Rule 3

Chapter 23

Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto, and I never will...

BTW: Special thanks to 01Trycia-chan01 for being my brainstorming partner for the chapter.

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"I don't get it, why are we going to this fancy-shmancy hotel in evening gowns and tuxedos, for a business meeting?" Sakura asked as she subtly tried to readjust the front of her dress. From the way Sasuke kept glancing at her from his seat beside her, I knew she wasn't succeeding. Both my bosses looked at me, clearly expecting me to explain. I sighed, "This business meeting is very important, Sakura." I told my pink haired friend. Sakura gave up trying to yank her dress up and crossed her arms, "Still don't get why I have to wear this..." She grumbled mulishly. I noticed Sasuke looking at her again. Maybe Sakura didn't get the reason why she was in a form fitting silver dress, but I had a good guess. And it had nothing to do with the dress code.

I leaned forward so I caught Sakura's attention, "Look, think of this business meeting as prom, freshmen orientation, and senior graduation night all rolled into one." Sasuke chuckled, "Perfect analysis, Ichigo." He commented sincerely. I shot my second boss a suspicious look as I settled back in my seat. It had been a full week since I was forced to bring Umi, Misa, and Taka to the office and so far Sasuke had been nothing but civil to me. I had a feeling that he was up to something. The limo pulled up in front of the hotel where the business meeting was taking place. Itachi glanced at Sasuke and Sakura sitting across from him, "Please remember to be on your best behavior." He said dully. Sakura went as bright as her hair and Sasuke looked away. I couldn't help but giggle at them, but my mirth died when Itachi actually helped me out of the limo. In the seven years I had worked for the Uchiha, he had never shown any kind of courtesy to me.

Reporters lined the way to the hotel entrance, their camera's flashing as each person walked by. Every single camera seemed to turn on the Uchiha brothers as they stepped out of the limo and headed for the hotel's revolving doors. Screams from the attending fangirls went up and the line of reporters suddenly surged forward as the fangirls behind them struggled to grab one (or both) of the Uchiha brothers. Sakura and I, still standing at the limo, had the smart idea to wait until the fangirls were not so rabid anymore before heading after our bosses. "Don't respond to anything the reporters say. Just stare ahead and move quickly." I whispered to Sakura as we got closer to the line of reporters. The pink haired woman looked a little overwhelmed as the flashes of light blinded her, "What makes you think they'll say anything to us?" She asked, a tone of hesitancy in her voice.

I gave her a long side look, but couldn't answer as the reporters started shouting, "Miss Taihen no! Miss Taihen no! Is it true that you and Uchiha-sama are secretly engaged?" "Miss Ichigo, who's your friend? Is she the girl who Sasuke is dating?" "Ichigo, can we have a statement on how you really feel about your boss?" "Miss Taihen no Ichigo! Uwasabanashi Daily says you're pregnant with Itachi-sama's child, is this true?!" "Miss Haruno! Did you and Sasuke date in high school? Is working for him a cover to get back together?" "Hey Ichigo! Can you take the kids this weekend again?" My head whipped around at that last question. Ayame was standing among the reporters, giggling as she held out her microphone almost playfully. I smiled at her, "Hello Ayame. Good to see you." I said then continued on my way. The reporters, seeing a reaction from one question, ran with it. They continued asking who were 'the kids' and were they mine and Itachi's. It didn't end until Sakura and I reached Sasuke and Itachi. Sakura looked very red, "Geez, I thought assistants were... invisible!" She whined. I smiled at her, "Not when your the assistant to an Uchiha."

Sasuke nodded, "Hn. Our assistants are almost as popular as we are. That's why I made sure to never have an assistant with me at these things." Sakura shot him a look, "I'm not sure if I should take that as an insult or a compliment..." Itachi said nothing as he lead us into the hotel, then he disappeared the minute we were in the doors. Sakura's mouth dropped open at the sight, and I really didn't blame her. It was a lot to take in the first time. It was a perfect blend of chaos and elegance. Marble floors reflected the large chandelier hanging down from the Renaissance styled dome, but tables were set up against the beige walls, each trying to entice investors in their companies. The reception desk was set up with refreshments, where calamari on gold platters was served beside bowls of Chex-mix. Waiters walked around with silver trays, flutes of champagne resting next to bottles of beer. The center of the room was open for ballroom dancing, but only if you were willing to dance around people standing there talking loudly.

