Once again, thank you for reading and reviewing :)
StarsOfYaoi: here you go, another chapter ^^ I hope you will enjoy it :D also, warning for villagers gossiping about things. Don't pay much attention to it ;)
Summary: (ItaNaru) During a fight, Kyuubi's chakra leaks out and causes a warp. Now, Naruto and Itachi are trapped into the past, and the only way to go back forwards is… to work together.
Warnings: yaoi, angst, dark themes. Flames will be used to roast marshmallows. Assumptions about the Uchiha clan will be present. Does not follow canon storyline.
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto. Masashi Kishimoto does.
–Flashbacks, memories, dreams–
Chapter 04: Dread
It was surprising how, despite his betrayal, Sasuke was still in his thoughts.
Jiraiya had been sure that Naruto would calm down and give up on his decision to get the Uchiha teen back to Konoha, but he had been wrong.
The determination stayed strong, probably building even more instead of waning away. It was unsettling.
It wasn't as if Naruto's life revolved solely around the dark haired teen, but a good part of his day was spent training because of him –even when distant from each other, clearly they were still tied together, their rivalry making them try harder.
It wasn't just a 'I will fight with him when I'm back' kind of thing, nor was it a 'when I see him again, I will kick his ass so hard he'll never think about leaving Konoha anymore', either. Yes, Naruto did also say that, but there was more to it all the same.
The blond had noticed that too. Walking down some random street in a village, he found himself wondering if Sasuke was walking down a similar street, enjoying being among people who did not know him at all.
While eating an onigiri in a restaurant, he would smile at the fact that it was one of Sasuke's favourite foods, and if he bugged Jiraiya to eat ramen instead, he would remember when he begged Sasuke to offer him some at Ichiraku.
At times, Naruto wondered if Sasuke ever thought about him too, but he'd always shook his head, knowing that Sasuke was too lost in his training –there was only one person in his thoughts, and it was not Naruto.
The thought hurt, so Naruto didn't quite think about it too much.
Training was hard. He had no one to compare with, no one to see if he was indeed getting stronger, or faster, or better, and every day he was plagued with fear that it wouldn't be enough –that it would never be enough.
He was afraid –what if when they met again, Sasuke would still decide to stay with Orochimaru? Or worse –he was afraid that Sasuke would still be stronger than him. Then he'd lose, and Sasuke would disappear again.
He didn't want that.
Sasuke was… important to him. A friend he could confide into, a rival he could fight with, and now an enemy he had to bring back home –training solely for that. There was more to that, things that he was embarrassed to admit, even to himself –feelings that went deeper than that… it wasn't manly, he wasn't supposed to say that… but…
Sasuke was his most precious person. He had been so for a long time, and he hadn't realised it before. Now he was fighting for him, for the brother he'd never had, the friend he had wished for during his childhood, the rival that considered him as an equal…
The reason he kept fighting for him, despite being betrayed and almost killed, despite the pain…
A brother. A friend a rival.
Wasn't it enough?
But Naruto knew, deep down, that certain things were just not meant to be.
So he didn't dare venturing too far from that.
After only a few hours scouting through Konoha, Naruto was left quite disappointed.
It looked like nothing much had changed from this time and the present, and that left Naruto a bit baffled; aside from the Uchiha district, obviously, only a few things looked misplaced or weren't as Naruto remembered them to be.
Two clothes shop he'd never seen before were selling ninja outfits on a side street, and to his surprise, Ichiraku ramen existed already, although smaller and a bit newer than what he remembered.
The old man had apparently opened his store way back, and it was a shame he'd only started eating there after turning nine. What a waste of many years of delicious ramen!
'Maybe it's normal for things to be the same… between this now and my present, only a few years have passed, right?' he tried to ignore the disappointment.
At least nobody had tried to speak to him –talking would mean interaction, and he could not allow it… even a short conversation with anybody could change the past… he had just wandered around without direction, trying to look inconspicuous.
He had seen people he knew, marvelling on how time had changed them (they looked younger, with softened features) and each time he had smiled slightly, feeling warm inside. He couldn't wait to be back to his time and be able to meet them for real, to see how much they had grown…
He'd seen Iruka, younger and not yet stern–looking, running around doing chores; he didn't remember seeing him this young before, but there again, Naruto himself had been young back then, and he hadn't met him yet… Iruka hadn't been in his life at that time.
He'd seen Chouji and Shikamaru playing together in a small garden (they had been friends since forever, really), and he had recognised Ebisu babysitting a four–years old Konohamaru, much to a younger Asuma's amusement.
If anything, Asuma had looked exactly the same.
Everything was familiar and reassuring. Well, except the age difference and Sarutobi being alive…
And… Naruto could still feel something different.
