Former Self

"Sasuke. You have to keep calm and think about this," Naruto sat at his desk, with his palms flat on the top. Sasuke was standing, with his eyebrows furrowed and his mouth bent back in a scowl.

After dispatching the assassins that had broken into his house and attempted to harm his family, Sasuke hadn't slept the rest of the night. He had stood guard in the living room with his ears and eyes open. As soon as the sun had risen, he bolted straight to Naruto's office and the two had been deadlocked in conversation ever since.

"Keep calm?" Sasuke repeated, his voice growing louder. "How the hell am I supposed to keep calm, Naruto? Kiri assassins invaded my home and almost killed my daughter!" Naruto's face was as rock hard as Sasuke had ever seen it.

"I understand that. But we can't just act without proper cause," Naruto said. Sasuke's eyes widened and the chakra from his brain immediately activated his Sharingan as anger overwhelmed him. His fists slammed against the table and he leaned forward, staring deeply into Naruto's eyes. Naruto's advisor, Shikamaru leaned from against the cabinet, as if readying himself to restrain Sasuke.

"Would my daughter have had to die for there to be proper cause? Am I expected to sit here while the Mist sends assassins to harm me and my family? Do you have any idea what's like to nearly see your youngest child die!?" Sasuke demanded. Delirium was making his words jumbled and slurred. The lack of sleep and his anger was giving him a headache.

"No," Naruto said, rising from his chair. "I know what it's like to watch my youngest die." Sasuke stared forward, realizing what he had just said. Regret hit him in the chest. Before he could offer an apology, Naruto continued.

"I expect you to obey your Hokage and listen to what I'm saying. Why would Kiri simply target you, Sasuke? Your reputation proceeds you. Everyone in the world knows as well as I do that if your family is threatened, you will do whatever it takes to annihilate that threat. Why would Kirigakure risk a war to prod at you?" Naruto asked.

"I don't know," Sasuke said, shaking his head. "Maybe it's retribution for attacking the Fifth Mizukage all those years ago." Shikamaru sighed.

"That was almost twenty years ago. Besides, there was a trial after the war. All Five Nations including the Iron Country agreed that you'd be acquitted of all crimes prior to you siding with the Shinobi Alliance," He said. Sasuke remembered that well. Naruto had pressed upon the Kages and the Daimyōs to let him take responsibility for all of Sasuke's actions from that point forward. And he had.

"Besides," Shikamaru continued. "Attacking your family is an act of war. Not only has this peace treaty been maintaining healthy relations between the villages for some time now, but Kirigakure doesn't have the military strength to last a day in battle against Konoha. It'd be suicide." Sasuke heard him speaking and let it sink into his brain. His Sharingan deactivated and he sat back down in his seat. His head pounded.

"So the question still remains…" Naruto said. "Why would Kiri want to risk war with all of Konoha just to get to Sasuke?" Sasuke closed his eyes and took in several deep breaths. Maybe it hadn't been Kiri…maybe…

Sasuke looked up. "Yashin," He said. Shikamaru and Naruto looked at him with perplexed faces. "Before the assassin that had Hikari died, he mentioned something or someone named 'Yashin'. 'For Yashin' were his last words. Does anyone know who that is?" Sasuke asked, looking around. Naruto glanced over to Shikamaru and the Nara clan head sighed and pulled out a Bingo Book from his back pouch.

He flipped through it until he got to the end and blinked. "Yeah. Here he is," Shikamaru said, handing the book to Naruto. Naruto frowned, not out of anger but out of confusion.

"What is it?" Sasuke asked. "What does it say about him?" Naruto looked up and handed Sasuke the book. Sasuke looked at Yashin's profile and stared. His eyes narrowed.

