Disclaimer: I do not in any way own anything having to do with Naruto that I myself do not specifically create. This applies to all chapters as well, since I hate writing this thing everytime.
She was there when they returned to the village, victorious. She was there when Naruto brokenly told Tsunade the good news, and the bad. She had seen her sensei break down, opening crying in a grief that surprised her beyond measure. She had seen Naruto cry, and even the newly-retrieved Sasuke had shed a couple tears. The village rejoiced that Orochimaru and the Akatsuki wiped out, and mourned the loss of the one who had sacrificed everything to bring it about. She was there when her former sensei and the man she looked up to finally cracked, his icy veneer shattering into broken sobs in the solitude of his apartment. She was there when they held the memorial to honor...her.
And through it all, no one noticed her, no matter how hard she tried. All they did was pat her on the head, briefly hug her or stroke along her back. No matter what Sakura did, she couldn't make anyone see past the form she had been twisted into. All they could see, was the large black dog she had become with vibrant green eyes. In the final fight, it had come to a showdown of the top powers, her disincluded. She had had to stand back and watch most of it, the speed and ferocity of the all-out ninja brawl had been terrifying and awe-inspiring. They had come upon Sasuke and Itachi as expected, squared off and ready to begin their final duel to the death, ignoring herself, Naruto, and Kakashi as they came upon the scene. What had shocked them all though into a standstill, was when Orochimaru had arrived as well.
She could only remember it in a haze, it had been so fast-paced and the amount of killin gintent had left her weak in the legs. One of the few things that stood out in her mind, was the shrill screeching of two chidori's meeting and repelling each other, Kakashi and Sasuke straining against each other. It wasn't until Itachi had fallen to the ground, one arm ripped from the joint and screaming in a way that had Sakura waking up shaking for nights afterwards, that the kunoichi finally saw her chance to act. The jutsu was extremely forbidden, only known by two at any one time. Passed down from teacher to student, it was a medical jutsu that hadn't been used in generations. One that required the ultimate sacrifice.
Her hands wove and danced through the set of seals, chakra reaching out to Itachi to draw him unwillingly into the ceremony. For it to work at full power, the jutsu required the willing death of the user, and the unwilling death of another. The older Uchiha was the perfect candidate, for through him she could send a large portion through him to strike and destroy all the Akatsuki. The other portion, would be reserved specifically for the man who had started this whole thing. The same man who currently had one hand wrapped around Sasuke's throat while his cold eyes slowly swivelled to her own. She smirked at him as the sequence neared its finale.
How those reptilian eyes had widened in shock and just a hint of fear as he felt the power building, filled with killing purpose. But it was here that things started to blank out for the young girl. She recalled a shout from Kakashi's direction, and Orochimaru's hands flashing in a counter-jutsu. Surprisingly, Itachi had started forming a small set of one-handed seals, Sharingen eyes narrowed with hate at her. Her jutsu had finished, rushing forward to execute its intent as she fell backwards into the waiting darkness. There was a bright flash of light, three hits to her body, and then nothing.
When she woke up, she was on her side at the edge of the clearing. A loud ringing in her ears made her groan in pain, just before a scream ripped through the silent air, drawing a whimper from her lips as she sought to press her hands over her ears except they wouldn't move the way she wanted them too. Instead she looked for the sight only to see Naruto on his knees, fists clenched at his sides and his head still tilted back. It was raining, but somehow she coudl still smell the salt on him and knew he was crying. Kakashi was stood a little to the side, face pressed into one hand with Sasuke lying at his feet.
At the time, Sakura had sworn Sasuke was dead and that was why they were mourning. Stumbling on hands and feet, she had raced towards the dark-haired boy, she had to make sure for herself. And when Naruto slammed into her side and Kakashi blocked her path to the Uchiha, she was certain it was to save her feelings. Until she noticed the kunai in Naruto's hand, and his hard-set eyes. When she asked what the hell he thought he was doing, she had been the only one surprised by the growling bark that had exploded out of her...muzzle?!
She had broken away from them, scratching at her new mouth, yelping and whimpering at seeing her paws, which led to her looking over her entire new body. The two men just stood there, not sure what to make out of the scene as she fell to the earth and curled into a tight ball, tail over her eyes. She just let herself slip away into unconciousness, willing the entire thing to be a dream. And when she awoke, she was being carried by Kakashi while Naruto carried Sasuke. And she was still a dog. Even now, Sakura couldn't understand why they had brought her back with them when she had apparently 'attacked' Sasuke in their eyes. Maybe they had sensed her chakra?
But no, that wasn't it, for she had been set down the moment her head lifted, Kakashi dismissing her quietly. "Go home dog." Apparently it had been simple kindness towards a dumb animal. Besides, even as she tried she couldn't feel any of her chakra inside herself anymore.
