I stared at the Chakra affinity paper, wondering how the hell I had managed to get such an odd chakra affinity.
Why would I have an affinity for water and wind?
Sure it had healing properties, but for Pete's sake I was born in Fire Country! I was expecting something a bit more dangerous than water and wind?
Hell, Sasuke got fire and lightening, but I get water and wind?
Then again, Naruto got only wind and he was one of the most dangerous and powerful shinobi I knew.
I sighed. Maybe if I researched it some more I would be able to figure everything out.
For now, I would focus on medical jutsu…
That is, the medical jutsu I could use as both healing and offensive.
There were days where I wondered what the hell I was doing with my life.
I woke up two hours before sunrise and did a fifteen minute warm up, followed by forty-five minutes of intense tai-jutsu training, thirty minutes of tumbling and gymnastics, forty-five minutes of weapons training, fifteen minute cool down. And then by the time the sun had been up for an hour, I would have already meditated and made breakfast for Naruto.
Once the bundle of never-ending energy was up, I'd walk him to the Academy, indulge in the sound of his voice, which was forever erased from the place that I had come from.
The topics ranged vastly, but I still found myself enjoying my time with him. But once he was inside the Academy walls, I found myself wondering what to do.
Of course, my instincts told me to run into the library to read, but Tsunade-shishou had ground into me almost every piece of medical information that she had in her repertoire. I still had some things to learn, for one never really finished their medical education, but for now I was satisfied with my knowledge in that particular field.
It was in the week before the Hokage called me in that I fell into a sort of stupor, not knowing what the hell to do with myself; from what I knew, Itachi had gone on a weeklong mission with the ANBU and would not be returning until my meeting with the Hokage.
I found that to be somewhat convenient, but shook my head of those thoughts when I heard it.
Who was I to question the motives of the Hokage?
On occasion, I would go into the Uchiha compound and converse with Mikoto-san, who I found had a good knowledge of herbs and creams to cure burns which would have been useful to me during the war.
We would talk lightly, and then I would leave after a while, unable to handle her friendliness knowing that she might die in the next few months.
That seemed to be my main problem with having time to myself.
No matter what I did, if I did not have something to distract me, whether it was analyzing Itachi's mental well-being, bettering myself, or enjoying my time with Naruto, I was…for lack of a better word, moping.
So I did my best to abstain from moping and busied myself as much as I could.
And that resulted in my putting weights on my body to increase my speed and searching for more information on the Uzumaki and seals.
The latter occurred because my back-story was starting to waver.
Also, for the first time in my life, I was having trouble with my Chakra.
The irrational part of me thought that it might've been some curse garnered from pretending to be from one of the Shinobi Nation's most feared clans. They were seal masters after all and could have put some weird vocally activated seal on lies like a weird taboo that would mess with whoever was arrogant enough to claim the Uzumaki name.
The rational part of me hit the irrational side with a frying pan and spit on it. No seals like that existed to my knowledge, and none would exist since the worlds greatest seal masters had died long before advancing that far in seal technology.
Well, despite my unruly chakra, I still managed to wander around the training grounds, and from there I received a scroll detailing a B-rank mission with Chunin Mitarashi Anko, someone who scared me when I was a child yet seemed almost comforting with my current state.
We were to meet at the gates of Konoha at five am, so the night before the mission, I explained to Naruto that I might not be home for a week. So I gave him express permission to bug the Hokage and his grandson for entertainment, and if he sees a gray haired man reading a little orange book, then he was free to torment him.
So, with a full pack, I set out to the gates at a quick jog and arrived two minutes before five.
And when I arrived there, I saw Anko, in all of her fourteen-year-old glory. She was munching on a stick of dumpling and frowned when she saw me.
"Dammit, why is the Hokage sending me out with some twerp?" she muttered, flicking the stick away. Then she crossed her arms and asked me: "What's your name, maggot?"
I gave her a wan smile, "Uzumaki Sakura, Mitarashi-senpai."
She cocked an eyebrow at me than puffed her cheeks out, "You're not all that bad, twerp, let's go. We need to get to Higurashi-cho by nightfall. We'll meet our client there and then work out the details of the mission then."
Higurashi-cho was a small city along the border of fire, near Port City. It was a small city ruled by a town council and many nobles and fire royalty liked to vacation there, so any mission there was deemed B-rank or higher, simply due to the high profile civilians and the likelihood of high level attacks and bounty hunters.
Though the mission itself was fairly simple in written word—arrive at Higurashi-cho, investigate the disappearances of three of the seven council members, and capture the culprit—I had a feeling that the Hokage had some ulterior motive for sending us on the mission.
He had promised me a week of time before he would rank me and send me out on any missions and the fact that he went back on his word could mean one of two things. Either he was running short on shinobi or this was some sort of final test.
But then again, why would he send me out with Anko?
For all I knew, Anko was the pariah of Konoha at this time as much as Naruto. Having been abandoned by Orochimaru as a failed experiment, dumped back in Leaf and left to die with the curse mark?
It could have been some ploy to see where our loyalties were, but that, too, was improbable.
So that meant that the answer was somewhere in the future.
