When I ruled the world

A Sasuke Song Fic

I used to rule the world
Seas would rise when I gave the word

Oh how the mighty have fallen.

That was the thought running through mind of the once Rookie of the year, and former member of Konoha's famed Rookie Nine. One he had led the way, with the highest grades, and the best scores, all the attention and all the praise were heaped upon his name. He could do no wrong as far as the teachers, and other students were concerned. If he spoke people listened, where he walked people followed or got out of his way.

Now in the morning I sleep alone
Sweep the streets I used to own

But all of that was gone now. Now he walked alone on the streets of Konohagakure, sweeping them clean with a broom, one of a dozen or so nameless individuals who had been tasked with doing so. He had of course made it a point to learn all of their names his first week on the job. Atonement he told himself for forgetting those closest to him in the first place. For walking away from those that had always stood by him unconditionally.

That failure more then any other twisted in his heart like a serrated knife. Once he could have had it all. The entire village laid at his feet, any woman in his bed, any treasure at his disposal. But now he awoke each morning alone. A cold empty bed and a blank featureless room his only shelter against the bitter cold. Was this how Naruto had felt each day? Waking up to nothing save an empty bed in a small room and a cup of instant ramen. And yet look where he stood now, no longer the loser, no longer "dead last".

Oh how the mighty have fallen indeed.

I used to roll the dice
Feel the fear in my enemies eyes

"How had it come to this?" He lamented silently. One minute you're the most dangerous man in Konoha, a possessor of the Sharingan, the most coveted bloodline outside of the Byakugan itself. Feared and respected as the prodigy of the Uchiha clan one of Konoha's most noble clans. Your enemies quaking in fear at your name let alone the crimson flash of the Copy Wheel Eye.

Listen as the crowd would sing
"Now the old king is dead! Long live the King!"

May as well blame it on Itachi, he laughed inwardly.

"Was this what you were trying to protect me from Big brother? Was this the lesson in humility and duty that you were trying to teach me?" He though bitterly

"I'm sorry big brother. I failed you it seems. I didn't listen, and I let the cheers for the new Uchiha prodigy go to my head."

One minute I held the key
Next the walls were closed on me

"I had it all in my hands; but I let the rage and darkness consume me." He thought as a tear rolled down his cheek. Tears, once an unthinkable occurrence, but now a regular happening as the shame of his conscience could not allow him to escape his just rewards. He had held himself above everything to pursue his vengeance, and then discovered that all he thought was important was not, and all he thought was superfluous wasn't.

He moved forward sweeping some debris from the festival held last night into his dust pan before moving on to a new street to begin his mundane task anew. The festival to celebrate the defeat of the Kyuubi had been renamed and had new meaning now.

For now it was known as the "Festival of Heroes"; a celebration of two of Konoha's finest The Yondaime Hokage who had saved the village by sealing away the Kyuubi, and the newborn son of Minato Namikaze whom he had sealed the demon fox into. The young man whose exploits were now legendary, and who had risen from his humble beginnings to a position to bring peace and prosperity to the world, and to the village he had fought so long and hard for.

His best friend, and brother in all but blood, except for the blood they had spilt between them; Uzumaki, Naruto.

And I discovered that my castles stand
Upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand

Once thought of as a pariah, a loser and a clown. Someone whose only claim to fame would be his eventual expulsion from the village if many had their way. He had risen far above everyone, in both expectation, and power, even himself. Sasuke could only shake his head at the irony of the world.

Everything he had taken for granted, everything that had been the foundation of his life was found to be nothing more then a house built on sand. Naruto was a loser, he Sasuke was a genius. Naruto was weak, he Sasuke was strong. Naruto would never get the girl; he Sasuke could have any woman he wanted, especially the roseate haired woman who had fawned over him when they were kids. A foundation of sand that had started to crumble when he left Konoha to go to Orochimaru, and had finally come crashing down entirely when at the culmination of his revenge his brother had died of natural causes instead of by his hand.

I hear Jerusalem bells are ringing
Roman Cavalry choirs are singing
Be my mirror my sword and shield
My missionaries in a foreign field

But as the universe is wont to do with people everything had been turned upside down. Naruto had become the genius, and he the loser. Naruto had become the strongest shinobi—and quite frankly had always been so if he were to be honest--, and he had become the weaker his chakra now sealed as part of his punishment for a period of no less then a year. And lastly it was Naruto who was walking around with all the girls fawning after him, and Naruto whose persistence had finally—and rightly—won the heart of their pink haired teammate.

As the bells of Konoha tolled announcing the morning and the rising dawn, Sasuke took a moment to take in the sunrise that was slowly spreading out over the village its music like a choir singing the praises of the coming day.

