A New Ninja Way

Prologue: The end of an era


They were too late.

Sakura's body lay alone on the dirt, bloody and only recognizable by her pink hair. Naruto hadn't arrived yet, but the remaining original members of Team 7 and another ANBU stood by her. The scene in front of them looked disastrous. Chunks of the ground were torn apart and scattered everywhere. If you looked closely, you'd see some had been shaped into something resembling spheres using chakra. Sakura invented the technique by compressing ice during a snowball fight, which resulted in a ban from the annual fort building and snowball fight competition in the Land of Iron last year.

She appeared to have dislodged at least fifteen trees during the fight, some of which were in tiny pieces. Bloodstains were plentiful, a sickening red against the silty brown soil. Pieces of intestine were wrapped around part of a stick on one side of the clearing. The man who they once belonged to was staked on the remaining wood at least fifty meters away. Another body lay nearby. They had run by it on the way and saw it was ripped cleanly in half. The left side rested against a rock and the right side sat a few steps away. The head was nowhere in sight. The last person had been pummeled into one of the craters in the ground. They had yet to look in and see how bad he was.

The entire scene was something of nightmares. It appeared that someone thought of a few of the worst ways to be killed and tried it out on these men. It was so horrendous, even Tsunade wouldn't have been able to bet on the fights with ANBU, it'd too gruesome to watch.

For the first time in his life, Sasuke's vomit came up faster than he could comprehend. It splattered at his feet and threatened to continue if he didn't pull it together. Sakura was not a physically violent person by nature. Her teaching followed a strict regime which Sai had once summarized in the phrase 'a shinobi choosing to mend rather than end', yet the evidence clearly showed her superhuman strength and fighting style tore this place and these lives apart.

It couldn't have been anyone else. The physical mass destruction practically had her name on it. Really, there were few people known to destroy entire battlefields along with their enemies. While her time in ANBU changed the way she approached solo battles, there was enough evidence to pin every death and bit of destruction on Sakura.

Masking his horror, Sasuke looked towards his teammates. Sakura, Kakashi, another ANBU and himself became a team three months ago. Their team had seen firsthand what happens when you let the wrong people live and vowed to rid the world of as many as possible, but she was the level headed one between Kakashi, him, and their tiger masked teammate, and this was overkill.

Sasuke and Kakashi approached the body immediately. Tiger scouted the area. There was clearly no one nearby, not even a lingering chakra signature, but he knew the two needed time with her.

Tiger didn't exactly know her well, but she was their team medic and had saved his life multiple times. Discomfort etched across his body and Sasuke thought the man was debating whether or not to flee the scene in case he or Kakashi lost it. Sure, it would be treated as momentarily abandoning comrades, something Kakashi still installed in all of his teams, but Sasuke wouldn't blame the guy for trying to save skin considering the bloodlust and anger that radiated from them.

Kakashi was much worse. The woman he watched grow up was dead at 21. His body swayed for a second as he took at their surroundings and searched for signs of what caused this. He'd done everything he could as her sensei, even rejoining ANBU when he caught a peek at her tattoo on a mission. Sakura called him overprotective, but they had an unspoken code about this sort of thing. Everyone in the village knew Team 7 stuck together after the war with Kakashi in led. Sai took what they joked was early retirement when Ino got pregnant, which left only three of his former students in the field. Naruto was training to be Hogake, which left him as a temporarily sidelined member.

They still trained together. Hell, they still all went out together occasionally. They may all be capable adults, but Kakashi still thought of himself as someone to ensure their safety. They're his cute little genin-now-ANBU team, and one lays dead at his feet. He could smell Sasuke's vomit and briefly considered throwing up was the most human thing he'd ever seen that boy do. Frankly, he thought about doing the same but knew Naruto would join in if he arrived to discover the rest of Team 7 had thrown up. Everyone who knew Naruto from the bars was aware once he started he never stopped, and Kakashi was not in the mood to smell ramen filled vomit. No, he would keep his bodily fluids contained. Instead, he tried to think rationally.

He summoned Bull the moment he felt she was in danger. She was supposed to meet them an hour ago and was not one to be late. Bull was currently retrieving Naruto. Sasuke was having some sort of breakdown. Tiger didn't have a clue what to do. It was up to him to take action.

There were ways to revive the dead. They fought against once dead opponents in the past and had the scroll that made such a thing possible. Sasuke probably knew at least one way from his time with Orochimaru. The more he thought about the more he admitted that wasn't really an option since those who were revived weren't the exact same as the original, and he refused to settle for anything less. There was the life force transfering technique, but only Chiyo and Sakura knew how to perform it.

His mind was spinning faster than Sasuke's now activated Sharingan. They looked at one another as if to exchange words. She needed to be brought back quickly and there were too many questions. Why hadn't she activated her creation rebirth? Where was her summons? Who had managed this in the first place? Kakashi couldn't let his mind wade too deep into that swamp. He had to focus on the body in front of him and reanimating it. Perhaps they could find someone to revive the brain and make her into a puppet. That idea was quickly nixed when he thought about how Sakura would react to discovering she was now stuck as a puppet. She'd probably turn them all into puppets as some twisted form of revenge, and he was not fond of life without his body.

Really, she would be the best at tackling this problem. Sakura probably had a thousand theories about how to bring back the dead other than forcing them into a new body. Kakashi was out of his league here. He didn't know any jutsu to deal with anything even remotely related to life after death. His medical knowledge was formidable in some respects, but this was far beyond his expertise. He knew they needed help, needed solutions, needed more than he could give.

Kakashi paused for a moment to acknowledge he was doing something that hadn't happened in a long time. He was panicking. It happened mostly at night after nightmares. One night Pakkun was sleeping on his bed and ended up being ejectected across the room. After that, and an intervention led by the pug, they decided any panic attacks should be confronted directly. Either with Pakkun or the one other person that could calm him down, Sakura. Clearly one wasn't an option presently. So Kakashi did the next best thing and called out the loyal ninken.

