I am sorry this chapter took so long. This particular chapter was very important, one that would help shape the rest of the story to come. When you see it, you'll hopefully understand why I took extra time with this.

Ch. 81 Uchiha

This was it, the day Sasuke had waited for since the invasion of Konoha. The day his mother would return to him and issue her ultimatum. They could be a family again, at the cost of his vengeance, or she'd be just as much an enemy to him as Itachi was.

This had been on Sasuke's mind all month, making him appear continually distracted or adrift to others. This didn't stop people from trying to get back on his good side now that he had his sharingan back.

'They practically resented me when I lost my doujutsu, now they're trying to make me forget they ever did that.' He thought to himself as he did some target practice at Team 7's training ground. He came here for at least a semblance of feeling like he wasn't being watched, which in a shinobi village was very hard to actually accomplish. But back at his place, it felt like his mother was right there watching him, trying to pressure him into deciding what she clearly wanted him to.

'Dammit, why does she have to ask me that?' He rued while throwing some kunai, his issues affecting his aim and making him not really care about it. 'It's like she doesn't care that he killed everyone. Our whole family, her husband, everyone she knew. Why the hell would she not be demanding his blood like me?'

"You know Sasuke, traditionally the goal of training is to hit the target, not the ground." Kakashi commented carefreely while approaching his student.

"What do you want?" Sasuke groaned, feeling annoyed.

"Can't a guy see how his student is doing?"

"Somehow I don't think you'd be here if I was Sakura or Sai." Sasuke grunted. He had always been aware of his sensei's favoritism, not that he minded it. Hell, he had always thought he deserved it. But right now, Kakashi wasn't who he needed to talk to, if anyone.

"They don't have any problems right now. You do." Kakashi pointed out.

Sasuke frowned. "Like you have any clue to what my problems are."

"Yes I do. You're starting to doubt whether or not you're strong enough to face Itachi and-"

"You really think you know what's on my mind?" Sasuke asked loudly without actually yelling. "You think you're so smart? Remember back in Wave when you saw the wife of the Yondaime herself and her son? You said to her face that her son wasn't important at all. And look who that chump turned out to be."

The jounin had the good grace to look hurt and ashamed. He did remember that encounter, where he accused Kushina of cheating on Minato and called her son insignificant and a bastard child, all because he refused to consider the possibility that it was Minato's son. Sure the late Fugaku's genjutsu could be blamed for that, but even after Minato, back from the dead, told everyone what they had done to his son a part of Kakashi remained in denial. The very boy Kushina had with her, the boy that had been right in front of him, was his sensei's son and he hadn't even known it.

For the past month since the invasion and Konoha's proverbial asskicking, Kakashi had sequestered himself, throwing himself into his work and his porn while ignoring others as much as possible, all so he could deal with his inner turmoils. Or more accurately, deny them. He didn't want to believe that Naruto had been Minato's son. He didn't want to believe that Konoha had abused the boy to the point he sought safety in another village entirely. He didn't want to believe that Minato would choose another village over Konoha, over him. It went against everything he wanted to believe.

But the evidence was damning, and if Kakashi could be so wrong on something he wanted to be right on, what else was he wrong about?

Had there actually been a way to save Rin?

Did his sensei not respect him as much as Kakashi assumed?

Was he honoring Obito the wrong way this whole time?

"We're not talking about me Sasuke we're talking about you." He said, trying to get back on track.

"No, you're talking about me. I'm not talking at all." Sasuke said before turning around to leave.

Acting quickly, Kakashi threw out some monowire and bond Sasuke, with also resulted in him falling on his face. The jounin maneuvered his student to look up then stood over him.

"Sasuke, whether you like it or not, this is something you need to hear. You lost the sharingan once, you're afraid you could lose it again. And if that can happen, then how can you beat your brother?" Kakashi started. "Did you ever consider maybe... not going after him?"

Sasuke blinked. "Why would I do that?"

'Mom said she had people here working with her and keeping an eye on me for her. Was he one of them this whole time?' The young Uchiha asked himself.

"Itachi is powerful, but he's still a man. He's going to die someday like anyone else, be it at your hands or another. For all you know, he's already dead. Would it really be so bad if Itachi died without it being at your hands?"

Sasuke frowned. "But then my clan wouldn't be avenged."

"Do they need to be avenged?" Kakashi challenged. "For years you've been acting like the Uchiha have lost no honor or status at all. Like they lost only numbers but nothing else, so if that's the case then there's no lost honor to avenge. Which is it Sasuke? Have you been lying all these years? Or are you alone worth as much as the entire clan was?"

