Sasuke winces as Joe's Kids yell, squeal and shriek in delight and surprise. She claps her hands over her ears and says, "I think they consent."
"No kidding," says Kakashi, grinning behind his mask.
"Oh," says Tachibana, suddenly. "How do I sign?"
"Don't worry about that," says Fugaku. "So long as we have witnesses who can confirm you are happy to be adopted by Madara, it won't matter if we have their signatures instead of yours."
"Hey, that's why you don't mind us wearing the Uchiha symbol, isn't it?" says Sekitei. "Because you were planning this all along!"
"Well, sort of," says Fugaku. "It's what we discussed when we stopped time in the cave a year ago."
"I see," says Tachibana, nodding.
Madara laughs. Sasuke is so shocked, she accidentally knocks the rest of the paperwork off Fugaku's desk with her sleeves.
"SASUKE!" her Dad yells. "For goodness' sake, do something about your sleeves!"
"I'll start your training back up in a week or so, Sasuke," says Madara. "Now let's get these papers sorted."
So, Madara and Joe's Kids - or Madara's kids now - sign the adoption papers. Tachibana makes some scribbles on roughly the right section of his papers, making Sekitei giggle. Once that is done, the official photographer is called in to take Madara's mugshot, and then Madara's official ninja registration goes in the pile of 'things for Kakashi to file because the Hokage is not a gofer'. When all that is done, Madara takes the adoption papers, his new forehead protector and four of his five kids, and leaves.
"Sasuke," says Fugaku, as the door clicks shut. "When are you going to start picking up all that paperwork?"
Sasuke jumps down from the desk and starts gathering the papers. She is going to have to sort most of it again.
Ajisai and Karasu are playing blocks. Karasu has more blocks than Ajisai, and normally Ajisai would steal some. Not right now. Right now, Ajisai thinks someone is coming to tell her off for making life so difficult for everyone. But who is coming?
Ajisai sees Shisui sitting nearby polishing a shuriken. Ajisai has a sudden fit of inspiration and throws the block in her hand at Shisui. Shisui catches it, puts it on the sofa beside him and carries on with his polishing. Ajisai sticks her bottom lip out and throws another block, this one at the front door. Shisui ignores her.
How dare he? Ajisai makes an angry noise and starts throwing her blocks at the front door. Joe's head dress starts to feel warm and cozy, like it always does when her siblings are near. Ajisai stops throwing blocks and pats the headdress, which she wears around her tummy. Her siblings will be here to get her soon.
Then Shisui stiffens. He stands up and heads for the door. He opens it and says, "Madara! You're back! I wondered why Ajisai suddenly started behaving. She's been a right terror since you left." He points to Ajisai. "She's right there, please work your magic!"
"Look Shisui!" Sekitei shouts, holding up some paper. "Uncle Madara is Daddy now!"
Daddy? Ajisai frowns. A faint memory stirs in her baby brain. She remembers something, a dream she had and never forgot. In the dream, she is lying on top of a man's chest, listening to his heartbeat. Mother is gone, the others are around - the other four: Tachibana, Seikitei, Yatsude and Sazanka. They are playing nearby, shouting and laughing. Ajisai can hear and feel the man's heartbeat because her head is resting right over his heart. And she feels safe. The dream began and ended with a pair of glowing red eyes.
Then a huge man in a red jacket walks inside. Ajisai thinks he's a giant. "Red eyes?" she asks. Wondering if he's the one. "Safe?" he wonders if the dream was a memory and adds, "Dream eyes?"
"Ah, so you remember that," says the man.
"What?" asks Shisui.
"I used a very mild version of the Tsukinome on her once, right at the beginning, because I was curious," says the man. He crouches down in front of Ajisai. His eyes are purple, not red. Then he closes his eyes, and opens them again. Now they are the eyes from her dream.
She knows who this man is now. He's the one she was waiting for. "Papa," she says, and wraps her arms around his neck.
"That's right," says the man, lifting her up. "I'm your Papa."
Kimiko glares at Burifu's bare feet. How come she can get away with ditching her shoes? If Kimiko could, she would choose to keep her shoes on, but the principle of the matter is fairness.
"Stop glaring, Kimiko," says Hana sensei. "I know you don't think it's fair, but Burifu's kekkei genkai means it's easier for her if she doesn't wear shoes."
"It's not like you'd wear bare feet anyway, Kimiko, so I don't know why you're so upset, eh," says Burifu. "Now that we've gotten rid of that poor kitty, I want to see if Madara really is back."
"He might not be," points out Kimiko. "There are plenty of reasons Tachi might've run off like that."
"Madara returning is the most likely," says Hana. "And if he is back, I need to chat with him about Tachi's progress and such like. Let's go and find them." With Hana in the lead, the three of them (five if you count Hana's two great ninja hounds), head to Madara's house.
Burifu's ninja outfit is the same as her normal clothes, but with shorts instead of a skirt. She doesn't care about her appearance. Kimiko, on the other hand, wants to look pretty to attract the boys - even though the one she likes most is blind. For her ninja outfit, she wears the purple kimono and orange obi that her Daddy got her for her ninth birthday (they fit now, and her daddy said he'd buy her a new one when she outgrows it - if she wants). It only reaches her knees, so it is easy enough to move around in. Her tanto she wears strapped to her back. She's gotten pretty good with it now. Kimiko wonders if she turns heads yet. Then she wonders if she's good enough at disguising her chakra to spy on Tachibana in the hot springs.
