Disclaimer: Naruto and its characters belong to Masashi Kishimoto.

For weeks now, she had subtly sent out the warning, requesting help that never came, and it left her far too ignored and under appreciated. With lips pressed into a thin line, Uchiha Mikoto willed herself to stay composed as she crisply turned into the parking space. Placing the car in park, she momentarily glanced into the rear view mirror at her boys. As she suspected, neither had bothered to hear a word she'd just said a few moments ago.

They were good boys, really they were...high achievers, keeping busy with all the demands of being an Uchiha while maintaining good grades. But this was a tough week for her, one that would have dictated everyone to have chipped in to help out. Unfortunately they were young and boys, something that often made them oblivious to her and the world around them.

Itachi, her eldest, had his eyebrows scrunched together in thought as he listened to the latest message from her husband through his earbuds. He had plenty of homework of his own, but prodigy that he was, he reserved the drive back from school to work on issues that her husband, Fugaku, would leave on his cellphone. The quiet time in the car was a perfect time to listen to those messages and formulate solutions before he saw him at dinnertime. Advanced coursework did not allow for distractions, so Itachi pushed himself to work swiftly before their tires even hit the driveway. He was already leagues ahead of established businessmen in the field, but his mother was insistent he have the opportunity to socialize with his peers and determined he not skip out of school nor be pushed ahead out of haste. As a result, the Uchiha heir was placed a few grades ahead and allowed time to be with others his age. On any given day, his mother made sure only a small amount of his time was carved out to address the family's company issues. This meant time management was key to deal with all he had on his plate, and to please everyone, he settled on this arrangement so he could live up to the expectations of his father and leave plenty of time to devote his studies.

Sasuke, her youngest, had less family demands on him but still had his own busy lifestyle. As captain of the debate, track, soccer, and cross country teams, he was constantly updating teammates on meets and answering questions before they arrived home and he could get to his homework. Today, for once, he wasn't texting but apparently a new game that just came out had him glued to his screen. His eyes sparkled at the notion of conquering it, and being caught up in the excitement of it all, he inadvertently had ignored her.

"Boys," she said again, keeping her voice even and calm even though she was exasperated. "We just need to pick up milk and rice, so stay close to me." No wandering, explicit in the command. "This is to be a quick trip," she stressed.

The warning was in place. She knew Sasuke had a weakness to wander off to the tomato section in the produce area, and Itachi almost always followed along and catered to his brother's whims. It was also a well known fact that sample reps were often out near that area in the back of the store during this time of day, luring in unsuspecting shoppers to try a new treat, but her schedule did not allow for that, and she made it crystal clear that today they needed to be efficient.

Her sons both glanced up momentarily when she exited the car, then everyone proceeded to get out.

"Understood?" she confirmed on their way in. Despite the confused looks on their faces, they both responded with a courteous, "Yes, mother."

There was a small nagging suspicion that neither bothered to listen, so she followed up with a promise.

"Do Not Delay. There will be consequences if we're late," she warned. Sasuke just smirked at his screen while Itachi remained lost in thought, obviously paying attention to his father's voice through his earbuds, and not hers.

A small grocery cart was secured and the beeline to the dairy aisle went smoothly, followed by a grab of a rice bag and she was off. Itachi followed slowly behind looking thoughtful, while Sasuke's fingers madly banged upon his screen determined, and in a mad frenzy to level up.

Withdrawing one of his earbuds, Itachi turned to his mother to provide a gentle reminder his father requested of him: "The CEO's wife enjoyed your puff pastries the last time. Father left me a message to suggest you make them tonight."

Closing her eyes briefly, she hid her irritation with somewhat of a forced smile. It was one more thing to add to the list of to dos. Why Fugaku picked this day of all days to have business associates meet at their home was beyond her. With the constant caretaking of Fugaku's ailing mother and all the directions her family pushed her in, it was a wonder she even had time for just the general needs of the household, let alone any extras.

Curtly making a turn to enter the baking aisle, she found the bread flour and made a brief stop for the eggs. A glance down at her watch pressed her panic button. Goodness, was it really 3:15?!

Maintaining her composure, she stood in the 10 items or less express line, berating herself for not rushing through her shopping faster.

Items bagged, and with no time to spare, she glanced back to call her boys to head out to the car...only to find no one was behind her. In fact there was no trace of them in any of the aisles she glanced down!

Really? The nerve...!

Whipping out her cellphone, fingers flying over the keys, she texted them:

Checked out and ready to leave. Meet me at the front.

Time ticked by but there was no response. No response! Itachi was too busy thinking on the recorded message of his father and Sasuke was ignoring her texts as he was just on the verge of leveling up on his game.

Outwardly calm but roiling with emotion, Mikoto asked fate why this was happening to her as she closed her eyes to calm her frazzled nerves.

