Summary: Provoked into action by a particularly vivid dream, Itachi's grip on restraint snaps and he attacks Rin and the half-Uchiha child, Hitsuki. Sasuke is awoken from his sleep and arrives just in time.
Notes: Backdated to January 17th. Takes place in the early morning. Itachi leaves after the last recorded tag.
Itachi: Hatred surged through him; the thought of undeserved tattoos and the memory from his disgusting dream, blond hair combined with Sharingan sweeping through him, funneling all of his efforts into rage. The Uchiha skulked through the shadows of the abandoned Otokagure hallway, heavily armed. He popped the lock the the adopted and abomination's room with chakra applied through a twist of his wrist and entered, katana already drawn and glinting in the low light.
Rin: Even at this hour of the night, Rin was not asleep. Instead she had been settling Arashi back into his new bed. Now he had been moved up to a toddler bed and still had not gotten used to his birthday gift from his mommy. She had thought she had been past this waking up in the middle of the night once the boy had started sleeping though the night, but no. In his Uchiha stubbornness, the boy kept getting up every few hours. The temptation to just take him to bed with her was great, but then he wouldn't want to sleep in his bed. It was with a tired stride that the girl froze -- her eyes fixated on a scene straight from her nightmares. There, in the door was the one Uchiha she feared. A kunai was in her hand before she knew it as her body moved into a defensive pose. She didn't think she'd have time to scream before his first move.
Itachi: The urge to act had welled up inside of him, provoked all the more by the all but prophetic dream of what the Uchiha clan would turn into if this was allowed to continue. Itachi was coiled as tightly as a spring, and acted as swiftly. He flickered, was upon her, raised his katana and brought it toward the joint that connected arm to shoulder. There were no preliminaries, no sneered words, just pure and undiluted hatred searing from the Sharingan that stared her down. Those eyes spun to hypnotize her and keep her from screaming.
Rin: She had training to fight against the sharingan, her eyes focusing on his feet as she screamed. She didn't dodge like most people would have, instead she took part of the katana blow, Her left arm instantly useless as the tendons were cut and the impact shattered her upper arm. The only thing she could think of to slow him even, hoping someone was next door to have heard her scream, to feel the disruptive chakra. A palm smeared in her own blood slammed onto the seal between the two rooms. It wouldn't be enough to stop him, but maybe it would give help time to arrive before he managed to kill the children.
She growled as she threw the kunai at him, yelling, "You'll never hurt my children." She'd buy every second she could with her own life to save them. Madara wasn't around to come out of no where to save here. She couldn't run or hide -- then he could get at the children. All she could do was hold her ground for as long as she could. The necklace Sasuke had given her hung around her neck. The tow stones on it representing those innocent children acknowledgment of her position in the clan -- she was their mother, and the only way he was getting to them was over her lifeless corpse.
Itachi: As her hand slammed into a seal on the wall and she turned to throw a kunai toward him, Itachi smoothly moved into his next action. The Sharingan saw the path of the kunai and he slid out of the way. With a flick of his wrist, his katana scrapped along her throwing arm, taking pieces of skin with it as it flew back out of its arc. Beside, behind, and then the grabbed the chain of the girl's necklace, jerking it back to choke her even as he kicked at the back of her knees. "No," he said, voice and bottomless as the abyss. "I will hurt you first."
Rin: Pain spread through the girl's body. His words though caused her to divert some chakra to slow her blood lose. If he wanted to hurt her, that would take time before he killed her -- time to give rescue to get there and save her children at least. The pain around her neck from the chain only reinforced what she was fighting for.
Even as her knees gave out, she twisted and turned, trying to nail him with an elbow. Her chakra a dangerous mix of healing and aggressive chakra as she tried to form a blade of chakra with her elbow as she twisted in her fall, desperately wanting to hurt him, to do something to him. If she could draw blood, he would make her paid by causing her more pain -- and more time for the children to be saved.
Itachi: His eyes saw the healing chakra wafting through her body, then the swift change to destructive and a flicker of chakra around her elbow... His blade flicked out to intercept the joint. Suddenly, sparks and a crack erupted around the room, and pain spread to Itachi's hand and lower arm. He stared in almost incomprehension at the jagged half of a blade he clutched in his hand, sharp pieces of the steel stuck into that hand and arm.
