Fondue

A Dinner Game

I have no ownership of any characters used in this story.

No I'm not dead, yet, just haven't had the time, motive, and lack of writer's block all in the same place for long enough to finish this story up.

Now is the time to fix that problem, I hope.

You need to have watched filler episode 192 of the original Naruto to get a section of the first part of this, and why I have Ino behave this way.

For those that haven't seen said episode just know that it's probably one of the most embarrassing things I can envision ever happening to Ino.

Chapter 6

Naruto looked down at his plate and pushed at the single piece of fried broccoli still resting there. He looked up again at his friends. "You also break another rule sense you never got to dessert." Shikamaru reminded. The blond sighed then a mischievous grin started to creep up his features. The whisker faced teen looked up with Ino in his gaze. "My most embarrassing mission was with Ino there." Her eyes went wide as he started up and Yamanaka knew what he was talking about immediately. "Now, now there's no reason to hold him to that if he didn't even get there?" She said trying to prevent the story from being told.

Choji raised a brow at the woman. "But that's not how you made it sound when you made the rule." Ino grinned weakly at him and stepped on his foot to punish him. "It's only fair after all, he was trapped feeding Sai until just a minute ago." She glanced around at the others, then to Naruto who was still eyeing her. If she didn't get him out of this she's be embarrassed, yet again tonight. "I mean Sai choose to leave knowing he was going to have to answer to that rule, but Naruto didn't have time to try everything." She pleaded as she tried to play it cool.

"I might find a little more leniency if he hadn't wasted so much of our time before we got here." Sakura said as she started stacking cleared plates up to help the waiter. "Oh, not that again Sakura, I said sorry already." Naruto whined at the pink haired woman. "Well technically it is Ino's rule," Shikamaru conceded. Kankuro waved his hand at the concept, "I don't much care, I just wanna watch Naruto make a fool of himself all the way home." Ino sighed in relief as the rest of the gang nodded to that and let Naruto off the hook. The male of the two blonds smirked at the female as he stood. She'd punished him with no reason by making him feed Sai, so he'd call it even for now.

As the others stepped toward the door Ino waited till Naruto passed next to her to grab his ear. She hissed at him low and fast. "If you mention that incident again I swear I'll make you pay for it baka." She stalked away from him to where Choji waited. As the group paid and made their way out it became obvious to some of the group who had won the night's games. Almost as soon as they had stepped into the street Shikamaru and Temari broke away toward the ice cream parlor. Sai rolled his picture up and stood as the rest joined him. The rain had stopped a few minutes before they'd come outside.

Ino and Choji walked side by side as the seven man party headed home. "Now Naruto you need to start singing, and don't forget the movements that go with." Kankuro said as he patted the other man on the back. Naruto glared at him and huffed. "Fine," he took a couple of steps ahead of the others and started up, "Oh, I'm a little tea pot short..." Gaara grabbed Sakura's hand and stopped walking as the rest of the group followed after the fox container as he gathered stares from around the street. The others were too distracted to really notice the two dropping behind.

Sakura turned to her companion with a questioning look. He was staring away with a light blush dusting his cheeks. "I'm sorry if I caused you any distress with my actions tonight, Miss Haruno." His apology took her by surprise. The woman tugged at his hand gently, "Come on, let's not talk here." She lead him way down the street the other way. The red haired man followed her without hesitation. They didn't stop till they'd reached the short bridge that ran over the water way, where Sakura came to think sometimes.

Gaara looked out over the beautiful sunset, and breathed a contented sigh. The lighter haired shinobi watched him. "You should relax like this more often," she told him. The man looked at her and nodded. "Being Kazekage leaves little time to just enjoy things." The medic smiled at him, her grin spread as a thought ran across her head. "Can I ask where you learned to kiss like that?" Gaara blinked at her a moment. "Must you ask such a humiliating thing?" Sakura tilled her head to the side confused. "Humiliating? How can? Now I have to know!" She gave him a pleading stare with big begging eyes, and the mighty Kazekage crumbled to the cute.

He had to look away as he admitted to who had taught him. "It was Matsuri..." His companion almost fell over. "You mean that sweet girl that you taught how to fight?" She seemed concerned. Garra turned to her quick with a paniced look. "It's not what you think! I swear I never took advantage, it was the other way around. I mean she made me. Oh, that sounds just as bad..." He whirled away from her and started to hurry off, but Sakura snatched his hand stoping him. He looked over his shoulder at her, his eyes were like those of a corner child.

"Wait, just explain, I didn't mean to imply that you'd do anything wrong with a student." Sakura said as she smiled encouragingly to him. The young man relaxed and turned back to her, a light crimson flushing his cheeks. "You know how Kankuro mentioned pictures of me in less then proper attire?" The woman nodded at him. "Well Matsuri had several such photos, and was going to copy them to hand out to the members of my so called 'fan' club, but she was willing to strike a deal to give them back." He paused and seemed to squirm a little. "She said that it was time she taught me something, instead of the other way around."

Sakura giggled to herself as she watched him. "So I guess she made you let her teach you how to kiss in return for your pictures." Gaara nodded weakly, "I couldn't let those images get all over Suna, I'd of been a laughing stalk. It was right after I took office, I just couldn't let her do it." He blushed deeper as Sakura continued snickering. "This is just such a cute image in my head Gaara-kun. I can just see it all happening." The man looked around nervously, "Could you please stop..." The woman gathered herself as much as she could and smiled at him.

"Thank you," she chimed to her friend. Gaara stared quizzically at her. "For what?" "For making this such a great evening. I'd of never imagined you like this three years ago. I'm so happy to see you like you are now." The former demon container seemed taken back by her words. A feeling overcame him as he took a step toward the woman. He grabbed her hands to hold them out of his way at her side and leaned in to lay his lips across hers. They stood there for a few moments, then he stepped away, and released her. "Shall I walk you home?" He put his hand back out toward her.

"Yes, please." Sakura took his extended hand and let him lead her away in the direction of her house. They walked close to eachother, in near silence, but there was something contented about the way they were. It didn't occur to her until Gaara had disappeared into a whirl of sand, and she'd locked the door, that Sakura had never told Gaara where she lived, but he'd come straight there. A shiver ran down her spine for a moment. "Now Sakura don't go making too much out of that," she told herself. Still it did make her wonder just when he'd paid her that much attention. She might never know, it could of just been her misremembering.

As Sakura sat on her balcony watching the people pass below she spotted Choji and Ino down the street headed to the flower shop, not far from them she could see the remainder of the gang still making their way home. Kankuro could barely contain himself as at some point Lee had join Naruto in his dance, and she couldn't be sure if he'd thought it was some sort of weird training or something, but the two side by side was just too much. She smiled to herself and went back inside. From her roof Gaara looked down at the now empty platform with a sigh.

Watching over the woman was just as good a way to spend his time as any other, or at least that was what he'd been telling himself for a while now. He stared back at the departing sun as the sky line started to go dark. He idly wondered if there was some project he could invent for his doctors back home that would call for the attention of a skilled medic-nin like the young Haruno. Gaara shook the idea from his head, but still spared a glance to the Hokage tower. He could probably get Tsunade to give her up for a couple of weeks if he tried, but did he really want to veil his want for her presence so thinly? Maybe he could come up with a better excuse first...

Well that concludes this piece, with ground work for another piece, but I really try not to use themes that have been done as often as the one where Sakura is in Suna to train medics. Not that there's anything wrong with that theme or other's like it, I just don't want people to feel like their reading the same work over and over because the same set up has been used so many times.