Kakashi frowned. Something wasn't right. For starters, every single one of his (not yet, future) students was staring at one another suspiciously. This is . . . odd, for a start.
When he'd woken to find himself in the past, he hadn't been expecting there to be any changes so soon, not before he'd even had the chance to do anything yet!
And yet. And yet . . .
Everything was different.
Sakura's hair was in a high ponytail. Naruto wasn't wearing his jacket. And Sasuke . . . Sasuke wasn't wearing his hitai-ate.
Hm. How . . . odd.
What the fuck. What the fuck. What the fuck.
What's going on. What the fuck is going on.
He's short. Why is he short? He's . . . in his apartment? But—no, that's not right, this apartment got destroyed during Pein's attack, he knows it did, so why . . .
Why the fuck is he in his childhood apartment, in his childhood clothes, with his childhood hair and his childhood height.
What the ever-loving fuck—
"Sakura! It's time to get up!"
Huh . . . ?
"Hurry up! You're going to be late!"
Huh . . . ?
"It's your last day, Sakura! C'mon, up and at 'em!"
Huh . . . ?
. . . eh?
"Refurbished shuriken and kunai, half-off!"
"First come, first serve! We've got a limited stock today, folx!"
"Konoha's finest metalwork!"
"My first impression of you guys . . . hm." Kakashi tilted his head thoughtfully, and eye-smiled. "Creepy."
What—what day is it? What—Academy or shinobi, Academy, or shinobi?! Ah!—a hitai-ate! Shinobi, shinobi! Ah, but . . . what . . . ah! Calendar! Yes, yes—ah?! Today is . . . ?!
Sakura twitched violently. Long hair, she shuddered. Pretty, but . . . when you're not used to it . . . feels like something creepy is caressing your back.
Mind made up, Sakura began digging through her belongings looking for a hair tie.
Why couldn't her younger self be more organized? Ugh . . .
Sasuke's going to kill his younger self. Why the fuck didn't he keep a calendar? What, did he think he was too good for calendars? What, you just gonna memorize everything? All your important event dates? Well you weren't prepared for this, were you.
Fuck you, mini-me, Sasuke hissed.
Guess he'll just, wander around until—ah. Is that . . . ?
Hitai-ate, he sneered. Fuck Konoha.
But . . . ugh, can't do much as a missing-nin, can he? Certainly didn't work out so well last time . . . ugh.
Fucking fine. He'll . . . carry the thing. I guess.
Naruto squirmed uncomfortably. This was . . . not comfortable. Not comfortable at all. How the heck had he moved in this? This jacket is like . . . several times too big. No wonder the sleeves are so rolled up, sage.
He . . . he can't wear this. This is way too restricting. How the fuck is he supposed to fight in this?
No. No way. Mesh tee it is then. If anyone's got any complaints, then well . . . fuck 'em. No way is he wearing that jacket, muri muri.
Sakura smoothed her thumb over the carving in her hitai-ate as she walked to class. She was struggling . . . with how to wear it.
Part of her wanted to wear it as a headband to pull back her hair like she had done when she was a child, a point of pride to show she wasn't ashamed of the size of her forehead. But now . . . all she can think of is how easy it would be for someone to kill her by going for the head.
Hitai-ate are special in that they don't just have a steel plate . . . most people don't realize this, but even the fabric itself is made with a very special material interwoven with metal alloy to make it as strong as any mesh armour.
So, despite being called a "forehead protector," it actually protects more than just the forehead—if worn the correct way, it protects all around the sides of the brain so the only way someone could kill you with a blade to the skull is if they aimed specifically for the top of the head . . . but since many don't know this, it ends up saving countless lives . . . if they wear it correctly.
Mind made up, Sakura paused outside the door to the classroom to tie her forehead protector so it protected her forehead.
Vanity has no place in shinobi warfare.
And with that taken care of, she took her first step into the Academy in nearly a decade.
There's only one person in the village with pink hair, and it wasn't that hard to find her—not when he knew where she lived.
That . . . sounded creepy. But he didn't mean it like that, he swears. She's twelve, for sage's sake. That's gross.
. . . Anyway.
Target located—in pursuit.
She's—ah. Academy? He already has his hitai-ate (ugh), so that must mean . . . they're being assigned to their teams today? Cool, cool. I mean, he would've rather gone back a bit further and saved his entire family from being massacred, but—whatevs. It's just his entire family and his brother's sanity and reputation, nothing important, who fucking gives a shit, wHATEVER—
It's . . . kinda cold. Should probably . . . get a new wardrobe. Of things that actually fit. So he doesn't have to walk around in a mesh top and oversized orange pants.
That . . . will probably have to wait until he actually gets some money. Lucky lucky, should start getting missions sometime soon.
Seriously, though. It's cold.
Naruto's . . . not wearing a shirt.
Well, he's wearing a shirt, just not . . . hm. Okay.
Gonna ignore that. Yup, yup—nothing to see there, nope.
None of her business.
Although . . . did he do that last time? She was mostly just paying attention to Sasuke-chan.
Hm. Probably . . . shouldn't call him Sasuke-chan at this point—it wouldn't probably just freak him out.
Does that mean she should go back to calling him "Sasuke-kun"?
Nah. That's gross.
Something's . . . different about Sakura. Did she used to wear her hair in a ponytail when it was long? That doesn't sound right . . . and, did she . . . did she used to wear her hitai-ate on her forehead? Could've sworn she used to wear it as a hair accessory at this age . . .
Then again . . . didn't she used to be self-conscious about her forehead, or something? Maybe she hadn't gotten over it at this point, and so that's why she's covering it up.
Hmm, strange . . .
Wait, is Naruto shirtless—
Ahh . . . this classroom is so fucking cold, what the fuck.
I wish Iruka-sensei would get this over with already . . .
Ah, Iruka-sensei . . . good old Iruka-sensei . . .
Definitely not thinking about his gruesome death and how it made me wanna kill myself, nOPE—
Oi, why is everyone staring at me? The fuck?
Okay, she's like ninety-percent sure Naruto used to wear a shirt.
Mesh undershirts don't count.
So why . . . could she have caused ripples this early on already? But why the fuck would her presence in the past cause Naruto to not wear a shirt, what the FUCK—
Sakura . . . is staring really intently at Naruto.
I thought . . . didn't she used to hate Naruto, or something?
Then again, she doesn't really look like she's staring at a crush.
More like she's staring at a duck humming showtunes from atop an elephant's head.
Like she's looking at something really weird and doesn't know what to make of it.
Sasuke . . . can relate.
Wait, shit—is this his fault?! Was Naruto really not not wearing a shirt in the original timeline?! Fuck, did he mess things up already?! No fair, he didn't even get to do anything yet!
And speaking of, how the fuck did he cause this?! How is this his fault?!
What the FU—
Creepy . . .
Why . . . why is everyone staring at him. This is getting really creepy, what the fuck.
Leave him alone, what did he do?!
"Team 7 . . ." Iruka flinched as three heads jerked up. Three very specific heads . . . "Uzumaki Naruto, Haruno Sakura, and Uchiha Sasuke," he continued hesitantly. All three let out a heavy sigh. O-kay, then . . .
Whoever told them, it didn't matter now. Though he can't help but wonder . . . who—?
"My first impression of you all . . ."
Naruto, Sakura, and Sasuke leaned in.