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Fine Young Criminals

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Fine Young Criminals

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Chapter One

“Single file! Keep it moving, keep it moving! Hey! Yeah you! Put that the fuck out! Keep all personal belongings in your vehicle; no cellphones, no tobacco products, no nothing! You think this is a goddamned joke!?”

Well, this was going to be delightful. It seemed that he’d traded harsh concrete walls, three square meals devoid of nutritional content, and cold, rickety metal bunks for a similarly humiliating experience, 500 hours of it to be exact. Almost four, maybe five months, twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon: court-ordered community service through a county work program.

Deidara let out a low sigh as he ran fingers through his loose, long blond hair and regarded the barking police officer yelling at and degrading fellow probates. This was his first day of what seemed like eternity, and he would be spending it outside in the ridiculous July heat at a police gun training range doing God knows what kind of manner of manual labor.

He didn’t belong here. There was no way. All he’d done was distribute fireworks during a burn ban. And maybe have started a small fire in the process... Now he had a felony charge under his belt, had spent countless months in a cell with men that were far more qualified to be there than he, and that was only the immediate consequences. The lingering, inevitable ones would be far worse: potential loss of revenue for his art, ridiculously expensive legal fees, court costs, and supervision fines... plus the drug tests. Oh, the drug tests. There really was nothing quite like having to pee in front of a complete stranger; he’d endured far too much of that humiliation while stewing in the local county jail after his sentencing.

“Oy!”

Teal blue eyes widened and immediately Deidara’s thoughts came back into focus. He divested his attentions on the large and tanned burly officer looming down at him and the glistening shield on his chest.

“Earth to Twinkie, anybody home in that pretty little head of yours? I said get in the damn line!”

K. Hoshigaki

“Yes, sir.”

He immediately scuttled to the end of the line. “...What a jerk, hm.”

“Actually, he’s the nice one.”

The blond raised an eyebrow as a slightly-taller, dark-haired man turned to regard him. “You call that nice, hm?”

The other guy had pretty eyes. They looked almost like garnets in the emerging sunrise. They seemed to sparkle with a sort of mirth as he continued, “I’ve been doing this for a while. I’ve gotten to know Kisa--” he faltered suddenly, but just as quickly resumed, “Pardon me, Officer Hoshigaki pretty well. The verbal intimidation is simply for posterity. The other one, we call him Officer Z, he’s far less pleasant,” he gestured over to an officer with an interesting case of vitiligo that made him appear almost racially bifurcated. “He really doesn't say much... but he’ll taser you if you present him the opportunity. He did it to Hidan last week.”

“Who the FUCK is talking about me?!”

Deidara looked over his shoulder and blinked as people that had gotten in line behind him were being shoved to the side as the aggressive voice got closer. Exclamations from the owners of said bodies and their respective cursing were peppered silent with replies of, “Fuck you, too!” “Eat a dick and die!” “I’ll fucking end you, heathen!”

And then a tall, muscular silvery-white haired man came into view, towering over Deidara and the dark-haired male standing in front of him. “Tch, of course it's you, Itachi. You can't keep my name out of your blasphemous whore mouth, can you? Not that I can blame you, but six fucking months in a tank together wasn’t enough, you still gotta talk about me to complete strangers?” the clearly-named Hidan looked Deidara up and down. “Who the fuck is the trap?”

Trap?

Deidara clenched a fist but bit back his retort, not wanting to attract police attention any further than Hidan no doubt already was with his ridiculously loud mouth and colorful jargon. “It’s Deidara, hm!”

“Well lah-di-da! I’m Hidan, this piece of shit is Itachi. What the fuck did you do?”

“Pardon?”

“What. the fuck. did you do?” Hidan repeated, crossing his arms over his plain black v-neck t-shirt clad chest with a roll of his eyes.

“Oh. Oh! You want to know what I was arrested for, hm,” Deidara said in understanding. “I kind of...” he hesitated briefly. Why was he telling these strangers about what crime he had committed? They didn’t need to know his business.

“Don’t pussy out now, Princess. I'll even tell you what we're here for first if it'll loosen that tongue," Hidan smirked. “I got an assault charge. Itchy is here for his second DWI. Now, see how fucking easy that was?"

