Real

BY : Mannah_Pierce
Category: Naruto > Yaoi - Male/Male > Naruto/Sasuke
Dragon prints: 1343
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.



​I am sorry that all the chapters of all my other stories on this site have been reformatted by the software upgrade to be a wall of text with no line breaks. Demon Goddess is going to help me sort it out, for which I am extremely thankful.



Heartfelt thanks to my beta and muse, Small Fox.

Thanks also to The Horseman of Death because the idea for this story started in a discussion with him.

Thank you to angelj232000, YamanashiOchinashiIminashi, unneeded, lonelylulaby, GreenEyedCat, Dawn, sadie237, cynaga, ShadyDarling, Kyle and disembodiedvoiceofthedying who left a review after chapter ten was posted. As I have said often, it is feedback from readers that keep me writing this story.

 



 

Real

Chapter eleven: Disassembly

 



 

It was much better once he had told Ran and Ka-chan about Sai.

Life went back to normal but with some changes. Lessons with Klenn-san were once every sixteen days and lessons with Shi-chan were meant to be once every five days but didn’t always happen because Shi-chan was too busy.

Haru was fine with that as long as he found out the day before. So far they were averaging one lesson every eleven point seven days.

 

He had come up with a strategy for combating Sumiko’s jealousy. He had suggested scheduling the lessons for when Su-chan could be in her fairyland simulation and Shi-chan had agreed. Then Haru had asked Sai to keep her amused so she never wanted to leave early.

He tried not to think too much about what Sai did. He imagined it involved a lot of yellow and sparkles and Sumiko ordering Sai about.

 

Sharing the secret of Sai had brought him, Ran and Kazuki closer together. It was nice; like it had been when they were younger but better because the adults interfered less. Sometimes Sai was with them and sometimes not.

Haru had added a camera and a switch to the microphone and speaker in Ran’s room. Ran used the switch to invite Sai in. In response Sai invited Ran into a simulation and, to Haru’s surprise, he agreed.

After that, sometimes the four of them would share a sim, which was nice.

 

Kazuki had proved to be good for Sai. He expected Sai to behave like a human so Sai learned to do that.

Haru found himself thinking about how strict Kiba-san was with the kits and Ryuu; the way he steered them away from foxy or wolfish behaviour. It was as if Ka-chan was doing the same for Sai.

 

Still, underneath, Haru couldn’t help the occasional burst of anxiety. What if Shi-chan decided to look at the abandoned array? Haru never mentioned data crystal arrays. He certainly never asked for one; doing so might remind Shi-chan that he had three thousand three hundred and seventy-five data crystals that he wasn’t using.

Haru did want his own array. Then Sai could move to it and he could stop worrying about Shi-chan finding the data link.

 

Perhaps that was why he answered “A fifteen by fifteen by fifteen array I could fit in my pocket.” when Klenn-san asked him what he would like as a present. Not that anyone could make such an array; even the two by two by two array Shi-chan had loaned him was too big for his pocket.

Klenn-san had actually laughed.

“Offering Haru-chan presents is not permitted,” Neji reminded Klenn-san from his seat.

“It’s only a game, Neji-san,” Haru replied.

Neji-san nodded and settled back to consider whether to move his knight or his bishop.

 

Then, about six minutes later, Klenn-san said the combination of words that told Garner-san to distract Neji-san. This time it was reaching for the water jug, nudging the board and apologising for interrupting the game while replacing the pieces.

Klenn-san whispered, “No you don’t. You want a secret fifteen by fifteen by fifteen array that you can fit in your pocket.”

Which was true; Haru felt his cheeks flame and Klenn-san smiled.

 

A few days later Haru was in the armoury. He hadn’t been looking forward to a div of that particular duty. Firstly, the armoury was deep in the elite fighters’ territory, which made him uncomfortable, and secondly he wasn’t interested in weapons that didn’t include at least one processor.

It had proved to be much better than he had expected. Usually Asuma-san was there and Asuma-san knew the history of every blade. Today they were looking at the Uchiha knives. They checked each blade in turn, testing its edge and wiping it with an oiled cloth.

Haru hadn’t realised that many of the knives Uchihas carried had stories attached to them.

 

Papa’s knife had belonged to Izuna Uchiha. Itachi-san still carried an Uchiha knife, even if he wasn’t Uchiha. Itachi-san’s knife had belonged to Madara Uchiha.

Haru couldn’t help wondering why his grandfather had given Itachi-san Madara’s knife rather than Izuna’s. In the end he couldn’t resist asking.

