|Icha Icha Fashion
Author: talanai rialric PM
Jiraya turns his popular novels into a successful clothing line and Naruto is drafted to model. As the company expands, world famous model Sasuke is hired as a part of business mogul Itachi's "master plan." Chaos ensues. Yaoi, SasuNaruRated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Humor - Sasuke U. & Naruto U. - Chapters: 8 - Words: 42,879 - Reviews: 91 - Favs: 78 - Follows: 165 - Updated: 01-11-13 - Published: 09-22-11 - id: 7403921
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Jiraya scowled at the contracts. Just watching the ink dry nauseated him. But it was a necessary sort of sickness, a necessary pain. With a resolute sigh he pushed his chair away from his desk and headed for his private stash of liquor. A dark oak cabinet inlaid with countless tiny carvings housed his liquid courage, and only he had the key.
Tsunade picked the lock when she wanted something.
To his mind there was nothing a little whiskey couldn't fix. And when whiskey couldn't fix it, the problem was generally too troublesome to bother with, or worse yet, involved women. Tumbler in hand he stared out the window of his office and sent a silent plea to the universe that he had made the right decision.
"Cheers," he said tonelessly, an empty echo of the previous night's celebratory salute. Everything had seemed so perfect then, drunk on good food and company. Perhaps a tiny bit inebriated. Itachi had been twice as drunk as Jiraya, so they had waited a day to actually sign the contracts and only had yet to finalize the agreement. Something in the handsome CEO's demeanor suggested he had something more that money to gain by the venture, and that something had nagged at the back of Jiraya's mind all night, and had only grown more insistent with sobriety. Still, there was no easy way to back out of an agreement with Uchiha Itachi.
He prayed he had made the right decision.
He didn't want to consider the ramifications if he hadn't.
Ten floors stocked with cubicles, office monkeys, harried assistants, and genius designers below Jiraya's office at Icha Icha Headquarters, Naruto pulled a button down shirt over his head, mussing the carefully gelled spikes. He still had five minutes to get from hair and makeup to the elevator across the floor, and down three stories to the basement photo shoot sets. Five minutes to say hi to all his friends, dodge the hair stylists and their addiction to hair gel, duck the makeup artists and their "one more second" to perfection, and arrive in front of the camera looking calm, cool and collected.
Previous record: 2 minutes, fifteen seconds.
He glanced at his watch before opening the door.
Getting past the makeup artists was easy, once he learned the trick to it. As long as they didn't see his face, they didn't see anything worth fixing before his pictures. He quickly spotted the snack cart, on its usual route back to the kitchen for restocking, and dove into a shoulder roll behind it just as it rolled past the land of foundation. With such a tasty cover, Naruto sailed past them without so much as a puff of powder and managed to snag a donut for his troubles.
He crammed the pastry in his mouth and ran his clean hand through his hair, mussing the spikes further before stepping into hair territory. All the photographers "preferred" the natural look, so, with luck, Naruto could make it through the land of gel with little more than a quick dusting of hairspray. As the snack cart rolled off toward the freight elevator, Narutosearched for another cover.
There! An older secretary struggled with an enormous bag and a stack of papers threatening to cascade into an off white blizzard. Naruto half ran over to her, recued the stack, and bent to talk to her while they sailed past the hairstylists. Thanks to his "little old lady" screen, they never caught so much as a glimpse of him.
Even encumbered by the secretary's papers, it took him less than thirty seconds to get to the elevator. The doors slid closed with a cheerful ding! and he began the descent. Forty eight seconds later, including the pause at ground level for the secretary to disembark, the doors dinged again before gliding open.
If hair and makeup was chaotic, set was pure bedlam. Though technically only one floor, the "basement" functioned much like a ware house, with high ceilings girded in metal I beams and smooth cement floors. The gigantic space housed twelve subdivisions, portioned off by moveable walls of varying heights. Six of the spaces, scattered to all corners of the floor, housed photo shoots, while the others functioned as storage for props or remained empty.
