A Song for Them @nihilistic_bunny
Formula Arc, The Art of Revenge

Naruto Fan Fiction!

Adventure! SI-OC!

(Title)

"A Song for Them"

A/N: Sorry, this would've been done a couple days earlier if I hadn't been distracted by a Durarara plot bunny. As long as it's bugging me, updates aren't going to be as fast... sorry again! And I apparently have a problem with trying to put too much in one chapter. Anyway, enjoy~

DISCLAIMER: -...are there oatmeal raisin?- Uh, I can go get some. -...okay- I do not own 'Naruto' or any of the cannon characters! Yea~

WARNING! RATED M! For swearing and... birds?

Formula Arc,

Chapter Twenty-Two: "The Art of Revenge"

"Revenge, at first though sweet, bitter, ere long, back on itself recoils." -John Milton

Perspective:

空 (Sky)

Sora, April 19th: Kitchen

There was a knocking on my front door. I frowned. It was still pretty early in the morning and almost nobody I know actually knocks. Getting to my feet, I reached out my senses beyond the door and smiled in recognition of the chakra on the other side.

Warm, clear as crystal. An undercurrent of something alive.

I opened the door and smiled at Hinata.

"Good morning, Sora-chan." she murmured with a small smile. I gestured her to enter and shut the door behind her.

'Morning. You don't have to knock.' I signed as I walked back to my modest kitchen to finish.

Mouse took a seat at my small table, folding her hands in her lap. "I know, it's still polite though." I shook my head with a smile, she's too polite.

'Something you needed?' I signed before picking up some of the rice balls and wrapping it in the specially cut seaweed.

Sasuke never appreciates it, but I think it's hilarious when I see him eating adorable miniature pandas. Or stuffing them down his throat before anyone else can spot them. Naruto loves it when he finds animal-shaped food in his lunch, almost as much as he love the mere idea of having ramen instead.

"U-Uhm..." I raised a brow and looked over my shoulder at her mumble. "Wu... well..."

She began doing her adorable bad habit and I frowned. I wonder what's got Mouse so nervous? It's not like there was anyone else present. It's just me and she knows she can tell me anything. I finished with the panda onigiri and began placing them in the bento on the table and sealed the boxes. Her Clear chakra shifted and she spoke again.

"Does Sasuke-kun really not know that it's you making the lunches?" she asked curiously.

She's distracting herself. Clearly too nervous about what she wants to talk about so she's stalling until she builds up the nerve. The last time this happened, she wanted to ask me to join her for Tatabana a couple years ago. I, of course, agreed once she finally asked and Naruto and Hanabi-chan came along and then it ended up with half our class sprawled across a grassy park star gazing and half-asleep.

It was a really nice night.

I shook my head in the negative to her question, 'He stopped trying to find out after week fourteen.'

"Oh." she nodded, still fiddling with her fingers.

I smiled fondly as I remembered coming across a sleeping Uchiha-chibi in the hall of his apartment building. He'd stayed up the entire night trying to discover who was delivering lunch and fell asleep behind a potted plant. Twas adorable, even for the grumpy Duckie.

"Why haven't you told him yet? I'm sure that he'd be thankful." Oh, sweet... innocent Hinata.

I raised a brow at her and she blushed, embarrassed. She knows why I haven't. We were all in the same class after all. 'You know what he's like, Mouse, he'd never accept them again if he found out.'

I finished tying the cloths around the boxes and sat down opposite of my friend. I motioned her to speak and she immediately averted her eyes.

"W-Well, I..." she took a deep breath and closed her eyes. When she looked back up, there was resolution in her pale orbs. "Sora-chan, I want you to train with me."

...eh?

'What kind of training?' I asked warily.

Hinata's never asked me to train before. It's kind of an unspoken rule that time with me was like, the only time when she wasn't training. She isn't the kind of girl that's going out shopping or worrying about how her hair looks. The Hyuuga princess eats, sleeps and lives for training and trying to regain her Father's blessing. It's stupid and I think Hiashi is one of the biggest idiots I have ever met but, Hinata's a big girl who knows what she wants.

She frowned sadly, "The other day... you had told me that you'd... that you'd gotten kidnapped and-and all I could think is what would've happened if you hadn't come b-back home."

