Disclaimer: Not mine. Bummer.
Summary: Itachi Uchiha has always had a sadistic streak when it came to his little brother. Now the perfect opportunity has presented itself and he just can't let it go by. (SasuNaru)
The Demilitarized Zone
"Mr. Uchiha, this is the Captain speaking. We have reached our cruising altitude of thirty-five hundred feet and I expect smooth sailing until we reach Kohona in approximately one hour."
Twenty nine year old Itachi Uchiha nodded to himself as he took another sip from his wine glass, carelessly turning the gold band on his ring finger. It would be good to be home. The trip to Suna had been successful and he was quite proud of the progress he had made.
But that wasn't why the normally emotionless man sat smirking by himself in his private airplane. The dark haired tycoon listened while the two flight attendants argued over who would assist the President of Uchiha Inc.
"No, no, no… did you see his face? That's the closest damn thing to a smile I have ever seen on his face and I've never been so damn scared in my life." The first whispered voice gushed.
"But you are the HEAD attendant… how many fucking times have you said that to me? Furthermore… it's not just scary. It borderlines on evil." A second equally hushed voiced hissed.
Finally having had enough of their little conversation, Itachi turned around, "Ladies… I can hear you." His tone was barely above sub-freezing temperatures. He almost laughed out loud as the blood drained from their faces and one had to reach out for the beverage cart to prevent herself from falling to the floor.
"You have nothing to worry about and I won't be requiring your services for this flight. Do make yourselves scarce."
The two young ladies didn't need any more of an invitation.
Leaning back into his chair, Itachi thought about why he had taken this 'business' trip in the first place.
Every morning his personal assistant, Deidara, presented him with a report summarizing his email and its contents. This morning included emails in regards to his upcoming trip to Suna, which had yet to be scheduled, quarterly reports from several branches in the northeast and one email that could only be considered spam. Why the hell was Deidara wasting his time with this?
"Oh, I know what you are thinking, boss, but I can't pretend to lose it again." Deidara began while refilling Itachi's coffee cup.
"Again?" Itachi replied, dark eyebrow raised.
"Yes… this time you are going to have to send someone. That man actually talked to your father about it. You know they go way back. Just pick a couple of suckers… I mean executives that you won't miss and send them up there. Then you can go back to ignoring him for a couple of years."
Itachi flipped through the folder to find the complete email and not just the summary. In glaring green letters the message read:
"Teamwork… YOSH! Send your executives to Might Guy's Youthful Spring Corporate Teamwork Retreat!" Followed by annoying details.
Itachi suppressed the urge to roll his eyes and felt a migraine begin from the effort.
"Right… anything to get this idiot off my back. But who do I send?"
Uchiha Incorporated's head quarters are located in a fifteen story building in the middle of downtown Kohona. The top floor of course belonged to the President of the company, Itachi Uchiha.
Floor fourteen belonged to the two Vice Presidents of the company, Sasuke Uchiha and Naruto Uzumaki.
And, truth be told, the situation put a whole new definition to "this town ain't big enough for you and me."
At the time of their hire, Fugaku Uchiha was still the acting President although he had long since given up most of his responsibilities to his eldest son. It went without saying that Sasuke would be hired right out of college, but it was a surprise to both brothers when Uzumaki had been hired as well and given such a high position in the company.
After securing the two graduates into their new positions, Fugaku retired and left Itachi to handle the aftermath. And by "aftermath", one should think of Hiroshima, New Orleans, post Hurricane Katrina or Macy's the day after Thanksgiving.
Sasuke Uchiha and Naruto Uzumaki did not get along. That might bear repeating… Sasuke and Naruto DID NOT get along. Some would say that they were too different and of course tension would arise.
Sasuke was tall, dark and devastatingly handsome. He was the strong, silent type… okay, it went beyond silent. He didn't talk. He replied to nearly everything with a different range of glare or smirk. When a verbal response was absolutely necessary he gave his signature 'hn'. He surrounded himself with people similar to himself or those who understood Sasuke-nese. He was highly intelligent and his presence alone in a room demanded respect. Unlike his brother who gave off an aura of evilness that left others quaking in fear, Sasuke gave off the dark, loner vibe that women and men flocked to in the hopes of being the man's 'one and only'. He had fan girls and boys since he was four years old and on the cover of "Money" with the rest of his family. Being raised an Uchiha and told he was perfect, intelligent and gorgeous had made Sasuke cold to everyone. He didn't trust anyone and assumed, more correct than not, that everyone was after him for something and so he offered nothing. No one cracked the shell that was Sasuke Uchiha.
That was until Naruto Uzumaki.
