The Swing at the Park

BY : Sasunarufan13
Category: Naruto > Yaoi - Male/Male > Naruto/Sasuke
Dragon prints: 849
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto nor make profit of it. Kishimoto owns it.

Author's note: Again something random that popped up in my head and turned out way longer than anticipated. What else is new in my stories? LOL

Warnings: Itachi's pov; alternate universe; fluff; pre-slash; time skips

I hope you'll like it!

The Swing at the Park

"Can we go to the park?"

His brother's question had him slowly turning around. "Of course," he said slowly, supressing his surprise. "But I thought you weren't interested in going to the park?"

Mother had suggested several times that he'd take his younger brother to the park, so that he could play there instead of constantly being holed up in his room, but the younger boy had always vehemently refused and Itachi had never been in the mood to push. If Sasuke didn't want to do something, he didn't want to do it and he wasn't planning on forcing him. That wouldn't end well for either one of them.

The sudden request took him off guard, though. Had Sasuke finally enough of being cooped up in his room?

Sasuke shrugged, rubbing his left ankle with his right foot. "I am now," he said and tilted his head up, offering the older boy a challenging look.

"Okay then, let me finish this mathematics question and then we'll go," Itachi suggested, eyeing him curiously.

Sasuke nodded and disappeared as quickly as he had appeared in Itachi's bedroom.

"Hm." With a thoughtful look, Itachi turned his attention back to his homework, picking up his pen again. He glanced at his watch – five thirty.

It being May it was still light outside and they would be having a late dinner tonight, courtesy of father attending a late business meeting. There was still plenty of time to go to the park and do whatever Sasuke wanted to do there. Mother would probably be very happy once she heard where they would go to; she had been worrying about her youngest son ever since they had moved into this town, leaving their old home behind.

As outgoing as Sasuke was around Itachi and their older cousin Shisui, as subdued and aloof he appeared around children his own age. Any inquiries about possible friends were swept off the table with a grunt and a disinterested, "They annoy me."

That was the main reason mother was so set on getting Sasuke out of the house for at least a little while: the hope that he would make a friend outside school. Itachi was certain she was getting close to contemplating inviting children of father's business partners to their house in an effort to get Sasuke to interact with others.

Whatever Sasuke's reason was for changing his mind about the park, at least mother would stop worrying for a bit.

They arrived at the park twenty minutes later. It was still fairly warm, the sun not having set yet, and the place was filled with families and teenagers mingling around. There was a large children's playground right in the middle of the park, containing multiple swings, small and larger slides, monkey bars, brightly coloured seesaws and a large sandpit.

Wooden benches, painted a grass green, were lined up along the sandy pathway, with a perfect view on the playground. Several of these benches were already occupied by mothers keeping an eye on their children and chattering to their friends.

The air was filled with the laughter and screams of children enjoying themselves at the playground, joined by the twittering and chattering of birds and the occasional sharp bark of a dog tired of being kept on the leash. The large trees growing in a circle around the park blocked out most of the traffic noises.

"So, what do you want to …" Itachi trailed off, quirking his eyebrow when Sasuke went straight to a bench closest to one of the swings and plopped down, taking a book out of the backpack he had insisted on taking with him.

A tad bemused, Itachi followed and sat down next to him, crossing his legs. "You don't want to play?" he questioned lightly.

Sasuke shook his head and opened his book at the page where he had left off. "No, I'm good."

"You want to sit here and read your book?" Itachi couldn't help the dubious tone in his voice. If all he wanted to do was read, he could have easily done that in his room or their garden.

Dark eyes stared at him blankly for a moment. "Yes," Sasuke replied and turned back to his book, seemingly content to just sit on the hard bench and read.

Well, all right. If that was what Sasuke wanted to do, then he guessed they would do that. At least they were getting some fresh air.

Having nothing in particular to do, he let his eyes wander around, watching children mingle around and make use of the toys available. There were some boys screaming whilst sitting on top of the monkey bars and a light brown haired woman stood up and made her way to them, shaking her finger at them.

