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"..ura! Sakura! Are you up yet? If you don't hurry you'll be late!"
The voice tugging her to consciousness, the girl's eyes twitched in minute resistance. It was far too early to be awake. Still, she knew she couldn't fight the day forever. Rubbing her eyes, she sat up, white sheets crumpling around her. Blinking her eyes wearily, she took in her surroundings with a sleepy glance. It looked the same as ever; her slightly worn dresser sat across from her bed, on it a mess of girlish objects ranging from lip gloss to panties she'd been too lazy to put away. Next to it was her desk, equally covered in frilly objects, only a few ninja tools that looked out of place adorning its surface. "Sakura! Get a move on!" Her mother's voice echoed from downstairs.
Jumping up, Sakura did as she was told. She'd always'd followed her mother's strict orders without much thought, her voice demanding it be obeyed. Body still lethargic from sleep, Sakura automatically started to get dressed for the day. Off came the pale blue nightshirt and matching pants with only minor fumbling. Tossing the garments on the floor, she grabbed a pair of underwear from her dresser. Tugging those on, she stumbled towards her closet. And froze. Fully awake now, her surroundings had finally sunk in.
Sakura did not have a worn down dresser, having bought a new-and nicer-one when she had gotten her own apartment. She couldn't remember the last time she'd used lip gloss, besides the multitude of gloss's Ino had insisted on buying her. There were no frilly things adorning her desk, only scrolls and the occasional kunai. Glancing at her night stand, the lack of Team 7's pictures screamed at her. As she stared at her room, still in shock, long pink hair drifted across her face. Wait…it was..long?
A small bubbled of excitement rushed into her chest and Sakura quickly walked over to her mirror. Her hair was long, her room was unfamiliar, could it really be? Stopping in front of the reflective glass, Sakura felt a smile cross her face. It had worked..it had actually worked! She was back! Gazing into the glass, her reflection stared back at her, just a small girl, really. Long locks of pink fell down past her shoulders, her arms and legs held smooth, no scars marring the surface of her skin. Flexing her arm, she was happy to see barely any muscle. A small laugh trickled up and out of her mouth, wild green eyes dancing back at her. She was young! Her excitement grew until she couldn't hold it in anymore, "S-Shannarooo!"
"Don't yell so loud! Do you want the neighbors to think we're hitting you?" Clasping her hands over her mouth, Sakura stopped in her celebrating. She had been so wrapped up in the fact that it had worked that her mother's voice hadn't rung any bells before. Now though, it crashed over her. Her mother was alive. Was downstairs. And if she was then so was her father...and Ino..Hinata, Naruto, Tsunade..everyone..It had been years since she had seen some of her comrades. But there were here, alive in this new time.
Blinking back the tears pooling in her eyes Sakura stepped away from her reflection. She had made it back, that was good. Better than good actually, it was more than she could have hoped for. But when? How far had she gone back? Looking back at the mirror, she took a look at herself, trying to see any clues that would give the date away. Judging from her hair length she could be anywhere from eight to twelve. Her underwear didn't really tell her anything, as it was just plain white. Hmm, maybe her clothes could tell her something. Going towards her closet Sakura contemplated her possible age. Had she been this short when she was twelve? Or was she younger? Was she in her Genin team yet, or had she even taken the final test? Sliding back the door, her clothes answered it for her. Bright yellow shirts entered her vision, coupled with multiple many-colored leggings. She had gone through a yellow phase when she was nine. Looking back, it had been a mistake. Yellow was not one of her better colors.
Not wanting to adorn the awful clothing a second time, she stuffed the offending material to the side. Crammed at the bottom of her closet were clothes her father had bought her for her birthday, in the hopes that she would make a wonderfully serious kunoichi. How disappointed he had been when all she had done was fawn over Sasuke...and how happy that had made her mother, who never thought the ninja arts were meant for proper ladies. Memories shifted in the back of her mind at the thought of her would-be team mate, but she pushed them back, not ready to think of them at the moment.
