Here’s what I know: my name is Uchiha Sasuke; my family was massacred, except for the murderer himself, Itachi; I don’t care, because I never knew them in the first place; and I’m not actually sure where I am, but it isn’t home.
(And here’s how I know.)
I wake up in the middle of the night to clear vision and a startling lack of pain. It doesn’t occur to me immediately that this is strange. I stare at the ceiling for a minute, just breathing. I haven’t felt such a lack of physical pain in a long, long time.
And then I begin to notice things. I don’t recognize this room, firstly.
Where am I?
I stare at the blue curtains, the green walls, and my grip on the cute dinosaur plush I held in my sleep tightens. Where am I? I look at my feet, wondering at how small they suddenly are. How big everything else suddenly is. I can feel my eyes and throat start to burn in my panic. I sit up, but the ceiling still just seems like it’s so . . . so far away.
And didn’t I wear my socks to bed? I can’t sleep without socks–never have, never will. Well, that’s a lie. I would wear them all the time, but sometimes it’s hot or humid or both and so I don’t, but, right now . . . it’s really cold. I’m so cold. I’m freezing. A glance at the door tells me I’m not alone.
Someone was in the room while I slept. A man was in the room while I–
And then I gasp and my eyes are full of tears and I’m scrambling to get away–get away–
I fall onto the floor–my head smacks against it hard enough to leave a bump that’ll last for days–and I start to sob. “Who are you? What are you doing in my room? Get out, please, please go,” I cry out.
The masked man stares at me.
He disappears for a moment before reappearing right beside me. His fingers glow green and my headache is gone, the bump is gone. I’m still crying.
“Get away from me!” I push him, to no avail, and punch his stupid, stupid mask. “Go away! Leave me alone! Stop!”
What the fuck kinda language am I–is this Japanese?
“Calm down, kid. You’re safe here. Can you tell me the last thing you remember?”
“The last thing I remember is you being a–refusing to leave me alone–LEAVE ME ALONE–just get away, go–stop bothering me, get out of my room! You aren’t welcome here!” I start hitting him again, in the chest as hard as I can until–until he grabs my hands and suddenly I can’t move. Can’t breathe. Can’t even blink Iwanttodie –
“I said. Calm. Down.”
“You aren’t making me comfortable and willing to do so! Get away from me and maybe I will calm down– let go of me! ”
He disappears to the other side of the room again.
I pull my blanket off the bed and wrap it around myself, quietly consoling myself.
“Do you know your name?”
“Name? What kind of question is that? Abraham Lincoln–for Christ’s sake, who do you think I am? Not Abraham Lincoln, that’s for sure. Do you even know me? Why are you here?”
I can feel myself calming down. My pulse is slowing, my chest feels empty. My grip on the dino plush is weak, now. I feel. I don’t know. I don’t know what I’m feeling, to be honest. But. I don’t know who I am, if I’m not me. And I know I’m not me, not now. I don’t know if I ever will be again, if this is just a dream.
I don’t know where I am.
But I feel safe now that I’ve gotten the initial panic attack out of the way.
The man sighs, oblivious to my internal monologuing. “Hm. I take it you don’t remember your name?”
“ . . . maybe.”
The man takes me to an office where I am greeted by a strangely familiar old man. It might just be that probably all old men look the same, but I think I actually recognize this one? He’s. I don’t know. But I don’t feel safe.
“Uchiha Sasuke,” he says. “How are you feeling?”
There is another old man sat beside him, this one more familiar but in an even more uncomfortable, scary, strange kind of way. I try to take a step back, but the man from before is blocking my path. He puts his hands on top of my shoulders, and I start to cry again.
After that, all I can recall is the scary old man yelling at me for crying and the trying-to-be-nice old man doing nothing to dissuade the scary one.
Then the safe man disappears and leaves me all alone.
And then I pass out, and when I wake up, the sight I’m greeted with is not a cheerful one. The room is gray and there appear to be mirrors covering two opposite walls. Feels like a . . .
It’s cold. I’m so cold. The scary man is sitting in front of me again, his free hand on the table, his eyes on me, his eyepatch seeping blood from the bottom . . .
“So, Sasuke. Let’s talk about the massacre.”
When I finally get home, I’m tired. I’m so, so tired. I can barely remember what happened, bits and pieces sticking around but I can’t remember how I got here. Or most of what we talked about. I remember a kid coming in and pressing a hand to my forehead . . .
