Wind – the element that he learned to trust when it comes to taking action. It was also the very presence of it did his skills in handling fire grew stronger, and it is the wind that reminded him of his past, of his broken promise to an important person in his life.
"It's time." He opened his eyes, onyx orbs narrowly looking down at the scene before him as he stood tall and proud on the rooftop of an abandoned and nearly broken inn. The red scarf, that was around his neck - covering his nose and mouth, flowed with the wind's direction. His all-black attire hiding him from the vision of the people below, making him blend in with the dark sky.
Wasting no time, he put on the fox mask he held to cover his face, hiding his identity. With a swift movement of his arms, the blade of his katar on each hand came out with a sharp sound, the fine and deadly pointed end of it reflecting the moon's light, as he stood and glared at his target, waiting for the right time to dash and make a quick kill.
job of being an assassin, an assassin cross at that, had no need for
human emotions. When a client pays and orders you to kill someone,
you must do it, no matter who the victim will be. And so, when he had
decided that now was the right moment to rush in and go for the kill,
he bent down a bit and jumped, activating his cloaking skill as soon
as he landed on the ground, and wasted no second to rush in and
perform a "Soul Destroyer" attack on his prey.
Chapter 1: Redemption
"Oi, wake up."
Sighing, he obeyed the command and sat up, staring coldly at his little brother who stood before him.
"Father is looking for you."
"What for?" he asked, standing up and putting on the rest of his assassin clothes. "You're there anyway." He added.
"You're the first born, Itachi." was the answer. "You should know your responsibility to the clan."
Itachi raised an amused brow at his sibling. "And this is coming from the one who used to defy the clan's rule? Or more specifically, father?"
"Shut up." He snapped, his fists clenching at the memory. "Do not bring that up, again."
A smirk. "Why, Sasuke?" Itachi countered in an amused tone. "I have every right to do so." And he poked the younger teen's forehead.
Sasuke just scowled and lowered his head, stopping in his tracks as Itachi moved on, not really minding whether Sasuke, who was currently deep in thought, was following or not. It was only when his communicator on his right arm beeped did he snap, and when he read the incoming message, he didn't know whether he should be thrilled with happiness, or wallow in guilt.
"Sasuke..?" Itachi tuned to his sibling when he heard the beep.
"Tell father a client just contacted." He answered, when Itachi gave a questioning look. Not waiting for the older one to reply, Sasuke turned to the side and took off.
The meeting with the clan will have to wait, for right now, something big just came up, and there was no way he'd throw away this chance. Besides, they know that clients are important.
Her eyebrows furrowed as she looked at the old woman who called herself a whitesmith, when it was obvious that she was just a blacksmith. And she swore, that those clothes did not look very appealing on the woman before her, for the supposedly cleavage that was being shown, looked like… well, let's not go there.
"I'm a priestess for goodness sake!" she thought, sighing. "Is there really no way for you to lower the price..?" she asked in a polite way, but the blacksmith only snapped rudely at her.
"That's already cheap! Besides, this headgear isn't something you can just pick up from the ground! This is VERY rare! Not to mention, slotted!"
Another frown cascaded upon her lips. "Yeah, of course, it's slotted. That's the reason why I want it so badly, but come on! Five hundred million zennies?!"
"Well, I'll have to think about it then…" she answered, earning a snort from the seller. "Geez, old geezer! Pfft. My money doesn't even reach three hundred million!" she remembers a paladin friend of hers saying that she can reach up to a billion zennies if she would only charge each heal, resurrection and warp portals requested of her.
"Seriously, that may be true but I vowed not to be corrupt!" mumbling incoherent words, she continued browsing through every cart in hopes of finding an affordable yet up-to-date equipment. Unlike some people, she'd very much save money for the future instead of spending them all at once just to boast and look good.
"These vendors are just too…" she stopped herself, not wanting to curse. "Forgive me, my Father, for I have thought of bad things about your children." She prayed, making a sign of the cross before beginning to walk around aimlessly again, unaware of someone eyeing her every move from a higher ground.
