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Born ten and a half weeks after Sasuke, Naruto has spent the last nineteen years of his life trying to catch up. It had been adorable when they were toddlers, trying when they were children, and obnoxious when they were teenagers. Their rivalry as adults, however, is downright pornographic.

"Really?" Itachi sighs as he enters the apartment, an armful of produce from the farmer's market tucked against his side. Over the back of the couch, Sasuke's shoulders tense and the suspicious, sloppy sucking noises emanating from his vicinity cease abruptly. "In the living room?"

There's a slick, familiar pop. Naruto appears a second later, red-faced, fat-lipped, and stammering, "Oh, hey, Itachi, I was just—you know—Sasuke dropped the remote and—"

"You were looking for it in his pants?" Itachi interjects dryly. Naruto's face contorts in horror at being called out so blatantly. One would think he'd be used to it by now; then again, one would think Itachi would be tired of riling him up. "You and I both know his pants are too tight for that. Also, we don't own a television."

Once upon a time, when Itachi and Sasuke first moved into the apartment, Naruto's dying whale noises when Itachi caught them in flagrante delicto had been hilarious. It's still hilarious, of course, but now Itachi covers his mirth with another heavy sigh. He places his reusable bag—expertly knitted by his partner in crime, Kisame—on the kitchen counter, and says for the thousandth time, "Keep it in the bedroom, guys, or keep it in your pants."

Naruto nods frantically. Sasuke uses the distraction to tuck his dick back into his pants, rise to his unsteady feet, and waddle as fast as humanly possible into his bedroom. Naruto trails behind Sasuke at a more sheepish pace, bow-legged and awkward as his erection presses hard against his fly, and shuts Sasuke's door behind him with a soft, embarrassed click.

"Idiots," Itachi chuckles.

.

Sasuke and Naruto have known each other for most of their lives. They were inseparable as toddlers—even though all they ever did was fight over the possession of Sasuke's stuffed t-rex—and throughout grade school—even though all they ever did was play was pretend to be rival ninja who killed each other during recess. Their adolescence, however, was a different story.

Between the ages of twelve and seventeen, Sasuke and Naruto were bitter enemies. Itachi uses the term "enemies" with no small amount of sarcasm, because even though Sasuke made his disdain for Naruto very clear, he had still punched another boy who called Naruto stupid—never mind that Sasuke regularly said worse—and been suspended from school for three days. Back then, Itachi had often wondered if Sasuke understood his hypocrisy, or if he had been blinded to it by his possessiveness.

Itachi does not know exactly what caused the rift between Sasuke and Naruto. And though he doesn't want to know, not does he need to know, he can make an educated guess. Sasuke had always been introverted, and his adolescence tripled his unease with his peers; at the same time, his growing physical attraction to Naruto warred uncomfortably with his platonic love for his childhood friend. Sasuke's emotional instability combined with Naruto's very loud and consuming crush on their classmate, Sakura, had morphed their friendship into a rivalry that endured for most of their junior and senior high school careers.

The antagonism between his brother and Naruto lasted for over five years. Before the split, Itachi would have thought their long separation impossible—he remembers how Sasuke, as a toddler, would throw tantrums when Naruto couldn't come over and play—but they were both incredibly stubborn and shockingly dim-witted, especially when it concerned the other. As cliché as it was, Itachi had been tempted to lock them in a room together until they worked it out.

Eventually, however, nobody needed to intervene. Barely a month into their last year of high school, they had found a new method of venting their frustrations: their vindictive punches became desperate palms sliding against new yet familiar skin, their stinging, verbal barbs became kisses tinged with teeth, and though the fights persisted, they were largely fought horizontally.

Itachi had been mildly surprised—yet simultaneously completely unsurprised, which was an odd and ineffable sensation—the first time he saw them tangled together. They were pressed together from knee to chest, huddled inside a small, glass bus shelter as they hid from the torrential rain brought by the late spring. They could have been anyone, just a pair of boys in high school uniforms, trading damp kisses as they waited for the brief storm to end, a couple so wrapped up in one another that the drenched world beyond was no more than a distraction from each other.

For half a second, Itachi had been blissfully unaware of their true identities. Naruto had hit his growth spurt a few summers ago and was over half a head taller than Sasuke; Itachi was so used to Sasuke being an inch or two taller than Naruto that the sight of his brother standing on the balls of his feet to kiss Naruto was more disconcerting than the kiss itself. Itachi had always suspected that Naruto and Sasuke's relationship would culminate in the manner that it had, but actually seeing Naruto's golden head bowed low threw Itachi for a loop.

(In retrospect, the fact that Sasuke would one day be shorter than Naruto should have been obvious. The Uzumakis were all tall and fair, which was a direct contrast to the dark coloring and general petiteness that the Uchiha clan possesed, and Naruto had also grown broad in the shoulders and chest, whereas Sasuke would always be narrow and lean. Their differences were stark—yet complemental—when they stood side by side.)

It wasn't until the stranger in the armchair next to Itachi burned her tongue on her latte and swore that Itachi realized he had been staring. He jerked his eyes away in response and buried his head back in his dog-eared, secondhand book. He wasn't embarrassed—Itachi had always considered embarrassment a useless emotion—and he wasn't disgusted—who a person chose to be with and how they wanted to be with them was no one's business but their own—but, in that moment, Itachi knew that was not supposed to see what he had seen.

