Rule 3

Chapter 27

Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto.

Special thanks to 01Trycia-chan01 for being my brainstorming partner for Rule 3!

Sorry, I've run into a little writer's block (okay that's a lie: it's a lot)... Seems my mind is wanting to rush the story along and we all know that rushed action destroys a story... -.-

vvv

"Did you see the headlines?" Ayame asked the minute she opened the door. I blinked at my brother's girlfriend, "No... should I have?" I made a habit not to read any newspaper, since most of them were just gossip machines trying to pass as a factual and unbiased newspaper. Ayame answered by shoving the morning news in my hands and ushering me inside Hayaku's house. My eyes widened as I scanned over the head lines: 'UCHIHA ITACHI AND ASSISTANT SCANDAL!' My eyes darted up to Ayame, she just nodded at the paper, "Keep reading. It gets better." She said in a sarcastic tone. I did as she asked. 'We all know that the Annual Joushi-joshu Dance is a time when bosses and assistants can dance publicly without creating a scandal... unless the boss happens to be the CEO of Uchiha Corporation. Uchiha Itachi, voted Sexiest Man of the Year, was seen asking his assistant, Taihen no Ichigo, to dance the Joushi-joshu. For those few who may not know, the CEO of Uchiha Corp is one of the most sought after men in Tokyo, if not Japan! To date the man is one of the highest honors any woman can ever achieve, and here this upstart little assistant was dancing with Uchiha Itachi! This reporter has seen many strange things in her day, but seeing a woman known for her disinterest in the Sexiest Man in Tokyo dancing with Itachi-kun is the strangest!'

I tossed the paper down on the kitchen table, not bothering to finish the stupid article, "Obviously this reporter is a fangirl." I said disdainfully. Ayame smiled and scooted another newspaper towards me, "Fine, read this." She said. I rolled my eyes and began reading: 'ITACHI-SAMA AND ASSISTANT BREAKING RULE 3!' My jaw dropped at the headline, "How do they know about the third rule?!" I shouted. Ayame blinked, "Wait, the rumor is true then? Does assistants for the Uchiha brothers really have a rule that they can't fall in love with their bosses?" She asked curiously. I scowled at her, "Are you asking out of curiosity, or as a reporter?" I snapped. Ayame grinned, "Out of curiosity. I'd never report anything you say, Ichigo, unless you wanted me to." She said cheerfully. I eyed her suspiciously, not yet used to the idea of my brother dating a reporter. In my experience being Itachi's assistant, reporters were more evil than fangirls, but Ayame had yet to betray my trust. "Yes, there are three rules we assistants have to submit to when working for Uchiha Corp. You have to look pretty, be extremely loyal, and most importantly, not fall in love." I told her.

Ayame whistled, "That's hard..." She commented innocently. I shot her a suspicious look then groaned when I saw her smile, "Not you too." Ayame's grin widened, "You have to admit, it is a wonderful story. You and Uchiha-sama have worked together for years without problems, then suddenly both of you, due to precarious situations, start falling in love and-" "I am NOT falling in love with my boss!" I snapped, cutting Ayame off. The woman pulled back in surprise, shocked at my outburst, then smirked, "You're right... You're already in love with Itachi-san." She said slyly. I groaned and threw my hands in the air, there was no arguing with someone when they were convinced of what they thought was right... especially when they actually were right. All I could do was lie and say I still saw Itachi as my boss and nothing more, hopefully my feelings and everyone's interest would fade with time.

vvv

"Now what are we doing, Aunt Ichigo?" Misa asked, swinging our arms out. I smiled down at her, "How about a movie?" I suggested. Taka pouted from my other side, "I wanna see 'Tachi-san." My nephew whined. I smiled down at him, "Sorry, darling, but Itachi-san is busy at work. Besides I want to have you three to myself." I said cheerfully. Itachi had, strangely, given me the weekend off with no reason that he would tell me. I wondered what why he would do something so uncharacteristic of him. Was he displeased with my behavior around him during the Joushi-joshu Dance? It had been two days since the business meeting and Itachi had gone from... how ever he was that night to as distant, if not more, to me when I was first hired. I wasn't sure which was worse: being confused if Itachi returned my feelings or being ignored by my boss.

