*punches self in the fucking face*
Yo. I'm alive. And posting a new story even though I'm falling behind with updates.
Oh look at this—an actual ninjaverse story. *flails* I guess there's a first time for everything.
Anyways, now it's time to go work on one of my 123214891 other fics.
BY THE WAY, you guys should follow me on Tumblr. Actually, you might end up getting spammed with llamas, but I mean...?
The link is on my profile. xD I'll start posting updates about the status of stories and crap there if enough people from ff follow me, I guess. But yeah.
Oh, and the title of this fic is a Get Scared song. ; u ;
There are really no warnings for this story. YET. But I'm rating it M just to be safe.
Sasuke finished flipping through the newly-defeated ninja's wallet, smiling as he found enough ryo to afford him and his brother a nicer-than-usual hotel for the night. He tossed the small wallet down after taking the money, then faced Itachi, his triumphant grin widening.
"So, where to now, Nii-san?" Sasuke asked as he walked until he stood next to his big brother. The elder shrugged, but took the ryo Sasuke offered to him and started counting it. "We can afford a nice inn tonight," Sasuke said, his wide eyes glimmering with excitement.
Itachi smirked at Sasuke's childish happiness, though he himself found the idea of a comfortable bed more than appealing after all the traveling they'd done in the past week. His eyes hurt from the strain he'd put them under for the last few days with their near-constant battles, and he sighed as the numbers on the ryo blurred in front of his dulling eyes.
"We'll travel to the next town over," he said, handing the money back to Sasuke. His eyes hurt too much to continue trying—and failing—to count it. Sasuke pouted slightly, but followed Itachi's lead and slipped the money into his pouch as they began walking.
"Are your eyes getting worse?" he asked, voice heavy with concern.
"It's nothing to worry about."
"But I'm going to worry."
Itachi raised one black eyebrow, then smiled. Even though his baby brother was hardly a the child he used to be, even at only eleven years old, he would never stop being sweet—but only to Itachi. No one else saw this side of Sasuke, and if they ever did, they were probably dead.
"I'll be fine."
Sasuke huffed with a small eye-roll, but soon the two brothers fell into a comfortable silence only broken by their soft footfalls as they continued to walk. Sasuke's eyes felt heavy as the sun dipped below the horizon, casting beautiful shades of orange and fuchsia across the fading sky, and he had to stifle a rather loud yawn as it built in his throat. Itachi, however, noticed this—along with his brother's slightly dragging feet—and stopped walking once they stood in front of an inn near the border of the town.
"We can stay here tonight as long as we leave early in the morning," he said, not missing the way Sasuke's face relaxed at the news.
The younger nodded and followed Itachi into the small, but well-kept stopped at the check-in desk, and the woman who sat there blushed embarrassingly red once her eyes fell onto the face of the eldest Uchiha; her blush only darkened further when she caught sight of Sasuke as well, and she scrambled to get them a room as quickly as she could without a single word of instruction.
After Sasuke handed the woman enough ryo for one night's stay, she handed him a key, nearly giggling at the polite smile she earned from Itachi before they headed towards the stairs. However, the happy smile was wiped right off her face under Sasuke's malicious glare. He hated all those women and their adoring looks; they were all the same, and none were worthy of being worth his or Itachi's time. Maybe they would be if they stopped gawking for once in their lives, but he highly doubted it. Perhaps he was a little too cynical for an eleven-year-old, but life had been far from a bed of roses for the young Uchiha.
After he was certain he'd traumatized the woman enough, he turned on his heel and headed in Itachi's direction, a haughty smirk tugging at the corners of his lips as he walked.
"Must you be so rude?" Itachi asked once Sasuke caught up with him halfway up the narrow staircase.
Sasuke shrugged, pursing his lips in a perfect picture of innocence though Itachi couldn't see.
"I don't know what you're talking about, Nii-san," he said, his tone as childish as his expression.
Shaking his head, Itachi poked Sasuke on the forehead without a single glance back and smirked at the surprised yelp he heard. Right on target.
Once they both made it up the stairs and to the purchased room—thankfully without another forehead-poking incident—Sasuke dropped his bag near one of the futons and cracked his back, wincing at a particularly loud pop before nearly collapsing onto the ground and sprawling out on the tatami flooring.
