THE DICHOTOMY OF FAMILY AND GENETICS
サスケ & ナルコ
Naruto never though much about her own family; then she got one whether it was wanted or not. All of a sudden, she finds herself missing what she had never had, and what she had never missed, before. SasuNaru (FemNaru), slight GaaSaku, ShikaIno, KakaRin, JiraTsu, MinaKushi, & YahiKonan.
~ NINE MONTHS ~
Mama never told me how to love,
Daddy never told how to feel.
Mama never told me how to touch,
Daddy showed me how to heal.
How do you love someone
without tripping on the past?
As she sat waiting in the hospital for what would be the first of many sono-whatsits and medical check ups, Naruto mulled over her current situation.
When Sasuke brought up Itachi's idea of adoption, she could grudgingly admit her fist instinct was to flat out refuse, but relief drowned the feeling almost as quickly as it had come; the smudge of her life felt more distinctive.
Out of curiosity she reassured herself she asked Iruka what the option would entail. She allowed some relief that It would not be spending years in a children's home, or social-service owned halfway-flats like her current residence; instead It would be taken by parents who couldn't conceive themselves, and would grow up far better than she had family-wise.
School was another matter; unlike the school Sasuke attended, Naruto's school was pretty restrictive for a local comprehensive. The principal, a grouch old man with one arm and one eye, was very explicit with his opinion when she had informed him of her situation, as was required.
If she wanted to come back when It was born, and he was very quick to mention that there would be a heated debate as to whether she would be wanted back, then she would not only have to maintain her grades, but improve them outside the school itself once she reached the second trimester (or when It began to show).
Naruto had no specific goals in mind, but she had been considering going on to study art or one of her other interests at college. The notion of possibly being expelled was daunting; of course Orochimaru, her Sax tutor, had no qualms with continuing to teach her outside of school, but she still wanted to graduate.
That being said, Orochimaru was significantly more open-minded than Principal bloody Shimura; apparently he had another student her age with the same predicament, so that may have been an influence on his thought process.
Her name was called and she moved quickly from the chair; she wanted to get out of the waiting room and get it over with. The mothering in the room was cloying, and Sasuke looked as comfortable as she did; though she wondered if that had more to do with the disapproving gazes some of the older couples being sent their way.
It was the same blonde woman that would have overseen her abortion had she gone through with it; Naruto liked her, she had a brash manner and didn't seem to have any qualms with whacking her subordinates a little when they didn't meet her expectations.
The woman, Tsunade, gave her and odd look sometimes. It was a sad, wistful kind of look, and Naruto wondered if perhaps she had wanted children of her own but, for whatever reason had never gotten them. It would explain the relief she expressed when she greeted them.
"I wondered if you'd be back; personally, I think you made the right decision abortion is a messy business when you have other options," she informed her, and Naruto could help but agree remembering the explanation of what would abortions entailed physically.
The woman got down to business, instructing her to lie down on the bed, applying that cold sticky gel always shown in the films Naruto could never remember the name of, and moving the x-ray thing over her lower abdomen.
It was a tiny patch of grey on the screen but that was not what surprised her the most, It was a They. Two parasites; she felt nauseous again. Ill as she felt at the sight, and with Tsunade's explanations of how far along she was (8 weeks enough to have formed two tiny muffled heartbeats), she found it difficult to tear her eyes away from the screen and the two life forms it displayed.
One night, laid on the sofa using Sasuke's chest as a cushion as she wolfed down some Kitsune Udon with extra tofu, the phone blared its tune over the film they were watching.
She was surprised by how normal a craving it was; she had expected things like avocado and fish eggs with chilli sauce. Tayuya liked to joke that she was 'lugging a fox around' with the amount she consumed.
Sakura immediately picked up the screaming technology and greeted Iruka enthusiastically. Naruto watched as the cheerful greeting disintegrated to what could only be described as shock.
Sakura stood rigid, listening to whatever Iruka was telling her with a face bordering between joy and anger, as if she didn't know how to adapt to whatever it was she was being told at one point, Sakura scribbled on the notepad placed beside the phone for that very purpose
Eventually the phone call ended, and Sakura sat carefully at the other end of the sofa next to her own boyfriend; the silent comfort of a hand on her back from Gaara seemed to calm her down enough to reveal what had shaken her so much:
"They found our father, or at least, Iruka thinks they did" she told them lightly.
Sakura spoke as if speaking to loudly would trigger a wake up of some kind; the half smile on her face told Naruto that to wake up was something Sakura did not want.
Gaara and Sasuke instantly reacted, or as well as their silent demeanour would allow them too. Gaara in particular was lavish with the congratulatory notes; Sasuke had both his parents, but Gaara understood how important a true familial connection was better having grown up in care himself.
