It wasn’t a surprise that Tsunade had decided to pay him a visit. Kakashi simply hadn’t expected her to wait a week to do it.
She must’ve known he was expecting her. If the ease with which Shikamaru had let her into his office hadn’t tipped her off, then the bottle of sake and two glasses he set on the desk when she fixed him with that look certainly did. The look that said I’m too old and not getting paid for this anymore.
“I knew you weren’t stupid enough not to know already,” she said by way of explanation. “And if you were letting this soap opera continue, then you were probably involved in it.”
“Well, then. Shall I regale you with the tales of my torrid love affair? It involves a surprising number of conversations about diaper changes these days.” Kakashi filled the two glasses and motioned for her to pull up the chair Shikamaru often occupied when they were reviewing mission reports.
“I’ll stand, thanks. Hard to say what’s gone on in these chairs. Or on them.”
“Oh, please.” Kakashi said. “As if you didn’t spend most of your life around Jiraiya.”
She took the glass with a muttered concession and pushed a teetering stack of papers away from the corner of the desk, where she perched herself as though from muscle memory.
“I’m not here to tell you how to live your life, brat. But please consider how this will affect Iruka.” She peered into her liquid reflection before taking a slow swig. “The village may eat up the love story about the war veteran and the schoolteacher, but don’t think they won’t turn on him in an instant if they thought he was cuckolding you. I wouldn’t put it past the council to try and exile him as an adulterer.”
They could try. Especially if they wanted their necks snapped. “They should be groveling at his feet for carrying on the Hatake bloodline. Before he came along, I was going to die alone and childless.”
“Is he carrying on the bloodline?”
Kakashi knew what she was angling for, but for a moment he considered playing dumb to make her work harder for an answer that was ultimately none of her concern. It was his family, and he was in control of its fate, not the village. The matter of his heir was his decision alone. If he wanted to make Might Guy the heir to the Hatake Clan, that was his right.
“As my mate’s caregiver, I think you know that answer as well as I do.”
“Then you mustn’t know at all, because Iruka keeps himself as far away from that information as possible.”
“That’s his choice,” Kakashi said. “He chooses not to know, just as I choose not to care. Whether the child in his belly has my DNA or Tenzo’s hardly makes a difference to me or to anyone else in our family. The baby will be Hatake.”
Tsunade laughed. “I didn’t peg you for the noble but naive type. Konoha law permits the council to annul the inheritance of anyone who is not related to a clan by blood or marriage.” It was an old law, and hardly one enforced unless the village had an interest in keeping a bloodline pure to propagate a dojutsu or a kekkei genkai. She paused to examine him for a silent moment. “But you knew that.”
“As I said, the baby will be Hatake. All of our children will be fathered by a Hatake.”
His sake set aside untouched, he pulled a scroll from the top drawer and unfurled it in front of her. The evening sunset reflected through the glass and liquid, casting a long ruddy shadow over the lines of the seal as he activated it with a murmur. A puff of smoke curled between them, and when it cleared, in place of the scroll sat two single-page documents. He gathered them up and pushed them in her direction.
“Kakashi.” Her frown made the lines on her forehead deepen. He followed her eyes as she scanned the lines on the top form, stopping at place where his name and Tenzo’s were listed in the spaces that would legally bind them. They were neatly inked with the precision of an instructor’s handwriting, and at the bottom, in the same neat script, was Iruka’s signature in the attestant section. It was missing the signature of one other attestant, as well as Tenzo’s own. “Really?” She quirked an unimpressed brow at him.
He sat back in the chair and regarded the ceiling for a quiet breath. “The funny thing about marriage and bonding is that they’re legally distinct unions. Typically they both occur between the same pair, but there is no law that requires it.” It was why bonded alphas and omegas could go months, years, or even a lifetime without ever being married. Once the bond was registered, it was as legally valid as any marriage, making the marriage ceremony nothing more than a redundant formality. One that Iruka and Kakashi has never had the time or desire to complete in the midst of a post-war rebuilding effort.
“And you conveniently decided to forgo it, eh?”
In truth, he and Iruka had never cared to do it at all, even before Tenzo came along. But Tsunade could believe what she wanted so long as she took the brush Kakashi offered her and signed her name to attest.
“This is a precaution, of course. I respect Iruka and Tenzo enough not to force them to go public with our relationship if they aren’t comfortable with that. I certainly hope their choice for discretion will never be taken from them. But if that time comes, I will protect my family. I will protect this child and my future children.”
“By marrying a completely different partner?” Tsunade sounded unconvinced.
