Reincarnation @wingedladycolette
You will be

Author's Note: Oh my goodness, I am so sorry for the long wait! I have been working so much these last few months and starting all sorts of new projects that I haven't been able to write as much as I would have liked to. I promise that I haven't forgotten about my stories and I know that y'all must be getting tired of my flightiness, which I understand. T.T I will finish this story, one day! For now, thank you for over 1, 700 wonderful reviews that help spur me onward toward the completion of this story! I couldn't have done it without you! Let me know what you think! Enjoy!

Warnings: Mentions of death, language, OOCness.

Disclaimer: I own nothing.

Word count: 5,194

"Does that make sense?" Ino was saying to Salma and Aya as Sakura walks up to them. She's holding up two very similar plants. One that is used as herbal remedy for paralysis and the other is a key ingredient for a potent poison. Sakura was impressed with her childhood friend and rival would think to mention that to the girls. Sakura hadn't. But that just goes to prove her point. The girls get more well-rounded teaching when dealing with both Sakura and Ino as teachers. Hinata might be good too. She would teach them better ways of controlling their chakra.

"Yes ma'am," Aya and Salma say at once, looking over at Sakura as she draws closer.

"Hey, Sakura," Ino says, laying the plants down, dusting her hands off. "How did it go with Lord Hokage?"

"Fine," Sakura says, running her fingers through her hair, rolling her shoulders back. "Thanks for helping the girls out in their training, Ino, I appreciate it."

Ino shrugs her shoulders, offering a coy smile. "Not a problem. These girls could use a bit of proper training, don't you think?" Ino nudges Sakura's ribs with her elbow, jokingly. Sakura rolls her eyes, used to her best friend's way of talking.

"Sure thing, Ino, that's why I'm here. Thanks for your time, but the girls need to start training," Sakura says, teasingly. She grins at the sour look her best friend gives her before they are both smiling at each other.

Ever since seeing Ino again, there has been a bit of weirdness between them. It's hard to explain. Kind of like with Kakashi, where she felt a connection between them that her mind didn't recognize. Well, she recognized that something was a bit different about them, but she just didn't know what. With Ino, it's a bit different. Sakura is aware of what was weird between them: Sakura's parents.

Ino blames herself. Sakura can see it in her eyes. Ino saw it. She could have done something to help, but she didn't. Or better, she couldn't. So much was happening, and everyone's lives were in danger. Sakura doesn't blame Ino in the slightest for her parents death. She blames those that attacked them. She blames those that stormed into their village after casting some sort of large scale genjutsu over it and started to slaughter their way through the ranks until all of the shinobi of Konoha were either dead or fleeing for their lives.

Sakura didn't blame Ino. She blamed them. They were the ones that were going to pay, not Ino.

But Sakura can't tell Ino how to feel. She knows that the beautiful blonde wishes that she had done something to save Sakura's parents - something more than Sakura's sure she's done - but Sakura knows that she did everything she could that time and circumstance permitted. Ino is alive today, that's what matters. Sakura couldn't lose both of them. Her parents and her best friends. Her heart simply wouldn't have been able to take it. But Sakura didn't ever hear Ino out about what happened that day. She never gave Ino the chance to talk it out and apologize - like Sakura figures she would - so that Sakura can tell her that she was never to blame and that forgiveness, while given, wasn't necessary.

Ino wasn't to blame. She never would be.

But Sakura hasn't told Ino yet, and the guilt and sadness hanging over her friend like a dark cloud was her fault.

"Girls," Sakura says, looking back over at Aya and Salma, "can I have the two of you go and collect more herbs from the forest for the patients and I'll be right with you? I need to speak with Ino for a moment."

Both Salma and Aya nod, turning to leave. Salma catches herself first, turning and bowing to Ino. "Thank you for helping us today, Ino-san. I really learned a lot."

Aya falters, realizing what she forgot and bows deeply, a blush darkening her pale cheeks. "Uh, yes, thanks! I mean, thank you!"

Salma smiles sweetly as she follows Aya out, who was muttering angrily at herself for forgetting something so simple. Ino is grinning behind them, not the least bit bothered by any of this.

Once the girls are gone, Sakura turns toward her best friend, to see Ino staring back at her.

