I do not own Naruto.

The idea of Kakashi having a family with Ayame the ramen girl is way too fun of an idea to not keep writing about.

The Hatake Family

Aburame Shino stood at attention with two students on either side of him. They were in the councilmen hall before the Hokage and the elders. Today was final examination day at the academy and both students had passed.

One little problem. One of them should not have even taken the test.

Daiki, who was only eleven, was not permitted to examine out. He was also not supposed to know most of the jutsu or academic material covered in the final exam. But he had known every single technique and had aced the questionnaire portion. Because Shino had been elsewhere, some idiot signed off on the paperwork and now Daiki was a genin.

He was proudly sporting the Konoha headband and a huge grin.

Satomi, an appropriately aged graduate, wore a headband too. But he was stoic, gaze pointed at the legs of the table where the council sat observing. The Hokage's eyes were specifically narrowed at the older boy.

"What do you have to say for yourselves, you little brats?" Ibiki scoffed, arms crossed while he leaned back in his chair.

Shizune frowned at him. "Ibiki-san, I'm sure they're sorry."

"Do those idiots look sorry to you?" Naruto said, standing at the Hokage's shoulder. When he wasn't off on covert missions, he was shadowing the leader of Konohagakure.

Shibi looked at the two boys over his shades. "Not one bit." Shino hoped his father wasn't including him in the sentiment. He had already felt enough disapproval when Shino left the Anbu to teach. To contend with his son in these circumstances was probably another dissatisfying add-on for the Aburame clan head.

Daiki had a one-hundred-watt smile and Satomi appeared as if he were nearly asleep. The two boys were brothers, a mere ten months apart. Most of their physical resemblance was the beauty mark under the left side of their mouths. Other than that, Satomi was fair skinned with flat silver hair and Daiki was an olive tone with unruly raven hair.

"Satomi," the Rokudaime started, "did you orchestrate this?"


Shino began to sweat. The tool wasn't denying it! Maybe he shouldn't have left Anbu after all. Those were simpler times. Everyone had warned him…

"Is this part of your plan to make your family into an official clan?" Kakashi said, resting his chin on a propped-up hand. "You have no kekkei genkai, no family fortune, and no exceptional qualities." Oh damn. "The chances of success are minimal."

"But not impossible!" Satomi stepped forward, light finally reaching into his sleepy eyes. "If Daiki is allowed to graduate and put on my team, we'll become the infamous Lighting Brothers." He announced the moniker by motioning his hand out in a slow arch and ending it with a clenched fist of victorious certainty. "We already have great combo attacks. Fame propels these things forward! Historically speaking, the Senju are a perfect example of this."

"Daiki." The Hokage acknowledged the younger brother.

"Yes!" The baby-faced boy had been bouncing in excitement at his brother's exposition, but quickly saluted nonetheless, standing at attention.

"Is this true?"

"You bet it is!" Daiki got into a fighting position, brows furrowing, "we'll show you!" Someone on the panel tried and failed to cover a snort of laughter.

Shizune smiled, holding back a chuckle of her own. "That won't be necessary, Daiki-chan."

"Okay sure!" The boy went back to happily smiling. Shino dragged a hand down his face. It was the gall of these two.

Shibi sighed and glanced at the Hokage. "Should we nullify Satomi's graduation?"

Everyone held their breath. No one really wanted to hold the boys back from achieving their dreams. But they had broken the rules. Satomi had filled out all the paperwork for Daiki and snuck it alongside all the other genin applications. He had even made sure a newbie was assigned as proctor while Shino had the runs—err had an emergency to take care of.

"Wait, wait," Naruto said, holding his arms out, getting everyone's attention. "There was once a time when genin were groomed much younger. I know we don't do that anymore and I'm glad for it. But Daiki is technically almost the required age. Daiki, you turn 12 in the fall, right?" The two shared a birthday so the question was mostly for show.

"Yes, Naruto-jii!" Again, Daiki stood to attention. Really the boy was too precious for his own good. The rapid switches between stupid grin to serious soldier was comical.

"I see what you're saying, Naruto-kun," Shizune said.

"Hmm," Ibiki rubbed his chin. "That's just around the corner." He glanced at the folder in front of him. "And the boy is talented. Perhaps even stronger than his conniving older brother."

Satomi's expression didn't give anything away.

After deliberating amongst themselves, Shibi turned to the Hokage. "I think we are all of the same mind, Kakashi-sama. Ultimately the parents must decide for Daiki-san." Everyone stared at the Hokage.

Kakashi sighed heavily and crossed his arms. "You two, really. What will your mother say?"

Satomi frowned, breaking character. "Kaasan said when it comes to ninja things, you decide what's best."

