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The Devil's Advocate

Chapter Text

Chapter One

"What would you know about pain and suffering?! You live in Konoha with your parents and your family! You've never suffered a day in your life!"

Sasuke's lips twisted into a furious snarl at the brat's words, his appetite suddenly leaving him. Inari, their client's grandson had been glaring at them and ranting since they'd returned, however Sasuke had been able to ignore it all…until now.

This brat had his grandfather and his mother waiting for him every time he returned home while he had nothing but that man. The man who had taken it all away from him and left him nothing but the memories of his role model slitting their parents' throats!

Inari didn't know what it meant to have nothing and he open his mouth to yell at the child but to his surprise, Naruto beat him to it, radiating killing intent almost as strong as his.

"You don't know what it means to suffer, you selfish little brat! You have a family who loves you, but you continue to whine and cry like a star in some melodrama! Some of us don't even have that and you'd do well to remember that. For every second of your pain there is always someone that has it worse!"

Cerulean blue eyes flashed a dark crimson before their owner turned and stormed from the room, fuming.

Kakashi sighed drawing all of their attention to him. "Despite the fact that he could've said it kinder, Naruto is right. There are others, himself included that have suffered the worst the world has to offer and still manage to face the day with a smile."

His lone visible eye moved to Sasuke.

"Go find him."

Sasuke nodded and stood, knowing his sensei was giving him a chance to calm down. Still, as he exited the house, taunting Sharingan eyes flashed behind his eyelids.

He shoved them aside and went to chase after his teammate.

After all, he wasn't on his level yet.


Naruto was lost.

Half an hour had passed since he had run from their client's house in a fit and since calming, ten minutes previous he had been trying to find his way back, but he was hopeless with directions as it turned out.

Groaning in frustration, the young kitsune looked around hoping to find something familiar.

He found nothing.

A bush rustled behind him and he spun around kunai raised defensively, to find two men behind him. The first was tall and seemed to be around Kakashi-sensei's age wearing a black wide-collared shirt, not unlike the ones Sasuke-teme favored, His skin richly tanned like Naruto's own and his hair splayed in a spiky mess atop his head. The other was leaning on the first, unconscious, and seemed slightly younger than the first, his hair longer and falling in soft spikes just below his ears. He wore the same thing as his companion, barring the fact that while the older wore long black shinobi pants he wore standard knee-length shorts.

The most peculiar thing, however, was that both men wore a Konoha hiate, and yet Naruto knew he'd never seen them before in his life.

"M-my brother," The first pleaded softly, onyx eyes wide and full of tears. "You have to help my otouto! He won't wake up!"

Naruto swallowed thickly, unsure of whether it was a trap or not, he glanced at the unconscious man, still…he couldn't just leave them there.

Kakashi-sensei would know what to do.

"I-I, alright. My sensei will know what to do, dattebayo."

A relieved sigh left the man who pulled his brother closer, before he stilled and looked at Naruto wide-eyed.

"Dattebayo?"

Naruto blushed, but shrugged unwilling to explain his verbal tick to the stranger. Instead he turned, yelping when he almost crashed face first into a person emerging from the bushes in front of him. He scowled, instantly recognizing the moonlit pale skin and dimly amused onyx gaze of his oldest teammate.

"Teme, what the hell?!"

"Kakashi-sensei sent me to get you, dobe." He glanced at the man following the blond, then at the man's cargo. His eyes widened.

"Shisui?"

Naruto blinked, taking in the haunted gleam in the older boy's eyes.

"Ano, teme, you know them?"

Sasuke nodded slowly. "I don't know him," he gestured to the man standing, before returning his gaze to the unconscious man.

"But the man, he's holding is my cousin…Uchiha Shisui."

The jinchuriki's eyes widened and he turned to stare at the two shinobi he'd happened upon. He, like everyone else in Konoha, had heard of the horrors of the Uchiha Massacre. Some man named Itachi had gone psycho and killed everyone, leaving Sasuke as the last of his clan. To happen upon two Uchiha, so long after the Massacre, it was a miracle. It meant Sasuke wouldn't have to be alone anymore!

