Beta-reader: Terror-Of-The-Crimson-Night

Chapter: One – Shifting

Type: Story – Incomplete

Word Count: 2,208

Disclaimer: If you've heard of it before, then it's obviously not mine

Note: Sakura's POV


I closed my eyes to the blinding sunlight. It feels like it's been a millennium since I've seen it. My shift at the hospital had just ended. It had been an overnight shift that had only come about because there was an emergency call for me to get to the hospital. I get those every now and then, being the head medic and only second best to Shishou herself.

I love my life. My friends, my family, my work. Everything. There isn't anything wrong with it. Granted when I was a child I had been picked on for my large forehead that I'd grown into over the years and my pink hair and emerald eyes.

It's funny though, that out of my boys and me, I'm the most normal one family wise. I mean Dad used to be a shinobi, not someone of importance though, just some average jonin who retired to take care of his kid. Mom's always been a civilian. They're both supportive too, they aren't abusive or drunks or anything. Just your average parents.

See, but Sasuke is from a clan which his parents are currently the head of. And plus his brother was an ANBU captain by age of thirteen. So his life is hectic a majority of the time.

Naruto, unfortunately, lost both his parents at birth. But his father was the Fourth Hokage and one of the best ninja's in the entire village. Naruto's the spitting image of his father while he acts like his mother. That's what Shishou said anyway.

See, I'm normal compared to them. Plus I didn't have to go through what they did.

Still there was a time that Team 7 was in pieces. Sasuke was dragged into major clan business and yanked away from Naruto and I, and he let it happen. That's what had pissed us off. Then Naruto turned around and decided to leave the village for two and half years. For training he had said, to get better and drag Sasuke back. Talk about betrayal.

When he finally did get back and convinced Sasuke to come with him to see me, I was busy. Between work at the hospital and training with Shishou, I just didn't have the time. And I didn't want to then. I wanted to show them what I felt like: unneeded and left behind.

It took them all of two days to corner me. Literally. I still remember that, clear as day.

Four years earlier

Konoha streets, outside main library

I grunted as yet another book fell nth time in the past minute. I was holding much too large a stack of books that actually towered over me. Great, I though bitterly. Maneuvering so that I could set down the pile – that even on the ground next to me at my full height was still taller than me – then I swooped down, grabbed the book and deposited it on the stack. Only to have the whole thing tumble and fall. Now I groaned. This was another of Shishou's completely ridiculous tests that seemed pointless but somehow told her a lot. I just know it. I mean sure she didn't say it, but then again she never did. Not until I'd completed the task and she told me how I did on the test. So I'd learned to treat all assignments with sharp awareness and fulfilled each to the best of my abilities. Which of course was another of her tests. How long would it take me to catch on that every assignment – and the underlying part that stated missions too – should be done to the best of a shinobi's abilities because you never knew when a measly C-ranked mission would suddenly become a dangerous A-ranked mission.

Like that time at the waves…

Shaking my head of the memories that'd hardly had a chance to settle in, I dropped to my knees and began rebuilding my pile. Seriously, does she have to make everything into a lesson about shinobi life? It's starting to get on my nerves.

"Sakura-chan! Sakura-chan!" That voice was so familiar, and I couldn't help but let my head snap up to see my blonde former teammate dashing down the street dragging my other ex-teammate with him. So he had kept his promise, huh? A bit late, isn't it? "Look I–"

But I'd already turned back to my task, ignoring him. I'm already going to be chewed out for my tardiness. Unless I can figure out how to get all these books to the library and in there correct place and then get back to the tower in…like ten minutes. Which would be more possible if there weren't over thirty books that – no matter how I stacked them – wouldn't stop falling every two seconds. I simply don't have the time for them, or the energy to deal with being late and having to deal with my Hokage.

As I reached for the last book I found a foot on top of it. Heaving a sigh I looked up "Please get off my book" I requested in my being-as-polite-as-I-can-to-cover-up-my-irritation voice. At times this also doubled as my been-working-to-many-hours/haven't-gotten-enough-sleep/food-and-don't-have-the-patience-to-deal-with you medic voice.

Both boys frowned, but Naruto still moved his foot allowing me a swift retrieval of the volume that I now had to dust and such. Actually, I had to do that for all of them. Which would probably take twenty minutes bare-minimum. Great. Just freaking great. "Sakura-chan? Aren't you happy to see us? It's been so long." Naruto asked, his eyebrows furrowed

"And you're still a bookworm. Don't you think that's too many books?" Same old Sasuke.

"I'm not reading them" I answered in the same tone causing the frowns to deepen. "I'm returning them. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm late."

"To return them?" Naruto asked, both of them even more put out by my blatant disregard of them as I picked the stack up once more.

"No. To get chewed out." I stated and whoosh. They'd all fallen again. Not even two seconds this time. And that still hadn't beaten my record. "Now will you scat?" I was getting horribly irritated. And considering I'd been up since yesterday with patients and potions and training and paperwork and who knows what else, it was a feat that I wasn't outright snapping at them.

"What for?" Sasuke asked, his dark eyes narrowed. I'll take that as a no. He obviously hadn't expected such a greeting from me. Probably something along the lines of me squealing his name and throwing my arms around him excitedly. Newsflash: you left me, I'm not that forgiving. Stuck up, arrogant prick.