Daiki ran up to the table, splaying his hands on it, in the Hokage's face. "Tousan, say yes! We've been planning this for a whole year!" Satomi cringed at the accidental oust.

Kakashi looked around his youngest child's head to glare at Satomi. "Please don't tell me 'playing outside' was code for 'preparing Daiki for an early graduation'?"

Satomi had the decency to look embarrassed. Daiki, on the other hand, laughed with abandon. "You got it, Tousan!"

"For the love of—Kakashi!" Ibiki said, "did you drop that one on the head?"

"It was an accident!" the three Hatake said in tandem.

Satomi knew things were getting out of hand, so it was time for the grand finale. He kowtowed. On cue, Daiki copied his brother, almost slamming his forehead on the table. Satomi said, "We'll look after each other, we promise, Hokage-sama! We'll train harder and become smarter. We'll be the best team that ever came out of Konoha. Even better than your team."

"Twerp," Naruto muttered behind Kakashi.

After another sigh and a few laughs feigned into snorts, Hatake Satomi and Daiki walked out of that room genin. Shino got to keep his job. But most importantly, that sociopath Satomi was not returning to the academy. The staff was going to be so relieved! Surely there'd be a celebration.

Ayame touched her clavicle in worry. Her pink lips and eyebrows were downturned. She sat in the circular jonin lounge with the Hokage at her side, holding her other hand. She had come to their usual lunch date, wearing a sunflower print dress that tied into bows at her shoulders. Her thick brown hair was gathered at her neck in an intricate bundle of braids. She'd taken to updos after the boys were born.

"Genin so soon?" Her voice was unsure. "But he's so little."

Kakashi sighed. She was having a hard time of it. He got that. But he already explained to her the intricacies of promotion and age. And he knew she understood. She only did not want to accept it.

"He would have been of age in the fall and could have examined out."

"Then wait until the fall!"

"Ayame, please," he gently grabbed her other hand, "despite Satomi's meddling," not to mention illegal action, "Daiki worked very hard for this opportunity." While he completed his own academic studies, he had also been under Satomi's final year tutelage. Double work, double effort, double endurance. It was very impressive.

His wife stood abruptly and began to pace with her hands on her hips. "You spoil them too much!"

Kakashi recognized that the age-old argument was about to resurface so he tried to defuse the situation. "Come here, my love," he opened his arms. She turned away from him, wringing her hands. Her shoulders were tense and her eyes were heavy with uncertainty.

He smiled, gaze softening in complete understanding. "Come here." Not a moment later she was sitting across his lap, sharing doting words with him. "Things aren't as they used to be. You know that." Genin weren't even allowed to leave the village on missions until they were fifteen or made chunin.

She nodded, brow furrowed. "I know." It wasn't until they had married, and she became more familiar with Kakashi's upbringing, that the idea of child soldiers horrified her. As a Konoha civilian and a simple ramen chef's daughter, she had been sheltered from the realities of the past wars. Marrying the Hokage and bearing his chakra-induced children had been a reality check.

"Trust me."

"I trust you."

"They'll have a good sensei. I was thinking Sai."

"That makes me feel better." Her soft, curved body burrowed into his. His hand on her waist slid to curve of her hip and to her thigh. Her delicate fingers cupped his neck, manicured nails grazing the small hairs at the back of it. He held her teary gaze.

"You look beautiful today," he flirted. "I still don't know how you do this." He touched the pancaked braids at the nape of her neck. Styled wisps of curls framed her face, accenting her gentle beauty. Over fifteen years of marriage and his attraction to her never diminished. To her credit, she was a very elegant woman, attentive to her looks and hygiene.

"Oh but you're so handsome in your uniform." She lightly swatted the air in a show of bashfulness, delighted at his compliment.

"I'm getting old. My hair is graying."

A giggle. "Forties is the new twenties."

He chuckled at her version of flattery. "That's not an actual saying."

Another girlish giggle.

On the other side of the room, somewhat behind the central pillar wrapped with red seating, Shikamaru tried to not be noticed or remind the notoriously affectionate couple that he was still very much there in the lounge with them. He quietly took a bite out of the sandwich the Hokage's wife made.

Months later, the Hokage wakes his children up early for their weekly training session with him.

Along with making sure he is at dinner at least three times a week, Kakashi sets aside time to hone his genin children's skills. They have their sensei, but Kakashi is their father and more than anyone else in the world, he is their greatest teacher.

And it's always hilarious to watch them try to grab the bells.


