Title: "Crouching Children, Hidden Love"
Pairing: Naruto/Sasuke
Genre: Humor, Romance, borderline Crack
Warnings: Exaggeration for comedic effect, and one swear word.
Disclaimer: Naruto does not belong to us.
Summary: Sasuke is having a rotten, rotten day. And like most things in life, it only gets worse before it gets better.

Author's Note: This piece was illustrated by Pettydreams and is published in my livejournal! Please click the link in my profile to see her lovely artwork!


If Uchiha Sasuke never saw the inside of the Ninja Academy again, it would be too soon.

How in the world a man like Iruka-sensei had managed to stay alive for so many years was a complete mystery, although Sasuke couldn't deny that the even greater mystery at hand was how Iruka had managed to persuade him to be a substitute instructor in the first place. Attempting to determine how the word 'Yes' had come out of his mouth instead of 'No, No, and NO' had given Sasuke an ache in the region of his frontal lobe, a condition that worsened as the hours wore on and his nerves became worn out. One thing, at least, was clear--it was no coincidence that Iruka had arranged for him to fill in on a day the students were supposed to learn How to Set Up a Proper Ambush. Sasuke wouldn't be fooled by that Chuunin's friendly, innocent smile ever again.

Eight hours of having pint-sized Academy students jump out at him from all directions had been enough to rid Sasuke of even the tiniest desire for children. Furthermore, Sasuke was now convinced that Itachi's ultimate betrayal was, in fact, sticking him with the task of reviving the clan. Regular children were bad enough. Sasuke couldn't bear to think about a schoolyard full of Sharingan-equipped prodigies. Thus, it was quite a relief for Sasuke to know without question that there were at least two reasons his lover couldn't possibly get pregnant--a relief that was especially strong now that Sasuke had spent the better part of the day surrounded by midget ninja with similar demonic instincts and feral senses of humor.

Sasuke was one-hundred percent certain that the world was better off without any children that shared the genetic material of both him and Uzumaki Naruto. Naruto, he was sure, would agree with him.

There was only one detour Sasuke would have to make before returning to the safe confines of their apartment—it was his turn to do the grocery shopping, blast it all—and then he was going to try and pretend the day had never even happened, or at least sit on the bed making keening noises while rocking and clutching a pillow until all the bad memories had been locked away forever. Both options sounded quite enjoyable.

It was in this frame of mind that Sasuke entered the supermarket and picked up a shopping basket. And it was in this frame of mind that Sasuke happened to read a hand-painted sign in the front of the produce section that miraculously dissolved all signs of stress along with the wrinkles from his brow, and made the air in his lungs taste that much sweeter:


The sign was not wrong. Sasuke fairly floated over to the welcome sight of ripe, round, red tomatoes arranged in a pleasant diagonal pattern. It was a well known fact that tomatoes were his favorite, and he didn't hesitate to slide careful fingertips over each taut, blushing skin, or heft their weight in his palm in search of the perfect one—the best one—of the lot.

He found it in the back, half-hidden underneath another. Its color was bright and healthy, its skin turgid and responsive to the squeezing pressure of his expert caress. Even the stem had a jaunty crook that inspired a matching crooked smirk from Sasuke's lips. Holding this perfect tomato made Sasuke feel as if the world had become right once again, and the anticipation of devouring it bite by bite made Sasuke salivate where he stood, held captive by a sudden, yearning hunger. He finished his shopping in record time.

In retrospect, Sasuke might not have purchased everything he was supposed to that day, but this could not have been farther from his mind as he hurried home with his treasure nestled securely amidst the other perishables that were (hopefully) on the list. Sasuke entered the silent, empty apartment and put the grocery bags on the kitchen floor next to the refrigerator. He took out his precious tomato and held it reverently one more time before setting it on the counter, his well-earned prize, and then he stripped off his dirty uniform and hopped into the shower, wanting to be clean and refreshed before he started cooking dinner.

About the same time Sasuke was out of the shower and halfway changed into clean clothes, Naruto came around the corner into their bedroom. He was dripping with sweat and covered in the sort of grime that announced he'd just had several hours of hard training with at least one person from Team Gai, and so Sasuke was not surprised that Naruto shot him a saucy wink and claimed, "I'm gross, so I'll say hello properly in a minute," before disappearing into the bathroom. The shower started up immediately.

Sasuke rolled his eyes while he tugged a clean t-shirt over his head, and then dismissed the whole exchange in favor of near-skipping back to the kitchen to fix a meal worthy of The Perfect Tomato, the pièce de resistance

But the counter was empty. Sasuke halted, perplexed. Stunned.

He went to the counter and pressed his palm into the space where he knew he'd put the tomato before his shower, and then checked the grocery bags in case Naruto had moved it. Sasuke opened the refrigerator, peered into the waste basket under the sink, and even knelt in front of the cabinets so that he could look straight across the counter's laminate surface for signs of a struggle. He trailed his fingers over the floor and found not a single drop of tomato juice.