"Hey, Burifu?" says Kimiko. "After this, will you help me work on hiding my chakra from sensory types?"
"Sure," says Burifu. "But shouldn't you be asking Tachi to help you, since he's the one you want to be able to hide from?"
"Why would you need to hide from Tachi?" asks Hana sensei.
"Same reason I need to be able to hide from Jyuugo, eh" says Burifu. "Dat ass don't lie, and we need to spy."
Kimiko nods seriously.
"You two spend far too much time with Jiraiya," Hana sensei sighs.
Kimiko blushes, and wonders if there'll be anything good at the hot springs later. Then she sees Okami heading their way. "Oh! Okami sama!" she calls.
Okami turns towards her. "Yes?" she asks.
"We think Madara might be back," says Kimiko. "Have you seen him?"
Okami's face darkens. "I hoped he wouldn't come back," she mutters. "I'd better go with you to verify this."
Hana sensei, Burifu and Kimiko exchange glaces and shrug. Then they head to Madara's house, with Okami tagging along. They arrive at Madara's house a short while later to find Madara sitting on the sofa with Ajisai and Lucy on his lap and the other four squished around him, showing him school reports, photos and things they made or were given while he was gone.
Ajisai keeps looking up at him adoringly, and Yatsude has one arm around Madara's neck, holding tightly to his jacket. Kimiko grins. She knows how they feel - after all, she feels possessive of her Daddy when he is gone for a while and comes back.
"Good morning," says Madara, glancing up from a letter (the letter is from Mikoto's Daycare, and Kimiko is sure it is about Ajisai's deplorable behaviour. Damn that baby is a menace.) "Queen Okami." he inclines his head. "Burifu. Jiraiya's Brat. Hana." He nods to each of them.
"My name is Kimiko," says Kimiko.
"I know," says Madara. "You've got a perverted glint in your eye that makes you look a lot like Jiraiya."
Burifu grins. "She keeps trying to perv on Tachibana, but he always senses her."
Tachibana frowns. "Kimiko pervs on every boy she isn't blood related to. I've even caught her perving on Naruto - and he's practically her brother."
Kimiko blushes harder.
"Definitely Jiriaya's Brat," says Madara. Then he turns his attention to Okami. "Do you have a purpose in coming here, or are you going to stare at me all day?"
"I came to make sure you really are back," says Okami, standing as tall as she can. "I don't want you looking after these kids - I have enough trouble with them being under the Hokage's watch."
Sazanka jumps off the couch, grabs a stack of papers off the small desk in the corner and takes them to Okami. He holds them up and says, "Uncle Madara has to look after us, because he's our Papa now."
Kimiko leans over to look at the papers. They are adoption certificates. She smiles. "That's awesome! I'm so happy for you."
"My Papa," says Ajisai comfortably and hugs Madara's arm.
Okami takes a deep breath and turns a little purple. "I see the Hidden Leaf is not big enough for the both of us," she says tartly.
"No, no it is not," says Madara. "Pity the Whirlpool is in ruins, otherwise you would have a nice little kingdom to rule over."
Kimiko can practically see the gears whirring in Okami's mind. "Then I'll just have to rebuild the Village Hidden in the Whirlpool," she says, finally. And then she turns and sweeps out of the house.
"Well," says Hana. "I'm glad that's sorted. Now, if you would like, I can tell you about Tachibana's progress since he graduated the Academy, and his skill level and so on."
"Oh do tell," says Madara.
A few weeks later, Naruto and Jiraiya return to the Hidden Leaf and swing by the Academy in search of Iruka. School is just finishing for the day, and children are milling around finding parents and older siblings to walk home with. They soon spot Iruka, in the company of Sekitei, Yatsude and Sazanka. Walking between the twins, with one hanging on each hand, is none other than Madara Uchiha. He is chatting with Iruka about something, and as they get closer, Naruto hears what Madara is saying.
"Are you going to marry that woman?" Madara is demanding. "Four kids and two more on the way - what are you waiting for?"
"Politics," says Iruka. "The whole situation is incredibly messy politically."
"Then stop having sex with her," says Sekitei, rolling her eyes. "And wait until you can marry her to get back at it."
Iruka blushes a little. "We got as far as getting engaged - but it's going to take a lot of political fussing around to get any further than that."
"Hey Madara!" Naruto calls, waving. "How long have you been back, 'tebayo?"
"Oh, it's you," says Madara. "I've been back about two weeks."
"He's back as our truancy officer," says Iruka. "And he's agreed to fill in for me when I stay in the Hidden Mist. Lord Third will be happy - he's been getting sick of filling in for me."
"Awesome!" grins Naruto, giving Madara a thumbs up. "What did you think of my plan, 'tebayo?" he asks, feeling a little anxious.
"It was a splendid plan," says Madara.
"It's the best plan anyone ever had, right Papa?" says Yatsude, swinging on Madara's hand.
Sounds like Fukuro called it, says Kurama. Kon owes her about 500 yen.