The Darkest Side of Me
World One: Two Days Ago
Naruto hadn’t even noticed his kids were gone. After his heated fight with his son, he had decided to give his child much deserved space to cool down. That morning, Naruto went to check on them. Hinata would return from a mission later that day. They were gone, but he figured that Boruto had gotten up early to avoid having to talk to his father. Naruto sighed deeply as he signed another piece of paper. The stack was finally coming to an end.
Naruto lifted his head as the door swung open, revealing Konohamaru. The young man bent over, panting. Mitsuki walked in behind his sensei. “Konohamaru, Mitsuki-kun, what is the meaning of this?”
“Boruto didn’t show up for practice!” Konohamaru gasped. Naruto’s blood froze. “Sarada didn’t either!” Naruto stood and gathered his sage chakra. He scanned the village and the surrounding area, only to find that the children’s chakra was nowhere to be found. His eyes snapped open. Even worse, Himawari’s chakra was also not present. He scanned desperately and found their residual chakra trails, but his body began to shake when he realized that their chakra signals simply vanished about two kilometers aware from the village gates.
The next two hours were a blur. Naruto stood where the chakra trails had run cold, but there were no bodies or anything to indicate a struggle. Boruto and Sarada were not experienced enough to cover their own chakra, let alone Himawari’s. “Kiba!” Naruto shouted. The man ran to him with his dog on his heels. “Please tell me you found something” he practically begged. Kiba shook his head.
“No blood, no nothing. It’s like they just vanished.”
“That’s not acceptable!” Naruto shouted. The only way their chakra would be gone is if they were dead, but there was no sign of a killing anywhere in the area. Naruto closed his eyes. How would he tell Hinata? How would he tell Sakura or Sasuke? “Find something!” Naruto screamed at Kiba. All the power in the world and he couldn’t find his own children.
“Naruto, you need to calm down,” Kakashi muttered, motioning Kiba to walk away. Naruto spun to glare at his teacher as he advanced on them.
“Calm down? How am I supposed to calm down?! They are gone! There is no chakra signal! Nothing! It’s like they don’t exist anymore! How am I supposed to be calm?!”
Kakashi gipped his student’s shoulders. “By calming down. You won’t find them by acting like this, Naruto. You need to focus. You’ve been so focused on their chakra. What about strange chakra? Is there anything in the area that you don’t recognize?”
Naruto stared at Kakashi. “Yeah,” he muttered. He closed his eyes and focused. He felt the chakra of the villagers he had grown to know, and the fading trails of the three children, then a slightly older trail of someone he didn’t recognize and a chakra that didn’t feel like chakra. His eyes snapped opened. “Something’s strange,” he said to Kakashi. “I feel… something.
“What is it?” Kakashi asked.
“I’m not sure. I’ve never felt anything like it. It feels… unnatural.”
Kakashi blinked. “Unnatural? How?”
Naruto shrugged and motioned for Kakashi to come as he followed the path. Kakashi sniffed while walking, but shook his head. There was no scent, but the unnatural chakra trail led them to a small broken piece of metal. Naruto knelt beside the small half sphere and reached towards it. “Don’t,” Kakashi snapped. He called for some ANBU to come and bring gloves. Once Naruto had a pair on his hand, he reached down and lifted the electronic device on the ground, only to drop it after a moment’s examination.
It landed with the Sharingan pattern facing the midday sky.
World Two: Present
Boruto was unnaturally quiet and that scared Sarada. Any attempt to talk to him merely got her short, one word answers. He was never this serious, but he actually looked terrified. Luckily the adults weren’t paying much attention to the children in their care and while Ansei had seemed to have noticed the change in their blonde companion, he didn’t seem to care enough to be concerned. Boruto kept his eyes down as they walked and Sarada kept her eyes on him.
“We’ll be fine, Boruto.” She whispered. “Stop acting like this.”
“How do you want me to act?” Boruto snapped. “I can’t let anything happen to her.”
“And nothing will. She promised she wouldn’t activate the Byakugan and this is practically a civilian mission; not to mention that we aren’t even civilians. You need to calm down, Boruto, before the adults start getting suspicious.”
“What if our plan doesn’t work?” Boruto asked. “Then what?”
“Then we find Sasuke and get him to send us home.”
