"To be old and wise you must first be young and stupid."
Disclaimer: I. Do. Not. Own. Naruto.
Warning: I wrapped up what I could. Bonus chapters here on out will be Boruto generation based on the most popular ending.
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On the outskirts of Konoha was an orchard lined up with several different types of trees. It took over what was once known as the Senju compounds, as well as several other smaller districts that were ruthlessly bought out several years ago by a red-and-green-eyed man. Inside the orchard were apple trees, peach trees, cherry trees, orange trees, tea trees, pines, and patches of strawberry bushes, and rhubarb. At the front of the orchard sat a tea shop heavily decorated in cutesy artwork, flowers, and pastel colors. There were plenty of tables seated out front that was filled with merrily chatting family members.
Stepping inside the tea shop one would first be greeted by an ethereally handsome man. He was the maître d', a man by the name of Itachi. He had been working at the teashop since its very beginning. He was one of the first to arrive and the last to leave every day.
There were some rumors that he had been tricked into the job at first, but nowadays it was plain to see the man enjoyed the gentle atmosphere of the shop and the heavenly sweets it held inside.
One of the other constants about the teashop was the head chef who had been personally trained by the owner. There had been a time when the chef was a feared swordsman, but the regular guests would only laugh about such a thing. He might have been a tall, blue-skinned man with shark-like teeth, but he expertly made such dainty and cute treats. How could anyone think such a renowned baker was a "feared" swordsman?
Kisame certainly did nothing to disprove it.
He hadn't meant to become Gardenia's head chef, it just… it just kind of happened.
He remembered—vaguely—Sakura enthusiastically begging him to make one teeny-tiny desert with her for her birthday. He really had nothing better to do so he agreed.
That was over ten years ago.
Gardenia had other staff members, of course, but Itachi and Kisame were the two constant members at the main location.
Like Kakuzu predicted Gardenia was a booming success. He had no trouble persuading the owner—Sakura—to expand into a catering business. From there, he bribed her (through means neither disclosed) to open up ventures in other towns and allow him to take a percentage of their revenue.
Haku had trained under Sakura for three years before opening up the second location of Gardenia in Kirigakure. Matsuri trained for two years before setting up shop in Sungakure—and frequently returning to renew her apprenticeship with Sakura. The poor girl was head over heels for the pinkette. Sakura had even somehow managed to entice Kumogakure's original secretary, Mabui, into entering an apprenticeship under Sakura before opening another shop in Kumogakure.
To the current day, there was a competition being held in Iwagakure for the valued spot of Sakura's latest baking apprentice. The winner would not only learn about Sakura's baking style but also have the "prestigious honor" of opening up a Gardenia shop in Iwagakure.
With such a booming business finding waiters and waitresses wasn't difficult. The prospect of one free meal a day was enough to capture the hearts of most staff members.
Unfortunately keeping them was the problem.
For reasons Itachi and Kisame couldn't understand, not everyone could tolerate Sakura's behavior for prolonged periods of time.
So when things were tight there was really only one group of staff that Sakura could call on.
The Sakura Harem™ had grown over the past decade. Her tenacity was something to be admired, and many found it hard to turn down her baked goods. Some were charmed by her eccentric personality, and others simply too flustered to do anything else but say "What the heck, why not?"
Her harem started off slow at first before exploding in growth after her eighteenth birthday.
Her birthday party was… was one for the history books.
One for the 18+ only history books.
(Let's just say her hallucinogenic poisons were thoroughly tested that day)
It became common knowledge that powerful figures were members of her harem, shooting it up in prestige. When the Feudal Lord of Spring, Yukie, bragged about the perks of being a member, Konoha was flooded with fans begging to join the harem.
As much as Sakura wished she could accept them all, she had to acknowledge she only had so much time in her day to handknit so many sweaters—even with the help of shadowclones.
What a pity.
Sakura's harem wasn't the only noteworthy event of the decade.
Peace was (kind of?) established between the major shinobi villages. The current kages all worked hard to further build their positive relationship. Amegakure was a surprising mix to throw in. With the Akatsuki being officially pardoned, Nagato stepped out as Amegakure's new leader. Through a variety of uncanny coincidences, Nagato's new Akatsuki members were required to help the major shinobi villages again, and again, and again.
Purely through happenstances.
There was no insane pinkette behind the scenes causing the type of chaos only Akatsuki members would be able to help with.
Definitely did not happen.
As a result of the Akatsuki helping out the other villages so much—through coincidences, they insist—they were able to raise Amegakure up to the status of a major village.
As congratulations for their rise, Sakura had personally set up a Gardenia shop there that had a side business of mass-producing scented candles and oils.
Pine was the best seller.
Although there was an ongoing heated debate (war, really) amongst Sakura's harem members over the best smell.
Yukie and Kakuzu were both adamant that "Moonlight Snowdrops" were the best scent and they conspired to ruin all the pine candles in stock. Until Deidara and Sasori accidentally foiled their plan when they were conspiring to make "Summer Fireworks" the best scent ever.
It went without saying that Hidan fought valiantly to make "Bloody Evening" the best-scented candle to have ever existed, but he fell victim to Nagato and Gaara's scheme to propel "Cottonwood Cottage" as the number one bestseller.
Then Itachi and Kisame stepped in to turn "Tranquil Lake" into the greatest scent ever and it was just sheer madness from there on out. It was a quiet war unlike ever fought. The gossip mill was overrun by sheer nonsense, and there were days where those who competed were so paranoid about retaliation they couldn't step a foot outside.
The candle war was still ongoing, unfortunately. Shots were randomly fired, and the last one was caused by Karin and Hinata teaming up and literally setting all the stock on fire except their beloved "Cherry Blossom Kisses."
