Chapter 1: The Girl Who Fell From the Sky
BOOK ONE: BEGINNINGS
Clouds were slightly damp wisps of air that rushed by her body. She was falling. The pressure on her body pushing her downward is what woke her up. Green eyes flickered open. The lashing of the wind made it difficult to keep her eyes open, but somehow she managed. Upon regaining consciousness, it took her 3.5 seconds to assess her current situation. She wasn't where she had been previously. In fact, she was in the sky when she hadn't been when she was last conscious. Most importantly, she was falling with impending doom on the horizon if she didn't do something.
It took her another five seconds to realize there was nothing she could do to save herself. She knew of nothing in the ninja arts that could stop her from falling when there was nothing close by her able to break her fall.
It took her another minute to call for the one person who inadvertently helped her out of every tight spot she'd been in her entire life. A part of her thought it was shameless to still depend on him like she had when she was a child, but the other more rational part of herself that wanted to live did what she had to do.
Her voice was carried away by the wind, and she hoped against hope for some miracle to save her. Sakura squeezed her eyes shut and was thereafter surprised when her body jarred. She initially suspected that was her body breaking on the ground, but since she felt no pain—only minor discomfort, she ruled that out. The only logical thing to do was to open her eyes and since she no longer felt the disorienting sensation of falling she thought she'd open her eyes only to find herself looking at a rather beautiful profile. She was in a pair of arms; strong arms that were holding her securely.
Sakura chanced a glance around her, noting that she was still among the clouds yet she was no longer falling. There was only one conclusion that she could draw as to why that was, but she wasn't crazy, yet so she pushed it to the back of her mind.
"Who are you?"
He looked at her for the first time with curiosity etched in his features. He smiled at her then, and Sakura felt her heart flutter a little, but he didn't answer immediately. This caused Sakura to frown, but as she suddenly realized they were descending to the ground, she allowed herself to accept the truth. They had been flying.
In her lifetime Sakura had seen a fair number of justu, but she could never once say that she had seen someone fly. Had she been saved by the gods? Was he a god? When they touched the ground, and he lowered her to her feet, she asked him that very question.
"Were you sent by the gods to save me?"
His brow arched incredulously at her question yet Sakura waited patiently for an answer. After all, she deserved one. She would have died if he hadn't intervened and that meant something to her. Though, it would likely mean something to anyone. After all, most people valued their lives.
"I'm not from the gods. I'm just Superman. I save people."
It was obvious that he thought his words made perfect sense, but to Sakura they made him sound like a slight lunatic. No one who happened to be able to fly was 'just super.'
He inclined his head to the side as if he heard something. His brows furrowed and he turned back to her.
"I must go. People need my help."
He planned on leaving her just like that. It wasn't something that sat well with her. In fact, if she was honest something akin to panic settled in her chest. Surely, him catching her was some sort of sign that they should stay together, to figure out what was going on.
"Wait! You can't just leave me here. Where am I? What happened to me? Where's Naruto and Sasuke? What's going on with the war?"
Alarm and indecision briefly flickered through his eyes, and Sakura somehow knew he was trying to prioritize what was more important. The people who needed his help now or her. If the people he planned on going to help were in a dire situation as she had been, then she knew there was a significant probability that he would leave her behind. So to forestall such a notion she set her plan in motion.
"Take me with you. I can help you."
He looked skeptical. After all, he had just saved her from falling from the sky. It probably appeared to him that she could do very little. However, Sakura knew her worth now. If there were lives to save then, it wasn't farfetched that he'd need her around.
"I'll be okay on my own."
She expected that sort of answer, but Sakura was stubborn, so she wasn't going to back down easily.
"I don't doubt that. However, I can't just let you go. You saved my life when you have no obligation to me. Because of that, you seem trustworthy. I might not find another person like you. There's no telling what harm could befall me for trusting the wrong person. So, please, take me with you. Just this once."
He hesitated briefly before taking her into his arms once more and pulling her close to his chest. Sakura shivered at the contact.
"Hold on; we'll have to move quickly." Sakura did as she told and was glad she had the common sense to use chakra to hold on to him tightly because the time it took for Naruto to finish a bowl of ramen was eclipsed by his speed.
Chapter 2: The Girl Who Could Walk on Water
BOOK ONE: BEGINNINGS
Her face was grim as they flew through the skies. She didn't question the novelty of it—not immediately anyway, but she couldn't help but think it was quite the unusual ability. A Kekkai Genkai perhaps?
When they came closer to reaching their destination the clear skies grew darker, heavier, drearier, and ominous. As the first raindrop hit her face she inwardly groaned. Seconds later the single droplet became multiple ones and water ran down her face and into her eyes, obscuring her vision which was unfortunate as she was just getting used to keeping her eyes open and moving at such rapid speeds. Her hair became plastered to her face in a way that was far from fetching then a chill settled into her bones, causing Sakura to move closer to the man that held her in his arms.
He was warm.
As they "landed" Sakura realized that she was no longer in the Five Shinobi Nations. This man and his talents were not something that could be hidden. He was in no bingo book that she knew of, not to mention that nothing around her looked like anything she had ever seen before. She would go so far as to say that even the sky was a different shade of blue than what she was accustomed. All and all it wasn't her homeland.
A brief hand of fear grabbed her, but she pushed it aside as concern took hold of her. There was no visible land, yet she could tell by the homes partially submerged by water that their used to be. Her savior looked about obviously concerned about something when she heard a cry for help. He looked torn, which Sakura didn't understand at all.
"Put me down and go help."
He no longer held her bridal style, but rather held her so that her feet were dangling below her just above the water. It was somewhat awkward being so close to a stranger, but as he had made no ill mannered moves Sakura dealt with it.
"But the water..."
Sakura looked down at the water wondering what was wrong with it and then she remembered she wasn't in her world. Things were bound to be different and if they weren't then she wouldn't have felt so out of place.
He didn't know her just as she didn't know him. She would have to show him a little of what she could do. After all, she knew a little of what he could do.
"Is just water. Besides, you carried me all the way here. I have plenty of energy to do something as simple as walking on water."
Before he could protest any further Sakura nimbly slipped out of his grasp and landed on top of the water. He appeared stunned and Sakura almost chuckled. She could imagine that's how she looked at him when he caught her falling from the sky.
"I'll look for people to the east. You go west."
With that she dashed off searching for survivors of the flood.
Superman didn't have time to dwell on her departure or why she could walk on water. He had people to save. Still, he was a little amazed which was something coming from him.
Sakura's feet tapped lightly on the water as she moved quickly shouting, asking if anyone could hear her. She sent chakra to her ears to see if she heard any replies and after several minutes she heard one.
“Help! Someone please help.”
Sakura increased her speed running towards the voice.
“Keep talking so I can find you.”
At Sakura's shout the female in need of help immediately kept calling for help enabling Sakura to reach her faster. What she found, upon her arrival, was a woman with blond hair holding a male child in her arms struggling to stay above the water. The child appeared to be unconscious, but somehow Sakura knew it was a little more than that.
Sakura reached out a hand and pulled the woman and child up out of the water. The woman looked vaguely surprised at her actions, but her main concern was the child that she clutched securely to her bosom. Sakura, without a second thought, picked them both up and headed for high ground so that she could see if there was anything she could do for the child.
“Lay him down.”
The woman didn't seem to hear as she only clutched the boy tighter. Sakura, knowing every second was precious, barely restrained herself from yelling at the woman. However, she knew why the woman was behaving the way she was. Friends had died in her arms during the war and holding them kept you from accepting their death readily. So instead, she coaxed the child from her arms, assuring her that if she let her she could help.
Sakura, while accessing her patient, began firing questions at the woman as to what happened. Her voice was shaky as she told her that he had gotten caught on something while the flooding was occurring and couldn't get out. She had dived in several times trying to get him free, but by the time she had he was unconscious.
Sakura set out immediately to remove the water from the boy's lungs.
Superman, having witnessed her saving the young child's life, realized she was capable of managing the task at hand. Anyone who he found that was injured or needed help he brought to her and she healed them. He couldn't help but realize how well they worked together. They saved many lives.
After all was said and done the people were safe and they were left to pick up the pieces of their broken lives they finally spoke to each other. Sakura's tongue darted out over her dry, cracked lips. She couldn't recall the last time she had anything to eat or drink, but that was a problem for another time...unless, of course, she passed out. But what were the odds of that happening?
"Where am I?"
It was the first question that came to her mind as well as the most important. He didn't seem to want to reply as he answered her question with a question.
"Are you injured?"
His concern was obvious, and she had dived into a few dangerous situations in order to save a few lives, and that was the reason she didn't become upset at his evasion. However, she did find her heart pounding rapidly as she knew that the answer, when it came, would be something that she was not pleased with.
"I'm fine, but I need to know where I am, so I can figure out how to get home."
She opted to be reasonable and even injected a small note of begging in her voice and pleading in her eyes. His whole demeanor changed at her gesture and he stepped a little closer to her in a manner that was decidedly protective.
"Right this second we're in Bangladesh, however, you were falling from the sky right above Japan."
Sakura wracked her brain recalling the geography of the Five Shinobi Nations. In the Academy she had been good at geography and memorizing things. She had aced the test and was certain that as time passed, she hadn't forgotten anything. And yet still, she knew neither of the places he had mentioned which was worrisome.
"I don't know these places. I have never heard of them."
"Then where are you from?"
His voice was calm, soothing. She thought he was doing it on purpose to keep her from breaking down. She wasn't going to—not yet at least. She'd save that for when she had a moment or two of privacy.
"Konohagakure—The Hidden Leaves Village." Sakura raised her hand and touched her forehead protector—the only proof she really had that she wasn't crazy. "And I have to get back as soon as possible."
He didn't reply immediately. He stared at her, through her, deep in thought it was a while before he finally spoke again.
"Come with me. I think I may know of someone who can help you."
Sakura nodded her head eagerly and allowed him to sweep her off her feet.
Chapter 3: The Girl Who was Stronger than she Looked
BOOK ONE: BEGINNINGS
She fell asleep in his arms as he flew away with her. Sakura had no idea why she trusted him so much. He had done very little to earn that trust, except catch her as she fell from the sky. Still, that didn't stop her from letting her body shut down as the trauma of the day caught up to her.
She didn't feel his eyes as they rested upon her in her slumber.
Superman, for his part, could admit that he had seen his fair share of odd things in his life. After all, he was an alien from another planet; normal was something that at times he felt was beyond him. Yet he had no idea where she had come from or why she had fallen from the sky. When he caught her he had seen no place that she could have fallen from. A few jokes about angels filtered through his brain, but he doubted she'd find them amusing. Still, she was beautiful enough to be an angel or at the very least otherworldly. Her hair was a soft pink giving her a delicate, almost fragile appearance. Her eyelashes were long and were dusted with silver. Not to mention her eyes grew greener when she was focused on saving lives. She was a tiny little thing. Since he towered over her if he had to guess, he would say she wasn't much taller than five feet.
Superman made a vain attempt to pull his mind off the woman in his arms. Only to find his thoughts drifting to her once more.
He had been amazed when he saw her stand on water as if it were solid ground. That was something that not even he could do. Sure, he could hover above it, but he was certain that she actually stood upon the water.
Was she an alien from another planet? Did she get her power from the yellow sun as he did? What was Konohagakure or rather where was it?
From what he saw she had strength that no human that he knew of had. She could, at the very least, lift her own body weight. He had seen her pull the woman in Bangladesh out of the water as if she were light as a feather. She couldn't be just an ordinary human. Was she a meta human?
That still didn't explain why she was falling from the sky in an area where no one else was around to have dropped her. Superman frowned and diverted his attention away from the girl and back to where he was going.
Although those thoughts were significantly worse. Why, of all people, did he think to go to Lois first? Before he knew it, he was lowering them to the ground in Metropolis. They hadn't reached his intended destination as he no longer thought it was the wisest of ideas. Lois had her own lover, her own life and it didn't include him. He couldn't just barge in on her and expect her to help him. Besides, he had a lot of experience with reporters (even if Lois had moved on to television, she was still a reporter and could smell a story a mile away) and knew that this was a story that she wouldn't be able to let go of. He didn't want the young woman to be exploited. In the short amount of time he had spent with her Superman found that he was very protective towards her.
He stood in the streets as the sun began to set in Metropolis with a small bundle in his arms vaguely confused as to what he should do and how he should help her. His initial plan had frayed at the edges and unraveled and he had no back up plan.
It was then that he realized that he didn't even know her name. Her body shifted and she began to stir, moving restlessly in his arms. When her eyes opened, he found that he was staring at her. Her cheeks flushed and she looked away from him and at their surroundings and he knew he had crossed some sort of invisible line. He looked away from her, missing the relief on her face at his action.
"Are we there yet?" Her voice was groggy and she rubbed her eyes sleepily.
Superman chuckled as many a child had asked that question in their youth. He couldn't help but return his gaze to her as the comparison brought a thought to his mind. She looked so very young. So young that he was suddenly uncomfortable with holding her close in his arms.
Sakura, upon realizing that they were on land wiggled out of his grasp until he set her on her feet. "Where are we? Is your friend somewhere around?" She turned her head left to right her lips pursed in confusion as there was no one about. They only stood on a quiet, deserted street.
Superman prepared himself to respond, but then remembered that he didn't know her name. They worked together to save lives and he hadn't even bothered to ask her name-a basic common courtesy. He opened his mouth to correct that error, but before the opportunity had completely arisen she interrupted with a question of her own.
"Is that normal?"
Personally, she didn't think it was, but she had a feeling that wherever she was, it wasn't anything like home so her definition of normal could technically be thrown out the window. It looked like a spider, but it was missing a few legs and a whole lot bigger. It held a cube in what she would guess to be its antennae.
Her lips curled in disgust at the sight. She wasn't a fan of insects, bugs, or anything that crawled, but she typically tolerated them since she considered Shino a friend. However, some things should never be allowed into existence-like human sized bugs.
Superman turned his attention to what had caught her attention and frowned, realizing that what he was looking at was not human.
"Trouble." He murmured before telling her to stay where she was. He didn't listen to her reply, but instead followed said trouble into an old building. The creature was holding a box in its...antenna as it walked about searching quietly for something.
"What are you doing?" Superman asked to draw the attention of the creature who, in turn, hissed at him. It wasn't a pretty hiss. In fact, it made it uglier than it had already been a lot like some people when they cry.
The creature's many legs turned and ran in his direction and it didn't look like it was going to suggest they sit down for a spot of tea and crumpets. Superman raised his fists and waited patiently for the creature to reach him when a blur of pink that he immediately identified as his temporary companion appeared in front of him letting out a war cry of, "Shannaro!"
It flew backwards at the blow she delivered, but was up and running again seconds later. A sliver of dread crept up Superman's spine. "Get out of here!"
Her head snapped in his direction at his command, and her face twisted in anger as she made a bold proclamation. "I'm not leaving you." He didn't know what to feel about that and didn't have time to analyze his feelings on the matter. Instead, Superman decided then to take a chance.
She had the ability to walk on water. She was able to lift more than her body weight. With her petite frame she was able to knock the creature more than half her size clear across the room. When attacked she didn't show fear, but stood her ground. That either meant she had the strength to back up her play or that she was insane. A part of him thought she was just insane, but the evidence was pointing to the contrary.
He scooped her up in his arms and threw her out the entrance of the building, hoping against hope that she would land safely. It was a good thing he did though, because soon the creature was upon him swinging it's blade-like legs effectively tearing his uniform in a place or two. Before he had the chance to counterattack the box and the creature that held it exploded. The creature let out a loud cry, but Superman seeing what was about to happen, knocked the box out of its grasp and threw his body over the creature subduing the explosion with his body.
That didn't stop the room from erupting into flames due to the other explosion caused by the box he had carelessly knocked away. Superman stood quickly and accessed the situation.
He needed to put out the fire and quickly. The area was inhabited and people could be harmed if he didn't react quickly enough. There was no sprinkler system as the building was an older one.
His companion chose that moment to run back into the burning building. Superman wondered briefly if she had a habit of running to trouble instead of away from it, and if she did how had she lived as long as she had. He heard her call for him and he moved to get her out once more, but he heard her say, "Water Style: Water Dragon Bullet Technique."
The flames began to die down as they were doused with water from an unknown origin. Smoke filled the area, but he had no trouble making his way to her side. When she finished extinguishing the flames, he couldn't stop the question that came to mind.
"What are you?"
"Don't you mean who?" She smiled cheekily at him, her face dripped with sweat presumably from the heat of the flames. "I'm Sakura, if I didn't mention it before. It's nice to meet you."
Chapter 4: The Girl Who Caught on Quickly
BOOK ONE: BEGINNINGS
"So...what was that about? Was it an enemy of yours?"
Her tone was casual, but she was actually very curious. He didn't seem like a man that anyone would want to make an enemy out of, but stranger things had happened. Not to mention the fact that whatever it was that attacked them didn't look human. As she came closer to it and touched it with her own hands, she was prone to thinking that its appearance in this world was about as odd as hers was. Was it some type of machine? Sakura's brain struggled to process what was happening, but she didn't think she was doing a very good job. Too much had happened to her too swiftly. She needed more time to process the situation, but she had a bad feeling she wasn't going to get it.
He didn't answer her, but rather looked carefully around the room as if he was searching for something. Sakura didn't know what he could look for let alone see, as it was dark in the building with only a little light illuminating the inside of the building due to the earlier explosion so she didn't bother to help him. Instead, Sakura found herself wandering closer to the outside as something out of the corner of her eye caught her attention.
Darkness blanketed the sky without her realizing it and yet not a star was in sight. That was something that was unheard of in Konoha. You could always see the stars and Sakura realized it was something she had taken for granted. Here the sky was like a blank canvas waiting to be painted upon. Sadness filled her momentarily until she focused on the green glow that illuminated the sky. It was by no means a star, but didn't make her any less curious as to why it was moving closer to where she and her super companion were located at a steady speed. Sakura sent a small wave of chakra to her eyes in order to enhance her vision and what she saw astounded her.
Two men encased in green light were flying in the skies.
What was with this world and the ability to fly? Was it some sort of prerequisite? Sakura's eyes narrowed when they landed silently not too far away from where she was. If she hadn't been covertly watching the whole scene she wouldn't have noticed their presence at all. Sakura's eyes narrowed knowing that their appearance was no coincidence.
Sakura raised her head when she felt someone come closer to her and found herself looking at her super friend's visage. She frowned when she realized he looked angry, and she didn't think that anger was directed at her, or rather she hoped it wasn't seeming as though he stood in the fire and came out unscathed. She couldn't do that. She wasn't even sure she wanted to. Sakura enhanced her hearing catching the end of the conversation between the two men.
"-can handle this."
Before Sakura could question him about what was going on, Superman flew outside becoming a red and blue blur and knocked the man dressed in green backwards.
"I don't handle easily."
Sakura, looking at how hard Superman had hit the guy, had to agree. The kunoichi slipped out of the building sticking to the shadows as attention wasn't on her which suited her just fine.
Green Lantern's eyes widened as he flew backwards from the unexpected blow. He mused that he probably should have been a bit quieter, but it was too late for that as he already had an infuriated alien on his hands. His back slammed against the side of a car making an indentation of his body in it as well as busting the glass. A few shards sliced his cheek, and he raised a hand to wipe the blood that trickled down his face away.
Lantern picked himself up off the ground cursing silently as Superman packed one hell of a punch. It was amazing that he hadn't broken anything. He supposed this was one of those moments where being a Green Lantern came in handy.
After Green Lantern had shaken himself from his daze, he realized that Batman had managed to get into a bit of trouble trying to hold off Superman until he was ready to get back into the game.
"You can't subdue me Batman. You're just an ordinary human with a few toys. Toys, that you're almost out of."
"I don't need to subdue you. Just keep you distracted for a little while."
Green Lantern took that as his cue to intervene. By will a large dragon appeared and flew through the air rushing in Superman's direction. Lantern saw Superman turn his head his way and narrow his eyes, but he was too late to stop his dragon from swallowing him whole encasing him in his light prison.
"Batman are you alrig-"
Before he could complete his question, his dragon was shattered to pieces and Superman stood in the aftermath looking...angrier than he had at first. Green Lantern didn't suppose that was a good sign, but he wasn't about to give up yet.
"Cute." Superman muttered before rushing him.
Green Lantern mused that perhaps it was time to phone a friend.
The battle between the three men was intense, although it appeared to Sakura that the one in black didn't want to fight at all. She debated for a while whether or not to enter the fray that was rapidly getting out of hand. Buildings were being destroyed and Sakura could see people running for cover and decided that she would have to intervene for the sake of the people who were getting caught in the crossfire of some male testosterone bull shit. She was reminded of Sasuke and Naruto and wondered when she got home if she was going to have to put up with that type of thing for the rest of her life.
The future suddenly looked bleak.
A red blur joined the fray, moving as fast as lightening against her savior. He taunted the Superman saying that he wouldn't be able to hit him, but Superman proved him wrong with a flick of his finger, very little effort, and a smug smile. Sakura bit back a snicker and decided then enough was enough.
Just as Superman and the Green one were about to come to blows Sakura threw herself between the two not realizing that she wasn't the only one who had such an idea. The dark one stood in front of her holding his arms out to the two men. He looked over his shoulder at her, obviously wondering where she had come from and what she was doing. However, she had better things to do than to answer his unspoken questions.
"Stop this," Sakura said her attention focused wholly on the man she had met earlier that day, the man she had saved lives with. The Superman. "I've only known you for a short period of time, but this mindless destruction, can you tell me that this is you? People are running for their lives afraid because of you. I thought you saved people not made them fear you. Did you lie to me? Is this who you truly are?"
Superman looked down at Sakura and slowly his stance relaxed and a contrite look crossed his face.
"She's right Superman. Green Lantern and I didn't come here to fight." Sakura was beginning to wonder about the odd names and slowly began to assume they were code names unless someone's mother was a little too creative when passing out baby names. "We were attacked just like you were. Green Lantern says they were aliens just like you. We were hoping that you knew something about them."
"You're an alien?" Sakura asked, looking at Superman in a new light. She never believed in such things. They were things you found in books and on television. Not in real life. He had to have it wrong. But then again, he could fly, was obviously strong, could withstand fire, and was able to take on three men at one time. That didn't mean anything though. She was strong and if her chakra wasn't halfway depleted from all the healing she had done earlier then she'd be able to take on three men at once as well. At that thought Sakura's hand drifted down to the pouch she kept on her hip to make sure it was still there. She had a feeling she'd need a few of the solider pills she kept inside of it.
"Who's the girl?" The dark stranger asked.
"Who are you?" Sakura countered before Superman could reveal her name.
The Red Blur came through and asked if they were still fighting. Once he determined they weren't he began to evacuate the area. Sakura thought it was funny in a 'not really' sort of way that they began evacuating the people after they finished the mindless destruction.
Sakura watched as his lips twitched slightly. "I'm Batman, this is Green Lantern, the guy in the red is the Flash. And you?"
Sakura felt Superman's eyes on her, but she didn't return his stare. She didn't know these people and now she felt like perhaps she trusted Superman a little too quickly by giving her name even if it wasn't her full one. She wasn't about to make that mistake again. She just hoped her instincts about the man was correct and he didn't reveal the little that he knew about her.
"You're a ninja?"
Sakura nodded, wondering how Batman knew that so quickly as it looked like the Green Lantern and Superman were still puzzled. She didn't ask, though, because she somehow felt that doing so would give him the upper hand.
"Can we get back to the subject at hand?"
Sakura glanced at the Green Lantern after he posed his question, and then at Superman and still felt a bit of tangible hostility between the two. She hoped another fight didn't break out. Truthfully, all she really wanted to do was go home, but she couldn't exactly leave, especially since Superman was the only one she trusted enough to help her get there.
"I haven't seen any creatures like that before, but he had one of those things you have in your hand, Batman. I think it blew up when he did."
Sakura glanced at the item in Batman's hand and vaguely recalled seeing it before Superman threw her out of the building. She still couldn't believe he had done that. She had been protected from danger before, but to be forcibly tossed out of it...well, she didn't know whether or not to be irritated or amused at his audacity. In the end, as Sakura wandered back to the area where she and Superman fought the creature to make sure the box was well and truly gone, she decided that she'd be amused.
As Sakura scanned the dark building she decided it wouldn't hurt to double check and make sure that the cube was gone. She hated to be unprepared for the unexpected.
Chapter 5: The Girl Who had the Gift of Persusasion
Old enough to know better, young enough to do it anyway.
Sakura walked into the dark building remembering that she couldn't see a thing. With an irritated sigh Sakura rolled her eyes at herself. She turned her head and peered outside to see if anyone was nearby. There were no able bodies in her field of view so she raised her voice, hoping someone would hear her.
"Anyone have a light?"
After calling out, she immediately turned her attention back to the room trying to remember where she exchanged blows with the creature hoping to find some remnants of it that would give some sort of clue as to what was going on. When a large light flooded through the area Sakura's eyes grew large. She hadn't expected that much support. In truth, she hadn't expected any sort of response at all since they all seemed to be so absorbed in each other. She turned her head and looked behind her to see who had lent a helping hand only to realize that she couldn't see anything. Turning and facing the light was blinding. A loud, unfamiliar sound, filled her ears like someone was trying to beat the air into submission caused Sakura to raise a hand and touch her aching ears briefly.
"What's going on?"
When she received no response she found herself running outside to see what the commotion was about. She opened her mouth to call out to Superman, but she felt herself being grabbed and pulled along. She squinted her eyes and noted that it wasn't Superman's arms that held her, the man was smaller and leaner than Superman was, so she began to fight to be free, earning a few ouches and groans. When no sort of retaliation came at her blows Sakura decided it would probably be smart to see who it was that grabbed her.
It was the Green Lantern that held her closely and while it felt really nice in his arms, she wasn't that type of girl so she began her struggles anew. He didn't hit her, instead, he tightened his grip, making it difficult for her to breathe.
"Stop, we have to get out of here."
"We can do that with your hands off me."
"Yeah, but then they'll see you." Sakura frowned, wondering who 'they' were and why he was shielding her from view. Was he...protecting her? Sakura shook her head, knowing that couldn't be possible. He didn't know her at all so why would he go through such lengths?
"They've seen us. We need to leave now."
The Batman's statement made her uneasy. Sakura pulled away from Green Lantern who let her go after she stepped on his toe and moved over to the Batman and Superman who weren't standing that far apart.
"Who are we running from?"
"Them." Batman pointed to the sky to see something else flying in the sky. Sakura pursed her lips. That really didn't tell her 'who' they were running from so she naturally assumed it was trouble.
"Of course." Sakura muttered and shook her head. "What do we need to get away?"
"A distraction and a route."
Sakura glanced to her left, then her right, frowned, then said, "I'll take care of it. Gather the others and get ready to run."
"What are you going to do?"
Superman's question sounded vaguely suspicious. She could understand that. The whole situation was suspicious to her, but she was going to go with it because she wasn't about to be detained for no reason, because the only reason they would need to run was if capture was imminent.
"I'm going to provide a distraction."
It was obvious upon first meeting her that she was with Superman. Even when she threw herself between them it was obvious that if it ever came down to picking sides she'd pick Superman's every time. Still, Hal Jordan, the Green Lantern couldn't help but be curious about her. She called herself Kunoichi, but he had heard of no such person. Batman had said she was a ninja yet as far as he knew ninja were assassins for hire, and yet when he looked at her petite frame and large green eyes he didn't think 'killer', but maybe that was the point.
He found himself amazed at how quickly she single-handedly diffused all the tension in Superman with just a few words. Were they a couple? For some reason he didn't think so. Superman held himself aloof like he was alone in the whole world. There was an impenetrable aura surrounding him that made you wary of trying to cross him. Even standing next to him seemed taboo. They weren't a couple.
Hal smiled. That meant she was fair game.
"Don't even think about it."
Green Lantern turned his head and looked at the Flash innocently.
"Think about what?"
"She's too young. She shouldn't even be out here with us."
"She's a grown woman Flash. No girl has a body like that. Not to mention no girl carries herself the way she does."
Flash shook his head slowly at Green Lantern's reply, knowing full well girls matured a lot faster nowadays. Hal spent entirely too much time on other planets. It was a situation that could only end badly. It didn't take a high IQ to figure that one out. Still, he had to say something to him."You're asking for trouble."
Green Lantern turned and looked at Sakura whose fingers moved rapidly for some reason he couldn't phantom and said, "I certainly am."
A few moments after Sakura's fingers stopped moving the helicopters that were moving in on them suddenly changed direction. Green Lantern's eyes grew large in surprise knowing then that Kunoichi couldn't just be some killer for hire. Or was it a coincidence that the helicopters changed direction?
"What did she do?"
Batman, who was suddenly behind him, answered, causing Hal to whirl around to face him. He was a little creepy, this Batman, and the honest truth was he wanted to leave him behind as soon as possible.
"She provided a distraction."
"But how? What did she do?"
"Doesn't matter. What's important is that we get out of here. Now."
Sakura looked at Superman who was paying more attention to what Batman was saying than what she was doing. Sakura had half a mind to listen in on what he found so curious, but she couldn't afford to waste chakra as she was getting tired.
"Superman, I need you to break the ground so that we can escape that way."
"We don't need to go with them. I'm not like them and neither are you. Come with me and I'll help you find a way home."
