A/N: I want to say that this time travel fic will move far away from the original plot. It will become a complicated plot and it will include some interesting subjects that are not much developed in canon. However, it will only start doing so from the chuunin exams on. So bear with me for a while. I hope that you all enjoy!
Naruto doesn't belong to me. Neither do any of its characters.
Clank. Clank. Clank. Clank. Clank. Clank.
A cloaked figure was running through a burnt down forest. Ninja sandals were making an unusual noise on the charcoal ground, the expected softness of the leaf covered soil replaced by the hardness of an ash covered compact ground. The huge forest had been completely burnt to the ground, but it had probably been long ago, since the characteristic odor of burnt wood was completely gone by now. The landscape, now clear of tree foliage, was completely revealed and it was depressing; there was nothing else but burnt wood and ash. Not a single movement could be seen as far as the distant mountains ahead. The ecosystem and its fauna had been completely wiped out; everything was dead.
The figure was panting heavily, and its body seemed to be at its limits; legs shaking and occasionally stumbling because of the uneven terrain. Turning its head a couple times as it ran, the figure finally changed course clumsily and headed towards a rock formation not far from where it stood. Upon arriving, the person stopped running and sighed in relief at the sight of a deep cave. The figure, now walking at a slow pace, entered the cave and put its hood down, revealing a young woman. The faint light entering thought the narrow opening of the cave reflected on the rare pink hair that reached a bit past her shoulders and her emerald eyes. Her face's complexion was disheartening; her skin was too pale, her face was too scrawny and under her eyes were dark bags.
The woman crouched just by the opening of the cave and took an oil lantern out of a bag that had been hidden by her cloak. After lighting it, the woman took off once again into the rocky formation. After a couple of minutes of walking away from the entrance, when the sunlight no longer could be even seen from the distance, she jolted in surprise and hurried towards a stalactite. There was water dripping from it onto the floor, and the woman crouched under it. She parted her cracked lips and closed her eyes as her mouth was filled with the life-giving liquid. When she had enough, she took a canteen out of her bag and put it under the dripping water. She sat down as it filled up and rested her head and back on the rocky wall behind her. When the bottle was filled, she put it away and closed her eyes. Her body was shaking from exhaustion and her mind was numb from the constant stress and angst that her life was now. Her previously strong limbs and muscles had become skinny - too skinny – and were barely able to help her stand up. She had already become used to the now constant pain in her empty belly and the last time she had seen anything edible was a week ago, when she had killed the damned rabbit and eaten it with tears in her eyes. The last time that she had seen anybody was months ago. She seriously doubted that there were any living human souls anywhere in the ninja nations.
After relishing in the comforting feeling of water going down her throat she let out a shaky breath and felt the adrenaline in her blood go down. Knowing that she would pass out soon, she moved her hand to turn the lantern off. Her tired body relaxed against the rocky wall behind her and she felt her eyelids close.
She was crying her eyes out. Her throat was raspy due to inhaling too much smoke and she could barely speak. The ten tails had gone out of control a couple days ago, and almost every shinobi had died trying to fight it. It was fruitless, since humans weren't supposed to try to control such a power. It had been the obvious result.
Not only had everything gone to hell, but in her arms was her most treasured friend and teammate; Naruto. His blue eyes, previously filled with energy and joy, were now dull. Dead. His body was unnervingly cold and stiff. The pool of his own blood on which she had found him was cold too. Her hands and forearms were drenched in it, the feeling making her feel nauseous. She had been too late; he had been long gone when she had reached him. The feeling of guilt and uselessness was filling her. He had given everything and she hadn't been able to do anything to help him, or anybody. Her attempts had been in vain, as well as everybody else's. Now death was all she came across.
"Naruto…" she sobbed and her hand cupped his cheek softly. "I'm sorry. I'm going to miss you so much."