"She hasn't changed a bit…" he murmured with a small smirk as he stood up from his one-kneel position and jumped near her from behind, gathering up the courage to talk to her.
She froze. She doesn't know anyone who knew her who had that kind of voice. So deep and rich, the way her name rolled off this stranger's tongue gave her chills. And yet, there was something she felt, a feeling of familiarity around him, at the same time, an aura that sent her warning messages.
She attempted to turn to greet the person who called her, but he quickly grabbed her shoulders to prevent her from seeing him just yet. He smirked. "Relax, gaki."
A vein popped at the side of her head, but still, at the mention of that blastedword, her lips curved up to a smile.
"Hn. Right you are."
"Itisyou! Come on, let me see!" she made a move to turn but he leaned closer to her ear to whisper.
"Don't. Not yet."
His breath against her skin gave her another goose bump, causing her face to turn red.
"I have something to tell you first…"
His tone – there was something wrong with it. It sounded pained and apologetic.
"Okay, but after you tell me, let me see you!"
"Hn. Always the impatient one." he murmured, before his smirk turned to a frown. "I remember meeting someone back then, who made a promise to an important person in his life." He began.
Sakura blinked. "This sounds tragic…"
Sasuke shook his head, managing to give a small, amused grin at her comment. "Well, he did his best to keep that vow, yet the problem is - when they were ready to become novices, his family had decided to move back to their hometown."
She nodded, so he continued.
"He refused to go back, but he had no choice, so he made another promise, that he will keep his word, and they will see each other again." He gave a silent sigh. "But his family didn't want the kind of job he swore he would take for the person he cares so much."
She could feel how her eyes were beginning to water. Somehow, his story was affecting her, but before she can make assumptions, she needed to hear everything first.
"Still, he was stubborn, and ignored all the snide comments he kept getting, not minding when the other novices from their family refused to invite him to form a party, he never even bothered to plead or ask to join one, he went solo. His mother kept cheering him on, and that was enough for him. Yet…"
"..?" she was tempted to look at him. "Yet what..?"
"When someone insulted his mother, he gave in." he sighed. "Actually, he only did when other people began to question his family and the clan he belongs to. They were, after all, a well known kin, a race of assassins and ninjas." He paused for a moment before continuing. "The thing is, when he was ready to take the first task for first jobs, the elders of the clan, including his father, had said right to his face how he was such a disgrace. And even if he ignored it, he knew that his mother would, in a way, pay the price."
Sakura couldn't take it, as tears fell from her eyes that she quickly turned to face him, seeing her childhood friend, the only person whom she ever shared so much secrets and trusted the most was standing before her. Not as a knight or a crusader that he promised to be, but instead, as an assassin cross, a rebirth job – a higher level than the mentioned two. He may not be what she would've hoped he will, but she couldn't choose his fate for him. And after everything he's been through, she understood why he had to break that vow.
"I'm sorry." He finished. "But…" his eyes closed as his head lowered. "I didn't keep my word."
The only answer he got from her was a whisper of his name before she broke down and pulled him into a hug.
"I'm sorry," she whispered. "I'm so sorry!"
He looked at her before softening his gaze, wrapping his arms around her waist as she sobbed onto him, not entirely sure what to say. He went through a lot, just to keep his promise. And even if he didn't really fulfill it, she was fine with that. At least, he will no longer be called a shame to his family; that was what mattered right now.
Besides, to her, what's important is that they met each other after so many years.
"I missed you…" she whispered, yet he heard it.
"So, when are you planning to become a high priestess?" he asked while they strolled around the fields of Prontera, glancing at her when she didn't reply for a moment.
Sakura merely smiled at him and shrugged.
"I'm still not ready or qualified."
"Hn. Need help?"
She looked at him and giggled. "I'll be fine; I want to reach that level on my own, like you."
"If you're sure…" he turned back to the front as they chatted and walked at the same time.
They hadn't even noticed how the day was slowly turning to night.
