|Illusion or Reality?
Author: 13litz13last PM
Sasuke, dying on the battlefield, sees a black-cloaked figure: Itachi! Looking into his eyes, he falls asleep, only to wake up when he was younger...could it be that his life was all a dream? Or perhaps this is a horrible trick from Itachi...Spoilers.Rated: Fiction K - English - Drama/Hurt/Comfort - Sasuke U. & Itachi U. - Chapters: 9 - Words: 13,680 - Reviews: 57 - Favs: 64 - Follows: 46 - Updated: 11-20-10 - Published: 09-26-09 - id: 5403797
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Sasuke lay on the battle field, now quieted of the whirling storm that was the fighting. All had fallen or fled, and now he lay there, surrounded by the dying moans of those too wounded to stand, who knew their fate.
The medics, as it were, were poorly trained and had left a little while ago, only helping those that could manage to stagger to their feet. Sasuke, it seemed, was too damaged to go on.
The pain was unbearable, but he knew as long as he felt pain, he was alive. Although, he'd much rather have been numb. Throbs convulsed his body, stemming from his stomach and legs, bloodied and battered.
He looked up to the sky in agony, which had begun to accumulate thunder clouds. "Is this truly my fate?" He cried.
No one bothered to answer.
He winced and tried to roll over, to hide himself from the rain that was starting to fall, but it was far too painful.
His vision started to blur. He felt himself drifting off, but every time he realized it, he jerked himself awake again.
No, he thought resiliently. No. I have to stay awake. Brother...Nii-san is still out there...
The pain started to ebb away, and Sasuke willed it back.
No, I'm not dead yet! Come back!
But it didn't. He became slightly delirious, and so when the black-cloaked figure stood before him, he could do nothing.
"Oh, Sasuke," it murmured. "Look what you've become."
Sasuke opened his eyes, straining to make sense of the sight before him. "Bro...Brother?"
The figure almost smiled. "Sleep," he said. Those eyes of his, demanding his attention and spinning red, were too hard to resist as they stared into his. Sasuke mindlessly looked back, into those eyes, those deadly eyes.
Sasuke awoke with a jolt. He breathed hard, suddenly relishing the way one could breathe without pain shooting up his ribs. He sat up, hugging his stomach. Maybe that was all a dream, he wondered.
But when he looked around him, he realized that either it had all been a dream, the last five years or so, or something was deathly wrong.
Toys were strewn about him, carelessly forgotten. Books lined the shelves, the small TV covered in dust. The windows shone in morning light, and the mirror across from him depicted a small boy, raven hair a mess, staring back with wide-eyes.
"That's me," he murmured in disbelief. "Me. But...not me..."
He jumped from the bed, hands roaming his body in incredulity. Impossible. Impossible.
This couldn't be a dream. He could feel a subtle breeze on his back from the partially open window; he could feel the oxygen from every breath course through his veins.
"Sasuke!" cried a voice. "Sasuke, are you up yet?"
Maybe, Sasuke couldn't help but think. Maybe, Mother, or maybe I'm still dreaming.
But even if it was a dream, an impossibly realistic dream, he couldn't bring himself to pinch himself just yet. Because...well...if this was so real...
The door opened, and there stood a young female, smile wide, carrying a bucket of laundry. "Oh, Sasuke," she said with a shake of her head. "Did you have a bad dream?"
Sasuke shuttered a sigh. "I hope so," Sasuke answered, staring at her angelic form.
Her eyes held confusion. "What do you..."
But her voice trailed off, because Sasuke had run forward, and sprung onto her body, clinging to her, and she was forced to drop the recently folded laundry.
"Sasuke! What has gotten into you?" she laughed aloud, for some reason not even caring about the laundry. "Are you that excited for your birthday?"
Sasuke stared up at her, breathing in her long-forgotten scent of fresh daisies and the feel of an old teddy bear, so soft to the touch. The feel of her hand stroking his head was damn near heavenly. "My birthday?"
"Of course," she said, gazing down at him with a soft gaze. "Your eighth birthday?"
Sasuke stared up, dazed. He remembered his eighth birthday. It was a horrid time, only a month after his horrific ordeal and the massacre, and the whole day he'd lay in bed, shivering uncontrollably.
But maybe that hadn't happened. Maybe that was part of the dream, too.
"It's my birthday." He stated, and he reluctantly let his mother go as she bent over to pick up the mess he'd made of the laundry. "My birthday."
"But that doesn't mean you can just make a mess and get away with it," a dark voice said.
Sasuke looked up, and to his delight, his father stood there, sipping coffee slowly. He'd never liked the heat of coffee just after it was made, he'd wait so long to drink it, but he could never wait long enough, because he always complained that it'd burned his tongue.
"Ouch!" he said, staring at the coffee cup. "We should just ice it next time."
Sasuke could almost cry. There he was, in the flesh. Hopefully. His own father.
He wanted to run up to him, too, to hug him and hold him, and maybe he'd hold him back, like he used to do when he was four but never afterward, because he said that was old enough. And that Itachi had never even done it after two.