"I'm exhausted," he said, stifling another loud yawn as he draped an arm over his eyes. Itachi hummed in response and settled onto his own ground-level futon, but with much more grace than his tired little brother.
"We should sleep early," Itachi said, setting down his bag. "We need to leave before sunrise. It's unwise for us to stay in one place for long."
"Don't worry so much," Sasuke yawned hugely, not even bothering to repress it that time. "But I'm fine with sleeping early."
He sat up quickly, ignoring the slight dizziness he felt, and shifted through his bag for a couple of moments to find his toothbrush, then stood to his feet once he had it. He wobbled a bit, though as soon as he regained his footing he disappeared into the small bathroom. Itachi stood to join his brother as well after grabbing his own bag, and pattered after him.
A few short minutes later, both laid down under the covers of their futons, though Sasuke was practically knocked out cold the second his head hit the pillow. Soon, his low snores could be heard throughout the small room. Itachi smiled at the peaceful look that overtook Sasuke's normally stoic features as he slept; it was times like these that almost made him seem like the little boy he was those few years ago. Itachi's smile faltered as he thought of their lives before the massacre—before he was ordered to take everything away.
With a sigh, he turned away from the sleeping form of his baby brother, and allowed his own eyes to slip closed.
"Nii-san, can I sleep in here tonight?" a small voice piped from the doorway.
Itachi opened his eyes slowly. They glimmered like blood-red rubies in the dim room, making a shiver run down Sasuke's spine as he stared into the crimson orbs. He couldn't very well see Itachi's face, since the only break in the darkness was the small bit of moonlight filtering through the sheer curtains, but he could only hope he wasn't too angry. The draperies swayed with a small, cool breeze as it blew through Itachi's window, and Sasuke held his breath until his lungs ached as he lightly bounced on his feet, just waiting for Itachi's response.
"Of course," Itachi said, not sounding the least bit disturbed. Sasuke breathed a large sigh of relief, his rigid posture relaxing as he pattered closer to Itachi's bed, though his movements were slowed and made slightly clumsy by his sleepiness.
Upon Sasuke reaching Itachi's large bed, the elder pulled back his comforter and allowed Sasuke to crawl in next to him. Sasuke beamed once he saw Itachi's expression; the elder almost seemed happy that Sasuke was there if the small upturning of his lips was anything to go by.
With a smile, Sasuke laid down next to Itachi, covering himself with the blanket as he cuddled up to his brother's side. Itachi wrapped his arms around his baby brother, forcing a contented sigh past Sasuke's parted lips at the small show of affection.
"I love you, Nii-san," the tiny raven yawned, snuggling closer to his big brother's warm and comforting embrace. He breathed deeply as his eyes slipped closed, pleased when the pleasant, somewhat spicy scent that was his big brother filled his nostrils, further relaxing his entire body. Itachi smiled and hugged the little nine-year-old closer, then ran his fingers through the child's rebellious, raven hair, nearly lulling him to sleep.
In a single heartbeat, the embrace grew too warm, almost like it was charring Sasuke's skin. He tried to pull away, but found himself trapped by the strong arms wound around his small, bony body. Wiggling violently did him no good as the arms wound tighter and tighter, practically squeezing the breath out of his pressured lungs.
Then Itachi was gone.
Sasuke opened his eyes, but all he saw was darkness, and suddenly he stood in a room that was nothing but black. Then, slowly, something red trickled into his vision, dripping down the pitch-black walls surrounding him and staining them a morbidly gorgeous crimson. Sasuke reached his hand forward, and the scarlet substance dribbled onto his fingers, staining his paper-white skin. He rubbed two digits together, his coal eyes widening as he finally realized what the liquid was.
He was standing in a room with bleeding walls.
Sasuke opened his mouth to scream, but found the sound trapped in his throat, rendering him soundless as the room continued to bleed. He trembled, starting from his arms and spreading from his torso to his legs as fear churned in the pit of his stomach.
"Foolish little brother..."
Sasuke's trembling worsened until his knees gave out and he fell onto them. Tears quickly built in his eyes and spilled down his cheeks, leaving wet trails behind as his chest constricted with silent sobs.
"You're so weak."
Footsteps could be heard, coming closer and closer; every heavy sound echoed through Sasuke's mind, multiplying the terror he already felt.
