Family Affair

Author: Ladelle

Rating: PG-13, or ff net's equivalent, lol

Comment: OMG it's done! My second attempt at a one-shot...and a really long one, haha. Allys had this great idea, saying, 'what would it be like if Naruto and Sasuke were matchmakers?' and I took the idea and ran with it, and it is now one of my contest entries for AhjaReyn's contest.


It really looks like I haven't been doing much, lol, because MiLoCo and stuff hasn't been updating like crazy. But I'm wriitng, haha, I promise.


"Dad, I'm being completely serious," even though the words that left Naruto Uzumaki's mouth sounded convincing, an amused smile spanned the width of his face. The target of the twenty-year-old's statement paused from licking a postage stamp and raised an eyebrow, disbelievingly.

"Somehow, I don't believe you," the older man pressed the stamp onto the upper corner of a bill that needed to be sent out and his frown turned into a dubious sort of grin. "Because if you really knew me, son, you'd know that I am perfectly content working at the college, being independent, and occupying myself at home—"

"You mean hiding at the college, lookin' lonely and—Dad, come on, stop licking those!" Naruto burst forward and swatted away the next square-fold victim from his fathers grip and snagged the last two pieces of mail from the kitchen table below.

"You've licked like 10 of them; you're gonna get poisoned or something," he added, and he eyed a patriotic stamp suspiciously before licking it himself. As he tore the ornament from his tongue he shuddered, slapping it onto an envelope and smacking his lips like a dog chewing peanut butter. "Eugh."

His father chuckled before turning his expression somewhat offensive. "Hey, I am not lonely. And I work, Naruto. You should start looking for a job now that you're on your way to college," he pointed a lengthy finger with conviction, and Naruto let out a puff of air as he frowned.

"Ah, ah, ah. Changing the subject won't work on me, ol' man," and the twenty-year old slid into the seat beside his father, wondering if he would be lucky enough to age as well as him. Tanned features, high cheekbones, wise eyes and a full-blown set of blond hair—well, his father was only 44. And considering how much alike they looked with their age difference already, the future looked bright in terms of aging.

"I'm old and set in my ways, Naruto," his father said, and he leaned back in his chair, a charming smile crossing his lips. "I understand how life is just beginning to open and unfold for you, but for me—"

"Dad," Naruto interrupted, shaking his head and smiling bemusedly, "I'm asking you to go on a date. You're 44, for goodness' sake. Forty-four years young," he prompted lastly.

His father let out a bout of laughter before shaking his head and standing up, making his way towards the kitchen. With eyes like a hawk Naruto spun off his own chair, trailing his parental unit like a desperate shadow.

"D-ad­." He sounded out, trying to make his voice as whiny as possible. His efforts weren't working to convince the older man of his game plan, which had been rashly plotted out moments before popping the question, 'hey, do you want to date again?'. He honestly didn't see how sore the subject could be considering his mother had passed away close to ten years previous.

"It's not that simple," his father said as he began to wipe clean already-shiny counter-tops. And before Naruto could butt in, he held up his cleaning cloth and bopped Naruto on the nose with his forefinger. "When you're mother passed away she left very specific instructions on who—"

"Mom left you a dating manual?" Naruto ventured after a smirk. "Awesome, I wanna see it." He leaned forward until his father finally shook his head and twisted around him, evasively avoiding being cornered by his athletic son. "She didn't leave me a manual, Naruto. She was just very precise on whom I could and could not date when and if I chose to do so."

Twirling into the living room he made an effort to look busy, tucking things away that needed to be rearranged, and Naruto followed him out, plopping down onto the couch with a curious look on his face.

"I've never heard this story before," he said, and he pulled his palms up in order to rest his chin on them, eyebrows raised. His father paused as Naruto continued to stare and frowned, meandering over to the recliner chair and positioning himself peaceably into it.

"It's not as though your mother didn't want me to date if anything happened to her," the older man said and he looked a little sheepish. "Neither of us wanted the other to feel restricted or bound in that type of situation, but your mother…"

"Yeah?" Naruto asked and he paused a minute, noting his dad's loss for words. "What, did she says something like you could never be with another woman?" he snickered.

"'Cause that would totally be something that she would say," Naruto laughed out loud and waited for a sign of denial. When one didn't come his laugh ceased and he cocked his head to the side, a half-smile revealing pearly white teeth.

"Wait, what? Is that what she said?" The ashen look on his father's face made Naruto fall back into his fit of laughter. "Awe, man, haha. Well you know what they say, like son like father."

He laughed a little at the end of his joke and wasn't surprised when his father suddenly looked pitiful.

"There's isn't anything funny about it. It's not that I wouldn't date a guy but I—Naruto, I'm just older and—"

Naruto snorted and nodded, looking confident with his retort. "Sure dad, whatever you say. I bet you're just worried that your son's sexuality is wearing off on you," he threw back and his father groaned.

"…a guy before," he said, and Naruto raised an eyebrow towards him.

"What? I can't hear you when you mumble, Minato." Naruto watched as his father looked unusually complacent and was surprised when he even blushed.

Opening his mouth wider the older man said, "I said that I have dated a guy before."

Naruto sat for a minute, eyes wide, almost unbelieving. After a minute he grinned. "Well alrighty then. Let's get you on the dating wagon!" the younger man said and he shot up from the couch and waltzed over to a computer desk in the corner of the living room, stretching his arms out and intertwining his fingers at the same time. "There's eHarmony, , myspace…"

Minato jumped up from his seated position in the chair and nearly flew across the room, swiping the mouse from the desktop right before Naruto's hand floated down to touch it. Naruto glanced up at him and frowned, used to his father's agility.

"Naruto, there is no way you're putting me on dating websites," he said, his face fading into something serious. Naruto pouted.

"But dad—"

"Naruto, I refuse to be a piece of meat." He said, and Naruto would have laughed if his father didn't look as panicky as he did. Instead, he sighed.


"What will it take for you to believe that I am perfectly happy and content?" Minato asked and he smiled at his son after setting down the mouse. Naruto bit his lip in thought and grinned back, knowing that he would somehow win this challenge.

"Three blind dates of my choosing. If you don't like them, I'll deal with the emotional torment of not being right, and I'll leave you be." Naruto puckered his lips and thrust out his hand, offering a gentleman-like handshake to affirm the small bet.

Minato let out a deep sigh and glanced down at the extended hand, knowing his son better than anyone else. When the kid's mind was set, it was set, and there was no escaping the plotting within. After a disgruntled sigh he took Naruto's hand within his own, subjecting himself to whatever Naruto had planned.

His son beamed and he laughed nervously and inside his head only encouraging thoughts ran through.

If I can survive my son on an everyday basis, I can definitely survive a date.


He really hadn't dated in a long time.

"I think you're asking for trouble."

It was an honest comment and Naruto knew it, but coming from his closest friend it only made him grin, shrug, and tuck his hands into the pockets of his over-sized denims.

Shikamaru always had a way of being extremely blunt and Naruto had discovered early on in their acquaintance that he was one of the few people that could take it. He was stubborn enough on his own, so the truth was never really a surprise to him.

"Maybe," he added after a moment's thought, and he held his arms out like airplane wings as he tried to balance on the outer curb of the sidewalk. Being in the older part of town always made Naruto feel a little more liberated, especially when the streets were nearly dead with inactivity and the scenery was so natural. The majority of the small roads were lined with pretty little town homes and old gas stations that smelled like sticky fuel on hot tar.