Of course he was here for an assault. He seemed the type. Deidara sighed and scratched his scalp, but opened his mouth anyways and spoke despite his reluctance. “I sold fireworks during a burn ban.”

They didn't need to know about him accidentally setting one off, starting a chain reaction of colorful explosions and the resulting warehouse fire. The arson charge was still pending further investigation.

Hidan deadpanned for a moment before letting out a whooping laugh that garnered the attention of quite a few onlookers standing in single file waiting to be patted down. “Are you FUCKING SHITTING ME. That’s it? That’s your big fucking crime!?" he broke out into another bout of hysterical laughter, slapping his jean-clad thigh in glee.

Even Itachi looked mildly amused as he put his hair up into a ponytail with a hair tie. “The criminal justice system really is quite flawed, don’t you think?” the Uchiha mused, small smile ghosting his lips.

“No fucking duh, hm. I really don’t belong here with the likes of you two...” Deidara replied bitterly. That reaction was exactly why he didn't want to say anything, because truthfully, it was pathetic, the reason he was here. He faced forward as the line moved and inched closer to Officer Hoshigaki, the policeman running a wand over bodies and patting them down thoroughly for contraband.

“That’s for damned sure, you don't.”

“Hidan, face forward. It’s almost our turn.”

Hidan whirled around and faced front, plastering on a cheeky, faux innocent grin as he approached the front of the line. He held out his arms and smirked. “Officer, did you miss me? Come on, you know you wanna run that wand all over this, you filthy heretic.”

Kisame rolled his eyes, and ran a bronze-skinned hand through his spiked dark hair, the emerging sunlight picking up the hidden blue lowlights. This job sometimes. This damned job. “Don’t make me send you back to the judge. You don’t have many chances left in the program, and you know CSO Hoku will be angry with you if you continue to cut up.”

“Ffft!” Hidan rolled his oddly-colored eyes sardonically as Kisame finished patting down his person and ran the wand over his outstretched arms and down his legs. “Fuck you and that money-grubbing old geezer.”

“You committed assault, Hidan. What did you think would happ--” the officer balked as the metal detecting wand picked up something over Hidan’s groin area. “...Again? I told you to take that out.”

“It ain’t gonna happen! Hey, Itachi, watch this!” Hidan grinned and starting lilting and thrusting his pelvic area, the detection wand going off in an almost musical rhythm.

Kisame did not look amused.

“Dear lord...” Itachi covered his face with his hand in exasperation and lifted a foot, elegantly planting it in Hidan’s backside squarely to move him out of the way.

Hidan cackled in reply, ignoring the kick to his posterior and walking over to the police van that held the lunches and water kegs, and fluorescent vests that all probates had to don while working, visibly deeming them under the supervision of the county jail. He sifted through the large black plastic bin, looking for a vest that looked like it hadn’t been through hell and back, though the task was more difficult with Officer Z eyeing him, silently pressuring him to hurry the fuck up. “All right, all right!” he relented when he saw the man place his hand on his taser in warning. Hidan grabbed a shoddy-looking vest in annoyance and scampered far away from the officer.

Itachi calmly held out his arms and regarded Kisame with a tiny smile. “Officer,” he said in acknowledgement.

“Itachi.” Kisame nodded in response, his facial expression gentling.

It didn’t go unnoticed to Deidara. He watched entranced and fixated at the almost tender way the officer ran his hands along Itachi’s willowy arms and down his thin, lightly muscled legs.

Was there something going on there?

“Have you been behaving and continuing to abstain from drinking?” Kisame questioned the Uchiha, voice low as he finished his physical inspection and began running the wand over the smaller male’s person.

"You and I both know I haven't had a drop, Officer,” Itachi said almost lucidly, garnet eyes following every movement the policeman made on his body.

“Aha, that's true... but you’ve been doing very well. You’re a hard worker, and I’ve made sure the judge is aware of that. You haven’t much time left, so keep it up.”

“Of course,” Itachi stepped aside after the officer finished his search, and he walked over to the van and plucked a vest from the bin, clearly uninterested as Hidan had been in the appearance of the article.

Deidara stepped forward and held out his arms like he’d seen the other two men do.

