To Sakura, Sasuke is a blue-shirt covered back and a white-and-red fan that mocks her (you're annoying, you weak little girl) from twenty paces in front of her. Naruto is like the sun, a bright and blinding and hopeful light that blots out every shadow including herself. And Kakashi is the sting of a gaze that never stays on her figure for more than one moment and a whispered "We'll bring him back, Sakura."
But Sasuke is also the chakra-exhausted boy who is kneeling on the ground behind her, 'cause his hate can only carry him so far and regret is the most tiring thing in the world to bear. And Naruto's in front of her, scuffed-up and feral and lit up in yellow-orange chakra that'll burn him up if he tries to shine just bright enough to save the day again—
(because he's still a kid, just like they all are, and he's still got a long way to go and it's not fair that their version of failure is death and it's not fair that Naruto's the one who has to know this the most.)
Kakashi is little more than a deadened, sharingan-less gaze which hurts Sakura more than the fact that he never saw her ever could. 'Cause she knows what he's thinking, she knows he's thinking of the Three Legendary Sannin and his own genin team and the parallels between the tragedies that shinobi have always had to face and she knows he doesn't think they'll make it out of this fight with their beloved village safe.
Sakura digs her feet into the ground and sets her gaze on Madara, the god—murderer, watching them with purple eyes and an almost placid expression.
Rinnegan, she thinks. The fucking Rinnegan, Rinnegan, Rinnegan and an infinite supply of other abilities that Sakura could never even dream of having. A long time ago, she would've given up right then and there; there was nothing, after all, that a girl without enough chakra to summon just the right pinky of Susanoo could do against a man who could bring down the heavens with his. At least, that's what she would've thought, if she hadn't seen Lee almost take down a jinchuuriki as a genin and Gai almost obliterate Madara by releasing his gates—
("almost" "almost" "almost" isn't enough and you can't be that anymore, can you, Sakura?)
(No, she won't.)
She won't. Because she isn't just Haruno Sakura, the flower of Team Seven anymore, she isn't the girl who cried over a boy's body in The Forest of Death, and she sure as hell isn't the teammate of Uchiha Sasuke and Uzumaki Naruto. She is Haruno Sakura, Disciple of the Fifth Hokage, med-nin Earthbreaker, and—
"I don't understand."
"You have surpassed your mentor."
"Haruno Sakura. I can manipulate chakra on a cellular level—and I have taught you how to do the same. But you've grown, and there is no doubt in my mind that you will go even farther. Believe yourself, Sakura. For the sake of every shinobi to follow in your steps."
"Th-Thank you, shishou. I will not let you down."
She is the only shinobi in the history of their world to have mastered chakra manipulation on a molecular level.
Sakura steps forward. Her hands blur, running through the signs for a jutsu that has only ever been mastered by two people in the world.
"Yin Seal: Release."
The chakra centered at her forehead pulses, a touch of warmth running along her limbs. And then there is a torrent of power washing over her, moving through her arms and legs with the black markings extending over her body, preparing her to be reborn.
But there is also a warning in the choked voice that rises from behind her, hoarse from dust and blood and worn by too many years of watching loved ones die.
"No," she murmurs, and cuts the voice off instantly. She can feel the disbelief at her back, the worry and concern and Sakura, stay back.
"Sakura-chan—" Naruto's voice rises at the end, rough and strained from the kyuubi that is itching for another fight. Because their teammate is not in front of them anymore.
Sakura sprints towards Madara at a speed that she knows would blur her to the naked eye, but is disappointingly sluggish to a man who has stolen both eyes of a god and carved them into his head as his own. Her fist is brought back, and there is a rage on her face because this man has destroyed so many shinobi, so many children—
(Closer, closer, closer—she's almost there, she's at their backs, and she's reaching reaching reaching—)
A swish as Madara flips his gunbai and smoothly swings it in front of him. The pole-end sinks straight through Sakura, impaling her at her midsection and destroying her insides.
"Weak kunoichi," there is unbearable condescension in the low gravel of this fake-god's voice, twisting up her insides more than death-by-impalement ever could. "You would have stayed behind your teammates, medic, if you had known your place."
You stupid fucker, Sakura thinks, because she's memorized the three laws of being a med-nin and—
"Only those medic ninja who have mastered the Strength of a Hundred Technique of the ninja art Creation Rebirth are permitted to discard the above-mentioned laws."
—Chakra channels into her right fist, trembling a foot away from his face as the power concentrates in her fingers. She's shaking, but not with fear—it's more like a little bit of rage and a little bit of glee. And she brings her fist down all the way, the power to crush a mountain held in just her little pinky.
(She is Haruno Sakura, disciple of the Fifth Hokage, and in this moment she is immortal)
For a split second, Sakura registers a pressure against her hand, stopping her an inch short of Madara's temple. Blue light shines around the impact point, spreading around the shape of an arm and hand blocking her fist in front of her.