His offer was tempting. She had no idea what was going on in this world and she figured being a part of it would be messy. Yet if what she was gathering from the others was true, then things were going to get worse. Someone was placing explosives throughout the cities without a care as to what happened to those who got caught in the crossfire. How could she not help if they were trying to save lives? She was a medic after all, and she wouldn't be able to live with herself if she didn't do what she could to help until she was able to make it home.
Besides, if she left Naruto would be disappointed in her.
"No, I'm not like them. You're right. Just like neither are you, but just because that's true, doesn't mean we should turn our back on doing what's right. I want to help them. I want to work by their sides and save lives just like we did earlier today." Sakura extended her hand. "So are you with me?"
"With us." Batman interjected and Sakura glanced around at their motley group and smiled.
"That's right. With us."
A smile graced Superman's lips and he shook his head slightly and took Sakura's offered hand briefly giving it a small squeeze before letting go.
Chapter 6: The Girl Who Withheld Trust
She'd follow his lead. If he was cautious then she'd be the same.
Sakura jumped when she heard a loud bang and turned in the direction of the sound. The Green Lantern stood next to a large hole in the ground that he had obviously created. He looked impossibly arrogant, yet she couldn't help but think he was more than capable of backing up that arrogance. Sakura wondered about his background briefly, but it wasn't the time for background stories which was confirmed by Green Lantern's next words.
"I hate to interrupt the love fest, but we should probably get going." The truth was he didn't care if he did interrupt said 'love fest' since that had been his intention all along, but that wasn't information they needed to know.
Batman's eyes narrowed slightly before he confirmed Green Lantern's statement. "He's right. Let's move."
Batman, thereafter, jumped into the opening within the ground first. Sakura heard a splash indicating that there was water beneath them. Sakura hesitated instead of following after Batman so Green Lantern went next. Eventually, Sakura followed him landing on top of the water instead of mucking about in it. Sakura's nose furrowed as the smell hit her and she was suddenly glad she decided to land on top of the water. She had a feeling bad feeling before she jumped that it wouldn't be water she'd willingly drink. Not to mention she'd never be able to get that smell off her skin. She wasn't the prima donna of her youth, but she was still a girl who didn't want to smell like gorillas in the mist.
"You walk on water too?" Sakura looked at Green Lantern and shrugged since the answer was obvious. He waited for some sort of reply and for a second she wondered if he could help her get home. Could she trust him like she trusted Superman? He had, after all, tried to shield her from view earlier and although it wasn't much...well, she could tell him a little without risking the safety of Konoha, couldn't she?
"This is normal where I come from."
"Where do you come from?"
That was the question. Truthfully, she didn't know the answer anymore. In such a short amount of time she had discovered so much. There were other worlds besides her own. There were at least three planets that she knew of that sustained life; her home world, the planet she currently inhabited, and the place where Superman came from.
"Kunoichi, you're not from Earth are you?"
Sakura frowned at Green Lantern's probing and glanced at Superman who slightly shook his head unbeknownst to their curious companion. Sakura slightly inclined her head in acknowledgement to Superman's warning. Sakura's brow furrowed, trying to think of a way to dodge the question that had been posed to her. In the end, the solution was a simple one. Sakura stared into the Lanter's eyes and then smiled prettily.
"You wouldn't believe me even if I told you."
Sakura decided to play it lightly because if she flat out refused to give him an answer he'd believe she was hiding something-she was, but she didn't want him to know that.
"Try me." He smiled winsomely at her and if Sakura didn't know better she'd swear he was flirting. Although, if she were honest he was probably just responding to her own distracting flirtatious behavior.
Sakura didn't try him. She merely returned his smile, unaware that he thought it made her mysterious and all the more appealing. The kunoichi, deciding it was time to break away from the curious green light, moved to Superman's side as they trudged forward. He nodded slightly at her recognizing her purpose in moving closer to him. Green Lantern didn't seem too keen on being near Superman for some reason (which probably had something to do with the beating he had received far too recently) and it was something that she was going to take advantage of.
After they had traveled for quite some time in a low voice she asked the question that was on her mind since Superman shook his head at her.
"Why didn't you want me to say anything?"
Superman gazed at her face, seeing a hint of concern on her features. Somehow he knew that her question was deeper than what was on the surface. She wanted to know whether he honestly and truly thought that they could trust the others. He couldn't answer that question. Aside from attacking him, he knew very little of Green Lantern (and that hadn't cast him in the best of lights green or otherwise) and although he had a run in with Batman once before he still wasn't quite sure of his character.
"Caution is the eldest child of Wisdom."
The words struck a cord somewhere deep within her. Sakura's eyes grew wide and a grin stretched across her lips. She nodded her head getting his point completely. It would do her no harm to wait until she knew the Lantern and the others better before she enlisted them to aid in her return to Konoha.
She stayed by Superman's side until they were certain they had lost their pursuers which took at least an hour.
No one spoke, but silence was a friend that Sakura became close to, especially since she was afraid that if they started talking again another fight would break out. Sakura glanced at Superman who appeared to be lost in thought. She wondered what he was thinking of, but didn't ask the question since she hated it when people asked her that very thing. Her thoughts were her own to share as she pleased. No one had the right to pry.
Eventually they all stopped moving. Glances were traded and to Sakura it appeared they waiting for someone to take the lead. Personally, Sakura thought that Batman would be the best for the job. He didn't seem like the type of man to start a fight, but if one was brought to him, he probably wouldn't give up until it was finished. The Flash didn't look interested. Green Lantern held a touch too much arrogance to be placed in such a role and Superman...
Sakura glanced at his profile unaware that she was staring until he turned, faced her gaze and raised a brow quizzically. Sakura shrugged, aware that she had been doing it a lot lately, and looked away. She was a little embarrassed at being caught, but there wasn't much she could do about that except pretend it hadn't happened. She was thankful that he wasn't anyone she knew on a personal level as they would have teased her mercilessly for her act. Truthfully, though, back home she had a bad habit of being distracted by a pretty face.
She'd have to work on that.
At the thought of home a pang of worry raced through her. She had just healed Naruto along with Obito's help shortly before she disappeared. They barely had time to meet up with Sasuke before she was taken away from her home. She hoped they were okay. She really did. Sakura wasn't foolish enough to think that they'd fail without her by their sides. Konoha and everything in it, had always been mainly focused on the two of them anyway. She was barely even a supporting character in the story of their lives. She wasn't jealous, she didn't love them any less because of it, she was just worried. She didn't know what she would do if something happened to them that she could have prevented, but didn't because she was stuck in a world that wasn't her own...she'd never forgive herself. Even if it was something that was beyond her control.
"We need a place to lay low for a while. A place where no one will stumble across us. Superman, this is your city. Any ideas?"
Sakura, brought out of her worrisome thoughts, glanced back and forth between Superman and Batman wondering what would be decided. After some thought Superman finally said, "I know a place."
Green Lantern set up a few lamps bathing the room in his light. His head turned left and right looking at where they had ended up curiously. It was a printing press or more specifically an abandoned printing press. As far as hiding spots were concerned, he supposed it was as good as any so he didn't voice any complaints on that front.
They weren't getting any closer to figuring out exactly what these creatures were and what their plan was. He did know, on the other hand, that whatever the creatures had planned, it wasn't good. He needed to find a solution to this mess quickly before anyone was hurt.
He looked at the group they had amassed and thought about grabbing Flash, as he was the one who called him in to help take on Superman, and leaving them all behind. They'd do better on their own. Yet Kunoichi approached him in those moments slowly, deliberately distracting him. The sound of her footsteps echoed in the room. Lantern had a feeling that the fact that he could hear her was planned.
"We're going nowhere fast." Flash zipped over to their side and let out a wry, "Tell me about it."
Lantern looked down at her. Her lips were pursed and he opened his mouth to say something about it, but she spoke first.
"When are we going to examine that box?"
Chapter 7: The Girl Who Suffered From Overprotection
Her teammates were idiots.
Night had fallen yet the shrill cry of crickets went unheard. It was as if the world was holding its breath waiting to see what would happen next. Chaos reigned in a manner which had never before been seen by the ninja world. They were in the middle of the Fourth Great Ninja War and they weren't winning.
Kakashi Hatake walked sedately up the hill to join his team. He had broken away from the main fighting when he got word that Sasuke and Naruto were down and that Sakura had disappeared with Obito in order to save Naruto's life.
He thought that perhaps he had become a bit desensitized. The thought of Naruto being so severely wounded in battle that his life had to be saved instead of those of his companions was sobering. Naruto was not infallible. He was human just like the rest of them.
It was this line of reasoning that told Kakashi that he needed to find his team quickly. However, when he found Naruto it was only to discover that the rumors had been false. Naruto and Sasuke certainly weren't down. If anything they looked stronger than ever. He let out a breath of relief that he hadn't been aware that he'd been holding.
Then he realized that something or rather someone was missing.
The Copy Ninja glanced back and forth between Naruto and Sasuke noting the absence of one particular member. He waited for one or the other to speak up and tell him where she had disappeared to yet neither one of them deigned to answer the unspoken question and so he spoke it aloud.
"Where is Sakura?"
Naruto's countenance darkened and thereafter turned and looked at Sasuke causing Kakashi to do the same. Kakashi's fist clenched at his side when the Uchiha remained silent. Kakashi swore then that if Sasuke said that he had killed her then the war be damned, he'd kill the Uchiha where he stood. He had lost too much in his life. He wasn't going to lose either Sakura or Naruto as well.
Sasuke's lips curled in disgust, knowing that Kakashi wasn't going to budge until he had given him some sort of answer which showed Kakashi that Sasuke wasn't as idiotic as he had begun to believe.
When no further explanation was forthcoming Kakashi slightly turned his head and looked at Naruto who wouldn't meet his gaze. Kakashi knew then that something was wrong. Naruto didn't avoid problems. He faced them head on. Something unpleasant twisted in Kakashi's gut.
"And I'm just supposed to take your word for it?"
It didn't appear to Kakashi that Sasuke cared whether or not he believed him and before Kakashi knew it he had taken a menacing step forward. He had already tried to kill Sakura once. If he succeeded in his second attempt then it would be the last thing he accomplished. Before Kakashi had the opportunity to make good on his threat Naruto stepped between them. Kakashi turned his gaze to Naruto who met his gaze unflinchingly.
"Sakura is safe sensei."
"Then where is she?" Seeing was believing, and until he saw her before him then she wasn't safe. She was in danger, and he wasn't certain his mind, on that particular day, was strong enough to accept losing another person. Maybe the next day he'd be able to take a step back away from the edge of insanity, but that day hadn't yet come.
"We sent her away."
Something about the way Naruto phrased his words didn't sit well with him.
"Sakura, one of our strongest medics, voluntarily left during the middle of the war? That doesn't make any sense, and it doesn't sound like Sakura at all."
Naruto looked away. Kakashi wished he would stop doing that.
"That's because we didn't ask her opinion as to whether she should stay or go. We sent her somewhere she would be safe."
Kakashi said the words they left unsaid hoping that by saying them aloud they would realize the magnitude of their actions. "Without her expressed permission. In other words you kidnapped her."
"Kakashi-sensei!" Naruto interjected, but Kakashi would hear none of it.
"No. Don't pretend that my words are false. Just bring her back."
"No." Sasuke said, speaking up before Naruto had the chance to. "We don't need Sakura to win this war."
Kakashi couldn't believe he was hearing two of the people Sakura cared for the most in the world belittle everything she had done to become stronger, to stand at their sides as an equal.
"He's right, sensei." Kakashi opened his mouth to retort, but Naruto's next words made them die in his throat. "We don't need Sakura to win this war. We need her to survive it. So we had to make sure she was safe. We're going to bring her back, honestly. Just not yet."
Kakashi gazed up at the darkened sky asking some deity for guidance that wasn't forthcoming. Sakura was going to kill both of them when she came home.
"Where is she?"
Kakashi finally asked when he realized he had no words of wisdom to offer the two boys. In fact, as soon as Sakura came home, he was going to throw them to the wolves. Tsunade and Sakura were going to give them hell, but they didn't need to know that right now.
"In another dimension."
Kakashi frowned. "You mean like the void that my Sharingan can send things into?"
Sasuke's taciturn reply did nothing to soothe his ire.
"We sent her to a whole new world sensei."
A new world? That wasn't any more reassuring. She could still be dead. He didn't doubt for a second that the possibility of a different world existed. There were many implausible things in the their world. The idea of a completely different world that existed outside their own was one of the saner ideas.
"Did you scout this new world before you sent her to it?"
They both fell silent and Naruto turned and looked at Sasuke who didn't return his gaze because it was obviously a stupid question. Of course they hadn't scouted the world. They were young and foolish and could have perhaps sent Sakura into unnecessary danger.
"Can you bring her back right now?"
Seconds passed before Sasuke replied with, "no."
Chapter 8: The Girl Who Was Taken Captive
His eyes were dangerous.
"Examine?" Green Lantern glanced at the box thinking surely she didn't mean what he thought. When she didn't flinch away from his gaze and boldly proclaimed, "The glow needs to go so we can figure out what it does," he figured she did mean what he thought. She didn't look for a second like she thought her idea was insane or dangerous. Kunoichi made it seem like it was something that had to be done—and the sooner the better. He almost believed her himself and relaxed his guard, but at hearing one of his temporary companion's reply he didn't.
"I don't think that's wise Kunoichi."
It was obvious that Superman and Batman, although having a conversation of their own had been listening to every word—especially since Batman kept him from saying what he wanted to say.
"Why?" Her spine snapped straighter and she took a purposeful step toward Batman. "We've accomplished nothing and this is our only clue, our only lead about what's going on. Green Lantern should drop his green glowyness so we can take a closer look at it."
Green Lantern looked at Flash and mouthed the words, 'green glowyness'? Flash, who was of no use, just shook his head and smothered a laugh. He couldn't help but be offended.
Kunoichi smiled slightly. "If you're scared, Batman, I'll protect you." Green lantern bit back a chuckle, but only barely. Flash, unlike himself, wasn't able to hold back. Batman simply stared and Sakura would never admit that his piercing gaze unnerved her a little.
Next time she'd keep her mouth shut.
It wasn't long before they all stood surrounding the cube as if it held the secrets of the world at their disposal. Sakura never could get Green Lantern to remove his glow, which he referred to as 'light', from the cube, so she stopped trying to fight a losing battle. They'd have to do what they could within his protective bubble which she knew wasn't going to be much. A hands on examination was necessary, mandatory even.
"I can't see through it."
Everyone turned and looked at Superman.
"You can see through things?" Flash asked with a bit of incredulity. Some of the others looked at him with amazement, but Sakura was mainly discomfited by the statement, especially when he replied, "Most of the time." His pretty blue eyes had suddenly become a danger in more way than one. Sakura folded her arms across her chest, and took a discreet step away from Superman. It was the first time she felt uncomfortable around him since she met him, which she thought was funny. He flew through the air and walked through fire and she was unnerved that he could see through her clothes.
But then again, being a female was a funny thing. It didn't help that her genin instruction was a major pervert that had in the past consorted with greater perverts. And don't get her started on Naruto and his transgender tendencies.
"What brought these things here? I don't remember anyone saying." Flash's brow furrowed as he studied the cube.
"We think it was an alien life form. Batman and I crossed paths with one earlier today and brought this with us."
"The Kunoichi and I came in contact with one as well. Only the box that it was carrying blew up."
Sakura's head swung towards Superman alarm coloring her stance. Her heart started pounding loudly, making it difficult for her to hear. She was suddenly glad that her suggestion to examine the box had been vetoed. "That's what started the fire?" Superman moved closer to Sakura being able to hear her heart speed up and wondering at the cause. Her face lost all its color and her eyes darted to the box and then all around the room quickly as if looking for an avenue of escape.
"Yes, I thought you knew. We talked about it earlier."
Sakura didn't recall any such conversation, but she didn't doubt that she was still struggling to process everything that happened. She hoped she wasn't going into shock. Sakura didn't really think so, because the scenario that was running through her head wouldn't come to the mind of a person who was in shock.
"I didn't know what happened. All I knew is that one minute the building was fine and the next it was on fire and the enemy was gone. You threw me out remember? If the other one blew up-"
"Then it's logical that this one will as well." Batman interrupted. "We need to get this thing out of the city before it-"
The cube started to make a low ringing noise that progressively got louder as the seconds went by. A slew of expletives fell from Sakura's tongue before she yelled, "Run!" But a loud boom drowned out her words and threw her backwards and into a wall. She hit her head and lost consciousness.
All Green Lantern heard before they were bombarded by a herd of aliens was, "For Darkseid!"
They were ugly bastards that had taken them all by surprise. Although he didn't know why. His gut had been telling him that something bad was about to happen. He should have listened to himself—maybe he could have done something. Grimly, Green Lantern looked around him and noted everyone fighting fiercely—except Kunoichi. He couldn't find her. He initially thought that it was because her form was so small, but somehow he knew that wasn't the case. He made a construct of a hammer and knocked several of the creatures out of the way. They flew backwards, but several more took their place.
He didn't receive a reply, but after his shout, he saw Batman swing by him with one of the aliens in a headlock. It was that movement that drew his attention to her. She had been captured and one of the aliens knocked a hole in a wall in order to escape with her. The fight spilled outside and GL took out quite a few of their unwanted visitors as he tried to reach Kunoichi before they took her away.
It flew Kunoichi up in the air and seconds later he took flight right after them. Her head had fallen forward and her chin rested against her chest. Her pastel colored tresses fell forward, obscuring her face from view. She was so still he wondered whether or not she was dead. However, what would aliens from presumably another planet want with a human corpse?
The answers that he came up with to that question didn't sit well with him.
"Kunoichi, wake up!"
He saw her head rise and her eyes open and slowly focus. He assumed she thereafter took stock of her situation as he got closer and closer, but somehow not close enough. Especially since every few seconds he had to fight off the creatures that were intent upon blocking his way.
She raised her head up and looked at the creature that held her captive. He saw her lips move, but couldn't hear what she said, but he figured it wasn't necessary that he know, since directly afterward she swung her feet forward and into the air propelling her body upward and landing a blow on the creature. It let out a loud cry and dropped her. He expected her to scream, but she didn't utter a sound. Could she fly? After several seconds she continued to fall, he assumed the answer to his unspoken question was a resounding 'no'. Green Lantern changed his assent into a descent and went after her free falling form.
He had to make it in time.
Chapter 9: The Girl Whose Master Was A Bit Sadistic
Being a ninja wasn't just a bunch of nifty tricks.
Sakura didn't recognize the voice that pulled her back to consciousness, but she was grateful for it. Her head was killing her. She felt like someone hit her with a brick. Raising her head, her blurry vision came into focus, revealing that she wasn't on the ground. Sakura sighed. She was really starting to hate the air.
Looking up, she realized she had been taken captive. She didn't know whether or not the alien creature understood her, but Superman was supposedly an alien and he understood her just fine. It wouldn't hurt to test the theory. "You can let me go or I can set myself free."
The creature's grip on her tightened so she figured he could understand her and had refused her offer to do things peacefully. That was okay. She wasn't opposed to the hard way.
When Sakura was younger, she hadn't been the most flexible person in the world. She wasn't that child that could bend over and touch her toes easily. In fact, she recalled a lot of pain associated with just trying to make the effort.
A shrill scream ripped through the air as pressure on her shoulders pushed her downward. The once beautiful day was tainted in misery as her shishou snarled profanities.
"You can go down further Sakura. Slide. Down." Tsunade pushed Sakura's shoulders harder, causing Sakura to scream once more.
"I can't Tsunade-sama. This is as far as I can go."
She was attempting to perform a split, but her body wouldn't even go down halfway. It was pathetic really. One needed to be flexible to be a ninja and how she had made it this far was anyone's guess. Tsunade pressed harder on Sakura's shoulders. "Down, Sakura."
Tears filled Sakura's eyes that she struggled not to shed. "This really is a far as I can go. I'm not lying."
Tsunade stepped back and shook her head. Her arms flew up in the air in exasperation. "Aren't they teaching you anything in the Academy? How did this get past Kakashi? The flexibility of a shinobi is absolutely essential! It could mean life or death."
Sakura rose until she was standing straight and looked at the ground. She couldn't answer that question, because answering it meant telling the truth. She had never really done much on Team 7. Kakashi, Naruto, and Sasuke had always protected her. The need for her to be of use in battle had never arisen.
"Do you stretch every day?"
Sakura hesitated to answer. She did stretch, but that was only right before she was about to train and she hadn't trained with the team everyday.
"I'll take that as a no. From now on, everyday you'll stretch your hamstrings, your lower back, your hips, groin, calves, quadriceps, and inner thighs every day for the rest of your life."
After Tsunade had listed everything her eyes were as large as saucers. She had never stretched that many muscles before. Some of those muscles she hadn't even known you could stretch.
"You don't know how to stretch them, do you?"
Sakura slowly shook her head and took a step back as her shishou's honey colored eyes darkened in anger.
"Fine. I'll teach you that too."
Asking to be the apprentice of Tsunade Senju was probably one of the best things Sakura had ever done. It wasn't a matter of the woman being an excellent, although sadistic, teacher. It was more of a fact that Sakura had finally decided to take control of her life and stop letting people protect her.
If Sasuke's defection had taught her anything, it was to rely on yourself first because people could leave you at any time and if they did then what would you have?
Sakura began rocking her legs back and forth much like she had as a child when she was on a swing set to give herself the momentum to swing her legs upward and give the creature that held her captive a foot full of her chakra enhanced strength. It dropped her, which was no surprise, but that didn't make falling any more pleasant.
She didn't have time to worry about it as she was soon wrapped in a familiar set of arms. Sakura turned her head and looked into the eyes of her savior and what she saw in their depths made her smile. "We have to stop meeting like this." Superman chuckled.
"I agree. Perhaps you could stay out of trouble?"
"Where's the fun in that?" Superman sighed, and they began their descent to the ground, knowing, somehow, that even though there was a teasing lilt to her voice that she was completely serious. Green Lantern landed next to them shortly thereafter, but said nothing to either of them. He looked like he wanted to say something, but Sakura didn't know him well enough to prod, besides, they didn't have time for heartwarming and/or wrenching conversations.
Sakura reached into her pouch and pulled out a solider pill and popped it into her mouth and then thereafter raised her hand to check the back of her head for injuries. The damage hadn't been much. She didn't have a concussion, but it still hurt.
Sakura was aware that both men had been protecting her while she took the time to heal herself. In a way, it reminded her of her genin days and having two teammates to watch her back. The thought made her smile before she rushed into the fray and attacked.
She swung her fists, taking down creature after creature, but for some reason never felt like she was getting anywhere. She heard the Flash yell that it wasn't an isolated incident that these creatures were attacking all over the world occasionally snatching random people and taking them away. At his words, Sakura began to gnaw on her lower lip.
There were only five of them and while they were holding their own how could they be expected to help the entire world? It was an impossibility. However, there was no cutting her losses and running if this wasn't an isolated incident, and she couldn't do that anyway because when she went home she'd never be able to respect herself. She would never be able to tell anyone what happened to her. In her mind's eye she could see the disappointed looks on the face of her friends. It was rather disconcerting having such high standards to live up to. She wasn't a Naruto Uzumaki. People didn't rely on her to save the world. She was just a ninja. All she could do was fight until she couldn't fight anymore.
"Lantern, you need to concentrate! Your constructs are breaking because your mind is scattered. You need to calm down."
Sakura turned her head towards Batman's voice and then looked at Green Lantern's light. Batman was right. They were breaking and it seemed like they were breaking prematurely making him less effective in solving their current problem.
Green Lantern's face contorted with barely contained rage and Sakura was afraid another pissing contest was about to occur and then they'd all end up dead.
"Worry about yourself Batman. You're the only one here without any powers."
Sakura's mouth dropped open.
Chapter 10: The Girl Who Was Fascinated by the Bat
Ordinary people can do amazing things.
Sakura wouldn't call her ability to use chakra a 'power'. Every living thing had chakra. Some people were able to use it, some better than others. To her, she was just an another ordinary person who had the capability to enhance her strength and heal others.
She glossed over the fact that only someone with perfect chakra control would able to do some of the things that she was capable of doing. She tried to keep a level head, although being on a team with Sharingan Kakashi made that easy.
She didn't know what enabled the Flash to move so quickly. She didn't know why Superman could fly or why Green Lantern was able to make solid objects out of light.
What she now knew about Batman, though, was that he was holding his own against some very strong creatures and he didn't appear, although he knew of ninja, to be able to use chakra like she could. So technically he was only a civilian. That thought alone should have her worried about him. She knew that she should probably do to him what Superman had done to her earlier and throw him out of the fray, but frankly she was too damned fascinated.
He was actually holding his own!
He had to have been trained in some form or fashion in order to have survived this long. If she had the opportunity she'd study under him, because your chakra can be made useless, and if you're captured then what? Personally, she'd have very little backup. Without chakra, her taijutsu was passable, but...she was no Rock Lee.
Sakura, out of the corner of her eye, saw Batman knock one of those creatures flat on its back.
She wanted more than passable.
This was a man whose side she wanted to be by. If he could hold his own with all these men who had 'powers' then Sakura thought it would be a honor to fight by his side. It was that train of thought that had Sakura moving away from Green Lantern and his dark disposition and closer to Batman.
He noticed her approach almost immediately and as soon as she was within earshot, she briskly told her, "I don't need your help."
Sakura laughed and ducked a fist that was aimed for her head.
If she hadn't been otherwise occupied she would have seen the small smile that played on Batman's lips and noted that was the beginning of a relationship stronger than any other she'd have while in the world that wasn't her own.
"Behind you!" At Batman's cry Sakura crouched down and Batman ran towards her. Immediately, she sent a wave of chakra to her shoulders just as Batman's used them to give himself a boost. She turned her head around afterward to see a body lying prone behind her.
"Thanks for the assist." Batman grunted a reply that Sakura took to mean 'thanks'.
It was by unspoken agreement that they'd be better off if no one could attack them from behind. That was how they ended up back to back.
"How old are you kid?" Sakura laughed once and anyone looking would have been frightened as she had just broken the neck of one of their alien visitors. A maniacal gleam entered her eyes that could only be attributed to blood lust.
"I'm a legal adult. I left the kid stage a while back."
Sakura frowned at the phrasing. It was chakra enhanced strength, but it wasn't her world. She'd adapt to their odd phrasing until she made it back home.
"I won't break easily."
Before Sakura could say another word. Her arm had been grabbed. Her eyes grew large and Sakura's first instinct was to yank her arm free of captivity. However, when she saw the black mask and not golden armor she realized she wasn't being attacked and relaxed. Thereafter, her body was lifted from the ground and slung around as if she were a weapon. Sakura sent chakra to her feet kicking off the heads of any enemy that had the misfortune of being close to her feet.
Batman swung her around his entire body and she had to quietly admire his flexibility for being able to manage it and not drop her. The depths of her admiration for the man deepened. As he began to lower her body to the ground, she yelled, "Jump!"
Batman didn't hesitate to heed her words, but Flash who happened to be nearby stumbled as her feet hit the ground, causing the ground to tremble and knocked anyone who was unfortunate enough to not heed her warning off their feet.
After the ripple Sakura made had died down, she noted Batman and Flash looking at her a little incredulously. She grinned. She supposed her actions had been a little unexpected.
The earth moved, and for once there were no innuendos laced in his internal statement. Batman had literally dropped Kunoichi on the ground and it formed a wave that you normally only see in the water.
Kunoichi was strong, however, before he had the chance to think about that any further she appeared and knocked whatever thoughts he might have had about Kunoichi out of his mind.
In her hands was a sword that shone brilliantly as she sliced thorough opponent after opponent. She made warfare look beautiful. Her dark hair flowed behind her and her face, though serious because of the task at hand, was remarkable. He had never seen a woman such as this, except for maybe in his dreams.
Somehow they had all paired up, with the obvious exception of Superman. Green Lantern had ended up with Flash while Batman and Kunoichi were working rather well together when the Goddess appeared before them. However, it didn't take a genius to realize as Superman and the Goddess glanced at each other that there could be something special there and only a fool would step between them and stop it from occurring.
At least that meant the Kunoichi was free. He had to admit that he had been a little put out at the camaraderie between the Superman and the Kunoichi. He still didn't understand how he managed to be right where she needed him to be to keep her from splattering across the ground.
Still, despite his thoughts on the pink haired woman and her relationship with Superman, Green Lantern couldn't help but glance the Goddess' way and echo Flash's simple yet entirely appropriate sentiment.
Chapter 11: The Girl Who Was a Healer First and Foremost
He would be the last to trust her, but he'd be the first at other things.
There were myths in Konoha about a village of old full of female warriors that shunned the companionship of men. They were known for their strength and cunning in battle. Although, her Master Tsunade denied the claim it was rumored that her ancestors were of their bloodline.
The village that they supposedly lived in could never be found on any map—nor could it be found at all though it was called Bana-Migdhall. She knew very little of the people as it was a legend, but she knew enough to recognize the people should they happen to step out off of paper and into real life.
When the woman with the dark hair appeared she knew without a doubt that she was looking at one of the fabled Amazons. She fought with such fearlessness and bravery that that Sakura couldn't help but to admire her. Her weapon was a sword, although you couldn't discount her fists.
