Written by Creidhe
An unexpected incident sends Sakura into the past. She has a chance at saving everything, but as the wise say 'Playing with the hands of times brings you the most deadly consequences,' However, Sakura was not one to be intimidated...
Sakura's heart was pounding violently against her ribcage as she ran down the hospital corridor. She could see patients by the doors of their rooms peeking outside, their eyes wide in terror as they too had heard the loud voice that had been projected through the entire village announcing that they were under attack. She had left strict orders with the other medics; one the orders that she gave was to lock down the entire hospital once she was out. They needed to make sure that the patients remained safe within the hospital walls and that no enemy could ever trespass.
The pink-haired medic came to an abrupt halt. A loud gasp escaped her lips and her eyes widened slowly as she looked around her. The village that she loved was no more. Houses were being licked by tall hungry flames; civilians ran in opposite directions in sheer despair and terror. Women cried out for their broken homes, for their dead husbands and she spotted a few children standing around in shock as if their feet were glued to the ground.
Clenching her jaw, Sakura quickly whirled around. She needed to make haste towards the Hokage Tower. Tsunade-Shishou would need her. And so she ran as fast as she could and tried to ignore the way her heart almost stopped when for a moment she thought about Naruto.
Please be safe!
Her legs almost gave up on her when she arrived. She looked around in confusion as this part of the village seemed to be quite deserted which was most odd. If an enemy decided to strike they would with no doubt attempt to take the Hokage out first. Suddenly, she heard the faint sound of footsteps coming right behind her and she quickly turned around adopting a defensive posture; a kunai knife ready in her hand.
Sakura's lips parted slightly as she looked at the young man standing a few feet away from her. She studied him carefully and noticed that he had grown quite taller than she last saw him. His raven hair was also longer and almost touched his shoulders. He was looking back at her with his dark eyes boring straight into hers. She narrowed her eyes and watched as his features were void of any expression. His face was a blank mask and she supposed that it had always been this way and she never really knew the real him.
She was surprised when the blank mask slipped and watched as a wicked smile now adorned his pale features. She tensed immediately. She had heard the rumors that Sasuke had joined forces with the Akatsuki ever since he escaped from Orochimaru but she never thought that he would come to attack their village; more importantly, that he would try and kill Naruto for the bijuu.
Sasuke's dark eyes quickly faded into crimson and Sakura knew then that he intended to strike her. Whoever was standing in front of her, was definitely not the young boy once she knew. But then again, she was not the little girl he used to know either.
"How could you?" she asked as they circled each other, none of them wanted to be the first to attack. Her tone was accusatorily and disapproving. When he did not give her a reply she clenched her free hand into a fist, "How could you!?" she cried out angrily and stepped forward. She swung her fist at him but he was quick to dodge it. He made no move to counter-attack which only made her even angrier.
It looked like that angering her had been his goal all along. He smirked slightly and tilted his head almost mockingly.
"You and Naruto are both fools." He spoke out, his voice loud in the eerie silence that surrounded both of them.
"The only fool here is you!"
Sakura looked over her shoulder, looking on as Kakashi-sensei furiously approached them. She looked at the blonde-haired boy next to him and she was both relieved and worried to see him. Almost as if sensing that she was staring at him, Naruto looked back at her. The forced smile that bloomed on his whiskered face shattered her heart. She knew that he would never give up on Sasuke.
"Leave it to me, Sakura-chan!" Naruto said and then he walked towards the Uchiha sole heir. They were now facing each other with only a few feet standing in between them, "Sasuke." Naruto nodded in acknowledgement.
"It is time that we put an end to this," Sasuke said coolly as he stared at his former team-mate.
"If this is how you want it," Naruto clenched his jaw and suddenly disappeared. In his stead two clones appeared and they ran forward towards Sasuke but he dismissed them and whirled around to face the real Naruto whose hand held a blue ball of chakra.
