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 V-anon, richon, disembodiedvoiceofthedying, sadie237, Midnight Essence, unneeded and YamanashiOchinashiIminashi who reviewed chapter 86.

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-seven: Consequences

Sasuke knew he had been impulsive. He had that tendency; he was cautious most of the time but occasionally he would follow his instincts even if the risks were high.

But this was not like leading the defence of the spacer quarter in the Warren. He had served Udon tea. The deluge of media attention that had followed was ridiculous.

Neji and Kakashi had spoken of nothing else since the strategy meeting had started. Sasuke even suspected that the two of them had discussed how they should scold him. It would explain why they were in the small meeting room rather than his office.

He was struggling to keep his temper.

“I refuse to accept that it was unwise,” he repeated.

Kakashi looked like he was about to explode. “You served tea to a Scavenger, in public, in Tarrasade!” he growled through gritted teeth.

“Inside the Jizenkai offices isn’t strictly public,” Shikamaru pointed out.

Kakashi glared at him and Sasuke saw Shika cower slightly, which just made him even angrier.

“There were people present we cannot control and one of them had a camera,” Kakashi reminded them, stabbing a finger at the fuzzy, two-dimensional video that was being shown repeatedly on every media channel.

“It may have been a step too far to actually serve him tea,” Neji added. “However, it is done now and, perhaps, there will be as many positive consequences as negative. The positive consequences may just take a little longer to emerge.”

“It was a misjudgement,” Kakashi insisted. He reached across the table and claimed Shikamaru’s pointer. He brought up an image of the approval ratings and demonstrated, again, how those for all groups of residents had fallen since the news had broken.

Sasuke had to vent his anger before he lost control completely. His knife was drawn and thrown. It sliced through the power cable for the projector, deactivating it, before sticking in the ceiling. “I will not have my behaviour dictated by the media or by approval ratings,” he snarled.

“We are your advisors. You are meant to ask your advisors’ advice,” Kakashi retorted. “Now you will only have yourself to blame when someone cuts the throat of your pet Scavenger or purges Sublevel C killing all the orphans.”

Sasuke froze. “Please leave, Kakashi-san,” he ordered in a flat voice. “Before one of us does something we both regret.”

Kakashi left.

“Do you wish us to go, Sasuke-sama?” Neji asked.

Sasuke wanted Naruto, but Naruto was in a meeting with the whole of Iruka’s team; they were looking over the unoccupied section of the household in preparation for constructing some long-term plans.

“No,” he admitted.

“Shall I get your knife?” Shikamaru asked. “And mend the projector?”

“Yes and yes,” Sasuke replied. “Thank you.”

Shikamaru put a chair on the table, hopped up and reached for the knife. The chair wobbled precariously and Neji sprang to steady it.

“Neji, did you mean it when you said that there may be some positive outcomes?” Sasuke asked. “Shika, do not use my knife as a wire stripper!” he objected.

Shikamaru gave the knife to Neji to relay to Sasuke and took out his own.

“If the projector was still working, I would have shown you the interview Chikara-san gave,” Neji told him. “He points out that Udon is an exceptional person and deserves the honour you paid him. He spoke about Udon saving his grandson. He pointed out that the baby was returned safely and that Udon did not even ask for a reward.”

On one hand Sasuke was pleased, because Udon deserved the recognition. On the other, he worried about Udon becoming a target, as Kakashi had suggested.

“I will view it from my desk later,” Sasuke assured him. “I think I shall go to the playroom. With both Naruto and Kiba in Iruka’s meeting I am anxious that Biwako-san may be struggling.”

“Who is with her?” Shikamaru asked.

“Itachi and Kisame,” Sasuke admitted. All those who usually cared for children were in the meeting. Their usual back-ups, Shino and Anko or Inari and Tayuya, were away on the Maple. Once those with other commitments had been excluded; Itachi and Kisame were the only ones both willing and available.

Shikamaru sniggered.

