Disclaimer:... nothing. Except for Sada. :)
I'm re-writing the entire fic... :\ There were so many things that popped up in the course of writing the first version... stuff that should have been mentioned earlier in the plot, things that I didn't even think of until later but were needed to achieve the end I had in mind. :\
So re-writing begins...
Chapter One: Sadako
They told me I looked like my father.
In every aspect of my life, this simple statement was true. I thrived in my father's shadow, blossoming into the delicate flower I really was. My high forehead and straight hair were the only indications of who my mother is. I was called a prodigy, like my father and uncle before me. But I was uneasy with the title. Didn't they know that prodigies, especially prodigies from my family, suffer the most? And even though I am only twelve years old, I have indeed suffered, developing a closed, independent personality that my mother despaired of. I was, indeed, exactly like my father.
But I've never met my father. All I have are stories from my aunts and uncles and old photographs. Years ago, that snake stole my father and held him captive. My father as his container in exchange for sparing Konohagakure no Sato. It was my father's choice to spare his hometown, the same one he betrayed five years before. He left to prove he was worthy of wearing the leaf hitai-ate headband. He left to give me life.
So today, the day of my graduation from the ninja academy, I, Uchiha Sadako, swear upon my hitai-ate, to kill the snake and to bring my father home at last.
Haruno Sakura ran quickly through the near-empty streets of Konoha.
Please let me get there on time, please! Sakura prayed silently. She skidded to a halt in front of the gates to the ninja academy just as the bell rang.
Sakura sighed in relief. So far, so good and she wasn't the only one running late either. Sakura couldn't wait for the graduates to return from the survival exercise. Then, she spotted the dark hair and clothing of her only child in the crowd of graduates and returning academy students.
"Sadako!" She called and waved the girl towards her. As Sadako approached her mother, Sakura couldn't help but notice the leaf hitai-ate being used as a headband in her daughter's long raven hair, just like how her own hitai-ate was tied.
"Sada, I'm so proud of you! You graduated top of your class and you're a Genin now!" Sakura exclaimed as she hugged Sadako tightly.
The girl didn't know how to react. She hesitantly wrapped her arms around her mother's torso and awkwardly returned the embrace. Sakura sensed her uneasiness and choked back her tears.
She's just like Sasuke…
"Come on Sadako. Let's go home and have a nice lunch."
Uzumaki Naruto, the 5th ANBU Squad Captain, slid to a stop in front of the apartment building where his childhood friend lived with her daughter. Naruto groaned at the prospect of having to climb five flights of stairs to Sakura's apartment because the elevator was broken.
Without another moment of delay, Naruto ran up the stairs and came to a stop at the apartment's open door, where a waiting Sadako suddenly punched him in the gut.
"Oh, Naruto-oji-sama, it's just you." Sadako said coolly, studying her knuckles.
Naruto winced and rubbed his stomach. Man, that kid can sure pack a punch… Naruto thought. Her reflexes are just like Sasuke's and she hits like Sakura-chan… bad combination for me…
"Naruto! How are you? Oh! Why are you holding your stomach?" Sakura questioned, eyeing the ANBU Captain with concern.
"It's nothing okaa-sama. Naruto-oji-sama just has no defense." Sadako called from her place at the table.
Sakura and Naruto shared a look. Yup, there was no denying it or disproving it, Uchiha Sadako was Sasuke's kid.
"Hey, Sada-chan, congrats on becoming a genin. You've done exceptionally well for being home schooled half of your Academy years." Naruto said, trying to break the silence.
"The scrolls in the Uchiha district and the main house are pretty useful. And I studied all of Otou-sama's and Okaa-sama's notes." Sadako answered lightly.
The girl continued eating her lunch, unaware of the troubled look her mother gave her uncle. Naruto flashed Sakura a 'We'll-talk-later' look. The rest of the meal was spent in silence.
"She's just like Sasuke, it's almost scary." Nara-Yamanaka Ino told Sakura several weeks later in the Hokage's office. At Naruto's request, the Rokudaime Hokage, Hatake Kakashi, had gathered as many of their old friends he could to update them on the search for Uchiha Sasuke and to talk about his prodigious daughter.
