"A free man has two things thoroughly his own, his body and his land."
Chapter One: The Orphan and Widower
"I'm sorry, Kakashi-sama."
The silver-haired ninja lifted his charcoal gaze to the young healer Ima, who stared down at him with pity, her gray eyes red from exhaustion.
Kakashi blinked slowly, feeling strangely numb at the news he had feared and expected. "Both of them?"
The woman nodded. "She tried to fight, but there was nothing that could be done."
The masked shinobi nodded slowly, staring ahead into nothing. Rin was gone and their child had died with her. He had nothing anymore, he was nothing... no wife, no heir, no family... There was only a void before him, and all he could do was stare into it.
"The village needs you, Hokage-sama." Ima told him. "Smoke from the attack is still in the air, so many are dead, they need to see you are alive."
Kakashi said nothing, for he was no longer alive, not anymore. Perhaps, this village was doomed to burn, as Rin and his unborn child were doomed to die.
"Hokage-sama." Ima repeated, but her voice fell on deaf ears as the leader of the Konohagakure succumbed to his grief, unable to hear or see anything... except for a faint whimpering, the sound of a child crying.
Kakashi blinked, confused at the noise that had broken through his ringing silence, turning his head to see the raven-haired Uchiha boy crying in the corner of the room, his head buried in his hands.
"What of the boy?" Kakashi asked, he had almost forgotten him admits his worry and growing despair for his wife.
"He is unscathed." the healer replied. "Though, he won't let me near him and he has not stopped crying."
Kakashi stared long and hard at the child, the boy he had saved from the burning Hokage Tower, losing his right hand in the process. "His father's and brother's heads were severed before his eyes, his mother was crushed by a fallen, burning pillar... he is the last of his family." he told the healer.
"The poor child." Ima spoke softly. "What shall become of him now?"
Kakashi did not reply, but continued to watch the weeping boy grieve, seeing his own turmoil and devastation reflected in the boys tears. Ima was called away to help save the many other wounded, leaving the Hokage alone with the child.
The shinobi slowly rose then, compelled by some unknown force... and taking the quilt that had been draped over his shoulders, came to kneel beside the boy, wrapping his trembling form up against the cold of the room.
The boy jumped at the action, his onyx-colored eyes rising up to the Hokage as his tears continued to fall.
"It's alright." Kakashi told the boy. "You're safe now... You're Fugaku's son, aren't you?"
The boy bowed his head, rubbing the tears from his eyes almost angrily, giving a slow nod.
"What's your name?"
"S-Sasuke." the boy replied admist his tears.
Kakashi sighed heavily. Fugaku had been a good friend and ally, so had the boy's older brother Itachi, their's was a great loss to the village.
What was left of their village.
"I see," Kakashi told the boy. "You won't be able to stay here, Sasuke... tomorrow when I leave to regroup with the remaining leaders of this village, you will come with me."
The Uchiha boy looked up again, confusion interlacing with the sorrow in his eyes. He hardly knew the Hokage, but what else could he do? Where else would he go?
Wiping his nose with his sleeve, the boy nodded again in agreement.
Smoke rose high from Konohagakure, as the village burned in the aftermath of the Kirigakure attack. Zentaro Kurin, the most powerful shinobi of the Hidden Mist Village, stood on solemn watch as his men re-gathered, feeling great sense of morbid pleasure at the sight of destruction and the screams of the people.
Let us see the phoenix fly from these ashes. he thought to himself triumphantly.
"Let her in, Shizune, it's alright." Tsunade rasped tiredly, motioning for her handmaid to move from the door frame and let her small daughter pass. The woman knew in her heart that she would not last the night, and she would not deny her child the chance to say goodbye. The little girl of barely eight years darted around Shizune and climbed to the top of the bed.
"Mother." she whispered quietly, snuggling into Tsunade's side, wrapping her arms around her waist and refusing to let go.
"It's alright, Sakura." Tsunade told the child, running a hand through her strawberry-blonde locks. "It's alright."
