Summary: "Don't worry," she says, bloody grin directed at him. "Most of it belongs to the other guy." She points to the decapitated figure on the ground.
Feature(s)/Warning(s): Time Travel, some gore, some suicidal talk, poor attempts at flirting, a bit of OOC mix
Pairing(s): Izuna x Sakura x Tobirama, minor Hashirama x Madara
On days like these, Izuna truly wishes someone would strike him down so he didn't have to fight anymore. He's so damn tired of seeing friend and foe drop like flies. He's so damn tired of seeing bloodshed, of hearing the cries of his dying relatives, of hearing the cries of the dying Senju. The loss of two brothers had been enough. He doesn't want to fight anymore. He wants to rest.
He blocks a swipe to his neck. Senju Tobirama is his equal, on and off the battlefield. Both skilled and strong and loyal to their respective families. Both geniuses in their own right. Both younger brothers to more powerful, more skilled soon-to-be clan leaders. Yes, Senju Tobirama is his equal. That's why they seek each other out during these fights. To fight another Uchiha or Senju would be a disgrace and his family - for all that people like to assume - actually respect that. The members of the Senju seem to have come to the same conclusion.
He allows himself a brief moment to glance at his brother. They're making a show, he thinks. They're not trying to kill each other. He sees the desperation on his brother's face, sees the matching look of Senju Hashirama's. They want to the fighting to end soon. Tobirama slices his cheek during his distraction. I want it to end soon as well.
"If you even remotely value your life, you will not allow yourself to remain distracted." Cold, harsh, and annoyed. These are emotions Izuna has come to associate with the man before him, the man who has eyes too much like his own.
Izuna blinks, a smirk slowly forming on his lips. "Don't tell me what or whom to value, Senju." The words cause the necessary reaction because, in that single moment, Izuna repays Tobirama for the cut on his face. "Just adding another red line. You seem to like those."
And then it's sudden. It's so sudden that all fighting ceases. An abrupt cease that leaves many staggering. Violent chakra is approaching and it's approaching fast. The speed is amazing. It is neither Senju nor Uchiha. Several other chakras can be felt, but hardly. The weight of the supreme chakra nearly drowns them out. Several figures - Kumo, Izuna's eyes narrow - burst into the clearing. Many are bleeding, bruised, and carrying others.
When a flash of pink and red shoots into the clearing, several members of both clans leap away to avoid being run over. A woman stands before them all. No. A kunoichi. She's might be only a couple of inches shorter than him. Her hair is pink caked in red. Blood, he thinks absentmindedly. Her battle kimono is ripped, the only thing keeping her upper form from being exposed is the bandages wrapped around her chest.
What happens next brings forth a variety of emotions. There where nine Kumo shinobi at first. Now there is one. The unknown woman tore through them like butter. Izuna suppresses a flinch when she effortlessly snaps the neck of one and tosses him to the side as though he is a waste of space. She flashsteps in front of an Uchiha, smiles politely, askes to borrow his sword just as politely, and takes it from the limp hand of his clansman.
The head of another Kumo shinobi hits the floor in a matter of seconds, his body quickly following and the sword is back in his clansman's hand seconds later. After that, it's a bloodbath. For only a small group of Kumo shinobi, the woman holds the great vendetta he has ever seen capable in one person's body and that speaks a lot given his own experiences. All but one Kumo are dead. The others already making blood puddles on the grass, dead from years of battle.
"You," she says in a quiet voice. She's much closer to Izuna now, "slaughtered that entire family single-handedly. And for what? A measly few loafs of bread? That's pathetic. I will avenge them now and take from you and your comrades as I please."
"Mercy," the Kumo has dropped to his knees. "Mercy. I beg of you."
The woman's crackle sends shivers down the spines of many. "Mercy? I don't recall you being merciful to the parents of the children you slew in cold blood. That little girl begged you not to kill her infant brother." The woman tilts her head. "But you did it anyway." She pulls a kunai from her dirty hip pouch. "And now I'm going to watch you die."
One moment, the man has his hands clasped in front of him. The next, his hands are grasping his neck in an attempt to stop the bleeding. The woman watches him with stony eyes, nothing betraying her frozen expression. The man gurgles, reaching out to her, before dropping his arm. His dead before hitting the ground.
Izuna has never seen something more beautiful in his life.
"Forgive me," the woman bows. It's very clearly mocking. "I shall now depart to allow the Uchiha and Senju to continue their prideful, yet foolish, battle to the death." She bows again and then disappears in a swirl of leaves.
No one moves immediately.
At least the fighting has stopped.
He doesn't see the woman again until several months later.
A tentative truce has been called between the Uchiha and the Senju. Izuna places a hand over a faintly aching scar on his chest courtesy of a one, Senju Tobirama. The man nearly ended him like he wanted a few months back. Unknown to his opponent or his brother, Izuna was impressed. Is impressed. The other man is far more skilled than he originally thought. If it weren't for the oldest Senju, he would be dead now.
