Tether

Prologue

Sasuke Uchiha gazed at the bodies of his parents, unable to tear his gaze away. The words of his now departed brother echoed in his mind. Breathlessly Sasuke fell to his knees before emptying the contents of his stomach on the floor.

Ninja in training or not, Sasuke was still a child. The bloody dismembered corpses lying on the floor were simply too much for the boy. The fact that these bodies were previously his parents only added to Sasuke's mounting terror.

Tears started to well up in his eyes, still locked on the same gruesome scene. Sasuke was vaguely aware that, were his father still alive, he would chastise him for showing such weakness. The same father that was now lying in a mangled heap on the floor.

For some reason, Sasuke couldn't find it in himself to care about how his father would chastise him at that particular moment.

Sasuke sat their, crying, shouting at the heavens, bemoaning the terrible fate that had been unleashed upon him, for what seemed like an eternity.

Eventually the haze of sadness that seemed to cover his mind and cloud his senses faded enough that he began to look around, and like any good ninja, take stock of his situation.

He once again looked at his once happy home and the bloody ruin that it had become.

Grief hit him, but he grit his teeth and fought through it. Crying would do him no good. He had to do something!

This all seemed so surreal. He was hoping with every action that he would wake up and everything would be okay and Itachi would be their with his quiet denial and his calm smirk-

Reality was a cruel pill to swallow. It's coldness managed to dwarf every other feeling that Sasuke had felt in all of his short life. Every passing moment brought with it less hope and more despair and a gut wrenching pain that burned ever so deep.

Sasuke began to slowly move through the house, the movement more to distract him than anything else.

Pale as a ghost, Sasuke wandered through the house looking for something. Some reasoning as to why it all happened, some out of place object to tell him it wasn't real. It was to no avail though. As Sasuke searched he became to be more and more desperate, running from room to room.

What was he even searching for at this point?

He didn't know.

The search stopped when Sasuke reached his own room.

His tears were freely flowing now, dripping from his chin as he leaped onto his bed and started sobbing into his pillow for a grief stricken moment. The lack of any order in his own usually perfectly ordered world becoming apparent.

Turning onto his back, he settled into a numb denial too shocked-

Sasuke's head shot up. He had heard a noise. Was it Itachi come back to finish him off?

Did it even matter anymore?

As Sasuke listened the noise continued at at a steady pace, but it didn't sound like footsteps.

Was that whimpering?

Sasuke's throat caught as he focused on the steady disturbance, a thousand possibilities running by in his head.

Could it be?

Another whimper pierced the air as Sasuke's head shot up pointing towards his own closet. He had located the sound.

Slowly and purposefully Sasuke made his way to the closet. Trepidation wallowed in his heart as he came before the source of the noise. Was it-? He had to know.

Gripping the handle he threw it open without another second's hesitation.

Only to find exactly he had wanted to find. His precious little sister, Ami.

She was shivering, huddled into the corner in terror. Streaks of water erupted from her eyes as she sat there wallowing in her own misery.

It was a weird feeling to both hate and love your older brother. Sasuke didn't know why she had been allowed to live as well. Perhaps they were both too weak to prove a challenge? Sasuke silently thanked the arrogant part of his brother as he rushed forward to embrace his sister. His brother's arrogance didn't matter right now. What mattered was that he hadn't been left alone.

The dams broke. Sasuke clutched his only family as if he would never let go. He sobbed his eyes out. He had never felt such relief. He wasn't alone. In that moment, that was the only thing that mattered.

After what seemed like hours they both seemed to run out of tears. Still wet faces huddled together in the silence and the darkness.

"Sasuke" Ami said. "I'm scared"

He looked at her, with her wide eyes and terrified expression and desperately wanted to say that everything was okay. But he couldn't. It wasn't. "I am too"

They sat their for a while longer in the darkness, holding each other, protecting each other. A flimsy comfort in a cruel world

It was enough.

In his time as Anbu Nara Aoba had seen some nasty shit. They all had. It was just a part of the job description.

This though . . . This topped the list.

Blood, Gore and dead bodies everywhere. An entire clan wiped out in a single night.

This definitely topped the list.

Aoba shook his head as he walked into another house, searching for answers, searching for answers, searching for anything.

The job sucked, but it had to be done. That was what Anbu were for, after all.

His squad wasn't with him, having long split up to ge the slow process of searching an entire district done as soon as possible.

It was weird to think about it that way. An entire district. Gone.

It belonged to the dead now.

The sooner they were out of here, the better.

Frowning behind his mask, he put another two bodies into a storage scroll, then put it with several others in a large bag. Someone had to bury the dead, after all.

He heard a muffled sound behind him.

He whirled with all the speed and grace of a trained ninja, eyes wide open for any signs of attack.

Their was nothing.

Maybe he should request some time off after this. All this death . . . it was getting to him.

He made to walk away, grabbing his equipment, only to hear it again.

Slowly now and more methodically, he turned around, judging carefully from where the noise was coming from.

It happened again.

It was coming from . . . the closet?

Slowly, wary that it could be a trap, Aoba crept across the floor. He ducked to the side in case of a attack, and opened the door.

At first, observing the limp bodies, Aoba thought they were dead. Until he noticed the lack of blood. Then he heard the quiet sleepy whimper coming from the girl. A whimper of terror.

Either this job was really getting to him or . . .

His hand tentatively found its way to their throats, scanning for a pulse. He felt it, faint and tender, but there. At least these kids were alive.

He came to a sudden realization.

They had seen it. The death, the destruction. Maybe not as much as he had, but enough. He looked at the bloodstains in the room and grimaced. Who were the bodies to these kids? Their parents?

Tentatively picking up the small children in each arm, he moved out of the house, looking for his squad. This wasn't somewhere a child should be.