Those of you just finding this story, go immediately to Chapter 13 for the re-write of the entire story.
Haruno Sakura was not having a good day. Yesterday was perfect. She had graduated Ninja Academy with the highest test scores. There should be no excuse from being placed on the same team as this year's number one rookie, Uchiha Sasuke-kun.
With the village heartthrob on her team, it would only be a matter of time before he noticed her love for him. She had it all planned out, knew exactly what she would wear to the wedding and who to invite. But she hadn't planned on last night.
With such an eventful day it was natural that her dreams would be busy, but she didn't know why they troubled her so. Learning magic in a majestic castle with two best friends. Together they faced down the evil in the world and came out the victor again and again. It should have been a grand adventure; a dream to tell people about and wish something like that would happen in reality.
Instead, she woke up in a cold sweat, and a feeling of urgency would not leave her alone, no matter how hard she tried to push it away. Everything she did turned out wrong. She broke a plate while washing dishes, stumbled over a non-existent rock when walking down the street and couldn't concentrate on any of the new scrolls she had borrowed.
Her thoughts kept wandering back to the dream; to Ron and Harry and why they seemed so real. It was like remembering another life. She could remember the details of all the books she had read. She remembered punching Malfoy. 'That was more satisfying than when I have to beat Naruto up for being an idiot,' she smiled to herself. Her last thought before waking was wondering what her fourth year would bring after getting off the Hogwarts Express.
Her first two years of school had been full of adventure and a good dose of fear. But she had stuck by the rules and kept Ron and Harry from breaking too many. In the end they had all been safe and Voldemort had been defeated once more. But the last year had been different.
All the rules that she had believed in to keep her safe and show what was right or wrong had started to turn against her. The Ministry had made a huge mistake out of the entire Sirius Black escape and it was completely unfair how they had treated the Buckbeak incident. She couldn't help but feel that breaking all the rules against using the time turner and going against the ministry by helping Sirius and Buckbeak had been well worth it. If it happened again, she would do the exact same thing.
'There I go again. It was just a dream… Why am I so caught up in it.' Maybe it was because Sakura could see herself as Hermione with such little effort. The witch had grown up as a know-it-all and never had any friends. If it hadn't been for Ino, Sakura may have ended up just like her.
She never had any interest in clothes or boys before Ino. She thought if she was more like Ino, she could be happy and fit in more. She learned how to dress and what to do as a girl, even if she still wasn't as good as flower arranging as her rival. Sakura had even found a guy to pursue like all the other girls did.
Then she found out how many girls were after Sasuke-kun, Ino included. But that just showed she was on the right track. She had chosen the same boy as all the other girls. She watched what they did and learn quickly how to win Sasuke-kun's heart. She even stayed one foot ahead of Ino in the pursuit of Sasuke-kun.
When she won the heart of the dark-haired teen, she will have proven herself a girl among girls. There would be nothing between her and a happy future. She could look back on her lonely past and know she would never have to return.
But the more she thought about Hermione's life, the more she wondered if she was really happy. All that effort to get her hair just so, to dress just right, and to make sure she only read so much each week to avoid being a nerd or geek. It had been so hard to give up her favorite past time in order to be a true girl. But she thought it would be worth it, to fit in.
'Then why is it that I don't have such good friends as Harry and Ron were. Ino doesn't count now that we're rivals… all over a stupid boy,' she thought to herself. She wondered now why she had been so stupid yesterday. Ino and her had been fighting over Sasuke-kun for a long time but still had fun when they weren't competing. Why did she need to turn such a good friend into a rival? It would have been fine the way it was.
Sasuke was a good catch, but even if they did end up married, she would still need friends. There was no way the Uchiha prodigy would be anything but a top Jounin or an ANBU captain. Those positions required a lot of time and she would have nothing to do while he was gone unless she was a top rate ninja herself. But she had only joined the Ninja Academy because Ino did. Plus it was a good way to spend time with Sasuke.
"Those were great reasons to join," she muttered to herself sarcastically. She wondered now how long she would have continued on in the deadly career of a ninja before she gained Sasuke's love or realized it was a fruitless chase. The lower class missions would have been low risk, but if she did get on Sasuke's team, he wouldn't settle for anything but the toughest missions he could get.
She had no doubt the Uchiha heir would do well, but she realized now she was sorely lacking in practical skill. She may know more than anyone else, but Ino could beat her nine times out of ten. Sakura's one win would have been something really underhanded or pure luck. With such low skill, she wouldn't last long in the ninja field.