Kakashi flings his oldest and only daughter by the ankles. Her torso smacks into Satomi's face. The two silver-haired genin tumble into the earth, rolling haphazardly until they come to a stop. She had come out of nowhere, as usual. Daiki was already crumbled on the ground. He was panting heavily and pressing a palm to a bruising brow. Kakashi may have hit him too hard this last time. He could already hear Ayame…

Out of all his children, Kanna was the weakest. Her chakra control was excellent but demure. The main deterrent was really that she was of gentle spirit. Her unwillingness to cause bodily harm held her back. It had also held her original team back. After one too many mishaps, the Hokage removed her from her genin squad and placed her in a master-student dynamic with a slew of elite jonin. Kakashi advised his daughter many times that she didn't need to be a shinobi if she didn't want to be. She assured him it was what she wanted. Despite internally doubting her, Kakashi respected her decision and let it go.

Kanna and Satomi groaned, their limbs entangled. Despite their silver heads, they both looked like their mother, but most of all Kanna. She was fifteen years old and slight of build. Her heart shaped face and button nose were reminders of why her chakra reserves were limiting. If she had not been so stubborn in her every endeavor, she would have never passed qualifications to join the ninja academy.

No, she did not like nor excel at the fighting aspect of being shinobi. She was, however, incredibly proficient with stealth and her intelligence was nothing to sneeze at. And today, for the first time, she had successfully grabbed one of the bells.

"No fair!" Daiki piped up, rolling onto his stomach, black hair more broom-like than Kakashi's.

"You were supposed to get both, nechan," Satomi said from under Kanna. His voice cracked, puberty starting to take hold of his vocal cords.

A single stringed bell dangled from one of her fingers. Kanna sprung off him and clasped her hands in front of her, profusely apologizing. "I'm sorry!" her whispery voice pleaded. "Tousan's too fast for me!" Once Kakashi had heard the chime of a bell, he sent her hurling towards her brother.

Satomi frowned as he sat up. "He's too fast for all of us. We were counting on your Ghost Technique. There's no way we'll have a chance at it now."

Ghost Technique: a rare jutsu that required the following: minimal chakra, excellent control of it and wind nature. All which Kanna possessed. The user was practically invisible. It was rare because most people with low reserves never honed their skills, and if they ever did, wind nature was rarer still. Once Kakashi had connected the dots, concerned for her safety, he'd given her the ultimatum of perfecting the jutsu or quitting as a kunoichi. An unqualified ninja was no ninja at all.

"Very impressive, Kanna-chan!" Kakashi said, eyes smiling. "Naruto and Sakura will be jealous." She must have had her fingers wrapped around the bell when he threw her, thus her yanking it off rather than taking it. Still, it was remarkable. The boys had been a good distraction this time.

Kanna smiled brightly at the praise. She pumped her fists once in the air, bell jingling. Then she collapsed. Satomi lunged forward to cushion her head with his palm before it hit the ground.

Kakashi appeared next to her. He tsked, picking up her limp form. He set her under the shade of a tree where their packs were. He examined the scrapes and light bruising all over her body, shaking his head when she began to snore. The girl tended to fall into a deep sleep after intense exertion. Another debilitating quality.

These kids…

"Let's take a break," he called to the boys. They came running from the field. Satomi had a small limp. His fine hair was matted down with sweat and grime. He was a growing young man, and his thoughts were easy to read despite being the most stoic of the three: FOOD. Daiki was running beside his brother, ever present smile in place and eyes wide with youth and simplicity.

A soft breeze swished the branches overhead and a crescendo of cicadas hummed. The boys dug into their packed lunches, curtesy of their mother. Kakashi pulled his mask down and took a bite of a carefully wrapped summer roll. Satomi traded mochi bites for an extra roll from Daiki's serving.

"Kaasan won't like that," Kakashi warned. The boys stiffened and peered at their father through the corner of their eyes. Their hands were reaching for each food item. "Here," he gave Satomi one of his rolls. "Daiki, you can eat his sweets if you finish your entire meal." They all exchanged their items, happy with the result. Kakashi could hold off until dinner.

Daiki held two mochi bites between his fingers and made them talk to each other. Kakashi and Satomi laughed at the antics. Ayame had drawn smiley faces on each sweet which only enhanced the random ventriloquy.

"How's training with your new team?" Kakashi asked.

"Our teammate is a bit of a whack job."

The Hokage blinked slowly. "Daiki."

"Tousan, I know. I know. Teamwork is important. But listen. She's an orphan."

His father rubbed his temples. "What's he talking about, Satomi?" Kakashi had chosen that girl on purpose. Her femininity would balance his sons rough and tumble approach to everything. Her being orphaned would also, hopefully, bring much-needed humility to their spoiled asses.

His eldest son was smirking at his brother. "She's just really open about it. She talks about her parents like they're still alive."

"Ah yes." Kakashi nudged a water bottle to Daiki's mouth so the boy could drink more. "Tsubame-chan is funny that way." The girl was set on making her deceased shinobi parents proud. It was commendable.

