When Shisui is four years old he falls in love. He remembers the day perfectly, because Shisui never quite learned to appreciate books until, in all of his childlike wisdom, he'd built a fort out of his father's library and tried to make a moat of apple juice. His father had been utterly furious, looking fit to kick a post right out of the staircase banister, right up until his mother shrieked from the kitchen that she'd gotten a call from the hospital.
It hadn't been a particularly beautiful day. There was no sunshine and bluebirds and church bells, no chorus of angels singing joyously to the heavens of the Great Love of Shisui Uchiha. No, it had in fact been a rather awful day. For weeks, their town had been trapped in the thick of a conglomeration of violent thunderstorms, knocking down roof tiles, tearing up street signs and generally wreaking havoc that the town's inhabitants, excluding Shisui, barely bothered to bat an eye to.
June ninth though, had been the day the storms started to fade, the winds began to dwindle and die down, and the rain eased to a steady downpour rather than the flood inducing mess it had been before. The sun had begun to peek out from behind the clouds, turning the sky a bright kind of gray, a far cry from the bruised gray-black-green it had been before. Shisui noticed this en route to the hospital, and connected the raindrops splattered on the window of the speeding car with the tip of his finger.
June ninth was the day that his Aunt Mikoto had pressed a squirming bundle of infant into his arms, smiled at him, and said, "Shisui, meet Itachi."
Of course, he hadn't known it was love just then.
In fact, it would be years before he realized the complete adoration he had for Uchiha Itachi. Years of boring family gatherings, of being upstaged by a boy four years his junior. Years of teasing said younger Uchiha, and thinking of newer and more exciting ways to attempt to make the boy cry.
When he was nine years old and the proud owner of a pair of Spiderman swim trunks and ruddy, sun-ripened cheeks, Shisui had managed to convince his dorky, younger cousin to stride into the deep end of a swimming pool equipped with nothing but a pair of arm floaties hugging his ankles. All things considered, he probably should have intervened earlier, before Itachi was floundering in the water, head struggling to keep above the surface while his feet floated insolently above it.
Now, twelve years later, and having never once seen Itachi attempt to walk on or near a body of water since that painfully-naïve and pride-crushing incident, Shisui silently scrutinizes Itachi as his younger cousin hands his credit card to the bristling ticket attendant, murmuring "two passes, please" in his polite, unassuming voice.
The sight of Itachi in canary yellow flip flops, which exposed perfectly painted purple toenails to the masses was headache-inducing enough. Combined with his glow-bright white skin, his 2009 Mathlete Championship t-shirt, and a pair of sunglasses that he had swiped off Shisui’s nose the moment he had shown up at the pink, gated entry point, Itachi makes a rather... unique spectacle that is difficult to ignore in the sea of otherwise tanned bodies.
Just to make sure he isn't stuck in some lucid dream state or in the midst of a particularly vivid hallucination, he pinches the inside of his forearm- almost surprised by the brief jolt of pain. Sasuke, on the other hand, doesn't look the least bit concerned with Itachi's bizarre appearance; he is an image of nonchalance, idly picking at the threads of his cropped sweatshirt and inconspicuously inspecting the crowd for his classmates.
The sun above shines bright, blistering and hot, making it the perfect day for an excursion to the local water park. Even at mid-morning, the stifling summer heat is beginning to take effect; Shisui can already see the wispy, black strands that have slipped free from Itachi’s loose ponytail, sticking limply to the base of his pristine, white neck.
Sometime while Shisui is eying Itachi the attendant hands the passes over with an obviously scripted, "Have a nice day!" and Itachi presses Sasuke forward with a firm hand to his shoulder, guiding him out of the line and over to a patch of shade where they can wait for Shisui, unhindered and unobstructing.
Out of the line’s chaos, they exchange quick, quiet words with each other. Shisui watches as Sasuke gratefully trades the large canvass bag he’d been carrying, full to the brim of fluffy blue beach towels and thick bottles of sunscreen, for his ticket and quickly saunters off into the crowd to join his friends. Itachi shoulders his cargo, leaning back against the pink iron wall surrounding the water park, and then raises one hand to lower Shisui’s aviators down to the bridge of his nose, revealing the pale flesh of his eyelids and an expectant gaze aimed straight at Shisui.
Bashful for being caught staring, Shisui quirks his lips into a tiny smirk and almost reaches up to rub the back of his sweat-dampened neck. But Itachi looks on expressionlessly, flicking his eyes to the ticket booth and back again, subtly kneading a single flip-flop clad, plum toe-nailed foot onto the metal bars behind him.
“Sir! Sir! You're next in line!” the sweating attendant shouts at him from behind the tempered glass.
Something about the way the sunlight reflects off his glasses as Itachi fixes them back over his cool, dark eyes, and the way that he can’t quite get his wallet out of his pocket quick enough for the people complaining in line behind him, gives Shisui the innate feeling that today’s unpredictable distractions were only just beginning.
And he was right of course. With Sasuke out of the way, doing whatever it is that kid's do, Shisui is left with absolutely nothing to say. The silence is unbearably awkward, and for the first ten or so minutes they just stand there, in that same patch of shade, shuffling from foot to foot and occasionally murmuring about how they should get to a map. And then they stand around for another ten minutes, unmoving.
See, if it had been another one of Shisui's friends things would be different. They'd have been off and shouting before they got through the ticket line, yelling generic high school boy crap like "Race you to the lazy river!" or "I bet I can score with a chick in the changing rooms before you do!" despite the fact that they're all legally adults. With Itachi... it's not like that. Shisui's all too conscious of how they must look, still sweating near the entrance after having arrived over twenty minutes ago.
