Title: Legends of the Obsidian King
Author: Kraken's Ghost
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Third Legend - Friction
After learning about his son's sudden and unexpected victory, Fugaku decides it's finally time to teach Itachi lessons befitting an Uchiha Heir.
He decides to start Itachi with a simple exercise on chakra control by having him attempt a Fire jutsu. He has to rein in his frustration when the boy can barely expel embers.
"Study this. I expect your next attempt to be more successful. " Fugaku commands the Heir, handing him a scroll.
Itachi stares at the object in his hands. He looks up to question his father, but the man is already walking away.
About a week later, Mikoto informs Fugaku that his lesson wasn't a complete waste. Their son has picked up a hobby.
Itachi spends all day, every day staring at the open scroll. His eyes slowly trace back and forth across each line of kanji script almost a dozen times before moving to the next.
Fugaku watches his son trying to learn the basic lesson and can't contain his frequent snorts of disgust.
Clearly, the boy's victory over his older peers is a fluke.
Later, Fugaku observes how active and attentive Sasuke is while his mother plays with him. Almost casually, he suggests that perhaps their clan would be better off in the hands of their youngest son rather than their oldest.
Mikoto stares at him intensely.
"I hope you know what you're doing." She quietly says, then turns back to gently cooing at Sasuke.
Fugaku is certain of his decision, especially when three months later Itachi is still reading the same damn scroll over and over again. The Clan Head is furious at how inept the child is.
The Elders have been pressuring him for over a year now to present the boy before them. He's been delaying it because just the mere thought of the resulting humiliation makes him inwardly cringe. The embarrassing wretch doesn't know even the first thing about his own abilities. It would be a debacle if he presented him to the Elders in his current state.
One morning Fugaku awakens not to his youngest son's cries of hunger nor to his wife's nudges, but to shouts and bangs on his front door.
He storms through his house and rips the front door open to roar, "What?!"
The Clan Police are so distracted and eager they barely notice their leader's wrath.
"Fugaku-sama, come quickly! You must see this!" One of them calls out before hurrying down the path.
Fugaku barely has time to pull a robe over his sleepwear before his relatives yank him out the door.
His demands to know what is happening fall on deaf ears as they rush him down towards the clan's large lake. As they hurry over the rise, Fugaku sees a torrent of chakra-laced fire ripping across the water's surface.
The light from the fire dies down, allowing him to see the source of the jutsu standing alone on the shoreline.
Fugaku's mouth drops.
Itachi draws in another deep breath and lets out a gout of fire larger and more brilliant than the last.
Fugaku's jaw slackens more.
Itachi draws in another breath before releasing another blast of fire. This plume is hot enough to evaporate a layer of water off the lake, causing an unnatural fog to form as the flames die away.
"Tekka-san says he's been out here since before dawn. No one noticed until a Policeman walked by about half an hour ago." The Uchiha to Fugaku's left informs him.
"Inabi-san says his Goukakyuu was pitiful at first, but he's been constantly improving its size and power. I'd say that last one was a solid B, borderline A Rank." Another Clansmen speaks up.
Fugaku slowly realizes that there's almost thirty Uchiha scattered about the rise and on the banks, all watching their future Clan Head taking his first steps toward becoming a shinobi. One of them, an Elder, notices Fugaku and approaches him.
"Amazing! Simply amazing! Fugaku-sama, it's...unspeakable! Itachi-kun's Fire affinity is unprecedented. In all my years I've never seen or even heard of one of our blood capable of creating such powerful Katon jutsu at such a young age." The older man exclaims while bearing an awestruck and very un-Uchiha grin.
Fugaku nods in a daze and starts moving towards his eldest.
He slowly walks down the grassy slope and approaches his son. Even from twenty paces away he can feel the incredible heat of the flames.
Fugaku has almost reached his son when Itachi finishes a jutsu. The boy pauses, looking down at his hand to see it trembling. Fugaku recognizes it as the earliest signs of chakra exhaustion.
Without a word to anyone gathered, Itachi walks away. He doesn't even glance at his father.
Fugaku watches his son go, still mute in shock.
He's still watching the boy leave as the crowd breaks up and everyone goes about their business.
The thick mist rolls off the lake, fluttering something white in the corner of his vision.
Fugaku looks down to see the familiar scroll lying open and abandoned on the grass. Slowly, he reaches down and picks it up. He absently starts to read a few lines.
A deep shock hits him.
This isn't the scroll he intended to give his son.
Instead of the Academy-level scroll describing the basics of chakra manipulation, this scroll is a Jounin-level manual on Elemental manipulation. It details the Elements, how to determine Elemental affinity, and has brief entries on some of the known jutsu from each Elemental tree.
Fugaku notices a passage under the Wind section that has been circled in red ink. The passage explains how Wind is the ultimate combat Element and under the right circumstances it can counter or ignore the defenses of any other Element, including other Wind jutsu. It then goes on to warn that Wind and Fire have a unique interaction and in normal situations, Wind will magnify the effect of Fire jutsu.
Following the passage is a small note by the author. It's a hypothesis about the possibility that someone bearing no Fire affinity at all, but having a strong Wind affinity can wield Fire jutsu far exceeding the power of anything created by a person with the highest tier of Fire affinity.
The paper under the note is heavily worn and the ink is smudged as though a finger has been traced across the kanji countless times.
The scroll hangs limply from his hand as Fugaku stares in the direction Itachi left in.
Is it possible? Can it be the monumental feat he just witnessed was an Elemental shortcut?
Could the boy be the first Uchiha ever without any affinity in Fire at all?
"I'm impressed, Fugaku-sama."
The Clan Head almost jumps at the voice of a Policeman looking over his shoulder and peering curiously at the scroll.
"I can't believe little Itachi-kun is already reading at such a level. My Shisui-kun has great promise as a swordsman, but he's still barely reading at the Academy level." The man comments with a shake of his head. He chuckles in disbelief before walking away to attend to his duties.
Ice floods Fugaku's veins.
The boy he always saw as a brain damaged simpleton and a waste of time.
The boy Mikoto always doted on and sheltered from the world before Sasuke came.
The boy neither of them ever taught to read.
AN: This chapter hasn't been officially betaed, since Mannequin has his own (vastly more interesting) projects he's been working on, but I gave it a pretty thorough read through. I'm pretty sure I caught the worst errors.
Thanks again go to Franko Vinneti, who's the reason this fic was ever written, and Mannequin of the Muse, from whom I learned a great deal about editing and refinement. Also deserving thanks is Violinmana, who answered my question of, "Should I post chapter 3 tomorrow?" with a firm, "DO IT." You guys make fanfiction worth writing.
As always, feel free to let me know what you think.
V1.1 October 2, 2009