Summary: Haruno Sakura was used to Naruto's bizarre plans, but this one really topped it. In an attempt to change the future for the better, her best friend sends her back to the past to infiltrate their own home. The medic planned to do this as discreetly as possible, but she should have known that even with a second identity, it wouldn't be that easy.
Beta: The whole story is being looked at so this one will be looked at as well.
Disclaimer: Don't own Naruto. I wouldn't have time for school otherwise.
Dear everyone. Life has been hectic. It seems to get worse every month. Those kind messages make me feel guilty a motivated and slowly but surely this chapter appeared. I can't help but comment that the comments like 'hurry up and update already' do bother me sometimes. I'm honored that you want to read more, but I'm not getting paid by doing this. I rarely have free time as it is, so please try to be patient with me.
This chapter will have a bit more energy in it. So hopefully that will come across properly. It's time to spice up the plot a little bit now that the crew has connected.
I really hope it is met with approval.
Chapter 10: Monkshood
~ During the conversation between Sakura and the Hokage ~
Sakura's clone slipped into the forest, having checked up on all the spots on her schedule.
Everything seemed quiet.
Too quiet the clone realized and it quickly sprinted away just before another figure charged into the forest. Had it been a second later the clone would have had a kunai to its throat.
How the hell did the Hokage get here? The real Sakura would have dispelled the clones if she were in trouble right? Deciding not to ponder too much for now, the clone instead focused on getting out of this situation without dispelling.
That would be troublesome.
In an effort to fool the man, the dark-clad clone very softly flared its core like Sakura had taught Naruto many times. It would probably pass as her hiding her chakra should he look very carefully. Hopefully the Hokage in front of her was a clone as well. It knew from experience that clones couldn't sense other clones as well as the original.
An instant after spotting each other there was a quick chase and clone tried to quickly come up with a plan. It couldn't make a dangerous impression on the Hokage. First impressions were very important after all.
It was only because of her quick transportation that she was able to keep a large distance from the man. After thirty seconds, the clone held up its hands as a sign of not wanting to fight. Its chakra wouldn't last.
That made the man pause at the other end of the clearing.
"You are fast." He slowly 'complimented' the clone, who ignored the implication of it being too fast. The Professor was probably already comparing it to the Fourth's jutsu, it was sure.
The clone carefully shrugged instead of answering – paranoid that he would attack it at any moment.
"Why run away I wonder." The Sandaime prodded again, noticing her wariness.
It felt like a long silence, even though probably only a few seconds passed. The clone carefully weighed its choices to start a conversation.
Refusing to talk could risk association with Hana. Plus it might be picked up as refusal to talk with the enemy. But to say the first words – which would remove some of the cool distance between them – might be risky as well.
Not that she had never taken risks before.
"It is sometimes preferable than talking." The clone eventually answered with a rough low voice, having been created with a proper-working larynx.
"Running gives the impression of hiding something."
"Which I am." The clone easily agreed, coughing softly. "Hence the running." It added, making the man in front of it shift threateningly.
Had her witty slip gone too far?
It swore it saw the corner of his mouth quirk though.
"Then why should I allow you on these grounds any longer?" The warning was clear and the clone was pretty sure he would follow up on it.
Not something the clone was waiting for.
Thus, the clone was more careful to reply this time but quick enough not to cause unnecessary suspicion.
"Konoha has nothing to fear from me." The clone showed his empty hands in symbolism, using its time to slowly very slowly create a seal in the distance that would allow the clone to follow fast path to exit this troublesome situation. "If anything I simply wish to keep an eye on the troublesome weed, or more specifically…"
It paused for a moment before murmuring.
"…a few rotten roots."
Just as the Hokage appeared right behind the clone, kunai to its neck, the after image disappeared.
A troubled frown appeared on the Hokage's face before it dispelled softly.
A second later in the hospital the real Hokage absorbed the information easily, a slightly longer blink the only sign of being distracted. After, he studied the form of Sasaki Hana very carefully, taking notice of the many differences that seemed there. Maybe too many differences, he allowed. They would have to look at the rest of the list.
