Disclaimer: Naruto belongs to Masashi Kishimoto, not me. Also, this was written for fun and no money was made (Kakuzu would call this a waste of time).
Co-written and beta'd with The Sorrowful Vampress. 3 Love you, sweety!
Note: This is a role-playing story. POVs are not restricted to one or two people; more like two dozen. Enjoy!
Ch 1: Establishing Territory
Left side... Clear. Right side... Clear. Sasuke smirked and turned to look behind him at his three friends. "It's clear. Let's go." Today, it actually paid off to have a prankster as a best friend. Dobe, you better live up to your boasting!
Naruto giggled oddly. "You guys know what you're gonna do?" he hissed at the other two eagerly, practically bouncing where he stood.
"No shit, Sherlock," Ino retorted, eyes rolling. She held up her fistful of bubble wrap.
The last of the accomplices grunted. "Can we move now? This is heavier than it looks," Shika groused, leaning against the wall with both arms wrapped around a large white bag.
"Yeah, yeah, let's get to work. We got ten minutes," Naruto said, and pushed Ino out into the hall.
"Watch it, buddy!" she snapped, but strolled casually over to the locker in question.
Already there, Sasuke was fitting a key into the lock.
By the time Shika had shuffled up to stand beside the other dark-haired teen, the door was open and Ino was pulling books down out of its cavity. He carefully let the bag down with a thump and shook out his hands. "Next time," he muttered, "we're using spray foam."
Sasuke blinked as he considered the idea. "I know where to get some too..."
"Eight minutes," Naruto chided, and finished doodling on the door. "Ino, you done?"
"Yes, ass, I'm done," she retorted, and set the books back inside. "Shika, your turn."
"It did not take me two minutes to cross a hall," the boy grumbled. "Hey, Sasuke, prop up a book will you?"
Snickering, Sasuke patted Shika on the shoulder. "You need to work out more."
A few textbooks created a makeshift barrier, and the two boys carefully tilted the bag's contents in. Sand slid like pale silk into the locker.
When the wrapped books were completely covered, and the barrier could hold no more, they lifted the bag away. Shikamaru tossed the nearly empty bag into a nearby trash can as Sasuke brought a jug of water out from his backpack.
"Do the honours, Dobe?" He offered the container to the blond.
"Ahahaha... you go ahead," Naruto said sweetly, beaming at his friend. He didn't appear to notice the suspicious glower he got for it. "Shikamaru, where'd that flower go?"
"Here. Take it"
Argh. Sasuke lifted the jug and tried his best to control the stream of water. Two other hands reached out to help steady the jug. Reluctantly, the Uchiha grunted his thanks.
Shikamaru smirked. "Maybe you need to work out more," he quipped, noting how both pairs of arms were trembling just a bit.
"I will not be beaten by a bag of pulverized rock and tap water," Sasuke grumbled.
His assisting friend only chuckled.
Naruto laughed softly at the two of them, and when they were done, he helped clean up before closing the door. 'This is the property of Miz Uchiha. Don't touch; he bites,' was scrawled on the metal in magic marker, accompanied by a cartoon-like doodle of Itachi's face.
Ino choked as she tried to laugh and not at the same time. "He's gonna murder you!"
"I'd like to see him try," the blond said smugly.
"Later," Sasuke said, returning from the recycle bin where the used jug now resided. "We gotta go."
"Three minutes," Shika hissed as they started to run. "Move!"
Naruto took off for the rooftop where Sakura waited for him (earlier, he'd boasted about how he could make it to the flower shop half an hour away and back before school started), while Ino scrambled off to be in her usual spot on the quad before the bell.
The last two, Sasuke and Shika, pelted down a few halls before exiting into the early morning light.
Choji waved at them cheerfully from a picnic table covered with textbooks, binders, and juice boxes.
Sighing, Shika slumped down onto the bench as Sasuke sat with far more decorum.
"Did you just purr?" Shika looked askance at Sasuke before grunting. "The things I do for Uchiha-san's rice balls."
"—and the bitch just says something like 'I don't date pyromaniacs'! Can you fucking believe her, un! She's dated Sasori before, and he's crazier than me!" Deidara ranted as he and Itachi made their way down the hall. "I mean, really, un! It's not like I plot to blow up buildings! Well, not buildings with people in them... But still! I heard that danna's ripped a man to pieces for sneezing wrong before, and she thinks being a pyromaniac is bad? Konan's a fruitcake, un!"
"I thought Sasori was asexual," Kisame said with a grin.
Between the two of them, Itachi cracked a smile. "No, that's Kakuzu."
