Warnings: AU/Humor/Fluff/Sap/Minor Angst
Notes: Timeline (current manga) - Let's just pretend Sasuke never left, hmm?
Enjoy! And know that feedback is always and greatly appreciated.
01: MISSION BABY
"I'm begging you! Please help me!"
He clapped his hands above his head while bowing before the white-haired jounin, in clear desperation.
"I know this is sudden, but I've really got to leave the village in less than an hour! I've got no one to help me since Kaide passed away a few months ago! I know I have no right to ask you this, but you're the only one I can turn to now! So please help me, Kakashi! I'm begging you!"
The jounin scratched his head lightly, sighing inwardly as he knew there was no way he could resist Tanaka's heartfelt plea.
"Kakashi…?" the man asked tentatively, lifting his head a little with hope shining in his dark eyes.
"All right," came the quiet reply…which was soon followed with a smile that had Tanaka all but pouncing on Kakashi in gratitude. "I'll do it. Just let me know the details."
"Thank you! I promise you won't regret it!" Tanaka gushed happily.
"I'm sure I won't," the jounin replied. Let's just hope they don't kill me.
Kakashi walked into the clearing and noticed that only two of his students had arrived, and they might have been at opposite ends of the planet for all the interaction between them. The blond was drawing several figures in the sand while the dark-haired one was leaning against a tree with his eyes closed and a faint but noticeable twitch of his left eyebrow as his 'companion' seemed to insist on acting out all the characters he had been creating so far.
"Oh, oh! But I thought you loved me! Why did you betray my trust, Keiko-chan!" (Done in a rather convincing feminine voice)
"But I didn't betray your trust, Sakura-chan," the blond's voice deepened to depict the male character he had drawn. "I just found myself falling in love with Barabara-kun…"
"It's not Barabara-kun, you idiot," the dark-haired one finally spoke up with barely concealed irritation and impatience. "It's Bara. Ba-ra. What's so hard in saying that?"
"Tch!" Kakashi could almost see the hairs on the blond's head stiffen in response to the other's comment. "I'll call him whatever I want, Sasuke! This is my drama…!"
"And a lousy one at that," Sasuke mumbled with a snort of derision.
"Did you say something!" The blond rose to his feet and pushed up the sleeve of his shirt, forming a fist as he stepped up to his teammate. "Say it again and I'll…!"
"Where's Sakura?" Kakashi finally asked as he stepped out of the shadows to prevent the two young men from pounding each other to the ground.
The two boys, who were now holding each other by the scruff of their shirts, turned at the same time to face the older man.
"Kakashi-sensei!" the blond cried out in delight as he released Sasuke to run up to him. "Ano-san! Ano-san! So what's this great big mission we're going on, huh? Huh?"
"Is sick," Sasuke finished quietly as he tried to straighten out the wrinkles on his uniform. He scowled at the tiny rip on the cloth while vowing to get back at Naruto, for that was the blond's name, one of these days.
"Oh," Kakashi replied with a thoughtful frown. Well, this was definitely going to make things a bit difficult. He had hoped that with the girl around…
"Kaaaaaakashi-sensei!" Naruto crooned, peering into the older man's face with clear impatience. "What are you thinking about? You called us out here for some new mission, ne? Ne!"
"Well…" He closed his eyes and managed a weak smile.
"Are we going to stop some bad shinobi from coming into the village? Or are some people trying to attack Tsunade-sama?"
"Or maybe, or maybe there's some ANBU who are sick and they want us replace them, huh? Huh? Oooh!" Naruto closed his eyes and shivered with delight at the thought. He opened them again to pin excited blue eyes on the taller man. "So that's it, eh? Eh?"
"EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEHHHH! A BABY!" Naruto shrieked and it was promptly echoed with a lustful cry from the chubby dark-haired boy in the crib.
"Now look at what you've done, Naruto," Kakashi chided as he reached in to lift the fussy twelve-month old within his arms. "There, there now," he crooned gently. "He didn't mean to scare you."
"But…but…a baby…?" Naruto looked stricken while Sasuke looked as white as chalk.
