*For those who don't want to read the prologue chapters, feel free to skip to chapter 1.
Foreign Invasion Arc
Prologue Part I - The Fate of the Fujikaze
When Sasuke arrived at the village, he was greeted by a terrible sense of nostalgia. It had been years since he saw so much destruction: houses burned down to their foundation, craters imprinted in the earth, and bloody corpses littered throughout the snow.
"It looks like I was too late..." he said.
A stray rumor had brought Sasuke to this hidden village. He was never one to chase rumors, but when he heard that somebody with the Sharingan was wondering around the Land of Iron, he knew he had a new trail to follow. It meant putting his quest for redemption to the wayside for a moment, but finding this supposed 'Sharingan user' was a bigger priority.
Sasuke marched through the village. Guruma was its name. It was a well hidden village tucked away in the Land of Iron's snowy borders. Most people had no idea the settlement was real. Even the samurai who lived in the country denied its existence. What ninja clan would be daft enough to have samurai as their neighbors? Yet here it was, or at least used to be. The only thing still standing or not set ablaze was the windmill standing in the center of the village. Sasuke watched it spin in the same direction the snow fell.
Sasuke sharpened his glare and checked his surroundings. His hand was steady on his sword's hilt. All he saw was ruin, but he was still alert.
"...bame," he heard again.
Sasuke followed the sound. He eventually found himself standing in front of scorched down house. He entered what was left of the doorway. He scouted the inside, but he found nothing. Then he heard the noise again.
Sasuke heard it clearly this time. It came from underneath his feet. He tapped the floor with his foot.
"It's hollow," he said in surprise.
He removed the floorboard. His mouth gaped a bit when he found what was inside – a small boy. He was unconscious and scrunched up in this small square space in dirty robes. Tears were running down his eyes.
"Tsubame... Don't go..." he whimpered.
Sasuke looked at him pitifully. "It looks like he's the only survivor."
The boy shivered. Since the house's roof was gone, snow was raining on top of him. Sasuke knew he would freeze to death in this cold. He pulled the boy from the hidden space and hauled him over his shoulder. As Sasuke left the house, he caught a glimpse of something hanging up on the wall. The wall had miraculously survived the fire, and a crooked framed picture, which was also unscathed, was hanging off of it. Several children were standing in the photo, including a boy with jet-black, silky hair who looked just like the one Sasuke was carrying. He was laughing and hugging a girl who looked slightly older and a bit annoyed.
That girl must have been Tsubame. Sasuke shook his head and left with the boy over his shoulder. He stepped over corpses, walked through ruined homes, ignored the heavy scent of blood and left the village without so much as a second glance. There was no point in looking back. He would only be reliving bad memories if he did.
"Wha... What's going on?" Hana stammered.
He was in complete disarray just like everyone else in the village. Explosions kept coming from the village's Eastern entrance, and fires had started to spread from there. Hana began heading in that direction when a pair of soft hands caught his shoulders.
Hana looked back. "Tsubame!"
"Where in the hell do you think you going?!" Tsubame asked while digging her nails into his shoulders "Do you not see all the chaos happening in that direction?"
Another explosion happened. This time it was directly in front of them. Hana and Tsubame could see the fire perfectly. Stepping out the flames was a robed, staff wielding man. Hana couldn't make out his face from underneath his hood, but he could see his eyes. They had large, red suns in them.
Tsubame pushed him back and withdrew a kunai from her sleeve. "Stay back, Hana!"
Two ninja from the village flickered out in front of her.
"You get back too, Tsubame. This guy is too much for you," one of them said.
"Too much? Do you know who I am? I'm the future head of Fujikaze clan!"
The other ninja glanced back. "Would the a good head risk her life as well as a younger member of her clan's over some shallow sense of pride?"
Tsubame glared. She grabbed Hana's hand. "Don't you two dare get killed... That's an order from your future chief."
Tsubame ran away with Hana in tow. The latter looked back at the two ninjas as the hooded man got closer to them. He and Tsubame turned a corner just as they engaged him. They arrived at their home. Though, it wasn't just their home – it belonged to all the potential successors to the Fujikaze clan. Tsubame had moved in with the head after becoming the clan's definitive heiress, but the other children were still kept around in case she was one day incapable of fulfilling her duties.
