Missing Throughout my Life
Sakura wasn't surprised that he wasn't there when his son was born. She didn't expect him to be. Looking back on it, maybe it was a mistake to sleep with him, but what could she do? She knew she couldn't change the past.
She was stupid and young then, ready to take on the world early in her eighteenth year. Maybe it was because she wasn't thinking rationally at the time at what might be the outcome her actions, or maybe it was because she was just experimenting; testing the waters. Whatever the reason was, it didn't really matter any more.
So here she was with her newborn son in her arms still contemplating over past events. She came to when she heard her son let out a small cry in protest when his mother wasn't paying attention to him.
Deciding that the boy's father was never coming back and left for dead, she named him after the first thing that came to her mind. That name was Itachi…
When Itachi was four, his mother married her long-time childhood crush, Uchiha Sasuke. Itachi was a bit upset and disappointed that he now had to be sharing his beloved mother with someone, but other than that, he didn't really mind. Uchiha Sasuke married Haruno Sakura at age twenty-two, her four year-old son coming with the package. Sasuke knew that Itachi was his elder brother's son, and whether he found out by his namesake or by his looks, Sakura would never know. Sasuke obviously didn't mind this so much as Sakura thought he would, and he never used her relationship with his elder brother as arsenal in the extremely rare arguments the couple had.
Sasuke treated Itachi like his own son as he figured the boy couldn't help that his father was his hated sibling. Itachi officially inherited the Uchiha name when his mother married, and, in some small way or form, he was happy with this initiation into a true family.
At age five, Sasuke died in an ANBU mission. Itachi wasn't really too sure what was going on, but all he knew that was that his "father" was never coming back and that it made his mother unhappy.
Itachi hated seeing his mother upset and he did everything his five year-old mind could come up with to raise her spirits.
A few months later, his mother came home with a baby in her arms and Itachi knew that he'd have to share the house again, this time with a baby brother. Before his death, Sasuke and Sakura had picked out their future child's name in advance, so when Itachi heard that his younger brother's name was Tatsuke, he was instantly jealous as he believed that his sibling had gotten the better name.
Other than being a tinge jealous, when Itachi first set eyes on his baby brother, he immediately fell in love with him. He wanted to have the baby in his room, and when his mother said that wasn't possible, he insisted that he at least share a room with him. The birth of Tatsuke had mended his mother's heart somewhat, and Itachi loved him for that sole purpose.
"Mother, I'm home," a ten year-old Itachi called out to his mother who was working in the kitchen with Tatsuke eagerly hovering about her to see if he could help.
Upon hearing his older brother's voice, Tatsuke ran as fast as his five year-old legs could carry him towards the front door.
"Big Brother! Big Brother!" he happily chanted as he stretched his arms upward, indicating that he wanted to be picked up.
"Hey, Tatsuke," Itachi replied as he hefting his brother into his arms. "You didn't cause Mother any trouble now, did you?"
His brother shook his head, "Nope."
"He fails to mention the fact that he almost broke one of the dishes," their mother replied, wiping her hands on her apron as she walked out of the kitchen. Tatsuke gave his mother a pout.
"Hello, Mother. How have you been?" Itachi asked his mother as he put a reluctant Tatsuke to the ground.
"If you don't count Tatsuke being a bit of a nuisance, I guess you could say okay," she replied in response to her son's inquiry. "And how were missions for you today?"
"Nothing too strenuous. The Hokage classified getting ramen for him as an A-ranked mission. He said it was an 'emergency.'"
"That's Naruto for you," his mother sighed.
Sitting down at the table with a pad of paper and pencil in hand, the young ninja began to sketch while Sakura looked at her eldest son lovingly.
One of Itachi's favorite things to do in his spare time was to draw. Where he had gotten that talent from, Sakura never knew, but since she was never the artistic one, she suspected that his father must have had some hidden talent in the visual arts as well as ninjutsu.
She was quite sure that if her son weren't a ninja, he'd have been an artist.