Naruto's destination, Set 5, was just across the main hallway from the elevator bank. He was almost home free, and almost a whole minute ahead of his previous record. He could almost taste victory.
A familiar voice drifted down the hall, carrying above the general commotion. As Naruto paused to allow a dolly laden with lights roll past, he searched the crowd for the source and was rewarded with a glimpse of a spiky brown ponytail bobbing his way.
Umino Iruka, secretary, agent, p.r. wiz, modeling coach, and moral support, was performing one of his many miscellaneous duties: tour guide.
Naturally, anything associated with the Icha Icha enterprise would draw a crowd, but combined with beautiful models, the allure become irresistible. The demand grew beyond Iruka's capacity though, so he hired a special tour guide to cover the responsibilities and run crowd control in the form of ticket only tours. At first Jiraya moaned about the extra expense but as soon as he saw how much revenue increased. He let the matter drop. Unfortunately, the man was out sick, so the duties landed back on Iruka.
Naruto frowned, annoyed that his friend was too busy to come to the shoot. Iruka had never missed even one of Naruto's photo shoots and the blond immediately set about finding a way to free Iruka from "the mobs of screaming fan girls".
When his genius plan finally hit him, he couldn't help but congratulate himself on the sheer brilliance.
"Iruka!" he called, yelling to be heard over the hubbub. "Oy! Iruka!"
"Naruto?" Iruka seemed flustered. "Now's not really a good time. You see I'm in the middle of—" Iruka tried to explain, pulling Naruto off to the side and dropping his voice to a whisper.
"Giving another mob of fan girls…or should I say fan boys a tour. I know, but listen. My shoot is starting in two minutes, and you can't miss it, okay Iruka? So why don't you give these-" Naruto gestured at the group behind Iruka, no patiently waiting for their guide to stop chit chatting with a random guy "the time of their life and bring them with?"
"Naruto, I can't just drag them to watch hours of you posing. I know I'm letting you down, but let me make it up to you with Ichiraku's tonight. "
"One moment, Iruka-san." A man from the group interrupted Iruka's bargaining, his soft voice somehow commanding attention. He was tall and thin, good looking, and dressed in an expensive suit obviously tailored to flatter him perfectly. He radiated a calm sense of power, and he obviously knew it without seeming arrogant. Noting this, Naruto instantly disliked him. Men in suits were more irritating than fan girls. They always wanted money, or power, or some excuse to exploit him, and were relentless.
Usually Iruka wouldn't let them past the front door.
"Given the nature of things, I'm not certain watching the core production of this establishment at work would be a waste of time. In fact, if the involved are willing, I would like to insist upon such an exhibition."
"A-as you wish, Uchiha-san." Iruka stuttered, flushing bright red. "Uh, which studio were you going to, Naruto? When does the shoot start?"
"In 5, and it starts…" he glanced at his watch. "Shit! Two minutes ago! I'll see you on set!" Naruto dashed off, sprinting headlong into the crowd and disappearing through a door marked with a bold 5.
"You're late." The room was completely dark. Not even the set lights were on, which was odd in itself. Usually they had to warm up a bit before they gave off the appropriate levels of luminance.
"You're one to talk, Kakashi-san. It's not like you haven't been late ever."
"True. But you are later than my late, thereby making me early." Disdain at the concept was obvious in his voice. The lights snapped on with a metallic clang, revealing the bored photographer perched on his customary stool. A shock of silver white hair—whether it was that color naturally or if he dyed it Naruto never could determine—covered one eye. A black turtleneck paired with a high collared vest obscured the entirety of his lower face and neck. Fingerless gloves and tight black jeans completed the outfit and added to the "artistic genius with social inhibitions" look.
"Can we drop the whole 'on time' thing and just get on with the pictures?" Naruto groaned. The silver haired photographer never seemed serious when not behind the camera. He liked to argue about everything and anything, and usually won by simply confusing the hell out of his opponents. Namely Naruto.
"Why is it that you're never in the mood for semantics?" Kakashi sighed, gesturing dismissively. "Come on then, let's see what you got."