In his time, in the future, Orochimaru had caused Konoha to risk crumbling upon itself, and the village was still trying to recover from the attack that shook it to the roots… not to mention Sasuke's defection and the failed truce with Sunagakure…
The Konoha of his time was buzzing and pulsating with insecurity and fear, and yet it was fighting against all opposition to return to its previous glory.
This Konoha… this Konoha was in-between the Kyuubi and Oto's attack, standing in a relative peace, seemingly pacific. The villagers and shinobi were relaxed –it was different from his time, almost like something wasn't weighting down on them.
'So that's how it feels like… a peaceful moment…' Naruto smiled warmly, knowing that back in his time, the whole village was working as one to gain this peace back. 'I will work hard, too'.
"Sakura–chan~! What did I say? You can't run away every time someone bullies you!" a childish voice attracted Naruto's attention and he turned around, blinking in surprise at the sight.
There was a young pink–haired kid being pushed down the street by a very determined blonde; Sakura and Ino. They looked pretty friendly –so different from the Ino and Sakura he knew… Ino even looked protective over Sakura. That was really a surprise –Naruto had thought the two couldn't stand each other, what with the whole 'Sasuke–is–mine–you–bitch' attitude they had with each other…
"B–but they… they were mean with me!" Sakura whined, sniffling and messily wiping the tears away from her cheeks. "They say my forehead blinds them when the sun reflects on it!"
Naruto blinked, unsure. The Sakura he knew was strong. She'd grown strong since joining Team7, even going as far as to ask Tsunade to train her while Naruto was away with Jiraiya… but this young Sakura, despite being tremendously adorable, was a cry–baby.
He shook his head, amused by that, and snickered. He had been one as well… at least until before leaving with Jiraiya.
"Sakura!" Ino dropped the suffix with a pout. "You have to hurt them like they hurt you!"
Naruto smiled, tuning out what they were talking about and simply enjoying their interactions. It was a shame their friendship had fallen apart because they both liked Sasuke… maybe in those three years, they were back being friends? Naruto really hoped so. He'd have to ask Sakura…
"Look… it's that demon!"
With the corner of his eye, Naruto looked to the left, where a man with a bag of groceries was standing still, pointing at a small figure coming out from a side street and glaring at it while whispering in a low, hatred-filled voice to a middle aged woman at his side.
"I can't believe Sandaime–sama allowed that monster to enrol at the academy," the woman replied, hissing. "He's endangering the students like that…"
"Yeah, not to mention that little thing keeps babbling on how he wants to become Hokage…" the man snorted, finding the fact terribly amusing.
The woman's lips twitched into a displeased grimace. "Yeah, as if a demon could ever have the heart and kindness it takes to protect Konoha… the day I see a demon as a village's leader will be the same one I kneel and beg for forgiveness at that monster's feet!"
While inwardly hurt by the offensive words, Naruto couldn't help himself –he snickered. He was perfectly aware that there was a new Kazekage in Sunagakure, and that woman was wrong; Gaara was a perfect Kage for his hidden village.
Even 'demons' could be strong and kind enough to protect their precious ones.
'I wonder how Gaara is doing, though…' he thought, easily dismissing the two villagers. '… whoa –I was really a brat back then!'
His train of thoughts changed direction abruptly as he finally saw himself walking down the street.
Naruto looked at his younger counterpart in shock, moving his eyes from him to his own body; had he really looked this small and weak? Terribly short and scrawny, eyes filled with anger, dressed with a shirt too big on him, fists clenched tightly at his sides.
Did he still look weak?
With a shudder, he refused to acknowledge the thought –he hoped not.
Still, it was probably something not many were allowed to see –how they had looked with an outsider's perspective.
If a brat this young trudged up to him to boast about his strength, Naruto would surely laugh at him, then –such irony. He'd been a big-mouthed brat, for real. Uh, not as cool as he'd thought back then, definitely.
'What an embarrassment…' Naruto sighed, promptly walking away.
Still, he could understand why nobody had believed his boasting…
"Sakura–chan!" he heard his younger self call out in delight, and he couldn't help turning around, a bit surprised. Young Naruto had approached the two girls and was fidgeting, abashed. "Ino–chan," he added after a moment. "Can we play?"
Sakura's face twisted into a small grimace. "M–mom says I cannot play with yah," she murmured, unsure. "She says you're mean".
Naruto blinked. He didn't remember this ever happening.
"Mom says I can play with you if I want," Ino replied, sniffing and throwing her head back. "She says I don't have to listen to what everybody says!"
"B–but mom wants me not to play with 'im!" Sakura whined, trying to pull her friend away from the 'mean' Naruto. "She says he's scary! Let's go away Ino! Please!"
No looked rather torn, but in the end her loyalty for Sakura won over her nonexistent friendship with Naruto, so she allowed the pink haired friend to pull her away; young Naruto was left alone in the middle of the street, delusion painted all over his face, with a few villagers quietly snickering at his expenses.
