"SCHOOL: 2 + 2 =
HOMEWORK: 2 + 4 + 2 = 8
EXAM: Omar has 4 apples, his train is 7 minutes early. Calculate the mass of the sun."
Disclaimer: THIS version of Sakura is about the only thing I own.
Warning: Crack. Sakura. Madara. Hashirama. AU-ish.
For those of you new... granted, you don't NEED to read the first story to understand all of this. But you'll miss out on quite a few inside jokes. This is your only warning.
I was not a happy camper.
Nope. Not happy at all.
Because right when I had fucking finally finished my lifelong goal of protecting my precious people so they survived the Fourth Shinobi War… weird shit went down.
I mean seriously strange, like what-the-hell-did-Sasori-put-in-my-drink shit. Unbelievable. Unimaginable. Uncool.
So very, very uncool.
When I had died for the first time, my spirit or soul or consciousness or whatever had detached itself from my physical body. I had hung out for a few seconds before the strangest sensation came over me, and when it passed I was in Haruno Sakura's body. That was the start of what I hoped to be my only story.
The moment the war was over and I had finally been reunited with my team and so-definitely-harem-even-if-they-would-never-admit-to-it, the same sensation came over me. At first I dismissed it for fatigue, but when it stayed and worse, grew stronger, I was a little panicked and visibly showed it and started blabbering about oh shit it's happening again!
Itachi had picked up on what I was saying and panicked alongside me. Which caused Sasuke to panic (because of course ifItachi was worried about something then it was definitely something to be worried about) which caused Naruto to panic then Nagato and… pretty much everyone was panicking.
Then, just like before, a white light enveloped me… and I was left standing above everyone. My physical body was nowhere to be found and everyone seemed to be having mini heart-attacks about my absence.
But, once again, just like before, I didn't stay that long - gaping at the scene below - before I was whooshed away.
And that was how my second (and please let it be final) story began.
When I awoke, the first thing to check was my body.
It was smaller. It was more delicate. It was pale. It was still Sakura's, albeit at a younger age.
It was also stark naked.
My nose crinkled in utter disdain at that before I started to examine my surroundings. I was in a rather large forest that didn't appear to be inhabited by anyone. It was… strangely familiar. I knew I had been here before,but I couldn't quite place my finger on it.
I lifted up my small little hand, examining it.
Well, I reasoned. It's not so bad. I mean sure, you can't really have your harem anymore, but at least you aren't totally unrecognizable. As soon as you find some clothes, you can head back to Konoha and get Tsunade or Jiraiya to take a look at you. Or not find some clothes. Doesn't make that much of a difference for the moment as there isn't any civilization in sight yet…
Nodding firmly at this, I then gathered chakra at the bottom of my feet and winced.
Aw damn it, my chakra reserves are back at the same level as they were in my Genin / Chūnin days. Well, technically I was never above Chūnin, but I mean… freshly Chūnin. Oh whatever…
Then I felt a small set of panic wash over me. Oh fuck! I can't summon Ibuse like this! Oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck!
Then I groaned. Aww… I don't want to work my ass off to get my reserves back. At least I have superb control so I don't need to waste so much chakra on jutsu but… awww man…
I wallowed in self-pity for a bit longer before shaking myself off, choosing a random direction, and heading in it. After a few steps, I winced at the sharp pain that was racing up and down my feet before gathering chakra into them once again and kicking off into the trees. I steadily tested my feet on the bark before nodding in reluctant satisfaction.
Shoes became a priority. Ergo, no random direction because civilization just became a must.
I climbed to the top of the tree, taking in the wide forest view with a frown. A little ways from me I could see a main road, and currently heading down that road was a caravan of sorts. I eyed the seemingly wealthy caravan before shrugging.
Kunoichi first. Morals later, I decided.
With a new set of clothes courtesy of one of the caravan girls - not that she would know they were missing – and a bag of items I deemed necessary for survival (a few medical herbs, first aid kit, water skin pouch, kunai - love those - and a slice of bread), I headed off on my merry way. I traveled parallel to the road, but stayed up in the trees.
After a few hours of running, my little body had finally put its foot down and I decided to break.
Finding a fairly big stream, I sat down on a rock beside it. I gave a large yawn before closing my eyes and drifting off into a blissful sleep.
The sun was still up when I awoke.
How did I wake up?
Someone prodding me in the side.
I opened my eyes, staring and glaring at the astonishingly familiar face before sitting up slowly. The person - boy about six or seven - gave me an incredulous look.
"What are you doing here?" he demanded.
"… I was sleeping," I muttered. "Who are you?"
"I'm - I'm… No one," he finally said. "Look, it doesn't matter. You shouldn't be here."
"Why not?" I asked dubiously. "Does someone live here?"
"Is it owned by someone?"
"Is it covered in poison and lethal?"
"Then I don't see why I shouldn't be here," I pointed out, perfectly reasonably. "I'm just sleeping, after all."
"Well I don't want you here," he said.
"Why not?" I asked.
"Because I don't want girls here."
"What makes you think I'm a girl?"
He frowned. "… Aren't you?"
"Just because I have pink hair, you automatically assume I'm a girl?" I asked, feeling mildly offended.
… It's been a while since I mind-fucked with someone. And a while since I was able to gender-bend without my chest hurting like crazy… should I…?
"Aren't you?" he repeated.
"As far as you're concerned, no," I said pointedly.
"Oh," was all he said, looking mildly confused and sheepish.
"Madara? What are you - who are you?"
I turned my head, my brow furrowing at the name Madara as I turned around and saw -
Oh. My. God.
I had already had my stupid adventure, already worked my ass off, cried my heart out and had enough emotional break downs in the previous life. No. I was not doing it all over again for… No. Damn it. No, no, no.
But look at them… so young and innocent… besides… if you could stop them… stop him… all those people you killed… none of them would have had to die. All those people from the invasion: the Hokage, Haku and Zabuza… Naruto could have a happy life with his parents, and maybe even Sasuke and Itachi, too. Could you really deny them that?
I was apprehensive and torn. I didn't want to go through all of that again, but I just couldn't… if I could keep my precious people happy, and if I could save even more people… What right did I have to deny Minato and Kushina a chance to be a happy family? To deny Naruto that? Sasuke? Itachi? Kakashi? Jiraiya…?
All of this took place in my head for roughly a second before I made a tentative decision. "Sup? I'm… Sasori. Saigo Sasori."
"… I've never heard of that clan," Madara said slowly.
"It's not. It's a name I gave myself," I answered, standing up from the rock and hopping down to the water, water-walking across it to peer at Hashirama - who was staring at me with wide eyes.
"What are you doing?" Hashirama gaped. "I've only seen the upper - I mean, I've only seen really strong shinobi do that."
"… It's water-walking," I said slowly. "… Do you two know how to tree-walk?"
Madara hesitated. "… No."
… How early am I in this…?
"Well, if you want, I can teach the both of you," I offered.
"Really?" Hashirama asked excitedly. "That's awfully nice of you."
I gave him a confused look. "… No. No it isn't. If you want to learn to water-walk, first you gotta learn to tree-walk. Come on, I'll show you. You two can practice this anywhere once you get the hang of it. Not only does it increase your chakra reserves through repetitive use, it's damn useful in battle."
"Battle?" Madara echoed, eying me. "You've been in a battle?"
"You mean you can't tell?" I blinked. "… Sure. Let's say I have. Doesn't really matter now as I don't have the intentions of getting in another one any time soon, though."
Every day for exactly three hours, Hashirama and Madara would meet me at the exact same spot Madara had found me. It hadn't taken them too much time to learn the tree-walking (two days or so) and water-walking afterwards (another two days). I wasn't really quite sure what the two of them did originally together, but it didn't take long before I found out. Training and games. Literally. But the games usually were just a variation of training, so I didn't really count them. From taijutsu stances, to building chakra-reserves, and all the while the two would chatter on about their dreams for what I knew to be Konoha, and their love of their little brothers.
Well, not so plainly, but I could read between the lines.
That went on for about three months.
I had been used to roughing it out. Traveling around with Jiraiya had forced all of us to really live in uncomfortable positions for long periods of time, not to mention I've had plenty of time to gather survival experience from my second life. That didn't mean to say I enjoyed it. Oh, no.
All those D-Ranks? You know the ones where we had to rebuild houses, act as carpenters, mechanics, plumbers, all that jazz? Those paid off. Seriously.
A tree house. I had a little (not really little) tree house up the stream. There was a busy crossroad - the same road I had previously taken my clothes - that I had continually used as a thieving point. I stole small, never anything of real value, but over time, I managed to scrounge up enough cloth and supplies to build a comfortable home.
A once huge oak tree with a small hole in it, I had dug into that hole, hollowing it out and building upwards from it. It was large enough that I could hollow out a room – 25 feet by 16 feet (or roughly 8 meters by 5) – and it would still be thick enough outside that it would stay alive and healthy. Carving out the room was fairly easy, and it was just as easy to carve out a room above it. I only went five rooms up (this world's trees' sizes just… mind boggled me. I mean, we had bigger trees back in my second life, true, but when you stopped to think about it… Comparing my first life to my second and third life… just damn). I carved out little stumps that could double as half-ass stairs (not that I would be using them anyway, seeing how I was a kunoichi… Doors and stairs were for people with no imagination), and it took me a long time to sand down everything enough that it was livable.
Next came the plumbing, which I wasn't all that great with. Mostly because the supplies needed for it didn't exist yet, so I had to improvise.
By improvise I mean that I hadn't figured out what the hell to do.
Well, I had a general idea, but for now I just dug out a giant hole out back, filled it with chakra rocks (think chakra paper… only with rocks. They were malleable when drenched with enough chakra), and slowly, I molded a giant bowl. I then filled it up with water from the stream.
I had a small garden going on, too. Not for fun, though. I had to track down all sorts of medicinal herbs, and poisonous ones, too. I didn't have my favorite salamander duo to call on, so I knew I had to make my own poisons and antidotes, so I started my own garden.
It was pathetic.
In time it would grow up to me amazing, I was sure, but for the moment it was a sad, sad thing.
Anyway, so I also carved out furniture from other trees I had found (and murdered). Mostly desks, chairs, bookcases (that were practically empty… how sad…), tables, etc, etc. I didn't make a bed, though. I chose to make a hammock for my bed, because I always wanted one, but I couldn't put one in my old room because it just didn't fit, and Jiraiya never let me sleep in one. The meanie.
The bottom room was more or less a meet and greet room. It had a table and chairs, empty bookshelves, and cabinets. The second room was empty, the third room was empty, the fourth room was my study, and the top room was my actual room.
For someone who owned absolutely no money, had no family or clan, and was tiny with pink hair, I thought I was doing pretty damn well.
When my new home was all set and ready to go, I brought Madara and Hashirama to it.
"And this is my home," I told them, gesturing to it in a dramatic manner.
Hashirama and Madara stared at it.
"… You live here?" Madara asked incredulously.
I huffed at his tone. "So I'm not a damn prodigy when it comes to making homes. I'd like to see you try it."
