To clear this up from the last chapter, it was Itachi who apologized, not Sasuke. Sorry for the confusion there.

But it has been WAY too long! Holy crap! And after like 3 years, I still have no internet connection at home to post anything. Yay me. But besides that, I've scrounged up some motivation for this once more. I really don't know why I left it alone for so long in the first place. I've received amazing reviews, and thank you guys so much for that.

On another note, since I haven't updated in so long, things may be a bit out of whack and characters may be OOC. My writing style has changed a bit but I read over some previous chapters and hopefully I can match it. Please tell me if something seems a bit off, guys!

Oh, and I actually did a little bit of chapter planning for once! It seems things are changing for the better. I am absolutely NOT making any promises—you see where that got me—but I'll try my best to get the next chapter to you extremely soon. Better than a freakin' years wait, right? No promises, though!

Please enjoy the chapter, guys! Review!

Sasuke had thought that the previous night might have switched things around between he and his brother. Well, technically he was right...

But not in the way he wanted it to be.

He had thought that the situation from last night would have made them grow closer, but instead, it was completely the opposite. It was pushing them apart. Just like the last time, Sasuke couldn't help but think, sitting quietly in his room alone, just thinking.

Itachi was treating him exactly the same way when they were alone in his room and Sasuke had slowly began to move his brother's hands downwards against his body. Although, this time was a bit different. Itachi had been the one to initiate the contact, and he was enjoying it, that much was for sure. They both had been.

Last time, Itachi had only avoided him for a small portion of the time, though this time, he avoided him completely.

At breakfast only an hour ago, Itachi hadn't even made eye contact with him, and as soon as he had gotten his plate from his mother, he took it to his room to eat alone. That was when Sasuke first noticed something was terribly off. He hadn't seen his brother since then, and he would normally bid him a good morning aswell.

As he recalled, Itachi had—for some reason—apologized last night after their long kissing session. Why had he apologized? Was he feeling guilty? It didn't make sense. They both had witnessed their mother and father kiss a myriad of times; what was there to feel guilty about?

Once Sasuke began thinking again, he then realized that he and his brother had crossed several boundaries last night. They had never kissed like that before, nor that much. Maybe that was his problem... He supposed he would never know until he sought Itachi out and talked to him. So be it.

Climbing down from atop his bed, still being mindful of his still-healing wounds, tiny feet pattered across the floor of his bedroom and into the hall. Stopping in front of Itachi's closed door, he gulped, suddenly growing nervous. What if Itachi was mad at him? What if he didn't wish to see him? Oh well, too late now. Itachi had probably already sensed him outside his door already.

Taking a deep breath, he knocked lightly two times, waiting in anticipation. A minute had passed, and still no answer. Normally if Itachi was busy and didn't want to answer the door, he would atleast give a vocal response. Growing curious, he slowly opened and cracked the door slightly, peering inside.

The darkness only greeted him.


No answer.

He opened the door a little further and stepped a foot inside, flipping on the light.

There was no one there. His bed was empty, and the ANBU gear that normally hung from the peg next to his bed was missing, too.

His heart began hammering in his chest as he felt fresh hot tears burning in his eyes.

"Did he...leave on another mission...?"

It was then when he raced down the hall to the kitchen where he thought his mother would be, completely disregarding Itachi's open door.

Skidding to a halt at the doorway of the kitchen, he noticed his mother sitting down, sipping quietly at a cup of tea. Running inside, he stopped in front of his mother. She eyed him with a curious expression. Before she even got the chance to ask what was wrong, Sasuke had spoken first.

"Mother, where's Ni-san?!" he asked frantically, desperately hoping he only had a meeting to attend, instead of a mission.

"I'm sorry, sweetie, but he had to leave shortly after breakfast on another emergency mission. He should be back within two weeks." She took another sip of tea then paused once she saw Sasuke's hurt expression.

"I-I thought... I thought that he still had a few more days off before...before...?" The scalding tears that he managed to keep at bay earlier resurfaced once more, blurring his vision greatly.

"It was an emergency call. Sasuke, are you alri—?"

He quickly ran off, running as fast as he could with tears streaking down soft pale cheeks. Once he made it to his room, he slammed the door, locking it in his haste.

"H-He didn't even t-tell me good-bye..." he sobbed, trying desperately to wipe the tears away, but they kept falling freely. He felt as if his heart was breaking in two... Itachi always hugged him good-bye.

Sasuke knew that every time Itachi left on a mission, there was always a chance that he wouldn't return, and that's what hurt him the most. They had left on bad terms, and what if something happened to him? He never even got to say good-bye and that he loved him with all his heart...

At this, Sasuke began sobbing uncontrollably. Itachi probably hadn't even wanted to tell him goodbye, or that he loved him...

Sasuke hated himself so bad. He stayed in his room for the remainder of the day, and had ended up crying himself to sleep that night.

The next morning hadn't been any better. The absence of Itachi at breakfast had only made him feel worse. He didn't even finish his plate that morning, instead heading outside to take a walk around the complex to possibly help clear his head.