Getting out of the city was always something Naruto enjoyed and he couldn't help but think he had struck gold with his choice in best friend. Not only was Shikamaru a genius that had managed to get into a four-star university, but that very university was only an hour drive from where they went to high school and where Naruto currently lived with his father. Not only that, it was also in a secluded and quaint little suburb blanketed with little hedges and bristling pine trees—and as Naruto took in a deep breath, he threw his arms behind his head and cocked a sidelong glance at his friend.

"He had a date today, I think," Naruto said, and Shikamaru grunted from beside him. He looked tired from exams and Naruto prodded his buddy's side before hopping off the curb and glancing at Shikamaru again.

"You don't sound too confident about that," Shikamaru said, and Naruto looked thoughtful.

"Well, he's kinda sneaky. I found the first guy, right, supposedly in an ad in the paper… and he said he'd take it from there."

"Sounds like he's gonna chicken out," Shikamaru said, and Naruto frowned.

"I hope not. We shook on it! Besides, from what dad said the guy seems perfect. He's younger, all business-like and professional, looking for someone, 'who just likes to sit back and enjoy the ride'—and my dad is as laid back as it gets."

Shikamaru nodded and glanced down to his watch before turning his attention up to Naruto. "Yeah. That's true; he's the only one who couldn't coerce his son into going to college right away," he said, and he smirked at his own joke. Naruto frowned.

"Hey, hey. I have my reasons," he said defensively, but he smiled immediately afterwards. Of course Shikamaru knew that he had reasons for waiting an extra couple of years, but it was true that his father was extremely passive. In another life he probably would have been a hippy, if he hadn't been so determined and successful in education.

"Yeah, yeah. Hey, listen. Head to the café. Ino's working today so she can get you whatever you want, but I have to head over to the library for my study group." Shikamaru eyed his watch again and looked dismissive, even though his tone sounded vaguely urgent.

"No problemo. Good luck, although I know you're going to ace everything." Naruto said, and Shikamaru nearly grunted and saluted goodbye, jogging across the street. The two had spent the majority of the morning together, catching up since their last visit and generally wandering around town. It was always nice to have a lazy and casual day, and as a breeze shook the pines around him, Naruto smiled.

Looking ahead, he spotted the small café, although he always referred to it as the diner. The college kids liked the term 'café' because it had an air of professionalism. But from Naruto's eyes it was a checkered building straight from the fifties with a dusty red finish that was chipping away with age.

And with a name like Rosa's he wondered how it could have been called anything other than a diner. But he just smirked and wandered up to the door and popped it open, beaming when a smart little bell signaled his entry. The place was nearly empty as he meandered in, searching out the familiar face of Ino Yamanaka as he searched for a seat.


Naruto was happy to see a familiar blonde ponytail bobbing up and down from behind the barstool counter and he twirled into a stool and leaned over, watching deftly as she appeared to be scrubbing something off one of the cabinets.

"Ecch emm." He cleared his throat deeply and continued to lean over, knowing how to get her attention. Ino Yamanka had been close with Shikamaru since they were kids, and so Naruto had always managed to view her as a something like a sister.

"Ecch emmmmm." Naruto sounded again, and he tapped his fingers on the counter, waiting for a response. It only took seconds before she tore her eyes up, glaring with irritation.

"Listen buddy—" She paused at the sight of Naruto's face and her expressions softened. "You idiot. I have frying pans here—I could have nailed you with one with they way you were acting," she quirked a smile and shook a frying pan in her fist and Naruto laughed.

"Do you usually assault your customers with cooking utensils?" he pondered, and he licked his lips at the thought of a milkshake.

Ino smirked. "What? Scared I might beat you up?"

Naruto shook his head and held up his hands offensively. "Hey, I just came for the free milkshake." When Ino frowned and shook her head, Naruto grinned.

"Thank you, Ino," he said sweetly and she waved him off, grabbing the malting tin and cream from behind her. "Yeah, yeah. I'm beginning to think you only like me because of my milkshakes," she jested, and Naruto bit back an inappropriate comment about how no milkshake in the world could bring him to the yard. But it would have been wasted breath considering Ino was well aware that he was completely gay.

"I like you because of your free milkshakes," he decided on instead, and it was just as true. Who would turn down a free malted beverage? Not he.

"Mm. I feel so much better about myself now," she said sarcastically, and after she managed to churn the concoction to its flurried chocolate form, she poured it into a glass and slid it over to him. It was chocolate with sprinkles, his absolute favorite, and he hammered a straw into it and took a long gulp.

"Ah, Ino. Yummm."

Ino laughed at him and began to wipe down the counter before glancing up to see if anyone else in the room looked as though they needed anything. Someone must have signaled her because Naruto watched as she nodded and twisted out of the old-fashioned turnstile that separated the employee area from the customer area and drifted away.

He simply sat and enjoyed his malt, content with the cooling air-conditioning that swept across his skin, and surprisingly at ease with the bellowing old school R&B that clanked out of a beaten looking jukebox in the corner.

Slurping up the last of his milkshake, which he had cleared in record time, he slid it across the counter and stretched, prepared to bid farewell to Ino (who appeared to be busy with an irate customer near the door) and truck it home. He was tired and had a video game to beat, and aside from that, he was desperate to find out how his father's date went, if it hade even gone at all.

"You weren't thinking of not paying, were you?" a cool voice surprised him and Naruto glanced to the other side of the counter, raising an eyebrow to a figure he had never seen before in his life. He glimpsed back towards Ino and then pointed.

"I'm with her," he said somewhat poignantly, hoping that would explain his lack of wallet retrieval. Apparently it didn't register because the boy behind the counter—or man, considering he was around Naruto's age—only stared blankly.

"Yeah. That will be 3.69." He stood there for a moment and stared, and Naruto put on a confused expression. Either the guy wasn't computing what he was saying or he was being a dick and was going to make him pay for it anyway. He hoped it was option number one.

"Um, Ino is a friend of mine. I usually stop in and leech—well, not usually, more like once every few weeks. You can ask her; I'm not lying," and as the words tumbled out of his mouth he took a moment to examine the figure in front of him, still staring with an irritated look on his face.

This was unfortunate because his face was really handsome, in a feminine sort of way. But then again, in Naruto's experience, a goof majority of Asian men had feminine features, and this person was definitely Asian.

Layered hair, textured to spike in the back and frame the face in the front, with round almond eyes that looked too demanding for someone so young. Naruto felt like a little kid with his hand caught in the cookie jar for some reason and he almost went bashful under the scrutiny of the gaze.

"Ino is an employee of mine and as a customer, I expect you to follow policy. Unless of course washing dishes sounds fun to you," was the cool reply, and Naruto felt the small bit of patience he didn't have a chance to use disintegrate. Jumping up from his stool he frowned.

"Really. Over a milkshake?" It wasn't like he didn't have a five dollar bill stuffed in his pocket. But honestly, he had never been treated so rudely.

The figure crossed his arms over his chest and cocked his head upward, looking smug. "You know, if you're really too poor to afford a milkshake you should invest in stealing actual meals."

Naruto snapped. "If you're gonna go crazy on someone over a milkshake maybe you should reevaluate your social life," he said back, although he immediately regretted it.

"Sasuke, I'll get it, he's a friend of mine." Ino seemed to appear like an angel in front of Naruto, glancing back and forth between the two men with an estranged look in her eye. The worker named Sasuke merely snorted and whipped around towards a door to the back cooking room and Ino smacked his wrist.

"Do you want to get me fired?" she asked, although when Naruto looked somewhat pitiable she shook her head.

"He's got some kind of pride," Naruto said absently, wondering how someone could take a job at a diner so seriously. From in front of him, Ino glanced back, making sure he wasn't there before smirking.

"He's hot though, right? Sakura and I have bets going on who he might date first," and after that comment, Naruto couldn't help but laugh. It surprised Ino and she looked like she felt left out. "What's so funny?"

