Sakura went to bed with a medical textbook under her pillow. She knew that wasn’t good for her neck, but it was fine. When she woke up, it was gone along with all her gear and weapons.
That was significantly less fine.
Disoriented, she crept around the strange, empty house without touching anything. It was… it wasn’t her house, but it looked like it was her house. The bedroom was in her favorite colors. The clothes all fit her. There were pictures of her parents, Ino-pig, and what appeared to be civilian, adult versions of her classmates. She peered at them suspiciously. The house seemed… Well. Perfectly civilian, if glossy and affluent.
‘Is this a dream?’
Experimentally, Sakura bit her thumb. She drew blood, but she didn’t startle awake or jerk out of a genjutsu.
'That’s… This is really weird.’
If she hadn’t been about 3 centimeters taller, she would have assumed it was a cruel prank insinuating that she wasn’t a real ninja. Finding a mirror raised a lot of questions.
“I don’t look 15.” Sakura frowned. “I don’t look like a ninja.” Her body was soft and untrained in a way that it hadn’t been since before she started the Academy. There was give to her stomach, there were hardly any muscles around her thighs, and she had-
“I have boobs,” Sakura breathed in surprise. She poked one. Real. She wasn’t exactly busty, by any means, but she suspected that this was a sign of lacking physical conditioning. Kunoichi didn’t usually end up looking like civilian women.
'Should I be happy or upset?’
There was a sudden noise, like a woman’s quiet voice and an indistinct instrument. Sakura froze, palming for the kunai that wasn’t there.
No one answered.
The hair on the back of her neck rose.
'That sound… it was close. Definitely in the house.’
It came again. There! Sakura edged toward the room she had woken up in and tracked the sound back to the bedside table. It was…
She reached out with a finger and risked a touch. Sakura pulled away immediately, shocked by the buzzing feeling the thing gave off. The flat surface flashed bright enough to sting her eyes in the darkness, backlighting- the time?
Sakura leaned to the side to see that yes, the thing was plugged in to the wall. Well.
“That’s a really strange alarm clock,” she muttered dubiously. There was only one button that she could see on the front- a circle indented in the white outlining the display. Pressing that did nothing, but touching the clock face-
She drew back in alarm. The clock was gone. In its place was a series of familiar names with a small bit of text trailing behind them: Ino Sucks to b…. Mom good luck on ur… Naruto DO YOU Hav
Scowling uncertainly, she touched Naruto’s name. She was quickly getting the hang of operating the alarm clock- no, it wasn’t just an alarm clock. It took her to what appeared to be a record of a conversation in reverse. Sakura sat back on her heels and read. Confusion quickly replaced irritation. It seemed like she was really close friends with Naruto? Not just teammates, but like she actually sought him out to have fun.
The things he said- they all sounded like Naruto. He was excited about ramen and graduation and happily rattled off a litany of things 'The Bastard’ had done.
'That’s gotta be Sasuke. It sounds like he’s still around. Here. Wherever here is.’
Her heart ached. It had been such a long time since she’d seen either of the boys. She scrolled back up to the first message- or last, rather.
DO YOU Have a copy of the program? I lost mine and the bastard won’t tell me when it starts he says I should know help meeee Sakura chaaaaan
She had a headache just thinking about it. She had no idea what he was talking about, but doubtlessly, he should know the time.
'That makes it sound like this is something I should be attending. Is that why I had an alarm set? I have somewhere to be soon?’
'I have no idea what’s going on. This really seems like my life. It’s just not my life.’
What had happened? She didn’t remember anything strange. Had she hit her head? Had she fallen afoul of some experimental jutsu? Or had she really just- just slipped into another Sakura’s life while she was sleeping?
'Does that mean the Sakura from here is in my life?’
That thought hit her like ice. This body was in terrible shape. It had no chakra reserves to speak of- she couldn’t even sense them. That made no sense, but it was still true. How would this Sakura fare in her body-in her life?
That was wild speculation. It was ridiculous. Still, her mouth was dry. She swallowed.
That was… in a way, that was the worst case scenario. Her options were that this was a hallucination, a genjutsu, or that it was somehow real. If it was a genjutsu, it wasn’t one she could break. If it was a hallucination, her actions wouldn’t matter.
