Survive with Me
~Chapter 1: through massacre~
"So this is Kabuto's lab, huh?" Suigetsu grinned as he inclined his head Jugo's way.
The unmoved male made no attempt to answer, still ignoring Suigetsu who was teasing him arrogantly awhile back. They were now standing in front of the gaping whole Jugo formed trying to smash Suigetsu's face in.
If anything, Suigetsu pondered, it was a good thing Jugo's monstrous strength could actually bring some good to their fruitless venture. Discovering Kabuto's lab will definitely please Sasuke.
"Oh stop being such a drama queen, that's Sasuke's job!" Suigetsu laughed heartily and took to looking in the lab without Jugo.
The taller of the two stayed outside, taking no interest in Suigetsu or the lab. He'd rather take this chance to savour his time away from the loud silver haired swordsman in quiet. A little pressure made its way to Jugo's shoulder; he turned to see a small black bird. It was unfamiliar to any bird he's ever seen in his life.
The small bird sang an eerie and almost tragic-like tune, as if it was commencing a ritual of its own. It sounded like it was getting ready for the coming of death.
The bird flew away a little after, leaving the miserable sound hanging in the air. Jugo stared after the direction it had gone to until Suigetsu came and shoved a scroll into his view.
"Jugo…"The usually talkative swordsman actually seemed at a loss for words as he placed the scroll into Jugo's hands.
Jugo read through the first few sentences. They shared a look and the orange haired teen nodded, acknowledging the power of the forbidden scroll.
This would help Sasuke more than they had planned.
Sasuke had his eyes closed as specks of sunlight hit his face. If anyone were to see him, they'd never suspect all the turmoil and darkness that had already consumed his soul. He looked at peace on the outside, but inside he could think of nothing but destruction and revenge.
Anyone would be able to picture a perfect prince just by looking at him. They'd imagine that he'd have the perfect family, and a flawless heiress girlfriend.
It almost made him laugh thinking of such things.
Hearing a bird perch itself on a branch near himself, he slowly opened his eyes.
It was black, and had silver eyes that glittered like pearls. It opened its beak and released the tune it had sung for Jugo not too long ago.
He found comfort in the melancholic tone and decided to keep the bird alive. The bird was luring him in, singing him wishes of the impossible, and the forbidden. He felt trapped in desire.
His trance was cut short, hearing his two teammates not too far away. They usually took their time, but telling by the sweat that trailed down their faces, they had rushed to get back.
Suigetsu and Jugo stopped to catch their breath, stopping right under the tree Sasuke sat himself in. Suigetsu took a container from his cloak and greedily drank from it. He was already dehydrated.
The bird chirped happily as it hopped onto Sasuke's shoulder, it jumped joyfully, like it was about to achieve something it had been longing for in a while.
Jugo's eyes widened at hearing the same unusual bird that he had hoped he wouldn't have to see again. The bird smelled of corpses and its eyes sparkled with malicious intent. To see Sasuke letting it sing for him was, in Jugo's opinion, a horrifying view in itself.
If Jugo could come up with a name for the tune, he'd call it the tune of death.
And it seemed to be Sasuke's favourite melody.
He jumped down gracefully with practiced expertise. "So? Did you find anything useful for me?" He sounded calm and uninterested, but both Jugo and Suigetsu knew he'd be pissed if they came back from a four hour trip with nothing.
They shared a look. Suigetsu nudged Jugo with his elbow, signalling for him to hand the scroll over to Sasuke.
Jugo hesitantly brought it out, taking a glance at the bird whose eyes glinted with delight as the scroll touched Sasuke's fingertips.
The Uchiha unravelled the forbidden scroll, activating his Sharingan to read the long document. Upon finishing, Sasuke could feel his palms sweat. He was drastically losing his composure as his heart started beating rapidly with utter excitement.
It hurt to breathe just thinking about the prospect, the possibility…. of his family and clan being revived.
It was the closest thing to reversing time and taking back everything that had happened to him. He'd get back everything Konoha took from him, his parents and maybe even Itachi.
He didn't know what to feel, and so he laughed. He laughed heartily, crazily, and overall just plain insanely. It was like he was cheating death itself!
Jugo immediately regretted handing over the scroll to Sasuke, but he knew it was too late to turn back.
Sasuke was set on bringing his clan back.
His laugh turned into a mere chuckle, until he finally settled into grinning like a fool.
"This is where our paths separate, Jugo, Suigetsu." Sasuke turned to leave, waving goodbye with a single flip of his hand.
Suigetsu spit out his water, sputtering incoherent words as he let his mind try to process that Sasuke had left their team just like that.
He didn't even say thanks for the goddamned scroll.
"That piece of Uchiha shit! What are we gonna tell Karin." Suigetsu face palmed himself.
Jugo silently looked toward where Sasuke had left. And he wondered just what would be in store for them now.
