Sand Trails Ch 6: Welcome to the Fold

When he finally stepped out of the cafe and away from Yamanaka, Itachi’s eyes immediately went for Shiori. Thankfully, the car was where he expected, as was the girl who’d left him for dead. Seeing Sakura leaning against the driver’s door and peering in at the dash, Itachi smiled and quietly stalked up behind her.

As he stood there, watching her admire his car, he admired her. She had foregone the use of her jacket, which was neatly folded on the hood and so he had an almost unobstructed view of her figure. Not bad at all, Itachi smirked. “I question my decision to know you, Sakura-san,” he drawled, “if it entails running into more blondes like Ino.”

She spun around, fingers automatically curling into a fist as if she was about to hit him. Then she dropped her arm and relaxed. “What the hell are you, a ninja? Don’t scare me like that!” she scolded.

“And you are obviously a civilian brawler,” Itachi returned. “And a cruel one.” He took out his keys and grinned. “Are you still so sure that Naruto will not be visiting this manga shop of yours?”

“Yes,” she agreed, brow furrowing. “How’d you know? About the fighting thing.”

“Your tells. Your body moved into position automatically: low center of balance, bent knees, and the tension that keeps the arms up, but the shoulders loose.” He unlocked the car and popped the locks. “However, I am unfamiliar with the form. Care to inform me while I drive?”

She smiled, and nodded. “Sure,” she said before circling the car and climbing in. Once she was buckled, she said, “I’m not sure about the type… It’s my, er, sensei’s family thing. My friend Lee taught me.”

“Hnn.” He turned the key and the engine purred to life. “Family taught fighting styles are always superior to the institutionalized diluted version they teach in the public dojos. I, myself, was taught by my father and mother.” He pulled up to the entrance of the parking lot. “Which way to the shop?”

“Left. You know martial arts?” she asked.

Itachi raised an eyebrow but didn’t look at her as he made the turn into traffic. “I would have thought it obvious. Sasuke also is instructed.”

She fell silent a beat. “No… I’m not very good at seeing it… and well… Sasuke never said as much,” she admitted, brow drawing down in thought. “I’m still learning, to be honest.”

He shook his head. “I did not mean to say that my experience would be obvious. Only that I assumed Sasuke had told you of his training.” Chuckling, Itachi half-turned to look at her. “I would be ashamed of my skill if I broadcasted my tells to the world. Fighters are taught to avoid tells that would be used to predict their imminent movements, but I was trained to avoid betraying my skills completely.”

“Oh, yeah?” she asked, and smirked. “So you are a ninja.”

Itachi smirked. “I didn’t deny it.” He nodded at the road. “Navigator, keep on task.”

“Another left two lights down,” she said, with barely a glance, and then pouted out the window. “You have music, yeah? I hope so.”

He shifted gears and used the same hand to gesture at the glove box. “The CDs are in there. Help yourself.”

She flicked through the selection, lips pursed, and gasped. “Dear gods, you are the most interesting guy I’ve ever met,” she said, carefully retrieving an Emilie Autumn CD from the holder and slipping it into the player.

The first few notes thrummed through the car and he smiled. Ah, this one. “Would you mind if I queue a song?” he murmured.

She waved dismissively. “Go ahead. It’s your car,” she pointed out, looking amused.

“I have been reminded twice tonight that you have a tendency to lash out when it comes to disappointment,” Itachi remarked as he reached over and tapped to buttons on the player. “And I am driving.”

Sakura blinked. “Disappointment? Really?” She thought back over the evening. Well, there was the whole shallow thing, but that was more irritation. Though it could be misconstrued, she supposed. And then with Ino… Oh. “Haha… Uh, sorry,” she said sheepishly. “Naruto says I have a bad temper; guess he’s right.”

He let a few measures of music stream by. “Yamanaka,” as if he had read her earlier thoughts, “had wanted me to give you something. Though, had I delivered, she swore you would kill me for it.” He tilted his head towards her. “Any guesses what she was implying? Oh, and am I right in assuming that if you do not give a direction, I follow the road?”

