Author's note: This is my attempt at a Valentine's Day oneshot for Sasuke and Naruto, but I'm not really sure what to think of it ... I'm not entirely happy with it, but I hope it isn't too bad!
Warnings: Alternate universe; Itachi's pov; fluff; some minor time skips; slash
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto. Kishimoto owns it.
I hope you'll like it!
Happy Valentine's Day to you all!
The Best Wingman
"Any ideas what kind of experiment we could do for our assignment?" Itachi inquired idly; his hand resting on the assignment sheet.
"Why don't we show the fleetingness of beauty, un?" Deidara suggested immediately; his cobalt blue eyes glittering with excitement as he leant forwards over the table eagerly. The tips of his long, blond hair trailed over the wood as his ponytail slipped over his shoulder.
Despite having only known the other boy for half a year after he and his family had moved to this town, Itachi had no trouble discerning what the other one meant with that peculiar suggestion. "You want to make something that will blow up," he surmised correctly and Deidara's face lit up.
"I knew even you would understand the - "
"You are going to die young because of your own stupid obsession," Sasori remarked flatly; his greyish brown eyes flitting back and forth across the papers in front of him.
As expected that got Deidara riled up immediately and he whirled around to confront the red haired boy. "It's not a stupid obsession, un! Just because you can't appreciate the beauty that can be captured with just one - "
And off he went on his usual tangent in which he tried to convince Sasori that art was only supposed to last for a moment before perishing in a big explosion. The blond man had a peculiar obsession with what he considered to be art and Itachi had given up trying to understand him. Not that Sasori's insistence that art was supposed to last forever was more preferable. Both boys had an odd fixation on the concept of art – a fixation Itachi wasn't willing to touch with a ten foot pole.
He had learnt quickly that it was best to just stay out of their discussion and let their argument slash fight run its course. Once they got it out of their system, it would be safe to engage them in conversation again.
Until that happened, though, he was stuck here in his bedroom, trying to come up with a decent experiment to study for their chemistry class. Maybe he should have chosen different partners for this assignment, but Deidara had latched onto him before he had even been able to turn his head and Sasori had followed.
Well, there were worse partners for a chemistry project, he allowed. At least they were good at the subject and would actually be able to contribute something sensible to it – as soon as they stopped arguing at least.
Movement in the corner of his eye caught his attention and he turned his head towards the door. His ten year old brother hovered in the doorway, staring at him with big, dark eyes. For a moment, the two siblings just stared at each other while Deidara and Sasori kept arguing in the background.
Right when Itachi opened his mouth to ask whether the younger boy needed something, Sasuke scowled and turned away, disappearing into the hallway.
Itachi raised an eyebrow, light curiosity stirring inside him at his brother's odd behaviour. He would have thought that Sasuke simply didn't want to intrude while Itachi had people over, but his brother had never particularly given a shit about that. If he needed something from Itachi, he would go to him and ask, whether or not the older boy was alone or had company.
Hm, interesting, he thought, making a mental note to find out what Sasuke wanted.
"All those paint fumes have messed with your head, un," Deidara was sneering when Itachi tuned back into their fight.
Sasori smiled thinly, resting his head on his hand. "Perhaps those many explosions of your supposed art have rattled your brain too much to make sense anymore."
"Why don't we each pick a topic and see if we can combine them?" Itachi suggested, hiding his exasperation.
"Fine, but I'm telling you, my idea meets the requirements of the project, un," Deidara huffed, leaning back in his chair and crossing his arms.
"If you squint and turn the paper upside down perhaps," Sasori remarked bored.
Itachi sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose. Perhaps he should have gone for Nagato and Konan after all.
He knocked and waited for the affirmative answer before opening the door and leaning inside. "Did you need something, Otouto?" he questioned. He hadn't seen Sasuke until dinner tonight and the boy hadn't said anything about why he had appeared in the living room this afternoon. Figuring his brother wanted to talk to him in private, Itachi had waited until after dinner to seek him out.