Naruto rolled his eyes and stepped onto the set. For this particular shoot, it was nothing fancy, just a pure white floor and backdrop doused by 15,000 watts of lights and several dozen shades designed to amplify the reflected lights back on the subject. The goal of the session was merely to get a decent shot for the cover of the next catalogue, and perhaps a few useable shots for the newspaper ads.
With all the lights in his face, Naruto could barely see Kakashi's outline a few feet in front of him, much less the group filing in through the main doors to the set. Kakashi's violent double take alerted him to their entrance, however, and he ran forward to explain before the temperamental artist attempted to throw them out of the studio.
"Kakashi! I asked Iruka to bring them…it's a group of…of…" he started, then trailed off, unsure quite how to categorize the tourists.
"Future partners." Iruka supplied. "Uchiha-san is finalizing a deal with Jiraya later this afternoon, and is touring the facilities."
"And he's interrupting my photo shoot." Kakashi sent the force of his glare into the words, certain they couldn't see his face against the blinding backlighting of the set.
"Apologies, Hatake-san. When Naruto mentioned that he was working with you, I jumped at the chance to see you work. Your photos are nearly legendary." Itachi once again exercised his impressive combination of charm and authority in an attempt to soothe Kakashi. The photographer wasn't impressed.
"Really? Do you have a favorite, Uchiha-san?"
"The series of prints from your time in Italy, the ones posted on your webpage. The one that stood out the most to me was of the courtyard. Your eye for an enrapturing shot is uncanny, and the angle couldn't be better." Itachi answered.
"Hmph. Fine, they may stay. But if you distract that knucklehead—" Kakashi jerked a shadowed thumb at Naruto "I'll be forced to throw you off my set." His invisible grin suggested that he would thoroughly enjoy doing just that.
Itachi and his cohort of suits found themselves seats on the spare props and settled in for a long viewing.
"Pay close attention to this Naruto, Sasuke. He may seem an imbecile, but there's something about him that appeals to the sectors you have yet to win over. Learn from him. Understand?"
"Now, that we've got everything in order, we have a few housekeeping details to go over, and we're all set. Jiraya?" Tsunade shoved the signed papers into her assistant Shizune's hands as she spoke.
"I expect you are already aware of this, but it is traditional for your first few shoots to be done with Naruto, my grandson. He was our first model, and it's become a tradition of sorts for the newbies to start out with him. Also, I'll expect you to be punctual and courteous to all my staff. I don't tolerate divas." Jiraya sighed.
"I think that covers it for now. All that's left is for us to seal the deal with a few drinks. Shall we meet at Niku tonight? Say 7:00?" When the others nodded assent, Jiraya stood, shook each of their hands across the table one more time, and watched them file stoically out the glass door. Once they disappeared down the hall, Jiraya sank back into his chair with a sigh.
"Not our typical contract signing." Tsunade shuffled the papers into a neat stack as she spoke. Satisfied they were orderly, She deposited them on top of the growing mountain already in Shizune's arms.
"It will be good for business, Jiraya-san. Sasuke will bring his fanbase with him, which will be good for sales." Shizune added, sensing Jiraya's doubt.
"It's not that. Itachi's up to something. The Uchihas don't move like this, don't do business like this. Something's not quite right, and I want to know what it is." Jiraya rested his head on his hand and stared at the poster sized blowups of previous Icha Icha Fashion covers. Naruto's brilliant blue eyes beamed at him over that ridiculously goofy smile the girls—and boys—all found so charming.
"Good luck, kiddo." Jiraya said to the picture. "I get the feeling you're gonna need it."
"You will not be going."
"I'm an adult, Itachi. You can't legally stop me."
"I can fire you. If you go, you do not have a job."
"What's the point of a dinner to celebrate our new partnership if I can't even go?" Sasuke sprawled on Itachi's bed at the hotel, his head hanging over the side as he stared at the ceiling. Itachi was sedately selecting a fresh suit for dinner from a closet fully stocked with them. To Sasuke, they all looked identical, but Itachi contested the subtle differences in cut and pattern altered his effect on people.
