Disclaimer: Not mine, alas.
Spoilers: Augh. Early part of Naruto, Uchiha massacre.
Summary: Sasuke dies.
Ratings Notes/Warnings: R; violence, disturbing themes, blood, some profanity
Author’s Notes: Happy Birthday, Hana! This is the fic that refused to end, all for you. This is also the fic that I refuse to let die alone, because I can see so much backstory everywhere that needs to be crammed into this universe, which I am so very in love with. At over 9,000 words, this is one of the longest one-shots I have ever written.
Feedback: makes me happy. firstname.lastname@example.org
“Close your eyes,” Itachi whispers, his hand stroking an old pattern on Sasuke’s hair. Sasuke obeys and thinks of his brother, of his mother and father and friends. He sees swirls and spots on the backs of his eyelids, a mesh of dizzying bluegreenpurple fireworks.
He sees the sky in his mind and for a moment there is the sensation of falling, a tiny bird in the open blue; the wind catches him, lifts him high up where he can soar, safe and alone. The moon is half-full.
The blade comes as unexpectedly as one of Itachi’s pokes, slips through flesh and skin with Sasuke’s body offering only a token resistance. The sky dissolves into his brother, standing over him. Shadows of red and black everywhere.
“Don’t open your eyes until I tell you to,” Itachi bids, and he presses his hand over Sasuke’s eyes.
“Open your eyes,” Itachi says, his fingers tangling in the fine strands of his brother’s hair. Sasuke obeys, feeling the tug of Itachi’s fingers on his scalp. His eyes hurt; his stomach aches.
Itachi gives him water. It slips down his throat and Sasuke drinks it with hurried, gasping gulps. The sweetest, clearest thing he’s ever been given; he sucks it down and holds his cup out for more. Itachi takes the glass away and fills it up again. Sasuke can hear his movements clearly: cloth brushing skin, weight transferring from leg to leg, heart beating, lungs breathing. Water traveling through pipes to pour out of the faucet. The squeak when Itachi shuts the faucet off. Repeated motions as Itachi approaches, glass in hand. The shift of his fingers as they rub against the glass.
Sasuke takes the cup and drinks. He hears a slow, calm thud in the back of his mind; his body centers itself around it, settling. He hears his stomach making wet noises as the water trickles its way down. This time the water slakes his thirst, enough for the pressing need to drink to abate. Sasuke looks around.
He doesn’t recognize the room. A crescent moon hangs in the sky through one window. The cloth against his body is rough, scratchy. The room is small and shadows dominate the wall, particularly in one corner where it seems to breathe.
It is breathing. Sasuke can hear the rattle of its lungs and his eyes pick out the outline of a massive sword. The body blocks a small wooden chair that creaks with every movement, as if it’s too weak to bear the full weight.
Sasuke creeps against the headboard of the bed he’s lying on, pressing his back against it. The sheet curls around his waist and legs, trapping him.
“Brother?” he asks, turning to look at Itachi. The moonlight falls just short of the shadow sitting beside him; but Sasuke can see him clearly. The deeper lines and the narrower face, broader shoulders and more scars. Narrower eyes and a strange cloak that falls around him.
Sasuke can see everything.
“You’re not my brother,” he says, and Not-Itachi taps him against his forehead. Sasuke stills, because this is not his brother but oh, he looks just like Itachi. But too old. Too old and weirdly familiar in its strangeness and Sasuke wants Itachi. Not this familiar stranger.
“Hush, Sasuke,” Not-Itachi says, and he runs the back of his fingers against Sasuke’s cheek, stroking the skin. “You’ve been asleep.”
“Who are you?” Sasuke demands and tries not to lean into Not-Itachi’s touch. His thumb brushes Sasuke’s lip. “Where’s Itachi? Stop touching me!”
The shadow in the corner snorts. Sasuke turns his head, sees through the darkness. A manshark sits on a chair, wearing the same cloak as Not-Itachi, a sword with ragged teeth strapped to his back. Even in the darkness, Sasuke can see the blue tinge of his skin and the darker blue of his gills. He looks crazy; like one of those missing-nin that Itachi is sometimes sent after.
Sasuke wonders if they will kill him, the missing-nin and the Not-Itachi; but Itachi will come and find him, Itachi will get him. Itachi will kill them and take him away into a place where it’s safe.
“I am Itachi,” Not-Itachi says, his voice low and gentle, the way Itachi’s voice rarely got but was always remembered as.
“You’re not,” Sasuke hisses, “you can’t be,” but where he could see only differences he sees only similarities. Itachi’s hair, Itachi’s eyes, Itachi’s face and voice and hands. He wets his lips. “How? Brother?”
“You were asleep for many years, Sasuke,” Itachi tells him.
“Oh.” Sasuke moves to rub at his eyes, but pauses and sees the dirt stains on his hands. Grave dirt. “I died?”
Itachi doesn’t pause, but Sasuke can read his brother’s emotions without visual cues. He’s surprised. “Yes. How do you feel?”
Sasuke considers the question. “I hurt,” he says. “Where’s Mother?” Itachi’s hands are touching his neck now; they’re large and callused and could wrap around Sasuke’s neck and strangle him with barely any effort, undo the work Itachi put into raising him. Sasuke shakes the alien thought out of his head. But still—Itachi was always taller than him, but now, even when sitting, he looms.
Sasuke is afraid, but warmth wells up in him, directed at Itachi. Sasuke takes refuge in it, because he’s never supposed to be afraid of his brother; and this is better. Itachi’s hand is starting to trail warmth over his skin, and Sasuke wants to lean into his touch, press himself against Itachi until he loses himself in Itachi.
“Sasuke,” Itachi says, and his fingers are whispering something into Sasuke’s skin in a foreign language. “Everyone’s dead.”
The missing-nin is laughing now. Sasuke can hear his chuckles, see the quick flashes of white fangs and hear the click of his teeth against each other.
“When will they be back?” Sasuke asks.
Itachi says, “They can’t come back. Sasuke,” Sasuke shakes to hear Itachi speak, to realize that Mother and Father are dead like he was, “we are the last of our family.”
Sasuke wraps his arms around himself and meets Itachi’s eyes. “We’re alone,” he says, and Itachi says, “Yes.”
Because this thing is apparently too long for LJ, it has been split into three parts according to scene. Yeah, screw you too, Frank.