AN: Well, I haven't posted anything in at least a year, and I'm sorry, but this temporarily brought me back to writing for the time being. Enjoy.
When Tsunade first started training Sakura, a bit before Naruto left with Jiraiya, she noticed something odd. Namely, the girls mild schizophrenia. This "inner being" of sorts, communicated with the poor girl, and influenced her decisions.
From a standpoint of authority, that could be dangerous.
Something other than her student could be deciding her actions at any moment, and who could say whether the actions would be good or bad? It was the principle, that gave her worry.
What would stop this being from telling Sakura to stop healing someone in battle, or maybe stop using that fire extinguisher on that burning building over there. Any number of uncontrolled variables existed because of this personality.
And as any ruler knew, variables were the deciding factor in the world, as it was those exactly that got them into office, or promoted, or what have you. This Inner Sakura was going to go away, or at least be leashed to someone who could control it.
The Fifth thought immediately of Naruto, strong willed, and loyal to a fault, he wouldn't even notice the extra strain on his mental faculties to keep the entity chained. But he could be influenced over time by repeated brute force attempts on his psyche, as the fox had proved.
Her thoughts flicked to somebody older, more experienced, like Kakashi, or herself, but immediately rethought it. Hatake didn't have a disciplined bone in his body, and it was a wonder he was anbu for as long as he had been. He couldn't even repress his lecherous desires in public, so she could not assume he could hold strong under the badgering of a mental companion itching to get out for long, if at all.
As for herself, Tsunade used her best judgment. If she was Sakura,who would she rather keep a part of herself, her closest friend, or her teacher?
That was a no-brainer. Naruto it was.
The seals would just have to be made tougher, in that case, which would be easily arranged because Jiraiya and Naruto had not yet departed.
Tsunade sent for the old hermit and his student.
The tall, oddly dressed, and eccentric looking man sauntered into the office of the Hokage with barely a care in the world, his charge following behind, at the same languid pace.
His rich voice filled the empty space between him and the Fifth's desk, as she rolled her eyes at the theatrics, "And what is it that the Hokage needs of a sage such as myself?" Jiraiya's chin was upturned haughtily, and he looked down at Tsunade from the side of his crooked nose, a nose, that she smugly admitted to herself she had broken at least 3 times.
Having enough, Tsunade returned with her best Hokage stare. It said 'sit down.'
The glare was not exclusive to Jiraiya, and Naruto sat down as well, in the chair next to his mentor.
Tsunade smiled, secretly harboring a nugget of hope that the orange mongrel had learned some manners. Said nugget of hope was squashed when the blonde opened his mouth, "So, grandma, what are we doing here?"
The urge to squeeze and hurt was almost overmastering to the sole female in the room. Jiraiya winced at the subtle sings of anger on his longtime teammates face. Firstly, her forehead wrinkled, secondly her nostrils flared, and the third sign, that was almost certain death, her eyes twinkled.
Jiraiya had learned not to fuck with twinkly eyed females.
The Godaime had grabbed the nearest thing to her, and crushed it into paste, in stead of the blonde smiling unknowingly at her. He had cheated death, but just barely.
It was no longer a paperweight, and now resembled nothing recognizable.
The Fifth's anger abated, she figured how to elaborate her plan on helping her student. Not one to beat around the bush, she just outright said it, "Naruto requires another seal on his body."
Jiraiya was instantly curious, "And what kind of seal are we talking about?" He started listing off possible setups, techniques, storage, j-
"Containment." Tsunade cut off his thought process at the head, but created another one.
"But he already has one for the fox, Tsunade. That would be redundant, and would invalidate the Shiki Fuujin, anyway." Jiraiya stroked his chin in thought. What could she want another seal for?
Having had enough of being ignored, Naruto made himself known, loudly, "What the hell? You guys are seriously gonna use my body for something it doesn't need?" rising from his seat now, he looked fiercely at the rooms occupants like they had betrayed him.
