A/N: Hello, hello! Old readers and new ones! Thanks for clicking on my story. As the summary said, this is a sequel to my previous story, Parenthood, which I feel is required reading. So, if you haven't already, please go check it out. As always, please leave a review to tell me what you thought of this chapter and the ones to come. Things I can do better, things you really liked, etc. With all of that out of the way, please enjoy!

"Have you unpacked your bags yet?" Sosei looked towards the kitchenette in the hotel room and sighed.

"No," he replied. "What's the point? The Hokage's going to send us away tomorrow anyway." Sosei's mother came to him and smiled. Her hand caressed his cheek and her lips touched his forehead. Sosei shuddered and pulled away and his mother narrowed her eyes before she laughed.

"Just trust me," she said with a smile. "I know the Hokage and even if he does send me away, he won't do that to you. I believe he recognizes that you need to be with your father." Sosei shook his head. He didn't think so. When his father had initially seen him, his face had been far from welcoming. In fact, the man looked absolutely disgusted to see Sosei and his mother. Not besides the fact that the Hokage had placed them in a hotel room, guarded by ANBU Black Ops. It felt like they were being kept prisoner and it made the young boy uneasy.

The teenager shrugged. "You know him better than I do," he said. His mother paused at that and seemed to ponder on Sosei's words. Finally, the red-haired woman smiled at Sosei.

"Maybe. He is rather hard to read," she replied. Sosei's mother than folded her arms. "Anyway, do what I tell you. Get those bags unpacked." Sosei frowned and shrugged.

"Fine," he said. His mother left and Sosei began to unzip his bag. The only things his mother had allowed him to take were his most generic clothes. His Kiri flak jacket and headband had been left in his room. They had left his uncle Suigetsu and his play-cousin, Setsuka behind. His mother's reasoning for their leaving had only been that she wanted him to meet his father but her urgency made Sosei suspicious and nervous.

But what was the real reason they had left and why had they left so much? Sosei's mother had told Sosei enough about his father for him to make general assumptions. Sasuke Uchiha was a powerful man, probably the strongest shinobi in the entire world, but he never really cared enough about Sosei's mother to stay with her. He was a rough and coldhearted killer that could slaughter armies in minutes. Sosei had expected to see a monstrous man, daubed in battle scars. Instead, he found a man who's only hardened features were his eyes.

Sosei wanted to know more about him than his mother had told him. There was something about this Sasuke Uchiha that seemed to be more than simply a powerful shinobi and killer. There was a connection that Sosei felt to him that he didn't feel with his mother.

Sosei's ears perked as he heard something break outside of his room. He leapt to his feet when he heard his mother scream. The young boy ran outside of the room and his eyes widened. Two Konoha shinobi were inside the room and one of them had his mother by the throat. Her red eyes glanced over to him and she mouthed something.


Sosei didn't and the other Konoha shinobi grabbed Sosei by his collar and threw him to the ground. The boy's movements were restricted. All he could do was look up as one of the Konoha shinobi held a kunai to his mother's throat. A kunai that looked exactly like a Kiri kunai.

"What the hell are you doing?! Stop!" Sosei yelled. That earned him a punch to the head.

"Shut the fuck up," the shinobi that held him said. "You're next." Sosei's mother looked down at him and then she frowned at her assailant. Her legs went up and she kicked the man in his stomach. Her next blow went to the man's face. The man that held Sosei threw him against the wall and crossed the floor to his mother. Sosei only heard his mother gasp and the blade thump twice into her chest.

When Sosei looked up, his mother fell to the ground and her glasses cracked against the floor. Her murderer stood over her and what looked to be a metal tube slid from underneath his shirt sleeve. Sosei's eyes widened and it seemed as if his brain had completely shut itself off and the world went pitch black.

Then, something exploded inside of his head.

A surge of chakra burst in Sosei's skull and the young boy yelled as pain from his loss overtook him. The chakra release caused the two men to stare at him. When they saw the look in his eyes, they shook. The world looked different to Sosei. Everything appeared clearer. He could see more. Specifically, the kunai that slid from the shinobi's pouch.

Sosei leapt forward and kicked the man in the back of his knee and then drove his elbow into the bridge of his nose. He snatched the kunai from his hand and with two slashes, spilled the man's blood onto the carpet. The next shinobi ran towards Sosei and the boy ducked under his swing. In his blind rage, Sosei threw himself into the man's chest, kunai first and began to jab his blade into his stomach, piercing his flak jacket and shirt.

