|Undressing the Onion
Author: Quillslinger PM
Shisui wants to take someone else to the dance. Oh no. ItaShi.Rated: Fiction T - English - Humor/Friendship - Shisui U. & Itachi U. - Words: 5,540 - Reviews: 23 - Favs: 63 - Follows: 3 - Published: 01-08-11 - Status: Complete - id: 6636903
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Written for the 2010 Advent Calendar at bitter_nakano. In the future, all my I/S will probably be archived there instead of here, since I'm too lazy to mirror-post most of the time.
This isn't high literature or anything; it's just for fun, guys.
Undressing the Onion
. . .
The summer of his twelfth year, Shisui and his best friend had their first major fallout ever. Since they had known each other longer than the generally accepted length of forever, the fact that they were only now coming to an irreconcilable difference was statistically improbable—but neither of them had ever met a record they hadn't desired to break. There might have been sharp words. Shisui might have even pitched a teeny-tiny fit. Said something like: "We are so not best friends anymore." Possibly even: "I totally want my Millennium Fighting Kage card collection back." Maybe stormed out yelling: "And I never want to see your stupid ugly wrinkled face ever again."
Something along those nebulous lines.
No one would have known about it if they hadn't chosen to stage their grudge match in front of the compound's only convenience store. If Shisui ever needed proof that Uchiha Uruchi was a beastly gossip, he had only to recall that before the day was out news of the fight had infiltrated every crevice of the admittedly insular microcosm they inhabited. The word 'epic' was applied like a down-market condiment. It was a natural consequence of being such an important, well-regarded individual; his only wish was that everyone kept the rueful sighing to a minimum.
The feud had gone on for a mere two days, and things were already going badly. For his soul.
In a preemptive strike, Shisui spent all of Monday morning outside the Hokage's office making loud, unsubtle references to procuring a new and improved best friend in the form of Uchiha Risu, his second cousin once removed who had hitherto lived in one of the clan's Iwa outposts. In better days Shisui wouldn't have gone for the dark horse, but his vast network of "friends" were making themselves suspiciously scarce these days, going on spontaneous weeks-long missions or simply morphing into the furniture the moment he entered the room. If he hadn't known that Itachi would rather run a marathon in sleet than make small talk, Shisui would have suspected him of disseminating untoward lies about him.
He lingered at the front desk extolling Risu's virtues with a nominal amount of editorializing, ignoring Mamiya's increasingly homicidal glower and explicit assertions that she simply did not care. It paid off around noon, when a certain Genin team filed into the office for their debriefing just in time to catch the crescendo of Shisui's ode to Risu's mad skills with a bō staff, and by the way did you know he had great hair? The Jounin instructor glared at him venomously and then Mamiya booked him for five D-class missions in a row but it was totally worth it.
The next day, Risu was seen scuttling through the streets of Konoha with wide, haunted eyes, muttering about "battle aura" and "killing intent". "Don't you find it weird that everyone I meet keeps giving me condolences and sad, soulful stares?" he asked.
"It's weird that you care," Shisui told him. "Our clan is well-known for our intense hazing rituals—it's how we separate the wheat from the pansies." He wondered if this twitchiness was native to all inhabitants of Iwa. Being Uchiha Shisui's best friend was a demanding job, and he couldn't be having with some delicate flower when what he needed was a steel magnolia.
His life knew neither joy nor the warmth of sunshine again until he ran into Mikoto while doing his grocery shopping. He was having a lousy day: without an Itachi-type object at his side, the confectionary aisle just didn't have the wholesome appeal it had used to.
Shisui gave her his usual enraptured greeting, and then felt his internal organs liquefy in despair at the sight of her divinely beautiful face faltering into a map of disappointment. Was he going to get this sort of treatment all the time now?
"Shisui-kun," Mikoto said in a solemn voice. "Are you going to Obon this year?"
"Um," Shisui gibbered. "Yes. I go every year to leave offerings for my mother."