And now I’m here?
Every time I try to think about my missing memories, I get dizzy. So, I stop trying to remember that and I focus on what I do know.
That man, Danzō, he called me Uchiha Sasuke.
When I open my eyes, the man is there again.
“Why do you keep doing this?” I ask, my voice hoarse. “Can’t you stay outside when I’m asleep instead of being in the room with me?”
“I can’t. Have to watch over you, sorry.”
“It’s creepy. Are you a pedophile?”
“Well, are you?”
“I’m not. Pinky promise.”
“Good job on being a decent human being, I guess. What’s your name?”
“Um. No offense, uh, I’m not really . . . allowed to say my name. Kind of, uh.” He taps on his mask lightly.
“Ah. Right. The ol’ ball and chain. Ha . . . I’m funny, right? Right?”
“If you say so.”
“I do say so.”
“Then I suppose you’re hilarious, Sasuke.”
“It’s just so unfair! You know my name, why can’t I know yours, y’know! This is so stupid–quit ANBU and come find me, man!” I complain.
The man clears his throat, clearly covering up laughter. “Sure, Sasuke.”
“You’re an asshole! I bet if I spent some time in the jōnin headquarters and saw everyone, I’d figure out in a second!”
“Ah, but only shinobi are allowed in Jōnin HQ,” the man says. “Too bad you’re just a student, huh?”
He’s making fun of me. “You’re making fun of me! Jerk! You suck!”
He laughs. “How are you so cheery after everything that happened?”
“Hm? Oh, the massacre? I don’t remember very much of that, but I remember more than I did when I woke up.”
“Oh, fuck me . . . ”
“Didn’t you say you weren’t a pedo?”
“You know what I meant. Ugh, now I gotta get you to a psychologist, don’t I?”
“I’m just teasing, meanie.”
“Do you need me to come in with you? I’ll wear a henge–”
“Please. Please come in with me.”
“Okay. Do you remember the way to the academy, or should I lead?”
“Gotcha. Got everything? Notebook, practice weapons, lunch, pen?”
“Yep, yup, nope, and several.”
“Buy one on the way or risk cooking one now?”
“Alright. Let’s go.”
“Hey, Sasuke! Sasuke, sit next to me!” a blonde girl with a ponytail yells at me the moment I enter the classroom. I glance at the man, and he pulls me back out of the classroom for a brief conversation.
(He told me to call him Rooster, because that’s his ANBU animal, but I think that’s stupid.)
“Does she overwhelm you? Maybe sit next to Naruto . . . you two got along the first time you met, and I don’t think you’ve talked since then–ah, no, he’s not even here. Never mind. Sit next to Shino if you don’t have something against bugs, or maybe Tobio.”
“How do you know all their names? Aren’t you a Not-Pedophile?”
“Hush, kiddo. It’s called mission research.”
“Are there any girls that don’t like me?”
“I’ll sit next to her. Boys make me uncomfortable, and the rest of the girls are too . . . well, I love girls, girls rule the world , I love them and trust them more and all that, but these girls are so obsessive. I’ll hang out with them when I’m in a better mindset and am willing to deal with their, um. Yeah.”
The man snorts. “Sure. Go on, then. I’m still assigned to you, so I’ll be creeping invisibly in the room or just outside, but I’ll talk to you again either at lunch or after school–depends when you get too stressed.”
“I’ve been watching over you for two weeks already. Excuse me for having realistic expectations.”
“Far from the worst I’ve been called.”
Class is boring. Iruka-sensei talks about the founding of Konoha–and it’s funny, because we talked about the exact same thing four weeks ago, twelve days before the massacre, according to my notebook, and right now it’s painting the Uchiha clan as a whole as the good guys, while last time it painted them as the bad guys.
After the history lesson, we did basic math and practiced with kunai. Then lunch came along.
“Sasuke, Sasuke! Your clan was full of heroes, I’m so sorry for your loss. Do you wanna sit with me for lunch?” some girl asks me.
“I mean,” I start, staring at her strangely. Is she serious? Is she really, really serious? “Not really? You’re kind of scaring me, and I want to be alone since, you know, my entire family aside from my traitor brother just literally got murdered while I was at school?”
The girl flinches. “O–oh! I’m so sorry! I’ll leave you alone then! Ha–have a nice lunch!”
She scrambles to get back to her small group of friends, and none of the girls bother me after that.