There was little to nothing about him inside the book. This Bingo Book was currently edition, printed out yearly. There wasn't even a picture of this Yashin inside. No physical descriptions, nothing. Just a list of operations he supposedly performed and none of those pointed to him having any involvement with Kirigakure. The operations themselves barely even qualified for him to be placed inside of a Bingo Book. Just a few raids on trade roads. Sasuke kept flipping through, looking for anyone else named "Yashin".

"This doesn't make any sense. Are you sure this is his profile?" Sasuke asked. Shikamaru nodded.

"That's the only profile with the name 'Yashin' on it. That's our only clue. Are you sure that's the name you heard?" Sasuke nodded.

"I wouldn't forget a man's last words," Sasuke murmured grimly. Naruto sighed and folded his arms.

"So the only things we've got to go on are the Kiri headbands the assassins wore and the fact that one of them said, 'For Yashin' before he died," He said. Shikamaru nodded and Sasuke tried to keep from yawning. Sleep was attempting to take over his body and put him down.

"I suggest we wait for the ANBU team to return. They may have gained valuable information from the recon mission and we can use them to interrogate the one man that we brought in. After that, we can make our move," Shikamaru said.

"Why not let me do it?" Sasuke asked. "My Sharingan will expedite the process." Naruto shook his head.

"Sorry, but I don't trust you to be around one of the men that attacked your family. We'll make our move after we get an ANBU operative to interrogate him but not before," Naruto said, looking at Sasuke. The Uchiha returned the Hokage's gaze and their eyes locked on each other for a moment. "Do we have an understanding, Sasuke?" Naruto asked. Sasuke slowly nodded.

"Fine. I'll wait. But I will not let my family live in fear," Sasuke said. Naruto dipped his head in understanding.

"They won't have to. Until this threat is dealt with, your home will be under surveillance by ANBU operatives of my choosing. I'll have you review each and every one of them with me. The security of your family is Konoha's top priority. The Uchiha are Konoha and a threat to you is a threat to me," Naruto said.

The Hokage's words had Sasuke feel uncharacteristically warm inside. It wasn't like Naruto hadn't said these sort of things before. He had been for Sasuke reviving his clan from the start. Maybe Sasuke was just too tired to save face now.

"Good," Sasuke said as he rubbed his head. His black eyes looked up to the Hokage. "Naruto, what I said before…" he started. Naruto raised his hand.

"It's fine…" he said, trailing off and looking past Sasuke. The Uchiha knew that it really wasn't. His words had cut Naruto deeply. He tried to think of something he could say to Naruto to bring that big dumb grin back on his face…but he was never good at that. But, Naruto was great at carrying on as if things didn't faze him. The blonde Hokage looked down at Sasuke and smirked. "You look like shit," He said.

Sasuke could only imagine the bags under his eyes coupled with the pained expression on his face from his headaches. He probably did look like shit. "You never look much better," Sasuke retorted, smirking at his friend. Naruto chuckled and Shikamaru sighed, rubbing the back of his head.

"While I'm sure you'd like to get some rest right now, Sasuke, there's something else you'll have to do before that can happen," He said. Sasuke raised his head. Within moments, he realized what he had almost forgotten. Karin's ceremony was today. Any other time, Sasuke would've skipped out and slept, but he needed to be there. For Sosei. For his son.

"It won't be long," Naruto said, as if he was reading Sasuke's thoughts as always. "I doubt that there will be a large turn out besides your family and myself. Not many people in Konoha really got to know Karin." Sasuke scoffed inwardly. Or liked her. He added in his thoughts.

"Then I need to go and get dressed," Sasuke said, more as a command to himself than to anyone in the room with him. Rising, Sasuke nodded to Naruto and Shikamaru. After returning the gesture, Naruto spoke.

"We'll look over the ANBU guards later this afternoon. Hopefully by then, the team I sent out will have returned," He said. Sasuke paused.

Sasuke left the office and made his way home, his head still pounding from everything that had happened. Assassins invaded his home and they had tried to take or kill his daughter. He wasn't sure what their intentions had been or why they had even sought out Hikari.