A shrill squeal brought my attention away for the room. I only had enough time to look to my right to see a banner of blonde hair floating past me, followed by Sakura's yelp of surprise and Sasuke's quiet grunt as he caught something. I turned to see Ino hugging the life out of Sakura, who would have fallen, had Sasuke not caught her. "Oh my kami! I haven't seen you in forever, Sakura! How have you been? Are you liking your job now? I don't think I've seen you since the high school reunion! Hey, is Ichigo with you?" Ino babbled. Sakura finally managed to get her friend off her and said, "If you hadn't been so busy to tackle me, you'd see that you nearly ran Ichigo over." She snapped. Ino turned and was about to tackle me when someone wrapped their arms around me in a back breaking hug, "Hey Ichigo! Where have you been?!" In reflex, I jammed my right elbow into the gut of my attack, who groaned and let go of me. I glared down at the doubled over Kankuro, "Geez... Ichigo... that's a little over the top, don't you think?" He asked groaning.

"I think she went easy on you." Gaara said behind his brother. I smiled at the red head, "How's my favorite brother-in-law?" I asked. "Hey!" Kankuro shouted as he straightened. We both ignored him, "I'm fine. Temari had her child by the way. A boy." Gaara responded. I grinned, clasping my hands under my chin in my excitement, "Yes! Now I have another kid to spoil!" "You're related to Gaara, Ichigo?" Sakura asked. I turned to Ino, Sasuke and Sakura all standing behind me, I had forgotten they were even there, "Yes. My brother, Ryuu, married Temari, remember?" Sakura still looked confused, but Ino snapped her fingers, "Oh yeah! That was the first time we had hung out, it was at the wedding! Remember, Sakura? You wore that gaudy pink dress and your date was some weird guy who looked like he was stoned all the time." Sakura glared at Ino, probably remembering what she was talking about now, while Sasuke smothered a laugh. "Oh and what about you? With that nasty haircut and your on again/off again boyfriend Shikamaru? Speaking of Shikamaru, why are you even here? This is a business meeting!" Sakura snapped.

Ino laughed, "Only you can make sense like that, Forehead-chan. And this isn't just any old business meeting. This is the event of the season. Everyone who's anyone comes to this thing. A night for contracts to be made, promises to be broken, businesses to rise up or crumble down, when even the least famous person here is the most sought after. Relationships start and end right here. This business meeting is the best social event in the year. It's like the... like the Grammy Awards in America!" Ino finished loudly. Sasuke chuckled, "Pretty poetic, Ino." He said. Ino blinked at him, then frowned, "And how are you treating my best friend? I heard of that evil prank, mister. You better not have another one of those up your sleeve, or so help me, I'll kick you into next week!" Sasuke just smiled amiably, like the thought had never crossed his mind.

Kankuro spoke up then, "So, Ichigo... when are you going to leave Uchiha Corp and come work for your family?" I looked at my two brother-in-laws. Gaara was the CEO of Subaku no Suna Hospital, with his brother as the head of the legal council. For the past five years Kankuro was trying his best to get me to come work for him. But, other than my mild dislike for my older brother-in-law, my loyalty to Uchiha Corp kept me from taking Kankuro up on his offer. "When I'm dead." Itachi answered Kankuro behind me and I stiffened, as did everyone but Gaara and Sasuke. I hadn't even heard him return. Before Kankuro could say he was joking and avoid getting murdered by the elder Uchiha brother, Itachi wrapped his warm fingers around my elbow and gently tugged me away, "I have business to attend to, forgive us." He told the rest of our group and lead me away.

"What business, Itachi-san? You only come here for publicity." I said when we were out of earshot. Itachi stared straight ahead and didn't say anything. Just when I was beginning to think he wasn't going to answer me, he said, "I don't like you talking to him." I blinked then frowned at my boss, "He's family, what's wrong with talking to him?" I asked, slightly offended. Itachi glanced down at me, "The fact that all he does is try to entice you to quit." I rolled my eyes, of course it was something so small. I would be a fool to think it was something else, "I'm loyal to the company, Itachi-san. You needn't worry that I might leave." I said. Itachi didn't respond. After he had successfully maneuvered us through the ever shifting dance floor, I asked again, "What business did you call me away for?"

Itachi smiled at me, not a smirk or a smug grin, but an actual smile, "Damage control. It seems most of my ex-girlfriends have shown up." I rolled my eyes, "Itachi-san... don't take offense, but you're hopeless."

^o^

And thus the start of the bestest event of the year starts!

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