Sosei didn't stop.

Blood spurted onto his hands.

Sosei didn't stop.

The man's body went limp.

Sosei didn't stop.

A powerful hand grabbed Sosei and lifted him into the air. The boy turned to see the angered Sharingan eyes of the demon. His father.

Sosei stopped.

Sosei Uchiha rose from his bed, panting and covered in sweat. His eyes ripped across the room, searching desperately for any assailants that may have infiltrated his room. But there was no one there. The young Uchiha's hand went to his face as he wiped it clear of sweat. Even after two years, the nightmares hadn't stopped.

If there had been one drawback that Sosei had noted with the Sharingan, it was that his eyes kept images burned into his brain. Nothing escaped. Nothing was lost. Even if he just wanted a reprieve long enough for him to obtain peaceful sleep.

Sosei's eyes glanced towards his clock as he tried to calm his breathing. It was 3:55 AM. His team was meeting in an hour and five. The eldest of Sasuke's children got up from his bed and grabbed his towel from the rack on his door. Sosei crossed the hallway to the bathroom and closed the door behind him. Usually, he'd take a cold shower to jumpstart his system but his nightmare had done enough on that front. Instead, Sosei let the hot water run over his body and calm him.

After washing himself with scentless soaps, Sosei stepped out of the shower and dried himself off. The young Uchiha brushed his teeth and rinsed his mouth out with water until the scent on his breath was gone. His stomach gurgled but his hunger would have to wait to sated completed. When he entered his room, Sosei popped in a food pill to at the very least fool his body into thinking he had eaten.

Sosei garbed himself in black pants and sandals before putting on a sleeveless black shirt and strapping a sword to his back. A porcelain bird mask hung in front of his closet and Sosei grabbed that up as well. The young Uchiha closed the door behind him and activated his Sharingan. He attached his mask to his belt and in a flash of black, he left his home behind.

The open field appeared below Sosei as he landed in the midst. The young Uchiha dipped his head as he saw his superior. "Captain Komuji," he said. The silver-haired son of the legendary Copy Ninja Kakashi Hatake casually waved at Sosei.

"Yo," Komuji replied. "You're first to show up as always." Sosei nodded and glanced around. The sun was just starting to peek above the horizon. The Uchiha folded his arms.

"Is today's assignment something that all ears have to hear? Or…" Komuji chuckled.

"It's nothing new, really. Just rounding up the last few stragglers. I'll give specifics when everyone arrives," the silver-haired young man replied.

"Ah," Sosei nodded. The "stragglers" Komuji referred to were the remaining followers of Yashin that had been on the run since their attack on Konoha. The Hokage had declared his intention to help reestablish Kirigakure as a village with the help of the Water Daimyō and offered pardons for any Kiri shinobi that were involved in the invasion. Some idiots had been foolish enough to refuse his offer and continued to perform terrorist attacks around the Land of Fire. For the last year that Sosei had been a member of Konoha's ANBU Black Ops, he had been hunting down and killing everyone that refused to surrender. He supposed that the objective hadn't changed.

Within a few minutes, two more ANBU members of Team Hae descended into the field. The female of the duo sighed and laughed.

"Sorry, Captain Komuji! I overslept," the girl said. Sosei scoffed.

"Again." The girl turned and smiled at the young Uchiha.

"Good morning, Sosei! How are you?" she asked. Sosei rolled his eyes and frowned. Suzume Hishou was probably one of the most annoying people Sosei had ever met in his life. Though she was two years the Uchiha's senior, she behaved in a way that Sosei expected to come from a child Hikari's age. Despite this, Sosei had begrudgingly accepted that she was a skilled kunoichi in her own right, despite her incessant tardiness.

"I'd be better if we didn't have to wait for you every time we had a mission," he replied. The girl gawked and then pointed at the man behind her, Noboru Hyūga. The brown-haired man stood in silence as Suzume pointed her finger accusingly.

"Hey, I wasn't the only one late getting here!" The Hyūga clansman opened his pale eyes and in a stiff, stoic tone, spoke.

"You asked me to wait for you to be ready." Suzume flushed red and laughed sheepishly. Sosei was about to speak again before Komuji stood to his feet and sighed.