A couple of girls were going down the slides, yelling and screaming as they went down. Two boys, they couldn't be older than six years old, were building a sandcastle with identical looks of deep concentration etched onto their chubby faces.

There were six swings and four of them were occupied. One by a girl with short, dark hair who was being pushed back and forth by a long haired boy. The three others were occupied by boys; two of them were twins with straight, dark blue hair and fair skin, who were challenging each other to go higher. The third boy sat on the swing closest to Itachi and Sasuke; his hair was a bright, golden blond and there appeared to be some kind of marks on his cheeks. He was dressed in dark blue shorts and what had to be the brightest orange coloured shirt Itachi had ever seen. He was swinging back and forth idly, keeping his gaze trained on something in the distance.

A buzzing in his pocket alerted him to an incoming text and he pulled his phone out. Upon opening the text, he realised it was sent by Nagato, one of his classmates.

'For the literature project: meeting each other in the library on Monday at four thirty?'

'Can't; I already have a meeting for biology then,' he sent back after mentally viewing his planning. Deidara, his biology partner, had insisted on Monday, because that was the only day he was available. Itachi's kendo club met up at five, so that still gave them an hour to work on their project.

After a moment, Nagato sent back, 'Konan suggests Wednesday at four p.m. Does that work?'

'No problem for me.'

When his phone buzzed yet again, he expected a text from either mother – asking when they would return home – or even Nagato, but instead it turned out to be Kisame.

'Kakuzu and Hidan are being a giant pain in the arse. Got time to go to the arcade?'

Itachi smirked amused as he typed a quick reply back. 'Not today. I'm at the park with my brother.'

Kisame should have known better than to do a project with those two. Even Itachi, who had only enrolled in their school since the start of the new school year, had instantly realised that Kakuzu and Hidan were people best left alone.

'Enjoy your babysitting time at the park'. The message was clearly meant to mock, but all it did was make Itachi's amusement grow as he slipped his phone back into his pocket. He would definitely enjoy his time at the park with Sasuke more than Kisame would enjoy his time with his project partners.

He went back to letting his gaze wander around the park, ignoring how some of the women were staring at him and giggling, blushing as they gossiped with each other. He was used to that sort of reaction. The Uchiha were a family of beauty – that wasn't being arrogant, that was just stating facts. He was aware of his good looks, but he had no interest in the girls and women simpering at him and batting their eyelashes, smiling coyly whenever he so much as glanced at them.

At least his literature partner, Konan, didn't act like that. She had behaved normally around him the couple of times he had spoken to her; not too friendly or giggly, but not too cold either. She seemed more focused on Nagato anyway.

The sun was slowly starting to set and more and more children were leaving the playground with their parents. The twin boys and the girl on the swings had left a while ago, to be replaced by a dark skinned girl with fire red hair, who looked a bit older than twelve and who was just sitting on the swing, rocking back and forth as she busied herself with her phone.

The blond haired boy on the swing closest to the Uchiha brothers slipped from the wooden plank and brushed his hands over his shorts before walking away, though Itachi couldn't immediately tell whether a parent was waiting for the boy or not.

"I want to go home," Sasuke announced, shutting his book rather loudly.

Startled, Itachi turned to look at him. "Now?"

"Yes, now. I'm hungry," he stated and put the book in his bag. Rising up from the bench, he looked expectantly at Itachi.

"All right, let's go home then," Itachi smiled and stood up as well.

It would be dark soon anyway.

To be honest Itachi had expected that Sasuke's request to go to the park had been a one off. Perhaps even a way to convince mother to back off a bit and be less worried about her youngest son.

It didn't end with that one visit to the park.

To Itachi's surprise, Sasuke kept requesting to go to the park whenever the older boy was home at a reasonable hour. If Itachi told him no, he would pout and sulk in his room, which had as the annoying result that Itachi felt guilty about his refusal and would cave in anyway.

Sasuke's smugness whenever he caved was both amusingly endearing and annoying.