None of the girls doesn’t mean none of the boys, though. “Hey, hey, what’s up with your face dude? You happy or somethin’? That’s creepy! I’ve never seen you make that face before!” Kiba exclaims.
He has no empathy.
“Uh? Piss off, bro?” I say, an eyebrow raised. “Whatcha need, or are you just being a piece of shit for no reason?”
After a moment of silence, Kiba cackles, sudden and loud. “You’re a freakin’ riot, man!”
“That’s nice. Get yourself and your dog away from me before I tell the teacher you were harassing me, thanks.”
“Damn, kid, you got somethin’ against dogs?”
“Nah. Sometimes. Some types.”
“Gotcha. Uh . . . anyway. You really know how to manipulate people, huh. That girl was freaking out–the boy nearly panicked as well,” the man muses.
“Hmm.” I glance both ways–habit–as I cross to the opposite side of the large pathway that I would call a road but, well, no cars. “We’re going to the store, can you drop by my house real quick and get money?”
“Man, I’m just a glorified servant, huh?” the man asks, pouting (he’s in henge still–how good are his chakra reserves, the fuck. It’s been nine hours. Maybe he stopped the henge when he was hiding? Huh.)
“Go on, now.”
The man sighs, disappearing and reappearing minutes later. By the time he’s back, I’m already inside a clothing shop, looking at the price tags on dresses in my size. (Or maybe Sasuke’s? No, my size. It’s my body now.)
“Dresses? Hmm, maybe a yellow one would look nice,” the man says.
“You aren’t going to question the fact I’m looking at dresses? Good man, keep up the good human thing,” I compliment him, grabbing two yellow dresses. “Is there a dressing room?”
“Back of the store!” a woman shouts from the checkout counter.
I nod and walk to the back of the store. One of the dresses I grabbed was sleeveless, zipping at the side rather than the back. The other had magenta flower decals on the skirt, and was short sleeved.
“Try to be quick, you still have to buy groceries tonight,” the man informs me.
“Okay–oh, go grab the next size down for this one.” I hand him the sleeveless dress. “It’s too big.”
“Hitoka-san,” I say, glancing at the counter-lady’s name tag, “do you happen to have any leggings in a smaller size?”
“Yup-yup! Right over here! Color?”
“White ones, please.”
“Here you are. Will these fit you, Sasuke-kun?”
“Hmm . . . yes. Perfect, thank you!” I shove the leggings into my basket, grabbing a second and third pair for good measure, and I walk back to the dresses. “Hey, man-guy-dude, we’re gonna look at skirts now. I want a black skirt–at least a couple black skirts–and a yellow shirt. Did I tell you yellow is my favorite color? Well, it is. Anyway, go look for yellow or orange shirts in a small for me, would you?”
“Okay. You know what, we should get you to see a doctor about this amnesia–”
“I’m good without memories of traumatic incidents and possible abuse from non-Uchiha, thank you. Go on, now.”
“I don’t want vibrant colors, dark or pastel only!” I remind him before grabbing some skirts. Some are very cheap, and very strong material.
And I can make use of these. After all, sewing is one of my better skills, along with cooking and cleaning. Who knew being part of a dangerous, sexist world could come in handy?
“No offense,” the man says after we check out, “but some of those skirts are seriously ugly.”
“I know. I’m not going to wear them,” I inform him.
“Then why’d you buy them?”
“See, feel how strong that material is. It’s like a weapons pouch, right? I’m going to cut it up and sew it to the insides of the skirt and dress pockets–which aren’t actually included but I’ll make them. And they can have zippers! Or buttons, but zippers are funner. Oh! Magnetic buttons! Being a glorified murderer is gonna be so much fun.”
“Gods save us all . . . the day you become a shinobi is the day the Fourth Shinobi War begins, eh?”
“No, that comes a couple years after. I’m totally going to overthrow the government,” I say as humorously as physically possible so the man thinks I’m joking. I’m not joking. I’m going to murder those bastards in cold fucking blood and destroy the fucking patriarchy.
(Anarchist Sasuke fucking rise. I’ll destroy those bastards and their fucked up government. Fuck politics, man.)
The man laughs. “That’s nice. So, kunai pockets? Oh, or maybe senbon? I love senbon, I can teach you to use senbon!”
Aaaand click , there he is. Probably.
Shiranui Genma is my ANBU watchguard. Most likely.