Breaking Point: The Darkness Within


Chapter Three ~ Stoking the Flames of Revenge


"Awaken pup. The time for rest is over. We have a visitor." Naruto's eyes opened blearily. Or at least one of them did. His right eye was fully functional while his left remained closed.

'Why can't I see out of my left eye?' thought Naruto, glancing around at his surroundings. He had been propped up against the back wall of a small square room. Three of the walls were made of rough grey cement while the wall directly in front of him was composed of vertical iron bars, with a small metal plate built into the middle.

"I am still in the process of rebuilding your face after you so foolishly got too close to that Uchiha boy! Are you unaware of the fact that wounded and cornered animals are the most dangerous?"

'Where are we?'

"That, I do not know. While I am at it, shall I take this opportunity to reconstruct your face into something more aesthetically pleasing?"

'Keep it as it was, I beg you.'

The Kyuubi sighed dramatically. "A missed opportunity. You should be grateful I'm even deigning to rebuild your damaged head. Fine then, I shall restore your face back to its original and extremely hideous state. Now, why don't you converse with the human standing outside our cell, and find out why he's staring at us so intently?"

Naruto simultaneously felt and heard his jaw being wrenched back into place. "Ow!" he yelped, wincing as a few sparks of red chakra played across his face, reattaching tendons, sealing the numerous cuts and tears in his skin and giving him the ability to speak once again. Steam rose from his injuries as they sealed, one of the few benefits of having a Biju within him.

The blonde boy squinted through the darkness, eventually spotting a small hunched figure standing on the other side of the bars. While he couldn't see any distinctive features, the posture of the mysterious visitor looked vaguely familiar. "Old man Hokage?" he rasped, his throat feeling dry and sore.

"Old man? Certainly. Hokage? If all goes well, soon enough." that wasn't the voice of the Third Hokage, in fact, Naruto had never heard this person's voice before. As his nose cracked painfully back into place and a spark of red chakra knitted the skin back together, he used his Kyuubi enhanced sense of smell to see if he could place where the man had come from. He smelled of dust and cheap soap, with an odd scent coming from some part of his body. It was similar to the smell of skin that had been wrapped in a bandage for too long.

"Who the hell are you?"

"My name is Shimura Danzo. I am the founder of the Foundation, otherwise known as Root."

"And Root is?" his scalp began to feel itchy as his hair grew back. As he tried to raise his arm to relieve his irritation, he found both of his arms had been encased up to the elbow in a rectangular stone covered in dark blue glowing seals. The stone block was heavy; he could barely lift it off his lap to examine the glowing symbols.

"A special branch of the ANBU. We are a hard line organization that only carries out missions I deem beneficial for this great village. We are the unseen ones who support the great tree of Konoha from the depths of the earth. Naturally some of the missions my subordinates perform are... less than respectable, but necessary for the betterment of Konohagakure."

"Uh huh. And this Root is not approved by the Hokage is it? I've never heard of you."

"We pride ourselves on secrecy but yes, we are not an officially recognized faction. The Foundation and the services it performed were at odds with Sarutobi and his peaceful 'will of fire' teachings," As Danzo spoke, Naruto did not miss the disgusted inflection he placed on the third Hokage's name. "Inevitably, he ordered the disbandment of Root since he disagreed with my methods. However, this only encouraged us to go underground, where we were met with considerably less resistance."

"And why are you here? I doubt you came to see how I was doing." there was a popping sound, and Naruto's right ear was restored, giving him his full range of hearing. At the same time, an extremely painful pinching sensation occurred behind his ruined left eye, and he felt an unpleasant squelching as his eye was reformed inside its socket.

"I merely wished to see the boy who holds the Kyuubi at bay with his very life. You know, the Fourth Hokage wanted you to be seen as a hero for carrying your burden."

"Yeah, and look how that turned out." Naruto muttered darkly.

"Yes, your life has been anything but ideal. So I want to help you, so that you can enjoy the life you deserve."

"And what do you want in return?" Naruto wasn't a complete idiot. He'd learned the hard way that nothing in life came free. Danzo stepped closer to the bars, presenting Naruto with his first glimpse of the man by the light of the symbols on his restraints. He was dressed simply in a white shirt and black robe. He had a bandage tied around his forehead which extended over the right side of his face and an x-shaped scar on his chin. His right arm was concealed inside his robe while his left hand held a small walking stick.

"I'd like you to help me achieve my goal."

Thinking back over the conversation, Naruto took a guess. "You want to be Hokage?"