She remembered how she felt as Hermione when faced with that mountain troll. If it hadn't been for Ron and Harry, she wouldn't have made it. It had been after that she had spent a little less time on gaining knowledge and learning how to do things and more time on learning how to use what knowledge she did have. It was a slow process, but by the end of her third year, Sakura felt she had been doing rather well for herself. She hadn't been left behind like in second year, or been a walking library for the boys to use when confronted with danger like in her first.
'I'm doing it again!' Sakura shook her head and set the scroll she had been attempting to read down. With a good stretch, the pink-haired girl stood up from her desk and marched down the stairs to see if she could help her mom with dinner. The amount that this one dream was affecting her was too much. The more she thought about it the more she thought it was real, and that she really was Hermione. No more. She would eat dinner, chat with her parents and forget all about this dream… But not before she talked to Ino and apologized for doing such a stupid thing yesterday. Sasuke wasn't worth loosing Ino.
Uzumaki Naruto walked away from Konohamaru with a smirk on his face. That kid was all right. He hadn't been sure if he really wanted the little guy following him around all day but realized it was the perfect distraction. He hadn't slept well last night, but when he went to bed he hadn't expected to. Learning that you had a demon sealed in your stomach can do that to a person.
But the dreams hadn't been about the damn fox. It was actually a wonderful dream. Naruto had a family – a big family. There were five older brothers and a little sister he could watch out for. Mom was a great cook and Dad was a fun guy, a little crazy, but great fun to be around. It was just like he had always imagined.
Then why hadn't he been so happy? Naruto didn't understand what his problem had been. The Weasley's had never had much money, but they all cared a great deal about each other. But all he could think of when he was Ron was the desire for more money, or more time alone. He didn't want to have all those older brothers picking on him, and Ginny was annoying when she followed him around all the time. 'And they call me an idiot now,' Naruto snorted.
It had been a little better after he was at Hogwarts. Harry was a great friend, and when they saved Hermione he even had someone to help him with homework. But he couldn't help but feel jealous for all the attention that Harry received, or for the way his friend got on the Quidditch team during his first year. And what about that Nimbus 2000, or the Firebolt in third year?
But that was so unlike Naruto. The dream was seemed so real but he wasn't sure what to think about it. There was so much adventure, and it had been a wonderful feeling to have such good friends and such a big family. But if it was real, then why had he been such an asshole?
It had taken all his will power to find things to occupy his mind to keep his thought off that damn dream. First it was getting out of bed after he had woken up so early and couldn't go back to sleep. He had planned out an elaborate pose and face paint for the picture he had to take. Then he got to argue with the old man Hokage over it. The entire morning had passed with only a few flashes of thought about the dream.
When Konohamaru had found him he was wondering what he would do for the rest of the day. He was devising another prank when the kid had tried to hide behind that stupid fence-camouflage blanket. The damn brat hadn't even gotten it the right way. But he realized it would be easier to keep his mind busy if he had company.
Teaching the little brat Sexy no Jutsu was perfect revenge on old man Hokage for keeping such a thing as the Kyuubi a secret from him. Honestly, if a kid had something as big as a Nine-tailed Demon Fox in their stomach, they should be told something. And here he thought his parents must have been criminals or something for all the villagers to hate him so much.
At least when he was at Hogwarts, he was ignored instead of hated. He bet he knew how Harry felt in their second year now. 'And back to that damn dream again. How come I can't forget about it? It's already getting dark.' Naruto shook his head and decided to head home. There wasn't enough time to do a real good prank if he wanted to get up in time for the graduation orientation tomorrow. 'If only the stupid fuzz-ball will keep his weird dreams to himself tonight.'
Uchiha Sasuke was brooding. It seemed to be a habit of his, but this time he was pondering a different line of thought than his usual one. He had graduated with ease, gone back to the empty Uchiha complex to train, and gone to bed with his usual efficiency. He had planned to wake up and train for the entire day off before the Genin teams were selected the day after. His dreams had decided otherwise.
Sasuke was no stranger to nightmares. His dreams had been nothing but nightmares, ever since his brother killed his clan and forced him to watch their slaughter over and over again. It was the fact that this dream had not been a nightmare that threw off his schedule.
