Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto.
Special Thanks to 01Trycia-chan01 for being my brainstorming partner on Rule 3! ^^ Also thanks to all my lovely readers/reviewers for being so wonderful! I love you all! O.o I didn't expect there to be so much Matsuri hate from the previous chapter... ya'll must all hate Matsuri.
Here ya go! More flashbacks! Mwahahahahahaha
SURPSISE! Early update *jazz hands* lol
IMPORTANT: I start college soon (urg), so there will be a change in updating schedule. Since I'm going to be a full time college student and will have to work my butt off, my updating days will be moved from Wednesday to Friday since it's the only day I have off from college. This change takes affect August 30.
True to his word Naruto kept the torturing down to a minimum. When Gaara returned to school a few days later, Naruto and I were already friends. Gaara was surprised at what Matsuri did. When she tried to talk to him in between classes, he had nearly punched her and told her to get lost. Very loudly and with more curse words than that. I had never seen Gaara so angry before. He looked like he was ready to kill Matsuri; I was almost positive he would have if Naruto and I hadn't shown up by then. When I told Gaara about Naruto's promise, Gaara was surprised that someone as popular as Naruto would lower himself to our level, but there was a reason for that. He, it turned out, had been teased when everyone was in elementary, so he understood it. Gaara and I got along with Naruto better than anyone, because of that. The three of us became inseparable and the preps left us alone now that one of 'them' had become friends with Gaara and me. I began to feel safe again.
I had just turned sixteen when I ran into Fugaku-sama, literally. It was the end of the day and Ryuu was supposed to be home, so I wanted to hurry and beat him there. As it was, I didn't see the man until I was colliding with his chest. It was like running into a brick wall. "Watch it." He said, though not unkindly; just expressionlessly, like he was commenting on the weather. I ducked my head shyly, "Sorry, sir. I'm really sorry. I wasn't watching where I was going and-" "Dad can we leave?" Sasuke cut me off. I stiffened at the sound of his voice and looked up to see him staring at me, I could tell by the look in his eyes that Sasuke was going to tell everyone what a klutz I was. I glared at him as I took a step away from Sasuke's father. It had been two years since I started at Konoha Elite. After Naruto became friends with Gaara and me, most of the preps stopped teasing us, but Sasuke never gave up. I hated him more than I hated Seimei, and that was saying something.
Fugaku-sama seemed interested in the fact that I was glaring at his son. I guess it was rare to see any girl Sasuke's age not immediately worship the ground he walked on. Sometimes I wondered if that was the reason why Sasuke had it in for me. "Hm, what's your name girl?" Fugaku asked. I stiffened in surprise that he would address me. I blinked at him several times before I finally answered, "Taihen no Ichigo, Uchiha-sama." I managed to say without stuttering. Fugaku watched me a little longer, his cold dark eyes inspecting every inch of me. Apparently satisfied, Fugaku ushered Sasuke into the waiting black business car and they both disappeared. But that wasn't the last time I saw Fugaku. Not by a long shot.
Three days later I was called out of class. To my surprise I found Sasuke's father waiting for me. "Uchiha-sama?" I questioned, then glanced around, looking for Sasuke. Maybe he was waiting for his son or something. The man chuckled, "I'm here to talk to you, Miss Ichigo." That startled me. I eyed the older man suspiciously. What on earth did he want with me? Fugaku brought out a folder from his briefcase and flipped it open, "It says here that you're in Konoha Elite because of a scholarship." I stared at the man, how did he get my folder?! Wasn't that against the law or something? The Uchiha glanced up at me, clearly waiting for an answer. I stiffened and mumbled a yes, feeling a small blush forming on my cheeks. I already got enough from my classmates. Was this guy going to start berating me for being poor too? Fugaku seemed pleased with my answer, surprisingly. I was getting more and more suspicious. Why was this man taking interest in me, and why was he interested that I was poor?
"Your teachers say you make good grades and you're very organized." He stated, his eyes scanning my folder. I wanted to snatch it from him, "I'm sorry, sir, but why is that important? And what do you want with me?" Fugaku nodded, not listening to a word I said. He pulled a pen out from the inside of his suit jacket and made a note, "Very polite and straightforward. You'll do nicely." I was glaring at the Uchiha by then, "Nicely for what?!" I snapped. Fugaku glanced up at me, his dark eye amused though his face gave away no such indication. "Tell me, Miss Ichigo, are you interested in a high paying job?" My scowl deepened as did my suspicion, "What kind of job? I want a full description." I said, mildly interested. If it was an honest job then I would happily accept, I could help mom and dad with the bills. But so far this guy just seemed like a pervert. The Uchiha smirked a little and made another note, "Shrewd too. I'm starting to like you." He commented. I bit my tongue to keep in the retort that sat there, just begging to be said. Fugaku shut my folder and tucked it back into his briefcase, "My eldest son has recently finished college and has joined me in my business, he is in need of an assistant."
