The full moon hung heavily in the night sky, casting sluggish light down onto the streets of Konoha. The shower of luminescence held everything in its silent grasp, bathing buildings and plants alike in its radiant glow.

Then, a small boy broke its tenable rule, running through the streets and intuding upon its domain.

Uchiha Sasuke mentally cursed himself. 'I'm really late from training. Mom's really going to give it to me.'

Something caught the corner of his eye, causing him to look up suddenly. All he could see was a telephone pole, silhouetted against the moon.

'That's weird..' He thought. 'For a moment there...'

Sasuke rounded the corner, and entered the Uchiha clan compound. It was then that he saw the bodies. "...Wha...What is going on...? This is..."

He rushed over to the nearest Uchiha, and rolled the body over. The man had a look of shock on his face, and his throat was savagely cut, his head almost coming off into Sasuke's hands. The boy Uchiha gagged, and backed away hastily, leaving the body to thump back onto the ground with a fleshy thud.

'Father! Mother!' When he had recovered, Sasuke made a beeline for his house. He leapt over the piled bodies of his clansmen, the puddles of blood that covered everything. 'Itachi!'

He reached the door to his house. "Father! Mother!"

His mother's voice answered him "..Sasuke...don't come in..."

A wet, gurgling scream rent the night air. Sasuke started shaking, his limbs refusing to obey his commands. 'Move! Move! MOVE!' He mentally screamed at himself.

When he finally regained control of his arms, Sasuke slide the door back, terrified of what he would find.

Blood covered everything, the walls, the floors, and especially the prone bodies of his mother and father, who were splayed on the ground before a man whose face was in the shadows.

This time, it was Sasuke's high-pitched screams that tore the heavy silence in two. "Father!! Mother!" Tears poured from the boy's eyes.

"Tch." The shadowy man said, stepping slowly into the moonlight that poured through a nearby window. It was Sasuke's brother, Itachi.

"Brother!!" Sasuke's eyes shot wide open "Brother! Brother! Father and Mother!" His breathless voice was filled with a desperate whine. "How come! Why!! Why did you do this?!"

A sudden gust of air blew past his ear, along with a soft whistle. A shuriken shot past his shoulder, cutting his arm and embedding deep into the door behind him. Sasuke whimpered, partially in pain but mostly in fear, and forced back the tears that slowly filled his eyes.

Itachi's voice was harder than iron, colder than a winter gale. "That was foolish of you, little brother."

Sasuke's teary eyes were instinctively drawn to Itachi's own. Sasuke caught a glimpse of something, some odd mutation of the Sharingan before his whole world exploded. "Mangekyou Sharingan!"

"GYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!"

Voice and images whipped through his head. He saw his father's back, heard his voice. "...As I expected, you are my child."

His mother was bending down before him, a warm smile on his face. She lifted a finger and pointed at herself. "Your father... When he talks to me, it's only about you."

Itachi was sitting next to him. "We are unique brothers." Now he was being a jerk, and refusing to help him. "Sorry Sasuke." He tapped Sasuke's head with two fingers. "Another time..."

"Another time..."

"Another time..."

The words stretched out, elongated, warped as they traveled through his mind. Itachi's brotherly smile mutated, melted and started dripping down his face. The droplets turned crimson, and splashed against the wall with a sudden ferocity! Screams surrounded him, and images of a bloody sword flashed before his eyes. He saw his parents die.

Then Sasuke was on the floor, his parent's bloody corpses in front of him. Drool was running from his lips, wetting his shirt and pooling on the floor. He wiped his mouth with one arm. "Why...did...you...?"

Itachi was just as cold, his voice just as monotone as before. "It was to measure my capacity."

Sasuke looked up, his voice tremulous. "To test your capacity...that's all..? You... you killed everyone... for that...? That's...the only reason?!"

His older brother's expression remained unchanged. "It was essential."

Sasuke's arms were shaking. "That's..."

"COMPLETE CRAP!" He charged Itachi, who's only response was to lift one arm and send him flying across the room. Sasuke landed by his parents, his father's vacant, bloody face inches from his nose.