Instead being forced to run threw the Uchiha complex and see Itachi kill one clansman after another, Sasuke was forced to learn was it was like to be hated and despised for no reason he could fathom. The Dursley's were an unpleasant bunch and he could not comprehend how such people had been created in his subconscious. He had never known such bigoted and horrible creatures such as they.
He spent most of the morning picking apart and analyzing his early childhood as Harry and debating the cause of such a change in his slumber. It did not surprise him that such detail was included. All his nightmares were such. He didn't recall his dreams being so vivid before the Uchiha Massacre, but they had always been so since.
The afternoon was more confusing as he critiqued the three years he had spent at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. Such a thing was rather ridiculous when using reason and logic. Magic was a fantasy and he did not hold in such inane pastimes. But the corollaries with his true life and the disruption of his usual nightmares made Sasuke cautious enough to contemplate this dream before dismissing it.
In both lives an evil madman killed his parents. Both times he had more or less raised himself. And while he had been hated by the Dursley's, witches and wizards everywhere had sung his praises and thought of the 'Boy-Who-Lived' as a savior for something he really had not done. If he had, then there was no recollection of what he did do. In his true life he was also idolized and seen as a symbol of Konoha; again for doing nothing more than surviving.
Yet, as Harry, he had not chosen the path of an avenger. He knew his parents had been killed, and knew who had done such a thing. But while he had stood up to Voldemort and thwarted his plans, Harry never trained himself to eventually face his tormentor and kill him. Even when confronted with Wormtail in that last year, Harry had ignored the need for revenge and spared the traitor's life. 'And the rat escaped and Sirius was almost killed because of my weakness. It proves that I am on the correct path and should let nothing stand in my way of my goal,' Sasuke concluded.
But then why had he still been so happy after Sirius escaped on Buckbeak. His godfather was still on the run and he had still needed to return to the Dursley's. But the smile on his face wasn't forced or faked. He regretted not being able to live with Sirius, and disappointed at having to return to his relatives, but he was content in the knowledge that Wormtail had not been killed.
His thoughts spun and churned until a few hours past dusk. After a long internal debate, Sasuke had to conclude that the dream was just a dream; a long and complicated one, but nothing more. It was just a fluke and he would return to his normal schedule tomorrow after adding his new Genin responsibilities in. But a nagging thought in his head said that something was different about him would not leave until he had fallen back into a deep sleep.
The damn alarm hadn't gone off and the damn dream hadn't woken him up early like yesterday. Naruto was late, and cursing up a storm under his breath as he dashed towards the Academy.
The dream was more real than the night before, and he didn't like the ending at all. He remembered being a right bastard to both his best friends in his fourth year and getting his act together in time to be there for Harry after his mate had witnessed Cedric's death and Voldemort's rebirth. The bitch Umbridge had been a nasty experience all through fifth year and he couldn't help but feel a pang of sadness go through him at remembering Sirius's death. It had taken most of Sixth year to get Harry back to mostly normal.
It was also that year that the Trio had gone through extensive physical and magical training. Harry was determined to loose no more friends. The DA wasn't continued officially, but the Room of Requirement seemed to be a huge gathering place of all houses that year. There were even a few Slytherins that stopped by for a bit of training and to impart a few nasty tricks they knew.
There had been a lot of deaths when Voldemort was declared returned by the Ministry and none of the three had really concentrated on homework. By the middle of Seventh year they could out duel Dumbledore and Snape together when working as a team, and tie when it was against Dumbledore, Snape and Flitwick. It was a good thing.
Voldemort attacked Hogsmead two weeks before NEWTS. All students had been forbidden to go to the wizard village since the beginning of their sixth year, but there had been nothing that would have stopped the Trio at a chance to end the war. They had by passed all of Dumbledore's precautions that had been set up to keep them in the castle, and had made their way to Hogsmead.
They didn't give a damn about the Order members yelling at them about how dangerous it was and went through the Death Eaters with ease. Naruto remembered dueling Lucius Malfoy and the cutting curse that severed the man's head. He remembered Hermione getting Bellatrix for Sirius with a nasty blasting curse. The battle had been a blur of movements and flashes of magic.
Harry had faced Voldemort while his two friends kept the Death Eaters off his back. When he could, Naruto had sent more curses towards the Dark Lord to give Harry some breathing room. The Prophecy had said that it was Harry's hand that had to kill him, but that wouldn't stop Ron and Hermione from hexing Voldemort to near death.
