BETA'd: 29th Nov 08
(A/N) This is Truth and Lies (BETA), i.e. the Truth and Lies that I'm happier with. I've taken more time with this one, and hopefully it will have more of an impact. It is delightfully AU, yet sticks to the Canon storyline, with several marked changes throughout. So expect Manga spoilers. MASSIVE ONES.
Now, Godaime, Sannin Tsunade was a patient person. Sure, she snapped when things got on her nerves… when people just don't listen… when Shizune reminds her of her ever-increasing debt… who wouldn't? But she was, when push came to shove… patient.
Or at least that's what she kept telling herself. In order to try and control her temper, she took to making an ever-growing list in her head of what Hokage's don't do.
Hokage's don't snap unless the village is in danger. Hokage's don't snap when their hidden bottles of Sake mysteriously disappear. Hokage's don't snap when certain knuckleheaded ninjas refuse to go on a mission…
do NOT snap…
When their apprentice is sleeping on the job.
Her blonde eyebrows were slowly beginning a descent down her forehead as she eyed said pink haired kunoichi, lying on the head medic nin's prized sofa in the head medic nin's office (the head medic nin, of course, being Tsunade herself), in her medic uniform, her head thrown back, mouth wide open, snoring.
Haruno Sakura had been her apprentice for four years now, and was nearing the end of her training with Tsunade. Throughout those four years she had always been prompt (largely through fear of death/pain/near-death experience at the hands of her master), always accomplished the tasks Tsunade had given her with finesse, and had never, never let her down. It was almost irritating what a brilliant, perfect even, student she had been, which was why the sight in front of her hadn't annoyed her, but worried her.
She placed her hand on her student's forehead, checking her temperature.
Everything normal there…
She continued her examination by sight alone, making sure not to wake her until she was positive that this wasn't an infection of some sort. As she gradually made the deduction that there were next to no signs of anything different, apart from some obscure Chakra readings which were most commonly caused by sleep, her temper returned to its usual ready-to-blow state.
She's not ill. She's having a nap… in MY office… on MY sofa… Her eyes widened as they rested on a pair of black boots on the opposite end of the sofa. WITH HER BOOTS ON.
"Sakura!" Tsunade said loudly.
This appeared to have next to no effect, other than to make said kunoichi roll over and start snoring louder than ever.
"Sakura!" She tried again.
"Mmm… five… five more minutes…" Sakura mumbled in her sleep before she collapsed into snores again.
This is the third time this week. Tsunade thought to herself, eyeing the kunoichi with a little worry and not a little frustration in her eyes. What's making her so tired all of a sudden?
She stared at her, and finally, some five milliseconds later, she lost patience.
Sakura started, literally jumping several inches of the sofa, then she landed very unceremoniously on the floor, her arms and legs in a heap, and her nose at her shishou's feet.
She immediately stood up, blushing furiously. "Tsu-Tsu-Tsunade-shishou!" She looked back at the sofa, then scratched the back of her head, plastering the fakest, most welcoming smile on her face. "Wh-What are you doing here… this time of day?"
Ignoring Sakura's attempt at saving herself from interrogation, Tsunade pressed on. "That's the third time this week you've fallen asleep on duty." She said, her voice was stern, but her eyes told a different story… she was worried about her student.
Sakura paused, then put on her best cover-up voice, "Ohh, it's nothing really! I probably just need an early night or something." She said, again trying to use the fake smile to her advantage. However, Tsunade didn't miss the bafflement spark in Sakura's eyes. It seemed that she didn't know either. She hadn't been working any late or night shifts at the Hospital, she was definitely getting enough sleep…
"Hm." Tsunade said, eyes watching her. "Have you been training much recently?"
"A little." Sakura lied, I've been too tired to train…
Tsunade paused, "Maybe it's the overuse of your Chakra. You have been taking part in some major operations recently… you should go home. Get some rest."
Sakura nodded and bowed, "Thanks, Tsunade-shishou."
When she stood straight again, she made to walk past Tsunade, when the Hokage held her arm out and stopped her, a sudden, alarmed look in her eyes.
"What?" She gasped, and Sakura tensed, looking worried.
