Disclaimer: All I own is my creative genius...As you might gather from how original the characters are. ;)

Warning: It's Yaoi. Try to stay dry.

Plushie StickyNote: C'mon. You guys didn't actually believe I'd leave you hanging forever? Hmmmmm? Just long enough, you know...I needed you guys desperate. So...umm. Yeah. Iunno where I'm going with this. I've just been having a really busy year. Basketball and theater, plus eight classes and worrying about college made this chapter really hard. I'm sorry for the wait honestly. Months ago I had already had eleven pages done...But I didn't wanna post till I got in the last part because...I was doing so much research on it. Didn't want all the work to go to waste. Anyway...Pllllllleeeeeaaaassssseeee forgive me? I promise not to do it again. 3...Oh! Before I forget. It's six in the morning and I haven't gotten a wink of sleep. I have school in an hour and so this is unbeta'd. I haven't even gone through once to see if any of the last pages make sense. It should be updated by tonight but for now I'm just too glad to have something to put up.

Enjoy!


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Guilty or Not Guilty

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The holding cell was a three by five square foot room at the hight of seven feet. Naruto stood in the center and made a few sweeps of the 'room', the feeling of dread creeping throughout every nerve of his body in a way that resembled the inching of a snail through peanut butter. The slow, tortuous motility of such an awful sensation was sweeping the layer under his skin cancerously, making it almost unbearable until it was all carried away by a wave of fear.

The walls were a glowing dingy off-white color and the floor a dark shaded gray that was littered with a variety of stains and spots; mostly gum that had flattened on the ground and covered by dirt after years of being stepped on and left uncleaned. The place was disgusting and Naruto imagined that if there was anyone out there that liked pale colored walls and dirt that this might actually be heaven; though he found it hard to believe that God would be that cruel to any one person.

The bars that were one of the four walls was painted a slickly ash and glimmered a dispassionate silver when under the bleak lighting. He felt like throwing up just to add some color to the place, which in turn probably would have made it smell better too. He wrinkled his nose in disdain at the thought and by pure will alone pushed back his reflex to gag on his own tongue

Finding his surroundings less than inviting Naruto let out a rumbling groan and sat down on the metal encased futon attached to the opposite wall; the same metal encased chiropractic nightmare the state of New York had deemed suitable for human use. Honestly. Just looking at it made his back hurt. Instead he just kept looking around, forcing himself not to curl up into a ball and scream for someone to save him.

There was nothing, in any way, striking about such a place other than that fact that no one would ever volunteer to step inside; not without a million dollars and maybe a brand new car as graft.

He kept looking around for something- anything, that wasn't part of the cell but gave up after his seventh spin, feeling like a fool while no closer to actually getting anywhere in his search. He realized at some point, and with great reluctance, that he being moronic. He, better than some shumck on the street picked at random, knew that there was nothing to see. At this point, even in his own cell he found no comfort in possessing even his personal space; which surely would have been invaded had he been given a cell mate.

Bored and frustrated, and with a pinch of desperation, Naruto quickly gave a heaving sigh, turned onto his other side and looked out through the bars.

"God dammit." He mumbled, mockingly met with the sight of even more bars on the opposite side, he threw his hands over his face and gave a small, defeated whine. "I hate this!"

Though, a shout greeted him in his misery, telling him kindly to "Shut the fuck up!" with a 'thud' against a wall, somewhere off a distance, as an accompaniment. Turning his back on the bars and onto his side he kept his hands on his face. He bent his knees and brought his legs up to his chest. He wasn't even up for muttering a response. So instead he thought one up one and mentally cursed the bastard for making this nightmare a reality with his verbal abuse. 'Fucking jerk.'

An onlooker would be moved to pity at the tension wound tight in the blond's back and would probably offer a kind hand, despite the evidence to suggest they should arm themselves with a glock instead. The fact that he probably looked that pitiful made Naruto wince in shame and made him shift to lay on his back, one arm over his head while the other rested on top of his stomach.

He kept still for a few moments, bothered by the fact that he was being so fidgety. He couldn't even keep that position for more than a few minutes. It was pathetic.

He tried not to think about anything, which in turn lead him to think about just about everything he'd much rather see bury itself. He replayed his arrest in his mind again and again, haunted by the diminishing memory as each time some small detailed was altered, making the experience seem more horrible then it had actually been. Which, for the record, wasn't as horrible as most other people would recall the experience of being arrested.


Flashback

Assured to as not to worry Naruto had gotten down to the DA's office with a relatively eased mind. He'd watched the scenery fly by without really seeing the colors and shapes that molded together around him. He often told himself he loved car rides just because it was quiet and even though he wasn't do anything he was at least getting somewhere. It was like purgatory on earth.

When they, Sasuke and himself that is, had gotten there, and by 'there' he meant the DA's office, he'd walked behind Sasuke, hands up and across the back of his head, wandering down the familiar halls of the District Attorney's office, unfathered by the impromptu visit. He knew everyone was there deciding on what was going to happen next, but he wasn't sure what his role could be considering he couldn't tell them anything they didn't already know. He obviously didn't have anything new to tell them since he couldn't possibly have found new information sitting in a restaurant flirting with his new lawyer and he'd be damned if he said it out loud but that was about the gist of it.

Reaching Jiryara's designated office Sasuke had opened the door and Naruto had had the unrelenting urge to slam it back shut in his own face; broken nose be dammed. The moment his eyes came to gaze over the barest inch of the office a feeling a unrivaled dread crawled up on him like a drunk friend at a party looking for his car keys in his shirt. He'd stepped back with the thought that he'd much rather be back home snuggled under a blanket so the boogie man didn't get him; than be here for what would continue to be he worse day of his life. 'Oh God. Please no. I'm not here.'