When the sound finally stopped, he couldn't see anyone, but he knew the person stood directly in front of him. He could feel their presence and it made his heart drop to his stomach in a single instant.
"Real shinobi don't cry, Sasuke." The voice sounded disappointed, condescending.
Sasuke chanced a look from where he heard the voice coming from, dragging his eyes up slowly until they settled on a bodiless face that seemed to radiate the most darkness.
His lips were stained with blood.
Sasuke bolted upright, swallowing as many huge gulps of air as he could as he clutched the thin blanket in a tight grip. He first registered the strange tint the room held as he dragged his eyes around it, meaning his sharingan was active; it must have happened thanks to his anxiety. With an annoyed sigh he deactivated it, but soon found the dark that fell over the room stirred a leftover feeling of dread deep in his chest. With haste, he reactivated his sharingan, then continued his survey of the unfamiliar room until he caught sight of the most comforting thing imaginable.
Almost immediately, the last of his terror fled as his glowing eyes rested on the sleeping form of Itachi. His back rose and fell to a steady, unhurried rhythm, meaning he was sleeping peacefully. Without giving himself one more second to change his mind, Sasuke shoved the thin blanket off his sweaty body and crawled the small distance between the room's two futons. He moved Itachi's blanket back just a small bit, then cuddled up next to him, though he tried his hardest to avoid actually touching him for fear of disturbing his sleep.
"Did you have a nightmare?"
Sasuke almost cried out but forced his lips shut at the last moment. So Itachi wasn't sleeping...
"Sorry, Aniki," he whispered. "I didn't mean to wake you up."
"It's alright," Itachi whispered back, though his voice was much more slurred and sleep-heavy. "What was your dream about?"
"Same old, same old," Sasuke mumbled.
Itachi sighed, but rolled onto his back, then his side, until he faced the smaller raven laying beside him. He sighed once more when he noticed Sasuke wouldn't meet his dull-red eyes, meaning he had one of those dreams again.
"Was it about me?"
Sasuke nodded, but shrugged one of his shoulders.
"It's really nothing," he said. "I'm used to them."
Itachi wrapped an arm around his baby brother and pulled him a little closer, smiling slightly when Sasuke allowed himself to be brought to Itachi's chest. The elder rested his chin on top of Sasuke's head, his hand drifting to lightly rub the younger's back.
"Will you be able to fall back asleep?" Itachi asked. Sasuke nodded and let his heavy eyes slowly close, inhaling the scent he smelled in his dream; this time, however, it was much more comforting.
As Sasuke quickly fell back asleep, this time without fear of any nightmares, Itachi felt far too awake. He hated the guilt that weighed on his chest every time Sasuke awoke from a dream related to that terrible night, though he knew there wasn't a single thing he could have done to make the experience any less horrible.
He took Sasuke with him—kidnapped, according to the village—and it had taken nearly a year just for Sasuke to call him 'Nii-san' without practically spitting the word. He hadn't forgiven Itachi for the longest time, though the elder didn't blame him in the slightest. But once he was told the entire truth, things were almost back to normal.
Except for Sasuke's nightmares.
In Sasuke's dreams, Itachi wasn't the kind, gentle older brother he knew he had. Itachi was vicious, completely evil in Sasuke's subconscious mind, a constant reminder of the untimely deaths of their entire clan. Although Sasuke may have forgiven Itachi the best he could, that resentment was always going to be there no matter how deeply he tried to bury it. Itachi knew this; he knew that what he had done—what he was forced to do was unforgivable. He would carry that guilt for the rest of his life.
After placing a light kiss on the top of Sasuke's head, Itachi finally fell asleep, his unpleasant thoughts reduced to nothing but a dull roar in the back of his sleep-muddled mind.
Itachi's blurry eyes cracked open just as the first rays of sunlight peeked through the blinds, meaning they overslept by nearly an hour. He blinked a couple of times, waiting for everything to fall into focus, and sighed when he realized it wasn't going to anymore. He activated his sharingan and slowly sat up, though he was careful to set his sleeping baby brother down lightly since he'd been using Itachi's chest as a pillow.
