Summary: What if you open your eyes and find yourself in the Naruto world? What would happen with a Sakura with a different mindset and knowledge of the future? Stay and read. :)

Authors note: I tried my hand on spacing… It failed. Horribly. But I'm still learning how to write, so there is plenty of time left for that. There were also some errors in the last chapter that I had to go back and fix immediately that I noticed thanks to my helpful reviewers. What would I do without you?

And before you read, maybe I should warn you about continued swearing, blood, gore and such as brutality? This is rated T for a reason, but you never know.

Hope you will like this chapter. Just remember that Sakura is a bit... disturbed at the moment. She isn't acting like a normal human being, but come to think of it, she rarely does. More notes about this chapter will be seen at the end. Enjoy!


Chapter 17

The men rushing towards me was fearsome in the stereotypical way. No women from what I could see, but there was bald men, muscular men, tattooed men, gigantic men, dwarfed men sporting axes and even the few slender men that flew around on the ground like they were caught in a tornado.

Of the assembled ones, I was more wary of the last mentioned. They looked like they had actually been in an Academy of some sort. The shurikens and senbons in their hands was a pretty big clue there, I got to admit.

Either way, I didn't have time to think more as Zabuza flexed his muscles and with a great leap was confronting them head-on. I was barely a step behind him, though I made sure to angle my direction away from him. Zabuza would probably just as quickly chop my head off as any other enemy despite what he believed about me.

I wasn't willing to risk it.

It might be cowardly, but right at the start of a battle, who would honestly stand right next to the one with the sword that easily surpassed me in length?

The answer: the one who was just as good as the person wielding it, the desperate, or the one with their head already chopped off.

I was hoping on taking alternative d) none of the above.

Only one step forward, and suddenly I was confronted with a grinning bald man. He handled his sword like it was a meat knife and wore a thick padded coat that covered his chin and all the way down to his knees. The man made a sharp gesture that stopped the other men from circling me as he took me in. "Well hello little girl," he grinned lecherously. "You don't look like much. Do you want to have some fun ins–"

Having noted that he was probably of higher standing and in some sort of leader position because the others listened to him, I struck low to the ground, twisting around so I stood behind him and with a snap of my arm; I cut off his dialogue by slashing the popliteal nerves at his knees.

He hit the ground with a cry and I angled my kunai so I struck behind his head to sever the brain stem.

There was a stunned silence from the men who watched him die instantly.

I could vaguely hear the hoarse shouts from where Zabuza was sure to be thick in the middle of it.


I was already moving before they could assemble, flipping over the dead man with one hand as I kicked out at another. His breath came out in rush as he stumbled back, but I didn't stick around to watch. My chakra sense had spiraled into a sharp focus covering only two arm lengths away, and thanks to it I managed to block two shurikens that would have embedded into my stomach.

I bent over double to avoid a choppy slash and rolled to stand on my two feet again before I jabbed at an arm close to me. He swore but succeeded in avoiding the follow-up jab with my kunai.

I frowned even as I jumped backwards.

This was going to be harder than I thought.

"HEIYA!" A loud war shout behind me made it easy for me to side-step the rushing man and knock his feet from under him. I had just dragged the kunai over his exposed jugular before I was forced to duck and roll, hand slamming down as I jumped away from another man rushing at me.

I had barely landed on the ground before I was jumping into the air again to avoid senbons aimed at me, legs kicking out at the flat side of a sword so I could land in a crouch.

As I flicked my wrist in a practiced movement to cut the tendons of a nearby elbow, I knew I would not survive like this for long. There were too many fighters surrounding me, and there were only more to come from behind. It was lucky that they fought like brawlers and wasn't more than muscle, but their sheer numbers were overwhelming. I couldn't even slide into my preferred kata like this since it needed space I could not afford. Instead I was forced to always keep moving and only use the most rudimentary basics of my fighting style.

Light on feet, low on ground, small motions and speed over all.

Keeping the mantra in mind, I rushed towards a man with a bare chest and managed to cut into his kidney from his back and then kicked out at the windpipe from the man lunging for me.

Frowning, I twisted away from yet another sword and instead of switching targets, I slid into his guard and dug my fingers into his solar plexus. Sending a sharp wave of chakra with the intent to harm got him doubling over in pain and coughing up blood.

