Finally a sequel to Black Bear and a continuation into that story line that you all have been wanting to see.
Note: I don't Own Naruto or else the world would be a very...uh... interesting place
Please Read and Review or Sai's Abs will get after you
The Day that Changed the Boy
By Hammy Uchiha
Arashi was sifting through his to-do list, looking for something interesting to do. (There isn't a lot of that in a Hokage's to-do pile) He was skeptical that he'd actually find something, but he had to look anyway. That old geezer just had to drag me out of bed this morning…
Sarutobi answered it. "Hokage's office?"
"Hey, (cough) old geezer," The former Hokage's eyes narrowed.
"What is it Arashi?"
"I (hack) don't think I'll (cough, hack, wheeze) be able to (choke) come it today,"
"You don't sound so great, Arashi-sama, do you need someone to come over there to walk Naruto to school or to take care of you?" asked Sarutobi, wondering how Arashi had seemed perfectly fine yesterday.
"No (cough) don't bother, I'll (hack) be fine," replied Arashi. Liar! The Sandaime rolled his eyes.
"Are you sure Arashi? It sounds like you're about to die from my end,"
"Oh… (sniff) its not that bad (cough) I've just got a really nasty cough (hack) I wouldn't want any of your people to (sniff) catch it." The Sandaime sighed.
"I'm coming down there right now to check on you, alright," he replied.
"No, its (hack) contagious," insisted the Yondaime.
"Right… I'm giving you five minutes to get your butt out of your bed and get down here. I don't care if you're sick," said the Sandaime and hung up on Arashi. The great blonde Hokage turned to his son and shrugged.
Grumpily, the Yondaime turned back to his work. And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for that pesky Sarutobi…
At that moment, the door opened to a worn out young man in ANBU get up. His ponytail of dark raven hair swung against his back as he approached the Hokage. Arashi saluted Itachi.
"Another mission well done, I suppose?" he guessed. The Uchiha's face was hard as he handed the mission report to Arashi.
"I guess," he murmured. The Yondaime looked after the Uchiha with a look of confusion.
"Well that was weird," he said and tossing the mission report in his pile of work to be done and went back to searching through it for something fun. He didn't notice as the mission report of was covered and buried under the huge pile of stuff to-do.
"Yum, yum, yum, ramen," said Naruto Uzumaki over the lunch table as he pulled out his usual thermos of ramen. The shy Hyuga next to him giggled slightly before pulling out the peanut butter and jelly sandwich she had had to make for herself that morning. Sasuke on the other side of the table was getting ready to pull out his favorite from his lunch bag. It was a BLT sandwich, well, minus the L and B leaving only the T which was the only part he cared about. In dove his hand to pull out the tasty sandwich he had watched his mom make for him that morning. It was several moments as his hand searched for it and Hinata and Naruto watched.
With each passing moment the Uchiha became more desperate until he picked up the bag and spilled the contents on the table. There was no sandwich to be found.
"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Down came the Uchiha's fists to the table his eyes showing the determination to catch the sandwich-napper. To prove their innocence Naruto and Hinata turned out there lunch bags and down the table, Kiba turned his out as well, and so did Shikamaru and Choji. Sasuke quickly scanned through the contents of his classmates' lunches. This wasn't the first time his tomato sandwich had disappeared.
"Who took it?" demanded the little raven haired Uchiha standing up and searching for the guilty party. This time, unlike any other time before, someone stood up. (Or rather was pushed from her seat, clutching a tomato sandwich.)
"I…I did it…" stammered the pink haired kunoichi in training as her best fried Ino shoved her forehead. Sasuke came stalking over. He held out his hand for the stolen sandwich. Sakura withheld it.
"K…Kiss me," she said. Awkward silence. Sasuke had to think about that one for a moment, should he kiss her (He shuddered at that thought. Ew. Cooties.) or not and have her just keep his sandwich hostage.
It was a tough decision. He looked over his shoulder, but neither Naruto nor Hinata were encouraging or discouraging it. They're no help with the important decisions. Sakura was waiting expectantly. The Uchiha stamped his foot in annoyance and leaned forward. Their lips met for a single instant before he snatched the sandwich out of her hands and made a run for it.