Itachi dragged his eyes around the room again, his worry lessening as things were slightly more focused—but only slightly. He knew it was only a matter of time until he went blind completely, though if he were to be honest he wished it would have hurried up and happened sooner; waiting for the inevitable is never pleasant.
"Nii-san..." Sasuke yawned and snuggled deeper under the thin blanket. "It's too early."
Itachi chuckled quietly then mussed Sasuke's hair, his amusement doubling when he realized Sasuke was too tired to even complain about his hair being touched.
"Did you sleep well?" Itachi asked, slowly standing to his feet. Sasuke grumbled something Itachi couldn't quite catch before covering his head with his blanket. Shaking his head slightly, Itachi decided to let his brother rest for a little while longer and padded to the bathroom to ready himself for the day ahead.
Sasuke vaguely registered the sound of the shower turning on and grumbled as he forced his sleep-weighed eyes open. He yawned widely then flopped onto his back, stretching like a cat after a long nap and sighing contently as his joints popped, but less painfully than last night. Itachi always got mad at him for doing that, but it felt good so he saw no real reason to stop. His brother always worried too much.
Yawning again, Sasuke forced himself into a sitting position and blinked sleepily a couple of times. He noticed the sun was already up, which meant they'd slept later than Itachi wanted them too—not that Sasuke was complaining, of course. The more sleep the better.
He forced himself onto his knees, then one foot, then the other until he finally stood up straight, just in time for Itachi to come out with a towel wrapped around his waist. He strode closer to Sasuke and playfully ruffled his hair before lightly pecking him on the forehead.
"The shower's all yours," he said, "but try to be quick."
Sasuke nodded, suppressing another yawn, and bent over to fetch his bag. Once he held it he pattered to the bathroom and set about getting ready for the long day ahead—not even five minutes later and both boys were ready to leave.
They exited their room soundlessly and soon were on their way. They walked through the dawn lit street that was just beginning to bustle with early-morning vendors and the like, but despite Sasuke's whining, Itachi decided they would wait until they reached the next town to eat anything. They could never be certain if they were being tailed or not, and Itachi didn't want to take any unnecessary chances—especially after all the strain they'd put their bodies under for the past week.
They continued to walk as rain clouds gathered in the sky, further souring Sasuke's mood. His stomach ached and he was still tired and sore, but he reminded himself that real shinobi wouldn't whine about such things. He groaned quietly, and missed Itachi's amused snicker and slight shake of his head. His baby brother was still a kid, no matter how grown-up he tried to act.
After a few more minutes of aimless walking, they came across a tea house about a mile outside the town they stayed the night in. One pleading glance from Sasuke was enough to clue Itachi in on what the boy wanted, and with a long sigh he shuffled through his pocket for a couple of ryo. He sighed again as the numbers blurred in front of his eyes, but handed the money to Sasuke and followed the boy inside.
The tea house was small and dimly-lit, but they settled into some seats in the back after ordering their food and tea at the front. Sasuke kicked his feet under the table, feeling bored as they sat in silence. Itachi wasn't the best for making conversation with, that was for sure.
"Did you have any weird dreams last night, Nii-san?" Sasuke asked once the silence grew too thick for him to stand. Itachi jerked slightly; he'd fallen into deep thought during the lack of conversation.
"No," he said quietly, sounding rather spaced-out, "I slept through the night after you fell back asleep."
Sasuke nodded, though he felt boredom settle in again once he realized his brother was done with talking unless he asked another question. If only his Nii-san were better at keeping a conversation going...
A lady with blonde hair and a huge smile approached the table and placed their orders in front of the two brothers; she—surprisingly—didn't seem too interested in either of them, and turned on her heel, heading in the opposite direction without even casting a second glance their way, much to Sasuke's interest. That was a definite first.
Then his stomach rumbled and he turned to his food, clasping his hands together with a quiet 'itadakimasu' before grabbing his onigiri and digging in. Itachi smirked as he ate his own onigiri and drank his tea, but something out of the corner of his eye caught his attention. He turned to investigate, his sharingan swirling dangerously once he caught sight of it.
Two leaf nin.
Itachi gritted his teeth, silently hoping they wouldn't recognize either of them, though he couldn't help but feel relief at his choice of not wearing his slashed hitai-ate that day. The two ninjas sat down at the counter and ordered something, but didn't offer one glance in Sasuke and Itachi's direction. They seemed to just be making small-talk, and Itachi allowed himself to relax a bit—but only a little.
