**authors's note: warning, graphic content** All rights to Naruto belong to Kishimoto and party.

Himitzu brushed up against him from under the covers.

Itachi couldn't sleep. He lay on his back, arms folded behind his head, staring upwards into the darkness. He hated the night. These moments of black silence were when he could not drown out his conscience.

And, of course, tonight his conscience screamed the loudest of all. Especially now, sprawled out on the same bed that Himitzu slept soundly in.

Tonight was the night. He would have to start soon. And he would have to start with Himitzu.

Oh Himitzu. Beautiful Himitzu. She always did sleep so peacefully after they made love. Pure hearts were always blessed with that rest.

He envied her purity, her spotless conscience, her transparency; She was without guile. In fact, she was the exact opposite of him. He was deceitful, tainted, and treacherous. He didn't deserve her…but no, he couldn't think about that. He repressed his guilt once again. This was his constant struggle. Even as he had caressed her form, even as he had taken her over and over again, knowing it was the last time he could hold her, he couldn't kill the thoughts in his head that spewed self-hatred.

She had noticed that something was wrong. She had asked him about it, but he silenced her with a deeper kiss, tying her tongue with his, reaching deeper within her mouth, as if desperately searching for something. Himitzu gasped for air when they finally parted, but then willingly started again. She was probably doing her best to comfort him. That was just like her. She could always sense when something was troubling him, and she always tried to ease his pain with her touch.

Oh Himitzu.

Itachi carefully turned on his side, so as not to wake her, using one arm to prop himself up on the bed to get a better look at his sleeping lover. His eyes were burning, but not from the sharingan. He felt hot tears swell into his sleep-deprived lids. There she was, his beautiful Himitzu, on her side, her face turned towards him, her long black hair spread over her neck and down the bed like a river. She had lush, warm curves that the sheets lovingly molded to. He would have to snuff out that warmth. He would have to turn her body cold. He would have to do it soon, too, and quickly. It was already very late. He had postponed this moment as long as it could be.

But there she was, sleeping so peacefully, so trustfully, beside him. She was oblivious to his goal tonight, to what he was thinking now, to what he intended to do to her. Why, why did he have to fall in love? Now he would have to betray her trust…she was hardly aware that she had entrusted her life into a beast's hands.

Oh Himitzu…

How should he do it?

Itachi shivered. He swallowed the hot lump in his throat that drained from his eyes.

How should he do it? He didn't want her to suffer. But the thought of losing her kept him frozen there, watching her chest expand and contract with each breath. He had considered going back on his word probably about a hundred times this night. But then he thought of the Uchiha's angry schemes, and of the threat of war. He couldn't make any exceptions. He had to harden his heart. He had to kill all of them…even his little brother, Sasuke, who was completely blameless, one of many innocent spectators of the Uchiha's dangerous rebellion.

He ignored the cold, dead feeling within his chest and reached out his hand. He touched her shoulder, so warm, and the feel of her made him lose himself. He climbed on top of her and turned her onto her back, blinking the burning tears away.

She woke up immediately, and smiled. "You really are needy tonight. Are you sure you don't want to talk about it?"

He caught her lips with his, still unsure of how he would do this. She invited him in, taking her hands and running her fingers through his long hair, her body pushing up against him. He thought of sucking the air from her lungs, but that made him feel sick. His tears flowed freely now, and he had to roll off of her and press his hands up to his face to stop the wet flow. Himitzu sat up and rubbed his chest, her eyes laden with concern.

"Itachi, please…what is wrong? I realize I've never seen you cry before."

Itachi inhaled one resolute breath and sat up, looking at his beautiful lover with profound sorrow. She was worried about him, when she didn't even know her life was at its end. She looked at him curiously, when she should have run. He almost yelled that to her—"Run!"

But he pursed his lips and swallowed his emotions. He was grateful of the numbness that ensued, melting his limbs and chest an icy cold. 'Finally,' thought Itachi, 'I've got a hold of myself.' He opened his arms and reached for her. She smiled and came to him, leaning against his chest as he embraced her. He could feel her heartbeat, her faithful heartbeat.

Oh Himitzu…my pure and trusting lover. I wish I never met you.

Suddenly, his thoughts were clear. He knew what he would have to do. He put one hand on her waist, and with the other he gently tipped her face toward his. He kissed her again, and had to fight his unwillingness to stop. She did not hold back. She returned his love with passion. She hardly noticed his hands tightening around her. He wanted to have her one last time, but he had already wasted half the night trying to gather up the courage that he had right now.

Or was it courage? Courage would've let her see him for who he was. Courage would have given her the right to fight for her life—would've given her a chance to defend herself. But he did not want her to know. He did not want her last memory of him to be so painful.

With his eyes closed, so that she would not suspect, he activated his mangekyo sharingan. He abruptly caught her face in both of his hands and shot open his eyes, staring directly into her pupils. It went right according to plan. Before she was aware of what was happening, his sharingan seized her consciousness. She was now under his gengutsu. In her mind, they were still embracing each other.

Himitzu's body turned limp in his arms, her eyes staring at nothing. Her heart continued to beat against his chest.

She was an uchiha. She could have countered his genjutsu, but he had made sure her guard was down.

"What a coward I really am," he wihispered to himself, hugging his lover to his body one last time. He cradled her graceful form in his arms and kissed her neck, feeling its healthy and steady pulse with his lips. A fresh stream of hot tears ran down his face, pooling near the dark circles under his eyes.

Now it was too late. He had to do it, before he really turned into a coward.

He laid her down and grabbed his weapons pouch that he had strategically placed under the bed. Should he use a kunai? He took one in his hands and turned to her.

She was truly perfect, her body so flawless. Would he have to be the one to ruin this perfection with his kunai? No, he at least wanted to give her a shameless burial, where her beauty could be admired by all. He put the kunai back in his pouch and took out a small blue capsule. This would have to be the way. He squeezed the small pill in his fist and briefly thought of swallowing it himself; in this moment, knowing what he was about to do, he could easily end his own life.

But he had a mission. He had a duty. And time was running out.

Itachi crawled to Himitzu's side on the bed and lay parallel to her. With his free hand, he pressed her body against his, kissing her lips one last time.

Then, he placed the pill between her teeth in the back of her mouth.

Oh Himitzu…I wish we could have lived in a different time, I different world.

He put one hand on the top of her head, the other under her jaw, and squeezed. The sound of the pill splitting open on her teeth was like the sound his heart could have made. Her body convulsed slightly, which only made it worse for him. He hugged her tightly as the poison swiftly conquered her body. He could feel the beating of her heart receeding.

"I'm sorry, my love," he whispered, his tears soaking her hair, memories of her life with him playing in his mind, uninvited, making him burn with shame so intense he wanted to kiss her again, taking her poison into his own body. He resisted the urge, searching within himself for the numbness that once soothed him.

"I'm sorry…I'm sorry…"