I slipped away last night
There was no redemption. Not for him, not ever. He didn't even want it. He didn't need redemption. He had the reasons, he had the orders, he had the life that was needed to be given up, and so he did. So be it. He didn't allow himself to feel anything, and thus, he didn't allow himself to wish for anything for himself. It was selfish to wish for the life of his brother to begin with. It was wrong, all so wrong. And all the power he had was only enough to act as a puppet, a decoy. Not for himself, never for himself. Not even for his loved ones. It was for something greater than that, he knew and understood that well enough.
Yet, sometimes he wished "peace" was something more palpable. But of course, if there was a God, he surely hated him.
And all the while, even before it happened, and even more after, he just felt like slowly slipping away into nothingness.
Took me away from sight and the place I know.
He tried not thinking about it, but it was all he could see. At first, it was all blood and gore, and he woke screaming every night, not even sure about whether to be glad that there was no one who would see him in a state like that, or to be sad about it. There was too much to feel grief over anyways, so he finally settled with being glad – and yet, something was amiss.
After some time, the memories of that night dulled some, but with that, the memories which were even older resurfaced, and those didn't get away. They haunted him for years after that. And he realised that the thing he missed the most was the place he used to call home.
All crushed upon my skin
Sometimes he woke with a lingering feeling of a touch on his cheek, the memory of a soft hand's caress running down his skin. That was also one of the things he missed the most. Another part of the home he left, the one he destroyed with his own hands. He knew he didn't deserve that touch, and there was no way to feel it again. The only one who could touch him like that, who could give him the feeling of safety with a tip of her finger, was killed by his own hands. And she was most likely in Heaven, while he was going to rot in Hell.
Or so he thought.
This mess I put you in and the punch i threw.
He knew he was righteous. If he didn't, he would have gone mad long ago, and he didn't need anything more than his sanity. Without it, he was nothing.
With it, he was nothing too, but at least he could find the strength in himself to carry on; to watch out for his brother he left behind, to watch the village he protected with his honor from far away, the future he threw away for others to have it.
There were many thorns in his heart, but neither hurt close as much as seeing Sasuke grow up from far away. He didn't regret his decision of lying to him – it was the only way to protect him from the vultures that were demanding his head along with all the others too. But that didn't stop it from being the most stinging ache; his only, most precious little brother loathing him. No matter what he did, no matter how he thought about it, it stung. He put him in such a mess, and he had no way of making it up to him except atoning with his life, letting him take it and be over with. The time when he had any expectations for his own life was long past.
It was a strange reaction, for someone like you to remain on side,
It was incredibly hard to not feel hatred. He knew what hatred did to people, he could experience it first-hand from his own brother. Granted, he became stronger, but he lost a part of himself he would never be able to regain unless he abandoned his hatred, and he knew Sasuke wouldn't be able to do that alone; and he wasn't supposed to either. But he himself knew he couldn't allow himself to become a mass of hatred, or he would be manipulated again. So he did the only thing he could to avoid feeling it: he avoided feeling anything in particular.
He knew most members of the Akatsuki viewed him as someone you have no chance of getting close to, not literally and neither figuratively. He forced himself into apathy, and with that, he forced everyone else away from himself.
But it didn't really matter; his own life wasn't worth anything anyways.
The hatred was there though, despite all this; it waited under the surface for his resolve to weaken, and he couldn't allow it to ascend again. Strangely, it wasn't towards the elders, not towards Danzou or the Hokage, not towards himself, even though he viewed himself as someone disposable.
It was towards the man who had the fiercest hatred he ever saw someone carry; the man that used to be a leader in all his glory, used to be a teacher, then was thrown away. He seemed to carry a loathing against the whole world, it made him bitter and cruel, and Itachi wanted that even less than being a puppet again.
It didn't stop him from secretly continuing to hate him; the man who remained on side all the while and made him do the dirtiest job ever possible, his former master.
And in a chain reaction I was down and calling for a place to hide.