But it's Itachi. It's not like they don't get along. On the contrary in fact. Shisui's one of the only people that Itachi actually tolerates, even after all the teasing and what should have been friendship crushing events like the pool incident. He's one of the few people who has actually seen Uchiha Itachi grin, even if he had been on laughing gas at the time, still loopy from getting his wisdom teeth yanked. Just remembering that swollen chipmunk-cheeked smile is enough to tempt a smile of his own and he stands there grinning for a minute before Itachi elbows him in the side.
Itachi's eying him over the Aviators again, eyes dark and exasperated. Shisui wonders what he missed this time. Itachi just rolls his eyes, finally gesturing them out of the shade and into the sun, which immediately beats down on them, blistering and unrepentant. It's a five minute walk before they finally get into the actual park, a walk that leads them across a boardwalk that stretches above the lazy river, a multitude of tanned bodies glistening up at them from their haven of sunshine yellow and sky blue inner tubes. Shisui eyes them jealously as they walk, already plotting the different ways he can submerge himself away from the sun. He thinks that if he closes his eyes, there's a chance that he might just be able to imagine it, cool water slicked over and around his skin in place of the unforgiving rays that beat down on his back.
After the lazy river, the boardwalk leads them on, past the grimy stairs of a waterslide. If Shisui squints, he can see past the fence, into the graveyard of dropped floats and lost cell phones, the rocks gleaming brightly up at them- granite and mica glittering up at the patrons, saying yes, just try to look down. We will mesmerize you and steal your keys out of your pocket while you aren't looking. Shisui shudders and looks away, eyes the repetitive planks of wood with hatred as they start down a ramp- a ramp that twists around about four times before they finally, finally step out onto too hot concrete.
And there, not five paces away is the map of the park, surrounded by a crowd of parents and their giggling, impatient children. Shisui squints over at Itachi, and the bastard just blinks back, eyes hidden behind protective lenses. Shisui is already regretting his foresight to grab them off his desk before he left the house, because if he'd forgotten them, at least they would have been able to stumble around half-blind together.
He reaches past a little girl with pigtails whose throwing a rather astonishing temper tantrum, stomping her feet, glowering and screaming her lungs out, and grabs one of the smaller maps, a leaflet with the list of attractions that has a grinning sentient wave on the cover who beams up at them, it's little wave hands extended into twin thumbs up.
He bends over it for a minute, contemplative, and Itachi shuffles closer to him so he can read over his shoulder. The canvass bag bumps into the back of Shisui's knees, almost throwing him off balance. Itachi's hand grabs his shoulder to steady him and Shisui kind of feels like an idiot because really, who almost gets knocked over by a bag? Itachi's hand stays on his shoulder, matching plum fingernails gleaming sweetly up at him and Shisui shakes his head, wondering how the hell he ever even thought this was a good idea.
The sun chooses that moment to come out from behind a cloud, firmly reminding Shisui that there was a reason for this absurd outing, and that the reason in question was frying him slowly in his own juices as he and Itachi stood around like the odd couple.
Itachi seems to realize the same thing and he glances around, echoing Aunt Mikoto perfectly with his polite "Shisui-kun, we need to find a spot." Preferably a spot with an umbrella, if he knows Itachi at all.
It's only ten, the park having opened only an hour earlier. All the same, finding a seat is impossible. Eventually, after much searching they find one lone lounge chair over by the wave pool, isolated in the corner nearest to the street. Itachi eyes him darkly for a moment before claiming the chair as his own, glaring at Shisui until he relents and lays a towel down onto the concrete next to the chair. And of course the umbrella's shade only extends to about half of his towel. He'd have to sit with his back propped against the side of the chair to even have a hope of keeping his upper body in shade. Which is exactly what he does, propping an elbow up onto the chair until it bumps into Itachi's calf.
The wave pool's off right now, somewhere in the fifteen minute reprieve that the occupants are allowed so they can recuperate from being battered by waves. There's several people just floating on inner tubes, enjoying the sun, and idly Shisui wonders if they just like the feel of the waves. If the motion's soothing or something, cause as far as he's concerned, wave pools are for being seven years old and battling through the waves, pretending that he's in a huge storm in the middle of the ocean and crawling back out, panting and yelling about freedom.
The buzzer sounds and the waves start back up, slow at first and then increasing in tempo until they're battering the sides. He wonders if the Wave Pool would maybe be a good place to start-
His thoughts are interrupted by a tap on his shoulder, and he turns, the smell of sunscreen filling his nose. Itachi's got one bottle open, offering it wordlessly for Shisui to take. He's got the stuff smeared across his nose, thick and still gleaming paper white against his pale skin. It makes him look like an absolute idiot.
Shisui's reaching up before he can take back the gesture, past the offered sunscreen towards Itachi's face, removing the damn sunglasses so he can properly rub the lotion into Itachi's cheeks. He doesn't stop until it's all been absorbed, not a trace of white left. But even then, he notices the crap job that Itachi's done at rubbing the lotion into his arms and legs and starts up on those too. Itachi goes tense, and now that they're not hidden behind lenses, Shisui can see that they're ever so faintly round, just a bit surprised. Shisui grins up at him, using a thumb to rub some of the lotion into the fragile curve of Itachi's ankle, stroking down to massage it into the tops of his feet because if anyone's feet can get burned, it's Itachi's.