Sasuke looked up from the book he was reading. He was on his bed, leaning against the wall, and he peered up at Itachi with a frown. "No?"
"This afternoon," Itachi clarified, leaning against the doorjamb. "You looked like you wanted to say something."
Sasuke looked quite conflicted, a look which only served to pique Itachi's interest even more. Just what was going on in his brother's head that would make him look like that?
The younger boy shook his head decisively, returning his attention back to the book. "No, it's nothing," he muttered.
"Hm, well, okay." Itachi backed away, going to his own room. He knew from experience that pestering Sasuke for answers would only lead to the boy clamping up even more and utterly refusing to say anything. He'd come to Itachi when he was ready.
For now Itachi had some research to do for the chemistry project.
"Aren't those ingredients illegal?" Itachi frowned, perusing the stack of information he had printed out. He pressed his phone between his ear and shoulder to remove one sheet of paper and replace it with the edited version.
"Well, not really, un," Deidara hedged, clearing his throat. "I can get my hands on them, trust me."
"Just because you can get them, does not mean that they are - "
He cut himself off when his brother's voice drifted over to him from the door opening. Twisting around in his chair, his eyes landed on Sasuke who hovered in the middle of the doorway, looking uncharacteristically subdued. He had his hands clasped together and was peering up through his eyelashes at his older brother.
"Sorry, Deidara-kun, but my brother wants to speak to me," Itachi said, placing the papers on top of his other assignments. "I'll call you back later."
"Okay, but I still say that we need those ingredients for our project, un!"
Before Itachi could say anything to that, Deidara had already ended the call and the obnoxious 'BEEP', 'BEEP' noise filled his ears until he lowered his phone and put it on the desk. He contemplated calling Sasori and sicking him on Deidara to deal with the possibility of the blond purchasing something illegal, but his brother needed him now and Sasori had a tendency to start ranting whenever Deidara tiptoed over – or well, in his case stampeded right through the line. He'd deal with this mess later. At least Deidara hadn't said he would buy them immediately. That gave him some time to do damage control.
Shaking his head slightly, he turned around in his chair and beckoned Sasuke inside. "You need something, Otouto?" he questioned curiously, wondering whether his brother would finally fess up whatever had him brooding for these past couple of days.
Sasuke shuffled to him, coming to a halt two feet away from the older man and kept his gaze steadfastly aimed on the floor. "It's Valentine's Day in two days," he said.
Whatever he had expected to hear, this was not it. A bit taken aback by the unexpected comment, Itachi blinked and crossed his legs. He inclined his head. "Yes, it is," he murmured, questioning silently why that particular day was so significant to Sasuke all of a sudden.
Itachi knew he would be spending the day dodging giggling and blushing girls and politely declining gifts. Sasuke was still too young, though, so why the sudden remark?
Sasuke huffed, looking put out and even slightly embarrassed as he looked away and crossed his arms. "Kurenai-sensei was talking about it in class this week, saying it's a day to show people you like them," he muttered; the tips of his ears tinted pink.
Itachi cocked his head, studying the rose hue on pale cheekbones with interest. "That's true, yes." He didn't say anything more, waiting for the real reason why Sasuke would bring up Valentine's Day of all days.
"How – how do you show someone you like them?" Sasuke asked; his voice so quiet it was barely audible.
Oh, it was becoming more and more interesting. "Depends on what the other one likes," Itachi answered slowly. "Most give flowers or candy, though. Those are the traditional presents for Valentine's Day."
His little brother furrowed his eyebrows. "He likes plants, but …"
He. If Sasuke hadn't captured his full attention before, he definitely had it now. So his brother was interested in a boy? Well, given his clear dislike for girls in general, that didn't really surprise Itachi. Sasuke had never been particularly subtle when it came to showing his loathing for girls once they had taken notice of him. Itachi had just never expected him to be interested in a boy. Sasuke had always appeared too aloof to concern himself with other people; preferring to be with his older brother or even their cousin Shisui than to be with his classmates.
