hey... okay, so, i wrote this at three in the morning... literally just now. this idea has been lingering in my mind for a little bit now, i just never knew how to approach it? i want it to be a multi-chaptered fanfiction where sasuke navigates his curse mark and orochimaru's... obsession... but with the help of his family, y'know. however, i literally always have writer's block.. so we'll see how this goes. i didn't proofread or anything, so i'm sure this is more garbage than normal.. that's unfortunate, but there's your warning.

—burning, burning, burning.

Sasuke Uchiha stared outside his kitchen window with a blank look scribbled carelessly onto his pale face. His head rested on his hand while his other played with a loose thread dangling from his shirt. His dark eyes flitted across the backyard, landing on that of his sibling and teammates— training— with his father occasionally jumping in.

Jealousy bubbled deep within his stomach as he watched his brother teach Naruto hand seals, his father giving words of encouragement when the latter tried and failed.

"Nii-san! Do you think you could—"


"Not today, Sasuke. Next time."

Sasuke clenched his teeth together and exhaled harshly, watching his mother and father laugh at something surely absurd that left Naruto's lips.

"Otou-san, look!" Sasuke thrust his exam paper in front of his father's face, a young, naïve smile plastered over his face.

His father simply stared and pushed it away, a frown littering his expression. He didn't meet young Sasuke's eyes as he turned away,

"Itachi did better."

Sasuke hissed at the memory, forcing his eyes away from the scene in front of him before pushing his chair away from the kitchen countertop. His feet hit the cold tile floor, but before he could make one step, a sharp, agonizing pain swirled around his neck. He stumbled forwards blindly, his vision shrouded by black dots, and his bottom slammed against the floor.

You are weak, Uchiha Sasuke. . .

A snake slithers into his line of vision and eyes him with interest. For a moment, Sasuke thinks it's smirking at him, but the crazed thought is shoved out of his mind as the sharp pain returns, and he gasps, his hand fluttering up to cover the mark burning on his skin.

Naruto-kun shows potential. . . What do you show?

"Shut up. . ." Sasuke gasps, leaning his back against his chair, the cool temperature of the metal legs provided slight relief to the burning in his neck. He could almost feel the fangs sinking into his fragile skin only a few days prior, and the thought made him shudder.

You seek your brother's attention. . . You seek your father's attention. . . Only for Naruto-kun to receive everything you've ever wanted within an hour.

"Shut up!" Sasuke chokes. His hands are trembling now and the mark swirls, and swirls, and swirls until it burns. Bile rises in his throat and he thrusts forward, heaving as red falls to the floor, pooling around his body. For a second, his mind is shoved back in time, and he stares— he stares at himself, surrounded by a puddle of blood with a man right beneath his fingertips, his foot pushing into his back. With a snap, the man's body crumples—

"Otouto!" A loud— familiar— voice pulls him from his trance and he's met with his brother's concerned orbs, his feet standing directly in his pool of vomit— blood. Itachi yanks Sasuke forward, his head slamming into his brother's chest, before he's lifted off of the ground.

". . .hurts." He manages to spill out before a thick darkness fills his vision, the frantic voices surrounding him fading along with it.

. . .but maybe the darkness isn't completely dark, for the venomous eyes that await him are far brighter— far more dangerous and familiar— than he's ever seen before. Even within his slumber, he can feel the burning. . .