I'm running through the village full speed toward my house. Somehow I hadn't noticed how fast the time had seemed to have slipped by while I was out in the forest doing target practice all day. It's getting dark so I just hope mom and dad aren't going to be mad when they see me coming home nearly a half hour past curfew.

I slow down slightly to catch my breath and find that my heart seems to be racing my lungs to see which of them can do their job fastest. Coming to a complete stop and letting the sweat drip off my forehead I find myself looking up to the dark sunset sky. The autumn sunset always seem to give me a mysterious, almost bone-chilling feeling that I could never quite find the words to explain, but somehow tonight... Tonight it felt different, almost if it were a warning from a not so distant world that misfortune was sure to come. The thought of it made me shiver slightly, but I quickly brushed the feeling off, after all it was silly to allow your imagination to believe such ridiculous things that are no more real than silly superstitions.

As soon as my heart rate calms a bit I continue running. I notice that the town seems unusually quiet on this night. It's late Friday, why couldn't I hear the teenagers sneaking out of their house for a late night movie or the usual yelling coming from that old man down the road, telling off anyone who walked by to keep quite?

Suddenly I see it and I know why. Dead bodies are scattered throughout the Uchiha compound. I look down at them in shock to realize that I recognize some of these people. I then think of my parents and older brother Itachi. Please let them be alive, I pray as I run toward the house even faster than before, my skin cold with fear, half knowing that I wouldn't like what I saw.

"MOTHER, FATHER!" I yell as I reach out for the front door of our house. To my surprise, my cry is answered by the sound of my brother Itachi.

"SASUKE DON'T COME IN!" He yells, but it's too late I've already open the door to my mom and dad lying dead on the ground and my brother stone faced, holding a sword tainted in blood, is the only one besides me still alive in the room.

I violently shake my head, tears now starting to pour from my eyes. There's no way things are how they look it's just a misunderstanding. Itachi would never kill my parents, never less a whole clan. That's what I tell myself, but somehow even I doubt my thoughts.

"Big brother! Big brother! Father and mother are... How? Why? Who would do such a..." I have so many questions, so many emotions running through my head that I find it hard to keep my thoughts straight.

"Foolish little brother." Itachi mutters, not even trying to defend himself.

"Why? Why'd you kill everyone?" I ask, everything slowly becoming clearer. Itachi killed the clan and if I didn't do anything he could kill me next. If it was so easy for him to overpower mom and dad at the same time then I wouldn't stand a chance.

"To measure capacity." Itachi replies coldly. "My abilities have been repressed by this pathetic clan."

"Measure capacity?" I repeat, this time more of a question than a statement. "... You killed them for that?"

"I had to." Itachi replies.

"WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU?" I yell, charging at him fully enraged, but I knew I couldn't do it, I couldn't find it in me to attack him. Instead I find myself going against my urge to kill him by falling to the ground and breaking down in tears. "THIS CAN'T BE TRUE MY BROTHER WOULDN'T DO THIS! Because..."

"Pretending to be the kind of brother you hoped for... was to determine your ability. You will be the one through whom I can confirm my ability. You have that potential. You've felt anger and hated me you've always tried to surpass me so I'll let you live... for my sake. Hate me and live... like the coward you are! Clinging to life without honor! You will find me again!"

Then nearly a split second later Itachi seems to disappear into thin air, leaving me alone to take care of myself. I shut my eyes and crouch to the floor. For the next hour I do nothing but cry and when I reopen them I'm lying in my bed teary eyed and drenched in sweat. I sit up and get out of bed.

"Thank God it was just a dream... a sick twisted nightmare..." I mutter to myself, but I know that's not the full truth. The mass murder of the Uchiha clans had happen and my brother was the one to kill them, choosing to leave me alive for reasons I still can't understand.

It has been over a week since then, and now my thoughts are cursed. I can't even fall asleep without having to relive that same event in my dreams. I look on the wall. There is a framed picture of Itachi on display, no doubt put up long before my parents' death.

I spend a long time just staring at the picture into the face of the man I once felt so privileged to call my ni-san. Then with rage flowing throughout my body I take the picture and smash it off the ground.

"DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU DID TO ME?" I yell; my face filling with tears yet again. "IT'S THANKS TO YOU MY LIFE IS SO MESSED UP!"

I look at the mess of broken glass on the floor and bend down to clean it up. When you live alone like I do it's important to try and maintain a clean house.

I head to the kitchen and make myself breakfast. When my mom was alive I never bothered to ask her to show me how to cook, I always sort of figured that I wouldn't have to cook for myself until I was grown up.

It's so odd... So messed up... I'm only nine years old, but because of this I often feel a lot older. It hasn't even been a month yet, but I've grown so much it feels like years ago since the last time I truly felt young and care free. Right now I'm home, yet I feel so homesick, because sometimes home isn't where you are or where you were, it's who you want to be with. I'd give anything just to talk to my parents one last time.