Looking up to see those dark brown eyes, watching him with such a heartbroken expression was unbearable. He had wanted to rip out his heart and feed it to the stupid pricks who had gotten him into this mess because in all honesty it would be a much better punishment for his non-existent crime than watching his loved ones go through this pain. Despite the morbid, yet satisfying, feeling to do exactly that he couldn't find the strength to jab his hand through his chest so he took to just mentally cursing the heavens and earths to a bloody bath in hell until Lucifer got bored; which one could not fault him for doing because spending an eternity bathing in fire alongside a pack of retarded monkeys had about as much appeal as a steak knife in the eye.

Still Sasuke had made it inside now, and there was no hope of saving him and so with a great deal of remorse Naruto sacrificed him to the office and it's occupants and instead had stood outside the door, looking around for a window he could strategically jump out of so as not to have to face his distraught-eyed god father, his distraught-eyed godfather's over-bearing boyfriend, a worried old man, Itachi and his psychotic ex-lover; who he'd find great joy in one day pushing off a cliff if only to rid the world of that insufferable smile.

He gave up on the notion of trying to escape however when Iruka rushed over and pulled him tight into a vice grip; sometimes labeled a 'hug' by people who actually enjoyed the deprivation of oxygen, which consequently made him stumble into the room and into sight of his friends, family, and hated ex.

They watched him without uttering a sound and he'd been left feeling like the main attraction at a zoo. All eyes were on him and there was a moment where his instinct for 'flight' took him and slapped him in the face for not getting away sooner.

It took him a moment to find his voice and when he did Naruto had been shocked by it's total lack of tact.

"What the fuck is going on? You all look like I shot a puppy and threw it at you." He'd said. realizing after he had said it that it wasn't the best choice of words or even the best tone to say it in; but at that point kindness could go right ahead and fuck off. He'd let the wide-eyed looks of surprise sink in as he had waited for someone to answer his question.

"Well...that was...um. Very..." Kakashi started to say, after a few moments of stumbling for his words, was cut off by a dismissive wave from Iruka.

"Naruto, it's just that I..." Iruka paused a second, nipping the inside of his cheek in frustration. "What I mean to say is...We all thought it was best if we let Jiraya go ahead and prosecute for now." Iruka looked up at him with a sincerely mournful look and Naruto just stared back at the rest of them like he'd been given a high dose of dopamine and they were the guys who'd given it to him.

Naruto heard himself speak and in an oddly comforting and detached fashion. "That means- you guys actually think I killed him..." His blue eyes had made their way around the room barely registering the trembling his body had began to exhibit.

"That's not what we're saying!" Iruka was quick to amend. He'd tightened his arm around his god-son and glanced over at Itachi for help.

And as clever as Itachi was he found himself at a loss of words at that moment. He reflected on his decision with some uncertainty as he watched Naruto's reaction. "That's not what we think at all." He muttered lamely, barely forcing himself to keep eye contact. Cool, calm and collected were all well and good when dealing with strangers, but it was made hard to act so aloof when a nice section of his heart was bent on protecting his blond friend.

Naruto had bit back the urge to snarl. "Then what are you guys saying?" He wanted to be nice about it, but couldn't find a shred of patience in his soul to subject himself to the stress of actually being nice anymore.

"We're saying we have a plan that'll keep you out of jail. Trust us." Sasuke had then interjected out of turn, deciding between either speaking up or letting this idiotic game of Twenty Questions go on until the next Ice Age. Frankly, not as enjoyable as it was made out to sound.

Glaring from the corner of his eyes Naruto kept himself from saying something he'd regret; especially after his little episode in the car with the younger attorney and took to throwing a great big sulk. He'd lowered his head and muddled over the information with a degree of begrudging acceptance. If Sasuke said he was going to be okay, he'd give his new friend the benefit of the doubt and hope that it didn't come to bite him in the ass later.

"Fine. So if this isn't because I'm guilty, what's the great big plan?" He'd growled, then taking a seat on the floor and crossed his arms, head tilted towards the ceiling in some show of childish defiance.

Itachi sighed and took a seat in front of the sulking man, legs tucked under him, with a dignified grunt. "Well let me first say this is very illegal." Never mind trying to talk dumb to Naruto Itachi knew, because despite his reputation he was a very bright kid and Itachi knew better than to speak to him as anything but as an equal. He smiled with some renewed confidence when Naruto's blue eyes reflected his full attention.

Perked by a sentence that he never though he'd hear come from his raven-haired friend Naruto gasped without really meaning to. "Illegal?!" The word tumbled the expanse of his mind in spastic rhythm, trying to piece together with the thought of Itachi. His mind came up blank and not from lack of trying. He imagined the smallest of crimes and couldn't even picture his long-time friend 'borrowing' a pen and forgetting to return it.

Itachi nodded and had the decency to look a bit ashamed for what he was going to say next. "With Jiraya's cooperation we're going to get your case thrown out on a 'technicality'. Double Jeopardy will protect you from prosecution again."

There was a disgusted grunt from the corner but was followed by a silence that would make a pin drop think twice about breaking it. No one moved or made a sound, more than attentive; waiting for the blond's reaction. A stifling heat swirled in currents around the room, causing more than a few of the occupants a substantial amount of discomfort.

To his credit, Naruto, struck dumb, looked back and forth between his friend and God-father, making a firm effort to suppress his utterly shocked and marginally disappointed grimace, both, at the same time. His first thought had been how relived he was to have this way out, but letting it sink in he found himself less enthusiastic about it all the more and more he let the thought fester. He knew it was ungrateful of him to feel like that, but he'd always thought of these people as good, decent men, who'd always do the right thing; Sai not included; and he felt a strange sense of discontent hearing them so willing to throw away the image he held of them just so they could save his trouble-making existence. There was something offensively disorienting about being given this chance and finding it too dangerous to contemplate.

