Itachi woke feeling blissfully peaceful and happy of his freedom today—he was without missions—to relax and do what he pleased for what little time off he had. Slowly sitting up he glanced out the window and admired the serenity of the rosy sky, creamy clouds drifting lazily on foreseen current, forming shapes and casting light shadows over the dew-covered grass. The sun, a mere orb of flamboyant yellow, had barely begun to rise; how he loved waking early, if only to revel in the beauty of the sky as it faded from black to shades of violent and molten gold, from pink to a wonderful blue and thus repeating the cycle once over.

He considered the limited options he had and scowled slightly: there was always training, and though as much as it pleased his father to know he was attempting to work to his full potential however high it was, he'd grown bored of the same routine. However, Fugoku would be busy most of the afternoon which meant he wouldn't have time to observe him, criticize him on improper actions and berate him for his indifferent behavior. In cases such as these Itachi felt like a hare on a desert, keenly scrutinized by a hawk as it circled above. He'd have to be wary of what he did else he'd end up eaten, and that left three options: run, hide, or simple sit. He could always run, but out on open terrain he wouldn't stand half a chance. Hiding was effective, but most birds are smart. Sitting would prove difficult under the heat, and he'd be an easy target. In the end, he'd be prey anyway, and eat did his father do. Itachi barely ever heard the end of it from him and his expectations.

He was jolted from his thoughts when Sasuke rolled out from underneath the thick covers rubbing his eyes and yawning. He looked as if he didn't quite know where he was at first when his vision focused and when he turned to face Itachi a flicker of remembrance flitted across his childish face. "Good morning, Itachi-nii-san!" Sasuke beamed up at him, flashing a cheery grin before sliding over to attach himself to Itachi's arm, seeking warmth. Despite the blankets he was still cold.

Itachi smiled back, but when a pang of guilt surged through his body it quickly turned to a frown. There it was again, that constant reminder of his selfishness. Yet, as much as he wanted to feel remorse or disgust even, he couldn't bring himself to. In fact, he longed for more. He wanted Sasuke to touch him, and the more he mused over it the more he wanted to ravish the now sleeping boy, who'd firmly entangled their legs together and refused to budge. Even if his sleep his little brother was stubborn. It seemed to be a trait both siblings shared, and it was likely most the Uchiha clan did as well. He didn't bother much with family visits and rarely did he attend reunions. Itachi refused to take part in such troublesome arrangements—he didn't welcome the company of others besides Sasuke and though it boosted his swelling ego, he was tired of people fawning ridiculously over his status.

It seemed as if that all they were concerned about was the prowess of their title as Uchiha, their power and influence in Konoha and their intimidation to countries who knew them. They only feared them because of Itachi; he was the one who'd brought them up to where they were now. Countries thought the Uchiha harbored many others as skilled as him because of simple tales they'd heard. Itachi shook his head disdainfully.

A gently tapping at his door made him glance lazily up, knowing full well it was his mother, the only person who'd bother to check on him. She laughed softly at the sight of Sasuke, and then locked eyes with an impassive set of coal ones, inquiring what she wanted at such an early hour. "Itachi, I didn't know you were awake. I just came in to see if Sasuke was in here since he wasn't in his room. He was frightened of the storm, hm?"

Itachi brushed a strand of hair from his face and gave a slight nod. Mikoto giggled. "Ah, well since your up would you like to help me prepare breakfast? We'll wake everyone up in an hour... that is, if you can escape from Sasuke." She bounced out the room, her naturally good mood instantly rubbing off on Itachi. He shifted and tried to get up only to be pulled back down by an insistent Sasuke who'd woken up and was staring at him with big eyes.

"Was that kaa-san? Nii-san, stay here with me!"

Itachi managed to break loose from Sasuke and stand, raising his arms above his head and stretching, his back bending in a graceful arc. Glancing about for his discarded pants, he bent to pick them up and slipped them on, noticing Sasuke's gaze dart momentarily to his bare chest. He smirked inwardly, gesturing for Sasuke to come towards him, which he did hesitantly for a moment's time as he left the comfortable bed and into the cool air.

"Silly otouto, don't you want breakfast?" he muttered, reaching out and flicking Sasuke's forehead. The younger of the two pouted, crossing his arms defiantly.

"No, I want to sleep. I'm tired from what we did--"

Itachi shushed him by pressing a finger against his lips. "Don't mention that to our parents. Let's go downstairs and you can help me cook." Sasuke gave him a quizzical look but nodded, then gaped at him.