Yukie and Kakuzu ended up hitching to ensure their alliance to "Moonlight Snowdrops."
Or so Kakuzu insists. Yukie claims he finally fell for her charm and persistence.
Who's to say who was right?
Yukie was right.
'Course they weren't the only couple to hitch in the candle war. Kimimaro and Jūgo eloped after finding out they both loved "Lavender Falls" (and each other).
Oh candle war, when will you end?
But those were the major highlights over the past ten years.
There were some minor drama in between, and Sakura successfully nabbed some alien booty for her harem, but that tea wasn't ready to be spilled.
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I tapped my foot to the beat of music playing on the radio, whisking the caramel as I did so. The croquembouche tower I had prepared was nearly complete—all that was left was to begin stacking it with the caramel glue.
It would be a massive tower at 2 ½ meters (around 8 feet). It had taken me throughout the night and morning to prepare the delightful pastries. Although some of that time had also been spent on the one hundred layered marbled cake.
These two towering desserts would be lovely centerpieces for the party I was preparing for. I had shut down my cafe to host it, gleefully sending out invites to all guests weeks prior. Naruto, as the hokage, closed off the nearby roads to prevent innocent civilians being roped into the madness that was about to ensue in just a few hours.
After all, it was the ten-year anniversary of my harem.
(Okay, technically I started my harem at twelve with Haku, but I didn't have enough official members until after the war so after a lo-ong vote amongst the harem members we set the official date for my sixteenth birthday.)
And also my twenty-sixth birthday but who cared about that when it was harem party time?
Hinata entered my kitchen and without missing a beat she cheerfully said, "Boruto and Himawari are with my father for the weekend. Sasuke and Kakashi are nearly done getting Naruto caught up on paperwork, so he should be here."
"Excellent," I declared. "My beloved waifu, won't you please assist me in this croquembouche?"
"But of course," Hinata giggled. "How's the rest of the food coming along?"
"Kisame's got most of it taken care of, but Haku, Mabui, and Matsuri will be bringing more later. You can't have too much food at a party."
"Very true," she agreed. "Have you picked out which cake you're going to jump out of?"
"Yeah, I was thinking the one Karin made with the sakura petals. It seems very fitting."
Hinata nodded, accepting the massive bowl of caramel from me as I dug out some nonstick spoons from one of my drawers. "You'll look lovely!"
"Awww, thanks," I gushed. "I'm gonna flip a coin on what I'll be wearing though."
"Of course. Then you decided between two?"
"Birthday suit or tuxedo," I cheerfully answered.
"Two very difficult choices," Hinata remarked.
"Yes. The birthday suit will get the most reactions, but tuxedo is such a classy choice and everyone knows I'm a classy genderfluid embodiment of chaos."
Hinata only smiled sweetly since there was no possible way she could refute that explanation. We got to work on stacking the croquembouche, our kunoichi speed coming in handy to rapidly build it within an hour. We chatted while we worked, Hinata happily bragging about her children while I listened with great attention. As their godmother it made only sense that I knew about my godkids, right?
Although for some reason Boruto kept trying to run away when I came around.
It was so strange. Couldn't imagine why.
'Probably just a shy sweetie,' I had concluded to myself.
Karin and Yukie came by next with the cake I was supposed to jump out of. Karin had done an excellent job of making it look like a real cake, even I couldn't tell at a glance it was a fake cake. Both Karin and Yukie had no issues helping me set up for the party at the cafe.
We pushed out all of the food—Haku and Matsuri were already in the back laying out their own food they brought—then started to decorate with streamers, balloons, booby traps, hidden sprinklers, and so on. We were definitely leaning to a pastel theme in terms of colors and decor. Pastel only just barely won out over hard rock metal in the committee vote, but hey gotta give what the people want, right?
When the decorations were all set up there was only one thing left to do before everyone else arrived.
"Welp," I said with a big smile. "Time to pick the outfit! Heads will be birthday suit, tails will be a tuxedo."
I flipped the coin and it landed on—
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Hiding inside the cake was not as comfy as one might assume. It was cramped, a little chilly, and I was ravenous. I had forgotten to make any food for myself to eat while I focused on the croquembouche and the one hundred layered marble cake.
I listened quietly as one by one or two by two they arrived.
I felt Kakashi's chakra outside the cake and the poor man sighed loudly. "Please be wearing clothes."
'I'm not giving myself away and spoiling the surprise that easily,' I stubbornly thought to myself.
"Who me?" I heard Naruto's confused response to Kakashi's question. "I—I think I'm wearing clothes."
"Idiot," Sasuke sighed.
"Don't worry dear, you're wearing clothes," Hinata assured him.
"Phew. Kakashi had me worried there for a second."
"DAMN IT. Who put the exploding paint booby trap by the booze?!" Hidan howled from a distance.
Karin started to innocently whistle.
"You shouldn't be near the alcohol anyway, we have to wait for Sakura's annual speech," Yukie scolded Hidan.
"I'm sure it'll just as lovely as last year," Haku loyally added. "And now that everyone is here she'll arrive shortly."
I jumped out of the cake, arms spread wide open as I grinned victoriously at my harem. "Hey everyone! Let's get this party started!"
Ending: So was it heads or tails?
Final harem members:
Kurama (kind of)
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The twins were put to bed after a long day of playing with the puppies. They were gently tucked into bed, the boys rubbing their eyes sleepily and murmuring about wanting to play some more.
Brightheart laid beside them, an old guardian meant to watch over the toddlers. When they would cry at night she would pull them into one bed and curl around them. Her soft fur was always a comfort to them, and they always sought her out when confronted with something new or scary.
I lingered in the doorway of their room a few moments longer before smiling to myself and heading out to our back patio. Our home was on the orchard of the cafe—I always wanted a big yard. It was decent work to tend to, but it was absolute heaven compared to going on missions.
