This is not a fanfic. It's a real novel in Japan written by Takashi Yano, illustrated by Kishimoto himself. There are two installments of Itachi books in the Naruto-Shinden series, Book of Bright Light (first) and Book of Dark Night (second). I started working on translating the Itachi novels when I heard rumor of a mini series being made by the same people who make Naruto Shippuden. Turns out they are just incorporating it into Shippuden as a filler arc. If you've seen the latest episode 451 then you know what I mean. Enjoy!
ITACHI SHINDEN BOOK ONE: BOOK OF BRIGHT LIGHT
CHAPTER ONE: A SHINOBI IS BORN
On that day it was storming a storm so malicious that the young boy could barely open his eyes. The rain careening down, splattering with such a force upon his small, four year old body. His father was standing next to him. A hardened, stone faced figure who stared directly forward, offering his son no notions of consolation. That was the day that the boy realized who he was. On that day, Itachi Uchiha recalled, he discovered his Nindo.
Young Itachi squinted through the blurriness of the rain. What he saw was carnage. Wreckage and death beyond what a four year old boy should see. And he wondered why things had to be that way.
“This is the battlefield, Itachi. Take a good look.” His father’s voice was raspy and muffled by the loud pattering of rain, but he sounded serene. As if what he was looking at was nothing new.
And even through the loudness of the storm’s heavy rain around him, his father’s words traveled strongly through his heart.
The battlefield… a word that should be disregarded by a normal four year boy, but Itachi was not a normal boy.
Mountains of bodies everywhere, as far as the eye could see. And even in all their tranquil stillness, the faces of the bodies looked contorted in pain. Agonizing expressions stared back at Itachi wherever he looked.
“You too will become a shinobi in only a few short years. Unless the war comes to an end, what you see before you is the reality that you will come to live in.”
He was trembling as he listened to his fathers words, expending every ounce of his concentration to keep himself from bursting into tears. He did not feel fear, or sadness, rather one new emotion that was the epitome of bad feelings. And for some reason that he could not explain, his chest tightened and his heart felt heavy.
They were drenched in the rain. Itachi could feel the weight of his soaked clothes in addition to the weight of his saddened heart and for a moment he thought that it would be okay if he cried, because his father surely wouldn’t notice through the downpour. But he resisted. It was strange, but he felt like if he cried right there in that moment, maybe his father would never know, but Itachi would always know. And through that knowledge he would always see himself as less of a shinobi.
And he kept resisting, until finally the tears refused to obey his will any longer, and they spilled from his eyes at their own accord until he could taste their saltiness mixed in with the rainwater streaming down his face and into his mouth.
He saw the metallic of headbands etched with both the symbol of the Leaf Village and various other village symbols. However, their country of origin did not matter to Itachi. They were all people who had been defeated by death. Who all struggled against their demise, yet still lay lifeless with fixed expressions of sadness. And not one of them wanting to have died when they did.
But still, they all died. And for what? Itachi thought. The war?
“Father…?” Itachi’s soft voice spoke, and he finally realized that he was shaking. Not because of the cold wetness of the rain, or because he was frightened by the site of the corpses, but because of his anger.
“Why, father? Why in this place?”
Fugaku continued to stare forward, still as could be, pondering the question that his son had presented him. “You are a very smart child.”
He felt his father’s gruff palm gently rest on the top of his head as he gazed on at the bodies, listening to what Fugaku was telling him.
“And it’s because you’re smart, that I wanted to show you this monstrous reality.”
Itachi dug deep into his soul then, to try and come up with a meaning for the word reality. A four year old boy, inexperienced in the world, has no real way of knowing the difference between reality and fiction, but somehow, Itachi understood perfectly what his father was trying to tell him.
“This is the world I live in…” he said.
“Yes. A shinobi is one who fights. So look closely at what is before you and don’t ever forget what you saw here today.” Fugaku said.
Itachi forced his eyes opened wide so that he could get the full effect of the horrors in front of him. Flashes of the inferno seared into his mind and became something that he would never forget.
And in the rear part of his eyes he felt a new pain. It was warm, but much different than the hot feeling of his bubbling tears. Then he got a violent wave of power, causing him to subconsciously dilate his pupils. He was no longer able to contain his fear, and he squeezed his eyes shut as tight as the muscles would allow. By doing this Itachi felt the wave of power slowly subside into his head, and his eyes went back to normal. His heart was beating deafeningly and his breathing was heavy and intense. He inhaled deeply, calming himself down and slowing his breaths. Then he opened his eyes slowly to the world before him, the world that continued to look like Hell.
What was this surge of power that vibrated through him? he wondered. He wasn’t sure, but one thing that the boy was sure of, was that if he allowed himself to indulge in this strange power he would never be the same.
“What happened?” his father said, apparently not oblivious to the change in Itachi’s disposition.
He ignored his father as he continued to look onto the scene that had already been engraved into his heart. This was the world, that much couldn’t be denied. But that didn’t mean he had sit down and take it calmly and quietly.
I will change it, he thought.
