Title: Inheritance of Hatred: Chapter 5
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.
“Ninpou: Sumi Nagashi.” Bursting from the scroll with a crackle of energy, the black ink strokes twisted in the air, taking on the form of a dozen serpents. Tapping two fingers onto the ground, Sai directed the ink creatures underground.
Kakashi rushed past him, close on Naruto’s tail. “Grab him, Sai,” he barked, forming seals in quick succession: tiger, hare, boar, dog. “Doton: Doryūheki.” He thrust his hands downwards, funneling chakra into the dry earth. Immediately, the ground started to shake violently, splitting the flat surface with deep cracks.
Naruto gasped, barely stopping himself in time as an earthen wall rose up abruptly before him. Quickly, he focused chakra to his hands and feet, jumping up and grabbing onto the rough wall. But before he’d even scaled several feet, he felt a strange wet sensation encircling his ankles. Kicking out ferociously, he looked down. Sai’s ink serpents had erupted from the ground, stretching up and wrapping around his ankles in agile coils. Cursing, his hands scrabbled against the wall as the mass of snakes weighed his body down. As he struggled, more and more ink creatures slithered forth from their artist’s scroll, collectively dragging Naruto back down.
He managed to grab a kunai out from his holster, stabbing at two of the snakes wrapped tightly around his ankles. The blade cut easily through them, severing their heads with a spurt of black ink. Within seconds though, the liquid shimmered and reformed into a whole snake. “Crap.” Naruto yelped as he landed back on the ground with a thump, flailing around the writhing mass of ink snakes. Sai and Kakashi approached, each holding an identical scroll. Sakura followed close behind, looking aggrieved.
Panting, Naruto looked each of his teammates determinedly in the face. “Guys, let me go. I can stop Sasuke once and for all.”
“Naruto, you have to stop this.” Sakura also pulled out a scroll from her pouch, setting it at her feet. She looked sadly from her blond friend to the ravine close ahead. Where Sasuke was waiting. Once more, the original Team Seven was so close together physically, but never before had they been so far apart. “This isn’t worth your life! You have to let him go…” She faltered, voice catching. “W-We…have to let him go.”
Looking her straight in her bright green eyes, clouded with torment, Naruto’s gaze softened, not quite pleading. He’d followed her stare as it wandered back towards where their missing teammate was.”Sakura-chan, what if it was you in there? Or me?”
Brusquely, Sai moved in front of Sakura, interrupting. “From what I’ve seen, Naruto-kun, the bonds you make for yourself are impressively strong.” He knelt and planted his scroll in the ground several feet away from Sakura’s and behind Naruto. “But if Sasuke does not reciprocate, then what good is the strength of your bond? It’s much like two people holding a length of rope taut between them. All it takes is one person to release their hold for it to fall to the ground.” He nodded at Kakashi, who set his scroll on the opposite side. “On your command, senpai.”
Shit, Naruto thought, recognizing the characters written on the three scrolls. It was a multi-point chakra cage, a barrier method that required at least three shinobi to activate. It drew on their respective chakra and nature affinities, creating a container that would be resistant to several types of elemental assaults. He knew it also consumed a lot of the activators’ energy; the fact that Team Seven was willing to use such an extreme measure to restrain him spoke volumes. Left with no other option, he stilled, focusing his concentration.
Kakashi’s one visible eye widened slightly, realizing what was happening. “Shikamaru,” he snapped over his shoulder. “Hold him down, buy us time.” Even as he moved into position to complete the barrier points and Shikamaru activated his technique, he knew it was too late. Bright, fire-like flares of chakra were quickly flashing forth, totally enveloping Naruto’s form body. Upon contact with the Nine Tails’ chakra, the ink serpents began to disintegrate, falling away from his limbs.
A long, pure black shadow wove nimbly along the ground, headed straight for Naruto’s feet as he started to stand. Momentarily, it bonded itself to the blond’s own shadow, freezing him in place. However, Naruto easily dispelled it now with a slash of chakra, severing the hold.
Suddenly he gasped, whirling. There was a flash of hostile energy behind them, moving too fast. “Get down!” Instinctively, he dropped flat to the ground, grabbing Sakura’s hand in the process. Milliseconds later, a deafening hiss filled the air, sending shock waves resounding in all directions. Large vipers snapped forth, at the place where Naruto and Sakura had been only seconds earlier. Unlike Sai’s creations, these green-scaled snakes were formidable and clearly malicious, venom dripping from their bone-white fangs.
“I missed, but I expected as much from you…Naruto.”
Lifting his head, Naruto scowled at the newcomer. “Kabuto.”
The dark folds of his cloak rippled as Orochimaru’s former right-hand man stepped forward, the sunlight glinting off the metal of his glasses. He flicked his hand, and the vipers instantly slither back towards their summoner, disappearing into the shadows of his coat. “I can’t say I’m surprised you came. After all,” he said, snake-like eyes flickering to take note of the Sakura, Sai, Shikamaru, and Kakashi. “We have Sasuke-kun.” Anger flashed across Naruto’s face, much to Kabuto’s amusement. “Still a touchy subject I see. Well, I recall promising you a proper fight once I gained proper control over this body. I hope you’ve improved since last we met, Naruto-kun. Otherwise,” he shifted slightly, his sinewy tail whipping out threateningly into view. “You won’t be defeating anyone today, much less Sasuke.”
