Author's Note: Oh my gosh! Over 900 reviews? Thank you all so much! I love hearing from all of you! I'm sorry about the wait! So, I got a comment on my first chapter for this story a little while ago and they said something about being unhappy about this story being in 3rd person and was hoping that I was going to change it to 1st person before long. I had to laugh because fourteen chapters later I still was. It was something stupid to laugh about, but I did. All I could think was, "yeah, that's not going to happen - I'm sorry!" but I got a good laugh from it. Anyway, let me know what you guys think! Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I own nothing!
Warnings: Nothing much, maybe language and OOCness.
Word Count: 5,468
The next five days have been dedicated to getting Izuna stronger, Shikamaru healthier, Salma and Aya trained, Hashirama refined all while trying to stay calm. Konoha was under attack. Something may have happened to her home. What... what if there isn't anyone else? What if Shikamaru, Akamaru and herself are the only ones left of her home?
No, that's not right. Shikamaru said that Naruto said that they were all suppose to meet up together and protect some VIP. That means that more people were sent back! More people are out there!
Sakura's decided. Once she finishes healing Izuna, she and Shikamaru are going to go. They'll do it. They'll go, search all over the world if they have to, until they find each and every one of their friends. Until everyone from their time is together, safe and able to accurately depict what exactly they need to be doing. Who they need to protect and from who. Then, and only then, will they be able to finally be able to go home.
"We're ready," Madara says.
Sakura stands up and turns toward to see Izuna, dressed down to just his pants and Madara standing next to him, hands folded in front of himself, but Sakura can see them shaking a bit in nerves. Sakura has made it clear that she can only stay for as long as Shikamaru is recovering. That means that they are on a time crunch right now and have Sakura for only so long. But Sakura won't rush this. She won't put Izuna's life in any more of a risk than he already is.
Izuna's body is thin and pale, but stronger than the last time Sakura saw it. There is a long, nasty scar across his chest from the wound that Tobirama inflicted upon him. The one that almost ended his life. Sakura is amazed he was able to survive it. The medical prowess of these days aren't as up to par as her time and that sort of wound would have been difficult to heal for an average medical shinobi at the hospital she worked at before.
Izuna, though compromised now, is strong and easily regaining the strength he lost all the time he was bedridden.
Sakura walks over to him. "Alright Izuna, hold your arms up for me, parallel to the ground if you can."
Izuna does as Sakura asks, spreading his arms out wide. Madara steps out of the way so that Sakura can freely walk around his little brother without worrying about getting in her way. Sakura inspects Izuna's body closely, taking in all the dips and grooves of his body. She slowly circles him, talking about a minute in doing so. Finally stopping in front of him, Sakura reaches out to touch him. Her finger tips brushing against his stomach.
Izuna gasps lightly, sucking in his gut a bit. As soon as it happened, his pale face turns red and he ducks his head low. "Sorry," he murmurs.
Sakura pulls her hands back immediately, as if burned. Madara shifts closer, nervous. Hashirama, who was back a few feet as to not alert Izuna that he was there, reaches out and puts a hand on Madara's shoulder. A silent, "Calm down," resonating through the touch. Madara's shoulders relax, if only slightly. But his face is still slightly pensive.
"Sorry," Sakura says, green eyes wide. "Are my hands cold? Did I hurt you?"
"No, no," Izuna says, shaking his head. He clears his throat. "I just... well, you just... um, no one so freely touches me, it... it um, shocked me," he mumbles, embarrassed.
Sakura blinks in confusion for a moment before blushing slightly. "Oh, I'm sorry. I suppose I wasn't thinking. I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable." Sakura hesitates for a moment, looking over at Hashirama and Madara. "Sorry," she says, sort of to all three of them. "It's so natural for me to touch my patients I didn't think about..." the fact that people don't actually do a whole lot of touching of each other's bare skin in this day and age, outside of husband and wife and sometimes even that is very...limited.
Sakura sighs, turning her eyes up to Izuna's unseeing dark gray orbs. "I'm sorry, Izuna-sama. I don't want to make you uncomfortable but I have to do this to get accurate re-"
"No, no," Izuna shakes his head, raising his chin to be level with the ground. "No, Sakura-san, please continue. Forgive my jumpiness."