If they sought the Sharingan, they could've attempted to force Sosei to use his and steal it. If they sought to kill Sasuke, which they had failed miserably at doing, then why go through all that trouble? It didn't make any sense. Who the hell was this Yashin and what did he want? What was he after?

To attack an Uchiha was bold. Few people had ever sought conflict with members of the Uchiha clan. To attack him was craziness beyond what Sasuke could comprehend. Naruto had said it before and Sasuke agreed. The world knew about Sasuke. When he was only 3 years older than Sosei, he had battled five Kage in a single day and not only survived, but killed the one he had aimed for. At thirty-four, his power was almost absolute. The older generations rumored that his strength had eclipsed Madara's ten years ago and that he may be one of the strongest shinobi ever born.

Why would Yashin target him?

The question plagued Sasuke as he stepped through the front door of his home. Things were quiet as he had expected. Sosei's room door was cracked open. Sasuke could see the sunlight peeking down the hallway and he walked towards it. He opened it and saw Sasuke looking over the clothes that he had packed with him. Sosei turned and Sasuke saw that his face was saddened.

"I…don't have anything proper to wear for today," he whispered. Sasuke looked over him and blinked.

"Wait a moment," Sasuke said. He walked down the hall to the shoji doors and slid them open. Clothing with Uchiha emblems embroidered on the back and they were in all sizes. Sasuke had prepared for the swelling of his clan since the day he and Sakura had started their relationship. Every piece of clothing they bought had been touched by the Uchiha symbol. Sasuke looked through and pulled out a black robe top and pants, form fitting. The same clothes that he had worn when the Third had died.

Sasuke returned to Sosei's room and handed him the clothes. Sosei took it and turned it over, his eyes widening as the red and white Uchiha fan came into his view. He looked up at Sasuke and the older Uchiha returned his gaze. There was a silent understanding in the brief eye contact and Sasuke left without a word. He had to prepare himself, Sakura and the other children.

The Uchiha family stood outside, the wind coming in spurts to let it's cool presence be known. Sosei stood a little bit ahead of them, looking at Karin as she laid in the casket. As much as he had disliked her during her life, Sasuke had to admit to himself that Karin looked particularly beautiful laying in peace. Whoever had handled her body had combed her hair out so that it's full length dropped well past her shoulders. Karin's body had also been dressed in white with the old Uzumaki clan emblem displayed prominently on the center of her dress.

Naruto stood behind the casket and faced the Uchiha family. Shikamaru stood next to him, while Hinata and Honami stood with Sasuke's family. Sasuke glanced at Honami. Her red hair was a shade darker than Karin's.

"Family and friends…" Naruto started. "We are gathered today to remember Karin, the mother of Sosei and a member of the Uzumaki clan. I do admit that I didn't know her for very long, but while I did, her intelligence and genuine heart were clear to me. I would hope that we would remember and grieve for her loss and not let it be in vain." Sasuke narrowed his eyes and looked at his old friend.

How was he feeling now, looking at the last member of the clan he hadn't even known he belonged to until seventeen years prior? Sasuke thought he had an idea. He knew the pain of being the last of his kind. He looked at Sosei as Naruto stepped forward to close the casket. The gray-eyed Uchiha looked to his dead mother, tears welling up in his eyes, yet his face didn't falter. It was expressionless and cold. Stoic and flint-like.

An avenger's face.

Sasuke looked to Sakura and saw that his wife's face was nothing less than sympathetic. Sasuke knew that Sakura had hated Karin for years. Even before he and Sakura had gotten into a relationship, Karin had attempted to sabotage their friendship. But even through all of that, Sasuke also knew that Sakura would never allow her feelings for Sosei's mother to change how she treated him. Sasuke knew firsthand Sakura was a woman that gave chances and he was truly grateful for that.

