Now on to a different fandom for a bit. Naruto. Yes, I've been a fan for nearly 10 years. And two very traumatic events happened. Seeing Neji die literally broke my heart. Before you speak and say I'm crazy, STOP. I wasted nearly 8 years of my life watching Neji grow and blossom into such a wonderful character that had such a fascinating development, much like I've enjoyed Gaara's, to only have Neji mercilessly slain RIGHT IN FRONT OF HINATA AND NARUTO. As a matter of fact, he died protecting them. I was stunned and speechless. Why Neji? Why not Shino? lol. Regardless that killed me. But first, there was the heart wrenching chapters 590-592 of Naruto with Itachi and Sasuke. Now that...that brought me to sobs. His undying love for Sasuke and the kind heart that dwelled within Itachi was enough to make me cry, but no, they show us things through Itachi's eyes and his anguish over killing his parents. I was weeping by that point. But what truly got me was Itachi telling Sasuke that he would love him forever. That hit home for me. I was so touched by the scene that I am writing my interpretation of what should have happened after that, instead of Jugo and Suigetsu finding him. Sasuke's time to grieve for the selfless hero that Itachi really was.

All rights and character belong to Kishimoto. I despise him ATM.

Fallen Ashes

Sasuke stared speechlessly into his brothers quickly fading coal hues, hues that were oddly vibrant with love for his younger brother. Endless dark depths that should be dull and listless due to the fact that his elder brother was dead, and is dying once again before him. The serene smile that resided on his brother's face faded and with it was the last traces of his beloved brother, once loathed but now adored. Sasuke's own pair of obsidian depths gazed upon the mere ashes that scattered the air like rain, the only thing left of Itachi. He was shaken, visibly trembling, Itachi's words replaying in his mind.

The lone Uchiha couldn't hope to move, he was rooted to the spot as tears pricked the back of his eyes. This certainly couldn't be it. His brother couldn't be really dead after just finding out the truth, the truth from his own brothers eyes. Literally. Damn his shared vision with the elder Uchiha, because that was too much to bear. Seeing the anguish and tears spill from his brother as he was forced to slay his own parents...just...to save him. His gentle brother.

Sasuke had never thought his brother was gentle after witnessing him slay his parents with what looked like no remorse, but now Sasuke saw how his brother truly felt. How could he have been so blind?!

Like a flood, tears broke the dam that had held them at bay for so long, the tears thick and unrelenting. It had been so long since he had showed any emotion like this, tears now foreign to him. He couldn't help the gentle sobs that erupted from him every so often, nor could he help falling to his knees, his head hanging as he wept unashamed over losing his brother once again. For the third time.

Once he'd lost Itachi to what Sasuke had initially thought was madness and insanity driving his brother to commit such heinous crimes, he now knew that that wasn't the case at all. He had been driven to something, yes, but it was not of his own choosing. His brother chose to save him, an innocent child, over a whole clan of relatives. Sasuke knew that his brother truly loved him in that moment, REALLY loved him with his whole being. The kind smiles of his Nii-San would never be seen again, the playful poking of his forehead and the ever wise advice from the elder Uchiha that admitted his own faults and arrogance from the past...his lack of being perfect and figuring it out far too late. Admitting and regretting past mistakes. He would never hear his brother's voice again. That revelation hit Sasuke so hard that it nearly knocked the breath from him, bringing on another wave of sobs as his strong hands fisted in the grassy earth. Strong hands that had ended his own brother's life.

The second time he'd lost his brother, he'd killed him with his own hands. That somber thought made Sasuke want to retch right at that moment. He'd hated Itachi for so many years and when he finally got his chance to extract his so called 'Revenge' on his own brother, he did. In the worst way possible. God, How Sasuke wished he had known the truth ahead of time! He should have noticed the small but painstakingly obvious signs that his brother was not who others claimed he was, who Sasuke thought...no...KNEW he was. Or thought he knew. Itachi could never truly kill him. That should have made Sasuke question Itachi but he never did, letting his hate fester and grow into something completely inhuman and forcing him to revert into something he loathed to see in the mirror. This unbridled and senseless hate caused Sasuke to make many stupid and impulsive decisions, all in the quest to gain power to defeat his brother. But when the task was complete, it was bittersweet. His brother gave him his eye, essentially had given him the Eternal Mangekyo Sharingan. He was acting odd, much like the brother he loved in his youth. Not only loved, Idolized, adored, aspired to be. He had wanted to die. In that thought, it brought a deep sadness to his heart. Sasuke pondered why, but he found out in due time, thanks to Tobi.

That had drastically changed his life.