Kakashi shrugged. “It’s not unheard of, two alphas marrying and then later bonding with an omega in order to bear children. We’re just doing it backwards.” He hadn’t spent an entire day down in the legal archives for nothing. “I understand that this might not be orthodox, Godaime-sama, but as Iruka’s doctor, I hope—”
“I just want you to be careful. You know I don’t give two shits about what’s orthodox,” she snapped. “On the contrary, it’s a medical quandary. I didn’t think the grafted sequences of my grandfather’s DNA would be able to produce enough viable chromosomes in the haploid state. I had assumed that would render Yamato infertile, but if there’s a chance he’s the fa—”
Kakashi held his hand up before she could finish voicing the thought. Tenzo had spent enough time under the effects of Orochimaru’s research, both as a child and during the fourth war, that no paternity test was worth rehashing such trauma. Time would be the paternity test. “My husband and my child will not be studied. Is that clear?”
Husband. The word felt new and different and right on his tongue. There would never be a ceremony or even a formal announcement, if he could help it, but it would be real. He would file the application discreetly and be done with it. And they would be.. well, never truly safe... but protected, perhaps. He hoped.
Tsunade nodded and took the brush. It hovered hesitantly over the form while she thumbed the second document underneath. “What is—” Her brows knitted in confusion. “What is this other form for?”
At first Kakashi couldn’t put a name to the heavily familiar feeling that shrouded him as he let himself into his residence. The door was barely open before the earthy smell of cedarwood filled his nostrils and sent the blood rushing between his legs. He’d felt the same pull beneath his skin countless times, but rarely, if ever, had it sneaked up on him in this way.
But no, this wasn’t his body calling out in need. It was a response to another unspoken call coming from their bedroom. Kakashi pulled down his mask to inhale deeply, toed off his shoes in the genkan and made his way through the quiet home. A pot sat on the kitchen stove, simmering broth on low — the only smell and sound breaking up a home permeated with silence and musk.
He was met with a gut punch of arousal in the bedroom. Iruka lifted his head drowsily from where he was spooned up against Tenzo in the bed, his body heavy with fatigue that could have been from fucking or general exhaustion from carrying a baby. Clothes were hasilty strewn about the room in a manner quite unlike Tenzo, his most conscientious kohai who folded even his briefs before bed. The scent and the sight of them, naked, fucked out, but still gently rutting together with Tenzo’s cock between Iruka’s thighs, had him half-hard already.
“Good, you’re here. He’s been like this since after lunch. It was getting very hard for me to resist breaking doctor’s orders.”
Tenzo had been slightly warm and clingy and cranky this morning. Kakashi should’ve heeded the warning signs more closely, not only today but in the weeks since Iruka had gone on leave. But his mind these days was already preoccupied looking for warning signs of an impending baby. He pushed down a stab of guilt that perhaps he had not been giving Tenzo the attention he needed.
“Poor sensei.” Kakashi had already started to remove the wrappings on his thigh. “How rude of him go into rut when you couldn’t enjoy it.”
“Trust me, I’m enjoying it.” Iruka gestured to the mess on his belly. “I just miss having a knot in me,” he whined.
Beside him, Tenzo was passed out in a restless doze that Kakashi knew all too well. You took sleep when you could during a rut, since unlike a heat there weren’t periods where the need ebbed and flowed. The desire to mark and claim and knot was constant, so sleep only happened in the post-orgasmic haze that came after knotting. For Tenzo it was probably exponentially more intense since this was the first time he’d ever gone through it.
It was like a little alpha birthday right here in his bedroom. Tenzo was curled around Iruka, face buried in messy brown hair, hands stubbornly clinging to the omega’s child-heavy belly. It was hard to tell from his angle since they were both on their side, but Kakashi could imagine from the cant of their hips how Tenzo’s knot rubbed against Iruka’s hole. It was the portrait of a young, vulnerable, greedy alpha grasping for the cause of his awakening. Decades later than most, but right on time in his own way.
When Iruka moved, Tenzo tightened his embrace with a weak but stubborn murmur. “Mine.”
“Mmmhm,” Iruka agreed patiently, allowing Tenzo to rub the mess of come across his belly. “Yours.” He gently extracted an arm, lithe and honey-coloured, and gestured to Kakashi, who was in the process of stripping his gear in the doorway. “Yours, too.”
“Senpai,” Tenzo called.
“You look like you’re having a good time,” Kakashi teased. “How are you feeling?
“Okagesama de,” he said in that endearing, sex-drunk way that Iruka often recounted fondly when he talked about Kakashi’s own rut-induced ramblings. “Iruka-kun smells like a bakery, and I’m going to buy him one so he can have pork buns all the time.”
