A/N: The Japanese drabble set, all for Sasuke, finally done and posted. It's a nice feeling to know that I'm almost fully over this drabble series and able to go back to what I need to be doing. BUT, the exercise is doing exactly what I needed it to, thankfully, and that is getting me writing.

These are all Japanese proverbs, and my translations, as with most Japanese, can be taken with a grain of salt. The general feeling is there, but trust me, they do not translate as directly as I'm making them seem to. And many of them point to stories, myths, colloquialisms that a Japanese person would know but we don't understand. After all, they wouldn't understand an American just saying something about presidents and a cherry tree.

And yes, they are short. It's Sasuke, remember? Not the most, um, verbose of people.

So, without further adieu, enjoy!


20 thoughts from Uchiha Sasuke

Isseki nicho- Two birds with one stone

They have ruined me, that stupid village, with their idiotic ideas and hopes and dreams. My family is dead, my brother gone, and one survivor stands in my way. He thinks I can't see his plotting mind, but he will realize, one day, when it's too late. It's not just Konoha I'm out to destroy.

Iwanu ga hana- Silence is golden (not speaking is a flower)

Nights like this, where it's dark and Karin has finally stopped screeching at Suigetsu for a few minutes, I hear the leaves rustling, the wind moving swiftly through the forest surrounding me. I hear their voices calling out to me, and I wish for only silence to fill the void.

Kabe ni mimi ari, shoji ne mi ari- The walls have ears, the doors have eyes

I will not lurk in this, this pitiful excuse for a pit any longer. The akatsuki are everywhere, and my treachery will become known too soon. I have to move swiftly.

Kaze no naka de sodatta ki ha ne ga tsuyoi- The root of a tree that grew up in wind is strong

There are times when I think I cannot do this—I cannot carry out what is destined for me. But I remember the anguish of seeing their bodies, I remember what I've lived through to get this far, and I keep going.

Tsume wo kakusu- Talented hawks hide their nails

We are team Hawk now, hiding under the guise of black and red robes, just waiting for our chance to strike out at those that surround us.

Saiou ga uma- You never know if something's a good or bad omen (Saiou's horse story)

Late at night, when he thinks I cannot see, he flows into my room. I feel him watching me, with eyes I have never seen before. The shivering is uncontrollable, but it passes as he does, and I'm left with a shadowed figure haunting my mind as it runs across the rooftops of the Uchiha compound late one fatal night.

Suru no ha shippai nani-mo shinai no ha daishippai- Doing is a mistake, not doing is a bigger one

Sometimes I want to turn around. Sometimes, I feel the curses dark power abate, and a small boy inside me screams that I can be that boy again, with at least some hope for the world. I can hold out and wait for Kakashi-sensei and my teammates to barrel through the door and come to my rescue. But the small boy sits there, petulantly, waiting for his savior, while I am my own.

Jiga jisan- You praise yourself

I know I've done well, I know I can fight them. But the village's nin rise strong against us, fighting for some inane dream of a village that is destroyed, and I laugh. They have nothing, now. Nothing. I am all they have in their future.

Amarimono ni ha fuku ga aru- Fortune exists among leftovers

I can see them as they try to pick up the scraps of their lives, and it sickens me. These people, who think their demolished village so much more important than my clan, demolished years before their own heartache. They know nothing.

Higurete mishi tooshi- It's a long way after dark

The forest is once again silent, calculating and repressive as I move through the trees towards my destination. It envelops me, and I welcome it, even as I feel its terror pressing down on me.

Tameru nara wakagi no uchi- While young, the tree can be easily bent

I feel him trying to bend me, trying to sway me to his will. His manipulation is powerful, something I've believed in before. But I am no longer the foolish boy who killed his brother. I will not yield to a half-insane immortal.

Ikihaji kaku yori, shinu ga mashi- Better to die than to live in shame

The first time I see his golden blond hair my heart stops, as if the Gods have just decreed my fate and sent it to me. He will be the one to finally end my suffering, I always knew he would. But this does not worry me—no matter what I may accomplish, I will have died trying.

Nama-byouhou wa ou-kega no moto- A little knowledge is a dangerous thing

His eyes darken with the delight of a man pulling down my world, and a gut-wrenching cry of rage heaves from my mouth as I throw my body toward the—traitor, coward, bastard—who has perpetrated the end of our line.

Mi kara deta sabi- You made your bed, you lie in it

The cell is lonely, but that's something I've grown used to over the years. It is the pitiful sympathy of those who stare as they walk by, the cries of joy from those outside the makeshift prison as they rebuild their homes, that destroys what little humanity is left inside of me.

Anzuru yori umu ga yasushi- Childbirth is easier than the worrying beforehand (always darkest before dawn)

They warned me hours before, when they would be coming. I haven't let the idea of my sentencing, my death, loom before me yet. I know what awaits me there, and I will not cower like the boy I once was. But that same boy, buried so deep inside me, lets out a keening wail at the thought of having to watch the nothingness of stone walls until my execution.

Issun saki wa yami- Darkness lies one inch ahead

I have always been one step behind those who plotted against me, my will and power be damned. Now, as I see the full room of nin waiting to hear my punishment, there is a new evil lurking just beyond my eyesight.

Muri ga toureba douri hikkomu- When illogic prevails, reason gives way

I don't understand. Why is this happening to me? What has he done? What did he do?!

Un wa yuusha o tasuku- Fate aids the courageous

When I step out of the prison for the first time in many months, the light is harsh on my eyes, killing my retinas with its glare. It doesn't help that he stands there in front of me, so bright and glaring, smiling as if the world had just bowed down to him.

Nana-korobi ya-oki- Fall down seven times, get up eight

Life, at least, life as I know it, has never been simple. There were far too many tripping points, each of which I caught. But when they both look at me, half-forgiving and half-scared I might pull out my sword and cut them down, I start to feel pieces shifting inside me. The weight is lifting, slowly, moving out of my chest and out into the world around me.

Hachijuu no tenarai- One may study calligraphy at eighty (never too old to learn)

I watch the small child leave the Academy, running through newly built streets and homes, and I feel a foreign sense of contentment swell inside of me. Perhaps, just perhaps, this is what my brother sought to protect. Not the family he had grown up in, not the brother he loved, but this new generation of Konoha shinobi, so young and powerless yet unlimited in where they may yet go.

I feel the gaze of those around me heat my body, and I turn to head to the new area of town where I live—an area no longer separate from the rest of my home, but nestled within it, much like Itachi always wished for.