The children stood in respectful silence. Takuma stood close to Honami while Kichiro struggled to keep quiet as Karin's casket was lowered into the earth. Hinata was as silently elegant, walking to Naruto's side and rubbing his arm as he turned away to face Sosei. The young Uchiha's eyes met with the Hokage's but the two didn't exchange words. Naruto then looked to Sasuke.

Help him. His blue gaze sank into Sasuke's black eyes. Sasuke nodded and watched as the Hokage and his family departed. Honami hugged Takuma, waved to Kichiro and Hikari then briefly glanced up at Sasuke. The girl flashed a polite smile and then looked at Sosei. The boy stood staring at his mother's grave with his hands in his pocket. Sasuke stepped forward and dipped his head towards Shikamaru as the man walked after Naruto.

The older Uchiha stood next to Sosei and looked down to Karin's casket with baggy eyes. He then looked over to Sosei. The gray-eyed boy wiped his eyes and then looked up to the sky. Sasuke could only guess what the boy was thinking. Probably the same thoughts he would've been. Lack of sleep was causing him to have an immense lapse in judgment and he wasn't about to ruin any progress he had made with his son.

Instead, he said, "Stay as long as you want. I'll be here with you." Sosei shrugged and blinked.

"Let's go." Sosei turned away from Sasuke and walked away towards Sakura and his siblings. He passed them without a word and the Uchiha family parted to let him through. Sakura looked towards Sasuke, her face filled with worry. Sasuke blinked at her, nodded, and walked towards them.

Eventually, the Uchiha family joined together and made their way back to the Uchiha Estate. The children raced into the house, except Sosei and Kichiro. The younger Uchiha brother stayed closed to his oldest brother, not saying anything, which surprised Sasuke, but only offering his presence. Sosei didn't push him away with words or a glance. Sasuke stared puzzled by the events but decided against thinking until he had had proper rest.

When he entered his bedroom, he slowly stripped off his clothes and laid in his bed, not even bothering to pull the covers over his body. Darkness covered him instead as he subconscious drifted.

The next thing he felt was his wife's soft hand touching his face. His eyes flickered open. The sun lit up the room a light orange color, telling Sasuke that it was settling into evening. The Uchiha stared up at Sakura who smiled at him gently. "Baby," Sakura whispered. "The boys are waiting for you." Sasuke blinked and yawned then closed his mouth, mindful of the dryness of his tongue.

"Where are they?" he asked. Sakura kissed his forehead and Sasuke felt himself smile at her beautiful face.

"They're outside," Sakura replied. "Playing around a little bit. I didn't want them to mess up anything else in the backyard so I told them I'd come and get you." Sasuke scoffed and rose out of bed. Stretching, the Uchiha yawned.

"The entire backyard was almost burnt completely by the Amaterasu last night," he said. "I doubt there's anything the three of them could do to destroy the lakefront anymore." Sakura nodded.

"That is true. I suppose we can agree that the black flames were a bit extreme." Sasuke sighed softly.

"Yeah…he was trying to get to Hikari and I overreacted. The Amaterasu wall was the only thing I knew would be impenetrable," Sasuke explained. Sakura raised her hand.

"I know, I know. I'm just telling you to be careful. You really frightened them last night." Sasuke nodded. He thoroughly remembered the looks on all of his children's faces when he turned to face them. His purple Susano'o had only been in its skeletal form since Sasuke hadn't bothered to materialize it fully for such a low-level threat. However, he knew how his children felt. When he had seen Itachi's Susano'o for the first time, he had nearly shit himself.

Sasuke rubbed his head. "Did anyone from the Hokage's office come by?" he asked. Sakura shook her head.

"No. If you're still waiting for that ANBU team to return, they haven't showed up yet." Sakura rubbed Sasuke's shoulder. "Be patient. They should be back before the week is over," she said. Sasuke closed his eyes.

"They're only supposed to be scouting the Land of Water and Kirigakure, not engaging in any kind of combat. They should've been back by now," Sasuke answered.

