A/N: Hello! This is only my second Naruto oneshot—I hope you enjoy it!
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto, and I'm not making any money off this
Warnings: SPOILERS for chapter 363, language, character death
Main Characters: Sasuke and Itachi (This is not Uchihacest!)
Additional Notes: The title means "Blindfold." Inspired by "Cure My Tragedy" by Cold (and several other songs by Cold and Breaking Benjamin—and possibly "It Ends Tonight" by All-American Rejects).
His eyes had not left the distant sky all evening and now they fixed on the stars with an almost glazed look. Kisame frowned, his own eyes narrowing at his partner's carelessness. The forest around them was dark now and he could barely make out Itachi's figure standing just beyond the firelight. For once, the younger nin was not wearing his signature Akatsuki cloak, the garment draped instead on a nearby branch where it had been tossed absently earlier when they had first stopped. He had noticed—though truthfully, Itachi hadn't really tried to hide it—and it was beginning to worry him. For the past few weeks, Itachi had been losing interest in . . . well, everything—it had started gradual enough, small things, little things. But the little things had begun to add up, and the accumulation now stood at the edge of the darkness. It was worrying to say the least.
"Itachi-san? Is something wrong?"
There was no immediate reply, and the younger nin did not move. Finally, he spoke. "No," was the simple reply. He turned and took his cloak from the tree, his eyes examining the fabric as he rubbed his finger along a crease in the material, feeling its rough texture. Before Kisame could question him again, the cloak was burning in the fire pit, black eyes staring at it dispassionately.
Kisame's eyes were as wide as they could go in surprise and shock. "Itachi-san! Why did you—your cloak?"
He ignored the question. "I am leaving, Kisame," he said instead. "I will not return."
Despite himself, the shark-like nin was frightened, worried for his partner of seven years. He had noticed, of course, how the years had worn away at the Uchiha, but he had never expected desertion of the man. He swallowed down his duty and forced his expression to one of calm. "Where are you going?"
Itachi was already disappearing into the night-time forest, the shadows seeming to swallow him with every step. Still, he could hear a whispered echo, a tired sigh—the last words he would ever hear from the Uchiha. "I'm going home."
It had been easy enough, to enter Konoha, to find the one he sought. Sasuke. He had heard that his sibling had returned to the home they had once shared, had once laughed in as brothers. He would have smiled at the memories, if could have remembered how to, but that ability had long ago deserted him. He was well aware of the consequences of this visit. He no longer cared. His footsteps made no sound on the shingles of the Konohagakure roofs as he sped by, drawn by some unidentifiable force—at least, a force he was too afraid to call by name but still knew full well. The familiar once-home sights passed in blurs at first, but soon grew more distinguishable as he halted his pace. It was not an action he had meant to do. He was not expecting hesitance (for it was no more than hesitance—an Uchiha did not feel fear, after all).
He slowed to a stop, eyes to the ground; he could see his hands, useless at his sides and he clenched them experimentally. These hands. . . Gradually, his glossed eyes lifted to meet that of the front gates of the once prosperous Uchiha compound. He felt cold, suddenly—a feeling he hadn't felt since the day Zetsu had proclaimed Sasuke's false death. There had been a moment—one, cursed moment that seemed to go on and on and on—where he mourned. Not for Deidara, as Pein had insisted, but for his brother. His brother whom he had carried on his back, his brother who had gone so far as to twist his own ankle once to impress him. His brother who had learned to hate, and detest. His brother who had never understood. Itachi shuddered and slipped into the compound noiselessly.
Time stood frozen in the compound—it was as he remembered it. Juxtaposed over everything, he could see the past. The smiling faces of his clan, the happy eyes and oblivious goings on. He could see the faces of the clan he killed with his own hands. His stomach writhed and he swallowed harshly the feeling he had tramped down those seven years previous. They had festered, those wounds, and now seethed like black tar and mud beneath his skin—it was poison in his veins that had been there long enough. The time had finally come.
He was grateful that, though it was late, a light burned in the old house that had once belonged to Uchiha Fugaku, his wife Mikoto, their son Sasuke, and a monster in human skin. He had hardly neared it when he felt Sasuke's awareness of him. And he was thankful—Sasuke would come to him.
"You!" Sasuke's angry hiss preceded the shuriken to his shoulder, which he dodged only slightly too late, the weapon grazing his left shoulder. He steadied himself and jet eyes met crimson and remained fixed, no longer challenging but with some half-hidden emotion in their obsidian depths. The younger Uchiha bared his teeth. "You! How dare you show your face here! How dare you disrespect them! Kaa-san! Tou-san! How dare you?"
Indeed . . . he wondered, gaze sliding slightly out of focus to see the two figures in the shadows behind the angry teen. "How . . . dare I?"
Those Sharingan eyes narrowed and Sasuke crouched low, drawing his weapon from its sheath at his back as he did. Sasuke smirked waveringly, a little uncertain that it could be so simple and wary of any trick. "I suppose I shouldn't complain though," he muttered. "It saves me the trouble of hunting your ass down like the dog you are." The insult meant nothing anymore and so he didn't acknowledge it.