"Ino," Naruto laughed, "No guy who gets that mad over a milkshake is straight," he explained, and then added, "and his hair—yeah. Straight as a circle, Ino." His gaydar had seldom proved incorrect.

Ino's eyes got wide. "You're kidding me."

Naruto shook his head and stretched, preparing to leave. The good thing about his bountiful optimism is that few things really truly got to him, and the scenario had already left his temper.

"No jokes," Naruto said and he laughed when she looked forlorn.

"Damn. I guess all the good guys are like parking spaces."

"What, taken?" Naruto ventured, still chuckling. When Ino nodded he frowned. "Hey, hey. Except me. I'm still living a life of loneliness here."

Ino rolled her eyes and pointed to the door. "I go for guys who go for girls, kiddo. Now get outta here."

Naruto laughed and leaned over the counter to kiss her on the cheek before wandering towards the door and waving goodbye. She laughed and went to help a table, and Naruto spotted her silver Jetta in the main parking lot. Wandering over to it he shoved the crumpled five dollar bill through her cracked window, trying to ease the awkward feeling he had for saying something so rude to someone he hardly knew, and for hoping it didn't come back on Ino as an employee.

Frowning he wandered towards the main of the small town, ready to catch the bus, go home, and take a nap.

When Naruto discovered that his father had only planned a date with Mr. Newspaper Ad, he was vaguely irritated, but it only gave him incentive to badger his father more about where the date was going to be, if he was excited, what he was going to wear, etc, etc.

So when the time finally came, two days later, that his dad was dressed in a sleek pair of khakis with an attractive white blazer and blue polo shirt underneath, Naruto felt excited and proud himself. Ignoring the fact his father had been fairly protesting, that is.

"I don't want to be late, even if I'm not serious about this," Minato said as he checked his wallet for everything necessary for the date. Naruto frowned from beside him and shook his head.

"That's a horrible attitude to have."

It was only a few minutes later that Minato was out the door, in some sort of frenzy to leave and blatant refusal to tell Naruto just where he was going.

Naruto watched as his dad swerved out of the driveway and he quickly jolted over to their computer, grinning wickedly. It really was unfortunate that his father wasn't the best with technology, or else he would have remembered that Naruto could hotkey his way to any previous entry in Google, and as the Gilded Crane Restaurant popped up as number one. Naruto grabbed his black and orange windbreaker, baseball cap and took off himself, anxious to see how the date would play off.

It wasn't like he was spying. Well, that would be a lie. He was spying. But all for a good cause! He loved his dad and in all honesty, the man seemed like a wreck when it came to new relationships. Naruto judged that solely on the fact that his father had only two 'dates' since his mother died, both involving women from his work that had mysteriously discovered where he lived and had invited themselves over for dinner.

Naruto frowned at the memories.

He locked the house door behind him and jogged to the rock bed beside the driveway, pulling his moped onto the pavement. It was his baby—his crotch rocket—and as he slid onto its leather seating he tugged on his black and orange helmet, snapping a hard-fast buckle under his chin.

A turn of the ignition and quick catch-release of the acceleration and gears and he was off, drifting down the road in an excited sort of stupor, wondering just what this guy was like. It made Naruto excited because he wanted to see his father doing something with his life, with his spare time.

As he twisted down some main streets and curved onto a side street that curled into the downtown area of his zip code, he spotted the restaurant, big and glorified with a neon sign and clever murals that adorned the outside. It was expensive, he realized, and that made him hopeful.

He was grateful it was a Wednesday, knowing that he would be able to get a seat without needing a reservation. He parked his bike and chained it, carrying his helmet underneath his arm as he ventured in, peering around wildly to avoid being seen by his father. Without spotting him he crept inside, and the receptionist raised an eyebrow at him.

"One…?" he asked, and Naruto nodded, finally spotting his father near the center of the room, his date hidden by a potted plant. There were tons of table open and the host began to lead him to an individual seat by the wall.

Naruto got nervous. "Eh-uh actually, can I sit there? I love potted plants," he smiled and he motioned towards a table a couple rows down form where his father was. The waiter looked at him like he was an amoeba before slowly nodding, guiding him to the table and offering him water. After he walked away, Naruto tried to peer through the potted foliage to view his father's date, but it was no good.

He frowned.

"I guess you could afford the milkshake after all," a voice sounded from beside him and Naruto glanced to the aisle, leaving barely a minute before his expression lowered. What unfortunate timing.

"Are you stalking me?" Naruto asked lamely, raising an eyebrow. The Asian boy—was Sasuke his name?—snorted.

"You came to my diner first. Are you stalking me?"

Naruto almost laughed. What a funny idea.

"You're too skinny for me," Naruto said and he tried peeking in between the fake foliage again, only catching a riff of black hair. He still couldn't see a thing.

"Hn," Sasuke said, and without asking, he plopped down across from Naruto. Naruto looked confused.

"Can I help you?" he asked, and Sasuke snagged the menu from him, eyeing it as if he intended to order.

"I'm sitting here," he replied, flipping a page of the menu. Naruto pulled it down, trying to make eye contact with the other boy. As soon as it appeared that Sasuke was frustrated, he glanced up.

"Can I help you?" he asked Naruto, and Naruto looked suspicious.

"Uh," was all he could manage, and Sasuke cleared his throat. "In my book, you still owe for the milkshake. Me sitting here will square your debt," he said, and Naruto paused for a minute before he grinned.

"Awe, if you wanted a date with me so badly, you should have just asked," he chuckled, and Sasuke glared up at him in response.

"Please," he said, and then from beside them, a waiter appeared.

"Can I get either of you something to drink?" the gentleman inquired, and Naruto looked thoughtful. "A glass of water with no ice, please," and from across the table, Sasuke snorted. "Raspberry lemonade."

As the waiter wandered off to retrieve their beverages Naruto maneuvered to the side to attempt to get another look through the foliage of fake leaves, now having to survive Sasuke's head as an impediment as well. He frowned when all he could see a blur of blond and dark hair in between.

"What are you doing?" Sasuke asked, though he didn't pull his eyes up from the menu. Naruto ignored him and continued to wiggle around in his seat, cocking an eyebrow when he heard his father's familiar and jovial laughter bubble through the air. He grinned and sat back, content at the moment. It wasn't for another couple moments of his imagination running rampant that he realized that Sasuke was staring over to him, looking skeptical.

"Hi," Naruto said lamely, trying to pretend like he wasn't spying on someone a few booths behind them.

"You are so bizarre." The Asian boy shook his head and he thrust over the menu. "Choose something to eat."

Naruto only set the menu on the table, shaking his head. "I ate before I came."

This inspired another annoyed and baffled glare from Sasuke who quirked an eyebrow. "Why on earth would you eat before coming to a restaurant?"

Naruto waved his hand dismissively after hearing another round of bubbly laughter, and focused his attention on the blurry movement between the plants. "Shh," he signaled and the other boy almost bristled at the command, "I think he's having fun."

Sasuke scooted towards the edge of his booth and peered backwards, trying to find whatever Naruto was so interested in. When he tuned around he was skeptical and pale, and he licked his lips to try and look more passive.

"Why are you here?" he asked, and Naruto smiled as the waiter set down their drinks. He made a motion that implied they needed more time and the waiter drifted off, and he smiled charmingly.

"I'm making sure my dad won't suffer an eternity of loneliness when I leave for college," he said, and even though he laughed a little, it was the truth. Sasuke's eye twitched.

"What does your dad look like?" he asked, and Naruto looked thoughtful after a moment. He then pointed to himself. "Like me, I guess."