Susanoo, she thinks, and for a second feels fear because she's still learning not to doubt herself and if she can't overcome this with pure force then she's fucked.
But Sakura only has to wait another second before
A spiderweb of hairline fractures appears in the chakra of Madara's almost-impervious armor, spreading rapidly around what Sakura knows is the hand of Susanoo. She's close enough to count the swirls in his eyes and close enough to see—
(come on, come on, it's there, Sasori had it too—)
And that's all it takes to get her moving again.
Sakura's left fist is a slice of air and a ball of concentrated power, coming down on the already-cracked armor of Susanoo like she's common sense and Sasuke's her target. The thin cracks widen a tiny bit further and then, and then, and then the left hand of the god-armor shatters, blue chakra winking a Good. at her as it disappears. This time, Sakura uses the force of her hit to fling herself off of the gunbai's end, landing heavily on her feet with an abdomen that's already healed.
Madara tilts his head up, looking at her through a curtain of white hair and says, with lips just barely tugging up and a death-promise-vow in his eyes and says—
(I'm here, Kakashi, I'm here and I will do this and this is my village and this is my village, Kakashi-sensei.)
Madara is a flash of white when he comes for Sakura again, the blue bone-rib-cage armor coiled around him like a depraved shell. She darts to the side, pivoting on her heels and bring her fists back up in front of her—
(Thank you, Lee)
Susanoo's remaining limb comes down on her held-together arms, pushing her back meters and making her grit her teeth. The skin burns, but her hands hold her steady, and Sakura's ready to flash back to her fight with Sasori in order to turn this around.
She lets her hands drift apart for a split second, the blue chakra sliding between for a moment and then she slams her palms together, shattering the second arm of Susanoo all the way up to its shoulder and baring her teeth at Madara in a blood-tinted smile.
He blinks at her, before flickering again and she finds herself once again at the end of his gunbai.
"You stupid fucker," she says aloud this time, a savage grin on her lips as blood dribbles down the sides of her mouth. He removes it before she can blink and runs her through again, this time through her chest so that her lungs cave in and her spine breaks and her rib cage turns on itself.
Rebirth occurs ten seconds after Sakura's nerves are regrown while she gurgles blood, giving her the opportunity to slam the palms of her hands on the gunbai and shatter it the same way she obliterated one-half of Susanoo.
Madara is shocked.
Not that it's obvious, but Sakura's been impaled by this guy three times, and she's pretty sure she knows him well enough by now to note this—to judge the faint twisting of his brows and narrowing of stolen-eyes. And she knows why—it's 'cause this is Madara's gunbai and it takes enemies' chakra and turns it back into rage-filled slices of air that can take out an entire jounin team if they stand still for half a millisecond but—
His eyes flicker at her, appraising her jounin vest and the seal on her forehead. And Madara knows now, she thinks, that she doesn't need chakra to break the earth, she's got her anger and her murder-vow and a decade of running behind her teammates to fuel her punches.
The next time Madara comes at her is a blur of tears and sweat and purple eyes and skeletal armor. But this time Sakura uses her chakra, slipping it through the molecule of every piece of matter this depraved man throws at her, slipping it through his chakra and breaking apart every molecular bond that he creates while simultaneously soaking up the energy that is released.
(shishou, she thinks. shishou,)
Fist after fist and blood on teeth, a whirlwind of shattering and then Naruto is screaming and screaming and Sakura can't feel her left leg anymore, but she doesn't need anything but her arms so she whirls around on the foot she has left and shudders when the mitotic reaction process is stopped and her chakra is channeled down her arms. Her fists, unfortunately for Madara, are unforgiving—med-nin, after all, wait for no one, not even Time.
Susanoo is almost gone, splinters of blue chakra and a blood-soaked Madara with rage on his face and hell in his eyes and it doesn't matter, it doesn't matter because the god around him is gone and she vaults forward and there is—
White and blue and red back and yellow hair and whiskered grins and a mask-covered tilt of lips, twenty paces in front of her. Then it's fifteen, it's twelve, it's seven, it's five, it's three, it's two-one—
nothing between her and NarutoMadara, who howls like he is a shinobi, not for his pain but for his cause kindoflikeSasuke, and she can't think straight because he's open and she's a flash of a seal that's covering her body and green eyes that won't settle for anything less than death.
Sakura doesn't draw in a breathe or hesitate or think or wait because she waited long enough for Sasuke to come back and Team 7 to come back and this time she'll carve out a place for her in this world with her own two (bare) hands. She draws back her right arm, a SHANNARO forcing its way up her throat and then her fist descends, carving her into Madara's flesh and crunching bones and spurting blood from this mouth and falling on her hands. She almost stumbles from the impact, driving him into the ground with a crack that drops them both half a mile (she thinks, somewhat blearily) into the ground.
When the rubble stops falling and the dust is gone, Sakura trembles and falls to the ground, leg-stump healed over and other knee only thirty-six percent close to being severed. She doesn't mind, though, because Madara looks way worse than her.
