Age Of Consent

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"Sasuke Uchiha, did you just whore me out to your crazy older brother?" …In which Sakura, Sasuke, and Naruto learn the hard way that stealing Christmas trees off the side of the Interstate is definitely not the way to go. With help from Law Enforcement agents Itachi and Shisui Uchiha, of course. Modern-day ItaSaku AU with a heavy dose of Team Seven friendship.

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Part one of two.

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The second the giant purple rock almost crashes through Sakura Haruno's bedroom window is the very same second that Sakura realizes that this is probably going to be a hell of a crazy night.

Right after Sakura drags herself off the floor (since she had fallen off her bed with shock, of course), and stops swearing, in that order, she dashes over to her second-story window, flings it open, and looks down at the dark borderline between her house and the next door neighbors'. "Naruto!" she hisses vehemently; who else would throw a giant purple doorstop rock at her window and purposely miss?

Only her best friend, that's for sure, and he emerges from the shadow of one of the topiaries in all of his gloriously blinding orange-parka glory, and waves at her cheerfully. "Hey, Sakura! Want to go out tonight?"

"Not with you," she teases, purposely misunderstanding his words, and tempering hers with an affectionate rolling of eyes.

Naruto hops from foot to foot to keep warm. "Not like that! I meant, do you want to go Christmas tree shopping with the bastard and I?"

As if summoned by his nickname alone, Sasuke Uchiha slinks out of the shadows, before nodding regally up at the other third of their trio. "Sakura, you had better come. I am not going Christmas tree shopping with the dumbass by myself."

Sakura hangs further out of her window, staring down at both of them. "Is there any reason why you two are going out now? It's dark and even more freezing than usual…"

Naruto makes a face at her, before digging around in the many pockets of his orange parka, until he emerges with what looks like a thick wad of dollar bills. "Because Dad gave Sasuke and I major, major cash – you know, to make up for the fact that he left buying a tree so freakin' late this year – and he said that whatever we didn't spend on the tree would be mine to use for whatever I want! Besides, the three of us haven't hung out in like, forever!"

"It's been a day, Naruto," Sakura points out dryly.

"Sakura, stop being annoying and just come with, all right?" Sasuke drawls, sticking his hands in his pockets and trying to look like he isn't freezing his ass off, because as a rule, Uchiha are too cool for mundane things like freezing their asses off.

"It'll be fun!" Naruto wheedles, giving her his most winning pout.

Sakura sighs, before waving at them. "Fine! I'll ask my mom, okay? Just hold on for a few minutes. And…" she hesitates, turning back to the window. "How cold is it, in jacket terms? White, pink, or violet?"

"Violet," Sasuke and Naruto chorus dryly.

Giving them one last smile, Sakura slams her window shut, grabs her thickest violet coat off the bed, and rushes downstairs, pulling it on over her black cashmere sweater on the way down. "Mom?" she yells, looking around the lower half of the expansive house. "Where are you? Can I go Christmas tree shopping with Sasuke and Naruto?"

After a few moments, Sayuri Haruno emerges from the kitchen, her phone cradled in the crook of her neck. In response to Sakura's unasked question, Sayuri places her hand over the mouthpiece. "Your aunt Tsunade," she whispers. "Who's driving?"

Sakura pales slightly as she realizes that she actually doesn't know. "Um, Sasuke?" she replies, hastily crossing her fingers behind her back – her mother loves Naruto like a son, but lost all faith in his driving skills after the first time Naruto very narrowly avoided wrapping his pickup around the Haruno mailbox.

Luckily, it is the right answer; Sayuri smiles and hugs her daughter around the waist. "Have fun, then, and don't be out too late!"

"Okay, and tell Aunt Tsunade that I say hi!" With that, Sakura buttons her coat and rushes out the door; the cold air is a slap against her face, and she coughs a few times, before accidentally running headlong into Naruto, who has just emerged from around the corner of her house.

The blonde boy grins, tossing his battered fox keychain from hand to hand and grabbing her wrist, before tugging her over toward the street…and a certain dreadfully familiar hideous orange pickup truck. "Aww, Sakura, this is going to be so awesome!"

Sakura tries to bury her fur-lined boots into the ground upon sighting Naruto's preferred mode of transportation. "Naruto! I told my mom that Sasuke would be driving!"

Sasuke snorts as he emerges silently from the boundary line between Naruto and Sakura's house. "I wish, but even I have to admit that Naruto's…sorry and pathetic excuse for a vehicle…would be better to transport a Christmas tree than a Jaguar would."

"Relax, you two," Naruto orders, before climbing into the driver's seat. He flings the passenger door open and pulls Sakura in, before Sasuke climbs in as well.

"This isn't legal," Sasuke observes, as he slams the door shut. "One of us should be in the cab—"

"You've said that every single time of the hundreds of times we've ridden like this," Sakura points out wryly. "And yet, neither of us ever go back to the cab, do we?"

Sasuke sneers, albeit in a somewhat affectionate manner.

Naruto's pickup fires into life with a loud roar, and he grins, before slamming his foot onto the accelerator. "Let's get this show on the road, you two."

