Title: A New Era

Author: Shera

Disclaimer: (Bangs head against the desk)

Chapter 34

"…kura…" Something or someone was trying to pull her out of her groggy state. "Sa…" It was indeed a voice. Her ears perked up to try to catch it better. "Sakura." Finally her eyes snapped opened. Although she was sure her eyes were open still she couldn't see. Quickly she tried to wipe the film away from her vision. When she exposed her eyes once more she was momentarily blinded by a brightness she was sure hadn't been there before. Slowly she adjusted and at first thought she was looking into a mirror until her reflection smiled at her.

"There you are, Sakura."

"What? Where?" she spluttered in response. The other her was vibrant with color so much so it made her feel washed out and grey.

There was a kindness to her voice as she answered, "Wherever you wish us to be."

Sakura gave her a puzzled look before stealing a glance around but she made sure to keep the other woman within the corner of her eye. Slowly images formed where there had been only blank space before, "I suppose we're in a meadow sitting under a cherry tree."

The other woman looked around as well, "Ah, so we are."

There was a pause and Sakura couldn't help asking, "Have I died?"

Her doppelganger looked startled, "No such thing."

"Okay then who are you?" she cocked her head to the side in response, "Are you me?"

She smiled brightly, "I am and I am not." Sakura glared at the noncommittal reply. A little blossom floated down and she gently caught it before elaborating on her previous statement, "When you were younger you were too shy to speak your mind because you were afraid of what people would think of you. Instead you bottled up your emotions and created an alter ego if you will."

Sakura nodded in answer to show she understood.

"Then your confidence grew and you no longer felt the need to hold back your feelings. Slowly that other you vanished and yet," she placed the flower into her hand, "You still hold onto the image of an ideal you."

Sakura blinked as she noticed how soft the petals felt as they brushed her skin. Then a thought occurred to her, "Wait, if you are only a self image then how was I able to repel Ino's attack?"

"I really don't know but think about the Hyuga and Uchiha clans for a moment. Their bloodline limits are from the same source originally. Is it not possible that your family was once part of the Yamanaka clan?"

It was true that her family had been part of the village for several generations. How far back she couldn't say for sure but as far as she knew there weren't any special family traits.

"There's a possibility that I have the exact bloodline limit to repeal her possession technique?"

The other her shrugged, "I know just as well as you do."

Only her grandfather really stuck out in her mind. He had been captured once, tortured for information, and didn't yield. Actually he was mysteriously able to break out by himself before the relief party could get him. Everyone thought that he was just stubborn but perhaps his will to live was just extraordinary. Maybe a second soul had taken over him when he was feeling weak. It could be that certain conditions had to be met in order to awaken this limit. Sakura wanted to know more but that would have to wait.

"So that makes you what I strive to become?"

"I am merely an idea. Even though I am imperfect you still wish to become me someday."

She considered this carefully as a breeze moved carelessly around them lifting more blossoms from the branches. "Then why would I create a flawed self in my own imagination?" The other woman looked at her curiously as her earlier brilliance started to fade away, "Unless what I wanted wasn't perfection at all."

"The heart's a funny thing. It wants what it wants with no rhyme or reason but it's not always what we need. Why would your mind create something for your heart to want?"

Sakura covered her heart with her hands as she thought it over. Her life had indeed taken a few strange turns since she had probably created this image of herself. Maybe deep down even then she knew that her heart was a bad influence on her. That was why the practical part of her mind had taken over. She closed her eyes to stop the tears prickling there, "Because…even though I thought I did…I don't need to be perfect."

Suddenly she heard little snap sounds like those from a freshly lit sparkler. The woman before her was starting to grey out as Sakura felt her own coloring improve. "That is exactly right. Well done."

"Wait are you leaving?"

She smiled gently as the scenery started to fade to darkness, "I'm only a thought away. Continue to be strong and brave then someday we will be looking at one another again." A mere white outline of her form was left before that too was gone.

Sakura sat comfortably in the darkness and felt more alert than she had in days. Still she stayed as her senses started to return to her and among those were pain. At first it was a mere twinge but it soon grew in its ferocity. She growled through it and tried to find the strength within herself to fight back. Her lower half may be useless to her now but she still had her fists. They grew heavy with chakra and she smirked at the familiar feeling.

