Sixteen-year old Uchiha Sasuke woke up feeling like an avalanche was falling on his head, pummeling his body and punching the air from his lungs.
When the wheezing and the pain receded, Sasuke opened his eyes to see a surprised looking twelve-year old boy standing over him wearing a high collar blue t-shirt with a Konoha headband tied around his head. If Sasuke didn't know any better he could have mistaken the boy for himself at that age. Yet Sasuke did know better, so he whipped out a shuriken and flung it at the imposter's throat.
To his surprise, the weapon flew wildly off target and struck the wall behind the wide-eyed preteen. It was only then that Sasuke realized he was lying on the floor of a familiar bedroom. Specifically, this was his bedroom within the Uchiha district. The one he hadn't seen since he abandoned Konoha three years ago.
Sasuke was on his feet in a flash, looming over the boy with his mangekyō sharingan eyes gleaming red and a demand on his tongue when the boy stuttered. "I'm you."
Sasuke froze, struggling to comprehend the absurdity he'd just heard.
The boy, gaining some confidence from the lack of immediate retaliation, continued in a steadier voice. "I found a scroll containing a time-space jutsu that allows the caster to temporarily summon their future self to the past." He glowered suddenly, and though a bit of nervousness lingered in his gaze, the burning hatred in his tone overshadowed it. "I brought you here so you could teach me how to kill Itachi."
Sasuke's fingers curled into white-knuckled fists at his sides, rage quickly filling his visage, and the imposter, noticing, wisely stepped back.
He was about to whip out his sword and cut down the foolish imposter for daring to bring up his brother's name when he noticed the black seal on the floor beneath the boy's feet as well as the identical red seal circling his own black sandals. Steam was rising from the strange symbols and kanji inked on the bedroom floor as if the seal had recently been set ablaze, or activated.
Sasuke slowly looked up, and giving the boy a more critical examination, noted the preteen's paler than normal face and the sweat running down his forehead, both common symptoms of chakra exhaustion.
The younger Uchiha gazed back, almost in a self-conscious manner. Though it was likely just the boy reacting to Sasuke's killing intent, which Sasuke stopped releasing once he found no deceit lying beneath the boy's stunned expression.
Still, Sasuke hesitated to believe he had traveled to the past, for he had no memory of ever using a scroll to summon his future self. However, Sasuke had been standing in a cave far from Konoha a minute ago, yet was now definitely inside his old bedroom. The smell of maple and honey wafting through the air, the fragrance of his preferred cleaning products, filled the room exactly like he remembered, and from what he could see through the balcony door appeared to be Konohagakure. So Sasuke had transported, and at the very least, he knew this wasn't a genjutsu—his sharingan would have seen through one by now.
The Uchiha's eyes narrowed at his potential—a very tentative potential—younger self as he hissed. "Tell me everything." He was ready to rip the truth out of the boy's head if he didn't reply immediately.
The younger boy seemed more awed than intimidated by the red orbs locked onto him, but quickly got a hold of himself when a warning growl erupted from Sasuke's throat, and said, "My genin team returned from a mission to the Land of Waves a couple of days ago. While I was there, I found a scroll with the Uchiha clan emblem in a shop, and purchased it on the chance it was authentic."
Sasuke raked his brain for a memory that corresponded with the boy's claim and was shocked to find one. It was a vague memory, one he'd forgotten about until now likely because of how inconsequential the event had been. Sasuke had merely been browsing through a weapons shop in Waves since he was running low on shuriken after his team fought Zabuza when he spotted an uchiwa printed on a dusty scroll sitting on a shelf. Back then, Sasuke had been committed to preserving even the tiniest remnant of his clan's heritage, so he bought the scroll, all the while wondering how an Uchiha relic ended up so far from Konoha.
"I forgot about the scroll until today while I was unpacking," his younger self continued, gesturing to the deflated backpack shoved in a corner of the room. "And I decided to test it out now, but..." His voice trailed off as he turned aside. "I didn't actually think it would work..." He again regarded his older self's mangekyō sharingan before making a poor attempt to mask his curiosity. Had Sasuke truly been so expressive at this age?
Sasuke brushed away the thought, returning focus to the grainy memory of trying to activate the Uchiha scroll over three years ago. It hadn't worked, Sasuke was certain of it. He'd followed every instruction, poured nearly all of his chakra into it, and yet the scroll hadn't so much as sparked once he tried to activate it. Yet, the boy before him was claiming the scroll did work, and all the evidence pointed to him being correct, so was this some sort of alternate timeline or—Wait. Didn't the scroll say something about needing two eyes to activate...
When Eyes turned to the past join Eyes turned to the future, only then can Destiny be made manifest.