Sakura stares at him for a moment longer, debating if he was telling the truth or not. If he wasn't he's got one hell of a poker face, because Sakura couldn't see through it. Sakura lets out a slow whoosh of breath before continuing. She does all sorts of checks, walking around his body, touching his sky, feeling his chest expand when he breaths, pressing her ear to his back to listen for fluid or obstruction in the lungs. Anything and everything that could have become an issue during the surgery.
As she worked, with cool indifference, no lingering touches or unnecessary ones, while she explains everything. She tells the three of them - four, once Tobirama showed up, just as quietly as Hashirama did - what she was doing, why she was doing it and what she was suppose to hear, see, feel, etc. Thankfully everyone stayed silent through out the entire thing. If Sakura had to guess, the fact that - as far as Izuna knew Madara - Tobirama and Hashirama kept silent, he was able to trick himself into believing that he is alone. Maybe that makes this easier.
Or Sakura's voice has some kind of lulling quality to it that she wasn't aware of. It doesn't really matter.
Izuna, other than the little jolt the first time she touched him, has remained relaxed throughout the entire rest of the check up. Madara managed to relax too. Once that happened, Hashirama removed his hand - quietly.
Once Sakura is done she takes a respectful step back from Izuna and lets him put his arms down. Madara quickly steps forward and puts a large blue kimono top over his shoulders and ties it off. Then a black haori over top of that with the Uchiha fan on the back.
"Well," Sakura says, putting her hands on her hips, "everything checks out. Come, lets go sit down."
"I'm fine," Izuna says, shaking his head and squinting at the pink haired girl, trying to make out the shapeless blob of bright colors in front of him. "Just tell me what's going on. I don't want to sit down."
"Izuna," Madara says slowly.
Izuna shakes his head again. "No, brother. People only tell you bad news when you sit down. Tell me while I stand." The muscles in his jaw works. For both brother's sake, Sakura's glad Izuna couldn't see well enough to see the horrible look flicker across Madara's face.
"No," Sakura says quickly, "don't misunderstand!" The last thing she needs is for Madara to go postal, thinking that all hope is lost. "There is no bad news here, you guys. I suggested sitting down so that you could rest, Izuna-sama, not because I have bad news. But if you wish to stand, that's fine too, it's your room." And it was, they were standing in the middle of Izuna's plain, almost completely bare room.
Izuna - and Madara - look slightly relieved by her words, but until they hear her diagnosis, there is little else that will ease their nerves. "Please, Sakura-san," Izuna says, his voice respectful, but tight.
Sakura shifts her weight from one foot to the other. "Alright, so by your check up and vitals..." her eyes flicker between the two sets of brothers before stopping on Izuna again and smiling, even though he can't really see it, "I've determined that you'll be strong enough to go through surgery."
Izuna's hands go flying up toward his head, interlacing his fingers before pressing them against the back of his messy dark blue hair. He lets out a long sigh of relief, same as Madara, who steps forward and puts his hands on Izuna's shoulders, gripping them tightly and trying to contain his smile. Madara looks like he's regressed in age by five years. He lays his forehead down against the back of Izuna's right shoulder, the younger boy bringing a hand up to place over his brother.
"That's good," Izuna says, slowly. "You'll be able to fix me right."
"Not your eyes," Sakura says sharply. "That will take a different procedure altogether."
Izuna holds his hand up. "I know, I know."
Madara pulls his hands back and straightens up.
"This procedure," Sakura says, "isn't invasive but it will put strain on your body, which is why I needed you to be strong. But, with your permission, and Madara-sama's as well, I would like to used this as another lesson for Salma and Aya. With my time here now cut short - shorter than I'd like - I would like to give them as much training as I can." Before Sakura could finish, both brothers were already nodding.
"That's fine," Madara says.
"Anything," Izuna says a split second later. Sakura given the impression they would agree to just about anything at this point if it meant that Sakura could perform the surgery.
Sakura laughs, shaking her head. "Good, I'm glad. Thank you. I'm assuming you want this done immediately, right?"
"Yes," Izuna says, "as soon as possible, if you don't mind."
Sakura's hands fall to her side. "Alright, so, what's going to happen now is I'm going to make you one more meal, but this one is going to be smaller, we don't want you to be too full." She smiles thinly at that, noting that both brothers paled in color at the thought of eating another of her meals. "Big babies. You've lived thus far, haven't you? Quit your complaining." Sakura rolls her eyes.
"Sorry," both brother murmur, sounding anything but apologetic.