Madara snorted, while Hashirama frowned, a somber look in his eyes. "… No. Sasori-kun, I think he means… Don't you have a family? A… a real home?"
I blinked rapidly. "… Not anymore."
Both boys glanced away, and I cleared my throat, disliking the reminder of my position, and the less-than-stellar atmosphere. "What's done is done, okay? Now come on, I want to show off my epic carpentering skills."
"Aren't you lonely?"
I glared at him, getting annoyed that they wouldn't drop the subject. "… Sometimes, yeah, but I mean, I've got you guys, right?"
Hashirama gave a small smile. "… Right. You do."
I nodded. "So there. Now let's go! Then I have to show you my pathetic garden."
"Why is it pathetic?" Madara asked.
"Because I have exactly five different types of plants growing out there. And you can't even see them yet. Which reminds me, if you guys see any poisonous plant, or medicinal herbs, or hell, just some pretty flowers… mind getting the seeds for me? That would be awesome."
"You actually like gardening? That's so..." Madara crinkled his nose.
"Don't make me kick your ass," I threatened.
Madara smirked. "I'd like to see you try."
I tackled him to the ground.
Hashirama gave a pained sigh. "Sasori…"
Madara and I both pulled him into the fray, as well.
I tapped my chin, staring at the two boys who sat in front of me on the warm grass. It was one of those sweaty hot days, and both boys had decided to just forgo a shirt entirely. I, on the other hand, did not. For my own reasons that you could probably guess accurately. The two of them had seen me use a ninjutsu technique (a small one – actually, it was the very first ninjutsu I learned from Jiraiya), to move some dirt around to plant seeds (I was lazy and wanted to raise my chakra reserves, okay?), and then proceeded to ask me if I could teach them any.
"Well," I hummed, "I guess I can each teach you something. My specialties involve earth and water, but I know a fair few fire, and I know of wind. I don't know shit about lightning, sorry."
"I… I think I'm a wind and fire type," Madara said hesitantly, as if he had told some huge, risky secret. Actually, considering how all the clans were at war and nearly any little bit of information regarding enemies would prove invaluable… he kind of was.
That was… depressing.
"Water and earth," Hashirama said quietly.
"Okay, Hashi, I'll teach you the first earth move I learned, and Madara, the first fire. How does that sound?"
"Good!" both boys exclaimed.
"Come, Hashi, come, Chubby."
Madara's eyes widened. "… What?"
I grinned wickedly, leaning over and squeezing his cheeks. "You're getting chubby. See? You're cheeks are all flabby now."
Madara tackled me into the ground, and I laughed. "I'm going to kill you!"
"Why so defensive?" I snickered, elbowing Madara in the gut just as he grabbed onto my hair. "Ow!"
"Guys…" Hashirama shook his head. "Children. I am dealing with children."
"At least we don't have a baby face like yours," Madara retorted and immediately Hashirama wilted, curling up into a ball as a dark cloud hung over him.
Madara and I exchanged glances before we both tackled into him.
I was covered in bruises and bitemarks, my scalp stung like crazy, and I was pretty sure my ribs were bruised, but I stared in smug satisfaction at the boys, who were worse off.
"Now that we've established that I'm the topper, I think it's safe to start on our training now," I said, smirking.
Madara's brow furrowed. "… The topper? I don't get it."
"You will one day," I dismissed. "Alright… so first things first. I know you two know how to find and utilize your chakra, and I'm guess you're already familiar with the change in chakra nature, yes? Hashirama, the jutsu I'm going to teach you is called the Earth Flow Wave, the signs for it are Rat, Snake, then Tiger. You'll want to focus your chakra to the part of your body that's closest to the ground. In this case, that's your feet. Push your chakra into the ground and force it to manipulate to your will - you'll want to be touching the ground to be doing this. Madara, I'm going to teach you the Running Fire technique. Gather your chakra into your mouth and release it in a single breath. It'll start off small, but aim it towards the ground. Once it hits the ground, continue to manipulate it with your chakra, it'll begin to spin and run - usually taking the form of a ring. The only sign for this is the Tiger."
"… Can you demonstrate?" Hashirama asked hesitantly.
Nodding my head, I performed each jutsu, adding additional instructions. Both boys gave me thoughtful expressions.
"Go ahead and try them out," I said with a smile. "I'll help you when you need it."
And with that, ninjutsu training became an added part to our regime. It wasn't much, though, because we didn't spend much time on it, usually distracted by one thing or another.
"Where's Maddie?" I asked, frowning as Hashirama gave me a small bag of seeds. Inwardly, I was doing a mini-dance of victory because my garden was no longer such a sad, pathetic thing. Now it was just sad!
"I'm here. Don't call me that," Madara grumbled, stepping out of the trees and into the front yard of my sad, pathetic little home. He tossed me a sack of seeds.
"Why not, Maddie-paddie?" I asked, and Hashirama covered his mouth with his hands.
Madara flipped me the finger and I gasped. "Such horrible actions! You should be ashamed of yourself, Maddie-paddie-laddie."
"I'm too tired to kick your ass," Madara grouched.
"Then just bask in my glorious company," I retorted. "... So what are we going to do today?"
"... Have you guys heard about the Forest Shrine?" Madara asked, a gleam in his eyes.
I frowned. "... No…?"
"Yes," Hashirama said, looking a little paler than normal. "Wh-Why'd you bring that up, Madara-kun?"
"Because… today… we're going to find it!" Madara declared.
"No!" Hashirama squealed. "Th-That place is haunted! It's filled with cannibalistic ghosts a-and…!"
"Ghosts that eat other ghosts?" I asked, confused. "... So it's like a last one standing thing for ghosts? That just sounds dangerous for other ghosts."
"N-No! They eat humans. Everyone knows those that enter the Shrine, exactly thirteen days later, their bones - which had been gnawed on - appear on the doorstep of their families!"
"... That doesn't sound like a haunted place," I observed, recalling that no such thing existed in my timeline, ergo it must have been mortal-caused and died off. "... It sounds suspicious. I'm with Maddie-kun, I say we go investigate, Hashi-washi."
Hashirama whimpered while Madara shot him a smug look. "Ha! Now let's go, you guys."
"No!" Hashirama declared, crossing his arms firmly across his chest.
I sighed and grabbed his hand. "Come on you big baby, you can hold my hand. I won't let the big-bad-ghosties hurt you."
"No," Hashirama said again, this time more firm and he tried pulling away. Nonplussed, I continued to drag Hashirama behind Madara, who was leading us into the forest. "Why are you so strong, Sasori-kun? That's not fair!"
Madara stuck his tongue out, glancing over his shoulder. "Don't be such a baby, Hashirama."
"I am not," Hashirama snapped. "I just have way more common sense than either of you two."
"Or you just have more self-preservation," I reasoned.
"Or maybe we're just heroic and brave and you're a pansy."
"I hate you."
"... So Maddie-kun, do you know where we're going?"
"Don't call me that and of course I do."
Hashirama snorted. "You do not."
"Can you two resolve your sexual tension later?" I whined. "It's hot today and I still need to hunt for my dinner."
The two fell silent and Hashirama gave up trying to escape my iron grip. Which was good because I was getting annoyed wasting my chakra to hold on to him. We traveled in silence for several minutes before I sighed.
"Maddie-kun, you don't know where we're going, do you?"
Madara shrugged, looking sheepish. "... Not really."
"Idiot," Hashirama muttered under his breath.
"Don't make me kick your ass."
"As much of a sex-god you turn up to be, you are so not cute at this moment for wasting my time," I muttered, even quieter under my breath. Both boys looked confused at me.
"Whatd'ya say Sasori?" Madara asked, frowning.
"Nothing. Nothing at all, Maddie-paddie-laddie-kun."
"Okay. That's it. Prepare yourself, because I'm about to shove my foot up your ass."
"Kinky, but I bet Hashi-washi would appreciate it more than I would."
Both boys tackled me into the ground.
"Great, now what are we supposed to do?" Madara growled. The fight hadn't lasted long because somehow in the tumble, Madara's arm had been scraped, revealing a nice long, wide gash. "How am I supposed to explainthis?"
It was true that neither of the boys had actually had a skin-breaking wound from our tumbles before, and the bruises could easily be hidden by their clothes. And while neither of the two boys knew of the other's family origin, it was unspoken that both boys came from another clan. They just chose not to think too hard on it.
"Relax, let me see it," I said, gently taking his arm. "This is nothing. Don't be such a baby."
"I am not a baby!"
Rolling my eyes, I placed my left hand over his wound. My chakra flickered a pale blue, then out of experience and habit, it turned to a pale green. I ignored the sounds of sucked in breaths from both Madara and Hashirama, and within seconds the wound was closed. "There. All done."
I looked up to find the awed expressions of both boys.
"What was that?" Hashirama whispered.
"... Medical ninjutsu."
"Is it a kekkai genkai?"
"... Why are you asking that?" I asked, furrowing my brow as I thought through my history lessons. Why were they so surprised? Medical-ninjutsu wasn't exactly a new thing. Regeneration and self-healing was invented long before Madara and Hashirama were born - the Uzumaki Clan dominated that field. True, I suppose healing others wasn't all that common. Actually… now that I thought about it… that wasn't invented until Hashirama married Mito and the two thought about…
Oh, shit. I just rewrote history. Big time.
"I've never… that's so neat!" Hashirama exclaimed, his eyes wide with excitement. "You could… you could help so many people! Sasori-kun, you're… you're amazing!"
"Are you going to become one of those doctors?" Madara asked.
"One of what…? Oh you mean those bogus doctors that charge good people outrageous prices in this time, despite not knowing shit? Nah. I don't need money. Although, I mean… I guess I could do with books… and seeds. Yeah. That's what I'll charge. Plantable seeds or vegetation or books. One seed per person."
"That's… that's kind of a steal," Hashirama said. "Everyone has seeds, and if you're not picky, they could just take some from wildlife flowers."
"That's fine by me," I said. "If they give me a rare and exotic seed, then they're set for a good three years. Maybe five."
"You're cheap," Madara said bluntly.
"I don't know if I should be offended by that or not."
"Not," Hashirama said quickly. "You could… you could really help a lot of people. Save a lot of lives… what else can you heal?"
"... Broken bones, burns, nearly all flesh-wounds, uh… I'm not too skilled with head-damage. I mean, I can do brain-surgery, but I'm pretty sure I would have a really low survival rate for the patient if I'm by myself…"Tsunade's a top notch medical-instructor, and she dominated my time during our training, mostly using hands-on experience rather than books and whatnot. It was why I was acknowledged as second-in command after Shizune at the hospital, and why I was actually going to be the head medical-kunoichi at the hospital when Shizune and Tsunade retired. "... I'm superb at antidotes and poisons, though."
"Could you… I mean…" Madara shifted. "... If someone went blind, could you help them?"