She nodded vaguely. "Can you believe Risu's never even seen fireworks before?" he soldiered on. "That's just so depressing. His childhood must have been incredibly deprived."
He didn't get a chance to say any more stupid things before Mikoto cut him off, clearly put out. Her expression melted into soft pity. "So you're going to go with… with Risu-kun?"
"Is that not okay?" Shisui said cautiously.
"It's just…" Mikoto worried her bottom lip in distress, and then blurted out, "Itachi doesn't really have any friends aside from you and Sasuke."
Shisui thought that might be one of the saddest things he had ever heard, and he wasn't sure if that was because Itachi's brother was five years old and anyone who still had all of their milk teeth clearly wasn't friend material, or because some part of him already knew that and was now kicking up a storm of guilt and paranoid caring. He ran off while Mikoto was distracted by a passing neighbor, wondering if perhaps he had been hasty.
"What exactly is the purpose of this?"
"Didn't you want people to stop giving you a hard time? Being seen with me will solve all of your problems—it's a universally acknowledged fact that proximity to my person augments street cred, and the rate of growth multiplies with prolonged exposure."
Risu raised an insultingly skeptical eyebrow. "Do you do this for all of your friends?"
"Absolutely," Shisui assured him.
"Why are we walking in the direction of the Chief's house?"
"Because it's almost four o'clock," Shisui said, and as he did so, the front gate opened and Itachi emerged, hand in hand with his brother. Incestuous, Shisui seethed, totally, totally incestuous, and upped the ante by slinging his arm around Risu's shoulders affectionately.
Once they'd walked for some acceptable distance, he looked over his shoulder—only to catch Sasuke's glare of utter poison. Itachi, disappearing into the distance, did not turn around.
"Do you think he saw us?" Shisui said anxiously. "I don't think he saw us. Damn it, of all the times for the twerp to suddenly be blinder than a bat!" He paused and frowned. "Maybe he needs glasses. He's been squinting a lot lately. Maybe I should talk to his parents."
Risu stared at him for a moment, and proceeded to shake his head. "All of you idiots are so goddamn pathetic," he said under his breath. "I shoulda never left Iwa."
On Wednesday, Shisui dropped off all five of his mission reports, wowing even Mamiya's inhuman standards with his efficiency. Blinded by the beatific glow of his own awesome, he momentarily dropped his guard, allowing Itachi's teammates to waylay him outside the Tower.
Once upon a time, Shisui had looked at Itachi's Genin-assignment letter and been deeply impressed—an Inuzuka, and the son of Konoha's most esteemed medic! Then he'd met the Dynamic Duo in person, and listened to Hana talk for two motherfucking hours about her lifelong dream of becoming a vet. Subsequently, Kabuto had contributed to the discussion some cretinous comment to the effect that, really, he didn't see the point in advancing to Chuunin since he already had a solid career in medical ninjutsu ahead of him, at which point Shisui had had to leave, having lost his power of speech out of sheer, unmitigated horror.
The aspiring animal booboo-kisser leaned all into Shisui's space and grabbed his hands. "You have to take Itachi-kun to Obon," she snarled, exposing creepily sharp canines.
"Excuse me?" he said in complete bafflement.
"He was crying at our team meeting yesterday," Hana said, eyes huge and imploring.
Shisui glared at her liar's face. "He was not."
"Okay, no," Hana said guiltily. "But he was sulking a little. There was some definite sulking."
"How can you tell?" Shisui asked in earnest. "He's always got that whole inscrutable child-creep thing going on."
Kabuto, a considerable child-creep in his own right, raised an eyebrow in that highly enraging way that suggested he knew something you didn't. "Would you describe glazed eyes, long sighs, and distant, distracted gazes as being particularly inscrutable?"
"The point is," Hana cut in before any bloodshed occurred, "our team is going to the Chuunin Exam in the fall. We cannot be having with glazed eyes, long sighs, or distant, distracted gazes when he is our best bet at passing the prelims."
