A few years ago, Sasuke was the star of his school. He had everything a boy could possibly want: girls, dazzling looks, good grades, popular friends, and the sweet taste of power. He wasn't particularly happy with himself back then, but that was as good as life could get, so happiness wasn't a priority.

His good fortune ended when he hit puberty.

He himself wasn't too aware of the changes, and when he had finally caught himself shopping for makeup and spied his own all-too-pretty reflection in the mirror, it was already too late. He suddenly realised that his behaviour had become strange and awkward in the past few months, and all his joy and innocence that he bore with him as a child had worn off in less than a week. It was probably some kind of teenager's syndrome, but no matter how Sasuke tried to get rid of it, it just wouldn't leave.

He knew then that the good life ended for him.

The first time he heard the word "faggot" being addressed at him was during a chemistry class. Some irritating vapour had escaped from a broken bottle, and – by some misfortune – headed straight for his eyes. Needless to say, his face was covered in tears and god-knows-what after only a few minutes. It was then that the class fell silent. A few kids sitting near him snickered and pointed at his face. It didn't take him long to figure out that his black eyeliner was making a smudgy mess around his watery eyes. At that moment someone coughed a low but still audible "faggot!" at him, and everybody burst out laughing.

After that humiliating incident he became the "emo kid", the "eyeliner boy", or just plain old "fag". Everybody he knew, including his so-called friends, kept away from him and never spoke to him again. The rejection didn't hurt half as much as he thought it would, although it wasn't especially pleasant either. Now and again one of the popular kids would pick a fight with him, and, when everybody around is cheering for your opponent, it's hard to walk out with a victory.

But life went on. His angst eventually cooled down, and most of the time he was pretty normal again. And when he wasn't, well, he would cry over spilled hair gel. No big deal.

To sum it all up, Sasuke's life as a teenager was about three words ending with TION.

Agitation, fixation, and erection.

That last one especially.

Sasuke moaned lazily in his bed. A telephone was ringing somewhere in his room. He stretches, scans his monochromatic surroundings, and finds a metallic phone shinning near the couch. He rolls out of bed, surprised at himself for having slept so carelessly in a stranger's house.


A stranger's voice answered him. "Good morning, Sasuke."

There was silence as the voice waited for a response. Sasuke held the receiver against his cheek, terrified at the way his heart danced in his chest.

"Oh," he mumbled stupidly.

"My name is Itachi. You probably know that already… I'm your brother, Sasuke."

The boy clutched the receiver even tighter.

"Yeah, I know. Uh… they told me."

"I'm in the solarium," Itachi said. "Could you come down and join me for breakfast?" His voice sounded almost commanding.

"Yeah, okay." Sasuke wanted to ask for directions, but Itachi fell silent and the line went dead. Kisame's colourful map jumped into view; it was lying on the black floor.

The solarium was built outside of the eastern wall, its transparent shell facing the morning sun. A row of short flowers surrounded the walls, but few people knew that their petals were actually made of plastic. As he walked carefully into the room Sasuke spied a figure sitting alone at a table. He hesitates, takes small strides, calculating each step he took, until finally the figure looks up from whatever fancy food he was enjoying.

"Good to see you, Sasuke."

That same voice from the receiver. For an instant, Sasuke felt his blood drain completely. He wasn't sure whether he felt nervous or frightened, but as he stood paralysed his breathing came to a halt, and he just stared silently at this long-lost brother of his, hypnotized by what he saw.

Itachi had the trademark jet-black hair that all Uchihas were born with. His long locks were tied into a loose ponytail, while unordered bangs framed his face. But it was his eyes that really caught Sasuke's attention. They were sharp and dark, accentuated by long lashes, and his gaze bore an apathetic authority that Sasuke couldn't fathom out. They were frightening, but they were the most beautiful eyes the boy has ever seen.

"No need to be afraid, I won't kill you."

Sasuke was knocked out if his stupour. He felt that he should laugh at Itachi's attempt at a humourous remark – matter of politeness – but when he saw that his brother was actually serious – Itachi's face was hard and humourless – he quickly made his way to the table and sat down.

"You've slept well?" Itachi started. "Happy with your room?"

Sasuke was a bit uneasy under Itachi's intense gaze. "Yeah," he replied nervously, "everything's pretty cool. Thanks."

Itachi nodded. "I hope you're not mad at me for absenting last night; I was quite busy with work."

"Oh, it's fine, I understand." Fuck you, I almost got lost.

The older Uchiha took a sip of his coffee while Sasuke watched him discreetly. Definitely too pretty for his own good… not very Uchiha-ish… is that really my brother, 'cause he scares me… trying to look mature, is he… probably got all his money by selling gay porn… rich bastard, he thinks he's so hot… almost knocked me out with those scary eyes of his…

Itachi put down his drink and sat back. His eyes glanced over at Sasuke, almost looking right through him. The boy started to fidget in his seat.

"So… How come… I've never, like, heard of you?" Sasuke muttered.

Itachi's expression softened. "I was afraid you'd ask that."

Uchiha Fugaku was once a very ambitious man. No,more like wild. He quit school at age 17 and started his own little business, which consisted of smuggling illegal drugs. He was a smart dealer and made quite a bit of money. Soon, his little business became a big business, and the big business took over the black market. Fugaku became a celebrity of the underworld, causing chaos wherever he went. His life revolved around his money, his drug, and his women. It was then that Itachi was born. The mother – one of Fugaku's many ladies – had died after giving birth, so Fugaku, only 20 at the time, had to take care of his son. Fearing for Itachi's safety he disappeared for a while from the underworld.

When Itachi turned 4 Fugaku's business suddenly fell apart. Apparently, a close friend had betrayed him. Fugaku had to leave everything behind in order to save his own life. A family friend, Uchiha Shisui, took Itachi with him and raised the boy alone. Away from his old life, Fugaku fell in love with Mikoto during a social gathering, and Sasuke was born a year later. The man never told anything about his past to Mikoto, and she never tried to find out. Itachi grew up under Shisui's wing. Once a month Fugaku would visit his first son and try to show him that he still cares, but he knew that Itachi had grown to hate him.

"I knew about you and Mikoto," Itachi said. "He never stopped talking about you two."

Sasuke looked down at his empty plate. He caught Itachi's reflection on the smooth surface, and as he looked he thought he could see Fugaku sitting there, his stern face beaming with arrogance, his eyes filled with ambition.

"You say you hate him, but you're so much alike," Sasuke said, hoping that his brother didn't take it the wrong way.

But Itachi smiled. "You have no idea."