Sasuke woke to the roar of the ocean, the soothing crash of waves against the shore clearing the fog of sleep from his mind. His lips were as dry as a desert, cracked and tasting salty, his tattered clothes drenched from the soft spray of the sea. His teeth chattered and he shivered as he forced himself into a sitting position, propping himself up on his elbow. The world was consumed in darkness, not a single star above.
Who was he?
Trying to remember things only brought pain, the dull ache in his head becoming a searing agony as he attempted to piece together his fractured memories. The moment he quit trying, his suffering ebbed away, leaving him nauseated. He lowered himself back to the comfort of the warm sand, deciding rest would be wise until his sickness passed. He didn't rest for long before a second problem presented itself.
Sasuke was parched.
With trouble, the man rose once more, his limbs as heavy as iron. He staggered over to the water and fell to his knees, sinking into the wet sand, the waves parting around him as he stared down at his reflection. His hair was a tangled mess that came down to the middle of his back, obscuring his left eye in the front. His jaw was covered in thick stubble, nearly a beard, and on his right cheek was a deep cut in the shape of a crescent moon. Leaning closer to the water, the man winced as he got a better look. It was fairly new, only a few days old at the most. He inspected it, barely brushing the tips of his fingers along the wound, and found it was cold to the touch. He shivered again and lowered his hand.
"Where..." he began, his voice hoarse, throat burning as he tried to form words. Desperate, he leaned down and gulped down several handfuls of water. He gagged at the saltiness and spit it out, coughing harshly as he wiped his mouth on his sleeve.
He wouldn't be doing that again.
Sasuke nearly had a heart attack when he heard wheezing coming from his left.
"Nobody's coming for you, Sasuke..."
Looking to the man, Sasuke was impressed he wasn't dead. He was skeletal, his ribs visible, his limbs as thin as twigs. Patches of scraggly hair covered his head. His eyes were hollow and glazed over and the few teeth remaining in his mouth were cracked and yellow.
"Who are you?" Sasuke asked as he kneeled by the man.
"I'm...I'm Uchiha Itachi," the man whispered. He looked up at Sasuke with tears in his eyes. "I'm sorry I couldn't help you, little brother. I'm so sorry..." He was almost begging, as if he had done something against him. "You...have to...live..."
The pain in Sasuke's head returned as he stared down at the dying man. Though he didn't really remember him, he felt tears rolling down his cheeks. He watched as his brother slowly crumbled to dust, swept away by the howling wind. Just as fast as he found company he was alone once more, now with a heavy heart. He sat alone in the sand, watching as the last of the ashes blew away over the water.
"I have to survive," he whispered to himself, rubbing his numb arms for warmth as he rocked back and forth. "I have to survive. For Itachi. For my brother. I have to..." The man froze, his head tilted to the side, his mouth hanging open.
Why did he feel sad? There was...someone...? A...man...?
Already the memories of Itachi had faded. Like smoke, they proved impossible to hold onto.
He wanted to give up, just close his eyes and let the darkness take him. What was the point of resisting? Just living caused agony. He was freezing, his body ached and he struggled just to stay sitting. The scar on his cheek burned like a thousand suns, despite being cold to the touch. He had no food. No water. How could he possibly make it? He was just about to give up all hope when he saw a small dot of light several feet from him. He stood on shaky legs and stumbled toward it, though every step he took, the light moved just out of reach. Gritting his teeth, the exhausted man forced himself to keep following. He wasn t sure why, but it felt as if the light was his only hope.
He wasn t sure how long he walked for. Hours? Days? It was impossible to know for sure in such a hell, but finally the light stopped moving. He extended a hand but stopped himself from touching the ball of light. Was it a trap? What would happen if he were to touch it?
Nothing could be worse than his current situation.
He reached out once more, feeling an intense heat coming from the orb. He took a deep, wheezing breath before pressing his palm against the object.
Heat traveled through his fingertips and up his arm. As the warmth spread through his body, his skin began to melt away. He let out a scream of pure anguish as his arm burned away to nothing more than bone. Once down to the bone, Sasuke s body began to burn away to ash. The ash hovered in front of him and glowed a bright purple, the brilliant light blinding the man. He fell to his knees and crumbled away. When his body had been destroyed, the glowing ash slowly began to pull itself together. Bones formed first before muscle and organs, his body rebuilding itself better than it had been.
Looking to the sky, he took a deep breath and opened his eyes. They glowed purple as lightning flashed through the dark sky. The sky lit up in an instant, a clear blue sky forming above him. The cold, wet sand and the roaring of the ocean faded away only to be replaced by countless trees and beautiful, emerald green grass. Flowers broke through the earth and grew around the bases of trees and as Sasuke placed his hand to the ground, a few small animals formed around him. Two cats, three dogs and a small rabbit surrounded him, forming from a cloud of purple smoke he blew out through his nose. He stood slowly, looking to the sky.
This was his world now, and Sasuke was going to enjoy it.