This was in my head for at least a month, and I finally managed to get it down. It took me a day, what with editing and all, but here it is. I'm rather proud of it, and hope you enjoy reading it as well. Have fun.
Uchiha Sasuke did not believe in monsters. He did not believe they existed, and it was as simple as that.
Itachi said they did not exist. Mikoto said they did not exist, and so did Fugaku. They couldn't all be wrong, so they must be right. They had to be right. If they weren't, they would be wrong. They would be lying.
If they were telling the truth however, if they weren't lying, then Sasuke didn't believe in the shadows that moved at night, flitting at the edges of his vision, disappearing when he looked at them, then flashing on the other side of his room, taunting, teasing, mocking. They would be the disappearing kind of monster, if Sasuke believed in them.
If Sasuke believed in monsters, he would think the kind that scrapes the branches against the windows, that makes the floorboards squeak when he knows, knows, no one is walking on them, the kind that makes voices come through the walls, whisper-voices, speaking a language he can't understand but is sure Itachi could, those he would call the noise monsters.
There were closet monsters too. Or, there would be if Sasuke believed in them. If he believed in them, they would be the monsters that sometimes hide in his closet but not always. They would hide under his bed and in the hallway, behind his door and dresser -anywhere dark he could not see properly. They would think he couldn't see them, that he didn't know they were there, but he could feel them, feel their eyes, always watching, forever watching. If he believed in them.
Then there was the worst kind of all, one that even Mikoto and Fugaku couldn't deny existed. There was only one of this monster. The bad monster was the one that made Mikoto cry when she thought no one was listening or watching, but Sasuke was. It was the one that made Fugaku yell, the one that took his attention somewhere else when Sasuke wanted to show him something. The one that -when Sasuke finally performed the Katon no Jutsu- made him say, "As is expected of my son", instead of sweeping him up in his arms with a smile. It made his parents fight, it made Fugaku drink just a little too much, it made Fugaku cold, Mikoto sad, and Itachi distant. It put a look in Itachi's eyes he didn't like, and made him squeeze Sasuke shoulder just a little too hard, hard enough to hurt. It splashed Itachi with blood, it made Sasuke find out what suicide was, and it made the dinner table always silent.
It made him think that sometimes, his family was not as perfect as everyone said.
He believed in that one.
Thoughts like those however, were not meant to be thought when he was getting a drink of water in the middle of the night. Thoughts like those were meant to be thought in the afternoon sun, sun and grass all around, or not at all. But they had a habit of coming when he was alone in the darkness, especially when he was creeping down the hallway, the disappearing monsters, the noise monsters, and the closet monsters all around him, watching, waiting, existing.
"I don't believe in monsters though," Sasuke told himself as he reached the kitchen, yet another room strewn with shadows, ands far too many convenient hiding places for the closet monsters. "And Itachi wouldn't be scared." Those words, unlike his statement of disbelief, made him a little bolder, a little braver, and he climbed onto the counter to pull out a cup, a firm look in his eyes.
He confidently turned on the faucet and watched as the water spilled out, into the cup, tiny splashes landing on his wrist and fingers. It looked cool and refreshing, clean and oh-so-clear, as if it didn't truly exist. As if he would raise it to his lips, tilt it forward, and nothing would come out. As if a monster had gotten to it first, leaving him with nothing.
But when he raised it to his lips and tilted it forward, water did come out, cool and clear and refreshing, so much of it that he tried to swallow it all and was suddenly coughing, half incapable of breathing, gasping, choking, over and over and over again, unable to stop.
Between coughs he heard -though distantly- the front door open, and he froze, ceasing to breathe, and in doing so, ceasing to cough. His eyes were fixed on the corner hiding the front entrance, his ears straining for the slightest sound. But there was nothing. Beneath his mind's logical protest that it was simply his imagination, the wind, his fear of monsters lurked, whispering to him in incessant voices, insistent and, on the deepest level of his mind, effective.
Fear paralyzed him, and even though he was convinced he knew what would step around the corner, he was not prepared for what did. A tall figure, dark and gliding like a ghost, cloaked in shadows and something horribly like blood.
The glass slipped from his fingers without his notice, shattering on the ground at his feet. His bare feet were soaked with the water he hadn't drunk, and glass shards flew across the floor, one nicking his foot to spill a small river of vermillion into the water. It mixed slowly, at first filament of red in clear, cool water, flowing freely from the sliced skin, tingeing the water pink. The shard of glass lay nearly a foot away, a small streak of blood down one edge, but Sasuke didn't notice.
The monster had no face, where its mouth and nose should have been it was flat, stretched taut with ashen skin. And the eyes! They were crimson, the color of blood, capturing Sasuke's gaze and drawing him in, drowning him in a swirling red and black, unmerciful and cold as ice. A monster with red eyes, gleaming, he couldn't take his eyes from the monster's he was paralyzed, frozen with terror, with horror, with an overwhelming fear. Red eyes.
Fire flared into existence, leaping into a paper lantern where it hovered, flickering gently as it settled. Itachi was kneeling in front of him, delicately picking shards of glass from a puddle of water about his feet.
"Nii-san?" His voice was quavering, shaking, and he somehow had the feeling that everything he'd just witnessed had been a dream. He'd fallen asleep and it had been a dream.
"One of the pieces cut your foot," Itachi said, rising to his feet. "Let's get you a bandage."
Sasuke nodded, following Itachi out of the kitchen and down the hall, headed for his older brother's room. He saw the mask dangling from Itachi's hand, smooth and speckled with red in some places, and his breath caught. Like the monster without a face…
"I…I saw a monster Nii-san." It was so quiet he didn't think Itachi heard, but he did.
"Monsters don't exist Sasuke," Itachi replied, and Sasuke bowed his head.
It hadn't been a disappearing monster, a noise monster, a closet monster, or even a bad monster, but it was a monster , Sasuke knew it.
A monster with red eyes, crimson, the color of blood.
And Itachi was a liar.