I'd gone on enough missions to last me lifetimes, a farming life was something I much preferred.
Kakashi felt the same. He had seen more than enough.
Even if he did not always remember, he had plenty of scars to encourage early retirement. He liked the orchard, starting up a small sheep farm and getting into handknitting with the wool he collected. It was such a marvelous process to watch him work.
The antithesis of what a shinobi was. Instead of hands stained red with blood, they would be stained with dyes of his favorite colors as he made sweaters for our family.
And occasionally members of the harem since they were essentially part of the family, too.
The kids loved all their uncles and aunts who fought over guardianship with them.
Naruto and Hinata currently had reigning rights, but—
A hand ghosted over my round abdomen.
'Yukie and Kakuzu are competing against Jūgo and Kimimaro for our little Riri's guardianship right.'
We already had the preliminary rounds. Haku, as always, won the right as a substitute guardian—in the event both Kakashi and me, and the winning guardians perished. Next week we would be holding the all-out prank war to decide on Riri's guardian.
'Goggle Gods, I hope it'll be a bloodbath.'
Not literally because of the trauma of the candle war still deeply… deeply troubled me, but I was at least part of a demon princess and my sadism must be satisfied.
I found my husband on the deck. He had a pile of freshly clipped wool that he was meticulously roving and dumping into a clean wicker basket. He glanced back at me as I slowly took a seat beside him.
It was a quiet, cool night. Due to the lack of technology in the Narutoverse there was no difficulty in seeing the vast amount of twinkling stars.
I blinked once and they reminded me of the kaleidoscope.
In these moments of silence, I took comfort in his presence. My existence… my existence wasn't always something I cherished. It was both a blessing and a curse and like the seasons change so too did my perspective on it. I had bad days, I had good days, and I had days like this—
I leaned into him, closing my eyes and letting out a soft sigh.
He didn't respond. He knew I'd speak if I was ready to. I listened to him pull the wool apart as he roved, the sound soothing to me.
"I'm going to die," I said after a long moment, these words ringing painfully true. "And when I wake up again, I won't get to see you again."
He didn't speak right away. Kakashi knew I had past lives—it was difficult to hide the fact from my spouse of over a decade. The flashbacks and triggers couldn't be explained away no matter how hard I tried. I was grateful he didn't ask for the details.
I didn't think I could stomach telling him what I had done to him.
"You will," Kakashi told me.
"How can you be so sure?" I asked him.
"Because," he said, gently placing down the tools and wool as he looked up at the starry sky. "I'll follow you. When you wake up again, I'll be there."
"Do you promise?" my voice trembled, a curdle of hope rising inside of me.
He turned to me, smiling with his eyes as he held up his pinky. "Always."
I hooked my pinky through his. "Always and always?"
"Always and always," he promised me.
Ending: Always and always.
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A/N on the third epilogue: Itachi was at 145 votes, Kisame was at 142 votes, and Madara fucking came in at 146. So… here's the first chapter of the sequel:
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Pain pierced throughout my lower abdomen, and the tips of my fingers and toes felt chillingly numb. The pain in my abdomen was enough to make me weakly cry out, but I found that my lungs were filled with blood instead.
Immediately realizing I was nearing death, I released the seal on my forehead and snapped my eyes open. My vision was a bit blurred, but I instantly focused on the giant (in proportion to my body) sword sticking out of my gut. It went straight through and dug into the wet ground underneath me. My chakra rushed to heal the broken ribs I had sustained, gently pulling them out of my lungs and repairing the tissue soon afterward. Once I could breathe enough, I grasped the sword (unfortunately I had to grab it by the blade, as the hilt was too high up for me to reach).
I slowly pulled the sword out, keeping my whimpers to a minimum.
The sword was jagged on all ends and ripped up my organs and nerves as I pulled it out. Thankfully I had lifetimes (haha) worth of medical experience to pull from and I expertly directed my chakra to each issue.
Once the sword was fully out of me, I cauterized the wound with my chakra and let out a long sigh of relief.
That relief was short lived when I realized that I had next to no chakra, and no idea what the hell happened.
Feeling vaguely annoyed, I slowly sat up and assessed my surroundings.
I was dead center in a crater of some kind. What created the crater, I wasn't entirely certain. There were wisps of spiritual energy burning all around me and the crater. The white smoke-like substance felt oddly familiar and I had to wonder if it came from me. The explosion that created the crater certainly came from where I currently laid, so it would be the logical conclusion.
I knew I had a disproportionate amount of spiritual energy than most other humans due to my uncanny ability to constantly be reborn after death.
That didn't explain the why, though.
Shakily, I stood up, and I realized that my body was significantly shorter than what I was used to.
'Disoriented?' I thought. I could've gotten a concussion from the blast. I didn't have enough chakra to safely check for a head injury, though.
Wobbly, I hobbled out of the crater and saw a grotesque sight.
There were bodies everywhere.
There had clearly been a fight between the two groups. One group looked like old-style bandits we had read about in history. The other group looked equally old-style, but from some kind of clan I didn't recognize. Each piece of clothing and armor they wore had the symbol of some kind of flaming bird. I almost wanted to call it a phoenix, but I didn't think phoenixes existed in the Narutoverse folklore.
There were wisps of spiritual energy burning on each of the bodies, and I had to wonder if perhaps the blast that I (maybe?) caused killed them.
Whoops. Hope they had better luck in the next life.
Then I realized that they were rather large in proportion to me.
That was about when I had the most horrifying thought.
With the last bit of chakra I had, I had spat out a low-level suiton jutsu into a hole in the ground. When the water stilled I caught my reflection.
I wanted to cry.
The hair was still Sakura's signature bubblegum pink.
The skin still matched her, too.
That was about it for similarities, though.