Tears flowed down his cheeks. He got up, and started running. 'Scared!'

He blasted through the doors, charging out onto the body-laden street. 'Scared!!'

Itachi was standing in his way, causing Sasuke to stop short. "You...You can't be my brother! Because-"

Itachi interrupted him. "The brother you wanted to spend time has done this..." He locked eyes with Sasuke. "To ascertain your capacity."

Itachi continued his monotone monologue, speaking more to the air than to his quivering brother. "You can become like me, Sasuke. The brother you've admired and hated and wished to surpass. There is only one requirement..."

Itachi's mouth twitched, before going back to a straight line so quickly that Sasuke doubted he saw it. "You must kill your best friend."

Sasuke's mouth flew open. "What? You... you mean... you mean you killed Shisui-san!?"

A sick, cruel smile tarnished Itachi's face. "Thanks to him, I was able to obtain this... "eye"..."

The younger Uchiha's eyes were trapped by that smile, by its easy, malevolent grace. Sasuke swam in his older brother's grin, Itachi's curled lips were just as ensnaring as his strange eyes.

But those lips were moving. "-eal secret is written there. And if you open your eyes to the truth, then, including myself, there will be three people who can handle the Mangekyou Sharingan."

"In that case..." Itachi leaned back slightly, and chuckled darkly, bile filling his younger brother's throat. "There would be a reason to let you live."

The rogue Uchiha stepped forward, causing Sasuke to exclaim in wordless terror.

"Right now..." Itachi said, as he slowly pivoted on one foot. "It would be worthless to kill someone like you."

Itachi fully turned and looked back over his shoulder, where Sasuke's shaking intensified. "If you want to kill me... Curse me! Hate me! And when you have the same eyes as I do..."

As Itachi left, his only visible eye flashed the Mangekyou again. His last words to his little brother would stagnate in Sasuke's mind, rolling around until the sound of them became as embedded in younger Uchiha's being as breathing air, or drinking water.

"Come before me."

Then the world went turned black.

xxxxxxxxxx

Utatane Koharu moved as quickly as her age and position allowed. Which meant that she was travelling at a rather dignified, snail-like crawl. Her partner, Mitokado Homura, was sitting behind a large oaken desk, looking over paperwork.

She frowned, her wrinkled face making it appear more severe than she would have intended, and stepped fully into the room. "We need to release the truth about the Uchiha Massacre."

Homura looked up, sharply. His voice was deep and gravelly with his age, but filled with the youth and vigor of their purpose. "For what reason?"

"Danzo has a slight tendency to portray himself as Konoha's bleeding, teary eyed saint." Koharu grumbled, uncharacteristically allowing a sliver of sarcasm to permeate her voice. "He's swaying most of the uninformed citizens to his cause."

Homura sighed, but said nothing. In a gesture unfamiliar to him, he fiddled nervously with some papers.

Koharu waited for a moment, and just before she was about to speak again, his deep baritone rumbled forth. "The people of Konoha might not take our participation as kindly as you might believe."

She pursed her lips. "We haven't lied to them, at least not a blatantly as Danzo. We were acting to preserve the village's security. He just wants to increase his own powerbase."

At Homura's continued hesitation, she continued. "He'll take more damage than we will. The Uchiha massacre is one of his key arguments, one of things he likes to harp on in his daily, self-righteous tirades."

When her partner still refused to speak, Koharu's temper broke to the surface. "Meekness doesn't suit you, Homura! We're not here for our own gain!" Her carefully cultivated mask of composure resumed mastery of her features. "If we want Hazumi to stand strong, to mean something, we have to be willing to put it before ourselves. When a leader does otherwise, an abomination like Aki comes into being."

Homura's age-worn face relaxed, the wrinkles smoothed, and for an instant, Koharu saw the same ninja that fought with her, Hiruzen and Tobirama-sensei all those years ago. He looked her in the eyes. "You're right."

An age ago, she would have smirked and shot a snarky response at him, while Hiruzen chuckled in the background. Instead, she nodded curtly. "We'll have to access the Council vaults, which -fortunately- we control."

