This story is because:
A. Was feeling a bit repetitive with my continuous Gamer/SI fics, and
B. Decided to branch out into another type of story in order to spice up my writing.
Not gonna take much precedence, since I'm just 'experimenting' with this idea.
But, hey, this is my first ever fic on this site that deals with an actual canon character as the MC. I chose Sasuke because there is no fucking way I can write Ninja-Jesus-Naruto as the MC of my story without making it a Dark!Naruto fic. Ah, but Sasuke (with some creative license) is right up my alley.
Without further adieu, the warnings:
WARNING! This story contains instances and/or mentions of assault, psychological torture, regular torture, rape, underaged sex, manipulation, gaslighting, dubious consent, drugs, self-harm and/or mutilation, and stuff that is considered almost as edgy as Batman V Superman. You will be disturbed, perturbed, and curse the day your mother decided to birth you.
You have been warned.
The Sociopathy of Uchiha Sasuke
…because you can't simply use Tsukuyomi on a bloody seven-year-old and not expect serious consequences.
How many times had it been now?
"Foolish little brother."
How long had it been?
He wasn't sure. What was time to him, anyway?
"This is so I can test the limits of my ability."
He said that… but… did it really matter?
Hey… Ni-san, does your limit really matter?
The same cycle, repeated, endlessly. The manner in which they repeated was never the same. In some versions, his mother and father fought back. In others, they sat still and let the blade sink through their necks, the blood falling unto the floor, their bodies following. In the rarest versions, even he was crying as he killed them. Sometimes it was blood. Other times, tears. The mish-mash of different ways made him wonder which was real. Which was fake, which was real, he didn't know. He stopped trying to find out.
In terms of life experience, his combined time under the jutsu was far longer than the actual number of years he had been alive. Or, at least, it felt longer. Wasn't it longer? It should be. He wasn't sure anymore. His seven years of life experience felt meagre in comparison to the amount of years he'd been watching the endless cycle of his parent's death by the hands of the one person he admired the most.
His throat felt nonexistent. There was an itch. It was irritating, and it came with a sound that made little sense to his ears. The sound was irritating, high-pitched, and it wouldn't die down. It just remained with the itch, and it stayed at the background no matter what happened.
He began to take note of the details. The scents. The tastes. The sounds. He observed the fights, if they could even be called that. The sheen of the sword. The swiftness at which they cut through bone and sinew. The redness of the blood that stained them. He started counting the drops and splatters. They were always the same. Fourteen small, six medium, one large. He listened to the sound of his mother's screams. Belatedly, he realized that this nightmare was the only place where he would hear her voice again. Ever.
He felt old. Older than he should be. The throbbing ache of seeing his parents cut down died after the first two thousand times or so. His attempts to rush to them and save them or warn them stopped after the first four thousand. Now, he stared at the entire scene that happened with nothing but slight boredom.
There she was. She would come, as always, crawling and calling out his name. She would drag her blood-covered form across the floor, her hand stretching out, and reaching for him.
As always, fifteen seconds in, she would attempt to call for help. She would stutter the initial letter three times, before, two and a half-seconds later –
The blade would sink into the back of her head.
It would drip down from the ANBU-blade. Three large chunks. Fourteen Medium. Twenty-eight small. Fourteen specks of blood follow and fall down on her hair.
Then, the condescending voice.
"Foolish little brother."
The spinning red eyes.
"How is he?"
"So far, his vitals are stable Hokage-sama. There were only a few superficial wounds and bruises found on his person."
"Then why hasn't he awakened?"
"Our… diagnostics scans have confirmed significant amounts of alterations to his brain structure – and… there is no simple way to put this Hokage-sama, he has undergone severe mental stress and psychological damage that would have left even the most hardened shinobi brain dead… it's a miracle he is still mostly intact."
Sarutobi Hiruzen grimaced. He felt he was getting far too old for his job. His bones creaked and his entire body was wrought with discomfort. Yet, he knew that he only had but a few minutes to spare with the boy. An entire clan being wiped out at night meant there was work to be done. Roles to be replaced. Funerals to be held, and significant amounts of damage control to run.
"Keep me updated on his status, and let me know when he wakes."
Failed. Cannot open. Why?
Clean. Too clean. Artificially clean. Hospital?
Beeps. Steady beeping. Voices. Distinct. Cannot understand. Hospital – increased possibility.
"W-w-" he rasped. He disliked the sound of his voice. "W-w-w-water."
"Quickly, contact Hokage-sama!"
"And get some water! Now!"
He forgot there were other people in the world. Aside from his clan. Aside from his parents. Aside from their killer.
He forgot there was a village called Konoha.
