The following week the real work began. Every day, while Itachi and Sasuke were gone, I was studying or doing chores. If Itachi couldn't pick up Sasuke, I'd go to his school to walk home with him. From what I could see, he was still pretty cold to his classmates, even the girls, but at least with me he smiled more now. After some time, maybe Sasuke would get along with other people better. Maybe. If Sasuke wasn't doing homework, he was doing chores or helping me with my studying.
Both Sasuke and Itachi took time out of their schedules to really help me and make sure that I knew what I was doing. Itachi was definitely a hell of a lot more patient and helpful than that teme Sasuke. He'd get fed up with me too quickly and would immediate fall back to insulting me. Well, I'd insult him, too, if he wasn't making any sense, but whatever. Itachi was a better teacher.
“You're doing it wrong, moron,” Sasuke sighed.
“Shut up, teme! You confused me with your explanation! Of course I'm doing it wrong!”
He gave me a blank stare. “Don't blame me for your stupidity.”
“What did you say?” I yelled at him.
He closed his eyes and shook his head. Rather than lecturing me from the bed, he grabbed the chair he'd brought in and sat down right next to me, leaning on the table. “Let's do this again. What does the problem say?”
This was getting frustrating. I pouted a little. “That I have to find the shortest distance between two points.”
“How do you do that?”
I looked down at the figure provided. “A straight line between the points.”
“Okay, you at least understand that. Now, how do we get that distance?”
“Don't I just take the average of the two given lengths?”
Sasuke took a book a hit me on the head with it. It wasn't hard, but it's not like it was pleasant either. “Wrong, dobe.”
I rubbed my head, looking down at the figure again. I continued to stare at it until I realized something. I grabbed a separate piece of paper and drew out the picture without the detailing the streets and houses and whatnot. “It's a triangle,” I murmured.
Sasuke only smirked. “About time you saw it.”
“Gah! Shut up!”
“Yeah, yeah. Now that you know it's a triangle, what are you going to do?”
I looked at my worksheets, sifting through the equations. “Pythagorean theorem!”
“Hn,” he smiled. “Was that so hard?”
“You didn't explain it well!!”
He sighed. “We went over this twice.”
“Yeah, yeah. I got it now.”
“You better pass those entrance exams,” he said, letting me continue my work.
I took the chance to poke some fun at him. “Aww, is the teme going to miss me if I don't? Heh heh.”
Sasuke stared at me. He didn't say anything, but he wasn't glaring at me either. He began to move. I thought he was going to hit me so I flinched, but nothing came. He simply walked past me. “The rest of that chapter is pretty similar. I'm going to get started on dinner.”
“Oh here, I'll go help you,” I told him, starting to get out of my chair.
“No, you should finish that assignment before you lose your momentum,” he insisted.
“Oh, uh sure,” I answered, settling back down.
Without any other comment, Sasuke was gone. What was that about? The way he stared at me was as if there was some truth to what I'd said. That's ridiculous, right? I mean, yeah, we got along...in a strange way, but it's not like Sasuke would really miss having me around. Right? Then again, he didn't say anything about it. Maybe I was imagining things. Maybe.
Since the weekend, Sasuke definitely changed. I wasn't sure if for better or worse yet since we still fought pretty often. It was hard to describe. He smiled more, that was for sure. It was more than that, though. He just changed. Even Itachi had noticed the difference. His joy over that change was so obvious, I'm sure Sasuke was embarrassed by it a few times.
Trying to not worry too much about what had just happened, I looked back at my workbook and continued to study. I was almost done with the chapter when Sasuke came back up to call me for dinner. I only nodded and worked. The whole time I sat there, finishing up the chapter, Sasuke was sitting behind me on the bed. I didn't know what he was doing, but I could feel his eyes on me at certain moments. It was annoying. I ignored him and worked until the chapter was complete.
“Done!” I said with relief.
“Are your answers correct?”
“I think so.”
Sasuke suddenly appeared next to me. He leaned over me and flipped through the sheets, looking over my answers. “You need to work on your penmanship. Is that a four or nine?”
