(A/N) Writing this chapter made me cry. Really badly. Anyways...yeah, just a heads up. So at this point in the story, since I couldn't find an exact date for the massacre, so I've estimated that Sauske is the only one that is 8, while Kore and Naruto are 7. Also, neither of the two have had a family before; Naruto because he's an orphan, and Kore because she never really fit in with her family.


CHAPTER 8

The worst day of Sauske's life began as his best. It was the anniversary of the first day we had all met in the Academy. We had an all day training session going on, only after the first two hours Naruto got bored and pushed Sauske into the pond. It then dissolved into a massive three-way water fight. Sometimes two of us would tag team the third person but most of the time it was a free-for-all.

Sauske used the few fire ninjutsu he knew to evaporate our attacks and part the pond, creating a thick screen of steam. Naruto lobbed water balloon after water balloon at us while I used chakra to walk on the surface of the pond and tried to control the water inside of the balloons. I managed to make one of the balloons begin to leak onto Naruto, something I was extremely proud of, even though I'd been trying to explode it and fell into the pond from my lack of concentration. After the impromptu battle ended, we three plopped down in the middle of the soaked training ground, looking like a couple of drowned kittens.

We lay on our backs and looked up at the clear blue sky, our heads all together in a rough circle. We were content. I took Naruto's left hand and Sauske's right and just lay there, my eyes closed and a small smile of bliss on my face. I didn't have to look at the boys to know they too had smiles. We lay there for hours, until the ground was dry, not speaking but just reveling in each others company. None of us would ever voice it out loud, but we were best friends. We were family. What one of us felt, all of us felt. And soon, all of us were about to feel pain. But we didn't know that. How could we have?

After training a while more, and sharing the information I had gathered on my mother and Naruto's parents in the past year, we all left the clearing. I told the boys how I had gone through transfer records and discovered refugees from Whirlpool. How one of the refugees' name was Uzumaki. And how I was no closer to discovering my mother's identity.

Despite it being pitch black when we left, we were practically glowing because of our happiness. Little did we know that when one of us got home, that happiness would turn to horror. And it was hours later, when the sun started coming up, that Naruto and I finally learned of that horror.

"Where is he?!" I growled, slamming the door to the Hokage's office open. The ANBU situated around the Hokage's desk turned to look at me with their blank, porcelain faces. I was beyond mad. I was beyond furious. I WAS PISSED. I had been told that it was none of my business as to where Sauske was, and the nurses at the hospital were refusing to let me in. My best friend was hurting, and the only family he had left wasn't allowed to see him. I was a kind, quiet soul most of the time. Naruto and Sauske could attest for my temper that leaked out whenever they were hurt by someone.

I had Naruto sneak into the hospital to find Sauske and help him while I let the Hokage take the full brunt of my anger. /span/spanNaruto and I were both very good at sneaking; he through pranking and I through my information gathering. And I had gathered some very interesting information through my disguised searches in the library.

"Come in Kore." Sarutobi said pleasantly, ignoring my red face.

"I've heard that you're making Sauske live in the Uchiha Compound where his family was just murdered by his brother." I said quietly, trying to hold my temper and keep my voice down. His next words, however, caused me to bare my teeth in anger.

"That is his home Kore. It is where he belongs."

"You're speaking as if he's a trophy whose shelf was broken, not an 8 year old whose family was murdered. And somehow, this doesn't seem right to me." I hissed venomously, glaring at Sarutobi.

"What doesn't seem right?" He asked kindly, standing up as if to hug me. I moved back a step. I had seen how his hands had tightened on his staff when I voiced my disbelief.

"I may not have known Itachi as well as Sauske did, but I have heard of his exploits. That boy was completely loyal to both Konoha and to you. He wouldn't swat a fly unless ordered to. Which makes me wonder; who ordered him to do this?"I questioned logically, my face hard.

"That's a dangerous assumption to make when you have no evidence. Perhaps you should stop questioning this." Sarutobi said softly, his eyes begging quietly to cease this. I didn't.

"Then maybe I should find some evidence then." I replied just as softly. Sarutobi's eyes sharpened and he looked at me in what seemed to be pity.