"No kidding! I saw Sadako training alone yesterday and I was shocked by her mastery of the Uchiha firestyle Jutsus. But unlike Sasuke-san, Sada works well with her team and has brilliant strategies. Just like you Sakura." Hyuuga Tenten added.
Sakura sighed and rubbed her temples with her fingers, not bothering to correct her friend that it was usually Sasuke and Naruto who came up with the brilliant strategies in Team 7.
"Still, Sadako worries me. What if Orochimaru decides that he wants Sada for his next vessel? My life would be destroyed and I couldn't bear to loose her."
Kakashi looked up from his calendar and suddenly said, "The Chuunin Exams are nine months away, held here in Konoha. Knowing Neji, he'll have his cell ready three months before."
"Hyuuga's Sadako's instructor? Who else is on her team?" Shikamaru asked, surprised.
"Of course—Hyuuga's perfect for the job. And I believe Yuuhi Takashi and Mitarashi Akihiro are on her Genin team. Nephews of Kurenai and Anko." Kakashi replied, leaning back in his chair. Opening up a well-worn book, Kakashi mumbled, "Now where was I...?"
The women in the room made noises of disgust at the back of their throats but said nothing. Sakura stared out the window, lost within her thoughts.
"By the way..." Naruto suddenly asked. "Have you heard from her?"
Kakashi looked up at his former student sharply. "The walls have ears."
"You're clear." Shikamaru confirmed. "I ran a sweep just a minute ago."
Setting down his book, Kakashi pulled a file out from a locked compartment of his desk. "Her reports are all coded; I can't figure them out." Kakashi admitted, laying out the file's contents on his desk. "The most I could learn from what I could understand is that Tsunade-sama sent her out on a mission of utmost importance. Something about the Uchiha Massacre and Sasuke."
Now alert, Sakura's breath hitched in her throat. "What did you say? Sadako's investigating the Uchiha clan? Why?"
"If I knew," Kakashi frowned. "then I would've called her back. But because I know absolutely nothing about this Black Ops mission, I can't undo what the former Hokage ordered. That's not the way the law works."
Hyuuga Neji sighed and eyed his team with frustration. "Takashi—stop picking on Sadako. And you, Akihiro! Pay attention; your lack of concentration could be your downfall and failure to complete the mission. Sadako, show some backbone will you? You can't always be waiting for the order to strike."
Neji inwardly regretted taking this job. How on earth did Tenten persuade Kakashi to assign Neji the task of being a Genin instructor for a few years? On top of that, his team consisted of this generation's Uchiha prodigy, a Yuuhi smartass, and a Mitarashi slacker.
Neji was going to kill Kakashi for approving this cell assignment.
"We're going to spar today. First up are Uchiha and Yuuhi. Don't kill each other, mind you. The Chuunin exams are coming up and I want you to take it then." Neji ordered.
Sadako tightened her long hair into a high ponytail, like the one her Ino-oba-sama always wore. She gently ran her kunai against her thumb, a sign of impatience.
"Don't think I'll go easy on you Uchiha." Takashi smirked. This boy, two years her senior, was seriously underestimating her and it irked Sadako to no end.
"So says the one who failed the graduation test two years in a row. Girls gotta be strong to survive. And I intend to kill someone so I can't die yet." Sadako retorted, unknowingly quoting both of her parents.
Takashi charged forward, wires intertwined among his fingers. "Don't underestimate me!" he yelled.
The boy snarled and jumped high in the air, intending to strike the kunoichi down with a barrage of kunai.
Shoot! Sadako eyed the shower of kunai and wires falling down towards her. Gotta move, gotta move, gotta move- fast! Sadako thought frantically. She clutched her left arm in pain where a kunai had cut her.
Finding a weapons summoning scroll in her pocket from her Tenten-oba-sama, the Uchiha untied the scroll and released a storm of weapons on Takashi.
Takashi tried to outrun the falling projectiles, but his efforts proved fruitless. He threw a shuriken at his opponent, hoping to distract Sadako and stop the weapons from attacking him.
Sadako noticed the shuriken a split-second too late. Her hands flew in forming the few seals she needed to dodge the shuriken. "Kawarami no Jutsu!"