“Deidara Sei, right? It’s your first day,” Kisame made quick work of patting down the blond, purposeful in his motions and taking no time to linger like he had done the raven. “You should know the rules from your instruction packet you got before you came here, but allow me to elaborate on it further. Firstly, your jeans are too tight. Don’t wear them next time or you’ll be sent home and have to see your judge on the following Monday to explain why you were dismissed from the program for the day. Second, leave all your belongings in your car. Be here promptly at 7, even one minute late, and you will be counted as absent for the day and will have to visit...?”

“The judge.” Deidara finished.

“Correct. Now, if you have a folding chair, you can bring it to sit in in between jobs, but only when you report to work at the gun range,” the police officer motioned to some of the probates that had folding lawn chairs under their arms. “You cannot bring your own lunch, one will be provided for you. Restroom and water breaks will be designated, so go before we begin work, otherwise you’ll be shit out of luck. This will be hard physical labor, so come prepared to sweat. No mingling with the females. This is not a dating service. Do what you’re supposed to, and your work will be acknowledged. The better reports I can give to your probation officer and to your judge, the better off you will fare. Any other questions?” Kisame asked, finishing up his search of the smaller man and raising a brow in anticipation.

“No, sir.”

“All right. Go get a vest and put it on. We’ll give you your work assignments shortly, but in the meantime we’ll be heading to the pavilion. Also, you’ll want to consider doing like Mr. Uchiha and putting your hair up, especially when we begin work at the food bank.”

“Yes, sir,” Deidara nodded, letting his arms relax at his side and walking over to the van. He grabbed a fluorescent yellow vest, the lettering of the name of the county jail peeling in spots. It also had a vaguely strange scent to it, some manner of odd body odor perhaps. It didn’t appear these were washed regularly. He wrinkled his nose as he put it on while walking towards the covered pavilion nearby, and looked around, eyes settling back on Itachi and Hidan, the two sitting down on the concrete and conversing amongst themselves. Deidara didn't really want to be alone, and they had spoken to him first, so he took the initiative and strolled over towards the pair and uneasily settled himself Indian-style in between the two, feeling relieved when both men didn't seem keen to question his presence amongst them.

“Are you nervous?” Itachi questioned the blond.

“I just don’t want to fuck this up, hm. This is going to be hard, and I don’t want to make it any more so than necessary,” Deidara said simply while watching the other persons in the line get searched and patted down.

He visually zeroed in on a flagrantly red-haired man, slightly shorter than he was, with sort of sleepy, doe-brown eyes that were intently transfixed on him.

Why was he staring at him like that? Deidara immediately broke eye contact, feeling suddenly self-conscious and contented himself with staring down at his red Chuck Taylors, though he was completely aware that the other guy had not stopped looking at him.

“Sasori.”

“Hm?”

“His name is Sasori,” the raven nodded at the redhead. “I don’t exactly know what he did to be here, he doesn’t really talk to anyone. I only know his name because of roll call.”

“Hey, Itchy. Did you find out yet if they’re gonna put you in class with me?” Hidan chimed in, changing the subject.

“Oh. Yes, it appears that way. Are you still having to do anger management courses in addition to the substance abuse class?”

“It’s fuckin’ bullshit, but Kakuzu thinks I could ‘learn something from it’...” Hidan finished with a roll of his eyes, nibbling at his thumbnail as he spoke scathingly.

As Itachi and Hidan continued discussing their respective requirements for completing their probation terms, Deidara tuned them out in favor of chancing another look at the now-named Sasori as the other man walked past him and set up and made himself comfortable in the black lawn chair he was carrying under his arm.

He was oddly attractive, that much was obvious. Officer Hoshigaki’s words rang in his head like a mantra.

“This is not a dating service.”

No shit it wasn’t. Deidara knew that he wouldn’t find any individual of quality here. Everyone was a criminal of varying offenses much worse than what he had committed. Not exactly the sort of person you would want to take home to show off, nor would you necessarily be so eager to regale others with the thrilling tale of how you met. ‘Just stop looking. There’s nothing here for you. Just serve your hours and get it over with...’

Sasori really was nice to look at, though. There was nothing wrong with looking.

“Yoo-hoo, anybody home in there, fucker?!”

Deidara jumped, eyes widening as Hidan’s loud vibrato rung in his ears. “The fuck, hm?!”