A kiss could be just a kiss, but between Sasuke and Naruto, it would always be more.

That rainy day in May, Itachi could not have known then that his unintentional voyeurism was a prediction of things to come. If he had known, he would have gone outside—sudden downpour be damned—and embarrassed them so thoroughly that they would never even consider touching one another without first locking a door behind them.

But he had not known; so instead, Itachi let himself smile against the pages of his book, and was quietly and overwhelmingly glad that his little brother and his honorary little brother have finally found their way back to each other.

.

It is half past ten and Itachi has just finished a collection of poems he found at a yard sale. His chamomile tea is nothing but dregs at the bottom of his ceramic cup and, as he gets out of his bed, he pulls his headphones down around his neck like a collar.

"—fuck you so hard you'll feel it for a week," Naruto growls, an empty threat that carries all the way from Sasuke's bedroom into Itachi's.

Itachi suppresses the urge to roll his eyes. This is what he gets for renting an apartment with paper-thin walls, and then inviting his little brother to live with him: terrible dirty talk, brought to him exclusively by said little brother's boyfriend.

"Oh yeah?" Sasuke sneers. Itachi cannot help but remember the time he walked in on a preteen Sasuke perfecting that sneer in the mirror. Itachi had blackmailed Sasuke into doing his chores for two months. "You promised that last time, but as usual, you blew your load too soon."

Itachi's hand twitches with the effort it takes not to facepalm at Sasuke's blatant goading. There is no way Naruto is going to take such obvious bait—

"What—I did not, asshole!" There's a muffled grunt and a clear moan. Once, Itachi might have been horrified to know what Sasuke sounded like in the throes of passion. Now, he barely blinks. "I'm gonna give it to you so hard—"

Hook, line, and sinker, Itachi thinks mournfully, yet while he despairs of Sasuke's obvious tactics, it doesn't surprise him. Naruto and Sasuke have always been extremely competitive, in all aspects of their lives—even Naruto's mother jokes that Naruto learned to walk so early purely to beat Sasuke at something—and Sasuke has never been above using that to his advantage.

"—ahh, idiot, is that all you got—ahhh!"

Itachi calmly slides his chunky headphones back over his ears, turns up the volume, and goes into the kitchen to make more chamomile tea. With any luck, the throbbing bass line will drown out his roommates' horizontal shenanigans.

.

Itachi has had sex once in his life.

When he was a teenager, Itachi was never preoccupied with the notion of having sex—if anything, he was preoccupied by the fact of avoiding sex—and he treated his occasional erections clinically. Itachi masturbated quickly and efficiently when he had to; for Itachi, ejaculation was never pleasure, merely physical relief. Simply thinking about someone touching his cock, or touching someone else similarly, made him shudder.

The only time Itachi had ever been unsure about his asexuality was when one of his distant cousins, a boy a few years his senior named Shisui, visited them for a summer. Shisui was intelligent, passionate, and sharp-tongued; he was sure and decisive and charismatic; and when he smiled at Itachi, or wrapped his arm around Itachi's shoulders, Itachi's torso flooded with warmth. As baffled as he was, Itachi thought he had been successful in concealing his unusual reactions—but that was before Shisui climbed into his bed and straddled his hips.

"You want me," Shisui marveled as he ran his fingers over Itachi's face: his cheeks, the bridge of his nose, his damp mouth. "You do."

Shisui was handsome in the moonlight. He had just gotten out of the shower; his sodden curls clung to his jaw; his skin was warm beneath Itachi's palms. Happiness ballooned in Itachi's chest when Shisui bent down to kiss him, their lips sliding firmly and chastely together. Itachi's eyes fluttered and closed, content to be pinned by Shisui's comforting weight.

It was not long until Shisui's kisses turned sloppy with tongue and his hands wandered down Itachi's body. Itachi squirmed in discomfort when Shisui palmed him through his clothes; he was hard, but Shisui's touch was weird and strange. When they were both naked, lying on their sides and facing one another, their fists wrapped around the other's cock, Itachi told himself his unease was because of his inexperience. Shisui's closeness and the warmth he inspired in Itachi was intoxicating—surely this was attraction—but when Itachi finally came, just before Shisui, he was relieved it was over.

A few days afterwards, Shisui left that summer and never mentioned the time they spent together. Though they remained good friends, they never touched each other again. Their night together had taught Itachi that wanting to be close to someone was not the same as attraction, that though he may desire emotional intimacy, he did not desire physical intimacy. Only experience could have taught Itachi what he was and was not comfortable with and, even if Shisui had been a clueless teacher, Itachi could have tested his boundaries with someone who had been less kind and cared less than Shisui had.

Itachi would forever be grateful to Shisui for imparting such an important lesson.

Perhaps Itachi would be jealous of Sasuke and Naruto, if he wanted the kind of relationship they have, but he doesn't, so he isn't. Sometimes he wonders if he would still be distantly amused by their sexual escapades if he were a sexual person, or if he would still find hilarity in the situations he often finds himself if he experienced the arousal typically associated with visual stimuli. But it isn't as unsettling to him as it might be to other people, and other than the occasional uncomfortableness, these things are often deeply amusing.