Takashi, his vision finally cleared of the dust-filled smoke, scanned the area for the girl. He heard a rustle from his left side and took a defensive stance.
Where is she?
"You know, you shouldn't let your guard down." Sadako's voice echoed from the wood. Takashi spun around to try and find his teammate but all he heard was:
"That's gonna do you no good." Sadako's voice echoed again from the trees. Her opponent growled and pulled out a kunai, waiting for the Uchiha to reveal herself.
"Leaf Village Secret Finger Jutsu: A THOUSAND YEARS OF DEATH!" Sadako cried, ramming her fingers into her enemy's ahem, behind.
"WHAT THE HELL! WHAT KIND OF JUTSU IS THAT?!" Takashi roared as he flew into the air, clutching his throbbing bottom.
Neji and Akihiro stood there and stared at the girl, shocked at what she had just done. Yes, Uchiha Sadako had taken Hatake Kakashi's amusing technique and used it on her teammate.
Neji stared at his female student, knowing from watching the match with his Byakugen that she was holding back. If Takashi was defeated by a mere technique that was meant as a prank to pull on the foolish, then he had a lot to teach his cell.
Then again, Neji thought. Sadako's Chuunin level already, only lacking in experience. That's one less idiot to teach... I think...
It was going to be a long nine months.
After their daily training session, Akihiro noticed that Neji-sensei had held Sadako-san back to talk to her. They were talking quietly in the training grounds. Akihiro beckoned to Takashi and pointed to the teacher-student pair. The two Genin hid behind a bush and spied on them.
"I'm surprised at you Sada. You didn't give Takashi the thrashing I'd expected you to during that first spar last week."
The Uchiha heir scowled and grumbled, "Okaa-sama would have been displeased that I sent one of my teammates half-dead to the hospital. Besides, Neji-oji-sama, why are you bringing this up now?"
Akihiro and Takashi looked at each other nervously. Uchiha Sadako, able to kill? The possibility of it seemed unlikely—she was only twelve!
"Neji-sensei, fight me."
Neji smirked. "Don't cry to me if you get hurt." He warned.
Sadako smiled. "Don't hold back."
Two kunai clashed together with a loud clang! The two ninjas sprang apart, their hands quickly forming seals.
"Katon: Goukakyuu no Jutsu!"
"Woah! Genin aren't supposed to be able to do fire jutsus!" Takashi exclaimed, his voice unheard by the dueling pair.
"Byakugen! Uchiha, you can't hide from me now!" Neji exclaimed.
"Who said I was hiding?" Sadako retorted. She stepped out from the shadows of the woods, her eyes set into an intimidating glare.
But to her hiding spectators and to her opponent, it wasn't her glare that caused them to stop and stare at her.
It was her eyes.
The blood red Sharingan mirror-wheel eyes that stared out at the world around her and saw to the very core.
-Two weeks later-
"Hey! Uchiha! Come with us to Ichiraku's for lunch!" Akihiro yelled to his female teammate.
Sadako looked up hesitantly from her book and regarded the thirteen-year-old genin carefully.
Akihiro rolled his eyes. "Because Takashi and I are hungry."
"But why bring me along? Takashi and I don't exactly see eye to eye."
Akihiro stared at the younger girl in disbelief. "Then start seeing eye to eye by hanging out with us
at Ichiraku's." he said as he hauled the Uchiha up to her feet and dragged her away to the ramen shop.
"Yo, Akihiro and Uchiha…. what are you doing here?" Takashi spat venomously as he saw the pair enter Ichiraku's Ramen Stall.
"Don't complain to me, I was dragged here by Mitarashi, Yuuhi." Sadako muttered darkly.
Some of the customers in the stall regarded her suspiciously, their whispers not failing to escape her keen hearing.
"It's the Uchiha girl…"
"Her good-for-nothing father abandoned her before she was even born. Tch. What can you expect from a traitor, never mind the fact that Tsunade-sama pardoned him."
"Tsunade-sama was too soft on the Uchiha traitor because her protégé claimed she loved him."
"They're ex-teammates. I can't believe that Haruno-sensei would love someone like him, or even give birth to his child."