He looked up at his teammate, wondering why Sasuke didn't look as happy as he should. In fact, the older boy looked pained.

"We need to head back." The raven monotoned, turning away from the two men and before anyone could speak, he took to the trees. Naruto shot the newcomers a look then followed, somehow knowing the man was following behind him.


Obito frowned deeply as he followed the young Minato-sensei look-alike, and the mini Uchiha, pondering what could have put such a look on the latter boy's face. Three hours had passed since he had awakened in a cave underground to find himself in a body much older than it should be, lying next to the unconscious form of his baby brother, who also seemed older than he had been when Obito had last seen him. Then again, Shisui had been seven years old the last time he had seen him, so he supposed it would stand to garner that the other boy was older now.

He glanced down at the unconscious figure in his arms, wondering why his otouto wouldn't wake…and why his body felt perfectly fine despite having been crushed by rocks last he checked.

He sighed and resigned himself to asking the brats' sensei when he arrived.

His eyes widened and suddenly the young Uchiha's word's filtered into his mind.

"Kakashi-sensei sent me to get you, dobe."

A soft curse left his lips. BakaKashi was a sensei…god help the world.

This would be interesting.

TBC…

Chapter Text

Chapter Two

Kakashi frowned worriedly as he surveyed the tree line for his two wayward male students, hoping beyond hope that they were alright.

He couldn't lose anyone else in this world and his students were all he had left.

His godfather was off doing who knows what, his teammates and sensei dead and buried, and his father was a can of worms better left unopened.

There was no one left for him other than the three young individuals under his command and he knew if anything happened to them he would never forgive himself.

"Kakashi-sensei!" Greeted a voice and he smiled in relief when the two boys emerged from the tree line.

That smile turned fell when he caught sight of the man behind them, wearing a Konoha hiate, along with his unconscious companion, someone many believed dead.

"Is that-?"

Sasuke nodded, lips pursed and face three shades paler than normal. The man carrying the unconscious Uchiha smirked.

"Been a while, huh, BakaKashi?"

Kakashi blinked rapidly, taking in the familiar yet unfamiliar face and that irritating nickname. Only one person ever called him that.

His breath caught in his throat. "Obito?"

Sasuke's eyes widened at the name, remembering when Shisui had told him about his elder brother who had died during the war. How did Kakashi know him?

Obito chuckled. "What happened to you? It looks like your mask is eating you face."

Kakashi sighed and ignored him, summoning Pakkun to solidify the two men's identities.

"Yo." The pug greeted and Kakashi nodded.

"Pakkun, identify."

The small dog sniffed both men.

"Uchiha Shisui, and that stupid cat-lover. "he looked up at Kakashi. "Both of whom have been dead for years."

Kakashi nodded, dismissing the hound before turning to the four shinobi in front of him.

"Let's take this inside."

They nodded, although Naruto seemed confused.

"Can you help my otouto?" Obito asked his teammate worriedly and Kakashi frowned, gesturing for him to lay the unconscious Uchiha on his futon. Once the man was settled, he ran through the hand signs for the ANBU's field diagnostic jutsu, hovering his glowing green palm over the younger man's body.

His frown deepened. "Physically, there is nothing wrong with him. His mind is saying he's-"

A soft groan cut him off, his patient's eyes fluttering open and landing on Sasuke.

"'tachi? You 'kay?"

Sasuke paled and jerked back as if he had been burnt, watching as Shisui's eyes started to clear. The man looked around, bewildered, one hand going up to his eyes.

"I…can see?"

Obito frowned. "Why wouldn't you?"

Shisui's eyes widened. "Aniki? But you- and I- huh?"

"Both of you should be dead." Kakashi said, drawing their attention to him.

