The first go around, Shikako doesn’t trust him. Not completely.
That’s fine–Sasuke doesn’t trust her completely either. (Not yet)
He wants power more than he wants her trust, and so he succumbs to the temptation. Takes the serpent’s offer. Follows the destined, straying path.
He becomes more powerful than he could ever dream.
The first go around, he hasn’t yet learned that Shikako’s trust will make him even more so.
The second go around, he’s in shock.
He must be.
That can be the only explanation for why he lets his family die.
It’s less about revenge and more about self-destruction when he follows that same, straying destiny.
The third go around is when he starts trying to change things. Hope, like poison, coursing through his veins.
But for all his suffering he doesn’t know enough (not yet) and so it’s all just empty flailing.
Fourth through sixth he starts to suspect that he’s not the only one who knows what’s going on.
Shikako reacts differently from everyone else, reacts the way someone whose expectations have gone unfulfilled.
Which means she has expectations.
Beyond the expectations for Sasuke Uchiha, youngest son of Fugaku and Mikoto Uchiha. Beyond the expectations for Sasuke Uchiha, Itachi Uchiha’s younger brother. Beyond the expectations for Sasuke Uchiha, best fighter, most popular boy, and second ranked student of his class.
She knows something.
And as he’s learned over and over again, knowledge is what he desperately needs.
The seventh, Shikako disappears.
He only speaks to her once: two children on a playground, not even at the Academy yet, no possible threat to anyone.
The official report is that Cloud ninja took her, but Sasuke isn’t that foolish boy he once was.
(It was Danzo, of course it was; he’s the only one Shikako ever truly feared. And for good reason.)
He never forgives himself for that one.
Eighth is about atonement.
(Aren’t they all about atonement?)
He focuses on his friends, on their happiness and their safety.
He is kind and he is loved and he is killed very early on.
(But not after Shikako, this he makes certain)
The world is not a peaceful place. (Not yet)
He has to make it so.
After a while, it becomes less about succeeding–whatever that might mean–and more about learning.
He learns, in depth, about the Uchiha clan politics (and later decides not to revive the system)
He learns, no matter how heartbreaking, about his brother’s internal struggles (after so many lives, he knows that Itachi was just a child torn in too many directions).
He learns, to his own surprise, about the ghosts of Kakashi’s past (the traumas as much a part of him as the Sharingan in his eye socket).
He learns, pieced together from crumbs and rubble, far more about Naruto’s heritage than he himself ever does (how much grief would they all be spared if Sasuke could actually travel through time instead of just loop).
But most of all, he learns about Shikako.
Power is nothing without wisdom.
A/N: … this was going to be a very different ficlet, anon, about Sasuke and Shikako’s relationship in different loops. Except then I realized that I have the Down Every Road series and a lot of the things I was coming up with would fit better there rather than in a specific ‘verse in which Sasuke was looping.
And also it’d get kinda skeezy after a while.
Erm. But it does kinda make this anticlimactic, I suppose…
It was a lovely prompt, anon, I’m just sorry I couldn’t do it justice.
[If anyone else wants to do a softer world prompt that isn’t on the list, you can just send the page id number for the original comic instead.]