Title: Inheritance of Hatred: Chapter 2
Pairing: Eventual SasuNaru
Summary: As the Fourth Shinobi World War rages on, Naruto has only one goal: Uchiha Sasuke. He’s trained, he’s chased, and he’s hoped through the past few years, all for the sake of his wayward teammate. But it will all end here. SasuNaru.
Naruto ran steadily onward, constantly looking behind him, feeling with his chakra. It seemed he’d lost Kakashi for now, but he didn’t expect that to be the case for long. And once Tsunade got wind of his escape, it would be more than just one Jounin after him. He sighed, casting his eyes to the wide open sky. His friends would be worried and probably angry…but he could no longer stand by and let Sasuke blaze a one-way trail into darkness.
“I spared your life on a whim, nothing more.”
The memory of that encounter weighed heavily on his heart. He refused to believe that Sasuke could cherish only revenge and killing. After all, dark as his heart had become…he’d spared Naruto’s life once before. If it was a whim, then Naruto believed it was a whim born out of a deeper part of Sasuke that was still compassionate, still the Sasuke that once leapt unhesitatingly into harm’s way to save him. However small or suppressed that part might be, he was determined to bring it back home to Konoha. Back home to him.
“Naruto… it’s too late, nothing you can say will change me.”
It infuriated him to recall how Sasuke had tried not once but twice to kill Sakura. And for his female teammate and Kakashi, it was a sign of how far gone the Uchiha had become. Already, Naruto felt the same sort of despair creep over his hopes, but he firmly repulsed it. Besides, hadn’t they known someone who in the not-too-distant past had been just the same way as Sasuke was now? Hadn’t Gaara once cared only for murder and bloodshed, for darkness and pain? Hadn’t he cursed the people and family around him, holding nothing but contempt for their lives? And now it was Gaara who’d assumed the mantle of Kazekage, it was Gaara who rallied his troops into battle to protect his village, his friends, and the Jinchuuriki. Surely if someone who’d had so wretched a childhood and worldview could change and be redeemed, then all was not lost with Sasuke.
“I’m going to kill you and every last person in your beloved village! It’s time to make your choice! Kill me and become a hero, or die at my hand and become another one of my victims.”
It seemed a lifetime ago now that his younger self had declared that he would one day be a hero, acknowledged by all his peers. But he would not buy the status of hero with Sasuke’s blood. It was not his ninja way. Jiraiya and Nagato had made it clear to him that the present world system had too many flaws; peace paid for in lives only brought more hatred. Families and friends were torn apart for a fleeting calm that always broke.
Thinking about his late godfather and teacher brought a bittersweet smile to his face. The perverted old man had believed in him, and he fully planned on making him proud. On reflex, Naruto’s hand went into his back pocket, fingering a small book Jiraiya had given him not too long after he took the young boy on as a student.
He squinted down at the small, leather-bound booklet Jiraiya had tossed at his head. The infamous Toad Sage was once again conducting ‘research’ and had only offered the book when Naruto whined for some actual training.
“Here, read. Learn something.”
“Ero-sennin! What the heck is this supposed to be?” The book had definitely seen better days; it was worn and dog-eared , parts of the cover spattered with years-old stains.
Jiraiya didn’t turn, his face firmly pressed up to a small hole in the bathhouse wall. The women’s bathhouse. “It’s a book of special jutsus written by a former student of mine.”
Special jutsus? That piqued the young blond’s interest. Flipping through the first few pages, his eager expression quickly fell. “This is just a bunch of scribblings and useless seals.”
The white-haired man rolled his eyes, casting an exasperated look back at his latest protege. “What are you calling useless, idiot? That’s a record of unique fūinjutsu found in no other country!”
Naruto blinked, face blank. “Fūinjutsu?”
Jiraiya turned fully away from his ‘research subjects,’ dumbfounded. “You really are a talentless boy. How did you graduate from the Academy, idiot!” He snatched the book away from an indignant Naruto, ignoring his yells of rage. “Fūinjutsu is the art of sealing, you moron! You can seal away chakra, living things, or weapons with the right type of jutsu.”
“Eh, that sounds boring.” The young Genin crossed his arms huffily. “Teach me a cool jutsu! Wah-” He yelped as the book was suddenly thrown at his head, clipping him in the temple. “What the hell, you perverted old man?!”
“I’m not teaching you anything else until you read some of that book. You never know when you might need to know something about seals.” With a final glare at his student, Jiraiya turned back to his previous activity of peeking, pointedly ignoring Naruto.
“Che…” He opened the cover again, squinting at the narrow script on the inside. Apparently the author was someone named…”Who’s Minato Nami-something?”
“Namikaze, idiot. The Fourth Hokage.”
Instantly, Naruto’s eyes lit up. “Holy crap! This was the Fourth’s book?”
“Sure was. So you better start reading.”
He smiled down at the battered little volume with fondness and a bit of nostalgia. When he’d first received it, he hadn’t known that Jiraiya had given him a book written by his father and mother. It contained a record of some of *Uzushiogakure’s carefully guarded sealing techniques, from simple methods of storing weapons to jutsus that could completely seal away a person’s chakra. He kept it with him always, treasuring it as a memento of his family: Minato his father, Kushina his mother, and Jiraiya his godfather.
