Sasuke's No Good Very Bad Teammates
Summary: Naruto and Sakura have gone insane.
Or: Just after becoming Team 7 Naruto and Sakura go through a massive shift in personality, leaving Sasuke out of the loop and wondering what in the name of sanity could have happened to them. His only consolation is that Kakashi is just as weirded out as he is.
Sasuke Uchiha was going insane. It was a slow, gradual process that might have gone over his head had it not been for the realization that his life looked nothing like he'd imagined it only a few short years ago.
If his younger self could see him now, he would likely despair at Sasuke's lack of desire to pursue any of the goals that had dictated his life as a vengeful, lonely 12-year-old.
"Thanks for your help, Sasuke!" Heiji – head nurse of Konoha's largest hospital – spotted him while passing the entrance hall. "Same time tomorrow?"
Sasuke gave her a curt nod, cleaning his hands with disinfectant and rubbing them dry.
He'd begun helping out at the hospital so he wouldn't get rusty during the longer periods they spent in the village. Taking care of his teammates' sparring injuries had stopped being exciting pretty quickly, and the hospital needed all the help it could get.
With Tsunade spending every other weekend or so in the village (about as much time as she could currently handle – she'd begun working her way up) Sasuke appreciated the additional practice.
His past self wouldn't have understood. But what had he known?
Sasuke narrowly avoided bumping into Kabuto just as he reached the exit. He paused while Kabuto straightened up and adjusted his glasses.
"Anything new?" Kabuto asked, recovering quickly.
"A mission gone south," Sasuke said, "two injured. Several stab wounds, no major blood loss. A civilian kid fell off a tree and has a concussion. Tanaka-san is doing better. Took her first steps through the hallway."
Kabuto gave a slow nod.
He'd improved in leaps and bounds since returning to Konoha. While his medical skills had been brilliant from the start, his work at the hospital was meant to hone his people skills and his empathy.
"Thank you," Kabuto said, and he walked past Sasuke to the nearest disinfectant dispenser.
Sasuke picked up his pace and stepped through the glass doors.
Sai came towards him after only a few minutes of walking, stuffing his paintbrush into his pocket. The smile he gave Sasuke was just a note too bright and bordered on manic. It was a vast improvement to his former, brittle fake-smiles.
"We've just finished another block," Sai told him. He closed his eyes and his smile looked immensely more genuine.
Sasuke gave a nod of acknowledgement. He moved in the direction Sai had come from and paused only long enough to give Sai a questioning look. "Are you coming?"
"No thank you." Sai's expression never lost its cheerful spark. "Yamato-sensei has requested assistance in his efforts to rehabilitate Orochimaru-san."
Sasuke's mood sobered. "Be careful," he said, and he silently vowed to supervise a session or two. Just in case.
The Uchiha district looked nothing like it had merely a few weeks ago. Formerly bleak, run-down buildings now sported facades in bright, cheerful colors. Elaborate paintings, patterns and silly doodles decorated the streets, stemming from everybody who'd felt like contributing. After a subtle nudge from Yamato, many of the Root kids had enthusiastically participated. Sai had taken the lead.
It was only right, considering many of them now lived in the buildings they helped restore.
"Sasuke-san!" One of the kids – Yasuo – spotted Sasuke on his way through the streets. He lived a few houses next to Sasuke's and had taken to their goal of polishing up the Uchiha district with unprecedented enthusiasm. "What do you think?"
Sasuke took a look at the brick wall Yasuo was painting. "It's... very bright."
"Thank you." Yasuo nodded and dragged his paint brush over a yet blank piece of wall. He took care to paint around a messy doodle of some kind of animal.
Yasuo followed Sasuke's gaze and frowned. "It's pretty." He held his paintbrush as though he intended to use it against Sasuke should he try to paint over the picture.
It was definitely Arisa's. She was the youngest, and hadn't even completed her graduation before being freed from Danzō.
"It is," Sasuke agreed.
Yasuo – mollified – continued his work.
Sasuke hadn't lived in the Uchiha district for a long time. It hadn't felt like home since the massacre, and he hadn't stopped having nightmares about it until he'd moved out altogether.
Having neighbors again was weird. In a good way. Sasuke started to spend more time here, now that it was no longer a ghost town. With every drop of paint they added it looked less like the stage of his nightmares, and with every day that passed he made memories besides those from that day.
Sasuke had never imagined walking through these streets without a brick settling in his stomach. He felt the tingly flutter of butterflies instead, and he decided that it was the best sensation he'd felt in a long time.
Sasuke wondered what Itachi would say. He was looking forward to the next time his brother visited.
Sasuke made another detour on his way to meet his teammates, and he passed the village gates in time to spot Jiraiya, Kakashi and Yamato seeing off Nagato and Konan. They'd made their visits to the village a regular – though not extensive – habit.
Nagato gave Sasuke a nod of greeting. Sasuke returned it.
Kakashi's expression always became strained when Jiraiya's old students came to visit. "Hey, Sasuke."
