--The segment takes place after 2 - 3 years after Haku and Naruto starts their journey, making them seven and six respectively. It is also after the Uchiha Massacre. --
Under the platinum glow of the pale moon, the man's gleaming Sharingan eyes gazed upon the blond boy and his companion in his blank, unearthly gaze. While the man's Konoha ANBU uniform was slightly tattered, his pale skin revealed no flaw – not even a scratch despite the apparent ordeals the man must have gotten through. The only cut he possessed was on his forehead protector; where a huge deliberate gash sat menacingly, cutting the symbol of leaf horizontally in half. If one had even a miniscule knowledge of what the gash signified, then one would immediately know that the man is a missing nin – dangerous ninjas who abandoned their own village.
Of course, the petty details about this fearsome ninja mattered not to Naruto or Haku, whose concerns were one of their survivals.
The strong smell of death – that coppery smell that which makes your stomach twist in disgust – whirled about them, in that thick, dark forest that which occupied the outer boundaries of the great Stone Country. In this middle of nowhere, the man stood in silence while staring down at the children as if he was a grim reaper, trying to decide whether or not to send them to heaven or hell. All the while, the children could do no more than stick together in an instinctive gesture to support each other against the menacing aura of this intimidating man who stood before them. The children knew only one thing for certain – that this man was terrifying beyond imagination.
Then as if on some invisible queue, the man's almost imperceptible mouth slightly opened, allowing his near melodious voice to float out into the cold night air.
"You must be… Naruto-kun."
Started by the man's recognition, Naruto involuntarily flinched. Who was this man who knew of his cursed name? "W,who the heck are you! How do you know my name?" Naruto yelled back rebelliously despite the grave situation he was in. Naruto's hardened gaze stared valiantly back at the strange man, daring him to harm Haku or him – then somehow Naruto caught something unexpected in his opponent's red eyes – strange sense of… satisfaction? 'Huh…?' But just as he was pondering upon this, the feeling had dissipated quickly as it had appeared, leaving Naruto to wonder if he had imagined it all. The red eyes of the stranger just stared back in silence, completely unreadable in its intensions or motives. All the while, his ominous commas around his pupil swirled and captivated the children's gazes. Try as they might, the children could not even move a muscle let alone avert their gaze from the man's hypnotic eyes. Before they knew it, the children were completely captivated by the eyes which seemed to draw them in – and with it, came uncontrollable fear.
Of course, the children's fears did not spring from nothing. Oh no, not at all - just few minutes prior (or was it seconds? Naruto could not tell) the mysterious man had instantly ended the lives of five masked nins unfortunate enough to meet the Uchiha Prodigy. Right in front of the children's very eyes, the man had remorselessly murdered the masked ninjas who had been tailing the unsuspecting children. Ever since Naruto's "defection" of Konoha, the masked hunter nins had proved to be very tenacious people. Strangely, the hunter nins did not do anything to capture the boy, but just merely observe – but it didn't do harm to neither Haku nor Naruto be on guard all the time.
Naruto was well informed about these men, out of sheer necessity. He was aware that there had been an order to capture the Kyuubi vessel alive, and that there would be a grave consequence if the vessel had been damaged in any way. That would probably explain the hunter nin's reluctance to engage in combat… and they were extremely tenacious to boot – this particular team had been tailing them for months already! It was a pure miracle that Naruto and Haku had even lasted this long against a team of fully trained elite ninjas such as Hunter nins. So, when they had been eliminated Naruto could not help but feel a bit relieved even though he still shuddered at the sight of remorseless murder.
Quite ironically, now that Naruto actually observed this mysterious man, he felt that this man who stood like a statue was an even a bigger threat than these masked hunter nins. Just like the old saying, 'Out of the frying pan and into the freezer.'
