Reincarnation @wingedladycolette
Why

Author's Note: Hello everyone! I am so sorry about the wait! I have started up a few new stories, updated an old one and have been working hard on a couple of different chapters without actually finishing any. Until now, that is! I'm so sorry about the wait but I have enjoyed reading all of your lovely words! I am very iffy about this chapter, not sure if I really explained the turmoil right, but I've been working on this for a while and this is as close to satisfactory as I can make it, right now. More is to come, though, just you wait! Let me know what you think! Enjoy!

Disclaimer: I own nothing!

Warnings: Nothing much, maybe language, un-beta'd and OOCness.

Word Count: 5,387

It was like a knife slicing long ways across Sakura's gut and then pouring magma into her gut. The sting in her eyes was suddenly but wasn't a drawn out feeling as she just started crying without any further preamble.

No one ever wants to receive horrible news like that at any point in their life and while Sakura has been surrounded by death since the moment she became a ninja and moreso since she became Tsunade's apprentice. It was a way of life that existed long before she came into their world and will exist long after she leaves it, but she never could have prepared herself for this moment.

It all kind of hit her so suddenly that she didn't have time - or even ability - to be able to control herself as this horrible, pained wail escapes her and her knees lose all of their strength. Ino manages to catch her and cradles her close to her chest, rocking back and forth, rubbing Sakura's hair and back soothingly, trying to calm her down. Sakura couldn't even really tell what was going on. All she could do was feel this horrible pain in her chest and stomach, so profoundly gripping at her heart and soul that she didn't know how to reign in her emotions. All she could do is let it out.

She knew Ino was there. Ino was her best friend. She knew that Ino was there at her side for her in her moment of need, just as she was with Ino. It wasn't something that was needed to be said. It was just something that they felt. Sakura and Ino loved one another as much as two people could without being romantically involved. It wasn't about what other people thought of them or what social norms were. Sakura and Ino were best friends since children and even though they had a bit of a rocky road to this moment, the friendship still lived on in the moments that maybe they didn't think that it would.

So even though she knew that Ino was there, she couldn't really feel or hear her. She felt her presence on her body, but her mind couldn't really process anything outside of the pain in her soul. She is having so many different feelings all converging on her at once that she just didn't have the focus or the will power to be able to properly sort out, the pain is just too prominent.

She's not sure how long she was sitting there in the dirt, crying her eyes out, probably snotting all over Ino and while she's sure Ino doesn't really mind, and won't think of her any differently, but she just can't seem to rein herself in. It was like all of the pain and confusion with losing her home and her normal along with her family it's like everything is falling apart around her even thought she also knows that she still has things going for her they just feel like they are nothing - minute, even - in comparison to everything that she is losing.

She's not alone. Logically, her brain knows that, but in this moment it felt like no one else in the world was with her. She still had her friends, but there was something about family that was irreplaceable.

Sakura didn't have any family other than her parents. She didn't have any siblings and neither did her parents, and her grandparents on both sides didn't - or at lest none that were living any more while Sakura was live - and now that they are all gone, Sakura is the only one left. She can't even say that she knows how Sasuke feels in the aspect of being the only living member of a family because while he may have felt like that, he technically wasn't. He did still have Itachi, and unbeknownst to him, Obito as well. And while they may have never counted as family again if they ever had children, the blood connection would always link them together.

Sakura doesn't get that. If she does have family out there, she has no idea how to find them, and if they are being technical again, they wouldn't even be Sakura's. They may be related, but there is absolutely no tangible connection. When her parents died, all familial connection vanished with them.

Someone grabs onto Sakura's arms, pulling her into a hard chest - definitely a man's - but she couldn't see through her blurry vision who it was, but the moment she smelled his faint shampoo, she knew immediately who it was.

It was Kakashi.

It was a little strange. Kakashi has never really been the comforting type of person, especially in Sakura's life. He's had his moments, but he always kind of the logical one. His words ma be comforting to a degree, but he's never been really physically comforting, though. He would put a hand on the shoulder or offer a knowing look, but little else.

But at this moment, he has Sakura pressed tight up against his chest. He wasn't really hugging her, not really, but one of his hands was cupping the back of her head in a very close imitation of a hug.

It wasn't a very Kakashi like action. He wasn't a very physically comforting type of person but in those moments, Sakura desperately needed it. There was something about Kakashi that was so fundamentally different than Ino. Ino was strong and sure and Sakura trusted her without a sliver of doubt, but Kakashi was her sensei. He was one of the few men left in her life that she looked up to as a young girl walking into the strange world of shinobi.