And then there's no more sunscreen, but Shisui doesn't move his hands away, enjoying both the startled expression that's still present on Itachi's face and the feel of bird fragile bones beneath his fingers. He starts smirking again because Itachi has lady feet-
Someone clears their throat and Shisui jumps a little, startled, when Sasuke appears at his shoulder, glowering at him and still tugging at his shirt. There are two kids behind him, a pink haired girl who's flushing furiously, and a blonde kid with a bright smile and obnoxious laugh. The blonde kid seems to be alternating between simpering annoyingly at the girl and glaring daggers at Sasuke. As always, Sasuke seems utterly unfazed by this, looking away from Shisui to smile shyly over at his brother. Beneath Shisui's lax fingers, the tension drains, and Itachi's lips twitch upwards, smile just as soft and fragile as Sasuke's. He grabs the untouched tube of sunscreen he'd been trying to pass to Shisui and presses it into his little brother's fingers.
It will never fail to amaze him, how these brothers act around each other. They're both so good at hiding their emotions, but when they're in each other's presence all bets are off, because that's real affection crinkling the corners of Itachi's eyes and the grin that Sasuke offers back is bright and pleased. Shisui is amused to note that this completely floors Sasuke's classmates, because the boy is outright gawking and the girl is just staring, green eyes wide and full of such puppy dog adoration that Shisui torn between gagging and smiling at her.
Shisui shifts on the lounge chair, knuckles knocking up against Itachi's knee as he shifts into a more comfortable position. To his disgruntlement, Sasuke is settling back onto the towel he'd vacated, sun gleaming down on the colicky back of his hair while his face remains hidden in the shade. He pours a glob of sunscreen onto his palm, rubbing it into his skin just as badly as Itachi had. Shisui rolls his eyes and snatches the bottle from him, wondering how the hell he'd managed to get these freaks stuck as his family. Sasuke glares at him, and unconcerned, Shisui just grins back- leaning down so he can smear the goop all over the kid's pale skin.
Sasuke struggles. Puts a hand in his face and shoves until Shisui's forced to either duck around the hand or wind up with little boy fingers stuck up his nose. Somewhere behind him, Itachi's knee trembles and a choked sound squeezes itself out of his throat, as if he's holding back a wheeze of laughter.
Eventually he gets the sunscreen properly on the kid's front so he motions for Sasuke to turn around. Sasuke still glares at him, though after a second he gives in, tugging off his shirt so Shisui can rub the sunscreen into his back.
He tosses the sunscreen back to the kid, who fumbles with it for a moment before finally getting a hold. After it's clear that no amount of glaring is going to turn Shisui into a toad, Sasuke turns away and starts rubbing the sunscreen onto his chest.
Sometime while they were grappling with the lotion, the two other children had claimed their own areas on Shisui's towel, the boy as far away from Sasuke as possible, taking up residence on the very corner, his sunshine yellow hair practically up Itachi's nose. The girl's settled herself closer to Sasuke, and she appears to have been watching his and Shisui's not-fight the entire time.
They're arguing amongst themselves, probably trying to be quiet, but ultimately not succeeding at all.
"See Naruto? Sasuke-kun wears sun block," she sniffs, eying the blonde boy, Naruto, like he's a bug that needs to be squashed. Naruto scoffs, or tries to anyway, but his voice is still the soft, girliness of prepubescense, so the sound comes off more like a kitten trying to snarl. It can do it, but it doesn't sound very threatening when it does.
"I'm tellin' ya, Sakura-chan. Sunblock is for wussies," he says, proudly flexing his skinny arms- already dark with sun. Shisui snorts and the kid's attention is drawn to him.
"Or for, you know, pale people," he responds, grabbing the bottle that Sasuke had dropped onto the lounge chair a couple seconds ago, popping the cap with a flick of a thumb. He pours a liberal amount onto his palm and then spreads it across his shoulders. He smirks at the kid, whose glower now rivals Sasuke's. Oddly, Sasuke's own glower is more thankful than it usually is.
"Not everyone can tan like you, kid." he says, his fingers rubbing the sunscreen into his already burning forearms. He grimaces at the faint heat when he rubs it, because sunburns only get worse with time. He wishes he'd gone over to Itachi's this morning instead of meeting them at the park. Aunt Mikoto had probably rubbed mass quantities of sun block into their skin before they'd even left.
The kid looks like he's about to say something else, probably something scathing and obnoxious if his expression is anything to go by, but Sasuke is getting to his feet, sending one last smile Itachi's way, before directing his tiny entourage towards the slides.
Shisui watches Sasuke begin to disappear into the crowd, already bickering quietly with the wildly gesticulating blond at his shoulder. Beside them, the little girl is giggling, her hand pressed over her mouth. She's starting to say something when they disappear around a corner, effectively cutting them off from Shisui's gaze.
Silence reigns supreme between them once more, turning up the volume on everything in the background. A lifeguard shouts down at some kid who's roughhousing with his sister too much, a woman on her cell phone a couple chairs over is telling her friend about her newest conquest and how "Oh my god, Judy, he's just, like, a dream come true. Totally! No, I wouldn't lie to you!" Kids shout back and forth too each other and somewhere, there's a speaker that's sending old Beach Boys music washing over the park.