"It would depend on what made them blind," I said patiently. "If it was due to a Dōjutsu, then probably. If it was due to their eye being gouged out and there was nothing left of it, then probably not. I've never had a patient like that… I mean…" I did work with Tsunade on repairing Itachi's eye-damage. I know what to do, and I can do it… it'd just be…
Both boys were silent and shifted anxiously. "Enough talk about me. Let's head back, okay? It's getting kind of late, anyway…"
It wasn't brought up again - my healing abilities. Both boys seemed to sense my apprehension on the subject and wisely kept quiet. Days passed by, too quickly for me to fully wrap my mind around it. It astounded me how much I could have with the two of them, and when I wasn't playing with the two of them, I was training to bring my reserves back up, or I was hunting down new plants for my garden, or redecorating my home.
It was about that time, that I started mulling over Madara's question. The question on whether or not I was to become a 'doctor'.
It had its appeals, most certainly. There were only so many seeds in the area I could ascertain, and so many books I could steal off the road. Not to mention, Hashirama seemed adamant to believe that I could somehow help everyone.
I was so used to everyone having their own medical-shinobi, or their own hospitals, and their own people in general to deal with their issues, it seemed odd that in this time… they didn't.
They didn't have a competent person to help them.
They didn't have the means to take care of them (medically speaking).
I was the first medical kunoichi. I was the first one to help them.
So on a hot summer day, I leaned on Madara's shoulder. The three of us were feeling lazy that day. I said, "I'm going on a small journey."
Madara moved his head, shoving me off his shoulder in the process. Not bothering to catch myself, I just flopped into the grass. "... What?"
"Well… I want to collect more seeds and books and stuff… so I thought, you know… I could offer my healing services in exchange for it," I mumbled, yawning and rolling on my back. I kicked Madara in the side half heartedly for revenge for not allowing me to use his shoulder as my pillow. The selfish bastard.
"When will you be back?" Hashirama asked hesitantly, giving me a torn look. "I-I mean… I'm happy for you and all, Sasori-kun, but… well… you know."
"It's not going to be long. A week and a half," I said, rolling my eyes. "Probably shorter. I'd miss you two too much to be gone any longer."
Both boys relaxed at that.
"Wait… by yourself?"
"But… but you still look like a little girl!" Madara exclaimed. "You idiot, there are a lot of creeps out there. You're too young!"
"Yes, well, you aren't my parents, so you can't tell me what to do. I'm leaving tomorrow morning. Do you two think you can take care of my plants while I'm gone? Pretty please?"
"Of course we can," Hashirama said, smiling. "Just water them?"
"Yep," I said. "Thanks buddies."
"I don't… I don't like it," Madara muttered, he then huffed and turned away, crossing his arms over his chest.
He refused to speak to me for the rest of the time.
That was okay. I literally kicked his butt into the stream.
With a skip in my step, I tightened the robes Madara had given to me. They were a little big, but they were comfortable and more durable than the other clothes I had. Seeing how I had only been able to steal from civilians, shinobi clothes were a welcome change. I had a change of Hashirama's old robes, too in my nearly empty back.
I would be heading to two places: the nearest temple, which was roughly a two day's run away, and the village that rested at its foot. The actual trip there would be uneventful. Or at least I thought it would be, seeing how I would just be jumping from tree to tree. The trip would also be a great way to test out my capacities.
Roughly a day into my journey, I was teetering on the edge of my mind with boredom. Normally on trips like this, I hadsomeone to talk to. Even Duck-Ass would have been a welcome change, frankly.
… Even Kabuto.
I was just that bored.
Thankfully my boredom appeared to be relieved the moment I caught sight of an interesting scene.
A small caravan - it couldn't have been more than eight or so people, not counting the children - had just been ambushed by a group of bandits.
I stopped on a tree branch, and watched as the bandits - fourteen of them - attacked the caravan.
I tilted my head, tapping my chin. To interfere… or to not…
One of the bandits had been taken out by one of the men, from the way the caravan moved, though, I could tell they were civilians, or very poorly trained in the shinobi arts. Which seemed kind of stupid, given how dangerous the roads were in this time and age. That gave the impression they were either idiots, or they didn't travel a lot. Actually, a second look at their oversized stock in their wagons seemed to support both theories. You never traveled with anything more than you could carryunless you had the guards to back you up.
Naruto would say to interfere. Duck-Ass would say to ignore them. Hmm… pull a Naruto, or a Duck-Ass. I think the choice is clear.
"Yee-haw!" I called out, leaping up into the air and delivering a solid kick into the head of one of the nameless bandits, digging in hard enough that I could feel the odd snack and crack as their skull broke underneath my force. I continued to carry us down into the ground, where we landed with a loud impact. The ground broke beneath us and a small crater formed around me and the corpse. Not pausing, I leapt back up and channeled chakra into my tiny fists. I delivered the first punch to the nearest bandit, sending him flying into the trees behind him.
These are really shitty bandits. I wonder if I should be worried about messing up the timeline by killing these people.
… Eh. I've already messed it up, and I intend to mess it up even more so. Who gives a shit?
I turned on my heel and dashed towards the nearest bandit. Leaping up onto his back, I flipped so the palms of my hands rested on both sides of his head, and I was directly above him, vertical. I could feel the burn of chakra in my arms as I strengthened my muscles, and built up my chakra just as I had so many times before. The instant I twisted my arms, was the instant I released my chakra, giving me the monstrous boost in strength.
Landing lightly on my feet, I located the next bandit, one of the smarter ones who had seen the entire ordeal. He shook his head silently, fear in his eyes before he turned away and fled.
That's no fun, I dismissed, before locating the next one.
It was quick work to take care of them. After that was done, I noted rather sourly that I had burned through too much of my chakra reserves, that I would actually require a rest before continuing my journey.
The caravan stared at me after I stepped away from the last bandit's body. I brushed off the dirt from my shoulders and turned around to face them, raising an eyebrow. "Everyone okay?"
"We…" the eldest there, a man in his forties, perhaps, stepped forward, "... thank you. My name is Takayoshi and this is my family. We are in your debt…"
"You didn't answer my question."
Takayoshi glanced behind me and I followed his gaze. Two of the men who had fought, were injured from the looks of it. One was leaning heavily on his right foot, and the other was clutching their shoulder, which seemed to be bleeding heavily.
I flickered over to the bleeding one first, pushing him to the ground so I could look at his shoulder at eye-level. I pulled his hand away, ignoring his cry of pain and the mutterings of anger from the others. Placing my right hand over his gash, it flickered green.
It took a good minute to heal the tears from that injury. When I was done, I moved towards the limping man, dismissing the stunned expressions on everyone's face.
"Don't make me push you down, too," I told him flatly.
He sat down docilely and I placed both my hands over his leg.
Well… damn. If I heal him, I'll have to wait even longer to replenish my chakra stores. Shit. Okay. Damn it, Naruto. This is all your fault. How dare you develop as my second conscience!
Both my hands glowed green as I used up the rest of my chakra I had to spare.
When I retracted both my hands, I sighed, wiping my sweaty brow. "There. All done. Well… it's been fun. Bye."
"Wait! Please… there has to be something we can do… we're on our way to Gurobu."
I paused. Gurobu was the village at the base of the temple… I turned back to face them, scrutinizing them. "... It's true that Iam heading there… but… nah. If you really want to repay me, then two things. One: do you have a single seed on you? Two seeds would be nice, but I can make do with one seed. Any kind of seed will do, so long as it's plantable."
"And?" Takayoshi inquired.
"And spread the word that there's a new doctor," I said, "by the name of Sasori. I'll treat anyone so long as they can repay in one of the favors: a single seed per healing, or a book or scroll."
"That's it?!" one of the women exclaimed, her eyes wide. "That's… that's it?"
"Sure. Later," I said, waving my hand and walking away.
I miss my harem, I thought with a rueful sigh.
The Forest Temple was small in comparison to the Fire Temple, but it was by no means tiny. I stood at the front gates, shifting onto the balls of my feet as I stared at the bustling monks and the villagers that had climbed up the massive stairs to receive blessings or some other thing.
I glanced around before I let out a small sigh. Creeping around the groups of people, and climbing up and the actual temple, I sat at the roof.
"What are you doing?"
At the slow drawl, I turned my head around and found myself staring at -
A man who kind of looked like Kakashi. He had the hair right, and a scar over his left eye, but his eyes weren't a lazy shape, or relaxed, they were more narrowed and dark. And his scar ran up from the above his eye, all the way down to his jaw. Not to mention his monk robes.
"... Figuring out what to do," I confessed.
"Who are you?"
"Who are you?"
"Asao," the man replied.
"Sasori," I returned. "Am I breaking some sort of rule?"
"No. You're in my spot, though."
We stared at each other.
"You aren't going to move, are you?" Asao asked bluntly.
"Nope. Hey, what's your surname?"
"... Nothing you need to concern yourself with," Asao said levelly. "What are you doing at the temple?"
"I'm trying to find work, sort of. It's not a huge deal if I don't find it, but I thought it'd be a good place to start spreading the word," I responded.
"Work?" Asao repeated. "... You're too scrawny to be of any use. Go home, little girl."
I huffed. "Just because I have pink hair you automatically assume I'm a girl!?"
"No. It's because of your scent that I assume you're a girl. You can't hide your scent from me, little girl," Asao drawled.
"Oh. Okay. But I'm not going home; I'm pretty damn sure I can be of help."
"How?" Asao asked bluntly.
"Give me your hand."
Asao gave me an unimpressed look as he gave me his hand.
I broke his finger.
He didn't even blink. "You better have a good reason for doing that, or you'll regret it."
I then wrapped his finger in my hands, my hands glowing a dull green. It took two minutes, but soon enough, the finger was mended.
He retracted his hand, an interested gleam in his eyes. "... I see. What do you want?"
"I'll treat anyone so long as they can repay in one of the favors: a single seed per healing, or a book or scroll."
"... That's it?" Asao asked.
"That's it. I live nearby, so I'll stop by the temple every now and then. I'll heal all children and elderly for free, though. So do you have anyone here that I can heal, Asao-jiji?"
"I do," Asao said. "Come with me."
I trailed behind Asao.
There was a small abode outside of the temple; it looked kind of sad and pathetic, all run-down and tiny. I saw a fairly cute young man - actually he looked more like a boy, a scarce few years older than myself - surrounded by children who seemed ragged and almost dirty.
"... This is Gurobu's orphanage," Asao said quietly. "There are a fair few who have fallen ill… they are inside."
"I see," I said quietly.
"Maku," Asao said sharply. "Come here."
The older boy broke away from the children, smiling warmly. "Hello, who is this?"
"Sasori," I demurred. "A pleasure, Maku-kun."
Maku brushed back curly brown hair, and his golden eyes peered down at me with open curiosity and warmth. He reminded me a bit of Naruto, actually.
"A pleasure, indeed, Sasori-chan."
"Kun," I corrected automatically.
"Chan," Asao snorted.
"I would rather not be known as a girl, Asao-jiji. That's just dangerous at my current age."
"Fair enough, but you can trust Maku; it's Maku's job to care for the orphans under the Temple's protection and care."
