Chapter 1: Getting Ready to Leave
"Of course I think love is important, Iruka-sensei. Love is a weapon that must always be considered in the field of battle. Love is the reason many great shinobis invincible in open battle have died sleeping on their own beds, at the hands of people they thought they could trust. Love is the reason kunoichis have a higher assassination rate of success over male shinobis. Love is only for the fools"
"Don't forget your purpose. This village will only become the shackles that bind you. It's best to cut those worthless connections.
"Come with us. If you do, Orochimaru-sama will give you strength"
The words repeated themselves over and over in Sasuke's mind.
He didn't want anything else in life. He had vowed to get revenge in life. He had thought the only way to do that was staying in the Leaf. But a new path had opened, and he had to make a choice. Time had come to make a choice, once and for all.
He was standing where he and Naruto had fought that same morning.
He was standing where Naruto had showed him who was stronger.
He was going to use Chidori again. The energy started gathering around his arm. Chidori was an awesome technique, but one that required a very high amount of Chakra. He only had enough to try two times. He had used it once against Naruto. Although he had rested for a while, the battle against the Sound Four had been too tiring. So he had to bet his life and future on only one try.
The chakra continued gathering, more than the last time, more than ever before. With a scream of fury, he charged against the wall. The wall received the hit, and a huge hole appeared.
But the wall didn't shatter and didn't fall. As always, he had failed again.
Sasuke fell to the ground, trying to regain his breath. He was shaking for a few seconds. He finally smiled.
Hai, the answers he had been looking for all along were there. And Naruto had shown him the truth. Was he strong? The answer was no. In a real fight to death, he could still beat Naruto with speed and strategy, but when it came down to raw power, Naruto was stronger. Was he strong enough to beat his brother? No, not even if he trained the rest of his life. He was just too worthless and without any talent, specially compared to his brother. Would he have to leave the Leaf and go to Orochimaru? Choosing revenge over his own life? Was revenge that important?
The survivor of a massacre stared at his hands. Why had he been working so hard? The answer was never in doubt. He would leave. He had his own path, and nothing and nobody would stop him. In a way, Naruto had been kind. He had woken him up. He had thought that he could be an avenger and find revenge for the death of his family, and still live in the Leaf. But Naruto had told him, with actions, that he was wrong. It was time to awaken from from his peaceful slumber
He closed his eyes, and examined his reasons for staying. He wanted to make sure. Loyalty to the Leaf? No, the Leaf for him was just a place, a place where people that he cared about lived. That was all. Loyalty to the Uchiha reputation as the protectors of the Leaf? If he was the last survivor of the clan, the reputation was already lost forever. He was too weak, anyway. Loyalty to Kakashi? No, he was just his sensei. He respected him, but his hate against Itachi was stronger. Loyalty to Sakura and Naruto...?
To this Sasuke actually stopped, he cared about them, no question about that. But... compared against his hate... He remembered all the discussions he had with Naruto. He remembered that he actually felt better after any heated argument with that dove. It helped him to take away his attention from some hard memories. But... if he ever wanted to get revenge, would he leave Naruto? Would he do what Itachi had suggested a long time ago?
Sasuke smiled. He would do as Haku had said once. If possible, he didn't want to kill him, but if Naruto tried to stop him for reaching his life-mission, he would destroy his heart and become a true shinobi. Nobody would stop him, even if it was his best friend, a secret that he hadn't shared with anybody.
And about Sakura...
In another lifetime, at least he would have liked to go on a date with her. But she was truly one of his most dangerous enemies for doing his duty. Probably it hadn't meant anything to her then, but during the first exam with Kakashi, he had opened up to her. She had fainted, because of Kakashi's special genjutsu, and when she had hugged him, he hadn't pulled back immediately from her. He had tried to explain his reasons. The man only he could kill. That time crying... It was the first time ever he had spoken about his past with anybody. He still didn't know why he had opened to much to her. For four years he hadn't told anybody about that. Of course, due to his perfect bad luck, since that day Sakura's crush for him had worsened even more, but he didn't mind that much. She was annoying as hell, but compared to Naruto, she was okay.
