Title: From Nobody to Nightmare
Warnings: Violence, deaths, mentions of non-con/incest, torture.
Other: ...So apparently I feel the need to occasionally twist my characters through painful tropes. The From Nobody To Nightmare trope describes a character who started out normal, even downtrodden, and ended up with power far above the other characters in their setting, usually villainous, and tend to end up the ultimate evil. So no prizes for guessing his alliances. Also, yes, I have noticed that all AU possibilities with Tatsuya have him being evil. This is because unless the world around him were different, it would be very difficult for him not to be. The in-play good version is walking the edge of a razor, really.
There had been two ways out of the damp forest after she had left him there. The path of light, where he went soon enough, and the path of dark, where he stalled long enough for his moral compass to desert him.
Tatsuya selected the first, unknowingly. There would be other choices later, he knew. Something twisted within him when he thought that--he was betraying his sister, certainly, not that he cared anymore--but he brushed it aside. There was more than good and evil, more than the extremes, if he were to say it. He continued on his way and said nothing.
Even not choosing to serve her he was worse than her slave the next few years. Even learning chakra arts did nothing for him. Nothing without the desire to hurt her as she had him, and he could not do that, was still too light even as a voice in his head tugged at him, begged him, told him how good and right it would be to end her.
It was not until he was fifteen anything significant happened. Until then he was simply a normal ninja.
She drew into his room with a knife and bindings, cold grey eyes glinting in the dim light. He feigned sleep, but was unsure as to what had woken him. She never had before.
It was when she moved on him it happened.
First there was a slicing sensation of pain from his wrists, and he felt sure she'd drawn a knife across. But then she was the one who cried out, and he blinked his eyes open to see--
vines snapped out of his now-bleeding wrists, coiling around her throat, holding her up and tightening, coiled around her throat and strangling her, knife and ropes fallen to the floor, her fingers scrabbling at the plants holding her ineffectually and himself actually feeling through them as if her nails bit at his arms instead--
He stared in shock. What were these vines? Why were they in his blood? What had he done? Did he control them?
"Stop," he whispered weakly, not entirely sure he wanted to kill his own sister.
But, his blood surged, why not? Surely you don't want her to live when she sought to violate you? When all she has ever done is hurt you?
Tatsuya's gaze traveled from his sister, her lips turning blue from lack of oxygen, to the vines, to his own wrists. No. I don't.
They tightened, and to a twisted satisfaction of his, he could almost feel them as his own fingers as she went limp within his grasp.
As a captain he had choice of his own squad and he selected them carefully, even as in another timeline a version of himself sneezed across the dais and made no selection, instead allowing the Kage to assign them. This would not do for him. No one else was to control his domain.
They looked at him in fear, he who should have been nothing, and do not know why. The vines coiled around his arms are not visible, but the corps knows they are there and what he can do.
He eyed the new ANBU Sennin with some disdain. She had been given the position no doubt because he had declined, it not being time yet. In another world he did not trust himself with power. In this one he would have been right. Now he was wondering if he should have taken it, time or not.
"I would challenge you, had I leave," he said quietly to her before he left. "Rest assured, should you do nothing or the wrong thing, I will."
The Mizukage was too soft. In another timeline he said nothing, dwelling on his crush and paying no attention to the new Sennin. Here he brushed past her without waiting for a response.
"It suits you, niisan!" His brother exclaimed upon seeing the Sennin insignia of their family, traditionally worn only by nobles of Mist when elevated to such a position, pinned to his collar. He had kept his word and had to.
At the meeting, the Mizukage had sought him as the next, to replace the ineffectual foreigner. He had not declined a second time. Now was fine.
It was strange, he mused, as the vines snaked around his wrists, extending to brush the hat he'd sworn, in another life, to never wear and to protect the former owner of, how they still only feared him.
He twisted the ring on his finger absently, the kanji for water and the number eight etched on it.
It is only then that his family's eternal enemies realize what they have done in angering him. Their forces were nothing to him in his forests, snarled growths and tree limbs turning them to pulp.
The civilians gazed upon him with awe, the other ninja in terror. He still did not understand why. He had done nothing wrong.
His vines twisted around the handle of the ancient spear. The power of the earth rebuffed the evil and insanity from his mind. These were his, as was everything in the land. He had executed a traitor recently for calling him a nightmare, ordered him put to death with no nonsense.
Even the amoral Sixth stared at him with shocked eyes as he had the man ripped apart for high treason. So be it. He was merely defending himself.
Even his own brother feared him. He wondered when this happened.
There was another conference in Leaf. He rejected it summarily when invited. Leaf hosted the last one, they should not be allowed another, but for some reason no one wanted to set foot near his forests.
He tossed the invitation into the fire. It wasn't needed. Threats would be dealt with.
Rain made a mistake invading. They fell as Grass did.
He did not think why, that day every year for several years now, he had nearly broken down crying, and why he dared not go to the Seventh's funeral.
It is fully another three years before he realizes, and he is now kneeling at the Seventh's grave. No vines sprout from his wrists as he digs his hands into the harsh dirt around it, begging forgiveness for what he is and has done.
If he had some excuse, if it was in his name, then perhaps he could forgive himself now. Not now, as the sickening realization hits him that he has been nothing but a terror and a monster since the night he killed his sister.
Especially since that path led him to kill the only one he could have ever loved, the only one whose presence could have saved him, the one who lies buried beneath him now.
There were two ways out of the damp forest when she had left him there. He chose the path of light then. No one had ever said that was the last real choice he would ever have to make.