A man called the Hokage.
Individuals called Shinobi.
He forgot how things were supposed to work in this outside world.
"Sasuke-kun," the old man was attempting to convey an emotion. What emotion was it again? "I know this might be very difficult for you –"
Why would it be difficult for me?
The man's lips seemed to change. It indicated something. He could not tell what it was. But it was not positive. No.
"It might be difficult because of the circumstances."
How did he know what I was thinking?
"Sasuke-kun, your brother, Itachi –"
He slaughtered my parents and my clan, and said he did it to test his limits.
The Hokage's face had another negative. There was something. Something.
"Itachi… said that?"
How do you know what I'm thinking?
He turned his attention to one of the men in the room. Blonde-haired. There was something about him.
"I see. Very well. We will immediately place Itachi in the Bingo Books, as an S-Rank Criminal, to be brought in Dead and Alive."
Oh. Is that all?
The man's face twisted again. For someone so old, he had a lot of expressions. While under that jutsu, the only expressions Sasuke saw were those of fear, terror or rage. He knew there were more than three. He was certain. Yet, he could not remember any of them. Place them. Name them. Recall them. Feel them.
"Itachi will face justice for his crimes, Sasuke-kun. I understand that he was your brother, and you might feel… something toward him –"
What am I supposed to feel toward him?
How… how did he feel of him before now? Before this… when he mentioned his brother, Itachi, he would be filled with something – there was something he felt – when his lips were upturned and his mouth was moving wildly and exaggeratedly – what was that called?
The old man kept regarding him with different faces. There was something he felt he was missing.
"Sasuke-kun, this is Yamanaka Inoichi – a foremost at the mind arts, and a member of Konoha's Yamanaka Clan."
The blonde man. Sasuke turned his gaze towards him.
"He is here to help you come to terms with any unresolved issues you may have with…" a pause. Sasuke noted it. The hesitation. "…with the loss of your family and clan."
Numerous gazes in his direction. Anticipation. Anticipation for something. A reaction? From him? Why? Was he supposed to react to that? Positively? Negatively? It was a fact – wasn't it?
Their gazes turned negative. Was that the wrong response? An unusual reaction? Strange. His parents and clan were gone. He'd seen it. Again. And again. And again. Enough times to memorize the botches and splashes on their clothes when they died. Was he supposed to deny their deaths? Why?
"Sasuke-kun," the blonde man – Yamanaka – spoke "please don't be afraid to tell us how you feel."
Why would I be afraid?
The man paused. "Often times, when bad things happen to people, they hide and bottle up all the feelings they have because they can't come to terms with it. It is common, but not healthy at all." His expression changed. "So you don't need to do that."
I'm not doing that.
"Often times, they also use denial to –"
I'm not denying anything.
There was something in his expression. "Sasuke-kun, I understand that this must be difficult –"
It isn't. Why do you insist it is?
"Your family is gone, Sasuke." He said.
The room was quiet. Too quiet. Was that the wrong thing to say?
"Your family is gone and your brother is responsible. How does that make you feel?"
The man seemed satisfied. "Now, we're getting somewhere Sasuke-kun. Why are you irritated?"
Because I don't know how to cook, and my mother couldn't have been bothered to teach me before she died.
Silence again. He said the wrong thing again. He needed to change it.
Don't blame her, it's not her fault. She would have taught me if she knew Itachi would slit her throat one day.
There. That should make things better.
He was starting to realize that there was no point in ever truly stating his mind. No matter what he said, what he held, their expressions would mostly be negative. He could not understand their lack of candidness, nor did he even understand the reason why they often seemed to have negative reactions to his frankness.
"Don't you want to go to your clan's funeral Sasuke-kun?"
Why would I do that?
"To say your final farewells."
They're dead. I don't think corpses can hear me.
His sessions with the Yamanaka doubled from that moment on, which, Sasuke realized were incredibly irritating and constricting. The insistence of the man that he was 'bottling' something or 'denying' something was becoming overwhelmingly tedious.
"What are your goals for the future Sasuke-kun?"
"Why do you want to become strong?"
So I can kill Itachi.
"Do you want to get vengeance for your clan Sasuke-kun?"
"So why do you want to kill Itachi?"
Because he might change his mind.
"Change his mind?"
About letting me live.
"Can you explain Sasuke-kun?"
He let me live because he said I was too weak to be worth killing.
I want to kill him before he changes his mind.
"…And after you do that Sasuke-kun, what will you do?"
Rebuild my clan.
"Do you plan to start a family, Sasuke-kun?"
Isn't that the condition to rebuilding my clan?
"That isn't an answer Sasuke-kun."
