14 A New Training Partner

It was challenging for Jun to find time to train his Sharingan in secret. Now that he had openly opposed his grandparents, people paid more attention to him. The fact that Shisui often kept him company did not help. But he still had his freedom. He cut back on his reading time to make time for the Dojutsu training. He had yet to unlock the third tomoe, but he was considerably better with using his eyes. The chakra expenditure was greatly reduced, and he was used to the vision offered by the Sharingan.

Jun had activated his Mangekyo twice since the last time in front of the mirror. And it was weird. No instructions came with it, but he felt that he knew how to use it. It was as if the knowledge was already inside him and all he needed was a little push to access it. The last time he activated the Mangekyo; he tested it on a plant. It worked! And on the first try, nonetheless.

It consumed a huge amount of his chakra, though. It had taken him some time to recover. Jun understood why the Uchihas with the Mangekyo Sharingan were intoxicated with power. It felt so natural, almost innate. All this power and its perfect mastery were available in the blink of an eye. Jun comprehended the reason the Mangekyo attracts and fascinates.

His Mangekyo's power was Shikigami. It was a form of defensive ability that could be used offensively. It showed where to strike, and the location of the weakness that could bring down a whole structure. Jun had utilized it on a bush, but it could work to break on a wall, a formation, an attack, a Genjutsu, or even a person. That was what Jun thought. He wasn't certain. He probably wouldn't be able to use it in combat for a while anyway, not without passing out the next second.

Shikigami was the only power of his eyes that he knew of. Perhaps there was another one, he wasn't certain. Some Mangekyo Sharingans had a different power in each eye; he knew it from his memories of Naruto. Itachi would have Tsukuyomi in one eye and Amaterasu in the other. But he seemed to be the only one in the series. Both of Shisui's eyes had the same power. Danzo would steal one eye, and Shisui would give the other to Itachi. Obito and Kakashi were also other examples. Their Mangekyo Sharingans were linked to the same dimension. However, Obito was able to send himself to the dimension as well as other things while Kakashi could only transport things he saw there. Jun was hopeful his eyes would possess another power.

He liked his new routine. His grandparents were still cold, but they were easier to be around. They had found a balance in their behavior toward him. They accepted his decisions, and Jun gave them excellence. However, he knew it wasn't going to last. He was planning to move out as soon as he had enough money. He was looking forward to that argument when the time came. For now, he enjoyed the peace.

There were four months left before the end of the school year when his routine was disrupted. It was in the middle of winter. A thick white carpet covered the village. At the Academy, it was the time to have snowball fights. Jun and Iruka had fun. After class, Jun went to train while Iruka went to cause more trouble.

That day, Shisui came. But he wasn't alone. A little boy was with him.

"Jun, this is my cousin, Itachi."

"I know him," Jun replied.

Itachi was small. He was just eight years old. He looked nothing like the adult Itachi in Jun's memory. But some signs were already there, the way he wore his headband, his grave expression…

"I don't remember meeting you," Itachi said solemnly.

His kid's voice made it so funny. Jun couldn't believe this little child would end the great Uchiha clan.

"Izumi is my sister. She talks a lot about you. You have quite an effect on her."

Itachi's eyes widened in surprise. For a brief moment, he looked like any ordinary kid his age.

"Oh, I didn't know that," Shisui said, winking at Itachi.

"We're just acquaintances," Itachi said.

"Be nice to her. Do not hurt her, understood?" Jun warned.


"Itachi wants to train. I thought it would be good for everyone to have various sparring partners. Both of you are probably tired of getting beaten by me." Shisui laughed.

Jun wanted to inquire why Itachi didn't train with the genins in his team. But he remembered Izumi informing him that the young Uchiha had awakened his Sharingan on a mission. Jun didn't know all the details. It was also possible Itachi had already awakened his Sharingan and merely use the mission as an opportunity to reveal it. He wouldn't put it past the Uchiha.

"I'm fine with it," Jun said.

Itachi may be small, but he was a handful. Jun was clearly better in terms of brute strength, but the kid could pack some power. He was technically good, but it wasn't enough to overpower Jun. Objectively, they were evenly matched in Taijutsu. Jun was happy about it for a brief instant before remembering the age of his sparring partner, who was three years younger than him. However, when they started using shurikens, Jun quickly found himself on the defensive. Itachi's pinpoint accuracy was a nightmare to deal with.

Shisui later joined the fun. They fought a three-way battle, then two against one. The training ended with a chase in the trees to the other training ground. They eventually made their way back, walking through the entire Uchiha district together. They stopped to get some sweets on the way. Jun found out Itachi loved sweets. During the walk, Itachi maintained his serious expression the whole time. Even when Shisui and Jun were joking around, the young Uchiha maintained his composure. Jun found it a bit sad. It seemed he didn't know how to relax and have fun.