Case in point: Itachi is at his favorite tea shop with Kisame, rereading Norwegian Wood while Kisame knits something complex involving four double-pointed needles—it's probably another pair of socks or mittens, as Kisame is borderline obsessed with Itachi's poor circulation—when his phone chirps at him. He picks it up without thinking, unlocks the security screen, and reads:

i want 2 suck u

Itachi tries and fails to keep his disbelieving eyebrow from crawling up to his hairline. It isn't the first time Naruto has texted Itachi by mistake—it isn't even the first time Naruto's sent him a sext, either—so he sets his phone back on the table and ignores it. Hopefully, Naruto will realize his mistake and sext the right person.

Itachi's phone chirps again, and again, and after a short pause, it chirps again for good measure.

"I ask for too much," Itachi mutters to himself.

haven't seen you all day baby

sorry I know you said you need to study but how about a quick break?

I can come over and blow you and lick you open just like you like it, could eat you out until you come

Fuck I'm hard just thinking about it

Babe, look how hard I am for you

Before Itachi can send Naruto a text and tell him exactly how bad of an idea that would be—or mentally prepare himself for what is about to happen—Naruto sends him a picture of his dick.

Objectively speaking, Naruto has a nice cock. It's a little longer and thicker than average, with an upward curve while erect and a wide, spongy cockhead that peeks out from his foreskin. He has his hand wrapped around the shaft and a thumb just beneath the glans, squeezing it so a pearl of pre-come blooms from the slit. It's so obscene, so shockingly pornographic, that Itachi can't help but sit and stare.

Kisame breaks the spell by gruffly inquiring, "You okay?"

"Naruto sent me a dick pic," Itachi says.

"What?" Kisame asks. When Itachi simply hands him the phone, Kisame scrutinizes the picture before he shrugs and says, "I've seen bigger."

Like what you see? Naruto sends.

Kisame says he's seen bigger, Itachi responds. Then, Next time you make sure you message the right Uchiha. You wouldn't want to accidentally send my mom a picture of your dick, would you?

Itachi doesn't get a response—not that he's expecting one—and when he goes home a few hours later, one pair of wool socks tucked into the pocket of his cardigan, Sasuke still has his textbooks spread out in front of him.

"Naruto isn't here?" Itachi asks. "Didn't he text you?"

"I told him I needed to study, not that he listens this well." Sasuke looks up from his notes, adjusts his wayfarer reading glasses, and frowns. "Why?"

"No reason," Itachi says.

.

"I want you to hurt me," Sasuke says.

Hand on the door knob and key still in the lock, Itachi freezes.

"What?" Naruto asks. His surprise carries through the apartment door. "You want—Sasuke, what—?"

"I want you to hurt me," Sasuke reiterates. He sounds annoyed, but annoyed is his default tone of voice when Naruto is involved, whether it be as the other person in or as the subject of the conversation. "You asked me if there was anything I wanted to try the next time we fucked. This is what I want: I want you to hurt me."

"Hurt you?" Naruto's voice is high and incredulous. Itachi can picture the rictus of surprise on his face: his wide blue eyes, his eyebrows raised, his mouth parted. "Sasuke, I couldn't—"

Sasuke scoffs at the protest even as Itachi rolls his eyes. There had been a time, not so long ago, when it had been unusual to see Sasuke free of injury; if it wasn't scraped knuckles or a black eye, it was purple-green bruises or a fat lip. Sasuke says as much with a condescending, "You used to hit me all the time, idiot."

"Yeah, but you were being a dick!" Naruto retorts. "That was different!"

On the other side of the door—as an outsider removed not only from their conversation, but from their relationship—Itachi understands. He knows Sasuke better than Sasuke knows himself; as his honorary other little brother, he knows Naruto equally as well. From the first time Sasuke had come home roughed up, unwilling to tell anyone who had torn his uniform jacket, Itachi knew. There was only one person who Sasuke would defend so stubbornly, even if said person had given him a bloody nose.

"I'm not asking you to beat me up, Naruto," Sasuke murmurs. Though Itachi can barely hear him, all traces of annoyance have disappeared. "I—I like it."

"You like the pain?" Naruto whispers.

"Not exactly." Itachi hears the shuffle of feet and a sigh. "I want to be hurt—but only if it's you. I want you to hurt me. The pain is—it's still pain, but it isn't..."

Sasuke's sentence trails off and quiet ensues. Without their discussion to distract him, it strikes Itachi that he is blatantly eavesdropping on what is supposed to be a private conversation; this isn't a handful of words he overheard by accident, but a true tete-a-tete. He feels a small yet insignificant prick of guilt from his conscience before he dismisses it easily, as he has had front row seats to the Sasuke & Naruto Show ™ since they were babies. Negotiating their kinks—although in a characteristically emotionally stunted manner—is a small facet of their otherwise enormous relationship. Itachi has already seen most of said relationship, even the parts he didn't want to see, that this small thing matters little in the grand scheme if them.

"I don't understand," Naruto says slowly. As usual, Naruto is the first to break their stalemate. "And even if you want me to, I'm not sure I could hurt you. Do you… do you want me to hit you?"