"Obito, you were killed on that mission to Kannabi bridge thirteen years ago. Shisui, you were killed by y-"

Shisui cut him off with a shake of his head. "No I wasn't. I committed suicide."

Sasuke scowled. "You don't have to cover up for him, we know what he did."

Shisui glanced at him, eyes widening.

"Sasuke? Wow, gaki you grew."

The teen glared at him, his gaze colder than Shisui remembered it being.

"That tends to happen when your brother becomes a mass murderer." He snarled and both of the formerly dead Uchiha gasped.

"What?"

"Five years ago, Uchiha Itachi slaughtered your entire clan…Sasuke is the only survivor."

Obito shook his head, stunned. Surely they weren't talking about his baby cousin. The Itachi he knew would sit with the wounded soldiers and comfort them. He grew squeamish at the mere sight of blood and hated violence with a passion.

Shisui, however gritted his teeth, knowing only one person could be behind this.

Danzo.

He must have threatened Sasuke in some way because Shisui knew there was nothing that his best friend wouldn't do for his otouto. Itachi had become the best, just so the pressure wouldn't fall on Sasuke's shoulders, he killed so Sasuke would have a peaceful childhood.

Something else was going on if he had slaughtered their entire clan.

Sasuke seemed to know what he was thinking because his glare darkened.

"Of course, he kills everyone and you still take his side."

Shisui sneered at him. "There are things at work that you know nothing about, baby cousin. Villains are hardly made over night, and Itachi was no villain. You may think you know the full story but what you were told was probably nothing but a fragment of the truth."

Kakashi sighed. "Shisui, he tortured him."

Sasuke flinched remembering those burning crimson hues and the blood red sky of the Tsukuyomi.

Shisui however, stilled, his heart shattering in his chest. Itachi had tortured Sasuke, his world? Why?

What could have driven him to do such a thing?

He glanced at the bitter, anger driven form of his baby cousin and his fists clenched in determination.

He didn't know, but he would find out.

What truths had Itachi taken such lengths to keep hidden? Moreover, what was he planning?


"Konoha will be hosting the Chuunin exams this year. The suna jinchuriki will be present as well as the Kumo and Konoha jinchuriki."

Pein hummed softly as he considered Sasori's report, purple ringed eyes gazing upon each of his followers before settling on the blank expression of Itachi Uchiha.

"The Konoha jinchuriki and his team just finished a mission in Nami no Kuni, am I correct?" He asked knowing that the teen had a strange obsession with keeping an eye over the Kitsune's team. He figured it had something to do with the last Uchiha being on the boy's team.

Itachi nodded. "They killed Momochi Zabuza and his apprentice with the help of two unknown men wearing hooded cloaks."

Pein frowned. Unknown variables were not good. Not good at all. This had to be taken care of immediately and yet with Konoha's security gearing up for the exams, now wasn't the time.

"Kisame, Itachi, stick close to Konoha. I expect the Kyuubi Jinchuriki exactly two weeks after the exam finals."

Kisame smirked and nodded while his partner bowed lightly.

"Hai, leader-sama."

TBC…

Chapter Text

Chapter Three

"Will you be okay going to Konoha? We don't have to go. I can tell leader-sama you weren't feeling well." Kisame fretted as he held his slender husband in his arms.

The younger man said nothing, gazing blankly at the wall across from their bed, his body soft and pliant in the elder's arms. The Uchiha had been in the same state since their meeting with Pein had ended hours previous and had yet to respond to his worried inquiries.

"Itachi?"

The raven shifted quietly, then finally spoke, his voice soft and broken.

"Those two men. There is no information on them and they are hanging around Sasuke. I- I have to."

Kisame gritted his teeth.

He was the only person in the Akatsuki that knew the truth behind the Uchiha Massacre and he hated just how far the raven would go for that little brother of his. He hated that Itachi saw himself as little more than a tool to be used to ensure the safety of his brother and his village no matter personal cost. His lover was far too kind for this world.