However, Itachi reflected, there was one boy who had managed to capture Sasuke's interest. A blond child, who had joined his class a week after Sasuke had settled in. The boy had come around a couple of times before, actually. He had been boisterous, loud and very energetic; his laughter ringing throughout the house. What was his name again? It had been something food related … Naruto?
Was that boy the one which had Sasuke suddenly interested in Valentine's Day?
"Well, does he like candy?" Itachi inquired curiously. While Naruto seemed to like plants, flowers didn't seem like the right gift for him at their age.
Sasuke looked pensive, before scrunching up his nose in disgust. "Well, he likes chocolate, but he likes ramen more. I've seen him eat three to five bowls at once," he told the older boy.
"You could make something with chocolate," Itachi suggested and shrugged. "Small chocolate pieces or perhaps a cupcake? You could also buy chocolate from the store; there's plenty of that now because of Valentine's Day."
"I'm not going to buy something," Sasuke said, scowling. "That's not special!"
Huh, he must be actually serious about this. Itachi raised his hands in the air and smiled. "All right, no buying anything then," he acquiesced amused. "Then do you want to make something with chocolate then?"
"But Naruto likes ramen more." Sasuke frowned, looking slightly upset.
So his name was indeed Naruto. "Well, why don't you offer to buy him a bowl of ramen after school then? Mum gave you your allowance this week, right?"
"But then I would have to wait until after school." The words had barely left Sasuke's mouth before he turned a tomato red; a look of embarrassment crossing his face before he quickly looked away, his shoulders hunched.
Either Sasuke was too impatient to wait an entire day to give his present – or he wanted everyone else watching him present his gift to his friend. The implications of the latter possibility were intriguing to say the least.
"If you really want to give him ramen, I'm afraid you'll have to wait until after school. By the time you would arrive, the ramen would be cold," Itachi explained, leaning forwards.
Sasuke's shoulders slumped in defeat. "Yeah, okay," he muttered, clearly disappointed, and turned around. "I'll wait until after school then." He left the room before Itachi could open his mouth.
The older boy uttered a soft sigh and leant back in his chair, tapping his fingers against his desk. Clearly, for whatever reason, Sasuke had wanted to give his present during the morning. If he bought the ramen beforehand, though, it would most certainly be cold by the time he arrived at school; that was the unfortunate truth. There was no way around that. Either he would have to go with candy, which he could give before class started, or he'd have to wait until after school and treat his friend to a bowl of ramen then.
After all, it wasn't as if …
An idea popped up in Itachi's head and he straightened up, turning his head to stare thoughtfully at his laptop. Its screen had turned black during his conversation with Sasuke, as it hadn't been used for a while, but a quick tap on the keys had the screen flickering to life again. His Word document which contained the start of their experiment blinked back at him.
Would it be possible to somehow combine ramen and candy without creating something utterly disgusting? He didn't think so, but …
Sasuke's disappointed face flashed through his mind and he sighed softly, shaking his head. Turning fully around, he opened his internet browser and started looking up recipes.
Really, the things he was willing to do for his little brother …
The next afternoon Itachi was waiting for Sasuke's school to end its lessons. His satchel with his school work and books was resting against his left hip and in his right hand he carried a bag with groceries. He had just stopped by the store to purchase the ingredients, following the recipe list he had printed out last night. He wasn't too certain yet whether the recipe would be a success, but trying never hurt and it would make his little brother happy.
Laughter and loud chattering had him look up, right when the school gates opened and a stream of students was let loose. A bit to the right he spotted Sasuke, who was walking next to a blond boy – Naruto. He was saying something, his hands waving around animatedly while Sasuke listened attentively, nodding at whatever his friend was telling him. A woman with very long, red hair blocked Itachi's view from the two boys and when she walked away, Naruto was holding her hand and waving at Sasuke with a big grin.
