Author's Note: Hey-o! Sorry about the wait! I just love hearing what you have to say! For those of you who don't think I read your comments, I do, I really do. I appreciate you taking the time to say something about my story and if I could, I would reply to all of you all the time, but sometimes there is too many comments and - while I love that and it makes me so happy - I can't properly address all of you like I would like to! But I do read all of them, believe me! I just love it! Thank you all for your kind words! You all have been so nice thus far but I think you will all hate this chapter. X'D. Oopsie! Also, my brother whom I haven't seen in three years is coming in to visit so I won't be able to update anything for about a week, probably! Sorry about that!
Disclaimer: I own nothing!
Warnings: Nothing much, maybe language, un-beta'd and OOCness.
Word Count: 5,654
"Thanks for doing this for me," Sakura says, looking around the barren room that was once her bedroom in the house Hashirama had built for her. It was strange to see it so empty. She remembered moving into it, and it wasn't as long ago that she did that as she would like to believe, and it was like this. But she had since gotten used to her meager belongings being in this room. Now that everything was sealed up, that she could take with her, it felt like she never really lived there. Which made her a little sad.
In some foolish way, in the back of Sakura's mind she almost wondered if it was possible for her to be part of this - the founding of her village, she means - and see what it's like to build a village from the ground up. But that was a foolish thing to think. She was never meant to be there. She was never meant to be part of this lifestyle.
She will live in Konoha one day, but the time of the founding is not the time.
Salma, who is carefully cutting her hair, pauses. "You're welcome, sensei," Salma says softly. She lightly runs her fingers through Sakura's hair, using them to detangle any knots that may have worked their way into the pink tresses.
"Are you okay?" Sakura asks, fighting the urge to turn and look at the kind Senju woman.
"I'm okay," Salma says sadly, betraying her words. "I'll... I'll just miss you."
Sakura smiles sadly. "I'm miss you too, Salma. Aya too. I'll miss everyone here. It was a true honor to meet you all."
"Thank you," Salma says, pulling her fingers away from Sakura's hair for a moment to rest her forehead against the back of Sakura's shoulder. "Sensei, I need a bit of guidance. I know you are about to leave, but can I ask?"
Sakura turns her head a bit to look at the top of Salma's brown haired head. "Yeah, Salma. Go ahead. Remember, before your sensei, I am your friend."
"I told him I loved him," Salma mumbles just barely loud enough for Sakura to hear her.
Sakura's eyebrows shoot toward her hairline. "What? Who?"
Salma raises her eyes, showing frightened green eyes. "The boy I've been meeting in secret. I told him that I loved him yesterday. Am I crazy?"
Sakura turns around, not caring that half of her hair was still long. "No, Salma, that's not wrong. What have you been seeing him for? A month? A month and a half?"
Salma nods, not specifying to which. She didn't have to, though, it didn't really matter. Sakura actually felt a little bad. She hadn't spent a lot of time actually thinking about her friend and her relationship. Sakura has been so focused on making sure that Salma was learning everything that Sakura could teach her in the limited time that they had and hadn't given much thought to the girl's love life.
Sakura hasn't exactly been a good friend.
At this point it sort of felt like it was too late to try and salvage that, though. Salma smiles a bit, pushing on Sakura's shoulders to turn her around so that Salma could keep working on her hair.
"Don't give me that look," Salma says perceptively. "You have been so kind to me and so busy, I don't expect to be the center of your universe. It's fine."
"I don't feel like a good friend," Sakura admits.
Salma lets out a soft laugh. It twinkles, like a beautiful melody. "Don't worry about that. You've been wonderful to me. I couldn't ask for a better friend and sensei. I just... I brought it up, not to make you feel bad, but because I'm worried. It was too soon to say something, wasn't it?"
Sakura doesn't respond right away. She wasn't exactly the best person to be coming to about things such as this. She has never been in a relationship before and wasn't exactly certain how it was suppose to go. But Sakura couldn't see anything wrong with Salma saying that she loved the man that she loved.
"You love him, right?" Sakura asks for clarification. "You meant what you said, right?"
"Yes," Salma says. "I did. I love my husband, don't get me wrong. He was so kind to me, even though it was an arranged marriage. I couldn't have asked for a better life partner, but..."