Sasuke didn't answer, mostly out of stubbornness but partly because he honestly wasn't sure what the right answer was. Was he truly that delusional? Or was he truly that arrogant?

"Either way Sasuke, maybe you should just let it go." Kakashi continued. "Yes everyone you knew is dead, but killing Itachi won't bring them back. And there's nothing stopping you from getting close to other people. And don't give me any excuse about doing so would put them at risk with Itachi. Your brother hasn't shown up for over six years. I think if he was going to come back for you he would have done so by now."

"What am I supposed to do? Pretend that night never happened? Let Itachi get away with it?" Sasuke asked, not just for Kakashi but for his mother even though she couldn't answer him right then.

"Have something else to live for. Don't act like killing Itachi is the end-all-be-all of your life. Because if you do think that, then you might as well die with your brother, for what else will you have to live for?"

Sasuke didn't answer, and Kakashi untied the wire before swiftly departing, intending to have his student think this over before getting back to him. The young Uchiha stood up and dusted himself off, not feeling any better, then left the training ground as well.


He mentally groaned and continued walking, pretending he heard nothing.

"Sasuke-kun wait up!" Sakura repeated, managing to catch up to him. "Didn't you hear me?"

"They heard you in the capitol." He grumbled. "What do you want?"

"How are you doing? How are your eyes? Any problems? I know how much they mean to you." She asked in a caring way.

"They're fine. As good as ever." He replied.

Sakura smiled. "Great! Is it true you also got to become a chuunin?"

Sasuke frowned. "They offered, but I turned it down."

Sakura lost her smile, replacing it with surprise. "What? Why would you do that Sasuke-kun?"

"Sakura, I didn't earn it. None of us got to the finals. None of us are strong enough to be chuunin."

"You are." The pinkette protested. "You were the top of the class."

"A class we haven't been in for about a year." He reminded her. "They were insulting me. They thought if they gave me a promotion I'd forget how quick they were to brush me aside when I lost my sharingan. My promotion was a bribe, a way to shut me up and cover their asses."

"No it wasn't." Sakura countered naively. "It was to show how much they respect you. No one in Konoha would disrespect you."

Sasuke glared at her, making her step back. "Oh really? So I imagined all those months when I didn't have the sharingan? I imagined all those people telling me that without my eyes I was a nobody to them? I imagined all the laughs and jeers from others that thought I couldn't hear them?"

"I... uh... c'mon Sasuke-kun, all that's in the past now. You have your eyes back and people love you again. So what if the promotion was a token one? No one else got offered one, you're the only one who deserves it. Isn't that saying something?"

Sasuke surprisingly nodded. "Yes, it's saying that Konoha loves my eyes but not me. I see the truth now Sakura, for years this village has been praising me nonstop for being the last Uchiha, but take away my eyes and suddenly they hate me. Did I stop being the last Uchiha at that point? No I didn't. Konoha doesn't give a crap about the Uchiha, the sharingan is all they care about."

"But it's not like you'll ever lose it again." Sakura stated.

"I lost it once, I can lose it again. Maybe permanently this time. Then how much will people 'love' me again?" He challenged. "I'm not going to accept any token apology of theirs if they have no problem telling me off the next time something like this happens."

"But it's not going to happen again. You're too strong for that." Sakura insisted.

Sasuke looked away in disgust and a bit of self-loathing. "That's what I thought before it happened."

Rather than continue this conversation he was already sick of, Sasuke used a substitution jutsu with a log to get away from his teammate, opting to take a different route home. It was fortunate for him that this time she wasn't able to find him before he got there.

'So this is Oto.' Yakumo thought as she took a stroll in the village, alone this time. 'I gotta admit, this does have a homey feel to it.'

Yakumo had only been here for a short time, so naturally she didn't quite feel at home in this village yet. Her mother had brought her to her new home, with a room already prepared for the young girl, and the two had been catching up. Yakumo hadn't realized just how much she had missed her mom until she had her back. Now, with Uroko at work and Naruto doing some training with his friends and wives, Yakumo was having some alone time just seeing the town.

At first glance, Oto reminded her of Konoha. It was only natural, the founders had been from Konoha and couldn't help but take some inspiration from it in creating their own city. The architecture was a little different, more rural and open, but the most obvious difference was all the buildings still looked new. None of them looked rebuilt, or damaged from invasion.