Knowing that her mother would lose her temper soon, Sakura grabbed the wrinkled clothes and hurriedly put them on. The dark green shirt fitted comfortably, its long sleeves loose enough to allow her movement, but not so much as to get in the way of maneuvering. The Haruno crest lay on the back as all of her outfits did, proudly proclaiming her civilian heritage. As if anyone cared. The tan leggings sat comfortably below her knees, reminiscent of the ones she had worn when she was twelve. Dark grey shoes fitted snuggly on her feet, having never been stretched out. Everything said, it was a very practical outfit. Her mother would hate it. Now dressed, Sakura quickly brushed her teeth and hair. Fidgeting with her shirt for a moment, Sakura took a deep breath and went down the stairs to face her parents.
As expected, her mother gasped upon seeing her daughter. "What do you think you're wearing!? What happened to your adorable yellow shirt? And no make-up! How will little Sasuke-kun fall for you if you look like a man?" Forcing a smile, Sakura mumbled a response. While there was a slight twinge of happiness at seeing her mother alive, it was covered up by annoyance. She had forgotten how...forceful...her mother was about marrying well. And by well that meant marrying someone with money, making as many babies as possible, and generally being the perfect housewife. "Kizashi! Do you see our daughter?" As Mebuki walked off to complain to him, Sakura took the opportunity to sidle out the door.
As much as she loved her mother and mourned her death, life had been easier without the constant disapproval and talk of what a woman should be. Marry well, wear make-up, don't put on too much muscle, stop speaking so crudely, and make sure to look nice for "little Sasuke-kun". Her father she had missed even less. While he'd been approving of her life as a kunoichi, he'd never really looked beyond that to see her. She was just some trophy he could talk to his civilian friends about; his daughter, the first ninja in their family! While they'd never been outright abusive, her parents hadn't ever seen her as an actual person, only seeing an image of what they wanted in her.
Shaking her head, Sakura trotted down the streets, and tried to push thoughts of her parents out of her head. Instead, she turned her thoughts ahead towards the ninja school she hadn't stepped in for years. Flexing her small muscles as she jogged, she was slightly surprised to find how weak she had been. Granted, she hadn't begun training with Tsunade at this point, but she hadn't thought she'd been this pathetic. Shaking her head and grimacing, the woman-turned girl resolved to put in hours of training to rectify the frailty. With what she had to accomplish in this new time, Sakura had to bring her body up to speed.
Speaking of training… the girl slowed down to a walk and examined her chakra reserves. While never having been particularly large, what she had at the moment was miniscule. Similar to her strength, she'd have to get this back up to par as well. An idea occurred to her then, and she grabbed a small string of chakra. Once she had it in her grasp, Sakura slithered it up her spine, forcing it up the bones one by one. Buildings passed as she did this, but she was hardly aware of them, most of her focus inward. Sakura continued pushing her chakra until it finally crawled into her head. Continuing to move it, she eventually connected it to her forehead. Once established, Sakura solidified the connection and kept a small amount of chakra flowing into her forehead that would continue throughout the day, beginning the arduous process of creating the White Strength Seal.
Having learned the technique from Tsunade, Sakura had formed it when she was just seventeen, much to the surprise of her peers. It had taken three years for her to store enough chakra for it, but had been worth it in the end. Starting the seal earlier could be helpful, the only problem she could see would be in explaining where she learned it in this timeline. But that could be dealt with later, now she had the task of facing all of her comrades. Alive again. She shuddered a little, the prospect not entirely pleasant.
Sakura slowed down; during her examination of her abilities, Sakura had arrived at the academy. The worn down building looked much happier in this time than it did in the future, when the whole of Konoha had been beaten down by the Akastuki. In fact, everything looked so innocent now. So happy. So carefree. And here she was, from a bleak future, hopefully able to save the people she loved. The thirty-two-year-old woman, turned nine-year-old girl walked through the doorway, head held high. She could do this. For some reason though, her hands wouldn't stop shaking.