x by Ebony x

Chapter 5

I have no rights to Naruto

Sadly, this is the last chapter (and the hardest to write by far). This may seem inconclusive, but I'm positive all the clues have been presented. Think on it. See my bio for more. Thanks to everyone who read and reviewed. For more Itachi and Sasuke fics, check out my C2 list 'Till Death Do Us Part'.

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The wind picked up, whispering and caressing the body of the young boy, no more than eight years of age, who stood before row upon row of curved grey stones, rising from the ground as if they were attempting to escape. Each row was perfectly straight, uniform and clean cut. Even in death, the clan seemed to be firm about their ways. Perhaps too firm…

And beneath each smooth-carved stone, he knew, was a rotting corpse that looked similar to him, worms crawling in and out of their bodies, digesting their clammy flesh and tangling about their hair. Body upon body upon body…

Sasuke had lost track of how long he had been standing there, staring hazily out at the most recent addition to the old graveyard, vacant save for him. It was as if it was not actually real… Every day since that night seemed to pass in a light fog; he felt as if he were somewhere else, looking in on himself. His thoughts seemed to have stopped flowing through his head, but when they did come they hurt like Hell. His stomach was constantly upset too, and he had to be coaxed into eating anything, only to throw it right back up again in most cases. It just did not seem like reality at all. Maybe… he kept thinking, maybe it was just a nightmare.

Oh, shut up, something inside his head said. Stop blaming it on nightmares, missions, and whatnot, because that's not it. It's real, and it's not going away!

His front teeth bit into his pouting bottom lip, which was chapped and bleeding (not that he noticed, of course). He could not even begin to count the tombstones. There were plenty more than he had guessed there would be. Seeing them was almost overwhelming… All of them, gone.

And all by the hand of…


His grip on his arms tightened, fingers digging painfully into the fabric of his white shirt. The beautiful, pureperfectuntainted white that was the color of death, showing just how pale his own skin was, not dissimilar to that of a corpse.

He had heard people refer to him as the only Uchiha left alive… That was a laugh.

Inside of him was only an aching emptiness that begged to be filled. It felt like he was full of nothing, or perhaps broken. Despite the fair summer weather, he was cold constantly, frozen, and unable to warm himself up. Maybe Itachi had killed him, and he was just a ghost left lingering, unable to move on. He felt dead, anyways. The children in the park near the hospital were alive. They laughed, smiled and were full of brightness and warmth, while he could barely bring himself to speak, feeling constantly sick and out of his head. The little eight-year old boy within him had been murdered so violently that night, and all that was left was his shell. He was vacant, just barely clinging to the thin scraps of himself he was able to salvage from his tattered and shredded soul.

A choked sob escaped his throat, tears one again welling up at the corners of his coal black eyes. The childish spark once alight within them was dead and their surface glazed and glassy, dark bags hanging heavy under his eyes from his lack of sleep. Every night his graphic and surreal dreams came back full force, doing him a fate worse than death, and when he woke up alone in the hospital bed, shivering and afraid, there was no one to make it go away. No one to let him crawl into their bed and murmur quietly into his ear until he felt safe and warm, no one to hold him close and place their lips against his forehead, and…

("You do love me… don't you, little brother?")

Wasn't it ironic that the one who used to protect him from such things was now the one who haunted him at all times? Flitting at the edge of his vision; staring back at him in the mirror; hidden inside his very soul.

("Of course. And Nii-san… Nii-san loves me, right?")


("That's right.")

The wetness swelling in his eyes began to tumble, leaving cold, salty trails down his thing cheeks.

("Will you love me forever Sasuke?"


Itachi did it.

("Do you promise?")

Itachi, who was deprived of a childhood and pushed into the unforgiving body of a perfect killer. Were they even surprised he did it? It was what they trained him to do his entire life… what they praised him for…

("I promise…")

To 'measure his capacity', Itachi murdered them…

("Even if it hurts?"

Every single one… even their parents…

("I don't want it to hurt…")

Except for Sasuke.

("Promise me, Sasuke. Will you promise me?")

He could barely breathe it hurt so goddamn much! More than he ever imagined it could.

("I promise…)

He sucked in hoarse breath and let himself scream, nails digging into his skin through the fabric of his shirt. The sound reverberated through the empty cemetery, as if mocking him.


Nii-san knows I'm weak… Is that why he left me alive? As a punishment? Why would Nii-san… Why did you do it, Nii-san? I loved you so much… I thought you… I don't understand! I don't understand!

He closed his eyes tight, trying to fill the muteness of the world around him with his panting and whimpered sobs, making as much noise as he wanted.


He pounded it into his head. His brother… his brother did not love him. His brother knew that he was not strong, not good enough, so unbearably weak, and his brother was…

Sasuke's body lurched as if he were about to vomit.

I'm weak… stupid… he could never love me…

He had been trying and trying to hate Itachi, but it was hard. As much as he despised himself for it, he still admired and loved his older brother. Sometimes when he was woken up by yet another nightmare raking its claws down his back, he could almost see Itachi sitting there with him, face hidden in by shadow. His bloodstained fingers gently played with and embedded themselves in Sasuke's hair, his skin warm where it touched his brother's, and his kisses sweet and light as they worked their way from Sasuke's forehead, descending over his cheek and jawbone slowly, down to the point where his collarbones came together and further…

("You do love me… don't you, little brother?")