Caved-in chest, she thinks, and a ribcage that's moved up to encompass his lungs and heart. Her hit has torn the flesh straight off his bones, and she can see the beatbeatbeat of his dead heart through a pool of blood. Shattered arms and legs, and skin scraped off his cheek so that she can see the faint outline of his teeth. But Madara doesn't whimper or beg or plead or die when she shakily pulls herself up to his side, her own blood dribbling down the sides of her cheeks and sweat-tangled pink hair covering half her right eye.
"Kunoichi," he murmurs, through a mouthful of blood. Madara doesn't cough it out, doesn't become anything less than accepting and poised even in death. Sakura nods slightly, moving so her hands pin his down, just in case she's wrong about everything and even fake gods don't die like this and she's gonna have to split her knuckles again.
"You are formidable," is a faint whisper from his ravaged throat, and Sakura watches the Rinnegan that isn't swollen shut flicker half closed.
"As are you," she tells him, bending down and saying this softly, so softly that not even Naruto or Sasuke or Kakashi or the Jounin she can feel watching them from the rim of the crater can hear.
And it is with a faint smile on his lips that Uchiha Madara dies, held down by a Sakura who won't mention the wetness of his one good eye. She collapses next to him when he's gone, barely enough strength to bring her arm up over her eyes to meet the tears that sit on her cheeks. She doesn't wipe them, though, because whoever comes down first is gonna think so this is what it's like to kill a god and she's Haruno Sakura and she'll fucking cry if she wants to, who's going to deny her this now—
"Sakura." her name is a blurry figure and desperate voice, tugging her arm down to her abdomen and propping her up against a warm chest.
Hmm she tries to say, then blinks and blearily realizes that there's blood on her chest and she's literally been reborn like four times in one day and yeah the lower half of her leg has regrown but there's not really enough chakra left for her to build herself a new abdomen.
Fucking Uchihas, she thinks, irritated, as she realizes that both Sasuke and Madara have a thing for attempting to kill her by impalement.
(haha, funny, except it wasn't when he tried it because you loved him and yes you know who you mean because he's holding you now and he sounds like he's gonna cry now that his deed has been done—)
Sakura wants to reach up and pat Sakura's chicken-ass hair because her heart sort of aches and writhes when he sounds like he's going to break down.
"Heal. Heal, Sakura, heal," his voice rises and cracks, an unanswerable plea that's almost not worth Madara's death—
(ah, she remembers, but you did this for yourself because you had to and it was for you and Sasuke-kun will live because that's all you've ever wanted for him and so yes it's worth it)
I can't I am bleedingoutandhavenochakra since noteveryoneisasoverpowerfulas you, she wants to mumble, but her body feels heavy and she can't really see anything but black fuzz anymore and there's numbness spreading across her body. But she hears a cry above her and a something wet splashing on her face and they aren't her tears 'cause she's out of them and then, and then there's something washing over her, awkward and jerky and extremely inefficient—Sasuke is pouring his chakra into her.
For a second, Sakura soaks in the feeling of it, running down her body and making her tremble from the sheer amount of it. Her chakra reserves take in the writhing, sunlight-hate-regret-blood-filled energy and recognizes that she loves this boy, warming her up and following the path her jutsu has given it. Lungs knit back up, fluid is extracted, new flesh is made, and Sakura can breathe again. The loss of adrenaline, however, brings back void-like fear, and shock quickly freezes her and makes her shudder against Sasuke's chest.
"I have you," his voice shakes, his arms tugging her up and turning her so that her face is buried in the crook of his neck and there's warm skin against her face and soft, bloodied cloth against her cheek and the musky scent of fear clinging to his form. "I'm here."
It's not enough, not yet, since—
"Sakura-chan," is a trembling voice behind her, brightening up the warfield and reminding her of royal blue eyes. Naruto is the almost unbearably hot force that presses against her back, his arms tugging both her and Sasuke into a tear-filled embrace.
But it's not until she feels a steady, soft hand laid down on her shoulder that she finally smiles into Sasuke's collar bone.
(Thank you, sensei.)
And there's nothing but relief in all their figures when Naruto wails into Sakura's neck and Sasuke trembles and Kakashi pats them all and Sakura thinks, I love you.
(Original A/N) I'm such a loser this is my first story and I reviewed it 32984320 times and I told myself I'd never write fanfiction BUT I love Sakura and she deserves so much more so here I am. Please review or like or ANYTHING (constructive criticism, please) bc I skipped homework to type this. I know I listed this as sorta sasusaku and it's because I want it to be but I feel like I needed Sakura to soak in her own glory before bringing up the boy with chicken-ass hair so I might write an extra, more fluffy chapter for this if a couple people wanna see it (^:
(Update: 7/16/2016) (A/N) I went through and removed all of my embarrassing errors a year later, feel free any new readers to roast me on any you find still lingering. I haven't been on much because of school work and sports and academic suffering in general, but this is the least I could do.