AN: Okay I can't sit well knowing one of my favorite character is descending towards darkness although I have a feeling he's not entirely going to turn out like a villain. I believe Sasuke will soon realize everything…and perhaps in the end he might die coz that is supposed to be expected but then…not as enemy but as a comrade still…

I did not write the fic to kill him off here. It is more like a sudden moment of truth for him…hence epiphany or something along that line…Spoilers from Manga. Please read and share me your thoughts on this matter.

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto, if I do, the story would have been finished and Uchiha Itachi did not die. Just kidding…

Epiphany

Sasuke does not understand the odd feeling when his cup slipped from his fingers. Of course its too easy to blame it on the slight declination of his eyesight but he knew better. There is the foreboding feeling.

He mentioned attacking Konoha and the cup slipped from his hold. They were waiting for Pain at that moment.

When Karin asked him what's wrong, he merely answered nothing but deep down the foreboding feeling continued. He does not want to acknowledge the fact that he cared for whatever happens to them, the Konoha ninjas. No he does not.

He hated them now, remember? It was for that reason that he had realized a new purpose, right? He'd destroy the entire village and them all. Yet no matter how much he desired that, he could not deny that he's suddenly worried especially considering the fact that after three longs years, he had remembered them in the form of Suigetsu, Karin and Juugo as they fought Kirabi. Yes, he was referring to the three people he left.

"I can't wait for Pain," he said to the three.

"…"

"We're going to Konoha."

*************8

Guilt.

It was the first thing he suddenly felt as wave of nausea hit him upon seeing the damage done to the town he came from.

He knew he does not have to feel guilty about it because the same thing would happen to the place once Madara, Team Hawk and the rest of the remaining Akatsuki would attack later should Pain fail to capture the nine-tailed fox.

So there is no reason for him to be guilty yet he did anyway as they passed by some dead bodies. Some he could recognize…some he could not…he did not care much about them…

Only the three mattered…

He blinked at the startling realization. Does he still care for them?

Preposterous.

It was quite easy to deny such fact as he continued walking down the ruins. So Pain did this. He must be really strong.

"Uhm, why exactly are we here?" Suigetsu asked as they all stopped to take in the surroundings.

"For the hell of it," he lied. He does not really know. He just sort of felt like he wanted to come here.

"I can sense some chakras close from here," Karin stated.

"Ignore them. If they get in the way, incapacitate them," he ordered much to Suigetsu's chagrin. The latter was very much prepared to kill anyone and Sasuke just had to ruin it all…he's still a Leaf ninja alright and he does not realize that yet…Suigetsu wondered if he ever will…

So then, there. Sasuke caught a glimpse of silver a few meters away and his heart suddenly clenched. He wanted to ignore what he saw believing it was not him. after all there was no way for that guy to die.

But the truth screamed at his face. There is no other Konoha ninja who has that kind of hair color.

"Sasuke, they are closing in," Karin reminded him but he was oblivious to it. Suddenly…so suddenly that it still shook him, he found himself towering above a blood-soaked body of the man who taught him Chidori.

Disbelief was well-read on his face as he knelt down and took off the rocks covering a portion of his body.

With disbelief came the sudden despair as he stared right into his clouded eyes of mismatched colors. He could not feel anything. He felt frozen as he held him in his head. Then with a sudden rush of anger, he howled to the surprise of his three companions.

"So, the rogue assassin appeared," came a mocking voice and Sasuke looked up with eyes as crimson as blood that the one who spoke immediately looked away fearing the murderous intent in those pair of red eyes.

Sasuke gently laid down the body and slowly stood up. It was only that time he realized they were surrounded by some ninjas most of which he could remember from vague memory.

"Sasuke, do we still have to ignore them? Why not just kill?" Suigetsu suggested not far from him.

His fist clenched. "Juugo, take this body."

"Just what do you plan to do with my friend's body?" Maito Gai asked calmly and tried not to focus on the fallen ninja.

Sasuke does not need to answer. He knew that. it was enough to see him howling with rage to understand that there is still something left in the old Sasuke they once saw.

"Juugo, you know where to wait. Karin and Suigetsu, you go as well. I have some personal business to attend to."

"No one will leave this area with Kakashi's body," Gai stated clearly. "You know its unwise."

"…"

"Sasuke, I felt Pain's chakra and Konan too."

At that he eyed Gai and turned on his heel. In a speed that surprised Team Gai and few others, Sasuke moved past them leaving his three companions in the middle. He did not look back as he stood for a little while on his spot, his eyes catching Lee's surprised reaction from his left.

"Hurt one of them and I'll show you pain and you'll know hell," he said in his most chilling voice and Gai had no doubt he would. It's not like he is afraid of the rogue ninja. He could fight him at par. He's still a kid. (AN: I think he is still unaware of the fact that he managed to defeat Orochimaru, Deidera and Itachi as they were on a mission different from that of Kakashi.) There is something bone chilling about his demeanor that if Gai would do something unthinkable, he had a feeling it would not be him – oh yes – he understood the hidden meaning behind the warning.