Pain and reality hit him then, and he winced. "You..." He sunk the jagged end of the former blade toward the skin below her shoulder blade; it would sink in deep if not avoided. "You broke my sword!" His Sharingan was spinning madly, power vibrating through the air, a retributive attack quickly forming in his mind.
Rin: Even as the jagged blade sunk into her right shoulder, tearing roughly through muscle and breaking bone, she glared back at him. Hate burned in those eyes that normally held nothing but compassion. Somehow, she moved her arms, bringing them up to try and chakra scalpel him again, but the chakra pathways were too damaged in the one arm, the other, she tried to stab a bladed palm at him.
Unknown to Rin, Hitsuki had grabbed a kunai from where it was hidden behind her pillow. The girl moved with the stealth of an Uchiha as she threw herself at the back of Itachi's leg, stabbing at him with her kunai, "Leave mommy alone!" Perhaps being attacked by a little blond girl in kitten patterned PJs was not something Itachi had expected.
Itachi: Chakra streamed through the room, focusing at Itachi's eyes as he drew Rin into a fierce genjutsu. Dark energy seemed to flow from her arm, forming into a vicious claw that dripped with blood and reached for her, but before the image could solidify the sharp tang of blood hit the air and pain destroyed his concentration. Whirling away from one and toward the unexpected other, he faced the child that had clipped him in the lower left leg. Yellow and black registered, and that was all that was needed. A kunai was suddenly in his hand, slashing across the impudent abomination's shoulders. He moved swiftly then, flickering back to snap kick Rin into Hitsuki, and began sealing.
Rin: The battle to retain consciousness was something Rin was quickly losing, but with her last strength, she tried to shelter the little girl with her own body, blocking the girl from any attack with her own blood covered body. Hitsuki started crying, both from pain and fear. Arashi remained quiet, whether from his training or fear was uncertain. Dark eye watched from his little toddler bed as his sister was injured and his mother fell on top of the blond haired child as if dead.
Sasuke: He had been asleep when the commotion next door woke him, and even though Sasuke disregarded throwing even boxers on, his chokuto had been grabbed. The battle was coming from Rin's room, and that meant not only Rin, but his children were in danger. He hadn't arrived quick enough to protect Hitsuki from attack, but saw the last bit with Rin colliding into Hitsuki and instinctively trying to cover her.
A killing intent consumed the room that was not Itachi's, but equally as vile and dark. It was not long enough of a warning before Sasuke slammed into his spare from practically thin air as the older man formed seals. Itachi's slender neck was in one grasp, and Kusanagi in the other, as the younger Uchiha took to pinning his brother against the wall.
"Enough!" came a dark tinged command.
Itachi: The older Uchiha was only within the younger's grasp for a split second when a handseal was made and his body collapsed in a mild explosion of dust and fire. Fiery molten rock dripped down onto Sasuke's hand, swiftly flowed up his shoulder and down his back and across the floor, scorching skin and carpet as it went.
Reforming from the lava across the room, Itachi bristled with steel weapons drawn and ready for use. One lip was curled up very slightly in a sneer. An equal amount determination as hate and rage flowed from him, and he knew that he would do whatever it took to accomplish what he had come to do, regardless of who stood in his way.
Sasuke: The sting of the heat from Itachi's jutsu was barely felt by the younger Uchiha as he was burned. Adrenaline was coursing through him and dampening the pain of the burn while simultaneously sharpening his senses. His head snapped in the direction of his spare's reformation, and crimson orbs locked in on his target.
A slight turn of his foot was the only indication that he wasn't going to remain in his spot. Chidori senbon came at Itachi from his left hand, and as quickly as the lightning he threw, Sasuke followed up the attack with a series of taijutsu.
Itachi: Wielding the metal had been the wrong idea, Itachi realized as lightning senbon blazed toward him. He twisted, dropping several of the smaller weapons as he was grazed in the side, and then turned back to grab his spare's attacking arm and twist it painfully. "Stand down," he hissed through the pain. "This is necessary for the achievement of your own goal's as well. You know that full well."
Sasuke: The words were given a second of thought by the younger Uchiha. He understood Itachi's reasoning against what he believed to be weaker beings in the clan. But was it necessary to remove them? No. Sasuke moved in the direction of the twisting to avoid damage to himself as he spoke, "It is not necessary, Itachi. The weaker shall fall of their own accord, should they truly prove to be a weakness. Your helping hand is more likely to hinder designs by removing those before their full purpose is complete than help strengthen any goals."