"He's gone now," Sakura says delicately. "You couldn't have prevented his death, Salma, you shouldn't feel bad about that. And about this man, if you love him, I believe you. It's a stroke of good luck that you managed to love the man you were assigned to marry. But he's gone. You're still young and no matter what anyone says, you deserve to find love. And if you fell in love with this man naturally, then it's fine. At least, that's what I think, anyway."
Salma doesn't speak right away, digesting Sakura's words. They listen to the sound of Salma carefully snipping away the pink strands of hair for about a minute before Salma says softly, almost afraid to be happy, "He was stunned at first, but... but then he got the biggest smile I've ever seen on his face. He knows that I was married before and he doesn't care. He... he's so good. He's so kind..." Salma sighs.
Sakura smiles. "Then I think you already know your answer, Salma. I won't claim to be an expert on love, but I think this all sounds good to me."
Salma snips away at the hair. "What about you, Sakura-sensei? Do you have someone you love?"
Sakura's immediate reaction was confusion. Half of her brain immediately supplied Sasuke's face to the forefront of her mind. But then a good chunk of the other half altered his face to the look that he had as he was choking the life from her, swearing for what felt like the last time that she was nothing to him. His chidori charged up in his hand ready to pierce her chest and kill her. He was going to do it, she could see it in his eyes. She meant nothing to him.
But then the tiny, remaining bit of her brain supplied a different face. As soon as she saw those intense, enchanting red eyes, lacking any sort of black tomo, Sakura shoved the thought away.
"I..." Sakura says softly, lowering her head a bit. "I don't know anymore."
Salma snipped the last bit of hair and when Sakura glanced up at the mirror the Senju woman offered her, Sakura saw the face of an unhappy girl staring back at her.
Sakura jerks awake, looking around dazedly. She sees Shikamaru staring down at her with a raised eyebrow.
"What?" Sakura mumbles, sitting up higher. "Did I fall asleep?"
Shikamaru nods. "Yeah, but it's fine. It's your turn for watch, though."
Sakura roughly rubs at her eyes, giving herself a hard shake to send the dream away from her. Well, it was a memory from a few days ago, since she left what would one day be her home. What has it been already, three days? It was taking forever for them to get to the Valley. They ran into bad weather, much to Shikamaru's chagrin.
So they've had to travel at a snail's pace dodging the harsh wind and hail. Winter is right around the corner and so there are times when it's started to snow but the ground is still too hot for the snow to stick, but the tree branches are a different story and it's getting a bit dangerous to be jumping from branch to branch so high up with the temperature cooling down and the water starting to freeze and then turn to slush.
"I'm up," Sakura says, rubbing her hands together. They're chilled. "You can get some rest, Shikamaru."
Shikamaru nods, walking over to Akamaru, who was sleeping by the tiny fire they've set up to offer them a bit of warmth. Shikamaru reaches out and pets down Akamaru's damp fur, shaking the white strands of hair that got stuck on his fingers with disgust, probably already regretting his bit of uncharacteristic affection for the lonely white bear-like dog.
Akamaru's tail starts wagging as he lifts his head for a moment before laying it back down on his paws. Shikamaru returns to his place under one of the close by trees, wraps his arms around himself and closes his eyes to try and get a bit of sleep before the rain pounding against the trees around them let up and they start moving again.
Sakura takes a moment to listen to the sounds of the forest. Everything is hiding from the cold rain or preparing to sleep for the winter. Even the bugs are quiet. It's just the sound of rain and the crackling of the small fire along with the soft breathing of Shikamaru and Sai, who's curled up on the other side of camp in the shadows. He was there when Sakura fell asleep, it looks like he hasn't move much in a while. Akamaru was curled up near the fire, quiet now, but more often than not, he's whimpering in his sleep and when they wake him, he would look around for Kiba only to realize that Kiba wasn't there and he'd let out a little pained whine before curling up into a little ball to keep warm.
Sakura felt bad for Akamaru more than anyone else, really.
He was a ninken, therefore a lot smarter than an actual dog, but he probably doesn't understand why Kiba wasn't with him. Sakura didn't know either and Sai's only explanation was that it was because Naruto and Sasuke's jutsu that sent them back was unstable and separated Akamaru and Kiba when they were being sent back, but he didn't really know for certain.
"Don't worry, Akamaru," Sakura says softly, not meaning to be heard. She wasn't. "We will be with everyone soon and you and Kiba will be together again."