Beside him, Itachi shifts, his leg brushing along the small of Shisui's back as he tucks himself into a more comfortable position. Shisui watches him as he pulls his knees up, wrapping his arms around them in a position that makes something warm and affectionate curl in Shisui's chest. Tiredly, Itachi drops his forehead onto his knees, presses his face into the skin there and sighs. A kid screams in delight a couple feet away from them, and Itachi is tilting his head so that it's just his cheek pressed to his skin, looking at Shisui from under the heavy sweep of dark lashes. Shisui stares back, and between them something crackles unspoken. The look is enough to have Shisui biting his lip, heat flooding his face as he realizes that the look is making heat gather low in his belly. For a moment he wants to just press Itachi back into the chair, wants to lick the taste of sunscreen from his skin, taste the sweat that's gathered at the nape of his neck--
"-azy river, but I didn't know what you wanted to do." Itachi is saying, lips moving against the skin of his knees, like he's too exhausted to even sit up properly to speak. Shisui watches those red lips moving against skin and shudders- briefly closing his eyes against the image before they conjure up any more ridiculous ideas.
"Sorry?" he asks, waiting for Itachi to elaborate on whatever he'd been saying. Itachi sighs and lets go of himself, swinging his legs over the edge of the lounge chair so he can stand properly. He glares down at Shisui, his dark eyes glinting in equal parts annoyance and amusement. Instead of answering he reaches down and slides one soft hand into Shisui's so he can tug him to his feet. His voice, through it's normal mask of polite indifference, is colored faintly with annoyance when he says "We may as well make the most of this trip."
When he lets go of Shisui's hand, leaving the other boy to follow behind on his own, Shisui pretends that he doesn't miss it.
The water's cool. That's his first thought. His second is much less pleasant, as a kid floats by him with his brows furrowed in intense concentration. Shisui really hopes that the frown is there because the kid is having really deeply profound thoughts and not because he's polluting the river with his urine, but somehow, he really doubts it.
His third thought is that water really, really suits Itachi.
Itachi's halfway up the river from him, pale skin gleaming against the blue of his intertube. He's got Shisui's glasses perched on his nose again, Mathlete shirt still firmly in place, and his toes dangle over the edges of intertube to skim across the water. He still looks nerdy and a little bit impossible, and Shisui feels like he should be laughing, teasing his little cousin for being such a dork, but really- he just can't get past that one little thought- that Itachi looks really good with water trailing down the side of his neck, wetting the ends of his hair. The t-shirt clings to him, hugs close to his ribs and Shisui kind of wants to demand for Itachi to just take it off, partially because there's a distant part of his brain that's still a little bit horrified by his cousin's nerdiness, but mostly because he wants to see what the water looks like against the skin of Itachi's chest.
A girl floats by, giggling with another girl and painting her toenails and really, isn't there a rule against bringing stuff like that into the pool?
He looks back just in time to see Itachi float beneath the waterfall, jolting up from his light doze after getting pelted by gallon after gallon of chlorinated water. Shisui grins when their eyes meet, relaxes back down into his float and lets the waterfall run over him.
It's around midday that Shisui finally gets sick of floating around the river, so he propels himself to the nearest set of stairs and waits for Itachi to make another lap around before tossing wood chips in his direction. The first chip bounces off Itachi's chest, and Itachi just looks around in confusion for a moment before settling back into his intertube. His shorts have ridden up a bit, revealing tantalizing glimpses of thigh. The skin there's starting to turn rosy, and Shisui snickers and wonders just how many times in one day Itachi's supposed to apply sunscreen in order to not get burnt. He chucks another wood chip, pleased when it bounces off Itachi's thigh. Itachi lifts the shades, perches them on the top of his head and glares at him with vaguely drowsy eyes. Shisui smirks and jerks his head towards a hot dog stall, hissing "C'mon, braniac, even a freak like you's gotta be hungry by now."
Itachi just rolls his eyes again, nudges the glasses back down and shuffles his body out of the inner tube's rubbery clutches. Once he's free to stand properly in the lukewarm water, he gingerly begins to make his way through the rest of the river's occupants and toward the stairs.
Turns out the hot dogs taste like crap, so they get ice cream instead, Itachi digging blindly around in his back pocket for his wallet with his free hand while he happily goes to work on his strawberry-vanilla-swirl. Shisui watches him for a moment, the way his eyes go half-lidded in pleasure - ice cream slip sliding down the side of the cone. His hands are sticky with the stuff, tongue darting out to lick the sticky treat away from his fingers. He wraps his lips around two of his fingers, sucking wetly at the cream there and Shisui looks away blushing- back to the smiling attendant who's offering him his triple chocolate cone. Any other time he'd be grinning at the girl, leaning in and offering corny pick up lines that are far too tragic to be heartfelt, dumb one-liners that make girls giggle behind their dainty hands and scribble phone numbers across the curve of his wrist.
This time though, his brain is too caught up with the pornographic display that his baby cousin is making beside him to do anything except stutter out that he'll pay for both of them. The girl just grins at him knowingly, leaning out of the window as she's passing his change back to him and offering him a saucy wink. "Have a nice day, you two," she grins, and if anything, Shisui's flush darkens even further. He chances another glance back towards Itachi, but nope- other than a grateful nod of thanks and something that could possibly pass as a lopsided half smile, he's still going down on his ice-cream.
He ducks away from the girl and her knowing smiles, tugging Itachi along behind him and wonders what the girl would say if she knew that the boy he was checking out was actually his kid cousin. He decides that he really probably doesn't want to know.
They finish their ice-cream in the cool air conditioning of the Arcade, because after three minutes of direct sunlight the cool treats had quickly dissolved into a soupy kind of liquid, held precariously in place by the sides of the cone. When the ice-cream soup had started leaking out the bottom, they'd scrambled to find shelter. They'd probably left a sugar-y, sticky path behind them, a pink white and brown spattering of color against the hot concrete like an abstract painting. Itachi hadn't made it in time, losing half his soup cocktail of ice-cream onto his precious gray atrocity of a t-shirt before they'd even crossed the threshold.
