|Of Gifts and Brothers
Author: Icarusy PM
The Uchiha brothers see all and nothing at all, it seems.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Angst/Tragedy - Itachi U. & Sasuke U. - Words: 1,972 - Reviews: 15 - Favs: 17 - Follows: 2 - Published: 01-02-05 - Status: Complete - id: 2201162
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Christmas was the worse of all.
It was when the world was heavy with snow and silence and the memories flurried from the sky, almost suffocating. Sasuke sat by the window on the bed and listened to the emptiness.
He barely thought of Mother and the clan or revenge anymore. It was one of the gifts he'd been cursed with. Instead, he had the peace of having to think of nothing- not the future, because there wasn't one for him anymore, not for the past, because he was already part of it. The oblivion was numbing in his uselessness.
He breathed out, imagined the white mist curling out out his mouth in a mockery of the fire jutsu his clan had been once famous for, and wondered what black looked like. Darkness had to be different from the colour- darkness enveloped and swallowed up everything with terrifying blankness, not like the clean, smooth colour that could define shapes even in shadows. Itachi had been quietly pragmatic one year ago, when black was all Sasuke had screamed he could see till he was patiently, coolly told he that no, you're wrong again brother, you can't see.
One month ago, one year ago, one eternity ago... it's hard to remember when everyday is the same. Everyday the same drill, the same mindlessness, the same darkness. He escaped it sometimes in his mind, but the memories were already distorting- twisted, blurring in too-bright colours and with the occasional snapshot gleaming out like a bell tone, the bass hitting him to the stomach and leaving him panting and sweating and longing so much it ached.
Sometimes, the real reality weaved in with his own till he could almost touch Naruto's orange standing in front of him, grinning, till his groping hands hit empty air and he remembered he couldn't see. It was confusing living in two worlds sometimes- sleeping when the world woke and walking in the silence of dreams because really, there wasn't any difference any more. Everything merged and he ate when he had to, slept when the memories got suffocating so he could continue it without struggling with reality, walked when he needed to remember which reality was the right one. Eventually, day became whenever the voices of his once-friends-ex-teammates dropped by- kind, encouraging, terribly cheerful-, dragging tendrils of nostalgia behind them. He let them touch him so he knew they really were there and smiled and nodded and did whatever that pleased them so they wouldn't put him back to where things bit into his wrists and he couldn't move his body. Sometimes he thought his smiles disturbed them, so he smiled even wider.
Serve the bastards right for doing this to him.
But it wasn't them, was it- it was just one bastard. Sasuke touched where his eyes should have been, the rough fabric thickly padded so it wouldn't hurt when he rubbed incessantly at them. An obsession he picked up, almost unconsciously, so they'd bandaged his eyes with loops of cloth even though it was unnecessary. Kind voices, medics' touches- he also put them under when Day was. He pressed one finger inwards till he could feel the pressure on his eyelids through the padding, then continued with slow, deliberate pressure to press into his empty eye sockeets. There was a certain sick pleasure in it, and he grinned at the familiarity of the numb sting. He'd always liked pushing his limits, and here it was, physically. Maybe that made him like his brother, that sadistic bastard.
Bastard. He stopped grinning, and caught the faint strains of Christmas carols. Like a record, his mind burst open another dam and the darkness gave way again to another flood of colours, but this time it was dulled and sharp. It was the last thing he saw, after all, his brother's red eyes. Forever in his mind, and forever reminding him of what he had, what he'll never have again, what his brother still had. Sometimes they were engraved in his darkness so much he thought he was staring into his reflection, only the bitterness those eyes bled won't his.
The songs were growing distant now, but his reality was already weaving around him. Sasuke rocked back and forth- the cold wet pane of the glass, the air, the window's frost again. Eventually his forehead rested on the damp, and he could feel a trickle of liquid running down to his chin.
"Blood from your eyes," Itachi told him, as he woke up screaming again, restraints biting into his arms. "Your sharingan is bleeding out." Then his redblackyellowwhite darkness- his lost sight had been colourful then, pity he was too much in pain to appreciate them- was soothed slowly into black again by his brother's careful touches, patient jutsus.
Sasuke could feel the phantom ache now, even though they'd said he shouldn't experience them anymore, what with the level of healing he'd been given. But they also didn't say anything about the scratchy hardness of the cotton rod pulled across his mouth, forced between his teeth to prevent him biting his tongue out in his throes. It was as real as it as the ice burning into his temples Itachi had pressed against him almost one year ago, but he could still feel it. Now, here was the milk again, that stench of rich rawness he'd learnt to dread in those two weeks. Fucking Itachi and his healing techniques- wasn't his special technique slaughtering people, he'd sneered in one of those early rare peroids he'd been partially coherent.
