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A/N: Hey ya'll! It's Kuro-kun here. Hehes, so like I said in Golden Warrior I'm going to start on this. Updates will happen shortly. I plan to update Behind Steel Bars and Scared To Be Alone this weekend. Hehes, seems like summer is the season of the writing bug for me. It's great though so I'm not complaining about it. I'm sure ya'll appreciate regular updates anyways. This is another story I'm taking a chance on. Hopefully it turns out well.

No flames or negativity is allowed. By negativity I mean no bullying, harassment, etc. towards me or my stories because if there is any then I will report you. Only positive and constructive feedback is allowed. Please keep in mind like the rest of my other stories this is an AU. I hope ya'll enjoy the first chappie of this. Please R&R!

Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto or any of its characters.

Pairings: SasuSaku and OroNaru, but others will be implied and/or added like usual.

Dedicated: to my amazing best friend who I consider as an adoptive mother, CapricornKitty1975, who I love and adore to death/rebirth. She's a very talented writer as well so ya'll should go check out her stuff. I don't know what I'd do without her.

Charcoal Scars

Chapter 1: Ruins

When the Uchiha massacre occurred Sasuke had been swept away by shock and then rage. But when he found out that it had been his older brother who had done the dirty deed he felt disappointed. At a loss for words at that young age when everything fell into pieces he had no home or family to return to. His brother had left Konoha. Standing there to stare into the murky depths of the water he didn't know where or who to turn to. Then there was a voice in his ear.

"Poor little Uchiha.....lost and alone.....you can come with me," purred a silky masculine voice belonging to none other than Orochimaru. "I can promise you power.....a home....everything your heart desires and more....."

At that time it had sounded too good to be true. Then again he had nothing except an empty house to return to. What type of life would that be? These scars are his to harbor for the rest of his life to remind him of his tragic past. There's a part of him that wants to go on his path of life alone while there's the other part that really wants to accept what this man is offering him. Considering it for a few moments longer he finally gave in. No, he wouldn't return back to the compound to live a life on his own. Yes, he could easily manage it, but it would cause the recent events to plague his mind. With the other male's company then at least he's not by himself through this hard time of his life.

"Ok, I'll go with you," said Sasuke when he finally came to his decision.

"Good boy. Now, let's go home."

()()()()()()()()()()

Several years later, Sasuke had grown up under the watchful eye of his self-appointed father of sorts. It's the closest thing he has to one since all of his family and loved ones had been killed. One day he yearns to learn the truth from his older brother to then avenge their clan. But now he has grown strong. He has blossomed into a skillful young man. Having grown up in the Sound didn't bother him. Knowing one day he would return to Konoha meant that he would someday go out in search for Itachi. During midday he heard Orochimaru calling for him. Padding into the place where he found him he wondered what this could be about.

"Sasuke," said the snake Sanin. "There's something I want to give you."

"What would that be?" He asked curiously, hesitantly drawing closer before being bitten although it didn't hurt that much.

"That....it's known as the curse mark which I can only give. This is a gift I am giving you," explained Orochimaru fondly to the Uchiha. "It'll change you within time. You'll be under observation."

"Hn, ok," agreed Sasuke, knowing he didn't exactly have a choice, but he had agreed to this upon going with him all that time ago.

"There's one more thing I wanted to tell you," murmured Orochimaru, pleased by the Uchiha's progress in learning fire and lightning jutsu's along with knowing how to use serpents.

"What would that be?" Questioned the raven haired male of sixteen years old while a maroon colored python coiled around his arms from slithering down off the ceiling onto him although he didn't mind knowing that the scaley creatures knew he's not a foe or threat.

"We will be visiting the Leaf in a few days. I need to visit an old friend. That's all I wanted to tell you. Now, you may go back to what you were doing. Supper will be ready shortly."

