A/N WARNINGS: Rape, child abuse.
"Sasuke, wait up!" A young boy called as he tried to catch up to his cousin.
Sasuke sighed and turned around. His younger cousin, Tobi, was chasing after him, though it was expected – today was Tobi's first day at the academy and Tobi was nervous. "What is it, Tobi?"
"Aunty told Tobi to stay with Sasuke-kun!" Tobi was beaming happily.
"Hmm… Oh, alright, then - Tobi can stay with me." Sasuke smiled at Tobi.
"Yay! Tobi gets to stay with his cousin!"
"Shh!" Sasuke tried to quiet Tobi down, not liking the puzzled looks from other students being shot their way.
Sasuke grabbed Tobi's hand, pulling it gently to get the younger boy to follow. He pointed to a shady corner of the academy grounds, leading Tobi over there. Sasuke sat down, leaning against the building with Tobi lying down and resting his head in Sasuke's lap. Sasuke was absent-mindedly stroking Tobi's hair, thinking.
"Hey, Tobi?" Sasuke asked softly. "Why is it that Father took you away from Uncle?"
Tobi flinched, trying to will back tears. "D-daddy says Tobi isn't allowed to tell anyone…"
Sasuke wiped the tears that had formed in his cousin's one eye away.
"Your classes are all with me." Sasuke tried to change the subject, knowing that this was sensitive for his cousin. "Our teacher's name is Iruka. He's really nice."
"Will he be nice to Tobi…?" Tobi didn't sound sad anymore – he sounded frightened.
Sasuke ruffled Tobi's hair comfortingly. "Of course. He's very nice to everyone. Let's go - you don't want to be late for your first day, right?"
Tobi shook his head slowly. He got to his feet and followed his cousin to their class. He was excited when they entered the building and he caught his first sight of Iruka. Tobi couldn't help but think that this man already seemed so nice.
Sasuke pulled Tobi along to Iruka, excited about introducing the two. "Iruka-sensei, this is my cousin, Tobi."
Iruka looked down at the two Uchiha and smiled gently. "Hello, Tobi. Aren't you a little cutie?"
"Sensei?" Tobi whispered, scared.
"Don't be scared, Tobi." Sasuke said gently, squeezing the boy's hand. "He just wants to get to know you."
"That's right, Sasuke-kun." Iruka smiled at Tobi again. "How old are you, Tobi-kun?"
"Tobi is twelve, Sensei!"
"Atta boy. What helps you to learn best, Tobi?"
"Tobi finds it hard to concentrate." Sasuke explained, pointing at Tobi – who was now staring out the window at nothing. "His attention wanders."
"Sasuke is twelve, too, sensei!" Tobi said happily, oblivious to what Sasuke had just said. "And Itachi is eighteen!"
"Yes, Tobi, that's right, but this is about you - not me or nii-san." Sasuke explained gently.
"How come this is your first day in academy, Tobi? You're only a few months younger than Sasuke himself and Sasuke's been here for a few years. Surely you should've started when he did?"
"Tobi's daddy says Tobi wasn't allowed to go to school in case he told anyone."
"Told anyone what, Tobi?" Iruka's voice softened, hearing the distress in Tobi's tone.
"Tobi's daddy says Tobi isn't allowed to tell anyone."
Iruka changed the subject. "You live with your aunt and uncle?"
"Tell me, Tobi - what do you want to be when you grow up?"
"Tobi wants to be just like his cousins!"
Iruka smiled, ruffling Tobi's hair. "You're so cute, Tobi. How about you go and sit with Sasuke? I'll introduce you to the rest of the class soon."
Tobi followed Sasuke to the desk, excited for the rest of the day to fly by.
When academy had finished for the day, Iruka had stopped both Sasuke and Tobi from leaving with the rest of the class.
"Want to do me a favor, Tobi?" Iruka asked softly. Tobi nodded. "Here's my keys. I want you to go down the hall and into the staff room. If there's anyone in there you tell them that I sent you. I want you to go in there and save me a seat at the table. Ok?"
"Tobi's a good boy! Tobi will do that!" Tobi hurried out of the room, ready to impress both his cousin and sensei.
Iruka turned to Sasuke. "Do you think you could tell me a little about Tobi's home life before your family took him in?"
Sasuke thought for a moment. "Well, he was always trying to stay at our home. He hated going back to his. Especially when uncle was drunk."
"Hmm… do you think Tobi's father… did the same to Tobi as to what he did to Itachi?"
"It's a possibility. Tobi would be upset a lot, I know that much. No one ever asked Tobi."
"Did he ever say why he was upset?"
"Nope. He rarely ever said a word - would just cling to me or nii-san and cry. He hated being left alone with my uncle. He was always begging Mother to let him stay at our house."
"She tried her best to let him stay but in the end it always came down to Tobi's father. Most of the time he said no."
"Would Tobi –"
"Tobi's a good boy! Tobi brought Iruka-sensei a chair for now!" Tobi came crashing into the room, carrying a chair. He looked so happy it was hard to be annoyed with him.
Sasuke and Iruka frowned, then smiled and laughed. "You can go, now. See you both tomorrow."