 

Asuma-san did not reply immediately. Instead he studied Haru. Finally he spoke. “What do you know about Itachi?” he asked.

Haru kept it simple. “He used to be Papa’s older brother but he isn’t any more because he lost his sanity and killed lots of people including Papa’s parents. Rin-san made him sane again but he doesn’t remember the really bad things he did.”

Asuma sighed and nodded. “You have a good imagination, Haru-chan. Imagine standing in the Hall, waiting for your knife. It’s one of the most important days of your life; the day you become an adult. You are recognised as the future of your clan; the heir. Everyone is watching. Your father has two knives out. One was once owned by the most adored and revered leader of Uchiha.

“It looks like your father is going to give you Izuna Uchiha’s knife. Then, at the last moment, he gives you the other one instead and you realise that he intended to do that all the time. That he had been tempting you into hope by having Izuna Uchiha’s knife there. That he had never planned to give it to you.

“And then your father tells everyone that the knife he has given you, the knife you have accepted, was owned by Madara Uchiha, the most hated and reviled member in the clan’s history.”

Haru imagined it and shuddered. “Why did he do that?” he asked.

“Because your grandfather was a monster, Haru-chan, and of the terrible crimes Itachi Uchiha committed, killing his father was the one that is utterly understandable and forgivable.”

Haru couldn’t imagine anything that would make him kill his Papa but his Papa wasn’t a monster. “Did Grandfather decide to give Papa Izuna Uchiha’s knife?” he asked.

Asuma-san shook his head. “Kakashi-san made that decision. He knew that he would be the one to give your Papa his knife when the time came, so he came here and took it. So when the rest of us, the remnant of what had been before, met your Papa as an adult he was wearing Izuna Uchiha’s knife.”

Haru understood that. “The hope of the clan,” he observed.

Asuma-san ruffled his hair. “Yes, the hope of the clan, like you and your siblings.”

There was a noise at the door. Asuma-san looked towards it. “It looks like we may have overrun,” he suggested.

Kazuki was in the doorway, bouncing up and down on the balls of his feet.

Haru checked the time; Ka-chan must have run from the laboratory, where he was doing duties with Shino-san.

 

Kazuki only waited until they were in the corridor and the door between them and Asuma-san was shut.

“Shika-san is going to disassemble Sai’s array,” he gabbled.

Haru’s gut clenched. “When? Now?”

“I don’t know. Soon. He’s going to take it apart and wipe all the crystals. He’s cleared a space beside his workbench for it. He’s started emptying the cupboard so he can get to it.” Kazuki looked at him accusingly. “You said something to Darrent-san and Neji-san heard you.”

Guilt washed over him; he should have never mentioned wanting an array to Klenn-san. Neji-san must have told Shi-chan.

Haru’s mind raced. The only thing worse than Shi-chan seeing the data link was Shi-chan not seeing the data link and starting to disassemble the array.

Sai would die.

“Su-chan,” Kazuki declared.

Haru hadn’t got a clue; what about Su-chan?

“Get Su-chan to throw a tantrum. Now.”

He was gone at top speed. Haru jogged towards the playroom in his wake, hoping that Kazuki didn’t do anything stupid like biting.

 

Whatever Kazuki had done, it was quick. Su-chan was screaming her head off by the time he arrived. It sounded really bad, as if someone was pulling out all her hair.

 

Ran and Kazuki were in their usual bay. Haru was relieved to see Ka-chan there.

“What did you do?” he asked.

“Told her Sai would die if she didn’t get Shika-san here now,” Kazuki replied. He shrugged. “It worked. Didn’t think it would. Was ready to break her projector but didn’t need to.”

Haru would have probably broken her projector; being punished would be easier than explaining to Sumiko why Sai had been in danger.

The intercom clicked. “This is Naruto. Please could Shikamaru-san come to the playroom?”

You could hear Sumiko wailing in the background even over the intercom, which was excellent. A few minutes later Shi-chan hurried past their bay towards the source of the sound.

 

Haru grabbed an interface and activated it. While it linked to his network he put on his goggles and earpieces.

“Sai?” he called.

Sai appeared at once, which was a huge relief.

“Just checking,” Haru told him. “I’ll be back soon.” He lifted his goggles in time to see Ran finishing writing a notice.


Do not disconnect power or disassemble.


This is important.


Please do not ignore.


Ran

“Ka-chan is going to stick it on the array,” Ran told him.

Haru frowned. “Why is it from you?”

“Because it’s more intriguing and unusual that way,” Ran replied.