She walked down a street, looking at each building as she passed. There were some apartment buildings, a simple grocer, and what looked like a pharmacy on the upcoming corner, all of which looked similar and the same age. She also saw a ramen stand, and started to feel hungry.

"Welcome to Ichiraku Ramen." Ayame greeted when Yakumo entered. "What can I get for you?"

The painter sniffed the air, enjoying the brewing aroma. "I'm not sure. What would you recommend for someone who's never had this before?"

Ayame blinked then smiled. "I'd go with miso. A simple nonthreatening flavor to start off of, unless you want something more specific like beef, pork, shrimp, or vegetarian."

"I'll try the vegetarian one." Yakumo requested, taking a seat at a stoll.

Ayame nodded and got started, telling her father in the back to get to work on the other part of it. "Be glad our best customer wasn't here to hear you say that. He might blow a gasket to hear you say you've never had ramen before."

Yakumo took out some money her mother had given her to pay for her meal ahead of time. "Isn't it pointless to be so enthusiastic about food?"

"Maybe, but it hurts no one. He even gave my dad the idea for a new low-fat version of ramen. Dad's still trying to get the recipe right."

The door chimed and in walked another customer. It was a girl about Yakumo's age with short dark orange hair and wore a white shirt over a red dress. Her eyes were covered with bright pink sunglasses, similar to Shino except for the color, .

"Hello, welcome to Ichiraku Ramen. What can I get for you today?" Ayame greeted as the new girl took a stool at the counter, with only one separating her from Yakumo.

"I'll have some shrimp ramen thank you."

Ayame nodded and went to the back room to help her father work on the extra order.

Yakumo looked to the other girl. "Hi, I'm Yakumo. I'm kinda new to town."

The other girl looked at her for a bit in a way that would probably bother others, however thanks to having Shino as a teammate the painter was unfazed. "I'm Taeko, and what do you mean new to town?"

"I mean I just moved here from somewhere else."

"Oh, not something you'd expect in a ninja village."

"Are you a ninja?" Yakumo asked.

Taeko shook her head. "Not yet, I didn't pass last year but this year I will. As long as I get assigned decent partners for once." She then rubbed her right temple, as if she was getting a bit of a headache.

"So what's there to do in Oto?" Yakumo asked.

"You know how to roller-skate?" Taeko asked, and Yakumo shook her head. "You willing to learn?"

"Hello everyone, welcome to my humble home." The Wind Daimyo said to his guests. Standing next to him was his teenage son, dressed formally but appropriate for the desert heat.

"Humble's not a word I would use to describe this place." The Kazekage greeted back, leading the group into the ivory stone palace. 'The fountains here have more water than a single house in Suna uses in a week.'

"Ah Rasa, still got that dry wit I see." The daimyo replied, trying not to be annoyed.

"Wow it really is you." The prince said with excitement as he approached the one guest he actually wanted to see."I can't believe my eyes. The actual Yellow Flash of Konoha, right here in my house and back from the dead. You truly are the greatest kage ever."

"Please, be careful of the flattery when your own kage is right here." Minato replied with a friendly smile.

"Oh it's fine. Besides you're my guest here, it would be rude to not be polite." The daimyo stated on his son's behalf, then looked over the others. "And who are the rest?"

"I am Orochimaru, the leader of Otogakure. With me are my former teammates Jiraiya and Tsunade. I believe I told you we'd be here in our request for an audience."

The daimyo nodded. "Yes, I remember. But if you'll pardon me, the Yondaime Hokage kind of stood out more compared to the other names on the list."

"I'm not the hokage anymore, and I wish to have no affiliation with Konoha again." Minato claimed. "In fact, this is part of why we wished to speak with you."

"Oh really? Well, let's take a seat and discuss this matter."

The royal figure led them all to his throne room where the servants soon brought out an ornate table and some chairs and tea. Everyone sat down, Rasa and Minato on one side with the Sannin on the other, the Daimyo naturally taking the head of the table, his son next to him.

"From what I've heard, Suna and Konoha have been allies for quite some time." The Daimyo started. "I was quite surprised to hear that Suna had attacked the Leaf Village with the aide of another that I've never heard of. Of course that surprise faded when I heard the Yellow Flash was involved and deserted Konoha. I presume you're here to tell me your side of the story?"

"In a way, but not out of some need to justify ourselves." Rasa answered.

"Why not? You betrayed your ally. How can you justify that?" The prince asked in a clearly accusing way.

