A Better Mousetrap
The Quintessential Sasuke Returns Fanfic
By: lazzchan and aishuu
Disclaimer: Kishimoto's, of course.
Rating: PG-13

They had always made a big deal about trying to bring Sasuke back to Konoha - especially Naruto - but none of them really considered what would happen if Sasuke didn't want to stay. For the remnants of Team 7, having Sasuke return was all that mattered.

Shikamaru could've told them the whole idea was doomed to failure, but no one ever bothered to ask him.

For one, having to tie Sasuke down and gag him so that he couldn't do any jutsu against them should have been the first clue. Knocking him out so that he couldn't protest, glare, or otherwise make a nuisance of himself and destroy the image of the 'rescue mission' was another sign.

It had taken them six years to get to this point, though, and Naruto was too stubborn to let it go - he'd promised Sakura he'd bring their teammate back, and he always kept his word. Besides, he was going to become Hokage in another month, and it was time to tie up all his loose ends. Picking Sasuke up, he balanced him on his shoulder, before heading back. Sasuke hadn't really grown that much taller, but neither had Naruto.

Really, he hadn't meant to hit Sasuke that hard--but when he saw the tell-tale lines of the curse spread across Sasuke's face once more, it seemed like the most logical choice. After all, he'd only wear himself out and then they'd end up dragging him--like they had when Sasuke tried to use the Level 2 seal against Neji. Shifting his friend slightly, he pondered at how much easier this was...

Sakura was waiting for them all of course--she had waited every time they had gone out to retrieve Sasuke, and even if he had to keep on inflicting brain damage (and possibly long lasting this time) on Sasuke to keep his promise to her, then so be it.

She didn't look that happy this time. It might have had something to do with her belly, swollen with seven months of pregnancy. The last time they'd brought Sasuke back - no, it was two times ago now - she had offered to help him restart the Uchiha clan. She'd been hoping that would make him want to stay, but no such luck. As soon as the pregnancy had been confirmed, he'd been off again. Sakura had not been amused by his deadbeat-dad antics.

Naruto had given Sasuke a severe lecture for that one--how was he supposed to start the Uchiha clan again if he just ran off on the girl that he got pregnant? He should be there watching her and for god's sake... hadn't he gotten over his brother complex yet? Sure, he had make Sasuke cry, but that was no reason to hunt down every person named Itachi and kill them simply because they shared the same name as his older brother. Personally, Naruto thought Sasuke was more messed up than Itachi was, which was why he needed to be told--quite firmly--that he belonged in Konoha.
Sakura tapped her foot impatiently when they finally arrived in front of the gate. "How is he?" she asked.

The rest of the group was looking more wrung out than Sasuke, and several just gave her dirty looks when they passed her, and the other half held out their hands for the money she owed them for going on the mission yet again. While Naruto would do it for nothing--because he made that promise and he just wanted Sasuke back, dangit... they were getting tired of the whole matter and demanded to get paid for doing what they now termed as an A-Class mission.

"We just knocked... um... he's sleeping, Sakura-chan." Naruto said sheepishly, slinging Sasuke off his shoulders and the other boy's head hitting the ground with a dull 'thunk'.

She rolled his eyes. "I can see that. Did you use the Rasengan on him this time? Or did Neji try out that move he's been working on, the Miracle Twirl?"

"It's the Dance of the Gods," Neji corrected her with a sniff.

She clearly wasn't interested in what the real name was and she nudged Sasuke with a sandaled foot. "He doesn't look like he's breathing this time."

"I didn't hit him that hard!" Kiba protested.

"You managed to land a hit?" Sakura asked with disbelief.

"Only because Akamaru tripped him!" Lee chimed in.

"It was Naruto." Shikamaru made a face, running a hand through a ponytail that had more twigs and leaves caught in it than what was contained in the forest. "He decided that Gamabunta would be a better form of transportation, but he ended up summoning that huge frog on top of Sasuke."

Sakura just sighed. "So whose turn is it to babysit? Kakashi's out of town, so someone else has to take a turn."

They all gave her a look at that, most of them shouting out a 'not me!' and running off before Sakura could clobber them. Naruto was the only one left, and with the look that Sakura was giving him, he knew there was no getting out of this one. "But I did it last time," he whined.

"And you let him get away!"

"You let him get away while you were sharing a bed!" Naruto protested. "Him blasting chidori at my face and then tossing me into the Forest of Death was not my fault!"

"Aren't you supposed to become Hokage? How can one missing nin manage to get the better of you?" she snapped back.

Naruto opened his mouth to protest, then closed it again, looking decidedly put out. "You weren't there." He muttered. "Everyone ... for some odd reason.. decided to leave us 'alone' for some 'special' time... whatever the hell that was supposed to mean."

Sakura wanted to run her head into a convenient wall. "You haven't been keeping up with Jiraiya's books, have you? He's created a subseries about Saruto and Nasuke," she said, throwing her hands up into the air. "What did you think they meant?"

"Eww... you mean people actually believed that nonsense about Kyuubi wanted kids or something?" He made a face. "That's just sick and we're both guys and if he wanted to lay a girl he had you already with a kid." He snorted and crossed his arms over his chest.

"I seem to recall an incident with Sexy-no-jutsu..." Sasuke took that moment to groan, coming back to consciousness. Sakura kicked him nonchalantly, sending him back to la la land.

Naruto didn't react to Sasuke being kicked, just peered down to make sure that Sasuke couldn't hear the conversation and continued. "Well... I thought that if he had a sexy girl to get a kid with--I mean... my sexy-no-jutsu has bigger... assets.. than you do and I thought Sasuke'd appreciate it more. But it wouldn't hold even past Sasuke getting... er... busy." He found that it was rather difficult to talk about it with Sakura, who was started to glower at him.