Sakura pulls her damp cloak tighter around herself as she looks around the forest for any shifting shadows but she can't imagine what crazy would be needed for someone to be slinking around in this weather.
Well, the desperate kind of crazy, Sakura supposes in their case. They are all a little desperate to get home. Or at least get to where everyone else is and be around the familiarity of friends and family.
Sakura wanted that so badly. She wanted to be with all of her friends and family. She wanted to be where everything was what she knew. There was no cultural differences, no one to question who she is or how she was raised, no one to look at her and question her dignity and personal upkeep, no one who didn't - to some degree - understand what she was going through. She was going to people that knew her, that loved her and that she loved.
Not... not that she hadn't grown to love the founders and their families.
Sakura had to wonder what they were up to now. No doubt nice and warm within their own homes. For that, Sakura is completely and utterly envious of, but she also knows that Hashirama, Madara and Tobirama have been engrossed in meetings for the last few days. As they were leaving, Sakura, Sai and Shikamaru had to avoid a bunch of dignitaries that were flooding into the village to speak with the three founders about lands and missions and things of the like. There was also clans coming in too, Shikamaru made sure to duck away from the Nara clan, but there was also the Aburame and Shimura that were coming in to see the founders. The village was really taking shape and Sakura was so happy about it.
But in the back of her mind, she worried too.
Hashirama did not look good as she was leaving and while she's sure that Tobirama and Madara have noticed, Hashirama is really the spear of their persuasive force. Tobirama and Madara are very charismatic and persuasive men but Hashirma is damn near impossible not to like. He wins people over not just because of his charisma but because he's so damn likable.
Sakura fears that logic may be what will keep Hashirama from taking a much needed rest. No doubt Madara and Tobirama care about Hashirama's health, but all of them are willing to do what is necessary for the village, be damned the consequences. Sakura worries about that. Deeply. It was that forward thinking - that the Village comes first - that ultimately put Hashirama and Madara on opposite sides of the spectrum, right? It's what ruined their friendship and lead to the Moon-Eye plan in the future, right?
Sakura didn't know. But she's anxious. More than anything, she wishes she was there. She might be able to help smooth over any dark storms on the horizon. She's not claiming to be perfect or anything of the sort, but no one else in the world - other than her and her friends - would know to look for things such as that. No one else would have any reason to.
It's no one's fault that Madara became the way he did, Sakura's coming to realize.
Madara didn't leave the Leaf because he hated it. He didn't send Obito to attack it because he wanted it destroyed - well, maybe he did, to a degree - but what really drove him to that was love. Madara loved Konoha, but Konoha was afraid of him. Afraid of his intentions, even though it was the exact same as what Hashirama's was.
The greatest difference between Hashirama and Madara was that Hashirama was a free spirit. His happiness and glee showed on his face easily. Madara was a lot stealthier about his kindness. His face is naturally set more sternly than Hashirama's and it's harder for him to express the kindness on his face, even though he really is kind.
Sakura feels bad for Madara. He's a kind man and not many believe him. It's so sad.
Sakura runs her cold fingers through her damp hair, hoping that they can get out of the cold soon. They're all going to get sick at this rate. Which is exactly what Shikamaru needs. He's still recovering from the sickness that seems to of followed them back in time. Or, could it be a product of whatever Naruto and Sasuke did to send them back?
Sakura just didn't know.
She wished she could remember. As much as she loved Salma, she wished the dreams of memories that she had would be of her time back home. She wished that she would be able to recall more about what happened leading up to them being sent back in time. Now that she knows there is others alive out there, then there has to be more answers.
Plus, it's just her friends and family. She wants to see them. She wants to be with them.
Sakura closes her eyes and lets out a long winded sigh. She didn't know what to do. She takes a moment to quickly tug the hood of her cloak further forward to shield more of her from the rain.
For the past day or so, Sakura has had the worst feeling in the world in the pit of her stomach. As much as she wants to go to the Valley of the End - or what will one day... maybe? - and see everyone, she just has this horrible feeling like she needs to return to the Hidden Leaf. There is something there that keeps on tugging at the back of her mind. It's like a siren's call that is getting harder and harder to ignore.
But Sakura also wants to go and see her friends and family.
She's really torn, especially now. She wants to see her friends and family. She wants to be around the people that she has been missing painfully, but she just couldn't fight this feeling. There is something really calling out to her for her to return to Konoha, in its founding time.
