Kokuten – When Orochimaru's research revealed a way to turn back time, Sasuke grasped at it as a way to take his revenge and protect his clan. He never expected to be thrown into the midst of Konoha's secret discordance, or to learn the truth about Uchiha Itachi.
The scroll was deceptively light. As if it didn't carry the weight of his decision.
Sasuke stood in the empty room beneath Sound. He unfurled it over the table, listening to the loud crinkle of seal paper. The symbols were almost plain; a simple circular base, surrounded by a few other signs that he could put together with his lacking knowledge of fuuinjutsu.
But the way they were arranged was masterful. They swirled around in intricate dance, drawn in Orochimaru's elegant script. Sasuke traced his finger down the paper, knowing that he could activate it easily. This was Orochimaru's reassurance, in case something did not go to plan. It had taken twenty years of his research.
He'd given Sasuke permission to explore his hideout. Sasuke had taken liberties.
Somehow it had fallen into place, and he'd found the scroll's secret location over a month ago, while Orochimaru was in bed, weakened through his Fushi Tensei. He'd learned how to activate a chakra seal two weeks later. It was easy to steal and easier to learn.
Kabuto had stood in his way that morning when he'd taken it. Kabuto was dead.
The seal was simple despite its complex design. Time would be turned back, and only the user would know of the altercations. The number of seconds turned back depended on the chakra-levels of the user. The user could only go back a maximum of his own lifespan, and he took his own place in that world.
He had enough chakra to turn back five days before that day. Five days to learn to kill Uchiha Itachi in childish form and take retribution for his clan. It was enough, more than enough. He would have to be subtle, and still his anger enough to fool the clan.
With that in mind, he bit his thumb and reached down to spread blood across the paper, watching the red stand in stark contrast with pale white. Then he placed both hands on the sheet and began to channel chakra into it.
It required concentration and subtlety, since Orochimaru had designed it for himself alone. That was fine, his mind was still. But his red eyes still seared with anger.
"Good morning, Sasuke-kun."
When he woke, the voice to his right almost brought him to shivers. Sasuke turned his strangely small head slowly. Uchiha Mikoto kneeled by his futon, spreading the covers out. Faint, early morning sunlight came in through the window and the sliding door to his room was open.
"Oka-san." His voice wavered slightly, but he managed to say it.
Uchiha Mikoto looked briefly startled at the seriousness in her younger boy's eyes.
"Five more minutes," Sasuke forced himself to whine, remembering fragments of his childish mannerisms. He could not, however, tear his eyes from her face. Even the way she looked at him disapprovingly … oka-san was beautiful.
I'm going to kill her eldest son. I don't care if she must learn of it. I don't care if she never finds out why.
"If the sun is up, then you must be up too," she scolded, pushing the blankets off his small form. "Don't you know? You have to be in the academy in an hour's time."
"I can get ready in ten minutes."
"But then you won't eat breakfast. Go wash your face first, you look sleepy."
Sasuke nodded silently. He waited until she was out of the room before standing up on wavering legs, unused to the sudden change in proportion. He hadn't accounted for that. But it would only need a few hours of practice to grow used to.
He walked over to the washroom unsteadily, taking slow steps until his legs grew confident in what they did. It was strange how the indent of the door was on level with his head, how he would now barely reach that man's waist in height. But it was perfect, because underestimation was one of a shinobi's best tools. Sasuke stood in front of the mirror, and silently called chakra to his eyes.
Red swirled into them as it had always done. He had his Sharingan. Almost smirking in approval, he allowed cold water to wash away the seriousness of his expression. He'd already surprised his mother, but he couldn't afford to raise that man's suspicions in any way. He had to play his role.
I am Uchiha Sasuke, seven-year-old son of Uchiha Fugaku and Mikoto.
I like watching firecrackers, eating tomatoes, and sleeping under the kotatsu in the fall.
I hate takoyaki with a burning passion.
I … admire my aniki and I ask him to train me almost every day.
When he looked up, the smiling face of a seven-year-old child looked back.
Sasuke appeared in the kitchen ten minutes later. He peered around the sliding door to see his new mother standing by the counter, cutting a round tomato into crescent-shaped slices. She looked up and smiled when she saw him.
"Ah, you're finally up. I thought you said you could get ready in ten minutes?"
He shrugged his curiously small shoulders, "I don't need to if I have an hour, oka-san."
"Silly boy," she watched him, amused, as he came to sit at the table. "Your father is away at a meeting and Itachi is on a mission right now. It'll just be the two of us for today. How have you been doing in school?"
Sasuke struggled to remember what the academy had been like. Most of his memories of this week had been deemed worthless in comparison to those of that night. Finally, he shrugged again, "good."
