"Itachi! Are you there? We want to talk to you!"

Itachi sighed, standing up from the porch. "Coming!" he called into the house. Sasuke glanced up at his brother with worried eyes. What was going on? The younger Uchiha decided to tag along and find out. His followed his big brother through the house, all the way from the back to the front door. He hung back a bit, though; he wasn't sure if Itachi would allow him to stay if he knew what was there. Itachi answered the door, and Sasuke stayed back in the kitchen. He was close enough to see and hear what was going on, but far enough away that no one would see him if he chose not to be seen. Sasuke could see three clan members in the open doorway; all of them, he recognized, were from the police force. And they didn't look happy with Itachi.

"Only two people missed the meeting yesterday night," Inabi began. "Where were you?"

So Itachi didn't go! Sasuke realized. But why?

Itachi seemed unfazed. "I was on a mission," he replied vaguely. "Why do you ask?"

"Shisui also missed the meeting," Tekka said smoothly. "He committed suicide last night by throwing himself into the Nakano River. We know that you two were like brothers."

Itachi's eyes slowly closed, and then opened again, but only halfway. To Sasuke, it almost looked as if his brother was bored with the situation. "That's unfortunate," Itachi said, deadpan toned and still looking bored. "But I haven't seen him in a while."

"He left a suicide note," Yashiro said, pulling a small piece of paper out of his belt. "It's all on this paper. A handwriting analysis was conducted; there's no doubt he wrote it."

"If there's no indication of murder," Itachi said coldly, "Why are you investigating this?" The teen accepted the paper, opening it and reading it.

"For a Sharingan user, copying handwriting is easy."

Sasuke felt his heart skip a beat. It almost sounded as if they were accusing Itachi of killing Shisui! He remained where he was, though: interfering probably wasn't in his best interests right now. Itachi appeared not to b taking any of this seriously, and the three policemen looked simply furious. Sasuke reverted his attentions to the doorway: it seemed things were getting rough. He had just felt a rise in chakra four times-one for each member of the conflict in the doorway.

"Why don't you just say it?" Itachi was snarling, fingers tightening like a vice over the copy of Shisui's suicide note. "You think I did this?"

"As a matter of fact," Tekka growled, "we do. You child!"

"Itachi, if you try to betray the clan," Yashiro snarled, "You won't get away with it!"

Itachi had moved in a second; he was all over the three men in the doorway, felling them with punches, kicks, and other harsh blows. Within the same breath, Itachi had dropped all three policemen to the ground.

"Don't judge people based on your preconceptions," Itachi said menacingly. "You overestimate yourselves, and have no idea the depth of my power. Which is exactly why you're crawling in the dirt right now."

Sasuke shrank back, almost shaking with fear now. I've never seen Itachi nii-san like this before, he thought, hiding behind the wall. What's wrong with him?!

"You obsess over worthless things like the clan," Itachi continued, "while neglecting important things: premonition and imagination. There is no room for change if rules and regulations and expectations don't allow it. These things should be done away with; they restrain us."

"Itachi, stop!"

Sasuke breathed a sigh of relief. His father was here! He would stop Itachi's madness!

"Itachi, what is wrong with you?" Fugaku said, glaring at his son. "Ever since you've joined ANBU, you've been acting rather strangely."

Itachi paused. "I'm carrying out my duty," he finally said, still being vague. "There's nothing strange about that."

"Then why didn't you come last night?" Fugaku pressed.

Itachi moved like lightning again; before Fugaku had even finished the last of his words, a kunai was already in Itachi's hands. Fugaku looked stunned, as if he expected an attack. But Itachi surprised them again, sending the kunai deep into the Uchiha crest painted on the wall. "My ability's been repressed by this pathetic clan," he growled. Itachi's head was low, and his bangs hung over his eyes, but the malice and hatred was still clearly evident there. "Let go of this lesser annoyance; no change can ever be made!"