Sakura sighs. "Anyway, this next batch will make you a little drowsy, but that'll be fore me. The intention is that once I start with this procedure, you'll sleep right through it. Your body will already be relaxed and so hopefully it'll help you when going through the surgery. It won't be the same as anesthetic. It's not designed to knock you out so you may wake up half way through, or not fall asleep at all. It'll relax you, though and that's the point. The reason why I say this..." Sakura turns her attention to Madara.
"Ah," Madara says, then pats Izuna on the shoulder. "You don't mind, do you, brother?"
Izuna cringes and Sakura's shoulders droop, eyebrows pulling together tightly. "Wonderful."
Sakura spreads her arms out wide, looking at them incredulously. "What the hell? Well, screw you two." Sakura lets her hands drop to her sides and glares at the Uchiha brothers.
"My apologies," Madara says, tipping his head a bit respectfully.
"We didn't mean anything by that," Izuna says, also tipping his head a bit.
Sakura rolls her eyes. "I know exactly what you meant, and lucky for you two, I'm not as sensitive about that as I used to be. Or I wouldn't have cared who you were, I'd hit you so hard in the back of the head you'd wouldn't be able to process what happened before you were eating dirt." Sakura grumbles, glaring half-heartedly at the two brothers. Izuna looks mildly surprised while Madara, Tobirama, and Hashirama look horrified.
Sakura stares at them for a moment, wondering if she should make good on her threat, but her rational mind quickly alerted her that would be a fucking terrible ass idea and so she dropped it.
"Whatever," Sakura says, waving her hand around dismissively. "Alright, so we'll plan for the surgery for early evening. So be ready by then, you two. I'll be keeping Salma and Aya with me until then. If you need me, I'll be in the forest with them gathering herbs. Izuna-sama, you stay here and rest, build up your strength for tonight, alright?"
"Yes, ma'am," Izuna says, nodding his head quickly. Madara, too, happy to escape Sakura's wrath. Sakura rolls her eyes and turns away.
"I'll be back tonight. If you have anything you want to do before being bedridden for a few days, then do it now." With that, Skaura waves her hand about her head and opens the door to Izuna's room, leaving it open so that Hashirama and Tobirama can slip out behind her.
"That's it?" Tobirama says, following just a few steps behind Sakura.
She glances over her shoulder at him and hums. "Yes, sir."
Hashirama quickly jumps to Sakura's side, looking a mixture of excited and worried. "Will this procedure be dangerous?"
Sakura shakes her head. "No, not really. All- uh, procedure, yes, that's a better word for it rather than surgery, but um, no. All medical arts have a degree of danger that comes with them but it's all about precautions, steps, people and luck. Anything in the world could go wrong, but right now, no. I don't see there being a foreseeable problem."
"Then why did he have to wait?" Hashirama asks. "Why couldn't you have just done this after you first saw him?"
"Part of the procedure takes Izuna's body having to exert more energy than it has in a long time. I want to make sure he's regained his strength and improved on his health a bit before forcing his body to... basically repair itself."
"What does that mean?" Tobirama asks, stepping up to her other side. "Is there something wrong with Izuna's ability to heal?"
Sakura reaches up and scratches the back of her head, giving a little wave to some of her Uchiha patients she saw a few days ago, as the trio leaves the Uchiha compound. "Um, jeez, I don't know how to explain this." She looks around for a moment before pausing and looking between the two older men. "Okay, when Izuna was hurt his body immediately went to repair the damage. The thing is, the human body is stupid, in sense that it tries to heal everything at once and does a half ass job of it."
She crosses her arms over her chest. "Basically, his body was trying to heal everything at once and ended up doing a pretty bad job of it, since the wounds were extensive. I'll be honest, I'm amazed Izuna-sama is a live."
Hashirama flinches, glancing over at a stoic faced Tobirama.
Sakura smiles thinly and without mirth. "He definitely looks a lot better on the outside than he does on the inside. As he was hurt, his chakra system was damaged and while I would have been able to heal the damage when the wound happened. Modern technique coupled with the natural degradation of his eyes and ability to do regular everyday activities has made his condition a lot more severe than it should have been."
Hashirama's eyebrows raise. "You can fix a chakra network?"