She should have been just as eager, but it just didn't compute with her; Sakura had never had a father in the first place! Call her insensitive, but Naruto didn't understand how Sakura could be so wound up over someone she had never met. So what if this faceless man was her flesh and blood?
Naruto didn't understand the envy burning in her chest. She had no reason to be jealous of Sakura; she'd never cared to know about her family like the others not that Iruka had tried looking. She had been abandoned on a hospital doorstep in a cardboard box for Whirlpool brand instant Ramen (salt flavour), a small toy fox,a crystaline necklace, and a note with her name on.
Clearly, her family hadn't wanted anything do to her, and short of giving her a name hadn't cared for her presence; why waste time looking for them when she had a surrogate family that cared far more than her real one?
She had managed this far without her family thank you very much; admittedly, there had been one or two hiccups along the way, but for the most part she had a very well rounded life.
When she needed comfort that would normally have been given by a mother, father, or eve a sibling, she had found others to fill the roles instead, and they had an almost perfect fit in the moulds.
As Naruto stretched a smile on her face for Sakura's benefit, she couldn't help but wonder when the people that had once been her family had slipped through her fingers, and back into to their original category; friends.
Naruto, though she was barley into the end of her first trimester, was slowly beginning to despise being pregnant.
Despite the drugs Tsunade had given her, her morning sickness just seemed to have changed its schedule to midnight, and she couldn't go near Ramen without having to throw up any more (Horror films were completely out of the window; the merest hint of blood had her passed out on the floor).
Her boobs were going to kill her, of this she was positive, and she didn't even have the peeing problems just yet (she was absolutely dreading that). Really, the Parasites were beginning to annoy her more than the already had.
She wasn't allowed to eat fish, or a whole bunch of other foods, and Sasuke's mother was near force-feeding salads down her throat, and she had to check the labels of everything to make sure there was nothing hazardous to babies in whatever she was examining.
As she examined one of those label on a bottle of cleaning fluid Sakura was sick of doing the housework by herself, and was certain one bottle of bleach wouldn't carry adverse effects she felt a sharp pain.
Her hand automatically went to her abdomen; clutching, grasping she didn't know what for. She looked down to see blood staining her orange skirt and thighs; her only thought before she collapsed was that something was terribly wrong with the twins.
Naruto blinked groggily at the white ceiling of the hospital; the smell of absolutely disinfectant identified her location. Glancing around, she found Sasuke in a frozen slump beside the bed she was laid in; the expression on his face made her stomach churn.
"What happened?" she asked, moving to sit up a little.
Sasuke's hand immediately stopped the action, and forced her back down onto the bed with clear panic: "Tsunade says you shouldn't move around much" he explained.
So it was the twins after all; it had to be if Tsunade was acting as her doctor.
"The Twins, Sasuke tell me what happened; what's wrong with them?" she asked, barley noting the change in terminology.
His eyes showed momentary surprise to the direct reference; she had not referred to them with human terms before, preferring impersonal, inhuman words like 'They', 'Parasite' or 'Things'. The surprise was very brief, and soon tuned to something else: "Naruto... I don't understand the medical jargon, but you... We're not having twins any more"
"You had a miscarriage and... Well, you lost one of them" he said quietly, his eyes not meeting her own.
Miscarriage? But, but that didn't happen! Well, it did, but she had been eating everything right! She didn't even go to Sax practice as much now, just in case! How had she had a miscarriage? What had she done wrong?
She'd lost one of Them. One of her Twins was dead before it could even think; had it died because she hadn't been careful enough? Because of a genetic thing? It was gone, she wouldn't even see it! It didn't have a name, and she didn't even want it, but the thick smothering sense of loss was overwhelming.
Thin wet salt trains began to trail down her face as she realised that one of her Twins, one of her Twins, was dead. She turned her head into the pillow, rolling onto her side and gave the pillow a futile thump with her fist.
Why? Why was fate or god or whoever ran the joint piling all the crap on her like this? It was bad enough that she was pregnant in the first place, but to just take one of her twins, one of her stupid unwanted leech-like grey blobs, just like that?
That wasn't right! It wasn't!
A sob emerged as a strangled noise in the back of her throat, muffled by the pillow, and she felt Sasuke own shaking hand grasp her fisted one. Somehow, though her vision was blocked by her own eyelids and the stuffed fabric, she knew that Sasuke was just as torn as she was.
It was a comfort she didn't understand, and did little to make the foreign, suffocating feelings of grief go away.
"Mikoto, what are we doing here?" Naruto asked staring aghast at the shop the woman had just dragged her into.
When Mikoto had called to tell her they were going shopping, Naruto had assumed that they would be going to the supermarket; she was running out of tofu, and there had been a unanimous vote that she have an escort every time she stepped outside after the miscarriage.