Sasuke and Naruto's relationship had been easy when they were rivals, Itachi thinks. Though their friendship had dissolved quickly into turbulent antagonism, they had been unable to remain indifferent towards one another; the distance had been too much for them to handle, so they brawled to spare their teenage pride. They fought in order to recreate the closeness they shared as children, and if they hurt each other, they were satisfied that the hurt meant they couldn't be forgotten.

The skirmishes had abruptly ended around the same time Sasuke and Naruto had started having sex. Apparently, while Naruto had taken his fights with as a substitute for bumping uglies, Sasuke had approached said fights as incredibly convoluted foreplay. It does not surprise Itachi to know that Sasuke likes to be hurt, or that Naruto has a difficult time wrapping his brain around the conception of masochism.

"We can try it," Naruto says, when Sasuke does not verbalize an answer. Itachi can still the unsurety in Naruto's tone, doubtful of the thought of pain as pleasure, but he can also hear the resolve beneath it. Naruto would do anything for Sasuke—even hurt him—if that was what Naruto had been convinced what Sasuke wanted. "Just think about what you want me to do, and if it's not too weird, I'll do it. Deal?"

"Idiot," Sasuke says in lieu of an actual response, a veneer of exasperation over a deep well of fondness. A kitchen chair scrapes across the cheap linoleum and silence, light-hearted and relieved, ensues.

Carefully, Itachi removes his key from the lock and takes his hand off the doorknob. Sasuke and Naruto are probably trying to cement their verbality by sucking one another's face off and, while Itachi normally has no problem interrupting their make-out sessions, he is reluctant to disturb them. Itachi knows firsthand how difficult it can be to honest with a partner; he's loathe to embarrass them and taint any aspect of their exchange. It isn't easy for Sasuke and Naruto to share—not when words are involved, at any rate—and he doesn't want to prevent them from sharing their wants, needs, and concerns in the future.

So Itachi leaves to go pick up some coffee. Hopefully, Sasuke and Naruto will have it out of their system by the time he gets back.

.

Sex did not disgust Itachi—it was just sex, after all, a biological imperative that was a little strange with some distance, but ultimately understandable—yet after Shisui, Itachi knew that he could never be in a relationship with a partner who wanted sexual reciprocation. Experience had taught him that he was uncomfortable when someone touched him in order to elicit a sexual response, but not when the touch was meant to comfort. As Itachi grew older, he made all his perspective partners aware of his asexuality and, while many of them assumed he was lying or tried to do things Itachi was unwilling to do, Itachi had never compromised himself.

That steel resolve crumpled when he met Kisame.

Kisame was a friend of a friend of someone Itachi's coworker went to art school with, taller and uglier than everyone else in the crowded room. Over the course of the night, he and Itachi stole curious, sideways glances; drawn by that curiosity, they slowly and inevitably gravitated towards one another. Eventually, when the party spilled out of the house and into the yard, and they found themselves pressed thigh to thigh on a bench in the dilapidated garden.

Kisame drank a lot of beer—lukewarm Pabst Blue Ribbons that had been sitting out on the counter since that afternoon—and did not talk much. Itachi didn't care. He was intoxicated by the solid, sturdy mass of Kisame's body and the heat that radiated from Kisame's skin, a comfort in the crisp fall air. Itachi had not felt such a desire to be close to someone since Shisui.

Time passed: hours, days, weeks. Itachi learned that Kisame knitted and read the same old science fiction novels Itachi loved; he found out that Kisame worked at the wharf and made a delicious fish fry-up; and he discovered that the longer he kept his asexuality from Kisame, the harder the conversation became to bring it up. Itachi had never before had a problem telling people who were interested in him what they could expect—and Kisame was very, very interested—but Itachi found himself uncharacteristically hesitant.

It had never been so easy to be with someone as it was to be with Kisame. Kisame understood him on a basic, visceral level; most days, it felt as though they had been friends for years instead of weeks. Itachi feared that if he told Kisame what he was and what he wanted that Kisame would distance himself from Itachi, if not disappear completely. It was a great enough fear that, when Kisame finally reached for him, Itachi did not resist.

At first, the contact was exhilarating. Kisame kissed roughly but dryly; he used his teeth instead of his tongue, and nipped the swell of Itachi's bottom lip. The small bites did not make Itachi uncomfortable and Kisame clearly enjoyed it, so Itachi said nothing as he wrapped his arms around Kisame's neck and pulled him closer. He even liked the way Kisame pulled him into his lap and ran his broad, heavy hands down his back, pausing every so often to squeeze Itachi's hips.

For a few minutes, it was perfect. Kisame's kisses and touches weren't blatantly sexual, merely intimate, and Itachi reveled in the closeness. Unfortunately, Kisame's hands soon wandered lower and he began to press his erection against Itachi's ass. Unease rose in Itachi's chest and he trembled with nerves. He wanted to pull away and tell Kisame to slow down, to go back to what they had been doing before, but the words stuck in his throat. Kisame obviously wanted Itachi. What would he do if Itachi stopped them and told him? Itachi had always made it a point to have this conversation with his partners beforehand; most had been willing to give it a try, but there were some that had been convinced they could change him, some that believed he was lying to "be special", and some that had been outright disgusted and called him a freak.

