So, as I stated on my profile page, I've been having issues with coming up with a second chapter of Reasons to Stay Alive. My solution to this is to edit the first chapter and continue it at a later point with some changes in it. For now though, this is another idea I came up with a while back and I like this one a little bit more than Reasons, if only because I know where the second chapter is going to go and so one. Also, for anyone interested, I have placed a few names and summaries for fanfictions I plan to write in the future on my profile.
As I have said before, I own nothing Naruto related.
"The war is finally over."
These words were the base of the thoughts of nearly every single human being in the elemental nations. After a series of long, arduous weeks of fighting, the two Uchiha who caused havoc and death on an inconceivably large scale for the short amount of time they acted. Thousands upon thousands were dead but the survivors focused simply on the fact that they were alive. For over a month after the end of the war, nearly every town, city and village held celebrations and festivals over the defeat of the ones who would have taken away their freedom entirely.
There was however, a group that did not join in these festivities. This group was made up of nearly all of the ninja of Konohagakure no Sato, along with some select members of other ninja villages and countries. The reason for this was the one who finally defeated the previously mentioned Uchiha, one Uzumaki-Namikaze Naruto. The reasoning for their lack of celebration was quite simple, actually.
Naruto was dying.
Anyone who had knowledge of Jinchuuriki and of how Naruto defeated the enemies would not be surprised by this fact. What would have surprised them was the fact that over a month after the defeat of the Uchiha and the end of the Fourth Shinobi War, Naruto was still hanging onto life even though he surrendered the Kyuubi. At the time, he was hospitalized and almost entirely unable to move.
In Naruto's room at the hospital, the ninja in question was looking out the window at the bright, sunny day that was gracing everyone with its presence while Sakura was tending to the flowers all around him.
"There really are a bit too many flowers here Naruto," Sakura commented as she gazed upon the nearly endless amount of flowers that cluttered the room.
"Maybe, but I like it," Naruto said, not turning to face her, "and the Yamanaka's flower shop must be flourishing right now, they probably love that."
"Don't say that, Naruto," Sakura chastised, unhappy with the implied abuse of his situation.
"Yeah," Naruto said, using what little strength he had to turn to her, "sorry about that."
"We love you, Naruto, and we're gonna have a big party when you get out of here."
Naruto sighed, having noticed Sakura's denial for quite some time, "I'm not getting out of here, Sakura."
Sakura slammed the watering can she held on the table and shouted, "Of course you won't if you just give up like that!"
It hurt Naruto to see her like this, with tears barely managing to not spill from her eyes.
"This isn't giving up, Sakura; it's recognizing the situation for what it is, the end of a story, and not a great one, either."
"Then keep the story going and make it better!" she shouted again, staring into his eyes.
"I can't do that, certainly not in this lifetime," Naruto spoke wistfully, "but maybe in the next, I guess I'll be the only one that knows for sure."
Sakura found the choice of words to be strange, "What do you mean?"
Naruto tried to use his hand to wave it off, but barely managed to get his fingers to twitch.
"Nothing," he said, "just a dying man thinking about stupid things."
Sakura immediately responded, "Naruto! You're not going to-"
"Stop, Sakura," Naruto interrupted, "I don't want to get into an argument. Hey, could you give the letter next to me to Hinata? She told me something a while back and I was never able to tell her what I thought about it, I wrote a response while I was bored a while ago."
"I could just bring her here, you know," Sakura said.
"I know, but she's probably busy with a bunch of clan stuff right now so I don't want to waste her time."
"Any of us would be willing to waste our time to visit you, even if you're a baka."
The two ninjas shared a laugh at the words, reminiscing on more joyous days from the past. Naruto's laugh was weaker, but his smile still retained the shine that it had held for years.
"Tell the teme that I say hi," Naruto said as Sakura picked up the letter and began to walk out of the room.
"I will if I see him," Sakura responded.
"Of course you'll see him, unless he's a horrible boyfriend. I might have to get out of here and kick his ass if he is."
Sakura stopped dead in her tracks and turned to Naruto, "Wh-what are you talking about?"
"Come on, Sakura, I'm not the ignorant dumbass you knew as a kid," Naruto chastised, "it was kind of easy to spot the looks between you two when you both visited at the same time."
Sakura blushed at being caught, "W-was it that obvious?"
"You're doing a pretty good Hinata impression right now, you just need to start pushing your fingers together and it'll be perfect!"
"I asked a question!" Sakura shouted, embarrassed.
"Yeah, it was, but the bulge from your engagement ring under your glove solidified it."