There were few female shinobi who didn't fade into the background behind their male counterparts. So it was refreshing to see a woman-
Sakura's thought process halted when she noted that the woman was fighting at Superman's side. She watched the way that he looked at her and she saw the spark between them—even if they didn't. Sakura smiled and shook her head.
The good looking ones always got snatched before she could do more than blink.
Sakura glanced around and saw that the only one of her temporary teammates that hadn't been momentarily blindsided by the woman's bewitching beauty was Batman who continued to fight the fine fight. Since staring admiringly at another woman's fighting prowess was not only creepy it was dangerous she decided to do the same.
Green Lantern's gaze drifted back to Sakura, who, for some reason, amidst the chaos seemed to be having the time of her life. His first impression told him it had something to do with the fact that she was a ninja. Although, he could silently admit to himself that he, too, enjoyed a good fight.
She was sticking close to Batman, although why she'd want to hang around that jerk was beyond him.
The creatures were leaving, but Sakura didn't understand why. If they had just continued to battle them, eventually they would have been overrun. Their numbers were sure to run them down eventually.
The Amazon gave her greetings, but Sakura's dread was too deep to enable her to respond politely at the moment.
"It looks like we've scared them off." Green Lantern said it, but there was no rejoicing over the victory in his voice. In fact, he looked rather pensive. She was glad of it because it meant that her sentiments were shared.
"No. They're assembling."
At Batman's reply Sakura took a deep breath. She didn't ask what they were assembling for. They'd have time for that conversation later. She had other, more important things to deal with. "Is everyone alright? Does anyone have any injuries? Tell me quickly. I need to take care of you while I have the chance."
Sakura eyed the rip in Batman's costume and waited for him to tell her of his injury not knowing she was waiting for April snow in Mexico. Her vision wasn't bad and she was certain she saw blood trickling from an injury. When the silence continued Sakura began to wonder if she had inadvertently picked up another Kakashi.
With a scowl embedded on her lips, she made a move towards Batman and found her vision suddenly filled with green that had nothing to do with chakra.
"I injured my arm."
Green Lantern showed her his right arm, which had a deep gash. Sakura's brow furrowed realizing that the way they battled their enemies was completely foreign to her and was going to take some getting used to.
She was accustomed to, as the medic, staying in the background protected unless attacked. While she was more than capable of protecting herself and causing quite a bit on damage on the battlefield, it didn't mean she shouldn't save her strength in order to keep those working with her alive.
The every man for himself wasn't working for her. But what could she do?
Sakura raised her hand, bringing chakra to her fingertips only to have Green Lantern jerk backwards.
"What are you doing?"
Sakura blinked slowly at the suspicion in his voice. Did he think her incompetent? If that was the case, why had he approached her in the first place? To be honest her feelings were a little hurt, but she'd never admit it.
"She's a healer." Superman interjected, looking Sakura's way and giving her a brief nod. Sakura gave him a brief smile before it faded away because she was now uncomfortable. She hated awkward situations. "She means you no harm."
Batman chose that moment to step forward and reveal the wound on his leg. This time Sakura's smile appeared again, but unlike the previous one, it stayed in place. First and foremost, she checked to see if there was any internal bleeding. She was grateful to find that there wasn't because she wasn't in the ideal situation to deal with that.
Batman's injury wasn't as bad as she thought it was. After she was finished healing him she patted his leg lightly and said, "Good as new." Batman moved his leg slightly checking the truth of her words, before nodding appreciatively at her.
Sakura bit her inner cheek and prepared to return to Green Lantern and heal his injuries not at all looking forward to the fact that she could see distrust on the face of a man who wore a mask. At least with her genin sensei, she'd been able to see his expressive eye and was able to gauge his emotions from that.
"Finished being a big baby Lantern?"
Sakura's eyes grew large and found that she was unable to bite back the snicker at the comment. Although it seemed she wasn't alone. She heard Superman and Flash laughing along with her.
"Yeah, yeah. Laugh it up."
Green Lantern closed the distance between the two of them and offered his arm once more. There were no further delays in her healing.
Chapter 12: The Girl Who Had a Fondness for Orange
Sakura had just finished healing Green Lantern's arm when the Flash grabbed her and pointed towards the sea. She frowned, wondering why these men were overly familiar with her person, but decided not to remark upon it. Maybe it was simply the heat of battle that made them the way they were. Depending upon how long she was stuck in this world she may have time to correct their wayward behavior.
"Do you see that? They're circling the water."
Sakura frowned and glanced at Green Lantern whose face was grim. His eyes didn't stray from the creatures as if he expected them to turn back and attack at any moment, which wasn't entirely unlikely as their sudden retreat seemed strange. Sakura bit her bottom lip and nodded her head slowly.
"I see. The question is why."
"I have a feeling we're about to find out." Superman remarked, and Sakura unthinkingly moved closer to him, which was probably because his closeness made her feel safe. Superman was a heavy hitter, and she was used to hanging with the top dogs.
Superman looked down at Sakura and wondered how she was holding up. She looked tired and yet she kept fighting. She hadn't uttered a word of complaint about the battle or the weariness he could see in her features. He wondered if it was because she was used to it. Was her homeland unaccustomed to peace?
"Will you be able to continue?" He whispered softly, hoping only she heard his question. A disgruntled frown graced her lips before she raised her eyes that shone with determination and met his own.
She raised a hand and pushed back a few strands of hair that had fallen into her face. Her spine straightened and he knew that he had hit a nerve, but for some reason found himself unable to backtrack. He wasn't about to allow her to put herself in danger because of her pride.
"I can take care of myself. Don't worry about me."
Her words, for some reason, didn't make him feel any better. He vowed silently to keep an eye on her and make sure that if she did do anything reckless that he'd be there to back her up.
The sound of rushing water filled his ears and Superman's attention once more turned to the sea. The creatures remained above the water as if anxiously anticipating something. Suddenly the water surged upwards and into the sky releasing a golden pod from its depths. Ships that were in the water rocked violently from the upheaval, but thankfully didn't capsize.
"We need to get closer and make sure everyone aboard those vessels are safe."
Superman grabbed Sakura around the waist and took to the skies aware that travel would be faster if he took her with him. He noted that Wonder Woman, also known as Diana, took flight beside him. Flash ran ahead as soon as he uttered his statement, and Green Lantern encased Batman in a glow of green and took said Dark Knight with him.
As they drew closer to the water Sakura looked up at Superman. "Put me down. I'll go to the people on the ships."
"No. You stay here just in case those creatures decide to attack us. If they do provide back up. Wonder Woman and I will go for the people on the vessels."
Sakura blinked slowly, but didn't reply since she wasn't given the opportunity. Superman turned and looked at Diana, who nodded and off they flew together.
Superman was well aware of Wonder Woman's existence. He, himself, had written an article or two about her at the Planet. He never had the chance to meet her in person, but he could honestly say that her beauty robbed him of words. Maybe, his words to Sakura had been a bit of a ploy just to have a few seconds at the side of a woman who had the physical strength and stamina to match him. It was a rare moment that a part of him took comfort in. He didn't feel as alone as he usually did.
He would be lying if he didn't say that he hadn't connected with Sakura on a level that he didn't understand, but it was different with her than it was with Diana. Sakura, while obviously very strong, tired almost as easily as the average human. Her strength of will was admirable, but somehow...
"Superman," Wonder Woman's voice drew his attention. "I have only found these three men." She had one in each arm and one was on her back. Superman used his x-ray vision to scan to see if there was anyone left aboard. There wasn't. Most were in lifeboats trying valiantly to row back to land. "Those are it. I will get those remaining in the water."
"I'll return to help you shortly."
"What is that?" They watched quietly as Superman and Wonder Woman went to save the people stuck out at sea, but inadvertently there attention was once again directed back to the large foreign object that emerged from the sea.
The question was uttered by the Flash, but it was thought by them all. Sakura somehow knew that this was the turn for the worst that she had been waiting for. It was only downhill from that point onward.
"I was hoping one of you could tell me that."
The voice made her stiffen and turn slowly to face the newcomer. He stood with nothing but water behind him, obviously emerging from the sea like some sort of mythological creature. His hair was golden and rivulets of water dripped down his hair and into his face, but he didn't even seem remotely bothered by it. However, that wasn't the first thing that caught her attention. No, the first thing that caught her attention was the color orange. His chest armor was orange.
The fact that he had a trident pointed at the throat of one of her new enemies and he wore the bold color that reminded her of home as well as made her smile in welcome causing one of her nearby companions to frown.
"All we can say is that they're our enemy, and if they are yours as well then today we'll call you friend. I go by Kunoichi."
Chapter 13: The Girl Who Was Amused at Green Lantern's Expense
He was kind of cute when he pouted.
"He's Aquaman." Batman answered the unspoken question making Sakura wonder how much knowledge he had hidden within that brain of his. Had she stumbled across another Shikamaru only he wasn't a lazy bum? The thought appealed to her for some unknown reason. A slight movement out the corner of her eye drew her attention back to the man who had just joined their motley crew.
The golden warrior of the sea radiated power and ability. Although that wasn't what, after the orange, next drew Sakura's attention. No, that would be his weapon. She had no idea where he had gotten his trident, but she wanted to know where she could get her own or if she could borrow his.
It was glorious in its simplicity and looked to be extremely effective. Her fingers twitched. She wanted to touch it. Greetings from the others were exchanged quickly, which gave Sakura enough time to compose herself before she did something foolish that would cost her life.
"I found this creature," Aquaman hauled up his either dead or unconscious victim for all of them to see, "as he was setting off a device that tore a hole in the water and then dozens of its kind flew out. Since you've obviously gathered together to fight them, I will join you."
Sakura blinked and looked around at the stunned looks on all their faces. She supposed they had united to fight a current common enemy inadvertently.
The Flash uttered her thoughts on the manner. "I guess we did."
"However you have no one to lead you. I propose I do the honors."
Sakura chuckled. She thought the Green Lantern was arrogant, but apparently Aquaman had him beat hands down. Not only did he not ask to join them, he told them he was and then without knowing anything about any of them thought to take on a role of leadership. Aquaman certainly had some large cojones.
Sakura took that moment to wonder why it was so common for them to end their code name in 'man'...or 'woman'. It really did speak of a lack of originality.
"If you don't see a leader then you obviously haven't been looking at me." Sakura sighed, wondering whether or not she was going to have to take back her thoughts on who was more arrogant Aquaman or Green Lantern.
Sakura glanced at Wonder Woman and moved her way. The older woman nodded her head slightly at Sakura in acknowledgment and the two women began to murmur among themselves.
"It seems as though the battle has raised their testosterone levels." A smirk graced Sakura's lips.
"If you mean that a pissing contest is about to start, then I'd have to agree."
The women chuckled. "Maybe one of us should lead and save us all some trouble." Wonder Woman suggested.
"If it's not a hospital, then I have no interest in leading it. Although, you can feel free to do the honors. I have no problem following you."
"I will if it becomes necessary."
With just that one statement Sakura realized that she was a no nonsense type of woman. She would do what was necessary to get the job done and no one would stop her. She could understand that mentality, though, given the amount of moose caca she had to deal with Sai, Kakashi, and Naruto. Sometimes it took a strong woman to deal with a bunch of knucklehead men.
Sakura tuned back into the conversation that the males were having in time to hear Green Lantern say, "Superman might not say a lot, but he can fly and juggle trucks, The Flash is the fastest man alive. Wonder Woman can slice through an army, and Kunoichi can bend reality and make people see what isn't there. And me? I can do anything with this ring. So really, what can you do that we can't?"
Sakura frowned. Bend reality? Is that what he thought she could do? She didn't bother to correct him or explain her techniques. Some things were best left secret. She actually liked being the only one who could do what she did. They all had unique talents that made them individually special, and being the only ninja around she supposed that kind of made her special to.
Sakura couldn't help but admire how Aquaman answered Green Lantern's question. It was at that moment that some of the creatures they had been fighting charged their way yelled in a serpentine hiss, "For Darkseid!" Aquaman turned his back to them and faced their foes. Out of the depths of the ocean came several vicious looking sharks whose jaws snapped open promising certain death to the creatures foolish enough to put themselves in its path. And put themselves in their path they did. The shark that happened to be closest to where she stood, mouth snapped closed and Sakura could hear from where she stood the snapping of bones and it made her flinch.
Somehow, watching someone or something die by an animal was worse than seeing an actual man do it. Maybe it had something to do with being a ninja and she had become slightly desensitized to death by the hand of man. She had seen Kakashi's dogs attack people before and it never left her with warm and fuzzy feelings and yet she had seen the same man kill a dozen men without batting an eye and it never once bothered her.
Another alien, discerning that Aquaman was the cause of the loss of so many of its comrades charged him. Aquaman, sensing the danger, turned at exactly the right moment to plunge his trident through it's mandible and out the top of his skull. With a slight shake he casually tossed the carcass into the sea. Aquaman thereafter turned and looked at Green Lantern and arched a brow, bringing to the forefront of her mind that before Aquaman's gory display they had been arguing about his abilities.
Sakura turned her back so that Green Lantern wouldn't see her laughing. When she did, she caught Batman looked at her pointedly and a part of her felt bad for her amusement at the expense of the Lantern...but for the most part she was just amused. She glanced back at Green Lantern to notice him pouting slightly. It was sort of cute.
Victor Stone loved his Father. He also didn't doubt that his father loved him. However, when he made the touchdown that would bring his team to the state finals and turned to see that his father wasn't there to see it a part of him hated him. He hated him because it made him a liar and couldn't be trusted.
When he saw the green airplane flying in the sky after the game he decided then to go see his father at S.T.A.R. Laboratories. His father was so consumed with things like the green airplane in the sky that he couldn't be bothered to keep his promise to his only child.
At that time he felt they needed to talk. It was a discussion that should have occurred long ago.
Later he would wish that he had left well enough alone.
Chapter 14: The Girl Who Received a Helping Hand
A bond between father and son isn't always as strong as it should be.
Sakura soon heard the beating in the sky and she stiffened knowing that the very objects she had cast a genjutsu on earlier were in the sky in mass numbers. They were easily defeated before and she prepared herself to do the same once more. She raised her hands, but Batman grabbed her arm. She was about to wrench it away, but she didn't have to. He let her go of his own accord.
Sakura brought her eyes back to the skies only to see that they weren't the ones being attacked. They were going after the kidnapping aliens. Sakura nodded her head glad they weren't alone any longer.
Previously at S.T.A.R. Labs
Silas Stone was in his lab, but that wasn't unusual. What was unusual was the fact that he was working on a different project. At least a dozen other scientists surrounded him. They were studying a box of metal of a type that he had never before seen. He had so many questions about it and its origin.
"Where did it come from?" Silas' question was answered by one of the newer scientists whose name he didn't know as yet.
"It was recovered from Superman's and his companion's battle this morning. Apparently, the creature had several of these boxes with him. We know for certain that one of them was destroyed." Silas frowned. Another Super human had revealed themselves and it was one that they knew nothing of. If they went by the company she kept she was probably benign, but they couldn't afford to take that sort of chance.
"Is the companion Kryptonian, Sarah?"
"Unlikely. She displays none of the abilities of the other female Kryptonian nor that of Superman. Her strengths lie elsewhere."
"No data has come in yet except that her physical strength is phenomenal."
"Isn't that a Kryptonian trait?"
There was a bit of hesitation before Sarah replied, "Yes, Dr. Stone." They couldn't rule out that there was another Kryptonian among them then. They also couldn't rule out that if she was Kryptonian then the Superman could now probably reproduce with another of its kind. They had been fortunate that the other was a relative. Now it seemed that their luck had run out.
"And did this belong to them?"
"Not that we know of. It's actually hard to determine anything about the object including the metal that it's made of." He was aware of that, but he wasn't one to nitpick. "We have, on the other hand, picked up some sort of signal broadcasting from it. And there's a similar broadcast coming from Central City, Coast City, and Washington D.C."
Silas sighed. "And has anyone picked up the connection that those are all places of Super human activity?"
Before the question could be answered they were interrupted, "Dr. Stone?" Silas turned his head to the male addressing him. "Your son is here." Silas ran his hand over his face. His son. Victor. His face flashed before his eyes. People said the boy looked just like him, but every time he saw his face, he was reminded of his mother.
"Tell him I'm busy. I don't have time right now."
"But...he seemed pretty upset."
Of course he was and it probably had something to do with his idiotic football game. It typically always did. He had a feeling that he wasn't going to walk away easily. It was best to just deal with him and get it over with.
"Send him up."
Victor hated Star Labs. It was a place that was cold and impersonal. It was almost as bad as being in a hospital. He hated that it also reflected his father's personality nowadays. He turned his head and watched Silas Stone approach him and immediately called out to him.
"Victor, I'm in the middle of something important right now."
"Something more important than your own son? You promised me you'd be there today. There were scouts there who wanted me. I could have had a full scholar-"
"Which you wouldn't need. I can pay for your education."
"That isn't the point."
"Then what is the point Victor? That you can run fast? That you can catch a ball? Open your eyes and take a look at the world around you. The world is changing into...I don't know what. There are super humans who are doing things that you would never dream of doing while running on your little field of dreams."
Victor felt as if he had been smacked in the face. In truth, he would have preferred it if his father had actually physically hit him because the pain would have gone away faster.
"You're never going to come to one of my games." It wasn't a question. It was a statement since he was well aware of the truth of the matter.
"No, I'm not."
Victor turned his back and began walking away for some foolish reason hoping against hope that his father would call him back. What he actually heard was something that would change his life forever.
"Dr. Stone? Something is happening!"
Victor turned and looked over his shoulder to see his father walking back toward his lab. The expression on the face of the person who was sent to retrieve him is what caught his attention. He looked panicked and scared. What could possibly scare the man in a laboratory? Before he knew it, he was taking one step after another following in his father's footsteps.
What he saw inside the lab his eyes couldn't make sense of. There was a box emitting flames and a loud ringing noise that hurt his ears and grew louder with each second.
What kind of project was his father working on?
"Dad, what is that?"
His father's head snapped around, obviously not realizing that he had chosen to follow him. The naked fear on his face made Victor take a hesitant step back.
"Everyone get out!" When Victor didn't move his father shouted, "Victor leave now!"
But it was too late.
The last thing Victor heard was his father screaming his name.
Chapter 15: The Birth of Cyborg
Man or Machine?
Silas Stone held his son's burned, damaged, dying body in his hands and wondered where he had gone wrong. He blamed no one but himself. Had he just gone to his son's football game he wouldn't have come to the lab to find him in the first place. He would have been safe away from the madness that had left him in his current state.
Silas' vision grew blurry. He wasn't sure his mind could take it. He had already lost his wife. He couldn't lose his only son too.
The anguished cry tore from his throat and tears streamed down his face. He cared nothing about the alien invaders that had just destroyed one of his laboratories. He didn't care that the human race could possibly be facing extinction. The only thing he cared about was Victor.
"Silas!" Silas felt a hand on his shoulder, but felt no comfort from human touch. It served as a reminder of the emptiness of his life. "Your son is gone. We have to get out of here now."
The words were cold and callous and yet for some reason he wasn't offended by them. They didn't touch him at all. Maybe because he didn't quite believe them. Somewhere deep inside him hope still remained.
"I'm not going anywhere Thomas." The grip on his shoulder tightened, but Silas didn't stop looking at his son's face. "I already saw his Mother die. I'm not going to lose him too!"
Lois Lane took a deep breath. Everyone was gone looking for safety and refuge from the alien invasion, and yet no one was reporting the truth of what was going on. The world was in chaos. She didn't put herself in the line of danger like she did in the past when she let herself be blinded by her infatuation of Superman. She worked behind the scenes now and yet as she listened to the news reports coming in she wasn't sure how much longer she could remain quiet.
"These portals are opening across the world and unleashing armies of monsters!"
"These super-humans, these supermen are the cause of this!"
At the use of the word 'super' Lois' mind snapped to attention. No, she wouldn't let them blame Superman, of all people, for this. Metropolis knew that he was their salvation and not their damnation. There were just some things that she couldn't allow, just like there were some things worth fighting for. Lois took out her phone and dialed a number. Seconds later when she heard a familiar male voice she smiled.
"Jimmy, think you can make it to the TV station and record a live feed for me?"
Lois' smiled at his response. It was almost like old times.
Silas and Thomas carried his son deeper into S.T.A.R. Labs. The smell of destruction filled the air, but Silas was able to ignore it as he had a goal in mind.
"Dr. Stone," Sarah's soft voice questioned, "where are we going?" Sarah had joined them when she saw that they weren't going to blindly run and seek refuge. He wasn't sure why she joined them and at the moment he wasn't concerned enough to care.
"We're taking him to the Red Room. Open the door for us."
"But I'm not authorized-"
"He's getting heavy." Thomas interjected. "If we don't do something soon I'm going to drop him." Silas stifled his irritation and pressed onward.
"The door is open Sarah. Security is off line. Just open the door so we can go inside."
Sarah pushed the door open and was greeted with a loud screech that irritated the ears. Silas and Thomas filed in behind her oblivious to Sarah's awe at the room around them. The room was nothing but metal and the technology in it was abundant. Most of the things in the room Silas had no clue as to their purpose. But there was one thing he knew what it did and he was almost certain he could operate it.
"We shouldn't be in here Dr. Stone." Thomas' hesitation was almost his undoing. He didn't understand and a part of him was glad that he didn't. No one should have to live through the amount of pain he had.
"Lay him down."
Silas and Thomas placed Victor in a nearby pod and then proceeded to give Sarah and Thomas instructions on how to turn it on. It would show them his vital signs and even go so far as to show his blood cell count and the structure of his DNA.
He would have operated the equipment himself, but Victor reached for him and grabbed his hand. Silas couldn't stop the tears that flooded his eyes. His son...he wasn't gone yet...he hadn't been sure, but now he knew.
His voice was hoarse and Silas could tell that the effort to speak was costing him.
"I'm right here Victor."
"I know, but I'm going to help you. I won't let you die."
"Dr. Stone, whatever that energy is that blasted him, it's eating him away from the inside out. He's going into cardiac arrest!"
Silas moved swiftly to a locked metal container. He took the container and bashed it against a table, thereby breaking the lock. Thereafter, he discarded the lock opened the container and pulled out a large hypodermic syringe.
"Then we can't wait."
"But the risk?"
"The alternative is his death, which, if you didn't get it before, is unacceptable. I've studied everything about this technology and logged nearly everything in here. I've taken it apart and rebuilt it. It can save my son's life. It will save his life."
Toward the end he didn't know if he was trying to convince Thomas or himself. Silas injected the nanites into Victor's arm before anyone else tried to talk him out of it.
"If his body rejects the skin graft-"
"It won't. I've injected the nanites. Activate them."
"But we haven't tested them-"
"Just do it!"
Silas leaned down and covered his son's badly damaged face with a piece of metal that people would eventually come to associate Victor with.
Chapter 16: The Girl Who Chose To Die Well
She would not stand by idly while others fought to protect her.
People of Metropolis many of you may not know my name, but you know my face but for simplicity's sake I'll tell you I'm Lois Lane.
They were assaulted by another wave of alien invaders. So for the most part conversation ended, but Sakura could never be accused of not being able to multitask. She moved to the one called Aquaman and asked, "Did you actually talk to those sharks?"
"Yes. I told them what to eat."
Their enemy didn't look the least bit appetizing, but then again, she wasn't a shark. Flash zipped to her side hitting foe after foe while quipping, "I hope they're still hungry cause there's plenty more where they came from."
A smile couldn't completely form on her face when she heard the Green Lantern call out, "Take cover!" Before Sakura could make a move to do so her face was filled with the blue she had come to associate with Superman. Sakura heard several loud popping noises and was unsure as to what was going on.
"They're shooting at all of us." Superman replied, answering her question and yet not answering it at all. She saw several of the creatures fall as some sort of weapon pierced their chests, but she had no idea what sort of weapon was being used. She was, on the other hand, aware that the friend in the skies, she thought they had were actually foes. They weren't discriminating as to who they were 'shooting' at. For all they cared, the whole lot of them could die.
"Shooting what?" He frowned at her lack of knowledge.
"Never mind that. Just stay behind me, use me as your shield."
There are reports coming in that our city, Metropolis, is being invaded by aliens like Superman. Well, I'm here today to set the story straight. I stand here in the streets of Metropolis to tell you that these invaders are Not. Like. Superman. If they were, then I, right this second, I would feel safe and there would be no danger.
"Do you trust me?"
We do not fear Superman. He is our savior. We do not run away from him. If we are in danger we run to him. He and his companions are not the menace that the other television stations are portraying them to be. If Superman is out there, then he is doing what he can to protect us. But we know that, don't we Metropolis?
Sakura pressed her lips together tightly. She knew the answer to that question, but at the moment she didn't like it. Sakura nodded her head. "Is it possible for you to follow my movements no matter what if I stay on the ground?"
It was possible, but she was no Sharingan wielder. Doing something like that was an A rank technique and required quite a bit of chakra. She had already taken a solider pill once, and was well aware that if she didn't die before the battle was done she was going to collapse after it was finished. She hadn't even fought this hard in the war...
There are those of you who may think that I'm biased, however the fact that I am even alive today is a testament to Superman's nobility. So I say to you trust Superman. Trust those who stand with him today. Because he will do whatever he can to keep us safe. But we already knew that, didn't we Metropolis?
Still, she had a feeling that if she wasn't able to do something she would end up being seriously injured. Sakura looked up into Superman's worried visage and considered lying. She was tired. They had been fighting all day and under normal circumstances, she was certain she would've been able to keep up, but before she had arrived in this strange new world she had been embroiled in a war and she hadn't been sitting on the sidelines idly. It was true that she had perfect chakra control, but the whole waste not, want not philosophy didn't apply in this situation. In this situation…the world was ending.
"I can't move like you, Superman nor have I trained with you so I'm not familiar with your style..."
"I'll protect you then."
That didn't sit well with her. In fact, it rankled more than a little. Staying on the sidelines being protected my some man? Why did that sound so familiar? Sakura blinked slowly coming to a realization. It was so familiar because it was the story of her life and she was sick of it. Was she of no use to anyone? Did she have no backbone whatsoever? Did she not have the gumption to stand and fight to the bitter end whatever it may be?
Sakura shook her head at Superman. "No. I still have some fight left in me. I'll protect myself, but I'll do it my way. Just cover me until I disappear...and do what you can to stop them." Sakura pointed to the skies. "They're only making a bad situation worse."
Superman locked eyes with Sakura for a moment. She could tell he wanted to ask her what she was going to do, but he was intelligent enough to know they didn't have time for explanations. So after what seemed like an eternity Superman nodded finally saying, "Alright." He thereafter watched as Sakura's fingers moved rapidly and she sank into the ground right before his eyes.
Sakura could tell that he didn't believe in her. That he was scared for her. That was fine because realistically speaking, she was scared for herself. She didn't know if what she was planning was going to work. She couldn't see the future and she didn't want to die in a world where no one knew her. She didn't want her friends to wonder what had become of her and to never have closure. But she also didn't want to be a coward.
She wanted to live well, fight well, and if push came to shove she wanted to die well.
So let us do a favor to the big guy for once. Let's believe in him.
Chapter 17: Alternate Universe: The Girl Who was Craftily Sneaky
Several years after Sakura's arrival in the new 52:
Sakura walked into Wayne Manor looking for its Master. Her steps were quick and light, as she was happy to be 'home'. She didn't get to visit as often as she would have liked.
Although, she could admit the place would never be the same since Alfred passed away, but that didn't mean she couldn't still feel his presence. She could still hear him calling her, 'Miss Sakura' even after she practically begged him not to do it anymore. Sakura could still imagine him raising his chin and with the dignity only known to a Pennyworth saying, "No." Sakura chuckled to herself. She loved that man dearly.
She had been in this world for fifteen years and now she would never leave it for anything. Her life had changed so much and so many things happened that shaped her into the woman she was today. If she could go back and redo things she didn't think she would.
"DB?" Sakura called out wondering where her old man was. Although, if he knew she called him an old man in her mind, he'd beat her senseless to prove he was still very much a virile man. She was about to call out again when a woman slinked in front of her from the shadows.
"Bruce is busy with a guest right now."
Sakura smiled at Selina, by way of greeting and nodded. "Business or pleasure?"
"A bit of both perhaps." Sakura knew immediately Selina was hiding something, wanting to see her reaction to whatever it was. It was a game the two of them played to see who would flinch first. Sakura's smiled widened. She was always willing to play.
"Take me to him?"
Selina turned and walked away and Sakura followed her mind awash in memories of her youth spent there with Tim, Damien, and Richard. She still remembered that first Christmas party where Richard teased her all night long and stolen her attention from other members of the League. Sakura grinned. Those were happy times.
Sakura shook her head clearing away the memories and entered the dining room. Her eyes immediately landed on DB…and oddly enough another DB. Sakura's eyes widened. Two Bruce Wayne? How was that possible? Henge? Was Kakashi playing games with her? She immediately moved closer in order to inspect the situation.
She would have circled the two like a bird of prey, but one of the men had grabbed her arm making her focus. Her eyes sharpened and she gazed at the man she saw that his face was older yet handsome and one she was familiar with, but when she turned and looked at the other, who now that she was paying attention, appeared to be younger. She happened to see Selina out the corner of her eye, grinning like the cat that ate the canary. Ah, so this was her game. She was tickled that there were two Bruce Wayne.