“They’re gonna give work assignments in a bit. Officer Z just said if anyone needs to use the john to fucking follow him. You good?”

“Oh, yeah. Yeah, I’m good, hm.”

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He really wasn’t good.

Deidara wiped the sweat collecting on his brow, shielding his eyes as he glanced up at the pulsing July sun beating down on top of his head. He understood now why he’d been advised to put up his hair. This was grueling, and the sweat accumulating on his scalp was further weighing down his long, blond locks.

He and a various motley crew of other probates, including Itachi and Hidan, were currently trimming the various foliage and trees. Others were raking up needles and pine cones and stuffing them into oversized black garbage bags.

“Timber, you fuckin’ heathen shits!" Hidan whooped from his perch on a step ladder, a large tree branch crashing down onto the ground. He grinned as it narrowly missed an unaware probate, and eagerly returned to hand-sawing in hopes that the next one would hit a mark.

“Into the pile, come on, you lot,” Kisame rolled his eyes and gestured to the sizeable number of large branches that had already been cut down and arranged haphazardly in one spot for easy disposal later.

Deidara grabbed one end, and Itachi joined him at the other, the two working in tandem and lifting the freshly-cut branch and carrying it over to join its mates, the bark and smaller twigs scraping at their bare hands and leaving a small laceration on his forearm, in Itachi’s case.

“Cut down the two off to the side, then we’ll break for water.”

Tossing the branch into the pile together, Itachi turned to look at Deidara with a pointed expression, eyeing the blond as the younger wiped more sweat off of his brow. “Are you going to be alright?”

“I’m fine, hm. Just not really used to using my hands for physical jobs like this. I’m more the artsy type, hm!” Deidara waved off his concern with a scraped palm.

“Just prepare yourself. I overheard Officer Z and Officer Hoshigaki discussing having a group of us dig out and pull up that old rotting tree stump over there after we break for lunch.”

“...I heard they give us the same thing to eat every time we report for work, hm.”

Itachi smirked and nodded in confirmation. “You’ll never want to consume another apple or peanut butter and jelly sandwich again after you get out of this program, I guarantee it.”

Deidara groaned while picking up some stray twigs and tossing them into the pile to join the large branches. Peanut butter and jelly wasn’t exactly his favorite to begin with. “Hey, I know it's not really my business, but what's up with you and Officer Hoshigaki? Is there something going on between the two of you?”

Itachi’s eyes flashed and the neutral expression on his face darkened considerably. “You are correct when you say it isn't your business. Luckily for you, there's nothing there to speak of.”

Deidara held up his hands and blinked, promptly shutting his mouth. ‘Well all right then...’

“All right men, let’s break for water! Single-file in front of me, hurry it along now!”

Thank God. Deidara already knew he was becoming dehydrated. The inside of his mouth felt drier than a desert, and his head was throbbing painfully from impending migraine. He’d no doubt have to take a handful of ibuprofen the second he got in his car. Sometimes his migraines got so bad that he’d pass out; it wouldn’t do for such a thing to happen while he was driving on the freeway in the beginnings of rush hour traffic.

He trudged slowly with the rest of the probates to the large covered pavilion, bullet hole-ridden shooting targets hung up and a multitude of casings strewn all over the concrete, some in small piles no doubt swept up by the small group of women already sitting off to the side in their chairs, had they brought them, and drinking their fill of water whilst segregated from the men.

“The bitches get it fuckin’ easy...” Hidan muttered, wedging himself in line behind Deidara. “They hardly do anything except sit around and gossip.”

“There’s not a lot of them, though. It makes sense to give them more menial tasks that can be done quickly, hm.”

“Feh.”

The line to the water keg slowly inched along, some taking their cups to their chairs and plunking down tiredly. Deidara mentally made a reminder to go to the sports equipment store near his studio apartment. Sitting on the hard concrete was unpleasant.

“Hey, keep track of your water cup, too. They only let you have one, stingy motherfuckers,” Hidan warned.

Finally making it to the water cooler, Deidara grabbed a cup from the opened stack of them on the table the keg was on top of and filled it up, promptly chugging it down and pouring another, this time choosing to sip at it slowly lest he get nauseated as he looked around for Itachi. The other man in question was talking to Officer Hoshigaki and drinking from a cup of water as well.

