The white unblemished porcelain of her mother's fine china glistened in the stream of hot water. Her hands, already pruning from the last fifteen minutes, ran across its surface marveling at its smooth unblemished surface. It was the kind of dish that was too pristine to use outside of special events. When was the last time this dish had been used? Not since she joined Anbu nearly ten years ago.
That felt like another life to her. One where her family measured in the hundreds, instead of the two it was now. She began to hum that soft melody her mother would when she did the dishes, a perfect replication that lacked the beauty her mother put into it. Sasuke knew the tune as well but, she rarely sang it. The dishes were always done after all.
Sometimes when their father wasn't busy leading the clan, or even when he was, he would come and help their mother put away the dishes. It was at those time that her mother's hum would change turning into a duet as her father joined with his own low almost grumble like humming. There was no one to help her, even if Sasuke was home her sister rarely touched the dishes.
She had had that duet once, that harmony between souls, that her mother and father had once had. But that felt like a lifetime ago. Anbu was like that. It was another world hidden from this one that had its own rules, there were no laws, just failures. The only thing that mattered was the mission and the ability to do it. She was a tool of the Hokage, his scalpel for removing the unseen threats to Konoha.
That life seemed as far away from her as the one with her parents.
With the last of the dishes put away, Itachi dried her hands; the yard work was done, the laundry was hanging on the close line - just like her mother used to do - the house clean, the pantry stocked, everything was as it should be in that horribly mundane way. This was her third life, a life filled with nothing but time.
She walked down the hall, filled with portraits of their family, her favorite being one of just her father's girls, her mother had Sasuke on her lap while she stood off to the side, they all had just wonderful smiles on their face. The last time she had smiled like that was in Anbu. It was also that last time she had seen him.
She should read a book, watch the television, go outside, do something with all this free time she had. Anything but sit around and remember the past all day. Sasuke said it wasn't good for her to stay inside all day, and she knew her sister was right. But outside of keeping up with her shinobi abilities and running errands, she had no reason to leave the house. And so she did the same thing she did every day until Sasuke came home.
The box of her past was small and mostly empty. A few mementos of her happy moments, most of them were from her time in Anbu when she had a purpose. Her mask - or at least a replicate of it - sat in the middle of the pile, her time as Weasel lasted for ten years and she did not choose its ending. The ancient shark's tooth that Fox had given her on one of their missions rested below it. A ring from Shisui, a drawing from Sasuke. And Fox's favorite kunai, it looked like any other Kunai save for the red around the hand grip, it was her favorite color.
"Maybe, I should dye my hair?" Her voice broke the silence that had been cultivated into the home for generations. That would get her out of her house, and give her something to do. Besides, it would be his favorite color. A beacon for him. Or not. Where would she even go for something like that? Sasuke wouldn't know, her sister was only slightly less helpless than she was when it came to being normal.
Perhaps her Sister's teammate might be of assistance. She appeared to be at least somewhat in touch with her feminine side, just one way her father got his wish for two boys.
The rough porcelain of her mask was cold and welcoming, it begged her to put it on once again - to become Weasel again - despite what her Hokage said. She understood her retirement, her being placed back into the ranks of shinobi as a jounin. It was just another mission, the longest one she'd ever be on. It was one she didn't know if she could accomplish before it killed her.
Temptation coursed through her, to put the mask on once more. To be Weasel one last time. To when things were simple for her. But that was a different life and this wasn't her mask. It was just another memory that she'd be better off forgetting.
"Itachi?" Sasuke's voice called from the living room. Was she back already? She thought she had at least until five. "What?" her sister's voice whispered harshly. "Yes, you can come in, I said you could, quit standing there like an idiot."
Sasuke had company over? That was rare. Sure since she had fully come back into Sasuke's life she had met a few of her sister's teammate but much like herself, Sasuke was simply incompetent when it came to human interactions. Had it not been for her sister's foul temper she would have made an excellent Anbu member.
With her box put away in a hurry, Itachi walked towards the commotion. She saw the clock that hung above the mantle that read a quarter past five, had she spent really spent that much time remising? Placing a hand on the corner Itachi put on her best smile and greeted her sister. "Sasuke? Did you bring a guest?"
Her sister was every bit the shinobi that she was when she was younger - before Itachi joined the Anbu before their clan was killed - she had been a happy child that wanted nothing more than to laugh and play. Sasuke had inherited their mother's beauty, with short black hair that came to her shoulders, a charming face that was marred by what she had heard one unpleasant Inuzuka call 'resting bitch face'.
Sasuke also had the unique talent of looking incredibly annoyed even when she was happy, such as right now as she stood in the doorway arms crossed glaring at whoever had yet to enter the house. "Not if he doesn't hurry up and get his ass in here. You're the one that wanted to come over you idiot."
Itachi couldn't help but laugh, human interaction really isn't their strong suit. "Sasuke, if they're our guest are you sure you should be talking to him like that. But aren't you going to introduce me?"
She stepped fully into the living room finally getting a good look at the man that her sister had brought home. He was tall, blonde haired, man that had a charming smile. And then there were his blue eyes, it felt like she had seen them a thousand times before in another lifetime.
"Fine, loser this is Itachi, my older Sister," Sasuke gestured at her with a flippant attitude like she was doing this specifically to appease her. She gestured at the man that kept smiling in the doorway slapping him in the chest hard enough to make him grunt. "And this is Naruto Uzumaki," she groaned looking rather like she had just eaten a sour lemon. "My boyfriend."
"Hey, you don't have to sound so unhappy about it Sasuke." Naruto laughed. She had heard that voice before. She had heard that voice a thousand times over again in her last life and in her dreams. But it couldn't be him. "Nice to meet you Itachi, sorry for coming over unannounced."
He stepped into the room and closed the distance between them. He was exactly four and three-quarter inches taller than her, he led with his left foot, his shoulders were wide, all things that pointed to Naruto being him. Being Fox. But that couldn't be Fox didn't have blonde hair, Fox was still in Anbu. Fox didn't belong in this life.
"Itachi?" Sasuke's voice brought her back to the here and now. "You okay?"
"Oh, yes. I'm very alright. I'm just a little shocked that you came home with a boyfriend." Especially one that was so like Fox. "Are you two staying for dinner?"
"Yes please!" Naruto chirped, jumping like he was a twelve year old. "Would you like some help in the kitchen?"
Sasuke snorted. "Settle down, just because you're getting a free meal is no reason to be so excited."
"That would be wonderful." Itachi smiled, there was no way that this was Fox. It was just impossible.
AN: welcome to the first chapter of Blooming in Concrete. A story about love that shouldn't happen. This is a different tone than what I'm used to. But I still hope to work my way into some fluffiness. Length wise I don't think this fic will be terribly long, and each chapter will be between 1.5k words and 3k words depending on the scenes that take place. For the most part I will be dealing with Itachi's P.o.V.
Anyways I hope you enjoyed this first look at Blooming in Concrete that will become a focus of mine in the near future. Please let me know what you think.