Disclaimer: Naruto is solely the possession of Kishimoto-sensei.
Author's Note: Had a major plot bunny while I was waiting for my laptop to be fixed, so I could update my old stories. So I started a new one! Luckily this will only be around ten chapters or so, so it shouldn't conflict at all.
Itachi Uchiha was a simple, thirteen year-old boy. He had many likes, many dislikes, and he was rather ambitious. When asked of his dreams, he would merely give a negative (and slight) shake of the head, stating "It is not appropriate for a Ninja to have dreams, and if I have them, it would be even less appropriate for me to discuss them."
He had numerous hobbies, but they mostly extended into his professional life. His family were a disconnected society, thus he preferred to recognise it as his Clan- an impersonal substitute that suited what he had to live with. A father whose expectations and desires overrode all else, a mother whose Will of Fire had slowly and passively diminished and shrunk to suit her position as a 'housewife.' Mikoto Uchiha had to give up her career and 'dreams' when her own father had married her off to Fugaku, the Clan heir. Fugaku's overbearing personality had simply worn down his mother's own; it had created a figure that doted on their home for all hours of the day.
When Itachi was a child, this fact had been clear to him. But more than that, it had upset him. However despite this, what had disturbed him even more than his robotic mother was the Third Ninja War. Itachi had been four at the time and when he looked back on that time of his life, he was even more certain that violence of any kind was wrong.
'It's ironic that I'm a Ninja,' Itachi thought as he crouched on his Clan-house's roof, the darkness of the early morning swallowed his features and hid him in a comforting haze of black and blue. Itachi had always been mature for his age- as such he had never connected with his peers at the Academy, he had never been understood by his teachers, and it was probably why he had always been seen with scorn by some of his fellow Ninja. 'Of course, that could be due to inferiority complexes that a surprising number of Ninja carry.' He decided.
The War had traumatised him; it had formed a pacifist in a world of violence and hate. A world full of so much pain that, Itachi, even at four years old could notice his friends, teachers, and family had vanished before his eyes fading only into nothingness and death. 'Maybe that's why I grew up so fast,' Itachi reasoned, 'And maybe that's why Sasuke hasn't had to mature as quickly as I did.' Sasuke Uchiha was the only person in his Clan that deserved his unwavering attention, care and love.
The twenty-fourth Ninja saying taught at the Ninja Academy was 'One must not forge relationships based off of love, but of camaraderie. A Ninja can only be a successful tool if they are without emotion.' And Itachi had taken this saying and obeyed it. But even he, named as a 'once in a generation genius' could not manage to obey this rule. He loved his brother.
And now, to spare his brother the horrible painful truth of his family, Itachi was willing to disobey his Clan and go against even his village, Konoha.
The Uchiha Clan had planned a revolt, a devastating action that would only bring about more death and destruction. Fugaku Uchiha would be leading the charge, trying to kill the leader of Konoha, Hiruzen Sarutobi in a surprise manoeuvre- thus beginning a coup of the village that would only end when those loyal to the Will of Fire were extinguished, much like the metaphor itself.
The Will of Fire was a belief that Sarutobi had in every one of his Ninja, that they would act as one, trust each other, be brave, be good and just. The Will of Fire was his view of a Ninja's loyalty, and Sarutobi had unofficially issued it out to each of his Ninjas, unasked and without a doubt.
And Itachi had it. More importantly, he could see Sasuke had it too. His eyes burned bright with his love for Konoha, much like Mikoto's used to. The Uchiha Clan had entrusted Itachi with spying on Konoha for them, and Itachi had just vanished from his bedroom in the twilight intending to inform Sarutobi on the Uchiha Clan's intention to eliminate him and take control of the village.
Itachi sighed. 'I don't want to shatter Sasuke's innocence so brutally.' And so, in a snap decision, Itachi went back to bed- he would not be telling Sarutobi just yet. After all, his younger brother would have to live in a village which would view him as a traitor, a beast of burden. It would probably liken him to the demon-container Uzumaki, who alone had to bear the burden of their hatred, cruelty and scorn. And Itachi knew, he could not subjugate his brother to such a lifestyle. Despite being known as the 'Prodigy of the Uchiha clan,' he did not have it in himself to abandon the only relative he cared for. He wasn't as thoughtless as Minato Namikaze, the father of Uzumaki.