"You can cook?"

He chuckled and in a deft movement swept Sasuke up in his arms bridal-style, walking out his room and down the hallway. "Shh, you're embarrassing me!" he whined playfully. Sasuke covered his mouth to stifle giggles, and then touched a strand of Itachi's dark hair, running the piece through his fingers almost dreamily. Itachi felt the urge to run back to his room and molest him and strip him of his innocence right then and there and hell if it didn't take all his willpower to refrain from doing so. He felt the lock slip from Sasuke's grasp and silently hoped he do it again; his hair had always been his weakness, especially when someone petted it or did as Sasuke had. Itachi briefly wondered if perhaps he'd been a cat in his past life, and if maybe that explained his flexibility.

"Nii-san is even more of a girl then." Sasuke exclaimed, emphasizing his point by tugging a fistful of hair. Itachi winced, cursing quietly under his breath. A thought occurred. He sneered as he reached the top of the stairs, walking slowly over to the railing and looking down, measuring the distance from where he stood.

"What are you doing-- ahhh!"

Sasuke clutched at Itachi's arms, having time to shout once before Itachi's feet thudded against the ground. Mikoto poked her head out from the kitchen door, smiling at them and shaking her head understandingly. Sasuke managed to wriggle away from Itachi who in his audacity had held him tighter and ran to their mother, hugging her waist affectionately, turning to shoot a heated glare at his brother, upset about his little "trick." "Kaa-san, what's for breakfast?"

"Once Itachi-kun gets in here we'll have... hmm... eggs and bacon? Something simple so your nii-san won't burn the house down. Your father already left as well. What do you say?" Mikoto replied, beckoning Itachi in. He rolled his eyes, letting his usual cold countenance return and rummaging about in the refrigerator for eggs. Sasuke milled behind him, sticking his tongue out when Itachi straightened and shooed him away to the table, clearly not one to be pestered in mornings. He nodded an affirmative to his mother and watched as she lit the stove and placed a pan over it. Today was going to be great, he knew.

"Nii-san, have we got everything yet?"

Itachi checked the grocery list Mikoto had given them, mentally marking off each item they'd collected and heading for the cashier, Sasuke trailing obediently after like a loyal dog, almost as ready as Itachi was to be home. The woman tending the register happened to look up and blushed instantly, beginning to fidget nervously with the hem of her apron as he approached and set the essentials on the counter, waiting expectedly for her to ring the price so he could leave. It was just like their mother to ask of him to run errands on his free day, he thought sullenly.

A tug of his pant leg made him turn his attention to Sasuke, who suddenly posed a question. "Will we do what we did last night ever again?" A faint blush tinted his pale cheeks and he focused on his sandals, embarrassed.

How certainly unexpected. It made Itachi smile down at him, speaking, "Perhaps, otouto."

The cashier gave them both a bewildered expression but voiced the price. Itachi handed her the amount of money distractedly, his thoughts somewhere else, pondering what Sasuke had asked. Would he actually continue what he started? Then, it was just a spur of the moment. He'd used the closest thing, his brother, to sate his sexual frustration and hadn't meant to create a monster from it. It worried him and he subconsciously gnawed on his lower lip, a habit of his when he was nervous; he couldn't deny he wasn't attracted to Sasuke, but he wanted him to keep his purity. It was all too complicated for him at the moment.

"Ne, ne, onii-san! There's a festival tomorrow night! Can we go?" Sasuke pointed a flyer posted on the window, rocking on his heels excitedly. He'd only ever gone to one once, and it was with their mother. His father and Itachi had been on missions that day, and now that another opportunity had arisen for him to spend time with Itachi he sincerely hoped that he'd give his consent.

Itachi narrowed his eyes, reaching out and disheveling Sasuke's hair who huffed indignantly. "Forgive me, Sasuke. I'll be busy."

Sasuke's lip trembled but he said nothing more, knowing it'd be pointless to argue or plead. He grabbed one of the bags from Itachi and pushed open the door which jingled melodiously when the bells rung. Itachi chuckled at Sasuke's behavior, having seen it many times before when he'd want something from him. It'd always been his way of saying, "Until I get what I want I'm going to be quiet and ignore you." He still hadn't grown out of it, it seemed.

"I suppose I could find time..." he started, acting as though he might change his mind at any moment.

"Really!? Please, nii-san!" Sasuke begged, his eyes shimmering wetly. Fake tears, Itachi presumed.

