This idea struck me as I was looking at pictures of my baby cousin. Manga deaths do not apply--in here SPOILER Asuma and Hayate are still alive. Wee!


Five Men and a Baby

"...the hell is that?"

I looked utterly befuddled under my mask as I stared down at the small creature crawling around my legs. Drool was dripping down it's chin as it cheerfully giggled and gurgled, playfully tugging at the fabric of my pants. I turned my attention to the four men in front of me, raising my eyebrow.

"We found it." said Asuma.

"Yeah, and?"

"Well we couldn't just leave her!" cried Iruka, "She's just a baby!"

I gazed back down at the little thing. It was having quite a ball romping around in all it's naked glory. I sighed. I thought it was going to be such a peaceful day, but of course I had to be wrong. It was obvious that the presentation of this toddler was going to ruin any plans of quietly reading my erotica in the park. They had brought it to me for a reason; I mean it's not like they wanted to show it off. No, they were unofficially making me part of whatever they had in mind. It would be foolish to refuse, as they would badger me for the whole day anyway. The smart thing to do would just to go along with it.

And I always do the smart thing.

"Any idea what we should do with it?" asked Genma.

"Can't we just leave it on the side of the road or something?" I had to try.

Iruka looked scandalized, "Of course not! Are you crazy?"

I sighed, "Well, do you have any bright ideas?"

"I think," he started proudly, "we should take care of her until the mother shows up!"

"And that would be when?" asked Genma irritably.

"How should I know?"

He groaned, rolling his senbon to the other side of his mouth. No doubt Genma was disliking this whole situation as much as I did. No one could blame us. It was a Saturday. Today should be spent relaxing and enjoying the weather, not babysitting.

Hayate coughed, "What should we do with it first?"

"We should probably get it off the ground." said Asuma.

A very pregnant silence fell over the five of us.

"Well...someone pick it up!"

Iruka glared at me expectantly. I looked at him through a glazed eye and shrugged. His cheeks puffed out a bit and he clenched his fist. Genma shook his head in annoyance and Hayate just stared at us, sniffling. Asuma grunted.

"Kakashi, pick the baby up, damn it."

I blinked at him. After a few seconds wasted on nothing in particular, I finally bent down and grabbed the little thing's tiny, pudgy legs, hoisting it up in midair. I stood there, letting the fat baby hang by it's feet from my hands. Iruka stared at me, astonished. I was sure he was going to congratulate me on a job well done until I was proven dead wrong when he exploded on the spot.

"WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?"

I was still standing there like somewhat of a dimwit, not sure if I should speak or stay silent. I did the latter, as I had no time to talk anyway.

"Calm down, Iruka." said Genma.

Iruka spat angrily, "How can you tell me to calm down when that idiot just picked up that poor infant by it's ankles? Oh, the blood's rushing to his head! Give her here!"

Iruka snatched the baby out of my hands and cradled it in his arms.

"It's okay Emi," he cooed, "the bad man's gone now..."

I asked amusedly, "You named it? It's not even yours."

"Yeah well we have to call her something, right? And stop referring to Emi as 'it'. She's a girl."

I rolled my eyes. Hayate coughed again.

"Well, if Iruka's got this all under control, then I'm gonna go now."

"Yeah, me too." said Genma.

"There's really no reason for me to stay either." said Asuma.

All three of them we headed in another direction when Iruka called out suddenly,

"Hold on you three!" he yelled, "You're not going anywhere! You have to help me take care of Emi!"

"Why?" asked Genma, "It looks like you can handle her just fine."

"I'm only one man! I can't take care of her all by myself!"

"But I have plans with Kurenai..." said Asuma.

"You'll have to cancel. We found this baby together, and we're going to take care of it together."

Genma frowned, "That's stupid."

"Yeah," agreed Hayate, "I don't have time to take care of a baby!"

"Make time."

After that comment, everyone had erupted into a brawl of argument, and I took that as my signal to high tail it out of there. As inconspicuously as possible, I casually sidestepped my way towards the forest. I wasn't even half way past a bush when I felt a tight grip on my shoulder. I prayed that this day not get any worse.