While the boy had been observing the towering man, the man had been observing the boy in return. 'This boy… The Legacy of Fourth. He is not who he appears to be…' The young man's eyes darkened slightly as his three Sharingan wheels spun and congregated into his pupils, signaling the beginning of the one of the most feared Doujutsu of all – the Mangekyou Sharingan. 'To reach the height…'
As Naruto defiantly analyzed the man, Haku had been supporting him from behind, equally alerted and her brilliant mind reeling. The man in front of her was an amazing person – even though Haku's senses weren't honed and her abilities unskilled, the disturbing man had radiated such an aura that demanded obedience and fear. Haku then realized, if the man could bring forth such aura by just merely standing here, then how much powerful can this man be? The sheer amount of power he was radiating now was enough to make her body freeze completely with fear alone… Haku did not want to think about what would become of her and Naruto if the man took hostility.
Then, intuitively sensing something had gone wrong, Haku suddenly wanted to scream out right there and then – but her body would not follower her command. Instead, it was all she could do to open her mouth and speak few words of warning to her oblivious companion. "Naruto – kun… w-we should r-run… this person… will kill us…" Haku whispered softly, her voice trembling with poorly concealed fear.
Unfortunately, she was too late in her warning.
Naruto seemed completely captivated as he stared deeply into the hypnotic gaze of the man in front of him. Strange, it was as if the eyes were trying to suck him into themselves... as if to devour his entire soul completely… 'I…can't look away… I… just can't…'
Haku could not help but to grit her jaw in anger despite the situation, seeing the boy ignore her warning. Oh, how the boy infuriated her sometimes. Then suddenly, previous anger quickly forgotten, her grip on Naruto clothes tightened in renewed fear as she noticed the man's striking crimson eyes, unmistakable power imbedded in his icy gaze. Curiously, the man's eyes were shifting and swirling into something akin to a kaleidoscope she had seen few months back at a nameless village – only this time, much more menacing with a touch of deadliness. Haku's mind screamed, 'Do not look!' but she found that she did not want to obey her mind's orders… she only wanted to stare into these eyes forever… 'No, what am I doing!' Haku forced all her will into her eye lids in effort to close them, and yet all was in vein.
The world of the Tsukiyomi greeted Haku and Naruto with open arms.
"Mangekyou Sharingan." Itachi's voice lacked any emotion, as he impassively performed the most feared Doujutsu onto the two children trembling before him. 'You will now re-live your most painful memories for 78 hours.'
'Ones responsible for your pains…'
'Hate them… Despise them…'
Terrible shrieks of pain filled the cold night of the forest, never ending until the crack of dawn…
Alone in the World
No alarms sounded as numerous bandits and thieves rushed into the streets, butchering anything that moved with gruesome techniques known to man. People's agonized screams echoed through out the streets, in stark comparison to the maniacal laughter of the perpetrators… Swords, clubs, axes, and even guns flashed everywhere, splashing the red liquid onto the streets of the Wave Country.
Children were killed without reason…
Women were slaughtered without exception…
The old were murdered helplessly…
…and as if to mourn, sky let loose a tender rain.
As a witness to these events, Momochi Zabuza, the Demon of the Hidden mist, stood high above the town in a nameless tree, only chuckling in response. 'What beautiful night...'
"Run! We are under attack! Everyone must evacuate!"
A random medicine peddler screamed the message as he ran like a madman down the streets. Shoppers, merchants all looked up from what they were doing – begging, selling, stealing – and froze in confusion… until a bullet struck the frantic running man right on the back of his head, effectively killing him immediately. Silence reigned for a brief moment in lieu of the man's death, before people began to realize what had just happened right in front of their faces.
And so, chaos ensued.
Now everyone in the streets all ran frantically like madmen in panic and - in almost animalistic fear – stomped over anything that dared to get in their way. Small beings such as animals or children met an unfortunate and unspeakable end at the unforgiving feet of the mob. Though of course, such tragedies went unnoticed by the fearful mob as they valued their life over others; these people didn't have anything to lose except their own lives… because they've already lost everything else.
Within this heterogeneous mixture of death and fear, the assailants relentlessly continued their evil deeds – which mostly consisted of slaughtering whoever that came in their path with glee. All the other worldly things now gone before their minds, the only thing that mattered to the assailants as of now was the look of terror on the face of the victim's before blow of death silenced them forever.