Thankfully there was a faint breeze on the wind to cool them down further in addition to rehydrating.

“Fuuuuuck.”

Hidan stood next to the blond, lifting up his shirt and exposing the sheen of sweat on his muscled abs and a small trail of hairs leading down from his navel that were as light as the ones on his head. Violet eyes came to settle upon Itachi and Kisame as well as he took note of Deidara’s line of vision. “They’re fucking,” he said simply with a shrug and a sip of water.

“I tried asking Itachi about it earlier--”

“Tch, like he'd tell you shit. I'm telling you though, I know they’re fucking. I saw our good officer blowing Itchy a couple weeks ago when we were working the food bank. Those stupid shits thought they were allll alone... Nope. I saw everything. They don’t know that I know. I could get Hoshigaki fired if I felt like it.”

“Are you going to?”

Hidan paused and looked thoughtful. “...Nah. Itachi and I are best friends. His secrets are my secrets. I’m a pretty fucking nice guy, in case you haven’t noticed, Barbie.”

Deidara twitched visibly in annoyance at the ‘Barbie’ moniker. What was with this guy and his nicknames? “You said you were here for assault, right? What did you do?” he said, changing the subject.

Hidan grinned, fanning his abs with the hem of his shirt. “I beat the shit out of my fucking heretic-ass therapist. He told me I ‘suffer from religious psychosis’, the complete blasphemy of it! My God is real and nobody will ever tell me otherwise. I'd even go so far to kill a man for insulting Jashin's great name in my presence!"

He was awfully casual about it.

“...Isn’t Jashinism some kind of cult, hm?”

In the blink of an eye, Deidara had a hand fisted in his black and aqua-striped t-shirt and an angry zealot in his personal space. “You wanna say that again?” the taller man’s voice did nothing to conceal the irritation and anger in his tone.

“I said nothing! I said nothing, hm!” the teal-eyed male said quickly, hoping to placate the other before he became the next assault filed on Hidan’s record.

“That’s what I thought. Hey, be a good Mattel knock-off and go get me another cup of water. I’m gonna go piss Itachi off.”

Deidara blinked as Hidan shoved his cup into his chest, and watched as the other man sauntered off with malicious intent in his eyes.

What a fucking asshole.

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“Are you gonna eat your creme pie thingy?”

Itachi wordlessly tossed his packaged oatmeal creme pie over in Hidan’s general direction, a look of annoyance plastered on his face. He had been wearing that expression for a while now. No doubt Hidan had been successful in his purposeful pursuit to piss the other off.

“Thanks.”

Deidara bit unenthusiastically into his bruised apple, completely uninterested in the pre-packaged jelly and peanut butter packets and soggy white bread in his lunch bag.

“If you’re not gonna eat your sandwich, sometimes there’s leftover lunches, maybe Hoshigaki will let you have the apples from them. They just toss them away otherwise. It's a real fucking waste.”

“Maybe, hm. Do any of you know what time it is?”

The raven glanced over at Kisame and waved to get his attention. Once dark-colored eyes were focused on the Uchiha, he tapped his wrist with his index finger pointedly, Kisame nodding in understanding and glancing down at his watch. The officer held up a single index finger, then three, and then curled his hand into an ‘o’ shape.

“1:30. We have another hour and a half left and then we’ll be dismissed,” Itachi said matter-of-factly.

The blond looked back over at their supervising officer. “You think he’s from around here?”

“He’s from Waikoloa Village, Hawaii.”

Both Deidara and Hidan raised eyebrows at the intimate knowledge.

“What? I talk to him sometimes,” the Uchiha shrugged nonchalantly.

Hidan waited until Itachi’s attentions were focused elsewhere before mouthing to Deidara, ‘I told you.’

A small smirk graced Deidara’s lips as he bit into his apple again. “So... Itachi...”

“Hm?”

He felt emboldened by the knowledge of the raven's secret. “What kinds of things do you talk about with Officer Hoshigaki, hm?” Deidara’s smirk widened into a full-on leering grin.

Itachi was unfazed. “Our conversations are rather brief, as he is supervising many other persons besides myself. I can’t really say what all we discuss, the topics are varied.”