But if telling the Hokage was out of the question, what could be done? Itachi pondered the thought safely within his room. If he could not rely on his village, or on his Clan, who could he rely on to protect Sasuke?
Ah. There was a thought.
"It is good to see you here Itachi, and so willingly too!" Fugaku said, a broad and proud smile adorning his normally scowling face.
They were sat in an underground room that had branched out from one of the training Dojos on the Uchiha property, and it was kept lit by four candles kept at each corner of a long table that sat in the very center of the room.
"Hm." Itachi replied in an incoherent grunt. It gave him a slight feeling of satisfaction knowing that his lack of eloquence had caused his father some grief, as Fugaku's smile quickly vanished to be replaced by that ever-present glower.
"Fugaku is right, Itachi-kun!" an elderly Aunt told him, beaming at him. "I'm so happy to see you here!" Itachi nodded at her, not trusting himself to speak. She had been a favourite member of his dismal Clan, and knowing of her involvement in such sordid affairs made him feel sick to his stomach.
"I'm here to propose a plan," Itachi began, "a plan I believe would benefit the entire Uchiha Clan's efforts against the Will of Fire." The room had quickly quietened down. This had been what he had expected. They had all wanted, and expected his brilliance and intelligence to help crush Konoha. 'Interesting.'
His mother sat next to his father, directly opposite him. She grinned at him in her passive way. "Go ahead Itachi," she said eagerly, "we're all equals here so don't be afraid to speak your mind." Her black eyes that had used to be so alive stared at him emptily.
Itachi's gaze focused on her. He knew she was trying to pry the information from his lips. He certainly didn't believe her. 'Equals? Shisui was watching me last night, trying to tell whether or not I would turn traitor to the Clan or to the village.'
Shisui was sat beside him, watching his body language. Itachi exhaled slightly. "I believe the coup should be delayed for five years." And as predicted, outrage shook the room. Shisui and Fugaku sat still, watching him even more closely.
"And why is that Itachi?" Fugaku asked gruffly, he had undoubtedly taken the suggestion as an insult to his strategic skill. As Itachi had known he would.
"That is because I wish to train Sasuke as my apprentice, so he can help further our cause." Itachi said simply, causing numerous laughs and heckles from around the room.
"You can still do that when we have won Itachi," Fugaku reminded him, his tone impatient. "Is that the only reason?"
"It is my main point," Itachi said not wanting Fugaku to discredit his plans, "Sasuke is more important to the Uchiha Clan than anyone."
"I disagree Itachi," his great-aunt replied, "you are the Uchiha's heir, and it's greatest weapon."
"That may be so currently," Itachi conceded impatiently, "but Sasuke has not had the same training as I, nor has he had the same motivation, or the same care and attention." His eyes locked with his father's own, "Sasuke however, was born at exactly the right time."
Fugaku's eyebrow rose a millimetre quizzically. "Oh?"
"Oh indeed," Itachi said gravely, "he was born to be in the same Academy class as most of Konoha's prestigious Clan's heirs," he noticed this had caught everyone's attention. "Sasuke has been placed in a class to be taught by Iruka and Mizuki of Chunin rank, and will be tutored alongside Ino Yamanaka, Shikamaru Nara, Chouji Akimichi, Shino Aburame, Kiba Inuzuka, and Hyuga Hinata."
At the mention of Hyuga he most definitely had his Clan's attention. They were one of the main problems involved in the coup after all.
"I propose that you wait five years for Sasuke to get acquainted with these children," Itachi continued, even while he despised what he was suggesting. "Only for Sasuke to use any information he can gather against Konoha." Itachi waved a hand carelessly at the written plans on the table in front of them. "All the while, I will train Sasuke. And then when he graduates I will become his Jounin-sensei." The Clan was silent, waiting to find out where Itachi was leading them.
