"Kakashi-sensei! You LIAR!" Naruto's hand trembled with shock and outrage as he pointed at his teacher. "You said you weren't gay!"
Kakashi gave a placid grunt of acknowledgement as his date thumped Naruto on the back with vigorous friendliness.
"Ahh, it is rather a sad state of affairs in the world when two men cannot enjoy a date together without doubts being cast on their pure devotion to the fairer sex."
Naruto and Sakura gave Gai a dubious look; Hinata was looking too flustered to even glance his way, finding the park's grass more interesting, and Neji didn't bother to even look surprised, though he did look slightly more wearily homicidal. Sasuke, of course, had been glaring nonstop since a dozen bunshins and a grinning medic-nin dragged him out of bed and told him to make himself pretty for his it's-just-sex-we're-not-dating-already non-boyfriend.
"Um, Gai-sensei, no offense, but when you're on a date with another man, doesn't it imply...?" Sakura pointed out.
"Nonsense, my beloved cherry blossom!" Lee declared faithfully. "It is merely a wish to spend a good moment together, as special friends!"
"No, a date means they're dating," Naruto retorted, crossing his arms with determination. Hinata clung to his elbow, flustered.
"It doesn't mean we're having sex," Kakashi replied placidly.
Naruto glared at him. "So you're gonna hold hands and feed each other fruit and sit on each other's lap?"
Kakashi nodded in thoughtful agreement. "Well, maybe not --"
Kakashi gave a dubious sidelong look at Gai, who stood proudly, with both fists on his hips and ignored it superbly.
"There is nothing wrong with two grown men holding hands to signify the depth of their feelings! Even if those feelings are utterly platonic in nature. It is important for Neji's emotional wellbeing to realize that it is okay for men to express their feelings, and that he doesn't fear his beloved teacher would ever, ever reject him for such a silly, unimportant matter as his predilection for outdoors bodily plumbing!"
Neji turned away, with that downward turn on his lips Sasuke knew meant he was contemplating the removal of body parts with a dull spoon. "I'm not holding hands," Sasuke declared flatly, before that crazy loon tried to make them.
"Oh, such a shame that you two have such a baggage of oppressive homophobic propaganda to overcome."
Sasuke's eye twitched, but Neji shook his head imperceptibly, indicating that it wasn't worth it; he knew better, so Sasuke didn't say anything.
"What amazing wordless communication!" Lee commented, peering at them both.
Neji stalked forward down the garden path. For a second, Sasuke was tempted to stomp off the other way, but he knew Naruto's bunshin would be on him in a second if it even looked like he was trying to leave. He had tried, and despite Sakura's best efforts, he still had the footprints on his back to prove it.
He didn't manage to get far enough to miss Naruto's whisper. "Hehe. Look, Hinata, they even stomp in synch."
Naruto didn't manage to move fast enough to avoid the basket to his face. Sakura opened her mouth to protest, but Kakashi just checked that the sandwiches were okay before letting Sasuke go.
Sasuke didn't like letting Neji -- or anyone -- open the way, forcing him to follow; but catching up to him meant more whispers of the "aww, so cute!" variety, so he stayed two steps behind and to the left, and ignored the friendly chatter behind them to the best of his abilities.
"Ahh. It almost feels like a team date, doesn't it? Such a shame we had to leave poor Tenten behind."
"I'm in favor of Sakura-chan dumping Fuzzy Brows for Tenten, but then we're back where we started," Naruto quipped. Sakura predictably bopped him over the head.
Gai chuckled. "Ahh, if only ... Not that I would ever consider asking you to break Hinata's heart... You two make a charming couple, by the way -- is a betrothal planned?"
Hinata blushed. "Oh, that is..."
Neji twitched, and turned just enough to throw Naruto a cold, deadly look that made his sunny grin dim and falter.
"Aha -- ahehh... We're not there yet."
Kakashi gave the other teacher a weighing look. "What are you thinking up now, Gai?"
"Well... I'm sure Hinata-san, with her loving heart, would allow Naruto to take both she and poor lonely Tenten!"
Neji didn't miss a beat. "No. No, she wouldn't."
Gai looked wounded. Lee looked reproachful. Sakura and Naruto were exchanging 'umm, ehehe' glances. Hinata had turned so red it was a wonder there was blood left in the rest of her body, and wasn't looking at anyone.
"Neji! How cruel. You're greatly underestimating Naruto and Hinata's compassion. I'm sure they wouldn't see anything wrong with taking Tenten along as a friend, just like Kakashi invited me."
"I see plenty wrong with that," Sasuke muttered, before reaching to grab Neji's arm and dragging him away from the crazy group.
"Let go," Neji hissed under his breath.
Sasuke sent him a quick glare and whispered right back. "Just ignore them."
"Like you ignored Naruto?"
"He's my teammate, I can hit him if I want to."
"And he's my teacher, do you have a point?"
"Hey guys," Naruto called. "Could you talk a little louder? From here it looks like you're whispering sweet nothings and that's kinda freaky."
"Shut up, Naruto," they growled back in tandem, and then glared together at Sakura and Hinata, who were giggling behind their hands.
The whole picnic went that way -- Gai doing gay-friendly speeches, Lee encouraging him, Naruto leering and snarking, Sakura politely pretending that nothing was wrong and that she wasn't mentally noting down every single scrap of information, Hinata wide-eyed and blushing a little more at every one of Naruto's comments, and Kakashi...
Kakashi was reading. But from time to time he grabbed a sandwich and stuffed it in Gai's mouth without looking, and that brought Sasuke and Neji some reprieve. Maybe Sasuke wouldn't kill him too hard.
There were rides, too, and the teachers insisted (via packs of nin-dogs and manly, inescapable bone-crushing hugs) that everyone should get onboard; but Neji managed to get in Naruto and Hinata's Love Train car and Sasuke in Lee and Sakura's, to make sure nothing untoward happened, and that made it more tolerable.
They found themselves stomping off in the same direction the second Naruto stopped being a dick and halfheartedly mentioned that maybe they could consider the four-way date ended. They didn't talk until they were halfway to the park's exit, and when that happened, it was through closed teeth.
"I consider this whole mess your fault, Uchiha."
"If you had stopped Naruto before he could get that idea and put it in Lee and Gai's heads..."
"My fault? You're a Hyuuga, how come you didn't see him coming? You should be used to your teammates by now." Neji twitched and glared at him angrily; Sasuke wasn't fazed for so little. Because there was something that had been burning his tongue since the very first day Naruto bounced up to him and grinningly dragged him out of the closet in front of his teammates. "It's your fault he even noticed -- what the hell were you doing wearing my shirt?!"
Bristling, ready to counter Neji's comeback, Sasuke waited.
There was no comeback, only a frustrated growl; Neji stomped away stiffly. "Just guess," the Hyuuga snapped at him without looking back.
Sasuke stood, frozen on the spot.
Guess they really were dating, after all.
He waited a few seconds, and then he started walking again. In the same direction, because there was only one exit, and a little faster, only because he wanted to get home early.
And if they ended up side by side and shoulder to shoulder, it was purely accidental.