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In which Itachi May Have a Sister Complex and Satsuki is Exasperated

Chapter Text

Satsuki is five years old, eyes wide and pitchy-black like those of the baby seals Itachi has seen in the islands of Kiri, when she smiles sweetly and asks her beloved Big Brother the best way to kill a man. Itachi puts down his stick of dango, nods approvingly, and tells her that the best way to kill a man is a senbon to the internal jugular artery in the place where a man’s neck meets the underside of his chin.

Satsuki claps her hands delightedly and demands a demonstration on the practice dummies right now. When she thinks Itachi’s eyes are off her for a second, she not-so stealthily shoves all of Itachi’s dango in her mouth and tries to swallow it. Chubby chipmunk cheeks bulge as Satsuki closes her overflowing mouth. A piece of dango pops out of her mouth and her bottom lip begins to wobble in exaggerated dismay.

 

Itachi smiles. His precious baby sister really is the most adorable thing in the whole entire village—no the whole entire nation—at this age. In a few years, Satsuki will be the most beautiful thing in all the lands, even more breathtaking than their mother—and all the men for miles around will come flocking. Itachi’s smile freezes.

 

He thinks of his past missions, of strange men and dead bodies and girls just a bit older than Satsuki killing, and of war and a world gone mad just a few years ago. No—not his baby sister. Nothing will ever touch her. No one will hurt her. Ever.

 

Then, Itachi flicks her on the forehead and says, “Foolish little sister, you don’t have to worry about men coming close enough for you to kill them. Remember, Satsuki, men are lustful, filthy beasts that will want nothing than to act upon their baser urges with you when you’re older. Never let them touch you, and if they do, castrate them.”

 

Itachi’s pacifist tendencies be damned when it comes to his Satsuki. What are big brothers for if not to happily murder anyone that looks at their baby sisters funny?

 

Satsuki furrows her eyes together but nods dutifully. “Menaspigswhocastwated,” she repeated, cheeks puffing out with her mouth still full of food. Sometimes her older brother is so strange. As if she would get close enough to a boy to let them touch her. Everyone knows boys have chakra-draining lice all over them—Papa told her and Papa never lies—and Satsuki is too clever by far to let herself get cooties. And boys smell. This castration thing that Itachi tells her of must be very powerful enough to chase annoyances such as boys away. Filthy beasts, indeed.

 

When Satsuki recites what her prodigy older brother has taught her at dinner that night, Fugaku nods his head absently and adds that standard greeting if male outside their clan approaches Satsuki is a knee to groin. Mikoto shakes her head resignedly. And she had though Great-Uncle Madara was bad. There is something severely wrong with all the men in their family.

 

 

Satsuki, age nine-almost-ten, counts to ten in her head as her too-skinny body vibrates somewhere in between poorly concealed rage and grief. Itachi is in pain. Someone has hurt her older brother, made him paler the white sheets of the hospital bed he is trying to escape. And Father—stoic, strong Fugaku—has been left crippled, unable to go out into the field again, and Mother, belly once fat and pregnant, is pregnant no more. Satsuki hears Father’s voice worn-down saying, “Satsuki, go to your Brother, go comfort your Brother. I am fine.”

 

But it is not fine. Orochimaru is the cause of that with his creeping tongue and killing aura. He came of her, came for her eyes. This is all her fault, Satsuki thinks.

 

“Itachi,” Satsuki vows, looking straight into Brother’s face, “I will avenge you, and Orochimaru will never hurt you or Father or Mother again. He is going to die. I am an avenger.”

 

Itachi—slightly doped up by pain meds and caught up in his own fantasies of happily murdering the man that had the gall to go after his family—nods his head seriously and wonders when Satsuki became so mature, issuing death threats as bright red eyes glare out at imaginary enemies. Not so adorable anymore. That is good. Little sisters should know how to look after themselves. Not that Satsuki will ever have to. Itachi remembers the ultrasound of two twin girls and Mikoto’s devastated face as the medic-nin bore her away on a stretcher.

 

No, no one will hurt Satsuki ever—or Mother or Father. Orochimaru is going to die.

 

He beckons Satsuki with his hand and pokes her oh-so-lovingly on the forehead. His baby sister is everything that is right with the world. “Don’t worry yourself, foolish little sister, why don’t you rest? You can think about avenging another time. All this excitement is going to make you overexcite yourself,” Itachi says reassuringly.

 

Satsuki’s eyes turn black and her body stills. Poked on the forehead by Itachi. Carelessly ignored as Orochimaru as he advanced towards Mother. Both dismiss her, seeing a little girl and thinking her weak for it. Satsuki rearranges her face into the most placid imitation of a smile she can possibly fake before biting pointed teeth down into Itachi’s finger.

 

Let Big Brother see how overexcited she is now. For a minute Satsuki thinks about how more convenient it would be if Itachi was standing up so she could more easily knee him in the groin; then Satsuki stops herself. If she is going to channel these violent twitchy urges she keeps having, she must never channel them at Brother. There are better targets. Enemies, enemies are good targets.

 

“Fuck nuggets, ‘tachi, Orochimaru is a puss-eating, goatish, hells-hated son of a misbegotten gutter whore, and he is my kill. Don’t try to take him from me, Big Brother,” Satsuki says in her Tea-Ceremonies-and-Other-Polite-Occasions voice. “Please,” she says as an afterthought. Mother always said it was best to be polite before forcing one’s opinion upon others.

 

Aghast, Itachi is thrown back for a second. Then, his mind comprehends what his paragon of perfection has said in her childlike lisp. Cousin Shisui has corrupted her. “S—Satsuki,” Itachi says, stuttering for the first time in years, “You shouldn’t talk like that. It isn’t—“

 

“Fucking lady-like?” Satsuki injects, face scrunched-up and slim brows furrowed. “But Mother speaks like this all the time when she thinks you or I aren’t listening.”

 

Oh, well apparently Satsuki did not get it from wayward cousins then. Itachi is not sure what to say to that.

 

Satsuki, recently graduated, pointedly taps her foot on the floor and places a hand daintily on her hip. These are ways that a proper kunoichi femininely shows her displeasure, or so the Academy teachers taught her. “Composed and aloof in your killing beauty,” the textbook had called it. Even when Satsuki thinks her lessons are stupid, she excels at them. She is, after all, an Uchiha clan head’s daughter through-and-through. And an avenger.

 

The pink-haired annoyance and orange-clad imbecile that call themselves her teammates are not, however. Apparently, they do not understand that Satsuki’s composure and aloofedness can be equated with killing beauty. They are positively gawking at too-naïve-for-their-own-good Shisui and Itachi as they spar. Her Itachi.

