title: table talk
pairing / character: Itachi and some SasuSaku; they're fast becoming my favored three ;D
summary: AU. ONESHOT. SASUSAKU with a side of ITACHI. In which two is company and three is clearly a crowd. Really, it was all Sasuke's fault, anyway.
for: Pina, who prompted me with a variation of the first line.
notes: HAY. Not persuasion, I know. But this is a similar universe. Note that I said 'similar' and not 'the same'.

disclaimer: Naruto is not mine.

"Sasuke-kun, get your elbows off the table—I was present for nearly all of your youth, and I can assure you that Mother would be appalled at your breach of etiquette if she could see you now. Appalled. Is that what you want?"

They had only just been seated by their server. They had not even ordered, yet—they had not even opened their menu, yetand already, Sasuke could feel his hands clenching into fists.

It was not Itachi's words that irritated Sasuke, but rather his manner, his tone of voice. Itachi emphasized his syllables so precisely, chose his words so carefully, that there would be no danger of ambiguity. This quality of Itachi's—no doubt inherited from their mother—only compounded Sasuke's irritation when coupled with the ease with which Itachi could adopt their father's stern demeanor. Having Itachi scold him—in front of his date, no lesswas rather like hearing his mother's voice coming out of his father's mouth.

Sasuke gave his older brother a venomous glare. Sakura—who was sitting across from him—shivered and wondered how Itachi-san could stand being on the receiving end of such a look.

"If you really cared about what I want, nii-san," Sasuke hissed, "then you wouldn't even have to worry about whether my elbows are on this table because you wouldn't even be here," he finished.

Itachi merely stared back at him, and made no discernible reaction to Sasuke's words.

"Sasuke-kun," Sakura reprimanded, in a tone Itachi found startlingly similar to his mother's, "that's so rude of you! I'm sure that this is hardly Itachi-san's idea of a good time; he isn't here because he wants to be! He must have more important things to do than play chaperone for his little brother and his...his—" She broke off, her cheeks flushed to a shade darker than her own pale pink hair.

Sasuke smirked, which only deepened her blush. He leaned forward, and cupped his chin in the palm of his hands. His elbows were now firmly on the table, and Itachi refrained from scolding him (again), in favor of observing the interaction.

"'His little brother and his' what, Sakura? Hm?"

Sakura looked up from where she was fussing with the lace hem of her summer dress.

"You know, Sasuke-kun," Sakura said softly.

"I do know," he said, his eyes fixed on her still-flushed face. "I just want to hear you say it. Who are you to me, Sakura?"

At his hushed voice, Sakura smiled brilliantly, and finally answered him.

"Your fiancée," she said softly, still smiling, still blushing.

For a moment, Sasuke forgot his previous irritation with Itachi, in favor of basking in the triumph of this moment. It had taken them years to get to this point, years to know that what they wanted was everything, and moreover, that whatthey wanted was each other. Sasuke knew he did not say it as often as Sakura liked to hear it, but he rather loved her.

"Sakura," Sasuke began, almost fervently, "I want you to know—I want you to know that I lo—"

"The bouillabaisse at this restaurant comes highly recommended, Sakura-san," Itachi said loudly, as he folded his napkin into a precise military square before he placed it in his lap. "My associate, who comes here often, tells me it's very nice."

Sakura tore her gaze from Sasuke's, and said, "O-oh, is that right, Itachi-san? Thank you for letting me know. I'll certainly consider ordering that. I quite like seafood."

"As do I," Itachi said, as he ignored the sudden growling noise that seemed to emanate from Sasuke's side of the table. "Sasuke, on the other hand, will only have grilled mackerel in the morning. He can't stand being broken from his daily routine."

Sakura laughed lightly. "That's true, isn't it Sasuke-kun?" She leaned into talk to Itachi, and spoke with a hushed voice, "He gets so huffy when there isn't a tomato with a plate of onigiri waiting for him after his day at your father's company, Itachi-san. He gives me at least a week's worth of the silent treatment."

"He is rather good at throwing tantrums, isn't he? He gets that from our father."

"Oh really? Well I guess I shouldn't be too surprised—"

"Sakura," Sasuke said, interrupting their banter in a strangled sort of voice. He sounded vaguely mortified. "Don't tell this bastard things like that!"

Itachi hid his smirk behind a cough. "I am quite sure that our mother would not appreciate those unfounded accusations about the nature of her relationship with our father at the time of my birth, Sasuke. I assure you, they were quite married."

"Clearly," Sasuke said, his annoyance only held back by the most tenuous of threads, "you are only here to irritate me, nii-san. You've done so—admirably. So now that you've finished, why don't you just get the hell out of my sight so that my fiancee and I can have our lunch in peace?"

Itachi looked largely unperturbed by Sasuke's rudeness, while Sakura, on the other hand, seemed to be holding herself back indulging in her own apoplectic fit. She could not stand when Sasuke was so rude, and she hated it when Itachi was the recipient of his scorn. He was, after all, the reason the two of them had even gotten back together after the terrible fight they had before Sasuke had gone abroad for university. Sakura felt indebted to Itachi, and could not understand why her Sasuke did not feel the same.

"Sasuke-kun! Apologize right now!"

Sasuke merely snorted in reply, well aware that he was coming out the villain. But did not Sakura see that Itachi was purposely needling him?

Itachi, who had taken a sip of water, only smirked in reply.

"I would gladly—as you put it—'get the hell out of your sight,' if not for my determination to avoid becoming a disappointment to our mother like some other people I could name. People sitting at this table, for example," Itachi said, his insinuating tone emphasizing whatever his words might have missed. "She bade me chaperone your outing with Sakura-san, and that's what I intend to do."

At the reminder, Sakura's cheeks—which had been making a steady recovery since the beginning of their conversation—flushed pink again. She looked down at the list of entrees in an attempt to avoid anyone's gaze.

"She wasn't serious," Sasuke hissed, finally opening his menu.

"Of course she was," Itachi said blithely. "And why shouldn't she be? After all, if I had caught my second-born child in a most compromising position with his fiancee in my own marriage bed, I too would not hesitate to assign an armed guard in order to assure that such an indelicate situation would never again occur until after the nuptials. So, if I may use your vernacular, little brother, had you been able to keep it in your pants for another week and a half, I wouldn't sitting here with you two, silently suffocating under the weight of your shared sexual frustration."

Sakura squeaked, obviously horrified.

Sasuke scowled, finally defeated.

"You're just lucky she didn't ask Naruto-kun to accompany us," Itachi said smoothly.

There were two exhalations at that, one of relief, and another of irritation.

Itachi rightly took them both as signs of surrender, and smiled politely at the approaching server.

"Now then, shall I order for us all?"

Please let me know what you think! :D