"The Land of Water is across the sea. Getting there and back even with shinobi would take at least two days. Not besides the fact that they've been given orders to extensively scout the area. It will take time," Sakura said, her green eyes casting a patient glow onto Sasuke. The Uchiha sighed and walked towards the closet.

"Alright," he conceded. Sasuke opened the closet and then dressed himself in a black long-sleeved, crew neck shirt with white pants. The Uchiha then headed outside to see what his sons were doing. Sakura followed behind him and rubbed against his arm. Her touch made Sasuke feel warm in his chest. He missed her touch so badly.

Outside, Sosei, Takuma and Kichiro were sparring with each other while Hikari clapped and cheered from the sideline. When his children noticed that he had appeared, they all paused.

"Hi, Papa!" Hikari cried, pointing at her older brothers. "Soso was fighting Taku and Kichi!" she said. Sasuke smirked. His Uchiha princess had already picked out a nickname for Sosei.

"Oh, really? And who won?" Sasuke asked. Hikari held her finger to her chin.

"Ummm…Soso. He's good," she said with a smile. Sasuke nodded and looked into Sosei's dark grey eyes. The young boy put his hands in his pocket.

"So, you're up?" he asked. Sasuke nodded.

"Yeah," he said, looking from Sosei to Takuma and Kichiro. The two younger brothers were panting and looked to be scuffed up. Sasuke believed Hikari's assessment. Sosei's normal, confident smirk wasn't present on his face this time though. The young Uchiha was surprisingly devoid of expression. He looked almost, empty.

"Dad," Sosei said. Takuma looked over at Sosei as if the word he had just used was a vicious curse. "Are we going back to that Spot of yours?" Sasuke looked around the backyard that extended to the lake. Sakura was right. It did look pretty bad. Sasuke's Amaterasu had terribly scorched a long stretch of the grass, turning the green to a charred black. It would probably be best if they headed to the Spot.

"Yeah," Sasuke replied. The Uchiha turned to Sakura. "Will you be alright here?" he asked softly. Sakura nodded with that fierce look of determination in her eyes.

"Of course. Have fun with the boys," she said. She stepped forward and kissed Sasuke softly. The Uchiha looked down at his wife and felt a smile touch his face. Sasuke turned and walked down the steps, rounding up his sons. The Uchiha brethren followed their father, waving back at Sakura and Hikari. All of them except Sosei.

Sosei walked silently, pace for pace, alongside Sasuke with his hands in his pocket and his dark grey eyes deadly focused. Sosei had been a wound up spring ever since Karin's funeral. Sasuke could sense the emotion welling up within him. If he had been sparring with Takuma and Kichiro, he wasn't getting the cathartic release that he needed. Fighting them was child's play. When Sasuke and his sons had finally entered the Spot, Sasuke had already made up his mind.

"Sosei," he said. "Let's go to the center of the field. Takuma and Kichiro, watch." Kichiro obeyed while Takuma paused. His green eyes sparked with a flame of envy before he turned and did what Sasuke had bid him to do.

Sosei Uchiha walked to the center of the clearing where Sasuke waited for him. The elder Uchiha looked down at his son and briefly froze. It was like staring at the same angry boy that he had once been. They had the same look in their eyes. The same pursed lips. The same empty, careless posture. Sasuke wouldn't let him go down that path.

The Curse of Hatred had no place in his home.

"Begin," Sasuke said. Sosei darted forward, his Sharingan activating as soon as he took his third step forward. Sosei's first attack was a kick that Sasuke crossed his arms to block. Sosei twisted his body to punch Sasuke and when that failed, Sosei wriggled free and flipped away. His feet had barely touched the ground before he darted forward again, his blood red Sharingan fixing itself on Sasuke's cold onyx stare. Sasuke allowed himself to be caught in Sosei's genjutsu.