'If it’s real, I could be stuck here. I don’t know anything about where I am. I could inadvertently ruin this girl’s life. I don’t have any idea what consequences there could be for doing the wrong things.’
If this was real- and god, she hoped it wasn’t- but if it was. If it was real, she hoped that the other Sakura would come to the same conclusion and try not to ruin her life. So. She’d act on that faith and try not to ruin anything. Information was the first big problem, then.
The recorded conversations with her mother and Ino were helpful in that regard. Ino mentioned that Sakura had to be at the event early to give Mizuki-sensei flowers. She’d sent her mother some odd colored text in the middle of assuring her it was alright that business had her out of town. When she touched it, the alarm clock screen moved to something with a textbox at the top and some kind of information sheet. An announcement. Sakura dragged her finger around to read the whole thing. It was graduation, at 10am at Senju high school. The address was at the bottom in a funny blue print. On a hunch, she touched that. It brought her to some kind of interactive map. She gaped. She hadn’t known what she’d expected, but not really that.
“This is really advanced.” Sakura made the map move, showing what looked like the route from her location to the school. It’d take her what, five minutes?
'Not in this body,’ Sakura realized. 'I need at least double that. Can I even run? Will I look awful for this ceremony if I do?’
She’d leave 30 minutes before she thought she needed, then. At least this Sakura was an early riser. She must be organized, too- Sakura hadn’t laid out her outfits for the next day since she was 13. This Sakura had apparently never lost that habit. That seemed a bit childish, but she could hardly complain at this moment. The order of the day was a knee-length dress in white, with a red robe and terribly impractical heeled sandals. She began to change clothes before she remembered the bathroom.
A shower would probably be best.
'The only thing I know I need now… Flowers. Flowers for Mizuki-sensei. I’ll need money to get them, too.’ Sakura finished toweling her hair and began pulling on her outfit. Something crinkled in the robes. When she fished it out, she found a short speech encouraging her classmates to do well at 'college’ and jobs and reminiscing about being friends. She was valedictorian? What the hell was that? She read it again, frowning.
It sounded basically like being first in the class. That made sense. So she was good at school here, too? That should make fitting in easier. She felt cheered as she searched through the house, finding a purse that had to be hers. She had money, odd plastic cards with store and bank names, and several plastic identification cards. One was for her school- the other some kind of company. Calling company? Odd. Did she work there?
'I don’t need to know now. Hopefully.’
Wait. There was something she’d almost forgotten, wasn’t there? Sakura went back to the alarm clock and pulled up her conversation with Naruto.
It starts at 10am. You’d better be there early.
There. That done, she left the clock and set out along the route she remembered. It took significant wandering up and down side streets, but she eventually found was a florist along the way. Her arms hurt after less than a kilometer. Sakura scowled and hefted the arrangement a little higher. The shoes were hurting, but that was only to be expected with the way they contorted her feet to lift her heels.
'If I’m staying here, I’m going to find better shoes.’
It was damn lucky that she’d left so early. The school was filling as she arrived. Sakura searched the school and tried to look like she knew where she was going. The large room full of chairs where traffic was being directed was doubtlessly important. She assumed that was where she had to end up. The rest of the school was a rat’s nest of classrooms and offices. Finding the right one was a headache and a half. Finally, she breathed a sigh of relief and readjusted the vase in her aching arms to get the door.
It swung open and nearly into her. Sakura leapt to the side, in a way that her mind knew would have her landing catlike ten feet away, out of danger. That… did not happen. She certainly propelled herself away, but her center of balance was wrong and her legs were slow and she was going to end up falling on her hip with her ankles crossed-
The man grabbed on instinct, supporting the vase with one hand and wrapping the other around her left forearm. That arrested her fall. It was enough for her to find her footing and skitter her heels back under her body.
'I can’t believe that just happened. I’ve never been that clumsy. This body is awful.’
“Are you alright?”
And he actually sounded worried, damn him. Like he thought she might have been hurt by falling on her ass. Embarrassed fury rose hot in her cheeks, but she forced it down. He didn’t mean to be rude. Probably.
Sakura looked up at her rescuer for the first time and pulled her arm away. “I’m fine, thank you.” It was good that she’d said that on autopilot, because her mind all but shut down when she saw his face.
'Sasuke? Is this what Sasuke looks like in a few years?’
She took a moment to appreciate the view.
‘The future is good.’