She had not expected to he dragged into a baby shop full of microtic little shoes that weren't even shoes and hats and fluffy toys and blankets. Tiny bodysuits towered around her, behind them a mountain of terrifying baby equipment, and the display island in the centre of the shop forced a pram and cot into her line of sight.
"Naruto, just because you don't want the baby doesn't mean you have to pass it on in just it's skin!"
Mikoto sighed and shook her head before dragging her over to a pile of yellow clothing.
"What do you think of this one?" she asked, holding up a disgusting creation with far too much lace and ribbon on it; surely all the dangling ties would be a health hazard for a newborn?
"I think I don't want the kid leaving the hospital looking like Frou-Frou the freaking Poodle," she stated bluntly, completely missing the triumphant look in the woman's eyes.
Naruto looked around, pulling on her empire-line vest as it caught at the back. She was somewhere between the beginning and the middle of her first second trimester now, and the little Brat was beginning to make it presence more noticeable.
She was not showing exactly, but she certainly found that her shirts were getting tighter. Her jeans would last a while longer, but she would probably have to get some of those stretchy maternity ones in a month or so. Two if she was lucky.
While she was not enthusiastic about the task, she had to admit that Mikoto had a point; the tyke could not leave in just a hospital blanket and its birthday suit; but while that was all well and good, if the job was left to Mikoto the poor thing would end up looking like a meringue. Naruto simply couldn't have that.
Determined to get the job done properly, she flitted around the stands and piles in search of something more suitable for a small child. Mikoto raised an eyebrow when she stopped in the purple section, and picked out a lilac baby-grow with three small iceberg-yellow foxes stitched on the front.
"Would something more neutral be better?" she asked.
"It's a girl, so it's fine..." Naruto replied with a wave of her free hand, moving to another pile.
She picked up a pair of shoes (that were really just thick socks) with a similar purple shade, and a darker toned hat-glove set. Her due date was October, so the kid would need some warm stuff unless it planned on coming out with wooly mammoth fur...
"I though you didn't want to know the gender?" Mikoto asked, taking the pile and putting it in the basket she had picked up so Naruto could examine a row of jackets.
"I don't, but I know it's a girl all the same" she informed the woman.
The jacket she picked out was a light mauve, darker than the baby-grow but not enough to make the kid look like an aubergine.
"I don't know; I was certain Sasuke would be a girl you know " Mikoto argued with an unseen grin on her face as Naruto absently moved over to another pile of clothing.
"Yeah, but Sasuke thinks it's a boy, so it'll be a girl; he has no luck with guessing" Naruto replied, examining a pink dress-like baby-grow with a wrinkled nose.
Mikoto couldn't be happier.
She had known Naruto since she was five years old; the red-head had been Sasuke's closest friend since primary school; She had known that Naruto would probably end up dating her son when he was so offended by her then-insensitivity about her fathers death. She hadn't understood it at the time though, and there was no weight over her head for the blunder now.
Naruto had gone to a different high school, but that had only worked in her benefit; Sasuke hadn't been very fond of that art friend of hers Sai was it? He had been right too they had been dating for a few weeks, but it didn't seem to work out. Not long after, her youngest had come up to her with a tomato red face asking what girls liked to do on dates.
Naruto had once again become a near-permanent member of her household. She had earned the role of the daughter Mikoto never had, and she knew the girl's mind as well as she did her sons', perhaps better than Naruto herself did.
There was no doubt in her mind that, when push came to shove, Naruto would not be able to hand her child to social services; Iruka's guarantees did not erase Naruto's own life in the care of the government, and she would not knowingly allow her child into the same system.
But as long as Naruto failed to recognise the child as her own flesh and blood a side-effect from the social services was her misinterpretation of family that was exactly what she would do.
It would be a long process Mikoto knew, to get the red-head to realise that, buried Marianas-trench-deep down, she wanted her baby. It had taken the loss of one for her to even refer to the twins as a human organism and recognise the link she had with them at all.
Yes, it would be slow, but in her own way Naruto was already beginning to accept it; she wouldn't have been so opposed to that awful frilly thing if she didn't care at all. The fact that she was taking her own initiative was good.
Even better was her adamant declaration that the baby would be a girl; it meant that on some level missed even by Naruto herself that the connection was there. Even when she had claimed her youngest boy would be a female, Mikoto had always wondered if she was right.
She knew Sasuke had grown into the baby; he had been making progress before the miscarriage and it had only strengthened with the misfortune, but Naruto needed to let herself accept her first real family member.
Some people may have said she was being pushy, but that didn't concern her; Naruto did, and if Naruto continued her microscopic climb towards accepting her own child only to then gave it up to the social services, Mikoto was certain the decision would haunt her for the rest of her life.
