A/N: Another good song for 'My Demons' is 'Silent Tears' by Within Temptation. I don't know why, but it's just so fitting. Maybe you should listen to it near the end of this chapter, eh? I won't tell you when; you have to figure that out yourself.
Now, moving on...
Tell me you got that.
That's right, people! 'My Demons' is now officially over! Next to write is 'The Dark Side of the Moon'! OH! And My Demons has a Christmas Side Story I'll finish typing up now. XP
SO MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! I love you all and thank you all SO MUCH for reading my story! I hope to see you in the future! Near or far!!
...And this is the character death.
Disclaimer: Naruto and Co. belong to Masashi Kishimoto.
Itachi looked at the phone for a long time, listening to the endless ring of it, before picking it up, pressing the Talk button and placing it at his ear, other hand resting on the table in front of him, leaning heavily against it. "Hello?" He said conversationally, knowing the person on the other end.
'Sharingan, we've got a job!' Kisame's deep voice was heard, and Itachi sighed, sitting down on the kitchen chair, and resting his arm on the top, looking at nothing in front of him.
"What's the job, Kisame?" He asked dully. He thought he heard Kisame smile on the other end, though he didn't know how that was possible, and then the sushi bar worker answered.
'We have a war to fight in.' Itachi's eyes widened. A war? They hadn't been hired for a war in almost four years…
"The participants and the side we're on?"
'It's Bijuu and Oto; we're on Oto's side.' Itachi froze, his breath hitching in the back of his throat. Bijuu…? But then…That meant…
"I can't," Itachi said, his voice choked as he held back emotion. "My brother's on Bijuu's side." Kisame snorted on the other end.
'Itachi, it's not like you have a choice in the matter.' He stated matter-of-factly. 'Besides…Aren't you a spy?'
'Yeah; of course I knew! I mean, I'm your partner, Itachi. How stupid do you think I am?' Kisame sighed, and Itachi thought he heard him chuckle lightly; most likely smiling softly. How…Un-Kisame-like.
"Then you understand that I refuse to fight with Oto; I've sworn to myself to kill Manda. You know that."
'I know that; what I'm telling ya, dumbass, is to go on Bijuu's side. Or at least tell Leader you're gonna be neutral. I'll be neutral with ya; bet Sasori and Deidara are gonna be too.' Kisame barked a laugh then. 'Those two hate picking sides. Anyhow, so you won't be alone going neutral.'
Itachi looked at the tabletop for a long time, fingers tapping the dark wood for a moment before he let out a long sigh. When in a war, declaring yourself 'neutral' was when you fought for both sides, but didn't take a side of the argument. They just fought, and then left when the war was over. The only time you could ever call neutral was during a gang war—nothing else.
Sasuke had taken a sword from the other gang, kicking the unconscious body to the side so he wouldn't be in the way, before he spun the sword briefly, and then ran back into battle. He looked around at the current situation, watching and listening as weapons clashed against one another, bodies were thrown, and screams of pain were heard. He then spun around, slicing across someone's chest as they tried to stab him. His eyes narrowed as they fell to the ground, bleeding and gagging, before he looked to the person behind the attacker.
Naruto stood there with a grim expression, his lips thinly pressed together. "Don't kill anyone." He said simply, before, he walked away, farther from the Uchiha. Sasuke sighed softly, closing his eyes, before he walked into the middle of the fray, watching as people panicked, and others took pleasure in their pure malice. He blocked a few hits to his person, pushing them back, and elbowing someone in the head when they tried to sneak up on him, walking up to Neji, who was panting softly.
"Do you hold any wounds?" Sasuke asked, hitting someone with the butt of the sword and kicking them back, catching the wrist of another chain attack, twisting it until he heard it snap. He turned to look at the Hyuuga boy as he blocked the hits the opposing gang members were hitting on him, ducking and swiping them off of their feet. He then stood up again, back-to-back with Sasuke before he answered.
"I think I sprained my ankle, but I'll be fine." He said, looking around as about five different members, all older than the two, circled them like vultures. Suddenly they were knocked down to the ground, and Sasuke glanced over to see Gaara standing, there, holding his pipe quietly.