"If it gets to be too much, we're leaving."

Itachi nodded, but there was something defiant in his otherwise passive gaze that told him it wouldn't be easy to convince him to leave.

The older nuke-nin sighed irritably. "Rest. We've got a long journey ahead of us."


Sarutobi Hiruzen frowned slightly as he stared at the six shinobi in front of him, particularly the two supposedly dead Uchiha.

He hadn't believed it when Kakashi had reported their appearance in the wave and despite the copy-nin's verification that they were who they said they were, he couldn't help being cautious. Only Kakashi and Obito could verify the latter's last memory, but he could verify Shisui's himself.

"Uchiha Obito, what is your last memory?"

The man in question straightened. "Rocks were falling and Kakashi was in the way so I pushed him outta the way. Then it all goes black and I'm waking up in the wake way older than I should be."

Kakashi nodded, hand tightening at his side and the Sandaime turned to Shisui.

"And yours?"

"I was talking to Itachi about The Mission. It failed and Danzou confronted me with Ne because of it. I gave 'tachi my remaining eye and committed suicide so that he could unlock his Mangekyō."

Hiruzen frowned while Obito gasped.

"Danzou left it out of the reports that he confronted you."

Shisui gave a bitter snort.

"I imagine he left a lot of things out of his report, Sandaime-sama. Including the fact that he ripped out one of my sharingan and used it to replace the eye he lost in the war."

The Sandaime's frown darkened at his words and he leaned forward, hands clasped under his chin. Staring at the group he silently prayed for Itachi's forgiveness as his next action would unravel the plans he'd made to redeem his clan and keep them clean in his brother's eyes.

"No word of what I am about to say, leaves this room." He ordered and everyone nodded, including the members of team seven.

"Shisui, seals."

The formerly dead jounin flashed through a few one handed seals then nodded.

"They will not speak of it beyond these walls, Sir."

Naruto swallowed. "What's going on, jiji?"

"I'm going to tell you all a story. More so, I am going to invalidate the sacrifices of one this village's most brilliant shinobi and I can only hope he will forgive me. However, with the recent events, I can no longer keep this truth from the six of you in particular. Some of you know the truth and others, well this will shatter your beliefs in our village and for that I apologize."

He paused and they all stared at him with varying amounts of caution.

"Thirteen years ago, as you all know, the Kyūbi no Kitsuneattacked our village. What you do not know is that the beast was being controlled."

Everyone but Shisui gasped, staring at the Sandaime wide-eyed. What was so powerful that it could control a bijuu?

"Of all the villages in the elemental nations, ours is the only one with a doujutsu powerful enough to control the bijuu. And that doujutsu belonged to the Uchiha."

"The sharingan." Obito murmured quietly and the man nodded.

"But, but how?" Naruto stammered, shooting a fearful look at the two older Uchiha.

It was Shisui that responded. "The sharingan has four forms, one of which is nearly impossible to achieve. The first is the basic one. At this stage, the user has one tomoe on one side, usually on the side of their dominant hand, and two tomoe on the other. The next level, there are three tomoe in both eyes. This is the level that most Uchiha never advance past because many don't know of the other two. Those that do, rarely try to achieve them because the cost of achieving them is too high."

His eyes fluttered as he remembered the anguished cry of his name escaping Itachi's lips as he fell, the peace he felt when he finally let go.

"The Mangekyō sharingan is considered by those who know of it the most powerful sharingan. It has the power to force even the strongest of bijuu under a genjutsu which is why many fear its power. It is achieve through trauma, whether that be the death of someone close to you or you killing that person yourself. The final form of the sharingan in called the Eternal Mangekyō Sharingan. It…it is formed by transferring the Mangekyō sharingan of one's brother into oneself. It's the rarest form of our clan's doujutsu and to this day only one Uchiha has unlocked it."

Sasuke paled and his brother's words from that night rang in his ears.

