He and Riku got along poorly at the best of times. But in the morning, at least until Itachi was fully awake, they had a sort of truce borne of one thing: Sasuke.
(ALL'S FAIR IN)Love and War
Sasuke giggled as Riku hoisted him up onto the countertop. His face was freshly scrubbed and teeth squeaky clean. His whole body was filled with that boundless energy of the very young. Riku blew a raspberry on his forehead, making more giggles.
“Riku-chan, you’re silly,” claimed the young boy, his dark brown eyes sparkling with his laughter. He grabbed a fistful of her loose chestnut hair and sniffed it, making the girl laugh. The fifteen year old girl barely looked twelve of those years, though when guessing her age, people ran the gamut from nine to sixteen.
“Sasuke-kun! I can’t cook if you’re grabbing onto my hair!” The raven pouted cutely but let go of the chestnut locks and smiled at her, a dimple in his left cheek making that adorable expression that Riku loved.
“It’s not my fault you always smell so good.” He leaned over the stove and watched her work it with a blatant interest. Riku always made something new, and he didn’t want to miss a second of it. There were bagels toasting in the oven, handmade ones that he had helped make the day before. Makoto had been away- Sasuke didn’t know why his mother was gone, but with both Riku and Itachi there, and no parents to take away the attention they gave him, Sasuke didn’t much mind it. Sometimes Itachi would scold Riku for spoiling him, but Riku would turn right around the second he left to give Sasuke a piece of chocolate or a bonbon or take him out somewhere. Itachi wasn’t much better, even though he told Riku not to spoil him; in his own way, he spoiled Sasuke too. Sasuke learned to expect fun, training, and outings around every corner when his parents were away.
Riku used her bare hands to hold a peach over the flames, and Sasuke waited with bated breath to see if she would burn her fingers. He didn’t want her to get hurt, but the way she did it was so exciting, he was sure she would… She blackened the skin on the outside carefully, her training calloused fingers barely registering the heat as she turned the peach, continuing to work it around until the entire skin turned black. Sasuke pulled a bowl out of the cupboard at her request, and then watched her peel off the black to reveal the warm goodness of the peach inside. A knife flashed, cutting it in half, then in quarters, flipping the pit out to land in the nearby open garbage and cutting out the red inner part that Sasuke didn’t like.
Skewered now and coated in sugar, Sasuke watched intently as she roasted it again, letting the outside sugar coating caramelize and turn brown. Itachi walked in as she had pulled the peaches off the flame, just as the bagels came out of the oven and the first one was coated with the sticky, gooey peach concoction. He tugged the plate out from under her hands and took a bite of the bagel, going over to Sasuke and watching as she finished making the other three halves, cutting the last one into perfect thirds. One of the quarters of peach went onto each one of the four bagel halves spread perfectly.
“It’s sweet.” Itachi commented, catching the third of the bagel she threw onto his plate indifferently and proceeding to bite into it.
“It’s a natural, healthy sweet, unlike you.” She smirked over at him, and that look made Sasuke giggle. “Fruit is good for the system.”
“Cooked fruit?” Itachi asked. Riku and Itachi had a weird way of communicating in the mornings. Itachi wasn’t a morning type of person, or normally a talkative person either. He and Riku got along poorly at the best of times. But in the morning, at least until Itachi was fully awake, they had a sort of truce borne of one thing: Sasuke.
Riku would be there when Sasuke woke up, ready to deal with him. She made the breakfast, which Itachi always got the first share of, and they would talk, Itachi using the fewest words possible to convey his meaning. He’d go to training, then handle Sasuke in the afternoon, after picking him up from the academy and they wouldn’t talk to each other for the rest of the day, even if they were both watching Sasuke, or if Itachi had a mission and Riku needed to take care of him instead.
Sasuke liked the morning part of the day best. That was when he could pretend that Riku was his mommy and Itachi was his sleepy daddy- a better father than Fugaku, for sure. He had told Riku once, about it and she had laughed, saying Itachi was a funny daddy, and she was too young to be his mommy. She had also said that she wasn’t planning to marry Itachi, or anyone else for that matter, and that he should probably not tell Itachi about it because it would make him grumpy.
He did anyway. Itachi had made a face and told him that both He and Riku were too young to be parents and that Riku was a funny mommy anyway. He had also said that he would never marry anyone, especially not Riku, and to not mention it to her incase she got any ideas. Sasuke told him he told Riku first and Riku didn’t want to marry him.
Itachi spent the rest of the day outside training.
That was okay because Riku took care of him that day, and the next morning everything was the same again, and Sasuke learned how to juice an orange because Itachi liked orange juice, and he learned the proper way to throw a kunai because he was going to be a ninja and ninjas need to know how to throw kunai.