Sakura groans, digging her nails into her scalp just wanting her mind and her heart to settle on one place already. She really shouldn't have spent as much time there as she did. Maybe then, it wouldn't have been this hard to leave.
Sakura yanks her hands from her hair and tilts her chin up toward the sky, although unable to see it through the thick branches of the trees above, she can imagine what it looks like. It's probably cloudy as hell, blocking out the moon from sight.
A twig snaps a few feet from her and Sakura's instincts kick in immediately. She jumps to her feet, pulling out two kunai, turning toward the sound. She can hear Akamaru standing up, sniffing the air but unable to pick up a scent for he lets out a little whine. In the corner of her eye, she can see Sai jumping to his feet, pulling out his short blade and pressing his back against the tree, sliding off to one side to get the jump on whomever was sneaking up on them.
Sakura spots the shadow getting closer, and quickly. Sakura tenses up, tossing the kunai into the darkness, toward the shadow. There is a blur of motion as the kunai is knocked away before the figure steps out into the dim firelight, revealing himself.
Sakura's eyes widen. "Tobirama-sama?" She lowers her other kunai to her side, feeling strange for pointing her kunai at him in the first place. "What are you doing out here?"
Tobirama looks like a soaked rat. He's wearing his armor but all his clothes and even his hair are soaked through. He must have been traveling in the rain for a while - and for what? What in the world was he doing out there in this shitty weather? Was... was he tracking them? But why?
"Are you okay?" Sakura asks, panic and worry starting to set in. She walks over to him. The Raijin in his hand, probably what he used to deflect her kunai, is tilted down toward the dirt. Sakura steps right up to him, trying to get a good look at him in the dim light.
His white hair is gray in the darkness and pressed tightly against his skull from the rain. His clothes are dark and hang off him, probably ten pounds heavier than they usually are. His normally pale face is red from presumably a mixture of exertion trying to catch up with them and from the cold. His breath is small, controlled puffy clouds in front of his face.
"What's going on?" Sakura asks, eyes widen.
"Sakura," Tobirama says softly, red eyes honing in on her face. There is a strange strained noise to his voice, making Sakura's stomach drop. Something is definitely wrong, "I need you to come back to the village, now."
"What?" Sakura asks, blinking rapidly.
"Please," Tobirama says, his voice deeply pleading. Even his eyes are blown wide.
Sakura reaches out without thinking a puts a hand on his shoulder. Even though he's looking at her, it almost feels like he doesn't see her. The moment her hands settled against the cold metal, Sakura suddenly realized that might not being a good idea, as she started pulling her hand back, he quickly grabs it, holding it in place a few inches from his shoulder. His fingers are cold, but his palm is warm. At least, warmer than her fingers.
"What's wrong?" Sakura asks softly, eyebrows pulled together tightly.
"Hashirama," Tobirama says softly, his face betraying his feelings of worry.
"Hashirama-sama?" Sakura says, stunned. A feeling of dread starts crawling around in her belly. "What about him? What's wrong?"
Tobirama's face is drawn tight with apprehension and worry. "He collapsed. Our healers don't know what's wrong. Salma said she couldn't figure out what happened. He is... he's losing his color so fast. He's... he's groaning in pain. I've never heard him groan in pain before." Tobirama's long, wet lashes tremble a bit. There is something almost... traumatized about his attitude. "He..." Tobirama says slowly. He shakes his head. "Please, Sakura, please. Come back with me." He raises his eyes to look at her.
Sakura is so shocked by his attitude that she didn't respond right away. She is just in shock at how... raw his emotions are playing across his face. He has to be deeply troubled by this. Hashirama must not be brought down by much.
"Please," Tobirama says, blinking rapidly. "Please, I need you. Hashirama needs you."
Sakura nods, turning toward Shikamaru, who had a troubled look on his face. The kunai he was holding is now hanging limply at his side. Sakura steps closer to him.
"Shikamaru, permission to return to the village," Sakura says.
Shikamaru doesn't respond right away, he's looking over at them, but he doesn't appear to actually be there. It's almost as if he's lost to his own thoughts. Sakura's eyebrows pull together tighter.
"Shikamaru?" Sakura calls out, walking over to him. She peers up at him, worried that maybe he was sick from all the rain and the cold. "Shikamaru?"
"I'm okay..." Shikamaru says, blinking slowly. "I... what?"