Sakura was shocked that he had seen something as miniscule as the bump as she subconsciously started rubbing the ring through the glove.
"You're not mad?" Sakura asked, worried that he would react considering how he used to go after her.
Naruto's foxy smile was full-blown as he spoke, "What? You think I'd be mad that the teme got his head out of his ass long enough to see how perfect you are? No, I'm not mad about that at all. I just hope you two are happy together."
"We are Naruto, we are. Thank you."
Had he the strength, Naruto would've scratched the back of his head bashfully like he had done countless times in the past. Instead, he just settled for words, "There's nothing to thank me for, but if you really want to, do it by telling the teme that if he mistreats you, I'll haunt him until the end of days."
Sakura just shook her head at the dying man in front of her as she spoke, "Baka, I'll tell him that you send your love and that you approve."
"Don't you dare, Sakura!" he shouted as she walked out and closed the doors, hearing only a muffled, "It'll ruin my image!" from the door before she heard nothing from her position in the hall.
When Sakura was almost out of the hospital, she thought about the letter that she got for Hinata.
'I wonder what it's about?' she thought, curious of what Naruto could possibly want to say the a girl he'd never even held a conversation with from her knowledge, 'Eh, he won't mind if I just take a little peak.'
Sakura opened the letter and was entranced as she read the contents, which soon caused her to sprint back into the hospital.
Ever since those academy days from what seems like so long ago, I noticed the special attention that you paid me. At first, I thought you were just another of the many that wished nothing more than to hurt me, and you were just waiting for a good moment to strike. When I thought that, I hated you so much that even now I find it hard to believe. Then, one day when I was on the roof of my apartment, I saw you coming to my front door and instantly all of the anger came to the front of my mind and I started planning ways to prank you, to make fun of you and ways to basically just hurt you.
But then I saw what you did.
A week before, I had torn one of my horrible orange jackets to shreds during training and just left it there on the field. You, however, picked up that stupid jacket and you fixed it. You spent your own time to fix something that most people would agree deserved to burn for all eternity. Inside it even, I found what I felt was the coolest wallet ever that I used for the rest of my days, which I named Gama-chan. When I found that instead of hurting me in some way, you actually helped me? I cried for the rest of the day, happy that it seemed that there actually was someone out there that really cared, with the exception of the old man Hokage.
From that day, I started observing you a bit as well. I noticed that you were extremely caring, but as shy as they come. I was so confused as to why you would do such a kind thing for me, but I never really had an answer until years later.
It wasn't until years later, when you gave me some cream during the Chuunin exams and I cheered you on that I noticed something: I was completely and hopelessly in love with you. When Neji hurt you as badly as he did, I didn't want to win against him and teach him a lesson, I just wanted to kill him. There was nothing else on my mind but the thoughts of killing the bastard who tried to kill one of the only people that had ever been kind to me. It was at that point that I couldn't deny that I loved you.
Why didn't I do anything about it? Well, that's simple, you deserve better. Whenever someone brought up that you were one of the Hyuuga princesses, someone from the most highly respected and powerful clans to ever exist, I just didn't care. What I did care about was that fact that you were the most beautiful girl I had ever seen and that I had done absolutely nothing to even earn the right to consider falling in love with you, yet I already was. The idea of actually being with you? That was a dream far more impossible than becoming the Hokage. Hell, becoming Kami would have been easier than even wrapping my head around being able to date you. No matter what I did, I just felt like I had done nothing to deserve you.
Then, you died.
When Pein killed you, and you declared your love for me, everything about your actions made sense: the kindness, the blushing, all of it. Then, thinking that telling me, someone who didn't deserve even an ounce of your love had enough to cause you to die? I was furious. I was enraged that I had been so stupid as to do something that would make someone so beautiful, so magnificent, so perfect die for someone as worthless as me. When you came back to life, it was far more than a simple dream come true. It was a miracle that only helped me think more that I should stay away from you even more in order to keep you safe.
Now, as I lie on my deathbed, I just wanted to finally tell you that I love you. No matter what you may or may not think, just being able to tell you this is infinitely more than I deserve.
By the time Sakura delivers this to you, I will be dead. I just know that it's coming and there's nothing that can be done about it, so don't bother. I just wanted to complete this one last selfish thing before I died. Remember, you have always been strong and you always will be, so continue being that way until you die.
Love, Naruto Uzumaki
P.S. Thank you for Gama-chan.
Inside the hospital, Sakura was sprinting through the floors, dread flowing through her to the point that she didn't think to use any of her ninja skills to get to Naruto faster.