"And still I don't see how this has anything to do with me," Shisui said mulishly. Hana clawed one hand over her eyes and emitted a hopeless noise.
Kabuto slowly pushed his glasses up his nose, smiling his feckless, untrustworthy smile. "Shisui-kun," he said silkily. "You just never see it coming, do you?"
"What is that supposed to mean?" Shisui snapped. "You know what, I don't even care. Risu is my best friend now. I'm going to Obon with him."
He left without waiting for their reaction and high-tailed it to the nearest kissaten, where he blew his brand new paycheck on three jumbo plates of onion-less yakisoba. They did nothing to alleviate his mood, but inflicted new damage aplenty in the form of indigestion.
From there, it didn't take Shisui long to figure out that, for some undisclosed reason, everyone and their mother were trying to get him to make up with Itachi.
The lady at the teashop kept serving him dango despite his repeated requests for mochi, and when he went to pick up the weekly Shinobi Jump, the bookstore owner nearly brained him with a hardcover self-help manual on the importance of effective communication. Complete strangers took it upon themselves to offer enthusiastic, well-meaning advice. It was like the entire village had metamorphosed into pod people under the influence of hallucinogenic substances and/or malicious genjutsu whose only purpose of existence was to monitor Shisui's social life.
And then, it got truly surreal.
"You wanted to see me, sir?"
There was a chance however slim that this had nothing to do with Itachi. Perhaps Fugaku had summoned him to a private meeting to recruit Shisui into the MP—and if that was the case, he was certain the man would be thrilled to learn that he had no intention of being tied down just yet. He preferred to keep his career options open. He wanted to experiment. He was playing the field.
All his feeble hopes were dashed upon the cold rocks of reality, the reality of his clan head saying: "This is about Itachi, Shisui."
Shisui tried to think of a fabricated emergency he could cite as an excuse to leave, and came up blank. He gritted his teeth and told himself to be strong.
After a tense pause, Fugaku went on, sternly, "I wish you would cease this behavior. Such carrying-on is unworthy of those of the Uchiha name."
Shisui gaped at him, wordless. It was sickeningly unfair of Fugaku to pin this all on him, when clearly it was his own fault to begin with. If he had only hugged his son more often none of this would have happened. Shisui tried, he really did, but he couldn't be expected to provide all the physical and emotional comfort required for a ninja child's psychological development.
"Sir," he ventured. "Are you actually ordering me to do the equivalent of giving back your son's lunch money?"
"I…" Fugaku stopped, and looked thoroughly horrified with himself. "No."
Shisui fidgeted. "So… may I go now?"
"If you must," Fugaku muttered. As he left, Shisui chanced a glance over his shoulder, and saw the iron-willed leader of his clan dipping his head, rubbing the bridge of his nose in abject defeat.
But even though love in no way conquered all, it did serve as an annoyingly effective anesthesia for bitter grudges. Risu was alright to hang out with, but as a best friend Shisui found him to be tragically lacking, due to all those qualities that made him, more or less, not Itachi.
It was not his fault, really. Itachi, Shisui had reconciled to himself long ago, was like an onion: a secret moon inside brown-paper wrappings, liable at any moment to blind you with tears or sting your tongue and lips with its fierce, possessive flavor. Shisui was the cavalier knife that had sliced through its flesh, blind to the faithful scent that now clung to his blade as though he was still trapped within those endless silver loops. It was all very meaningful and metaphoric and if this whole ninja thing didn't work out Shisui felt he might have a shot in the literary track.
But in the mean time, nothing in his life was meaningful or poetic at all, and it sucked so much it managed to simultaneously blow.
"So I've decided we should be best friends again," Shisui announced.
Itachi looked up from one of his unimaginably esoteric scrolls—projectile trajectory simulations, from the looks of it. The Chuunin Exam wasn't even until September but predictably he was already hard at work searching for that sacred line that said STOP BEING AN OBNOXIOUS OVERACHIEVER HERE and leap across it with dogged abandon. Then again, Hana was right: someone had to pick up the slack for their crappy little team.
