Secret Treasures of the Uchiha
Disclaimer: Naruto isn't mine.
Summary: An AU story from the moment Sasuke decides not to get up again in his first encounter with Itachi, after the Chūnin Exam finals and invasion. Instead of spending a couple of months in a coma while Naruto is off finding Tsunade, he explores the abandoned Uchiha compound, finds a hidden storehouse, and gets dragged kicking and screaming by Hiashi Hyūga into clan politics and an arranged marriage.
Warnings on content: Rated M for face-stabbing levels of violence and also some mature content, mostly consisting of frustrated teens not getting any. So, really more like immature content. Also, foul language, and lots of it.
This had been the worst week in Sasuke's recent memory. No contest, at least since he had became a ninja. Even that awful training in Wave, after Kakashi had almost killed himself fighting that nukenin, had been better. He had direction and drive then. A reason to prove himself, even if it was only against his stupid teammate Naruto. Kakashi had provided leadership, though it had been presented in a lazy, half-assed, sloppy sort of way, and he'd been part of a team. A pathetic, weak team, but his team. He'd had hope – hope for the future of his clan, hope in his own growing strength, hope that he could complete the most important of his two goals in life – revenge.
Now...now he was adrift. Standing with his arms folded in the bright sun in the middle of a grassy field at training ground #72, he waited for the next humiliation that life had dumped on him to begin. Waiting there in the shining sun his mind was filled with dark thoughts. His team was missing, useless, and badly injured. He had proven only his own weakness and stupidity. His hated brother had gotten away. And now, his next great challenge to his strength as a shinobi was waiting for a pathetic, weak little girl so he could beat the secrets of her stuck-up clan's taijutsu style from her tiny body.
Somehow everything had gone wrong, but he would not give up. Uchiha did not give up. Even if he had to train himself, even if he needed to find every secret of his clan alone, even if he had to suffer the indignity of working with weaklings and idiots, he would persevere. Between the newly discovered secret underground storehouse of the Uchiha and his plan to challenge himself and his power against Neji Hyūga, he finally saw a glimmer of hope again.
Sasuke clenched his hands, digging his fingernails into his palms. Hope he'd carve from the world with his bare hands if he had to, starting with Hinata Hyūga.
ONE WEEK AGO
The smell of flowers and perfume filled his head as Sasuke regained consciousness. It wasn't enough to obscure the scent of hospital, though, one Sasuke knew as well as most active shinobi. Not opening his eyes, he stretched out his senses. He wasn't alone in the room.
A page turned. Someone sighed softly. Perfume. A girl. Oh no, not her. Sasuke opened his eyes to a slit, confirming his skinny, pink-haired, fangirl of a teammate was sitting vigil at his bedside, reading some trashy novel. Maybe he could escape without her noticing. She wasn't a very observant kunoichi, after all.
Sasuke tested himself before taking action. Every muscle group was carefully flexed a minute amount, one by one, toes to head. His feet and legs still hurt from the long run to the small nearby village, so he hadn't been out long. Left lower arm was wrapped up but not hurting too much. Pain meds, sure, but he could move it slightly and it didn't burn like hot cinders were shoved inside, so it was most likely almost totally repaired by mednins already. He'd have to stay off it for a few days, no fancy gymnastics for now, but that wouldn't slow him down too much. It wasn't his first broken bone, after all.
What really slowed him down was that he was naked under the sheet. He cursed himself – a real shinobi, a strong shinobi, wouldn't care about being naked or not, he'd do what was required. His equipment was on the table beside his bed but his shirt would have been cut off to treat his broken arm, leaving only his pants. Annoying.
Being a private person, Sasuke was normally very body-conscious. Having hordes of fangirls after him only emphasized in his mind the necessity of proper decorum and not being naked in front of drooling 13 year old girls. Sakura was one of the worst, and having her on his team had been pure torture. She was so weak, so useless, more so even than that blond idiot. But she was waiting by his bedside for some reason, once again in his way. Sasuke realized he'd have to nip this in the bud fast before whatever hospital room drama she'd planned got started. He opened his eyes and coughed intentionally loudly.
"Sasuke-kun! You're awake!" shrieked the pink harpy. He said nothing, sitting up and reaching for his kunai and equipment belt with his uninjured hand. The sheet covering him shifted, leaving his chest bare. Sakura started to say something else loud and stupid, but was momentarily left speechless, staring his his body.