Sakura turns slightly green as they speed off the street, nearly fishtailing on a turn. "You watched Tokyo Drift today, didn't you, Naruto? I can tell."

"Slow down," Sasuke orders. "You're fifteen over the speed limit."

Naruto makes a face, but slows down slightly. "I did watch Tokyo Drift, actually, while I was babysitting Konohamaru. And, Sakura, did you know that it really sucks driving with the kid of the police chief?"

Sakura elbows Sasuke mischievously. "Really, because I've never noticed—"

"Ugh, shut up," Sasuke glowers. "It's sort of the family business, after all, and it's just ingrained into my psyche by this point; there's nothing I can do about it. I'm probably even going to start at the Police Academy next summer, after graduation and I turn eighteen…just like Itachi and Shisui did."

"What a fun part-time job," Naruto replies sarcastically. "Dealing with our freshman year at college, while you perform the noble duty of upholding the law? That sounds intense."

"Well, it's not like it's on a permanent basis, right?" Sakura tries to cheer him up. "Aren't Itachi and Shisui only doing it until they finish their graduate degrees?"

"Something like that," Sasuke nods. A thoughtful expression flickers over his face. "I guess I might enjoy it, though – the two of them have really taken to it. Although Itachi probably just enjoys having an excuse to torment people and take away their freedom."

"It does seem to be the kind of thing he'd like," Naruto acknowledges, as he switches the radio on. "Heh, Sasuke, do you remember when we were just little freshmen, and every time Itachi ran into us in the hallway, he'd grab you by the hair and slam your face into the nearest locker?"

Sasuke winces visibly at the memory, his hand going up to rub his cheek ruefully. "Thank god he was a senior by then; I don't think I could have survived sophomore year with that kind of humiliation and agony as well…besides, I think that he introduced my face to every locker in the whole damn school in the year that we went to it together."

"Itachi wasn't all that bad," Sakura defends halfheartedly. "He was probably the reason I passed Honors Geometry, remember?"

"And you would always complain about the fact that he tormented you just as much as he tutored you," Sasuke reminds her mercilessly.

Sakura frowns. "Okay, fine, you've got a point…" She trails off, looking out the window, at the distant spectacles of Christmas lights, and her frown only becomes more pronounced. "Naruto, what are you doing? You know that you're heading away from town, right?"

His attention diverted from the evils of his older brother, Sasuke glances out the window as well. "Dumbass, why the hell are you getting on the interstate?"

Naruto laughs a little nervously. "You know how I told you guys that we were going shopping for Christmas trees, right?"

"Right," Sakura and Sasuke grit out menacingly.

"Well, I wasn't lying!" Naruto chirps. "We are going shopping! Except not from some crappy Christmas tree factory in town…from the wonderful and beautiful store of pure, untouched nature!"

A few heartbeats of silence greet this extraordinary proposition.

Regardless of the fact that Naruto is the driver and a basic safety rule is to never attack the driver, Sakura punches him in the arm, hard. "Naruto Uzumaki! Did you just imply that we're going to chop down a pine tree off the Interstate?"

"I didn't imply it, Sakura," Naruto replies, scratching his head sheepishly. "I basically told you that we're going to chop down a pine tree off the Interstate."

"Dumbass, do you even know how illegal that is?" Sasuke growls, before reaching over Sakura's head and smacking Naruto in the arm.

Naruto makes a wounded face. "Why is it illegal? How is it illegal? We live in freaking Forks, Sasuke! There are about a million more pine trees here than there are people! They don't call it the City Hidden In The Leaves for nothing, stupid!"

"It's intentional and wanton defacement and theft of state property," Sasuke retorts tensely. "Even if it is a stupid law, it's still a law."

"Look, Naruto," Sakura pleads. "Just turn around and we'll go to a crappy Christmas tree factory in town just like every other normal person…it doesn't matter that it'll be overpriced and not too pretty! It beats breaking the law four days before Christmas!"

Naruto grins at her wolfishly. "Come on, Sakura, Sasuke – don't you two want to have fun? Not only is my plan economically sound, but it isn't harming the environment at all because we have such an excess of pine trees, and besides, it provides a valuable holiday-time bonding experience!"

Sakura rolls her eyes. "Naruto, you, Sasuke, and I have been best friends for – oh, how long has it been, now? We met in sixth grade and now we're seniors in freaking high school! The past six years have been nothing but bonding time!" She glares at him suspiciously. "Have you been hitting the alcoholic eggnog again?"

Naruto just laughs innocently. "Alcoholic eggnog? Me?"

Sasuke's dark eyes narrow into thin slits. "Damn it, Naruto, if you're driving under the influence of copious amounts of alcoholic eggnog, you do know that Forks law can have you arrested, right?"

Naruto just continues laughing innocently.

Sasuke and Sakura exchange panic-stricken looks.

"Sakura, check the little compartment under his seat!" Sasuke orders. "Now!"

"Sakura, no, don't!" Naruto yelps, swerving the car dangerously.

"Naruto Uzumaki, you better keep this car on the road or else I will kick your sorry ass from here to freaking New Jersey, do you hear me?" Sakura growls menacingly, before sliding down in her seat and awkwardly groping around for the compartment in question.