Danzo looked over him with appraisal. "Well done, you are not as dense as the Academy reports have lead me to believe. That is also your goal as well, is it not? We can help each other. When the time comes for me to name a successor-"

"Sorry. Not interested." Danzo gave him a questioning glance and the blonde elaborated. "I don't give a damn about this village anymore, much less becoming Hokage." Inside, Naruto was surprised at how easily those words had left his lips. He truly did not care about the village, despite his old dreams of being accepted and recognized by the villagers as their Hokage. 'Looking back now, those were childish dreams. These villagers would never accept me no matter what I did. I must be growing up.'

"I see." Danzo stepped back and appeared to be pondering something. "Well, in that case, let us start one step at a time. I do not believe enlisting you in the Root is the best course of action. We shed all emotions so that the mission can be completed, no matter the cost. But your 'special' power only comes through rage and hatred. So instead, I would like to train you, so that you may fully utilize your power and use it to help me ascend to the seat of Hokage."

Naruto frowned as he considered the offer. "But why can't you use your army of emotionless ninja to take it by force?"

"The villagers would never accept me if I killed their beloved Third Hokage." replied Danzo. "I'll have to take power fair and square, or at least appear to do so. Your prisoner would be beneficial... rather, an extremely powerful bargaining chip to convince the current Hokage to step down."

"I... I'll have to think about it."

"By all means, take as much time as you need. When you have an answer, I'll know where to find you." a dry chuckle issued from his lips as he appreciated the humour in his own little joke. With that, he disappeared into the gloom, leaving Naruto to ponder his offer.


~Konoha General Hospital~


"Uchiha-kun, you should not be wandering around in your current state." the nurse chided gently, motioning for the injured boy to return to his room. Sasuke paid her no notice, continuing down the cold sterile hallway, searching the placards on the doors for a certain name.

The nurse sighed disapprovingly but followed the boy, curious to see what he was up to. In time, Sasuke spotted the name card he was looking for and knocked on the door. Without waiting for a reply, he barged in, ignoring the indignant scolding of the nurse on his heels.

At first glance the room, identical to Sasuke's own, seemed to be empty. Then he spotted the vase full of fresh purple flowers near the window, the only source of colour in the bland white room. As his roving eyes landed on the bed, he spotted a small bulge under the bedcovers; the shape of a person lying in the foetal position. He approached slowly, his wooden crutches making soft clacking noises against the cool tiles.

As he stopped at the edge of the bed and put his hand on the bedcovers, he noticed the person underneath was quivering. He adjusted his grip and gently pulled away the bed covers, rather than yanking them off like he had intended to.

Underneath lay the shivering form of Tanaka Ami, her hands placed over her head protectively. Her arms covered her face from view and she was whimpering in fear.

"Ami-san." Sasuke called out to the terrified girl.

"KYAAAA!" startled, the Uchiha leapt back, cursing under his breath. "DON'T HURT ME!"

"SHUT UP!" he growled, silencing the girl instantly. She peeked out from behind her arms and after recognizing who had spoken to her, sat up abruptly, shuffling to the furthest end of the bed.

"S-Sasuke-kun, what d-do you want?" her arms were wrapped around herself protectively, and she seemed to be shying away from her visitor. Her one visible cheek flushed as she realized Sasuke was staring at her. "D-Don't stare at m-me like that, its e-embarrassing." she was already self-conscious about how she looked, and now with the permanent damage that Naruto had wrought on her face...

Sasuke didn't deign to answer, instead retreating to speak with the nurse, his eyes never leaving Ami's face. The purple haired girl glanced to the side awkwardly as he addressed the nurse. "How is she fairing?" he asked in a subdued tone.

The nurse's face softened and took on a sympathetic look. "Not too good unfortunately. We did all we could but we couldn't save her eye. Furthermore, she's going to have those horrific scars for the rest of her life. When she was brought in to the E.R, there appeared to be some sort of foreign substance that continued to damage her face, and staggered the healing process after we operated."

"Did you identify this substance?" Sasuke asked curiously.

The nurse hesitated before speaking. "I... I really shouldn't be telling you this but... since you are in the same situation I suppose it's alright."

'Same situation?' Sasuke thought as the first vestiges of dread crept into his heart.

"When we were operating, we noticed a faint red light within her injuries. We found the same substance in the lacerations on your torso. This red light was intangible, yet had the ability to burn though flesh and melt our surgical equipment. Eventually, we identified it as some form of chakra and had one of our ninja medics remove it from both you and Tanaka-chan."