And Mikoto couldn't have that; Fugaku had given her some extra cash for the trip, far more than enough for some baby clothes, and his support only strengthened her resolve. Naruto was going to keep her baby if her name wasn't Mikoto Uchiha.
"This has to be enough right?" Naruto asked, holding up a few extra garments in varying shades.
Mikoto smiled and nodded.
"Good! Can we please go to the supermarket now? I want some tofu..." Naruto grumbled irritably, pulling on her vest once again.
Mikoto raised an eyebrow at the action, before getting another gleam in her eyes.
"I think you need some new clothes too Missy" she stated, taking Naruto by the hand and directing her towards the maternity section.
Naruto paled; she didn't want to go to the maternity section! Mikoto would never let her leave if she dragged her in there! Mikoto would make her wear dresses! Naruto had no problems with skirts, but dresses were right behind veggies on her hate list! Never mind maternity ones!
To her horror one of the attendants was the touchy-feely type, and overhearing Mikoto's statement immediately jumped onto the particular train of thought.
"We have a new range just in if you're interested interested!" she said with cloying happiness.
Naruto took several steps back, before being captured by the woman and dragged over to the piles of clothing. Frilly clothing; Naruto paled as she was bundled into a changing room with a sickly pink... thing. Grimacing, she pulled on the ribbony thing and grumpily stepped back out.
Mikoto looked fairly neutral, but the overly cheerful saleswoman was certain the frilly, lace covered, monstrosity seemed absolutely ecstatic, and immediately began to gush and squeal using forbidden words like 'adorable' and 'cute'.
"It makes me look like a meringue covered in vomit; don't you have anything in black?" Naruto asked irritably.
The woman gave a smile as sickly as the frilly pink top, giving her slightly curved belly a pat before going to look for the desired shade. Naruto began to swear and curse about personal space invasion.
Naruto made several desperate bids for freedom after that, but Sasuke had to learn his glare from someone, and it was not his father; she eventually left the shop dress free, but that did nothing to erase the trauma of shopping with Mikoto Uchiha.
Sasuke didn't know when he began to grow attached to the child that had latched itself inside his girlfriend, but he was certain the death of its twin had reinforced the growing notion that it was his.
That, yes, it was a human life he had (unwittingly) helped in creating. Not the animal or thing Naruto had referred to it as up till the same point, but a human life; While Naruto still didn't acknowledge any personal relation to the child, he did.
Like the saying said, it took two to tango; whether the baby was a part of his life or not and for some reason he was hoping Naruto would reconsider the adoption option he was still going to be its father.
It was still a terrifying thought, acceptance didn't change that one bit, but the more he thought about it the more he realised his mother was not completely wrong; at the very least, he didn't want his kid growing up in care when they could look after it themselves.
It wasn't like they had no money, or somewhere to stay. Iruka had already told them that it wouldn't be hard to get reduced housing or benefits if they did decide to keep the child.
There was no problem with him staying the night at the moment, but given he had parents of his own social services were hardly going to relish his continued presence in the half-way flat.
Both of them had jobs too; Naruto had been working at Killer Bee's full time since coming out of her school, and Killer Bee was the most flexible employer Sasuke had ever met. His bar job didn't skimp on his pay-check either, though he definitely had to earn it Kakuzu was a certifiable money hoarder.
He was certain his father would force something on them too if they did look after it themselves; Fugaku had never liked the social care system in the first place, and he liked the idea of splitting what could be his family even less. He had been raised to value family, and while he understood Naruto's choice he did not truly support it.
But his and his family's opinions aside, Sasuke knew it was her opinion that mattered; if she did not want the baby, there was nothing he could do about it. He may not like it, but he couldn't force her to look after her own child.
His mother seemed to be plotting something though, if that baby-shopping trip was anything to go by, and the smuggness on her face had created a tiny spark of misguided hope. He got to see just where she had gotten it from during the end of the middle of Naruto's second trimester, and began to believe that just maybe he'd get to hold his kid after all.
Naruto was back from Killer bees early; the crazy shop owner had taken the situation in his stride, and simply moved Naruto to counter work instead of stockpiling and inventory at the back of the shop, keeping her at the full time salary for her original job.
She seemed to appreciate the action a lot, and not just on the money side of things; she was beginning to grumble whenever she walked over a certain distance or amount of time. Lifting boxes of vinyls and Cds wasn't as easy as it had been for her.
She was barley showing, but the fact that she was indicated that she was carrying an extra human around everyday; it was a small one, and it wouldn't survive by itself just yet, but was still a human with bones and flesh. That couldn't be a small feat.
Of course the first thing she did upon entering the flat was dig out some tofu and chop it up on the counter top, before dropping it into the small deep-fryer that had been dug out from the back of the cupboard.
