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 lividangel (for three chapters, thanks!), YamanashiOchinashiIminashi, satterb, Midnight Essence, disembodiedvoiceofthedying, Dockchic, lonelylulaby, SunaoTsuji, Prism0467, v, richon, sadie237, Tati, prettypurpletiger and unneeded who reviewed after chapter 82 was posted.

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-three: Guardian

Kiba scowled at Kisame, who had insisted on accompanying him as he walked from the crew room to the prisoners’ apartment.

“I can look after myself,” he complained. “You know this. You trained me. She is a female version of me. I am stronger.” He paused, seeing that he was having little or no effect. “Kisame-san, doesn’t Uchiha trust me?”

Kisame studied him with his small, beady eye. “Kiba-san, you are Guardian. There is no position of greater trust.” He fell back. “Be careful.”

Kiba inputted the combination, waited for confirmation and then opened the secure outer door. Once in the lobby he pressed the announcer and stepped back.

The door opened.

It was like looking in a mirror that changed his gender; even her smell was disconcertingly like his own. He concentrated on the visual differences. She was aging; very few hybrids had access to age-retard. Her hair was longer. She was much less heavily built; she was elegant while he was solid.

“Kiba,” she acknowledged.

“Hana-san,” he replied. He found himself standing taller. “My responsibility is caring for the children, so I have brought more supplies and an offer of instruction in looking after a small baby.

“That would be welcome,” she acknowledged. “Please enter.”

Kiba stepped over the threshold. He had set up the nursery in the apartment but that had been before the other rooms had been finished. The furniture and accessories were typical of those elsewhere in the household; Itachi-san had insisted on a high level of finish, even though the occupants would be prisoners. Kiba found himself contrasting the way Uchiha treated its prisoners with how Orochimaru had treated Itachi.

He shuddered. The Orochimaru he had known had been a mindprinted clone. The information still had not sunk in. Out there was an older, more powerful version who was unlikely to take kindly to the news that a hybrid had turned on him.

“Kiba, are you well?” Hana asked.

Kiba came back to the present. It was interesting that Hana would not call him Kiba-san, even in response to him calling her Hana-san.

“I am fine, Hana-san. Contact with you and Konan-san reminds me of my old life,” he admitted.

Hana turned away and began leading the way to the nursery. “You betrayed your master,” she stated.

He bit back a surge of anger. “My master was Amachi-san,” he retorted. “Orochimaru killed him.”

“I did not know,” she conceded and he could see her relax a little. “Konan-san is my mistress,” she reminded him.

“We know that,” he acknowledged. “It is one of the reasons Konan-san is being given the benefit of the doubt.”

Hana went very still and then turned back to face him. “What do you mean?”

“Uchiha has no reason to feel negative towards you,” Kiba told her. “On the contrary, you saved Haru-chan’s life. Sasuke-sama understands that you will stand by Konan-san no matter what she had done and he does not want to place you in a difficult situation.”

There was a pause before Hana answered. “Uchiha’s attitude to hybrids is disconcerting,” she admitted.

Kiba smiled. “I felt the same when I first met them. They really do see hybrids as purebreds with a few extra abilities. Sasuke-sama openly acknowledges Naruto-san as his life-partner. He regards the kits and Ryuu as his children. The other hybrid members of the crew are treated as being equal value to purebreds.”

Hana did not respond, even though he knew she had heard him.

“The baby?” he suggested.

She began moving towards the nursery. “I must introduce you to Konan-san,” she told him.

Konan worried him. She was very pale and too listless. She sat in the rocking chair and paid little attention to the conversation. Kiba resolved to speak with Rin about her. The baby was a little small and had the pointy head Moegi had said was typical of a natural birth. Otherwise he looked healthy.

“A very fine baby,” he declared. “Have you decided on a name yet, Konan-san?”

The direct question meant that Konan rather than Hana had to answer. “Nagato,” she told him. “It is his father’s given name.”

“A fine name,” Kiba declared, determined to be positive. “Are you confident about changing him and feeding him and bathing him? Would you like him to wear a monitoring patch like the ones we use on our babies?”

