Andante, Allegro, Al Fine!




Iruka stepped aside, letting the silver haired man enter his hallway, hastily closing the door to the rain outside. Kakashi was soaked, he noticed.

"Would you like a towel?"

Kakashi shook his head, sending some of the water droplets nestled within them flying. "I apologise if I'm dripping on your carpet, Iruka, but I have something important to do above all else. Sasuke's not awake yet, is he?"

"Ah… I don't think so. Today is his recital, isn't it?"

"Correct," Kakashi said. "Which way to his room?"

"He's probably in with Naruto," Iruka replied, pointing down the hall. "It's the last door at the end."

Kakashi took off down the hall, finding the correct door and throwing it open.

"Rise and shine!" He called happily, stalking across to the curtains and drawing them.

Two heads shot up from under the covers, looking… Guilty? Kakashi snickered to himself.

"Did I interrupt something?" He asked.

"N-no," Sasuke replied, his burning red cheeks suggesting otherwise.

Kakashi walked over to the bed, setting himself down on the edge of it.

"It's your recital today, Sasuke," he reminded the dark haired boy, who was tugging on the covers Kakashi was sitting on, in a vain effort to cover his naked chest.

"I know," Sasuke snapped, giving up on the covers and folding his arms across his chest instead. "But that's not until this evening."

"You think you're going to laze around in bed all day?" Kakashi asked.

"I didn't mean-"

"Listen," Kakashi said, grabbing Sasuke's arm and pulling him towards him, leaning over his ear so Naruto couldn't hear. "If you think you've got time to stay here getting intimate, you're mistaken. You've got practice to do."

He stood up, letting Sasuke's arm go and walking to the door.

"You have one minute to get up, dressed, and to that piano."

He slammed the door closed behind him, leaving both Sasuke and Naruto to relax and lament the killing of the mood.

"You have a fun day ahead of you it seems," Naruto snickered.

"I had a much better morning planned," Sasuke complained, sliding out of the bed and dressing quickly.

He opened the door, leaving Naruto to get dressed, heading sleepily to the living room where Kakashi was waiting. Iruka was with him, holding a glass of orange juice.

"What would you like for breakfast, Sasuke-san?"

Sasuke took the offered juice, nodding a thank you. "I'm alright."

"He doesn't have time to eat," Kakashi called, beckoning to Sasuke. "Get over here."

Sasuke rolled his eyes and walked over to Kakashi, putting his drink down on the table next to the piano and sitting down.

"You know dragging me out of bed isn't the way of getting a good performance out of me," he chided his Sensei.

"You're not leaving the piano until you give me an acceptable performance," Kakashi replied. "If that means missing the recital, then so be- I want it to be perfect, and I'd rather you did nothing than you did it badly."

Sasuke opened his sheet music, shaking his head and trying to wake up a little. He began to play, interrupted by Kakashi only a few bars in.

"No. Start again."

Sasuke sighed, doing as instructed, only to have Kakashi stop him at the same.


Sasuke glared at him, but started over again.

"No," Kakashi snapped as he reached the same point again. "What the hell is that supposed to be?"

"What am I doing wrong?!" Sasuke snapped back.

Kakashi put one hand on his forehead, sighing heavily.

"Tell me how Appassionata is supposed to be played at the beginning, Sasuke."

"Allegro assai," Sasuke answered easily, pointing to his sheet music.

"Exactly. Very fast and lively. Why are you playing it slowly?"

"I'm not."

"Why are you playing it slowly?" Kakashi repeated sharply.

"Probably because I just woke up and I'm half asleep?" Sasuke snapped back.

"Fine. You've got ten minutes to go have a shower or go get laid or whatever the hell it is you do to wake up, then be back here to give a good performance." He ignored the scorching look Sasuke was sending his way. "No- an excellent performance. Now, go."

Sasuke stood, still glaring, and made his way out of the room- past Iruka, who was standing in the doorway.