I barely jumped away from the man when shurikens struck him instead of hitting me, and he fell over, dead from a lucky shot at his temple.

Gritting my teeth, I flipped away from yet another wave of shurikens but a sharp pain said I hadn't avoided every single one.

I wobbled a little, ignoring the urge to whimper as I pulled the two sharp weapons embedded in my leg. Hastily clogging the blood so it wouldn't bleed since it had been near a major artery, I kept on moving. With dawning realization I knew I really would die like this.

Making a split decision, I turned on the balls of my feet and rushed in the direction Zabuza was.

Predictably, I was greeted with a "Brat," when I spun around to stand side by side with him.

As I moved to kick out once again at a man that had been following me, I observed that Zabuza looked happy. Like absurdly happy that he was finally killing men left and right. Bodies littered the ground and I had to be careful of where I stood if I didn't want to do a balancing act. Just as I opened my mouth to respond to his acknowledgment, since I'm fairly sure he was just itching for reasons to kill me, what actually slipped out of my mouth was; "You're hurt."

He shot me an odd look as he lashed out at a lunging man.

But it was simply so odd that he was actually hurt from the mere seconds he had been out of my sight. His movements were stilted and his breathing labored, his arm trembling at odd intervals and blood dribbling slowly from a cut above his eye. Though he had wiped at the cut, making a long red streak form to his temple like some tribal paint, I could bet anything that his broken ribs and fractured bone in his right arm's humerus was bothering him more.

I looked at the men surrounding us with a new eye. He got the worst of the bunch, I analyzed critically.

"Fucking weaklings decided to gang up on me," he grunted out in what seemed almost like defense, but it was true enough. The men that I had been most wary of was circling Zabuza and those that I had been dealing with looked next to nothing compared to the numbers he was dealing with. Only reason I'm staying is that I still have a better chance of surviving with him. What did that say about his skills?

What did that say about me?

Option b) the desperate.

"You can handle it," I felt the need to point out as I threw some of my shurikens into the eye of a man unlucky enough to never see them coming.

He made a noise that sounded satisfied as his bloodthirsty grin spread to his eyes. "Duck," he added almost offhandedly, and I barely managed to twist myself down before his sword was angled upwards from the ground and swung in a broad circle that decapitated three men. The fourth man got his throat nicked and he fell to the ground, gurgling inarticulately as blood filled his mouth. Someone swooped down and dragged the man from my sight, perhaps hoping to save him, perhaps wanting to get his death over with elsewhere.

I blinked, a strange feeling stirring in my stomach as I wiped away the blood spray on my face.

But there was no time to think as another man tried to skewer me. While he was tugging at the large weapon that was stuck in the ground, I flowed around him and stuck a kunai in his lung and left him to bleed to death as he stumbled back.

It was with a passing regret I did so. He was simply too tall for me to sever his brain stem or kill him quickly with mercy when there was other people defending him so close by.

A chuckle from Zabuza showed that at least he was amused.

"Monster," the whispering began anew, louder this time than what I had overheard before. "He is a monster!"

It wasn't anything new, nothing I hadn't known before. But what came next, on the other hand...

"Tha' gurl is a fast little devil! Don' let her appearance fool ya," another warned from the back, his speech thick with an accent I couldn't recognize, and they shifted in answer.

Seeing a sudden opening by those words, I darted forward and let the kunai freely sever tendons, flesh and bones on the anatomy that stuck out as I ran through the thick crowd. They swore, yelled, howled, and the smell of blood was heavy in the air.

Lights unexpectedly flashed behind my eyelids, and I cried out in agony, crumbling to the ground.

The thin katana twisted in my shoulder, and I bit my lip to contain another cry. Trying to turn around, punch or even kick only brought a wave of more pain, and I whimpered inaudibly.

Abruptly, the sword was gone and a large hand hauled me up roughly. "Brat," Zabuza's voice rumbled, "that was a rookie mistake."

I looked down and noticed the body of a slim boy with a scarf covering his face, his hand slackly holding a bloody katana. He looked about the same age as me, maybe older.

My face was strained as I nodded and thanked him quietly for the help.