After grieving for half a minute, she decided that she couldn't waste more time, and walked a couple steps away from his corpse. She punched the ground, which cracked under her fist, and she went back to her blond friend. She picked him up and laid him in the hole she had created, kissing his forehead before covering him with dirt. When she was done, she placed a big rock next to his makeshift grave, so that people would now where he was resting. She gave one more look towards the spot where she had buried him and walked away.
Suddenly, everything was black around her; void and black. She wondered if she was in some sort of genjutsu and wondered who could be casting it upon her. She was glad that there was someone alive. Not long after, all the darkness around her dissipated and she found herself in a different landscape. She was no longer in a valley, but walking up on a mountain. She was wondering why she had appeared there when her eyes came upon another terrible view; as heartbreaking as the last one. In front of her, missing both arms and a leg, was an ebony haired young man dressed in a white robe. It was Sasuke.
She was next to him in the blink of an eye and crouched to take a better look. She gasped when she saw that his eyes were open and he was looking into her own emerald ones. She quickly assessed the damage to his body and decided that, even though he had clearly lost too much blood, there was still a slim chance that he could be saved. She moved her hand to start healing him, but she was stopped.
"Don't." He rasped out.
"Sasuke…" she frowned. "You could still live."
"Look around, Sakura. If I manage to live though this, I will be dead soon anyways." He stated with great effort.
Sakura didn't want to admit it, but that was true. He was missing his two arms and a leg; even if she managed to stop the blood loss, he would probably die from an infection, since there was no way to find antibiotics now. If he did, he wouldn't be able to move again, he would be a cripple and he would not make it like that. Every village and town was being destroyed by the ten-tails now, and there was no way to stop it.
"I'm sorry." His voice brought her out of her musings and she widened her eyes at his words. "I could've prevented this… if only I had made different choices."
"Sasuke." Sakura's eyes softened, she didn't even notice how she had dropped the 'kun' after so much destruction. "You didn't know what was going to happen… and you did what you could. It's true that you could've made different choices… but I understand that you didn't because of the burden you carry."
"Everyone will die now. Every living person." Sasuke said with sorrow in his eyes. "I'm guilty."
"I don't think you are." Sakura said and softly embraced him, resting her head on his shoulder. "And if you were, I'd forgive you."
As she had her arms around him, she felt him chuckle softly and then exhale deeply. She moved back and stared at his face. His eyes weren't blinking anymore and he had stopped breathing altogether. He had died filled with guilt and regret. And that fact broke her heart more than anything else ever had.
Sakura woke abruptly to find that she was surrounded by pitch black darkness and that she was lying on top of a rocky ground; she was still inside that cave. She was already used to having nightmares about her memories. She would always dream about the ten-tails going out of control, about Sasuke leaving, about Naruto dying. It had all happened almost a whole year ago, but it still kept her on edge all day long and she couldn't rest at night. Sakura reached for the oil lamp and turned it one once again, the small flames lighting up the spot she was sitting on. She took out her canteen to take a long gulp of water and then moved it under the dripping stalactite to fill it up once again. As she was closing it up Sakura heard a noise and stopped the movements immediately. Not only was it completely unusual to hear noises nowadays, but also it sounded like a cough. A human cough, maybe?
Her heart started pumping in her chest as she took hold of her lantern and the rest of her stuff. She stood up and sprinted towards the noise, which had come from a little further into the cavern. Not thirty seconds later, she stopped a couple meters away from a human figure against the wall. She tentatively walked towards it, hoping with all of her might that it wouldn't be another dead body. When she was right next to it she knew; it was alive, but barely though. She could feel the flow of chakra within that body and could tell by the slight heat that radiated off of it. The person had their head hung low and their face was covered in shadows. As soon as Sakura stopped right next to it, a low chuckle was heard and its head looked up as the light of her lantern reached its features.
"It must be some sort of miracle, meeting you here." Obito said with a weak voice. His body was in a terrible state, much worse than Sakura's, and the only thing that made him clearly recognizable was his mismatched eyes.