Sakura nods. "It's easy. I could easily teach you how to do it fifteen minutes, it's that simple. Our chakra networks are fragile, and easily disrupted and even damaged, but there is a level of healing ability within our own chakra coils that fixes those small breaks or wounds on the system, so that it can be done on it's own. Unfortunately, the wound that Tobirama-sama inflicted on Izuna-sama was extensive enough that any healing he had going toward his chakra network was put on over-drive. It was spread out too thin and ultimately burned out - forgive the pun. Now it's blown out and is no longer to repair itself.
"Our bodies naturally know how to repair damage done to us - to some extent. But Izuna-sama's body has been so badly damaged and was poorly cared for both by inexperienced or naïve or whatever has cause some of the negligent healing in him already, and his own pride has put his body in a bad way," Sakura says, shaking her head. "Much of this could have been avoided, but, alas, that wasn't the case. Either way, I needed him to be strong because what I'm going to do is feed him some herbs that will push his chakra network into overdrive and basically guide his chakra throughout his entire network and repair it." Sakura opens her mouth, about to add something, but catches herself.
Unfortunately, Tobirama catches the action and tilts his head to the side. "What?" He asks. "You were going to say something." Narrow red eyes are as keen and sharp as Sakura's always seen them. Hashirama tilts his head too, also curiously.
Hashirama and Tobirama are polar opposites. Sakura has been told many times that it's Madara and Hashirama that are opposites and in many ways, that's true, but Sakura sees the two Senju brothers as true polar opposites. Both in appearances and in personalities. They couldn't be more opposite. Hashirama was all dark features; brown hair and eyes and dark, sun tanned skin, while Tobirama is lighter features: white hair, red eyes, pale skin. Hashirama's face is soft, even with some strong features like his nose and chin - and his laugh which is bigger than life itself. And then Tobirama's face is a neat mixture of dainty and strong. His chin - the same as Hashirama's - and jawline are strong but his eyes and overall structure of his face gives it a delicate look.
Hashirama has a very gentle, goofy and excitable personality. He's obviously a child at heart and just overall enjoys being happy and genuinely wants happiness unto others. Tobirama has a very stoic, stern and logical personality. He obviously took lessons as a child to heart and grew up quickly. He's kind, but so stoic that sometimes it's hard to see that and while Hashirama believes in happiness and butterflies and unicorns, Tobirama believes in numbers and actions and things right in front of his eyes.
They're brothers, yet they couldn't be more different.
Still, Sakura is amazed about that.
She shakes her head, forcing the thoughts away. "Sorry, I just..." Sakura sighs. "I didn't want to say anything to Izuna-sama or Madara-sama, but in doing this, healing Izuna-sama's chakra network there is a slim slim chance that it may improve his eyesight. Not a lot, and it may hardly be noticeable, but that's always there. In order to maintain the Mangekyo Sharingan, to stave off blindness for as long as possible is regular visits to a skilled medical ninja, but that is only for a set about of times. Eventually the eyes will seal away to blindness, it's inevitable."
"Unless they get another pair of eyes transferred into their own," Hashirama adds.
Sakura nods. "Yes, sir."
Sakura runs her hands up an down her arms, looking over at the Uchiha compound behind her. She lets out a slow sigh before continuing walking.
"What's the plan for right now, Sakura-chan?" Hashirama asks, following after her again.
"I need to gather the appropriate herbs and make sure they are really good before tonight," Sakura sighs. "I just hope everything I need is around here. I'll be taking the girls out of the village, if that's okay with you guys." Sakura takes a moment to look between the two Senju brothers.
Hashirama glances over at Tobirama and shrugs his shoulders. "I don't see a problem with it. Do you?" Tobirama shakes his head. Hashirama looks over at Sakura and smiles. "Then, that's fine."
Sakura nods, about to keep going when Tobirama's voice gives her pause.
"I'll assist you."
Sakura glances over at him with wide green eyes. "Not that I mind in the slightest, Tobirama-sama, but is there a specific reason?"
Tobirama's narrow red eyes stare locked onto something above Sakura's head. Sakura does a strange half turn to look around, trying to find what he was looking at but couldn't find anything and decided that it was probably fine - whatever it was - if she didn't know what he was looking at. Hashirama's eyebrows are raised toward his hairline, looking down at his little brother.
"Tobi?" Hashirama asks curiously. "Whatcha thinking about?" He wiggles his eyebrows.
"Anything could happen," Tobirama snaps at Hashirama, making the older brother jump and hold his hands up in surrender. "Besides, it couldn't hurt to have someone else out there with you. Better to be safe than sorry." Tobirama sniffs, looking around at anything other than Sakura. The pink haired medical ninja looks over at Hashirama with a raised eyebrow.
