The Hokage took a long drag out of his pipe as he watched the sunrise. It had been a hectic month and he treasured the brief moment of peace and quiet because it wouldn't be long before
someone messed it up for him. Most likely Ebisu, that crazy drama queen.
The Third sat down at his desk when he spotted a calendar hanging on the adjacent wall. Today's date had been circled in various pens but he didn't know why. He recalled all of the important dates coming up but couldn't remember anything significant about today.
He took another drag of his pipe and exhaled the smoke before asking himself, "Am I missing something?"
Itachi managed to squeeze in a couple of hours of sleep before he was woken up by the usual: a foot in his face.
His eyes shot open and travelled downwards to see the damn appendage resting almost too comfortably on his lips. Staring at it made him see red - although he wasn't entirely sure if that was just the Sharingan, the Kekkei Genkai had a mind of its own sometimes – and slightly cross-eyed.
After the viewing of Demons 2, Sasuke was convinced that he wouldn't be able to sleep without his older brother at his side. The sentiment was sweet but Itachi needed his privacy. He was already devoting his days to the little monster and now his nights too? There was such a thing as spending too much time with someone, especially when they were abusing you. On certain occasions Itachi tried dividing the bed with pillows but Sasuke rolled over in his sleep and just slept on Itachi.
Kami, I hope Sasuke remembers to scrub his feet while bathing…thought Itachi, his comment teetering on the borderline of a silent plea to the Gods. My mouth is not a foot stool!
As if Sasuke had unconsciously heard his big brother's mind, he removed his foot from Itachi's lips and promptly moved it upwards, kicking his nose. Itachi's face was normally a passive mask but he let it break as his eyes twitched at the foreign feeling of his sibling's pinky toe going up his nostril. Before he could react Sasuke gave another kick forcing Itachi off the bed.
Well, since I'm already up…Itachi made his way to the door and through the hallway without waking up Sasuke in the most cunning way! He walked.
Lately it seems like the only advantage of being a shinobi is being able to sneak around without having to walk on the tips of my toes. I am not a ballerina. Although leotards would be a nice change to all of the mesh we shinobi have to wear. Itachi was outside the bathroom with his hand on the handle when he just stopped moving. First the nail polish and now leotards? Am I turning effeminate?
"Big brother, what are you doing?" a sleepy voice asked.
Sasuke was rubbing his tired eyes with the back of his hands, the blanket from the bed wrapped around his body. A result from all the twisting and turning in his sleep no doubt. He looked even more adorable than usual and Itachi wondered how on Earth that was even possible.
"Sasuke, go back to bed. It's still too early for you to be awake."
"But I woke up and you weren't there."
If there was any other person in that hallway they would haven been suffocated from all of the little hearts flying around.
"Fine. Do want to come in with me?" Sasuke nodded yes. "Alright then."
Itachi picked up Sasuke, the little Uchiha's head resting on the shoulder of his brother, and they both went into the bathroom.
Sasuke climbed onto a step stool so he and Itachi could stand side by side as they stood in front of the mirror. Itachi noted that they had impeccable timing when they picked up the toothbrush, put on the toothpaste and began brushing their teeth at the exact same time. He would have been more impressed if their timing didn't remind him of the blond twins who were terrorizing Sasuke at The Academy. Those two kids were completely in sync in movement, speech and probably thought. It was weird.
Itachi was still brushing when Sasuke had already finished rinsing his mouth. The elder sibling obviously took oral hygiene seriously. But Sasuke was young so with all that waiting (exactly one minute had passed), his mind began to wonder.
Itachi was wiping his mouth when he caught his brother's eye. "Is there something wrong, Sasuke?"
"Aren't you going to shave like father does in the morning?"
"No, I have no need to. I have no facial hair," Itachi said bluntly, making a grab for some floss. His morning routine consisted of brushing his teeth, flossing in case he missed any food and, if that wasn't enough, he still had to use his tongue scraper and mouth wash.
"I haven't gone through the physical stages of puberty yet." And I don't think I want to. For a thirteen year old my voice is already deep enough to scare little kids.
"What happens when you go through puberty again?" Sasuke remembered segments of their conversation about love and puberty but his memory was foggy.
Itachi took his time flossing his molars. After a month of torturous questions that lead to his misguided adventures, Itachi finally realized the problem: it was him. He chose to answer Sasuke's questions without explaining anything which pushed his little brother to ask even more. Now, he knew what to do.
"Well," he began. "What happens is-"
Not a single word was coherent as Itachi spoke while using his tongue scraper. Sasuke wanted him to repeat himself but Itachi was gargling his mouth wash. When he spat it out, Itachi pushed Sasuke out of the bathroom before making up an excuse about using the toilet.
