Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters used in this fic.
Return for Redemption
For Naruto, Sasuke, Sakura, and Kakashi, you only live once. Or twice, apparently. After a devastating war, they are the only ones remaining. Together, they travel to the past to save the lives of their lost friends. But not only must Team 7 confront the faces of their dead loved ones, but also the dangers found within themselves. Will their desperate bid for redemption succeed?
Six years after the Nine Tails' Attack on Konoha, Hatake Kakashi woke up quite suddenly on an average day in the ANBU barracks, hand automatically reached for a weapon before he had even realized that his senses were screaming danger.
Simultaneously, all the way across the village, Uchiha Sasuke stumbled in the steps of a kata he was performing with his brother, who looked at him in concern, as the kata was one Itachi had Sasuke learn and perfect all before the tender age of four.
At the same time, Haruno Sakura dropped the plate of tamagoyaki she had been carrying to the table centered in the kitchen of her family's unassuming apartment flat.
And in the very same moment, a little boy with blonde hair froze, and then, eyes rolling back into his head, collapsed in a heap on the sidewalk in the middle of a flight from the ANBU guards who had been monitoring him all morning.
The darkness lifted, and the fuzzy image of something white entered his vision. Slowly, the image sharpened. A white…ceiling? Huh. He didn't think he had seen one of those recently. He sniffed the air instinctively. The sharp smell of bleach covered the faint stench of sickness. A vague memory surfaced, one of canvas tents and the overpowering scent of blood.
His head shifted, body stiff and unable to move, eyes roaming right and then left (cataloguing escape routes) as he struggled to regain his bearings. What happened? Why am I in the hospital? (For that must be where this was. No other place could be so white and clean nowadays) How-
A bang sounded in the room as the door slammed open and blurred forms suddenly rushed in. Panic assaulted his senses, and suddenly his tired body no longer seemed matter as no, no, have to get away, can't stay here, have to move, MOVE GODDAMMIT-
And then they were there. Gentle hands carded through his hair as others gripped his shoulders, and he became aware of voices whispering their reassurances to him. His eyes closed as their comforting auras enveloped him in their warm and safe embrace. A larger frame than those gripping him leaned over his head, one arm braced above his head and the other gripping the railing on the other side of his cot, a shield for all those seeking to do them harm and protecting his moment (their moment) of utter weakness from prying eyes as they sought solace in one another's presence.
"Wha-" he said, and then stopped. Why was his voice so, so... squeaky? The bodies surrounding him suddenly tensed, and eyes (worried, desperate) snapped to meet his gaze.
"Na-Naruto? Do-do you remember us?
He frowned. There was something that was just…wrong with this girl stuttering. What was it? Ah. That's right.
The boy on the cot gave an exasperated fond smile at the three, as small tears formed in the corner of his eyes. "What's wrong? I thought my Head Medic never stuttered."
The four surged together in a fierce embrace as their relief finally brought them to the brink. Tears rolled down the boy's face, as he gripped the people that were his entire world just a little too tightly to be completely normal.
It's all right. Everything's gonna be okay. We're safe. Finally, finally, safe.
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