"Sakura," he said, dragging his equipment onto his bed. "W-what is it Sasuke-kun?" she stammered out, still not making eye contact.
"Leave," he said quietly.
"I'm getting dressed. Now. Leave." She started to sputter but he just began sorting his equipment into piles. Seeing she wasn't leaving fast enough and was about to say something more, he decided he simply didn't care and started getting out of bed, the sheets sliding the rest of the way off his body, his back to her chair but still totally bare. Damn, the floor was cold.
He heard a girlish squeak, a clatter, and then the sound of feet running followed by the sound of the door quickly opening and slamming closed again. She'd dropped her book on the floor and knocked over the chair on her way out, but at least she was gone. Most likely to get a nurse. Time to move.
Pants on, equipment in pockets and belt pouches, shoes located on the floor next to his bed. His feet and legs had been wrapped in clean bandages and he located a sling for his arm. After roughly tying his headband back on one-handed, he was as dressed as he needed to be for now.
Concentrating for a second, he activated his Sharingan. Everything went strange and milky-looking. The knife he spun in his hand seemed to be in slow motion then his hand suddenly veined with chakra as he closed his fist around it and focused. Good, everything was still working.
Not wanting to deal with getting himself officially released from the Konoha hospital and hoping to avoid additional fan-girl entanglements, Sasuke simply left through the window. Before he know where he was headed he found himself silently making his way to the Uchiha clan compound. Cast still on his arm, he wandered out of the growing shadows and through the compound's large gates. Like five years earlier after that horrible night, he stumbled into the empty streets, straight out of his hospital bed, his mind full of confusion and hate and his body aching. The streets were still as silent as that night, all the buildings now boarded up instead of horribly gaping and empty. The evidence of past horrors was wiped away by the years and cleanup crews.
He went directly to his family's spread-out mansion – a large, low-set building fronting onto the main street – and tried to get his thoughts together. The mansion was staffed by a civilian caretaker crew, which kept out of sight and were the only people other than himself allowed into the compound. Sasuke always spent a single night in the house every year, the night of the massacre. The staff kept a bedroom and some clothes for him, though he never visited other than that one night each year. He found some clean clothes that fit him in a closet and headed back to the hospital and to scout out Konoha for information on what the hell had happened. After officially checking out (and getting some more pain medication) he found out that Kakashi was in the hospital, injured in a fight yesterday with Itachi.
"So that was why he's been unconscious in that room," he thought. "My brother was actually in Konoha. What is wrong with these people, allowing nukenin to simply wander around the village? They are so weak."
Later that day, back at his empty family mansion, Sasuke sat in a silent and slightly dusty room and sulked. He'd quietly grabbed some supplies from his apartment and retreated here. No one was allowed in the clan compound without explicit permission, which he never gave anyone. No one would bother him here. No one cared anyway.
But now his teacher, the only one who even bothered to pretend to care about him, was lying unconscious in the hospital. Naruto had left the village, most likely with that Sannin Jiraiya, to do Kami knows what. Sakura was still stalking him and he was almost sure she knew where his central Konoha apartment was located, but she wasn't allowed inside the clan compound. Serious training was off. He hadn't been able to do anything more than basic physical exercise that day but the soft cast would come off at the end of the week. Mednin were almost tolerable simply because of that increased healing time, despite how weak they were in actual combat.
Trudging around the empty mansion from room to empty room, his thoughts grew darker and darker. He couldn't handle it anymore, he had to get outside the compound. He was going crazy in this empty building. Grabbing his equipment, he almost ran to get out of there. Silently flowing through the shadows to the edge of town, he located a seldom used training area and started a simple calisthenics routine. Attempting any difficult katas with an injury like this was inviting poor practice results and bad habits developing. Best to keep it simple for now.
Working until he collapsed took longer nowadays then it used to, especially without using seal techniques, but holding Tree Walking and Water Walking techniques until near exhaustion still worked. Anything requiring hand seals would have to wait, but (unlike Naruto) he could do both basic chakra exercises without dramatic gestures and total concentration. It still requited focus and tiring amounts of chakra, though, so he kept at it. Anything to keep him from having to think about what had happened.
A day later, his ears were still ringing with his brother's words: You're in the way.