And it worked. Voldemort was defeated, and Hermione sealed his soul into the nearest object at hand to prevent him from being reborn again. The three had sat down together and smiled, enjoying the feel of having the whole thing done with. The battle was won and the Order Members and Aurors on sight were celebrating with the few remaining townsfolk that were unable to escape.
They had never seen it coming. Wormtail. The rat they had all forgotten had killed Hermione before Ron knew it was happening. When a second killing curse had fired towards him, Harry had pushed him out of the way. The Boy-Who-Lived didn't live a second time. Naruto could still feel the numb shock and horror as he stared at his two dead friends. When the last killing curse hit him, Ron hadn't even cared. His last thought was his wish to be back with his friends.
"Damn dream," Naruto cursed in a dull voice. He felt tears forming in his eyes and quickly rubbed them away as he continued on towards the Academy. Even as he said it, he knew it wasn't a dream. Nothing that felt like that could be a simple dream. 'And I didn't get my wish. I died and I'm still not with Harry and 'Mione.'
Sasuke had risen on time today, but that was all that had gone as planned. His nightmares hadn't returned. Instead, the puzzling dream had continued as if there had been no pause. He remembered the TriWizard Tournament and Voldemort's rebirth. He remembered suffering through Umbridge and his betrayal by Dumbledore. He remembered the guilt of failing Cedric, Sirius and all of his classmates as they continued to get notices of dead parents and relatives.
Harry had become an avenger. But unlike Sasuke, he had Ron and Hermione to back him up. Even with all the training he didn't know if he could have killed Voldemort without their help. At the very least, he would have had to wait several more years before he was confidant enough to face the Dark Lord. Even then he knew he would never have been able to perform that Soul Binding charm as 'Mione had.
'Mione.' The pain of loss when Wormtail killed her seemed to hurt more than remembering his clan's massacre. At least he had saved Ron. The redhead would have cursed his existence, and if they ever saw each other again Sasuke was sure the famous Weasley temper would be in full steam. But it was worth it. He hoped his mate killed his old pet Scabbers in memory of his two fallen friends. The last thought he recalled was he desire to see Hermione again and wondering when Ron would follow.
It didn't make sense, but Sasuke couldn't deny the feeling that this dream was real – that it had all happened before. After all, he had been able to summon a kunai from halfway across the room. Yet, despite the raw wound it had opened, the dream memories didn't give him anything but that – memories of another life. Sasuke sat at his desk and stared at the chalkboard remembering his other life as an avenger and wishing he had his friends to help him in this life as well.
The trio wouldn't have fallen for the same mistake twice. They wouldn't have left a Wormtail alive to kill them just as they accomplished they're goals. 'But they're not here,' Sasuke thought, and mourned inside while keeping his stoic façade up to shield him from the harsh realities of his current life.
Sakura walked quietly next to Ino. She had spent a good hour last night apologizing and listening to Ino rant and rave over how stupid Sakura was and how Sasuke-kun was now Ino's if forehead-girl was going to be giving up that easy. Sakura just smiled and nodded her head and when Ino paused to take a breath before launching into another round, she said something quietly that left Ino speechless for a moment. "I'm glad we can be friends again."
Ino had looked confused for a moment before smiling the same smile she first gave Sakura. "We've always been friends." They hugged and then quickly went into discussion on what they were wearing the next day before Sakura left for home and bed.
She had gone to sleep thinking that all was right in the world and that tomorrow would be a new start to her life as a ninja. She was going to do this right, and Ino wouldn't know what hit her if they ever had to spar in the future.
And then the dream came. It was terrible. Ron had been horrible in forth year until she had beat some sense into his skull and he had seen what Harry had faced in the first task. They helped him as much as they could, but when it came down to it, Harry had to face Voldemort all alone that year. Cedric's death had been terrible, but knowing that Voldemort was back was worse. And Harry blamed it all on himself.
It didn't help that the Ministry was anal and recessive and sent that woman Umbridge to teach everyone nonsense and enforce rules that were barbaric. Any respect that Hermione had felt for the Ministry had been killed that year. And Sirius's death synched it.
Sakura felt terrible for Harry, and when he told Ron and her the prophecy at the beginning of Sixth year, all respect for Dumbledore died. She was the one that convinced Professor McGonagall to help her deal with the headmaster. She gained Harry more freedom at Hogwarts; Dumbledore cooperated in training the way the Trio wanted it, they were given latitude on missing certain classes or turning in certain assignments, and were given a carte-blanc for the Restricted Section.
