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.

Warning! AU, slice of life! This means if you're expecting much to happen, you may be disappointed. It also has light KisaIta hints.

Setting Sail

By Nanaki Lioness

The ocean, in Kisame's eyes, was a place of wonder. Home to many fascinating creatures beneath its surfaces, it was both a frightening and amazing place- many ships and their crew had met their end within it, wooden planks and trinkets of people's lives left strewn across the ocean floor, a sign of how ruthless the vast expanse of blue was. On the other side of the coin however was the life- and so much of it! Kisame was one of the only people of his age who was positively thrilled with his direction in life, content with studying said creatures and their habitat.

From his place leaning against the safety railings near the sea, he could see many sailboats bobbing on the surface. The town's yearly regatta was well underway and as always, Kisame was there to watch it. The summer sun was relentless, beating down on him without mercy, but he simply unbuttoned his shirt and sipped from the cool beer in his hand he'd purchased from a nearby alcohol tent. Nothing was going to stop his enjoyment of one of the most fascinating events of the year.

Well, he told himself as he checked his mobile phone's clock for the fifth time that hour, the only thing that might was if Itachi didn't show up. He had ten minutes before he would be late- an oddity in itself, as Itachi was always so punctual he was early.

Kisame needn't have worried. He heard a call to his right, glancing over his shoulder to see Itachi approaching him. His hair was tied back neatly as always, a pair of designer sunglasses perched atop his head instead of over his eyes- Kisame had to smirk at that, grabbing them when his friend was close and pushing them down over his eyes.

"What's the point in wearing sunglasses on your head?" He admonished.

"I just got off of the bus," Itachi told him, keeping them in place but still sending a sharp, unseen glare to his friend. "I didn't need to wear them there, surely?"

"Aren't you hot?" Kisame pointed out as his younger friend leant against the safety railings with him, swiping the bottle from his hand. Itachi glanced in his direction, hidden behind the sunglasses, and shook his head.

"Not really."

"You're wearing jeans. You're going to get heatstroke."

"I can take care of myself," Itachi pointed out, turning his attention back to the sailboats out on the ocean. An announcer for the races could be heard speaking through a megaphone, though his voice was distorted and difficult to understand from their distance higher up the hill.

"It's the middle of summer," Kisame sighed, though he knew it was futile. While he was perfectly happy to wear shorts and go topless if needed, he knew Itachi would rather slowly cook to death than do the same.

"So why did you want my company to watch boats?" Itachi asked, a hint of amusement in his voice as he finished the bottle he had procured from Kisame.

"Not so much the boats," Kisame admitted. "There's an open air band soon. I thought it would be nice to relax, have a few drinks, and enjoy the show."

Itachi's lips quirked slightly, resembling a cross between a smirk and a smile. "I see."

Kisame knew it sounded like a date. He also knew Itachi had picked up on that but quite frankly, he didn't care. Getting drunk in a field while listening to heavy music- which he hadn't told Itachi was the genre yet- was manly, no matter what his friend thought.

"So that's why you told me not to drive here," Itachi mused.

"Exactly. You'd have no excuse not to drink then."

Itachi held up the empty bottle in his hand, one eyebrow raised in question. "I'm not against the idea in general. I just refuse to engage in such activities in the same manner as my brother."

"Sasuke's a lightweight," Kisame snorted in disapproval. "Two girly cocktails and he can barely walk."

"You aren't the one that gets called to collect him at one am on such nights."

"You should make him call a cab."

"That's what being a brother is all about," Itachi sighed heavily. "Being there for my sibling, even if being there is collecting him from gutters in the middle of the night and holding his hair back for him."

They lapsed into silence, both content to lean against the warm metal railings and observe the white dots on the ocean that represented sailboats, edging through the sparkling waters gracefully.

"Fancy a drink?" Kisame offered when he felt that the silence needed to be broken. Itachi glanced towards him and gave a single nod, following his friend towards the alcohol tent wordlessly.