Sosei was making himself seem slower than he actually was so that he could surprise Sasuke. Perhaps effective against someone without a Sharingan or extensive knowledge of genjutsu. To think that Sosei had managed to get this far by just staring at a wall. Sasuke shattered the genjutsu just as Sosei was within arm's length of him and grabbed the boy by his collar. Sosei grit his teeth and stared angrily into Sasuke's eyes.

A mistake.

Sasuke's Sharingan formed in his eyes and locked Sosei into a genjutsu. Sasuke could feel Sosei's mind struggling to break free of Sasuke's grasp. The elder Uchiha didn't relent. Instead, he spoke inside of the boy's head.

Be calm. Find peace. his words flowed through Sosei's mind.

No, Sosei responded. Not until my mother is avenged.

It won't happen unless you're strong and wise enough to do it. Let me help you, Sasuke said. There was silence then Sosei responded.


When Sasuke released his hold on Sosei, barely a second had truly passed by on the outside. Sosei gasped and panted as he looked up at Sasuke. He frowned.

"So that's the Sharingan's power?" he asked.

"One of many," Sasuke replied, folding his arms. "As long as you obey me, I'll teach you how to properly use those eyes." The older Uchiha then looked to Takuma and Kichiro. Sasuke's heir looked to be silently observing them, taking in every bit of information he could. Kichiro's eyes were wide open as well. "Come," Sasuke said to them.

Takuma and Kichiro walked towards the center of the Spot and stopped next to Sosei. Sasuke's eyes passed over all three of his children. Sosei, the angered avenger. Takuma, his heir. Kichiro, the eager youngster. He saw himself in his sons as any father would. And also like any father, he needed to teach them how to properly fend for themselves.

"Earlier this morning, our home was invaded and we were attacked. For some reason, assassins attempted to do harm to your little sister, Hikari. In order to prevent something like this from ever happening again, all three of you are going to be training harder everyday. I will not accept any failure or complaints. Only progression. Is that understood?" When his sons nodded, Sasuke dipped his head. "Good...then let's begin."

For three days, Sasuke drilled all three children in every aspect of shinobi training from general substitution jutsu to advanced tracking techniques. The elder Uchiha even incorporated these lessons into his fledgling team's assignments, causing Shōgo to wonder what Takuma had done to cause the entire team to be "punished". Sasuke's drive to make his children stronger was dueling with his own internal drive to handle things his own way.

He had waited, as Naruto had ordered and Sakura had suggested, for the ANBU recon team to return. For these three days, however, Sasuke's paranoia had grown wildly out of control. The Uchiha had grown restless and had begun to actively avoid sleeping at night in order to watch his home. Losing sleep made the Uchiha's already vivid ideas of a threat towards his household more lucid. He hadn't even seen Naruto for all three days, despite spending time training his daughter.

Waiting around had worn on Sasuke's patience and he refused to do so any longer. He knew exactly where the assassin he and Sakura had turned in was located. All that he needed to do now was infiltrate the prison and have a talk with the man. That was easy enough. Sasuke slunk past the outer guard and delve deep into the bowels on the jail, deciding further and further until he got near the dungeons where Konoha's worst criminals were held. In the past, Sasuke had helped Naruto put many of these men behind bars. The others hadn't been saved by Naruto's mercy.

When Sasuke finally reached the cell where the assassin was held, he spied two guards in front of the door. He recognized one of them as a Nara and the other as a Hyūga. In the end, it didn't matter. Sasuke was on a mission. He didn't try to hide his footsteps now. he just walked forward.

"Who's there?" a voice called from down the hall. Sasuke continued to approach, unbothered. When he didn't answer, he heard the shifting of the guards' feet.. As he appeared out of the shadows, the brown-haired Hyūga guard to the left gawked.

"Sasuke Uchiha…what are you doing here?" the man asked. The Uchiha stared forward nonchalantly as he walked.