They made eye contact as Kakashi muttered three words the canine never thought he'd hear boss say, "Please, help us." Pakkun looked over and saw her body.

It was still warm, that was a good thing. But one look towards Kakashi and the Uchiha told him it was bad, really bad. He padded over to the woman who had made his pack peanut butter treats the month before and sniffed. She was dead, very dead. Her body would be cold soon and the blood pouring out of her wounds was flowing slowly. His ears turned down as he looked back and shook his head. Surely they knew she was dead before he had been called. What was he supposed to do?

One glance around at the people near her made him aware this was a desperate do all possible situation. Kakashi looked ready to kill someone. His hands were shaking slightly and his mask wasn't enough to hide the expression on his face. The Uchiha didn't look much better. Pakkun realized something at this moment that made his blood run cold. The girl smelled of the boy. She usually did, but this was stronger than the usual. Before he could stop the words from tumbling out of his mouth he told them, "She's pregnant."

If anyone other than Naruto had walked in on this scene they would've turned around and run as fast as they could for as long as they could. Naruto knew it was bad the moment he felt bloodlust nearby, but the second he entered the clearing everything got a lot worse.

Sasuke was kneeling on the ground crying. The great Uchiha, last of his clan, was next to a puddle of vomit, collapsed on his knees and holding Sakura's hand with tears streaming down his face. Naruto checked to see if he was trapped in a shitty genjutsu. Seriously, who would make Sasuke cry? That man was more likely to accidentally kill himself than be crying in front of others no less. "Kai." he said, followed by another, "Kai."

After assuring this was real, he looked at Kakashi-sensei. Sensei was shaking worse than that time they all tried a new party drug and collectively lost their minds for a night. The photos they found the next day showed sensei trembling and looking giddy, Sasuke's stoic appearance halted by the smirk that didn't leave his face the entire time, Sakura crying with laughter, and Naruto's eyes looking different directions. They later vowed to never take it again after realizing how vulnerable they could be to an attack, and because Kakashi continued to shake for a solid two days after until Sakura fixed his neurotransmitters that were damaged from overconsumption.

When Naruto walked into a similar scene of tears and trembling he entertained the thought that they had gotten high without him. There certainly was a lot of vomit. Maybe they took too much or maybe this was a bad dream or a shitty prank. Really, he knew these thoughts were a way to cope with the fact that killing intent combined with Sakura laying on the ground couldn't be from drugs alone. Naruto knew the second he saw them that she wasn't breathing, but he refused to do or think anything negative until confirming the dark thoughts slowly overtaking him. She couldn't be dead. She just couldn't. It was impossible by any standard; she was too good to be facedown in the dirt with no heartbeat. So Naruto continued to run toward them, trying to come up with other ideas.

Unfortunately, the truth was beginning to dawn on him. Naruto, now next to Sasuke, was close enough to them that Kakashi-sensei's movements were so easily detectable it made him slightly nauseous. As if the rocking of sensei's body was happening beneath Naruto's feet, he briefly explored the idea that he was on a boat being rocked by waves. Sakura must be below deck and her boys were suffering from some sun-induced fever dream. She'd be there soon, with her magical chakra and soothing words. Maybe they could get ramen once they made it back to land.

Sasuke broke him out of the daydream, croaking something that was both the best and worst possible thing he could say. "I'm a father, dobe." Naruto, still clinging to his boat fantasy and refusing to face the facts, softly replied "I always knew you had it in you teme,"

Kakashi looked at the two before another lapse of silence overcame them. He was supposed to be the leader. He needed to take charge, to do something- anything. Another one of his teammates was dead. The universe really did hate him. But this time was different because this time he was older, wiser, and had two of the strongest shinobi in the world as comrades. "Okay," he breathed, "we need suggestions. Fast."

The other ANBU quickly realized this was his chance to speak up before the others started to rampage. "We could freeze the body. It will provide more time to come up with a solution." this idea was quickly rejected with a mutter of something that sounded like fuck no and not effective enough.

At this point Team 7 broke apart to focus on their individual thoughts. Kakashi called out the entire pack and began opening every scroll he carried on his person. Naruto consulted Kurama. Meanwhile Sasukeā€¦ well, Sasuke wasn't in tip-top brainstorming shape and instead used these moments to silently curse every god in existence while simultaneously blaming himself and the bad luck that followed the Uchihas up to this point.

After a few moments, it was Naruto who spoke up, "We could use it... the mystery seal. Sakura said it can do the unthinkable."

"No," Kakashi quickly replied shaking his head, trying to ignore the sickness overtaking him, "we don't know enough about it. It could do anything. It's too risky in this delicate of a situation."

Sasuke rejoined the world at this point, throat raw and whispering, "She once told me to activate it if she was down and the world was ending. We may not know what it does, but the world is already over. I will activate it with or without your help."

Naruto and Kakashi made eye contact. Sakura didn't speak much with them about her relationship with Sasuke, but they knew the two had gotten quite close in recent years. If anyone had her best interests in mind, it was him. Deciding to go along with the idea, they each reached for a weapon to draw the blood needed to activate the intricate pattern resting on her body.

Seeing them grab weapons, the remaining ANBU decided it was high time to head home and report to the Hogake. Maybe he'd even swing by the hospital for a check-up in her memory. He took a few steps back right as the three men slit their skin and pressed their blood into the swirling mark on Sakura's back. Seconds later the body started to glow. Before the tiger masked man could even attempt to make an escape, the entire clearing shook. Light poured across every surface and with it everything in a hundred miles was scorched. Everything but the body that disappeared.

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