Hi! I'm a fan of thatdamnuchiha's works! I admit the rare pairing of Sakura with Glorfindel had me hooked after I read Some Fall by Virtue. The concept of Sakura being a dragon from the first age was fascinating, especially combined with the soulmate troupe.
Btw, the tittle is in Sindarin: Ind = Heart of the Inner Thoughts; Gondren = of Stone.
This is a little gift for you, thatdamnuchiha (this sounds wrong, but it is your pen name lol).
This is an idea that I couldn't get out of my head for a while, enjoy!
There was a family of birds on the tallest tree inside her little valley. The tree was fairly tall, Sakura had watched it grow from a mere sprout to majestic proportions, slowly climbing the sky as if to reach the clouds. It hadn't even made it halfway out of the valley yet but some of its tallest branches were now eye level with her.
She had watched generations of many such trees and its inhabitants being born in front of her eyes, grow old and die. Again and again in a never ending cycle, along with the seasons. She had grown used to it, watching was the only thing she could do after all, and it was better than dwelling on her situation.
Millennia ago she had turned into stone.
The pose she was frozen in was baddass she could admit, but Sakura would exchange anything for just being free again or even for the sweet release of death. The hallucinations started not long into her captivity, lack of sleep was most likely the cause but the ever present hunger shouldn't be discounted. Thirst was another matter, since her mouth was still open she still could drink a little each rainfall.
She wondered often, how much longer until her body expired. Just how tough was her body? Why couldn't her 'creator' let her share other creature's fate by being allowed to die of starvation or lack of sleep?
It was torture.
The inferno of rage that had fuelled the former Kunoichi and drove her mad with the need for destruction had been uncontrollable, there was no doubt in her mind that had she been set free she would have burned this world to ashes not before stomping the earth into an ongoing earthquake of death. Beginning with the one that had trapped Sakura in this limbo.
But those were thoughts of the past, there was only so much she could curse someone in her mind and imagine each and every possible plan with all its different variants before even she grew bored of it. Her wrath was slow in calming, her addled mind working at a snails pace and experiencing what could only be described as withdrawal symptoms. Unable to shake or give into any urge at all, the female had to endure with the shreds of willpower she found buried somewhere deep down.
It was in this estate of half madness half lucid thoughts that the reincarnation realized she had done something terrible, something irreparable. And this was the punishment.
The guilt that assaulted Sakura then threatened to crush her spirit, to see and be unable to distract herself or turn away from the memories of her actions; and it was only a fraction of the pain. Hunger hit her in what had to be years after being turned to stone, it gnawed at her insides, in her limbs, migraines born from a famished body begging for sustenance that she simply couldn't provide. The stabbing sensation coming at her and only managing to distract her from the emotional pain.
But the worst… oh, the worst was the lack of sleep.
Her eyes were eternally open, frozen in an expression of fierce battle-lust. But she could rotate them. She just didn't, it was tiring and painful when there was no energy or moisture for them. Often times she could be remembering a particular event when things would get blurry, memories blending together in an incoherent mess.
She could no longer remember what she did and what were the actions of the army she was sided with. Did it even matter? What was she thinking of again? Ah, she was so hungry. How long has it been? She just wanted to sleep… please, someone, anyone… just end it. End her…
There's snow in the tree again, did the family of birds leave already? Ah, and now there's another nest and everything is green again. It was her fault, she destroyed that city, or did she? Was she walking like a shinobi or were those her talons?
She was lucid again… the pain again unbearable. When was she going to lose her mind? Or was she already mad? shouldn't being insane protect her from the pain? She needed a distraction.
There was someone on her valley. She just noticed them.
Ah, it was another hallucination.
They happened in between cycles of intense pain and dizziness caused by the lack of sleep and hunger, was she due another waking dream conjured by her tortured mind?
