All Sakura Haruno ever wanted since the beginning of the war was to wake up as a twelve-year-old again, in the bed of her childhood home. Back when all she had to worry about was the length and condition of her hair. Back when her biggest problem was studying for her final written exam in order to graduate the Academy. Back when she spent her days dreaming of a sweet romance and eating sweet dango along with it.
She hadn't gotten a good night's worth of sleep in months.
Yet why did her body stir in such a nice, warm and pleasurable puff of blankets? Her body protested and her muscles screamed, but she forced herself to carefully open her eyes. Her gaze met with a tatami ground. She was laying on a white futon.
Suddenly, her memories hit her and she frantically shot up and looked around. She was wearing a simple white cotton kimono.
Where was the Kaguya? Why wasn't she on the battlefield?
Sakura had been fighting the Rabbit Goddess Kaguya alongside Naruto and Sasuke. Just before the two boys were able to execute a teamwork of jutsu on her, the frightful goddess had gathered up an inexplicable amount of vile chakra and unleashed it. Although Naruto and Sasuke had the means to get out of the way, Sakura, unfortunately, had been in the direct line of attack and took the attack head on.
That was the last memory she could recollect. So how had she ended up here? Her room suggested that she was currently in a traditionally styled home. From her place on the futon, she could see a wall of shoji doors, opened to a wood-floored hallway outlining the complex and a view of a forest in the back. The brightness of the sun, greenness of the trees, and the fresh pine-scented breeze suggested a spring afternoon. Sakura's brows furrowed. It had been October when she and the others fought Obito, Madara, the Ten-Tails, and Kaguya.
The shoji door from the opposite end of the room swiftly slid open and a young man stepped into the room. Sakura immediately recognized his face from the war.
Except that this Senju Hashirama was much younger and very much more alive than the resurrected First Hokage she saw on the battlefield. She blanched.
"Ah, I see that you are awake! Thank goodness."
Everything about him was so real, from his weary eyes to the silkiness of his long, dark hair... Sakura digressed. Hashirama set down the small tray holding a cup of traditional green tea and knelt beside her.
"Tobirama insisted that you might be an Uchiha spy and kept proposing to kill you right when we found your body while we were searching the area after the battle. But, I persuaded him give you the benefit of the doubt. Our clan is quite big, you see. If you happened to be one of our members or a member from one of our alliances and we just killed you off, that would have put us in a difficult position. Especially since we don't often see women on the battlefield, you must have been well-known as a warrior where you came from. You were quite beat up; nearly dead and barely breathing. You don't seem that much younger than we are, though, and if anything I was hoping we could be on friendly terms with one another."
Sakura suddenly felt very thankful for this man and noted in the back of her mind to be careful of Senju Tobirama, the future Second Hokage. It seemed like he didn't take to the idea of keeping her alive.
"I'm not an Uchiha," she said, a little too quickly. Hashirama surveyed her thoughtfully.
"Mind me asking how old you are?"
"Seventeen." At least, she had been seventeen before waking up in this strange place.
"Well, at least you are compliant in answering questions. I trust that you are not an enemy, but I don't know if the other clan members will. What is your name?"
"I, uh, it's just Sakura."
"You're not part of a clan?"
"I-I was just assisting the Senju in the most recent battle! I'm also not on very good terms with the Uchiha at the moment," Sakura fabricated. She decided to not deviate too far from the truth in order to keep up with the lies she had to tell in order to prevent the fact that she was actually not of this time from coming to light.
"Where are you from?" Hashirama continued.
"Ko—" Sakura stopped herself. If the Senju and Uchiha were still fighting each other, didn't that mean that Konoha didn't even exist yet?
"Ko?" Hashirama pressed. Sakura gulped.
"Corner," she amended, "a corner of the Land of Fire. I'm from a small village that the Uchiha destroyed." During her days in the Academy, Sakura had read in her history textbooks that before the Shinobi villages had been established, shinobi clans had often offered their services to the highest-paying lords. This more often than not included the destruction of many villages so that these lords could gain more land and influence.