Needless to say, evil reigned.
Amongst the chaotic population, Naruto stood rigidly in the midst of the fleeing crowd whilst wordlessly contemplating the ironic fate of human lives. 'Pitiful… so this is what becomes of mortals when everything comes down to survival.' Quietly chuckling, he casually slid his hand on his forehead, and shook his head in amusement. 'To think I was no better…'
Of course, that kind of distracted reminisces was a no-no in any battle field (or a slaughter ground… whichever). One of the enemies – a ronin samurai, deducting from his clothing and the huge katana he wielded – charged recklessly at the distracted blond child with his blooded sword raised high, ready to slice off the child's head off from the boy's shoulders. He obviously had thought the boy to be no match, even though there was an eerie aura about the boy. Ah, no matter. The boy was small, and the ronin was big – end of story. The ronin's eyes were clouded with joyous imagination, as the samurai anticipated the particularly unique and satisfying pleasure of sword biting flesh away. He thought, 'Just a moment later… just a little bit… and then!' The ronin yelled in an almost devilish cry as his sword came ever so close to the boy's unguarded, slightly tanned neck.
Unfortunately for the ronin, a hand punctured through his ribcages and cleanly through him, sending his brain blinding pain that foretold his demise. His wide, fearful eyes glanced down upon his attacker with sudden sober consciousness – and the roaming eyes of the damned found a boy no more than 12, drenched in the blood of the samurai, and his arm still within the chest and protruding out the back of the samurai's chest. The boy's face was shrouded in shadows of his spiking yellow hair, hiding all his facial features except…
… a pair of bestial crimson eyes – glowing in the darkness, flashing with hidden emotions.
The boy slowly retracted his red-painted hands from the dying samurai's chest, as if enjoying the every moment that caused unforgettable agony to the ronin. The samurai's face contorted in pure pain, as the ever slowly retracting hand suddenly propelled backwards and burst into another charging bandit's head.
Needless to say, the head of the bandit had seen better days.
Demon eyes blazing, the boy then proceeded to swiftly execute every opposing foe within his senses in a blur of motions. Every swipe brought down one or more person; every kick brought an end to struggling lives; every roar struck unimaginable fear into everyone unfortunate enough to have ears to listen.
The dying samurai saw his allies fall over like crushed weeds in a show of the boy's almost demonic dance, and in matter of seconds, no one was left alive… or rather, no one was still in one piece anymore. Most foes were ripped in two or more, and all the while the boy had never stopped; not even once. Though what struck the fading mind of the ronin as the most disturbing were the eyes of the blond boy. The demonic crimson eyes remained calm and stoic throughout the proceedings as if the boy was merely strolling down the street instead of bringing oblivion unto others with ruthless power.
As samurai's consciousness swiftly slipped away from his mind, he couldn't help but to shiver violently in fear for the last time in his life before him too, fell over lifeless like countless others.
'What now…?' Haku mentally cursed at her uninvited guests as she paused for a moment to mourn over her lost dinner. Although Haku had enough skill to dodge the offensive swing effortlessly, the ramen did not share such fortune and had been knocked over by the reckless swing.
"Heh heh heh… Well look at what we have here boys! Hah, a pretty young thing." One of the assailants lecherously commented as he held his club in a threatening manner, brandishing the handle as if he was testing the feel for the weapon. "Here, kitty kitty kitty… we promise we won't hurt you… much." Bandits chuckled or smirked lecherously, taking another step towards the cornered form of Haku. Haku could see it clearly in their eyes – all of their lust, desire… and it angered her greatly.
"You… Do not come near me. I am warning you." Haku's eyes narrowed to mere slits as her chakra coiled wildly just below her iron fisted control. Her powers were begging to be released, to cast oblivion unto ones who lusted after her for mere physical pleasure.
Though despite all her seriousness, the assailants shared another good chuckle at her attempted warning.
