Title: A Better Fox Trap
Desolate ButterflyPairings: NaruSaku, NaruSasu, SakuSasu,
Rating: PG 13 - R in later chapters (Edited to comply with regulations)
Summary: Sakura and Sasuke are ordered to make some changes in Naruto's diet. And it'll take all their intelligence, creativity, and determination to do it.
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto, nor am I making any money off this fiction.
When Tsunade ordered Sakura and Sasuke into her office one Saturday morning, they hadn't expected it to turn into a discussion of Naruto's eating habits. That the topic of the day was not, in fact, the status of Sasuke's curse seal—which Tsunade, Kakashi, and Sakura had a hand in containing after he was dragged back from Sound only a bare month earlier—but the fact that their team mate consumed large amounts of ramen and only ramen several times a day, came as a surprise to everyone. Still, Tsunade seemed quite serious about it.
"He's developing a vitamin deficiency already," she huffed, exasperated. "I'm sure you noticed that Naruto is not quite as energetic as he used to be."
"We thought he was just settling down now that…well, now that Sasuke's back and all," Sakura explained, shooting a hesitant glance at the dark-haired boy beside her.
Sasuke just rolled his eyes and muttered, "Guess it was too much to hope that he was gaining some maturity."
"Yes, well it's worse now that he's not feeding so much off of the kyuubi's powers," Tsunade continued. "Before, I think he could have eaten nothing but raw steaks and it wouldn't have mattered. But now…he might be in danger of getting scurvy if his eating habits don't change soon."
"You want us to get him to eat his fruits and vegetables," Sasuke stated, flatly.
"Not so much the vegetables. I've spoken to the owner of the Ichiraku and he's agreed to sneak some into the ramen he serves Naruto. But he needs vitamin C the most. You two," Tsunade pointed at them, "are going to get him to eat it. Use whatever method you think has a chance of working."
So Sakura and Sasuke ended up walking out of the Hokage's office with a mission neither of them really felt hopeful of achieving.
"I didn't come back to Konoha to become a nursemaid," Sasuke complained. He wilted a little, however, when Sakura shot him a look.
"That's not helping, Sasuke-kun. And you didn't come back to Konoha. We carried you back. After I broke your legs. Repeatedly."
"I remember," Sasuke grumbled, absently rubbing his hipbone.
Sakura shook a closed fist at him and was pleased at the bit of respect that showed in his eyes.
"And I can do it again, so stop complaining and help me think of a plan."
"What do you mean plan? I'll hold Naruto down, and you can shove some apples down his throat or something."
"Fine, if you like, you hold him down and I'll shove apples down his throat. But I bet you he'll bite me."
Sakura sighed and hung her head.
"Boys. You have absolutely no subtly."
"Well what do you suggest?"
Sakura grinned and Sasuke shivered in spite of himself. That kind of face on Sakura only meant one thing.
The return of Sunday Suppers.
Sunday Suppers had been a Team Seven tradition right up until Sasuke had decided to skip town. The idea had been to improve their teamwork, though most of the evenings degenerated into a fight between Naruto and Sasuke, with Sakura trying desperately to resolve the problem before Sasuke's neighbours complained about the noise and the broken furniture.
Though, every once in a while, the dinner would end without any bones or plates being broken, and Sakura and Sasuke would have tea in the living room while Naruto washed the dishes and hummed along to the radio.
Naruto always did the dishes, because he was not allowed to cook. This was because the only thing Naruto knew how to cook was instant ramen, and Sakura had absolutely forbidden any ramen for Sunday Suppers, claiming that they had already had enough of the salty noodles and broth during the week and didn't need any more of it on the weekend.
Naruto had sulked about this, but decided that if he really wanted to, he could go to the Ichiraku after the dinner was over with. He didn't say this in front of Sakura-chan, however, because he was afraid she might punch him again, and not even kyuubi's fast-healing abilities were enough to save him from a painful lump on the head these days. Sometimes, Naruto really resented Tsunade-baachan teaching Sakura her chakra building jutsus.
So, when Sasuke cooked they would have onigiri with fish, because that was his favourite food. And when Sakura cooked they would have odango with rice because that was her favourite food. And sometimes Kakashi-sensei would drop by, late of course, and pick up the care package of leftovers that Sakura made for him before giving each of his students a pat on the head. This, Sasuke endured stoically, as if completely aware that dodging would only give incentive for Kakashi to add a hair ruffle to the ritual.