The woman is sitting on a large tree branch, calmly staring down at him. Her eyes are a unique shade of green and he's silently glad to see her free of blood and in seemly good health. Her battle kimono has been replaced by a simple one, dull in color. It only serves to make her ridiculous hair stand out more.
"Are you stalking me, Uchiha?"
Izuna's eyes widen. "What?! Of course not, my lady!"
She snorts. "Hardly a lady given my actions, Uchiha."
"What is your clan?" He calls up to her. "Someone with your skill should be known across the land."
She hops down easily, cracking her neck casually. "Are you of the belief that only clans produce skilled warriors, Uchiha? I'll have you know that my entire family was civilian, save for the extended parts which delved into trading. As far as I know, of course, which isn't saying a lot." She brushes past him. Izuna swears to himself that she smells like flowers.
"Can I have your name?"
"Asking for a name without offering one is impolite. I expected better of the Uchiha's head's little brother." She takes a seat on a fallen tree. "But, given that you can't seem to stop looking at my hair, I'll let it slide. I know it stands out among all that I wear. It's distracting."
"You obviously know who I am them," he replies. "But for the sake of formalities, my name is Uchiha Izuna. Current heir to the Uchiha clan." Izuna bows. "At your service."
Her laughter brings a slight flush to his cheeks. "Pleased to meet you, Izuna-san. My name is Sakura."
"You won't offer your family name? At all?"
Sakura smiles faintly, eyes dimming. "It no longer matters in the scheme of things. Simply call me Sakura."
Feeling as though he caused her a great distress, Izuna takes a seat next to her, maintaining an appropriate distance between them, and leans back. The fallen tree is large enough for him to do so. "Where are you from then?"
"Ever the curious one, Izuna-san?" Sakura laughs a little. "From here and there. I've lived in many villages, have traveled with many people, and have stayed with several clans. Whatever home was...it's not important anymore. What's important is that I keep going until I'm satisfied."
"Wanderers wander until their satisfied enough with a place to settle down."
"So, you'll keep wandering until you find a home?"
Sakura smiles. "That's the plan."
Well, this certainly isn't fair.
The moment his eyes connect with Senju Tobirama, it's as if the world stopped. They stare at each other, frozen. Clearly, neither had expected the other. Sakura waits patiently next to Tobirama, pealing an apple without a care in the world. When she looks up, she smiles.
"It's about time you showed up, Izuna-san. I was beginning to think I scared you off." The statement causes Tobirama to quirk an eyebrow at him, almost as a silent challenge. Not one to back down easily, Izuna takes the space on Sakura's other side. "So," Sakura starts after a tense moment of silence, "how are the peace talks coming along? Good, I hope. Lord knows it's about damn time."
"Well enough," Tobirama states. "Tension has...lessened." Izuna can't help but snort at that. "Our brothers want to create a village together. A place where children don't have to kill each other."
Sakura sighs while tossing the apple peel behind her. "How romantic."
Izuna chokes on air. He and Tobirama share a mutual look of horror over Sakura's head. "Sakura-san, please. Don't say things like that. My brother isn't - And certainly not with that Senju - "
"What's wrong with my brother?!" Tobirama demands. "Hashirama may be foolish but he would never pair off with that creature!"
"Watch yourself, Senju!"
Leaning forward, Sakura taps the ground with the heel of her foot and it shakes. She remains undeterred at the action, shoving apple slices into her mouth. Izuna, after regaining his sense of place, stares at her like she's otherworldly. Simultaneously, he and Tobirama shift away from her. "You're both being ridiculous, you know that, right? They want to create a village together and have stopped at nothing to achieve that. They're practically engaged."
"Illogical. They cannot procreate together."
Sakura thrusts her knifed hand into the air. "Ah," she laughs, "well, isn't it lucky of them to have two perfectly fit, perfectly handsome younger brothers who can carry on the line as well as several clan members to maintain the stability of each respective clan?"
"You think I'm handsome?"
She laughs. "Of course, you would only notice that part." And then Sakura smiles down at her lap. "They're getting so close to that dream. Aren't you happy for them?"
He catches Tobirama's eyes over Sakura's head again. "I'm happy the fighting has stopped. Losing another brother to war would have ended any and all attempts at peace." His lips twitch. "You're a good opponent, Senju, but fighting you was a pain in the ass." Izuna pats his chest, a phantom pain popping up. "You almost ended me. That would have caused a lot of problems."
"You are an adequate opponent."
"It must be killing you inside to say that." Izuna's eyes turn red. "Say it again so I can remember this moment exactly as it is."