I had my arms around her before she could even finish. Ohhh crap... I was too casual about it. I should've been more careful about how I told her. I know better that that! Stupid, stupid, stupid! Hinata wrapped her arms around me and pulled back to continue after a moment of composing herself.

"I know that Taijutsu isn't your specialty because of..." she paused, trying to find the polite way to tell me I'm a klutz with two left feet. "...your discoordination. But you've always had good reactions in a fight so maybe we could work on that some."

It's sorta true. My chakra sensing lets me know when somebody's intent changes, like when they're about to attack and my body reacts naturally to that. Most of the time. Like some kinda survival instinct, the kind Terra thinks I'm lacking in. But... I don't feel right to take up Hinata's already short time.

'What about you?'

"Me? Well... I, uhm... oh! I need to work on recognizing the signs of Genjutsu on the chakra network! Kurenai-sensei helps where she can but it's something that I need to work on. You've been practicing those Genjustu in the scroll I gave you, right?"

I grinned and nodded.

I will never tire of saying it, Hinata is a love.

'When do you want to begin?'

She smiled sweetly.

"When do you have to meet your team?"

I glanced at the clock, 'Four hours.'

Her smiled turned a bit... sharper? How the... what?

"Then, how about right now?"

I... I suddenly had a bad feeling about this.

Sora, April 23rd: Traveling to Kurotaki Village
Mission: 'Find Lost Pet Dachō-sama!'

I had really thought I was hearing things when our Sensei gave us our mission. From the dumbfounded look on Duckie's face, he must've thought he heard wrong too. The Hero had simply scrunched up his face and asked; "What's an ostrich?"

Who the heck even loses an ostrich?

Mr. Daigo of rural Kurotaki village, apparently. That's where we were headed now after tracking down the unexpectedly wily and vicious large bird. Watching Naruto and Sasuke get pecked at had been a pretty funny sight until I was the target of it's attack. As a result I was keeping a healthy distance away from Naruto as we traveled the high and rocky landscape. I hadn't even been aware that there was any high desert-like territory in Hi no Kuni until today. For as far as I could see there was nothing but rocks and dry land, in the far distance I could spot a shade of green here and there but that was the only sign that we were still in the same country.

My blonde friend grumbled from behind me. "No matter how I look at that expression, I get the feeling he's gonna eat me alive 'ttebayo."

I glanced backward and saw him warily watching the over-sized feather pillow who's leash he was holding. I couldn't exactly disagree with his observation. The vile turkey had tried to peck my eyes out twice already.

I turned around and stared walking backwards so I could sign to him, 'Better be careful. He already tried to kill me once, Hero.' I teased, he scowled at me in return.

Scarecrow chuckled and glanced back at our bird handler, "It's fine... they make an unexpectedly well-matched couple."

"Cack!" The turkey cawed. It seemed to disagree with Kakashi's comment as it began trying to peck out the back of Naruto's skull. "Cack! Cack! Cack!"

"Well-matched, my ass dattebayo!" Naruto cried as the turkey continues it's assault. "Agh! Agh! Agh! QUIT IT! Agh-agh-agh-agh-agh!"

Poor Hero. I really felt like I should help him, being his best friend and all... but then I see that look in the turkey's beady black eyes and I just know he wants me to see me dead.

Duckie sighed gloomily from beside me. "We start out with a lost cat, then a lost dog and pig. So the ultimate lost animal is an ostrich? It's great that the scale is increasing and all but these worthless missions don't improve our skills."

Well, I wouldn't say that. I think our ostrich wrangling abilities have increased dramatically. Sadly, I don't think Sasuke will appreciate me saying that.

"Missions, huh?" Scarecrow murmured. "They're not for improving your skills. It's quite different from training, you know."

Kakashi's answer didn't seem to appease the Uchiha, as his Thunderous chakra shifted moodily, becoming less aggravated and more resigned. It sometimes amazes me just how emotional Sasuke is sometimes, though you'd never tell from the two expressions he wears.

I saw out of the corner of my eye as Naruto stepped forward and grabbed Sasuke's hand, placing the bird leash in it. "In that case, you can increase your skills by using the ostrich as your opponent 'ttebayo!"

Oh, there was Sasuke expression #2: Annoyance.

Duckie pushed the rope back into Naruto's chest, "What are you trying to pull?!" he growled. The two boys then began pushing the rope back and forth in a weird, reverse tug-of-war.

