A/N: First FF story here, so bear with me please as I work through the system! Any volunteers for beta reading would be great.
This story is intended to occur after Kakuzu/Hidan Arc, but before the Invasion of Pain arc. Will probably include an epilogue that will be following the 4th Shinobi War
Disclaimer: I am not Kishimoto, and as such, I did not create Naruto or any related characters. However, I did create Masahiro.
Whispers drifted through Suna.
There were no cries of revolution. No community tirades demanding change. After all, open conflict would never work to his favor. Just a quiet murmur of questions behind closed doors. Pensive frowns that lasted just a shade longer than before. Changes that wouldn't even be noticed if you weren't looking for them. No, he smiled, this wasn't a revolution, this was an enlightenment.
He thought back to the moment when he had reached his own enlightenment. The moment when he had seen him. The pale emissary from the Sound who slunk through Suna; completely out of place, and yet completely right all at once. And then the foreigner suddenly stopped to turn and look him in the eye. He'd never forget that look. That moment when everything made sense.
He knew without even a word that this stranger had recognized the burning ambition he had inherited from his family. The ambition that had driven his father to train him in the shinobi ways in order to develop his own power separate from the ruling fist of the Kazekage. The ambition that turned to resolve when he received news of friends and strangers alike being killed at the hands of the demonic child their own leader had created.
When the man smiled back at him, Masahiro knew him in an instant to be an ally in his family's mission: to lead Suna to the peace and prosperity they so rightly deserved. Applying the abilities learned from his father, he began his own quest to uncover more about this man's presence. It took him a week to find the right voices to tell him how his idol had swayed the Kazekage to join the Sound. A few weeks later he allowed himself a moment of smug satisfaction when answers all the way from the land of the sound fell into his lap minutes after decisions were made. The satisfaction swelled to something bordering reverence after learning that Orochimaru-sama had pulled not just the demon spawn, but all three Sabaku children from the city. He saw it as a reward for his progress. He allowed himself to grow complacent in watching his lord's work, knowing that once the Leaf fell, Suna would bask in the prosperity of his rule.
He had not even believed the first signal back that the attack on the Leaf had failed.
Even now he occasionally fell into bouts of regret, wondering how things could have been different if he could have assisted his lord. How if he had trained and progressed faster, he could have acted as a part of that move. Alas, that was a time before he learned to do anything more than listen to the whispers. Before he learned to stretch his abilities even further and learned how not just to listen to the threads of information, but to pull them as well.
That came later, after finding and following the whisper that his lord had left him to lead him to the Akatsuki. When Masahiro learned later that his lord was still alive, he knew that he had purposefully led him to the Akatsuki to find his true sensei. The first man to follow the whispers and pull him out from the shadows. At first he believed his life forfeit to their power. After all, the whispers were a far cry from Zetsu's ability to spy and infiltrate enemy compounds, and they all knew it. However, both recognized the threat that his discovery presented. In the end, he used his sensei's abilities as an inspiration, and presented a new offering. One which they graciously accepted.
His new role in Akatsuki was the only anchor to his sanity when Suna betrayed him. Even now he barely stifled a growl of disgust how the village had not only brought back the Sabaku siblings with open arms but then chose the demon spawn as the new leader. All knew of the years of havoc, fear, and pain that it had caused to the village. And now, they not only embraced it with open arms, but some even went so far as to feel remorse for it.
Even after the Akatsuki removal of the Ichbi, a dried out old woman had still managed to pull the spawn back from death and strengthen its corruption of his city.
But he was nothing if not patient. As a person who truly loved his people, Masahiro knew that it was his duty to save them all. The lack of interruption from Akatsuki and Orochimaru-sama only proved their blessing for his actions. It was then that his whispers began.
He lowered his head as he returned to the present, calming his emotions with this last last piece in his plan. Yes, his people were merely deceived by this evil and now it was his duty to free them from their ignorance. He smiled to himself and thanked Orochimaru-sama again for granting him the chance to pull the veil from their eyes. With that, Masahiro spoke his first words of the day: his first words of every day since his enemy's claws had started closing over the city.
"I pledge my past to Orochimaru-sama. I pledge my present to Akatsuki. I pledge my future to Suna. May we all bask in the light together."