"Sasuke," Itachi called out, right when a pink haired girl grabbed his brother's arm.
At the sound of his voice, Sasuke instantly whipped his head around and his face lightened up when he spotted his brother waiting for him. Without deigning the girl worthy of a glance, he shook her off and hurried towards Itachi, leaving her pouting behind.
"Itachi-niisan!" Sasuke exclaimed surprised, coming to a stop in front of him. His eyes were wide and sparkled when he said, "I didn't know you were coming to pick me up! I thought you had to work on your chemistry project?"
"Cancelled," Itachi replied easily. He held up the white plastic bag and dark eyes shot towards it, eyeing it curiously. "Want me to help you prepare a gift for your friend?"
The glimmer of excitement in dark eyes and the smile on his little brother's face was worth bribing Sasori and Deidara into delaying the project.
School projects would come and go, but it wasn't every day he could help his brother with capturing the heart of the boy he liked.
"I can't believe you actually found a recipe for that, un," Deidara snickered, bracing his arm on Itachi's shoulder.
Itachi had just dropped off Sasuke at his school and somewhere along the way Deidara had decided to join them, far too amused with the gift Sasuke was holding in his hands.
"The internet is filled with strange things," Itachi replied dryly, watching how Sasuke approached Naruto tentatively.
It had been a nightmare to prepare the gift. It had taken them four attempts and a very filthy kitchen – Sasuke insisting each time he wanted to do most of the work, because it was his present for Naruto – but they had finally succeeded. They had managed to combine Naruto's love for ramen with his sweet tooth.
Right at this moment Sasuke was holding out a bowl of ramen to Naruto. Not a normal bowl, either. The bowl itself was a chocolate cake, baked in a bowl to get the right shape. The cake had been cut in three layers and between each one raspberry jam had been spread. The cake was coated with frosting and had a layer of dark fondant around it to make it look like an actual bowl. The ramen toppings had been created out of fondant as well: white and yellow to create the eggs; white and beige to form the chicken slices; white and light pink kneaded into the fishcakes and little pieces of green fondant for the green onions. The 'noodles' were made out of frosting; a pipe bag had been used to create the texture of the noodles.
Itachi's teeth ached at just the thought of how incredibly sweet that cake had to taste like.
As he watched, his brother looked away, blushing slightly, as he held out his Valentine's present. Naruto's face was bright red as well, but he had a large grin on his face as he accepted the gift, staring at it with wide eyes. Holding it against his chest with one hand, he dug into his backpack with the other. When he pulled his hand out, he was holding a small box. Sasuke opened the box and dug out a cupcake with bright red frosting. As he stared at the cupcake, Naruto said something that made the other boy blush and smack his head.
That slap didn't deter or offend Naruto, however, because the blond boy darted forwards and kissed Sasuke's cheek, which had Sasuke reddening even more. Itachi was pretty sure he saw several girls crying and stamping their feet on the ground at that sight.
Deidara smirked. "Ah, that's so disgustingly cute, un."
Naruto grabbed Sasuke's hand tightly, holding his cake in the other hand. Before they walked into the school building, Sasuke turned around briefly, catching his brother's eyes. A grateful smile darted across his lips and Itachi inclined his head.
Sasuke was happy and that was all that mattered.
"Come on, un," Deidara said, squeezing his shoulder before turning around. "Sasori's going to have a fit if we don't get there soon."
"Hn." In his pocket Itachi fingered the two tickets to the firework festival, which would take place this weekend. As he studied the blond boy walking away, he smirked.
He had helped Sasuke woo his friend, now it was time to do some wooing of his own.
AN2: Still not sure what to think of it, but ... At least it was somewhat fluffy? *clears throat* Sorry if it sucks, guys *sweatdrops*
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