Instead of continuing to mope, he formed a plan. His inspiration had come from the secret his brother had told him that horrible night. A hidden room with a tablet, secrets he'd only been able to fully read after that disastrous mission in Wave, where he'd activated his Sharingan for the first time. The secrets, about the Mangekyō Sharingan and how to acquire it, weren't...exactly what his brother had claimed. Maybe he could find something to clarify. It couldn't be as bad as his brother made it sound. Maybe the Uchiha clan had hidden something else, something that would explain why he had to kill his best friend to get this power. He wouldn't give up until he had answers.
He found it in one day. He hadn't expected it to be that simple. It had been the seventh building he'd searched for hidden secrets where he'd achieved success. A public meeting hall of some sort, in the main clan council building. Finding the entrance had involved solving a strange geometric puzzle, one he wouldn't have noticed without searching the architecture of the building with his Sharingan activated. The shapes had fooled his eye, appearing to writhe and coil on the walls, his eyes tricked into illusions of movement by the geometry.
After touching the shapes he'd found in the correct order on the prominently located mosaic, pushing his chakra into them one by one, a hidden stairway downward formed out of the stones of the floor. His Sharingan saw the device use his donated chakra to activate previously invisible seals, unrolling the stone stairs down into the darkness.
Sasuke now stood in front of a large stone door at the end of a dark tunnel, a secret passageway under the Uchiha clan council chambers. He'd set out to find a secret, a weapon, a jutsu scroll, something left by his dead clan that would give him an edge. A shortcut to power that he desperately needed. Now that he saw it, it was obvious. Of course there would be underground storehouses under the Uchiha compound – they had been founders of the village, here longer than anyone else. They had time to dig into the ground like moles, hiding secrets there from prying eyes.
At the end of the passage, a stone door slid open slowly before him, his sacrificial blood soaking into the waiting depression. "Blood of the Clan Opens the Way" the message said in the clan message code, something that Sasuke had learned before even entering the Academy. Secrets taught to him by his mother as soon as he could read. Like the Naka Shrine's hidden tablet, this was another secret of the Uchiha that would be lost forever, once he and his brother were dead. One he'd never have thought to look for if it hadn't been for the encounter with his hated brother and his cowardly survival.
His cursed mark burned on his neck, reacting to his anger, offering him instant power yet again. He shoved it down, using his will to maintain Kakashi's seal. It quickly went silent again and the pain receded into a dull ache. It was too soon to risk drawing on an unknown gift like that, given by a powerful and deceitful foe like Orochimaru. Knowing his brother had somehow achieved unbelievable power even before killing his cousin Shisui, and without the snake Sannin's help, he was now driven to seek out some other answer after his most recent failure.
He wouldn't follow his hated brother's path – that was what he'd wanted Sasuke to do, what he'd told Sasuke was his fate before facing him again. He'd tried to rush it. Even knowing he didn't have the power, he'd challenged Itachi and had been utterly defeated. At least he'd realized that before throwing away his life following his hateful brother's questionable advice. Staring into the long, dark hallway, blood still dripping from his slashed thumb, his mind cast back to that fight and his complete failure.
He had attacked with all his strength, his most powerful technique.
It hadn't been enough. He hadn't seemed to even move, just casually grabbed his arm and redirected the Chidori into the wall, harmlessly. Then he turned around and ignored him. Like Sasuke was nothing. Still too weak to matter. That person was a giant. Untouchable. Monstrous. How could he hope to ever even lay a hand on him, let along kill him.
He was saying something about something called Akatsuki and kidnapping Naruto, but that obviously wasn't happening with one of the Sannin around. Itachi couldn't be that powerful – could he?
Sasuke lay on the ground, his left arm burned from his own Chidori and bones broken by his brother's casual grasp. "It was so easy for Itachi. He could have killed me effortlessly," Sasuke realized as his eyes burned with tears of pain and frustration.
"I could try again," Sasuke thought. "I've got to get up! Got to kill him! He's right there!"
Using his other hand to lever himself up, his mind going blank from pain, Sasuke tried to stand, tried to find the strength to continue to fight. His hated brother wasn't even looking at him, just standing talking to the Sannin, Jiraiya. As usual, everyone was talking about Naruto – Sasuke didn't even matter to his brother.
Taking gasping breaths and trying to muster his remaining strength, his head finally started clearing. "It doesn't make sense," he suddenly thought through the haze of pain. "What was so important about that idiot that everyone would risk so much, literally fighting over him? All the village hated Naruto, that much was obvious. His team didn't like him, the other ninjas didn't like him. Why were they protecting him like this? Was it his strange new strength?"