Mother and daughter lay together in silence, as Tsunade began to hum a tuneless melody comfortingly. It was not long before Sakura began to sob quietly, burying her head into her mother's shoulder.
"I don't want you to die, Mother." she cried. "I don't want to be alone."
Tsunade kissed the top of the child's head. "You'll never be alone, Sakura, I'll always be with you... In your memory and everything I've ever taught you."
Sakura looked up into her mother's amber eyes, tears trailing down her pale white cheeks.
"You'll need to be strong, but more than that, this land has plenty of warriors and killers... I want you to be different, I want you to be a healer, to save lives and not take them, do you think you can do that?"
Sakura nodded her head vigorously.
"Shizune will look after you from now on, I want you to listen to her and learn from her what I couldn't teach you, do you understand?"
Again she nodded, eager to please her mother. "I will, I promise."
"Good girl, my sweet, good girl." Tsunade whispered, pulling the child closer into her arms. "You love so purely, so deeply... do not let this world starve you of love."
"But, I love you, Mother." Sakura cried. "Please, don't leave me."
"Never." her mother smiled gently. "Rest, Sakura, I'll be here with you till you fall asleep."
The child curled into her mother, resting her head against her shoulder once more, to try and muffle her sobs. Tsunade turned back to Shizune then, her poor handmaiden, who was now silently crying beside the door.
"The Mizukage?" she asked softly.
"I'm sorry, my lady." Shizune spoke. "Your husband has still not arrived."
"It's alright." Tsunade replied, neither hurt nor surprised by the news. Saku had always put Kirigakure first, and always would, even now on her deathbed. "I've written him and the rest of my family letters, will you please make sure they get them, Shizune."
"Yes, Tsunade-sama, I shall." Shizune promised, wiping her tears with the back of her hand.
The Mizukage's wife looked back down at her daughter, the one she loved most, and blinked back tears at the thought of abandoning her to this harsh and cruel world.
My wish for you Sakura, is that you find love, true love. she thought gently. I want you to be loved by someone completely, wholly and irrevocably. Someone who will protect you and care for you all the days of your life.
"Kakashi!" the voice of a woman called a midst the destruction of the Hidden Leaf Village.
The Hokage stopped, knowing very well who that voice belonged to. Little Sasuke, who was at his heels, stopped as well, and looked up to see a beautiful red-haired woman push past the crowd to reach them.
"Kushina-san." Kakashi greeted the woman, taking her hands in his own. "Are you alright?"
"I'm alright." she replied. "I had feared the worse for you after the tower collapsed."
"Many lives were lost." Kakashi told her grimly, unable to keep his voice from faltering. "Rin..."
"No!" Kushina cried after he hesitated, raising a hand to her mouth in shock and shaking her head in disbelief. "It cannot be!"
Kakashi did not reply, but just nodded solemnly to confirm the terrible truth. He knew his wife had been quite close to Kushina most of her life, she had helped her raise Kushina's son after the death of her husband, Minato Namikaze, the Hokage before him.
"And the child?" Kushina asked, tears watering the rims of her eyes now.
Kakashi shook his head slowly, looking down to the ash laden earth below him.
"I...I'm so sorry, Kakashi." the woman breathed, reaching for his shoulder to offer him some form of comfort, but the Hokage's gaze remained on lowered, his grief far too near.
Kushina looked up, blinking tears away. There would be a time to grieve, but not now, not when the village lay in waste beneath her. Take care of her, Minato. She prayed quietly to the heavens.
"...Who is this?" Kushina asked as she lowered her gaze, seeing Sasuke hiding behind Kakashi's cloak, peeking out to eye her warily.
"This is Sasuke." Kakashi replied, stepping aside for Kushina to fully see the child. "Son of Fugaku Uchiha, his family was killed in the tower... I'm all he has left now."
Kushina smiled at the boy, kneeling down to his level, trying to be strong. "Uchiha? I knew your mother Mikoto when we children, she and I were good friends."
