'You know you love someone dearly when the idea of humiliating them is just too god-damn hilarious to pass up.'
Sasuke should have been suspicious when Naruto invited him over for tea - the blond idiot didn't even own a teapot. But he'd been training with Kakashi and his infuriatingly smug teacher had managed to drop a tree on his head, so he labeled this as the cause for him being so gullible, just this once.
It didn't make it any less humiliating when he actually arrived at Naruto's messy excuse for an apartment.
"Hyuuga," he said flatly, masking his surprise at seeing Neji already sitting at the low table in Naruto's front room. "Sakura." She grinned and twiddled her fingers at him – never a good sign. He turned back to Naruto and put on his best 'you are going to die as soon as there are no witnesses to watch me dispose of your mutilated body' face. "You didn't mention it was a party, dead last."
Infuriatingly, Naruto just cackled. "We didn't have time for you to spend ages putting on your prettiest ballgown, ya girly bastard." He gestured mocking towards the empty seat next to Neji. "Why don't you sit down?"
That was the point at which Sasuke started to get a Very Bad Feeling about the situation at large. It was the same Very Bad Feeling he generally had when Lee got drunk or when Anko leered at him and suggested that they train. His instincts for danger were all screaming at him to run, run away now!
…but Neji was there, looking all calm in that annoying Hyuuga way, and Sasuke could do anything that he could.
He sat down.
Naruto plunked himself down next to Sakura, looking far too pleased with himself (this didn't do anything to abate his Very Bad Feeling) and smiled across the table at them, but it was his female teammate who started. Sakura – also smiling brightly – whipped out a little notepad. "So," she chirped, "Why don't we start?" She turned those amused green eyes towards Neji. "Neji-kun. Naruto and I understand that you have been…intimate with our Sasuke for a while; may we ask for how long?"
Sasuke's back jerked ramrod straight. Intimate! How had they known? They had been so discreet about it. His mind immediately ploughed backwards in time, running over every tryst and meeting, trying to find out where they'd slipped up.
Neji, in contrast, just raised one perfect eyebrow at Sakura. "About nine months," he replied easily.
"Oh, that long? Naruto, we were off on our estimate by a good two months." Sakura tucked a strand of pink hair behind her ear in a brisk, business-like motion. She also licked the tip of her pencil, an action that set suspicion spiraling down through Sasuke's belly. The feeling only increased when she carried on talking. "Now I hope you understand that Sasuke is a very special young man."
"Very, very special," Naruto chimed in, earning him a saccharine smile from Sakura and a murderous look from Sasuke.
"So I've noticed," Neji replied dryly. This was perhaps even more of a betrayal than Naruto bringing him here, so he got him the 'you are going to die and I don't care if there any witnesses' look.
"Maybe 'special' isn't even the right word," Sakura carried on musingly, but with a glitter in her eyes that told Sasuke she knew just how much he hated her at that particular moment in time. "'Spectacular', one could say, or 'gifted'. But no matter – the point is that he's very special and we can't let just anyone date him. I hope you understand this."
"Yeah – we gotta make sure that you're awesome enough to look after our precious bastard."
"Qualified, Naruto, the word is qualified."
"But Sakura-chan! I thought you said that the only thing that mattered was how big his dick was and whether he could make Sasuke--."
"SO NEJI. WHAT IS YOUR ANNUAL INCOME?"
Sasuke cursed his pale skin, which was rapidly turning crimson due to a mixture of humiliation and homicidal rage. "I'm going to kill you," he hissed at them.
"Sasuke." That was Neji and he still sounded annoyingly composed. "It's alright." The older shinobi turned back to his grinning teammates. "I earn a very comfortable salary, supplemented to the allowance my family give to all members who live outside of the clan compound." Those pale eyes slanted in Sasuke's direction and he growled instinctively at the amused cast he saw in them. "I could very easily support a partner if I so wished."
"Well, that's certainly a point in your favour," Sakura enthused. Sasuke happened to know damn well that she was perfectly capable of a perfect performance when on missions; she was only looking so amused to annoy him further.
They were making fun of him and the damn Hyuuga was playing along.
He should have trusted his Very Bad Feeling.
"So, money isn't an issue," Sakura said, ticking something off on her list. "Now…social status."
"Yeah," Naruto interjected with obvious enthusiasm, "'Cause you're all down with the Hyuuga, if you marry Sasuke, does that make him a princess?"
"Heh. Not quite, but my standing within the Clan is prestigious; Hinata-sama will ensure that any spouses of mine--."
"WHO THE HELL IS TALKING ABOUT MARRIAGE?" Sasuke bellowed, his limited endurance finally torn to pieces. "WHO'S EVEN TALKING ABOUT DATING. WE ARE JUST. HAVING. SEX."
In the space of five minutes, he'd been stripped of the illusion that nobody knew he was involved with anyone – physically or emotionally. Being an intensely private person meant that being proved far less stealthy than he'd believed had rattled him.
…though, in hindsight, keeping any sort of secret in a shinobi village was probably like trying to keep water in a particularly leaky bucket.
"Sasuke, chill." That was Naruto, laughter still dancing in his eyes. "Geez, anyone else would get that we were just trying to say that we approve." He grinned at Neji. "We like Neji. We like that you like Neji. We like that you both like comparing the size of the sticks you have jammed up your--."
"Thank you, Naruto," Sakura broke in, cutting him off before Sasuke was forced to stab him in the face, "The point is, it's not as if everybody doesn't know. So you don't need to hide. We love you both – dearly – and Lee wants us to double-date."
"No." Neji's tone suddenly went flat and Sasuke was viciously satisfied to see that it was his turn to be unamused. Granted, Neji wasn't the only one to be vaguely horrified at the idea of associating with Lee in that capacity. Oh, and the concept of dating, but that was just a man thing – he was gay, not a woman.
…was it bad that, mortifying embarrassment aside, their obvious concern made a little, tiny, miniscule part of him quite – dare he say it – happy?
Yes, yes it was, but it still wasn't cause enough to tear their heads off.
Sasuke ducked his head, horrendously uncomfortable with the whole touchy-feely, everybody loves everybody else affair. "We're not dating," he insisted.
"Fine, fine." Sakura waved away his objections. "So long as you two don't sneak around anymore – it isn't as if we didn't know what you actually meant when you said you were 'training'."
Sasuke huffed quietly through his nose, annoyed because he'd actually thought that was quite a good excuse.
"So," Neji said, sounding far too interested, "How much would his dowry be?"
…Yes, Sasuke decided, he really didn't care whether there were witnesses.
'Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match!'
This is partially inspired by the opening paragraph of my story The Laughing Shadow. It was meant to be flippant, but the idea of Naruto and Sakura interrogating Neji just wouldn't leave me alone.
…also, I like mortifying Sasuke. It makes me happy.