"Ino-" Sakura starts but it cut off almost immediately by Ino saying, "Sakura, I-" They both stop and stare at one another, before smiling faintly at one another before Ino waves her hand.

"You go."

Sakura sighs, running her hands up and down her arms for a moment, adjusting the arm warmers back into place, before looking up into her best friend's eyes. "Ino, about my parents..." she hesitates, wondering how to say this properly. It's easier to say that there was nothing to forgive, but Ino hasn't said anything yet. It's... difficult to find the words.

"Ino," Sakura tries again, "you aren't to blame for what happened to my parents."

Ino looks away, the smile had faded from her face. "I know. I don't."

Now, Sakura doesn't believe that for a second. Even if she wasn't looking into the blatant sadness in her friend's eyes, her voice was enough to tip off how she really felt. Sakura knew Ino. She was kind and caring and even when she and Sakura weren't friends anymore - rivals, she supposed, though could they really be considered that? - she still looked after Sakura in her own way.

Ino was loyal and wonderful, and Sakura didn't deserve to have a great friend like her.

"Ino," Sakura says, reaching out to put a hand on the blond's shoulder. Ino looks down, long, thick, dark lashes covering one visible eye. "I know you better than that. I don't know everything that happened, but I do know that you did everything that you could and I appreciate it." She squeezes Ino's shoulder, meaningfully. "Truly, thank you."

"I didn't do anything," Ino says, her voice hitched slightly as her eyebrows pull together a bit. She closes her eyes, looking more pained than she did a few moments before. She looks like she's going back in time to that moment. Sakura is eternally grateful that she isn't able to see into Ino's mind and see the last moments of her parents' life, which is no doubt playing behind her eyelids.

Selfishly, Sakura isn't ready to hear it, either. As horrible as it is, Sakura is happy that instead of reliving the moment aloud just yet, Ino opens her eyes once more, looking worn and sad, stress cutting thin lines under her eyes that Sakura didn't remember being there the last time she saw her friend. Then again, they all lived through a war and lost many people they loved.

"I wish I could have done something," Ino says, looking terribly torn. "If I... I could..." Tears spike in her eyes, glossing them over and forcing Sakura to fear that her parents didn't pass peacefully. "It's just like with Asuma-sensei. If only... if only I had been quicker. Stronger." Ino looks into Sakura's eyes, mournfully and flinches. Sakura can only imagine the look on her face at that moment. Whatever it is, Ino looks horrified by it. "Sakura..." Ino whispers. "I am so sorry."

Sakura stares back at her friend, not sure what her face looks like, but when she speaks, her voice is calm and flat, "Don't be sorry, Ino. It's not your fault. I don't blame you now, nor will I ever. Just be there with me when the time comes to kill every single one of those sons of bitches."

Ino opens her mouth, about to say something, but doesn't appear to know what, as a tear slides down her cheek while she blinks mutely. Finally, Ino closes her mouth and nods, no longer having any words.

"I have to go, Ino," Sakura says, her voice softening a bit. "I'll see you, okay?"

Ino nods, using the back of her hand to wipe the tears away. "Okay..."

Sakura pats Ino on the shoulder before turning and leaving, feeling like she took a hundred steps backward rather than making any progress with Ino, and feeling terrible. Sakura reaches up to touch her face, wondering what could have been so bad about her expression that worried Ino so much, but all she touched was the smooth skin of her face, stuck in a purely stoic expression. Cold and detached.

"Sakura?"

Someone touches her shoulder, making the pink haired girl jump, spinning around to see Tobirama standing a foot behind her with a quirked eyebrow.

"Tobirama-sama," Sakura says, holding a hand over her chest for a moment to control her breathing, "you scared me. I was too lost in my thoughts, I didn't hear you come up behind me."

Tobirama pulls his hand back, letting it fall to his side. "My apologies. I didn't intend to scare you."

Sakura waves away his apology. "It's okay, it just shows that I have to be more careful and aware of my surroundings at all times." She shrugs her shoulders. Even being so close to Konoha, she was no longer as safe as she once thought that she was. It's a terrible feeling being so close to Konoha and feeling like she's standing in the middle of enemy territory - even if it didn't seem like that.