Still smirking like the cat that ate the canary, the club wielding bandit started to speak once more. "Oh ho ho, so I see this one packs a little fire. Well, I've always liked 'em feisty anyhow. What do you say boys?" Shouts and whistles of agreement erupted, encouraging the dangerous atmosphere to the next level.
Disgust washed over Haku in quads as she closed her eyes, willing herself to regain the calm that she had always favored to her…wild side. Haku's blood began to boil as the assailants started to take more steps toward her, apparently aiming to intimidate her into submission.
"I will say this one more time. Turn away." Haku's words fell on deaf ears.
His malicious grin twisting into a scowl, the club wielding bandit spoke up again and this time raised his club as well. "You know… I've changed my mind… There's no point in playing with a defiant little girl." With that, his club began its descent towards Haku's head. "Learn your place, bitch."
Unexpectedly, Haku made no movements to dodge.
Haku's unconscious body fell forward as she curled up from the blow. Now lying on her face, blood seeped out from her head as her limbs twitched occasionally from the shock.
The bandits all shared another good chuckle, while some shared disappointed glances. Turning away from the twitching body, the club wielding one spoke up again. "Hahahah, it seems that this one was all talk. Though I have to admit, she had me pretty riled up. The way she dodged my swing before… I thought she was a ninja or something." The club wielding bandit decided to wipe the blood from his club on the still body of the dead girl, and spoke once more. "Whatever, we'll get another girl. After all, there are plenty of fish in the ocean." The club wielding assailant waited for his comrades to agree and respond to his remark, but none came. He had also failed to realize that his comrades were falling on the ground one by one, their neck cleanly sliced off without even a trace of struggles. No screams were made, except for the continuous chuckle of the ignorant leading bandit, who was ironically too much into his own folly.
At that moment, the deathly presence made itself known.
Pink and moist lips of flawless features whispered words of sultry tone into the ear of the started club wielding assailant, instantly freezing him with fear. "Little boy… have you no shame?" The ignorant club wielding bandit could not even tremble as his system completely refused to obey his mind's orders of retreat; instead, his eyes scanned over the bodies of his dead comrades involuntarily. Also, another part of him took an involuntary action and had decided to empty itself.
The deathly voice giggled, apparently greatly amused by the bandit's involuntary response system.
"Poor thing. I guess you've never felt so scared before … Do not worry, I will now ease your discomfort."
As soon as her whisper ended, bandit suddenly felt as if he was standing in a field of breezy meadows – it was a very peaceful feeling, he realized.
With the hypnotic peace still in mind, the bandit's entire body exploded in a fountain of crimson.
Uchiha Sasuke knocked out another opponent with another vicious upper cut to the chin, and then sent him flying with a powerful mid-air kick to his abdomen which resounded with a painful crunch. From corner of his eye, Sasuke saw Sakura and Hinata were both protecting Tazuna-san facing back-to-back, Hinata on the rear and Sakura on the front. Hinata had her blood limit Byakugan activated, her veins pumping chakra into her eyes, and imbuing her with the ultimate vision that was sought after by many. Sakura was in basic defending stance, and her kunai whipped out to lash out at anything that came in range.
The incomplete bridge had only one entrance – which was why the bridge was an incomplete bridge – and each sides of the bridge seemed grim – it was either fight your way through the entrance, or be fish chums.
How did this happen? Well, Team 7 was ambushed when escorting Tazuna-san to the construction site while Kakashi and Kurenai nowhere to be found. Most likely doing what jounins did the best - lazing off.
Needless to say, Sasuke was not in his best mood. Not that he was ever in his best mood, mind you. These 'bandits'… were ridiculously weak. Although, numbers did make huge differences - they were in a swarm, while team 7 was a measly 3 man teamEach wave of appositions came around in twenties; everyone was equipped with various unhealthy utilities, most of them very pointy, and swinging them around like some crazy animals. It was quite an irritation, which reminded Sasuke of a bad itch.
Odds were about thirty to one… not a very hopeful looking situation for mere genins.
However, Sasuke was no mere genin.
