Disclaimer: Naruto is copyright Masashi Kishimoto.
Sasuke nonchalantly adjusted the buckle on his arm warmer, trying to ignore the twinge in his side. He winced at the pain that shot up his fingers whenever he touched anything, courtesy of the scratches and punctures all over his body.
He hated chicken wire with a passion.
Turning his head slightly and acting as if he wasn't, Sasuke shot a look at his blond teammate. Naruto was strolling along merrily next to Sakura, who was fussing over a cut on her cheek. Sasuke had half a mind of telling her it would scar if she kept picking at the clot, but he was in no mood to deal with the inevitable blushing and stammering that would follow.
Worst of all, the idiot was completely unharmed.
Sasuke could swear that Naruto had scratched himself on the chicken wire more than once. The Uchiha wouldn't admit to it, but out of spite and as revenge for the unintentional wounds a clumsy Naruto had inflicted upon his forearm, he had "accidentally" grazed the chicken wire over his teammate's skin.
And there was still no mark. Sasuke held back an undignified huff as he pondered the mystery of Naruto's unmarred epidermis. Could the idiot have been working on a secret healing jutsu? Was Kakashi helping him with it? Why wasn't Sasuke being taught? A jutsu like that would certainly help him when he fought Itachi. Couldn't Kakashi understand that? This was why Sasuke hadn't wanted to be on a team.
"Sasuke-kun, are you all right?" Sakura questioned from his right. She was watching him with concern, having noticed the crease on his forehead.
"Fine," he replied coolly. Naruto turned towards them and rolled his eyes. "Don't worry about him, Sakura-chan! He's just mad because he got more scratched up than we did."
Sakura sent a jarring punch to Naruto's temple and growled. "Don't talk about Sasuke-kun like that!"
Sasuke tried to ignore the uncanny accuracy of Naruto's explanation and replied indifferently. "Yes, well, at least I didn't kill a chicken because of how clumsy I was."
Naruto flushed at the reminder and grumbled. "It got in the way!"
"Four feet from where you were standing? We had to pay the farmer half our dues. Leave it to the moron to mess up a D-rank mission."
Naruto's eyes narrowed as Sakura fought an inner battle: whether to side with Sasuke, try to tune out the bickering, or smash both of her teammates' heads together. She berated herself for having such violent thoughts about her beloved Sasuke-kun, but sometimes she couldn't help it. It was Naruto's fault, the idiot.
"I didn't mess it up! You're the one who tied the chicken wire to the wrong post so we spent an hour getting it untangled!"
Sasuke blushed with embarrassment and snorted dismissively. "You tangled up the other side."
"Only because my ankle got caught in the wire because I had to help you untangle your side!"
"I'm not a dobe, teme!"
"Yes, well, I haven't managed to unintentionally kill a chicken with a piece of wire from four feet away, so you might have some skill."
Sakura decided to ignore the conversation.
"Skill? I'll show you skill when I'm Hokage and you're still a genin!"
Sasuke rolled his eyes. "I'm sure pigs will be flying at the same time, dobe."
Naruto stopped in his tracks and pointed a victorious finger at Sasuke. "Ha! Pigs can't fly!" His expression turned into one of smug disdain. "And they call you a genius."
"It's a figure of speech, idiot." Sasuke snorted and resumed fidgeting with the buckle on his arm warmer. Behind them, Kakashi heaved a long sigh.
Naruto ignored his sensei and grinned cheekily at the other boy. "Sure it is."
The Uchiha glared back at him with a mix of contempt and annoyance. "It is. If you weren't so stupid, then you might have known."
"Naruto! Sasuke!" Kakashi placed a hand on both of the boys' heads, forcing both of them to stop walking. The jounin pinched the bridge of his nose and then rubbed his temples, fingering the new Icha Icha novel in his vest pocket. "Could you please be quiet?"
Naruto nodded vigorously and Sasuke responded with a "Hn." The road was silent for a few seconds before a loud whisper broke though the peace.
"Shut up," Sasuke hissed. "He told us to be quiet."
Naruto pouted and folded his arms around his torso. "Yeah, well, I am being quiet."
Sasuke snorted and rolled his eyes. "Uzumaki Naruto? Quiet? Now the pigs are flying, dobe."
The blond genin balked. "I'm not a dobe! And pigs don't fly!"
The Uchiha's fists clenched and his voice became strained with impatience. "It's a figure of speech."
"Boys!" Kakashi snapped loudly, while rubbing his temple once more. "Want to train on the walk back to the village?"
"Heck yeah!" Naruto shouted enthusiastically.
Kakashi sighed. "All right. Now, this is a vital ninja skill. Anbu operatives use this on missions all the time. It's one of the more important and necessary to master. Genin aren't usually taught this."
Sasuke's interest was piqued, but he didn't show it. Naruto perked up and whirled around, looking directly at his sensei. "Ooh, teach us! Teach us!"
Kakashi sighed. "Okay. It's called…don't-give-your-sensei-a-migraine-no-jutsu."
"How do you do it?" Sasuke asked. Kakashi smiled benignly behind his mask. "It takes mastery of a certain chakra flow, which requires for no air to pass the lips. The first step to learning this jutsu is expelling air only through the nose."
"Ha, teme! Bet I can keep it up longer than you," Naruto said. Sasuke sniffed turned away from him. "You already failed by talking."
"Then so did you!"
Sakura, who had caught on, interrupted. "Sasuke-kun's so talented; I bet he can go longer than you, baka."
"Not true," Naruto muttered indignantly, and clenched his jaw together just as his teammate did the same. Kakashi exhaled with relief and ignored occasional foot-stomp or stomach-poke the two boys inflicted upon each other. At least they weren't bickering.
The walk back to the gates of Konoha was completely silent, and Kakashi thanked both Sakura's assistance and the boys' gullibility for the fact that his headache was receding. Jounin sensei was perhaps the most dangerous career a shinobi could undertake.
By the time Team Seven validated themselves to Izumo and Kotetsu at the entrance to the village, Naruto was wildly gesturing to Sasuke several, Kakashi guessed, rather violent ways of avenging whatever insult the older genin had pantomimed to him. Sakura stared straight ahead, determined to enjoy the, if not peace, quiet.
When the two seemed as if they couldn't hold in their argument anymore, Kakashi shrugged and decided to lift the oral exhalation ban. He could teleport away before they started attacking each other, anyway.
"All right, great job. You can stop now."
"Thank God!" Naruto exclaimed, grinning. "I didn't know how much longer I could hold everything in! Sasuke, you're an idiot and a bastard and I won because you cheated and it's your own fault that you got all cut up because you tangled up the wire and the farmer was madder about that and the old man's going to blame you for the reduced pay and then he's going to decide he's too old to be Hokage and then he'll make me Hokage and you'll just be some stupid kid and—"
"It's your fault, you idiot, and I don't know why someone decided to put me on a team with an idiot like you—"
"Okay!" Kakashi shouted cheerfully. "Sakura, it's your turn to write the mission report." He pulled out his book again and teleported away in a puff of black smoke.