Author's Note: Yes, I know, I shouldn't be writing another story, but this idea came to me and I just can't stop thinking about it. My brother's visit is ending tomorrow so I'm writing this tonight because I'm a night owl. Haha! Anyway, I'm open to pairings and I hope you all enjoy this chapter. I'm going to bed now. Let me know what you think! Goodnight!
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Warnings: Language, OOCness, Un-beta'd.
Word Count: 4,229
Sakura pulls the heavy bundles of clothes around herself tightly, to block out the chill of the air around her. She watches as Hinata tries, once again, to speak to Naruto, but as usual, he is surrounded by people and the lilac eyed young woman is just too timid to try and speak out against the horde of people. It's only now that Naruto is a big hero that people love and admire him. That they feel like they can now openly show affection to him. The person they had once called a monster and a demon.
Now they are all over him in a good way. It was so fake and made Sakura frown. She just couldn't watch. Naruto is adorably bashful, as Sakura expected him to be, but the only one who deeply and truly loved Naruto all of this time, whether he was the social outcast or the hero, was Hinata. Sakura felt bad that Naruto couldn't really see her. Not now, not surrounded by so many people.
Sakura lets out a long winded sigh, watching from a distance as Hinata slinks away into the darkness once more, her shoulder bowed in defeat. Sakura's heat goes out to the purple haired girl and hopes that she gets her chance soon and Naruto realizes that she's the real thing. But Sakura's going to try hard not to get involved with their love life, even though she wants to.
Sakura would love to slap Naruto upside the head and tell him to look at Hinata, but she doesn't feel it's her place. For a few reasons. The first being that this is the final test. This is the last test for her to pass in order to finally gain Naruto's affection. She has to swallow her fear, build up her backbone and just admit her feelings for him. Not in the heat of the moment or when he's about to die, like when they were fighting against Pein. There was too much going on, of course Naruto's short attention span wouldn't be able to process something like that.
So now she has to do it. She has to get Naruto's attention, look his right in the eye, and tell him she loved him. Then let the chips fall as they may. She can't let anything get in her way anymore. She's got to man up.
The other reason would be because Sakura didn't really have much control over her own love life. Once again, Sasuke has left the Hidden Leaf, this time promising to return once he found some kind of purpose in life. He gave her a quirky smile before poking her in the forehead and left. Again. While he was given leeway, allowed to leave by the Leaf, he was still just leaving.
Sakura offered to go with, so that they could finally be together. Sakura even promised herself that this would be it. She would try one more time to be with him, and if he wasn't ready to be with her, she would let him go. She would stop annoying him, as he had been telling her she was doing to him for years. She would let him go and move on.
And again, like every time before, he shot her down. He broke her heart once more, but this time he offered her a cute smile. Sakura was flush faced looking into his happy smile, thinking that this meant that when he was ready, he would return to her.
Sakura was a fool. The more that she thought about it, the more she began to realize what that smile meant.
He wasn't happy about her, but at the prospect of leaving. Not her, she's not pretentious enough to believe that it was all about her. But he was happy to be leaving the Leaf because it's obvious to him, and now her, that what he truly seeks in this world, isn't in the Hidden Leaf Village. If Sasuke ever did return to her, it was only because he couldn't find what he was looking for.
Sasuke has made it so completely and thoroughly clear to Sakura.
Since then, about two years, Sakura has been floating. She's been working, taking missions, hanging out with her friends and dating, a very minute bit of dating, but hasn't really found that person that can make her heart pound quite like Sasuke used to. Or, what she thought Sasuke's presence used to do to her heart. Sakura is beginning to wonder if she was ever really in love with Sasuke.
For so long, all Sakura wanted as a child was to be like all the other girls. She wanted to be recognized by them as one of them. Without Ino, Sakura never would have had to courage to finally watch the other girls with clear eyes. She finally saw what made a lot of them the same. They all loved the Uchiha boy. Sakura will admit that she found him cute, but she wouldn't say she loved him. Not until years later, when she finally got to know more about him and see him in all kinds of different lights.
When he was going to leave the Leaf the first time, Sakura did love him. Or maybe she fooled herself into believing that was true. Sakura didn't really know anymore, honestly.
Sakura no longer knew what she wanted or how she wanted to feel. The only thing she did know, was that her and Sasuke just weren't meant to be. Maybe they could have been together, had things somehow been different, but it is obvious now that it can't happen. At least, the way they are now.
Sakura leans against the side of one of the buildings, leaning her forehead against the hardwood. She closes her eyes tightly and letting out a long winded sigh. She really had no real direction in her life. She can't very well be giving out a lot of love advice in her situation. To be honest, Sakura isn't even sure that she's ever been in love before.