Kiba pondered what he had learnt as he walked back to the household. Hana’s behaviour was contained and more than a little detached; Kiba thought she was uncomfortable with the notion of caring for the baby rather than her mistress. Although Konan had shown interest when they were handling the baby, she seemed too sad.

The baby would not make good progress with an uninvolved nursemaid and a depressed mother.

He stopped at the laboratory first, looking for Shikamaru. A few questions and Kiba established that although the apartment was elegantly furnished, it was lacking in items that would appeal to Konan.

A quick talk with Rin in the infirmary and he arrived back at the crew room. He settled at the table in the kitchen. Choza gave him a large bowl of vegetables to prepare for the evening meal. Kiba peeled, sliced, diced and chopped while he told Choza about the baby and how important it was for babies to be cherished.

“I think you are right, Kiba-chan,” Choza told him when he had described his misgivings. “It is your job to put the baby first. If that means cheering up his mother then you have to do that, even if she is an enemy.”

Kiba thought about it. “I was an enemy once,” he suggested.

Choza came over and kissed the top of his head. “Nonsense. You were enslaved to Uchiha’s enemy. Now, if your solution is going to involve a trip to the markets, remember to swap your morning in the playroom for Naruto-san’s afternoon. Everything worth buying will have gone by midmorning.”

Kiba had not planned that far ahead but Choza was correct; only some of what he needed could be collected from the crew.

He knew that Choza hated getting up in the early morning, so Kiba was touched that he insisted on accompanying him to the market next day. They wore what Choza called mufti and found a large hover trolley to take with them.

“Was it strange meeting Hana yesterday?” Choza asked as they made their way to Level 4.

“Yes,” Kiba replied automatically but then reconsidered. “No,” he decided. “She was exactly what I expected her to be, a female, Amachi dog-human hybrid who had been given to someone when young and trained to be a lady’s maid and bodyguard. If Konan outlives her, that’s all she will ever be and she will be completely happy. For me it was different because Amachi was killed and I had to adapt to survive Orochimaru.”

Choza nodded. “In many ways it was the same for us. We lived our lives and never considered whether they were good or bad; fair or unfair. Then everyone else was dead and we were forced to change.” He smiled. “Now we have been rewarded by having this wonderful life. I even have a marvellous lover.”

Kiba flushed; he always was embarrassed when Choza complimented him. He thought he was the lucky one. Choza was warm and caring and he liked being fucked as much as Kiba liked fucking him.

“Did you enjoy playing with the baby?” Choza asked.

It took a moment for Kiba to get his mind off how cuddly Choza was and back to his visit to the prisoners’ apartment. “I do not play with them,” Kiba objected before realising he was being teased. “It was nice,” he admitted. “I miss it. The triplets are already so big and Naruto doesn’t need my help with them as much as he did with the larger litter.”

“You don’t want babies of your own,” Choza checked.

Kiba didn’t. “No,” he admitted cautiously. “I would be raise your babies, if you wanted some,” he added.

Choza squeezed his arm. “No. I’m like you. As long as I have people to look after, I am happy.”

That was a relief. They arrived at the market and Kiba brought out his list. They soon had almost all the items on it, including all those Kiba considered essential. Then they browsed the stalls, an activity Choza enjoyed but Kiba would never choose to do. As usual, he ended up buying five times as much as Choza did because he kept seeing things for the playroom.

“There is going to be an orphanage,” Kiba said and then wondered why he had mentioned it. “For Tarrasade,” he clarified.

Choza turned to him and smiled. “Good. I shall make cakes for the children and maybe Sasuke-sama will allow you to help in the nursery every so often.”

The thought of it made Kiba warm. He resolved to ask Naruto more about the project and how it was progressing.

Choza lost interest as soon as the market filled up with buyers. They grabbed a snack from one of the stalls and then headed home.

When they arrived they decided that Choza would make his way slowly towards the prisoners’ apartment with the hover trolley while Kiba took a detour to the crew room to pick up the other items he had collected. They met in front of the outer security door. Choza was careful to look the other way as Kiba entered the code.