Noticing she'd already paid and checked out but hadn't moved out of the store, the cashier at the front interrupted her thoughts to ask a question.

"Excuse me, Miss. Is there anything I can do to help you with?" she inquired.

As soon Mikoto turned in her direction, there was instant recognition.

"Uchiha Mikoto?" came a surprised voice.

Mikoto looked equally bewildered and smiled at the brunette in the cashier's lane.

"Ah, Nara Yoshino. Apologies. I was in my own world and didn't see you there. How have you been?"

"It's been quite a week but I'm managing. And you?"

"Fine," Mikoto replied, though she was sure with the stress, her words were far from genuine. She didn't know the Nara was now working as a grocery clerk, and then she remembered. "Ah, that's right, I had forgotten you'd mentioned you'd be helping the Akimichi's at their supermarket until Momoko-san returns from her trip. How is it going?" She asked politely.

"The free sample sales people have brought in a lot of the teenage crowd and more customers in general, so it's been much busier than normal, but I've gotten faster with transactions over the past few days so that's helped."

Yoshino worked quickly to process another customer and noticed Mikoto made no attempt to move or excuse herself. "I'm always happy to chat but...uh...is there anything I can help you with?" she inquired.

A million thoughts, demands, and irritations ran through Mikoto's mind but she kept them to herself. She did her best to display a calm facade but after looking side to side she realized she was standing at the front of the store without purpose and that deserved an explanation. "Goodness, I feel silly just standing here, but I seem to have lost my boys," she said apologetically while simultaneously moving her cart over to the side.

"Lost them? Yoshino was confused.

"Well, not exactly lost them," Mikoto confessed. "They..."

"Ignored you and went off to do their own thing?" the Nara finished.

Eyes wide, Mikoto nodded. "How did you know?"

"That kind of behavior used to happen frequently with Shikamaru earlier this year. I guess those teenage hormones must have caused his brain to get confused and forgetful. That, or he was transitioning into the male selective hearing stage."

Mikoto hid her smile at that. She always enjoyed Yoshino's straight to the point nature. There was no way she could behave like that in front of the Uchiha family but she supposed that was why she adored the Nara's boldness all the more.

"Anyway, it's a good thing I put a stop to that when I did."

That caught the Uchiha's attention. "Wait. You were able to do that?"

Yoshino nodded.

"But...How?" Mikoto blurt aloud, suddenly all ears in learning of any solution that would stop this sort of thing in its tracks.

"Granted my methods were a little less conventional and probably not what any teen would appreciate, but it worked like a charm and that's all that mattered to me."

At 3:30 with precious seconds still ticking away, Mikoto was quick to reach out. "To be honest, I could really use some help today. I'm in a rush and need to get home this instant. If there are any tips to be shared, I'm all ears."

Yoshino sympathized. "Hmmmm. I'm not really sure my method would be appropriate for you, but I'm game to try if you're willing. If it works, consider it an early Mother's Day gift."

"Mother's Day?" Mikoto repeated surprised. "Oh my. I'd almost forgotten."

"Yes. And since it's just a few days away, it's only right to help a fellow mother out, right? Corralling boys can frustrating when in a rush, especially when they are moving on their own time."

"That's for sure," Mikoto agreed.

"I believe when a mother speaks, sons need to jump and listen," Yoshino confessed, but her boldness fizzled when she remembered she was speaking to the Uchiha matriarch. It was then she decided to correct herself. "Of course, maybe this isn't everyone's opinion and..."

"No. No. I agree," Mikoto was quick to respond. "And today I've reached my limit. Earlier I promised pay back if I was ignored and it's only right to deliver. Empty threats will never produce better behavior."

Yoshino was not only shocked but impressed. "Well okay then. Mother to mother, I'll get them here in a flash. You can just worry about getting home. I have to warn you there may be a bit of embarrassment to go along with it though."

"If it results in remediating bad behavior, I'm willing to try anything at this point," Mikoto said desperately, looking down at her watch which read 3:32. Yikes! By this time, she should have already been in the car driving home!

"Shikamaru definitely responded better with a simple change in tactic. Boys always listen to their fathers but they need to remember not to neglect their mothers. Triggering my son's inner voice to pay attention to me was long overdue."

Yoshino's words seemed like something only in a dream and Mikoto welcomed any magic offered that might bring it to fruition.

With a flash of mischief in her eyes, Yoshino picked up the checker's phone. If there was one thing she hated most, it was to see teens disrespect their mothers and take advantage of them. It would be Mother's Day this weekend and she felt it was a good time to make a difference...to take a stand.

"Sometimes it's not what you say, but how you say it," Yoshino explained. "Shikamaru left me on a lurch a few weeks ago and it infuriated me," she admitted, "but after being called out for his inattentiveness while in the company of his friends, he's since done a 180 and improved dramatically. Lazy as he is, if he hears me call his name now he's quick to respond."

