A/N : Hello again, everybody:) I'm sorry that my updates are so slow, but I'm also writing other stories, along with catching up with the anime that I haven't watched yet XD I already know the breakdown of the story, so I hope that the flow would be easier to follow now :D

Disclaimer : Naruto doesn't belong to me.

Warnings : Contains SasuNaru YAOI and shounen-ai. Full warnings at Prologue Chapter. Nothing explicit, but this story is rated M for a reason. Some spoilers regarding the Uchiha Clan murder (it's a bit descriptive, so watch out for the eeek!blood). Sadism for Itachi. Sasuke's past, and some less fluffy and more introspective SasuNaru.

Lone Flower

Chapter Three: The Hands of Sin

It's true that he disliked a great deal of things. He disliked perfumes, sweets, talking to people, being near people, being touched, idiots—and a whole lot more. However, very few things managed to get unto his nerves to the point that he wanted to incinerate them right on the spot.

One of them unfortunately happened to be standing casually in front of him, blocking his way away from the garage. Long, silky-straight hair moved along with the night wind that passed, the breeze bringing a chill that affected neither the two of them.

"What do you want, Orochimaru?" The younger male asked, though his tone was void of all emotions, except for the tiny hint of annoyance and distaste. The older one didn't seem to mind the frosty reception; after all, he wasn't expecting Uchiha Sasuke to suddenly greet him brightly, anyway.

"I'm here for a little chat," Orochimaru's tone suggested something harmless, but they're both working for the same field—dealing with death, darkness, shadows and evil on a daily basis—and Sasuke knew that there was nothing safe regarding the snake-like man.

Sasuke didn't give any noise of acknowledgement, which only caused the smirk on Orochimaru's superbly-pale face to widen. "I'm just a little curious, I swear," The older male continued, but Sasuke's gloved hands were already shoved into his trench coat's pockets, ready to use his weapons when the other spoke the wrong syllable.

"Why did you take this mission?" The tone was icy; it seemed to have frozen not only the fluttering of the breeze, but also the passage of time. Orochimaru's teasing smirk was still present, but the slitted-golden eyes spoke volumes that the younger Uchiha knew better than to ignore.

"I have my own reasons," The other flatly replied, not giving anything away, but the more experienced male—he was the member of the famed Sannin, after all—managed to read the faintest flicker of uneasiness and lack of control that wedged through the other's shorter frame.

"It doesn't have anything to do with Naruto-kun, does it?" Orochimaru asked slyly, and he barely managed to avoid the piercing gust of wind that went his way. Golden eyes slowly blinked from his new position, a bit surprised that Sasuke managed to perform such a high-speed combination attack from fire and wind.

The Uchiha's face could be classified as the picture of utter calm and nonchalance, but the morphing of those obsidian irises into the widely-feared crimson hue betrayed his increasing displeasure with their conversation.

"Tsk, tsk, you're still so irritable, Sasuke-kun," The famous Snake Sannin commented cheekily, dodging a kunai that Sasuke flung accurately towards him. If he stayed there for one more microsecond, his forehead would have had a nice, deep hole in it by now. Even though he was merely testing the young one's reasons—and of course, he had uses for that in the future…-it was still nice to know that Sasuke's skills have been improving.

It only meant increased success for his future plans.

Sasuke was about to launch another series of attacks, but Orochimaru already jumped out of harm's way—not that the younger male couldn't make a fire technique that could reach him. It was just Orochimaru's way of showing that he wasn't interested in a serious battle at the moment. Plus, Itachi would not be very happy if he found their garage destroyed.

"We're not humans, Sasuke-kun," Orochimaru's statement floated in the garage's space, folding neatly along with the shadows that draped themselves over Sasuke's shoulders.

"…Stop acting like one."

The only sound in the security-protected room was the constant drumming of fingers tapping against keys. Even the occupants' breathings were silent—skilled fighting skills throughout the years honed them to become as inconspicuous as possible. The bluish-white glow from the computer screen was the only light source, and it enfolded the occupants' with a shadowy look, making them seem a lot more mysterious.

The stillness was disrupted with the polite knocking on the door; without waiting for permission, a long-haired male went inside the room. His presence was acknowledged when a white-haired man turned to him, brown eyes asking for his report.