'Rotten roots huh?'
This Prowler was too informed for his liking, but calling it 'rotten' calmed him slightly. He was not going to let this slide though.
The chase was not finished.
~At the present time~
Hana sighed, tapping her fingers impatiently against the dark wood. Her eyes flickered to the clock, just like she had done two minutes ago.
They were taking so long.
Hana leaned against her hand, watching the elder medic Kimura Hisoka check up on 'their' patient. Hana vaguely remembered to woman to retire just before 'Sakura' had started working in the hospital many years from now. She had heard many good things about the woman, making her slightly disappointed that Kimura acted so reserved to her.
At least her name fit her, Hana decided.
The medical team appointed to Mikoto still wouldn't trust her sole judgment when it came to one of the last Uchiha. Hana tried not to let it bother her, seeing as it was mainly protocol, but there was a difference between checking as routine told them to do so and repeating the whole healing progress in general to make sure that she hadn't even made a single tiny mistake.
Which she hadn't. Of course.
She had a certain Hokage to impress.
As soon as Hana saw the woman prepare to check the chakra core – which she had checked frequently and completely – she was unable to sit still any longer. So she grabbed the marker situated on the whiteboard next to her on the table.
After quickly scribbling down her remark - she had gotten quite fast – she gently tapped on her whiteboard to get the other medic's attention. Kimura looked up from washing her hands and read what she had written.
'I'm sorry Kimura-san but why do we need to check that for the fourth time? I can assure you that I already made sure that her chakra core had stabilized an hour ago.'
The other medic seemed slightly taken back by her blunt question before answering just as bluntly, pushing her glasses slightly back on her nose. "I'm sure you did Sasaki-san, but seeing as we don't know your abilities we have to make sure."
Mentally, Sakura growled. She had already gone through this attitude in the future and was experienced enough to know when she was regarded as competition or as unreliable.
Being the prized pupil of the most skilled Medic-nin in the world did make people very eager to prove you wrong. That, or they had somehow gotten the impression that she was simply overconfidence with average skills that she lorded over them and couldn't actually back up.
Most of the times, it was only through a very strong… impression that people would be afraid to contradict her. Then after seeing her work, they would learn to trust her judgment.
You had to break the cycle somewhere and show your worth or you would be stuck in it for a long while.
She wasn't planning on taking a 'long while' – she would break the cycle one way or another.
But she was not going to start a fight right now. Kimura seemed to strong-headed for that and someone that she might need as an ally in the future. If even Tsunade spoke well about her, she must have been valuable.
So Hana hid her sigh and instead morphed it into a halfhearted hum of agreement. Feeling unproductive, the medic told herself to stop being so impatient and walked to the larger fixed whiteboard that she had brought for the wall.
'I might as well make use of the time that is being wasted.' She told herself as she took a marker and checked the theory and links that she had made for the third time that day.
Soon Hana was so caught in her thoughts that she didn't notice that the medic had finished her evaluation in the meantime. Kimura glanced at Mikoto, then at Hana and frowned. Tapping her chin, the woman took the papers at the end of the bed, which Hana had already filled in the morning during her own evaluation.
Her pencil hovered over the paper before adding many curls of confirmation. There was one point that she hovered at and glanced to the other woman who was had been standing, staring there at a large board full of complicated formulas and drawings, secretly admiring the way that the woman was ready to look for any mistakes that she had personally made. Any point of self-criticism would be improved.
What was actually known about her? Kimura couldn't help but ponder. She had heard many stories about the newcomer. It made Hana a very good target for gossip. It seemed that some of them were true, seeing as Kimura had spotted the blond brat and the Uchiha boy following her around like puppies.
Having been a jounin in her younger years and having known him as a young boy, Kimura had also caught the slight interested look from Kakashi.
She couldn't help but agree with him though. There was something about this Sasaki Hana. Something that no one seemed to be able to put a finger on. Her accepting nature of this reaction form everyone made it even odder.
Was she oblivious or did she simply accept the situation?
