Fugaku Uchiha had a heart of stone. His eyes were cold, and his very presence made the room drop several degrees in temperature. In his whole life, Sasuke couldn't remember even one moment where his father had shown him affection or love.

His mother on the other hand, was definitely more caring. Sasuke knew she loved him, but somehow they never really connected. They had little in common, and Sasuke often felt like his mother never really understood him. So when she showed him affection, it never made him feel special. After all, she was his mother; she had to love him no matter what!

But with Itachi, things were... different. His older brother was so graceful and gifted, the pride of the whole village, and Sasuke was in awe of him as well. When his nii-san gave him attention, Sasuke felt like the most special person in the world. If he could, he'd spend every minute of the day by his brother's side. Sadly, his brother spent less and less time with him because his skills were increasingly needed on missions that sent him away for weeks at a time. So whatever little time they spent together, Sasuke cherished with all his heart.

Like when Itachi walked him to school. They'd walk hand in hand, Sasuke chattering excitedly about all the things he wanted to learn, and Itachi smiling softly. Then they'd reach the front yard, and Itachi would kneel on his knees, kiss his otouto's forehead and ruffle his hair.

"Have a good day, Sasuke", he'd say, stroking his brother's cheek. The other kids laughed at the show of affection, and Sasuke's cheeks would turn red from embarrassment, but he secretly enjoyed the way his brother touched him. He loved when his brother kissed and hugged him but it wasn't nearly enough. When he waited for Itachi to return from a mission on the front steps, he was rewarded with a quick hug and kiss. When his father yelled at him and he retreated to his room, Itachi would come and let him lean on his shoulder, soothingly stroking his back. Sasuke's heart would swell from the closeness and he'd feel warm and safe. He craved that feeling more as his father began to get more obvious about his preference for Itachi over him.

Every year, the Academy let out for two months in the summer. Two months at home meant more time with Itachi, but it also meant more time with Fugaku, his father. Thankfully, their house was very large and Sasuke was able to minimize encounters with him, but it was difficult to avoid getting together during mealtimes.

One evening, just like many evenings before, Fugaku was bragging at the dinner table about Itachi's latest accomplishments.

"The Hokage personally told me what a wonderful job you did on your last mission, Itachi. Excellent work, I'd expect nothing less from my eldest son," he said proudly.
Itachi shrugged, and continued eating calmly. "I was just doing my job. Sasuke's end of year results arrived this morning. He scored at the top of his class. We should be praising him, not me."

Fugaku turned to Sasuke. "You got your results? Bring them to me," he ordered.

Sasuke scooted up from the table and dashed to the room he left them in. He handed the paper to his father and sat down, heart pounding.

"Hmmm..." his father scanned the page. "Advanced ninjutsu, advanced chakra control... didn't Itachi do these classes in his first year? And Sasuke, you're now in your third?"

"Y-Yes b-but," Sasuke stammered to come up with an excuse.

"Who cares about what I did? He received perfect marks, otousan," Itachi said, narrowing his eyes. "Sasuke is his own person, you need to stop comparing him to me."

"He represents the Uchihas," his father hissed. "He has to meet certain standards, otherwise, he's a failure!"

Sasuke felt his eyes stinging from the beginning of tears. He knew it; he knew his father felt he wasn't good enough. All he wanted was to make his father proud, to earn his affection. But no matter what he did, it was never enough. He tried to take deep breaths to calm himself, but it was no good. He jumped up and ran to his room, threw himself onto his bed and sobbed into his pillow. He could hear the raised voices of his family arguing outside.

"I swear, that boy is an embarrassment to the clan, he's too old to be crying like a baby. I've never known an Uchiha who was that weak!" Fugaku exclaimed.

"Honey, calm down and try to understand how Sasuke feels," his mother said.

"Both of you are part of the problem," Itachi yelled. "If you cared more about Sasuke instead of impressing everyone and bragging about me, he wouldn't be like this!"

"He's not a child, Itachi. He's a ninja and he needs to learn to be strong! If he can't handle a bit of competition how will he survive in the real world?"

"Argh," Itachi groaned. "You wouldn't know how to be a good parent if your life depended on it! Stop talking like you understand!"
Sasuke's mom interrupted. "Why don't you go and talk to him, Itachi. Try and calm him down. You always seem to get through to him."

Itachi sighed. He was going to anyway; he didn't need his incompetent parents to tell him what to do.

He marched to Sasuke's closed bedroom door and knocked gently. "It's me" he said. "I'm coming in". He opened the door and closed it behind him. His heart sank at the image in front of him, his poor little brother crying into his pillow.