Naruto was, in a phrase, a little ray of sunshine. Of course, no one would ever say that to his face. It turns out the 'sun' can be quite loud and maybe mildly violent when it's pissed off. His mop of golden blond spikes framed a round, tan face that housed wide blue eyes that contained all the turbulence and wonder of a storm at sea. Three thin, pale scars akin to whiskers stretched across both of his cheeks and when he smiled his resemblance to a blond fox was hard to ignore. He stood taller than most girls but shorter than most boys. Much to his chagrin the word that was most often used to describe him was 'cute' with the occasional 'beautiful' tossed in for good measure. However, most people kept that to themselves because again, the 'sun' can be scary when it's angry. Unlike his dark haired counterpart, Naruto was the proverbial chatterbox. He liked nothing better than being surrounded by his friends and laughed more often than not. Naruto wore his emotions on his sleeve, his pant leg and on good days stapled to his forehead. He gave himself completely to everyone. He would stop everything to help a friend, an acquaintance or someone's third cousin twice removed and expect nothing in return. But throughout it all, when no one was around, the brilliant blue eyes would cloud over because deep down inside the sunshine act was just as effective as Sasuke's glares and smirks at keeping his heart safe from the outside world.
So, it was on the first day that the two young men moved in that they had their first confrontation.
Sasuke sat at his desk, his chair turned so he could look out the huge glass windows. He had made it. He was Vice President of the family's company. Funny how it didn't really mean anything to him. Hell, he knew he would be sitting here since he was old enough to tie his own shoes.
"Holy hell! Look at this view. Kiba! Kiba! Get your ass in here and look at this!"
One elegant, dark eyebrow rose as Sasuke slowly turned his chair around. It sounded like his partner was in.
Suddenly a blond blur stuck his head into Sasuke's office.
"Oh, hey! You must be Sasuke Uchiha. I didn't exactly get to meet you at the welcoming shindig the other night." Stepping into the room Naruto walked towards the large mahogany desk and extended his right hand, "Naruto Uzumaki."
Standing up with the grace of a black panther, Sasuke rose and extended his own hand. "Sasuke Uchiha."
Before they could release hands another shaggy haired boy entered the room. "There you are, man. Yeah, the view is amazing. I can't believe it's your office."
Naruto turned to Sasuke finally pulling his hand back, clenching and unclenching it at his side, "This is Kiba Inuzuka. He's been my best friend since high school and is now one of the advisors in my division."
"Hey." Kiba said shaking hands.
"Oh well," Naruto said, "I guess we should leave Sasuke to his office. Sorry for intruding." With one last smile, Naruto turned and headed toward the door following Kiba.
Naruto turned, "Did you say something?"
"Hn." With the added benefit of a smirk.
"I'm sorry, is there something stuck in your throat."
The smirk slid into a rather mild glare.
"Are you okay? Did you need some water?"
At this point, Sasuke's office staff and many of Naruto's had stopped to watch the blond man try to get a response from the raven haired man.
"Ah…" Naruto said while heading back into the office. He stopped walking when he stood in front of the stoic man, looking up into his cold, black eyes, "A whole word… impressive. However I think I can beat you. I can say four." Sending the man a blinding smile Naruto leaned forward, mischief in his eyes, "You are a bastard."
Black eyes widen, "Excuse me?"
"I said you are a bastard."
"Hn. Dobe, at least I'm not here as the entertainment factor."
Naruto who had turned to leave, slowly turned around to face the dark haired man, "What did you say, teme?"
Sasuke smirked, "Hn. I think you heard me, dobe."
Sasuke watched fascinated as the dobe's face turned red in his anger making the pale lines on his cheeks even more noticeable. "I deserve to be here just as much as you. If anything, I think we can assume that I 'earned' my position whereas you were handed yours on a silver platter."
Sasuke felt his anger rise and balled his fists, hadn't he just been thinking the same thing, but to hear it from this little blond idiot... "You should leave now, dumbass."
Naruto's eyes narrowed and turned a cold, steel blue. Sasuke smirked at his attempt to intimidate him. In his smugness, he didn't see Naruto come at him until he was on the floor with a split lip. Without thinking, he shot his right leg out kicking the shorter man's knees sending him crashing to the floor. Naruto moaned in pain and before he could sit up found Sasuke on top of him punching him soundly in the face. Naruto bucked his hips sending Sasuke flying into the front of his desk. Without even blinking the stars away, Sasuke jumped up and tackled the now standing Naruto around the middle causing them both to plummet to the floor in a tangle of limbs, grunts and name calling.
Outside the office twenty men and women stared in awe. Sasuke's friends shocked at never seeing the dark haired man react in this manner, to anything… ever… and Naruto's friends amazed at the boy meeting someone he didn't like or worse, who didn't like him. Who knew that was even possible?
"May I ask what is happening here?" Inquired a cold, menacing voice.
Two sets of eyes that were already starting to swell met the amused eyes of their boss, Itachi Uchiha.
That afternoon Naruto's office was moved to the other side of the fourteenth floor. He was happy to notice that the view was just as nice.