"No." He berated at some point during his internal struggle, fisting his hands, slowing the circulation in them until his knuckles where pale from the strain. He pressed his hands hard into the crossing of this arms and kept his eyes downcast, not mentally capable of keeping eye contact.

"No?" He heard Iruka question and even without seeing him, aware by just the sound of his voice his Godfather's was looking at him with those big chocolate brown eyes in complete distress.

Naruto nodded and brought his bottom lip between his teeth, intent on abusing it until it fixed all his problems. "No." He didn't know what a brick of lead felt like, but he imagined that weight in his chest was a pretty good estimation.

"That's not exactly the answer we were hoping to get from you Naruto..." Itachi frowned and shifted on his knees, an uncomfortable numbness creeping across his skin he falsely attributed to his position on the floor. "Why not?"

"Why?" Naruto snapped, his eyes coming to meet his friend's with barely contained acid. "Because it's illegal." Thinking he could make it make sense to them was impossible to comprehend, but at the very least he could solidify his cause verbally and say he tried to convince them.

Itachi's frown deepened, fingers curling into the material of his pants. "Yes. It's illegal. Very illegal and we're all willing to do this for you."

"Well I don't want you to." Picking himself off the floor Naruto grunted, fingernails digging into the carpet with some resentment, before "I don't want any of you to get in trouble because of me."

Iruka focused on him with a look of pure desperation. "Naruto, please! Be reasonable." He, more than anyone, was going to take this the hardest.

"This is reasonable. I can't let you guys do this." And at a loss Naruto stood in the middle of the office, realizing in a moment that there was only one way out...

"Brat!" Jiryara finally spoke up, for the first time since Naruto had arrived. "This is very dangerous situation for you. Don't throw this opportunity away for no reason." He, who didn't condole this course of action to any degree, looked fiercely down upon Naruto's choice to be so ungrateful. Everyone else watched him for something more, but he was done with his thought so he eased back in his chair that he'd jumped out of in his flare of anger.

"So you're telling me that to save my ass I should let you all commit a federal offense?" Angst and in a tone that projected disbelief Naruto shook his head. "Did you all smoke a bunch of weed before I got here? Because you sound high."

"Show some respect Naruto!" Jiryara chastised, lacking bite this time; but, with nobody having anything to add in response an untimely silence perforated their eardrums for a few moments. Naruto looked at them as if he expected an answer, since he didn't justify Jiryara's shout as one, and they all stared back not able to come up with one.

After, for what seemed like a time much longer than any person could stand waiting, Naruto said something again, headed nodding with a disdainful shrug. "This is stupid." He moved back towards he door, one thought in mind. "I'll deal with this on my own, but thank you for wanting to help."

"Naruto!" Iruka jumped up and stood in front of his godson, watching his still back for when he'd turn to answer him; if he ever did. "What does that mean? You can't do this alone!" He brought his hands together and clasp them above his heart. "You can't."

"No, but you know I can take care of myself. Let me deal with this alone." Naruto'd said, grabbing the door handle, about to leave the office without looking back. Much to a growing frustration Naruto heard someone speak to him again, this time in a voice that would get the speaker in a lot of trouble. Pride and bravado kept him from being the bigger man, letting it go, and leaving.

"You know, I never imagined I'd say this, but for someone who bungee's himself off cliffs you're awfully cowardice." Sasuke, watching the situation progress, unfavorably, in front of him, found his sentence to hold more anger than he'd actually intended. Maybe it was empathy or maybe it was the sudden flare of protectiveness he had felt, but whatever the reason he'd argued with himself that he couldn't have let the blue-eyed man leave without trying he, himself to convince Naruto to stay. And to let them help him "Naruto."

"Would you just butt-out Sasuke?!" Naruto turned and even with the other five people in the room, he only focused on the young attorney, eyes narrowed with resentment. He'd actually really hoped the brunette would not try to stop him; he hadn't wanted to fight with him too. "You don't need to jump on the bandwagon too; I feel guilty enough."

Sasuke was about to retort, but Naruto cut him off, angry that he had to explain himself even more and that this was going to waste more time he didn't have. Plus, he needed to make clear that he wasn't being a coward...

"And I'm not a coward either! I'd like to think it takes more courage to go deal with my own problems than letting mommy and daddy fix it for me." He'd continued, motioning to his left at his God-father, who was still in a lot of emotional pain, and his friends. "I don't need you fighting with me for trying to keep them safe."

Sasuke wrinkled his nose in mild disgust, leaning back. Almost too calmly he said, "Safe? What part of getting into a fist fight with somebody sounds safe to you?"

Naruto held his breathe, surprised. "What the hell-...I'm not- "

Sasuke gave him a verbal smirk. It was a hollow, deep smirk dripping with the type of venom that paralyzed but didn't kill. "Don't insult me." Taking a step Sasuke stood in front of his client with a unmeasurable amount of grace and superiority. "Do you know why they say lawyers are snakes?

"It's because we're good at getting all the information we need to nail a person to the cross. I know a lot about you Naruto.." There was a smugness in his words that broke nerves in the blond no one knew he had.

There was a snort from Kakashi's on the other side of the room at the lawyer joke, but other wise the rest of the group wasn't interrupting at all. They knew that Sasuke could possibly be their last chance to get Naruto to agree to their plan.