"…Do you, you know, kill just about anyone?" she asked hesitantly, her back turned to him. She never could imagine her childhood friend, someone she knew who protected others, killing anyone so mercilessly. But he was an assassin, and it was his job to eliminate. Yet she couldn't help but want to know if he really doeskill anyone without any hesitation.
"Aa." He answered, watching her movement. "It's in our code not to refuse a client, although, I do bend it a bit." He smirked when she turned to gaze at him with questioning eyes, silently asking him to elaborate on that. "I choose my clients. If they contact me and request for a kill, I'll only accept the job once I know the reason they want the target dead. If it's for a good cause, fine. But if it's not, I end up lying, saying that I'm fully booked."
She frowned a bit at the idea of him killing, whether innocent or not. But at least, somewhere deep inside of him, he was still the same Sasuke she knew, and that was good enough.
Sakura had to sigh and smile at him. She's always admired him; for his bravery and determination. Those were the reasons why she wanted him to become a knight or a crusader, because she will be pursuing the path of the priestess, and those two jobs are compatible for each other, since both protected and saved lives.
"But…"she still had her smile on, knowing that Sasuke hates it when she's sad. "Can the follower of God, such as myself, have a possible future with the shadow of death?" she eyed Sasuke.
"Well, it's getting late, I have to head home. I still have a big day ahead of me tomorrow. What with demands of tanking and leveling up to reach the rebirth job."
"Yeah, I know what you mean," he said with a small grin. "But seriously, if you need any help, just give me a beep."
Before they parted ways, Sakura gave him another embrace, not knowing when they will see each other again, since they both had different jobs and different ways. That was another reason why she badly wanted him to be a knight or crusader - because, at least, they'll see each other everyday in the Castle of Prontera, or the church.
"Ja." Sakura turned to leave.
She stopped and turned, catching what he tossed her. She looked down at her hands and was surprised to see the item she wanted to buy earlier.
"Ja." He then jumped off towards the roof, leaving her standing there, staring at where he once stood before giving a small smile. "Ja…" she then attached the sohee bells to each side of her head, acting as a ribbon or clip accessory. She then turned to go back home, her inner giggling.
"Sasuke-kun's grown hotter!"
He felt different as he jumped from roof to roof back to his clan's territory. He couldn't decide if it was because of seeing Sakura again after how many years - or if it was due to the fact that he had finally told her that he had broken his promise and that she understood and took it lightly.
"I need to make it up to her…" he thought, stopping near the entrance of his family's place. "But how..?" and he stepped in.
Sasuke halted upon having felt a strange feeling in his guts. Slowly, he scanned the area – the vicinity looked dark and deserted, as if an ambush was going to happen. The sun hasn't even completely set, yet the place looked like everyone's asleep. "Unless…" he murmured to himself, closing his eyes and opening them to reveal his clan's specialty: the Sharingan.
"What the-?!" he barged inside the houses of his clansmen, red eyes widening at the sight of how bloody walls and corpses greeted him. He started sprinting from one house after another, seeing the same scene before him. Dead Assassin crosses and Ninjas were all that was reflected in his eyes. "No way…" he gritted his teeth and rushed to his own home, searching behind every door for his parents and older brother.
"Shit." He cursed, seeing the place empty. He was down to the last room, and he could feel his heart beating fast.
Gathering enough courage, he opened the door and saw his father's corpse on the floor, over his mother's body.
"…Tou-san..?" he managed to say in a weak voice. His eyes caught a twitch from his mother's fingers that he quickly rushed to the fallen bodies of his parents and pulled his father's lifeless physique away from his mom's. "Ka-chan!" he cried out, seeing that she was covered in both her own blood and her husband's. "Sasuke…" she coughed out, sitting up with his help as he let her lean to him for support.
"Who did this?!" he demanded, helping her up to her feet, noting how the female ninja needed medical attention. Fast.
"It was…" she trailed off, feeling drained from her injuries.