Boruto bit his lip and turned away. “You’ll talk to him again,” Sarada whispered.
“Who cares if I talk to him again?” Boruto growled. “He’s the one that got us into this mess! I don’t care if I never see my dad again!”
Sarada blinked. “You don’t mean that,” she muttered.
“Of course I do. Dad probably doesn’t even care that we’re gone.”
“Your father loves you,” Sarada tried to reason.
“He has a horrible way of showing it.”
Sarada clenched her fists, but decided to let the subject die. There was no point in arguing with him about that now. “Sure, Boruto. But we need to start working on our plan. Have you considered what kind of plant to get your dad?”
Boruto looked up at the sky. “Probably something bright,” he said. “Dad likes plants that grow in sunny spots, like sunflowers.” He smiled softly at his sister.
“I don’t think we can get him a sunflower, but will any flower do?”
Boruto nodded. “Yeah. Daddy likes flowers.”
“Great!” The two continued to discuss their plans as they walked, keeping their voices quiet so not to tip off Naruto or the others about their plotting. They didn’t even want Himawari to hear them because she might tell the others about it. She may be powerful and smart, but she was still just a child.
When the group stopped for the night, it was already dark out. Even though Naruto thought the kids he was walking with were civilians, they still kept them walking until well passed sundown. They stopped by a small spring that would provide water and the adults planned when each one would take shifts. Sarada sat down away from the group, watching them as Naruto worked to get a fire going and Taiyaki worked with his mother to prepare a stew for cooking.
Sarada narrowed her eyes slightly as she watched. That was her mother and that kid didn’t have the claim to her that she did. She clenched her fists angrily. This was stupid, and it was all Boruto’s fault! He didn’t have to get in such a large argument with his dad. Why did he have to be so ungrateful? At least he got to see his dad every day, even if it was just a shadow clone sometimes. At least Himawari was mature enough to know that her dad was busy! Why did Boruto have to be such a spoiled brat?
“Is something wrong?” Taiyaki asked. Sarada looked up. She hadn’t even noticed the red-haired boy had come to her. She looked down and noticed that she was trying to choke the life out of a stick that she hadn’t even realized that she picked up.
The stick fell from her hands.
“No,” she muttered. “Nothing is wrong.”
He sat beside her, much to her distaste. “You sure?”
Sarada sighed. Just like Sakura, it seemed that her son had also gained the ability to tell if something was wrong. “It’s just all of this,” she grumbled.
Taiyaki turned to Sarada and frowned. “I see. This all must be difficult.”
You have no idea, Sarada thought with a silent chuckle. She smiled softly. “It is. It’s just… I miss my mom.” And that was the truth. She loved Sasuke, but she hardly knew the man. Taiyaki turned to Sakura and smiled sadly, then he turned to his father. “Do you love your dad?” Sarada asked suddenly. Taiyaki flinched, surprised by the question. Then a smile spread across his face.
“Yeah. He’s a bit absentminded and annoying at times, and he spends a lot of time out of the village, but he’s still my dad.”
Sarada blinked. “He spends a lot of time outside the village?”
“He does,” Taiyaki said. “He’s the assistant to Obito-sama, and usually does a lot of missions like this; just going out and doing diplomatic stuff. I get mad at him sometimes, but I still love him. I know he tries real hard for us.” Sarada smiled a little wider. “So, you’re an Uchiha, huh?” Taiyaki asked after a moment.
“Y-yeah,” Sarada stammered, trying to come up with some excuse.
“I haven’t seen an Uchiha not from the village,” he said.
“There are Uchiha in the village?” Sarada asked.
Taiyaki nodded. “Yeah! A lot of them! They are the most powerful clan in the whole village.” Sarada turned as she heard Ansei scoff bitterly at that.
A bit of rivalry between the Hyuuga and Uchiha, I see, Sarada thought. “Were there no issues?”
“Not really. I heard there was a coup in the works a long time ago, but granddad took care of it, then when Obito became Hokage, the Uchiha seemed to have settled down. Or, at least that’s what granddad and dad said.” Taiyaki shrugged.
Sarada sighed. So, Obito might have been made Hokage in order to appease the Uchiha clan to prevent the coup. “When did Obito become Hokage?” she asked.
“Hmm… It was before I was born,” Taiyaki answered. “Probably when Naruto was seventeen or eighteen. Around there.”