The make-shift picnic tables of the arcade are extremely uncomfortable. And what's more, the A/C- such a godsend just seconds before, is quickly becoming a problem. It chills their wet clothes until they're both forced to throw out the remains of their ice-cream before they turn into popsicles themselves. Shisui eyes Itachi's shirt with a critical eye, the canvass of gray and the sticky, sweet paint spatters of ice-cream smeared across it. Itachi looks unconcerned, glancing around him idly as he rubs his hands up and down his arms. The goose flesh breaking out across Itachi's arms provides a suitable distraction from fashion atrocities and the food that decorate them.
It's only when Itachi makes to stand up- already angling himself towards the entrance of the arcade that Shisui realizes that Itachi actually intends to go back out there with food all down his front. He has half a mind to lunge across the table and strip Itachi there- tossing the horrid shirt someplace that Itachi will never find it.
"You have got to be kidding me," is what he says instead, eying his friend with a look of horror. Itachi just raises an eyebrow at him, nudging the sunglasses down his nose a bit so that Shisui can see his look of confusion. "What?" he asks, and Shisui really, really doesn't know how he got roped into this.
Except he does, because one, as previously noted, it is ridiculously hot and two, Itachi had asked him to go. And in the end, Shisui never has the balls to turn down a request from Itachi.
"You can't just keep wearing that," he protests, gesticulating in the general direction of Itachi's chest.
Itachi's eyebrow creeps higher, edging up into his hairline now. "And why not?" he asks, and oh god, he's serious-
Shisui's around the table before he can blink, sliding onto the damp wood next to Itachi. He slides his fingers beneath the hem of his cousin's shirt, palm brushing up along the chilly and slightly damp flesh of Itachi's ribs, and Itachi shudders- breath hitching in a noticeable way and pressing closer, into Shisui's touch.
Shisui tugs up on the shirt, far too fascinated by the way his knuckles drag along Itachi's torso on the way, his thumb brushing against one pebbled nipple and over the jut of his cousin's collarbone. Itachi lets out a sound that sounds too much like a sigh, less like the manly protest he's supposed to be making, the "no homo, dudes" and laughing taunts of "Dude, you totally want my body" suspiciously absent. And then the shirt's over Itachi's head, and his cousin's left gaping at him, flushed and breathing just a bit heavier than he had been a moment ago, dark hair coming loose from its ponytail. There are strands hanging into his eyes now, the tie holding his hair in place slack and half out. They stare at each other for several seconds, both trying to catch their breath and wonder what the fuck just happened-
Shisui laughs a bit, grip tightening on the evil shirt until his knuckles go white. He doesn't dare get up just yet.
Itachi clears his throat and glances around the place, hands already going to the back of his head. He tugs his hair out of its confinement, lets it settle damply around bare shoulders as he works pale fingers through the few knots it had acquired in the lazy river. Shisui watches Itachi clench the hair tie between his teeth as he gathers the hair back at the nape of his neck, his fingers itching to reach forward to help, even as Itachi finally secures the tie in place.
And then they're left staring at each other again, which is almost enough to render Shisui unable to climb to his feet again. Frantically, he casts a glance around the place, eying the dozens of car games, the shooting games, the DDR (he flinches away from that idea) and ah- perfect.
"I can't believe you won me a toy dragon." Itachi says, the dragon in question tucked up against his hip. He glances down at it and smiles, then nails another zombie in the head. Fuck, Shisui only wishes his head shots were that perfect. He curses as a zombie sprints up to him, the screen flashing red twice when he fails to hit it. He backs away a bit and pulls the trigger, appeased when the zombie's chin is blown to pieces.
He glances at the toy himself and tries not to blush. He'd been aiming for the little toy weasel, thinking himself clever and enjoying Itachi's disgruntled sigh when he'd noticed what he'd been aiming for. But the crane had closed around the head of a bright pink dragon, one with glittery-y pale pink wings and matching glitter toes. A dragon who smiled up at you, clutching onto a white-pink heart that proclaimed "Be Mine" in childishly scrawled letters. He clears his throat.
"Hey man, it's not like I need it or anything." He grins slyly and glances over to Itachi after taking out another three zombies in quick succession. "I mean, hey, if pink isn't your color you can, like, totally give it to Sasuke or something."
Itachi clenches his jaw, and opens fire on the horde of zombies surrounding them. What the shit, where the hell did he get a machine gun? He then reconsiders his statement, cocks his head as the half-decomposed body of a ravenous housewife hurtles out of a doorway to his left. Itachi gets it before he can with a shot that probably would have gone wild if Shisui had attempted it. "Well, just don't tell Sasuke that I won it."
He fires another shot and one more zombie collapses, a hole placed neatly in the center of his neck. Vertebrae and gore glitters wetly up at them. Ugh, they've definitely upped the zombie-violence visuals recently. He wonders if maybe he'd accidently increased the blood spatter count to high when they'd been adding their quarters. "Hell, if you tell him you got it, he won't care if it's pink. Sunshine and rainbows can spout out of its ass and he'll still think it's the greatest thing in the whole damn world."
Itachi glances over at him, dark eyes reflecting white-blue from the video game, and it's funny how intense the kid has gotten over this game. Itachi drops his eyes after a moment of staring, a flush stealing across his cheeks as he takes out another ten zombies in a row. And what the hell, how is he even doing that?
"I like it," Itachi whispers, voice so quiet that Shisui can barely hear him. The hand that's not holding his pistol is stroking across the dragon's wide magenta forehead.
Huh, well that's different. Unseen, a zombie gnaws through Shisui's character's throat, his side of the screen flashing at him "Insert Coin to Continue... 10... 9..."
