The ficlets are kinda pointless, but the scenes were floating around in my head and I needed to make sure my keyboard wasn't getting rusty, so...

Locker Room Therapy : Minato & Kushina

Purple really isn't Namikaze Minato's color. Like, at all. It makes Naruto snicker, and his father roll his eyes and sigh in long-suffering tolerance.

His mom keeps playing with the purple strands and making comments about barrettes and sparkly hair gel.

They're still a little bemused, Naruto thinks -- they know their son pretty well, yeah, but after being called out in the middle of the afternoon for a so-called fight they didn't expect to find him enthusiastic about anything. More like sullen. (Or halfway to a panic attack. Like fuck. He's never having another panic attack ever again, and not only because Sasuke would sneer at him. Just because.. shit, he's just not going to. He's got a plan now.)

"Na-ru-to has two mom-mies," Kushina hums as she gathers a clump of hair to the side of her husband's head.

Naruto predictably cracks up. Minato sighs again, though the corner of his lip quirks up in a little smile.

"I'm glad to see you two in such high spirits," he says, and it's that way he has of being kind of sarcastic and yet completely sincere. He's nice, Naruto's dad, always has been. ... Also the purple hair really doesn't look intimidating anyway. It's really more lavender.

They're sitting at the kitchen table, a cozy round thing that lets their legs bump together. Naruto grins. He feels safe here. He hasn't felt very safe for the last week or so.

"So... Fight?"

Naruto lets out a loud put-upon sigh, though he knew he'd have to explain himself eventually. His parents would cut him a lot of slack if he needed it, but they also know when not to let him off the hook. It's annoying sometimes -- like, say, when he just doesn't feel like doing stuff he knows he should -- but he likes it too.

"Well, er." He rubs the back of his neck and chuckles. "Kinda."

His mother smiles back, happiness matching his own. "Something good happen?"

There's relief in her eyes too and for a minute he feels kind of choked up. Oh, mom. He never meant to worry her so bad. Reason two for not giving into the crazy psycho's fear tactics ever again.

Reason three is his pride. Reason one is no one hurts his mom like that and gets away with it.

"... Naruto?"

He realizes his fists are clenched and his chin up, and he shakes his head with an embarrassed chuckle. "Sorry, distracted. I mean -- yeah, something, I mean at the time it was kind of not pleasant but now I'm --" happy.

Not only happy. But determined too. That's almost better.

All because of Sasuke.

He gets up so fast his chair screeches on the floor. His parents give him alarmed looks; he waves a hand quickly. "No, no, it's okay, I just -- phone call, I'll be right back!" and for the second time today he races off pretending he can't hear being called back.

He's already in his bedroom when he realizes he doesn't have the phone number he needs, so he calls Sakura.

A second time when she doesn't answer the first. Then a third. Gah, quick, quick, he's dying here!

"Naruto, I'm in class!" she growl-whispers. "I swear I'll erase my number from your phone if you ever--"

Then she stops right in the middle of her usual threats, and her voice goes all soft with concern, which makes Naruto wince.

"Do you need...?"

"I'm fine, I just -- Sasuke's phone number!" he bursts out.

He can just about hear Sakura blinking at the other end of the call. "...Sasuke's?"

She knows they don't get along, of course, everyone does. Naruto growls, waving his hand in a hurry-up gesture she can't see. His parents aren't gonna wait three years and he needs to have that conversation now! "Yes, yes, come on, if anyone does you've got to have it!"

Sakura mutters something unflattering; Naruto dances with impatience on his bed as she answers some kind of question from the teacher, innocent as you please.

She gives it eventually, pretending like she has to look it up when they both know she knows it by heart. Naruto flings a "thank you" her way and hangs up, and dials again.

"Who is this?"

Sasuke's voice isn't exactly friendly, but neutral at least. Huh. Doesn't sound unpleasant... Gah. Naruto has more pressing concerns at the moment.

"Did we have sex?"

There's over ten seconds of silence from the other side, and then Sasuke gives sigh number twenty-three; 'Naruto Is A Dumbass Again And I Am Not Even Surprised'. "...It was just a handjob."

Naruto relaxes a little, flopping on his bed with his back slumped against the wall and his heels dangling off the side. "My mom says if we both orgasm it still counts and counting on penetration to define sex is, uh, what was it again -- phallocentric and misogynistic--"

"Since when are you a lesbian?"

"... Asshole."

Sasuke sighs again; this time a vaguely pained 'Oh God The Dumbassery Is Contaminating Me'. "Alright, whatever. Sex is orgasm plus an orifice of our choice. Okay? Okay. Sixty-nine is sex. Leg-humping isn't. I'm sorry to say you're still a virgin."