Sadako couldn't take it anymore. She glared at the whispering pair at the end of the bar, her onyx eyes swirling with mixed emotions. The girl started walking towards the pair, fury and anger radiating with each step.
"Wait, Uchiha- " Akihiro called after her desperately.
The Uchiha heir ignored her teammate and stood purposely behind the whispering pair.
The two looked behind them when they noticed a shadow being cast onto the counter.
"Can I help you?" One of the whisperers, a girl five years her senior, snapped rudely.
"You wanna say that to my face?" Sadako hissed venomously.
"Say what, Uchiha-sama?" The other whisperer, another girl five years her senior, asked innocently.
Sadako shot them both a death glare that would have rivaled her father's. She grabbed the collar of their shirts in her hands, limiting their air supply.
"Don't you dare insult my parents. Don't you dare talk about things you don't know the first thing about. How old where you when the Snake attacked Konohagakure? Five? Four? Barely old enough to remember and yet you weren't there. You were hiding in the Hokage memorial. Shut the hell up and don't talk like you know everything!"
"There's more to the story that Tsunade-obaa-sama told the general public. Not even all the shinobis know the full story. You don't deserve to walk around, acting all high and mighty and degrading those you don't understand or know. My father's a hero. My father's the only reason why you're sitting here eating Ayame-san's ramen. If I catch you two gossiping like that again,
there will be Hell to pay. I will personally make sure of it."
Sadako let go of the two girls and turned to walk away. She was stopped by one of the girl's hold on her wrist.
"Who do you think you are, little girl, to tell us all of that? I bet you're not an Uchiha at all. I wonder if you're some little orphan girl that Haruno-sensei and the Uchiha traitor adopted to get
the Hokage off of Uchiha's case." The first girl said haughtily.
Takashi and Akihiro had simply stood mute during their teammate's tirade. But their shinobi senses put them on high alert as the first girl insulted the Uchiha heir.
The second girl gasped in shock. "Arisa-chan, that's going too far!"
"Shut up, Kayako!"
Sadako's onyx eyes swirled blood red and her hands flew in making the hand signs for her fire jutsu.
"Takashi! She's going to attack! She's lost all control!" Akihiro yelled to his friend.
"Hold her down while I move the two girls outta the way then!" Takashi retorted.
Akihiro ran towards his teammate and grasped her hands tightly. "Uchiha! Stop it!"
The girl wrenched her hands out of her teammate's grasp and continued forming seals.
"Sadako!" Akihiro begged her as he tried to stop her attack.
Before she could release the flame from her lips, Sadako felt the stored chakra in her throat ebb and die away. Another pair of hands held her own behind her back and a familiar voice said:
"Uchiha Sadako—your mother would skin you alive if she saw what you were about to do. Then again, the ugly hag might not inflict too much damage 'cause you're her precious daughter."
Sadako craned her head to see who had stopped her. Her glare intensified tenfold as she realized who was holding her captive.
"Sai-oji-sama… what are you doing here?"
Sai smiled and said, "Taking you home my dear," as he dragged the protesting girl away from the ramen shop.
When they were far away from Ichiraku's, Sai let go of Sadako's arm and turned around to face her.
"What on earth am I going to do with you Sadako? Didn't we teach you any self-control and restraint?" Sai sighed.
Sadako turned away from her uncle in contempt. "I don't need a baby-sitter Sai-oji-sama. I can take care of myself."
Sai snorted. "Sure you can. You almost cost Ayame a new ramen stall if you had released the fireball in your throat. Don't give me that crap Sadako."
"I don't need your 'moral advice' Sai-oji-sama." Sadako snapped.
Sai froze and crouched down to Sadako's eye-level. "You know kid," he said, flicking the girl on the forehead with his fingers. "You're a lot like your dad."
"So I've heard, Sai-oji-sama, so I've heard. And I'm starting to get sick of it."
The girl marched off, presumably back home to the apartment. Sai watched her leave.
"You know..." The artist mused. "You remind me of someone else too... someone who I haven't seen since the day you were born."
Sakura thumbed through the letters from her mailbox as she rode the elevator to her floor.
Bills... bills... mailing ads... more bills... letters from Lee... notes from Tsunade-shishou... bills...