"The thing is," Shisui explained, "I really like onions in my beef bowl."
Itachi blinked, once, twice. Shisui ignored him and barreled on, "And my ramen. And my sukiyaki, especially my sukiyaki, and—okay, look, this fight is totally stupid anyway. I mean, I can't even remember what we were fighting about, can you?"
"Of course I can," Itachi said. "We were reasonably discussing your refusal to take responsibility for causing the two of us to be removed from Great Uncle Sasaki's memorial service."
"Just when are you going to let that go?" Shisui asked. "It's been what, three weeks now?"
Itachi's eyes narrowed. "Five days," he said coldly, and went back to reading.
"Felt a lot longer," Shisui said uncertainly. "Which just proves that we need to put it behind us already. You didn't even like Sasaki—and by the way, you're doing that all wrong." He took up the pen Itachi had dropped and corrected an equation on his writing pad. "There."
The thick branches above their heads formed swaying shadows on Itachi's face, which was slowly downgrading from arctic scorn to a mildly stormy serenity. "Thank you," he said, and only looked a little bit pained.
Shisui let his relieved smile do the talking. He reached over to pinch one of Itachi's still-chubby cheeks. His face was getting thinner and thinner every year—soon, Shisui reflected sadly, he wouldn't be cute anymore, and then Shisui would have to find something new to rib him about.
Dog days were riding Konoha and riding it hard, like an abusive domestic partner. It was already late afternoon and still the temperature outside was a nice, oppressive one-million-and-one degree. Shisui plopped himself down on the grass and stretched out luxuriously. Itachi had this weird manner of sitting that involved tucking both of his legs sideway—it was disturbing, but provided Shisui with comfy opportunities to use his lap as a pillow. He let his eyelids slide shut, leaving behind the summer glare and dense heat.
"What are you doing?"
The fingers that had been stealthily carding through his hair withdrew themselves hastily. "Nothing."
"Yeah you were," Shisui mumbled. "Keep doing that. Feels nice." He cleared his throat casually. "So hey, Obon. Your mother told me you're going." Maybe he could finagle Itachi into lending Shisui his house-cleaning, offerings-preparing skill set.
"Sasuke wants to see the floating lanterns," Itachi replied.
Shisui made a scrunched face. How very typical. "Ah well, Risu said the same thing so we might as well—ow, ow, ow, ouchy!"
His hair felt like it was being ripped clean from his scalp. Shisui pulled himself free and scowled at Itachi. "God, what is wrong with you?"
The answer was plenty, in many and varied ways, as evidenced for example by the way Itachi had turned a really awful color green, and was treating Shisui to his iciest glare ever. He gathered up his scrolls and rose to his feet.
"What?" Shisui demanded.
Itachi stalked away without a further word.
"What?" Shisui asked the empty air. "What?"
The following day, Risu blew into the training ground like a hurricane, pinned Shisui up against a punching post and stared into his face with crazy, crazy eyes. "What did you say to him?" he hissed. "He told me he was going to kill me."
"What?" Shisui said in alarm. "Who?"
"Who do you think?"
"Itachi threatened you?" Shisui asked. This was way more serious than he'd thought. "But I already made up with him! I even apologized for us getting kicked out of Sasaki's memorial service, which for the record is still not my fault."
"Oh my god," Risu said, horrorstruck. "You actually—you actually thought this was about the memorial service?"
"What else could it be?" Shisui said. It was hair-tearingly frustrating, and he was thisclose to just marching up to Itachi's stupid face and taping a note saying WHAT IS WRONG? to his forehead.
"How are you this obtuse?" Risu boggled. "Were you dropped on your head as a child?"
"Hey," Shisui said—though given that one year his father had taken to drink during his toddlerhood, this suggestion was not entirely implausible. "Watch your mouth. I'm a genius."
"You're an idiot savant at best," Risu said. "Attempting to reason with you is like pouring water over a duck."
"I—" Shisui frowned. "What?"