"All right, you three." The young man pulled a kunai from his pouch. "Now that you're all here, we can go ahead and get this mission finished." Komuji knelt to the ground and began to draw. Sosei watched his hand strokes and realized that he was a drawing the border between the Land of Fire and Kusagakure. Komuji drew an "x" far inland. "We've received reports of the remaining followers of Yashin holding up just outside of borders near the sea. The Hokage has someone coming from the Land of Water, a messenger from the daimyō. Whether Yashin's intend to attack the emissary or not, we aren't sure. But the plan is to perform a preemptive strike and stop them."

Sosei shrugged. "Sounds simple enough," the young Uchiha said. Komuji nodded.

"Except," he started. "The last remaining shinobi are amongst Yashin's highest ranked officers, one of them being Agato of the Fist…or Agato the Troll, depending upon who you ask." The Hatake sighed. "So this won't be a simple assassination. It may devolve into an all-out brawl." Komuji stood and placed his porcelain mask on. "If that does happen, just follow my lead and your instincts. Hopefully, we'll be home before the sun falls."

Suzume grinned and placed her mask on. "Ikou!" she said. Noboru placed his mask on and Sosei followed him. When everyone had disguised themselves, Komuji leapt into the air and led them out. The Hatake took point, while Noboru held to the back and Suzume and Sosei took to either side. Sosei Uchiha's mind departed as Konoha was left behind him and the open forest expanded ahead of him.

His nightmares flashed into his head. His mother dead in front of him. His father's Sharingan. Even Yashin nearly killing him in the middle of the lake. Perhaps now with the last remnants of Yashin's forces being pursued, Sosei hoped he could finally put those old demons to rest.

But optimism was never part of the Uchiha ideology.

Takuma's mouth parted as he yawned and stretched his arms into the air. It was exceptionally early, about 5:00 AM. The young Uchiha knew that he was probably the only one up in the house. Sosei had told him about his ANBU mission. He should've been already gone which meant that Takuma could practice his jutsu, unbothered. Takuma rolled out of bed and placed his sandals on. It wasn't necessarily that Sosei interfered with his training. It was much to the contrary. At times, Takuma's elder brother would help him, pointing out areas in his technique that he needed to improve on and then showing him exactly how he should improve. Takuma appreciated that and it had made him a better shinobi.

Takuma just didn't like Sosei.

The young Uchiha had tried to accept him. For the past two years, he has tried to accept the fact that his father had had another child with another woman, but the thought never sat well with him. Takuma had such a paragon image of his father, a hero. An upstanding and honest man, despite the supposed evil he had done in the past. Sasuke Uchiha was the shinobi and man that Takuma had wanted to be. But now, he was unsure. Sosei's presence had ruined Takuma's vision of his father. But, everyone else had seemed to accept him as if he was family. Kichiro loved Sosei to death, idolizing every step that he took. Even Hikari had gotten close to him. Takuma was the only one that didn't care for him.

It didn't matter to him that Sosei could potentially be named the heir to the Uchiha clan's fortune. Times were modernizing and being head of a shinobi family didn't really have all the perks it would've had in years past. Takuma only wondered how his father truly felt about him. Sasuke had never treated Takuma differently once Sosei arrived. They still spent their time together outside of Takuma's genin missions. But, Takuma couldn't help but feel like his father had grown much more proud of Sosei's accomplishments.

In the last two years, Takuma's brother had accomplished a great many things. His involvement in defending Konoha from Yashin's invading force had caused him to be promoted to chunin and after that, his numerous successes on high profile missions caught the Hokage's interest. When he was fifteen, Sosei had been assigned to an ANBU team under the leadership of Komuji Hatake, the son of the famed Copy Cat Ninja, Kakashi Hatake. Sasuke had been proud, beaming with a glow that Takuma hadn't seen since he had graduated at the top of his class at the Academy.

Am I jealous of him? Takuma thought as he spewed grand fireballs across the lakefront in quick succession. Is that why I don't want him here? Maybe it was that. Sosei's power had gained him recognition in the short time he had been here. People talked of him in the streets. Girls, civilian and shinobi alike, adored him. Even older shinobi were impressed by Sosei. Sosei had everything he wanted...even the Sharingan.

Takuma had tried to find ways for years to activate the dojutsu famed by his clan. But to no avail. He had felt chakra bursts in his body that usually ended with him having headaches, but he had never felt even close to activating it. He had read in the Uchiha clan histories that his father kept about Uchiha who had never activated their Sharingan. Most of them had been either killed as children during wartimes or Uchiha women that had become housewives. Takuma didn't want to be in that position in the history of his clan. He wanted to be a Uchiha and for that, he needed to awaken his Sharingan.