After about a minute of Sakura's struggling, Sasuke jumps when he hears her muffled shriek. Glaring at Naruto, Sasuke grabs her by the back of the jacket and lifts her back onto the seat. "Sakura?"

Sakura brandishes the more-than-half empty bottle of eggnog at him. "Naruto! I cannot believe you!"

"Well…" Naruto tries his best to see if his winning grin can help him out of the situation. "I didn't know it had rum and cognac mixed into it until I was almost done!"

"Fuck," Sasuke groans, completely unaffected by the winning grin. "That's it, Uzumaki. Pull over."

"What?" Naruto protests, his eyes widening. "But Kiba said the best selection of trees is a few miles down the road…"

Sakura grabs his arm and pinches hard. "Pull over now, before we run into a State Patrol and you get arrested!"

"Fine, fine…" Grumbling all the way, Naruto pulls off the road and turns off the truck.

"I can't believe you," Sakura sighs, leaning back against her seat. "This had the potential to be worse than when you and Kiba spiked the punch at last year's Christmas party."

Naruto hugs her arm. "But you love me anyway, don't you, Sakura?"

"…Fine. I do. I admit it. Now get off, Naruto, you're going to make my favorite jacket smell like eggnog!"

Sasuke wrinkles his nose. "This whole infernal death trap that he calls a truck is starting to smell like eggnog. Let's go outside."

With that, the three seventeen-year-olds tumble out into the elements. It is cold in the kind of infuriating way where it's more than freezing enough for snow, but for some reason, it isn't snowing, which just makes everything worse.

"Ugh," Sakura shivers, despite the jacket, as she kicks an exposed tree root balefully. "How long are we going to be hanging out on the side of the interstate like…like hobos?"

"Hey, hey, don't diss the hobos, Sakura," Naruto frowns playfully.

Sasuke, however, gives the subject some thought. "I would probably say an hour – that should give the dumbass here enough time to pass a breathalyzer test if he had to take one."

"What are we going to do for an hour?" Sakura asks rhetorically. "I mean, there's no snow, so we can't even have an epic snowball fight like we did last winter…"

Naruto, however, has other ideas; he wanders through the forest that borders the interstate, looking at the hundreds of pine trees with a disturbingly appraising expression on his face. "There," he pronounces at last, before slapping one tree on the trunk of a nearby pine. "Forget what Kiba said about all the good ones being three miles down the road – this is the one."

Sakura glances at the tree, and is surprised to find that she actually agrees with him. "It's beautiful. And it's the perfect size, too. Not too big like the others around here, but not too small."

"Sakura, you sound contemplative," Sasuke points out darkly. "Don't tell me you're even thinking about going along with the dumbass's stupid plan."

"Sasuke, in town, a tree less than half as good as this one would cost a good hundred and fifty dollars, at the very least," Sakura is forced to defend. "And, I mean…isn't this what the tree harvesters do, anyway? Except multiplied on a scale tens of millions of times higher than this one."

Naruto punches the air triumphantly, throwing an arm around Sakura's shoulder and grinning at Sasuke. "Yeah, that's right – outnumbered, so come to the dark side, bastard! After all, we have cookies…and better Christmas trees than you do."

"This is base criminal activity," Sasuke tries to scowl, but his mouth twitches in a way that suggests a smile. "Besides, how would you cut it down? Go at it with your teeth?"

Naruto crows with triumph, before fairly dancing over to the bed of his pickup and fumbling with a large tarp that covers the contents in the back of the truck. Sasuke and Sakura watch in trepidation, until Naruto finally extricates himself from the tarp…toting a large, rusty saw along with him.

"Oh, god!" Sakura backs up, actually colliding with the tree. "Naruto, why do you have that?"

"Driving while under the influence, carrying a lethal weapon…" Sasuke shakes his head in despair. "My best friend is practically a certified criminal. Father would be so ashamed."

"Oh, calm down, I'm not going to get all Texas Chainsaw Massacre on you," Naruto grins, leaning on the saw casually. "But this is the answer to your question, Sasuke-bastard. We have the tree. We have a saw. We have an hour to kill. It's basically the recipe for one kickass night…if you're in."

What the hell, a voice that sounds remarkably like her other best friend in the world, Ino, speaks up, in the private recesses of her mind. You only live once, Sakura.

So, it may be stupid, but Sakura steps over to stand at Naruto's side decisively, tossing her long pink hair over her shoulder. "I'm in."

Sasuke gapes. "…This is ridiculous. This is illegal."

"You know what I think, Sasuke?" Naruto asks mischievously, in a tone that most certainly does not bode well for anybody involved.

"You, think? Perish the thought," Sasuke retorts sardonically.

"I think you're chicken."

Upon this sudden throwback to their middle school days, Sakura actually has to restrain herself from hitting her own forehead with frustration. Could they get any more immature?

Sasuke's eyes narrow, much as they used to six years ago, when faced with this sort of challenge. "…Pardon?"

"You heard me," accuses Naruto. "Chicken."