"Amazing. What do I need to do?"

"Nothing. Just stand there and let them come to you."

"Come to me?" Mikoto could hardly believe that. "Count me in."

Another customer with children passed through the checkout and gave them a smile.

"You're looking for both Itachi and Sasuke, correct?" Yoshino verified.


"To be fair, I'll first give them a chance with a gentle reminder," Yoshino promised. "We'll give them a few seconds to act but if nothing happens, I'll move to a different tactic. At that point, be ready to move as I'm sure they'll be out of the store in no time. If I don't see you have a Happy Mother's Day."

Mikoto looked confused but nodded all the same.

Teens lined up for the free sample section in the back of the store, and Sasuke was no exception. Itachi stood to the side, lost in his own world but kept an eye on his brother. Several of Sasuke's friends were waiting with him, as well as a few students Itachi recognized from his own class. The chip and dip sample table had the longest line but there were tomatoes in their sample so that was the line Sasuke chose to stand in.

"Yoshino switched on the microphone and soon the loud boom of an announcement was made.

"Attention please. Itachi and Sasuke report to register 10. Itachi and Sasuke please report to register 10."

The brothers thought their names were announced but they were so engrossed in their own worlds they ignored that fact. A few of their peers around them looked in their direction but no one said a word. In the meantime, more precious time ticked on and Mikoto's patience was wearing thin. As Yoshino expected, no one showed up after a few seconds had passed. She processed the next guest then gave a signal to indicate Mikoto should be ready to move. The Nara knew all too well that sinking feeling of being late because of Shikamaru's behavior in the past. The disrespect to Mikoto and the fact that many mothers had to endure the careless behaviors of their teens soon arose and fueled her irritation.

"See? No one pays attention when I'm too nice," Yoshino stated. "Time to call their attention to the fact that when a mother speaks, they should listen." With that, she picked up the checker phone again and made a second announcement. This time, clear as day, the message was received loud and clear. Itachi instantly froze as he heard the words resonate throughout the store. He removed his ear buds and nudged Sasuke to look up from his screen. Sasuke was irritated at first until he registered the words.

"Itachi and Sasuke to register 10 please! Boys, you'd better hur-ry," the announcer teased in a sing song voice. "Your Mommy is waiting for you at register 10." The second announcement was harder to hear with the uproar of laughter from every mother, father, teen, and kid. To their dismay, they couldn't escape all the eyes glued to them.

Ear buds danced off his shirt as Itachi grabbed his brother's hand and briskly walked to the front. Cheeks red, game forgotten, Sasuke wildly picked up the pace. Two very embarrassed teens tore out of the store, past their mother, and ducked next to their car.

"Wow, I'm impressed," Mikoto praised. "You're right, you certainly nailed that lesson home and it won't be forgotten any time soon!"

"Glad to be of help," Yoshino said. "It's important we Moms stick together," she emphasized. "Have a Happy Mother's Day," she chirped and Mikoto couldn't help but suppress a laugh.

Author's notes:

I debated on whether to post or not, but finally decided to. On this quiet day while we shelter in place, please consider leaving a review and/or better yet, I'd love for you to share your best embarrassing Mom story with me. Take care everyone and I hope it was a Happy Mother's Day for all the Moms out there.

P.S. Here's the omake I couldn't decide whether to add or not. I'll let you decide if it should end where it did or this one should have been tacked on.

After the Uchiha's made their way out of the store, Yoshino decided it was an ideal time to remind the teens in the store to honor their mothers. Once the laughter died down, she processed a few more customers, and took it upon herself to grab the checker's phone again. "Attention all. Mother's Day is this weekend. Take time to listen, and respect your mothers," she added. To her surprise, a heckler, a teen she was familiar with, tried to turn it into a joke.

"Yeah or you might get burned by the checker," he shouted.

Snickers and chuckles could be heard until...

"That's right, Inuzuka K-i-b-a," she enunciated loudly, and he froze.

Silenced reigned momentarily so she continued. "Lucky for you I'm not mad."

Relief shown on his face until...

"Especially since there's a special guest coming out to greet you."

For a moment he was confused until he saw the figure storming down the aisle. There was no mistaking just who it was and he paled.

"I guess you forgot I was here to stock the pet food today," his Mom roared.

It seemed like a sick joke and yet it was real. He was so in trouble!

She grabbed his arm and marched him out to the back.

A few snickered but no one dared laugh.

"I repeat young shoppers, remember listen to your Mom's and make it a memorable Mother's Day!" Yoshino chirped over the intercom, lifting the spirits of many overworked mother's throughout the store, and chuckling at the shock on many faces of kids she knew. With that she put the checker's phone down, pleased the message she wished to share was delivered loud and clear.

~The end