"Kakashi-san," Iruka said quietly. "Is-"

"I'm sorry you had to see that, Iruka," Kakashi said, his voice instantly softer as he interrupted Iruka and spun around to face the other man. "Its tough love, I'm afraid. He's been distracted by both Naruto and the date today, and his practices have suffered the last day or two for it. It can't happen tonight- I tell him he'll disappoint me, but in reality, he'll disappoint himself."

"Date today?" Iruka asked, confused.

"He didn't tell you?" Kakashi asked, eyes widening. "Today is the anniversary of his parents' deaths."

Iruka's eyes widened, too, and he clapped a hand to his mouth. "Oh! I had no idea…"

"Sasuke's not the most… Talkative person," Kakashi supplied. "I'll be surprised if even Naruto knows."

"I know," came a voice from behind Iruka. Naruto stepped past him, looking sleepy, holding a glass of water.

"Good morning Naruto," Kakashi called, waving. "I presume Sasuke chose the shower instead to wake up?"

"Eh?" Naruto asked, confused. Kakashi shook his head, laughing slightly.

"Never mind."


Nine minutes later, Sasuke was back at the piano. Kakashi was tapping his watch expectantly.

"I'm one minute early," Sasuke snapped, sitting back down and certainly looking much brighter. His hair was wet, and he had a towel slung around his neck, catching the tiny droplets of water that dripped from his hair.

"Now, let's have Appassionata, not whatever the hell you were attempting earlier," Kakashi said, tapping the sheet music in front of Sasuke.

Sasuke started to play again, and Kakashi nodded. "Much better," he praised. "Keep that tempo. That's perfect."

Naruto was sitting on the sofa, eating some toast and watching the two intently. Sasuke hadn't had much of a chance to teach him anything over the past five days, since Kakashi had spent most of it practically chaining Sasuke to the piano to practice.

Not that he minded, because the time they did spend together was very well spent. Very well spent.

"Stop," Kakashi said, holding a hand up. "You slowed it down again."

Sasuke sighed and gave him a scowl, but turned the page back to the beginning again to start over.

"Naruto," Kakashi said, looking over to the blond on the sofa.

"Mm?" Naruto mumbled through his toast.

"Can you make yourself scarce for a little? I need Sasuke's attention solely on this practice."

Naruto shrugged and made his way out the room, not offended by what had been asked of him.

"I wasn't paying attention to him," Sasuke snapped at Kakashi, folding his arms.

"I didn't want to take the chance you were."

Sasuke rolled his eyes. "You're overreacting."

"And you're not getting it right."

Sasuke snapped, slamming the lid on the piano down angrily. "I can't concentrate with you pressuring me like this."

He stood to leave, but Kakashi grabbed his wrist and pulled him back down.

"I said you weren't going anywhere until you've played me an acceptable piece," Kakashi warned him.

Sasuke glared at him, trying to yank his wrist free, but finding himself unable to. Kakashi kept his hand around it, clasping it tightly.

"Sit down."

Sasuke did so, rubbing his wrist as Kakashi let it go.

"Play that piece like you're playing it to your parents," Kakashi said quietly.

Sasuke's eyes widened as Kakashi pulled the lid back up, exposing the ivory keys once again. He positioned his fingers over the starting keys, feeling himself trembling as he did so. He stared down at his fingers, taking a deep breath, and blinking when he found his vision blurring.

He took a deep breath, unwilling to cry today, and certainly not in front of Kakashi. However, his emotions had other ideas, spurred by the mention of his parents on such a day. Tears splashed onto his fingers, and he closed his eyes tighter, letting his hands fall from the piano to his lap, giving up the fight against them.

"Don't use that against me," he whispered, bringing his hands to his face and covering it, choking on a sob.

"Sasuke," Kakashi said softly, putting a hand on his shoulder. Sasuke didn't shake it off. "I didn't say it to upset you, or use it against you. I said it to spur you."

Sasuke grabbed the lid of the piano, roughly slamming it down again. Kakashi, who had one hand on the keys, swiftly retracted his fingers just in time.

"Play for my parents you say?" He snapped bitterly. "The parents who 'will be so disappointed with your path', or the parents who 'would have stopped this nonsense a long time ago and enrolled you in college?'"

