The clink of the ice-filled scotch resonated in Itachi's ears clearly, despite the incessant trivial talk that the socialites and several business men and women had decided to satisfy themselves in. The enormous stylish clock that was placed on a wall, which served as an ornament and a symbolism for the celebration's theme 'timeless success', ticked importunately, reminding Itachi of what he had intended to bury in the deepest recesses of his mind.
He blinked. It was half past nine.
He redirected his gaze towards his scotch, and dark orbs watched as the liquor in the glass oscillated, forcing his senses to concentrate on the cold alcohol, diverting his attention away from the hall where newly-arrived guests were supposed to pass through.
His thumb twisted the ring on his finger, fiddling it with impatience. The black inscription stood firmly against the blood red. A figurative representation of Itachi's obstinateness.
The cause of his life's greatest regret.
He lifted his eyes to survey the inconsequential crowd, wanting to find a reason to prolong his presence in the humdrum event.
His eyes took sight of the people, dressed impeccably in expensive clothing. Stones of different color and lustrous chains of different sizes adorned their necks, wrists, ears, hands, and even their feet, concealing the very little worth they have.
They were worthless. Nothing was worthy of his time.
Not long ago, he had entered in a conversation with one of his investors, hoping that the exchange would take his mind off of things. However, it only seemed to snap his ceasing patience faster. Especially, when the focal point of their confabulation took a one hundred-eighty degree turn from the company's cash inflow, and into a prospective marriage between him, and the old man's egotistic granddaughter. Itachi, knowing that his willingness to endure was nearing its breaking point, had politely excused himself to completely indulge in solitude. The dark-haired man was a patient person by heart, but even the most tolerant man would bark and bite with the undeniable headache that was freely pulsating in his head.
He shifted his gaze towards the cluster of people that were currently mingling and socializing. Fully knowing that those elegant smiles and laughs were deceitful. The people in the vast luxurious room weren't there just to celebrate, it was a manner of gathering information. After all, business is business, even without the board room and the graphical presentations of profits.
A hoard of women were gathered in the corner, dressed in the finest clothing Japan and even the world has to offer. They were talking amongst themselves while unabashedly stealing glances at his direction. No doubt talking about how lucky they would be if they could successfully bag the heir of a business empire, the last Uchiha, and the most eligible bachelor in the market.
The right edge of his lips quirked slightly in distaste, as he noticed the shining band on some of the women's left hands.
Out of the corner of his eyes, he saw a woman being pushed slightly towards his direction, shamelessly giggling when his gaze strayed towards them.
He turned away, not wanting to encourage them further.
Itachi pretended to observe the whole vicinity, while radiating a vibe of gloominess to discourage the women who were stupid enough to even make an attempt in approaching him.
A few more minutes had passed and his table remained free of unwanted guests. Itachi suddenly felt the urge to thank his Uchiha bloodline. Maybe it was what had placed him in that position, but it was also what gave him the power to emanate an aura that says 'FUCK OFF', without even using his vocal cords. He watched the crowd moved in a wave. Before he closed his eyes to drown the chatters into a low drone.
A soothing classical piece began to play as the pianist's hands glided over the keys.
His ears listened in appreciation, and a strand of blonde hair flashed in his mind.
She was a fan of classical music, he recalled, despite the disorderly personality that she possessed. A scratchy laugh assaulted his thoughts.
Itachi dug his nails against his left palm, willing the sound to go away. He grinded his teeth, wanting to alleviate his headache and reprimanding himself for thinking about prohibited thoughts.
He opened his eyes in desperation, wanting nothing more than to distract himself.
He watched his parents, as they gracefully walked towards the center of the dance floor, with their hands conjoined. His father wrapped his arms around his mother's waist, as she leaned contentedly into his father's shoulder. Soon enough, a few more couples joined them, dancing slowly in tranquility and wearing peaceful expressions. His father wore an apathetic look, but Itachi can see the mellowed look in his father's eyes. His shoulders were relaxed, and his whole body at ease, and Itachi knew that this was the most affectionate look that Uchiha Fugaku would tolerate showing in public.
He looked away, like he was burned, and focused his gaze back on his drink, watching as the last piece of ice melted into the alcohol. He leaned into the chair, closing his eyes briefly, before placing the unconsumed glass on the surface of the table. He watched the liquor as it danced freely inside the restraining glass for one last time, before removing himself from his seat.
Itachi was about to stand up, intending to spend the rest of the night in the comfort of his gloomy mansion. He'd rather sleep and deal with everything tomorrow. But he was forced to stay rooted in his seat, when the unmistakable voice of his younger brother rang in his ear.
"Nii-san." Came the smooth voice that all Uchiha men seemed to possess.
