Chapter 4 – The Right Words
The line rang a few times before, "Hello?"
Ah, Karin. Itachi leaned back in his chair, observing the other two men in the room. Kiba looked expectant while Naruto seemed ready to shrink into the floor.
"Hello, this is Itachi. Is my brother home?"
"Oh. Hi, Itachi." Karin sounded borderline hostile, but then that was always the case. "Yeah, he's here. Hold on." The phone was abruptly set down, her voice muffled as she cooed for Sasuke. Itachi felt one of his eyebrows twitch.
"Good God, why did he marry her?" Kiba sneered at the speaker as Karin's voice once again wavered through to them. "She's so... Ugh."
"Eh heh heh heh..."
Both brunets swung their eyes over to Naruto as the blond rubbed the back of his head. He looked even more guilty now that he was under scrutiny.
"Well, when Sakura turned him down..." Naruto stopped and shrugged, eyes sliding towards the Uchiha in the room.
Next to him, Kiba scowled. "For a good reason. They weren't even dating."
Itachi blinked. Interesting. Nearly five years ago, when Sasuke had calmly announced Sakura would no longer be joining them for Sunday dinner, Itachi had assumed the pinkette had simply discovered romance else where. Mother had been the only one to express any emotion at the news. She had pulled Sasuke into a tight embrace, stroking his hair and murmuring something incoherent about puppy love. After a rather confused moment, Itachi had left to make a fresh pot of tea, Father had begun to laugh, and Sasuke was grinding his teeth down to the roots.
"Yeah, anyway." That ridiculous grin was back in place. "I told him he should have gone for Karin."
"You what?" Kiba yelped. "Why?"
The blond opened his mouth to reply, but Itachi held up a hand, pointedly tilting his head towards the speaker. Later, he mouthed as they all heard the sounds of the phone being picked up.
"Foolish otouto," Itachi returned.
And that was all it took sometimes.
There was a sigh on the other end. "Fine. I'll talk to the dobe later."
Kiba took a step forward, a sharp retort forming, but the older Uchiha shook his head. The brunet scowled and backed down reluctantly.
Sasuke spoke again. "How are your ribs?"
Naruto looked away as Kiba's jaw dropped.
Yes, Inuzuka, my brother does have a heart, Itachi thought. "Healing as expected," he replied out loud. "There is no reason for concern."
There was a beat of silence. Itachi moved forward to begin the farewells, but Sasuke interrupted.
"This on speakerphone isn't it?"
"Yes." He had never thought to disguise the fact.
"Naruto is there?"
"I'm here," said the blond, taking a few steps towards the phone. The young man had squared his shoulders and lifted his chin; a vast improvement over his depressed appearance minutes before.
The younger Uchiha sighed again. "Ramen?" he offered.
The results were instantaneous. Uzumaki perked up. "Yes! When?"
Behind him, Kiba rolled his eyes, but he still smiling slightly as the blond and Itachi's younger brother arranged to meet later that evening for a late dinner.
Prompt #10: Hot-tempered Redhead
A/N: I have no excuses for the way these chapters are dragging out. It's friggin' embarrassing.