"Get back here, Hatake."

---

"No you moron, that part goes there."

"Well then where does this part go?"

"It goes here!"

"No, it goes there!"

I sincerely wished someone would hit me in the back of the head with a bat right about now. At the moment, I would much rather be laying unconscious than having to listen to Genma and Hayate argue about how to properly put on a diaper. You would think after the first forty-five minutes they would have figured it out.

The door burst open. Iruka and Asuma stood there holding armfuls of brown paper grocery bags filled with who knows what. I assumed it was for the baby, but really, how many supplies did one need to take care of such a tiny little thing? Iruka had probably overspent again. There goes the money needed for my birthday present.

"Oi, Iruka," I said, "what's all that?"

Iruka set the bags on the counter, next to Emi, who was currently having a roaring good time flailing her limbs in the air, making it that much more difficult for Genma and Hayate. Well actually, they would be having a difficult time anyway if she was laying still. It was obvious that the two men had no idea what they were doing.

"This is for Emi—Genma, Hayate! What do you think you're doing?"

Hayate cast Iruka a tired eye, "We're trying to put on Emi's diaper."

"Yeah, but she won't hold still." said Genma, dodging Emi's foot.

"Ugh, do I have to do everything around here?" Iruka shoved both Genma and Hayate aside, and the two watched in wonder as Iruka spent a mere five seconds properly putting on the diaper.

"There," said Iruka, "hey, Hayate, what's that on your shirt?"

Hayate looked down at his navy blue Jounin shirt which had a large spot on it.

"Oh," he said miserably, "Emi peed on me."

Asuma made a face of absolute disgust. I was looking pretty repulsed myself too.

"Iruka," said Genma, "how much longer are we going to have to do this?"

"I told you," replied Iruka, "until Emi's mother shows up!"

"Ugh." groaned Genma. Iruka picked up Emi and held her out to him. Genma had an expression that looked like a cross between confusion and irritation as he hesitantly accepted her into his own arms. I don't know why, but the image of him holding that puny infant was slightly humorous in my mind. He didn't seem like the fatherly type...well actually, at the moment none of us did. Though, he was holding her better than I was earlier, but I was a bit disturbed by how Emi was getting dangerously close to his senbon, of which she had apparently classified as a new play toy. Fortunately, Genma rolled it to the other side of his mouth when she got too near to it.

Asuma had spilled the contents of the grocery bags onto the counter, which earned him angry yells from Iruka. It didn't really bother him though, as we were all getting used to him getting pissed at every little thing that we did. Hayate had left, probably to change. Poor guy; the jet of yellow liquid had hit him faster than he could dodge.

The items Iruka had purchased were most foreign to me. There were diapers, yes, but there were other things like this weird powder that made your ass feel good or something...and there were lots of jars of green and brown glop. Iruka had told me it was food for Emi, and I immediately felt sympathetic with all babies for having to eat stuff that looked like—

"KAKASHI!"

I instantly dropped what I was holding and it hit the floor with a clack. Iruka was fuming at me...again.

"Don't play with Emi's rattle! It's not your toy." huffed Iruka.

"That thing's a toy?" I asked incredulously.

"Of course, what do you think?"

I bent down to pick it up. Some toy. It just looked like a ball with a stick attached to it. As I maneuvered the odd looking thing in my hands, I heard a strange sound coming from it. It sounded like there were tiny things moving inside of it. I shook it harder, and my eyes widened at the noise. It sounded like rain, or tiny pellets of hail continuously hitting the insides of the sphere.

"Iruka," I said seriously, "there's stuff moving inside of this thing. I don't think it's safe to give to Emi."

There was an awkward pause.

"YOU IDIOT!" screamed Iruka.

I looked at him, puzzled to what I had done, but he only snatched the object away from me and walked off.

I looked at Genma who was still holding the baby. He had quite an amused look on his face and Asuma was chuckling quietly next to him.

I asked them, "What?"

They exchanged glances and looked back at me. Asuma laughed, "And they call you a genius."