"I'm not your brother," Kakashi said sharply. "And I don't care what idiocy he's drilled into your head. You are a damn good pianist, Sasuke. The only flaw you have is you lack passion, I've said this numerous times. The only times I've seen you play like you mean it are when you first started, and recently around Naruto."

Sasuke brought a trembling hand to his eyes, drying tears that quickly became replaced with more. "That's the worst flaw I could have, right?"

Kakashi sighed. "It's what changes an excellent piece to an awful piece, yes. But I think you lack passion because, after a while, you stopped yourself feeling. You numbed yourself with alcohol and found solace in anger. It affected your playing, and it's taken Naruto to pull you back out of your lonely shell, Sasuke."

"Would you shut up?" Sasuke snapped, standing up to leave again and shaking Kakashi's hand away, tired of the turn the conversation had taken. Kakashi grabbed his wrist again warningly.

"You're either going to storm off and throw a tantrum somewhere, or you're going to go looking for alcohol. I know you. I'm not letting you do either."

"A tantrum?" Sasuke replied incredulously. "That's what you think this is?"

Kakashi sighed heavily. "No. I think it's a year's worth of pent up emotion finally getting through your protective barriers. Regardless, if you're going to have a breakdown on today of all days, you're going to do it in my presence so I can try to fix you and have you on form for tonight."

"Tonight, tonight, tonight," Sasuke snapped, narrowing his reddened, tear-filled eyes and sinking back onto the piano stool. He folded his arms across the closed piano lid, looking away from Kakashi. "Is that all you care about? And what's this 'fix me' bullshit? Unless you can bring them back, you can't fix anything."

"Sasuke," Kakashi said evenly. "The only thing I care about is you. You'll hate yourself if you screw tonight up, and I know that, which is why I push you to be the best you can. So you can be happier with yourself. Right now, you could tell me 'I'm not doing it' and mean it, and I'd cancel it in an instant if that would make you happy. But it wouldn't, would it, Sasuke?"

Sasuke didn't reply, sinking his head into his folded arms.

"Would it?" Kakashi repeated, shaking his shoulder.

The only response he got was muffed, badly-concealed sobbing.

"Sasuke…" Kakashi sighed, keeping his hand on the boy's shoulder. "You know what? Crying on the piano isn't going to bring them back. Trust me- I understand how it feels to want someone back, and to miss them so badly it hurts… But it doesn't make things any different in the end."

Sasuke looked up at him sharply, eyes narrowed in shock.

"I lost my best friend about five years ago," Kakashi explained. "He was a pianist, too. And for a while, I did the same as you. Getting drunk, acting up, and generally being a pain in the ass to everyone around me."

Sasuke had the grace to look slightly shamed at that, smiling weakly.

"But then I took it as another one of life's experiences, and channeled all the emotion I felt when I thought about him into my playing, and realized it helped. Every piece I play, I play it for him. I play it in his memory."

He squeezed Sasuke's shoulder gently.

"Take five minutes now to get those tears out of your system, then go and wash your face, get something to eat, and come back ready to give a performance you and they can be proud of."

He grabbed Sasuke in a quick hug, sighing as he felt him tremble against him.

"Tonight will be fine. Trust me. You have the skill, and you're talented. We just need to drum some emotion in to you, but after this little display, you've proved you're at least capable of it."

Sasuke pulled away, smacking Kakashi's arm weakly.

"I'm not the emotionless, alcoholic moron you seem to think I am," he said quietly, his voice laced with bitterness.

"Oh? You could have fooled me," Kakashi replied, ignoring the undertones in his pupil's words. "Now, go on, go freshen up- you look wrecked."

Sasuke smiled weakly, attempting to dry his eyes. "And whose fault is that?"

Kakashi feigned innocence. "Gai said the same words to me and it made me work my ass off, not cry! Now, go on, get yourself sorted and let's iron out these little problems, shall we?"


Naruto was sitting in the kitchen with Iruka when Sasuke opened the door slowly and stepped inside the room. Naruto looked up at him and narrowed his eyes in concern when he noted the tears in his eyes, but Sasuke held a hand up to silence him.