"And he's sitting three booths behind ours," Sasuke meant to ask, but it came out as a statement instead. Naruto nodded and attempted to scoot to the edge to peer out as well. He held his cap low over his forehead and puckered his lips, easily identifying the back of a wild mess of blond hair, and was satisfied to see the dating companion.

He was tall, even sitting down, and his hair was smooth and black. It cascaded around his shoulders in razored layers—the seemingly in hairstyle for any Asian male. Naruto paused. Asian?

"My brother is on a date with your father." Naruto watched as Sasuke buried his face in his hands, looking strained. Naruto glanced back to his father's date and then back to Sasuke, noting the obvious similarities in appearance, and then raised a pointed finger. "You…and him…" Naruto sat back in his seat and looked triumphant. "You came here spying on your brother," he said, and Sasuke glared.

"You came here to spy on your father," he pointed out, and Naruto shook his head lightheartedly.

"Yeah, but he's my dad. That's your brother." Naruto had awkward mental renditions of why Sasuke would be tailgating his brother on a date. All of them were hilarious.

"Yeah, and the next time your brother dates every man in existence, asking them to 'sit back and enjoy the ride'—ugh. How vulgar," Sasuke looked positively disturbed by the end of his comment, and Naruto took a break from laughing to absorb what Sasuke had said.

'Someone who will just sit back and enjoy the ride.'

Damn his naiveté. He had sold his father out to a sex fiend all because he never took the time to understand metaphors in English Composition.

"Oh my God," Naruto finally managed. "I thought it meant laid back…"

Sasuke set his glass down firmly and raised an eyebrow. "It was you who answered the ad?"

Naruto waved his hands in defense. "I didn't answer anything! I only wanted my father to get out a little," he concluded, and Sasuke looked irate.

"Do you know how many nights I go sleepless because of my brother's psychotic dating behavior?" he said, and then added, "And now we'll go and add your idiot father to the list."

"Hey! Don't insult my dad," Naruto said firmly.

"Wouldn't dream of it," came the sarcastic reply and Naruto fizzled.

"Do you two know what you'd like to order?" the waiter had returned and it made the duo jump. Sasuke handed her the menu.

"Kooftah." He said quickly and Naruto shook his head as though he wouldn't have anything. Sasuke glared. "And he'll have the Pad Thai."

The waiter glanced back and forth between them before shuffling off, and Naruto raised an eyebrow. "I didn't—"

"Yeah, you did want something, you're just retarded. I'll pay for it," he added, and he settled his gaze more firmly on Naruto. The blond settled back into his seat, wondering if somehow Sasuke knew he hadn't really come with a lot of money.

"What are we going to do about this?" he asked, and Naruto looked bewildered.

"Um… about what?"

"About my brother using your father for sex and your father innocently dating my brother?" Sasuke took a sip of his lemonade and raised an eyebrow.

Naruto frowned. "Well, one thing is for sure. He's definitely not dating anyone related to a jerk like you," he said, and Sasuke nodded before looking offended.

"I'm not—"

"But still, I'd rather he be dating someone. My goal is to get him a buddy before I leave…" his voice wandered off as he contemplated the situation. Sasuke seemed genuinely concerned, so this brother of his was obviously a bad choice. He seemed like a player, and Naruto didn't like that at all. Nobody put Minato in the corner!

"So we'll find your dad someone new and he'll leave my brother alone," Sasuke clarified, and Naruto took in a deep breath.

"Right. Wait, you're going to help me?" Naruto was surprised.

Sasuke glared. "You have no idea how much I want my brother to become celibate."

Naruto leaned back as their food came, surprisingly fast. It smelled good and he was grateful that Sasuke had seen through him, although he wondered if he had seen through the fact he really hadn't brought money either. He frowned. Maybe it was something else he'd use against him in the future.

"To breaking them up," Naruto held up his water and waited for Sasuke to clink his lemonade glass against it, affirming their goal. The rest of the meal was finished in a calm and eerie silence, the both of them contemplating just who could take the place of such an attractive suitor.

Naruto drifted around the house after he had hung up the phone with Sasuke, surprised that they had managed to talk for so long. He wasn't really a phone person despite his talkative nature, and Sasuke wasn't as much of a demon over the line as in person. That thought made him chuckle.

He wandered down to the kitchen and heard his father on the telephone, and so he slid back against the wall in an attempt to hide his presence. He was positive that his father was on the phone with Itachi, because for the last week, that's all the old man would talk about.

He frowned and spied a little, feeling slightly dishonest.

"No, that would be great… yeah, I have a feeling that it will turn out that way, too," Minato said and Naruto raised an eyebrow. What, what would what?

"Mm. I know. I love Naruto so much. He needs to get out there…"

Naruto let out a low breath and rested his head back against the wall, feeling slightly guilty. He knew he needed to get out… but he couldn't if he felt guilty about leaving his father alone.

"Yeah, it will work," Minato said, and Naruto assumed that he was talking about his newly found relationship with Itachi Uchiha.

Frowning he drifted back upstairs, feeling too tired to think about anything his father had said.

"I'm telling you, this guy is perfect," Sasuke said, and he strode past Naruto with an air of confidence that was unparalleled. Naruto frowned as the other boy passed him and jumped up onto the curb of the sidewalk, avoiding a car that swooshed by him from the parking lot behind.

"I don't know. I mean, you recommended him to me but…" Naruto let his eyes roam the traditional building before him, feeling a little sketchy about the date he was about to scout out. When he had told Sasuke that his dad used to be outgoing and energetic, he never imagined that a date at a Dojo would end up being the result.

"You said you wanted your dad to be more active—here he can be as vigorous as he wants. You said he needed someone who could give him direction—someone a little demanding—so I got him the best black belt we've got on such short notice," and really, that was the truth.

It had been less than a couple of weeks since their fateful meeting at the fancy restaurant that Sasuke had called Naruto with a name. It had been even less time after that when Naruto had been instructed to pretend like he knew this man and convince his dad that a date would be great. And, low and behold, here he was, crouched low beside the cement outlier of a martial arts building, hiding in ball of bushes in order to peek through low-set windows.

"Oh my God," Naruto said as he found his father in the room. He looked surprisingly content in a white gi and was laughing—albeit nervously—with a tall man beside him. Naruto's eyes traveled up the figure and his eyes got wider, his mouth beginning to peel open in fear. "He's like… a gorilla!"

Sasuke jabbed him in the ribs and shook his head, obviously irritated. He shuffled further into the bushes to get a better view and Naruto eagerly scooted along beside him, hoping that it was only the angle that made this man look so behemoth.

"His name is Asuma Sarutobi. You wanted someone adventurous—"

"Yeah, and if that ain't the wild I don't know what is," Naruto interrupted, feeling his father's disgruntled look of apprehension as the looming figure took a sparring position. Chest hair bristled out of a loosely tied tunic and the bulky man's nostrils flared once.

"Oh my God, my dad's gonna die."

Naruto flinched as Asuma leapt forward, positive that his father would get hurt.

This was an awful date. Who on earth went martial art-ing on a first date? The only thing that popped in his head were those lame dating shows on daytime television, or even on MTV. But a tap on his shoulder made him open his eyes, and Sasuke was staring at him.

"You're such an idiot," he said, and Naruto swiveled his vision back to the window, surprised to see his father holding his own. His father had mentioned something about karate in his youth, but after all the talk about how old he seemed top be getting, Naruto hadn't really put much thought into it.

Now though, seeing his father in action, Naruto felt somewhat satisfied. Maybe Sasuke's pick wasn't as strange as he had thought. His dad had good form, it seemed, and the Man-date seemed to be holding back well enough. Awkward grunts and groans issued as they sparred, and after only a few minutes Naruto's thighs began to hurt.

