I suppose I have to tag this as 'OC' if it's an OC reincarnated as a canon character, yeah? I mean, that makes a degree of sense.

Disclaimer: Naruto isn't owned by me. Even if I had the money, I wouldn't buy it.


He tries his very best to hide beneath the guise of a child and he struggles because the world is a distorted mess and nothing is making sense anymore.

(The feeling is a familiar one and he hates it.)

It's been hours or days or weeks since that first fateful awakening and he can't help feeling suffocated. Like all eyes are always on him and he knows he's going to slip up. The Uchiha— he can't think of them as his family— are almost disturbingly attentive. It is Itachi's attention that disturbs him the most but he knows better to show that and simply stares up at him with curious eyes when approached by the elder Uchiha.

He's resigned himself to mostly staying silent, answering questions only when absolutely necessary because one day he'll let something slip otherwise. He almost regrets the lengths he went through to learn other languages aside from English because if he hadn't, he could at least use his lack of knowledge in Japanese as an excuse not to speak.

He mourns. For himself, for the people he once knew, and for the people who will die at the hands of his brother.

His solemn expression would be more at home in the Hyūga clan's compound.

It takes too long before he truly notices the half-concerned gazes that Uchiha Fugaku throws his way on occasion, whenever he says something too intelligent, too deliberate. When Sasuke— dear God, the name itself almost brings him to tears— finally does notice, he sees a modicum of fear hidden within those eyes as well. Despite everything, Fugaku is far easier to read than he believes.

It's clear that he doesn't want another Itachi— another son that's too smart and too talented for his own good. Dangerous.

(The truth is so much worse, isn't it?)

Despite himself, he doesn't wish to cause undue pain to Fugaku. Regardless of whether or not the Uchiha head had truly wished the best for his clan, he didn't deserve to be unloved by his own sons and looked at with such cold eyes.

The flesh of Uchiha Sasuke feels as if it's choking the life out of him— strangling his mind and keeping him so heavily chained— but it's inconsequential. Despite his fear and his sorrow, he will wear a thousand masks as he has done in the past. He will become a living matryoshka and a snake infinitely shedding skins.

He would not trouble the hearts of the Uchiha with the weight of his own despair.

(It is a selfish desire that drives him to don these masks. They are everything.)

It takes him far too long to come to this conclusion— he is four years old. He smiles and laughs and begs for attention the same as any child would. He falls into this perfectly suited role easily and the Uchiha's home becomes lighter as he does. He revels in the doting of Uchiha Mikoto and makes a point of not pestering Itachi or Fugaku any more than necessary.

(But this is all a facade. He can't afford to forget that.)

This will probably be the last time I post such a short chapter. Well, unless I decide that five-hundred-word chapters are sufficient but... I don't really like that. These first two chapters weren't much story-wise. More along the lines of intro stuff. This should be it though; the story should start next chapter. I hope.

Also, I've finally managed to hop back onto Re-Re-Re. It'll take probably the rest of this month, but I will have another chapter out soon enough.

See ya~