"Move quicker." He said simply, before he rushed off. Sasuke sighed, nodding to the second in command, before nodding to Neji.
"See ya," he mumbled, running off into the crowd, knocking back members as he did. He stopped in front of Kidoumaru as the spider fanatic grinned, holding a knife in each hand.
"If it ain't Chidori." He said his voice thick with oil. "Good to see you're well." The sarcasm in that one sentence was enough to make any man, no matter how narcissist, gag.
"You're staining my clothes with your dripping sarcasm." Sasuke replied easily enough, then blocked the knives with the sword, the metal clashing against metal creating a brief spark before he pushed Kidoumaru away from him, jumping back. "You ready to try and battle me, Kidoumaru?" He asked tauntingly. "You never could handle it before."
Naruto, meanwhile, was looking through the throngs of people, trying to find only one man—Orochimaru. He was hiding somewhere, and he was getting frustrated. He then looked to the left when he heard footsteps, and his eyes narrowed. "Manda, you were never brave enough to fight your own battles." He said darkly, watching as Akatsuki walked towards them. Itachi stood beside Kisame, Deidara and Sasori behind him, farther from the rest of the group. He smirked. 'They called neutral.' He thought, then looked over at the fighting Sasuke, watching as he ducked under a knife, blocking the other knife and swiping a kick at Kidoumaru, jumping back before he could get cut. His eyes narrowed through when he saw blood staining his pant leg quickly, and he almost moved towards him when he felt a hand grip his shoulder.
Looking up he saw Itachi standing there, holding his sword firmly in his hand. "I'll go to him." He said simply, walking towards Sasuke slowly. Naruto watched, before he ducked, turning around to see Orochimaru standing there, a smirk on his pale lips.
"Kyuubi…Why don't you let the monster play?"
"Don't fuck with me." He growled, hands clenching into fists, before he ran at Orochimaru, throwing a punch at him. Orochimaru tilted to the side avoiding it; he caught Naruto's foot when the blonde tried to kick his side. Golden eyes met blue ones, a slow smirk crawling over his face.
"You're not my type."
Sasuke flipped backwards, sliding back a little as Kidoumaru ran at him. He raised his sword to block again when suddenly he heard metal cutting through cloth, and felt a splatter of blood. Opening his eyes, he looked up to see a black cloaked figure standing in front of him, Kidoumaru clutching his bleeding arm while he sat cursing the man in front of him. "Damn you, Sharingan!" He said shrilly, standing up and running to Kabuto to get his hand cleaned up. The man turned around, and offered a hand to Sasuke, which the Uchiha accepted. Once he looked up, though, his hand let go of the man's like it was freezing water or scolding fire.
"Aniki…?" He whispered, eyes wide.
It was his Aniki, alright. His eyes were a blood red, though, instead of their usual black, and he wore a high collared cloak with red clouds sporadically patterned on it. He held a sword in his left hand, his free hand held out from where he held Sasuke's.
"Aniki what are you doing here?" Sasuke asked, looking at him in confusion. "And why are you dressed like that?"
"I'm a spy for Bijuu, Sasuke," Itachi said softly; as if he didn't want other people to hear. "I'm in the gang Akatsuki; a gang-for-hire of sorts."
"And which side are you on?"
"Neither; I'm just looking after you." He pulled back, looking around with narrowed eyes. "Why aren't you using your eyes, otouto?" He asked softly; his voice chillier than ever before. "I trained you in their uses for a reason, didn't I?"
"…" Sasuke lowered his head, a frown on his face. "Gomen, Aniki." He said simply; he felt hurt. Itachi hadn't told him he was part of a gang! He hadn't told him anything irrelevant. Was he holding anymore secrets from him? Closing his eyes, he took in a deep breath, knowing his brother was watching him quietly, before his eyes snapped opened, and he met his brother's red eyes with his own; three totems around the black ring around the pupil, almost like Itachi's. Itachi's totems were connected in the middle to make a pinwheel of sorts.
"Ready?" Itachi asked, and Sasuke grinned; of course he'd pull this now of all times.
"Set?" Itachi smirked at him, nodding, before they both turned to the fight.
He was never a good kid.