Sasuke recalled the bolded inscription found beneath the scroll's instructions and how it had baffled him. Cross-referencing the term "Eyes" with other texts in the Uchiha clan archives helped him understand "Eyes" was alluding to the sharingan, but Sasuke never could figure out what the rest meant. Yet now that the scroll had worked, the beginnings of an explanation were forming in Sasuke's mind, but the how didn't matter. Fact was, the jutsu had worked, meaning this really was the past before he left Konoha, before he fought Naruto, before he killed Itachi—
Sasuke stiffened, the sudden realization nearly bowling him over.
Itachi was alive. Nii-san was alive. Sasuke could save him.
"—you had to have already defeated him by now." The sixteen-year old refocused just in time to catch his younger self's expression warping into something almost feral. "So you can teach me how to kill Itachi," the boy's voice darkened with a bitter eagerness, "And I can finally restore my clan."
Sasuke stared at him, noting the speck of red smoldering in the boy's irises, his hate so profound it was activating his sharingan, and the glee he was exhibiting at the thought of murdering his beloved brother. The same brother who had suffered and died for Sasuke. Who minutes ago undid the Edo Tensei, sacrificing himself for the good of Konoha once again and leaving Sasuke hollower than ever. Yet here Sasuke was now, longing to save his older brother while his younger self smiled over the idea of committing fratricide.
Sasuke snickered, and his past self started, the vengeful expression being wiped clean from his face as Sasuke threw back his head and laughed. Eyes widening, the twelve-year old watched Sasuke's laughter rise in volume until he was practically cackling to the heavens.
Sasuke tried to calm himself down, but then he saw how downright disturbed the other Uchiha looked, and Sasuke fell into another fit because his past self was looking at him like he was crazy, but his younger self was just as mad. They both were because they loved their big brother, for even when they'd hated Itachi, they still loved him too.
"I will love you always."
Phantom fingers pressed against Sasuke's temples, pressing harder and harder until they left their imprint on Sasuke's skull, and the teenager might have started crying if he didn't suddenly remember Itachi wasn't dead right now.
His laughter ceased, the abruptness probably only furthering his younger's self belief in his mental instability, but Sasuke didn't care because Itachi wasn't dead. Right now his brother was alive and Sasuke could see him. He could reach out and grab hold of Nii-san, and his skin wouldn't be cold and waxy like when his brother's corpse lied on the gurney in Madara's hideout.
Sasuke never could forget how it felt the first time he saw his brother's corpse after their final battle, how he pressed his ear against Itachi's chest and prayed to hear a heartbeat that wouldn't come. How he spoke to the body all night long, waiting for Itachi to respond, and when his brother remained silent, Sasuke screamed and screamed and screamed. He was sorry, so sorry. Please, forgive me, Nii-san!
He screamed until his throat was hoarse, and in the following silence waited for his brother's forgiveness, for two fingers to reach over and poke his forehead while Itachi's lips flicked up into that kind little smile.
But Nii-san never answered.
"—it's the truth! This is the past, and I am you." The preteen asserted, the sound of his frustration bringing Sasuke back to the present, though it took him a second to notice the desperation in his younger self's gaze, the boy likely having thought he'd been laughing because he didn't believe him.
Sasuke cut off the boy's next statement as he hissed. "I believe you." His eyes dimmed from his mangekyō sharingan into their normal ebony tone as a show of good faith.
The younger Uchiha was taken aback a moment, likely puzzled by what else could have caused Sasuke's laughing fit, but quickly recovered. "So you'll train me—"
The boy's jaw dropped. "W-what?" He blinked rapidly, disbelief contorting the lines of his face.
Sasuke chose not to explain beyond saying, "I have better things to do." He glared to let his past self know he meant it. Sasuke couldn't stay here, not when Itachi needed him, was somewhere out there suffering for Sasuke's sake.
"What do you mean!?" The smaller boy got into Sasuke's face, teeth bared and eyes wild. "There's nothing more important than killing Itach—"
"I'm not asking for your permission." Sasuke stared down his younger self, then looked towards the balcony. "I'm leaving."
The boy was too stunned to react as Sasuke brushed past him, pulled open the balcony door and stepped out as he bit his thumb.
Sasuke ignored his other self, hands flying through several signs before he slammed his palm on the floor. In a poof of smoke his hawk summon appeared, cawing loudly while he stretched out his expansive wings until they blanketed the whole balcony.
His younger self gasped behind him, but Sasuke didn't turn around while he climbed onto Garuda's back and said, "Let's go."
Garuda didn't hesitate to raise his wings and take off into the hazy violet-orange sky.
"Stop! You can't—"
Sasuke twitched, looking down at himself as he felt a strange tugging sensation around his midsection. His brow furrowed, the teen grunting while the tugging feeling intensified as if there was a rubber band in his gut being stretched too thin.
