Title: The Way
To Their Hearts
Pairings: SasuSaku, ShikaIno, NejiTen, & NaruHina.
Summary: So the boys messed up. You know, again. Obviously, they need to apologize, and fast. But wait, too many chefs spoil the stew. No, really.
Author's Notes: Too silly to pass up. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: Naruto's not mine, and I'm not making any profit. Phooey.
"What are we hoping to accomplish again?"
"Humph. So troublesome."
"Are there supposed to be green flecks on the potatoes? Teme! Answer me."
Uchiha Sasuke supressed a long-suffering sigh. Honestly, if he'd only known that this little project would be this annoying, he never would have suggested it in the first place. He brushed stubborn bangs away from his eyes and surveyed the scene in front of him.
Uzumaki Naruto was squinting at the red ripe tomatoes on the kitchen counter. Every now and then, he would stop, rub his cheek and shake his head, as if he were trying to clear up the memory of a phantom pain. As though he'd felt Sasuke's gaze on him, the blond looked up to meet his eyes.
"Hey bastard, why are we putting tomatoes in it? The recipe doesn't say anything about those."
The Hokage-hopeful tried—unsuccessfully—to suppress a girlish yelp when a knife as sharp as one of Tenten's numerous kunai, came dangerously close to nicking his dominant hand.
No one messed with his tomatoes.
Nara Shikamaru ignored the argument—the one that was rapidly degenerating into an all-out brawl as most things usually did with those two—and went back to reading one of the many the recipe cards Sasuke had unearthed in the Uchiha Manor. Ino hates daikon radish, so this one's no good. A dessert maybe? Pudding doesn't sound so terrible. And it's a lot less troublesome than this stew…
The Uchiha looked up from where he was twisting Naruto's hand behind his back, and quirked a brow at him.
"What is it?"
"I'm taking this recipe card."
Naruto took advantage of the distraction to slip out from underneath his best friend. Sasuke, now facedown underneath the heavily crowing blond, was in no position to disagree, but Shikamaru pretended he heard a reply in the affirmative anyway.
Neji pinched the bridge of his nose, and attempted to fry everyone via eyeball. Everything about his stance—hands pressed to his temples, foot tapping against the tiled floor, to say nothing of his barely concealed mutters—screamed you bumpkins do not amuse me.
It was about time someone took control.
When no one looked up, Neji began to get very, very angry.
With a sigh indicating the extent of his much-abused tolerance, Neji calmly separated the two jounin rabbling in the Uchiha's kitchen, deftly swiped the recipe cards from the indifferent Shikamaru, and waited patiently for them all to realize what he had done.
After Sasuke and Naruto had taken a break from glaring at each other, and Shikamaru finally raised his head up from the kitchen counter, he began his speech.
"Uzumaki. Uchiha. Nara. There are four very good reasons we're all gathered here today." He pointed at the sulking blond fiddling with a few kitchen knives in one corner of the kitchen.
"You, Uzumaki, are guilty of violation of Article Three-One of the Husband's Guide to Harmony, Edition Four, Volume Two: Failure to indulge your pregnant wife's craving for strange and exotic foodstuffs."
Naruto winced as he recalled what had happened only a few hours ago…
"Hinata-chan! I'm back!"
The Hyuuga heiress looked up from her comfortable position on their plush couch where she sat, a novel in hand, eating a bowl of ramen. His hands were already heading for her stomach, and Naruto noticed she was already trying—and failing spectacularly—to hold back a smile. It was a routine for them: every time he came home, he would give her a customary kiss on the cheek and feel the growing bump of her stomach. It never ceased to amaze him that her petite frame would soon be giving him a son, an heir to the Uzumaki legacy.
While he engaged in his routine, Hinata took the time to really look at her husband. The smile in his eyes did not do a very good job of hiding his fatigue. Apparently this mission had been a hard one…she almost did not want to…
Naruto noticed her slight frown and was instantly on alert.