---

The past few hours had to have definitely been hell on earth. I had never changed so many putrid diapers in my life. The stinking things lay in a rancid pile in the trashcan, which was near to overflowing. Asuma was covered in baby food and Genma had numerous teeth marks on his hands and fingers. Hayate was trying his best to soothe Emi with a lullaby, but his poor excuse for singing came out as a string of melodic hacking that Emi did not take a liking to at all.

When she started to cry again, I was just about to kill myself.

"Hayate! You're upsetting her!" yelled Iruka, grabbing Emi.

"I have to agree with Iruka, Hayate," said Genma shaking his head, "five years of Karaoke hasn't done you any good at all."

"Hey, I was trying my best!" he cried, wiping his nose vigorously.

"Well it obviously wasn't good enough." stated Iruka, 'BITCH' written all over his snooty tone. Hayate coughed angrily, but Iruka paid it no mind. He simply starting humming a song that I couldn't recognize. Though, I had to admit that it was a helluva lot better than Hayate's voice.

Then, the doorbell rang, and before anyone had a chance to say anything, I sang an absolutely ecstatic, "I'll get it!" and disappeared out of the room.

I slid the door aside to reveal three, bright, cheerful faces—and connected to those faces, were three extremely well-toned bodies wearing skimpy bikinis.

"Ah!" I said happily, "Now what can I do for such a lovely trio of beautiful ladies?"

Tenten giggled at me out of obvious pity, Ino glared with that superior I'm-out-of-your-league face that she shot at every male in Konoha except Sasuke, and Sakura sighed exasperatedly.

Honestly, what did I do?

"Senpai," she pressed hastily, "we don't have time for your shenanigans . Ino left a pair of her favorite sandals here yesterday and we've come to get them. After we do, we're going straight to the beach."

"Want to take me with you?" I asked dirtily. Even if they were several years my junior, I couldn't pass up even the slimmest chance of seeing girls in bathing suits.

"No." they said in unison.

"Damn," I sighed, "all right then. Come on in."

They followed me inside and Ino questioned me suspiciously.

"What are you doing in Asuma-senpai's house anyway?" she asked.

I scratched the back of my head as I led them into the kitchen, where my four colleagues had erupted into a clashing argument like no other. As for Emi, well, she was draped over Hayate's shoulders, riding him piggy-back while she clutched tightly onto his red nostrils like reigns on a horse.

"Well, funny story actually…" I laughed nervously.

The three of them stood there, wide-eyed and awestruck, staring at the group of fighting, flustered Jounin like they were the main attraction at a three-ring circus. Emi had started to yank mercilessly at Hayate's hair, and he couldn't help but begin to violently buck up and down. He accidentally jerked back to hard, and she flew straight across the room, her big doe-eyes filled with excitement.

All five of us dove for her, but she ended up landing safely in Sakura's arms. She giggled and dribbled happily as she nuzzled into her as if she was her real mother.

I raised my eyebrow. Could Sakura have been…? No, I thought, there was no resemblance.

Although…

"Sakura," I asked seriously, "is that your baby?"

She glared at me like I was a moron and I immediately answered my question for myself.

"What in the world are you five doing with this adorable little baby?" asked Tenten, leaning over Sakura and smiling at the infant.

"She's actually mine." stated Iruka from on top of Genma. We had all landed quite comically on the floor after our failed rescue attempt.

"Really?" asked Tenten, surprised.

"I didn't know you were a father, Iruka-senpai," said Ino, "who's the mother?"

Asuma shoved Hayate aside and stood up, brushing himself off.

"It's not really his, Ino." he said matter-of-factly.

"Well maybe not biologically, but I did find her. And I told you to stop referring to Emi as an 'it'!"

"Emi?" repeated Tenten, "She looks more like a Keiko to me, or Etsuki…or Barbara."

"Don't doubt my naming choices!" Iruka snapped like an enraged pregnant women. Tenten immediately backed off.

Genma hit Iruka lightly on the shoulder.

"Don't be rude, Iruka," Genma said, pushing the younger man roughly off of him, "I think Tenten's names are more fitting than Emi. Look at the kid—she's frowning at the very mention of it."

