Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto.
Spoilers for chapter 489, just in case.
This is just a one-shot I've had sitting around on my computer for a while. I touched it up a little and decided to post it. Hope you enjoy!
Five Things That Kisame Is Better at Than Itachi
Although he was partnered with the youngest Akatsuki member in the organization's history, Kisame often felt like he was traveling with an old man.
Itachi was bizarrely cautious and methodical for a thirteen-year old. In the three months they'd been partners, Kisame had never heard him laugh or seen him smile. He rose at dawn every morning to do kata like one of those elderly people who took their walks at sunrise, and whenever they spent a night in a motel, he'd channel surf to find weather updates. Upon questioning, he revealed that he'd never had pizza or played video games.
Kisame wasn't sure what to say to him after that. What pubescent child didn't like pizza and video games? He was twenty-six, and he would have still been playing them if Pein-sama hadn't asked to not to. It made the group look unprofessional, apparently, even if he was the highest scorer of all time on the Asteroids machine at an arcade in Grass Country.
But Itachi was so mature for his age that he had skipped a few developmental milestones entirely, and Kisame would have to adjust. He forced himself into the habit of not questioning his abilities or giving him suggestions. It worked well- the kid was more of an adult than lots of people twice his age, and proved able to handle everything that was thrown at him.
So when he offered to cook dinner for the two of them one night, Kisame didn't think much of it.
They'd passed by a farm that afternoon, and Kisame, tired of soldier pills and jerky, had ducked into the chicken coop to snatch some fresh meat for their supper.
"This is unnecessary," Itachi had said as he watched him flip the hen upside down. "We have enough rations to last us a week or more."
"Maa, pills aren't enough to live on," Kisame had protested. "Men need real meat. It'll be a good thing- you'll see."
Then the bird had pooped all over itself and his hand, and Itachi had turned away with a disgusted 'Hn.'
He should have taken it as a forewarning of things to come.
When they stopped to make camp for the evening, Itachi observed him plucking the chicken with his Sharingan activated. Kisame didn't mind, much. The kid watched him doing lots of things with those red eyes. He wasn't preparing to attack him, he had learned, only recording his movements for future reference.
"I will cook it," Itachi declared.
Kisame turned to him in surprise. "Are you sure?" he asked. "I didn't know you could cook."
Itachi fixed him with a cool look and squared his shoulders, suddenly all adolescent surety and prickliness. "It is not difficult," he said smoothly. "I can do it."
"…Okay." Kisame held it out to him. "Have at it."
He did. He skewered it with a stick and roasted it for a while, then doused it with a can of stewed tomatoes that Kisame had been carrying around just in case such an occasion arose. That seemed like an odd order to do things in, but whatever. Maybe he'd been intending for the tomatoes to be cold over the steaming meat. It provided a contrast.
"This is interesting, Itachi-san," Kisame said after a few bites. "Where did you get this recipe from?"
His partner didn't answer for a second. "Nowhere," he said, "I just thought of it."
"Oh." Kisame took another bite. It wasn't quite good, but it was edible. "It's nice. Thanks."
"Aa," Itachi said softly, his shoulders relaxing a bit. "You're welcome."
It was dark, but Kisame almost thought he saw a smile play across the kid's face in the flickering firelight.
He grinned back toothily.
Their newfound camaraderie was put to the test the very next afternoon, when Itachi abruptly swerved off the path they were walking along to vomit into a bush.
"What's the matter?" Kisame asked in concern. "Are you alright?"
Itachi responded by vomiting again.
Kisame hefted Samehada higher on his back and wondered what to do. His last partner had been a big drinker and tossed his cookies on the regular, but he'd also been forty years old. Ignoring a sick child (Teenager? Tweenager? What was this kid, exactly?) wouldn't feel right.
Actually, nothing felt right at the moment. Especially his stomach.
He picked a tree on the opposite side of the road from Itachi and revisited dinner all over its roots, several times, and with great vehemence. Wiping at his mouth, Kisame surveyed the mess with mingled feelings of dismay and nausea. What a waste of canned tomatoes.
"I think the chicken might have been undercooked," he called to Itachi, somewhat unnecessarily.
His partner was on his hands and knees at this point, head bowed towards the bush as though he was praying to it.
"I apologize," he croaked.