"Improve you skills already!" "You can-" "Cack! Cack!"

Pfft-HA! The turkey just conked them both! The looks on their faces! Priceless! Oh-oh! Now they're running! The bird was chasing them down the road!

Kakashi just sighed with fond exasperation as we heard their shouts get further and further away. In the distance I could see the dust they were kicking up. Haah... okay that was funny. When we caught back up with the boys they we sitting on the side of the road panting, all three of them.

We walked for another three hours until we came across a little town around four in the afternoon. Kakashi mentioned finding lodgings for the night but I was distracted by how the town looked like it was pulled right out of a set for an old western movie. My attention was then drawn to the crowd in the middle of the road.

"I'm gonna have a look 'ttebayo!" The Hero shouted before running forward, I followed right behind him. Scarecrow joined us and I could hear Duckie complain in the back as he was left with the killer turkey. We made our way through the crowd and I blinked when I saw two men with swords squaring off.

No joke. It was like we literally stepped into a western.

The younger of the two men was dressed plainly with brown hair and dark eyes, his expression was calm bordering on blank. The older man was dressed in white and reminded me a bit of a samurai sans the armor, what caught my eye was his larger-than-average sword. It had nothing on Kubikiribōchō in size but it was still unusual enough to take notice.

"A fight?" Naruto asked curiously.

"Not quite." Kakashi murmured. "It look like he's out for vengeance."

By now, Sasuke caught back up with us and he scowled when the V-word was mentioned. His chakra began churning darkly and I glanced at him worriedly, he was staring intensely at the men.

This could be a teachable moment, I thought.

...or it just might end really badly.

When I looked back at the duel, my eye caught something in the road. It was a paper that said... did that say Vengeance Permit? Something like that actually exists? Where do you even apply for something like that?

Oh, right next to the place where you become a murderer for hire. Terra snarked. I rolled my eyes and listened closely when some men behind us began gossiping about the swordsmen in the street.

This whole duel thing was because of the plain-dressed man. Apparently he had murdered another man by attacking him from behind with a rock in the middle of the night, and as a result Tsukado -the older man dressed in white- was tasked by his clan with getting revenge.

Oh? Tsukado drew his sword and pointed at the other man, the other man laid his hand on the hilt of his katana. Tsukado spread his feet and lifted his weapon above his head, he charged with... a war cry? Why do people shout as they charge?

"There he goes!" Naruto cried in surprise.

The very strange man began hopping on one foot as he charged. He swung and the plain man simply side-stepped the attack, not even very quickly either. Another lame attack, another simple dodge.

I wonder if he knows the aim is to hit the other guy? Terra wondered idly.

Another attack and the other man drew his sword and knocked Tsukano's sword right out of his hands. It landed a foot or two away from us. The Hero startled badly and I watched as the plain man began walking away, ignoring Tsukano as he shouted after him. Tsukano began running aft-Oooh. He tripped over his own foot. That's embarrassing. And I thought I was a klutz.

He's not very good at this is he? My other half asked rhetorically.

As the crowd dispersed, Naruto picked up the sword and walked over to the failed avenger, handing it to him as he stood up again. "Oh, thanks." the dark-haired swordsman mumbled. "I-I almost had him and all..."

Was he at the same fight we just saw?

'You're being really critical today.' I noted. I got the impression that she shrugged.

The Hero had a very unimpressed look on his face. "Yeah, except you didn't have him at all."

The man bristled indignantly and as they began talking, my eyes fell to the man's sword again. I'd never seen anything like it at the weapons shops back in the Leaf. It looked totally unique and I could swear that it was humming with chakra, yet the owner of the sword was obviously civilian judging by the size and overall unrefinement of his chakra.

"-I'll help you out!" Wait, what now? My musing were cut short as I look back up to see Naruto grinning and proudly pointing at his hitai-ate. "I'll use my ninja skills and turn you into a real vengeance pro!"

Oh, Hero...

There was a profound moment of silence when everyone doubted the sunshine boy and his proclamation. He wasn't very versed in vengeance... or so most would think. I know for a fact my dear Hero can be vindictive when he wants to be. Many a painted district and storefront can attest to that.

...in hindsight, maybe I should have discouraged that kind of behavior?