'Red chakra...' Sasuke winced as phantom pains wracked his body, issuing from his injuries. He saw the demonic Naruto, with that cursed red chakra emitting from his skin. 'So Naruto's little ability has long lasting effects as well. I need to research the Uzumaki family and find out what this mysterious power is.'

"So you managed to get rid of it completely?"

"It was incredibly difficult to remove, plus we had to heal the injuries the second we removed the red chakra, otherwise it would seep back in from a different area and continue attacking your bodies. All in all, we are mostly sure we removed all of it, and we've been monitoring you and your injuries to see if there has been any relapse. The doctors haven't seen any further damage and your wounds are beginning to heal, so I believe we have safely cleared out all of the red chakra." she leaned closer to the boy, her pink nurse's outfit contrasting heavily with the serious look on her face. She brushed her black bangs out of her eyes and whispered in an almost conspiratorial manner. "So, will you tell us who or what caused those injuries? The Hokage instructed us not to ask, but I feel we can help you more if we knew what we were dealing with."

Sasuke gave her a mildly suspicious glance. This nurse was willing to go against the Hokage's orders for the sake of two children? Her face seemed honest enough, and she had given him a lot of care and concern these past few days... 'No, I better not say anything until I speak with the Hokage, and find out what's going on with Naruto.'

"I can't say anything now, especially if the Third didn't want you to know. I'd like to speak with him before I decide anything, because I'm just as mystified as you are."

The nurse smiled ruefully and shook her head. "A loyal ninja to the end huh? Well, I suppose I can't blame you. Just promise me, if you feel you can tell me what you find out from the Hokage, please do so."

Sasuke wasn't sure how to respond to the nurse. She seemed kind enough but a ninja was supposed to 'look underneath the underneath'. Her desire for information could have more result of more suspicious motives. It had been a while since his mother died and his father had been stern yet fair. His brother... he didn't want to go down that road just yet. Instead, he simply nodded and returned to Ami's bedside. The nurse watched him go with a smile and left the room, sliding the door shut behind her.

"Ami-san."

"H-Hai?" she mumbled without looking at him.

"You'll be happy to know that I fought Naruto, faced his freakish power and won." Ami tensed when she heard the Jinchuriki's name, and then turned quickly to face Sasuke.

"You won? Y-You beat him?" she was still too scared to use her tormentor's name. She'd been sleeping poorly since she'd been admitted to the hospital, her night's spent whimpering in fear as Naruto tortured her in a variety of sadistic ways. The dark circles under her eyes were proof of her sleepless nights, and Sasuke suddenly felt the need to reassure her that her nightmares were unfounded, that Naruto was still a mortal.

"Yes. Stuck an explosive tag on his face and blew him sky high. If he isn't dead, he's badly injured and won't be hurting anyone else for a while. He decided not to mention the blonde's sudden taste for blood; remembering how Naruto had licked Sasuke's blood off his fingers still gave him the chills, however much he berated himself for those moments of weakness.

"I see. Thank goodness..." her face turned as pale as her bed sheet, prompting Sasuke to raise an eyebrow in curiosity. "D-Does that m-mean he's here? In this very h-hospital?" Ami was on the verge of tears and Sasuke hurriedly explained, not wanting to deal with the troublesome waterworks that were sure to come.

"No, I saw the ANBU dragging his body towards the Interrogation and Torture facility. They have secure chakra suppressing cells down there to keep him away from the public if he's alive."

"Oh thank Kami! I-I feel so relieved..." she slumped back in her bed, her untied purple hair splaying out on the pillow. Oddly enough, the two long strands of hair framing her face were unevenly cut, one halting just below her chin while the other continued down to her chest. He briefly wondered if her hair was cut like that all the way around, since right now most of her head and the entire right side of her face were covered in bandages. The only part of her face he could see was her left eye, half of her eyebrow and a small patch of cheek in the gap in the bandages left for her one good eye. The bandages on her nose and chin kept slipping or riding up to cover her mouth, which in hindsight wasn't too big of an issue.

She used two fingers to open up a gap for her mouth as Sasuke turned to leave. "W-Won't you stay with me Sasuke-kun? I've been so lonely..." without even bothering to turn around, he replied.

"I'll come see you tomorrow. I'm tired."

"Oh... See you soon Sasuke-kun. Sleep well." the disappointment in her voice was easily distinguishable, prompting Sasuke to exit the room as fast as he crutches would let him. He slid the door shut behind him harder than necessary and hobbled up the hallway and back to his room.

