Sasuke could have sworn that he was an adult now.

6 is old, right?

To him, winter had gone on for atleast a year! Why was it still snowing? Why does it snow so much? They weren't in the Snow Country! They were in the Fire Country, for goodness sake!

It's only December!

Sasuke sat patiently, but he couldn't help the twitch that was beginning to start up in his leg. Waiting is wasting for people like him. He should be running and playing in the snow!

But it's pointless without Ni-san.

He watched the other children scream happily as they fell into the snow, sliding on it like baby sea lions.

Sasuke wanted to be a baby sea lion too.

His leg twitched again, ready to go be that sea lion, but his brain stopped him.

'No! I want to be a sea lion with Ni-san!'

Itachi was never one to rush home. And today wasn't any different. He was atleast 15 or 20 minutes late, and his face said nothing about his guilt.

But hell, did Sasuke explode when he got there.

The boy bounded toward his elder in a sprint that made Olympic runners jealous. Itachi said nothing when Sasuke reached him, but the boy had so much to say!

"Ni-san! Nee, Ni-san! Come be a sea lion with me!" Sasuke cried out happily. Itachi glanced at him for just a small moment before dropping his bag by the door and turning toward his little brother fully.

"...Sea lions," Itachi repeated. Sasuke jumped, flailing his arms.

"YES!"

And with so little provoking, Itachi started walking. Sasuke had never been so happy in his life!

His Ni-san was going to play with him!

They had walked to a nearby body of water that was tied between being called a lake, and being called a pond. It didn't matter to Sasuke, of course. If he was a sea lion and he was with Ni-san, everything was jolly.

The boy stepped on to the ice hesitantly. His shaking legs were not good with standing on ice. Neither were his bright red galoshes, but it didn't matter. Looking over at his Ni-san, the said brother pushed him lightly out on to the water, making him slide quickly. Sasuke panicked.

"N-Ni-san! Ah! Nee!" Sasuke cried out as he slid across the frozen liquid. He looked like he was about to cry, and he probably was.

Ni-san can be so mean!

"Calm down, Ototo. You won't die," Itachi said in a monotone voice. Sasuke continued to cry, and Itachi heaved a great sigh before his brotherly instincts told him to step on to the ice and save his brother. Without any effort, Itachi slid gracefully to his little brother, holding him in place so he wouldn't fall down. Sasuke looked up at Itachi before gathering a big breath and shouting:

"KISS ME, FOOL!"

Sasuke had never seen Itachi fall down before. And he had to admit; it was kind of funny. Itachi was never ever clumsy.

"...I'm sorry?" Itachi asked with the back of his head against the frozen water.

"I saw it on TV with Mama. That's what you say when someone comes up close to you. The girl said it when the guy hugged her and then they did something funny with their lips...You never fall down, Ni-san," Sasuke blabbered out as he looked down at his brother.

Itachi stood slowly, getting his balance. The urge to laugh was hard to suppress. And Itachi was doing a damn fine job of concealing it.

Grabbing Sasuke, he knelt down and put Sasuke down on the ice, his flat stomach against the cold ice.

"...Ready to be a sea lion?"

"YES, NI-SAN!" the boy answered loudly. Itachi pushed the boy quickly, and Sasuke went so fast, he was spinning around in circles.

"AH! I'M DIZZY, NI-SAN!" Itachi stood up and watched his little brother hurdle himself into a reasonably large pile of snow. Hearing a muffled cry, Itachi slid over to help the boy out. But Sasuke's raven hair was already poking out of the snow, along with the rest of his head.

"Sea lions don't go that fast!" he cried out.

Itachi smiled.

"Have you ever seen a sea lion swim?"

"On TV with Mama! They go 'WOOSH!' and they go 'arf' like dogs!"

"Do you know how fast they go?"

"Not as fast as I was! And they don't spin around until they get dizzy!"

Itachi punched his hands through the snow, retrieving the boy that was now covered in white powder. Sasuke sneezed as some of it tickled his nose.

"Done being a sea lion?" Itachi asked. Sasuke dangled from his arms.

"...Maybe..." was Sasuke's answer. Itachi's eyes narrowed.

"Okay, yes," Sasuke smiled at his Ni-san. And with that, Itachi carried Sasuke back to their house. Sasuke rested his head softly against Itachi's shoulder.

"Ni-san?"

"Hn?"

"When will you play with me again?"

"...I don't know."

"When will you train with me?"

"...I don't know."

"When will you love me?"

Itachi's steps quickened, and Sasuke felt his brother's heart skip a beat.

"Your heart jumped, Ni-san!"

Itachi said nothing to this. He just looked up at the darkening sky.

"It's probably past your bed time," Itachi said softly. Sasuke kicked.

"Nu-uh! I don't need sleep!"

"Are you kidding? You sleep more than anyone else in our family!"

"No, I wake up and a play for a while and then go back to sleep."

"Right, Sasuke..."

Picking up his bag as he made his way into the house, Itachi made his way toward Sasuke's room. He looked over to see his mother smiling at him.

"Looks like you had fun. Sasuke-chan, it's your bed time, you know," their mother cheerfully told them. Sasuke gave out a whine before bidding his mother a 'goodnight' and Itachi gave a nod in acknowledgement. Their mother waved.

"Good night, boys."

Itachi threw Sasuke on to the bouncy bed, making the child squeal in delight.

"Go to sleep now. Wake up early, and you might see me before I go on my mission," Itachi said quietly. Sasuke gasped as he scooted under the sheets.

"REALLY?"

"Yep. But you got to wake up early, so go to sleep."

Before Itachi turned out the lights in Sasuke's room, he heard the boy cry out:

"Give me a goodnight kiss, Ni-san!"

Itachi stopped immediately, turning slowly to the awaiting boy. Sasuke was smiling so big! Itachi hesitantly walked over to the side of the bed leaning down.

"You're getting too old for this."

"No I'm not!"

"Weren't you the one who said that you were a grown-up?"

"Yes, but-"

"Then you're too old for them. Good night, Sasuke."

"Ni-san, wait! Please! I'm not a grown-up! I take it back! Please, Ni-san! I want a kiss, Ni-san!" Sasuke cried out loudly. Itachi put a finger to his lips, hushing him.

"Shh. Okay, fine."

Itachi pressed his lips to Sasuke's forehead, pulling away quickly. Sasuke pouted.

"I want another one."

"Too bad. Go to-"

"Ni-san, why don't you love me?"

Itachi blinked at his little brother, his eyebrows furrowed at him.

"I love you just fine, Sasuke," Itachi said quietly.

"Nu-uh!" Sasuke huffed before turning on his side, away from Itachi. Itachi stayed silent for a long while before finally talking to Sasuke.

"...Will you not be mad at me if I give you a kiss?"

"Maybe..."

"...Will you go to sleep?"

"...Maybe..."

Itachi put a knee on the bed, leaning over the smaller body and placing a kiss on his cheek. The sheets rustled and a squeak of happiness was sounded. Turning his head, Sasuke smiled widely at his Ni-san.

"I love you, Ni-san!"

Itachi said nothing, and left when Sasuke's breath slowed and his eyes were closed, sleep taking him. Turning off the lights, Itachi sighed heavily as he walked to his own room. His mother watched him.

"Itachi..." she was going to say something to him, but he ignored it, waving his hand.

"I know. Good night."

And flopping down onto his bed, he exhaled loudly.

'I can't keep this up...'