Two brothers part 2
There was pain.
And nothing else had room to be.
There was pain.
And nothing else had room to be.
There was pain, and anguish.
An eternity of pain, anguish and familiarity. He had been through this before?
He had been through this before!
"Crucio!" They said.
And he was in a world of pain. Everything was hurting. There was no sense of self, he was pain personified.
When he was Harry again, for the shortest time, cruel laughing was abound. They thought they had won.
They were wrong.
They were with twelve and he was alone.
"Crucio!" A shrill voice yelled.
"Crucio!" A deep voice murmured.
"Crucio, Crucio, Crucio, CRUCIO."
They were twelve and he was one.
"They are twelve, but WE are one." He heard between the curses of the twelve. "And we stand above earthly things such as pain. My master."
It wasn't a conversation. It was a fact, he knew; he had heard it a hundred times over.
And so he stopped giving pain room. There was only Harry and no room for anything else.
With the opening of his eyes the pain receded. But light stayed away. It was dark; wherever he was.
He tried to sit upright; but there was something wrong. Chains surrounded his body, moving was impossible. Chains so tight his chest nearly burst when he breathed in.
His fingers were free though so he tried to rid himself of the inconvenience, only to find the soft feeling of tightly wound cloth.
Not chains, but bandages.
He wanted to undo them; but the exertion of coming out of the pain made him succumb to the darkness of sleep.
He awoke several times; just short moments. His bandages had been refreshed, they were still tight but his chest didn't seem to struggle as much against the unforgiving tightness as before.
But when the realisation came, consciousness went.
He had heard voices, low voices, male voices. They were talking. He couldn't quite understand them though. The words were muffled, they were far away.
He opened his eyes but it was dark, darker than any room had any right to be. Not even the faintest shimmer of light seemed to enter.
No that was false, for he could feel the breeze of an open window grazing his uncovered fingers.
It wasn't that the room was dark, it was that he could not see the light.
He was blind.
For a second he wondered how that was possible, before he remembered. His memory was crystal clear.
"Izanagi" deny the moment Orochimaru wanted to take over.
But that hadn't been enough; it wouldn't have ended the Sannin. And he had promised, vowed even, to remove that festering wound from this earth.
And so he had created a paradox. A second ''Izanagi' to deny the effect of his first one.
And as he had expected, had gambled on, Orochimaru fell into the abyss; where all things went that could've happened yet didn't.
The first time someone tended to him while he was awake he kept quiet.
The person's hands were rough, calloused, male hands.
He was unbandaged, unclothed, washed with lukewarm water. The window was still open for the wetness felt cold on his skin.
His mind drifted away as the movements on his body repeated, circling motions slowly lulling him to sleep.
"You're awake." A familiar voice said. He knew that voice; had heard it before. A hundred whispered words came back to him.
He could trust this disembodied voice.
Harry wanted to nod, he had no reason to deny that he was awake, but his neck wouldn't move. "Yes."
The voice spoke again, it had an amused ring to it. "You did something quite foolish. Brave. But foolish."
It wasn't a question so Harry didn't feel inclined to respond. He had done what was necessary. He had fulfilled his promises.
For a while it remained quiet. And with soft footsteps the man left his room.
Seven whole days had passed between his first conversation with the man and now.
They had a cycle; Harry would lie still, the familiar stranger would take care of him. They didn't talk. They had no reason to. They had said all that needed to be said with those few words. So why did the man do nothing but sit by his side.
Harry voiced his question. And he was answered with harsh words. "You are well enough to clean yourself."
Harry tensed. So the man had noticed?
He had always healed fast.
"Are you leaving?" He had to ask.
The man was silent; and without his sight he found it difficult to read the man's intentions. He had always relied heavily on what he could see.
"No." The answer was short. But it was sufficient.
"I see." Harry heard the man gasp. "Pun intended."
Three nights were filled with his skin feeling like it was slowly peeling off. "The Bijuu-chakra; it is a powerful two-edged blade." Harry had explained when the man asked what he had done to himself.
"But you're not a jinchuuriki?" It wasn't a question even though it was framed as one.
He didn't have to answer the question the man had actually asked. "I siphoned the chakra from an actual jinchuuriki." He trusted this person with his life, but the life of those he cared for not so much. After all, he had already proven to be able to kill his heart for the mission, it wouldn't do to tell him who he siphoned it from, Naruto was too important to him for that.
