Thank you for your lovely reviews, you guys :) This fic is drawing to a close, but I do intend to write a few side stories, so keep an eye out!
I don't own Naruto.
On the morning of the speech, Itachi arrived at school early, determined not to let Sasuke get the better of him. He'd planned this to perfection and there was no way Sasuke was going to beat him.
He'd avoided the tainted shampoo this morning, and escaped the bucket of paint over his door. He'd successfully dismantled the custard trap, and his suit was safely stored in a school locker, out of reach of Sasuke. He'd memorised his speech, but just in case, his notes were in his pocket.
The lighting booth had been set to disco, but it hadn't taken long to switch it back to spotlight. Someone had lugged a load of scenery from the last school play onto the stage, but Itachi had arrived in plenty of time to lug it back into the wings. He discovered a copy of "I'm Bringing Sexy Back" in the school's sound system- Naruto's idea, that one- and made sure the trap door could absolutely not be operated by anyone without him knowing about it.
He had to admit, Sasuke had really gone all out today. But he hadn't realised that Itachi still had a tape recorder under the sofa...
It was almost a shame to ruin all his hard work, really, thought Itachi as he disabled the very last of Sasuke's jokes- a trip wire which would have resulted in a custard pie being flung into his face mid speech (really, where was he getting his ideas- the circus?) but ah, well.
Sasuke might think he had the upper hand, but Itachi knew better.
Nothing could possibly go wrong.
"Are we ready?"
"It's all set up. This is going to be hilarious," Naruto giggled.
Sasuke allowed himself a small grin. He hadn't won yet, but he was going to; he could taste victory in the air. There was no way Itachi could know what he was planning.
May the best man win.
"Mr Sarutobi, I need to go and get ready."
"Ah, the assembly, right? You're free to go. Don't forget your worksheet."
Itachi nodded and grabbed his bag, making his way down to the auditorium. For the fifth time that hour, he checked that the speech in his pocket was, in fact, the one he'd intended on giving. Despite his precautions, he couldn't help but feel like there was something going on...
Calm down, he told himself, though he couldn't help the frisson of nerves. It's fine. It's just stagefright, you'll get over it.
He'd thwarted all of Sasuke's plans. He knew his speech by heart. Everything was going to be fine.
Taking a deep breath to calm himself, Itachi began to change out of his uniform. Stripped to his boxers, he opened the locker-
And paled. That was not his suit.
How had they- he'd checked it himself this morning, and none of them could've gotten access to this room, never mind the locker key! He shut the door and opened it again, quickly, as if that would make his suit reappear, but nothing happened.
He felt panic rise.
Okay, okay, calm down. It's okay. It's not the end of the world. You still have your uniform, it's all going to be just-
And then Itachi heard a noise. It wasn't a loud noise. It was a quiet, everyday sort of sound, the kind you hear all the time and never really think about: the soft click of a door being shut very, very quietly, followed by a key turning in the lock.
With that door shut, the only exit was onto the stage, in front of a hall already starting to fill with students.
Itachi turned around, a ball of dread in the pit of his stomach. Surely, surely not. Surely Sasuke couldn't possibly have- but he had. His uniform was gone.
He looked back at the bag. If it's this or nothing...
Itachi made up his mind. He took a deep breath; his face determined, his head held high.
At the very least, if he was going to go down... he was going to go down with style.
The hubbub in the hall died down as Itachi stepped on stage- at first the general expectant silence of an audience awaiting a speaker, and then, aghast shock.
No one laughed. No one dared. Itachi stalked into the spotlight with his head held high and such a look of supreme calm on his face that not a single person, not one person in that hall would have dared so much as crack a smile.
They stared in rapt, fascinated horror as he cleared his throat, began his speech. It was not an interesting speech, but nevertheless he held their absolute attention throughout. Not a single person looked away or started talking to a friend. Nothing on earth could've torn their attention away from that stage.
It was ridiculous. It was insane. It was unbelievable. Itachi Uchiha- perfect Itachi Uchiha, godlike Itachi Uchiha- it was impossible. And it was happening, right before their very eyes.
They hardly dared breathe.
"...and so all in all," said Itachi, the epitome of dignity, "I think I can say that we've had a wonderful year, and I hope we can look forwards to many more. My thanks to Ms Senju, our wonderful headmistress, and all the staff here at Konoha Secondary School. And now I have just one last thing to say, on a more personal note..."
He took a deep breath.
"Well played, little brother."
With that, he turned around and stalked back into the wings. It was only when he disappeared completely- corset, high heels, bunny ears and all- that the spell broke: the entire student body of Konoha Secondary School burst into sudden uproarious laughter.
Itachi stormed through the corridors, ignoring the other students. Some attempted to poke fun, but were stopped dead in their tracks by a glare that promised truly horrifying things to anyone who pissed off Itachi Uchiha today. Mostly, though, no one dared: the crowds parted before him.
You had to respect a man who could look intimidating in a playboy bunny costume.
Finally, he stopped short.
Sasuke fought back a grin, keeping his expression neutral.
"Hi Itachi. I liked your speech."
"How did you do it?"
There was laugh from behind him. He spun around- no mean feat in those heels- and found himself face to face with...
The very last person he'd expected.