(Tenzou x Sakura)
by Lemon Drops/thatreevesgirl (both me)
(This story is an Alternate Timeline that branches off at Naruto manga chapter 417, there may be spoilers if you have not read up to that point, but much of what I write here is mere speculation on what I think might happen)
Three years had passed since the end of the last great ninja war. The war itself lasted half a decade, and it destroyed thousands of lives from the five hidden villages. If not for alliances with Sand, and eventually Cloud, Leaf would have been crushed completely by the Akatsuki and Sasuke Uchiha. The losses in the war were great for all sides, but especially Konaha, and now the village had to take what little it had left and use it to rebuild. Luckily, Leaf was a resilient village which was headed by an enthusiastic young leader named Naruto Uzumaki. He promised to change the face of the ninja nations, and so far he had been true to his word. Many people stood beside Naruto and his dream to create a society where war and needless death were merely distant memories.
Sakura and Shizune took over Tsunade's medical responsibilities, seeing as the aging leader was no longer able to control her chakra as she once could. Decades of using her chakra-storing jutsu and age-reversing jutsu had finally taken their toll. Shizune became the head director of the Konoha hospital and Sakura worked diligently as the head of the research department to help discover new treatments and ways to improve chakra usage.
Many of the older jounin began to retire from active duty, passing on responsibility of running the village to the younger generation. Like Kakashi, Tenzou (formerly known to team seven by his code-name Yamato) finally decided to give up his position in the ANBU permanently. After Sasuke Uchiha destroyed the ROOT organization, and killed many of the top ANBU brass, there was little left of the elite squad for Konoha to use. Despite the ANBU's objections, Tenzou decided to finally become a normal ninja and serve his Hokage and former subordinate, Naruto Uzumaki.
During the war Sasuke Uchiha was cocky in his attempts to overthrow Konoha. He ignored the warning signs that pointed to overuse of his new sharingan techniques, and subsequently lost the use of his sight during the most crucial of moments. Thanks to his foolish ego, Sasuke was captured early on in the war and was imprisoned secretly. Executing the Uchiha was the only thing Naruto couldn't do. Since all the nations were demanding the defector's death, Naruto staged a mock-execution of his friend and then hid him in an underground prison located directly beneath the Hokage tower.
Even with his sight gone, Sasuke was a risk to the village, so Kakashi blocked his ability to regulate chakra by performing a permanent chakra-blocking seal. Once it was applied it could never be undone. That enraged the Uchiha, who was left forever disabled as a ninja. He never lost his ability and knowledge of sparring and taijutsu techniques, but that could only take him so far if he tried to escape since he would not have the aid of his chakra. There were six levels of ANBU and jounin protected doors to break through to find freedom from his imprisonment. Sasuke knew he would never succeed.
Sasuke suffered from an inability to manage his hatred and growing insanity when he was first incarcerated, but with sufficient counseling and medications he started to slowly turn around. He realized his mistakes, and the only thing that allowed him to come to that realization was time and a lot of soul searching. It probably helped that his friends rallied around him to remind Sasuke of those bits of his soul he'd lost. His heart had hardened that day so long ago when he abandoned Konoha.
Though he was making steps in the right direction, Sasuke was far from giving or receiving forgiveness. Only twenty people in the entire village were privy to the knowledge that he was still alive. Three of those people were his former teammates when he was a rogue nin. They were also incarcerated in the dreary underground prison, but someday Karin, Juugo, and Suigetsu would once again have their freedom. Sasuke was sentenced to his cell for the remainder of his life.
Every member of the elder's council was eliminated by Sasuke Uchiha, therefore many positions needed to be filled in the wake of the corrupt elders' deaths. Kakashi took up the top leadership position of the council. His experience and ability to understand the gravity of certain situations was a godsend, especially while his Hokage aimed for nearly impossible goals. Many other experienced jounin were appointed to the council as well. It wasn't so much an "elders" council anymore, but rather an advisor's council. The members did a good job of approaching situations with a sensible viewpoint. They kept Naruto grounded and Naruto inspired them to dream.
Even with everything that had happened, peace once again found a home in Konoha. Many things suffered during the war, not the least of which were personal relationships. After all the trials and tribulations, it was hard to return to a world where the villagers were able to focus on building bonds with their families, friends, and lovers. Rebuilding a village wasn't solely about fixing broken houses and walls, it was about the people too. So many lives were lost in the war. Families started rebuilding themselves, and new families formed as people took lovers and husbands and wives. The permission to relax long enough for a little romance was a much needed reprieve for the citizens of Konoha.
There was one man who never really had the pleasure of being in a relationship. In the ANBU dating was strictly regulated. Tenzou had been a member in the organization since he was very, very young. He wasn't sent on ANBU missions until he was fourteen, but due to his special circumstances, he was not schooled at the academy and did not gain rank like most ninja children of the village had. He was a secret of the elder's council, and thus Tenzou did not exist for anything other than acting as their right hand. His life had been a blur of codenames and S-ranked missions, but never love, and never a real relationship with a woman. For the first time he was free of all the ANBU obligations, and he was himself—he was Tenzou, simply Tenzou.
Tenzou had seen firsthand during his time with Team Seven how painful love could be. Kakashi had lost his lover long, long ago. She had been his teammate, and though he never spoke of his relationship, Rin's death always weighed heavily on Kakashi's heart. Sai was horrible with women, but quite a few still sought him out. The length of his relationships was always incredibly short, mostly because the poor guy was one of the most socially inept people in the village. Naruto had never been very popular with most girls, but during his rise to the position of Hokage, he gained a lot of female admirers. Naruto was clumsy with his attempts at relationships, and he always seemed to still be searching for a certain person's love.
Then there was Sakura. Despite the fact most people assumed her crush on Sasuke wasn't born of genuine feelings, it had been. As crazy and illogical as her heart was, it had truly fallen in love with Sasuke Uchiha. That was why falling out of love with him had wounded her so deeply. The blood that stained his hands tainted her feelings towards him. Sasuke killed so many of her friends, and worse, Sasuke had killed Sakura's own father. He had been working with some of the council members at the time of Sasuke's attack. Sakura could never look at the man she once loved so greatly the same ever again.
Even after the war, Sakura didn't seek out lovers or relationships. She turned down Naruto's advances and threw herself into her work instead. She was broken, and didn't want to be fixed. Sakura built impossibly high walls around her heart. She was beautiful and kind, but she seemed insistent that she would never find love again. Sakura denied herself the thing she once coveted above all others—true love.
Like Sakura, Tenzou had also built walls around his heart. He had shut away his feelings for different reasons, but Tenzou found that he was as guarded as Sakura. The pain he saw in her eyes when he, Naruto, Sai, and Kakashi accompanied her to visit Sasuke Uchiha was very familiar. It was lonely and pained.
Tenzou adored Naruto, but since becoming Hokage, he hadn't seemed to notice Sakura's sadness, not like Tenzou had. Naruto had very simple notions of romance and love, and though Sakura had always rejected him, she had never shattered Naruto's heart like Sasuke had shattered hers. Naruto couldn't give her what she needed, because he was as open with his heart as she was closed off with hers. It made Tenzou curious; could Sakura find solace with him? It was a stupid notion, because Tenzou was ten years her elder, her superior, and Tenzou was sure he'd be as awkward with relationships as Sai; but still, he wondered. Do I have a chance with Sakura?
When you stop looking for love, that's when you'll find it. Love isn't something we can chase or force, it's just something that is.