He gave a short nod before he started to expertly swing his blade again, though his own wounds halted him slightly. I returned the favor with diving to the ground once more to avoid being accidentally killed by the sword, pushing numbing chakra into the wound. I could hardly feel half of my back, and I knew it would cost me if I got another wound in that area. But at least the muscle memory helped me bypass the numb feeling so I could continue to fight, and it wasn't like I could afford the time or chakra to heal it properly anyway.

I gritted my teeth again and jabbed at the throat of a man short enough from my position. It got crushed, and I think he swallowed his own tongue. I looked away as that unpleasant feeling churned in my stomach again.

No time.

But even as I spun around to flick a shuriken at the jugular of a man stupid enough to try to sneak up on Zabuza's back when I was there, I wondered…

I really wondered.

Was it this easy to kill?

There really wasn't any time to think about it, and I pushed away the morality.

No time.

What happened next got blurred in my mind as both the focusing problem and the fight itself pushed me to my limits. Zabuza was always a step before me in attacking, but I learned to predict his movements, and as bodies passed, how to also best aid him. If he swung one way, I was quick to dart the other way, kicking out at those who thought they were being smart to aim at his spine. If he flexed his muscles and rocked slightly back, I dove to the ground as he spun around with his sword in a circle. When his sword lowered a fraction, I put up a large enough distraction behind him so he could rush forward and easily kill his target.

Though it was teamwork in the most improbable of places, I felt that my fighting style fit well with his. I wasn't a front attacker despite how my katas might look like it; I was a support-nin through and through, especially since I was a genin with basically no strength and experience.

I know the canon Haruno Sakura had been bitter about that; always wanting to fight beside or in front of her team.

While I might admit that she had been a bit too weak, it was no shame in being the support for stronger allies if you were actually useful. Already I had managed to stop some fatal attacks that Zabuza had somehow missed coming, and he had of course done the same to me many, many times.

Though, having said that, he had still been wounded just like me. He was limping slightly and I cradled my left arm that had been badly sprained.

Add to that, there was somebody out there that fought mainly with long-distance weapons. We could never quite reach him since he was hiding behind others. He had gotten us both sometime or another; glancing wounds and deeply bleeding ones.

He was maybe not the most dangerous, but distractions like his had cost us even more wounds because of it.

"Fucking. Coward." Zabuza grunted out, voicing my thought out loud as I had to duck again from the barrage of shurikens and him blocking it with his sword.

There were a lot of angry shouts from the border-line thugs that surrounded us. I could almost hear in the background Gatō screeching to; "Kill them! Kill them ALL!"

Glancing to the sky and calculating that a quarter of an hour had barely passed, I think that all things considered, this could have been worse. The mass of men had disappeared and leaving behind less than twenty or so. These were tougher than I had expected, but that could be because we were tiring at a fast rate.

They were smart to drag the fight out against two single opponents, I'll give them that.

But again, all things considered, this could have been a lot worse. At least we weren't dead yet.

"Kill them ALL!" Gatō continued to repeat like a broken record at the end of the bridge, and it wasn't before I happened to see a man rushing out at the corner of my eyes that I realized what he meant.


A man with short black hair swinging an axe was running towards the direction I knew Haku and Sasuke laid, and further away Kakashi, Tazuna and Naruto.


How could I have been so stupid? They had no protection at all!

"NO!" I shouted, digging my heels in and leaping through the men with a great push. But I was too far away, I realized with horror. I couldn't do anything. I was helpless. I was

Not needed, I realized, as Naruto was suddenly there.

Naruto was standing over the corpse of Sasuke as he deflected the axe with a punch at the broad side, a follow-up kick at the man's chest making him crash into the ground a few steps away. Naruto ran forward, kicking down harshly on the solar plexus as the man wheezed out in pain. He hesitated slightly when he took out a kunai, but he still drove it into the man's brain, instantly killing him.

I skidded to a halt, staring at him.

As if Naruto sensed me in return, he looked up and immediately caught my eyes.

He opened his mouth, closed it, and then he jutted his chin out in that stubborn tilt I knew so well from him. "I-I'm helping, you hear that?" His voice quivered, but he only dug his fingers into his palms to steady it. "No way am I leaving you to do this alone!"