I tried to think back to Anko's timeline but drew a blank time and time again.
As the Hokage's Apprentice and a medic, I didn't get much time to interact with the Special Jounin, unless it involved Orochimaru. And those few times I really did interact with her, I was too much of a coward to really find out more about the mysterious snake summoner.
But then again…
Didn't Tsunade-shishou mention something about how Anko was promoted to Jounin when she was fourteen?
Was this somehow out Jounin promotion test?
I shook my head, it was pointless to try and figure all this out with as little information as I had.
We kept jumping to the trees until the sun started disappearing over the horizon and the city of Higurashi-cho appeared right before out eyes.
It was filled with these big imposing buildings and many advertisements as far as the eye could see, bright colors announcing operas and spas, theatres and a multitude of other recreational activities.
The trees thinned as we got closer to the town, until the soft dirt turned into hard, worn cobble stone at the walls of the city.
It looked like such a peaceful, upper class town—not a place where you would assume potential kidnappings to be occurring at.
As we got the gates, Anko stopped and turned to me, "Look, these people aren't really used to ninja. So we have to be careful about how we say things. They're already scared out of their wits with half their government gone, so let's try and keep our cool and make this go as smoothly as possible, got it?"
I nodded, putting my fists up in front of me, "Got it, Mitarashi-senpai!"
She froze then smacked her forehead with the palm of her hand, letting it slide down her face, "Oh boy, this is going to be a long mission."
The building where we were escorted to had a low tiled-roof, with two double doors on the outside being the only entrance or exit. But on the inside, it was a maze of connecting corridors and dormitories. The compound was the renovated ruin of an old shinobi clan that used to live in Higurashi-cho years ago however they were wiped out during the war against Hidden Stone.
Anko and myself chose one of the more furnished rooms to settle ourselves in. It wasn't really all that grand, some plastic folding chairs, a card table and two futons rolled up in the corner of the room. But it was fine, we weren't in the city for pleasure, we were on business.
I found myself somewhat surprised with how Anko dropped most of her threatening personality once we started discussing the mission. She was the kind of shinobi that was no-nonsense on missions, it seemed. She was completely involved in the mission, biting on the end of her thumb as she read through the mission brief, scribbling notes in the margin and running her hand through her purple hair—it was something of an eye opener for me.
Anko wasn't scary when she was out of the village—it was a front to intimidate the villagers.
She was like Naruto in that way. He smiled inside of the village but once he was out he seemed to relax some. At least, the Naruto I used to know.
I wasn't even sure he would be the same Naruto come that time, since I was interfering so much with the timeline.
As I laid in my futon that night, staring up at the ceiling, I just couldn't help but wonder, how much had I already changed?
Itachi knew me, and interacted with me, and from those long stares at me, he suspected something was off about me. And by association, Sasuke had started taking up interest in the weird blond girl who was with his brother nearly twenty-four seven for some time.
Anko was now interacting with me, and because of my lack of knowledge on her, I was treading into dangerous territory, not knowing how much about her I was going to change with my mere presence on this mission.
The Third knew about my circumstances, whether that would prolong or shorten his life was really up to fate.
And lastly Naruto; Naruto who had become so strong in the future… would her presence weaken him? Or make him stronger?
As soon as morning arrived, Anko and I purchased a quick breakfast and set out for the Council's building; a very nondescript, plain building.
Inside we found ourselves in a big round circular room, with a long red table, shaped like a U, with seven seats—three of which were empty—in the center. The room itself had no windows and a very ominous feel, to me if felt like the perfect place for planning conspiracies.
"So you're telling me that there is no evidence that they were kidnapped?" Anko asked, one hand on her hip and the other underneath her chin.
"No, young lady, there is no evidence at all. It's as if they vanished into thin air!" Migiyama Koji, a big burly councilman with a long tangle beard that flopped over his massive stomach and squinty eyes said.
I looked at Anko meaningfully. "Then it was likely Shinobi, Anko-senpai," I whispered.
She gave me a curt nod. "Did your police department find anything?"
The councilman Migiyama frowned yet again, making it look as if his caterpillar of a mustache was curling around his thin lips. "No they found nothing, but our police department is just a few of the citizens who volunteer from time to time. I can give you the addresses of the council members so you may prepare your own investigations, but please keep in mind that we are a quiet, vacation city."
Both Anko and I nodded. "Don't worry, Migiyama-sama, we'll be sure to do our best and find your colleagues."
"I've found the remnants of shinobi weapons, Anko-senpai," I said, pointing at a series of small indentations in the wall of the first councilwoman. "It seems the shinobi were senbon users, judging by the size of the holes. The councilwoman must have put up a fight because there are similar marks on the opposite side of the room, indicating quick retaliation." I said quickly, running my fingers over the punctures in the blue wall.
I moved away from the wall when I didn't hear Anko reply to me and went into the kitchen where she was hunched over a stain on the floor, "Anko-senpai?"
She was shaking her head, biting her thumb, "This doesn't make sense, and there's blood on the floor in several places, suggesting that this wasn't a simple civilian councilwoman versus shinobi, this is more like a shinobi versus shinobi takeover."