Author disclaimer: I do not own any rights to NARUTO or it's characters.
Track 1: Crescendo.
I walked through the woods, thankful to be by myself. It wasn't easy to be
constantly monitored by Madara, constantly up my ass. I bet he has the two faced Akastuki member following me this very second.
I sighed at the thought.
A piece of my dark hair tickled my nose and I had to restrain the urge to sneeze.
I need a hair cut.
I rubbed my eyes hoping that it would stimulate anymore vision. I've been using my Mangekyo Sharingan too much and everything was getting blurry. The fight with Naruto made it worse.
He always makes it worse.
My feet took me to a lake that sat in the middle of the woods. In the distance I could see chimney smoke and the faint scent of food. My instincts screamed that I was too close and I could be spotted. But why do I care?
My interest wavered and I looked out across the lake. I spotted a fish minding it's own business when a hawk swooped down and grabbed it's slimy, wriggling mass with it's huge talons. The fish tried to squirm it's way out, but it's fate had no mercy.
Just like my brother's.
“Tsch.” I scowled and threw a rock into the murky depths. I was once again lost in my thoughts.
“You know, if you keep making a face like that, it may stick.” A female voice chimed a few feet away to my right. I glanced over and spotted a girl a year or two younger than me with red hair that hung to her hips. A basket in her small hands.
I continued staring out over nothing and hoped that she'll go away. I wasn't in the mood for small talk and to be honest I was itching for a kill. When I realized that, my insides cringed.
What the hell is wrong
“Well, if you're just going to stand there looking all depressed and mopey like, I really hope that you can move over there
to look all depressed and mopey like so I can get to the raspberry bush behind you there
, please and thank you.” Her eyes flicked behind me.
I started walking away and was about to head back to base when I realized how much I didn't want to. But at the same time I didn't feel like dealing with the girl if she was a talker.
I jumped up into the nearest tree and closed my eyes, thankful for the shade and the light breeze. I could see the girl where she was kneeling and plucking at the red berries. Most likely thinking that I was gone, she started singing a song. It sounded foreign and I couldn't understand what she was saying.
I also didn't care to listen.
The breeze carried her melody and I felt myself slowly drifting into a doze. I never slept anymore.
It was too risky.
I must have dozed more than I intended, because when I opened my eyes the sun was close to the horizon, casting an orange glow. The girl with the red hair was gone and the only thing left of her was the patch of disturbed grass and the ghost of her melody stuck in my head.
Shaking off sleepiness, I jump down from the branch and heard a small squeak. I turn to face the red haired girl, I could barely see the look of surprise on her face.
“I-I didn't s-see you t-there.” She stammered, her face turning pink.
I couldn't help but smirk. “Hn.” was my response.
“I just washed these... and I thought to come back... because you...” she trailed off realizing that I didn't care.
I turn and walk away, hoping that she wouldn't follow.
“Hey, grumpy guy! Will you be here tomorrow?” she called after me.
I didn't answer.
“OI! I asked you a question. Not only are you grumpy, but you're rude! OI!”
My patience was running low.
Goddammit did she remind me of Naruto. Thinking of him I flinched.
Before I knew what I was doing, I was in front of her, my Sharingan blazing.
“Shut-!” Before I could utter another word, a sharp pain in my eyes caused my world to go back to a blurred state.
I buried my face in my hands and backed away.
“You're... blind.” She whispered.
“Almost.” I rubbed my eyes, the pain slowly subsiding.
“I should be afraid of you.” She murmured.
I looked at her like she was the most stupid thing, because she was. I glared at her.
“But at the same time I pity you. You can't really see because of that.” She looked at my eyes, her gaze soft and sad.
My glare hardened. “Tsch. I don't really care for, or need your pity.” With that, like the immature child that I am, I stormed away.
“My name is Aria, by the way. What's yours?”
“None of your business.”
I heard her faint chuckle and her song began again. Walking away, my legs felt like lead. The song, this time, seemed to invade my every pore with a thousand years of sadness.
Track 2: Pianississimo.
I don't know what brought me back to the lake, but I had to get out again.
Madara has been up my ass once again - more and more, and last night I wanted to chew his head off.
As I perched upon the branch as yesterday, familiar notes drifted in the wind. She was far away, but I guess that's a plus for going blind: you rely more on hearing and in return, it gets sharper.