She frowned, making another even slice. "You're usually more descriptive. Are you feeling alright, Sasuke-kun?"
He nodded vigorously, "I am! I'm just sleepy. You woke me up too early."
"Itachi wakes up at four every day," his mother finished with the tomato and came to the table, placing the plate in front of him. Then she went back to the counter to begin making an actual breakfast; the tomatoes were just something she'd always indulged him with. "If you want to be like him, you have to learn discipline too." Her fingers were nimble as they chopped vegetables. Uchiha Mikoto, age twenty-seven. B-rank jonin.
Sasuke stopped himself from spitting out a remark, and instead bit into one of the tomato slices, reveling at the flavor even through his anger. Why had he been such a fool as a child? Hadn't there been a sign that that man was not what he seemed?
Somehow, he still remembered which class he'd been in. It was strange to see that some of the other kids waved at him when he came in. Of course, this was before his clan's massacre, before he'd realigned the purpose of his life to killing that man. Before he'd begun to isolate himself. Before he'd made top of his class from sheer, blind determination.
He vaguely remembered eating lunch with some of them, although this time he went and ate by himself, under a tree at the edge of the playground.
But the academy was as boring as he recalled. As dull and mind-numbingly useless, filled with specks of talent who waded aimlessly among the masses of weakness. Sasuke sat there in the front row desk, tapping his pencil against the table while Iruka-sensei droned on about mission ranks.
In front of him was a familiar brown-haired boy, who seemed to be half-asleep. Kiba. Sitting by him was a civilian boy who would fail his genin-exam and pick up a trade instead. Kuroda. On his other side was a shy girl who he'd been instructed to make friends with for clan purposes, but never bothered to because she was too shy for his liking. Hinata.
Sasuke caught a glimpse of a flash of blond hair of a boy who peered in from outside the door, where he'd been sent out of class for throwing paper balls at some other kid's head. He didn't remember ever interacting with him before making top of the class, when he had foolishly seen Sasuke as a rival.
That was best; like every other child, he'd been instructed not to go too close to the 'demon-boy'.
His name rang out, the first time he'd ever been called out by a sensei. Probably because he hadn't been paying any attention. Sasuke turned to see Iruka-sensei's fingers still pointing at the 'B-rank' section of the board. He immediately put together a probable question, and spoke with the ease of delivering common knowledge.
"B-rank missions are usually taken by chunin and lower-level jonin. They consist of relative danger, and may occur on foreign ground. They are typically led by jonin."
The class was silent. Some of the other children were watching him, and he frowned when he realized that the look in their eyes wasn't exactly awe. Some of the girls gave him sheepish looks.
"That's a lovely answer, Sasuke," Iruka-sensei replied with a straight face. "But I asked you if you could open the window."
Sasuke clenched his teeth as some of the boys behind him snickered.
After classes were finished, he headed out immediately, wanting to get back and train in the obscurity of the Uchiha clan grounds, where no one would see that a seven-year-old was practicing jonin-level techniques. The afternoon sun was still bright, searing its cheer into the village. Sasuke walked out from the academy building and ignored the adults who came to pick up their children.
He'd almost always walked home alone, not needing to be hand-held by anyone. The Uchiha compound was nearby, after all. But sometimes, that man would come to walk him back instead. It was a good thing he was on a mission; Sasuke didn't think killing him in front of children would be appropriate.
Instead of going through the front like he always did, he took the side route, the silent one. He didn't want to watch the other kids blabber about their days to their parents.
But it cut through the playground behind the academy, and he cursed himself inwardly when he realized that maybe he should have just gone the other way. Because there was always someone there after class, someone he didn't want to see. Someone loud and blond and infuriating.
Someone was sitting there on the swing, rocking back and forth in time to the creak of the metal.
For a moment, the boy didn't see him, since he was too busy staring into the dirt beneath his feet. Sasuke doubled his speed, hoping that he wouldn't be noticed. But he couldn't help but pause, stop in his tracks for just one second as he caught a glimpse of something completely out-of-character in the boy's eyes. They were dull; almost lifeless. His small form hung limply on the swing, clasping the metal chain like it was all he had left.
He shouldn't have stopped. Sasuke tried to quickly shuffle away, but it was too late, because the boy on the swing looked up and spotted him, walking by himself through the empty playground.
Without thinking twice, the boy leapt off and bounded towards Sasuke, skidding to a stop in front of him. Suddenly, all sense of his loneliness fled and he had the widest grin on his face.
"Hey," Naruto said brightly. "So, you don't get picked up by anyone either?"
The title is a Shippuden OST that is used for Sasuke's battles.