But maybe that's just a bit of theatrics on her part.
Sakura lets out a deep sigh, the cold hair having burned her lungs. She reaches up and runs her fingers through her short pink hair, looking down at her shoe imprints in the snow. Sakura steps back, away from the building, and back onto the near barren streets. She heads down the road, to home, letting her feet drag a bit.
Once Sakura makes it home, her parents are in the kitchen, her mom is complaining about something while her father is just humming in agreement every couple of moments. Sakura cast a half glance into the kitchen to see her mother pacing while her dad was sitting at the dinning room table, watching her, before Sakura headed up the stairs, down the hall and into her room. She closes the door softly behind herself before stripping down and into long fluffy pants and a big t-shirt. She falls onto her bed, face down, and closes her eyes.
Sakura pulls herself normally onto her bed, curling up on her side and closing her eyes. She's nineteen years old. She's going to have to move out soon. She's already got a location picked out and her room is pretty cleared up with a few boxes in the corner. She's ready to finally be on her own, ready for the privacy and to just be able to do what she'd like.
Sakura's life is becoming tense. In the sense that she's beginning to lose purpose. She still works at the hospital and there will always be people who need healing, but there is just something not right about the situation. Now that there is peace between the Five Great Nations, very little goes on with all of the smaller nations. No one wants to upset the mighty alliance. No one wants to be on the tail end of that.
So there is nothing that a medical shinobi like Sakura is really needed for anymore. Sure, there will always be missions and there will always be rogues, but something just doesn't add up anymore. Some things just don't have any more meaning.
The pink haired girl sits up slowly, looking over at her bedroom window. It's snowing again, the white specs falling to the world slowly. Sakura lays down again, this time with the ability to view outside the window.
Sakura watches the snowflakes fall until her eyes slip closed and she falls asleep.
Hinabi was kidnapped by some guy named Toneri. Sakura offered to go with Naruto, Shikamaru, Sai and Hinata to search for her. They fell through a lake that Hinata couldn't exactly see through because of some form of distortion. The lake wasn't actually made of water, Sai quickly alerted them, for it was impossible to get wet from it, but when they jumped in, they were immediately immersed into a genjutsu. A powerful one. Sakura was able to dispel the genjutsu cast on all of them when Toneri showed up with Hinabi's eyes, asking Hinata to wed him.
Sakura didn't get to see a lot of what went down between Toneri, Hinata and Naruto, because Sai, Shikamaru and herself had to fight off a huge fucking crab thing. The gatekeeper, she's come to learn. It guarded the passaged way to the moon. To what appeared to be a civilization just beneath the moon's surface. This place had everything. Buildings, running water and even a sun. Real or not, it was greatly impressive.
They all split up in search of clues as to Hinabi's whereabouts.
Sakura came across what looked to be a drain missing it's cover but there is a shrine with a statue of a man that looked... kind of like Hagoromo Otsutsuki in front of it. Somehow, Sakura didn't know how, but somehow she knew, in the back of her mind, that this was someone closely related to Hagoromo. Sakura tilts her head to the side, stepping closer to the statue to give it a better look.
There is just something about it that she can't take her eyes off of. Something just keeps compelling her to come closer.
Sakura takes another step closer to the statue. Only her foot didn't land on anything, just open air and before Sakura knew it, that little drain, about the size of her forearm, expands big enough to swallow her whole. Sakura's scream is covered up by darkness as Sakura descends into the abyss. Sakura claws at the air around her, trying to see through the blackness.
Sakura has no idea how long she fell or how far, but she must have hit her head somehow and was knocked out cold. Sakura had some kind of dream. She was standing before the statue in darkness. There was nothing but Sakura and the statue, but it was life sized this time. It floated in front of her and even though it was made of stone, there was something about it that just seemed so alive.
"Who are you?" Sakura asks, half expecting that she might be going crazy.
Sakura jolts, eyes widening in surprise. She looks around the blackness for a moment. It wasn't like a voice that spoke to her. But some kind of feeling that Sakura got in the pit of her stomach. Her eyes settle onto the statue once more.
"Hamura?" Sakura says slowly. "I don't know who that is."
I need you to look after my nephews.
Sakura's eyebrows pull together. "Nephews? Who's that?"
Asura and Indra.
Sakura's eyes widen. "Wait, so you're Hagoromo Otsutsuki's brother? Asura and Indra's uncle?" She shakes her head slowly, unable to believe that. So, then Toneri must be an Otsutsuki, being up on the moon. While Hagoromo created the moon to be his mother's prison, Hamura must be the jailor. It's all starting to make sense now.
Then, his words make sense in her mind.
"Wait, is something wrong with Naruto and Sasuke?" Sakura floats a bit closer to the statue.