“You told me you were going to bring me a sheep once,” Iruka had said. “Because I looked cold and needed more sweaters.”
During the early days of their relationship, the chuunin had threatened to make a list of all the embarrassing offers Kakashi had made him during rut, until he came to realize it was not the sort of threat one made to a man who was known for walking around with pornography in public. Maybe Iruka would start keeping a Tenzo list instead.
Kakashi’s hitai-ate was the last to hit the floor. Awake now and full of renewed lust, the younger alpha pounced on him, pulling him onto the bed while Iruka rolled onto his back to stretch out like a lazy, pregnant cat. Tenzo’s lips crashed into his, fingers tangled into silver strands to tip Kakashi’s head back and explore the inside of his mouth with his tongue.
How delightful, to be able to smell, taste, and feel the world the way an alpha did for the first time.
“Slow down.” Kakashi held Tenzo’s face in both hands and pulled them apart. The knot had gone down, but Tenzo’s hard-on was still full and red and pressed needily into Kakashi’s belly. Years of experience had taught him that desperation to ease the ache quickly didn’t speed up the rutting process. It only left an alpha chafed and miserable.
They fell together in a tangle of limbs, Kakashi on his back and Tenzo hovering above, settled between his legs. Kakashi took both their erections in hand and stroked while his thumb swiped through the moisture on each tip.
“Senpai, can I...?” He pushed one of Kakashi’s legs back and pressed fingers to his entrance. “I need—”
“You need to stop calling me senpai in bed. Time to graduate to something new.” Kakashi pretended to pause for a moment in consideration. “Like daddy.”
From the other side of the bed, Iruka sputtered, and the way Tenzo’s whole face coloured hotly as he mouthed the word filled him with glee.
“It’ll be good practice, don’t you think? You’ll be hearing it a lot.”
And, well, there was nothing quite like the range of emotions that played across the younger alpha’s face as he breathed out a quiet, “Oh.”
Iruka was giving him The Look now, like it was rude to make your bed partner have an existential crisis about his impending parenthood while mid-rut. As though it weren’t already obvious from the way he was going around smelling like sweet milk and honey. Even now, as he pressed a hand to his back and slid it to his middle, he looked worn and breathless from the weight he carried.
Bottle of lube in hand, the omega crawled to them, and Tenzo pulled him in close, held out his hand so Iruka could coat his fingers and guide them into Kakashi’s entrance. They curled and stretched as the silver-haired alpha continued to stroke their cocks in unison. When Tenzo replaced the fingers with his erection, the force with which he slid in sent lightning up Kakashi’s spine that had nothing to do with his chakra. He had never taken another alpha’s cock before while they were in rut, but he knew how it felt to have the knot pulsing at the base of his erection, aching to pop again and again.
“Fuck,” Tenzo moaned.
He pressed further into Kakashi until his leg was practically over one shoulder. The cock drove in harder, angling for the spot deep inside. “You have to slow down,” Kakashi told him. At this rate, the other alpha’s legs would give out on him before the night was over.
Whatever Tenzo’s response was had been chased away by the kiss Iruka pressed to his ear. “We’ve got all night, daddy,” he murmured.
The groan that preceded Tenzo’s orgasm was punched out and guttural, and it didn’t take long for Kakashi to follow him over the edge once he felt the tell-tale tug of the knot against his rim.
At some point once the evening sky shifted to deep purple and blue, Iruka left to finish the stew in the kitchen. The persistent niggling of guilt that his mate couldn’t fully participate in the rut kept Kakashi from following him out of the bedroom, and he hadn’t missed the fact that Iruka hadn’t come earlier. He’d said they had all night, but Kakashi wondered how true that was.
Tenzo dozed off again close to an hour later, but Iruka still hadn’t returned. Kakashi pulled on a pair of boxers and padded into the living room to find him curled around a pillow on the couch, eyes closed but breathing too erratically to be asleep. A bowl of stew sat on the kotatsu nearby, untouched and cold.
Brown eyes opened slowly as Kakashi approached. “Sorry. I forgot the food.”
He remembered the way Iruka had been rubbing his back and middle, saw his hand near the same place now, and frowned. “How close together are the pains?”
For a long moment, the omega looked as though he were staring at nothing. “Half hour, maybe.”
“We probably do have all night, then.”
Great. One mate in rut. The other one in labour. Just another day for the Rokudaime Hokage.
Iruka nodded. “I was just thinking that this is the last night I’m going to be able to lay here and relax.” He made air quotes around the last word.