He liked to believe he was a good kid; at one time he truly thought he was. He did everything he was told to do without question; he did everything the grownups said.
He sold himself to the devil because he wanted to be selfish for one day. And it got him into deep trouble up to his tiny little chest. He got into drugs; he sold said drugs. He obtained a violent temper and a second personality where all he did was merciless slaughter and then a friend of his would take a picture as a memento of sorts. He would then go off to calm down, and he'd be back to being a stoic child with no feelings and a drug addiction.
He smoked once before; he didn't know when and he didn't know the details as to why, but he'd figure it out one day. Hopefully one day soon because he hated not knowing something about his life.
He thought of these things as he fought; something to concentrate on as he brought down one person after another; some of his Aniki's own comrades. Itachi had said he didn't really care for those comrades, and that if they attacked him, it was only right for him to protect himself. Just so long as he didn't kill anyone.
Everyone seemed to be saying that to him. First it was Naruto, and then sometimes during the fight Gaara had hissed it into his ear. He didn't understand; why did they think he was going to kill someone? He knew it was wrong to kill someone just because they got in his way; he learned that the day Naruto revealed to him that he had sworn to kill Chidori the day he killed the muggers.
He still didn't understand, though.
Stopping, Sasuke clutched his head, his eyes closed tightly. Itachi looked at him carefully, glancing around to see no one coming towards them before he placed a hand on his shoulder. "Sasuke," he whispered softly. Sasuke's eyes snapped opened, and he looked at his brother with his red eyes; his eyes looking weak.
"Hn…Gomen." He mumbled, then straightened, grip tightening on the handle of his sword. He looked around carefully and quietly, breathing in deeply as he tried to find a good opponent. One then ran at him in the form of Jiroubo, his three orange mohawks making him stand out. Sasuke ducked from his fist, kicking the back of his legs to try and get him to topple over.
No such luck.
Jiroubo jumped over his leg, his left foot landing on his ankle harshly. Sasuke hissed, his eyes closed tightly, before he slipped the injured ankle from beneath the foot, slowly putting pressure on it. He cried out as pain shot up his leg, and took the weight off of it quickly, glaring at Jiroubo. "You'll regret that." He said darkly, his eyes narrowing, to totems inside spinning wildly.
Suddenly a slow, maniac grin covered his face and he ran at Jiroubo quickly for one with a broken ankle, swiping at him with the sword's blade. Jiroubo jumped back, barely blocking it, and Sasuke swung at him again. This continued until his blade was stopped by an arm with metal plating on it blocking his sword, Chouji standing there calmly.
"I'll take care of him, Chidori." He said, looking at Sasuke. "Calm down."
Sasuke stepped back, eyes narrowed still, before he turned and ran through the throngs of people, looking for one person.
He found him knocking heads, so to speak, with Naruto, pushing the blonde back and grinning all the same, walking towards him as Naruto panted in front of him. Something jolted inside of Sasuke's chest as he watched Orochimaru punch Naruto in the face, making him fly back into a wall. Naruto coughed up blood upon contact, and that made the jolt inside of Sasuke turn into an electrifying jump.
Anger burst into him, and with a guttural scream he ran at Orochimaru, swinging his sword at him. Orochimaru turned, eyes widened for a brief minute, before he shifted.
The loud clash of metal slamming against metal echoed in the battlefield, and everyone froze in their spots, looking over at the angered, injured and panting Sasuke pressing his sword against Orochimaru's.
"You recognize this blade, Sasuke?" Orochimaru purred fondly. Sasuke's eyes narrowed as he glanced at the blade, before looking at the snake-like man again, giving a jerky nod. "You would, yes…You trained with this very sword when you still had allegiance to me." He chuckled darkly. "And now that you won't return…I guess you can die by it." He then pushed the Uchiha back, Sasuke catching himself right in front of Naruto, but a bit to the left. The blonde looked at him with bleary vision, and Sasuke glanced back at him with a grim expression, before he turned back to Orochimaru.
"Or you can die by mine." He hissed, before he ran at him. Orochimaru stood still, looking at him with murderous, insane eyes, and their swords clashed together once more, sparks flying between them from the friction.
