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Adventures of Parenthood

Chapter Text

Naruto Uzumaki knew that he was going to die.

He realised it the moment when his pregnant wife was at the door-step, about to leave the house with Sakura - his closest female friend and also the doctor looking after his wife and children. Their family doctor.

Why?

Well, the answer were the two troublesome toddlers being held in either of his arms.

His son, Boruto was trying to pull out a fist full of hair off his father's scalp whereas Sarada, Sasuke and Sakura's daughter and his god child, obviously, was busy tugging at his shirt harshly.

"Boruto, Sarada." Hinata's loving and gentle voice makes the children look up at her.

"Don't cause too much trouble for daddy, okay? Be good children."

Both the babies nod as if they understood every word Hinata said.

"Alright then! We'll be back by noon. Take care Naruto." Sakura gives them a beaming smile and leans over to give a small kiss over Sarada's forehead. Looking at Boruto's expectant blue eyes, she giggles and lays a kiss over his forehead as well.

Naruto begins to worry as he sees his wife and his friend leave the house, expecting the children to burst into tears any moment now. But surprisingly, the kids don't create any fuss so Naruto hopes.

Maybe I'll survive this one.

Remembering that he has some paperwork left, he takes both the tiny tots to the play room. Toys of every shape and size are strewn all across the room along with some colour books and crayons. The room is a mess. Especially, after Sakura advised Hinata (a bit forcefully) to take a bit easy with her cleaning habits.

Naruto places both the children on the mat on the floor, both of them immediately take interest in all the stuff around them. It was funny. Sarada's favourite toy was the building blocks. She loved building up towers. And Boruto was busy grabbing crayons and doodling on the art books.

Naruto smiles to himself and leaves.

Thankfully enough, his office was just beside the playroom and with the razor sharp instincts as his, it was easy to look after the kids.

He had just finished reading and going through two files when the silence of the house was pierced by a familiar shrill cry.

Sarada!

He almost tumbled down the chair in a haste to reach the children's room. As soon as entered the aforementioned room, he stopped dead in his tracks.

He was met with a sight of Sarada bawling her eyes out and a scared and guilty looking Boruto holding a green block in his arms. Between both the kids, was a mass of several blocks on the floor?

Naruto quickly gained an insight of the scenario. Boruto must have plucked out a block from the middle of the tower causing it to fall. But before he could calm his god child down, Sarada picked up the nearest block and threw it at Boruto's head. Naruto watched in horror as the block hit Boruto straight in the middle of his forehead. The boy was completely stunned for a moment before breaking down and screaming at the top of his lungs.

Now, Naruto was left with a broken tower of blocks and a pair of toddlers shrieking as loud as possible.

It took him almost an hour to stop them from damaging his ear drums. It was then that Boruto decided that peeing all over his Dad's shirt was a funny thing to do.

Naruto groaned at his predicament.

God! What have I gotten myself into? Even fighting the war was much easier thing to do!

He changed Boruto's diaper but the constant squirming and fussing of the boy was no better than fighting a stubborn Madara.

Wait. Did I just compared changing my son's diaper to fighting a psychopath Uchiha? What the hell?!

I'm such a loser father.

My son will hate me!

He was sulking around a corner crying tears of helplessness when a joyful shriek startled him.

Seeing your god daughter half dangling over the couch was admittedly a frightening scene.

"Sarada!" He screamed.

He raced to the couch but falling face first on the floor with a foot struck at the edge of a carpet. Sarada landed on the top of his head, a little giggle escaping her tiny mouth.

And the older man took a breath of relief.

At least, she was safe.

It was a chaos.

Naruto was at his wits end with the little food fight going around. Both the children thought that it was better idea to feed each other rather than themselves. Both the babies were a mess and Naruto shuddered at the possibility of both the mothers finding them like this.

Another hour of food battle, both the toddlers were a live example of food artistry. But thankfully, they were fed…well fed.

Now came the humongous task of bathing the babies.

The bathroom was filled with laughter and giggles as the children splashed water all around. Their beautiful smiles were contagious as it was not long before Naruto began grinning as well.

Boruto, normally, was not very fond of bathing but maybe it was Sarada's presence that made his expression light up.

In ten minutes, the bath ended with a fight over the rubber duckling in the tub.