Finally reaching his room, Sakura slammed the door open to find Naruto in the same position that she left him, only with closed eyes.
"Naruto!" she shouted, rushing to his side as tears welled up in her eyes.
Immediately, she held her hand over him as it glowed with a bright green light and waved it over him.
"Naruto! Wake up! Naruto!" she screamed, desperate.
Almost instantly, Naruto's eyes flicked open and he spoke, "Whoa, whoa, Sakura! What are you doing!"
"That's what I should be asking you, you baka!"
"What are you talking about?" Naruto asked, confused.
"I'm talking about what you said in the letter to Hinata! What do you mean that you're going to die today!?"
Naruto sighed as he spoke softly, "You weren't supposed to read that."
"I don't care! I'm not letting you die!" Sakura was frantic as he waved her chakra-covered hand over Naruto, trying to find what was wrong. It was then that she scanned over his head and noticed something off about his entire body.
Raising her hand to cover her mouth, Sakura barely managed to squeeze out the words, "Y-your whole body is sc-screaming in pain right now…"
"Yeah, and I've only got a few seconds left in me," Naruto said, barely more than a whisper.
"No!" she shouted, panicked, "You can't die!"
Naruto slightly shook his head, once again adorning his foxy smile as he closed his eyes and whispered, "Don't worry, it's fine. Just, don't tell anybody about the pain thing, alright? It'd just make them sad, and I'd hate that…"
"No, I'll get Tsunade, I'll be back, okay?!"
At this point, doctors and nurses had heard the commotion and came charging into the room, trying to see what was wrong. What they came across was a shouting, crying Sakura who was frantically shaking Naruto's hand, trying to get a response only to receive nothing but silence.
"Time of death, 2:14 PM," said a doctor, writing the words down on a clipboard.
Upon hearing these words, Sakura stopped her actions and looked at Naruto, and felt that the sight she saw was just…wrong.
'How could someone so full of life be so entirely absent of it?' she thought, mind in a thick haze.
It was in this haze that she soon found herself in Tsunade's office, without even remembering how it was that she had arrived there.
"What is it, Sakura?" the older woman asked while looking up from some paperwork.
It took Sakura a moment, but after just staring at the ground for some time, entirely numb, she managed to squeeze out a few words, "Um…Naruto is, uh…"
Tsunade was now paying full attention, alarmed by Sakura's unnatural manner of speaking and the subject matter, "What about Naruto, Sakura?"
Sakura looked at Tsunade questioningly, as if Tsunade had started speaking about something completely unrelated. Then, she spoke again, unsure of her words and utterly in shock, "He's…dead? I think…I think that's what the doctor said…what, what does that mean?"
The words hit Tsunade harder than she could have hit anything. The mere idea that the one that had brought them all so much joy was dead crushed her instantly. Negative thoughts she had been holding back for a month all came charging to the front of her mind. Thoughts of Dan and Nawaki, of how she had gotten them killed by giving them her family's necklace, and of how Naruto was added to that list.
When the first tears were about to spill, however, she looked over and saw Sakura, who was still reeling in shock from Naruto's death. Tsunade instantaneously knew that she had to hold on, if only for the sake of the girl in front of her who she had trained for years.
Steeling herself, Tsunade got up from her chair and went over to Sakura, eventually leading the girl to sit down on the couch with her.
"It means that Naruto is gone, Sakura," Tsunade said, doing her best to keep her voice from breaking.
"Where'd he go?" Sakura asked, confused.
"Hopefully, to somewhere that'll give him all of the great things he deserves instead of the infinite cruelness this world gave him," Tsunade said, tears building to their breaking point in her eyes.
Sakura looked up at the woman next to her, and saw how old she currently looked even with the genjutsu hiding her age. She thought about her words and her mind cleared enough to ask, "He really did deserve a lot better than this, didn't he?"
Tsunade only responded with a nod, not trusting her voice for a second. It was then that both of their tears started to spill, and they cried and cried in the office of the Hokage for hours before Shizune found them.
It was a full two weeks before every one of Naruto's friends was notified of his passing. It had taken that long for some to come back from missions or back into town from visiting elsewhere. Out of all of his closest friends, the ones who had taken the news hardest were the members of Team Seven, Tsunade, Shizune, the Ichiraku, and Hinata. The last one had only had it harder for herself once she had read the letter written to her by Naruto, which she now kept on her person at all times.
A month after his death, Naruto's funeral was held and the vast majority of the ninja population of Konoha attended in order to pay their respects. The only ones that didn't attend were those that were prevented from going by other business and those that were too stupid to get out of the past and see all the great things that Naruto had done.