He then hated Konohagakure more than ever. How could they do that to his brother? How could Danzou allow people to slander his brother?! Itachi was a fucking hero! And it brought ire to Sasuke's veins, his very blood, to hear people speak ill of his brother now that he knew the truth. Traitor! If only those fools knew what his dear brother had to sacrifice for their measly and insignificant lives! Sasuke let out a howl of anger then, beating his fists into the soft grassy dirt until the grass was smashed into a dirt crater around his fists. As tears rapidly spilled from his empty ebony orbs, Sasuke shook his head furiously as rage burned in his heart, his soul.

His Nii-San had given up everything to save that stupid piece of shit village! His very soul, his heart and his life as a noble shinobi of the Anbu squad. His personality and individuality was swallowed up in a chasm of lies and he was labeled a traitor and forced to leave the village. The very same village that he betrayed his own kin to protect! He was no longer the gentle, loving yet stern brother that Sasuke loved and adored...no...He was something quite evil and dark. Or so Sasuke thought. Little did he know that his brother resided so far deep into his very being that nobody could have ever even knew it until his final bout with Sasuke. Where he killed his own brother with his own hands. Gods, he was a monster. Sasuke was no better than those who manipulated Itachi for their own purposes, twisting and perverting him to be something that he was not. How much did his brother have to endure? Sasuke wondered this while knowing the answer already, having seen through his brothers eyes and his memories.

An infinite amount of pain.

Itachi's despair and remorse swallowed him whole, causing him to slowly deteriorate, emotionally and physically. His brother had endured enough pain to shroud the entire world in darkness, but yet...somehow, the elder Uchiha remained the gentle man that Sasuke once knew and loved. Underneath all of the lies and bullshit, he remained the same kind Nii-San that was always just trying to put him in the right direction, and even so much as admitted that he had failed Sasuke in way because due to the way that he had attempted to nudge him in the right direction, it had ended up pushing him into the den of a snake. Literally. Upon thinking of Orochimaru, Sasuke cringed, his body trembling from the feeling of hopelessness that was overwhelming him.

For some reason, the thought of never hearing his older brother's voice again was too much to bear. Sasuke didn't even truly understand why that was exactly, because he had went several years without hearing his elder brothers voice, a voice that in his preteen and teenage years had seemed cold and monotone, but in actuality was awfully soft, kind and warm...loving. And then it hit him like crashing into a stone wall. It was that kind...warm...and loving voice that had unknowingly kept him going all these years. Buried so deep that not even Sasuke had realized himself, he always cherished that voice. A voice that was just like his mother's voice, not empty and disapproving, like his father, No...the deceased Uchiha's voice was rich with affection and adoration, like he had actually loved his younger brother. And love he did, thought Sasuke bitterly. He loved me more than I could have ever thought possible.

Tears slowly leaked from behind gloomy ebony depths, this time the flow of tears was childlike somehow, beautiful even. The crystalline droplets cascaded down his pale cheeks like a stream of perfection. There was no more rage in him at this very moment, all there was in him was complete and unbridled pain. Anguish. His ebony tresses guarded his face like a veil, shielding anyone from capturing the raw emotion etched on his face. Not just his face, but his eyes, his soul. Etched into his very being. Sasuke was completely vulnerable at this moment and he did not care in the slightest.

His lids felt heavy, heavy as the weight that was just thrust upon his heart. His lithe and lean body slumped even further. The young Uchiha allowed his weary body to fall to a defeated heap, not only due to the exhaustion of just having to fight Kabuto and all of his might, which was a whole hell of a lot and Sasuke figured he would have been screwed had the older Uchiha not been there to aid him. Sasuke was also very exhausted due to his mental state as of late. Most people didn't realize nor understand what type of exertion that carrying around such hate and rage can do to a person's mental state and body. Sasuke knew better than anyone on that fact. All he wanted now was rest. To fall into a deep slumber and wake seeing the loving faces of his kind elder brother, his comrades and friends of Team Seven and just to have this from the last few years be a horrifying nightmare. But even as his aching body twitched in anxiousness, Sasuke knew that would never be. He squeezed his eyes tightly shut and knew with a terrifying clarity that his brother was dead. Dead by his own hand. GONE.

Not only that, he highly doubted that after all of the heinous things that he had done and the awful way that he had treated them that there was no way that Sakura, Kakashi-Sensei and Naruto would ever want to see his face again. All he had given them for their deep love and unwavering loyalty as friends and comrades was hostility and fury, thrown in their face like it was their fault when there was no way possible that it could ever be. Sakura was a girl who was not only his friend, but was also hopelessly in love with him. No matter how many times he shot her advances down, she always greeted him with a smile and true kindness. There was no way in Hell that she loved him any longer, much less could even tolerate him.

Kakashi-Sensei had become like an older brother of sorts to him. He was nothing like his Nii-San, but he taught Sasuke things that he could have never learned without the aid of the powerful shinobi with a single sharingan eye. Like the Raikiri. Kakashi had treated him like he was family and Sasuke had returned his sentiments with running off with the enemy in a quest to attain power. Strength. It was an insatiable thirst that he had and Sasuke thought back to when he left, Kami could only know what the Hell had been on his mind then. Kakashi was only just another name to add to the list of people that he had failed that had truly loved him.