No, it isn't.
Eventually, he came to a balance. A "Mask" he called it. It was the only way they would let him leave the hospital and the supervision of Yamanaka, and without it, he would be stuck pointlessly answering questions for much longer.
"Ah, how are you feeling today Uchiha-san?"
He sat on the bed. His gaze flickered over to the nurse. Most certainly, she was another one of Yamanaka's plants here to conduct a 'hidden' experiment on his 'social' capacity and mental wellbeing. She was a genuine nurse, but this did not prevent her from being another tool in the man's arsenal.
This was the way adults worked, he realized. With 'tools' of various forms and abilities, but somehow, they refused to blatantly and explicitly admit that they utilized people as tools, and instead found euphemism upon euphemism in order to express these sentiments. It was tiring and needless. Posturing and pointless.
They called it: 'Politeness.'
"Fine. A little bit hungry."
The nurse gave him an expression that he now recalled, thanks to Yamanaka's lessons, was called a 'smile.' He remembered having this expression a lot, before the massacre. Now, it felt foreign.
"Are the portions of the meals provided not enough?"
He remembered, that it was often considered appropriate to air one's grievances in small amounts. Excessively stating it would be considered 'whining' or 'complaining' and would be a disagreeable trait. Understating it would make one be considered a 'softy' or 'spineless' and was likewise a disagreeable trait.
"It's not about quantity. It's the quality."
The 'smile' did not leave her face. If anything, an aspect of authenticity was added to it.
"You don't like the Hospital food Uchiha-san?"
I would not feed it to dogs were I perchance to own them.
He could not state that, of course, no matter how true he felt such a sentiment was. Rather, he needed to appeal to the nurse's own instincts in order to ensure his disapproval possessed a reasonable, grounded basis. A basis in which she could 'relate' with.
"I miss the food my mother used to make me." He said. "There was… more, to it."
He found it difficult to place the emotion on the nurse's face. However, it seemed to hover somewhere between discomfort and what Yamanaka called 'sympathy.' Yamanaka often, not so subtly, implied that he ought to possess 'more' of it, and that he was lacking in it.
He ignored the irrelevance of that thought and focused instead on his next approach. Offers of aid or assistance – requesting 'favors' from people often supposedly had numerous benefits.
"Would you… be able to help me, get some snacks from outside… please?"
"A-ah – well, I'm not really supposed to –"
"I won't tell anyone. And it would mean a lot."
Hesitation. Uncertainty. Eventually, reluctance and acceptance.
"Fine… I suppose just this once." She said. "What would you like to have?"
He memorized the exact pattern of her lips. The way and manner it creased and curved and upturned in her 'smile.' His brain, the brain of an Uchiha, hardwired with neurons and synapses configured for the ability to copy and record information courtesy of their eyes, focused on that image, and flawlessly, he replicated it.
Uchiha Sasuke 'smiled.'
"What would you recommend?"
Yamanaka Inoichi rubbed his nose in irritation.
"I can't believe she did that!"
This was bad.
"I know! I mean – there the doctor was, and she sauntered in with her robes and just draped herself all over him – in the middle of a consultation!"
This was worse than he anticipated.
"Maybe she didn't see the patient?"
"I wouldn't really blame her, she's known for being such an airhead at times –"
He coughed into his hand, standing at the special ward that was designated for Uchiha Sasuke, and within the room, the blonde-haired nurse sitting on the patient's hospital bed and chatting away animatedly went rigid as she immediately sat up straight and tried her best to look professional.
"Y-Yamanaka-sama – I was just – checking his vitals –"
He turned his attention to the young boy who was on the bed, his face the complete mask of innocence, as he held two sticks of pocky in his fingers and slowly munched on it.
"So I see." He said without inflexion, before turning to the boy in question. "Enjoying your snack, Sasuke-kun?"
The boy 'smiled' at him. If Yamanaka Inoichi was not an expert in the mind arts, and someone who had spent years in the Torture and Interrogation department, he would have believed that smile was the genuine article. No, even with all his experience, it was only the prior knowledge he possessed of the circumstances that enabled him to understand the fact that the smile was not real.
Even more so, because he knew exactly where he had seen that smile before.
"Nurse, I believe we should allow Sasuke-kun some more bedrest."
He walked out, and the nurse, understanding the words, followed him. He made sure to go pass the ANBU guards stationed outside the boy's door, and past a reasonable enough distance, before turning around and landing a stern glare at the woman in question.
"And what exactly do you think you were doing?"
"Yamanaka-sama – I was conversing with him as you said! He even asked me to purchase some snacks and –"
"No," Inoichi shook his head. "You weren't talking to him. You were talking to yourself."