His voice wasn't the only thing that was shaking. The faint tremor at his lips, the way his clothes shifted without the assistance of the wind, the tense muscles at his back and the bloodied kunai in his hard grip. Naruto was studiously avoiding looking in the direction of Sasuke, and it was obvious why. But he decided to help me, to push away the sadness for the sake of the team.

For me.

My eyes were suspiciously wet at this point, and my throat closed up. Dipping my head, I smiled in relief. I only wished I had been equally quick to decide the same.

A hard metallic clang right behind me made me turn around, immediately alarmed and with a raised kunai. What I actually saw brought me short. Zabuza was standing with his sword raised, eyes narrowed to tiny slits as he stared coldly at the enemies. He was defending me…? "Wimpy Konoha brats and their bleeding hearts," he growled. "Are. You. Done. Yet? I have better things to do than protect useless tools."

Standing so close to him, I noticed the senbon littering the ground at his feet. They could have hit my anesthetized back, and I wouldn't have felt a thing. They could have pierced my lung and I wouldn't have known before I was coughing blood.

Huh. I would never have guessed he had a soft spot.

Naruto came to a different conclusion as he bristled and ran forward, anger written clearly in his scowl. "Don't you dare say things like that! I know you care for that Haku, or you wouldn't have…" He trailed off angrily, but he raised a hand to lightly touch the impressive bruise that was forming under his right eye. Zabuza must have really slammed Naruto into the ground for it to get that big. Naruto must have thought so too because he pressed out a small, bitter smile. "Don't lie."

Zabuza glanced back at Naruto, his eye flickering towards Haku, some strange emotion flashing past his eyes before he abruptly swung out with his sword, catching a man that was trying to sneak past off-guard.

Naruto gaped at his reflexes, but I saw that he understood even as I darted forward, swinging down my kunai while the man was still down. When it came to Zabuza, that action was probably the most honest confession he would make without being forced.

Abruptly, a picture of a crying Zabuza appeared. Tears fell from his eyes when he almost begged Naruto to stop talking. Haku had died, and he couldn't deal with it. Haku wasn't a tool, but something closer, and he had died.

I thought about it while returning to Naruto's side.

More changes.

I think, this time, it's for the better.

"Twerp," Zabuza growled out to my teammate, "don't go getting any ideas. Stay out of my way and you might live to tell the tale."

He frowned. "Hey! My name is Uzumaki Naruto, and I just told you, no way am I leaving Sakura alone with you! I will help too!"

I glanced sideways to him.

Ignoring for now how he dropped my suffix, I appreciated the concern nonetheless. I was happy he was awake and able to protect himself, but some part of me didn't want his innocence to be spoiled from something I had caused. This whole thing was my fault, and he shouldn't be paying for it.

Almost like they were listening into my thoughts, both Naruto and Zabuza looked at me. Naruto were challenging me with his stare, stubbornly squaring his shoulders and looking ready to take anything I might throw at him. I didn't. I dropped his eyes and turned to Zabuza who were nearly giving me an insight into his calculations by his chakra alone.

It said he was watching me closely, that he still wouldn't hesitate to kill me if I took a step out of turn, and that he knew I knew but could care less.


"I doubt it," he responded finally to Naruto, snorting even as he turned and stared down the nervous men.

Naruto frowned harder at his dismissive words and something close to a glare got directed at the older shinobi. "I will prove it to you!" He snapped. Fingers closing into the obligatory sign, he shouted out the name of his jutsu as several kage bunshins popped into existence behind him.

Our opponents jumped, startled.

Zabuza blinked, then he glanced at me. "Fucking chakra monster," he muttered quietly, and if I hadn't known him better, with what I would believe classified as envy. "I can see why the council assigned a medic to that one."

I nodded slowly in acquiescence.

"Look!" Naruto shouted, pointing straight forward. His chakra was jumping all over the place, almost smothering me with the hopeful and hesitant undertone.

I looked back at the men and noticed how they had slowly begun to back away. "I-I can't – Fuck the money! I value my life more!"

"Nothing is worth facing off twenty nin!" Another agreed.

Equally hopeful, I watched how they turned and fled.

But my hopes were dashed when Zabuza cursed loud and colorfully, "Can't believe this. Fuck. This is bad."

He jumped after the retreating men, sword slashing their turned backs.

"What?" I whispered, frowning. Why would it be bad? In what situation would Zabuza think something were bad, and freely admitting it?

