Title: A Long Eventful Evening (Part I)
Author: desolate Butterfly
Genre: humour, gen
Characters: NaruSasuSaku + Kakashi
Rating: PG
Summary: Team Seven takes a mission, Sakura gets a date, and none of the boys are particularly happy about it.

--

"I don't like this," Naruto huffed for the fifth time, kicking his heels against the cupboard doors of the counter he was perched on and scowling fiercely.

Across the room, Sasuke leaned against the wall, arms crossed and head bowed. He would have looked indifferent to Naruto's griping if he wasn't wearing the exact same expression as the shorter boy.

In fact, the only person in the room who wasn't scowling was Kakashi, not that anyone could tell what his expression was underneath that mask. The grey-haired jounin flipped idly through a battered copy of Icha Icha Violence and sighed at Naruto's raised voice.

"You've mentioned that already," he pointed out calmly. "Do you have a better plan to offer?"

"Of course I do!" Naruto blurted, sitting up straight and curling his hands into fists. "I told you already, let me do the henge and accompany Warty-Nose to the party and—"

"It's a mole, not a wart!" Sakura's slightly muffled voice came from the closed partition that separated the bedroom from the main hallway. "And you should call him Akio-sama."

"Sure, sure, Warty-Nose-sama," Naruto sulked and then winced at the warning growl Sakura gave him. "But anyway, what's wrong with my plan? I can use my oroike no jutsu perfectly these days."

"Because," Sakura said, and there was a rustle of fabric before she spoke again, "Akio-sama needs someone to act as an escort. A well-bred lady escort, not a rude and forward girl who acts like a streetwalker."

Naruto stuck out his bottom lip in a pout and began to kick the cupboards harder.

"You're mean, Sakura-chan," he muttered. Then louder, "I do not act like a streetwalker!"

"What was it Ino said the last time you used your jutsu to complete a mission?" Kakashi mused, eyes not lifting from the page he was reading. "Something about you almost stripping for the visiting Lord you were supposed to court and then peeing all over Ino when you couldn't find a washroom?"

Naruto's face turned bright red and he slumped forwards.

"That was an accident!" he said, then shot a glare in Sasuke's direction. "And don't you say anything."

"I wasn't," Sasuke said, blandly, but the corners of his lips twitched in something as close to laughter as he would ever get.

"Anyway," Sakura continued, before Naruto had a chance to reply with something that would lead to a fight, "we got this commission specifically because of my skills in detecting poisons and other substances. It doesn't make any sense for one of you to pretend to be a woman and have me feeding you information about possible assassination attempts when I can easily do the job myself. And besides which, nothing can compare to the mannerisms and decorum of a real woman."

"…You're just jealous because my boobs are bigger than yours, aren't you Sakura-chan."

"Naruto!"

The screen separating the male contingent of Team Seven from the rest of the room was shoved back and Naruto barely had time to duck before catching a compact set in the face. He didn't miss the make-up brush aimed for his mouth though, and spent the next minute and a half coughing up rouge and wiping the pink dust off his chin and lips.

Sakura towered over her choking team mate in her heeled sandals and the flush on her face (whether it was a genuine flush of anger or make-up enhanced, no one could tell) complimenting the deep purples and reds in her kimono. The sleeves were wide and long, almost brushing the floor, and the top was cut so that it dipped low along Sakura's collarbone, exposing a fair bit of her shoulders and neck.

Sasuke twitched.

"That's what you're wearing?"

"It's the latest style and it's what Shibayu-sama's servants provided for me," she replied. "Why, what's wrong with it?"

She blinked and looked down at her outfit, and Sasuke was displeased to find that the act of bowing her head made the line of her neck stand out even more. He scowled harder.

"…What's wrong with what you were wearing before?"

"My jounin uniform? Be serious, Sasuke-kun! We're trying to be discreet here."

Sasuke huffed and then turned his head to the side, refusing to look at her any longer.

"There's nothing discreet about that dress," he muttered under his breath.

Kakashi snuck a peek from behind his book and had to agree. Still, this was a formal party and she did have a point: they were supposed to blend in. There were sure to be dozens of young women at the Daimyo's son's party wearing the latest fashions and being paraded around like dolls. Sakura would fit right in.