Sasuke just stared curiously at the woman, and said nothing.
"I have a son about your age." Kushina told him, rising to stand. "Naruto!"
At her call, a blonde spikey haired little boy appeared by the red-haired woman's side, covered head-to-toe in dirt. "Ma?"
Kakashi's eyes softened at Kushina's son, glad to see he was unharmed after all the chaos.
"This is Sasuke," Kushina told Naruto. "He'll be your new friend now, alright?"
"Hi!" Naruto greeted with a wide, toothy smile, showing that he had atleast five missing teeth.
Sasuke just stared back, unsure what to make of the blonde boy, and stayed beside Kakashi.
"He's really quiet, Ma!" Naruto complained, his grin fading.
"Hush!" Kushina scolded. "You be kind."
The red-haired woman moved her violet-blue eyes back up to the Hokage. "What shall we do now, Kakashi?"
Kakashi sighed, taking in the ash and destruction around him, before his gaze fell to the young raven-haired boy beside him, who had taken hold of his cloak in order not to lose him.
"We rebuild." he replied, placing a hand on the boy's head.
Sakura walked hand in hand with Shizune, her gaze downcast, not a tear left in her eye to be shed. Her mother's funeral had lasted half the day, and the small child felt utterly drained, as if there was nothing left in her soul to give.
"Shizune!" a deep, husky voice called over the crowds, making both the handmaid and small princess turn their heads in question.
"Mizukage-sama." Shizune bowed lowly, seeing her lord and master standing before her and Sakura followed her caretaker's example hurriedly.
"Bring my child to me." Saku commanded.
Shizune nodded, tugging Sakura's hand. "Come, Sakura-chan."
Sakura took wary steps toward her father, looking up at him through her bloodshot eyes. Her father, the Mizukage was a distant man that she did not know, a man she was a afraid of.
"Father." the child bowed her head formally when she stood before Saku.
The tall man took the girl's chin in his rough hands and tilted her head up to look at him. He studied her silently, and Sakura just stared into the fierce jade-green eyes she had inherited from him.
She wondered what her father was looking for as he studied her face. Did she remind him of her mother? Was he seeing if she had been crying? Sakura did not allow her gaze to falter as she stared back at her father, she would try to be whatever it was he was looking for.
"A frail child." he finally spoke, but not to Sakura, to Shizune. "Though, pretty in a way, like her mother."
"Yes, my lord." Shizune agreed.
Saku released the girl's chin then, backing away from her. "Make sure she eats well."
"I will, my lord." Shizune replied.
With that the Mizukage left, leaving his daughter to stare after him in hurt and confusion. Sakura found that she indeed had a few more tears to shed.
"How is he doing?" Kakashi asked Jiraiya, the Toad Sage who supervised the training of all the young shinobi. Amidst the organized rabbal of young boys and girls, the Hokage was able to spot his young ward, the raven haired boy who faltered with his kunai as he stood toe-to-toe with Naruto.
"Come on, fight!" Naruto told him, growing impatiently. "Sensei! Sasuke won't fight me, he's too scared."
Kakashi narrowed his eyes and straightened to see the two boys better. Sasuke indeed was hesitant, but it wasn't because of fear. An ever growing scowl was gracing the young boy's handsome features. He was angry. Angry and unsure what to do about it.
"Come on, you coward, fight me!" Naruto exclaimed, growing irritated. "What? Are you going to cry? My father's dead too and you don't see me crying."
"Naruto!" Kushina cried, lifted her head from where she was helping load rations into storage, ashamed that her son was being so crass.
"Wait, Kushina." Kakashi told the woman, placing a hand to stop her advancing toward the training ground.