"If by funny you mean scary," Daiki said, drinking water, looking a little green. He whispered, "what if her parents are like ghosts and they follow her everywhere and only she can see them but now that we're on a team with her they follow us everywhere?" He looked around the grassy field, whispering, "What if they're here right now?"

Kakashi nodded. "Ghost parents do tend to follow their kids around." He looked to the right, raising his brows. "Otousan?!"

Daiki gasped. "Ojīsama is here?"

Satomi squinted at his brother. "Tousan's messing with you."

"Oh," Daiki blinked owlishly. And then he fell on his back laughing, rolling around in mirth. "Ha ha ha! That's funny! Tsubame-chan's just messing with us then!"

"Bingo," Kakashi said, ruffling his hair. Daiki sighed happily and laid his head on his father's thigh. He goofily smiled up at him. "You silly boy." Kakashi left his hand in his child's hair. Dark hair poked through between his fingers, like blades of grass. Warmth filled his chest. These mornings were special to the Hokage, surrounded by the biggest blessings in his life.

Satomi observed the physical affection Daiki often gave and received from the Hokage. It wasn't just their father. The aunties and their sister catered to Daiki in this way. Never mind their doting civilian mother.

Feeling left out, Satomi plopped down behind Kakashi. He leaned his back against his father's. "Can I have some water?" he mumbled, face feeling warm for some reason. Not a second later, Kakashi was dangling a water bottle overhead. Satomi smiled and took it. He rested his head between his father's shoulder blades, closing his eyes as he drank and basked in the shadow of his father.

Off to the side, Kanna lightly snored.

Everything happened so fast.

In the kitchen, Daiki was worked up about the upcoming chunin exams. His mother was trying to soothe him (and maybe dissuade him from participating) when suddenly a haphazard projection of electricity pulsed out of him after he assured her that he was strong enough. Ayame yelped and fell backwards.

No one moved for a moment. Kakashi and the older two sat wide eyed in the living room. Ayame was sitting on the floor, stunned and unsure of what exactly had just happened. She reached up to brush her left cheek, feeling an uncomfortable itch. When she removed her hand there was a pink line across her cheekbone that everyone but her could see.

Kakashi appeared before his youngest son and backhanded him. The moment his knuckles swiped across his cheek, lightning released from a single digit. Daiki cried out as he smashed into the table. Kakashi walked forward and grasped his son by the shirt, yanking him to his feet.

"You could have killed her!" he shouted, wanting to hit him again but controlled the urge. The boy was already bleeding from the deep gash on his face. Kakashi gave him one cruel shake before throwing him back into the rubble that had once been a dining room table.

"No!" Ayame exclaimed, struggling to her feet. She ran to her son. "What did you do!" She gathered Daiki in her arms and pressed his face against her blouse. It quickly became bloodied.

"Put pressure on it," Kakashi managed to say through the coldness that was quickly filling his body.

"Kaasan, Kaasan," Daiki was weeping, unable to say anything else. He was now only a twelve-year-old, raised in peaceful times, horrified that he hurt the most precious being in his life.

Kakashi made eye contact with a shell-shocked Satomi. "Did you teach him that?" His eldest son's face was paling more and more by the second. "Answer me!"


"Get your things and get out."

Satomi was visibly shaking under the weight of the Hokage's glare. "I'm sorry, Tousan."

"That's not good enough." Kakashi grabbed him by the back of the neck and marched him towards the stairs. He released him with a sharp push and Satomi had to catch himself hard against the steps.

Kanna's back was pressed into the wall, eyes wide. She was trying not to cry, and it was this image of his daughter that allowed a semblance of calmness to enter Kakashi's turbulent thoughts. Daiki could have killed his own mother.

"Kanna, go get Sakura. She's home." Kanna's medical training had come to a screeching halt due to severe queasiness at the sight of too much blood. "Go," he had to say again so she could launch herself from the wall and run out of the house. His children were a conglomeration of talent and shortcomings, of love and pain. No position of power was more difficult than being a parent.

Daiki was cradled in Ayame's arms as she pressed a part of the tablecloth into his face. Pieces of wood and broken plates surrounded them.

Kakashi kneeled. "Let me see." He didn't wait for approval as he peeled the fabric from his child's face to assess the damage. Blood seeped but wasn't gushing anymore. He could feel Ayame stare holes into the side of his head. Ignoring her, he pressed her hand back on Daiki's cheek.

"Tousan," Daiki sniffled. "I'm so sorry. I don't know what happened."

"I know," he said numbly, holding Ayame's hand in place. "More pressure."

Daiki was strong of body and spirit. He accepted the punishment. There were no hard feelings between father and son. Unspoken, they understood what happened was an accident but impermissible. Ten times over the instant punishment was better than Daiki's near fatal carelessness.