It was always plugged in now it just needed heating up and it would be ready to go.
Sasuke had started to almost live in the flat now; he didn't trust Sakura to keep her from falling on her face. Naruto called him a worry wart, but she was slowly beginning to be glad of his presence some tasks were beginning to rise in difficulty thanks to her increase in mass.
After frying a satisfactory amount of tofu, she soaked up some of the excess fat with a pile of paper towels, dropped it on a plate, and plopped down on the sofa beside him a predatory gaze on the food.
The smell made him peckish, but he dint dare bring up the value of sharing; he had tried pinching some of the substance once, and Naruto had refused to even look him in the eye for a week. He was certain it would have been longer had he not replaced the food he hadn't even tasted twice over.
He watched her munch on the food like a carnivore before traipsing into the kitchen himself to search for some food of his own; he was contemplating toast toppings when Naruto let out an undignified, yelp-like squeak.
Going back in to check she hadn't tripped over her own feet, he was surprised to find the food of the gods splattered on the floor and plate in shards.
Naruto sat still cross legged on the sofa but her expression was one he had yet to see on her face; shock and pure unadulterated astonishment were the only words he could put to her expression.
Her hand moved to her left side slowly, and very cautiously. It stayed there before she jerked it away and stared down at the bump it was far more visible with her current seating arrangements, she actually looked like she was five months pregnant.
"You okay?" he asked.
They had been very careful since the loss of the first twin and it was safe to call it that since Naruto had finally accepted that her child would be human, not a cow as Tayuya was so fond of suggesting but the possibility that something could still go wrong was never far away.
He'd done some research after that awful incident, and he'd discovered that miscarriages could still occur after the first trimester (where they were more common), and that they were more frequent with first pregnancies.
He didn't really understand everything about it, but he assumed it was something to do with the body not used to the changes, and rejecting them; like how it took a few tries to get the knack of riding a bike.
Naruto was not short, but he sometimes wondered if her body structure was up to giving birth; she had a strong punch, but she wasn't sturdily set. Then again, he could be talking out of his ass; there seemed to be a million other things that could still go just as wrong.
Not to mention he had failed biology with such accomplishment that it was something to bring up when conversation became awkward; he liked physics and chemistry, mechanics, electrics... Biology scared him.
"I... I think the little tyke just kicked me...!"
Naruto spoke in a quiet stunned voice, before placing her hand back on her side with a surprised jerk.
"Ow! You little brat, that hurt!" she yelped, sending a glare to the bump.
Well, she tried to, but glaring was difficult when she was so fascinated by the feeling; Sasuke had no way to understand what it felt like, being a male and all, and was satisfied with watching her repeatedly move and remover her hand from her side in curiosity.
There was no mistaking the look on her face; something was capturing her in the experience, and she was enjoying it.
She caught him watching, and jumped up from the sofa with decreased agility. She moved up to him and gave him a pointed look; she knew that he was second thoughts about the adoption idea even if he never said it.
'This doesn't mean we're keeping it' her lapis eyes told him; whether that was for her own assurance or his was debatable.
She took one of his hands and slipped it under the fabric of the empire line t-shirt his mother had forced her into buying she had complained at the time, but only weeks after that shopping trip Naruto had been eating her words, digging around in the bottom of her wardrobe for those jeans with stretchy fabric his mother had insisted on.
She guided his hand to a spot low on her side, just where her skin began to stretch. He felt nothing for a few moments. Then he felt it; a powerful echo just beneath the surface of her outer body tissue. He could feel the impact through the layers of tissue, muscle, fat and skin, and it didn't take Naruto's wince to tell him the little sprog had one heck of a kick.
Damn it, Naruto was right; the kid was a girl. It had to be; no one on his side of the kid's genes was so violent. He had nothing against girls; he just hated loosing to his girlfriend in a bet.
"What's it feel like?" he asked quietly.
"...I don't know, really... weird...? Try imagining swallowing a really big brick, then imagine the brick playing piñata with your bladder," she answered, attempting to explain the feeling without obvious success.
He gave her face a surreptitious gaze, trying to get an indication of her personal feelings on the matter; the teeth tugging on her bottom lip betrayed her conflicting emotions.
She wanted to enjoy the feeling, since there was no denying that it was an amazing thing no matter what the circumstances, but enjoying it was dangerously close to accepting the baby that created it in the first place.
Naruto was beginning to open up to her child, but complete acceptance was still a long way off.
"Sakura, while I'm all for taking on the moral support job, is this really the best idea? What if I get those Braxton Hicks things?" Naruto asked in a low whisper as the guard directed them into a private room.
"Oh god! I didn't think of that!" Sakura yelped, stopping in the middle of the room instead of sitting down on one of the chairs provided by the table.