Nah. They were dicks.

Sora! Terra gasped. Language!

'Hey. They are what they are.' I defended.

Okay, you're hanging out with those foul-mouthed boys too much. You are being corrupted! she said with some amount of believable despair.

Scarecrow turned to us, "Well, let's leave this to Naruto and go rest." We followed our teacher as he began walking towards what looked like a Minshuku. Duckie scoffed from behind me.

"This is stupid."

I couldn't exactly disagree with him this time... at least Naruto's heart was in the right place. That's all the permission he really needs in my book.

Sitting on the porch of the Inn we were going to stay at tonight, Duckie and I were watching Naruto school Tsukado-san in the ways of revenge from a distance. Duckie claimed he only followed me out to watch because he didn't want Naruto to embarrass us too much.

He says that yet, he hasn't made any move to stop the Hero so far. Each time I look up to see exactly what my friend was doing, I end up laughing at the silliness and getting hopelessly distracted from working on my Language Processing formula.

The Language Processing Fuinjutsu on the Uchiha Tablet is unlike anything I've ever seen before. It's so intricate and follows it's own kind of logic that's completely different from the other Schools. It has it's own set of rules that are completely unique and I feel like I've barely even scratched the surface of it's possibilities.

From what I've learned so far from the design on the stone and the odd medical text from the Archive, the seal actually interferes with the signals in the brain, mixing them and making the person effected unable to recognize any sort of symbolism used for communication. It could effect so much more than that and I have no idea of the limits. Almost none of the other Schools of Sealing can passively effect targets like this.

None of them can effect the human psyche so complexly. It's almost like it's a lost School of Sealing.

...the mere thought gives me goosebumps.

Duckie was leaning against a support beam next to where I was sitting, I prodded his knee with my pen, he frowned at me but looked over my lifted notebook.

Can you read this? It said at the top.

Duckie's eyes scanned it briefly, "It's a children's poem." I nodded, that was correct. Then I applied chakra to the paper, lighting up the ink under my fingers.

Spontaneous combustion was not a worry in this case as the design held no Force or Release influence on it, so I could safely apply my chakra for tests without the worry of blowing off my arm. One unfairly natural eyebrow raised when I turned it back to him. I looked at him expectantly in return. Sasuke rolled his eyes at me in annoyance.

"It's the same. Just like every other time you ask." Then he added with a skeptical look. "...are you sure that you can even do this? The... brain scrambler thing."

I gaped in surprise. How dare he question my competency! With the right mind-set you can achieve anything with Fuinjutsu, the possibilities are nearly limitless. I frowned at the boy and signed, a bit indignant and fully sarcastic. 'Sorry. Didn't realize you became a Fuinjutsu Master when I wasn't looking.'

He frowned -scowled more like- right back at me. "You've been trying to do that for... what is it? Weeks now? What makes you think you even think what you're trying to do is even possible in the first place." he challenged.

He had a point. Darn it. I wasn't entirely sure someone of my skill level was capable of recreating a Fuinjutsu formula that was mostly likely created by the Sage of the Six paths. No one can say I lack for ambition though.

...I still had to at least try before he comes. It was kinda important to the plan and all.

Oh, you mean the really, really, bad plan that we've hardly discussed? Terra chimed. I didn't respond. I knew the 'plan' didn't even classify as half-baked. It's desperate, and I still haven't thought of anything better yet. It doesn't help that every time I think about him, it has my heart pounding in my chest and my blood roaring in my ears.

I have no idea why I get so irrationally pissed at the mere thought of him.

I locked eyes with the Uchiha, trying to convey my determination. 'It's possible. If not this way then I'll find another to do it. I'll figure this out and then I'll make sure to brag all about it to you.'

He stared at me a moment before scoffing and facing back towards Naruto, though I swear I saw his lips twitch upward.

And I swear that you imagined it, yet again. Only the anguished cries of his opponents can make him smile. Terra drawled.

'You're being ridiculous again.'

Think about it, Sky-girl. Before, when were the only times you ever saw the boy smile after the massacre? And was it ever a nice smile?

An image of a half-blind Sasuke grinning ear-to-ear after trying to kill Sakura was the first thing that came to mind.

That wasn't disturbing or anything.

How about the word manic? Do the words manic and completely unhinged come to mind?