 

Then, Shisui adds an Exploding Tag to the already-sprung trap and stretches casually, muscles rippling visibly under his shirt. “Hello ladies. Why didn’t Satsuki-chan tell us she had such adorable teammates?” Shisui calls out to them with a wink and a laugh. Satsuki’s foot stops tapping and her eye twitches.

 

Sakura, at the very least, has the good grace to blush and attempt to avert her eyes as she leers. Naruko, on the other hand, opens her mouth and—

 

“Nee, Satsuki-bitch, did you know that your cousin is really hot? Wait, no, your brother is even hotter. Damn. How’d you like me as a future sister-in-law as well as Hokage? Believe it!”

 

Then, a tan arm is swung around Satsuki’s neck and the orange fungus attempts to give her noogie. Satsuki tenses for a second, trying to recite the lessons that were pounded into her head by kunoichi class.

 

Composed and aloof in your killing beauty. Composed and aloof in your killing beauty. Composed and—

 

“Fuck this shit,” Satsuki grinds out, coming to a decision. After she sets the orange fungus currently growing on her on fire, she will visit the Academy library. Those textbooks do an injustice towards her entire sex, and Satsuki, after all, is an Avenger. That transcends all these stupid things adults say she should be like because of her gender.

 

 

Itachi watches as Satsuki, age twelve and something close to beautiful, as she spars with Nara Shikaku’s only son in an outstanding display of grace and talent and perfection. No one can compare to Itachi’s adolescent sister.

 

Especially not the Kazekage’s little redheaded daughter who that keeps on issuing death threats to everyone and their uncle. Itachi cannot wait for Satsuki’s fight against her. That Suna-nin with the mask that looks like bargain-bin drapery covering half his face—Baki, yes that is name—is getting uppity and putting absurd amounts of money in the betting pool against Satsuki every round. Itachi will show him. And win 300,000 ryo. Itachi is running slightly low on funds and has been eyeing the perfect shruiken set for Satsuki when she will undoubtedly win the chunin exams.

 

Suddenly, there is a collective intake of breath from the crowd around Itachi. The Nara has managed to say something upsetting enough for Satsuki use a fire jutsu so powerful that columns of flame dance to the edges of the arena. The Nara is forced from the shadows and into the light .The fight descends to a brawl and the scoundrel actually puts his hands on Satsuki’s chest—a clumsy attempt at a punch, not a grope—but to Itachi, it does not matter. This cannot stand.

 

While Itachi is not usually one to judge someone before knowing them for at least long enough to inquire about their thoughts on the local sweets shop—such things are important in judging a man’s true self—he can tell that this Shikamaru character is no good. Itachi could even say that this boy is representative of the general delinquency all boys in Satsuki’s age group. But none of the other boys have the gall to attempt to flirt with Itachi’s little sister in front of him. In fact, all of the other boys in Satsuki’s age group seemed rather fearful of her after that one instance Satsuki asked Iruka-sensei the best way to castrate the Inuzaka punk after his dog got into her lunch box. Itachi takes this as a sign as their complete lack of taste. Shisui, the dunce, says it is a sign of their wisdom.

 

This Nara boy is now flirting and calling Satsuki a “troublesome, overly aggressive wench” as they grapple in the dirt. Itachi wasn’t born yesterday; he, as well as the rest of Konoha, know very well that when a Nara calls a woman “troublesome” it is practically a marriage proposal. Hell, Itachi would even call it a proposition to his pure, innocent sister to start making babies in the middle arena. Yes, after the match, this boy will be given a good talking-to by Itachi. And Shisui. And Obito. And Fugaku. Perhaps it is time to appeal the Hokage Tower to have a temporarily lift Great-Uncle Madara’s house arrest. Itachi has heard tell of the prolonged horror story that was Fugaku trying to court Great Uncle’s favorite niece Mikoto. Yes, Madara will be good to bring along when Itachi gives the Nara boy his talking-to; with luck, Madara will make the Nara menace drop dead of fear before Itachi even opens his mouth.

 

Itachi’s daydreams of bloody murder and vengeance are cut short by a shrieking Satsuki in the middle arena. She has pinned the shiftless, shadow-bending pest to the muddy ground and her eyes spin like whirlpools about to suck the hapless Nara down to hell.

 

“You’re hard!” Satsuki growls—or attempts to growl; it is hard to look intimidating when you are ninety pounds and currently look like a disheveled kitten drowning its own sweat—“Does my anger arouse you? Does it, Nara? Does it?”

 

Overhearing this, Itachi immediately skips from planning a talking-to to considering if that idea of a coup Great-Uncle Madara wanted to throw had some merit. No, Itachi is getting ahead of himself; that would take more planning and dear Satsuki is too innocent and fragile to handle the hardships of a civil war. Also, they are still grounded from the last time Mikoto caught them planning world domination because of a slight to Satsuki’s virtue.

 

“Poor Satsuki, too good for this sinful earth, too innocent,” Itachi whispers to himself as he strokes the crow has for some reason landed on his shoulder, plotting even bloodier murder and vengeance.

 

In the background, Satsuki tries to throw her opponent through the opposite wall of the arena, and Nara Shikamaru realizes he will always regret this as the day he got so scared he popped a boner.

Chapter Text

 In hindsight, Itachi decides, while rash, his decision to fetch Great Uncle Madara after the Incident with That Nara Boy is one of his better ones. Nothing puts down an attempted invasion like an enraged octogenarian bashing in skulls with his cane. Or stabbing a rather alarmed Oto-nin when it turns out his cane has a sword hidden inside of it. As well as a giant war fan … But of course. It is Great Uncle Madara after all, Itachi reminds himself.

Suddenly, Great Uncle's head snaps like an Inuzaka ninken catching sniff of an intoxicating scent, white hair where no brush dared tread swishing behind him. His nostrils flare. "Hashirama" he breathes.

Madara begins to gallop towards the black shield that currently encloses the Fourth Hokage. Itachi quickly calculates the imminent property damage and hurriedly follows his uncle. How is that a man four times his age wearing chakra-restricting cuffs can get around so quickly Itachi does not know. The elders these days will give Itachi grey hairs before he turns twenty. Itachi is sure they were not like this in his parent's generation. Perhaps he should take that vacation to the rural spa with the nice onsen Shisui is always telling him about.

There is a clash and boom and then the sky roars. For the first time in his life, Itachi is dumbstruck. What on earth is that? Is Great Uncle Madara's giant Susanoo that broke down a supposedly impenetrable shield blushing? Pondering this, Itachi artfully dodges a bothersome, passing-by Sand-nin who tries to gut him. He hears a sickening crunch and looks reproachfully up at Shisui.