"The point, little brother, is for me to seal the deal with my new business partner. In all contractual regards, you are chattel. I would not take a shipment of silks, no matter how fine, to dinner with the man buying them."
"So now I'm a shipment of silks?" Sasuke thumped his head against the side of the bed in frustration.
"Sasuke." Without turning Itachi managed to convey the glare and the accompanying warning that Sasuke was pushing it.
"Whatever. Have fun at your dinner, I'm going to go shower." Sasuke rolled off the bed and trudged to the bathroom, slamming the flimsy door dramatically behind him. Itachi sighed. Sometimes Sasuke made him wonder if it was really worthwhile to be his manager. Adjusting his tie one last time in the mirror and straightening his tie clip, Itachi finally deemed himself ready.
He turned at the last moment, fingers barely resting on the door knob, and stared at the closed bathroom door. The tiny Uchiha fan, now perfectly aligned on his tie, caught the overhead lights and reflected a tiny spotlight onto the bathroom door. Itachi listened to the sound of running water for a moment.
"I promised them, otouto. Never again. If your hatred is what I get for that, so be it."
Itachi sighed again, as if the action might relieve the weight of his plans. Allowing himself that one moment of weakness was enough to threaten his resolve, so Itachi quashed the feeling, squared his shoulders, and left the hotel room behind with little more than a slight tingling of anxiety.
Even Sasuke wasn't thick enough to try that again so soon.
Jiraya noticed a difference in Itachi the moment the man entered the restaurant. He seemed older, and strained by some great trouble. There was a tiredness in the lines about his eyes and his welcoming smile seemed less irresistible. Despite all this, Itachi's voice had evey ounce of his usual charm, and his words were as smooth as ever.
"Hello Jiraya-san, Tsunade-san."
"Itachi! Sit down, I hope you don't mind but we started the drinks early!" Tsunade gestured for him to sit down from her chair. She somehow declined to rise when Jiraya had to greet Itachi, and made the slight seem perfectly natural. Itachi credited the empty bottle before her for the lack of judgment.
"Where's Sasuke? Shouldn't he be coming?" Jiraya mused aloud.
"He will not be joining us. Sasuke is quite exhausted from such an exciting day and is eager to start modeling for Icha Icha Fashion in the morning. He decided to abstain from this celebration in order to rest for tomorrow, but sends his greetings and enthusiasm for our new relationship." Itachi answered, taking a wine glass proffered by a waiter and wishing it was something stronger. What did a man have to do to get vodka?
Sasuke flopped on the bed and flipped on the TV, fully prepared for a long movie night. Armed with all the popcorn room service could find, a 12-pack of soda, and unlimited access to pay-per-view, he brushed a few strands of wet hair from his face, adjusted his bathrobe for ultimate comfort, and began to search for the first movie.
Itachi found him in much the same state, minus five cans of soda, three bags of popcorn, and with drier hair, five movies into his marathon. It was after three a.m. Surveying the scene with a critical eye and a mind far more sober than it ought to be, Itachi fought the urge to shout obscenities at his brother. Instead, he calmly walked to the TV, pressed the power button with perhaps a bit more force than necessary, and silenced Sasuke's protests with a single word.
When that failed to evoke the desired reaction, Itachi expanded the thought.
"Hn." Sasuke started searching for pajamas while Itachi cleaned up the aftermath. Normally obsessive about separating trash from recycling, Itachi simply brushed all the remnants into the waste bin. Turning to his shrine to business attire, Itachi hung his jacket up, removed his tie pin and placed it on the counter, returned his tie to its hanger, folded his shirt and pants and placed them on the top shelf before dropping his undershirt into a pop up hamper. His pajama consisted of a plain black oversized T-shirt, decorated only with an Uchiha fan on the back, and a pair of long gray lounge pants.