It almost... felt like those people took Konoha - and its safety - away from her. It's alarming and left Sakura in a bit of a daze for a while now. It's entering into the evening and the temperature is starting to drop significantly at night. Sakura isn't sure if they are going to have any snow this year, but it is definitely going to be cold.

"You should be careful," Tobirama says strictly, crossing his arms over his chest.

Sakura rolls her eyes. "Yes, sir." He was right, though, the little voice in the back of her head whispered. Sakura feels a shiver of fear run through her. She crosses her arms over her chest.

"Cold?" He asks, mistaking her actions.

Sakura shrugs her shoulders, not sure her voice would come out steady if she tried to lie. "Was there something that you needed, Tobirama-sama?" Sakura asks instead. Anything to get her mind occupied on something else.

Tobirama stares at her a moment, debating something before deciding against saying what he wanted to and opting for what he came for, "I wanted to thank you."

Sakura stares at him, not sure she heard him right. "Thank me?"

Tobirama nods. "Yes." He says it like that would make everything make sense. It didn't.

"What for?" She wanted something to occupy her mind. Turns out Tobirama Senju is pretty good at catching her full, undivided attention. Without trying, it seems.

"For saving Hashirama and Izuna."

Sakura stares at her, wondering if, for a brief moment, she was brought back in time, again, but to the moments following her return to help Hashirama. But she wasn't far from where her people set up camp just outside of... Konoha? She could see them starting fires in through the brush of the trees. She was right where she was supposed to be.

"I don't understand," Sakura says, looking back over at the Senju heir. "That was a while ago, and you already thanked me. Why are you doing so again?"

"Because," Tobirama says easily, shifting a bit as the cold wind grabs at his long, dark blue kimono, "we are grateful, my brother, Madara, Izuna and I. We know what you did for us and we are thankful to you. It must not seem like it, though, considering how you and your people have been treated these last few days."

Oh, so that is what he was worried about.

"I might not seem like it," Sakura says, turning her entire body toward him, "but I'm not unreasonable. I understand why you guys are being cautious and there is nothing wrong with that. You're being protective, it's okay. I know how you are." Seriously, she does. She remembers the very conversation that she had with him in that regard.

He was angry at himself for not being more cautious when dealing with Sakura, she can figure that he wouldn't let lightning strike twice. It just wasn't in his nature and while he allowed her to be a special case - which is probably the most flattering thing that someone like Tobirama could do - her people weren't going to get the free pass.

Sakura knew how the bonding of the clans worked. They get invited in on the good word of someone trusted. The Akimichi, for example, worked alongside the Senju during their war with the Uchiha and so they already forged connections and were invited to join because of the Senju brothers good word. It's how all of them got the invite. The Shimura Clan was invited because they were good friends with the Yamanaka. It's about who you know and how well you know them that allows for the invite.

Then all parties involved need to sit down and see if they can all mold together well enough for this to work or not. Then they move on from there.

Sakura hopes that her good word, and from what they have seen so far, is enough to allow all of the clans to agree to let her people integrate into the village.

"I know that I go overboard," Tobirama admits. "I can't help it. I'm just not wired for blind trust like Hashirama. It's not who I am."

"And that's okay," Sakura says, offering a thin smile. "No one is going to ask you to, either. It's just like you said, 'This is how the Shinobi world works' and we are strangers being allowed around your families. That sort of welcome comes with a grain of salt."

Tobirama flinches. A deep, full body flinch that almost looked like it hurt. "Sakura -"

"Don't apologize," Sakura cuts him off, holding her hand up to silence him. "I didn't say that to throw it in your face or rehash an old wound. As painful as it was to hear, you're right. I'm not sure I would be completely against it if our lives had been switched and I was in your position. I probably would have been a bit nicer about it, but that's whatever." Sakura shrugs.

Tobirama has the decency to look ashamed by her words, which wasn't her intention. At the time she was sure she hated them, at least a bit. They had no right to invade her privacy the way that they had, but at the end of the day, she couldn't even tell them that she would have told them the truth if they had asked because she wouldn't have. Just like Tobirama was trying to protect his people, sort of, Sakura was trying to do the same thing.

She's not sure if a day is going to pass without her thinking about the level of violation that was, but it's not something that she won't ever be able to get past. She's already lost so much, she's not willing to let these friends go because of ignorance and fear. Perhaps that makes her naive and foolish, she's not sure. She won't let them just forget that, though. It's acceptable of enemies and in battle, but not to friends. Not during peaceful times. It's not okay. She's sure they probably realized that already, but she doesn't want them to forget easily.