The kid sounded so miserable that Kisame couldn't be angry at him. He probably should have supervised his cooking better, anyway; there were some things even geniuses could only learn through trial and error, and holy fuck was this experience ever an error. He wondered if Itachi had ever failed at something so spectacularly before. It was quite possible he hadn't.
"It's alright," said Kisame, "it's an easy mistake to make. I couldn't even tell it was still raw, so don't-"
He stopped to heave against the tree again. As he did, he felt an urgent cramping sensation in his lower gut that could only mean one thing: finish puking and find a more secluded tree, ASAP. He vomited one last time, and to his horror, the feeling vanished as his stomach contracted.
Had he just…?
One rainy evening in early March, as Kisame and Itachi were en route to a safe house in Ame, Kisame slipped as he was jumping through the wet trees and banged his knee into a branch.
He stopped to rub it and feel sorry for himself. They'd only been in Rain Country for two hours, and he was already sick of the place. Pein-sama said that all of them would live there together one day, once the first part of his master plan came to fruition, but he was dreading the thought of taking up permanent residence in the village. It combined the cold of a tomb and the damp of an armpit, with the cheerfulness and luxury of neither.
Kiri hadn't been paradise, but at least they got some sun.
Itachi was perched in a tree about twenty feet ahead of him, waiting patiently to set off again.
"Oi, Itachi," he called, "I'm starving. There's an inn about a half mile east of here- let's stop and get dinner."
Some time ago, after three days of heavy activity at the Salmonella Geyser, they had both agreed that Itachi's mealtime duties would be limited to heating water. Kisame didn't really like cooking, but he did like being in charge of their rations. Itachi wasn't cheap, per say, but he was an absolute miser when it came to time and creature comforts; he was staunchly opposed to things like dining out or finding lodging for the night when there were perfectly good squirrels and caves around, even when Kisame offered to pay.
Luckily, since he now carried all their food, he was able to fudge the numbers when he took inventory and pretend they had no choice but to find a restaurant. He didn't do this often, but it was still too frequent for Itachi's tastes.
"We are not far from the safe house," he said. "It would be better to eat when we arrive there, I think."
"We don't have enough left for both of us," said Kisame. "There won't be anything at the house, either, I bet. I thought we'd have time to pick up groceries, but it's too late at night for that now. Sorry."
Itachi gave him an unamused, accusatory look.
"You lead the way, then."
Kisame hid a victorious smile behind the high collar of his cloak.
The inn they went to wasn't fancy, but it was inexpensive, and its home-style menu was exactly what Kisame had been craving.
He ordered crab tempura with sides of miso soup and rice, a salad so he could say he'd eaten a vegetable, and French Fries just for the hell of it. Itachi got tea and some cabbage dish that's smell made Kisame's eyes water. While waiting for his partner to finish his dessert of cherry tart, he also got a soda. He must have been feeling adventurous that night.
"That was good," Kisame sighed when they were finished eating. "Hot food does a person wonders, huh?"
He was still getting used to interpreting Itachi's cryptic noises, but he thought that sounded like agreement.
"How much is it?" Itachi asked as Kisame picked up the little folder the waitress had left at their table.
"About $29. Since you didn't want to come to start with, how about I pay the bill, and you just cover the tip?"
"How much is the tip?"
Kisame shrugged, digging through his wallet. "I usually leave 20%, but 15% is fine, too. Whatever you'd rather do."
Itachi fell silent. Kisame counted out the correct amount of money and looked up to see him staring intently at his hand. He was folding down his fingers and then straightening them out again, as though he was counting on them.
Kisame cleared his throat. "15% would be about $4.50, and 20% would be around $6. It's an odd amount to find an exact percentage on, so what I usually do is double it and divide by ten."
Itachi folded his hands and looked at him in a way that seemed to be requesting further explanation.
"So, double 29 is 58, divided by ten is $5.80. That's a 20% tip. It's a good trick."
He noticed the corner of his partner's mouth twitch in what may have been a frown.
"What is the trick for finding 15%?" he asked.
"I don't know," said Kisame. "I don't think there is one. I just estimated what it would be."
Itachi nodded. "I see." He pulled $5 from his wallet. "I trust that will be sufficient."
"Should be. Ready to go?"