He didn't have time to waste on girls; he had a mystery to solve and a brother to kill.


~Interrogation and Torture Facility~


"Welcome Hokage-sama! You're here to see him right?" the young shinobi guarding the door to the cells was quick to stand at attention upon seeing his Hokage walk into the I&T Facilities' lobby.

"Relax, young man. If it's not too much trouble, I would like to visit the boy." Sarutobi replied with a kindly smile. It was nice to be shown such respect, but he didn't really care for such formalities with his fellow villagers. They were all considered part of his family after all; such was the thinking of the Hokages.

"F-For you it's no trouble at all Hokage-sama!" the young man replied earnestly. They stood as they were for a few minutes, the oblivious guard in front of the doors and the Third Hokage standing patiently before him. A sweat drop rolled down the old man's head as the clock ticked away the long minutes.

"Might I ask you for your name?" asked Sarutobi.

"Tanaka sir. Tanaka Hiro." came the quick reply.

"Ah, you must be Tanaka Ami's elder brother."

"That I am sir." Hiro was much more subdued after the Hokage made the connection. Sarutobi watched the young man's face fall and smiled gently.

"You must truly care for her."

"I do Hokage-sama! That's why I can never forgive the monster that did this to her!" his face took on a fierce expression, and Sarutobi saw the hatred in his eyes that was so prevalent in the eyes of those who knew about the Kyuubi sealed within Naruto.

"I see. Well then Tanaka Hiro-san, would you do me the favour of standing aside and letting me through to the prison?"

Hiro quickly became flustered as he ungracefully stepped away from the door as if it had burned him, stuttering apologies until he was incoherent. Sarutobi placed his hand on the elder Tanaka sibling's shoulder, silencing his verbal barrage. "I will visit your sister soon and see how she's faring. Would you like me to bring her anything?"

"T-Thank you for your offer Hokage-sama!" Hiro reached into his standard issue combat vest and pulled out a crumpled piece of paper. "My parents asked me to deliver this letter to her when I was supposed to visit her in the evening, but I got stuck with a double shift. If you could give it to her for me..."

"I will see to it that she gets it." he gently took the letter and stored it inside one of the many pockets in his Hokage robes. He gave the guard a smile and disappeared through the polished wooden door, chuckling as the young man bowed deeply to him in thankfulness.


~Prison Ward~


After providing the required evidence to prove he was the Hokage he said he was at the security checkpoint, Sarutobi stepped through the stone doorway and into the cold tunnels that made up the prison ward. Torches lit the passageway at various intervals, the flickering lights creating ominous shadows along the walls.

Consulting the prison warden's handy map of the facility, Sarutobi walked into the labyrinthine tunnels, keeping his eyes fixed on the numbered plates beside the cell gates. Finally he arrived at the very end of the tunnel system, where the torches had not been lit or had been extinguished on purpose. This was where the worst of the worst were kept, and this was where Naruto was being held.

The Third Hokage stopped outside Cell 317. His eyes had long since adjusted to the dark, but he still had to squint to make out anything inside the gloom at the back of the cell. A row of glowing blue symbols suspended just above the floor confirmed that someone was inside the cell, with the required restraints in place. The very foundation of the building had been imbued with seals that suppressed the chakra of anyone inside the cells but it didn't hurt to take a few extra precautions where the Kyuubi was concerned. Sarutobi did not want to place any doubt on Naruto's self-control, but he was worried the Kyuubi had awoken within him and begun to influence him, if his recent actions were anything to go by. He only hoped the Nine Tails hadn't said anything that Sarutobi would have preferred to keep hidden at this moment in time.

"Naruto-san? Are you awake?" while he was fully aware of the boy's disregard for titles and honorifics, Sarutobi wasn't quite sure what state of mind Naruto was in. Maybe a little formality now and then wasn't too bad after all, if it kept him in Naruto's good books.

A pair of glowing fox-like red eyes appeared above the blue symbols, burning angrily through the darkness. As they settled on the figure standing outside the cell, they slowly faded to purple and then to a very familiar shade of blue. Something was off however, and it took Sarutobi a few moments to realize that the sparkle of vitality that was usually present in Naruto's eyes was gone. His eyes had become dim and hollow, seemingly staring right through the old Hokage.

"Hello Old Man Hokage. It's been awhile." Naruto's voice issued from the gloom, emotionless and even in tone, the complete opposite of the cheerful and loud voice Naruto was well known for.

