Alright—there's quite a lot to say here, but I'll do my best to make it fast.

A quick warning: If you're here looking for graphic visual depictions of vomit/sick, you may be disappointed; the kink aspect of this fic centers largely on the act of emesis (as opposed to the look/smell of it), which itself relies heavily on... quite a few other things. I won't spoil you!

The most basic concept for this fic was inspired by Beneaththesheets's fic "All for You" (hosted on good ol' AO3). This might not be readily obvious because, like always, I took an idea that could have been simple and quick and stretched it out for ten thousand years, but the influence will become clear as the chapters advance. I'd also like to add that this AU would not be what it is without massive inspiration (and a great deal of encouragement) from my beloved, FFn user kadajlozyazoo—this fic would not exist without such fantastic outside influence!

With that out of the way, I'll warn again that it takes quite some time—by which I mean thousands of words and multiple chapters—to get anywhere even close to the puke scenes (sorry!), but credit where credit is due! I hope whoever stumbles upon this can have at least ten percent as much fun reading it as I had writing it. I went way overboard with this, but I think it was worth it.

Of course, I must repeat the usual disclaimer that this work is NOT for you if you think you may be disturbed by fictional depictions of sex between two blood relatives; for both of our sakes, avert your eyes while you still can.

Now, as they say... On with the show! I hope you enjoy.

At the start of it all, Itachi was alone.

For over ten long years, he stayed that way. As the prize jewel of his clan, the best to rise from the Uchiha seed in years, he had accolades, prestige, but he writhed under the load of it all, breathing heavy and treading water ever since he could remember, and all entirely by himself.

The isolation ground him down. The home he lived in made it make sense, somehow, but if he'd been anyone else, he wouldn't have called it living. He grew up knowing it would be that way forever.

When Sasuke was born, though, everything changed.

It wasn't beyond the pale for Itachi to ruminate like this in the privacy of his own mind, but today his thoughts ran in a different direction. Today—the hottest day in July so far this year— belonged to Sasuke, and it was the only holiday Itachi really celebrated. As far as he was concerned, little else mattered on a practical level, and nothing on an emotional one. The sun was long up, spreading lazily through their shared kitchen window, but Itachi paid it little mind. There were more important things to focus on, to perfect .

Right on time, Itachi's favorite sleepy, dragging footsteps slipped into the dining room—quieter than usual. Itachi had almost expected Sasuke to be sneaky like that, but a warm sense of secret, personal gratification pulsed through him deep on the inside, almost beyond pleasure. A little trill of excitement rolled up in Itachi's core, so satisfied that he could predict something so simple and unintentional in his brother. He could face the day now, he knew it, now that he had the wind of this secret triumph at his back

He almost smiled.

"Happy birthday, Sasuke." Itachi rifled through the fridge, waving back over his shoulder without looking at him. "There's cake for you here in the fridge."

Silence. Itachi could almost hear Sasuke's back stiffen. A few moments passed, and Itachi almost had to fight to hide a smile, though it was hardly necessary—his head was stuck too far between the shelves for his little brother to get a look at his face.

"Were you trying to hide from me?" Itachi stifled the delight that tried to creep into his voice before Sasuke could hear it. "I've lived with you for your entire life, you know. I can hear you move in my sleep." He nudged a jar of sauce to the side. "Sit down and eat your breakfast. You're not getting out of it."

"I'm, uh," Sasuke stammered, "not really hungry right now. But thank you."

So he really is embarrassed. Itachi did smile that time. I'm not surprised . Finally securing his prize, he pulled out a carton of milk and some leftovers he'd saved in a pan from the night before. "Pick a better lie next time, why don't you?" Itachi nudged the door of the fridge closed with his elbow, setting the milk down on the table and gesturing for Sasuke to sit down.

Sasuke thought hard for a moment, ready to sputter out another excuse, but nothing really fit, so he kept his mouth shut, obediently taking his seat. Itachi smiled—a tiny smile, yes, but a smile nonetheless—and stepped away to set his leftovers on the middle rack of the oven. "You come out here every other morning demanding I cook for you like your life depends on it," he closed the oven door, "which it does." Itachi straightened up, turning to face Sasuke and leaning forward against the kitchen counter. "So eat."

Sasuke tried to play it off like he was crabby, but Itachi always saw through the veneer, saw how much Sasuke loved this attention, this affection from his brother. "Well…"

"You know you don't have to hide your feelings from me, don't you?" Ah , Itachi watched Sasuke's face, careful not to show his smugness. There's the blush . "That's a fool's errand anyway. I can see them all over your face."