Oh, that's why he couldn't remember –he tended to forget the times he's been rejected, it hurt less.
'Well, now things are different… I guess I've grown used to insults, and they don't hurt as much anymore…' present–time Naruto sighed, turning around and walking away for real. 'At least I found out that Ino's mom doesn't hate me. That's rather nice to know…'
Naruto hadn't been able to meet many of his friends' parents, and the few he had met hadn't been quite as nice to him as their children, but he was grateful that at least one he hadn't met yet was on his side.
As for Sakura's mother, he had nothing against the woman, especially since when she had invited Team7 for lunch that one time, she had treated him normally, without any anger or hatred.
And her cooking was the best –period.
Kicking pebbles as he walked by, Naruto groaned. He was booored. There was nothing to do –no training, no chakra, and his wandering around had been useless, too.
What to do then?
'Well, I guess I'm bored enough to go to the library…' perking up, Naruto smiled. 'I might as well see if there's something there about foxes or… I dunno, time travelling…'
Well, boredom truly made people do unthinkable things.
Mind set, he stomped down the street, keeping his head low.
Itachi carefully lowered his chakra as he moved through the corridors of the ANBU headquarters –a place he had once belonged to– trying to maintain a low profile. He was fully aware that he shouldn't be there, and if caught, he knew what would happen.
Here lived most of the strongest ninja of Konoha, the ones closest to the Hokage, and in any other situation, it would be like entering into the wolf's den. It was too dangerous.
Still there was no other way –he needed to consult the ANBU's archive of scrolls and books for more information on both the RCS and the Kyuubi's powers, and he knew that anything written down on the fox would be into the ANBU vault.
His current powers were enough that he didn't really have to worry about the ANBU, and if it came down to it, he would be able to use a Genjutsu to preserve his identity, but he hoped it wouldn't be needed.
Rounding a corner, he found himself facing an apparent dead–end. Without pausing, he brought one hand to his chin and removed the Genjutsu on the wall, nodding in satisfaction when a door appeared on the previously empty wall.
This was the secret storage of the ANBU troops, where all S–class scrolls were stacked. Any off–limits books that contained vital information were placed there after the Hokage finished reading them and decided their danger level.
The room was of course protected with more advanced sealing than just a simple Genjutsu, and that place was only accessible to certain ANBU –their blood signature was required to get in, so unless in possess of a sample of blood to use, no one except few could get inside.
This of course prevented any stranger from using the knowledge against Konoha. Thankfully, Itachi's blood was still listed within the room's protective seal, though he had only been there twice during his ANBU service.
One had been with his commander, and once had been…
He shook his head. No reason to remember that time. No time to either.
He bit down on his thumb, tearing the skin and let the blood trickle down to his palm, tracing the ANBU symbol on the door before slamming his hand onto it.
The door shimmered slightly as crimson coils permeated with chakra spread from his hand to the whole wall; the sign was quickly absorbed and disappeared, and the glowing stopped. The wall looked perfectly normal, and yet, when Itachi pushed on the handle, the door slid open without a sound.
Nodding in satisfaction, he entered and closed the door behind his back, eyes adjusting to the darkness inside as he vaguely felt the chakra slither to hide the door from sight once again.
The scrolls were stored at the left of the room, but Itachi ignored them in favour of the bigger stash of wrinkled, old books on the right, knowing he had to start his search in there.
There were no records on Kyuubi no Kitsune other than the detailed documentation left during the Konoha attack and the few information that Sarutobi had piled up during the first years after the sealing, but those were not in there –the Hokage kept them in a secret place only he knew about.
Still, as he could not go to the hospital to check, and the Legendary Sucker was nowhere close to Konoha, this would be the best place to research.
Some medical books held too many detailed descriptions on jutsu and their effects, and had been deemed off-limits to normal ranked shinobi, and thus they would be in there –no knowledge was erased unless necessary.
Itachi flickered the lights on and grabbed a stool close by, sitting down and trying to make himself comfortable for his long stay; he didn't have much time and he would not linger too much, but it was rare someone checked on the inside of the room.
His Sharingan flashed back to life, memorizing page after page –it would probably be of use to him in the future, and he could very well learn as much as he could from the visit– but the first few books didn't contain anything useful.
Placing each book down with care he moved onto the next, his mind concentrated on what he was reading, the only sound in the room that of the pages rustling as he turned them.
A book on Nature jutsu –nothing he could use for Naruto's RCS.
The teen had been a surprise, Itachi found himself thinking as he grabbed another book.
Water jutsu and their properties –useless.
Naruto loved his village. It was clear. His determination to prove himself, his attitude… all of that reminded him of someone he didn't want to remember –someone he couldn't bear to forget, even if at times he wanted to.