She may be stupid enough to forgive, but someone else might not be. Someone important.

"Sakura," Tobirama says, looking down at Sakura with a crease between his eyes, "I was cruel, I know. I say things that - while I mean - don't have the tact that I wish they did. I am sorry. I... should not have spoken about your family, and your village, like that. It was insensitive and cruel, especially considering the circumstances. And the irony is not lost on me either."

It took Sakura a moment to realize what he was talking about. The people and village that he said were gone, was his own village - or a version of it - from the future. Yeah, that is a little ironic. And terrifying.

Sakura nods, not wanting to say that it was okay because it wasn't. She hopes that he's kinder in breaking any sort of news to people in the future or is never the person put in charge of dealing out delicate information to the fragile because that would probably end up somewhat similarly to how it did with Sakura.

A snort escapes her before she can stop it. Tobirama's shameful look morphs into one of curiosity. "What?"

Sakura shakes her head, feeling a laugh bubbling up from her chest. "Nothing, I'm sorry I was just..." Sakura giggles, trying to get the words out, "I was just remembering when I started to cry. The look on your face. I had wanted so bad to hit you for what you said, at that moment, you looked like you would rather I hit you."

Tobirama looks annoyed, glaring at the bush beside her like it offended his ancestry. If that bush could burst into flames right at that moment from his pointed glare alone, it would.

"You were crying," he mumbles under his breath, her laugh so loud in the quiet forest that she barely caught it.

"Crying girls aren't your forte, Tobirama-sama?" Sakura asks in mock surprise. His annoyed glare now directed toward her was her answer, which only strengthened her mirth for the situation. It serves only to irritate him further. Sakura is starting to suspect the redness on his cheeks isn't from the cold, like the tip of his nose is.

Her laughter began to fade from her lips. Why was she laughing? There was nothing funny about any of this. Everyone was homeless. Countless people were sick, dead or missing. And here she was, laughing away like an idiot in the forest just feet away from people who lost just about everything, just short of their lives and the people that surround them. Including herself. Now wasn't the time for laughing. Now was the time for planning and plotting.

Planning for the future. Her own, and that of her people and friends.

And planning for the epic hellstorm that will befall those that fucked with her home and her people.

Shame and anger bubble up inside of her. Sakura tries to stomp it down, reaching up to cover her face with her hands as a painful silence settles over them as she tries to control the emotions no doubt playing across her face. Sakura has to focus on what needs to be dealt with. She needs to focus on what matters. Everything else can wait. Everything else can be put on hold.

Maybe Tobirama sensed the change or his sight isn't so bad that even in the dark he could see the shifting emotions whirling like a maelstrom inside of her playing across his face, or he's more attuned to people than she thought, because he reaches out and puts a hand on top of her head and lets it rest there. He doesn't ask anything or even speak at all. He just lets her feel his presence.

Sakura forgot to ask him what he wanted from her before they derailed, but she's suspecting this may have been it. She's not going to break down. Not now, not today.

Maybe not ever.

"I'm okay," Sakura whispers into the darkness of her hands, feeling the cold air pull at her hair and clothes.

Tobirama doesn't move, but whispers back, "I know you will be."

"I'm okay," She whispers again, forcing herself to believe it. She's not going to fall apart. No. Not today. Not now.

"I know you will be."

"Good boy, Akamaru."

Sakura smiles as she walks up to the Inuzuka and his partner as the brown haired boy bathes the dog with precision and care from years of experience. They were a little ways away from camp, probably to spare people from the smell of wet dog, but still well within seeing and hearing distance in case something happens.

It's the following day and the high noon sun is shining above them, bathing the Land of Fire in its rays. The days are finally starting to cool down. It's pretty warm today but a cold front is coming in and people are starting to really worry about the winter time. It didn't seem like it before, but it actually might snow this year, which isn't going to be good for them, especially with so many people sleeping outside without proper living conditions. They are really going to have to think of something before it gets too cold or they are going to lose a lot of people this winter.

Hinata, who was on the other side of Akamaru, that Sakura hadn't originally seen, saw her first. She smiles happily as Sakura approached.