"Really Shisui," Itachi chides, doing a back-flip to all the better throw four shruiken to non-lethally disable twelve approaching opponents, "you needn't be so violent. It's unnecessary to exert that much force to disable a low-level jounin. He was at most A-rank."

Shisui's lips pull up into a crooked grin and he reaches out a hand to flip Itachi's ponytail. "An A-rank is a low-level jounin now?" he asks, arching a brow, "Only you Itachi. You are, after all, exceptional." Shisui wraps his fingers further into Itachi's hair and leans forward.

As per usual. Shisui's flirting is interrupted as his head is flattened by a one Uchiha Izumi's manicured feet as she dives gracefully down from the sky seemingly out of nowhere. Tossing her hair in a picturesque flip that would not have been shabby for a professional hair model, Izumi discretely pulls a poisoned senbon from the depths of her bosom and lobs it at an incoming Suna chunin.

"Oh Shisui-kun," Izumi simpers innocently as she treads on Shisui's face, "I didn't see you there. And Itachi, I had no idea you were going to be here. You look a bit peaky. Why don't we sit down and have some dango? We can even share with Shisui-kun if you'd like." She flutters her eyelashes, conveniently ignoring the combustion only thirty yards away and what appears to be Great Uncle Madara flirting with the reanimated corpse of the First Hokage.

Shisui, face pressed into the pavement of the arena, groans what appears to be an affirmative.

Itachi sighs. Perhaps Shisui had a point when he said all Uchiha women are tiny and sweet and utterly devious.

Except for his Satsuki. While clearly very tiny, sweet, sugary, and every nice, Itachi's baby sister kills her foes outright, no tricks needed. His Satsuki does not have a devious bone in her body, fighting with dignity and honor as befits the perfect Uchiha.

Satsuki, curse seal writhing and body near collapsing, pulls a hunk of red hair and then throws a handful of sand in her opponent's face to blind her. Sometimes, Satsuki acknowledges, one must fight dirty when it is the last remaining option. Though Satsuki also acknowledges she has no problem with fighting dirty as her first option either. Unlike certain blondes. Honestly, who wears orange in the middle of what was supposed to be a stealth mission when they were supposed to be evading a psychopathic Sannin? It is the moron's fault that this redheaded nuisance discovered them and Satsuki is in this mess in the first place.

Then, the thought finally hits Satsuki. It is very, very incredibly stupid to throw sand in the face of someone who uses sand as her main defense. And as her main offense. To crush people …. Satsuki would rather not be crushed right now and she just literally has given this deranged, over-mascaraed, stalking Sunan lunatic more sand to crush her with.

"Well shit," Satsuki mutters. Time for Plan B: electrocute the ginger and then set her on fire if all else fails. Satsuki decides she likes this plan.

"CHIDORI!" Satsuki snarls, lips pushing backwards as she plunges her lightning-gloved hand into the sand shield. It cuts through like butter and grazes Ginger's shoulder. Oh yes.

"BLOOD! BLOOD!" the Ginger exclaims, breathing heavily as more sand begins to cluster around her, "I'M BLEEDING! BLOOD! THE AGOONY!"

Satsuki eyes the ginger dubiously. This is supposed to be the fight where Satsuki tests her mettle and sees whether she is strong enough to Avenge and cut Orochimaru into small enough pieces to hand-feed to his own snakes. Ginger needs to get herself together or this will all be for nothing.

Satsuki puts on her best smirk and sneers, "Oi, for fuck's sake fire-crotch, get your shit together. You act as if you've never bled before. Haven't you ever had your period before? Trust me. If you had, then you'd know true suffering."

At this, the Ginger seems to calm down for a second as she utters a flat, "What?'

"Your period? You know? When hunks of your uterus fall out through your vagina as a signal that your body is ready to bear a passel of screaming brats," Satsuki trails off, unsure of how to better explain this. Don't they have sexual education units in the Academy at Suna?

At Ginger's confused and then enraged look, Satsuki decides they, in fact, do not. Satsuki remembers her trauma from the stilted euphemism of "crimson peony blossoms coming to bloom" she received at the Academy before Mikoto cleared matters up for her.

"You're lying," Ginger intones, voice going even flatter—something Satsuki would have thought impossible had she not heard it happen right now.

"Am not," Satsuki eloquently counters as she blows a fireball in Ginger's face. Ginger roars and a wall of sand rises. Satsuki stares in awe. She feels this gut-punch, wrenching, sinking feeling starting in her chest and going down to her stomach where something bubbles and twists like she's falling and floating at the same time. The blood under skin feels static-y and pulsing; Satsuki feels goose bumps form and her hair on her arms rise. Satsuki has never felt like this. Satsuki has never met anyone like this before. She wants to be this, to devour this. Whatever this is.

"Who are you? Why are you the way you are?" Satsuki grunts, eyeing the Ginger suspiciously. This must be genjutsu of some sort.

Ginger pauses before she says, "My name is besides the point. The only reason for being is one thing: killing you. Everything else besides the point and without a purpose. There is nothing else."

Satsuki scoffs, "Killing me? That's stupid, idiot. If that is your entire purpose, you need to find a better one than that. You literally started stalking me and talking about eyes and hell and loneliness and some other crap. If that's what you've been doing for the last twelve years, no wonder you're so messed up. I pity you."

Ginger goes deathly still and the sand falls around her. Satsuki knows she should know fear but all she feels dull surprise at what she has said. It is probably the most she has said to someone outside of family since entering adolescence without insulting up to eight generations of their lineage, their intelligence, or their general integrity as human beings.

For some reason, Satsuki continues, "If you want a purpose, what about your family? I want to Avenge, but not because I'm stalking someone. Orochimaru, he crippled my father, killed my baby sisters when they were still in Mother's belly. She hasn't smiled since." Satsuki has never told anyone this, even Itachi.

Ginger moves closer, leaning into Satsuki's face. Satsuki's body tenses and relaxes at the same time. Her eyes flutter close. Oh, oh this must be like that moment Great Uncle Madara was telling her about—the moment he realized he was in love with an idiotically happy Senju in the middle of a death-match to destroy the village. A death-match and village-destruction attempt that failed, Great Uncle had admitted, but that was besides the point. It was the love at first fight that had mattered.

Ginger hisses in Satsuki's ear, "I'm going to kill you." Then, sand begins to pile around Satuski's body. Wait, this isn't how this is supposed to be going, Satsuki thinks.

Satsuki begins to struggle and prepare for her imminent demise when she hears some banging and yelling. Oh, no, anything but this. Satsuki will never hear then end of it if she is rescued by the moron.