I glanced up at the boy standing beside me. I swallowed thickly as I thought about everything he did after finding out about Itachi. How long it took until he was finally stopped and even then he was never remotely the same as before he left.

'...him smiling would be the beginning of the end of the world, huh?' I added, my mood a bit subdued now.

Sasuke's smile is a bad omen. Terra said solemnly.

The thought made me crack a smile at the absurdity of it. 'It'd be like Naruto not in a mood to eat ramen!'

Sakura falling out of love with Sasuke.

'Shikamaru refusing a nap.'

Neko breaking the rules.

I snorted a laugh, 'Kakashi without a mask!'

All signs of the apocalypse. my other half agreed.

My inward musings were interrupted by the low voice of the Uchiha beside me who spoke up quite suddenly.

"You told me before that Naruto has a large chakra capacity. What did you mean by that?"

I blinked.

Once. Twice.

I'm fairly sure I'd heard that right.

I looked up and realized that Sasuke was carefully watching my reaction now. His Thunderous chakra was spinning with curiosity as he observed my reaction. Huh.

Now why is he so interested after all this time? Is this because of what happened during the Search and Rescue? Does Sasuke even have any idea about the Nine-tails? Jinchuuriki and Talied-beasts are generally not spoken about in Konoha, what with the law and all that. All the texts about them were taken off the public shelves in the library and stuffed in a faraway corner in the Archive, even then it was stuck in the Mythology section with anything else related to the Sage of the Six paths.

Which was ridiculous.

It infuriated Nayoko-san -The librarian- the first time I relocated it all to the history section where it belonged. When I was ten and on his monthly visit, Hiruzen had been very amused with me because Nayoko-san had filed an actual complaint against me by the fifth time I moved the texts.

...I was getting off track. My point was, it was terribly difficult to learn anything about Jinchuuriki. So what was Sasuke even expecting me to say about Naruto?

I raised my hands with a puzzled look. 'What do you mean, what do I mean?'

Sasuke scoffed bitterly and rolled his eyes before he turned to walk away, chakra spiking with frustration. No, no, don't pout! I didn't mean to say it like that! I realize now that sounds like I'm blowing him off and trying not to answer!

I leaned over and grabbed the bottom of his shirt before he could walk away, he stopped in his tracks and exhaled angrily. When he looked down he didn't meet my eyes but glared at a space somewhere behind my shoulder.

I released him and signed, 'More specific? Please.'

"How big?" I shoved down the inappropriate responses that sounded suspiciously like Terra and answered properly.

'Really big.' Like really big. Duckie gave me a unimpressed look. Okay then, he wants a better example. 'Bigger than Kakashi's.' Kakashi has a fairly large chakra capacity but still, nobody's got anything on Naruto's reserves. Well, nobody under the S-Class monsters.

Ah, there was one of the rare Sasuke sub-expressions: Surprise. It was really just expression #1 but with raised eyebrows.

"...you can't be serious. He can't have that much chakra we're still genin and he's... Naruto." He said with a disbelieving tone. Ignoring how he emphasized my best friend's name, I continued.

'He does.' I nodded then frowned at him. Duckie should already know this, Scarecrow had explicitly explained it before. 'Sensei explained this when Naruto tried to teach me Shadow clones. You and I don't have enough chakra for it to be worth the risk. The chakra spilt would be too big, doing more harm than good.'

Though it would've been awesome to use clones like Naruto. Turns out that only Naruto can use clones like Naruto, go figure.

And then there's the fact Kakashi practically forbid me from using it because of my... condition. Apparently, I'm not the first shinobi with a split personality disorder to want to use Shadow clones. Scarecrow was vague but it seems like it did not end well for the last guy. Bummer... it would've been great for my research.

Sasuke's eyes widened, "But I've seen him make dozens before! And I can't even make one?" he demanded.

'No. Kakashi said that if you tried, you'd make about four but be dangerously low on chakra. Leaving you at risk.' With my advanced chakra control I could make about six and be okay, but he didn't need to know that. He has a complex about being outdone as it is. 'What were you doing when he explained this?'

Sasuke frowned defensively, chakra swirling with embarrassment. Instead of answering he averted his eyes to the side and back to Naruto. The blonde was currently trying to stop Tsukado-san from... vehemently shoulder bumping some random guy. I heard a sigh beside me and looked up to see Duckie pinching the bridge of his nose.