The two boys sat low against the ground for a long while, watching the joust with a scrutinizing intensity. Minato had expressed a bit of reluctance going to such a place when Naruto had recommended it, but now, sitting and watching the two men in action, it didn't seem like he was as doubting as he had been before.

"This looks promising," Sasuke said, and Naruto yawned. "Mm."

There was another pause before Sasuke said, "My brother wouldn't stop talking about him."

Naruto broke his second yawn in two and glanced over, eyebrow raised. "Really?"

Sasuke nodded, squinting his eyes as he leaned forward to get a better look at the match. They were still going, occasionally starting over with a polite bow.

"My brother is always trying to set me up; trying to get me to be more like him. I can't believe he and your father hit it off so well," he said.

"It's creepy." Naruto said, and he reached his arms up to stretch. Sasuke nodded.

"What about your father?" he questioned, and Naruto glanced towards him.

"You mean my father talking about your brother?" he asked, and when Sasuke nodded Naruto frowned. "Yeah, I think he really enjoyed that date…"

There was a long pause where an awkward silence settled over them, as if they weren't quite sure what to say. They didn't know each other very well and the only thing that seemed to tie them together was their blistering urge to get Minato with a man other than Itachi Uchiha.

Naruto watched Sasuke with his peripheral vision, feeling a little strange. For someone he didn't know very well, and with whom he'd had a horrific first encounter, he and Sasuke got along surprisingly well. He was loud and bubbly, and Sasuke was quiet and concentrated, and together they almost fit like puzzle pieces.

Being around Sasuke was different than talking on the phone, and plotting to set their family members' up on dates seemed to be becoming a pastime of theirs, both throwing random ideas off each other in an effort to find a winning male. And even though this Asuma character was a little doubtful in appearance, Naruto was reluctant to admit that just sitting and watching the situation with Sasuke was worth the trouble they had gone to.

"How did you find this guy?" Naruto asked abruptly. He had been wondering for a while.

Sasuke glanced over to him, his dark eyes lightening as the sun his them perfectly, making them more of a heated amber than a fading black.

"The paper. The dating ads were sitting out," he clarified, and Naruto thought that was interesting.

He shifted positions again and let out a low breath. "I just want my dad to find someone."

There was a pause when Naruto's leg brushed against Sasuke's and he glanced over with an eyebrow raised. Naruto let out a sigh and peeked back in at his father, noting how there was no chemistry at all between him and Asuma. It was more like he was sneaking around to watch some Pilates gig—his father and a trainer or something.

"My legs hurt. Let's get out of here," Sasuke said he pushed Naruto a little for motivation. Apparently he felt the lack of connection between the two as well, but was too prideful to admit he had chosen incorrectly.

Naruto nodded and began to shuffle sideways, working to dislodge himself from the crevasse he and Sasuke had managed to creep into. His thighs burned as he moved sideways and he paused, falling backwards onto his butt.

"Ah man, one position too long," he whined, and he rubbed his calves over his jeans. From beside him Sasuke groaned and twisted forward, shaking his head.

"Move, idiot," he said, and when Naruto glared up at him the Asian boy merely rolled his eyes and attempted to climb over him, obviously getting uncomfortable with the claustrophobia of being pinned against the wall of a building by rooted foliage.

As he twisted over Naruto he lost his footing, collapsing onto the blond in a quick motion, one that caused Naruto to let out a disgruntled 'oomph' and fall into a very compromising position against the rock bed below.

It seemed like minutes that Sasuke struggled to pull himself up off Naruto, and from below, completely pressed to the rock-strewn ground, his victim let out an irritated groan.

"Ouch—gods, you may look skinny—"

"Shut up and move—"

"Damnit—my foot! My foot!"

"Naruto, don't put your knee there—"

The two grunted as they thrashed around, desperately trying to untangle themselves from their suggestive position. Naruto groaned as Sasuke finally demanded him to be still, glaring upward as the other boy rose off of him, looking extremely embarrassed. Naruto smirked and twisted his head to the side, glancing into the dojo one last time, surprised to see that the fight had gotten more extreme.

Did the two actually look to be fighting… seriously?

Without much thought Naruto reached up and grabbed Sasuke's shirt, yanking him back down against him. Sasuke was about to say something insulting when Naruto pointed into the window and frowned.

"Where did they go?" he said lamely, and Sasuke, though almost flat against Naruto's chest, turned to peer inside. And went pale.

"What do you mean—" Sasuke said smoothly, and Naruto glanced around, feeling anxious.

"Shit," Sasuke said and he pushed himself up off Naruto again, grabbing the blond's hand as he came up, pulling them both out onto the grassy knoll behind. Naruto pushed himself up and took off towards the entrance, Sasuke following somewhat reluctantly.

It was a matter of being secretive; they weren't supposed to be caught. But as they rounded the corner, Naruto following obediently behind Sasuke, their hopes of remaining sneaky and mysterious were shattered.

"Naruto, what are you doing here?" Minato was wiping a cloth across his face, clearing the sweat from his brow. His eyes widened and he stumbled over a few words before Sasuke effectively cut him off.

"We were in the neighborhood," he said coolly, and the older blond glanced back and forth between them, his eyes containing a certain glint that Naruto wasn't used to.

"It's not what you think," Naruto said and Sasuke glared at him. Naruto countered, "So um… I didn't know you took up karate," he said quickly, and a smug smirk crossed Minato's face.

"This is the date you set me up on," he replied and Naruto nodded, attempting to look as surprised as possible. Before he could make a comment his father glanced down at him, smirking.

"It looks like you've been climbing through bushes," he said absently, and when Naruto noted the dirty cuffs of his jeans he felt flustered.

"He fell. If you're his father I'm sure you know how clumsy he can be," Sasuke covered, and Naruto nodded before pausing, realizing it was an insult.

Minato chuckled and Naruto glared. "So, is he the one?" he pushed, and Minato took a gulp of bottled water.

"Nope. But really, Itachi and I—"

"No!" both Sasuke and Naruto said in unison, and Naruto thrust out a finger.

"One more! I have one more," he said, and he and Sasuke ducked off towards the parking lot, damaged enough from being caught to head back into town. As they shuffled towards Sasuke's sleek vehicle, the Asian boy let out a reluctant cough.

"If your dad likes passive aggressive, I have one more suggestion," he said, and Naruto frowned, not too impressed by Sasuke's first recommendation.

"Because this suggestion worked out so well," he huffed, and Sasuke snorted. "It's not my fault you have no idea what your father's type is," he said, and Naruto's eye twitched.

"His name is Hatake Kakashi. He's just like my brother, but older. And more mature. A little."

Naruto watched as Sasuke seemed to become thoughtful and raised an eyebrow after a long period of silence. Having no other leads he decided to trust Sasuke again, simply because it seemed as though he was running out of time.

"Alright, where do we find him?"

Sasuke smirked and motioned towards his car. "He owns a book shop," he said, and Naruto snorted. They both got into Sasuke's car and took off, anxious to play matchmaker and get Minato a boyfriend that was not Itachi.

"This is not a bookstore," Naruto stated and he crossed his arms for effect. Sasuke glared at him and rolled his eyes, wandering towards the counter in search of the man named Kakashi.

Naruto peeked out of one eye and lifted a cover of a nearby book with his fingers, shivering in effect as it fell shut. "This is a perverted book store," he finalized.

"Don't be such a prude," Sasuke said from ahead of him, and Naruto's jaw dropped.

"Excuse me? I am not a prude," he retorted. "I just don't go for this," he managed, and he held up a nearby magazine, letting the centerfold drop, revealing a very naked woman in a very compromising position.