He was right. Haru could imagine Shi-chan ignoring a notice from him, thinking it was a relic from some game.

Ran handed the notice and some sticky tape to Kazuki. “Go.”

 

Kazuki was back before Haru would have thought possible.

“No problems,” he assured them. “Two-thirds of the stuff was still in the cupboard.” He put the roll of sticky tape on the table. “I taped the power cable and the data link into their sockets, in case he misses the notice.”

Ran sighed. “We need to plan what to do when Shika-san finds it. This evening. My room.”

Haru and Kazuki agreed and then Haru told Sai.

 

The screaming soon died down enough for Iruka-sensei to make his rounds. He was moving from bay to bay checking that they were all doing something constructive. He paused when he reached them, a little surprised to see that Haru and Kazuki were weaving while Ran painted.

“We thought we’d make something for To-chan,” Haru explained.

“How’s Su-chan?” Kazuki asked.

“Calmer provided Shika-san doesn’t move more than three steps away from her,” Iruka-sensei replied. “Lady knows what set her off. She hasn’t been like this for a long time.”

He admired Ran’s painting and then moved on.

 

There were a few more episodes of wailing, presumably each time Shi-chan tried to get away, before Shi-chan walked past carrying Su-chan.

She had her arms about his neck and her legs around his waist. Her tearstained cheek was resting on the top of his shoulder.

Haru watched her check no one else was watching before she grinned at Kazuki.

Ka-chan glanced about before responding with a thumbs-up.

 

That evening they gathered in Ran’s room. None of them could come up with an alternative to telling Shi-chan about Sai.

“What if he decides to wipe me anyway?” Sai asked.

“He won’t,” Haru assured him but a tiny part of him worried that Papa might. Papa wouldn’t do it if he thought Sai was a person, but he might if he didn’t.

 

One day passed and then another. Ka-chan told them that Shika-san was busy with other stuff and everything had been pushed back into the cupboard. Haru found himself hoping it wouldn’t happen, which he knew was foolish.

It was only a matter of time.

 

On the third day Haru had a lesson scheduled with Klenn-san. About ten minutes before it was due to start, Kiba-san told him to go to Papa’s office.

As he walked along the corridors Haru wondered if Klenn-san had died. People always said that you died quickly once the age retard broke down.

When the door slid back Papa, To-chan and Shi-chan were there.

He braced himself for the bad news.

 

They sat with him and To-chan facing Papa and Shi-chan.

“Darrent-san has asked permission to give you a gift,” Papa began. “And normally we would have said no.”

Haru relaxed; Klenn-san wasn’t dead.

“It is a special gift,” To-chan continued. “Not something that we could ever give you.”

“He really wants to give it to you in person,” Shi-chan added.

Haru understood. Klenn-san would leave it to him when he died, which would mean he would get it anyway when he was fourteen.

“So we have said yes, but we want to make clear that this is an exception,” Papa continued.

“And we are allowing it because Darrent-san wants to give it even more than you want to receive it,” To-chan concluded.

“Thank you Papa. Thank you To-chan,” Haru acknowledged.

Papa stood up, so Haru and everyone else stood as well.

“Off you go then, Ha-chan,” Papa told him. “Enjoy your lesson.”

 

Shi-chan walked with him to the meeting room. When they stopped outside the door, Shi-chan smiled.

“I want to see it,” he admitted. “I didn’t think it was possible. It must be completely novel technology.”

Haru’s heart sped up. Could Klenn-san make a data crystal array that would fit in his pocket?

 

The door slid open. Klenn-san sat on his side of the table looking incredibly smug. Neji-san and Garner-san had already started their game.

Haru bowed. “Klenn-sensei.”

“Haru-chan,” Klenn-san replied. Then his gaze turned to Shi-chan and his expression changed completely. “Shika.”

 

Haru knew the look in Klenn-san eyes. It was in Papa’s eyes when he looked at To-chan.

Klenn-san loved Shi-chan.

Only Shi-chan didn’t love him back because Shi-chan loved Neji-san.

It was sad but Haru knew that happened sometimes. Stories were full of it.

 

On the table was a beautiful box. It was carved wood and in the lid there was the Uchiha crest and his name.

It was no bigger than a hand’s length on each side. If it really was a fifteen by fifteen by fifteen data crystal array it was impossibly small.

Haru hoped it was; he hoped like he had never hoped before. If it was a data crystal array Shi-chan would have no reason to disassemble the one in the cupboard. He would never see Ran’s note. Given time, he and Sai would work out how to move Sai. Then the data link to the network, the note and all other traces of Sai could be removed.

