I first read Felix Culpa back in 2008 when I was really into Naruto. I fell out of the series sometime around Shippuden, because I heard the show was about to jump into yet another filler arc, and well, I lost interest. I’ve only recently just gotten back into Naruto, and since I can no longer find all the episodes on YouTube, at least not in Japanese, I turned to fanfiction. Instantly, I remembered that not only does Felix Culpa exist, but that it was one of the better fics I had read for the series way back when.
The fic starts after Naruto loses control over the nine-tailed fox spirit and attacks a whole bunch of people. Caught in the conflict is none other than Itachi, who, in his weakened state from the battle, is easily captured by Konoha.
Capturing a member of Akatsuki is certainly a big deal for Konoha, especially when said Akatsuki member is Sasuke’s older brother. Though Tsunade is well aware that Itachi won’t tell them anything, she is more than prepared to let Ibiki torture him for information anyway. These plans get put on hold, however, when they realize that Itachi lost his memories during the attack and doesn’t know anything about Akatsuki, let alone his own name.
Despite his memory loss, Konoha still has to treat Itachi like the threat he is. After all, just because he can’t use his awesome ninja skills now, that doesn’t mean the same will be true in the future. Kakashi suggests killing him, but Tsunade decides to let him live on the off-chance that they’ll be able to learn something from him eventually. As such, she puts Itachi under Kakashi’s care and sends them to an isolated cabin in the woods.
And that’s pretty much the story: Kakashi and a memory-less Itachi living in a cabin together. This setup between these two characters allows for a lot of interesting dialogue and exploration of their characters. We learn that Kakashi, and even Sakura when we see her, are both suffering from PTSD, due to events that happened to them before the story—they were captured and tortured. Kakashi also spends the story contemplating just killing Itachi and being done with the situation at hand—he could easily get away with lying and saying Itachi’s memories returned and that he had no choice but to take him out.
Itachi, meanwhile, unable to manage his chakra or use his Sharingan, spends the fic more or less blind. He figures out pretty easily that he’s a missing nin of some sort, and is well aware that Kakashi will kill him should anything go wrong.
Itachi heard the hiss of something arching high in the air from the mock battle, and thudding into the ground nearby.
They sounded far away. He knelt, and pulled the knife our awkwardly, holding it as a civilian might. Then, without thought, it was playing over his hand as though spinning a pen. Thumb facing forward, in the standard combat position. From here it could easily shift into throwing position, and then into overhand for downward stabbing. He let it fall back by his side without further acknowledgement, before anyone came back this way.
“Remember anything yet?” Kakashi’s voice came from nearby.
“I hear physical memories are stored differently to personal memories,” Kakashi said, conversationally. “I knew a ninja in the village. Got hit over the head on a mission, remembers everything about the last fifteen years spent training, but he can’t pick up a knife without cutting himself.”
Kakashi began to walk away to join his fighting clone, then turned, and flicked a shruiken from his fingertips, almost lazily.
The air splattered red as Itachi moved, far too late, and it cut a thin line along his arm.
I’m pretty sure this fic came out before the big reveal about Itachi’s real reasons for murdering his family, but despite that, Felix Culpa is pretty canon compliant. It keeps both Kakashi and Itachi in character, while exploring their relationship to each other and Konoha. The two of them don’t become friends, and in the end Itachi does regain his memories, escapes, and goes right back to Akatsuki. Though, he is nice enough not to kill Kakashi in the process.
Felix Culpa is a pretty short story—only 30k words—but it’s also a pretty informative one. I recommend it for anyone who wants to explore these characters a little more. You can check it out on fanfiction.net here.