"I was joking! Calm down woman!" Naruto informed her, taking up one of the seats herself.
Sakura gave her a dubious look before sitting down beside her.
"I'm sorry Naruto, I know I shouldn't have asked you, but I really didn't want to come by myself... What if he's a murderer or something?" Sakura asked, gripping her seat tightly.
They were currently in Konoha's Maximum Security Detention Centre; the local jail in simple terms. Sakura had been pushing for months, and finally gained the necessary approval to visit the man who would have been her father.
"Then... I say we hope to god that guard knows how to use his club-thingy," Naruto replied, gesturing to the stoic guard in the corner of the room with a jerk of her thumb.
Sakura laughed weakly very weakly. After several minuet of torturous waiting another door, different to the one they had entered through, opened and a man in an orange boiler suit with the sleeves and legs chopped short was led inside by another guard.
He had baby cow-licks in his hair a few shades lighter than Naruto's in colour and a very blank expression on his face as he sat down in the seat opposite them on the other side of the table.
Sakura's skin had turned several degrees paler in porcelain shade, and Naruto was beginning to wonder if she would even be able to talk the man, never mind ask the questions she wanted to ask.
"I'm guessing you would be Sakura?" the man started, his gaze lingering on her friends face and hair colour.
"Uh, yes... It's... Err " Sakura twisted her hands unconsciously, trying to think of the right words.
"Why don't you try 'Hi dad' and see where you go from there?" Naruto asked absently; she was busy contemplating the odds of the guard getting her some tofu (they were not high).
"Naruto! Shh! I'm sorry Mr. Akasuna! Naruto is... I didn't want to come by myself, but..." Sakura shot her friend a glare.
"It's understandable; just call me Sasori if it's easier," he replied, a ghost of a smile creeping into the corner of his mouth.
Naruto stared at the man; she'd never though she'd find someone who was blanker than Gaara or Sasuke, but by god, Sakura's father would give them a definite run for their money.
"Jeez, what crawled up your ass and died?" Naruto asked, eyeing the guard once again; she really, really wanted some tofu.
She could tell Sakura was itching to hit her; the pink-haired girl had limited her 'abuse' to light slaps to her shoulder ever since she had past the first trimester, and it was beginning to irritate her.
Sakura shot her another glare as the man gave what she assumed was a chuckle of laughter. As Sakura finally gathered her back bone and began asking him the questions she had lined up, Naruto took a closer look at the man.
If she had met the man on the street, she would have guessed he was Gaara's father, not Sakura's. Their appearance was disturbingly similar; it seemed genetics had more to play in the search for a partner than she had originally thought, or they did if Sakura's taste was anything to go by.
"Sakura, I think you have an Oedipus complex" Naruto stated bluntly.
Her statement drew two very confused - and one very irritated - looks.
"I mean, look at him! He looks like Gaara's older clone!" Naruto waved her hand at the man for emphasis.
Sakura looked at her in shock for a few moments, before turning back to the man nervously and taking a closer look at the man; surely she could tell just by looking at him? Or was she really so nervous that she had missed the glaringly obvious?
"How can I have an Oedipus complex when I've never met him before?" she asked.
"Don't know, biology maybe?"
Naruto shruged and turned to the red-haired man with a very solemn expression.
"Will that guard go get some deep-fried tofu if I ask?" she asked him seriously.
Sakura did not hold back and whacked her head across the back of the head.
"Ow! That hurt! Remember the Braxton thingies! Braxton!" Naruto complained.
"Don't ask stupid questions then!" Sakura countered, giving a sigh of frustration.
"If you don't mind my asking, do you mean Braxton Hicks Contractions?" the red head, Sasori, asked in his monotone voice.
Sakura raised an eyebrow as Naruto rubbed the sore spot at the back of her head muttering about abuse.
"You know them?"
"I was a doctor" he replied calmly; Sakura's eyes brightened.
"Really? I've just applied for a medical course at National! I still have exams to sit, so the most I could get is a conditional, but..."
The revelation visibly perked his interest, and he leaned forward on his elbows as he struck up a conversation. Sakura instantly brightened as she found some common ground between them and threw herself into the conversation.
Naruto watched with a smile on her face; she was glad that this meeting was beginning to ease into something of a success for her room mate; Sakura had already lost one parent, and she had been the worst off between herself and Gaara when growing up in the children's home.
She knew what she had missed out on, while many of the other kids did not. It was like seeing a new lease of life in Sakura, a glint in her eye that hadn't been there before, upon grasping a mere fragment of what she had been missing. There her understanding ended.
Once again, she recognised the jealousy, but something else was spilling over it; when Sasuke had told her of Itachi's adoption idea, she had done her research before making her decision. She didn't mind the idea of the sprog seeking her out if it so wished later on in life when Iruka had mentioned it, and she fully understood it having been curious of her own family when she was younger.