Jiraiya, like a martyred parent, and with a long suffering sigh told Naruto to sit down so they could talk about it. The old man almost asked for a paperweight from Tsunade, before he thought better of it, and started on questioning Tsunade.
Having prepared for this, the Fifth looked at them each in the eyes, and started talking.
"My student, Sakura has a mental disorder, and it is influencing her behavior in both negative and positive ways. The bad far outweigh the good, however, and I have decided to do something about it. The only things that came to mind were to seal it away in someone else's body, where it can't effect her at all. The only person to qualify was you, Naruto." She left out herself as a candidate in this speech for continuity. "As her friend and teammate, you were the obvious choice."
Jiraiya was deep in thought. To remove a part of someones mind, and put it in another, was difficult. Not Shiki Fuujin difficult, but tricky nonetheless. He'd get to work on the designs immediately.
Naruto barely got half of the Fifth's speech, not even paying attention until the friends with Sakura part. He took the good advice of an old Ninja Academy aqquantance: "Just smile and nod,"
Tsunade knew Jiraiya got it, but did Naruto? His head said yes, and so did his smile, but he barely paid attention while she was talking. In a sudden bout of selfishness and lack of interest in repeating herself, she reneged on elaborating. If he wouldn't put in the effort to listen in on his future, then he just wouldn't get to know it, then would he?
The ritual was quite boring, as far as dramatic, sealing rites go, the most extreme of which has fire encircling the perimeter while the caster pours oil all over himself to become immune to fire. Said fire immunity actually only worked 50% of the time, hence the decline of that particular ritual.
All Jiraiya needed was an anchor for the entity, a disk inscribed with the name of the spirit, 'Inner Sakura,' Theoretically if he created a shelter for the being, he had already captured it, so it was never strictly 'removed' from Sakura, just nudged into the disk container with a clever loophole in sealing.
All that needed to be done, now, was to implant this device into Naruto's body, somewhere he wouldn't be hit or beat around much, as the disk was somewhat fragile, symbolic of this type of sealing. They couldn't even use a tough, or bigger container to hold Inner Sakura, as that would have been too tough, and it taxed the host body more, and Naruto was already taxed enough by an eons old fox spirit.
No, the small fragile container would have to do, so they just had to be more careful.
Jiraiya quietly thought about all the places he'd been smacked in his life, problem areas, weakspots, and so on. He'd been hit in the groin hundreds of times, so he couldn't put it there, or the abdominal area, because that's where most attacks come from: the front.
The out of place sage was struck by inspiration. The back of the neck! He could count on one hand the number of times he'd been hit there, and they were all avoidable to some extent.
The old man found the blonde in the creek, practicing water-walking, probably too bored out of his mind to complain about training. Naruto walked over, and with the trust of a child, looked up at his male role-model, bright eyed, and ready.
"Hey, kid," Jiraiya began, "this will hurt, so if you want to wait a little, or anything, now's the time to tell me." The kindness in the sage's eyes was foreign to the child, but he did not need it.
"I'm ok Pervy Sage, go ahead." Naruto stared at the sky, determined not to make a sound as the sage bent him over, whipping out a scalpel as he did so.
The blonde couldn't keep up his mask of stoicism, as he gasped when the scalpel parted the flesh over the back of his neck, carving a circular pattern, then he yelled when the circle of flesh was ripped straight off, and cold, unfeeling plastic placed in its stead.
Within seconds, the skin had sealed over the wound, and small hairs regrew. It was as if it never happened, except... Naruto unsteadily felt his way up to his neck, and touched the submerged disk, a permanent reminder of the sacrifice for his friend.
A cold finger of knowledge sliced into his cerebral cortex informing him he was not alone. His mind, his only refuge, now had an inhabitant, and Naruto now recognized the sacrifice he had paid for what it was, but he was nothing if not loyal, so he would bear it. For how ever long it needed to be carried, it would be done.
And so Naruto and Jiraiya left on their training trip, and Sakura sat waving from the gate feeling strangely empty. She asked her mentor about this, and Tsunade just smiled at the irony. Naruto had no idea how great his help would be to Sakura advancing in the medical and shinobi disciplines.