The teen jerked when the strange force slammed into his stomach like a sucker punch, pushing him back and making one of his feet slide off Garuda. He was trying to regain his balance when the strange pull seemed to wrap around his waist, and with a mighty tug, tore him off the hawk.
Wide-eyed, Sasuke tumbled through the air while his summon screeched in alarm, but even as Garuda dove after him, Sasuke knew it would be too late as the balcony neared at an alarming speed.
Sasuke braced himself moments before he crashed through the balcony's glass door, shattering it and showering the room in glass shards while he hit the floor and rolled straight into his bed.
His spine slammed into the wood, and he choked on a cry, already feeling the bruises forming along his back and the burning scratches where glass pieces bit through his clothes.
He must have blacked out for a moment then because the next time he opened his eyes, he was sprawled out on the floor, his younger self crouched over him with a fearful look as he asked, "A-are you okay?"
Sasuke gingerly felt around his head, and finding no blood on his hand once he pulled away, said, "I'm fine." He sat up, narrowing his eyes at the broken glass door and his hawk summon who was trilling worriedly behind the preteen. "What was that? What pulled me down?"
An odd mix of concern and irritation flashed across the twelve-year old's face. "That was what I was trying to tell you." The irritation ebbed as he looked away nervously. "The scroll said the future and past selves are tethered to each other, which means you can't travel too far away from me or..." He glanced at the shattered balcony door. "You get pulled back."
Sasuke stared at the preteen, then he scowled. "Are there any other conditions I should know of?" He asked through gritted teeth, angered his plan had been so easily thwarted because there was no way he could drag his twelve-year old self out of Konoha and find Itachi without getting the boy killed.
Similar anger flared across the boy's face. "If you don't want to train me, I would prefer to send you back but..." He bit the inside of his cheek, looking away petulantly. "The jutsu is supposed to cancel itself after a certain time, I just don't know what exactly that time is..."
Sasuke didn't speak for a second, but soon he growled. "Give me one reason not to punch you."
The boy looked surprised, yet abruptly turned smug. "The scroll has a built in clause that prevents the future version from harming the past version, a safety measure to protect the time stream."
Sasuke recalled how his shuriken had flown into the wall when he aimed for the boy's throat, and wariness bloomed in his heart along with vexation. "Okay," he spat. "In that case, we need to inform Kakashi of the situation, see if he can help us with our predicament." Sasuke got to his feet, shaking off the glass sticking to his clothes and dismissing his hawk summon with a waved hand.
"Why Kakashi?" His preteen self cocked his head, genuinely confused.
Sasuke arched a brow at the boy, like he couldn't comprehend the preteen's stupidity, which made his younger self scowl. "Because he knows more about seals than either of us and I'm pretty sure he would ask questions if you showed up for tomorrow's practice with an older version of yourself tagging along."
The preteen blinked, likely having not thought about that, just like he never considered what he would do if his older self refused to train him. Was Sasuke really so single-minded back then? It hurt internally admitting he was still rather single-minded.
Sasuke looked up to see the anger was gone from his younger self's face, and dawning horror had replaced it as the boy asked, "How did you get those eyes?"
Sasuke was too stunned by the twelve-year old's boldness to reply, but his silence seemed to be answer enough because the boy's voice wavered with dread. "Did…did you kill your best friend?"
Sasuke considered lying, yet eventually said, "No." He shook his head. "I didn't kill Naruto."
The younger's eyes widened, stunned by his older's self easy admittance of Naruto being his closest friend, but just as he was feeling relieved, the older boy admitted. "I killed the person I love more than anything."
Shock and horror seized the Uchiha's body, but already his older self had turned away and was heading out the door. "Let's go see Kakashi."
The preteen didn't move for a second, actions he'd yet to take ravaging his mind because Sasuke was going to kill someone, murder someone all so he could awaken his mangekyō sharingan. For his own personal, selfish gain Sasuke would get close to someone, a person his older self professed to love, and yet he would kill them anyway...
"Come on," the older urged, mild irritation breaking through his stoic mask, and the boy finally moved, numbly following him into the hall.
While they headed downstairs, the twelve-year old never noticed his future self watching him from the corner of his eye, a faint smirk on his face since the first step of his plan had succeeded.
Because for all that Itachi's lies and Orochimaru's manipulations had guided Sasuke towards vengeance, it had been Madara's truth about the massacre that stirred Sasuke's feelings like no other. So Sasuke resolved to be honest with his past self, allow the preteen to make his own conclusions, and if some of those conclusions were wrong... Well, it might make it easier to steer the boy off the path of vengeance and set him on the road to reparation.
So this story is only going to be about five chapters, and while I've planned out the rest of the chapters, I'm not against adding or changing things up if any of you have good ideas, so feel free to share if you have any ;)
Also, please expect slow updates.
Next time: Sasuke and his younger self talk to Kakashi, and Older!Sasuke meets the younger Team 7.