Itachi's flush darkens, and he glances at Shisui out of the corner of his eyes. A horde ambushes his character and both of their screens are flashing now. They both glance back to Itachi's side of the screen, surprised. Itachi's lip twitches. "You ass, you got me killed," he says, and Shisui snorts, because Itachi's cursing combined with his normal polite tone is definitely something to be amused about. Then Shisui's grinning over at him, and Itachi stares back, the corners of his lips twitching up into a small smile. The countdowns on the screen vanish, and the demo video starts back up.
"So, Pacman, Jurassic Park, or..." Shisui trails off as he looks past the flashing, fluorescent lights of the games at the wall-sized poster of a conglomeration of dark, winding tube s."Do you think you're man enough to try the Dark Hole?" he grins, already gripping Itachi and the damn dragon, pulling them towards the entrance of the Arcade without waiting for an answer.
Itachi doesn't quite scream when they ride double down the pitch black slide, but he also downright refuses to get back in line for a second go as he wrings the water out of his reptile companion. Shisui likes to consider this a victory.
On their way back to their bags, they pass several more food stalls, none very tempting until they spy the one that's advertising for "Fresh hot kettle corn and steamingly sweet elephant ears." Itachi's already making a beeline towards it before Shisui even before he can mention it. Itachi leans into the window, watching the fryers and the powdered sugar with a rapt eye, his nostrils going wide as he inhales the smell of sugar and all things diabetes-related. When the old, balding vendor asks him what he'd like, he orders an elephant ear with everything on it.
Shisui doesn't realize that when he says everything, he means everything. At least until he's sitting at another uncomfortable picnic table, their newly acquired dragon (who Shisui has dubbed Norbert in the confines of his own head, where he can't get made fun of for dumb Harry Potter references) propped up against his side, watching Itachi bite into fried pastry covered with fudge and nuts, drizzled with both strawberries AND peaches. With each bite an assortment of candy falls off the confection to bounce across the table. Shisui watches in horror as his cousin inhales the treat, unconcerned when fudge spills off the treat and into the dip of his collarbone. A slice of peach slips off and lands on Itachi's stomach, spattering sugar everywhere when it lands. Itachi doesn't move, seemingly enraptured.
There's one part of Shisui that is extremely sickened by what his cousin is putting into his stomach. And then there's this other part that's completely fascinated by the path the fudge is making as it trickles down his chest. It's this part of him that has his hands trembling beneath the table and contemplating the fact that he's never wanted to lick something off someone so bad, including the time at his twenty first birthday when that stripper had convinced him to do tequila shots out of her navel.
After the longest five minutes of Shisui's life, Itachi's finally placing the last bite delicately onto the tip of his tongue. His adam's apple bobs when he swallows, and Shisui notices that there's flecks of powdered sugar there too- spattered down his neck and across his clavicle .Itachi's licking each of his fingers, lips stretching obscenely around them to suck the last traces of sugar from his skin.
Just like before, Shisui's moving before he can even consider it, leaning across the table so quickly that Itachi doesn't even have time to be startled.
His tongue dips into that curve of clavicle he'd been eying before, tasting sugar, fudge, salt, skin, and sunscreen all in one, a burst of flavor against his palette that has him groaning, dragging his tongue over Itachi's throat to get those pesky flecks of sugar. Itachi shudders against him, whimpering low in his throat, curling sticky fingers into the curls at the nape of Shisui's neck. Beneath the table, Itachi's hips jerk sharply and poor Norbert tumbles to the ground, landing dejectedly in a small puddle of water.
Shisui gasps and pulls back, eyes wide as he takes in Itachi's flushed state, the blush starting in his cheeks and travelling all the way down his chest- disappearing past the waistband of his swim trunks. He shudders and glances around, but the table they're at is tucked into a cove of palm trees, mostly hidden from view, so they're only getting a few odd looks.
He looks back at Itachi, truly takes in the way he's panting, the heat in his dark eyes and the sugar left forgotten on his fingertips. There's a promise in his eyes, a promise that speaks of things done behind closed (and locked) doors. But well, the bathroom has a lock on its door, right? A twinge of guilt shoots down his spine as he contemplates all the ways he can make Itachi arch beneath his fingers, and he remembers again what five year old Itachi had looked like, proudly striding out onto the water of the deep end, convinced that the floaties would totally make him walk on water, because Cousin Shisui would never lie to him-
This was his little cousin, someone he shouldn't be doing this with, someone he should be laughing with and tutoring and sneaking alcoholic drinks to behind Aunt Mikoto's back, getting plastered with and laughing with over his dorky cousins lack of conquests, not someone that Shisui can look at and think wow, imagine what those lips would look like around my-
Itachi gets up before his brain can short out with that thought, and for a moment, Shisui worries if his cousin is pissed, that he'll scream rape or something and never talk to Shisui again. But no, he's striding around the table, bending to pick the dragon off the ground and then curling his hand into Shisui's, dragging him up and away from their seat with sugar and chocolate still smeared across his chest.
It's obvious that he's heading for the bathrooms, or maybe the changing areas, but as Shisui lets himself be dragged along in Itachi's wake, he spots something out of the corner of his eye and gets a better idea...
"No." Itachi says, glaring at him. He sniffs a little, tosses Shisui a haughty look and adds scathingly, "I'm not that horny, Shisui-kun."
Initially, the photographer had seemed a little put out. After all, usually they had assistants to help the customers try on the clothes. Young women who pointed out the best looking cowboy boots and the right color flapper dress. But after a few assurances that it was fine, really, they just wanted to check things out for themselves, the owner had subsided, edging across the small shop to try to goad two teenage girls into buying something.