Whenever they were at the park, though, Sasuke did nothing but sit on a bench and read. He never played on the playground or engaged with other children, even though plenty of them had shown interest in him. The girls especially seemed to like him; their cheeks a fierce pink colour whenever they tried to talk to him and convince him to play with them. A glare or a frown was enough to scare everyone away, though.

Itachi chided him for that, telling him he should at least give them a chance before dismissing them, but his brother just grunted and turned his attention back to whatever book he had taken with him on that day.

Sasuke's behaviour was quite … perplexing if Itachi had to be honest.

He had always prided himself on understanding his little brother, on being able to guess instantly what the younger boy needed, but this time he was mystified. For someone who had previously holed himself up in his room whenever he could, there had to be a reason why Sasuke was suddenly so eager to go to the park every day. At the same hour to boot. Itachi just couldn't figure out why. It wasn't to play or to meet with someone, because all Sasuke did was sit down on the bench and read for a while before he would abruptly announce he wanted to return home.

His obsession with the bench closest to the swings was perplexing as well. Sasuke utterly refused to pick another bench, always choosing the same one, and had even gone as far as scowling at a woman when they had encountered her on that particular bench. She had been amused by his antics, thankfully, not offended and had simply waved off Itachi's excuses and packed her bag to choose another bench.

For the first time in his life, Itachi really didn't understand his little brother.

He barely had unlocked the door before Sasuke pushed it open roughly and ran inside; his face as dark and stormy as it had been ever since they had left the park.

"Otouto," Itachi sighed, but before he could say anything else, Sasuke was already running upstairs; his shoes kicked messily to the wall.

The door to his bedroom was slammed shut with such a force, Itachi thought he could feel the walls vibrate.

Mother appeared in the doorway of the kitchen, drying her hands. She furrowed her eyebrows and regarded her oldest son concerned.

He uttered a soft sigh and slipped out of his shoes, replacing them with his house slippers. "I'm home," he said wryly.

"Welcome home," she completed the traditional greeting and tilted her head slightly to the left. "You're home early," she remarked carefully. "I thought you were going to the park?"

"We were, but Sasuke got mad after twenty minutes and demanded we went home," he explained, casting a glance at the ceiling. "He's been in a bad mood the whole way home."

"What happened?" she asked worried, gesturing him inside the kitchen. A pitcher with ice cold lemon tea was waiting on the table. "Did he have a fight with another child?"

"No, he sat down and started reading his book like he always does," he told her, sitting down. He smiled absentmindedly in thanks when she filled a glass with the cold tea and placed it in front of him. "Out of the blue he suddenly said we were going back home. He wouldn't answer any of my questions."

She sank down in the chair across from him and tapped her chin. "He didn't want to say anything?" she asked perplexed.

He understood why; Sasuke had always opened up to Itachi, even during moments when he couldn't open up to their mother. Now, however, he was completely mum and he hadn't even looked at his brother the whole way back. He had been glaring fiercely, though, as if the world had done him a great injustice.

"Nothing at all."

"I'll go and see if I can figure out what's wrong," she murmured and disappeared upstairs.

He wished her luck; when Sasuke was in a bad mood, getting answers was like pulling teeth. If he couldn't get the younger boy to say anything, he doubted mother could. She was welcome to try, though.

"So he hasn't wanted to go back to the park yet?" Shisui asked curiously, waving at a couple of girls who eyed them when they walked past. They blushed at his acknowledgement and hurried off, though they kept turning their heads briefly to sneak glances at them.

"No, he just stays in his bedroom every day," Itachi answered, sipping from his cold strawberry milkshake.

"Is he still mad?"

"No, he seems to sulk mostly."

"Huh." Shisui played contemplatively with the straw in his own drink. "Guess he still won't say what's wrong, huh?"

"If he had done that, I would know how to fix it," Itachi sighed, thumping his foot against his bag. He had just finished his third project with Deidara – the boy kept latching on to him whenever sensei announced they needed to complete a project – when Shisui had met him outside the school gates, offering to treat him to a drink.

Being four years older, Shisui was attending university and while most people his age preferred to stay at the dorms during the academic year, he had chosen to travel back and forth.

"And all he does is read a book at the park?"