Sakura both dreaded and loved these brief escapes from reality, they were the only respite she had and the fall of such a high also crushed her a little more each time. Sometimes she would 'wake' in her previous life as if she had a nightmare while napping on one of her team's training grounds, going for days, sometimes weeks skipping along the fevered dream with the ghosts conjured by her craving memories. Times that reminded her just how alone she felt, how lost. She would cry over her blond teammate's shoulder begging him to let her stay, and be torn away back into her pained and tortured body. Unable to even scream or cry, for she had no tears left and her mouth was frozen in a snarl; Then there were the other kind, they were realistic fantasies in which she finally was freed from her prison, flying in joy letting the wind carry her far far away, she would hunt and fill her stomach till it almost burst and swim in a hot spring, rub her scales against a volcano's hot rocks and finally take a long sweet nap that made her forget everything. These hallucinations involved sating all of her most pressing needs and suppressed any kind of emotional pain. Sakura had no idea which she loved and hated the most.
Oh, the person is leaving, when did it turn dark? Maybe it was one of her memories blurring in her eyesight, it wouldn't be the first time. But the lack of people she used to know is disconcerting, her mind usually summons them instead of making up strangers. Or maybe it was one of her victims? The screams are still fresh in her ears, the crushed bones and the smell of burning meat never far from those.
Oh, they're back. They made a little camp directly in front of her. They are tiny, she's reminded of just how big she is in this form. They must be as tall as her biggest talon and a little more than that? Maybe. Her new species should never stop growing, but Sakura doubts she has grown anything. Not while she's stone and having no food for however many years it has been.
The person left again, she didn't see when they packed anything but the little camp is growing grass again. How long does it take for grass to cover a campfire completely again?
Another migraine is perforating her head, her spine would break if it could from how her stomach must have eaten her body all the way to her back.
Mm? There's a curious smell in the air. A male elf is close by. Sakura is surprised she remembers what they smelled like at all. Shouldn't her mind be mush by now? Her stomach gnaws, demanding attention. She doesn't remember ever eating any of her victims but flesh is meat right? She has nothing to give and yet what she wouldn't give for this elf to be thrown down her open throat, to soothe a small fraction of her torment.
There it is. Small and delicate, head adorned in spun gold and eyes the colour of snow storms. He's beautiful and appears to be saying something.
Sakura's ears have been ringing for so long she forgets there are other sounds sometimes.
She belatedly notices he's perched on her outstretched paw. She had frozen mid swing with her talons spread wide, wicked claws intent on crushing and shredding her would be victim. The current elf is holding onto her thumb with one arm while the other is finding purchase on the smaller scales of her paw.
It's a funny sight, especially with how serious he's looking at her. Directly into her eyes.
Sakura's heart skips a beat, not daring to hope. It's a hallucination anyway. She was due another one anyhow. But it is strange, her brain hadn't bothered to include a brand new character for the charade before.
The elf shaped fantasy is distracting at least, because he keeps trying to talk to her. Or maybe he just wants to insult her for her crimes against his people? The ringing is annoying now that she's trying to pay attention and the migraine grew again. The hunger awoken by that tantalizing smell so close yet so far away.
Sakura then decides to play along with the hallucination, maybe then he'll disappear?
Mentally gathering her almost non-existent energy she sucks it up and moves her eyes, making a show of dragging them down to the male's little camp down below (did he seriously put his bedding between her other paw's talons?) back to the golden haired elf's eyes.
The reaction is instantaneous.
The gamut of emotions her waste of precious energy caused make the already pale skin of his face to turn chalk white, his eyebrows disappear in his hairline and his mouth opens in horror. Maybe to scream but if he does she can hardly hear it. His eyes though, they stare into hers in a mesmerizing search for something. It's then, Sakura realizes, that the loneliness she had managed to push down since her reincarnation resurfaces. How long has it been, since the last time someone looked at her? Really looked at her?
And why did this hallucination have to bring it to the front? Is it not enough already to deal with everything else? She's tired, so very tired. Sakura wants to sleep and never wake up.
The elf fantasy however seems set on occupying her mind. He has moved slowly to reach towards her snout, one hand firmly grabbing her thumb still, as if she were about to chomp him down in a single move. If only. That would solve her hunger problem and the newly awoken loneliness may be able to be buried again. But who is she kidding? This is the sweetest hallucination the former shinobi has had in millennia, she's already dreading it banishing.
The golden haired mirage gingerly touches her snout with something akin to wonder, his expression is what Sakura greedily drinks. It's the first time she regrets losing her sense of touch on the outside of her body.
But it feels like something major just happened and for the second time during this waking dream the reincarnation wants to respond. She blows air thorough her nostrils before her addled mind gave the go ahead, with no energy it comes out more like a gentle puff.