"Don't say that, Uzumaki," Sasuke grits out dangerously.

"I won't," Naruto lightly tosses the saw over to him, and Sasuke catches it easily. "…If you prove that you're not. By helping Sakura and I with the tree."

For a few long moments, Naruto and Sasuke engage in one of their epic glaring matches, while Sakura just leans against Naruto's truck and makes a point of sighing loudly.

"Fine!" Sasuke snaps, hefting the saw, and striding over to Naruto's selected tree. "Let's do this."

"Heh, we're going to break the law," Naruto grins, as he and Sakura run to catch up to Sasuke. "This is definitely the best start to what's going to be the best Christmas ever."

Sakura smirks back at him, caught up in the moment. "Of course."

-

One Hour Later

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"One, two, three!"

On the count of three, Sasuke, Naruto, and Sakura all reach up and push, and with that, the chopped pine tree falls firmly into the back of Naruto's truck.

"Success!" Naruto yells, before promptly hugging Sasuke and Sakura close to him. All three of them are laughing loudly enough to be intoxicated, and they all have pine needles absolutely everywhere and splinters all over their arms and hands, but strangely enough, Sakura observes, it's completely worth it.

Even Sasuke runs his fingers through his dark hair, his normally impassive eyes glittering with adrenaline. "Come here, dumbass," – and with that, he drags Naruto closer, smells his breath, and inclines his head a fraction of an inch. "You're good now. It just smells like you've been rolling around in pine needles all day."

"Well, then, let's go," Sakura smiles, running her fingers through her hair as a copious amount of pine needles fall out. "Now that we're finished with the tree, I can actually feel the cold."

Still laughing, the three of them slip into the truck, start it up, and get back on the interstate, heading for home. Sakura sticks their joint favorite band's latest CD into the player, further emphasizing the mood of frolic and triumph that has settled over the usually-warring trio of best friends.

"Admit it, bastard," Naruto says, for the fifth time. "It was fun. You had fun while intentionally…eh, what was it, Sakura?"

"Intentionally and wantonly defacing and stealing state property," Sakura supplies wickedly.

"Yes! That! You had fun intentionally and wantonly defacing and stealing state property, didn't you, Sasuke-bastard?" Naruto crows gleefully.

"I plead the Fifth," Sasuke says, with a completely straight face.

They spend the next ten minutes arguing, before Sakura yells at them to shut up, and elbows Sasuke in the ribs and punches Naruto in the arm, before turning up the music and telling them to channel their aggression in trying to out-sing the other.

…And that is how Naruto Uzumaki, Sasuke Uchiha, and Sakura Haruno end up totally speeding on the interstate, while singing along to Taking Back Sunday at the top of their lungs, with a defaced and stolen piece of state property in plain sight on the back of Naruto's truck.

(In hindsight, all three of them will agree that it had been nothing less than a complete, utter, and total recipe for disaster.)

The three of them are in the midst of the chorus to MakeDamnSure, their shared favorite, when things start to go awry.

"Ah, Sasuke, get ready for your part!"

"Yeah, hit the high note, Sasuke-bastard! You can do it!"

Sasuke shakes his hair back, directing a casual glance out of the window, as he prepares himself to take on the single most challenging part of the entire song.

"I'm going to make damn sure that you won't ever – fuck!"

Sakura's eyes fly open, where she had closed them against the chilly night air let in by Naruto's open windows. "Sasuke, that was so not in the lyrics—"

"Although it works, kinda," Naruto says pensively. "Very inspired moment, Sasuke…"

"No!" Sasuke yells, craning his neck to look behind them. "It's not the song! It's the State Police, right behind us!"

Sakura pales drastically, before swiveling her head around – true enough, she can see the telltale flashing red and blue lights appearing from around a bend in the road. "Oh, god, Naruto, he's right!"

"Shit, shit, shit," Naruto curses frantically. "The tarp didn't cover the entire tree, did it?"

"Nope," Sasuke says grimly. "They'll be able to tell what it is without a problem."

"Well, then," Naruto sighs. "Hold on to your guts, you two, because it's time to pull a trademark Uzumaki Evasion – we're going to speed up and totally leave them in the dust."

"No!" Sakura shrieks, at the same time as Sasuke, and she looks over at him.

Sasuke is even paler than she is, and his left eye seems to be twitching slightly. "Don't. Every single guy in my family is on the police force, and that seriously pisses them off…" he trails off, looking over his shoulder nervously, and Sakura glances at him, worried.

"What should we do?" Naruto asks, obviously shaken. "Are they still following? Are we sure it's us they're after?"

Sakura glances around quickly. "They're still following, yeah, and there's nobody on this stretch of the interstate but us, Naruto…"

Naruto grits his teeth, looking over at his two best friends, and even in the gravity of the situation, he notices Sasuke's rapidly fading pallor. "Sasuke? You okay?"

Sasuke shakes his head resolutely. "No. I mean, yes. I'm fine. It's a relatively big area, right? What are the chances that – I mean, I could swear that those two aren't supposed to be on duty tonight—"

"What's that supposed to mean?" Sakura and Naruto ask in unison, both of them nearly trembling with fright.