"I'm fine," he said definitely, and Naruto took the hint and closed his mouth. "It's not a good day, is it?"

It was a rhetorical statement. Naruto realized that, and didn't give him an answer. He understood.

"How's the practice coming along?" Iruka asked, attempting to dispel the heavy atmosphere in the room.

"Not too well," Sasuke admitted. "Kakashi sent me away to get something to eat, but I'm not hungry."

"That'll be nerves," Iruka said with a nod. "You need to eat anyway, Sasuke-san, else you'll just feel sick. And I'm sure you don't want that, do you?"

Sasuke seated himself at the table with a sigh, shaking his head. "No."

"I'll fix you a slice of toast," Iruka told him, standing.

Naruto stood with him as Iruka made his way to the toaster, giving Sasuke a moment to himself.

"Iruka?" Naruto said quietly as the elder man put a slice of bread in the toaster.

"Yes?" Iruka asked, turning to him.

Naruto smiled softly at him. "Did I tell you I love you recently?"

Iruka stared at Naruto, eyes widening. He hadn't been expecting that.

"No," he said, returning the smile. "No, you didn't."

"Well, I do," Naruto replied, grabbing him in a hug. "You're a great Dad."

Iruka closed his eyes to the happy tears that filled them, his arms tightening around Naruto's back. Naruto had always called him Iruka-Dad, feeling the title of 'Dad' should be solely reserved for his birth parent. Apparently, he'd chosen today to change his mind.

"What, no Iruka-Dad?" He replied, a hint of pride in his voice.

"Well, you're Iruka-Dad, too," Naruto explained. "But you're Dad, too. You're both. You're doubly special."

"What's brought this on, hmm?" Iruka asked, realizing Naruto wasn't letting go of him. He didn't attempt to release the hug, feeling Naruto tense under his grip.

"I don't remember my parents," Naruto said so quietly Iruka almost missed it. "But I do remember you. I remember my parents on the anniversary, because they're my parents, you know? But when I think back to my childhood, I think of you. I remember you being the one to take me out to the park, or send me to my room when I was a pain. You deserve the title of Dad."

Naruto finally pulled away from Iruka, giving him a big grin. Iruka mock-frowned at him, drying the tears from his eyes.

"And you made me cry," he noted. "You're such a brat. You did that on purpose."

Naruto laughed slightly. "Sorry. I just… Felt like I needed to say it."

He didn't need to continue the sentence. 'Because you might end up like Sasuke's parents and my real parents, and be gone tomorrow and I'll have never have said it.'

"Well, I appreciate the sentiment," Iruka said, smiling. He stopped though, eyes widening as he turned to the toaster and jammed the 'stop' button. A slice of burnt toast popped up, looking rather sorry for itself.

"Sasuke-san, I'm sorry," Iruka called, grabbing the toast with his forefingers and half-flicking it out onto the side. "I burnt the toast. I'll need to do another-"

He stopped as he turned around and noticed Sasuke was no longer in the room. He sighed slightly, leaning on the worktop behind him.

"I'm sure he'll be fine," Naruto said, picking up the slice of burnt toast. "He just needs to get his head clear so he can concentrate tonight."

He bit into the toast, much to Iruka's horror.

"What are you doing?!" He yelled, snatching the blackened slice from Naruto's hand. "If you're still hungry, put another slice in! Don't eat the burnt one, it's not good for you!"

"See, that's what I mean about you being a Dad," Naruto said with a sigh, watching Iruka throw the toast in the bin. "You bitch about what's 'good for me' as much as one!"


Sasuke had chosen to leave when Naruto's voice had dropped to a whisper, indicating a private discussion. He'd heard the first words Naruto had said, and smiled softly to himself, feeling inspired to do exactly what Kakashi had asked.

"You're back fast," Kakashi observed as he sat down at the piano again.

"I'm not hungry," Sasuke half-lied, opening the lid on the piano again. Kakashi raised an eyebrow, but said nothing, giving him a nod that indicated he should start.