The house was empty when they entered.
"Where's everybody else?" Hana asked while looking around.
"They've probably been evacuated already. You know how protective the head is about the clan's successors," Tsubame said.
She yanked a rug off the floor. It revealed a floor panel that was slightly different than the others. Hana remembered the spot. It had a hollow space underneath. The head said that things that like candy and sweets were forbidden while the potential successors went through their training. Tsubame said 'Fooey!' to that and created a hidden space under one of the floorboards where she could store snacks. The only other person who knew about it was Hana, who inadvertently became her partner in crime. Which made it all the more surprising for him when he saw Tsubame empty the cache out.
"Get in," Tsubame told him.
"I said get in! That guy is going to be here soon."
"But what about the two who just saved us?"
"...What about the other Nagi and other-"
"They're probably dead too. Now, heavy up and-"
"Tsubame! How can you say all that?!"
Tsubame got up and slapped him. Then she grabbed his shoulders and shook him hard.
"Listen to me! I may only be thirteen, but I'm a pro when it comes to sizing up an opponent. That guy... he wasn't normal. There isn't a single person in Guruma Village who can defeat him. Not me. Not the chief, and certainly not you. You're a complete weakling, Hana. The weakest successor by far. That's why... That's why I've got to be the one to protect you. I'm the strongest, and the future head of the Fujikaze. It's my duties to protect the weaklings of our clan... You got it?"
Tears were running down Hana's eyes. "N-no... I don't get it all... Tsubame, why do you have to-"
Another explosion occurred. The house the two were standing in shook. Most of the pictures on the walls fell, save for one that only went crooked. Tsubame quickly threw Hana into the hole against his protest.
"Wait! Tsubame, don't go!"
Tsubame smiled. "Sorry, Hana. ...It's my duty as the head."
She put the panel back over the hole. Then she made a hand sign to seal it shut. Hana could hear Tsubame run out of the house.
"Don't go..." Hana mumbled while opening his eyes.
He got up and rubbed his eyes awake. He was in a cave with a thick sheet draped over him. He felt warmth at his side. A fire was crackling beside him.
"So you're finally awake, eh?" a unknown voice asked.
Sitting on the other side of the fire was a dark haired man in black. He was messaging his right eye for some reason. Then Hana saw it. Between the gap in the man's fingers, Hana saw a red eye that looked almost exactly like the ones the person who attacked Guruma had. The man's eyes suddenly resurfaced in Hana's memories, followed by Tsubame's smiling face.
"You... I'll kill you!"
Hana threw away the sheets and leaped over the fire. He swung at the man's face, but he caught Hana's fist easily.
"Is this how you act toward the person who saved you?" he asked.
Hana growled and kicked the man while his fist was still captured. He dark haired man ducked his leg, released his fist and planted his elbow in Hana's stomach, cartwheeling him a few feet away. While still cartwheeling, Hana manage to catch his footing and skid to a stop. He hugged his aching stomach while glaring at the dark haired man who had a jaded look on his face. Somehow, his eye had returned to normal.
'It must be a trick!' Hana thought. 'He's the guy who destroyed Guruma! I know he is!'
The man sighed and stood. "Why did you attack me just now?"
"You know why!"
"No. I don't. That's why I asked, boy. If I've done anything in the past to make you my enemy, say so now."
"You destroyed Guruma Village! You killed my clan! ...You killed Tsubame! Now, I'm going to return the favor!"
Hana charged at the man once again. The dark haired man's expression was as placid as ever. His attitude angered Hana further.
'Still not taking me seriously, huh? Well, fine! Wait to you see... this!'
"Windmill Style: Windmill Step!" Hana shouted.
Hana disappeared from the dark haired man's sight of view. For once, he made a legitimately surprised expression. Then he glared and quickly turned around to grab Hana's leg just before it came in contact with his neck. He threw Hana against the cave walls opposite of him. Hana coughed up air and fell onto the sheets. He was right back where he started.
"That technique... It wasn't a jutsu," the dark haired man said. "It's like the Hyuga clan's Eight Trigrams – a special taijutsu. What clan are you from, boy?"
Hana glared at the man. "The Fujikaze clan... The clan you destroyed!"