Well, he was certainly locked up tighter than a bank vault when it came to the officer, Deidara thought with a tiny hint of admiration for the raven's discretion.

“Lunch ends in fifteen! Be prepared to resume your assigned tasks!”

The blond groaned. He’d been one of the ‘lucky’ ones to be asked to assist in the digging and removal of the rotted tree stump.

“You’re scrawny. Let’s put some meat on those bones...”

He shivered as he remembered Officer Z’s gravelly baritone in his ear before the man had roughly thrust a shovel into his arms. Deidara could have sworn he’d heard the man whispering to himself as he walked off to choose more probates to complete the tree removal with the blond. “Hey, what are you both doing, hm?”

“Still sawing down tree limbs. I hope I kill someone,” Hidan’s voice was completely innocent as he spoke, but his eyes betrayed devil’s intent. At Deidara’s balking expression, he guffawed loudly and grinned, “I’m just kidding, Barbie!”

Except the teal-eyed man had a lingering feeling that if he could get away with it and make it seem like an accident, he really would do it. What kind of lunatic was he?

He was jostled from his thoughts of the religious zealot by the sound of trash being thrown into the nearby receptacle. Glancing up, his heart did a backflip in his chest cavity at the sight of Sasori. What a weird feeling...

The redhead was looking at him again intently. Deidara opened his mouth to say something, anything, but just as quickly as Sasori had approached, he was already retreating to his lonesome corner by himself, no other probates in his near vicinity.

“He clearly wants you," Hidan said plainly with a bored expression on his face and a wide yawn.

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Deidara was sprawled out flat on his back on the concrete of the pavilion, cheeks ruddy and sweat dripping down his temples, moistened hair fanning out like a halo. “Why fucking me, hm.”

“Don’t feel like you’ve been singled out. They always give the new ones the toughest task of the day based on where we’re located,” Itachi did a much better job of hiding his discomfort. His bangs were plastered to his face with sweat, but his expression remained blase despite his overheated body. “Did you drive here?”

“Yeah.”

“Do you stay out near the meatpacking district by chance?”

“It’s on the way to me... I’m in the shipping district, hm.”

“That’s right. You said you were the artsy type, it makes sense you would be in that area. I wanted to ask you a favor, though I know we’ve only just met today...” Itachi paused and leaned over the blond to make direct eye contact with him. “I believe you will be someone I can place my trust in. And please understand, I don't say that lightly. I have a good feeling about you."

Deidara sat up fully, crossing his legs and letting his arms relax loosely atop his thighs. “What’s up, hm?”

“It’s more for Hidan than for me. He and I were jailed together and we became close. I usually take him home, but I have a pressing matter to attend to that prevents me from doing so. I would be grateful if you could step in and take my place.”

The blond narrowed his eyes. “I don't know... You seem sane enough, but is he going to kidnap me if I give him a ride to his place?”

“Hidan is rough around the edges and a ridiculous zealot, but he is honest, and he is loyal. I think you both could make this experience easier for each other. I promise you, you won't find anyone else that will keep you on your toes like he will. It could be good for you during this.”

Sigh.

“I can already tell you're one of those really sensible types, hm.”

“I have six weeks left. Hidan won’t be done until October. If he has someone he can have a camaraderie with, he will be more likely to complete the program successfully. And I honestly think you two will get along quite swimmingly."

Deidara scoffed audibly. He wasn't entirely sure of that assessment. “Hidan really does have to be everyone’s problem, doesn’t he?”

“Yes, I suppose he does. But it’s no fault of his own. He grew up in foster care being passed from home-to-home without ever knowing who his family is. Surely that is bound to fuck with someone a little bit.”

It was the first time today the blond had heard the Uchiha curse. It sounded foreign coming out of his mouth, like it was something he didn’t resort to often unless it really needed to be said. But then again, all of Itachi’s speech was purposeful. He didn’t seem the type to waste words if they were unnecessary. “Fine, fine. I’ll hold his hand for him, but only because you're vouching for him, hm!”

Despite his hesitance, Itachi's words had held a ring of truth to them. Deidara knew he wouldn’t be able to endure this without someone to lean on, and he didn’t have many friends. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad, getting to know him and Hidan.

