so who do you think approaches the whole 'fuck, i'm in love' thing first? naruto or sasuke?
Definitely Naruto. I think Sasuke wouldn’t be in denial as long as Naruto would be. Naruto would be doing something mundane and it would hit him all of a sudden. He’d be watching Sasuke after they sparred, bodies sweaty, Sasuke’s bangs clinging to his forehead, the sun hitting half of his face, a small smile on his lips and Naruto would just look at him and think “Fuck. I love him. I love him so much.”
Okay, let’s picture a canon-ish scenario in which Itachi refuses to kill the Uchihas. He won’t stop Danzo, but he won’t do it himself either, and just like in the manga, his condition is that Sasuke must not be touched.
Imagine, after everything happens, Itachi has to raise Sasuke all by himself while lying about what truly happened to their clan. Imagine little Sasuke trying to confort his brother, thinking that Itachi’s sadness is only caused by the fact that their family is dead and not because Itachi also feels guilty about it.
Imagine Sasuke still forming a bond with Naruto by watching Naruto trying to be noticed, recognized… loved. With no parents to welcome him home. By watching Naruto fight his way throught life. So Sasuke reach out to Naruto and one day, decides to take Naruto home with him. Telling himself that the house is too big for just him and Itachi. That they might as well have some help with it is good enough of a excuse to pull the other boy all the way with him.
Imagine Sasuke arriving home with a small and beaten up Naruto behind him and saying to Itachi “He can help in the house” and Itachi can’t say no because is his little brother and he’s finally making friends… finally starting to live again.
Imagine Itachi raising those two kids as best as he can and loving them more than anything else.
Imagine small and bright Naruto bringing some joy and light to those brothers who have lost everything… and after some years, Itachi watches as Naruto’s and Sasuke’s feelings for each other start to change. He watches and muses to himself how he thought the family would have at least two new member.
But Itachi is happy. Sasuke and Naruto are happy.
Because they are everything for each other… they are a family and their bond is unbreakable.