But he could not allow himself that comparison. Not now. Not ever.
Even considering the blond as something more than a human sacrifice would be growing too close, and Itachi had given up on this many years before, when he'd made his choice.
Even Kisame, his companion for the last five years, was nothing but someone he worked with, and that he somehow tolerated. When things turned too uncomfortable, he wasn't the one Itachi turned to. There was no one like that.
It would be wrong to consider the older man as anything more than that. They were not friends.
Shinobi were just tools of war. They got killed during missions.
He didn't want any unnecessary feelings to grow within him –like regret, pain or sadness. He'd given up on that long ago –it would only make things more complicated.
And yet, a part of him knew he had failed at that.
Kisame was already someone closer than a mere companion, although not as close as to be considered a friend, and to people outside Akatsuki, it wouldn't even be clear that they were companions.
Would he even feel regretful if Kisame were to die?
A book on Earth techniques. Again, nothing interesting.
Well, a death was a death. He would probably feel the loss, and maybe it was too late to back away from their shared companionship.
He didn't like to think about it.
And Naruto. The teen was fighting so hard to live, and he would lose that chance once back to their time.
"Little feisty bug, that brat," Kisame's words echoed in his mind as he continued his search, book after book after book. "I knew someone like him once. I wonder what happened to him… it will be such a waste to see him die. He'd turn out a decent shinobi once he manages to keep his trap shut".
He'd stated that, brash and amused, after their first meeting with the teen, when they had been forced to leave by having Itachi use Amaterasu. Apparently, despite wanting to cut Naruto's legs at first, Kisame had a soft spot for brats for some reason Itachi hadn't wanted to explore.
Itachi's eyes narrowed as his thoughts returned to the timeline. This situation would only be more problematic, at least if he remembered the dates correctly –and he did.
Naruto would be a problem, too.
Such an interesting teen, but anything Itachi said was strangely absorbed by the blond and treated like valuable information –he didn't think it was possible, but Naruto was actually paying attention to Itachi.
And that was troublesome.
He would need to be tight lipped and keep the other away as much as possible.
Placing down another book, Itachi absently picked another one up.
If he wanted to find more information on Jinchuuriki, he'd have to leave Konoha, but he didn't have time. So, he'd settle on information on the RCS and the methods to heal it, and then monitor Naruto for any difference that could be caused by the demon's chakra.
With that settled, he would be able to make the right changes to the jutsu and thus heal the teen –after that, they could start thinking about going back to their present.
Unfortunately, this would take a while –and he had no time to spare. Not now.
The next book was, fortunately enough, something useful. It was an extended essay on chakra types and variations, and which combination worked the best for the creation of jutsu.
Itachi had a good basic knowledge on that (any Jounin–level shinobi was required to) but a few pointers were unfamiliar even to him.
For example, whilst he knew how chakra types were closely related to the infamous Theory of the Five Lines –also known as the Theory of the Five Elements, the base for many religions and philosophies– he hadn't researched how the various elements were intertwined together or how they affected each other.
The basic theory stated that each element –Fire, Water, Earth, Wind and Lightening– gave strength to one and was essentially weak to another; drawing a five–pointed star, each element reacted to those closest to it.
Water controlled Fire, Fire controlled Lightening, Lightening controlled Wind, Wind controlled Earth and Earth controlled Water.
Similarly, Fire gained power from Wind, Wind gained power from Water, Water from Lightening, Lightening from Earth and Earth from Fire.
Then, each element could combine with others, effects varying from positive to negative depending on how far from the main element the others were.
Ice was a result of a person able to combine the elements of Water and Wind, for example.
Chakra pathways reflected the Theory, as each chakra had a great affinity with one element and a lesser affinity with another, so the person could have a better control on jutsu based on the element dominant in their own chakra.
Uchiha members tended to have a higher affinity with fire jutsu because their chakra type was Fire, and because of that, their efficiency with Water jutsu was really low.
If Naruto's chakra type was really Wind, as Itachi suspected, he would be able to control Earth and take power from Water jutsu, while he'd be easily overpowered by Fire and Lightening.
Though that didn't explain how Jiraiya's chakra had clashed against him.
Of course, the Theory didn't take into account demonic chakra; Kyuubi was originally associated with fire, so Naruto's chakra supposedly would fuel Kyuubi's, and yet the demon did not burn Naruto from the inside… the demon singed away anything at contact, so why not Naruto?
Was it because of Yondaime's seal? Had he taken the chakra difference into account when performing the jutsu? But then, that'd mean enough time to think things through, and he hadn't had any.
If Yondaime had modified the seal during the actual ceremony to fit the different types, then the man was a bigger genius than Itachi had thought at first.