Sakura gasped out loud when the blue ball of chakra hit Sasuke straight in the chest. Her eyes widened in horror as Sasuke's body disappeared and in its place stood a large wooden trunk: - a replacement jutsu.
She watched on with a heavy heart as both Naruto and Sasuke now engaged in a serious fight and it seemed like neither of them wanted it to stop. Her chest felt constricted and she shook her head slightly when Naruto was thrown back and fell on his back. She felt Kakashi-sensei stand next to her but he too did nothing and simply carried on watching. Were they supposed to stay still and do nothing? How could they just stand there and let both Naruto and Sasuke destroy themselves? How had they even allowed everything come to this?
The pink-haired kunoichi took a step forward but quickly froze in her place when a loud voice sounded from behind her.
"Now now! We cannot allow them to have all the fun,"
Both Sakura and Kakashi whirled around at the same time. Their gazes fell on the orange-masked man whom they had encountered before in the woods when they almost succeeded in bringing Sasuke back. Next to him, they immediately recognized the blue-skinned man – Itachi's old partner.
"I will take the orange-masked man," Kakashi's tone was resolute. She knew what he was doing but she did not complain. She knew that he was willing himself to fight with the man that they knew nothing about for her sake. She was familiar with Itachi's partner as she had read all about him in the Bingo book and therefore she would be better prepared to face him.
Kakashi immediately pushed his headband away and revealed his Sharingan eye. The orange masked-nin simply chuckled almost as if he found the entire situation amusing.
Sakura shot a glance back at both Naruto and Sasuke and then she looked back at the fish-like man. She was ready to fight.
She could not tell but it seemed like she had been exchanging blows with the blue-skinned Akatsuki for hours. She straightened up and took a good look at her surroundings. The fight had first taken place right in front of the Hokage's tower but now it seemed that they were somewhere outside Konoha. Had the fish-like man purposely led her here?
A groan escaped from her as she was forced to jump aside, barely managing to dodge Kisame's sword. She cursed inwardly and glared up at him. She could tell he was tired but not as tired as she was. She redirected her glare towards his sword that seemed to suck every bit of chakra as soon as it touched her.
"Not one bit," he replied and grinned down at her showing off his weird sharpened teeth.
Suddenly, she heard Kakashi shout something at her but she unfortunately could not quite understand him as she was too preoccupied with her own fight. She ducked Kisame's sword just in time and attempted to deliver a kick to his knee but he jumped backwards. She ran towards him, surprising him as he was not expecting her to invest in another assault so soon. However, he managed to block her blows with his gigantic sword chuckling loudly when she swore under her breath.
Just then, he saw an opening and he took it. Sakura gasped loudly as she felt something hard collide with her left side. An excruciating pain traveled through her and she had to bite her tongue to stop her from screaming. Her gaze darted away from her enemy and looked down at her left side. Her hand was covered in blood and she knew that the wound was too deep and that she was done for. Almost out of chakra she could not even dare to attempt and heal herself, especially when her enemy was still standing.
"I thought I'd give you something for you to remember me," Kisame snickered as he looked at her. He swung his sword back, leaning it against his shoulder.
An unexpected loud explosion was heard and both Sakura and Kisame looked on, their gazes transfixed on the massive red cloud that was quickly consuming the whole landscape. Naruto… the Kyuubi's chakra.
Sakura felt as if someone was strangling her own heart. There was no way that both Naruto and Sasuke could have survived it…
"Shit," Kisame cursed as he watched powerless as the red cloud of chakra seemed to approach at a very unnatural speed.
"It's coming this way," Sakura whispered as she felt like her knees were about to give up on her anytime soon. She fell down with a loud thump and her entire body shook violently, "N-Naruto…" she whispered right before the red chakra bumped against her.
It felt like she was being dragged away by a strong invisible wave and she felt like she was drowning. She tried to struggle against it but the more she struggled the more it hurt and so she slowly gave in. She stared in horror as the red chakra not only seemed to dragging her but everything and everyone along with it; dirt, trees, branches, a red fox, a few squirrels, herself, Kisame and… Kakashi.