"Are you deaf? I just said I was going to be chewed out for being late." I wasn't going to tell them that I wasn't late yet. But I was going to be so what difference did it make?

"Well, we can help." Naruto offered still looking miffed at the way I was acting.

I let my overly exhausted body slump to the ground as I tiredly picked up the books again. "No, that's fine. I've got it."

"Doesn't look like it."

"Then don't look." I threw back, vaguely realizing I'd just said much the same as he had to me all those years ago in the Forest of Death. Ha. I'd made chunin all on my own. Without help from them or Kakashi-sensei. So just how weak am huh? "I can do it."

"I'm sure you can, Sakura-chan but–" I felt my eyes narrow at the feeling that they were simply humoring me in that sense.

"I don't need assurance Naruto." I growled climbing to my feet ignoring the pile I'd just put back together. I chose instead to make a threatening step forward. "And I wasn't trying to convince myself that I don't need help either."

"Everyone needs help sometime, Sakura." Sasuke stated stepping forward.

"And what" I rounded on him, "if I don't want it?"

"Then you'd be a fool."

"No. Being a fool is refusing back up. Not…" I started then groaned. The books weren't the test, maybe an assessment but not the test. She'd told them where I was.

"Sakura-chan?" Already the worry was back in pretty blue eyes and the concern was dimly written in his best friend's eyes.

"Look. I don't know what Shishou told you, but I –"

"Shishou? When did you start calling Kakashi-sensei that?" Naruto asked looking relieved that I wasn't hurt. He always was good at acting dumb. Shishou had told them. Can't she cut me some slack? I know that life doesn't, but it also isn't this harsh. Unforgiving yes, but it doesn't through a curve with a twenty different meanings add on one right after the other either.

"I didn't." I ground out officially fed up. I just want to go home and fall asleep in my big cozy bed. Not be here. Dealing with them. "My Shishou is the current Hokage, Lady Tsunade." Naruto opened his mouth with just as much shock as Sasuke had scrawled across his countenance. "I'm not done. I really don't have any patience to deal with either of you at all, I have an assignment to complete for a sadistic teacher and I'm going to get chewed out for not getting done on time. I haven't had a good night's rest in months, I've had no sleep since yesterday morning, I'm hungry, I feel like crap and damn it I just want to go home. Not put up with you two. Now will you please just leave me be?"

Naruto pursed his lips, "Then why don't you just tell Obaa-chan that you don't want to do it?"

Now I stomped my foot like a child. How is it that they always manage to revert me to such a thing? It's not fair. "That's not the point!"

"Then what is?"

"Are you deaf?" I asked again. "I've continually said that I don't want to deal with you two. Not now at least." I turned to pick up my books only to find it considerably lighter. What the –

"Team," Sasuke started "doesn't blow team off."

Ohhh now he's lecturing me? On something he did? "I'm so glad you learned that. Now give me back my books."

But the load only got lighter. Now all three of us had ten good sized volumes. "Teme's right Sakura-chan. I don't know why you're doing this, but we finally just got back. You should be welcoming us."

I grit my teeth in an effort not to scream. Welcome? Welcome?! Yeah right! "You left." I hissed out venomously, "you don't get to just leave me with no idea what the hell I'm supposed to do and then come back when I've finally figured out up from down. It doesn't work that way."

"Says who?" Naruto demanded.

"You! You're the ones who left me. I didn't even get the choice! Not to stay a team, not to work on my own. You two chose all of that for me. And you weren't even there. You don't get to come back acting as if nothing happened, acting as if you hadn't left me all alone without even so much as a warning. You just left." I could feel the tears. The tears of rage and those of pain at remembering these last long two and a half years.

"We're a team Sakura. We were just getting better on our own, we can't always work together."

"Fine. Then lets train tomorrow." I growled. Wanting nothing more than to have a perfectly valid excuse to put both of them through a tree or twenty.

Naruto grinned in triumph while Sasuke smirked. "Alright. You'll see Sakura-chan it's just like old times." They thought they'd won.


Konoha streets

And I did put them through about ten trees. That's because they'd severely underestimated me, thinking that two – them – verse one – me – would be unfair. Which it was. For them. And I'd been grinning like a sadistic maniac when they both finally gave in. I smiled at the memory.

…And I'm still the same workaholic I was four years ago…

I shrugged the past off as I entered my apartment that I shared with my best friend Yamanaka, Ino. I've known her just as long as I've known my boys. Longer even. We met in the ninja academy when we were five. I met Naruto and Sasuke when we were eight. Wow. I'm already twenty. How do twenty years fly by so quickly and yet always seem to drag on in the moment?

I slipped into my bathroom that conjoined my room with Ino's causing the bathroom to be a Jack-and-Jill bathroom of sorts. I was already slipping out of my shirt, the stereotypical white doctor's coat discarded haphazardly on the floor of me room when I heard it.

The loud roar.

So unlike anything I'd ever heard before.

Then suddenly there was a crash and the roof above me was, to put it simply, gone. Along with my vision as pain coursed through my free falling body.

Thanks for reading, review please, criticism is forever welcome.