Itachi frowned. "Yes, I told you that before."

"You don't think that's weird? He's been reading books in his room ever since he was taught how to read," Shisui said pensively. "Why would he suddenly change that to going to the park? It's not like it's quiet there."

"I don't know, Shisui," Itachi said, annoyance flickering up briefly. "If he wants to go to the park, I take him there. End of story. Mother is just happy that he gets out of his room for something else than just school."

"And you're sure he's not waiting for anyone there? Maybe he's just too shy?"

"If he wanted to meet someone there, I think they would have found him by now, considering he always sits on the same bench," Itachi pointed out dryly.

Shisui sat up straighter, a look of interest crossing his face. "Always the same bench?" he echoed and tapped his fingers against his cup. "How long have you been going to the park again?"

"Almost five months." Itachi furrowed his eyebrows and eyed his cousin warily. "Why? What are you thinking now?"

"You never thought it odd that Sasuke-kun always sits down on the same bench?"

"Does it really matter?"

"If he just goes to the park to read, then it wouldn't really matter which bench he sits on," Shisui argued, lacing his fingers together. "Does the bench look out at something?"

"Yes, the swings. It's the closest one to it."

Something akin to glee lit up dark eyes, which only caused Itachi to grow even more suspicious. "Where are you going with this?"

Shisui leant closer to him, pushing his cup to the side. "Okay, bear with me for a second, okay?"

Itachi pressed his lips together, but inclined his head.

"All right, what if Sasuke-kun goes to the park to see someone in particular? And this bench gives him the best view of whoever attracted his attention?"

"Nice theory, but he reads books. An odd way to keep an eye on someone."

"Ah." Shisui waggled his finger in the air and Itachi had to repress the urge to slap it away. "You assume he reads his book every time – but what if he uses his book as a way to look at that person without being caught."

"What?" Itachi stared at him bemused. "That doesn't make any sense."

The older man looked offended. "It makes a lot of sense!" He held up his left hand and started ticking off his conclusions. "He suddenly wants to go to the park after months of refusing to leave his room for anything but school. He's clearly not interested in the park itself or the playground there, because he constantly reads a book. He always chooses the same bench, no matter what. I've used the whole pretending to read a book or a magazine to look at someone who attracted my interest – Sasuke-kun could very well be doing the same thing."

"You use it to pick up girls," Itachi said sharply. "Sasuke-kun isn't at that age yet."

Shisui shrugged, unbothered by the scowl he was receiving. "I'm not claiming he has a crush on someone, but clearly, something or someone gets him to go to the park every day, while before he wouldn't even consider setting a foot outside his room. Sasuke-kun's like you – everything he does, he has a reason for it. Just see if you notice anything peculiar next time you're at the park."

"If he wants to go back to the park," Itachi murmured, staring contemplatively at his milkshake.

Could he really have missed something that simple? He had been suspicious of Sasuke's reasons for going to the park out of the blue, but had figured that it was just to get mother to stop worrying about him. There hadn't been any indication that Sasuke had been keeping an eye on someone at the park.

Then again, after the first time, he had taken to bringing his own books to read or homework to finish while he waited for his brother to be done with his visit to the park. He hadn't looked closely whether Sasuke was actually focusing on his book or not.

Could the mystery really be solved this easily?

It had been more than a week since Sasuke had refused to go to the park when the door to Itachi's bedroom slowly opened, revealing two large, dark eyes staring at him.

"Yes?" Itachi placed his pen down, giving his younger brother his full attention.

"Can we go to the park?" Sasuke requested, almost subdued. He looked embarrassed; his hands hidden behind his back. He had changed out of his school uniform and was wearing a dark blue T-shirt with a high collar and white shorts, which ended right past his knees.

"Sure," Itachi agreed and set about collecting his homework and books. "Give me a minute to put this away. You can go pull on your shoes and tell mother we're going to the park."

Sasuke nodded and closed the door behind him.

Well, Itachi thought as he stood up and stretched his arms, now's the time to see whether Shisui's right.

It was the blond boy.