Hot wind messes up sun spun tresses and he laughs, it looks like he laughs anyway. He says something again, the words not reaching her but somehow it gets across the impression of a confession. Like whatever he just said pains him. This makes her wonder why her fantasy elf has issues of his own, but maybe it was to make him seem more realistic. It's scary to think her hallucinations are evolving.
Suddenly the golden head snaps up, horror stricken once again. He gestures with his hand around wildly and almost loses his grip on her talon. Whatever he's saying has him very perturbed making his eyes darken in fear.
Sakura has no idea what the deal is with this elf, and why did her mind would bring an elf of all races into this? Maybe it's because they are the most similar to shinobi Arda has...
Before she can lose notion on another train of nonsensical thoughts the expression on the pretty male's face hardens with determination. He speaks, demanding something she can't make out at all. But there is something behind the steel of his stormy gaze, as if he's begging her for something.
Whatever that is, Sakura wants to respond with whatever he asks. Even if he vanishes in the next moment this is the most interaction she has had in millennia, certainly her first meaningful interaction in this life. How sad is that?
It takes a moment of concentration and gathering of scarce energy running though her body but she manages to move her eyes up, down and then bring them back to focus on the elf. It's painful and leaves her exhausted, her eyes are so dry. Sakura doubts she will be able to do that again.
Movement brings her attention to the front. Will the wonder ever end? She thinks in bemusement, maybe she should name the golden haired one something. For distracting her like this. If her hallucinations are going to become stronger might as well throw herself head-first into them.
What she sees when she pays attention catches her breath.
The elf has climbed down to the joint of her elbow and is slowly reaching for the cause of her torment. An old lance designed to slay dragons is stuck on her chest.
Sakura remembers vividly the terror, the pain. She had activated her Byakugo no Jutsu on reflex, she hadn't wanted to die so soon. How foolish. The moment she felt the death blow she should have let it do its job.
Instead, Chakra had surged into her being healing her injuries so fast they steamed. The same with the weapon on her chest, only… there was something different on the rules that governed Arda. Instead of one Jutsu triumphing over the other, both forces had cancelled each other out and her body being the source of conflict to begin with had been afflicted so fast she couldn't even finish her enemy off. Like Senjutsu, it had gone wrong and her body had turned into stone.
Sakura didn't know if the failed Sages in the elemental nations also experienced something similar but she bet none of them had to endure a fraction of her torture.
And now, she's watching with disbelief the elf of her imagination reach out to the lance that killed her and she contains her breath for what would happen? Would she die? Or would she fly free like in her other hallucinations? This is the first time her mind reaches out to the weapon.
He closes his hand on the handle of elven make, loathsome and beautiful, and pulls.
At first Sakura feels disappointed but then, a miracle happens. The lance glows because of a stray ray that hits it from behind the clouds and then… it's out.
Her heart, struggling for so long to beat despite the blade perforating it from one side and out the other heals. The black lines of the Byakugo no Jutsu, her precious healing Chakra, sealed for millennia, resumes on the task it couldn't finish the last time: her heart regenerates, muscle, bones and soft tissue restored in a steaming wonder before the wide eyes of the lovely elf. Finally, black scales regrow from the tender new skin. In seconds the damage of the fatal injury is gone.
But most importantly, the grey stone fades into warm black all over and it takes more than a moment to get her bearing because…
Sakura blinks. She blinks again and she relishes in the sensation; her lungs expand with air and she can actually expand her rib cage with it; her wings lower from their stiff threatening posture; her snout relaxes from its snarl to cover wicked fangs and she almost, almost forgets about her little hero.
He's still clutching both her thumb and the lance, his gaze trying to take every little change in and Sakura feels like preening.
But then the toll of not eating or sleeping for literal thousands of years makes itself known. The newly revived dragon welcomes the embrace of sleep eagerly but first, she would not want to crush her little elf now.
With what little Chakra she can scrounge up, the Jutsu still healing her body from all the damage, Sakura shifts her body so she can fall on her side. Her enormous girth causing a small earthquake despite being just bones and scaled hide, all the while cradling a precious little weight between her claws.
She has no time nor energy for anything else though. And thus sleep finally welcomes the tired dragon into its land the moment she closes her eyes with relish.