Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto…or anything, pretty much.


Because I Love –To Torture- My Brother

Chapter Six

Itachi wondered how things were going. Kitten had been with Sasuke for three days so far and he wondered if any progress had been made.

He also should have told Sasuke Kitten liked his bath every three days. Without hair dye.

Itachi sighed mentally, he could not call. He had four messages from his brother waiting for him. All last night around the time he 'should' have been home. His machine was filling up quickly from all the unanswered calls from other people but it would lend credibility when Sasuke called to find out his machine was full.

Meaning, he wasn't home to clear it.

He was a genius. With a soft smirk Itachi loosened his tie and leaned back in his chair at work. He was curious though…maybe…oh it'd be risky. But worth it.

Itachi took out his international cell phone and dialed his brother.

His cell phone's chime barely made it over the sound of Rammstein in the basement. Only Houdini's raised head and the ears pointed up told him, yes for sure, that had been his phone.

Sasuke walked away from his easel and wiped his hands carefully, and used the remote to mute the music before walking over. He picked it up and when he saw who was calling, cursed, almost fumbled it and then opened it quickly.

"ITACHI! Where the fuck have you been!?"

"Hello to you too little brother. I didn't know I was so missed." Came the amused voice through the phone. Houdini sat up and huffed, next to Sasuke's leg.

"You left your fox at my house!" Sasuke shouted.

"How is Kitten? Tell him I've missed him. Did you give him a bath today? He likes a bath every three days or so." Sasuke took the phone away from his ear to stare at it incredulously. Was his brother F-ing serious?

He put the phone back to his ear slowly. "Look…Itachi? You can bathe him yourself. When are you coming back?"

"Ah…I'm still overseas actually. I'm on the cell. This meeting's taking a while Sasuke. To be honest I might not be back until next week Friday." Today was Thursday. Sasuke scowled.

"I can't believe you're doing this to me…"

"But I bet you're taking wonderful care of Kitten. And Kitten's taking care of you too…" He could almost hear the smirk in his brother's voice.

"Did you teach him to do all this stuff just to drive me insane? He keeps getting into my studio, sleeping in my bed, stealing my damned fruit at breakfast…he's hidden the fucking TV remote!"

"Oh. Well if he's watching TV that means he's bored. You should do more with him. Take him walking. Jogging, whatever. If he's always in your studio that should tell you he wants to spend time with you. And he slept in my bed too."

"He's not a dog Itachi."

"Only dogs are treated like pets Sasuke?" Lord, he made him feel stupid when he used that tone. Sasuke glared at the wall. "Get Kitten a new toy, a ball or something and take him out somewhere to play. It'll get you out of that goddamned house with that…wife of yours there all the time."

Another point of conflict. "Don't start."

"I'm not saying anything more. Just…get out." Itachi's voice was firm. "And otouto, take the fox. Sayonara."

"Hey! Wait…you're going to call me-" Fucking bloody hell! Sasuke yelled at the dial tone and then slammed the phone back down onto the CD stand. "Fucking Itachi!"

The fox who had been watching him the whole time, head cocked, yipped once before settling back down.

Sasuke sighed, still frowning and turned back on the music. He wasn't going to bathe the fox, it kept its self pretty clean on its own. He'd buy the fucking ball and take it out a few times before his brother came back. It was the least he could do.

He had a more pressing job to do. He turned back to canvas he was working on and picked up his charcoal again. "Neji Hyuuga." Yes, he was drawing him again. This time, passionate, angry, walking away…

He was grateful actually that Sasuke hadn't tried to bathe him. He could do that himself.

Sasuke had spent random times during the day, petting him, like how he had the evening before but this time his hands had been covered in the residue from his charcoal pencils. Naruto loved the scratching behind the ears…but not the charcoal stains on his fur.

"Stupid Sasuke-bastard." His voice was husky from disuse and high pitched as his fox voice but it wasn't as if they were awake to hear him.

Naruto had commandeered the bathroom at one in the morning for the sake of a bath. He felt it was desperately needed.

'I actually got used to the Psycho washing me.' The tan, long-limbed body of a blonde male slipped into the lukewarm water of the tub with a sigh of satisfaction. He had to wash quickly, the water would get cold soon. He picked up a bar of soap that smelled like Sasuke and used it to wash himself efficiently.

He'd have to keep himself clean like this if he planned on using this form often. He would need to, in order to first find Neji Hyuuga's place of residence and then hunt him down and talk to him. Somehow he knew before he even did any of that, he had to change Sasuke.

For some reason or the other he was willing to stay with this Sakura woman, when he obviously loved this other man. Naruto couldn't understand why but he had to make Sasuke see what would truly make him happy.

'Of course, first the bastard needs to realize what happy is.' No one could experience what they didn't comprehend. Naruto dumped some gunk stuff he knew was shampoo into his blonde locks and started scrubbing harshly.

"Mah…" Psycho had set it all up perfectly for him without knowing it. He'd get Sasuke to take him out, get Sasuke to make friends and talk to other people. And behind the scenes he would get this Neji Hyuuga to see Sasuke changing. By the time Sasuke was ready to leave his farce of a life, Neji would be ready to take him back! He dunked his head then lifted, shaking out his hair.

Naruto nodded firmly, a wide grin filling his tan face and making his blue eyes sparkle. Yup! He was going to fix Sasuke-bastard's life. Maybe Psycho's too if he had time…and then he'd trot off happily into the sunset.