Misa tugged on my arm, drawing my attention away from my thoughts and to my little niece, "Aunt Ichigo? Is Daddy going to marry Miss Ayame?" The eight year old asked. I blinked down at her, wondering where she had gotten that idea from, "Uh... I don't know, do you want them to?" I asked cautiously. Umi pushed Misa aside and grabbed my hand, "Well I do! I like Miss Ayame! She's nice and funny." Umi said loudly and I laughed. Misa shoved her twin aside again and grabbed my hand, shooting death glares at her sister, "It's my turn to hold Aunt Ichigo's hand!" The little girl snapped. Taka gave his adopted sisters a strange look, before turning back to me, "Aunty Ichigo? What's marry mean?" He asked innocently. I chuckled at my nephew's naivety. "It's something when two people like each other enough to stay together forever." Taka frowned, if anything I think I made him even more confused, "Why on'y two people? I wike my sissies an' Daddy an' you an' Miss Ayame. Can't I marry dem too?" I had to suppress the sudden urge to squeal at my nephew's adorable innocence. "I didn't meant it like that. You love your family, but there is someone else out there that..." I hadn't realized the idea of marriage would be so difficult to explain to a four year old, "You'll understand when you're older, alright?" I finished, ruffling Taka's hair. That was always the best fall back excuse for the hard to explain.

The twins gasped and both tugged on my hand, nearly dislocating my shoulder. "Look, Aunt Ichigo! Look!" They said in unison, which was creepy to no end, pointing at a couple of kids their age hanging around the mall's fountain. I raised my eyebrow, "Yeah, what about them?" I asked the two troublemakers. Umi grinned and me, her teeth practically glittering, "Can we go say hi? They're our friends!" I rolled my eyes, "Alright, me and Taka are going birthday shopping. Don't leave that spot, even if they do, understand?" I said sternly. The girls nodded and rushed off to join their friends. I watched them cautiously, knowing that Hayaku's kids weren't really welcome that much, but the other kids seemed happy to see Umi and Misa. Taka looked from his sisters up to me, "Aunt Ichigo... why we goin' birfday shoppin'?" He asked, his right fist starting to make its way towards his mouth. I gently pushed his fist back down, Hayaku had warned me that Taka had taken to biting his knuckles and wanted me to keep an eye on him. "Because Itachi-san's birthday is soon. I brought you three along to pick out a gift for him. That sound like fun?" Taka's mildly sour mood disappeared like it was never there, "I know jus what ta give him! Come on, Aunty Ichigo!" Taka shouted happily and practically dragged me away.

vvv Itachi's POV vvv

'...a woman known for her disinterest...' I frowned at the wording the reporter, who was an obvious fangirl, had chosen. Ichigo wasn't disinterested, not from what I had observed of her. My assistant was loyal above all else and took personal interest in her job and her job alone. That was what I admired about her. Like me, Ichigo did not let something as silly as emotions get in the way of her work. She didn't need words of encouragement to know when she did a good job, unlike many people I have known. Ichigo didn't looked for approval and she didn't seem to care when someone didn't approve. She was her own person, strong and independent. And yet... her temper was a problem. Sometimes my assistant acted irrationally, but her undying loyalty made up for her flaws. She was beautiful in her own way.

I blinked and sat back, wondering where the thought had come from. It was true that Ichigo was indeed beautiful, and not just physically, but it was atypical of me to think of her that way. My eyes darted towards Ichigo's empty desk, as neat and organized as my own. I did not know what to think of my assistant anymore. I had been almost confused ever since the Joushi-joshu Dance. No. I turned away from Ichigo's desk and back on the paper in front of me. In truth, I had been unsure what to make of Ichigo ever since I was sick with pneumonia and she stayed by my bedside. Although I do not remember much of what happened that day, I do remember calling her my friend. Now I wasn't sure if she was even that anymore. She had done nothing wrong, in fact Ichigo had been the best of help since then, but something had changed. I no longer saw her as a friend nor did I see her as a lowly employee. I didn't know what Ichigo was to my eyes. I sighed and cradled my forehead in the palm of my left hand, this was getting extremely tiring to think about; but my mind always seemed to drift back to my confusing assistant and I couldn't help it.

^o^

Bwahahahahahahahaha! Taka is so cute with his innocence! And Itachi is so confused about Ichigo! XD They be so adorable! lol

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