Together in Threes
Summary: Mikoto greets her spouses with a smile and the words, "Did you know our children went to Jiraiya for relationship advice?" Naruto and Sasuke freeze in their tracks. Kushina blinks. Minato pokes his head out of the kitchen, wearing a wide-eyed expression and his hot-pink apron. "What?"
Or: Mikoto knows that their relationship is not exactly conventional. It was only a matter of time until their children realized the same.
"Sakura is a girl."
As far as conversation starters went, this one was by far not the oddest coming from Naruto over the course of their long, bumpy friendship. Sasuke didn't answer, waiting for a follow-up that would actually give the sentence some meaning.
"Yes," Sasuke said once he realized that he waited in vain. "Duh. So's Ino. So's Mom."
"Yes," Naruto nodded as though they'd reached an understanding. "Exactly!"
Sasuke weighed out his options of asking Naruto what he was on about, or simply walking away and putting an end to the pointless conversation. Naruto was making even less sense than usual, and was sure to grate on his nerves.
Unfortunately, Sasuke realized that he didn't have anything better to do than hang out with him. Bummer.
"Hey, Sakura!" Naruto yelled, making her flinch and look up from her schoolbook. She was leaning against a tree close to them – a fact she was likely to regret very soon. "You're a girl, right?"
"What– I–" Sakura sputtered, clearly caught off guard by the odd question. "Of course I'm a girl! What kind of question is that?"
"I've just been thinking–"
"Uh oh," Sasuke muttered, already contemplating the consequences of this daring new development.
"– you had a crush on Sasuke, right?"
Sakura flushed a crimson red that looked horrible in contrast to her hair. Sasuke felt the back of his neck grow hot.
"I-Idiot! Don't just say stuff like that."
"Just answer the question, Sakura!"
Sakura huffed, crossing her arms in an attempt to regain her dignity. She failed spectacularly due to the dark shade of her face. "I guess. So what?"
"So, why?" Naruto pinned her with an uncomfortably intent gaze. "Why'd you have a crush?"
"Wha–? I-I don't know, okay! I guess everybody has at some point."
"Yeah, but why Sasuke?" Naruto stressed. "Why not Ino? Or Hinata?"
"Ino's my best friend!" Sakura almost bristled in indignation. The color in her face had faded to a dull pink.
"I don't really mean Ino," Naruto whined, not quite backtracking so much as relenting.
Sakura ignored him. "Besides, they're both girls."
"Yes! Exactly!" Naruto shot up with an existed cheer, acting as though they had finally understood what he'd been getting at from the start. "They're girls! Why is that different?"
Sakura opened her mouth to answer. She paused, then snapped it shut again. "I... don't know? It just is."
"Why though?" Naruto insisted, oddly intent on getting an answer no matter what. "You could have a crush on anyone in class. Why just boys?"
"Look– It's–" Sakura sputtered, seemingly lost for words. She let out a huff. "I don't have time for this. Stop being weird, Naruto."
"Hn." Sasuke had finally gotten Naruto's point – although he was certain there were about a hundred ways of conveying it more coherently than Naruto just had. "I don't know anyone with a relationship like our parents'," he admitted.
It wasn't exactly something he thought about often. Why would he? It was just the way things were. Naruto and he were brothers – no matter that they didn't look anything alike – not because of blood, but because they shared the same parents. All three of them.
Sasuke supposed that technically he had Fugaku for himself, but the clan head was a distant presence in Sasuke's life at best. Itachi still called him 'Father', but as far as Sasuke was concerned, he didn't count. Not really.
At the mention of Naruto's and Sasuke's parents, Sakura's eyes widened as she, too, realized what Naruto had been aiming for. "Oh." She paused, considering. "I've got an aunt who's married to a woman. Other than that, I don't know anyone else, either."
"See? That's weird." Naruto frowned. "How come everybody else has one mom and one dad, and we've got a dad and two moms?"
"You're not complaining," Sakura said. "Are you?"
"No. I'm just saying. Why is it so different?"
There was silence as all three of them contemplated this.
"Why don't we ask them?" Naruto said eventually.
Sakura hesitated. "Can we... do that?"
"Sure? Why not?"
"Because it's weird." Sakura frowned, an insistent frown on her face. "You don't just ask parents about their relationship."
"Why not?" Naruto tilted his head. "I ask my parents tons of stuff."
Sasuke's first instinct had been the same as Naruto's. He'd never had the feeling that there was something he couldn't talk to their parents about – even before the time they had all started to live together, years ago. Even back when Mama Kushina had still been Aunt Kushina, and his dad had been Uncle Minato (Sasuke struggled to remember. It had been so long.), they had always given him the feeling of being cared for. Of being listened to.