Itachi stopped reading when he felt a strong twinge develop behind his eyes, and quickly deactivated his Sharingan, waiting until the pain subsided, then he stood up. He'd have to stop already, it seemed the time he could use his Doujutsu was getting shorter and shorter the more he abused it.
The Mangekyou Sharingan was a deadly technique, but it was a weapon that soon turned its back to its owner.
Eventually, he knew, he would completely lose his eyesight, as with every use the chakra burned the retinas, heating them and resistant to any healing jutsu.
Itachi had known this for years now, and had then started using the Mangekyou only for short periods of time, trying to not stress his eyes too much; he was also taking some medicine, and that was helping lessen the pain.
Placing all the books he had used back in the exact order, Itachi straightened and left the room, knowing he'd have to come back the next day. He took care to seal everything as it was before, hoping no one would notice anything.
Naruto quickly found out that sneaking into the library wasn't as easy as he had anticipated; many shinobi worked close to it, and the library was situated in a very crowded place, so normal villagers were also everywhere, and sneaking through would be easily noticed.
If he entered he would be noticed and maybe someone would inquire as to why a random foreigner wanted to visit the local library.
He couldn't be found out, as he had no records in Konoha (obviously, since he was still a kid at this point in time) and if arrested, he didn't have any ID either.
It wasn't worth it.
'I wish I could at least use a Genjutsu,' he growled, suddenly regretful for his lack of ability over illusionary techniques. 'I swear, once I'm back, I'll study Genjutsu, no matter how hard it is!'
With nonchalance Naruto circled the building more than once, and found his prayers granted in the form of an open window on the left side, right behind a pile of empty boxes of oranges from a nearby market.
Smiling brightly, Naruto checked around twice before slipping inside.
It quickly became clear that the search would be difficult –the library was big, almost enormous, and he didn't really know what to search for.
He had never been a book lover, and the few times he'd stepped into the library his goals had been focused on scrolls, not books, so now he was lost within shelves of volumes and books of all weights and sizes.
Things changed, though; during his trip with Jiraiya he had been forced to read by the older man, and not just his perverted books –books on techniques, books on martial arts and samurai, everything.
Slowly, Naruto had learned not to despise books, though he was still reluctant to approach them –old habits die hard, after all.
He walked down an isle filled with history books, but he didn't stop there, barely glancing at the titles as he searched for books on mythology –something like the one Itachi had dropped n him.
He didn't know if there were books on demons that would mention their ability to travel through time –he didn't even know if they could. Was it only Kyuubi?
Without talking to the Fox, Naruto had no first hand help on this. He'd have to wait until he was healed, but maybe by then it would be too late, and he wasn't one to wait with his hands in hand, after all.
He could see it in his mind, moving to the help desk, asking the woman working there if they had any books on Fox Demons –he would be caught and brought to Ibiki for interrogation in the span of a few minutes.
Was Ibiki already top head of interrogation and torture squad?
He shivered. Definitely he didn't want to be seen…
"Ah, Hanako–chan, I see you're back here… still searching for that elusive romance book?"
Naruto froze and pressed his back against the closest stack of books. The voice came from the isle next to the one he was into, and he hoped the people there wouldn't move in his direction.
"Yumiko–chan, good morning!" a second voice greeted him back. "Why, yes, I finished the other one already, and I want the sequel!"
By their tone, the two were both middle aged women, but Naruto couldn't really see their faces, and he had no intention to move. It would be risky, and it'd look like he was intruding. The two were talking in a hushed tone, not loud enough that the others in the library would hear, but Naruto had a heightened senses, and he could hear every word.
"It's been a while, Yumi–chan, how are things with your husband? I heard he received an important mission from Hokage–sama… is that true?"
"Oh, yes, he came back last night, actually," the first voice replied grumpily. "He had to organise the whole ninja archive –an important job, but boring and tiring and it'll take him a long time to finish it all…"
"It must be awful to be the wife of a shinobi, though… I'm glad my husband is a simple merchant, really…"
Naruto inwardly groaned. Was he really stuck with two gossipers right on the other side? Maybe he should just continue through and ignore them since it looked like they were simply villagers and not ninja…
"Oh, yes, but he brings home a lot of juicy gossip, Hana–chan," the woman giggles conspiratorially. "He's been snooping around some of the folders, and with a good massage and a cup of sake, when he's home his tongue loosens up a lot…"
"Oh, hush Yumi–chan, don't you say that!"
Naruto rolled his eyes. Really. With that, he straightened back up and walked away, eyes already checking the titles of the books at his left and–
"Yes, he read something about the Uchiha family just yesterday…"
All of sudden, Naruto's attention was entirely focused on what the two were saying. 'Wait, wait, that's actually interesting…'
"Is that so?" Hanako nudged her friend to continue.
"There was an attempt to hide a suicide earlier yesterday!"