The regatta was an attraction for many people, and it had very little to do with boats for most. People flocked to the beach and the hills beside it because of the music and the alcohol, even if the latter didn't start until later in the day when the boats began to filter back to shore.

The tent was erected shoddily but it did its purpose just fine- housing a place for bored looking twenty-somethings to sell bottles and plastic cups of various liquors, not bothering to concern themselves with things such as the age of the recipient or reasonable prices. Itachi looked visibly unimpressed with the atmosphere, though Kisame did wonder if that was because they were mostly surrounded by inebriated teenagers.

"It's a good thing Sasuke doesn't know about this," Itachi noted once they were back outside, a stash of bottles within their possession. "This is just the type of place he'd come to. Did you see them serve that young girl? She didn't look older than about twelve."

"She was at least fifteen, Itachi."

"The skirt she was wearing was far too short for either age. If she had leant over-"

"Then many guys her age would applaud her," Kisame cut in. "Lighten up, Itachi."

Kisame led them to a spot further up the hill, resting on the grass and picking up one of the sealed bottles in his hand. Itachi grabbed one of his own, giving it a curious glance.

"Did you bring a bottle opener?"

Kisame laughed outright at that, opening the bottle he held with his teeth. Itachi grimaced, but still allowed his own to be opened in the same manner.

"You'll break your teeth," he admonished.

"My teeth are fine," Kisame sighed. "Drink that and stop worrying about everything. We're here to relax, so watch the damn boats and do so, would you?"

Itachi sighed deeply at his words. Kisame knew if his companion were a lesser person, Itachi would be rolling his eyes at the comment. Maybe he was- the sunglasses were still shielding his onyx eyes expertly.

"So what's the real reason we're here?"

The question caught Kisame off guard. Itachi wasn't looking at him, eyes glued to the white sails and expanse of blue before them.

"To have fun," he replied slowly, wondering if it was a trick question.

"Evidently. I get the feeling that there's something else though, Kisame."

"Can a guy not want to spend a day with his best mate?" Kisame sulked, feeling rather put out. "I haven't seen you for a while."

"College has been unrelenting," Itachi agreed, taking a sip of his drink and letting the conversation drop. Kisame glared at him, smarting slightly that his good intentions had been questioned.

They stayed in now- uncomfortable silence for a while longer before Kisame finally decided he had had enough, gesturing to Itachi to follow as he pulled himself to his feet. Opening them both a new bottle, he led his friend down the hill and onto the walkway beside the beach. The boats were much easier to see and they could even make out the people inside them now- still not quite content, Kisame stepped down onto the pebble beach and made his way towards the water's edge.

Itachi joined him without question. Kisame smiled at that- his friend always knew exactly when to just be let the moment be, even if he looked unimpressed treading carefully across the stones.

"Do you want a boat?" Itachi asked once they were side by side, the sea licking the toes of their shoes lightly.

"One day," Kisame nodded. "We could go out on it, you and me. We can sail away together."

"As long as you don't expect me to dress like a pirate, I'll be happy to join you."

Kisame laughed at that, clapping a hand to Itachi's shoulder. "So you do have a sense of humour. Come on- let's go back up. Things are starting to wind down now, so the music should be starting soon."

"So what was the idea of coming down here?" Itachi asked as they made their way back towards the walkway. Kisame pursued his lips, mentally taking back his earlier thought of his friend knowing when to let things lie.

"Why not?" He finally replied, not wishing to admit that the uneasy silence they'd be seated in before had been stifling him.

Itachi pushed his sunglasses back up onto his head, narrowing his eyes slightly in the gleaming sunlight. "I was just asking."

His tone was verging on sharp. Kisame knew what it meant- it was the tone Itachi used when he felt whatever venture they were on was pointless, and he had much better things to spend his time on. For reasons best left unsaid it riled Kisame, who stared straight ahead and hoped his own voice wasn't too acidic when he spoke.