"Ally? They tried to destroy Suna, and this dynasty was willing to help them. If anything, I am the victim here."

"Daimyo-sama, he is not wrong." Orochimaru added in, knowing the ruler would be quick to dismiss the kazekage's claim. "The Sandaime Hokage had been trying to get Suna's jinchuuriki to go insane and destroy the village from within. It's only thanks to us getting to him first that Kazekage-sama didn't let that happen."

"And if you don't mind me asking, are the claims that you've been sending more business to Konoha true?" Minato asked. "Don't you realize how impractical it is to do that on a regular basis? Once in a while is one thing, but nine out of ten times is costing you more than you're saving."

"I prefer to think of it as investing in the return of the Hiraishin." The daimyo claimed simply.

"To what end? If Konoha had managed to recreate it, did you think Konoha would give it to Suna?" Jiraiya asked.

"When the time came I would have reminded them of all the generosity I've given them and persuaded them to return the favor."

Minato frowned. "You were trying to buy the jutsu?"

The daimyo looked up for a moment. "I suppose you could call it that, yes."

"And if Suna had gone bankrupt, who would have been left to use it?" Rasa asked.

"Me." The prince piped up. "This was never for Suna, I wanted the Hiraishin for myself."

"Yourself?" Minato repeated. "Are you a ninja?"

"No, and I don't want to be. I just like the Hiraishin and think it would be awesome to use."

The ninja were silent for a bit, then Minato, Jiraiya, and Rasa broke out into laughter. Orochimaru rolled his eyes though it looked like he wanted to laugh, and Tsunade simply shook her head in disapproval.

The prince glared at the ninja. "Stop laughing at me! Who the hell do you think you are to mock me?"

"My boy, we are much more familiar with jutsu than you are. They laugh, as disrespectful as it is, because your claim is in a word, naive." Orochimaru answered.

"Naive? In what way am I naive?" The prince asked, offended.

"Allow me to explain." Minato started, certain the daimyo's son would be more willing to hear this from him than from others. "The Hiraishin is a very advanced space-time ninjutsu. It is not something just anyone can do. Even someone who can do it would need years to learn it, learn fuinjutsu in general, and hone their body and chakra to be able to perform it ahead of time."

The prince scoffed. "Oh please, you ninja make it sound like all your fancy tricks are complicated, but if they were then there wouldn't be so many ninja in the world. And last time I looked, there's no shortage of you out there."

Minato frowned. "So you think all jutsu are something just anyone can do?"

The prince nodded. "They can't all be bloodlines."

"My son is right." The Daimyo agreed. "If my son could learn the Hiraishin he'd be a shining star among the other emperors and business would boom for our country, making up for any loss that Suna has suffered over the years."

"How?" Everyone asked together.

"How what?" The prince asked.

"How does you simply having the Hiraishin make you money?" Rasa specified.

The prince shrugged. "I don't know how it would have done so specifically, but I'm positive that having the Hiraishin would have made my reign prosper. So it wouldn't have mattered if your little sandpit of a village had some budget cuts over the years. It would have worked out in the end anyway."

Rasa frowned. "So that was your plan? Put your hidden village in a recession so you could buy a lost jutsu that you couldn't even use, and just hope it all worked out in the end?"

"What was your original plan if Konoha had refused?" Tsunade asked. "Claim they owe you the jutsu?"

The prince frowned. "We are owed that jutsu! After all the money we gave that village, I think I'm allowed to ask for one thing in return!"

"You can't use it." Minato stated. "You don't have the body, education, or chakra for it. Besides, the only person I have any intention of giving the jutsu to is my son."

"Namikaze-san, please be reasonable." The Daimyo said. "Surely an understanding can be reached. Perhaps you could teach my son how to use the jutsu?"

Minato frowned but didn't day anything right away, though he did turn to look back at the prince. "What would you do if I did give you the jutsu?"

"That's none of your concern." The prince scoffed.

"Answer the question."

The prince frowned and leaned forward. "Who are you to command me?"

"Son please, he is a guest and we must treat him with respect." The Daimyo told him, then looked back to the former Yondaime. "My son has been entranced by tales of your accomplishments in the last war since he was a child. He always wanted to learn how to do what you did, and for a time I hired some shinobi to tutor him, but in his youth he was rather impatient and didn't want to practice. Now that he's older he should be better prepared for such training."

"Sure doesn't sound like it." Tsunade muttered.

Minato kept his eyes on the prince. "Boy, are you prepared to do things like walk up trees, practice throwing kunai, making-"

"I don't want to do any of that." The prince cut him off. "I just want the Hiraishin. Nothing else."

