Title: Breaking You In
Author: desolate butterfly
Genre: AU, humour, romance
Pairings: NaruSaku, SasuSaku, NaruSakuSasu, InoShikaChou hints
Rating: PG - 13
Summary: Sakura tells Ino her super secret method of breaking in toe shoes. Naruto helps by way of demonstration.

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Ino limped over to the basin Sakura was steadying and slipped her reddened feet into the water, sighing as a few ice chips slid around and between her toes. She wiggled them blissfully and leaned her head on her chin.

Beside her, Sakura grinned and readied her kit of bandages, tape, and rubbing alcohol.

"We're going to have to pop some of those blisters," she said. "They won't last our next practice anyway."

Cringing, Ino shoved her toes deeper into the ice water and rolled her leggings higher up on her knees. Her feet were already beginning to swell, the boxy edges of her toes sporting bright red blisters.

"Argh, I hate new toe shoes," Ino groaned, pulling her hair out of its bun and coming her fingers through the kinked yellow mass. Sakura just smiled and removed her own set of pink satin shoes, deftly untying the ribbons and setting them on the floor with a soft thud. She was pulling on a pair of soft flats when Ino reached a hand over her shoulder and snatched up one of the pointe slippers and examined the freshly darned stitches lining the edge of the platform.

"Hey, give that back," the pink-haired girl exclaimed, tossing a frown Ino's way when the girl held the shoe out of Sakura's reach. "Ino!"

"Hold your horses, I just want to see something," Ino said, sticking her tongue out. Sakura sat back with a huff and lifted Ino's left foot out of the basin, getting to work on the biggest of the blisters which had already broken and was bleeding a little.

Ino winced as the area was blotted with rubbing alcohol and then wrapped with tape.

"Stupid new shoes," she griped, flexing the shank of the shoe in her hand a bit. "Your feet seem to be doing fine, though. These shoes are only a bout a week old, same as mine. How did you manage to break yours in so fast?"

"Secret technique," Sakura grunted back in reply, taping up the last sore on Ino's left foot and moving on to the right. "Passed down through generations. Can never be revealed or I'd be executed by the clan elders."

"Sakura, your mom is a baker and your dad works in construction," Ino pointed out, eyebrow lifting. "Come on, spill. My feet are dying here!"

"Alright, alright. I just hammer them against something really hard, and then soak them in warm water for a bit."

"Pfft, I've done that. I slammed this pair in a door hinge and beat them against the wall until the neighbours complained about the noise."

Sakura stifled a laugh and stripped off her leg warmers, setting the heavy wool aside. "You need to whack them against something harder than that, Ino-pig."

"What's harder than cement, forehead girl?"

As if on cue, the door to their dressing room burst open and a tall, lanky blond in a hideous orange sweater and black leggings, blue headband barely keeping his bangs swept clear of his eyes.

"Naruto," Sakura snapped, drawing back at his entrance, "I thought I told you not to come in here when we're dressing!"

"Sorry babe," the boy grinned, not looking apologetic in the least. "I forgot. But it doesn't really matter, does it? I've seen you in less than that."

His eyebrows waggled suggestively and Sakura found herself fighting a blush. Beside her, Ino snorted in unrestrained laughter and got an elbow to her ribs for her trouble.

"Ow…don't be so violent, forehead girl! No wonder Sasuke goes out with you. He's such a masochist," Ino grumbled, rubbing her side.

Sakura quickly snatched her shoe back from Ino's hand, eyes flashing dangerously. Behind her, Naruto knelt on the floor and looped an arm across her shoulders.

"Speaking of Ice-Dick, he's been working at the barre since class stopped," Naruto muttered in her ear. "Even the piano guy called it a night twenty minutes ago. Let's see if we can drag him outside for a hot dog or something. If he practices those stupid fouettés anymore, his ass is going to fall off."

"And what a tragedy that would be," Ino murmured dreamily under her breath.

The warmth of Naruto's chest at her back, and his arm around her shoulders made Sakura flush a bit and almost forget to glare warningly at him for talking bad about Sasuke. Ino watched them with a knowing smirk on her face, and Sakura quickly shrugged Naruto off and turned back to stuffing her kit inside her exercise bag.

"No clubbing tonight, Naruto," she warned, slipping a sweater over her leotard and readjusting the short skirt around her waist. "We have an early morning tomorrow and if you show up to class hung-over again Kakashi's going to cut your balls off."

"I can handle Kakashi-sensei," Naruto bragged, but he cupped a hand protectively over his privates any way.

Sakura's eyes inadvertently followed the motion, and, to her extreme mortification, Naruto noticed where she was looking. He leered.

'Please, please for once in your life keep your mouth shut.'

"Okay, so clubbing's out. Betcha I can think of some other night time activity that would be fun."

Sakura's eyes narrowed dangerously, but Naruto missed the warning signs, because Ino had broken out into laughter and put in her own question of, "Does it have something to do with eating hot dogs? 'Cause I think forehead-girl's been trying to watch her weight…"

"Ino."

Naruto opened his mouth again. Sakura knew this wouldn't lead to anything good.

"Hey, I'll have you know that Sakura-chan has no complaints about my wiener—OW!"

Naruto fell forward as Sakura's toe-shoes smacked harshly against the crown of his head with a loud crack. He sprawled on the floor for a moment, dazed as Sakura shoved the slippers in her bag and started to walk towards the door.

"And that's how you break in new shoes," she tossed over her shoulder to Ino as she reached the door.

Ino laughed and pulled some sneakers on her own feet, nudging at the prone form of Naruto until the boy stopped groaning into the carpet and picked himself up off the floor.

"Harder than cement, eh?" she murmured.

In the meantime, Naruto was rushing off after Sakura who had already started down the hall.

"I'm sorry princess, really…"

"Don't talk to me."

"But Ino started it—"

"I don't care. You finished it. I'm going to get Sasuke and we're going to a movie. Alone."

"That's not fair! The bastard doesn't even know how to grope properly in theatres."

"Naruto…You really want to die, don't you?"

"Ah, Ice-Dick! We were just talking about you…"

"Naruto!"

As the voices fade down the hallway, Ino turned back to her own shoes with a sigh. She hobbled over to the dressing table to pick up her bag when a knock at the door startled her.

A scowling face poked into the dressing room.

"Geez, Ino what's taking you so long? Chouji and I have been waiting for an hour, and we're hungry."

"Just a minute Shika, I'm putting on my lipstick."

Shikamaru frowned and leaned back against the door, hands behind his head. He eyed the ceiling crossly.

"If we're waiting for you to get beautiful, we'll be here all night," he muttered.

Ino twitched and her gaze shifted to the toe shoes still on the floor by the basin of ice. Maybe she'd have to give Sakura's method of breaking in shoes a try. It couldn't hurt. Her, anyway.

"Oh, Shikamaru…could you come here please?"

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fin.

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