"I need permission to return to the village, Hashirama-sama has collapsed," Sakura says, frowning a bit at the far away look in Shikamaru's eyes. "Shikamaru!"
Shikamaru blinks rapidly, a strange look - as if one of remembrance - crosses his face. "What?"
"Hashirama-sama needs me," Sakura says, glancing over his shoulder to see Tobirama shifting back and forth from one foot to the other with this apprehensious look on his face. His fingers are itching at his side, anxious to get back home and to his brother.
"Oh," Shikamaru says, blinking rapidly, pulling Sakura's attention back to him. He runs his hand over his forehead. "Yes, right. Go, Sakura. Head back to the village with Akamaru. Sai and I will head to the meeting place. Good luck. We will come back for you. Just go." Shikamaru's face is stern and... determined? As if he remembered something that has renewed his determination.
Sakura was curious about the somewhat odd pairing but then figured that there was only four of them and Akamaru pretty much counted as a person so it would make sense to split it up two and two.
Sakura nods, rolling her shoulders back. "Right. Come, Akamaru, let's go."
Akamaru barks and quickly heads to her side. Now that he knows they are going to follow him, Tobirama turns around and starts to head back to the village, a lot faster than Sakura dared to go, especially since it's getting colder and the mud is getting slicker and slicker as the night goes on. But Sakura can sense the urgency and begins following after him, working hard to stay as close as she can.
A quick glance back shows Sai putting out the fire and the two of them heading out in the opposite direction, with renewed vigor. Sakura sends out a silent prayer for their journey, hoping that it is a short and safe one. Sakura turns back around and focuses hard on trying to keep up with the future Second Hokage but it's a lot harder than it sounds.
Sakura easily begins to fall behind, her feet slipping and sliding on the icy dirt. Tobirama finally came to a complete stop, turning to look at her as she struggles to keep up. Once she reaches him, Tobirama grabs her hand, holding it tightly in his own, the one not holding onto the Raijin, before he starts running again, going slower than before but pulling her along quicker than she was originally going.
"How long have you been tracking us?" Sakura asks after over an hour of silence. The rain has finally let us, but the doesn't mean that it's not still cold out and the ground is sloshy.
"About a day," Tobirama says crisply, not pausing for a moment to look back at her. "Although you guys didn't make it far."
"Yeah," Sakura says. "Shikamaru was a bit pissed about that."
"I'm glad it worked out this way," Tobirama says, then stops, as if he remembered something. Sakura runs into the back of him, her nose smashing into his back armor plate. Sakura's eyes water almost immediately. She brings her free hand up to her face, trying to ease the pain in her nose. Thankfully, it's not broken or anything, but that still hurt.
"Ow," Sakura mumbles.
Tobirama spins around to look at her, mentally debating on something before shaking his head and continuing on, pulling Sakura along with him. Sakura could no nothing other than follow after, still wiping the tears from her eyes. He's frantic, Sakura realizes, his rational thinking is being put aside of panic. This can only mean something extraordinarily horrible. Sakura's glad for the grip on her hand. With him pulling her along, she'll make it there a lot quicker than she would without him practically yanking her arm out of it's socket. Tobirama picked up the speed about an hour later, going faster than Sakura has ever ran in her entire life, her feet barely touch the ground after that.
It felt like she was flying. Literally.
A few hours pass before the village comes back into view, by then the sun is already up and the world is warming up once more. Once the water has melted enough, they take to the trees, moving at regular shinobi speed. Well, for Sakura. It must feel like a snail's pace for Tobirama, being as fast as he is, but he finally let go of her hand and let her run on her home. Now that the village is coming into view, they both kick it into high gear and blaze their way back to the village. All of the patrols they met along the way made sure to stay the hell out of the way because Tobirama was on the warpath.
Sakura's almost certain the white haired man was wound tightly enough to utterly destroy anyone who dared stop him at this point in time. No one was going to stop him from making it back to his brother. No one.
The guards standing around the perimeter had to basically jump out of the way to avoid being run over by Tobirama, Sakura hot on his heels as they fly into the village, heading immediately to the Senju side of the village. Thankfully there is enough stable buildings that are up around the village that Tobirama took to the roofs as soon as he could, avoiding the crowd that filled the streets, not minding the early morning. It is a shinobi village, it wakes up early.
They make it to the main household, where Tobirama and Hashirama live, and head inside, neither stopping for a moment to take their shoes off.