I nudged him to get his attention again. 'Why the sudden interest?' I signed. Duckie glanced at me before looking away, chakra swirling uncomfortably now.

"Just curious." he said simply.

Hmph. I wasn't expecting him to confide in me anyway. So whatever, he can be as anti-social as he likes. I turned back to my pages and I traced the three-layered formula design with my finger, I thought back on what Sasuke said before.

'Brain scrambler', he'd called it.

...the Scrambler seal.

I like it.

We were eating breakfast.

Why was so this noteworthy?

More specifically, Kakashi was eating breakfast.

Or he was about to... as soon as Naruto and Sasuke stopped staring at him expectantly. Duckie was infinitely more subtle but it was still obvious he was watching. I lifted my chopsticks and stuffed another bite of rice in my mouth, watching the scene with great amusement. It seems Scarecrow didn't share in my amusement though.

"Uh... is there something on my face?" he asked awkwardly. I snorted a laugh. Yeah, a mask, Sensei.

'Bed hair.' I signed with a poorly hidden grin. There was nothing actually wrong with his fluffy head, nothing more than the usual just-got-out-of-bed look, of course.

The ex-ANBU nodded in understanding and began to run his hands through his gravity-defying hair. The boys resolutely did not take their eyes off our teachers face during all this. When he finished it looked exactly like it did before he tried to comb it. He looked back to me.

"Better?"

Hah... he's such a good sport.

I gave him a thumbs-up before picking up my breakfast and seating myself by the window. There, he wouldn't have to worry about me peeking now. He just had to distract the boys for his peace of mind.

How did we ever get through the month we spent in Wave, I'll never know. I warded off Naruto the few times I caught him trying to peek when Kakashi was supposed to be recovering. I'm not sure how he remained undiscovered the rest of the time... I'm fairly sure Genjustu was involved each time the meals came around.

As I continued to eat, my mind wandered to yesterday's events.

Vengeance, huh?

Duckie and I watched the Hero's attempts to teach Tsukado-san until they left for the outskirts of the town, then we went back inside and passed the time away until someone started screaming about a runaway ostrich.

The three of us had shared a collective look before dashing out the nearest window and chasing after the slippery overgrown feather pillow. Just as it was about to trample a child that strayed into the road, Tsukado-san had appeared out of nowhere and moved like an actual swordsman, swinging his chakra-infused sword and startling the ostrich into submission.

The swordsman then confessed that the reason he hasn't been able to take his vengeance yet was because there was something in his opponents eyes that had him fumbling like a novice. After tying the turkey up securely, we turned in for the day. The fact Naruto couldn't be of much help to the swordsman weighed heavily on my friend, I could tell he didn't like leaving things as they were.

Oddly enough, I found myself thinking about Kenjutsu. About the way Tsukado-san had wielded his blade, and about Momo with his head-chopper. I was somewhat envious of them.

I don't know much when it comes to Kenjutsu other than the obvious stuff. Hold sword, swing towards opponent in the hopes of slicing them. I mean, the thought of learning some has crossed my mind before but I just haven't found the desire to learn. I probably should look into it more though, it would help with my close-quarters combat weakness. And there was... that.

That being Kaa-chan's twin sword-staff thing that was buried under my bed among other dangerous things. It wasn't until my second year at the Academy when I had some knowledge of weapon handling before I was returned Kaa-chan's varied and deadly weaponry. Turns out she had quite a few things in her storage seals. All of which was stuffed into my own storage seals, placed in a empty book and hidden under my bed.

I don't like thinking about just who my Kaa-chan was before she became my Kaa-chan. My mother was beautiful and kind and that's all I needed to know. Whoever she used to be and whoever the 'Bad man' was to my Kaa-chan mean nothing to me. No more Tar-men or foul-mouthed minion's came for me after That Night. The Bad man was just a bad memory now...

"Woah! Watch out you idiot!"

I glanced out the window towards the source of the shout, there seemed to be a commotion in the street. Someone's tipped over a fruit cart and was shouting colorful profanities at the perpetrator. The disturbance seemed to have drawn the boys attention too as there was a 'clink' that rang through the quiet room as chopsticks were set down.