Itachi didn't know what he'd do if Kisame fell into the latter category. He had only known Kisame for a month, but the thought of Kisame turning away from him filled him with dread. If having sex with Kisame was what kept Kisame by his side, then Itachi would fake it for the rest of his life.

In the past, there had been times when Itachi's body had reacted to the touches he received from his partners. His erections had not been arousal, which many of his partners had difficulty understanding, and he had been content to let his dick remain thick with blood as long as his partner didn't try to touch him. Itachi clutched at Kisame's broad back and hoped desperately that his body would react now.

When Kisame turned pressed Itachi into the couch and ground against him, Itachi had started a mantra inside his head to try and convince himself that it wasn't that bad. Kisame wanted him and he wanted to keep Kisame, so he would just have to do this. Perhaps if they had sex often enough, Itachi would learn to like it, or at least tolerate it. Maybe he was just afraid, or broken, or wrong, or all those things people had told him in the past, and he would just have to be better—

Kisame pulled away with a grunt.

Confusion and relief flooded Itachi as Kisame sat up and levered his suffocating weight off his torso. Kisame's hands, which had just undone Itachi's fly, hovered uselessly in the newly created space between their bodies. He stared at Itachi's dick; after a quick glance, Itachi noticed that he wasn't hard at all. Shame, sudden and overwhelming, filled him, which was the exact opposite of his normal reaction. As much as he wanted to, he hadn't been able to fake this.

"If you didn't want me to touch you," Kisame snapped, his rough face twisted with self-loathing, "you should have said so. I thought you wanted—you have to know I would never—"

"Kisame," Itachi interrupted. "I do want you to touch me, just—" Itachi swallowed before he continues in a whisper, "Just not like that."

"Not like that," Kisame parroted, uncomprehending. It struck Itachi, in that moment, that by not talking to Kisame about his asexuality, he was not only hurting himself, but Kisame as well. Itachi had heard other people call Kisame stupid, ugly, and a brute; Itachi knew that Kisame was none of these things, but his beliefs were not the beliefs of others, and perhaps not even Kisame's own. By running from his own insecurities, Itachi had just validated some of Kisame's worst. Guilt turned Itachi's blood to ice.

"Kisame, it's not—" Itachi's voice wavered. He reached for Kisame's face and cradled Kisame's blunt jaw in the palms of his hands. When Kisame could not look him in the eyes, Itachi's resolve strengthened even as his heart broke. He had to trust Kisame with the truth and give him the chance to decide, even if his decision meant that he never wanted anything to do with Itachi ever again. Not only did Kisame deserve to know, but Itachi deserved the possibility of honesty. So Itachi took a deep breath, and said,

"There's something I need to tell you."

.

Some time after Itachi overhears Sasuke and Naruto's discussing their foray into sadomasochism, he gets off his shift early. He thinks longingly of the half-finished bottle of Merlot in the fridge; he is so preoccupied by how nice it will be to lay on the couch while he drinks and listens to music that he opens the apartment door, walks inside, and makes a beeline to said fridge without registering the choked off moans coming from the living room.

By then, it is too late. His gaze drawn by a half-familiar noise, Itachi is greeted by the sight of a completely naked Sasuke bent over Naruto's knee. Sasuke's ass and upper thighs are flushed a dark, hot, painful looking pink; when Naruto brings his hand down, spanking Sasuke with surprising strength, stripes of white from Naruto's fingers bloom from the force. Sasuke whimpers as he moves away from the touch, but it is an action more calculated than instinctual. Sasuke grinds against Naruto's leg as he shifts, and Itachi sees his cock slide painfully against Naruto's jean-clad thigh.

"Fuck," Naruto moans, running his fingers down the cleft of Sasuke's ass and pressing against his hole, blissfully unaware that Itachi is right there and can see everything. "Fuck, okay, you're really red, do you want to—"

When Sasuke keens in lieu of a coherent answer, Itachi takes that as his cue to leave. He turns on his heel, marches back out the door, and beats a strategic retreat for the second time that week. With any luck, Kisame will still have enough cheap wine in his fridge to blur the clarity of the image burned into Itachi's retinas.

.

Kisame does not have enough wine.

.

Itachi regretted very little—regret is almost as useless to him as embarrassment—but he definitely regretted buying Sasuke a vibrator for his birthday.

Sasuke was near eighteen and the summer was already brutal. Heat wave followed heat wave followed heat wave. The pavement swam in the distance, and crickets and grasshoppers chirped so frequently the noise was a hum that came from the dry brown grass. Itachi forever wants to claim that the high temperature had addled his brain, but he can never quite convince himself, since the idea had been born in the air-conditioned breakroom of his workplace.