Gaara stood silent as the battle between Sasuke and Orochimaru commenced, watching with interested green eyes. Temari took a wary step towards him; wary because of the interest. When there was emotion in her little brother's eyes nowadays, it was never a good thing. Gently she placed a hand onto his shoulder, and he flinched, looking up at her sharply.
"Gaara, please…" She whispered quietly, wrapping her arms around his shoulders and holding him gently. "Stay calm…Keep him locked in…" Gaara's body stiffened at her close contact, and he started to shake.
Suddenly Temari was pushed off of him, into Kankuro's arms where he caught his sister, steadying before looking at his brother frighteningly. "Don't touch me." Gaara hissed, his voice shaking and a mix between his normal one and the one that was Shukaku's. "I don't want to hurt you so just stay away…"
"Gaara…" Temari whispered her eyes wide. Gaara was breathing irregularly, his hand shaking by his sides. Suddenly, though, thin pale arms were wrapped around his shoulders and he stilled.
"Calm Gaara," Hinata whispered softly into his ear. He nodded, and she stepped back, sighing tiredly as she looked around the battle field. "Keep him cool." She ordered Temari and Kankuro, before she rushed off to somewhere behind them, where Deidara was crying out in pain; his arm had been cut off.
Temari took Gaara's hand, and he hesitantly held it back, following Temari away from sight of the battle to the sidelines where he needed to cool, Kankuro brandishing his knives as he followed Temari, her large fan on her back.
Hinata kneeled beside Deidara quietly, looking at the blood pooling around him heavily and wincing, before she ordered him to take off the damaged cloak. Nodding, he slipped it off with her help, and she saw the full damage.
Torn muscle was seen, blood coming out in large spurts of blood with each heart beat; the spurts becoming slowly the longer the blood was let to flow. Hinata took bandages out of her coat, taking the gauze and wrapped his around Deidara's damaged stump and torso tightly, the blood already staining through the white. "Alright, you have to keep in your screaming, okay?" She cooed softly. The blonde nodded, his blue eyes shut tightly as he held back screams of utter pain from the tight squeezing Hinata was doing to wrap the gauze. "And I need you to tell me who did this to you?"
"Some kid in Oto…" Deidara hissed through clenched teeth. "I can't remember who, exactly."
"Alright; we'll make sure they regret doing this." She said gently, and then pulled back, smiling at her handiwork. "There we are; all nice and bandaged. When you want it cleaned up and everything, come see me, alright?" He nodded, standing up with her help. "You good to fight?"
"Yeah," he said, and then smiled at her. "Thanks Hime."
"Anytime." He nodded, and then ran back towards Sasori, who looked at him worriedly, though Deidara brushed it off and they went back to fighting. Hinata then turned face-to-face with Kidoumaru. He had bandages wrapped around his arm, but other than that he looked barely injured.
"I think it's time we loose the medic on Bijuu's side." He said darkly. "You'll too good at your job."
Hinata frowned, crouching down in a familiar position to Kidoumaru; the same one Neji stood in whenever he fought. "I will not be taken down by a peon." She said softly, though viciously, her eyes narrowing as they turned just as frightening as Neji's, the veins around her eyes popping to be noticeable, her eyes turning sharp as brows turned downward in a permanent frown.
"Pen?!" Kidoumaru sputtered, snarling before he swiped at her with his knife. She blocked the black with her wrist, twisting it in such a way to grab his wrist and pull upwards, watching as he gasped. The knife was dropped, and then kicked up by Hinata's foot, and she caught it with her free hand, throwing it over his shoulder to the wall behind them. She then let go of his wrist and he grabbed it, eyes narrowed.
"Yes." She said darkly. "Peon. For that is all you are in the eyes of Manda."
"I am not just a peon!" He shouted, running at her with rage in his eyes. "I am important to Manga!"
"Zaku said the same." She whispered softly. "But he learned better after fighting me."
"You're nothing compared to me." Kidoumaru hissed. He then threw a punch at her, and she caught it, twisting his wrist quickly, before she pressed a pressure point in his neck with two fingers. He stiffened, and she let go of his fist, watching as he clutched his neck, glaring at her.
"I'm nothing?" She said softly. "Once trained by Neji-niisan, I became something. Remember this. It is your fate to loose."