He couldn't remember the reply except for the sting in his non-exsistent eyes as the milk was applied. His niisan had always been like that. Why bother to save his life when death was so much of a better option- no, the only damn option when he'd lost the fight? The sadistic bastard. As if the humiliation of not being able to defeat him wasn't enough, the bastard had to pretend he was saving him. Saving. Him. Ripping out his eyes and then, because he was the only one left in the world who knew how to save a blind Uchiha's life, saving him with all their clan's secrets. The bastard must love the irony as much as Sasuke hated it's beauty.
The snake would have been better, didn't he know it? Didn't he scream it to him, from his bed restraints and despairing horror, that even that snake's use of him would be better than having no use at all? But no, his brother didn't think so, even when he of all people should have known better. The sharingan is an Uchiha's life, almost literally after generations of evolving, but his brother had taken his, shattered it, and gave him back the pieces glued together- a jigsaw badly mixed up. If he'd made so sure Orochimaru didn't want him- for his own good, the cold bastard had mocked him- what made him think he wanted himself either? Fuck him and his screwed up plans and damned pity.
Bastard. Bastard bastardbastardbastard. He could feel him behind him now, silent and not in the least bit reassuring, but his arms went through the air when he swung wildly at him. It didn't matter; he knew he was there, he was there, he was there. That had been his mantra in the second week- funny how after years of hating him it only took one week of blind reliance for him to trust his brother again. Itachi had always been like that for him. He'd taken their family, his childhood, his life, his sight- but it had only taken his warmth by his side and a hand on his forehead for the pain to die down a little.
Go to sleep, Sasuke. It's almost morning.
The ghost of Itachi's hands pushed down gently on his shoulders, and Sasuke swayed before leaning back on the wall. Treating him like a child, as if he'd never grown up. As if nothing had changed, and those lousy two weeks would heal more than his eyes. How dare he, and Sasuke fought the urge to curl up into a ball and drift off. Maybe the waking dreams had started then, when Itachi's manner had started to make him forget he wasn't the perfect older brother he ador- used to adore. White agony and bandages and that quiet, patient reassurance.
The cold air was almost biting now, and Sasuke breathed in deep lungfuls so sharp he could almost smell winter. Winter smelled of sterilizers and other clean medical tangs, with a hint of frost these days. And he was tired now, very tired. His head was too heavy now, and he started to lean into his hands before realizing what they were doing. He'd been rubbing his eyes again. The ache was starting, and that meant some skin had been rubbed off on the rough gauze. His brother had always tied his hands down, but of course, during that time, he had been screaming and tearing to get at his eyes. And anyway, Itachi the Bastard had left him in that fucking inn almost as soon as his eyes had been healed and his life saved. It was lucky it only took the Anbu five days to trace them before they found him blind, weak from starvation and still delusional. The last legal Uchiha, stripped of his heritage and pride by the neatly labeled medicines and cuffed wrists, telling the world how he owed his life to the man he swore to kill.
Sasuke grinned to himself, rocking back and forth again. It was almost funny. His brother never did trust him with his own life, the bastard. As if he was doing a great job messing around with it, anyway. He breathed his christmas wish out- surprising what you started to believe in when there wasn't anything left to believe- and hoped the white mist would reach his brother somehow. Christmas was for families, after all, wasn't it and he found himself humming the jingle that had filled his second dark week when Itachi made him listen and repeat the words so the great medic bastard could judge how rational he was. Just his luck he went blind by his brother's hand on the eve of the season, ho ho ho.
"We wish you a merry Christmas, a merry christmas amerry christmas, we wish me a mer... merry christmas... and a mer..."
Another gift from his brother; stupid, useless mutters floating around in his head. One day when Itachi came back he'd return a gift and save his life too. Then when they were both blind – how their mighty clan had fallen-, he laughsmilemock his brother and they'll both hear snow fall in their black christmas together and fightfightfight all the time just because. Somedays he might even win, but that wasn't so important any more because... because...
Outside, carolers sang of love and goodwill and gifts in the swirls of white and hugged family and friends. Inside, Sasuke giggled and painted pictures in his darkness with black paint while his ex-teammates-always-friends visited in time to hold his bleeding hands down.
i'm dreaming of a white christmas
Holy fcuk. I just realized today (late night, tired out, head pounding) that this story has been uploaded with the wrong text for months now. Heaven help me. Why didn't I find out before?