Sasuke walked through the forest, feeling elated with the current feeling of infinite power. He clutched the scroll in his hands, imagining just how great it will be to have his whole clan back again. Their legend would live, and he wouldn't have to endure with these burdens alone anymore.
Abandoning his quest for revenge sounded like the most appealing thing in the world at the moment. Even if he had worked hard for it, suffered through all of it and had all this power, it meant nothing because nothing could bring back what he lost. This power he has can't bring them back.
This power is worth shit without his clan.
Finding a clear opening in the forest, Sasuke put down the scroll and rolled it out.
He summarized everything he had read, simplifying the consequences which seemed to sound like nothing he couldn't handle. Sasuke recited his summary out loud, wanting to hear himself recite the forbidden jutsu that would finally lead him to peace.
"The fukou no jutsu can take one's moment of tragedy, and transfer it to another person. The other person does not have to comply with this, since he/she is specifically chosen by the jutsu. It will only go to a person who was in the most similar situation as you at the time of your tragic occurrence. Your burden will be living with the guilt of transferring the heavy duty of your misery to someone else."
Sasuke chuckled at the terms. What weak conditions the creator of this jutsu came up with! Whoever the misfortune of his clan being massacred will go to, he could care less about it. He will probably never see the person in the span of his lifetime. It could be anyone in the shinobi world! Fuck guilt, it was a much less heavy burden than his whole clan disappearing right before his eyes.
He readied himself to activate it, reading the various complicated seals he had to perform to awaken its ability. His eyes set into his Sharingan, concentrating fiercely on every detail.
If this scroll ended up being a hoax, he'd burn the whole forest into ashes and go on a fucking killing spree.
The trick was to get all one thousand seals correct down to every inch of the scroll with one single execution. He thought of how impossible it would be if he didn't have his Sharingan.
Actually, it was almost as if the scroll was made solely for an Uchiha to decipher. It was sketchy, but Sasuke was far from giving a damn.
The seal instructions were black, hollow and reminded him of how empty of purpose his life has become. He could hear the symbols on the brown, tattered paper tauntingly whispering into his ears of failure. There were so many of them. His hands were shaking, so he decided to sit down, calming his body and mind as he breathed in and out repeatedly.
He heard a chirp to his right, and it sounded rather… impatient. The black bird followed him into the forest.
Sasuke threw a kunai in its direction in irritation, though it dodged with agility not meant for an average bird.
He ignored it and stood up once more. He shut out all the sounds around him and concentrated on his own thoughts, on the scroll laid out right in front of him, and the feeling of his pupils forming into the well-known shape of the Sharingan.
He was ready.
He wanted this.
He'd get his clan back.
He started off carefully, chanting the symbols as he went along. For every symbol Sasuke performed right, it would turn bright red and would sizzle with smoke. He was only at 200 and he was already at his limit.
He sweat profusely and put more chakra into his eyes. It hurt like hell.
His hands were starting to cramp.
He felt like passing out.
His hand slipped, and his heart stopped. He corrected it hastily and sighed with utter relief when the scroll counted it as a right seal.
He felt his knees give out and he fell to the ground with a thud. He breathed in heavily, wiping the sweat off his forehead with a sigh. The black bird who had been watching so intently was now flying high in the sky, circling the area Sasuke was in with gusto. It swooped down and bit Sasuke's ring finger, drawing blood immediately.
Sasuke threw it off to the side, hissing profanities as he looked over the damage the bird had done to his finger. It wasn't too much, but Sasuke was beyond pissed. He was beyond enraged.
Nothing came out of his seal work. Sasuke expected a flash, or maybe a rift that would open so he could go to his life with his clan back.
Nothing, absolutely nothing. He was merely a child hoping for all these things he wanted but couldn't have.
"DAMN IT ALL!" He roared, clutching the scroll in his hands, ripping it into tiny, indistinguishable pieces. He used the Sharingan to burn it until nothing was left but ashes.
It started raining abundantly and Sasuke just wished he had not hoped for anything to begin with. Kami must really not exist. And even if he does, he's a cruel bastard who can't find anything better to do than to fuck with peoples' lives.
He felt a presence behind him, stopping his outburst immediately.
Sasuke held his breath in. He strained his ears to hear for that familiar voice through the hard patter of the rain. It sounded too real to be true...
"You'll catch a cold. Okaa san will be mad at you, but the blame will most definitely fall on me for not bringing you home sooner." Itachi walked over to Sasuke, with a red umbrella in hand.
Sasuke didn't make a move. He'd already forgotten how to breathe, and now he was at a loss for words. This was fake. It's probably some kind of genjutsu. It's not real.
"Not real. He's not real." Sasuke whispered under his breathe, tears threatened to fall and he tensed at feeling the rain stop because of the protection of his brother's umbrella.
Itachi crouched down and poked Sasuke in the head.
"Let's go home."
Sasuke let the tears fall freely, surprising Itachi immensely. Itachi ruffled his younger brother's hair, still bewildered of why he was crying.