So, being the good mutt she was, she did. And followed them all the way home with Kakashi and Naruto growling at her often to leave and go back home. They had even thrown a shuriken or two at her. There was no way to tell them though that she was going home. That they were her home, that Konoha was her home. But the pain of them not knowing who she was, tore her up inside to the point one night she had to howl her sorrow. Eventually the two had given up on trying to chase her off and just accepted her presence. It was embarrassing, but she helped wear down their resistance to her through tail wagging, tongue lolling, and general loveable-dogness. Sakura became second in their mind though as Sasuke awoke on the fifth night, groaning in pain and confusion. Her teammates didn't give a second glance as she laid down beside the fire, entering their camp for the first time and avidly watching Sasuke.
They had been ready to either fight him or help him as the Uchiha pushed himself into an upright position, pressing one hand firmly to his head. "Wh-where? Naruto? Kakashi?"
The blonde had bowled him over, wrapping his best friend in a hug. A fight had broken out between the two, but it had only been one of the normal scuffles they used to share. The curse seal had disappeared, leaving his mind un-fogged and his heart untroubled now that Itachi was deceased. Even Kakashi had grinned at the two, until the dark-haired boy asked the fateful question. "I remember the fight. I...I'm sorry for all the trouble...I can't even begin to explain, it was like I was in a fog of hate and anger." He looked at the two helplessly, before glancing around the camp. "I thought I saw Sakura there, where is she?"
Before she could bark at her name, Naruto had pulled out something from his pocket, handing it to Sasuke. Sakura had sat up, squinting in the firelight to see better, flinching when she saw it was her forehead protector. And it had more then one large splash of dried blood on it. Her sense of smell had amplified in this new form and she could smell it was her own blood.
"She saved us all." Naruto said quietly, hand clenching onto the protector tightly.
"I see." Dark eyes looked away. "I never got to tell her I was sorry. For everything."
It was a huge embarrassment to the young woman when she ruined the moment as her belly let loose a loud rumble. Her ears pinned back and she lowered her head in shame as three sets of eyes focused on her, but she couldn't control it. After five days of living off the few scraps of prey she had caught, all by pure dumb luck, Sakura was ravenous. Still, she hadn't lowered herself enough to steal from her own teammates, even though the fish roasting over the fire smelled so good.
"What's with the mutt?" Sasuke asked.
Naruto shrugged. "No clue. It was there after..." He trailed off, unable to yet to speak of her death. "And well, its been following us ever since."
Dark eyes turned red as the Sharingen were activated. "Its eyes look like Sakura's did."
"Likely it was just some poor animal that came onto the scene at the wrong time and caught some of the backlash of the power." Kakashi murmured. "Either way, she seems pretty tame. I'm sure when we get home, a family will take her in."
So the rest of the three-day journey had passed, the only difference was Naruto catching an extra fish for her now. The moment she was returned to her real form, Sakura swore to buy the boy as much ramen as he could eat for a week straight. She even allowed him to stroke her, though only in moderate amounts. She did have her pride still afterall. And when they arrived at the Konoha gates, she walked right in with them, following them right into Tsunade's office. Surely her teacher could sense something of her, right?
But even there she was disappointed as her sensei simply asked where they had found the handsome dog. It was embarrassing when the woman had scratched behind her ears, but at the same time it had felt sooo good, her left hind foot had started tapping in bliss. And when they told her teacher of her 'death', she had rested her chin on the old woman's knee in silent comfort as the tears had flowed freely down the old woman's cheeks. It tore Sakura up inside, unable to relieve their sorrow and let them know she was still alive and right there with them. But she would do what she could in the meantime while she tried to figure a way to cure herself and make her identity known.
"You're all dismissed. We'll hold a ceremony for her at the memorial in two days. Sasuke, we'll also have to determine your punishment and reliability, whether or not you're fit to return here and live once more in Konoha." Tsunade decided, wiping the tears away and giving him a stern look. "I'll be sending a team of ANBU with you home, you're under house arrest until further notice. Also, who's taking her home with them?" She asked absently, waving at Sakura who was torn between staying and leaving with the three.
Team 7 looked between themselves, startled. "Merry Christmas." Kakashi replied with a faked eye-crease.
Some of her anger returned at the jounin. "I don't have time for a dog, you brat. You three brought her, you're not abandoning her. So one of you three can keep her until you find a new family to shove her onto."
And thus, did Sakura find herself following Kakashi home. Naruto it had been decided couldn't be trusted with a pet since he still had trouble taking care of himself. Sasuke had been absolute about no pets in his house and that he had no clue what to do with a dog. So, that had left only the silver-haired jounin, even though he protested that the only pets he'd ever had was a goldfish and a plant. Both of which he had managed to kill. But the other two boys argued he was used to dogs through his summons and she secretly agreed. Of course, listening to his threats of what he'd do if she chewed on his furniture or had an 'accident', Sakura was quite ready to risk living with Naruto instead. The feeling only intensified when entering her former-teacher's apartment had her sneezing violently in distaste at the rancid odor of unwashed clothes and dishes. The general mess and filth of the place was appalling.