Naruto felt exhaustion overcoming his features. His eyelids were getting heavier with each passing second as limbs felt drained.

After the bath, it took almost two more hours for him to get the children to bed, and now, when they were finally asleep, he could breathe.

When Hinata and Sakura returned home, they were with nothing but silence. Growing suspicious, they toured around the house in the search of Naruto and their children.

And surprisingly or (unsurprisingly) they found the three occupants of the house in the bedroom.

The sight made their hearts melt.

Naruto was sleeping, snoring loudly with his mouth open and Boruto was on the top of his chest, drooling and wetting his father's already soaked shirt. And Sarada was carefully and delicately nestled in the crook of Naruto's arm.

The two mothers giggled at the cute little sleeping pile in front of them. Sakura promptly fished out her mobile phone and snapped a few pictures, sending some of them to her husband.

The reply was something like this:

Are the children unharmed?

Or

The Dobe is dead?

Chapter Text

Your Smile is my World

Sakura shivers involuntarily as she enters her home. In contrast to the icy winter and freezing winds outside, her home feels much warmer and safe. A sigh escapes her lips in response to the sudden comfort. Though her ears are intently trained on the pitter patter of tiny feet following her and a large smile overcomes her lips.

“Sarada?”

“Yes Mama?”

The warmth that blooms in her chest at the sound of her voice is even sweeter than the one which makes her light up in Sasuke’s presence.

“Come on in quickly, sweetie. I don’t want you to get a cold again.”

“Hai. Hai.”

Sometimes, Sakura wonders that despite Sasuke’s absence in the raising of their daughter, she still, at times, resembles him uncannily in both looks and mannerisms. It feels as if she’s with a mini version of Sasuke. But Sakura knows – her daughter is much more than that. Incredibly more. She buries her thoughts in some deep corner of her mind and then proceeds to put the brown grocery bags down and run swiftly to close the door. Even a small encounter with the chilling wind of outside frosts her nose. She turns around again to shrug off her coat and observes her daughter struggling to untie the laces of her boots. A pang of wistfulness reminds her that a few months ago, Sasuke was the one to sit and patiently help their child with her boots. But the child succeeds before Sakura could step up to help her. A smile of childish pride comes over her lips as she looks up at Sakura for acknowledgement. And of course, Sakura beams.

After leaving their cold coats behind, the mother-daughter duo enter the house. Their house is larger than necessary for only two people but they don’t mind. The grocery bag is placed on the counter and Sakura occupies herself with pulling and sorting the contents. Sarada drags a chair over, sits, and is content watching her mother dance around the kitchen for a few minutes. But still, she’s a child and the innate tendency of kids of not wanting to stay still or silent for a long while forces her to send a barrage of questions at her mother, like – ‘What is this?, Why do we use them?, Are they healthy?, Why would we add that in our food?’. And the list is endless. Sakura knows that she’s is supposed to feel a little annoyed because the questions keep coming nonstop and at a ferocious pace, but she can’t bring herself too. Her daughter’s endless queries represent a mirror image of the curiosity she, herself, used to display in her childhood.

“So? When are we making them?!” Sarada’s question is bubbling with unbridled excitement.

“Making what?” Sakura feigns a look of complete innocence at the question.

“Cookies!”

The child pouts at her and Sakura cannot help but burst out laughing.

“Maybe after you take your nap?” Sakura suggests.

“No!” Sarada stubbornly refuses and Sakura notes how the creases between her eyebrows are so hauntingly similar to her father. But she also does not fail to notice the defiant and determined look in her eyes. She knows she’s seen that particular look on the mirror more times than she can count.

“No?”

“No! I don’t need naps. I’m a big girl.”

“Oh yeah?”

“Yeah!”

“But Boruto takes one too.”

“Aunty Hinata makes him because he always causes troubles!”

Sakura inwardly smirks. That…may be true. With a small baby and a child who is an unstoppable ball of energy, leaves Hinata with no other choice. Boruto’s constant trouble making behaviour and pranking habits are hard to handle. Sakura never knew how a mild mannered woman like Hinata could actually keep up with a family of such hyperactive blondes. But when she looks at Naruto and sees the look of pure delight in his eyes when his children are all over him and the content smile at the presence of his wife, never fails to make her smile. He is happy and Sakura desires nothing more than it to ever last.