“Can I stay?” Shi-chan asked.

Haru and Klenn-san exchanged looks, each warning the other not to try any of their usual tricks while Shi-chan was in the room.

“For a little while,” Klenn-san agreed.

 

It was an array and it was amazing. Haru immediately realised that it had to contain a completely new type of crystal because you couldn’t have possibly got three thousand three hundred and seventy-five normal data crystals into that volume.

“I kept it to fifteen cubed and had it wired in a conventional configuration,” Klenn-san told him. He opened the box. “There is full radiation shielding.” He tipped the box so that Haru could see inside. “Top layer is an ordinary interface with standard processors. I thought you would probably want to develop your own over time so I made it removable.”

“Power source?” Shi-chan asked.

“Inbuilt. A novel miniature battery. I do not recommend you disassemble it or the array itself. Probably best to recharge the battery regularly but it can keep the array ticking over for a century on a single charge if necessary.”

It could have been designed as a home for Sai; Haru wondered if Klenn-san had guessed.

“It’s awesome, Klenn-sensei,” he acknowledged. “Thank you.”

Klenn-san smiled at him. “I am only sorry it can’t fit into your pocket, Haru-chan,” he replied.

And then he winked.

 

Shi-chan ended up staying for the whole lesson and Haru did not mind at all because the three of them bouncing ideas off each other was amazing.

When the end came, Haru reluctantly put the box into its beautiful carrying case and put the case into the custom built rucksack that already contained a tool case, spares, new goggles and earpieces.

Then Klenn-san pushed something else across the table.

“It’s too big and heavy to carry about all the time, so I had this made for the tablet you’ll need to communicate wirelessly with the array’s interface. I thought it would be nice if it all matched.”

Haru thanked him again but couldn’t help thinking that it was an odd shape. Certainly it would not take a standard tablet, which was wider, longer and thinner.

He could make one that fit it.

Then he looked up and caught Klenn-san’s eye as it winked.

 

That evening he spread out all the parts of the present on the floor of Ran’s room.

Ran stared at the box. “It’s much, much smaller than Shika-san’s,” he observed.

“It’s like the difference between a miniature and a conventional Mulligan drive,” Haru explained. “This is like the Maple. Shi-chan’s is like the Oak. Even Shi-chan didn’t know anyone could make data crystal arrays this small.”

“It’s great,” Ka-chan agreed. “But if Sai lives in it you won’t be able to use it for anything else. Won’t Shika-san expect you to be using it for normal data crystal array stuff?”

“I have to move?” Sai asked.

“It would make you much safer,” Ran reminded him, “and it would help us keep you a secret.”

 

Haru was looking at the small satchel; the one that Klenn-san had told him was for a tablet.

It was exactly the same length and breadth as the box.

He remembered what Klenn-san had whispered to him, “No you don’t. You want a secret fifteen by fifteen by fifteen array that you can fit in your pocket.”

Could that be what the winks had meant?

 

Within a minute he had the array and interface out of the box. As he put it down on the rug Ran gave a small gasp and Kazuki’s whiskers twitched.

It wasn’t a cube. It was two fingers’ widths shorter than the box suggested.

 

It took Haru another twelve minutes to work out how to open the hidden compartment in the base.

There it nestled. A fifteen by fifteen by fifteen data crystal array he could fit into a pocket, although it would be safer in the satchel Klenn-san had made for it.

Sai’s new home.






The End



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Dear Reader

I hope you enjoyed this short side story about Haru and his friends. They will feature very prominently in the third part of the main saga, which will be called ‘Leader’.

Writing ‘Leader’ is proving tough. I am struggling to establish a pattern and build a rhythm. I have five chapters so far, which is good but not enough of a cushion to start posting. I think I need ten.

In my head, ‘Leader’ is about sixty chapters long but who knows? Stories have a tendency to take over and write themselves. ‘Leader’ has yet to do that. I am looking forward to that happening.

If you asked me to speculate when I will start posting, it will be the beginning of April. It may be earlier but that will require the writing to become easier than it is at the moment.

Remember that I send out an email alert when I post. If you want to receive it I will need your email address. My email address is in my profile – just click on my name and you will see it.

Some of you gave me an email address that now bounces back. If you haven’t had an email telling you about each chapter being posted, make sure you have given me the latest one.

Finally thank you so much to those readers who review. When the words refuse to come or are disappointing, communication from readers keeps me going. It stops me giving up. It makes me rewrite the poor chapters. It inspires me to write the next.

Thanks and regards

Mannah Pierce.



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