Even though Kakashi wasn't the most powerful person in the world, he was unstoppable to her. She knew that he wasn't unbeatable, but in that moment, he was like the rock that she needed. It's at a moment like this that, while Sakura's not sure how or what was said, but she knows that from the last moment that she clearly remembers to this moment now, something happened between the two of them. They had to of bonded somehow and forged a stronger bond than perhaps she was prepared for.

It was this new bond that she could feel in her heart, but not her mind, that allowed her to finally start to relax. Plus, Kakashi has always been so strong, so sure, that it seemed like nothing ever really fazed him and against a constant onslaught of pain and uncertainty, it's his assuredness and strength that manages to offer her a bit of comfort. With Ino, she could feel the mutual pain, it wasn't long before she lost her own father - and maybe her mother too, she wasn't sure if Ino's mother was even alive still - but Kakashi was calm.

He was upset for her, but he was also very relaxed, using his calming presence to bring her panic level down. At first, the confusion as to why Kakashi was the one, out of everyone in the world to hug her, but the confusion was enough to distract her from her pain long enough for her to start to finally calm down and regain her sense of self.

Sakura doesn't wrap her arms around Kakashi, but she does lean in closely to him, trying to absorb his strength into herself. She felt silly for breaking down like that out in the open, but at the same time, she couldn't bring herself to be mad about it. If anyone judged her for crying over her parents, she was probably going to beat the ever loving hell out of them. The feelings, especially now, is still very raw. She's not sure how she's really going to handle this, but for now she's calming down. The pain is still very fresh and she's sure she won't be able to get over it quickly, but right now she just needs some time to calm down.

Now that she's stopped sobbing and reduced to the occasional dry sob and shuttering breath, Kakashi pulls back and places both of his hands on her shoulders and looks down into her eyes.

There is a moment of pause, as they just stare at each other, Sakura blinks slowly, tears still leaking out of her eyes every couple of seconds. Kakashi takes a slow, deep breath, giving her shoulders a little squeeze before saying, tenderly, "I'm sorry, Sakura."

Sakura believed him. His words were like a knife in her heart, but it also offers her a bit of solace. She certainly didn't feel any better, but she did feel lighter getting some of that inner turmoil out, even if it's only a little bit. Sakura's not sure how she's going to work her way out of this, but that she's really going to need time to do so.

"I... need some time alone," Sakura croaks, but doesn't pull away from him just yet.

"Take all the time you need," Kakashi says gently. His words were kind, but it's his eyes that really convey what she needed. At that moment, all she needed to hear more than anything - and even though she isn't technically hearing it, she's happy that there is the confirmation in his eyes - these people aren't going to get away with what they've done.

Kakashi's eyes promised it: they - being Sakura and her shinobi family - are going to kill them all.

Sakura's not a vengeful person, but at that moment, that's all she wants. She wants them all to pay for killing her family, friends, villagers and destroying her home. She wants them all to pay.

Sakura sits at the river, watching the water flowing peacefully. Even though it felt like Sakura's entire world is crumbling down yet the water is still flowing like it always has. Life was still going on even if it felt like her life has come to a standstill. Sakura has been out here for hours since learning about the death of her parents. So many thoughts and feelings kept going through her mind, she didn't know how to sort any of it out.

In so many ways, Sakura knew that she was in shock by her parents death, but she felt like she was also still functioning. She was thinking and feeling - kami was she feeling - at such an alarming rate that she isn't able to properly cycle through and analyze properly before she's hit with the next emotion. There is no rhyme or reason for what she feels and when - and it's a wide range of emotions - and she's not sure how to control it or calm it until she no longer has any more emotions to feel, then she will be able to start healing.

She just... has to make it to that point.

Night draws closer, step by step, creeping over the horizon. Sakura knew that she should be returning to camp soon but she couldn't bring herself to do that. She couldn't go back there just yet feeling like she was. She couldn't face the wounded and broken expressions of the people around her. She couldn't stare into their eyes and keep herself in check.

She needed time to mourn, to think, to understand, and then to move on. She knows that it's important to be around people she loves and people who love her, but right now she just needed time.

Night comes, and still Sakura stays. She pulls her legs up to her chest and throughout the night, she sits there and stares at the rushing water, at one point hoping that all of her problems be washed away downstream, never to be found again. But she knew that wasn't an option. She just had to go through the flurry of emotions and begin to heal. She can feel it, a powerful swirling maelstrom of anger beating around on the inside of her chest, and she knows that it's going to unleash itself somehow, but she's not sure she wants to be around anyone when she does.