"We'll talk later. Right now, we need to get you some help." He bent down slightly to carry his mother in his arms before dashing out of the room and out of the clan's territory. "Wherever Itachi is, I hope he's okay." His feet led him to a welcoming home, and he hesitated at first, thinking if this was the right way or not. His eyes glanced at his mother, and he decided to just knock on the door. He can explain later, for sure.
"Now I owe her twice…" he thought, setting his mother down for a while, cursing when droplets of rain began to pour. "Of all the rotten luck…" he knocked recalling that she lived alone now, since her parents had agreed and remained in their old house.
"Coming!" her voice echoed from the inside. When the door opened, he took his mother and looked at Sakura in the eye. "I need your help."
Sakura didn't say anything upon seeing Mikoto in Sasuke's arms, bleeding. She stepped aside, a signal to let him in and he entered, with her closing the door behind her and rushing to heal the ninja. "What happened?" she asked, expertly getting rid of the fatal wounds first before healing the rest. She looked up at Sasuke, seeing how his bangs shadowed his eyes and his fists tightly clenched. "Sasuke..?"
"My clan was massacred…"
"What?!" She got up after making sure Mikoto no longer had any injuries. "Who killed them? Are you hurt?" she asked so many questions, not giving him a chance to answer as she examined his body to see if there was anything she should heal. His hands grabbed her wrists, stopping her from turning his body around to double check some possible wounds. "I'm fine." He said, looking at her in the eye, unaware of how she was feeling uncomfortable under his obsidian gaze. "Can you do me a favor? Can you take care of my mom first? I have to visit a friend."
She nodded slowly, silently relieved that he finally tore his gaze from her to his mother. "I'll come back as soon as I can, if anyone asks for my whereabouts or my mom's, come up with an alibi."
"Remember, anyone can be a suspect for my clan's death."
Again, Sakura nodded, giving him a worried look when he opened the back window, checking if the coast was clear. "And Sakura," she blinked as he slightly turned his head to her and gave a small smile. "Thanks." And he left.
He could only hope that his friend's body wasn't here as they searched for survivors or at least clues that could lead to the killer's whereabouts. This was a tough investigation, and he wondered who would do such a thing like this: eliminating one of the powerful and prominent clans in Midgard.
He looked up and spotted his uncle, Hyuuga Hiashi, the leader of their clan who are full of champion class jobs.
"I'm not sure if this is good news or bad news to you," he spoke, eyeing his nephew. "Three bodies weren't located amongst the corpses. Uchiha Mikoto, Itachi and Sasuke are not part of the dead bodies, however," he prevented Neji from sighing in relief just yet. "It does not mean that they are alive or far from danger."
Neji's eyes softened to a solemn look as he lowered his head to let his long bangs cover some parts of his face. Their clan and the Uchiha clan had always been allies – even way back in history. And when he first met the youngest son of the Uchiha clan's leader, he could see in his eyes that they had a lot in common, that they both wanted to prove something, and that they both lost someone. Their only differences are that Sasuke is an assassin-cross and gifted with the sharingan.
He, Hyuuga Neji, was a champion with the byaakugan.
Sasuke lost someone important to him the moment he chose the path of the shadow of death.
He on the other hand, lost his parents at such a young age.
These were their differences, but their goals were the same. And at the exact moment their names were introduced, they both managed to give each other their trademark smirks and shook each others hands. A silent promise made that they will reach their goals, working together as friends. Best friends.
"I know that, uncle, but I can at least hope that somehow, Sasuke is alive, along with Mikoto-san and Itachi-san."
Hiashi understood how his nephew felt. He even felt a pang in his heart upon seeing his good friend's, Uchiha Fugaku, lifeless body. "And to think, we just met this morning…" Hiashi thought to himself. A melancholic look on his face as he watched his clansmen search for survivors and hope for the best, at the same time, properly bury the corpses.
"Neji, please inform Hinata about this. After all," he closed his eyes. "She also treats Sasuke as a big brother."
"Aa." Neji made a move to leave, yet his keen eyesight caught a figure fast approaching them.
