How to Commit Seppuku in Three Easy Steps
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I don't think I like this, but I've written it now, so eh.

I get so tired of the "Sakumo was crazygonutzoid omg!" characterization. I adamantly believe he was sane -- as sane as your average Jounin gets, anyway -- to his very last day. There are a lot of other reasons to want to kill yourself, and a big one in a society based on feudal Japan is honor, or so I would think.

Also, perspective blatantly ripped off from Lorrie Moore, yay. It seemed to fit the mood so I ran with it.
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Wait for the sun to set.

Don't turn the lights on. Moonlight will be streaming clear and bright through the dojo windows, throwing your pale hands and the dark sheath of the tantou into sharp relief against the yellow-white of the tatami. Your doors will be locked. Your son will not be home.

And so it will have come to this.

Grip the weapon tightly in your hand. Fail to keep yourself from realizing you're afraid.

Tremble.

Wonder what Jiraiya will think. If he will hate you for it. If he hates you already. Whether he cares at all. Realize you haven't spoken to him in three weeks, since before the mission. Miss him.

Think of Tsunade's smirk and Orochimaru's cold eyes, and sigh.

Think of your son's face.

Hate yourself a little. A lot. A lifetime's worth. More than you have been able to find a way to express in your fumbling words to your friends and your teammates and your Hokage and anyone who will listen.

Know that you are doing your son a favor. Be certain that a life with you in it will only be a life of shame and failure for him. Be sure, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the name Hatake will forever be stained unless the name Sakumo is erased from underneath it. Know that your honor is your life and bereft of one you cannot continue the other.

There are places they send the war orphans. They will look after him.

Know this too, and draw the blade from its sheath.

Watch it glitter underneath the moonlight. Feel dreary. Feel dreamy.

Remember when you were seven years old and your father first placed it in your hand. Remember watching him wield it. How it rent the air in two, a streak of snow-white chakra flashing like lightning. Remember thinking if you could only be like that, a pure white warrior like him, that life would be perfect.

Find it ironic that you and not your father were the one to earn the name 'White Fang'.

Think of Jiraiya and Tsunade. Think of your teammates who you loved too much. Think of your son, young and full of sorrows and joys waiting to be discovered, small and fragile and strong, with a tantou in his hand -- this tantou -- his small body flitting through the trees like a wraith.

Find a moment to be glad, despite everything. Remember that your life was good once.

Apologize.

Tug open your yukata, and set the tip of the blade against your stomach.

Go say hello to your wife.
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