Mastering his Sharingan at age six, the young Itachi was well on his way to becoming a ninja.
A chunnin at age eight, and a jonin at nine, Itachi seemed to almost be mimicking what his father had done except earlier. Unlike his father though, Itachi was rather timid and docile, not what one would expect from someone of the Uchiha clan. And not only that, but after mastering the Sharingan, he realized he couldn't use it without dire consequences.
Even so, Sakura always had this nagging feeling in the back of her mind that he might have the chance of following the same path as his father and kill everyone off.
Sakura was distracted from her thoughts when Tatsuke came bounding in announcing the mail's arrival.
"Mommy! Mommy! The mail's here! The mail's here!" he happily chirped, dancing around his mother's feet.
"All right, all right. I'll get it for you, just calm down," she told him in response.
"Hurry! Hurry!" he cried back, jumping up and down.
There wasn't much mail, just a package and a letter. Both, oddly enough, were for Itachi. Itachi never got mail.
"Itachi, you have a letter and a package for you!" Sakura called from the front door as she hefted the package inside.
"From who?" came the reply from the dining room. Sakura looked at the address.
"From the Hokage!"
"What? From the Hokage?"
"That's what I said."
She heard his feet pounding on the floor as he ran towards her. A few seconds later, he screeched to a halt in front of the doorway.
"Let me see!"
He snatched the letter from her hand and proceeded to open it. When he finished unfolding the letter, he frowned.
"What's the matter Itachi?" his mother asked him, puzzled.
"It's my ANBU exam scores," he replied, rather depressed. When his mother gave him a confused look, he continued. "To be honest, I've been dreading these scoring results. I screwed up so badly."
"Well, let's see what you got."
"All right." Itachi looked down at the letter and scanned it over a few times. "Woah."
"What? What did you get?"
"See for yourself."
He handed her over the letter. Sakura gave it the once over and what she saw didn't surprise her.
He had gotten the highest percentile over all the other entrants.
"I thought you said you screwed up," she said, handing it back to him.
"I did. At least, I thought I did."
"Well, obviously you didn't. You're too modest for your own good."
"Maybe," he said, leaning down to open the package.
When he finally got through the cardboard, another letter came out.
To whom it may concern:
I am pleased to inform you of your acceptance into the ANBU. Enclosed you will find your uniform and other necessities. If any part of your uniform does not fit, please bring it back to the Hokage's tower for an exchange. We request that you also come to the Hokage's tower tomorrow to receive your tattoo. Your first mission briefing is this Friday, and if you fail to attend for unexcused reasons, you will be taken off the squad. Again, congratulations on your acceptance into the ANBU, and good luck.
Uzumaki Naruto (6th Hokage)
Itachi stared at the letter and blinked. There was no way in hell that Naruto could've written that.
His mother seemed to know what he was thinking.
"It's a generic acceptance letter. They're pre-made for him so he doesn't have to bother writing them. He just signs them and sends them on their way. Tsunade did the same thing," she explained.
"That's what I figured," he answered back.
Peering inside the box, he examined its contents. Sure enough, there was the traditional black ANBU squad uniform and animal mask.
"Well, go ahead and try it on!" she persisted. He nodded in return.
"Having any trouble in there Itachi?" Sakura asked her eldest son outside his bedroom door.
"No, not really. Just trying to figure out which way the vest goes on," he replied, his voice a bit distorted from being inside the room with the door closed.
After a few minutes Itachi came back out in full ANBU gear, mask and all.
Tatsuke, who was excited at all the commotion, started to run, eager to see his brother. He quickly hid behind his mother when he saw the unfamiliar figure posing as Itachi.
"Tatsuke, it's Itachi," Sakura told him.
Tatsuke shook his head.
"Really, it is me," Itachi said, his voice a tinge muffled by the mask.
Taking it off, he revealed his face to Tatsuke.
"Big Brother!" Tatsuke cried, pouncing upon his elder brother and tackling him to the ground.
Poor Itachi had the wind knocked out of him.