However…

"Are you wearing lipstick, Sakura-chan?" he asked, delicately, waiting for Naruto and Sasuke to provide the implicit disapproval in that question.

He didn't have to wait long.

"Lipstick, no way!" Naruto shot up from the counter and was grasping Sakura's chin before she could step back, eyes wide. She swatted him away with irritation.

"It's only a little gloss," she said and pouted. "Can't I look pretty once in a while?"

"Sakura-chan looks pretty all the time," Naruto declared and Sakura was all prepared to smile for him except that he ruined it in the next breath by saying, "except when she wears lipstick. That's too much."

"What do you mean 'too-much'? Ino and TenTen wear lipstick all the time, even going out into the field."

"TenTen has a boyfriend and Ino flirts with every single guy she meets," Sasuke pointed out matter-of-factly, as if his logic should be obvious. Apparently it wasn't so obvious to Sakura because she looked at him like he'd just announced he was a circus performer.

"…So?"

"So," Naruto continued, "girls wear lipstick 'cause they want guys to look at their lips and make them think about kissing them."

"You're not going to kiss the guy," Sasuke continued, and it was a statement, not a question.

"Therefore, you shouldn't be wearing lipstick," Naruto finished, and both boys nodded solemnly.

Sakura looked back and forth at both of them, a baffled expression on her face.

"Are you guys…agreeing on something?" she asked, a thread of awe in her voice.

Sasuke grunted in exasperation and tossed a handkerchief at her which she caught absently.

"Wipe it off," he ordered, looking for all the world like he expected to be obeyed without question.

Sakura's eyes narrowed dangerously and Kakashi sighed. That was not the way to get Sakura to do something.

"No," the girl declared, tossing the handkerchief back at Sasuke with a flounce. "I like it and it'll help me blend in with the rest of the escorts at the party. I'm going to wear it."

Sasuke stared at her at long moment, eyebrows twitching, before he crossed his arms over his chest and turned away.

"Fine," he said coldly. "Do what you like."

"I will," Sakura replied a bit angrily, but bit her lip at the rigid line of Sasuke's back. He'd probably clam up and be pissy for the rest of the mission now. And he'd only just begun loosening up around her again since he'd been brought back from Sound.

Naruto had started to wheedle, but Kakashi snapped his book shut and interrupted him before he could get too far.

"Alright children, enough squabbling," he drawled, earning glares from all three of his students. "Let's go over the plan once more. Sasuke, you have the schematics for the courtyard and the ballroom?"

"Yes," the Uchiha replied, tucking a hand inside his shirt and pulling out a small scroll. A few hand seal decoded the writing on it and Kakashi looked at the outline thoughtfully.

"It seems," he said, "that the best location to watch from would be here." A gloved finger tapped against the outline of a nearby rooftop. "I'll be able to track who comes in and out of the courtyard from there pretty easily. Shibayu-sama's given me a description of those who might have a grudge against his son, so we'll know who to look for. But don't discount anybody. Apparently, who ever wants to do away with the Daimyo's heir is good enough to cover his tracks—even if his assassins have all failed thus far."

"Huh," Naruto snorted, peering over Kakashi's shoulder to get a better look at the scroll. "Who wouldn't want to kill Warty-Nose is the question we should be asking. I only spent five minutes with the guy and I already want to put a fist through his spine."

"That's only because he told you that you looked too short to be a bodyguard," Sakura remarked absently, also examining the scroll.

"The guy's a total jerk! You'd better tell him to keep his hands to himself, Sakura-chan, or I'm gonna—"

"Yes, yes," she said, rolling her eyes. "I'm sure Akio-sama knows how to be completely professional. His father was a top-class jounin, afterall."

"The Old Man's okay," Naruto admitted. "It's just that his son's a total—"

"Jerk, we know. Can we please get back to planning our strategy? I'd like to get this mission done before my feet fall off in these stupid heels."

Sakura wobbled a bit unsteadily, unused to the height her footwear afforded her and the strangeness of balancing on small slim points like stilts. She wondered how civilian women managed to walk around in these all day without chucking them off and slitting peoples' throats with them.

