Title: Itachi, Itoshi
By: Kagaya Chou
Rating: R
Genre: Romance/Angst
Length: One-shot

Tagline: First love often hurts... but first love theirs is not. Kisame x Itachi, seriously.

Comments: This is a companion or sequel piece to a fic I wrote earlier, called "Kisame, Koi". Whereas "koi" is often used in Japanese for "lover", "itoshi" can be translated into "beloved", so I guess it is fitting. I was not planning to write more, so I won't make promises on this one. I was listening to "First Love", sung by Utada Hikaru when this spilled out over the Word document. The rough idea I had in mind came from some twisted interpretation I had of the lyrics:

"itsu ka dare ka to mata koi ni ochite mo (even if I fall in love with someone once again)
"I'll remember to love
"You taught me how"

Then I asked myself, "Where do you look for someone you have lost forever?" Took me over a month to figure out where to go with that question, and even longer to write it out the way I want it to come out. I'm not sure I've found the answer yet, but it feels close.

Disclaimer: Masashi Kishimoto is the mangaka. Hayato Date is the director of the anime, which was released by Studio Pierrot. No profit will be made out of this fan fiction. No copyright infringement was intended. The only thing I own here is this piece of writing.

EDIT: Thank you Nezuko for pointing out my typos and mistakes, and so nicely. I generally tend to post fics unbetaed, so the help and encouragement is very much appreciated.

2nd EDIT: Just some formating and pruning.
- - -

If there was a nonsmoking policy at the inn, Uchiha Itachi couldn't have cared less. The door was locked shut, although the window was wide open - and appropriately framed with well-hidden traps - allowing wind to distill the smell of sex and cigarette smoke before dispersing the scent outside. Traps aside, anyone foolish enough to intrude on the privacy of two ninjas, two S-class exiles, would one way or another find death merciful.

It had nothing to do with the fact that Itachi was in bed with Hoshigaki Kisame, both naked under one flimsy blanket even though they paid for a spacious double.

As one member of the Hidden Mist Village's seven legendary shinobi swordsmen, Kisame became a wanted man when his team failed their coup d'etat on the Water Country. They were forced to go their separate ways, but he was soon approached by the mysterious Akatsuki, an underground organization, which recruited some of the strongest S-class criminals from the Hidden villages.

Because the Akatsuki worked in pairs as a security measure, his first given task was to enlist a partner for counterbalance. Kisame looked to the Fire Country for the most eligible candidates, but refused to work with fellow Akatsuki-member Orochimaru out of hand. It was trying when a forty-something-year-old man with a rumored perchance for little boys proclaimed the then fifteen-year-old Kisame "ugly". However, he had never been gladder that he came from a clan with an affinity for sharks, where everyone had razor sharp teeth and deathly pale skin that was some exotic degree of blue.

Now, Itachi-kun, Orochimaru often obsessed, was the epitome of godlike beauty, with obsidian hair and the perfect eyes, and long before they met, Kisame felt very sorry for the younger boy indeed.

Itachi simply stood out as a talented ninja, among other things. He purportedly mastered his Sharingan, the Uchiha's bloodline limitation, at the age of ten, became an ANBU Captain at thirteen, and later a missing ninja when he all but massacred his entire clan, thereby greatly depleting the main policing force in the Hidden Leaf Village.

Kisame found the Leaf ninja admirable for doing what he had not. In order to graduate at a ninja academy, the Water Country insisted on making teammates fight each other to the death, and the Mist ninja killed his own sibling, regretting the fact he didn't instead kill the people who taught and convinced him, or all the idiots who made the fucked up rules.

He found the Uchiha prodigy in the middle of washing blood and grime away, or rather; the youth was standing fully clothed in a river, brooding listlessly at - who knows - his own reflection? Itachi looked as though he was contemplating moving into deeper water.

Then the pretty boy fainted.

That did not say much for his partner-to-be, which drew Kisame's concern in more ways than one, but it later became apparent that overuse of his Sharingan, took a heavy toll on Itachi. So, drowning had been far from his twisted, albeit tired mind.

Thus, Kisame found that Itachi's greatest strength was truly his greatest weakness.

Regardless, where the Mist ninja came from, saving someone's life was equivalent to taking ownership of said person's life. Kisame took Itachi's silence as acceptance until the younger boy glared him to near-death, and then thought better of it.