Sasuke directs another almost frightened look around at the State Police car behind them. "It means that we're cutting our losses and speeding up."

"Sasuke, are you sure that's a good idea—"

Sakura's words are abruptly ripped from her throat as Naruto presses on the acceleration, and the truck fairly rockets forward, with immense speed that belies its age. Naruto's grip is white-knuckled on the steering as he guides the truck forward with surprising smoothness. "Sasuke, Sakura…what's their status?"

"Disappearing from sight," Sakura reports, spinning around to check on the fading police lights. "And, now – oh…damn…"

Sasuke and Sakura watch, horrified, as the squad car speeds up with just as much intensity as Naruto's truck had. "Oh, we're screwed," Sasuke observes, almost clinically.

"Why?" Naruto fairly whimpers. "Why are we screwed?"

"There's one guy on the force who drives like that," Sasuke says through gritted teeth. "My cousin Shisui."

"But isn't his partner…" Sakura asks, with a sense of dawning horror.

"Itachi?" Naruto explodes. "As in, your brother, the Antichrist Itachi?"

"Calm down, calm down, we don't know anything for sure," Sasuke attempts to backtrack. "If it's really Shisui and Itachi, then they're going to—"

"Attention, idiots! This means you! Yes, you in the hideous-looking orange pickup truck!"

Sasuke, Sakura, and Naruto exchange horrified looks.

"Yeah, it's Shisui and Itachi," Sasuke groans, rubbing his forehead. "Shisui loves that loudspeaker…"

"Idiots in the hideous orange pickup, pull over immediately! As in, right this instant!"

"Shit, what do I do?" Naruto asks, panicked.

"Are you not hearing me, cretins? Pull. Over. Now!"

"Pull over now, apparently," Sakura trembles, hugging herself. "As we've graduated from idiots to cretins, and that's never a good sign…"

Cursing under his breath, Naruto immediately pulls off to the side of the interstate, turning off the truck. Behind them, the flashing lights come closer, before stopping as well. In the front seat of the pickup truck, Sasuke, Naruto, and Sakura all huddle together and tremble like there's no tomorrow, forgetting everything that they know about being seventeen and high school seniors and so much more badass than that—

"Oh god, they're getting down," Naruto nearly sobs. "Mom and Dad are going to take away my license for sure…"

"My mom's going to cry with disappointment," Sakura sniffles.

"It is Itachi and Shisui…Father's going to kill me…" Sasuke twitches.

With that, the two eldest Uchiha slink over to Naruto's pickup truck. Sakura can't help but notice that they both look like Sasuke…except taller, and gifted with the leanly muscular structure that comes with being around their early twenties. Both of them are dressed in black pants and sleek black fur-lined jackets with golden badges on them, and they're almost identical – except one has short hair, and one has long hair, held in an elegant ponytail at the base of the neck. That is Itachi, of course, and she supposes that the one she doesn't recognize, with the short hair, is Shisui.

Sakura gulps as Shisui approaches first and flings Naruto's door open, while Itachi lingers in the background, surveying the three miscreants with a smirk. "What do we have here?" Shisui asks, peering at them in the dim illumination granted by the streetlights. "Could it be…Naruto Uzumaki? The mayor's son?"

"The very same," Naruto replies, crossing his arms over his orange parka and at least managing to sound decently brave.

Shisui grins in recognition of the teenager's bravado. "Get out, Uzumaki, and let me see your little partners in crime. Come out, you two."

Sasuke, still shadowed by the trees that they have parked near, gives Sakura's hand a reassuring squeeze, and Sakura tumbles out of the car, almost tripping over Shisui's feet. He catches her easily. "Oh, I remember you – with that hair, you've got to be little Sasuke's girlfriend, right?"

"Right," Sakura acknowledges weakly. "…Ex-girlfriend, actually."

Shisui grins. "What a silly cousin I have, in that case. Now, get your back against the truck, like Uzumaki over there."

Cursing every aspect of her life, Sakura flattens her back against the truck next to Naruto, under Itachi's watchful gaze. He raises an eyebrow at her in recognition, before smirking, and it is all Sakura can do not to launch herself at him and smack him with one of her heavy winter boots.

"Oy, Itachi! Look what we have here!" Shisui's incredulous tone gets Itachi's attention quickly; the eldest of the Uchiha brothers glances over at his cousin and partner, and his dark eyes widen a fraction of an inch.

"There's really no need for the headlock, Shisui," Sasuke growls, trying in vain to extricate himself from his cousin's grip.

"My little brother is a criminal, apparently," Itachi remarks silkily, recovering from his initial surprise. "How…interesting." With one quick movement, he grabs Sasuke from Shisui and slams his younger brother up against the truck roughly, before surveying the unlikely lineup of teenagers, who all glare at him with various measures of defiance in their eyes. "Mayor Namikaze's son," Itachi observes softly. "The hospital director Tsunade – this is her niece. And, of course, the younger son of the town's police chief. This is rather…scandalous, is it not, Shisui?"

"Very," Shisui grins. "It's almost too scandalous – should we let them go, Itachi?"