"Tanaka-san is a good friend of mine," Kakashi was saying as he rocked the baby, who was now making tiny noises of pleasure at the soothing motion while trying to tug away the mask from the jounin's face at the same time. "He couldn't help the situation and asked for my help…"
"Yeah, so why do we have to be the ones to do it? Why couldn't he ask someone else?"
"Stop yelling so loud, Naruto," Kakashi commanded as the baby's face began to crumple again in readiness to bawl. "You're frightening him."
"He's frightening me!" came the plaintive wail from the blond. "I don't know how to look after a baby…neither does Sasuke…?" He turned to face the dark-haired boy with a scowl on his features as if daring him to deny his accusation. But seeing Sasuke's pale countenance made him feel very happy. It was clear that this was one thing that the genius could not brag about. They were on an even keel in this mission – if you could call it that.
"How hard can it be to take care of a baby?" Kakashi asked with a light snort. "See? He even left instructions on what to do." He pulled out a scroll from his pocket and gave it to the dumbfounded teenagers. "All you have to do is follow them and you're fine."
Suddenly, another jounin appeared before them. "Kakashi, Tsunade-sama needs to see you now. It's rather urgent."
The white-haired man frowned and nodded in understanding. "I'll be right there. Thanks."
The messenger disappeared, leaving the three men staring at each other for a minute before Sasuke blurted out quickly. "You don't really think you're leaving us with it, are you?"
"It's a boy, Sasuke not an it," Kakashi explained patiently. "But I've got no choice. As you heard, the Hokage needs me."
"Damn it!" Naruto cursed and stomped his foot. "Why do we always have to be stuck doing the dirty…whoa!"
"Hold him carefully!" Kakashi ordered as Naruto all but juggled the squirming mass in his arms. "Put a hand under his head like that and one underneath his legs like that…see? You're getting the hang of it already. You're a natural at this, Naruto."
"Eh…" The blond was actually flushing in delight at the compliment but shivered as the baby's features began to redden. "Ah…ah…what's happening to him, Kakashi-sensei? He's going to explode!"
"I think his diaper needs to be changed," came the quick remark as the jounin gave them a mock salute. "See you boys later!"
But they were talking to thin air for Kakashi had disappeared as well.
The baby was beginning to huff like a steam engine and Naruto's alarm grew worse. "Sasuke!" he suddenly yelled out in panic. "What do I do? And what the hell is that smell?"
The dark-haired boy finally jerked himself out of his reverie to peer at the two red-faced people in the room with him. He could see that Naruto was bound to lose it if he didn't gain control of the situation quickly. He opened the scroll and tried to make sense of Tanaka's handwriting.
Changing diapers…changing diapers….
"Ah ha," he said with a firm nod. "Take him to the bed, Naruto. We've got to get him into clean underwear."
"Remove it gently," Sasuke instructed as he tore open the box of disposable diapers.
Naruto, red-faced and sweating rather freely, gritted his teeth and threw a scowl at his companion. "Why are you the one giving me directions, huh? Why don't you come do it?"
"I'm busy," Sasuke replied with a shrug and then pulled out a new one. "Done yet?"
Mumbling beneath his breath, (Sasuke noticed that the baby was now staring at them with those great big black eyes as if wondering what the hell he was doing with these two bumbling teenagers) Naruto began to peel the Velcro-like straps of the soiled diaper, holding a hand over his nose as the smell hit him squarely.
"Mmmpfffmoggfhffhhff!" He knew he'd have to lift the baby's legs to remove it completely. "A little help here, Sasuke?" he asked through clenched teeth.
Sasuke didn't want to help but seeing that Naruto wasn't going to do much anytime soon, he reluctantly held the tiny legs in one hand and watched as the blond pulled out the soiled napkin quickly.
Damn but it was nasty!
"Brrr!" Naruto shuddered and wrapped it up in a trash bag quickly, glad that the smell was finally gone…at least most of it.
"Wipes!" he commanded.