She desperately tried to hold onto something but it was no use. A scream finally left her when she could no longer feel the ground beneath her. Her big emerald eyes stared up at the dark sky. Her pink hair was quickly all over her face. She knew that she was falling. What she wondered as she stretched her arms in vain was why was it taking so long for the impact to come. As she looked up, she could see a very small Kakashi at the edge of the cliff. She suddenly closed her eyes.
This is it.
A very vivid memory suddenly flashed in her mind. She could see his blonde-hair and his wide whiskered grin. She suddenly wondered where he found the strength to always keep that smile on his face. She suddenly realized how beautiful his smile was. She wished she had realized it sooner.
It came then and it was unforgiving. The pain hit her body at once; as if thousands of sharp knives stabbed her over and over again. She opened her mouth to gasp but no air ever came. Her emerald eyes shot wide open and she realized she was under water. Fighting with all she had, she managed to reach the surface. She opened her mouth and gasped for air, taking it in hungrily between violent coughing. She swam towards a large piece of wood and held on to it. Her fingernails dig on the weakened wood and she supported herself in order not to sink down. Her eyelids then closed without warning and she was gone.
Sakura groaned loudly as she shifted slightly. Her entire body was sore as if she had taken quite a beating. She took a deep breath and then opened her eyes. For a while, she looked around feeling quite baffled with her surroundings. Where am I? She tucked her ruffled pink hair behind her ears only to notice that her hair was soaking wet… and so were her clothes. She blinked when a large wave hit her from behind causing her to lose her balance. She gasped in pain and clawed at the sand in order not to be swept back to the sea.
Short of breath, she laid back down on the sand when she was sure that the water could not reach her. She looked around once again. There was the sea, and the shore. There were lights and the noise of people voices swirling in the air, screaming, laughing, talking, and singing: crying, maybe.
Suddenly, it all came back to her. That wave of cold creeping over her tugging on her body and soul. She tried to sit but an excruciating pain on her left side reminded her of the nasty cut she had received when she fought with Kisame. She should be dead. Why wasn't she dead? Biting her lip to suppress a scream, she lied down back on the sand. Her heart beat was so out of control that she could hear its pulsations on her own throat. She finally let out a loud cry and buried her head on the sand.
"Kami!" a loud voice spoke. Sakura did not show any signs of having heard it as she kept crying her heart out. "Young lady? Are you a-a-alright?"
Slowly, she raised her head to stare at a tall chubby-looking woman. She was wearing a simple purple kimono and looked down at her in absolute shock.
"Oh! You are from leaf too aren't you!?" she asked as she crouched down next to the pink-haired girl, "Did you get left behind?"
She recoiled at the woman's delicate touch. Her mind was reeling. The woman was making no sense.
"Naruto…" she whispered before her eyes rolled and once again darkness claimed her.
Sakura Haruno woke up screaming, her heart pounding out a rhythm of terror. Fear seemed to be a living and breathing entity in the darkness of the strange room. She could taste it in her mouth and feel it coursing through her bloodstream. For a moment, she lay frozen, her ears straining to hear the murmur of voices and sounds of steps approaching the room.
"Please, you mustn't!" a female voice whispered. Sakura could hear the door knob move making her heart skip a beat. She struggled to sit, propping herself up by her elbows and looked on as the door opened. It took her a while but once her eyes adjusted to the light she looked at tall dark-haired man. She noticed the ANBU uniform and frowned as he seemed to be carrying something in his hands.
"Where did you get this?" The man all but asked – his voice was deep, experienced and slow.
"I…" she began to stutter as her eyes wandered off to the leaf headband that he was holding, "T-that's mine," she spoke and frowned. Did he not recognize her? Where was the Hokage? What happened? Naruto… was he alright?