His teammates once considered the weakest of shinobi, now stood as shining examples to the world of what hard work, and courage could do over the remnants of an ancient bloodline, and a powerful name. They were each others sword and shield each protecting the other with a ferocity that was unmatched even by a pack of lions protecting their cubs.

For some reason I can not explain
Once you know there was never, never an honest word
That was when I ruled the world

He had actually taken a while to allow him self to acknowledge them in that fashion. Even a month after he had come back to Konoha; his team Hawk essential in the rescue of the village from the Sound forces invading it. Even after he had followed Sakura as the roseate haired medic-nin had personally led the mission to rescue Naruto who had been captured by Akatsuki, even as he had fought side by side with the reunited team 7 against Pain and his 7 clones. He had not allowed himself to see the truth. Why should he?

But in the end he had finally been forced to do so. Seeing Sakura kneeling there on the forested ground near the Rain village, holding a near lifeless Naruto in her arms as she kissed him long and lovingly before holding him close as if he'd float away if she let him go. It had finally been driven through to him just how far they had come, and just how far he had fallen.

His own confession to Naruto following Kakshi's and all of the others present in that moment had helped him relieve some of the awful guilt he'd felt. In that moment he'd acknowledged Naruto as his truest friend and brother, and the only one worthy of the title. Still he had much more to acknowledge to him; things that it might take many years to be honest to himself about much less his friend.

It was the wicked and wild wind
Blew down the doors to let me in

One of the first things he'd had to acknowledge to himself was his own complicity in the events that had nearly led to Naruto's death. Orochimaru may have placed the cursed seal upon him, but the seal was not what caused him to leave. No that was his own choice; he made the choice to seek the Snake Sannin out for power. Just as Orochimaru had said he would.

Shattered windows and the sound of drums
People could not believe what I'd become

And so he had. Bonds had been broken that day. The look on Naruto's face when he had activated the second level of the cursed seal had been seared forever into his memory, as had the memory of Naruto impaled upon his arm, and then laying lifeless with a broken neck before slipping into the water. Also branded upon his memories were the image of Naruto in the grip of the demon fox's cloak his normally expressive sapphire eyes a blazing a crimson red that burned into his very soul.

Revolutionaries wait
for my head on a silver plate
just a puppet on a lonely string
Oh who would ever want to be King?

Yet in spite of the memories that had been brought up in the fight with Naruto, he had prevailed. No. No that wasn't correct either he had failed. The Dead last, loser of the class had beaten him. Naruto had him dead to rights as Chidori, and Rasengan clashed for power high above the falls the cursed seal had failed and he had faltered. Naruto's last punch had slashed across his headband, and the sheer shock had awoken him from the demonic rage that had him in its grip. At the last moment, he had closed off the Chidori slamming a last desperate punch into Naruto's already battered ribs. The final blow non-fatal but enough to render him unconscious, and he was forced to stand over him defeated, and lost, knowing now that he had severed all bonds, and had chosen a path of damnation.

But worse than the guilt was the fact that in the aftermath he had known what Orochimaru was planning. Had known he was simply being used as a tool of a madman. And in spite of that he simply hadn't cared. As long as he obtained his revenge nothing else mattered.

Who was the genius now?

I hear Jerusalem bells are ringing
Roman Cavalry choirs are singing
Be my mirror my sword and shield
My missionaries in a foreign field

The sound of footsteps nearby signaled that the villagers were beginning their daily routines. Sasuke continued his own as he was now busily cleaning and replacing the bags in the garbage bins that lined the streets. He had to admit there was something almost relaxing about the mundanaity of the task. Lift the full bag out and place it in the cart. Place a clean bag in the bin and replace the top. Simple and easy, a new beginning made. Something he hoped for with all his heart and the reason he had returned to Konoha in the first place.

For some reason I can't explain
I know Saint Peter will call my name
Never an honest word
But that was when I ruled the world

(Ohhhh Ohhh Ohhh)

He knew that he would be in trouble but he was astounded at the feverish defense that Naruto and Sakura had put up for him. They had defied the council and even the Hokage at one point. No one had ever honestly stood up for him like that, not even back before his betrayal. But here now so long after it his teammates stood up for him with a passion that left him stunned.

So his sentence was commuted thanks to them. He was sentenced to a year of having his chakra sealed, and demoted to trainee. He would be unable to do missions until such time as not one but three Jounin cleared him, and the Hokage and the council itself certified him fit to resume his duties as a genin. He nearly snorted at the thought. He who was clearly at the level of an elite Jounin or even Anbu forced to do nothing but D-rank missions until he could properly become a Chunin. It was absurd.