"Wipes," Sasuke replied, handing over several sheets of the wet cloth. The baby was beginning to kick his legs in the air happily; now glad to be rid of the heavy, messy cloth he had been forced to sit in for some time. Naruto was having a hard time getting most of the mess cleaned out for the baby seemed to think it was all a game and kept blocking…
…and hitting the blond's chin with his tiny but strong feet. He heard a chuckle and turned his head quickly to glare at Sasuke who was now doing his best to maintain a straight face.
"You should be doing this," Naruto began but Sasuke, who had been sitting on the bed, rose to his feet and announced loudly.
"I have to get his food ready."
And before Naruto could open his mouth to say another word, Sasuke made his escape as quickly as he could.
Now if he only knew just what the hell Tanaka-san meant by,
'Make sure the mashed potatoes and apple sauce are mixed. He likes it warm.'
How anyone could eat something that disgusting was beyond him. He opened several cabinets in the neat kitchen before finding the compartment specifically built to hold several small cans of baby food. Sasuke found the right ones and opened them quickly. He emptied out a can of the mashed potatoes and a can of the applesauce into a light blue plate and mixed it slowly, cocking his head gently as he heard Naruto clearly making the same goo-goo sounds Kakashi had made earlier. He smiled softly to himself and then promptly kicked himself for feeling sentimental over something as silly as that.
He put the plate in a small pot and covered it, hoping he had the right temperature as he turned the burner on.
"What's keeping us?" Naruto asked as he walked into the room with the clean baby held to his side. He was trying not to wince since the baby had suddenly found the ends of Naruto's head protector quite fascinating and was tugging it as hard as he could.
He dared Sasuke to laugh but the dark-haired boy turned away quickly to scour the small kitchen. "Where's his high-chair?"
"His what! Hssss…easy there. You'll pull out my hair!"
"His high-chair, dummy. That's where babies eat, you know."
"Oh…hey…how come you know so much about this baby thing anyway?" Naruto asked with a raised brow but Sasuke didn't answer as he disappeared into a small room adjacent to the kitchen to pull out the furniture.
"Here…this is what he…"
"What's that smell!" Naruto cried out. Sasuke gasped and dove for the pot, opening it quickly and promptly fanning away the cloud of smoke that arose from within. He turned off the burner (he had apparently turned it too high), took the pot off the stove and all but threw it into the sink. He allowed cold water to fill the blackened remains of what was supposed to be the baby's dinner and both boys peered at it in dismay as it made loud hissing noises.
"Geez…you can't even warm baby food," Naruto finally said with a smirk.
"Shut up," Sasuke mumbled, turning away with his cheeks red with embarrassment. He opened the cupboard with more force than necessary and decided to try it all over again.
Splat! And Naruto howled in laughter at the thick white mixture of potato and apple on Sasuke's face.
The baby laughed in glee and clapped his hands together, before smearing them in the other thick globs of the meal in the tray. He proceeded to rub his dark hair with the food mixture causing Sasuke to groan at the inevitable.
"We have to give him a bath," he said with a pointed look at Naruto.
He received a pout as an answer.
Both boys had stripped to their t-shirts and it STILL wasn't enough to stop them from getting drenched.
"Good grief! It's like washing Akamaru," Naruto grumbled as the baby continued to splash happily in the bubble-filled bath (unfortunately, Sasuke had poured in too much of the bubble-bath – which was guaranteed safe and healthy for babies – into the tub thanks to a moment of helplessness while staring at Naruto taking off his outer jersey….however, it would have taken wild horses tugging his teeth to get him to admit that.)
"At least he's clean now," Sasuke muttered to himself as he picked up the small wash cloth and began to scrub the baby's hair. "Hold him steady, Naruto…ah!"
"Guuurggg!" was all Naruto could say as he found himself unceremoniously dunked face-first into the tub. Baby had tugged on his forehead protector again and was having a grand ol' time with his new toy.
The forehead protector sat on the table this time around and both boys were now shirtless thanks to the bathroom fiasco.
The baby had been crawling all around the living room for the past hour or so, chasing after a wind-up toy Sasuke had found in his bedroom.
"Doesn't he ever get tired?" Naruto groaned as he flopped to the floor in exhaustion. "What's in them anyway? Extra-long life batteries?"