The body I was in was younger, for starters. I placed it about the age of five. My seal on my forehead, which was once a dull green, had transitioned into a dull blue. The nose was smaller, and face wider. The eyes, however, were the greatest give-away.
I was in someone else's body.
But, no. That wasn't quite right. I had the seal on my forehead, which meant that this body had been building up chakra for at least three years. A quick glance at my clothes confirmed that this body was likely with the flaming-bird group.
The group was attacked. The attack triggered enough stress to—to trigger the seal. To wake me up.
For me, it seemed like I had finished the great war in one moment then woke up here.
In reality, I had somehow died shortly after the war and been reborn as this girl.
Grief hit me, then.
Tears sprung from my eyes as I crumpled where I was. The pain of losing Kakashi and the others forever was too great for me to bear. My body quaked, and I let out the first of many sobs that night.
I cried and screamed, unable to find the strength to do anything else all throughout the night, and well into the morning.
My head hurt, but since I had enough chakra again I numbed the pain immediately.
It was the next day, and the bodies were starting to smell. I knew I had to find shelter for myself soon-ish. I had to eat and drink, otherwise, I would die and—and—who knew what other body I would wind up in. At least there was a good chance I still in the Narutoverse. I had chakra, and the seal, so that might have been a chance I could find Kakashi and the others again.
Even if it was a different reality and they had no idea who I was. For them, I would absolutely be prepared to earn their friendship again. Maybe I could even be lucky and I was born a bit further back from my timeline, and I could grow up with Obito, Kakashi, and Rin.
That vague sense of hope gave me the motivation to not let myself starve to death for the moment.
I gathered up the discarded kunai, and shuriken from the battle. I found a backpack that wasn't torn to bits, and I gladly stuffed the essentials inside. I stuffed in a few pairs of clothes, a senbon to use as a sewing needle for the time being, three canteens of water, and wire. That was about all I could fit into a backpack, and carry with the body I currently inhabited—ah, I mean—I did not have the strength to carry much for very far.
Thankfully whoever I had become had some impressive reserves for a child. Despite being five(?), she—ah, I—had Genin level reserves. The first thing to do was find shelter, and hopefully food along the way. Nothing around me seemed familiar, but I knew Konoha was stationed in the far East. I also knew I was definitely in the Land of Fire from the climate and the types of trees. It certainly wasn't Hashirama's famous forest, but the oak-maple hybrids around me only grew in the Land of Fire. Assuming I was in the Narutoverse I knew, at least, or something very similar.
I leaped up into the trees and began my long journey to what I hoped would be home.
I continued my journey for two days.
I had to stop and rest frequently because my body wasn't quite able to keep up with the strain. I hunted what I could, grateful I was in a rich forest and even more grateful that I stuck to botany even after obtaining the Salamander contract.
As I journeyed the land became increasingly familiar, yet alien. I came across a river that I knew, yet it was slightly different from my memories. The trees were younger, as well, and there were no paved roads.
And I never found a tree made by Hashirama.
I had my suspicions, and when I finally came across the spot where I knew Konoha would be made, they were confirmed.
I was in the past.
Perhaps another reality of Naruto's story, even. Regardless, though, I was most certainly the Warring Clans era.
In Madara and Hashirama's era.
Okay. I was definitely in some form of pre-Konoha.
There was a surge of panic for a moment but I immediately slapped my cheeks several times. The stinging was enough to keep my mind afloat as I viciously tore down and shoved my distraught aside.
I needed a place to stay. I had to find a permanent place to squat down and make safe because I simply could not move around forever. I was most familiar with the Land of Fire, and the area surrounding Konoha, so it would make the most sense to put my home in that forest. Even if it wasn't Hashirama's forest I knew enough of the major landmarks to always find my way through. Not to mention I knew which herbs were edible around here, and where they were to likely grow.
I set off with a new purpose: find a spot to plant my booty for the foreseeable future.
I needed a place that would provide easy access to clean water—running water would be best, but I wouldn't say no to an underground lake—and natural shelter against the weather. The Land of Fire could get some pretty intense storms and tornadoes come spring. I tracked down a few rivers I knew and followed them east until they turned into a more gentle stream. At the end of the stream I knew it fell into an underwater cavern that was nothing but water.
The trees above the cavern were strong with such easy access to water and the underbed was covered in plants.
'This will do,' I thought. I picked out a good strong tree and channeled my chakra into a chakra scalpel. Even if the trees weren't as big as I was used to, they were still pretty dang huge. It took a solid half an hour to cut through one of them enough to knock it down in a punch.
Then again my chakra scalpel was pathetically tiny. Even if I had decent sized reserves and the know-how to utilize them to the max I was still a child.
I had to take a small break afterward to regain my strength.
Then, with almost all of my reserves left, I created a large hill—wide enough to fit the Hyūga main wing compound, but only about three stories high. I manipulated the earth to spread it out as far as I could to make it look as natural as possible. The dirt wrapped around and covered the base of many trees and plants, but I was ultimately satisfied with my work. The hill cut off sharply at a ninety-degree angle at the highest point, and that was where I would be building my home inside the hill.
Given how rich the soil was, and the easy access to water, I was certain the top of the hill would be covered in grass within the week.
Unfortunately, that was all I could do for the day. My reserves were too low to safely work further. The hill took more out of me than I expected—and I suspected it was because the body I was currently in didn't have a natural affinity for doton ninjutsu—and I was forced to scarf down the last bit of food I had and collapse at the base of the hill.
I welcomed sleep like it was the only friend I had in the whole world.
In a way, that was now true.
My eyes creaked open and I immediately flushed out some of the lactic acid that had built up in my muscles from sleeping on such an uncomfortable "bed". Once that was done I headed out to catch food for the day, intent on finding rabbits so I could skin them for their fur.