" There is no value in killing the likes of you… My foolish brother… If you want to kill me… curse me! Hate me! And live a long and unsightly life… Run away… run away… and cling to your pitiful life. And then some day, when you have the same eyes as I do, come before me. " (1)

How was he supposed to believe that his brother only wanted what was best for him when the man wanted him to suffer? Wanted him to gain the second worse form of their doujutsu?

All this was doing was making him hate the man more.

The sandaime took over the explanation again.

"Exactly. The village blamed the Uchiha for the attack, and it was decided by the council that they would be put under watch, especially considering that the beast was contained within the village."

Naruto flinched and Sasuke scowled.

"I thought the Yondaime killed it."

"You can't kill a demon," His teammate responded, his voice softer than Sasuke had ever heard it. "You can only contain it." The sandaime nodded.

"The head of the Uchiha, your father, was upset about it. He was, rightfully, offended by the village's attitude toward the Uchiha and in response he formed a plan. For your clan to regain the power it had once held, they'd need to stage a coup d'état."

Everyone gasped, excluding Shisui who closed his eyes painfully.

"He started pushing Itachi harder and harder, forcing him to advance through the ranks as quickly as he could until finally, when Ita-chan was ten, he joined the Anbu. He was to spy on the village, on the Hokage and report back to the elders so that they'd know how to plan their next move. I followed, unwilling to let him go through with it alone, but even I had no idea that Itachi had another plan. I had already been on a team in the village and was playing double agent for both the elders and the village, but Itachi was so loyal, so family-driven that I never expected him to disobey Fugaku-sama and tell the Hokage of their plans." He let out a shuddering breath.

"When we returned home, I asked him why, and he told me that he had to. He said that if the clan managed to be successful, it would drive the village into a civil war…and eventually another Great War, one the other villages realized that ours had fallen into disarray. He said he couldn't- wouldn't let Sasuke grow up in the same violence that we had."

Obito and Kakashi, remembering their own war-torn childhoods, and the small raven haired child they'd always seen on the battlefields trying to help in any way he could, nodded. They knew as well as any of the other survivors of the Second War, the trauma that it left in its wake.

"We worked for years, trying to work both ends, to save our village and our clan, then finally I came up with a plan. There is a jutsu that can only be cast with the Mangekyō sharingan. It's called the Kotoamatsukami. It…it's a mind-control jutsu, subtler than the Yamanaka's signature and a lot more powerful. It can only be used once every ten years and I thought…I thought it would succeed. With both the Clan and the village council pushing for results, for answers, we couldn't afford for it to fail. I tried to use it on Fugaku-sama to negate the coup…it failed." His voice broke and Obito reached out for him only for him to move away.

"Danzo-sama confronted me about it and we fought…just when I thought I'd defeated him, he caught me off guard and ripped out my eye. He placed in his own empty socket while I escaped. Then he sent the Ne after me. I ran, and lured Itachi to the Naka river. There, I informed him of my failure. I told him it was all up to him now, then…then I gave him my remaining eye and I fell…"

The sandaime took over, once more, while everyone stared at Shisui, stunned.

"Itachi informed us of your death, and your failure to subdue the clan. Your clansmen blamed him for your death and had decided to move up their plans…so we ordered their elimination. He protested, but Danzo, Homura, and Koharu, ordered it so. He agreed on the condition that his little brother, Uchiha Sasuke be spared."

"No."

Everyone turned to Sasuke who was glaring at them all with wet dark eyes.

"I don't believe you! I- I can't believe you."

The sandaime sighed and handed them the official mission papers.

Sasuke read them shocked as the man continued speaking.

"Once the deed was done, I gave him the mission to go undercover in a criminal organization called the Akatsuki. He asked that I watch over you, and protect you until you became a shinobi and could protect yourself."

A broken sob left the teen who threw the papers down, his entire core rattled. Then, blind to everything but his own grief, he raced from the room, ignoring the cries of everyone behind him.

TBC…

Chapter Text

Chapter Four

"No."