"Yes!" Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura all yell in unison.

"No," Itachi replies calmly, before crossing his arms and surveying them. "We have one count of the intentional and wanton defacement and theft of state property, one count of speeding twenty miles over the limit, one count of an attempted evasion of law enforcement, and…" Itachi pauses, tilting his head up slightly and sniffing, like a wolf, before abruptly striding over to the driver's seat of the truck.

"Oh, shit," Naruto mutters under his breath, while Sakura buries her head in her hands and moans.

"One count of driving under the influence of alcoholic eggnog," Itachi fairly purrs with satisfaction, returning with the bottle of mostly-empty eggnog.

Shisui shakes his head at them disapprovingly. "Tsk, tsk, children. What happened to the good old days when kids would stay at home on the holidays and play Monopoly?"

"That's not fair!" Sasuke yells. "The dumbass – I mean, Naruto – would pass a breathalyzer test if you gave one to him right now!"

"Even so," Shisui considers. "You've broken three other laws in one night, which means – oh, take it away, Itachi. You like this part best, anyway."

"You three are all under arrest," Itachi completes smoothly, his dark eyes glittering with obvious perverse pleasure in the situation. "You have the right to—"

"Wait, Itachi," Shisui interrupts, giving Sakura a critical look. "I'm not sure about the you three part – look at the girl – Sakura, right? – she's too small to have helped with chopping down a tree of that size."

Sakura isn't sure if she likes being called small, but if it saves her from getting arrested, then she isn't going to complain. She tries giving Itachi an innocent look while Sasuke and Naruto nod frantically on either side of her, but Itachi just looks her up and down, a skeptical look in his eyes, before he closes the distance between them in two smooth strides. Sakura almost trips as she tries to back up, only to collide solidly with the back of the truck again.

Itachi smirks at her obvious discomfort, before reaching out with one gloved hand and…

Stroking her hair?

"What the hell are you doing?" Sakura yelps, shrinking against the truck and defensively gathering her jacket around her.

"Calm down, Sakura," Itachi deadpans, and he withdraws his hand, before showing Shisui that the palm is covered with minute, yet very incriminating pine needles…which had apparently been in her hair. Sakura groans, hating her life more with every passing second.

Shisui nods regretfully. "Go ahead, then…"

"You can't arrest us!" Sasuke yells at Itachi, quite beside himself. "I'm your own flesh and blood! And these two are like my flesh and blood! For all intents and purposes, we're all family here, and family do not put each other behind bars!"

"Sasuke, ever since you started driving, I've been looking for an excuse to arrest you," Itachi replies, sounding bored. "This may possibly be one of the happiest days of my life."

"This could be considered an abuse of power," Sakura glares. "It's just sick."

Naruto, in a moment of desperation, withdraws his Christmas tree money from the pocket of his parka and waves it at Itachi. "Don't arrest us! Please! We're too young and innocent for jail!"

Sakura pounces on him, trying her best to stuff the money back in his pocket. "Naruto, no! You're the mayor's son; you can't go around trying to bribe police officers!"

Shisui groans. "Oh, kid, you're in for it now…"

Itachi's eyes narrow, like a predator zoning in on its prey. "Attempted monetary bribery of law enforcement agents, I see. That carries two to three years in itself—"

"Fine, never mind, no monetary bribery!" Sasuke flails, before finally reducing himself to pleading. "Itachi, if I get arrested, Father's going to have a coronary and take away everything I own and he won't let me go to senior prom or the graduation trip—"

"What kind of pathetic and desperate female would lower herself enough to go to prom with you, foolish little brother?" Itachi sneers condescendingly.

"Hey!" Sakura yells, despite herself. "I dated him, you know!"

Itachi smirks at her. "My most sincere condolences."

"You're just bitter because you never went to any high school social events!" Sasuke challenges, scowling.

Sakura twitches slightly when she notices the rather vindictive expression that slides over Itachi's handsome features. "Do you want to spend tonight in a cell with the most subhuman excuses for men that the Forks Penitentiary has to offer, Sasuke?" he says, with deceptive calmness.

Naruto, Sakura, and Sasuke all pale drastically at the very prospect.

"I'll give you anything!" Sasuke hisses, sounding desperate. "Anything that I have, that you want – it's yours."

Itachi raises an eyebrow at him. "What makes you think that you could have anything that I would desire, foolish little brother?"

Sasuke's dark eyes dart around desperately, and before Sakura can blink, her best friend grabs her by the shoulder and literally flings her in the direction of the two police officers. Sakura's foot catches on an exposed tree root, and she stumbles forward, only to have Itachi grab one arm and Shisui grab the other, at the last possible second. "Sakura!" Sasuke barks tersely. "One of you two can have Sakura, if you let the three of us off!"

"Wait, what?" Naruto and Sakura yell, in unison.

Shisui whistles, obviously entertained by this shocking new development. "Sakura, you're cute and all, but Hana would set her dogs on me," he teases, gently pushing the astounded teenage girl into his cousin's arms. "Itachi, on the other hand…"

Itachi catches her by reflex, but Sakura rips herself out of his grip and immediately turns on Sasuke, her green eyes glittering with fury. "Sasuke Uchiha!" she shrieks, livid beyond belief. "Did you just whore me out to your crazy older brother?"