That wasn't the only time Itachi joined Shisui and Jun for training. It happened again the next day, three days later, then the following week. Shisui was still training Jun privately, but he often arranged for Itachi to tag along. Over time, Shisui's students became familiar with each other. Itachi was still serious, but he started to relax a bit more. Jun was still wary of him because of what he knew, but he slowly got used to his presence in his life. Jun began to suspect that Shisui had arranged the whole thing so that he and Itachi could become friends. One day, he cornered Shisui and asked him.

The Uchiha openly admitted it with a big smile on his face. He was truly shameless. Jun didn't want to be friends with Itachi. Their personality was different. Itachi was too quiet for him. Not to mention, he was the harbinger of destruction. Shisui argued that Itachi needed friends of a certain level because kids his age were too weak, and they couldn't bond with him. Jun refused to hear it. Shisui pleaded and begged. He only asked for Jun to train with him sometimes. He said the two could train together when Shisui was on a mission. Jun ended up giving in.

He couldn't even explain why. Perhaps he was Shisui's plea or maybe he felt bad for the lovely and under-pressured Itachi. Jun still made it clear to Shisui that his plans did not change. He didn't intend to remain close to the Uchiha clan. He had already hinted to Shisui about his desire to leave his grandparent's home. He wondered if he understood that he meant leaving the Uchiha district.

After his class at the Academy, Jun usually met with Itachi and Shisui. Sometimes it was just Shisui, other times it was just Itachi. Jun had noticed the Uchihas were more polite toward him when he was in the company of the two prodigies. Apart from that, no one in the clan spoke to him. That was fine with the teenager. He wanted out anyway.

Though he was friends with Shisui and Itachi, he felt closer to Iruka and Jun. The reason Shisui came into his life was at the demand of his grandmother. Though he believed that his attitude towards him was genuine, he couldn't neglect that fact. As for Itachi, his future was reason enough to not be close to him. But he was spending more time with the Uchihas. Yugao wasn't really available to hang out, and Iruka was consistently getting in trouble with his pranks. He was even reprimanded once by the Sandaime Hokage. Therefore, after his class ended, he met with the Uchihas,

"If you were able to pass the final exam and graduate last year, why didn't you?" Shisui asked one day.

Itachi looked at him. Jun mentally cursed. He was being too open with them.

"I wasn't ready." He simply replied.

"You had the skills." Itachi pointed as he frowned, indicating his confusion.

"I wasn't mentally ready. It's not all about having skills. My father had died six months earlier. My state of mind wasn't good."

There was a brief silence. Itachi had the good sense to look away.

"Some would argue it was a good reason to take the exam instead of postponing it. Becoming a genin would have allowed you to escape the situation." Shisui said.

Shisui's father was ill. Everyone knew it. He was injured in the last war and never recovered from it. He was gradually losing his mind.

"It wouldn't have worked for me. I need to have a clear path with a clear goal in mind."

"I see. That's why you're always planning for things. You don't move without a purpose."

Jun glared at him.

"I wasn't judging or criticizing you." He said with a big smile.

They arrived at the intersection where they usually separated. Shisui lived near Itachi, and Jun was in the opposite direction.

"I have to go," Jun said.

"You sure? We still have time before it gets dark."

Itachi nodded, agreeing with Shisui.

"I promise my sister I would spend some time with her. It's important for me."

"Training is important as well," Itachi said.

Jun raised his eyebrows. He didn't expect to hear that from the person who would kill everyone except for his little brother.

"I can always train later. Izumi won't be eight years old forever and want to hang out with me."

"He's got a point. You should do the same and hang out with Sasuke. I feel guilty taking you with me on the mission the other day." Shisui said to Itachi.

Itachi looked surprised. Jun tried to recall Sasuke's age. He was probably two years old. He was no longer a baby. He understood some things.

"Shisui is right. I'm sure your brother would enjoy playing with you." Jun added.

"It's true. I'll be going then. See you tomorrow." He said to his friends.

Itachi leaped away. Jun watched him jump from roof to roof. Shisui heaved an amused sigh.

"He doesn't go for what he really wants, does he?" Jun asked.

Shisui gave him a sharp look before softening his expression.

"Indeed. In a way, you and Itachi are two faces of the same coin. He still doesn't know his path."

He better finds it quickly. The future of the clan depends on it. The way he is now, he could be easily manipulated. He's also isolated himself from kids his age. He's the perfect weapon. Jun thought.

He suddenly felt mentally tired, considering the whole situation.

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