The words slipped past his lips without his consent. A shocked expression flickered for a moment on his face before sinking back into its normal passiveness. He was on the brink of death, the Chidori in his little brother's hands giving him a constant reminder and he tried to focus back to the task at hand.
The task at hand was… to die.
He tried intercepting it, watching as his summoning of Susanoo disappeared in a puff of smoke. Tired eyes swirled with the Sharingan and he desperately fought against the blood that threatened to cough out of his lips. A dying man denying death to give his little brother the chance to kill him. What a perishable thought.
Sasuke charged forward, Chidori in hand as was his trademark attack. Itachi couldn't help but inwardly sigh at his cliché ness. He could have moved from his spot on the ground and evaded his brother's pathetic attack but he was too tired already and decided it was time to give Sasuke what he wanted.
Thoughts of Naruto came back to him. Why he thought of the noisy and reckless genin Jinchuuriki at the times of his death was beyond his logic but allowed the thoughts to linger. Naruto-kun, in his opinion, was an exemplary shinobi in terms of power, beliefs and influence. The boy had the aid of Kyuubi and hard years of training, a haunted past that molded him into a mature teenager, and the help of powerful friends and mentors. It would be a real waste to kill him but the extraction process was necessary and the blonde would most probably die because of it.
But still, why the boy? Out of many others whom he knew, why would the boy invade his thoughts now of all times?
Maybe it was because of their short meeting a few days back. They talked as friends or if one were to put it straight, they talked as enemies bound by a temporary truce. He remembered the brat's hostility and uneasiness towards him that all throughout their little chat, was sitting stiffly by a log farthest away from Itachi.
He chuckled, as much as he could remember. Telling the boy afterwards that he meant no harm even if it didn't sound too convincing. But Naruto seemed much more comfortable speaking to him after that. He was surprised at the sudden change but thought of it as a good sign and tried continuing their talk.
During that small time together, Itachi came to realize how different the real Naruto was compared to idiot he faced in battle. The brash attitude was gone as he spoke and he saw the silent genius that hid behind it. The boy had a remarkable insight on life and reality that he understood things better than the norm. The former Konoha nin was impressed and vaguely remembered commenting on it.
From the corner of his eye, Sasuke seemed closer to him now and he could almost feel the irritating sparks of the lightning jutsu prickling on his blood and grime covered skin. But his thoughts remained on Naruto and how he blushed slightly and tried to cover his embarrassment after Itachi made that innocent fleeting comment.
He looked quite cute.
Was all Itachi could think of.
And now, thinking of the boy in the last moments of his life, he wondered once more. Why was he thinking of the boy?
He was an enigmatic person in Itachi's opinion and he knew many would protest if he were to say it aloud. To the Uchiha, everyone was an open book even the most cold and reserved people because being one himself, was quite an expert in guessing what others thought. But Naruto-kun was a mystery. The new discovery of his wise self continued adding to that fact.
And Uchiha Itachi never associated with uninteresting people. Uzumaki Naruto was interesting enough even without the existence of the Kyuubi. He thought that if the demon fox had not been sealed inside the blonde, he would still have grown into a great shinobi, bad past or not. He had a natural ability to bring those around him at ease and most possibly make them his friend and others say that sometimes your friends are your strength. And Uzumaki Naruto has many friends proving time and time again that he was strong enough to hold their trust.
And he was strong, big deal… if one would compare all of Naruto's connections to those of Itachi's; the blonde's list would pale in comparison to the influence and extent of the Akatsuki member's.
Naruto-kun wasn't just strong; he was kind of cute actually as Itachi had said it before.
His blonde hair was longer and didn't stand in a crown of spikes anymore. In fact, it was that blasted forehead protector's fault for keeping up his golden locks. If you would take it off, his hair would fall into a wonderful frame around his face showing how angel-like he looked. His face was much more mature; the chubby cheeks of his youth were gone and Itachi could see how high cheekbones were starting to appear. And then Naruto's eyes. They were the most eye-catching. Itachi had never seen a color such as that before and would always be reminded of his dreams as a young child of a peaceful and war-free world.