"Back off, Raccoon-Eyes," twenty Narukos bellow in cacophony that will give Satsuki nightmares for decades to come, "Satsuki-bitch is my bitch and no one else's."

Somewhere in the distance, Satsuki hears Sakura huffing, "Naruko, wait up! You can't just go into a fight without plan—oh you already have then…well, okay then. Why do I even bother?"

Satsuki manages to wiggle around enough to give Naruko—well one of the Narukos. When Satsuki finds out whoever invented a jutsu that could multiply stupid, there will be reckoning— and Sakura a heated glare. Can't the orange fungus she's interrupting something?

On the outskirts of the village, in a rather lovely rural teahouse, Mikoto's delicate porcelain cup cracks. That can never be a good sign. She hopes that Sakumo's boy hasn't decided to break up with dear nephew Obito and that sweet Nohara girl again. The collateral damage of fight between a lover's spat when one of the people has a Rinnegan is rather large. No, that cannot be it; Obito was out of the village on a mission. Mikoto sets down her teacup reluctantly and looks to a heavily pregnant Kushina.

"Perhaps we should return to see how the chunin exams are going, Kushina dear?" she asks.

"Yes, I needta make sure Minato isn't wrecking my village, ya know!" Kushina declares excitedly. She begins to hum excitedly as she cracks her knuckles.

Mikoto shakes her head but begins caressing the katana on her back ominously. If the men in her family have decided to act up again and ruin her darling Satsuki's moment of glory, there will be reckoning.

While Orochimaru and the First, Second, and Third Hokages are indeed fearsome foes, the Fourth Hokage, an aged Great Uncle Madara, Itachi, and Itachi's unwanted harem are able to match them blow for blow, albeit barely. The real turning point, however, seems to come when Great Uncle Madara pulls his back as he is heaving his giant war fan.

The reanimated corpse of the First Hokage freezes. "Mada-chan?" is the tentative question.

"Hashi-kun," Madara says, shielding his wrinkled face, "I didn't want you to see me like this."

Itachi blinks at this scene, struck speechless for the second time that day. If his eyes don't mistake him, the undead God of Shinobi is currently cradling who was once known as Death's Scourge in his arms and giving him a chaste kiss on the top of his head … Itachi's brain is not even sure how to begin to process this.

"Hashi-kun," as Great Uncle Madara called him, gently sets down his old lover—Itachi's brain commits suicide at this thought—and turns to face the errant Sannin. Black clouds begin to build ominously over his head. "You made Mada-chan overexert himself," snarls the enraged First Hokage as he charges at Orochimaru.

The battle is decided rather quickly after that.

In the end, the Fourth Hokage, two other rather sheepish-looking Hokage-zombies, Itachi, and Itachi's still unwanted harem are left looking studiously at the ground as the third Hokage-zombie exuberantly tries to shove his tongue down his lover's—Itachi's brain is still in its death throes and screams internally at this word once again—throat.

Itachi clears his throat and jerks his head to the other side of the stadium. "Wouldn't it be prudent to check for civilian survivors?" he asks the fellow appalled on-lookers, searching for any, any reason to escape the spectacle before him. Minato and the rest of the company hastily agree.

"Be careful with my bones, they're more brittle these days, you witless Senju dirt-clod," Itachi hears Great Uncle Madara moan as they hurry away .

"Oh, Mada-chan, you really do love me," the First Hokage agrees happily.

It seems like they are having a very private moment.

The horrible realization then hits Itachi that it has been five minutes since he last thought of his foolish little sister. How could he? Where is she? What is happening to her right now? For all Itachi knows, Satsuki could be being traumatized for life. Someone could be invading her personal bubble.

Satsuki struggles in Naruko's arms as the blonde triumphantly skips away from the destruction of her and Gaara's fight. Naruko happily ignores Satsuki before finally tossing her over her shoulder to better facilitate enthusiastic hand-gesturing as she tell Gaara about the eight wonder of the world which is Ichiraku Ramen.

"Ummm, Naruko," a hesitant Sakura calls out as she trails a few yards away from the potential blast radius, "maybe it's a good idea to put the angry Satsuki down if her left eye is twitching. Usually, that isn't a good sign now, is it?"

"But Sakura-chaaan," Naruko whines, blonde ponytails that Satsuki will set on fire bouncing, "Satsuki-bitch is too weak even to walk right now." Naruko turns to Gaara and whispers informatively. "You gotta be gentle when playing with people that don't have bijou inside them, ya know, Gaara, especially Satsuki-bitch. She's vicious so she'll win if she can nab ya with a nasty hit the first fours hours or so, but after that she starts getting worn out and is too much of a prissy ice queen to say anything. You understand?"

Gaara continues to ignore Naruko as she has since the dust from their fight settled twenty minutes ago, and Satsuki seethes that someone who talks like an illiterate peasant thinks that they can dictate her life. Satsuki does not have to put up with this. Wait, why is Satsuki putting up with this? Oh yes, Satsuki's chakra is so depleted that she has to be carried and cannot even fight back when being draped across Uzumaki's shoulder like some kind of designer Uchiha outerwear. Never again, Satsuki promises herself.

Oblivious, the moron continues with a monologue of Naruko's Guide to Dealing With Not-Even-That-Pretty-Anyways Uchihas and blabbers increasingly nonsensical poppycock, "Actually, if you wanna fight with her again, Raccoon Eyes, I'll have to make rules and be there to make sure you ain't too rough on her. She's delicate. Like she can electrocute you to death, but if you'd trying to crush her to death like you did with me, she'd die. I don't want Satsuki-bitch to die. She's mine; she's my best friend."

Exhausted, beaten, deprived of her fist kiss, this is the last straw for Satsuki. Being called the moron's friend. No. No. Satsuki's right eye begins twitching as well. Only the ever-observant Sakura is aware of the slight change and is able to dive for cover before the resulting blow-up.

Surprisingly, it is this outburst that draws the attention of nearby Leaf jounin who seemed to be absent for the entirety of the epic battle between two giant chakra monsters just thirty minutes before.

As Mikoto strides in behind a waddling Kushina to smoldering wreckage of what was once the chunin exam, she is met by a sight horrible for any eyes to behold.

That does not even begin to refer to whatever that scene with Great Uncle Madara going on the corner is. No, it is referring to the fact that her baby girl is upset, and the ones she tasked with watching over her daughter and her little teammates are obviously inadequate at even comforting them.