"Good afternoon, Sakura-chan."

Kiba twists around from where he's knelt on Akamaru's right flank to look at Sakura over his shoulder. He offers a charming smile and a little wave. "Hey, Sakura!"

"Hey, guys. Washing up Akamaru?" Sakura asks as if it wasn't completely obvious.

Kiba nods, not minding as he rubs suds deep into Akamaru's underfur to ensure that he's being cleaned properly, all the while his companion is sitting like a good boy waiting patiently for it to be done.

"Yeah, I missed my chance yesterday when it was pretty nice out, I wanted to make sure that Akamaru will be clean for the winter so that I don't have to worry about it until it gets warmer out again. I try to make a habit to do it at least once a month, but it's been a crazy year..." he trails off, not having to explain it to Hinata and Sakura. They understand.

Er, mostly, in Sakura's case.

"I heard you were having some issues with your memories, Sakura-chan," Hinata says, also scrubbing away into Akamaru's fur. "Are you doing okay?"

Sakura shrugs, walking over to stand in front of Akamaru to talk to both of them. She reaches out and lightly pets the top of his head, making his tail start to wag. She's careful not to pull any of the soap into his eyes.

"Stop wagging your tail, Akamaru!" Kiba says, reaching out and grabbing the appendage to stop it from splashing them any more than it already has. Hinata laughs softly at the sudsy water particles flying around them.

Sakura smiles, pulling her hand back and smiling in apology. Kiba waits another moment before releasing his best friend's tail and resuming cleaning him.

"I'm okay, still picking up the pieces day by day," Sakura says, not really wanting to talk about that. She really doesn't want to look back - which is crazy because a lot of answers are there - but focus on what is to come. What needs to be done.

"That's good," Hinata says, quietly. "Hanabi had memory loss too. It's bad. She doesn't remember two entire years."

Sakura's eyes bug out of her head, surprised that she didn't know that. She heard that there was some bad cases, but not that bad. Two entire years of one's life, gone. Sakura was struggling with a few months. Hanabi lost two entire years? That made Sakura's issues seem like nothing.

"Are you serious?" Sakura asks, without thinking. Of course, she would be serious, this was her sister she was talking about, after all.

Hinata didn't mind, though. She nods, sadly. She pauses in rubbing in the soap to look over at Sakura with large, sad purple eyes. "She asked about Neji."

Sakura's heart hurt. She couldn't help but spare a few moment to feel the death of her friend again. Someone else she really hasn't had the time to mourn that she kept putting onto the back burning because there were more pressing things that needed her attention. Maybe Tobirama was wrong, maybe Sakura was some sort of sociopath that didn't know how to mourn people.

Sure, she cried for her people, and her parents, but not much else. Tobirama made it seem like it would be difficult to move on without them. Sakura - the heartless bitch - seems to be doing just fine. In these last few months, she has barely offered Neji more than a fleeting thought or two. How very heartless indeed.

"Yeah," Kiba says, voice lowered in sadness. "She was a mess when we told her. She broke down crying. It was hard to watch. Even though she was almost thirteen when it actually happened, learning about it again, her mindset was that of a ten-year-old. It was hard."

Hinata nods, looking deeply pained as if her sister's despair is shared with her again at that very moment.

"How is she doing?" Sakura asks.

Hinata looks over at Sakura, smiling without mirth. "Day by day." Sakura can feel that. Sometimes that's the only thing that can be done.

After a few minutes of silence, Hinata and Kiba working on Akamaru, they finally dump water over the white dog and work on getting the suds out of his fur with practiced movements. Finally, Kiba breaks the silence, "Was there something that you needed, Sakura?"

"Oh," Sakura says, grabbing onto her left elbow with her right hand behind her back and leaning on one hip, "I actually remembered that I forgot to tell you how good of a boy Akamaru was during our time together."

Kiba's smile is filled with love and pride for his partner. "Oh yeah? Tell me about it."

"Thank you for meeting with us, Madara-sama," Kakashi says, dipping his head respectfully. Sakura follows, a moment behind him.

Madara nods, waving for them to take a seat at the table. "I'm sorry that I haven't been able to get back to you for a couple of days. Is it something that you can only speak to me about? Should I ask everyone else to leave?"