"What is it?"
Tsunade scanned her face for a few moments, then dropped her arm and looked away, deep in thought. "Ohh… it's nothing."
Perplexed, Sakura stared at her for a few moments, then left, deciding it was high time she went to bed.
Was that… did I just see…? She thought. Her eyes…
--Her memory flicked back momentarily to a time sixteen years ago where--
Tsunade shook herself out of it. No… that's impossible.
The streets of Konoha were abnormally quiet for that time in the afternoon, and for once, Sakura was grateful. Not only was she having trouble keeping her eyes open, but she was pretty damn sure she was getting a migraine. She ran her fingers over her face, feeling the sagged skin under her eyes and sighing, then ran it through her frizzy hair, wincing as her fingers came into contact with her scalp.
Yup, she looked a mess. She knew it, and if anyone else was around, they would have known it as well. She let out a loud sigh.
"Sakura?" A lazy, male voice greeted.
Great, She thought, somebody to stop me sleeping.
She looked up at the person who had spoke, and found herself blinking and squinting to try and work out who it was. Finally, she saw a mask.
"Kakai-sensei." She said, forcing a smile onto her face. "How are you?"
"Letting life take me where it will. The usual." He said casually. Feeling no more need to talk to him and desperate urge to get to her bed, she veered slightly to the left in an attempt to carry on walking, and she ended up bumping straight into him, causing him to grunt as she did so. "Sakura, are you all right?"
She looked at him. "Mm fine."
"Do you want to sit down?" He asked, a slight tinge of worry in his voice now.
She shook her head, and immediately wished she didn't, as it sent her vision more blurred than ever.
"I have to get home. I need sleep. I'm not feeling well…" She said.
Kakashi raised a silver eyebrow. "That much is obvious. Have you spoken to the Hokage?" He asked.
Not wishing to answer anything that required her memory, she blinked, and saw a flash of purple. "That a new book?"
"Oh yes, it's the latest in the Icha Icha Series!" Kakashi seemed to perk up immediately, and now he was banging on about his new muse, Sakura was able to tune out of what he was saying, desperately trying to think through her pounding headache.
God, sleep… I need sleep…
She blinked again, and even though she could still clearly hear Kakashi's voice, she could no longer make out any of his features.
What… what's happening… to me…?
The ground under her felt like it was moving away from her, her body felt hot, her eyes were searing with pain, and –
"A-Ahhhh!" She let out a shout of agony as the headache intensified dramatically. She clutched the sides of her head, almost certain that something akin to needles were stabbing their way into her, while others scratched her eyes.
Shit – what is – this? Genjutsu? No… Taijutsu? Definitely not… Ninjutsu? I don't think so…
Then what the HELL is this?!
After a few moments it stopped. Blinded mostly by shock, she absentmindedly noted the telltale rushing of blood to her head, and she fell forwards, straight into the arms of a horrorstruck Kakashi.
"Sakura!" He gasped, "Sakura – can you hear me?!"
"What's – happening?!" She asked, her hands going to the surprisingly cold floor, the brief moment of shock giving her the moment she needed to think and recuperate.
"Sakura – Sakura look at me!" He said, turning her head to face him.
She looked, then immediately wished she hadn't, feeling as though she was suddenly staring straight into the sun. The light didn't fade even when she closed her eyes.
Oh no. Not Naruto. Please, not him. Not now.
"Sakura-chan?" It was. That was all she needed, a loud voice and horrendously bright clothes to make her headache a billion times worse. She couldn't blame him for being worried, when the Hokage's Medic-nin apprentice collapses in the middle of the street with no idea what was happening to her, that was reason to be worried.
"Naruto! Go and find the Hokage! Quickly!" Kakashi ordered. She felt the vibrations in the ground as Naruto sprinted towards the Hospital. Her fingers ran against the cold floor beneath her, the vibrations of Naruto's Chakra reverberating through them and the rest of her as he ran.
Kakashi's voice echoed, mixing in with Naruto's obscenely loud footsteps.
Lost in the cacophony of noise that surrounded her, Sakura's mind finally gave in, and the world went white.