AN: So five months ago someone managed to get me back into this fandom after having stopped watching/reading it seven years ago. One thing led to another and now here we are, writing a fanfiction. So like, enjoy, I guess.
EDIT: As of 7/14 I got a new beta! The awesome Dialga9187!
They had her trapped! Kaguya was going to be sealed away once and for all. For good! Sakura felt a rush of adrenaline as her fist collided with the Goddess' head, forcing her back into the boys' path. They were so close. So close!
Then, suddenly, everything warped around her. She felt not the familiar sensation of Kamui, but a sick and gut wrenching pull, a feeling not so dissimilar to that of a fall. And next she knew, she was sitting in… a classroom?
What the hell? Where was Kaguya? Where were Naruto and Sasuke? And for that matter, where was she?
"What… the hell?"
Startled by the voice behind her, she whirled around only to see-
It was indeed Naruto, but…
"You- you're twelve!" She cried, taking in his god-awful orange and blue jumpsuit and round face, baby fat still clinging to it. Were she not so alarmed, she would have wanted to pinch his cheeks.
"You're twelve!" He shouted back, pointing an accusatory finger at her. "Just look at your hair!"
My hair? Frowning, Sakura looked down and saw long pink locks falling down to her boobs – or lack thereof. She was also wearing that silly dress from back during her genin days, the one with the high collar and baggy sleeves.
"Oh God, what did that rabbit Goddess bitch do?" She moaned, taking it all in with displeasure.
"This is so weird," Naruto mumbled, sitting back and grabbing handfuls of his spiky hair.
"Speak for yourselves," a new voice said. And holy shit, it was Sasuke. And he was twelve too! Even wearing that blue shirt of his with the insane collar that she had thought was so cool at the time.
"Sasuke," Sakura gasped, unsure what to say. "What the hell!"
The only response she got was that annoying "hn" of his before he lapsed into pensive silence. It was contagious, because the next thing they knew, the whole room was silent, filled only with the sound of their panicked breaths.
They were twelve. They were in a classroom. They were alone. Judging from all the facts it looked to be the day of their team assignments. All three of them were wearing their headbands, and they were completely alone in the classroom. That hadn't happened once after being assigned teams. The multitude of possibilities as to how this could be started flitting through Sakura's mind, each more scary than the last.
"Is this…" Naruto started, eyeing their surroundings wearily. "A genjutsu?"
Behind him, Sasuke scoffed. "I'm immune to genjutsu now, so that's impossible."
Naruto scowled before turning to the now pre-teen. "Yeah well, how do I know you're not part of the genjutsu!" He exclaimed.
"Because if you're in a genjutsu, it doesn't normally point out that it's a genjutsu," the boy shot back. Naruto opened his mouth to retort, but found that the logic, however unorthodox, was sound. So, scowling, he sat back down with a huff and simply glared at his team mate. Sasuke seemed satisfied with the action as well and resumed his "thinking pose", or whatever it was, clasping his hands in front of his face and retaining a constipated expression. Actually, that could just be his default expression. You never knew with the Uchiha.
"Alright, now that we've cleared that up," Sakura grumbled from the front of the classroom, hands on her hips. "Are we going to find a way to get back to the battle?" At the confused expressions of her teammates, she elaborated. "We can't just leave Kakashi-sensei alone in that dimension," she said. "And everyone else is still stuck in the Infinite Tsukuyomi."
"Oh," Naruto mumbled, eyes downcast. "Right."
"So what do we do?" Sakura asked.
A moment passed before anyone bothered speaking up.
"What can we do?" Surprisingly, it was Naruto who spoke. Sakura frowned at his reply before gesturing for him to continue.
"Well," he started uncomfortably, shifting in his seat. "What I'm saying is, if we don't know how we got here, or where here even is, how can we figure out how to get back?"
He was right, though she was loathe to admit so. "There's gotta be something," Sakura insisted. "I mean, every jutsu has a way to counter it. If this is another dimension Kaguya threw us into, or a genjutsu, there's a way to get out."
"You're really limiting your options there," Sasuke's voice suddenly drawled. Sakura turned to him, pinching her brow in confusion. Sasuke sighed before elaborating. "You claim it's either one of two things," he said, holding up two fingers. "One," he put one finger down. "It's another dimension, like the ones we traveled through while fighting her." He put up his second finger. "Or two, it's a genjutsu."
"This has been established, yes," Sakura said, unimpressed.
"What I'm getting at is there could be a third option," he finished, putting his hand back down. "That we're just not considering."
"Oh yeah, and what's that, bastard?" Naruto challenged.
The small smirk the Uchiha wore grated on Sakura's nerves. Whatever he was about to say, she knew she wouldn't like.
"Time travel? Really Sasuke?" Sakura deadpanned. The Uchiha only shrugged. "And do you have a way to prove that?"
Maybe Sasuke didn't, but Naruto did, he realized with a start. "I do!" He exclaimed, jumping up. "Or at least, I think I do…" His teammates gave him an apprehensive look, but didn't tell him off. He took that to mean he should go ahead and explain.
"Okay so, two days ago I was on this turtle island with Killer B where Kurama and I had this big battle over his chakra, right?"
He was met with blank stares. "Right, so… anyway," he continued. "I changed the seal holding in Kurama. If it's still the same one I had in the war, we'll know it's not time travel."