Sasuke had seen Naruto come from nowhere in the last month of the Chūnin exam – from still obviously being his same old dead last abilities to fighting and defeating the Sand jinchūriki during that horrible day of the invasion. That power had been...insane, washing over Sasuke with an evil aura, far worse than he expected from the stories his father had told about beasts that leveled mountains. And Naruto hadn't seemed to even notice. It had been as bad or worse than Orochimaru's killing aura and the blond idiot had just kept fighting like nothing was happening. There was something wrong with him, something that gave him the strength to beat not only Neji but Gaara in his fully transformed and released form.
Sasuke knew he had been close to dying when Naruto had showed up and basically saved his life and possibly the entire village. The fight after that (what he remembered) had been unreal. After Naruto had saved his ass (and Sakura's, but she had been useless), it had quickly spiraled out of control, with giant summons and transformation jutsu larger than Sasuke had ever seen before. The shear quantity of chakra required for that kind of combat was staggering. The obvious answer was that Naruto was stronger than Sasuke had ever realized. Surpass his brother? Sasuke hadn't even surpassed his teammate, dead last at the academy.
He wanted to stand, to strike his brother, to see him dead and bleeding on the floor, to do to him what Itachi had done to his parents, to his entire clan. He burned with that hate. But his body betrayed him. Instead of attempting to stand, Sasuke dragged himself away from the others to prop his back against the wall.
Despair set in. He was too slow, too weak. Even Naruto was stronger than he was now. And his arm was injured, his best move countered. His murderous rage started fading into hopelessness. This had been a mistake. He couldn't do this. His revenge, his very reason for living, for waking up in the mornings, for not ending it all, was looking impossible. Unreachable.
All strength then left his body. He listlessly watched the Sannin, his brother, and that random Akatsuki guy posture and threaten each other. A small scuffle and the Sannin used some strange summon to change the entire hallway. He said something about no one escaping and toads. Sasuke didn't care anymore. There was no way even the Sannin could kill his brother. Sure enough, the strange guy in the cloak and his brother burned a hole in the fleshy wall and simply left. Not really running, just repositioning for a future attack. "What had brother told me about ninja tactics?" he thought numbly. "Something like, 'never retreat, simply advance in another direction.'"
Sasuke slowly slumped sideways, losing consciousness as the Sannin did something to the strange black fire on the wall with a scroll. It didn't matter, Sasuke thought. Nothing mattered but somehow getting strong enough to kill that man. Darkness reached out to claim him but he still didn't care.
For the next two days after his discovery, Sasuke simply woke up, ate, practiced all day, searched hidden clan tunnels for secrets, returned home, bathed, ate, and then slept, trying to avoid thinking about either his failure or the future and his impossible task of revenge. On the fourth day he visited Kakashi in the hospital again, now learning how the most powerful jōnin he'd ever met had been reduced to lying in bed in a coma that they couldn't revive him from. They still didn't know how to treat him. He might never wake up.
The rumors said that, in less than a minute of combat, three Leaf jōnin had been soundly defeated by the two nukenin, his brother and the Akatsuki shark dude. It was only Maito Gai showing up, making it four on two, that ended the conflict, but with the nukenin still escaping unharmed. No one seemed to know what the shark guy's abilities were, so it had likely been just his brother actively fighting against the three jōnin. The results were clear, regardless of the rumors: Kakashi, one of the strongest shinobi in the village, had been effortlessly defeated while part of a group of other jōnin, in the middle of Konoha. Once again, Sasuke wondered how he'd ever match that level of power.
Immediately after escaping from the hospital, he'd meditated on his failure against Itachi and found several important mistakes, including: fighting while exhausted from rushing to find Naruto, not using his Sharingan correctly, attacking head-on instead of from ambush, not having a plan on how to continue the attack, and not even attempting to use the cursed mark (however dangerous that might have been).
"That was strangest of all," he thought, looking down at his unconscious sensei. Kakashi had sealed the mark from Orochimaru during the Chūnin Exam, with a promise extracted that Sasuke would not use it. The seal was based on his own chakra and willpower, so using it was his choice. If he had activated it during the exam, he would have been disqualified, his sensei had said. But against his brother, he shouldn't have hesitated. With it activated in the Forest of Death, he'd defeated three chūnin level ninja, and done so easily. He should have claimed that power to use against his brother. But it hadn't even occurred to him.