"—best fucking orgasm of my life," his work friend said, a stupid smile on his face. "I was a little weirded out at first—I have never seen a dildo shaped like that, okay, and I've seen plenty of weird shit, do you remember that guy I dated from sculpture class?—but fuck, when it was in, it was in, I fucking swear—"

It occurred to Itachi, as his work friend nattered on about the dildo, that it would be hilarious to give Sasuke a sex toy for his birthday. Sasuke still hadn't told anyone—not even Itachi—that he was seeing Naruto; there was speculation in the Uchiha household, of course, after the hickeys started appearing, but Sasuke remained tight-lipped when asked, subtly or outright. Itachi didn't know why Sasuke was so hesitant to tell anyone. Naruto was practically already a member of the family, so Sasuke didn't have to worry about Naruto being accepted, and Itachi had come out as homoromantic years ago and been accepted immediately, so Sasuke didn't have to worry about the fact that Naruto was male. Like many aspects of their relationship, Itachi suspected that Sasuke kept Naruto a secret because of his misplaced pride.

So Itachi bought the vibrator (and a pack of condoms and lube, because he was sure that Naruto and Sasuke weren't being smart and safe about it). He thought, perhaps misguidedly, that the vibrator would tell Sasuke that Itachi supported his sexuality and his relationship without actually having to confront Sasuke and trick the truth out of him. (Tricking the truth out of Sasuke hadn't been easy since Sasuke went to high school.) Sasuke's mortification was an added bonus, if not a motivating factor; Itachi had moved out of the house when Sasuke was fifteen and, though he frequently visited, it had been years since Itachi fulfilled his most sacred duty as an older brother.

Predictably, when Sasuke opened Itachi's present, he had turned as red as a tomato. Itachi had laughed himself sick when Sasuke failed to prevent their mother from seeing what was inside the box; Mikoto clicked her tongue at Itachi before running her hand through Sasuke's hair and saying, "Well, I'm sure you and Naruto will like it, at least."

Their mother's comment made Itachi laugh even harder—his sadism was genetic, and he certainly hadn't inherited it from his father—while Sasuke squawked in embarrassment. Apparently, their mother and Naruto's mother had known all along, and the both of them had been waiting for when Sasuke and Naruto were ready to tell them to say anything about it.

"And thanks to your brother here, I just lost quite a bit of money to Kushina," Mikoto sighed. "I was sure you weren't going to say anything about it until you left the house, but it looks like someone forced your hand."

What Itachi had not foreseen, however, that Sasuke and Naruto would use the vibrator. Sometimes, his asexuality was his enemy. The possibility that Sasuke and Naruto would use his gift had barely crossed his mind; the fleeting idea that they might was summarily dismissed, sure that Sasuke's embarrassment would outweigh his curiosity. He knew intellectually what a vibrator was supposed to be used for, but instead of its intended purpose, he used it as a joke.

The joke, it seemed, was on Itachi. He had purchased the vibrator in between the time Sasuke and Naruto finally got together and the day that Sasuke moved into the apartment, and had not yet known that neither of them thought about where they were when the mood struck. If he had known—well, what was done was done, and all Itachi could do was regret.

.

"I can't believe it," Naruto says, awed. "It fucking fit."

For a brief second, Itachi is blissfully confused and unaware. He doesn't know what Naruto is talking about or what the buzzing noise emanating from Sasuke's room comes from. Curious, he peeks around the mostly open door.

Itachi instantly wishes he hadn't.

"Unnh," Sasuke whines in lieu of his typical sarcastic reply, but the mystery as to why is not a mystery at all. An unfortunately familiar vibrator is buried in his ass, his hole stretched around its impressive girth, and the fake, bright purple jelly balls of the toy are jiggling with the force of its vibrations. Naruto must have cranked the power up all the way for the oscillations to be so violent.

"Fuck," Naruto moans, pressing his thumb against the end of the vibrator and pushing. The minute increase in pressure makes Sasuke's whole body twitch; it probably feels more impressive than it looks. "That's so fucking hot, Sasuke, why didn't we do this sooner—"

Sasuke's hands are fists in his bed sheets and his gaze is caught, unfocused, by the white spackle ceiling. His mouth is slack. His flush has wandered down his face and throat to his chest. His nipples are hard and his dick is so heavy and full it has to hurt.

"I'm gonna make you come like this." Naruto rocks his thumb against the vibrator and Sasuke's hips rise and fall with the motion. "Then I'm gonna leave it in until you're ready again, and then I'm gonna fuck you, because you even though you like fake cock, you like my cock more, and I'm gonna get you wet and messy with my come, before I shove it back in, and—"

"Then do it," Sasuke interrupts, more desperate than demanding. His mouth is red and shiny with spit. "Do it, and fucking shut up—"

When Naruto reaches for the exposed end of the vibrator, Itachi sticks his head into their room, and says, "Hey guys, next time you get freaky, can you please remember to close the door?"

"Jesus fucking Christ," Naruto screeches, jumping a foot in the air and tumbling off the bed as Sasuke belatedly covers himself and shouts, red-faced, "Shut the fucking door!"

"You shut the fucking door," Itachi retorts. He is under no delusions that this lesson will be the one that solves his accidental (and unwanted) voyeurism problem—nothing short of a miracle will solve that—but maybe, if he's lucky, he won't see any unplanned hard dick for a record-breaking week.

Hopeful at the prospect, and with one final mirthful glance, Itachi leaves Sasuke and Naruto to wallow in their humiliation.

.