Kakashi knelt on the floor next to the couch and laid his head and his hand on the swell of belly. The baby was awake a little and squirming unhappily, seeming just as displeased at the idea of having to leave home. He sent a small chakra pulse in reassurance. “Guess I’m going to be daddy for real tomorrow.”
It was thrilling and terrifying to think about, that he would be responsible for this new person's upbringing when he’d barely had a parent to learn from himself. Everything he knew about children he’d learned from his successes and failures with Team 7, as well as from watching Iruka. He would miss the feeling of holding Iruka while he was round and full of baby. Of course, there would be more children in the future if he had his way, but there was nothing quite like the anticipation of a first child.
A quiet sniffle caught his attention. Iruka had draped an arm over his face, and Kakashi could imagine the way his expression had stubbornly scrunched up, like he was trying to will away treacherous tears. “I don’t want Tenzo to miss it.”
Kakashi didn’t think he would. First ruts were like a chakra blast: powerful and all-consuming but ultimately short in duration. But even if Tenzo’s wasn’t, “He would sooner cut his own dick off than miss the birth of this child.”
Iruka had his face in both hands now, chuckling wetly. “Well. That’s a mental image.” His body shook with laughter until it stiffened and he pressed a hand to his back. “Oh, fuck. This doesn’t feel great.”
Kakashi lifted his head to glance at the clock on the wall and began counting. They had maybe twenty minutes before Tenzo woke again, and he wondered whether they’d have to reassess their timeline if Iruka had another contraction before that happened.
Things never did go according to plan when it came to children. Kakashi had suspected their baby might not come at a convenient time, especially since it was already ahead of Iruka’s due date. But for someone who wanted to arrive early, the kid was sure as hell taking their sweet time getting here.
Nineteen hours later, Kakashi had finally left the hospital room to put food in his belly at Tsunade’s insistence. He’d slept perhaps a total of three hours, catching naps in between the tail end of Tenzo’s rut and when Iruka’s labour had started in earnest. By the morning, the contractions were so close that Iruka had to be admitted. Since then, progress had been slow.
Babies came at their own pace, Tsunade had said, but he suspected even she did not anticipate it taking this long. Iruka’s water had only broken an hour ago, after which he’d been screaming in earnest with each contraction until the Godaime had placed a seal on his lower back to ease the pain.
It couldn’t be stopped completely, she’d explained, because without the pain it would be hard for him to feel the contractions and know when to push. But it at least took the edge off, and it kept Tenzo — who was already a frazzled mess from his rut recovery — from having a complete mental breakdown.
And Kakashi as well. It was unbearable to watch helplessly as someone he loved hurt so badly.
He must have looked a sight: the Hokage sitting in the middle of a hospital hallway, holding a take out box of pork buns while his leg bounced anxiously. If he went back into the room too early, Tsunade would throw him out again, but he couldn’t eat. He felt like he would vomit the moment food touched his stomach. He couldn’t get his mind to stop running through the worst scenarios.
What if they had to cut Iruka open? What if he bled too much? What if the baby got stuck and its heart rate plummeted? What if the baby was still too early and couldn’t breathe well enough? What if the baby was missing fingers or toes? What if—
“Sensei.” Sakura’s red tunic appeared in his vision before he lifted his head. She sat down beside him on the hallway bench, looking like she wanted to give reassurance but not sure if she should touch him. A question brimmed inside her, maybe about why Tsunade wouldn’t let her into the delivery room to assist with the birth, or maybe it was a simple inquiry about Iruka’s progress, but she didn’t ask.
He offered her the box of food, but she shook her head until her pink ponytail bobbed. “You’re going to end up like one of those alphas that faints in the delivery room if you don’t eat.”
It was just as well. The food could go to Tenzo, who was not as free to come and go from Iruka’s room as he was.
“Stubborn kid, just like dad,” Kakashi said, because he could at least tell her that much. “Won’t go anywhere without a fight.”
“Poor Iruka-sensei,” she sighed. “But you know there is no way Tsunade-shisho will let anything happen if she can help it.”
He knew. That didn’t stop him from worrying about the things she couldn’t help.
“You’ll let me come see, right?” she asked him, green eyes dancing hopefully. “After it’s born? This is going to be the most spoiled baby. So many uncles and aunts.”
And fathers. Kakashi smirked behind his mask as he nodded to her.
Tsunade poked her head out of the delivery room door, motioned for Kakashi to follow her inside, and his breath caught in his throat when she told him, “Showtime, papa.”