Despite his protests, Itachi is still sitting on the stool, running his fingers along the cheap fabric of the pleated skirt, over the white ruffle of the apron- his cheeks are red, his tongue poking out of the corner of his mouth, as if he's really thinking about this- Shisui sighs and adjusts his bowtie, taps his cowboy boots against the wooden floors. He eyes the racks of clothes surrounding them, the rainbows of flapper dresses, the old tuxes, the cowboy hats of all colors and sizes. For a moment, he regrets slipping into the plain bartender outfit, because there's a cowboy hat on the third rack that he's just dying to try on- and well, besides, he'd seen a pair of chaps somewhere around here-
Itachi's still looking at the outfit on the hanger with Norbert propped against the stools legs, his poor dragon legs still damp with water. The boots are loud when he walks, click-clacking across the floor so that Itachi's looking up at him before he's across the room. He grins down at him, hooking his fingers into the waistband of Itachi's swim trunks and using that hold to pull him to his feet- Itachi's still blushing, but he's starting get that look, the sly look he gets before he slams someone's rebuttal to pieces on the debate team, or the look he'd had right before he'd won the fourth grade spelling bee, making the runner up girl cry.
Shisui's just starting to feel wary, just starting to wonder if maybe he should be backing away, when Itachi presses his palm up against the bulge in Shisui's borrowed pants. His breath catches, his hips rocking forward and into Itachi's touch before he can stop himself.
Then Itachi's moving away, backing out of the cage of Shisui's arms so he can drop his swim suit trunks to the floor, bending down to grab something-
The look's still in his eyes as he shimmies into the cheaply made skirt, pulling it up and over his thighs, settling it low on his hips- just low enough that Shisui can still see the jut of a pale hipbone and that small trail of dark hair that leads beneath the skirt. And even though he'd seen Itachi naked just seconds ago, when he'd dropped his shorts, there's something infinitely more about the way Itachi slides the blouse down over his head, lets the sleeves fall off his shoulders the way they're supposed to, and wriggles, because the top's just a bit too small, stopping too early so that a line of pale flesh is still visible-
He bends over again, reaching for an apron that's beneath the rack of cowboy boots, and Shisui forgets to breathe because he's trying to look up Itachi's skirt, aching to catch a glimpse of the pale curve of his ass. Once Itachi's dragged the apron over to his stool he abandons it, slipping his feet into a pair of thigh high boots. Shisui watches, throat dry, his eyes following the path of the zipper as Itachi drags it up, encasing his pale thighs in shiny black imitation leather.
Itachi flicks Shisui a smoldering look, beckoning, and Shisui stumbles forward, already reaching forward before Itachi can say what he wants.
At first, his fingers are trembling so badly that he can hardly keep hold of the laces that keep the blouse together. But eventually, his short-circuiting brain decides to focus on the ties and not the way that Itachi's bare skin is beneath his fingers, so Shisui pulls just a bit too tightly- Itachi's breath catches and he stumbles forward, propping himself with one hand against a wooden pillar, body stretched long and taut across the stool.
Shisui shifts heavily on his feet as Itachi flicks a look back at him from under long lashes, a look that's surprisingly more heat than irritation. Crouching, he retrieves the last article of clothing from the floor. He ties the apron back around his waist with his plum tipped fingers, obviously masculine despite their size and softness, looking obscene against the ruffles. Shisui is calculating all the ways he can pin his cousin down and ravage him when Itachi spins around mockingly, dips into a low curtsy, and then lunges at Shisui.
Itachi's lips are soft. They're like nothing Shisui's ever felt before- softer than any guy Shisui has ever kissed, but they press back against Shisui's more firmly than any woman. Itachi throws himself into the kiss with a passion that Shisui never would have guessed that Itachi was capable of, if they had simply been friends. There was too much pitted anger and overflowing grace in Itachi's actions that Shisui recognized and loved-
Itachi shifts and tucks himself in against Shisui's ribs, pressing their hips together and grinding. He's making hot gasping noises against Itachi's ear, too helpless and aroused to do anything but press back. And then Itachi's wrapping his arms around his neck, pressing close enough that Shisui can feel the shape of him through the skirt.
Shisui groans and wonders why the hell they'd never done this before. Silken fabric brushes against him and Itachi's panting in his ear, reaching one hand between them so he can unzip the ridiculous bartender slacks, reaching inside-
After that, things blur to a vague thought of flesh and skin, moans and hastily stifled cries, and all thoughts beyond that become impossible.
Afterwards, once they've shed the sticky, ruined costumes and donned their swimsuit apparel once more (and oh god, do the trunks chafe against his too sensitive flesh) they sneak out the backdoor, making their way back towards their bags and the wave pool. The sun is setting, turning the lazy river a rich orange, pink and lavender smeared across the clouds like finger paint. Their bags and towels are just where they'd left them, still sitting atop their lonely lounge chair in the corner of the park. Itachi tosses Norbert on top of their towels, then yawns, stretching his arms up above his head until his spine pops. Shisui sinks down onto the chair with an exhausted sigh, sprawls across it so his legs are spilling off the end. He grins over at Itachi, who just gives him a mildly affectionate look in return and reaches up, plucking the aviators from atop his head and tossing them onto Shisui's stomach.