She didn’t seem to hear the end bit, her face darkening considerably. “That nosy, meddling little–” Then she caught herself and abruptly calmed. She sighed. “Um? Oh. Yeah, that’s right,” she said, reaching up to rub her nose. “Why are so many people intent on getting into my private life?” she grumbled rhetorically, more to herself than him.

The other teenager laughed. “I can’t claim immunity,” he admitted. “Dare I ask what she was proposing?” The song reached its end and he reached out, tapping the two buttons again.

She blinked, then turned a very interesting shade of red. “Knowing Ino… it probably had something to do with touchy-feely stuff,” she replied vaguely.

Itachi choked and snickered. “Forward isn’t she?” Remembering her body language, he shook his head. It was actually a measure of faithfulness to her friend that Yamanaka hadn’t verbally propositioned him.

The pink-haired girl groaned. “You have no idea,” she replied vehemently. “Her favorite game in Junior High was ‘Kiss or Tell’.”

What had his favourite game been? Itachi silently mused. Unconsciously, he began to hum and mouth the lyrics of the song. “What was yours?” he asked, distracted. He was still sorting through memories.

“Eh, anything to deal with cards, and I HATED Kiss or Tell, ‘cause Ino always cheated.” She smiled. “Turn right up here, and it’s the third store on the block,” she added.

One eyebrow went up. Cards? But first… “How does one cheat in that game?”

Dark green eyes slanted toward him. “Wouldn’t you like to know,” she replied suggestively.

“With a game where the likely players are most of my friends and their dates, yes I would like to know how to cheat. You’ve seen my friends. Would you like to kiss any of their dates? Or them for that matter?” Itachi muttered.

She actually considered that a moment. “Hm… no, not really,” she admitted. “Jashin’s a potty mouth, Kisame kind of scares me in a ‘what the fuck is he up to’ way, Deidara’s… pretty girly… and well… Kakuzu…” She gave him a Look.

“As for cheating… Once, she spiked our drinks with truth serum. Once, she prodded me with questions she knew I’d never answer around others… Hm… Oh! She got us drunk another time…” She tapped her chin as he pulled up and parked in front of the manga shop. “I think there was something about blackmail, thankfully not me… Ino’s ruthless. Like a shark smelling blood, she won’t give up until she’s sunk her teeth into whatever it is she’s after.”

Itachi cut the engine and sighed. “All her cheating ways, and it doesn’t help me in the least. Kiss and Tell happens to be Kisame’s favourite game.” He got out of the car and waited until Sakura had also exited, then thumbed the locking mechanism. “Kiss and Tell or Get Molested,” he added, answering her frown.

“Oh gods,” she muttered, rolling her eyes and shaking her head. “He seems like the type, too,” she admitted. “Well, enough of that; I think I just saw my favorite person,” she said, eying a book in the window display. “And his name is Alucard.”

Watching the younger girl drift dreamily into the shop, Itachi eyed the book in the window. A very good series. Though at volume five, events were only just starting to unfold. Her favourite person was another facet of Sakura’s personality, and he had yet to be disappointed by any angle.

Feeling rather satisfied with the world, the teenager followed his date into the store.

xXx

A soft crack was followed by the sound of something hitting the cement various times–or perhaps rolling is the better word. Three of the boys were crouched, rolling a handful of dice between them, and watching avidly.

The fourth–Deidara–was busy mumbling equations and shuffling through plans for his big show. He ignored the others.

“YES! TWENTY FIVE, BABY! PAY THE FUCK UP!” Hidan yelled victoriously.

Kisame and Kakuzu glowered at him in unison, shutting him up long enough for them to dig out their wallets and count out twenty-five dollars each. “Get run over by a car,” the latter hissed at his best friend.

“Bite me, bitch,” Hidan retorted, making a lewd gesture.

The taller teen grumbled, “Can we play poker now?”

Kakuzu straightened and glared at Kisame.

Shark-boy turned his back to Hidan and mouthed, ‘I’ll give you a quarter split of my earnings.’

“Yes, poker,” Kakuzu said immediately.

“No fucking way,” Hidan retorted. “You think I’m a dumbass? Kakuzu doesn’t agree to poker unless he’s getting a shit load. I’d rather not fucking lose my money, thank you.” He then made a show of counting his earnings, leaning back against the front of the convenience store they stood in front of, run by Kakuzu’s uncle.