"Goooogooogoooo," Baby cooed as he began to climb onto Naruto's torso. The blond gave a light grunt at the added weight but had to smile at the sight of the young one looking quite pleased at his accomplishment. He clapped his chubby hands together and leaned forward to…
"OOOOOWWWWW! MY HAIR!"
Sasuke was quick to snatch the baby, who now held tufts of Naruto's locks in his hand, away from the wailing teen.
"That was quite naughty," Sasuke chided gently, noticing that the baby looked like he was about to burst into tears as well. "There now…" He began to bounce the child gently on his knee, flushing darkly as he noticed that Naruto was now watching their actions with great interest.
"Wow, you really know how to take care of babies, don't you, Sasuke?"
"Shut it, idiot." So why couldn't he stop blushing? "I think he's getting tired."
And indeed the baby seemed to be leaning into Sasuke's chest, his lashes growing heavier as he felt the warmth of the older boy's body against his. Sasuke leaned back on the couch and cradled the child to him, sighing softly as a wave of weariness washed over him.
"Will you get his bottle for me, please?" he asked quietly.
Naruto opened his mouth to protest, but seeing something in Sasuke's eyes made him shut up quickly. He rose to his feet and made his way to the kitchen to find the small bottle of milk they had made sometime earlier. He smiled to himself as he warmed it up, watching the couple through the door as they seemed to be drifting off to sleep together.
With their dark-hair, anyone looking at them from this angle would have thought that they were father and son. For some reason, the notion caused a dull ache in Naruto's chest which made him sigh softly. One day Sasuke would find a wife and have his own children but what hope was there for a guy like him? No one would want to be with a 'beast' like him. Who knew what kind of children he was capable of having?
He shook his head quickly to get rid of his negative thoughts and forced himself to smile as he made his way back to the living room.
"Oy, Sasuke, here's the bottle…" The words died on his lips as he stared at the tender scene before him. Both teen and baby were now fast asleep, Sasuke's mouth slightly open while the baby had a thumb stuck in his. The ache within Naruto's chest tightened as he sat beside them quietly. He decided to keep watch for a while and if the baby showed signs of stirring, he'd have to take over the feeding.
Hmm, he never realized how long Sasuke's lashes were…or how cute his nose was this close…or how full his lower lip was…
Watch the baby not Sasuke!
And blinking rapidly, Naruto forced himself to do just that.
Kakashi leapt quickly from rooftop to rooftop, his brows furrowed with light concern. It was now dusk and although the meeting with Tsunade had taken longer than he would have liked, he sincerely hoped that the boys hadn't made a mess of things in his absence.
"What's the worse that could happen?" he asked himself as he landed before Tanaka's residence. He stood still for a moment, fully expecting to see Naruto flying out the door and yelling obscenities…or the baby dangling from the roof…or Sasuke trying to drown the poor kid.
However, the silence was a surprise and had him wandering just how badly things had gone. As he walked into the house, he stepped over toys in the hallway and peered into the kitchen to see that things hadn't been cleaned up either (and there was still the faint smell of something burnt). The bathroom door was open and Kakashi didn't need to go in to see that it was a mess as well. It looked like a tornado had gone through the house!
But the silence…
"Oy…Naruto…Sasuke," he began, only to stop short at what met his gaze in the living room. The boys were fast asleep with their heads touching each other as if they had reluctantly met in the middle of the couch. The baby lay snuggled within their arms with a smile of content on his plump features causing Kakashi to chuckle in amazement and faint pride.
He leaned forward to pluck the baby away from their arms gently and was amused to see Sasuke's brows furrow at the slight disturbance before his hands found Naruto's to latch onto tightly. The frown ceased almost as soon as it had appeared and Kakashi wished he had a camera to capture this scene. He was sure the boys would be more than embarrassed to know that they had fallen asleep in each others arms, half-naked and looking quite…well…cute.
"Come little one," Kakashi whispered as the baby opened his eyes to peer at him sleepily. "Let's leave the lovebirds alone, hmm?"
And as he made his way to the bedroom, he made a mental note to buy dinner for the boys for a mission well done.