“Oh.” Sarada closed her eyes and tried to do the math. Her mother hated to talk about the Uchiha family’s dark and twisted past, so when she had asked why there weren’t any Uchiha in the village, her mother hadn’t recounted the entire tale, and in history class, the Massacre was mentioned as a dark time in their past and then glossed over, as history usually does. The math didn’t fully add up in her head, so she stopped trying. “It must have been a good step for the village to let an Uchiha become Hokage.”
Tai nodded. “It was! Everyone was really pleased that someone so deserving got the position! Obito is nothing short of a hero!”
“Don’t include the entire village in your sweeping generalization,” Ansei growled angrily.
“Well, the Hyuuga were a little upset,” Tai grumbled. “But aren’t the elders over it?”
“You’ll really like Konoha if you decide to live there,” Tai offered with a smile. Sarada blushed faintly, which made the boy turn in embarrassment. She sighed.
I hope he doesn’t have a crush, she thought solemnly. I’d hate to have to tell him that were technically half-siblings… She offered him a smile. “It sounds like a wonderful place,” she said. In truth, this version of Konoha seemed less tainted by the blood of the innocent. They seemed to have their stuff together better than the Konoha she was used to. She smiled at the thought. Maybe she had more of a family here than their home.
But her eyes traveled to Boruto and how he watched his sister like a hawk and how he was nervous just being there. He would never feel safe here, she knew, and she also knew that no matter what he said, he still loved his father with all his heart. “I’m sure we’ll find a home,” she said to Taiyaki.
Boruto hated this. He hated feeling helpless and lost. He wasn’t sure how to react to anything. Even as he walked through the forest surrounding their camp to find a flower for his father, he felt lost. It was later that night and everyone was asleep, except Hinata. It was her turn to guard. He had lied to her and told her that he was just getting up to relieve himself. In truth, he couldn’t sleep and he didn’t want to get dragged into a conversation with his mother who didn’t even know she was his mother.
He closed his eyes and stopped by a small stream to get a drink. They had to get out of there quickly if they were going to get out at all. He knew he was probably overreacting about how the Hyuuga would react to another Byakugan user, but he wasn’t about to take that risk. What if he wasn’t overreacting? Would they really harm children in order to protect their precious ability? He wasn’t sure, but he also wasn’t prepared to find out.
As he brought a handful of water to his mouth, a flower caught his attention. It was a beautiful, light blue flower with silver specks on the petals. He smiled. His father would love something like that! Without another thought, the boy got to work making a pot the put the flower in. He knew what Naruto would do. He would take the flower and smile before planting it somewhere. Taking to plant with them on this trip was impractical and stupid, but it was the thought that counted!
Once the pot was finished, it was well past midnight. Hinata’s shift was probably over and it was now Sakura’s turn. As he turned, he was stopped by Hinata herself.
“There you are!” Hinata gasped. “I was worried sick!” Boruto quickly hid the plant before she could get a good look at it and then turned fully around to greet his mother.
“Sorry, ma’am. I was just thinking,” he lied smoothly, hoping she didn’t ask too many questions after that.
“No need to apologize,” Hinata said gently. When she spoke to kids, she was an entirely different person. Her voice was kind and gentle, but when she spoke to Naruto it was cold and guarded. “It’s just that, on ninja missions, we don’t like our people to get too far away, you see. I was just a little worried about you, is all,” Hinata said with a smile.
“Oh… I’m really sorry…”
Hinata smiled softly. “Don’t worry about it. Come on, let’s get you back to camp.”
Boruto turned to the bush where he had hid the plant and sighed. They would get it tomorrow. “So,” he muttered, hoping to sound casual. “What’s the deal with you and Naruto-san?” He tried to sound as innocent as possible, but he still regretted the words.
Hinata sighed and bowed her head. “It’s a long story about a bunch of politics, kid. You probably won’t be interested.”
“I would,” Boruto protested.
Hinata looked at him and smiled sadly. “Well-“she began, but never continued. She stopped suddenly. “Get behind me,” she whispered. Boruto did as he was told, hiding behind the woman. She fell into a defensive stance and stared around with her Byakugan on. Boruto listened to the sounds around them and narrowed his eyes. He heard nothing and he knew she saw nothing.