Sakura knows that she's strong. She knows that her physical strength is impressive, but she's also aware that she can be very destructive. Ever since Sakura was taught this amazing power, she was taught that while it's fine for her to lose her temper while in a battle scenario, if she lost it around comrades, then she is sure to do things that she will forever regret.

Her life is dedicated to caring for others, protecting them and healing them when they are hurt, but if she's the one who's hurting the ones she's suppose to be protecting..? No. That simply cannot be. She won't be the one to hurt anyone.

She's not, though, out here. Out here, when that moment of rage and pain comes, she will be able to expel it all from her body before finally returning home to her friends and fam-

Sakura closes her eyes. She brings her hands up to her face, rubbing at it roughly before running them through her short pink hair. This overwhelming urge to rip her own hair out of her skull tugs at her chest, but she fights it. As much as she wants to rip out every single strand of hair until there is nothing left, she knew she was just substituting the pain in her chest for another, and after that is over, the pain in her chest will remain. It was a temporary solution to a problem that she is simply going to have to toughen through until the end.

So, instead of pulling her hair out, like she wants to, she just furiously scratches at the back of her scalp for a few moments, no doubt messing up her hair, before letting her arms drop to the dirt next to her and her head to fall onto her knees. Her neck, back and the backs of her legs pull a bit in strain at the strange way she is sitting. She takes a moment to adjust herself a bit to make it a little bit more comfortable.

"Sakura?"

Sakura jerks upward, back going ramrod straight, before turning to look over her shoulder to see Tobirama standing behind her a few feet. One of his hands is resting against the trunk of the nearby tree. He was half hidden behind it, most would probably assume that he was sneaking up on her for one reason or another, but Sakura got the impression that he walked up behind her, she didn't notice, so he was about to leave again, before suddenly calling out to her.

She can kind of tell by the conflicted look on his face.

"Did those Senju men tell you what happened?" Sakura asks, figuring he was already there, she might as well know the reason why. Besides, maybe she needed to get out of her own head for a minute or two and regroup.

Tobirama takes her question as an invitation, stepping out a bit from around the tree and more into the moonlight. "To a degree," he admits. "They saw you and your friend walking, then you collapsed, crying. They reported it to us a few hours ago. Hashirama wanted to rush over to see what had happened. We managed to convince him that whatever it was, you would need a bit of time."

"We?" Sakura asks, already knowing the answer, but she just... needed to keep the conversation going.

Tobirama nods slowly. "Yes. Izuna, Madara and myself."

"I didn't mean to make a scene," Sakura says softly. "I just... wasn't prepared for the news that I got. I probably should have been. I should have expected the worse, seeing as my home was attacked and basically conquered, but, I suppose I'm still ignorant to the way of the shinobi." She laughs. It's bitter and cutting and sounds horrible to her ears. She stops laughing.

Tobirama takes another step closer. "May I ask what the news was?"

Sakura didn't want to admit it. She didn't want to put it into words. She thought that maybe if she didn't really talk about it, in a way, it wasn't real. Even though the pain was there, somehow it was all just a fluke. Perhaps another part of it stems from the fact that she really didn't want to talk about it. She didn't want to make a pity party with other people, she wanted to be alone. She wasn't the first person to lose someone she loved, and she wouldn't be the last. She should just come to terms with her loss and move on. Not quickly, because then people would worry more. But at an acceptable rate, and then it will all be over.

Besides, why would she tell Tobirama anything? Sure, he was her friend, but they had only known each other for a few months. There had to be a slew of things currently going on that probably needed his attention a hell of a lot more than she did, and even if there wasn't, he didn't owe her anything. Sure, he could say that he owed her for saving his brother's life, but honestly, she'd have done that without him asking, and it wasn't done entirely selflessly anyhow.

She wanted Konoha and in order to get it, she needed Hashirama.

No, that's down playing their friendship, because like Tobirama, Hashirama was her friend too. She loved and admired them both, but at the end of the day, she still owed them a hell of a lot more than they owed her.

Er, well, she did when she thought that they were the founders of her village. Now that she knows that they are just men that look like the founders from a different timeline altogether, she's not sure what to think.

Just adding onto the pile. That was another case in and of itself that she has yet to crack open and examine thoroughly. And as much as she wanted to in this moment, to be able to focus on anything else in the entire world other than herself and her grief, she really couldn't. Not on that, because it would then just come full circle.

And she'd have made it nowhere. She probably would have uprooted more questions than answers, anyhow.