"Hinata-chan? What is it? Is something wrong? Is it the baby? Tell me."
"What is it, Hinata-chan? Whatever it is, we can work through it together…"
She closed her eyes and quickly completed her stuttered sentence.
"Iwantunagiandpocky…and some onigiri. Oh, and some ootori. With chocolate sauce."
After taking a moment to decode her swiftly uttered request, Naruto almost fainted.
"Is that all? Sure, I can get you some, but can it wait 'til I've gotten a bite to eat first?"
"Hn. Good thing Sakura was able to heal that for you, isn't it dobe? Otherwise you'd still be limping around like an imbecile."
Instead of retaliating, as he'd expected the blond to do, Naruto was smiling. No, smirking. Sasuke realized his mistake all too late, as Neji trained his all-seeing eyes on him.
"And you, Uchiha. I wouldn't be laughing just yet. You've violated Article Six-Two: You asked Forbidden Question Number One."
Sasuke shuddered and looked apprehensively at the crack in his wall…he hadn't known Sakura had such good aim when it came to that...
He walked through the door of their apartment with grocery bags in hand. Hopefully he'd gotten everything they needed for the week. Suddenly, his ears picked up the sound of soft hiccups.
He dropped the bags on the floor, ignoring the apples that fell from the top and rushed into the living room, mentally preparing himself for the worst possible scenario. What he found…was a little short of unexpected.
Instead of the bloody massacre he'd painted in his mind, he found his girlfriend crouched down in front of the TV, clutching a handkerchief like it was her lifeline. Around her, various volumes shoujo manga were scattered, each one doggy-eared on various pages. Chocolate wrappers lay forgotten around her feet. Sasuke, tallied up the signs, huffed self-importantly and gathered her shaking form into his arms. He crooned softly into her hair, and stroked her back in slow, rhythmic circles.
"Sakura…do you want me to find the heating pad?"
Confused green eyes looked back at him.
"Why would I need that, Sasuke-kun?"
He shook his head, that same small, indulgent smile still on his face.
"Some aspirin? Don't you always get cramps when you have your period?"
She stiffened in his lap.
Her head still bowed, she extricated herself from his grasp."
"What's wrong? Do you have cramps?"
Without warning, a pink vase came hurtling at his head. He just barely managed to avoid it.
"Why is it," she asked, her voice low "that whenever I eat chocolate, and read shoujo, you assume…" Her eyes caught his, and he was amazed at the battle aura that emanated from her now.
"…that I have my PERIOD?"
The paperweight she'd grabbed from his desk made a satisfying thunk as it landed against the wall.
The normally unflappable jounin suppressed a shudder.
He should have sent Sakura after his murdering, bastard brother. She would have had him wetting his pants in terror.
As he retreated into his thoughts, Neji took the opportunity to round on the unconcerned Shikamaru. The same unconcerned Shikamaru who was, even now, padding off into Sasuke's living room to catch a nap. Neji almost went after him, but Naruto did it first. Konoha's number one, most hyperactive ninja had grabbed Shikamaru around the neck and pulled him back into the kitchen. Naturally, the ANBU strategist thought it would be too troublesome to struggle so he went willingly. Fuming, the blond settled him back into his prior position and started a tirade.
"Oi! Shikamaru! If I were you, I'd be the one leading this little project. After what you said to Ino. That's Article Five-Two…"
"Shikamaruuuuu! Come here for a second! I need your opinion on something."
Groaning, the jounin picked himself up from where he had been lounging on his girlfriend's exceedingly comfortable, plush sofa and walked over to the bedroom. Inside, Yamanaka Ino's considerable collection of designer clothing and vintage hats were strewn around in a haphazard mess. Raising a brow, he sat himself on the edge of her bed. He was surrounded by lace and silk, cotton and wool…it was quite disconcerting to be in the same room with so much femininity.