"Look, Shisui," said Risu. "I'm going to say this very, very slowly so that you understand. Itachi doesn't just want you back as his friend, okay? He's smitten. He's got it bad. Completely, devastatingly head over heel."
"Smitten?" Shisui said. "What does that even mean?"
Risu stared at him incredulously, and then threw up his hands in some attempt to shape the horrible indefinable depth of his suffering. "You? A genius? Genius my ass."
Somehow, it had never properly occurred to Shisui just how squirrely Risu was until this very moment. "Okay, you wanna fight it out or something?" he said, clenching his fists in what he was certain was a subtly menacing way.
"This is unbelievable," Risu whispered, like a man who finding himself at the end of a rapidly disintegrating rope could not help but be awed by the sheer stupidity of his situation. "You seriously never see it coming, do you?"
"See what coming?" Shisui asked, feeling more baffled than ever.
"He's got a big fat gay crush on you," Risu barked. "It's big, it's fat, and it's very, very, very gay. Understand now, oh-great-ingenious-one?"
"He—" Shisui began. Then he thought—hair-petting—and suddenly had himself a fit of hyperventilating truth. "He's got a—oh my god what the hell?"
"Would you look at that," Risu said sarcastically. "The genius's finally got it."
He glanced around the clearing a few times before saying in a deliberately mournful voice, "And that is the reason why I'm breaking up with you, Shisui-kun. It's not you, it's me. I'm clearly not good enough for you, and I think we shouldn't be friends or even see each other ever again." He took the time to wipe his eyes theatrically, before spinning on his heels and taking off in the opposite direction with an impassioned, "Farewell!"
Shisui wandered through Konoha the entire day feeling like a shipwreck victim washed up on a brave, new, and terrifying shore. By the time he circled back to the training ground, Hana and one of her ninja dogs were the only ones there. She gave him a small wave, at which point Shisui apparently developed a phonic tic and rushed over to blurt out: "Does Itachi have a big fat gay crush on me?"
Hana darted her eyes around nervously, and ducked her head like Shisui had just accused her of being a Suna spy. "Saburo," she whispered to her ninken. "Go patrol the area and bark if you sense someone coming, understood?"
"What are you doing?" Shisui said. "There's no one else around."
"Are you sure?" Hana said. "Are you absolutely certain? Maybe you should check again—maybe you should use your Sharingan just to be thorough, you know."
"I'm telling you there's no one here," Shisui said impatiently. "Just answer my question: does he or does he not have a crush on me?"
Hana bit her bottom lip. "There is… a possibility of that, yes."
"How much of a possibility are we talking here?" Shisui said. "Like, what percent?"
"A hundred," Hana said. "And ten."
"That's so crazy," Shisui said, stunned. "He's, what, five years old?"
Hana blinked. "I'm sure Itachi-kun is at least ten…"
"Same difference," Shisui said. "He's a baby –" he waved his hand around wildly – "A baby has a crush on me. How is that normal?"
Hana made a noise that sounded suspiciously like she was choking. "Shisui, you and Itachi-kun are a lot of things, but normal is definitely not one of them. Anyway, maybe it's not really like that. Maybe he's just… confused or something."
The notion of Itachi being confused about anything was even more mindboggling than that he was, as Risu had put it, "smitten" with Shisui, which on the whole fit in nicely with the tenor of this surreal experience, given that screwiness appeared to be the seasonal motif. Shisui pondered this information for a moment, and lifted his head. "So what do I do?"
"Why are you asking me?" Hana said, panicked. If her face got any clammier the stripes of paint on her cheeks were going to run and she would look like a psycho killer clown.
"No one's ever had a big gay crush on me before," Shisui said defensively. "Or any other kind of crush, for that matter..." Suddenly, he felt unthinkably depressed. It was possible he needed to reevaluate his life and its quotient of awesomeness.
"Kabuto-kun was right," Hana said, and sounded extremely sad. "You really never see it coming."
"Why do people keep saying that?"