"I know you enjoy fighting. You don't think someone will mess with you if you're tough; that you can protect your family physically, with no help from anyone." Watching Naruto for any reactions Sasuke continued his assessment of blond, undeterred by the wide-eyed stare and mouth half open in shock; careful to push at all the right buttons. "And now you want to do something stupid like this? Which will only earn you even more enemies?" He shook his head, 'tch'ing' with a flick of his tongue against the line of his front teeth. "It won't work. If you leave now you'll be charged with murder and then sued for assault." Looking straight at the immobilize man Sasuke swallowed a condescending grin with some forced effort. "Because assuming you find the people who did this I doubt you'll get a confession the way you're planning."

Bringing to conclusion saying everything he'd thought would bother the blond enough to make Naruto rethink leaving Sasuke crossed his arms and stood, composed under the weight of his own words. What he got was less than he'd honestly expected. It was fair to say that he had taken huge liberties, but mainly no one would refute him on the bulk of his statement. Naruto was not quick violence above reason but his fuse was the length of an expired candle to put it bluntly.

"That was a mouthful, but you're right about one thing." Naruto grumbled after a moment. Raising his right hand, fisted and white-knuckled, he brought it hard across Sasuke's cheek, the man's head snapped to the side. Sasuke was sent tumbling back onto the floor from the force. "You're right," he repeated, ignoring the whole room jump of surprise and Iruka rushing over to check over the fallen attorney. "I do enjoy fighting."

"Naruto! What the hell has gotten into you?!" Iruka shouted, helping the man in his arms into a sitting position. "Apologize to Sasuke right now!" And Naruto wouldn't have denied Iruka's request normally, but under the circumstances- i.e. Sasuke really deserving it- he felt a lot better for ignoring the command.

"Hmph. I'm not telling that bastard I'm sorry." Naruto spat, looking worn out, but still managing a pout nonetheless. It was for no other purpose than to relive frustration that Naruto had actually hurt the brunette. He held no malice towards him for his meddling now that he gave himself a moment to think about it. Sasuke was trying to help him...Help his friends and family. His only mistake had been that grin. That damn smug, beautiful quirk of the lips tinted by all the right words at just the wrong time.

From behind Itachi was the next to shout, looking between half outraged and half outraged. He'd rushed to his feet at some point during the exchange. "What do you mean you won't say sorry?! You just hit him! Are you crazy?" He glanced over at his brother to make sure he was okay, but let Iruka deal with the rest. He was too busy being shocked to really know what to do at that point.

"Because he's so damn smug." Clarified the blond, unhelpfully, who turned and looked down at the man who was currently rubbing furiously at his bruised cheek while unsuccessfully fending off Iruka's mothering. "You knew I wasn't going to leave if you said all that? Didn't you, you bastard?" He hissed the question without bite. Sasuke blinked up at him dumbly and he felt his heart melt a little more at the expression. The brunette had one hand on his abused cheek and was letting out small puffing, breaths of pain between spread lips.

He didn't know how to place to the feeling but he felt disruptively close to the man on the floor. He imagined that if he'd met the man years before they'd still be best friends now and for reasons he couldn't fathom it made his stomach lurch horribly; the knowledge that he didn't deserve such a good person for a friend, but as a child he probably held a better chance of keeping him around. Now, he'd bet his life that after it was all over Sasuke would be lost to him. Maybe he was just bitter that Sasuke probably never wanted anything to do with him after this was all over.

There was also something very ironic about the whole situation that Naruto could barely grasp, but if given the chance to evaluate the problem he's venture to guess that he was stuck on a plain of perpetual bad luck and the only way out was to rip a hole through time and space. Funny, considering they were running out of time to come to an agreeable solution and space was going to become a limited resource in his future if he didn't concede quickly to their's.

At the confession the room became silent again from curiosity and everyone turned back on the pair who'd held their attention for the last few minutes. Iruka, as did Itachi, Jiryara and Kakashi took on expressions of leveled relief and confusion. Sai on the other hand stayed in his same position, but pulled a phone from his pocket a bit sullenly; his expression changing from impassive to disdainful at the dispelling conflict. No one noticed him. Not when he began dialing and not when he started speaking softly into the receiver, articulating a few words before closing it with a flick of his wrist and a decisive 'snap'.

Stepping forward Naruto extended a hand out to the man he'd just assaulted, still very much sulking at losing this battle. "God damn...So manipulative."

Sasuke just smiled from his position on the floor, hand cradling his cheek and asked rhetorically. "I must be in the right business then, right?" He seemed content and took the offered hand without reservation. As he was levered back up onto his feet, he realized something humorous. Chuckling, he commented. "This is the second time in two days you've knocked me onto the floor. I hope this doesn't become routine."

Cracking a smile Naruto barked out a short laugh, dropping his hand away from the other's and lifting it to pat him on the shoulder three times in unison with his apology. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry."

"Pfft. Sure, whatever." Sasuke countered sarcastically, shrugging the blond's hand away in pretended offense. Of course it was hard to believe that he was actually mad when he was still splinting his face with a smile that wide. It hurt his cheek to smile, but he manged nonetheless.

"It's just how Naruto is Sasuke. He's always been a little rough." Kakashi intoned moments later, gruff laugh accompanying.

Naruto simply rushed over and slapped a hand over the police captain's mouth, angst."Oh my God!" He knew Kakashi too well to let him talk without proxy. "Sh! Keep whatever horror story about my sex life you're thinking up, too yourself!"

Prying his mouth from under the blond's hand Kakashi grinned. "But don't you remember James...and the Giant Peach?"

Naruto groaned and threw his hands over face. "God. Please shut up!"

"What the hell made you think that would work?" Itachi who seemed to gather that there was no reason to be outraged with Naruto earlier outburst, because no one else was, smiled innocently and helped along in the teasing without reservations.

Naruto wondered why did they always do this to him. He was convinced it was because it gave them a reason to slap their knees and laugh, which was made worse by the fact that it was a constant in his life that he'd bet money on without worry. They both lived to embarrass him- and apparently Sasuke too.