"Tatsuke, get off! You're sitting on my stomach!"
Tatsuke complied with his elder brother's request, but clung stubbornly to him all throughout dinner. He protested when Sakura said it was his bedtime. He wanted to stay up late with his brother and would only go to sleep when he did.
Itachi had to go to sleep early that night.
Itachi was on his way back from receiving his tattoo; the official symbol of his acceptance into the ANBU squad.
Tatsuke had been playing outside that morning, so Itachi was all prepared to brace himself when Tatsuke tackled him to the ground.
When no younger brother greeted him at the front of the house, he went around back.
As he got nearer, he heard his brother happily shouting his usual chant of "Big Brother!"
His little brother was already eager to see him. He probably knew what time he was coming home.
When he was fully around the back, he found out that his brother was not addressing him, but some other man.
Tatsuke was calling the unfamiliar man "Big Brother" and had his arms up saying that he wanted to be carried in the man's arms.
When the man wouldn't pick him up, Tatsuke lightly tugged on the man's pant leg. The man looked down at him in response.
"Big Brother," he said. "Big Brother, up! Tatsuke wants up!"
Itachi was confused as to why his younger brother was calling this man his "Big Brother."
Pushing that thought to the side for a few moments, Itachi went towards the couple. Tatsuke must be annoying the poor man to death.
If that were true though, the man obviously didn't show it.
"Sorry," Itachi apologized as he scooped up his younger brother. "He usually isn't like this around strangers. I don't know why he would confuse you for his big…"
Itachi trailed off when he finally looked at the man's face.
No wonder Tatsuke had been convinced that this man was his brother, he looked just like him.
The two stared at each other for a few moments until Itachi finally turned his head away and looked towards the house.
"Mother!" he called out.
"Yes?" Sakura called back.
From where the sound of her voice was coming from, she was probably in the kitchen washing dishes.
"There's a man out here!"
"Really? May I ask who?"
"I don't know Mother, but it feels like I'm looking in a mirror!"
Itachi heard a dish crash onto the floor. Yup, she was washing dishes alright.
Itachi though, wasn't paying attention at all to that fact.
What he was paying attention to was the sound of the dish breaking. His mother never dropped the dishes.
"Itachi!" she frantically called out.
Both Itachi and the man looked up.
"Yes, Mother?" he replied.
"Bring Tatsuke in the house and stay there!"
"Now's not the time for questions! Just do as you're told!"
Itachi looked at the house, looked at the man, and then looked at the house again.
He shrugged and started walking inside.
He got one last glimpse of the man as his mother streaked out of the house.
Before his mother closed the back door behind her, Itachi caught a snippet of what his mother was saying.
"What do want, Itachi?..."
Sakura shut the door behind her.
"What do you want Itachi?" she hissed.
The man said nothing, and the two stood in silence for about five minutes.
Finally, he spoke.
"You have a very obedient son. He's not even trying to look out the window as we speak. You taught him well."
Sakura was a bit confused from this statement.
Why would Itachi be giving her a compliment? The world must have been coming to an end.
Another bout of silence passed between the them.
"You didn't answer my question," she finally hissed out. "What are you doing here?"
The man named Itachi paused before speaking.
"I'm here because of a rumor. Now I can see why this rumor can be true. So tell me about him."
"Why should I?"
"I am allowed to know about my son. It is my right, is it not?"
"Yes," Sakura ground out. "Yes it is."
Itachi looked at her saying she could continue. She sighed.
"If you haven't figured it out already, his name is Itachi and he's currently ten years old. He mastered his Sharingan and graduated the ninja academy at age six, became a chunnin at eight, a jonin at nine, and now he's an ANBU squad member at age ten. He enjoys playing with his little brother and drawing," she said.
Itachi raised an eyebrow at this.
"Yes drawing. He must have gotten it from you as I have no talent in the area whatsoever. Am I right?"
It was true. Itachi did enjoy drawing and used to sketch when he was younger when he had the time.
Still, Itachi didn't answer her question. Instead, he asked another one of his own.
