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somewhere between sorrow and bliss

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“I never expected to see you again!” Hashirama exclaimed, wrapping arms around Sakura and lifting her off the ground.

“Oi!” Danzō said, scowling at the man. “Put her down!”

Sakura and Hashirama exchanged looks before he set her down, chuckling all the while.

“Calm down squirt,” Hashirama said, ruffling the boy’s hair. Danzō had gone through a growth spurt and was nearly eye level with Hashirama now.

“That was a little overdramatic,” Sakura told Hashirama, drawing Danzō away by the arm. “You’ve been receiving weekly updates from us. Our Summons have been arriving on time right?”

“Still, we’ve missed you,” Hashirama said, moving to hold his brother in a heartfelt embrace.

“That we have,” Mito said, sidling up beside Sakura and hugging her tightly. “Your hair’s grown out a bit.”

“Just a few inches,” Sakura said, touching her hair self-consciously. “The team said it was nice.”

“It’s great, Sakura-sensei!” Kagami chimed in, wrapping his arms around her middle and glaring at Mito.

“It’s a very flattering cut,” Torifu added, smiling sympathetically at Mito.

Mito just laughed lightly, shaking her head at the team’s antics. Team Three was infamous for their attachment to their mentor and it was obvious that it had only been strengthened during their time away.

“I feel unloved,” Tobirama said, moving toward them.

“Your brother is attached to your hip,” Sakura replied with raised brows. “I think that’s plenty of love.”

Tobirama shrugged, pouting at his students. “Why don’t you three cling to me like that? I feel so unloved.”

“Never happening,” Koharu said, shuddering in disgust.

“How are you feeling, Sakura?” Izuna asked, eyes soft as he approached her.

Kagami tightened his arms around Sakura’s waist, Sharingan activating instinctively.

Madara and Izuna both stifled a laugh.

Sakura ignored her student, smiling brightly at her friend. She pulled out of Kagami’s embrace, hugging the other Uchiha. She didn’t notice the way Izuna stiffened and blushed, but her students certainly did.

“I am tired,” she said, arms still around him. “More than slightly exhausted; but, you know, I am content. I am so happy to be back here in Konoha.”

Izuna didn’t respond. Sakura pulled back, staring at him quizzically for a moment before Madara redirected her attention.

“So,” he exclaimed, clapping his hands together before placing a hand on Sakura’s shoulder to lead her, “I am sure you all are nearly dead on your feet but we have much to discuss. If you would follow me to the Tower?”

“Of course,” Sakura said, wrapping him in a side hug. “I’ve missed you too, Madara.”

Madara grinned boyishly, guiding her toward the Hokage Tower.

He shivered at the trio of deadly intent stares directed at his back.

Team Three was back in Konoha and closer than ever.