Everyone turned to Sasuke who was glaring at them all with wet dark eyes.

"I don't believe you! I- I can't believe you."

The sandaime sighed and handed them the official mission papers.

Sasuke read them shocked as the man continued speaking.

"Once the deed was done, I gave him the mission to go undercover in a criminal organization called the Akatsuki. He asked that I watch over you, and protect you until you became a shinobi and could protect yourself."

A broken sob left the teen who threw the papers down, his entire core rattled. Then, blind to everything but his own grief, he raced from the room, ignoring the cries of everyone behind him.

*/*

Lies.

It was all lies.

Sasuke clutched his head as he sobbed brokenly in front of his parents' graves, the conversation from the Sandaime's office running rampant in his mind.

Itachi couldn't be innocent.

He couldn't be.

He thought back to that night, to Itachi forcing him to watch him slaughter their parents. He could still remember the vivid crimson of his brother's eyes as they glared into his own, the thick scent of copper invading his senses as he chased the murderer through the family compound.

He could remember the last words the man had ever spoken to him, so cold and detached that at the time, his stunned childish brain had frozen.

He remembered-

He froze, eyes widening as a sudden thought occurred to him.

Tears.

He remembered tears.

Itachi had been crying when he turned away and left the village. At the time, the trauma had somehow blocked this small detail from his memory but now, with Shisui's explanation echoing in his mind, and his thoughts free of the Tsukuyomi, it had come back in startling detail.

Itachi was innocent.

Why else would he have cried that night?

Pain lanced through his heart at his aniki's suffering and determination flared in beside the hole left by the loss of his clan. He would continue to get strong. He would bring their clan's killers to justice.

Then, he would bring his big brother home.

The teen nodded resolutely, and he placed a gentle hand on the headstone before him.

"I'll bring him home, Tou-san, Kaa-san. I promise. I'll prove his innocence to the world." He smirked.

"And I'm gonna kick his ass for lying to me."

*/*

Shisui stared at the paper before him, guilt weighing down his heart as he took in the words scrawled across the page.

Itachi had killed their clan.

Those bastards had forced a thirteen-year-old child, a pacifist at that, to slay his family to prevent a civil war.

He'd never hated his village more than he had in that moment.

"Has he told you what his plans for Sasuke were?"

He asked quietly, happy that the Hokage had dismissed everyone else following Sasuke's abrupt departure, while he'd stayed behind to discuss what had been said, his thoughts in turmoil from what he'd heard.

The Hokage sighed at his question, looking older than his seventy-six years.

"He didn't. However, I do know that he plans for Sasuke to kill him. He believes that if he does, the honor of your clan will be restored, the secrets of your clan dying with him. I am hoping that, by telling him the truth, I have derailed this. He deserves more than dying disgraced in the eyes of the one he sacrificed everything for."

"Why would they do this? Why him?" He asked softly and the Sandaime shook his head.

"Barring Kakashi and yourself, Itachi was and always has been our village's most loyal shinobi. However, unlike yourself, Itachi and Kakashi are of the belief that shinobi are mere tools and so they behave as such. If it is for the village, or for Sasuke, he will do whatever is asked of him. I believe the elders were aware of this fact and exploited it." His features hardened.

"With your help, I would like to have them executed for treason after the impending Chūnin Exams."

Shisui's eyes flashed. Unlike Itachi, he felt their clan's Curse of Hatred as strongly as any Uchiha. If it would get his cousin the revenge he deserved he would do it.

"Just tell me what to do."

*/*

Obito didn't know what to think.

His baby brother had been his world, his one light within the walls of their clan and hearing just how his brother had died set all of his protective instincts off.

It only worsened when he learned the fate of his little cousin, the little pacifist that used to listen to him tell stories with wide fascinated eyes and a small smile. He'd been the one to comfort him when he awakened his sharingan and his subsequent first kill only weeks before the incident at Kanabi bridge. He'd helped him keep it from Fugaku-dono, knowing the man would force him into the academy if he knew, there was no way he wouldn't, even knowing his eldest was a pacifist.