"And how is he in terms with his younger brother?"
"He loves him, thank you very much. I'm not letting him turn out like you," she said at point blank.
More silence passed.
"And how is his performance on missions?" he asked blandly.
"He hasn't killed anyone yet if that's what you're asking, but…" she trailed off.
"But what?" he asked her. "Is there something else?"
Eventually, Sakura spoke.
"He can't use the Sharingan."
Itachi looked at her in mild confusion.
"How can he not if he has mastered it?" he asked her.
"He has mastered it," Sakura replied, "but he has certain genetic problems that don't allow him to use it without getting hurt."
"A genetic defect? Of what kind?" he queried.
"His eyes can't handle the strain it puts on him. His eyes bleed if he uses it. If he uses it too much, he risks the chance of becoming blind."
No response came from the father of the boy the two were speaking about.
After yet another round of silence passed, Sakura started walking back towards the door to the house.
"If he can't use it," Itachi started, his voice stopping her in her tracks, "then he's useless."
Sakura gave her elder son's father one last glare before opening the door and slamming it shut behind her.
Itachi's mother walked inside about fifteen minutes later, and while she was coming in, Itachi walked out and sat down on the porch, listening to the door behind him slam shut.
The man was no longer there.
Itachi was disappointed. He was curious about the new guest and wanted a chance to talk to him himself.
He jumped when he felt a hand on his shoulder. Itachi turned around to whoever had startled him.
It was the stranger.
Itachi wondered how he had gotten there. He was one of the very best in Konoha, and yet this man had successfully snuck up behind him.
Again, there was another long pause between the two. The silence was broken when the stranger got up and walked away.
He stopped about halfway out of the yard and turned his head to face the young boy.
"When you kill someone," the man started, "don't hesitate…"
And with that, the man continued onward.
Itachi felt the urge to call out to him, but thought better of it as the man seemed to be on a completely different level then he was.
After a long while, a thought struck the young ninja like a ton of bricks.
That man was wearing an Akatsuki cloak! Itachi cursed at his stupidity. Unfortunately for him, Tatsuke came wandering out and heard his older brother swearing.
Tatsuke looked up at brother and then asked, "Big Brother, what's 'shit' mean?"
Itachi looked up from his drawing as his mother walked by.
"Hey, Mother?" he asked.
"Yes?" Sakura replied, stopping to talk to her son.
"I have my first ANBU mission tomorrow. Are you worried?"
"Of course I'm worried! I'm a mother! It's my job! I wouldn't be a very good one if I didn't!"
Itachi didn't laugh at his mother's joke like he usually would, though.
Instead, he opened his mouth and asked, "Mother, who was that man?"
Sakura became quiet.
"Mother! You told me you wouldn't keep secrets from me!"
Again, Sakura didn't say anything.
"Some things are better not for you to know," she slowly replied, carefully choosing her words so she wouldn't accidentally give anything away.
Itachi said nothing as his mother moved on to the next room.
He had his suspicions to whom the man was, but he didn't say anything as it might upset his mother.
In his dreams that night, the man's face plagued him.
Itachi was streaking through the night, skillfully launching himself off of each tree branch.
He was on his first ANBU mission, and he was determined not to screw it up.
They were chasing after a group of hunter nins, trying to take out the leader. Everyone had separated into one-man teams so each was on his own.
Itachi spotted movement out of the corner of his eye.
As the blur streaked past him, Itachi caught sight of its identification.
It was the head of the enemy hunter nins.
Normally, the ANBU captian, Hyuuga Neji, would take the leader down, but with no other ANBU members in sight, Itachi was on his own.
He started streaking after the ninja in front of him.
His enemy caught on and quickly changed directions. His efforts were in vain though.
Itachi easily saw the direction change, and soon had his prey cornered.
After blocking a few hits and receiving a stab in the shoulder, the hunter nin did a few hand seals and set up an illusion, hiding his visibility.
He couldn't see through his enemy's illusion without his Sharingan, and yet using it was dangerous.