Regardless of my opinion, I followed him and managed to stop several of them with precise shots with shuriken in their vertebrae. "Why?" I asked him sharply when I was close enough. He seemed to understand me despite the one word question as he spared a second to sneer at me.

"Never met a fucking sensor that was so incredibly blind. Think, little girl, think."

I never thought that I would miss the word brat as much as I was now. I don't know how he managed to insert as much derision as humanly possible into the word 'girl', but I was more worried by what had compelled him to change names.

This couldn't bode well.

Alright, so think. He believes I should know this, which makes it obvious from his perspective. I felt a small urge to point out that he was biased since he was speaking in retrospect, but it was quelled quickly. This was something I had to find out.

A Naruto clone tugged at my arm, and I allowed him to drag me into chasing the men. Their speed suddenly slowed, and I let my body move on automatic as the focusing problem arose again.

They were running, retreating from the fight. Why would that be bad? It might be because they would regroup under Gatō's supervision and then attack again, but I have a feeling they wouldn't want to jump the gun, so to speak. It was a chance they would encounter Zabuza, or someone at his caliber again, and after this fight I think there exists very few who want the blood bath to reoccur.

I didn't want that, at least. I could still feel the blood crusting my hands, the wounds groaning in protest and the ground collecting the red puddles like it was normal.

So what about this situation would Zabuza of all people think was bad?

Maybe he disliked the missed opportunity of more killing? But he wasn't that ruthless last time I checked, and for all he knew, Haku needed immediate care and he wouldn't probably want to risk it.

I frowned, abruptly stopping as something occurred to me.

Every small puzzle piece I had collected from before were nagging at me, shouting to be recognized. The poor people in the streets, the broken fishing boats, Tazuna's big but empty house... What in the world was this about? And in all this, my main problem always came back to Gatō. I still can't understand him. I think there's a saying about Dictators and the people who made them, or was it that behind every great man there was someone else? My memory felt a bit fuzzy, but in any case, there was no way that he managed this on his own.

Wait... That was it, wasn't it?

I paled.

This world, or more accurately this place, almost vibrated in its wrongness. I had always thought so, but it all suddenly fit. I unconsciously shivered.

Gatō was hardly material for a director, and even less a multimillionaire, even if it had been inherited. The wave country had their money stagnated to a disturbing degree, and their primary trade had been cut off like no one would even care at the other side. They shouldn't have been the only ones affected... unless someone diverted the trades elsewhere. Unless somebody put a noose around the country, placing a puppet to order them around.

I was uncomfortably reminded of the fourth Mizukage.

This was bad, I realized. Gatō wasn't highest in the pecking order. There was somebody above him, an individual that intimidated Zabuza enough to give chase and try to hinder any attention being brought upon him. I ignored the question of why that person even did it, and who that was, since right here and now...

...This was really bad.

Had I somehow changed this world by simply being born? Or was it already different, and I had only been fooling myself into thinking differently? The Haruno family did not own a bank according to canon. They were not an influential family in any means in the civilian sector according to canon. And the Sakura in canon was definitely not a chakra sensor, she was not a person who knew the future and she was definitely not me.

Does that mean that my existence should not be? That by living, I am changing everything to the worse?

Should I kill myself to undo this error? Will everything go back to normal if I'm gone?

Forcefully pushing back the compelling voice inside me, I turned my back against the carnage behind me. My emotions were bubbling, pushing hard against an unseen surface as it struggled to come free.

It was hard to even take a step forward when invisible chains was dragging me the other way.

"Sakura-chan?! Where are you going?"

His voice jolted me... and suddenly I was taking another step, and then another step that turned into a sprint.

I didn't even stop for a breath as I shouted in passing to the real Naruto. "Like fucking hell I'm going to let something that stupid stop me!"

"S-Sakura?! Did... Did you just swear? Wait! I'm going with you!"

Although severely bewildered, I could hear Naruto's footsteps behind me, leaving his clones to fight with Zabuza.

My eyes focused on the figure I wanted to be beside, but I was fighting tooth and nail for every feet I progressed. Something was stopping me from progressing. Something inside me didn't want to go that way when I simply knew –

(…and something within me broke like fragile clockwork, fracturing and crumbling beyond repair.)