That wasn't helping, "What kind of business are you in?" I asked. Fugaku gave a small smile, "Law. I am the CEO of Uchiha Corp." Being a high school kid, I hadn't realized how important that company was. Before I could ask another question, Fugaku spoke, "If you are interest I would like you to meet Itachi today after school. Meet me here at three." He started to turn away but I stopped him, "Wait, Uchiha-sama!" The man turned halfway towards me, his eyebrow raised questioningly. I met his gaze boldly, "Why did you pick me?" I asked. I could see one corner of his mouth twitch, "Because of your apparent hatred for my youngest son. Maybe you could concentrate on your work instead of your boss." He said calmly and walked away without another word.
I did accept the job. Itachi-san had been a lot more polite than his brother, and I wanted to help my parents with the bills. Unfortunately Sasuke found out about his brother's new assistant and the teasing picked up again tenfold. Not even Naruto could protect me then. It was worse than before. Most of the students called me a whore, saying I was only hired to 'ease Itachi's stressful job', to put it politely. Sasuke never did though, he defended Itachi, saying that his older brother would never touch trash like that. He told everyone that I was basically Itachi's slave, that I was so ugly anyway that Itachi wouldn't touch me with a ten foot pole. That I was a batty idiot who was trying to desperately be accepted somewhere... not that Itachi would ever accept me. It was during the rest of those horrid high school days that Sasuke belittled me. He and his posse began ordering me around, trying to 'get me used to working for Itachi,' and if I didn't do what they said, I was pushed around and smacked until I finally did it. I hated those high school days. I hated every day that I would wake up at five in the morning to set up Itachi-san's office then face the day where his younger brother made me feel worthless, I would run out of the school building at the end of everyday, trying not to cry again, only to have Itachi treat me like I wasn't there. At least he was still more polite than his brother was.
"OUCH! You bitch!" Sasuke shouted when I managed to peg him in the arm with Sakura's paperweight. I made a face at him, "That was for the hair pulling! And this is for that stupid bus joke!" I shouted back and chucked the tape dispenser. Sasuke ducked that one and glared at me, "When Itachi hears about this, you're going to be fired so fast you're head will spin!" He growled. I narrowed my eyes, "Like I care! You've been torturing me ever since I met you! I bet a year's paycheck that you were being nice to me as a cruel joke!" I shouted and threw the hole-puncher at him. Sasuke once again dove behind his desk and the puncher hit the window, making it crack some more. Sasuke glanced at the enlarged crack then gave me a deadly glare, "I was not, nimrod! Sakura wanted me to be nicer to you, but if you're going to act this way then fine!" At that, Sasuke grabbed the paperweight I had thrown at him earlier and hurled it back at me. The rock shot towards me like a bullet and I hit the ground to avoid it. It left a crater in the wall.
I shot back to a stand, "Ha! You just made worse damage than me! Itachi-san is going to kill you!" I yelled and threw Sakura's poor potted plant at my boss. Sasuke grabbed it instead of ducking and letting it hit the window, "Stop throwing things." He growled. I snarled back at him, "Oh that never stopped you! I have years of trash to catch up on, jackass." Someone sighed behind me and we both froze. Turning I found Itachi standing in the doorway, pinching the bridge of his nose in irritation. "He started it!" I yelled quickly, pointing at Sasuke. Sasuke in turn gaped at me for a moment before shouted, "I did not! You're the one who threw the damn stapler first." I spun to glare at him, "You started it by torturing me all throughout middle and high school!" I snapped. That seemed to shut him up for a while. Itachi glared at the two of us and we immediately stopped. I felt like a kid getting into trouble. "What will make you two get along?" Itachi asked, more to himself than us. I crossed my arms, "I get along great with Sasuke-san... as long as I'm not in the room alone with him." I mumbled. Sasuke glared at me and opened his mouth, but one stern look from Itachi shut him up quickly. I started to laugh at Sasuke, but an equally evil look from Itachi cut me short.
"Come with me." Itachi ordered and walked out of the office without even making sure that we would follow. All three of us knew that it was in our best interest to follow him when he was this mad. Itachi lead us to the janitors closet and opened the door, "Both of you are to clean the office, if you're going to destroy company property, the least you can do is clean up after yourselves." "Yes, mother." Sasuke said snippishly and got another fierce glare from his older brother. Sasuke pointed in the closet, "Ichigo, go get what we need." He ordered arrogantly. I stiffened, "WHAT?! If you think for one minute that I'm-" I started, reaching out to strangle the younger Uchiha brother. Itachi grabbed my wrists before I could, "You're both going to get your supplies. This is equal work. Right now no one is boss or assistant, you're both janitors. Get. To. Work." Itachi growled and practically shoved us both into the tiny closet. It was hardly big enough for the two of us to have three inches of personal space. Sasuke and I glared at each other before turning away and searching the shelves and walls for anything that could help clean up the mess we had made of Sasuke's office. But there was nothing in the closet. All the shelves were bare.
I turned at the same time Sasuke did. We were both staring at the impregnable slab of wood that made the janitor closet's door.
Itachi, that asshole, he just locked us in here!
The cliffhanger! XDDDDD Itachi is an evil troll, I couldn't help it. XD