The newcomer got the hint and quickly started reciting his mission report with a monotonous voice. "There was a dead body found near Uzumaki Naruto's homeroom classroom. The person's body seemed to have been sliced up to pieces by the glass from the broken window. Follow-up inspection using Byakugan confirmed that the slices were caused by wind chakra forced to collide against human flesh."

He paused for a while, waiting silently for his boss' reaction. The older male nodded stiffly for him to continue, which he did without any hesitation. "Haruno Sakura was also observed to be behaving differently. A new student arrived at class, and he seemed to attract a lot of attention." The reporter sounded slightly displeased with the person he was talking about, but the boss didn't seem to mind.

"Uzumaki Naruto was also found to be quite attached to the new student. It was also confirmed in our records that the transferee also works as his personal bodyguard." Now, an undercurrent of worry and anxiety laced the younger one's voice, but it was still barely perceptible.

He bowed deeply after speaking and waited for further instructions.

Jiraiya, one of the members of the former legendary Sannin team, nodded to him again and moved closer to the person continuously typing on the screen. He lightly tapped the person on the shoulder, and after a few moments, the bluish-white screen changed to show a plain white screen with weavings of black-inked instructions for their next mission.

"I'll send out the mission objectives to you in a few moments. Kindly alert your partner about this. Conference would be held at 21:30 sharp." The woman turned around on her chair, wisps of golden hair moving slightly with the wind. Amber-colored eyes glittered with determination and seriousness from beneath the long bangs as she regarded her ex-teammate and one of her best soldiers.

"You're dismissed, Neji."

Hyuuga Neji bowed down again, before leaving.

"Yes, Godaime-sama."

"Any questions?" Itachi asked monotonously, scarlet eyes watching the strange soldier intently. The said soldier continued to smile in same manner that irritated and baffled a lot of his acquaintances and superiors, seemingly unaffected by the intense scrutiny.

The stoic young man almost sighed at being unable to completely read the other, but he passed that opportunity for another time. After all, it really doesn't matter much why this person chose to smile at all possible times, as long as he manages to complete all his missions with flying colors.

Even if it was irritating.

"I suggest that you don't underestimate them too much. They've been part of the Legendary Sannin, after all." Itachi said, his statement sounding as though he was a bit wary of the two ninjas' strengths, when in reality, he was only concerned about finishing the job as cleanly and quickly as possible.

"I think I can manage, Itachi-sama," The smile didn't fade away at the slightest bit. Itachi wondered idly if Sai could continue to smile like that when he's faced with the too-real horrors of Tsukiyomi. It's a very entertaining thought, to say the least. After all, if he squinted a bit, Sai could almost pass as his sibling.

But then again, the feeling of breaking and rebuilding Sasuke's mind could never be rivaled by anything else—aside from gaining the goal that he's been striving for.

"Very well. Dismissed." Itachi said, a bit distracted as he was suddenly overwhelmed again by the urge to go over the whole project's methods, if only to ensure that he'll get his goal in the end.

He'll succeed, he kept on telling himself, feeling the raw power pulsing through his veins, his knowledge of a vast range of techniques unrivaled, even by the feared Orochimaru.

He'll succeed, and to be able to do that, he must eliminate all the possible obstacles. He idly recalled Sai's mission, smirking at his sinister planning.

Spy over Jiraiya and Orochimaru.

His life used to be perfect.

He was the younger of the two siblings to the wealthy and famed Uchiha clan. He had a stern, caring father. He had a gentle, compassionate mother. He had a genius older brother who was admired and praised by everybody, including himself. He was cheered on by his relatives and family friends, confident that he'd also be as refined, intelligent and one-of-a-kind like his brother.

He once had a perfect life, and he never really wished for anything else, and he never really complained. He was contented with living day by day, stumbling over his smaller steps as he tried to catch up to his admired brother. He was contented to be lead on by his idol, content to be shrouded in the shadows cast by the immense brightness. He was contented to be told that he'll one day, someday, grow up to be just like someone else.

He once had a perfect life.

One day, a few weeks after his eighth birthday—celebrated by his loving mother cooking his favorite food and baking his favorite cake, his father not frowning or scolding him, his older brother allowing him to stay by his side for the whole day, his other relatives cheerfully smiling and wishing him well—everything that he has cherished, has relied on, was taken away.