"Such insolence!" Fugaku exclaimed. He helped Yashiro to his feet; Tekka and Inabi were already at Fugaku's side.

"Enough!" Yashiro proclaimed. "If you keep spouting such arrogant words, we'll arrest you!"

Sasuke whimpered with fear, drawing back even further behind the wall. Still, he couldn't tear his eyes away from the situation unfolding before him. It was as if Itachi was holding him in a genjutsu, forcing him to witness this side of his brother-this…this animal that was living inside of Itachi, that had finally come out. Itachi's words came back to Sasuke: This is what happens when you're the best. Power makes you arrogant…makes you isolated.

"Well, what are you going to do?" Tekka pressed. Itachi, silent after Fugaku scolded him, still remained so. "We aren't going to allow this anymore!" the man continued. "Captain, please issue the order for an arrest!"

"Nii-san! Stop it!!"

Sasuke could hardly believe he had been the one to speak. In fact, he hadn't even spoken: he had screamed. Itachi did a double-take at the sound of his brother's voice. He froze, waiting for someone-anyone-to make a move. When no one did, he suddenly relaxed his posture, and gave everyone else the last shock.

He fell to his knees, prostrate before his father and the policemen in a deep bow.

"The one who killed Shisui was no me," he said softly. "But I apologize for…my inappropriate remarks. Please, forgive me."

Fugaku slowly exhaled, closing his eyes in thought. He was aware that everyone was suddenly looking to him; he was clearly in charge of the situation. "He's an ANBU," he finally said. "even we can't arrest him without a warrant. I'll be in charge of watching over Itachi."

"Captain-!" Yashiro began to protest. Fugaku cut him off with a scathing glare, and the man slowly backed down. "I understand," he muttered. Fugaku nodded once, and the stepped away from the group.

"Itachi, inside," he said shortly. As he neared the doorway, Sasuke stepped back a bit to allow his father to pass, but did not back away completely. Fugaku seemed to ignore him; Itachi seemed to be his prime concern. But as Itachi slowly began to sit up, Sasuke caught his murderous glare-and Itachi's eyes changed.

From a normal, three-tomoe Sharingan, they blurred into three marks that looks like bent triangles around a hollow red center. Sasuke did a double-take at the look in his brother's eyes: so red they looked as if they were bleeding, dark as night, red as blood, deadly as sin-

Itachi stood up, and his eyes faded to a normal black.

Sasuke found himself suddenly terrified of his brother, and began backing away as Itachi entered the house. He tried to keep his eyes on his brother, searching for any sign that he would attack. But Sasuke kept backing up, fear evident in his every feature. He thought he was at the door, and took one step back-

He hit the wall.

Sasuke yelped with surprise and pain as he fell to the floor, landing on his rear and smacking his head on the wall. Itachi's head snapped to face him, surprise written into his handsome features. But his look softened to pity as he saw what had happened, and walked over to Sasuke, with the aim of comforting his baby brother. Itachi reached out, taking Sasuke into his arms and kneeling down in front of him. He pulled Sasuke into his lap, wrapping one arm around Sasuke's shaking shoulders and using his other hand to hold Sasuke's rump, supporting his weight as he stood up again and began carrying his brother into another room. "I'm sorry I scared you," Itachi whispered, holding Sasuke to his shoulder. Sasuke wrapped his arms around Itachi's neck, clutching at his older brother and willing him never to leave him. "Calm down," Itachi continued, walking into the living room with Sasuke. His father was there already, standing in the middle of the room with his arms folded, looking absolutely furious.

"Put him down."