Charging once more, Sasuke completed various seals which were soon accompanied by a huge breath and exhale of incredibly hot flame, which burnt a cluster of humans into a nothing but crisped and mutilated piles of death. When the attack finished, Sasuke slightly breathed, "Katon: Goukakyuu no Jutsu."
Seeing their allies being burnt alive, the 'leftover' fighters quickly fled the scene while screaming like girls at the top of their lungs, which made Sasuke's grim face even more grim, if that was even possible. Seeing his share of enemies was finished and done for, Sasuke now turned to help the girls, though he shouldn't have bothered.
All opponents have been easily crushed, either through basic melee or ancient Hyuga Jyuken. These girls were not to be underestimated.
"Are you guys ok?" Sasuke asked the slightly panting girls and an amazed-looking Tazuna-san, while he himself slightly panted at the excessive amount of chakra usage. Receiving tired nodes from all three present, Sasuke checked himself to see if he had any wounds, and found rather disappointing scratches particularly on his back and legs. 'Wounds from these weaklings… I'm still too weak.'
Sasuke, now sensing his sensei's familiar chakra not very far from the bridge, he commanded his team. "Hinata, Sakura. Escort Tazuna – san back to the house, and make sure no harm comes to him. I will go and aide Kakashi-sensei."
Nodding in confirmation, everyone headed to their destinations.
Despite the popular consensus of the majority, Hatake Kakashi was not lazing off at all. In fact, he was facing down a very powerful missing nin from the Hidden mist, with his special Sharingan eye uncovered and reeling. He had to admit, it was a real advantage to have a Sharingan in a one on one combat, especially due to its ability to copy your opponent's movement flawlessly and other useful attributes.
Nonetheless, the real credit had to go to Momochi Zabuza, for holding out this long against an elite jounin like Kakashi.
When Kakashi noticed all the commotion going about in the town, he had gone into the forest where he sensed a quite a large chakra deposit in the trees… namely Zabuza, who was casually sitting on a tree branch. It was just on the outskirts of the town, where he watched his little army go about and do horrid things.
Of course, Kakashi had no choice but to engage in combat.
Zabuza's jutsus were mostly water-based, and most of which Kakashi already knew and copied before. Matching jutsu for a jutsu, both fired off devastating attacks, each time neutralizing each other and creating stalemate. Kakashi then proceeded to use his infamous 'mind-reading' Sharingan, but thick fog created by Zabuza was doing an excellent job of concealing everything, while rendering Kakashi's sharingan virtually useless. Judging the situation as it was, Kakashi had reluctantly deactivated his Sharingan, and had slid down his headband which worked like a patch. Now, it was all up to gut instincts – the fog was indeed thick, a very powerful blow to one's sight.
The fact that Zabuza was a master in the art of Silent killing didn't help the matter very much either.
'To the left,' Kakashi thought as he sidestepped the gigantic man-cleaver that was clearly aimed for his neck, attempting to slice his head off his shoulders. Fortunately for Kakashi, he had already anticipated the move through his honed senses.
'I hope Kurenai's doing fine… She tends to rely on her genjutsu way too much…'
Kakashi narrowly dodged another swing attempting to slice off his thighs, which would have cost Kakashi's mobility greatly had the blow connected. Naturally, the jounin became annoyed by this situation. It was similar to a stalemate, though the scale was tipped to Zabuza's favor greatly – Kakashi had tendency to rely quite heavily on his sight more than his other 5 senses - not that the others weren't as well trained, but it was a matter of honoring the legacy of his deceased friend – Obito's Sharingan.
"Oi, Zabuza. Let's end this already. We're dragging this off way longer than it should have taken." Kakashi called out in the mist, receiving deep chuckles in return.
"Heh heh heh heh… Kakashi… what's the hurry? You should be enjoying the battle! The thrill! After all, the game had only just begun…" Zabuza's deep voice reverberated throughout the fog, as if he spoke from all directions. Kakashi knew that Zabuza was one of the best ninja there is when it came to the art of Silent Killing, and what's worse was that he was fighting on Zabuza's terms – both in situation and environment.