I found a couple of foxes that made my heart ache with loneliness. I left them alone, though. I'd like to imagine Naruto and Kurama would be happy I did.
After two hours of hunting, I found a lone doe and a few rabbits. I was quick with their deaths, never wanting to cause an animal pain, and gave a small thanks. I brought them back to my hill, eating one of the rabbits first, saving its fat, and hanging its skin and fur to dry over a small fire. The trees were large enough that I doubted the smoke would break through and be spotted.
Not that I cared if it was spotted or not. Company would have been nice.
Then I set to work at cutting up the tree.
My intention was to manipulate the dirt under the hill into hardening into a stone wall. I'd create a box inside of the hill using the stone wall, and then another box on top of it. I would use the wood from the tree to place on the inside of the box, as well as make the doors and window frames.
I'd have to go digging for some clay to make a fireplace inside (which I would have to create a storage seal above it to suck in the smoke, since I didn't want my home to be so easily discovered and constantly having smoke pour out the top of a hill would be a dead giveaway. Thank the Goggle Gods Naruto made me learn the basics, and I remembered enough from Miwako, Naasica, and Nao.), but I doubted it would take more than a day.
My back, shoulders, and limbs ached fiercely from cutting up the tree, but I continued. The sooner I had it done, the better off I would be.
Once I was satisfied with what I cut up, though, I knew I had to treat it, next.
'Before I'm done, I better go ahead and hunt down what I'm going to treat it with.'
Typically I would have bought a simple wood treatment, but I doubt that was available, yet.
The only oils I had available were natural animal fats, and the oils from the nearby olive trees.
I paused in my cutting to create two earth clones to start the process of extracting oil from the olive tree.
When the sun dipped down and I lost light, I ate the last rabbit and went to sleep.
Again, I woke with the sun.
I sent out clones to start hunting down more oil from the tree, as well as edible plants. I worked on carving up the deer, cooking the meat and setting the fur off to the side to dry in the sun. I ate a bit of the deer, chewing the meat slowly as I procrastinated doing more physical labor.
I got to work on treating the wood I had, knowing it would take several treatments and at least three days before it would be ready to use. Once that was done I headed out to get clay to make for the fireplace. I headed a bit further from my home, knowing I'd have to dig for quite a bit and not wanting a big hole near it. Then I channeled chakra into my fists and began pounding straight down, cracking and breaking up the earth before grabbing large chunks and throwing it away.
My tiny body trembled at the exertion, but I knew I could keep going, so I did.
I reached the clay soon enough and began carrying it back to my humble abode.
By the time I had everything said and done the sun was already dipping over the horizon and my clones had finished gathering what they could. With the last bit of sunlight at my back I lit another fire and tried to relax.
I wasn't able to heal myself much, as the muscles had to become damaged and regrow in order for the body to become stronger, but I did take away some of the trembling.
I munched on some sour berries and ate a bit more of the deer. I'd have to finish it off tomorrow morning, as the meat would be spoiled by tomorrow evening for sure.
After three days had passed, I finally had the barebones of my homemade. I made the fireplace first, sculpting it from clay and adding stone outside and around it. I smoothed it with my chakra. It certainly wasn't a masterpiece—scarcely more than a glorified clay/stone fire pit at the far back wall of my home with high walls, but I was proud of it. The seal above it was harder to make, since I only had my blood on hand.
Blood, of course, was not encouraged in most seals. Since the seal I was utilizing was extremely basic, though, it would make do. I drew it on a slab of stone I carved and then placed it above the fire pit (I had to draw a sticking seal to the back of it).
I brought in the wood after it was treated, using my scalpel to neatly slice through bits that were too large. I laid down the floorboards and put up wooden walls against each of my stone walls. I added sticking seals and bug-away seals on each of the stone walls before I laid the wood over it.
I carved a square out on the ceiling of the first stone box, then I made crude stairs (literally planks sticking out the wall) so I could climb up to the stone room I made above. I made another fire pit up there, knowing that it could get horribly cold in winter.
Unfortunately, I ended up having to make a few pillars on the bottom room to better support the top room since the stone was so heavy. I wasn't able to wrap the wood around them, though, so they remained naked.
I still had a lot of wood left over, though, so each day I sent out clones to hunt for me while I carved furniture. I wasn't a master craftsman like others, but I had great motor control and an eidetic memory (thankfully that carried over). I first carved some counters for my kitchen—I placed them on either side of the fire pit on the first floor, making enough so they went all the way to both walls.
I made more counters to place in front of them to act as the invisible wall for the kitchen. I added a stone basin for my sink, knowing I'd have to set up a plumbing system soon.
I made a table with chairs, and several flower pots I would keep indoors so I could grow essential things throughout winter (Sasori taught me a reflection seal. I would draw one seal somewhere that would get a lot of sunlight, then draw the opposite seal above my plants. The first seal would suck in the sunlight and spit it out over the second seal. The seal only worked with sunlight and water). I covered both of the side walls in my first room with the flower pots and filled them with dirt.
Then I decided it was finally time to work on plumbing.
Obviously I would be drawing from the underwater lake, but I would have to filter my dirty water, too.
I knew the filter seal—Kakashi taught me that one—and it took many tries to finally get it right.
I made a big stone bowl away from my home and I carved the filter seal seven times into it.
Then I went back home, dug out a hole in my first room and set to work on making a small tunnel system directly to the underwater cave below. I carved suction seals deep under the water, and one reflection seal before heading back up. I put one of the reflection seals in the stone basin of my kitchen, another one in the stone tub I made and put in the room above, and the last one I put outside my home in case I had to water my plants outside.
Then I put a suction seal in my sink and tub, and the reflection seal to both those suction seals in the giant stone bowl I made, then a suction seal.