"You can't do that. You have to go thru a lot of prerequisite training just to be fit enough to use the jutsu. What you're asking for is like asking for a boat but you refuse to learn how to sail."

Jiraiya nodded. "Yeah, at best all you're getting is a sword to put on display. And you can't even do that with a jutsu. So what do you want with it?"

"I want to have fun with it! I want to show off and prove I'll be the best daimyo ever! I want that jutsu, no other, and I refuse to accept your lie that I have to learn other stuff first! I don't want the other stuff, I want the Hiraishin!" The prince declared, pounding his fists on the table and rising to his feet.

"Sit! Down!" The Daimyo ordered to his son, who refused to obey. "Son, these people are the experts here. If they say you can't use the Hiraishin, then you can't use it. Like it or not, there are some childhood dreams you are better off outgrowing."

"No! I want the Hiraishin!"

"You can't use it!" All three sannin said together.

"And right now you're not acting like you're the kind of person who should be using it even if you could." Minato added.

"Do you want me to declare war on your village?" The prince asked in a clearly threatening way.

"Suna will not go to war with Oto." Rasa proclaimed.

"You will if I command it."

Rasa rose to his feet. "You are not the daimyo, and frankly you are unfit to be the daimyo." He then looked to the rightful ruler. "I strongly suggest you either reign in this child, or find a new heir."

"I'll... keep that in mind."

The prince turned to his father. "What? You can't be listening to him. I am the rightful heir."

"And you still have much to learn. Maybe more than I had thought. Either way, it's unwise to make an enemy out of the kazekage." He then looked back to the ninja. "I suppose more work should be going back to Suna, and perhaps my son should spend some time in the village. It'll give him some respect for the work ninja put into their routine."

"I don't want to spend all day in a sand pit." The son protested.

"It'll do him good to see how things really work." Jiraiya claimed. "This boy looks at us and thinks what we do is easy, completely ignoring what we had to do to get as good as we are. Therefore he assumes that anyone can have our talents and he can pick and choose which ones he wants for himself. It's like seeing Tsunade chug down dozens of sake bottles and assuming you can do that too." He then turned to his wife. "No offense dear."

"None taken, I actually agree with your comparison. I've earned my tolerance, and spending time seeing what ninja actually do might be a healthy dose of reality for this kid."

"I'm not going to that village." The prince repeated.

"Why don't you leave? We need to discuss real business." Rasa stated.

The prince looked to his father for support, but the daimyo shook his head. "Son, that would be best."

With an offended huff, the prince left the room.

"I apologize. I suppose some children just take longer to grow up than others." The Daimyo apologized. "So, what kind of agreement can we come to?"

The sun had set and the Anbu with night shifts were out patrolling the village to keep people safe. Sasuke sat in his bedroom looking out the window, as if to gaze at the moon, but he was really looking for something else. More specifically, someone else.

"Has this been a good month to you son?"

Only somewhat startled, Sasuke looked at the doorway to his bedroom to see his mother, unmasked, standing there, looking at him both with care and with caution.

"I was wondering if you had been bluffing." Sasuke told her, trying to hide how glad he was that she had come back.

"I never bluff Sasuke. Any threat you make, no matter how significant or insignificant, never bother making it at all if you're not willing to carry it out." She replied. "Have you decided?"

"I have to ask you something first." Sasuke claimed. "Why, why the hell don't you want Itachi dead?"

"He's my son. What mother would want her son dead?" Mikoto replied.

Sasuke frowned. "But he killed our family! He killed my father!"

"And which are you more upset about?" Mikoto asked.

Sasuke blinked then raised an eyebrow. "What do you mean?"

"What angers you more? That Itachi killed the clan, or that he killed your father?"

"Both anger me."

Mikoto narrowed her eyes. "And which one angers you more? Which one are you truly trying to avenge?"

"What's the difference Mom? What are you trying to say?" Sasuke asked, getting angry but not wanting to turn her against him.

"I'm saying are you doing all this just because now you'll never get to hear your father praise you?" Mikoto asked, getting in her son's face with fire practically in her eyes. It actually made Sasuke feel less than a foot tall. "Last month I said I was afraid you wanted to kill Itachi just to prove you could do it. But if you are an avenger like you won't shut up about, then who are you trying to prove that to? Yourself? Konoha? The clan? Or your father? Who's approval are you trying to get?"