Sasuke's dark gaze shot up at the blonde boy then, a sort of cool rage was in his eyes that Kakashi had never seen before in a child, and then lunged. Naruto, surprised, blocked Sasuke's blow and their kunais clashed. Naruto managed to match the Uchiha's movements, however, Sasuke was not only fierce, but fast. In a graceful fluid movement, he dropped to the earth below, moved his leg under Naruto's and sent him plummeting to the ground. In an instant he was standing above the blonde boy, throwing his kunai down a small fraction above Naruto's skull.
Kakashi, Kushina, Jiraya and the other young ninjas stood in quiet amazement at what had taken place. Sasuke let out a heavy exhale, turning his angry gaze upon the adults before darting away from the training grounds, tossing his armor and weapons aside as he ran.
"Hey, wait!" Naruto called after him, but the Uchiha boy was already long gone. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean it..."
"Poor boy." Kushina spoke quietly, before waltzing over to her son and smacking him squarely across the head as he rose.
"OW!" Naruto cried. "MA!"
"Don't be so cruel, you know better than that!"
"That boy's got some fire inside of him." Jiraiya commented to Kakashi as they stared after Sasuke. "It's the way of his clan, harness that, and you'll have quite the warrior one day."
Kakashi did not reply as he went after the boy, tracking his chakra signature. It did not take him long to find the child, curled into a tight ball on the dock near what was left of the Uchiha Compound. The silver-haired shinobi wordlessly took a seat beside the boy, staring off into the violet water of the untouched lake before them.
Sasuke, after a few minutes, curiously glanced over at the man who had taken him in, watching as the Copy-nin removed his sandals and let his bare feet wade in the water beneath the dock.
"Did your father take you out here often?" Kakashi asked him.
Sasuke did not reply at first, but after several moments of silence, gave a short nod.
"I'm sure he taught you your clan's signature move, here, the fireball jutsu, right?"
The boy's face fell at the memory, making him bury his head into his folded arms. He was tired of crying, of looking weak.
"You know, my wife was carrying our child before she died." Kakashi told him. "She was nearly seven-months along, and I knew in my heart we were going to have a son."
Kakashi looked skyward then, wondering if Rin and their child could perhaps see and hear him where ever they were. When the Hokage did not continue, Sasuke peaked out one of his dark eyes curiously, waiting.
The Copy-nin smiled beneath his mask sadly. "We were going to call him Sakumo, after my father... I was going to teach him everything I knew, take him so many places, and now I don't even have a memory of him."
It wasn't fair! Sasuke thought to himself. It wasn't fair what had happened to them. That his new guardian had lost his wife and son, and that he had lost his family.
"I hate Kirigakure, I want to burn their village like they did ours." Sasuke whispered lowly, angrily.
Kakashi only sighed. "There is no point in hating Kirigakure, that is just a place, and many of the people living there are good people, people like your father, mother and brother."
Sasuke frowned deeply. "Then I hate the Mizukage."
"And will your hate bring your parents and Itachi back, Sasuke?" Kakashi asked him quietly. "Will hating the Mizukage bring back my family?"
The boy turned his head sharply back to the lake, his lower lip trembling at the realization of that answer, No. It wouldn't. Nothing would bring them back. They were dead. They were gone and he would never see them again. Sasuke sobbed bowing his head once more, because he missed them. He missed them so much.
"Our families are gone now, Sasuke." Kakashi told him. "The only thing left for us to do is to keep moving foward, to carry on to where they couldn't. To make them proud, you and I must rebuild our home, to save it from this terrible war."
He glanced at the child then, another smile escaping his lips at the boy's large eyes peeking out at him. He reached out and ruffled the boy hair fondly. "I suppose now I will have to teach you my special technique, I can't have my signature move die with me, now can I?"
Sasuke questioned him silently, tilting his head to the side.
"Have you ever heard of the Chidori?"
So, this is my new story. Based on Tristan and Isolde, both the ballad by Joseph Bedier and the film. Though it will be following it's own story the closer we get to the end. I've set the story to more ancient Japanese times, then whenever the Naruto Universe is supposed to be set in. Ninja Dark Ages, I guess. Tell me what you think.