She appeared in my line of view with the same basket that she carried yesterday. I could make out the syllables now, but the words still seemed foreign to me.
To get a better view, I switched to my Sharingan. She wore a lavender kimono and her red hair was tied and hung over her shoulder. It's highlights flashing orange and pink. Her gray-blue eyes slid quickly in my direction, accusing.
My back stiffened and I let myself go blurry again. I closed my eyes and focused on my surroundings.
The sounds of birds and lapping water couldn't over power her song.
The girl's song gave a crescendo and I noticed that she had deep sound in her voice. It didn't make her sound manly, but it sounded like she was singing from the depths of her soul. From a part of her that you couldn't see unless she sang it out.
I had to admit, it was beautiful.
Her voice grew higher and higher until it was almost nonexistent, and then suddenly, seem to tumble down. Each word sounded like pain turning into despair. Into darkness.
“Everything you told me is a lie...”
My eyes flashed open as I recognized the words. No longer foreign:
“You were supposed to be there for me.
Where did you go?
I miss you.
In my darkest hour, you betrayed me.
I'm tried my hardest to get stronger
To rise above, to be rid of you
I believed your lie
But the truth came out
And I was wrong
I'm sorry, forgive me."
My eyes are wide and I couldn't breathe. My stomach clenched and I felt like my lungs were going to burst.
"Things have changed since you've gone
And I'm no longer the person I thought I was
Because of you I don't know what to believe anymore
You've changed me
You've made me, who I am today
You've changed me... once again...”
When the last note of her song drifted away, my head hung and a smirk flitted across my face.
Then, my face was in hers and my hand around her fragile neck.
At first, she was alarmed, but after a few moments she shifted to an understanding quality. Her eyes, I realized, where two different colors. The left was a russet brown and the left had a more gray-blue color.
“Who the hell are you?” I growled.
“Aria.” She looked at me so intensely that I let her go.
“Aria,” I sneered, “What the hell was that?”
“What was what?”
“That song you just sang.”
“Just a song.”
Frustrated, I walked away from her.
“At first, it may seem like a song in a different language, unrecognizable. Foreign.”
“But when you think about something, the words change and morph into what you're feeling. The words you cannot speak. It's an ancient song. I'm also sorry if me singing it made you think of... things you'd prefer not to think about. I can't help it, it's beautiful.”
I turned to face her. I felt her eyes bore into mine like she was looking into my soul. Like she knew everything and every thought.
It was unsettling.
A small smile crept on her face and she lowered her eyes to the ground, like she knew how her eyes made me feel. She looked at the now scattered berries that had fallen out of her basket. The birds swooping down to claim their stolen goods.
She pouted, “I would hope you have the time to help me pick all those berries again.”
The trees rustled with a breeze and a piece of her hair flung itself into her face. She ended it's short lived freedom and tucked it behind her ear, all while her eyes sheepishly looked up at me. The way that Sakura's did when she tried to seduce me.
“It's the least you could do for nearly killing me for the past two days.” Her dimpled smile grew to her eyes.
I couldn't help sighing. I had better things to do than this, but then again I didn't want to go back that hole.
I grabbed her wicker basket and crouched by the bush, even though my back was to her, I had a feeling she wouldn't dare try anything stupid.
She kneels beside me and starts plucking. By the time the basket is full, the sun was hanging low in the sky, the orange aura claiming another day.
“Ah! There we go!” She wiped her forehead and stood up as I started walking away.
“W-WAIT!” I heard her yell. The next thing I know I receive a handkerchief full of raspberries.
“They're a good source of vitamin c, which helps get rid of the bad stuff. I was going to give you some yesterday, but...” She smiled up at me.
“It's not poisoned... but you should probably wash them when you get home.”
I take the pouch and put in my pocket.
“I don't expect a 'thank you'. I guess you helping me was enough.” She shifted and the tie that held her hair together fell off.
“Oh shoot.” She bent down to retrieve it and went to say something, but I was gone. Already making my way through the cover of the trees.
“Still as rude as ever.” She said and I could hear the smile in her voice.
I couldn't help my smirk.
I reached base and the three seconds after I flopped on my bed, Jugo knocked on the door.
“Madara wants to see you.”
“Then he can come and see me.”
“Why must you be so difficult, Sasuke?” He pouted.
