I am intending this to be a multi-chapter fic; I'm shooting for around five, but if I exceed that then certainly less than ten.

I posted this in the 'supernatural' genre but most of the story is not written with that element involved. At the end of the prologue you will understand why.

The prologue takes place pre-massacre. The rest of the story takes place pre-Konoha.

There will be explicit sexual situations, violence and language.

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.

As his last official mission as a jounin, Uchiha Itachi hadn't expected the Sandaime to send him on what seemed to be a wild goose chase.

After this mission was completed, he was scheduled to join the Konoha ANBU ranks. It wasn't a group that Itachi particularly wanted to become a part of, but his clan had pressured and pushed him into making it his goal to be accepted. Considering Itachi's status as one of the most prodigious shinobi in his current generation of ninja, everyone knew he was pretty much a shoo-in, even if he wasn't personally setting out on joining. His clan was proud, but not for reasons one would think for advancing so far up the ninja ladder. This was all going according to their meticulously developed plans. This seemingly innocuous and even ostensibly beneficial move made by the Sandaime was just one more step in securing the position that the Uchiha clan were working hard to attain: village takeover.

It wasn't until recently that his father and clan council informed him of all their scheming, undermining of the Hokage, and devastating intentions. Itachi could only attach extremely negative connotations on his clan's actions because he was very much against what was going to occur.

The truth was, he was resentful of his status of genius shinobi because it carried the heavy burden of certain expectations from his clan. If he was given the choice between being a shinobi or living a civilian life, naturally he would choose safeguarding his village by way of the ninja, but because of his position as Uchiha clan heir there wasn't a choice, his own personal preferences of how to conduct his life taken completely out of his hands for the sake of a horrible cause. Itachi knew that it was easy for a person to love what they are when it comes naturally to them – like him being an inherent phenomenon of shinobi wonder – but already, as a twelve-year-old, he was world-weary and jaded from his life as a ninja, demurring his status and the preconceived notions it brought on. He had already been through one world war. He had seen countless shinobi and civilians die at a very young age. He witnessed the near-destruction of his home from the kyuubi attack. It was a hard life, and again, if he was given the choice he could take on his position with pride for his village, but there was no choice. Now, there were only clan lectures of Konoha's betrayal and plans to fight for what they deemed as rightfully theirs.

How was Itachi to deal with this? They were his family, after all, but everything in his being wanted to stop them from obtaining their evil objective. There was no way only he, himself, could go against his clan. He wondered what the possibilities would be if he openly displayed his disapproval. Knowing his father and knowing that he knew his father claimed they needed Itachi, Fugaku would find a way to neutralize him. The rest of the clan – even the elders – would probably do away with him permanently to ensure silence. Itachi thought about discussing this with Shisui, but knew that was definitely futile. Shisui would readily agree that Itachi possibly exposing the Uchiha and making them vulnerable was not something that could be risked and would agree Itachi needed to be killed. Shisui might be Itachi's closest friend, but Itachi knew the clan was the most important thing to him and killing Itachi would be a small sacrifice to guarantee the continuation of the Uchiha. His mother would more than likely go along with anything his father proposed, and Sasuke...

Sasuke was still so young and completely unaware of what went on in the late-night Uchiha assemblies and what the hushed words behind closed doors were about.

Inevitably, if all the Uchiha plans would be meted out successfully, his younger brother would then have to endure the harsh realities of being a shinobi in war, but in a different respect. Itachi had been through war against other countries, but Sasuke's battle would be right in his home, against his own comrades. To Itachi, that was hundreds of times worse than what he had experienced, but what really had Itachi's stomach turning violently with anxiety was the possibility that Sasuke wouldn't survive the subsequent battles the rest of the Konoha Shinobi would start up, attempting to win their village back. The thought of losing Sasuke to something ludicrous like a coup d'etat was unfathomable. Sasuke was his precious little brother, and no victory his clan could gain would be worth even risking Sasuke's life.