"How's your vision?" Kakashi asked dispassionately.

Daiki blinked a few times, tears lessening. "It's good, Tousan."

Kakashi ruffled his dark spikes. "Good."

There was movement to their right. Satomi stood with a backpack thrown over a shoulder. His face was pale. He tried to talk but couldn't. Seeming to come to terms with something in his head, or unable to endure the scene before him, he turned and left the house.

Sakura came and patched Daiki up. All she had to do for Ayame was smooth a glowing palm over the pink line for it disappear. She stood with Daiki's parents in the foyer, all grim faced. "He didn't want me to heal all of it." It would scar then.

Ayame covered her mouth to muffle a distressed whimper.

Kakashi only nodded. "I understand."

Later that evening, the Hokage and his wife were arguing in hushed tones in the privacy of their room. She was packing a suitcase, tears in her eyes and mad as hell.

"I'm going to my father's house for a while."

"Don't." Kakashi felt sick to his stomach. "Don't leave me." Did she not understand what almost happened? He tried to explain it, but her shirt was still stained red, and her child was permanently scarred.

Her eyes widened at the implication of his words, at what he thought she was trying to do when all she needed was some space. More tears fell and she swallowed a sob. "You hurt my baby! And you didn't even consult me about kicking Satomi out!" she shouted. "I'm so mad at you right now. If I stay, I don't know what I'll say or do!"

She stormed out of the room, forgetting her things.

Kakashi sent a bandaged-up Daiki to take her suitcase to Teuchi's. The boy didn't come back that night and Kakashi didn't expect him to. Ayame probably made him stay with her and hummed the boy to sleep to assuage his guilt.

Or maybe convince him that having 'a cool scar like Tousan' wasn't that cool.

Kanna was quietly cleaning up the mess in the kitchen when Kakashi began to help. The fifteen-year-old started crying halfway through. The heels of her palms dug into her eyes and her thin shoulders trembled. Her short hair fell around her face like a pale curtain. Kakashi wrapped his arms around her, smoothing a calming hand over the top of her head.

The next morning Sai came to Ichiraku Teuchi's household with a remorseful Satomi. Apparently, the youth hadn't known where to go last night and had fallen asleep outside the Yamanaka compound. His sensei had discovered him. The two spoke about the events that took place. Satomi received a very long speech about teaching advanced techniques to his peers while unsupervised, especially to someone like Daiki who was overflowing with uncontrolled chakra.

Teuchi took Daiki out for a walk. (He had a separate conversation with his grandson about blindly going along with his brother's notorious schemes).

Ayame listened to Satomi's apology and watched him bow several times. Sai stood quietly in a corner, observing. When her child was done, she raised her hand and slapped him as hard as she could. It was only after the second slap that his face turned in a flinch of pain.

Having indestructible chakra-induced children made disciplining them difficult and was harder on her palms than their skin. They had often giggled when she spanked them as toddlers. She was a hen with lion cubs.

Even now Satomi had no mark on his cheek, yet his neck sported a hand-shaped bruise from Kakashi's manhandling last night.

Satomi bowed again from his waist, shoulders stiff. Ayame gathered him up in her arms and hugged him fiercely, telling him she forgave him and that the storm had passed and that everything was going to be okay. In her arms he felt taller and broader than he had months ago. After a moment the young man buried his nose in her bosom and his arms tightly wrapped around her torso.

"Stay here until your father says you can go home," she said. "Ojīchan won't mind." She turned her eldest son towards Sai. "And thank your sensei."

Ayame did not come out of her childhood room later that week when Kakashi came to speak with Satomi.

Daiki had taken to sleeping over every other day, letting her change his bandages, and hold him at night and sing him to sleep. He was her baby.

When Daiki slept back home, Satomi would creep into the room in the middle of the night so she could coddle him too. He would always be back on the couch when she awoke in the mornings. They had a silent understanding not to talk about it, because he was now thirteen and crawling into bed with mommy was uncool. He wasn't like Daiki who had no shame, the proudest mama's boy that ever lived. Satomi had a cooler, more reserved disposition when it came to parental affection. Kakashi said he had been the same as a boy.

Kanna had been sent off on an escort mission, but Ayame was sure once the girl returned home, she'd politely try to get in on the cuddles.

Ayame had her ear pressed against the door, trying to eavesdrop on her husband and Satomi's conversation. Of course, Kakashi forgave his reckless child. The two talked for a long time and Kakashi disclosed stories from his turbulent, tragic past. It was the first time the Hokage had revealed such things to one of his children.

Satomi knocked on her door after his father left. "Tousan said I can come back home. Can you come too?"