"-Tachi," he sniffed. "Father hates me, I wish I was more like you, then he would l-love me" he whimpered.

"Hey, hey, hey..." Itachi approached him and pulled him into a hug. "Father's a jerk. Do you really want a jerk to love you?"

"No, but..." Sasuke didn't know how to explain.

"Listen, otouto," Itachi said, looking deep into his eyes. "I love you. I love you enough to make up for a thousand jerk fathers, Sasuke." Itachi wiped the tears from his baby brother's face. "He's your dad, you need to respect him, but you don't need his love. That's what I'm here for," he said, kissing his brother's forehead.

Sasuke gazed at him in adoration. In his brother's arms, surrounded by his love, that's where he felt he belonged most.

They sat silently for a few moments, then Sasuke gathered his courage to ask something he'd been too embarrassed to for a long time.

"Nii-san... I feel better when you... kiss me. Can you do it again?" he asked shyly.

Itachi didn't have a problem with that, he loved his brother so much he could have kissed him forever. He leaned down and kissed Sasuke on the forehead, then on the cheek.

Sasuke blushed and kissed him back on the cheek. "Thanks, nii-san".

Itachi smiled and poked his forehead. "Anytime, kiddo. If you ever feel down, you know you can come to me."

"Really? What if you're busy with ANBU stuff?"

"I promise, from now on, you're my number one priority. I'll always be here for you, otouto. I love you more than anything, remember that."

Sasuke nodded and lay back against his pillow. Itachi picked up a book from the floor and opened it to the page bookmarked. "How about I read to you for a while," he said. His little brother nodded, and Itachi began to read in his handsome deep voice. While he read, Sasuke stared at him, taking in all the details of his body. The firm arms, the muscled chest, his deep, dark eyes. His older brother was so beautiful, just looking at him made Sasuke feel tingly inside. He'd never felt this way before, and he was sure it was some sort of magic. He closed his eyes and let his brother's steady words lull him to a peaceful sleep.

It didn't happen right away, it must have been at least a week later when Sasuke started dreaming of Itachi's kisses. They were lying on his bed with Itachi on top, peppering Sasuke's whole face with kisses. He felt hot all over, he wanted to take off their clothes... then Itachi lowered his face so that his lips approached Sasuke's own. Sasuke leaned into him, lips pouting and ready, but sadly, he woke up before the dream could go any further.

He sat in his bed, thinking for a while. If he asked... would Itachi kiss him like that? He knew that kissing on the lips was the kind of thing only couples did; he'd never really seen brothers or friends do something like that. But he knew he wanted to, with Itachi, and badly. After all, their connection was special. When they were together, it was like there was magic in the air. He wanted to be the special person Itachi did things like that with, the only person Itachi gave all his love to.

He hopped out of bed, and dressed himself to look as cute as possible: his baggy shorts oversized blue t-shirt and messed up hair. He made his way into the kitchen, where his mom already had his breakfast of rice, fish and miso soup set out for him.

"Kaasan, where's Itachi?" he asked settling down on the floor.

"Oh, he had to leave early for a mission, but he should be home by the evening."

Sasuke stared at his rice in disappointment, but decided to focus on training so he could impress Itachi. He spent the day in the forest, alternating between throwing shuriken and practicing wrapping his wire string around targets.

He got home by 8, but Itachi wasn't back yet. He moped around the front porch, playing with some stray cats, glancing at the direction of the front gate. Finally, close to 10pm, he heard the gate creak open and a tall figure approaching.

"Nii-san!" Sasuke whispered loudly and jumped into his arms. "I missed you so much, nii-san!" he said, laying his head on Itachi's chest.

"Shh, I'm here Sasuke, don't worry", Itachi murmured. "Let's get you to bed, it's really late for you to be up!"

"But nii-san, you just got back! I wanted to spend some time with you. Plus, I'm 10 years old now. Can't I stay up a little longer, pleeease," Sasuke pouted and stared at Itachi with puppy dog eyes.

Itachi grinned. It was nice having such a warm and loving welcome after a long, tough day. He could never resist giving in to Sasuke, the boy was too cute for his own good.

Itachi pretended to think it over. Sasuke took his silence as a negative sign and tried to convince him. "Please! I'll do your laundry for the week if you play with me".

Itachi didn't need any persuading, but he figured it couldn't hurt for Sasuke to do him a little favour. "Fine, kiddo. But nothing too tiring, I'm exhausted. Why don't you wait in my room while I clean up and say hi to mother and father".