Inoichi sighed. "That boy… he wasn't interested in a single thing you said. Most likely, he will remember every word you uttered and every joke, every laugh and every motion – but he was not invested in a word you said or a thing you had to say. He was observing you. Using you as a reference for how to act and behave and what to say –" he felt his irritation grow.
"Problematically, at a point, he stopped observing you and started copying you. Mimicking everything you did or said. You failed to take note of this – because you, like most people – felt flattered by his seeming interest, and now – now you've cemented it in his mind that all he needs to do to properly function is copy what the other person is doing."
And he did it to a frightening level of accuracy that was almost unnerving.
"He – he was copying me? But how – I mean, it didn't feel like – he responded to everything I said and –"
"It didn't feel like you were talking to yourself?"
She nodded, slowly.
Inoichi knew why this was, because he, unlike most people, knew basic biology. "It's because he's an Uchiha."
"Contrary to what most people think, we don't see with our eyes. We see with our brains. Our eyes are merely cameras reflecting light, and it is our brain that makes sense of that information and renders it for us in what we call sight." Inoichi explained. "Clans with Dojutsu not only have different eyes, they have different brain structures to go with them. The Uchiha Clan's Sharingan which grants the ability to copy Jutsu and memorize information without forgetting has unexpected influence on their brain structure."
The Yamanaka Clan Head frowned. "Sasuke is essentially using parts of his brain connected with his Sharingan's sight and ability – even without realizing it. He is memorizing everything, storing it, and then recreating it in a manner that would suite him, whilst removing any imperfections that don't fit along the way."
Imitating? No, he wasn't just imitating her. He was going above and beyond. He was recreating and improving her. She was talking to a version of herself that could realistically apply to a seven-year-old male, and that was better than her. It was essentially copying a jutsu, and then using it in a way that fit you perfectly, which made it better and more effective than anything the original user could muster.
Hopefully, he didn't even realize he was doing it. However, that was unlikely.
Worse? He had seen its effectiveness first hand, meaning, he would not stop doing it.
Anyone who spoke to Uchiha Sasuke would essentially be speaking to a version of themselves they could only wish they were.
It would be good, a powerful, deadly skill that Inoichi would have wished upon anyone, anyone, but a seven-year-old. The sheer capacity for abuse of such power, willingly or unwillingly, was enormous.
He could not, in his good conscience, let that happen.
"I know what you're doing Sasuke-kun."
"And what am I doing, Inoichi-san?"
"You cannot simply copy other people's personalities and project it back at them."
"Is there a reason why I should not?"
Inoichi found his own temperament getting slightly annoyed at seeing Sasuke's expression. It was a dead-on impression of his own, and it was incredibly unnerving when he realized that the speech patterns and mannerisms were copied down to the letter. Even his gaze, his sitting position, his unconscious movements –
"Because it's impolite Sasuke-kun."
"Is it more or less impolite than my normal behaviour?"
Inoichi paused. Since the boy woke up, he seemed to lose the ability to understand emotions or read certain social cues. He was frank and blunt, but out of ignorance, which was also highly problematic and, if he was being honest, it was also incredibly aggravating.
"We're not comparing them."
"Because you know I would default on the one that is less impolite."
"I didn't say that, Sasuke-kun."
"But you didn't have to, Inoichi-san."
Inoichi found his patience waning.
"You are discomforted." Sasuke said, nodding his head in a placating manner.
"That would be putting it mildly."
"Because I am attempting to help you Sasuke-kun, and this, this won't make you better."
"Why are you attempting to help me?" Sasuke asked.
"Because it's my job."
"So if it were not your job, you would not attempt to help me?"
Inoichi frowned. "I would still try to help you."
"Because it's the right thing to do, Sasuke-kun."
"Inoichi-san, are you trying to help me because it's the right thing to do, or because you want to be able to hold your head high and say 'I did the right thing'?"
Inoichi paused at the question.
"That's an unfair question to ask Sasuke-kun."
"So it's for the latter. And also because Hokage-sama asked you to, didn't he? It would lower your credibility if you failed at helping me, but increase it if you succeed."
"…what are you getting at?"
"No one does anything for selfless reasons Inoichi-san. So why do we pretend to?"
"That worldview is too cynical for a child."
"I stopped being a child when my parents died, Inoichi-san."
Inoichi did not have a suitable retort to that.
"I thought you didn't care about their deaths."
"Why would you think that?"
"You don't grieve for them. Mourn them. Nor did you bother attempting to attend their funerals."
"I saw them die thousands of times. Again and again and again. Inoichi-san, you would forgive me, if I don't want to see them dead one last time."
