She is Uchiha Mikoto, wife to one of the strongest shinobi in Konoha, scion of a noble clan.

Perhaps she did not graduate from the Academy at the tender age of eight (that honour is reserved for her firstborn – but is it really such an honour?);nevertheless, she is a capable kunoichi; after all, she was a Jounin before she married Fugaku.

Yes, it is Itachi who has become a full-fledged shinobi at eight, and steadily risen to ANBU captain at thirteen.

It is Itachi, the old men who are the Elders of the clan hiss, who brings glory to the name of the Uchiha. It is little Itachi who gives us something to brag about, to show off to the other clans. Give him to us, and we will make him great.

And Fugaku may be blinded by the promises of power and fame whispered in his ears, but she knows better.

(She is a kunoichi. She knows that in the world of shinobi, there is no fame, and that power is something that nobody should want. As shinobi, there is only infamy, and power corrupts and twists and only those who are pure of heart can control power and –

– she tries to be a good mother, she really does, tries so hard to believe in him – in her son – but she doesn't think that Itachi is capable of having so much power so young.

And what mother would wish infamy on her son?)

Mikoto remembers looking down at the tiny bundle in her arms when she first held Itachi, remembers vowing to protect him at all costs.

She smiles weakly at the ceiling. Really, what a failure she has been. She should have said no to her husband, should have put her foot down, should have –

Well. There are so many things she should have done that she regrets not doing now. And there are so many things she regrets doing, as well.

She reaches out with a hand that shakes to grasp Fugaku's cold marble hand – something about the genes in the Uchiha; they seem like pale stone statues, so perfectly chiseled – as she watches the rivers of blood flow down his body to pool on the floor.

(There will be stains, some part of her mind warns, but another part of her laughs and knows that this time, she will not be the one to scrub them off.)

(And part of her is screaming in terror, because this was not supposed to happen, and why are all of the Uchiha deaddyingnomore? Why is Itachi – )

Slowly she turns her face upward, and she meets the dark eyes of her quiet eldest son.

"Itachi…" she reaches out the hand not holding Fugaku's body close, trying to touch him with her quivering fingers. "Itachi…"

He spares her a glance, looking away from the door to the room. "Kaasan."

She coughs up blood and smiles at him. She knew this was coming, has known it ever since she saw the sorrow in his eyes as he watched Sasuke.

(It is the sorrow she felt when she left her home to marry Fugaku, it is the sorrow of loving something precious so much that you have to let it go, it is the sorrow of goodbye.)

"You… love Konoha… so much, then?" She gazes softly up at him, trying so hard, even despite her fuzzy vision (and that is the thing that the Uchiha most covet) to understand her son's actions.

(She is a mother. The mission scrolls found in her boy's room are forgotten as soon as she reads them. She will do anything to protect her child.)

He gives her a smile that she has not seen since he was a young child, still untainted by the Elders and by Fugaku and by the blood in which he is now drenched.

"Rest now, kaasan. You must be so tired from trying so hard."

She reaches for him still. "Itachi… keep Sasuke safe…"

Sasuke has always been the innocent one, the naïve one, the one who always needed protection and attention.

Itachi freezes for a moment before bending over.

He slides her eyes shut and she feels the wound from his katana (the katana that his father so proudly displayed to all the relatives only a few weeks ago – but it seems like it has been a lifetime, and why has Itachi changed? But she knows the answer to that.) so much more in the stifling silence as his slender, fine-boned hand covers her mouth and her nose.

She wants to cry out, wants to ask him why, wants to tell him she forgives him, that she loves him –

The world turns to black as Itachi kisses her forehead and quick footsteps echo on the steps just outside.

Mikoto falls, limp, onto Fugaku's body just before Sasuke bursts into the room.

"Kaasan! Otousan!"

Itachi steps forward, fighting back tears, and Sasuke screams. Everything has begun.

Mikoto should weep that Itachi is not a hardened criminal, that he is just her son, trying to do his duty to the village he so loves.

She should hold Sasuke and croon soft lullabies to him to calm him down, explain that his brother loves him so much that he would do anything for him.

But Mikoto can't do that anymore, because Mikoto is dead.

(And the smell of flowers that wafts into the house mingles with the scent of blood, and the moon screams as it is bathed in red.)

(Oh, my son, my son...)

here, at the


I have failed you

A morbid little Mikoto-fic for the holidays. I apologize to all the other Mikoto writers for butchering her character and her interactions with Itachi.

Just as, you know, a side note, there's a superstition that if you bring Queen Anne's Lace into your home, your mother will die. So… that's the title.