That being said, Sakura's words made him think. He loved his parents, no doubt about it. But did he actually wanted to hear details about their relationship from them?
"Oh, I know!" Naruto straightened up, beaming as though he had found the solution for all of their troubles. "We can ask Uncle Jiraiya!"
Sasuke raised an eyebrow. Uncle Jiraiya was... special, in many ways. He wasn't the type of person he would immediately think of when in need for advice.
"Jiraiya-san? Why him?" Sakura asked.
Naruto tilted his head. "He writes romance novels, right? That means he's gotta know all about it."
"I guess that's true..." Sakura didn't sound entirely convinced, but couldn't seem to come up with a proper argument. "Well, alright then. Let's do it."
With both of his friends agreeing for once, Sasuke was hardly given a choice but to follow along. He suppressed a sigh, trying to squash the feeling that he would come to regret it.
When Mikoto returned from a clan meeting to find two of her children – and Sakura – in the presence of Jiraiya, she did not think much of it. Jiraiya was, after all, a close friend of their family and Naruto's godfather to top it of.
It was only when she caught the words "Now, if you feign disinterest, that's an almost guaranteed way to make any girl absolutely crazy for you. Trust me, it works every time." that she decided to step in. By the time her wide strides had carried her to loom over Jiraiya's shoulder, he had proceeded onto the perks of extensive scarring to impress girls.
"There you are," she said, keeping her voice calm and pleasant even as she imagined all the ways she could cause Jiraiya the most amount of pain with the least amount of permanent nerve damage. She would have thought that they'd taught their children better than to accept relationship advice from Jiraiya of all people.
Sasuke muttered a greeting as Naruto beamed with a loud, "Hey, Mom!"
"Hello, Mikoto-san," Sakura added politely.
"Hello to you too, Sakura." Mikoto stepped forward and laid a hand each on Sasuke's and Naruto's shoulder. She pinned Jiraiya with a significant glare. "I didn't know that Jiraiya was back from his visit to Ame."
Reckless and foolish as Jiraiya might be, one could not say that he lacked self-preservation.
"Mikoto-san," he said, sweat collecting on his brow as he frantically tried to figure out what he had done to attract Mikoto's wrath.
If he couldn't answer that question for himself, Mikoto was inclined to believe that he was beyond any help. Nevertheless she decided to deal with him later, and let Jiraiya as much know with a slightly too wide smile.
"I'm certain that you will have plenty of time to continue your conversation later. I'm afraid the boys and I have somewhere to be."
"But Mooom!" Naruto drew out the word in a whine that reminded Mikoto of Kushina. "Uncle Jiraiya was telling us something important. Can't we stay a bit longer?"
Mikoto threw Jiraiya a look.
Jiraiya started to sweat harder. "A-Actually," he said, deciding that he wanted to keep most of his motor function for the foreseeable future, "I'm quite busy today. My next appointment is just around the corner. In fact, I'd better go. Right now."
Mikoto watched with tightly contained satisfaction as Jiraiya fled. Once he had disappeared from sight, she gestured for the kids to follow her. "You're welcome to join us, Sakura," she offered, extending the invitation for her sons' friend.
"O-Oh!" Sakura perked up in surprise. "I'd love to! Thank you, Mikoto-san."
"Do tell," Mikoto said once they had set off towards their apartment, "What did you talk about with Jiraiya?" She kept her voice mildly interested to make it sound less like an interrogation.
Naruto and Sasuke shared a glance.
"Just, you know," Naruto failed spectacularly trying to sound casual, "things. Normal things. Nothing to worry about."
Mikoto hummed, pretending not notice the scathing glare Sasuke sent Naruto. Or the exasperated groan from Sakura.
She was certain that by the time she opened the door to their home and let the kids enter, they all believed that she had been merciful and let the matter go.
Until she greeted her spouses with a smile and the words, "We're home. Did you know our children went to Jiraiya for relationship advice?"
Naruto and Sasuke both froze in their tracks. Kushina blinked, looking up from her fuinjutsu notes from where she was perched upside down on one of their armchairs.
Minato poked his head out of the kitchen, wearing a wide-eyed expression and his hot-pink apron. "What?"
"W-We weren't," Naruto started, looking back and forth between his parents, "we weren't actually–"
"Really, you three!" Kushina let her legs drop forwards, rolling off the chair and neatly landing on her feet with her arms jabbed into her hips. "I thought we'd raised you better than this!"
She intentionally or unintentionally forgot to seclude Sakura from her statement.
Minato let out a sigh, abandoning the dishes and joining them in the living room. He was still wearing the apron. "What did Jiraiya-sensei tell you?"
"What did you want him to tell you, anyway?" Kushina raised an eyebrow, half expectant and half incredulous. "I mean, seriously? Jiraiya?"