However, no matter how many nights Itachi stayed awake, desperately seeking a way out of this, to stop the plans of his clan, for there to be peace between his family and Konoha, it was all still going to happen and there was really little he could do to stop it. So, with a detached sort of participation he included himself in the plot, but when he was told he had made it into ANBU, something inside of him had snapped, and he could no longer go along with carrying out the deed of an Uchiha takeover. They had to be stopped. But how?

Itachi did thorough research and sought the opinions and facts from other ANBU so he could feel fully prepared once he officially donned the porcelain mask as a black op. His studies at the academy gave a vague, generic layout of what the duties of a special operative in Konoha consisted of, but even then Itachi knew it was only because many of the assignments ANBU conducted were to remain classified because much of what occurred was too incorrigible to write in textbooks children five years-old would be reading.

Part of this knowledge made Itachi apprehensive. He understood a black op was directed to carry out assassinations...something Itachi was not comfortable with. If at all possible, as much as a shinobi can manage, Itachi preferred to avoid any confrontation with an enemy that would require a fight to the death. Itachi actually despised fighting, vehemently abhorred killing for the sake of killing. Of course, no matter what side a shinobi is on, they would all claim there is always a reason to fight and kill; love, power, money, vengeance...

This reality, coupled with his immanent shinobi prowess, caused shinobihood to make too many hits to Itachi's integrity.

He always thought things happened for a reason: there was a reason why he was born, a reason why he was given the gifts he had, a reason why he was an Uchiha, a reason why he was born in the Leaf...he still had to discover his reason for living on the cusp of what history could possibly consider the largest devastation his home will ever experience. What was the purpose of all of his achievements that led him to becoming an ANBU at twelve? It was unheard of but Itachi felt absolutely no joy or accomplishment in it.

Itachi was not one to bemoan his lot in life but make use of it as efficiently as he knew how. Becoming an ANBU meant he could be extremely useful to Konoha and the Hokage in more ways than just the typical ANBU missions. Infiltration, surveillance, and espionage are all the essential components of what ANBU does on a mission. If Itachi wasn't an expert in all three he wouldn't have made it to the black ops, but what the Uchiha didn't know was how Itachi would be combining all of the necessary constituents of an ANBU mission right in his own backyard. He would be serving as a spy for Konoha. His objective: to relay to Konoha as much information as can be acquired about the plans of the coup d'etat.

But for now, as Itachi traveled at blinding speed with chakra-enhanced footfalls through the forests bordering Fire Country and Yu no Kuni, his current objective was to attain a scroll of veritable value for the Fire Daimyo. It had been stolen from within the Daimyo's compound and Itachi was tasked with finding the perpetrator, dealing with him, and delivering the scroll to its owner. As an ANBU, Itachi knew the thief would have to be assassinated. As a jounin, he was going to use his sharingan to erase the person's mind of their endeavor and the intent of wanting to steal the scroll altogether. No bloodshed. That was how Itachi preferred it.

Itachi had been traveling nonstop since he left Konoha, and that was over twelve hours ago. He jumped to the next tree and decided to take a short break. He knew he was not far from the border, the last place the bandit was estimated to have reached in their hurried excursion to escape, but since his location was undetermined it was Itachi's responsibility to find him. He sat down on a branch, leaned back against the tree and drank from his canteen. Through the canopy of trees he took in the moon's appearance. It was late morning when he departed from Konoha. It was probably nearing midnight. He wasn't particularly hungry, but decided to snack on a fig bar. He didn't know whom he was going to come upon and needed all of his strength in preparation for when that time came.

As much as he knew he should focus one-hundred percent on the mission, his subconscious still involuntary wandered to the concerns surrounding his home and family. No matter what course of action and outcome, someone was going to get hurt and many shinobi, innocent or not, will die. Itachi sighed heavily, bringing a weary hand to his forehead to wipe at the nonexistent perspiration at his brow. He and the Hokage had sat and discussed this for hours with no ideal solution.