So: Water would be drawn from the underwater lake and put into either my sink, tub, or an area outside to water my plants. When I was done with that water I would activate the suction seals on the inside of the sink and tub, and the water would be dropped into the big stone bowl away from my home. As the bowl filled with water the filter seals would purify it (sucking in impurities before spitting them out elsewhere). Once the bowl was filled, and no longer dirty, I would activate the last seals and it would be suctioned back into the lake.
I would have to redraw the seals about once a year, but it would have to do until I could get a hold on some proper pipes.
By the time I had all of that set up I had accumulated enough furs to make a bed.
I'd probably have to hunt down a town and steal some basic essentials I couldn't scavenge from the forest, unfortunately. Underwear would be a necessity that I couldn't make safely from fur, and I had no way of making soap. I needed grain seeds, and some livestock, too.
They'd be too expensive, so I'd have to steal. I wouldn't steal from a struggling family, though, desperate or not.
I needed seeds for medicinal herbs I couldn't easily find.
Salt would be another big one. I'd need proper ink to turn into chakra ink so I could make a cooling and heating seal (cooling seal for fridge/freezer, and heating seal for delicious hot water).
Those were the big ones I absolutely needed. Everything else could come with time.
So, a week and a half after I started building my home I headed off. I knew where the nearest dirt road was and I could guess it would lead me to some kind of merchant town. I remembered from my history classes that there were plenty of towns that warring clans used as neutral grounds.
Everyone had to shop somewhere.
It took me half a day of sprinting with chakra bursts before I found my nestling little town. It wasn't even a quarter of the size of Konoha, but it was surrounded by decent-sized farms I could steal from.
No one paid the dirty, ragged, little girl much glance. It was obvious I had no money, and I doubt many of them thought I could have been a danger to them.
The long pink hair was a dead giveaway for my gender in a stereotypical sense. The big blue eyes didn't help dissuade that notion, either.
I found a monk with shockingly silver hair. Monks were typically trustworthy, so I hoped he would be able to point me in the direction of the town's herbalist.
My throat cracked from being unused for so long. "H-Hello."
The monk turned around and I felt my heart shatter.
My eyes burned and I couldn't stop the tears from falling down my cheek.
The monk was a mirror image to Kakashi, with the beauty mark on the chin and everything. The only difference was that his nose was ever so slightly smaller and rounder. My bottom lip quivered. "Kakashi-sensei?"
The monk gave me a smile that did not reach his eyes and was so definitely not Kakashi's smile. "I'm sorry, little girl. I'm Asao. Do you need a place to stay?"
I rapidly shook my head. "N-No. S-Sorry. You look l-like someone I knew. Ple-please, do you kn-know where herbalist is?"
"This town doesn't have a herbalist," he responded. "Why do you need one?"
"Seeds. Can't find s-some."
Asao kneeled down so he was at my eye-level, his eyes still cold. "Why do you need seeds, little girl?"
"Grow my g-garden," I managed, my voice hoarse. "Sorry, been a wh-while since I talked."
"It's okay," he said in soothing tone that failed to soothe me. "Maybe I can help. I'm familiar enough with the land and the basics."
"'Kay. Need t-turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, holy basil, saint wort, g-garlic, sea buckthorn, an-andrographis, calendula, co-comfrey, and grain seeds."
Asao frowned minutely. "That's quite a list. Are your parents doctors?"
I couldn't resist smiling at that. "N-No parents. I'm a doctor."
He raised an eyebrow.
I pulled out my kunai and he immediately twitched. He didn't jerk backward, but I could see the surprise on his face. I dragged the dull tip of it across my palm and held up my bleeding hand. Then I put the kunai in my mouth and healed my hand with Shosen.
Asao's eyes were wide when I was done. "That's quite a gift. Who taught you?"
"Someone n-not alive," I responded back honestly. "Jus' me now. Help me w-with seeds?"
Asao then smiled, his eyes less cold. "Even better. The doctor in this village recently passed away and I had been sent here by the Fire Temple to assist until a new one is found. Heal the people of this village for today, and I will fetch you your seeds."
"I need m-more than seeds," I admitted to him.
"I'm sure we'll find you something," he responded. "Come with me."
My first patient was a middle-aged woman. There was a fairly decent sized gathering outside the clinic, their eyes filled with open skepticism. The woman approached me with her arm in a sling, a sneer on her face. "Broke it a month ago. Can a little thing like you properly set it?"
"Can d-do better," I told her, reaching my glowing green hand out to her. She minutely jerked backward but allowed me to finally touch her.
I numbed her pain, and her eyes widened. I then stitched her bone back together and repaired the surrounding muscles. She pulled her arm out of the sling and rotated it, awe on her face. "It's completely better."
Gasps and whispers broke out from the crowd then a man shoved his way through and pulled up his pants leg to show a foul-smelling infectious filled cut. "Fix me, quick! I-I don't want to lose my leg."
I gave him a comforting smile and patted for him to sit beside me. "W-Will fix you up. Good a-as new."
When the sun set, I was out of chakra and had to turn away a few patients. I promised them I would take care of them in the morning, though, which comforted them. Asao stood waiting outside of the clinic with a burlap sack in his hands. It was decently sized.
My smile widened as he held it out to me and I found many smaller sacks inside. "Thank you."
"I see you helped the villagers," he commented.
"Will stay ov-overnight and finish in the morning. Gotta go back h-home when done, though. I-I think I will come back, though. Once a week sh-should be enough."
Asao nodded, reaching over and patting the top of my head. "I think they would welcome you. You do not wish to stay?"
"Worked too damn hard to give up on now," I muttered. "My home."
Asao gave a shrug. "I can't complain as long as you return. It was my duty to help oversee the sick and find a new doctor, so you assisted me there and I thank you. I'll go fetch one of the villagers to show you the previous clinic."