He was coming home from school, eager to show his parents about his report card that boasted marks that scored higher than all of his classmates. He noticed the dimmed lights of their huge grounds, even though it was already early evening.

He remembered feeling the rising dread that cradled him forebodingly in the dark. He remembered the way the night's breeze passing around him, carrying a certain metallic edge, reminding him of the mildly-viscous liquid pulsing through his veins. He recalled running frantically towards his home, throwing open the doors haphazardly, panicking and trying to control himself. He recalled smelling the metallic tang of blood as he ventured closer to his parents' room. He remembered the hesitation that made his whole body tremble as he saw the trickle of crimson stains from inside the room, overflowing to the corridor.

He remembered feeling acidic bile rising to his throat as he saw his parents' throats, exhibiting twin neat slices, torrents of blood soaking their formal clothes. He recalled seeing his mother's kind, love-filled face, his father's strong and serious look…

He remembered seeing his older brother—his beloved, praised, admired, golden, best brother—drenched with blood, a blank look overcoming his feminine face. The blood that splattered across his clothes and creamy skin matched the hue of his eyes terribly, and he remembered feeling that insistent bile rising.

He remembered his older brother's controlled words, devoid of any emotion, any at all, telling him, "I couldn't do anything."

It was then, that Uchiha Sasuke's life changed.

He was eight years old when everything that meant everything in his entire life was taken brutally away. He didn't even suspect his older brother, because, it just couldn't be. Itachi was good, respected, admired, cherished—and he wouldn't do anything that could destroy or taint the Clan's name.

He believed those things, but the nagging feeling in his mind never ceased, especially after Itachi led him to the tall towers that were normal offices in the first floors, but draped in eternal darkness and covered with high-technology gadgets above. Especially after they entered the building's security-protected doors with ease that he watched in movies, with Itachi only leaning slightly down for retinal scan, and intoning the word: Suzaku. Especially after Itachi simply glanced at him, and sent him off to a silver-haired man, with only the words 'I'll leave his training to you'.

He was trained by Hatake Kakashi, a much-older male with a certain liking for porn novels, and the things that he once held dear regarding his older brother crumbled into dust. The secrets to the Uchiha Clan were revealed, slowly, but surely to his curious and seeking eyes.

There was no doubt, a year after he started his training, that Itachi was the one who killed and wiped out the entirety of the once-famed Uchiha clan.

It was then, that Uchiha Sasuke's life regained a purpose.

Kill Itachi and avenge the Clan.

It was by complete coincidence that he managed to see him. He was simply tagging along with Kakashi on his mission, as his older brother and current boss commanded him to start going out and seeing how they performed their operations. He quickly got bored of watching blood drawn out of weak, human flesh, though.

It was amazing and terrifying to see that he has forgotten almost everything that he has felt throughout his first eight years of life. He managed to gain the cynical and uncaring outlook towards others, the arrogant and confident aura that many hated and envied, the total lack of any emotion that was the one thing that set him and his brother apart from all the other workers and assassins.

He was simply wandering around the area that represented the place where the affluent and greedy loved to dwell. He usually didn't give a damn regarding this people, but there was a vivid commotion that was occurring not too far away. Since he was bored, he made his way closer to the lavish mansion, hearing the pleasant thrum of gunshots erupting from inside.

He was also intrigued to see a huge number of men dressed in black, guns flanking their sides. It seemed that whatever their mission was, it very was important. Such important things were the most enjoyable to take away, he had learned, and he stayed to watch. He wasn't worried about getting injured or getting into a fight—that was the perfect opportunity to test his newly-learned fire technique.

After a few more moments of waiting in boredom, he saw a flurry of activity, with one burly, muscled man briskly walking forward, a small, fragile kid in his hands. The obviously-kidnapped kid was wildly, and pathetically, struggling against the stronger hold. Sasuke was torn between amusement and slight irritation at the futile attempts of the golden-haired boy to be free of the rough hold.

Black eyes observed the huge man whisper something to the blond's ear, causing the child to freeze and start kicking and screaming more wildly.

He didn't know—he still doesn't know—why he did it, but he moved forward, within the huge man's field of vision, and spoke in such a cold voice that he only heard being used by Itachi. It wasn't really nice, but maybe, just maybe, if he could be more and more like his genius older brother, he could somehow gain the same—if not more, always more—strength the other possessed.

