x by Ebony x

Chapter 1

I have no rights to Naruto.

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Charcoal eyes peered up at Itachi nervously, hoping the older boy would respond. Much to his excitement, his older brother did, hopping down quickly from the tree he sat in so quietly he might've been thought a ghost. Sasuke startled from the quickness of it and stumbled backwards, passing through his slightly parted lips. A strong hand caught his shoulder, though, keeping him from tumbling onto the ground. He took a second to catch his breath, ashamed at being frightened so easily and what his brother might think of him.

"What is it?" Itachi asked, removing his grip from Sasuke.

"Can I ask you a question?"

"Of course."

The younger sibling bowed his head, pressing his lips together while he scraped his tongue against his teeth.

"What…. What is love?"

It was Itachi's turn to be caught off-guard, and he stared at his brother for a moment or so. Hints of emotion darted over Itachi's hauntingly beautiful face, one Sasuke almost believed to be a mask his brother wore almost all the time, especially around adults. Especially around their father. Why he hardly ever took it off, Sasuke didn't know.

Finally, Itachi cocked one eyebrow, looking amused. "And why do you ask?"

"Well…" Sasuke began, with slight blush tinging his cheeks, the color rather noticeable against his porcelain skin. "I've heard mother and father say that they love eachother, and that they love me…but I don't really get what it is."

"And why are you asking me?" Itachi inquired, bending down so he was at Sasuke's eye level. The younger looked up, curious and innocent, his eyes alight with his older brother and idol's attention. It made Sasuke feel feather-light inside. It was what kept him continually asking Itachi if he could train with him; it wasn't only that his brother was amazing, Sasuke would ask him even if he wasn't! That feeling was enough.

"I thought you would know," Sasuke began. "I mean, you know about everything. Well, not everything, but almost everything! And I-"

Sasuke's words were halted, as he felt Itachi's fingers graze his forehead, not hard enough to hurt like it usually did. Itachi's mouth was set in a firm line, eyes darkened as he stared past Sasuke, deep inside of himself argueing and struggling. However, Sasuke could only see the god that lived outside, as opposed to the drowning, tangled up boy, that everyone pushed into shadow, only wanting the harsh perfection.

"I-I'm sorry," came Sasuke's susurration. "Did I make you mad, Nii-san?"

"No." Itachi said quietly. He moved his fingers softly up to Sasuke's bangs, dark, inky strands, all too similiar to his own. Sasuke watched him eagerly, and Itachi gave a small sigh.

"Love…" he said, almost bitterly, "Is a feeling you get when you feel very strongly towards someone, in a warm way that comes from inside of you. When people give this to you, it makes you feel wanted, and needed. It's stronger than like. Much stronger than just like. But… I guess there are different kinds. There is the kind of love that families have. This is the way mother and father care about you. Like how mother always takes care of you when you get sick and tucks you in at night.

"The second kind is the type of love you would recieve from a close friend. How you care for the well-being of that person. It can be as strong as family love, or not…. But the strongest kind of love…is a special kind."

"A 'special kind'?" Sasuke questioned, and Itachi cocked his head a little.

"This kind of love…you share with just one person; a person you care about above all other people. You feel so strongly about them…" Itachi raised his head to look Sasuke head-on. The younger watched, entranced, as his sibling's hand swept through his hair like a fine comb, traveling down the side of his face and neck, finally coming to a stop over the left side of Sasuke's chest.

"This person you, would want to spend the rest of your life with, regardless," Itachi continued, "You would do anything for them. Even kill for them. They mean more to you than your own life. And sometimes…it can hurt. Very much."

"But I thought love isn't supposed to hurt!" Sasuke interjected.

Itachi shook his head. "This kind of love comes in all sorts of forms. Yes, some are not painful, but others are. Sometimes, mother and father fight, but they always resolve their differences and still love eachother."

"Just like you and father!" Sasuke said brightly, his young mind filling in holes. "You love father, don't you, Nii-san?"

There was a pause as Itachi stood, and Sasuke felt tiny in compare; insignificant and worthless.

"Have I answered your question, Sasuke?"

"I guess…"

Itachi nodded in approval, and Sasuke grinned a little unsurely.

"So someday, I'll find someone who loves me. My special person?"

"…yes." Itachi answered, not wanting to to the one to shatter his younger brother's untaintedness. "You should be going back home, Sasuke. It's almost lunchtime."

"And Nii-san should come too!" Sasuke said stubbornly, and Itachi gave a bit of a smile.

"I should…" he murmured, and his sibling laughed, beginning to walk alongside him. Quickly, Sasuke reached up and took his older brother's hand. Though he was the same age Itachi had been when he graduated the academy, Sasuke was different, more childish, but Itachi didn't mind. It was tiresome, sometimes, but comforting in a way.

"There is…" he spoke suddenly, "other types of love. Many more."

"What're those?" Sasuke asked curiously, having to take large steps to keep up to his brother, sometimes even having to jump, but never losing his grip on Itachi.

"Unrequitement…" Itachi mumbled, "Is when you love someone… but they don't love you back. That can be tormenting." He looked up, shaking his head so that his hair displaced itself slightly, and his face looked a little broken. "There are others, like I said, but I have not experienced love, only read about it, or seen it occur. I'm not very good at explaining this, am I?"

"Of course you're good!" Sasuke said proudly, "You're good at everything!"

"You think so?" Itachi asked, and Sasuke nodded vigorously.

Back and forth, back and forth swung their hands as they walked through the field, their house in view. Sasuke snuck glances up at his brother, sometimes rewarded with Itachi's rare smile, a prize Sasuke took a mental photograph of and stored deep in his heart, binding it tightly to himself and refusing to let it wash away. And he felt Itachi tighten his fingers around Sasuke's hand, almost so much it was painful, but Sasuke did not want to say anything. Why would Itachi want to hurt him?

That moment was one of many that would stay with them forever, even after both tried to erase it, many, many times.

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