Watching Sakura interacting and getting to know her father was making her doubt the decision; compared to the Sakura from before this meeting, and even before the news that her father had been found, her friend had been hollow. Something had been missing. Would she be able to handle her sprog looking at her like that further down the line?
Naruto jerked back to the conversation between the two others occupying the room; Sasori was giving her a strange look, and Sakura looked a little irritated.
"What?" Naruto asked.
"Sasori was talking to you! Stop daydreaming!" Sakura berated.
Naruto looked to the man in surprise; what on earth did he want to talk to her for? Aside from their hair colour (and Sakura she supposed), there was nothing for them to discuss.
"How far along are you?" he asked.
"Dunno... Almost seven months? I know I've past the second trimester... Why?" she replied, raising an eyebrow at the question.
"Just curious... You don't look much younger than Moriko was when Tayuya was born, so I guess I just feel nostalgic," he replied with little to no emotion in his voice.
Screw giving Sasuke a run for his money, this guy would beat him hands down with the impassive attitude.
"Yeah well, I can't wait to get rid of the stupid sprog," Naruto muttered to herself.
Sakura merely rolled her eyes, but her father was giving her a curious look. He said nothing however and turned back to his conversation with Sakura. Naruto noticed he gave an occasional glance in her direction, but he was as blank as slate.
The meeting lasted another twenty minuets before two guards arrived to escort Sasori back to his cell. Sakura looked conflicted for a moment, before she went up to the guards and whispered a question to one.
"Make it quick," the blue-haired man said shortly.
Sakura turned back to Sasori, gulped for a moment before throwing her arms around his neck, her feet lifting from the floor. The man looked comparatively shocked for a moment before returning it as best he could with the short restraints on his wrists.
After barley a moment the guards insisted on separation, and Sakura withdrew with great reluctance.
"Well, I guess I'll see you at some other time," Sakura said with some despondence.
"Take care of yourself Sakura; tell Tayuya I said hello" Sasori replied as the restraints were attached to those of a guard.
Sakura nodded and sat up from the chair, giving Naruto a hand as she copied the action. The little brat seemed to have hit a growth spur recently, and her bump was beginning to bring about the waddling whale in her.
"You so owe me tofu for this Sakura," Naruto grumbled as the followed on of the guards to the door they had entered in.
"Make sure you look after that kid of yours girlie; you only get one chance to get it right," Sasori said, giving Naruto a glance over his shoulder before his own door was shut behind him.
Sakura gave her a questioningly look, but Naruto was too absorbed with his words to care.
"Why am I doing this again?" Naruto asked as Sasuke helped her out of Obito's car.
"Because you're due in two months and you haven't bothered to find out what's going to happen when you finally burst; that's my nephew you're carting around! Gotta make sure you get him out right" Obito told her pointedly.
"I keep telling you people it's a girl! And its labour; I've gotta push a miniature human out my vagina! How much more do I have to know other than it's gonna hurt like a bitch?" Naruto retorted snappily, pulling on her yellow duffel coat.
"Honestly, are you and Itachi really twins?" Naruto grumbled to herself, pulling on a pair of blue gloves; she didn't bother trying to close her coat any further she'd tried that once and almost lost a button. Sasuke handed her blue hat and she jammed it over her ears.
"And I say you're wrong! I'll pick you guys up at five pm; Have fun Mama!" Obito stuck his tongue out at her from the driving seat before driving away from the fuming red-head.
"Stop calling me that!" she yelled after the car, waving her fist threateningly.
Her boyfriend did not pity Obito when Naruto next caught up with him; hormone imbalance had made her more violent than ever before.
He'd found that out very early on, and Itachi had found out the hard way; his older brother had, stupidly, commented that the baby was beginning to make its presence known a few weeks before the six month mark. Naruto had not appreciated his comments.
After waiting until she had stopped her vocal objections towards the disappearing car, he laced their fingers together and set off to the address given to them by Naruto's Saxophone tutor of all people.
Naruto had dropped the instrument once she began to show, but she still went to the lessons. She claimed she didn't need an actual Saxophone to improve all around.
Sasuke knew it was simply because Orochimaru wouldn't let a meddlesome little matter like pregnancy get in the way of his tutoring, and he secretly struck divine fear into his girlfriend.
When his mother had picked her up, rabbiting about pre-natal classes, Orochimaru had mentioned another of his pupils in the same situation who went to a pre-natal course nearby; his mother had clawed the address out of him and promptly signed them up.
The classes took place in an old community centre that doubled up as a small theatre. Naruto had growled at the medium flight of steps that led to the entrance -'Who the hell put steps and pregnancy for idiots classes in a building without lifts?!' - but they had eventually made it inside the building.