Minato seemed split between wanting to agree with their wife and being offended for his old teacher.
Mikoto watched in veiled amusement until her attention was drawn back to their uncharacteristically tongue-tied children. "You know you can talk to us," she said, deciding that it was her turn to be the responsible one. "Don't you?"
Naruto squirmed uncomfortably where he stood. "We know..."
Kushina opened her mouth to fire off another comment, but Mikoto made her trail off with a strict glance.
Her patience was rewarded, and Naruto started to talk without more prompting. "We were just... wondering about something," he said, still hesitating to tell them the entire truth.
"Wondering?" Minato asked, raising his voice in an encouraging way. "About what?"
Kushina looked close to losing her patience and ready to encourage their kids in an entirely different way. Luckily, Sakura decided to break her silence in time.
"We were at the academy," she burst out, ignoring the warning looks both Naruto and Sasuke sent her. She hesitated, then added, "How come none of the other children have more than two parents?"
Mikoto blinked, momentarily lost for words. So were Kushina and Minato.
"Where's that coming from?" Minato asked eventually. As far as Mikoto knew, none of them had ever had to have this sort of conversation with the children. With none of them.
Naruto shrugged. "I don't know. It just... came up."
"He started it," Sasuke muttered. Mikoto had to hide a smile as she saw his crossed arms and the petulant frown on his face.
In retrospect, Mikoto wasn't surprised that the topic had come up eventually. She, Minato and Kushina had gotten together when Naruto and Sasuke had still been fairly young, so they had grown up with the mindset that their relationship was nothing out of the ordinary.
Mikoto was well aware that most of the village perceived the matter quite differently. At least they had, back when their affections had been new.
The Uchiha elders in particular had almost had a fit once Mikoto had declared her intention of breaking tradition and entering a relationship with not one, but two outsiders of the clan. What might have taken long, tedious months of negotiations and discussions of Mikoto's love life was luckily cut short by Kushina's adamant refusal to condone such "archaic, ridiculous nonsense".
Surprisingly – or perhaps not, seeing as their separation had been mutual – Fugaku had been one of the people who had all but refrained from protesting. Even years later they were on civil, even friendly terms. Both of them knew that they had made all the right decisions.
Sakura had begun to fidget. Minato took mercy on the girl. "Yes, Sakura?" He gave her an encouraging smile. "What is it?"
"How did you three meet?" Sakura blurted out, her cheeks coloring as soon as the words had left her mouth. Despite her embarrassment, she decided to go on. "I mean... How did you realize that you wanted to be together?"
Mikoto couldn't stop herself from avoiding eye-contact with everybody else. She saw Minato blush out of the corner of her eyes, his bangs keeping his eyes hidden. Kushina, much to the confusion of the children, started cackling.
Without looking up, Minato admitted, "Your Mom and I kind of fought for Kushina's attention for a while."
"They were so busy being competitive and glaring daggers at each other, they didn't even realize they were developing feelings," Kushina added, sounding unbearably gleeful at the memory.
"You didn't even notice we were courting you," Mikoto said dryly. It had been a couple of unsuccessful, rather frustrating weeks.
Minato groaned and buried his face in his hands. "Remember when you tried to set us two up?"
Kushina shrugged shamelessly. "It's not my fault you two are both idiots. You should have just come out and said so. 'Kushina, you're a wonderful and amazing person and we'd like to date you.' So easy."
Kushina squeaked as she caught the pillow that had been aimed at her face by Minato. "And so modest, too."
A light blush adored Kushina's cheeks as she smirked.
"Urgh," Naruto said, scrunching up his face in distaste. "You're acting all... mushy."
"They're flirting," Sakura hissed at his side.
"What?! Ew, stop that!" Naruto stared at them with an expression that looked close to scandalized.
Minato chuckled. "Naruto, really. We've been married for years."
"Exactly!" Naruto said. "Shouldn't you be, like, done with that?"
All three of them shared a glance. Kushina let out a snort.
"Nevermind!" Naruto yelled, horrified. "Forget I asked!"
"Keep your mouth shut next time, moron," Sasuke hissed.
In stark contrast to her friends, Sakura looked curious rather than horrified. They had, after all, come to Jiraiya for a reason. Why they had picked Jiraiya of all people was beyond Mikoto.
Minato seemed to be having similar thoughts. "We'll answer your questions, if you'd like." A smile tugged at his lips with a glance at Naruto and Sasuke. "Without the mushy details, don't worry."
Both of the boys looked close to fleeing the room.
"Oh, don't be babies, you two." Kushina grabbed each of them under one arm and dropped down on the couch, squeezing each of them in on one of her sides. She threw a glance at Sakura and made an expectant, grabbing motion with her hand. "Come on. I've only got two arms, but you're joining us."