"Put the pathetic dobe down," He remembered himself saying in a menacing voice, and he almost rolled his eyes at the surprised blinking by the other boy. The blond didn't look too much younger than him, but the mere innocence and purity that the other radiated was enough to make him feel as though he was some kind of an old pollution.

He didn't pay any mind to the array of guns pointed at him, at his forehead, at his heart, and he could only see the panicked look at the blond's face. There was a moment when he heard the tone of a finger shifting its hold and starting to fire, and he quickly formed handseals—just like his training—and created a barrier of chakra around him, causing the bullets to hit the barrier and bounce back to their sources. It was no surprise to see, when the dust and commotion died down, the men-in-black hit with bullets and mostly dead.

Hmm, the barrier technique was really effective, huh…

He removed his hands from the handseal-formation he did just a while ago, resting them lightly on his hips as he threw the scared kid a confident smirk. This was just a stranger—a random kid, no matter how adorable-looking—but he was feeling elated at having shown a portion of his skills.

Sasuke was mildly miffed about the grains of dust that flew to his black sleeves, but he could just sweetly ask Ino later to wash it for him—almost everybody in the headquarters, especially the girls, was a simple pushover for him to bully. It made him feel slightly guilty, but it wasn't his fault that they couldn't see past his sharpened, even though still childish, facial features.

"What did you do?" The child asked him with unconcealed wonder, moving away from the dead guy that once captured him. Sasuke tried hard to remember, back then, when was the last time somebody asked him with such amazement in their tone. Nobody really noticed him—because it was all Itachi, Itachi, Itachi—

He waved one pale hand, beckoning the other to come closer and away from the filthy mess of dead bodies. The other surprisingly followed without any question, the awe still shining from his azure-colored eyes.

"I killed them," He said unapologetically, almost afraid that the other would shriek and shy away and he would be forced to kill him too, but it never came. The child-like admiration never faltered, and the young boy moved even closer, small steps trying to reach his dark-haired savior.

"Be careful I saved you, dobe," He added, feeling slightly relieved. He added the insult at the end of the sentence, not because he really thought the other was a dead-last (how could he know? They never knew each other before…) but because the other looked adorably confused whenever he said the word.

The child frowned for a moment, before he enthusiastically asked. "Hey, hey, what's your name, mister?" The blond tugged at one pale hand, and he was surprised that he didn't instinctively slap the hand away. It was a new sensation—almost warm and likeable—but mister? Did he look that old?

"It's Sasuke, usoratonkachi," He replied with a hint of annoyance, his pride about his dashingly good looks (that everybody kept on pointing out) suffering from the blond's 'mister' comment.

A wave of understanding dawned on the child's face. "Oh. Thanks, Sasuke!" The kid returned with the same enthusiasm as before, his bright grin almost drowning out the sun's rays. Blue eyes were scrunched happily as he grinned widely, and Sasuke was glad that the other's eyes were practically closed.

It only meant that the blond didn't see the uncontrollable flush of heat that overtook his cheeks.

It wasn't obvious then, and it's still not obvious now. However, Kakashi knew that there's something with Sasuke—his own student—that promised to uncover something that's much more powerful than his older brother's. That was the reason why he taught Sasuke about the techniques that he developed himself, the reason why he supervised each and every one of the young one's training.

He knew that Itachi most likely suspected something already, but he was already too close to his goal of letting Sasuke uncover the great power residing deep inside him. It wasn't for the good of the organization that Itachi is currently leading—he wants Sasuke to be strong for him to be able to achieve his goal of avenging his lost family.

He really wanted Sasuke to become strong.

That was also the reason, why he was surprised to see Sasuke—now, of all times—developing human emotions. He was suddenly interested in interacting with people, no, a specific person, and it wouldn't do well with his one-track training to become the most powerful soldier possible.

That was also the reason why he reported to Itachi about Sasuke's sudden disappearances ten years ago. They found out that the younger Uchiha had been sneaking out of the premises and watching the blond boy, Uzumaki Naruto. By then, Kakashi had known that building ties that would undoubtedly broken would only push Sasuke further into the abyss of loneliness and betrayal, so he tried to break the ties—

And it resulted with Sasuke loosing precious control, letting out immense amounts of dark-stained chakra, poisoned with evil and darkness and all the things that weren't pure or human. It was then that Kakashi really resolved that he'd harness Sasuke's power, and let the other achieve his goal.