Ayame smiled, knowing Kakashi was behind this. "You go on. I'm helping your grandfather with some projects. You all just come by whenever you want, okay?"

"Yes, Kaasan."

Another week passed and Ichiraku Teuchi sighed as he opened the door to one very sorry husband. After Satomi went home, the man had come every evening to collect Ayame, but she'd shut herself in the room.

"How is she today?"

A slamming of the door was his answer.

"She seems okay," Teuchi said. He wasn't lying. His daughter was all smiles and playing the role of dutiful daughter, cooking and cleaning. He knew he should probably give her a push to go back to her family, but he was enjoying her company. He also promised her she could stay as long as she wanted.

"I see." From the threshold Kakashi gazed towards the hallway of rooms. "I'll come back tomorrow then."

Still, measuring up the Hokage, Teuchi felt bad for him. He looked to have had very little sleep. Solely shouldering three idiosyncratic youngsters plus a village couldn't be easy. "She's not divorcing you. Get some rest. I'll talk with her."

Maybe Teuchi would give his daughter a little push after all. If not for her husband's sanity, then for the village's.

When Kakashi came again, Ayame sat with him on the porch. She heard him out and acknowledged his heartfelt apology. She allowed him a chaste kiss and then said she'd like to stay with her father a bit longer.

She was enjoying the little break from making breakfast and packing lunches every morning. It was nice to clean up after just herself after so many years. "Plus, the kids don't need me as much anymore," she said this quite emotionally and had to take a moment to collect herself.

Kakashi rather she come home with him. The children might not need her as much as they once did, but he needed her. Over the years, talking to her, touching her, sleeping next to her became essential. She was his most trusted ally, an intimate advisor, and his best friend.

He didn't want to push her, so he withheld from outlining his needs. He wanted her to feel respected in her decision. More than for himself, he loved her for her own sake.

So instead, he filled her in on the current Hatake dynamic. As the most responsible one, Kanna was helping a lot with chores and food. One morning the boys complained she couldn't 'cook for shit.' They were tired of her peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. That nearly made her cry, so Kakashi sent them off without lunch for the day. When everyone came home the boys apologized and ate the sandwiches for dinner while Kakashi and Kanna had sushi. Of course, she felt bad and ended up sharing with her brothers.

Ayame smiled as she walked Kakashi to the fence's entrance. She held her breath when he leaned in to kiss her. Even with a mask on the man was too dangerous. If she caved even a little, he would notice. He'd take the opportunity to sweep her off her feet. Literally.

Kakashi left without his wife again. He understood that this vacation was more than just a break from being a caretaker. The past year was a constant reminder of how fast shinobi children grew up, despite the intentional effort the village now made to make sure they experienced the wonders of childhood. It hurt her. And it scared her.

No matter how many warnings he'd given her throughout the years, she was not prepared. Perhaps no mother was, civilian or not.

The youth of today was amazing. Fully able to be children during a peaceful era, a month was enough to lighten their spirits from the whole 'Daiki went berserk' ordeal (as the kids jokingly began to call it). They even felt accustomed to their mom having a little 'vacation' (as the grownups kept calling it) at grandpa's house.

Always the little helper, Kanna made it into a game to see which of the three could rack up the most sleepovers with their mom. Daiki was winning since he'd gotten a head start. Not to mention their dad seemed to secretly be rooting for his youngest, sometimes hiding when the older two were looking for him to gain permission. By the time they'd find him, he'd say Daiki already asked.

Teuchi visited one morning and told Kakashi that even if he had to throw her over his shoulder kicking and screaming, he was to confiscate his wife—immediately. Kakashi gave his father-in-law his wallet and told the old man to take the kids somewhere.

"I'll have them sleep over my house tonight, so you have that girl out of there!" Teuchi rounded up the three genin with swimsuits and an overnight bag. He got them all very excited about the lake with floating trampolines in district ten. "Daiki-chan, make sure you put sunblock on that scar."

"Yes, Ojīchan!" The boy was bouncing in place. Teuchi glanced at Kanna. She nodded, nudging her bag to indicate she packed the sunscreen. Teuchi then looked at Satomi who agreed that he'd supervise the reapplication throughout the day.

Kakashi had already transported into Teuchi's living room. Ayame gasped from the couch. She dropped her needle and thread, running for the guest room. A strange sort of laugh bubbled out of her. That she even made it into the room was because he allowed it, she was sure of it. In a false sense of security, she sighed in relief and locked the door.

"A month is too long."

She yelped in surprise at her husband's voice. He was in the room! She went for the door handle, but he easily grabbed her.


His unmasked mouth was on hers and she sighed into the kiss. A month was too long.