As soon as Sakura stepped into the room, she knew that it was bad. The room had an odd assortment of people gathered in it. The ones she recognized was Madara, Salma, Aya, two other Senju healers, what she believes is a Senju elder and an actual medical shinobi. There is three other men in the room that she didn't know but she didn't stop to analyze them. She didn't care enough at the moment.
"Sakura-sensei!" Aya says, black eyes blown wide. Her hair is messy, obviously having been up all night and she looks noticeably frazzled. "Thank Kami that you're here!"
"Sensei," Salma says, spinning around from where she was at Hashirama's side. Her brown eyes are panicked and frightened. "Oh sensei, please! Help us, please!"
Sakura's eyes fall to the man in the center of the room. Her eyes widen in horror. It had only been about three days - probably more like two and a half - and yet Hashirama looked completely different.
His skin was so pale, it was like a sheet, with the exception of his cheeks which were a feverish red color. His hair and skin is shiny from profusely sweating. He's curled up on his side, rolled into a small ball, whimpering. Yes, actually whimpering. His limbs were trembling and he seemed oblivious to the outside world.
"Sakura," Madara says, pulling her eyes up to the dark haired man and Sakura's heart plummeted. They are haunted, as if he's seen a ghost. "Please, save him."
Sakura doesn't wait a moment longer, she kicks off her shoes by the door and discards her cloak and runs over to Hashirama's side, Salma quickly jumping out of the way. Sakura tentatively touches his shoulder.
"Hashirama-sama, it's Sakura, can you open your eyes for me?" Sakura asks, giving his shoulder a little squeeze. Hashirama doesn't outwardly react to her. Sakura doesn't remove her eyes from the man in front of her, but says to Salma and Aya, "Report."
"Fever, vomit, abdominal pains, loss of consciousness," Aya says quickly, dropping down next to Salma, significantly calmer now that Sakura is back.
"How long has this all been going on?" Sakura asks, scanning him with her chakra over his torso.
"He's been vomiting the past day and half, then came the abdominal pains and fever and when he lost consciousness Tobirama-sama finally left to go get you," Salma says just as quickly. "He's been slipping in and out of consciousness since. But... sensei..." Salma says brokenly, her eyes swelling up with tears.
Sakura glances back at him. "What is it?"
"He's in so much pain," Salma says softly. "He's... he's fading quickly. I... I can't find what's wrong with him..." Tears trickle down her face. "How can I be a medical shinobi if I can't even save my own lord? What do we do?"
"It's alright, Salma," Sakura says, offering a weak smile. "I'm here. Together we can do this."
Salma nods, roughly wiping the tears away and swallowing down her fear to focus. Sakura turns back to Hashirama, eyebrows pulling together tightly to try and concentrate on his body. There is internal bleeding but his chakra is healing it up quickly, making it hard to determine where the bleeding is coming from, which is both good, and a pain.
Sakura shakes her head. There is a large amount of infection liquid in his abdomen that can probably attribute to the pain and the fever but Sakura doesn't have the slightest idea where it came from. He's not hurt anywhere, as far as she can tell, then a strange thought occurred to her.
"Help me, girls," Sakura says, pushing Hashirama onto his back, despite his groans of protest. Salma and Aya go to both of his sides and put their hands on his arm to keep in in place while Sakura shoves the covers out of the way and while awkwardly reaching around Aya, Sakura starts to pull open his kimono. Even his normally toned, tan skin on his chest is paper white, with the exception of a horrible discoloration on his abdomen. Sakura lightly probes it with a finger and Hashirama calls out in pain, letting out a horrible gasping noise before rolling away from Sakura toward Salma, shivering like mad.
"What was that?" Aya asks, eyes wide. "That on his stomach! Was he hit recently?"
"No," Madara says, keeping against the far wall and out of the way. He looks like he's about to run from the room, like seeing his best friend in this position is damaging his calm. Tobirama doesn't look any better. "We've been in meetings for the last few days. None of us have even had a chance to do any sort of training."
"Sakura-sensei," Salma says, looking up at Sakura with wide eyes. "What's wrong with him?"
Sakura shakes her head slowly. "I... I don't know." Sakura's fears have become reality. Hashirama has collapsed and she doesn't know why.