"If my life is yours because you rescued me," Itachi quietly informed him, "then your life is mine because I spared you."

Kisame liked the logic.

A majority of the Akatsuki considered them a good match. The minority was one jealous pervert, who quickly learned to make himself scarce before Itachi could violate Akatsuki's no-killing-comrades code of honor.

Now, leaning uncomfortably against the rickety headboard Itachi tilted his head back and blew a steady stream of smoke towards the ceiling. His sanguine eyes studied the currents of tinted air while it spread thin, predicting how it curled into evanescent tendrils.

When his eyes began to ache, he squeezed them shut, willing them black. If Kisame saw, the older man would no doubt try to chastise him again. After the strain Itachi placed on himself the day before, his body, mind, and what little was left of his soul was still attempting to repair whatever was salvageable.

Granted there were few visible injuries on his person, besides passion-induced cuts and bruises, the wounds that truly mattered were old and their roots ran deep. Itachi simply needed time to recover the energy he so frivolously spent on his last few battles. The fatigue came from his abuse of his Sharingan, as wont.

Itachi estimated that he would need at least a week of undisturbed bed rest before he could once again maintain that hypnotic red in his black eyes on a regular basis.

Suddenly, he felt his older companion drape an arm over his waist. A quick glance down to his left confirmed that Kisame was still asleep. The man's face was relaxed, his square jaw devoid of that customary, obnoxious smirk he always wore. While Itachi grew used to Kisame's sleeping visage, since they worked together for the last five years, something felt different when they were that close.

For a moment, the teenager stared at his... partner, and struggled with the urge to burn Kisame's unguarded expression into his obsessive-compulsive memory. Itachi's eyes hurt all the more from the questionably worthwhile effort.

Then, he blinked, brows wrinkling slightly in a soft echo of internal conflict. He turned away, took another long drag, and smoothed out the look on his face into a blank mask.

"It was just sex," he silently told himself, "which no doubt does more to hinder my body's healing process... as does smoking." Itachi slowly exhaled.

Lightly, he pressed his thumb over his ravaged lips, evaluating the damage.

First hand experience supported the theory that Kisame's teeth felt as sharp as they appeared. The man seemed incapable of sinking his fangs into anything without leaving bite marks, but if Kisame wasn't deliberately doing it to stake a claim on him, Itachi supposed he could deal with a little discomfort. Actually, he rather liked the lingering sting.

It didn't hurt that his partner also had large, unexpectedly skillful hands, a seemingly endless supply of strength and stamina pounding through his veins... and so much enthusiasm - all of which was quite painfully pleasant… and invigorating.

Itachi was not surprised when he woke up feeling well and truly tenderized. He had yet to decide if he enjoyed last night; a repeat performance seemed necessary, and he was confident that Kisame would agree.

On one hand, sleep came easy; sex was satisfying on some level. But then came a dream that the Leaf ninja could have done without.

"Shisui, it's been long..."

Last night Itachi dreamt of his late-cousin, the only person in his lost childhood that he ever considered a friend. Although the dream had been fragmented, it dredged up ill memories and feelings he wanted to forget.

Uchiha Shisui of the Shimmering Sword, kith and kin, was not the first man Itachi killed, only the first of his accursed family. When they joined ANBU, they effectively became their village's glorified assassins - for the good of Hidden Leaf, and the pride of the Uchiha Clan.

Both breathed to steal another's breath, so murder always seemed commonplace. But Shisui's was... exceptional.

- - -

It was at Nakano River, on the water's surface close to the origin of the Iwama hot spring. They stood facing each other, connected, yet separated by steam and morning dew. Visibility was low, but they knew each other well enough to tell the expression the other wore.

For Shisui, it was the same congenial smile he seemed to reserve for just about everyone, except it even showed in his eyes when he looked at his friend.

"Don't you have an important clan meeting to attend?" He asked around his cigarette.

Itachi looked back impassively. "The same one you are not attending."

Beside them, a plume of boiling water spewed forth from one of the calcified tubes, leaving an iridescent rainbow in the wake of the next words to pass Shisui's lips.

"I was told to keep an eye on you, you know."

Shisui's honesty was a killing kindness. Itachi frowned. "I am aware that you would do whatever you were told to by the clan."