"It seems you've mistaken me for somebody else. I wasn't the one who destroyed your village. By the time I got there, it was already in ruin."
"Liar! Your eyes – they look just the ones that belong to the guy who destroyed Guruma Village!"
The man closed his right eye. When he reopened it, the red eye Hana was familiar with was visible again.
"The man who you're referring to... He had eyes like this?" the man asked.
Hana still held a contemptuous look in his eye as he nodded.
"OK. What about this, then?"
The man brushed up the hair covering his left eye. It was completely different from the right. It was a light purple color with several hypnotic circles surrounding the pupil, like ripples in a pond. Hana made a surprised face. Then he looked down and shook his head.
"No... His left eye didn't look like that," he said. "...You're not the guy who destroyed my village."
The man let his hair fall back over his left eye and deactivated the right. "Glad we got that cleared up. Now, I have questions about the man who did destroy your village."
Hana didn't answer him. Despite this, the man sat down and continued.
"My name is Sasuke Uchiha of the late Uchiha clan."
"Around two decades and a half ago, an incident occurred where my entire clan was exterminated. …Much like yours was tonight."
Hana's eyes flickered with surprise. "So you're saying you're like me?"
"No. Unlike you, I have a family: my daughter and her mother."
"...Oh. So you're not the only Uchiha anymore?"
"No, but I should be the only person in the world with a Sharingan. That was the dojutsu I just showed you in my right eye. The only other person in the world who should be able to use it is my daughter, but she's thousands of miles away and still too young to awaken it. And yet... for the past few months, I've been chasing rumors about another Sharingan user. I couldn't believe myself, but the destruction I saw at your village and the description of the man who you claimed destroyed it... It looks like the rumors had a bit of truth to them."
"You're going after this guy, then?"
"Of course. If this man really is a wielder of the Sharingan, it's my job to stop him." Sasuke activated his Sharingan again. "This eye has caused a lot of pain... I'm not going to let it be used to antagonize the world again."
Hana stood, his dark eyes wide and his fists clenched. "Take me with you! The guy you're chasing... he destroyed my village. He killed my clan... I won't let him get away with it!"
"And just what will you do when you find him? When I found you, you were whimpering underneath a floorboard with tears rolling down your eyes. You really think you can kill the man who killed your clan?"
"I can if I try! I'm still-"
"Weak. I could kill you just by using my right eye if I wanted to. And that's just with one Sharingan. The man I'm looking for has two. You couldn't tickle a hair on his head, let alone kill him."
Hana glared at Sasuke. Then he shut his eyes and lowered his head. He started to sob.
"Then... what am I supposed to do? …Tsubame's dead. Nagi is dead. Machiro is dead." His tears hit the cave's floor. "If I can't avenge them... I might as well just die too..."
Sasuke watched Hana sob and shake. He was pathetic. Everything he loved had been taken from him, and all he was left with was vengeance. If that was taken from him, he truly would have nothing. He would dedicate every second of his life to killing this man, then he would be empty.
'This boy is heading down the same path as me. Only... there's no light at the end of his tunnel... only darkness.'
Sasuke deactivated his Sharingan again. "You'll never defeat this man the way you are now."
Hana stopped sobbing and bit his lip.
"...But maybe we can fix that."
Hana made a surprised face. He looked up just in time to catch the sheathed sword Sasuke threw at him.
Sasuke pointed. "If you can manage to scratch me with that chokuto once, I'll teach you technique that will make you stronger. You can attack me at anytime. I suggest you plan each attack wisely, because I won't be letting my guard down during this journey."
Hana blinked as watched Sasuke lower his head and fall asleep.
'Did he just say "journey?"' Hana thought.
He looked at the sword. He yanked on the hilt a bit to see its blade. After seeing his reflection, he closed it. He saw that Sasuke was still sleeping. He stood ready to attack with the sword. Then he stopped.
'He said to plan each attack wisely... I'll take my time then, because no matter what... I'm going to avenge my clan!'
Hana watched Sasuke for a bit longer. After a while he began to nod off. Eventually, he went went to sleep as well, his head leaning on Sasuke's sword like it was pillow. While they slept the fire still blazed between the two of them.