Unfortunately, his endeavor failed, and his thoughts always managed to somehow lead him right back to his main source of discomfort.

Later on that day, Fugaku had stopped Sasuke in the hall on the way back to his room.

"Itachi's homecoming the other day caused our meeting to be postponed. Nothing's here to delay us now, so get cleaned up and meet me at the docks."

And that was that.

He couldn't evade it any longer

Sasuke tried to tell himself that he wasn't scared, that his father had changed, though a part of him never allowed himself to completely believe it. Fugaku had shattered his trust long ago. But another part of himself desperately wanted to believe...

Still, he had no other choice but to do as his father told him.

Besides, the quicker he got this over with, the faster he could stop worrying so damn much. He could already feel his chest beginning to hurt once more from all of the stress.

Watching his father's retreating back, hearing each thump of his bare feet padding across the wooden porch, he let out a breath that he hadn't even realized that he'd been holding. He shouldn't have to feel this way.

Am I just now realizing this? He thought to himself in disbelief. Since when did his father render him a useless mess? Since he started beating me, he sighed dejectedly. Really, was he so pathetic? Apparently.

It really was about time he'd stepped up and faced him and stopped being such a damn coward.

Alright. Let's do this.

It was on.

The sun was slowly beginning to set as Sasuke tugged on his tiny blue sandals with a determined air about him, a serious look donning his features.

I'll make Father proud.

With that thought to fuel him on, he took off out the door, hoping his father was waiting for him at the docks.

By the time Sasuke met up with his father, night had fell, casting it's dark shadow for miles. It seemed too late for training, but Sasuke didn't care. He really just wanted to get this over with as soon as possible. He needed something to occupy his mind, anyway.

He could make out the dark figure of his father at the end of the docks. He'd be lying if he said he wasn't nervous, but who wouldn't be? Even Itachi felt skeptical about their father. Itachi...

No. He couldn't be thinking about that now. His father was waiting, and he wasn't about to let his stupid worries get in the way of his training.

Tiny sandaled feet padded their way about the darkened dock, eventually reaching the end and stopping in front of his father.

"I'm here now," he panted, hands resting on his knees in exhaustion.

"I see that. Did you tell your mother where we are and what we we're doing?" his father asked, arms crossed defiantly in front of him. He was always so serious.

"Yes? Before I left."

Sasuke felt so paranoid. He hoped to whatever god there was that his father didn't have ulterior motives, because he was already acting strange. He really didn't know if he could take another beating. He was so fragile. And not just physically, mentally mostly. Why did Itachi have to leave? He felt so much stronger when his older brother was around, like he was complete. But without him, he was crumbling. How could he do this? It was going to be difficult, but he needed to do it. Not just for himself, but for Itachi. He didn't deserve to worry anymore.

"Good. Depending on how good you are, we might be out here for awhile." Sasuke couldn't help but think that there was another meaning behind those words seeing his father smirk, but quickly dismissed the thought. This was an important moment. He had to impress his father. He had to prove that he had potential—no, more than just potential. He couldn't screw this up.

"Alright," his father began, grabbing Sasuke's attention once more. "I need to teach you the hand signs before anything else. The first is the sign of the tiger..."

Was his father...really going to teach him? Sasuke's eyes widened as he saw their father demonstrate the hand signs before him in all seriousness.

"Now you try. We aren't going to spend too much time on this, seeing that they're simply hand signs. The hard part is yet to come. Give it a try."

Too caught up in his thoughts, he had barely caught what his father had just said and did. What were the signs again? Nervously, he brought both his hands up and molded them into the appropriate signs, surprising himself.

"Alright, just remember those. Now, you need to focus your chakra in your chest. Once you feel it's sufficient enough, make the appropriate signs and force the chakra up the throat and out the mouth. One is only considered a full-fledged member of the clan until they can perform and master this jutsu. Itachi did it on the first try, and at a much younger age than yourself. I just wonder if you can match that."

"I' my best," he stammered, suddenly losing the adrenaline rush he had and the determination. Was this jutsu really that important to the clan?

Taking a deep breath, he made the memorized hand signs, activating the focused chakra in his chest. Feeling it pulsate, he quickly hurled it out, forcing it out his mouth and was surprised to see a tiny ball of flames right in front of his face. It gently lit up their surroundings, and with this light, he could clearly see the disappointment about his father's face. Had he not done it right?

"I was right. It's too soon for you."

What...? I did it, didn't I?!

"But what...What did I do wrong?" He was at a loss. Sure, the fire wasn't nearly as big as his father's or Itachi's, but it was a start, right? How could he automatically deem him a failure? Just a bit more training and he should have it! Why was he so hard to impress?

"The chakra you focused in your chest, it needs to be far more than what you had. The fire wasn't nearly as big as it was supposed to have been. It seems your chakra reserves are low. Train more."

And that was that. He was a disappointment.

"I'm sorry, Father." It was all he could really say. He was at an all-time low tonight, he was exhausted, and he was absolutely disappointed in himself for disappointing his father who took time out of his schedule to legitimately teach him a jutsu one-on-one.

