Love Sacrifices and Dinner Preparations –

or: Why Sasuke Rightfully Fears Fangirls

„Dearest wife of mine, would you perhaps care to enlighten me why I have found one of my shirts when investigating the cause of our clogged toilet?"

Haruno Yamashita, a blond, not very outstanding man with many smile lines around his eyes, is leaning against the frame of the kitchen door. His smile lines though are currently drawn into a frown because the dripping black and pink mess he is holding with the tips of his fingers is giving off quite a pungent odor. With quite a bit of imagination, the object could be identified as a black shirt several sizes too small for the heavily built man standing behind it. The pinkish-red paper pulp sticking to the black fabric doesn't help any, either.

"I know," he adds in a placating manner, "anyone can forget something in the dryer. But don't you think there are better ways to dispose of a ruined shirt than flushing it down the toilet?"

Haruno Yodoko, his short, red-haired wife, looks up from dicing vegetables. The slow glare she turns on him could sizzle the insulation off phone wires.

"That, 'Dearest Husband of Mine'," she adds scathingly, "is the work of your daughter. And please put it into a bucket and let water run over it; can't you see that you are dripping onto my freshly waxed kitchen floor?"

Slightly chastised, Haruno Yamashita looks at the odiferous puddle that has been growing at his feet, and without a word, he jumps to his wife's bidding. He even drags up an old rag from somewhere and sloppily starts wiping up the mess on the kitchen floor.

"How did Sakura get hold of my shirts, anyways?", he asks.

Haruno Yodoko now starts peeling onions. "Oh, but that isn't one of your shirts. You know, even if I had forgotten it in the dryer for half a year, it wouldn't have become that small."

"Then whose shirt is it? I don't think I've ever seen you or Sakura wear such dark colors."

"Well, according to your daughter, this shirt is a Love Sacrifice."

Yamashita freezes in his tracks, the slightly wet rag hovering above the last remnants of the puddle as he looks up. "It's a what?"

His wife continues peeling onions as if nothing had happened.

"A Love Sacrifice. Apparently, she and her friend Ino found a magic spell to ensure that Sakura will surely get together with her one and only true love."

"Yodoko, she's only ten! Don't you think she's a little bit too young for such stuff?"

The woman shrugs. "I told her to show me the spell they found before holding their 'Ritual of True Love'. There was nothing harmful with it, so I let them do their invocation."

Finally having finished mopping the floor, Yamashita throws the rag into the sink and sits down at the table, barely missing another acidic glare from his wife. "Is that why our whole bathroom stinks from sandalwood incense, there are red paper snippets littering the floor, and there is a hooded lamp in the washing basin?"

Gracefully, Haruno Yodoko changes from peeling to chopping her onions. "That would be the reason. Here, they left this before going over to Ino's."

He picks up the small note she hands him and studies it closer. It looks as if it had been scrawled by two prepubescent girls, complete with hearts and pink flowers and whatnots.

Ritual of True Love

Ritual of True Love only works at full moon (check)

We need:

three red roses, fresh with morning dew as symbol of true love (check)

a white ribbon woven into a crown for eternal happiness (check)

True Sacrifice of Love (a lock of his hair, an item of personal value to him, or something similar): sacrifice a small part of his now to get him whole later on (check)

Looking at his wife's back, Yamashita asks a little bit confused. "Are you sure they used this ritual? I know my daughter; she would have wanted to follow the instructions as closely as possible."

Roasting the cut onions in a pot, Yodoko doesn't turn around. "Oh, that's their ritual, all right. Your daughter was intelligent enough to see that she couldn't get some of the ingredients, so she found appropriate alternatives."

He stares at her, slightly unbelieving. "Last night was new moon. I don't think they could have missed that."

She calmly stirs the onions. "Hang a lamp into the window, put a circular white piece of paper in front of it, and voila, your home-made full moon."

"Ah, the lamp in the sink." He nods gravely. "Roses with morning dew?"

"Ino was adamant that her mother would never give them any roses, so they cut out some from red paper. That might account for the red snippets on the bathroom carpet. Because they didn't have any real roses, they made up for that in numbers. And I barely managed to convince them that mildew was not an appropriate substitute for morning dew."

"Mildew," he repeats, completely flabbergasted.

She merely throws a quick glance over her shoulder and continues stirring. "Believe me, I wasn't too happy about that, either. Could you please pass me the soy sauce?"