They paused just outside the inn to put their hats back on, because gentlemen did not wear headgear indoors. Pein-sama liked his criminals to leave a positive impression on people; manners were important.
"You are good at arithmetic," Itachi commented as he fastened the strap of his hat under his chin, "and at estimation."
"I find it odd, then, that we run low on supplies so often." He looked at Kisame out of the corner of one red eye. "I would think your skill at estimating numbers would give you better skill at rationing our food."
Kisame laughed nervously. "I guess I'm better at it in theory than I am in practice."
That didn't sound like a good 'Hn.' That might have actually been a pissed off 'Hn.' 'Hn' was very versatile.
"Besides," he rushed to add, "isn't it nice to eat out sometimes? We're always travelling, we hardly ever get real beds or hot showers, we can't even wash our clothes a lot of the time… I like having a decent meal every once in a while. It's something to look forward to, you know?"
Itachi ran his finger over the edge of a kunai hanging on his belt, looking thoughtful.
Kisame waited anxiously for his verdict. He wasn't considering stabbing him with that kunai, was he? He hoped not. Itachi was too fast to outrun.
Good God, how had one of the Seven Swordsmen of the Mist come to be the psychological hostage of a teenager whose head didn't yet reach to his shoulder, anyway? If Fuguki could see him now…
"How long does it take for soda to go flat?" Itachi asked suddenly.
Kisame blinked in surprise. "Uh… not that long. Only a few hours, if you don't close the bottle tight enough."
"It would not be practical to travel with, then," Itachi mused, seemingly more to himself than to his partner.
He stared off into the distance for few seconds, then, with the air of someone coming to a momentous decision, straightened his back and adjusted the brim of his hat. "We can eat here again before we leave Rain Country, if you like. But now we should go to the safe house."
He turned on his heel and began walking back to the forest. Kisame followed.
He wasn't sure what had just happened, or why Itachi had changed his mind, and he wasn't about to ask. There was a fine line between caution and looking gift horses in the mouth- Kisame preferred staying on the caution side.
He'd likely only get a mind-your-own-business 'hn' for an answer, anyway.
"…so the kunoichi says, 'If I'd known it would take this long, I would have gone to Iwa!'"
Kisame laughed heartily and slapped a hand on the counter. "Good one."
Itachi glanced from him to the blacksmith, his mouth puckering in what might have been either irritation or confusion.
They were in a small weapons shop on the outskirts of Fire Country, looking to restock on kunai, shuriken, and assorted arms-related paraphernalia. Long-range weapons had a way of vanishing in battle not unlike socks in the dryer; you swore you threw three, you swore you saw where they all ended up, and yet now you can only find two. Where does the third kunai go?
Since they had to be replaced so often they were fairly cheap, but Kisame and Itachi hadn't had a mission in a while, and funds were low. They did have enough to cover their supplies, but Kisame had deemed it prudent to angle for a discount anyway.
So, for the last half hour, he had been guffawing at the blacksmith's jokes and feigning an interest in his grandchildren's academic achievements, while Itachi stood around like a lump behind him.
The blacksmith turned to him with a toothless grin. "Get it?" he asked.
"Yes," said Itachi. "I do."
They looked at each other. The blacksmith's grin began sliding off his face when he realized Itachi wasn't about to laugh.
"So!" Kisame butted in, slapping his hand on the counter again. "I think we have everything we need. What's the damage?"
The grin reappeared. He'd just known the blacksmith was the kind of guy who'd think asking 'what's the damage' was witty. He probably also thought it was funny when people asked him if he was working hard, or hardly working.
The old man began to pass him a hand-written receipt, but then paused, and scratched something off of it with a pen.
"I'll give you the whetstones on the house," he declared.
"That is kind, but unnecessary," said Itachi. "We will pay for them."
"Maa, don't worry about it." The blacksmith waved a magnanimous hand. "You made a big purchase today. Consider it a special deal for good customers."
"And we appreciate it," said Kisame, forking over the cash. He wanted to pay and get out of there fast, before Itachi could protest further. He had a knack for ruining stuff like this.
"Not a problem, gentlemen," the blacksmith said cheerily, as he crammed the money into his register. "Now, I'll have new katanas next week and new jokes tomorrow, so come back for the products or the entertainment whenever you like!"