The day of the funeral was sunny and bright, which made Naruto's friends think of how he would've liked his funeral to be held on a nice day rather than a depressing one. It was already a week after the funeral that Sasuke was walking by the kitchen in he and Sakura's new apartment and saw Sakura clenching solidly onto the counter, a feeling of stress surrounding herself.
Cautiously walking up to the woman, Sasuke asked, "Hey Sakura, are you okay?"
"Yes!" she snapped at him before sighing and calming, "Sorry, it's nothing."
"Of course it's not nothing," Sasuke replied, "something is obviously bothering you, and we both know how clear that is. Naruto would haunt me forever if I left you alone at times like this."
It was nearly impossible for Sasuke to miss the visible tensing of the girl when Naruto was mentions.
"So this has something to do with him," Sasuke thought to himself.
"Please, tell me what's wrong, I want to help," Sasuke said in his best attempt at a soothing voice.
There was a moment of silence before she spoke. "Naruto was an idiot!" she said, tears building ever-so-slightly in her eyes,
If it was anyone else, Sasuke would've been angry at those words, but seeing as they were from Sakura, Sasuke knew that she had some reason for saying it.
Before he could ask though, Sakura said something under her breath that he struggled to hear.
"He was in so much pain," she said as a tear finally built enough to fall down her cheek.
Sasuke was confused by these words. What did she mean he was in so much pain? Whenever he heard about Naruto's condition, he had heard that he only felt a numbness and nothing else. Did she mean emotional pain?
"What do you mean, Sakura?" he asked, concerned.
"I mean that as he died, Naruto was feeling nothing but absolute pain!" she shouted, angry not at Sasuke, but at the unfairness of it all. "He was supposed to be happy! He was supposed to have everything going for him but over and over the world just fucked him over! It's not fair! It's not fair!"
At this point, Sakura was crying and Sasuke had walked up to her and began to hold her to his chest, a chest he felt tightness in upon hearing her words.
"I know Sakura," he said as he rubbed her back soothingly, "Naruto deserved so much more than he got."
It was half an hour before Sakura stopped crying and they both regained some control over themselves and sat down together on a couch in the next room.
"If only we could just go back and make it all better," Sakura said, wiping the last tears from her face.
Upon hearing these words, Sasuke was suddenly contemplative. What if they could?
"Orochimaru once rambled on about the theories of time travel," he said, getting up from his seat and pacing back and forth trying to remember it, "he said that it was possible if you had a jutsu to do it, but only if your will to go back and your reason for it was strong enough. He never tried it himself because didn't want to risk losing everything in case he didn't make it."
"You mean that he had a jutsu like that?" Sakura asked, looking up at him.
"Na," Sasuke spoke, looking at Sakura, "but I think he said that there were notes on an incomplete one in the scroll of sealing."
Sakura then looked downtrodden, "Then it's useless," she said.
"Not exactly," Sasuke clarified, "Orochimaru said that the only thing that was incomplete about it was that there was no way to simplify the hand seals down to only a few like with most Jutsu, meaning that this one has almost a thousand seals and any mistake could end in an explosion that would kill the user, and that there was no precise way of determining your landing, only that you should theoretically be able to pick a year or so time range and keep that in mind to get you there."
"Well we don't have a way to make sure we don't mess up, so what's the point?" Sakura asked.
"But we do!" Sasuke insisted, "My Sharingan can remember all of the hand seals and allow me to perform them without mistake!"
"But we have no way of getting to the scroll of sealing," Sakura said.
Sasuke scoffed at that. "Come on, Sakura, Naruto was able to steal the thing as an academy student while wearing that stupid bright orange jump-suit! We can do this easily as a couple of Jounin!"
"If you don't remember," Sakura chided, "I'm the only Jounin here. You're still a Genin technically because of the suspension you were put on after Naruto brought you back."
"I still don't know why I'm not in jail for life," Sasuke pondered.
Sakura then looked sad again as she explained. "That was Naruto's fault. He went to the council and demanded a sentence that was less harsh than what they were going to give you at the threat that he himself would leave the village. That, along with the fact that you never actually killed a Leaf Shinobi ended up with just what we have now," Sakura gestured towards one of the windows in the room and towards the next building where they both knew one of many ANBU stationed to watch Sasuke was.
Sasuke was shocked by his best friend's actions, even if they were perfectly normal for his character.
"He really did that for me?" Sasuke asked aloud, even though the question was directed towards himself.
"Yeah," Sakura responded, "and when it didn't seem like it would work, Kakashi and I said that we'd do the same. That got them to shut up real quick."
