Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto, so don't ask.
ARGH! I feel so guilty for missing out on this update! D: I had stinkin' Writer's Block, and I still do. So if this chapter sucks, just remember that I'm fighting against the dreaded W. B.
A week later Itachi walking into the office, saying, "I talked to Sasuke." I didn't look up from my computer, glaring at the document open on the screen, "Like I care." I snapped back, banging my fingers extra hard against the keyboard just to show my anger. I was still pissed at Sasuke for his low move. It had taken me a day and a half to convince Sakura to at least consider not quitting, I hadn't even gotten her fully convinced. Itachi shot me a look, but didn't lecture me, I knew he was thinking the same thing secretly. That stunt was a new low even for Sasuke. Itachi set his briefcase silently on his desk and moved his mouse to wake his computer before continuing, "He agreed that Sakura could continue working for him, if you agreed that the bet was still on."
I finally turned to glare at my boss. Something had changed between us, ever since last weekend. We were more irritable towards each other, neither of us had any patience for the other anymore. I wondered if this was the end of our flawless partnership, or if it was simple a phase that would pass. I desperately wanted it to end for better or for worse, I didn't like this new Itachi. The man I worked with for the last seven years was calm and collected. He never lost his temper with me, never raised his voice. The past week, not only had Itachi glared at me for even interrupting him over important issues that needed his attention right away, but he had also shouted, growled, and even threatened to fire me once.
Itachi raised an eyebrow, looking irritated, "Well?" He asked. I rolled my eyes and turned my gaze back to the computer, "...Fine... but only if he promises to play fair from now on." I grumbled. Itachi gave a simple nod and both of us stayed quiet for the rest of the day, each avoiding the other like a disease.
At seven I was leaving the office when my cell phone buzzed in my purse. Muttering curses I dug around to find the blasted devise, swearing that if it was Itachi he was going to get an earful. Finally I yanked the phone from my seemingly depthless purse and answered it with a "What?!" Surprisingly Ryuu's voice answered, "Ichigo, I don't have time to explain, but I need you to come to Hayaku's house, now." I stood there blinking for a moment. Why on earth did Ryuu need me at our brother's house? Did something happen? Instead of asking, I simply told him, "Be there in five." He didn't thank me, he just hung up. Still confused I hailed a taxi and directed him to Hayaku's house.
What I saw surprised me. Cop cars barricaded the shabby house of my brother's, drawing a small crowd like moths to flame. I told the taxi driver to wait then hurried though the crowd. "Hey, lady, what's your rush?" A sleazy looking man asked when I accidentally elbowed him in the side, trying to push through the crowd. I ignored him, struggling to reach the front of the crowd. Many people had something similar to say to me as I dodged around them. A cop blocked me, "Sorry miss but-" "This is my brother's house, what's going on?" The man frowned, "Taihen No Hayaku is under arrest." He stated. I stared at him, "What?!" I managed to squeak after a minute. Hayaku was the most law abiding person I knew, besides the fact that he refused to pay taxes on his unofficial orphanage. The grim cop nodded, "We've had several calls from different people that he was abusing the kids he took in."
My mouth dropped open, but before anything else could happen Ryuu came out of the house, "Ichigo!" He called, waving at me. When the cop looked over his shoulder towards my oldest brother I ducked around him and rushed forward, "Ryuu, what is the meaning of this? Hayaku arrested? For abuse?!" My brother's usual smile was replaced with a serious look, "Seems so. Kinda makes me wonder who on earth would do such a thing..." From his pointed look I knew that Seimei had something to do with this. It was only logical, after all I was the key in making her lose the case against Sasuke, much to my regret now. It didn't surprise me that she went after Hayaku though. Ryuu was her older brother and could take care of himself, and I was protected by Uchiha Corp.
The cop that I had spoken to walked forward, "Your brother will stand trail unless there is a 100K bail that can be met." Ryuu and I exchanged worried looks, neither of us had that kind of money just laying around. Ryuu turned back to the cop, "And what about the kids?" The cop shrugged, "If no one takes them then they'll be put into a more established orphanage." He said. I watched him, he didn't seem to like the second idea, I wondered why. "I'll take Taka." I said. Ryuu pinched his nose and sighed, "My wife and I can take in the twins..." The cop shot us a weary look, I knew what he was going to ask, so I flashed him my Uchiha Corp ID, "I'm the assistant to Uchiha Itachi, I'm sure I'm trustworthy." The cop just blinked in surprise. While Ryuu explained why he was qualified to take two kids, I walked in the house.
Hayaku's three kids were huddled in the livingroom, tears rushing down their little faces as the cops surrounding them pressed for questions. Umi had grabbed Hayaku's favorite blanket and was hugging it like her life depended on it. Taka was huddled beside his adopted sisters, sucking his thumb and watching the cops poke around his home with overlarge wet eyes. Misa shivered on the right of him, her thin arms wrapped around her torso as she rocked back and forth, sniffing periodically. She was the first to notice me standing in the doorway, "Aunt Ichigo!" She wailed and ran for me, wrapping her arms around my waist and burying her tear stained face in my side. Umi and Taka joined her, while the cops looked on, somewhat fustrated that I had interrupted their investigation.
I knelt down to my nephew and neices' level. Umi scrupped at her running nose with the back of her hand, "Daddy didn't do what they say he did." She sniffed. I nodded, pushing her ratty hair out of her face, "I know, but the police need you to come stay with Uncle Ryuu and me until they get this right, okay?" All three of them nodded solomly and my heart broke at their faces. These kids didn't deserve all this drama in their lives. They had already gotten a taste of it before Hayaku took them in. Ryuu's voice behind me made all of us jump, "Umi and Misa will be going with me, and Taka will stay with Aunt Ichigo." His deep voice left no room for argument, if there was one to begin with. The twins dislodged themselves from me and Taka tightened his small grip. Slowly I picked the three year old up, said my good-byes to my family, and left with my adopted nephew in my arms.
"Okay Taka, eat this while I make a call." I said placing a bowl of ramen in front of the boy. Taka, still shivering, took the chopsticks I had laid next to him and eat in very small amounts. I watched him for a minute before dailing Itachi's number. He picked up after the second ring, "What do you want?" He asked hotly. I surpressed my anger at his curt tone and said, "I have a problem to deal with, so can you either give me a few days off, or can I bring my nephew to the office?" There was a long silence on the other line, so long that I thought he hung up. "Too many things are happening for you to take off. And why do you need to bring a child to the office? Can't you hire a babysister, or put him in school?" I took a brief moment to glare at the phone in my hand, if I could do that then I wouldn't be calling, would I? Instead of saying what I wanted to, I ground out, "Because it was last minute, and he's three so he's not in school yet. Yes or no, Uchiha?" I snapped. Itachi sighed irritably over the phone, "Alright, but he better behave." I hung up without saying another word.
Taka looked over at me, "Who was that?" He asked, a noodle hanging from the corner of his mouth. I gently picked it away and threw it away, "My boss. You're going to work with me tomorrow, won't that be fun?" I tried to make it sound like it was a big adventure, but only succeeded in sounding stupid. Not that Taka could tell the difference. He gave me a full out smile, the first I had seen all night, and nodded before running after my poor cat, wanting to play. I sighed, glad that I had had the forsight to have Raion declawed, the last thing my family needed was someone to think that those awful rumors about my brother were true.
Ugh... Finally done! Sorry if it's poorly written and jump...