"I wanted to spend the day here because I enjoy the regatta every year," he replied. "This year I decided to invite you along because I've barely seen you lately and I thought you'd enjoy letting your hair down. Forgive me for taking up your time, Itachi."

Without the sunglasses to hide his expression, Itachi looked mildly concerned. Kisame felt a pang of both regret and satisfaction for it. "I'm sorry," he apologised lowly. "Lately I've been swamped with college work- you're right, I could do with the break."

Kisame grinned at that, feeing the anger he had felt seep away with the apology. Itachi rarely admitted he was wrong, mostly because he never was. "It's alright. Just enjoy yourself, would you? I'll get you home safe."

"Is that a roundabout way of telling me to get hopelessly drunk?"

"It is. Take me up on it- it'll do you some good."

"You aren't driving today either. How do you expect to make sure I get home safely?"

"I'll drag you onto the bus and escort you to your front door," Kisame replied, his cheery mood once again returned as he retook a seat back on the grass they had previously vacated. Reaching into the bag he had been carrying he opened another two bottles, passing one to his friend. "Now drink that, shut up and act your age for once."

Itachi smirked at that, taking the bottle. "Don't you have any water with you?"

"Water? What's the point in that?"

"So we don't dehydrate in this horrific heat?"

"You aren't going to dehydrate if you drink that," Kisame remarked, a wicked gleam in his eye.

"Drinking alcohol has a dehydrating effect on the body, actually."

"Then drink more to counter it."

"It really doesn't work like that."

"Forget science and just drink the fucking drink," Kisame near-growled at him. "Really Itachi, most people can't wait to have a few drinks and enjoy their Friday night."

"I have never seen the appeal of inebriation," Itachi remarked a touch haughtily. "If my brother is a marker to go by, all it does make you say and do things you might regret."

"Have some secrets you don't want to slip up and tell, eh?" Kisame teased, giving him a light poke in the ribs. Itachi glared and quickly lowered the sunglasses back over his eyes, prompting a raised eyebrow from Kisame.

Kisame was thankful when the band started up not long after, opening up with some lighter, more preppy tunes as they always did. As the night went on they would slowly switch into heavier music, generally driving away the younger of the crowd and leaving only the ones who technically should be there in the first place.

They were sitting close enough to hear well, yet not so close that they had to shout to hear each other. Regardless Itachi crawled closer to Kisame and put his lips to his ear, presuming he wouldn't be heard otherwise.

"Can't we find somewhere with a bit more shade? I'm getting really hot here."

Kisame had a witty remark on the edge of his tongue just wanting to break free about being hot, but he bit it back. Itachi's lips were remarkably close to his ear, after all.

"Take your shirt off then," he shrugged without a hint of shame. He had shed his own shirt a while ago, the cool air of the approaching evening pleasant against his skin.

Itachi, who as attempting to fan himself with one hand, didn't grace him with an answer. He did unbutton the top couple of buttons on his white shirt however, which Kisame took to be a victory.

"There isn't any shade," he said in response to his friend's request.

"Are you sure you don't have any water?"

"Positive."

"Is there anywhere nearby to buy some?"

"Not unless you fancy a half hour walk in this heat."

Itachi apparently didn't, lying down on his back instead and staring up through his dark sunglasses to the sky. Kisame wished he would remove them, hoping when the evening began to draw in that he would do so. Itachi was hard enough to read as it was, let alone with a shield in front of his eyes.

Kisame opened another bottle and set it carefully on the grass next to Itachi with a grin. He'd drink it, purely because there was nothing else to have in the blistering heat. He wasn't disappointed- Itachi sat up only a few moments later and took it with a sigh of defeat.

"This is my last one," he admonished.

Kisame simply gave him a knowing grin and turned his attention back to the stage. "If you say so," he remarked, unable to keep the singsong tone from his voice. Itachi, looking suitably patronised, appeared moments from tipping his beer onto his friend's head but seemingly restrained himself.