Suddenly, a kunai landed in his shoulder and that made up Itachi's mind.
He had to use the Sharingan.
He closed his eyes for a few seconds, focusing his chakra to that certain point in his eyes and then quickly snapped them open.
He immediately dodged an attack by the hunter nin, who then bounded off a tree and flew at him again. Itachi saw his chance. He grabbed the hunter nin and pinned him down.
As blood sprang up from his eyes, he raised his katana above his head.
When he was about to bring it back down upon the man, he stopped.
When you kill someone, don't hesitate…
As the stranger's words from yesterday echoed through his mind, he brought his katana down and stabbed it straight through the head hunter nin's heart.
Blood splattered onto his mask and clothing.
The now blood-stained Itachi froze and his breath came in heavy gasps.
Neji alighted on the ground next to him.
"You killed him," he stated.
When he realized that Itachi wasn't responding, he decided to try again.
"Itachi, are you alright? Blood is coming out from under your mask."
Itachi snapped out of his daze.
"Yeah," he said a bit shakily. "Go on, I'll be right behind you."
The ANBU captain nodded and headed back towards Konoha.
After a few moments, a still shaken Itachi went back to his home, hoping to find some small measure of comfort to keep his mind off of the dark deed he had just performed.
"So, as I was saying," Sakura said to the visiting Hinata and Naruto, "Itachi just joined the ANBU, but I'm sure you already know this as you are the Hokage. So I'm just saying that I…"
She stopped when she heard the front door slide open.
"So how did your mission go Itachi?" Sakura asked as he stumbled through the living room door.
He didn't respond.
"Big Brother! Big Brother! Big…"
Tatsuke, who had run to the door, stopped in mid-sentence in horror.
Sakura looked up when Tatsuke began to cry. Why was he crying?
She looked to her eldest son and let out a startled gasp.
Her son and Tatsuke's beloved older brother had blood spattered all over his white ANBU vest and mask.
"Oh my God! Are you all right?" she asked nervously.
Again, Itachi didn't respond. Instead, he vomited inside his mask and passed out in the doorway.
Sakura quickly took action.
"Hinata! Take Tatsuke to his room. I don't want him seeing this."
Hinata nodded as she picked up the still crying Tatsuke and ran out of the room.
"Naruto!" she called to her former teammate. "Take off his mask so he doesn't choke on his own vomit! Keep him calm!"
Naruto did as he was told.
Sakura was once one of the best medic nins in Konoha, so whatever she said, went.
Sakura quickly ran into the kitchen and came back out with a wet towel. She kneeled next to her unconscious son and began to wipe the vomit away from his mouth. She noticed the blood leaking from his eyes.
As she did so, her son began to regain consciousness. When he came to, he weakly scrambled away from the pair.
"Itachi, what's wrong?" his mother asked, reaching out to touch his arm.
"Don't touch me," he hissed. "I'm not worthy of deserving your touch."
"Itachi, what's going on?"
Itachi turned pale and broke out in a cold sweat.
"I- I killed him…" he sputtered. "I killed him without a second thought. I just…"
He started to cry. He didn't cry very often.
Sakura and Naruto looked at each other. They had a pretty good idea of wha was going on.
"Itachi," Sakura said, "come with me. I'll help you to the bathroom so you can get washed up. I'll heal your eyes while I'm at it. All right?"
She put her arm under his shoulder and half-dragged him into the bath.
When Sakura left him alone to get washed up, she heard him muttering something.
"Itachi, are you okay in there?"
"It's cold," he responded, more to himself than to her.
"What?" she asked.
"Cold. So very cold."
Sakura debated whether or not to go in and help him.
It was very warm in the bathroom, and from what she was hearing, he was in some sort of state of shock. He was still aware of his surroundings, so she supposed the aftereffect of his killing someone wasn't too severe right now.
Still, she sat next to the bathroom door in case something did happen.
Itachi submerged himself under the water in the bath, hoping to clear his thoughts.