It happened quickly, making Itachi question if it even happened at all, but he felt it: the unmistakable aura of a chakra signature. Someone was near enough for him to sense it, but then it disappeared just like that. Silently, Itachi slipped his pack off his shoulders and set it on the branch. He unclasped his weapons holster and removed a kunai before stealthily dropping to the ground. He moved furtively along the forest floor in the direction of the chakra he felt. The hushed sounds of the forest were eerie, like a bad omen, leaving Itachi with a foreboding feeling in his gut. Distantly he registered the hooting of an owl, but more distinctly the gentle brushing of the leaves of the trees from the slight breeze. No other sounds prevailed as his soundless footfalls followed his now prey.

There, again, the signature emerged suddenly, but then was gone. It reminded Itachi of the circling light of a lighthouse, pulsating brightly, then as the beam makes its way around the circle it becomes dimmer until it comes into the line of sight of the viewer again. It was like this person was flashing their chakra, and once they sensed Itachi following, they would suddenly mask it. Itachi was being led somewhere, he was aware of this, but as long as he maintained his guard he would not be caught first.

Itachi activated his sharingan, and a bright spark of blue chakra illuminated slightly to his left, but then disappeared again. This was strange, and trusting his instincts, instead of directly following the person, Itachi backtracked and decided to arc his way to the side of the person and come at them from their front. Itachi noted there was no killing intent, but that did not reassure him. When he went around and was coming upon the person once again, he was slightly dismayed to discover they had ducked into a cave. He did not sense any other signatures so the circumstance of an ambush was ruled out, but then why would a person deliberately trap themselves into an enclosed area? A trap awaiting him instead?

Itachi carefully made his way inside the cave. It was strategically hidden. If Itachi hadn't been led here purposefully he would not have noticed it, would have mistaken it for a closed natural structure of the earth. His sharingan eyes roamed the dark cavern and it wasn't very deep; indeed, about fifty paces or so he would reach that signature that now was no longer veiling themselves.

When he rounded a bend and finally saw the person, he was was dumbstruck to see that it was a woman. He immediately deactivated his sharingan and could only stare in wonder at the scene before him. She glowed with a soft luminescence that appeared ethereal, unnatural. Itachi felt like he was viewing a person that had been on a projection screen, had been plucked out and was now standing before him.

Not only did her otherworldly appearance cause him to halt in astonishment, but her beauty was astounding. He had never seen anyone as magnificent as her. She had long, dark blond hair, its gentle tendrils falling softly down over her shoulders to her waist. She had kindly, yet sharp golden eyes that shone brighter than the shroud of incandescence she was emanating. She appeared to be a few years older than Itachi, but not too many, like a girl reaching the pinnacle of adolescence and coming into adulthood.

Itachi blinked slowly in shock when she suddenly chuckled lightly.

"Finally, I have discovered an Uchiha so pure of heart." Her voice sounded like the gentle cascade of a light waterfall, or the soft, smooth surface of velvet. It completely disarmed Itachi and made his insides feel extremely warm and pleasant. He briefly wondered if he was dreaming. Certainly this couldn't be real.

As if she cast a spell of immobility onto him, he remained motionless when she approached. Itachi, still being so young, stood a few inches shorter than her and stared fearlessly into tender pools of gold.

"For decades I have waited patiently for this occurrence." The smoothly running lines of her voice ran over Itachi like silk brushing his skin. She slowly reached a hand out and removed a piece of loose hair from his face. "Ironic that you would appear so much like him." She sighed wistfully, and the sound reminded Itachi of a flock of butterflies fanning around and away from him.

"I have led you here, young Uchiha, because I have a story to tell. Would you like to hear it?"

Itachi immediately nodded mechanically, feeling like his head was connected to his body by a mere piece of string or wire and someone was controlling his movements.

The small, indistinct voice in the back of his mind was asking all kinds of questions: why was this happening? Who is she? What kind of story? Who is him...question after question revolving around in his mind, but he managed to keep his full attention on the angel before him.

Tenderly, she touched two fingers to his forehead and suddenly all he saw was black and he lost consciousness.