" Well ," Sasuke crossed his arms, doing his best to seem very indignant, "you don't have to go around doing a bunch of stuff for me. I'm more than capable of taking care of myself, y'know."

"It's called a gift, Sasuke," Itachi slid his own pan of food into the oven, "and it's normal to get them on your birthday." He returned to the fridge, lifting the cake from between cartons of eggs and milk with ginger hands. "But you're a big boy, so I suppose that means… Mm. Perhaps you can make your own breakfast this morning?" Itachi closed the fridge again, this time with his heel, and looked back at his brother with pronounced amusement.

Sasuke glowered down at the empty plate in front of him, fearing Itachi's tiny, teasing smile. "Well, that's not what I…"

"Just have one slice now," Itachi set the cake down on the table with one hand and a long, thin serving knife with the other. "Just one. It doesn't have to be a big piece, but I want to enjoy this with you before I have to leave. I know it's your day, but let me be a little selfish, just this once."

Oh . Sasuke fought hard not to show his disappointment, failing miserably once more at hiding his true feelings. "You have to work today? Again?"

Something uncomfortable and cold prickled in Itachi's chest, flinching away from the sadness in his brother's voice. "...I'm sorry. I tried my best to make sure today was clear." It was true, too; Itachi had slaved like an animal to clear his schedule, driving all over creation and pitting himself against various unsavory personalities, but there were some things that couldn't be rearranged or ignored, not even by those who outranked him. "It just wasn't in the cards. I'm sorry," he said again, truly meaning it. "But I don't have to leave for another hour or so, so let's enjoy the time we have together as much as we can."

Sasuke nodded, not wanting to protest more than he already had. "Yeah. Nothing we can do about it."

"Remember your last birthday?" Itachi changed the subject only a little, but it gave Sasuke room to let go of some of his disappointment. "I promise these candles will stop burning if you blow them out."

"Yeah, I remember." Sasuke jumped right back into his haughty attitude, but the expression on his face betrayed his real feelings, as usual. "That was a pretty dirty trick you pulled."

"You really thought I wasn't going to get you anything, didn't you?" Itachi joined his brother in reminiscing. "You were so surprised. Don't pretend you weren't."

"So what?" Sasuke pouted, furring his brow into a grumpy line. "You told me not to expect anything. I took you at your word!"

"Never trust an Uchiha, Sasuke," Itachi checked his watch, leaning over to stir something on the stovetop. "We're always hiding something ."

Sasuke rolled his eyes. "You don't need to tell me that," he groused, grumbling something else under his breath Itachi couldn't quite catch. "Like I said," he needled his empty plate with his fork, "it was a dirty trick. Showing up when you said you'd be gone," he muttered. "I thought I'd have more time to get—"

"To get dressed?"

"Come on ," Sasuke groaned, covering his face with his hands, "how much longer are you gonna keep this up before you let it go? I was in the shower , Itachi!"

I'll stop teasing you when you stop being so cute . Itachi knew he shouldn't go there, shouldn't even think about thinking like that, but he knew even more that it was silly to fight it. "You thought you'd have more time," he hummed, pretending to be deep in thought as he stirred the pot in front of him. "That's something else you need to learn, then," Itachi knelt down to peer through the oven door, "and fast. You never know what could be waiting for you when you let your guard down, even in your own home. Act accordingly."

Sasuke couldn't help but roll his eyes again. "Come on, nii-san. It's not that serious." Just embarrassing . Last year, expecting that Itachi wouldn't be home for at least another few hours, Sasuke had decided to treat himself to an extra long, extra personal shower, and he hadn't bothered bringing a change of clothes with him to the bathroom. Maybe it was the mindless pleasure from the hot water—or the orgasm—that made him step out so carelessly. Maybe he was just stupid. "I mean," he nibbled the inside of his lip, "I think what happened after that was more important."

Yeah right . Sasuke had tried to forget it after it happened, even as it happened, but it wasn't the type of memory he could shut out. Some things were too much to leave behind—Sasuke's shame loved to shadow him no matter where he walked—especially when it concerned his feelings for Itachi.

Itachi . He'd been right there, ambling down the hall at just the wrong time, and he'd scanned Sasuke's body with such a clinical stare. Itachi's gaze was cold on Sasuke's bare, prickling flesh for only a moment, almost before Sasuke could cover himself up, deep eyes landing on the puddle at Sasuke's feet before averting completely. "I hope you plan on wiping that up," was all he'd said, and Sasuke had excused himself to grab a towel, completely mortified and painfully unseen.