How could he have killed someone with just the blink of an eye? How could he do something so horrid and cruel? How could he?
These thoughts floated restlessly around in his head.
When he reemerged, he looked down at his hands.
In reality, there was no more blood, but to his eyes, he was still stained with it.
He began to scrub fiercely at his arms with the bar of soap hoping to rid himself of the red liquid, but the imaginary blood still remained.
He scrubbed until his arms were raw, and even then he didn't stop. Eventually, his mother became worried when he didn't come out after an hour, and when she did come in, she immediately grabbed his arms to prevent him from doing any more damage to himself.
She had seen this all before, but she never thought she'd see it on her son.
She was stupid. How could she automatically just place him in the emotionally strong category? Sure, he had his father's strength and skills, but when it came to killing someone, he had his mother's heart.
She helped him out of the bath, bandaged his now raw and bloody arms and healed the injury to his eyes with her chakra.
Itachi dressed himself and cried himself to sleep that night.
The Hokage granted Itachi a month off of ANBU missions and work to emotionally recollect himself.
In this timeframe, Sakura did her best to reassure her son that he had done the right thing by killing the man the ANBU were after.
She tried to help her son through his mental breakdowns and seizures.
He was emotionally falling apart and Sakura thought if his father could see him now, he'd leave him to die.
Tatsuke stayed with his godparents, Hinata and Naruto, until Sakura was sure Itachi was stable enough to allow anyone other than her near him.
Eventually, Sakura deemed him to be well enough at the end of the month, and he went back on his ANBU missions.
It was one of the hardest missions he had been on.
Again, they were going after a group of nins, this time the Akatsuki. Flashes of red and black passed through his mind as he silently moved along through the branches of the forest trees.
Without him realizing it, he had been backed into a corner and was staring face-to-face with one of the Akatsuki members; an S-class criminal.
Strange, Itachi thought. I don't remember seeing him in the bingo book.
Itachi though, was still in a fitting position to deliver a killing blow, so when he pulled out his katana and pushed that thought out of the way; the two ninjas were at a stare down.
Itachi received many wounds in the ensuing battle, but he soon found an opportune moment to strike.
He was about to lunge the katana forward into the Akatsuki member's chest but his brain failed him.
He was in another state of shock.
He saw the black background with the red clouds, but instead of seeing them on the person in front of him, he saw them on that man, that mysterious stranger that looked so much like himself.
When you kill someone, don't hesitate…
Those were the last words Itachi heard run through his mind before he was stabbed through the heart and everything he saw was black with red clouds…
Sakura always knew there was the chance of him dying, that she should have expected it, but she broke down in tears anyway at the news of her son's death.
Itachi was her favorite son and to lose him was heartbreak.
She wanted to kill herself so badly, but she couldn't just leave Tatsuke brotherless and motherless. It just wouldn't be fair for him.
Tatsuke seemed to comprehend what was going on the best his five-year old mind could manage, and he, along with his mother, also broke down crying.
The whole ANBU squad showed up for his funeral. He was the youngest member ever to enter the squad and they respected for that. Despite that though, not everyone on the squad was sad. Some were glad that the son of the mass-murder was gone. They didn't need to risk the chance of another massacre.
Naruto gave a final speech commemorating him, and he was physically and spiritually gone from the world. He was gone from the world, but not from their hearts…
Uchiha Itachi stood in the snow in front of his only son's grave.
News traveled slowly in the Akatsuki, so it took around three to four months for the news of his son's death to reach him.
He had brutally slaughtered the new member who had caused the loss of his son, and nobody really blamed him for it.
He was missing throughout his son's life, so now, here he stood, not crying or mourning, just standing there waiting, waiting to see if his son might return…
A/N: A big thank you also goes out to my mom for providing me with the information I needed about eyes. Also, I want to thank all of you who left me constructive criticism and for sticking with me as I made these changes. Last, but certainly not least, the biggest thank you goes out to the infamous Genki-kid for creating such a beautiful illustration for this story. Thank you very much. I appreciate it.