Hashirama shrugs. "Sure," he says. "I could come to, if you think we might need it...?"
Tobirama glares at Hashirama. "Actually no, your day is all booked up. You have some meetings to attend to, brother," Tobirama says dryly. He crosses his arms over his chest.
Hashirama wilts like a flower under a hailstorm. He looks over at Tobirama through his long dark eye lashes. He looks like a wounded animal. Tobirama stares back at him, completely unaffected by his older brother's puppy-dog eyes.
"See you tonight, brother," Tobirama says simply and then keeps walking, easily brushing past Sakura toward the Senju part of the village. Sakura looks up at the pouting Senju clan leader and shrugs, giving him a little half smile, before following after the white haired future Second Hokage. Hashirama's entire body wilts more in depression.
At the last possible moment, Hashirama perks up and looks after Tobirama, cupping his hands around his mouth and yelling, "Be good, Tobirama! Don't do anything our dear sweet mother would frown upon in heaven!"
Tobirama's entire body freezes up. Jerkily, he turns his head to glare daggers at Hashirama. He didn't say anything but there was real hatred being directed toward the older Senju brother before he turns away and stomps on down the road. Sakura looks between the two brother's - one laughing hysterically and the other retreating quickly with his head bowed - before shrugging and following after Tobirama.
"I don't get what it's suppose to look like," Aya says, walking alongside Salma as they search the forest for the herbs that Sakura asked them to look forward. Sakura walks next to Tobirama, scanning the forest as well.
"These are basic herbs, Aya," Sakura says, pausing to push some weeds aside to see it's not what she's looking for. She moves on.
"I know," Aya sighs, "but everything in this forest is green, sensei! How am I suppose to distinguish them?"
Sakura rolls her eyes. She wipes a bead of sweat off of her forehead before scanning the forest again with her eyes. "Salma, do you remember the other distinguishing feature of the herb other than it being green?"
Salma runs her fingers through her hair to smooth out her glossy brown side ponytail, still looking around for the herb. "Um..." she lifts her head and glances over at Aya. "It's suppose to also have small red dots on it's leaves." She smiles kindly down at the younger girl. "Don't you remember, Aya-chan?"
"I..." Aya squints. "Oh, yeah. But still, Sakura-sensei, how prominent are these red dots? How big?"
Sakura taps her finger to her chin in mocking contemplation. "Small enough to be squint worthy, my dear Aya," Sakura says teasingly. "But with those amazing Uchiha eyes, I'm sure you'll be just fine." Aya playfully glares back at Sakura, who winks at her in return.
They walk in silence for a few minutes, Aya and Salma a good distance ahead of them, still scanning the forest for the herbs. Sakura and Tobirama are walking so close to each other every couple of steps their shoulders will lightly bump, but neither will say anything about it. They are both scanning the forest - Sakura's looking for herbs and Tobirama is looking for anyone who shouldn't be there - but don't say anything to each other.
Sakura can sense that Tobirama is in a sour mood after the little conversation with Hashirama earlier. Sakura's not sure what exactly made Tobirama so mad, but obviously he's not in the mood to talk about it, so Sakura doesn't want to ask, afraid to anger the already annoyed future Second Hokage. Sakura's not sure why he wanted to come with in the first place, but like hell was she going to say no to the idea of a bodyguard in the Second Hokage, no matter how confident she was in her ability to protect both herself and the girls - should they need it - it was still nice to have him there as support.
Sakura digs around in her kunai pouch and pulls out the white ribbon she borrowed from Salma and loops it into her hair, pulling it up into a ponytail. She's able to even pull up her fringe, with the exception of just a couple of strands. Without modern day air conditioning this heat is nearly unbearable. Sakura could deal, she has been for so long, but it has to be hotter in the past or something, because it was never this hard to bare before.
Or, maybe Sakura is losing her touch.
Sakura's expression is a slightly horrified one. That best not be the case. Like hell, after all she's been though, is Sakura Haruno becoming a little bit sensitive about the fucking heat. She'll die first before she acknowledges anything like the heat bothering her.
"Something wrong?" Tobirama asks, pulling Sakura's attention back to him.
Sakura looks up at Tobirama in confusion. "What do you mean?"