Sasuke had never learned how to deal with someone trying to put him in his place, so despite the fact that this was his mother and he didn't want to get on her bad side, he was feeling offended and unjustly scrutinized.

"My father okay?! There you happy?! He's the one I've been trying to avenge! And why wouldn't I?! Itachi robbed me of any chance to ever get his praise! I can't avenge the entire clan! I don't even remember most of their names anymore! Why should I avenge them all?! I don't want their approval! I want his! I want Dad to finally say I'm the superior son! I want to be the one he's proud of! I want Itachi to be in my shadow!"

"And you'll never get that!" Mikoto yelled back, having to raise her voice to be heard. "Your father is dead Sasuke! Dead! He will never say that!"

"Hey, that blonde Oto nin got his father back from the dead! Why can't I?!"

"If bringing the dead back to life was that easy then why doesn't it happen more often?" Mikoto countered, then closed her eyes and took a deep breath. "Look Sasuke, I need an honest answer from you. What do you want more, me as your mom or Itachi as your victim?"

"I want both. I shouldn't have to choose." Sasuke declared.

"Well I'm making you choose. It's one or the other. You can come with me to Oto and we can be a family, but Itachi gets away scot-free and you never try to find him. Or you can stay here in Konoha and keep trying to make your father's ghost happy, but you will lose me forever. You don't get to have both Sasuke."

"Why not?! Why do you and Dad like Itachi more than me?!"

"That is not what this is about!"

Sasuke clenched a fist, as if he wanted to slug his mother. "Yes it is! You like him more than me! Why else would you want him to live?!"

"I told you already! He's my son too! You're not the only one!" Mikoto argued.

"Well if you really loved me like a mother should then you wouldn't have hidden from me for years and you'd be trying to help me kill him!" Sasuke proclaimed, stomping his foot for emphasis. "You had plenty of chances to tell me who you were, and you didn't. Don't bother bother telling me you couldn't, because you could. You stayed away because you wanted to. You don't really love me, you just feel guilty for everything and you're trying this dumbass way to make up for it. Well you know what? I don't need you anymore Mom."

Mikoto looked drained of anger, replaced with both pain and disappointment. She said nothing, just stared at her second born son.

'Wow, where'd that come from?' Sasuke asked himself, making sure not to visibly show any uncertainty. All this, this hostility, these accusations, he honestly didn't know why he was saying all this, but now that he had he felt like he had gotten a burden off him. 'Had I been resenting her this whole time and didn't know it?'

Mikoto closed her eyes for a moment, and Sasuke tensed, half-expecting her to activate her sharingan and attack him for insulting her. But when she opened them, they were still normal dark eyes, but sad.

"I see. I had hoped you had wanted a family again, but it seems you that unless you're the center of attention you don't want others around you. Perhaps you were happier thinking I was dead."

"Mom, I don't want you to go." Sasuke admitted.

Mikoto's eyes narrowed, but she was still more hurt than angry. "You don't want me to go, but you don't need me to stay? You still want to get the best of both outcomes without having to give up anything? I told you, I'm making you choose. Me, or Itachi. And if you won't choose, I'll choose for you, and I can promise you that you won't like the result."

"Why are you doing this to me?" He asked.

"Because you're too used to getting your way. If you come with me to Oto, that treatment is not going to continue. You will not be an elite, you will not be special, you will not be allowed to act like you own the place. You need to learn how to compromise, not just demand. That's what this is Sasuke, your compromise. A new life, at the price of your obsession and your so-called elite status. Do you accept it?"

Sasuke was silent for a bit, not liking the sound of this. Being an elite was a huge part of his identity, almost as much as him being an Uchiha. While Konoha might have loved him and built him up for selfish reasons, they had at least treated him the way he wanted to be treated. Significant, powerful, essential. They had shown their true colors, they valued him only circumstantially, but they did value him and would help him reach his full potential.

'But only until the next time Oto takes away my sharingan.' He thought. 'They did it before, they can do it again. And considering what happened in the Chuunin Exams, I only got it back because they gave it back. Next time they could take it away permanently, like they did with Kakashi-sensei. If that happens, then Konoha will never treat me like an elite ever again. And I'd never get the chance to fight against Itachi and win anyway.'

Sasuke's thoughts started to run away from him, and after a moment he sighed. "Mom, I... I don't like what you're asking, but I don't want to lose you a second time."

"Me neither." She said just before pulling him into a hug. Sasuke tensed for a bit, but returned it.

"I'll go, just give me a moment to pack."