“Jugo.” I warned.
“Well, it's your funeral.”
Doubtful. I rolled onto my side facing the wall. I sighed and closed my eyes, hoping that sleep would steal me away from Madara for a few hours. But I only thought about my revenge for my clan.
Three hours later, defeated, I crawled out of my bed and into the bathroom. I turned the shower on and then looked at myself in the mirror and was disgusted with what I saw.
Just like Aria's song, I looked foreign – unrecognizable: My pale skin was almost a gray color that stuck out against my black hair. Cheek bones that jut out and eyes that look bruised. Coal eyes that were as flat and hard as coal itself.
“Tsch.” I squeezed my eyes shut from the unfamiliar face and slid out of my stifling clothes. The icy water felt good on my hot skin. I stood there for awhile, thinking about a line of Aria's song.
“I'm sorry, forgive me.”
Can you forgive me, Big Brother? For being so naïve? I thought to the tiled ceiling. The only response I got was the sound of echoing water. I sighed and turned the knob to off.
I walked back into my room, and to my dismay, a letter from Madara telling me to come in the hour.
I knew better than to piss him off anymore. I quickly put on my clothes and shook out more water from my ever growing hair.
I still needed that goddamn haircut.
Track 3: Pianissimo.
I went to the lake again.
The sun was just about to rise, and the birds are beginning their daily routine.
The world is at it's quietest. At it's most peaceful.
My thoughts then turned to the discussion I had with Madara last night. To tell the truth, I don't care what he wants. My brother is dead. My parents are dead. My clan is dead. My revenge has only lead me back to the beginning: more revenge.
I hate Konaha. I want to destroy them. All of them. I hate what they did to my clan, my family. How they made Itachi kill them. I could only wonder what it felt like, seeing the little brother you love so much, hate you enough to want to kill you.
Itachi wanted that.
He didn't want to live with a burden of killing his family for the rest of his life.
So he wanted me to do it for him.
For me to get revenge for the lie he created.
Which, of course I believed. Did I believe it because I trusted him to tell me the truth?
I was a child, but still: Why didn't I put any more faith in him? My big brother whom I cherished so much?
The pain he must have felt.
I felt a surge of uncontrollable rage collide inside of me. With a yell, I broke a thick branch off a tree.
With it burning itself out, I felt her presence.
I tilted my head in her direction.
“Disturbing the peace so early in the morning? You really are rude! I've bet you've woken up the whole village by now! Poor Auntie Kana!” She crossed her arms and glared at me.
“What are you doing here?” I growl, her complaining annoying me.
“I come here every morning,” she brightened suddenly, “I like watching the sun come up. It's peaceful.”
“So sorry if I'm in your space, but you happen to be in my space also.”
As if some force from god knows where, she continued talking.
“This is where I get away from everything. My Auntie Kana is sick, so that's why I get her raspberries everyday. I'm constantly looking after her, so this is the only time I get to myself.” She sat down on a nearby rock. “It's the least I can do for her. She took me in when my parents died in a freak accident when I was a baby, so I don't remember any of it. She's strict, but a kind woman.”
When I gave her no reply, she continued:
“Auntie didn't want me to become a ninja, so I never joined the academy. Is that where you learned to become strong?”
I didn't answer her again.
“I bet you did. I won't ask you any further details. But I always wanted to become a strong ninja, it's too late now so I guess I'll just have to deal with what I got now.” She smiled at the pink horizon.
Even though she talks a lot, it wasn't annoying rambling. It seems as though she gave each of her words a meaning.
We remained silent for several minutes.
Abruptly, she stood up and stretched. She looked longingly to the horizon, “Good morning Ma and Pa. I hope you're happy wherever you are.” She smiled and turned to the trees, a path took her back to the village was waiting.
It came out before I had the chance to reconsider.
“Mm?” He eyes looked at me expectantly.
My head fumbled for the right words, finally: “Your Auntie is wise about you becoming a ninja. I did train at the academy, and graduated.” I looked at her. “But being a ninja isn't all it's cracked up to be. It's dangerous, it's lonely, and it's miserable. If I ever have a child, I don't think I would want that kind of world for it.”
With that, I stepped into the darkness of the trees as the swell of the sun burst in the sky.
I could hear the patter of rain above me.
I lay in my bed with my eyes closed, the sound of my pulse banging in my ears.