I turned around and Kakashi-sensei's meal was completely gone. Spotless actually.

Wow. That was inhumanly fast. Terra said with a bit of awe.

'Leave it to Sensei.' I sighed, completely unsurprised unlike the two gaping boys in the room.

Well that was an interesting turn-out. My other half commented lightly as I traveled down the road towards Kurotaki village. She was obviously referring to the ending of Tsukado-san's quest for vengeance.

I admit, I hadn't seen that plot twist coming. Turns out that Katazu -the plain dressed man- had assumed his twin brother's identity after the accidental death of Shikazo -Tsukado's family member- because there were no witnesses to the accident, so he would've been branded a murderer. Katazu took the fall because his brother's wife had just given birth and he didn't want the baby to grow up without a father.

After the Hero had jumped interrupted the swordsmen's latest duel, Katazu had explained himself and Tsukado had decided not to pursue him any further. It was something of a peaceful resolution... until the local gang got involved and attacked. We made short work of them. Even the turkey helped out too!

Tsukado went his own way and we continued on our way towards Kurotaki village to return the ostrich. It was sunset now and Scarecrow said we'd make it to the village within the next hour or so.

The Hero had been oddly quiet since we separated from Tsukado. Not the worrisome quiet, but the... more thoughtful kind. I slowed my pace to walk beside him and nudged him with my elbow. He glanced up at me before letting his eyes fall to the ground again.

"I guess it all turned out all right in the end, right?" he asked.

I nodded in agreement. It could've turned out a lot worse if he hadn't intervened. Tsukado didn't seem like the type of guy who could live with killing an innocent man. Though he didn't always know that, he knew in his heart that something was off.

Naruto frowned, "...revenge sure is harsh, huh?"

Sasuke scoffed derisively, "What would you know about that? ...sometimes there's a type of revenge you have to carry out, no matter what." I frowned at his indifferent tone.

I didn't like his way of thinking, not whatsoever. I bit the inside of my cheek thoughtfully before deciding to take a chance. I moved towards the front of our group and walked backwards so I could be seen, making sure not to look at Sasuke as I signed.

'Maybe. But this was example of things not always being what they seem. If he had killed that man, he would've regretted it for the rest of his life.' I didn't look at Sasuke's reaction but I turned to Kakashi-sensei who was watching me. 'That's why we have to look underneath the underneath. Right?'

He stared at me a moment as I swear I was about to break into a cold sweat before he spoke again. "Right, Sora. I'm glad to see someone listens to me."

Relief flooded me and I smiled. I know for a fact that Kakashi doesn't know the real truth about Itachi and the Uchiha massacre. I know that. It's really unhealthy of me to think Kakashi always knows about everything about anything. I should work on that.

Was that entirely necessary? Too many hints and...Terra trailed off.

I know, too many hints and it might lead to things I can't begin to explain. But I honestly have no idea what to do about the coming Exams, the least I can do is try to steer Sasuke away from his single-minded revenge. At least give him a chance to change his mind before it's too late.

Formula Arc,

Chapter Twenty-Two: "The Art of Revenge"

END

A/N: THANK YOU all you lovely peoples that take the time to read this silly story. It means a lot to me to know that what I write is bearable and isn't completely bizarre to read. Thank you guys.

I try to put too much in one chapter. I need to work on that this was so much longer and it seemed a bit muddled. You guys really liked the puppy, huh? Well, a little hint about things to come, I don't tend to write useless facts or story threads. I actually can't stand threads that lead to nowhere. So don't be discouraged if something isn't resolved in that chapter. Just wait for it~

So, I have a better sense of how much longer this little... I'm calling it a 'Seeding' Arc, because I'm planting things now that will grow and bloom into important plot points later on. Lots and lots of foreshadowing. What seems like an odd fact now, will probably be mentioned again later on.

This Arc, however, will last about... three more chapters if I squish things? Maybe cut some more filler out if it doesn't contribute to anything big. I'm kinda eager to start on the Exams and writing all crazy stuff~

Author Question!

"What two characters in all the known fictional multi-verses would you LOVE to see in the same room? You can have multiple pairs, don't worry."

Sheik from Zelda meets young Sakura and teaches her how to be a baddass early on. Or... Boruto meeting young Naruto. That'd be cool, I think.

Wuv yew all!

-Nanami

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