Sasuke snorted, "Then go look at the gay porn." He motioned Naruto to another corner of the store and Naruto stood silent before puffing out his chest.

"Nah, I'm not in the mood." He was too stubborn to admit stores like this frightened the hell out of him and so he wandered up next to Sasuke who was smirking.

"What's that look for?" he asked, and Sasuke shook his head. "Me thinking you're an idiot."

Naruto was about to retort when a tall man came out from a back room, his face half-covered with a handkerchief. Naruto raised an eyebrow, willing himself not to make some comment about a pirate.

"Sasuke, I haven't seen you here in a while," the figure said, and his voice sounded much smoother than Naruto had predicted.

"I only recently discovered that I needed you," Sasuke said, Naruto quirking an eyebrow, "to repay that favor you owe me."

The figure looked bored before scratching his head, and he turned his attention to Naruto.

"Who are you?" he questioned, and Naruto attempted to look serious, and not like he was a twenty-year old man seeking a blind date for his father.

"My name is Naruto," he said quickly, and the man nodded once. Turning back to Sasuke, he cleared his throat.

"I know how you kids work. You're going to make me do somethi—"

"I want you to go on a date with his father, Kakashi," he interjected, and the silver-haired man looked disbelieving before cracking out a chuckle.


Naruto had been standing idle for too long and so he jumped forward to explain. "You don't understand! We have to get my dad away from Itachi and even though you're kind of a little bit like a pirate I think you can pull it off, and Sasuke seems to think so too—"

"Naruto," Sasuke said firmly, looking irritated, and Kakashi glanced between the two, amused. He knelt forward over the counter and balanced his chin on the top of his hand.

"Awe. Aren't you two cute," he said, and from beside him Naruto saw Sasuke flare up.

"We have nothing to do with this. Date him and make sure he never wants to see Itachi again," he bit out, and Kakashi sat back with a pout. After a moment of not answering, Sasuke attempted to affirm the agreement.

"Do we have a deal?"

Kakashi let out a sigh and nodded though it was followed with an exasperated shrug. "I owe you, don't I?"

Naruto watched as Sasuke's expression softened a little and he let out a puff of air himself, feeling a sort of relief. Kakashi was the last hope, after all, and if Sasuke was about to pull out blackmail, he figured that this was the winning date.

"But I get to choose the event," Kakashi added after only a second, and Naruto reluctantly nodded. Sasuke raised an eyebrow before turning towards the door.

"Make it in the next couple of days," he suggested, though it sounded like more of a demand. From the door to the store, ebony eyes locked with cerulean blue and Naruto nodded, noting absently that Sasuke was anxiously trying to leave.

"It was nice to meet you," he said to Kakashi and the grey haired man stared with bemusement as he rushed towards the door, eager to follow Sasuke out. When they were safely on the street, Sasuke let out a terse groan.

"Ugh, I can't stand that man," he commented, and Naruto frowned.

"Then why are you setting him up with my dad?"

They turned a corner and Sasuke pocketed his hands, whipping his head to the side to not only view Naruto, but to sweep a few loose bangs from his face.

"Because they'll get along great, " he said sarcastically, and Naruto rolled his eyes.

"I bet you don't have it in you to date anybody," he mumbled loud enough for the other boy to hear. Sasuke blanched.

"Don't say stupid things," he said, and Naruto huffed as they wandered to the light rail station in order to catch the train back into town. Naruto was silent for only a moment.

"It's not stupid, it's the truth," he countered, and after showing their daily pass to an officer they boarded, finding a pair of seats facing each other in the back. Sitting on either side, they glared at each other.

"I date," Sasuke stated coolly. "Just not idiots like you."

Naruto raised an eyebrow. "Since when did I ever ask you to date me?" The blond laughed after a minute and before Sasuke could answer, though he looked a little flustered, Naruto smirked. "If I remember correctly, you're the one who was stalking me."

Sasuke knelt forward, looking irritated again. Naruto vaguely wondered if there was a time when he didn't look annoyed or bored, but strangely enough, the expressions suited him.

"One, you're not my type. I like men who are experienced and not socially challenged," the raven offered, and then said, "and two, bumping into you at a restaurant hardly qualifies as stalking."

Naruto frowned but there was still an edge of playfulness in his voice when he spoke. "One," he mocked, "who's to say I'm not experienced, and two, you paid for this boy to eat. That qualifies as a date. Which definitely means you were stalking me."

Sasuke glared and Naruto looked accomplished when he failed to say anything back.

"So you admit to it?" Naruto asked, leaning forward with an air of giddiness. Sasuke rolled his eyes.

"No. I just realized how many brain cells I lose while arguing with you," he explained, his voice completely sardonic. Naruto huffed and leaned closer, his pride looking a little splintered.

"Well, even though you won't admit that you were stalking me," Naruto waved a dismissive hand, "you still can't deny that you have no idea about my level of experience."

Sasuke quirked an eyebrow. Naruto raised his own in rebuttal.

"Is that a look of curiosity I see?" he asked, and Sasuke let out a dubious smirk.

"Definitely. I'm curious as to how you've survived this long in reality."

Naruto jumped up and bounded next to Sasuke, and behind them the doors to the train whooshed shut. Only one other person had managed to migrate into their car, and it was an old woman draped in a fuzzy sweater and pleated khakis.

After Naruto was effectively inches away from Sasuke, he leaned forward, looking challenged. He glared, and Sasuke seemed a little amused to see him so serious.

"I am reality, baby," he breathed, and found his lips drifting nearer to Sasuke's neck, ghosting the pale curve with hot breaths. "You're just afraid you might like it."

Sasuke twisted in his seat and let out a brief rush of air, and Naruto sat back, appeased. Dark eyes narrowed into an irate glare, and soft lips moved in defense.

"If you're that confident, prove me wrong," he said, and Naruto was surprised, mainly because he had expected Sasuke to get angry at him. He felt himself back away from Sasuke subconsciously, suddenly aware of his surroundings.

They were whizzing over the highway, away from the view of prying eyes, and the old woman at the other end of the car looked to be reading a novel resting on her thighs.

"Exactly," Sasuke said after a minute, impatiently. He twisted his head to peer out of the window and stated, "You're the one who's afraid."

Naruto narrowed his eyes and lifted his hand, gently grazing his fingers across Sasuke's cheek, pulling the other boy back to viewing him. He leaned forward so that their lips almost touched and glared defiantly into the dark smoky eyes in front of him.

"You're such a tease," he whispered, and settled his lips on Sasuke's, watching as dark eyes widened in surprise.

He let his tongue run along the soft opening of Sasuke's mouth, waiting for the other boy to either accept the challenge, or push him off. He wasn't sure how Sasuke would react, but after a moment, the surprised expression slipped into something much more testing and compliant.

When Naruto felt those soft lips part he closed his eyes and pushed forward, effectively pinning Sasuke against the window, kissing him fervently in an effort to prove his point. An immediate jolt of energy burst through them, threatening to fizz out any inch of resolve the two had left; light touches feeling like fire through cotton shirts and denim fabric.

Their breath was hot as they struggled to inhale and exhale against each other, Naruto's hands tracing a quick line down the front of Sasuke's shirt before settling on his chest for leverage. He leaned forward and nipped on Sasuke's lower lip, letting his tongue curl in sensual motions against the mouth below him, trying desperately to suppress ragged breaths.

Sasuke pulled back after a minute, wrapping his fingers around the hand on his torso, and Naruto opened his eyes disappointed. The muggy arousal fueled from his own challenge muffled in his throat in the form of a groan. He was hovering above Sasuke by a few inches, dark eyes watching him prudently before he settled back down onto his seat.