"My evaluation of the activity of the concentrated chakra center is a point higher than yours." Kimura slowly stated, studying the unknown woman in front of her.
Even though the medic was absently aware of the stare, Hana didn't even turn around. Instead the purple-haired woman nodded and quickly wrote in the corner of the board.
'It rises two points in comparison in the early morning seeing as she had started to react to the circadian rhythm. In the afternoon it should normally lower about half a point. However seeing as she will have another chakra boost in about six hours, it might go up instead. That would probably be a good sign as well. Well, as long as the body will compensate afterwards of course. Maybe we would need to get a chakra-binder and depressor, should it not lower. The hectic chakra shouldn't get a chance to settle after all...Seal 3a or b. Depressor strength 5. Safeguard. Five hours decrease. Possible final step tomorrow afternoon.'
Kimura watched her written monologue slowly turn into short notes and arrows and couldn't help but feel at least slightly impressed.
Where did this child come from?
In the end, Kimura shook her head and didn't comment on the rest of the checklist. The curls were quickly completed – the last one nearly without looking at it.
Still, the medic did nod a goodbye when Hana indicated that she was leaving to check for the seals. Kimura pondered about checking something else once more, before she decided that the girl might be right.
They were overanalyzing this. There was too much unnecessary competition these days. In her days, they worked together. She sighed tiredly. She was too old for making such a fuss like the youngsters were doing.
Besides, the elder medic hadn't seen that much talent in someone since Tsunade. The thought made her smile, before she noticed the white object on the table.
She looked down upon the whiteboard that Sasaki-san had left behind. "I hope there will be a day that you will trust my skills." The woman mumbled softly as she read it out loud.
The medic actually chuckled. At least that answered one of the questions. This Hana was not oblivious to the reactions she provoked in people.
Rereading the sentence, Kimura concluded that she had just seen a very bright woman work her magic. She would have fun watching her, she decided as Kimura cleaning the board and neatly put the marker on top of it.
Ready for use – clean, except for a tiny scribble in the middle.
It made Hana smile when she found it.
~ An hour later~
"What is this?" Hana mouthed surprised as she suddenly saw the lunchbox appear in front of her. She gently shoved the stacks of papers to the side to make more room. The then looked at the two awkwardly smiling boys at the corner of the table, nudging each other to speak up.
"You work very hard." Naruto started with a sudden solemn nod after a quite forceful nudge form Sasuke. His serious expression made her smile behind her hand.
"We made it ourselves." The blond boy said somewhat embarrassed. "I hope it's good."
Naruto nudged his friend just as fiercely back. The boy let out a grunt, glared at the boy before looking at Hana.
"So you need to stay healthy." Sasuke added, blushing slightly as Hana smiled sweetly at them, her hand on her chest.
They were so cute.
"You are both very kind. Thank you very much."
Both boys beamed at the compliment.
"Actually, they felt guilty when I told them that it is because of them that you don't get enough sleep." Kakashi added his two cents from the corner of the office, which earned him protests from the two children, though they didn't say he was lying.
"You weren't supposed to tell her that!" Hana caught Naruto hiss in the jounin's ear.
"Kakashi-san. You were worried as well." Sasuke added after which the man simply patted his head, as if he was cute for even thinking that he was worried.
"Yeah! This was actually your idea! You started the subject!" Naruto agreed, also earning the same reaction from Kakashi.
"You boys have too much imagination. It's the two of you that keep talking about her."
Hana watched the scene in front of her with amusement – and secret pleasure - while wondering why Kakashi seemed to get stuck with the two boys so much. She knew he should actually be ANBU still.
Did his loose connection through her allow him to keep closer guard?
Whatever the reason, she had the feeling that Kakashi was actually enjoying himself bantering with the boys and she smiled at the man. The ninja didn't smile back as he was too engrossed with his teasing.
The boys cried in protest as Kakashi's hands lashed out and within a second the both boys literally hung upside down, their arms still swirling from the lack of orientation.
"What are you doing?"