Hinata's head was buried in her arms on her desk as their afternoon class on the history of the Village Hidden in the Leaves was droned out by Iruka-sensei. Hiding the note behind his arm, Naruto scribbled out the plan, before folding it carefully and sliding it across the row to Sasuke, who was nodding off. The Uchiha was really out of it, his head drooping and he didn't even notice the note. Looking the other way, to keep blame off his head Naruto tossed his pencil at Sasuke… and missed. It bounced off Hinata who awoke with a start. She rubbed her shoulder as Naruto flashed her an apologetic smile. She blushed back, and he nodded to the note he had slid to the sleeping Sasuke. Hinata picked it up and pretending to be paying attention to class, she read it in her lap. A small smile crept across her face. She slid it to Sasuke and woke him up with a tap on the shoulder. Still pretending to be sleeping, the Uchiha took the note and read it as Naruto and Hinata watched expectantly. Sasuke picked up the pencil Naruto had thrown and made some adjustments with the lead and eraser, then he slid it back to Naruto.
Naruto looked over the plan, that changed from pulling out Iruka-sensei's chair from under him, to pulling his chair out from under him and making sure he fell in super glue.
The three exchanged evil smiles and Naruto pointed out on the paper, which one of them was doing what. Then they counted to five as Naruto crumpled up the paper and then on five he threw it at their sensei as Sasuke moved with the glue, Hinata right behind him.
"Who threw that?" demanded the angry sensei as Naruto smiled guiltily. The sensei went to his desk to sit down and get a punishment. When he went to sit down, Hinata pulled out the chair and took off after Sasuke as Iruka fell in the glue the Uchiha had laid out. The last bell rang just then as the chunin tried to pry his glued butt from the floor. Naruto, Sasuke and Hinata exchanged high fives before joining the swarm leaving the room.
"You three!" growled Iruka. "Stop right there, you're staying after class!" he yelled as he finally stood up with a harsh rip from the seat of his pants. The three troublemakers giggled madly behind their hands.
"You will clean this whole room until it shines like the head of the Sandaime-sama!" yelled the angry teacher, keeping his back to the wall to hide his teddy bear boxers. Hinata took the broom and began to sweep as Sasuke cleaned the chalk board and Naruto wiped up the leftover glue, and piece off the seat of Iruka's pants. They were still chuckling to themselves about it an hour and a half later as they finished up.
"I don't see why you three insist on always getting in trouble, don't you ever want to be ninja?" demanded Iruka before they left.
"N…no offense, Iruka-sensei," said Hinata with a blush.
"But your class is…" put in Sasuke.
"BORRRRRRING!" the three chorused. Iruka shook his head in denial.
"Then what would you have me do?" he demanded.
"Fieldtrips," said Naruto simply and the three ran off leaving the teacher to contemplate that and how he was going to get home with teddy bear boxers and a hole on the butt of his pants.
Arashi had only Itachi's mission report left when Naruto came into his office.
"How was school?" asked the Hokage as he scanned over the report and was about to put it in the done pile, when he noticed the hand written note at the bottom. Naruto's voice bragging about their prank didn't reach Arashi's ears. His grip tightened on the note all at once, and he leapt out of his chair and grabbed Naruto's arm and activated his yellow flash. Instants later they were at the ramen shop and lifting up Naruto, Arashi ran toward the Uchiha district with all his speed.
The note hit the floor in the Yondaime's office, the horrifying note from Itachi written out in scrawling script below the mission report.
"Go home," instructed the Hokage as he slid to a stop outside the Uchiha district. His eyes were firm leaving no room for argument. Naruto looked fearfully at his father.
"Just go," replied the Yondaime he sprinted a few steps before turning around again. Naruto was staring at him, his blue eyes terrified.
"Be careful," Naruto said before turning and running off. Arashi watched him leave before turning back to the trouble at hand. The blonde Hokage stopped as he heard a far off curse. He turned to move again when he saw the dark shadow flitting across the rooftops. The figure stopped his red eyes briefly looking with the Hokage's powerful blue eyes. Then the two returned to their race to wherever they were going. The head's house was dark as Arashi walked in through the open door afraid of what he would find within.
A patch of moonlight lit the empty floor illuminating the crumpled form of a little boy and two bodies of what was most definitely his parents. The Hokage's face fell, he was too late.
The little boy's shoulders shuddered with a sob.
"Darn you Itachi," he whispered in a voice the Hokage could not hear.
"Where is Itachi?" asked Arashi not getting what the boy meant.
"Burning in the pits of hell," cursed Sasuke as another sob shook his body. "Lousy teme," he whispered. Arashi couldn't believe what he was hearing coming from Sasuke's mouth (the cursing and the truth about Itachi). He knelt beside Sasuke and laid and sympathetic hand on his shoulder. Sasuke pushed him away.
