(A/N: This oneshot was inspired by the song Hallelujah, sung by Rufus Wainwright. You should listen to the song when you read it--or maybe not, it might make you cry...but um, enjoy, I guess...)
"I'm not Sasuke." He would whisper to her, his voice the same emotionless tone as always.
"I know." She would state and she'd give him a sad smile—almost as if she wished it weren't true. As if she was dying inside because he wasn't Sasuke. Because he wasn't the thing she wanted.
Because he wasn't his brother.
And she'd take his hand in both of hers and turn it palm up. She would brush each one of his fingers with her thumb with a soft, almost nonexistent sob as she bent down and kissed all of them. Her tears would touch his skin and they burned him. Burned him with shame and guilt.
He had taken everything from her, hadn't he?
And yet she did not blame him, did not condemn him…or did she? Was she just so good at hiding it that he couldn't tell, not even with his Sharingan? Because they weren't good enough, those eyes of his. They couldn't see into the soul.
Her eyes could. She must have had some strange doujutsu, a kekkei genkai that no one had heard of before. Because she knew it all. She could sense his emotions as if it were second nature. She could look into his eyes and she knew. She knew. Knew that he was broken and not even she could put the pieces back together.
Knew that he was hopeless and damned and he was tainting her with his darkness. She had loved that foolish little brother of his so much…and he had lied to her.
He was dead before I got here.
I killed him.
I watched the life drain from his face and I reveled in it. I loved the fact that even after everything, I was the strongest Uchiha. My convictions were correct. I was right in killing my clan. They deserved death for their disloyalty to Konoha.
The painful truth.
And yet…a part of him wept at the thought that he had been correct. That Sasuke had not killed him. Because the night he had killed his clan…he had done it with the hope that Sasuke would come and avenge them. That he would perhaps prove to Itachi that he had been wrong. That he had sinned beyond imagination. Because that would justify the overwhelming guilt inside of him.
But that hadn't happened.
He had fallen to his knees in front of his brother's body and for a moment—he had cried. Because it was raining and no one could see. No one could tell that Uchiha Itachi actually could cry.
He cried because it had all been for nothing. Because he had hoped and prayed for the day that Sasuke would finally kill him and he wouldn't have to live any longer with the fact that maybe he had been wrong all along.
And then she had come. She'd reached him and had fallen to the ground beside his little brother and sobbed. No, she did not sob. She wailed. She screamed straight from her heart and all that pain struck him like a physical blow. She cried against Sasuke's unmoving body and cursed him.
She cursed him for going after Itachi in the first place. She cursed him for letting revenge consume him.
And Itachi had watched.
Because he could not move from that spot.
Then she'd slowly looked up at him—her eyes meeting his for the first time. She was beaten and soaking wet. Her hair was plastered to her face, and she had a bruise on her cheek from a well-aimed hit. A cut on her temple bled down her face. Her eyes—god, those eyes!—burned with pain and anger. Despair. Hopelessness. And a strange and saddening understanding.
Then she'd spoken and he understood why.
"I always knew he would die like this." Her voice was rough and her throat was dry. "He was an avenger all his life. I knew he would die trying to fulfill his goals."
And then she'd looked down at his face for a moment, cupping his cheek and planting a kiss upon his forehead. Her face had scrunched up in an effort not to cry and the tears had flowed down her cheeks and onto Sasuke's pale skin.
After a few minutes of silent sobs and shaking shoulders she had looked up at him.
"Kill me, please."
His eyes had widened considerably—although not enough for anyone to notice, he was an Uchiha after all. He had stared at her in silence for so long, watching as she searched his face for his answer.
Her brow had furrowed in confusion. "Why wouldn't you kill me? You are Akatsuki. You are a murderer. I am nothing to you. Worthless. Weak. I was in love with the brother you hated so much."
"I did not hate him." He had said swiftly, his voice soft and…pleading? As if he wanted her so desperately to know that he had not hated his little brother. He had loved him so much…he only wished Sasuke had turned out differently.
"Oh." And she had said it in such a world-weary tone that it made him ache.
There had been a long moment of silence before she spoke again.
"But you still killed him. Whether you hated him or not. You destroyed what I loved. You have killed me."
"He was dead before I got here." A lie! Such a glorious lie, if only to keep that light in her eyes burning! Because she was so different than anything he had ever seen before. She was a rare creature on the brink of extinction. Because such a creature could not live in a world of hatred and darkness such as this one. Her kind did not belong on such a damned, hellish plane.
He wanted to keep her alive if only to keep alive the hope that not all humans were damned. That not all people were like himself and his brother and all the others pitiful examples of humankind. That there was still something bright and alive and beautiful.
And she had looked into his eyes, so bright and blinding. And she had given a tremulous smile through her tears—through the rain. And then she looked down at his brother once more. "It does not matter. I am still dead."