Hana was obviously surprised and perhaps a little irritated to see him.

“Konan-san is sleeping,” she told him.

“Good,” Kiba told her. “Then you can have a nice surprise ready for her when she wakes up.” He stepped to one side so that Hana could see the hover trolley full of plants.

“I thought the tomato and strawberry plants could go in the kitchen and the others all over,” he told her. “I picked ones that will flower at different times. Shika-san said she liked flowers.” He pushed the basket of baby things into her arms.

“These are things our babies have outgrown. Let Konan-san go through it rather than doing it for her. Or you could do it together. It’s important that she focuses on the baby and does not have too much time to brood.” He reached for the bag Choza was carrying. “I saw she knitted, so this is yarn and more needles and other such stuff.”

Finally he plucked a bag out of the trolley. “Shika-san said she liked blue and that she appreciated handmade stuff so I asked Haku-san if I could take this bedcover from the closet.” He added both bags to the basket.

She gawped at him before pulling herself together. “This is very kind of you, Kiba-san and...” She looked at Choza.

“This is my lover, Choza,” Kiba told her, pleased that she had forgotten to distinguish between hybrids and purebreds.

“Choza-san,” she acknowledged.

Choza smiled at her. “It is nice to meet you, Hana-san. Why don’t you allow us to help you unload the plants?”

They were back in the crew room in good time for Choza to start preparations for the midday meal. Kiba found himself sitting in his usual place at an unfamiliar time. He watched Akemi, who was on kitchen duty during the mornings, thinking that the youngster resembled his mother much more than his father.

There was the sound of light running footsteps and the glimpse of a small, fleeing figure; Ran’s door slid open and closed. Iruka-san was close behind him.

“Did Ran-chan go into his room?” he asked.

Kiba nodded and Iruka relaxed a little.

“Sit down, Iruka-san,” Choza suggested. “Allow Akemi-kun to make you some tea.”

“Tea would be nice,” he admitted, “but perhaps I ought to return to the playroom.”

Kiba picked up on his tone. “Is there a problem?” he asked.

Iruka hesitated before replying. “Naruto knows you are busy.”

“I have finished what I needed to do,” Kiba answered, already halfway across the kitchen.

He could hear that there was a problem long before he reached the playroom. It was too quiet. He speeded up but slowed and entered the playroom as silently as possible, hoping to observe what had been happening.

It was obvious that Naruto had reached the end of his tether and growled at them. Teruko was crying and the other two babies were on the edge of joining in. At some point Naruto must have abandoned the morning’s planned activity in favour of drawing because Ayame was concentrating on her picture while Hoshi was trying to persuade those of her brothers who were sitting at the table to draw. The five kits Kiba could see were uncharacteristically silent; Kazuki had to be hiding somewhere because Kiba could smell him but not see him. Ryuu was whimpering softly.

Hikaru was in one naughty corner and Haru in the other. Kiba scented the air. They had been fighting; he could smell it in their sweat.

Naruto was trying to calm the babies, which was unlikely to be successful given that he was tense and obviously unhappy. Then he smelled Kiba, as Kiba had known he would. He looked over and their eyes met. Naruto’s whiskers drooped and Kiba knew exactly how he felt; he felt the same every time the children reduced him to growling.

Kazuki streaked across the playroom, Kiba did not see where from, and climbed up Kiba’s back. Kiba lifted him over his shoulder and gave him a quick hug.

“Why don’t you help your To-chan by doing what you have been told to do?” Kiba suggested. Kazuki nodded and Kiba put him down. He dashed over to the table and wriggled in between Yuki and Ryuu. Yuki moved over to make room for him.

“No Biwako-san?” Kiba asked as he reached Naruto.

Naruto sighed. “She was here, but they were particularly lively and I could see she was not feeling up to it. I suggested that she take Misora and Keitaro for an outing. Iruka-sensei was here and I thought we would be fine.”

Kiba could fill in the gaps. Ran would have been too attuned to whatever was building between Hi-chan and Ha-chan. Iruka-san would have had to concentrate on him, leaving Naruto stretched. In the end, Ran had fled, Iruka had followed, the fight had started and Naruto had decided that enough was enough.