"Itachi!! Not you too!" The blush that dusted Naruto's cheeks left him with a sense of unmanliness; unease at that unmanliness.

"That's so imaginative, Naruto."

"Be quiet!!"

During the exchange Iruka brought Sasuke aside and gave him a hug. A motherly embrace that made the raven smile. "Thank you so much Sasuke." the older man mumbled into his shoulder. Stunned a bit at the friendly token of thanks Sasuke stood still, waiting for what Iruka would do next. When he finally leaned back, eyes trained right into his, the raven was proud to see Iruka seemed a lot more relaxed. His face shone with relief and grateful patience, hands dropping to squeeze his in a continuing gesture of appreciation. "If it weren't for you-"

Iruka raised a hand and held it softly against the young man's cheek, eyes becoming pained. "I'm sorry he hit you." He hissed as if he too had been punched.

Sasuke shrunk away from the touch with an uncomfortable smile and interrupted, tone soft. "It was nothing Iruka." But before he could complete his thought Naruto jumped in between them, seemingly frustrated.

Naruto put his arm on Sasuke's shoulder and leaned on it hard. "Hey! Don't ignore me." He stared Sasuke right in the eye, suddenly serious. "And I mean it. Anything bad happens and I'll punch you ever harder."

"Naruto! Don't say that!" Iruka banished in an exasperated tone. He knew his God-son was brash and very impersonal, but this level of familiarity made him suspicious...if not a little relived. It looked like Naruto had made another friend, but as easy as the task was for the blond why the hell was Naruto so companionable with a man he'd met only a day ago? From just meeting to meaningful, unconditional friendship was...odd. Right? It had to be unconditional if Sasuke wasn't more angry at being socked in the face like he had.

Friends from another life maybe?

"It's fine Iruka." And pulling the scared detective from his silent contemplation Sasuke smirked over at the blond man, smug. He'd twisted a knife, tipped with playful jabs, certain that Naruto's eyes would blaze with competitive fire. "You punch like a girl."

"That's not very insulting. You've obviously never gotten punched by my aunt." Naruto huffed, offhandedly seeming put out that he didn't have more solid evidence to convince Sasuke of his masculinity.

"He's right Sasuke. She's got a left hook that would frighten a brick wall. Not that- you know- a brick

wall would be stupid enough get in her way." Getting up from his seat Kakashi walked over to his boyfriend and grabbed him, two-armed, around the waist, jokingly protecting him from just the thoughts of the brutish strength one woman possessed. "She's a beast." Iruka leaned into the embrace and while he was resting his head on his chest the police captain turned his head to acknowledge Jiryara's amused commentary.

"Ha. Just wait until I tell her. Imagine the brick-wall right now covered in blood." Balancing back in his chair the elder attorney smiled with malicious humor and unforgiving enjoyment.

"I have a family to look after. I can't afford to die Jiryara." Kakashi countered, grinning. He tightened his hold on his boyfriend just in case he needed to make a quick exit- just in case.

Growling Naruto jumped in next to the pair and tried to pry his God-Father away from the perverted enemy. "Hey! Iruka doesn't need you to look after him. He's got me."

Grunting when the warm weight of his lover was ripped from his side Kakashi gave his blond 'nephew' a measured look of confidence. "What's wrong Naruto? Jealous?"

Naruto had always been very bad at sharing Iruka's time, but that was fine because he knew that all Naruto was doing was looking out for the welfare of his boyfriend. He would have found it more irritating really if it wasn't so comical to witness Naruto fail for an answer to his clever comebacks and besides, he was honestly never bothered by much; he'd decided ages ago that Naruto's antics fell into that category too.

"Of- of course not! I just don't like having a pervert like you all over Iruka!" Naruto was pouting again. "Dirty old man."

"My goodness. You two are a handful. Kakashi, stop teasing Naruto, you know he has a temper." Iruka sighed and sent his god-son a patient smile, patting him on the head, much like a child would a dog he didn't know would bite or not, knew how hard he could bite. "And Naruto, please. Be nice. You know very well Kakashi isn't old."

Choking on his impulsive response Kakashi let some annoyance flare in him. "I'm not dirty either!"

Very patronizing, Iruka huffed and crossed his arms. "Well, I never said you were."

"You didn't say I wasn't." The police chief countered.

"That's besides-" But before Iruka could finish his thought there was a clipped knock to the door, powered by authority and importance that boarded on hesitance.

While the rest of the room was stunned towards the sound, shooting inquiring glances around Sai practically leaped from his spot against the wall and skipped to the door. Now for somebody who didn't know what skipping was, it was the joyous, child-like corruption of walking that a little girl did on their way to get some ice cream, holding their mother's hand, humming happily tunes they'd heard watching Cinderella.

With horrified fascination they all watched Sai and his three skips to the door, frowns settling indefinably on all their faces. Skipping. He'd...He'd...It was just impossible.

No way- Right? Sai didn't skip...not Sai. Not Sai!...the Antichrist didn't skip. It must have been a spastic twitch...from being so evil. That had to be it. Evil leg twitch.

Right.

"Come in gentlemen." Sai's voice had taken on a musical note that twinkled with the horrors that would frighten that cute little girl going to get some ice cream into tears and had shivers bleeding down the spines of everyone in the room; even the newest additions.

"Thank you." The one on the left muttered, looking uncomfortable.

Kakashi took one look at the men at the door and barked out indignantly, but without meaning too."Excuse me, but why are you two here?"

The serious looking man to the right quickly recognized his boss and straightened his back "Oh. Captain Hatake, we didn't see you there. Hello sir."

Extremely at ends at seeing two of his subordinates here and apparently under invitation from Sai made his frown deepen into a scowl that translated unfavorably for the rest of the room. "Hello-"

End Flashback


"What?!"