"You alright?"

He turned at his team mate's voice, shaking his head honestly.

He didn't know how much had changed with the younger since his death, but something told him this Kakashi was much different from the one he'd died to save.

There was haunted look about him, hidden behind the carefree light in his eyes. Had it been another day, he'd ask about it, but with the information he'd learned at the meeting whirling in his mind he didn't think he could take anymore earth-shattering revelations.

"I'm sorry about Itachi."

He hummed and Kakashi continued. "He was under me in ANBU until he became a taichō. The guys gave him hell, thinking Fugaku bought his way in, then he proved to be one of the most efficient and he gained their respect. His team were perhaps among the few that believe him innocent and they to this day won't hear a word against him. His name is nearly taboo in hq."

"Why are you telling me this?" He whispered, looking up and his teammate sighed.

"Because you needed to hear it."

He stared at the man. "You've changed, Bakakashi. It suits you."

The scarecrow chuckled and turned to leave. "If you say so. Sandaime-sama assigned you to team seven as my assistant. Don't be late."

He watched the man go, then smiled.

Perhaps being in the future wouldn't be all bad.

*/*

Things were changing.

A single narrow eye gazed down at the village below contemplatively, their owner able to feel the winds of change right down to his bones.

Since the reports of Shisui Uchiha and an unknown man entering the village, he'd had his Ne up in arms. So far, he'd yet to hear anything, but he doubted he wouldn't soon. Sarutobi, for all he was a peace-loving fool, was cunning and ruthless when he needed to be. There was little doubt in his mind that Uchiha would share the specifics of their last encounter with Sarutobi but he was prepared.

His gaze found a head of crimson hair walking calmly through the village, followed by two others and he smirked vanishing in a swirl of leaves. He reappeared in an underground infirmary two dark haired people lying on the beds. The first was a woman, her body slender beneath the blue gown she wore. The other was a male, his face twisted into a scowl even in his unconsciousness.

He was very well prepared.

TBC…

Chapter Text

Chapter 5

Things were changing.

A single narrow eye gazed down at the village below contemplatively, their owner able to feel the winds of change right down to his bones.

Since the reports of Shisui Uchiha and an unknown man entering the village, he'd had his Ne up in arms. So far, he'd yet to hear anything, but he doubted he wouldn't soon. Sarutobi, for all he was a peace-loving fool, was cunning and ruthless when he needed to be. There was little doubt in his mind that Uchiha would share the specifics of their last encounter with Sarutobi but he was prepared.

His gaze found a head of crimson hair walking calmly through the village, followed by two others and he smirked vanishing in a swirl of leaves. He reappeared in an underground infirmary two dark haired people lying on the beds. The first was a woman, her body slender beneath the blue gown she wore. The other was a male, his face twisted into a scowl even in his unconsciousness.

He was very well prepared.

*/*

Kakashi was late.

Kakashi. Late.

The world was ending.

Wide onyx eyes stared down at the watch around his wrist then back up at the three genin in front of him noting how, despite the fact that one of their sensei were three hours late, they didn't even seem worried.

What. The. Fuck?

Sakura, the only female amongst his new students, seemed to take pity on him, patting his arm placatingly.

"Kakashi-sensei is always three hours late to everything barring missions."

"Kakashi? Stiff, rule-abiding Kakashi? Late?"

The mini clone of his sensei snickered. "I think you might have the wrong person. Kakashi sensei is the most laid-back person we know."

A poof of smoke alerted them to the arrival of the subject of their conversation and Obito's eyes widened as he took in his former teammate, the man's face buried in the orange book he carried and- was that porn?!

"YOU'RE LATE, BAKAKASHI!" He yelled and the younger man hummed.

"Hm?"

"LATE!"