"DB? What's going on?"
Before Bruce could reply they were joined by another presence of the ninja persuasion. "I always thought one of you was enough. Now we must deal with two?"
Sakura swung her head around at Kakashi's timely arrival. "You didn't do this?"
"Why in the world would I make a henge of the Bat?"
He had a point there. Kakashi and Batman weren't exactly fond of each other, but they tolerated each other for her sake. Bruce didn't approve of her relationship with Kakashi, but she would never send him away. His presence kept the Will of Fire alive within her. As long as Kakashi was around, she'd never forget her roots. Sakura returned her attention to the other Bruce Wayne who was watching her steadily.
"Who is he?" Sakura whispered.
"Who is she?" The other Bruce asked.
Her DB said, "This is my daughter, Sakura." The younger Bruce raised an eyebrow and said, "Isn't she a little old to be your daughter?"
"Sakura, drop the henge." DB commanded. Sakura sighed and obeyed revealing her true form. She watched as the young Bruce's eyes grew large as he took her in.
"I can't stay like this for long." Sakura warned and Bruce nodded and finally answered her question. "He's from another dimension. An alternate Earth."
Sakura turned and looked at the younger Bruce her mouth forming a small O. "How old are you?" Sakura inquired.
He looked like he didn't want to answer, but there was something about Sakura imploring gaze that made him do so. "Twenty-two."
"So you haven't met me yet." Sakura said and turned and looked at the older Bruce. DB nodded. "So he doesn't know about the battle with—"
"No." Bruce said, cutting her off, "But I believe that's why he's here."
Kakashi moved deeper into the room and took a seat at the table, pulling out his favorite novel not at all bothered by the fact that there were two of the same men in their midst. Or rather, if he was bothered at all it was probably because it was a duplicate of Bruce Wayne. Selina began helping herself to the food that was on the table and the look of smug satisfaction was still on her face. Sakura said nothing, not even bothering to hide her bewilderment. Selina got her this time with the oddity factor, but the next time she would make sure she wasn't able to.
"Who is her mother?" The younger Bruce asked, "Because I don't recall-"
Sakura moved closer to the younger Bruce and stared into his face amazed beyond words. "My mother isn't the important part of this story. What is important is why you're here. Care to enlighten us?"
Younger Bruce's eyes narrowed and she knew he didn't trust her or any of them. He looked at the older version of his self who raised a brow. "I trust no one in this room as much as I trust Sakura."
"Thank you so much beloved." Selina sniffed and Bruce smirked. He was well aware that Selina was currently teasing Sakura. He couldn't help, but give her a little taste of her own medicine.
"If anyone can help you, Sakura can. She has a bit of experience with this type of thing." The younger Bruce frowned, wondering what he meant, but decided to take a leap of faith. After all, if you can't trust yourself who could you trust?
"Her name is Kaiyo. She can body hop. She brought me and some caped monster in blue and red here for some reason."
"Blue and Red?" Sakura inquired and looked at DB who nodded. A slow smile started to spread on Sakura's lips. "I'd pay money to see that."
DB frowned at her and Sakura focused her mind sharpening on what the younger Bruce said, "You said, Kaiyo? The Chaos Bringer?"
The younger Bruce frowned. "The Chaos Bringer? What do you mean?"
Sakura sighed, thinking of the revelations of her past and how she came to lose her home world. "It means that trouble comes your way. In her wake comes destruction. She's testing to see whether or not you can survive it."
"Destruction, in the form of?"
Sakura shook her head. "It doesn't matter if I tell you or not. You won't remember in the end. She'll take your memories when she sends you back."
"Then why not tell me?" The younger Bruce inquired, "If it really doesn't matter."
Sakura smiled since he made a valid point. "They call him Lord Darkseid of Apokolips. He comes to destroy everything you love and burn your world eternally."
"You've fought him before." Younger Bruce said, catching on, "You survived it. How?"
"Through faith and trust in those near us." Sakura looked at the older Bruce who nodded.
"That Blue and Red Monster…is your best bet at survival. You'll have to trust him."
Younger Bruce's eyes narrowed and Sakura could tell there was no way that was going to happen and suddenly had an idea of how to help. "Do you trust that I am your daughter?"
"You look nothing like me." The younger Bruce retorted and Sakura snorted. "And I wouldn't allow my daughter to dye her hair pink." DB smirked and Kakashi out right laughed.
"There's a story behind the hair, Bruce darling." Selina assured ignoring her husband's irritated frown at her calling another man her darling. "You'll know soon enough."
"Say I do believe you are my daughter. How will you help me save my world?"
"If you allow it, I'll give you a memory that Kaiyo won't be able to take away from you. The only person who'll even know it's there…eventually…will be me."
Sakura and the younger Bruce stared into each other's eyes weighing each other silently. After a while he nodded his head and Sakura's fingers moved swiftly confusing the younger Bruce as to what she was doing. When she was done her hands glowed green as she brought a finger to his forehead and poked him gently. The younger Bruce felt no change…and yet her hands had glowed green.
Was it magic?
"What did you do? What will I remember?"
Sakura saw no harm in telling him--part of it anyway. "Green eyes, pink hair, loyalty, and a love for you that is deep, strong, and unshakeable." With that Sakura moved to her Bruce, dropped a kiss on his cheek, and headed out the door.
"Come on, Kaka-sensei." Sakura said as she put her disguise back into place. "I have a feeling I need to find a guy in blue and enlighten him before my sweetie and I have our hot Valentine's Day date."
Kakashi rolled his eyes and gave Bruce a sneer. "I still can't believe you let her marry him."
"If I had known it would irritate you this much, I would have encouraged it sooner."
Both men smiled unpleasantly at each other before Kakashi followed after Sakura. Selina arose shortly thereafter claiming she had a thing or two to do leaving the two Bruce alone.
The younger Bruce stared at the empty doorway for a few seconds before asking, "Why does she call you DB?"
Bruce chuckled fondly at the nickname that Sakura had given him. "Because she's slightly insane, and I don't think I'd have it any other way."
Chapter 18: The Girl Who Played With Dragons
She'd fight her way.
Soon after Sakura disappeared Superman made a decision. Sakura was right. They couldn't just allow the army to keep shooting at them. Worst case scenario Sakura or Batman were going to end up dead. In all honesty an accident could probably kill Flash and the Green Lantern as well. He wasn't about to allow that to happen.
"We have to shut them down."
Flash, the person closest to him, heard him speak. At a glance Superman could tell his words were not received well. That didn't make them any less honest though and the sooner the Flash accepted that the better. "Shut them down? What do you mean 'shut them down'? They're soldiers who are just doing their job."
"And their job is to shoot at us? What have we done to them Flash? Am I wrong or are we trying to protect the people just like they are?" Before Flash could come up with some sort of reply Superman took to the skies, but he did make one parting remark. "You seem like someone who wants to do the right thing, but the same can't always be said for everyone in authority positions. Keep that in mind while you stay here...and dodge."
Superman didn't need any additional senses to know that the Flash was following him.
"Where's Kunoichi?" Green Lantern asked looking around. He couldn't remember the last time he had seen her. Worry churned in his gut especially since he could see Superman in the distance and her splash of pink hair was obviously nowhere near him...nor was it near the Batman that she had taken a liking to.
"I have not seen her since the shooting began." Wonder Woman replied and GL frowned.
"Did she run?" Green Lantern couldn't help but think about how she said she was a ninja. Nothing he knew of ninja painted them in a positive light. He didn't want to think badly of her. She had, after all, healed his arm when he had been something of a bastard about it. Still, she was no longer among them and if she hadn't ran away then it could mean she was in trouble and that thought didn't sit well with him either.
Batman snorted as if he knew something that GL didn't. "She's not that type of girl."
"And you know her so well after a few hours in her presence." Sarcasm colored Green Lantern's words, but Batman ignored it.
"I'm a good judge of character."
Green Lantern weighed his words silently. "Are you saying you trust her?"
"I'm saying if she's not here then she probably has a good reason...like not being bullet proof."
"You're not bullet proof and you're still here."
"Yeah, but I'm Batman."
Green Lantern stared at Batman incredulously wondering what in the world that was supposed to mean and what relevance it had to anything. When enlightenment didn't descend on him he decided to just ignore it. He then noticed Flash and Superman taking out the helicopters and knew they could use some backup since they weren't injuring the people inside. They were just taking away their toys. GL smirked.
"Alright, I'm going to get the people out of the helicopters and to safety, but not because it's the right thing to do. I just like impressing people."
Green Lantern noticed Batman just staring at him. "What? Wait. What did I just say?" GL's face began to turn a fascinating color of red. He knew exactly what he had just said, but he didn't know why he said it.
"You were touching my lasso." What that had to do with anything he hadn't a clue. "It makes people tell the truth." Green Lantern snatched his hand away from Wonder Woman's lasso wondering how his hand had gotten so close to her in the first place since it was on her hip. She looked like the type of woman to knock a man out for laying hands on her. Apparently he had judged her wrong or maybe he had already received his punishment. Laughter reached his ears soon afterward.
"It's not funny Batman." He received no reply which only served to irritate Green Lantern more.
Water surged upward and into the sky forming a monstrous shape that chilled the bones. Superman looked down at the water knowing instinctively who had taken a page out of Green Lantern's handbook and made a water dragon surge upward from the seas. He hoped she wasn't going to kill them-or try to. He didn't want to have to fight her too.
His thought process quickly shifted as he watched the water snake through the helicopters washing their pilots out of them. He swiftly moved, catching them so that they didn't fall to their deaths. His eyes glanced toward Sakura wondering if she had some sort of affinity with water. First she had walked on water now this. It couldn't be a coincidence.
"Woah!" Flash yelled seeing that the water had developed a mind of its own and immediately began to backtrack. He looked around for Aquaman wondering whether or not he had some part in all of this but noted he was still on land with the others.
"It's okay." Superman reassured him. "It's Kunoichi controlling the dragon."
"How do you know that? I don't see her."
That was because she had concealed herself in the shadows where no ordinary person would notice her. But he didn't have ordinary eyes.
"Trust me. I know."
A surge of power surged through Victor Stone's body causing him to cry out in pain. He thought he heard someone call out his name but his own pain drowned it out. However, as quickly as the pain started it changed in intensity and form causing him to open his eyes.
Data flowed into his mind a swift rate and he struggled to his feet. His steps felt funny and he felt nothing. "Dad..." His voice was hoarse and he doubted anyone could hear him, but he tried again. "I can't feel my legs, my arms...my hands." Victor took that moment to look down and discover that his hands once a rich dark milk chocolate now had a shiny metallic edge to them.
Chapter 19: The Girl Who Saw the Man and Not the Armor
And the enemy is...
The doors to the Red room blew open and the most horrifying creatures Victor had ever seen poured into the room. He heard a woman scream, but a quick glance at her told him she wasn't in immediate danger yet, but he was. The creatures rushed towards him as he heard a voice whisper inside in his head.
Victor's arm raised almost of its own volition. He tried to fight and force it back down but to no avail. His eyes widened in horror as words no one else could hear continued to resounded within his mind.
White Noise Canon Enabled.
Victor's arm reassembled itself and formed a canon that incinerated the creatures that surrounded them. The woman uttered words filled with fear, but Victor was distracted by his own reflection. His body was covered almost completely in metal. Very little of his skin remained visible. His brow furrowed in confusion. What happened to him?
He looked around panicked. The last thing he remembered was visiting his father at his lab and the explosion. Was that where he was? S.T.A.R.R. Labs? Did his father know what happened? Could he help him figure out what was going on and get him back to normal?
"Dad?" A brief stab of fear claimed him. Was he still alive? Had he accidentally killed him? "Are you here?"
Silas Stone stepped out from behind ruined pieces of equipment. "I'm here."
Victor's terrified eyes swung to his father. He took a step forward, but the sound of metal clinking against the ground startled him and made him freeze. "Dad? What happened to me? What am I?"
Silas stepped closer to Victor and reached up and placed a hand on his shoulder. He squeezed Victor's shoulder tightly in reassurance that was wasted because Victor couldn't feel his touch. It was something that he had been robbed of. "You're my son." Victor continued to stare at his father uncomprehendingly.
"You were going to die." Silas said gently. "This was my only way to save you."
At first Victor's mind protected him, refusing to understand the words that had been uttered. They surely couldn't mean what he thought. However, when Silas continued to gaze at him steadily a pain from somewhere deep within began to spread through him that was seconds away from driving him mad.
"You? You did this to me?"
It was only then that Silas Stone realized that there could be repercussions for his actions. It was only then that he realized that his son could still be alive and he could still lose him. All he saw was his own pain and it blinded him terribly…and yet he couldn't find it in himself to regret what he had done.
"I…I couldn't let you go."
It was too much all at once for Victor. His father had turned him into some sort of monster the likes of which would horrify even Frankenstein. He couldn't even stand to look at him. He couldn't stand to look at himself. Victor wished he had just let him die.
"You did this to me?" He questioned once more just to make sure he understood. In his question he put all the venom and disgust he felt in his voice. When Silas Stone stared at his son unwaveringly Victor ran off. It was answer enough for him.
"Victor wait! Let me explain!
But it was too little, too late.
A little while later, on his escape from his father, he discovered some information that would become important that Sakura's ragtag team know.
The kunoichi rejoined the others and the fight continued on. Sakura didn't see an end in sight. It was somewhat disheartening. If this was what war was like in this world, then she prayed to the gods for peace.
Out the corner of her eyes, she saw something bearing down upon them quickly. It had a metallic gleam to it that alarmed her making her think that the aliens were upping the ante with their creatures. She yelled out, "Watch out!" and somehow managed to capture Green Lantern's attention.
"I got this one." He called out and grabbed the creature and hauled it up into the air.
"Wait Lantern." Batman yelled. "It's not one of them. Don't hurt him."
"What are you talking about?" Green Lantern questioned, but lowered the creature to the ground. However, once he got a closer look at him, he realized simultaneously with Sakura that it wasn't a creature, but rather a man.
"It's just a kid in armor." Aquaman uttered. Sakura came closer and studied him briefly before raising a hand allow her chakra to glow green. She sensed something within him, something foreign and yet it was alive. It was something she didn't understand and hadn't ever seen before. Sakura shook her head slowly. "No…I don't think its armor. I think it's him. It's who he is." Sakura whispered and couldn't help but be partially horrified. This wasn't normal. Who had done this to him and why?
Wonder Woman approached him and grabbed his hand gently. "Who are you? Do you need help?"
"We all do. He's coming. He's coming here. They go from world to world. We have to stop him before he destroys everything."
It was in those moments that a loud ringing occurred, followed by a bright, blinding light. Sakura turned her head away in an effort to protect her vision, but it was of little use.
"Kunoichi, get behind me!" Sakura frowned at Superman irritated that he wanted her to continue to use him as a shield. He wasn't a weapon. He was a person and even though it seemed like he was invulnerable there had to be something he couldn't face. With those thoughts in mind Sakura moved towards Superman and stood at his side. Superman made a move to grab her, but Sakura softly told him, "no."
Superman hesitated and dropped his arm down to his side. For some reason the simple action of his just listening to her made her extraordinarily happy.
It was a happiness that faded quickly as she heard the darkly uttered words, "I am Darkseid!"
Chapter 20: The Girl Who Regretfully Chose the Flash
Sakura had never seen the likes of what she was looking at. His mere presence was terrifying. Malice and menace rolled off him in waves. He was scarier than even Orochimaru and that was saying something because she still vividly recalled from her childhood running into the man in the Forest of Death.
His eyes glowed an eerie red and his face appeared to be carved out of granite. She wasn't sure whether or not what he was wearing was armor or just him, but it didn't matter. It didn't diminish his aptitude for creepy.
"I'm guessing that's the bad guy." Sakura turned her head and gave Green Lantern an incredulous look that he merely shrugged off. If the situation hadn't been so serious she probably would have chuckled. But it was that serious and she was surprised no one had pissed their pants.
"Good guess." Batman replied and Sakura very nearly smacked herself in frustration. Instead, she raised her head and looked up at Superman who had the nerve to smile down at her.
"You're all insane."
Flash appeared at her side and draped an arm over her shoulder. "Sanity is overrated."
"Think about what we're dealing with and tell me that again." Sakura muttered.
And then an explosion occurred that knocked Sakura unconscious again. She was really tired of being knocked out.
When she came to, it was in time to hear the Flash yelling, "No! Stop!" right as one of their fancy flying machines exploded in the sky. Sakura opened her bleary eyes, wondering what happened and why she felt like she had been hit with a few bricks a million or so times.
"Uh..Guys? Anyone else awake yet? I'm not that good at making chitchat…"
Sakura sat up slowly, "Flash what's going on?" And then Sakura remembered that their enemy had graced them with his presence. A few expletives fell from her lips and then she heard Superman's voice from somewhere nearby.
"I'm up, but not to talk." Sakura turned her head to see Superman throwing rubble off his person. She made her way to her feet as well, although she wasn't able to hold back a few aching groans.
"Where is he?" Sakura asked and then she raised her chin and looked…up.
He towered over her and while that wasn't unusual for Sakura this time it was just ridiculous. Her eyes were round and large and she tried to think of something to say but came up with nothing. She understood then why small talk was beyond the Flash. What exactly do you say to that? Sakura found the answer to that question to be nothing when his eyes swung in her direction. She saw something flicker in his gaze as he stared at her before his eyes started to glow with something other than happiness.
Sakura was certain he wasn't about to play nice with her.
"Kunoichi! Superman!" Flash screamed and grabbed them both and started running. "I need you two to move it!"
It only took seconds for Superman to get himself together and start running, but Flash didn't wait for Sakura to come to terms with the fact that they were being attacked. He lifted her up into his arms and ran. Sakura squeezed her eyes shut because moving at the type of speed the Flash was capable of wasn't exactly fun for her stomach.
Seeing him move and feeling him do it was two different things. Seeing him move, on an intellectual level she could understand he was moving really quickly. However, feeling him move was unreal. No one moved like he did and it was nothing like flying in Superman's arms.
"Give Sakura to me." Superman said from their side moving up into the air and flying instead of running. "We'll split up so his beams can only chase one of us."
"Sakura?" Flash looked down at the woman in his arms. "Your name is Sakura?"
Sakura sighed resigned. She honestly couldn't believe he blew her cover like that. When all this was over with she was going to give him a piece of her mind. "Yes."
Her eyes popped open at the admission. She thought they only used their codenames. Why was he telling her his name? Wasn't anonymity important for them? Or at least that was what she had come to believe…
"Flash!" Superman's stern voice broke Sakura out of her stupor and caused her to raise her arms up to allow Superman take her, but Barry only moved faster. "No, if I slow down to pass her to you we take the risk of being hit and I don't know about you, but I want to stay in one piece."
Sakura did too, so she lowered her arms and motioned for Superman to go on without her. He nodded his head curtly and did as she asked.
Sakura shifted and used chakra to hold herself to Barry. She didn't relish the thought of accidentally flying out of his arms and dying a stupid death. Superman went higher into the air and Sakura chanced a glance behind Barry. The beams that they spoke of split up thwarting their plan one chasing each of them, and Sakura turned to the skies and noticed that Superman was hesitating in the sky looking back at her obviously worried. Her heart stopped. This wasn't going to end well. The beams had a chance of hitting all of them even though they had gone separate ways.
"Barry. You have to hurry." Flash glanced down at Sakura.
"I'm not known for moving slowly Sakura."
Sakura ignored the fact that maybe he had a point. "You have to get something in the way of the beam so that it hits that instead of us."
"Good idea. Find a different target." It was then that Flash took note of a few alien creatures on the ground making mischief. "Bingo."
Flash ran their way, hesitated for a second around the aliens giving them time to notice their presence as well as giving Darkseid's beams a chance to catch up with them and then he kept going. A loud boom sounded letting them both know they had escaped Darkseid's attack at the price of his own people. The Flash could feel the heat from the blast on his back, but it was nothing compared to the heat elsewhere. Barry glanced down at Sakura to make sure she was okay. When she gave him a shaky grin he set her down on the ground. She wobbled for a second before looking back at the raging flames that could have been them, but wasn't. "You…are really fast."
"I can be slow with certain things."
Sakura rolled her eyes, but couldn't help but chuckle. It seemed she couldn't escape perverts no matter where she went. "We should head back. Regroup with the others."
Sakura chose that moment to raise her head and look up in the sky. A screamed erupted from her throat before she could stop it. Flash quickly looked up to see what had so alarmed Sakura only to see Darkseid's beam go right through Superman.
"Superman!" Flash yelled his panicked face matching Sakura's. "I can't fly. I can't get to him." Sakura couldn't fly either. She couldn't reach him either. Although that wasn't what bothered her the most. If she could list them it would be in this order.
#3 She should have been in the sky with him.
She knew how wrong that sounded but she knew, somehow, that if she had been with him he would have paid more attention. She had seen him hesitating earlier and if she had been with him then maybe he would have been more focused on the task at hand. Or the blast that would have been targeted to hit her instead and somehow Superman would have kept that from happening.
#2 He was injured in the first place.
She had seen the man walk through fire. He flew. He told her she could use him as a shield. A man like that just didn't go down easily unless his opponent was a force to be reckoned with.
#1 He didn't fall and hit the ground. He was captured by the aliens that had been bombarding them.
And she was freaking out. They were taking away the man who saved her life who had been with her ever since she had come to this world. A thread of fear slid down her spine.
He was gone. The man who this world called Super had been taken down in a matter of seconds and she had done absolutely nothing to help. She felt like her heart was being ripped out of her chest and she found herself tilting her head and screaming at the skies in an anguished cry.
Chapter 21: The Girl Who Knew When to Back Down
A lesson from Batman
"We can't stay here Sakura. We have to rejoin the others." Sakura hadn't realized she had been frozen in place and staring at the skies as if Superman would somehow come back. It was a bout of foolishness that she couldn't help but indulge in because it kept her from falling apart, which was something she didn't have time for.
Sakura slowly shook her head. Inactivity bringing results weren't how things worked and she knew that. They would have to rescue him. The problem was she didn't know how they would accomplish that feat. She didn't even know where he was. "Are you ready?" Sakura looked at the Flash and decided to pull herself together before he started treating her like some damsel in distress.
Sakura nodded and allowed Flash to take her into his arms. She felt like she was wrapped in some type of bubble because nothing, at the moment, felt real to her. So when the Flash started running she barely took note.
The others were just rising to their feet by the time they got back. Barry put her down and said without preamble, "They took Superman!"
There was no question as to who took him, so the Batman asked the next pertinent question. "Why?"
There was an answer to that immediately came to Sakura's mind. She thought of Naruto and why people wanted him—for the power he contained. Rage burned brilliantly within her, but she held her tongue and tried to regain control before she did something reckless.
"Let's ask him." Aquaman suggested and Sakura felt a grim smile grace her lips and allowed her hands to glow green and turned her body in the direction of the dark overlord.
"I'll be happy to." GL said and glanced her way when he saw her nod in approval.
"I'm not with you guys." The robotic man said and Sakura chuckled grimly before replying.
"I don't really think he cares."
"Then what are we going to do?"
Green Lantern stepped forward and placed a hand on the Cyborg's shoulder. "Don't worry kid. Green Lantern's got this."
Before Sakura could blink Green Lantern was in the air with several mace and chains in his hand aimed at the one who called himself Darkseid. With a swing of his arm, he aimed downward at Darkseid's head, but judging by their enemy's face and him not moving an inch his attack was laughable. The mace and chains crashed down upon Darkseid's head shattering the Lantern's light into millions of pieces.
After Green Lantern's failure Darkseid graciously took his turn in an attempt to inflict damage upon his enemy. Darkseid raised his arms in the air and swung his arms down in a quick motion. Blazing hot energy came from his swing and rushed in Lantern's direction. Green Lantern raised a shield to protect himself, but it wasn't strong enough to keep him from being thrown backward and hitting the ground so loudly that Sakura could hear it without the aid of chakra to her ears. Sakura made a move to run to his side to check him over and but Green Lantern, she was learning, was ridiculously stubborn.
"Is that all you've got?" The Lantern wiped away the blood from his mouth and charged once more. "Cause it's not all I've got."
When Sakura saw the grin on Darkseid's face it sent chills down her spine and she ran to intercept Green Lantern but she was intercepted first.
"Wait." The Batman said.
"If I wait then—"
"You won't let him die."
"You don't know that. You don't know me."
"I don't. What I do know is that Green Lantern wouldn't appreciate you interrupting right now. Not to mention he's giving us all an opportunity to access what we're up against."
"I don't sacrifice people for the greater good. We either all make it or none of us do."
"It's a nice philosophy, but it's an unrealistic one. We'll wait. We'll access, and then we'll strike."
Sakura thought about ignoring him, but there was something about him that made her hesitate. It wasn't the fact that if she did ignore him that he would forcibly attempt to stop her. It was more than that. Something about him was familiar and unsettling…
A loud cry of pain caught her attention. Sakura swung her head to the side to see Darkseid crushing Lantern's arm to pieces with just his hand. Then he raised the Lantern's body and discarded him as if he were mere trash and walked away. She waited a moment to see if he would turn back but they weren't currently on Darkseid's list of important things.
Sakura and Batman exchanged looks. Batman nodded at her and the two of them walked together to Green Lantern's side. Sakura could hear him coughing and saw him spit blood upon the ground. Batman grabbed her arm to keep her from running to him and she didn't understand why.
"Where are you going?" He obviously wasn't talking to either one of them as he hauled himself back to his feet. Frankly, Sakura was amazed that he was even capable of doing it. "I'm not done yet."
"Lantern." It was as if he had just noticed they were there. He turned his head in their direction and blinked several times before finally focusing on their faces. Sakura took a step forward silently certain that this time Batman wasn't going to stop her, and began accessing the damage to Lantern's body and thereafter healing what she could. "He just leveled the rest of this block. We need to regroup and form a plan."
"Get out of my way Batman. I don't need you or anyone else. I can handle this."
Batman looked at Sakura and she realized he was telling her something and trying to show her something, but she didn't know what. Sakura sighed. She wasn't able to read minds, but with the lot she was currently with she was surprised that no one else did.
"Your lungs were damaged, but I've healed them. Your arm is broken in several places and that's not something I can fix without surgery that I can't perform here and now."
"I don't care. The ring is still working and that's all that matters. Now get out of my way." Sakura watched as Green Lantern formed a brace for his arm. She approved of his actions as far as bracing his arm went, but not his words.
Batman grabbed Lantern and grimly told him the words that were going through Sakura's head. "You're going to die."
"Then. I. Die."
Before Sakura could think it through she smacked him, thereby drawing his attention to her. He was stunned, but he shouldn't have been. He deserved that strike and much more.
"What are you trying to prove?" Sakura yelled. "He just broke your arm with his bare hand! You can't fight him single handedly with no knowledge of how to defeat…him." Sakura slowly turned and looked at Batman and suddenly she understood where he was coming from, what he was trying to tell them, and what she had been doing.
She let her fear for Superman's life cloud her judgment. In her effort to not behave recklessly she hadn't realized that she was on the precipice of doing just that. Fighting an unknown enemy who was without a doubt stronger than she was with no Intel on how to defeat him. It was madness.
During Sakura's reverie she took no note of how the Green Lantern was looking at her. If, perhaps, she had it would have given her a foregleam of what would or could happen in the future if she so desired it.
"I'm not trying to prove anything."
Batman placed his hand on Sakura's shoulder and guided her back and behind him. Sakura didn't fight him on it. He was more intelligent than she gave him credit for. She'd follow his lead.
Chapter 22: The Girl Who Was As Crazy As the Bat
There was no way she was letting him go by himself.
"Then who are you trying to live up to?" The air was thick with tension. So much so that it was suffocating Sakura. It was a confrontation that she couldn't stop, but something told her it had to be done.
"You don't know me, Batman, so don't act like you do."
"I bet no one really does."
If that were true, then Sakura was sad for him. He wore a mask and hid himself from the world and in the end he isolated himself from everyone…or maybe she was confusing him with Kakashi. She didn't think so, though. Sakura placed her hand on Batman's back in warning, but he ignored her. She didn't like the way this was going. The last thing they needed to be doing was arguing.
"Is that your superpower? Psychoanalysis?" He said the words mockingly, but Sakura wondered whether or not there was some truth to his words. The Batman seemed to be very intuitive.
"We're just somewhat alike."
Green Lantern scoffed. "You and I are nothing alike."
"We're alongside an Alien, an Amazon, Human Lightning Bolt, a Cyborg, an Aquaman, and a Magic Wielding Ninja. As far as I can tell you and I are the only normal people here."
Sakura frowned. It wasn't magic and she was somewhat offended that he thought it was, but she couldn't correct him. In actuality, they probably shouldn't know much about her abilities. There were a lot of differences between her world and the one she currently inhabited, but that didn't mean she couldn't still be captured and tortured later for the secrets of her village. Although, by the time she made it home there was no guarantee there would be a village left.
She wouldn't think about that. She wouldn't think about the chaos that she left behind.
"Wearing a Batsuit is normal?"