'I don't have much time to spare… for all I know, Zabuza may not be the head figure of this little operation… I need to finish this fast.'
"Enough talk, Zabuza. There's no room for meaningless chitchats on battlefield. Prepare yourself!"
Charging straight ahead into the depths of the mist, Kakashi steeled himself as he expected brutal retaliations from the huge Kubikiri Houchou which Zabuza wielded.
Instead, the thick fog had dissipated. What Kakashi had found was an apparently delusional Zabuza swinging his Kubikiri Houchou madly into the forest, blindingly swinging his sword around like a crazy maniac at thin air.
"What jutsu is this? I will find you Kakashi! Show yourself!" Zabuza yelled on top of his lungs as he swung around madly, trying to find his supposedly invisible opponent. He then started going the opposite direction from where Kakashi was standing. Puzzled, Kakashi tilted his head in confusion. Then it hit him.
'Genjutsu… Ah, it must have been Kurenai. I see she had no problems…'
"Kurenai – san, I presume you had little trouble?" Kakashi called out, knowing the female kunoichi was near. Her chakra presence was well hidden, but still had some difficulties escaping the honed senses of Kakashi.
In response, Kurenai jumped down from one of the nearby trees and landed next to Kakashi with a grace of a jounin kunoichi. "No problems indeed. They were all just minor trash, anyways. Nothing of noteworthy… except this one. Zabuza, I believe. Correct? An A-rank missing nin in the bingo book, famous for his attempted rebellion against the Mizukage." Kurenai replied, still scrutinizing the frantic figure of a blind Zabuza as his Kubikiri Houchou swung madly upon innocent trees.
"Yes… What did you do to him anyway? He seems quite… captivated." Kakashi noted as Zabuza proceeded to cut a random tree in half for absolutely no reason at all, then proceeding to swing his sword in random directions. 'I wonder what kind of jutsu would put a jounin into this kind of a state...' It was frightening, to say the least.
Slightly smirking, Kurenai nonchalantly replied as if this was an everyday occurrence. Well, it probably was an everyday occurrence for her, especially since Kurenai was a genjutsu specialist. "Ah, it was just a combination of Gentei no Jutsu and Ganbou no Bairitsu no jutsu – both chuunin levels, I believe. Gentei no Jutsu nullifies 3 of 5 human senses at the user's will… in his case, sight, hearing, and smell. It's quite an elementary genjutsu to dispel, though it works like a charm and it is hard to detect if the victim is already in such a condition the jutsu is trying to simulate – say, like the fog." Kurenai gestured towards the air which was once occupied with deadly Kirigakure no Jutsu, which gave Kakashi a hard time because of lack of visual information, effectively cutting off his Sharingan.
Eyeing the frantic Zabuza, Kurenai continued. "On the other hand, Ganbou no Baritsu no Jutsu is a jutsu of similar category – it amplifies the current desire or some sort of emotion of the target to incredible levels - enough for the victim to start deluding himself. I thought the combination would work perfectly on him, since he was already blinded by the fog already, and was relying upon his hearing to locate and calculate your position… and voila, you now have one less jounin to worry about." She struck a victorious pose, her hands on her hips.
Kakashi's sharingan and his normal eyes just blinked, staring at the delusional Zabuza. 'To think a combination of two chuunin level genjutsu would end a jounin level battle… Kurenai has really improved.' Kurenai apparently found humor in his expression, and had chuckled. "It shouldn't last that long though. Usually, it'll only last few minutes if the victim is smart enough to figure it out… so you'd better finish things fast."
Breaking out of his reverie, Kakashi nodded. "Understood, should we dispose him?"
"Of course. After all, he is an obstacle to the mission. But, you do the honors. I don't particularly want anymore bloods on my hand tonight." Casting slightly unnerved glances at the crimson spots on her quite unique jounin outfit, Kurenai readied her chakra for a jump into the trees. "Now, if you don't mind… I'm beginning to worry for our genin team. Even though these thugs are nothing, our teams are only rookie genins; they are just kids." With that, Kurenai left as swiftly as she came.