Sasuke once again was in awe at how he had somehow managed to miss how great what he had in Konoha was over the years.
"Thank you," he said as he kissed Sakura full on the lips.
"You're welcome," she said when he pulled back, blushing as she still hadn't gotten used to being with her childhood crush. Sakura soon got over it and asked, "So how are we going to get it if you can't come with?"
"Oh that's easy," Sasuke said, "you're just going to have to do it by yourself!"
"What?!" Sakura shouted, shocked, "I can't do that! You and Naruto were always the stealthy ones!"
"Yeah, well, you're just gonna have to tough up and pull out your inner Naruto, see what works," Sasuke said when the smirk on his face suddenly grew, "Hell, maybe you should go in wearing a bright pink jumpsuit, it worked for him plenty of times."
Sakura paled at the thought of wearing something like that, even if it was pink.
"Don't joke like that," she declared warningly as she gave him a glare.
"Okay, okay, calm down. All you have to worry about really is getting the scroll out of there, considering that as Tsunade's apprentice it wouldn't seem strange for you to go in at any time."
Sakura nodded, agreeing with his logic while at the same time planning how it would work out.
"Think about it," he spoke again, interrupting her thoughts, "if it doesn't work, we can just bring the scroll back and explain everything. Because of the situation, I'm pretty sure that we wouldn't be killed for treason or anything, especially considering how well-loved Naruto was. The council would probably want to cover this up and pretend nothing happened more than anything else."
"Okay," Sakura said, solidifying her resolve, "let's go get Naruto the life he deserves."
"Hn," Sasuke grunted in agreement as he pulled her up from the couch, "let's meet up on our old training grounds a couple hours after midnight, they probably will be searching outside of the village so it should be fine to go there. I'll find some way to lose the ANBU before I need to be there."
"Got it," Sakura said.
Soon after their conversation, Sakura and Sasuke went back to performing the actions they would on any normal day. They ate lunch, did some shopping, then met up with the rest of the rookie twelve while the two of them were the only ones that knew it may be the last day they saw each other.
Several hours later, Sakura walked out of their apartment and headed to the Hokage tower. On her face was a slightly annoyed look, as if she had just been called in the middle of the night to do something for Tsunade, which was how it was supposed to look. This drew no alert from the ANBU, so they continued to observe the apartment for movement.
Soon enough, to the surprise of most of the ANBU, Sasuke casually walked out of the apartment and started towards the gates of Konoha. All of them were immediately on high alert, but they didn't feel he had done anything too worrisome yet, so they followed at a casual pace to keep up. When Sasuke started sprinting, however, they were instantaneously sprinting right after him while simultaneously calling for back-up, knowing that a fight with the last Uchiha could get ugly with just the few of them there.
What they did not notice however, was the real Uchiha Sasuke walking out of his apartment ten minutes later, whistling a tune as he made his way to training ground seven.
At the same time, Sakura was sneaking through the darkened office of the Hokage, careful to not wake the drunken woman, who was currently passed out on her desk. Sakura made her way over to the vault the scroll was kept in, and opened it using the combination she had learned years ago from Tsunade in case something was needed from it and only Sakura was available. When the vault opened, there were dozens of scroll, books and paper, even a box with a red swirl on it and a weird tri-pronged kunai, but she passed all of that to grab the large scroll filled with hundreds of Kinjutsu.
As she was walking out of the office, giant scroll in hand, she looked back at the woman who had been mentoring her for years and spoke, "Thank you for this, Tsunade-shishou. Me and Sasuke are going to make everything better, I swear." Sakura then walked out of the room and closed the door, on her way to participate in one of the most absurdly impossible acts ever conceived.
In the office, Tsunade propped her head op on her hands and sighed, "Oh the things I do for these stupid kids," she said to herself, saddened by what she knew was the last interaction she would have with her apprentice. In this life, at least.
When Sakura arrived at training ground seven and didn't see Sasuke anywhere, she was instantly worried for his safety, thinking that he hadn't managed to get away and that there plan was ruined. The thoughts turned out to be unfounded however, as Sasuke undid the heavy genjutsu he had placed on himself and appeared under a tree not far from her.
"Let's go," he spoke, quickly getting to business.
Sakura unrolled the scroll, seeing technique after technique, all of them incredibly dangerous. Before she got to the right one, she had to ask, "How did you fool the ANBU?"
Sasuke smirked as he raised an eyebrow at her, "What, you thought that I would go all of those years with a Sharingan around the dobe and not learn how to make a Kage Bunshin?"