There are a few moments of utter silence on the interstate.

Naruto scratches his head sheepishly. "Bad move, Sasuke."

Sasuke laughs nervously. "Not the word choice I would have used, Sakura, but…in essence, yes."

Behind her, Itachi makes a small sound of amusement in the back of his throat, and Sakura just blushes, thoroughly mortified. "I appreciate the sentiment, little brother, but apparently, you seem to have forgotten that I am twenty-two to Sakura's seventeen. Which makes what you were implying very much…illegal."

Sasuke smacks his hand into his forehead upon realizing this. "I was born into the wrong family, wasn't I?"

"Don't worry, Sasuke, every family has a black sheep," Naruto reassures in an undertone, before looking up at the amused Shisui and Itachi, and the silently fuming Sakura. "Eh, Itachi, does that mean that you won't take Sakura on a date and let the three of us off?"

"I would have to arrest myself for inappropriate conduct with a minor, if that were the case," Itachi replies dryly.

"Wait, wait," Shisui interrupts, his dark eyes glinting mischievously. "It's illegal for a seventeen-year-old girl and a twenty-two-year-old guy to, uh…perform certain activities together, but it's not illegal for the guy to take the girl out on a strictly platonic and very friendly dinner date."

There is another moment of silence, due to Sasuke, Naruto, and Sakura all being reduced to utter speechlessness.

Sasuke is the first to recover, and, forgetting his usual icy reserve, he rushes over and hugs his older cousin quickly – something he hasn't done in at least five years. "I knew there was a reason you were my favorite!"

Naruto stares at Shisui with an expression of abject adoration on his face. "You have got to be the coolest police officer in this entire town."

"Officer, with all due respect, what the hell is wrong with you?" Sakura screeches.

"Shisui," pronounces Itachi, his tone dripping menace. "Why?"

Shisui blinks under the mixed adulation and condemnation. "In order: Sasuke, I love you too; Naruto, you're pretty cool yourself, aside from your abysmal driving skills and flagrant disregard for the law; Sakura, I was dropped on my head as a baby; and Itachi…well, because you really, really need to get out more. Besides," – he grins expansively, gesturing at them – "it's the holidays, and I don't want to arrest my baby cousin and his best friends."

"…Okay, never mind," Sakura admits grudgingly. "You are pretty cool."

"So, it's settled, then?" Naruto asks cautiously. "I get to keep the tree and go back home and everything's all well and good, and in exchange, Itachi gets to go on a date with Sakura?"

"No!" Itachi and Sakura snap, at the same time, before exchanging awkward glances with one another and looking away.

"Yes," Sasuke and Shisui confirm, with identical grins on their faces.

"Get back into your hideous orange excuse for a vehicle," Itachi orders tersely. "The two of us will escort you back to your homes in order to make sure that you three do not engage in any more blatantly rash and foolish activities."

Sakura pales slightly, and not from the cold. "I can't show up at my house with a police escort; my mom would freak…"

"You should have thought about that before you decided to steal a pine tree off the interstate," Itachi retorts dryly, before pointing at the truck. "Go."

Muttering resentfully amongst themselves, Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura climb back into the pickup, as Itachi and Shisui return to the squad car. Upon receiving Shisui's signal, Naruto pulls back onto the interstate, followed by the two police officers, and he is careful to stick to the speed limit this time around.

Naruto is the first to break the silence; he sighs deeply, watching the squad car behind them. "I cannot believe that we ran into the Antichrist in police officer form and didn't get arrested…shit, never mind what Kiba says; next year, I'm going to the crappy Christmas tree factory."

Sakura smacks Sasuke in the arm, hard. "We only didn't get arrested due to this bastard over here and his stupid declaration! Sasuke, I cannot believe you!"

Sasuke rubs his arm, visibly wounded. "Sakura, I can't believe you just called me a bastard. Besides, one night with Itachi – it's not too big of a price to pay for all three of us getting off free, right?"

"Still, Sasuke! It's the principle!"

"Sakura, honestly, it's not like you two are going to have sex or anything…" A revolted look appears on Sasuke's face. "…Oh, god, I can't believe I just said that."

"Sasuke!" Sakura squeaks, if anything, even more horrified.

"Can I say something?" Naruto interrupts.

Sakura glares at him. "Is it going to be nasty, disgusting, and gross?"

"…heh. Probably."

"Go for it," Sasuke says immediately.

Naruto directs a sheepish look at Sakura, before inching away from the girl, just in case. "Well. Funny idea, really. If Sakura over here went all seductive on Itachi and he caved and like…kissed her, or something, he would have to arrest himself! Because she's under the age of consent or whatever—"

Disregarding the fact that there are two police officers closely following them, both of whom could charge her for aggravated physical assault, Sakura begins punching Naruto in the ribs furiously. "Naruto Uzumaki! You are even worse than Sasuke!"