Sunday Suppers had, of course, stopped when Sasuke left, and they really hadn't picked up at all since he had returned, mostly due to the awkwardness of having Team Seven reunited after all this time. It seemed, during the first few weeks, all too likely that during the course of the meal, something unforgivable might be said about creepy snake bastards or mass-murdering older brothers that couldn't be taken back.
But, Sakura reasoned, the awkwardness had faded, and while Team Seven wasn't quite back to the easy level of closeness they had obtained before Sasuke's jaunt to Sound, in some ways she thought they might be closer.
For instance, yesterday, after one of Naruto's kage bunshin had thrown her into the river during afternoon training, she had noticed that both Naruto and Sasuke had become intensely interested in the way that the water had made her top cling to her breasts. This pleased her so much that she had let them get away with it without comment or bruises.
And Sakura was certain that the admiration she saw in Sasuke's eyes while he and Naruto fought each other had more to do with the way the other boy's muscles shifted and flexed as they struggled together, than any regard for how much stronger Naruto had gotten.
Naruto, of course, was interested in anything with a pulse, and Sakura blamed Jiraiya entirely for the all too present leer on her friend's face these days. Her life had become considerably more difficult (not to mention more interesting) even since Naruto had learned that he could make her blush just by saying her name in a certain tone.
And since Naruto had learned a few new manipulations from Jiraiya, Sakura had had to train herself to become even more devious. Anything boys could do, she could do better, after all, and she was considered the most intelligent kunoichi of her class.
Which is why, when her original plan to get Naruto to eat his fruit didn't work as expected, she was more surprised than anyone.
Oh, the start up of Sunday Suppers was well received by Naruto, and he showed up on time and complimented Sakura on her cooking skills. But when it came time to eat the variety of pickled umi, sliced pears, and bright yellow yuzu, Naruto refused as usual.
"You don't like it?" Sakura asked, letting her lip tremble and her voice waver strategically. "I didn't make it well enough for you?"
Naruto held up his hands in a nervous gesture. "Ah ah, Sakura-chan, that's not it at all! I'm sure it's great if you like fruit and junk."
He looked to Sasuke for help, but Sasuke had already been kicked surreptitiously under the table by Sakura and only scowled in his direction.
"Moron. You're gonna make her cry."
"Aw, crap, Sakura-chan you aren't really crying, are you?" Naruto's anxious question gave Sakura hope for her plan, and she gave one or two sniffles for good measure.
"I-If you d-don't like my cooking…t-then you c'n just-just go away!"
Naruto's eyes widened as Sakura buried her face in her hands and began to sob loudly. Immediately he sprang up from his chair and put his arms around her in a loose embrace. Inwardly smiling, Sakura increased the volume of her cries just a little and leaned into Naruto's chest which was pleasantly warm.
"Sakura-chan, please don't cry! I'm really sorry. Really," Naruto begged, leaning down to nuzzle at Sakura's cheek in what he hoped was a soothing manner.
Down at the other end of the table, Sasuke tried to pretend his eyes weren't glued to the sight of his team mates embracing, and that all his blood wasn't suddenly flowing to his groin area. And that he wasn't so conflicted over who he was more jealous of at that moment. Oh yes, Sasuke tried very hard to pretend about that one.
Sakura snuffled into the sleeve of Naruto's jacket and then eased her shaking shoulders.
"T-then you'll eat the fruit?" she asked, blinking innocently up at him.
Naruto pressed his lips close to her ear as his hands wandered down her hips where they had previously rested.
"Nope," he whispered as he groped her ass, "but let me know if there's anything else I can do for ya. I've got a few ideas of ways to make it up to you Sakura-chan..."
Her punch sent him halfway across the room, and it was a good distraction while Sasuke got his blushing cheeks under control and shifted uneasily in his chair. Obviously, wearing the skin tight black suit that he had been fond of before Orochimaru and his Sound Style Team had gotten a hold of him had been a bad move.
"YOU…YOU JERK!" Sakura yelled, face tomato red and hands adjusting her dress where Naruto's groping had scrunched it up her thighs.
Naruto only laughed and picked himself up the floor, bouncing innocently on his toes.
"Oh come on, Sakura-chan, I think I know you well enough by now to be able to tell when you're fake crying. That's the exact same voice you used when you wanted Kakashi-sensei to buy you that kunai set."
"Didn't work then either," Sasuke muttered, earning a wicked glare from his female companion that took him a few moments to recover from.
And so the first plan to get Naruto to change his diet failed utterly. Obviously a better fox trap needed to be built.
To Be Continued.