Sasuke Uchiha defected from Konohagakure no Sato several years ago. The missing-nin was off radar for 2 years but has finally resurfaced with a proposition of loyalty.
Chapter 01: In the dawn illusions break
He had entered the borders of Hi no Kuni sometime during the night, approximately two hours after midnight if his calculations were correct. Yet it was irrelevant what time it had been since he was in no hurry to arrive at his destination. The priority at the moment was not to be spotted by hunter-nin or ANBU scouts before he wished them to.
The expansive forests landscaping most of Hi no Kuni and which surrounded the Hidden Village were quite peaceful under the light of the lunar star. Disturbance of the emerald foliage was kept to a bare minimum as a born Leaf shinobi never lost their ability to hide in their natural environment. Thick shadows lay everywhere, seeming on very amicable terms with the dark shinobi as he walked unnoticed in their midst.
It would take the last of the few hours until dawn to reach the place where he planned to execute the first stage of this venture.
The young man held no illusions about what their reactions would be like. It was not the first time he had had these thoughts either. Like clockwork the cycle would take on a well-worn and familiar pattern. He would reflect on where he was then they turned to the choices he made to get there and lastly ended up at the people who had come and gone through all those decisions. When he allowed such musings, the people with the most potent bonds always graced his thoughts.
The cursed blood that coursed through his body demanded he respect the expectations of the clan. He was not affected by the ghosts as he once was as a child. He did not need to imagine the reactions of his family.
Naruto would probably get mad at him for a while before the ex-team-mates came to a strained truce. That was if the blonde finally realised the meaning of the cryptic words the dark shinobi left with him at their last meeting over two years ago. Otherwise he could not predict the actions of Naruto and the idea made him uncomfortable. The only certain thing was that the blonde had heeded his request to stop chasing him across the continent while Akatsuki were still active.
Kakashi, on the other hand, would have disappointment and relief battling somewhere behind the inscrutable expression. Truly his old sensei had hit too close to the heart with his last lecture before he had defected. If the jounin knew the reasons supporting his former student’s decisions, he could somewhat understand even though he would not agree.
The woods felt unnaturally silent in the breaking of pre-dawn, as if both the flora and fauna held their peace for the unforeseen. One could say it was like the calm before the storm but he internally laughed at the metaphor. There was no expectant tension of knowing and waiting for what was to come. No, they knew nothing, and would fall into the heart of the matter and flow with the current to survive.
He took a moment from walking, instead running noiselessly up the trunk of the nearest tree and all the way to the top. The slow lightening of the cloudless sky and clear air was quite literally calming to the shinobi. It also reminded him of Yuugare’s clear grey irises, which he could picture clearly along with her smile. The pale man sighed as he recalled the sense of strength she had radiated, trying to convey it to him during their goodbye.
With another exhale the dark shinobi let himself free-fall from his extremely high perch to the emerald canopy below. A flick of a slender wrist lodged a kunai deeply into a pine a few hundred metres away and he swung through the wide thoroughfare of trees on the connected wire. He landed gracefully in a crouch with the help of chakra on a broad horizontal limb.
Being a member of the clan who founded the Konohagakure Military Police Corps, he had learnt some of the laws regarding wayward shinobi and what the village were told. There would be no mass repercussion for him from the civilians as shinobi matters stayed within the shinobi community. Everyone knew of the Uchiha massacre but the details of its members’ activities would not be broadcasted, just like they had no clear idea that Itachi Uchiha was the murderer.
Even the Leaf shinobi would have vague information regarding the departure of a talented, young rookie. Only those with access to a bingo book or originally involved in the events of his defection would know the extent of his missing-nin status. The shinobi community was also where he expected the most unrest were he to be in close proximity of the village, even if he were securely sealed in the shinobi prison.
The slate-eyed man knew his defection and activities against other Hidden Villages could earn him life imprisonment, even bring the death penalty on his head if the other Villages demanded it. But wasting time away in a cell did not sit well with the dark shinobi, nor would he allow such a thing to pass. Both the Hokage and the Konohagakure Council would be hard-pressed to disregard his offer, one that could severely benefit the village. What were a few stipulations on his part compared to the gain of a powerful and almost disposable tool?
He pushed off the branch with a fair amount of force. Five long jumps and the nimble youth broke through the cover of the forests to settle on the rocky outcrop. Konohagakure no Sato was shrouded in shadows, still untouched by the morning’s rays.