Sasuke snickers, amused. "Sakura, I never thought I'd say this, but could you put the moves on Itachi? If he had to arrest himself for inappropriate conduct with a minor, it would be the happiest day of my life…"

"Why do I hang out with you two?" Sakura asks plaintively.

"You love us," Sasuke and Naruto chorus dutifully.

"…Oh. Yeah. But still! I'm so not going to do anything creepy with Itachi, okay?" Sakura asserts, blushing.

Sasuke snorts humorlessly. "God, Sakura, you act like you didn't have the hugest crush on him for all of freshman year when he had to tutor you—"

"Sasuke!" Sakura shrieks, quite beside herself, as she kicks him repeatedly and viciously in the shins. "How dare you talk about that! We never talk about that!"

Naruto observes them as he turns onto their street, looking somewhat terrified. "Sakura, please, I don't want to have to clean blood off the upholstery…"

"Fine," Sakura sulks, ceasing her assault on the ruffled-looking Sasuke in order to cross her arms and pout.

The trio remains in a state of silence for the remaining one minute that it takes Naruto to pull up in front of Sakura's house. Despite the conflict of the past few minutes, both boys give her one-armed hugs before she slides down and waves to them.

Much to her dismay, though, the squad car pulls over right behind Naruto's, and Itachi slips out, before raising an eyebrow upon seeing the horrified expression on Sakura's face. "There's absolutely no need for this!" Sakura hisses, backing up her driveway. "I can walk myself!"

Itachi catches up to her quickly, before taking her arm and leading her to her door. He smirks at her, correctly sensing the reason for her discomfort. "Please, Sakura – it is common courtesy, after all."

Sakura tries her best to tug away from him, very much aware of Naruto, Sasuke, and Shisui's curious eyes boring holes into their backs. "Well, then, can you refrain from mentioning that you're a police officer who almost arrested me for helping my best friends steal a pine tree off the Interstate?" Sakura whispers heatedly, even as she presses the doorbell.

"Why else would I be—"

Itachi's reply is very suddenly cut off by the door swinging open, and Sayuri Haruno looks at her daughter and the very handsome young man with her curiously. "Sakura, what…"

Sakura summons her brightest smile, before rapidly improvising by grabbing Itachi by the hand. She feels him twitch, unsettled, but his long fingers entwine with hers as soon as he understands what she intends to do. "Oh, Mom, this is Itachi, Sasuke's older brother. We ran into him while we were out tree shopping…"

Itachi nods at her stiffly; the angle of his head very conveniently conceals the presence of the squad car parked near their house. "It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance."

"Likewise," Mrs. Haruno smiles. "Would you like to come in?"

Itachi blinks, somewhat surprised at the request, before he shakes his head slightly. "That will not be necessary, but thank you for offering." He looks down at Sakura, and then back up at her mother. "I was, ah, wondering if you would find it permissible for me to request Sakura's company for dinner tomorrow?"

Sakura and her mother blink in unison, but Mrs. Haruno is the first to recover. "Of course!" she fairly beams.

Itachi offers her his quiet thanks, before meeting Sakura's gaze. "What time would you find most convenient?"

"Around seven?" Sakura suggests, glad that he had cottoned on to her ploy so easily; with luck, her mother hadn't even noticed his gold badge…which his long, side-swept ponytail mostly covers, anyway.

Itachi inclines his head slightly. "I will see you tomorrow evening, then."

Deciding to finish strong, Sakura stretches up on her tiptoes and presses a kiss to the startled Itachi's cheek. "Good night, Itachi!"

"…Night," Itachi manages, somewhat weakly, before turning and slinking off into the darkness.

With that, Sakura slips inside, closing the door firmly after her. "Mom," she chides. "Stop staring!"

Mrs. Haruno moves away from the window and tries to look innocent. "Sasuke's older brother, hm? Now, Sakura, how long have you been interested in this Itachi?" she asks curiously.

Sakura laughs sheepishly, resisting the urge to check if she has any pine needles in her hair. Well, Mom, since Naruto, Sasuke, and I illegally chopped a pine tree down off the side of the Interstate, sped away from the scene of the crime, were pulled over by Itachi and Shisui, almost got arrested for breaking three major town laws in the space of two hours, and Sasuke literally threw me at Itachi with promises of a date in order to stop us from being arrested. And the rest, as they say it, is history.

"…Long story," Sakura says, instead, as she heads upstairs. "As a matter of fact, Mom, you probably wouldn't believe me even if I told you."


to be continued


You know, I always said I would never write a modern-day AU, but this idea literally attacked me and just would not let go.

The next part deals with Itachi and Sakura's "date", and it should be up in the very, very early hours of January 1, 2009. I'll say it again later tonight, but, just for good measure:

Have an absolutely amazing New Year's, everybody. I really do love you guys – the majority of you have supported my ItaSaku writings all the way from Disturbia, my late-October project, to the completely cracktastic epic Love Lockdown, through various one-shots, and of course, my latest project, Heartless. Your comments really do make my day, and make the process of writing even more fun. If you're reading, thank you. If you've ever been kind enough to leave a review, thank you a million times over. :)

As always, feedback on how this turned out would be very much appreciated. :D