Shattered Truth

Each one of Madara's words broke through Sasuke's heart and shattered the truth he'd believed for so long, his whole reason for revenge, his ultimate goal, wasn't it to defeat his brother? The murderer who destroyed his own clan? He didn't want to believe it, didn't even want to hear it anymore. If he allowed himself to accept it, then what had he been doing till this point in life? What was his reason for existing? For living?

He'd managed to convince himself that revenge was what mattered the most, but what if it had always been lies? Illusions his brother created to protect him? He wanted to push the truth away, even as he already knew it, knew the truth inside his heart. And as he finally accepted it, immense agony and pain tore through him, tears flowing uncontrollably down his face, staining his clothes. It was the first time he showed his true emotions ever since his clan was killed, the true and only time.

Why had I been so blind? He repeated over and over in his head, wasn't the truth displayed there all along? He saw the pain beneath his brother's mask, the hesitation in his thoughts. But he never doubted it, never even thought about how false his brother's excuse that night had been. If he had allowed himself just to ponder on his words longer, he would have tore through his brother's pretense.

He thought he knew his brother more than anyone, but did he? Did he really? What did he really know about him then? What? And the answer was simple, Nothing. He knew nothing about what his brother had been suffering, refused to accept that the man had one ounce of human emotion left inside him.

Sasuke always thought he had been the one to suffer the most, because what was more painful than watching those you loved dead, one by one, killed by the one person in the world you trusted the most?

As more liquid dripped onto the floor, he couldn't help but think about the old times, the only times he had truly been happy, and every time, the image of his brother appeared inevitably. Wasn't it his brother that gave him true happiness? Wasn't his time spent with him what mattered most? The love in his eyes that always reflected his precious little brother's image in his eyes. Eyes full of hidden torture, because he knew what was to come, knew it was unavoidable.

And yet, the man who had killed his own parents and clan, couldn't bring

himself to kill his brother.

Madara's words echoed in his mind. The image of his brother covered with blood, dead and lying on the ground flashed through, and contrasted sharply with the brother he knew from when he had been a child, and remembered the smile his brother had shown him during the final moments of the battle, the last words he left.

Despite this, Itachi Uchiha died with a smile on his face.

The smile that was reserved only for him. Even when the sickness took over his body and the pain rattled through his frame, there had only been the thought of his little brother, the thought of the being he treasured the most in the world, even as his hands were tainted with blood, blood of his own clan. Even when Itachi had made up his mind to commit the ultimate sin, when he came face to face with his brother, he couldn't bring himself to do it. Not him. Anyone but him. Everything that Itachi had done to him, for him, it was always to protect him, and he was so foolish to have not seen it.

Even if you hate me, that's what being an older brother means. He played the role of an older brother to the end,and showed Sasuke his smile, the same smile he used to show him back then, back when they were both children. He didn't even ask for forgiveness, because he believed he deserved none. "It's me," Sasuke whispered to himself, "it's me that's unworthy of your love."

The unwavering love that never changed over time…

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If only things could return to back then…back when we were happy...

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"Itachi-nii san, will you always be by my side?"

Itachi didn't answer, but only smiled as a response to his brother's question. Sasuke pulled on the hem of his brother's shirt, demanding an answer. "Well, will you?"

"I might not always be by your side, Sasuke," His brother's voice was grave, "but I'll always be watching over you, even when there comes a day when you can't see me anymore."

Sasuke smiled innocently, "when that time comes, I'll hold onto Itachi-nii san so you can't go away!"

His older brother chuckled deeply, and gently poked his forehead, "Perhaps, Sasuke, Perhaps…"

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Only silence remained.

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