Sure enough, the pudgy faced little girl was scowling in Sakura's arms.

Iruka harrumphed ill-naturedly and crossed his arms like a kid having a tantrum.

Hayate sneezed.

"You girls look pretty. Going to -cough- catch some waves?"

"Hai," said Sakura, "we were, but it looks like you all need some help."

"Yeah," agreed Ino, "I'd feel guilty leaving the girl here after what we've seen."

"We don't need your help!" said Iruka caustically.

Emi immediately burst into tears. Her crying could have drowned out a foghorn.

"I THINK WE DO!" yelled Asuma over her sobbing.

"WHAT?" asked Kakashi, covering his ears.

"I SAID—"

"YOOOOOOOOOSH!"

At the sound of the glass shattering into pieces, Emi's crying stopped. Sakura turned to use herself as a shield for her as the shards flew everywhere. The rest of us ducked for cover.

Asuma's window was no more, and standing in front of it was the number one reason why my day had gone from bad, to absolutely horrible.

Really Gai, could you have had any worse of timing?

He stood there, clad in disgustingly too-tight green spandex with his teeth pinging to a blinding extent. His hair gleamed to match, and the over-confident, save-the-day expression he was sporting made me want to vomit.

"Asuma, my good friend," he said robustly, "I heard a horrible sound coming from your house. I thought someone might have been dying! So I, being the good citizen I am, dropped in to see what was up!"

"Shit." Hayate stated, followed by a sneeze.

"Ditto." said Genma.

"Sensei!" Tenten said cheerfully. Unlike the rest of her friends, Tenten still referred to her old instructor as 'sensei' instead of 'senpai' despite the fact that she was now a Chuunin.

"My beautiful youthful flower," said Gai, laying a hand on her shoulder, "inform me on the current situation."

Tenten's face had embarrassment slathered all over it, and I instantly sympathized with her when Gai widened his grin and gave her a thumbs up.

"Er…" she said, "Iruka-senpai found a baby, and now these five are taking care of it. Although, I can't say they've been doing a very good job."

"We've been doing a fine job! Or at least I have!" huffed Iruka.

"Now, now Iruka," said Gai wagging a finger in his face, "if you were having baby troubles than you know you should have come to me in the first place! Children love me!"

I don't even know what level of wrongness his statement was on. Keeping my composure, I stepped in between him and my fuming colleague.

"Gai, I do think we could use your…uh…assistance, but, don't you have to be somewhere else…or something?"

"Nonsense, Kakashi!" he boomed, "Come on everyone! Let's get down to business!"

I don't know how, but someday I will make him physically incapable of that infernal nice-guy pose.

"Gai?"

"Yes, Asuma!"

"You're paying for that window."

---

We spent the next few hours running about, trying to pacify Emi, who had begun bawling again. My ears were ringing with her shrill cries but the pain of her continuously smacking me in the head with her rattle was far worse. At the same time, Hayate and Genma were arguing about putting her diaper on again, and Iruka was in the kitchen fixing her food to come to their rescue. Sakura was cooing softly at her, trying to calm her down, but it was pointless since she couldn't be heard over the two. Tenten was waving a stuffed panda in her face and Ino was contorting her face into absurd expressions, trying to get her laugh. I didn't know where the hell Asuma was though; he probably had snuck out for a smoke.

It was all in vain, since all of our effort actually seemed to make her cry louder.

Then Iruka and Gai burst in, and things only proceeded to get worse.

"I've got her food—wait, why isn't she wearing a diaper?"

"A baby shouldn't be walking around naked—it's shameful!" added Gai, "And she's started to cry again!"

"Obviously." Genma said, trying to pin down a side of her diaper.

"Genma, I told you that part doesn't go there!" snapped Hayate.

"Like you would know!" he barked back angrily.

"Stop fighting, you're hurting her!" yelled Sakura, shoving both men out of the way. Emi kicked and struggled, but somehow she managed to get it on. She put her hands on her hips and glared at Genma and Hayate, eyeing them with a stern know-it-all expression only a woman could have (no offense to you ladies).

Ino groaned, "Finally! Making those funny faces totally messed up my makeup!"