"If I didn't know better, I'd say her maternal instincts are kicking in." Kakashi had dared to say that out loud, only after Kurenai had left the vicinity. Would he have still said that if she had been still present? How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll?
We will never know.
Shaking his head to loose his random thoughts, Kakashi threw five kunais which had instantly and effectively pinned a rather helpless Zabuza into the trunk of a tree, completely immobilizing him. Unfortunately for Zabuza, he was still under the genjutsu when he was pinned, but he was very close to figuring it out. Zabuza had only been a tad bit late.
"Grr, so it was a damned genjutsu… -KAI!-" With a simple pulse of his chakra, Zabuza found his senses returning to him as quickly as the genjutsu had robbed him of it... only to find he had been completely rendered completely immobile.
His sharingan now whirling once more, Kakashi took a kunai out of his pouch and stared directly into the wild, frantic eyes of Momochi Zabuza. "Zabuza… it all ends here now."
'Where is he!'
Moving through the streets with stealth and agility, Sasuke growled in frustration. Searching for his perverted sensei was like trying to find a needle in a haystack… how can that lazy assed jounin be so elusive! It was absurd to even think about how hard it was to find the man. Furthermore… there was an eerie feeling in the air.
'It's too quiet. The bandits cannot annihilate a city like this... They're just too incompetent.' Sasuke's thoughts wandered as he noted the silence in the air – silence dominated, excluding the chilly wind whooshing besides his ears.
Meeting a turn at a corner, Sasuke saw something he thought he wouldn't see again in his life time.
'Wh… what is this…?'
Remains of what once was human littered all across the narrow street, painting the walls with crimson life. To Sasuke, this scene seemed much too familiar to the horrors he had witnessed only few years ago, a feat achieved by none other than his own blood kin, his aniki.
'Everyone… killed mercilessly… Could he possibly be here…?'
Many had their limbs distorted beyond recognition; it was barely tolerant to even say that they were remains of what once were humans. Among them, not only had the bandits died, but civilians as well – a little kid's dissociated head had clearly been a proof of that. If Sasuke had thought in a more rational sense, he might have figured that his aniki did not kill this way – although, such realization was currently impossible for Sasuke as he was haunted by the image of his lifelong goal – death of the one who he had once called brother.
'Itachi… where are you…'
Menacing aura poured over the figure of Uchiha Sasuke, who stood rigid with barely contained hatred. All the emotions that had been stored up in his system begged for release upon the possibly present Uchiha Itachi.
'I will kill you…'
Unbeknownst to the young Uchiha, his cold onyx eyes shimmered into red hue, each possessing two commas – the true Sharingan has awoken.
The blond boy, now covered in crimson mass of gore, stood alone in the field of dead bodies. His shredded outfit barely clung to his body, possessing cuts too many to count. Though, despite the obvious vestige of attempts made at the boy's life, the boy possessed no wound of his own – between the cuts of his clothing, slightly tanned skin revealed no injury of any type, and remained smooth as ever. If a bystander had witnessed this scene, he probably would have said the blond boy was the sole survivor of this horrendous massacre. Of course, that was not the case.
Naruto was the perpetrator, not the victim.
Looking down at his bloody hands, Naruto's unnatural crimson eyes narrowed as he fought the urge to lick the fluid of life. Bile threatened to rise from his throat at the mere thought of such action, yet his stomach churned in hunger for the liquid all the same.
This was what Naruto had to live with – now that the great furball had gone and passed, or rather had been 'absorbed' into his very psyche, he had been constantly been bombarded with memories, emotions, and urges that were not of his own.
Not to mention the killer headache that plagued him to this very moment.
He supposed this was a small price to pay for the power he had gained in exchange, but that didn't mean that he had to like it. The bloodlust the Kyuubi no Youkai had contained was unfathomably immense; a seemingly unquenchable thirst that threatened to destroy Naruto's sanity along with his humanity if he ever gave in. Fortunately for Naruto, he had been able to get by... so far. Naruto owed a lot to meditation.