"... I don't know whether to say phew or aw crud."

"Goodbye, Naruto," Sasuke says pointedly, and hangs up on him.

Naruto pulls himself out of his bed and goes back to the kitchen, where his parents are still waiting with baffled looks on their faces. It's the badly hidden worry that gets him, though. He doesn't know what they're thinking he was thinking, but it's got to be so bad.

So really it just comes out.

"I think I've got a boyfriend."

His father gives a slow, slow blink, and then a slightly faster one. His mother says "Oh."

Then she says "Oh" again but with a completely different tone this time, and then she starts to smile in a slightly devious way. "Oh, really."

Naruto starts to blush. "I guess. It's -- really kind of weird. I didn't, I mean he just -- and then --"

"Is it that Uchiha boy?" she asks. "Yes, I rather thought so."

"Ah." His father shakes his head, bemused, like he has to pull his brain back on track. "Don't be silly, hon, they're ene...mies... Naruto?

Naruto is pointing accusingly at his mother. "How did you know?! I DIDNT KNOW!"

Kushina smirks her smug vixen smirk. "It's the hidden power of Vagina."

Naruto flinches. "Gah! Mom!"

Her eyes dance with restrained laughter. "I guess you wouldn't know. Especially now..."

"Mooooom!" Naruto whimpers, slumping on his chair.

Minato flushes and scratches his jaw as a not-that-distracting distraction. "I... did not expect that. Not that it's a problem at all!" he hurries to assure him." But I ... assumed you liked girls?"

Naruto flushes and then they match, except for the silly hair. "I still do. But -- I dunno. He's not so bad." He pauses, realizes what he just said. "No, wait, he's a total asshole! I mean it. And he's prissy and he's always better at everything and he makes it look so EASY and he always has to be sarcastic and argue and push all the time and argh!"

Minato looks more and more confused. Kushina leans on her elbows and smirks wider.

"But... Well."

Naruto stares at a pattern in the table, gathering his thought.

"I think... He pushes me because... He wants me to meet his expectations." Quietly, slowly figuring it out, wording it out loud. "Because he's sure I can. And that... I like that. Exceeding his expectations."

He thinks, when he had his little moment of epiphany -- that he wasn't broken, that he wasn't owned, that he wasn't going to give up -- Sasuke was proud. He shouldn't even care what Sasuke thinks of him, but he does, and he never wants to give up that kind of glow.

"... Also it's really fun to fight him." He grins. Oh, is it ever fun. He thinks it's going to get even more fun pretty soon. Groping used to be Sasuke's exclusive weapon.

Also kind of fucked up, if he tried to explain it, and he wants his parents to at least be able to imagine that his boyfriend treats him with all the thoughtfulness and niceties Naruto would probably barf at if he got them from Uchiha Sasuke. He rubs the back of his neck and shrugs. "So, that's why. Tsunade thought we were fighting, but he was just -- talking to me. About last week." It barely hurts this time to mention it. There's still a rocky bump in the road, but it's not a chasm anymore. Not right now anyway -- maybe he'll backslide later, but he'll come back out again. "And he said some things, and I said some things, and okay, we kind of shoved each other around and I might have punched him in the face a bit, but -- I needed to hear it."

His parents mull over it for a couple of minutes.

"If he helped you, then... We're grateful." His mom must see he's getting twitchy; she doesn't try to ask what they talked, exactly. She just smiles, happy because he's happy. It makes him happier -- makes him forget the embarrassment and the simmering rage he's trying not to think about at the moment.

"It would be nice to have the occasion to express it in person," his father says almost innocently, and Naruto can see it coming and he only has two words for it -- "ahahaha" and "NO".

"Look at the time!" he exclaims with too much enthusiasm. "Man, I'll never finish my homework on time if I don't start now."

He's out of the kitchen before he's even done talking, and this time when he reaches his bedroom he turns up the music so he can have plausible deniability if they call again. Then he flops back on his bed and gives the ceiling a look of confused bedazzlement.

Shit. A boyfriend. How messed up is that. The word doesn't even seem to fit properly, but it's the only one he can use that his parents would get. Rival, foil, measuring stick -- they were all special, all important... but now he thinks he can add 'one who has my back' to the pile, and it's even more important than 'giver-of-mutual-orgasms.'

'Giver-of-mutual-orgasms' ain't half-bad as far as titles go. He imagines Sasuke's face at hearing it, and he laughs. Oh yeah. That works.