"Leave me alone," he choked, but the tears kept coming. Arashi withdrew his hand and tried to push his feelings aside and organize his thoughts. Laying a marker on the floor he flashed back to his office. The Sandaime was sitting in his chair rereading the note that Arashi had dropped.
"Trouble," he said sharply and the Sandaime looked up. "Bring in the ANBU, the Uchiha district, now," he ordered precisely. The Sandaime was already moving. With another flash Arashi was back in the room with Sasuke. The little boy was still sobbing. The ANBU would be here soon and they'd need information, that Arashi couldn't give them, that Sasuke wouldn't give them for any reason. He, for what seemed like the first time in a long time, had no idea what to do.
"Why won't you leave me alone?" asked Sasuke at last trying to control the pain. Arashi sank down to sit beside Sasuke.
"I don't know."
When Arashi came home at four past eleven, carrying an exhausted Sasuke, Naruto was sitting in the kitchen waiting. Arashi joined him after laying Sasuke down in the guest bedroom. Naruto was looking at his empty plate, and there was a place set across the table where a cold cheese sandwich sat. Arashi sat down, as Naruto stared at his plate.
"What happened?" he asked at last looking up at his father. Arashi swallowed. He didn't want to tell Naruto, but he couldn't lie to him either. The Hokage sighed, and spilled it all to his young son. Naruto's eyes were afraid when his father finished.
"Why?" he asked as the Hokage pushed away the cheese sandwich, having lost his appetite. Arashi shook his head.
"I don't know, Naruto, I just don't know."
Sasuke slept in late and Arashi sent Naruto to school. The Hokage sat at the table slowly sipping a mug of coffee, trying puzzle out how this all was going to work.
The Uchiha woke up late and opened his eyes thinking immediately that he was late for school and why hadn't his mother woken him up, and when he sat up and looked around he realized it wasn't a terrible nightmare. That made him come crashing back into the pillow. If it wasn't a nightmare then… his thoughts stopped there, he didn't want to think about that.
"I wasn't strong enough," he whispered. "Itachi,"
He rolled out of bed and pulled on his sandals that Arashi had taken off before laying him in the bed. He looked for his bag before realizing he had left it back in his house. That made him feel even more empty. He checked the time, only a little after noon. He still had time. Sasuke tried to push away the night's catastrophe and hurried out into the hall, down the stairs and out the door.
Arashi was thrown from his reverie by the slamming of the front door. He had been thinking about Haru again. She always had a mother's intuition and knew exactly what to do when things went wrong. He knew just how much of a drifting leaf he was without her. He stood up, and dumped the cold coffee in the sink and grabbed his jacket before leaving the house on the way to Ichiraku for lunch.
Sasuke slid into his seat right after lunchtime, to a disapproving look from Iruka-sensei who was now explaining to them about the different clans and their special abilities. Naruto elbowed Sasuke and the Uchiha turned to the wondering looks of his friends, but he wasn't in the mood to explain, he narrowed his eyes and turned back to the teacher. He had to learn this, he had to pass, he needed to kill Itachi.
Hinata looked worriedly at Naruto who had told her what had happened. Naruto shrugged, he didn't know. The class was dull as usual and Naruto tried to think of another great plan that the sensei wouldn't see coming but he was unusually short on ideas. He tapped the paper in annoyance trying to get an idea.
"Naruto! Hinata! Sasuke!" called the teacher. "Come down here, now!" ordered Iruka. Naruto snapped to attention and the three of them came down.
"These three are perfect examples of what we've been talking about," said Iruka. "First we have Hinata Hyuga and the Byakugan, Hinata would you mind to demonstrate?" Hinata focused her chakra.
"Byakugan!" she shouted and looked around the classroom, the other students were amazed and applauded when she released it.
"And Sasuke over here of the great Uchiha clan…" began Iruka. Even Naruto and Hinata knew that was the wrong thing to say. "…a version of the Byakugan, passed down for generations, the famous Sharingan eye, also a bloodline limit. Sasuke?"
Sasuke's eyes fell to the floor. He summoned his chakra and looked up.
"Sharingan!" he spoke trying to unlock the Uchiha power, but nothing happened. The kids began to laugh. His head drooped. Hinata's cheeks reddened, embarrassed that she had embarrassed Sasuke. Her hand slid into his and she held on to let him know she was there for him. The Uchiha's eyes remained glued to the floor.