Suddenly, an aquamarine bra flew out of the open closet and landed on his head, swiftly followed by several silk camisoles. A few moments later, as he was attempting to disentangle himself from the delicate trap, a blonde head poked itself out of the closet.
"Shikamaru! Stop playing dress-up! There's no time for that!"
The lazy genius grunted as he finally disentangled the last bra strap from his hair. Dress-up indeed…
His girlfriend stood
in front of him, holding two kimono.
"Which one of these should I wear to the festival next weekend? I was thinking about the purple kimono with the green obi but this lilac one looks so much more…"
Gradually, Shikamaru began to nod off with both eyes open, a skill he'd recently acquired. He'd read somewhere that it caused dryness and irritation, but that was his last concern. As long as it kept him out of trouble…
"…fat? Shikamaru? Listen to me?"
Ino, unfortunately, was not aware of this fact.
Her boyfriend snorted, and blinked blearily.
"I definitely agree."
Ino's eyes darkened, and a sinister smile played on her lips.
He would have been out of her apartment sooner, but the wire hangers she'd thrown at him had blocked his escape.
Shikamaru merely shrugged at the memory. Luckily, only his jounin vest had been damaged by Ino's tirade. Instead, he turned calm, calculating eyes on the Hyuuga who'd made them relive their mistakes.
"And you, Hyuuga?"
"Yeah, Neji. So Sasuke said Sakura had her period when she didn't, the idiot—"
He dodged a half-hearted swipe from the Uchiha here.
"—Shikamaru called Ino fat—"
A muttered curse.
"—And I wouldn't get Hinata her food! That still doesn't compare to what you did."
The Uchiha chuckled darkly and sneered at him.
"Or rather, what you didn't do. And really, I'm supposed to aim for defeating you? A man who broke Rule Number One?"
A thoroughly exhausted Neji came home to a quiet house.
How odd. Tenten should have been home already…
He shrugged it off. She was probably getting in a few more hours of training.
As he slid his muddy shoes off, he noticed the red specks on the floor. For a split second, he thought it was blood, but upon closer examination, they were merely…
He'd have to tell the servants to be more careful with their flowers.
He walked past the dining room table, idly noting the elaborate flower arrangement standing proudly in the center. He paused. Tenten had broken out their more delicate china. He grimaced as traces of mud tainted the pristine whiteness of the cloth, and then frowned.
Flowers, china, tablecloth…
What was the occasion?
The Hyuuga stopped, swallowed as his wife appeared in the doorway of the bedroom they shared.
No, this could not be Tenten.
His Tenten did not wear lavender negligees and heels that had straps up to her thigh.
His Tenten did not purr his name like a cat in heat. At least…not while she was standing upright.
His Tenten did not, under any circumstances, wear her hair down.
So obviously, Neji deduced, this must have been an imposter.
Instantly, veins pulsed to life near his eyes as he took his defensive stance.
"Who are you? Where is my wife?" His voice practically oozed threats of dismemberment.
The woman in front of him was shaking. Then, she did something very surprising.
"Damn you, Hyuuga Neji! You come home late, you're muddy and you probably don't even remember…"
He knew that voice. Maybe this was Tenten…
She had retreated into their bedroom but she heard her muffled words as though she were still in the same room.
"The anniversary of your proposal, you idiot!"
Neji, shaken, and not just a bit contrite, left.
Now, the pale-eyed genius felt a pang of remorse.
How could he have forgotten?
Silence reigned for a few moments in the darkened kitchen. Then, almost as a unit, three men stood. Shikamaru was roused into consciousness a few moments later.
They would find their way back into the good graces of their significant others.
And they would do it, Sasuke thought firmly as he tied the pink, lacy apron to his front, the way real men did it.
Tell me you don't love the idea of Sasuke in a pink frilly apron.
Hope you enjoyed! POS is in the works, fear not! Or then again...maybe you should...
Please review. :)