Having rotated his own body enough to break the hold, Sasuke spun and pressed against his spare as his lightning chakra began to spark from his entire body in a lower intensity Nagashi at an attempt to stun the other man.
Itachi: His eyes half-closed in concentration and a thin sheet of earth sprang up along the contours of his body in time to negate some of the lightning's effect.
"I warned you that I would take matters into my own hands if nothing was done. Your view is laudable," he sniffed sardonically. "But you do not see what I see; that is, the way things should be versus the way things are and will be. How can you not understand? These people will ruin Uchiha if this is allowed to continue!"
Sasuke: "I do see what you see, but my eyes are open and able to view on a broader path, Itachi. You wish to believe that traditions are rigid and unchanging, but that is incorrect. Everything you strongly adhere to did not always exist. Beliefs changed and evolved, bringing even more power into the clan. To remain strictly on the ways of old without allowing growth for the future only stagnates and inhibits," he stated firmly with the conviction of the leader he was.
Strong arms wrapped around Itachi, encircling and pinning the older Uchiha's arms and locking with a firm grip to his own wrist of the hand still holding his sword. "Our bond, my spare, is a perfect example. The clan existed before Madara, but the concept of spares did not. Yet with the exchange of those brother's eyes, a greater power was achieved. Knowing what you know now, gained from the furthering of the bond between you and I, can you honestly say it should never have gone beyond merely that exchange? Have you gained no growth or further power from evolving that bond with me?"
Itachi: Body stilled and head tilted very slightly, Itachi listened as his spare spoke his piece. His expression was blank, but he was far from relaxing, what with the firm grip around him and all that it could forebode. "And what do you suggest the beliefs change to?" he asked in a hushed tone. "Do you truly wish an Uchiha full of blonde haired Sharingan users and the like?"
Sasuke: The look given to Itachi regarding the questions, especially the latter, was nothing short of incredulous. "Do you have so little faith in the strength of our blood that you believe a little impurity will overtake what truly matters? Our strength lies not in the color of our hair, Itachi," he replied to what he felt was absurdity on his brother's part. "You are known to be more of a genius than I. Surely you must be able to realize that to continue with only what remains of the Uchiha...would quickly result in the complete demise of the clan. None of us are even female to let that end come from genetic defects of over inbreeding. What future of the clan is there in that, Itachi?"
Itachi: With a soft snort, Itachi wound his hands around Sasuke's waist as if to tighten the hold between them. In reality, a kunai from before was still in his right hand and he felt safer with the cold steel in a place where he could use it if necessary. The steel hovered above Sasuke's skin so that it would not be felt, but the pommel was secure in Itachi's palm.
"You miss the point." he replied. "And deflected my question, as well. What would you do with the traditions, if you had your way? I realize that compromises must be made, especially in terms of outsiders, but it seems that I am the only one. When will you compromise for the sake of the future of the clan?" And for my assistance and companionship. There is only so long I will stand to live among these fools that have your heart, and that time is about over.
Sasuke: "I deflected nothing," he murmured. "I have no plans to change tradition more than is necessary for the survival of the clan." Sasuke's eyes slipped shut, and with a soft sigh his hold on his spare released as his eyes opened once more. "Compromise for the sake of the clan? Or compromise for my own selfish wants? You refuse to see beyond yourself, my spare, but if you strongly feel my decisions are unfit for the future of the clan...then it is me you have to remove, not the others."
Itachi: "Do not attempt to sound like a martyr." His hands slipped back to reveal the kunai, and crimson eyes bored into Sasuke's. "I could have killed you at least half a dozen times during that conversation, and yet you are alive. Think deeply about what that means."
He stepped to the side and out of Sasuke's loosening hold. "I do appreciate that you do not plan to change the traditions." Slipping back over to the unconscious Rin, the elder Uchiha yanked the remnants of his jagged blade out of her back and narrowed his eyes at it briefly before stowing the steel away in his pack. "That, at least... tells me that there is hope for what I believe."
Sasuke: Stabbed me, yes, but not killed me in that position. Sasuke kept his thoughts to himself though, as he knew what Itachi was trying to convey. His back remained to Rin and Itachi once the older Uchiha moved around him. "It is not an attempt to sound like a martyr, my spare," he corrected quietly. "It is a fact. I will continue to protect the clan, especially my children. However I am not willing to give up my bond with you either. I am forced to make compromises on all sides, quite often, and almost always at my own expense. Do not be so overconfident and haughty to think that I am unable to kill you as well. You desire to kill off what remains of the clan, and threaten that goal. I am not blind to how that can be a problem, and I hear enough pleading for safety from you."
