"Huh. You're not the right Uchiha."
Uchiha Itachi finished his tea. He didn't allow himself to tense, not visibly, but the man perched at the other end of his bench smiled anyway, like a white flash of bones through dark skin.
The stance, the expression, the color of his eyes, the sun-tanned bronze of his skin, all was alien. Perversely, it was the eyes he recognized first, red as his own and slitted like a cat's.
Like a fox's.
He'd never seen Uzumaki Naruto furious before, but he'd had it described. This... wasn't anger; it was more dangerous.
"Naruto-kun," he replied quietly, putting the cup down on the table with a little click. The white smile widened. More of a smirk, really, a shark's grin.
Then it all disappeared like it had never been there, the smirk and the amusement and all human emotions, and behind it there was just a predator's stare, weighing him, musing to itself, 'I wonder if I can eat you'.
Itachi watched him back, calculating how much time he could win, how much he could lower the fox's guard. Likely not enough, but he couldn't not try.
"What should I call you, then?"
A snort. "Do I need a name?"
Itachi inclined his head in acquiescence. That was the end of that opening gambit.
He had been trying to capture him with the sharingan from the second their eyes met, but the innate control he should have had over Kyuubi seemed to be deflected by Naruto's human body, dampening the usual flaring of his red chakra; there was nothing to get a hold of. His more basic genjutsu attempts on the human brain couldn't find a foothold in the perpetually fluctuating chakra. It was fascinating, and also quite frustrating. He had other tricks, but they would take more time and energy than he had hoped he'd need to spare.
A long, long stare. Another smirk, blooming slow and tortuous.
"Nice to be sure."
Itachi didn't ask 'of what.' It was bothersome enough without allowing him to brag. He wondered if that new immunity to the sharingan had been deliberately induced, then. Who he had been planning to use it against.
"Where's your brother?"
Ah. And there was the answer to that question.
But the fox didn't attack when he read the gathering threat in Itachi's stance, the rise of his killing aura, and that lack of reaction stilled him, poised on the edge of movement. Instead of an assault, there was a long silence, and then sudden laughter, rough like a dog's bark.
"...You want to protect him from me." Chuckle. "YOU want to protect HIM from ME. That's the best joke I've heard in a decade!"
A flash of movement, and Itachi had a kunai through the fox's hand, who didn't seem to care because now he was crouched over Itachi's legs, trapping him on the bench. He stilled with his face close, fanged jaws closed, so Itachi paused with his second kunai similarly halted, one inch from spilling his entrails on his lap.
"What do you want with my brother?"
The fox started growling, so low it was almost more vibration than sound. "What do you want with my bitch?"
-- Ah. And here Itachi had believed Uzumaki Naruto was gone, or suppressed. But no, this wasn't it. This...
"Perhaps that wasn't the wrong name after all," he said quietly, watching the fox's red eyes. "Naruto-kun."
A flicker of reaction, not annoyance but recognition. The annoyance came on its heels but was still too late.
This... wasn't Kyuubi, or not only. The behavior, the threats, yes -- but Kyuubi was a giant, hateful fox. He didn't see humans as potential sex partners, much less sharingan owners.
Naruto, now... Itachi had wondered.
But he hadn't worked so hard to ensure Sasuke's survival just to see him become a fox-demon's sex slave either. And Madara would be too happy to find his targets clustered.
The fox's nostrils fluttered. "...You smell sick."
"I'm dying," Itachi admitted. "I can still fight you."
The fox snorted, though not in disdain, closer to 'I knew that.' Almost pensive as he looked at him. And there -- there, Itachi could see Naruto.
"What are you protecting Sasuke for? To fight him later? Breeding stock? To fuck him? What?"
Itachi had had his commitment to his brother questioned before -- mostly by Orochimaru -- but this was the first time the question came without heavy sarcasm or perverse delight. He couldn't help but sigh, and smile, a little bit. It hadn't even been designed to get a rise out of him. Just because the thought had crossed his head. That was Naruto indeed.
Even the way his eyes darkened in anger at Itachi's silence was more Naruto than not.
"Sasuke is safe enough where he is right now," Itachi said, abrupt once he had made his decision. "But there's a danger coming that, as you and he are now, no one can protect you from." He paused to take stock of the fox's expression... An eyebrow arched, dubious, but listening still. Good enough. "There are plans in progress to change that. If you interfere you'll both die."
The fox's face twisted into a disdainful sneer, unconvinced. "Not good enough."
It went against the grain to let anyone into the confidence, but other people would need to know, soon. Itachi dropped one word.
The fox stilled over him, for a moment not even breathing anymore. The next exhalation came out as a hiss between clenched teeth.
"... I'm listening."
itachi: ... well. this is certainly better than wanting to eat his entrails. I am still afraid that i do not approve of you. You shall not pass.
kyuubi: poo. :-( ... so either we fight and one of us keels over AND the survivor can't even bone sasuke
itachi : PROTECT sasuke
kyuubi: ... >:D or we compromise.
kyuubi: bend over. :D :D :D
itachi: ... weren't we about to kill each other.
kyuubi: *hi there tongue* Changed my mind. Be grateful.
itachi: ... -/___\-;;; *kawarimi!* yes well i have a meeting with kisame goodbye. *poofs*
kyuubi: ... Mmmmm. he wants me. >3