I frowned, and peered at Maku. "... I guess I don't really have a choice."
Maku blushed under my scrutinized gaze. "I won't tell a soul, Sasori-ch-kun."
"Good. Now take me to sick kiddies."
When I was done with the children, Maku was staring at me with wide, wide eyes.
It was starting to get a little annoying.
Asao had watched silently through it all, his opinion completely hidden. "Well, then, if that's it… Why don't you head up to the temple with me, Sasori-chan? You can stay at the temple for the night, while I inform my brothers of what has transpired and of your… offer."
"Sure, sure," I said, giving a yawn. The children I had healed were sound asleep, and the ones that did not need the healing, were watching from the shadows, or the doorway. As I walked out of the orphanage behind Asao, one of the children stopped me. She stared up at me.
"Sasori-san, how come you helped us?" she asked, her voice squeaky.
"... Because it's what I do," I said, uncomfortable with her confused look. It wasn't that uncommon to help someone for little to nothing, was it?
I mean… I mean, sure… in this time, everyone was almost constantly at war. Villages were burned down, families lost, and people slaughtered… all for the sake of money, or survival. It was brutal and cruel, and horrible, but it wasn't that dark, was it?
It wasn't so terrible that a little girl didn't seem to understand kindness, right?
"... Because it's what's right," I said, this time more firmly. "And I'll keep helping you out, okay?"
Asao cleared his throat and I turned to follow him.
However, I glanced back over my shoulder to the dirty, ragged orphans, and that sad, sad place they dare to refer to as home.
When I awoke early in the morning, there was a meeting with what Asao informed me to consist of the head monks. After I had gone to bed in one of their guest rooms, Asao explained what had transpired. So I found myself sitting, my legs tucked underneath me, in front of a range of men, varying from ages. Asao actually seemed to be the youngest one there.
"... You are Sasori?" asked one of the elders.
"Yep," I said.
"You weren't kidding when you told us he wasn't much to look at," snorted another one, glancing at Asao.
told us he…
I inwardly smiled. So Asao kept his word and didn't tell them I was a girl. Excellent.
"I take offense to that," I said mildly.
"I don't care," he said flatly.
I bristled. "You bi - "
I caught myself, remembering my manners. Huffing, I shot him a glare. "Fine. I'm not healing you then."
He bristled. "What?"
"You heard me," I snapped. "You can't make me do anything, and believe me, I would love to see you try. I don't ask for much. A seed or a book for my services. However, you will treat me with respect or I will not help you. Respect is earned not given, old man."
He stood up, and the oldest man there, one who almost looked like the second Dumbledore with a longer mustache, said softly, "Sit, Touza. Forgive my brother, Sasori-kun. He did not mean offense. From what our brother, Asao, has said you are quite a healer."
"How long will you be with us?"
"A couple more days," I said. "Then I'll leave. I'll return in some time, but I can't give you a definite time."
"I understand," he said. "The Temple would be honored if you performed your services here."
"Thank you," I said. "I'll head down to the village, as well, in case there are those who are too sick to make the trip to the temple. I would appreciate it, however, if you would spread word that I am willing to help those in need."
"Understandable. However, I must ask… what do we get in return?"
"Nothing," I answered. "I'm not looking for a place to stay in and heal in one area. I will travel. I will move. I will not be bound to any one person or place. I will remain forever neutral, understand? However, this will be the most frequent places I visit, due to the proximity it has to my home. If you don't want me here, then tell me so and I will leave and never return. If you do, then all you have to do is spread the word. I won't ask for a room and board, either. I don't need it. You don't need to feed me, either."
"Very well," he said gravely. "If you are capable of such charity, then I see no reason why we, the temple, are not. You are welcome to stay here as long as you please, Sasori-kun."
"... You know, you don't really seem like a monk to me," I told Asao as he escorted me towards the sick room after the meeting.
"You don't really seem like a child to me," he retorted.
The rest of my 'journey' went by without much note. I was able to collect an entire bag full of seeds and a couple books, and I was quite content with that. The villagers seemed to especially like me, even more so when it became apparent that I had rescued one of their 'friends' (who lived in the village, too, apparently Takayoshi's family were one of their farmers. They were returning from another one of the nearby villages, gathering supplies for the upcoming winter).
I visited the orphanage and Maku in my free time there, offering my assistance in patching the pathetic hovel up. Maku seemed especially grateful for it, and the children seemed to like me (which was… nice).
On the way back to my home, I didn't come across any trouble. It was late when I returned, so I just went to bed.
After planting all my new and wonderful seeds, I leaned back and stared happily at my growing garden. I would have to plant several seals around it to keep it growing during the winter.
I was extremely grateful to have Sasori as my boy-toy. He knew sometimes had to grow several of his ingredients for poisons in the winter, or in less than ideal climates, so the genius actually devised a system of seals to plant around his 'garden' that would keep and adjust the temperature and climate to ideal growing situations.
And he taught me the seals.
If he was nearby, I would have glomped him.
I felt a pang in my chest.
Hell… hell… if any of them were within glomping distance, I'd…
I was pulled out of my thoughts when a familiar boy slammed into me, knocking me to the ground and squeezing the life out of me.
"Hashi-kun," I squeaked, struggling to breathe. "I can't breathe. Maddie-kun! Help me!"
Madara smirked. "I don't respond to that atrocious name."
Hashirama released me, grinning widely and wiping at his eyes. "I… I'm so glad that you're back, Sasori-kun."
I patted his head. "It's good to be back."
"Tell us what happened," Madara demanded.
"Oh, okay. Let's head inside for some tea, though. This nice lady gave me these awesome tea leaves for helping her sons. I amso growing my own tea leaves!"
Hashirama laughed while Madara smirked and grabbed my hand, pulling me up. "Whatever, pinkie."
"I haven't heard that one before. That's so original," I deadpanned.
He slugged me in the stomach.
That was okay, though.
I kneed him in the groin.
"Once upon a time," I said out loud. The two boys were lying on the ground, out of breath from training and I sat in between them, both their heads propped up against one of my legs, "there was a girl. She was an awesome girl who was a total fangirl, too."
Madara gave me an unimpressed look while Hashirama looked faintly interested.
"One day she found herself plucked out of her normal, dull life, and thrown into the magical and adventurous life of being a kunoichi," I said.
"How was she plucked out? Did a bird kidnap her?" Madara asked incredulously.
"It's just a saying-"
"I don't think a bird would pick a girl out," Hashirama continued, frowning thoughtfully. "I thought they'd rather peck at them."
"It's just a saying now shut your mouth before I kick your ass."
The two wisely kept quiet.
"The awesome girl entered the new world with eyes filled with wonder and excitement. She thought everything was going to be all fun and games. She made friends right off the bat, those friends went by the names of Ino, Naruto and Hinata. You see in this new and strange world she entered was a shinobi world and she lived in a shinobi village. A village filled with top-notch shinobi and kunoichi who all worked together and fell under the same rule of one leader."
"That doesn't seem very realistic," Madara observed. "...Unless you're talking about a giant clan, right?"
"No, no, this village consisted of all sorts of clans - and even some civilians turned shinobi."
"... And they all worked together… they all got along and followed one person?" Hashirama asked, disbelief in his tone.
"Well, there were clan rivalries, of course, but everyone was willing to lay down their lives for another fellow shinobi. It was their way - it was the Will of Fire."
"This is such a fairy tale," Madara muttered.
"Hush. In this village, there was an academy, where all children who wanted to follow down the shinobi path trained and learned. Upon graduating the academy, each student would be placed into a team of three, and placed under the tender care of one of village's best shinobi. The awesome girl, let's call her Sakura, was placed on a team with her new friend, Naruto, and a Duck-Ass by the name of Sasuke."
"There's a shinobi duck ass?" Hashirama blinked. "...An actually ass that's an actual shinobi? Seriously?"
"Okay, okay, so he wasn't an actual duck ass, Mr. Literal. His hair was like a duck's ass, though, so the awesome girl called him Duck-Ass. That, and it pissed him off to no end and she absolutely loved trolling him."
"She sounds like you," Madara said dryly.
I glared at him. "Interrupt me again. I dare you."
Clearing my throat I said, "So the trio went to meet their new sensei, a man by the name of Kakashi. He decided to give them a test to see if they were ready to become shinobi. He held two silver bells and said that to pass, they had to get the bells, but there were only two bells, so only two could pass. Sakura didn't buy it, so she went off to watch the two others make idiots of themselves, and, of course, they did. Kakashi went as far as to sexually assault Naruto, which caused Sakura to laugh her ass off and reveal her hiding spot. But she thought it was definitely worth it."
"That sounds… so wrong," Hashirama sighed.
"Hashirama: interrupt me again. I fucking dare you."
Clearing my throat again, I continued, "In the end, all three passed because they were just that epic. So with her newfound team, the girl set to work on becoming their own medical-kunoichi. After all, she had a good feeling they needed a medical-kunoichi. On their very first mission outside of the village, though, things took an unexpected turn. You see, one of the ways the village gains revenue and the shinobi are paid is throughmissions. Kind of like when a clan is employed as mercenaries or bodyguards, only they aren't so nitpicky about their missions. Well, they are morally, but generally… The point is that the missions were separated in terms of rank. Because her team was still new to the shinobi force, they were only supposed to take low-ranking missions; however, on their very first mission… it took a surprising turn and turned into an A-Ranked mission, one of the highest mission ranks!"
"That's poor background screening. Obviously the people who assigned the missions weren't doing their job right," Madara sniffed. "That or their village was trying to kill them."
"Now why would the village try and kill them?" Hashirama pointed out reasonably. "That's just not logical."
"Unless one of them was the child of an enemy of the leader," Madara retorted. "Or maybe they weren't loyal. I don't know."
I cracked my knuckles. "None of those are right. It was just a poor and lazy screening that they landed the mission. No one inside the village was trying to kill them at that specific point in time. And what did I warn you two about?"
"I can't help it if you have too many plot-holes in your story," Madara whined.
I slugged him in the stomach, and smacked Hashirama over the head.
After Madara regained his breath, and Hashirama stopped seeing stars, they both pushed me into the stream.
I stood up, soaking wet and shivering.
"Bitches. Challenge accepted."
"Okay, okay… so… let me get this straight," I said, giving the two boys a pointed look. "You will be gone for two entire weeksand you won't tell us why?"
"We'll miss you," Hashirama blurted out.
Madara shrugged, his eyes downcast.
"You're dead to me. How dare you leave us alone," I deadpanned.
Madara snorted and slugged me in the shoulder, but it was a weak punch, and I barely felt it. "Whatever. Just don't die, okay?"
"Aw, would you miss me?"
He shot me a glowering look and Hashirama gave us both a pained expression. "Guys… I can't believe you'll be going, though..."
"Right," Madara echoed. "We'll meet right back here. Got it?"
"Fine," I said, turning to face Hashirama. "In the meantime, I will so be corrupting you."
Hashirama gave a plaintive whimper; turning to Madara, he desperately grabbed his hand. "Please don't go. Please."