Sakura reaches out and yanks on his ponytail. "Don't be mean, Izuna-san." Tobirama snorts. On this day, a shaky friendship form between him and the Senju whose strength is equal to his own. Izuna knows that if his brother, and Hashirama, saw this - things move up and down like the mountains behind them.
"You like her," Izuna states. It's just him and the Senju - Tobirama, he corrects mentally - today. Surprising for both of them to actually show up. It's been a year since peace has been reached by the Uchiha and the Senju. Konohagakure, a name his brother came up with, is half of a camp of mixed clans and civilians and half an actual village with construction underway. Izuna is proud of how far they've all come.
Tobirama doesn't look up from where he is sharpening a small selection of kunai. "You like her as well."
"Where do we go from here?" He takes a seat on the opposite end of the fallen tree; Sakura refers 's to it as their tree. "I won't fight you for her."
"As if she would allow something like that to happen in the first place." Tobirama pauses, finally looking up. "She'll make her choice when - if - she wants too. She doesn't view Konoha has her home. She's a wanderer and she may choose to leave one day and never come back."
"She doesn't view Konoha as her home yet," Izuna corrects, smiling a little at the cocked eyebrow. "But she will. Where's the hard-headed Senju confidence?"
"It doesn't matter regardless. In the end, if she chooses, one of us will be left behind." There's something bitter in the way he speaks.
Izuna can relate. "The unfortunate side effect of being the younger brother." That actually brings a tiny smile to Tobirama's face. He counts that as a win. Their friendship has its ups and downs. Most of the tension comes from being within listening or seeing distance of his older brother. Madara has a hard time accepting that they're friends. He can't say he really blames his brother.
"We're moving past the fighting, brother. Isn't this what you wanted?"
Madara was hard pressed for weeks but eventually relented. (Izuna suspects that it has something to do with Hashirama, but he'll never say it to his brother's face. At least, of course, for now.)
"Spar with me," Izuna demands as he leaps to his feet. "We haven't done that and members of our clan have been doing it for months."
"And have your brother rain his fury down on me?"
"Scared?" Izuna taunts. "Dear big brother will have to get over it."
"I almost killed you, Uchiha. Can you truly blame him?"
Izuna's lips twitch. "I would have been a casualty of war as many of our family members were."
"One would think you wanted to die at one point."
"I'm glad the fighting stopped," he replies instead. "Your family was our biggest competitor and the biggest reason our numbers were dwindling but," he emphasis when Tobirama opens his mouth to retort, "the combined strength of our clans is telling of how powerful we are. Only foolish shinobi - those of Kumo, for example - would attempt to detach us of the peace we needed. And, to respond to your statement," Izuna looks down, "I did. At one point."
When Tobirama doesn't reply right after, Izuna feels foolish for revealing such an intimate detail. He should have just - "Your survival was needed to ensure the balance. No more brothers lost to the blades of war. Besides," he cracks his neck while standing up, "who better to be my sparring partner than my equal on the battlefield?"
Grinning, Izuna pulls his sword from its sheath on his back and flashsteps to the other side of the clearing. "The first to draw blood wins~"
Tobirama snorts. "You Uchiha and your bloodlust." It's a joke. Well, as far as a joke as Tobirama can create.
Izuna leaps for him.
Sakura doesn't appear again for nearly an entire month and when she does, it's the talk of the almost fully-formed village. Izuna, running an errand for his frazzled brother, barely listens to the gossip and rumors of sighted pink hair. They've all been the same. Scrolls tucked under one arm as he hastily makes his way through the crowd, he skillfully avoids bumping into the elderly and small children. More and more civilian families have popped up recently. It's good, really, for the village.
" - tore through the trees like the devil herself!" One man cries. He's a civilian by the looks of it. "I've never seen a woman so angry before! She ripped his arm clean from his body. No hesitation. No fear. She saved my boys. She healed my wife. I'm glad she's on our side."
Izuna pauses, standing idly near a fruit cart to listen in.
"I heard she took down an entire group of those Kumo bastards last week. They raided a smaller village and she hunted them down, got most of the supplies back, and saved them from starvation and illness. I've never heard of a woman so capable. And they say she's not from a clan either."
"She's here, too," an older woman states. "I saw her earlier. She's the reason we came here." Several of the surrounding civilians nod. "She told us that this village is safe, although new, and she's a proud to serve it. I can see why. The housing here is wonderful and the education fair no matter the family background."
Something - probably pride - swells up in Izuna's chest. He starts moving only to stop abruptly. She's in the village?! He wants nothing more than to be a sensor like Tobirama. Is he free to help me find her? Would he even -
"Izuna-san, you're blocking the pathway. Some of us would like to walk freely." He jerks around to see her standing there, a flower crown of white roses on top of her head, warm smile in place. "A gift from one of the kids." She touches the crown. "I would have sent some form of word ahead that I would be here, but I was attacked on my way here and had to deal - " She's cut off when he takes the few strides to close their distance and hugs her. "An unexpected, but not unwelcomed, reunion." She laughs and returns the hug.