Sometimes Sasuke would catch Riku looking at Itachi. It wasn’t a happy look, or a sad look, or an angry look, or a mommies and daddies look. It was just a look, like she was thinking because Itachi reminded her of something. And sometimes Sasuke would catch Itachi looking at Riku-chan. Sometimes it was a morning grumpy look, sometimes it was a go away look, sometimes it was a looking over look, and sometimes it was an annoyed look. It was never just a look. Itachi always seemed to feel something when he looked at Riku; whether it was annoyed or relieved that she was there. But Riku always just seemed to be thinking about Itachi. It was like she was just… thinking about him, nothing else.
“Yes. I roasted peaches. It’s not going to kill you.” Sasuke munched on his share much more slowly than Itachi, because Riku said that good manners were important. Even though while Itachi ate fast, he wasn’t rude about it, at least as far as Sasuke was concerned.
“…” Itachi didn’t respond for a while; as Riku poured him a glass of juice that Sasuke had squeezed, she didn’t look at him, but he looked at her. Suddenly, as she straightened up, he grabbed a fistful of her hair and tugged her down to his level. “Sasuke was right…” Itachi murmured softly. Sasuke strained his ears to hear. “You do smell good.” Riku was louder, not difficult to hear at all.
“Stop it!” Her hand whapped Itachi’s thigh, she turned away from him when he released her hair and started to laugh. Sasuke laughed too, just seeing her blushing face, though he wasn’t quite sure why it was funny. But even Riku was having a hard time keeping the smile from her face as she tugged lightly on his long hair in return.
Sasuke thought that if Itachi and Riku got married, then she would be around every day.
Makoto and Fugaku were home that afternoon, and Itachi was off on a mission. Makoto had had something that she wanted to talk to Riku about, and Riku had brought over a little girl, one that Sasuke hadn’t met before. She wasn’t weird like the other girls Sasuke knew. She didn’t hide behind things and poke her fingers together like Hinata, she didn’t cry when she fell down and scraped her knee like Sakura, she didn’t scream when he was bleeding like his mother… in fact, the little girl reminded him of Riku, in a way.
She already knew Itachi. He discovered this by accident while they were playing around. Riku had put them together and told them to play nice, so Sasuke did. She was teaching him a quieter game with marbles, because Fugaku had said to stop being so loud.
Inside, Makoto glared at the young girl.
“Makoto, you don’t understand!” Riku’s voice rose in frustration, but just as quickly lowered in tone, if not in intensity. “The girl is like a cancer.” Riku said, her eyes focused, intense. “She is a monster, an aberration, a blight on reality.” Makoto’s eyes sharpened Riku’s way, the only hint of her movement a flicker of anger in the depths of her eyes, before the sharp report of hand on skin drew the attention of the children playing outside. He looked at the girl for a moment, and then held out his hand to her, which she took without hesitation. The two of them crept their way up to the porch, sitting beneath the open window and listened in to the conversation, in the way of curious children.
“She is a perfectly fine child.” Makoto responded fiercely defensive. “So what if she is Raiso’s daughter? That’s only one more reason to laud her for becoming such a sweet child. I know Raiso can be pretty demanding…”
“Isn’t that a little unnatural?” Riku asked, whispering insidiously.
“What do you mean?” Makoto’s voice had grown softer, cautious.
“Isn’t she just… too sweet sometimes? She’s never vindictive, or petty, or selfish like all the other children can be at times… She’s never demanded anything, and you can ask her to do just about anything and she’ll do it… Haven’t you been keeping Sasuke inside and entertained while Itachi is with Amaya? Don’t you feel it? Isn’t she a little too good?” Sasuke heard a soft sound beside him, but disregarded it. His mother had been keeping him away from his new friend when he could have been playing with her and Itachi both? Why?
“I-I have been doing no such thing…”
“Maybe not consciously, Makoto, but you have. Anytime the girl is anywhere near, you’ve herded Sasuke inside. Half the time, I’m sure that’s how Itachi first notices she’s out there.”
“Raiso’s not as bad as everyone makes him out to be, and the Aki clan considers Akina to be their angel.” Makoto protested, her voice defensive. The slight shifting sound and a squeak of wood told Sasuke that Riku was leaning forward in her chair. He didn’t stop to wonder how he knew it was Riku.