And a package.
It was sent from Nami no Kuni with no return address. Curious, Sakura opened the door to her apartment and set the other letters aside before reaching for a shuriken and gently slicing the brown envelope open. Something heavy fell into her open palm and Sakura gasped in surprise.
"You shouldn't have." She murmured to no one. "I can't take this—it's the only thing Sasuke-kun gave you."
Opening the neatly folded note inside, Sakura teared up at the familiar and elegant handwriting, writing that bore an uncanny resemblance to her daughter's own.
"It's not for you—it's for your daughter. This is my gift to her since I don't know when I'll see her. Besides-" Sakura could practically see her teasing grin, see Sasuke's familiar smirk. "That brat can keep it safe for me until I come back for it. She should wear it... you know... for luck during the Chuunin Exams and that kind of thing."
The medic pocketed the necklace and brushed away the tears gathering in the corner of her eyes. "I'll remember that." She said with a laugh.
When are you coming home Sadako?
The first part of the Chuunin exams passed by without an incident. Takashi almost lost his head during the final question (his head hurt really bad from thinking too much) and Sadako fell asleep but was pinched awake by Akihiro two rows behind (he used the Yamanaka Mind Transfer Jutsu, seeing as he was part Yamanaka). The proctor for the first exam was none other than Aburame Shino, the current head of the Torture and Interrogation ANBU department.
The second exam was starting in three minutes and Sadako was itching to begin. Ever since her mother told her about the first time Team Kakashi took the Chuunin Exams, the Uchiha girl was itching to wander around Area 44—the Forest of Death.
A sudden warmth on her shoulders momentarily distracted Sadako from the forest, but she ignored it and focused on the training area again. "Hey Sada—what's wrong? You're shaking. Chickening out already?"
Akihiro had draped his arm around her shoulders before putting her in a headlock and messing up her hair, drawing the attention of Takashi.
"No pain, no glory." Takashi smirked. "We're going to own this. But if you really want out Sada... I guess you Uchihas aren't as awesome as you think."
Sadako finally wrestled her way out of Akihiro's hold and scowled at her teammates. "Nothing's wrong. I'm just excited. What—you disappointed I'm not scared Takashi?"
"Meh." The teen shrugged. "Unfortunately, we need the Sharingan as a tactical advantage."
Rolling her eyes, Sadako slipped her hands into her pockets and drew out a silver necklace with the Uchiha fan, encrusted with rubies and diamonds, dangling from the chain wound around her fingers. The girl stared at the pendant for a moment before reaching around to clasp it around her neck.
Why did Okaa-sama beg me to wear this necklace? Wouldn't it interfere with my ability to complete the exam? Sadako wondered to herself.
For luck—her mother insisted. From a very special and important friend of her father's.
"Teams to your gates! The exam starts on my signal!" The proctor, Hyuuga Hanabi, yelled, her gaze lingering on Sadako for a few moments. "Five! Four! Three! Two! Go!!!"
The Second Exam had just begun.
"Orochimaru-sama… doesn't this bring back memories?" a grey-haired man wearing round glasses said.
The Snake Sannin chuckled. "It certainly does, Kabuto. It certaintly does."
The two Sound ninjas—actually, the only two Sound ninjas, since the others were ruthlessly hunted down and eradicated—caught sight of three genins passing by. The one in the middle of the group, with raven hair and onyx-black eyes, was the one that caught their eye.
The daughter of Uchiha Sasuke.
Who, in reality, was standing beside Kabuto in the Forest of Death.
You won't get away this easily, Orochimaru. Don't you dare hurt my daughter. A voice inside Orochimaru's head hissed.
The Sannin let out a noise of impatience. It was a side-effect of the metapsychosis nearly nine years ago. Somehow, Uchiha Sasuke managed to keep his soul intact and present on this earth, but lost his control of his body to Orochimaru. The only thing that remained was a voice inside Orochimaru's head, much like Haruno Sakura's Inner Sakura.
Kabuto turned around at the sudden noise. "Sasuke-kun bothering you again, Orochimaru-sama?"
"It is nothing." Orochimaru dismissed. "We need to secure the new container as soon as possible."
