Itachi stared at the statue, running his fingers over the smooth marble, the stone colder than his skin. Those black eyes, they were nothing like the live ones. They didn't hold that fiery determination, that burning desire to get revenge. The hair, it wasn't soft, and it didn't blow in even the most powerful winds. The hands were at the boy's sides, a kunai clenched tightly in the right, but the knuckles weren't white, as they would be if he truly stood in front of him. The mouth, slender, just as he remembered it, did not turn down in a grimace, but instead was a thin, staight line, emotionless. At first, this had been enough. At first, this lifeless, soulless version of Brother, had been enough to soothe his guilt, his pain. It had helped, just barely, with the emptiness.

But now, he almost wished for his demise, just to see him again. So long had his dreams been plagued by nightmares. Nightmares of the things he had done, things he might do. Blood would stain his hands, just like before, as he finally killed off the last of his clan. And the lifeless eyes would swim in tears and beg for him to explain. To tell him why he killed his mother and father, why he betrayed his entire clan. And as he looked at him, his brother dying, lying in a pool of his own blood, coughing and choking up red, he wouldn't be able to answer. He wouldn't be able to put his one last hold to sanity into a restful death.

Closing his eyes, the black swirling amongst the red, he let out a shaky breath. That was how he imagined his last battle. The last time he would ever face a challenge. He knew, for a fact, that his younger brother had trained all his life waiting for the moment that a kunai would be shoved into his throat. He knew the boy had turned down friends, love, everything, just to watch him drown in his own blood. But he knew that if the life ever drained out of his swirling red eyes, that that would never be the end. Inside Sasuke, something would break, and he would be driven to the same insanity as he. And there, at that instant, a monster would be born. And the last amount of innocence that Sasuke held would be lost.

Opening his eyes, he frowned deeper, looking at how empty the statue looked. This was not the brother he remembered. There was no way to replace the life that boy had held, no way to bring back the shine to those young eyes. Instead the only thing reflecting in these stones was the setting sun. No tears filled those eyes. No smiles lifted his cheeks. It was lifeless. This was not the brother he remembered.

The brother he remembered had been full of life, full of love for all things. He was happy and hard working, slightly foolish at times. He had been witty, and smart, often to the point where he became annoying. He loved to speak his mind, and never let anyone push him around. He was everything a good ninja needed to be, and he was everything a person needed to be. He never cried, never broke down. Yet, he did have problems, problems that humbled him and taught him how to care for others. He was kind, honest, talented. And Itachi couldn't help but think of how he had broken that, shattered it like fragile glass. But it was all for him. All so he could live.

A sound was heard behind him, and he turned to face almost a mirror image. He smiled a wry smile, and noticed how those black eyes were empty, cold. He noticed how the hair barely blew, even as the wind was fierce around him. The skin was pale, and he knew that under his fingers it would be cool. The mouth stretched thin, a straight line, emotionless. His hands were at his side, a kunai clutched barely in his grasp. The knuckles weren't white, as though he were angry.

He simply looked ready, calm. No passion drove him.

"Hello Brother."

Itachi looked down to the stranger, pain weaved through his features. Sasuke didn't notice. And he didn't say anything back, no angry words, no soulless speech. Realizing he wouldn't get a response from his opponent, Itachi stared. As his one link to sanity leaped towards him, the kunai held tighter now, eyes still empty, face still blank, he thought only of one thing; He looks so like the statue...