The man grabbed his hands and placed them around a bowl of soup, it was warm. He could imagine the steam coming off it.
He had yet to really get used to his blindness. "How much longer?" Harry took hold of the spoon which had been found by his thumb just moments earlier. When the man didn't answer he elaborated. "How much longer before you leave?"
The man didn't answer directly. 'Had he offended him?' "I won't leave."
The statement confused Harry. It could mean a myriad of things. "You won't leave?"
The man chose that moment to stand up and walk out of the room.
It had been painstakingly slow, his recovery, and while he still felt off he had walked out of his room for the first time. "You're out, good."
Despite knowing that it held no true function Harry's head turned enough to give the impression he could see the man. "It won't speed up my recovery to lay still in that bed. As comfortable as it might be."
"It won't. But now that you're out you're also able to do something that needs to be done." Harry the man pick something up. "Follow my footsteps, the space is clear."
Harry nodded and slowly made his way across the hall. He held out his hands to feel the wall, letting it guide him. The man opened a door, for the wind started to whistle and the wooden door was creaking.
He felt cold, the walls around him had kept the elements out, but he could clearly feel the temperature now. Was he still near Kuwain?
"It has been three weeks, your… friends, they deserve a proper burial." The man showed emotion in his voice for the first time. He had buried a lot of his friends, that much was clear. Of course he had nearly killed all of them himself, but still.
And then Harry felt it, the wound in his heart he thought that had already healed, burst open. "Yuugi, Koh." It came out stronger than he felt. They were dead, and he was dead on his feet. A walking corpse, at least that's what he felt like. The bandages probably didn't help his mental vision of himself right now.
"I went back for them after I found you." Harry heard a scroll rolling open and felt chakra spiking. A silent 'kai' and with a soft bang he could feel the dead.
The man pressed something in his hands. "It should be you." Harry felt what was given to him, a shovel. "The ground is soft here. They deserve to be buried by a friend."
Harry nodded and, with muscles that didn't quite feel healed just yet, he stabbed the shovel into the ground. A grave dug by his own arms, his friends deserved nothing less.
In Konoha another Uchiha was digging a grave as well, also for his friends but for a whole other reason. Kakashi-sensei had given each of them a place in the forests surrounding Konoha to prepare for an ambush. Sasuke had already rigged his part of the woods, thin threads that would snap if they received any kind of pressure. Snap and explode the explosive notes they were connected to.
It had been a costly investment, he would have to eat some of the rations he had at home or skip dinner altogether. But it was worth it to show his teammates and his sensei just what he was capable of.
He had a few hours left before Naruto and Sakura had to try and ambush him in his own part of the woods. Of course tomorrow he and Naruto would have to go up against Sakura. And he had found that she was scary. No scary wasn't the right word. When it came to setting traps she had become outright…
But neither of his teammates should be able to easily pierce through his defences. Even if they got past the web he had weaved with the strings and explosive notes… surely they would be stopped by his steel wire, after all; he had been training with it for countless hours these past weeks. Emitting chakra through the wire gave him an unparalleled amount of control over the area around it, he could feel it in his very core if anything got close to it.
By the time he was done setting everything up he had to wait a good half-hour before Sakura and Naruto's mission would start. He had already used a good half of his chakra to fill his wires up entirely. He wouldn't need to use much chakra, if any at all, to control it now.
Though it took a lot out of him to keep the connection open. He had to focus all his attention to keep control over the chakra that was coursing through the six kilometre of wire he had webbed around him. But so long as he didn't have to move the steel wire he could keep doing this for hours.
A rumble made it to his ear after a dull red light had painted the trees around him. Sasuke's head snapped towards the explosion. 'They're coming.'
Sasuke couldn't control the smirk that made it to his face. "They will definitely lose a point for warning me like that."
However the smirk turned into a thin line when Sasuke heard another explosive note go off, on the other side. "They're either trying to confuse me, or are they're stupid enough to separate?" Sasuke doubted the second, he had witnessed first-hand just how brilliant of a mind Sakura had, and it wouldn't do to underestimate the deceptive genius that Naruto actually was. The answer came to him when a third rumble made it to his ears; once again from a different location.