Takuma let loose another grand fireball before he felt himself feel a bit gassed out. The Uchiha panted softly and wiped the sweat from his brow and looked over the lake. The way the sun shined over the water, it looked like the earth was firing its own fire jutsu back at him. It was an incredible sight...

"I counted seven fireballs," a voice called from behind Takuma. The Uchiha turned to see his father standing in front of the glass door to the backyard with his arms folded. "Is that your limit?" Takuma weighed the question like he did most things his father asked him. He didn't want to appear weak. He couldn't afford that. But if he answered too haughtily, his father would surely test him. The truth was the best route.

"Yes, sir," Takuma replied. "I've expanded my limit, though. It was five last month." Sasuke nodded approvingly and his lip curled slightly.

"I remember," he said before unfolding his arms and placing a hand into his pocket. "Well, come on in the house and shower. We're going to be going on a mission today." Takuma perked his ears.

"Ok," he said. He hoped that this so-called "mission" wasn't another low-level genin mission like pulling up weeds or chasing lost pets. When he had just become a genin, Takuma thought that those civil missions were exciting even if they were a tad anticlimactic. Now, at thirteen, Takuma had grown extremely antsy. He and the rest of his team were old enough to register for Konoha's Chunin Exams but he hadn't gone on a real mission yet.

Sasuke raised his head and tipped it towards the house before he turned and walked back inside. Takuma quickly followed his father. Sasuke Uchiha stood in the kitchen and turned slowly when Takuma entered. A blue and white pill left his hand and Takuma caught it. Chakra regeneration. That meant that the mission required him to be on alert. Takuma's green eyes shot up to his father, but when he looked for him, he was gone.

Takuma raced to the shower and made it short but efficient, scrubbing away at every part of his body until he smelled and felt clean and then ran to his room. The young Uchiha slipped into his black high-collar shirt, white shorts, and black sandals. Takuma stood in front of the mirror and looked himself over before tying his headband around his forehead and dipping his head. The Uchiha boy placed a pouch full of weapons on his belt and headed out of his room. The rest of his family was still asleep. His mother would probably wake up later on to get Kichiro and Hikari up for school before she headed to the hospital.

Takuma went to Kichiro's bed and smiled at his younger brother, before he left to meet Sasuke on the porch. His father stood outside with his green Konoha flak jacket with short black sleeves, the Uchiha crest emblazoned on the shoulders. His black arm guards stretched from his bicep to his knuckles and his famous chokuto strapped on his side. When Sasuke turned to Takuma, the boy could see that his father looked like he had been a little lost in thought.

"Ready?" Sasuke asked. Takuma nodded and the two Uchiha headed out. Walking next to his father, Takuma felt absolutely safe. The power he felt in every step that the man took sent chills up the boy's spine. This was his father? The legendary Sasuke Uchiha. Sometimes, Takuma scarcely believed it. He felt a tad jealous that Sosei had gotten to see his father flex his power against Yashin. It must've been a sight to see.

Takuma's thoughts came back to the present and he looked up at his father. "Are Honami and Shōgo meeting us at the Hokage's office?" he asked. Sasuke nodded.

"Honami will be there. We're going to get Shōgo now," Sasuke replied. Takuma nodded and the two walked in silence through the streets of Konoha. Shōgo's house lied in the Isei District of the village, to the west. It was heavily populated area where most of the civilians lived. Takuma had never really ventured to this area before except when he and Honami came to see if Shōgo wanted to go out with them. When the two Uchiha got to Shōgo's row home, Sasuke stepped forward and knocked on the door. The door opened a few moments later and a middle-aged woman opened the door. Her face flushed red when she saw Sasuke and she immediately cleared her throat.

"Uh, Mr. Uchiha..." she said. Sasuke maintained his cool, unflinching face and spoke.

"Hello, Ms. Kazuma. Is Shōgo ready?" the Uchiha asked. Before Ms. Kazuma could answer, Takuma heard Shōgo's voice shout from inside of the house.

"Yes, sensei! I'm coming!" Takuma smiled as he watched his friend run down the hall and stand next to his mother. Ms. Kazuma looked over at her son and then sighed softly before wrapping her arms around him.

"Please be safe, sweetheart," she said. Shōgo narrowed his eyes and pouted out of embarrassment but still hugged his mother back.

"Yeah, yeah, I will," he replied before turning to Takuma and Sasuke. Shōgo raised his thumb and grinned. "Let's go! It's mission time!" he said as he leapt down the steps. Sasuke watched him and glanced over Takuma as if to say, Never do that.

