Prologue:

Mikoto Uchiha paced anxiously. Her baby, Sasuke, was finally asleep on the living room floor, she hadn't wanted to move him for fear he'd wake. Her elder son, Itachi was playing shogi with one of his cousins, Shisui. The boy was a few years older than Itachi, but that had hardly stunted their friendship.

A sudden boom followed by an ear piercing scream startled both the children and Mikoto. "It's alright," she said in what she hoped was a reassuring voice. The children hesitantly resumed their game. She did not miss Itachi's questioning stare, nor Shisui's nervous tics.

Another far off scream. Another life ended. Mikoto could not take it anymore. "Itachi, Shisui, let's get to bed. It's very late." Perhaps their dreams will be better than their reality.

"But Mother," Itachi said. "Father's not back yet." The six year old child's eyes were worried. Despite his young age, Itachi had been exposed to more death than most men. There was resentment in those dark eyes as well; he had hated being stuck at home as much as she did.

"You need sleep," Mikoto asserted firmly. She wasn't stupid; she neither child would fall asleep. But she had to try. "Go to bed, please. I'll get you up when the fight's over. I promise."

Shisui and Itachi trudged to the younger boy's room. Mikoto wrung her hands nervously, biting her lip. Please be alright, Fugaku. You have to be alright.

Mikoto moved towards the kitchen to wash already clean dishes. She had to quiet her nervous hands; if she didn't do something soon, her kunoichi instincts would take over and she'd be halfway to the battle before she thought twice. As much as she loved her children, staying at home was killing her. She needed to be on the frontlines, fighting against the Kyuubi. Since her marriage and the birth of her first son she'd been sidelined, and she had never issued complaint or protest about it, even during the Shinobi War. But this was almost more than she could take. The night stretched on ahead, long and silent. The clock ticked off minutes as Mikoto's stomach bunched tighter. Gnawing on what was left of her lower lip, she ran her trembling fingers through her hair.

Knock! Knock! Mikoto flew to the door, pure adrenaline coursing through her veins, forcing her forward. She shoved open the door without hesitation.

Her brother-in-law Hiro stood there, a sorrowful look in his eyes and Fugaku's Head of Police designation in his hand. The insignia was broken and bloody. Without even thinking Mikoto knew what that meant. The world around her froze, and Mikoto felt herself fall to the ground.

"Mother?" Itachi's frantic voice called her. "Mother!" Sasuke woke up, crying and wailing. She had to get her baby. She had to comfort her older son. But she couldn't move.