"Sasuke. I see that you're too early for the end of the party." He replied casually, earning a smirk from his younger brother.
"And I see that you're about to get sneak out like you always do with every event and spend your night in that mansion of yours alone." He remarked, eyeing the potation on the table. Sasuke knew all of his brother's quirks. Itachi would always hold on to his scotch when he would stay, claiming that watching the liquor calmed him, and would only put it down when he had made up his mind to leave.
"You need a wife nii-san. A woman to share your tedious moments with."
Before Itachi could respond, the jovial call of his mother took his brother's attention away from him, ending their brief talk. Both boys stared at the approaching form of their parents, who were looking as stylish and graceful as ever.
Uchiha Mikoto smiled genuinely, pronouncing the lines in her eyes that were earned in living for 50 years. She enfolded her youngest son in a hug, eyes shining in glee at his arrival before taking her place beside her husband's side. Fugaku nodded towards his youngest, eyes reflecting how pleased he was to see him. At this point, most of the room's attention were centered on the powerful family, watching their interaction as if it were a live soap opera.
"Sasuke, it's so nice to see you after so long. How was Jiraiya and Tsunade?" Mikoto asked, eyes twinkling in mirth as she imagined the possible scenarios with her son's visit to his in-laws.
Sasuke's stoic face made way for a small degree of a tortured expression. "Jiraiya is as ... invested to his research as he had always been, and Tsunade hadn't lost a single ounce of her strength, as proof of her husband's fractured leg."
Mikoto's laugh echoed merrily, her pale hands covering her mouth with daintiness.
But the blinding smile gradually turned into a frown, as she observed the lacking presence beside his brother. His father's eyebrows were drawn in worry and curiosity as well, an emotion that was not frequently painted in his face.
Itachi watched as his mother scrutinized the young raven-haired man and at the missing figure beside him, knowing full well what she was going to ask.
Though, he had fervently hoped he was wrong.
"Sasuke, where's Naruto?" At the mention of her name, Itachi felt his chest constricted painfully. Right, he was never wrong.
He was hoping that the blonde wouldn't be a topic in this conversation, but knew full well that her absence would stir worry and concern in their parents' guts.
He was preparing different possible solutions in his mind, most of which would end in his favor. He was fully aware that he was thinking illogically, but can't help himself from devising possible situations that would gave him his happiness.
The empty musings left him utterly unguarded and shocked at the sudden delight and contentedness emanating from Sasuke.
Itachi's eyes widened significantly as an unquestionable smile, though faint, played in Sasuke's lips, startling him and their parents. Sasuke was an Uchiha through and through, like he and his father was, and Uchihas were known for their impassiveness. And with this small slip of emotion, Itachi knew that something wonderful had happened to Sasuke, and that something wonderful was about to destroy Itachi.
He felt his gut clenched, dread knotting in his intestines. His muscles tensed, and he wanted nothing more than to excuse himself before everything crashed down around him. He already had an inkling as to what was happening, and no matter how much he wanted to deny it, he knew that it was a possibility.
He was a genius, but he wanted nothing more than to be ignorant.
Itachi almost laughed at the irony of their situation. All his life, he had grown up to be the one with everything that everyone coveted. He was attractive. A porcelain-skinned greek god, with high cheek bones and dark onyx eyes that can suck everyone in, in its depths. A young business tycoon, whose sole intellectual prowess had kept the family business afloat when the tragic Uchiha massacre had left him and his family the only Uchihas in existence. Itachi sacrificed his college years to manage their deteriorating business, with the hopes of revitalizing it in the memory of all his fallen kinsmen and his once ill father. An innate genius, with a shocking IQ of 200, he grew up being revered and envied. Even by his own brother, who had struggled in his shadow for almost all his life.
But now here he was, desperately wishing for his own happiness. Despite knowing that it would ultimately lead to his brother's sorrow.
Yes. He was selfish. Uchiha Itachi was selfish.
He was done sacrificing everything for everyone. He wanted her, and he wanted her back.
"Sasuke, what's going on?" His mother's tone wasn't laced with worry or panic, instead it was entwined with bubbling excitement.
Sasuke opened his mouth to reply, but the arrival of a blonde-haired goddess kept his response at the tip of his tongue. Naruto emerged from the hall, and everybody's breath seemed to be taken away by the sight. She was dressed in a long black dress which hugged her curvaceous figure, flowing down, and was showing a decent amount of tanned legs. The style was an intricate design, delineating an aura of simplicity and sophistication. Her hair was tied up in a messy bun, and wavy blonde strands framed her petite face.
And Itachi was reminded once more of what he had chose to lose.