"Great, even the dog is mocking me." Kakashi had muttered, shutting the door after her.
God, I thought it was bad when I came here as a human! It reeks though now, my eyes are tearing up. And there's tons more clutter then before. She padded around the apartment to his couch, glaring at the object of most distaste of his to her. A certain little orange book. With a flick of her nose, it was sent flying to the floor and she hopped up on the faded hunter green couch, curling up comfortably and looking for the remote. If she couldn't convince them through pantomime and barks who she was, maybe acting like an average human teenager would clue them in.
"Oh no, no animals on my furniture." She yelped when a steely grip snatched the scruff of her neck and bodily dragged her off the couch.
Glaring resolutely at him, she hopped right back up. Down she was dragged again and was forced to dodge a swat to her rump. Scooping up the Icha Icha book in between her jaws, again Sakura jumped onto the couch. She watched in satisfaction as Kakashi's eye widen visibly at the sight of his precious book in danger. And when his hand reached out towards her, she bit down just slightly, letting up as he withdrew it in fear of his darling. Again, the hand approached and again her teeth dug into the binding.
"I can't believe this. Drop it!" Maybe it hadn't been a good idea to shake her head in the negative as his look of anger was replaced with something else. Curiosity and wariness. "Drop it and I'll let you have the couch."
Thumping her tail happily, she made sure to give the cover a long, slobbery lick as she dropped it. The look of utter disgust as he picked it up between two fingers was worth the light smack on her muzzle. It was only the first of their mini-fights for the evening, including where and what she ate for dinner (No matter what Kakashi said, her nose told her the leftover mystery meal was spoiled), to a stand-off when he let her outside until he turned away ("Better not run off or its your head."), to finally where she was sleeping.
"I gave you the couch. I gave you some of MY dinner. I even gave into your delicate female decency for the bathroom. The bed, is asking for it." And with no qualms, he had again latched onto the scruff of her neck and dragged her whimpering out the door of his bedroom, closing it in her face.
So, pouting and sulking to herself, Sakura had made herself comfortable on his couch. It was true she didn't need the bed, but it had been fun to tease her teacher and frustrate him. The normally so-silent man was quite vocal it seemed when he thought there was no one but a dumb dog to hear. Still, for all his threats of sending her into the wild and unleashing some horrid jutsu on her, he had only hit her that once and even that couldn't be counted as a hit. The man apparently had an extreme soft spot for canines. While flipping through the channels on his TV and sitting next to her on the couch, she had moved to lay half on his lap to try and get another rise out of him. The jounin had responded by resting one hand on her back and nothing more, only shoving her off when he got up to head to bed.
The next two days were spent in an uneasy routine of her accompanying him around the town to his usual haunts and nights spent at his place with arguments over what she could do (shoving laboriously all his dirty clothes into the laundry room in a blatant attempt to get him to wash them) and what she couldn't do (attempt to throw out all his Icha Icha books). It wasn't until the night after the ceremony for her had taken place, most of the village turning out to honor the girl that had healed at some point a vast majority of the shinobi and that was credited with the defeat of Orochimaru. That night, from what had become HER spot on the couch, she heard the sounds of heavy breathing and could smell the salt of tears.
She hesitantly went into the silver-haired man's room to see him sitting on the edge of the bed, headband and mask gone and face pressed into one hand. There had been no protest this time as she climbed up next to him, pressing against his side. She herself was more then a little shocked to see not only his face for the first time, but at the knowledge that the tears slowly sliding down his cheeks were for her. And when the one arm not supporting his head went around her, seeking comfort, she gave him as much as she could. Who would have guessed that even the icy Copy Nin could need someone sometimes, that there was a human underneath all that indifference.
"I failed her. Just like everyone else." He whispered brokenly.
There had been no demanding she leave the room when at last he pulled himself together and stripped down to boxers for bed, sliding silently between the covers. When Sakura had tentatively laid down next to him, mind only slightly frazzled at the yummy picture of her ex-sensei 90 naked, his arm had only gone around her again. Everyone needed someone, sometimes. And for that night, and the nights afterward, she would be that person for him.
A.N: Hmm, a little chaotic and off-the-wall I know. But I wanted to be lazy and get through the whole introduction part. And yes, I do know there's some major major OOC'ness going on. But too bad! Lol, its needed for this. Anywho, now that the whole intro chapter is done, it'll be a lot more smoother-paced and such. I'm having fun with Sakura's and Kakashi's rivalry. I kinda wanna create a feeling of, "Just who is the master?" for the story. Anywho, thoughts and constructive critism are always welcome. I know I have some spelling and grammar errors, but for some reason I'm just anti-spellcheck lately. Anywho, opinions and suggestions are excepted too since I don't really have too much of a clue as to where this is headed in all the time. It just came to my mind and my writing muse demanded it be written. So all I'm doing is just letting it write itself. Well, here's to hoping its well-liked. Ja ne! -Lena
P.S: There will be no beastiality of any sort either in this, before anyone starts to wonder.