"We should clean," Kakashi said, tenderly running his fingers down his wife's arm. "The kids will be sleeping here tonight."

She shot up, hands on his abs, hair frazzled. "What!"

"They went to the lake—what are you doing?" She got off him and began to undress, ignoring his question. Not sure what was happening, Kakashi started to take his shirt off.

"WHAT are you doing?" She shoved a random, clean dress from the closet over her head.

He laughed, arms up, shirt stretching at his elbows. "What?"

"What!" She pulled at the bed sheets around him, so he rolled off and onto the floor, his ankles still trapped in his pants. "Stop laughing!" She said obviously fighting a smile. "Stop! I can't believe we did this here."

This was crazy! All it took was one kiss from this man for her resolve to fall apart. Not to mention how ridiculous said man looked laughing on the floor with his wrists and ankles bound with articles of clothing he should be putting on.

She rumpled the bedsheets and her clothes together. What if her father showed up with the kids!

"Ayame, relax!" He was thankfully wearing his pants normally as he followed her down the hall, shirt in his hand. They went out the back door where Teuchi kept his washing machine. "They won't be here anytime soon."

She slammed the washing machine door open and frantically shoved the soiled garments in. For good measure she swiped Kakashi's shirt form him, tossing it in too. He grabbed the detergent before she could. "Kakashi!" she whined, stomping, feeling overwhelmed.

He carefully scooped the detergent, following the exact measurement on the cup that no one else in the world paid attention to. Having gotten too much, he shook the cup until he had the right amount. Obsessive compulsion disorder satisfied, he smiled as he dumped the powdery soap into the machine and closed it.

His wife was near tears. He opened his arms. "C'mere."

She threw herself at him. "I've missed you!"

"Hey, hey." He cupped her face to give her a gentle kiss. "We're okay. Sometimes a break is good."

She sniffled. "I don't want that to ever happen again."

He gathered her close. "It won't. I think we've all learned our lesson."

"Hard lesson," she mumbled into his bare chest.

"Some lessons are harder than others." They stood there in Teuchi's back yard for some time. Kakashi was shirtless and sporting a big smile. "You're coming home with me?"

"Yes, yes," she said, hugging him tighter. She really wanted to tell him…

"Good, because I'm tired of peanut butter and jelly sand—" she smacked his abdomen and he laughed. "I'm kidding. I taught them how to make eggplant miso and salt-broiled saury. Satomi was chosen to be our new cook." The man had taught the children how to make his favorite foods.

"Please don't tell me you peeled the fishes with kunai."

His eyes widened innocently. "Kanna-chan couldn't find the scaler."


"It was a new katana!"

"My poor children." Though she could see the boys having way too much fun slicing up fishes with a sword.

After putting Teuchi's house back together, Kakashi and Ayame went out on the night.

She wore a slim fitting black skirt that twirled prettily around her knees when she moved. Her semi low cut red blouse held his devout attention along with her painted red lips. She would only smirk at him when she caught him staring.

Publicly, Ayame was very modest in her clothing, but now and again, when they'd go out alone or for an adult get together, she'd dig up an outfit that was tighter or shorter than her usual preferences. Once, she dug up an old blue number with palm trees on it and they never made it out to Namiashi Raidō's fortieth.

"Pickled radishes with sugar sound good," she smiled wide for the young vendor. The boy was blushing as he used tongs to put her snack together.

"Have a good night, Hokage-sama! Milady!"

"Thank you!"

They walked through a buzzing street, somewhat going unnoticed under the glowing lanterns that zig-zagged across the buildings. Kakashi observed her as she happily nibbled on her choice of dessert. He kept quiet about the lingering glances she made when they passed certain clothing boutiques.

They returned home and he made gentle love to her on their bed. He told her sweet nothings and kissed her nose and eyes. How he missed her beside him at night! He had somewhat felt jealous the children could go to Teuchi's and cuddle with her. They were all genin but they were still young and desired their mother's affection. It was beneficial especially for Satomi, whose ambitious nature needed constant sweetness.

"Ayame," Kakashi whispered, rousing his sleepy wife.

"Hm?" she sighed, her fingers in his hair flexing.

His hand on her thigh rose and settled on her hip. He gave a light squeeze. "Is there something you want to tell me?"

She sat up slowly, stiff, and unable to meet his gaze. "You know."

"Hey, come back here," he said playfully, pulling her back down on his chest. She stared at him with furrowed eyebrows and smeared lipstick. "Why are you crying?"

"Because I don't want you to be mad."

"I'm not."

"But it makes everything worse, doesn't it?"

He shook his head. "It could have. But you're both okay. How long have you known?"

She gave him a shy smile. "The day Satomi went home."

Kakashi closed his eyes and sighed. He had tried to get her to come back, and she hid in the room. On top of everything else, she was scared he would get more upset with Satomi.