Sasuke and Naruto were given permission to create their own teams once they took on their new responsibilities. Of course, both of their teams were comprised of friends they had made in college.
Naruto's division was responsible for bringing in new cliental and advertising for the corporation. His team included Kiba, Shikamaru, Gaara and Hinata. All of them had been friends in college and when Naruto was presented with this wonderful opportunity, of course he jumped at the opportunity to include his friends.
Sasuke's team included Neji, Shino, Sakura and Lee. They over saw the financial aspects of the company as well as maintaining existing contracts. Sasuke couldn't say that he considered them friends but then he couldn't consider them anything else and at least they all understood how he operated.
Two weeks into their new jobs the two groups found themselves gathered around the conference table for their bi-monthly meeting to keep each other and Itachi informed of each division's progress.
Sasuke and his team sat to one side of the table, faces blank, waiting for the meeting to begin. They sat staring at Naruto's team that was joking and participating in what looked like musical chairs as they waited for Itachi to arrive.
"Oh, no… I am not sitting next to Gaara." Kiba started, "Every time I talk it he glares at me like I'm an idiot."
"He always stares at everyone, Kiba." Hinata whispered encouragingly.
"You are an idiot." Gaara said in monotone, not looking at the shaggy haired man.
Kiba stood up and pushed Naruto out of his seat forcing the blond haired man to take a seat between Hinata and Gaara. Naruto sent a smile to the shy girl and the red haired man to his side.
Finally settled, Naruto looked across the table and found himself staring into pitch black pools of bastard-y nothingness. Naruto scowled.
"Ah, guys… this is going to work for me. I can't be looking at the ice prince the entire meeting. I want to be able to eat the catered lunch that today will include ramen… thank you, Hinata… and at this rate I won't be able to stomach it."
Sasuke's whole body tensed. "Dobe."
"Teme." Naruto said sugary sweet smile curling his lips upward.
Sasuke placed both of his hands flat on the table and made to push himself up only to have Sakura 'discretely'… yeah, it hurt… tug his sleeve forcing him back in his seat.
"I think we should start." Sakura said.
"Troublesome," Shikamaru said, "What about Itachi?"
All eyes turned to Sasuke. He simply stared blankly at them.
"God, you're such a fuc…" Hinata jabbed Naruto in the side. "Right," Naruto growled and then shaking his head sent the room a brilliant smile, "Let's start. I'm sure he'll be here soon and it's not like he hasn't been appraised on what we plan to cover."
The room nodded and Naruto's team began. Naruto praised his teammates as they spoke and thanked them for their hard work, clapping each of them on the back as they concluded their reports.
Soon Sasuke's team proceeded to report and Sasuke stared intensely, taking in every word. As they each concluded they locked eyes with their boss and nodded. Naruto watched in growing confusion and anger on behalf of Sasuke's team.
"Oi! Bastard. Say something. They work hard. They did a great job. Tell them."
Sasuke slowly allowed his eyes to take in the blond across from him. "Hn."
"Oh no… no, no, no, we are not doing that again. I understand that you are a 'quiet' bas… I mean, man and hell, I respect that. But these meetings are meant to be a forum where all of us learn from each other." Naruto's team looked toward him with astonishment in their eyes. When had Naruto become so calm and mature? "So open your goddamn mouth and tell us what the fuck you think!"
"Dobe, I think you need to shut your mouth. You have no idea what you are talking about and you are just proving to all of us what an idiot you really are."
Naruto stood. Sasuke smirked and continued, "Not that I needed any proof, dumbass."
Itachi walked into the room as Naruto launched himself over the table at his smirking black haired little brother.
After that meeting Sasuke and Naruto were not allowed in a room together without Itachi present.
Sasuke looked out his office window. The city was beautiful at night and it was now significantly night. Glancing at his watch, Sasuke saw it was one in the morning. Standing rather stiffly, Sasuke stretched and collected his files and briefcase.
Walking out of his office, he switched off the lights and noticed he could see a light on across the floor. Curiosity getting the better of him, Sasuke worked his way across the room and saw the light was coming from Naruto's office. The idiot probably fell asleep and no one woke him.
Nearing the office, Sasuke stayed in the shadows. Naruto was on the phone.
"Yeah, Kakashi. I know. But I need to go over this proposal. Shikamaru and the whole team are amazing, but I have to make sure…. No! No, don't tell him!... Anything… yes, signed copy… What? Goddamn you, Ka… Hey Iruka…. Yes, I am getting plenty of sleep…. After one? Really? I hadn't noticed."
Sasuke watched as Naruto covered a yawn. "Iruka," The blond sighed closing his eyes, "I am working with ITACHI and SASUKE Uchiha. I don't need to tell you that everything they do is perfect and brilliant. I have to work hard to even walk in their shadow… I know. But you have to say that."