After my meal I get dressed and head to school. I still have at least another hour before class starts and I know that if I were any other teenager I would have put that time to good use by catching up on some much needed rest, but after my latest nightmare I think that I'd rather take my chances with a sleep deprived school day than what could possibly be another horrendous flashback.

So instead I walk to school, trying my best to bide my time by taking in nature's scenery. Something about it tends to relax me. Even now when it feels like my life can't get any worse I look up at the plants animals and smile just slightly.

I soon arrive at Konoha Academy, a school specially designed to teach kids the basics on becoming a ninja. I'm a third year at the academy and my grades are at the top of the class. Iruka says that if I keep it up I'll be making our village proud in no time ... Funny thing is I remember him saying the same thing once about Itachi and now they won't even speak his name ...

The bell rings and I make my way inside. Immediately I'm chased down the hall by two peppy girls, one with long pink hair, the other one blond. They try to push each other a bit, trying to see who reaches me first. Finally the blond trips the pink haired girl and runs up behind me, wrapping her arms around my waist in a tight hug.

"Good morning Sasuke!" The girl greets cheerfully.

I sigh and calmly try to free myself from her death grip. "... Good morning Ino ..." I say, not sharing her excitement.

Sakura now back on her feet, charges at Ino and slams her into a locker. "Back off Ino-pig, Sasuke is mine!" She yelled.

"No way Sasuke would ever love you billboard brow!" Ino retorts.

I sigh and walk away. The two of them always seem to do this same routine every day. Sometimes they're so involved that they won't even notice if I leave, and if my past experiences have taught me anything it's likely that the girls will continue to fight like that until the second bell rings and then rush into class late. Girls ... They're so annoying ...

I enter Iruka's classroom just in time to see him bolting out of the room in order to break up Sakura and Ino's fight. I take my usual seat near the back of the classroom and soon Iruka walks in dragging two girls by the arms that both look beaten up and a little embarrassed. The bell rings and Iruka does roll call. So far everyone is present.

"Uchiha Sasuke." Iruka calls.

"Present." I answer casually.

Iruka takes a look at the name after mine, searches around the room and scowls. It seems like he knows that the person he's about to call isn't here, but just to be sure he calls the name anyway. "... Uzumaki Naruto."

Sakura raises her hand. "Uh ... Sir Naruto's not here today."

Iruka gritted his teeth. "... Yes I see that ... If that little brat thinks he's going to skip class again today he's got another thing coming!" He yells as he runs out of the room once again.

Most of the day seemed to go by as usual; Iruka would give us our History lesson then we'd take notes. Lunch came and I hoped for some peace, serenity, and to be alone with my thoughts. Alas, this wasn't the case because I was soon joined by my two annoying fangirls Sakura and Ino. I was almost relieved when I heard the ringing of the bell that signaled for lunch to be over, because it meant that I finally had an excuse to leave the girls.

Now I'm sitting back in class. Iruka told us before lunch started that he had a special announcement for when we got back, but he still hasn't told us anything.

"Come on Sensei; tell us this big announcement already!" A blond haired boy in the audience says.

"Hold your horses Naruto. I just need to take attendance first." Iruka replied.

I hear a lot of chatter amongst the students. Since they're all talking at once it's hard to pick up more than just the occasional word or short sentence, but nearly everyone is talking about what this so called surprise could be.

After a while Iruka puts down the attendance bored and calls for a man named Mizuki to enter the room. Mizuki looks around the class and seems to give a look that's a cross between a fake smile and a scowl.

"Well, just by looking at all your faces I think we've got an ... interesting group of young ninja here. For those who don't know me I'm Mizuki. I work here in the academy and I was brought here to help coach you in today's Gym lesson."

"... What's the deal here Iruka?" A tired looking boy with black hair and a pony tail asks. "We've never needed a coach for Gym before."

Iruka smiles. "I'm glad you asked that Shikamaru ... Just next time please raise your hand ... Anyways, today we have a very special lesson. You see we're finally going to be working with actual ninja tools so I brought Mizuki along for extra supervision."

Mizuki nods. "Yes, Iruka-sensei is right. Now let's head out to the Gym so I can show you kids more."

... Target practice ... personally I don't really care much for the idea, but if I ever want to be strong enough to defeat Itachi then I'll need all the training I can get.

Once we're outside Iruka hands out the kunai. He spends a lot of time explaining how to hold the knife just right, and then he throws it and hits dead center on the target bored.

"Now don't feel discouraged if you don't hit anything." Iruka explains. "After all I bet for most of you this will be your first time. Throwing kunai takes a long time to perfect, but once you get the hang of it you'll find it's quite easy."

"Now who wants to go first?" Mizuki asks and I raise my hand at the same time as a blond haired boy.