"These belonged to the previous doctor. If you can use anything, please take it," Sayori, wife of the village chief, told me, gesturing towards the pile of clothes. She had ushered me inside a rundown clinic after Asao left.
I smiled in relief. They were large and relatively in good shape. The previous doctor must have excellent care of them, quickly mending any issues. It would be easy to put together clothes for someone of my stature from such a variety of options. I would even be able to make some blankets.
My hands gently touched the clothes. "He m-must have been a careful man."
"He was," Sayori responded softly, a somber light in her eyes. "He will be missed."
"Every seventh day I'll come back here," I murmured. "I d-don't live far, half a day's journey directly east, in case you need me for an emergency."
"Thank you," Sayori said. "Doctors are scarce enough to find, let alone one so capable."
I shrugged. "'S what I do."
A flicker of hesitation appeared on her face before she shook her head. Sayori gently touched my shoulder. "I know you're a young girl, Sensei, and that can cause a lot of trouble. You saved a lot of lives today, so I know I speak for everyone when we say we don't want you to get hurt. It might be best for you to hide your gender."
My eyes flickered back up towards her and I nodded slowly. "You're probably right. I re—I mean. I kn-know this time period is not kind for women. Will the village hide my identity?"
"We owe you our lives and good health."
I turned back towards her. "Okay. Call me Sasori, then. Hatake Sasori."
I left the village with more than I had anticipated getting. I had most of the herbs I needed to get started on a medical garden, in addition to a few herbs I could grow for eating purposes. Obviously I was going to need a fairly big garden in order to make enough food to sustain myself—shinobi and kunoichi had notoriously high metabolisms and needed to eat a lot; it would be even worse for me since I would be pushing myself to build my chakra reserves—but thankfully I had plenty of land around me and enough water to do so.
I was graciously given five fertilized eggs that would hatch into chicks for me in a couple of weeks; which gave me plenty of time to construct a proper shelter for them. In addition, I was provided with ink, a brush, and everything else left behind by the previous doctor. Most of the stuff I left at the clinic because it would be easier to keep it there and use it on the villagers, rather than bringing it back and forth. I took most of the clothes, though, because I sorely needed them. I definitely took the soap, too, and Asao promised to drop by the village occasionally to bring more soap.
Soap was a cherished necessity as a doctor.
All in all, it was a great haul for me.
I kept the eggs under my clothes and as warm as I could while I set about making a nest. I first drew up a simple heating seal—nothing extravagant, but enough to keep them nice and toasty until I made a shelter for them. I carved out a box from the tree and stuffed some of my raggedy clothes to use as an insulator. I then drew the heating seal on the top inside of the box and immediately felt the entire box radiate heat. It would last for about a month until I had to redraw it, but by that point the eggs should have hatched.
For the moment I kept the eggs inside my house while I set to work on my garden and their coop. The garden I decided to grow right outside the front of my home, both for easier access and because my hill would block some of the worst winds. I had to uproot (chop down then dig up) a few more trees to make room, and I decided to use them to make a makeshift fence to keep out any animals from munching on my treasured plants.
With what was left of my chakra after chopping down the trees I made another hill beside my home and another little stone box cave inside of it for the coop. I carved heating and cooling seals inside of it, either one would activate once it felt a specific temperature (heating would activate at 60 degrees Fahrenheit, or 15 Celsius; while cooling would trigger at 75 Fahrenheit or 23 Celsius. It would keep the cave at the ideal temperature). I drew the same seals with ink in my own home, but they would have to be manually triggered on my end. I didn't think I would really need them for my home, but having the option in the dead of winter would be swell. I carved quite a few cooling seals on a couple of stone boxes I made, making a crude freezer and refrigerator, and with glee, I drew heating seals on my tub upstairs.
I built a fence around the cave-coop, making it high enough that other animals couldn't hop over. I would plant some poison ivy around it to discourage any diggers, too.
With some long grass, I weaved much bedding and placed them inside the cave, and I made another long and shallow stone bowl for water. I carved numerous filter seals in it to hopefully keep it clean and safe for them. Then I finally brought in the eggs and placed them in the nice and comfortably warm coop before getting started on my garden.
Tiredly, but meticulous—frankly it felt like I was on auto-pilot for most of this—I carved fence posts out of the fallen trees. I didn't have nails, or really anything to keep them together, but sap and sticking seals. I would have to dig them far enough into the ground they would hold—I would harden the ground around them to help with that—and put them so close together those small animals wouldn't be able to crawl through. I was making a misshapen privacy fence, essentially. I started at the base of my home and encircled a large area. I moved around a lot of thorny and thick bushes and replanted them directly outside my fence so anyone traveling through wouldn't see the man-made fence. When I had the chance I would plant poison ivy, and oak all around it, knowing most animals—and humans—would keep away from the area upon seeing such a massive undergrowth of naturally growing poison.
By the time I had my fence up, my herbs planted, and my coop made it was time to return to the village again.
I found myself looking forward to the human company.
Most of the villagers were fatigued but had no serious injuries. I eased their aches, encouraging healthy muscle growth and creating medical charts for each of them. For that weekend I went out of my way to spend individual time with each of my patients and taking detailed notes about them to reference. I needed to know their allergies, genetics, previous injuries and so on. The doctor before me didn't do much in regards to such, and the villagers seemed surprised at my questions.
I never pried too much about their sexual life, or anything equally as embarrassing. In my previous life, such questions were expected of doctors, but here not so much. I was still a stranger to them, even if I saved their lives and they promised to keep my identity a secret. In time I would earn their trust, and hopefully be able to ask the uncomfortable questions, but for now, I would have to make do with what I had.