"Nuh uh." Sharky shook his head. "He definitely has a sexual preference other than himself."
"Hey, hey, we're talking about Konan here, un," Deidara protested, scowling at them. "Not that freakazoid Kakuzu! I swear that guy has a few screws loose up to—" He paused, eyes fixed on the row of lockers ahead, and stopped dead in his tracks. Three seconds passed before he abruptly burst out laughing.
By that time, Itachi had gotten a look at his locker. And the crowd of students that were standing around snickering. He took a moment to sigh, then promptly shoved both his laughing friends into the closest set of lockers. "Ingrates."
"Love you too, cupcake," Kisame snickered before pushing himself back upright and slinging an arm around Itachi's shoulders. "Well? Let's go see your new decorations!"
"Call me cupcake again, and I'll be introducing you to Rock Lee as his new training partner." Muttering under his breath, the black-eyed teen found himself standing in front of his locker. Tilting his head, he took in the damage done to his property.
The blond walked over and eyed the doodle on the locker, smirking. "Hey, he made you into a shojo anime character, Itachi. Your eyes are sparkling, un!"
Reaching out, Itachi rapped a knuckle against the door. No echo. "Hnn."
"You've got water in there," his blue friend noted, pointing a finger at a thin trickle below the door.
"And sand." Itachi rubbed two fingers together, feeling the fine grit. A flash went off and Uchiha sighed again. "Really?" he asked, turning to look at his other friend.
Deidara gave him an innocent smile as he hit send. The picture went to his email inbox. "It's picture worthy, un."
Black eyes gave him a flat glare as silver eyes gleamed.
"Yo, Dei. Send me a copy!" Kisame grinned, evading a punch to the shoulder from his best friend.
"Oh, fuck no."
"Bishie." Blue boy traded grins with the Deidara.
"Definitely bishie," the blond agreed, and cackled. "I'm sending a copy to Hidan too..."
Itachi shook his head as he was steered down the hall towards the janitor's office. Sometimes, he wondered who caused more chaos in his life, his friends or his brother's.
A few days later Shikamaru walked up the pathway to Sasuke's house.
The day had been long. For some reason, Iruka had decided it would be today he would announce a pop quiz and find out how dismal some of his students were. After Iruka had them mark each other's papers, he looked at them all, dismissed half the class right away, and then proceeded to drill biology into the rest of them. This was made worse by the fact that somehow Iruka had managed to make his usual study group (problem students from his class and Kakashi's) larger with the 'good students'.
Naruto had tried to sneak away by claiming bathroom emergency but Iruka said that if he didn't come back, the rest of them would be cleaning up the classroom instead.
After the dirty looks from the rest of them, Naruto had laughed in embarrassment, rubbed his nose, and sat back down.
Sasuke, Sakura and Shino had been allowed to leave. Sasuke had smirked of course, Sakura shook her head and Shino almost looked like he wanted to stay.
But the day was over… and the REAL Mrs Uchiha was welcoming them all over for dinner per Sasuke's request.
Shikamaru always did like the quiet that surrounded the Uchiha's house. Not as nice as the forest near his, but it was a nice change. Not to mention the smell of the cooking that already wafted from the house…
Frowning as he stood on the front step, He stared at the closed door. He had thought that Naruto and Sasuke would be out here waiting for him. 'Hosts' as they were.
Sure it was risky to be hosting the celebratory dinner in the same house as Itachi, but Sasuke had been pretty sure Itachi was out with friends tonight.
He raised a hand to knock on the door, but to his surprise, it swung in on its own.
Opening to reveal a black shirt with red stitching. Oh, shit. Shikamaru froze. Itachi wore that shirt.
He raised his eyes and indeed Itachi looked down at him.
"Hello Shikamaru," Itachi intoned. "Welcome."
Shika blanched. What was he doing here? He looked beyond the Uchiha heir and spotted Sasuke standing just to the side. The younger brother had an almost horrified look in his eyes.
Stepping to the side, Itachi revealed a Naruto fidgeting just behind him. "Welcome," Itachi said again. And smirked…
Once Shika had edged past Itachi, and the younger Uchiha dragged him and Naruto down the hall and up a set of stairs to his room, shutting and locking the door behind them. "Shit, shit shit," he muttered, dark brows pinched on a pale face. "Kaasan just told me…"
Naruto looked confused. "Told you what?"
"You know how you were wondering about why she had us bring out the extra table?"
"… yeeesss…" Suspicious uncertainty coloured Naruto's voice as he stared at his best friend.
"He's invited his friends over, too. All of them. Hoshigaki, Toji and the Zombie Brothers," Sasuke said with quiet dread, referring to Jashin Hidan and Chuushin Kakuzu by their mutual nickname.