He remembered that when he was younger he'd get annoyed when his brother would treat him like a child. But this time, he just didn't want it to stop.
Sasuke wiped his eyes and replied with a simple, "Yeah, let's go… aniki."
Genjutsu or not, dream or not, Sasuke would make the most out of this.
He walked alongside Itachi in silence. That is until curiosity finally caught hold of Sasuke and he just had to ask about the rest of the clan.
"So, aniki, how… is the clan?" It felt weird on his tongue, the words left his lips awkwardly because he was having trouble recalling the feeling of actually having a clan.
Itachi's eyebrow rose in question as he pondered about his brother's unusual behaviour. He let it be and decided to go along with his brother's abnormal actions for now.
"The clan is as it should be. It maintains its high priority in Konoha and we are still the leading clan in the village." Such basic knowledge should not surprise his brother, but Sasuke's eyes seemed to glisten with excitement and nostalgia.
They ran for the rest of the way since they were a little far off from Konoha.
Upon making it to the gates, Sasuke paused, stopping Itachi as well in the process.
"What now, Otouto?" Itachi was not irritated, he was more exasperated that annoyed really. Sasuke was acting like he hadn't seen him in years. Somehow, his actions showed he wasn't used to being in Konoha. He seemed to know nothing about their clan and Itachi senses a sort of unexplainable distance between them.
Itachi decided to analyze Sasuke a bit further, thinking more about this matter wouldn't hurt. He was just really concerned about his brother's well-being. His chakra signature did not change, so it must be him. Even so, keeping an eye on his otouto would be the safe choice at the moment.
Itachi walked off towards the direction of their part of the village, the Uchiha compound. Sasuke trailed after, hesitating, anticipating what would meet him there. His parents? Could he really face them and act normally? He was too excited to think of anything else.
Sudden loud cries of horror could be heard to their right.
"Massacre! A massacre!" Sasuke stopped in his tracks. Could his clan have been massacred again? The thought made him sick to the stomach.
This is not a genjutsu, nor a dream, it's a nightmare.
Itachi took hold of Sasuke by his shoulders, signalling for him to get a grip on himself. Sasuke was as stiff as a tree and seemed to be losing himself. But a single question racked his mind. If Itachi is still here, who massacred his clan?
Itachi talked with one of the villagers and confirmed the situation. His composure faltered a bit before he ran back to Sasuke to relay what happened.
"Sasuke, this is no time to be losing your senses. There has been a massacre of one of the other clans here in Konoha. They were held in high regards as well, almost equal to that of our clan. This is an important matter."
It will only go to a person who was in the most similar situation as you at the time of your tragedy.
Sasuke's breathe hitched, the consequence. It was happening right here in Konoha. Out of all the places in the Shinobi world it had to be here? Was there actually someone who had a past as similar to his here in Konoha that they had been specifically chosen?
It couldn't be.
Sasuke hesitated following after Itachi. He was headed in the direction of the massacre and Sasuke wasn't sure whether he wanted to know who the person was. Would he feel guilt? Would he feel the need to apologize and fix things?
I'm not a savior. I won't be anyone's savior. Sasuke had made up his mind long ago. He couldn't care less about the person who was now suffering the fate that was once his.
But he was still curious. And so he mustered up the energy he had left to pump chakra into his feet. He ran the rest of the way there, seeing a huge crowd around the compound.
Sasuke could hear a faint chirp from above. It was the black bird who bit him, who was there during the seal activation… and now here as well? It flew away, but it dropped a piece of paper from above. It landed in Sasuke's hands.
It's a part of the scroll. Had he missed a piece when he used his Sharingan to read? Impossible!
But it seemed that was the case because there was one more condition to this jutsu.
"You must keep the person who your misfortune has gone to alive. If they die, so do you."
He wanted to scream. He was now forever linked to this person. He needed them alive or all his work would go to nothing!
He gripped the piece of paper into his hands tightly, drawing blood from the palm of his hands. His knuckles turned snow white.
He did not sign up for this bullshit.
"Sasuke, the massacre was of the Hyuga Clan. We must report this to Outo san immediately." Itachi made a move to head back to their compound until Sasuke asked for the inevitable.
"Who's left of the Hyuga Clan?" Sasuke whispered in a clipped tone.
Itachi was caught off guard, who's left he asked? How did he-
"I asked who's left damn it!" Sasuke yelled out impatiently. He didn't want to lose his temper in the presence of his brother. Not when they had just reunited but… this was too much for him.
Itachi looked towards the compound, and then looked towards the sky. It was a dark, dull, and empty gray. The rain emphasized how tragic this moment was for Konoha. It looked like a play, with the whole setup of a miserable dreary setting. How distasteful of Kami to be amusing himself in this way.
Itachi turned back to Sasuke.
"Hinata Hyuga, heiress to the… former Hyuga Clan."