Homura nodded too, but a shadow of concern haunted his face. "If the fallout is as bad as I fear... I think it best we name a successor. If the citizens do not accept Hazumi because we lead it... Well, if they don't strive for peace because we're in power, it would be best to step down."

A hint of a smile broke onto Koharu's features, combating years of stern looks and wrinkles. "Hatake-san should suffice... Most already think he would be a good substitute."

A deep, warm chuckle rumbled through Homura's chest. "Don't let anyone see that grin, Koharu. They'll think you've gone soft."

Koharu's pursed lips made a reappearance. "Jokes, Homura? And I wasn't grinning."

Bickering softly, the two friends each penned a few papers, and stepped outside, walking to the abandoned Council building.

xxxxxxxx

Sasuke was busy beating another batch of Orochimaru's ninjas into submission when the news came.

Specifically, he was occupied with ramming his chakra-loaded fist into the kidney of one particularly cowardly man, when a messenger burst into the room. The poor nin on the business end of the Uchiha's fist flew into the pillar he had previously been hiding behind. The messenger stopped short, eyes wide.

Sasuke turned and looked at the man, his voice low and dangerous. "What?"

To say that the Oto nin was nervous would be an understatement worthy of a class-action lawsuit. The knocking of his knees could have been heard through several miles of reinforced concrete, if anyone had been inclined to listen. Sasuke was just irritated that his training was being interrupted. Standing around did nothing to increase his power.

"I'm sorry, Uchiha-sama... I-I was just wondering if Orochimaru-sama was overseeing your training -I have a message for him." He waved the envelope around, as if it were some holy talisman that would ward off Sasuke's wrath.

"Give it to me." Sasuke ordered, trademark glare never leaving his face.

"Sir, would- would that I could, but this is marked for Orochimaru-sama only, and-"

"Give me the envelope." The rogue Uchiha proffered his hand. The messenger gave up without any further argument and beat a hasty retreat.

Sasuke tore open the envelope, its manila folds giving way faster than a fan girl's decency. He tore the slip of paper away from it's yellow sheath, and unfolded it.

His mouth gave way. The paper and ruined envelope floated to the floor. His breath caught in his throat, causing him to choke. A series of strange, squawking sounds broke out of his mouth, as air tried to push its way to his lungs.

Sasuke fell to his knees. "This can't be true!" He started tearing at his hair in large, greedy handfuls as tears rolled down his cheeks. "Itachi!"

xxxxxxxxxx

"And when you have the same eyes as I do..."

As Itachi left, his only visible eye flashed the Mangekyou again. His last words to his little brother would stagnate in Sasuke's mind, rolling around until the sound of them became as embedded in younger Uchiha's being as breathing air, or drinking water.

"Come before me."

Itachi left. Sasuke started. "Itachi!"

Sasuke squatted, his shaking limbs failing to support his weight. The weakness was only momentary, and the boy charged forward. "Wait! Brother!"

He leapt up to a wall, grabbing two stray kunai on the way. He twisted around, flying over the wall and after his older brother.

Itachi was in the middle of leaping down to where the corpses of his family lay. Sasuke flicked his wrists, sending the metal missiles flying towards his brother.

Itachi saw them at the last moment, turning his body enough so that they struck his Hitai-ite, sending the metal and cloth tumbling onto the ground.

Both of the Uchiha brothers landed on the ground, panting heavily. Itachi turned away from Sasuke, picking up his Hitai-ite, and stepping away.

Sasuke clutched his shoulder, blood seeping through his fingers, and looked up at his brother. Itachi tied the symbol of his village back on his head, and turned.

For an instant, everything froze. Smoke spiraled towards the heavens, and the Uchiha clan sector was wracked in the grip of silent death.

Itachi turned his head, and a single tear was making its slow dance of water and light down the curve of his face.

xxxxxxxxxx

"He..." Another drop of water sparkled in the darkness of Sasuke's room. " He was crying!"

"I thought I was seeing things!" Sasuke crumpled the note, water running from his eyes and dripping onto his clenched fists.

He unfolded the note again. "I... It can't be the truth! It can't be!"

"Bastard! I'll beat you back to your old self!"