Sakura was still for a moment, wondering how she had not considered that fact before then until Sasuke made a grunt noise and showed that he had found the jutsu. Something that she learned when she looked at it was that Sasuke was wrong about the number of hand seals it required. On the section of the scroll were easily over two thousand hand seals in no recognizable pattern.
"Are you sure you can do this, Sasuke?" Sakura asked, easily intimidated by the sight in front of her.
"Hn," was his only response as he carefully studied the page with his Sharingan.
A minute later, when he was sure he had it all down in his head, Sasuke got up from the crouched position he had held and began to run through the hand seals at a speed that almost made Sakura dizzy. It was almost half an hour later when Sasuke was almost three quarters done with the Jutsu that they heard a noise off to the side. Sasuke was forced to do nothing as he needed to keep going through the seals while Sakura was completely ready for battle with whoever it was near them. What she did not expect to come out was a smiling, smut-reading Kakashi to walk out from the tree-line.
"Yo," he said simply, waving his hand at the two.
"Kakashi-sensei?" Sakura said, surprised.
"So what are my cute little Genin up to here, hmm?" he asked, ignoring the fact that one of them wasn't a Genin. "I'm pretty sure that having the scroll of sealing with you without permission at least earns you some jail time."
"We're going to make everything better Kakashi-sensei, and there's nothing you can do to stop us!" Sakura boldly declared; ready to face her old teacher.
"Oh really?" he said, suddenly behind her.
She spun around to attack him only to find nothing, until she was grabbed, spun around and disarmed all in a second, then forced to face a furious looking Kakashi.
When he began to move his right hand, Sakura flinched, afraid of what he would do to her when he simply patted her on the head and spoke, "You pass."
Kakashi wanted to pull up his headband just to burn the bewildered face of Sakura into his mind for all of time, but he figured that it'd be pointless in a few minutes, so he settled for laughing in her face instead.
"Wha-what?" Sakura squeezed out, still startled.
"I know what you're doing," he said as he calmly walked past her and stared at the strange circle of markings that was created around Sasuke while the jutsu was performed.
"How?" she asked, still refusing to trust the man.
"Tsunade," he said frankly, looking right at Sakura, "she told me to come say goodbye, and to wish you luck from the both of us."
"You're not going to stop us?" Sakura asked, unbelieving.
"Nope, in fact, I'm helping you," he said while putting on one of his usual eye-smiles, "Sasuke's Kage Bunshin was dispelled a while ago, so I made one that Henge'd into Sasuke to lead them on a longer chase."
Sakura then walked up to Kakashi and embraced him in a hug, and spoke the words, "Thank you, Kakashi-sensei."
"No problem, Sakura."
As this occurred, Sasuke was getting down to the final hand seals and spoke out, "Sakura, you need to get in the circle and hold on tight, okay?"
Sakura immediately stepped into the circle and held Sasuke from behind, so as to not prevent his hands from stopping.
"Okay," he said, on the last five seals, "GO!"
Contrary to his expectations, Kakashi didn't witness any sort of light show or pressure from such a jutsu being used, but instead was treated to the sight of his students being there one moment, and gone before the next even started. There was no sound, sight, or feeling attached.
Kakashi sighed, still looking at the spot where they were before he just turned back to go tell Tsunade as he said, "Be safe, and make everything right."
When Sakura woke up, she was expecting to see her room from years before, or maybe training ground seven, or even Sasuke's room. What she did not expect was to wake up naked on top of the Hokage monument, right next to an equally naked Sasuke.
She was shocked still for a moment, but snapped out of it when her instincts kicked in and told her to wake up Sasuke and get the hell out of there and back to somewhere with clothes. When she moved to wake up her raven-haired boyfriend, however, she completely collapsed, unable to control her body well. She pondered on why this was for several seconds until she actually looked at her body and Sasuke's and saw that their bodies were about twelve years old instead of the eighteen that they were seemingly moments before.
After struggling and managing to crawl forward and shake his shoulder Sasuke woke up and tried to stand instantly, only to fall on his ass in a fashion so comedic that Sakura burst into laughter.
"Where are we?" Sasuke asked a moment later as he glared at the still-laughing Sakura.
Sakura finally calmed down to answer. "Judging from the view," she said as she gestured in the direction where they could see all of Konoha below them, "on top of the Hokage monument."
"Why can't I move well?" he asked after nodding his head in acceptance of her answer.
Sakura got a somewhat frustrated look on her face and spoke. "Because we're in our twelve year old bodies and we're used to much larger ones now.
"Hn," was his only reply.
