Long fics and I haven't gotten along well lately, so I'm attempting my first drabble fic. Less pressure without trying to get 2000+ words in every chapter. :)

Fans of my other stories - don't kill me! I'll get back to my fics... sooner or later. Please put the impliments of torture down...

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It was cold. Raindrops spattered against the ruined stonework, hissing as they met with amaterasu flames. The sky cried overhead, mourning the death of honor.

Sasuke was oblivious to it all.

Itachi was dead. His blank eyes stared into the distance, cold and empty.

It's over. It's finally over.

The ache in Sasuke's chest didn't receed. Anguish overcame him as he collapsed beside his brother's corpse. Images of his father and mother rampaged across his mind's eye, the loss overwhelming him as though the massacre had occurred yesterday. The hurt whelled up inside, choking him with tears that had remained buried since they day he returned home and found the chalk outline on the floor. The raw pain was unmerciful, tearing at his ravaged heart and making it bleed anew.

"I have avenged you, Mother and Father," Sasuke whispered into the wet stone. "I kept my promise."

There was no answer from the ghosts of the past. He had fulfilled his duty, but there was no peace for his soul. The torment that had not relinquished him for eight years still punished him with a nagging guilt. He had taken too long. He had allowed too many to suffer under Itachi's tyranny. He should have left Konoha sooner.

No. He should never have left at all. With the burden of his vengeance released, Sasuke could freely remember the past and the comoradary... no, the friendship he allowed himself during that brief period. Naruto. The blond idiot who never gave up on him, even when Sasuke tried to kill him. Kakashi. The only shinobi Sasuke could say he was proud to have called a teacher. Sakura... No further words were neccessary. The tight fisted, fiery blossom was mystery to him. Once he thought he could understand her childish ways, but time and time again she had proved him wrong.

For the first time since leaving Konoha, Sasuke admitted to himself that he missed them all. If given another chance, if the village would take him back, he knew he would make things different. He'd tell the dobe never to change, assure Kakashi that he hadn't failed, punch Sai in the nose for good measure, and promise Sakura that he would never leave her again.

A bitter smile crossed Sasuke's features. After everything he had done, there was little chance they would ever accept him back into the fold. He had committed every sin short of killing his own teammates, and such an act had crossed his mind more than once. Now that his task was complete, he had nowhere left to go.

Such a thought had never occurred to Sasuke. His gaze drifted lazily to Itachi's silent form. In a way, Itachi had granted him a favor. He could use his brother's death as a ticket into the Hokage's graces. The bounty on Itachi's head must be catatonic. With proof of Itachi's demise and that of Orochimaru's, Sasuke might eventually regain his status in the village. It was a pleasant thought, though hardly realistic.

Rainwater streaked down Sasuke's cheeks, masking the tears cascading from his tired eyes. If only there had been another way. If only Kaasan and Tousan hadn't died, and he hadn't felt compelled to flee the relevant safety of his home village. If only somehow everything could have been prevented.

It was not to be so. Life was cruel and down to earth. Changing the past was a dream of storytelling, not reality. Sasuke could almost hear Itachi's chastising when he had been much younger and naiive enough to plead with his father for a chance to join the ANBU.

"Be careful what you wish for, little brother."

"But it's not for myself," Sasuke whispered into the sheets of rain. "It's for others this time."

For Naruto. For Kakashi and Iruka and those who had strived to train him to accept peace rather than bloodshed. For his mother and father and the victims of Itachi's madness.

For Sakura.

For Sakura, he would take everything back.

"Be careful what you wish for..." The words rang clear in Sasuke's head as the grey fog descended and he surrendered to the blackness.

. . .. . .. . .

Slowly Sasuke opened his eyes, blinking as the sunlight from the window hit him full in the face.


Realization dawned as he sat up and looked around the room that was so familiar it hurt. Sasuke rubbed his eyes and blinked hard, waiting for the vision to vanish. The breeze played softly through the open window, wafting around neglected toys that lay scattered on the floor.

His breath coming in shuddering pants, Sasuke raised his hands to eye level. Too small to hold a katana properly, they stung from a dozen tiny cuts from improperly handled shuriken. The callouses from years of training his chidori had vanished.

Reality crashed upon him like a splash of icy water in the face.

Mikoto's voice called from somewhere behind the closed door, and Sasuke's world shattered.

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Okay, really long drabble. Oh well, using the term "drabble" gives me an excuse to update with only 300 words written. D

Reviews = story continued. I have a couple popular fics already, so if I start one and it doesn't go along well I just delete it so that it won't interfere with my other stories. :/