Sasuke decided to go to the playroom sooner rather than later.

Udon did not understand why Angela-san was so worried about him. She explained about the furore that had followed people finding out that Uchiha-sama had served him tea but Udon still struggled to see the problem. Very few people looked at him long enough to recognise him. If outsiders came to Sublevel C no Scavenger was going to tell them where to find him, with the possible exception of his aunt.

He was due to go back to Level 1 today to discuss the hospice with the experts at the medico school. Moegi had sent him a message. She had said that she would be there and that he was to expect a medical examination.

Udon had scrubbed himself particularly thoroughly and bought yet another new pair of pants and a shirt.

He wondered if Moegi would touch him and blushed. What would he do if his rod decided to stand up?

He did better climbing the ladder. He did not know if that was because Ishidate set a slower pace or because he was less anxious. Before he knew it they were in the elevator travelling up to Level 1.

This time the big men outside the elevator definitely saw him; they studied him. So did most of the people they passed when walking down the corridor and around the outside of the plaza.

Udon had felt much safer in Sublevel C.

Moegi was there to meet them. She smiled at him, his rod swelled and Udon blushed.

“We have ample time to do the examination before the meeting, Udon-san,” she insisted. “By the time the meeting is over the results will be ready.”

He followed her into the ‘examination room’, wondering if it were possible to die of embarrassment.

Naruto trailed after the others as they walked from one unoccupied space to another. The logical human part of him understood that Iruka had asked him and Kiba to attend because they cared for thirteen of the twenty-three children; it was important that they contributed to every decision about the future household.

The fox part of him wanted none of it. It was morning, so his fox part wanted Kiba in the playroom with the children while the babies were with him. His fox part knew that Sasuke was upset about the fuss in the media and wanted to check on him regularly throughout the day.

The illogical human part of him did not want to think about what it would be like in five standards’ time when the children would be eleven. Eleven was only three standards younger than fourteen and once they were fourteen they would be adults and not children at all.

They were talking about whether they needed to plan for an apartment for each child. An apartment suggested privacy and fucking. Naruto was not ready to think about his children fucking. They were only six. It made him want to growl.

“You all right there, Naruto-kun?” Ibiki asked quietly.

Naruto realised that a small amount of growl must have slipped out. He flushed and then smiled because it was nice when Ibiki called him Naruto-kun; it reminded him of being on the Silver Leaf.

“Struggling with the idea of Kazuki having his own apartment,” he admitted.

Ibiki nodded. “I would have thought it would be Yuki you would be worried about,” he replied.

Naruto had been trying to avoid thinking about Yuki. Thinking about men sniffing around an adolescent Yuki made his blood pressure soar.

“Or Hoshi,” added Ibiki. “I know we are meant not to be more protective of girls but it’s hard not to be.”

Somehow men sniffing around Hoshi was less worrying. Naruto had little doubt that Hoshi would have all the skills she would require to deal with men; or women, because Hoshi might prefer women. Not that he thought that likely, because Mikoto had loved Jiraiya so probably had preferred men. Strange that he did not think that Yuki would prefer women.

He was thinking about his children’s sexual preferences; this meeting was a very bad idea.

Ibiki was still waiting for him to respond.

“They are only six,” he complained.

Ibiki chuckled and squeezed his arm. “Perhaps that is one of the perils of parenthood, Naruto-kun. They grow up too quickly.”

Sasuke headed for the playroom. Shika had promised that he would follow once he had the projector mended. Neji had reminded them that he was meant to be joining Iruka’s meeting and would do so as soon as Shikamaru was safely back on the floor.

There was no shouting or squealing to be heard as Sasuke approached, which was good. He slid open the door and slipped inside. It looked fine. Kotetsu was sitting on the ground with Ayame, Hoshi, Yuki and the younger children; Mai, Naomi, Shou, Sumiko and the babies. Biwako was sitting a little apart from them with Misora and Keitaro. Ran and Haru were at the other side of the room. Sasuke could hear Itachi giving orders in the gym and the low rumble of Kisame’s voice.