Naruto started to move forward, rage evident in his eyes. Kakashi immediately grabbed his shoulder, pulling him back. “Wait, Naruto.” He glanced from Kabuto to his team behind him. Escape was no longer an option; he doubted Kabuto would let them walk away so easily, nor would Naruto come willingly. They were probably closely matched even if all five of them fought against their adversary. However, the Jounin was also aware that they had other, more important objectives than defeating Kabuto. And they could not be achieved if their squad was incapacitated.
“Let’s be smart about this.” He shrugged off his back pack, tossing it to Shikamaru. “You three, fall back.” Sakura opened her mouth to protest, but he firmly cut her off. “Fall back. We’ve discussed this.” Kakashi looked to Sai and Shikamaru, who nodded grimly in understanding.
Naruto looked confusedly at his teacher. “Kakashi-sensei?”
“Don’t worry, Naruto. I have your back. Now,” the Jounin took a step forward, fully facing Kabuto and pushing up his hitai-ate as he did so. “Let’s go.”
Slowly, meticulously, he wound the white strip of cloth around his wrist, just tight enough to stay in place. The low candlelight flickered in a small draft, throwing long shadows over Sasuke’s body and the rest of the room. His eyes had adjusted to being in use again, only slightly uncomfortable from the implantation. But he was certain it would get better soon…
And yet, these eyes- his brother’s eyes- seemed to have a will of their own. Perhaps it was an after-effect of the surgery, perhaps it was a result of their powers combining uneasily. Whatever it was, Sasuke grimaced to constantly hear echoes of a voice he’d hoped to never hear again.
People live their lives bound by what they accept as correct and true. That’s how they define reality
His fingers clenched, but Sasuke forced himself to relax, to ignore the insistent whisper that rose up inside his troubled mind. Tersely, he tied off the wrapping with a knot, snapping off the excess with a sharp pull. Normally, he pushed all these painful memories of his brother aside during his waking hours; that way, the gnawing agony became bearable. At night though, in the realm of dreams and nightmares, Sasuke found himself terribly vulnerable. Night after night, he’d relived all the bloody memories of his past since Itachi’s death. It was a suffocating cycle of remembrance and pain, fraying his sanity. And though he was a good enough shinobi to not let it show, it chilled him to his very core. Now it seemed Itachi had come back to haunt him through his eyes. Because all he had to do was look into the mirror and see his dead brother, blood-red eyes letting him only see hatred and anger.
But what does it mean to be correct or true, Sasuke? Merely vague concepts … their reality may all be a mirage
A part of him wondered if this was worth it. There was an undeniable new strength circulating within him now, but at what price? Would Itachi’s words chase him for the rest of his days, always repeating lowly, unstoppably in his head? it caused him to vaguely remember a time, too long ago, when all had been right in the world. When he’d had a mother, a father, and a brother. A family.
But of course, that was before Itachi splattered their clan’s blood on the walls of their home, wiping that time away forever. The day Sasuke awakened his Sharingan, and began to see the awful side of humanity.
Can we consider them to simply be living in their own world, shaped by their beliefs?
“I don’t care,” he ground out, throwing the remainder of the wrappings against the wall with more force than necessary. This was the worst time for such a distraction to manifest, what with the war in full motion and the shinobi nations nearly crushed. And Naruto…
Naruto was coming for him; that much was certain. He felt it like a creeping sensation, a rising anticipation in the very marrow of his bones. It’d been years since he defected from Konoha, but the blond chased him with as much fervor as he had the first time. To this day, the dark-haired boy couldn’t understand the utter devotion Naruto directed his way; he certainly did not think he merited it nor had he asked for it. Even Sakura and her girlish crush had given up. But not Naruto.
Frustrated, Sasuke picked up his sword, pushing aside his reminisces. Such thoughts didn’t help him, and they only got in the way of his focus. He needed nothing more than his hate, his rage, for that was his power. And with it, he would once and for all wipe away the pitiful existence of those who’d wronged the Uchiha.
Those who turn their hands against their comrades are sure to die a terrible death
“Shut up.” He glanced at the broken mirror, the splintered glass multiplying his reflection. Itachi had always been the brooding type, never clearly one way or another. Even in death, Sasuke was confused as to what kind of man his brother truly was. He was a many of many faces, none of which Sasuke believed to be real. He would wax poetic about reality, but had shrouded his entire persona in illusion.
And anyways, a terrible death was a small price to pay for revenge. If he deserved death for raising his hand against Konoha, then Sasuke reasoned it was only just that he get retribution for the slaughter of his clan first. That was the only truth that mattered anymore.
1. Ninpou: Sumi Nagashi- Ninja Arts: Ink Flush/ Super Ink Imitation Style: Wild Tentacles
2. Doton: Doryūheki: Earth Release: Earth Style Wall/Mud Wall.