"Che..." Shisui looked to the side at the dying mirage of colors, pitch black eyes somehow sad. "The clan, the clan... It used to be all about the clan, but..." He shook his head, looking back at Itachi. "I'm not doing it for the clan anymore."

"Since when did you experience this change of heart?"

"... Since you, I suppose." Shisui's smile widened slightly as Itachi blinked.

Another jet of steaming water clouded the air around them, and young Itachi simply watched as his appointed guardian moved closer through the heat and smoke.

"Since you joined ANBU.." Shisui continued, "Since you surpassed almost everyone and got to be captain of your own team... Since you were approached by Orochimaru-sama... and you turned down his offer for power." A short, disbelieving laugh escaped with his next words. "Why, honestly? You always wanted to be strong, stronger..."

"Orochimaru is weak," Itachi replied monotonously. The man, seeking immortality, had found it through body switching - only the chosen vessel had to be willing to give up his own soul. In Itachi's opinion, Orochimaru's asking price far exceeded the value of what little power he so generously offered.

Shisui's smile was beginning to look strained. "Orochimaru-sama is one of the three legendary ninjas from our village!"

"And a rampant, narcissistic pedophile", Itachi never said. Instead, he reasoned, "Hidden Leaf is weak."

"... That's why the Uchiha protect the village."

Itachi frowned. "The Uchiha protect the village out of self-preservation." He thought it obvious. Bloodline limitations were mysterious even to those who had them, and men feared the unknown. If the Uchiha clan hadn't worked hard to cultivate such a servicing reputation, lesser men would have banded together like cowards and hunted them to extinction. Sadly, very few were genuinely dedicated to the village - and the village itself hardly deserved the special treatment it received.

"No. We don't need to." Shisui continued. "We're the strongest there is, and Orochimaru-sama knows that. He only wants to help the village, and help you reach your full potential."

Lips thinning, Itachi closed his eyes. "You weren't there," he thought, bitterness welling inside of him, "You weren't with me when he came to me. You were supposed to keep an eye on me, but you only came when I mastered my Sharingan. You don't know..."

Itachi was barely even ten when he just managed to drive Orochimaru off. Shisui came too late, only in time to see the hypnotized man leave, and by then, the nimble ten years old ninja had his clothes back on in order.

"Shisui," The thirteen year old refocused on his cousin. "He's an S-class exile for a reason."

"True... But not all exiles are automatically evil, you know. His methods are questionable, but I've spoken with him." Shisui didn't seem to notice how his words made Itachi tense. "Orochimaru-sama's a actually a very noble man. His experiments were for the good of the Village, but because he had to use human test subjects instead of just animals...

"He was heavily misunderstood."

Itachi didn't like arguing with Shisui, so he refrained. "Orochimaru came to you."

Shisui laughed half mirthlessly. "Don't be surprised. You and I are best friends and all... But just because you were foolish enough to turn him down doesn't mean I would do the same... He's helped a lot of the clan, too."

Itachi fought the urge to run. He wanted to turn back time, go back and kill Orochimaru when he had the chance. "How long ago was this?"

"With me? About a day after you turned him down, I suppose. Not sure about the others." Shisui shrugged. "But you know... After all these years, he's still really interested in you."

Itachi nearly bit his tongue. "... So you keep an eye on me for him, too."

Shisui smirked. "Told you it's not all about the clan."

A dull pain spread in Itachi's chest as he looked at his friend. "Why are you... telling me now?"

With a demure, almost bashful tilt of his head, Shisui sighed, his eyes downcast as he pulled out his cigarette and let it fall. "... I'm tired, Itachi, of the clan, of the duties... of you. Everyone's so narrowly focused on the name, the pride, looking no further... There's no future for the Uchiha at this rate. You're not willing to work with Orochimaru-sama, he's not willing to settle for anyone less, and I can't keep walking in circles from one dead end to another." Itachi didn't like where Shisui's words led. "But then, then you found that old clan scroll, the one explaining the Mangekyou Sharingan... You showed me a different path."

Closing his eyes again, Itachi gave a brief nod. In order to activate the Mangekyou Sharingan, the most rare and highest form of the clan's bloodline limitation, one apparently had to kill their closest companion.

"You want to kill me," came his soft, steady reply.

"Aah," Shisui smiled, chuckled even. "Itachi... Cousin... Friend... It may seem wrong, but..." He stopped in front of the younger boy, lifting a hand to gently brush his cheek before resting on a stiff shoulder. "I do hold you closest to my heart."