By the time Naruto had returned, Sakura had surpassed the Fifth's assistant, Shizune, and was determined to at least match Tsunade in at least 5 years. A lofty goal, but the old woman believed in her.
When Sakura had saved the lives of nearly a hundred patients in life threatening condition, Tsunade knew the girl was field ready, tested in controlled conditions, it was time for her to graduate in the field of battle, giving and losing blood with comrades on the front line.
Great timing, actually, Jiraiya and Naruto were due back today.
Two dark shapes phased through the treeline at a decent clip, the forest around them morphing into a blur of leaves and foliage, a screen of green. "Wait, I forgot where we're going," the taller of the two scrunched his face up in concentration, "Nope, can't remember. Any idea?"
Rolling her eyes like a put-upon parent, the woman with pink hair shook her head at her teammates idiocy. How he had survived three years with the toad sage was most likely coincidence, and involved a great deal of luck on his part.
"We're going to Rain, and I can't say what for," Sakura said smugly, concealing something.
Her teammate scowled, odd that, and muttered, "I need to know, so tell me,"
Yes, Sakura decided, this was decidedly strange, and played on a hunch, "But how do I know you aren't an imposter?" She shifted legs, favoring the left. "This far into enemy territory I wouldn't tell you the details anyway, teammate or not."
The blonde stiffened noticeably next to her. 'Bingo.'
Sakura eased up her speed so she was right behind the blonde, "Here, Naruto, your straps loose, let me fix it for you."
The pinkette affixed a whole role of explosive tags onto his backpack with a delayed timer, and lit them. The blonde shifted, hearing the noise, and rounding on her as she used her momentum from pushing off the tree to knee him hard enough to send him into the tree in front of her, the body splitting into water, and splashing like a broken balloon against the bark. The figure that emerged from the puddle seethed up at her, completely forgetting about the explosive tags under his feet.
Sakura smirked, safe from her vantage point, looking at Suigetsu's massive sword, stolen from Zabuza's grave. Swordsmen made such crappy ninja. The Water hothead ignited as if from within, surprise and pain coloring his face as the rising conflageration of red flames licked his body, and boiled away all but the top half of his head.
The half head that was left of him plopped onto the dead forest floor like a wet rat, and with all the grace associated. The liquid head stared hatefully at the harpy who had reduced him to this, and vowed revenge, only to quail as she flipped through seals, and enveloped his head in a stream of fire.
No scream came out, as Suigetsu was reduced to vapor. Sakura scanned the area, resuming her post among the treetops. Suigetsu was part of a four-man team, and they were most likely nearby, if he had been so bold to replace her teammate.
A kunai pressed up to her throat, and a deep voice uttered, "Don't move,"
Sakura could feel the arrogance of this nin at having defeated her so easily. A prideful nin is a distracted one. She fed a chakra bubble around her neck, as she stamped down her foot, hard onto their tree trunk. It buckled and fell, and the kunai that would have killed her slid across her barrier.
Sakura landed well, and looked up as her would be captor clumsily lost his footing on the timber now underneath his feet. The kunoichi tapped her toe against the lumber on the ground, splintering it further, and tripping the man up further, when she took the oppurtunity, and smashed her chakra enhanced fist directly into the back of his neck. Spinal chord snapped, and he folded inward like a broken straw.
Clapping could be heard, and as she turned she took in details. It was Sasuke, with Karin, and a body covered in red, Naruto. Well, he'd survive, she reasoned. The fox just wouldn't randomly up and die without just cause.
That left Karin and Sasuke. She had to have been the medic, as judged by her hectic expression, and finely controlled aura. She was the greater threat, as she could keep helping Sasuke out, while Sakura only had herself.
And finally, the raven-haired spoiled prince. It would be oh-so satisfying to wipe that self-satisfied smirk off his face when she reflected his Chidori right back into his balls. But Karin would just regrow those unless she got her first.