Inoichi resisted the urge to wince. He resisted it, and realized he was getting somewhere. Strange as it was, Sasuke, while doing his best to imitate him, did not realize that he was finally opening up. Asking the hard questions. Answering the difficult ones. By pretending to be someone else, and absorbing that person's personality into his own –
Could this actually be a good thing?
The potential for disaster was present, but now, he realized, the potential for healing was also present.
"Sasuke-kun, you never talk about the Genjutsu that Itachi put you under."
"Why should I talk about it, Inoichi-san?"
"It left a significant amount of damage on your psyche Sasuke-kun. Don't you think that's worth discussing?"
Inoichi frowned. He pushed too hard. He pushed too hard too fast and the boy clammed up again. Already, he could see it, he stopped copying him. He stopped being 'Yamanaka Inoichi' and returned to his default. A seven-year-old boy with perpetually sharp-yet-dull expression, and eyes which scanned the world whilst simultaneously appearing expressionless.
Inoichi knew that it was impossible for him to completely fix all of Uchiha Sasuke's problems. Most likely, the best he could do was ensure that the boy could return to society as a fully functioning member with the occasional one or two quirks and hiccups. You could not be a shinobi without eccentricities or coping mechanisms, as the amount of violence and chaos you witnessed in your lifetime would leave you scarred mentally, physically and emotionally.
But when you start out with scars –
It became slightly worse. Hatake Kakashi sprung to mind, the boy who returned home to his father's suicide – he had grown and developed, but eventually, that original scar never faded, and more and more kept compiling upon them. Losing his best friend, having to kill his teammate who had romantic feelings for him, and then losing his mentor and father-figure. Too many for one boy. Now, he had thrown himself into ANBU work and was doing more and more S-Rank and A-Rank missions, and it was clear to anyone with eyes that the young boy craved death as an escape.
What sort of individual would Uchiha Sasuke become, when the extra scars were compiled on top of this one? On top of having his entire family and clan massacred at the hand of the one person he idolized the most? What would happen if he fell in love and then lost his lover, or made friends and watched them die, or any other number of common events that came with their lifestyle?
How many scars could he take before it became too many?
At what point would he break?
"When can I leave this place Yamanaka?"
Uchiha Sasuke spoke, and Yamanaka Inoichi took a long, deep breath.
The whispers were everywhere.
"The Last Uchiha –"
"Oh dear, that poor thing –"
"I can't believe what happened – his own brother –"
"Shush! He can probably hear you!"
He could hear them. All of them. Their miserable attempts at being discreet failed horrendously and he could overhear each and every word and each and every whisper. For now, two ANBU guards were his escorts. In 'secret' of course, as they watched him from the rooftops whilst he voyaged the streets and roads alone.
Their words, he realized, were born out of 'pity.' An emotion which was supposedly thought to be noble, but was rather an elevated and socially-accepted form of degradation. Pity was born from the sense and feeling that you were better off or superior to that in which deserved your sympathy. One could not pity someone who was more fortunate than themselves.
He would admit that their pity was something which irritated him. However, he also saw the potential benefits where they lay. One who was pitied could leverage that emotion and convert it into guilt, which was a prime emotion needed to extract favors. He made sure to pay attention to those who pitied him, and made sure to note later if there would be something of benefit to gain from those individuals.
Eventually, he made his way to his clan compound. He stopped at the gates. A nagging sensation on his neck. He wasn't sure how long it was that he stood at the gates of the compound.
The last time he entered this place –
He disregarded the sensation and irrationality of the belief that Itachi was still inside. Still waiting. Still ready to finish off the job. Still ready to look down and him, and call him –
"Foolish little brother."
The place was empty.
Previously bustling and moving, filled with children, noises, sounds, people, events and activities. The absence of these things made him feel like it was an illusion. Somehow.
The sight of this place, filled with people running from Itachi's blade felt more real than the sight of it empty.
His every footstep echoed.
His sandals crunching against sand and granite reverberated.
He made his way back to his house. He stood in front of the door. Slowly, he opened it.
His nose was immediately assaulted with the smell of blood.
"S-s-sasuke –kun –"
A part of him immediately expected his mother to crawl on the floor, bleeding, and to beg for him to saver her. He counted the seconds.
She wasn't there.
This was real.
This is real.
…And they'd removed the bodies, but no one had touched the house. No one had cleaned it. The blood splatters were still there. The trails were still there. The smells were still there.
Uchiha Sasuke took a look at his empty house.
And his throat itched.
And that noise, that irritating noise that had always been with him in the genjutsu –
He heard it in full force.
He finally knew what it was. Finally, he understood.
It was his scream.