With her studying, Ron's strategy and Harry's drive, the three of them learned how to duel in a little less than eighteen months. An amazing feat according to most books she had read. Dueling took years of practice to learn properly and decades to perfect. Only Harry could truly fight Dumbledore one on one when the headmaster was going all out, but Ron and Hermione weren't far behind. And when the three of them dueled together, there wasn't anything they couldn't do.
And they won. Sakura could feel the happy elation when the Final Battle finished. With her two best friends at her side she couldn't have been more content and wished it could be like that forever.
And then she saw a rat transforming into a short fat man out of the corner of her eye. The thought of 'Wormtail!' had barely passed her mind, before her vision had been flooded with green. She remembered wishing she could see Ron and Harry one last time before she woke up with tears soaking her pillow and a terrible feeling of loss in her chest.
When Ino met her outside her door she had waved off all questions of what was wrong and how could she help. Sakura knew that Ino could never believe the real explanation, but she was too drained to come up with anything else.
All of a sudden she felt a burning anger at having to go to Ninja Orientation. She wanted to know what had happened to Ron and Harry. Could Harry get over the death of another person he cherished? Did they get Wormtail? Did Wormtail get them?
The last question gave her a lump in her throat and it was difficult to breath. It took most of her control to keep from crying. She couldn't help but think that they might have died too. Wormtail took her by surprise and while he wasn't the best dueler there was, he could have fired a second shot before anyone reacted. If Ron had died, Harry wouldn't have had the will to go on after Wormtail was taken down. If Harry was quickly taken care of, Ron might not have reacted fast enough.
She could see all the possibilities in her head and all she wanted to do was go back home and cry for her friends. Even if both had lived, the chances that they were here, in this life must be a million to one.
She had never believed in reincarnation as Hermione, but that was the only logical explanation she had now. Ninja's didn't believe in an afterlife and there wasn't any true religion in the world that she lived in now. She wondered how far in the future she must be if she couldn't even correlate the geography from Hermione's memory to the current time.
She was shaken out of her thoughts by a tap on her shoulder. Ino was looking at her with a very concerned expression on her face. "We're here." It was Ino's quiet voice. Sakura could always tell how worried the blonde was by the tone of voice Ino used.
She tried to give a reassuring smile but it didn't hold up very long. Ino seemed to get more worried before she put on a haughty mask and gestured to the far side of the room. "Just because I'm really nice and I know that Sasuke-kun will be on MY team, I'm going to let you sit by him during orientation. But don't get any ideas forehead-girl. He's mine and I'll be right behind you to make sure you're not doing anything funny."
She stomped over to a seat between Shikamaru and Chouji and Sakura watched her with a genuine smile on her face. In Ino-speak that meant that Ino was letting Sakura alone for now, but if she needed anything she was right behind her. Even if she didn't get to see Ron and Harry again, at least she still had one friend she could call on. 'But it's not the same,' she thought wistfully as the smile disappeared once more.
She paid enough attention to know that she was, in fact, placed on the same team as Sasuke, and her third team member was Naruto. When lunch came, she waved Ino off and took out her bento and ate at the desk. None of the jealous fan girls berated her for being on the Uchiha's team. They were more concerned with following the dark-haired boy out the classroom to get the chance for some 'alone time' with the village heartthrob. Sakura wondered why she had ever thought it was a smart thing to act like them.
She noticed Naruto was staying behind in the classroom as well, but didn't mind, as he was being rather quiet. There was a brief thought of concern towards the blonde before she turned her mind inward once more. She needed to be composed when the Jounin instructor arrived and make a good first impression if she was to start a ninja career correctly. But when the instructors picked up their teams, and Team Seven was left without an instructor she began to worry.
When Iruka stacked up his papers and let them know that they should stay in the classroom until the instructor arrived, she began to get upset. The instructor should know better than to arrive late. Iruka had stayed with them for an hour after the other teams had gone before leaving! How much longer would they have to wait?
The wait became even harder when Naruto seemed to snap back into his usual self an hour after that. He started chuckling to himself and humming a nameless tunes under his breath while planting a chalkboard eraser in the door. Usually she would have lectured the idiot, but she was too drained to put the effort into a good scolding. Instead she started complaining to herself about dumb blonds and their neon orange obsession. "Thank Merlin the Chudley Cannons aren't around."