Tobirama's narrow red eyes have smooth skin around them. It's strange, this is probably the first time that Sakura's seen such a... gentle look on Tobirama's face. It wasn't gentle like Hashirama's face, but more... more smooth. Like all the mild anxiety and in-depth thinking that was always written on his face was smoothed away for probably the first time Sakura's ever seen it.
It shows the youth on his face. He's still a young man, and although he seems larger than life, it's still easy to sometimes forget that. But he really isn't all that much older than Sakura. Maybe five or six years. At the most. But that's it. At least with Sakura right now in the past with them he's only that much older. In reality he's like... eighty years older, but, well yeah. Semantics.
"You have a strange look on your face," Tobirama says simply. "Are you alright?"
Sakura smiles up at him. "Yes, I'm fine. Just... letting my imagination run away with me. Sorry about that."
"It's fine." Tobirama shrugs his shoulders.
"Oh!" Salma gasps, pulling Sakura away from the future Second Hokage over to the brown haired Senju. She's knelt down in front of a bush, pushing the leaves aside to see a plant half hidden underneath. She tilts her head to the side, curiously. "Um, Sakura-sensei, I think I found it." She looks up at Sakura with bright green eyes, excited for possibly being the one to find the herb.
Sakura speeds up her steps to close the distance between them. She kneels down next to the brown haired girl and looks at the plant, noting the red little dots on the leaves, and smiles over at the slightly older girl.
"Good girl," Sakura says. Salma blushes in embarrassment and her smile is bashful.
"Thank you, sensei," Salma says softly.
Sakura waves for Aya and Tobirama to come close. "Here, you two, come see this. I want to show you how you can tell if these herbs are good or not based on their outward appearance." Then, with all three of them huddled around Sakura, she explains about the plant, why it grows where it does, what exactly it does based on how it's mixed in with other plants, things like that. She moves the plant around, telling them about what they need to look for in order to tell if the plant is any good and if it is, how good.
Once she's done, she picks the plant, stuffs it in the herb sack she got, and moves on, telling them about the next herb they need.
Sakura unpacks all the herbs and bowls and mashers, before turning toward Izuna, Madara, Salma and Aya. The two girls look enraptured. They can't wait to be part of this. They've been helping rehabilitate Kaido, but he's all better now, so they've been helping Sakura take care of all the sick and injured within the village, which was more than they thought, but not as much as Sakura did. She's used to a hospital full of people needing attention so having so many open rooms in a small little kinda-hospital. While that is a steady stream of work, it's random and with a wide variety of different things that they came to handle, and learned to do on their own.
When Sakura leaves, they will be able to handle many things. Nothing huge, not like this, but they are becoming competent medical shinobi. Slowly, but surely. Sakura just wished she would have been able to stay and see their entire training through to the end. It makes Sakura kind of sad that she isn't able to follow through with her end of the deal. She wanted to make them amazing medical shinobi, because she knew that they could be. She saw it in them. She knew that they would be great, they just needed the experience.
"So," Sakura says, turning toward them, "here's what's going to happen. We are going to walk through this step by step, I'll explain everything, girls you will be assisting me and if you two have any questions, at any time, just let me know." All four of their heads bob up and down.
Sakura explains what this remedy they are about to brew is going to do. It has a mild healing ability, but what it's primarily going to do is increase his chakra production on an insanely high level. In doing so, the chakra - and it's natural mild ability in healing - will begin to heal the pathways while also filling it with chakra. Sakura will just be overseeing it, making sure that all the damage is healed and done property without the body somehow overcompensating for the sudden physical exertion and forcing his coils to produce chakra at an unbelievable rate.
Izuna and Madara have identical looks of wonder.
"That's it?" Izuna asks, staring unseeingly just over Sakura's left shoulder.
Sakura tilts her head to the side. "Is there something wrong with that?"
"No," Izuna says quickly, him and Madara both shaking their heads in unison. Izuna does a little half look in Madara's direction before continuing, "I... I guess I just thought that... well, it would be a little bit more complex than that."
Sakura shakes her head. "No, our part is easy. Your part is going to be just a little bit harder. How do you feel?"
Izuna smiles. "I feel good. Thank you. I..." he lets out a long whoosh of breath. "I'm ready."
Sakura smiles back at him, even if he couldn't really see it. Even though his voice was soft and airy, Sakura could feel the strength beneath it. He was truly ready for it. He's been ready for a long time.
"Alright," Sakura says, looking between the two Uchiha brothers and her two students with bright, keen green eyes, "let's get started."