He stumbles on thin air, his perfect vision double-crossing before he can stop it. He extends his arm, ready to take the hit against the ground, but his body moves too slowly, too unlike it. He's on his side by the next second, a second that took too long to pass. The lack of coordination as he tries to sit up makes everything swim out of focus, a ring-like sound exploding inside his head.
"What?" he hisses, fingers pressing the bridge of his nose, but his voice comes high-pitched in a way it hasn't been since before his teens. And even then it still sounds unfamiliar.
He moves his hand away and looks at it. The hand that meets his gaze is different from the one he remembers it, it's smaller and tanner, callouses he remembers are gone. His gaze slides to his arm and he finds it too thin. He pats his chest, then his face, and finds it the same. Panic starts setting in, but he quickly squashes it down. He stands up and walks away from the empty street until he reaches the window of a house.
(For the moment he ignores the strange design of the houses around him, but he does inspect them. Even in his frantic state of mind, his brain still processes the surroundings with the same intensity he does everything.)
The person that looks back is not the one he's used to seeing. This person has brown hair, wild like his own but without following a style. He's shorter and as thin as he suspected, not an ounce of fat or muscle in these bones. His face is softer, gentle in a way it's never been with big brown eyes meeting his own instead of the slant black eyes he knows should be there.
The person, boy, following his movements in the mirror is not him. Is not Uchiha Sasuke.
The worst thing, what settles in his mind that is not him looking back is the right arm he perfectly remembers losing in its place. He clenches that fist, marvels for a second in the fact that he can feel it before anger fills his being.
An illusion is his first thought and he answers accordingly.
He activates his sharingan, his rinnegan, anything that will make the illusion go away.
Or at least tries to. He can't activate them.
He concentrates harder as he tries to think in what enemy is behind this illusion, who is the one trying to trick him.
It doesn't work.
He goes to his chakra to disturb the illusion but it doesn't work and, for a moment, his mind goes back to the days where he was nothing but a kid, watching his family die in front of him. The impotence he remembers is present again and this time is a bit more difficult to snuff it out.
Yes, pain. The other way to escape of an illusion.
He glances at his right arm once again but this time he concentrates his chakra in his hand, annoyed at how sluggish and different it feels as it lights up with lightning, slowly forming a small blade.
He doesn't think twice. He cuts the offending arm, the physical demonstration of his betrayal and Naruto's friendship towards him. It's not a rasengan but it'll have to do.
The arm falls to the ground with a thud.
Then pain wrecks his body, a weak broken sob escaping past his lips. He bites the sounds, utterly disgusted by the weakness he's showing. It's like his hard-gained pain tolerance is gone. A harsh laugh erupts out of him, sharp like his gaze once was, but he doesn't care because the illusion is still there. He touches the bloody stump, ignoring the smell of burned meat that greets his nose coming from it, lightning sword disappearing in green flames tinted with orange.
I don't care, he thinks as his body—not his body—falls to the floor, slowly going into shock because of the pain.
Then they come, the memories. Twelve years of life is suddenly downloaded in his brain. Ten years of being bullied and ignored come to him. His name is Sawada Tsunayoshi and he's known as No-Good Tsuna, people don't like him and he doesn't like them either.
(He does. He hopes someone will notice him)
He snarls in denial as he feels his blood slowly pouring out of his shoulder. It's not much as most of the wound has been burned with the lightning, but it's still enough to make him dizzy. He wants to scream as he slowly realizes that this is real, this is not an illusion. The pain is too real for it to be fake.
It becomes harder to maintain his head lifted, to not let the weariness consume him.
Naruto comes to his mind and he can almost see him, bleeding and beaten blue, lying next to him, tired but with a smile of his face as he speaks to him like they're going to survive, like Sakura will come and help them in time, like he doesn't deserve to die.
His grin is blinding and contagious even with the bruises covering him.
You'll live, he says, and Sasuke believes him.
The last thing he sees is the arm he cut in front of him, so much unlike his own, before the flames appear, orange with a hint of purple.
He wakes up to the familiar beeping sound of a machine. He doesn't tense or shows any sign he's anything but asleep. The room he's in smells clean and of antiseptic. There's a sheet of something coarse but clean on top of him. There's no contraption around his wrist or ankles and his chakra feels free if not a little different and strange.
The important thing, however, is the person close to him. Only one, his brain supplies, their breath is even so they're asleep. There are no other noises signifying more people so he opens his eyes and turns his head to see better the woman sitting next to the bed. Short chestnut hair and delicate face, a pink t-shirt and white pants.
His mind feels slow but he can already feel the adrenaline pumping through his veins, preparing for everything that may come. And it will come, he knows. That's his luck, after all. Still. He doesn't care about anything but returning to his homeworld.
Or at least that's what he says to himself. His memory says other things and they're the one making his gaze to the other figure sitting awkwardly next to him.
Mom, it murmurs. This time he doesn't push it away. He doesn't feel the rage he thought he would feel at seeing someone trying his mother. Instead, he feels hope. And awe. The memories tell him this is an oblivious woman, someone who is half of the time in her own world, not noticing what's going on around her. He should feel disgusted as she contrasts everything his own mother is, sharp and intelligent, never missing a thing. But he can't.
There are similarities between them. He has memories of her always helping him whenever his bruises are too noticeable, taking care of them with love. Hugging him whenever he asked for it and even sometimes when he didn't want to but needed it.
She's a good woman who doesn't deserve his hate.
Neither deserves to have a stranger for a son. Someone who only has a couple of memories as a baseline and nothing more.
His hand moves without him thinking to brush hers. His mouth opening to say a quiet, "Maman."
She wakes up slowly, unlike ninjas. But when she figures out the reason of her awakening, she immediately sits up straight, her eyes going wide with unshed tears. They're red and puffy from crying. "Oh, Tsu-kun."
Her eyes slid to where the emptiness that used to be an arm, a sob wracking her frame as she hugs him gently. It's then that he finds his willpower wavering. Just because of a woman he's known for less than a couple minutes.
(She's the one who brought me to life, his traitorous mind whispers.)
... Maybe he'll stay for a bit. At least until he can be sure this woman, Nana, can stand on her own two feet without him.
That doesn't mean he won't try everything he can to return. He'll only play the role of a son for respect of the woman who unknowingly has already lost his.
Or at least that's what he says to himself as he awkwardly returns her hug, relishing in the soft embrace a mother can be.
He will be Sawada Tsunayoshi for now.
A/N: I don't know what the heck is this? I mean, I don't know if I plan to continue but for some reason, I had the picture of Sasuke waking up in the body of another and ripping his arm off.
I'm morbid, I know.
So what do you think? If anyone wants to use the idea, let me know :D!
Bandaged Hand will be updated next week, if I'm not mistaken btw, so don't worry.
Name inspired by the song 'Give up the Ghost' by 'Thousand Foot Krutch'