You're Not Hallucinating, Sasuke!

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.

Note: Yeah, this idea has been bothering me for a few weeks now, so I'm finally getting down to writing it, even though it's weird.

"I am SO late…" Sasuke noted as he ran back towards the Uchiha Compound. "God, it's three in the morning! Normally someone comes to get me if I stay out past midnight training. Maybe they forgot to come get me because that aura of death that was hanging over the Compound this morning killed someone and they're preoccupied by it…"

Sasuke stopped as his attention was caught by a figure silhouetted against the moon. "Nii-san?" Sasuke asked, confused. "Why are you standing on a telephone pole?"

Itachi didn't answer; he disappeared from sight.

"Fine, don't answer me," Sasuke grumbled. "I can ask you when I get home." He paused. "Assuming that wasn't a hallucination brought on by sleep deprivation."

As Sasuke entered the Compound, he could see bodies lying everywhere. "Wh-what is this?!?!" he cried out, alarmed. "Wait…I did suspect I was hallucinating two minutes ago, I should really make sure." With that, Sasuke approached the nearest body and nudged it with his foot. "Nope, that's definitely real. Unless of course my hallucinations are tactile. Either way, I'm going to deal with this in the morning. I probably shouldn't stay here as I see dead people everywhere, but I don't actually have anywhere else to stay…maybe I should look into making some friends my own age…"

With that, Sasuke decided to say goodnight to his parents and retire. "Mom! Dad!" he called, knocking on their door. The last time he hadn't knocked and just barged right in there he had been rather scarred and resolved not to do so again.

"Sasuke…don't come in…" Itachi's voice rang out.

Sasuke relaxed. If Itachi was in there, that meant that nothing disturbing was going on. Well…probably. Adults were weird. "You can't tell me what to do," he declared childishly before immediately disregarding his brother's warning and entering his parent's bedroom.

The sight of his parent's corpses greeted him. "…Nii-san, is it just me or are our parents lying dead in the middle of the floor?" Sasuke asked, starting to get disturbed. That was the last time he drank anything that randomly appeared on his desk when he wasn't looking. He'd thought it would be some sort of love potion but he was just so thirsty that he'd decided to risk it. After all, if he suddenly decided he was in love with a prepubescent girl before he had even hit puberty himself, he'd know something was up. The hallucinating was probably supposed to be how he was supposed to 'love' the girl, but was love really supposed to be this disturbing? Did his anonymous fangirl have some sort of orphan fetish or something? Because if they did, Naruto totally fit the bill already.

"Our parents are lying dead in the middle of the floor," Itachi confirmed, his voice strangely cold.

"I see…" Sasuke said, puzzled. Then, a thought struck him. "But wait, how do I know that you're not a hallucination, too?"

Itachi responded by throwing a shuriken at his shoulder. "If I were a hallucination, would you be bleeding right now?"

"I'm not sure that I am bleeding right now," Sasuke confessed. "After all, this could easily be the result of a visual and tactile hallucination."

"So you think all of this is a result of a hallucination?" Itachi questioned. At Sasuke's nod, he closed his eyes and groaned. "Foolish little brother…I never should have gotten you that book on mental disorders for your birthday…" He took a deep breath as his eyes flew open. "Mangekyou Sharingan!"

Instantly, visions of Itachi slaughtering the clan juxtaposed with good memories of the individual clan members invaded Sasuke's mind. Real or not, it was painful to see and he cried out. When it was over, he found he was lying on the floor. "Why was everything in black and white?" he wondered. "That was pretty trippy."

"For the last time, Sasuke, you are NOT hallucinating," Itachi said sternly.

"So it makes more sense that you would out of the blue decide to up and kill the clan for no apparent reason?" Sasuke shot back.

"Out of the…Sasuke, haven't you been paying any attention for the last few weeks? All of the tension and hostility has been leading up to this moment," Itachi explained.

"So…you had a fight with dad, neither of you would apologize, so you killed everyone?" Sasuke asked, raising his eyebrow. "That's a little drastic, don't you think?"

"No, it was to test my capacity," Itachi corrected.