What in God's name had he done to deserve this? What deity hated him enough…?

Enough to have him need to 'try' at Sakura's conception in two days' time and then to have his Father visit him the next morning. Yes, his Father.

It made Sasuke wonder why he wasn't on the trip with Itachi but he guessed his brother had been sent out alone.

Sasuke was trying his best to ignore the two looming deadlines. And considering he usually would be beginning to suffer insomnia at the thought of both the 'conceiving' and the prospect of his father visiting, he decided he must be doing a fairly good job of it. The sight of a few red hairs on the floor of his bathroom made him smile and revise his thought.

He guessed the true thanks would have to go to the fox though. By the time Sasuke went to bed at night he was exhausted. He had bought Houdini, he had renamed the fox, -he just refused to call it Kitten- a ball and they went into the nearby neighborhood park twice daily now. Once in the morning after breakfast and their 'steal Sasuke's fruit' routine and once in the afternoon/evening, when Sasuke had finished his work for the day.

The last three days Sasuke would admit, had been key in his life. He was about to finish what he promised would be his last three pieces on Neji today. He would let go. He had to let go. Neji was a man who believed in black and white, right or wrong. And he thought it would be wrong to continue with Sasuke while he was married to Sakura.

In normal circumstances it would be but didn't his warrant some measure of…'bending' of the rules?! His Father…his whole family!…had pressured him into this position. Neji didn't-wouldn't accept that there was no love in the relationship, no real 'cheating' going on. He wasn't emotionally attached to Sakura in any way. They passed each other in their own house as if they were wraiths walking the same graveyard together…

No! Why was he rehashing this out in his head again?! No! He was done. Neji was too unbending. And eventually, when it occurred…Sakura conceiving would break him. So Neji had to be let go.

Sasuke didn't know he would 'move on'…but he had already started on the process. The three pictures he had started on his last meeting with his former lover were going to be done today. After that, maybe at his next gallery day he'd sell them all. That was in a month or so.

It bore thinking about while berating himself over Neji didn't.

A full head of raven hair thunked lightly against a solid bathroom door. A yelp greeted him on the other side. Sasuke smiled again. Houdini had also helped him make a friend in the park.

Not anyone he was interested in romantically, just a…friend. Sasuke had never realized how, housebound, he was. How little contact with the outside world he had, until he had walked into that park two days ago to find what seemed like crowds of people…walking around, chatting in pairs or groups. Or scattered across the gigantic field with animals of all types.

Sasuke hadn't realized how much the hybrid pet business was flourishing until he saw two little girls guiding a miniature cow around, it's tail in a plait. Houdini had immediately been in his element, dragging Sasuke out to that field and sniffing and poking his nose at every animal they passed.

Houdini also apparently had another gift of not only attracting every animal back to him but of catching human eyes as well. He'd met two women who loved him –Houdini not Sasuke- and didn't bother him –Sasuke this time-. Ino had been a tall leggy platinum blonde leading around a giant ball of poodle called Chouji and the other woman, Ten Ten, a brunette with a damned ugly schnauzer called Kakashi. He had met these ladies in passing because Kakashi took an immediate liking to teasing Houdini by popping up all over the place when they played hide and seek and Chouji was Houdini's partner in crime, exposing Kakashi's hiding places.

He had met Shikamaru though, sitting under a tree in the most secluded part of the park playing shougi by himself. A large black dog, who he'd found out was named Asuma after a friend of Shikamaru's who had died, had been lying next to him.

For some reason, as soon as Shikamaru acknowledged them by looking up, Houdini was by his side, head nuzzled under his free hand.

Sasuke had tried to apologize profusely and pulled the fox away but…Shikamaru had smiled, told him it was no problem and asked if he could play. The rest was history.

Another impatient yip came from the other side of the door.

"Houdini. Have some patience. Unless you want me to take you out with my hands all full of charcoal again?" The sounds from behind the door stopped and Sasuke smiled wickedly. Though mind, even though the fox seemed to hate being dirtied with Sasuke's art work…he always somehow got clean the next day.

"Alright. Let's go." Sasuke walked out, grabbed a leash and brand new plain collar from his dresser and followed the loping fox out.

"Sasuke? Are you going out again?" Sakura's voice got him to pause just out of her line of sight, next to her studio's doorway.

He rolled his eyes. "Yes Sakura. It's time to walk Houdini. Did you want something?"

"I'm leaving tonight you know. I've got to go to the recording company to do the tracks. I'll be back…" Sasuke stepped back into the doorway, scowl on his face.

"Yes I know. In two days for…it." His ebony eyes glared. "My father is coming in the next morning so don't be late."

Sakura bristled. "I'm not the one shirking responsibilities to walk around an overgrown vermin!"

"He's not a vermin Sakura. He's a fox. Get it through your thick skull." Tiny fangs gently sunk into his skin and Sasuke looked down at the excited fox tugging on his hand. "Okay, okay."

"You-You're not…thinking of keeping him are you?" Sakura gaped.

Sasuke shrugged. "Who knows. Maybe. But it'll be my choice if I do."

And that, was that.

A/N: Coming in at a whooping two thousand and one hundred plus words...your update! Let's hear it people! UPDATE! UPDATE! UPDATE! YEAH!!

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