"No. It's insane." His voice was calm and detached as he admitted his insanity. This was news to Sakura and it should have scared her. If he was what they considered to be insane then what, truly, was sanity? Besides, there was a saying back in Konoha that people who were truly insane didn't know that they were. He couldn't be insane, but that didn't mean he didn't think he was.
Batman reached up and began to pull off his mask causing Sakura's eyes to widen. Were they all going to throw away their secrecy? First Superman revealed her identity to Barry and now Batman was revealing his to Green Lantern. Sakura shook her head since it was all she could do.
"So you're taking it off? Now?" Sakura almost laughed. Apparently she wasn't the only one who was a bit incredulous. This world and its people were beyond her realm of comprehension.
"My name is Bruce Wayne."
Then the rug was pulled from beneath her feet. Batman turned and glanced in her direction causing her to gasp. Sakura had never seen a man quite as handsome as Bruce Wayne. She was certain he even gave Superman a run for his money. Were all the men in this world in possession of an otherworldly beauty? If so…did she really want to leave? Sakura shook her head at her foolish meanderings and brought her head back into the game. Batman wanted something from her, and it was obvious. Sakura took a deep breath because somehow, unfortunately, she knew what it was.
"And I'm Sakura Haruno." Bruce's lips quirked upward slightly at her in what she assumed to be approval, which meant she was right in her assumptions. He wanted her to admit to Green Lantern who she was. Perhaps as a sign of trust? Because it was quite obvious that the only person the Lantern trusted was himself. She didn't know whether or not he had good reason for that, but she hoped he didn't.
"Who the hell are Bruce Wayne and Sakura Haruno?"
Sakura shrugged. "It doesn't really matter who we are, does it Bruce?"
"It doesn't. I put on this mask and spend my life protecting Gotham from criminals like those that killed my parents. But today, this," Bruce gestured around him as he also pulled off his cape, "is different. This isn't about me or what I want."
"Why are you telling me this?"
"I'm telling you this because my past, where Sakura's from, and what you have to prove—or don't have to prove isn't what's important. This is bigger than us. This world is in danger and saving it should be our only priority right now."
"What would you two have me do? Nothing?"
Sakura sneered slightly. "Don't be stupid. Doing nothing isn't going to help either." Sakura ignored the look Batman…or Bruce or whoever he was right now was giving her.
"Regroup with the others." Batman said.
"And do what?"
"You're loud. They'll listen if you have something to say. Try to at least sound smart."
"And not like an ass." Sakura interjected. The Lantern scowled, which made Sakura grin and Batman smirk. She wondered how much it would take for him to make some snarky comment back at her. He seemed to be holding back for some reason.
"Keep them all alive and keep Darkseid busy until I get back. Get them to work together."
Sakura frowned and asked, "Where are you going?"
But Batman was already running, "I'm going to get Superman."
It was all Sakura needed to hear. "I'm coming with you!"
Sakura glanced at Green Lantern and touched his arm and let her hand glow green. "I've temporarily deadened the nerves in your arm. You won't feel pain, but it will be a bit odd for you. Don't be reckless with it. I don't want more work when I fix it later."
Green Lantern smiled down at her petite frame. "I think I can manage that…Sakura."
Sakura pursed her lips. "You owe me a name."
"It's Hal, and you better go before Batman leaves you behind." Sakura nodded, gave Hal one last glance and ran after Batman.
Hal watched as Sakura ran after Bruce. Both threw their hands in the air and seconds later they were scooped up and taken away by Darkseid's minions. Hal shook his head at the two. And Batman thought they were alike? Batman was a lot crazier than he was, and that was saying something.
Chapter 23: The Girl Who Trusted the Bat
And they arrive on Apokolips.
When Sakura caught up with Bruce he was standing on top of a destroyed car with his arms in the air. It looked odd, and frankly, it made her uncomfortable yet for some reason she didn't walk away. Instead, Sakura jumped on top of it with him and asked him, "What are you doing?"
A small smirk played on his lips as if he knew she was close to having issues with his sanity before he answered her. "Catching a ride."
Sakura frowned. "Catching a—" Before she could complete her sentence one of Darkseid's minions swooped down and grabbed Bruce and thereafter flew off with him. Sakura stared at the empty space where he had once been standing for a few moments before she smacked her forehead and silently swore that when this was all over with her feet would never leave the ground again.
Begrudgingly Sakura raised her arms in the air and seconds later she was following behind Batman and her face was anything, but happy.
The creature that captured her caught up with Batman, who was standing on the ground waiting for her arrival. The body of the one that had taken Batman lay on the ground either dead or unconscious. She was hoping for the former because if it was just the latter, they may have problems later.
It was fortunate for Sakura that the creature grabbed her by her forearms when it carried her off. She was still able to wiggle and move her hands that were considered deadly weapons in the Five Shinobi Nations. Sakura reached out and crushed one of the arms that held her captive. Darkseid's creature lurched and let out a loud cry, releasing one of her arms. She was able to somehow swing herself on its back, smash its head in and crash to the ground. When Sakura finally made it to Batman's side, he remarked with, "That lacked subtlety."
Sakura scowled. "It's no longer my forte given the company I keep."
The two walked forward in an effort to figure out where the creatures were supposed to take them. A large ball of light caught Sakura's attention. "What's that?" She questioned, since she was certain it wasn't what constituted as normal for them.
"I think it's a doorway."
Sakura pursed her lips. "Should we invite ourselves in?"
Batman studied the ball of light for a second and then walked forward with Sakura close on his heels. When they had completely stepped through Sakura glanced around herself and shivered. She didn't know where they were, but she knew it wasn't where she had been.
The sky was blood red and the ground was on fire. As she stared at it, she could see creatures walking through the fire as if it was the most normal thing in the world. The air tasted like brimstone and ash and the smell was putrid and sickening. She felt an odd stir within her body and she paused for a second to figure out what it was. After several seconds of contemplation she realized it was her chakra, it felt different causing her to want to leave immediately, but if this was where Superman was…how could she go?
"This wasn't part of the plan."
Sakura wasn't even aware that they had a plan. Maybe it was time they made one.
"Then I say we make one. Do we split up or stay together?"
"We stay together. I don't want to have to recuse both you and Superman."
Sakura scowled at the insinuation, but when she studied Batman's face, she knew he said it to get her riled and probably keep the fear that was just beneath the surface of her calm demeanor at bay. She couldn't help but like him more and more as she spent extended periods of time with him.
Sakura didn't bother to respond to his comment, but her lips did twitch.
Batman said, "We stick to the shadows for now and we keep an ear out for what is being said."
"I have a technique that can help us blend in."
Bruce raised a brow. "Use it. It will help us move quickly." She expected him to ask for details about what she was going to do, but he didn't. He'd never know how much she appreciated that. She'd never realize that after the incident earlier with the helicopters he already had an idea of what she was going to do.
They moved quickly and did what Bruce told her they would—stick to the shadows despite the use of her genjutsu. He was right to be cautious, she knew, because anything could go wrong at any time especially since her chakra didn't feel quite like it usually did which was worrying her more than she wanted to admit.
"The Parademon hives on Earth were ill equipped to reprocess his flesh."
Sakura swung her head and looked at Batman to see if he heard what she had. He placed a finger on his lips and Sakura nodded. They crept steadily forward listening to the disturbing conversation.
"But what a pleasure it has been to cut it again and again."
"Do not acknowledge pleasure Desaad. You know it is forbidden. The Kryptonian was not brought here for you." Sakura saw Bruce's eyes narrow and a sick feeling in her stomach told her that they found Superman. They were cutting him, hurting him. In just a short amount of time she had assumed that he couldn't be hurt. However, Darkseid's beams had told her otherwise and the conversation she had the misfortune to overhear confirmed it. Sakura blinked back tears. "He was brought here to become a new breed of soldier who will prove vital in the search for the daughter of Darkseid."
"Our master will not stop until she is found Steppenwolf."
"Then neither shall we. All Hail Darkseid."
Sakura frowned as her mind puzzled together the pieces. All of this…destruction was over a child that was missing? Somehow she knew she was missing vital pieces of information. Who sought to destroy a world over a missing person? Unless she just so happened to be kidnapped by the people on Superman's world. Maybe the war, she had inadvertently been embroiled in was actually justified on Darkseid's end. Doubts began to creep into her mind. That was when Bruce drew her attention to him. His lips moved, although no words came out. She had no idea how he knew she could read lips, but his unspoken words calmed her. He didn't tell her to trust him. He didn't tell her that everything would be okay. He didn't try to convince her that the words she was hearing were lies. He treated her like she was an intelligent human being capable of coming to the correct conclusions on her own.
We have seen no proof that his daughter is in our world. Don't make assumptions. Stick to the facts.
Chapter 24: The Girl Who Wasn't In This Chapter
He may not have actually called dibs...but he was doing it now.
Hal Jordan returned to their group to see that no plan of action had been decided upon. Perhaps Batman had been right about one thing at least. They did need someone to speak up. He took a deep breath and decided to do just that.
"Okay everyone hold up for a minute." Flash shook his head. "A minute's a long time Lantern. The longer we wait the more destruction he leaves in his wake." With everything going on GL conceded the point. "A few seconds then."
The Cyborg's eye started to glow as he focused his attention on Hal. "My eye…" He shook his head and focused on Hal once more. "Your arm is broken in three places." Hal chuckled which he was surprised he could do given how it had happened. Not to mention that Kunoichi had made it seem much worse than what it was. "That's better than four kid."
"What are we waiting for Lantern?" The Flash said redirecting his mind to the matter at hand. Hal raised his unbroken arm and scratched the back of his head, trying to think of the best way to explain to the group what he needed them to do. Unfortunately, all he could come up with was sports analogies. "We need to uh, play football instead of going up to bat."
Wonder Woman frowned. "I apologize, but I know nothing of your games." And judging from the facial expressions of everyone around him, they didn't understand what he was trying to say either. Hal sighed. He really wasn't used to working with other people. Green Lanterns mainly only worked together because of friendship. The only one out of the lot of them, he knew was Barry.
"The beams that blast out his eyes follow their target, right?"
Excitement shone on Wonder Woman's face as she threw her arm in the air looking fiercely beautiful and a little scary. "It's settled then! We blind him!" It wasn't exactly where Hal was going with that, but it was as good of a plan as any.
"As soon as you get the chance Princess, yes, we blind him. He's heading into the city for some reason so we're going to follow him, but everyone stays out of his sight." For obvious reasons like his eyes being deadly weapons, but he didn't think he needed to mention that.
"And then?" Aquaman asked and for some reason he recalled Sakura's words about not being a jerk. She had no idea how much she had asked of him, but she was going to owe him big time. And yet somehow within his thoughts, he refused to acknowledge that he was a bit of a jerk.
"Once we get into striking distance Aquafresh, I'll be the lure you want me to be. I'll turn on the fireworks and get his attention." Okay, so maybe he couldn't escape the fact that he was something of an ass, but that wasn't important. What was important was that no one spoke of that particular moment ever. He didn't want to look bad in Sakura's eyes. "Kid?" Hal turned his attention to the Cyborg.
"You good?" He had looked frightened earlier and he wasn't about to drag a rookie into an all-out war. It would be best to let him go now if that was what he desired.
"I don't know. I don't know what happened to me…"
Hal didn't understand what he meant by that. Was he okay or wasn't he? Was he talking about how he happened to be ninety percent metal? Hal didn't bother to ask for clarification. "Do you want to stay here?" He had to give the kid the option. It was his life. His decision. Hal smiled at his answer.
"Alright then. We got this."
Seconds later they all began to implement his plan, keeping a low profile so as not to draw Darkseid's attention. Flash eventually made his way over to Hal's side. "We got this? That's your big inspirational battle cry?"
It did sound stupid, but he'd never admit it. There were those that would say he was the King of Denial and he'd deny knowledge of them actually saying it. "Stop worrying about our battle cry and stick to the plan."
"That's another thing that has me disturbed. Since when do you come up with a plan? You always just rush into things and—"
"Stay focused Barry. This is the end of the world. This isn't about me."
"…This isn't about you? In that pea brain of yours the world circles around you. So either hell froze over or Sakura…hey where is Sakura? And Batman?" Flash was starting to think that the plan Green Lantern came up with wasn't his plan at all. It had been the brainchild of the two people who were currently missing.
"Wait, she told you her name? When did that happen? Why did she tell you before she told me? Were you flirting with her? Dude, I called dibs!"
Flash sighed. And he was the one who needed to stay focused.
"She's not a piece of meat Lantern. You just can't lay claim to her."
"You only say that because you've seen that her charms are…rather nice." Flash would neither confirm nor deny it because the Lantern would think whatever he wanted regardless. "Look, I tell you what. I won't fight you on Wonder Woman—"
Barry cut him off because otherwise they would be fighting each other instead of Darkseid. Not to mention the Wonder Woman in question would probably kill them if she heard them. The way she said that they would blind Darkseid didn't sit well with him and while he could probably outrun her if push came to shove his pride would be severely wounded in the process. "Where are Batman and Sakura?"
"Oh, they went to go get Superman."
Flash paused and stared at Green Lantern's form incredulously. And he just thought to mention that to him now? What if they needed help? Where were they recusing Superman from? What if…?
The Flash's eyes narrowed as he realized he had to have faith that the duo could take care of themselves. Batman was a living legend that he was proud to be able to say he fought beside and Sakura was one smart cookie. They'd make it back alright. And when they did, they'd have the Darkseid situation taken care of.
Chapter 25: The Girl Who Was Found By a Cyborg Eye
They tracked him through the city. It almost seemed like he was walking about aimlessly through the city destroying things just because they happened to be there. He didn't notice them, or at least if he did he was ignoring them.
Hal was ready to act so he exchanged a glance with Barry and nodded his head letting him know he was going in. Barry darted away letting the others know that they should be on their guard and back him up as soon as possible.
Hal made a large chainsaw and attacked the back of Darkseid's head, because beheading him seemed just as good as blinding him and a part of him still slightly believed that he could take care of the situation on his own. However, his actions were futile and only drew Darkseid's attention to him which was fine as that had been the original intention in the first place.
As Darkseid turned to face Hal, Flash rushed in with a piece of debris and attempted to take out his knees with the force of his blow and sheer speed. It didn't work.
Darkseid growled and would have attacked Barry as he was in close proximity, but Wonder Woman managed to get her lasso around his neck and hauled him backward. He only moved a few steps, but it was enough to give Barry time to move out of the way and the Cyborg a chance to fire his cannon at his chest. He blinked as if Cyborg had just attempted to tickle him and failed miserably. His countenance darkened, but he didn't go after Cyborg as the lasso around his neck was tugged ferociously.
"Speak Darkseid! Why are you here?"
Darkseid's answer was cut off when Aquaman chose to stab his trident into Darkseid's chest, but Wonder Woman would have her answers.
"I said speak! The lasso of truth compels you. Why have you come to this world?"
"For her." Darkseid swung at Aquaman knocking him backward and then began to pull and Wonder Woman's rope in an attempt to free himself.
"Her who?" Flash inquired, but they didn't get an answer to his question as Darkseid freed himself from Aquaman's trident and tossed it away then swung his fist at Wonder Woman in an attempt to get her to loosen her hold on her lasso not knowing that Wonder Woman would rather take the punch than to let go and not get the answers she sought.
"Tell us where Superman is!"
Warning: Temperature Threshold Approaching.
Flash, upon hearing the words come from the computer part of Cyborg said, "That doesn't sound good."
"The computer inside of me is picking up data transmitting from Darkseid to those metal cubes."
"So wait, what does that mean?"
Connecting to Network.
The Flash's eyes widened. "Can you hack his system?" Flash watched as Cyborg's eye began to glow.
"I don't know. I do know that they call them Mother Boxes. They create a network of portals they call boom tubes. I can see through them. I can see worlds like ours burning endlessly. And I can see Batman…and Kunoichi."
Wonder Woman was angry at herself. She let a single punch loosen her grip on her lasso and now Darkseid's guard was up. He wasn't going to let her get her rope around him again. They would not get the answers they sought.
"Come on Giant! I'm getting bored. Give me the answers I seek or I can make this fight endless."
"I'll grant you the answer, since you'll die soon anyway. Your Superman is now my creature just as this world is now mine." Darkseid then shot is Omega beams at Wonder Woman who raised her bracelets, made from the remains of Athena's shield, and blocked his attack.
"Too many people believe that. The world belongs to no one and everyone."
Wonder Woman then took her sword from her side and flew through the air, charged Darkseid and stabbed him in the eye with a mightier war cry than, 'we got this'.
"One down!" Wonder Woman wanted to pull her sword out of his eye, but thought twice about it. If she left it would it inflict more damage than her pulling it out? How fast would he heal from an injury? It was information she didn't have so she quickly moved out of range before he could recover from the blow she had delivered and grab her.
She turned her head when she heard the Aquaman say, "One to go!" She had just enough time to see that he had recovered his trident and had stabbed the other eye and yet their foe was still standing. This was indeed a mighty warrior.
Green Lantern stared at Darkseid incredulously. He couldn't believe it. He had taken a sword and a trident to the eyes and he was still standing. So he asked the question that they needed to come up with an answer to quickly.
"What else can we do? How do we end this?"
Cyborg answered. "We can send him home."
Wonder Woman who had rejoined them asked, "How do we do that?"
"Those mother boxes can open a gateway to the world they come from." Green Lantern glanced at Cyborg whose cybernetic eye began to glow ominously. It unnerved Green Lantern a bit but as long as they won he could live with it. "I just have to connect with them somehow and speak their language."
Hal didn't understand. He was certain mere seconds before he was talking about inanimate objects. As far as he knew inanimate objects didn't speak at all. So he inquired, "What language is that?"
Cyborg replied with a straight face. "Ping."
Hal waited a little while for the kid to tell them he was joking but no such thing was forthcoming. "Seriously?" Hal questioned but Cyborg ignored him and focused on what he was doing.
Several loud booms resounded and what appeared to be portals opened in the sky and began sucking Darkseid's minions into them. "Whatever you're doing kid, keep doing it!'
Darkseid then fell to one knee and yanked the sword and trident out of his eye. Seconds later a portal appeared behind him.
Chapter 26: The Girl Who Was With Him in Other Worlds
He saw them there together. Happy. In love.
Once Sakura's heart settled down, she realized that while she should stick to the facts, it didn't matter whether or not Darkseid's daughter had been taken by someone in Bruce's world. Punish an entire planet for the sins of one or even a few? That hardly sounded fair. In fact, it sounded more like Sasuke wanting to punish all of Konoha for something the Council had done. And even though she loved Sasuke it wasn't something she could ever condone. So she couldn't make the exception for someone she didn't even know.
Sakura and Bruce talked quietly about what they were going to do to in order to escape with Superman. What it was coming to was Sakura making a distraction while Bruce helped get Superman out, but seconds before they could enact their plan she heard, "Our Mother Boxes!" Someone else cried, "They're activating. We're under attack! Secure Superman! Secure-"
Sakura lightly touched Batman's shoulder so he wouldn't move and she peeped around the corner to see what was going on. A loud boom sounded and portals, much like the ones they had entered that world in appeared behind the creatures that were holding Superman captive. The force of the portals opening threw Superman's captors backward either killing them or knocking them unconscious. The Kunoichi was hoping for the former and not the latter. They didn't need any unnecessary surprises while they were trying to escape.
Sakura immediately ran from her hiding spot, knowing that Bruce was right behind her. When Sakura came closer to Superman she felt tears sting her eyes. Glowing red probes were randomly jabbed into his body impaling him. She couldn't imagine the kind of pain he went through during the time they had been apart. It did make her angry, so angry that her body was shaking with it. Without a second thought, she went to work on sending a wave of numbing chakra through his body and thereafter began removing them and healing what she could as she went along.
"Superman, can you hear me?" Sakura glanced up at Bruce to see him trying to rouse Superman. After a few minutes his eyes opened and looked around him blearily. She took a brief moment to admire his fortitude. They hadn't been at his side for a full five minutes before he was able to regain consciousness.
When his eyes finally focused they were on her. His gaze seemed to pierce right through her for a second before a dull haze clouded his vision. However, before they did her thoughts seemed to die and nothing was important except that he was right there in front of her. She had no idea what that meant and was slightly afraid of finding out.
"The images they pumped into my brain," His voice was rough as if he had been dehydrated and his voice was scratchy. Sakura shook her head slightly clearing it of the hold he seemed to have on her before she nodded urging him to continue if that was what he wanted. "The death and torture Darkseid's spread across…a multiverse. It felt almost infinite. I saw me there, on a different world, and I saw you too Sakura."
"Me?" His words made her pause and frown. A different world? A multiverse? What did that even mean? Was it always her destiny to end up here? Was this what the gods mapped out for her? Could she just accept that?
"We were happy. We were together but he—" Sakura's eyes grew large. Together? What did he mean by that?
"You need to get your head back on straight." Bruce interrupted.
"It's a farm for recycling flesh."
Sakura turned her head and glanced at the portal, choosing to ignore what she just heard and think of it as nonsensical rambling. Through it she could see Darkseid fighting with the others. He was pounding Wonder Woman's head into the ground while Flash was attempting to stop him and the portal itself was growing smaller by the second.
"Bruce." Sakura said warningly causing him to turn his head and see what she saw.
"We have to get through one of those wormholes before they close."
"The screaming children." Superman muttered and got to his feet, but only fell to his knees living a pain that Sakura didn't think anyone could heal. She had never felt so powerless before.
Through the portal Sakura could hear the simple yet bold proclamation from their enemy. "I am Darkseid." It sent fear down Sakura's spine, a fear that they would fail. A fear that they all would die and yet somehow she knew that with Superman on their side this was something that could be avoided. There had to be a reason why Darkseid had taken Superman. Maybe he had some kind of knowledge that they didn't. It was fear that caused her kneel at his side and to take Superman's face in her hands.
"Superman come back to us. We can't do this without you. I need you. Superman please." After a few seconds he looked at her. He really looked at her and she saw his eyes soften. Sakura's heart sped up at the look.
His hand rose and he lightly touched Sakura's and pulled it down. Sakura automatically pulled her other hand away and watched as Superman rose to his feet. She blinked and then he was gone. Startled, Sakura glanced around her trying to figure out what happened, but found herself being hauled to her feet by Batman. His cowl was back in place and Sakura noted how stern it made him appear.
"We have to go."
"But where's Superman? We can't leave him."
Sakura looked in the direction Bruce pointed and saw that Superman had gone through the portal and was now fighting Darkseid one on one. Slightly surprised, Sakura was just glad his got up and go didn't get up and went. Maybe now they had a fighting chance.
Superman flew through the wormhole hitting Darkseid in the abdomen as hard as he could. He wasn't expecting the blow and had no time to brace himself and thus fell back onto the ground. Darkseid was on his feet seconds later and Superman grabbed him and forced him back closer to the wormhole.
"Superman!" He heard Wonder Woman shout, and it startled him slightly, giving Darkseid a slight edge over him. Darkseid grabbed Superman in a bear hug and Superman cried out at the pain.
"Kryptonian," His dark voice rumbled, "You are coming back with me."
Superman bit out, "Like hell I am."
And then he got the backup he needed. Aquaman, Flash, and Wonder Woman all rushed Darkseid.
When Batman and Sakura exited the world Darkseid had come from, they immediately got out of the range of the fight that was going on between Superman and Darkseid. Sakura smiled slightly when she heard Hal yell, "Where the hell did he come from?" He was talking about Superman and Sakura knew that he hadn't noticed her and Batman slip through the portal.
"We need to end this Batman. The longer this goes on, the worse things will be for us."
"You're right. So this is what we're going to do. I'm going to go to Cyborg and get him to close the portals."
"How do you know that he can?"
"If he opened them, he can close them."
"But how do you know he opened them?"
"Look at him Sakura." Sakura turned her head and glanced in Cyborg's direction. "He's struggling right now. He's already trying to close them as we speak."
"If he could, Batman he would."
"No one can accomplish very much if they don't believe that they can."
Sakura frowned, thinking of her younger self and the little that she had been able to accomplish. Not really having anyone who believed in her and worse yet, not believing in herself.
"What will you do?" Sakura asked quietly.
"I'll make him believe." The certainty, the surety in his voice already had her believing him. She had no doubt that the Cyborg would do the same.
"And what do you want me to do?"
"Help the others. Force him back by any means necessary, but make it out of this alive." Sakura nodded. Like the alternative was even an option.
"I'll get the Lantern to help me."
"Lantern!" Green Lantern turned his head and saw Kunoichi rushing towards him. He grinned to see she had returned safely and brought reinforcements also known as Superman with her.
"Welcome back, beautiful."
She waved his words off with a flick of her hand and said, "We need one last powerful attack to push him through this wormhole and then we need to close it behind him."
"Cyborg opened the portal. I can't close it." Hal said, thinking that she wanted him to perform the task, but Sakura shook her head.
"I know. Batman is helping Cyborg get ready to close it, but we have to coordinate the final attack."
"A final show of teamwork?" Sakura nodded.
"It's the only way to get a win in our favor. He's mainly focused on Superman and bringing him back to his world right now so I get the feeling that if we try to force him back, he's going to do his damnedest to pull Superman with him."
"So what do you want me to do?"
"Can you make something with that ring of yours to grab hold of all of us and pull us back after we attack Darkseid? Can you keep us from going through that portal with him?"
"Of course I can. You're joining the others, then?"
Something in the way he held himself tipped Sakura off that he intended to follow her. "Yes, but I need you to stay back."
"And miss all the fun?"
"More like and save everybody's asses." Hal grinned. He liked that.
"I can do the hero thing. It works for me."
Sakura rolled her eyes and then said, "Do you mind giving me a boost?"
"What do you have in mind?"
Victor Stone wasn't having the easiest of times. It had taken him by surprise being able to open the portals that allowed him to send back the creatures that attacked Earth back to wherever they had come from. However, now that he had them open, he couldn't get them closed again. That was probably a bad thing.
"Cyborg," Victor turned his head to see Batman approaching him. When had he returned? He hadn't noticed. Sweat formed on his brow, but he was afraid trying to wipe it away would break his concentration. "You have to shut the boom tubes."
"I'm trying, but I can't!"
"'I can't' is not an option when you have to." That was easy for him to say. He had never done this before and he had no clue how to. "You opened the doorways. That means that you can close them."
Victor shook his head. "My computer isn't responding. I don't know how-"
"It's not the computer in there that's going to do this. You are only shot. You are still in control. You are a man not a computer. So let's end this and show Darkseid that this Earth belongs to the humans that reside on it and not him."
Cyborg had no idea how Batman managed to sum up his major fear. When he saw what he looked like after what his father had done by making him into some machine he had feared that all of his humanity was gone. It was a major blow to his confidence in so many ways. And yet somehow Batman's words gave him the boost that he needed. He didn't know how long it would last, but he knew it would last long enough to get the job done.
Cyborg got to work.
Green Lantern made a catapult and had Sakura climb onto it. He claimed it would throw her into the thick of the fight like she wanted, but she didn't quite believe him. He also promised that he'd get the Flash's attention and pass along the message she had for him before she made it to the others.
When Sakura sailed through the air directly on target towards the fight, she knew she shouldn't have doubted Hal. In order to make things happen, you had to trust your teammates. You had to work together. You had to have a common goal for a great purpose. She couldn't think of a greater purpose than saving the world.
As Sakura propelled her body towards the ground she brought chakra into her fist for a classic move of hers. She watched as Superman moved back to give her room and he shot beams out his eyes similar to that of Darkseid's to keep their enemy busy. Flash, on the other hand, stayed close, but out of the way of Superman's beams and hit Darkseid as swiftly as only he could. Aquaman and Wonder Woman opted to do the same until they heard Sakura cry out, "Shanarrooo!"
Her blow struck the ground directly in front of Darkseid making in crumble swiftly. As Darkseid had no idea of her incoming his only option was to step back or fall into the Earth, which is exactly where Sakura and Aquaman fell. Wonder Woman flew into the air and Flash had enough time to run off, but he wasn't able to stop either of their fall. Thankfully, Green Lantern was able to catch them with his light and pull them back. Darkseid stumbled backward and came close to the portal, but didn't fall through.
Sakura bit back a curse that her plan hadn't worked, but then Superman flew past at full speed hitting Darkseid hard and knocking him back through the portal. Her eyes grew wide in alarm at the thought of Superman perhaps going through with him and not being able to make it back out in time, but Green Lantern managed to grab him and pull him back seconds before he went through with Darkseid.
And then Cyborg began closing the boom tubes. They were able to hear part of Darkseid's last angry snarl, "I will retur—"
A loud boom resounded as the portals closed. Silence thereafter blanketed the Earth. Everyone held their breath waiting to make sure that it was all over.
When the sword swung at Sakura's head she knew it wasn't.
Next chapter is where things become different from the story that is posted on FFN. I'm excited!
Chapter 28: The Girl Who Offended The Amazon
She was the daughter of Darkseid, wasn't she?
Okay. This chapter is only slightly different, as will be the next few chapters in Book One. When Book 2 begins everything will be different.
Log splinters lay on the ground where her head would have been had she not used a substitution jutsu to keep her head on her shoulders where she liked it. Wonder Woman was attacking her and she had no idea why. The Amazon was swift and Sakura was barely keeping ahead of each of her swings as she was tired and she had no idea how much longer she could keep moving at her current pace. So she made a half-assed attempt at a Naruto no jutsu. In other words, she tried to talk about it.