“Asshole,” Kisame retorted, and Kakuzu was back to scowling.

Hidan flipped him off.

“WHAT?! Oh, I can’t freaking… fine then, un,” Deidara said, and scowled as he ruffled through his backpack.

Kisame blinked and glanced at him. “What’s your problem?”

“It’s gone, so I’ll have to re-do it, un,” the blond replied, barely realizing he’d answered, or indeed, even heard his friend in the first place.

Or perhaps he hadn’t.

A die went sailing through the air to plunk against Deidara’s ear. “What’s your problem?” Kisame repeated. He was rather proud of that shot.

Deidara straightened and rubbed his ear, looking up at Kisame. Then his eyes slanted beyond him, and with a strangled sound, he darted past, grabbing a piece of paper off the ground. “Yes! Oh, that was close, un!”

“Oh, just going on about his dumbass papers,” Hidan said, losing interest.

Looking around him, Kisame decided, Kiss and Tell would not be a practical game. Not that it ever was–but, the point was to kiss the girls and make the boys uncomfortable. No girls, no fun. He slouched. “Give me the goddamn dice,” he sighed.

“Eh, sure, but I’m bored,” Hidan said, rolling the dice across the sidewalk. He’d slid down the wall to sit there, rather than stand, and had stuffed his money in his pocket. “Where the hell’s Itachi? He was supposed to be here ten fucking minutes ago.” He glanced at his watch. “It’s almost five, that bitch.”

Kisame picked up the dice, then rolled them in his palm, considering their options. He fished his cell phone out of his pocket, flipped it open and thumbed a number. “We could go eat first. Party food sucks.”

“Hidan’s paying,” Kakuzu inserted snidely, and got the usual finger in response.

“You calling Itachi?” Deidara asked, distractedly. “He isn’t planning on bringing Shiori, is he? Drunks are stupid; they’ll do something to her, un.”

Hidan gave the blond a suspicious look. “… how the fuck do you do that?”

Deidara didn’t answer, scowled, and pulled out a pen to scribble on the paper he was holding. “That’ll be too big…”

A sudden grin lit up Kisame’s face. He hit dial and stood listening to the phone connect. “Yo!” he greeted as soon as his friend picked up.

Kisame,” Itachi replied.

Sharky tossed a die at Hidan’s collar and watched as it neatly tumbled down the back of the victim’s shirt. Crowing in victory, Kisame said into the phone, “We’re going for pizza. Meet you at Dominoes on Katon and Suzuki.”

On the other side, Itachi nodded. “I’ve got Sakura. We’ll meet you there.”

Kisame snickered. Seven words, huh? Seven dice went trickling, one by one, down the back of Hidan’s shirt despite the albino’s attempts at dodging. “See ya!” He hung up. That bitch could really move! It was probably a miracle that Hidan hadn’t tackled him into traffic yet.

… and he spoke too soon. Hidan lunged. “BITCH!!”

Deidara glanced up, then rummaged in his pocket, retrieving a set of keys. “Oi! Hidan!”

Mid-lunge, Hidan stopped and turned, face dark. “What the fuck do you want?”

“Can you drive? I need to finish these, un.”

Hidan brightened. “Fuck yeah!”

xXx

Draining dry the winner’s victory was well worth losing one’s stakes, Kisame mused. Even better when it was Hidan.

Blue-boy sat back in the booth waiting for the grub to come and watched with a wide smirk. Hidan was griping to anyone who would listen; he wasn’t getting much sympathy though. Even his best friend Kakuzu was unmoved.

Considering that it was Kisame and Kakuzu that had ultimately funded the pizza run, they chose the pizzas. Kakuzu decided the number and sizes of the pizzas, while Kisame chose the toppings. Deidara had made a random comment that seemed to convey choices to him were irrelevant. Hidan hadn’t made any contributions other than to rant at the waitress.