"Sasuke…" the younger Hyuuga had whispered before dashing off towards the person who had landed on the ground after a lot of tree hopping and roof jumping. "Sasuke..! You're alive!" he made a move to grab the teen, but the assassin cross, raised a hand to stop him while he panted and caught his breath. The rain had not yet stopped, a sign that some priests believed to be a way of mourning for the dead. "Neji, my clan…" he said, earning a nod from his Hyuuga friend, telling him that he knew of the incident.
"My mother is still alive, she's somewhere safe. But my brother…" he trailed off. If Neji knew his clan was killed, then he also knew his father has passed. Yet he still needed to know if they spotted Itachi's cadaver or not.
"No sign of him. And if he does not show up within three days, uncle would label him as a suspect."
"Aa. I know." Sasuke replied, looking away with his eyes narrowed. "But I believe in my brother. Even if he may seem colder than me, he would never turn his back on his family."
Neji eyed him for a moment before looking over at Hiashi who waited for them to finish talking.
"Where, exactly, is Mikoto-san?"
"…With her." Sasuke said, barely above a whisper.
The male champion before him understood who he was referring to, so he just gave a nod and gestured him to go to his uncle for questioning. Sasuke walked over to Hiashi, eyes showing every emotion he felt at the moment, and Hiashi knew that the young Uchiha had expressive eyes, it made up for what he lacked in words or actions.
"I presume your mother is safe?"
"That's good to know, but as for your brother, as what I've overheard, he is nowhere to be found, am I right?"
Hiashi sighed deeply and looked over his people who continued to search, bury, and pray.
"I will give you a choice. Would you and your mother prefer to stay with us until the killer is found, or would you rather-"
Sasuke did not let him finish. It was understood that with both his father and brother's absence, he was automatically the leader of the clan. Even up to this time, women were not to be leaders of a clan this well-known and supposedly big, unless in the same case as Hiashi, who had two daughters and not one son. Aside from that, it is written in ancient laws that a wife cannot claim the throne unless the only living member left is her.
"I appreciate your kindness, Hiashi-san, but I do believe that my mother and I will be better off on our own." He closed his eyes. "We may as well keep ourselves hidden to not attract the killer."
Hiashi nodded. "What is it that you wish to happen?"
The new leader's eyes opened, the sharingan activated. "Let the news spread that there was no survivor found. Until the culprit is caught, no one must know that someone from my clan survived the massacre."
"If that is what you intend to happen, then so be it." He gave the order to a few of his people who quickly made their way to spread the word. "May I ask what you plan to do with the vicinity?"
"For now," Sasuke turned around, ready to return to where his childhood friend and mother remained. "It will remain as an empty compound, a reminder that there once was a clan who lived there."
Without waiting for a nod, he stopped upon reaching Neji's side, both of them facing opposite directions and a few feet away from each other.
"We'll start as soon as my mother is well," he said, turning his head to look at Neji who mimicked his movement. "Until then, we'll need to gather items and zenies for our soon-to-be members."
Neji nodded as he lifted his right fist. "Take care of yourself."
"Aa. You too." Sasuke did the same and they both did their way of hand-shake which Hanabi, Hinata's little sister, jokingly labeled as "fist-shake".
She remained in her spot, concern all over her face as the dark skies did not show any sign of ceasing the rain. A sigh escaped from her lips while she lowered her head, her chin resting on her folded arms that was on top of her window pane, right next to her bed. She was thankful that Mikoto was still as light as she was before, that she managed to carry the older woman to a guest room for a proper rest.
"Sasuke… where are you..?" she closed her eyes and tried to relax. "I've lost you once, and I don't want to lose you again."
Her eyes opened so suddenly when she heard someone downstairs enter. Sakura quickly leapt to her feet and stealthily climbed down the stairs to see who it was.
"Tch. You need to work on that sneak attack of yours."
She turned around. "Sasuke-kun!" and she tackled him to a hug, letting her stored tears fall from her eyes, repeating his name over and over.