The blonde goddess blinked, impervious to all the stares and whispers that she was getting. She was placing her fingers on her head, willing the wave of dizziness to dissipate. Naruto sighed, trying to control her swimming head, but to no avail.
She wobbled to a small degree, and Itachi's system flared up with profound concern.
He stood up at the same time Sasuke strode towards her side, and ultimately had to stop himself from walking towards her and scooping her fragile form in his arms.
His brother wrapped his arms around her petite waist, murmuring something that Itachi concluded was soft words of love and affection. They looked good together, he begrudgingly admitted. Naurto's bright aura greatly contrasted Sasuke's gloomy and boring one. But the clash of personalities only made it seem even more compatible. They mellow each other's darkness and brightness. They were compatible, especially since Naruto was the only one Sasuke seemed to care about even more than his family.
He clenched his fist, as his brother and his wife of 2 years, neared their table. With Sasuke, still holding on to Naruto to Itachi's distaste.
His mother frowned at seeing Sasuke's normally rambunctious wife moved with a sudden feebleness. Mikoto had thought that Sasuke had brought a great news with his scarce smile, but nothing was to be ecstatic about Naruto's seemingly weak state. She had known the woman since she was a child, and was very much aware of her astounding immunity to diseases.
"Naruto, how are you feeling? Why are you suddenly so quiet?" She asked, her forehead creased in concern. Itachi watched the scene apathetically, though his insides were burning. He knew were this was going, the signs were too conspicuous to ignore.
Beside Naruto, Sasuke snorted and Naruto had weakly elbowed him in the gut, glaring. "Bastard. This is all your fault." Itachi eyed them grimly.
Sasuke smirked, evidently pleased with himself. "If I had known that knocking you up would make you a little less noisy and boisterous. I would have done so, a long time ago."
The main family of the Uchiha clan was rendered speechless. Though every single one maintained a look of dignity that every Uchiha should portray even with a startling news as this.
Suddenly, a smile, a genuine smile graced the Uchiha patriarch's countenance stunning everyone that were observing the sight but were unable to hear a single word of their conversation. Mikoto had her hands covered around her beaming lips, tears brimming in her eyes as she hugged the laughing blonde tightly.
Itachi and Sasuke locked eyes, causing the elder to immediately conceal the broken look in his midnight orbs. He nodded to Sasuke, which made the younger's lips twitched in gratitude.
The spectators looked confused at the unforeseeable change in the humorless aura of the Uchihas. But their curiosities were quenched when Fugaku motioned for his family to go towards the heart of the venue, leading them towards the center of the curious mass of people. The onlookers waited in anticipation, as the head of the family voiced out the source of his family's great happiness.
Eyes turned wide significantly, and before they knew it, a round of applause erupted around the room. Congratulations were showered upon them, and happiness could not be thoroughly contained.
Mikoto shrieked softly, hugging the overwhelmed blonde woman once more who tried to calm down the enthusiastic Uchiha.
The corner of their father's lips curled slightly after the full-blown smile that he had subconsciously slipped, before enveloping his daughter-in-law in a hug as well.
Then, it was Itachi's turn.
He wrapped the blonde in a tender embrace, holding her against his frame. The Uchiha buried his nose against the soft blonde locks, inhaling the addicting scent of lemons and green apple. His arms tightened involuntarily, pouring every longing, pain and sadness into that one small intimate gesture, not caring about the unsettled gaze that his brother was giving them, and the disoriented and overwhelmed blonde in his arms.
"Itachi .." Naruto said, both in confusion and warning. Itachi could not see her expression, but was already aware of how she was reassuring her husband with her affectionate gazes. His chest clenched in pain.
He knew that this was wrong, his feelings had always been wrong.
He had everything a man of his stature would ever dreamed off.
He grew up being the best, a title his brother had never reached despite his efforts.
He had everything.
Everything, except her.
After a long contemplation, Itachi was about to choose selfishness. He wanted her to be his again, away from the arms of his own brother.
He was about to forsake his reputation, his pride as an Uchiha, and the love of his parents. He was about to let her know his feelings, to show her how he felt, to change her mind and take her heart again.
But with this, he knew it was a dead end.
He snarled softly against the blonde hair. Fate played it well.
He buried his face deeper into the golden locks, unaffected by how he was ruining her hairstyle. His mouth slowly inching towards her ear. Itachi inhaled her scent for one last time, before shakily pulling away and locking eyes with her.
"Congratulations Naruto, and thank you ... imouto." Itachi hoped that Naruto didn't catch the way his voice broke in the end, as the unbearable pain crashed down. Causing the downfall of a single tear in the emotionless Uchiha's almost red eyes.