Jolted from his memory Naruto wrote the shout off as a random fight between men in different cells starting. Followed by a crash he jumped at the sound. An abundance of odd, loud thumping noises followed and soon he pressed himself against the wall of his cell, watching what was inconceivably the strangest thing he'd ever seen grown man do...after skipping that is.

Racing down the thin strip of holding cells Genam Shinura peeked into each one, finding it either empty or occupied by a nameless face, before going onto the next. Seven cells down and too his right he found the object of his search. "Naruto!" He screeched, launching himself against the bars in a frantic leap.

"Holy shit! Genma." Naruto sat up and swung his leg over the side of his 'bed' and ran over to the bars, looking a million times better then he had moments ago. "It's good to see you." He smiled, mumbling truthfully.

"Naruto. My poor baby! They have you all locked up in this horrible place. Here, I'll get you out!" And reaching for the key ring in his pocket Genma was quick pulling them out in a flourish of jingles. Each key was decorated with a strangely, childishly themed 'Mon-key'- as the package had so appropriately called them-; each with a different color and a different face to distinguish one from the others. (2) The key that opened the holding cells, which Genma picked out in just a moment after shifting through all the keys at least once, had a gray monkey face on it. With x's for eyes, small marks so as to signify a deathly ill blush and a small pink tongue that peaked from the thin black line of it's mouth it was very befitting connotation to the metaphorical significance of a jail cell.

It was sad though. Before the key could even reach the keyhole both men heard, "Genma, no!" another voice yelling from behind. Raidou came jogging down the hallway but was only visible to Naruto three feet away considering he couldn't push his head through the bars enough to get a better look.

"What do you mean no? We have to get him out." Genam scowled at his lover, tossing him a pointed stare.

Raidou let a fleeting look of sadness to flicker across his eye before his gaze hardened. "That's not your choice to make." Turning to speak to Naruto the scarred detective wavered. "I'm sorry Naurto."

But before he could give his reasons Kakashi came walking down the hall, flanked by Izumo and Kotetsu. "It's okay Raidou." Grin wide with fake confidence he marched up to Naruto's cell with a pat to his friend's shoulder on the way. He wasn't sure if the gesture was for his own benefit or that of Raidou's, but it was comforting whatever the reason.

Reaching out he took the keys from Genma's grasp and unlocked the cell door, swinging it open at arm's length. "C'mon Naruto. Iruka worried sick about you." Handing the key's back to his friend Kakashi took a step back, giving his nephew space to get out before closing the door behind him.

"Why didn't he come down to get me then?" Naruto said stepping out of his cell, looking hurt and like he needed a hug from his mother.

"You know how he is. He hates being down here.." Shrugging, Kakashi headed out the door after locking the cell back up behind Naruto; his colleagues in tow. "And he's also down helping Itachi and Sasuke get your arraignment ready. He doesn't want anything to go wrong. We have to meet him there in a bit."

Taking the offered excuse with a roll of his eyes and his arms crossed over his chest Naruto gulped two heavy breaths and lingered behind the rest of the group as they headed out the room. Unsure of how to respond towards all of this he let his head hang a moment in resentment realizing for the millionth time that it had taken less than a day for his whole life to crumble out from underneath him.

As they walked Naruto contemplated suicide and not because he was suicidal, but because it seemed like the most reasonable way out. Some might have found the thought to be childishly selfish and stupid, but people considered suicide for much less than he was going through right now, so he felt just within his right to be stupid.

There was no real merit in it anyway. Beside caring to much for his family he was profusely scared of death and as such would never kill himself- or anyone else!

Wasn't that just the frosting on his irony cake? Imagine the terrors he'd been subjected to through the years because of his traumatic childhood and now having people with the god damn nerve to accuse him of those same traumatic actions? It's no wonder he wanted to die. What kind of asshole would he be though. He'd be no better than the men who'd stolen his parents from him.

Not looking where he was going Naruto snapped his head up at the sound of his name. "Naruto." He stopped walking reflexively and saw all eyes on him, worried and shifting around restlessly. Somehow the concern didn't register positively in his mind and his stomach dropped, making him feel trapped.

"Are you okay, Naruto?" Izumo held out a hand towards the blonds shoulder but didn't make contact out of respect for the personal space Naruto seemed to need. He dropped his hand after a moment not liking the look he received.

Holding his ground Naruto didn't flinch back, but manage to look like he'd been shocked by the question nonetheless. "Of course I'm not okay! What kind of question is that Izumo?" A growl wormed its way from his throat and he snarled; not mad Izumo for showing that he cared, but because he couldn't find something to care about anymore.

"Jesus, this is so fucked up. I mean; who else in the world has to go through this too?!" Failing his arms in some exaggeration of anger Naruto stomped his way through his friends and down the hall. On his way he slammed doors and kicked the legs of chairs not quick enough to move.

"Naruto! Calm down." Genma rushed to catch up with the raving man, on his way making sure to pick up a few fallen seats and to apologize to some colleagues. When he finally did manage to get into step with Naruto it was quick dash for the exit to keep him from leaving the building. "Woah woah woah, relax."

Naruto jerked back at the grip on his upper arm, trying to rip away with bite. "Relax? Can you imagine my life right now Genma? You fucking relax." Dear lord, why was he doing this?! He didn't want to be this mean to his friends. He just couldn't help it.

It all just bothered him so much.

"Hey, don't take it out on Genma. He's worried about you. We all are." Kakashi came up behind them with a stern frown set on his lips. He nodded to his friends and waved them off; lapping a hand on his nephew's back the police captain pushed him out towards the parking lot, hard shove causing the blue-eyed man to stumble into the heat of the day. "And next time you feel like snapping at someone remember you're not the only person being hurt here."