"You've been gone way to long, Sakura." There is no "-san" this time and it's about time he drops it too. "Driving the Senju and me mad with speculations about your health and whatnot! I wish you would stop disappearing for so long or at least let one of us know that you're leaving again." He pulls away, looking down into regretful green eyes. "We - I - worry." He's not ashamed to admit that.
Sakura tucks a loose lock of short pink hair behind her ears. "It was an emergency." She clearly wasn't going into detail about whatever the emergency was. "I did not plan to be gone so long. Other things happened on my way back."
"Like saving a village for starvation?"
She sighs. "The shinobi of Kumogakure are becoming sloppy. Careless. Their pride is eating away at their common sense. I warn them, Izuna-san, to leave the smaller villages alone. The ones so close to Konoha. They're trying to survive as we all are, but they don't listen. I can't risk having them so close to Konoha. The Warring States Era has barely ended and you guys need time to secure the village. I'm trying to buy you that time. And I'm trying to give those smaller villages an option."
"Your dedication to helping our village is admirable, Sakura-san." They both turn to see Tobirama off to the side. "And needed to build a pleasant reputation."
"Tobirama-san, wonderful to see you." Sakura crosses her arms, looking back and forth between the men. "It's nice to hear that you two are getting along. Weekly spars, I hear? I almost feel jealous." She laughs. It's a beautiful sound. "I would like to spar with you both as well. One day soon."
Izuna and Tobirama share a mutual look of interest. "How long do you plan to stay this time, Sakura-san?"
"Until my personal duties call me away." As always, her vague replies keep both men wanting. Though they never pry and she never offers more. "Eventually, though, I do plan to settle down." She looks past them and points. "Over there, I think. It's within equal distance of both your homes."
Hope bubbles in Izuna's stomach. "You think this place could be your home?"
He'll take it. Judging by the shift in Tobirama's stance, the other man silently finds it agreeable. "Well then, let me drop these off and we can talk. I would like to know more about your travels."
"As would I."
Sakura grins and mock salutes both of them. "I'll be at our tree." She's gone before they blink.
"When do you think we should introduce her to our brothers?"
"When she's ready to call this place home."
Izuna sighs. "Figures you would say that."
The second time Izuna sees Sakura tear into Kumo shinobi, they're about half a day's running length away from Konoha and they're ambushed by a man who has a personal vendetta against Sakura. His vulgar language, complete with lip-licking lust, drives Izuna to a blind anger and he cuts through the man without so much as blinking. Sakura stares at him, frustration clear.
"He called you a whore," Izuna states before she can offer him her angry words. "You are not. I don't appreciate someone talking poorly of you." Tobirama seems to agree with him when he takes the legs - as in, literally takes the legs - of another man who calls her a monster.
Sakura ignores both of them, fighting through their enemies until only one remain. "This is war," the man chokes through his blood. "And you can thank her for it." The words freeze Izuna for different reasons. War, while the village is still in its tender stage, would be devastating if it were right on their wall. For another, words like these could drive Sakura away completely via guilt.
"If war is what Kumogakure wants," Tobirama starts as he raises his sword for the final blow, "then war is what they will get. We will not back down so easily." The man is dead before his hits the ground.
"Sakura," Izuna takes a step towards her, but she only turns away.
"This is my fault," she whispers. "I should have never come here. I should have stayed away. I should have minded my own business." Her back is towards them. "Look at what I've done."
Tobirama is with her after that, hand on her trembling shoulder. "You've done nothing wrong. Kumogakure has always held disdain for the Senju and Uchiha. Their jealousy has led them to perform several attempts of kidnapping and murder."
"You don't have the numbers to compete against them!" Sakura backs away. "And what of the civilians?! How can you be expected to fight and defend at the same time?!"
"We'll find a way, Sakura. We always do."
The blank look on his brother's face is one Izuna has seen time and time again. It's the calm before the storm. Madara is preparing himself for an argument, possibly a good yell, and it will be directed at Sakura. Simultaneously, he shifts closer to her, almost in front of her. Tobirama does the same. A flicker of interest develops in Hashirama's eyes, but he too remains blank-faced.
When Madara opens his mouth to speak, Izuna interrupts him. "Don't." The surprised, but quickly narrowing, eyes of his brother mean he only has a few moments to makes Sakura's case. "She defended families and villages from Kumo single-handedly. She is the reason so many have sought out Konoha."