“How about you hold this dick.”

Both men looked up to see Hidan leering down at them with his arms crossing his chest, a mischievous grin on his face.

“Not my type, hm!” Deidara spat in retort.

“I’m everyone’s type. They just don’t know it yet!” the silver-haired male waved a hand flippantly. “Hey, the rest of us are done. They’re going to start calling us for paperwork soon.”

“Paperwork?”

“At the end of each work day, we are called by our last names in alphabetical order to come up and sign and thumb print a document that they give to your judge and CSO as proof of your attendance to the program. It keeps track of the hours you serve as well,” Itachi elaborated.

“Ladies and gentlemen!”

Kisame’s booming voice cut through all the various chatter and conversations. “It’s that time again! When we call your name, come up to the desk and sign your shit! We will call your name only once, so pay attention, otherwise you will not receive credit for your work! Ink pads are on the table, so are pens! DO NOT KEEP MY PENS! Listen for your name from Officer Z!”

Zetsu stood up and cleared his throat, holding a clipboard and scanning the multitude of bodies. “Hoshigaki.”

“Oh, that’s right,” Kisame inhaled sharply and elevated his voice again to be heard clearly. “If today is your last work day, we’ll be giving you a proper send-off! You will be expected to clean the restrooms, and they better be spotless! Nobody leaves until this task is done!”

“Itachi, your boyfriend’s a douchenozzle,” Hidan murmured lowly, garnering a pointed glare in response that made him snicker.

“When I call your name, please come up. And let’s try to move this along quickly,” Zetsu grumbled, calling off the first few names, two at a time.

“Hey, you’re taking me home today, right Itchy?”

“Actually, our new friend has so graciously offered to step in and take you home. I have a matter to attend to after this.”

Hidan looked pointedly at Deidara and curled his hand into a fist, bringing it up towards his mouth and moving it back and forth, tongue pressing against his cheek as he made a mimicry of a more lewd action, eyes narrowing and head nodding in the raven’s direction.

Deidara audibly snorted. “Do you mind if I smoke, Hidan?”

“Not unless you share.”

“Akasuna, Sasori!”

The redhead got to his feet as his name was called and walked over to the table where Kisame and another blond, high ponytailed officer were sitting, the woman blowing bubbles with the gum in her mouth and texting rapidly on her purple-cased cellphone, complete with a cutesy little phone charm.

“Yamanaka, do you really have to do that now?” Kisame muttered to his clearly-younger co-worker.

“I’m texting my husband, Hoshigaki. Do you need something?” she said in a bored tone, clearly not wanting to be here.

Sasori rolled his eyes. Women were ridiculous creatures. He signed his signature fluidly and pressed his thumb quickly onto the inkpad and onto the document listing his offense, a photograph of his police mugshot, his cause and case number, and how many hours he had left remaining. Seven more weeks. He was so close to being finished.

Walking back, he couldn’t help but pause and stare again at the newest probate, this time lingering on his form a little before he went back to his folding chair and sat down as if he’d never been eyeing the blond at all.

Slowly but surely, more names were called, the list whittling down.

“Nara, Shikamaru!”

Kisame grinned blatantly as the bored-looking man approached the table as his name was called. “Congratulations! It’s your last day with us! Have fun!” he exclaimed as he shoved a mop into the uninterested, pineapple-headed male’s hands.

“What a pain...” the guy had groaned.

Hidan snickered and covered his mouth with his hand. “I love watching that lazy fucking heathen suffer.”

“San, Hidan!”

The violet-eyed man let out a whoop as his name was called, and he ushered to his feet and over to the desk.

“Sei, Deidara!”

“Hey, lemme see your mugshot!” Hidan nosed, looked over at Deidara’s paper when the other approached and began signing his document.

“Oy, back off or you’ll be walking, hm!”

“So cruel...”

The last few remaining names were called, and the paperwork was filed and gathered by all officers present. At this point most probates were simply standing around idling, some with their chairs under their arms in preparation for the day to end.

“Time to pack it in... Uchiha, come carry this for me!” Kisame motioned for the raven to come over to the table, files neatly organized and the officer’s laptop in its case.

“Sei.”