Inside his head, Sasuke growled and banged his hands against the golden bars that served as his blessing and his curse.
"Besides, like father, like daughter, I heard a little Uchiha was seeking revenge." Orochimaru laughed.
Sasuke gritted his teeth and closed his eyes. He's going to catch her… just like how he caught me…
He felt like the worst father in the world.
Sadako felt a familiar chakra signature and she slowed down to a stop. Akihiro and Takashi stopped and turned back towards their teammate.
"Nani desu ka? We need to get moving to get the green ribbon from another team." Takashi asked her, annoyed.
"I thought…" she said as she scanned the surrounding area. "Just now… I thought I felt…"
"Nani? Sada, are you sure?" Akihiro asked, also scanning the area.
"Well, I don't feel anything. Let's just get moving." Takashi said, crossing his arms.
Sadako looked at the forest once again before shaking her head and jumping off the branch after her teammates.
It may have only been once before in her lifetime, before she was even born, but Uchiha Sadako was positive that, for a moment, she felt the warm chakra of her father.
Akihiro slowed down to a halt and put his fingers to his lips. "Do you hear that?"
Takashi and Sadako stopped and listened. A soft hiss could be heard from around them.
Sadako activated her Sharingan and scanned the area. "MOVE!" she screamed as a giant snake came crashing through the forest.
"What the hell is that?" Takashi yelled as he narrowly dodged a lunge from the snake.
"A snake, dobe! A huge snake!" Akihiro yelled back.
"Shut up and keep moving!" Sadako screamed. She looked up on the path ahead and bit back a scream as the snake suddenly moved from her left and blocked her path.
"Kuu kuu kuu… aren't we the clever one?"
Sadako looked up, fear coating every fiber of her being. It couldn't be…
Orochimaru gazed down at her through yellow eyes shining with pleasure.
"Ahh… the little Uchiha remembers me! Do you remember Kabuto as well?" the Snake Sannin hissed.
Kabuto jumped up on the snake beside him and said, "Your teammates are such a bother. They were so hard to incapacitate."
Sadako's eyes widened and looked back at her teammates. "How dare you-!"
"Oh but I do dare, little Uchiha." Orochimaru said from right behind her. Sadako froze and turned around to meet with the face of her father.
No, not her father. Orochimaru.
"Katon! Goukakyuu no Jutsu!" she yelled, blowing fire out from her lungs.
"Ah yes, the family favorite. How could I have forgotten it? Sasuke-kun used it almost every time we sparred together." Orochimaru side-stepped the flames.
"Stop bringing up my father into this!" Sadako lashed out. "You may look like him, you may inhabit his body, but you will never be my father! Shut up!"
She tried to stab him in the arm but got a taste of electricity instead. "Chidori Nagashi!"
The Uchiha staggered back, paralyzed by the sudden jolt of electricity. Orochimaru used this opportunity to pull his favorite trick: the cursed heaven seal.
"Eyahhhhhh!" The girl screamed as he bit her. "What did you do?!"
"Left you a parting gift. By the way, tell your mother I said hello."
Orochimaru made a move to leave, but was stopped by Kabuto. "Orochimaru-sama, look. The seal's not forming."
The Snake Sannin's eyes widened and he yelled, "What is the meaning of this?!"
Heh… I guess you forgot about her.
"SASUKE! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!" Orochimaru screamed.
Sasuke? But… Dad's not here… Sadako wondered as her vision began to blur.
Did you honestly think she would forget? Did you honestly think she wouldn't do anything to keep my daughter safe? She's my student; I know her better than anyone else. She will do anything I asked of her.
Akihiro and Takashi, who lay forgotten on the forest floor, groaned and looked up into the branches above. They saw their teammate sway and slip off the branch.
"Sadako! Wake up!" Akihiro screamed. He and Takashi willed their legs to move but found that they couldn't move a muscle, courtesy of Kabuto and his chakra scalpel.
It feels like… I'm floating…
But before Uchiha Sadako plummeted to the ground where death awaited her, light enveloped her small frame and she disappeared without a trace.
Old readers: what do you think of the revisions? Does it still contain the flavors of the original? Is it any better? Worse [God, I hope not...]
New readers: Hi! Thank you for reading!