Disclaimer: The characters, items, places etc of Naruto are property of Masashi Kishimoto. These objects are used without permission for entertainment only, not for making money. No infringement is intended.
Dedicated to BrandNewOrange.
Please Deceive Me
By Nanaki Lioness
The bar was stuffy, stifling, smoky and many other rather unpleasant things that didn't bear thinking about. Kisame was nonplussed by any of it, however- in fact, he didn't really care at all for his surroundings as long as the pretty barmaid with a skirt far too short and ample cleavage continued to serve him drinks.
One hand clutched his half empty (or was that half full?) glass while the other drummed the stained table in a rhythm known only to himself, not matching the jukebox in the corner that intoxicated patrons always swarmed to like bees to flowers, dropping coin after coin into it to release the sweet nectar of music into the atmosphere.
He was drinking wine. He snorted as he lifted the glass to his lips, wondering where his self-sophistication had come from. Dry white, apparently the taste of grapes- to Kisame's bitter lips it tasted like pure lemon juice with a slight fizz. He drank it anyway- it was cheap and he was stretching his evening by stretching his cash.
It was a great surprise to him that somebody chose to join his table once he had refilled his glass once more. He frowned, wondering why someone had picked him out of all the patrons of the bar, but his words of query died before they reached his lips. The eyes studying him were a strangely familiar kind, blood red with long lashes and narrowed just slightly, yet these eyes did not belong to Itachi. The person sitting before him was female, though for just a moment Kisame wondered if this was what his partner would look like as a woman. Her hair was long, ebony and pooled over her shoulders, strands of it resting in her understated cleavage as she leaned across and plucked the glass from his fingers.
"Listen Miss." Kisame finally broke the silence, unable to keep staring into the lady's eyes without saying a word. "I'm not sure what your intentions are, but I'm not the kind of man to be messed with."
Forever untrusting- as a member of Akatsuki and a criminal, Kisame knew not to be fooled by a pretty face or a trusting persona.
"You are Hoshigaki Kisame."
Kisame raised an eyebrow, studying the woman carefully. Her words had been as smooth as velvet and filled with confidence- not that he felt she had guessed his name by co-incidence, because such an eventuality was impossible.
"I am," he concluded carefully. "What is it to you?"
As attractive as she was, Kisame mentally gave her thirty seconds to say her piece before he vanished into the night. To her credit, the lady simply took a sip from his glass and looked unimpressed at the taste, pushing it back across the table to him.
"I harbour no ill intention," she explained softly. "I wish only for your company."
Kisame put himself on guard, picking up his glass and deciding to discard it. The woman could easily have poisoned it in the brief moments her lips had met with it.
"You know my name, so why don't you tell me yours?" He reasoned with her, folding his arms across the table and looking her straight in the eye.
"I think it would be best if I didn't share that with you."
"Then I'm not certain I want to share anything with you, Miss."
The lady contemplated his words for a moment before rising, beckoning to the exit through the smoke. "Walk with me," she requested, and Kisame found himself unable to resist. He chided himself, knowing he was capable of resisting temptation- he lived, breathed, worked with temptation, for temptation, yet he was so easily swayed today. It had to be the alcohol, he decided as they walked side by side through the busy streets.
The woman was wearing a long traditional kimono, red and white in hue and reminding Kisame so much of blood and the white, white sheets of his childhood bed. She wore white shoes with a slight heel, clicking against the stony street as they weaved through the crowds of lovers and drunkards.
"Where are we going?" He found himself asking, unwilling to follow blindly any longer. He wasn't a stupid man and if this lady knew his name, she likely knew his temperament.
"To your hotel."
"Your partner is absent tonight."
That was news to Kisame, who frowned in confusion. Itachi was usually never absent without reason or explanation yet tonight he seemed to be both. That said, he knew that despite his dispassionate appearance Uchiha Itachi was capable of acting like a mortal man. Sometimes he drank, sometimes he smoked, sometimes he fucked. Sometimes, he acted human.
Kisame wished with everything he had that he could forget some of those things, but he couldn't.
Itachi would never give the details, but Kisame had worked by his side for years. He knew the telltale scent of smoke and sex, and he knew the glaring obviousness of a slight hang-over. What he didn't know was why Itachi did those things, and why he did them with people other than Kisame.