Sakura beamed at being included and took a seat next to them. Minato dropped down cross legged on the floor, while Mikoto took the armchair opposite of Kushina and the kids.
"Now," Minato started, speaking slowly as though he was still collecting his thoughts. "I know our relationship isn't exactly conventional."
"My auntie is married to a woman." Sakura offered the piece of information almost shyly. "But I've never seen anyone in a relationship with more than one person."
"I don't know anyone else in Konoha," Minato agreed. "You'll find that it is a lot more common in the northern countries."
"Shinobi who have gotten around the Five Nations for a bit don't tend to bat an eyelash." Mikoto wondered whether they'd have decided to live somewhere else, had that not been the case. "Konoha is a bit... slower, than other places."
Naruto fidgeted but knew better than to try escaping Kushina's grip. "Nobody's ever said anything against you."
Kushina snorted. "Oh, they know better than that."
Now, Mikoto added internally. They knew better than that now.
It had been a chore to convince the clan elders to let them be – or at least to stop feeling entitled and as though they had any sort of right to dictate who Mikoto could or couldn't enter a relationship with.
Perhaps she should count herself lucky that Kushina and Minato were both (as good as) clanless and did not have old-fashioned clanspeople to fight over their choices.
"Even if they hadn't come around," Mikoto said quietly, "it wouldn't have mattered."
Even if being together would have meant laying down her name and her place in the clan, Mikoto would have done so willingly. Fortunately it had not come to that, as even her elders were not stupid enough to rile up two Hokage candidates – at the time – with flee on sight orders against them in several countries.
"And now Mama's Hokage and all of you are super awesome ninja, so nobody can say anything against it!" Naruto grinned, his eyes sparkling cheerfully.
"Damn right," Kushina said, returning Naruto's grin with a playful – and only mildly bloodthirsty – smirk. "If anybody does, just let me know and I'll hunt them down to–"
"Let's not get off track," Minato said, ever the diplomat between them, "shall we?"
"What I was trying to say," Kushina said, rolling her eyes and dialling down her readiness for physical violence to an acceptable level, "is that however you three decide to live your life, we'll be behind you. And if anybody gives you crap over it–"
"Tell it to your Mom," Minato interrupted, "or me."
Kushina sent him a betrayed look and pouted. "Hey! They can totally come to me with their problems."
"Do you remember the time somebody cheating in a sparring match against Sasuke?" Mikoto reminded her spouse dryly.
Kushina let out a huff. "I keep telling you, it was a complete coincidence that he ended up quitting the day after. I had nothing to do with it."
She ruined her own cover by winking at Sasuke, prompting a snort from him.
"Itachi should be coming home, soon," Minato noted with a glance at the clock.
"Itachi's back from his mission?" Naruto perked up with a thrilled look in his eyes. "Finally! He's been gone ages! He promised to show me that thing with the kunai he can do."
"He's only been gone a week," Sasuke grumbled. "And he's promised us."
"I'm sure he'll be happy to teach all of you." Minato's lips tugged into a smile. "Especially if you're helping me make dinner for him?"
Naruto had leaped off the couch before Minato had finished his sentence and raced into the kitchen ahead of him with a cry of "I'm doing the stirring! You can cut the vegetables, Sasuke."
Sasuke huffed, following Naruto at a far slower, far more dignified pace. "Just don't drop the pan like last time, idiot."
Sakura was left on the couch, shifting her weight and biting her lip.
Minato gave her a kind smile. "Would you like to help, Sakura? I'm sure your parents won't mind you staying for dinner."
At once, Sakura's face brightened up. "Yes! Thank you, Minato-san!" She rushed into the kitchen almost as fast as Naruto had.
Minato soon followed, flashing his wives a cheerful smile on his way into the kitchen.
Mikoto and Kushina stayed behind, knowing that with all three of them – and Itachi – they were in for an eventful evening.
"I think we did right by them," Mikoto said, keeping her voice low so only Kushina would hear.
Kushina hummed, but didn't comment. Mikoto looked over, a warm sensation spreading in her chest as she saw Kushina's fond smile directed at the kitchen.
It had not been easy to reach this point of their lives. The road that had lead to it had been full of hurdles. Sitting here, in a home that belonged to her and not to her last name, surrounded by partners she had chosen and children that she loved more than anything, Mikoto could say for certain that every single step had been worth it.
Mikoto and Kushina sat in comfortable silence, listening to the family they had built themselves in the room next door.
A/N: This was written for a prompt exchange with two of my amazing betas - To Mockingbird and Igornerd!
Seeing as pretty much all of my stories are gen, it may be a little known fact that I have an armada of rarepairs that all deserve more stories than they're getting. Especially the considerable percentage of them that are OT3s.
Enjoy, and let me know what you think!