A single grey eye looked up from the pages, dancing with amusement. "Yes well, you see, there was a cute little dolphin that needed comforting before class and came to me. Apparently, he ran into a ghost named Shisui."

The three genin blinked. "That…is actually very plausible." Sakura said stunned and Naruto's eyes widened.

"You better not have touched Iruka-sensei, ero-sensei!"

Obito just stared at his teammate stunned.

Before his death, Kakashi had been the most rule abiding person he knew and punctual to a T. He'd always arrived on time, not a minute before their set time, nor a minute after. Hell, he'd kicked Obito's ass for being four minutes late once, and the sneer on his face had hurt nearly as much as the hits.

Had Kakashi really changed that much?

A book hit him in the head, startling him from his thoughts.

"Pay attention, idiot."

He scowled, sending his teammate a dirty look.

Nope, must be imagining things. He was still the same asshole, he'd been all those years ago.

Yet, even as the thought crossed his mind, even as he listened to Kakashi tell the genin the layout of their training for the day, he knew that it was a lie.

Kakashi had changed.

It was just a question of how much.

*/*

He'd been expecting this.

Tired chocolate eyes closed as their owner registered the presence behind them.

"Good evening, Itachi-Kun."

"Sandaime-sama." His guest replied, soft voice deeper than he remembered it being. Then again, the last time he'd seen the child, he'd been just entering his teenage years, balancing delicately on the cusps of adolescence and young adult. For a moment, he hated his village and the Uchiha clan for what they had turned the once innocent child into. He hated himself, for using the fruits of their labor to protect his village.

"I assume you are here about Team seven's mission?"

For a moment, the teen was silent. "Are these men a threat to Sasuke-kun?"

The elderly hokage sighed and turned to the younger shinobi. "No. In fact, he may be safer than he has since you left the village." He paused, meeting the garnet gaze of his subordinate. "They are Shisui-kun and Obito-kun."

Itachi froze, disbelief strong in his gaze.

He continued on, keeping his dark eyes locked on the stunned teen. "It's been proven with Kakashi's nin-hounds, DNA, and a chakra signature exams. To prove Shisui's identity...I told Team Seven the truth of the massacre."

"Hokage-sama!"

"No, Itachi! I should never have allowed you to go through with that mission. We could've found a better way to deal with this! You are only eighteen years old and while your tenure in the shinobi corps is nearly as long as the veterans of the last war, it has also scarred you just as deeply. Following the third exam of the upcoming Chunin Exams, I am terminating your mission with the Akatsuki and declassifying the truth of the Uchiha Massacre."

Pure horror crossed the child's features mixed with a shadow of desperation before he wiped his face of all emotion and bowed.

"Hai, hokage-sama." He replied impassively and with nary a warning, he was gone.

Sarutobi sighed, hat shadowing his face.

"I'm sorry, child. Its for your own good."

*/*

Sasuke knew.

He'd put so much thought and planning into making sure that Sasuke would never know the truth of the massacre, that he would maintain the vision that their Clan was proud and noble. He'd paced every pawn and shard into place, anything to keep Tobi, Danzo, and Orochimaru from sinking their claws into the younger Uchiha and the Sandaime had ruthlessly crushed it.

He'd taken his sacrifice and discarded it, as if it were the mere whims of a child and he didn't- he didn't know what to do.

Every moment of his life since he'd cut down his parents had been with the thought that one day Sasuke would kill him and give him the chance to repent for his actions.

He'd done it with the belief that his otouto would be safe and care for, at least as much as a shinobi could be.

It was a belief he now knew was unfounded.

Blank onyx eyes stared ahead sightlessly, a swell of emptiness encompassing their owner like a long lost lover.

Dying at Sasuke's hands, redeeming their clan, it had been his only goal for so long, and that goal was gone now.

So what did he do now?

Strong arms wound themselves around his waist and he allowed his husband to pull him back against his chest, ignoring the tears that well up and spilled over from his own deadened gaze.

What did he do now?

TBC...