Where Itachi was almost compulsive in his routine, Sasuke simply tossed his robe on the floor, pulled on the nearest pair of sweats he could find, and crawled into his bed. After sitting so long in one place, the cool sheets were blessedly cool. Sasuke glanced over just in time to see Itachi make a face at the warmth of his own bed and flick a few more crumbs from the comforter before settling in.
"Sleep, Sasuke." Itachi stretched one willowy arm to turn out the lights, plunging the room into complete darkness.
Beep Beep BEEP.
BEEP. BEEP. BEEP. BEE-
Sasuke groaned and buried his head under the foam pillow, which did nothing to cancel the sound. Thankfully Itachi was a light sleeper and managed to smack the alarm into silence quickly.
"You have fifteen minutes, Sasuke. If you are not out of bed by then I will personally drag you into a cold shower." Itachi disappeared into the bathroom to take his own shower, and the small room soon echoed with the sounds of running water, and the chipper voices of early morning dj's. Sasuke hated anyone who was that happy at 6:30 am, mostly because his brother liked them.
Releasing an aggravated growl, Sasuke threw his pillow at the bathroom wall and kicked his blankets down. With a great deal of effort, he managed to drag himself from the comfort of his warm bed into a cold armchair. Itachi had let his breakfast options arranged in a neat semi-circle, knowing Sasuke would lack the motivation to get out of the chair, even for food, so early in the morning. A box of cereal on the far right, a piece of toast that was cooling slowly even as Sasuke debated, and a paper menu weighted down by the room phone.
Sasuke chose room service.
"Good, you made it out of bed, and took the extra initiative to order breakfast."
"Hnn. Well the other options were cardboard in a box or ancient bread in hockey puck form."
"I know mornings are not 'your thing' but this is a new level of grouchy." Itachi said, pulling on some running shoes.
"Yeah, well, three and a half hours of sleep will do that to you."
"Well, perhaps in the future you will refrain from staying up until three in the morning watching movies the night before a photo shoot." Itachi finished lacing his shoes and stood, somehow imposing and authoritative even in his work out clothes.
"You aren't coming with me?"
"No, Jiraya wants you to come alone today, to see how you work 'without direction'. So I am going for a run, and then to the gym down the street for a bit. I will stop by late this afternoon to take a look at your film, and we shall plan the rest of the day from there."
"And how'm I supposed to get to the building? If you aren't going to drive…"
"Jiraya is sending a car at 7:30. Now answer the door and eat. You do not have much time to get ready."
"Damn you, Itachi. Damn you beyond the deepest circles of hell, you bastard. I will get revenge for this. Damn you." Sasuke stared at his reflection in the full length mirror. The stylists saw fit to emphasize his natural hair style by flat ironing it and then gelling it back into its usual shape. Suddenly everything about his hair seemed sharper, more dangerous. His makeup artists took their cues from it, using subtle colors to add to the aura of danger. Combined with an a screen printed T-shirt covered in graffiti and stone washed jeans, he looked exactly like one of Jiraya's stereotypical "bad boys."
He felt like a poser.
Despite his misgivings, he knew he looked good, perhaps even really good, and that would draw fans, which would generate more money, which would make Itachi happy. Sasuke simply hated that he had to look like someone else to accomplish that.
But it had always been that way.
The first outfit wasn't the cause of his cursing, however, but Sasuke bit his tongue on the issue after his one brief outburst. He decided to wait out the first shoot before complaining about his wardrobe.
"Five minutes, Sasuke! Remember, Set 3, okay?" Iruka called through the door. Sasuke could almost feel the man waiting for an answer for a tense moment before moving on. With a tortured sigh, and another silent promise to strangle Itachi for getting him into this, Sasuke pulled his door open.
As he took the first step into the hall, a spiked golden blur nearly collided with him. Taken aback, Sasuke recoiled slightly, and stared after the figure. A pair of shockingly blue eyes met his as the man glanced back, an apology falling from smiling lips tinted a dusky rose.
Sasuke slumped against the door frame, pensive for a moment before straightening and following the man toward the elevators, and hours of reasons to familiarize himself with that golden visage.
Uzumaki Naruto had suddenly become very, very…