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jelynne in paper_tale

Twist the Mirror Wheel (Naruto)

It’s possibly a good thing that I’ve gotten into writing Naruto fics, because inspiration has a tendency to hit me like a kunai between the eyes with no warning and I might as well be in a fandom where that's appropriate imagery. Such was the case with this piece, which for lack of a better category I’m going to call a story.

The tale of my latest inspiration goes thusly: I download music I’ve never heard before, toss it onto my media player, the Toy, and then listen to it while I’m at work to decide if I like it or not. One day not too long ago, I cued up A Perfect Circle “Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums” for the very first time, and listened to it. And then, when it was done I had to listen to it again, to make sure I’d really heard what I thought I’d heard. And that was when inspiration attacked me, and demanded that I write Itachi. Now. And that was how I ended up spending my lunchbreak that day with my lap full of paper, my earphones on, and that song looping over and over again in my brain, writing.

Itachi is a very hard character to pin down at the best of times. With the lack of motivation, explanation, or exposition for him so far in the series, he could be anything. He could be incredibly complex, or horrifically simple, it’s impossible to say.

I’m afraid that in this fic I’ve done absolutely nothing to change that. In fact, I may have twisted it into something even worse.

Series: Naruto
Characters: Itachi
Word Count: 889
Genre: Drama
Rating: T
Spoilers: There are almost no spoilers, except for one or two minor ones related to the Uchiha Massacre. However, being familiar with all things Itachi would probably help.

Naruto still isn’t mine. And that’s a good thing, too. I can’t even draw stick figures.

Thought, memory, and a place within the mind of Uchiha Itachi.

Twist the Mirror Wheel

The moon was full that night, and Shisui was dead. Both of these things had been incredibly important back then, though he cannot remember why.


And Sasuke, his former self insists, staring blood and anger and the terrible weight of knowledge at him across the rift of passed years.

Yes, and Sasuke. Sasuke cannot be weak. He must be strong. Strong enough to
enough to


His teenage self stands in the darkness, in the light of a full moon, crosses his arms and stares back at him.

Blood and cold and murder and the flames of anger burning.


There were reasons. There were always reasons. Reasons for everything.

Such a familiar stranger, his teenage self.


The stadium had been utterly, completely silent at the end of his final match in the chuunin exams.

That is what he remembers now, though then he had barely registered it. He stood staring down at his opponent, waiting for him to get up again. Stood and waited, until someone wrapped careful hands around his arms and pulled him away. He remembers closing his eyes.


The sharingan sees the world in a thousand shades of red. The mangekyou sees nothing at all, and burns like slow fire. Like poison seeping in.


The clan’s pride followed him in whispers through the town. How he had graduated from the academy so early. How you never had to teach him anything twice. How he had simply blinked his sharingan into existence one day as if he’d been doing it since the day he was born.

His father, in his pride, never hearing his protestations of it being no great feat, he was only remembering how.

Pride, he learned, is the greatest weakness.


It is far easier not to be human. Far easier to excise those softer parts one by one, to replace them with ice and steel. Ice needs no memory. Steel needs no reason.

His teenage self accuses from beyond the years, his sword still dripping blood.

That which is made of ice and steel cannot burn with such terrible anger, he wants to tell that self from the past. That which is not human cannot hate.


Sasuke used to sneak into his bed on nights that he was away on missions. Only when he was away, because only then was it safe to slip into his room in the dark.
it was a full moon that night

More than once he would come back in the small hours of the morning to find his brother snuggled into his bedcovers in a small, sleeping bundle.
the kunai and shuriken they throw at him fly as slowly as pouring treacle and he dodges them as simply as breathing. he wants to stop, to tell them why they should stop resisting. it would be easy, so easy to show them now. to make them understand. but there is no time. no time. the alarm must not be raised. no one can escape. and there is no time, because it all must be done before

His brother curls up tightly in his sleep like some tiny woodland animal. Safe and protected, he sleeps the deep sleep of the innocent. Soft, pale flesh, and tiny, tiny bones. Infinitely fragile. Infinitely precious.
it took three days to sharpen his sword. it hums in his hand at it cuts through air. through flesh. the bodies fall. he counts the torturous slow tick of the seconds passing

Infinitely breakable.
countless shades of red, and his parents’ faces

It cannot be allowed.
blood sprays cold across his face. all that is left now is to wait. it won’t be long

Sasuke must never be allowed to shatter.


