Title: Alright

Spoilers: So long as you know who Itachi is, you're fine.

Warnings: Er...violence? I suppose one could find slashy overtones if you go looking for them....

Disclaimer: Yeah. Not mine.

Summary: When Sasuke thought about it, the death of Itachi had not gone the way he had planned it. One Shot.

When Sasuke thought about it, the death of Itachi had not gone the way he had planned it.

When he was younger, in the semi-darkness of pre-dawn, especially in those years immediately after the complete and total slaughter of his clan, the younger Uchiha had planned out his brother's death in intense detail.

In his mind' eye, he could imagine what would happen. Sasuke, stronger by far than his weak brother, would stand over Itachi, strong and dangerous, while Itachi would crouch on the ground, breathing hard, bleeding. Itachi would be forced to kneel to Sasuke's power, and beg for mercy from the little brother he had once ignored.

Sasuke would stand there, kunai in hand, and he would wait until Itachi looked up, and then he would prove his hatred and strength to his oniisan by being able, finally, to resist the strength of those Sharingan eyes.

Then, in the coldest voice he could manage, Sasuke would say, "I love you. I worshiped you. I wanted nothing more than to be exactly like you. I loved you."

And then he would plunge the kunai into his brother's heart, would twist it, making sure his brother's scarlet lifeblood would pour down the both of them.

"This is how much I hate you," Sasuke would say, then would leave his brother's lifeless body where it fell. He would walk away, and never look back.

And he would never - never - shed any tears for him.

It would have been, Sasuke thought regretfully, the perfect revenge.

It wasn't what had happened, however.

Frowning a little, Sasuke bitterly recalled what had happened.

His older brother had arrived unexpectedly in the Konoha village. When Sasuke had found him, he had, hot-tempered and impetuously, challenged the elder Uchiha. He would have showed him how much he had grown since the last time Itachi had come, years ago.

Itachi, going against everything he was supposed to do, for every reason of rationality, had waved him off, brushed him off so easily, spouting some lie that Sasuke did not hate him enough. Sasuke did hate him enough. Furious, he had chased after his brother, ignoring Kisame, who had tried to stop him. Instead, Sasuke had tried to seize the edge of his brother's cloak.

Sasuke had found himself pinned against a tree, fist curled around his throat, staring wide-eyed at his brother's narrowed red eyes. He hadn't even seen Itachi move.

"You are not my concern here, Sasuke-ototo," Itachi had said coldly. "Run. Fight. Train. Grow to hate me deeper. When your soul has become black, then will I fight you. Until then, you offer no challenge to me."

And then Sasuke had found himself thrown into a black nightmare world of the Sharingan's making.

He had no idea how much time passed, from the moment he froze, to the moment someone shook him awake, freeing him from the images of his parents, his aunts, his uncles, his cousins, all laying scattered, still and soaked across the courtyard of the Uchiha manor.

The hand on his shoulder had roused him at last, but upon his immediate return to the land of the living, Sasuke had spun onto his side to release a stomach full of lunch and blood.

Small, cool hands had smoothed across his brow, pushing sweaty bangs away from his face. Soft words whispered their way into his ears, quiet assurances that everything would be alright. That was a lie - nothing would ever be alright. He knew it, and the owner of those soft words was burned deeper into his irritations, for trying to tell him that everything would be alright.

Nothing could ever be alright again, and he knew it.

"Stop it, Sakura," he choked out, and she stopped talking, though her pale fingers just wouldn't leave his face. "Where is he?"

"Who?" she had asked. She was trying to sound innocent, he knew, but her voice quivered, and her green eyes were shining nervous.

He'd growled, forcing himself shakily to his feet. "Uchiha Itachi. My brother."

Sakura had bit her lip, looking nervous. "We...we're not sure. He...he captured Naruto."


Sakura had actually taken a step back, away from him, at his expression. "The ANBU are after him, he - "

He hadn't waited long enough to hear the rest of what she was going to say. Ignoring his protesting muscles, he had pushed himself up and away.

It had actually been easier to find his brother, Kisame, and the blonde idiot that it should have been, Sasuke considered in hindsight. But at the time, all his efforts centered on following that trace of Naruto's always so strong chakra, it had seemed too long.

Itachi had laughed at him when he confronted him again. Whether he was impressed with Sasuke's breaking from the Sharingan induced nightmare or not, it was impossible to tell. Instead, he actually laughed. He had thrown back his arrogant head, and let out a cold, chilling chuckle. "And just how, Sasuke-niichan, do you plan to kill me? You are still too weak."

"I will kill you," Sasuke insisted, kunai already in hand, his own Sharingan blossomed red.

"I don't have time for you," Itachi snapped, his mirth gone. "Kisame - make sure he doesn't follow us. No need for killing, but I think he should be suitably discouraged."

There had actually been silence for a moment, and Sasuke had spun to watch his would-be attacker.