Deidara suddenly looked up as someone approached behind him. He was jumpy like that most of the time, but with how distracted he was, it was only made worse. Sakura and Itachi slid into their seats at the end of a row containing Hidan only, with Kisame across from them in the middle (directly across from Itachi), Deidara on the outside and Kakuzu by the window.

Seated across from the blond, Sakura peered curiously over the table at the random assortment of various kinds of paper spread before him. It wasn’t hard; they took up about half the table. “What are you doing?”

“Art… well, preparing. Gotta be perfect, un,” he replied. He stopped writing on a pale blue sheet of paper and reached over to grab a lined piece in front of Itachi. After conferring between the two, he set the lined piece on top of a plain white printer sheet (covered in diagrams) and continued writing.

Sakura smiled slightly. “Math whiz, huh?”

“Only when it comes to things that go ‘boom’,” Kisame replied, and grinned. “Which reminds me–Miss Haruno, you haven’t ever caused a car crash, have you?”

Confused, the pink haired girl shook her head. “No… Why?”

Kisame leered at Itachi, then promptly said, “‘Cause baby, you are distracting.”

Sakura gawked at the smirking teen across the table, then burst out laughing. Itachi’s eyebrows had swept upwards as he shook his head, while Hidan began to snicker.

“That was horrible!” the one girl at the table garbled out between gasps. “You’d be more of a distraction if you held that up on a cardboard plaque in the middle of traffic!”

“I try,” he quipped, still grinning. “You don’t mind meat lovers, right? Or plain cheese.”

Shaking her head, she attempted to contain her snickers. “No. That’s fine.” She stopped as a waitress asked for their drinks, then went on after the woman had left. “Anyway…” Her gaze was once again drawn to all the sketches, diagrams, lists and scrawled notes littering the paper. “Toji-kun? A–”

“Deidara,” he interrupted, and gave her a distracted glance. “Or Dei. Not Toji, un. Makes me sound like my Pop.” His hand flickered out to pick up a pile of index cards in front of her, making her jump.

“Oh. Well… alright, I suppose,” she said, brow furrowed. It was a little rude, but it would be more so to go against his wishes on the matter. “What are you doing, though? Specifically.”

“Calculating potency and blast times,” he replied, shuffling through the cards. “And stuff, un. It’s complicated.”

“Oh.” Blinking, she peered down at the top index card and the papers. She started noticing the scribbles depicting lists of materials ranging from chemicals to shells. Her eyes widened. There was a lot. “How to get all of this into the air?” she mused almost to herself.

Deidara blinked and Itachi snapped a sharp glance at the distracted girl. She had almost sounded like Dei in shallow ends of lucidity.

Stretching out a hand, the blond dragged a paper from in front of Kisame to rest under Sakura’s nose. Once she had focused on the new information, the artist went back to restlessly sketching and scrawling notes across a three sheet spread.

Next to him, Kisame snorted, watching as Deidara went back to work–this time scratching out calculations and scribbling in corrections at a faster rate. Either he was just working faster or he was now more distracted than ever.

Deidara jerked suddenly and glared across the table where Itachi was moving to stack the papers to the side. “What are you doing, un?!”

The other teen leveled a cool look his way. “Dei… We are in a pizza parlour.”

“So?”

“What goes on the table here?”

The blond blinked.

Sakura, however, spoiled the moment by humming and turning a paper around to face Deidara. The same paper he had shown her previously. She tapped a finger on the launcher. “It reminds me of an engine,” she said plainly, arching a pale pink brow. “How old is this model?”

Blinking a few times more times, Dei lowered his gaze to the paper. “Er…” He looked back up at her, and slowly grinned for the first time since the day before. “Three days, four hours and ten minutes,” he replied. “I built it this morning and brought it to the party site, un. It probably needs refurbishing eventually…” He tapped something that looked like it was set to just temporarily hold the powder. “But it’ll work for tonight, un.”

“That’s amazing,” Sakura admitted. Then she smiled sweetly, batting her eyelashes. “Maybe I could help?”

Hidan and Kisame burst out laughing. “You really… know how ta… pick ‘em,” Kisame wheezed.

Sakura flushed slightly. “What? It’s not that funny,” she grumbled, and when the two only continued to laugh, she contemplated kicking them under the table.