Naruto's eyes widened; he wasn't expecting that at all –a suicide? In the Uchiha clan? And they had tried to cover it up?
Although Naruto despised useless chit–chat and gossiping, he had to admit that he, too, was rather curious to know more about that. Anything in regards to the Uchiha…
"Wait, what? A suicide? One of the family? Who? Why?" Her tone lowering even more, Hanako sounded definitely surprised. "The Uchiha are respected and loved by everybody, why would someone from their family commit suicide? What an embarrassment… it's obvious they'd try to hide it…"
Naruto scoffed, shaking his head. Yes, an embarrassment. What a stupid woman–
"Well, my husband said the Hokage is looking into it –the guy committed suicide by drowning himself, and that's suspicious, and the Uchiha are just hiding an in–family fight…"
Naruto sighed. He wasn't sure if this was even worth it. After all, he didn't really care about the Uchiha. He was more interested in Itachi and Sasuke.
"The guy who killed himself was apparently a very skilled shinobi called Shisui… my husband said he was known as Shisui of the Mirage," the woman continued, proud of her memory. "I heard his death caused an uproar within the Uchiha ranks and some members of the police force refused to believe he just went and killed himself… oh, and he was that kid's best friend, too".
"Yes, the genius kid everybody talks about –Itachi–kun".
"Eeh? Really? I had his services when he was a Genin once, and since then I've been quite a fan of him… poor kid, always so quiet, and now his best friend dying like this…"
Naruto turned white.
Itachi's best friend.
"In order to be like my brother, I had to sacrifice the closest person to me –to gain the same power, my friend had to die".
Sasuke's words echoed in his brain. Itachi had killed his best friend to gain what Sasuke had called supreme power, the same power he wanted as well, and for that reason, he had tried to kill Naruto.
Then at the last moment, Sasuke had wavered and spared Naruto's life, only to run from Konoha to join Orochimaru instead.
As Jiraiya had called it, the Mangekyou Sharingan –only triggered through the sacrifice of one's most precious person.
Uchiha Shisui was dead, and he'd been Itachi's best friend… so he hadn't committed suicide… he had been killed by Itachi.
'I know I should be more concerned about the RCS, or at least try to find out how we ended up in the past, but…' Naruto gritted his teeth, slumping against a book shelf. 'But… this is the chance I wanted, right? To understand what Sasuke went through… to see if Itachi had reasons for what he did'.
His self appointed mission at the library aborted, Naruto slipped out from the same window he'd used to get in and sprinted through the street, jumping on a nearby tree and moving on the rooftops, directed towards the Uchiha compound.
He finally had a purpose, and that made things different; if the corpse had been found out only the day before, it meant he could spy on some Uchiha and learn more about it.
Besides, going back to the compound with a mission –another self-appointed one– made things different; he was finally able to do something constructive instead of just walking around uselessly, but it also made him extra careful of his actions.
If the rest of the Uchiha even vaguely resembled Itachi or even Sasuke, fooling them would be probably impossible, but he could at least try.
Perched on top of the wall surrounding the Uchiha compound, Naruto glanced around, wondering where to start; he really wanted to see this Shisui guy's face first, but he didn't know where he lived. The district was almost separate from Konoha, which meant there should be the house of the Head of the Clan, much like with the Hyuuga.
He had to find it.
Unable to ask for directions and not knowing who was the Head Clan, Naruto only had one chance, and that was to follow Sasuke's chakra trail from the small training camp he'd trained the previous day up to his house.
There, he could either follow his father around, or at least find out something about Itachi.
That he could do.
Thankfully, to track down someone by following their chakra didn't require him to use his own, and thus he would only need to keep himself hidden from sight and away from attention, and everything would be fine.
Tracking his way back to the small training grounds was easy, and from there, looking down from a rooftop, Naruto concentrated on the trail of chakra –he could recognise it easily, of course.
He tried to look inconspicuous as he closed his eyes and spread his senses out, careful to focus only on Sasuke's chakra.
A huge blob of mixed chakra invaded his mind and he slowly untangled all the different coils, tuning out those he wasn't interested in and only trying to recognise the one he was searching for; the job wasn't easy, especially with his poor concentration skills, but in the end he finally did it.
There he was –Sasuke's chakra thread.
The chakra was spread around in a mile radius from where he was standing, and he mournfully remembered what the man he'd met when in Kiri had told him –skilled ninja could follow a trail spread for over two miles, some even further than that.
Naruto was still quite satisfied with himself. He was slowly growing more powerful –when the man had started teaching him, he'd been only able to feel it for half a mile, so that was an improvement indeed.
Sasuke's chakra in this time was weaker than he was used to, and his signature disappeared between the bigger and stronger flares of older ninja, so it was still quite difficult to follow it.