“Wonder Woman, what have I done to make you angry? It’s only been a few minutes since we fought side by side. What can I do to make amends?”
Wonder Woman gave her a smile that unnerved her. It stretched her lips in a way that looked unnatural and her eyes filled with malice and glee. In short, she looked like a completely different woman.
“You can die.”
When Sakura heard those words she knew pacification wasn’t going to be an option. Her eyes narrowed.
Green Lantern froze when he saw Wonder Woman begin to attack Kunoichi. It was so odd and unexpected that he wasn’t sure he believed what he saw. It wasn’t until Flash said, “Am I the only one seeing this?” that he snapped to attention.
“You aren’t.” GL answered. “But the question is why? Wonder Woman looks like she’s going for blood.”
Batman replied, “She’s not the only one. Not anymore anyway. We need to stop them.”
“Don’t worry, I got this.” Green Lantern said and rushed toward the women.
Flash and Batman exchanged a look. The speedster couldn’t help his next words. “I bet you a hundred Wonder Woman knocks him out.”
“I bet you a hundred Sakura saves him.”
Aquaman said, “Her name is Sakura?” Flash shook his head. It was like the guy hadn’t really been around the last few chapters.
Green Lantern landed between the women and held up his hands placating. “Ladies, ladies, there’s no need to fight over me. There’s enough of me to go around.” Hal thought he’d at least get them to pause and smile or at the very least scowl at that one, but they didn’t give his presence the slightest thought. It seemed like they had every intention to go through him to get at each other.
Wonder Woman thrust her sword forward in an effort to pierce him in the abdomen. She moved so fast he didn’t think he was going to have the opportunity to move out of her way. He didn’t even have time for his life to flash before his eyes. Just as he braced himself for the pain he found that nothing happened. Hal blinked and realized that he was standing once more, next to Batman and the Flash. He heard Batman tell the Flash. “I believe you owe me a hundred dollars.” Green Lantern turned to see a wood lying on the ground where he had been and frowned wondering about the correlation.
“What just happened?”
“Sakura saved you.” Flash grumbled.
It wasn’t that Green Lantern wasn’t grateful. He was very much appreciative of the life of his that had been spared. It was just that he had a more pressing concerns than his brush with death. “Who’s going to save her?” Green Lantern asked because Sakura didn’t look that great. In his opinion, she was seconds away from making a deadly mistake. Then a voice spoke up.
That was when Superman joined the fray.
When Superman landed at Sakura’s side, she couldn’t help but be relieved. She hadn’t been able to land a single blow on Wonder Woman. In fact, the effort alone had ended with her being injured instead. Sakura attempting to battle her in the first place was laughable. And although none of her injuries were life threatening frustration had begun to build up within her and she began to make mistakes thus be preempting her downfall.
Superman stepped in front of her shielding her from view, protecting her. Sakura quietly gnashed her teeth, but this time she didn’t stop him. She wasn’t stupid. Wonder Woman was obviously a force to be reckoned with. Even in top condition she didn’t think she’d be able to honestly take her on and win. Maybe, if she used the Creation jutsu she would be able to hold her own for a while before being overtaken, but she was far too gone for that.
“Wonder Woman that’s enough.” Wonder Woman halted her attack and stared at their interloper. She quietly studied him as if fascinated by his sheer existence. Her hand reached out, then dropped to her side before she threw her head back and began laughing uproariously. At the laughter Sakura couldn’t help but peer around Superman only to see a gold haze emerge from Wonder Woman’s body.
“What in the world is that?” Sakura whispered. The haze soon took the shape of a person that continued the hideous laughter. Her skin was an orange and her hair was an inky black yet cut in a Mohawk. Her top was a loose green yet her black pants hugged her legs, leaving very little to the imagination. Sakura glanced at Wonder Woman to see her shaking her head slowly as if coming out of a daze. Had she been possessed?
And then it began to speak.
“Sakura Haruno, forsaken by her people, blessed by the gods.” Sakura attempted to step around Superman but he blocked her. Sakura placed a hand on his back and tapped it lightly, hoping to convey she wasn’t afraid, not with him by her side. He seemingly understood her and let her pass, albeit reluctantly.
“My people have not forsaken me.”
“What language are they speaking?” Green Lantern looked at Flash who, in turn looked at Aquaman who looked at Batman.
“If I had to guess,”
“You do.” Green Lantern confirmed.
“I’d say it was a distorted form of Japanese.”
“Like a dialect?” Flash inquired.
“Not quite. I’m only able to understand every few words. If it were just a dialect I think I’d get more than what I am. Personally, I’d say it was a language that isn’t found on this Earth.”
Green Lantern got that, but it didn’t explain why his ring wouldn’t help him translate it if it was a dialect from anywhere in the universe.
“Do you really think that? Tell me Sakura Haruno, what is the last thing you remember before arriving here?” She didn’t remember anything. Not really. She had been just finished healing Naruto and they had joined Sasuke, but after that there was nothing before she fell from the sky.
“Who are you?” Sakura demanded, taking a step closer.
“Who am I? I have many names, but you may call me Kaiyo or Chaos Bringer. Whichever you prefer.”
“What do you want with me Kaiyo?”
“Why, I only want to help you.”
“Help me?” Sakura’s eyes narrowed. “You nearly killed me using Wonder Woman’s body!”
“If I wanted you dead, you’d be dead. I was merely testing you.”
“Why?” Kaiyo walked closer to Sakura and Superman shifted.
“Down boy.” Kaiyo said with a laugh. “You’ll know soon enough.” The Chaos Bringer finally answered.
“You’re the reason all this happened, aren’t you? You are Darkseid’s daughter.”
“I am no daughter of his!” The Chaos Bringer hissed. The threatening tone obviously didn’t sit well with Superman who pushed Sakura behind him. Sakura didn’t bother to fight it, although she didn’t know how he planned to protect her from someone that was seemingly intangible, so she merely spoke around him.
“I really don’t care who you are.”
“You will.” Kaiyo said ominously as her body began to dissipate. “Until we meet again.”
Chapter 29: The Girl Who Joined A New Team
And so a new adventure begins...
They all looked around, on guard, to see whether or not they were going to be attacked again as it would be foolish to let their guard down a third time. When it seemed they weren't they all relaxed-somewhat.
"They're all gone." Wonder Woman stated and Sakura hoped she was right. She didn't think she could take any more surprises. Sakura glanced at Green Lantern who was helping Cyborg rise to his feet and congratulating him on a job well done.
With Kaiyo's sudden appearance and disappearance Sakura realized she had forgotten a pertinent piece of information. Darkseid had promised to return. Her heart gave a painful pulse of fear and she turned to Cyborg to ask very pertinent questions.
"Can they come back? Should we prepare?"
"All of their mother boxes are fried. They won't be back anytime soon."
Sakura let out a sigh of relief that when Aquaman said, "We're being watched," she realized she had let it go a second too soon. Had Kaiyo come back? Had she taken possession of another body? Or had she taken possession of one of the people around her. Sakura glanced at the members of her motley group. They stood in a circle and all of them were covertly scanning the area.
"We should probably leave before we get the blame for all of this." Flash said hesitantly causing Sakura to frown. Why would they have to take the blame? They hadn't done anything but help. Anyone could see that.
That was when she noticed the people. They came out cautiously from wherever they had been hiding throughout the whole ordeal. Sakura stiffened until she heard a deafening roar from the people.
"You did it!"
"You saved us!"
You're the world's greatest Super humans!"
Green Lantern smirked at Flash and said, "What's your hurry?"
Sakura, for her part, felt tears spring to her eyes. She wasn't the hero. That had never been her role in the story of her life. And even though that was the case she was still glad she had this moment. It was a moment she would remember for the rest of her life. She'd tell it to her children and she'd tell it to her grandchildren. And hopefully, they'd take it as a lesson that even though it may seem like they're just the supporting character in someone else's story you can still accomplish greatness.
Sakura looked up as she felt someone approaching her. As the smallest out of the lot of them there was no other option. Superman gazed down at her glazed eyes and reached out and wiped a tear that had stolen down her face away.
“I take it you’re not used to this sort of thing.”
Sakura shrugged. “I’m no heroine back home.”
Superman smiled slightly. “I can’t tell.” Sakura felt a blush stain her cheeks but she steadfastly ignored it and changed the subject.
“So this is it then?” Sakura looked around at Flash and Green Lantern as well as the others taking in how elated they were that victory belonged to them. “We leave and go our separate ways?”
“And there’s no one left to fight?”
Superman gave her a smile that made her heart skip a beat. “We can always fight each other again.”
Sakura laughed. “I’ll pass on that. The first time wasn’t much fun.”
Superman leaned closer to her and said, “That’s because you didn’t play with us. You were the voice of reason.” Something in his tone made Sakura think that he liked that.
Sakura rolled her eyes at herself. That seemed to be her role in life. She supposed it was time that she accepted it.
“Well, if we’re all done fighting, will you do me a favor?”
“Of course.” Superman immediately replied.
“Catch yo-” Sakura eyes rolled to the back of her head and Superman swept her into his arms. He looked down at her still form with a soft smile on his face for a brief second before taking to the skies and bringing her home with him.
Their departure didn’t go unnoticed.
One Week Later:
"Today marks a momentous day in human history. In our darkest hour these people donned their colorful costumes and went into action."
Reunited. She hadn’t been sure that would be something that happened. She had hoped that maybe Naruto or one of the others would have come for her, but she supposed that was silly given they were in the middle of a war and she was a casualty of it. She didn’t doubt that they’d come, it was just a matter of when that would happen and where she would be at the time.
She was living with Clark as he was the only one out of the lot of them that she felt comfortable enough staying with. He was still the person who found her, who saved her, and she trusted him. Sakura glanced down the line she was standing in to see him at Wonder Woman’s side. He stood straight and tall looking very much like a solider. It was a far cry of a difference as to what he was like when he was at home. She didn’t prefer one persona over the other. Both had good qualities and together they made him a rather unique individual.
Their government had wanted to honor them since they had essentially saved the world so she came and stood with him, proud to have done such a good deed.
"Costumes?" Green Lantern murmured. "I don't wear a costume. This is my uniform."
"And this is Atlantean Scale Mail. Do they think I'd choose orange?"
"Well, these are my everyday clothes that he's calling a 'colorful costume'." Sakura groused insulted. "He makes it seem like it's something odd."
"Kunoichi, darling, when he says 'colorful' I don't think he's talking about your clothes…" Green Lantern stated with a grin.
"Then what-?" When she realized he was talking about her hair, Sakura was seconds away from jumping on him but Batman grabbed her arm. She looked up at Batman and pouted but he remained unmoved.
"Sure pops." Green Lantern said and Sakura bit back a snicker at Batman's scowl.
She heard Cyborg say, "I shouldn't be up here." She was seconds away from arguing with him, but Flash beat her saying, "Sure you should. You should be proud. We couldn't have done it without you."
"We were attacked by an enemy unlike any we have ever encountered. And we were saved by a team of heroes unlike any mankind has ever known."
"Can you believe this?" Green Lantern asked and Sakura assumed that he meant they were receiving such a great honor. She couldn't have been more wrong.
"That the people aren't afraid of us?" Wonder Woman inquired.
"No. That everyone thinks we're a team. We're not a team."
"These friends used their super powers to protect us."
"And we're not friends either. We haven't even seen each other since the attack. And that's probably a good thing."
Sakura didn't comment on how she had seen Superman every day since then. She didn’t even mention that she had seen Green Lantern a time or two either and she wasn’t even going to mention Batman. It didn't sound right to her. And for some reason she was certain it would cause problems if everyone knew that. There was a time to speak and a time to remain silent.
"We need to let them think we're both." Batman cautioned.
"Must you argue about everything?" Sakura inquired and smacked Green Lantern’s arm as he slowly raised it to put around her shoulder. He was an incorrigible flirt.
"If it means I get to hear your pretty voice." Sakura rolled her eyes at Green Lantern and Batman ignored them both setting a precedent for the future.
"It will keep the Gotham P.D. off my back and the air force off yours."
"I don't have time to belong to a team. I have other responsibilities." Aquaman countered.
"So do I." Wonder Woman said piggybacking on Aquaman's comment.
"I have a whole universe to protect." Green Lantern mentioned.
"And you just have try and outdo everyone." Sakura grossed.
"I am good at being the best." Green Lantern offered.
"We can do it together, guys." Flash said finally entering the conversation and Sakura liked his optimism. She wasn't sure when she was going to make it home, but until that time came she wanted to be useful.
"Can you fly into space?" Green Lantern questioned and Superman with a cocky grin said, "I can," which only served to piss Green Lantern off. Sakura was tempted to say she could too just to see how he would react, but only barely restrained herself.
"That's not the point. We all have other things we need to do—except you Kunoichi."
"Hey!" Sakura whisper shouted and pinched his side. He glanced down at her and grinned briefly causing Sakura to narrow her eyes. This is what happened when you shared information with an arrogant, pompous jerk.
"We're not friends. We're not a team. This was just a one-time thing, okay?"
"And what if something like this happens again?" Batman inquired causing them all to fall silent.
"What are the chances of that happening?" Green Lantern asked using those famous last words.
A throat cleared and they all snapped to attention as the President was looking directly at them.
"I'm sorry, but we've got trouble. Your kind of trouble I'd guess. We need your team again." Everyone turned and looked at Green Lantern who was pouting silently. Sakura couldn't help but find him cute when he was so very wrong. She smirked at him which only worsened the pout and Sakura had to choke back a snicker.
"We have a name Mr. President." Flash said, speaking up for them all.
"We do?" Sakura asked and apparently she wasn't the only one surprised by that because she heard their President question him as well.
"Sure! You can call us The Super Seven."
Sakura nearly choked at the astronomical counting error, "Flash! There's eight of us."
"Yeah, but Green Lantern doesn't really count." Sakura couldn't help the laughter that bubbled up and out of her and soon the others, Green Lantern included, joined her.
Sakura looked up at Green Lantern and when he threw his arm over her shoulder she didn’t complain.
End Book One: Beginnings
BOOK TWO: REIGN OF CHAOS
“There’s nothing you can say to change this. This is how it’s going to be. I’m not listening to you anymore.”
They were in the Watchtower. So much had changed and so many things had happened. As one of the founding members of the League she and the others had a lot of decisions to make. And Sakura decided that it was time to reveal a few of her secrets to the members of her team. One of which was standing in front of her in all her glory. Burnt orange skin, inky blank hair, creepy smile and all.
Kaiyo, Bringer of Chaos, scowled at Sakura Haruno angered by her actions. All of her plans had been on target and yet Sakura was determined to make things unnecessarily difficult. “I told you what would happen if you did this. Do you want this world to die? Have you never cared about anything other than yourself? You ungrateful little wretch!”
Sakura stood tall and squared her shoulders. This face off had been long in the making and Sakura was determined to be done with it. No one knew the future and Kaiyo couldn’t make her believe that she did. “I think we both know the answer to those questions. I love him. I want to be with him. Nothing can change that.”
“You owe me. You wouldn’t be anything in this world except a desperate person with no way to communicate with anyone, with no power, nothing.”
“I appreciate everything you’ve done for me Chaos Bringer, but my future is mine. I direct my own path. You can’t tell me who to love. Why would you even want to?”
The Chaos Bringer came close to Sakura, so close that Sakura could feel her breath on her face. Sakura forced herself not to back down even though she could feel danger emanating from the Chaos Bringer’s very being.
“Fine.” The Chaos Bringer said pulling back slowly. “Love him. Ruin his life. Ruin your life. Destroy a world. See if I give a damn.” Her body began to fade slowly away. But before she completely disappeared her eyes filled with maniacal glee.
“But I thought you should know there is possibly one thing that could make you change your mind.”
Sakura’s eyes narrowed ready for whatever Kaiyo would throw at her.
Seconds before she completely disappeared she said two words. Those two words would make Sakura’s heart stop, start again and stop once more before her heart leaped from her chest causing an agony that was difficult to live through. Those two words were, “He’s alive.”
A low moan escaped Sakura’s throat as the Chaos Bringer’s words penetrated her brain. Her body began to tremble and she shook her head wildly. Anyone who saw her in those moments would have thought she was insane. Maybe she was.
Before Sakura knew she had wrenched open the door to her room. She had to find Batman. If anyone knew the truth he did and whatever else he would lie to her about he wouldn’t lie to her about this. Not when he knew how important it was to her.
Her feet pounded on the ground as she searched the Watchtower for his presence. She went to the control room first because that’s where he typically stayed, but she didn’t find him. She rushed past the Flash and heard him call out, “What’s the hurry?” She didn’t reply and heard him laugh and say something about her being almost as fast as he was. Under normal circumstances she would laugh but she couldn’t. The tight knot in her chest wouldn’t allow it.
“Batman.” Sakura began to call out. She wasn’t sure how loud she said it but in her head it sounded like she was screaming it, chanting it. With every corner she turned she was hoping he would appear so she could ask him what the truth was. Whatever he told her she’d believe. She didn’t care whether he told her the truth or a lie she was going to let him direct her in this course because she was too close to falling apart to do it herself.
“Batman!” The anguished cry tore through her throat and she soon found Cyborg in front of her blocking her way.
“Kunoichi what’s wrong? Are we under attack?”
Sakura shook her head. “I need to find Batman. Have you seen him?” Cyborg’s eye softened in concern.
“Yeah, he’s…” Suddenly his eye widened and Sakura listened as he tried to backtrack. “Sakura, I think he’s busy right now. Maybe you should-”
Sakura kept running oblivious to Cyborg’s shout at her to wait. She wouldn’t wait. If he was truly alive she had waited long enough. Sakura turned a corner and saw a flash of black and called out to him. When he turned to face her she saw that he wasn’t alone.
She saw that the Chaos Bringer hadn’t lied. She found that she was utterly destroyed and rebuilt in a matter of seconds. And he saw her too. A smile graced his lips and he opened his arms to her. Sakura cried out once more and threw herself into his arms. Her body shuddered as he held her tightly. She wound herself around him determined to never let him go again, to never leave his side again. She couldn’t, she wouldn’t go through this again.
She began repeating something over and over again. His hand ran up and down her back soothing her but she only held him tighter scared this was all just a dream. That any second she would open her eyes and he would be gone.
“I’m real Sakura. There’s no genjutsu here.”
It was then that Sakura heard her litany of, “Please be real. Please be real.”
Sakura pulled back and looked into his warm eyes and he came close to her ear and whispered, “I love you.” She nearly died of happiness right there.
And somewhere Kaiyo, Bringer of Chaos, laughed hysterically.
yeah, last minute change. I decided to make this chapter completely different from the one on ffn because I'm full of ideas and junk.
Chapter 31: The Girl Who Would See the Real Him
Formally introducing...Clark Kent.
Sakura would never forget the first time she saw Superman as Clark Kent. She had just opened her eyes and felt like she had been hit with a ton of bricks as was the custom when one overexerted their chakra and abused solider pills. Sakura groaned and sat up not having any idea where she was. The last thing she remembered was asking Superman to catch her before she fell over and bust her head open to the white meat.
Sakura sat up slowly and closed her eyes as the room started to spin. She was really going to be out of commission for the next few days as her chakra reserves filled once more. However, while she waited on that what she wanted more than anything was water and food, but not necessarily in that order.
“Are you alright?”
The voice startled Sakura out of her musing causing her to jump and then moan at the pain in her head caused by doing so.
“Here have some water.” Sakura focused in on the large body moving towards her and stiffened. Her eyes swept over him from head to toe not recognizing him and rejecting the glass offered to her.
“Who are you? Where have you taken me? Where’s Superman? I’ll never--”
He chuckled and then slid his glasses down his nose, allowing Sakura to look into his blue eyes. “It’s me, Sakura.”
Sakura’s lips formed a perfect o as he slid his glasses back onto his face. “That’s-“
It was freaky. The man wasn’t even using a genjutsu. Somehow he had managed to hide from the world in plain sight and while Sakura did find such a trait admirable it didn’t make it any less unsettling.
She found herself at a loss for words at how a man could look so different with just a pair of glasses and after a second she realized it was more than that. It was the way he held himself. Superman, held himself when an air of confidence fully aware of the strength he possessed. As he was now, though, he looked uncertain, uncomfortable, and more than all of that worried.
Sakura coughed and Superman pushed the glass of water into her hands that this time she took and sipped slowly in fear of throwing it up.
“What happened to you? You’ve been out for twenty-four hours.” Sakura blinked surprised.
“That’s it? I was certain I’d be out longer than that.”
“You were-“ Clark shook his head, “What happened?”
Sakura bit her bottom lip. “Basically? I overexerted myself.”
“I don’t think there was anything basic about it. You were completely unresponsive. I didn’t know who to take you to or who to trust. If your heart hadn’t been beating I would have thought you were dead, but-“
Sakura reached out and touched Superman’s arm. “It’s alright. I’m okay. Thank you very much for taking care of me Superman.”
Superman retracted his arm and cleared his throat. “It’s Clark.” When Sakura looked at him, puzzled he clarified. “My name is Clark.”
Sakura smiled. “It’s nice to meet you Clark.”
He brought her dinner as it was nighttime when she finally rose from her death like slumber. She asked that he bring her some sort of protein and he returned with what he called a burger and fries. After a hesitant first bite she devoured her food, not even bothering trying to hold a conversation.
“I take it you were hungry.”
“I can’t even remember the last time I ate a real meal.”
She honestly couldn’t. She had been in the middle of a battle living off solider pills of her own creation which didn’t last nearly as long as the others, but the side effects of using them were lessened significantly.
Clark frowned at her words. “Sakura, who are you, really? How did you get here?”
Sakura thought about the Chaos Bringer and frowned momentarily as she had asked her that same question. “I don’t know. One minute I was in a battlefield and the next I was in your arms.” Sakura looked down, blushing at her word choice and hoping he didn’t see. He didn’t as he was lost in thought.
“What happened between you and that creature? What did she say to you?” Sakura knew immediately of whom he was speaking. Kaiyo, Bringer of Chaos, the seemingly malevolent creature who had found some sort of twisted delight in her personage.
“You were there. You didn’t hear her?”
“I heard her, but she was speaking another language, one I didn’t understand.”
Sakura’s head snapped up at the revelation. He hadn’t understood her? “That makes no sense. She spoke the same language you and I are speaking now.”
“No, Sakura she didn’t. I think you were the only one who understood anything she said.”
He didn’t appear to be lying, but Sakura didn’t know him so she couldn’t say for certain. Sakura didn’t see any harm in him knowing so she cautiously began to speak, “Her name was Kaiyo. I have reason to believe she is the reason why Darkseid came to this world. He was looking for her. When Batman and I came looking for you the creatures there called her, ‘the daughter of Darkseid’, but she claims this isn’t true.”
“Why did she try to kill you?”
“She said she didn’t. She was merely testing me.”
“Why?” Sakura shrugged, not wanting to talk about the Chaos Bringer any longer. Everything about the creature made her uncomfortable. “Sakura, you can’t hide things from me.”
“Why?” She wanted to know. If it was true that she was the only one that understood what Kaiyo had said then that meant the whole situation was between her and the Chaos Bringer. It probably also meant that she was no hero and had only brought trouble to this world by her presence. So she wondered why she should share anything with him, a man she hadn’t even known for a week.
“Because believe it or not you’re not alone. I know a little bit about being the only one of your kind in a world not your own. I want to help you, and I can if you let me.”
His words moved her, causing her to share the one piece of information that she was afraid was true.
“She said I had been forsaken by my people.”
Sakura didn’t like not being able to see Clark’s eyes. She was certain that she saw something flicker in their depths but the glare from his glasses prevented her from being completely certain. So she reached out and pulled them off his face.
“Don’t hide things from me, either. Let me see you.”
Clark nodded his head in agreement, “Alright.”
Chapter 32: The Girl Who Was A Master of Disguise
Volunteer work!? What do you mean volunteer work?!
Saturday morning Clark took note that Sakura was looking a lot better than she had the previous day. The previous day she had awakened, taken in a meal, talked to him for a while and then promptly went back to bed and collapsed. The previous night he had been less concerned that she would die when he wasn’t looking and had therefore slept a lot easier.
Sakura walked around his home looking decidedly curious yet extremely uncomfortable at the same time. He frowned wondering what was bothering her and wondered how long it would take her to bring up what was on her mind.
“Sorry, I didn’t tell you last night, but your home is lovely.”
Clark smiled slightly. “It’s nothing, really.”
“I wouldn’t say that.”
She still hadn’t managed to look him in the eye so he offered, “Are you hungry?”
Sakura nodded, “I am—starving actually, but I was hoping I could use your shower.” Her face flooded with color and he wondered why she was so easily embarrassed over such a basic need.
“Sure, do you want me to show you where it is?”
“Actually,” She blurted, “I was hoping I could have some of your clothes. I mean, borrow some.”
“Oh.” Her statement brought to mind many things. He hadn’t even thought about the fact that she had nothing to wear and nowhere to go. He wished he had thought of it as it probably would have saved her from having to ask. “I’m sorry, I didn’t think—“
Sakura smiled slightly, “that I’d mind walking around naked?”
Clark supposed it was his turn to blush. He covered himself by telling her he would grab her a shirt. He heard her giggling as he left the room. He could admit that he liked the sound of it.
After Sakura had showered she walked out in his shirt and he noted that it swallowed her small frame. She looked like a kid playing dress up. It made him smile to see her.
“It’s not funny.” Sakura moved over to his sofa and tucked her feet under her body and folded her arm across her chest which only made her look more childlike. He couldn’t even see her feet in in the shirt, it swallowed her so. She was adorable.
“But you’re so little.”
Her lip pouted a small bit. “I’m not little.”
“Yeah, Sakura I think you are.” She scowled, but said nothing further on the subject.
“Do you mind if I make breakfast?”
Clark hadn’t expected the offer to cook, but he wasn’t one to turn down a meal. He nodded his head and led her into the kitchen and showed her where everything was. He offered to help, but she shooed him out the kitchen and he let her do just that, especially when he heard a cry for help that couldn’t be ignored.
Sakura wasn’t sure why but she was aware of the exact minute that Clark left. It bothered her slightly that he didn’t tell her where he was going or if he would be back for breakfast or where he was going in the first place. She didn’t particularly like being left alone, but Sakura decided to leave well enough alone. She was feeling better. While she didn’t think it would be wise to go out and ‘save the world’, she no longer felt as vulnerable as she did before. She’d focus on one thing at a time, the first being recovering her strength.
Clark made it back in time for breakfast and explained to Sakura that there was a robbery in progress that he assisted with. She merely nodded her head at his explanation and he suddenly felt awkward. She set the table and presented to him what he recognized as a traditional Japanese breakfast.
Clark stared at Sakura seeing hints of Asian features, but not really recognizing what, exactly, her race was. Before he had the opportunity to question her she asked a question of her own.
“So, how does it work?”
“How does what work?”
“Your payment scale.”
“Ah, you mean for work.” Sakura nodded her head. “Well, typically most people are paid on an hourly rate others have a salary they receive per pay period or month depending upon the job. “
“So which are we?”
Clark frowned not understanding where she was going with the conversation. “You have a job?”
“Well, we did just save the world. I was wondering how we were going to be compensated for that.” Clark, for his part, was stunned. “So how does your government structure payment for that sort of thing.”
“It…doesn’t.” Sakura stared at him blankly. “Sakura, what we did, that was essentially volunteer work.”
“I don’t understand, then how do you earn money? How do you support yourself?”
“I have a job outside of Superman. It pays the bills.”
A myriad of emotions flickered across her face. She settled on looking lost and he was tempted to reach across and hold her hand. He didn’t though. He was well aware that type of action could be misconstrued.
“So, what you’re telling me is that I’m in a world not my own, with no friends, no family, and no way to take care of myself. I’m stuck here being useless until I can find a way to get back home.”
“That’s not what I’m saying at all.”
“Then explain it to me Clark. Explain it clearly so that I can understand what it is that I can do with myself.”
Clark opened his mouth, but no words came out. Sakura stood abruptly.
“I need to get out of here.” She headed to the door, but Clark moved swiftly and grabbed her arm to keep her from leaving. She attempted to wrench her arm out of his grip and he let her, but he still blocked her attempt to leave.
“You can’t leave like this.”
“So you’re holding me hostage, now?”
Her eyes flared with anger that he sought to appease. “Sakura, that’s not what I’m saying. Look. In this world times are changing. People with abilities are not something that have been looked upon kindly. People have seen what you look like, they know you’re not just a regular person. If you go out there without some sort of disguise then people may try to hurt you.”
Slowly, Clark watched the tension drain out of her body. “This is why you alter your persona so much. So that no one will recognize who you truly are. To protect yourself.”
“And those that I am close to. People who can’t hurt me, would try to hurt those I care about. I have enemies, Sakura, and in time you will probably have them too. It’s best to be prepared.”
Sakura nodded her head slowly in response. “I understand.” Seconds later Sakura disappeared and a completely different woman appeared in her place. Her eyes were a rich amber and her dark hair fell to her waist. Her breasts were large, bouncy, and bountiful…and he was going straight to hell for staring if her legs didn’t lead him there first.
“Will this do?” Sakura’s sweet voice asked causing him to turn away quickly.
“Ah, yeah. Um have a nice walk.”