Thankfully, Kakuzu sniffed and did so (to Hidan) for her. “Knock it off, ass-wipe.”

Kisame continued to snicker and Sakura narrowed her eyes. She crooked a finger at Deidara and as he leaned slightly over his diagrams, she pointed at the blue-skinned boy. “You get me the materials I need, and I’ll make custom pop-rocks that will dye him purple for a week.”

She had kept her voice down enough that Kisame didn’t hear, but Itachi had overheard and watched as Deidara’s lips split into a grin.

“Deal,” the blond agreed. “I’m almost finished, un,” he added, raising his voice and leaning back. He was speaking to Itachi. “I’ll clean up shortly.”

Suspicion pricked by the whispering, Kisame eyed them both, then shrugged it off. He could take them. “So anyway,” he said as the waitress returned with Itachi and Sakura’s drinks. “I hear tell that someone has a thing for Camaros…”

Immediately, Sakura beamed. “Oh hell yeah. I’m head over heels for Shiori.”

Hidan snorted and glanced at Itachi. “I still can’t believe you named your fuckin’ car.” He shook his head.

The comment was ignored. Instead Itachi watched, entranced, as Sakura took a breath and the Uchiha heir caught Kisame watching as well. She really didn’t realize what that did for her chest did she?

“Jashin-san, that is a really awesome car,” she said as she turned to glare at him. His eyes dropped. “And–” Stop. Click. “Hidan, my face is up here,” she growled.

Wine-colored eyes slowly lifted, as if he had a hard time dragging them away. “You have a fucking nice rack, though.”

Only the fact that Itachi sat between them saved his life. Silence descended, even Deidara was looking up with wide eyes. Kakuzu was smirking. And then…

Sakura smiled. “Why thank you! So glad my anatomy is appreciated.”

Mid-sip, Kisame choked on his Coke. Deidara blinked. Hidan grinned. Itachi sighed.

“About fucking time a woman has the right attitude!” Hidan gloated, lowering his gaze back down her front.

The girl gave him a cool look. Itachi didn’t bother. The black-eyed teen simply reached over, placed a hand on the back of the ogler’s head, and thunked the whole thing against the table top. Hard. Predictably, Hidan did not appreciate it.

Snorting once, Kisame lost the battle and grabbed his middle as he cackled, curling up into the booth seat. Deidara grunted in irritation and shifted over on the bench to avoid the bigger teen’s twitching frame. “Watch it, un! The paper almost ripped!” he snarled.

Sakura shook her head. “You should hurry up; you don’t want someone to spill something,” she suggested to the blond, as gently as she could.

He waved a hand. “Almost,” he replied and shot one last scowl at Kisame before going back to what he was doing.

Smiling slightly, the pink-haired girl turned her attention to the least talkative member of the group. “Hello. I don’t think we’ve met before. At least, we’ve never talked.”

He quirked a brow and shrugged. “I’ll talk… if you pay me.”

She rolled her eyes. “Right. So I’ve heard.”

At that point, Deidara started cleaning up, just as the pizzas were being brought over. Sakura helped him out, handing over the papers, then leaned back slightly as Itachi reached past her to grab two of the plastic dishes.

“Thank you,” he said softly and placed one in front of her.

Hidan reached out to grab a piece of pizza off the tray closest to him, only to nearly get Kakuzu’s fork in his hand. He yelped and jerked back his hand. “Oi! Fucking bastard! What the fuck is your problem.”

“That was my piece; as the biggest I have the choice,” the money monger retorted.

“Psychopath!”

Eying the antics across the table, Sakura prudently waited until the big teen had taken slices from several pizzas. Deidara hadn’t bothered to take a slice yet and he was still doing equations in the corner of one of the many papers. This one was white and nearly crumpled from all the handling.

She glanced at her date… Sakura blinked. Her date.

Attention caught, Itachi turned and stared as the pink-haired girl began to giggle hysterically into her plate, both fists firmly pressed against her lips.

“Oh dear gods,” she mumbled, willing herself to stop giggling. She managed to do so when she caught sight of his face, barely. “Sorry,” she mumbled. He tilted his head, and she curiously noted that he’d barely said anything since they’d arrived. But his meaning was clear, so she explained. “A week ago, Itachi-kun, I wouldn’t have looked at you twice.”