Sasuke hummed in acknowledgement. He jerked his head towards Nagato and Konan's retreating backs. "Anything new?"
Kakashi's expression faltered. He steeled himself a split second later, but Sasuke had already seen it. "No. He was last seen in Taki, but... well. At least he hasn't been hurting anyone."
They managed to keep an eye on Obito thanks to their extensive network of contacts beyond Konoha. So far he hadn't visited once: he hadn't taken the offer to return and get help in making himself a better person. He hadn't yet fallen back into nefarious, world-ending schemes either, so they still counted his development as a win.
Sasuke reached out and faltered briefly, but he muscled through and put a hand on Kakashi's shoulder.
Kakashi's eye creased in a smile. "I know. Thank you, Sasuke."
"It's likely he just needs time," Yamato added, looking after the two Ame nin. He bumped Kakashi's shoulder in a quiet gesture of support.
They watched after Nagato and Konan until they disappeared from sight.
Once they did, Yamato let out a sigh. "Sorry, but I need to go."
Kakashi laid a hand on his arm to halt him in his tracks. "Will you be alright?"
If Yamato was on his way to rehabilitate yet another (former) maniac, Sasuke understood Kakashi's reservations.
"I'll be fine. Don't worry, I thought this through."
"Are you sure?" Kakashi insisted. "This isn't just another apprentice."
Yamato hesitated. "I didn't plan on becoming a teacher at all," he said eventually, each word chosen carefully. "But... after I started... after Sai..." He paused. "It was the best decision I've made in my life."
Actually it had been Sasuke's teammates who'd made the decision for him. Yamato seemed like he was on a roll, so Sasuke didn't mention it.
"Now, after all this time… After Root..." He trailed off and paused. "I love teaching them far more than I've loved anything I ever did as an ANBU. I know what I'm doing."
"Even if it's Orochimaru?" Kakashi asked softly.
Yamato paused. "Even then. I'm ready to– I'm– I can let go of what happened. Not for him, but... for me." His eyes flickered to the ground. "This is right. This feels right. And... I wouldn't want to be doing anything else."
Kakashi scrutinized Yamato with a piercing gaze. Eventually, his features relaxed. "Take care."
He made no other attempts to change Yamato's mind. They saw him off on his way to redeem Konoha's most notorious mad scientist, and Sasuke wondered whether somebody had started a betting pool about how long it was going to take him this time.
Sasuke and Kakashi started walking through the village together, and Sasuke tried getting used to how different things had become. Villagers greeted them on the streets rather than trying to arrest them – fellow rookies and Kakashi's jōnin friends and people Sasuke had barely exchanged a word with before.
The village was prospering. It had been for a while.
They found Sakura frantically healing her various wounds and bruises.
Dents were hammered into the ground around her and broken trees framed the ruined training ground. Whoever had agreed to be her opponent for the day was already gone. Hopefully battered but in one piece, rather than on their way to the morgue.
"S-Sasuke! Kakashi-sensei!" Sakura's head snapped up. She pulled her lips into an inconspicuous smile that did little to cover up the bruises covering her body. "You're early. I didn't think you'd– Hey!"
Sasuke had already dropped down next to her, scowling.
"It's not as bad as it looks! I'm fine."
Sasuke's scowl deepened. He swatted her hands away impatiently and wrapped his own into healing chakra. "Stay still."
"I'm fine, Sasuke."
Kakashi threw her a look. "You have a bruise the size of your fist on your temple."
"I do? Ouch! Careful."
Sasuke was not being careful. He put his hand on Sakura's temple a lot more harshly than necessary – just in case she needed the reminder that she only had herself to blame.
"Who were you fighting?" Kakashi eyed the uprooted trees and the deep furrows in the ground. "You could have gone into the forest."
"It wasn't my fault!" Sakura sniffed and turned her head away.
Sasuke grabbed her chin and snatched it back into place.
"No concussion," Sasuke said, ignoring Sakura's protests. "You're lucky."
Sakura grumbled under her breath but held still. "Zabuza doesn't even punch that hard."
Kakashi heaved a sigh. "Let's not keep Naruto waiting."
Sakura rose with a huff and interrupted Sasuke's healing. Sasuke climbed to his feet next to her, trying not to be annoyed. If Sakura wanted to walk around with a gigantic bruise on the side of her head that was fine with him.
"Don't think this means you'll have an easy time sparring," Sakura said.
As if Sasuke had ever doubted it. Sakura couldn't have a friendly match of flip-the-kunai without turning it into a heated competition that ended friendships and left the village in shambles.
Naruto sat cross-legged on a stone wall close to the marketplace, chatting happily with two of her fellow jinchūriki. Fū's wings were visible and fluttered excitedly as though she physically couldn't hold still. Gaara had made himself comfortable on a cloud of sand rather than the stone wall.
"– and it's not like I knew it was gonna do that. Seals are super unpredictable. I made it up on the fly, I couldn't exactly tell them to take a break while I tested it."