"Uh…well, usually kids are older before they can use their special kekei genkai," said Iruka awkwardly. "Now Naruto, his kekei genkai is different then the optical skills of the Uchiha and Hyuga. As you may know our honorable Hokage, Naruto's father, is also known as the Yellow Flash. And for good reason, the Uzumaki bloodline limit allows them to flit between places at inhuman speed. Naruto could you show us?" asked the sensei. By this time Naruto's eyes were as wide as dinner plates. Me? A bloodline limit?
"Crazy!" he coughed. Iruka cocked his head at Naruto.
"Did you say something, Naruto?" he asked.
"Behold!" he cried leaping behind Iruka. The sensei had blinked just as Naruto moved. He looked around.
"Where'd he go?" he wondered aloud as Naruto made faces behind his back. Hinata giggled into her hands at Naruto as Sasuke walked back to his seat and laid his head down on the desk.
Class was dismissed and the three walked out into the afternoon sunlight. Everything seemed normal again. The Uchiha however could not convince himself of that. His hands were jammed in his pockets, his head still drooping.
"Its okay," said Hinata. "Better to have them laugh at you now when it doesn't matter and later to have them cowering in terror but it awakening and saving your life," she said softly. Her logic made sense to Naruto and he nodded in agreement.
"Just shut up! I don't care about my dumb Sharingan!" snapped Sasuke angrily. Hinata fell off to the side a little bit; the look in her eyes was of hurt. Naruto and Hinata hung back as the Uchiha stalked ahead of them towards the Uchiha district. They came to a halt as they neared the entrance. Sasuke stalked right on growing further and further away. Hinata had a nervous look on her face, fearfully touching her lip. Naruto watched after him, realizing Sasuke was growing more distant to them.
"D…do… y…you think he'll be okay?" asked the Hyuga after a moment. Naruto swallowed, Sasuke had vanished into the empty district.
"I hope so," he answered her.
Arashi waited up for Sasuke. Part of him worried that the boy who was like a second son to him, wouldn't come back. It was late when the Uchiha came in, a backpack slung over his shoulder and a sleeping bag under his arm. Arashi almost thought for an instant that Sasuke had robbed a store until he realized that he must have just gone home. The boy didn't even say hello, he went up the stairs and minutes later the Hokage heard his door close.
"The angst is so heavy I could poke it with a stick…" murmured Arashi before heading off to catch some sleep.
"We are gathered here…" spoke the solemn Sandaime as the rain came down the following day. "…to remember the Uchiha clan, killed by one of their own."
Sasuke stared determinedly at his feet, resolved that he would not cry, would not show that weakness. Behind him, hanging onto Naruto's hand Hinata wept openly. The little Uzumaki held onto his father's hand tears dripping down his own face. The blonde Hokage scanned the wet photos of the clan lined up before them. If he was crying you could not tell because of the rain.
Few were there besides them. Hiashi Hyuga, and Hinata's cousin Neji, several family friends, the two Hokages and many jounin and several chunin, Sasuke had never seen before.
"It is a terrible event, robbing our village of this entire clan…" said Sarutobi head bowed. Sasuke's teeth clenched. Don't I count as a survivor? His fist clenched and unclenched. Oh right… I never counted for anything, why would I count now… The small Uchiha jammed his hands in his pockets resolving that Itachi would pay for this, pay for this pain. His lip trembled as the little boy tried to be strong. Tried to fight his feelings. His face crumpled and he let out a sob hands coming up to wipe his eyes.
I'm so stupid, so weak… The tears raced down his face and he suddenly didn't want to be there, didn't want to be around all these people who cared about him, didn't want one of them to reach out and pat him on the shoulder and tell him it would be all right. It wouldn't be alright, it could never be alright. And all he wanted right now was to be alone.
It seemed no one in the crowd noticed as the last member of the Uchiha clan ran off into the rain, his sandals pounding in the mud.
A week passed and the three drifted apart. Well Sasuke drifted and Naruto and Hinata tried to make up for it. It was late in the afternoon one day and Naruto and Hinata were bent over a picture describing their attack. Hinata elbowed Sasuke who was next to her taking notes. The Uchiha refused to even look at the note and Hinata gave Naruto a shrug. They refined a few details and then set the plan into action.
They slid out of their chairs and snuck along the aisles toward Iruka-sensei. The sensei was so wrapped up in his oh-so-interesting talk about the different ways to throw kunai he didn't see Hinata and Naruto slide into position.
"Hey Sensei!" called Naruto projecting his voice into the rows of desks. Iruka took a step forward.
"Yes…?!" he tripped forward over the fine rope Hinata and Naruto had stretched before him. Iruka came smashing down into a smear of paint Hinata had laid out.
