

Udon did not miss his aunt’s laser look.

He lay on his pallet that night, thinking. His uncle had never said ‘well done’ to him before, no matter how many recyclables or bodies he brought in. His Uncle Sukune was pleased that he had saved the baby; it did not make sense.

He decided to think about the woman instead. Once he was sure everyone was asleep he stroked his rod and imagined a living, breathing, healthy, female body covered with the same quality of skin as her face.

It was his best fantasy ever.

Kiba was pleased. The baby was in better condition than he had expected. He was a good size, probably full term. The pink-haired woman had kept him warm and hadn’t fed him anything inappropriate.

Within a satisfyingly short time Kiba had him clean, diapered and dressed in a sleep suit that he had set aside for Konan’s baby. Then it was a matter of persuading him to feed.

Kiba need not have worried. The baby caught on at once and sucked strongly.

He was a tough little thing. Kiba liked him.

Once the baby had finished feeding, Kiba put him in a basket to sleep and used the intercom to call Shizune. They had decided to do the first medical check in the nursery and only move the baby to the infirmary if necessary.

Or rather Kiba had decided and, as Rin was away, Shizune had agreed.

Shizune brought Moegi. Kiba decided that he was fine with that; Moegi had to learn. The three of them stood looking at the baby in the basket.

“So?” Shizune encouraged.

Moegi took a deep breath. “His colour is good,” she began, “and he appears to be breathing normally. He is a good size and plump, which suggests that his mother was healthy and well-fed. He has hair on his head and no fine hair on his body, so he was probably full term.” She peered more closely. “His head isn’t squashed and pointy, so it doesn’t look like he came out through a birth canal. Probably from a gestator or a caesarean birth.”

Kiba was impressed. Moegi did not usually impress him. Perhaps being a medico was bringing out the best in her.

“Which do you think, Kiba-san?” Shizune asked.

“Caesarean,” Kiba answered. “I could smell his mother on him.”

Shizune frowned. “That is a worry,” she suggested. “A caesarean and a baby separated from his mother is a particularly bad combination.”

Kiba thought about it and agreed. “Whoever tied off the cord used ordinary string,” he told her.

Whatever the circumstances of his birth, Shizune and Moegi agreed that the baby was remarkably healthy. Shizune supervised Moegi taking samples for further analysis and then they fitted the baby with a monitoring patch.

“Are you going to name him?” Moegi asked him.

“Are we looking for his family?” Kiba asked.

Shizune nodded. “If we can’t find them or they aren’t suitable we will think again.”

“Then he will stay as baby for now,” Kiba decided. He looked at Moegi. “Maybe this could be a learning opportunity for Moegi-kun? With the children and the babies to care for, I am going to need some help with this one.”

Shizune smiled. “That is an excellent idea, Kiba-san.”

“I would like that, Kiba-san. Thank you,” Moegi replied.

Udon was woken in the middle of station night by a bright light being shone in his face and heavy hands pulling him to his feet. There were three large men dressed in black. The one with the torch had a scar on his face. The one who was holding him was big with black hair. The other one was thin.

“That’s him,” his aunt’s voice confirmed.

“By the Lady he stinks,” the big man said.

“He’s a Scavenger,” replied the thin man. “They all stink. Let’s get him somewhere where we can breathe.” He turned to the scarred man. “Find some disinfectant and a bucket.”

They dragged him out of his home. His uncle said nothing; all he cared about was protecting Tanishi. His aunt wasn’t smiling but her eyes betrayed her elation.

The big man pulled him along a corridor until they reached a public faucet. He was pushed against the wall and ordered to stand still. The thin man opened the faucet and used the short hose attached to it to direct the water at him. The water was cold but he stood motionless, too frightened to do anything else.

The scarred man came back carrying a bottle and a bucket. He emptied the whole bottle of cleaner into the bucket and put it where the thin man could fill it with water. Udon watched him, terrified. What if it was bleach? Even diluted, it would burn him. He wished his sense of smell was better.

The man topped up the bucket with water. Udon thought it looked cloudy. He wished it cloudy. If it was cloudy it was a phenol. It would be unpleasant but it would not burn him.

The scarred man stepped forward and poured the bucketful of disinfectant over his head.

It was phenol. Udon almost fainted with relief.

The thin man began spraying him again and Udon began moving to make the rinsing more effective. The scarred man laughed but the thin one told him to shut up.

The faucet was switched off and he was pushed down onto a chair that had appeared from nowhere. A bright light was shone into his eyes. It hurt.

“Tell us about the woman and the baby,” the thin man ordered.

He told them. The only lies he told were about the end. He stuck to his story that he had come across the Outsiders by accident. He said he thought they were an inspection team.

“You killed the woman,” the thin man checked.

Udon’s heart was thumping. “She was dying. There was a death rattle. She was in pain. I didn’t want to cut the baby out with her alive.”

“You killed her,” the man repeated.

“Yes,” he admitted. Then, suddenly, he was angry. “It was the right thing to do,” he insisted.

For a moment he thought the man would strike him but then his hand dropped. “Perhaps it was,” he admitted. He turned to the big man. “We’ll have to keep hold of him. We need more information about the people in this inspection team. If we let him go we may never see him again.”

They tied rope around his wrists. The big man tied the other end of the rope around his waist. Then they led him through the corridors towards the ladder.

He stared upwards. He was going to leave Sublevel C. He had never left Sublevel C.

There was a prod in his back.

He started to climb.

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