Yuki spotted him first, followed by Hoshi. He walked towards their group and Yuki released Tsuneo, who toddled toward him.

Very few purebred children walked before they were eight divs; needless to say, Tsuneo had been one of them.

Sasuke picked him up and Tsuneo gave one of his breathtaking, Naruto-esque smiles. Sasuke carried him over to the others and joined the group on the floor.

“Thank you for helping, Kotetsu-san,” he acknowledged.

“I was going to just drop off Ayame, as usual,” Kotetsu admitted, “but I could see that Biwako-san would be stretched.”

Sasuke was impressed that Kotetsu, who was usually off in his own world of drives and gates, had seen that help was needed and stepped up. He wondered why the same thought had not occurred to any of Naomi’s or Sumiko’s parents but then decided that he was being unfair; they probably had other commitments.

For all he knew, Fu and Yoshino might be in Iruka’s meeting.

He could not help but notice that the playroom was remarkably peaceful without the more boisterous of his sons.

He was debating whether he should go over and see what Haru was doing, which would run the risk of spooking Ran, when Shikamaru arrived. He leaned on one of the tables, inviting Sasuke to come over. Sasuke checked that the triplets were happy and joined him.

Shikamaru was frowning; Sasuke followed his line of sight and decided that he was irritated to see Sumiko there.

“Isn’t it one of her usual days?” Sasuke asked.

“Yes, but Ma should have realised things would be difficult with Kiba and Naruto both in the meeting,” Shikamaru muttered. “It’s not like Su-chan is ever easy.”

Sasuke looked at the miniature, female version of Shikaku and Shikamaru, who was being entertained by Hoshi. “She looks fine,” he observed.

“Su-chan has Pa’s brain and Ma’s character,” Shikamaru told him. He studied Hoshi and Sumiko. “Ho-chan is doing a great job.”

Sasuke watched for a few minutes. Hoshi seemed to know exactly what to do and when. He was impressed that his daughter was so skilled at managing others’ behaviour. Thinking about it, it made sense; she was used to dealing with the varied personalities of her littermates.

They walked over and joined the group.

“Are you and Shika-san staying, Sasuke-sama?” Kotetsu asked, hopefully.

“We’ll be here until Kiba gets back,” Sasuke assured him. “Thank you for helping, Kotetsu-san.”

Kotetsu smiled gratefully. “Izumo will be wondering where I am,” he admitted. He kissed Ayame goodbye and stood up. “Sasuke-sama, Shika-san.”

As Kotetsu left, Kuuya shot out of the gym heading for the lavatory. He froze, caught between talking to his Papa and his need to relieve himself.

“Go, Kuu-chan,” Sasuke ordered, pointing in the direction of the lavatory.

Kuuya resumed his dash but was soon back. He rushed up to Sasuke.

“We are playing a new game, Papa. Come and see. Please!”

Shikamaru smiled. “I’ll stay with this group while you visit the gym,” he offered.

“Thank you, Shika-san,” he acknowledged and then went with Kuuya to find out about Itachi’s latest way of disguising high intensity training as a fun activity.

To Udon’s relief the examination was fine. He had to lie down on a trolley that moved slowly through a tunnel. Then he had to put his hand into a machine that took some blood and did other things. Finally he had to look into a third device. He did not even have to take his clothes off.

“We perfected this examination to use with hybrids and other people who have often had no or poor experiences of medicos,” Moegi told him. “It gives us all the information we need without having to invade their privacy.”

Udon thought about the hospice. “It would be good to examine people in Sublevel C, but this is all too fancy and expensive.”

“Not necessarily,” Moegi replied. “If we build a small clinic down there, it could have machines like these.”

Udon did not reply; he was thinking of how he could prevent such machines being stolen, broken up and the components sold.