"That bad, huh?" Kisame chuckles as Itachi tackles the buttons of Kisame's coat the moment they're inside the door. They're both drunk—Itachi much more than Kisame—and Itachi's normally impeccable coordination is shot. He hisses a warning between his teeth when Kisame tries to take over, which makes Kisame laugh harder. "So stubborn," he says fondly, his smile crooked as he brushes a stray chunk of hair over Itachi's ear. His fingers, warm from his heavy mittens, burn against Itachi's cold-bitten skin.

Kisame's and Itachi's coats manage to find their way over the back of a kitchen chair, and their shoes are kicked in the general vicinity of the closet, but the rest of their clothing is cast aside without thought. Kisame's thrifted sweater and torn jeans crumple to the carpet without a sound; his holey varsity swim team shirt and thick wool socks land on the armchair; and his cotton boxers, worn thin by time and use, is stuffed behind the couch cushion.

"Fuck, your hands are freezing," Kisame gasps as Itachi touches him, the defined muscles in his abdomen jumping. "Do you need me to make you a new pair of gloves or—"

"Quiet," Itachi commands.

Though Kisame obeys, his grin still says many things. Itachi pinches the soft skin on the underside of Kisame's arm in retaliation.

After their initial disastrous attempt at being together, Itachi and Kisame muddled their way through compromise with a surprising amount of patience and understanding. Kisame has learned all of Itachi's boundaries and Itachi has learned how to help Kisame without making himself uncomfortable. They have it down to a fine art these days, even when they're far from sober, and it is this familiarity that Itachi relishes as Kisame gives him close-mouthed kisses with the occasional bite, his heavy fists in Itachi's long hair.

"I want to crawl inside your skin," Itachi murmurs as he slides his palms down Kisame's thick sides, the muscles rippling beneath the scratch of his nails. Kisame hisses in obvious arousal at the sting, but Itachi does not mind; they both get what they want and need out of the touch. "S'that creepy?"

"You're creepy when you're wasted," Kisame says against Itachi's temple. "I'm used to it."

Itachi hums as his fingers ghost over Kisame's prominent pelvic bones. Kisame's skin is smooth and dark and warm, and Itachi relishes in the knowledge that he can touch Kisame whenever he wants to, that Kisame wants him to. Itachi has never been particularly insecure, but knowing that Kisame wants him as much as he wants Kisame is extremely validating.

"I'm really fucking hard," Kisame groans as Itachi drags his hands up Kisame's thighs. The coarse hair scritches pleasantly against Itachi's palms. "Couch?"

"Mmm," Itachi hums again. The booze he drank earlier has unraveled his mind at the edges and made his limbs loose. Kisame manhandles him to the couch and Itachi knows he can't blame the warmth suffused in his chest and the weightlessness in his arms solely on his inebriation.

They wind up on the battered couch, Kisame's head in Itachi's lap as Kisame jerks his thick cock in his rough hands, moaning and twitching as he pushed himself towards orgasm. His legs are splayed, one foot flat against the floor for leverage while the other pushes against the armrest, and his dick is purple-black between his dark fingers, and it was so blatantly sexual that Itachi should be uncomfortable—but he isn't. It might be that Kisame isn't touching him with intent, or that Itachi is fully clothed and observing rather than involved, but he sits content, his fingers in Kisame's hair. Warmth settles in his chest as he watches Kisame masturbate. This is the difference between what Itachi had once with Shisui; whereas Shisui had taken, Kisame gives Itachi this intimate part of himself, trusts Itachi with it, and that—that is what Itachi wants more than anything.

"Fuck," Kisame moans, the long line of his body twisting and writhing as he nears orgasm. He presses his face into Itachi's inner thigh, squeezes his eyes shut as his wide mouth goes slack. "Fuck, fuck, fuck—"

Kisame grunts when he comes, holding his cock tightly with one hand as he tugs on his huge balls with the other. His hips jerk instinctively upward as semen, thick and white, spatters across his twitching abdomen. Even if the sight doesn't turn Itachi on, he still appreciates how Kisame looks and feels pride at the fact that he helped make Kisame feel good. He makes a small noise of content in the back of his throat as Naruto exclaims, "Oh my god!"

Itachi's gaze snaps up from Kisame's satiated smile to the duo in the main entrance, his vision swimming from the suddenness of his movement. He's still very drunk, he knows, which is why he didn't hear them come in. Both of them are staring as though they are unable to tear their eyes away.

"Hey," Kisame greets smugly, letting go off his genitals and stretching. "Been there long?"

Spurred into action by Kisame's comment, Sasuke flees into his bedroom, his face a rictus of horror, and slams the door behind him. Chuckling at Sasuke's reaction, Kisame, still naked and covered in come, gets up from the couch, stretches more, claps a still frozen Naruto on the shoulder, and meanders into the bathroom to clean himself off while Itachi stands up and picks Kisame's clothes off the ground. It seems like the correct thing to do, even if he's still a little unsteady in his feet.

"Oh my god," Naruto squeaks again, stuck in a perpetual loop of incredulity. Itachi wonders at his embarrassment; it's not like he's the one being walked in on, this time. "Oh my god."

"Are you broken?" Itachi asks without looking up from the soft shirt in his hands. It smells like Kisame's deodorant. "I know for a fact that you've seen a dick before."