"This way you can get some more blood to you brains so that maybe then you can think more properly."
"Let go!" Sasuke demanded as he pointing at the man, earning him a mischievous glint in the man's eye.
"You want me to let go?" He said with so much joy that both boys immediately held their head for protection.
"No!" the boys protested as they faces reddened.
Sakura smiled and tucked into her lunch as the banter continued.
Small drops of sweat appeared on her forehead not much later.
'Cooking was never their strongest point.' She reminded themselves and forced herself to take another bite.
She had eaten worse from them.
The medic could handle this.
Of course, the tears that were building up in her eyes was caused by the food as well. Not by those awful memories of having to eat their food that she in hindsight had gotten to cherish very much.
At least, that is was she told herself.
~Six hours later ~
"Something is wrong!"
"Quick! Come and help me!"
"Alert the Hokage!"
The previously calm secluded area was suddenly in chaos as different nurses walked around. Hana practically rushed towards the room where Mikoto was having a charka seizure.
A very nasty one as well.
Hana nearly poked someone's eye out while signing that she wanted a report as she studied the fluctuating chakra from a safe distance. They needed to be careful, it might fling itself into the healers system if they didn't have enough experience. Without resistance it would act like a domino effect, creating only more chaos in said system.
Luckily, they had been warned beforehand and kept their distance, though with great displeasure.
At first no one seemed to react, before a familiar voice appeared next to her.
"They started the third boost without the proper instructions." Kimura started. "Apparently they were given the instructions and permission by Wasabi." Said man looked absolutely livid, yelling that he had not given permission at all. "They have a signed paper to prove it."
She always made sure to be there during the procedure. Wasabi-san knew that.
Alarm bells sounded in Sakura's head.
Something was wrong.
Kimura was quick in her story while Hana took in the situation first, bluntly pushing some people away. The looks that Kimura shot them afterwards somehow prevented them from pulling her back.
"They noticed the adverse effects quickly and placed the seals that were provided."
It only took one glance for Hana to gurgle a loud curse.
This was not the seal that she had chosen.
This was bad.
Hana urgently spread out her arms in a way that everyone backed away, feeling her powering up her inner core that screamed of urgency. Kimura quickly dragged the two shocked and guilty looking medics with her.
Knowing that she didn't have any moment to lose to think this through properly, Hana pumped her hand up with chakra to absorb part of the shock that she knew that would follow before tearing the seal off.
The woman gritted her teeth as her chakra shook from the unstable chakra infiltrating into her system. Sparks flew from her hand as her chakra tried to convert it in something less dangerous. Electricity made her whole being shake and turned her hair extremely static. Her hand shook dangerously, making it difficult to keep her grip on the seal.
Still, Sakura didn't let go – memories of Sasuke's pleading eyes, his pained and angry expressions of the future and those horrible bleeding but hallow eyes didn't allow that.
The woman would die if she let go.
Luckily Hana could let go within two seconds as it had been slapped on lightly. She glared at another paper in sight, which looked more firm. It was a stronger version as well.
Feeling dreadful, Sakura quickly clapped her hand to release the excess of the nasty chakra left behind, which created a bright flash that made a few people cry out.
Opening her eyes Hana recovered herself before moving onto the second one, letting her still stable hand do the work this time.
Regrettably the second seal was indeed tougher and it took her more than a few seconds to get it off. There were a many flashes of lights and even a few beams of electricity that missed people by a hair. Kimura had to duck away once. Eventually a cry of pain erupted from Hana's lips. A zigzagging pattern appeared on Hana's hand just before she got it off. It smelt horrible.
Absorbing the worst of the chakra once again in her hand, she clapped again. This time the medics were forewarned and closed their eyes. Hana's breathing was hectic and her frame shuddered from the strain she put on herself.
She quickly clapped again, trying to release all the chakra. A small flash of light was all she got.
It wasn't working properly.
Mikoto immediately calmed, only twitching slightly. People breathed in relief, not realizing that now Hana was in a tight situation. The medic felt the nasty sensation of the unstable chakra sneak up her arm and ripped off her sleeve before turning to Kimura. She would need someone to seal of her arm before it would affect her chakra core.