"She also pursued shinobi of Kumogakure willingly," Madara states, voice cold. "Attacking them - "
"She gives them options," Tobirama's smooth voice objects. "Either they leave the smaller villages and settlements alone or she will intervene. Not many people are given the choice yet she does every time." The white-haired man moves to stand firmly in front of Sakura. "Kumogakure is using her as an excuse to push for something they've wanted for a long time. We all know this. We all know of their obsession with your clan's eyes and the mokuton my brother possesses."
Izuna holds his hands out in a placating gesture. "Brother, please. She's only trying to aid in your's and Hashirama's dream. She does this willingly, without payment or supplies. She has saved the lives of many."
"Will she not speak?" Madara demands. "Or will you two continue to defend her on your own?"
Sakura moves past Izuna and Tobirama, bowing before the heads of each respective clan. "Uchiha-sama. Senju-sama. My name is Sakura. My family name is of no importance because my parents were born civilians." She rights herself up. "War is inevitable at this point, but - if you allow it - I will fight alongside you."
"And why would you do that?"
Why aren't you running away and leaving us to deal with this? Izuna easily translates.
"Because," Sakura stares pointedly into the eyes of Madara, unflinching and entirely calm, "it is my duty to aid those I've come to cherish." Izuna sees Hashirama's eyes flicker to his face and then, surely, to his brother's. Madara does it himself. "You have seen me fight, short experience as it was, so you are aware of what I am capable of."
Hashirama sags. "Even so, we still do not have the numbers to fight against Kumo."
"We've been in talks with the Yamanaka and Nara for weeks," Tobirama states immediately. "Give them an offer. Fight with us and they have a place to call there own. The Inuzuka and Aburame are allies. If you can convince one, the other will surely follow."
"Tobi," Hashirama starts when Madara sucks in a harsh breath. "Please escort Sakura-san to temporary lodging while I speak to Madara. Izuna, would you please inform Toka that her presence is needed?" Out of the corner of his eye, Izuna sees Sakura practically melt into Tobirama's side.
Now is not the time to be jealous.
"Of course," Izuna replies. Tobirama has Sakura out the door before he can even turn around. Izuna walks to the door and then pauses, turning back to his brother. "If I were slain by a Kumo shinobi, would you not pursue the murderer until his blood dried on your hands?" He leaves to the sound of Madara's angry sputtering.
Locating Toka was easy. The woman has a dire love for sweets and frequents the recent setup dango shop. She takes one look at his face and sighs.
"What does Hashirama want - "
"We're going to war with Kumo," Izuna states, voice carefully blanks. "You're needed for negotiations between the different clans our leaders have been trying to rope in."
Toka cracks her neck. "I knew it would happen eventually, but I didn't think it would be so soon."
Izuna looks away. "I'm needed elsewhere. I wouldn't take long. My brother is with him." Instead of waiting for her reply, Izuna turns away and takes to the roofs. There's only one place set up for lodging of newcomers and he seriously doubts Tobirama actually took her there.
He finds them a little while later, on top of the mountain overlooking Konoha. She has her head rested on Tobirama's shoulder. The man is free of his traditional armor, something that is rare among even his own family. Sakura looks out him, eyes red-rimmed but no tears falling.
"I doubt either of your brothers would approve," she states once he sits next to her. He knows what this conversation will be about. "Look at me. I have no family history worth mentioning and I caused a war. I am - "
"Skilled," Tobirama is quick to reply.
Izuna nods. "Kind."
"I'm not worth the trouble." She lifts her head from Tobirama's shoulder. "And I refuse to choose. Please, don't ask me too. I won't be able to handle it."
Tobirama reaches down, in clear view, and brushes the tips of his fingers over her hand. "Companionship is all I ask for. For me, that would be enough."
"Just be our friend. We don't have many of those."
Sakura laughs a little. "That's because neither of you likes to venture beyond your comfort zone." She rests her head against Tobirama's shoulder once again but takes Izuna's hand in hers. "I'm a cruel, selfish woman. I want so much but I can only give so little."
"We'll take what you can offer."
So, they go to war and it's ugly. It's so ugly, but it also has some amazing aspects. The clans that agreed to fight with them are amazed at how well the Senju and Uchiha blend together, having each other's back, moving together with a grace that seemed to be with them since birth. They treated each other like old friends, diving and tackling, defending and yelling, taking hits and throwing punches.
Fire and weapons are exchanged. The ground is split with the force of a strength of 100 men. Sakura moves with Izuna and, together, they stick with Tobirama. The three of them are one of the dominating forces on the battlefield. They're fast, strong, they hit hard, and are hard to hit. Sakura breaks away, just a few times, to heal a wounded comrade. In a blink of an eye, she's back with them.
When she breaks away again, this time to help Senju Toka, Izuna ends up back-to-back with Tobirama. They tear through the enemy, pushing back as hard as they can. He turns in time to see several Kumo shinobi ganging up on his brother. Hashirama, he can tell, is trying to fight his way towards Madara. Izuna can see the lag in his brother's fighting. There's several kunai embedded into his arm, a few on his leg. His brother has always been just a bit careless.