But, at the same time, she wanted to talk about it. For hours she's been stewing in her pain and it was starting to get too much. She wanted to go back home and talk to her friends - talk to Ino, whom she's missed so much but hasn't had the time to actually sit down and talk to about, well, anything with because of the move - but there is still so much going on. All of her friends have to focus on their own problems and the problems of their people.

They aren't spending a lot of time on their own pain, they don't have the time. Yet, holding true to her nature, she's making a big deal about her own pain and suffering as if theirs meant nothing to her.

Kami damned it, Sakura. Why? Why is it always you? Why are you always the one to drag everyone down? Why are you always the one to make every little thing about yourself? Why? Why? Why?

Sakura's finger interlace between the smooth pink locks, pulling at them a bit at the roots, letting out a low groan of anger. Shit, she's probably making this entire thing worse. How is she suppose to process all of this? Coming out here, she felt that being alone was what was best, but now that feels selfish. Wanting to go back and talk to Ino about it seems both presumptuous because of her own loss and selfish. And now, wanting to talk to Tobirama about it seems like a stupid idea because, if she can't tell Ino, why the hell should she be talking to Tobirama about it?

Ino's her best friend! Ino's from her time, knows her parents, probably misses them too! Ino understands what she's going through and can probably shine more light on the situation! Why is this so difficult? Why is she so conflicted? Should she say something about it, or just let it pass? Should she be as selfish as she wants to be, or finally take the high road?

Why does it feel like every decision she's made since she woke up here in this timeline has somehow been wrong? What in the world is she doing? How can she somehow magically get on the right path? Do the right things?

"Sakura..." Tobirama says softly.

"My parents," Sakura blurts out, without thinking about it. "My parents didn't make it out of Konoha alive. Those bastards killed them." She could feel fresh tears building up in her eyes again. She turns forward again, neck hurting from looking over her shoulder for so long. She furiously wipes the tears away. "Damn it!"

There is a moment of silence where Sakura was almost certain that Tobirama had taken this time to turn and high tail it back to his village, not ready to deal with her and her seemingly endless bounds of drama. But he didn't. He settled down next to her, slowly, as if worried he was approaching a wild animal that could turn psychotic at any given moment. She doesn't blame him. She must seem grossly unstable.

"Tell me about them," Tobirama says calmly.

Sakura shakes her head. "I don't want to." No, she did. And she didn't. She just couldn't seem to make up her mind.

"It will make you feel better," Tobirama insists smoothly. Sakura opens her mouth, about to protest when he continues, "Trust me, I didn't think it would help me either. I didn't want to acknowledge the things that hurt me because I feared it made me weaker. But Hashirama beat a bit of... sensitivity into me. Not so much for others," he admits with a touch of humor that makes Sakura smile for a split second before it falls again and he continues, "but for myself. I don't like... admitting to my faults or to things that bother me, whereas Hashirama is like an open book for all to read from. I bottle things up, he does not."

Sakura turns to look at the white haired man. His face, hair and eyes are lit up by the moonlight. His long lashes casting thin shadows across his cheeks.

"What are you referring to?" Sakura asks softly.

"A few things," Tobirama admits, "but perhaps those are a story for a different time. I... will tell you about my most painful experience but you mustn't utter word to any other." He turns to look at her with the most intense red eyes she's seen form him yet. He's bearing his heart to her and it's more trust in another person than he's obviously comfortable with, but he's doing it anyway. For her.

"I won't," Sakura promises, nodding her head. "I swear."

Tobirama hesitates for a few moments, looking her eyes, trying to see if she's telling the truth. It's obvious that whatever he's about to speak about is a very touchy subject to him and while he trusts her, he's still worried about exposing his heart to her. Perhaps he is a lot more delicate than he likes to admit.

Once he seems sure that she's going to keep her promise - a flash of reconsideration flickers across his face, but he steals himself - he finally says, "I was thirteen years old when my mother died."

He doesn't go on, but the weight of his words settles on Sakura's shoulders like a ton of bricks. Thirteen years old Sakura couldn't believe she lost her mother at seventeen. At thirteen? That was beyond her comprehension.

"It was just Hashirama and I in the room with her the night before," Tobirama says slowly. He looks about to go on, but hesitates before saying, "my mother has always been a very frail woman. She had to live a very simple life simply because she wasn't strong enough for much more. But she enjoyed taking care of my brothers and I and after losing my two younger brothers, she grew sickly and weak for the longest time."