It had been a long lunch for Uzumaki Naruto, future Hokage of Konoha. He had dashed into the room just before Iruka and took the last seat next to Sakura. He didn't even acknowledge his usual crush as he flopped down in his seat and tried to catch his breath.
Only half his attention was on the lecture Iruka was giving while he tried to calm his thoughts as well as his lungs. He didn't even react to Sakura or the asshole Sasuke being placed on his team, nor did he notice that Sakura didn't even smile when she was placed with Konoha's number one bachelor.
He didn't bother to leave the room when lunch was dismissed, but stayed where he was and pulled out his thermos of ramen. For the first time in a very long time, Naruto ate his single serving of ramen slowly, barely finishing before the class gathered again.
Thoughts were zipping back and forth in his head as the teams were dismissed with their Jounin instructors. He had just started to make a dent in his chaotic thoughts when Iruka let them know he was leaving, but to continue waiting for their own Jounin. The brown-haired teacher sent Naruto a worried look, but the boy just grinned and waved the concerned Chuunin off.
It wasn't long after that when Naruto decided that enough was enough. He had plenty of bad things happen to him in this life to know that stuff happens and you can deal with it or let it drag you down. And when life got too tough, what did he do to loosen things up? Play a prank. The ultra-late Jounin instructor was just asking for one.
Naruto chuckled as he thought of what kind of reactions he might get as he walked up to the front of the room. He picked the eraser with the most chalk and used a nearby chair to place it in the top of the door. Jounins were supposed to have top-notch reflexes, but there was always the chance you could catch one off guard. Besides, if the instructor was this late, he might not be a very good Jounin anyways.
As he made his way back to his seat he grinned when he noticed Sakura glaring at the desk and grumbling about idiot blondes and their neon orange obsessions. He was glad she wasn't yelling or hitting him, and who knew she had such a vocabulary. Naruto was enjoying listing to Sakura's rant when her last phrase could not be ignored. "Thank Merlin the Chudley Cannon's aren't around."
"Hey! The Chudley's would have made a great come back if they hadn't canceled all the bloody games on account of Voldemort!" It had been an automatic defense of his favorite Quidditch team, but when he realized what he said, his eyes went wide and his jaw dropped. If he hadn't been in such shock himself, he would have laughed at Sakura's bug-eyed expression.
Lunch was spent dodging fan girls and finding a quiet place to stay until he could sneak back into the Academy. He didn't think it was fair he had to go through so much trouble to have a simple meal. All he wanted right now was to be left alone until orientation was over and he could continue training. Memories of life as Harry were plaguing him and he wanted to get his mind off it as soon as possible.
But fate seemed to be against him once more. He wondered which god or gods he had pissed off and when. There wasn't anything in his memory, as Sasuke or Harry that could warrant such blatant disfavor that seemed to smoother both his lives. He could feel his right eyebrow twitching in annoyance as the second hour of waiting for their Jounin instructor began.
He was grateful for Ron and Ginny at that moment. By using the wide variety of words and phrases he had learned from them, he tried to figure out how many ways he could curse his instructor-to-be. It was the only thing allowing him to keep a semi-composed face. When Naruto began chuckling and propped the eraser up in the door he sighed mentally. 'As if that would work.'
When Sakura started muttering under her breath about idiot blonds and their obsession with neon orange he couldn't help but agree. Naruto's jumpsuit reminded him of Ron's room at the Burrow. The first stealth mission they had the blonde would stand out like a sore thumb. He only hoped the idiot would listen to reason when the time came. If he didn't, Sasuke didn't know if he would be able to restrain himself from killing the dunce.
He only half paid attention to the end of Sakura's rant, "Thank Merlin the Chudley Cannons aren't around." The significance of the statement hadn't even set in when Naruto's yell caught his full and undivided attention.
"Hey! The Chudley's would have made a great come back if they hadn't canceled all the bloody games on account of Voldemort!" His head snapped around to look at his two teammates. Naruto seemed to freeze before doing an imitation of a fish while Sakura's eyes were trying to pop out of their head.
"R-Ron!?" If the earlier two comments hadn't surprised him, Sakura's statement had.
"Hermione?" He questioned as calm as he could. He dimly wondered if he was still dreaming. Sakura and Naruto turned to him, and any color they had left washed out of their faces. The three of them stared at one another until Naruto was brave enough to break the silence.