Not those reincarnations. The ones that proceeded them.
Sakura's eyes flitter around the darkness for a moment. "Do you mean... the First Hokage and Madara Uchiha?" Her eyes land on the statue once again. "What do they have to do with anything?"
You are unique. You can be handled through time.
Sakura shakes her head. "I don't know what that means. And you didn't exactly answer my question."
All things connect in threads. Times, places, people, events. Everything is somehow connected one way or another. This is just another one of those points. You are malleable. You can bend with time.
Sakura frowns at that. "That doesn't make any sense. I don't know what you're asking of me."
Asura and Indra hold much power, in all forms they take. But there is something lost in all the timelines. Something that changes, but stays constant, one way or another.
"And that is?"
You have been, and always will be, at their side.
"Is this my destiny?" Sakura asks, voice stained. She didn't understand. "I'm suppose to do what? Go back in time? That's crazy! And if I'm suppose to be with them, one way or another, aren't I already there? And let's just say I believe in the multi-verse theory, aren't I already this Asura and Indra's... uh, whatever. In the form of Naruto and Sasuke. What about them?"
A new you will take your place. The essential part of your mission with them is over. You reunited Asura and Indra once more. They are closer now than they have ever been in any timeline before.
Sakura sighs. Of course they were closer together than ever before. That was just her luck. While she appreciated that they were getting along, she sort of wished that she could be invited into that circle of friendship, but as far as she's concerned, she's an outsider. Naruto is kind, always has been. His level of annoying-ness has decreased immensely as he's aged, but Sasuke couldn't see more through her if she was invisible.
"How in the world am I suppose to help Madara Uchiha and Lord First? Are you suggesting that I... what? Go back in time? What about Hinabi? She needs help."
Hinabi will be fine with my descendent. Both of them. Something has happened to the you in a different timeline.
You were killed. Young.
Sakura's eyebrows raise. "Oh, okay..." A pause. "And who was I?"
Someone they once knew.
"Wouldn't that be weird that I would just reappear again?" Sakura asks incredulously. "Smart men like that would be extremely weary of meeting up with someone who is dead, now alive again."
They don't know you died. Just that you vanished. You are still you. Just a different timeline. A different life. All you hold bit of fundamental aspects the same. When and if the time comes, you will see that.
"What does that mean?" Sakura asks, eyebrows pulling together tightly.
Not now. Maybe not ever. Just protect my nephews, as you've always done. Thank you, and good luck.
"Wait!" Sakura calls, reaching out toward the statue as if begins to fade away. "Wait! I don't want to go! What about Naruto? What about Konoha? What about my life here?"
It will all be okay. Just follow your instincts. You are the only one who can save them, Sakura. You always have been. Good luck.
Everything fades into the blackness.
Sakura opens her eyes slowly, head pounding, body aching. Her vision is blurry but she knows she's in a room, a large and cold one, but there is dozens of candles all around the cold room, offering just a bit of warmth. Not enough to make a difference, but Sakura wasn't in her usual clothes. She was in a glittering, shining kimono with lots of beads and jewelry hanging off of her in one form or another. Even as she moves her head, her neck aching, she can hear things clanking around in her hair, intertwined with the strands.
She was hanging from the ceiling by a rope around her wrists, now those ached terribly, and had to be somewhere near the center of the room. As Sakura's vision cleared, she began to notice that there is some kind of alter built around her. Her feet don't even touch the ground.
Sakura does a quick survey of her injuries. Nothing serious. Just aches and pains from the strange way she's been held up, she's parched and a bit malnourished, but other than that, she's okay.
Sakura looks up at the knot tied around her wrists, spinning the joints around a bit trying to get the blood to flow back into them before using her arms to list her body weight closer to the knot and begins pulling her hands apart from one another, straining them against the rope. Hard. The rope rubs against her skin a bit, making the cold skin hotter.
Lack of blood flow to her arms makes it hard for her to muster any strength.
Sakura takes a few low, deep breaths, before pulling hard again, straining her muscles. She pushes her chakra to her arms, which is a lot harder since she can't really feel her arms, and uses it to enhance her strength. Thankfully, the rope yields and snaps, setting her free. Sakura hits the ground hard, her legs not strong enough to hold her up for a moment.
Sakura rolls onto her back and just lays there, letting the blood circulate back into her system and wake up her limbs, suffering through the prickling feeling until it is done. She rolls over onto her side, then stands up, blood rushing to her head, making her see spots. Sakura waits until those vanish before she surveys the room.
it's large and dark, there appears to be only one way in. A door on the far side of the room.
Sakura starts to walk toward it, only to stop. She spots a pile of cloth on the floor a few feet away. The top thing is a very familiar red.