Sasuke happily dashed off, leaving Itachi to wolf down some leftovers in the kitchen, go greet his parents, change into his lounging clothes and wash the day's dirt off his face.

He stepped into his room, where Sasuke was cuddled on his bed, reading the book they read yesterday. He looked up shyly. "Since you're tired, I thought I could read to you tonight."

"That sounds good," Itachi admitted, yawning as he sat down on his bed. Sasuke leaned back, and Itachi's arm wrapped around him. Sasuke began to read softly, hyper aware of Itachi's body behind him, solid and comforting as ever. He read for about half an hour before he started slurring his words from sleepiness. Itachi shook him slightly. "Time for bed, I think, baby brother", he whispered. He patted Sasuke's bum. "Let's go," he ushered.

Sasuke shifted so he faced his brother. "Can I have a goodnight kiss first?"

Itachi laughed, "Of course, otouto". He learned in and kissed his brother on the cheek.

Sasuke shook his head. "Can you kiss me here?" He pointed to a spot lower on his cheek.

Itachi indulged him, leaned in and kissed him.

"How about here?" Sasuke pointed to his cheek, a little further left, closer to his mouth.

Itachi hugged him close and kissed him there.

Sasuke's hand was shaking and his face felt hot, but he still managed to get out the word with a whisper. "Here?" he asked, his index and middle finger tracing his lips.

Itachi froze and he seemed to have stopped breathing. Sasuke's heart sank as the warm bubble they'd been in suddenly burst. Itachi moved away suddenly, to the other side of the bed.

"Sasuke," he began cautiously. "Brother's don't - they can't - do things like that. I love you, but... we can't. You understand, right?"

Sasuke didn't understand. He wanted his brother to kiss him so badly. "You... don't love me," he whined. "You don't even want to kiss me," he sniffed.

Itachi struggled to keep his composure. Should he be honest with Sasuke? Or should he push him away and pretend he really didn't want to... kiss and do more with his brother. I don't think I can keep up the act, Itachi thought to himself. Better to just let him know the truth.

"That's... not it, otouto. I want to... maybe a little too much. That's why I need to control myself, I don't want things to get out of hand."

Sasuke stared at him, shocked. "You... want to? You think about it too?"

Itachi wasn't sure if he liked where this conversation was going. "Think about what?" he asked.

Sasuke blushed. "I... had a dream... we were naked and you were kissing me"

Between Itachi's legs, something roared to life. "And then what?" Itachi asked, almost afraid of the answer.

"It ended before it got good, but I felt all tingly inside nii-san. I think it means we have a special connection."

Oh, lord. It was all Itachi could do to keep his hands to himself and not grind his brother into oblivion. He took a deep breath, and kissed Sasuke again on the forehead.

"You're too young to be talking about these things, otouto. Besides, don't you want to be with someone your own age?"

"Nii-san... there's no one as... as..." Sasuke faltered.

"As what, otouto?"

"Sexy," he whispered, his eyes intense with desire.

Itachi definitely felt himself throbbing in places that hadn't seen much action lately.. "How do you even know what that word means!" he managed despite himself. He needed to end this quick so he could be alone and take care of his problem.

Sasuke ignored him, running his hands up Itachi's thighs. His hands were inching towards his crotch, which was bulging out of his gray sweatpants. He tried to make a grab for it, but Itachi was too quick. "Whoa there, Sasuke," he said, grabbing his arms and lifting him up. "I think you've had enough fun for one night," he said as he carried his brother into his own bedroom. He dumped him on his bed and all but fled to the bathroom, where he quickly stroked himself to orgasm thinking about Sasuke begging to be kissed on the lips.

This is not good, Itachi thought to himself. He was so weak against Sasuke. He loved his brother more than anything. His brother was the only thing that truly mattered to him, not power or strength as much as his father wanted it to be.

His whole life, people tried to persuade him into wanting stupid things, like money and admiration. He was disgusted by the way his parents had so much pride in their stupid clan and their archaic way of thinking. With Sasuke... things were different. There was nothing between them except for love, pure love. He wanted more, of course he wanted more. He wanted to show Sasuke how much he loved him, to connect them in a way that couldn't be broken. But... how could he take away his brother's innocence like that? Everyone thought that kind of thing was wrong, for two brothers to like each other that way. There had to be a good reason for that, right?

Itachi's conscience whirled with guilt and unease as he lay down to rest for the night. People always thought Itachi was perfect, that he could solve any problem. What would they say if they saw me now, he sighed to himself. I'm so fucked.