()()()()()()()()()()()

A few days later, the two along with Kabuto are on their way towards Konoha. Orochimaru had sent word to the Hokage Tower to ensure they wouldn't have any complications going inside. Sasuke wore all black with his shirt having the Uchiha symbol on it. His katana blade is strapped to his hip. Underneath his clothes there are dark markings that move without his will. They had spawned the previous night. His father had informed him that it's normal with having the curse mark. It didn't bother him at all. Due to having the Uchiha bloodline prepared him for anything. Besides, he remains hardened and allows very few people in.

"We will be apart for a while," explained Orochimaru. "I'll be at the Tower speaking with the Hokage. You'll be alright on your own, correct?"

"Hn, I will," he promised him, knowing that he would be fine on his own. "Have a good discussion with her."

Orochimaru's lips twitched into a small smile, "Thank you. I'm sure that I will. You enjoy yourself getting back to your original roots."

Nodding, the two went their separate ways until they would regroup much later. Now, Sasuke wandered the streets of Konoha. Many people stared at him in awe. The feeling of being stared at unnerved him. There's not much he could really do about it. Hearing someone in the training grounds nearby he decided to go investigate. What he found is a rosette haired woman practicing taijutsu. Studying her movements, the Uchiha flash stepped until he's behind her.

"You're strong," said the smooth voice of Sasuke.

Startled at the unexpected person, Sakura flinched and swung at him although stopped when realizing who it is, "Oh, sorry about that. Don't do that again, ok? You nearly scared me out of my wits."

"Hn, I make no promises," replied Sasuke simply. "What's your name?"

Sakura Haruno," answered the kunoichi, taking a step back from him. "You're not from here, right? What about you?"

"Sasuke Uchiha," answered the ravenette.

"I thought they were all dead," gasped Sakura in shock.

"No, not all of them. A few of us survived," chuckled Sasuke. "What are you doing here all alone?"

"Practicing what my sensei told me to improve on," answered Sakura simply, eyeing him suspiciously.

"Who's your sensei?" Inquired Sasuke curiously.

"Lady Tsunade," answered Sakura proudly. "She's entrusted me with her training as her pupil."

"Impressive," noted the Uchiha, reaching over to tuck a strand of rose colored hair behind her ear as a spark of electricity passed through them.

It caused the two to back away from each other for a few moments. Both couldn't believe what had just happened. Shaking it off, Sasuke chided himself that he couldn't allow weak emotions to addle his sense of judgment. yet, seeing her flushed face amused him. It also intrigued him. What other reactions could he cause? Of course it hadn't been his intention to encounter such a kunoichi out here that would bring out a side of him that he had thought had been buried deep underneath all of the rage and determination to remain true to his path. He also didn't know if this is normal. Is he supposed to be feeling these things for someone else? He had just met her after all. They barely knew each other.

"Are you staying long here?" Asked Sakura, being the one to break the silence between them.

"I don't know. I'll see you around though," answered Sasuke before making a hasty retreat to somewhere else before any more chinks could be chipped away from his armor.

Damn it, get a grip, Uchiha! What are you thinking? Don't let stupid emotions like that get in the way. Besides, love isn't something I should feel, right? Right?

()()()()()()()()()()()

After his discussion with Tsunade, Orochimaru left the Tower. Hearing some commotion the ruler of the Sound decided to go investigate it. By the looks of it a few civilians were ganging up on a blonde haired male with oceanic blue eyes. Frowning, he wondered if he should intervene. He would, but not quite yet. Staying out of sight he listened to what they were saying to the one they were bullying.

"You're nothing but a monster," said one of the civilians before landing a harsh kick to Naruto's stomach.

"Monster, you killed them all," hissed another before punching him in the face to cause a bloody nose.

"Now, now, children..... Why are you hurting a shinobi?" Hissed Orochimaru, causing the civilians to stop and look up in fear of seeing the Otokage giving them a cold smile. "Clearly he did nothing wrong...."

"yes, he did. He's the Nine Tails brat," explained one of the civilians that had ganged up on the blonde.

"I'd suggest you run along before I change my mind," warned Orochimaru, ignoring their idiotic reasoning as they scattered away while Naruto assessed his injuries while still sitting on the ground.

"Thanks," muttered Naruto.