A pale Satsuki is shaking ever so-slightly in Itachi's arms, grunting about friendship and the horror. Naruko, hair rumpled and one eye black, seems similarly upset and noisily sobs into an alarmed Minato's arms, "Whhy won't she love me? Whhhhhy? I just wanna be rivals forever and always." And then there is that red-haired child who has been sending her baby love notes disguised as death threats and a wide-eyed Sakura eyeing Great Uncle Madara and—is that "Great Uncle Hashi" as well?— doing something they are far too old to be doing in the first place. Honestly, they should know better.

Mikoto closes her eyes and counts to ten internally. Ahhh there, much better.

"Why did I ever break up you? This would never happen if we were still dating," Mikoto asks Kushina, remembering the simple days of genin-hood when scraped knees and chunin exams that were not a cover for a foreign invasion were their only problem.

Kushina tilts her head and ponder this before responding, "I don't know. Though I guess you were only ten at the time, ya know."

Mikoto nods her head soberly—oh, if only she had known the mistakes she had made at ten would haunt her for the rest of her lifetime—and dutifully ignores Kushina as she begins to leer. Really, Kushina has become much more touchy-feely since her pregnancy began; perhaps it was not a good idea to mention anything that could put ideas in her head. A Kushina with ideas is—

"Neee, Mikoto-chan, if you ever want to start dating again, you and Fugaku are welcome to join Minato and me," Kushina croons, eyebrows waggling in what Mikoto supposes is a seductive manner. Mikoto hesitates for a second before deciding it is not prudent to seduce the Hokage and the Hokage's wife when the village is under military lockdown. There will be more convenient times to do that in the future. Also, Mikoto must convince Fugaku first. It shouldn't be the hard; after all, if her Itachi is anything to go by, the Uchiha genetic proclivity towards maintaining harems and/or complicated love triangles is still going strong in the latest generation. Mikoto deserves (will have) one as well. She must do right be Grandfather Izuna's memory.

"Later, Kushina, and not in front of the children," hisses Mikoto, "Right now, we must consider our priorities. You tend to the children, and I'll … deal with Great Uncles Hashi and Madara."

Kushina narrows her eyes but nods, waddling as quickly as her swollen feet can take her to Minato and the teary Naruko. Mikoto takes a second to appreciate the glory of all that red hair swinging as it moves away before turning to her wayward father figure. She clears her throat. Great Uncle Hashi finally lifts his head and looks rather alarmed.

"Uhhhh, Mikoto-chan, you see Uncle Mada-chan and I are just wrestling," the esteemed First Hokage splutters, trying to shield his unprotected parts with the wreckage of nearby building. Madara simply purses his lips into something that would be called a pout if he didn't have an estimated body count in the quadruple digits.

"Just like that time when you were 'naked sparring' in the middle of the garden when I was four?" Mikoto questions sweetly. Hashirama and Madara begin spluttering simultaneously. Mikoto's smile somehow grows sweeter and more deadly at once. She weaves three hand-signs and the two decrepit delinquents in front of her are doused in water.

In the distances, Mikoto hears Kushina bellow, "YOU HAD ONE JOB MINATO! DON'T EXPLODE THE VILLAGE WHILE I'M AWAY!"

Oh, sweet music. Mikoto, after all, is an Avenger, a giver of retribution. Whoever caused this will given their retribution indeed. There will be reckoning.

And people said Satsuki and Itachi got it from their father. Mikoto gently laughs and pulls out her katana.

 

Chapter Text

The fountain sprouting out of the verdant greenery Mikoto and Satsuki tend to lovingly burbles gently.   A dozen hulking men scuttle unobtrusively through morning glories draped lazily on wooden trellises and try to fit their huge bodies into the delicate bamboo lawn chairs arranged in a semi-circle on the porch. Crickets chirp peacefully in early morning air. A loud clatter breaks through the air as Cousin Obito “accidentally” drops the platter of hor d’oeuvres he was specifically not bring as to break the mood (plotting takes a somberness and ceremony that hor d’oeuvres are not associated with, Fugaku has pontificated several times; also Mikoto has him on a strict diet because of his high blood pressure). Itachi sighs—really must Obito taunt Fugaku with fat-drenched bacon when he knows he is not allowed to have it?— and scans the courtyard for dangerous armed combatants—no Mikoto, so far so good—that Obito’s ruckus may have attracted.

 

Uncle Kagami shifts nervously and whispers exaggeratedly, “Are you sure she won’t find out? We can always do this is in the not-at-all-suspicious underground meeting place below the Naka Shrine.”

 

Itachi closes his eyes and tries to think of the simplest ways to explain the merits of not attracting the Fourth’s or, more importantly, Mikoto’s attention by plotting in the traditional Uchiha plotting grounds before promptly giving up. Besides, it’s not as if Mikoto will be here anytime soon as she is having one of her weekly sleepovers with the Hokage’s wife, and no matter what Great Uncle claims, she does not a ESPN or something that can tell when they’re up to no good. However, with Madara and Obito present, there is no point in appealing to logic at this point. It would be better to focus on methods to best take down the Nara clan in terms of strategy, thus distracting his relatives from their collective fear of Mikoto.

 

Unfortunately, as always, Cousin Obito seems to thrive on wrecking Itachi’s carefully planned-out plans. Honestly, what do Hatake and Nohara see in that man? If Itachi didn’t know any better, he would think that Cousin Obito took joy in trolling people for his own twisted amusement.

 

“The plan for attacking by night won’t work, Cousin Obito,” Itachi explains patiently while keeping his eyebrow from visibly twitching, “They are shadow-benders. Which means we shouldn’t attack from the shadows. And, no, I don’t thinking catching them a permanent moon-powered illusion would work. Stop giving Great-Uncle Madara ideas.” Itachi pauses and stares at Cousin Obito as he begins to giggle and insist that Itachi call him Tobi. “Are you high?” With Cousin Obito, it is hard to tell. That Akatsuki crowd he is hanging out with these days must be a horrible influence. Itachi has had heard rumors that they are even an internationally wanted gang of psychotic terrorists.

 

Itachi sighs and stares to the heavens. Suddenly his head begins to throb and his hands begin to tremble—and not even with the usual, ever-present urge to throttle Cousin Obito. No, this is something. His Satsuki-senses are tingling. His little sister needs him.

 

 

Satsuki stares at the burns on her hands and the wreckage of the Uchiha compound gardens around her. In the attack, Oto-nin had managed to get in. No one that she loved has died, but the grave-makers for the babies that she will never be able to call Sister are burnt and charred. Even if they had had the chance to live she still wouldn’t be strong enough to protect them. Her fight with Gaara was proof enough of that.

 

And Gaara tried to kill her instead of kissing her. Satsuki is undesirable. In a few years, she is going to be alone, wrinkly, and only kept company by her twenty ninja-cats—just like Great-Uncle Madara, except even older than he is. She will be alone.