'Well then, I still found it,' pleased with himself, Naruto smirked. Sasuke was probably training at the moment, so he would let through chakra every time he tried a jutsu.
That would help.
Forcing his chakra down without touching it, Naruto advanced through the district, jumping from roof to roof and moving swiftly towards his goal.
If only finding his time's Sasuke was this easy…
Much to his surprise, his attention wavered when he passed by one of those old fashioned big houses he'd noticed from the window, and noticed a mob of shinobi, all belonging to the Uchiha clan, standing together in front of it.
They all looked rather angered, so he quickly hid himself behind the edge of a roof and spied them from there, his curiosity sparkling up and almost causing him to topple down the side of the house.
His heart racing in his chest, Naruto peeked from his hiding place.
Naruto swallowed on a suddenly dry throat and hid himself again, unable to believe his sheer luck; it looked like he was going to see something important taking place. Oh, yes, this was going to be good.
Calming down his body, he peered down again, reassured to see no one had noticed him, and analyzed the situation carefully.
There were four men, three dressed with turtle–neck Uchiha shirts (two of which laying on the ground, as if hurt) and one with a Jounin vest, and then, in front of them, was…
The younger Itachi.
Naruto stifled a small chuckle at the sight; the teen looked exactly the same as his older version, if only shorter and a bit chubbier. What was he, thirteen something?
Same dark eyes, Uchiha clothes on, but there was something different about him. his eyes were so cold, pitch black and sharp, and Naruto shuddered at the sight. He was the same age Naruto had been when leaving Konoha with Jiraiya, and yet he couldn't have been more different.
He was cold, restrained –unlike Sasuke too.
Naruto frowned, trying to focus on what they were saying, and flinched when the younger Itachi threw a kunai straight at an Uchiha fan on a nearby wall, his fiery eyes shining with more emotions than Naruto had ever seen before.
The man with the Jounin vest was staring at the teen with narrowed eyes, his pose tense, and Naruto tilted his head, feeling as if he was missing something important but unable to fully understand what he was seeing.
"… of my capacity," Itachi was saying, so quietly Naruto wouldn't have heard it had it not been for his keen hearing. "I've lost all hope for this pathetic clan".
Naruto gulped down his worry, wondering what would happen. Itachi's eyes were… were…
"You forget what is most important to you because you cling to something small like your clan," he continued, eyes flaring into the Sharingan. Naruto could see it well from his position a fully grown Sharingan. "True change cannot be made if it is bound by laws and limitation, prediction and imagination".
The blond could not understand what he was talking about. Though the hatred of his words contradicted the emptiness of his tone, making Naruto wonder exactly what the teen really thought about his clan.
"Your ideals… they are useless for a shinobi. As long as you keep unchanging, you will never truly explore your true potential".
Naruto was reminded of the words Itachi told him before, on the short time they had talked with each other, back in the room.
"Konoha dislikes the very essence of you," he had continued. "It will never allow you to reach the position you seem to crave so much. If you become strong enough to claim it, they will only fear you. If you grow weak, they will find you useless and discard you. If you hesitate, they will degrade you, and if you have no hesitation whatsoever, they will be quick to call you a monster…" and then he had added, "and if you become the shinobi you wish to be, they will kill you –because you will be a threat. Shinobi do not have a heart".
What Itachi had said to him, and what this younger Itachi was saying now…
It was the same thing. There had been something in the older man's voice then, and that same 'something' Naruto could feel exuding from the teen's tone.
Itachi was truly feeling disgust by such ideals, or at least that was what it felt like… did he really believe that emotions caused people to waver. As if they made people weaker.
Naruto didn't agree, of course –emotions had made him grow stronger, because wanting to get Sasuke back was spurred by Naruto's emotions, and thus he was getting strong to follow his own desire.
The need to be on par with Sasuke, to be seen as an equal by him, to be respected and appreciated not just by his friend–rival–brother–something else… but by the whole village…
That was what made Naruto… Naruto.
He still couldn't understand why something felt off.
"What arrogance!" one of the older men hissed, in clear distaste.
The guy dressed as a Jounin kneeled next to the two fallen men, helping them back up. "Enough already!" he yelled, trying to look imposing but apparently unable to impress the teen in front of him. "If you continue this nonsense, we will have to take you to jail!"
There was a sudden chakra flare coming from three of the four, and Naruto had the distinct impression that they had activated their Sharingan, even if he couldn't' see it from his position on the roof.
"So what now?"
"We can't put up with you anymore!" the man with the longer hair growled, furious. "Captain… please order an arrest!"
Naruto leaned forwards a bit, eyes wide–
Naruto jumped, startled by the sudden intervention of young Sasuke, who had moved forwards from his hiding position behind a wall, and was running towards them, tears pooling in his eyes. So busy staring at the older shinobi, Naruto hadn't even noticed him there.