Suddenly he heard a sound behind him, then another sound in front. They were surrounded. “Who are they?” he whispered. She shook her head.
“I don’t know,” she whispered, “but don’t worry.”
Boruto cursed the fact that they were trying to keep up the lie that they were civilians. He wanted a weapon. They were close to camp, but not close enough to make a run for it. The attack came swiftly. Boruto reacted like any trained ninja, but without weapons, he merely dodged without countering. Hinata countered instead, jumping at the attacking ninja. The man that had attacked stumbled back from Hinata’s attack. Boruto looked at the man as he fell. He didn’t look too threatening. He seemed more underfed than anything. It was the uniform that bothered Boruto. While it didn’t look exactly the same as the sound ninja that Boruto knew, it was close enough to cause him to worry.
“Sound Ninja?” Hinata muttered. “That’s odd. Why are they being active? Especially to us?” She turned to the dark forest, pinpointing one of the hidden ninja in the trees. “We have a peace treaty with your village!” she called. “Why attack us?” The answer that came was a knife aimed at the child. After defecting the weapon, Hinata glared at the source. “Attack a child, will you?” she called angrily.
Boruto narrowed his eyes. The attack pattern made no sense. They had the two surrounded but yet they weren’t attacking together. They made no demands or attempted to even engage them. What was their game?
It seemed that Boruto and Hinata came to the same conclusion at the same time because they turned to each other. They were the only ones awake and the camp was vulnerable. Hinata grabbed Boruto and took off running towards camp. Boruto didn’t need the encouragement. His sister was alone in camp. He wasn’t worried about her getting hurt, he was worried about her fighting. The ninja that were surrounding them took off after them. Boruto passed Hinata and ran faster.
He spun as the woman screamed. So worried was she about the child in her care, she hadn’t been paying attention. Boruto stopped, staring at the woman as she had a long broad sword sticking out from her stomach. “Mom!”
It wasn’t Boruto who screamed, but Ansei. The younger Hyuuga stared widely at the elder, his whole body shaking. “Ansei,” Hinata whispered. “G-go…!”
Boruto felt sick. He heard shouting at the camp site, but he couldn’t take his eyes away from the scene. The attacker ripped the weapon out of her body. Hinata dropped to the ground, coughing violently. Ansei rushed to her side and Boruto ran at the attacker. The ones who had been surrounding them had joined the others in attack their tiny camp. What is this?! He thought. Ansei looked almost as shocked as Boruto did, but a different kind of shock. He looked almost as if he was being betrayed. Boruto turned to the single attacker. He went to attack, but was stopped by a red blur. His eyes widened. He had really only seen his father use the power of Kurama, and it had never looked like that before. Boruto had never seen thee dark crimson glow of the fox’s chakra. But what truly shocked the boy was not the glow of the beast, but the person beneath it. Instead of the familiar blonde hair of Uzumaki Naruto, Boruto spotted flashes of white and black tresses beneath to chakra glow.
“Ansei?!” Boruto gasped. He turned and fled from the scene as the now three-tailed glowing beast ripped the Sound Ninja apart. He didn’t get far before a glowing, clawed hand ripped through his calf-muscle, tearing it to shreds. Boruto hit the ground. He had never felt pain like that before and the blood loss was terrible. Ansei was on top of him in a second, ripping his skin in an attempt to hit his vitals.
Boruto screamed and before long, he was thrown into a tree. The screaming stopped and turned to whimpers. He had heard stories of his father when he entered the tailed-beasts modes. He was unable to distinguish friend or foe. Boruto backed up against the tree, shaking violently as the glowing beast walked towards him.
Ansei lunged and Boruto screamed, but the attack never came. Through his own terrified screams, heard a loud, high-pitched voice shout in fury. Ansei flew backwards, howling angrily. Boruto looked up to see his sister standing in front of him, two fingers pointing towards Ansei, showing how she had attacked him. “Hima…” Boruto gasped. “Off… Before…” He stopped as the others from the camp came running towards them. Naruto stopped, dumbfounded at the scene.
“Ansei?” he whispered in shock. He turned to Boruto and Himawari. “Byakugan?! What is the meaning of this? Hinata, are you alright?” he called.
“Yeah,” came the weakened voice. Boruto turned to his mother. She was healing the massive wound on her belly. “Where are they?’