"Do not lie! You had it with you when we found you!" he accused, "Tell me now or you will be facing terrible consequences!"
The pink-haired medic shook her head; she was confused if not slightly frightened.
"Of course I had it with me…" she replied, feeling completely flabbergasted, "It's because it's my headband that's why!"
"I see… you decide not to collaborate then," the man said as he glared down at her.
"Are you deaf!" Sakura said now completely losing her mind, "I. HAD. IT. WITH. ME. BECAUSE. THAT. HEADBAND. BELONGS. TO. ME." She stopped to breathe in, "where is Tsunade-Shishou? I demand to see her,"
"Tsunade?" the man repeated and it was obvious that he was quite surprised with such request, "What are you on about? And who the hell are you to demand such a thing?"
"I think that's enough, Hitoshi,"
A tall blond-haired man stood at the room entrance, his shoulder was leaning on door frame. Sakura eyes widened as she took in his face.
"N-Naruto!" she exclaimed. Her eyes beamed at the sight of the man.
"I'm sorry, I think you've mistaken me with someone else," the man spoke quietly and gently, "let me introduce myself, my name is Minato Namikaze,"
"Oh…" Sakura answered as she stared at the man's face. He looked just like her Naruto. But now that she inspected him more carefully, she could see that he was slightly older and taller. His hair was longer… and he had no whiskers on his face. "I'm Sakura… Sakura Haruno,"
"Aha, well Sakura, I believe you and I have a lot to catch on," the blonde-haired man said while offering her a very familiar grin.
Sakura nodded shortly. She couldn't even think straight. What the hell was going on?
"Yondaime…" Hitoshi started but the blond-haired man cut him off with a wave of his hand.
"It's alright Hitoshi, you can go now,"
Sakura jaw dropped as she stared at the tall man, "Oh Kami… No… oh no… please tell me that I'm still dreaming,"
Everything about the pink-haired girl felt absolutely out of place. When the villagers sent word that they had left one of their ninja behind they did not know what to make of it and they were even more stunned to discover that the girl was on the brink of death. They had absolute zero records of her and so they knew that it was impossible for her to be one of them and yet she had a leaf headband with her. That alone was enough to open an investigation.
He found it reasonable to stay where he was in order not to scare her. She did genuinely look completely confused but then again spies were masters when it came to acting so he needed to take great care.
"How are you feeling?" Minato asked, his bright blue eyes scanning over her bruises. He found that the medics had done a pretty damn good job, "The medic in charge told me that you received quite the dangerous cut…"
Sakura nodded slowly and darted her eyes away from his. His intense gaze bothered her. It was painful to look at such familiar eyes. It reminded her of Naruto.
"Is there…" Minato paused and Sakura could feel the hesitation in his tone of voice. He wasn't sure on how to approach the wanted question, "anything you wish to tell me?"
He knew that he was going against all of the things that Hitoshi had warned him about. Hitoshi and many others wanted the girl to be taken into questioning as soon as possible. Yet, he felt like that was not the best way to get the answers they desired. She was young. Probably the same age as both Rin and Kakashi were.
Was there? Did she really want to tell him about it? How would he react? Would he pretend to believe her and then behind her back he would call the medics on her; have her locked up in some dark room and rule her out as some poor crazy girl? Or maybe he would just bluntly laugh in her face? Who on earth would believe her when she was also having a hard time believing?
Her lower lip trembled and she cast her eyes down.
Maybe I should just run.
But who was she kidding? How could she hope to run past him? Everyone heard the amazing stories about him. She was staring at a living legend; a living legend that was supposed to be dead. Without realizing it, Sakura's legs moved and her feet were suddenly on the cold hospital floor. Her emerald eyes glanced at the door. However, the blonde-haired Hokage seemed aware of the girl's sudden will to flee. He immediately set a firm hand on her right shoulder and held her in place.