"Kisame!" Itachi snapped.

At last, the shark-man responded. Opening his mouth, he tried to speak, but instead, blood bubbled ominously from his mouth, before his entire body slumped, collapsing in a bloody heap on the forest floor.

Naruto stood behind him, soaked with the backlash of Rasagen going through Kisame's body - but Naruto also stood, tied, at Itachi's side. Of course, it should have occured to one of them that Naruto might use his Shadow Clone Jutsu - after all, wasn't Kage Bunshin his signature technique?

In the silence immediately after Kisame's death, the four living inhabitants of the small forest clearing stood in silence, until, with a puft of chakra, the bound Naruto disappeared, leaving the ropes behind.

Blood covered Naruto let out a snort, looking at his still outstretched hand, then at limp Kisame, before dropping his arm. "Killing is considerably easier than they tell you it will be."

Itachi had come back to life then, taking one smooth step forward. "You will come with me."

That same snort had sounded again. "How about...no?"

Itachi's Sharingan narrowed. "You will."


Sasuke moved faster than his brother had expected - he could see surprise flit for a moment across the stony features. Firmly, he stood between his teammate and his brother. "Your fight is with me, Itachi."

"So be it."

And Itachi had attacked.

It had not, by any stretch of any imagination, been an even fight. Sasuke vaguely recalled the intense feeling of pain and breaking bones.

Dimly, he remembered having yelled at Naruto to stay back, anything but to get involved. Naruto had shot back with some insult of some kind, something about even bastards needing help.

He remembered thousands of shadow clones, then remembered as Itachi had cut easily through the clones to land an attack on his little brother. Sasuke had felt himself make contact with another tree, ribs cracking and snapping on impact, blood gurgling its way past his lips.

That was when, somehow, Naruto had gained more strength, the strength he'd seen him use before - against Orochimoro, against Gaara, against the Sound nins. He saw, through his blurry, aching tunnel-vision, Naruto's eyes flare red, his teeth lengthen, his chakra swirl around him like a furious red cloud. Sasuke could vaguely recall seeing Naruto abandon weapons, and strike at his brother in rather unconventional means. But then...Sasuke had blacked out.

When he woke, it was Naruto carefully shaking him awake this time. His ribs had spiked pain in response.

"Sasuke," the other boy had insisted, his eyes still red.

Red eyes met red eyes, and Sasuke turned, slowly, to see a kneeling figure on the other side of the clearing, back to them.

"Is he..." he'd started.

"He's still alive," Naruto had promised. "C'mon."

And so Sasuke had still found himself standing over his kneeling brother. Unlike his dreams, however, Itachi was held there by bonds of burning chakra, Sasuke was being held on his feet by Naruto, and it had been the blonde idiot, not him, that had defeated his brother.

Nor had Sasuke expected Itachi's eyes to be clawed out.

Vivid, slashing lines crossed his brother's face, his prime weapon of Sharingan reduced to bloody ribbons.

"I - I loved ... you..." Sasuke's voice cracked. His perfect speech broken, by his own weakness.

"Kill me," Itachi rasped. The smooth quality had been lost, his voice reduced to the barest imitation of that which had been his.

Sasuke had retrieved a kunai then, hand shaking so hard he could barely hold it.

"You don't have to kill him," Naruto had pointed out, his eyes still red, but his voice softer than normal. "He doesn't have the Sharingan anymore."

For a moment, Sasuke had actually considered it. He was helpless. And despite everything, he still was his brother. But Itachi's head had turned slightly at Naruto's voice, as though trying to find him, and the tiniest of smirks had quirked at the edge of his bloodstained lips.

No matter where they went, no matter if he had the Sharingan or not, Itachi would follow them, trying to get Naruto. He would destroy the last person that Sasuke felt he needed to protect. His last precious person. And Sasuke knew then, that he could not let him.

"He must die," Sasuke had said firmly.

In the end, his arms had been too weak to make that final thrust. Naruto's hand had gripped over him, pushing the arm forward, so it had been Sasuke that dealt the final blow, but Naruto who had provided the force for it.

As Itachi fell forward onto the kunai, strength leaving his body, he'd whispered, "Finally...you...hate me enough..."

"No," Sasuke had insisted. His controls had broken, and despite the vow he'd repeated over and over to himself, tears spilled from his scarlet eyes. "I....I loved you....Itachi-oniisan..."

And so he'd killed his brother.

Sasuke's knees gave out, and he collapsed back into Naruto's arms, the tears he'd buried to years now fighting their way out of him. And Naruto held him, letting him cry, hand running over the other boy's black, blood soaked hair, whispering that everything would be alright.

And for some reason, Sasuke believed him.

When Sasuke thought about it, blinking up through tear-stained eyes at the face of the other red-eyed boy, the death of Itachi could not have gone better if he had planned it that way.