That was Itachi's solution: not saying anything at all.
It was rather efficient.
The Hokage was having a slow day. A good amount of the Genin, Chuunin, and Jounin teams were out on missions and Ebisu had left early for a doctor's check-up. At this point The Hokage was praying for some sort of catastrophe to occur. Nothing that would destroy the village or put people in harm's way of course, just something to entertain him for the time being. At least his lackluster day gave him plenty of free time to think about the importance of today's date.
The image of a person bursting randomly into his office came to him but a lot of people did that. He leaned back in his chair with his feet propped up on his desk in an undignified manner and sighed.
"Nope. Still don't have a clue."
For anyone walking aimlessly through the forest near the Uchiha compound was walking into their imminent death. In other words, Sasuke was practicing his aim by throwing projectiles at a log and not all of them had hit the intended target.
"Sasuke, remember to keep your fingers closer together on the handle," advised Itachi.
The next kunai Sasuke had thrown sailed through the air and hit the log dead center. It made Itachi proud to see his little brother improving. Sasuke was going to be a fine ninja when he was older. He was already grasping the basic skills with dead-on precision (if he remembered not to spread his fingers too much) and had the work ethic to match.
His enthusiasm reminds me of Gai-sensei only without the bushy eyebrows, tacky outfits and loud declarations of youth. Okay, so he's nothing like Gai-sensei…thought Itachi. But now he had his mind wrapped around the idea of his younger sibling on a team with the Green Beast and were disturbed by the mental images. Sasuke growing out his eyebrows and running around in a green spandex jumpsuit? How horrid!
"Sasuke, come here!" hollered Itachi.
Sasuke's eyes narrowed as he looked over at Itachi. "Are you going to poke my forehead like you always do?"
Itachi shook his head and Sasuke began walking up to his brother cautiously. When the older boy brought his arms up, Sasuke covered his head protectively only to find his brother embracing him in a tight hug. Sasuke was surprised. His brother wasn't the type of person to show affection. That was something that their father referred to as weak (which was why Sasuke felt so badass every time he got a hug from his mother).
"Itachi, what's the matter?"
"Tell me little brother; you'd never don green spandex would you?" The urgency in Itachi's voice was downright hilarious. Sasuke stared at him like he grew a second head and shook his head no.
"What about orange leg warmers? Excess facial hair of the eyebrow variety? Running into sunsets?"
Sasuke pulled away and for the first time in his short life, thought his brother was just a tad loopy. Itachi kept babbling on about Sasuke's opinion on Gai-sensei's fashion sense when he finally shut up.
Itachi walked a bit too far on his left when Sasuke threw another kunai, spreading his fingers on the handle at the last minute as it was released. The kunai had hit Itachi.
On his right buttock.
Birds had flown away in panic when a loud noise erupted from the Hokage Tower. The faculty was standing still trying to register what they heard, replaying the phrase back in their minds.
"Holy shit! Where's Itachi!"
Did the Third Hokage just swear?
When the two brothers walked into the village, Itachi had been feeling fine despite his flesh wound. Sasuke felt guilty as it was – you try to imagine injuring your role model! – so Itachi took him to a small restaurant in an attempt to cheer him up. They had just gotten their food when Itachi shifted in his seat slightly and felt his lower half was stinging…and wet?
Itachi was pretty sure he didn't have bladder control issues, or getting his period so he knew something wasn't right.
"Sasuke, I have to use the restroom. Don't leave the table until I come back. Remember the rule: stranger danger."
His brother rolled his eyes. "I know."
It seemed like he'd been told this before. Mikoto did do a better job raising Sasuke then she did him. If only he had received that information when he was young…
Goddamnit! Why did he have to be the first child?
In the privacy of the room, he pulled down the back of his pants to inspect the damage.
His face went pale. The cut was deep and bleeding. Itachi could hardly believe he didn't notice the blood running down his leg.
It doesn't even look like a cut; it looked like he pinned me down and stabbed the damn thing into my bottom! I don't know if I should feel stupid for walking into it, or proud for the brutality!
His rant was cut short when a female employee walked in on him. In his haste he had forgotten to lock the door. Sasuke was making him a sloppy ninja.
"OhmyGodohmyGod, I'msosorry!" she said super-fast as her face went red with embarrassment. She lost grip of the mop in surprise and it knocked over he bucket of soapy water. Then her gaze went down south. "Oh my God your butt is bleeding!"
And then she fainted.