There was venom in Fugaku's voice as he spoke, and Itachi wisely decided not to push him much farther. He wordlessly set Sasuke down on the ground, only to have the child cling to his leg. As soon as Itachi straightened again, though, Fugaku raised a fist and struck him-hard. Itachi fell to the floor, catching himself with his arms and trying to raise himself up enough to pose a challenge to his father if a fight was started. Sasuke whimpered and crawled on top of Itachi, still clinging to his brother like a burr. "Nii-san," Sasuke whispered, suddenly afraid for his brother. Had his father hurt him? Itachi raised a hand, wiping the blood off his face from a split lip. Both of Sasuke's small hands fisted themselves in Itachi's shirt, and the elder Uchiha put an arm around Sasuke's small body to hold him close as he stood up again.

"Don't scare him," Itachi said monotonously, putting his other arm around Sasuke as well. Sasuke buried his face in Itachi's shoulder, trying to keep as close to Itachi as possible-so Fugaku wouldn't hit Itachi again.

"He saw you earlier," Fugaku snapped. "If that's not enough to scare him, a little slap is nothing."

"It knocked me flat," Itachi said, still speaking flatly and in the same deadpan tone he used when bored. "It'll scare him, even if I did let you do that."

Fugaku's eyes narrowed, but he continued. "Itachi, I'm going to speak very frankly with you. That little display was appalling. I can't even begin to imagine how I'm going to punish you for that. Or better yet, how to approach that! I have no idea what possessed you-I don't even think you did! Your poor brother over there-he was scared of you so badly, I don't even know what you did to him to make him hang onto you like that."

Itachi shrugged the shoulder that Sasuke wasn't attached to. "Ask him yourself," he said shortly. "He came to me of his own free will; obviously, he can't be that scared of me. He probably just wants his brother back."

Fugaku glared at Itachi. "Look," he snarled, "you're under a lot of stress from ANBU. I can understand that. But what I can't understand is why you would pull this stunt instead of doing the mature thing! You acted childishly!"

Itachi's eyes narrowed, and his grip on Sasuke tightened. "I will not stand here and be insulted," he growled. "If you want to speak with me, do so in a way that recognizes me as your child, not your tool. I understand that I am in a position that also requires me to be a coworker to you as well as your son. But you may not forget that I am your son first and foremost!"

"Itachi, what you did endangered the lives of three police officers! That comes first!"

"It'll come first when you-"

"Nii-san! Enough! Stop! Listen to Father!"

"Sasuke, hush," Itachi whispered. "You're too young to understand this-"

"No I'm not!" Sasuke protested. "I don't want you to fight! I want you two to just…communicate with each other. I…I want my aniki back…"

Itachi sighed, gently running his hand over the side of Sasuke's head. "It's okay," he whispered, trying to calm Sasuke down. "I'm not going anywhere…I'll always be here for you. Didn't I promise you that? Don't worry about it…Father and I just need to sit down and talk to each other, to work this all out. But for now, Sasuke, just calm down…come on, you want something to eat?"

Sasuke nodded slowly, clinging to Itachi and trying to fight down tears. Itachi turned and left the room without another word, carrying Sasuke back into the kitchen. He set his brother down at the table, then walked over to the pantry and got him a cookie. Itachi was just walking back over to Sasuke when someone else knocked on the door. Itachi sighed and shook his head. "I'll be right back," he assured Sasuke, handing him the cookie. "Just sit tight, okay?"

Sasuke nodded, and began nibbling on the cookie. Itachi left the room, walking down the hallway and opening the door.

The three policemen from earlier stood there, one of them holding a piece of paper.

"We got the warrant. Uchiha Itachi, you are under arrest on the charges of treason, three counts of assault against officers, and obstruction of justice. You're coming with us, and then we'll see what Hokage-sama has to say about you!"

Itachi felt his temper boil over, and his chakra spiked. A kunai moved down his arm from his sleeve, into his hand, and his Sharingan sprang to life.

"Just try it," he challenged, lowering his body into a battle-ready crouch. "I dare you!"

A/N: Yay. Itachi cares. And he gets arrested. Reviews, please. Constructive criticism, if you will. All flames will be reported and then fed to my pet fire demon.