With her fighting spirit climbing to the maximum she launched her fist towards the floor, "HELL YEAH!"

The blackness that had been surrounding her shattered faster than fine china. Gravity did its work and dragged her down into her now conscious body. Sakura sat up in her bed totally disregarding the shriek worthy pain it caused her. The IV stand caught her attention fist and it soon became her first victim. She wasn't being particular careful when she ripped the needle out of her arm.

"Sakura-sama, what are you doing?" A young intern was looking at her horrified. She had been making her rounds and had been dreaming about the blueberry muffin she was planning on treating herself to during her break. So much for the easy day of comatose patients she had been expecting.

Sakura didn't look up at the green medic as she answered, "I don't need that dope."

The young girl laughed nervously as she watched Sakura's face grow scarier, "Maybe the medicine's not strong enough. You must be in considerable pain." The older woman wasn't looking at her but instead was examining her hip. "I can have someone prescribe something else for you."

Sakura's eyes locked onto hers, "What did you not understand when I said I don't want the fucking dope?"

"Uh," she held her clipboard to her chest as if it was a shield. The younger medic had heard stories but had never interacted with Sakura before. She was starting to come to the conclusion that they were true after all. This made her all the more terrified.

Sakura really hadn't expected an answer so she continued her self examination. The blankets were tossed aside like they were no more than old newspapers. Sakura's eyes quickly scrutinized what was before her with a feeling of cool indifference. Her hand started to glow green as she gathered more information on her newly splinted leg. There was bruising and deeper in some fresh cracks among the healed ones. Pah, those would be easy enough to fix. Even the kid before her could manage it. She moved onto the next leg with ease and concentration.

The young girl seemed to find her voice again, "Sakura-sama you should really be resting. You shouldn't be using your reserved chakra right now."

Sakura's eyebrow raised slightly as she actually gave the girl a look that sent a ripple of shivers through her. Her glowing hand hovered over were the IV had been and healed the puncture mark along with the purple markings that inflicted her skin.

"I wouldn't worry about my reserved chakra if I were you. I would worry about what I'm going to do once I've completely recovered." Sakura couldn't of been more intimidating even if she was standing over the girl.

"That is enough," Sakura heard an all too familiar voice that made her freeze. Her own master had made her way onto the scene. The intern gratefully hide behind the other woman with no shame. Tsunade didn't look pleased as she accessed the situation, "What have you been doing?"

Sakura wasn't given the opportunity to answer as her master was already standing over her bed giving her all sorts of looks of disapproving. "You, out," Tsunade pointed at the intern and she gladly left to have that muffin she had been craving. She would also need some time to heal from the metal abuse she had just endured.

The two of them regarded each other in silence with the same stubborn frown on each of their respective faces. The showdown continued on, "You know I have little tolerance for misbehaving patients."

Sakura folded her arms over her chest to mirror her own master further, "I just took the IV out and she got all panicky." Tsunade's lips pursed, "Alright I may of threatened her too."

"Sakura, you know how hard it is to find somewhat intelligent interns. You can't be scaring them off like that. Although it's been awhile since I've been called away from my other obligations to deal with a problem child." The mood grew humorous as Sakura lightly laughed at being called a 'child'. To her master she certainly still was. Tsunade grinned back, "There you are, Sakura. I've missed you."

The young woman wiped her eyes with the back of her hand, "Sorry, I didn't mean to be gone so long."

Tsunade's hands rested on her hips, "What am I going to do with you?"

Her former student shrugged before motioning to her legs, "We could start with these."

"So you can more conveniently assault more of the hospital staff?"

Sakura leaned back against her pillows as her tough exterior faltered. The pain was starting to eat the last of her energy she had so much of just a moment before. "I want get started on that filing. There must be loads to do."

The blonde shook her head at the odd joke and stretched her hand towards her. Sakura watched as her face remained the same throughout her examination. A slight crease formed on her forehead as she continued farther than Sakura had been able. Her second hand came forward and together they glowed brightly. She hadn't meant to but soon Sakura was drifting into a light slumber as Tsunade persisted to mend her broken body.