 

She hugs herself and doesn’t cry. Crying is weak and for little girls. Satsuki is not weak. She is an Avenger. She is a very cold and tired Avenger though. Avenging is beginning to feel like it is hard work. Satsuki is not sure if it is something she wants to do alone.

 

“Foolish little sister, it’s cold out,” Itachi says as he approaches her from behind, “why don’t you come inside? You haven’t eaten in days.”

 

Satsuki shakes her head, moving her bangs to cover her eyes, and bites her fingers into her arms. “I’ll never get to see them grown,” she mumbles.

 

Itachi shakes his head softly and tucks Satsuki’s stray bangs behind her ear. “And you won’t be grown if you catch a cold and freeze yourself to death. Come inside and I’ll teach you some about chakra control and how to use it with your lightning affinity for an hour or two,” he suggests, “We can fix the markers in the morning and maybe plant some flowers. What do you think of camellias?”

 

Satsuki scowls furiously and stares at her feet. Brother is always trying to distract her or humor her. She’s not eleven any more. She’s twelve and a shinobi of the Hidden Leaf. Bribery will not work. Satsuki will not be bought. Itachi will have to offer one week of his undivided attention—not just a few paltry hours—before she will even consider budging.

 

“I didn’t want to have to resort to this, Little Sister, but you give me no choice,” Itachi sighs exaggeratedly as he pulls out a small book out of his cloak and whips to page two hundred eighty-eight. Satsuki feels the hair on her arms prickle and begins the feelings of fear rise from her feet.

 

“No, no, Big Brother, anything but this,” Satsuki tries to order firmly as she readies her body for escape. Itachi catches her firmly by the arm and begins to commence with the torture.

 

“You’re weak, Satsuki. Why are you weak? Because you lack the … ,” Itachi pauses dramatically as he forward, “ … humor. And do you know what? You always will if no one intervenes. Don’t worry though, foolish little sister, I’ll fix you.” Satsuki feels a feeling of dread that she has never felt before. She can handle this though. She is Uchiha and Uchiha can handle themselves even against their brother’s dad jokes.

 

“You’re right. I don’t have a sense of humor,” Satsuki—fuck, fuck, fuckitty can’t handle this, she thinks—nods her head calmly in agreement, “which is why you really don’t have to tell me a joke to cheer me u—“

 

“Why did the tomato blush?” Itachi asks in his very best monotone as he reads from the book of jokes with a look of intense concentration.

 

Satsuki cringes for a full minute before she can manage to mumble, “Why?”

 

“Because he saw the salad dressing.”

 

Satsuki groans and dies a little internally as Itachi drags her inside reciting all the jokes from pages two hundred eighty-nine as well.

 

 

Kakashi slouches down in front of an anxious-looking Namikaze Minato. “So you’re sure this won’t result in inter-clan violence?” the blonde asks tiredly, running his hands through his hair.

 

Kakashi hums and flips to the next page of his literary masterpiece. Oichi-hime is about to find out that Hideki isn’t Mitsue’s evil twin after all. He’s Mitsue’s secret son from the future. How does Jiraiya-sama even come up with these ideas? They are pure genius. “Kakashi. Kakashi. Are you listening?” Minato interrupts just Kakashi reaches the line Oichi-hime says she doesn’t care that Hideki is from an alternate dimension—she loves him despite it all.

 

“No, Minato-sensei, the village is not about to be annihilated because a teenage boy got an erection,” Kakashi says, looking up annoyedly and flapping his hand, “Auntie Mikoto is having tea or something next Monday with Shikamaru’s mother to talk about it. Besides, Obito said he’d ruin any plans if it did get that far.”

 

“Good, good,” Minato nods his head absently, “now what’s going on with the Akatsuki organization that Obito-kun is telling us about? Our intelligence says that Orochimaru used to be a membe—” Suddenly, Minato freezes, appalled.

 

Did Kakashi just say the Uchiha are planning to sic Yoshino on the Nara boy?

 

 

Watery sunshine wavers in through Itachi’s bedroom window as he sinks further into futon to avoid the way the cold morning air prickles his nose. While usually not one to shirk from early rising, Itachi thinks he perhaps to deserves to sleep in late just this once. Images of the Incident with Great-Uncle Madara and the First Hokage still haunt his dreams. Itachi shudders. No, it’s best not to think about that. Ever, he decides before deciding to lie under the covers for a few moments longer.

Then, the covers are promptly pulled away from him and Itachi is ambushed by a scissor kick to his face. Or an attempted scissor kick to the face because the day Itachi lets anyone land a hit on him is the day he agrees to go on a date with Jiraiya—there had been an incident at the bathhouse that Itachi would firmly like to forget where the Sannin seemed to assume that long hair and androgynous looks meant being one of the feminine gender, though for some reason it didn’t seem to dissuade him when he learned Itachi’s true sex—which is to say it will never happen, ever.

 

Itachi inclines his head slightly as Satsuki as she lands panting, eyes red as freshly spilled blood, in a crouch. “Big Brother,” she demands, “I almost got you that time. You said if I managed to last three seconds against you, you’d teach me a new jutsu.” At this, Satsuki looks rather peeved. Itachi has no idea why: three seconds is much more than many people can last against him.

 

Itachi brings two fingers to his throbbing forehead and sighs softly, “Foolish little sister, perhaps another time. It is first thing in the morning and you just tried to kick me in the face.”

 

Satsuki arches an eyebrow as if she does not see the problem with this. “But you promised. You never want to train with me. You just lecture and nag,” she says in a tone that could be described as petulant if Uchihas could be called petulant (which they cannot be).

 

Itachi sighs and reminds to buy himself that book Shisui kept shoving in his face, saying it explained the mysteries of ineffable teenage girls and the mysterious adolescence that effected them. If that’s true …. then Itachi would say it would be a very good investment.

 

“Yes, but how would you the things about which I lecture you if I didn’t lecture you in the first place?” Itachi asks.

 

Satsuki’s face scrunches up as it often does when she is confronted by a fact of life she would rather ignore. “Point but do—“ Satsuki’s voice cuts off dangerously as she sees the other occupant of Big Brother’s bed blinking up at her sleepily (this being Shisui, as Izumi was clever enough to slip out when she heard Satsuki’s approaching footsteps, thus abandoning Shisui to his fate).

 

Oh hells no. No one is deflowering Big Brother on my watch. Now I am an Avenger of Big Brother’s chastity, Satsuki thinks in a state far too calm, fully embracing the violent twitchy impulses for the first time in five years.

