Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto.

Reference to chapter 393.

Hated Affection (one-shot)

It was a strangely familiar sensation, one that he hadn't felt for a long, long time, endearing yet foreign. The ghost of a touch lingered almost mournfully on the space between his brows, pulling out feelings and memories that struck painfully in his chest and created a turmoil together with the terror of death that had gripped him so tightly just moments ago. The chaos in his mind disorientated him for a while and he couldn't really fathom what had just occurred.

Reality suddenly seemed so unreal.

The skies were bright and beautifully blue above the demolished cave, and sunlight streamed down to cast a glow over everything, making even the rubble look pretty. But his eyes couldn't see that. Instead, dim corridors and shadows and blood so dark like ink filled his vision; a well-known scene that had played in his mind over and over for years during his childhood, driving him to the brink of madness. And then there were flashes of other scenes too; the image of a gentle, smiling woman, her eyes full of love, a stern looking man who seemed cold and uncaring to the world, and then there was...Itachi. A younger Itachi, smiling almost emotionlessly as he looked down at him, reaching out an arm towards his head with two fingers straightened out to...to...

"Forgive me, Sasuke. Perhaps another day."

He suddenly felt like he was six again, going home on that fateful night to a dead clan and dead parents, feeling the loss of something important and greatly treasured. The part of him that played avenger was screaming within, shouting in disgust at his betrayal. Yet he couldn't exactly bring himself to listen. He was confused, so very confused.

Why did Itachi do that?

When he was a child, he always thought that all the forehead tapping had been Itachi's bizarre way of showing affection, something that irritated him yet filled him with joy at the same time. But after the death of his clan, he suspected that it was something...different. Only years later since that day, during their last fight when he saw the extent that Itachi obsessed over the Sharingan's power, did he realise that the gesture had never meant to be loving. Itachi had never acknowledged anything about him except the potential of his eyes. It had killed him inside, and he had thought that the brother he knew was truly gone.

But then...during his last breath, instead of using his remaining strength to kill him, his brother had done the action again. The touch had been soft, and placed just a small amount of pressure on his skin, not sharp or painful as he remembered. Itachi had grinned at him.


Was it a sign of defeat? A sign that Itachi had finally understood how strong he had gotten? Maybe it was done out of spite? ...A final ditch of effort to annoy him before he died? Or...was it something else? An indication that perhaps Itachi had never quite let go of the past himself...?

He looked down at his fallen enemy, and he knew he would never get to an answer. After all, he and his brother were worlds apart, in more ways than one.

First, they had differed in strength, his brother strong and him weak, and their father's favourism towards his older sibling had pushed them even further apart. Then there was Itachi's treachery which had destroyed the family that they had once been, leaving him with nothing but vengeance and hatred.

And now, his brother was dead.

Until the end, Itachi had always been so far away, an enigma that was too complicated to comprehend.

Perhaps, it was best just to forget it.

Tired, sunken eyes stared down as pale lips breathed a sigh.

"...I really can't understand you at all, nii-san."

Not then, not now.

The wind carried the whisper away until it faded into the air. With a final glance at his brother's cooling body, Uchiha Sasuke turned away, his goal accomplished, with nothing about Itachi left to burden him other than the bit of blood smeared across his face.


AN: I remember that Sasuke had mentioned that he couldn't understand Itachi's personality during a conversation with his father. If I recall correctly, that was the one after Itachi attacked the three Uchihas that came to see him about Shisui's 'suicide'.So I was wondering whether that was what Sasuke would feel even now, and this popped up. Hope you enjoyed reading it.

P.S. If Itachi never really died in chapter 394, ignore it.

Review replies: Thanks to everyone who reviewed for your feedback! I'm really grateful for them! To could-be-better: I initially did thought about having Sasuke cry or something, but I felt that would be too dramatic for him. He hated Itachi so much for years and wanted him dead so badly, I doubt he would show any form of deep sadness for him. I felt his avenger side would win over at the end.

P.S. If Sasuke starts weeping in chapter 394, ignore it too.