"I can assure you that no harm will come to you,"
Sakura studied his features; she tried to figure out whether she was able to trust him or not. Then slowly, she found herself nodding. She could not run, not while she was still feeling so weak.
"Good. Now, perhaps you could tell me about your parents? I wish to let them know that you are in good hands,"
She blinked at the man's attempt to drain information out of her, "My parents are dead." She replied as she raised her head and met his gaze, "I… was living with my grandmother. She has a small house in Grass country… but unfortunately she passed away so I decided to return to Konoha…" she finished and winced at her own lie. Tsunade-shishou always criticized her when it came to lying.
"One of the many qualities that a ninja needs to achieve success is to know how to lie a flawless lie," Tsunade-shishou would often tell her when she could see through Sakura's lies.
Minato looked back at her with an unreadable expression set on his features. She fidgeted nervously under his scrutinous gaze.
"I am very sorry to hear about your parents and grandmother," he paused, something seemed to flicker within his piercing gaze but Sakura could not for the life of her know what he was thinking about. Did he believe her? "Perhaps we should discuss your stay? If you will follow me, we'll adjourn to my office. You will find that the pain medication that you were administered is now taking effect and you will feel no pain,"
Slowly, she stood up and stretched her legs, testing her own strength. Yondaime was right; she felt no pain at all.
Once outside the hospital, the pink-haired kunoichi took a deep breath. She looked on and tried to keep her features neutral but it was a very hard thing to accomplish when the Village you once knew seemed to be completely foreign to her. The streets were wider and cleaner. The houses looked as though they had been built recently. She noticed that a few local shops were gone and in their stead stood tall buildings. Her steps faltered slightly as they turned around the corner and she spotted the Konoha Military Police Force symbol on one of those buildings. Her heart stopped and she suddenly gasped for air. For the first time since she woke up, she was finally coming to terms to what was happening to her. She did not know how it came to be but… she had been thrown back in time.
"Take it easy," Minato's voice spoke from behind her. He wrapped an arm around her shoulder and looked down at the girl. As she turned her head to look at him, he could see tears welling up in her eyes, "Are you in pain?" he asked worriedly.
Sakura shook her head, "N-no. It's just… so different… everything is so different…" she whispered and slowly looked away from him.
Minato frowned slightly but nodded, "Yes, you have been away for quite a while. It is only natural."
Once inside the Hokage's office, Sakura's gaze moved across the well-organized desk that looked so differently from the chaos that used to be Tsunade-shishou's desk. She could feel the tears prickle her eyes as a part of her had hoped to see the blonde-haired woman sitting behind the desk. She had hoped to have Tsunade laugh at her and assure her that everything had been just a big joke.
"Please take a seat,"
Sakura mumbled a shy 'thank you' and sat across his desk watching as he too sat down. She watched him carefully and nervously and dared not to speak first.
The Hokage looked back at her and at first he said nothing. Then slowly, he leaned forward, "You asked for Tsunade earlier. Do you know her?"
She narrowed her eyes and quickly urged herself to think of something. Slowly, she opened her mouth as if to speak but decided against it.
Minato seemed to sense that the girl did not wish to disclose any further information with him. Taking a deep breath, he abruptly rose from his seat and stalked towards the window. He then looked over his shoulder and stared at the pink-haired girl. "Sakura…" the way he pronounced her name made her feel weak and vulnerable, "It is clear that you do not wish to confide with me." He brought his hand up in mid-air stopping her before she could interrupt him, "You are a very bad liar," he added, smiling somewhat playfully.
Sakura's eyes widened as she watched him smile at her.
"It is of no consequence. I believe I will find out what you are hiding soon enough; - whether by yourself or from my own merit. However, be warned that I will be quite persistent and until I know that you are not a danger to both yourself and this village you will remain under my team's supervision," he finished and took his seat back.
The medic nodded slowly. She did not know what to say. Whatever he meant… to be under his team's supervision… it couldn't be that bad.