"You'll live." Madara smirked.
Hashirama tugged on my hand as he guided me through the forest. "It's just over here!"
The boy had told me he found a flower he had never seen before on his way to our normal spot. Interested, I asked him to take me to it. It was a ways from my home, and I was starting to get bored of the walk.
Hashirama guided me to a small rocky ledge, and I stared up at the massive rock wall. He pointed upwards and I followed his finger to find…
"Holy shit!" I squealed, running up the ledge vertically to take a closer look at the flower. The Gibraltar Campion to be precise, extinct in my timeline.
I kneeled before the delicate flower, my fingers brushing against its soft petals. "Well done, Hashi. Thank you."
I moved my hands into the Snake, Tiger, Rat signs and manipulated the earth around the flower to carefully dig it up from the ground, being sure to not break any of the roots. Once I had the pack of soil and flower in my hand, I traveled back down and grinned at Hashirama. Hashirama returned my grin with one of his own.
"Do you want to go plant it now?" Hashirama asked.
I threw another rock across the stream. It skipped three times. I grinned. "Excellent."
Hashirama threw a rock. It skipped seven times.
"Bastard," I accused. "... I'm bored."
Hashirama gave me a sly look. "We could always…"
"Oh, come on…"
"No! I am not swimming!"
"You never swim with us," Hashirama said. "Come on! I won't laugh!"
"Laugh?" I muttered under my breath. "What's there to laugh about…?" Clearing my throat I said loudly, "No means no, Hashi-washi. I will however tell you the same thing I told Maddie-laddie when you were sick. Once upon a time…"
Ignoring him, I continued, "... the awesome girl was nervous, for once."
Hashirama blinked in surprise. So far, I had only told him the story up to the start of the exams. I just got past the exams with Madara, though.
"You see… Sakura knew something was going to happen in the exams. She knew something was going to happen, but at the time she just didn't care. She was so enthralled with her adventure and her new friends, she didn't think of much else. So she and her team entered the forest, and knowing that it was dangerous for Duck-Ass, she pressed on. That's when it happened…"
"... If she knew something was going to happen, why didn't she care? If she cared about her friends, she should have done something," Hashirama said, frowning.
"She didn't think of it that way," I said quietly. "She thought everything was all peachy and wonderful. She was a daydreamer by heart. So in the forest, the trio was attacked, but not by any normal opponent. No, no, they were up against one of theSanin."
Hashirama sucked in a sharp breath, recalling my side-story of the Sanin.
"The Sanin… Orochimaru. Orochimaru wanted Sasuke's kekkai genkai, and the only way for that to happen was to take over his body. In order to do that Orochimaru needed to give Sasuke a very special mark. A Curse Mark. Sakura… Sakura knew it would only bring misery and grief to her friends and herself if that happened, but at the same time she couldn't bring herself to careenough. It was true she had grown fonder of Sasuke, but she wasn't all that crazy about him, either… not to mention, part of her still couldn't make the connection."
"That these were actual people, and not just characters from a story," I said simply. "And when she realized that, when she made the connection that Sasuke was Sasuke and not some character, it was too late. The mark was given. She was distraught, but she did her best to hide it. She didn't like dwelling on less-than-stellar subjects. She was the type to shove her emotions far down inside of her until she couldn't feel it, and that's what she did. Yet despite her making the connection with Sasuke, she couldn't quite make the connection with the others."
"... So Sasuke got the Curse Mark?"
"Sasuke got the Curse Mark," I confirmed. "The trio did make it out of the forest. They were alive and weak, but thanks to Sakura's medical skills, they were in better shape than what would have been assumed. After the forest, though, they were faced with a dilemma. You see, too many Genin teams passed the forest exam, so they would have preliminary matches to cut the numbers in half."
"Wait, wait, wait. How was there too many? How many were there?"
"... More than ten, less than thirty."
"How is that too many?" Hashirama asked reasonably. "The exams end in tournament style, right? Isn't that a good number, then? I mean, it's not too high (over thirty), but it's not too low (less than ten). It's somewhere in between."
"Yes, well, common sense didn't exist in this village apparently. As I was saying…" I retold the events of the preliminary rounds, and then of finding Jiraiya and the training month. I finished the tournaments, and as I reached the invasion part…
"Wait… wait… wait," Hashirama said, rubbing his eyes. "An invasion? Really? I mean, this is a major village, right? And there areother shinobi villages that attend there, right? I mean, what if you had the, uh, the uh… the I… Iwa? Iwa, or Kiri, or Kumo shinobi and kunoichi there? Would this… Otogakure really be so stupid to risk war with all of those villages? And why would Suna attack the shinobi village? For what gains?"
I frowned. "... Land and money. More missions for them if the shinobi village was gone."
Hashirama snorted. "But if they were so desperate for all of that that they would a.) betray their allies and b.) they had to rely on the help of Otogakure (otherwise I'm sure they would have challenged the shinobi village earlier on their own if they could, considering the shinobi village was already weakened from Fluffy's attack), could they even afford the extra missions? Wouldn't their manpower be weakened even further when it's apparently already pathetic? Could they even handle the missions? Could they even handle holding on to the new land? I mean… what's to stop the other villages from swooping in and killing them in their weakened state? Or Otogakure from betraying them? It seems very stupid."
"... Apparently no one in this story has common sense," I deadpanned. "Now will you stop nitpicking my plotholes?"
"Sorry, please continue."
"... Right, so the girl, Naruto, and Shikamaru left in pursuit of Duck-Ass and the Sand Siblings. When it became apparent that the trio was being followed by Otogakure Jounin, Shikamaru volunteered to stay behind and stop the men pursuing them. With heavy hearts, Sakura and Naruto pressed on without Shikamaru… They eventually caught up to Gaara and Sasuke, and Sakura bravely, yet stupidly, jumped in front of Sasuke to save him from Gaara's attack. In a matter of seconds, Gaara had her incapacitated with his sand. Within a minute, she fell unconscious to Gaara's merciless sand."
"... So she died?" Hashirama guessed.
"But you said merciless…."
"It's called a hyperbole, and what is wrong with you and Maddie? I mean, most kids actually like stories, and they don't nitpick at every fucking detail!"
"Such language," Hashirama sighed.
"So," I continued pointedly, "when the girl awoke, she realized that everything she knew would happen, happened. All those people that she knew would die, died. She knew they were doomed if she did not intervene, and because of her daydreaming views and stubborn ignorance, they died."
"Lesson learned," Hashirama said simply. "So, wait… she just knew everything happened? I mean, how'd she know that everyone died? Maybe her prediction was wrong? Maybe not all of them died, or maybe some died while others lived? Or was it just an 'innate' ability like her ability to 'see the future'."
I smacked his shoulder. "I give up. You damn skeptic."
"... So… swimming?"
"Go to hell."
Hashirama was gone, as well. He didn't know when he would be returning, and the two weeks until Madara's return wasn't up, yet.
I knew, logically, they were both gone because they were both fighting for their lives.
I knew that, yet I couldn't really wrap my mind around it. It was such a strange concept, the idea of two children fighting for their lives.
It was a cool day, that day. The game was scarce when I went hunting in my normal spots, so I decided to venture further out that day. I had only really left my little area in the forest a handful of times - when I decided to partake in the journey, when Hashirama guided me to the flower, and when Madara decided to try the Forest Shrine (again, only this time without Hashirama).
I leapt through the treetops, suppressing my chakra and making little to no noise. I was beyond thankful for all the times Jiraiya had Naruto or myself hunt for our food during our journey, as well as the extra survival missions.
Due to the season, the days were shorter, so already the sun was starting to dip down in the horizon. Even by the time night had fallen, I still hadn't found heads or tails of any meat.
Damn. I'd rather not miss another dinner, I thought dejectedly, when the sound of metal hitting metal caught my attention.
I was quite a ways from my home. I had left my home around noon and traveled straight out since then, propelling myself quickly through the trees. I stopped at the sound, frowning thoughtfully.
I shouldn't be surprised, I supposed. I mean, considering the era and everything. Yet I was. I wasn't anywhere near a road, so I didn't think it was a group of bandits attacking a caravan, but still…
Leaping through the trees, I followed the source of the sound, being sure to stay hidden. I peeked through the branches of another tree and my eyes widened when I recognized the scene.
Bodies lay strewn about, and from their armor they were mostly Senju. I could see a few Uchiha, though, and some corpses of an unknown clan. It wasn't the bodies that drew my attention, though, so much as the familiar, scared-witless boy who was backed up against a boulder. Six Uchiha men surrounded the small child (he was younger than Hashirama and Madara!), their backs facing me.
The Senju child was wounded, I could see that. I could also see that if it wasn't treated, he would be dead.
A sense of foreboding came over me.
His name was Itama, he's Hashirama's younger brother. The Uchiha slaughter him in this battle, I recalled, shifting on the balls of my feet.
Tensing my muscles, I prepared to spring.
Am I really going to take on six Uchiha men for the sake of a boy who will probably die anyway?
"Ttt," I muttered.
Damn you, Hinata and Naruto. Damn you both for being my new consciences.
Jumping high in the air, my hand flew into the pockets of my obi, withdrawing several home-made smoke pellets. I hurled them down to the ground, and within seconds the area was covered. I dove into the smoke, thankful for my measured jump, as it allowed me to land right before Itama. He gave a whimper as I grabbed him and swept him up, before I kicked up into the air and jumped into the trees.
I didn't look back.
They didn't bother following, of that I was certain. Perhaps they thought it wasn't worth it.
It didn't matter.
I laid Itama on the ground, who was hyperventilating at this point, staring at me with wide, wide eyes. I placed a hand on his cheek and another hand over his chest. I had to stop to treat him before I continued on, or else there really would be no chance to save him.
"Shh," I hushed. "I will help you, but you have to stay calm. I know it hurts, but don't panic. I will save you. Do you understand, Itama-kun?"
He nodded his head, tears spilling out of his eyes.
I wiped away his tears before placing both hands over his wound and pouring in chakra. His organs had been shoved and sliced open, but thankfully the tissue was opened neatly, precise, and it wasn't an ameteur attack.
That alone was probably the reason he was still alive.
My chakra left my hands and traveled around his organs, wrapping around them; cocooning them. When I had safely stopped the blood from spilling out with my chakra cocoon, I began repairing the actual tissue damage.
I was rusty, much to my chagrin, yet it didn't hinder me much. Fighting and healing… all of it was just like riding a bicycle to me. It may have been a while, but once I was in the groove, it was all natural.
When I retracted my hands, they were stiff. I flexed my fingers, staring at the blood that soaked my hands and my arms. A quick glance at Itama told me he had passed out during the healing, but his expression was relaxed. I smiled at that.
Picking up the boy, I was careful not to disturb his newly regrown skin too much. Then, ignoring the small rush of fatigue, I made my way home.