And yet it was no more then an appropriate punishment he had earned for himself. That was what he had talked to Karin about not to long ago; the need for him to stop fooling himself about his own superiority, the need to accept and even embrace his own humility. That was why in the end he had told the council he would accept any punishment they saw fit to give him, and so here he stood now a street cleaner instead of a shinobi. A hard life no doubt, but a simple one with a goal he could respect, and a humility that he could understand. The simple task of keeping the village clean, of making sure it stayed free of debris and filth so everyone could live here safely. The task humbled him especially as he watched his coworkers go about their jobs without complaint, some going even so far as to joke about it. He would not join in the humor but he would smirk knowingly and nod in agreement when one of them would talk to him.

A simple life and one made easier by the nature of acceptance. The more he accepted it the easier it became.

Hear Jerusalem bells are ringing
Roman cavalry choirs are singing
Be my mirror my sword and shield
My missionaries in a foreign field

He was interrupted in his introspection by a raised voice that caused him to dip his head in amusement. Naruto as loud as ever calling to him, his Sakura-chan ever at his side; his teammates and friends waving at him as they came down the street. He was glad to see them truly glad. Humble or not he needed a break and so he accepted their offer of breakfast at a local restaurant. He couldn't help but smirk and again try his best to hide a chuckle as Naruto groused about not being able to have Ramen, and Sakura berated him about his bad dietary habits.

Shaking his head he waved at the supervisor to indicate he was leaving with his friends. Kochi-san nodded back and turned back to his other charges. He and the supervisor had, had a long chat at the beginning and had come to an understanding. He liked the feisty old man with his many anecdotes about Konoha life. He had learned very rapidly to listen to them and had indeed gained much wisdom from them. He had also learned that the simple nature of his task enabled him to focus on training himself, in many ways. It had surprised him just how much people spoke about when they assumed you weren't listening. If they overlooked you because of your occupation it became even easier to do so.

Wonder of wonders. Yes he still had a long way to go but he was going in the right direction that much was certain, and with the guidance and help of his friends--now engaged in an impromptu kissing contest with each other--he would grow more and more. As they approached the restaurant he heard a familiar voice calling them over. Karin.

For some reason I can't explain
I know Saint Peter will call my name
Never an honest word
But that was when I ruled the world
(Oooooh Oooooh Oooooh)

Though she had no standing in Konoha at the time, she had also stood up for him as loudly as anyone. She had changed in their time together he'd noted. She no longer fangirled after him like she used to; something had changed in her after the near disaster with the Hachibi—How that failure still galled him—She had taken a more constructive route to know him by backing off and devoting her time to becoming a part of Konoha's medical and scientific research corps. This left her very busy and they very rarely had time to see each other. With Juugo under the care of the Inuzuka, and Suigetsu off traveling and freelancing he and Karin were the only ones left from Team Hawk that had any real contact anymore.

He had not pushed Karin away like he used to however he had not encouraged her either. He had simply allowed her to take her own path. It seems that that path though led her to him more often than not. As he sat next to her though he noted with interest the small but noticeable blush on her face.

Maybe, just maybe he had one more possibility of redemption. He was well aware that Sakura was never his, and never could have been. But He and Karin had—well he didn't exactly know what—something. There was a spark, something that had slowly grown over the years. It had reached a peak when during the fight with Killerbee, he had without hesitation, or even a second thought put her in his blind spot to protect her.

He trusted her; that was all there was to it. He had trusted her and he knew she trusted him. Maybe just maybe something could grow from that. But not immediately; no it would take time and patience. He still found himself somewhat awkward around her and around women in general. A lifetime's isolation and focus on revenge above all things would do that for you.

But if he was patient, and if he allowed her closer a little at a time, then maybe just maybe; maybe he could rebuild his kingdom with a stronger foundation this time around.

He surprised everyone—Karin most especially--when he reached over and gave her hand a hesitant squeeze, a small gesture to be sure, but one with a simple message to him.

"Thank you."

She blushed and returned his squeeze with one of her own, and a smile which she quickly hid before berating his two teammates for their chuckling by telling them to mind their own business. He did note though however how Sakura and Naruto's hands never left each other even when they were eating they stayed within reach; A simple gesture of trust and affection.

He truly hoped one day he could learn that as well, to be so open with another. With them as teachers he was pretty confident he would. Yes now he would learn the lessons the right way. Slowly and steadily he would master the lessons as he should have. As Naruto his friend and brother had done. Then, and only then would he be able to reclaim his throne, this time though he would make it a kingdom dedicated to the right ideals. To protecting those precious to him—He glanced at Naruto and Sakura as she fed him some egg and rice—All of his precious people—he gave Karin a sideways glance—Yes this time he would protect them all.

"Long live life" He thought

The End


Naruto owned by Kishimoto Masahashi

Viva la vida sung by Coldplay

Story owned by me.