Itachi refused to look at him.

"Please don't take offense," Shisui leaned in and whispered, "Let this be proof of how much I've grown to love you."

A tobacco flavored kiss sent Itachi answering without words, his red eyes immediately meeting its brother red.

In the illusion of the Sharingan, a crimson sky held a full jet moon, casting shadows where there should have been light.

Itachi shoved at Shisui's chest and quickly moved backwards. The rippling surface beneath his feet had nothing to do with Nakano River. He slipped and fell into pure darkness, eyes widening minutely in shock. Behind him, beside him, below, and all around, Itachi felt Shisui's killing lust as it invaded his mind with probing talons. They shred. They tore. He gasped, or tried to, but couldn't find his own voice.

Shisui's was echoing, soft. "Before I kill you, I want you to know... what you missed with Orochimaru-sama."

Instinctively, desperately, Itachi struggled. Against his false safeguard, he felt pathetically weak, but knew that he was stronger. He wasn't ten anymore. He was thirteen, an ANBU captain, and a hard working genius.

He panicked when he found himself in the glade of his nightmares, half expecting Orochimaru to be slithering out of the grass, and as though it was a lucid dream, his most idle thoughts seemed to come true. But when he focused on Orochimaru's face, he found Shisui's eyes, and that shocked him out of paralyzed fright.

Hatred suddenly blossomed, the culmination of many seeds of doubt.

Itachi felt for his katana and unsheathed it violently in a slashing ark before he realized that there were no weapons in the world of the hell moon - no weapons but their minds...

His mind screamed for Shisui's blood.

The battle of their wills took no more than three seconds, although it felt like three days past. Repeatedly, Itachi showed Shisui what he did not miss with Orochimaru, determined to drum it into the older boy's head verbally and otherwise.

"Orochimaru... is not a great man..." He panted, "is not strong... is not anything... but a twisted... perverted... fool... like you..."

He had Shisui immobilized with the thrusts of his emotions, but his... opponent was barely fighting back.

When the world turned right side up and outside in again, the older boy slumped against his charge. Tired laughter mocked Itachi's ears, and Shisui's whispers kindled disgust.

"Heh... I never thought... you loved me... this much..."

"No." Itachi clarified, "Do not dare mistake my hate." He hated Shisui for being his closest companion, hated himself even more for allow it to happen, for what they'd both become.

An abrupt shift of weight let Itachi know that Shisui had lost consciousness with no more chakra keeping his body on top of the water. He held on as tightly as he could, but soon fatigue forced him to consider: let Shisui pull him under... or let go.

He let it go.

Itachi ended up wadding back to shore, his pants soaked past knee level. He shed no tears, made no sound or shaky movements - that he was aware of. One thing he knew for certain was that Orochimaru was a self-serving madman out to destroy the Village of Hidden Leaf; anyone accepting his help endangered the village.

Hidden Leaf be damned, not if Itachi could do something about it. He wasn't going to just kill Orochimaru. He was going to ruin his every plan first.

For the longest time, he focused on breathing, swallowing hard as he tried to meditate, and think up a plan of action. The bitter, sad taste of smoke and ashes - of Shisui - refused to leave his mouth long after he left the forged suicide note, went home and slept.

- - -


Itachi crushed the cigarette stub against the large arm encircling his waist. The owner of it cursed colorfully for being so rudely jerked awake, until he found his hands and mouth full with one eager Uchiha, who seemed quite intent on sucking the air out of his lungs.

If Itachi was planning on killing him through erotic asphyxiation or some such, Kisame dimly thought that he wouldn't mind. He just wanted his ghost to be there so he could at least see Itachi's reaction when the boy found him dead with a smile on his face.

The fact that Itachi had been smoking again confused him. It was rare enough an occurrence, but Kisame had grown used to staying out of his partner's way when there was tobacco on his tongue. Itachi always seemed more irritable when the taste or smell was present...

Then again, the younger man seemed quite determined to coat his mouth with their blood and saliva in a wickedly deep, long kiss.

Itachi surfaced like he was breaking water, eyes closed, and gasping for breath.

"Itachi-san..." Kisame couldn't begin to phantom what was on the Uchiha's mind, so he didn't bother trying. It was just reassuring to see the normal color of Itachi's eyes: not red. And the view was nice. "Good morning to you, too!"