Kakashi had said the power gained from the Cursed Seal of Heaven was dark, and would rot his body the more he used it. Even if he believed his sensei, that shouldn't have stopped him from calling on it in his hour of need. Looking back though, he saw it wouldn't have been enough. Most likely, it wouldn't have made any difference in that fight as his brother was so far above him in power. So he still needed to improve a great deal to even think about challenging his brother. And if the seal really was a trap, one designed to hurt him instead of help, he'd simply have to improve that much more to make up for not being able to use it to his advantage. Which brought him back to more urgent issues – how to grow stronger.
His current situation was clear. Sensei disabled, one teammate missing and most likely getting personal training from a legendary Sannin, and the pink-haired one so useless as to not enter into any plans. So, once again, Sasuke was left with solo training. At least with Naruto around, Kakashi had let them spar all the time. Naruto was good for a punching bag, at least. Anything was better than smacking a wooden post. Kami, he hated solo training.
After the hospital visit, he went off to what he was now thinking of as his training ground (#72, the nearest to the Uchiha compound) to resume his training. He'd been working out for about two hours when something tripped his finely honed senses: he was being watched.
Continuing his kick strikes practice against the post (he hated posts so much) while subtly moving so his back wasn't to the hidden person's location, he considered his options. He could ignore it – he lived in a fucking Hidden Village, so someone was sneaking around near him practically every day. It might just be some chūnin playing around or maybe an ANBU watching him for the usual security reasons.
It would be insulting if the latter, as ANBU shouldn't be detectable even by his keen senses, so letting him knew they were there was suggesting he wasn't worth hiding from. But it would be simply annoying if the former, as he should be getting more respect than being the stalking target of some upstart chūnin. If only his fight in the finals hadn't been interrupted by international terrorists and a village war, everyone could have seen his true strength.
Despite that, he'd surely get promoted, but that wouldn't happen until the Hokage succession was worked out. Hopefully Naruto would be back by then, not that the idiot was a sure thing for promotion but he had made it to the end and won his first fight in the finals. Maybe the blond disaster would get luck and be promoted too. Not his pink-haired teammate, though. Sakura's prelim fight had been...bad. No way was she getting promoted.
The problem now was how to react to someone shadowing his training. As Shikamaru would say: troublesome. There was literally no killing intent showing, so they most likely weren't trying to hurt him. Even if they were, let them come. He'd show them his strength, even if they were a chūnin. The Uchiha didn't back down and would defeat all challengers, and he was the last loyal Uchiha. The honor of his clan was on his back now. But this was still throwing his training off, so he decided to wrap-up early and return to his full training time tomorrow.
Quickly gathering up his backpack, he left the training ground for his house at full speed, doubling back and hiding a few times to make sure he wasn't being followed just for practice. It wasn't like it would be hard to figure out where he was going, though – everyone knew the Uchiha symbol on his back and where the now-empty compound was. It was illegal to enter without Clan permission, though, so except for ANBU (who were exempt from that law) no one tried to trespass there. Still, good practice at actually being a shinobi, something the rest of his loser team didn't seem to understand.
Naruto was more like a rolling natural disaster than a stealthy shinobi and Sakura was useless at anything but hiding under a bush. Sasuke thought they might be literally the worst ninja in the village, which would be consistent with his luck so far in life. Practicing stalking and hiding wasn't very challenging with them. Maybe if this mysterious stalker showed up again he could have some fun.
Heading out the next day for training, he kept his senses on high alert – more good practice. The world should be his battlefield and situational awareness was one of the first lessons Itachi had tried to drill into him. He wouldn't fail to be vigilant, especially now with the village recovering from a huge attack – it could be a spy or assassin, after all.
His brother was on his mind again. Sasuke wondered what had he been like at his age. How had he grown so strong, so fast? He was a genius, sure, but it was incredible what he had achieved. He had been working full time as a chūnin from age 10 and still had the time to train to jōnin level skills in near record time. He spent most of his spare time with their cousin Shisui, another legendary Uchiha, so maybe that was the secret to his success. If only one of his clan was still alive to help, he wouldn't be spending all of his time in solo practice.
Working into the third hour of training, he suddenly detected his stalker again, hiding behind a tree. Sasuke grinned. It was time to take out some of his frustrations on whoever was being so foolish as to spy on him.