He did not move, though he knew it was coming. He merely watched, tiredly, as Sasuke charged, faster than he ever had before with eyes screaming for vengeance and his blade alive with the blue glow and sounds of the chidori. Itachi only gasped as the steel cut through him, pushed through him until he felt the blade exit his back, just above his hip. It was suddenly harder to breath than he had anticipated; he could feel the cold hand guard against his stomach, could feel Sasuke twist the blade in further, bringing a gasp and blood to his lips. His hands had gone to the hilt, his thin white fingers brushing those of his sibling, as they stood, less than centimeters away. He could see, at this distance, the predatory look of triumph in Sasuke's eyes—and finally, he could name the emotion. It was sadness, grief. It had been self-hatred and guilt.
He was almost surprised to find that his cheeks were wet now. Almost. But there was no longer anything left to hide, no longer any reason to. Shakily, his arms moved of their own accord to embrace those shoulders, though it was painful to do so. He could taste the blood in his mouth as he buried his face in that neck, feeling Sasuke tense in surprise and disgust. He sighed, coughing a little as he felt the blood filling his lungs slowly.
He closed his eyes. "Yuruse . . . Sasuke." He shuddered at the seeping cold, wincing, his fingers spasming and digging into the flesh of his sibling's back. "I have time now . . . but I don't suppose you . . . need any more help . . . with shuriken practice?"
Sasuke sputtered, his grip on the hilt lessening for a moment before he recovered himself. "You came to say that?"
A painful chuckle somehow managed to escape his bloodied lips. "Among . . . other things." He was quickly losing the strength to hold himself up under his own power; time was running short. "Sasuke—listen . . . to me, p-please." Sasuke's grunt may have been an affirmative, or a reaction to the added weight on his shoulders—Itachi could never be sure. "I never meant . . . for it to end this way; you have to believe that." He did not even have the strength to tighten his grip about his brother's neck, but he opened his eyes. "I never stopped loving you."
"Liar!" roared the teen, twisting the blade viciously, earning himself a weak cry of pain from Itachi, before he pulled it from flesh and muscle and into the light that was spilled from the doorway. For a moment, Itachi marveled at the ninjaken Sasuke gripped in his right hand, had pulled from him. It was the same blade—it was the blade he had wielded seven years ago. The irony was not lost on him. "Why would you kill them—all of them—if you loved me? Why?" His strength was too far faded, and he felt himself slipping without the blade to support him—he was allowed to fall to the blood-soak dirt. There was movement above him and soon Sasuke had knelt next to him, eyes demanding with unshed tears of their own.
Sasuke's face was no longer that of pure rage and hate, but one of confusion and unhealed wounds. "Don't you see?" he whispered, even his voice weakening as a heavy haze began to fill his head. It was so hard to see now. "They . . . would have clipped your wings." His face twisted into a caring expression, the knowledge seeping back, even as his blood left him. "And you . . . have such lovely . . . wings. . ."
Another painful cough, more blood. His sight dimmed but he could still make out the slightly panicked look on his brother's face. "Nii-san! Why? Why did you come?"
A sad smile. "It was time . . . to end this." Another spasm, gasping for breath and failing, choking. Something was shoved in his mouth and he felt consciousness waver back into focus. Blood replenishing pill, his mind supplied. "No more," he sighed, the tears again surfacing. "No more. . ."
Sasuke wasn't listening. "Not until you explain! Why?"
"I . . . already told you, otouto." There was pressure on the wound now, and the realization that it was Sasuke's hands frantically trying to halt the bleeding. His hand shook, but somehow managed to find Sasuke's and still them with a touch. "Stop." The blackness had crept past the edge of his vision now, but he knew roughly where to look. "No more. I never expected . . . to leave this . . . encounter alive. . . I merely came to . . . end this, once and for all."
It was not a concept that his sibling could grasp, Itachi recognized too late, and it showed on that face. Sasuke's expression was one of confused pain and denial, though denial for what, Itachi couldn't guess. All the same. . . "I don't understand, Nii-san," that voice was strained, urgent—So odd. . .
He closed his eyes tiredly, but refused to drift out of consciousness, not until he had pacified the small boy he had once known. "Tired . . . so tired, Sasuke. Let me rest. . . Finally, let me rest." And he was sobbing weakly then, shivering, and all logic and calculating coldness gone. "Please. . . Forgive me, Sasuke. . . I never meant . . . for this. . ."
Then there were gentle hands pulling him up, holding so carefully—so like a broken china doll. He was cradled, his body shattered, his mind once more infantile, though still aware enough to feel the salty tears that fell onto his face, into his mouth, and mingled with the copper taste of his own blood. Another spasm blazed down his nerves and he whimpered, the arms around him tightening.
Soft feather touches across his face, wiping away his tears. He was slipping, floating, everything so distant and muffled, as though he felt it through a fog. And then. . . "I'm sorry, too, Nii-san."
And somehow, he managed to smile.
A/N: Well then, my first Itachi-deathfic. Hope you enjoyed it. "Yuruse" means "Forgive me," by the way; it's what Itachi would always say to Sasuke when he asked for help with shuriken practice.
"Kaa-san" and "Tou-san" are "Mother" and "Father," respectively.
A ninjaken, also, is the type of sword that ANBU use—it's shorter than a katana. I hope Itachi's reasons were clear enough—and the reason he chose to go to Sasuke. He intended to let Sasuke kill him—the same basic principle as "suicide by cop" or assisted suicide. Poor Itachi. Guilt and so on got to him. Also, notice that Sasuke didn't exactly forgive him.
On a side note, Itachi really is my favorite character. No, he is—really! Anyway, please review and tell me what you think!