Pushing the bottle into her reach, he gingerly sits down again. "And the pink mush clinging to that shirt could have been soggy, red paper roses. Do I even dare ask what they did with their white ribbon?"

"Oh, that one actually was the most innocuous one. They pilfered it from one of Sakura's old dolls, and the ritual merely demanded that they hold it in their hands while singing some incantations to sandalwood incense."

"That's not that bad. But their 'Sacrifice of Love'? Where did they get that one from? And, by the way, whose shirt is it?"

She adds some soy-sauce to her sizzling onions. "Let's say that I have a hunch to both questions, and leave it at that."

Sighing, he starts playing with the note. "So you aren't going to tell me."

For some time, everything is quiet in the room except for the sizzling onions and the smell of soy-sauce.

"What I still don't get," he begins once again, "is the thing with the toilet. I mean, couldn't they have found any other way to get rid of their 'roses' and their 'Love Sacrifice'?"

She adds water to her onions, silencing their sizzling hiss in one well-practiced pour. "They didn't try to dispose of their Sacrifice through our toilet. Because I didn't allow them to go outside at midnight, the main part of their ritual would have been impossible to fulfill. We were arguing until half past twelve, and by then I thought they had given up and went to bed. Turns out that they adjusted all our clocks so that they could have another go at midnight."

He involuntarily glances towards the clock on the wall.

"Don't worry," she assures him, waving her cooking spoon in the air. "I've already reset them correctly once again."

"That is great, dear. But you still haven't told me why they were in our bathroom."

Tasting the soup, she deliberates for a bit and then goes for some more herbs and seasoning. "I've already told you, 'dear', that I didn't allow them to go outside. They wanted to go down to the river so that they could properly sacrifice their roses and their shirt. I don't let any of my children wander outside in the dark, no matter how many Anbu and Jounin patrol the streets. So they apparently decided that our toilet was the closest thing to a body of flowing water they could find within our house."

Burying his head into his palms, he groans pitifully. "I think I know where that one goes. Instead of letting their roses and their sacrifice swim down the river, they ritually flushed them down our toilet."

"You got it. And, before you ask: No, I couldn't do anything. They had locked themselves in the bathroom, and, yes, they were flushing for a long time. Oh, and dinner will be ready in ten minutes."

He sighs. "Yes, dear. But next time, can you tell them to at least cut their 'Love Sacrifice' into small enough parts to flush them properly?"

"I don't think there will be a next time, dear husband. You and I, we are going to have a long talk with our daughter, aren't we?"

Before he can answer, a sharp rap on their front door interrupts them. Smoothing down her apron, she dries her hands. "I'll get it," she says deceptively calm.

He hears her talking to someone at the door, a young voice – boy? girl? – answering her. He can only understand some tidbits.

"… was told… your daughter Sakura accidentally packed… after kunai practice… shirt?"

"Oh, yes… found it… wash it, of course."

"… not necessary, Mrs. Haruno… n't trouble yourself."

"… really want to… it now?"

"… insist!"

It is quiet for a moment, and then his wife goes to fetch something. Through the door that is slightly ajar, he can see that a small, black-haired boy with a dark shirt and dark pants is waiting on their doorstep. Maybe 10, 11 years old.

A moment later, Yodoko returns, carrying a strangely familiar bucket with her, which she hands to the boy.

"… you are. We… very sorry…"

"… problem, Mrs. Haruno… you for your time."

Just before she shuts the door, he gains a brief glimpse of the boy giving the increasingly familiar bucket a raised eyebrow. Then she returns to the kitchen.

"Who was that," he asks curiously.

She still has that strange calmness around her. "Uchiha Sasuke."

"Isn't he in the same class at the academy as Sakura? What did he want?"

"His shirt."

Yamashita pales. Suddenly, the bucket makes a lot of sense. "You didn't…?" He trails off with a wide-eyed stare.

Yodoko busies herself with setting the table. "I offered to wash it for him."

Groaning, he puts his face into his empty soup plate. His voice is slightly muffled against the porcelain. "You were right. I'm going to have a very long talk with our daughter."

"See that you do. Now get your head out of the plate, dinner is ready."


Believe it or not, I've based this story of real events…

Well, what do you think of my first attempt at humor? Read and review, please!