But these days… the urges seemed to come back even stronger than before, forcing his mind into a stage which could be compared to a primitive ape man.
Trying to shake off his ponderings, Naruto scrunched up his eyes in an attempt to block out the unnecessary temptations around him.
There was blood everywhere.
The once brown and tarnished walls of the markets were now beautifully colored in a crimson red that burned into Naruto's mind, constantly tempting him let himself go to the great power sealed within him. The sweet power enticed him far better than any other incentives in the world ever could; tantalizing Naruto with promise of destruction to everything he laid his eyes upon.
Though, as much as the notion was appealing, Naruto could never afford to give in. He had no illusions about the power that lurked within him; both depthless and endless, the might of Kyuubi no Youkai wasn't something to be messed around with, even if the power felt so good to use. 'I mustn't give in.' The wave of nausea then decided to make its spectacular appearance, which often accompanied Naruto after excessive use of the demonic youki.
'Ugh… I hate headaches…'
Therefore Naruto was quite glad when his enhanced hearing picked up something that distracted him enough from his apparent headache.
'Ah… a paired interval of footsteps... so it is a human.'
The footsteps were still quite far away – judging from the sound of the steps, Naruto concluded that this person was roughly half a mile away, apparently frantically searching for something. He could hear the person's ragged and irregular breathing pattern – which could be depicted as fear or excitement. The unique sound of his clothing brushing against the wind indicated that this person was apt in stealthy movement, which could only mean one thing: this person was a shinobi.
'Could it be ones from this afternoon?'
Regardless, the fact remained that there was still a person alive in the vicinity that he needed to take care of.
None must live.
Now only a whirl of movements eyes cannot follow, Haku blurred across the roof tops to make her way towards the familiar chakra that inhabited the air, bringing forth waves of mass panic from already troubled average citizens down below.
Haku was strangely unaffected.
'I must find him,' Haku thought to herself urgently. 'He can't control the power yet, and might lose himself in the process…' The mere thought of losing the boy brought unbearable pain to her heart, as she gritted her teeth in resolve and moved even faster than she had before. 'That must not happen.'
Sensing that she was close, Haku now jumped down swiftly onto the streets below only to be greeted by a sight that must have appeared straight from hell.
Stray limbs lay on the sides of the streets, innocent brutally slaughtered or murdered by what appeared by clawed hands. Blood was everywhere and devil seemed to- 'Yare yare, nothing new.' Instead of focusing on the gruesome scene, Haku started looking for the tell tale sign of her companion. Haku walked over to a dead body, then dipped her index finger in the pool of blood of the fallen. 'These seem pretty recent,' she thought with some hope, 'He couldn't have gotten very far.'
Then a stray thought came into her consciousness – 'I… do not feel sadness for the loss of these lives? Am I already that use to it now?' True enough, Haku could only feel a slightly detached emptiness at the sight which greeted her.
Haku could not hold back her shudder as the prospect of her emotions struck her with immense sadness.
'I… there's no time for this now. Naruto may need my help,' Haku grasped control of her emotions once more, ruling them with iron fisted control which allowed no freedom. 'If I am to walk side by side with Naruto, then I cannot afford to have any emotions…
'… I must become a tool.'
Haku's obsidian gaze hardening, she took off once more towards the center of the malevolent chakra.
To be Continued…
Ahem, so hi. It has been a while with this fic, hasn't it? (cowers in a corner) Heheheh. No excuse there, I just got carried away by the tides of life. What else can I say:
Anyway, I think I'll be able to write fics from time to time… nothing like the last submersion though.
Ah well, I hope you enjoyed the little chap. A bit on the short side, but hey – my other fic is up too, so it's all good.
Next chapter: Clash between Sasuke and Naruto, and conclusion to Kakashi versus Zabuza! What of the Forbidden Scroll of Seals? And where does Haku fit into all of this...?