Sarutobi took it as a good sign that his form of address and lack of honorifics hadn't changed. "How are you faring? I asked the warden to send a few medical personnel to see to your injuries-"

"No one came. My injuries healed on their own."

"... I see. I'll have a word with the staff on my way out." Sarutobi frowned. He hadn't been aware that the villagers were willing to go against his orders to spite the Kyuubi. He was definitely going to make a clear example of the warden. If the people were willing to go so far, then maybe they'd start telling their children about Naruto and his prisoner and then there'd be a whole pile of trouble waiting for the boy upon his release... If he ever was released...

"Don't waste your breath. What are you going to achieve by telling a bunch of pathetic, ignorant fools to go against what they so firmly believe in?" The old man was taken aback by Naruto's tone and words. The situation was much worse than he thought, and it confirmed the Kyuubi had already started messing with his mind.

"Am I correct in assuming that you have been made aware of the... 'being'... sealed within you?"

"Obviously." came the cold and simple reply. Sarutobi sighed wearily and leaned back against the wall, feeling his old age catching up with him.

"And what has it told you?"

"The Kyuubi told me all about how the Fourth Hokage sealed him inside me on the day he attacked Konoha. I was also shown most of the attack from the Kyuubi's perspective. He also mentioned there being a reason why I was chosen to bear the burden but he didn't tell me." as he spoke, Naruto was reminded of the memory of the woman who had been smashed to pieces against a rock that the Kyuubi had insisted on showing him every time he dreamed of the attack. Her identity was still a mystery, and the image of her screaming while in pieces was one of the few things that could still make Naruto feel uneasy.

Sarutobi felt very unsettled by the fact that Naruto referred to the Kyuubi so casually. He chose not to mention it at the moment, though he intended to bring it up later. "Do you have anything you want ask of me?"

"Two questions, and I want proper answers, not politically correct bullshit." now Sarutobi's mouth hung open in shock. He hadn't expected that language from a seven year old. He eventually managed to recover and nodded, before remembering that Naruto couldn't see his face in the darkness.

"I-I'll see what I can do."

"Very well. First question: What is my role as a Jinchuriki in this village?" this first question was a test, to see if the Hokage would be honest with him like he had demanded.

"Officially, you are keeping the Kyuubi at bay and nothing more. In reality, you are a way of telling other Hidden Villages that Konoha is strong and not to be trifled with."

"So I'm a symbol of power?"

"That's one way to put it." in fact, that was a very succinct way of describing his role. How much had the Kyuubi told him? "You would also have become our secret weapon after a few years of training, in the eventuality of another Shinobi World War. This is more my reasoning though, since the Village Council was planning to have you executed after your recent series of unfortunate incidents until I convinced them otherwise."

Naruto was silent for a few moments. It appeared the old man was being straight with him, so asking the second question wouldn't be a waste of time. "Next question," he said suddenly, unknowingly making the old Hokage jump. "Why was I chosen to be the Kyuubi's container?"

"Ah..." from his tone, Naruto could tell the old man was hesitating, but it also confirmed that he did in fact know the reason. He could always confirm it with the Kyuubi if he felt he needed to. "I don't see why I should keep this from you... I'm only worried about how you'll react..."

"Tell me. Uh… Hokage-sama." the blonde's words had come out like an order, so he added the proper and well-earned title of respect after an awkward pause. The old man was his Hokage after all, and he'd been good to Naruto over the years.

"The Yondaime Hokage, Namikaze Minato, is your father." Naruto's eyes widened in shock. Now that, he hadn't expected. To be honest, Naruto had noticed the passing resemblance in hairstyle and hair colour, but since the boy had been treated like dirt all his life, he doubted any family member of the beloved Fourth Hokage would have ended up as he had.

'Is it true?' he thought, directing his question towards the Kyuubi.

"Obviously. It honestly confounds me as to how the moronic people of this rotten village could not have made the connection, despite the fact that your birth was never announced." the Kyuubi's mocking statement actually made a lot of sense to Naruto...

...And that was worrying.

'My father was the Fourth Hokage? He sealed the Nine Tails into his own newborn son?' Naruto's mind began to work in overdrive, trying to comprehend how a father could sacrifice his son for the good of the village. Despite his reasons, and being the Hokage, shouldn't a good father have been unable to do it? Or have placed the burden on someone else? Or perhaps have found another way, no matter how unlikely it would have been? Naruto had done nothing to deserve this treatment! He had been at his most innocent, a baby fresh from the womb, tainted on his birthday by the Kyuubi and selfishness of his father.