And he did. Kakashi's eyes widened as he got the tempo correct, and the passion! The passion he'd tried so hard to drum into Sasuke's head was right there, flitting through the piece as he played it and making it sound a thousand times better then Sasuke had ever achieved before.

He smiled to himself. Sasuke was going to astonish both the audience and himself that night.


"Eh, Sasuke," Kakashi called, his tone amused, from his position by the red, velvet curtain. "Have you seen the crowd out there?"

Sasuke, who was sitting with his back to the wall and trying not to hyperventilate a few feet away, had the decency to throw him an evil glare.

Naruto was sitting with him, eyes narrowed in both concern and mild amusement. The calm and collected Sasuke he usually knew had been replaced with the nervous wreck before him.

He had said he felt fine all day when asked, but he hadn't eaten anything, and by the time they arrived at the auditorium in Kakashi's car, he had admitted to feeling sick. Kakashi had taken the moment to berate him for not eating, and had sent Naruto to go and buy water.

They had been led backstage by staff, where they'd stayed. Kakashi hadn't allowed Sasuke to go to the bar like he wanted, Sasuke had yelled at him, and gone to have a panic attack in the corner. Only Naruto was allowed near him, and he too had been banished when he'd tried to reason with him about the alcohol.

Eventually, he'd moved from the corner and allowed Naruto to sit with him again, and had taken to glaring at Kakashi. Kakashi had taken to teasing him about everything he could.

Naruto found the whole charade very, very endearing.

He sympathized with Sasuke, but couldn't help laughing when Kakashi tried to comment on the nervousness of his boyfriend from his 'safe' spot by the curtain and Sasuke threw the half-empty water bottle he'd been holding at him.

Kakashi caught it deftly, sighing and walking over to Sasuke, handing it back to him. Sasuke snatched it, scowling.

"Relax," Kakashi stressed.

"Get me something to drink then," Sasuke snapped, running a shaking hand through his hair.

"You have water," Kakashi pointed out.

"You know what I mean!"

"Sasuke," Kakashi said evenly, reaching out and putting a hand on his shoulder. Sasuke shook it off, giving him another evil glare. "I really don't think alcohol is such a smart idea."

"I think you don't know what you're talking about."

"I think I do, and you're just being difficult."

"I think-"

"I think you both need to shut up," Naruto interjected. "I need a drink watching you two. You've been like this since we arrived an hour ago!"

He stood, giving them both a glare before leaving. Truth be told, the atmosphere was so thick that he could barely breathe, and he needed to get out of there for a while.

A drink didn't seem like such a bad idea now he was out of there, so he made his way to the bar, frowning as he noticed how crowded it was. A few people glanced his way, recognizing that he had arrived with Sasuke, but saying nothing to him.

He ordered a Malibu and coke- of course- and found an empty two seat table in the corner, sitting down and sighing slightly. Sasuke would actually, positively kill him if he knew Naruto was drinking alcohol and hadn't taken anything for Sasuke.

He smiled at that, taking a sip of the drink.

"May I join you?"

Naruto's eyes widened at that voice, and he slowly looked up, unable to believe what he had heard and needing to confirm it with sight.

"Itachi?" He asked incredulously.

Itachi stayed standing, indicating to the empty seat in front of Naruto.

"May I join you?" He asked again.

"Oh, right," Naruto stuttered. "Sure."

Itachi seated himself, placing his drink on the table.

"I'll get to the point," Itachi began. "I'm sorry for what I said before, and how I treated both you and Sasuke."

Naruto nodded, keeping his face neutral.

"It wasn't very…" He stopped, seemingly struggling for the right word. "Brotherly to Sasuke."

"He said you always hated him playing," Naruto said quietly. "Why are you here tonight?"

"To make amends," Itachi supplied, taking a sip of his drink.

"I don't think you can fix this with a simple 'I'm sorry'."

"I know that. But he's my little brother. I'm not happy with his choices-" He glanced over at Naruto. "But he's my brother, and our parents would hate to see us like this. They were always adamant that we should play nicely together, and that we should get along."