Sasuke's eyes flickered sideways a bit at the unsteadiness of Sakura's gait and his arms twitched as if he wanted to sit her down somewhere so she'd stop looking like she was going to fall over and twist something. Instead, his jaw tightened and he pointed to another location on the scroll.

"Naruto and I will be disguised as servants at the exit and the kitchen area. I can watch the bathrooms from here too, but you're going to have to keep an eye on the ballroom," he said to Naruto. "I can't see over this partition right here."

"Right," the blond said, nodding his head. "I'll keep to the left side of the ballroom and you can have the right, but we'll be able to move back and forth if we need to anyway."

"That leaves me with Akio-sama," Sakura continued. "I'll be able to check any substance he's given to eat or drink, and protect him at close range if the assassin gets by you or Sasuke."

Naruto's scowl returned at that. "I don't like it," he said again. "We're all too far away to help if you get in trouble Sakura-chan."

Sakura scowled back, poking a finger harshly into Naruto's chest.

"And who's going to need help? I'm a perfectly capable medic-nin and jounin, you know. I was a jounin before either of you two ever made the cut, remember, so don't give me that crap about needing to help me get out of trouble."

Kakashi nodded in agreement. "More likely we'll be able to spot the assassin or assassins before they get close to their target and Sakura will come help us," he said.

"Whatever," Sasuke grumbled, rolling up the scroll and tucking it back into his shirt. "Let's just get going."

He was almost to the door when it flew open and a tall, black-haired young man with a sneer on his face entered the room.

"Father sent me to see if you were ready yet," the man exclaimed, ignoring Sasuke completely to walk past him into the room and stand in front of Sakura. The Uchiha gritted his teeth and turned around, slowly.

"You have good timing Akio-sama," Kakashi remarked. "We were just finished discussing our plan of defence."

"Hmph," the young Lord exclaimed, as if he couldn't believe that these ninjas were capable of something so organized as a "plan of defence". He reached out and grasped Sakura's arm and she stumbled into his side, a bit startled by the contact.

"Hey!" Naruto cried, only to have his yell fade into a squawk of pain as Kakashi subtly dug an elbow into his ribs.

"S-sorry about that," Sakura mumbled, her blush extending prettily all the way down her exposed neck. "I'm not used to these shoes quite yet. But I can get rid of them quickly if I need to fight!"

"I'm sure you can," Akio said, smoothly and Sasuke's hands closed into fists at the cloying tone in his voice. "In the meantime, you can lean on me if you need to."

Sakura looked up, surprised and pleased, and fitted her hand securely in the crook of Akio's arm. "Thanks, that's really nice of you," she said, shooting a pointed look in Naruto's direction.

Naruto looked like he wanted to rip Akio's throat out and only Kakashi's arm digging painfully into his stomach was stopping him from doing so.

Oblivious to the death glares he was receiving, Akio placed a hand on Sakura's and walked her to the door. "The servants are gathering in the kitchen now," he tossed over his shoulder as he ushered Sakura out. "Try to blend in, would you? My father greatly dislikes incompetence."

The door shut behind them and Naruto's incoherent yell of rage was wasted on the closed wooden panel.

"Can you believe that jerk!" the blond shrieked. "Touching Sakura-chan so casually…We should rip his fingers off!"

"Quiet, idiot," Sasuke said, though the expression on his face told them that he agreed with Naruto's sentiment. "Let's get to our places."

"Right," Kakashi said, putting his hands in his pockets. "The faster we find the assassin, the faster this mission can be over with."

'And the less chance we have that Akio-sama's going to do something stupid and make me have to explain to Tsunade-sama about why we have another Village pissed at us because Naruto and Sasuke made a eunuch out of their future Daimyo.'

"Yeah," Kakashi muttered to himself, feeling something like dread settle in his stomach. "Why did I agree to take a mission with these kids again?"

'Because you're a moron,' Kakashi's brain supplied.

Seeing the way Sasuke muttered something derogatory in Naruto's direction as they left the house, and the blonde's answering swipe with his fists, Kakashi could only agree with that thought.

'Shit.'

--

To Be Continued.

--