"Harry? Mate?" Sasuke nodded at him, a small smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. He wondered if this could be true. For the first time in a very long time, hope started to glimmer in the distance. "Yahoo! I thought I was going crazy with all those bloody dreams and then I thought you guys were gone for good and, damn! I didn't think I was going to see you guys ever again and-"
"Ron! It's okay. We're here now. I'm not sure how, but I'm sure with a bit of research…" Sasuke did smile at that. There couldn't be anyone besides Hermione that could cut off one of Ron's rants so efficiently, and getting lost in thought mid-sentence was just like her, especially when concerning research.
"Who cares how? We're here and you two aren't dead anymore and best of all we're on the same damn team! And no more Voldemort chasing Harry to get in the way of have a normal life for once." Ron's grin was stretched from ear to ear. But his words caused Sasuke's happiness to dim a bit.
"Sorry Ron. Fate doesn't seem to like me too much." That comment caught both his friend's attention and two questioning looks. He sighed before giving a brief explanation. "Instead of a psychotic madman that killed my parents as a baby, I got a psychotic older brother that killed not only my parents, but my entire clan when I was eight. He left me alive and told me to hate him if I wanted to kill him and avenge their deaths. He's currently a missing-nin, S-class."
The two stared at him in dawning horror. Another small silence occurred as the two absorbed the information and Sasuke waited to see what their reaction was. Predictably, it was Ron that broke it. "Shit. That's rough. Why can't you get a break? I thought that I might have taken you place this time around…"
"How so?" Sasuke couldn't remember the last time he had been interested in a conversation that didn't involve training. It was a nice change, but he didn't like the direction Ron seemed to be going.
"Well, I don't have a family this time to share with you. Hell, I don't even know who my parents were. I lived in an orphanage 'til I was four and then I didn't want to take their shit anymore and ran away. The Hokage got me an apartment and that's where I live now and he checks up on me every now and again. None of the villagers like me and I never knew why 'til two days ago."
Naruto looked at his teammates and Hermione nodded for him to go on. "You guys remember the story of the Kyuubi and the Fourth Hokage, right?" After we both nodded he continued. "Well, turns out the Fourth didn't actually kill the fox. He couldn't. Instead he sealed him in a newborn baby so the demon couldn't break loose. When the baby dies, the fox will die with him. Lucky me, huh? The adults all know but there's a law that no one can talk about it so the kids only know that I'm bad news and they need to stay away."
'Bloody hell,' was the first thought to go through Sasuke's mind. 'Well, I guess we both get some messed up lives. What did we do to deserve this?' "I guess fate decided to screw you over too. Are you okay Hermione?"
She seemed to shake out of her thoughts by his question. "I'm fine. I have both my parents and it's a lot like Hogwarts actually. I get to see them and they support me in my decisions but I don't really talk with them much. But this time I'm not completely friendless before meeting up with you guys, and she's kept me from being a bookworm again. You guys know Ino."
He couldn't help it. Sasuke groaned. "Yes. I do."
"Oh Merlin!" Hermione looked at him in horror before she started to laugh. "You would, wouldn't you? Oh!" She started to laugh even more, gasping out her words. "I can't believe—I was a fan girl! Chasing after Harry – Of all people!" Sasuke smirked when he realized the irony of the situation. Hermione had been adamant about her opinion of all the girls who wanted to date the 'Boy-Who-Lived.'
Ron started laughing as well and the Uchiha couldn't help but snort in amusement when the blonde started to quote some of the stupid things Sakura had done while chasing the dark-haired teen. It wasn't until Sakura rounded on Naruto about all the dumb things he had done while crushing on her that he couldn't restrain the chuckle that bubbled up.
They had just gotten back under control when the door began to open and the Jounin Instructor stuck his head in the classroom… Just in time to have a chalk-full eraser land on his head. The three friends looked at each other and burst out laughing all over again. Sasuke couldn't remember when he had laughed so freely in his current life. Uchihas were not known for their cheerful dispositions.
Hatake Kakashi took one look at his team and summed it all up in one sentence. "Well, I have to say, from first impressions – I hate you guys." It just made the trio laugh harder.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Thanks to all of those reviewers that caught the scene gap and actually bothered to tell me about it. Apologies to you guys. I've been out of the loop and didn't get the messages until now.