“Evil is … Well, that’s a complicated question. People, situations, they can be harmful, can oppose you or put themselves in opposition to you without being ‘evil’. Ignorance, carelessness, pain directed outward, loyalty, need, hunger, anger - there’s always a reason, however good or bad.

It’s comforting to say something pat and simple like 'evil is form of endless greed’, 'evil is intent to harm’, but -

Picture this. You are responsible for a small country. Your farmland has soured, your people are starving. Your neighbors to the west have arable land, that you have tried to buy from them without effect. Is it evil, to invade and steal their land? Is evil not to?

It seems dangerous, to label anything as 'evil’. Call it a threat, name it as a cause of harm. But 'evil’ is final, in a way. It shuts down empathy, keeps us from asking why someone does what they do. And we may miss when we are the ones doing harm through ignorance or lack of care, because we think we must or because we don’t see our enemies as people.

I don’t know what the answer is. I don’t know if there is an answer. But I find myself suspicious of those with a too-ready answer to the question.”
Yoko probably wouldn’t name one of their kids Itachi. Itachi is a gigantic, bleeding wound in their heart. Itachi kept them sane in the years before the massacre. Itachi murdered almost everyone they loved, and ruined the ones who survived. Itachi is their brother. Itachi is the biggest threat to their continued survival.

But there is another name just as likely to set Itachi off. A name with just as much emotional pull, and much less conflicting feelings attached to it. The Uchiha with Deidara’s genes are named Yumi and Anchuu in Yoko verse canon. But in a universe a little to the left, where one of them was a boy instead, they’d be Yumi and Shisui.


In Deidara’s defense – okay, no, there’s nothing in Deidara’s defense except that Yoko was out on one of their technically classified intelligence assignments, and Yoko has been his voice of reason since they were like, eleven. That’s probably not going to be a good enough excuse for Yoko. Yoko is going to murder him. They’re going to murder him slowly.

But it was an explosives-related kinjutsu. Explosive clay, the perfect marriage between Deidara’s two arts. He saw the opportunity and took it, yeah? No time for second thoughts till half the village was after him.

He probably should have left Shisui with his babysitter first, admittedly. Not taken him along. Clearly, the best thing for Deidara to do is to keep running, figuring out his new kinjutsu and where to find clean diapers as he goes. Shisui’s a sturdy toddler, okay, his kid can totally handle it.

(Yoko is going to M U R D E R him.)

Itachi feels something in his brain crack when he and Kisame track down the precocious missing-nin. There were rumors about a baby, but not – not this. Not a tiny, uchiha-pale boy with a crown of black hair and an all-too-familiar curve to his cheek. Not eyes that are true-black, not brown, but black like ink, like Sasuke’s, like Itachi’s own.

Not the name, “Shisui, down!” shouted as Deidara throws a brace of kunei and scoops the boy up at a dead run.

It takes them another three days, two hundred miles, and an ambush before they catch up to Deidara again. At which point Itachi has bypassed confused, skipped irritated, and made a beeline straight to paranoid fury.

Cue the custody battle from hell. (Pein did not sign up for this, okay? Neither did the rest of the akatsuki.)



November 2016

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