Deidara was jarred from his thoughts by Zetsu’s voice, and the officer holding out his laptop case for him to carry back to the police van. “Carry it for me. Follow Uchiha.”

“Have fun, Babs!” Hidan supplied cheerfully with a wave, clearly pleased to not have been chosen to do any manner of ridiculous lackey work.

“Eat me.”

“Enough, you two."

God, but Zetsu creeped the hell out of Deidara. His shiny tag emblazoned with his name, Z. Gai was blinding in the sunlight. It made the blond wince and his eyes water, causing him to immediately look away. The laptop case swung from side-to-side in time with his footsteps as Deidara walked behind Itachi and Kisame, the bifurcated officer to his right escorting him matching stride with him easily.

Once they approached the police van did Zetsu break pace with Deidara to unlock the back of the vehicle with the keys positioned on his hip near his taser. Another key unlocked the large black plastic bin of vests. “Files in the back seat behind the driver’s side. Laptops go on the passenger floor,” Kisame instructed, more for benefit of the blond probate. “Toss your vests in the bin and go stand off over there. We’ll dismiss you once the rest of the group has arrived and turned in theirs.”

“Itachi, hm.”

“Yes?”

“Thanks for today. For being nice to me,” Deidara glanced off to the side once the two were standing alone, the vulnerability in his tone making him feel self-conscious. He wasn’t open with people like this, but Itachi, he made it feel like you could be so with no judgements. There was just something about his demeanor. “I appreciate it, hm.”

“You looked like you could use a friend. You don’t have many of them, do you?” a hint of a smile appeared on the Uchiha’s lips. “Maybe in due time when we feel more comfortable around each other you will tell me the rest of your story, and I shall share with you mine.”

“I would like that, hm.”

“Miss me, bitches?” Hidan suddenly appeared in between them sans vest, wrapping an arm loosely around the shoulders of both men, height difference now evident as he was in close proximity to both Deidara and Itachi. “Y’all are a bunch of fuckin’ shorties.”

“I may be shorter than you, but at least I didn't torture small animals as a kid, hm!” Deidara stuck his nose in the air, shrugging the taller man’s arm off.

“Oh Babs, I’m hurt by such a statement!” the silver-haired male clutched his chest, the shock on his face completely inauthentic and fabricated. “You know, not all us head-cases are into that.”

“Could’ve fooled me, you useless paperclip.”

“Play nice, children,” Itachi interrupted quickly in an attempt to de-escalate before Deidara said something that would legitimately piss Hidan off. He was unsurprised in the slightest that they were butting heads. From what little he had seen of the blond and what he knew of about Hidan, and he did know the silver-haired man, both appeared loud, boisterous, and blunt. Their bickering was to be expected.

“All eyes on me, you bunch of degenerates!”

Kisame waited until approximately a hundred sets of eyes were on him before continuing. “We’ll be meeting here again at the range on Thursday! Those of you given warnings for being out of dress code, come prepared and appropriately dressed or there will be consequences! Now, you’re dismissed, but please walk calmly to your vehicl--” he was cut off by the crowd already scrambling and running towards their cars. “I said calmly, goddammit!”

The muscled officer threw his hands up in the air and sighed as no one listened. “Perhaps I should be a bit more forceful?” he questioned out loud to himself thoughtfully.

“I’ll see you two on Thursday. Don’t kill each other,” Itachi said, placing a hand fondly on the silver-haired man’s shoulder, and giving a nod towards Deidara.

“Yes, mother.”

“Hm!”

Itachi sauntered off, and when he was a reasonable distance away and both Hidan and Deidara had their backs to him, he turned to face forward and waited until Kisame’s eyes locked onto his before issuing the officer a subtle wink.

The quick raise of eyebrows and grin he received in return made his heart thud particularly hard in his chest.

“He’s a mother hen, isn’t he, hm?”

“You have no idea. Let’s get the fuck out of here. I’m in dire need of a smoke. Let me bum one off you?”

“You leech!”

“Aw come on, Itachi clearly wants us to be friends, so let's be friends, Barbie. Now be a pal and gimme one. That’s what a friend would do!”

“OK, but I haven't decided that yet! C'mon, let's go. My car's this way.”

“You wound me so!” Hidan replied with a grin as he followed after the blond.