"I see, which must be why you decided to help us in our recent battle," Hashirama nodded in understanding. "Any family or friends?"
"None who are alive." Yet.
"So you don't have anywhere to return to?"
"No," Sakura admitted.
"Alright. Excuse me for a moment while I go consult with the head of the clan." Hashirama gracefully rose from his position and stepped out of the room, sliding the door closed behind him.
"What is this place?!" Sakura cried in frustration. She signed the tiger seal and aggressively whispered, "Kai!" Nothing happened. She did it again.
"Kai! Kai! Kai!" And everything remained unchanged.
If disrupting her chakra flow wouldn't get her out of this genjutsu, pain might.
Looking a round the room Sakura spotted her battered navy clothes folded neatly in a corner. Her chuunin flak jacket must have disintegrated from Kaguya's attack. Her weapons pouch, however, was nowhere to be found. It made sense, really. If they thought she was the enemy, there would be no way any weapons would be kept within her vicinity. As a last resort, Sakura bit her thumb. Blood gushed out of the wound and spattered on the pristine sheets. she winced in pain, but the genjutsu didn't release.
Maybe this isn't a genjutsu. Sakura felt panic rise at the base of her throat.
"You." Her head shot up and a sneering Senju Tobirama was standing at the doorway. For the second time today, she was speechless as she faced yet again another legend. She hadn't even heard the door open! He stalked to her place in the room and snatched her by the collar. Up close, Sakura could see that the Tobirama of this time was around her age. His white hair and light red markings on his face in addition to his unnaturally red eyes were intimidating, and Sakura couldn't help but flinch as he snarled.
"You might have my brother on your side, but don't think that I don't know what you're doing, Uchiha. Just know that I can kill you at any moment, but I'm choosing not to until you divulge your clan's secret with us because I know you're hiding something. So don't even think about killing yourself until you either spill or can prove that you are one of us!"
Sakura was about to give him a piece of her mind for making assumptions about her but was interrupted by a new voice.
"Tobirama!" The two turned their heads to the door and an older, aged man stepped in with Hashirama following behind him. The two looked similar. Sakura could guess that this man was their father. Senju Butsuma, she recalled from her history textbooks.
"Leave her at once." His wise voice was stern and reprimanding. Slowly, Tobirama's grip on her kimono slackened, and he looked a little bit ashamed of being yelled at by his father. Sakura shoved him away for good measure and left a bloody print on his blue shirt. He looked appalled. She straightened her collar with great force and a huff and shot him a glare. He returned to his father's side and next to Hashirama.
The older man knelt beside her, tucking his plain brown kimono under his knees. His sons did the same.
Butsuma stared impassively at Sakura with his beady black eyes, frown lines and wrinkles prominent from constant stress and weariness.
"I understand that you have no home to return to."
Sakura didn't know what to say so she gave a small nod.
"What skills will you be able to offer my clan?"
Sakura tilted her head in question. She didn't like where this was headed. Tobirama also seemed to understand where his father was getting at and interrupted.
"Father you can't possibly be saying—" But stopped speaking out of line with one look from the older male.
"I am a healer," Sakura offered in a small voice.
Butsuma nodded and closed his eyes to think for a moment.
Coming to a decision, he opened them and looked directly at her.
"From now on, you will be known as Senju Sakura."
All Sakura Haruno ever wanted since the beginning of the war was to wake up as a twelve-year-old again. If given a second chance, she could have changed things for the better. She could have prevented Sasuke from leaving Konoha. She could have saved lost lives. She could have even proven her worth as a kunoichi earlier than she had before.
Fate must have taken her wish a little far. Too far.
Sakura had no idea what to do.
Author's Note: Thus starts an epic tale for Sakura... How will she be able to gain Tobirama's trust yet keep him off her case?