"Because it's true. Remember when I tried to give you a bento every day?"
"You tried to make me lunch?"
"For a week," Hana said resentfully. "Then Itachi-kun started making references to the Uchiha-patented autopsy methodology, so I stopped. Anyway, I'm sure if you just do what you always do and pretend the problem doesn't exist, he will eventually come to his senses and let you be."
Shisui frowned at her. "Why would I want to do that? Think of all the potential entertainment values to be gained here."
"So you're going to…"
"I'm going to call him on it, of course!"
He grinned at Hana in confidence, saw her giving him a look of deep sorrow in return, though it was hard to tell whether it was because she sympathized with the trials and tribulations he was about to face or was simply distressed by his nonexistent sense of moral responsibility.
"I have to go away now," Hana said plaintively. "If I'm seen having this conversation with you, they're going to be pulling my bloated, fish-nibbled body out of the river tomorrow."
The night was stifling and ominous, with nary a star in the sky, and it was about the time he was crouching beneath a bedroom window fighting off ravenous mosquitoes when Shisui began to think that perhaps calling Itachi on it could have waited until sunrise. Then a voice from behind him said, "What are you doing?" and he nearly Shunshin'd himself across the koi pond.
Itachi was standing on the gravel path, watching Shisui's antics with bemusement. He had a finger inserted between two pages of The Life and Teachings of Zen Master Bankei, and was wearing a set of cotton pajamas. Not shorts, not underclothes: pajamas. With white and green stripes. Like mint toothpaste.
Shisui eased his heartbeats back to a life-sustaining pace. "Are you by any chance part-cat?"
Itachi continued to regard him with that marble-toned expression. Normal people blushed and made cow-eyes when they were stupid-faced in love, but apparently this was Itachi, smitten. Perhaps this wasn't about big fat gay crushes at all. Perhaps this was a sign that Shisui was some sort of adrenaline junkie, and that he should start lobbying for more A-rank-and-above missions, or maybe just quit ninja-ing it up altogether and take up extreme hobbies. Lion-taming seemed to gain allure by the minute. Might even help with the part-cat thing.
But nobody won anything through cowardice, and Shisui was the crazy badass who sent fire blasts into people's faces—he would not let gooey emotions take him down.
"So the latest piece of saucy gossip going around is that you have a thing for me," Shisui said. He'd meant to start with something more low-key, like, "We need to talk," or, "You are so insane I don't even," but that was what came out instead, loud and unnaturally high-pitched.
Itachi scowled. "Who told you that?"
Shisui shook his head. "I can't reveal my sources."
"Then I have no wish to continue this conversation," Itachi said, and began to walk away, probably to go update his list of people to kill.
"Not even if I tell you that you can have me?" Shisui improvised. "I mean… if you want that… then you can."
Ringing silence followed his statement. Presently, the object of his doomed courting attempts turned to face him and said, "Why would I want that?"
"Because no one else would have you."
In the relative hush of the black, black night, Itachi could be heard making a hamstrung noise in the back of his throat.
"Don't worry," Shisui soothed. "No one else would have me either, but for a totally different reason."
Itachi crossed his arms in front of him, and now on top of looking all irritated and frowny was starting to exude a little bloodlust. "Explain," he said tightly.
"See, you're like," Shisui said, fishing around for eloquence. "You're like an onion, okay? You got your smell all over me, and now wherever I go everyone is all like, oh, you're Itachi's friend, you're his big fat gay crush, we can smell it all over you."
Itachi, if possible, was looking more homicidal than ever, but also completely mortified. His gaze was flitting everywhere except at Shisui's face, and Kabuto was totally right, this crap wasn't inscrutable at all. God, he was so blind. Clearly, he must be part-mole.
"So what you're saying is… I smell?"
"No," Shisui said, exasperated. He cleared his throat, which had gone suddenly froggy. "I like it—and I'd like it even better if everyone starts thinking of you as Shisui's big fat crush too. Or maybe more than a crush, even. So… like I said… you can have me, if you want."