The pink haired girl is relieved to change from the kimono, no matter how nice, had to go. There is no way she's going to be running around in a strange place, for some unknown reason, in a heavy ass kimono. If they were going to offer Sakura her clothes back, she wasn't going to say no. In fact, she'll thank them. Sakura rubs her forehead.
Her head is splitting and her memory is getting fuzzy with fever. "Shit," Sakura mumbles. She remembers going to the moon. She remembers the statue and the fall, but the dream is a bit hazy. She was told she had to protect Asura and Indra. So, namely Madara Uchiha and Hashirama Senju. And she was given the very distinct impression that she wasn't going home. Or, maybe she was told that by Hamura Otsutsuki.
Sakura rubs at her forehead more frantically, hurting the skin on her skull. "Shit," she mumbles again before heading over to her clothes, stripping down from the kimono and into her regular clothes. It's not as warm as the kimono but at least she'll be able to move around in it comfortably.
It wasn't just her clothes, either. It was everything. Her medical supplies, her weapons, even all of her scrolls. Everything she brought with her on her journey to go and save Hinabi. Thankfully, Sakura had no clue where they were going or how long they were going to be gone, so she was lucky enough to have packed very generously. Very generously.
Sakura rifles through her things, making sure that everything is still there before she heads to the door, pulling out a kunai and pressing her ear against it, straining her hearing, despite the headache, to see if there was anyone on the other side of the door.
Sakura opens the door slowly and steps out a dimly lit hallway, lined with only torches leading toward a stairway leading up a fifteen stair staircase to a door lined with light. There was something behind that door. Something providing a hell of a lot of light. The other way is about four feet before it's rocks. Like wherever she is, a great portion of it is buried beneath rock.
Something half crushed beneath the rocks catches Sakura's attention. She walks over to it. It looks like a half crushed body, but upon closer inspection; it's not a person. It's a puppet. It looks exactly like a human. No one Sakura's ever seen. It's just looks like a regular man, nothing all that unique or impressive about him, but when she touches his neck to feel for a pulse, it's made out of some strange material that appears as though it's meant to mimic flesh, both in the way it looks and sort of how it is touching it. Major exposure to this flesh and it'll be obvious that it's not real, but just a graze and it'll pass easy.
Sakura's eyebrows pull together, but she stands up. Her head hurts too much for her to be able to accurately sit there and analyze the situation right now. She'll have to come back once she gets her feet under her. From one of her scrolls, she pulls out a long, dark brown cloak and puts it on, blocking out most of the cold while containing the heat of her body. She heads for the only viable way, carefully ascending the stairs before pausing again to listen at the door.
Sakura cracks open the door and is immediately blinded by sunlight bouncing off of freshly fallen snow and into her eyes. Sakura gives herself a moment to adjust to the bright light, despite her splitting head, before she steps out a few feet before looking around and seeing that wherever she was, she was underground. Sakura looks around for a moment, surveying the area again.
She was in a forest. It's mostly barren with hardly any leaves remaining on a few trees and none on all the others. It's cold and windy and she can see through the bare trees for a good while. She has to be somewhere in the Land of Fire, though. She would recognize these trees anywhere.
Sakura isn't all that sure where to go or what to do, but she does know that she has to get somewhere warm, get some medicine in her, or make it herself, and spend some time really thinking about what is going on.
If she can't go home - which it's sounding like that is ultimately going to be the case - then she is going have to really think about her life and what she is going to do.
In some ways, Sakura can't help but think that this is all her fault. If she had done something different or if she worked harder, maybe she wouldn't be here right now. Maybe she wouldn't be put into this scary, unknown situation. She would be out dicking around with Naruto and her friends trying to help save Hinabi, not wandering around in the cold. Lost. Confused.
For some reason, her mind goes back to that night. Back to the night she watched Hinata slink into the darkness after inadvertently being rejected by Naruto again, to when she snuck home and her mother was ranting about whatever - again, and all Sakura could think about is leaving. Her mind went back to that very moment where she was laying on her bed, staring out her window, feeling like she no longer belonged. Where she was out of place.
And that moment settles in her mind, mocking her.
She wanted to go somewhere where she was needed, right? Well, she got what she wanted.
She just never expected that where she was needed was with the First Hokage and Madara-fucking-Uchiha. She had no idea how she was suppose to help either of them. She didn't even really know what was wrong. Well, she knew what would be wrong, but if she was suppose to somehow stop him, then that means he hasn't done anything yet.
Kami, Sakura's head is hurting too badly to be able to deal with this. Later, she'll have to think more about it later. For now, shelter and medicine.
Lost, confused, and suddenly more lonely than she's ever felt in her entire life, Sakura picks a direction and starts walking.