The Kumo shinobi are purposely keeping Hashirama and Madara apart. They know their combined strength would desecrate the area.
He sees a flash of pink out of the corner of his eye. Sakura is running for Madara, almost stumbling as she does. Unlike several moments ago, she's bleeding on one side. Her battle kimono is ripped, but an undershirt keeps her modesty. Izuna's eyes widen. A Kumo shinobi is sneaking up on his brother - who is facing off against five in the front - with his spear raised to strike when Sakura flashes to him and time seems to stop.
Izuna moves towards her, Tobirama speeding right past him. Sakura is caught in his arms as she falls, the body of the Kumo shinobi on the ground already. She's still bleeding, but she's alright. His brother is alright if just a bit shocked. Hashirama has made it to him. Those he was fighting are down, unmoving.
"Don't worry," she says, bloody grin directed at him. "Most of it belongs to the other guy." She points to the decapitated figure on the ground.
"You foolish woman," Madara snarls. "Why would you even bother?!"
Sakura looks at his brother, gaze calm. "You're important to Izuna-san which makes you important to me." There's something oddly fascinating about seeing his brother speechless. "Let's not waste any more time. Their numbers are down. We need to end this now."
Tobirama keeps her steady. "That jutsu you were working on," he states. "It will take everyone."
"Everyone who isn't an ally."
"You modified it?" Tobirama stares at her, face falling to that typical blankness.
"Don't sound so angry. I'll explain in due time." She moves past all of them, handing already forming the seals necessary. Izuna watches, eyes widening, as thick, black lines roll down Sakura's face from the purple diamond in the center of her forehead, up her arms, disappearing behind her clothes. "Earth Style: Shattered Earth Prison!"
The earth rumbles, the trees bend and cry, and the ground splits open into a canyon. Vines shoot out of the canyon and wrapping around any remaining Kumo shinobi that are still live and yank them into the canyon; a canyon full of spikes. Their dying cries fill the air.
But one gets lucky before he's dragged down. The spear in his hand flies with all the force he can muster and it heads directly Tobirama who is looking after his cousin. Distracted. Something that never happens. Izuna sees it. Hashirama sees it. Both move together, but someone gets there first. The spear sticks out of her back like a beacon. Tobirama's mouth opens but Izuna knows the sound of yelling comes from his own.
Only, Sakura doesn't hesitate to yank the spear out. "It's okay." She sinks to her knees. "It's okay." A steady line of blood slips down her chin.
"Okay?!" Izuna snaps. He's at her side in an instant. "You're losing too much blood."
"Why would you do that?!" Tobirama almost knocks him out of the way.
Sakura coughs, green eyes seemingly growing heavy. "Y-You're important to me. It'll," she gasps, coughs, "it'll heal." She goes limp.
"Brother," Tobirama chokes out. Izuna has never seen the other man like this before. "Brother, save her."
Almost two years after the Senju and Uchiha enter into a peace treaty, Izuna decides he wants to get married. Really, he decided he wanted to get married a year ago but the woman of his dreams wasn't ready to see him in that light yet, to see him and another in that light yet.
But here he is, leaning against the doorway as Sakura laughs at something Tobirama deadpans about his brother. She's on her stomach on the wooden floor, shirt riding up just enough to reveal a three-inch inch scar that never fully healed despite Hashirama's best efforts. Still, she is alive and well. Tobirama is in casual clothes and he's leaning against the wall nearest to Sakura. No sign of work-related stress visible. He's even grinning.
"Do you think your brother and his husband will object?" Sakura asks, eyes wet with mirth. "Frankly speaking, Madara likes to yell at the two of us a lot."
"That's my brother's way of showing he cares."
Sakura looks at him and smiles while Tobirama snorts. "Your brother tends to yell at me a lot." Izuna pushes away from the doorway and moves until he's by Sakura. A moment later and he's on his stomach as well. Sakura bumps his shoulder playfully.
"How did you manage to escape your brother today?"
"Hashirama is a godsend," Izuna replies. This brings forth a chuckle from Tobirama and that causes Izuna to grin. "I know, I know. I should stop making jokes about his title."
"On the contrary, I think your brother doesn't mind calling Hashirama 'God' most days."
Izuna turns to Sakura, eyes comically wide. "Correct me if I'm wrong, but did the uptight Senju just make a sex joke?" Sakura nods, lips trembling to hold in laughter. "I never thought you'd have it in you." The laughter that spills from Sakura's lips leads Izuna to re-think his words. "Goodness, Sakura. I didn't mean it like that!"