Where the hell was his tomato?!

Annoyed, Sasuke returned to the bedroom and knocked on the bathroom door hard enough to be heard over the noise of the shower.

"Hey, Naruto?"

"Yeah?" The shower stopped, and Sasuke could picture Naruto using a towel to dry himself off from the brisk movements he could hear through the panel of solid wood.

"Do you know what happened to the tomato on the counter?"

There was a pause from the other side of the door, and then: "What tomato?"

Sasuke scowled and opened his mouth to demand a real answer when Naruto suddenly opened the bathroom door and leaned against the frame, his hair damp and mussed and his body naked except for what was covered by the colorful towel wrapped carelessly around his hips. Sasuke closed his mouth, eyes roving down over Naruto's muscles and then back up to his grin. He studied Naruto's face. He studied Naruto's mouth.

Then Sasuke stepped closer to slide his palms across the smooth skin covering the muscular curves of Naruto's shoulders, burying his fingers in Naruto's wet hair to pull him abruptly forward for a hard kiss. Caught off guard, Naruto only had time to suck in a breath and stiffen in surprise before relaxing into Sasuke's fervent advances, as Sasuke pressed forward, kissing Naruto long and deep and with a thoroughness that left them both flushed and panting. The impromptu make-out session was steamy enough that Naruto stumbled and then twisted to brace himself more carefully in the doorway, grabbing Sasuke and chuckling.

"Well hello to you too," Naruto slid a hand down to squeeze Sasuke's firm ass, his voice breathy. "You're not usually so... romantic—I think I like it."

Sasuke grabbed hold of Naruto's wrist and squeezed—hard. "It's not romantic, Naruto, when you taste just like the tomato you were NOT SUPPOSED TO EAT!"

In the interests of remaining alive Naruto let go of his ass, but Sasuke squeezed harder and twisted Naruto's arm, making him dance and side-step to avoid serious injury until they were in the middle of the bedroom. "Ow-ow-ow-ow-ow-OW-OW-OWWW!" Naruto's voice rose in volume, and at this point Sasuke let go, to which Naruto let out a resounding, "Fuck!"

Sasuke could only glare at him, crossing his arms and fuming at the twofold betrayal. How dare he do such a thing? There were no words!

Naruto, predictably, glared right back. "So I ate the tomato—big deal! I was hungry!"

"And then you lied to me about it!" Sasuke shouted.

"Fine! I'm sorry, jeez!" Naruto rubbed his injured wrist, indignant. "I'll make it up to you okay?"

"And how do you intend to do that, idiot, when the tomato's already gone!" Sasuke seethed, gritting his teeth against the many and varied disappointments of the day, and feeling a pain radiating throughout his cranium that could only mean internal bleeding and an imminent aneurysm if he didn't get some relief.

And by 'relief' he did not mean catching a glimpse of a peculiar, mischievous quirk in his lover's upper lip that usually meant 'danger.'

Naruto slowly closed the distance between them with a feral glint in his toothy smile. Sasuke stood his ground, even when Naruto dropped his voice and leaned in to whisper, "Then how about I ..." Naruto cupped a hand around his mouth and proceeded to make suggestions that ripened Sasuke's cheeks to a healthy scarlet. It didn't help that Naruto's breath tickled his ear, nor did the sight of Naruto's tan, half-nude body when he moved away enough to display a seductive waggle of blond eyebrows.

Sasuke cleared his throat, disregarding the heated flush creeping even higher on his face from shameful lust. "Well…" he licked his lips. "That would be a start..."

Naruto grinned, triumphant. Then he reached for his towel and tugged, letting it fall to the floor in a heap. Sasuke looked down, then up, then swallowed. His mouth watered automatically from the predatory look in Naruto's deep blue eyes, and the heavy weight of the knowledge that he was about to be devoured, bite by bite. He could already tell it would be messy. But some part of him insisted that that was okay, even just, since it was Naruto's turn to do the laundry.

"So let's get started..." Naruto reached to pull their bodies flush together, tilting his head to offer a sultry kiss when Sasuke put a hand on his chest to stop him.

"You… You still have to buy me another tomato."

Naruto laughed and began to nibble his neck; Sasuke squirmed. "I'll buy so many you'll get sick of them," Naruto whispered against his skin. Sasuke bit back a moan as Naruto proceeded to use every technique at his disposal to outline a thorough, and very convincing argument that there were tons of things even better than the ripest, most delicious, most perfect tomato Sasuke could ever hope to find.

Sasuke didn't tell Naruto he was right. But every so often he'd leave a tomato out on the kitchen counter, and Naruto was smart enough to know what it meant (and what to do).

And Sasuke, for his own part, was smart enough never to substitute teach for Iruka again, much to the disappointment of Konoha Academy's population of eight year olds.

the end. ♥