Sasuke closed the eyes. He remembered all about her, her smile, her green eyes, her pink hair, the way she looked at him... He also remembered about a night with a red moon... Doubts were totally useless. The choice was done. His choice was on death for his brother, even if that meant the death of his own soul.
Sakura and Naruto were precious companions to him. They had given him precious memories, memories of peace and happiness. He would store them deep inside his mind, as he walked the road to hell.
Once the course of his life was decided, Sasuke started walking proudly for his house, without looking back… or to the trees.
He was the top rookie of the academy, and he had a lot of talent, but he was still only at chuunin level at best. That was the reason that he couldn't detect a jounin that had been watching him all along, a jounin that had the sharingan.
The room's furniture was scarce. Once that same room had been full of memories. Pictures of his family, a framed picture with his first grades from the Academy, a drawing he had done when he was just six years old... He had burned all those memories a long time ago. Now, there was only one personal item that could prove that he lived there: A picture. Team Seven. He, Sakura, Naruto and Kakashi. He had framed his copy, back in the time he had dreamed about a life in the safe haven of the Leaf. He always looked at it before training. This time took a longer glance at it, before setting it down.
He had put just some spare clothes and some weapons in one backpack, and he was ready to leave. After twelve years living in the Leaf, he was mildly surprised that there wasn't anything that he wanted to take with him. But that was for the best. He was an avenger. An avenger didn't have place for weaknesses.
He started walking out of the house that stored so many happy and sad memories, when a sudden knock on the door startled him. It took him exactly twenty-two seconds to hide the backpack safely under his bed, and open the door with an innocent expression.
He had at first suspected that it could be the Sound Four, to try to speak to him again. Maybe it could also be Naruto wanting another fight, or worse, Sakura trying to reach to him. He wasn't expecting Kakashi.
"Hello, Kakashi sensei." Sasuke said politely. He didn't invite him to enter.
"How are you? Sorry for disturbing you so late" Kakashi said. He didn't ask permission to enter, either
"What's wrong?" Sasuke asked, cutting straight to the point. He appreciated things clear, and hated wasting time.
"Some suspicious shinobis have been spotted. They have been identified as Orochimaru's henchmen, and I was afraid they may come for you." answered Kakashi, also straight to the point.
Sasuke sighed. So the Sound Four have been stupid enough to be spotted. It was a wonder Orochimaru was alive with shinobis so worthless under his command.
"Why would they come to me?" The Uchiha asked "If Orochimaru was interested in me, he should have realized by now that he made a mistake."
"Of course. I can't beat Gaara, I can't beat Itachi, and I can't even beat Naruto. I'm just a waste of time. Four years training to beat my brother, and he didn't even pay any attention to me."
«But brother», He mentally added. «At least I'll make you look back at me, even if you kill me next»
"So, have you thought about what we spoke?" Kakashi inquired.
Sasuke grinned. Of course, the lecture from Kakashi. It had been only a few hours ago, but for him it was almost a lifetime.
"Hai, Kakashi-sensei. I have decided." Sasuke took a big breath before speaking "If my brother knelt down in front of me and apologized for his deeds, not even then I would forgive him. If Heaven and Hell switched places, not even then I would forgive him. If the sun and the moon exploded, and an eternity of darkness came over earth, not even then I would forgive him."
Kakashi closed his eyes, sadly. Sasuke wasn't finished yet.
"I am going to kill him. I don't care if I have to burn my body and my soul to do it. I don't care about anything but making him pay. If it's necessary, I'll do a suicide jutsu. If it's necessary, I'll learn forbidden jutsus. I don't care how, but sooner or later, he will pay."
"If you keep going down that road" Kakashi warned "it will only end in tragedy. And don't think you will find happiness or peace. There will be only emptiness."
"So? Once that man is dead, I'll deal with whatever happens later."
"What about the people that care about you?" Kakashi attacked.
Sasuke closed the eyes for a second.