"Obito!" Sakura's eyes widened at the sight. "You are alive."
"I would've died too, if it weren't for the ten-tails attacking and giving me an opening to escape." He stated and then his eyes looked down, in clear shame of his previous actions. "I fucked up."
Sakura said nothing to that… what could she say? You are not guilty? It doesn't matter, no big deal? We can still make things right? Even though he did realize his actions were mistaken, he really had fucked up pretty badly. There was nothing that she could say to help him feel better except…
"I'm sorry things turned out this way." She murmured. "We have to try our best to survive now. Do you need me to heal you?"
"No." he shook his head and he smiled slightly. "Sakura, I did mention to you that it was a miracle meeting you here." Sakura nodded. "That's not only because I thought I would never see anybody ever again. It's also because I have been looking for you."
"Yes. This past year I have been trying to atone for my mistakes and find a way to make things right. Of course there's no way to stop the ten-tailed beast… we already know that. So I decided to work on a different way to make things right. I developed a jutsu that would allow everything to be undone by going back in time."
"Time-traveling? Is that even possible?" her eye widened at that.
"Together with the sharingan and the rinnegan I believe I have developed a way." He nodded at her question.
"That's hard to believe… have you tried it yet?" Sakura frowned a bit.
"No, so the jutsu is actually only a theory with no proof yet. I can't be the one to travel back in time, because there is a problem with the jutsu… it'll be incredibly destructive on the body. Whoever goes back in time would surely die in the process."
"That's why you were looking for me." Sakura assumed. "You wanted to use my ability to heal myself automatically and send me back in time."
"Yes." Obito nodded again and looked down at his hands. "I'm really not sure if it will work and maybe your ability will not be enough to withstand it. I'm sorry to ask this of you, but you're the only one left with that ability. You know… since Tsunade-"
"I know." Sakura interrupted him softly and locked eyes with him, determination shining in them. "I will do it. I'm pretty much dead anyways. I'm all alone, starving and thirsty most of the time. There's nothing left for humanity in this world… there's nothing left for any form of life anymore."
"Are you sure?" Obito asked. "Maybe this timeline will cease to exist once you travel back in time and will never be able to come back. Also, I don't know what will happen with the Sakura of that timeline… maybe she will disappear. Maybe you will take her place."
"I don't care about any of the consequences." She put her hands on her hips. "We need to do something about this even if it means death, because there's nothing left for us. Don't you see?" when she finished her sentence, Obito nodded quietly and Sakura's eyes softened. "Are you even capable of performing the jutsu? Aren't you out of chakra?"
"I have around half my reserves… I believe it should be enough to send you back around 6 years into the past." He said. "Do you have enough chakra to use the Creation Rebirth Technique?"
"I do." Sakura nodded. For the last year she had barely used any chakra, since she had been mainly running away and trying to find food, as had the few ninjas and people she had encountered. Therefore, she had managed to restore her reserves to the point they were before the war started.
Sakura moved to sit in front of Obito and stared at him in the eyes for a couple moments. She was silent for a minute or two as she thought, taking into account all the information she had learned about the war and the ten-tailed beast.
"I don't think anyone in the past it strong enough to take you on... not with the Akatsuki on your side. Naruto and Sasuke only become strong enough when all hell has already broken loose." She murmured. "The only way I can think of stopping it all from happening again is finding you in the past… and somehow convince you to stop." She finished her sentence and winced at how impossible it sounded.
"There's only one way to convince me to stop." Obito said and looked up at Sakura. "You need to show him my own memories. I can show them to you and you'll have to find a way of showing them to him."
"Do it." Sakura nodded and looked into Obito's sharingan. She took a deep breath in and allowed herself to be pulled into his Genjutsu.
Obito's feelings for Rin, his quest to control the tails, his personal struggles and his final change of heart. All of those memories were squeezed into Sakura's mind at full speed and made her head throb and ache. When she opened her eyes again, she was dizzy and disoriented.