Itachi blinked. "Good... afternoon."

Kisame chuckled at his response, briefly glancing out the window. "So it is... And how're you this afternoon?" He grinned, "Feel like staying in bed some more?"

Itachi stared at him for a few seconds more, licking his own lips clean. "My energy level is still low, but I'm not as drained... Just hungry."

"Want me to get us some food, Itachi-san?"

The younger man simply moved back to his side of the bed, silent. "Do what you want," seemed a given.

"... It's decided then." Kisame slipped away from his partner, moving off the bed towards the bathroom. "Soon as I'm clean, I'll go down and order something, Itachi-san. Whatcha want?"

The first thing that came to his mind was, "Be quick to return." Seeing Kisame's gaping face made Itachi uncomfortable. He pulled the blanket over his shoulder, and turned away as he added, "You tend to take your time."

"All right," Kisame blithely responded. "I'll make it quick."

Itachi could barely suppress a shiver, practically hearing his partner's smirk as the tone of Kisame's voice reminded him of last night.

- - -

"Then rest, Itachi-san. Let me do the work for you."

His breathe caught in his throat when Kisame made his intentions known. There had been hints of attraction between them in the past but the Mist ninja still managed to surprise him. Somehow, Kisame's words harkened Shisui's, "Please don't take offence. Let this be proof of how much I've grown to..."

Itachi's first response was to call forth his Sharingan, but it only hurt. He couldn't do it, having spent too much energy fighting that day. Stripped of his every defense, and held down by the weight of Kisame's eyes, hands, his entire body, Itachi could only vaguely note that... he had a bigger frame, was heavier overall.

At least Kisame could not be mistaken for Orochimaru, or Shisui... Never.

Itachi's heart was beating faster than he ever remembered, because Kisame wanted him. Kisame, who long ago saved his life, who claimed to own him, as much as he was owned...?

It felt right. Itachi submitted with a lowering of his eyes, only to note that...

... Kisame was huge.

"Hell no." His voice felt almost feeble and he hated that, but it... wasn't going to - no, he knew it could fit, lengthwise, - Orochimaru had a long tongue - but... The older man paused, looked a tad disappointed, but kept the cheeky grin on his face.

"Is that a 'no, we're gonna do this together, partner', or 'no, get that bloody thing away from me, blue freak'?"

Anxiously, Itachi tried to distance himself. "This can't be happening," he thought. He shook his head slightly, finding it difficult to tear his eyes away. When he refocused on Kisame's face, he found his partner watching him intently, still waiting for an answer.

"This is going to hurt."

A pause. Kisame couldn't promise otherwise. His brows furrowed, then raised. "It... doesn't sound like a complaint."

"... No, it's not." Itachi sighed and reached up to touch the shark gill markings on Kisame's cheek. "I know it's you."

Kisame chuckled. His gravelly voice seemed as warm as it was mocking. "I'll try to be gentle, Itachi-san."

"Don't," came a low, warning purr. "Because I won't."


Deciding that he needed a cold shower, Itachi pushed the blanket to one side, sat up, and promptly winced before he remembered to carefully maneuver himself out of the bed.

Kisame was brushing his teeth when Itachi entered, providing a lovely, unrestricted view of his entire body. In turn, the younger boy gave him a cursory glance, swept past and stepped into the shower stall. After a moment, Kisame managed to wrench his eyes from the empty doorway Itachi had briefly occupied, back to the bathroom mirror. With the image of his gorgeous, wet partner reflected on the glass, it took a while for Kisame to remember there was a toothbrush in his mouth that he needed to move.

The expression on Kisame's face was something akin to, "Hot damn, Itachi-san, you tease."

For the next few minutes, the Uchiha simply occupied himself with washing the smoke out of his skin, his hair, his eyes half closed and unfocused. He tried to be oblivious to Kisame's stare.

Until he rinsed his hair out and turned towards the mirror to find the man still looking.

"... Kisame."

Their eyes met. Kisame quickly rinsed his mouth out so he could properly reply, but Itachi beat him to it.

"Koi," he said. It could have meant anything: "please", "love", "come."

Kisame had the most ridiculous smirk on his face as he promptly answered the summons. It made Itachi wish he could use his Sharingan.

"Next time..."