"They must be using Naruto's clones then, cleaning out their way to me." All of a sudden ten explosions occurred at the same time. 'Naruto… how uncouth.' Sasuke snarled. He hadn't spent his weekly allowance on the expensive pieces of paper just to let his teammates use it against him. He could feel his steel wire struggling not to give in against the strong air currents that came with the explosion. But with an iron will he forced his chakra to keep the wires down and hidden.
Another twenty explosions wreaked havoc on nature, his explosive notes must have been cleared out by now. Yet he still had no clue as to where his teammates were located.
Naruto nodded when Sakura motioned for him to stay behind her. So far she had taken the role of leader between them. The clones she had instructed him to use had all died a horrible, horrible death. He still hadn't gotten quite used to dying, well; his clones at least.
Sakura jumped into a tree. "Fuck." Naruto saw her foot being pulled upwards while steel wire wrapped itself around her. The only thing he could see of her after a full second was her head.
"Uhm, Sakura…" Naruto looked at her in astonishment. He hadn't known Sasuke could do something like this. Sure he had seen Sasuke use his wires to catch kunai in mid-air or use it as a sling, but nothing like this. "Can you move?"
Sakura tried to wiggle but failed. "No, I'm caught. Don't come near me!" she warned when Naruto got closer to her. "I think Sasuke can control this wire with his chakra, if he feels you coming in contact with it; this happens."
Naruto understood. He created five clones, two tried to help Sakura get out of her bind. They failed spectacularly. "You three, stay here and guard her. I'll find Sasuke."
Unrolling the scroll on his back Naruto created a bridge of sorts in mid-air, so he wouldn't have to walk on the ground or trees. Using chakra to harden the thick paper, allowing him to walk over it and stay away from Sasuke's steel wire. Naruto walked slowly though. Because Sasuke's steel wire was hard to see with his bare eyes, it didn't glister when the sun hit it because the bastard had matted the coating. And he wouldn't give him the satisfaction of winning without even facing his teammates.
Sasuke was panting, his chakra was nearly depleted. He wouldn't be able to keep this up for much longer. Keeping one of his teammates trapped within his wire was taxing. Especially because he couldn't just wound her, snap her legs or neck. Even though his wire was perfectly capable of both. He could even use it to sever limbs.
Yes, he liked his steel wire a lot.
It had been ten minutes since he had trapped Sakura and he had another minute at most to keep his jutsu running before he would have to withdraw his chakra.
Sasuke felt something approaching, and looked around. Left, right? It was from above! He recognized the thin paper of Naruto's paper scroll immediately and made sure it would not catch him. Naruto himself was nowhere to be seen, probably hiding.
Using his connection to the steel wire he sucked the chakra back in, letting the steel wire go slack trading the powerful jutsu for mobility. The chakra he got back was nowhere near the amount he had pumped into the jutsu. He had one, maybe two fireballs in him. 'Better use smaller jutsu then.'
Naruto's paper came crashing down, hitting the spot Sasuke had seated himself just a few moments before. The earth gave in and exploded up. 'Damn it, he has gotten better with it.'
Unrolled the scroll was as fast as a thrown kunai, Naruto could manipulate its length and width. It wasn't as sturdy as his own steel wire but it didn't need to be; because even torn pieces were dangerous, If Naruto had prepared the paper before.
Sasuke crouched before darting away as the paper came for him once more. It was faster than him and soon circled him, creating a dome. "Hah! I've got you." Naruto yelled, making himself known. Inside the dome Sasuke saw the blank paper making way for inked paper as giant seals formed.
"Give up Sasuke, I've got you now."
Sasuke gritted his teeth. It wasn't over yet. He had prepared this place, rigged it to his advantage. 'Kawarami'. With a push of chakra he traded places with one of the bigger logs he had placed around.
He heard Naruto curse. 'And so the hunter becomes the prey.'
Sasuke, as silently as he could, made his way around Naruto and prepared to capture him as well, I have just a few meters of steel wire left; but it should be enough.
Naruto didn't do much, he looked like he was just standing there. Going through the handseals he had been taught years ago he created a "Goukakyou no jutsu." To incinerate Naruto's main weapon; the scroll.
Shock came over him when instead of burning the paper, Naruto and his scroll remained perfectly intact. 'What's going on?'