Tobirama looks away from her, toward the rushing water, a crease forming between his eyes. "She had been so sick for so long that my brother and I were told to stay away from her, but that night, she called for us to come sleep with her, something we hadn't done in a long time. I remember laying at her side, my head on one of her shoulders, Hashirama's on the other," Tobirama says softly, eyes gaining this far away look.

"She would rub our backs softly and tell us about how much she loved us. At one point she started crying and admitted to missing my two little brothers and wishing that she hadn't brought such beautiful babies into the world to simply die. She felt even greater pain for bringing Hashirama and I into the world because we lived. We lived through our brothers dying, our clansmen and friends. And soon her. She feared that soon there would be nothing left for us to lose. Except for ourselves, and that would be the ultimate punishment."

Tobirama rubs at his forehead, his jaw working, straining to reign in the emotions that where desperately bubbling to the surface. When he speaks again, his voice is stoic, dead, as if that was the only way for him to tell his story.

"She then told us about how much she loved us and what is was that she loved. The joy we brought her and others. The way that we remained strong even after we lost our baby brothers. How one day, if this war didn't consume us, she was certain we were going to change the world for the better," he pauses a moment. He closes his eyes, as if seeing something behind his eye lids that he hadn't seen in a long time. A frown tugs at the corners of his mouth, but after a split second, it relaxes again.

"She told us that no matter what, we needed to always stick together and to our beliefs. That in a world that we would forge, while better than the one we were born into, no one could ever be trusted as much as each other. We were born in the same place, by the same people, for the same reason and loved completely for the things that made us different. If we had nothing else in the world, we had each other." Tobirama turns to look at her, red eyes soft and sad. "I believe her," he admits, "even to this day. If I have no one else in the entire world, I will always have Hashirama."

He looks away again. "My mother held us in her arms until we fell asleep. The first night we spent with our mom in a long time, was the last night of her life. She died before sunrise that very next day. With Hashirama and I still sleeping beside her. By the time we woke up, she was already getting cold."

Sakura could feel the silent tears streaming down her face. She didn't say anything or reach out to touch him because it didn't feel like that was what he needed - or wanted.

"I didn't want to think about her," Tobirama continues, voice flat again to fend off the emotions. "I didn't want to mourn her because I didn't want to think of it as she was gone. I just wanted to try and focus on anything, and everything, else. While he had time to grieve and begin to heal, I was festering in my pain and agony in a way I don't think I could have ever escaped on my own. And while that worked for a few days, Hashirama wouldn't let me live with that pain coiled up inside me any longer. He told me the same thing I'm going to tell you."

It's at that moment that he turns to her and waits for her to turn to him before speaking, "The pain you feel now is nothing compared to the pain you will feel once you finally start to heal. Once the pain in your chest and the reason to not get up in the morning begin to fade, then you will reach the toughest milestone of all in the grieving process; coming to the terms with your acceptance."

"What does that mean?" Sakura asks, finally speaking. Her voice is deep and wavering.

"Acceptance is a natural thing that comes with grief, but what they never say is how horrible you feel when coming to accept your acceptance," Tobirama says slowly. "When that morning finally comes that you realize that you are ready to move on, you will have the largest hurdle in front of you. And that is coming to terms with the fact that while you will love and miss them forever, the part of your heart that at one point they occupied, the person you love is gone and now they won't forever be in your forethoughts. You will hate yourself and feel that you do them disservice every time your thoughts drift from them. You will feel anger, pain, and guilt over this, and when that happens, no matter what I'm doing. No matter where I am. No matter how we feel toward each other at that moment," Tobirama says seriously, looking deep into her eyes. "You find me. I will save you."

Sakura didn't know what to say. This was what Hashirama-sama said to Tobirama-sama? It was so profound, so deep that it was a little hard to imagine that it came from such a goofy, happy young man. Especially a young one whom just lost his mother. He was truly something.

"So, I pass on these words to you, my friend," Tobirama says softly, nodding a bit toward her. "When that moment comes for you, and it will, even if you don't think so. Just know that I will be here for you."

Sakura stares up at him in wonder, not really knowing what to say. She opens her mouth, then closes it, only to open it again, realize she's still at a loss for words before she closes it again. She takes a moment to furiously wipe away her tears and collect her thoughts before looking back over at him and asking, quietly, "Why are you telling me this?" Why would you share something so personal? Why would you make yourself so vulnerable? Why would you put yourself out there? Why? Why? Why?

Tobirama stares down at her for a moment, as if not knowing how to answer that. After a bit of mental debate, he admits, softly, as if worried someone will overhear him, "I'm afraid I am not courageous enough, or drunk enough, to be able to give you the answer that you seek. One day, perhaps, but not today."

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