I kept him tucked in the second room, resting atop large stacks of furs of animals I had skinned and cleaned, and wrapping him in them, as well. I knew he wouldn't be awake for quite some time, days if my estimation was correct, perhaps a couple weeks. He had nearly died, and the introduction to my healing was foreign and strange. In my time period, healing chakra was a common thing, however in this time period, chakra inside the body was a strange thing.
From what Tsunade said, some infants were similar, some of the times. They didn't care too much for foreign chakra inside their bodies and often time rejected the treatment. It was one of the reasons why some infants stayed in the hospital for several more days after birth, simply so the doctor or nurses could interject their soothing chakra in their systems until the infant wasn't so resilient.
Itama would require multiple treatments, I knew. He was my first patient in this timeline that hung so close to death.
Tiredly, I carried my underdeveloped body up the stairs and into my room. I was asleep before I even hit the pillow.
I didn't see either of the boys for another two days, which was fine by me. I had my first home-patient to attend to (he still hadn't woken up, so I was forced to resort to some basic medical seals to force-feed and hydrate him. The seals were designed like portable IVs, store the food inside of them, then place the seal over the artery. IVs were better, though, because they didn't require the precise chakra control needed to make the seal, and with the seals on, you had to constantly monitor your patient or else the seal would erode away to their chakra and cause irritation, swelling, and sometimes chakra fluctuations).
At the end of the two days, when I left to check the spot, Madara was there, waiting for me. He appeared relatively unharmed, but I could see a couple bruises spotting his face.
I waved at him. "Hey, Maddie-kun."
"Don't call me that," Madara sighed. "... Where's Hashi?"
"He had to go, too, but he'll be back soon enough, I expect. When he does return, I have something to show both of you."
"'Kay," Madara said.
"... Want me to heal you?" Madara's head snapped up and he blinked at me. I gestured to his bruises. "Do you want me to heal you?"
Madara hesitated. "... I… Yeah… I mean… sure, whatever…"
I patted the grass in front of me and Madara sat down. He stripped off his shirt and I had to wince at the bruises that dotted his form. I placed both my hands over his ribs and winced again when I discovered a fair few of them were broken, and the rest bruised.
Madara let out a small sigh of relief as my chakra entered his system and began soothing the pain and aches.
When I was finished, Madara's form was completely relaxed and his eyes closed. "... Thanks, Sasori."
"'Course," I said. "That's what friends are for. I've got your back. Not literally, though."
"Unless you want me to have your back literally…"
"No, thank you."
I smirked, wiggling my eyebrows. "You know, I bet your spine would make an epic sword. Could you imagine?"
Madara stared at me. "There is something wrong with you."
Both of us turned our heads to see a downcast Hashirama.
Oh. That's right. As far as he's concerned, his little brother died.
"Good! Everyone's here. Both of you, I have a surprise," I said, grabbing Hashirama and Madara's hands and sprinting to my home.
I kicked open the front door and ran up to the second floor. I then stopped before the unconscious Itama and gestured to him grandly. Hashirama sucked in a sharp breath, paling, with his eyes widening. Madara's own eyes widened, and he gave Itama a calculating look.
"Who's the kid?" Madara asked, moving over and inspecting him.
"Some Senju kid," I said, my tone dismissive, and I politely ignored Madara's widening eyes (he put on his poker face almost immediately afterwards, though), and Hashirama refusing to look away from Itama. "Who cares? You see, I was out hunting the other day and then I come across a battlefield. Corpses everywhere!" I pointed to Itama. "Then I see this kid bleeding heavily. He's up against a rock, trapped. There were six Uchiha men surrounding him and I knew the kid was doomed. I don't know about you guys, but I can't watch any kid get hurt, regardless of clan. I know it's risky rescuing such a big-time clan and all, but I don't really care. He's just a child, you know? So I threw down a bunch of smoke bombs, grabbed him and ran."
"... Will he be okay?" Hashirama whispered, his eyes still locked on his pale form.
"Of course. Don't underestimate me," I snorted, waving my hand. "Although I haven't clue what to do with him when he's all healed up. I mean, I guess I could track down some Senjus and give him straight to him, but I don't really want to make myself known, you know?"
"No, I don't," Madara said, frowning. "What do you mean?"
"I'm neutral," I said. "If I showed them that I could heal, that I could save lives… do you think they'd let me go?" Not they could actually hold me; anyway, pretty sure I could escape the big-bad Senju-babies."Besides… besides I want to help everyone. Not just Senju. I want to help Uchiha, Hyuuga, Nara…"
"Do you mean that?" Madara asked quietly. "You want to help… you actually want to help all of them? Even the Uchihas?"
"Yep," I said, glancing over to Itama and patting his head. "Though I'm not sure where to start."
"How long do you think it will take before he wakes up?" Hashirama asked.
"Couple days, I think. I'll need to keep him here a while longer, though, so that way I can make sure he's okay. He was in a real pickle before. I can assure you this much: No one else but myself could have saved him in this time period."
Silence fell between the three of us: Madara was contemplative, Hashirama was still staring at the brother he thought dead, and I was daydreaming about surfing with Kisame.
"... Once upon a time - "
They both glared at me and I wisely kept quiet.
A couple days later, Itama was still sound asleep.
The three of us had climbed one of the highest cliffs nearby, and we overlooked the forest.
"... You can get a good view of the whole forest from here," Hashirama said, panting heavily. He wiped away the sweat that dotted his brow.
"Heh," Madara said. Hashirama had beaten both of us up on the cliff, and the Uchiha wasn't too pleased with that. "It's not bad, sure, but I'm confident that I can beat you when it comes to seeing. Wanna challenge me?"
"No," I panted immediately, gasping for air. It was outrageous, these two. I could scarcely keep up with them, and that was with the extensive training I already had under my belt, and the experience in utilizing it.
I just didn't have their build. Then again, they came from generations of shinobi so their bodies were better suited for this sort of thing, while I most certainly was not.
"That's new," Hashirama said, blinking in surprise. "You've never really bragged about your sight before. You seem really proud of your eyes now."
"Of course! I have the Sha - " Madara stopped himself.
"... What happened?" Hashirama asked, concerned that Madara had seemingly froze.
Madara glanced away from us, so we couldn't see his expression. "... Nothing… in the end, I'm not that much."
"... That's weird, coming from you," Hashirama muttered.
"If I was that good, my brothers wouldn't have died," Madara finished.
"... You still have one brother left, though, don't you?" I asked softly, sitting up and moving towards Madara. I spread my legs out on either side of him, and hugged him from behind, resting my chin on his head. I rocked backwards and pulled his down to the ground, idly playing with his soft hair.
Why was it that all Uchiha I knew had incredible hair?
"... Yeah. And I'll protect him no matter what," Madara declared before elbowing me in the gut and rolling off of me. I wheezed, clutching my stomach.
"Why are you so abusive when I'm just trying to show my affections?" I whined, curling up.
"Because you disturb me." Madara smirked.
Hashirama giggled and leapt up on to his feet. "Alright! Let's do it! Let's build our settlement here! Let's make it a place where children don't have to kill each other."
"What if they wanted to?" I wondered and Madara fell backwards on top of me, being sure to dig his elbow in my stomach again. Hashirama ignored our behavior, especially when I started pulling on Madara's hair.
"We'll build a school where children will be taught how to be strong and grow up! Missions will be chosen depending on personal skills and strengths. Seniors will assign the proper level. In our village, children won't be sent to the violent battlefields."
"Here, here!" I cheered, shoving Madara off of me and kicking his shoulder.
"What do you guys think?"
We didn't respond right away because Madara had grabbed my hand and was in the process of flipping me. However, we seemed to have lost exactly where we were (or Madara was feeling particularly nasty) and he ended up throwing me off the cliff.
"You little shit," I deadpanned before shrieking as I fell. "Hashirama, avenge meeeeee….!"
Madara's eyes widened and before he could respond, Hashirama shoved him off the cliff to.
"Traitor!" Madara howled.
Afterwards, the three of us went back down to the stream to say goodbye. Hashirama and Madara both grabbed rocks and skipped them across the stream, back and forth to one another while I continued to pull twigs out of my hair from the fall. "I amso glad I kept my hair short."
"Mn," Hashirama said, catching Madara's stone and throwing it back. "Madara! Keep that stone. It's a good one. You can bring it back next time, alright?"
Madara threw another stone to Hashirama. "Same goes to you."
Hashirama beamed. "Alright. Later guys!"
"Bye, Hashi-washi," I called out. "Thanks for avenging me."
"Bye, Traitor!" Madara smirked.
Hashirama stuck his tongue out at Madara before he turned and left. I patted Madara's shoulder. "Sorry for making Hashi avenge me."
Madara smiled. "Sorry for throwing you off the cliff."
I held up my hand in a fist, and Madara bumped his fist to mine. "Stay safe, buddy."
"You, too," Madara said before he turned and left.
The next morning, Itama had awoke, but he hadn't stayed awake for long.
Itama blinked up tiredly at me. "... Wha…?"
I placed a hand over his forehead, smiling gently. "You're still weak. Don't worry, you're brother will be here soon enough and then you can go home. Okay?"
Itama gave a soft, almost delirious smile, at that. "O-Okay. Th-Thank you."
He kind of reminds me of a genderbent version of Hinata, I thought wistfully.
When I had changed his seals and got ready for the day, I headed out to our meeting spot. I stood in front of the stream, completely relaxed and anxious for Hashirama's arrival. I'm sure he'd be thrilled to find out his brother was quite well and that he had woken up for the day.
Hashirama was the first to arrive, and immediately after he presented himself, Madara stepped out of the trees.
I looked in between, my smile dropping.
Neither of the boys was smiling.
"Sasori…" Hashirama said again, a pained expression on his face. "... Sasori, please… I think today you should go home."
"No," I said flatly. "What the hell is wrong with you guys?"
"Sasori, listen to Hashirama," Madara muttered. I crossed my arms over my chest and promptly sat down on top of the stream. He glared at me. "Fine. Hashirama, let's start off with tossing our rocks."
The two boys threw their rocks towards each other and that's about when I started to realize just what the hell was going on.
"Hashirama, Sasori, I'm sorry. Today, I remembered I had something to do," Madara said, giving a strained smile after he had gripped Hashirama's rock.
"I-I see. Then I'll head home today, too. I have things to do," Hashirama said, waving goodbye.
I stayed silent.
Just as the two turned away and were about to flee, Senju Butsuma along with Tobirama appeared before me, in front of Hashirama, and Uchiha Tajima and Izuna behind me.
"Senju Butsuna," Tajima greeted.
"Tobirama," Izuna said flatly, his tiny body tense.
Ohmigawdhe'ssofuckingcuteandtiny! I inwardly squealed.
"... So it seems. Uchiha Tajima," Butsuma said flatly.
"... and Izuna," Tobirama - OHMYGAWDHE'SSOFUCKINGCUTEFORANASSHOLE - said.
"... Oh," I said brightly, torn between glomping Tobirama and glomping Izuna.
Then I noticed the atmosphered. I gave a strained gasp. "The tension! Holy crap, there's a lot of tension here."
