(otherwise known as a totally lame-arsed excuse to say that, despite the efforts of this past month to kill me from overworked exhaustion or hair-tearing frustration or both, yes I am still kind of alive somehow...)
Sakura came down the stairs yawning and scrubbing at her eyes; Sasuke was already awake, and... she blinked and scrubbed her eyes some more.
No, nothing wrong with her eyes... the unflappable Uchiha Sasuke actually did have an expression on his face.
"Don't go in the kitchen," Sasuke said, a quick, almost desperate hiss under his breath.
...The expression actually involved blushing. Sasuke blushing was a sight that made Sakura desperately wish she had a camera to record the moment for posterity and frame and possibly make copies of to put under her pillow for a great deal of future fantasizing, except that maybe it was better that she didn't have a camera because this way she was the only one in the world who could legitimately claim to have seen the lusciousness which was Sasuke blushing, whereas if she'd had a camera Ino would have laid eyes on the picture sooner or later meaning Sakura would no longer be able to lord it over her, so all in all it was better that she didn't have a camera really, because this way the sight was all hers and...
...Iruka-sensei made a startled little yelp, and then a very sheepish giggle, and Sasuke actually flinched.
Sasuke was across the room in half a second, both hands over her mouth frantically, shaking his head at her. Half a hiss and half a whisper, he gasped, "I told you -- don't go in the kitchen..."
--because Iruka-sensei shrieked then, and there was a thump, and a near-incoherent growl: "You-- you manipulative bastard--"
"Must've hit a good spot," Kakashi said with a chuckle that should have been confiscated for indecent exposure despite the fact that there was nothing visible to lay hands on.
"You -- oh -- oh, God-- right there--"
"Damn it, yes-- right there-- oh-- oh, God, that's... oh-hhh!"
Sakura stared at Sasuke, whose face was a brighter pink than her hair. She made a few incredulous squeaking sounds behind his palm, gesturing incoherently toward the kitchen, and he shushed her again.
"Shut up; do you want them to hear us?" he whispered.
Sakura shook her head a little, and he let her go, and they stared at each other for a frozen moment, identically trapped and near-identically blushing. Sakura's mind was frantically working through the possibilities.
The stairs creak like mad, can't go back up them, the front door's lock is stiff and it practically echoes when you wrench it open the first time in a morning, it's not our house so I can't just break a window, not to mention how loud -- and embarrassing -- that would be -- and it looks like Sasuke's been thinking the same thing longer than I have--
--and there were more feet clattering down the stairs far too loudly. Combined with the spine-chilling horror which was Naruto's breakfast song, which seemed to consist largely of "Ramen ramen raaaaaaaamen ramen ramennnnn!"
Sakura and Sasuke traded a horrified look, lunged in unison -- and tripped over each other lunging for Naruto. Sasuke ended up face-first on the floor with Sakura's head under the crook of his knee and her foot wedged between the last couple stairs and her elbow in the hollow between ribs and hips.
Naruto paused long enough to blink down in bafflement at both of them.
Having just had all the air knocked out of him, Sasuke barely managed a few wheezing fish faces, but Sakura scraped enough wind into her lungs to gasp, "Don't go into the kitchen!"
"But the cup ramen's in there!"
And Naruto blithely hopped over the tangle of them both and trotted on into the kitchen.
Sakura made a noise something like a hyperventilating teapot: "Gyiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeee--!"
Sasuke shoved her off and scrambled to his feet, wild-eyed. "That idiot--"
"Now what the hell do we do?" Sakura asked at the same moment. They stared at each other helplessly.
Then they blinked, and stared at each other some more, because there hadn't been any screams of outrage from Naruto or Kakashi or frantic attempts at loud humiliated public suicide from Iruka.
"I don't smell any blood yet," Sasuke breathed. "Go look."
"ME? Why ME?" Sakura hissed.It's your idea, YOU go--"
And then they both heard a sound that made their blood run cold: Naruto's voice... interested.