"You're…" Itachi swallowed hard, eyes widening impossibly. "…not thinking straight."
Shisui threw up his hands in a commendable imitation of Risu. "Oh, come on."
"Referring to oneself in the third person is a sign of metal instability," Itachi insisted. He clenched his book in a death grip, agitated beyond the point of Zen and fine motor control.
"Spoken like a true expert," Shisui said. "Anyway, stop changing the subject. Do you want to go steady with me or not?"
There was a long, portentous silence. Itachi had finally shut up, and was giving Shisui his best and most alarming crazy-face, probably because despite big fat crush he hadn't the slightest clue what going steady even meant. Shisui took a deep breath and grabbed Itachi's hands. The book dropped to ground with a condemning thud. It didn't sound encouraging.
"Okay, no, that's way too weird," he said, letting go immediately.
A hint of stunned hurt appeared on Itachi's face. Shisui had no idea what to do about it, his entire brain having turned into soggy rice, so he just leaned forward and pressed their mouths together, braving the biting kiss of the onion.
So obviously he wasn't the most romantically adept kid on the block (nobody was perfect!), but even he wouldn't have imagined their beginning to unfold like this: skulking in a corner of Fugaku's bonsai garden being serenaded by the deer chaser and a chorus of tone deaf crickets. Bathed in the glow of the mosquito lamp, it was almost romantic.
"Oh man," Shisui groaned, once they'd separated. "You got your first kiss younger than me. Now the score's in your favor again."
Itachi considered this for a moment. "Does it really count as winning if my first kiss is with you?"
"Fine," Shisui relented. "I guess that makes it okay. But hey, are you implying that kissing me is somehow not a totally awesome victory?"
Itachi shrugged. "You did say no one else would have you," he said with grating levity.
"Yeah, you're no prize yourself," Shisui muttered, but ruined the effect by breaking out into a terrifyingly besotted smile. "So now will you go to Obon with me? It'll be our first date."
"We go to Obon together every year," Itachi pointed out.
In retrospect, that might even have been a sign, like the universe had been telling them all along that they were meant for each other or something, but that idea was freakish and horrific and Shisui just wasn't even going to think about it. Instead, he thought about lantern lights and fireworks, of colorful glows reflected in round dark eyes. His stomach went a little liquidy.
"That was before we started going steady," he explained. "It's completely different now."
"How is it different?"
"Because now, it's official. There are protocols to follow. I have to pick you up at your house. You wear something nice, I wear something nice. We'll eat disgustingly greasy food, and I'll try to win you a stuffed weasel—without cheating."
Itachi was possibly rolling his eyes. "Those are the same things we always do."
"Well," Shisui said, lowering his voice to a hush. "How about this. First we'll go visit my mom's grave, like usual. And then." He smiled invitingly. "We'll go to the dance, and I'll join in—"
"—I'll join in, and you'll do it with me. Oh, and Risu won't be there." He pulled a face. "Or Sasuke and your parents. No one else. Just us."
Itachi tilted his head a little to the side. "I guess that is a little different," he said lightly, giving Shisui a small smile of astonishing condescension and smuggery and sweetness.
Shisui rolled his eyes and lifted Itachi's chin up, kissed him lingeringly on the lips. It still felt weird, but marginally less so than before, and really, that was as good as he could hope for. Itachi liked to psycho-terrorize his "competitions", and Shisui couldn't tell that someone had feelings for him unless death threats were involved. They were two prodigiously intelligent people who had no damn clue what they were doing, and somehow managed to be mutually and desperately out of each other's league. No one would have either of them.
It wasn't going to be ideal, but it was going to be perfect anyway, perfect in its perfectly flawed way—at least until that inevitable day one of Itachi's parents walked in unannounced and caught their model son straddling Shisui's lap and kissing him or something. Bits touching other bits, even through clothing, were parental grounds for capital punishment. They would then have to leave town. Kumogakure was beautiful at this time of year.
"Shut up, it's totally deep."
. . .