"You can always make it up to me, Sasuke."

After those words, it became eerily quiet. What was with his father's sudden change in attitude? He was smirking, looking down his nose at the small, exhausted child who obviously felt emotionally horrible. That one jutsu had completely depleted his chakra reserves; he didn't have the energy to argue with anything. Even though, he was secretly scared of what his father wanted from him. He should've known his father wouldn't do anything for free—not even for his own son.

"What can I do, then?" Maybe it was something easy? He could only hope.

"You've been spending a lot of time with Itachi lately, and I've been a bit jealous. I think you need to start spending some one-on-one, bonding time with your father. We can start tonight."

He wasn't asking for a favor, he demanded it. Atleast that's what his tone of voice clearly stated.

"Sit down."

Without questioning him, he did so. His feet hung loosely from the edge of the dock and over the calm waters. The moon reflected on its surface as the breeze caused the water to ripple beneath him. Everything seemed calm except for the beating of his heart, which continued to speed up with each passing second. This seemed too easy. What did he want?

A mere second later, his father sat down quietly next to him, just a few inches apart. Sasuke tried not to visibly tense, but it was too late.

"There's nothing to worry about, Sasuke," he stated, as if sensing his fears. Sasuke didn't dare look him in the eyes when they were this close. Doing so would be an invitation for... Well, he didn't exactly know. His father didn't seem violent tonight, so he shouldn't be scared.

But he was.

"It's been awhile," his father stated, looking out at the moonlit water in front of them. "We haven't had the chance to talk like this in..." He truly thought about it, failing to come up with a time he had ever sat down with Sasuke and just talked. "Nevermind."

I kind of figured that. He's never talked with me. What's he up to?

"I know what you and Itachi do," his father said suddenly, surprising him.

"What do you mean?" Sasuke asked suspiciously, a little scared. Was his father accusing him of something? Either way, he was sure he didn't do anything wrong, so he didn't have anything to worry about, right?

"Sasuke, I've noticed. I've noticed how you hang off of him every chance you get. I've noticed how close he holds you. And I've noticed my own two suns in a lip-lock."

"What's that?" he asked curiously, noticing his father sigh after his question and practically face-palmed himself.

"A kiss, Sasuke."

"Oh. But why's that bad? I see you and Mother do it all the time!" he exclaimed, not really understanding where this conversation was headed.

"Your mother and I do lots of things, but nevermind that...for now, atleast. I never said there was anything wrong with it. I'm just simply jealous that Itachi is getting all of your kisses. You never show your own father any affection, Sasuke. Why's that?"

And you've never shown me any, either... he thought. How was it that his father was jealous of Itachi, his own son? The simple notion of his father's name and jealous being in the same sentence seemed absolutely ridiculous. His father could have anything he wanted—he was head of the police force, after all. How was he,little Sasuke, depriving his father of something he wanted? It was ludicrous.

Come to think of it, what's been wrong with everyone lately? Everything seemed to be about kisses and affection all of a sudden. After he and Itachi had gotten really close, suddenly his older brother ripped himself away and left without a moments notice on yet another mission. Now his father, completely out of nowhere, demands affection of him shortly after a few days of beating him. He really just didn't understand anything anymore.

"I just...never knew you wanted any, I guess..." Sasuke stammered, looking away. This conversation was getting extremely awkward.

"Don't give me that. I tried at the hospital, yet you pushed me away."

The hospital...?

His breathing became shallow as he felt his father's arm slide lower down, on passed his hips and into more delicate areas. His whole body tensed and he knew that he could feel it...

He shuddered. That was considered as "affection" to his father? If so, he hated it.

"I didn't really know...what you were doing. I still don't." He struggled to remain calm. He definitely not want a repeat of that. How was he to tell his father no? He absolutely couldn't! Not when he's been so nice to him lately!

"I'm a man who prefers actions over words. So be a man with me, Sasuke. You can do that, can't you?" He leaned forward a little farther, trying to catch a glimpse of his son's facial expressions in the darkness.

"Um, I can try? I'm still young... But I still don't understand what exactly it is that you want me to do yet, so..." He fidgeted with his fingers in his lap, not daring to meet his father's gaze.

"Don't worry, Sasuke. Just close your eyes."

Knowing better than to question his father, he did.

Suddenly, he found a warm wetness about his lips, causing him to gasp as his eyes flew open. Rough fingers held his chin in place, but he dared not struggle—he didn't want to upset the man before him.

Before he knew it, lips started moving against lips, and it scared him. This did not feel how it felt with Itachi, that's for sure. This man's lips were almost cold; the fingers about his skin were freezing and rough. There didn't seem to be any "affection" at all in what they were doing. The tingly, warm feeling in his gut was missing. He simply felt like he was going to puke.

Sensing Sasuke's unease, his father pulled away finally, smirking.

"For once, you've made me proud, Sasuke."

And that's exactly what he wanted, wasn't it?