Fū snickered, unsympathetic about the fate of a bunch of bounty hunters who'd failed to take Naruto's rank in the bingo book seriously. "Did you turn them in afterwards?"
"Course I did." Naruto said. "They were gonna turn me in. I just returned the favor."
"They were foolish." Gaara's lips twitched. "Perhaps they will learn from their lesson."
Sasuke paused only a few steps away from them. Naruto looked well. She looked happy and at ease, chatting with friends who would have once been scorned by the very village now hosting them.
She looked like she was home.
Sasuke identified the warmth in his chest and decided that he felt like he was home, too.
"Woah. What happened to you?" Naruto slid off the wall and skipped to a halt in front of them. She whistled, leaning forward to examine Sakura's bruised temple. "Nice one."
"Should've seen the other guy," Sakura said, swatting at Naruto to shoo her out of her personal space.
"Are you here with your siblings, Gaara?" Kakashi asked.
"Not today." Gaara shifted his cloud to include Kakashi and Sasuke in their circle. "They're in Iwa for a diplomatic meeting. We hope to rebuild old trade relations."
"You didn't want to go with them?"
They spent some time chatting and catching up. Konoha welcomed visitors able to inform them on what was happening in the other villages. The villagers had gotten used to their guests.
Sasuke let his teammates' and his friends' voices wash over him, content to simply live in the moment and relax.
Some of the other rookies passed by them while they talked. Akamaru had reached the size of a young bear and dragged a cursing Kiba through the village, chasing some sort of rodent. Team 10 exited the restaurant across the street, too engulfed in a heated discussion to pay them any mind.
It had taken Sasuke a long time to realize that other people – and later, people other than his team – mattered. He'd started going along with his teammates' whims, but he hadn't actually cared until much later. Now, he found himself genuinely invested in getting to know them better.
The Hyūga cousins strolled by not far from them, Hinata chatting happily at Neji's side. Neji didn't seem to be talking much, but he looked content. His eyes twitched upwards to meet Sasuke's gaze, and they shared a nod.
"Feels weird," Sakura said, following Sasuke's eyes, "knowing someone our age is gonna be the next Hokage. You know," she glanced at Naruto, "someone other than you."
"Anko only just took the hat," Naruto said. "She's not gonna give it up so soon."
"Still. She's clearly grooming him to take over."
Anko kept Neji occupied, but he still found the time to work on reforming his clan. He had Hinata's support, the rookies' and many others', and while a large chunk of the Hyūga clan fought tooth and nail against the changes, there was only so much they could do with the Hokage herself in their corner.
More people filled the streets as the sun rose higher. The scent of spices and roasted garlic drifted over as street vendors and small food stalls prepared for lunchtime.
It wasn't only the people who had changed. The market had grown as more people added their stalls: skewers of roasted fish that were common in Water Country, fried cakes from Lightning Country, jewelry, intricate works of glass, foreign crafts and much more.
While Sasuke and his team had learned throughout their travels, picked up new things and changed, so had Konoha.
Gaara and Fū excused themselves eventually. Team 7 took it as their cue to be on their way as well.
"You promised you'd help me tidy up my apartment," Kakashi reminded them.
Naruto slipped off of the stonewall and stretched. "We weren't even gone that long. I can't believe how much stuff has piled up."
"You mean how much junk."
"Excuse you. They're souvenirs, Sasuke. Treasured and precious memories that we will look back on fondly in a few years."
"If we can even step foot in the apartment by then," Kakashi muttered.
Sasuke, Sakura and Naruto's places weren't faring much better. They no longer lived separately as much as they circled through each of their apartments as a unit. It was difficult to go back to living alone after such a long time travelling together – and if Sasuke was being honest with himself, he didn't particularly see the appeal in trying.
They walked in silence for a few comfortable minutes.
Naruto let out a sigh and put her arms behind her head, a smile playing around her lips. "You know, I wish we'd known we could have had this the first time around." She looked around fondly, referring to nothing in particular. Her team, the village. Everything.
Sakura hummed in contentment. Kakashi's eye creased in a smile. Purely out of habit, Sasuke almost let the comment slide like all the other times before it.
This time, out of a whim, he didn't. "What do you mean, 'the first time around'?"
Naruto froze. She and Sakura shared a glance. Something seemed to pass between them, and Kakashi gave her a nudge from the side, tilting his head in a nod.
"You know what? You're right." Naruto said. "Sasuke. There's something we need to tell you."
Sasuke listened to a story of time travel, another world and different choices, and he came to a realization.
Sasuke's teammates were insane. And surprisingly, he was okay with that.
A/N: Welp. We made it, guys. I'll be sad to see this story go, but it's a lovely feeling to have finished it :) Thanks for sticking around to the end!
Gigantic thanks to my wonderful betas, Igornerd, To Mockingbird and PyrothTenka! I'd be lost without them. They're amaaaazing.
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