"Hey, that looks like fun," the irrepressible brat said gleefully. "Can I try?"
"Naruto, you IDIOT!" Sakura roared, storming into the kitchen to drag him out by the scalp if necessary; Sasuke was half a step behind her, and they nearly tripped over each other again when their eyes focused involuntarily on the kitchen's contents.
Iruka was sitting backwards on a kitchen chair, arms crossed on its back, slumped over with his back arched into Kakashi's hands, and Kakashi was standing behind him with both palms leaning into Iruka's back, one between the shoulders and the other just above the hips and...
wait a minute...
all their clothing was still in place...
as in, ALL their clothing...
Sasuke made an incoherent little questioning noise, gesturing helplessly at the scene. Iruka lifted his head with a bit of an effort, and ran a hand through his hair sheepishly.
"Was I being too loud? I'm sorry, I didn't mean to wake you up -- it's just that my back aches so much lately, from the baby's weight, and so Kakashi was giving me a backrub..."
"A backrub?" Sakura echoed stupidly.
"I'm sorry if it sounded more like a torture session, really I am!" Iruka sighed deeply, trying to summon the indignation to glare up at his lover. "It's just that he knows exactly where to push to make me scream..."
"It's a talent," Kakashi said, with no shame at all.
"I told you we'd bother the kids! But would you listen?"
Sasuke toppled over backwards and hit the floor with a solid thud.
Around a mouthful of ramen, Naruto asked, "Huh?"
Kakashi's one visible eye was watching Sakura's scarlet face with far too much amusement dancing in his expression. "So, would you like to join in too, Sakura-chan? Since we already know Naruto's a joiner and all..."
Sakura had the feeling her face was about the same color as her dress. She stammered something completely incoherent, grabbed Sasuke by the ankle, and dragged them both out of the kitchen hastily.
Kakashi half-collapsed into another chair, laughing aloud.
Iruka blinked two or three times. "Kakashi...?"
This, of course, simply started him laughing louder.
Iruka and Naruto looked at each other, shrugged, and Naruto slurped down the last of his ramen and deposited the bowl in the sink. "So, Iruka-sensei, can I try that too?"
"If you like..."
Kakashi actually fell out of his chair, doubled up around aching ribs, wheezing with hilarity.
"What's his problem?" Naruto asked suspiciously. Iruka rolled his eyes and shrugged a little.
author's note 1: Kakashi knew Sasuke and Sakura were out there listening, and he guessed what they were thinking about what they were hearing, and was deliberately playing off that; on the other hand, Iruka fortunately wasn't dirty-minded enough to have immediately twigged to that, at least not yet. ;; It's probably a good thing for the flooring that Iruka hasn't figured that part out yet, because otherwise they'd be redecorating in suou-iro, aka. the color of dried blood, courtesy of Kakashi's generous contributions toward the redecorating cause of course, being such a devoted husband and all...
author's note 2: Yes, this is horrible fanfic. ;; It's a one-hour one-shot and with name changes this could work for about any series on the planet, which is one of several things that makes it horrible fanfic, but this is mostly my excuse to try to have time to slap together something that's not just an author's note and therefore not in violation of policy in order to say yes, I'm still alive.
So can people please stop sending me messages that say "update now or else" or "where have you been" or anything else that amounts to "write faster you lazy slacker"? If you'd had the month I'd had, between a more than full time job AND costuming AND staffing AND panel presentation at two conventions in the space of four weeks, you'd be grateful to sleep let alone write...
I don't know when I'm going to have another chance to update actual Side Effects or Promises to Keep again. I know it's been a month on Side Effects and longer than that on Promises. If I could get the time to relax and write OR translate, I would. Just trust me, I'm not randomly blowing things off. I have to sleep sometime... which I'm about to do because it's midnight-thirty... ;;
I might come back some other time and make this better, it's a concept that could be entertaining if I actually worked on it, I just didn't have more than an hour to do it in this time through... need sleep...