Sasuke sat quietly under the tree, overlooking the former Uchiha complex. He was living with some family friends for a time; until he could live on his own. The village would supply him with enough money to live, and also provide him a place to live free of charge. But, beyond that, he was on his own. Sasuke sighed, turning away from the disheartening view. He hadn't heard anything of his brother; only that he had joined some evil organization called Akatsuki, and that no one really wanted him to come back. Sasuke didn't either. He had thought Itachi was less of a shinobi, and more of a brother. Well, we're all wrong at some point.

He had thought Itachi loved him. He had thought his older brother cared about him! He had always known that Itachi and his father hadn't really gotten along, but to kill his entire family? It was going a bit far, in Sasuke's opinion. He just couldn't imagine it….his entire family. Murdered. In one night, Itachi had single-handedly killed every single Uchiha in existence, save for himself. Sasuke was still in shock a month later. He had tried to go on, though; to just forget Itachi. But still, he couldn't. Itachi's last words haunted him: You're too pathetic to kill. If you want to live, run. Run, and cling to life, living dishonorably and hating me. That is the only way you can kill me; if you hate.

Sasuke shivered. The look in his brother's eyes then was that of a madman. It looked like Itachi had lost all his senses, and had suddenly become someone else. Well, who wouldn't change-ANBU at thirteen? And captain! You had to make that impossible choice between lives and the mission, and then decide who would lose more, and if the loss was worth it, and…it all must put such a strain on the mind. Sasuke could understand the insanity, but he wondered what had made Itachi kill his entire family.

The youngest and last Uchiha jumped down out of the tree, landing on his feet and walking away from the complex. It was time for his classes at the Academy, anyway.

Life went on. And Sasuke vowed then and there never to die until Itachi preceded him into the underworld.

OOOOOOOOOO

Itachi stood in front of the blonde, staring up angrily at the little snot. The idiot…he thought he could stand up to him and win! Itachi had heard Deidara was a bit hard-headed, but this was the last of the Uchihas he was staring down! The moron…Itachi wanted him to hold still just so he could punch him. Not even so he could bring him back to Pein, not even close. He just wanted to punch the kid's lights out. He looked no older than Itachi, really. Itachi could probably relate to him, if he wasn't such an idiot.

"Look," Itachi growled softly, in his usual monotone. "I didn't come here to argue with you. You can either come quietly, or I can make you come. Leader-sama wants you for the Akatsuki, and that's not an option."

"It is for me, un!" Deidara proclaimed. "I don't listen to anybody, especially stuck up jerks who think they can boss me around!"

Itachi sighed, rolling his eyes with exasperation. He just didn't get it, hm? "You have no idea who you're talking to, do you?"

Deidara smirked, shaking his head. "Sorry, no, un. So, if you're not famous, that means you're no threat, un."

Itachi felt a smile twitch at the corners of his lips. "You have no idea."

OOOOOOOOOOO

Itachi fought Deidara for what must have been hours-after their first exchange of blows, Deidara had offered Itachi a wager. If Itachi won their fight, he would come to Akatsuki, and he wouldn't say a word about it. He would come quietly, and everyone would be happy. But, if Itachi lost, he had to leave Deidara alone for the rest of their time on this earth. Itachi said it sounded fair, and acquiesced to Deidara's terms. He was lying, of course: if Deidara wasn't smart enough to request a blood contract, than he owed the brat nothing. And words meant nothing in today's world.

Deidara fought with explosives; Itachi fought fire with fire, and then wind, and then earth. Deidara began using an enormous, flying clay bird halfway through the battle, gaining an edge by using his new power of flight. Itachi chased him with fireballs, and then used genjutsu to confuse Deidara and force him to land. Deidara was surprisingly easily snared-Itachi had to wonder why. Someone Pein wanted for Akatsuki was this easy to fool by a mere illusion? Itachi shrugged, and walked over to Deidara. The blonde was kneeling on the back of his bird, shivering with the frightening illusions Itachi had presented him with. Itachi pulled Deidara off the bird, leaving him in the genjutsu, and then kicked the bird with disdain. Stupid piece of clay…it almost cost him an arm. As it was, Itachi bore the blood and cuts and bruises from the birds, spiders, and…well, frankly, Itachi didn't know what else Deidara had thrown at him, but whatever it was, it had blown up. Itachi dragged Deidara away from the bird, dumping him against a tree and then tying him to it. No sense in having him escape before he got a chance to release the blonde, no? Itachi reached down to Deidara's face, pushing his fingers under Deidara's bangs to touch his forehead. He usually did try to touch the forehead to dispel genjutsu-it was the closest access point to the brain, which genjutsu acted upon. The forehead was also a central point for the senses.

Itachi's fingers brushed metal.