"You know he's made something of himself, don't you?" Naruto told him firmly. "He doesn't need to go to college or any of that bullshit you spouted to him. He's Hatake Kakashi's pupil. That's an amazing thing to be, and look at all the people here tonight to watch him play!"

Itachi looked slightly embarrassed. "I… Had no idea he was so popular."

"Well, maybe if you'd have spent time talking to him about his hobby rather than dismissing it, you might have learnt," Naruto said curtly.

Itachi raised an eyebrow at him. "Are you telling me off, Naruto-kun?"

Naruto gave him a nervous smile. "Yes…?"

Itachi sighed, shaking his head slightly. "You're the 'new boyfriend'. I'm supposed to be telling you off, aren't I?"

Naruto picked up his glass, swirling the contents around slowly. "You… How do you feel about that?" He asked slowly.

Itachi sighed. "I know it may not seem like it, but I'm not the raging homophobe I came across as. I was just… Angry."

"I saw," Naruto said shortly, remembering back to the destroyed piano.

"I'll replace the piano," Itachi said, as if reading his thoughts.

"I already did," Naruto informed him.

"You did?"

Itachi seemed surprised. Naruto smirked slightly behind his drink.

"I'll pay you back, then," Itachi replied after a moment.

Naruto shook his head. "Look, I did it because I happen to like that little brother of yours a lot. I don't need repaying. The only thing I want is for you to support him in being a pianist, and to at least put up with me and him."

Itachi smiled slightly. "You seem to be taking better care of him than I did. I made a horrible replacement parent."

He looked sad, and Naruto felt bad for him- he hadn't thought about it that way.

"All the responsibility fell on you, didn't it?" He said softly. "To look after him."

"Sasuke wouldn't admit it," Itachi replied. "He was eighteen- he said he didn't need 'looking after'. But he did. Our parents' deaths destroyed him- he was such a mother's boy."

Naruto would have laughed at that in any other context.

"How did they die?" He asked gently. "Sasuke didn't mention it."

Itachi's eyes flickered with something unreadable before he picked up his drink, gripping it so tightly Naruto was worried the glass might break.

He was about to tell the elder man not to worry about it, and that he was sorry he asked, but he answered.

"A fire."

"Fire?" Naruto asked, eyes widening.

"Sasuke was… Well, I don't know where he was, no-one of us ever did. I was at work. We don't know how it started. I suspect it was arson, but I could never prove it. Our parents were… Successful. People don't like success. They get jealous."

Naruto didn't know what to say, so he stayed silent.

"They had a second house out of the city, which is where we live now. The first one was… Well, obviously it was unlivable, and neither of us would have wanted to live there anyway."

Naruto nodded in agreement, still shocked into silence.

"Our parents were extremely intelligent people. I wanted Sasuke to follow that path, too, and thought he was wasting his time with music."

Naruto nodded slightly. He was beginning to understand the man in front of him, and why he had acted how he did.

"Aren't you supposed to be with Sasuke giving him support?" Itachi pointed out.

Naruto frowned. "I had to get away for a bit, he's driving me crazy. He's nervous, and Kakashi keeps riling him about it."

Itachi smiled softly. "Don't tell him I'm here, will you?"

Naruto narrowed his eyes slightly, but found himself unable to disagree. He finished his drink, standing up and indicating to the exit.

"I should get back to him," he said. "It's been nice talking with you."

"Yes," Itachi nodded. "It's been nice, Naruto-kun."


"Where have you been?!" Sasuke demanded of him the moment Naruto came into view again. He had apparently been watching the small door, waiting for him to come back. "I can't believe you-"

He stopped, narrowing his eyes.

"I smell cigarettes," he said accusingly. "And alcohol. Have you been at the bar?"

Naruto gave him a small, nervous smile.

"You traitor!" Sasuke yelled, pointing a finger at him.

Naruto stifled a laugh and walked across to Sasuke, kneeling down on the floor and giving him a soft kiss. Sasuke pulled away, giving him a scowl.

"Malibu," he said, sounding mildly disgusted. "You taste like Malibu. You are a traitor."