"I'm going to have a talk with the prisoner," he said. The two guards exchanged glances.

"Lord Hokage has given orders that you be prohibited from seeing him. The ANBU squad hasn't returned yet," the black-haired guard to the right replied. Sasuke ignored them and continued to walk forward, only stopping when the guards looked to be readying themselves to fight him off. It wasn't because he was worried.

It was pure bemusement.

"We can't let you through, Sasuke," the Hyūga said. The Uchiha wanted to laugh.

"You won't let me?" Sasuke asked. His black eyes were perceptive enough to make out the beads of sweat falling from their brows. They were loyal to the Hokage and his orders. But fear was winning over.

"Please," the brown-haired guard said. "Just turn back. Whatever information you wish to gain tonight will be gathered by the ANBU. Just be patient." He gulped after his last words. As much as Sasuke wanted to discharge their fears, he refused to wait any longer. Not with his family's lives on the line.

One glance from Sasuke's Sharingan was all it took for the guards to fall under a genjutsu and unlock the prisoner's cell. The door slammed shut behind the Uchiha, leaving him and the prisoner in complete darkness, except for the ominous bloody glow of the Sharingan. Sasuke heard the prisoner's chains rattle.

"You," he rasped. Sasuke walked forward, his eyes piercing through the darkness. His voice was a low, calm growl.

"Yes, me." He was standing in front of the man now, glaring down at him. The assassin averted his eyes from Sasuke's gaze.

"I won't tell you anything," he said.

"That's where you're wrong." Several flickers of lightning came to Sasuke's hand and he jabbed it forward into the man's shoulder. Shocks of lightning traveled through the man's body and he yelled out in pain. Sasuke's eyes stayed focused on the man's face as he finally calmed from the shock. The Uchiha then ripped his hand out and blood splattered onto the ground. "Who is Yashin?" Sasuke asked immediately.

"I-I can't..." the prisoner started. Sasuke ripped another hole into the man, in his thigh this time. The lightning spark and the spurting of blood alerted Sasuke to the fact that he had come into contact with an artery. The assassin let out an inaudible cry and Sasuke ripped his hand out again.

"Talk," Sasuke said, still calm. The assassin panted from the pain. For the first time, Sasuke thought he saw regret in the man's face, instantly replaced by absolute fear.

"I can't," he repeated. Sasuke closed his eyes and anger swirled around in his chest, cool as a winter chill. A full-powered Chidori sparked in Sasuke's hand, the sound of lightning and a thousand birds chirping filling the small cell. In the bluish-white light of the attack, Sasuke could see the prisoner's eyes widen in fear.

This time, Sasuke didn't hold back. Quicker than the Chidori had come to his hand, did it find its way into the prisoner's abdomen. The man coughed out blood as Sasuke stared into his eyes. "Tell me! Who is Yashin?!" Sasuke demanded.

Once again, the prisoner repeated, "I can't." The Uchiha had had enough. The Eternal Mangekyo came to Sasuke's right eye and he locked on to the man's widening pupils. Sasuke's genjutsu cracked into the man's mind in seconds, searching for an answer to his question. Who is Yashin? Sasuke tore through the man's memories and his thoughts.

A voice whispered.

Search. Kill. Konoha. Uchiha. Hatred. Vengeance.

Was that Yashin's voice? Sasuke saw a figure sitting in the shadows and felt the fear that the prisoner had when he was in this man's presence. The figure stepped forward and placed his hand on the prisoner's chest, whispering something else Sasuke couldn't hear. Something was off.

The figure stared up, as if he was staring straight at Sasuke. Outside of the genjutsu, Sasuke heard something being said and instinct told him to pull away and release his hold. He only caught the last end of what the prisoner had been muttering while Sasuke tore new holes into his mind.