Sasuke was silent and his expression was unreadable, but as Naruto retreated his hand from Sasuke's chest he could feel the tremor and unsteady rhythm of Sasuke's pulse.

He wanted to smirk, but something felt strange; something felt different. Something had happened between them—that kiss had been too fiery, too hot and needy and desperate for a mere challenge. Sasuke turned his head towards the window and Naruto caught site of the older woman, blushing madly as she moved the book up to her face, and Naruto frowned.

It was only another few minutes before the light rail reached their stop, and the two moved off the train quickly, not excited when a cool evening breeze swept through the parking garage entryway. Sasuke stalked forward and Naruto followed, uncomfortable with the silence.

"Are you mad at me?" he asked. Sasuke had his hands tucked into his pant pockets again and it made Naruto feel even more closed off. After Sasuke didn't say anything, Naruto huffed.

"You're such a sore loser," he said seriously, and then added, "and you did like it."

Naruto heard Sasuke let out an irritated sigh before he twisted his head over his shoulder to glance back. The blond was a little caught off guard when Sasuke's expression wasn't angry, but passive as usual.

"You liked it too, idiot." And after the quick comment, Sasuke swiveled his head forward again.

Naruto smirked for a minute and jogged up to Sasuke's side, leaning forward with his hands behind his back, peering up at Sasuke's expression.

"Well, yeah," he said honestly, and Sasuke glanced away but couldn't hide the blush that dusted his features.

Naruto hummed to himself and stood up straight, obviously content.

"Round one goes to Naruto," he said in a sing song voice, and Sasuke rolled his eyes before pulling his car keys out of his pocket, pushing the trigger for the doors to automatically unlock.

Naruto made a move for the passenger door and Sasuke dug his phone out of his pocket, flipping it open as he apparently received a text message. Naruto climbed in the car and waited, and when Sasuke finally plopped down into the driver's seat, he pushed the phone back into his pocket.

"Kakashi says tomorrow night; dinner and then a movie."

Naruto nodded and Sasuke revved the engine, pulling out of the parking garage and onto a main street. They both remained silent the rest of the drive to Naruto's house, unsure of what to say, and too thoughtful to argue.

When the next day's evening came, Naruto was too amused watching his father bustle about the house getting ready to hear Sasuke honking from the street outside. That and his father had Journey playing so loud that a nuclear bomb could have dropped silently into their backyard. If Naruto ever had to choose comfort music, Journey definitely wouldn't be it.

"Alright… I think I'm ready," Minato said after straightening a long khaki jacket against his hips. His tight black undershirt gave a soft swell of definition that Naruto was sure would win over any gay man's libido, and he clapped his hands in approval.

"I think so too," he commented, and as one track changed to another in the CD player, the two turned to the window as an annoying long honk teetered in from outside; a honk that signified it had been sounded several times before. Naruto cursed and jumped up, running over to the window to motion to Sasuke that he was on his way out. When he turned back around, his father was watching him smugly.

"It seems like you've found yourself a boyfriend," he gestured, wandering over to the window as if to take a peek. Naruto frowned as he pulled on his tennis shoes.

"Uh, not really," he said, unsure of what to call his and Sasuke's relationship. One kiss didn't create any type of obligation in his eyes, but his father suddenly looked paternal.

"You haven't even told me about him," he sounded a little sad, but Naruto knew his father was just being playful.

"He's just… you know, a guy I met around town. We uh… don't go on dates or anything," Naruto said, squinting his eyes as he attempted to come up with a plausible excuse for why they were together so much. After none entered his mind he quickly reverted his attention to his last shoelace, twisting it into a perfect bow.

"You should introduce us sometime," Minato said, turning away, his face too self-satisfied for Naruto's liking. The younger blond pouted for a minute before grabbing his wallet and taking off.

"Have a nice night!" he said playfully. "Don't stay out too late," he added, and Minato laughed and waved him goodbye. As Naruto jogged out to Sasuke's car, he wondered how his father hadn't discovered that he and Sasuke had been spying on him. He supposed it was in his benefit that his father assumed they were dating, but it made things more complicated in the long run.

As he settled into the car, Sasuke glared at him, looking irate. After Naruto buckled his seatbelt he caught sight of those eyes and jumped a little, not reading their underlying intensity at first.

"Geez, what? I'm sorry," he said, and Sasuke's frowned deepened, a feat Naruto hadn't thought possible.

"When I say I'm going to be here at six, that means you should be ready to leave at six," he explained coolly. "You're like a girl," he added.

Naruto glared before turning his expression into a smug sort of grin. "Awe, did I make you wait too long? I could give you a kiss to make up for it."

Sasuke started the car and looked even more irate before tearing off onto the street, making way to whatever restaurant Kakashi had informed him to be at. The ride was short and Sasuke parked on a side street, far along where the car wouldn't be noticed.

The two shuffled into the restaurant, a little sushi parlor much like Benihana's with chefs that cook the food in between knife throws right before your eyes. They were quickly seated at a table cleverly hidden by a family celebrating a birthday and a collection of old folk that appeared completely mesmerized by the flames dancing on the cooking surface before them.

Naruto squinted at the menu.

"How does a Japanese place not have ramen?" he asked, and Sasuke glanced over to him after a full-range scan of the room. When he seemed confident the two adults hadn't yet arrived, he spoke.

"Why would you eat noodles at a place like this?" Sasuke questioned with annoyance. "With your attention span, I figured you'd be exited to see some sort of ninja-chef."

Naruto let out a defensive sigh before thrusting the menu over to Sasuke. "Then you pick the food, oh wise one. I'll be sure to go catatonic as soon as the knife juggling begins."

Sasuke glared at him for a minute before nearly smirking at his sarcastic comment. He hid it by focusing his concentration on the menu, holding it up abruptly between them as the main door jingled, signaling that someone had entered.

Naruto and Sasuke peeked over the menu, content to see that is was Kakashi and Minato, and followed them visually to a table that couldn't have been more perfectly placed for their spying.

"Can I help you two?"

Both boys jumped as a chef appeared like a ghost behind them, and Sasuke frowned up at him.

"Hibachi chicken," he said smoothly, and the chef whittled himself to the opposite side of the metal cooking pan between them, which was obviously preheated.

Naruto watched as the man cracked some eggs onto the surface, most likely for the fried rice. After they had boiled to little bulbs the man chucked a decent helping of white rice onto the concoction, doing some extravagant knife throws in order to slice and dice a few carrots into the mix.

While Naruto was entranced by the performance Sasuke was irritated, trying to glance around the man to get a good glimpse of the date taking place two tables behind him. When the rice was done the man scraped it to the side, taking his time making it into an artful arrangement in a bowl, effectively blocking out Minato's head.

Sasuke glared.

A bit of sauce was poured onto the surface and Naruto watched, fascinated as it sizzled on the metal table, and even more amazed when the man hammered some chicken into it, waving his hands mystically as he hacked it into bite size bits.

Sasuke, who had been trying to make out the potentially nervous laughter that issued from Minato was distracted more than once by the amplified movements, and suddenly growled to the chef, "Can you just cook the food?"

The chef, who had been looking like a smug little juggler suddenly looked disheartened, and Naruto glared at Sasuke. "But he was about to light the mountain of chicken on fire."

Sasuke glanced at the mountain Naruto was referring to and the blond frowned, almost pouting. Sasuke sighed and shook his head, taking a drink of a glass of water that had been delivered to his seat.

Taking his reaction as 'go for it', the chef poured some oil over the chicken and set it aflame, Naruto's eyes widening in delight as the food flambéed before him. It settled momentarily and the chef quickly scooped it into a bowl of its own, turning off the stove and migrating away, not wanting to push his luck with Sasuke.

