"How are your eyes, Itachi-san?" Kisame asked worriedly, looking towards his younger partner.

"They're fine," Itachi said, lying down beside the campfire. "You shouldn't worry about me, Kisame; I'll be fine."

Kisame snorted, throwing another log onto the fire. "You're eighteen, Itachi."

"And I'm also an Akatsuki member, like yourself, but I'm stronger even then you."

"You're a pup, Itachi. A pompous, ignorant pup. You're not as strong and untouchable as you like to believe."

"Hn." Itachi didn't bother to reply to this – he only focused on getting sufficient rest and closed his eyes, trying to relax.

Kisame swore under his breath. He liked Itachi, really, but he hated the way that the young raven-haired man was so up himself that he refused to let Kisame look after him at times like these. Itachi was still only a young man but the way he acted was like the Uchiha thought he was much more experienced and superior to everyone else. Itachi – as much as the younger male didn't want to believe it – was hurt, and he needed to be looked after or he could get worse.

"Itachi-san, you're not well at the minute," Kisame tried once again. "Please, let me help you. That Sannin could've -"

"I'm fine." Itachi interjected icily.


"I'm. Fine."

Kisame threw his hands up in defeat, kicking at the dirt. "Whatever, Itachi, let yourself get hurt! I don't care anymore; I'm sick of caring! All I ever try and do is help you and you push me away like some dirty mutt! Maybe I should just leave you here alone to get hurt so you can learn that you're not everything you think you are!"

"..." Itachi did nothing but raise a hand to examine his fingernails.

"Fuck!" Kisame shouted, grinding his teeth.

He felt like taking Itachi by the neck right there and literally punching some sense into him. But as much as he wanted to, he knew he couldn't; Itachi was fragile, but with the way he hid it behind his emotionless mask no one else could tell. He knew that if he hurt Itachi, Itachi would lose all trust he had in the older male and Kisame didn't want that to happen; it had taken years for the Uchiha to build even a little bit of trust in the Kiri-nin and the shark-man was the only person Itachi could trust and even like - even though it were only a little.

Itachi was still silent, ignorantly ignoring his partner once more.

Kisame sat back down on his log, trying to calm himself. He couldn't hurt Itachi, he couldn't! He sat watching the teenager lay on the ground, trying to mask the pain he was suffering, but every now and then, Itachi would whimper and reach up, holding his aching eyes, twitching in what Kisame could only imagine was agony.

Deciding to try once more – mainly because the blue-haired man couldn't stand to see Itachi in such pain – the Kiri-nin stood up and walked to the long-haired man, kneeling beside the younger male.

"Itachi-san," Kisame was quiet this time, "please. I only want what's best for you, Itachi. Please?"

"... Hn..." Itachi squeezed his eyes shut tightly in pain, but he nodded slowly – the pain must've been great if Itachi was allowing someone to help him.

Kisame clapped his hands together, almost unable to hide his excitement. "Oh, thanks, Itachi-san!"

Kisame ran to his pack located on the other side of the tiny camp, pulling out some painkillers and his water bottle, knowing that it was only a small gesture to show his affection for the Uchiha but there was next to nothing that he could do for the poor male.

"Here, Itachi-san," Kisame said gently, sitting beside Itachi. "Please, sit up for me."

Itachi obeyed after a few seconds, resting instead against the tree that was behind him. He closed his eyes, allowing Kisame to come closer to him, but when he felt hands that weren't his own on his body, he opened his eyes again, glaring up angrily at Kisame, trying to shrug the uncomfortable sensation away from him.

"Itachi..." Kisame said warningly, lifting up the bottle of water to show the younger male. "It's alright, Itachi-san - Pein told me how you don't like to be touched. Just know that I would never hurt you, okay? I'm just going to give you some painkillers and then after that, a massage to loosen you up a little, okay? You're so tense."

Itachi glared a little longer before dropping his gaze. He knew how Kisame, when his mind was set to something, wouldn't leave until he had gotten what he wanted and Itachi didn't have the strength to fight with him tonight.

Kisame smiled at Itachi, gently tilting the water bottle enough for the fluid to flow into the raven's mouth, gently adding the painkillers next. Once the raven swallowed it all, he gently maneuvered Itachi so that the smaller male was sitting comfortably in Kisame's lap and he ran his hands over the younger male's back, expertly making Itachi feel better than he had for years.

Itachi closed his eyes. Sometimes... it was good to have Kisame around.