“The god of a country that loves war is a war-loving god, is it not?” Riku asked, her voice taking on a softer cadence, becoming coaxing as her hazel eyes became a deeper murky brown that Makoto felt she could get lost in. “Just as the Angel of a clan known for it’s barbaric ways and it’s ferocity in battle could only be the most ferocious and barbaric of them all. Akina was worshipped since birth. And why, you may ask, is that?” Riku pushed a strand of hair out of her face. He heard a shift next to him, but ignored it too. “Because her first action coming into this world was to use her instinctive grasp of her kekkei genkai to control the most willful of plants, the mandrake root, to kill the medic-nin who birthed her.” Makoto gave a strangled grasp, her hands both over her mouth. Her eyes were wide with surprise..
“When Akina was thirteen-hail that number, because it’s when you’ll have to watch the children the closest- she killed her mother in cold blood by invading every open pore of her body with a kind of lichen moss that excreted a corrosive acid that turned her into a puddle.” Sasuke’s were wide, and his breathing was shallower. He focused everything he had into not being noticed, feeling terrified. “Raiso drove his mother to suicide and stifled his father with a teddy bear in his sleep. Isn’t Amaya a little too good to come from something like that? Doesn’t it make you wonder…?”
“I’m sure they had their reasons for doing what they did…” Makoto whispered, her eyes wide and slightly scared. “I don’t think they would do something like that just because they could.” Riku didn’t respond for a moment, choosing her words carefully.
“That isn’t the point I was trying to make, love. The point is, look at what they are, and look at what Amaya is. Pure and innocent, even though Raiso has tried to bury it away under harsh training, has tried to force her to be the perfect ninja. She is Pure.” Sasuke could hear the capital letter ‘P’ in the word Pure, just like he could hear the capitalization in names. “Freshly fallen snow; a white backed kimono; anything. Being that pure is just asking for trouble. Something so clean, so untainted, so Pure, so good, can’t help but cause harm to that which is less good. Where purity walks, demonry and insanity is sure to follow. She’ll make evil in the hearts of those she holds dear, then she will walk away from them because of that evil. She will make evil grow within your son. So, this is the last time I will mention it. Please. Don’t blind yourself to the changes you see.” Sasuke whipped around to look at Amaya, to form a question, but she was gone. Riku stood, and Sasuke could hear it. He scrambled away as quickly as he could while still being quiet enough to avoid notice and ran off to find his older brother.
Itachi slammed Riku back against his room wall. Her green eyes flashed with anger, but it was nothing compared to the fury deep within the silvery-black vortexes that burned a path across her flesh, boring into her eyes. The door to the spartanically bare room had jarred slightly open with the impact.
“Tell me, right now, Itairiku Kamikaze.” Itachi snarled lowly, keeping his voice soft, so as not to draw any further attention. “Why was it that both Sasuke and Amaya were crying today?”
“What did they tell you?” Riku asked.
“Amaya said nothing.” Itachi said, his fingers digging into her shoulders. “Sasuke was spouting some bullshit about Amaya making people evil.” Riku reversed their positions then, pinning him against the wall.
“Firstly,” She said, rolling her shoulders to free them of Itachi’s painful grip and assert on of her own, “They were not meant to hear that. I was talking with your mother.” Itachi locked his leg around her, tumbling them both to the ground, him on top. His fingers regained their purchase as his hands pressed her by her shoulders, down to the ground. “Secondly, you cannot deny it. Look at the changes she has wrought in you.” Using a Judo move, she flipped their positions, landing Itachi, with her on top of him, next to the tatami mat he used sometimes, instead of his bed.
“I’ve gotten older. You can’t possibly say that that is her fault.” His eyes narrowed, the Sharingan flickering on. The three tomoe in his eyes spun hypnotically as he rolled them over, onto the mat.
“I love you.” Riku said suddenly, from nowhere. The Sharingan flickered out of existence as Itachi stared at her incredulously.
“What!?” he demanded. Instead of repeating, her hands moved up and locked around his neck as she claimed a kiss from his lips. He pulled away roughly, quickly.
“That’s not funny.” He snapped, trying to get up. She rolled her body under his in a way that had his bones turning to mush. To be fair, the just finished jutsu to which she had been making hand seals behind his head probably had more to do with it. She kissed him again, and this time he didn’t- couldn’t fight the way her lips and her jutsus turned his brain into mush.
The next day, Riku demanded that Gai teach her lotus.
A/N: Well, Fun fun fun, right? It was supposed to be a lighter chapter, but it worked out best this way. If the end scene with Itachi seems a little rushed, it's because it is rushed. It's a memory, her memory. but only that part of it is. Riku doesn't really remeber things clearly, and the next chapter will explain a little bit of all my Oc's, as well as introduce a few that havent been so introduced yet. it's also flung way into the future, so far that you may get a little confused, so that's why I'm warning you now.