Sasuke smiled at his father, hoping beyond hope that he would maybe hug him, for once, or smile and pat him on the back, and tell him, "Happy birthday."
But he didn't, and Sasuke had known it all along. But he did get a special treat, for as he was passing, he put on a hand on his head and shook up his already tousled hair. This was far more than Sasuke had expected, though less than he'd wanted, but all in all, it wasn't half bad.
He couldn't help but watch the man go, but as he was, he said something disconcerting.
"Better hurry up into the kitchen," he said over his shoulder. "Itachi's making your favorite breakfast."
An involuntary shiver arched up Sasuke's back, but he silenced the small squeak that he knew he was about to make.
Itachi was in the kitchen.
He knew that if this was real, this world around him, the world he'd always wanted to return to, then Itachi had to be there. He also knew that he would be the brother he'd always been, always wanted him to stay, and so there was nothing to fear.
But he feared anyway. This was Itachi, the one who'd killed his parents, his whole family, and left him to suffer in hate. The one who'd, not two months earlier, returned to his home and showed him things he'd never wanted to see, for the second, third, fourth, fifth time, over and over and over again.
But that hadn't happened, Sasuke reminded himself. It hadn't.
But the memories were so vivid...
The walk to the kitchen seemed to take forever, each step like a mountain hike. His bare feet ached on the wood, each wood panel squeaking, each bug that lived under that wood panel stumbling over each other to get away. He could hear everything.
And then, he was at the sliding door, with only the thin green paper covering it. He could hear the clank of dishes, the clink of silverware. And with the morning light streaming in the window atop the sink, he could see the silhouette of a figure.
And no, he wasn't wearing a large black cloak decorated with those horrible red clouds. Even in silhouette, he looked like a thirteen year old boy, doing the dishes, setting the table.
"I have nothing to fear," Sasuke said aloud to himself, in but a whisper for he knew Itachi, being of the ANBU, could hear him if he spoke any louder. "He's my brother. How could you even think such horrible things of poor Itachi? He would never...ever ever..."
"Sasuke?" came a voice, all too familiar and oddly grating, though kind and patient. "Sasuke, come in here, will you?"
Sasuke gulped, sliding the door open inch by inch. He stared in through a crack.
Itachi was staring at him, leaning on the sink, just like any other thirteen year old boy. "What are you doing, Sasuke? Is this a game?"
Sasuke just stood there, unwilling to answer, unwilling to believe that it really was just this thirteen year old boy he'd known for so long, and yet he felt he barely knew.
"Sasuke, I'm not going to bite you," Itachi chuckled, turning back to the dishes he was cleaning, that he'd used to make his favorite meal.
And, God, the smell was intoxicating. Sasuke couldn't help himself but to enter, though cautiously, and sit at his regular spot at the table.
Itachi quickly dried his hands and took from the large meal plate five huge slabs of chocolate-strawberry-banana pancake, topped with loads of powdered sugar and maple syrup.
Sasuke would never have admitted this, in a million, trillion years, but that had always been and will probably always be his favorite meal. Once, though he'd regretted it and been ashamed of himself, he'd tried to recreate it in his own little kitchen, but everything went wrong. The bananas weren't ripe, the strawberries had fungus on them, and the chocolate was not baking chocolate but regular chocolate, and therefore burned.
It seemed only Itachi could ever do those small things, those insignificant little things, that had always made him happiest. And those years, though supposedly dream-years, had been so full of hate partially because of that. The one who'd made him so miserable was also the one who'd made him the happiest in his life, and he couldn't bear to face that truth.
Sasuke just sat there, staring at the steaming pile of deliciousness Itachi had lay before him. Should he eat it? Perhaps it was poisoned.
Itachi sat across from him, sitting perfectly upright like he always had. "Well, dig in," he encouraged.
Sasuke couldn't bring himself to. He felt tears sting behind his eyes. What's the problem, Sasuke? he asked himself. It was...it was only a dream...
Itachi's expression became more relaxed and he leaned back into his seat. Sasuke knew that look. He'd always worn it, whenever he was hurt, which was almost never, but Sasuke had learned to recognize it. The subtle downward look, the unfocused eyes, though to many they may have looked normal.
Sasuke picked up his fork and knife. Whatever the case, before him was not the mass-murderer, but his brother. Right now, he was his brother.
He ripped his butter knife through the five layers, taking two layers on his fork, dripping in the syrup, and thrust it into his mouth.
He couldn't help the tears now. It was so delicious, so tangy to the tongue, yet sweet, that the tears just rolled down his chin. He tried rubbing his eyes, but that made syrup stick to his hair, so he just let them come, hoping neither his mother nor his father would see, and ate every last bite of that memorable pile of pancakes.
"What's wrong, Sasuke?" Itachi asked intently. "What's wrong? Did I make it wrong? I'm so sorry, Sasuke, I didn't mean to do that."
I know, Sasuke thought.
You hadn't meant to do that.