"Ugh, I have a headache." said Tenten woozily. I could empathize. My head was pounding as well.

"Hold her still, I have to feed her!" said Iruka, wielding a spoon full of mushy gloop, "Here comes the train, Emi! Brrrvvoommm!"

He was making the most ridiculous noises, and if he thought that he even remotely resembled a train engine, than he was insane…well, even more insane.

"Iruka!" Gai yanked him backwards, making the baby food fly into his face, "You cannot expect to feed a baby while she is crying!"

Iruka glowered at him, green mush dripping down his forehead. I had to try my best not to laugh.

"Sensei, what do you think we should do?" asked Tenten hopefully.

"Don't worry!" he said proudly, "I will calm her!"

He practically threw the rest of us out of his way. He stood there by himself, in front of the shrieking child.

"Silence!" he said. At his voice, Emi stopped, incredibly. However, Gai continued nevertheless.

"Listen to me, Emi!" he said, "Although I agree that crying is acceptable sometimes, mostly pertaining to deeply touching moments between two people, namely a teacher and his student, but only if there is a setting sun and crashing waves in the background! But this just won't do! Enough of this crying, it is weak! Do you want to be weak Emi, do you??"

She responded to his dramatic monologue with silence. We all stared back at him incredulously. He had done it! And all this time, I thought he was just bluffing about being good with children! But now, I see that he really, truly, is a good—

"WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!"

Damn.

"GAI, YOU MORON!" shouted Genma, "YOU MADE IT WORSE!"

"WHAT?" asked Gai, sticking fingers in the holes of his ears.

"I SAID, YOU—"

"QUIEEEEEEEET!"

The loud, unfamiliar voice flooded through the whole house, sweeping over everyone with immense surprise. All our eyes averted to the doorway. Standing in it, was Asuma, and a fierce looking brown-haired woman.

Emi blinked when she saw her, and then smiled, "Mama!"

"My baby!" The woman rushed towards her, picking her up in her arms and hugging her tightly.

Hayate sniffled at Asuma, "I'm guessing you found the mother?"

The burly Jounin standing in the doorway AKA my new best friend, just smiled.

"You're welcome."

---

I had never seen Iruka more crestfallen when Aiko, the mother of Emi, who's real name was actually Barbara (as Tenten predicted), waved us goodbye after giving us her gratitude for watching her all day.

Iruka could have been Barbara's mother, what with the way he tried to possessively steal her away from Aiko before she left. Ah well, he would get over it.

"So much for the beach." sighed Tenten.

"And that little brat threw up on my sandals!" complained Ino.

"At least she didn't pee on your shirt...again." said Hayate, swiping a kleenex from a box on the side-table.

Gai was going on about something having to do with a successful hard day's work but no one was really listening. Asuma, obviously in extreme denial about the fact that his house now looked like a tornado had gone through it, sat on the sofa reading the newspaper peacefully. Genma was sitting between Ino and Tenten, arms leisurely draped over there shoulders as he lazily rolled the senbon from one side of his mouth to the other.

Lucky bastard, I thought. I assumed Iruka had gone up to Asuma's bedroom to cry in peace over the loss of "his" child. I smiled to myself. Even if today hadn't gone as I had originally planned it to, I had to admit, it wasn't boring in the least. Babysitting definitely wasn't, or will ever be my forte, but taking care of that little drool-ball had been, dare I say it—fun.

Maybe it hadn't been as interesting as Icha Icha Paradise, but I learned a lot of things today. I learned that Genma and Hayate are diaper-retarded, Iruka can sometimes harbor more estrogen than any woman in this village, and Gai should never, I repeat never be around small children.

Oh yeah, and when in doubt, always count on Asuma.

Sakura was grinning up at me.

"What?" I asked.

"Aren't you glad it's all over?"

"Definitely. Babies are cute, but I never ever want to have to take care of one ever—"

All of a sudden, Iruka burst through the front door. Hm, I guess he hadn't been weeping in a corner after all…

"Hey guys, look what I found!" he said excitedly.

In his arms he held a naked, drooling, baby boy.

….

END