For the Reviewers:
1. Dropsofchocolate: Yeap. And another. XD
2. Alice aquabld: You going to have to wait to find out. :D
3. onlyagirl: Aww, thank you! Six of my other stories? No way! Oh yikes, that means you'll catch all my mistakes right away. Oopsie! Hah, she leaves and comes back right away. Totally cliché, yeah? Haha, they'll be coming back in pretty quickly and easily. You know, I was thinking the same thing! I want Shikamaru and Tobirama to play shogi! I was thinking about doing that later! Great minds think alike! Thank you! Oh, and about Ino and Izuna - I LOVE IT! I never even thought about that before, but it's brilliant! Thank you so much for sharing your ideas with me! Never think for a moment I'm not listening! I just love people like you! You help enrich my story, so thank you! Thank you so much!
4. GreenOnBlack: Thank you!
5. Wynd12: Thank you so much for reading it!
6. Uchiha Aimee: Thank you! She definitely has, and she's about to learn just how big of waves she's made in the next few chapters.
7. PeopleOrderOurPatties: Thank you! I think they are super cute together! Oh my goodness, you are so nice! Thank you for saying that!
8. ILoveSxS: I know! As for if she knows he likes her... hm, I wonder. Maybe it's like she's not sure how she really feels yet let alone that he would feel anything toward her at all.
9. becauseambatman1: Haha! Psyche! No, you don't! X'D I'm really sorry. It'll be within the next two chapters that we learn what happened, though.
10. YesTrueSame: Thank you!
11. Koomahana: Duuuu! .
12. NarutoXHonoka: Yeah, it will, just not this chapter. He's still kind of playing the back field at the moment. Hopefully all of your questions will be answered soon!
13. marbe101: You're welcome!
14. pvamangafan100: Thank you, and you're gonna have to wait a bit longer, sorry!
15. Indiegirl97: Ha, sooner than you thought, yeah? Thank you!
16. AngelicRiver: Yesum! A very good reason.
17. Hana-Taisho: Thank you so much! It's because everyone is so kind that I managed to get this far! Thank you!
18. Uchiha Misaki: Hmm... maybe. :D
19. SweetestChick: Yep, they'll meet up again real soon!
20. Zero-Tails317: Haha! She goes right back! I'm glad you're happy for Sai!
21. crazycityslicker: Aww, thanks. I was hoping it wasn't too corny. Oh gosh. Good luck on your finals! I hope you pass all of them with great marks!
22. Guest 1: Thank you! I kind of liked bringing Sai into this too. It'll be interesting from here on out!
23. LoonyTuned: I KNOW! T.T
24. Bloodmoon Goddess: :D
25. Guest 2: Thank you! And I'm taking it right back to Konoha!
26. KunoichiAbi: Sooner than you think! Thank you! Sorry about he wait!
27. Mameha: I am back! I live! Haha, all good things must-well, round back to the Leaf. XD
28. Itachi: First off, you are by far the sweetest thing in the entire world! I am so glad that you liked the dedication, in some ways, I wish I could do more for you. I understand that life can get hard at times and you have no idea how happy it makes me feel to know that you appreciate my stories so much and they help you through the tough times. I want only the best for you and hope that all of the stress in your life melts away soon so that you can finally relax and be happy. There is much I would love to say to you but I know that I won't really be able to in such a small space. But I would like to let you know that I am positively overjoyed by your comment. I read it all the way through - twice! You are so kind and so sweet and I just couldn't stop smiling! All of your theories are so cool and interesting and some maybe a bit closer to what I have planned than you know .o. I am so glad that you like my story and believe that it is good, that's all I want. I just want it to be believable in it's own right. But more than anything else, I want people to just enjoy it. I write it so that people can enjoy it. So, I'm always happy to hear that you like it. I'm sorry people have said that they won't read long reviews all the way through, just know that I will. I will always read what you have to say. Thank you so much for taking the time to write that review for me, and just know that it made my day. So, thank you! I wish the same for you! (P.S. I write a lot of Sakura stories, and I do love her, but Itachi will always be my bae. :D So I love your name. Hehe)
29. ascarletmoon17: Thank you!
30. sakurafan700: Thanks! XD
31. Guest 3: I know! I vanish from the world and then POOF! I'm back! Yep, my stories will not be left unfinished. I will try and finish all of them! :D
32. zombiekins5948: Sorry about the wait!
33. Beautiful-Tyrant77: I am sorry! Thank you!