He was nearly done with his onigiri when he heard something odd—something that wasn't often mentioned and quickly piqued his interest.
"Did you hear the news," the shorter ninja said, "about the Uchiha massacre?"
Itachi held his breath, one hand slowly moving towards the kunai-pouch on his pants. Why on Earth would they have brought up something so old?
The taller nin nodded while simultaneously swallowing a huge gulp of his tea. "Yeah," he said. "They planned the whole thing."
Itachi's eyes widened just slightly, his food completely forgotten as he listened with rapt interest.
Who planned it?
"Can't believe they ordered a kid to do it," the shorter nin said. "Itachi was his name, right? What was he? Thirteen, fourteen?"
"Yeah," the taller nin said. "Something like that."
Itachi finally swung his dull eyes away from the blurred forms of the two nin, and locked eyes with Sasuke. The younger's dark eyes were wide; he'd undoubtedly heard the conversation as well.
"They know?" he mouthed, to which Itachi shrugged slightly. He picked up his onigiri and finished it off before drinking the last of his tea in one swift gulp, his movements controlled but quick. Sasuke, sensing his brother's urge to move on, hastily finished his food as well. They stood after that, their heads slightly downcast as they soundlessly headed towards the door. Luckily, they made it out without drawing the attention of the two nin, and soon were on their way once more.
"So the truth's out?" Sasuke asked, trying to match Itachi's long strides as they increased in pace.
"I suppose so," he said as he slowed down. He figured they were far enough away by now to not be heard. "But they may only be rumors. We can't know for certain."
"But...does that mean we can go home?"
Itachi nearly flinched; was Konoha really their 'home' anymore?
"I don't know, Sasuke," Itachi muttered, dragging his eyes to Sasuke as the younger caught up, panting slightly, "but we can't take any chances."
Sasuke sighed, and nodded his head.
"I get that," he said, "but couldn't we just...check it out?"
"What do you mean?"
Sasuke shrugged as he repressed another yawn. What he wouldn't do for a decent night's sleep...
They soon fell into a familiar silence, the padding of their sandals against the ground the only sound to be heard. Sasuke's thoughts drifted, and he thought of any way they could possibly go home. It was true that what Konoha had done to Itachi was unfair, but Sasuke missed it there; although, sometimes he couldn't tell if he missed the village or just the memories of their old family. Sasuke squeezed his eyes shut as images of their family sitting together, eating dinner, laughing even a single week before the massacre filtered into his mind. He wanted to block them out; he knew they would only upset him.
Itachi watched Sasuke's sudden shift in demeanor, his own expression falling just a fraction. He knew what Sasuke was probably thinking about; he only got that forlorn expression when he entertained thoughts of times before everything went wrong.
Sasuke was so lost in his thoughts that he didn't notice an uprooted branch on the path in front of him, and tripped slightly, though Itachi was able to hold out his arm to catch him before he fell.
"Are you alright?" Itachi asked as Sasuke recovered from the surprise of losing his footing. The younger nodded and tried to straighten himself up, though he winced as he realized he'd scraped his ankle. With a small huff, he turned his gaze to Itachi, silently asking for something only the elder could give. A smirk curled the edges of Itachi's lips as he kneeled slightly, giving his permission for Sasuke to use him as a human transport.
"Thanks, Nii-san," Sasuke said, climbing onto Itachi's back. Itachi chuckled as he straightened up and settled back into their old pace; he wasn't bothered in the slightest by the extra weight on his back, as he'd grown used to it over the years.
Itachi continued walking until a certain sound hit his ears—it was faint, but it was there nonetheless. He turned briskly and headed in the direction of the quiet rushing, and it wasn't even a minute later when he came across a small stream slightly off the path.
"We can wash your scrape," he said as a means of explanation for their sudden detour.
Sasuke nodded—though Itachi couldn't see it—and allowed himself to be lowered off Itachi's back as they sat down near the bank of the water. Sasuke unbuckled his sandal on his wounded leg and placed it aside, then cupped his hands and brought some of the water to the torn flesh. He dribbled it over the scrape, enjoying the coolness on the tender area. He repeated this a couple of times until he was certain it was clean enough, then grabbed his sandal and refastened it. He didn't stand, however; he decided to sit where he was, staring at the clear water cascading over the small rocks in front of him. Itachi gazed at them as well, though the water looked like more of a blob than anything. He sighed silently, wishing for the days when he was able to enjoy such a sight without the haziness that was quickly becoming constant.