Kisame knew he hadn't been open about his feelings, but he hadn't hidden them either. Itachi was a perceptive man. He knew how his elder partner harboured more than just respect for him, but the concept was never addressed. Kisame felt the fact that he was still able to stay right at Itachi's side without complaint had to mean something, but he was still unsure exactly what that something was.
"We are here, correct?"
Kisame realised with a start that he had been thinking once again about his partner, despite being in the company of a beautiful woman. He mentally shook the thought and led the lady inside, wondering mildly as he led her by the hand through the hall if she was worried to be alone in his company.
Inside with the door locked, Kisame noted she had been right. Itachi's bed was made and empty, leaving them alone in the room. On the table there was a bottle of wine and two glasses, causing him to jump with a start and drop into a guard stance.
"There is nothing to be frightened of, Kisame."
The lady was already walking across to the table, taking a seat in one of the two chairs present and beckoning with one hand. Her nails were painted, and Kisame had to note that the colour was a deep violet and not one that matched the rest of the lady's attire. A glance to her feet told the same story of the nails there, and Kisame realised with a start what a fool he had been for not seeing what he now saw clearly earlier.
"Kisame," the lady whispered, the word sounding like spoken sex to his ears. "Let me have this night."
She poured them both a glass of the wine- dry white, Kisame noted with a hint of amusement- and held hers up in a toast. Kisame clinked his against hers, meeting with her oh-so-familiar gaze once more.
"What are you doing?" He breathed, not wishing to break the illusion but unable to keep pretending. "Itachi... I don't-"
The lady- not lady, he corrected himself, Itachi- held one painted finger up to halt him. "Not tonight," he asked softly. "Tonight, you do not know who I am. That is all I will say of it."
Questions swam around in Kisame's mind. It was clear his partner for the night was Itachi, using a jutsu to appear as a woman and acting the part precisely, but he was at a loss as to why.
"Are you trying to mock me?" He asked sharply, narrowing his eyes dangerously.
"I would never," came the swift, soft response. "Drink with me, Kisame."
"You never drink with me," Kisame spat bitterly, gulping half the glass and ignoring the burn on his throat.
"I am right now."
The irrefutable logic had Kisame draining the rest of his glass, as he lacked words to say to fill the silence.
"I despise this wine," he said instead. "I only drink it because it's cheap."
"I shall remember that," Itachi remarked as he poured his partner another glass. "For now, it will have to do."
"Right now it's perfect," Kisame agreed. "Am I going to get an answer or are you going to dodge the question again?"
Surprisingly, Kisame received a contemplative silence as an answer. Itachi turned his attention to the window, gazing down at the small town below with eyes that looked almost melancholy.
"I am unsure what you mean," he finally replied. "Because tonight, you and I are strangers, so I cannot pretend to understand that."
Kisame saw right away the game his partner was playing and his lips curved into a smirk. "I asked you what you're doing. My question still stands- why did you choose to come to me tonight?"
"I always wish to choose you," Itachi replied, his eyes never once leaving the window as Kisame's heart leapt to his throat. "Unfortunately, as cliché as it sounds, love hurts and I refuse to bow to it if I can keep it distant."
"So you can't love, but you can fuck random people and that's okay?"
"Love is a separate entity to the need for intimate companionship."
"So why are you here tonight?"
Itachi's eyes flickered, and Kisame almost recoiled at the pain within them. "I suspect it might be love."
"Then you aren't keeping yourself distant, are you?" Kisame argued flatly.
Itachi laughed, just slightly, but the sound was unfamiliar and confusing to Kisame's ears. "Doing a terrible job of what is expected of me is not unusual," he mused, sipping from his glass and pulling the same unimpressed face he had done at the bar.
"Why are you drinking it if it tastes awful?"
"I do many awful things," Itachi reasoned. "Drinking repulsive wine is only minor."
"You really think you do a terrible job of things?" Kisame asked, bemused. "Are you blind?"
Itachi laughed once more, louder this time as he drained his glass. "I have no answer for either question. Stop pretending to know me, because you know nothing."
Kisame wasn't sure he had asked a second question, but he let the matter go. "What are you expecting from me tonight?"