"Yeah, because if this stupid stunt doesn't work out you'll be the one spending the rest of your life in jail? Hm?" Naruto shrugged the hand from his back disdainfully, glaring holes into the floor.

Forcing his hand steady against the blonds back again Kakashi pushed him towards a black and white standard issue police car that each officer was made to use on the job. "Careful Naruto. If you don't want to spend time in the back of one of these again I'd watch what I say." Giving pause for effect Kakashi held Naruto in place with a hard tug on his shirt before shoving him to the left and the other side of the parking lot to stand by his own silver Cadillac XLR-V, standard issue for bad asses like himself.

Naruto sniffed, offended. "Those hunks of shit aren't so scary that I still wouldn't hot wire one and run you over." Throwing his hands onto the roof of the car he gave a lumbering sigh and let his body sink against the side. "God dammit, why me? I never hurt anybody."

Wind picking up Kakashi pulled his car keys from his pocket and ran his thumb across the pad of buttons on his car lock. "Do I have to remind you that less than two hours ago you bruised your boyfriend's pretty little face?" Smiling with some sort of deranged pleasure of word he giggled and unlocked his car, getting in gracefully.

"Oh shut up. He's not my boyfriend." Picking himself off the his side of the vehicle Naruto grumbled as he dropped a hand to grab the door handle and swung himself into a black leather seat begrudgingly. He slammed the door and didn't show

"Yet," Kakashi grinned, happier than a wolf locked in a chicken farm. God, what could be more fun than egging on a man who was going through the equivalent of the high school pangs of drama? Nothing, that's what. "but I'm sure that if you apologize in the right way, he'll forgive you in no time."

Stomping a foot against the dash board Naruto crossed his arms and sunk low into his seat until his eyes where level to his thigh. "If you weren't listening before I already apologized. And he forgave me."

"One might imagine that he just did that to keep things civil. He was, after all, trying to get you to go along with this."

"Then I shouldn't have to apologize for anything. It's his own fault for being so stupid."

Revving his engine the head of the NYPD gifted his passenger with a disapproving glance. "That's really selfish of you Naruto."

"Well you know what? I don't care." In even worst spirits than he had been in his cell Naruto turned to face the outside, muttering darkly under his breath. "Please, shut up and drive."


"Docket number 07N-0235. People vs. Uzumaki, Naruto." A nameless courtroom clerk walked across hardwood floors with a clipboard in his hand and a bored, quixotically uninterested tone in his voice. So much routine left much to be desired in the justice system, but no one really cared to notice when the clerk finally relinquished a thin folder to busty blond judge with questionable moral and work ethics.

Naruto walked into the courtroom, mind set on being a huge pain in the ass. Seeing Sasuke at the defendant's table looking a bit skittish as he moved around files in his briefcase, waiting for the judge to speak did nothing to ease his troubled thoughts; no matter how cute it looked. And damn did it look cute. He almost felt sorry for the man as he tried very hard to school his features and not glare at his opponent.

Sai, on the other hand, was picture perfect of composed indifference. He stood at his podium and was, too, waiting for the arraignment to get under way. What must have been bothering his own attorney was that Sai seem to radiate the aura of someone who found picking the dirt from her nails a much more important use of her time.

"On the charge of the homicide of Abumi, Zaku how does the defendant plead?" The judges' strong voice and pleasant face calmed the room as Naruto was walked over to stand at his seat next to Sasuke and mumble his plea.

"Not guilty, grandma."

Sasuke's offense registered long after he shouted out indignantly at his client. "Naruto- are you insane?!"

Waving her hand to dispel the issue the judge said. "Calm down counselor. This could very well help your case so try not to let it bother you." Bitchy smile in place Tsunade Sannin III leaned over her inappropriately raised desk and gazed down at the man who could pull off being her son if his eyes weren't so damn blue. "Now, young man. Would you mind saying that again a bit louder so my clerk can hear you."

Grumbling louder this time Naruto articulated with patronizing slowness, turning his head towards the clerk. "I said, 'Not guilty, grandma.'!" Feeling a pinch to the skin right around his wrist he spared regard for his lawyer and stuck out his tongue so as not to cry out.

What kept Sasuke from verbally slapping his client with a lecture on manners and respect was a healthy laugh from the judge's desk.

"Brat, you never cease to surprise me. You have real balls coming in here and showing me that lip." It was if she wanted to come off as scolding the man for his inadvertence, but instead was too much in a good mood to do so.

Naruto, who had known the judge now residing over the decisions made on his case since the death of his parents, saw no reason why just because he was in a court of law he should stop being who he was. It's not like the old lady cared anyway. A distraction was a distraction no matter how disrespectful he was and Tsunade would welcome it from the looks of her workload. "What can I say? I've got lips that just deserve showing off."

Sasuke rubbed his temples with straining forbearance. He whispered loudly to his side. "Would it kill you to be quiet? Please?"

"You know, I'm not really willing to risk it." Was the cheeky, but still somewhat dejected response.

"Mrs. Sannin." A stern voice perked up, sounding flustered at the situation. "I think we should get back on track; we're running behind scheduled today." A small woman to the right of the judge with short black hair and a pretty face clutched a stack of papers to her chest and glared up at her boss. As if she's said this a million times before she clicked her tongue in a way that seemed to get a reaction out of the judge.

"Alright alright Shizune. Gimme a break. I haven't seen the kid in weeks." Letting out a overworked sigh the older woman pouted.

"Now isn't the time to catch up on stuff like this ma'am. He's here on a charge of homicide if you'll remember."

"I remember Shizune, but I have every confidence in the NYPD to figure this problem out."