Naruto was sure that he had more tricks to perform, but as he followed Sasuke's line of sight, he noticed the chemistry that seemed to be happening between the two older men. Although, his father wasn't smiling like he did when he talked about Itachi… Naruto shook his head.

"They seem to be getting along well," Sasuke said, and Naruto nodded in agreement. He spooned some rice and chicken onto his own individual place and cracked a pair of chopsticks before shoveling some into his mouth.

"You should eat," he said to Sasuke, his mouth pretty full. Sasuke turned to the table and filled his plate, still glancing eagerly at Minato's table. There was a period of silence before Naruto spoke.

"You must really dislike your brother," he commented, and Sasuke seemed surprised by the comment. He didn't let the emotion last long before he ate a bit of chicken and shrugged.

"He needs to get out of the house," he said, and Naruto nodded.

"He's older than you, right?"

Sasuke nodded. "By six years. And he's just graduated from college."

Naruto laughed a little at Sasuke's tone which sounded completely disbelieving.

"You know, I always wished that I had a brother." He said, and Sasuke stared at him blankly. Naruto raised and eyebrow. "What?"

"Be thankful you're an only child, Naruto."

Naruto frowned while he thought about it and after he swallowed his bite, he shook his head.

"I think it's worse being me. I mean, I finally get the motivation to go to college only to realize that I'm all my dad has got," Naruto took a sip of water and felt a little sad, confronting the feelings that made him want his father to date in the first place.

"When I leave, he'll be all alone here. He's raised me all by himself, you know… and it feels kind of shitty to just up and leave."

Sasuke watched him as he spoke and looked observant, taking in Naruto's words before he spoke.

"I think," he said firmly, "that it's you who has been a little selfish. Your father worked hard to support you right? He probably expected you to go to college right away; not to leech off him from pity or guilt."

Naruto turned towards him and glared. "That's not how it is," he argued, but the more Sasuke's words sunk in, the more they made sense. And the more Naruto felt they were true.

It wasn't as if this was the first time he had been motivated to go to college. He had wanted to right after high school, but his father had been working full time to support them both, and the house had seemed so big an empty when he had imagined leaving his father alone in it.

But now he wanted to move out, to get a job—to get an education, and the only way he had really sought to appease the guilt he felt for leaving was to make sure that someone else was there to take his place.

"I never thought of it like that," Naruto said unexpectedly, and he rested his glass of water against his lips as his thoughts continued to circle. He had probably been more of a burden on his father by not pursuing his dreams then by sitting around keeping him company.

"No offense, but you don't really think that often," Sasuke retorted solemnly, and ignored the huff of indignation from beside him.

"I think all of the time, you jerk," he said, "or is this another challenge like last night?"

Sasuke turned to him, his eyes somewhat passive before he rolled them. "Last night was a perfect example of you not thinking," he stated, and Naruto raised an eyebrow.

"How so?"

Sasuke seemed reluctant to answer but his comment was just as straightforward as usual. "You didn't stop to think about what would happen between us if I did like that kiss," he murmured, and Naruto felt his heart speed up a little before he set down his water.

"What, um," he began, feeling caught off guard, "What do you mean?"

Sasuke was watching Minato and Kakashi interact from afar when he answered, not turning to Naruto for his comment.

"Now would be a good time to use that brain, Naruto," he stated.

Naruto settled back into his chair, feeling slightly confused. Was Sasuke saying he was still angry about the kiss? Or maybe that he liked him? He wasn't good with people unless they were straightforward with him. Or maybe he just didn't like admitting things first.

"I like you," he blurted out, and before he had the chance to see Sasuke turn towards him he buried his face into his dish of fried rice, scarfing as much down as he could. He could see Sasuke staring at him from his peripheral vision and was disappointed when the rice didn't last him long enough to feel prepared enough to view the other boy's face.

"Good." Sasuke said, and Naruto's eyes widened, the racing beat of his heart slowing a little at the comment. He figured that was as much of an admission as he was going to get. He swallowed his last bite of rice and watched as Sasuke frowned over to Kakashi and Minato.

"It's not going to work," he declared softly, and Naruto had to switch gears to realize that Sasuke was talking about his father and Kakashi and not them. He watched the two interact alongside each other and felt the same weight Sasuke did.

The two men looked happy, but not interested. Naruto and Sasuke could both read it from them, and it was disappointing.

"My brother really likes him." Sasuke said thoughtfully, and his comment sounded so honest that it made Naruto glance over to him. Even though he had barely known Sasuke for any sort of time period, he knew that it was rare for him to make any sort of sentimental comment.

"My dad is really into your brother, too," Naruto admitted, moving that last bits of chicken around in his bowl. Even though his father had readily prepared for the dates, he had never been excited for them… and after each one Minato had disappeared to his room in order to call Itachi and laugh about the event.

Naruto sighed. "Maybe they're good for each other," he proposed, eating his last couple pieces of chicken, and Sasuke snorted.


"Like we're good for each other," Naruto said, and immediately wondered why his mouth went off before he had any opportunities to silence it. Sasuke was looking at him with a smirk, content to see him embarrassed.

"Yesterday night you said, 'Naruto one, Sasuke zero,' right?" he asked.

Naruto thought for a moment. "Uh-huh."

There was a pause and Sasuke pulled himself up from the counter, placing some cash onto the table to pay for their bill.

"Let's go someplace else," he said, and Naruto nodded, feeling a little confused at the sudden suggestion. He shrugged himself off the chair and nodded, content to do something since butterflies were still raging inside his stomach.

Sasuke turned to him, looking dead serious. "Because I really, really hate being in last place."

Naruto felt a tingle go up his spine as Sasuke grabbed his hand and they left, taking one last look at his dad. If it weren't for the small child blocking his view, he would have sworn he saw his father smiling at him.

"So, how'd it go?" the voice sounded over the phone, dark and curious.

Minato settled onto his bed and unbuttoned his shirt, waving his hand over his chest to try and cool himself down. His room always managed to collect all of the heat in the house.

"Just as planned. I'm pretty positive they're a couple now," he laughed, and even though he couldn't see the man on the other line, he knew he was smirking.

"Good. My little brother needed to get out of this house," the man said, and Minato nodded while he tugged some more buttons loose.

"And it's about time that Naruto found some one to live for besides me," he added happily. He frowned after a minute though and cleared his throat.

"Do you think they'll ever figure out that we set up the dates all along?"

From the other line, Itachi chuckled. "Probably. But when they do they won't care," he stated. "Sasuke can be so gullible. He found Asuma's paper so easily in the kitchen, and when I mentioned Kakashi at dinner the other night, I knew he'd jump at the opportunity."

Minato chuckled. Everything had gone quite according to plan.

A moment of silence.

"I wonder where they are now?" he wondered, and Itachi snorted.

"I'm going to have to move out after all," he stated, and Minato raised an eyebrow.

"Why is that?"

There was a long pause before Itachi's voice came onto the line, sounding irritated. "Because they're making way too much noise."

And without intending to, Minato heard exactly what his lover was referring to. He blushed.

"Eh, well…" he said absently. "You could always come over to my place," he offered, and after a minute he heard Itachi shuffling around, obviously preparing to take his advice.

"I was hoping you'd offer," he said, and laughed with a little cynicism a moment after. "After all, this has turned out to be quite the family affair."

Minato laughed as he turned off his phone and stood up to open his window. The night breeze felt good.

A/N: Ooooh, so why is the pairing of Minato and Itachi D'agh! I don't know.

AWE. So yay! One shot complete. Minato and Itachi hooked up and schemed to get their kid and kid brother together...knowing full well each date was being spied on.

Don't you just love family?