Categories > Anime/Manga > Naruto > Clay2 Reviews
It takes time to build a masterpiece; genius, even more so. These are the time markers of Itachi's childhood.
When Itachi is eight he masters the Sharingan.
It takes three days without sleep and a savage beating by his father before he can do it, but Itachi remembers the smile of satisfied pride on his father's face as his own jutsu is copied and used against him, just before his seventh strike at Itachi's face and chest.
Trial by fire, Uchiha Fugaku says as he stabs at Itachi's eyes. Uchihas always learn in trial by fire.
The kunai in his father's hand drips blood onto the ground as he clasps a hand on Itachi's shoulder. Itachi learns not to flinch.
Later, while his mother soaks bandages in rice wine and carefully wraps the deep cuts on his cheeks, Itachi thinks of that smile and wonders what price he will have to pay to see it once more.
When Itachi is ten he is made Chuunin. On his first mission as team leader, one of his men is killed, sliced in half by an axe. The other loses an eye when a shuriken pulps her face into a mess that looks like gutted fish. Itachi completes the mission and brings what's left of his team back to Konoha. Then he stumbles into Shisui's bedroom and is violently sick all over Shisui's sheets.
Shisui calmly tosses the sheets away and mops Itachi's face with a washcloth. Itachi falls asleep in Shisui's bed. When he arrives home the next day, his father ignores the red marks on Itachi's throat and stomach and praises him for completing the mission at all costs.
His little brother Sasuke tugs on his shirt. He wants to practice tossing shuriken. Itachi thinks of a sharpened blade slicing through pink skin and white eyeball jelly and says he will help Sasuke another time, knowing full well that he never will.
When Itachi is twelve, Shisui teaches him the body flicker jutsu. Itachi masters it in a single hour. After that, Shisui pulls Itachi into the shadows of the trees and teaches him something different. Itachi remembers the smell of grass and clay in his nostrils as he gracefully lifts his hips and waits for Shisui to finish.
Later that evening, Itachi watches his mother stitch the Uchiha mon carefully onto the back of Sasuke's new shirt and thinks about how soon it will be until he doesn't need Shisui anymore.
On Itachi's thirteenth birthday he is made ANBU captain. He completes every mission asked of him, with perfect success. Most of his subordinates die in the field. Itachi is given many decorations for jobs well done. His father catches him throwing one away and chastises him for working against the glory of the Uchiha Clan. Itachi doesn't deny this. He sees no point in lying.
In the night, Itachi watches Sasuke as he sleeps. He watches the boy's thick black eyelashes flicker and wonders if Sasuke has dreams that are soaked in red dye like his own. Then Sasuke shifts onto his side and mumbles something that sounds like "mother" and Itachi feels as if he has swallowed a stone.
Four months later, Itachi holds Shisui in a genjutsu and slowly walks him into the Nakano River.
"But you love me," Shisui screams as water laps over his chin.
Itachi gently pushes Shisui into the soft silt and clay on the bottom of the river, filling his mouth with water and riverbed until the whirling tomoe in his eyes form a new pattern.
He lets the body float downstream and rings the wetness from his shirt.
"Yes," he says to the corpse. "I do."
Three days later, Itachi wipes the blood of his mother from his blade and waits for Sasuke to arrive home.
It's not that he hates Sasuke. It's just that things have a price. And Itachi is tired of being the strongest Uchiha, so he is going to make Sasuke into the thing their father always wanted him to be. Trial by fire.
If Sasuke hates him for it, all the better.