Unrealized to either of them a little cherry blossom had fluttered its way onto the floor beside the bed. It lingered there even though the season was defiantly autumn and such things were long dead. The slight color difference from the white linoleum floor had caught Tsunade's eye but she knew better than to comment on it. She had lived long enough to have seen stranger things.

When her eyes fluttered open again she wasn't surprised to see Shizune sitting beside her. The woman hadn't noticed her awakening since her nose was buried in a book. Sakura checked her arm and there was no new IV there. A sigh of relief came out when she realized her wishes had been respected. Shizune jumped a little when she finally noticed her stirrings.

"Hello," Sakura said sleepily.

Shizune got out of her seat and stood over her. Carefully she went through the motions of checking her vitals. "Are you in any pain?" she kept her voice low in case Sakura had fallen victim to sleep once again.

Sakura had to think for a moment before saying, "No." This somewhat surprised her. Cautiously she wiggled her toes, something she hadn't been able to do previously. They moved without any problem. This excited her, "My toes are moving! See that, Shizune?"

They both laughed at something that usually would have been so trivial brought great joy to the pair of them. She wanted to see them but she hesitated to remove the blankets this time. The other woman seemed to sense that the moment of mirth was over.

"It's alright," she said softly as she helped her into a sitting position. They locked eyes before removing the blankets together. It took a moment before Sakura forced herself to look at her limbs. When she finally did her eyes grew larger so she could examine them more thoroughly. They looked just as she had always remembered them maybe even better.

The splints were gone. Her fingers rushed to her hips and found no brace there either. Sitting wasn't causing her any discomfort for the first time in a long while. She deeply inhaled as she absorbed this new information. If they looked alright then surely she would be able to walk, she hoped, but had a hard time swinging them around to the side of the bed.

Shizune pulled a walker beside the bed, "If you're feeling adventurous you can try to use this. Although, I would advise that you rest a little longer before you attempt any walking."

Sakura knew the older woman meant well but the urge to test her limits was overruling any of her normal good judgment at the moment. Maybe she could do a few push ups while she was at it. She'd never know unless she at least tried. The once invalid gripped the bars of the walker and cautiously lowered herself from the bed.

The floor felt cold despite the socks she wore on her feet. A sick little smile twisted her mouth as she let the walker take the brunt of her weight. Slowly she pushed the instrument forward and slid a foot forward with the other following closely behind it. Shizune watched; biting her lip the entire time. Sakura wanted some instant gratification so she continued to take step after step until she crossed the room. Her body wobbled as she turned around but she remained balanced.

Little beads of perspiration were forming on her forehead from the effort. Still she was determined to return to the other side of the room with her own strength. Her muscles had become feeble during the time she had been bed ridden. Time was going to be the thing to help her on her way to a full recovery. Today was just another start to the long term goal.

Now she was about halfway back to her bed. Her hands had grown clammy from her exertion and her grip was no longer as tight. The bars of the walker slipped from her fingertips before Sakura could get a better hold. Shizune rushed to her side just before the walker dropped to the floor.

They both froze with Shizune holding Sakura up from under her arms. As the panicked breathing subsided it occurred to the older woman that Sakura was carrying more of her own weight than she was holding. Cautiously she let go of her grip and though she teetered she was standing. Sakura was standing!

Sakura gave Shizune a look of triumph before she winced, "I think that's enough adventure for today."

Her friend smiled at her before quickly helping her back into the bed. It positively was more than she had expected from her in the younger woman's condition. Though this was a smaller undertaking than she had seen Sakura perform in the past. Shizune knew that time would be the best thing to mend these wounds. She also knew that time would be the thing to help Sakura surpass not only herself but their master as well.

A/N: So this was a lot of fun to write and just more proof that I over analyze everything. We never really get any sort of real explanation for where Inner Sakura disappears to or where she came from in the first place. This is really a hypothesis of mine and I have no real evidence to it.

Plus when I wrote this I had just finished reading Stephan King's Misery and my mind was warped for awhile. Sorry, guys!

Anyways, I hope y'all enjoyed it!