The moment Naruto stepped in the room he felt her freeze up when all the other couples began the staring; it didn't really bother her in the street but given this was an enclosed space she wouldn't be able to escape from for at least an hour.
"Oh god I need to pee again!" she whimpered.
Sasuke groaned inwardly; this was going to be a long few hours.
Naruto abandoned him to the stares in search of a bathroom without batting an eyelid; Sasuke held no grudge, but he still didn't like being left in the room by himself why were people so damn judgemental?
A hand ruffled his hair and he turned to see a young man with grey hair and an eye-patch standing behind him; his polo-neck was pulled up over the lover half of his face, hiding it from view.
Beside him was a woman with short brown hair; Naruto would probably have complained that the woman was less whale-like than she was had she been present.
"Just ignore them kid; most of them are old fashioned idiots," he replied, seeming to smile through his mask; He ruffled his hair again and Sasuke scowled.
"Leave him alone Kakashi!" the woman scolded, removing his hand from Sasuke's hair.
The man just smiled. Sasuke wondered if he knew how to do anything but smile. The woman introduced herself as Rin, and basically gave him the same reassurances as her boyfriend had.
She was a lawyer, and Kakashi worked as a private detective at the same company Obito worked for as a finance manager they had met when one of Kakashi's fellow employees sued him for minor sexual harassment. Apparently it had worked out rather well for him in the end
She began asking him questions; how old was he? How far along was his partner? Had she driven him crazy yet? He answered them, and she then moved onto the classes themselves.
Sasuke was contemplating giving the Kakashi man a desperate, silent, plea for help of some kind when another female voice, younger, entered the fray.
"Kakashi! You made it this week!" A blonde girl greeted enthusiastically from the doorway with a wave of her hand; the boy beside her walked with as little effort as was physically required, and was clearly bored with the whole thing.
"Hello Ino you're looking whale-like today" the man greeted giving her the same hair ruffle he had given Sasuke; the girl aimed a punch at him, but it was dodged with what looked like a lot of experience.
"Shut up! You try carrying a kid around with you!" she growled.
"Calm down Ino, you're scaring the new guy" the lazy-looking boy drawled with a yawn.
Sasuke protested that; he was not scared of the girl! She just reminded him so much of his own girlfriend when she was having one of her moody fits it was unnerving. How on earth did Mr lazy stand this constantly? He was lucky Naruto didn't have all that many mood swings...
"New guy?" she looked beyond her nose and finally caught sight of him.
"Well finally! I thought we were going to be the only ones not ancient here!" she gushed, directing the statement to both herself and her companion.
"Why can't you just say 'hello' like a normal person?" the boy complained.
"Shut up Shikamaru!" Ino growled, before turning back to Sasuke.
"Are you Orochimaru's student? He said he gave the address to another of his students yesterday..." she asked, and that told him where Orochimaru had gotten the address from.
"No? Oh, wait, is it your girlfriend? Where is she? Or are you one of those creeps who spy on preg-"
"She's looking for the bathroom, and yes, Orochimaru gave her the address" he replied quickly.
Shikamaru gave him a very sympathetic look.
Eventually Naruto re-joined him, grumbling to herself about something he couldn't quite hear, but supposed had to do with the toilet. She immediately gave Rin a jealous look, before turning to Ino and jumping into conversation.
They were discussing their respective instruments (Ino played the flute), and how much of a pain it was not being able to practice them, when the woman with short brown hair who ran the class entered the room and asked everyone to take a seat on the mats adorning the floorboards.
Sasuke and Shikamaru who had formed a silent bond of camaraderie followed the two girls to two mats side by side, behind the one occupied by Kakashi and Rin.
Sasuke felt a little confused, but gathered from the action of the other men in the room that he was supposed to sit behind Naruto. Once everyone was settled, the woman introduced herself as Shizune to themselves and a couple of other new faces, before diving into the class.
"Now, most of you are into your third trimester, some of you may even be only a few days away from labour, so that is going to be the subject of today's class," the woman started.
She went to one of her bags and produced a sweater and a football.
"Firstly, were going to talk about the labour itself; imagine this football is your baby-"
The woman indicated the football in her hand.
"-and that this sweater is the birth canal," She held up the sweater.
He heard a choking noise from Naruto, but he didn't quite understand what prompted it till he watched the woman stuff the football into the sweater, positioning it just before one of the sleeves.
"This is, for want of a better example, what labour will be like for you," the woman stated, forcing the football down one sleeve.
"Sasuke, I'm going to kill you for this!" Naruto whimpered, watching the end of the sleeve stretch beyond what should have been possible.
Beside him, Ino was giving Shikamaru a glare that promised similar pain and torture.