"To test your-? Right, because that makes so much more sense," Sasuke said sarcastically. "Ah, well, I suppose my hallucination can't provide an adequate reason for why you'd kill everyone since I can't think of anything."

"I just gave you a reason," Itachi told him. "It was essential."

"Wait, what was that?" Sasuke's ears perked up. "Essential? Essential how?"

"Essential to test my capacity," Itachi lied.

"Nii-san…you're a pacifist. You hate killing. The only reason you joined ANBU was to try and make sure another war doesn't break out," Sasuke said softly. "So how am I supposed to believe such a violent act against your own family could be for any other reason than to try and prevent a war? But how could killing everyone stop a war from happening-?"

Recognizing this as a dangerous train of thought, Itachi interrupted, "Isn't now the time when you're supposed to bravely-but-foolishly charge at me with no clear plan of action?"

Sasuke shrugged. "Why would I? You're not real."

"Yes, I assure you, I am," Itachi told him, annoyed.

"Right, because I'm just going to take the word of my hallucination," Sasuke said sarcastically. "But fine, let's have it your way: you just killed everyone in the clan singlehandedly. I'm eight. What exactly am I supposed to be able to do against you?"

"I rather figured you'd be too traumatized to think of that," Itachi admitted.

"I probably would be if I thought for one minute that this was real," Sasuke consoled his brother.

"Why are you so insistent on this being a hallucination?" Itachi was starting to get frustrated. He couldn't properly motivate his little brother if the boy refused to believe him, after all.

"You mean other than the fact that this makes no sense? You've got no motive I can see and the logistics are just plain weird," Sasuke pointed out.

"I already told you my motive," Itachi countered. And it was true, in a way. To prevent the coup and the accompanying war, it was essential that the Uchiha died. "And what do you mean the logistics?"

"Outside it looked like there were signs of a battle and in here there don't. That means that at some point in time people realized what was happening and tried to fight back. If mom and dad were still alive by that point, they would have heard the alarm and wouldn't have been so obviously taken by surprise. Also, I saw you standing on a telephone pole earlier, so why would you come back here? You couldn't possibly have killed everyone in the two minutes it took me to get home after that. Were you waiting for me or something? And why wait in here if you didn't want me to see their bodies?" Sasuke asked reasonably.

Itachi didn't answer.

"You know what? This is weird. I don't think I can sleep here tonight. I'm going to go find a park bench somewhere and spend the night," Sasuke declared, turning to go. A few feet away from his house, his brother suddenly appeared in front of him. "And then there's that," Sasuke added. "I know suddenly appearing and disappearing are ninja techniques, but why use them now? It's not even like I'm running and if I were, you're still faster than me. Yes, you're definitely not my brother."

"The brother you wanted to spend time with has done this…to ascertain your 'capacity'," Itachi insisted.

"If you were my brother then why would you be speaking in third person?" Sasuke demanded, crossing his arms.

"So I could emphasize just how horrible this betrayal is," Itachi explained. "And you will be horrified, trust me…whenever you finally acknowledge it. I continued acting as the elder brother you desired, and I became your companion to see if that potential lies hidden."

"And you can tell that now? I'm eight," Sasuke pointed out. "And you were only five when I was born! Are you saying you've been evil and diabolical and planning this since then? This is getting less convincing the more you say."

With a put-upon sigh, Itachi continued, "You found me disagreeable and hated me. You continued wanting to surpass me. Because of that, I will let you live...for my sake."

"I don't hate you, Nii-san," Sasuke sounded surprised. "Well…if this were real, I probably would, but since it isn't, I don't. I'm jealous as hell that you're so much better than me and everything comes so easily to you and no one ever pays any attention to me whenever you're around, but you're my brother; I can't hate you. Besides, would I really want you to spend so much time with me if I did? And like you said, aside from the total lack of time commitment, you're a really good brother. What's there to hate? I mean, I wish you'd show emotion more often but…nobody's perfect, right? It's reassuring. And I'd probably freak out if you did start emoting, actually…"

"That's all meaningless now that I've killed the clan," Itachi pointed out.