Kisame chuckled, wondering if that was his standard farewell. The guy was so cheesy he'd send someone with lactose intolerance right into a coma. He wasn't sure if lactose intolerance could even do that normally, but this dude could make it fatal if he tried hard enough.
They said their goodbyes and left. Once they were out in the street, Kisame nudged Itachi with his elbow.
"Free whetstones," he said. "Am I good or what?"
Itachi's eyes flickered to him briefly. "We both bought things."
"He didn't give them to us because of how much we bought, he gave them to us because I buttered him up."
They paused at a bench outside a nail salon to divide up their purchases. A big part of the reason their partnership worked so well was because neither of them had huge egos; Kisame was more than willing to acknowledge that Itachi was the stronger of the two of them, and Itachi was appreciative of him in return. But the glory for this particular victory was, by all rights, Kisame's, and he would like his mad props for it.
"Flattery gets you everywhere," he lectured as he handed Itachi a set of kunai out of the bag, "especially when you laugh at someone's jokes. I had this teacher once who told us told us sharing a laugh with somebody is the fastest way to get on their good side, and he was absolutely right. Humor is a very valuable weapon, you know."
Itachi glanced up from his pack with a frown. "His jokes were not funny."
Kisame shrugged. "That's besides the point, but they weren't all that bad. I liked the one about the mailman and the parrot. I'd tell it to someone else."
Itachi gave him a look that seemed to imply he regretted every charitable thought he'd ever had about him. He didn't say anything, but Kisame still felt like he'd been called a name.
"Maybe you didn't get it," he suggested defensively. "It was a good joke."
"It made no sense," Itachi argued. "Parrots repeat what they hear. They have no real understanding of language."
"But… that was the punchline. The whole point was that that particular parrot did understand what it was saying."
"I know. That's why it made no sense."
Kisame wasn't sure what to say to that. It wasn't funny because it was impossible for parrots to understand human language, but parrots understand human language was the essence of the joke. This was a divide by zero situation.
"Itachi, I think you're misunderstanding the whole concept," Kisame said. "I mean, what makes something funny at all? It's something unexpected or ridiculous happening, right? Like, say I just fell down right now for no reason. That would be ridiculous, and you'd laugh."
"I would not."
Kisame sighed. "Okay, if you fell down right now, I would laugh."
"Hn," said Itachi. He sounded offended.
"Okay, never mind. My point is that the reason lots of jokes work is because they don't make sense, but they aren't as funny when you analyze them like this."
"Especially when they weren't funny to begin with," Itachi added.
Kisame glared at the bag of weaponry. He'd never been closer to telling his partner to shut up than he was at this moment.
He was going to keep the shuriken with the flames painted on it now. Itachi could have the regular old boring one, the little shit.
#4: Sealing the Deal
Akatsuki didn't often get escort missions that involved women- for some reason, people seemed to think male missing-nins were not the best traveling companions for their wives and daughters- but Kisame was delighted when they did.
On this particular job, they were escorting the lab assistant of a prominent biochemist to Lightning Country for a conference. She explained that she was bringing a bunch of their research to present, and her boss was pathologically afraid of someone robbing her for his patents along the way. He was also pathologically afraid of speaking to crowds, the germs in public bathrooms, and being murdered in a hotel shower a la Psycho, so for him to come in person was out of the question.
Kisame thought he sounded like a fun guy to work with.
Still, his varied phobias had led them to this mission and to meeting Shiori the lab assistant, so he supposed he didn't have much to complain about. He liked being around women. In his experience, they were gentler and more understanding than men, and they usually smelled better. Not all of them were beautiful, but even the less attractive ones were better scenery than Itachi. Plus, a lot of them could cook.
Women were the tits.
Shirori got tongue-tied and quivery whenever either of them looked at or spoke to her, but Kisame was guessing it was for very different reasons. He looked like a shark. Itachi looked like an underwear model. He could draw his own conclusions.
"You should go for it," he urged Itachi on the second afternoon of their trip, while Shiori was off washing up in a nearby stream. "It's obvious she likes you, and you don't know when you'll get another opportunity like this."
Itachi glanced up from sharpening a kunai. "It's only a passing attraction. There would be no point in getting involved with her."