She calms down before cocking a perfectly plucked pink eyebrow at him and says nothing. He gulps. In the recent months, he has confined certain things in Sakura and one would be his - sort of, whatever - attraction to the albino Senju sitting across from them. He had explained, during her healing process when she was in her coma, that the Senju and he took turns caring for her while getting to know each other on a personal level.
"Bringing this back to the discussion at hand, we both know why he's reluctant to allow Izuna near us." Sakura sighs. "It will take me forever to be in his good graces."
"Compared to me, you have a head start."
"You're both being ridiculous! Madara does care! He just has a hard time showing it. I mean, he still has a hard time being affectionate with Hashirama is public. Do you remember the Firefly Festival last month? He was red-faced from openly holding hands with Hashirama. It was both hilarious and endearing."
Sakura giggles. "Hashirama was beaming so brightly, I'm sure they saw him all the way from Uzushiogakure. Which, by the way, ambassadors will be arriving in a few weeks. Are you looking forward to that?"
"Not particularly," Tobirama replies. "The elders of my clan are implying heavily that I marry soon and provide an heir because one will obviously not come from my brother unless he and Madara decide to adopt and they're still on their honeymoon high."
"Well, there's only one way to fix that." Izuna pushes up to a sitting position. "Let's get married."
Tobirama blinks before rolling his eyes. "We cannot procreate. What part of 'provide an heir' did you not comprehend, Uchiha?"
"Stupid Senju, I meant the three of us."
"The...three of us?"
"If our brothers can get married and the village accept them and they're clan leaders, then why can't we do something similar?" Sakura drops her head down to her arms, mumbling something. Izuna doesn't catch it, but his heart is starting to beat rapidly. Had he overstepped? Is he going to drive her away? "Sakura?"
She lifts her head but doesn't look at him. "Uchiha's are so dramatic, aren't they, Tobirama?"
"The understatement of the century, Sakura."
"I'm being serious."
Sakura sighs. "Scary." Her head drops down again.
"I won't pressure either of you, you know? I'm not that type of person."
"I'm having a hard accepting your statement as serious." Tobirama brings one knee up and wraps his arms around it. "Two years ago, we were at each other's throats and now you're talking about marriage. Do you know what marriage to me would be like?"
"Probably a lot nicer than you give yourself credit for," Sakura replies before Izuna can. "You're charming when you want to be."
Sakura finally sits up, crossing her arms over her chest. She doesn't speak for several moments, eyes focused on the ground. Her pink hair, having grown up in the past several months, brushes halfway down her shoulders when she shifts. Izuna watches as she licks her lips.
"I'll only say yes on two conditions." She holds up one finger. "One, if I say yes, our wedding is the opposite of Hashirama's and Madara's. I don't agree that bigger is better. I want simplicity."
"Done," Izuna replies. "And the next one?"
"I want a proper kiss." Her green eyes look at him and then Tobirama. "From both of you."
Izuna slides forward. "Done." He cups her cheek. "But are you sure?"
Their first kiss is as gentle as he can make it. Her lips are slightly chapped and his are dry, but it remains sweet. Comforting. He takes her bottom lip, nibbling on it just a little. The sound she releases is beautiful. God, he wants to hear more of it but she pulls back.
"Will you kiss me now, Tobirama?" Izuna turns to look at the other man, mouth almost dropping when he sees the blown black pupils among red. His eyes drop to where Tobirama licks his lips.
Izuna smirks before nudging Sakura. "He's probably scared."
Tobirama's eyes narrow. "That is not the case." His eyes snap to Sakura who shifts closer. "I don't understand why you would want to kiss me if you have - "
"Don't." Izuna shifts closer. "She's asking for both of us, I'm asking both of you, Senju. I want both of you."
Sakura moves closer. "I won't force you, Tobirama."
"Double-teaming against me is hardly fair."
"If you didn't want to be here, you would have left by now," Izuna counters. "She wants a kiss, not your soul." Tobirama stares at him with that familiar calculative look, eyes shifting back and forth between them.
"I won't force you," Sakura repeats, but she's closer than ever.
Tobirama reaches out and tugs on a loose bit of pink hair. "Okay." Sakura's beaming at him now, Izuna even feels himself smile. "Okay." He draws her in - mindful of how her knees press against the wooden floor - and kisses her. Izuna is beginning to understand why Tobirama looked the way he did after his own kiss with Sakura. It's mesmerizing to watch. There's a certain glow about the two of them, the way their eyes close in mutual appreciation, and the sound Sakura makes when Tobirama -
"I don't remember tongue being allowed!"
They pull apart. Sakura grins a little, face red. Tobirama, on the other hand, only cocks an eyebrow. "One might think you're jealous."
Izuna doesn't grace him with a reply.
Their attention returns to Sakura. "What is it?" Tobriama asks.
"I just realize this means I'll have Madara as a brother-in-love. It would be double the case for you and Madara's going to yell at both of us."