“Alright! We can make cookies now but on one condition.” Sakura offers, bending at waist to peer at her daughter.

“Condition?”

“Yes! If you’re going to stay awake now then the bed time will come early.”

Sarada stills and pretends to consider the offer quite seriously. Sakura hides her smile at the look of concentration on her small face before her daughter passes a judgemental nod of yes.

“So which ones?” Sakura asks despite being sure of the answer she was going to receive.

“Choco-chips!” the child exclaims and Sarada laughs out loudly. Choco-chip cookies were Sarada’s absolute favourite. The ‘heaven may fall but I’m not changing my opinion’ type of favourite.  

Surprisingly, it had been Kakashi-sensei who had made this discovery on a baby-sitting endeavour, when Sarada was and year and half. He had handed over their daughter to Sasuke with a crinkle in his eyes and a statement of, “She likes chocolate, I think. She ate half of the choco-chip cookies in the packet.”

“Fine! Now list off the ingredients we need. I think I don’t remember.” She tells the small child who looks positively thrilled at the prospect of reminding her mother the recipe of her favourite cookies.

“We need choco-chips!” She supplies with a happy grin.

“Only choco-chips?” Sakura pretends to be confused.

“No Mama! No! We need flour, sugar, and brown sugar too! And butter, lots of butter! Vanilla extract! And yes, eggs?”

“Do you want to eat the cookie dough?” Sakura asked, collecting the required ingredients and placing them on the counter. She remembered this particular request which Sarada had made last time when they had baked.

“Yes! Boruto said that it tasted good!”

“Oh yeah? Then no eggs.”

“Why?”

“Because raw eggs can make you sick.”

Sakura comments and busies herself with whipping up the butter first. Times passes and before they know it, all ingredients have been added they dough comes together. They scoop the dough into small balls, and place them on the prepared baking tray ready to be put into the pre heating oven. Now, having nothing to do but wait.

Sarada had listened with attention and had observed her mother with great concentration, occasionally chiming in once in a while. Sakura was sure that the next time they want cookies, Sarada would be the one insisting on baking them herself.

She let a large grin to be directed at her daughter and started the music player. And when the tunes of “Bare necessities” from jungle book floated into the kitchen Sarada jumped up in uncontained excitement and delight! So happy and eyes so bright that Sakura could not help but grab the tiny child and dance all around the kitchen. Both mother-daughter duo screaming the last lines of the iconic song at the top of their lungs and then dissolving into a fit of giggles and childish laughter.

A few hours later, the cookies baked with utmost perfection – golden and perfect were a feast, nothing short of a delicacy with warm milk. Sarada’s big smile as she dunked her cookie into the milk made Sakura’s heart throb with joy and contentment.

She has seen a lot of things in her life.

Life and death.

Happiness and sorrow.

Satisfaction and suffering.

Victory and defeat.

Love and hate.

But nothing could ever compare to the smile that Sarada gives her while offering her milk soaked, soggy cookie. It’s worth millions of stars. It’s worth all the obstacles they have crossed and all the adversities they have survived.

It’s worth everything.

You smile is my world.

Chapter Text

Little Shikadai frowned angrily, glaring up at the tree. More specifically on the small mewling kitten trapped on one of the upmost branches.

“How did you even get up there?”

He hissed at it, hoping for it to understand his language. But alas, the kitten tilted her head and mewled again.

He willed his fingers to scratch on the surface of the sturdy bark of the tree, using his legs to push against the ground. This was his sixth attempt on the mission to climb up the tree and retrieve the frightened kitten. He was able to proceed a little further than his previous try, before the grip off his fingers gave away and he slipped, falling on the grassy floor with a loud thud.

“Owww!”

He clutched his head, tears gathering in the corner of his eyes, a pout adorned his little face. The dirt clung to his clothes and he winced at the thought of the lashing he’ll recieve from his mother. He stood up again, dusting his clothes off before repeating the process again. This time he was not able to reach even the former mark before tumbling down again.

“Arghh!” He pulled out the grass in front of him in a fit of frustration. His parents made it look so easy! How?! Yes, they talked about inner life strength - Chakra and something. They also told him to use it, channel it through his veins, force and manipulate it to become his aides, his extra hands and legs.

But it was hard!