"Companionship," Itachi answered easily. "Specifically, your companionship."
"You want to just drink, or do you want..." Kisame swallowed, hesitating for a moment. "More?"
"I cannot allow myself more," Itachi whispered, eyes once again straying to the window. "That is why I am here tonight in the manner that I am. I must keep the things I love most distant, and the things I detest close."
Kisame realised that not only was that the most straightforward answer he had received all evening, it was clearly one that pained the other man to admit to.
"You can't allow it, or you won't allow it?"
"I just answered that question."
"If I made a move, then what would you do?" Kisame asked boldly, feeling his confidence rise with every sip of wine he took, and every blink of Itachi's stunning eyes.
"I would leave."
"Even if you wanted it?"
Itachi finally turned to meet his gaze. "Especially if I wanted it."
Kisame had never seen his partner looking so exposed, so vulnerable- untouchable, despite the confession that spilled free from his rose lips, tangled in deceptive code that was clear as crystal.
"Why now?" He finally asked, wishing to break the tension in the air before it drowned them both.
"Why not?" Itachi responded, his tone demure as he poured them both another glass. Kisame noticed with a start the bottle was almost empty, and there was no way they'd had enough from it to warrant that.
"How much did you drink before finding me?"
As always, the answer was indirect. Kisame sighed, rubbing his face wearily and leaning one elbow on the table. "Be straight with me, Itachi," he asked, deliberately using his partner's name to snap him from the illusion. "Just be straight with me about one question."
Itachi's lips twisted into a tiny smirk as he lowered his glass from his lips. "There isn't very much that's 'straight' about this meeting, Kisame."
It took Kisame a moment to register that Uchiha Itachi had just told a joke. Even with that knowledge in mind it still didn't quite register, so he brushed it aside instead.
"So what you're saying is," he spoke slowly, not wishing to have to repeat the question. "You like me?"
"You love me?"
The answer took longer to come this time, and was quiet. "I do."
"Then why are we sitting in this ridiculous fantasy, dancing around the issue?" Kisame concluded, narrowing his eyes with the question.
Itachi exhaled and lowered his empty glass to the table. "Because there can be no other way."
"Stop," Itachi commanded. "One more word on subjects I know nothing of, and I will be forced to leave."
"You aren't forced to do anything."
Itachi surprised him by giving him a tiny smile at that. "Once again, you do not know me. You cannot presume things like that."
Kisame wanted to snap at him once more, hoping to make him see sense, but something about Itachi's tone made him hold his tongue. "Alright," he nodded. "How long can this meeting last?"
"Is that so?" Kisame murmured, putting his glass down and rising to a stand. Taking Itachi's hand, he pulled him from the chair and over to his single bed behind them. Lying down, he patted the edge of the bed in an indication that Itachi do the same.
Itachi removed his shoes and tentatively lay down on the bed, his back up against Kisame's chest as he allowed his partner to place his arms around him. Kisame planted a soft kiss on his neck and felt him stiffen at the contact.
"No," Itachi uttered. Kisame backed away, content with the arrangement as it was if that was all he could have.
"Could we sleep?" He asked quietly.
"If we sleep, morning will come quicker. I don't wish for that to happen."
Kisame tightened his grip around Itachi, hands clutching at the silk of his garb. "We have to sleep eventually."
"I will forgo such luxuries tonight."
Kisame didn't doubt that he would, unsurprised to awaken the following morning to an empty bed. Light was beginning to stream through the window, signalling he had just missed daybreak. He had slept quickly, the comfortable arrangement practically forcing him to slumber, and he wondered if he had been dreaming right up until he glanced across to the opening bathroom door.
Itachi looked thoroughly shattered as he ran a towel through his wet hair, clad in a white towelled gown and not meeting Kisame's gaze. He let Kisame study him however, the man watching with mild fascination as he realised the red and white fabric Itachi clutched within his fingers tightly was a remnant of their evening.
Itachi walked to the window and opened it, holding the garment out into the air before setting it ablaze with one easy jutsu. The shoes met the same fate leaving Kisame to wonder why on earth he was smiling when all he was witnessing was his hopes dissipate into the air, now nothing more than ash and smoke.
Author's Note: I've been meaning to write this for a while. I'm glad to finally get it on paper! :) Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoyed.