where fiery dreams and far desires
are rained on, like old fires

-Edwin Arlington Robinson

It was commonly believed - among those who knew him, that is, and were privy to information about the Uchiha massacre – that Uchiha Sasuke's fondest dream in life was the defeat and execution of his older brother, Itachi. Admittedly, Sasuke did not do much to dissuade this notion, with his half-obssessive training and his constant mutterings about avenging.

This commonly-held notion was, however, untrue.

As a matter of fact, Sasuke's dearest desire was not to kill Itachi. In fact, one might say that his heart's desire was the opposite of killing Itachi, because it very much involved a living, breathing older brother - as well as living, breathing parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.

All Sasuke really wanted was to have his clan back, the way they had been before…before. He wanted his older brother to flick him on the forehead and teach him things, he wanted his mother to embrace him so that his face was buried in her dress and he could inhale the sweet scent of her, he wanted his father to look at him and be proud, he wanted the smell of fresh bread in the morning while his aunt smiled at him, he wanted to see other faces that looked like his, he wanted, he wanted…

But Sasuke knew that he could never have what he wanted.

He knew that his family was dead – dead, dead, dead! He hadn't needed a balding man with dull eyes – who called himself a psychiatrist and a doctor, which insulted all the medic-nin for miles around - to regard him earnestly and exhort him to 'work through his feelings'. He had never been in denial. He had never tried to pretend anything other than his clan was dead, by the hand of his older brother, and that all that was left for him was to kill Itachi.

He knew his duty.

But he could not help but dream.

AN: Been experimenting with writing the Naruto characters with different characterizations than usual, and I wanted to try and explore Sasuke. Who I'm feeling kind of ambivalent about - I used to hate him, and sometimes I still do, but I'm RPing him on a board and this community is making me read fics where I like him. (I usually hate him in SasuSaku, come to think of it)

Anyway, hope you enjoy!