Sasuke’s silence tells Naruto quite a bit. He particularly expect him to seek any help—not now, at least—so he lets the subject rest for now. However, if he does see the other begin to struggle, he may be inclined to nudge Kakashi in his direction.
"Aw, you guys eat together? That’s pretty cute. I’m guessing they manipulate you into paying, right?"
In a lower tone, he continues. “You had better invite me one time.”
"They don’t have to manipulate me into anything actually." He nudges the blond. "I just do it anyway." Although being a Shinobi generally paid well, the cost of living can be tough at times especially to those orphaned in the war. He didn’t mind, it wasn’t like it was everyday.
"Where were you meant to be today, it’s not like you to have some free-time."
"Wh—fuck you!! How old are we again?” That is, quite possibly, a joke pulled straight from preteen-Naruto’s book of tricks.
"Get your mind out of the gutter, you closet pervert," he shoots back. "Like I said, they’re not as bad as we were, so there’s still hope. Also, don’t think you can’t ask any of our other jounin for help if you need it. They all have their teams, but they have to discuss things together, you know?"
Of course, it wasn’t always like that. Jounin used to be very secretive of their own practices with their genin and still are to an extent, but since the war, Naruto has seen a change. They came together for support simply because they needed it.
"And everyone needs to know the joy of ramen, how dare you say that to me."
Sasuke doesn’t know if he feels comfortable seeking help from others just yet. Unfortunately his social development still needs a lot of time and work. Although he is venturing out to gatherings more, he still tends to blend into the background where he can and speaks only when spoken to.
"No because they’ll want to eat it for lunch all the time and we sometimes eat together."
Short haired Sasuke is love. Short haired Sasuke is life.
"You’re very welcome," he says with no hint of an apology. His gaze remains on the three in the distance. It appears to be Mamoru that attempts to boss the other two around, where as Keichi obliges, and Junko tells him to fuck off. The girl reminds Naruto a bit of himself. Just a small bit.
"That’s probably why. I still don’t understand how all of this exactly works out, but I’m sure Baa-chan had to screw you over at least one more time before her retirement. They really might be a good thing though," he adds on and then turns towards the other.
"Kaka-sensei admitted to me that having a team changed him quite a bit. And for the better, as well." I want that for you, is what he doesn’t say. Sasuke’s made massive strives to better himself and even if he has his days, Naruto is and will always be proud of him. These genin might just teach him to laugh a little more.
"Please don’t use ‘Baa-chan’ and ‘screw’ in the same sentence ever again." Sasuke groans.
Having a little team wasn’t all that bad, or at least not as bad as he had first anticipated. He could do a lot worse in all honesty and behind all the bickering and teasing, he has seen a good glimpse of potential too. He can only hope their journey to as shinobi doesn’t have quite as many bumps as the genin of his generation had.
"As long as you don’t introduce them to the ‘joys’ of ramen, I think we’ll be just fine."
Naruto’s smiling while he watches the exchange, but he’s also watching them. He thinks that Sasuke will surely need to get a handle on their mouths before it truly becomes problematic. From then on, he doesn’t go overboard with his heckling, lest they think it’s okay to be that disrespectful.
"As much as I loathe to admit it, you kiddies might want to listen to what Sasuke has to say. He’s seen some shit and has a lot of advice to give when he feels like it."
"Go on, you three, and get back to whatever you were doing." As the herd of adolescents move away, Naruto comes to stand closer to Sasuke and speaks quietly with him. "They seem like a nightmare. We were worse, but at least they’re not trying to kill each other? Maybe you need to flex those muscles of yours and let them know you’re not too much weaker than me?”
"That was a relatively half-assed attempt at taking my side but thank you." Sasuke rolls his eyes and leans back against the pole. "Do you want to know what’s awkward about this whole set up? Since I’m not technically jounin rank, I think they play up a little more than they would if I had the title and uniform."
Everyone knows Sasuke will fly through the chuunin exams and Tsunade thought it best to give him a head-start with the whole teamwork thing. He’s training the same people he’ll be taking exams with.
When Sasuke makes his way over, Naruto ready for him, discreetly smirking behind the brood of children. “Hmmm, Sasuke-teme, you know children are forgetful, so maybe you should bring a pack just in case? Could hinder his performance, you know?”
Between, them the trio glance back and forth at the older shinobi, surprised that anyone would dare talk to their sensei like that. Sasuke’s response to their question doesn’t surprise Naruto and it’s for that reason he gathers the three into his arms (while carefully leaning away from Keiji’s snotty face). “Don’t talk to these sweet cherubs like that!”
"Sasuke-sensei always looks constipated," Junko offers and looks quite pleased with herself. Naruto doesn’t even try to hold back his laugh.
Sasuke had expected something like this to happen but that doesn’t stop the scowl from appearing on his face.
"I’ll remember that when we do some endurance training Junko. No breaks, no lunch, whatever the weather. I gave in last time but now I know better." He gladly informs, clasping his hands behind his back.
"Naruto, don’t encourage them or I’ll have to think of something to punish you too."
This earns a a curious look from Mamoru, “You can’t punish him, he’s practically Hokage. Besides you won’t be able to get near him, he’s super fast.”
”..And you’re super dead if you don’t stop answering me back like a smart ass”
He laughs at the tales he’d supposedly been apart of. Leaning over the trio, he tells them with his most sincere smile, “It’s all true, children. All of it. I even vomited a raven once and like I don’t know what your futures hold but like, I would not recommend trying to do that. Zero out of ten.”
"Kid," he looks to Keiji, just as he pulls back his sleeve with a trail of snot stretching from it, "you got sinuses or something? Naahh, Sasuke-sensei, you ought to be making sure they’re all well, you know?”
Three sets of eyes blink widely up at Naruto, absorbing everything he says. Even Junko is unable to resist hanging on to his every word, despite her usual aloof demeanour.
Sasuke takes this moment to jump down and join the small group. “Naruto-baka," He mocks, "Keiji is fine, he just .. drips. Kid, I thought I told you to bring tissues.. or a plug."
"Ne, Sasuke-sensei, why aren’t you this nice to us?"
Sasuke clicks his tongue. “Because you are brats and you piss me off more often than not.
Naruto brings a megaphone to his lips. “SASUKE NOW HAS A GENIN TEAM. BRING FOOD. BRING YOUR KIDS. HE’LL BE AT TEAM 7’S OLD TRAINING AREA.”
Naruto nearly chokes on his spit. “I wasn’t even saying anything about your hair!” He stops to hack and beat a fist on his chest. “It’s funny that you immediately hulk whenever someone mentions ducks though! I’ll remember that for the future.”
"They’ve been sassing you? I desperately need to watch this happen."
Later, Naruto stays true to his word and happen upon the four of them in one of the older training grounds. It’s actually what’s left of Team 7’s lot and the blond wonders if Sasuke’s favored this one out of nostalgia.
"What up, little children? And Sasuke."
Sasuke perches himself on top of one of the training poles, watching as his small team naturally flock to the blond’s side; smiles, snot and all.
"Naruto-sama, is it true you strangle three-headed beast with your bare hands?" Keiji asks, rubbing his nose on his sleeve.
Sasuke snorts loudly.
"No, I heard he stayed in a haunted house all by himself!"
"Baka! That’s not what happened at all!"
Sasuke lets the genin’s argue amongst themselves, smirking to himself.