– that a missing piece of myself were lying in a puddle, waiting to be noticed in time. The missing piece that, although it wouldn't make things like it once was, it would instead make someone new.

Someone more real.

I almost threw myself down beside Sasuke, hands fluttering above him even as I summoned healing chakra.

"What," a gasping breath, "are you doing, Sakura-chan?" I could almost see him grimace from my peripheral vision, a faint tremor underlining his words.

He was still dead, I knew that, and he had been for quite some time now. But he was the missing piece from not only me, but also Naruto. Does that alone not merit the best I can do? Who am I to give up so early?

I looked up, eyes steady as I caught shimmering blue eyes with my own. "Do you trust me?"

He almost blurted out the affirmative, but his mouth clicked shut before it could. He crouched down too on the other side, hands above his knees as he nodded seriously. "Of course I do, Sakura."

A relived smile lifted my mouth for a second, and I nodded. "I need you to do everything I say, no questions asked."

That earned me an odd look, but he still nodded in all seriousness. "Yeah, sure."

"Watch my back."

Naruto was immediately on his feet again, several kage bunshins spilling out from him and spreading out in the textbook guarding positions.

I tried to ignore my chakra sense and looked down instead, positioning my hands over his heart. It was almost like the beginning of CPR, but instead of starting the procedure, I simple held them there.

I glanced at Inner Sakura standing above me. For being the side of me that should have been the most emotional, her face looked curiously solemn. Her expression had been cleared of everything except a steely countenance. She glanced back at me from where she had been staring at Naruto, and my breath caught. Those same eyes, those green eyes I always saw in the mirror, were reflecting such a deep worry that I wondered if she truly was a part of me.

Those emotions were breathtaking in a way. Especially when I felt like mist enveloped me, the world having a fuzzy view since the start of the battle.

Almost as if on cue, every single one of the Naruto's surrounding me whipped out a kunai, the original one nodding towards me. "Go on, I'm here. I'm ready."

Thankful, I didn't hesitate in the least of plunging into my chakra and grabbing a fierce hold of it. Knowing Naruto had my back released some of the trepidation I had and I found it easier to get lost within the sensations of my chakra. Filtering away the world, I concentrated on the pulse of life beneath my hands that I fearfully wished existed.

Directing my chakra into Sasuke's skin, I poked around, trying to find a grip. Finding his heart almost immediately, I realized the cause of death. A long senbon dipped in poison had nicked his heart, the poison spreading through his limbs and paralyzing as it went. It had probably not been Haku's intention for him to die this way, since it looked like Sasuke had accidentally fallen, pressing the needles on his back forcefully inwards.

I winced, breathing out hard.

I won't give up. Even if it looks like he is too far gone and that he has been dead too long and that I know next to nothing about treating poison and –

I won't give up.

Momentarily stopping my chakra for a second as my mind furiously tried to come up with a plan for this, I gritted my teeth in frustration. I came from a world where it might not have been easy, but it had been possible to bring people back to life. In this world, with healing wonders everywhere you looked thanks to chakra, why couldn't it be possible here too?

But looking back at the body, I knew it was too much work for me. I don't have a chance of healing anything without help, because I need to evict the poison and heal the wounds in a too short time-frame that it wouldn't possible work with only me... and it's almost like looking two different ways at the same time, wasn't it?

I need to calm down.

"Can you make one kage bunshin for me? Slowly?"

Naruto turned to me, frowning. It looked like he wanted to question the need, but he made the clone as asked with an exaggerated slow hand sign forming.

Taking a deep breath, I focused on the way his chakra had split, the waves it had undertaken before the jutsu could be completed. With a twist of my own chakra, I duplicated the motions clumsily but to the best of my effort.

I knew first from the gasp from Naruto that I had succeeded. The rush of chakra depletion only hit me a second later, and I crumbled down, though a steady hand stopped me from falling over Sasuke.

"Be careful of what you wish for," a teasing voice warned me.

I weakly glared up at the grinning visage of a completely visible Inner Sakura. "I suspected you would come forward."

She sat down, giggling quietly to herself. It was like she was high on euphoria. "I couldn't help myself. You should do this more often. It's fun!"

She spread her arms and waved them around, as if proving her point.