"I don't want details," she said. "Pick him up so we can bring him to Tsunade. She has a new curse-seal remover she wants to try."

"You act like it's a stain on a carpet." He muttered, hefting Sasuke over his shoulder again like he would a bag of training dummies.

"She'll find something that works!" Sakura asserted. "After it's gone, he won't want to run away!"

Naruto was not convinced. "That's what you said before I killed Orichimaru... and again about Itachi until Sasuke got rid of him."

She gave Naruto a considering look. "Well, he did want your power--are you sure Kyuubi can't go into heat and you can't get pregnant? You are stronger than me and I'm sure he'd appreciate it..." She tilted her head as Sasuke's head bounced over Naruto's back as the Hokage-to-be nearly lost his balance when Sakura made that suggestion. "Or just give him Kyuubi... we haven't tried that yet."

The fact that taking kyuubi out would kill Naruto didn't seem to phase her. "I kinda want to live," Naruto said.

Sakura blinked. "I forgot about that..."

Naruto growled at her, then sighed. "Plus, I tried to offer that to him last time, but he didn't even believe that kyuubi existed, even when I tried to prove it to him.

"How did you try to prove it?"

"Well, you know--I thought the red eyes and fangs and claws was a bit obvious.. but he didn't notice that during our original fight or any other time... so I kinda let kyuubi take over for a few minutes."
"Really?" Sakura's eyes were wide with fascination.

"It was a bad idea," Naruto said, firming his jaw in the way he did whenever he wasn't going to elaborate. Blowing up a good portion of the forest and rearranging the landscape probably wasn't the best way to go about things.. and plus, when he came back to himself, Sasuke had run off.

"Maybe we just need to get him a collar," Sakura said, scowling. "Then we can put a leash on him."

Naruto perked up at that. "I wonder if Kiba has spares?"

Of course, it would have to be one of those collars that acted like an electric fence, but knowing Sasuke he'd enjoy the pain and then... Naruto scowled again as they reached the Hokage's tower. "I hope the old hag has something that works this time."

"She'd better. Ino put 30 in the pool that we wouldn't be able to hold onto him for a week."

"She's just pissed cause Sasuke didn't sleep with her. He snuck out the window first."

Sakura smiled at that. It hadn't taken that much convincing to get Sasuke into bed with her. Of course, he'd been half-unconscious from the drugs Shizune had used, but... she had still outdone her rival!

Naruto gave her a look. "Yeah, but you realize your child is going to be a bastard?" He smirked. "I notice you didn't get him to marry you, like TenTen tricked him into doing."

"It was annulled!" Sakura protested.

Naruto snickered at that and nodded to the guards who didn't even react anymore to the half-dead Sasuke--they actually seemed more relaxed the more beat up the missing nin looked.

"You just keep telling yourself that," Naruto said, smirking. He'd long since gotten over his crush on Sakura, so he found her obsession with Sasuke amusing. Besides, it was hard to be infatuated with a woman who was waddling at seven months pregnant.

Sakura balled up a fist and was prepared to do damage to Naruto for that remark when there was a groan from Sasuke and dazed eyes opened. "You look fat, Sakura. And shut up... you're making my head hurt." Naruto blinked in surprise as Sasuke passed out again after that.

Naruto moved quickly to keep Sasuke out of the way so Sakura before she could wreck her vengeance on the father of her child. "Wait! Wait!" he yelped. "Why kill him after all you've paid to have him come back?"

Sakura growled and cracked her knuckles before turning watery eyes on Naruto. "He called me fat," she whimpered.

Naruto rolled his eyes and nudged Sasuke into the office with a foot. "Well, wait until he's healed or whatever to yell at him." He rubbed his forehead, the temples aching fiercely. "I do not want to deal with this when I become Hokage."

Tsunade looked up from her paperwork, a smirk on her lips as she saw Naruto's cargo. "Well, well - it's team 7," she drawled, folding her hands on the desk.

Naruto snarled at her. "Old hag..." He drawled out. "You're the Hokage for a reason. Find some way to keep his stubborn ass here."

"I already offered my advice," she purred. "If you kill him, he won't go anywhere."

"Without killing him, Tsunade-sama." Sakura held her stomach protectively. "We don't want him dead." Her eyes narrowed at the remembered comment of him calling her 'fat'. "Yet."

"Maybe a different seal?" she asked.

"We've already given him four, and none of those worked!" Naruto protested.

"But they look very pretty on all that white skin," Tsunade said dreamily.

Naruto frowned and then considered it. "As much as I enjoy seeing all that skin marked up--" He smirked faintly at that. "It's not working. Why can't you seal all his chakra points so the can't use his Sharingan? Or better yet--remove his eyes and give him normal ones?"

"It'd kill him," Tsunade answered. "Of course, I'm willing to come up with a new procedure, but I'd give it less than a three percent chance of working."

Naruto was about to protest that Obito had given his Sharingan to Kakashi-sensei, but then remembered Obito was about to die anyways so that wasn't a good example. "Well--think of something!" He ordered her. "Like I said--I want the bastard here and not about to leave once I take your position. It's too much bother."

"I'll work on it," Tsunade promised. "Though it's all academic at this point."

"What?" Sakura asked.

Tsunade pointed a red-nailed finger at Naruto's back. "Replacement technique," she said.

Naruto turned around in surprise, before noticing the decidedly barky feel under his hands. "FUCK!"