"And now to stoke the flames of revenge." the Kyuubi thought, making sure to keep his musings from his container. Using a little of his chakra, like he had been doing every night for the last few days, the Kyuubi began influencing the boy's mind, the red chakra causing him to slowly sink into a blind rage, feeding on his emotions. Using the darkness already buried in his heart, he drew on all of Naruto's frustrations and negative feelings, pouring them into the fire of his anger.

Outside the cell, Sarutobi was still speaking, but his words fell on deaf ears. "Now Naruto-san, try to see it from his perspective. The sealing ritual required a newborn infant and-"

The old man's rambling was cut off as a wave of killer intent flowed from the depths of Naruto's cell, a rage so deep and overbearing it set the Hokage on edge. The burning red eyes were back, and they were rising as Naruto staggered to his feet. The Hokage blinked, and in the next second, those eyes were right near the bars, staring straight into his soul. The blue symbols on the restraints bobbed up and down angrily as Naruto began to yell.

"SEE IT FROM HIS PERSPECTIVE?! WHY THE FUCK SHOULD I? THAT SORRY BASTARD RUINED MY LIFE THROUGH HIS OWN SELFISHNESS! HOW COULD A FATHER SACRIFICE HIS OWN SON?!"

"Naruto-san, please control yourself, you're falling prey to the Kyuubi's influen-"

"DON'T TELL ME TO CALM DOWN YOU SHIT EATING SORRY EXCUSE FOR A HOKAGE! THAT FUCKING BASTARD IS NO FATHER OF MINE, YOU HEAR ME?! IF HE WASN'T ALREADY DEAD, I WOULD HAVE KILLED HIM RIGHT NOW!"

Naruto was too far gone and Sarutobi realized that he'd have to wait until he calmed down to continue their conversation. The Kyuubi had most certainly affected his mind, now it was a question of how much. He resolved to send a psychologist or Yamanaka Inoichi if he was available to gain a picture of his state of mind the next day. Judging from the mental fitness report, he'd know when to visit again and what topics to avoid. Obviously, his father's 'betrayal' was one of them.

The old man shook his head sadly and began to walk away, feeling each of Naruto's verbal insults hit him like a physical blow. What had happened to the sweet and cheerful boy he once knew?

"GET BACK HERE YOU FUCKING COWARD, I'M NOT DONE WITH YOU YET...!"


~Konoha General Hospital~


Sasuke was steadily recovering from his injuries but was far from better. His chest still gave him trouble from time to time, despite the doctor's reassurance that all of the red chakra had been removed from his body. The cast on his leg prevented him from performing at least light training exercises to pass the time, so instead he requested that several books on the various families of Konoha through the generations be brought to him. He asked the nurse to also look out for books on allied nations and villages, specifically those to do with political marriages and agreements between Konoha and its allies. The Uzumaki's may not have originated in Konoha, so Sasuke wanted to make sure he had all the bases covered when he did his research.

"I'll find out your secret Uzumaki. Then we'll see who has the upper hand when we fight again." He muttered determinedly.

Sasuke leaned back contentedly against his pillow, a rare moment of calm for the uptight Uchiha. While most people didn't like hospitals for various reasons (mostly because of the food), Sasuke welcomed the peace and solitude it entailed. There were no girls chasing after him, bugging him about stupid things like dates or eating lunch with them. He had time to study up on topics not covered in the Academy curriculum and while he lamented the lack of physical training, researching new jutsu and advanced tactics was a decent trade off.

In fact, none of his so called fan club had turned up during his first two days at the hospital. Their love was clearly as shallow as their personalities, to which Sasuke had no objection to if it meant they'd leave him alone.

A knock at the door brought the raven haired boy out of his musings. One of the nurses slid open the door halfway open, nearly knocking her small pink hat off as she stuck her head inside to address him. "Uchiha-kun, you have a visitor!" she retreated and Sasuke could hear her talking to someone hidden behind the door. "You can enter, just remember not to make him exert himself; he's still recovering."

"Hai, I'll keep that in mind." came the reply. Sasuke froze as he recognized the voice. He turned slowly to face the door, feeling irritation creeping into his heart and disrupting the short-lived peace he had been enjoying.

The door slid fully open with a bang, revealing none other than Haruno Sakura, his pink haired and extremely persistent classmate. "Hello Sasuke-kun! How are you feeling?" she said in her loudest and most cutesy voice. Sasuke turned to face the window with a sigh, a scowl creasing his brow.

"Fuck me."