Sometimes Shisui was there, sometimes he wasn’t. They never spoke to each other after that first day. It was almost as if talking would shatter the magic of their secret haven, revealing it to be...
The Quiet Place
You’re not usually so careless.” Mikoto’s voice was quiet, softened with fatigue and only mildly reproving. Itachi said nothing, but allowed her to take his arm. He had acquired a rather nasty cut in class from a stray kunai, and had dutifully presented it to his mother upon returning home. She got so upset when he left his wounds untreated, and he never really understood why. It wasn’t like it was that serious.
He winced as a piercing scream cut through the rare peaceful moment. Mikoto gave him an apologetic look and left, hurrying to tend to baby Sasuke. Itachi sighed. She would be with Sasuke the rest of the day, he knew. Wrapping the rest of the bandage, he slipped off the table in the dining room and ducked out the door.
Outside was worse. It was the time when everyone was just getting home from work, and the streets were clogged with Uchiha. The noise was deafening, and Itachi cursed the size of his clan. Why couldn’t he have been born into a quiet clan, like the Aburames?
He needed to find somewhere quiet. This was the thought that spurred him on, through the streets and into the back alleys of the Compound. It was quieter here, but the walls were too close and the noise was still overwhelming. Itachi didn’t like it, and so he kept walking.
He found the tallest building in the Compound, climbing onto a dumpster and then grabbing the top of a low window, pulling himself up. He glanced up. The next window was too far. Then he remembered a trick his cousin had taught him as a birthday present. He focused his charka into his feet and climbed.
The noise was gone here, save for the quiet whispering of the wind. The roof was flat and completely empty save for the rails rimming the edges and a lone boy just a little bigger than Itachi. He turned as Itachi pulled himself onto the roof, and the impossibly black eyes identified him as an Uchiha. Itachi would have been surprised if he wasn’t, this far into the Compound.
“You’re Itachi,” the other boy stated. Itachi nodded warily, not sure was to make of this new boy. “I’m Shisui.” He turned back to the rail where he’d been staring out over the village, obviously considering the conversation finished.
Deciding he didn’t want to find a new hiding place, and doubting he could find one as good as this one, Itachi sat down next to the other boy. Shisui glanced at him, but said nothing. It was nice here, Itachi decided. He liked how open it was, and how far removed from the rest of the Compound.
He came there a lot after that, making it his secret retreat. Sometimes Shisui was there, sometimes he wasn’t. The two boys accepted each other’s presence, though they never spoke to each other after that first day. It was almost as if talking would shatter the magic of their secret haven, revealing it to be only an illusion. After a month, Itachi still didn’t know anything other than the boy’s name, and he felt no desire to find out more. They never saw each other outside their roof, and that was just as well.
The day the students graduated from the academy the entire Compound was talking. Shisui was graduating early, it seemed, at only nine year old. It was the first time Itachi had heard the other boy’s name outside of his retreat. The adults used the word ‘prodigy’ and ‘genius,’ words that before Itachi had heard only in regards to himself. It made him curious. Was this boy like him?
He slipped away as soon as he could, not a difficult task. It seemed Shisui had disappeared shortly after the graduation ceremony, and nobody had seen him since. Itachi knew where the missing boy was, and he knew the adults would never find either of them.
Shisui was waiting for him when he got to their hiding place. He had his new headband hanging loosely from one finger, leaning against the rail and staring at it absently. Just like the first time, he was the one to speak first.
“You heard?” he asked unnecessarily.
Shisui’s lips quirked into a sort of half smile. “I bet you couldn’t have done it.”
Itachi’s eye’s narrowed. Was that a challenge? The half smile was now a smirk. It was. “I’ll do it earlier,” he vowed, dead serious.
“Alright,” Shisui agreed readily, but the smirk was still in place. He didn’t believe it. He cocked his head suddenly, and then scrambled from the rail to where Itachi still stood, out of sight from the road. The voices of the searchers, faint as they were, took several minutes to fade as they moved on.
“People don’t usually look up,” Shisui confided to Itachi. “But I don’t like risking it.”
Itachi just nodded, his mind still on the challenge. The glint in Shisui’s eyes told him the older boy knew what he was thinking.
“You’re father insists that you’re more of a prodigy than me. Did you know that? He’s convinced you’ll finish the Academy younger than me. The adults are awfully concerned about that sort of thing. It seems silly to me.”
Itachi gave him a puzzled look. “I thought you wanted to compete.”
“There’s never been any point. The only people worth competing against are at least ten years older than me. Nobody else can keep up.” He turned to Itachi. “Can you keep up?”
“Of course.” It had never occurred to Itachi that he could fail at anything. Shisui smiled.