His head tilted down in a slight nod, but he flicked his eyes at the other teens who were still absorbed in grabbing slices of various pizzas.

Sakura hiccupped and looking into her lap, took a deep breath to steady herself. So, they wouldn’t be having this conversation here, she thought, smiling. Makes sense. Big bad boy didn’t want the guys knowing he wasn’t her first choice or on her radar at all.

She shrugged, snuck a look at him and froze.

Some kind of body cue must have communicated itself to him, because Itachi’s eyes snapped up to hers.

“Itachi-san,” Sakura ground out.

His eyebrows rose. Damn. Itachi ruefully let a corner of his mouth quirk up and shrugged one shoulder. Oh, but she was a sight when she was pissed!

They stared each other. Sakura glaring and Itachi passively watching to see what she would do.

For a minute, Sakura did not move. In her head, she was raging about men. And then she was raging about men and boobs. And then she was–Oh, what the hell did it matter? She’d been down this road already. She sighed and rolled her eyes up to the ceiling, praying for patience, and said decisively, “We’ll talk later, Itachi-san.”

“OW! That fucking hurt!” Hidan yelped suddenly, drawing their attention (and most of the other patrons’). He had a tooth-pick lodged in his hand, and was carefully prying it loose. Despite his words, though, there was a look on his face that almost said that he really didn’t mind as much. And then it was gone, and he was bitching again. “Fucking crazy asshole!” he said, and tossed the bloody toothpick at Deidara, of all people.

“Don’t. Touch. The papers,” the blond retorted, baring his teeth.

“I was just fucking looking! Psycho.”

“Zealot.”

“Looney.”

“Fanatic.”

“Ass.”

“Bite me.”

“Fuck you.”

“Okay, okay, quit it,” Kisame said, shoving both boys back into their seats. “We don’t wanna watch; go get a hotel room.” And then he grinned.

Deidara jerked back, face paling and eyes widening. Hidan turned a furious red. Both boys drew in breath. “WHAT?!” they chorused.

“Shut up, both of you, before you get us kicked out,” Kakuzu said, glaring at the two. “If you do, I will make sure you regret it.”

Hidan leered, but Deidara gulped, shook his head and finally put his papers away. Sakura was quirking a brow at him when he glanced over. ‘A toothpick?’ she mouthed. He just shrugged.

“An artist sometimes has to improvise when he does not have his preferred materials,” he said quietly with dignity. “And there are dozens of them,” he added tapping the dispenser in the middle of the table.

Her mouth formed a perfect “O” and she sat back in her seat.

Itachi grunted and nodded to Deidara in respect, then nudged Sakura. “Pizza, Sakura-san.” She blinked at him. “It’s getting cold,” he reminded her.

“Ah, right!” she chirped, jumping forward in her seat and reaching out for the food.

He rolled his eyes and picked a few slices for himself.

They mostly fell silent (though Hidan kept muttering and occasionally licking the blood off his hand) for a while, and Sakura was relaxing again thankfully.

… and then there was another argument. Between Kakuzu and Hidan. About chicken. The rest of them, Sakura included, ignored it this time. Deidara looked distracted through out the meal. As the argument between his friends changed direction, he jumped, the sound of Tweety Bird singing a song filling the air.

But no, it wasn’t exactly Tweety Bird, just a very good mock of him. Singing about grenades. Go figure.

Deidara answered his phone. “Moshimoshi. Hai. Mmm… Yeah. Uhhh… fuck.” He looked up at the group, nibbling on his lip. “One sec,” he said, and lowered the phone from his mouth. “Oi, Itachi, what’d you come here in?”

Across the table, Itachi quirked a brow. “Junk car.” The girl next to him pouted and he snorted. The four door sedan had been another junkyard find. Sturdy, but ugly as fuck and clunky, it suited the occasion.

Sakura had nearly walked straight back into her house when she saw him pull up in the dingy thing. He had just smirked and told her that the presentable pick up offer was Wednesday night. Her fault for denying it.