Sasuke walked away. That was… interesting.
Two months later at yet another board meeting…
"This company isn't some daily frat party, dobe. You have responsibilities and one of those responsibilities is to ensure that…" Sasuke growled while fisting his hands in his lap so hard he could feel the crescent shaped indentions forming.
"Don't! Don't you dare tell me what my responsibilities are, you stuck up prick! I've been working my ass off for this company… OUR company! Not that anyone can tell since my fellow 'partner' is too busy basking in the easy ride his daddy gave him to…"
"Why you little shit!" Sasuke screamed standing up so fast that his chaired crashed into window behind him.
This time it was Sasuke that jumped over the table.
After that meeting all interactions between Sasuke and Naruto were held over video conferencing.
Within six months the fourteenth floor was literally split in two. Sasuke's team on one side and Naruto's on the other. Straight down the middle was a wide pathway that the employees of the fourteenth floor called 'The DMZ' or the Demilitarized Zone. It was a neutral area where employees could converse but were not allowed to mention their bosses or conduct business of any serious nature. Sasuke and Naruto's inner circles were never allowed to cross the DMZ. These rules were concrete and held up by none other than Itachi Uchiha himself.
After coming down to see his Vice Presidents and nearly having an eye taken out during "The Great Cubical Blitz of 2007" which consisted of Naruto and his teammates launching various office supplies up and over their rivals' cubicles, Itachi decided that serious actions would need to be taken. And the fact that he caught Sasuke and his teammates covertly attempting to enter Naruto's office with less that business related intentions drove the point home.
Naruto and Sasuke were not allowed in the DMZ. They were not allowed physical contact of any kind. At business functions that required that both of them be in attendance, Itachi was forced to hire bodyguards to protect the young men… not from hostile strangers, but from each other.
And so it was that Itachi decided that if Might Guy wanted his executives there so bloody bad he could have Sasuke and Naruto. Let's see the Green Beast preach teamwork to those young men. Itachi almost wished he could be there. Guy would never bother him again.
"Deidara." The blond haired man entered the office, "Send an email to Guy telling him to expect Sasuke Uchiha and Naruto Uzumaki on Monday."
Deidara nearly choked before responding, "Sir? Ah, did you say Sasuke and Naruto?" His face had admittedly gone paler.
"Yes, I did. After you are done with that, please schedule my flight to Suna directly after work today with me returning Monday morning. Make my meetings on the golf course."
"O-okay… ah, Itachi?" Deidara said. He and Itachi had been friends since high school and Itachi never did anything without knowing exactly what he was doing, but with this… did he really 'know' what he was doing?
Itachi raised a dark eyebrow, "Yes?"
"I don't understand why you are thinking about sending your brother and Naruto. Damn, they can't even be in the same conference sized room without trying to kill each other and you want to send them into the woods together… with Might Guy! Someone won't come back alive."
Itachi leaned back in his chair, twirling around to look outside, "The man preaches teamwork. He loves a challenge. I'm simply offering him the biggest challenge of his life."
Deidara nodded silently behind him. Itachi twirled around again, "Plus, Sasuke is…" Itachi put his elbows on his desk, folding his hands and resting his chin upon them. "There was a time when Sasuke was expressive. Uzumaki brings that out in Sasuke." Dark eyes stared into his assistant's eyes, mentally daring the man to say anything about Itachi uncharacteristic ramblings.
Deidara nodded. Itachi loved his family. He might be an evil fucking bastard to everyone else, but he loved his family.
"Plus, as an added bonus, Sasuke is going to fucking hate me… that's always rewarding."
Deidara internally cringed. So his 'love' was a little sadistic. To each his own, right?
To: "Sasuke Uchiha" s. "Naruto Uzumaki" n. "Your Boss" i. Plans for Next Week
On Monday you are both expected to attend a corporate teamwork seminar that will last from Monday until Friday of next week. (See attached flyer)
Might Guy is a friend of the family and runs the Youthful Spring Corporate Teamwork Retreat in northern Leaf Country. You can expect team wall climbing, team 'open feeling discussions' and team housing among many, many other teamwork building exercises.
Before you attempt to reply to this email or worse, come and tell me your 'issues' in person, know that while you are reading this I am boarding my jet and will be gone for 'business' until Monday… wherein you shall both be holding hands and participating in trust exercises.
Make the company proud, boys.
President of Uchiha Inc.
Konhona, Leaf Country, Main Branch
Sasuke opened his email and of course clicked on the message from his brother first. As he read his eyes got wider and wider…
Naruto was chewing on his pen when the alert signally new mail drew his attention away from the new marketing proposal. Clicking on the blinking yellow envelope Naruto read quickly. The pen dropped to the floor.
Itachi allowed a true smile to grace his handsome face as the captain announced their descent into Kohona.
God it was good to be king.