Once, long ago, there was a name that no one in his clan would speak. Now there are two.

Everyone must have their monsters.


Konoha on fire.

Reasons for everything, but no reason for a five-year-old boy to be standing alone in the forest breathing ash and the taste of metal.

And then the fox starts screaming, and he’s no longer standing, he’s running.

Kyuubi. Demon of fire and blood and madness, looming as big as the whole world.

Reasons for everything, but no reason to run toward instead of away. No reason to jump onto the back of Fear himself.

Coarse fur beneath his hands, and massive teeth snapping past his head.

The world seen for the first time in a thousand shades of red, every edge framed in crystal clarity.

The fox screaming again, a howl that reverberates through to his bones as he scrambles higher, climbing towards the head far above. Pain searing across his face.

A name, given to him in the snarl of the fox, a challenge screamed to the heavens, and a prophesy is all he remembers after he wakes. The blood is already dry on his cheeks by the time he stumbles back into the village.


A full moon, and Shisui dead. Reasons for everything except the twin scars on his face.

His teenage self staring, waiting, across the rift of years passing. Anger and flames, the familiarity in tasting ash and metal every time he uses a fire jutsu.

Knowledge and hatred and prophesy, so entwined that one cannot be told from the other.

Sasuke and destruction and the question he must ask the Kyuubi before he dies.


"Yes, and Sasuke. Sasuke cannot be weak. He must be strong. Strong enough to
enough to

My favorite part in this story. (It kept me reading, and I'm glad I did.) I like how the sentence trails off, as if Itachi can't remember what he's trying to remind himself of, or as if the readers are simply not allowed into that part of his mind regarding Sasuke. It works either way. I think of Itachi as someone who is difficult to figure out, and the structure of your story -- giving a brief glimpse of his mind, then cutting away into another thought -- compliments that personality. I also like how you worked the Kyuubi invasion into Itachi's memories. (Many other writers forget to take this event into account.) It adds even more to his intricacy and mysteriousness.

Thanks for the story! : )
Thank you so much for your comments! (I was beginning to think I'd somehow managed to post into a void, or had written something utterly unreadable.) ^.^

I'm very glad you enjoyed the story. Itachi is one of my favourite characters, even though I don't really understand him, so I really wanted to create something that showed him well. The structure of the story that you noticed was a bit tricky to pull off (don't ask how many times I re-wrote and re-ordered all the bits) so it's wonderful to know that it ended up working in the way that I hoped it would.

And yes, the Kyuubi invasion. Even though he was only five at the time, I'm sure that Itachi must have been involved in some way. I'm surprised that so few writers mention it, especially when writing for characters who would have been alive and aware at the time it happened.
You're welcome! I love reading a good story, but I can't write to save my life, so the least I can do is to leave a comment on a good piece of writing. And this is a good one, I tell you. I appreciate that you put a lot of work into it.

I imagine the kyuubi invasion must have had something to do with Itachi's development as a person and as a ninja. He was young, but stil... an event of that scale tends to leave an impression. The more I think about Itachi, the harder it is to understand him. @_@
You raised some interesting points about Itachi's character, and the Kyuubi involvment (which would translate into Itachi having personal motivation to find Naruto) would make a very interesting twist in the story were it to be true. We see so much here, and yet nothing is revealed.

IT was a tantalizing read, that's for sure. :)
^.^ I'm glad you enjoyed it.

I'm absolutely certain that one way or another Itachi has some sort of personal stake in hunting down the Kyuubi/Naruto. He's seriously obsessed, that much is obvious. Hopefully, we'll get a revelation as to why someday. I keep my fingers crossed.

>We see so much here, and yet nothing is revealed.

Sadly, I am an evil, evil author, and that was exactly the point. ^.^V
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January 2012

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