The doctor before me still had some dried herbs I could use, but I knew I would have to grow my own stock as soon as possible.
All in all… I was enjoying my time as their doctor.
The first snowfall of that year—since I had arrived, at least—was a heavy one. It had been getting progressively colder in the past couple of weeks and when snow finally fell it stuck to the ground without melting. It snowed heavily on throughout the night, and I was instantly grateful I had the foresight to create underground gardens. My topside garden would be dead for the rest of the winter, so I would have to rely on what grew in my little—okay actually it was pretty big—makeshift basement/greenhouse.
When I first opened my eyes on that snowy morning I felt a shiver crawl through my spine and I hurriedly tossed more wood on the fire. It wasn't necessary because of the heating seal, but it was comforting. I liked the sound of the crackling wood, and the smell of ash reminded me of Naruto and Kurama.
I stretched out my limbs and freed my hair from its nightly ponytail. I found it easiest to comb my hair at night after a hot bath and put it in a braid so I didn't have to worry about it when I got up in the morning. I slipped into a pair of loose, thick, black pants and a scarlet red yukata with a black obi. I chose to stick to the bright-colored clothing to make it easier for the villagers to find me, and recognize me. Not many wore such colorful clothing in such a dangerous area.
'I should head down to the stream,' I thought. 'Try to save what herbs I can. I don't want to pull from my garden unless necessary.'
With that in mind I pulled on my boots and headed out into the snow. I immediately began to regulate my body's temperature with chakra, deciding it was too cold not to. I stopped by the coop, checking in on my darling chickens before I headed out. All of them were snuggled with one another, still asleep, but seemingly content. I could feel the heat coming off their coop, and I was glad I wouldn't have to redraw the heating seal again so soon.
I made a clone to pull out the dead, dormant, dying, whatever, plants from my topside garden. Might as well preserve and press what I could. I headed out, though, hopping over my fence and from treetop to treetop until I reached the stream.
To my surprise, there was a thin layer of ice over it.
I meandered down to the stream, examining the ice with careful eyes.
'Strong first frost,' I thought, 'gonna be a cold winter.'
Feeling a little apprehensive about that, I outwardly frowned. Thankfully I had awoken in the summer, and already had a good shelter constructed before the cold winter came. It'd be dreadful if I had to do all that work in the dead of winter.
'I'll have to harvest some verbascum and equisetum before I head into the village in case anyone caught frostbite,' I thought. 'Better grab some chamomile, too. Hopefully no one will be stupid enough to go out wet in weather like this, but you never know.'
My lips twitched up in a reluctant fondness for the villagers. Despite only being their doctor for a few months they had all grown on me. They were my patients.
Not to mention they were the only human contact I regularly had.
Asao still visited about once a month, bringing me a bit more seeds he happened to pick up.
I heard a sudden crunch of snow a little ways from me and my head snapped up.
There was a boy, certainly no older than six, stumbling in the snow towards me. He wore a dark navy blue yukata and black pants with a black obi tied around him. His hair was obsidian and spiky, and upon seeing his face I instantly knew who he was.
It didn't matter what life I was in, I would always recognize such a treasured soul.
I took a step towards him, and his eyes met mine.
I felt my breath catch in my throat because his eyes were glazed over and looked only vaguely coherent. His cheeks and nose were red, and I saw him wobble on his feet. Ever still, he weakly raised his hands and arms in obvious show of defense.
"It's okay," I immediately soothed the young child. "I'm a doctor."
His brow furrowed, but before he could say anything his body swayed and his eyes rolled back.
I lurched towards him, my knees hitting the snowy ground as I barely caught him before he face-planted into it.
So many questions whirled around in my head.
'What was he doing here? Were the Uchiha close by? He wasn't in a battle uniform, why was he out here? Did he already meet Hashirama?'
I shoved them all away, though, because none of it mattered.
Right now I had a sick boy in my arms.
And I'd be damned if I didn't save him.
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A/N: But like I can't do my man Kisame that dirty so even though he "lost"…
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At a glance, one might find them strange.
He was a tall man with an intimidating face: all sharp teeth, narrowed yellow eyes, and a presence similar to that of a starving shark.
She was a small woman with a delicate frame, soft baby pink hair, and sparkling green eyes filled with warmth.
Such two contrasting figures shouldn't be seen together. Indeed, a few passerby civilians had been concerned about the pinkette's safety. The civilians would linger, watching them for several minutes in fear of something horrible happening.
What they would find instead was two people smiling kindly at one another and laughing quietly over things they couldn't hear. They would see the man open the door for her, and she would blush and smile with such infectious joy the onlookers could not help but feel at ease. The more anyone watched the two, the more blatantly apparent it was there was a genuine love there.
The two moved and breathed in synch, each action a reflex from being so in tune with their partner. There was a level of comfort and intimacy a human could not achieve easily in one lifetime.
There was love between them. Love so sincere and powerful no one could find the strength to voice their previous prejudice against them.
Because if anyone saw them together for more than a minute, they could not deny what was there.
The couple were once seen as an oddity, but the years marched on and their affection for one another did not dwindle.
She still looked at him like he hung the moon, and he showed her a smile saved just for her.
Happy and in love they would stay for many, many years in a world finally at peace.
Secret ending: Demon Princess & Her Knight
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*Takes a bow*
Hope y'all enjoyed this mildly insane story. Sorry I suck with endings.
First two chapters of the sequel are up, but it's only so y'all can have an easier time to keep track of when I'll actually be posting the sequel. I need to finish RR at the very least before I do so. *tired shrug*
If any of y'all like my work I'd appreciate it if you checked out my original story, Dawn of the Rose. Full copies available on Amazon & Etsy, and I'm releasing a free chapter of it on wattpad every Saturday.
Question: What candle scent are you?
Reviews are love!