There were days he didn't know of himself. As his condition got worse, he always knew when to expect the next time he would be useless. His vision started to fail him, but he didn't mind. He never wanted to see the future for himself; his duty was only to ensure its existence for others to live and enjoy it.
He didn't expect anyone to understand it; that's why it surprised him that his companion did. Neither of them talked much usually, but the respect the other held for him never ceased to startle him, and he had no idea when it turned to understanding.
It did, though, and when he finally knew he was nearing closure, he was glad he could have at least this much. The knowledge that he didn't need to call for a place to hide when he was down – he already had it, if only in a few words nobody else would have understood.
I saw a broken arm
He knew he wasn't the only one broken, all of his comrades were. Not on the outside; that didn't really bother any of them. They were all close to insanity anyways. The immortal zealot would have definitely enjoyed a broken arm, and even the blonde bomber could laugh it off when his limbs were torn off. What tore them apart on the inside, though... he could guess it was just as unbearable for each of them, or else they wouldn't have chosen this sort of suicidal runaway. He probably wasn't the only one who would have gladly turned back to his old life, had he gotten the chance, but thinking about that only broke him more, so he avoided it; and he knew everyone else did the same.
Machines will all break down in the way I know.
There was no redemption. No way to mend anything. He never even tried, knowing it would be just as useless as he himself was. It was no use looking back, and it was no use looking forward. It was no use looking when there was nothing to do it with.
And even though he was supposed to know he was still watching over Konoha and Sasuke, most of the time it was hard to know what he was still living for.
After a while, it was as if this was the way he had been living for all his life; it was all he knew how to do, so he continued doing it.
Mended and all made clean
Looking in Sasuke's eyes didn't give him absolution either. It was supposed to be the best moment of his life, dying, and yet all it did was throwing him one layer lower in the Hell he was expecting anyways.
He created him, the way he was now; naíve, sweet, kind Sasuke – now a monster.
He should have mended him, and instead, he gave him a life that was worse than killing him. His only weakness. Family.
And yet he didn't see him when he looked into his eyes for the last time. He didn't allow himself to see what his little brother was now; a sin added to his list of guilts that were pulling him down all his life. When he touched his forehead for the last time, it wasn't his skin that he was feeling under his trembling fingers. Not the lost promises, not the faked smiles, not the honest tears they shed for the lie of their lives.
He saw the future that awaited him.
I saw up on the screen all the stones I throw.
He didn't need to have his life flow over his eyes in his final moments. He carried his life within himself all along, in a way nobody could do. He lived with himself all the while, he saw the entirety in every single moment; there was nothing he needed to remember. He didn't need to review all the stones he threw – he knew where they had fallen already. He saw it in Sasuke's eyes, in his mother's dead eyes, in Madara's viciously happy-seeming and yet completely pained eyes. He did the only thing he knew how to do, carrying the blame for other's faults, for the world's faults nobody could redeem.
It was a strange reaction for someone like you to remain so sure,
It was one thing he remembered clearer than everything else; the only thing that did return to him in that last moment despite his effort to just sink into nothingness with the knowledge of making it better with it. One thing he did forget over the years, because it was peinful to remember, more so than seeing his brother, more so than living with what he did.
It wasn't a memory of a sound or a feeling, not a memory of someone he loved. It was a memory of sincerity in her smile.
Not herself, just the way she had died with that particular expression on her face that would have haunted him more than anything else had he not become apathetic. She never said anything; how did she manage to tell him with that one smile? How did she manage to remain so sure, even when she was aware, so aware of all the blood on her son's hand, all that blood that splashed on her face that froze into that last, sincere smile?
And in a chain reaction I dissolve and break and then away I crawl.
He wasn't sure how he managed to carry that particular feeling within him all this time while not even knowing about it, but it was there, and only now did he realize it was her memory that made him take step after step, even when it was all for nothing.
The smile with which he finally died wasn't for the little brother he failed to save with all his might.
How did she manage to love him, even at that moment, despite all...?
Perhaps it was his redemption.