"No point?" Kisame echoed incredulously. "No po- have you seen her legs? What more point do you need?"
He didn't answer. Kisame sat down heavily on a rock to think things over.
"Itachi," he said after a moment, "this isn't really any of my business, but… do you prefer men?"
Itachi stopped sliding the blade over the whetstone.
"I don't have a problem if you're… into that, but we've been partners for a long time now, and it's something I've been wond-"
"No," Itachi cut him off. "I am not interested in men. And given our circumstances, I am not interested in pursuing women, either."
"Oh, okay, I was just curious." Kisame paused. "So you do think she's attractive, right?"
"I hadn't noticed."
"Maa, Itachi, you're still a young guy," he wheedled. "This is the time in your life when you're supposed to be thinking about girls. Why don't you just flirt with her a little? There's no harm in that."
Well, there it was. The mind-your-own-business 'hn.' Kisame guessed he kind of deserved it, but he couldn't help feeling that he was right. It was true that their life situation was less than ideal for romance, but who knew when or if that would change? He could see Itachi waiting for 'the right time' forever, or worse, being killed in two months without ever having had a bit of fun with a girl.
That didn't seem fair. That would be pretty sad, in fact.
He decided he was going to be the wingman, whether Itachi wanted one or not. After all, he'd only been thirteen when he joined Akatsuki. He probably didn't know how to talk to the ladies. He probably didn't even know what he was missing by not talking to them.
I am such a good partner, Kisame thought.
He bet Sasori and Orochimaru had never helped each other pick up hot girls. He could only imagine what either of them might actually do if they caught one, but it was the thought that counted.
"So, Shiori," Kisame said casually, "what kind of research are you presenting at your conference?"
She glanced at him nervously.
"Um… well, it's mostly stuff about this heart medication we've been working on," she said. "It lowers blood pressure and also reduces cholesterol, so we're hoping to market it as a preventative treatment for angina."
"Oh, that's interesting."
This was a lie. Kisame wasn't much concerned with blood pressure or cholesterol. He wasn't completely sure what angina was, but it sounded like something else he didn't care about.
"I don't know a lot about all that medical stuff," he continued. "That's more Itachi's department. He's really good with herbal remedies."
Shiori looked at Itachi expectantly.
"Not in particular," he said.
"Ah, he's just being modest," Kisame assured Shiori. "One time I got this really bad cold, and he gave me this tea that fixed it almost right away. I had a few sips, and I stopped coughing just like that."
"Oh… wow," said Shiori. "What kind of tea was it, Itachi-san?"
"Well, it was the best chamomile tea I ever had!" Kisame proclaimed. "Must be a secret recipe, ne, Itachi?"
He kept his gaze trained straight ahead. Shiori kept hers on her feet, looking uncomfortable and confused. This wasn't going well. Time to play his trump card: the Sharingan.
Ladies loved the Sharingan. Well, they did in theory, at least.
"You know what I've always wondered?" Kisame asked. "I've always wondered if there's a biochemical explanation for kekkei genkai. I mean, I know they're genetic, but how do they happen in the first place? There must be some kind of chemical difference that lets some people have a really amazing doujutsu, for example, while some people don't have anything."
Itachi threw him an irritated glance over his shoulder. He could have made that hint more subtle, perhaps.
"Biochemistry and genetics are closely related fields," Shiori said, her voice gaining confidence. "You're right that biological differences play a role in gene expression, but kekkei genkai haven't been studied as extensively as you'd think."
She shook her head. "No. Sometimes- well, a lot of the time- the Hidden Villages conduct their own research on their clans' blood limits, but they almost never publish it. They're afraid about what their enemies might do with the information, I guess, but from a scientific viewpoint, it's a real shame."
"That is a shame. Do you have any interest in kekkei genkai, personally?"
She looked up at him from under her eyelashes.
"Maybe certain ones," she said, a little shyly.
"Oh, yeah?" He grinned at her, but stopped when her eyes widened at the sight of his teeth. "What kind? Really strong ones, I bet."
She didn't answer for a moment.
"A lot of people don't know this," she said suddenly, "but heart health and kidney health are intertwined."
Kisame blinked. "Uh… cool."
"Yes." She smoothed her skirt and threw him another shy look. "High blood pressure is one of the most common causes of kidney failure. That's why we were working on a medication to reduce it, actually- the real focus of our research is the kidneys."