Itachi couldn't have seen anything. Surely, Sasuke told himself, he'd have had something to say if he'd seen. Itachi always had some comment to make when Sasuke did something senseless like that.

"Mm," Itachi cracked an egg into whatever he had boiling on the stove, oblivious to all of Sasuke's inner turmoil. "I suppose the cake was more important, yes."

Sasuke pretended he didn't know why it hurt to hear Itachi say that.

"Well, yeah," he huffed. "I mean, you always get me the best cakes, but those candles!"

Itachi smiled, careful not to let Sasuke see as he shifted his pot off the burner. "Who could forget?" Thirteen candles in a ring around the edge of his favorite cake, and Sasuke hadn't been able to blow out even one, no matter how hard he tried. "I think of it often."

"Guess you knew better than to try something like that again this year, huh?"

"Trick candles stop really being a trick when you buy them more than once," Itachi replied, unflappable as ever as he assembled Sasuke's breakfast. He turned off the stovetop, the low click of the dial accenting his point. "But they were a bit too much to handle, even for me." That night, Itachi had laughed—freely, for once—and apologized over Sasuke's wax-drenched cake, picking out every spilled drop he could with the tip of the knife, promising that he'd eat the tarnished bits so Sasuke didn't have to. After dessert, Sasuke had fallen asleep on the couch next to him, warm and leaned right up against him, and Itachi had followed him soon after, lacking the resolve to push his brother up and away into his own bed.

"I suppose that's why you're like this," Itachi gestured vaguely in Sasuke's direction. "I spoil you too much."

Why I'm like this, huh. Against his better judgement, Sasuke's mind wandered back to the incident with the shower. It had been an entire year since it happened, down almost to the hour, but Sasuke knew he would know that even if it had happened on an ordinary day. Even as the two of them both reminisced about the same night, it couldn't be more clear to Sasuke that they were coming at it from two separate angles, living in two separate worlds. How could Itachi just do that, just glide so easily through life, through accidents like that, through their entire relationship? If their positions had been reversed, if it had been Itachi coming out so thoughtlessly, thinking no one was home to see…

Of course, Itachi would never do something like that; Sasuke knew it, so he tried to squash the fantasy burgeoning in his mind, a fantasy that shouldn't have been there at all.

The tinny scritch of Itachi's lighter in front of his face brought Sasuke back to reality.

"Hah. Only two candles," Sasuke chided, shaking his head in mock derision, trying to recover himself quickly. "For such a special day, too. You losing your touch?"

"Mm." Itachi dipped the flame down to cradle the wicks of those big, waxy numbers. "You know what else is special about today?"

Sasuke rolled his eyes. "Are you gonna say something sappy again? You know I hate it when you—"

"It's been seven years since we left them, Sasuke. Since we started living on our own like this."

Seven… Seven years. For just a moment, Sasuke's mind stood still, his attention whipped back to the present. Then that means…

"You're twice as old now as you were when we first left our parents." Itachi allowed himself to show some emotion, though perhaps more for Sasuke's sake than his own. "You've lived an entire lifetime's worth of years away from that."

It shouldn't have made Sasuke stomach lurch, he told himself, but it did. "That long," he murmured, "huh."

Itachi nodded once.

This was a crossroads in its own right, then. Itachi hadn't said as much, but Sasuke knew in his heart that it was true, knew they were both thinking it. Itachi was good at cloaking his true feelings, certainly more than Sasuke was, but they were the same blood; in the end, they couldn't really hide anything from each other. The only thing that really mattered was how deep they were willing to look.

He wanted to control himself.

He couldn't.

"Then…" Sasuke took a shaky breath, "Then I'd better get to have another lifetime's worth of years to spend with you," he mumbled, staring at the floor where it met the kitchen counter. "Just like this. This lifetime. I don't want this to end."

The corners of Itachi's mouth twitched. "What was it you started to say back there?" It took everything in him to keep his tone level, to hold on to his composure. "Something about me saying something sappy?"

"Oh, shut up!"

"Are you sure you want that, Sasuke?" Itachi tried not to let his face twist into a smirk. "You want to be under my thumb until you're almost thirty?" And until I'm almost forty? Itachi didn't let himself finish that thought. "You're positive?"

Sasuke went rouge, regretting the vulnerability instantly, hating how it made him feel even more now that it was out in the open, but he knew he had to commit now. "Yeah, I am positive. Not like I stand any chance of getting rid of you anyway." He scowled, hoping in vain that it would hide his blush. "Clingy bastard."