************************888

Confused.

That was how he felt as he stood on top of a tree overlooking the entire village.

This was the village his brother tried to protect.

This was the village his brother killed his clan for while sparing one.

This was the village his brother left him in the care of no one. He blinked at that thought and tasted bile on his mouth.

This was the village he grew up from, where he met three people he would call his family until he decided to abandon them for revenge.

This was the village of Konoha he planned to attack with Madara and the rest.

It suddenly felt so confusing as he stood there, as different images flashed into his mind.

Itachi carrying him, piggy-back style…

The dead bodies of his clan…

The torment…the terror…the hatred…giving no room for sorrow and grief…

Then suddenly it changed into the images of Naruto, Sakura and Kakashi…

The bond…the warmth of life…

The envy…

Orochimaru…the temptation…

Itachi…his face smiling as he slowly fell face ward after giving him one last poke in the forehead…he trembled at that image as his heart clenched, as lump filled his throat…as tears stung his eyes…

Sorry Sasuke, this is the last time…

Those were his last words to him and remembering it felt more painful…

Madara Uchiha…

The truth and lies intertwined…

Love for hate…

He screwed his eyes shut. Then just a moment ago…Kakashi…those cloudless eyes…

The guilt…the fury…

Karin, Juugo, Suigetsu…

Naruto, Sakura…

Itachi, Kakashi…

It all played in front of him like a movie flashback to all that happened in his life…

Without realizing, tears started falling down as he clasped his head with both hands…he is so confused he does not know what to do anymore…

Why is he feeling so confused right now when not some time ago, he had declared to Madara he would kill anyone here…all of them…so they know what hatred is…

He can deal with anger, with hatred…but never this confusion…he does not know what to make of it…

What should I do big brother?

It surprised him that he was asking the first person he ever adored in his entire life…the same person who drove him towards the edge…who made him hate…

Still standing there in the same position, he still does not know what to do…then suddenly…so suddenly…he caught a figure standing at a nearby tree…looking at the entirety of the place as well…

His face was solemn…his eyes no longer that crimson red…

Shocked and horrified, Sasuke almost fell as he stared at what seems to be his brother's phantasm…

You asked me so I came.

"W-what the – "

I should be the one asking you little brother, what should you do?

Sasuke gulped. Had he gone crazy now that he could even see his dead brother, in fact talking to him?

"I-I don't know…I'm so confused…I wanted to destroy them all but I don't want my former team hurt. I don't understand," he said.

The figure looked at him and gave a smile that was rarely seen from him.

Then you should know what to do. That is enough hatred Sasuke. Let it go. You don't have reasons to hate them all. Don't be a marionette to Madara like I was. You have a great life ahead Sasuke. You can always take the road back.

Sasuke blinked as the vision in front of him is starting to disappear. Was that all an illusion? His hands rubbed his face.

To his horror, the disappearing figure appeared in front of him and his fingers poked his forehead.

I'll always be protecting you little brother. You've already overcome the gap between brothers. I am proud of you. I thought I would like you to know that.

Then he vanished leaving Sasuke numb in shock…

What should I do? What should I do?

The question was repeated in his head countless times.

Protect him Sasuke. You are the only one who could protect him.

Sasuke opened his mouth to talk…just what is happening to him? Why is he seeing illusions when he should not?

"Kakashi-sensei."

You've returned to protect them right? Naruto and Sakura and the village…right? Naruto could not do it alone…you have to understand that. you've met interesting friends Sasuke. And I am pretty sure you would do the same to them…protect them…you're his strength. Don't crush the last remaining hope in him that he could still get you back.

"You're not supposed to die. It's your duty right?" he rather said. He wanted to believe Kakashi is still alive…that he could still be saved…

He only smiled.

Sorry Sasuke. I failed you.

"It had nothing to do with you," he snapped at Kakashi's apparition. "You did not fail me."

I did. It was my fault you took this path…and I'll try to make you see the light…again Sasuke, they both need you now…Team 7 needs you back…

Just like earlier, his form started to vanish in front of him leaving Sasuke more shocked.

Slowly, he closed all his senses leaving him nowhere but in his own world. Think Sasuke…what would you do?

The same images filled his mind…yet a little different as well…he could see it clearly…a smile of regret curved his lips…

He had made up his mind…

******************888

Naruto felt his body wanting to give up but he knew he should not. He could not give up so easily no matter how strong his opponent is…he will not let the Kyuubi tempt him again…he will not let anyone fight his battle for him…

One glance at Hinata made him stand up as he wiped the blood on his cracked lips.

Don't give up Naruto. He'll come back.

Blue eyes widened at the voice of the wind. Did he honestly hear something there? Who is coming back? His father? Who spoke?

He staggered to remain standing while scanning around. He wanted desperately to know who spoke to him…then shock rippled through him as realization dawned…

Kakashi-sensei…

"You killed a lot of my nakama," he stated to the one that stood in front of him. "You killed my sensei."