“‘Kay,” the blond said, and went back to his phone conversation. “Yeah. I can, un.” He paused, and glanced at Kisame questioningly. ‘Wanna go early?’ he mouthed. The blue boy shrugged. Sure.

“Alright, I’ll be there in a bit, un. Bye.” He flipped the phone closed and tucked it away. “Alright, Kisame and I are heading there early, un. Pein wants me to set up and then walk him through what I’m gonna do, so that’ll take a while. Don’t kill each other, un.” He got up, grabbed his bag, and waited only long enough for Kisame to scoot out of the booth before turning and walking off.

“Bye,” Kisame said, grinned, and added, “If you miss me, I’m only a call away.”

“Dick,” Hidan called after him.

Sakura turned back from watching the two guys walk out. Itachi had an almost painfully amused look on his face. “What?”

He didn’t answer. Instead, he asked a question to the other two teens. “How did you two get here?”

The girl beside him frowned, and then it dawned on her. She looked back at Kakuzu with a bigger appreciation of his mass. If they all had to fit into the car…

Her heart sank. She glanced at Hidan and saw that he had probably reached the same conclusion: Kakuzu would be riding shot-gun.

The big teen answered Itachi while the boy with the bleeding hand wound leered at Sakura.

“It’ll cost you,” Kakuzu responded, and at Itachi’s look, he sneered. “Fine. I will admit that we have no ride to the party, and that’s it.”

“Hnn.” Eying the remaining slices, Itachi did some quick thinking. “Who is paying?”

Hidan opened his mouth. His best friend answered for him, “He is.”

“Fucker.”

Itachi shrugged. “Are we done?”

“Naaw. Shit, I could still eat another pizza,” the boy beside him answered, reaching for another slice.

“Hnn, what you cannot finish, will go into boxes, and they get stacked in your lap.”

“What the fuck?” Hidan pointed at the girl. “Why can’t she carry something?”

“She is.”

Sakura blinked at Itachi. She tapped his shoulder and when he turned from Hidan’s ranting to look at her, she mouthed, “I am?”

He answered her directly, not bother to look back at the albino. “We’re picking up alcohol from the store nearby. You’re making sure the stack in the middle doesn’t fall over.”

She snorted. “You don’t really need me…” Oh… OH. “‘Course, if we hit a speed bump and he gets buried under bottles, someone, somewhere, may cry.”

“Probably Kisame.” Itachi’s eyes did glitter.

She smiled wryly. “Wouldn’t want that.”

Hidan, realizing something was up, but not sure what, scowled at them. Then he stuffed half a pizza slice in his face. Kakuzu scoffed, but didn’t object; Hidan was not wasting money, after all.

Twenty five minutes later, they were all piling into the tiny car, Hidan bitching about having to hold the pizzas and Sakura deciding that she could forgive Itachi for staring at her boobs earlier; she really didn’t want to have to kill Hidan.

They had a lot of booze. At least from the outside it seemed that way. Boxes of brown bottles were stacked in black cardboard in between Hidan and her, nearly blocking the loud-mouth from her sight. He was neatly, and literally, trapped between the upholstery of the seat and the boxes of food and drinks around him.

If they craned their necks, they could still see each other and unfortunately, just because he couldn’t comfortably reach her, it didn’t stop his voice.

“Fucking hell, Itachi.” Hidan scowled. “Why can’t this junk go in the fuckin’ trunk?”

“It’s stuck,” Kakuzu said. “We already tried.”

Wondering if that was the truth or not, Sakura decided not to ask. Kakuzu might charge her. “How far away is the party? You said it was at a lake, right, Itachi-kun?”

“Hnn, Kazuku?” Itachi passed the question on.

“Five bucks,” the other teen fired back.

“Two bottles.”

“Forty five minutes, Sakura-san.”

Sakura groaned, ignoring the amused banter between the two front-seat passengers. “Figures,” she grumbled.

xXx

Chapter 5 | Table of Contents | Chapter 7

Author’s note: At this point, Ariel successfully dragged me into the Google doc and
I started taking an active interest in the story.
Thanks for slogging through the first few chapters; it’s much better from here on!

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