"Sorry sensei," laughed Naruto sticking a "kick me" sign on the back of his teacher and the two leapt for their seats. Iruka, face covered in red pain caught the two of them by the back of their shirts as the bell rang.
"YOU! AGAIN?!" he roared as the students filed out, all of them, even Sasuke. "TWO WEEKS! AFTER SCHOOL! YOU'LL BE CLEANING UP THIS ROOM!" he yelled as Hinata, blushing, exchanged a high five with Naruto. He set them down and sat back in his chair wiping the paint from his face.
"I just don't understand it," said Iruka grumpily. "You're good students, so why do you feel the need to play pranks?"
"You're borrrring," answered Naruto and Hinata as they set to their work.
"I mean…. Hey wait…where's the Uchiha, he's normally part of these plots too," said Iruka looking around.
"He's too good for us," replied Naruto sweeping the aisles with a too big broom. His face instantly became grumpy and he said no more. Hinata reached up to wipe down the chalkboard.
"P…pretty soon, sensei, you're going to forget how to do this without us," said Hinata, and their teacher just shook his head with a grin.
Arashi had been up all night waiting for the sluggish Uchiha who never came home when he was supposed to. The Hokage was sleeping when Naruto tugged on his sleeve. He awoke with a start to the morning sun shining in through the window.
"Woah…" murmured the Hokage. Naruto was looking afraid at him.
"Where is Sasuke?" asked the little Uzumaki.
"He's not home?" asked Arashi standing up. The door opened just then and weakly stumbling a few steps came Sasuke. He was beaten badly, his fists raw and his skin covered in sweat.
"Sasuke," gasped Arashi catching the Uchiha as he fell forward. The little boy had been out training all night, now too beaten and exhausted to move. Naruto was watching him with a look of fear.
"Naruto, go on to school," said Arashi. "It looks like our friend here is going to be out of action for a few days," he said. The little blonde nodded and headed out. Arashi laid Sasuke down to sleep and called into the Sandaime to inform him, he was taking another sick day.
When Sasuke awoke late in the afternoon, he tried to sit up and found he had no strength left. The world spun before his eyes and he felt hot all over. He pushed back the covers slowly painfully, and tried to go back to sleep, feeling ill. He was hot for what seemed a long time and then he was cold, deathly cold. He tugged back up the blankets shivering wearily, but soon he was hot again, shoving them back.
When Arashi checked on his angsty charge, he found him in a cold sweat on the mattress. He shook his head as he dialed up a healer. Training like that would do more harm then help.
Arashi picked up some ramen from Ichiraku for dinner and he and Naruto ate in silence as Sasuke slept away. The little Uzumaki was considering asking his dad why he didn't know that he had a bloodline limit, and the older Uzumaki was thinking about getting the Sandaime to sing karaoke for the staff party on Friday. That'd be good and then I can break out the fiddle and get him to show us that he really can jig dance. That made the Yondaime smile evilly and Naruto watched him wondering what malicious plot he had come up with now.
As Arashi tried to sleep that night, thinking about what the Sandaime's voice sounded like when he sang, he heard crying. All thoughts of the staff party and karaoke drifted away and he wondered what he was going to do about Sasuke. The Uchiha was so much higher maintenance than Naruto… His door cracked open and he saw a figure in the dark. He almost reached for his kunai, but halted as he heard a sniffle.
"Naruto?" he asked of the figure.
"Daddy," whispered back Naruto. Daddy… uh oh…
"What is it?" asked the Yondaime turning on his bedside light and seeing fully that it was Naruto standing in his door way, wiping tears from his eyes.
"You're not going to die… are you?" he asked.
"Not yet, Naruto, don't worry," said the Hokage as Naruto climbed up into his bed and sat in front of him.
"Yes really," replied Arashi wiping away his son's tears and ruffling his blonde hair. Naruto smiled a small smile, and the Hokage nudged him off the bed.
"Now go to sleep or you'll be tired tomorrow for school," said the Hokage. Naruto laughed and ran off, leaving Arashi wondering if he would die too soon to see his little boy grow up.
Days later when Sasuke returned to school, Hinata and Naruto were still stuck after class cleaning up. The Uchiha was on his way out of the room when he stopped. Sasuke stopped and set down his bag and reached for a broom. Hinata and Naruto watched in amazement as he swept down the aisles.
"What are you looking at?" he asked with a grin as Iruka looked on in confusion. Hinata rushed to give the Uchiha a hug and Naruto give him a high five.
"It's good to have you back, buddy."
Sasuke's got some good friends there...