It took only a second for the woman to notice what was happening.
"Those with gloves! Hold her!" Hana heard her absently call out as she herself focused on buffering the unstable chakra. Limiting it to her right arm was a nasty exercise, but she would easily hold it up as long as Kimura would be able to freeze her chakra for the moment.
The cool and revolting sensation of chakra compression soon enclosed her arm and Hana sighed in relief as she shakily reaching into her pocket she took out a few of the blue lined seals that she had decided on that morning.
The ones that Mikoto was supposed to get.
She handed them over to Mori, confident that the shinobi knew how to handle them, seeing as she had gone to the man to get them in the first place. He was in charge of their usage after all.
Thank god that he had allowed her to carry a few extra.
"Just in case." She had pleaded as a feeling of foreboding had appeared in her stomach.
He had allowed it only because they weren't dangerous – plus the backup of the Hokage did help her sometimes.
"She got the wrong seals?" He asked with dread as he glanced them over and quickly but gently slapped them of the prone form of Mikoto. She immediately calmed and Kimura commented that she would take a quick scan.
Nobody objected. They relaxed as she nodded. "She has calmed."
"I didn't deliver those red ones." Mori told the people defensively but firmly as he pointed to the removed seals.
"I brought the blue ones here two hours ago." He added, obviously angry that someone had dared to interfere with his business.
One of the nurses nodded in confirmation, having been witness of the delivery.
Hana nodded tiredly before slapping a blue seal on her shoulder as well. She added one extra near her hand, knowing that she would have to carefully heal this as soon as the electricity had left her and had had a chakra pill.
Meanwhile, her head was spinning. She was vaguely aware of Inoichi pushing his way into the room, the Hokage following him with a brisk pace. Two ANBU slipped in to guard the exits.
The tension in the room doubled.
Sakura knew that the switching of the seals had gone too easy. The seals had been replaced as well, someone must heard her request for approval for the seals from Wasabi and have enough knowledge to know what she was doing. Clones would be spotted by the guards that were strategically placed. There was no way that someone could imitate someone of the team that quickly without having studied them carefully.
Hana turned to previously angry man who now seemed strangely calm. Something was off, yet his walk had been the same, his movements were the same.
Was there actually a traitor in their midst?
Wasabi's whole stance turned defensive as soon as her glare reached him. Suddenly the man seemed very aware of the powerhouses surrounding him.
"Besides Kimura-san and Mori-san, Wasabi-san was the only one that knew of my plan to use seals as back-up." She signed at him quickly, her eyes watching his eyes follow her signs very closely.
It took only a few seconds for him to react and for her suspicion to increase.
How was his henge so strong?
The man growled at her. "How dare you accuse me like that? I have been working here loyally or more than twenty years!" He argued and looked at his staff, who couldn't help but agree with him.
A few of them looked at Kimura with a wary look. The woman looked back at them rather calmly, her eyes betrayed her anger from the silent accusation.
"I can't deny that she had discussed the theory with me." The woman slowly stated. "…but I can assure you that I had nothing to do with this."
The Hokage cleared his throat, earning everyone's attention. "This situation will not be taken lightly. I assure you that everyone will be questioned."
The order not to leave was clear.
"Still, a confession might make the affair more pleasant." The man warned, though not really looking in Kimura's direction.
"Kimura probably knew more than-" Wasabi started calmly.
"What seals did I tell you about Kimura-san?" Hana interrupted him with a hand, making his eyes flash with anger that Wasabi never portrayed.
Inoichi and the Sandaime seemed to keep an eye on the man as well.
The woman sighed and recited. "Seal 3a or b. Depressor strength 5. It's what you wrote on the board."
"These are binding seals from 4a classification and depressor strength 4." Mori muttered softly. 'The red seals are the same class and strength but have the opposite function. That way those two would have charged the seal with the same amount of chakra for optimal… effect." He finished warily.