The rumble of distant thunder was my music.
Thankfully I felt myself drift into sleep.
I was in a rose field.
Why many dreams end up like this, I have no clue.
The breeze smelt sickly sweet, like poison being covered up.
The red flowers swayed back and forth. I look up and see the sun was being covered by clouds. I look back and see the beautiful flowers dripping their color to the ground. Inspecting them closer, I realized it was blood.
Appalled, I staggered backwards and bumped into something.
I turned and wanted to throw up.
Itachi stood before me, in all of his rotting glory. The familiar smile played on his lips that was falling apart. His stomach had a gaping hole were thousands of maggots dripped and wriggled. His skin a green-gray color.
“Why didn't you believe me, Sasuke?” He reached out for me. I staggered back and bumped into an unbelievably tall hedge.
He staggered toward me, hand outstretched. I tried melting into the green thistles behind me, to get away from this rotting mass of flesh. But no matter how much I sank in, it wasn't enough to get away. The smell was horrid, the blood pooled around my bare feet, staining them.
“Sasuke...” Itachi reached for my face.
My eyes widened, remembering this scene. It flashed before my eyes, like a TV losing it's signal to another station.
It kept doing this until his fingers finally touched my forehead, it's clammy, icy skin made my own crawl.
My eyes shot open and I sat up. A cold sweat clamped to my body making me shiver.
I swear I could still feel his touch infecting my skin.
Track 4: Piano.
I didn't go back to the lake. I didn't want to see that girl again.
My priorities were somewhere else and I could not concern myself with petty girls.
I holed myself up in my room thinking of battle strategies to report to Madara, or I would go outside to practice.
To further myself.
I've been training since dawn and now the moon was setting itself back into the horizon. Sweat seemed to seep out of each pore in my body. Pushing myself seemed to push the demons away.
I must keep getting stronger.
I kept telling myself that until I didn't need to think to hear it. I attack a dummy with ten shurikens in less than five seconds.
I then continue to slice of it's head and then attack the other dummy behind me.
I could feel the strain of each muscle as I threw a kunai in it's painted eye. My legs finally gave out and I fell to my knees.
I looked up at the sky, defeated once again. The sky was black, and I could only make out a few bright stars that winked. A pink haired kunoichi and whisker faced kid flashed under my eyelids when I blinked, causing me to flinch.
“Tsch.” I got up, feeling a bit wobbly, and sheathed my katana. I breathed in through my nose and out of my mouth to steady my drumming heart, after a few moments it felt like it wasn't going to smash in on itself anymore.
I sighed and heading back into base. I was met by an orange haired kid.
“Madara wants to see you. Now.” Jugo pouted, his cheeks turning a slight pink. He hated being the messenger, always getting the worst of it.
“Hn.” I passed by him without a second glance.
“Hey, Sasuke! You should really take it easy. You're gunna wear yourself down.” He said.
I ignored him and kept walking. My body felt like it was on fire and every fiber was screaming. When I was out of Jugo's sight, I leaned against a wall. A trickle of cold sweat crept down my back causing me to shiver. The pain subsided to a dull throb and I rubbed my tired eyes. After a few moments to collect myself, I walked into Madara's strategy room. He was there, like promised, and looked at me.
“Nice to see that you got your mindset back, Sasuke. I was worried after the fight with your old team, it might have brought back some... nostalgia. Also seeing you with that red haired girl only disturbed those cautions more.” He purred and leaned against the table, ready for an answer.
The answer that I always gave him.
“I'm not going anywhere. I only need to take down the Hidden Leaf. They destroyed everything precious to me, so I'm going to do the same to them.” I smirked.
“That's good to hear Sasuke.” Madara paused, “But maybe you can't defeat them... Maybe you'll see a familiar face and hesitate, Sasuke.” There was a sort of mockery in his voice.
In the way that he stood.
Where the hell is he going with this?
My narrowed gaze shifted to the corner of my eye where he stood, “I was intent to kill Sakura whom I used to care for, but that was only a small amount. I was out for her blood, but thankfully for her, Naruto was there to save the day. If I wasn't so weak after that battle with Danzo, I would've taken down Kakashi...” I faced him, anger starting to boil.
How dare he underestimate me!
“Hmm, I'm really not sure. I wonder what you could do to prove that to me.”