Itachi turned to Sasuke, one eyebrow cocked as he waited for him to continue.
"Could we...sneak into the village? And find out?"
Itachi's expression remained neutral, but inside the wheels were turning. Could they infiltrate Konoha?
"What do you suggest we do once we get there?" Itachi asked. Sasuke shrugged, his lips pursed together in thought.
"We could talk to the Hokage."
Itachi's eyes widened as his eyebrows rose. "If it's not true, I'm pretty sure he wouldn't take kindly to my being there," he said.
Sasuke shrugged again.
"I don't know," he sighed. "I just...miss it. Konoha."
"I shouldn't have taken you with me," Itachi muttered, trying his hardest to focus on the water in front of him. He wanted to see it.
Sasuke's eyes nearly bulged and he scrambled to face Itachi completely. The elder started at the sudden movement, but nearly smiled as he met Sasuke's determined gaze. He might not have been able to make out every sharp definition of Sasuke's features, but that look hadn't changed a bit since they were children—Itachi was sure of it.
"I'm glad you took me with you," Sasuke said, his tone resolute. "You're the most important person to me."
Itachi did crack a small smile then, and lightly poked Sasuke on the forehead, letting his fingers linger there for just a second longer than usual.
"You're the most important person to me too, Sasuke."
Sasuke's cheeks flushed and he smirked with an uncharacteristic shyness, then nodded.
"Let's keep it that way, okay?"
"Okay," Itachi smirked. Sasuke settled back then, crossing his legs Indian style as he kept his eyes locked with Itachi's. He continued to look at his brother for a few more moments before tearing his eyes away and staring off into the woods around them, letting his mind wander along with his eyes. Silence fell over the two brothers, but it was comfortable as they listened to the natural sounds surrounding them. It had been far too long since either of them settled down for a moment without fear or worry quickening their movements, and both were more than grateful for the brief break in their normally unstable, stressful lives.
"What did you dream about last night?" Itachi asked out of the blue, startling Sasuke out of his daydream. The younger's thoughts had again begun drifting towards ones of their old life, and he scowled slightly before turning to Itachi with a small shrug.
"It was like the dreams I always used to have," he said, "before you told me the truth."
Itachi gave a small nod, his mouth curving into a frown.
"You didn't have a choice," Sasuke muttered. "At least you could make sure they—mom and dad—didn't feel any pain."
Memories crashed over Itachi's mind—"Itachi, promise me that you will take care of Sasuke"—but he shook them off, instead choosing to shoot a genuine, albeit small smile at his baby brother, then to move closer and wrap an arm around his shoulders. Sasuke leaned into the touch, more than happy to accept Itachi's comfort. No matter what, even the simplest action—a hug, a kiss on the forehead, even a poke—was enough to quell Sasuke's anxiety and lessen his crushing sadness. It had been incredibly difficult to not simply crawl under Itachi's arm at night like he used to for the first year after they defected from Konoha, but he was terrified of Itachi, the mass-murderer, until one night when Itachi finally broke down and told him everything from start to finish; he didn't spare a single detail nor a single tear. For Sasuke, seeing Itachi cry was enough to instantly melt away the harsh front he'd tried so hard to build to make himself seem stronger in the eyes of his brother. Itachi never cried.
Their relationship began to heal. It was a slow process, one full of mistrust and false truths, but eventually they were able to reach something close to what they once had, if not even stronger. They were truly the last of the Uchiha—the two misunderstood, alone brothers.
"We should probably get walking again," Itachi murmured, giving Sasuke's shoulder one last squeeze before pulling away. "That is, if you truly want to head towards Konoha."
The smile that lit up Sasuke's face instantly convinced Itachi that any danger was more than worth it.
I tried to ninja.
Really, I did.
Reviews, follows, and favorites would be fucking awesome, you guys~ I just love to hear things; it makes writing worth it, I suppose, and lately my motivation to write is just...nonexistent. o n o It hurts.
Thanks for reading! :D