Itachi and Sasuke had been visiting the park again for two weeks in a row now and every day, the same blond boy sat on the swing closest to their bench. It was the same blond boy he had noticed the first time they had visited the park months ago.

The boy never spoke to anyone and other children seemed to do their best to avoid him for some reason. Instead the boy would sit on the swing every time, rocking back and forth a bit, dragging his shoes over the sandy underground. After a certain time – usually an hour – the boy would get up and leave, perhaps to his home. That was the cue for Sasuke to close his book and tell Itachi they were going back home; never earlier than the boy's departure.

Sasuke wasn't reading his book either the whole time he was sitting on the bench. Sure, he would flip the pages at the appropriate time, but Itachi caught him casting surreptitious glances at the blond boy at regular intervals.

Sasuke had to know the boy somehow, but for some reason he refused to go talk to him and that left Itachi quite honestly perplexed. If Sasuke was willing to sit in the park every day just to look at the blond boy, why not actually go up to him and talk?

Wouldn't that make everything easier?

The blond boy appeared to be quite lonely; Itachi didn't think he would rebuff Sasuke if the boy approached him.

Something had to be done, though. He really loved his brother and would do anything for him, but the thought of having to sit for more than an hour on that bench once winter arrived, made him decide to confront Sasuke about the mysterious blond boy he kept watching.

Perhaps Sasuke just needed a metaphorical kick in the butt to get over whatever was holding him back from talking to the blond boy.

"Sasuke, I need to talk to you for a moment," Itachi said, bracing his hand against the doorjamb of Sasuke's bedroom.

Dinner had been an hour ago and Sasuke had prepared himself to go to sleep. Today they had once again gone to the park with Sasuke not interacting with the blond boy at all. Instead he had used his comic as some sort of cover while he sneaked peeks at the boy on the swing.

Really, Sasuke's infatuation with this boy was so glaringly obvious, Itachi felt embarrassed that it had taken Shisui's musings for him to realise what was going on.

Sasuke looked up from his spot in his bed, where he was arranging his pillows in a better shape. "Now?" He looked at the clock on his nightstand. "It's my bedtime."

Itachi smiled and entered the room, leaving the door ajar. "It's Friday. I'm sure mother and father won't mind us talking for a bit longer."

Sasuke blinked, but nodded, offering a small smile. "Okay, yeah," he said and leant back against his pillows; his eyes tracking Itachi's path to the bed. "What do you want to talk about, nii-san?"

"Well, I've been wondering … It's been half a year now since we moved into this town," Itachi started slowly and couldn't help but smile amused when a look of suspicion crossed his brother's face. "How are you settling into your new class? Are they being nice to you?"

Sasuke shrugged and twisted his blanket around his fingers. "They're okay, I guess," he said disinterestedly. "The boys act like idiots and the girls are too giggly; they keep bothering me."

Itachi smiled wryly. His brother had always been more studious than his classmates, even in their previous home town, and that had often clashed with the other children. It seemed it wasn't much different now.

"So there's nobody you like?" he prodded, cocking his head to the right.

"Why?" Sasuke narrowed his eyes, clearly not liking where the conversation was going.

"Well, I couldn't help but notice that you keep looking at the blond boy at the park. The one who always sits on the swing closest to us," Itachi clarified, stretching out his legs and crossing his ankles.

"I'm not looking at anyone!" Sasuke hastened to disagree, scowling at him.

Itachi sighed and flicked his brother's forehead before the boy had a chance to duck out of the way.

"HEY!" Sasuke glared at him, rubbing his forehead. "Why did you do that?"

"Sasuke, I've seen you looking at that boy," Itachi said firmly and his brother deflated visibly. "Why don't you go talk to him? I'm sure he wouldn't - "

"He doesn't like me, okay!" Sasuke crossed his arms and looked away, but his lower lip was faintly wobbling, signalling he was quite upset.

"Why wouldn't he like you?" Itachi questioned after a pause.

"He was being bullied and he was angry that I helped him, saying he doesn't need the help of a 'rich kid' like me," Sasuke explained in a smaller voice; his upset state even more obvious in his voice. "I've tried to talk to him at school, but he always avoids me."