The shinobi slipped a sealed scroll from a side pouch of his light travel pack. He broke the chakra-infused wax stamp, unrolled it neatly on the ground and summoned the specially made messenger. The experienced male could admit that chakra mixed clay was pretty useful at times. With a single seal and transferred chakra he sent the small clay bird off with the pre-written scroll towards the communication tower somewhere below him. He was sure it would amuse the Leaf shinobi there for at least half the morning if they were good.
The condition of his return has always pivoted on his own terms and it finally consoled Naruto into waiting for him. He will not let his garnered skills deteriorate. He will not be worthless or become useless. The pale genius would not try to manipulate Konohagakure’s seats of power, rather partial to the shock a direct plan would be to them and they had very little solid reason to refuse him. It would be his last act of premeditated defiance before he would willingly submit once they take his deal.
He smirked at his thoughts. Sasuke Uchiha held no illusions whatsoever.
Amusement quirked the corners of his lips and settled into his countenance as Sasuke watched a young female receive the clay bird. She was overly cautious in approaching and deeming the thing harmless. Obviously the Hokage had chosen to release sensitive information to her shinobi after the Godaime Kazekage had been kidnapped by the Akatsuki. They apparently had not forgotten yet, however Iwagakure’s missing-nin Deidara died several years ago and the s-class defector was certain there were no others with their abilities at that level.
Uchiha quite liked his little device since it was uniquely bothersome in small ways and was looking forward to observing the translation of his message. It was nothing like his hawk creations but the chick was just as entertaining to use. The bird was made to attach to the person who currently possessed the item paired with it and would peck anyone trying to remove it from its perch.
The shinobi had recognised the message wasn’t urgent yet had a need for a decoder and passed the scroll onto a male that appeared near the same age as her. As soon as it changed hands the white bird flapped from its position on the window sill to land lightly on the man’s shoulder. The leaf-nin was confused momentarily and tried to force it off his person but was lightly bitten again when he didn’t learn the first time. He eventually got the idea so ignored it in favour of working.
Sasuke estimated the first translation took about an hour and a half and imagined the man was now either slightly annoyed or confused that it was still encoded. The first code had been a variation of a basic encryption used by Kusagakure no Sato, a Konohagakure ally. It would probably take a little while before the shinobi realises the second code was one that wasn’t taught anymore. The outdated Leaf cipher was dropped from use after the Third Secret World War had ended.
A quarter hour later the man disappeared from the dark-haired one’s sight for a minute then came back to wait. Another half hour passed before an older male arrived to take over the decoding of the message. Sasuke knew when the elder shinobi had succeeded for chakra seal on the clay messenger’s breast activated, surprisingly only after a single hour.
Now all the missing-nin could do was squander away the hours while the bird and decoded missives were handed over to the Hokage. The real message scroll was inside the bird and would show Konohagakure’s leader that the young Uchiha was completely serious about this offer.
He shifted on his precarious seat and relaxed the tense muscles in his back he hadn’t noticed were knotted until now. Patience had been steadily forced into the dark shinobi over the years and so he settled in to wait for the zenith of the sun.
Sasuke had forgotten the simplicity of people watching and the calm pleasure the habit used to give him when he was not absorbed in training. It wasn’t too different from his childhood, except now he could appreciate the lives of the villagers. However Konohagakure no Sato still hadn’t regained any special affection from him, even though Uchiha wasn’t as indifferent as he once was.
His senses alerted the dark haired male to the sudden presence of several others surrounding him. Just as he had predicted, the Godaime had sent two cells of ANBU to the location in his missive. The missing-nin slowly uncurled from his crouch and settled into a passive mindset. There was nothing to gain by getting on the wrong side of these elite shinobi. Sasuke assessed each of them in turn, utilising the skills he had garnered from Karin, former member of Hebi.
None of them were a posed much of a threat by themselves, but he supposed Konohagakure’s argument of teamwork negated the fact. The pale youth was internally amused that he recognised the leader from the Konohagakure ANBU files handed over by that black haired ‘Ne’ member years ago. Sasuke also recalled that Tenzou was one of the children Orochimaru had once experimented on.
The cat masked leader stepped out from the leafy cover, obviously realising that the formidable Uchiha was already aware of the ANBU in the trees.
. . . T B C . . .
Hi no Kuni - The Fire Country
Konohagakure no Sato - The Hidden Leaf Village
Iwagakure - Hidden Rock
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