"I changed my plan on my way to Wasabi-san." Hana agreed.
Kimura visibly relaxed.
"Not that it rules anyone out, but Wasabi-san… you just seem off. I mean, didn't you tell me yesterday for me not to sign that quickly seeing as your current knowledge of signs were not able to follow them as fast like your younger years? In fact, you told me you preferred to read lips. You shouldn't be able to follow my signs as I'm signing them to you now." She signed with such speed that it difficult to keep up for the medical team.
Signing was more for the field after all.
The man froze before sneering at the medic. If Hana had been alone, she had been in for a fight. She felt Kimura carefully step up next to her.
"What did the team and I discuss with you the day before Mikoto arrived here Wasabi-san? I'm referring to the meeting that had not been planned." Kimura started slowly, which made all eyes turn to the head of the team.
The man simply growled.
"Where is the real Wasabi-san?" Inoichi calmly stated as he approached the man on the left. An elderly hand on the infiltrators shoulder, prevented him from moving.
The man simply continued seething.
"If he is dead. I will kill you right here and now." The blond shinobi calmly stated, making the other ninja sweat slightly under the pressure.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you." The man warned.
The hand clenched painfully on his shoulder. "Why wouldn't we?"
The angry expression changed into a vicious grin. "Because you will actually kill him. Wouldn't you like that?"
Inoichi's expression blanched slightly and the not-Wasabi laughed.
"You would know, wouldn't you? Yamanaka?" The man laughed before the body of the man crumbled to the floor like a doll.
Hana looked blankly at the weakly breathing form of the head of the team and absently watched the Hokage give order for the man to be taken to the isolated room next door. He then turned to Inoichi who was glaring angrily at the prone form. They started to have a heated quiet discussion.
"Was that a Yamanaka as well?" Hana slowly mouthed to the medic next to her, eyes wide as she tried to remember anything she had read or heard about this subject in the future.
She nearly came up blank.
The only thing she could come up with was a discussion with Ino, whose expression had turned sour after mentioning a distant family member that had fled.
'His body was found a few years ago.' She vaguely remembered her friend tell her just before she changed the subject.
So why was this man involved?
'It might be.' Kimura muttered to her softly, guiding her to the extra bed to sit on. She realized that she was shaking slightly.
How was she going to handle this unknown situation?
Things were changing too fast and Hana wasn't not enjoying it one bit. She was not going to let this slip by unnoticed.
She would keep an eye on this weed like she had told the Hokage she would do.
Sakura paused. 'Or this might be a rotten root after all.'
What if Root was actually involved?
What if the Hokage unjustly connected the prowling figure with this incident?
The situation just turned more complicated.
~ Somewhere else ~
"That's all you have to report?" A calm voice demanded making the kneeling figure twitch.
"It is what happened, Sir." The blond man stated, feeling the waves of anger coming from the man.
"I gave you this mission because I wanted those eyes. Now I have none." The seated man growled at him.
"Sasaki Hana reacted too efficiently and quick. Had she been minute later it would have been too late."
"You fool. You should have made sure she had left." The man spat at his pawn.
"Yes sir. I did not know she was that talented. I never failed before."
"No you haven't." The man agreed slowly, relaxing slightly.
The man sighed and stood. "I guess I can come up with a new plan… I hadn't expected this from the newcomer either. Maybe she might be useful. Too bad that that old fool has his eyes on her and those brats."
The blond figure didn't say anything but he raised his head, showing his scarred face and empty eyes. His face snapped to the side as the man in front of him punched him fiercely on the cheek.
The man grunted out in pain, blood streaming form his lips as he kept the pain back.
"Still, if you fail me again, you will not see another day." The man told the Yamanaka as he shook his hand before resting it on the man's neck.
The man tensed but bowed his head. "Hai."
The man nodded in approval but missed the passionate hateful eyes as the Yamanaka thought back to the woman that had made him a failure.
He had never failed before.
He would get back at her sometime.
"Good. Then I have a new mission for you."
~ End Chapter ~
That's it for today. Hopefully this managed to spice things up!