"But if it's the old one the Fourth gave you, it is," Sakura finished, catching on to what he was saying. "But how will you be able to tell?" She asked.
"Easy," he smiled. "I'll talk to him!"
Sakura and Sasuke exchanged an uneasy look, neither looking particularly thrilled at his proposed idea.
"C'mon, it's not like he's gonna show up," he grumbled. Did they really not have faith in him? That was disheartening.
Sakura's scowled deepened, but then she nodded. "Alright, if you think it's the right thing to do, I believe you." A pause. Then, "Right Sasuke?"
The Uchiha sighed from his seat before nodding. "Sure, whatever."
Pleased, Naruto nodded to them before slipping into his mindscape.
There was a moment of silence, and then-
Naruto was so startled that he almost jumped back into the real world. He quickly regained his composure and walked up to the seal, meeting Kurama's red gaze.
"What have you done, brat!" The fox yelled, banging a giant clawed hand against the bars of his prison. His prison, which Naruto was disheartened to see, made from the old seal.
"H-hey Kurama," he said tentatively, not sure if this was new Kurama or old, grouchy Kurama who wanted to eat his face.
"Don't 'hey Kurama' me, what have you done! Why am I back in Namikaze's seal?"
New Kurama then. Angry Kurama, but new nonetheless.
"I don't know, that's what we're trying to figure out," he tried.
"Yeah, Sakura, Sasuke and I." The response was met with another bang on the seal, this time hard enough the rattle the sewer around him, sending waves crashing around him.
"Woah, watch it!" Naruto cried, bracing himself against the sloshing water. "You're gonna break something."
"You and I both know that's impossible," Kurama growled. "Now hurry up and fix this, brat!"
"If you had been listening you would know I can't, you dumb fox!" Naruto shouted back. "That's what I'm trying to tell you! We've been shot back in time by Kaguya and we're trying to figure out how to fix it."
"If you open this door I might be able to help," the fox suggested. But it was such a transparent lie that all Naruto could do was cross his arms and give with the most unimpressed look he could muster.
"I thought we'd come to an agreement," he scowled. "Besides, I need the key to open that door. And if I'm right, the toads still have it."
The fox growled again, but didn't threaten anything, so Naruto counted it as a plus.
"So," the fox mumbled, or what could be interpreted as a mumble – it was hard to tell with a chakra beast. "We really are back in time." Naruto nodded. "How old are you?"
"Twelve," he said. "Probably."
A rough laugh escaped Kurama. "Just a kit," he scoffed. "Pathetic."
Naruto huffed. "Well, you're still stuck with this 'kit' until we can find a way to fix this. So you better get used to it."
"Whatever," the fox grumbled. "Just make it quick, you know I hate this cage."
"Yeah, yeah," he said, waving the fox off. "Just don't wreck the place while I'm gone." He could have sworn he heard a muffled "brat" as he slipped out of the mindscape, but he wasn't going to stop and ask.
Naruto blinked open his eyes to see green and black staring back at him. Two inches from his face. "Woah!" He cried, startled. Before hitting his head on the desk behind him as he fell back. Needless to say he had bad memories of the last time such a thing had happened in this particular classroom.
Sakura and Sasuke were standing right in front of his face, staring at him intently.
"Well?" Sakura pressed. "What's the conclusion?"
Naruto grimaced. "Well, Sasuke was right," he said, picking himself up from the desk. "It's not a genjutsu. Or another dimension."
Sakura blinked. Once. Twice.
"Okay, time travel," Sakura stated, some measure of exasperation coating her tone. "If we can have reanimation, why not time travel, why not?"
Both Naruto and Sasuke were sitting in the back of the classroom, cowering away from her, not that one of them would admit that. The first ten minutes after hearing that they had, in fact, time traveled into their twelve year old bodies was filled with lots of screaming, throwing things, and a broken desk. Naruto was sure Iruka would be scratching his head over it tomorrow, but now wasn't the time to think about such things.
Thirty minutes had now passed and Sakura had calmed down significantly. Now, instead of throwing things around and threatening people's lives, namely Kaguya's, she was pacing the front of the class and tugging at her hair, hair that she had cut short sometime during her ranting. The remnants were still lying on the floor by the chalkboard, scattered about because she had thrown them. Now her hair hung around chin level, like it always had after the chunin exams.
But still, it only went to prove how badly she was taking this.
"Hey, you know what," she said, addressing them. "It's not that different, right?"
"Not that different from what?" Naruto asked cautiously.
"Edo tensei," she said. "I mean, all you're doing there is putting a soul into a body. This is the same thing right? Our seventeen year old souls are in our twelve year old bodies. Ergo, not that different!" Her voice was shrill and wavering on every word, going to show just how much she was trying to keep it together.
"Well, sixteen for you, Naruto," she added as an afterthought.
That earned her an indigent squawk. "Hey, it's my seventeenth birthday! I'm seventeen!"
"We don't know what time it was when Kaguya dragged us into that lava world," Sasuke cut in. "Time stopped mattering after that point, so it could easily still have been the ninth when we were shot back."
Naruto's face was growing steadily more red at their statements. He opened his mouth to shout something back, but was stopped by the sound of the door to the classroom opening.
All their heads swiveled to see an incredibly familiar masked face looking at them with an indifferent expression.
"Hm, my first impression of you," he said. "You're interesting."