A kunai was pressed to his throat. "Capture, success." He heard Sakura whisper in his left ear. Before his eyes the Naruto he had attacked seemed to shimmer out of existence.
"You used Genjutsu." Sakura removed the kunai from his throat, he turned around to see her nod. "Where is Naruto?"
Sakura pointed up. And there was Naruto, floating on his scroll. "Since when can you use it to fly?"
Naruto scratched behind his ear, as if it was itching and gave him a goofy smile. "I practiced on it all night…"
Sasuke shook his head… "Of course."
All three genin turned around when with a whirlwind of leaves their sensei appeared. "Well done, all of you." It was rare to get such a compliment from their teacher. It filled him with pride.
"Now, report. Every mistake you made or saw in your plans; or that of your teammates'
Harry sat still. The man was standing behind him. "I know it doesn't do to dwell on the past." He said.
The man merely placed a hand on his shoulder. "You spend this time dwelling on the past as much as you need." The touch of his hand was comforting, even though the flesh under the bandages was still soft and easily irritated. "Just remember to stay in the present, there are still those who need you around."
Harry knew that. He had people who cared for him, even if it were only a few. A sole tear escaped the fortress of his blind eyes. "I never told them."
The hand left his shoulder and ruffled his hair. "You didn't have to."
Harry swallowed. He hadn't told them a lot, hadn't told them who he really was, hadn't told them of his real plans for the future. He had been himself yet had put up a façade for them. But the man was right. They already knew. They had understood him better than anyone else in this world.
"As soon as I'm healed, I need to go back to Konoha." Harry's hands clenched the fabric of the pants he was wearing.
"I will join you."
"Are you sure?" Harry asked in return. He knew that it wouldn't be easy on either of them.
The man shrugged. "The time is not there yet."
Tsunade had hated the village that had taken everything she loved away from her. So when the Hokage, her old sensei, had sent for her she had declined respectfully. Only for the man to send an Anbu squad next. "Sure, I'll come with." She had told the masked shinobi when her student Shizune had begged her to go.
It took a full six days before she was in the Hokage-tower. She had refused to walk faster than absolutely necessary. If she could stay away from that place a minute longer she would sign anything for it.
Shizune was walking just a few steps behind her, Tonton in her arms as if the pink animal were a purse.
She had slammed the door open and faced her old teacher as if he was the enemy. "Sensei. You ordered my presence?"
Old man Sarutobi simply nodded. "I hope you have been well since we last saw each other?"
Tsunade ground her teeth, so he would act like that; fine. "Sensei, cut the crap and just tell me what you want from me."
The change was instant, the old man in front of her turned into the Hokage within the blink of an eye. "Take a seat."
"I'd rather stand." Tsunade folded her arms under her hefty chest.
"Sit." His voice wasn't strict but Tsunade knew when she crossed a line. She shove the chair back a little and seated herself. "Good, now I need you to understand that what I have to say will have to stay between just the two of us for now." He didn't look at her while saying that though, he looked at Shizune and Tonton.
"Fine; Shizune, go make preparations for us to stay the night." Shizune left with a quick confirmation. "Now, sensei, tell me."
"Last week I received a scroll brought to me by a crow." Opening one of the drawers in his desk the Hokage retrieved the scroll and gave it to her.
She opened it and read the short message in it. "He's dead?"
Tsunade felt several feelings rising up. "Good."
"Read the rest." He urged her, Tsunade did and her eyebrows rose.
"So it was a cover-up after all?" She tossed the scroll back. "Really sensei?"
Hiruzen folded his fingers and looked her dead in the eye. "The boy did what needed to be done." No wonder she hated this village. As if the death of an entire clan, a founding clan, could be explained with just a few words.
"You want me to perform the operation?" She asked reluctantly.
Tsunade sighed. "I won't do it out of the kindness of my heart, I don't do charity."
"You will be compensated, of course." He smiled at her. "Triple S-rank pay should cover it."
'Dammit.' Tsunade cursed silently. She was a sucker for money. "I will leave tomorrow."
"Thank you, Tsunade-hime."
AN: Short chapter yet a very important one. We are nearing the time of the Chuunin exams in the Original timeline. Some things have changed, some things haven't. But yeah.