Chapter 33: The Girl Who Stood At Superman's Side
A strong woman for a strong man.
Sakura closed the door behind her as she exited Clark’s apartment. She waited until she was a good distance away from his home before going somewhere private and dropping most of her genjutsu. She had to leave the image that she had on something more substantial than Clark’s large T-shirt as she was well aware that traveling in public wearing only it would probably be frowned upon.
She understood that he didn’t want anyone to know he was Superman and she could understand that he had enemies and such, but that wasn’t the case for Sakura. No one knew her in this world. No one cared about her so the need for precaution was a moot point.
She thereafter wandered the city of Metropolis for an uncertain amount of time trying to figure out how she was going to survive. Living with Clark, mooching off him wasn’t something that sat well with her. She was perfectly capable of taking care of herself--in her world. Being as helpless as a babe rankled. Worse than that, she didn’t want to ask Clark to help her. She would feel like a freeloader.
Sakura, so focused on her own problems, almost missed a person nearby that needed help. Sakura chanced upon a woman who was clutching the strap of her bag and holding it tightly while a masked man was trying to snatch it out of her hands.
“Please! It’s all I have. Please!”
Sakura frowned when the man pulled out what she assumed to be a weapon. Sakura didn’t think. She reacted. She moved swiftly and knocked his weapon out of his hand, pushing the woman back, and grabbed his arm that was still holding the lady’s bag. His eyes widened slightly and he swung his other arm in an effort to hit her but she easily stopped him with her free hand.
“Does this bag belong to you?” Sakura inquired of the man who merely growled and tried, in vain, to pull out of her chakra enhanced grip. Realizing that his actions were futile, he let go of the bag. In return, Sakura lets him go as her intention had merely been to get it back to its proper owner.
The man ran but he didn’t get far as Sakura watched Superman come from the sky and land in front of him. Sakura turned back to the woman and handed her the bag.
“Oh thank you so much Kunoichi!”
Sakura frowned. Why had the woman called her that? How did she know that was the code name that she had given the others? She opened her mouth to ask the woman that very thing but she was cut off and not given the chance. “K—“
“It’s so nice to know that Superman isn’t alone in protecting this city anymore. It doesn’t matter how strong he is he’s only one man after all. And he needs a strong woman at his side.” The woman patted Sakura’s arm gently and Sakura smiled slightly when the woman mentioned the man in blue.
He was only one man, but he was still Superman. He didn’t need her help in Metropolis. He didn’t need her in his home taking advantage of him. These were all thoughts that ran through Sakura’s mind, but what came out of her mouth was, “You’re very welcome.” With a wave, the woman was on her way and Sakura moved over to Superman’s side. When she approached him he still had the perpetrator in his grasp who didn’t even bother to try to get away. He stood quietly waiting for Superman’s next course of action which led Sakura to believe he wasn’t a complete idiot.
“I’m going to take him to the police station. I’ll be back for you.” Sakura nodded. He looked at her as if he didn’t expect her to wait so she reassured him knowing she had been a bit up upset when she left earlier. He probably thought, for some odd reason, that her anger was truly focused on him when that wasn’t the case at all. She was angry at the situation she was in and not him.
“I’ll be here.” He nodded and took to the skies leaving Sakura alone with her thoughts. There was only one pressing one that came to mind.
Why had he followed her?
It didn’t take Superman long to return and he immediately took her into his arms before she could think to protest and took to the skies. Sakura closed her eyes and found herself smiling slightly. She could get used to his method of travel. It worked well for her.
She initially thought he was going to take her back to his humble abode, but when they landed somewhere that brought Sakura an immense amount of comfort she was glad he decided to take a different route. Sakura knew her smile was big and cheesy as she took in her surroundings.
He took her to the forest that was lush, green, and beautiful. The birds chirped merrily and the sky was a brilliant blue. The air smelled fresh and clean and she hadn’t noticed before how bad it smelled where she was before. Before he could say anything to her she took off running towards the trees. Without a second thought, she ran up the side of the nearest one. Laughter bubbled from her lips as she continued her journey. When she reached the top she soon found herself leaping from branch to branch. She’d never admit it out loud but a part of her had briefly despaired of ever being able to do this again. She felt free in the trees and all of her earlier bad thoughts seemed minor at that moment. Sakura didn’t stop jumping, but she did look around as she wondered where Superman was. A glance up told her he was flying in the skies above her. She paused for a second and he lowered himself until he was at her level.
“How are you able to do that?” Superman smiled at her and his amazement was hard for him to hide. Sakura laughed at the thought of him being amazed at something she could do.
“This is something I learned back home when I younger. It’s a ninja thing really.”
“And you’re not worried you’ll fall?”
Sakura immediately shook her head. “Not at all.”
“What else can you do?”
Sakura opened her mouth to tell him but thought better of it. “A girl’s gotta have her secrets, doesn’t she?”
Superman grinned in a way that Sakura found adorable. “I thought we agreed not to keep secrets.” His adorableness disappeared when she realized that it was deceptive. Sakura folded her arms across her chest and gave him a mocking stern look.
“You’re a cad.”
Superman placed a palm to his chest as if she had wounded him. “Harsh words.”
“True words.” Sakura corrected and continued her run through the trees.
Chapter 34: The Girl Who Was Reassured
He had a way of making her feel better.
Sakura finally stopped and sat on top of a branch, leaning against a tree and looking out at the world around her. Superman joined her although he didn’t seem confident of the branch being able to hold his weight. Sakura promised that she’d catch him if he fell, but her humor only got her a dirty look which only served to amuse her further.
“How did you know this would make me feel better?” She turned her head and looked at him only to see a sheepish look come over his face.
“I didn’t. I just brought you here to talk.” Sakura stared at him for a second before laughing. Of course, he wouldn’t know why bringing her to the forest would make her happy. He didn’t really know anything about her. “Why did it make you feel better?”
Sakura sobered slightly. “I come from the Village Hidden in the Leaves.” It took mere seconds for Superman to understand.
“It reminds you of home.” Sakura nodded. “I come from the planet called Krypton. I’ve been here since I was about two years old.”
Sakura frowned. “And there’s no way for you to get back home?”
“There’s no home to go back to. Krypton no longer exists.” A wave of panic washed over Sakura as she thought about her home no longer existing. It was a possibility given everything that happened. Maybe Madara had destroyed the world and somehow her teammates had managed the save her without her knowledge. Maybe that was why she couldn’t remember exactly what happened. Superman reached for her hand and squeezed it slightly before releasing it. “I didn’t bring you out here to worry you.”
“Then why did you bring me here? You said you wanted to talk. What about?”
“Because I wanted you to know that I know what it’s like to be in a place where you don’t feel like you belong. You’re not alone.”
Sakura turned her head unable to look at him. She got that he understood what she was going through, but he had years to adjust. She hadn’t quite gained that luxury yet. “It’s not just that. I don’t want to be a burden to you.”
Sakura shook her head at his certain reply. “You say that now, but what about two weeks from now or a month or a year? You say I have to hide who I am because of what happened so how am I supposed to take care of myself? The only thing I know how to do is be a shinobi.”
“We’ll figure something out Sakura. Can’t you have a little faith?”
Sakura turned back to him to see he was earnestly imploring her to have faith in him. Could she do that? She wasn’t sure, but she didn’t think there would be any harm in trying.
“That’s all I ask.” Superman cleared his throat and then said, “Sakura, I have to tell you something.”
He sounded serious, more serious than he had been previously and Sakura wondered what was going on in his mind. “What’s wrong?” Her body tensed in expectation of some bad news but immediately relaxed with his next words.
“Batman wants to meet with us.”
A smile immediately appeared on her face. “Oh?” Superman paused, surprised by its immediate appearance. “Yes.” He said, cautiously.
“So when are we going to see him?”
“As soon as possible, really. He claims it’s important.”
Sakura raised her arms and waited for Superman to pick her up. “Let’s go then.”
Superman took her to Gotham City the place where Batman resided. He reserved a meeting place for the three of them that Superman was aware of and Sakura chose not to ask about. When they arrived Batman was waiting for them in cape and cowl.
They were near the docks. The scent of water wafted to her nose and made Sakura want to go see whatever body of water was nearby, but she had a feeling that if she suggested it she’d get ‘a look’. She couldn’t help the desire, though. Since Superman had taken her to that forest previously she realized there was so much of this world she wanted to see before she went home.
A deep frown marred Batman’s lips upon their arrival and Sakura wondered at it, but said nothing, instead, she smiled at Batman and his frown lessened. He nodded his head slightly in acknowledgement and Sakura seeing the two men weren’t going to speak to each other asked the obvious question.
“So, what’s going on?”
Batman turned his attention to her and asked a question that completely threw her off. “Are you alright?”
Sakura’s brow furrowed not quite catching his meaning. “I’m fine.” He waited for a second to see whether or not her answer would change before he continued.
“The President wants us to come to Washington so that he can commend us for a job well done.”
“All of us?” Sakura inquired wanting to be certain they were on the same page.
“Yes, all of us,” Batman confirmed.
“And the President is…?”
Batman and Superman both looked at her. Sakura inwardly pouted. It wasn’t her fault she wasn’t familiar with some of their words.
“The President is the leader of this country,” Superman explained. “And it would be in bad taste to turn down his invitation.”
“Alright, then, we’ll go see him. No problem.” Sakura turned to Superman already in the mind frame of expecting him to fly her to their destination.
“He wants to see all of us Kunoichi and not right this second. There is supposed to be some type of ceremony.” Sakura found herself briefly surprised that Batman hadn’t called her by her name. However, she decided to question him about that later.
“When?” Superman inquired and Sakura glanced at Batman waiting for his answer.
“And have you spoken to the others?” Sakura inquired.
“No. That’s why I contacted you, Superman, although I had no idea that Kunoichi was with you.”
Chapter 35: The Girl Who Was Used To Bait the Lantern
There was an accusation in those words, and she almost certain that it wasn’t completely directed at her.
Sakura was no one’s fool. It didn’t take a genius to realize that Batman didn’t approve of her staying with Superman. It unsettled her a bit-especially as she had no idea as to his reason why that was and she knew she couldn’t question him on it without starting a fight. Sakura strategically placed her body in between Superman and Batman just in case things went south.
“Superman graciously offered to let me stay with him.” Sakura began cautiously. “As I have nowhere else to go I was more than happy to take him up on the offer until I manage to stand on my own two feet in a world that is not my own.”
Batman stared at her and she smiled hoping it would lessen the frown on his face. Her hopes, though, were in vain.
“And is there any particular reason why you’re in Gotham in only a T-shirt?”
Sakura looked down and realized she had dropped her genjutsu. When had that happened? Color flooded her cheeks and but she managed to get out a cheeky, “Yes, of course. I wanted to see who would be the first to comment on it. I had money riding on it.”
Batman looked like he didn’t believe her for a second, but that probably had something to do with the incredulous look on Superman’s face. She’d have to work on him and his poker face. Although at the moment hers probably wasn’t much better. Tsunade would be so disappointed in her. But then again she was called the Legendary Sucker so who was she to throw stones? Her fingers moved quickly putting her genjutsu back in place that probably slipped when she was in the forest earlier with Superman.
“Better?” Sakura inquired and got a curt nod from Batman.
“We need to get in contact with the others. The two of you have been the easiest so far to find.”
Sakura nodded. “Any idea where any of the others are?”
“Yes, I’m going to contact Wonder Woman and Flash tomorrow. I was hoping you, Superman could contact Aquaman and you, Kunoichi to find the Lantern.”
“What about Cyborg?” Sakura inquired. They couldn’t leave him out. They’d all be dead if Cyborg hadn’t managed to hack into Darkseid’s mother boxes.
“I have a feeling that all of us will be required to convince him to join us.”
“Why?” Superman asked but Batman continued to look at her as he spoke.
“Because he’s young and insecure and will require some convincing as to his worth.”
Sakura frowned saddened at Batman’s words but nodded accepting that this was quite possibly true. Still, there was one thing that didn’t sit well with her.
“Why do I have to go find the Lantern?”
A small smile appeared on Batman’s face but he didn’t answer her question.
Batman gave her a map to Coast City where Green Lantern was reported as staying in. It didn’t take her long to get there even as she had to travel on foot.
Coast City was different from Gotham. She hadn’t been in Gotham long but the impression she got was the place was dark and dangerous. It didn’t really scare her because she knew she was capable of taking care of herself, but the place still made her wary.
Coast City was also different from Metropolis. The people of Metropolis seemed to be filled with hope. The way the people carried themselves was as if a brighter future was right on the horizon. The truth was while she didn’t like the circumstances that landed her in Metropolis it was a place that she didn’t mind living in. She could imagine staying there until Naruto and the others came for her.
Coast City, itself, was more of a combination of the two. She got the feel that the place could be dangerous, but the people weren’t downtrodden because of it. In a way, Coast City felt more like home to her, but it didn’t bring about feelings of comfort within her. Rather, it brought back a deep melancholy that she was unable to shake the longer she stayed.
Batman had given her a packet with things she would need while doing her search like—money during her stay. But he had urged her to find Green Lantern as soon as possible as they were running out of time before the scheduled meeting with the President.
Sakura was roaming the streets of Coast City not bothering to hide who she was via genjutsu. She wanted the Lantern to recognize her immediately so she could talk to him about what they had to do. It was a big city, though and he wasn’t easily found. She spoke to several people who were amazed that they were talking to ‘Kunoichi’ rather than offering any sort of helpful information.
That is until she was wandering the streets one day after her arrival and herds of people came running in her direction. A part of her thought it was an attack and braced herself for it…until they all ran past her some people pushing and jostling her along the way. That was when she realized that something was horribly wrong. Sakura immediately moved forward pushing her way through the crowd determined to find the source of the terror on the faces of the people. No one she had come across looked injured but that didn’t mean such actions weren’t to occur in the near future.
As she moved on, she felt someone grab her arm. She was about to shrug them off when she realized that it was a man who was looking seriously and intently at her. “You’re Kunoichi!”
She was about to shrug him off as another ‘fan’ and keep going, but his next words stopped her in her tracks. “Green Lantern needs your help.” A sliver of fear ran down Sakura’s spine.
“Where is he?” Sakura demanded.
“Two blocks down. Look to the sky you won’t miss him.”
Chapter 36: The Girl Who Slayed the Monster
Sakura ran up the side on the nearest building and took to the rooftops in an effort to find Green Lantern faster. In the end, when she took to the rooftops, it wasn’t hard to find the man as he didn’t have a discreet bone in his body and he stood out like a beacon in the sky. And the creature he was fighting wasn’t much better. It was large, orange, and looked much like a jellyfish. Its appendages appeared to be tentacles that reached down, grabbed people, and ingested them into its blob-like body.
Sakura took a brief moment to be horrified. That was a terrible way to die. After she composed herself she continued her run forward towards the Lantern. When she got close enough she used her chakra to give herself a boost before launching herself toward the creature that Green Lantern didn’t seem to be having any luck with.
She let out a sharp battle cry and dove in with chakra blazing. It was just unfortunate that the blow that she intended for the orange blob never landed and she phased through it falling to the ground. The shock on her face would have been comical if certain death weren’t involved in the situation. Thankfully though there was a building beneath her that she’d be able to land on which she did. Afterward, Green Lantern made it to her side and started with, “Not that I’m not happy to see you, Beautiful, but what are you doing here?”
Sakura brushed his compliment off her shoulders as she knew he was a flirt and said, “Right this second? I’m helping you.”
“I don’t think nearly killing yourself is much help to me.”
Sakura scowled. “I didn’t know it wasn’t corporeal.”
Sakura wanted to smack him but didn’t think it would help her cause. Instead, she ignored him. “What have you tried so far?”
“Nothing really. I can’t touch it.”
“But we know it can be touched as it’s picking up people and ingesting them.”
“I’m thinking it’s possible that it will have an adverse reaction to something. Have you tried dousing it in water?”
“Sakura, it has tentacles. Somehow I think water will be its friend.”
He was so going to die.
“He won’t stay solid long enough for it to touch him.”
“And the whole time it’s steadily snatching people. It has to be solid during that period otherwise it wouldn’t make sense.” Sakura mused.
Green Lantern’s eyes locked on hers and said, “I’ve got an idea if you’re willing to try it.” Just from the look in his eyes, Sakura knew it was dangerous. “Do you trust me?”
Sakura thought about that for a moment and said, “Well, you’ve saved my ass before it would be counterproductive if you got me killed now. So I guess I do trust you.”
Hal smiled and said, “Alright, then this is what we’re going to do. Do you remember when we fought Darkseid…”
Sakura really wished she hadn’t said she trusted him. Still, the plan they had come up with was pretty sound and if people could be saved it was worth trying. That didn’t mean, though, that she wanted to die. “Are you sure about this Lantern?”
“Trust me. I won’t let you fall or die. You may get maimed a little, but hey what’s life without risk?” Sakura glared at Hal who only smiled winsomely at her. “Are you sure you can start a fire from inside him?”
Sakura nodded. “I’m sure. Let’s just do this.” Green Lantern didn’t give her a chance to change her mind. As Sakura flew through the air towards the creature that was snatching people for murky reasons she grimly prepared the paltry fire jutsu that she knew. Sakura body stopped in the middle of the being. This time, she didn’t fall through it as Green Lantern’s light held her in place.
He wasn’t close to her, but she could see him give her an encouraging smile and it relaxed her a bit. The second she relaxed though darkness claimed her and she knew then she was inside the creature. She wished she had known exactly when it was going to happen because she would’ve had time to take a deep breath. Now she was limited on time with limited mobility.
It was dark and she couldn’t see a thing. She could feel though and the squishiness of its inards didn’t fill her with the warm fuzzies. It was slimy. She wanted to rub her hands against her clothes but she had a feeling that it would be a pointless endeavor. Instead, she stopped wasting time and let her fingers move into the Fire Style: Phoenix Flower Jutsu.
Fire flew around her letting her knowing that the idea wasn’t the greatest. As the fire danced through the creature’s body she found herself singed a time or two. Still, she heard the creature let out a roar at her actions so she used the jutsu again. She hoped she didn’t burn all her hair off her head.
Hal Jordan wished he could take back his plan the second it came out of his mouth. Putting Kunoichi in danger bothered him more than he cared to admit. Yet he somehow knew if he tried to take back his plan and revise it for her safety would do nothing put piss her off. Especially since they both knew that she could handle herself.
Yet when he heard the creature let out a roar that sent a sliver of fear down his spine he nearly panicked. The creature fell to the ground and he barely managed to pull the civilians on the ground out of the way. The impact shook the ground and he rushed toward the ground yelling, “Kunoichi!”
He was seconds away from slicing the creature open with his ring when he saw a flash of green and Kunoichi pulling herself out. The ninja immediately glanced his way and said in an irritated tone, “Is it dead yet?”
Chapter 37: The Girl Who Would Admit Nothing
Hal took Sakura to his home to get cleaned up. She had been severely disgusted by the creature’s innards, and Hal was never one to leave a lady uncomfortable.
He just wished he had cleaned up his apartment first. When Sakura walked inside and looked around, she raised an eyebrow and gave him a look that said she’d rather return to the creature’s innards. He did have the decency to be a bit embarrassed.
“Um, the shower’s clean,” Hal said, and Sakura rolled her eyes.
“I hope so.” She grumbled. “Now where is it?”
Hal took her to the bathroom and gave her a few shower necessities as well as after shower ones…like clothes. She briefly thanked him before closing the door firmly in his face.
For some reason, he smiled.
Hal’s shower was clean as he had promised, but Sakura had doubts upon entering his less than neat apartment. The odd thing though was while the rest of the place was a mess the bathroom was utterly spotless. The room even smelled clean. Something about this discovery made Sakura smile, and she couldn’t help softening her attitude towards the Lantern just a tiny bit.
After she was clean and wearing one of his t-shirts that surprisingly didn’t swallow her whole and a pair of his pajama bottoms that she had to roll up, so she didn’t trip over them, she went to search for Hal.
She found him in the kitchen. His green glow was gone, and he was wearing plain clothes and looking clean. She assumed he had another shower somewhere inside. He was in the kitchen cleaning there, and Sakura suspected he was a little embarrassed by the mess. Instead of remarking upon it and teasing him she opted to come inside push him away from the sink.
“You dry and put away. I’ll wash.” Sakura offered since she had no idea where any of his things belonged. He nodded his head and they worked in silence until they finished.
“So, why are you here Sakura?” Hal questioned and narrowed his eyes when Sakura smiled at him. “Not that I’m opposed to beautiful women coming to see me…” Sakura rolled her eyes and hopped onto of the counter they had just cleaned and crossed her legs at the ankles. Her smile was gone, and she wore a no-nonsense demeanor.
“I’m told your President wants to honor us in a few days.”
“Us?” Hal questioned, and Sakura nodded.
“Yes, the eight of us. I’m here to spread the word.”
“So are we getting medals or something?” Sakura shrugged.
“I don’t know much of how your world honors its soldiers. It’s not something we do in my world.”
Hal frowned. “You’re not from this planet? What Sector are you from?”
Sakura looked at him blankly, and he couldn’t blame her for not knowing what he meant. Most people wouldn’t.
Sakura shook her head questioningly, and Hal looked at her musingly. “How’d you end up here?”
Sakura merely shrugged. “Honestly, there’s a part of me that wants to know exactly that.”
Hal chuckled and finished her statement, “And there’s another part of you that thinks you’re better off not knowing.” Sakura nodded. “Trust me Sakura if there’s anything I’ve learned thus far it’s that knowing is far better than not knowing. Being blindsighted is not fun.”
Sakura’s brow furrowed taking his words into consideration. “You may be right, but I don’t know how I can figure anything out from here.”
Hal looked at her curiously. “Well, you can start with what you know.”
“Nothing,” Sakura said flatly, and Hal laughed while Sakura realized that wasn’t entirely true if the words of the Chaos Bringer were believable. And yet why should Sakura believe one of Darkseid’s creatures?
Hal reached a hand out to grab a lock of her hair, but she dodged him and gave him a scathing look that didn’t deter him in the least. He found that he liked teasing her. Her face became a fetching shade of red when she was annoyed.
“I find that hard to believe. Think about it. Who would want to send you somewhere else?”
“No one!” Sakura said emphatically, but Hal merely shrugged.
“Who could?” That was an entirely different question. It was a question she could answer easily. She paled. “It seems like you have some ideas.” Hal prodded.
Sakura swallowed. “There are only four people who could have done it. And I’m certain one of the four didn’t do it at all.”
“Oh? How can you be so sure?”
“Because Kaka-sensei knows how important my role is in the war. He wouldn’t send me off like that.” He is also the only one of the four that was trustworthy. Kakashi-sensei, Obito, Madara, and…Sasuke.
“And the other three?”
Sakura changed the subject. She couldn’t think about that particular topic any longer. “So, are you going to join us in meeting your President?” Hal paused at the rather obvious change of subject but didn’t pursue it. “What’s in it for me?”
Sakura cracked her knuckles menacingly. “There’s always a long life.” Hal laughed.
“Maybe I have better things to do.”
“I haven’t even told you when it is.”
Hal merely smiled which served to frustrate Sakura and make her rise to her feet. “Look. If you don’t want to go, that’s fine. I’m merely here to tell you about the invite.”
“Are you going?” Hal asked quizzically, and Sakura looked at him startled that he thought there was a chance she wasn’t going.
“Yes, of course. I’m stuck here. It’s not like I have anything better to do.”
Hal smiled at her showing a set of perfectly white teeth. Sakura thought that if he smiled at her anymore, those perfect teeth would end up rolling out of his mouth because her fist knocked them out. “Then if you’re there it just may be worth tagging along.”
“You like it, though.”
Sakura would admit to no such thing. Without another word, she strode out of Hal’s apartment not bothering to retrieve her clothes and no intention of giving his back. She slammed the door behind her muttering under her breath and made her way back to Metropolis.
Chapter 38: The Girl Who Would Be BatWife...or BatDaughter
Sakura was surprised to find Superman waiting for her when she returned. Darkness had fallen. Admittedly she could have arrived sooner but had decided it would be best if she explored a little on her own.
When she walked through the door, Clark rose to his feet and came to her. His eyes roamed over her body and at first Sakura was confused about why. The answer came soon after when Sakura took in his face, she noted with some surprise that he was worried. Her eyes softened, and a warmth filled her chest.
“I came back. I’m safe.” Sakura said.
“I saw on the news…”
Sakura chuckled. She hadn’t noticed one of their news crew while she was fighting. She wasn’t sure if that was a good or a bad thing but regardless sought to reassure Clark. “It was all right. I mean the creature was no Darkseid, so we handled it alright. Sorry, I took so long. Are you hungry?” Sakura moved toward the kitchen, but Clark blocked her and studied her face for a moment.
“You seem like you’re in an excellent mood.”
Sakura shrugged. “I think it was just really nice to get outside for a while. I liked feeling useful.” Sakura frowned realizing they had come full circle.
“Sakura, I’m not dismissing your concerns about being useful. I know you want a means to take care of yourself. Maybe we should talk to Bruce about this. He could come up with something.”
“We can do that, but for now, I’d just like to enjoy your company. Is that okay?”
After meeting with the President, they agreed upon several things. The first thing that happened was that they all decided that they need a first line of defense from any form of space invaders that might think Earth was ripe for the picking.
The second thing resulted from the first. Sakura started spending a lot of time in Gotham. Batman was designing what he called the Watchtower, and he wanted her input on his plans. At that moment Sakura was in what she had mentally designated the Batcave to go over some blueprints.
Sakura made a sound which brought Bruce to her side.
“What are you thinking?” Bruce murmured.
Sakura pointed to the blueprints. “This area right here is vulnerable.”
“Nothing can get in that space Sakura. It’s too small for anyone to pass through.”
“I can get through it.” Batman stared hard at Sakura, but she continued. “And if I were your enemy and I made it through this area, which I assure you I could, I’d wreak all sorts of havoc because I’d be angry that was my only way in.”
It was evident that Batman didn’t believe her and with resignation she knew what was going to happen next. “Show me.”
Sakura sighed. “Read off the dimensions of the space for me, and I’ll show you.”
Batman rattled off numbers, and Sakura let them run through her head for a second. She mentally thanked Tsunade for the torment she put her through before she began to twist her body in what some would consider an impossible position, and then she began to move. She heard Bruce gasp and mutter, “A contortionist.” He moved away from her and Sakura assumed that the demonstration was over and began to unfold herself mentally cursing the entire time.
Bruce was at his computer reconfiguring some data. Sakura walked over and peered over his shoulder. “Have you always been able to do that?” Bruce inquired causing Sakura to snort.
“Absolutely not. That took years of tortuous training to increase my flexibility. It’s not even something that I can do for long, but I could do it long enough to get through that area. Not to mention we don’t know what size any other space creatures out there could be. At the very least we should put some lasers in there or something.”
“Superman’s lasers are pretty handy.”
Bruce cleared his throat but didn’t stop working, “Speaking of Superman, how is he?”
“He mentioned to me that you’re concerned about work.”
“I am. I can’t keep living off Clark…that’s not fair to him. I don’t want to be a burden.”
“To start off what you need is a civilian identity.”
“Well, I am Sakura Haruno. No one outside the League knows that.” Bruce hummed, and Sakura wondered what that meant. She knew it meant something because otherwise, Bruce wouldn’t have done it. “Do you think I should choose another name?”
“I was thinking something more like Sakura Wayne.”
Sakura blinked. “Bruce, are you asking me to marry you?” Bruce paused turned and looked at Sakura with a raised brow. “It’s a legitimate question. I mean typically if a ‘Sakura Haruno’ goes to ‘Sakura Wayne’ holy matrimony is involved.”
Sakura laughed, “Bruce I’m no child.”
“I’m not saying you are. I’m saying it might be best if-“
Bruce’s words halted, and Sakura was left wondering what he was going to say. “Bruce?” She received no response, so Sakura said, “Your calculations on that column are wrong.”
Bruce snapped to attention immediately pouring over the column. He growled when he realized Sakura was just pulling his leg. “So I take it you’re saying you don’t want to marry me.”
“Sakura, can you imagine what a marriage between us would be like?”
“Me shrieking and you brooding?” Bruce didn’t respond. “The sex would be good. But I have a feeling you wouldn’t be able to meet my emotional needs.”
“This conversation is over.”
Later that evening Sakura sat curled on the sofa with Clark. There was a proper amount of space between them that slowly disappeared as the night wore on. They were watching a movie, which according to Clark wasn’t something that he had many opportunities to do with two jobs.
And regardless, watching movies wasn’t a habit that he particularly cared to pick up. He was only watching one that night because Sakura was new to his world and he thought she’d like it.
“How was your day?” He murmured.
“It was good. We made some progress on the Watchtower.”
“Do you two need any help? You are doing all the arrangements practically alone.”
“Um, not yet. I don’t think. Although later when everything is planned out, I’ll talk to Batman about having you take a look. It would probably be best if we had another set of eyes to make sure we haven’t missed anything.”
Superman fell silent, and Sakura gazed up at him sensing something was wrong. He looked like he was seconds away from saying something, but the minute she looked up those words seem to disappear.
Superman smiled at her making her heart skip a beat, “Everything is perfect.”
