Mask

A story by Songstone

Songstone: This was for a friend on DA who gave me the prompt "mask." It was meant to be a Christmas thing, if you can't tell. XD

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto

"Nii-san." Sasuke called as he pushed open the door to Itachi's room without knocking. He had a bad habit of doing that. But Itachi never scolded him, so he never bothered to stop himself.

"What is it Sasuke? I'm busy." Itachi said while he flipped through a few pages from the book in his lap.

"Can you take me outside, nii-san? Please? Take me out." Sasuke said, rushing into the room all the way and grabbing up his brother's hand from his lap. He gave the older Uchiha a tug, trying to get him to move.

"Ask mother." Itachi said, pulling his hand away and holding the book up so that he could read better.

"She's cooking." Sasuke said, grabbing his brother's hand once more and pulling with little to no consideration for Itachi's reading. "And father isn't here yet. Please, nii-san! I want to play in the snow!"

"Snow?" Itachi lowered his book and blinked down at his little brother for a moment before he turned his attention to the window. His curtains were drawn, so he couldn't see outside, but it was definitely cold enough for it to snow. "Fine. I'll take you." Itachi finally gave in. He was mildly curious about what their garden would look like with snow, anyway.

No matter how cold it might have gotten in Konoha at times, it had never snowed and Itachi and Sasuke were new to the experience. So, figuring that he might as well enjoy it while it was there, Itachi pulled on his shoes and jacket, having to fix Sasuke's for him since the kid was so excited he couldn't get the buttons right.

"Look, nii-san! Look how much there is on the ground!" Sasuke cried as soon as he had taken a step out of the house. He pounded down the steps and into the garden. He made a delighted sound as he scooped up some snow in his hand. He dropped it a few moments after holding it in his palms, however, because of the bite it had on his fingers.

"Hn. I see it." Itachi said shortly, eyes traveling over the ground before he looked around at all of the trees. Since it was winter, it was only natural that the treetops be bare. But Itachi had never seen them covered in snow like they were now. There was so much of the white substance that it seemed as if the trees were barely able to hold it all.

"Nii-san!"

Itachi tore his eyes away from the scenery and opened his mouth to ask what Sasuke wanted, but before he got a chance, something slammed smack against his face. It was wet, cold, and tasted horrible as it manage to find it's way into Itachi's mouth.

"Blegh!" He grunted as he shook his head and spat to the ground. He opened his eyes after rubbing them a few times and blinked down at the ground. At his feet, there was a small mound of snow. It took a moment to register what had happened, but when it did, Itachi straightened his spine and looked over at his little brother.

Sasuke was holding his sides as he laughed heartily at his brother. "Nii-san! You're amazing! You can catch snowballs with your face like an old pro!" He cackled, wiping tears of laughter from the sides of his coal black eyes.

The elder Uchiha brothers' eyes narrowed at that and he swiped the sleeve of his jacket under his nose to clear up some water dripping from the tip. "Funny . . ." He muttered towards his brother, giving a faint smirk. Seeing his brother having so much fun was making it difficult to stay upset at him.

Sasuke continued to chuckle to himself as he leaned back against one of the trees in the garden. He grinned over at Itachi widely, obviously pleased with himself for managing to get a hit on his brother. "Come on, nii-san. Play with me!" Sasuke begged, waving frantically for Itachi to step down from the porch and join him in the garden.

Slowly, Itachi did as his younger sibling wanted as he walked down onto the snow. It made a soft crunching sound beneath his feet as he walked. "Fine." The raven haired man said, tilting his head to the side a bit. He looked over at Sasuke before he knelt down and scooped up a handful of the cold, frozen water that covered the ground. He tighened his fingers a bit and pressed it together between both of his palms before he glanced back towards Sasuke.

His younger brother was hurriedly doing the same, gathering snow in his smaller hands as he tried to create another weapon to use against Itachi. He finished quickly and took a moment to aim at the older male before he tossed the snowball as far as he was able, hoping to strike Itachi once more.

But this time, Itachi was prepared. He quickly stepped to the side and before Sasuke could manage to form another snowball, he tossed his own, putting all of his weight into the small missile.

Sasuke ducked and covered his head, but it was in vein. The snowball didn't come close to hitting him at all. Instead, it went straight into the branches of the tree that Sasuke was standing beneath. He straightened up and chuckled a bit. "Nii-san, you're supposed to have good aim!"

Itachi only smiled slightly and pointed upwards.

Tilting his head to the side a bit, the younger Uchiha finally glanced upwards to see what his brother was indicating.

As soon as he had tilted his head back all the way, though, a sudden attack of snow to his face knocked him backwards onto his behind. He coughed and wiped the snow off of his face frantically before he glared up at his older brother. Itachi had knocked the piles of snow on the branches down with his snowball . . . "Nii-san, that was cheating!" He called out, but stopped when he saw Itachi laughing.

His older brother was leaning against the railing that led down to the garden, eyes closed. His body was shaking in small spasms and he hugged onto the banister as if it were his last lifeline. But he was laughing. Streaks of tears stained each side of his face from the force of his own laughter, and he made no attempt to wipe them away.

The younger Uchiha smiled softly at that. He liked to see his brother this way. When he would cut loose and play or train with Sasuke. Or just sit and talk to him like brother's should.

Itachi always wore a mask around everyone else. He kept his emotions in check. But it was good for him to remove that mask every once and a while and just have fun like he was doing just then.

Yes, it went without saying; Sasuke liked his brother a whole lot more without the mask.

Songstone: This is really the first story that I've written for Itachi and Sasuke, so...hope that it was good!