She had given a harsh laugh. "A broken soul cannot live long."
And he wanted to say the words that his mother had told him so many times when he was young. His mother, another angel. One just like this pink-haired kunoichi with her wide forehead and her bruised face. Don't cry, silly, his mother would tell him, life is beautiful!
But he could not say those words. It was not possible. He was a dead and soulless creature. Such things were beyond him.
"Broken things can be fixed. Rebuilt."
And she had looked up at him with such a hopeful expression glistening in her eyes. "Who would rebuild me, Uchiha? Who would give their heart and soul into fixing a broken one? Especially mine?"
"I do not know." He had acknowledged. Because he had no heart and he had no soul, not any longer. His heart was broken indefinitely, and his soul had shattered many years ago. He could not fix hers because he no longer had his own.
"The Kyuubi could heal you." Itachi finally offered, remembering the blonde Jinchuuriki that the Akatsuki had tried in vain to capture. He had been full of life and emotion. He could save this broken creature.
But she had shaken her head. "He cannot save me. He is in love. His heart is not his own to give."
Itachi had nodded his head, and the rain continued to fall on them. He had nowhere to go. There was nothing for him anymore. Kisame was dead—killed by the three members of his little brother's team. They lay dead as well, two from Kisame and one from himself.
And so he had sat there next to his brother's corpse and a broken angel who should not have been there in the first place. They were alike in this moment and it angered him. He was Uchiha Itachi, this was his way, to brood and remain silent and sad and dead for the rest of his life.
But not this girl. She was not him. She was not Uchiha Itachi.
"He had her on his team because she reminded him of you." He finally murmured, looking to the redheaded kunoichi of team hebi.
She had followed his gaze, before laughing. "That is a stupid assumption. She looks nothing like me."
"She was like you." Itachi had shrugged. "When my brother first came to fight me two years ago, he was angry at her."
"Her hair was too dark. She was not you, not matter how much he tried to make her you. He said that when he fucked her he tried to imagine you and he hated her because her hair was too dark and her eyes were not green." And what hurt was that it was not a lie. When he had fought Sasuke before—when he had let him live in hope that he would one day prove him wrong—Sasuke had told him that. It had been almost a desperate plea. As if he couldn't stand his own life.
As if he had wanted Itachi to kill him as well because he could not have the one thing that had actually meant something to him in his fucked up life.
"That is a nice lie." She had finally whispered. "Thank you."
"It was not a lie."
"It was a beautiful one." She had smiled at him, and he wondered if she was still crying or if it was just the rain.
"I do not lie."
And her face had scrunched up again and she had lifted a hand to scrub away a few tears. Mud smeared on her cheek, across the purple bruise. "…I know…" She had finally whispered, and she'd tilted her head to the side, closing her eyes.
She had looked so beautiful. She was beaten and bleeding and muddy. Her clothes were torn. Her hair was uneven, sliced in some places and frayed in others. Her forehead was too large and her eyes were too all-knowing.
"Go back to Konoha."
She had shaken her head at his request/order. "There is nothing for me there now. I am dead, remember?" She had looked at him, her gaze thoughtful. "What will you do now? Your teammate is dead."
"I am still a member of the Akatsuki." He had answered.
"So they will assign you a new member?"
"I would suppose so." Why was he speaking to her? What was the point to any of it? There was none, and perhaps that was why he did it. He was so used to rules and regulations and order. He needed something to break away from the monotony of it all.
The rain had continued to pelt them. Muddy pools gathered around them, staining their clothes.
"You will come with me." The way he had said it made it almost a question. He knew why he was taking her with him. It was because she was something so fragile and intricate that he could not afford to let go. She would have died without him, after all. But he did not tell her these things. Instead, he had said that she was a medic and that the Akatsuki needed one.
"Yes." She had agreed. "They do." And she had stood.
And after that, every time he had lain in bed with her, listening to her steady breathing, he wondered if she would remember their first meeting. If she truly understood that he was not his brother and nothing would bring Sasuke back.
And every morning she showed him that she understood that. She would smile at him, a bright and cheerful grin as the sunlight splayed in through the window. And she would whisper in his ear—because she knew, she always knew, even if he didn't show it—"don't cry silly. Life is beautiful."
(A/N: Ok...this was a nice little Itachi tribute. What COULD have happened if he killed Sasuke instead of letting him live. I hope you all like it. I cried when I wrote it.
Anyway…now that I think about it, this story is now completely in-character with Kishimoto's plotline. Yay for me! XD Anyway, I got the inspiration for the 'Life is Beautiful' line from the old move Life is Beautiful. It is a wonderful film and I encourage you all to watch it. It's in Italian, but you can get it dubbed in English. It made me cry, but I love watching it anyway. :P)