That was the only reason—and he wanted Sasuke to succeed—why he was reporting now to Itachi suggesting that they try to move Sasuke away from the operation because the other was rekindling the interest formed ten years ago.

Hatake Kakashi just hoped that he didn't feel too guilty and miserable about his suggestion.

The moon's silver rays pierced through the thin fabric of the curtain, the opened window letting in the night's un-warm breeze. The constant entrance of wind played lightly with the ends of his bluish-black bangs, fanning them away from his currently-frowning face, and returning them back to settle near his narrowed black eyes.

He was seated calmly near the window, staring at the vague silhouette of dense clouds floating around at night. One large cloud moved forward and blocked the moonlight, creating a haze of grayish-blackness over his face, making him the brightest piece in the entire room.

He was contemplating, something that he never did so openly, especially at such a dangerous place, but, yes, he was brooding. Kakashi obviously was displeased with the sudden turn of his actions and emotions, even though they were barely even noticeable. For starters, he's confident that the dobe didn't even notice, didn't even remember him, didn't even know that he was the reason why he lost control all those years back.

He dully recalled being chained to the walls, chakra-eating ropes binding his wrists and legs tightly, as he thrashed wildly, insisting to be let out for his daily schedule of trailing after the young blond boy with deep blue eyes. Now, of course, he rather understood the reasoning—that kid was the Power Itachi has been searching for, and any attachments would be a crucial mistake for their part.

He never wanted to taint Naruto with his hands covered with Sin. He never wanted to ruin the angelic purity and naivety and sheer innocence regarding the evils of the world that represented Naruto. The pure emotions that were perverted and disfigured in most of the humans existing were what made the blond so irresistible. Was it the reason, then, why he couldn't bear to turn the other's friendly actions down?

He shook his head, feeling his hands—hands that bathed in pools of blood, hands that sought to put an end to his older brother's life, hands that have been instruments in operations that caused too much grief and destruction, hands that mercilessly took lives away as though taking a piece of candy from a mere, powerless infant—tremble with his thoughts.

No, despite what Kakashi said, he didn't plan on becoming too attached with the blond. Always, always, it was his own desires, own wants, own goals that were top priority. His top priority, for the past ten years, has been to kill Itachi and quell the urge to avenge the things that were viciously taken away from him.

He ignored the wise-sounding voice at the back of his brain that taunted him, reminding him that his priorities has drastically changed since the blond teen came into the picture.

It casually pointed out to him that, as it was before, when he destroyed an entire village just by sheer willpower and bursts of swirling purple-and-black chakra, Naruto once again, became his first priority.

I don't want to taint your purity with my hands of sin.

.: To Be Continued :.

Whoa, longer chapter, to make up for the horrible, icky lateness :) This chapter focused mostly on Sasuke (his angst) and his past, so the next chapter would be filled with action, once again, and would be mostly focused on Naruto and the reason why everybody's after him. And uhm, Kakashi's bad. He's trying to break Naruto and Sasuke up :p

A/N: I'm sorry to tell you guys that in this fanfiction, everybody would really be trying to chase Naruto. I think it's a nice, umm, role-reversal, since in the manga, Sasuke's like the prize of a tug-of-war between Konoha and Sound—not that I'm complaining XD

Guessing Game: Yep, it was Kakashi and Iruka. I'll contact those who got it correctly; if I'm not able to contact you within a week, please do PM me :D

Re: Suzaku: It's the legendary phoenix of the south, and if I'm not wrong, it's the sacred beast that represents Itachi in the Akatsuki :)

Next Chapter Contents: Itachi's getting impatient, so he tells Platinum to try to provoke Naruto by trying to kill him using his friend's body. Nobody expected the Power to come out so soon… And why is Sasuke protecting the target and interfering with their plan? Next chapter is the Rain of Tears: Ino-Sakura VS Naruto VS Gaara-Neji VS Sasuke-Kakashi!

Flames will be ignored and Reviews will make me a happy bunny :)