Kakashi nods respectfully to the three other men in the room before looking back at Madara with unusually sharp eyes, rather than his lazy-keen expression. "I suppose that's up to you. It's about you, but if you don't care if they are spectating, I've got no problem with it."

Madara stares at him. "Is there something that I should be worried about?"

Kakashi thoughtfully considers that, giving it a considerable amount of thought that Sakura half thought was a joke, or jest toward the founder before he looked Madara seriously in the eye and says, with certainty, "No. I don't think it's something that you should be worried about. I think everything will work itself out, one way or another."

Madara just stares at Kakashi like that didn't make him feel any more confident in the conversation ahead. Which Sakura isn't surprised, this hasn't exactly stared on a high note. When he didn't say, or gesture, for Tobirama, Hashirama or Izuna to leave the room, Sakura figured that was his answer on whether he wanted them there or not and decided to get this show on the road.

She's not sure she knows what to expect from this discussion, but she's hoping that it'll be a positive learning experience for all of them and help bridge the gap between the two Konohas rather than blast the bridge to pieces. Fingers crossed.

"It's just history," Sakura says. "Our history, or at least what we were taught, in regards to you. The lie, and the truth."

Madara looks over at Sakura, perplexed. "What does that mean?"

Sakura sighs, wondering how to say this without making it seem like it's more than what it is. They just want the founders to know where they are coming from and be a bit forgiving for their ignorance and hopefully not blow up over any sort of issue that may appear in the future, which hopefully won't be the case, but Kakashi is right to be cautious.

Besides, it's respectful to Madara to tell him the truth. He was made out to be some big monster the entire time through their history only for that not to have been true. Sakura's not sure if she understands the whole story, but she knows enough to know that once again, Madara has been colored wrong. If the First and Madara separated at the Valley of the End on surprisingly amicable terms - as amicable as it can be when one kills the other at the latter's request - then someone painted a very skewed picture for the history books.

Madara deserves to know the truth. To at least understand a little bit why things are the way that they are. Then, maybe, they can all move forward together and forge a better future. One filled with love, and family, and justice. Justice in the purest form a Shinobi can provide.

Revenge. For those that were loved and lost. For those that might still be lost. And for those that may never find their way home.

"Our history, the history that I grew up with," Sakura says, staring level-eyed with a man that she once never gave a second thought to when learning about him briefly in school, to hating him for raging war on the nations, to fearing him for the monstrous power he has, to fearing him for the terrible things he's done, to caring for him as a person and finally to be sitting before him, loving him as a friend and brother, "it doesn't paint you in a good light."

Madara stares for a moment as if he didn't understand, but once the words process, a small crease appears between his eyes as the look hardens into cold, detached understanding. An emotionless mask used to protect himself. Very similar to her own just a few days before...

"Tell me," Madara says, voice level. "Tell me everything."

Anonymous reviews have been disabled. Login to review. 1. Return Home 4928 0 0 2. Awaken 6285 0 0 3. Help 6312 0 0 4. Kaido 6522 0 0 5. Suggestion 6004 0 0 6. To be ashamed 6743 0 0 7. Yin and Yang Seals 5243 0 0 8. Dream 6904 0 0 9. The Dance 6870 0 0 10. The Show 6631 0 0 11. The Friend 6324 0 0 12. Two things 5430 0 0 13. Helping Madara 6348 0 0 14. Izuna Uchiha 5434 0 0 15. Memory of Konoha 5019 0 0 16. Izuna's time 5222 0 0 17. Tobirama's Seal of Apology 5779 0 0 18. Goodbye 5603 0 0 19. The Call 5339 0 0 20. Hashirama's Power 5699 0 0 21. Rememberance 5191 0 0 22. And She Felt 5284 0 0 23. Why 5191 0 0 24. See for yourself 5134 0 0 25. Forest 5017 0 0 26. What you think you know 5026 0 0 27. You will be 5004 0 0 28. What does it mean to you 5110 0 0 29. One of those annoying author's notes 702 0 0 30. What's next 5299 0 0 31. Pushing forward 5766 0 0 32. Change 4770 0 0 33. His name is 4883 0 0 34. Readers, I love you 2566 0 0 35. What you see 4929 0 0 36. Civil Maturity 5291 0 0 37. Own Pace 4573 0 0