We both turned to Naruto, but I poked at Inner without looking before she could open her mouth. "No questions," I reminded him.

He nodded slowly, eyes flickering from me to the newly formed clone. He looked to be teetering between being gobsmacked to being amazed. He settled on something that made him look faintly constipated.

I couldn't really blame him. First was that Inner could probably give anyone a heart attack, but the fact was that I had never formed a jutsu in front of him before. Some teachers had thought I would fail the test for the graduating jutsus and only become a shinobi on the merit of my brains, but I proved them wrong the last day.

It was for one very simple reason, really.

The truth was, I couldn't do jutsus. Or at least not in the traditional way. It was mainly because I found hand signs to be clumsy after having broken my arm when the rest of the children learned to do them, and that I had never found the reason why chakra could be controlled by hand signs, but it was even more simpler than that.

It had been done through some experiments with Ino, but I quickly figured out that my chakra tended to... react violently if I tried to mold it and push it outwards too far away from me. It was like my chakra didn't even want to be molded from small amounts into elemental chakra. I found it much more difficult than it should reasonably be.

I had singed my eyebrows on more than one occasion from chakra burns during the experiments. I found that the only way to actually do jutsus would be within myself, and never actually letting go of the chakra. Like when I first met Naruto, I had done the preparations inside myself before attaching my chakra to Naruto and doing a swap with the chakra still connected to me.

That was why healing chakra came so much easier for me. It was probably the only jutsu I knew I could use that wasn't the henge or the other two Academy jutsus.

Lucky me.

"You know what to do, right?"

"It isn't like I have anything better to do than listen to you, you know," Inner Sakura grumbled. Kneeling on the other side of Sasuke, she held her hands out beside me and plunged inside with her healing chakra.

With great pain and care, I took the lead and started to heal torn tissues of organs while Inner pushed out the senbons littering his body. When she was finished, she swapped duties with me so I could concentrate on his brain. It looked fine, miraculously. The poison had been pumped there, true, but nothing was damaged as I had been fearing.

Quickly snapping up my kunai and cutting three precise holes, one on his stomach, and the two others on opposite sides on his chest, I started to gather poison towards the exit-wounds. Inner was finished with her duty, so she wiped away the dribbling purple poison.

The next stage was harder, and already I felt faint. Heat and cold was warring inside me, and it took tremendous will of effort to not sway where I was sitting.

"Hang in there," Inner whispered, briefly touching my hand.

I smiled back before focusing on his heart and enveloping it carefully. Inner redirected her chakra to the brain, infiltrating the neurons and sending messages that would encourage activity.

At the unspoken start of three, Inner began to spread out her chakra in the hope that the brain wasn't gone and that it would mimic her presence to start moving. I carefully constricted the heart, the chakra pushing the blood gently out and doing the reverse when I released my hold.

Then I squeezed the heart again, making sure that blood flowed to his brain, his fingers and his toes. It took several tries before it began to become automatic, the time rushing by or standing still for all I knew.

Again and again, I tirelessly repeated the procedure. Again, again, and again.


I paused for a second, because that felt easier than it should have.


His heart was weakly beginning to constrict its own muscles.


Immediately flowing into a frenzy, I held his heart again and helped it beat, but a small amount of my chakra spread out to see the effects on his body. Inner had taken it upon herself to give his lungs a bit of a push, but she was just as stunned as me when she noticed the dull activity in his brain.

I began to cry quietly.

"We have him," I whispered. "We really have him."

A/N Hang in there! This arc is not nearly done, but this chapter was beginning to become too long, so I had to cut it short.

But have high spirits, my dear readers! Sasuke's heart is starting to respond! If he's actually going to make it, or if he's going to spend the rest of his life comatose is another matter entirely. At least you can sleep happy with the knowledge that I read every single one of your reviews (that I love getting) and that I do know the fall-out and the consequences whether he lives or dies.

I have this planned up to a point, and no matter what, it will deviate from this point onward. No sticking to canon here, nope.

For those that might be wondering about the fight scene, I'm of the mind that shinobi doesn't fight fair when the odds is against them. They also don't fight an hour against the same opponent when they clearly have the better training.

And since I'm really insecure about the action section, I'm wondering if it was alright? Too fast, too little, too much blood, too little wounds, etc?

Thanks for reading! See you at the next update!