"Oh my." Itachi pursed his lips into a facetious smile, more than pleased to witness such rare, unabashed sincerity in Sasuke. "At your age," he waved his hand just above the candles, "I'm sure your peers would be merciless if they discovered your true feelings. Children get more cruel with every generation." Of course, he couldn't let his brother get away unscathed. "I don't even want to imagine what they might have to say about you if they knew."

"Shut up!" Sasuke leapt to his feet, snatching up his favorite hat from the back of his chair. "I have to go now anyway. Everyone's waiting for me next door. I'll see you when you get back."

"You know, I might not be home before you fall asleep," Itachi cautioned, abandoning the tease, "so don't waste your whole day waiting for me." He paid no mind to Sasuke's exaggerated hurriedness and feigned ignorance—he knew his brother was listening. "It won't be like last year. I mean it this time. Open your gifts. Enjoy yourself. It's what I'd want for you if I could be here." It shouldn't have been about what Itachi wanted; it wasn't about what Itachi wanted, but Sasuke had a bad habit of surrendering his whims to Itachi, even when he pretended not to—why, Itachi had no clue. If anything, Itachi was the one who owed Sasuke his life. His sanity.

"Like I said ," Sasuke called out, still pretending to be annoyed, "I'll see you when you get back."

Itachi said nothing at first, smiling to himself. "I'll keep your secret, then, little brother."

Of course, Itachi had a secret of his own to guard; as he watched Sasuke go, shimmying out the door in clothes Itachi had just bought him, clothes he was already outgrowing, Itachi's chest stung, pain spidering through him into every corner. There was something about the way Sasuke moved that made him swallow hard and suck in a deep, deep breath, something Itachi understood much more than he wanted to.

The door swished closed, and with a cold, metallic snick, Sasuke was gone from him.

Itachi's fists tightened, nails biting into skin he could barely feel. He can be so foolish sometimes , Itachi thought. What teenager doesn't blow out his own birthday candles?

He knew Sasuke wouldn't return until much later—he did have plans next door, but Itachi knew that his brother would be too proud to come back inside right away after such a dramatic exit; Itachi doubted he'd see him until the next morning. Even so , Itachi glanced down at the table, I can't leave these to burn all night. It'll be worse than last year. Much worse, of course—he had enough sense to know he'd have far more to worry about than a bit of spilled wax.

After some debate and another look at his watch, Itachi straightened Sasuke's chair out and sat in his place, dissolving his gaze into the twin flames before him. They wavered under him, almost like he intimidated them, like he exerted pressure just by being there. Par for the course . Itachi had a unique way of interfacing with others; he was amicable enough to maintain a positive reputation in town, but it was purely tactical. All he cared about was keeping him and Sasuke in good enough standing to exploit various social loopholes, to hook his claws in and ensure his brother would have a future. A good future. For all his efforts, he was very successful—the most valuable Uchiha reared to adulthood in some time, so to speak—justified enough in his existence to be worthy of assistance and praise, but with a famously aloof personality that spared him from much public responsibility and garnered him plenty of female attention. As a family, the Uchihas had a reputation of their own, so he worked with that, around that, daring to twist it to his advantage—but none of that was important, not right now. Not today.

The flames peaked and shivered, stilling for just a moment, and Itachi took that as a sign of something —perhaps permission to speak his true desires, if only for a moment. Head bowed, eyes closed, Itachi uttered a quiet prayer inside his heart before he could lose his nerve, a prayer too obscene to speak aloud, for some kind of divine intervention. A prayer for something, anything , to keep Sasuke at his side forever, to tether them to each other, to give Itachi some beautiful, perfect means to keep his baby close until the very last moment.

With one deceptively soft breath, the candles were out.

"Happy birthday, Sasuke," he said again, a whisper this time, words shrinking almost invisibly into the smoke before him. "Happy birthday."

Though he wished—begged, even—with all his heart, he knew it would be futile. A fool's errand , he scorned, turning his own words against himself as he so often did. That was life, though; one day, his brother wouldn't need him anymore. It wouldn't be much longer before that brash, sovereign attitude Sasuke paraded around became real enough for him to stand on alone, just as Itachi's seemingly blank, mathematical way of addressing reality had itself become a part of him a long, long time ago.

A thousand lifetimes with Sasuke wouldn't be enough to sate Itachi. He knew that, but he knew better than that, too. He would have to settle for just this one.

There would be no other way.