As the evening wore on Kisame began to feel a little more comfortable, though whether that was because the music had begun to get heavy and the children were now leaving he didn't know. Perhaps it was to do with the light buzz he was feeling from the alcohol they'd consumed- he was someone who didn't get drunk easily, but he was capable of achieving a merry feeling to have a good time with.

Itachi had already gone back on his word, another nearly empty bottle by his side. He had blamed Kisame for not bringing along water on such a hot day, but Kisame knew better. The sunglasses were permanently up in Itachi's hair now that the sun had begun to set, revealing his expressive eyes that were so easy to read. There was a part of Itachi that was enjoying the feeling of not having to worry about the world at large, that much was obvious, and Kisame felt a sudden surge of pride that he had given him the opportunity.

"How's life going right now?" He asked, genuinely concerned for a moment. Itachi glanced up at him from his spot lying on the floor, eyes narrowed slightly in confusion. It didn't escape Kisame's notice that he had finally unbuttoned his shirt completely, exposing his pale and well defined chest almost teasingly.

"Stressful," Itachi replied honestly. "You know how it is with Sasuke these days. He's a handful."

"Well he is an Uchiha," Kisame joked. "You guys can be as bad as each other."

Despite having asked the question, Kisame disliked touching on Itachi's life in too much detail. It was no secret that attempting to be a big brother and a parent to a teen tearaway was hard work for his friend, on top of having to study at the same time. Itachi refused help as he always did, pride taking over instead of common sense, and even though he would never admit it he had been in clear need of a break for some time. That was where Kisame and his stash of alcohol came in, and he was pleased that it was seemingly beginning to work.

"Is it just me, or is the music heavier now?" Itachi mused from his position on the floor, eyebrows knitted together in genuine confusion as if he'd only just noticed.

"Yes. It's been that way for a while."

"Oh." Itachi pulled himself up into a sitting position, finishing the bottle at his side. "It's pretty good."

"I didn't realise you were into this kind of thing."

"Neither did I."

Kisame took in the snippet of information, unsure if it would be useful but glad to have been told it regardless. Itachi rarely volunteered information about himself.

"Another drink?" He offered, opening a bottle with ease and holding it out to his friend.

"No, not right now," Itachi declined, pulling himself up onto his knees. "I have to go to the bathroom."

"That's nice," Kisame shrugged, before attempting to hand the drink over again.

"Are you deaf?" Itachi asked, one eyebrow raised in question.

"Are you blind? We're in the middle of a field, and I know you're too much of a priss to go find a tree or something."

Itachi faltered for a moment, finally settling on a light scowl. "Blind jokes are a little below the belt, Kisame," he remarked shortly.

"It wasn't a blind joke!" Kisame argued. "Calm down Mr. I'm so paranoid about my poor eyesight that I tell no-one and wear contacts."

"That isn't true. I told you, didn't I?"

"No. I found out when you stayed at my house and I wondered why you were attempting to gouge your own eyes out."

He proffered the drink again, leaving Itachi to take it with a soft exhale of annoyance. Kisame gave him another shrug and laid back against the grass, the blades tickling his bare skin. Itachi surprised him by lying down nearby a few moments later, eyes trained to the first stars of the night as they began to light up the dusky sky.

"We should do this more often," Kisame mused when they'd stayed there together, both content with stargazing and concentrating on the music nearby.

"Yes," Itachi nodded, surprising Kisame with the reply. "We should."

Kisame tried to conceal the happy grin at those words, already mentally planning a similar event for the future. Their silence was truly comfortable for the first time that night, though apparently that wasn't the only comfortable thing- when Kisame glanced across to Itachi once more he was asleep, bare chest rising and falling lightly.

Kisame opened another bottle and sat up, glancing around before turning his attention back to the nearby stage. He saw no harm in letting his friend catch up on some much needed rest- it just meant he'd have to keep an eye on him, and he had absolutely no qualms about that at all.

-.-.-

Author's Note: I missed random slice of life with no real reason to exist, thus this was born :) Thanks for reading!