"Naruto will find another rival sooner or later. He is blessed with that kind of stupidity. Sakura will forget about me sooner or later, and she will find somebody that can actually love her back. I'm better out of their lives, or else they would get sucked down in my revenge, and they would die" Before Kakashi could say anything, Sasuke attacked "Out of curiosity, sensei. You told me that the people you loved the most have already been killed."
Kakashi moved back, and that was exactly what the last Uchiha was looking for. He knew that Kakashi never wanted to speak about himself or his past.
"What did you do when they were killed, sensei? Did you search for revenge, and it ended in tragedy? Or did you give up before the fight, and that's the reason you don't want anybody else to look for vengeance?"
"Stop it" Kakashi warned "I found some answers for myself. And my answers are not your answers."
"Exactly. I'll find my own answers, and I'll get them when, and only when, I have my hands bloodied with the blood of the traitor." Sasuke smirked. He had manoeuvred himself to a safe position in this discussion. Hell, why was this happening the same moment he was leaving?
"As you wish" answered Kakashi turning back, leaving him.
Sasuke's eyes darted back to his room, where his backpack was hidden.
"By the way, "Kakashi said as if it just happened to remember" ANBU members have been posted around the village to catch those Sounds. If you see anybody suspicious, be sure to report"
"Of course, Kakashi sensei" Sasuke answered politely. He was burning inside.
Sasuke closed the door. This was bad. His plans for escaping the cage that was the Leaf had to be delayed. With the ANBU around the village, his possibilities of escaping without being detected were slim. Still, it was okay. He would be careful, and wait for the right moment to leave the Leaf. But he would do it. Sooner or later, he would do it. It was just a matter of time. Sooner or later, he would get power. Then, he would fight his brother. Then, only then, his family's spirits would find peace.
"It's confirmed. Sasuke is planning to leave the Leaf" Kakashi announced to the other two people in the room. Tsunade, also known as "the Fifth", also known as "old hag" and Jiraiya, also known as "that pervert"
"Are you totally positive?" asked Tsunade
"Sadly, yes". He has never opened up so much to me in all the time I have been his sensei. He even spoke about Naruto and Sakura as if he wasn't going to be with them anymore. He even noticed he slipped, and quickly changed topics.
"Then... what are we supposed to do? Arrest him?"
"What for, Tsunade-sama? He never told the Sound Four he had accepted the offer. He decided it later. I don't have any doubts he already made a choice, but can't arrest somebody only for thinking about leaving"
"We could put him under constant surveillance" Jiraiya considered.
"Useless." answered Kakashi answered. "He will be very careful when selecting the moment. It could be tomorrow, or next month, and he will do it in the perfect moment. I have trained him myself, after all. By the time we noticed, he would already be with Orochimaru. And locking him up is actually a worse destiny than death. For him, killing his brother is not part of his life. It's his life. Take that away, and you won't find anything else. Whatever else was left, it died years ago."
"So, you agree the best course of action is killing him?" asked Tsunade
The discussion was cut short when Jiraiya's fist slammed against the table of Tsunade's office
"This is ridiculous! Is this the best idea you can think of? "Kill him and everything will be solved" That's bullshit! Shit! This is reason I didn't want to be Hokage!"
"Just for the sake or revenge, he could become another Orochimaru" warned Kakashi.
"Do you have another idea?" asked Tsunade
Jiraiya didn't answer but stormed out of the office, leaving the other two occupants looking at each other.
"Kakashi, go after him. Make sure he doesn't tell anybody else" ordered Tsunade "Watch carefully Sasuke. If he changes his mind, let him live. But if he is still determined to leave the Leaf, we can't avoid doing what we will do."
"All right" answered Kakashi.
"Kakashi" The Fifth Hokage warned "if you don't think you can do it, I can order the assassination to be carried out by the ANBU"
"Don't worry, Tsunade-sama" answered Kakashi. There was a sad smile behind the mask "I'm not as weak as the Third was. For the Leaf, I'll kill Sasuke, if I have to."
And outside, in the streets, one young kunoichi waited until dawn in a street that Sasuke had to take to leave the Leaf. Only after the sun appeared over the horizon, she managed to smile. She even dared to think that everything would be all right. Like before.