“I've killed many people who stood in my way, Madara.” I glared.
“Yes, yes I know.” He pondered for a moment. Then something the way that Madara shifted his head made me go on edge.
“You know that village not too far away from here? Kill every single man, woman and child. No matter how old, how sick, or how fragile. Then bring back that red haired girl to me. I need her for something.”
My glare hardened, “Why?”
“Why would you care?”
“I don't, but I don't feel like bringing back baggage.” I grumbled.
“Cranky and lazy as usual. But if she dies accidentally, that's cool too.” Madara shrugged, “But it would be hard finding another one like her.”
“Mhmm, you'll know when you bring her back.”
“When do I do it?” I hissed.
“Tomorrow night. So rest easy for now, Sasuke. Don't want you completely losing it.”
What the hell does Madara want with Aria?
I pondered this in my head for awhile before realizing, why should I care?
Because she didn't hate you after the things you did to her. A small voice said in my head.
“Tsch.” I laid down in my bed, begging for sleep. When it finally did come, I regretted it.
Everything was chaos. The goddess herself couldn't have done a better job.
People screaming, running away from the blazes that engulfed their shops, their schools, their homes.
I felt a jolt of giddiness come up to my throat. It brought about a maniacal smile to lips. Blood dripped from my fingers, from my hair, splattered across my face. I sprouted more fire at people trying to flee, they were swallowed by the flames.
Their screams of agony was like sweet music in my ears.
I brought many more down easily with only the simple basics. I thought of them only as mere dummies that were brought alive and needed to be trained on.
My smile grew wider when I approached a little boy, too stupid to flee like the rest of them. His parents lay dead on each side of him.
Most likely died protecting the boy.
Tears streaked his face and more cascaded down his plump and grazed cheeks.
“Please...” he sniffled, I could barely hear him.
“Why? Why do you, of all people, need to survive? You're not important. You're just a lowly human, whose parents are dead. No one needs any more lost orphans.” My smile turned into a grin as the look of fear in the child's face turned to pure terror. I raised my blade to him, ready to strike. It felt like a high, I was totally under it's influence. My katana was about to take another life when it shattered before making contact.
“SASUKE!” A familiar voice screamed.
I bolted up right.
I looked at my hands, expecting them to be covered in the dripping crimson liquid. When I realized there wasn't, I sighed. Relieved.
But it was short lived as I saw that it was mid morning.
Track 5: Mezzo Piano
I spent the rest of the day walking around aimlessly.
Madara told me to conserve my energy for tonight. The village might be small, but they still got fighting power.
My thoughts wondered to Aria. How she would hate me, how she would kick and scream and cry every inch that I dragged her back to base.
How she would call me a monster.
But that's what I am.
A selfish monster to be exact. A monster that thought nothing but revenge.
But killing her village will help prove that my revenge was true, in Madara's eyes.
Was revenge selfish?
When I killed Itachi, and then learned the truth from Madara, I didn't know what to believe.
When I awoke broken and battered, I felt empty. When Itachi died, did my purpose go with him? I thought nothing but revenge, since the days after when he destroyed everything.
I could restore my clan... but I'm a criminal... a criminal incapable of compassion and love. No one would ever love me, they would resent me. People would learn the truth, see my face and saw me as a person who I really wasn't.
But who was I?
I'm always told that I am cranky, grumpy, rude... cold; Uninterested in anyone or anything except my revenge. I separated myself from the other kids, unable to relate.
They had a home, a family to love them. I will never have that chance again.
Naruto was a little different, he had no parents all of his life. But he doesn't know the pain of losing them either.
Especially to someone they trusted and loved.
I remember being a happy child without a care in the world. Maybe if my clan hadn't planned to usurp the village, if my brother didn't have to kill them all, if I didn't have to kill him- who would I be? Where would I be? Would I be as strong? Would I still be part of Team 7?
All of these questions will forever be left unanswered.
Kakashi, Sakura... Naruto. I respected them all.
Kakashi for his patience and intelligence.
Sakura for her strength and wittiness.
Naruto for his determination and positive attitude.
But no longer.
They were part of an organization that destroyed lives. They would- no- will fight for it.
And I will destroy them.
I came to the lake again and peered in the distance, able to see the blurry remnants of smoke.
“I'm sorry Sasuke, but this is it...”
I know Itachi.