"So, what's the mission?" Shōgo asked Takuma as the two walked behind Sasuke towards the Hokage mansion. Takuma shrugged.

"I don't know. Sensei didn't tell me," he replied. Shōgo put his hands behind his head and gazed up into the sky.

"I hate surprises."

The partially completed Team Sasuke entered the Academy building and headed straight for the administrative section where the Hokage's office was located. As they rounded the corner, Takuma's eyes caught sight of red hair and his heart immediately jumped in his chest. Before he heard her greet them, Takuma knew who it was.

"Sasuke sensei! Shōgo!" she said. When Takuma's green eyes met with the pale pools of the red-haired girl, both genin smiled. "Takuma," she said. The young Uchiha couldn't help but smile. Honami Uzumaki was Takuma's closest friend and the girl he had a crush on for years. In the past two of those years, Honami had matured greatly, growing her vibrant red hair down to her shoulder blades. She had started to grow curves in places that hadn't been there before and Takuma had noticed through careful observation that Honami looked to be larger in those places than even his mother. All of this physical growth had been matched in her shinobi skill and prowess. Takuma had never felt so attracted to anything.

"Are you two ready?" Sasuke's voice cut through Takuma and Honami's stare like his chokuto. Takuma looked back at his father and quickly nodded.

"Yes, sir," he replied. Sasuke walked through the door to the Hokage's office and Team Sasuke followed him.

The Hokage's office was busy as it had been for the last year since Yashin had invaded. Clones rushed around, filling out papers and looking over documents. The real Naruto sat at his desk, perking up when he saw Team Sasuke entering. The three genin stepped forward with Takuma in the center, Shōgo and Honami flanking, and Sasuke in the back. The elder Uchiha stood with his arms folded.

"Naruto," he said. "You have a mission for us?" Takuma sometimes flinched inwardly when he heard his father speak to the Hokage. Takuma had been raised to respect those above and it was a bit odd that Sasuke didn't practice the same thing. He was one of the only people who ever referred to him by his name and not his title, though the two had such a close friendship, the Hokage didn't seem to take it as disrespect.

The blonde Hokage nodded. "Yes, I do. From what the records show, your team hasn't yet had a mission above C-Rank." Naruto stood. "So here's what I have. A representative from the Land of Water is coming to Konoha to meet with me. Your mission is to get to the eastern border quickly and then escort the representative back. Hopefully, there won't be any hiccups along the way." The Hokage smiled. "This a B-rank assignment. You guys think you're up to it?" he asked.

"Hell yeah!" Shōgo exclaimed before freezing and then lowering his balled fist. "S-sorry..." Takuma glanced over at his friend and shook his head while Honami giggled. Narutp grinned and looked up at behind Takuma at Sasuke. The young Uchiha could scarcely hear his father breathe.

"We'll handle it," Sasuke replied coolly. Naruto nodded.

"Good, then head on out."

Sosei stopped beside Komuj as the silver haired shinobi glanced around. His eyes went to Noboru and he motioned signals that the team had practiced. Right now, from what Sosei could see, Komuji was telling the Hyūga to count the number of enemies presently around them. Team Hae had traveled far into the center of enemy territory and had thus far met little resistant, however Sosei suspected that that would change. He felt an eerie presence as he descended deeper and deeper into the trees.

"There are twenty shinobi," Noboru said, his voice barely rising above a whisper. "They're spread out amongst the trees." Komuji nodded and paused to examine the situation. Sosei waited, all the while scanning the area with his Sharingan. Even if Sosei's team did have a Hyūga clansman with virtually 360 degrees of vision present, the young Uchiha didn't want to leave anything to chance.

"We'll split off. Noboru and I will attack the shinobi gathered to the west. Sosei, you and Suzume handle the east," Komuji said. Sosei avoided frowning, though he felt his chakra grow cold. He was stuck with Suzume now. Before he could turn to see Suzume's irritating face, Komuji spoke again. "Be extremely careful. Agato is reported to have a high proficiency for taijutsu techniques. One hit may destroy your bone structure."

Sosei nodded. If that meant that he'd have to take out Agato quickly and before the so-called "Troll" could react, he had the perfect technique in mind. As long as Suzume didn't get in his way with her antics. With a quick dip of his head, Sosei leapt away with Suzume following close behind him. Ascending upwards into the canopy, Sosei only stopped when he thought he heard a sound. Beside him, Suzume paused as well.

