Naruto Fan Fiction ❯ The Flower in Adversity ❯ The Winter's Heart ( Prologue )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Author's Note: This story is set ten and a half years after the start of the series. That means all the characters are more than ten years older than they were when first introduced (well, with exception of the characters introduced after the Time-Skip---but you get the picture). Since the canon story is far from concluded, I'm basing this particular story on canon as it stands right now, which is about Chapter 360. From there, I've made my own conclusions and advanced the story forward. Therefore, there are likely to be some things I will mention here that Kishimoto-sensei's future chapters of the manga will render untrue, so this may turn out to be somewhat AU.

I'm also taking some artistic license and liberty with several of the characters' families or pasts, since they were never really touched upon in the manga.

Disclaimer: I do not own any part of "Naruto" or its characters. It all belongs to the incomparable Masashi Kishimoto-sensei. I'm just playing in the sandbox of this amazing world.

"The flower which blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all." --proverb from "Mulan"

"The Flower in Adversity"
Prologue: The Winter's Heart


The missing-nin perched on a rocky outcrop several hundred meters above the walls surrounding Sunagakure. He sat here every evening until it became too cold and windy; he hated that village with a fury, and kept hoping for a chance to even the score with it. He didn't even remember why he hated it, or who exactly he hated within it. Only that he hated it. Hated its Kazekage, and hated its innocent children civilians. He hated its walls and its very presence. He even hated this desert.

His icy heart just hated everything nowadays. Now that vengeance had been served, he had nothing to live for but to act out the hatred that had taken root in his spirit.

He had faced down with that redheaded freak that called himself the Godaime Kazekage, several times. He vaguely remembered once facing him years and years ago, in a very different, temperate setting. But now, this young man had the might of Sunagakure... nay, the entire Kaze no Kuni, to back him up. And that short runt of a Kazekage had the cheek to be unintimidated by him!

The missing-nin clenched his hands in the sand, compressing it into a sandy pebble and hurling it at the walls of Sunagakure. The village had admirable defenses; no one not bearing a Suna or Konoha hitai-ate could enter without first passing a rigorous inspection. The missing-nin, who called no village home, who had had no home of his own for longer than he could remember, of course couldn't possibly hope to get into the village.

Until he had a clear target, he would content himself to sit and watch and hate.

However, on this particular night, the night of the first quarter moon, something was different. The main gate of Suna closed up tight at sundown as always, but shortly before midnight, a smaller gate off to the side, a gate that was hardly ever used for anything, opened cautiously, and three ninja strode out onto the cold sand. The missing-nin's eyes narrowed and he raised a spyglass to his eye; it was the Kazekage and his two elder siblings. An unusual thing, for the Kazekage to leave the village in such secret, with only a skeleton-crew escort. While the Kazekage really didn't need an escort at most times, being the most powerful, strongest and most battle-hardened ninja in all of the Sand village, when he did leave his village, it was always with a sizeable escort, because his position as village leader commanded it.

And yet here he was, irresponsibly leaving his village in secret, with only his siblings in tow, while war simmered just below the horizon.

He was playing right into Kirigakure's hands, really. Stupid Kazekage.

The missing-nin watched apathetically as the Kazekage and his two jounin followers took off at high speed east-by-northeast. Foolish Kazekage, abandoning his village. It served him right that his village would be annihilated in his frivolous absense.

As he watched them until they were too far for even his sight to see, he pondered which village would attack the Sand village first, and if he should try to slip in with them, to exact his revenge, whatever it was, on the Sand village that he hated so. If it was Iwagakure, he would slide in; he imagined he could blend in without much fuss. If it was Kumogakure, it might be more difficult. If it was Kirigakure, he would merely sit here and watch; he hated the Mist village almost as much as he hated the Sand and Leaf villages.

He spied movement far beyond the walls of the village. Someone was moving in toward the village. The seige was about to begin. It was so incredibly predictable. How that Kazekage had failed to see this coming was anyone's guess. Naive young bastard. He hated stupid young idiots like that.

Really, though, there wasn't much that Uchiha Sasuke didn't hate anymore. He couldn't remember his life before this deep-seated hatred. As he watched enemy ninjas close in on Sunagakure, he could feel only apathy and discontent. Not even the impending destruction of Sunagakure gave him joy.