The Uchiha's eyes widened slightly in surprise. Metal? A prosthetic of some sorts? Itachi lifted Deidara's bangs, curious, to say the least. Itachi could feel the blonde began to tremble even more under his touch, but ignored him for the moment. He pushed Deidara's bangs up, revealing a large, but streamlined metal scope over Deidara's left eye. Itachi's brow furrowed, but he still plowed on, curious ever more. He lifted the scope from Deidara's eye, looking underneath it.

The eye was scarred, and deeply so. Across the endless expanse of baby blue, there was a white-blue slash, like a knife had been plunged into Deidara's eye. Itachi felt his heart go out to the blonde-he clearly had not done this to himself. It must really suck to only have vision in one eye. Then, Itachi recognized the purpose of the scope-to enable Deidara to see again. So that was why he was so easily caught in genjutsu-he would have had to adjust the scope to get around it, and he just couldn't do it in time.

Deidara whimpered.

Itachi was rather caught off guard, but then remembered that his genjutsu was still in place. Deidara's visions must have been responding to his touch, and reminding him of the incident where his eyes had been stabbed. Itachi carefully replaced the scope, and then quickly dispelled the genjutsu.

He was met with angry curses.

Deidara was surprisingly robust for someone who had just woken up from one of Itachi's illusions. Well, he was tough, Itachi would give him that. Itachi tried not to let on that he had seen Deidara's eye-he instead smirked, and gently patted the blonde's head. "I win," he said smugly. "Now, let's go."

Deidara suddenly seemed to realize that situation he was in, and sighed dejectedly, averting his eyes from Itachi. His hair fell back into place over his eye, and the blonde looked all the more depressed with that lock hanging over his face. He almost looked like a sad little kid…he really did look like a child, what with his baby blue eyes, big and inquisitive, and his long, blonde hair, all in his face. Itachi, honestly, thought he looked adorable, sitting there and pouting. Deidara cursed slightly under his breath, and Itachi couldn't resist the stinging smack her dealt the bomber. "Watch your language," he snarled, slapping Deidara rather soundly across the face. "I'm not taking shit from you."

"Pimp," Deidara growled. Itachi was about to bite back, but then realized-he probably looked like it, from Deidara's point of view. Especially if he had heard about Orochimaru. Yikes…

"Let's go," Itachi finally said, reaching down and untying Deidara. He grabbed the blonde's wrist, pulled him to his feet, and immediately threw him onto his cute little flying demon bird. "You're the one who knows how to steer this thing; I'll tell you where, and you go there. Very simple."

Deidara complied, but grumbled the entire way there.

OOOOOOOOOO

Pein was happy to see Deidara, to say the least. He also was impressed with Itachi for beating the blonde-haired bombshell, and gave Itachi a day off. He then took Deidara to introduce him to his new partner. Itachi figured it was Sasori; Orochimaru had been Sasori's partner and, now that he was gone, he would be replaced. And Pei wasn't likely to switch around people and mess up pairs. Sure enough, Deidara ended up with Sasori, as Itachi had thought. Itachi simply went back to his room and took a long, long shower. He was tired, and just wanted something to eat. And then, of course, to curl up in bed and sleep. And that was exactly what he did. After his shower, Itachi went into the kitchen, made some instant ramen, and then went and took a nice, long nap. Kisame was kind enough not to disturb him: and he also had the common sense not to.

OOOOOOOOOO

Itachi stayed with the Akatsuki until his death. Over the course of the years, Sasuke changed allegiances several times, always ending up on the wrong end of the bargain. But, somehow, he managed to kill his brother, leaving Madara the last remaining Uchiha. Sasuke never knew about Madara until Itachi's death; the oldest Uchiha had simply never bothered to reveal himself. Sasuke switched allies one last time, this time siding with Madara and going after the last of the bijuu. Pein and Konan remained with Madara, who never showed himself as Tobi again. Zetsu and Kisame both remained with Akatsuki, the only four remaining members from the original Akatsuki. Madara used Sasuke and his team of Juugo, Karin, and Suigetsu to complete the Akatsuki and seal all nine bijuu. Vengeance upon Orochimaru was never wreaked; the snake-man survived Sasuke and Itachi's battle, manifesting himself in Kabuto and then emerging into a new body. He claims to have forgotten Itachi; or done his best to do so. Itachi never cared. And he never will; he can't.

Forever still, a once-vibrant heart longs to tell his story. A story of love, betrayal, heartbreak, lust, power, mistrust, and hate. Itachi wanted to tell his brother for so long that he had done what he did for Sasuke himself. If the Uchihas had succeeded with their coup, they could have destroyed the entire known world. And while it killed Itachi to do so, he had to. And so, he killed them all, sparing only Sasuke for his own sake. This, Madara revealed to Sasuke after Itachi's death. But, by then, it was too late. Itachi was dead, and nothing could bring him back.

But Sasuke could sure as hell try. Orochimaru had done it, no?

A/N: Short, but I like it there. I might make a sequel, but for now, it's done. Please review; I like cookies and cake and pie and-

Oh, Happy Thanksgiving! :D