Five Years Later

Madara frowned at his newspaper as he heard the unwelcomed and unfamiliar pitter patter of feet in the hallway. He didn't mind little feet running up and down his halls … it just slightly depressed him, because he knew whose feet they were, and therefore also knew whose feet they weren't.

The child bounded into the living room and grinned up at him. A soft towel was snugly wrapped around his waist, and his hair dripped all over the carpet.

"Thanks so much for letting me use the pool, Madara-San!" The boy said excitedly, and grinned easily at the man who was seated so comfortably yet miserably in the living room.

"Don't mention it…" Madara muttered to himself, looking back at the paper and trying to push his mind as far away from thoughts of Sasuke as possible. "Ask your mother to bring me some lemonade if she's not too busy, please."

The child nodded and ran off to do as he was told. Ranmaru was, if nothing else, a very obedient boy. In that way he was entirely unlike Sasuke and Itachi had been when they were living here. However, his obedience was irrelevant as far as Madara was concerned, because he didn't care enough about the child to want him to do anything anyway. He'd talked to Konan for a long time when she said she wanted to adopt a son. It was understandable.

The boys – his boys, had moved out three years back, and the hose was like an oversized coffin without them. Still, they had to go. It was unhealthy to keep them around the way they were. Itachi needed a real job, Sasuke needed education back in Konoha, because of the superior school district.

"Uncle, I love you so much that a piece of me is dying as I say this – but you know that we'll never make it in this world without you if we don't learn to survive alone … we're grown men, Uncle. We need to live our own lives." That's what Itachi had said.

Then, three months later, they were gone. Back to their parent's old home in Konoha. Living behind the same door that Madara had been kicked out of when Itachi was five. The same door that began it all, so many years ago, when Madara came knocking to claim them. They'd all grown so much since then…

"Honestly, Madara. How long are you going to mope around like this?" Konan asked, tsk-ing lightly as she stepped into the room with a pitcher of fresh lemonade.

He shrugged, pouring himself a glass of the bitter-sweet liquid and taking a tired sip. His eyes shot up as he heard the door open and the gentle sound of someone gracefully removing their shoes. Just moments later, a smile spread across his face as his favorite nephew glided smoothly into the room and leaned down, kissing him gently on the lips. Konan averted her eyes, a light blush on her cheek as Madara's fingers laced into Itachi's hair and pulled the younger man closer.

"I was just thinking of you…" Madara said softly, tucking a tress of Itachi's hair behind his ear. Itachi smiled, and pecked his uncle softly before moving away and seating himself on the sofa.

"Judging by that kiss, I think you might want to replace the words thinking of with pining for." The younger Uchiha teased, playfully.

Madara smirked. "When it comes to you, there's rarely a difference. I'm always doing both. How're things over on your end of town?"

Itachi frowned. "Mundane. I've decided to retire at the end of the year," He waved a hand at his uncle's shocked expression. "I know I'm young, but I have more money than I know what to do with, and someone else could be doing my job. Someone who needs it. Besides, it would be irrational to keep working there if I wasn't living in Konoha…"

"But… you are living in Konoha."

"Yes, well, Sasuke got accepted to go to Berkeley…" Itachi said, looking pointedly away from his uncle. Konan rose when she heard something crashing upstairs and went off to see what Ranmaru was up to.

"Oh," Madara said slowly. "California. That's… farther than Konoha." It was a stupid thing to say. Madara lived just outside of Konoha himself, but he had no other words. He'd grown accustomed to seeing his nephews on the weekends, and even that was less than he would have wanted.

Itachi nodded, and they sat in silence for a while. Itachi helped himself to a glass of lemonade, and sipped quietly at it. Madara seemed to have forgotten his. In fact, the elder man was totally spacing out, until he saw a light smirk on his young lover's face.

"Anyway," Itachi continued, "I was thinking that since our parent's house will feel pretty empty without Sasuke, you might consider letting me move back in here?"

Madara glared at Itachi, upset to have been fooled so easily. "That wasn't very nice, Itachi-Kun… You should know by now that experimenting with a lover's emotions can end detrimentally."