“How can you not tell that's a four?”
“These scribbles aren't exactly clear,” he argued.
“You're just being picky, teme.”
He ignored the comment. A few minutes passed before he closed the workbook, satisfied with my answers. “All right, let's go eat. I'm sure Itachi is waiting for us by now.”
“Itachi is here?”
“You didn't hear him? He came home almost half an hour ago.”
I shook my head, scooting my chair back. “No. I didn't hear a thing.”
“I guess even a dobe like you can concentrate hard enough to block out the world,” he said with a smirk.
“Boys! It's going to get cold!” Itachi called, interrupting us.
“Come on,” Sasuke said, stuffing his hands in his pockets and walked out.
I followed him down the stairs and into the kitchen where Itachi was sitting at the table with all three plates served. I don't know how much of it was Sasuke's work, or if Itachi had helped at all, but it looked amazing. I sat down across from Itachi and began stuffing my face. Itachi and Sasuke exchanged a few words about school and work. Some of the comments were about my studying. Since I was eating to my heart's content, Sasuke would answer for me.
“I'm glad to know your studies are coming along well, Naruto.”
I nodded, still eating. What? I was starving. I'd spent most of the day studying!
“Must you stuff your face?” Sasuke asked.
“Don't talk with your mouth full either.”
I stared at him, not amused. Picky picky picky. I insist, what happened to the cute little Sasuke from the photos? I'm sure he was more fun to be around then.
After dinner, Sasuke and I did the dishes. In silence. I wasn't sure, but something told me Sasuke didn't want to talk. He seemed to be thinking about something. Itachi might know, but I didn't want to ask him about it either.
“Ne, Sasuke, if something is bothering you, you can talk to me about it. If you want.”
“Oh? Is that so?” he said with sarcasm.
“Hey, teme, don't mock me! You've just been strangely quiet today! Well, except when you were helping me with my studying. Well, it just seems like your head is elsewhere.”
“Heh, since when do you care so much?” he asked smugly.
“Gah! Whatever! Suit yourself! I was just trying to be nice!” I fumed as I scrubbed the dishes, handing them one by one to Sasuke for him to dry.
“Hn. I know.”
“Huh?” I froze for a moment to stare at Sasuke. He was smiling.
“You're nothing but a dobe.”
“Still, don't worry about it. There's just something I need to find out.”
“Eh? Find out?”
“Yes. Uzumaki, is that your father's name?”
“Huh? No, it's my mother's,” I clarified.
“Do you know your family from your mother's side?”
Hn? Hn?? That was all he had to say?! What kind of conversation did we just have! Rather than pressing I let it go. He obviously was plotting something. I wanted to know what it was, but I knew if I asked too many questions, he'd just revert to insulting me and telling me how useless I was. I pouted at the thought.
Once the dishes were done, Sasuke left to talk to Itachi. Not wanting to intervene, I went upstairs to my room and lied back on my bed. Sasuke's look earlier still roamed my thoughts. It was hard to believe that he would really miss having me around. I guess it wasn't all that strange. From what I had seen on the days I picked him up from school, he didn't appear to have any particularly close friends. There were two guys that hung around him.
One of them had white or silver hair and sharp teeth. Any time I saw him, he had a water bottle or some sort of drink at hand with a straw. The other guy was much taller and bigger than either the white-haired guy or Sasuke. I'd never heard or seen him talk, but he walked beside Sasuke, constantly looking around. He almost seemed like a body guard. His hair was wild and all over the place. I guess mine was like that, too.
Sasuke still ignored the red and pink-haired girls that liked to follow him around. A few days ago I'd seen a blonde with them, also swooning over Sasuke. If he was so cold to them, why did they even like him? I would never understand.
I sat up in bed to see Sasuke walking past my door to his room. "Keep studying, dobe," he said as he walked by.
"Shut up, teme! I know what to do!" Instead of doing as he said, I grabbed my pjs and went to shower. I'll be damned if I follow his orders.