"Oh oh pick me!" The blond shouts while eagerly jumping up and down.

"I'd really just like to get this over with." I confess.

Iruka smiles at the sight of his students seeming to take an interest in his lesson. "Well if you two both want to go first so badly how about you start the class off and show them how it's done."

"Wait does that mean me and him are competing?" The blond asks seeming excited.

Iruka nods. "Yeah I suppose you can say something like that. Is that fine by you Sasuke?"

I nod and smile slightly. I was never one to shy away from a good competition. If this blond really wants to try and prove that he's better than me, the last of the Uchiha clan, then I'll prove him wrong.

Me and the blond step up to the target bored and Iruka takes notice of how quickly I seem to adjust by positioning my kunai just right.

"Sasuke, is this your first time?" Iruka asks. "So far your position is nearly perfect."

I shake my head. "No, me and my brother used to go out for target practice nearly every weekend when I was younger."

Out of the corner of my eyes I think I notice the blond seem to cringe, no doubt worried that I'll beat him, but then seconds later he goes back to his same old happy go lucky self.

"Well I used to go out for target practice every day too! Believe it!" The boy shouts. He's obviously lying though; he's not even holding the kunai properly.

"Have you now?" Iruka questions teasingly. "Well then I guess there's no need for me to point out that your form's all wrong. I'll just let the master do his work."

The class breaks into laughter and blond's eyes shoot up as he nearly drops his kunai in surprise.

"I- I knew that, I was just showing you guys what not to do!" He explains nervously. He mustn't have been expecting Iruka to call him out like that. What was with this kid? His attempts to amuse the class were so pitiful that it was almost fun to watch.

"I-it's like this isn't it?" The blond asks, holding the knife between his thumb and index finger.

Iruka shakes his head. "... No still not right ..."

After a long while with the blond continuously taking guesses on how to hold the kunai and Iruka twice walking over to show him how it's done, he was ready to fire at the targets.

We throw our kunai at the same time. Mine is going to hit dead center, but the blond's hits mine while still in the air, causing them to both fall to the ground.

"What was that for? Be careful when you throw that!" I scold, but the blond ignores me.

"Now who wants to go up next?" Iruka asks.

"Wait!" The blond yells. "I want to try again!"

Iruka shakes his head. "No sorry boys, but we need to give the others a chance."

After school I leave to go to the park with Ino and Sakura. On the way we make a quick stop at the grocery store. Since I have to live alone I need to buy my own food and make sure that I'm still eating healthy. Sure I'd love to go the ramen shop across the street every time I have a chance, but if I did I know I'd get fat in no time.

As soon as we're done taking the food home and I'm at the park, we take a seat on the park bench. I've always liked the park. I'll admit that since my parents' passing the place has sort of lost its fun, but I'll still come because it makes for a good escape from reality.

At the moment Sakura and Ino are just talking amongst each other and although I'm still welcome to listen in and contribute to their conversation they're smart enough to know that I'm not nearly as passionate about knowing how cute Mizuki-sensei is as they are.

I am about to try and change the subject when out of the corner of my eye I catch glimpse of the blond haired boy again. He doesn't seem to notice me this time, but he sits on the swing alone, looking upset. I know Sakura and Ino must have noticed the same thing, because they abruptly stop talking and turn to stare at him.

"Look at him all alone." Sakura says. "He's so pathetic. He's pretending to be sad so we'll feel sorry for him."

"Yeah, well it serves him right. I mean he causes so much trouble; he should know that he won't make any friends with all those pranks." Ino adds.

I watch the boy continue to swing in silence and he seems so odd ... so mysterious ... I feel like I've learned so much about him in just one day, but I still don't understand why he acts out so often. I mean I guess you can never fully find a reason for everything that everyone does, but I still want to know more

"What's that boy's name?" I ask.

Ino looks at me in confusion, seeming a little surprised to see me showing an interest in something that she and Sakura talked about. "That's Naruto Uzumaki. Don't get involved with him though. He'll only get you into trouble."

"You know why he's so messed up right?" Sakura asks rhetorically. "It's because he doesn't have any parents to tell him right from wrong."

I feel my jaw drop slightly and I'm lost for words. Naruto doesn't have parents either? So then ... all along ... he understands my pain. I stand up and decide to head home. I have a lot that I want to think over.

"Where are you going?" Sakura asks. "Please don't tell me you're planning on visiting Naruto!"

I shake my head. It was sad just how ignorant most of the town could be. "No." I say sincerely. "... But even if I do I don't see why it should matter."

... Naruto Uzumaki ... No matter what I'm never going to forget that name. And if fate exists then there's no question that we'd eventually meet. He and I are so alike yet so different ... Tomorrow I'd like to talk to him, regardless of what Sakura wants. Who knows, he may even be the first good thing to happen in my life since my parents died.

-phantom130 5 (October 2012)