It was a rainy summer day, that strange mix of sunshine and rain that spoke of omens and oddities. I had just returned home from the market to find my older son sitting in the kitchen, intensely examining an empty pickle jar. A slight flicker crossed his face when I put the bags down, but he did not lift his gaze from the jar and it's green-tinted contents. "Itachi?" I ventured, forcing the amusement off my face.
"Mother." he replied in the half-monotone he'd learned from his father. It was a sad thing to hear from an 11 year old, even if he had been promoted to chuunin last year.
"What is the pickle jar under arrest for?"
"Pickle... seeds." the genius tapped the glass firmly, swirling the left-over seeds up from where they had settled. "One of the jounin was talking about pickle seeds today. He said if I brought him pickle seeds he would teach me a secret technique."
I had to exert all the discipline in my body to not laugh at this revelation. Oh, how to inform my little genius of his mistake? "I see. But wouldn't sweet-pickle seeds be better?"
His contemplation of the question was interrupted by the approaching sound of shouting children. The first voice to resolve into coherence was high-pitched and female, the Yamanaka girl, "My turn! I want to try!"
"Why bother? You won't be able to." an unknown boy complained, his voice straining with the need to sound bored.
"Aaah!" the girl yelped.
"Throwing rocks is cheating, Ino!" another girl's voice interrupted. I wasn't able to recognise this one either, but Sasuke's reply brought to mind a shy, pink-haired girl.
"Don't worry Sakura, she didn't hit me."
"Almost hit me." the bored boy muttered.
"Don't you wish you had a Kekkai Genkai, Sakura?" Ino asked.
Itachi rose from the table and I dropped the carrots I'd been slicing, we opened the door together. If Sasuke has awakened his Sharingan already! He would even surpass Itachi! I tried to imagine Fugaku's reaction to such a revelation.
Outside, the children stood in a rough circle with Sasuke in the center, each taking turns swinging a jump rope at my son. Though someone had tied a jacket around his head as a blindfold, he had no difficulty dodging and blocking the swinging rope, even when the taller boy tried to hook his leg. I saw Itachi's eyes turn red and let my own Sharingan surface, examining the game with a jounin's eyes. Sasuke was anticipating the rope's movements with ease, and the chakra centers near his eyes were glowing in a familiar manner.
Sasuke and Ino were facing us and the first to notice our presence. "Mom! Brother!" Sasuke ran over to us, "I didn't know you were home. Look! I did it! I can see everything!" he struggled to untie the jacket in his excitement, but soon just yanked it off, beaming up at us with a wide, happy smile.
I'm ashamed that Itachi was the first to recover from the shock. The most I could get out was a startled "Bya-" before Itachi snatched Sasuke up and dragged him into the house.
"What are you doing? Brother!" my little one protested. I turned and rushed to follow, three confused five-year-olds hot on my heals. Many thoughts tumbled through my head, of clans and bloodlines and ill-omens, none taking any shape worth naming before we caught up with the brothers.
"Look!" Itachi had dragged his brother in front of the dojo training mirrors. Reflected in the silvered glass was a single pair of black-flecked red irises, one pair each of green, blue, brown, and my own that had returned to the Uchiha black. But Sasuke's eyes were pure white, without pupil or color, the blank white of another clan. Hyuuga's Byakugan eyes.
Ah, it begins. ^^ Completely different alter reality than Paperwork Ninja! Enjoy!