Of course he could have used the intercom to call Kurenai, or Haku, or even to check if Kiba himself was back, but Kiba knew what it was like; you thought you had it under control and then, all at once, it was utter chaos.

“Sasuke-sama,” he said, suggesting that they send the misbehaving boys to their Papa.

Naruto’s whiskers drooped. “Sasuke is in a meeting,” he explained.

“Send them to sit outside the door until he can see them,” Kiba suggested.

“It’s tempting,” Naruto admitted. “We haven’t done that before.” He sighed. “I have no idea what happened. Hikaru must have finally found a weak point because Haru attacked him.”

Kiba considered. “Ryuu didn’t defend Hikaru?” he asked.

Naruto shook his head.

“Then Hikaru said something mean,” Kiba observed. “Otherwise Ryuu would have stopped Haru. Why don’t I take the boys and leave them outside...”

“The small meeting room,” Naruto supplied.

“...and then come back to help you with the children and the babies,” he concluded.

Naruto thought about it and nodded.

Kiba collected Hikaru and Haru from their respective corners.

“Go pee,” he told them. “You may be waiting for your Papa for a long time.”

Hikaru looked at him in alarm but Haru barely reacted; Kiba was reminded that Haru had been through more scary things than sitting outside an office until after his meal time.

He wondered what Hikaru had said.

He left them sitting on either side of the doorway, told them to be silent, decided not to ask anyone to watch them and returned to the playroom.

Naruto had moved one of the rocking chairs close to where the children were sitting. He was already looking better. Tsuneo was crawling across the floor while Teruko and Takara were smiling and happy on Naruto’s lap.

Kiba walked over, taking the other rocking chair with him. As soon as he sat down Ryuu crept into his lap. Kiba cuddled him and fondled his ears.

“Is Ran all right?” Naruto checked.

“He went to his room,” Kiba assured him. “Iruka-san is in the kitchen watching his door, as usual. Do you want to take the babies to the nursery?”

Naruto looked at the children and smiled. “No, we have drawings to admire,” he replied.

They continued to cuddle children and admire drawings until the children’s midday meal. The children went ahead while Naruto and Kiba carried the babies.

Kiba found himself thinking about the orphanage. It would need to be staffed by people who truly cared. He wondered how they would be selected.

Once they reached the kitchen, he fed Teruko and Takara while Naruto looked after Tsuneo. The other children served themselves. Iruka-san sat with them and helped supervise. There was no sign of Ran.

“Where are Hi-chan and Ha-chan?” Iruka asked.

“Sitting outside one of the meeting rooms waiting for Sasuke,” Naruto admitted. He paused with a spoonful of food partway to Tsuneo’s mouth. “I hope the meeting isn’t too stressful. If it is, the last thing he will want to see will be them waiting for him.”

“Naru-kun, Hikaru and Haru will never be the last thing Sasu-kun wants to see,” Iruka reminded him. “Feed Tsu-chan. He must think you are taunting him.”

Naruto focused on the task in hand. Kiba watched Tsuneo eat; the triplets had excellent appetites.

“Do you know what the fight was about?” Iruka asked Naruto only to have Yuki answer instead.

“Hi-chan said Ha-chan was a cat,” he told them. “Which he isn’t because he’s purebred,” Yuki added. “To-chan, did Ha-chan hit Hi-chan because Hi-chan called him a hybrid?”

Kiba was lost. He could not imagine Hikaru calling Haru a hybrid or Haru taking offense if he did.

“It wasn’t ‘a cat’,” Ryuu told them, staring at his plate. “It was ‘Akatsuki’.”

The spoon froze again in mid air. “Hikaru-chan called Haru-chan Akatsuki?” Naruto asked.

“He said that Papa would never trust Haru,” Hoshi told them, with solemn blue eyes, “because he had lived with the Akatsuki. Haru was cross...”

Before she could finish her sentence Naruto was gone.

Tsuneo stared at the place the spoon had been and started to wail.

Kiba sighed. It was going to be a very long afternoon.

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