"I… didn't know that. Did you know that, Itachi?"
Shiori ignored him. "Did you know that some fish can regenerate their kidneys?" she asked Kisame. "Goldfish, skates, rays… sharks."
Her cheeks flushed as though she had startled herself with her own boldness. Her eyes were shining with curiosity and hope as she gazed at him through thick lashes.
If she was Indiana Jones, Kisame was the Holy Grail.
Forget being a good partner, he decided. Itachi was young, handsome by anyone's standards, and didn't seem to appreciate his help in the least.
There were only so many women in the world interested in shark men.
This was his chance.
"I'd never heard that before," he said. "I wonder if my kidneys can regenerate. Maybe you could do some research on me sometime."
Shiori's doe eyes were as wide as dinner plates. "I think… I think that would be a wonderful opportunity," she said breathlessly. "For science, I mean."
"Great." Kisame smiled (with his mouth closed, of course, for the sake of her nerves). "I do like to support science. I have… a passion for it, you could say."
"Oh," she whispered.
"Hn," Itachi snorted.
As the years went on, Itachi relaxed his 'no restaurants' policy. He even grew to enjoy going out to eat, which Kisame appreciated, but he was picky about where they went.
He liked little cafes that served traditional food, especially if they served it in tiny dishes over several courses. Kisame preferred greasy diners that gave him large portions all at the same time. They could just dump eggs and bacon in a bucket for all he cared, to be honest.
The only time he got his first choice of restaurants was when they were in Earth Country, because Earth Country just did not do fancy. They didn't even have many real diners- it was mostly bars. An incredible number of bars, in fact. There were bars on every street corner. Bars in every inn. Bars behind every rock, and there were a lot of rocks around.
Kisame didn't mind; it was nearly impossible to get Itachi into a place that served beer anywhere else in the world. Not that he tried all that often, but he did like having a drink every once in a while. And every once in a great, great while, such as tonight, he liked to get shitfaced.
"That is your fourth beer," Itachi pointed out, watching his partner take a swig from the bottle.
"That it is," agreed Kisame. "Want to see me chug it?"
Itachi frowned in disapproval. "No."
"Ah, come on. Here, I'll order you one, and we'll make it a contest," he offered. "My best time is six seconds. Think you can beat me?"
"Why would I want to?"
"Well, I don't know, why do people have staring contests or see who can hold their breath the longest? It's fun."
Itachi leaned back in his chair and withdrew his arm into his cloak. "Hn."
"Want to play pool, then?"
"Darts? It's just like throwing kunai."
Kisame grunted and took another sip of beer. "I'm just trying to have a good time. We did really well on this mission, even for us. Why not celebrate a bit?"
"We mustn't become complacent," Itachi said coldly. "I do not think it is wise to let our guard down."
"Let our guard down against who, exactly? All the violent, dangerous farmers here in East Bumblefuck, Earth Country?"
Itachi closed his eyes in response. God, but he was a drip sometimes. Kisame pounded a fist on the table, causing him to snap to tense, startled attention.
"Made you look," he teased with a gleeful grin.
Itachi glared at him, but he wasn't intimidated. The guy was about as violent as a potted plant off the battlefield.
"You are being childish," he accused stiffly.
"You're being a wet blanket," Kisame shot back. He was aware comebacks like that didn't make him seem any less childish, but he hadn't come to this bar with the intention of acting like a responsible adult anyway.
Itachi twisted his mouth in a way that meant he was about to begrudgingly humor someone. He wasn't there, of course, but usually that someone was Hidan. Hidan required a lot of humoring.
"I will have one beer," Itachi said, "if you will stop being so foolish."
"Have six and I'll dance on the table," joked Kisame.
One beer turned into two, which turned into five, and then eight. Kisame just kept ordering them two and three at a time, and threatened to drink all of them whenever Itachi tried to pass.
"You cannot get too drunk," Itachi warned him, over and over. "I can't carry you back to the motel."
"Bah, I've never gotten too blitzed to walk," insisted Kisame. "If anything, I'll be carrying you."
Then Itachi would give him a dark look and sip his drink as though he was willingly taking poison. For someone so cool and collected, he was being a real drama queen about the whole thing.