He realized then that, no matter the reason, resolving things through violence was bad. If the world he lived in was based off of suffering and war, then he would just have to change it. This thought was what made up the core of the man, Itachi Uchiha.
The young boy would never forget that scene for the rest of his life. That day was what defined his existence as a shinobi. It seemed that Fugaku’s lesson had had the desired effect.
# # #
Ironically, It was only a few weeks after that day on the battlefield that the war ended.
It was a grand war that included all five of the Great Nations. Later, this war became known as the 3rd Great Ninja War, and was ended through the treaty of Armistice that was drawn up between Konoha and Iwaga (Hidden Cloud).
The end of war progressions had been in Konoha’s favor, due to the efforts of the 3rd Hokage, Hiruzen. His political reconciliation and refusal to demand any compensation whatsoever from the other villages greatly helped to wrap up the war.
However, Hiruzen’s actions were viewed as weak and he was frowned upon by the pro-war factions as well as many Leaf villagers. Because of the attitudes people had towards him, the 3rd Hokage resigned from his position, passing down the title of 4th Hokage to a brilliant young shinobi named Minato Namikaze.
With Hiruzen’s resignation, and the new Hokage who was known as a great hero of the war, things in Konoha began to pick back up.
Itachi Uchiha had made himself a very clear goal: to train hard and become the strongest shinobi so that he could wipe out all of the conflict within the world.
To any adult, his dreams were just a child’s fantasy, but to him they were more than achievable.
He needed to study the basic ninjutsu of Academy students, but he was only four years old, not at all old enough to enter the Academy. He wanted to become a shinobi as soon as possible though, so he turned to training on his own…
# # #
“I’m home,” Itachi called.
He took his shoes off nonchalantly and headed down the hallway of his house.
“Welcome,” came the voice of his mother, Mikoto, from the kitchen. Inside her womb she carried a baby. Either a little brother or a little sister, but whatever it was, it would be Itachi’s first sibling. “Did you train all by yourself again today, Itachi?” she asked.
“Yes. Where is father? In his room?”
“He is. But right now he’s…”
He quietly turned and headed to his father’s room as he listened to his mother’s words getting farther away until he could no longer hear her voice. He had come across a problem with his kunai grip during training and would rather ask his father about it sooner than later.
“Why is the fourth Hokage this Minato?” came a strong voice from behind the wall of his father’s room. Itachi stopped dead outside the doorway and listened.
“Lower your voice, Yashiro. These are not matters to be broadcasted,” his father’s voice scolded.
“I just don’t understand it, Fugaku-sama. Aside from this Minato person, the only other name that was nominated for the Fourth Hokage election was Orochimaru. What about Fugaku-sama?” Yashiro was a man with dry white hair and thin eyes. A man much older than Itachi’s father, yet still working as Fugaku’s subordinate.
“It’s like, Yashiro, says. I can’t understand it either,” came a third voice.
“Inabi…,” was all Fugaku said, but he said it with a tone that aimed to silence the foolish talk.
Inabi Uchiha was another one of Lord Fugaku’s subordinates, though he was much younger than Yashiro. A very peculiar man, with long, dark hair and narrowed eyes. He was considered the most outstanding shinobi that the Leaf Military Police Force had to offer.
“But, Fugaku-sama, in the great war, everyone feared Fugaku of the Terrible Eyes. Shinobi would tremble at the very mention of that name,” Inabi said.
“Captain of the Konoha Military Police Force,” Fugaku corrected. “That is my name. That is the title that I go by here in the village.”
Yashiro raised his voice. “I’m telling you, this is just another scheme by the village elders! They aim to cut the Uchiha out. They didn’t even announce Fugaku-sama’s name as one of the heroes of the war! Instead, Minato, the Sannin, and this Kakashi character, who isn’t even in the Uchiha clan yet has a Sharingan, were mentioned.
“And if Minato and Kakashi are meant to shine instead of you, then…”
“Stop,” Fugaku commanded. “My son is listening.”
Itachi’s body tensed and he grit his teeth. He was caught, because he lacked experience. There was no other choice but to open the door now, four people total inside the room.
Inside stood his father, Yashiro, Inabi and a fourth man with a small horn on his headband. This man was another of Fugaku’s subordinates, Tekka Uchiha.
“Need something?” his father asked, staring at him with blank, impatient eyes.
“I wanted to ask you something about Shuriken-jutsu.”
“I’m busy now. We can do this later.”
Itachi said nothing, just closed the door and left as quickly as he had come, and the moment that the door shut he noticed a crimson light appear in the eyes on the four men on the other side of the wall. Sharingan.
As he headed to his own room, he thought about the heavy, uncomfortable feeling that encompassed him when he was in his father’s room. And then suddenly, for no reason, he remembered the battlefield that he saw with Fugaku not long ago. A fiery Hell pierced into his cerebral.
He realized then what caused that memory to flood back to him. It was because the energy in his father’s room just now felt identical to the energy he felt on that ghostly battlefield.
What is my father thinking? he wondered, but he had no way of ever knowing the answer to that question.
END CHAPTER 1, ITACHI SHINDEN, BOOK OF BRIGHT LIGHT.
Translation by L. Blackfish