From all of the commotion the manager of the restaurant came in to see an unconscious female employee, Itachi pulling his pants back up and a mess on the floor.
It took a lot of persuading on Itachi's part to convince the manager that he did not sexually assault his daughter and was not a pervert. It wasn't until the girl woke up before Itachi could go back to his seat. As an apology, the manager gave him free dessert as well as gauze (for the injury) and ice (for the soreness).
"Itachi, how long does it take you to go potty?" Sasuke asked impatiently, arms crossed over his chest. "You took forever this morning too!"
That's because I was hoping you wouldn't ask me anything pertaining to the topic of puberty if I took my time. To avoid informing Sasuke about his "bathroom complication" Itachi bit off more of his meal than he could chew.
Knowing you little brother, you would ask me what sexual assault is and I am not going there.
All day people in the Hokage Tower were trying to find Itachi's whereabouts. Shishui was the only one with enough common sense to leave the building.
Did anyone think about going to the Uchiha compound and asking for him themselves? He thought, as he made his way there.
After Sasuke had taken his bath and was in a new change of clothes, Itachi gathered his brother's discarded clothing and began to fold them. Turning Sasuke's shorts inside-out, a coin fell out of one of the pockets. Upon further inspection, Itachi saw that both pockets were bulging with coins and rolls of money. There must've been enough money to buy a new television set! When questioned about his brother's newfound wealth, Itachi was highly appalled when Sasuke explained that some girls back at the restaurant had paid him for Itachi's used napkins and uneaten food while he went off to pay the bill.
Fan girls are crazy…thought Itachi before his train of thought turned to another more concerning topic. And did Sasuke, my little brother, my flesh and blood, sell me out?
Itachi was about to scold him but chose not to. For one, Sasuke earned money for the scraps Itachi was going to throw out. It wasn't anything important like his equipment or underwear. Second of all, Itachi couldn't yell at that face. It was too cute, and his younger brother resembled their mother. And who could yell at their mother? Instead, Itachi opted for a stern, "Don't do that again." And just left it at that.
When Shishui arrived at the compound he got to witness a hilarious sight as Itachi was lying on his stomach with a pack of ice being held against his bottom.
"Um…Itachi? Your month of relaxation is up. They want you to come back to work but…" He pointed his finger in the direction of Itachi's bottom and was trying to repress his laugh. "What happened to you?"
"Did all that actually happen or are you just pulling my leg?" Shishui knew that Itachi wasn't one to joke but was skeptical about his friend's recap.
Itachi sent him a dirty look that said, "When do I ever exaggerate about anything?"
Shishui let out a whistle. "Wow, I can't believe you just went along with it. I would have ditched you a while ago if you ever did that to me. By the way, if you're wondering what day of misfortune was my favorite, it's a tie between Sasuke pouncing on your dinner and the kids asking you for dating tips. The pop-up book is a close second though."
Itachi shuddered on the inside. He was ready to change the topic to something a bit more professional. He'd been gone a full month and needed to be updated on the village's news.
"What have I missed during my absence?"
Shishui gave him a look of mild shock.
"You mean Fugaka didn't tell you?" When Itachi told him no, Shishui sighed. "You know there's been a lot of tension between the clan and the village. The clan thinking that we're being controlled and whatnot? It's hard to say what's going to happen in the near future but an uprising is most likely to occur."
Suddenly, Itachi felt selfish for enjoying the "vacation" he had and spending time with his brother while their clan was planning to revolt against the village. The tension had always been there. He could feel it. He grew up with it. He considered it normal. But lately it's just been growing, growing more intense. He just didn't notice it since there's always been some sort of issue and, after a while, they just started to blur in his mind. He couldn't even specify what sort of injustice had irked an Uchiha Clan member anymore.
"Hey, what's with the grim face?" asked Shishui. "With you on our side, there's no stopping the Uchihas!"
Shishui, your loyalty to clan is unmatched by any other thought Itachi sadly. But even you refer to me as the clan's tool…
"Now Shishui, don't make me do something you'll regret."
"Like what?" he chuckled.
"Like drown you," Itachi said.
Shishui shrugged off the comment as a joke but Itachi knew the words had a deeper meaning than his friend could ever imagine. So deep in fact, that the thirteen year old Uchiha felt like they were weighing him down as he and his best friend walked closer and closer to the river.
Sasuke, what ever happens, I swear that you won't be caught in the middle of this...
ClockRepair Message: I am so grateful for all of the reviews and support I had for this little one-shot that became a series. Thank you everyone and I hope I didn't disappoint with the ending. Sad endings aren't my thing but I couldn't look over the fact that the massacre was not too far along.