“Retreated,” Naruto answered. “We were outnumbered, but they were outclassed.” He stood in front of Himawari and Boruto while Sakura came to them. Sarada ran to Boruto’s side and quickly started healing the wound on his leg. Already he was beginning to feel light-headed from the loss of blood.
“You know jutsu?” Sakura asked, sounding shocked. “Who are you kids?” Boruto watched as Naruto tried to talk to Ansei, but he was having none of it. The two attacked each other, fighting tooth and nail, but it only seemed to be getting worse. Naruto looked just as shocked as Boruto was. How does he not know his own student was a Jinchuuriki? Boruto asked silently. And why isn’t he the Jinchuuriki?
These thoughts went through his head as his heart pumped more blood from his body into the ground below. “Stop bleeding!” Sarada screamed. She was a talented medic, but she was scared and had never practiced on the field before. Himawari was shaking his arm, crying out to him. Her hands were warm.
Boruto was vaguely aware of Sarada being almost violently pushed out of the way and her form was replaced by Hinata. The woman had hardly even stopped her own bleeding before coming to stop his. He watched through blurring vision as Naruto fought to keep Ansei down.
A yellow flash erupted in the clearing and suddenly Naruto was gone. “Dark Phoenix Prison Jutsu!” a voice called forcefully. Suddenly the glowing beast howled; not in fury, but in pain. Even Boruto, whose senses were dulled by the attack winced. It sounded as I the poor creature was being ripped apart from the inside. The howls and screams that came from Ansei’s mouths would not soon be forgotten by anyone in the clearing.
Ansei dropped to his knees. The glow intensified for several seconds and for a moment, Boruto thought that whoever had initiated the jutsu had merely made things worse, but the glow slowly began to fade. Boruto watched as Ansei’s skin revealed an intricate green patter all over it that was glowing with the force of the jutsu. The pattern wrapped around his neck and seemed to be choking him. It dug into his eye sockets, trying to rip his eyeballs out. It wove over his arms and legs, seemingly twisting them out of shape and breaking every bone. The vine-like patterns continued under his shirt where Boruto could not see, but he could imagine. A single mark on his head glowed the brightest.
Himawari was watching from a different perspective. She could see the chakra as it dug into the poor child’s body, ripping him apart from the inside out and burning him. Tears ran down her face, not wanting to watch the scene, but too petrified to turn away.
Boruto thought for sure the jutsu would kill Ansei. He almost hoped it would, not because he was angry at Ansei for hurting him, but because he knew the pain the child was experiencing was unimaginable. Finally the glow died completely and the screaming stopped as the green vines on Ansei’s body faded. For a long moment the only sound in the clearing was the sound of retching as Ansei emptied the contents of his stomach. Everyone was too dumbfounded or scared to move to aid the boy.
Hinata was the first one up. Boruto was no longer in danger of bleeding out, so she ran to her son’s side to try and comfort him, but there was not enough comfort in the world. “What was that?” Hinata shouted at the unseen jutsu caster. Boruto bit back his own snide remark about the man yelling it out before he initiated the attack. He turned as a third Hyuuga entered the clearing, followed by Naruto and a man that Boruto could only imagine was Minato. “Neji? What is the meaning of this?” Hinata snapped.
“The jutsu is known as the Dark Phoenix Prison,” the other Hyuuga, Neji, explained. “It is a stronger form of the Caged Bird Seal, designed to keep the Jinchuuriki in check.”
“And they let a lower branch member be able to use is?” Hinata growled, holding the child protectively.
“I created it,” Neji snapped.
Hinata’s eyes widened. “Wait a second!” Naruto interjected. “How is Ansei the Jinchuuriki? It was supposed to go to Karin’s daughter after mom died!” He turned to his father angrily.
Minato closed his eyes. “That’s… a long story, son,” he muttered.
“What is going on here?!” Naruto shouted. “How is that girl a Hyuuga? How do you know medical ninjutsu?” He pointed to Sarada. “And why don’t you have the Byakugan if you are related to the girl? Why is Ansei even sealed? That wasn’t part of the deal that Kabuto and Hinata had with the Hyuuga Clan!”
Again they lapsed into silence. Boruto felt his labored breathing was the only sound anyone was making. “Naruto,” Minato whispered, breaking the silence. “You and I…We have to talk…”