"We're being followed," she whispered. So, the enemy had surrounded them? Sosei sensed a surge of chakra, one which Suzume picked up on as well. Before the tree they had climbed began to fall, the two ANBU leapt from its branches as the plant collapsed to the ground. As they fell, they were in the air by nine shinobi, all with scratches on their Kiri headbands.

The last of Yashin's followers.

Six shinobi rebounded off a tree trunk and rushed towards Sosei while the remaining three circled Suzume. Sosei's Sharingan read through the first four shinobi that attacked him and he elegantly dodged them all in mid-air, deflecting their attacks and throwing them away from him. The last two attacked from Sosei's front and back simultaneously.

The young Uchiha had barely milliseconds to react which was all he needed to discharge enough chakra to use a substitution. The two former Kiri shinobi locked their swords into Sosei's replacement and the young Uchiha quickly seized his opportunity.

"Katon: Gōkakyū no Jutsu!" he shouted as a massive fireball burnt through the canopy towards his enemies. Sosei's attack was loud, hot and bright. There was no need to be secretive now.

One former Kiri shinobi left his sword in the log and escaped while his comrade refused, instead choosing a fiery death. His blood-curdling screams rang out in the forest and Sosei paused. Suzume leapt up next to him and let out a single small breath, before turning to Sosei and smiling lightly.

"You only took care of one?" the girl said. Sosei shot her a sharp glance.

"If you want, you can handle the fodder. I'm going after Agato, wherever he is. If he dies, they'll either scatter or submit," Sosei said. Suzume kept her mouth closed for once and Sosei left the remaining members of Yashin's group to her. He heard one man yell for his comrades to chase him, but he was quickly silenced. Sosei turned and saw that Suzume stood on the branch that Sosei had just previously launched himself from, twirling two ninjato blades in her hands. The young Uchiha could almost see her chakra surge.

She'd be fine without him.

Sosei lowered himself to the ground, cushioning his landing with a small chakra release from his feet. He heard the clanging of blades in the canopies above him. They weren't any battle cries or shouts. This was silent, shadow warfare. The scarlet pinwheels in his eyes scanned the clearing, looking for any sign of his enemy. His peripheral vision caught a massive object flying towards his face and Sosei ducked backwards to avoid it and drew a kunai from his pouch. The Uchiha jabbed his blade forward only for his kunai to break at the tip. The massive object stopped suddenly and Sosei made out a giant man with dark chakra engulfing his fists. Sosei narrowed his eyes.

"Agato," Sosei said. Standing well over seven feet tall, Agato was a massive man. His muscles bulged underneath his black shirt and his nostrils flared as he looked down on Sosei. The Uchiha felt small.

"Agato of the Dark Fist, you little bitch…" Agato growled as he finally seemed to see the Sharingan in Sosei's eyes. His left fist crashed down towards Sosei and the young shinobi flipped away. Agato seethed. "You goddamned Uchiha really are a fucking virus," he said as he brought his fists together. "I will complete Yashin's work and help your clan die out!"

Sosei scoffed. Yet another Uchiha despiser. They never seemed to end. In the entire history of the Uchiha, they had always been feared but in more recent times, people had become bold enough to proclaim that they hated his clan. Fools.

Agato ran forward, faster than Sosei had expected but still too slow. Sosei had enough time to weave together hand seals for a quick diversionary jutsu.

"Katon: Hosenka no Jutsu!" Sosei shouted as multiple miniature fire balls burst from his mouth and spread out in the sky. As the flames landed and the smoke built up, Sosei took the opportunity to weave more hand seals. It had taken him the last few months to perfect the technique.




Agato burst through the smoke with anger plastered on his face and his hands covered in black chakra. His snarl deepened on his face and his eyes widened as he began to speak. "I will destroy you, Uchiha! I will kill you! I will shove my fists straight up you—agh!"

The blue-white spark of lightning had formed in Sosei's hand, the Chidori. Sosei's Sharingan spun as it honed in on Agato's large body as he spat his insults and rhetoric. Sosei had heard enough. He rushed forward as the Chidori cried in his left hand. Agato was a tall opponent so Sosei left his feet as he prepared to drive the attack directly into the largest and most open part of Agato's body—his mouth.