The weasel laughed. "Don't be so sour, Uncle. It's not my fault that you took that the wrong way. Even living with you, I'll be flying to America every other weekend, and Sasuke will be flying here every other weekend. His second year, he's doing a study abroad program here, and he'll be back for all of his breaks of course."

"Never could get rid of the brat for good…" Madara murmured in mock annoyance.

Itachi ignored his comment. "I heard you've rented out our apartment, though… and Konan's boy has our old room, doesn't he?"

Madara raised a sarcastic eyebrow at his nephew. It was a known fact that the residency was oozing with bedrooms. There would never be a real rooming issue, but he had a feeling that Itachi's unauthentic concern over spacing would prove fruitful if he played along. "Yes, I'm afraid so. The basement suit earns me a healthy stipend each month from a couple named Sasori and Deidara; and Ranmaru-Kun has the bedroom that I originally placed you and your brother in."

Itachi shrugged. "Shame. I suppose until you get that worked out, I'll just be sleeping in your bed every night…"

The elder Uchiha rolled his eyes, and turned back to his lemonade, taking another sip.

"If you think that's the wisest way to approach the situation, I won't argue with you. What about when Sasuke visits?"

Itachi's grin widened. "Don't be silly, Uncle. Naturally – my darling Otouto would sleep with me. So, if I'm sleeping with you…"

Madara snorted. "It's not my job to make sure he doesn't explore all of his sexual options in college… distract him yourself."

"I will have you know, uncle Madara, that I'm not gonna go off to California and whore myself around in San Francisco like some little gay fairy slut boy!"

"I told you to wait in the car…" Itachi said more to himself than to his brother.

"My apologies, Sasuke-Kun. For some reason I assumed that since you're such a little gay fairy slut boy here in Japan, you'd carry that characteristic with you to America."

"Honestly, Uncle. You know how American airports are. I'm sure that Sasuke's whorishness couldn't make it through customs."

"I hate both of you, ya know. That's why I'm leaving." Sasuke retorted, sticking his tongue out at his brother; half teasing him and half hoping that Itachi would get up and suck the slick muscle into his mouth.

Madara sighed, and shook his head as Sasuke boldly seated himself down on his brother's lap, and they continued bickering about the (nonexistent) possibility of Sasuke pursuing other lovers in college. Sasuke was poured a glass of lemonade, and went to take a sip – only to drop it when distracted by the sudden arrival of a very quick moving, and very nude Ranmaru sprinting through the room in an attempt to outrun his mother as she tried to make him bathe.

"I would say that his state of undress is genetic, but knowing that he's adopted, I'll have to assume that it's a learned habit." Itachi mused.

"Uncle Madara probably told him it's okay. You know how he is about naked little boys…" Sasuke added, snorting as Madara smirked and caught Ranmaru around the waist and sending him back off to Konan.

"I'll have you know, Sasuke-Kun, that Ranmaru is a bit below my standards. I haven't had any interest in a child his age since Itachi was that young – But I suppose you don't remember that … it was before anyone had any care or thought of your existence…"

Sasuke fumed in annoyance, usually preferring to treat Itachi's life as if it didn't exist before he entered it. It greatly disturbed him to know that Itachi had felt very strong emotionally for their uncle before Sasuke's birth. In a way, he'd replaced Madara; which only made it more annoying that Itachi considered Madara irreplaceable.

"Hn. What about you, Nii-San? You like little boys too, don't you?"

Itachi grinned.

"Don't be a fool, Sasuke. Ranmaru-Chan is like a brother to me."

A/N: Oh Itachi… that doesn't really mean anything at all, does it?

Sorry if you were expecting this to be fluffier or longer, but I did TELL you to just expect a brief epilogue, so I hope you're not too let down.


This fanfic has been such an adventure, and I can't stress how wonderful this journey has been with you guys. Look out for the prequel. I still don't know what it's gonna be titled yet, so just keep an eye open for it. Again, I have no plans to write a sequel for this – so if I do so it'll have to be REALLY demanded, and it'll still take me a great deal of time to get it all outlined and whatnot.

For virtual cookies, and a dedication in the prequel, tell me why I titled this fanfic "Reckless Abandon" (there are three reasons, and I'll accept any of them)