Just like his owner, Danzo's studio was dark and dusty.
The man didn't look as old as Hiruzen, but he was twice as scary; thus would think a boy of Itachi's age. Not him. He was not allowed to be afraid.
Even though there were many things he feared.
That war may start again. That his precious brother would be in danger.
That said brother would have to live the same life that he was living.
He didn't hold a grudge against his father for training him since he was able to stand on his own legs.
War would have robbed his childhood anyway.
He had trained harder and harder not to please Fugaku, but to please him enough so that he would leave the younger be a child.
Sasuke was born in peaceful times. He was pure and blissfully ignorant. He had toys to play with and a mother's dedication.
Everything else had been already placed on the older brother's shoulders.
Itachi hoped that when the time would come for him to lead the clan, he would be able to change people's mindsets so that the Uchiha clan could live peacefully and protect Konoha like other clans did.
His father's plans were completely different from his dream.
The boy remembered his words:
"It's essential for the clan that you enter Anbu. No matter the cost. Do you understand it, Itachi?"
Despite what Fugaku wanted, Itachi was too young to enter Anbu.
Not that he had ever been a genin or taken part in animal rescue missions.
He graduated from the Academy in a year becoming a full-fledged shinobi like Shisui was already. There was no use for him to go to classes where they taught things he had practiced during the war.
Danzo had told his father that even if he was undoubtedly a prodigy, there was an age limitation for the Hokage's Black Ops. On the contrary, in his own division called Root age didn't matter.
It was a smaller group of soldiers but being a part of it guaranteed a future in the 'real' thing.
Itachi bowed deeply to pay his respect to the war hawk, who dismissed his gesture with a scowl.
"I don't trust any Uchiha. They are only loyal to themselves. They have no Will of Fire."
Except for the Will of Fire, not an Uchiha belief, the harsh words were a mirror image to those he heard from his father.
"You are the leader's son; you will lead your clan one day. I'll give you a chance to prove that you are better than your predecessors."
The old man's voice was gruff. The boy's was almost a whisper.
"I want to protect Konoha."
He really meant it. Sasuke deserved to live in a safe place.
"Well then, prove it."
When he clapped his hands two Root Anbu arrived, dragging a tied man wearing a Suna headband.
Danzo took out a kunai from his large kimono sleeve, letting it fall on the ground.
"Dispose of him."
Itachi rose from his bowed position.
He hated killing.
He had been thrown into the battlefield with Shisui as a courier for supplies and messages.
His cousin was not much older but he was more experienced. Watching him Itachi had learnt how to perform katon. Out of fear for him, hopelessly fighting rogue shinobi trying to abduct them for their eyes, he had first activated his sharingan.
He hadn't done much anyway, while Shisui had kept him safe, reassuring him that he wouldn't let anyone harm him and eventually drawing enemies' attention towards him.
Itachi felt lucky to have had him by his side, and he wanted to be the same for Sasuke.
By protecting Konoha his brother would never be in such situations.
He took the kunai and swiftly pierced the man's heart.
Danzo hummed with satisfaction.
He would turn this boy into a perfect weapon.