Coughing audibly Sai shifted his weight towards the judge's desk in reproach. "Excuse me your honor. There's no problem here. The defendant was spotted at the scene of the crime and the defendant himself confirmed that the weapon used to kill the victim was his own personalized knife."

Tsunade snapped her head up to glare at the man who had the nerve to open his trap. Without really acknowledging the previous statement she flicked her wrist with disdain towards the prosecution. "Are you trying to argue your case before we even get to trial counselor?" She asked rhetorically. "I'll hear you on bail Mr. Baikan."

Sai ignored the smug glances of self righteous belligerence from all corners of the courtroom. "The people request that the defendant be remanded without bail."

"Objection your honor. The defendant is not a flight risk. His guardians are respected officers of the law." Sasuke, finally given a chance to strut his stuff stood before the court proud and over confident at the apparent favor from the judge.

"I agree Mr. Uchiha-"

"Your honor, given the nature of the crime I don't think that's a suitable decision. He's a danger to the community. And since guardians have such high standing in the city it would be easy for them to send the defendant away." At the end of his rope Sai was grasping at straws trying to find a way to save face under the circumstances. It made it hard to win a case when the judge was notorious for helping the underdog. There was no way to get her off the bench either given her own status in the legal system.

What made this situation almost comically and ethically wrong was that Tsunade was his bosses' wife and just as protective of the defendant as her husband.

"I hope you're not suggesting that any officer of law would do something as stupid as help a murder escape fair prosecution, Mr. Baikan?" She grinned with a knowing smile and Sai had to visibly restrain himself from cursing at the old hag. Before he could response she 'hmm'd' a little in thought pausing him. He knew that she knew about her husband's plan to cheat the justice system and Sai was having a very hard time stomaching the obvious conspiracy unfolding under his feet.

"Fine counselor. You seem passionate about this so we'll settle half way." Grabbing her gavel from its silent, watchful reprieve and landing it smartly against her desk she barked out. "I remand the defendant to the custody of his attorney.

Sasuke and Naruto, who had been watching with smiles on their faces, silently enjoying the inner struggle their mutual enemy was fighting both straightened and frowned at the judge. Naruto not so much because he still stuck in his own little self-pitying world, but just enough to get his point across.

"Excuse me, what?' The raven attorney stumbled on his words, looking for an explanation. "Your honor I don't think that's the proper solution to this problem..."

"Oh no? Think about it counselor. His guardians are busy men. I know for a fact that they'll be conducting most of the investigations on this case. It seems a little unorthodox to force the police to cart around the defendant to places where he'd more than likely be able to influence evidence and testimony." The judge reasoned intelligently.

"Yes, but..." Sasuke wanted to say that Naruto was just as capable of all that if he was forced into his custody, but even he knew that wasn't true. Once he had the evidence and testimonies they would remain unchanged from that point on.

"But nothing Mr. Uchiha. Unless you can convince me in the next five second to reconsider I really need to send you all on your way. I'm very busy, as my assistance is kind enough to remind me." Tsunade picked a pen from a small tin underneath her desk and started to scribble what they all imagined was her name across the file.

Finally speaking his part Naruto waved himself from the defendant's table and started for the door. "Pfft. Whatever."

Resigned to his fate Sasuke waited until the file was tucked away to the judges assistant before nodding towards the judge and gathering his things together to rush out of the courtroom as fast as he could. 'Itachi is going to pay for this.' he grumbled in his head.

He was positive that his brother's "dentist appointment" was just a huge lie but he hadn't had time before the arraignment to find out the real reason the older man had skipped out on helping him through his first time speaking in court. He reevaluated his performance and deemed it suitable for his first time, but from now on he promised he wouldn't let himself become rattled like he had at the judgment passed.

He met Naruto outside the door and from the looks of it the blond was having a extremely frustrating time trying to light the end of a death stick. His heart went out to his client.

Sasuke walked up to the man and called out, aiming for his attention. "Naruto?" He pulled the lighter away from shaken hands and in one controlled flick had the flame pressed to the end of the cigarette until a small puff of smoke indicated it was lit. "Naruto, you okay?"

"I'm fine Sasuke. You?"

Sighing the raven motioned for them to start walking out. "Fine. Just surprised we'd gotten her as the judge."

"Yeah, but what do you expected from Itachi and Jiryara?" Taking in a hard inhale of cancer Naruto pulled the cigarette from his lips and blew out second-hand smoke into the air in careless puffs. Obviously more relaxed he took a glance at his friend. "Probably planned the whole thing."

Wrinkling his nose at the smell from the cigarette Sasuke tried to stay on topic. "She's your aunt though, right? That's really lucky."

Naruto took another drag of his cigarette and shrugged a shoulder. "Not really. I feel like an even bigger monster for letting you guys do this." Honestly, trying to get out of his situation by breaking the law seemed to him far to ironic to make sense, but as he no longer tried to make sense of it all, so it was fitting.

"Don't worry, dobe. Once we get this over with we can focus on getting the actual people who did this."

Sasuke's optimistic utterance lifted the blond's spirits enough to smile sadly. "Sure."

And as they walked together out the door, a pair of eyes followed them with hate swimming in each onyx iris.


(1) He should just ask Sasuke to do it for him...Again. XD Get it? No? Go read the fucking manga!! Or watch the show.

(2) I bought these for my basketball coach. His key-ring was a damn mess so he loved them. :3...I also got his a Rubix cube, because I just wanna drive him insane. XD

Plushie StickyNote: I know! I KNOW! Just...Please. If you can help it, could you possibly do me the favor of leaving the words "Finally" or "About fucking time" out of the reviews I hope you'll be sending me? Thank you.

Quote: When did I find out I was God? Well, I was praying one night and I suddenly realized I was talking to myself.

©2008 Ruby Plushie