"I will," Itachi pushed him out of the door, sighing in exasperation as Sasuke ran off down the sidewalk giggling, swinging the bag happily and not caring whether whatever in it spilt or was squashed. After all, he'd finally gotten a chance to have fun with his older brother. Itachi called out after him, cupping his hand around his mouth, "Be careful with that! Kaa-san won't happy if something breaks!"

Itachi blinked. Even if he didn't show it, even he was looking forward to the festival.

The mission the next day proved to be easy and Itachi completed it without hassle—a Konoha ninja had attempted to escape. His reason as to why was unknown, but when Itachi's team had shown up to retrieve him for interrogation he'd tried to fight them and it resulted in his death. There was nothing of importance on him except for ninja tools. They'd efficiently discarded the corpse after searching him thoroughly.

Itachi trudged through the doorway, removing his ANBU equipment and stalking through the house, hoping to go unnoticed for the time being. He needed a shower above all; there were specks of blood coating his skin and clothes and he wanted them off, especially if he was going to be attending the festival. Where was Sasuke anyway? He should've been waiting for him to return but he wasn't standing at the entrance like he normally was.

Just as he was about to ascend the stairs Mikoto's voice rang out, summoning him to the living room. He ran a hand through his hair in frustration before stepping through the arch, raising in eyebrow in answer to what he saw. Somewhere in the recesses of his mind a cold shower sounded more appealing than it should.

Sasuke was standing on a stool with him arms outstretched, a navy kimono adorning his body. It seemed a little big; the side was sliding off his shoulders and exposing a small expanse of smooth skin, Itachi noted. Oh, this was such a tease. Mikoto was tying the finishing touch to his outfit, a golden sash that contrasted perfectly. Sasuke looked absolutely miserable, as if he'd been standing there for hours, which Itachi didn't doubt. Their mother had the tendency to fuss about the slightest details. She shuffled to the front of him, admiring her "work of art."

"You can put your arms down now, Sasuke-chan. How does he look, Itachi?"

Itachi wanted to say delicious. "...cute."

Sasuke frowned. "This makes me look girly, kaa-san. Does Itachi have to wear one?"

Mikoto snapped her fingers but Itachi stopped her from bustling off. "I'll wear regular clothes."

She let out a breath of air, putting her hands on her hips. "Your father has a yukata that might fit you if you want to wear it instead."

He dismissed the idea by walking out the room, intent on that shower. Itachi was going to kill that woman one day for putting him through torture like this. Sasuke looked so irresistible; it was a wonder how he'd be able to keep from jumping him.

His shower was done hastily. He dressed in his normal attire and stood considering himself in the bathroom mirror, pondering whether or not to tie his hair up like he usually did or let it hang loose for once. It was a festival after all, and maybe it'd keep people from noticing him and attracting attention. He set the red band aside, running his fingers through wet strands and making his way downstairs. Mikoto and Sasuke were waiting by the door. He instantly clung to Itachi, ushering him to hurry and put his shoes on so they could head out, with Mikoto lecturing him to stay put with his brother and not run off. He heaved himself up and grabbed Sasuke's hand, pulling him out the door. Sasuke waved goodbye to their mother and tagged alongside Itachi, having to take three steps for one of his long strides.

It was an awesome night for a festival. The sky was a deep blue, twinkling with spots of light from tiny stars that heavily dotted it. The moon had just recently begun to wane and was now crescent-shaped, a pale yellow in color. A breeze blew by every now and then as the two siblings made their way through a growing crowd, everyone eager to join the games and taste the food.

Itachi had never been good with groups of people, but he withstood it for Sasuke. Talking grew to a distinct buzz in his ears soon as he followed Sasuke about, mostly to stands that sold candy or treats such as ice cream or candied apples. Luckily only a cousin of his recognized him and they only talked for a moment's time before she flounced off and was lost amid the people. Sasuke had then proceeded to drag him to a bench, making him sit down. He sidled off and Itachi was about to get up and drag him back when he returned wearing an awfully familiar cat mask.

"Now I'm just like nii-san!" Sasuke exclaimed.

Itachi laughed softly, removing it from his head. "You shouldn't hide your pretty face."

Sasuke, speechless for a second, flushed. Itachi slid a finger up his throat seductively, moving close to practically purr in his ear, his voice husky unbeknownst to himself. "Would you like to go somewhere quieter, otouto?"

Sasuke locked eyes with Itachi's half-lidded ones, murmuring, "Why?"

"To continue what we started."