Everything about the blonde, Itachi had so much wanted; even if the man hated to admit it.
The man in his whole life only desired one thing, peace. And Naruto, for him, was the complete epitome of peace. Even if that peace was represented in brashness and idiocy, Itachi didn't mind one bit.
Because you see, because everyone has already forgotten, Itachi was a war baby. Having been born during the war and living through the early years of his life to the end of the last battle, his young mind became susceptible to the logic and concept of destruction that it became fragile to the degree that he would be under breakdown. He had enough of destruction and he wished so badly for peace so he created a wall around him.
A wall that kept the destruction and violence of reality out and he would be safe inside solitude, in his small makeshift world of peace. Thus the untouchable and emotionless visage of the man was created.
It had done its job, so very well that Itachi had never felt more contented in his life than ever before. He was only 13 years old then with a crybaby 7 year old little brother. Everything had been so normal, so right. And then, the Uchiha Massacre occurred and the peace he always wanted, he knew by then, would never come…
He returned to reality just moments into seeing Sasuke a few meters to slamming the ball of lightning into his chest. Really, typical of the boy. The Akatsuki member could still move, but would not move.
'I want to die.'
That sounded childish. Here he was at the last moments of his life and he still had time to make such silly comments on his own speech. The man really was a psychotic bastard, as Naruto had once said.
And here we are again, back to Naruto.
Why him? Of all people, why him? Why Naruto??
Does Itachi have something special with the boy?
Is the boy special in Itachi's eyes?
Is Itachi that interested in the boy?
Does Itachi like him?
Does Itachi love Naruto?
A fleeting thought but it seems it gave Itachi a feeling of realization as if everything clicked. He seemed it was love. The feeling in his heart (and loins) every time he would see the blonde. And it was also a reasonable explanation to those rather vivid dreams.
At the moment of his death, Itachi knew that he loved Naruto.
Maybe that was why he was thinking of the blonde in the first place. His unconscious mind wanting to inform him that he held these forbidden feeling for the enigmatic Jinchuuriki before it shut down for good.
At least Itachi loved someone.
Sasuke was very near now. Some of those stray sparks jolted under his skin and he shook slightly at the sensation. The thoughts that ran through his head were heavy on his mind but he relished the feeling. His little brother was close; he felt his hand slam hard into his chest, the jutsu tearing away cloth, skin and flesh.
It didn't hurt a bit as he was focused more on his last minute information of a crush. He at least wanted to tell Naruto he loved him but he knew he couldn't. He was going to die soon and couldn't even confess his feelings to the boy but he knew he would get one of his silly wishes of peace.
With that though in his mind, Uchiha Itachi smiled in resignation to his faith. 'So this is what death feels like.' He felt the cold hand of his brother go through him but all he felt was a chilling contentedness in his heart. He must've freaked his little brother out as a surprised reaction came over his face.
'Is it really surprising of me to smile?'
'No… I think you look beautiful.'
Naruto's voice rang in his ears. He said those lovely words in their last meeting, after Itachi had just smiled at Naruto's embarrassment over his little comment. Naruto said he was beautiful.
And Itachi thought how glad it was to be called pretty if it came from the one you love.
His eyes closed in defeat, feeling death's painful grip. But before he could close them, the cold hands of death released its hold and he was thrown into comforting warmth. The last image his eyes saw were two deep pools of blue filled with worry that he knew only one person could own.
A/N: What started with "Naruto-kun…" ended with "Naruto-kun…". Even if I didn't intend it to be that way, I'm kinda glad it did! It's finally out so let me hear what is going on in your mind so be blessed because all you need to do is click that Review button in the middle and send me your goddamn comment!
*Oh man… it's Lent and I'm cursing against God… not good.
Reviews are appreciated.