"What have I done!?" His pillow somehow ripped in half. Burns appeared on the walls of his room, random bolts of electricity flying through the air and striking the wall uncontrollably.

"Sasuke! You won't go to Orochimaru!" Naruto was covered in red chakra and tears were pouring down his face. "Even if I have to break the bones in your arms and legs, I will stop you!!"

Sasuke raised his fist, a chidori quickly forming around it. He plunged it deep into his bed, and wedged his arm into the stone floor.

'"Bond...Eh, Naruto?" Sasuke threw his arms wide, a smirk on his face. "Come on! I'll break that bond into a thousand pieces!"

The cursed seal on his shoulder resonated with his anger, spiking painfully and sending a rush of rage-induced chakra flooding into his system. He formed another chidori, and smashed it into the wall next to him, showering his bed with stone.

He screamed in rage. "It was all worthless!!"

'"As expected..." His father smirked. "You are my son..."

"When your father talks to me... All he talks about is you." His mother laughed, an easy smile lighting her face with a maternal glow.

"You and I are unique brothers" Itachi said, leaning towards him. "I'll always be there, as something you'll strive to surpass." He chuckled, but looked wistful at the same time. "Even if you hate me... I'll be there for you."

"When I was with you..." Naruto panted, water cascading down his chest and tears flowing from his eyes as he knelt on the lake "I- I imagined it was what it would be like to have a brother...I won't let that go, Sasuke!"

"DAMMIT!!" Sasuke screamed at his ceiling. "ITACHI!!"

Everyone passing by Sasuke's room that night fled in terror. Orochimaru heard of his prize pupil's actions, but could only laugh.

Some of the Oto nins would claim that they could hear Sasuke's screams miles away, deep in the winding streets of Otogakure.

xxxxxxxxx

Orochimaru smirked, in that snakelike way that he had. "So, Sasuke-kun. Heard the news?"

Sasuke didn't show any outward emotion, but he was silently seething. "What of it?"

"Let's just say, my darling Sasuke-kun, that I would like to know..." the snake sannin quirked his head "your plans."

Sasuke looked around. Including Orochimaru, ten ninjas surrounded him. Kabuto was standing at the pale man's right hand, and the rest were Orochimaru's elite bodyguard.

Sasuke decided to be frank. "I'll stay with you. Konoha won't have me back...and I no longer feel like pursuing Itachi."

Orochimaru laughed. "Ah yes, I heard about Itachi's little mi-"

Sasuke stormed out of the room, banging the doors behind him. Orochimaru turned to Kabuto. "Was it something I said?"

The Med-nin frowned. "He is a threat."

The snake sannin grinned. "No... We're the only ones who will take him now."

xxxxxxx

A mile away, Sasuke entered a small, dusty room. Men filled it.

Suigetsu grinned, teeth flashing in the dim space like jagged edged stars in the night sky. "About damn time, Sasuke!"

Sasuke frowned. "I think you all know why we're here."

Suigetsu rolled his eyes. "No shit, Uchiha. We're going to overthrow Orochimaru."

xxxxxxx

AN: Well, T.J. here, with my wonderful chapter. (If you think otherwise, please leave a review!)

I really don't have much to say, except that it's great to work with other authors and create this story.

Also! I want to offer a special shoutout to our (so-far) sole-reviewer, lindon2!!!!! Lindon, special thanks to you! You have my gratitude for taking the few seconds needed for reviewing! Rest assured, I'll name a random character Lindon in thanks. (Unfortunately, it'll probably a disposable Sound nin. Sorry man. But hey, if the scene calls for the death of a disposable Sound-nin, I'll have a main character kill you off! ... Although, I doubt that that knowledge is much consolation.)

And all you others! Do you want a flimsy,cookie-cutter guard named after you, one whose only purpose is to be killed?! The next reviewer (after Lindon) Gets to appear in my next chapter (Chapter Seven) too! Woo!

Please state a name you want used. I will not accept anything profane or utterly ridiculous. Please make it realistic. If not, I'll move to the next reviewer. Also, the review can't only be a name. You have to say something you like or dislike about the story. Thanks!

Until next time! -T.J. Wilcox