Finally, after Itachi'd had his eighth beer and he'd had his fourteenth, Kisame decided it was time to go.
"I'm almost out of cash," he explained, "and that guy over by the cigarette machine is giving us the stink eye."
He turned and glared as said stink-eye guy.
"Usually, I wouldn't walk away from a fight," he confided to Itachi. "You know that. But I'm just here to have a good time tonight. I don't want any trouble for the sake of trouble."
"That's good," agreed Itachi. "I never want trouble."
"I know, and that's what I like about you. I'm really glad that we're partners. Did you know Pein-sama was thinking about sticking me with Kakuzu before you came along?" He shook his head. "He would have killed me ages ago. I swear that guy needs medication or something. Don't tell him I said that, though."
Itachi looked him in the face. In typical drunk person fashion, he held eye contact so long it got kind of weird.
"Are you glad we're partners?" he asked. "I wouldn't want to be my partner, if I was you."
"What? Why? You're a great partner."
Itachi shrugged, which Kisame didn't think he'd ever seen him do before. "I don't laugh at your jokes, and I take a long time to shower when we get a room for the night. Sometimes I use up all the hot water. I've been trying to improve on that, but-"
"Whoa, whoa," Kisame interrupted, holding up his hands. "You don't need to explain. Like, seriously, please don't explain what you're doing in the shower. It doesn't bother me."
Itachi nodded, looking melancholy. "I apologize. Long hair takes time to wash."
"Yeah, I get that."
"I also don't like using the restroom when someone in the next room can hear me." He trailed a finger through some beer that had spilled on the table and drew a frowny face with it. "Running water covers the sound."
"That's… something I didn't know about you." Kisame eyed him warily. "Ready to get out of here?"
It was nice outside.
Kisame had been starting to get tired sitting in the warm, smoky haze of the bar, but he got a burst of energy when the cool night air hit him. He wasn't cold- he was too drunk to really feel it- but he was refreshed. It was pleasant. He felt like walking fast. He felt like laughing too loud for three in the morning. He felt like eating nachos.
"Hey, Itachi," he said, looking to his left. No one was there.
Kisame turned around. His partner was standing about ten feet behind him, staring at a dead bird in the middle of the street.
"What's wrong?" he asked, walking back to join him. "That's not one of your birds, is it?"
Itachi shook his head. "I was thinking," he said, "that dead birds are a metaphor for our life."
Kisame looked long and hard it, trying to find the similarity. Something, like a cat or raccoon, might eat that dead bird. He wanted to eat nachos. That was all he could come up with.
"Someone should write a poem about it," said Itachi.
"Uh… right. I was going to say, let's go find a convenience store. There's a hot plate in our motel room- we can get some chips and cheese and I'll make us nachos."
"No, thank you," Itachi declined.
"Why not? I make amazing nachos. You'll love 'em."
"I do not like food made on hot plates," he said dully. "I find them sad, because there are always hot plates in cheap motels, but no one has a hot plate in their home."
"That's only because houses have stoves," said Kisame. "They couldn't fit a stove in a motel room."
Itachi closed his eyes. "I can't remember the last time I cooked something on a stove."
Kisame stood there quietly, wishing he'd gotten into a fight with that guy back at the bar after all. It would have been a much better end to the evening than this gloomy crap, philosophizing about dead animals and not eating nachos.
He was about to tell Itachi that he was the least fun person in the world to get drunk with, that you were supposed to shout about how much you loved people, and stumble off of curbs, and spend more money on fast food than made sense when you were as plastered as they were, but he couldn't bring himself to say anything unkind to him.
He'd never seen him look so depressed. It was entirely due to the alcohol, he knew, but it was pitiful all the same.
Kisame patted him on the arm. "I'm never having a beer with you again," he said sympathetically.
"Thank you," Itachi said in a soft voice. "It tasted terrible."
"Let's go back to the motel."
He turned and gave Kisame a sad, soul-searching look. "Are you going to turn on the hot plate?"
"No." He paused. "Can I unlock the sexy channel on the TV, though?"
#6: Being Dead
One time, Itachi died, and then not long after, Kisame died.
Then Itachi was reincarnated for a little while, which was pretty neat.
Kisame stayed dead.
Everyone was sad.