Kneeling down to the blonde's height, Orochimaru grabbed his face to study it to see what damage had been done, "It's the least I could do. Their reasons were stupid. Clearly they know no better. You're a shinobi after all, right?"

"Yes, but I'm still a genin," explained Naruto.

"It doesn't matter what rank you are," said Orochimaru dismissively, oddly enough feeling a strong bond for this broken angel he had found. "Do you live by yourself?"

"yeah, but what does that have to do with anything??" Asked Naruto in confusion.

"poor little fox..... You've dealt with such a hard life," murmured Orochimaru, knowing he had encountered someone he was meant to find. "What would you say if I offered you something that you might have trouble refusing?"

Kurama? Asked Naruto, afraid although intrigued as well.

Yes, kit? Replied the demon fox to their container.

What do you know of this guy if anything at all? Questioned the jinchurriki.

Hmmm, let me see..... He's Orochimaru.....the Snake Sanin. He adopted an Uchiha brat many years ago.... He's incredibly strong. He likes to experiment..... I'm not sure of anything else, answered Kurama in response. Does that help?

Yeah, thanks, grinned Naruto before returning his attention to the obsidian haired male still studying the injuries Naruto had received from the civilians not too long ago. "What would that be?"

"If you accept this offer there's no going back..... I could offer you power......a lover....and oh so much more..... All it would take is you agreeing to it," purred. Orochimaru, having released the blonde from his grasp to then have amber meet colbalt. "Think it over, will you? I'll give you a day or two. Stay out of trouble until then. I'd hate for such a beautiful face to become marked up by idiotic people who are afraid of what they don't know."

"Um, ok. Thanks?"

Oh dear Kami, what have I gotten myself into?

()()()()()()()()()()()()

Meanwhile, in another part of Konoha, word had spread quickly of Orochimaru visiting the village with his supposed son. People knew that this is an Uchiha with the legendary Sanin. But life went on even with the word being spread of their presence. Heading out of the Hyuga compound is a brunette haired male looking for a certain Nara. Eventually, he found him napping at the trunk of a tree with a pen and notebook on his lap. It looked as if he had been writing out strategies with how to thwart various problems.

"Shikamaru?" Asked Neji, shaking him gently awake.

"Huh?" Questioned the other brunette in confusion before he blinked the last dregs of drowsiness out of his vision before it came back into focus. "Oh, it's you, Neji. Don't scare me like that again, ok?"

"Alright, but you're going to be late," the Hyuga told him, helping him up as Shikamaru stowed his notes away for later inspection to perfect so there wouldn't be any flaws.

"Oh, yeah, training.... What a drag," groaned Shikamaru in annoyance, but didn't wriggle out of Neji's grasp since he didn't mind his boyfriend helping him out by lugging him in the right direction.

"I swear if I didn't physically drag you there you'd be asleep until Shino put his bugs on you like last time," scowled Neji, but couldn't help snickering when that happened last time.

"yeah, but you know walking is such a drag," grinned Shikamaru.

"Ok, ok, but next time you're dragging me," said Neji in a way that left no room for argument as they reached the correct training grounds where their two teams are waiting for them.

"Ah, Shikamaru finally woke up I see," joked Asuma.

"Yep, this time his shadow didn't show up. I was getting worried so went to go get him," explained Neji in a deadpan way that made the others question if he's being serious or actually joking for once.

"Enough joking around, you guys. Let's get to it then. I've been waiting for you two slowpokes to arrive," complained Tenten.

"Heh, sure. This could be fun...."

At least we weren't given a lecture about youth this time.....Hopefully this will go well instead of like last time where we had been interrupted by being assigned a mission out of the blue. Well, we'll see what happens this time I suppose.

A/N: Yays! Done with chappie one! Hehes, hopefully ya'll liked it. Oh, the angst is being pumped up a bit although there's some adorable scenes sprinkled in the mix. It'll be interesting for ya'll to see where this goes. Hopefully ya'll liked it. The next chappie of this will be out shortly. Until then please remember to review darlings!