Baby Meme!

For Scarborough1, who asked for "Anyone/Itachi, grocecy shop".

Uchiha Taimi

Sometimes it feels like the massacre never happened, or his own betrayal (betrayals, really), or the war he fought on so many sides, or the reveal of so many dirty secrets hidden under Konoha's ordinary-village sleepiness.

Sometimes the tragedies of his life almost seem like they happened to someone else, except he can still feel them under his skin.

When he sees her toddling up the aisle it's another moment like those, skin-deep ordinary but so much baggage welling up behind.

"Sasuke," says a low, calm voice he knows like his own. He was expecting it, though, and besides he's having a hard time tearing his eyes away from her, wobbling toward a bright display of pea cans.

She doesn't look like Mikoto much, or anyone else. Her hair is dark but still too short and fine to tell if it'll be black or brown, her eyes squinting against the bright ceiling lights, her features still soft, pudgy.

He could say "Itachi", like he doesn't care, or "Aniki" because he's an adult now and while they might be blood-related it still doesn't mean he has to be soft about it, but instead he says "Niisan" like he used to, and then he tenses up and his eyes harden, so Itachi won't think that meant anything.

"Didn't expect to see you here," he adds, even though he's been expecting to cross Itachi's path everyday for the last two years since he woke from his coma and they let him out of the hospital. They more or less divided Konoha in two, without ever talking about it, or about anything else, and as far as he knows Itachi has never crossed over into Sasuke's territory since then. Sometimes Sasuke wishes he would and sometimes he thinks he might kill him if he dares, and on some days he wishes both.

When he meets them, Itachi's eyes are pale green, the eyes of some poor Konoha chuunin who took a kunai to the brain and who didn't have any parents to complain about where his other bits ended up. It makes Sasuke want to claw out his own.

"Papapa!" the toddler says, tugging on Itachi's pant leg. Sasuke doesn't know who breaks eye contact to look down at her first. She's brandishing a can, too heavy for her; it makes her wobble. Sasuke watches his brother pluck it out of her hand deftly before she can drop it on her own head.

"Thank you, Taimi," he says, almost gravely. She beams at him, all gums and a couple of tiny white teeth. Itachi puts the can in his basket, not even really looking at what it is. Sasuke aches.

"Our old landlord sold the building," Itachi says, and it takes Sasuke a second to realize he's talking to him. "We're living on 7th street now."


A few seconds of silence, as they stare at each other. Sasuke is attempting to look as hard to read as Itachi does, but he's not sure he can.

Then Itachi takes his daughter's hand, and turns her to face him. "Taimi, this is Sasuke."

He can't speak. He can't. All around them it's an ordinary day with housewives walking by -- a couple who huff at them as they navigate past them in the aisle -- and it's brightly lit and there are jingles and people chatting calmly, but between him and Itachi is a bubble of silence and history, a hole, a chasm.


"Sasuke," he corrects her, slowly, and then all in one go, because he's decided, "I'm your uncle."

Itachi smiles at him. Sasuke stuffs his hands in his pockets before he does something stupid with them, like punching him or wrapping them around his neck, or worse enfolding him in a hug and clinging.

"We're done here. Do you want to get coffee?"

"Sure," Sasuke says, and follows them to the checkout.