"Everyone who gets in the way are naturally obliterated. It would have been easier if they told me where to find you," Pain answered. "You can barely stand up on your own given your substantial injuries."

"Shut up," he hissed and started to walk towards him but fell on his knees at the pain and fatigue…he had been fighting all of the paths…and this is the last one…he could not afford to give up and lose…

Pain walked forward as well, giving him a pitiful look.

Move damn it, Naruto hissed to himself.

"Naruto! Move you idiot!"

Naruto supported himself as he tried to stand up once again. He could hear his friends nearby. They are almost here…they should not be…

"Fire Release: Great Dragon Fire Technique."

The next thing Naruto knew was the fire that stood between him and Pain. Shocked, he looked around. And he stood there…face expressionless…onyx eyes unfathomable…

"S-Sasuke…"

"Really, if you plan to become a Hokage you should not act that weak," he smirked as he started moving towards him.

"S-Sasuke…you're – "

"Juugo, get that girl over there and protect her as well. Karin, help her before she dies. Suigetsu, you stand aside. This is our fight. Me, Naruto and Pain."

Suigetsu chuckled and sighed. So he figured it out…he's still a Leaf ninja after all…

This guy really amused him…

Naruto could not find words to say, so shocked was he…this was one thing he never expected in a battle…for him to suddenly arrive…

He does not even know where he got the strength to suddenly stand up and came face to face with his friend…

"T-Teme…this is not an illusion, is it?" he choked. Sasuke merely smirked before taking his eyes off him and turning them to Pain who looked displeased at his sudden interference.

"I had a feeling you're troublesome," Pain said. "You should know who you're betraying here."

Sasuke nodded. "I do. Madara Uchiha, the one behind it all…you seriously believe you can use all seven beasts you've captured."

Although confused, Naruto seemed to have remembered the name somewhere. Ah yes, during the reunion with Sasuke after three years…the tailed beast mentioned about him.

"Naruto, are you just going to stand there?" Sasuke asked and said ninja snapped and grinned at him.

"This is our fight Sasuke."

"Hn."

"Remember the fight against Haku?" Naruto spoke.

"What about it?"

"It brings back memories."

Sasuke smiled and nodded. Itachi was correct…he should know what to do…Kakashi was correct…Naruto needed him…

"Let's do it," Naruto murmured.

"For Kakashi," Sasuke whispered.

And all of the surviving Konoha ninjas could only watch in awe despite the shock of his sudden appearance as both friends showed their prowess in battle…it took a little while…but it paid off…

Gai stared at his friend and slowly closed the dead man's eyes.

"You've seen that Kakashi?" he spoke as Neji and Lee and Tenten helped the other injured. "Your kids were reunited. Damn you for getting yourself killed."

A few moments later, an exhausted Naruto and barely worn out Sasuke stood in front of the sitting jounin with Sakura behind them and Sasuke's comrades behind Sakura.

To everyone's surprise, Sasuke fell on his two knees and bowed his head in front of the fallen shinobi.

Forgive me, I was too late.

Then he stood up again, the somber look on his face replaced with the same emotionless one.

"What do you plan to do now Sasuke?" Naruto asked.

"I'm a rogue ninja so I have nothing to do here anymore. I cannot risk going back to Madara's hideout. I can't risk the lives of Karin, Juugo and Suigetsu. They're family now. Zetsu probably informed Madara about it now."

"Then stay," a clear voice said. The two boys glanced over their shoulder to find the Fifth Hokage looking so worn out…her eyes gazed at Kakashi for a while before turning away…another loss of a close friend…so many of them…

At this Sasuke stiffened as a cynical smile curved his lips. "Then you're just giving me the opportunity to fulfill my goal."

"But – "

"I will personally make the Three Elders pay for what they have done to my brother," he spat and Tsunade looked at him with understanding.

"So you knew your brother's job…"

Sasuke gave a bitter smile. "They've used him and I cannot forgive them for that."

"Stay," Tsunade stated firmly then glanced at the redhead. "I can use her help. She can develop further."

"And if you refuse, what exactly did you fight for a while ago," Gai continued. "He watched you both you know and he'd be happy to see you back."

"And if your problem concerns the three Elders, don't worry, I might help you with that," Tsunade spoke again, her honey-eyes held a little truth of it. She'd gone tired of them all…

Sasuke sighed. "I guess I have no choice. I really can't expect Naruto to fight Madara on his own," he smirked to the annoyance of the blond. But for Sasuke, he felt so lighthearted as he stared at his three companions.

Then he introduced them to the Leaf ninjas…

He gave his sensei one last look. I'll protect him Kakashi.

As Gai carried his rival/friend's body, the others followed suit…they knew it would not be long before another attack would commence…but they will prepare…they will get stronger…

Sasuke was left for a while as he stared above.

You foolish little brother…it took you long to realize everything…that was your moment of truth…

I'm proud of you Sasuke. You're indeed my student.

A smirk curved his lips. He thought he heard them speak again. But yes…of course…they were both right…

***********8

So, what do you think? Hope it went well…

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