"It's fine. We'll have Hashirama distract him or something."
Tobirama snorts. "Our brothers are ever persistent at maintaining each other's attention."
"We can elope to Uzushiogakure for a couple of months. You know," Izuna scratches his head, "until everything settles down."
Sakura laughs. "Now, there's a plan."
They don't get the chance to elope because Madara stumbles upon the three of them in a compromising position and nearly loses his head. His screaming carries beyond Konoha, out of the Fire Country, and was only soothed by an understanding, but grinning Hashirama.
When word gets out that Uchiha Izuna and Senju Tobirama are courting the same woman as well as each other, it's the talk of the village for months. People come up to them when they're alone, to ask about how things are going, and then the drama starts.
When there are eventual children, whose surname do they take? In fact, when the wedding happens, whose surname will Sakura take? These two questions are asked over and over again. The occasional "Where will you live?" pops up along with mentions of clan politics.
Sakura puts an end to it soon enough. "The surnames will be hyphened as will be the case with our children - whenever that is - and we will have our own home that's within equal distance of the Senju and Uchiha. Have a nice day." Still, the rumors fly and not all are pleasant.
"My brother is sending us on a mission to Uzushiogakure in a few days to scope out the village and see what can be exchanged between our villages aside from technique. The ambassadors have agreed to host us for a week."
Izuna, who lifts his feet to settle in Tobirama's lap, sighs dramatically. "We'd need a week just to recoup after traveling there."
"I like Uzushiogakure's hot springs." There's an inviting smile on Sakura's face. "Their private baths are wonderful." It's a hint if they've ever heard one. Sakura is standing by the open window of Izuna's bedroom. They have different locations they move to when the civilians become too much.
Other times? They go to their tree. Mostly because Madara still doesn't know where it is. Yet. Hashirama and Toka have been sworn to secretly and a few members of the Uchiha - mostly Hikaru - have also promised to not speak a word of their "secret getaway" (as Toka has lovingly called it).
Tobirama rests his book down on top of Izuna's feet, flipping the page seconds later. "Have you noticed how much has changed in nearly three years?"
"Don't get sentimental, Senju."
"He has a point," Sakura states. "I was looking for a home..." She moves away from the window to sit on the couch, letting Izuna rest his head in her lap. "And I found it. Thank you."
"Your comment about our clan's 'foolish pride' led to the beginnings of peace talks, Sakura." Tobirama turns to the next page in his book. "It led to Hashirama speaking up almost immediately after you left and Madara gave his backing. Everyone else fell in line."
Izuna hums sleepily. Sakura is scratching his scalp gently. "It's amazing what can be accomplished with a simple few words."
"Don't fall asleep," Sakura comments lightly. "We promised Hashirama we'd have a theme picked out by the end of the day."
"Whatever you two agree on will be fine." He yawns. "There's only going to be 20 of us at the ceremony anyway." He feels Sakura move, laughing quietly at what she says next.
"Toka offered to walk me down the aisle."
Tobirama snorts. "We should have left for Uzushiogakure when we had the chance. The same day this unclassy Uchiha asked for our hands in marriage."
Izuna jerks. "Hey!"
"No offense, but Madara would have hunted us down. Remember when he caught the three of us? If looks could kill, you and I would be dead right now. But, to be fair, you did have your hand on Izuna's - " At once, her mouth is covered by two hands.
"Thank you, Sakura."
She rolls her eyes and shoves their hands away. "You're both so easily flustered. It's cute."
In the end, their wedding takes place three years after Sakura interrupted a battle between the Senju and Uchiha clans to kill a group of Kumo shinobi and it's beautiful. It remains simple. Hashirama performs the ceremony while close to tears, Madara is seen pulling out a handkerchief (for himself or Hashirama, no one can figure out), and Tobirama and Izuna are subjected to a night of teasing by their respective clan members.
The only downside to the whole wedding - if one were to ask Sakura - is that she was forced to keep her hands to herself when in the presence of her newly obtained in-laws. Kissing Tobirama or Izuna resulted in whistles and teasing. Brushing up against one of them resulted in spicy innuendos. Simply holding one of their hands had comments sent her way.
"I have a suggestion," Izuna pulls Tobirama away from the others.
"I'm all ears," Sakura replies while sipping her sake.
"Let's leave right now and have all of them do the clean-up." Tobirama snorts but doesn't object.
Sakura places her cup on the table behind her. "Your brother is going to pitch a fit."
Izuna grins. "What else is new?"
She turns to Tobirama, cocking an eyebrow. "And what do you think?"
"I think," he pulls her close and presses up against Izuna, "it's time to start our honeymoon."
They're gone with nary a whisper.
This is 7800+ words of me attempting something. Also, IzuSakuTobi is one of my fav crack poly ships involving Sakura. If you have the time, please review.