 

“You,” Satsuki growls, somehow inserting promise of countless untold terrors in one syllable.

 

“Yup, meeee,” Shisui responds as his eyes desperately for an exit. He cannot believe that Izumi left him. Hadn’t she promised just the other night not to smother him in his sleep now that they had agreed to share Itachi? Death-by-Satsuki is pretty much the same thing in that it ends up with a dead Shisui and much is more painful than death-by-smothering. People who say the Uchiha men are vicious clearly had never met the women in their family.

 

“What are you doing in Big Brother’s bed? And why was Cousin Izumi leaving right before I came in? ” Satsuki demands. Shisui holds his hands up in a placating manner.

“Well, you know,” Shisui falters and looks to an unmoving Itachi for help. “Itachi, standing still and hoping she doesn’t notice you clearly doesn’t work. Itachi, do something!” Shisui hisses desperately. Itachi does nothing and remains apparently broken in a state of frozen horror like a traumatized armadillo. Shisui hesitantly pokes Itachi on the shoulder. Itachi falls backwards like an over-limp noodle and hits the floor with a thud.

 

“Playing dead, Itachi? Playing dead?! Honestly!” Shisui cries almost hysterically. He’s too young to die. And too pretty. Who’s going to tell Izumi he loves her if he dies? Who’s going to tell Itachi he loves him if he dies? Oh to be young and doomed and in a ménage-a-trois … it could almost be the inspiration for Jiraiya-sama’s next movie. There will be intrigue, there will be action, Shisui will be played be a devastatingly handsome actor.

 

“You. Touched. Big. Brother.” Satsuki grits out to Shisui, “What. Did. You. Do?”

 

Shisui considers all possibilities and decides that if his life is going to be inspiration for a tragic chick flick he will bravely meet his imminent demise.

 

“I touched him a lot more last night,” Shisui mutters before being hit with a blast of killing intent. “Errmm, I meant that your Brother’s fine, Satsuki-chan, so maybe dial back a little with the death glares. You see when a man and a woman and a man love each other very much—“

 

Shisui does not manage to finish that sentence as a navy blur crashes into him and then through the wall. How can someone so small and adorable emit so much murder? he thinks idly as his life flashes before his eyes. He gulps and ducks a Chidori aimed at his head. No longer defiant, now he is reminded of the time Great-Uncle Madara had chased him up a tree with his giant war for “accidentally” setting his dentures on fire.

 

Oh yes, that is where she gets it from, he falls unconscious to his knees clutching his groin.

 

 

Sakura has never been more grateful for her traditional civilian upbringing than she is right now in Shisui-kun’s hospital room. When Sakura had suggested they bring him flowers, Satsuki had only nodded and said she should probably bring him flowers to his funeral. Naruko had giggled and asked if Sakura thought that Shisui would be wearing one of those backless hospital gowns that would let her see his derriere.

 

“You mean there are ways to display affection other than paranoia and emotional repression and violence towards loved ones?” Shisui asks Sakura in a tone of awed shock at this very civilian concept, “you mean there’s a life outside of this?! There’s a life where you don’t have to plan a coup for the honor of a baby cousin who just tried to kill you because a teenage boy got an erection when you know very well Auntie Mikoto will find out and make that time when Great-Uncle Madara on meds tried to gnaw you to death with his dentures seem like a love bite??!“

 

“Yes,” Sakura says tentatively. She is not even sure what that last sentence means. Satsuki’s mother always seems so soft-spoken and sweet. And surely, Satsuki’s elderly great uncle wouldn’t try to cannibalize someone, would he?

 

Well, then again, this was the same elderly old man who had sex with the reanimated corpse of the First Hokage in front of an arena-ful of people, and Mrs. Satsuki’s-Mother was the woman who birthed Satsuki. Sakura’s mother has whispered to her the day Satsuki was born the Nine-tails attacked, a sign from the heavens that Satsuki is supposed to be the force her mother is.

 

Sakura pauses and fidgets with her hair. “Well maybe, I’m not right with the last sentence, but as a general rule, throwing cou—“

 

“Naawww,” Naruko crows happily as she interrupts, “paranoia, emotional repression, and violence are the best ways to show affection. I know ‘caus Satsuki-bitch has done ‘em all to me. I think this means she loves me. In Academy, she even tried to throw an uprising ‘gainst Iruka-sensei so she could kick me out of the classroom.”

 

Satsuki scowls and glares at Shisui, demanding, “If a coup’s going to be thrown in my honor so you idiots can show that you love me, at the very least can it be against the idiot? You’d be doing the village a service.”

 

“Oh, Satsuki-bitch, you really do care,” Naruko sobs, clutching her hands to her heart as Shisui solemnly shakes his head. Killing the Hokage’s daughter is deemed as unacceptable even by the Uchihas, even if their princess requests it.

 

Satsuki scowls and catches herself before she can bring her heel down on Naruko’s ankle, deciding to ignore Naruko’s general existence. Sakura doesn’t have the heart to tell her that stopping the violence will just make the blonde more needy for Satsuki’s love.

 

Indeed, within three seconds later, Sakura rubs her head in resignation as she hears : “Satsuki-bitch, Satsuki-bitch? Satsuki-bitch! Why aren’t you punching me? Am I not annoying enough for you?”

 

 

Fugaku sneakily flips to the next page of the contraband paper and takes a bite out of his forbidden bacon. Crime rates are down. Good, good. But that tariff on horticultural products from Kumo that the Yamanaka are trying to lobby the Council for is ridiculous. What are they thinking? If Fugaku had any say in it—

 

The newspaper is gently taken out of Fugaku’s hands. “Now, now, Uncle Fugaku, didn’t Auntie Mikoto and Rin say you weren’t allowed to read the newspaper anymore because it does horrible things to your blood pressure? Oh, is that bacon?” Nephew Obito says with a suddenly-stuffed mouth of the forbidden food, slinging his arm around Fugaku’s neck. Itachi, temporarily distracted from plotting the total obliteration of the Nara clan, raises his head and nods in agreement.

 

Fugaku slids his reading glasses down and glares at the assorted men around him. He is clan head, damnnit! Shouldn’t that count for something? Fugaku gathers his indignation and readies to deliver a thorough tongue-lashing when a knock on the door silences everyone in the room.

 

“Hide,” shrieks Kagami, “It’s her! She’s coming! She’s coming! I told you she’d find out!” And with that, a dozen grown men begin diving for cover and abandoning their honored clan head to his fate. Fugaku sighs and is only slightly reassured to see his firstborn has not abandoned him.

 

There is a collective intake of breath when the knob to the entryway begins to turn. A petite figure radiating killing intent enters. The end is near.