Naruto slowly began to regain consciousness when he felt someone shaking his shoulder. Looking over at the shaker, he saw Itachi kneeling beside him, worry in his red eyes. "Sharingan…?" He mumbled, blinkingly blearily. "What's…?"
"Sasuke; he's fighting Orochimaru?"
"What?" Naruto snapped up, looking in front of him to see the battle from front row seat.
Sasuke was blocking the numerous attacks Orochimaru was dealing out, not letting the younger Uchiha get a hit on him at all. Swearing, Naruto stood up and tried to rush over to Sasuke and Orochimaru, but Itachi held him back. "Itachi, what the fuck are you doing?" He hissed angrily.
"I'm holding you back; the only reason Sasuke's still standing up is because he's protecting you, Naruto. He wants to protect you like you've protected him these past few months." Itachi mumbled, watching his brother as he blocked Orochimaru's swing, pushing it back and finally making his own attack, forcing the older man to go on the defensive.
"I don't like this, Itachi," Naruto mumbled, watching tensely. "Something…Feels off."
"I sense bad things."
Sasuke jumped back from Orochimaru's quick swing, blocking it with his sword and watching the sparks from the blades clashing together fly, hissing a little as a spark landed on the skin on his cheek. He looked up to see Orochimaru breathing normally, while he himself was panting.
"Bastard…" He breathed out, looking at him with glazed, angered eyes. He was loosing stamina and he was loosing it fast. Orochimaru grinned, pressing their blades together and leaning in close to Sasuke's face, letting his tongue run out on his cheek. The boy's disgusted look made him chuckle.
"You still taste the same; though more mature from my first taste." He said softly, and Sasuke leaned back even further, eyes narrowed warily. "I would like to have a second taste to see if my theory is true."
"And what theory could go through your sick head?" Sasuke snapped, knowing he probably feared the answer.
"One grows all the more sweeter as they grow." Orochimaru hissed, and Sasuke's eyes widened, before he pushed him away, dropping down and kicking him under the legs. Orochimaru toppled down, though caught himself with his free hand, flipping himself over. Sasuke skidded back; thunder crashed above him, and suddenly a downpour of rain fell on them, ruining the snow around them into soggy, wet puddles. Sasuke's hair plastered to his cheeks and forehead as he panted heavily, trying to catch his breath as Orochimaru stood up, his hair turning much like the hair from the girl from The Ring©.
"You'll never see your theory answered, bastard," Sasuke grounded out through tightly clenched teeth. "You'll be dead before you can touch anyone ever again! I will not let anyone else feel the pain you've brought upon me and probably countless others!" He screamed this last part, before he ran at Orochimaru, sword brandished, and Orochimaru stood there calmly. He then suddenly disappeared, and Sasuke skidded to a halt, sliding on the wet roads. He looked around furiously, his eyes wide and wary.
"You're all talk; always have been." His voice hissed behind him, dangerously close to his ear, and Sasuke stiffened. He ducked just as Orochimaru went to stab him, and it caught his shoulder instead. He hissed, rolling out of the way, and standing up a few meters away from him, watching him through sheets of rain.
"You've never been that good at fighting me, Sasuke." Orochimaru said softly. "And you're badly injured now, too! A broken ankle you've been jumping on; that can't be good. And now your shoulder is bleeding." Orochimaru's mock worried face transformed into a defected grin. "You should get that checked."
He then ran at him, Sasuke watching him with wide eyes. The fights around them had stilled as Orochimaru's team went down and those of Akatsuki that weren't neutral fell as well, Leader among one of the many who had faced an angered Gaara. All eyes were on this battle, the rain beating down heavily on their heads, freezing them to the core. But none cared as the fought drew to a close. This was the final act. This would determine the fate of everything. The curtain would soon be closed.
Sasuke closed his eyes, ready to give in to death, and Orochimaru smiled like a maniac. He brought his sword back, and plunged it forward, determined to watch it go through his heart.
Silence reigned as you could hear blade going through flesh, and the gasp of someone being stabbed in the heart. Sasuke felt that all too familiar spit of blood on his cheek, and opened his eyes to see Itachi standing in front of him, the Kusanagi blade that Orochimaru wielded through his chest. He looked around his Aniki's shoulder to see Itachi's sword through Orochimaru's chest as well.