"You will not find anything. You are an 8 year old child, and others better than you have failed to find what you seek." He said, giving up all pretense that the massacre had not been ordered. He had always been soft on Naruto and I, treating us to ramen and monthly visits. He also didn't know us as well as he would have liked.

Naruto wasn't the loud, obnoxious prankster that everyone knew, and I wasn't the quiet, unassuming bookworm. Naruto was a broken child who desperately wanted someone to notice him, and I was a loyal friend who sneaked around finding out village secrets. I didn't tolerate someone hurting my friends; Naruto called the look I got when I protected my friends my "demon face". I had never had friends before; I'd rather die than let anything hurt them.

"You'd be surprised by what I can find as an 8 year old. People underestimate me; and I use that to my advantage." I smirked coldly at him. Sarutobi raised an eyebrow.

"And if you were to tell that poor, traumatized little boy that the village he lives in essentially murdered his family; well it would break him wouldn't it?" For the first time I saw Sarutobi the ninja. The ruthless man who had killed hundreds in battle. Who had earned his place as Hokage by being the strongest in Konoha. Who had something to do with my best friend's older brother murdering his entire family.

"You want to play the blame game? Fine by me. You ever seen how those villagers treat Naruto? How everyone is either scared shitless of him or hate him so much they want to kill him? You only told them the bad parts of the story Sarutobi. You want to blame someone? Blame yourself for never telling the village who Naruto REALLY is. Who his parents were." I said coldly. Sarutobi stared at me in akin to something like shock.

"How could you possibly know who they were?" He spluttered in complete confusion.

"It was his birthday present last year. You might have purged the village of the pictures but even you had to have missed a few. Besides; doesn't every child deserve to know who their parents are? Now Naruto knows. And so do I." I was bluffing, but only a little.

A little research on the Uzumaki clan had turned up a woman named Kushina, who had a similar facial structure as Naruto and had married to the Yodaime. More digging led to the reveal of her pregnancy, but the records said she died with the baby still unborn. I had guessed that she and Minato were Naruto's parents. I researched Orichimaru, and while I had figured out that he had most likely experimented on my mother, I still didn't know who she was or what had been done to her or who my father was. All I knew was that Orochimaru was kicked out of the village for experimenting on live humans.

"You treat Naruto like a pet you're afraid of. You feed him, give him a place to stay and visit him occasionally. But you don't get to know him. You don't get close to him." I stalked out of the room, ignoring the hurt in Sarutobi's eyes. I was done making excuses for him. He deserved to know how he had messed up Naruto's life by keeping the wrong secrets. I spun around on my heel in the doorway, my hand still on the door handle.

"You treat him like a mutt. Like a wild dog that's running around the village. No wait; I know what you treat him like." I looked up at Sarutobi, quietly uncaring that my next words would tear his heart. "A demon."

Ten minutes later found me in the hospital room where they were keeping Sauske. Naruto looked up from the boy's bedside, his puffy eyes tired and pleading. I sat down beside him and slid my hand into his. Naruto leaned his head in my shoulder.

"What's going to happen to him?" He asked me in a small, broken voice. I looked down at the pained expression on Sauske's face despite his unconsciousness and made a decision.

"He'll come home with us." I said simply. And he did. Hours later, after Sauske woke up to our exhausted faces, we smuggled him away to our apartment. I left behind a note on his bed so the nurses wouldn't worry. WE TOOK HIM HOME. It would be mere minutes later, after frantic searching, that an ANBU member would come across Naruto, Sauske and I curled up on a thin mattress in the middle of a pile of old blankets on our living room floor.


(A/N) I couldn't help but cry. I'm sorry. The next chapter will be three omake; one where Kore is reading one of Naruto's birthday books to the boys while they try to sleep as she reflects on how Sauske is allowed to stay with her and Naruto. The second one will be a surprise, but to make up for the sadness of this chapter it'll be funny. At least I hope it'll be funny... The third will be Kore catching Naruto ditching.

(A). I haven't decided whether or not to have them be crazy, but either way I won't take down the original first chapter. I'll just give them craziness that fits with their shown personalities.

(Q). What's your favorite song? If you have several, then what is your favorite band?