He’s been trying to learn to use Chakra for a while now but it didn’t work for him. He’s felt it, yes, definitely, a small flickering warmth inside him but it is so, so hard to modify the shape of it.

He made another attempt, this time falling straight on his butt, groaning in pain. He rubbed his eyes, not wanting the tears to leak out, but they still did. He got up on his feet, wagging his finger at the small feline angrily.

“You!”

He shouted but when a few more tears dribbled down his cheeks, his voice wavered.

“You…I’m sorry. I can’t save you.”

His tiny feet swiveled around and he ran away from the tree, using his palms to close his ears to stop the sound of the kitten’s loud helpless mewling to call him back again.

He was only a few metres away when his feet froze.

“Giving up already, eh, Shikadai?”

A voice that suspiciously sounded like his father called out. Shikadai turned his head in every direction to find any trace of his father, wishing to beg him to rescue the small animal. But sadly his father was nowhere to be found.

But then a scared mewl of the abandoned kitten echoed through out the area and Shikadai, scared for it, sprinted back to the tree again. The kitten was looking terrified but she moved to stare at him again with it’s big eyes when he appeared beneath her.

“Not giving up is such a drag, isn’t it?”

He asked the animal, smiling hopefully. He climbed the tree, this chance trying to concentrate on the lessons his parents gave him for controlling Chakra. This time, to his surprise, he was able to scale half of the tree. Delighted at his progress, he performed with much more vigour than before.

A memory of two weeks before flashed before his mind. When Boruto had done something similar to save a baby bird.

“If Boruto can do it then so can I, right?”

He talked to himself, making a little improvement every time. It went for a few more repeats. He would climb, he would slip and he would fall and then, do it all over again. The sun was setting now painting the sky in hues of red and pink. His face was littered with scratches and bruises. His pants were torn and dirt stained his shirt. But he didn’t mind.

A little more. Only a little more.

Finally reaching up, he felt an incredible joy when the kitten, relieved to have seen it’s saviour reach up, jumped on his chest.

But a child of five can only do so much.

The branch underneath him was fragile and the vigorous activity made it snap. Falling from that height was scary, beyond horrifying.

A scream ripped out of his throat but before he could feel the impact of the harsh ground, he was snatched in mid air. Enclosed in warm protective arms. His eyes immediately went wide at the sight of smiling brown eyes.

“Dad!” The child exclaimed loudly.

“Yo kid.” Shikamaru greeted his son with a grin.

“Dad I-”

Before Shikadai could continue, a tiny purring from the kitten trapped in between his arms and chest brought him out of the conversation. Shikamaru immediately deposited his son down with careful hands when an adult cat ran up to them.

“Must be it’s parent.”

He told his son. The boy nodded before letting go of the younger cat which instantly bounded up to the larger one with excitement.

Shikadai watched them with wide curious eyes, the felines were nuzzling each other. Though his gaze flicked upwards at his father when he felt a weight settle over his head. Shikamaru ruffled his son’s scattered hair lovingly.

“You did great, son.”

The grin that Shikadai blinded him with was so intense that Shikamaru felt as if his heart was going to melt. No matter how the everyone claimed that his son looked like him, Shikamaru could debate the best scholars of the entire world to prove that his son had his mother’s smile. The same tender brilliance that had won over his heart and defeated him in the best of his strategic logic with it’s shear strength.

“Ice-cream?”

He offered, with all intentions to reward his son.

“Yes! Ice-cream!”

He’s only a few steps away from his home when Temari rushef out, frantic.

“Shikamaru! Shikadai’s not home yet-”

Her words died in her throat when she realised that the small sleeping bundle on his shoulder is actually their son. He doesn’t hold back a smile when the worry on her face melts away to shock and then surprise and finally relief.

“What’s that?”

“Ice cream.”

He lifted up the small package in response to her question.

“Why?”

“Because he deserved it!”

He grinned proudly.

“Oh?”

“Yes, today he learned, you know. Something that makes the very essence of a Shinobi.”

Her eyes glow at his words, wishing to know the cause of so much pride in his voice for the small child. She should know. As much as he does. He tells himself. She’s his mother after all.

“Today, he learned, how much of a drag never giving up is.”

Her lips curved upwards into a familiar, much cherished smile and he felt blessed at the moment. To feel his child curling up in his warmth and to see his wife smile like that.

This is us. We’re happy. Father. Thank you.