Sosei's hand burst through the back of Agato's head. The Dark Fist gagged and Sosei's Sharingan bore into his eyes. "You'll never speak of the Uchiha again," he said. Lightning sparked in his hand again and he ripped his hand to the side, splitting Agato's head open. The massive man fell to the ground, lifeless with his brains spilling out of his mouth.

The young Uchiha shook his hand clean of Agato's blood and listened for the sounds of his comrades. Everything was silent until he heard the cheer of Suzume. With a small sigh, Sosei recognized that he and his team had achieved victory. Sosei prepared to go meet with his teammates and get debriefed by Komuji. But something didn't feel right. Was this the only one of Yashin's remaining high ranked officers? Agato hadn't been much of a challenge at all and he was far too stupid to be of any use to a man like Yashin. Sosei scowled. If this was a trick then where the hell were the real captains?

Takuma's heart fluttered and pounded in his chest. His legs ached and he felt like he was reaching his physical. Since they left Konoha, Sasuke had been pushing their pace like a madman.

"If you can't keep up with me, you don't deserve to be on this mission," Takuma's father had said in his normal, icy tone. It had been made clear to the genin that they were to reach the shore before the Water Daimyō's representative. When he was intended to arrive was the question but none of the genin ever asked. They just followed Sasuke.

As the team moved closer towards the sea, the forests grew thinner and began to open up to grasslands. Without the trees as cover, Team Sasuke reverted to sprinting. Once again, Sasuke easily outpaced his squad and didn't slow his pace for a second to allow them to catch their breath. Takuma and Honami were holding their own, but Shōgo was gasping for breath.

"We should stop," Honami said to Takuma. The Uchiha glanced over at his teammate and then to Shōgo. His friend was sweating profusely and looked to be getting weak. He wondered if he had even eaten in the morning. Takuma's emerald eyes then flashed forward to Sasuke's shrinking figure. If his father was taking the charge, he'd know if anything of concern was nearby. Besides, if Shōgo was incapacitated, it put the mission in jeopardy.

"Yeah, let's do that," Takuma said as he stopped. Honami stopped beside him and her fingers brushed his arm. When Takuma turned to face her, she looked away towards Shōgo who jogged slowly until he reached. The orange haired boy inhaled deeply and put his hands on his knees.

"For the love of fuh...why'd Sensei go so fast ahead of us? He left us in his dust," Shōgo said as he collapsed to the ground.

"He may be pushing forward to search the area. Any threats won't stand a chance against him," Takuma said. Honami nodded.

"His reputation does precede him..." she said. Shōgo narrowed his eyes as his stared into the sky.

"You think anybody that was going to attack the Water Daimyō's representative would expose themselves to Sasuke sensei?" the boy asked. Takuma frowned. As usual, Shōgo had a point. What person in their right mind would attack Sasuke Uchiha?

"Then, do you think that it's a ploy? Or a trap?" Takuma asked. As soon as the words left his mouth, Honami closed her eyes and then burst them open. The Byakugan formed in her eyes and she paused as she took in every sight. Takuma watched her in silent awe.

"This plain is too large. I can't see across the entire area, only up to 300 meters. This plain expands for at least a couple of miles. And we're exposed so, we need to move and find sensei whenever you're ready, Shōgo," Honami said. Shōgo nodded and then exhaled as he rose to his feet. As he did, Takuma saw Honami tense up and turn her head.

"What's wrong?" Takuma asked. The red-haired girl frowned.

"There's three shinobi coming towards us. And fast," she said. Shōgo gulped.

"Are any of them Sasuke sensei?" he asked. Honami shook her head.

"No." Takuma exhaled sharply. So his thoughts had been correct. Someone had been hiding amongst the tall grass and trees and now those shinobi were moving in on them. Takuma's hands went down to his kunai pouch and he draw two into his hands.

"I can see them now," Honami said. "They're starting to spread out into a formation. Two are flanking from the sides. They've seen us too." Takuma looked over at Shōgo. With a single nod and a blink, Takuma knew what Shōgo had planned. Takuma was glad he had practiced spouting out fire balls.

The hand seals came to him quickly and he sucked in air as chakra burned in his chest. "Katon: Gōkakyū no Jutsu!" Takuma said as a fireball exited his mouth and hit the grass, spreading quickly over the dried plain. As the orange flames scorched the earth, Takuma saw a shadow leap above them. A sword appeared in its hand and Takuma grit his teeth. Shōgo and Honami closed in around him, creating a tight, three-point formation. Two more shadows appeared from the flames and they circled the three genin. Takuma couldn't make out any kind of village paraphernalia on them. Not a headband or an emblem.