Sinking down onto his knees, Sasuke tried to calm his breathing. A sick rage boiled up inside of him, begging to be let out, surging and thriving on the tormenting emptiness that was slowly suffocating him.

("It would be worthless to kill someone like you…")


Some days, he hurt so much all he wanted to do was end it. Many times, he had considered taking a knife and plunging it deep within himself, tearing away his horribly alive flesh and numbing himself completely with the explicit pain it would bring. Pierce his weak and helpless heart and listen to its once steady began begin ritardando, pounding, pounding, solitary into dead silence. Letting all that horrible blood (the exact same as Itachi's) out to stain the clean white clothing, letting himself slip fully away to join the rest of his clan. But suicide wasn't an option, as much as it tempted and taunted him. Suicide would be weak; it would be running away.

("My foolish little brother…")

The words Itachi had spoken had been burned into his mind, repeating and repeating without intent to stop. His brother had been… so unlike himself during their confrontation.

Their beautiful world had fallen apart before him, and Sasuke had just watched like everyone else, pretending it was okay. Pretending Itachi loved him. Pretending he was enough.

Pretending like it was perfect.

But it wasn't.

He was never enough…

("I hate you, Nii-san…")

Look what you've done.

("I hate you…")

The life that used to be lay in shambles on the ground, broken to the point of being unfixable, smoldering ash and soiled remnants. Itachi had defined a path through it for him, whispering, taunting, urging him forwards. He stepped willingly onto it despite the consequence, refusing to let his clan's massacre go unavenged… refusing to let the one person he had left slip away… even though, he knew he had to…

A shudder ran through him, as he still wasn't quite accustomed to the thought.

Nonetheless, he would do it. He would train hard every day until he was strong enough, smart enough; he would obtain the Mangekyou Sharingan; he would kill his brother and avenge the clan. His brother told him he could. He had the potential.

(In that case… hehe. There would be a reason to let you live. )

Sasuke removed his hands from where they clutched his upper arms and planting them on the ground. Desperately, he tried to slow his breathing and quiet his sobs, but the tears still came, as if to spite him.

Stop crying… stop crying, damnit!

Biting down hard on his lip, the boy raised his hands to his face, desperately wiping away the brackish wetness running down his face, which was oh-so-similar to Itachi's and it was beginning to make him sick, so filthy sick of himself. He muttered bitter curses under his breath, rubbing at his skin until it turned a raw pink and the tears stopped coming.

("If you want to kill me…")

Forcing his respiration to even and his body to cease its trembling, Sasuke brought himself to stand. It still hurt, but he was learning to ignore it. He still yearned for his brother, but he was getting better at pretending. He was getting better at a lot of things.

("Curse me!")

And in essence, the chase hadn't changed. He continued to strive for a level of perfection equal to Itachi's trying and trying and trying to be good enough. Where before he had wanted to please, and have himself noticed by his Father and the rest of the clan, he was struggling to avenge them.

("Hate me! And lead an unsightly life.")

He was heading straight down a path that lead to him becoming dangerously like his big brother.

("Run away…")

Half-blind and reckless, he rushed forwards, pushing and pushing and pushing himself until he could barely move.

("Run away… and cling to your pathetic life.")

Reaching and reaching… yet never quite taking hold of it.

("And some day, when you have the same "eyes" as me… Come before me.")

It still hurt, and it always would, but the hate softened it… the way Itachi wanted it to.

Sorrowfully, Sasuke began to pick up the jagged glass-like pieces of his old self, not caring when some of them cut his fingers, causing dull pain to shoot through his hand, sweet red liquid peeking out. Some of the fragments he shoved aside, deeming it worthless, but other bits he wrapped tight around himself and double knotted so they would not fly away. Slowly, he began to rebuild himself…

And yet, as he turned quickly and began walking along the stone path that led to exit of the cemetery, he couldn't help but pick up some discarded shards and bury them inside his heart where no one could see. He held their evanescent warmth close to him, begging and pleading silently that they would never leave.


Some nights, after even the nightmares had abandoned him he would pry them from their hiding place and sort through them, looking at each one fondly. Even if he tried to throw them away, they always reappeared the next morning, glinting amber on his windowsill.

(What is it?"

"Can I ask you a question?")

And no matter how hard Sasuke tried to hate Itachi (his bigger-stronger-better oh-so-(close to)-(not quite)-perfect older brother) for abandoning him, for killing everyone, for forcing all of this misery on him without warning… he couldn't help but continue to love his brother. More than he, or anyone else, could ever fathom. There was still a broken little boy trapped inside of him, wanting to cling to his older brother when the nightmares came.

("What… What is love?")

Just wanting his older brother to love him back… to notice him. Too see what he had become.

Sometimes when he lay awake at night, staring at the ceiling with heavy-lidded eyes and Itachi's visage burned into his mind's eye, he began to wonder if Itachi had kept some of the fragments he had stolen from Sasuke inside his chest, and if it ever hurt…

Because, as both know very well, love does that sometimes.

("You do love me… don't you, little brother?")

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et fin

esthesia (es-thē-zhē, zhē ə, -zē ə), n. capacity for sensation or feeling.