"You have horrible aim," Itachi gasped, blood spitting out from his mouth, dripping down his chin and falling into the waterlogged ground below them. "You missed my heart by inches, only punctured a lung." He pulled his blade out, and ripped Kusanagi out of his chest, stumbling back but holding his ground as Orochimaru's eyes faded and he fell to the ground in a lump; dead. The blood pooled around him, staining his clothes and pale skin, never to be washed clean. Even by the rain falling down on them.
"But I…Have excellent aim and pierced through your heart before you could blink." Itachi laughed, and more blood was spat out, staining his chin as his eyes faded to their black; a triumphant, tired smile on his face. He then collapsed backwards, and Sasuke caught him, falling to his knees. He placed Itachi's head on his lap, looking down at his brother's face with wide eyes.
"Aniki…Why?" He whispered, his voice a shattered form of what it usually was.
"I promised…I protect you…" He mumbled softly. "When you were young…"
Itachi caught the running Sasuke in his arms, looking at his bruised cheek with worry in his eyes. "What happened to you?"
"I got into a fight with a bunch of the older boys at school. They made fun of my hair." Sasuke whined, clutching to his big brother tightly. "But they were bigger than me and so got hurt."
"Well you shouldn't have picked a fight with older boys." Itachi scolded, sighing and shaking his head.
"I'm sorry…" Sasuke whispered, burying his face into Itachi's neck. Itachi held him for a moment, before pulling him back, placing him on the ground; hands on his shoulders lightly.
"Here's a deal," he started, Sasuke looking up at him with wide, innocent eyes. "If you get into any more fights, I promise to protect you."
"But how can you do that? You're not always with me. Sometimes you're gone for long, long times…" Sasuke said, sighing as he looked at the ground, kicking his toe into the dirt. Itachi looked thoughtful for a moment, before he smiled.
"Then…I promise I'll always be with you. I'll never leave you, and if I do, I won't be gone for too long. You can keep me to that promise." Sasuke looked up at his smiling brother, before a smile lifted his face.
Itachi laughed hoarsely, coughing for a minute, and clutching the stab wound in his chest, before looking up at Sasuke. "But I…Broke the most important…Promise…" He whispered softly. "I'm sorry…Otouto…" He closed his eyes. "I can't always…Be with you…"
"No…Aniki, don't say those things." Sasuke said, lips trembling and eyes watering. Those in Bijuu and the neutral Akatsuki watched from the sides, knowing it was wise to stay back. Naruto stood there closest, fist clenching at his sides as he clenched his teeth, eyes closed as he listened to the brothers. "We'll get you help! We'll bring you to a hospital! They can fix you…You can keep your promise!"
Itachi's eyes opened slowly, and he looked at him with eyes loosing their luster. "No otouto…" Itachi whispered. "It's my time…To go…Mom and D-dad…Are waiting."
"Make them wait," Sasuke said, his voice cracking as tears mixed with rain ran down his cheeks. He clutched to his brother, face buried in his chest; listening to his fading heartbeat. "They can wait a little longer! I need you, Aniki!"
"You're all grown up now…" Itachi said, smiling. "I'm proud…"
"But you haven't taught me everything yet! You have so much to teach me!" Sasuke shouted into his chest, knowing it was hopeless. He could feel the life slipping away from his brother; his skin becoming colder; cheeks paler. "Don't leave me…"
"I love you…" Itachi said gently, a hand placed on top of his head. Sasuke then felt Itachi sag, and the hand slipped off; a sign of something he didn't want to admit.
"Aniki…Aniki I love you too…"
You would never hear a sadder sound than the one that was heard that night. It was like the sound of a wounded animal, calling for help but knowing they wouldn't get any. A pathetic sound that made you want to look away, but at the same time comfort. The tears of a lost child.
The tears of the lost.
The funeral was on a bright, sunny day, even though it was still winter. Christmas was but a week away, and the kids were finally getting out of school, spending hours on the computer writing up stories and reading stories on different websites about their favourite shows and books and movies.
No one smiled that day; joked; played around. No one even laughed, and Itachi had loved laughter.