"Why would he be angry that you helped him?" His brother was known for being quite blunt – had he unintentionally offended the blond boy by saying something he shouldn't have? Itachi couldn't imagine the blond boy becoming angry just because someone had stood up for him.

"He told me he didn't need my help, that he could take them on, but I just pointed out that he obviously couldn't, because I wouldn't have had to stop them if he could," Sasuke replied petulantly. "He was a being an idiot, which I told him, because he couldn't just accept my help without being difficult!"

The older boy grimaced slightly and rubbed his nose. Well, he could imagine someone becoming offended when being told what Sasuke had told the boy. His brother had had good intentions, but clearly he had stomped all over the boy's pride and as a result, the boy's hackles were raised.

Sometimes his little brother was too blunt for his own good. Itachi blamed Shisui for that; their cousin also had a tendency to speak before actually considering his words.

"I think you offended him by saying all that to him, Sasuke," Itachi said carefully.

"But I wanted to help him! He's the only one who isn't too stupid, so I wanted to help him and now he doesn't even want to talk to me!" Large, black eyes gazed up at the older boy in distress and Itachi's heart ached a bit.

Oh, otouto …

"Do you want to be friends with him?"

Sasuke shrugged, looking down at his blanket. "I guess so, but he doesn't want to talk to me," he muttered subdued.

"Well, what do you say that the next time we go to the park and he's there, we go up to him and you explain that you meant well and didn't want to call him stupid?" Itachi suggested.

"Do you think that he'll want to be my friend then?" A bit of hope had wormed its way into his brother's voice.

Itachi smiled and ruffled his hair. "I'm sure he'll want to – especially if he knows you go to the park especially to see him. He has to know how special he is then." He winked, delighting in the way Sasuke's face turned a fierce red.

"Nii-san! Stop teasing me!"

That was one request he was unwilling to fulfil.

"So you want to be my friend?" The blond boy, Naruto, pursed his lips together, studying the dark haired boy in front of him with squinted eyes.

"Yes, I'd – like to be your friend," Sasuke said haltingly, his voice so soft it was a miracle Naruto was able to hear it.

Itachi watched the whole scene with growing interest. He stood a few feet away from them to give them the illusion of privacy, while still being close enough to intervene if the situation took a turn for the worse. The blond boy had introduced himself as Uzumaki Naruto when Itachi had drawn him into a conversation and had looked ready to bolt once Sasuke had stepped forwards.

Things between them had been quite tense as Sasuke had explained why he had defended him – after he had apologised for inadvertently calling him stupid.

"Hm, okay then!" Naruto stated brightly; his whole face beaming as if he had never been wary in the first place.

Sasuke's head shot up and he stared wide-eyed at the other boy, obviously not having expected this particular reaction. "Okay?" he repeated tentatively.

"Yeah, okay! Let's be friends!" Naruto grinned widely and plonked back down on the swing. "Can you push me? I never get high enough on my own."

"Oh, eh, okay," Sasuke agreed, appearing a bit dazed at Naruto's nonchalant agreement, and walked around the swing to stand behind Naruto.

Soon enough they were switching between sitting on the swing and pushing the other back and forth while Itachi watched them with an indulgent smile, happy that his brother had finally made his first friend.

Sasuke's book laid forgotten in his backpack on the ground. He no longer needed to use it as an excuse to go to the park; it had served its purpose quite well.

After a while nobody saw the dark and blond haired boy at the swing in the park again.

Instead they had way too much fun using the newly installed swing in the Uchiha garden and playing their games in the large manor.

And Itachi? He was happy that his brother was happy.

And also incredibly grateful that he wouldn't have to suffer another numb arse again, just because his brother was too shy to approach the boy he liked.

The End

AN2: So incredibly random I still don't know what to exactly think of it, but it's rather fluffy, I guess? Or at least light hearted ...

Please leave your thoughts behind in a review; should you spot any mistakes, please point them out to me!

I hope to see you all back in my future stories!



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