Finally Sasuke turned and pinned his spare with his eyes. "But I refuse to remove you, regardless of other's wishes and knowing the danger you pose to what I am trying to do for the clan's future. You are my spare, and our bond is equally as great to me as my goal. Keep that in mind, and do not lose sight of your importance. I do not compromise you as much as you seem to believe. Also have a little more faith in me, my spare. I do not have designs to change the ways of the clan, and feel it should only be done when it's necessary and the best action to make for the Uchiha."
Itachi: With a soft snort Itachi met the boy's eyes with his own blazing crimson orbs, his thin eyebrows drawn together. "Their pleading exactly proves my point; that they are weak. If they want safety, tell them to make it themselves. Only then would they be worthy. But no, I do not wish to kill off what remains of the clan. On the contrary, I would cleanse it... if I was so important to you, you would realize that by now." He finally sighed and stepped toward the door.
"You are attempting to be honest with me," Itachi acknowledged, "so I will be the same to you. This clan... feels stagnated, going nowhere to achieve a perfection that even outmatches its legacy, what was before. My efforts of cleansing are selfish at the moment, true... but I have reason to believe that the methods being used now are what will ultimately lead to the diminishment of the Uchiha's greatness and power."
Sasuke: He held his brother's gaze until the man began to move toward the door, but even then his ruby eyes remained on Itachi. Sasuke's free left hand moved slowly over the marking the man had given him not long ago, openly visible with his lack of clothing. His voice was quiet, almost inaudible as he mostly spoke to himself at first, "You question your importance to me..."
Sasuke's eyes then glanced down to Rin's body, slightly surprised that his daughter had made not a single sound since the woman covered to protect her. Not a cry or a whimper had been heard the entire time, the young man realized. Walking over to his unconscious sister, he moved her body to get to Hitsuki, and while the girl had a bit of a frightened look in her eyes, her silent tears had dried even though she still bled. Carefully Sasuke picked up the blonde girl into his arm and held her to him, but offered no reassuring shushes or sounds. "If that is what you believe, Itachi," he finally spoke, his voice louder now, "Then what do you propose that would not result in the extinction of our clan all together?"
Itachi: Refusing to look at the marking that he had given Sasuke, Itachi paced a step away from the door and turned back to face the boy. His crimson eyes were cold as blocks of ice as he looked upon Sasuke holding his daughter. "How would I save a doomed clan? How about looking beyond the ordinary? With this multiverse phenomenon, there is a very good chance that at least one Uchiha female is alive somewhere in this world. If one has not been found, no one is looking hard enough."
"And even if that option fails... well, there are other ways. My former liege lord was not idle during his time in this world, you know," he said quietly, the way he referred to Madara keyed to remind Sasuke exactly who he was, and what he had given up to be with him. "I am certain he mentioned developing jutsu to you at one point. Among other things, he was researching... a way to prematurely age. Applied correctly, the unclean blood could be cleansed from the line within ten or twenty years, rather than several generations."
Sasuke: "There have been two that have come and gone. Interestingly enough, a gender opposite of Madara and one of myself," he calmly replied. "You are making an assumption that I do not make every attempt in my power to seek out possible members of our clan. I do a lot of work that you do not see which is centered around the clan. It has always been a priority to me since I began leading what there is, Itachi."
Sasuke's eyes narrowed just slightly. "And you should take a moment to consider the meaning behind what you are saying. Why would Madara do such research, if it was so against his own ways to bring in outside blood then work on cleansing the line? Just because it is him attempting the same thing as me, makes it okay in your eyes, yet wrong for me to attempt?" The younger Uchiha glanced down at Rin with a faint frown. "Did Madara never inform you as to why he hadn't killed Rin himself for being an outsider?" His eyes went back up to his brother with the slight tilt of his head.
"Emotions and other weaknesses you perceive aside, Rin has a purpose within our clan. No, she is not as skilled in pure battle as you and I, but she is capable of what none of our clan is. Discounting Tsunade, I have never met a more skilled medic in this world, Itachi. In addition, she specializes in genetics and pediatrics. How is that not useful to the clan? She is also truly and faithfully loyal to this clan, perhaps even more loyal than many others have been who carry our blood."