"Kissing me is the closest to alcohol you're getting tonight," Naruto told him, his voice laced with suggestion.

Sasuke shook his head. "I hate coconut. I'm not kissing you."

Naruto scowled at him. "Well aren't you romantic."

"I hate to bring this up, but you're due on stage in five minutes, Sasuke," Kakashi said from the curtain. "You need to straighten yourself out a bit- you've crinkled that suit sitting on the floor."

Sasuke stood slowly, brushing himself down and glaring at Kakashi's back.

"I'm going to go get my seat," Naruto told him, giving him a quick kiss on the cheek. "Knock 'em out."

Sasuke sighed shakily, running a hand through his hair and giving Naruto a very small smile.

"I'll try."


Naruto found Iruka and his seat in the front row just as the curtains rose on stage, sinking into the comfortable velvet with a sigh.

"How's he doing?" Iruka asked in a whisper.

"He's nervous," Naruto stated. "But I think he'll be alright."

The crowd clapped as Kakashi walked out to center stage, taking hold of the microphone set up.

"Good evening, ladies and gentlemen!" He said, the clapping dying down so he could be heard. "Thank you for coming."

He indicated to the side of the stage. "My prodigy pupil, Uchiha Sasuke, will be playing for you tonight. This is his first performance, so he's a little nervous- please be nice to him, and welcome him to the stage."

The audience clapped again, and Sasuke came out from the sidelines. A few people in the audience cheered, and the clapping elevated. Sasuke turned to them and gave them a small wave before heading to the grand piano behind Kakashi.

The clapping and cheering died down, and Kakashi exited the stage, calling a 'good luck' over his shoulder to Sasuke. Sasuke nodded, opening the lid of the piano with shaking fingers and looking up at the sheet music. Appassionata first, it seemed.

"Good luck Sasuke!" Someone from the audience yelled, and he looked up, swallowing slightly when he noticed just how full the auditorium was. He scanned the front row, looking for Naruto, searching for his kind eyes and reassuring smile.

He locked up with his brother, and he almost fell off the stool in surprise.

"Sasuke," Itachi called loudly, smiling slightly. "Do me proud."

Sasuke stared at him, unable to formulate a reply. He smiled back, feeling happy tears prick his eyes, and he blinked them back. Now was not the time to get sentimental about his brother's acceptance.

Instead, he placed his hands over the keys and began to play, closing his eyes for the first few bars. He'd played them so many times that day he could remember them- memory was usually his weakest trait, and had caused him to fail his graded exams a couple of times to begin with. But he had no problems remembering the first bars of this piece now.

He thought about his parents, imagining they were in the audience with his brother, listening to him play. He thought about his brother finally coming to see him play, and with it accepting who he had chosen to become. He thought about Kakashi, who he knew was standing in the wings, listening to him.

And he thought of Naruto, who he couldn't describe in words alone. Instead, he did what Kakashi had suggested- translated how he felt into his playing. He combined his feelings about all of those people, and let his fingers do the talking. The piano was his voice, and he was happy with that.


In the wings, Kakashi leant against the wall, dropping the curtain as he did so and closing his eyes. He fought with himself for a moment, feeling tears in his eyes at the raw emotion he was hearing in that piece, but gave up, smiling happily as a lone tear snaked down his cheek. He pulled his mask aside for a moment to dry it, making a mental note to not tell Sasuke he'd been moved to tears by his performance. He'd never live it down.

His pupil was giving the audience performance of his life, and he couldn't be prouder of him.


Author's Note: It's done! I finally got it done! The epilogue turned out a lot longer than I expected, though. Whoops.

Reviews and comments are welcome, and make me smile :) Direct flames to the closest wall as it'll listen as much as I will. All in all- THANK YOU for reading, and I hope I entertained you!

I need new ideas for short and sweet SasuNaru fics, so I'll say if this manages 100 reviews somehow, the 100th reviewer can chose an idea for me ;D

I'm going to be posting the first chapter to my new SasuNaru fic soon- I haven't titled it yet, but otherwise it's almost ready to go. If you're interested, please watch my profile or author alert me :D

Thanks again, everyone!