"I'm fine." He assured, smiling slightly at the girl who had her arms around his waist. He placed his hands on her shoulders and gave her a slight push so that he can look into her eyes and wipe the tears away. "Don't worry, I'm still here."
"But what if the killer comes back? What if he kills you? What if-"
She got cut off when he kissed her lips, causing her eyes to widen at the sudden action.
"You ask too many questions." He whispered when he pulled away.
Sakura, even as a child, had always had a crush on Sasuke. And as they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder, and that is just what happened to her. She had missed him, and for that, she believes that she had fallen for him. What made her want to be with him more was when he told her of how much he went through to keep his promise, only to break it when his clan had almost turned his back on him. What made her want to love him more was when he came to her with his injured mother and announced that his clan was killed.
"Sakura..?" he grew worried when she was silent and eyeing him with half-lidded orbs. He thought that he had hurt her, scared her, and he wanted to explain that he acted on impulse, but he knew that it wasn't because of that. He knew, that as an assassin, emotions should be eradicated. Yet how can that happen when his fondness for his childhood friend, whom was also called his childhood sweetheart by Itachi, only grew to something more? Especially when she had not hesitated to forgive him, to take him and his mother in, to be here for him…
"All this time…" she whispered. "All this time I've… I…" she shook, afraid of what his answer would be if she blurted out her feelings. "Sasuke-kun, please, don't see me in a different way, promise me you'll still be my friend no matter what happens, no matter what I say."
"Promise me!" she yelled, loud enough for him to hear despite the lightning and thunder that struck.
"I can't…" he answered, his grip on her shoulders tightening.
"Why… not..?" her eyes produced fresh tears as she looked at him, staring back at him. "Why not?!"
"…Because…" he closed his eyes, unsure what to do, but he knew he had to. His clan's death was a sign for him, a sign that said that life was short, and that there's a possibility that he won't get another chance like this. "…Sakura, I can't be your friend, I can'tjustbe your friend."
Somehow, despite the lacking words, she understood where this was going, but she wanted to hear him say it. She wanted to hear him say why.
"Sakura," he opened his eyes slowly to look at her, raising his right hand to touch her cheek. "How can a I be your friend if I don't love you as one?"
"Please…" she squeezed the hand that rested on her cheek. "Please tell me." She shut her eyes. "Sasuke-kun," she rarely calls him that. "I'm desperate."
He leaned closer and kissed her gently on the lips, not too deep so she can pull away if she does not feel the same. However, he could feel his heart skip a beat when she leaned to him as well to deepen their lip lock.
"Now do you understand why I can't be your friend?" he asked when they parted. She gave a nod, but also gave a smile and held his hand closer to her cheek, loving the warmth he had despite having the image of a cold-hearted assassin. "Mm." she responded, not minding if he did not directly say the words she hoped to hear, but she understood. "Sakura," he called out, pulling her to a hug. "What about you?"
"…Yami-kun should know."
If he called her gaki, which meant childish or brat, she called him yami, which meant darkness. Because even before, he always had a dark aura within him and around him; but right now, he wouldn't be alone in the dark. She'd be here.
To be continued…
Next on Resistance: Chapter 2: Back to Basics
He panted as he kept his eyes focused on his targets. His mother stood from a good observing distance, arms crossed and eyes having a stern look.
"Not good enough Sasuke." She commented. "I told you to not give it your 100 percent but more than that."
He cursed and clenched his fists, activating his sharingan as he continued with his training. Sakura just gave a nervous smile at the two remaining Uchihas, unsure if it was amusing to watch Mikoto give her son a hard time, or worried for Sasuke's stamina and health to waver.
A/N: Yes, yes. I know I should be updating Biohazard but that would be on-hiatus for a while until I can locate where my Bio-muse has ran off to. Anyway, I know that their relationship here may look rushed, but as what is explained, they've been crushing on each other since their childhood days, and as what Sakura mentioned, absence makes the heart grow fonder, and for Sasuke's reason, life is too short. Besides, I'll need you all to be okay with it for me to continue with the plot. Their relationship. Is. Crucial. For. The. Story.