And...Naruto. The one that he had hurt the most, too many times to count. Sasuke allowed a shaky sigh to exit his lips. Naruto had been the one true friend that he had ever had. The one person, who had understood him and had cared about him, treated him like an equal and respected his power. Respected his quest to kill his own brother. Even though Naruto didn't condone wanting to kill a family member, even one that was as evil as Itachi, he still didn't give Sasuke Hell at that. Naruto had no family, or none alive at least, but he always smiled and acted like nothing bothered him. Naruto always wanted to bring out the best in people, always saw the good in people. He changed people. He changed that arrogant prick Neji into a humble man who actually didn't hold himself on a pedestal over everyone else. He changed that lunatic Gaara into a man who wasn't truly lonely and alone. He gave Gaara the gift of friendship and others started to follow, even people whom he had brutally hurt like Rock Lee had come around to be his friend. Because he had changed. He was even Kazekage of his village! Sasuke felt the tears building up behind his eyes as he pondered this. He could have changed me as well, if I had given him the chance. I could have been a good person, one who didn't need to thirst for the blood of my only brother. If I had just let it go...then Itachi might still be alive. With that thought, a flood of tears sprang from Sasuke's tightly shut eyes and dripped immediately onto the grass beneath him. He struggled to breathe as he wept so heartily, choking out anguished sobs of regretful remorse. If he had only known the truth...he would never had killed his brother, he would have never been the monster that he created with his own hands.

If Sasuke had just let people in instead of constantly pushing others away then his life would have been much different. He could have learned to forgive and could have possibly learned the truth about Itachi's past crimes in a different way. Not from Tobi, no, perhaps from his own brothers mouth. Sasuke clenched his fists, his nails biting into the rough flesh of his palm. His teeth gritting, Sasuke realized that if he just let Naruto be his best friend, life as he knew it now wouldn't exist. This self-created Hell wouldn't exist. Naruto probably would always consider the young Uchiha a friend because that was just how Naruto is. The Uzumaki ninja would always have a huge heart and accept anyone into it. No matter if they hurt someone he loved or not, that was just Naruto. Sasuke shook his face into the now wet grass and dirt, causing it to smudge onto his beautiful face. No, he didn't deserve Naruto's undying loyalty and comradery.

Aware that Kabuto was standing there like a mindless drone due to his elder brothers powerful Izanami technique, Sasuke still had no desire to move his body, which had nestled itself into the fetal position. All these thoughts circulated in his mind. What is a clan? Sasuke thought in a lost, forlorn manner, the only image his mind could conjure up was an image of the brother that he had loved so dearly, looking peaceful and serene. What...what is a village? This time an image of the village of Konohagakure came to mind, the place he once called home that he had now forsaken, had damned due to their treatment of his gentle brother. What is...a shinobi? This image hurt him, for his mind had already pulled forth images of his "friends"from Konoha. Naruto, Sakura, Kakashi, Kiba, Shino, Shikamaru, Chouji, Neji, Hinata, Lee and the whole brood of them. Tsunade and the other Kage's, including Gaara. He knew the answers to what he wished to know...but the next wondering thought could not be answered so easily as the last.

What...what am I?

Sasuke pondered for a long moment about that very question, the only words being brought forth were words of self-loathing. What am I indeed? Vile. Traitor. Selfish. Arrogant. Standoffish. Unlovable. Worthless. Sasuke furiously thought with a sudden ire that surprised him. He was taken aback at how disgusted he was with himself, with how he had allowed his life to progress, fueled by a hate that made no sense. Sasuke should have doubted his brother's actions, his words on that fateful night where his clan was slaughtered, but he didn't. Instead, he continued on with hate and resentment in mind. With one goal in mind, revenge. Sasuke had thought it rather heroic that he had wanted to avenge his kin, his parents, but somewhere along the line it had warped into something rather unheroic. Sasuke had become the anti-hero. The most traumatic event was witnessing the tears pour from his elder brother's eyes as he struggled to carry out the demise of his parents. That one vision alone will never leave the troubled young Uchiha. One vision among an arsenal of others.

Sasuke felt himself begin to drift into the sweet surrender of unconsciousness. He wasn't injured badly in the bout with Kabuto but felt exhaustion sweep over him as his mind tugged at his psyche', urging him not to pass out here, in front of an enemy. Sasuke knew instinctively that Kabuto would not break from this Jutsu, but other enemies could approach. His mind made a good point, however, Sasuke found himself powerless to stop the lull of some kind of peace of mind, some kind of respite from the endless pain he seemed to feel. The only thing that reverberated repeatedly through his weary mind was the words his dear brother had spoken to him as their final goodbye.

"You don't have to forgive me...no matter what you decide from now on...I Will Love You Forever."