Naruto chokes out, "But you don't—" before words fail him and he gestures helplessly to the couch, as though it will help him articulate the jumble of his thoughts.

Itachi shrugs, grabs Kisame's socks, and says, "I don't."

"But you were—"

"I wasn't."

"But he was—"

"Yeah, he was." Itachi smirks, perhaps more unkindly than he should and with more teeth than he would if he were completely sober, but turnabout is fair fucking play. "He likes when I'm with him, and I like to be close to him."

"Oh," Naruto says, his eyes wide and crazed. Then, with a contemplative and puzzled moue, he slowly asks, "Is this what you feel like when—?"

Itachi raises an eyebrow and Naruto pales further, an impressive feat considering he's already white with shock beneath his perpetually tan skin.

"I'm never not locking the door again," he whispers.

"Good to know," Itachi says, and leaves to give Kisame his clothes.

.

To be truthful, most of the time Itachi isn't exposed to his little brothers' more graphic shenanigans. Sure, he catches Sasuke and Naruto with alarming frequency, but when he does walk in on them, they're either grinding against each other in the kitchen or groping each other in the living room. If he hasn't seen firsthand how quickly and easily they become wrapped up in one another, Itachi might think they were doing it one purpose.

(Itachi hopes that the amount of sex they have is a consequence of being nineteen. He knows his hope is in vain, however, because the amount of sex Sasuke and Naruto have is a consequence of them being Sasuke and Naruto, and not a consequence of age. Itachi silently resigns himself to a lifetime of overt public affection.)

Of course, Itachi has caught a glimpse of hard dick more he ever wanted or expected to. While these red-handed moments are generally a little uncomfortable for everyone involved, like that time Naruto and Sasuke thought it would be a good idea to jerk each other off in the foyer, Itachi doesn't particularly care. Sasuke is his little brother and Naruto has been around long enough to have an honorary position in the Uchiha household, and their hard dicks are as mundane and unimpressive to Itachi as any other hard dick.

Or, as Kisame had grunted over Itachi's shoulder as Sasuke and Naruto hastily covered their private areas, "It's not like we haven't seen it before."

Itachi can ignore the frantic fumbles and dismiss them with a shrug, or get his kicks by interrupting their (rarely private) private moments. They graduated several months ago and Sasuke is out of the house for the first time—Naruto still lives at home, which is why he's over at the apartment six out of seven days—and privacy is heady. Even Itachi, who is rarely dressed in less than a couple layers plus the cardigan Kisame made years ago, had roamed around in only his boxers for weeks simple because he could.

What Itachi can't ignore is this: Sasuke laid bare across his bed, his hair stuck to his flushed, tear-tacky cheeks, his nails digging sharply into the meat of Naruto's shoulders as Naruto presses dry, reverent, and lingering kisses on Sasuke's eyelids, his temples, the hollow of his jaw behind his ear.

"I love you so much," Naruto whispers, raw with honesty. "I love you so, so much."

Itachi isn't jealous of Sasuke and Naruto's sex life—he isn't jealous of their romance, either, because he has Kisame and his family and his own network of friends, and that's all he wants and needs—yet this tenderness flays him and makes him burn. It is envy born not of want, but of curiosity, and it will pass, as it always does.

"Again, tell me again," Sasuke demands, pleads. His hands unclench from Naruto's shoulders only to clutch at his hair, the long golden strands of Naruto's undercut a mess between his fingers. He tightens his pale legs around Naruto's hips; Naruto is fully seat inside him, unable to go deeper and unwilling to move.

"I love you."

"Never leave me," Sasuke begs, the words oddly slurred. His voice is small and fragile and heavier than anything Itachi has ever heard. "You can't—"

"I couldn't," Naruto interrupts, lifting his head from Sasuke's tattooed throat as he smoothes the tousled strands of Sasuke's wayward hair from his face. Their gazes meet and, now snared, do not waver. "You have to know that I couldn't. Never, never, never, never—"

It does not matter that Sasuke and Naruto are naked and aroused, that they are pushed together like beasts, because those things are artificial, a veneer, and while private, they aren't secret. But this—the way they look at one another when no one else is—this is what Itachi is not meant to see. It is one thing to know, intellectually, that Sasuke and Naruto love each other too deeply and too consumingly, but it's another thing to know it absolutely, to witness it.

"Never," Sasuke murmurs.

"Never," Naruto promises and, having seen enough, Itachi turns away from the open door.

.

Sasuke and Naruto have alway brought out the worst in each other, and they always will. They're both stubborn and hot-headed, albeit in dramatically different ways; they goad each other, insult each other, and constantly squabble about the most trivial, meaningless things; and their preference for action over words causes more trouble than it prevents. Yet despite this, Sasuke and Naruto have always been, and will always be, better together.

They may bring out the worst in each other, but they also bring out the best. With all their similarities and all their differences, they simultaneously challenge and complement each other. Sasuke allows himself to be less than perfect when he's with Naruto; Naruto forgets that he doesn't need to constantly pretend that he's fine; and when they're together, they're the kind of 'in love' that indie romance films wish they could replicate.

And even with the unintentional exhibitionism kink, Itachi is happy for them.