"Yes, right," Sasuke said dismissively, still firmly entrenched in his belief that this was all a hallucination. "Out of curiosity, if you thought I hated you, why would you spare me for your sake? You'd think it would be the opposite…"

"I'm glad you asked that, Sasuke," Itachi said, sounding faintly pleased. "You can awaken the same Mangekyou Sharingan as me. However, there is a requirement." Itachi paused dramatically. "You must kill your closest friend."

"I knew it!" Sasuke shouted suddenly.

"Knew what?" Itachi asked, honestly confused.

"Kill my closest friend…that would be Naruto, I think, because I can always bribe him into distracting my fangirls. That means he's the one who put that stupid hallucination juice on my desk today!" Sasuke exclaimed.

"…I'm not even going to respond to that," Itachi decided.

"You totally just did," Sasuke informed his older brother. "Oh no! This means that I must subconsciously suspect you of killing Shisui-san! Even though you're not real and all, I am SO sorry."

"But I did kill him," Itachi insisted. "In fact, it was thanks to him that I was able to obtain this 'eye.'"

"Don't be so hard on yourself, Nii-san," Sasuke admonished gently. "I'm sure you didn't drive him to suicide."

Deciding for the sake of time to not argue the point, Itachi instead imparted the information his brother would need to confirm his words later, when reality set in. "At the main temple of the Nakano Shrine...on the far right side, under the 7th tatami mat is the clan's secret meeting place. There you will find what purpose the Doujutsu of the Uchiha clan originally served... The real secret is written there."

"The real secret?" Sasuke cocked his head quizzically. "Does that mean there's a fake secret? I don't even know that one."

"No, I don't mean that, just that the truth isn't exactly public knowledge, for obvious reasons. People are power-hungry and would go around slaughtering their companions left and right if they knew. In fact, you could say something a lot like this would have happened years ago. Sasuke, if you open your eyes to the truth..." Itachi trailed off. "Including myself, there will be three people who can handle the Mangekyou Sharingan. In that case, there would be a reason to let you live."

"I thought you were letting me live because you thought I hated you and you're apparently masochistic," Sasuke pointed out. "I know this is just a sick and twisted figment of my imagination, but I would appreciate it if you could stay consistent."

"You want consistent? How about this: it would be worthless to kill someone like you," Itachi said bluntly.

"…Worthless?" Sasuke couldn't believe it. "I'm really very good for my age, you know, but I am only eight and not all of us can be super-genius-prodigies, you know!" he said indignantly. "Besides, do you know how many bedridden relatives we have? You're saying that I'm not good enough to kill but they are? At least I can move!"

Itachi had actually meant that since Sasuke didn't know about the coup and was an innocent child no purpose could be served by striking him down alongside his clan, but the boy wasn't exactly supposed to realize that. "My foolish brother..." he sighed, shaking his head. If he were in Sasuke's shoes, he would have accepted the truth in at least half the time. Although if Sasuke were the one turned clan-slaughterer… "If you want to kill me...curse me! Hate me!"

"I want to subconsciously kill my brother?" Sasuke asked skeptically. "Why in the world would I want to do that? Hm, maybe I'm just feeling neglected because he never spends time with me anymore…"

"I am NOT your subconscious mind," Itachi disagreed.

"Well you're sure as hell not my conscious mind," Sasuke muttered.

" a long and unsightly life. Run away and cling to your pitiful life. And some day, when you have the same 'eyes' as me, come before me," Itachi said ominously, activating his Mangekyou Sharingan again.

"Wow, that's…sweet, in an incredibly disturbing way. You don't want me to die and you want me to stay out of danger!" Sasuke exclaimed happily. "I mean, I probably won't listen, but that's a nice thought, expressed in a very bizarre way. And I get that you don't like Naruto, but that's no reason to go around advocating his death…"

"I thought you didn't believe this was real?" Itachi pointed out. "Or have I convinced you finally?"

"Not nearly," Sasuke said frankly. "I just clearly subconsciously think that you want Naruto to die. Wow, I really have a lot of subconscious issues, don't I? I've GOT to look into that…"

Itachi could put it off no longer. "Mangekyou Sharingan!" He watched his brother crumple to the ground. Sasuke would be in for an unpleasant surprise when he woke up in the hospital.

After, of course, he modified his memory of the conversation.

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