Sakura sprang into action, cutting off the Uchiha's contrived melodrama before it could start, noticing Sasuke made no move to stop her from taking out his medic. Bastard.
Karin barely had time to think, as the pink haired harpy descended upon her, like a pack of wolves, fast and ruthless. Karin had little combat ability to speak of, her skills revolving around sensing stuff and providing moral support. Like Sakura used to be.
The poisonous thought spurred the pinkette on further as she kicked out at Karin, who dodged, but in the same motion ran into Sakura's hay maker, which knocked her into a brutal sidekick to her face, Sakura's boot cutting her face, and shattering Karin's glasses. The wall splattered with blood as Karin's face smacked into it.
The sensor-nin attempted an uppercut at an open Sakura, who contorted out of the way, and smashed her fist into Karin's stomach. Bile exploded from her face onto the floor, and Sakura took mercy and left her to wallow in her failure.
The kunoichi turned to Sasuke, and noted his sick sense of approval of her skills. He disgusted her, and his very presence was anathema to her ideals. She shook the blood off her fist onto the ground, it spattering in a circular pattern.
The Uchiha smirked, and almost opened his mouth to speak some preplanned crap about Itachi, when Sakura held up her hand, "Cut the shit. The only reason I'm not gone yet is I want to fight, so let's do it."
Finding that passed inspection, the Uchiha slid into a loose stance, while Sakura readied herself.
Karin coughed blood and phlegm, and could only watch.
And it began, Sakura opened with a front hand punch, while the Uchiha dodged into her to undercut her, but had to dodge right as her back hand kept the space between them. He ducked underneath her back kick, and ducked again underneath her follow up side kick, but couldn't avoid her hammer fist to the top of his head, which turned into a log, and the space she occupied became riddled with a hail of shuriken. Switching herself with an earth clone at the exact moment she dodged, hid in a tree, where she could see the whole battlefield.
And Sasuke was absent, and she looked around, spotting a tree that didn't quite look right, she cut her arm on the sharp branch next to her, and found herself in a nest of explosive tags. Switching with the earth clone, she was back in the clearing, when Sasuke landed a distance away, Naruto in hand.
He held a kunai to the blonde's throat, and gloated, "You never could have gotten me, Sakura. You're beneath me, garbage, worse than Naruto." Sakura inwardly smirked, he'd fallen for it, hook line and sinker. But she played along as he continued gloating, getting ever closer to actually slitting the blonde's neck with that kunai. But the best part is when he killed Naruto, dumped him on the floor, and charged his Chidori like he hadn't just cheated. As he started his charge, Sakura activated the flashbang in 'Naruto's' body cavity, shutting her eyes in time, as the Uchiha blindly stumbled towards her general area.
The pink kunoichi stepped toward the still blinded Uchiha, coated her hands with healing chakra, and grabbed his Chidori, and shoved his own arm into his crotch.
Sasuke's visage contorted into a face so painful to keep up, he passed out.
Karin, who lay witness to this, blanched in terror.
Sakura grinned like a Cheshire cat, staring at Karin a moment, then at Sasuke's ruined pelvic region. She ground her boot in it for effect.
The pinkette approached Karin, quietly ended her, before going to Sasuke, and waking him up, then deciding she didn't want him awake, so she knocked him out again.
She tied the Uchiha to her back, and broke a large branch off an oak, and walked for a time finding a suitable cliff. It overlooked the water quite nicely, aside from the fact it was a couple hundred feet down. Perfect. Sakura slammed the branch of oak into the ground at an angle so it hung over the water. She used the last of her rope to make a loose knot around the Uchiha's foot where she pushed him out to dry.
The way Sakura figured, if he could survive the fall, and live with the impossibility of having children, he was welcome to have the rest of his life, miserable as it may be.
Before departing she woke the Uchiha, and gathered her gear. Bidding farewell, she went to go find Naruto.
Authors Note: My 'what if sakura was strong' story. Hope you liked it.