"Sasori, get out of here," Hashirama called.
"No!" I gasped, glaring. "This is both of your guys's fathers, right? Then it's only polite that I meet them."
I turned to Tajima first, since he was closest. I smiled brightly and dipped my head. "Hello, Uchiha-sama, sir. I'm Sasori, Madara's friend."
Turning to Batsuma I said, "Hello, Senju-sama, sir. I'm Sasori, Hashirama's friend."
They both gave me blank looks.
"Maddie-laddie, Hashi-washi, your guys' fathers are antisocial," I whined.
"Sasori!" Madara snapped, while Hashirama sighed.
"I don't have time for you," Tajima snapped.
"Well fuck you, too," I returned, raising my eyebrows.
Madara flickered towards me, hitting me over the head. "Don't talk to my father like that!"
I rubbed the back of my head. "He started it!"
"I don't care!"
"Enough of this," Batsuma snarled. "No son of mine will ever be friends with an Uchiha!"
I raised my hand. "What about an orphan? Is that okay?"
"Just as no son of mine will be friends with a Senju," Tajima spat.
"Again, is an orphan okay? If you guys don't respond then I'm just going to assume you guys mean: Of course, Sasori! You're totally welcome to be our baby's BFF because they'd be completely lost without you."
"I would not!" Hashirama and Madara objected immediately.
"Yes you two would," I dismissed.
"I don't care if you are or are not, so long as you are only allies with the Uchiha clan," Tajima said, eyeing me.
I frowned. "No can do. I'm neutral. I'm neutral like the moon. I'm neutral like Sasuke's angsty. Very neutral, and I know myfriends aren't going to make me choose between the two, because that would be very asshole-ish and I would be very hurt. Then I would be forced to avenge myself and trust me: I know all about being an avenger."
"You cannot be neutral anymore," Batsuma snapped.
"Is that a challenge, I hear?"
Hashirama and Madara's eyes widened and both grabbed me. Hashirama put his hands over my mouth and Madara grabbed my shoulders, shaking me. "Don't do it, Sasori. Don't do it."
Licking Hashirama's hand - and he retracted it immediately, his face screwed up - I smirked. "Fine! I'll still be both of their friends whether you want me to, or not. Challenge accepted. Madara, I will see you later. Hashirama, same goes for you."
Then all too happily, I skipped away.
"Aniki… is there something wrong with him?" Izuna wondered out loud.
"Yes," Madara said. "Very wrong."
It didn't take me long to sneak into the Uchiha compound. After I made sure Itama would be sleeping through the night, I followed Madara's trail back to his home, drawing on every ounce of skill in tracking I picked up from Kakashi and Jiraiya through the years.
When I reached the massive thing, I then brought up my hands and changed the future yet again.
Underground walking was a technique that wouldn't be invented for another two decades, and it would be a while longer before Kakashi copied it (and the Headhunter technique) and taught it to me. One of the beautiful things about coming from the future, where everyone looked in all directions for guarding, is that in the past, they didn't.
So all too easily I entered the compound and popped my head up directly under the small porch-walkway that connected to what I assumed to be Madara's room (it was rather late at night and that was where he currently was).
I wiggled my way out, being sure no one saw me, before I crawled up to the pathway and opened the door.
I entered inside and immediately, Madara's head swiveled around, his eyes wide and he gaped at me. "How did you get in?!"
Smirking, I wiggled my eyebrows. "You'll never know."
"This is serious, Sasori," Madara hissed. "It means there's a security breach."
"Not for another twenty years," I snorted. "... How's it going, buddy?"
Madara glared at me. "How did you find me anyway?"
"Because I'm awesome, of course."
He sneered. "Right."
"... So… how's it going buddy?" I asked again.
Madara frowned, sighing. "... It's whatever… Sasori… I know you don't want to hear this, but I can't be friends with you anymore."
"Because you're still friends - "
I grabbed his cheeks with both my hands and smooshed his face together, forcing his lips to pucker out like a fish and stopping him from finishing his sentence. "... What if I was an asset to the clan? An asset that was beneficial enough that the Uchihas couldn't afford to lose me?"
Withdrawing my hands, I waited for his response. Madara rubbed his cheeks as he contemplated my words. "... You're talking about your healing, right?"
"Right," I said.
"... I've never seen someone like you before," Madara said softly. "... I heard the seniors talking about the Senju kid… it was a slow kill, but… but the blow they gave him would have been a final blow. It… no one should have survived it. They didn't chase after either of you because they knew he would be dead within the hour. Yet you…"
"... You know I can help a lot of people," I said quietly. "But I can't… and I won't do it without you and Hashirama by my side. You two… you two mean a lot to me right now. You two are all I have now and I… I'm not giving that up without a fight."
Madara didn't say anything for a while. He finally sighed. "Okay… I think… I think it'll work. Come with me."
Madara had led me to his parents' room, or what I assumed to be his parents' room. He kneeled outside the door for a while, with me hovering nervously behind him. No words were spoken until a quiet, familiar voice, beckoned us inside.
He slid the door opened and entered, and I took in the lush room. Immediately, I saw a pale woman who slept quietly in a large bed. Tajima was sitting at the foot of the bed, papers strewn about. His eyes rose to meet us, and narrowed significantly when he saw me. "Explain yourself, before I kill you."
I stepped in front of Madara, already channeling chakra in my hands in preparations of fight then flight. "I'm Sasori, as you know. I want to be Madara's friend, but I also want to be Hashirama's friend, so I'm here to propose something for you. I'll be your medic, in exchange you don't interfere with Madara's and my own friendship and you acknowledge that I'm neutral."
"You? A medic?" Tajima sneered.
"It's true," Madara blurted out. "You remember the Senju brat that was kidnapped from a 'pink creature'? It was him! And he saved him. I saw him. He was alive and well, and perfectly okay. He saved him from Tojou's killing blow!"
"I don't believe it," Tajima said flatly. "It must have been a trick, Madara."
I held out my hand. "Cut me. I'll prove my… my 'kekkai genkai'."
The reason I addressed it as a kekkai genkai, was because that would immediately prevent any Uchiha from trying to copy my techniques. In my time period, the Uchiha knew better than that because it required extensive training to properly utilize. They had to know the body, because the healing ninjutsu was doing things below the skin that the Sharingan couldn't copy. Here, though, they didn't, and I didn't want to risk them finding out the hard way.
Tajima held out his hand and I placed my arm in it. A sharp burning sting ran across my arm, as Tajima deftly pulled out a kunai and sliced through it.
Blood pooled out quickly (and squirted), and I inwardly cursed the man for severing an artery.
I placed my right hand over my bleeding left arm and green chakra wrapped around both appendages. Within seconds, though, the skin was sealed up and there wasn't a scar in sight. I held out my arm to him and he stared at me with wide eyes.
He took my arm, jerking it this way and that as he examined it. "You…"
He dropped my arm and gave me a calculated look. "And what's to stop me from keeping you here?"
"You can try," I threatened, "but if you attempt that I will never heal any other Uchiha aside from Madara, regardless of what Madara says. And I emphasize the attempt because trust me: you won't catch me."
"Do not underestimate me," Tajima snapped.
"He's not," Madara said quietly. "... Chichi… we won't catch him."
Tajima gave a small grunt, staring at me blankly. "... I will test you." He jerked his head in the sleeping woman's direction. "My wife is on her deathbed, now. We don't know what's wrong with her, but our medic gave her another week, max. If you can save her, I will allow you to be… friends… with my son. You will also become our medic, and come when we call."
"... Agreed. However, only Madara can retrieve me," I said quietly. "If anyone else comes, I won't."
I stood up, ignoring Madara's torn expression and I walked towards her. Upon closer inspection, I saw that she was unnaturally pale and flushed, her breath coming out in ragged gasps and sweat dotting her brow.
Shifting slightly, I placed my hand over her forehead and sent out my chakra to diagnose her.
Almost immediately, I found the problem.
"Bronchitis?" I said out loud, confused to see how such a simple illness was so deadly, before recalling that this was in adifferent time period and 'Bronchitis' hadn't even been discovered yet.
"Bron-what?" Madara asked, frowning.
"Er, actually… I know this disease. It's called… Ibuseism," I deadpanned.
I always wanted to name my own disease. This one's for you, Ibuse.
"Ibuseism," I repeated. "Don't worry, I can cure her. Give me… eh… one hour."
"One what?" Tajima repeated. "... It took our medics weeks to even find out what was wrong with her, and longer still to conclude her demise, and you figure out what wrong with her in seconds and you can fix her in an hour?"
"That sounds about right."
Tajima blinked at me, dumbfounded.
Ignoring him, I placed both my hands over her chest and set to work.
She was awake by the time I was finished, blinking bleary-eyed at me and frowning minutely. "Wha…?"
"Kayo," Tajima said, his voice surprisingly gentle (I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. Uchiha were very affectionate and loving with their own. Behind closed doors, of course, and given the life-expectancy in this time period, I was nearly certain they were extra sure to cherish what little time they had left with one another… I couldn't think that with a straight face. I'm sorry). I hid my smile behind my hands and coughed to keep my snickers unnoticed.
"Tajima," Kayo whispered. "I thought… I… I can breathe easier now… what…?"
"I'll explain everything later," Tajima murmured. "For now, rest."
"Ah… ah… okay…" Kayo yawned, curling up in their bed.
When she had fallen asleep again, Tajima turned to look at me, his expression unreadable. "... She is… A deal is a deal, Sasori."
I nodded my head. "I'll return in two days. I have business to attend to tomorrow, and it should give you plenty of time to inform everyone of what's going on. When I return, I'll look to those who need it."
"Two days," Tajima said, his black eyes pinning me. "Do not be late, Sasori."
I am so tempted to be late just to challenge that.
Itama was safely passed out on my back. He had woken late the following morning of my meeting with the Uchiha. I told him when he woke up again, he would be at home. He gladly allowed me to knock him unconscious, then.
I carried him to the Senju compound, utilizing both my tracking capabilities, and from the memories of Tsunade telling me where the old compound was.
When I reached there, I snuck in the same way I snuck into the Uchiha compound. It was the middle of the day, though, so Hashirama wouldn't be preparing for sleep. Instead, when I found his chakra signature, I popped up out of the ground in the nearest secluded area.
Brushing dirt off my clothes, I adjusted the sleeping Itama. Then all too happily, I moved my way towards Hashirama's chakra signature. He was with others, training, I was sure. And when I turned around the corner and caught him in the middle of a sparring match with an older boy, I smirked in satisfaction.
"Hashi-washi!" I called out, and Hashirama's head snapped in my direction as the older boy connected his fist against Hashirama's cheek.
Hashirama fell to the ground and I winced sympathetically. All eyes turned towards me (us, including Itama), and I only recognized Tobirama and Batsuma.
"You," Batsuma growled. "What are you doing here?"
I smirked. "What? You don't want your son back?"
"Chichi! He has Itama!" Hashirama yelled, rushing towards me. "Sasori, you brought him here, didn't you?"