Sasuke's face was barren of tears as he stood next to Naruto and Kakashi, right in front of the coffin, peering into the opened lid to see Itachi laying there, looking so grim that it made Sasuke flinch. Was his brother really that pale? Did he really have those heavy bags under his eyes? When he was alive he had never noticed; now that he was dead, it was so noticeable it made him feel like he didn't even look at his brother.
The priest said many words in honour of Itachi Uchiha, and then he called upon Sasuke to close the coffin's lid so that it may be lowered into the ground next to the graves of their family. The Bijuu Gang, as well as those close to Itachi, had left the city to go to the country, where the funeral was held at the old Uchiha Estate.
Sasuke walked up emotionlessly, taking the lid and, with one final look at Itachi's grim face, closed the lid with a dry click that actually did make him wince. It was a final statement; Itachi was gone. He wasn't coming back. He wasn't lost somewhere.
He was gone. He had broken his final promise and had left Sasuke on his own.
The last Uchiha stepped back to Kakashi and Naruto, Naruto placing a hand on his shoulder and squeezing it as they watched the coffin lowered into the ground. Mourners were then invited to go up to the grave and toss dirt on top of the coffin. Sasuke went up with many other friends, comrades and acquaintances, taking a fistful of the soil, and sprinkling it on top of the dark mahogany coffin.
Itachi had laid out a will that Sasuke had found in his personal drawers in his room, and Itachi had left everything he owned that had value to Sasuke; things like his Akatsuki robe and ring were given to Kisame, his best friend and partner, and Naruto was given a strange book that Sasuke didn't know the contents of. Naruto seemed to know, though, before one tear had actually fallen down his tanned cheek when he had gotten it.
After everyone was done, and Itachi was buried alongside his mother, father, aunts and uncles that had lived out here, Sasuke turned away, walking to the one single, cliché willow of the graveyard. Sitting beneath it, he leaned his back against the bark, looking up through the leaves at the blinding blue sky; the snow beneath him soaking his trousers and freezing his ass. But he didn't care; it was like he wasn't even there.
Suddenly, he felt a presence, and he looked down to see Naruto crouching in front of him, looking at him in worry. "Hey there," the blonde said, smiling softly. He held a hand out, and Sasuke took it, letting the blonde drag the dark boy up to his feet and into his chest. Clutching the front of his shirt with white knuckled fists, Naruto wrapped his arms around Sasuke, and rested his chin on top of his head, letting the Uchiha finally let out dry sobs he had been too proud to show during the ceremony.
"He wouldn't like to see your tears; they always did upset him, didn't they?"
"Yeah…" Sasuke mumbled, though the tears still fell, and he still sniffed with them. "But he also hated breaking promises."
"I think he regrets it." Naruto said, kissing the top of his head softly, before pulling back, looking at Sasuke's tear streaked face. Quietly, he wiped the tears off with his thumb, looking at him with soft, caring eyes. He then gently kissed his lips, Sasuke pressing back softly; a needy kiss of reassurance. The blonde then pulled back, pressing the Uchiha's fact to his chest.
"Kakashi invited you to come live with us." Naruto said softly, looking out at nothing as different mourners by Itachi's grave mingled, talking quietly and solemnly with each other. If Itachi had been there, he would've told everyone to lighten up; that the mood was too depressing for their health. "What do you say, eh? It'd be great; the three of us, all with our own unique personalities. I could even teach you how to cook." Sasuke smiled a little, and Naruto smiled softly. "There's a smile. So?"
Sasuke thought for a moment, before he shook his head, leaning the shaken head against Naruto's collarbone as he closed his eyes. "No…I think I'll stay in the apartment." He said softly after a few minutes of silence. "I don't think he would've wanted me to leave it; it was our home."
He then pulled out of Naruto's embrace, walking towards the grave. Kneeling in front of the tombstone, he trailed his fingers gently over the carving of Itachi's name, smiling softly. "Hey Aniki…" He whispered softly. "It's time for us to leave now. Ready? Set?"
Naruto watched as Sasuke stood up, looking over at him with a small smile. He then nodded to the blonde, and Naruto looked to the sky, saying the last of the familiar phrase.