She let him inside the room, permeated with a wonderful mixture of cedarwood and sweet milk, and then shut the door. Iruka, laid out in a mess of sheets, his hair in disarray and his face wrenched in agony and exhaustion, immediately reached for his hand. Kakashi put the box of food aside and clasped both his hands around his mate’s. On his other side, Tenzo sat on the edge of the bed, one arm wrapped around Iruka’s shoulders to support him as he began to sit up. His other was enduring a grip from the chuunin so tight that his hand was nearly blue.
Tenzo gave Kakashi a look he never thought possible — half-harrowed, half-elated. Between the three of them, he’d probably had the most sleep in the past 24 hours, and still he looked and smelled like the traces of rut were coursing through him. Skin flush with adrenaline, eyes bright with terror and excitement.
“We’re a team, right?” he asked, echoing Iruka’s words from weeks ago.
Kakashi smiled with his eyes. He didn’t trust his voice to form words without trembling.
“All right, Iruka,” Tsunade said, snapping on a pair of gloves. “Time to have a baby.”
So it went for the next tortuous hour, Iruka screaming and gasping and swearing and pushing. Tenzo petting hair drenched in sweat and whispering encouragement. Kakashi letting his hand be squeezed, pushing soft waves of chakra through their joined fingers when the chuunin had finally drained himself down to his barest reserves.
And suddenly the room was full of tiny wailing. Tsunade plopped a small, dark-haired baby onto Iruka’s belly — a girl, as red-faced and angry and omega as the one who had birthed her.
Iruka wept, then, somehow able to summon enough energy to let the fat drops of tears roll down his face. Tsunade pushed a pair of shears into Kakashi’s bewildered grasp, like that was somehow a wise idea, and tasked him to cut the cord with shaking hands. The baby was swabbed and swaddled and secured in Iruka’s embrace, and he held her like a lifeline, bringing her cheek to his and scenting her through the salty mess on his face.
“Congratulations, dad,” Tsunade told Kakashi. “She’s beautiful.”
“She looks like Iruka-kun,” Tenzo sobbed.
“Thank the gods,” the Godaime said with a smirk. “She got a name yet?”
“Kohari,” Iruka cried.
At some point after delivery, they moved Iruka to a bigger room to recover. They had all passed her around, cuddling and scenting her, counting all her fingers and toes (ten!), til her little scrunched up face whined in hunger and Iruka let her latch on to nurse. Then he had promptly eaten a pork bun and passed out.
Now Tenzo sat in an armchair next to Iruka’s bed and held Kohari close, inhaled her sweet, powdery omega scent and ran a thumb gently over the thatch of brown hair that was peeking out of her little cap. Kakashi watched from the couch across the room, intimately aware of how entrancing it was to peer at that baby doll face, into those almond shaped eyes that were beautiful slate-grey, and identify the familiar features. He was supposed to be sleeping, too, but the nagging knowledge that he still had something to do kept him awake.
The scroll from the top drawer in his office had been stored in a vest pocket, and he fished it out, then took it over to the table where the paperwork for the birth certificate lay and unrolled it. He summoned the same two forms he had shown Tsunade earlier. The top one now only required Tenzo’s signature on the spouse line.
Tenzo looked up as Kakashi approached with papers and brush. “Is that the birth certificate?” he asked in confusion. “I thought we agreed you would—” His eyes scanned the top line of the first form, and then his whole face coloured. “Senpai. Is this your idea of a marriage proposal?”
Kakashi pulled the mask down and grinned at him. “We’re one, big, happy family now. I suppose we should close the loop and make it official.”
The other alpha flipped the paper up to examine the second form below, and his eyes went wide. “This is a deed!”
Kakashi nodded. “I still own the land where my family home used to be. I suppose it’s time to start rebuilding before Kohari-chan here gets more brothers and sisters.” He fished Tenzo’s sketchbook out of his vest and handed it back to its owner. “This might come in handy.”
They couldn’t build anytime soon, of course. So long as Kakashi was Hokage, they would be limited in how they could behave in public. He knew Iruka and Tenzo worried— about how big their family could grow in their private little home. About how their children would be forced to navigate the complexities of having two fathers in public and three in private. About how Tenzo would have to keep his newly blossoming alpha nature under control. Even in the very process of bringing this new child into the world, they had walked a fine line of discretion and discovery and had not come out unscathed.
So many questions unanswered. So many more still yet to be known.
Eventually, maybe soon, people would find out. It was hard to hide things in a shinobi village, and Kakashi, who kept his very appearance a secret, preferred not to add to the list of lies he had to live. But he loved Tenzo and he loved Iruka, and until the day they were ready to bring their love to light, he would do everything in his power to respect and protect their family.
Tenzo pulled him down to his knees in front of the chair, then beckoned him into a kiss that held the promise of whatever future they could make together. Kohari gurgled softly between them.