Chapter 44

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10:00.

Two hours since Sasuke and the others took off, running swiftly through the trees and making sure to leave behind that strange mist Shikamaru spoke of. Sasuke couldn't remember if it was this far, way way back. He could've sworn that going through the woods only took an hour or so- but maybe it was because of the anxiety. Time loved despair, after all.

Thoughts of only "please wait, I'm coming soon" occupied his head as his pace sped up faster and faster with every tree he passed. They were almost there, to the place of nostalgia that he couldn't bear to go back to after what Itachi had done.

"Big Bro!"

Itachi turned around to see a young Sasuke, bright-faced and smiling. "You're taking the day off today, right?" he said brightly.

His older brother smiled at him. "Yes. They let me off today, thankfully."

"So you can play with me, right? I mean, hang out with me."

Sasuke never failed too try to look cool in front of his talented, amazing brother- wanting to show him time and time again how he could be a match for him.

"Of course I'll hang out with you. When do you want to go?"

"Right now!" Sasuke started sprinting towards the training woods before Itachi stopped him, chuckling. "Hold on. It's too early to go; let's eat some lunch before we take the walk."

"Okay..." Sasuke sulked.

They headed towards the large manor only for the door to be locked shut. "Big Bro..." Sasuke hit the door. "I think it's locked. We can't go in," he said, hoping that Itachi would solve the situation.

Itachi rubbed his chin. "Well, I guess we can just call the butler to force our way in... but..." There was a glint in his eyes. "I have a better idea."

Sasuke bounced around. "So what are we doing? I thought we were eating lunch?" he chirped. Itachi nodded and took Sasuke's hand. "Looks like lunch is waiting in the woods, Sasuke. Let's go."

A cheerful "Okay!" was heard as the two departed for the woods.

- - -

Once arriving, Itachi stopped in the middle of the training ground. "Sasuke, do you have a cave or a tent somewhere here?" he asked in the forest, birds chirping and sunlight streaming through the leaves.

He nodded. "I've actually been working on something... and I wanted to keep it secret until I finished, but it looks like I'll have to show it off now..." Sasuke ran to a small clearing a few trees away as Itachi shook his head and smiled at his little brother.

Sasuke pointed to the clearing. "There!"

There was a little tent, a fire spit, pots and pans and utensils (probably stolen from the manor), and it was all inside of a cave to prevent rain from leaking through. "Wow, Sasuke," Itachi marveled, "You did this all by yourself?"

"Most of it. Dad helped bring the pots and forks and stuff, and helped me build the fire spit, but everything else I did all by myself!" Sasuke boasted proudly. Itachi beckoned him over to give him a smart tap on the head. "You did wonderful, Sasuke. There's no doubt that you'll surpass me someday."

Sasuke beamed. "Thanks, Big Bro! Should we go in?"

"Just a second. Do you know how to get a fire running safely?" Sasuke made a face. "I'm an Uchiha too, y'know. Of course I know how to make a fire!"

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