There was some silence as the two thought before Sasuke looked at Sakura and then turned away with a blush on his face.
"We should go get some clothes," he said quickly.
"Huh?" Sakura said, being snapped out of her thoughts by his words, only to understand what he said and meant when she fully looked at him, and saw that he had looked at her. Even though they were engaged, they both found it embarrassing for the other to see their twelve-year-old selves in such a state.
Sakura then nodded in agreement and they both started trying to get up, only to fall back down several times before they managed to get enough balance to stay standing. When they were about to try walking though, they heard a shout of rage behind them.
"Teme! What did you do to Sakura-chan?!" Naruto shouted as he dropped the paint buckets and other materials he was holding.
When Naruto awoke in the early morning, he followed his usual habit of laying still in bed as he thought about what he should do in his life. This was not a recent habit by any means. In fact, he had been doing this for years, and each time he would either carefully plan out how to do just about everything or he would just decide that he was going to wing-it and see what happened. The only middle ground was if he decided to go with certain planned events then just wing-it for the rest of the day. On this day, Naruto decided to go with a mix of the two by deciding that he would paint the Hokage monument with some ridiculous whatever he came up with, and then just do whatever he felt like after that.
So, he got dressed in his normal orange jumpsuit, and then grabbed an extra one in case his got paint on it. He then grabbed his paints and brushes and rushed off to the Hokage monument as stealthily as possible, which was pretty good seeing as nobody saw him even though he wore almost nothing but bright orange.
Everything seemed normal and according to his plan until he actually got to the top of the Hokage monument, and saw a naked Sakura and Sasuke standing next to each other, looking as if they had done something that made it difficult to walk.
"Teme! What did you do to Sakura-chan?!" Naruto shouted as he dropped the paint buckets and other materials he was holding.
On the outside, Naruto looked like the picture of fury, while on the inside he was simply as confused as possible. "Are Sakura and Sasuke sleeping together?! No, that doesn't make any sense. Sakura is a Sasuke fangirl though, right? But Sasuke hates his fangirls…What the hell is going on here?!"
Deciding to go right to the source to clear his confusion, Naruto walked up to Sasuke and asked again, "Teme! What did you do to Sakura-chan?!"
Up until this point, the nude raven-haired boy and pinkette had kept quiet, simply staring at Naruto, until finally Sakura shouted, "Naruto!"
Naruto turned to her, expecting to get a punch on the head only to receive a hug from the still very-much naked Sakura, who was holding onto him tightly as she cried into his chest.
Naruto, upon noticing this immediately held tightly onto Sakura and gave Sasuke a glare that would have scared even some of the most well experienced shinobi.
"Sasuke," he said with a completely calm voice as his eyes flickered red, "I'm going to kill you for hurting Sakura-chan."
Sasuke put up his hands and was about to start giving his defense as he moved backwards until he lost his balance and fell on his ass again.
Naruto let go of Sakura and was about to start progressing towards Sasuke when Sakura merely held on tighter to him, stopping his movement.
"Stop, Naruto," she said, making eye-contact with him, "Sasuke didn't do anything to me, I was just crying because I was happy to see you."
Sakura immediately regretted these words upon seeing the doubt and suspicion in his eyes.
"I, I mean," she stumbled over her words, "Sasuke and I woke up here naked a second ago, and neither of us know what happened so I was a bit scared, but seeing you was relieving, even if you're a baka."
"She's right, dobe," Sasuke said, trying to follow up on her act, which only earned him another glare.
"Did I tell you to speak, teme?" Naruto said with a dangerous tone in his voice, "No? Then shut your damn mouth."
Sakura and Sasuke would have been surprised by Naruto's words if they didn't consider how bad the situation looked at the time.
"Um, do you happen to have any clothes, Naruto?" Sakura asked, now covering herself seeing as Naruto wasn't making a move towards Sasuke.
"Sure, Sakura-chan!" Naruto said with a smile on his face, glad he had brought the extra jumpsuit.
A couple minutes later, Sakura was now dressed in Naruto's spare jumpsuit while Sasuke was still covering himself on the ground.
"So do you two have any ideas of how you got here?" he asked while glaring at Sasuke, still suspicious.
"Not really," Sakura said, also getting a suspicious gaze from Naruto every now and then considering she wasn't yelling at him or hitting him constantly.
Looking around, Naruto found a strange circle with markings on the ground and pointed to it, saying, "Maybe this had something to do with it?"
Though they didn't realize it, Naruto fully noticed the concerned gaze that was traded between Sakura and Sasuke.