They were rogues.

"Hmph...they're Konoha shinobi," a shadow to the right said, folding his arms. His glowing yellow eyes frightened Takuma.

Another shadow, the one with the sword, came closer, revealing his features. He had medium length black hair and cold light blue eyes that shifted quickly from Honami to Takuma. A small smirk crossed his face. "Half breed Hyūga and a half breed Uchiha from the symbol on his back. How interesting," he said. The third shadow scoffed.

"They're just genin. Nothing fucking interesting about them." The blue-eyed man seemed to consider it for a moment before slowly nodding and sighing.

"I suppose you're right," he replied. "If three genin are out in the middle of a field then I'd wager that their master isn't too much farther off. But, leaving his students exposed is so careless. I despise carelessness. How about-" the man said as his eyes bore into Takuma's. "We show the shepherd why it's ill advised to leave your sheep unguarded when wolves are prowling?" Takuma gasped as the three shinobi began to descend down on he and his team. The young Uchiha heard Shōgo shout.

"Honami, now!" he said. The red-haired daughter of the Hokage began to rotate quickly, chakra leaving every part of her body as she created a wide, defensive dome around Takuma and Shōgo. The pressure and wind ripped around the boys while they were inside, but they still made enough eye contact to know what the next plan of action was. Takuma could only hope that his father had seen the smoke his jutsu had left.

Takuma began to prepare hand seals as Honami stopped spinning. His vision cleared and he could see that the three rogue shinobi had cleared away. That is until they rushed back into his line of sight. The young Uchiha took in a massive breath and then let loose.

"Katon: Hōsenka no Jutsu!" the boy shouted as fire spheres burst from his mouth as he turned his head. The most they were meant to be were loud, fiery distractions. Something to draw more attention to where they were. Where was his father?!

The blue eyed shadow came forward first, a sadistic smile plastered on his face as he came to Takuma. The foul mouthed female shadow attacked Shōgo and the third stout male shadow attacked Honami. The blue eyed shadow's sword swung at Takuma's head and he brought up his kunai to block the strike. There was more power behind the seemingly halfhearted swing than the young Uchiha had anticipated and he felt his arm fall to his side. Takuma prepared for the blue eyed shadow to strike him with the sword again but instead, the Uchiha met the shadow's fist.

Takuma slid across the ground, kicking up dust as he rolled. The blue eyed shadow burst through the smoke and met Takuma with a knee to his stomach. The young Uchiha coughed and fell to his knees and felt the cool steel of the shadow's sword on his neck. Green eyes met blue as the young Uchiha looked up at the shadow. Blue eyes narrowed.

"Hm...where are they?" the shadow asked. Takuma stared up, perplexed before the shadow continued. "Your Sharingan eyes? Unless...you don't have them." Takuma frowned and the shadow shook his head and sighed. "She was right." The shadow raised his sword. "You aren't interesting at all." The young Uchiha's eyes watched as Shōgo dodged to the side of the female shadow's attacks, throwing explosive tags to create distance between them. His green eyes then flashed over to Honami, who appeared to be holding her own against the stocky shadow. Until, he got one hit on her.

Takuma's eyes widened as Honami's body crumbled to the ground and the shadow raised another hand to hit her again. His teeth bore and he felt something in his head pound. "Honami!" he yelled as he stared up at the blue eyed shadow. Instinct overtook Takuma and without a single hand seal, he felt a fireball erupt from his mouth. It was small and barely substantial but it was enough of a smoke screen to distract the blue eyed shadow as he made his way to Honami and the stout shadow.

He didn't make it far. A sharp pain shot through Takuma's thigh and he collapsed to the ground. It was the blue eyed shadow's sword. Takuma groaned as he crawled forward, his blood leaving a trail behind him and the dirt beginning to compact in his wound. He didn't care he had to get to Honami before the stout shinobi...

The stocky shadow drove another hit into Honami's body, this time drawing blood from her. Takuma stared forward, frozen in shock. He couldn't tell if she was dead or alive...but he knew that he felt something in his head surge and his eyes began to hurt. Something warm dripped down Takuma's cheeks. The boy reached his hand to wipe it away but was surprised to find out what it was/ What the young Uchiha thought was watery tears was in fact his own blood. He was bleeding from his eyes.

The pain didn't stop. Honami didn't move. Shōgo didn't stop yelling.

Takuma's world transformed into a vapid, fuscous sea of night and his own blood.