"...for Yashin," the prisoner said. Sasuke's eyes widened as the writing from the explosive tags appeared on the man's chest and spread over his entire body, faster than it had on his partner earlier in the morning. It took a split second for his body to start to be lit on fire. Susano'o enclosed his body and spread through the cell, shielding the guards that stood behind the door. It was all Sasuke could do.

The man exploded, not only in a literal fire but in an eruption of chakra. The back end of the prison cell blew away, sending the cement of the wall barreling down the hallway. Susano'o protected Sasuke from direct damage but it didn't protect his hearing. The explosion caused the Uchiha's ears to ring and he held his hands up to cup his ears. Through the smoke, he could make out a few images. Several people appeared and ran towards him, barreling through the smoke. Sasuke held his breath and tongue as he saw who led them.

The Hokage's bright blue eyes narrowed and blazed like a flame and Sasuke stared back at him as his Susano'o faded and his ears stopped ringing.

"I told you to wait," Naruto said, dropping his arms to the side and balling his fists. "What did you do!?" Sasuke frowned.

"I gathered information." Sasuke replied. "Whoever this Yashin is, he placed seals on the assassins he sent for me. Whenever they say 'For Yashin', the writing on an explosive tag appears on their bodies and they explode. The explosions must get stronger after every one is used. The last man didn't do this level of damage." Naruto shook.

"You disobeyed my direct orders! You could've gotten everyone in this cell block killed, guards included. Did you even think about that?!" Naruto raged. Sasuke narrowed his eyes.

"I did. If it gets me closer to Yashin, I don't care." Sasuke said. Naruto's eyes widened and he stepped back.

"What the hell is wrong with you? You've been acting..." Sasuke knew what the Hokage would say before the words even left his mouth.

"Like my old self?" the Uchiha whispered. He had noticed the change in his thinking as well. Since the attack on his home, Sasuke had been short-tempered and short-sighted. But he hadn't completely lost himself. He had tried to protect the guards outside of the cell but hadn't thought about the explosion rebounding off of his Susano'o. But, his words had rung true. He was beginning not to care. His only goals were to protect his family and get to Yashin by whatever means necessary.

Naruto pressed forward. "I told you that a threat to the Uchiha is a threat to Konoha and I'm treating this as such. But I will not allow you to run rogue in my village and do what you please. This is your only warning," Naruto said. "Do not test me." Sasuke seethed slightly but held his tongue. Arguing with Naruto was one thing, but Sasuke didn't want to push the confrontation to blows.

"Fine," Sasuke replied. His answer didn't sate the Hokage but before he could respond, another figure pushed through the smoke. He had spiky silver hair, an ANBU mask and was dressed in a dark brown cloak with his hood pulled back. Naruto turned to him and nodded.

"Lord Hokage. Lord Sasuke." the voice sounded like a young boy. Sasuke only knew one person that could be so young with silver hair. This ANBU operative had to be Kakashi's son, Komuji. "I didn't mean to interrupt..." the boy said. Naruto shook his head.

"No, no, I'm glad you did. We're heading to my office so I can properly debrief you." Naruto made seals for Shadow Clones and sent them off to help the remaining guards. Sasuke watched as they passed and casually observed the damage he had indirectly wrought. If he had just waited...

Naruto grabbed Sasuke and Komuji by the shoulders and in a flash of yellow, the three of them were back in the Hokage's office. The only thing that lit the room was the moon that penetrated the darkness with his white light. Naruto didn't even bother to sit down. It seemed to Sasuke that he was as eager as he was to receive some information.

"Report," Naruto said. "What is the situation in Kiri?" Sasuke looked to the Hatake boy as he breathed softly.

"The situation, Lord Hokage, is non-existent," Komuji said. Naruto raised and eyebrow and Sasuke stared incredulously at the boy. The Hokage folded his arms.

"Komuji...what are you saying?" he asked. The silver-haired boy sighed softly and looked up at both of his superiors.

"The Village Hidden In The Mist doesn't exist anymore. It's nothing but ruins."

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