It also contained some of the Fourth’s theories and musings. Minato had apparently been especially intrigued by the tale of the Sage of the Six Paths, and did some research into the legend. Ever since his encounter with Nagato, Naruto had read his father’s writings over and over, in hopes of finding an answer to a derelict and crumbling shinobi system. He’d pored over it so many times he practically knew the story word for word…
Long ago, the world was torn endlessly by never-ending war. Years of fighting and years of destruction left the people desolate and full of despair. It was during this terrible age that a lone man, a priest, appeared. He traversed the world to spread the word about his religion: *ninshu. He taught listeners about chakra, and encouraged them to spread wisdom and harmony. He performed many heroic deeds and inspired people with his genuine hope for peace. He was the Sage of the Six Paths.
In the time of the Sage, the world was tormented by a horrendous and powerful demon: the Juubi, the Ten-Tailed Beast. It was an abomination of foul energy, capable of mass carnage and destruction. For generations, it plagued the world with its terror and mayhem. Finally, the Sage of the Six Paths confronted it.
After a long and awful battle, the Sage was able to subdue the Ten-Tails, which he then sealed into his own being to trap its terrible power. This victory elevated the Sage to a god-like status in the shinobi world, and people hailed him as a savior.
However, the Sage knew that the seal would break upon his death; a more lasting way to contain the Juubi was needed. He ultimately used his great power to divide the beast’s massive chakra into nine separate parts, and these became tailed beasts that were scattered throughout the world. As one final safeguard, the Sage then created a enormous prison of rock with his *Chibaku Tensei technique, burying the bodily remains of the Juubi within it and then casting the great sphere of stone into the heavens. This created the moon, and the Juubi lies entombed in its depths to this day. The Sage left behind a tablet chronicling the tale of the Juubi for his descendants to one day read. Only those who possessed eyes like that of the Sage- the fabled Rinnegan- were able to read the tablet in its entirety. Men possessing lesser eyes- like the Sharingan- can only read parts of it.
Towards the end of the Sage’s life, he knew his dream of a lasting peace was still far from being obtained. Thus, he entrusted this mission and his legacy to his two sons: his older son inherited the Sage’s powerful eyes and boundless chakra, while his younger inherited his father’s body and strong will. Though brothers, the two were as different as night and day: the brash, older brother asserted that only great power would bring about peace. His kind, younger sibling disagreed, and believed that love would bring about peace. As he lay dying, the Sage appointed his younger son as his successor, causing his other son to become hateful and jealous. He attacked his brother, thus beginning the war that spanned throughout their lives and the lives of their descendants.
Descending from the younger brother is the Senju clan: a powerful lineage of ninjas that were renowned for their mastery of all areas of the shinobi arts, earning the reputation as ‘the clan with a thousand skills.’
Their rivals were the Uchiha clan, descended from older son of the Sage. Like their progenitor, the Uchiha bloodline was blessed with fearsome, powerful eyes: the Sharingan. And like the two brothers, the Senju and the Uchiha warred for generations.
Naruto sighed, deep in thought. It was disquieting to see how a clan’s quest for dominance and power had grown to infect and plague the shinobi world today. Though Uchiha Itachi had all but killed off his clan, the Uchiha’s darkness was still prolonged into the present by Sasuke and Madara. Kakashi had been right: it was a lineage of despair and emnity. Sasuke sought vengeance against Konoha for his brother’s and his family’s deaths, but he failed to recognize his own kinsmen’s contributing role in bringing about those sad events. Their massacre was tragic, but Naruto did not agree with Sasuke in that they were totally blameless for all that had happened.
But would Sasuke listen to him? After all, as an Uzumaki, Kushina had said they were related to the Senju. It was almost poetically inevitable then that they would fight.
“What if the Sasuke you find isn’t worth saving? Would you still risk your life for him?”
He didn’t think for an instant that Sasuke couldn’t be rescued from his current state. Self-doubt was something Naruto refused to allow into his life. So he would follow Sasuke. And with his own two hands he’d drag his ass back, no matter what the cost.
“You lost him?! How the hell did he get away from you?!?!”
Kakashi grimaced as Tsunade’s voice rang sharply in his head. He had to admit, it was slightly embarrassing for a shinobi of his caliber, but now was not the time for his grievances. “I apologize, Hokage-sama, I underestimated him.”
He heard her sigh resignedly, mumbling something about ‘a team of idiots.’ But fortunately, they knew Naruto’s destination. All was not lost.
“Okay Hatake, I’m sending you a backup team. Bring Naruto back to HQ at all costs. I don’t care if you have to knock him out or cut off his legs. Bring. Him. Back.”
–Uzushiogakure: Hidden Whirlpool village, where Uzumaki Kushina and the Uzumaki clan originated from. No longer exists, as it was destroyed by war.
– Ninshu: the Shinobi Sect. Teachings of the Sage of the Six Paths. Later became known as ninjutsu.
– Chibaku Tensei: Technique used by the Sage and Nagato. Uses gravity to amass objects from all directions into a sphere. Called Planetary Devastation in the anime, or Catastrophic Planetary Construction in the Viz manga.