The wave pool is all but empty now, the park nearing closing time; the kids and most of the adults have abandoned it in favor of getting one last turn on the slides, or one last round of the lazy river. No one wants their last event of the day to be the wave pool-
It stretches out before them, quiet, chlorinated water reflecting orangepinkredgoldpurple back at them, pretty as a picture and just as still. After a few more minutes of stretching, Itachi steps into it, wading in until he's thigh deep in the water. All tension drains out of his body, limbs going slack and pliant, stature becoming loose. He relaxes into a stance, one that Shisui vaguely recognizes from watching Itachi attend so many Tai Chi lessons over the years.
His movement is fluid, eyes shut against the rest of the park. He's finding his centre of gravity, and his movements are still slow, still warming up through a series of solo forms, spine straight and breathing low and deep, abdominal muscles working-- fast–slow, small circle–large circle, square–round, low sitting/high sitting, until he's adding different styles of pushing hands, blending the two forms together with a fluidity that Shisui still admires.
He starts with the Chen style, moves through the Yang and into both of the Wu's, settling into the Sun style before moving right along and adding a blend of faster-paced modern styles until Shisui's not even sure what he's doing anymore, meshing all the styles and forms together so beautifully that it really looks like he's dancing on water.
Shisui sighs and propels himself from the chair, padding softly into the cool amber shaded water, each droplet a drop of liquid gold. He approaches Itachi with caution, because to him, this is a form of meditation, a state of heightened awareness and the last time Shisui had interrupted him mid-form, he'd been punched in the face.
But Itachi's winding down now, the fast, fluid movements of modern Tai Chi fading back into the slow, precise movements of old and Shisui finally thinks it's probably safe now, so he ducks under a slow moving arm and wraps his arms around Itachi's waist, pleased that instead of reacting violently Itachi goes slack in his arms, relaxing into the embrace.
Whisper soft, his tone colored with affection he says into the shell of Itachi's ear, "You freak, what have I told you about doing that in public?"
Itachi sighs, dropping his head back onto Shisui's shoulder, his voice just as soft when he whispers back, "Yes, well."
And that should say absolutely nothing, but Shisui knows what Itachi means. Knows that he will never care all that much about the opinions of the public as long as he has Sasuke and Shisui's support, knows that he does these things because he can, because he is an unstoppable force when it comes to the things he loves and that no one is going to stop him.
Shisui knows that Itachi will always be his kid cousin, the dorky one who likes numbers and using his words to change people's lives. Itachi will always be that little kid who thought he could walk on water, but he'll also always be the teenager who's won countless championships, the dorky seventeen year old who paints his nails a plum purple the exact shade of ink coloring Shisui's first tattoo- the one who does Tai Chi and is a triple black belt. The one who could close his eyes and take over the world if he wanted.
Somewhere ahead of them, the buzzer goes off for the last time, the waves beginning to stir around their thighs. Shisui opens his eyes, tucks his nose up against the dampness of Itachi's hair, and spins them around, their backs to the incoming waves and their faces toward the burning horizon. Itachi sighs and his breath washes out, drying a patch of skin on Shisui's collarbone and Shisui thinks that he could grow to like this; that there are all kinds of things wrong with this relationship; that they'll have to hide it from their families, kiss behind locked doors and pretend. Knowing that their relationship will probably only progress if they move somewhere where no one can find them, change their names and pretend that they're just lovers, that their shared traits- dark hair, pale skin, dark eyes- are just a strange coincidence.
The first wave knocks up against the back of his knees, still mild, not enough to do anything more than rock them forward the slightest. Itachi breathes against his skin, heartbeat slow and content beneath Shisui's palm.
And yes, Itachi will always be his cousin.
Maybe he'll always be that kid, but he'll also always be the seventeen year old who'd blushed and softly thanked him when Shisui had handed him a stuffed dragon that grinned and said "Be Mine" across its heart, he'll always be the sly, crafty teenager who'd slid himself into a skirt and rocked with Shisui in a dressing room, soft velvet and cracked leather their only witness. He'll always be the sixteen year old who had smiled first at Shisui when he'd won Nationals, before he'd even thought of looking at his parents. He'll always be the fifteen year old who invented his own form of Tai Chi, the fourteen year old who's voice had cracked and sputtered whenever he talked to Shisui, the thirteen year old who had sat with Shisui during his rebellious years and told him around his book with a mocking smirk to "Man Up" when he'd gotten that first tattoo, Sui, the kanji for water tattooed in purple ink across his right shoulder.
A second wave rocks into them, and they sway in a parody of a dance, one's eyes fixed on the burning sun and the other's closed against the richness of it all.
Their story goes back and back, until they're back at the beginning, because Itachi will always be that infant who'd cried until Aunt Mikoto had pressed him into four year old Shisui's spindly, toddler arms. The infant who'd gone quiet with one murmured word from the other boy, who'd gazed up at his cousin with something like recognition in his wide, doe-soft baby eyes-
Shisui doesn't believe in things like reincarnation, not the way Itachi does. He doesn't understand the way that Itachi looks at him sometimes, sad and just a bit guilty, the way he flinches when Shisui's name is mistakenly spelled with the kanji's for "death" and "water" like he knows something that Shisui doesn't- that he remembers something that Shisui has no clue about.
But he does believe in destiny, just a little bit.
Enough that after seventeen years he finally recognizes that spark he'd felt on the day of Itachi's birth for what it really is. Enough that he realizes that this time, their story will stretch on.
Itachi's hand wraps around his, and the third wave is coming up behind them, loud enough that Shisui knows it's going to be a big one. He stifles a smile against Itachi's hair, presses a kiss where hair meets skin, pushes all thoughts of destiny and fate to the back of his head and squeezes Itachi's hand in his-
And together, they fall back into the waves.
♥♥♥ FIN ♥♥♥