"Ayame." There was a note of disapproval in his voice, and she nearly gulped. "I understand why you waited to tell me. But something like this isn't something you keep to yourself." She had all but made a spectacle of herself the moment she found out she was pregnant with Kanna. And with the boys she knew right away, narrating her suspicions to Kakashi until they were confirmed by a medical professional.

"I told Otousan," she said lamely, feeling scolded.


"Um…last night."

Ah. That's why the old man had shown up as he had in the morning. "He didn't like you keeping it from me."

"He yelled at me, too. Telling me not to be a wuss." She emphasized the slur comically.

Kakashi face palmed, laughing. "He did not use that word."

"He did!" She laughed with him, deepening her voice in recollection, "He said 'Ayame, you better not keep this from that man. He's been losing his mind, I tell ya! Don't be such a wuss!' I promise he said it just like that."

Kakashi laughed harder, imagining Teuchi keep up with his grandchildren's vernacular. He squeezed his wife into his embrace and kissed her forehead. "Alright, alright."

She smiled when his hand caressed her belly, supple and yet unchanged.

"I could have hurt you earlier, at your father's."

She snuggled into his neck, inhaling him, absurdly wishing she could somehow trap his scent within herself. "Don't be silly."

"But the baby—"

"Baby's just fine in here." She tapped his hand. "You worry too much when I'm like this."

Kakashi sighed that sigh. He really had been too forceful. Much too forceful for a pregnant woman. That she had been expecting when Daiki lost control—no. He talked himself down from that ledge. He counted backwards from ten.

He intertwined their fingers. "I wonder how those three are going to react. Kanna-chan will self-employ as an indentured servant." It was like his daughter couldn't help herself. She quietly involved herself in every matter that could use assistance, in any way at any time, indiscriminately. Having a child that was too kind was unexpectedly stressful.

"Satomi will be very excited."

"Yes, excited to add another piece to his world domination plans."

She laughed lightly, thinking fondly of their son's eccentricities. "He loves his nechan and little brother so much."

That was putting it mildly, with a twist only a mother could make. If Satomi could have somehow gotten Kanna demoted and put on his team, he would have done it. Kakashi had snooped through the boy's room to make sure there weren't any more secret plans to usurp the village system. Kakashi wasn't trying to be accused of nepotism (not after the whole Sasuke thing).

"What about Daiki?" Hatake Daiki. So fun and loving, full of strength and untapped power. He looked so much like Kakashi's mother, black hair and natural tan, that the Hokage sometimes just had to hug the boy. The lost familiar resemblance was a gift from heaven.

"I'm not sure," she said, frowning. "He's the youngest—I hope he doesn't get jealous."

"I don't think so," Kakashi's surmised. "He'll be busy with missions and training. And he's mentioned wanting a baby sister."

"Oh, but I hope it's another boy."

Kakashi squinted at her. "You want another one of those?"

He loved his sons, but they were a handful. From the very beginning, being born ten months apart had both parents overwhelmed. Ayame had often been near tears at the lack of sleep and general absence of peace. In those days Kakashi couldn't get to the Tower fast enough. Not to mention the overwhelming amount of guilt both parents felt for not paying as much attention to Kanna. Her little self never complained and tried to help as only a four-year-old was capable. It didn't change the older they all got. Small kids, small problems. Big kids, big problems.

"It'll be easier!" Ayame insisted. "We have three genin to recruit."

"Hm." His wife was on to something. "I guess we won't know for a while."

She shrugged, cuddling into his side. "That's true. But sometimes a mother just knows these things."

He tried not to laugh at her. She said that confidently, but she had sworn Satomi would be a girl despite what the doctor said and had obviously been wrong. "Okay, Ayame."


He ultimately did see. They had a beautiful baby boy whose resemblance to Kakashi was "creepy" per Genma and "are we sure this isn't a clone?" often inquired Naruto. The baby was named Hiroyuki because the joy he brought to the Hatake family was insurmountable.

Ayame had a new baby in the house she could care for and fill her time with. Kanna had another little brother she could love. Satomi was already plotting and hypothesizing how he could possibly involve the baby in the Hatake clan power dynamic. And Daiki—well, Daiki cried when he first held Hiroyuki. "I didn't think my life could get better. Thank you, Kaasan!"

Kakashi was just happy his family was healthy and getting along, and that his wife had one more reason why she couldn't leave him. Having four kids under his watch was more than he was used to. He hoped to be the best father possible, raising them up in decency and goodness.

But honestly, compared to decades ago when he had been team seven's sensei, this was a piece of cake.

I originally meant for this to be funnier but the pull of angst was too irresistible XD Thanks for reading, everyone!