 

 

Gaara scowls as she sees the tippy toes of a two hundred pounds of an Uchiha man shaking behind the tastefully floral draperies. If they are planning on an ambush to discourage her from her pursuit of her prey, they have another thing coming. Kankuro has just explained those annoying homicidal urges and butterflies and sweating palms Gaara had had whenever she thought of the Uchiha before did not mean she was violently unstable. Gaara is in love, Kankuro had suggested hesitantly before Temari had smacked him with her fan, giggling nervously and telling him not to tell Gaara about the “s”-“e”-“x” . Whatever that means.

 

“Which one of you is the Uchiha clan head?” Gaara demands as she locates the two men in the room not horribly failing to hide. The elder one blinks slowly before inclining his head.

 

“Here is your tribute,” Gaara says flatly as she dumps a squirming sack at Fugaku’s feet, “you can kill him however you like. In return, I get your youngest daughter.”

 

“What?” the younger man steps in with a tone even flatter and deader than Gaara’s. Gaara is impressed. She had thought no one could beat her lack of intonation. It seems she had been mistaken in identifying Nara Shikamaru as her biggest opponent to Uchiha Satsuki’s heart.

 

“Nara Shikmaru,” Gaara clarifies as she tries to stare this arch-nemesis to death, “he’s in the sack. You can do whatever you want with him for thinking thoughts about Uchiha Satsuki. In return, I get to do whatever I like with Uchiha Satsuki.”

 

Gaara’s arch-nemesis’s eyebrows furrow as he shakes his head. “No,” he states as if he actually has the power to enforce this, “Satsuki is my younger sister. I won’t let you kill her.”

 

Gaara blinks. Something has obviously been lost in translation. These Konoha-nin are obviously deficient. “Is Nara Shikamaru not enough of a tribute for your sister? I can give you my brother as additional tribute as well—“ Kankuro will understand this is for the greater good and, oh well, Temari has always been Gaara’s favorite “—and I don’t want to kill Uchiha Satsuki. I want to be her friend.” Temari had said she should try being friends-who-don’t-try-to-kill-each-other-to-the-death for a week or two before trying to seduce Satsuki. Gaara admits that this idea may have some merit. She admits that some times she can come off a little strong.

 

The man in front of her sniffs and Gaara is promptly informed, “Your offer is declined. Satsuki is allergic to friendship. If you don’t know this, you aren’t worthy of being her friend.”

 

 

Mikoto hums happily as she shifts the grocery bags to a more comfortable position on her shoulder and looks for her keys. She has had the most wonderful chat with Yoshino dear about that boy of hers and the most wonderful night with Kushina where they have finally come up with a fail-proof plan. With no military lock-downs to stop her, Mikoto will fulfill her harem fantasy at long-last. Fugaku and Minato will wear the concubine outfits she and Kushina have picked out for them. This is a certain.

 

But wait, what is that? Mikoto’s Satsuki-senses are tingling. Oh, the males in her family are not planning another coup in the name of Satsuki’s honor, are they? She finally just un-grounded them for the last one; honestly, they should really know better. Also, Satsuki is Mikoto’s daughter; it should be obvious that she can handle herself. And, if not, they should know Mikoto is more than enough to deal with it.

 

Mikoto opens the door and quickly notes a poorly concealed Kagami beneath the welcome mat. And then—is that what she thinks it is? Yes, it is. What she sees appears to be her eldest— and supposedly most mature, though right now Mikoto doubts this—child in a furious battle of tug-o-war over Yoshino’s son with … that little redheaded Sunan genin, the girl that seems to wish to be Mikoto’s future daughter-in-law. Mikoto closes her eyes. She was gone for one night. One night. Must she be the only one with any common sense in this family?

 

“Itachi, Gaara,” Mikoto says in her most disappointed voice, “put the Nara down.” A terrified Shikamaru is dropped and quickly scrambles away from the scene. Mikoto smiles reassuringly at him. Poor boy, he looks rather traumatized. Mikoto almost feels bad for unleashing Yoshino on him, but the brat was thinking the most unseemly thoughts about her Satsuki, as evidenced by the erection he had when was sparring with her, and Mikoto acknowledges that she has been a bit overprotective of Satsuki ever since that Incident with Orochimaru (who will die). Yoshino, the boy’s own mother, will convey Mikoto’s displeasure for her.

 

And it’s better to let a mother deal with her own errant child rather than planning a blood feud after all (unless the blood feud is with Orochimaru who gives Mikoto those horrible twitchy impulses).

 

Mikoto tilts her head before carefully analyzing the situation. Ahhh, it all makes senses now. “Gaara-chan,” she says gently, “you can’t go around offering twelve-year-old-boys as tribute if you wish to associate yourself with my daughter. Now take Shikmaru-kun back to his mother. And, no, I don’t want your brother or sister either—“ Gaara’s face turns into an almost-unreadable pout at this, making Mikoto decide to offer the child a ray of hope “—however, once you’ve turned sixteen, if you bring me Orochimaru’s head, your tribute will be enough and you’ll have my full blessing to continue when Satsuki comes of age.”

 

Gaara nods her head at this and promptly turns out heel, dragging a hapless Shikamaru behind her. Mikoto smiles happily. Dead Orochimaru and redheaded grandbabies in the foreseeable future. Oh that almost makes up for the talking-to she’ll have to dish out to the plotters in a few minutes.

 

“You see, Mikoto, we were just playing shogi, no coup-planning here,” Fugaku says with a remarkably straight face. Mikoto would have expected no less. She wouldn’t have married him if he couldn’t somewhat effectively lie and tell her that, no honey, the way you beheaded that man with your katana just then did not make you look fat (Mikoto very well knows it did; she was seven month’s pregnant with Itachi at the time and the Sound-nin was trying to kill her after all, but she appreciated the sentiment, if not the fact that Fugaku was less brutally/suicidally honest as the other Uchiha men often were).

 

“Fugaku?” Mikoto says smiling.

 

“Yes dear?” Fugaku says hopefully.

 

“Be quiet while I try to figure out how long to ground you this time if it wouldn’t be too much trouble, please,” Mikoto requests (demands) in her most gentle voice.

 

“Yes dear,” Fugaku responds in a much-less-hopeful tone.

 

Mikoto breathes in deeply and then she smells—

 

“Alright,” Mikoto grinds out, voice reaching a level of irritation not heard since she and Kushina had to wrestle an ancient primeval fox demon into submission while still in labor thirteen years ago, “who let Fugaku have bacon?

 

Obito points to Cousin Kagami who promptly screams and runs through the door, welcome mat still attached to his head.

 

How rude.