Turning my back, I presented the sleeping Itama. "Yep."
Faster than I could see or process, Itama was ripped off my back, and in the arms of Batsuma and Senju shinobi surrounded me. Hashirama threw his arms around my neck, hugging me. "Thanks, Sasori!"
I hugged him back. "Happy to help, buddy. I thought if I brought back your brother, safe and alive, it would give me a good start on persuading your father in allowing me to stay friends with you."
"You… you certainly have my attention," Batsuma said, his voice strained as he continued to hold his son. "There… there was enough blood there… he couldn't have survived. How did he survive?"
"Sasori's a healer," Hashirama said, excited. "I've seen him do it. He's amazing, Chichi! He can heal anything."
"Oh, stop, you," I said, smirking. "... Actually, please continue."
Hashirama slugged me in the shoulder. "Sasori!"
"Anything?" one of the shinobi echoed. "... Batsuma-sama, if it's true… we were all there. Itama should be dead, but…"
"... Prove it," Batsuma said, staring at me.
"Okay. Someone cut me," I sighed, holding out my arm. Tobirama moved swiftly, taking his kunai and - Okay. You get the rest.
When I was done, I folded my arms across my chest, cocked my hip and raised an eyebrow. "I'll heal anyone in the Senju clan for free, if you agree to allow me to continue to be friends with Hashirama and you acknowledge my neutrality regarding you and the Uchihas."
Batsuma looked back down at Itama, who continued to sleep softly. "... Very well."
Hashirama and I exchanged excited glances before we bumped our fists together.
The next time I entered the Uchiha compound, I was greeted by two stern-looking guards. I waved at them. "Yo. I'm Sasori, and I'm here to first heal everyone that needs to be healed, and then I'm off to pretty much goof off with Maddie-laddie."
They ignored me, choosing instead to walk away.
Taking the hint (and feeling a little irritated at being ignored), I trailed behind them. I was lead further into the compound, where I was showed into a long room.
Uchiha. Uchiha as far as the eye could see.
They all glanced up from what I assumed to be their meeting, all their faces blank.
"Tajima told us you would be an asset to us, regardless of your… affliction… with the Senju," a man with a scar in an x-shape on his cheek said, his eyes flat and holding a sort of dead-tone to them.
"... Yeah," I said slowly.
"Why exactly do you want to help us?" He questioned.
"Because Madara's my friend," I said very slowly, being sure to pronounce each syllable loudly and clearly enough. It seemed a little ridiculous that they needed me to repeat such an obvious thing.
"That is not an answer," He said.
"The hell it isn't," I snorted, placing my hands on my hips. "Why can't I help one of my only two friends?"
"Only?" another interjected. "And what about your family?"
"Did you not get the memo that I was an orphan?" I returned.
"That doesn't answer my question. That only means your biological parents are dead," X-Face said.
I snorted, looking down. "... Gone. I'm alone. That's why I chose the surname of Saigo. I'm the last one."
"What was your previous clan's name?" Tajima asked.
Considering the question, I let out a small sigh. "We weren't… we weren't really a clan. Not… not in the way you would think. We were just… just a village. Then… Then I… then they were gone. Simple as that. Madara and Hashirama are all I have left…. there's very little I wouldn't do for both of them."
"Would you spy on other clans? Clans aside from the Senju?"
"If that is what they wanted… probably," I consented. "But it would take a lot of persuasion, truth be told. I'm not wavering on my neutrality between you and the Senju, but nearly everyone else…"
"Nearly? What do you mean nearly ? Who else are you loyal to?"
"The orphans," I said. "I won't do anything to assist you in harming an orphanage."
"Anyone else?" X-faced asked.
I considered his question. "... I guess not. No one human, at least."
"And we're supposed to just take your word for it?" sneered another.
"It's either that or I walk and ya'll can die on your own," I said, shrugging. "Well, actually I'll probably kidnap Madara and Izuna."
"You threaten to kidnap one of our own?" growled the same man that sneered earlier.
I nodded my head, nonplussed. "Madara's my friend and he loves his brother, ergo his brother is my obligation, too."
Tajima snorted. "What do you know about obligation?"
"More than you would believe," I assured him. "... So is that all I'm wanted here for? Or can I get going?"
"We don't trust you," X-Face said bluntly. "However we acknowledge your… abilities… are valuable enough to risk our trust. Do not make us regret this."
"I can't promise you that," I said wistfully. "I've been told I'm a bit insane at times. I might annoy you guys to no end. I canpromise, however, to not betray you."
I stared at the medic-tent, Madara by my side. I entered the tent, this small, pink-haired child, with Madara trailing behind me and Tajima leading me.
I took one look at the all my patients - thirty six to be precise - and then at the medics.
"Alright. All the idiots, please leave," I said loudly, giving a pointedly look to what I assumed to be the 'head medic'.
"Excuse me?" she asked coldly, her graying hair seeming almost silver when the light hit it just right.
"Shoo," I said, shooing her with my hands. "Begone. I don't want to catch your idiocy. I'll be done with this lot by the end of the day and then you can have them back. Now, shoo."
"Tajima-sama, I don't know who this - "
"Do as he says, Kikyo," Tajima said gravely. "All of you, leave."
I smirked in satisfaction as they left.
It was good to assert my superiority in the medical field.
"You wanna watch, Maddie-laddie?" I asked, glancing over at Madara.
"Madara has training to attend to. I, however, will be watching," Tajima said. I nodded my head, wiggling my fingers in goodbye to Madara.
"I'll see you afterwards, buddy."
I retracted my bloodied hands from my last patient of the day, a young kunoichi. She had been staring at me the entire time, watching my hands mend together a week old flesh wound that the previous medics had stitched up. When I was finished, she touched her thigh, marveling over the fact that there were no scars.
"... Acceptable," she whispered.
In Uchihaneese, that roughly translated to Holy shit you're amazing and if I wasn't so stoic, I would totally kiss you right now.
Pleased with that response, I turned to Tajima, cocking an eyebrow. "That's the last of them for the day. I'd still like the three I mentioned to stay overnight for the extra rest. If that's all, though, I'd like to go play with Maddie-laddie."
Tajima's lips twitched in amusement. "Very well. Leave, Sasori."
"Later, my slaves," I said, skipping out of the tent. It didn't take long to track Madara down (and to wash my hands of the blood with a quick water-jutsu). I ran towards him, glomping him.
"Hello," I greeted, ignoring the looks the two other boys gave me (they were a little older than Madara).
"Get off," Madara grouched, and I noticed he was coated in mud, sweat and a little blood. He was also a little wobbly. It must have been an intensive training routine.
"You can't make me, chubby," I returned, squishing his cheeks.
He threw me off him, forcing the air to leave my lungs. I wheezed, pulling his feet out from underneath him so he fell on his ass.
"Bastard," Madara muttered.
"Maybe," I coughed, sitting up and looking at the two boys. "... Hello."
The smaller of the two (who vaguely reminded me of Shikamaru), raised an eyebrow. In a lazy drawl he said, "You're Sasori."
"I am," I agreed. "And you are?"
"Souzo," he said, "... and this is Yuki."
I looked up at the rather feminine boy. He stared at me blankly. I tilted my head. "... Itachi?"
"Yuki," he said flatly.
"I'm sticking with Itachi. Clone Itachi, maybe?"
"Who's Itachi?" Madara asked.
"... person that I knew, oh hey, lookatthat. Izuna. Heeeeey."
Izuna approached his brother, eyeing me warily. "... Hello, Sasori-san."
I whined at the honorific, and at his adorableness. "I have to hug you. Please?"
Izuna's eyes widened and he backed away, while Clone-Itachi and Souzo, smirked. Madara face-palmed and glared at me.
I sprinted towards Izuna, tackling into him and glomping him. "You're so cute. Can I keep you? Madara, can I have your brother, please?"
"No!" Madara snapped.
"Please get off," Izuna whispered as I started stroking his hair. "Aniki, he's scaring me."
"Sasori…" Madara threatened. "I'm tired, sore and not in the mood."
I flipped him the bird.
With a snarl, Madara slammed into me. I substituted myself for a log and glomped Izuna again. "Don't be such a stick in the mud. Izuna doesn't actually mind, right? My actions are good."
Izuna gave a weak smile. "... They're different."
"You'll get used to it," I assured him. "Trust me. You'll get used to it, cutie."
Izuna flushed. "... And weird. I'm not sure how I feel about a guy calling me cute."
"Frankly, I don't care about Izuna's opinion at this point," Madara growled. "I'm pissed off. Sasori, I am so kicking your ass."
"Oh, so you just need to let off steam," I concluded. "Why didn't you say so? Bring it on, chubby."
"... Please quit molesting Tobirama."
"I am not molesting him. I'm just… stroking his hair… and… hugging… him. Besides, he likes it."
"... He's tied up and gagged."
"He kept trying to escape."
"He's pleading at me with his eyes."
"It's just the light."
"He's screaming behind the gag."
"That is getting a little annoying."
"... But he's not going to be this cute for long! He's going to grow up to be an asshole, and that automatically makes him fugly."
"... Fine. Where's Itama?"
"I am not telling you where my other brother is so you can start molesting him."
"But he loves it."
"I know, and that's weird."
"He's just a sweetie."
"... Want to beat each other up?"
"Spar, Sasori. It's spar."
"It's really just us using each other like punching bags."
"I know, but…"
"Fine, fine. Do you want to spar, Hashi-washi?"
*Rubs back of head sheepishly*
So I've been having trouble pushing out the end to this, and seeing how it's already so late and whatnot, I decided to just go eff it and upload this in parts. This is Part I, unedited (sadly). The next part will be a time skip into the teenage years, and then I might do the third part as adults.
This is technically AU of Sakura - AU in the fact that it ignores all of the epilogues and that Sakura didn't kiss anyone at the end.
Gawd I was having way too much fun with Maddie and Hashi. I love those two.
… And yes. At this point, Madara and Hashirama (and the rest of their clans) firmly believe that Sakura is a boy named Sasori.
And you guys... as I said, this is UNEDITED, so um... if you see any typos / spelling errors / generic stuff, do you mind pointing it out so I can fix it? It's harder than it looks to edit your own paper. D:
EDIT: Alright, alright. I got enough people saying that it would have been better if I posted this as a separate story, so there we go. However, if we're treating it like a separate story, it then begs the question...
... do you still want me to limit this to three chapters?
Let me explain. If I limit this to three parts as I planned on originally, the chapters will be about as long as this chapter, if not longer. In exchange, it'll be finished quicker, but the updates will be far and few in between. If I treat this like an actual story, though, the updates will be quicker, but the chapter will be shorter.
Let me make this clear, Chipped Mask, Decaying Bluebells and Shadowed Sun take priority. I already have some of Sakura finished, but if I'm dragging it out to a real story, I will more than likely add scenes and subplots to it. But the trio aforementioned takes precedence over this story. Sorry, but that's just how it is.
So I will make that my question of the chapter.
Question: Should I make this a three-shot, or an actual story?
Reviews are love!