The meeting with the other medicos followed a similar pattern. They suggested wonderful things and Udon explained why they probably would not work in Sublevel C. Slowly they worked their way towards supplies of consumables, handheld diagnostic devices that would fit in satchels and training that could convert Udon into a paramedic and Ressies into care assistants.

Then Udon, encouraged by the fact they had listened, started explaining some of his ideas about having plants in the rooms and how important it was for the care assistants to visit with the patients as well as looking after their physical needs.

“After all, it is a hospice,” he concluded. “It isn’t about making them better, it is about making dying easier.”

There was silence; Udon realised that the medicos had yet to accept that this was not about curing people.

“What about music?” Moegi suggested.

Once the silence had been broken others began to contribute. One suggested colour and another texture. Then someone talked about aromatherapy, followed by a discussion about the therapeutic benefits of art.

They had moved on to discussing pain management when the entire room shook once, twice and then a third time. Between the second and the third movements the alarms started.

Even someone from Sublevel C understood what the alarms meant; somewhere there had been a breach.

Naruto had finally engaged with the discussion. Yes, they needed to plan for each adolescent to have some privacy but, no, a separate apartment each was far too much; an arrangement based on the pattern set by the current crew rooms would be more appropriate. Maybe there should be a choice between smaller and larger clusters of rooms, each with their own small kitchen and a shared area. Perhaps they needed to reconsider the structure of the current crew rooms at the same time.

He was just about to say that they needed to be flexible enough to allow for the children to make some of the choices when the floor moved.

The floor should not move like that. It was as if something had hit it very hard some distance away. Naruto broke out in a cold sweat; his body’s reaction to intense and immediate danger.

He had already located the symbol marking the location of the survival suits. He was moving towards it when he heard the sound of twisting, tearing metal followed by rushing air.

It was close but not here.

They were under attack.

He had the panel open and was pulling the first suit out. There were only six in this room; eight people six suits. Some of the others were beginning to react; probably more to him than to anything they had felt. Choza’s hand was moving up towards his face to activate his implant.

He caught Kiba’s eye. “Only six,” he called.

Kiba grabbed Haku and was moving towards the doorway; the next room would have more suits.

Naruto threw the first suit to Iruka and the second to Kurenai. He could not remember the layout. Which rooms were furthest from the outside and therefore safer?

There was a breeze. Soon there would be a wind as the air expanded out of the breach.

He threw the third suit and the fourth suit to Ibiki. Suzume was standing motionless, only just beginning to register that something was wrong.

Another explosion; much closer. He, Choza and Kiba stayed on their feet but the others staggered and fell. The alarms were starting and the doors were beginning to close.

Kiba made it through carrying Haku; Naruto watched the doors closing just behind them as the fifth suit was flying through the air towards Choza.

Naruto’s hand closed on the sixth suit.

More tearing of metal and there was a crack. It started bottom right of a wall and travelled across it with terrifying speed.

Naruto’s body was on automatic, getting into the suit as fast as possible without damaging it. He could see Choza was doing the same.

Iruka had his helmet on and was sealing his suit. Kurenai had only one leg into hers. Ibiki was yelling at Suzume who had not moved.

Beyond the widening crack, Naruto saw the blackness of space and the bright pinprick of one, two, three stars.

Kurenai, Suzume and Ibiki still might make it if he or Choza could help them.

The whoosh of the exiting air ceased as he sealed his helmet. He was moving towards Kurenai.

There was no floor, no wall, no up, no down; he was tumbling. A piece of twisted metal just missed his helmet.

There had been a third explosion.

There was the bright orange of a survival suit in his peripheral vision.

He reached for the gas gun that would be at the belt of his suit. He would stop himself tumbling and jet towards those who needed help; there was still time.

Something hit him in the back. He hoped, briefly, that the damage was only crushing but as he tumbled he could see the blood, his blood.

There was no pain.

Naruto knew that he was going to die.

He thought of his children. Then he flooded his mind with memories of Sasuke.

There were no regrets as the darkness came.

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