The colour drained from Naruto's face. "… crap."
Shikamaru frowned, "But why is he here? You said he was out!" It couldn't be called a celebratory dinner if the enemy camp was staring at you from another section of the dining table. Or… worse grinning at you from across the food. Shikamaru shook his head. "Troublesome…"
He looked at Sasuke and Naruto. Ino—sitting on Sasuke bed, having arrived moments before Shikamaru—was making meeping sounds. He groaned. "Naruto, what have you dragged us into?"
Naruto looked wounded for a moment. "It's not my fault–!"
"Yes it is!" Ino shrieked, decking him with enough force to send him sprawling.
"Shut up!" Sasuke hissed, tensed. "Someone's here. I can tell…"
The other three stared at him like he was insane before Naruto cleared his throat. "So, uh, teme… Er… How long has your… ah, dementia been… plaguing you?" he asked uncertainly.
Sasuke glared at him. "It's not–" He cut himself off and listened, and they all heard the clear sound of Jashin's voice, echoing from somewhere in the vicinity of the stairs.
"What? This place is fucking awesome!"
"Oi, watch yer language, un!"
This was followed by Hoshigaki's laughter and the paling of four faces.
"… told you so," Sasuke said.
The silence stretched thin. Downstairs they could hear the older boys say 'hello' to Mikoto-san and enquire about Uchiha-san. 'Yes, Fugaku-san would be joining them for dinner, he was running a little late with meetings—but should arrive any time now. Would one of them call the younger kids down to dinner?'
"It's okay, Itachi; we'll get them," sounded an amused voice at the stairs. "You're up to your eyebrows with plates. Really, it would be our pleasure."
Kisame? Shikamaru blinked. And who was 'we'?
"Shit." It was hard to tell who'd spoken.
Sasuke, who had his back to the door, jumped when there was a solid thump against it, followed by Kisame's voice through the fake wood. "Oi, time for dinner, kiddies," he said, the grin in his voice obvious.
Sasuke's expression darkened as he stepped back, jerking the door open. "Whatever," he said, shifting under the shark-like teenager's silver gaze. Sasuke looked past Kisame, catching sight of Hidan leaning against the far wall and Deidara just clearing the stairs with his hands shoved into his pockets. As Sasuke glared at them, the older teens grinned back evilly.
Sasuke resisted the urge to gulp. "We'll be down in a minute; you can go away."
"Hey, no need to be rude," Kisame said, grin widening.
Ino huffed. "No need to leer," she retorted, tucking a clump of hair behind one ear before glaring at him.
Hidan snorted. "'Yer leering, yer leering'," he said, voice sing-songy in quality.
Deidara laughed. "You should be more careful, un. She might call the cops."
Ino's eyes narrowed on the oldest blond and he paused, blinking at her almost deadly look. He coughed and cleared his throat. "Uhh…"
Kisame only laughed. He shook his head at the kiddies and turned around to face the other two boys. "We'll be helping Itachi downstairs with the set up. We all love Mikoto-san's cooking. And," the tall boy looked back over his shoulder at them, "since we're helping with the set up, you guys are left with the dirty dishes."
Sasuke cringed. Ino grimaced. Naruto stuck out his tongue. Shikamaru sighed and shook his head. It wasn't traditional Japanese culture to do so, but there was an understanding that if the Uchiha brothers invited more than a few friends over, they were to help with set up and clean up. All of them.
The older boys took their leave laughing and joking about aprons and using up as many plates as possible. The younger group looked at each other. Shikamaru was already thinking a mile a minute, but the rest of them were in shock.
Itachi had been expected to know it was Sasuke who had targeted him. There had been a time where the two had been close, but it had been years since they had been able to stand each other. Or rather, Sasuke couldn't stand Itachi. Itachi on the other hand took an unholy amount of amusement out of poking his younger brother. Shikamaru understood the draw; it was like poking a hedgehog. Sasuke was just too easy to rile up. Sure he didn't show anger right away, but Shikamaru could read the signs as clear as the billboards downtown. And he had only known Sasuke for five years. Itachi, on the other hand, had been around to watch him develop those signs.
It was also expected that Naruto would be identified as the mastermind behind the prank. He wouldn't stop boasting about being the number one prankster in Konoha High. The prank war between him and Itachi had been going on ever since Naruto rigged Uchiha's pen to explode back in the blond's freshman year.
What they didn't expect was for Itachi to take it so calmly. It killed Naruto's pride that his target didn't respond according to plan. Sasuke just sulked. And now, Itachi was here. At their party.
It was going to be a long dinner.