That was when Naruto noticed it –Itachi flinched slightly, and his demeanour changed completely; he had been clearly about to glare back at the offenders, but the moment he realised his brother was there, his shoulders sagged and his eyes concentrated on a spot at his feet.
Then he did something no one had expected of him – he slumped down on the ground, kneeling in a contrite stance, hands in front of him, bowing as low as he could.
His entire position was tense, yet he remained prostrate there, without moving, face hiding between his arms as the attackers stared at him in shock, as little Sasuke remained there, frozen, eyes wide.
"It is not me who has killed Shisui," he murmured, his voice mellowed out from his previous tone, that had been filled with disgust. "But for the words I have spoken, I am deeply sorry".
Naruto couldn't believe such an act –what had brought it on? Why this radical, sudden change?
It had been Sasuke. His younger brother's appearance had caused this, making Itachi not only take back his words, but react with that uncharacteristic bowing… Naruto couldn't see older Itachi doing something like that.
The Jounin stared in shock at the teen, expression unreadable, then the rage was drained away from his eyes, shoulders relaxing slightly as his stance changed. "Lately…" he started, attracting the attention of the others present there. "… he has been busy with missions from the ANBU, and has been worn out".
"Captain!" the long haired man exclaimed, surprised by his commander's change in attitude.
"The ANBU is a battalion under Hokage's direct authority… even us police forces cannot arrest them without an official order," the man replied, stiff.
Naruto blinked, surprised. He hadn't known Konoha ever had a police force… and that consisted in Uchiha family members?
Well, that explained why there was none at his time…
"Besides," the Jounin continued, "I will look over my son with full responsibility".
Slapping both of his hands onto his mouth, Naruto hastily retreated behind the roof, eyes wide and heart racing in his throat, cursing himself for his reaction. He couldn't help it –he was really shocked.
That Jounin… he was Itachi's father?
That man was Sasuke and Itachi's father.
After a couple of seconds Naruto's curiosity won over his caution and he peered from behind the protection of the roof again, daring to take a better look at the man he had previously barely acknowledged. Well, there was something familiar in him that reminded Naruto of Itachi, but not too much… and yet there was a certain affinity with Sasuke at the same time.
"Please," the man stated, shifting his own gaze from the other Uchiha and onto the ground.
He looked such a proud, confident man, and he was lowering himself in order to protect his own son…
And of course, he had to be important, because the other shinobi regarded him with respect.
The men relaxed, although slightly, but seemed to accept the man's words, and finally backed off a bit.
"Itachi, let's go back in," the man –the father– stated coolly, clearly trying to control himself once again.
Naruto observed Itachi, the fact that his body was still tense, and when the teen lifted his head, his Sharingan flaring back to life as he looked at his retreating father, the blond Jinchuuriki could barely restrain himself from gasping at the glare.
Sasuke, who was still standing there, shocked and trembling, did not have Naruto's control and let out a gasp, eyes even wider, hands visibly shaking.
Naruto frowned. What he had just seen… he knew it had to be important.
Itachi had been accused of killing Shisui, that much was clear, but he had denied the accuse, and his father had sided with him. was it because he was his father or was it because he believed in him?
Itachi finally shifted and stood up, frame still tense, but his Sharingan deactivated and his eyes returned to their dark, black colour.
The three man backed down and left the family alone, not before glaring at Itachi and muttering something under their breath, and Itachi dignifiedly made his way back into the house, following his father who never once looked back.
'If I hadn't followed Sasuke's trail, I would have never seen this… and this house… it's probably the biggest one in the district… so that means Itachi's father is the Clan Head… why doesn't this surprise me?' Naruto let out a soft sigh, retreating behind the roof and slumping down on it. 'Now I'm left with more questions… why does it feel like Itachi's words, although similar, don't hold the same meaning as what he told me yesterday?'
He wanted to follow Itachi inside, he wanted to listen to what his father would tell him, he wanted to know more, to understand the mystery that was Uchiha Itachi…
But at the same time, he knew he wouldn't be able to do this much. There was still enough time before having to go back to the room and wait for his time's Itachi to come, but he needed to think about what he'd just seen.
Everything happened in a blur then –a hand curled around his throat, sizing him upwards into a tight grip, fingers sneaking in front of his mouth to prevent him from yelling, and another arm blocked his arms against a strong chest, a steely grip that didn't allow him to move.
A second later, he was viciously slammed down on the roof on his stomach, painfully aware that he had been caught.
SOY: I hope you liked this chapter, too :3 please consider dropping me a review if you did!
The theory of the Five elements has two different versions. It's basically the same, but in one version, Metal substitutes Lightening and Wood substitutes Wind. This is the version that Kishimoto uses, though, so I will stick to this one.
The version Kishi uses also states that Wood is created by using together Wind and Water, so…