"Gimme a minute." She mumbled as she gasped for air. When she was feeling slightly better she looked back at Obito with a renewed sense of understanding. She wanted to say that she was sorry for what he had been through, but it was no use now. "All right. If that doesn't do the trick nothing will."
"We should do this now, Sakura. I don't think my body will last much longer." He stated and pointed to the center of the narrow cave. "Sit there and take your cloak off."
Sakura nodded and did as he asked, sitting down with only a thin shirt and black shorts. He shakily walked towards her and it was only then that Sakura realized how weak his body truly was. He was severely malnourished and she could tell that his inner organs would fail anytime now. Sakura had to blink back the tears that threatened to build in her eyes. She stayed still as he bit his thumb and started drawing markings on the ground around her and on her whole body. The symbols and lines were so complex that he took over an hour to finally finish them all. She was covered in markings on her arms, legs, back, stomach, neck and face. She looked at him and noticed that he looked even paler than before – bordering a greenish color. She threw him an apologetic glance, thinking of the amount of blood that he had lost on that.
"Are you all right?" she asked.
"Not for long." he answered and sat down in front of her. "Use your Creation Rebirth Technique now."
Sakura closed her eyes and released her technique, her seal stretching and imprinting black lines down her face, neck and torso. When she opened her eyes she looked at Obito in the eye, knowing that it would be the last time that she would ever be alive in this timeline. Maybe it would even be the last couple seconds that she lived at all.
"So this is it." She said.
Obito was about to say something, when they felt a presence nearing the cave. It was not just any presence; it was that snake. No, it was not Orochimaru. It was Kabuto, which was a thousand times worse. Sakura didn't care if he had supposedly joined the fight against the ten-tails in the end. She didn't trust him at all and he, being here, was a bad omen.
"Do it now!" she hissed in a low voice.
Obito didn't waste any more time and started doing the seals at an incredible speed. Sakura was impressed at the fact that he managed to pull off such speed with the condition of his current body. Fifteen seconds later he had finished over two hundred hand signs and he looked up at her. When he did, the circles on his rinnegan shrank into a regular looking eye.
"Time Reversal no Jutsu!"
As soon as his hand slammed down on a specific seal on the ground, Sakura world was turned upside down. Everything became a sea of colors, like a madman's dream. No forms could be distinguished and there was no clear up and down. Her body started aching so much that she thought she would die; stabbing pain filled her body in and out. Her cells started vibrating because of the rapid rate that her body needed to heal. Her mind was dizzy and dull because of the unbearable agony that she was in. She closed her eyes and tried to scream to release some of it, but her body was completely numb. She felt her chakra draining at such a fast rate that she wondered if she would make it. Would she die? Would everything be in vain? Her thoughts trailed off as she blacked out.
Light filtered through her closed eyes and she had to move a hand to cover her eyelids. Sakura's body had never felt so sore and she had never felt so drained. There was a faint throbbing in her head, meaning that she had recently had a terrible headache. She couldn't remember a thing. What had happened? Was she attacked? What about the Juubi? Was it still alive? She tried hard to remember what had happened before she blacked out and suddenly Obito's face came to her mind. Obito. The time travel jutsu. Everything came rushing back to her and she forced her eyes open.
Sakura looked around for a couple seconds and found that she was in a middle sized room. The walls were white and there was a small desk opposite to the bed. It was her room: her old room, in her parents' house. Despite her nausea, she forced her body to stand up and walked slowly to the mirror on the back of the door to take a look at herself. Round face, wide forehead, long pink hair, small stature, pre-teen body, weak muscles. Somehow she hadn't gone back in time with her adult body and, instead, had taken the place of her previous self.
She had successfully gone back to a time before everything went to hell. To a time where she could set things right and prevent the upcoming extinction of humanity. She was the only one that knew how to stop it.
However, this body of hers was fucking weak.
A/N: Ah…. There goes the first chapter. Please tell me what you think about it!