"Who knows, Naruto," Sakura interjected, "but for now we should get Sasuke-kun some clothes and meet up with Kakashi-sensei."
"Kakashi-sensei?" Naruto said, causing Sakura to look at Naruto and realize her mistake at the same time as Sasuke.
"He's still wearing those goggles!" they thought.
"Who's Kakashi-sensei?" Naruto questioned.
"Er…sorry, I meant Iruka-sensei," Sakura corrected.
"Yeah, but I was gonna paint the Hokage monument before going to the academy!" Naruto said happily, "It's not like anything important is going to happen today anyway, the graduation exam is tomorrow!"
That answered Sakura and Sasuke's question of "When are we?" for them.
"Oh well, we can do both at once!" Naruto said before creating a Kage Bunshin that started on painting the monument.
"Kage Bunshin?!" Sakura and Sasuke thought, confused at how he already had the technique.
"How do you know the Kage Bunshin, dobe?" Sasuke said, curious to the answer.
"Oh that's easy," Naruto said, "I learned it from the textbook, just like everyone else! Come on, guys! Did whatever happened to you make you forget your basic academy techniques? Kage Bunshin and Rasengan are the first ones we learn!"
These words hit Sasuke and Sakura like a brick to the face. "Is this some alternate reality?" they thought as they sent confused glances at each other.
To preserve cover though, Sakura managed a weak sounding chuckle-type laugh and spoke, "Of course not, Naruto! Those two were easy for me and Sasuke!"
"Really?" Naruto asked, raising an eyebrow, "Then let's see you do one!"
Before Sakura could respond, Sasuke covered for her, "We don't have to show you anything, dobe, now help me get some clothes."
"I don't see why you two insist on finding some more clothes," Naruto said as he waved his hand at Sasuke, "you always walk around the village naked, Sasuke!"
To say that this statement threw the time travelers for a loop would be the biggest understatement ever.
"Wha-what?" Sasuke squeezed out, barely managing to think at the moment.
"Yeah!" Naruto insisted, "You always go around spewing some Uchiha pride bullshit while saying you have to be bolder than him or some crap."
Sakura was having a hard time imagining Sasuke walking around naked everywhere without fainting while Sasuke was wondering what the hell happened with Itachi for him to turn out like that.
"Well then, I guess we shall be going," Sasuke said, trying to look confident as he struggled to stand while Sakura just looked at him like he was crazy.
After a moment, the two of them started towards the stairs to go back to the village when Naruto spoke.
"Stop," he said, causing them to turn around and see him with one hand on his hip and the other on his temples while he shook his head, "let me teach you guys something that you desperately need to know."
Sakura and Sasuke looked confused and simply waited for him to speak again.
It was only a moment later before Naruto looked directly at them and started his lecture, "Rule number one of time travel: Become a master of lying, and a master of telling when someone lies. I mean come on!" he shouted, thrusting his hands into the air above him, "I purposely gave like, thirty ways for you to notice I was lying when I was talking! That should've been cake for you two! Seriously, you two are from what, six years in the future? By then the two of you should at least be Jounin in skills, if not rank."
Sakura and Sasuke were blown away by the revelations and questions his words just brought on. Naruto knew about their time travel! Was he from the future as well? If this some alternate reality where time-travel is common?
"How do you know this, dobe?" Sasuke asked, stepping forward and ignoring his own nudity.
"Because I-You know what? I should just introduce myself," Naruto said as a clone of Naruto with a cut on his cheek appeared from a flash of light next to Naruto.
Simultaneously, the two spoke, "My name is Naruto Uzumaki," they said when the Naruto they were speaking to cut his cheek, "Time Traveler Extraordinaire!" Naruto then disappeared in a flash of light that looked exactly like the one the clone came out of.
"I'm not a clone, by the way," said the one who apparently wasn't a clone, "I can manage a few seconds of time travel pretty easily."
While still in shock, Naruto rolled up his sleeve and revealed a seal he activated, which popped out a set of clothes that he threw to Sasuke. "Get dressed and go to the academy, I'll get there some time," he said, laughing at his own joke as he walked to the edge of the cliff, "and by the way," he continued, standing on the edge and turning back to them with a huge smile on his face, "welcome to the time travel game!" he said as he fell backwards off of the cliff, scaring Sakura and Sasuke who scrambled to the edge to see what happened, only to see Naruto down below, walking through the streets like it was just a normal day.
Sakura looked at Sasuke after a moment and asked the question that had been on her mind for a while, "What did we get ourselves into?"
"I have no clue, Sakura," Sasuke said, getting up and then helping Sakura get up, "but I just hope we find out soon."