Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or Naruto Shippuden. I do not own any characters, ideas, or any franchise that is clearly already owned by the producers of Naruto. Common sense, people.


It takes a strong man to force themselves to murder their entire family, torture their beloved brother, go under cover in an enemy organization that goes against all their ideals, endure hatred and fear, and pretend to be callous and indifferent for years on end without slipping into insanity. What if Itachi wasn't that man?

After so long undercover as a sadistic, genocidal psychopath, Itachi is losing himself. Is he the kind, loyal, peace-loving boy who hated war and loved his brother? Or is he really the crazy, murdering man who has no problem killing and only cares about his own life? Lately, he can't really tell…

Chapter One

Sometimes, Itachi thought he really did want to kill Sasuke. It was only sometimes; less than half the time he spent thinking about his life. But considering how much time total he spent thinking about his miserable life, that really was a lot of time to want to kill your brother.

It would happen when he suddenly woke up from a nightmare, a memory really, where he killed his whole family again and again. (The downside to thinking up tortures to put in someone's head through Tsukuyomi was that the vivid details had to come from his own head. He had to picture everything happening over and over again and then force the images into Sasuke's head.)

He'd wake up feeling steel in his hands and blood on his face and thought, This is Sasuke's fault. I killed them for him, so he didn't have to be corrupt.

He'd get righteous and indignant. Why should I suffer for him, for the village? They all turned their backs on me!

It could last minutes or days. The longer it lasted, the darker his thoughts got.

Sometimes, he thought he wanted to destroy all the villages, especially Konohagakure. He wanted to kill them all and bask as their blood rained down on him. The things he showed his brother became reality to him.

But after however long–minutes, days, weeks–it would end. And he would hate himself.

Because he loved Sasuke and Konoha was his home, and they both deserved peace. He worked hard to convince himself that he was a necessary sacrifice and this was right, even if he was a traitor now.

He started calling his dark periods lapses in sanity. It was easier to believe he was going insane than to believe that he really wanted to hurt the brother he loved.

Sometimes, it happened when he was coughing up blood, body wracking with pain and trembling with suppressed sobs. He'd feel Death waiting for him, force more medicine down his throat and pray they still worked.

He'd think, Why do I have to suffer for my love and no one else does? Why do I have to live like this, and for what? To ensure Sasuke's future?

And he'd hate himself more because of course Sasuke's future is important and of course he deserves to suffer, he murdered every last living breathing Uchiha–and murder was a much different sin when it was people who knew and trusted you.

Sometimes, Kisame noticed. Sometimes, Itachi was too focused on keeping himself alive and together to keep up the charade. But to be fair, Kisame's perceptiveness continued to surprise him. When he'd thought he was being subtle, Kisame would end up holding his hair back as he vomited buckets of blood or forcing pills down his throat when he was too weak to move. Or look at him as his sanity slipped and he wanted death and destruction and ask, "Hey, Itachi-san. Are you brooding about your home again?"

And Itachi would snap out of it.

And as Kisame grew to trust him, he would regret that he couldn't repay the trust in kind and that he was betraying Akatsuki, too. (Wasn't he good at anything but betraying people?)

Sometimes, his lapses of sanity were a good thing. Once, he'd gone completely, sinisterly psychotic on Konan in front of the whole Akatsuki. It was like he was the psycho everyone thought he was. He did want Konoha destroyed, he did want the elders to burn, he didn't regret the Uchiha Massacre, his brother was an oversight, a mistake, and he did want more blood on his hands.

The Akatsuki never questioned his dedication again. "Tobi" had been especially pleased at his acting skills.

But it wasn't acting. He actually believed those things sometimes and, to himself, he admitted he was scared–scared 'sometimes' would turn into 'all the time.'

It got worse.

The longer he went without seeing Sasuke, his reason for being, the more he struggled to stay true to his mission.

But then, one day, when he was nearly sixteen, Itachi resolved to die.

And Sasuke would kill him. He wanted Sasuke to kill him. Sasuke deserved to kill him, for everything he'd done to him. He wasn't sure he was in his right mind when he decided that, but it fit. With everything. It solved all of–well, most of–his remaining problems.

Sasuke could have closure, get stronger, and not go blind. Because Itachi was going to give him his eyes. Itachi wouldn't need them when he was dead.

Madara couldn't manipulate him or use him in any more schemes (because yes, Itachi knew that Akatsuki was just one of Madara's schemes, like everything else he was investigating right now).

The Uchiha Massacre's last loose end would get tied up, his dead family would get the retribution–though to be fair, their deaths were unavoidable–and, and…

And Itachi wouldn't' have to live like this, in this hell. Sasuke needed to kill him, but even more, Itachi needed to die.

So even as he coughed so much blood he cried and his eyes went completely blind for hours and Kisame had to worriedly cater to him, Itachi smiled.

And he began to plot.

A/N: Thanks for reading! Please rate and review and share your thoughts.

Does this make sense to anyone else? I mean, I love Itachi way more than the next person, but what sane man plans his own death? And who would stay sane after everything he had to do?