"And then when we are ready I will take Sasuke, and together we will act individually in assassination while he either takes the heirs hostage or kills them- doing it easily due to his knowledge of their techniques, habits and their personalities."
His father nodded understanding the part Sasuke would play. "And you?"
"I would assassinate the Hokage and the Elders in one swoop," Itachi said confidently, "it would also become easier to defeat the Sandaime in the future, as his age is already weakening his chakra and physicality." Itachi mentioned in a tone he intended to be offhanded. 'The Sandaime would be tricky to kill for anyone under my level. And if all goes well, he'll be unharmed.'
"Hoo, Fugaku, while Itachi has shown an impressive amount of thought about this I don't think we can wait five years…" An Uncle in the corner of the room pointed out. "In fact, by waiting five years it's entirely possible we'll have a new Hokage."
Itachi did not even look at him, "this Hokage may not be as prejudiced against the Uchiha, and may give us more freedom than we have now. In this case, we may not even have to fight."
"Fighting is what a Ninja is made for Itachi!" A heated youth across the room spat at him, "where is your Uchiha pride?"
"My Uchiha pride is non-existent," a theatrical gasp echoed through the room. "Ninja are not supposed to have any pride. A Ninja is a tool."
Fugaku smirked at Itachi's words, "Itachi, you are definitely an example to which other Ninja can only aspire to attempt to emulate."
Itachi did not reply, "To further counter your argument, who could replace the Sandaime? Jiraiya and Tsunade rarely come to Konoha, and the only options left would be Kakashi and astonishingly myself." Itachi's point this time was actually an honest one.
"Kakashi Hatake?" Fugaku said sharply, his expression hid a well controlled, yet clear fiery anger.
"Yes. He was my superior in ANBU while we shared a Squadron. He is very skilled, and possibly my only rival in all of Konoha's forces."
This comment was met with even more anger. 'The Uchiha are an angry bunch.' Itachi decided in a moment of clarity. "You seem to forget your place, Itachi," The Uncle from the corner seethed, "You think yourself superior to us?"
"I am definitely stronger than most, if not all, of the Uchiha Clan," Itachi said with full certainty. "And I was assured earlier in this meeting that we were all of equal importance. If that is still the case, you should not take that patronising tone with me, as I speak only the truth."
Fugaku let a rusty chuckle, while the rest of the room tensed, waiting for Uncle to move an inch. He did not.
"Itachi, how is Kakashi's opinion of the Uchiha Clan?" Fugaku ignored the tension.
Itachi (for once) followed his father's example, "Ever since his childhood relationship with Obito Uchiha, Kakashi has held the Clan in very high esteem."
The elderly Aunt muttered, "that trash at least did something right in his miserable life." A few other members of the clan mumbled in agreement.
Itachi narrowed his eyes at her. It was a motion noticed by Shisui and Fugaku. He continued, forgetting what she had said. Temporarily. "If Kakashi was made Hokage, we would have no trouble. If I were made Hokage, our job would already be done." He had made his point.
Fugaku nodded to him acknowledging his reasoning, "I am willing to postpone the liberating of the Uchiha Clan for a few years," he decided. Angry mutterings and disbelieving bounced around the room.
"But Fugaku-sama, the longer we leave it the sooner we could be found out!" An Uchiha woman cried, "Please reconsider!"
Fugaku looked at her sharply, "why would we be found out?" he asked carefully, "the only people that know are Uchiha who we know are loyal… Unless you are implying that you have misgivings on someone among us?"
Itachi saw the woman flush a deep red, "No Fugaku-sama, but you know how things are! Secrets do eventually get out!"
Fugaku looked at her firmly, "Not this one."
Itachi sat in his familiar spot on the roof of his Clan-house, he watched Konoha as the evening shifted to night. He let himself feel a moment of jubilation; he had started on his steps to putting a stop to the brewing Civil War on Konoha.
Now all that was required was simple planning, and a steady hand.
And Itachi, the thirteen year-old ANBU commander had both.