Disclaimer: The characters, items, places etc of Naruto are property of Masashi Kishimoto. These objects are used without permission for entertainment only, not for making money. No infringement is intended.

WARNING: MANGA SPOILERS. STOP READING NOW IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO READ SPOILERS.

With that out of the way- regarding the developments with Itachi in the manga I've been wanting to delve a little into his mind the day before he slaughtered everyone. It's a little dark but there's no additional warnings. Enjoy :)

Compassionate Justice

a.k.a How I Paved My Own Road To Hell

By Nanaki Lioness

The night sky above the young couple was starlit and pretty, but it wasn't as pretty as the girl was- eyes dancing as she held Itachi's hand gently, clinging to it in that shy way young girls did when on a date with the boy they liked and swinging their arms just slightly as they walked. Itachi let her do it, running his long fingers over her knuckles and marvelling how soft her skin was and wondering if when she was dead and cooling if she would still be so. She was the prettiest girl he had ever seen, but then again he hadn't seen many and he doubted he would ever see another who would think he was worth the time. Good genetics only went so far when your hands were stained with the blood of the people who loved, raised and protected you after all.

On her doorstep, all Itachi could think about was how soft her dark hair was when he ran a hand through it, letting the strands tangle around his fingers. It seemed freshly washed- should he tell her not to wash it tomorrow? To spend her last day more wisely than that?

Last day.

He bit the thought down and gave her a smile, running a hand down the side of her face and around her chin to cup it. She blushed shyly, nervously playing with one of her earrings and giving him a small smile back.

"So... Shall we do this again?"

Itachi gave her his patented fake smile and fake nod but the sentiment behind them wasn't fake.

"I'd do this every night with you if I could," he whispered and he meant it.

She gave that sweet nervous laugh of hers once more- Itachi wanted to bottle it so he could hear it again when he needed something to lift him through the dark days he knew would be ahead. Maybe he could use it to drown out her screams.

"Dad will be annoyed if I stay out here much longer," she said, indicating behind her with one hand idly. "I should go in."

Itachi didn't say anything, hesitating for a moment before he stepped towards her and gave her cheek a soft kiss. She blushed and held a hand to it, then put her arms around him lightly.

"Good night," she told him.

Itachi clasped his hands around her back, clinging to her as though he could freeze time if he did and keep them both locked in this moment for the rest of eternity.

"Good night," he repeated, his voice level but his mind a mess. She would have a good night because it was to be her last- tomorrow night would be the worst night of her life, after all, so anything else would seem good in comparison. That was why he was here- one last date, one last kiss, one last good time before he cruelly ripped it all away from her.

He let her go because holding her any longer would be overstaying his welcome in her arms, giving her a smile and a small wave. She returned it and smiled that brilliant smile that Itachi etched into his memory and locked away on the spot, opening the door and disappearing inside.

The door closed shut with a soft click, leaving Itachi on the doorstep to stare at it for a moment. She was gone and the next time he saw her, he'd be breaking her trust and breaking her. He turned and swiftly walked away, willing himself not to throw up as he did so.

He walked with relative haste to reach his own house, but that was a fresh source of pain for him. He didn't agree with his father's actions but that didn't mean he wanted him to die. He didn't agree with the way his mother stood by their father through everything, good, bad, thick, thin and the just in-between but that didn't mean she should be sentenced to death too.

Sasuke...

Itachi closed his eyes, unable to think of his sweet younger brother as he pushed open the door to his home. He was eight. He wasn't involved, he wasn't deserving of the end that had been planned- he was just a child who adored his big brother and attempted to pull himself out of Itachi's shadow and become a great ninja.

Itachi laughed shortly as he padded softly through the hallways of the house. He wondered how adored he would be when he appeared before them holding the blade that would take their lives. How great of a ninja he actually was when his biggest triumph would be the slaying of his family.

He was thankful he didn't meet any of his family in the hall as he stepped into his room and closed the door behind him, trying to ignore the shaking of his hand as he did so. He'd have to crush that by tomorrow else Madara would think he was a fool, just like he had to crush everything else inside him until there was nothing but spite left.

He threw himself down on the bed, not even bothering to remove his clothes as he buried his face in his pillow. He would be a quick and merciful Angel of Death, leaving none to suffer and that would make it alright. He doubted Madara would be so kind which was why he had made it clear he wanted to be tasked with the deaths of his closest, precious people.

He closed his eyes- it had been an impossible choice at his tender age. Kill your own family swiftly and let them die knowing of your betrayal in their last moments, or leave them in the hands of someone who would likely make them suffer just because of who they were to Itachi? The betrayal would mean nothing because once they were dead they were gone and they wouldn't remember that, or anything. The only person who would have to live with it would be himself and he was deserving of that for his part in their folly. That was what he told himself.

He had no idea what to tell himself when sleep would not come. He silently prayed for it even though he was far too jaded now to believe in any deities above- there was no God, no merciful afterlife. There was just him and his justice for his beloved village, filing it all away in his memory as just yet another mistake for being born into such an elite bloodline.

He had tried to distance them all in preparation for the day he hoped would never come, yet now it was almost here and he wasn't ready for it. He would never be ready for it. Chilling thoughts and bittersweet memories of his younger days flooded his mind and he closed his eyes tighter, hoping it might quell them.

It didn't. He accepted that, just as he accepted everything else as he paved his way to the Hell he didn't believe in because believing in Hell meant believing in deities, and he had already told himself he was the only deity worth thinking about. Hell was here and now- no eternal fire or suffering could compare to his own mind.

He was God, he was destiny, he was justice, he was everything that ever mattered and ever would matter. He was life and he was death and he was Itachi- cursed from birth and cursed to death by spirits he didn't believe in, living in his own Hell he was set to create.