A/N: Final challenge from an old whiteknuckle meme, requested
by haruno. Fandom: Naruto; title: "Lost in Carrot Soup"; line:
"Well, if you really think this'll work . . ."; pairing:
ShikaSaku. She said she wasn't sure if this fic was even
possible to write. amused So you know I couldn't resist,
babes . . .
Seriously though: dude, fics that turn out like this one are why
I LOVE memes. hearts it big-time
"Lost in Carrot Soup"
"Well, if you really think this'll work . . ." Sakura said
doubtfully, eyeing the cookbook open on the counter in front of
"He's got a cold, right?" Shikamaru replied with a sigh. "Soup
is for colds. And everyone makes chicken soup. So if you want
to stand out from the other girls, make something different."
"You really ARE a genius, aren't you." She gave him an admiring
look, eyes already starry with the thought of Sasuke's impending
gratitude- surely he'd go out with her now! He might even let
her have his first kiss with a girl (damn Naruto for getting the
first one period . . .).
Inner Sakura was so busy fantasizing that Outer Sakura didn't
even notice when Shikamaru grudgingly started chopping carrots-
the sooner the soup was done, the sooner he could get back to
cloud-watching. Sakura had more or less kidnapped him as soon
as she'd found out Sasuke was sick, figuring that if she denied
Ino of Shikamaru's super-genius IQ she'd come out on top in the
situation. Somehow this had ended in Sakura dragging him to her
apartment and taping an exploding note on all of the exits, just
in case. They could get out the hard way later, she figured.
Or she could just invite Naruto over to set off the notes
himself. He was a resilient guy, after all.
Shikamaru was tossing the last of the ingredients into the pot
by the time Sakura finally woke up from a rather detailed
daydream involving Sasuke wearing a lace-up poet's shirt and
tight leather pants as he rode bareback over a sandy beach
towards her. She'd just been mentally designing her thin white
dress and plotting a small, timely tidal wave when Shikamaru
hissed in irritation as the boiling water spat at him.
Sakura blinked and looked over to him, surprised out of her
fantasy by the rude intrusion of reality. "Run it under cold
water," she advised distractedly.
Shikamaru just sighed, picking up the ladle to stir the soup
with his uninjured hand and sucking on the small burn. "It
doesn't matter. It's fine."
"If you say so." Sakura shrugged, leaning back against the
counter and then suddenly starting as a realization came to her.
"Oh! What if Sasuke-kun asks if I made the soup myself?!" she
cried in distress.
"Lie," Shikamaru suggested flatly, though he seriously doubted
Sasuke would even bother to ask. "You're a woman, after all."
Sakura gave this due consideration, completely missing the
insulting undertones. Shikamaru sampled the soup and made a
face. Too garlicky for his tastes. Then again, Sasuke might
like a lot of garlic (assuming that Sasuke liked anything), so
what did it matter? At least it was almost done.
To pass the last minute or two while it heated up, he ran down a
mental list of the people who'd made soup or something like it
for the Uchiha today. Ino had been recruiting Chouji to help
her make leek soup when he'd last seen her (she had also
received the benefits of Shikamaru-advice, despite Sakura-
interference), Naruto had picked up chicken ramen at the
Ichiraku (he wondered, did that technically count?), Kiba and
Shino had nearly walked into him with Hinata's covered bowl of
some complicated assortment of medicinal herbs stewed together
(she'd been too shy to go herself but had wanted to know if her
new medicine worked), Gai and Lee, accompanied by an exasperated
Tenten and bored Neji, had been yelling something up at Sasuke's
window about "the beautiful and lively liquid of youth" (that he
didn't even want to ASK about), and he'd seen Kakashi leaving a
suspicious-looking brown package on Sasuke's doorstep as he
passed (although, frankly, he rather doubted that had anything
to do with soup, unless it involved food fetishes).
So, in a nutshell, Sasuke had a cold and the whole damn world
was fussing over him. Shikamaru might have found a quiet,
sadistic amusement in it, but he knew that if he'd been in the
other's shoes he'd have run for the hills.
And the soup was about to boil over, whoops.
Shikamaru snatched it off the stove quickly and turned off the
burner, giving Sakura a meaningful look.
"What?" she asked blankly.
"A bowl . . .?" Shikamaru suggested dryly, and Sakura yelped in
dismay and scrambled to find one.
"Ahhhh, we don't have ANYTHING nice enough for Sasuke-kun!" she
wailed a minute later from her place on the floor, surrounded by
what, to Shikamaru, looked like several dozen perfectly
functional bowls. Knowing Sasuke, the other wouldn't even
notice the damn thing anyway except as something that kept the
soup from slopping all over him.
Deciding that explaining this to Sakura would be impossible,
Shikamaru settled for slipping his foot under the nearest vessel
of appropriate size and flipping it into the air, catching and
filling it smoothly, then setting it on the counter and going
off to look for something to cover it with, lest Sakura spill it
on the way to Sasuke's.
Sakura started in surprise when he leaned down and presented her
with the neatly wrapped bowl- she hadn't been paying attention
again- and looked up at him, blinking stupidly. "Thank you,"
she said sheepishly. Shikamaru was almost impressed- it had
only taken her two hours to remember that phrase.
"Yeah, whatever," he said dismissively, straightening up and
putting on a bored face. "Need anything else, or can I get back
to my bench?"
Sakura smiled at him and got to her feet, cradling the soup as
if it were something precious. It was a gift for someone she
cared about, Shikamaru reminded himself. Not a gift FROM
someone she cared about. Not that.
Sakura deactivated the exploding note over the front door.
"Thanks," she said again, smile widening, and he just shrugged.
"It means a lot to me, you know?" Another shrug in reply.
She gave him a peck on the cheek as he passed. It was platonic.
It was friendly.
It was a damn sight more than he'd have gotten from her this
Shikamaru privately hoped that Sasuke came down with the flu
. : carrots are good for seeing in the dark : .