Chapter 39: The Girl Who Stole His Idea
The third thing that changed was…
A knock on the door occurred just seconds before Sakura dove out a window. It was a habit that Clark had been trying hard to break her of, but it wasn’t one she wanted to relinquish. She also liked to see the horror in Clark’s eyes every time she did it. She was aware that it was a bit sadistic, but everyone had to have their hobbies.
Sakura eased her leg back in the window of her third-story bedroom and moved toward the front door. She knew it couldn’t be Clark. He would, of course, have a key. So who could it…?
Sakura paused realizing that maybe she shouldn’t open the door. They weren’t exactly announcing to the world that Clark Kent had a strange woman living with him. The knocked sounded again, and Sakura looked through the peephole only to see a familiar face.
Incredulously she swung the door open, grabbed his arm and pulled him inside.
“Nice to see you too, Beautiful.” Sakura shut the door and whirled around to her visitor.
“What are you doing here, Lantern?”
He paused then said, “I do have a name. You can feel free to call me by it.”
“Right back at you.” Sakura placed her hands on her hips and waited not so patiently for an explanation which wasn’t immediately forthcoming.
“I figured you were living here with Superman.” How he knew where Clark lived she didn’t bother to ponder. She just flew into denial mode.
“Living here? Maybe I’m just visiting.”
“Nice try,” Hal said strolling inside looking from side to side before sitting on the couch, and propping his feet up on a table, “But if that were the case, you wouldn’t be here by yourself. The big guy doesn’t strike me as the type to leave the company to fend for themselves.”
Sakura snorted knowing Clark well enough to know that was true.
“Maybe he had to go and save someone. Maybe he’ll be back any second.”
“And maybe pigs will fly.”
“Well, your world does have that disease known as the swine flu.”
Hal let out a sharp laugh. “Alright, alright. I didn’t come to get you all riled up.”
“I couldn’t tell.” Sakura moved to sit across from him. “Are you ready to tell me what you want, Jordan?”
“I remembered you mentioning a while back that you don’t have much to do. I was wondering if you’d help me out a bit.”
Sakura regarded the Lantern suspiciously, which would become the norm for them. “What do you want?”
“Ever been in outer space?”
Sakura Haruno had no idea how Hal Jordan Green Lantern of Sector 2814 had managed to convince her to come with him on an off-planet mission. She was going to die. She was certain of it. There was no air in space. And she was almost certain you needed air to breathe.
“Relax, Beautiful; I’ll take care of you.”
“I’m so reassured.”
She had called Batman and let him know that Green Lantern needed her assistance. He insisted that she leave her communicator in her ear just in case she needed him. He wasn’t sure how far the range measured on it, but at the very least he wanted her to test it for him.
She had gone to tell Clark in person.
Clark was a reporter. He used to work at the Daily Planet. However, he told her he started an independent news website after someone he felt was of ill repute had taken over the paper. Sakura couldn’t recall the name of the person, but if she had to guess she’d say his name was Morgan Edge.
Truthfully, it was probably a good thing that Clark worked for himself. It freed up more time for him to be Superman without the suspicion of a company constantly looking over his shoulder. When Sakura showed up at his office, she was greeted by a woman named Cat Grant. She was blonde, tall, and beautiful and frankly made Sakura a little self-conscious.
“Is Clark in?” A disguised Sakura asked. She had opted against genjutsu this time and decided to take a page out of the Clark Kent handbook. Hiding in plain sight amused her, so she wore a black fedora ensuring that it covered most of her hair. The portion that might have been visible was covered by an artfully wrapped yellow scarf. She wore black formfitting overalls with a high waist. Her blouse was a white button down shirt. Sakura opted to leave several of the top buttons undone. She also had on a pair of yellow heels that at a slight glance looked sexy but ridiculously uncomfortable. Thankfully, Sakura knew a nifty ninja trick in her pocket to ensure that wasn’t the case. Makeup brightened her eyes and was emphasized by her black eyeliner. She was fond of the cat eye look. All in all, she wasn’t displeased by her look.
Movement caught her eye as Clark rose to his feet. Before Clark could reach her side she heard, “Well, look at that. Clark where have you been keeping your cute little girlfriend?”
Sakura looked away from Clark missing the way his cheeks flushed red.
“We’re just friends Cat.” Clark hadn’t bothered to look in Cat’s direction when he said it. His eyes were riveted on Sakura which made the kunoichi blush.
“Oh really?” Her tone held a wealth of disbelief. Clark seemingly came back to himself and moved toward Sakura. He gently clasped her elbow and guided her to the door.
“We’re going to head out for lunch. I’ll be back later.”
“Sure thing Clark. Enjoy your date.”
Sakura was certain the ground was going to open up and swallow her whole.
They walked in silence for a while and for some reason Sakura started to feel a bit nervous.
“Is there any place in particular that you want to have lunch?” Clark inquired, and Sakura answered without actually thinking.
“It doesn’t matter as long as I’m with you.”
And then Sakura’s brain went into overdrive, and there was a litany of her asking herself the same question over and over again.
Why did you say that?
Although it was way too soon for Sakura to make a comment like that, Clark didn’t seem to mind. In fact, she felt his hand fall to the small of her back and guide her along. Sakura felt warmth creep into her cheeks. It was starting to feel like it was the date that Cat Grant said it was.
Chapter 40: The Girl Who Had Lunch & Dinner
Clark guided Sakura to a food truck that he claimed sold the best Mexcian food in Metropolis. After Sakura had taken her first bite into her burrito, she was inclined to believe him. They walked through the streets content to be silent and enjoy each other’s company. Occasionally they tossed a shy smile in the direction of the other.
It was a sweet moment that Sakura would always cherish, but she had to come to the point. The Lantern was waiting on her. She had to go.
“I’m sorry to disturb you at work.”
The smile Clark gave her was knee-weakening and made her blood pressure skyrocket. It was becoming harder for Sakura to ignore just how gorgeous Clark really was.
“I don’t mind you stopping by.” Clark who had finished eating tossed his wrappers in a nearby trash can and waited for her to pass hers to him. She did so with a smile.
“I wish I were just stopping by to see you.” Sakura began and watched Clark’s eyes cloud.
“What’s wrong? What happened?”
Sakura immediately put a hand on Clark's shoulder to calm him. "Everything is fine. I'm just leaving for a little while."
Sakura watched Clark's alarm continue to grow, and she wrapped her arms around him holding him tight. “Clark, Hal asked me for some help, um, far far away.”
“How far are we talking?”
“Very far.” She pulled away from him and looked up into his eyes, “But I’ll be back.”
“This is you being bored again isn’t it?”
“If I can be useful, I want to be.”
Clark sighed and pulled Sakura close again. She didn’t resist. In fact, she melted in his arms loving the feel of them around her. “He’s waiting for you now isn’t he?” Sakura nodded.
“Go.” He gave Sakura a gentle nudge. “I’ll be here when you get back.”
Sakura hesitated a moment, “Promise?”
Clark laughed, “Yes Sakura I promise. When you come back, there’s somewhere I want to take you.”
Sakura started to ask him where but changed her mind. She wanted it to be a surprise. Instead, she nodded her head before she turned presenting him with her back. She had only taken a few steps before she turned and looked over her shoulder. When she was certain, she had his attention she winked at Clark. She watched as Clark’s cheeks colored and then walked away with a little more swing in her hips than was strictly necessary. But there was nothing wrong with it if you knew someone was enjoying the view.
When Sakura made it back to Central City and Hal Jordan's apartment she expected the Lantern to be ready to leave immediately--because she was. Instead, he opened the door and gave her a smile that made her want to turn around and leave. She didn't get the opportunity to do so because he grabbed her arm and dragged her inside.
“Jordan, what are you doing?”
He turned his back on her and strolled toward the kitchen. Sakura knew he expected her to follow and wanted to be stubborn and stay right where she was to spite him. But as she stood there she could already see that the place was a lot cleaner than the last time she had been there. Natural curiosity made her want to know just how clean it was. Sakura took one step forward, and one became two and so on.
The place was spotless, and Sakura found herself incredulous. She thought the Lantern was a slob.
“I don’t spend much time on Earth,” the Lantern said by way of explanation when Sakura entered the kitchen. “I do a lot of work off the planet. Things like cleaning get pushed to the side.”
“Don’t you like the Earth?”
“It’s not that I don’t like it. I’m just busy. As a Green Lantern, I'm responsible for a whole sector."
Sakura frowned. “How have you been managing it?”
Hal grinned at her and Sakura noticed that he was working in the kitchen. He appeared to be making dinner. “As loathe as I am to admit it, forming the League will make things easier for me in the long run.”
Sakura came closer and peered around him to see what he was doing. "Oh, so you're trusting us now?"
“I trust you, Beautiful.”
Sakura rolled her eyes and maneuvered her body so that there was a little more space between them. She didn’t want him getting the wrong idea.
“Why are you cooking? I thought we were leaving.”
“We are, but I thought you’d like dinner first. It will be a long time before we get to taste anything like Earth cuisine. I thought you’d like to enjoy it while it lasts.” Sakura felt a longing for food from her world well up in her. It wasn't that their food was bad, but there was no place like home. “So you’re living with Superman. How did that happen?”
Sakura shrugged. “It just did. He was the only one that I really felt comfortable with after arriving in this world. We were supposed to find a way for me to get home but with everything that happened after Darkseid…”
"I get it. Life gets in the way of what you want."
Sakura shrugged realizing that although Hal Jordan was a jerk, he was pretty easy to talk to. She found herself less angry at the trap he had set for her. Alone time together. That's what he wanted. In his mind, they were on a date.
In Sakura's mind, they were seconds away from an ass beating.
But when the Lantern presented food to her that smelled divine she found herself to be even more forgiving than she initially thought.
"Lantern, I know what you're doing," Sakura said while moaning as she took a bite of his chicken parmesan. "And it's not going to work."
He looked at her with bedroom eyes and asked, “What’s not going to work?”
Sakura rolled her eyes, “Trust me, Jordan, I could seduce you before you could seduce me.”
His eyes lit up. “Is that a bet?”
Sakura scowled. “No.”
Chapter 41: The Girl Who Met their Third
Sakura began to second guess her decision to come with Hal Jordan the second he wrapped her into his light. Being wrapped in his light wasn’t a bad thing. In fact, that was the only thing about the situation that was good. It was comforting and similar to being enveloped in a warm blanket on a cold night. She wanted to snuggle in a little closer but couldn’t.
The problem was that the higher in the sky they flew, the more she was aware that to breathe oxygen was necessary. Not to mention that her body could very well be crushed into bits by space. It was concerning.
“Lantern, are you sure this is enough to keep me from dying?” Her eyes darted around wildly as darkness almost completely encased them.
Sakura took note that he looked hurt by her words but he hid it quickly. The Kunoichi sighed inwardly.
“Do you honestly think I’d bring you without knowing whether or not this would hurt you?”
Sakura began to gnaw on her bottom lip and offered an olive branch. “I’m sorry. I’ve never done anything like this before. I didn’t even think it could be done.” Yet. She added silently. There were some jutsu around that defied logic. She wouldn’t be surprised if space travel became the way of the ninja.
The Lantern’s lips quirked slightly, and he said reassuringly, “You’re going to love it.”
Sakura did love it—well, she loved soaring through the darkness with him. At first, she thought that she’d be afraid. But coming close to stars and not having them burn you alive…well, that took the Lantern off her shit list for the forced date…even though the deliciousness of the food already had. A wild part of herself wished she could feel the heat of the stars against her skin. She knew she’d die if she did but having the capability…oh, she’d love to have that.
“Where are we going?”
There is a distinct hesitation that Sakura can’t help but notice. “Jordan? Is there something you want to tell me before your deception gets you killed?”
“You wouldn’t kill me out here—you couldn’t. Besides if you could, you’d die too.”
Sakura gave the Lantern a brittle smile. “Some things are worth dying for.”
“Why die when you can forgive me because of my handsome face?” Hal turned back and gave her a cheeky grin which Sakura returned with a flat look. “Oh come on ‘Noichi you can’t tell me you don’t think I’m a spectacular specimen of manliness.”
Sakura raised a brow. “I don’t know about all that. Granted I don’t feel like clawing my eyes out after looking at you, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say spectacular…or manly.” Sakura wanted to die laughing at Hal’s facial expression but remained stoic instinctively knowing that if she hinted that she was teasing him in any way, he would only get worse. Dealing with an amorous Lantern for an unforeseeable amount of time was not an option.
“You hurt me, ‘Noichi. You’re a cold, cold woman.”
“Freezing.” Sakura retorted but her lips twitched slightly, and Hal caught it although he said nothing about it. Instead, he turned his head away from her direction and hid a grin. “Quit playing around Green Lantern and tell me where we’re going and why you need back up there?”
Hal sighed. “Someone asked for my help. A whole planet is being enslaved and mistreated. I want to go free the people.”
“You want to free an entire planet,” Sakura said in a deceptively mild tone. “With just the two of us?”
“That’s the thing right there—“
A voice cut him off, and Sakura turned her head. “There’s three of us.”
Sakura turned her head to find what she assumed to be another Green Lantern floating before them. Sakura was surprised. She had assumed that there was only one of each them. One Batman. One Superman. One Wonder Woman. She hadn’t considered the possibility that maybe Hal was a bit like her. She was far from the only shinobi, so it wasn’t that much of a stretch to believe that Hal wasn’t the only Green Lantern.
Sakura focused her attention on their new companion. He didn’t look…human. Humanoid perhaps but he wasn’t from Earth. If his skin hadn’t been red, then his glowing yellow eyes would have given him away first. The man looked angry, and something about him held himself as if he were superior to everyone around him. Sakura was no stranger to that type of behavior, so she didn’t let it bother her. It was an: it’s not me it’s you, situation.
The man was huge. Not even Superman was as tall as the man before her, and he had presence. He was the type of man that commanded your attention. And damn you to hell if you were foolish enough to let your attention stray. His hair was inky black, and his ears were pointed. Sakura felt her lips quirk because she couldn’t help but think they were cute.
“Excuse me then. You want to free an entire planet with three of us?”
Hal didn’t get the chance to reply. His Green Lantern buddy spoke first. “If she can’t handle herself Jordan why did you bring her? The last thing we need is a hindrance.”
Sakura felt her temper flare.
“I am more than capable of taking care of myself. I just don’t like flying off with half-baked plans with little chance of success. If an entire planet is involved, then we should’ve brought the whole League Hal. You know we’re willing to help with off-planet missions.”
Hal sighed. “I know Sakura but it—“
“I wouldn’t allow it.” The interloper cut in and Sakura rolled her eyes and placed her hands on her hips exasperated.
“Who are you anyway?”
He studied her for a long moment. Sakura wondered if he was waiting for her to explode. She wasn’t.
“You can call me Sinestro.”
Chapter 42: The Girl Who Protected the Lantern (And Wondered Why)
If I didn't mention it before, Book 2 (Author's Version) of Ablaze will follow the New 52 Green Lantern comic Vol. 1
“I’m Kunoichi. It’s nice to meet you.” Hal scowled, and Sakura added, “I think.” When both men said nothing further, Sakura had to restrain herself from pulling out her hair. “Would anyone care to explain what we’re going up against? Forewarned is forearmed and I think I mentioned not wanting to go in blind.”
It was Sinestro that answered her. “The army I built to protect my home world has enslaved it. The two of you are here to help me destroy them.”
Even with a mask, Sakura could see the bitterness on Hal’s face. “The Corps that you started, that’s who enslaved your planet? You want me to help clean up your mess? I should leave right now.”
Sakura scowled. “I don’t know what your problem is with Sinestro, Jordan, but we are not leaving an entire planet to be enslaved.”
“You don’t know him, Kunoichi. The things he’s done…he uses fear as a weapon!”
Sakura nodded. “A lot of people do, but what I see right now is a guy that's trying to save people. And we are going to help him, aren’t we?”
Sakura gave Hal a pointed look, but he ignored her and focused on Sinestro. It made Sakura angry. She wasn’t fond of being ignored. In fact, after living with Clark, she wasn’t used to it. Clark always paid attention to what she said.
“Why the hell did you come to me?” Hal sounded exasperated, and Sakura really wanted to know the history between the two men. Obviously, the blood between them was bad.
“Because as surprising as it is to even me, I can trust you. And I suppose, by extension, I trust those you wouldn’t mind having at your back.”
Sakura’s eyes widened coming to a conclusion. Hal and Sinestro were enemies. She didn’t know why or how it happened, but she did know that it wasn’t always the case. The bitterness between them it, it reminded her of Naruto and Sasuke, of men who had once been friends but could never bridge the gap to fix the past.
Hal looked like he wanted to argue more, but Sakura firmly interrupted, “Look Jordan, in the end you know you’re going to help so can we just skip to that part? Regardless of to your feelings for Sinestro, you’re not going to let people be tortured, are you?” Hal’s jaw clenched unable to deny Sakura’s words. “Now let’s go. I’m sick of playing around.”
Sinestro gave Sakura an interested look—especially when Hal left with no further argument.
The closer they got to Korugar, Sinestro’s home planet, the more he told them about what they were facing. Sakura made sure to listen carefully because it was apparent that Hal only listened with half an ear.
“It will not be easy to defeat my Corps. We must strike them swiftly and silently.”
Sakura nodded. “Then we’re sneaking in? Because if stealth is our method I can take care of that easily.”
Sinestro’s regard felt heavy. “What is it that you do, human?” Sakura saw Hal’s lips twitch. She had a feeling he knew she wasn’t going to go into a lengthy dissertation about what she could do. Because while Sakura understood that perhaps Sinestro and Hal had been friends before—they weren’t now. There was a reason that Hal didn’t trust him. Even though Hal was the biggest flirt she’d come across in this world, he was also an honest flirt. So she’d trust his instincts, and she’d watch their backs. Because while Hal couldn’t rely on Sinestro he was still following him into battle somewhat blindly and that could cost him his life. And he wasn’t going to die on her watch. “I can get us in without anyone noticing.”
“How? You’ve never been to Korugar. You couldn’t possibly—“
Sakura laughed a little. “I thought your trust of Jordan extended to me, Sinestro. Or was the implication of your earlier statement a false one?” Sinestro schooled his face into a mask of impassivity and didn’t answer. “You just tell me which is the best route to go and I’ll make sure we’re not caught.” Sinestro raised a brow.
“It would be best to go in at night.” They weren’t that far from the planet, and they were talking about alternatives. “It’s easier to blend in with the shadows,” Sakura stated in case her genjutsu she was planning to use somehow failed.
“I agree with Kunoichi,” Sinestro said.
“Alright,” Hal agreed amiably. “What’s the plan after that? How are we going to take them all out?”
“All?” Sakura said, “How many are we talking here?” Sakura knew there had to be a lot if they had captured a whole planet and yet the number she was given was nowhere near what she expected. A little over two hundred and twenty. “I don’t understand,” Sakura said. “How can such a small number take over the planet?”
“They’re Yellow Lanterns, Kunoichi,” Hal explained. At the phrase, Lantern Sakura made a few reasonable conclusions. “So they’re like you.”
“They’re nothing like him,” Sinestro interjected. “They’re superior to Green Lanterns in every way.”
Hal snorted. “So superior that two Green Lanterns and a ninja are going to take them all out.”
Sakura bit her bottom lip knowing somehow that laughing at this point would be bad. Instead, she decided to distract Sinestro before the fireworks started. “You formed the Yellow Lanterns so you must know a way to take them down.”
Sinestro slightly inclined his head at her deduction. “She’s a bright one, Jordan. Why in the world would she follow you anywhere?”
Before Hal could say anything suitably arrogant enough, Sakura replied drolly, “Boredom. There’s no way I’d follow him under any other conditions.”
“Hey!” Hal shouted, and both Sakura and Sinestro laughed. Sakura liked teasing Hal—although she had a feeling that Sinestro wasn’t exactly teasing but the camaraderie was fun but only lasted for a short time—they had a mission to plan.
“When we touch down on the planet Jordan you’ll take this Lantern.” Sinestro held up his Lantern, “to the yellow central battery and bring it inside. Once the green lantern is within the central battery, it will shut down the rings of the Yellow Lanterns and eliminate the powers of the Corps.”
Sakura watched as Hal looked at Sinestro stunned. “Wait. You designed it so that a Green Lantern was your fail-safe? You planned on becoming a Green Lantern again?”
Hal Jordan’s throat was in danger. Sinestro had his hands wrapped around it. Sakura floundered for a moment and then she just moved and knocked Sinestro away from Hal.
“Back off Sinestro! If anyone strangles Jordan, it will be me.”
She was serious, but for some reason, Sinestro didn’t think Hal’s neck was in danger from her of all people. So he laughed, and while he did so, Sakura wondered why she had been able to move to protect Hal while in her protective bubble. When she looked at Hal in confusion, though, he merely winked at her.
Sakura rolled her eyes. One day the gesture would become so common place she wouldn't realize she was doing it.
Chapter 43: The Girl Who Took To The Shadows
Sinestro eyed Sakura distastefully before saying to Jordan, “I never planned on being a Green Lantern again. I never wanted this.” Sakura wondered then how someone managed to become a Green Lantern. She also wondered how many of them there were. If, like Sinestro’s Yellow Lanterns, they were only a few hundred in number. “But I do want my people freed.”
“I guess that’s one thing we all can agree on. So why don’t we hold on to that, keep the peace, and save the fighting for when we’re done? Does that sound reasonable?” Sakura looked back and forth between the two Lanterns. They both eventually nodded, and Sakura smiled and then turned her head and looked at the Planet they had finally reached. “Good then let’s do this.”
Sakura immediately wrapped the three of them in a genjutsu hiding their approach. The sun was still in the process of setting when they finally arrived, but darkness would only be minutes away.
“We move in seven minutes no matter what." At Sinestro's words, Sakura nodded, and she glared at Hal until he agreed.
They landed on top of a building. The green bubble that surrounded her receded and the three of them automatically looked down on the streets. It was a high building, but they could still hear the commotion going on below.
A large yellow lantern stood in the streets. Sakura assumed it was the one that Sinestro wanted them to take the green lantern inside. Maybe it was Sakura's imagination, but it looked oppressive. A dark cloud hanging over the planet. She glanced at Jordan to see whether or not he had noted it and the difficulty it would take to get inside without her. He wasn't looking at her, though. Sakura let her gaze move to what held his attention.
People filled the streets. They weren’t going about their daily lives. They were being led about in yellow hand cuffs. Sakura didn’t know what the Yellow Lanterns planned to do with the people. She didn’t want to know. She just wanted it stopped.
A voice hissed, “This one doesn’t go to the cells.” The words were said by one of the Yellow Lanterns. Sakura was certain her eyes weren’t seeing correctly, so she foolishly enhanced her vision to be able to see better. Once she had she grimaced. A woman with lovely red skin like Sinestro's was being held around the throat. Sakura could see the fear in her eyes clearly, but that wasn’t what horrified her the most. No, it was the Lantern itself. She could detect no eyes on the creature. Its head was oblong, and its teeth were jagged and looked very sharp. “This one smells good, Romat-ru.” Sakura couldn’t even make out a nose on the creature. The woman screamed, but it was cut off abruptly. Sakura assumed the creature had squeezed her neck tighter. “She’s ripe.”
Sakura wanted to end the creature. And she wanted to do it now. She must have moved slightly because Sinestro’s hand wrapped around her tightly.
“We must wait. No matter what. If we make one misstep, they all will die.”
Sakura looked at Sinestro incredulously catching his meaning. Sacrifice one for the good of all. Maybe it was Naruto’s influence, or maybe it was the good inside her, but that didn’t seem like an acceptable sacrifice. Especially not when she could do something about it. She glanced at Jordan who growled, “Sinestro…”
Tears streamed down the woman’s face as the monster in front of her looked at her as if she were a mouthwatering treat.
Another of the Lanterns spoke, “We are to store them for lures. Not consume them.”
Another chimed in, “Sinestro abandoned them to rejoin the Green Lanterns. We should do whatever we want with them.”
Sakura and Hal rose simultaneously, but a roar of a woman filled their ears, “Leave her be!”
Sakura didn’t know where she came from, but she leaped through the air, hands still bound. She landed on the creature’s back and used her chains and hooked them in the monster’s mouth and pulled its head back. His grip on the captured woman loosened and then fell away.
The savior snarled, “Korugar will never be afraid! Not again!”
Sakura heard Sinestro almost whisper, “Arsona?”
Hal arched a brow.
The Yellow Lanterns nearby fired beams of yellow light at the one Sakura presumed to be the forementioned Arsona. She fell back at the blast and hit the ground hard. Big and scary loomed over her and said ominously, “You can be fruit too.”
And then Sinestro was just gone from their side. Sakura turned and looked at Hal. “And he was the one that wanted us to wait.” Hal just shrugged. “Hal, go take the green lantern into the yellow one. Go quickly. My genjutsu won’t hide you for long after you’re out of proximity to me. Since Sinestro is providing a distraction, I say we let him.”
“What will you do?”
“Stay in the shadows.”
Hal gave her a hard look. “You’ve been around Batman for too long.” Sakura beamed and turned her attention back to Sinestro. When Hal was out of her sight, she went and joined Sinestro who was taking out Yellow Lanterns swiftly. She kept her jutsu intact so that she could dispatch the Lanterns easily.
Sinestro fired his light through the chest of the one that had been seconds away from eating Arsona. Blood splattered everywhere, and Sakura knew it was going to get much messier. She pulled out a kunai and sliced the throat of the one closest to her before she moved on to the next.
It didn’t take the Yellow Lanterns long to figure out that the avenging angel that descended upon them was none other than Sinestro. They began to hiss his name, and to Sakura, their voices ranged from awe to fear to anger.
Sinestro paused in his slaughter, so Sakura did as well so as not to draw attention to herself. Instead, she stepped back into the shadows and waited to see how it would play out.
“Those who do not stand down will die.” Sinestro’s words rang with cold finality. Sakura did the math in her mind. Between her and Sinestro they had taken out at least thirty of the Lanterns with the element of surprise. Sinestro had given up that element so it was possible that he could take out a few more without being overrun. Sakura, who remained hidden, would be able to take out more. But she couldn’t take them all. She needed Hal to disable the Lanterns and do it quickly.
The Yellow Lanterns continued to attack.
“There will be no other warnings.”
Sakura mentally begged Hal to hurry.
Chapter 44: The Girl Who Refused to Believe
Hal, knowing that stealth was necessary, used his ring to change the vivid green color of his uniform to black. Thereafter, he swiftly moved to disarm the Yellow Lantern. As he went, he worried about leaving Kunoichi with only Sinestro as backup. He didn’t trust the man to watch her back, and he almost went back because of it.
He didn’t go back. They all had their roles in this, and he knew it would be better if he kept going. The noise from the battle that raged outside reached Hal’s ears, and he muttered under his breath, “They’re drawing their attention alright.” Suddenly the power core was right in front of him, and a sense of unease rolled through him. “Why does this feel too easy?”
The answer to his question came when he heard a nearby Yellow Lantern shout right before he went inside, “A Green Lantern! There’s one over here!” Hal wondered why villains squandered opportunities. He immediately willed himself a cannon. “I’ve always wanted to kill a Green-“ Hal fired and watched as the Lantern disintegrated.
“Get in line.” He muttered before entering the Yellow Lantern with his green one.
An automated voice called out: Green Lantern detected.
“Hurry!” Hal urged. “Come on!”
Disintegration Process Initiated.
Hal’s body began to feel odd, and a sharp pain pierced his chest. “Something’s wrong.” The pain intensified and Hal screamed. “Damn it Sinestro! You set me up! You—“
Sakura heard a woman scream, “It’s Sinestro Arsona! Run!” She glanced up at Sinestro to see him trying to stop the one called Arsona. “No! Arsona wait!” The captives began to scream and run doing their best not to become collateral damage in the war that was being waged. It was entirely possible that they could be. The Yellow Lanterns just didn’t care. It was like their whole purpose was to instill terror in others. Was this what Jordan meant when he said Sinestro used fear as a weapon?
They were being overrun. They were too powerful, and Sakura knew it wouldn’t be long before the Yellow Lanterns figured out that Sinestro wasn’t fighting alone. Sakura didn’t understand why it was taking them this long. It was like they thought Sinestro was some all-powerful god.
Sakura saw someone come up behind Sinestro. He was distracted, and he was going to get himself killed. Since Sakura was earthbound, she used an old familiar jutsu to raise the land high enough so she could get the jump on the person who would’ve attacked Sinestro. She put her fist through its chest, and they both went tumbling to the ground.
Fingers moving to save herself she said, “Pay attention, Sinestro!” Suddenly Sakura felt something solid beneath her feet. It jarred her slightly, but she looked down to see solid green light beneath her. She raised her head and nodded at Sinestro and then continued to fight.
“Hurry up Jordan!” Sakura heard Sinestro yell and she silently echoed his sentiments. It shouldn’t be taking Hal this long just to drop a Lantern and run.
Suddenly a crackling sound filled the air. The battle paused, and everyone turned their heads to look at the large yellow lantern that began to splinter. Sakura paused. Not knowing the exact details of Sinestro’s plan gave her just enough common sense to make a clone to take her place and slip into the shadows to wait and see how events unfolded.
“The battery!” One of the Lanterns yelled, and Sakura watched a slow smile began to form on Sinestro’s face.
Arsona called out, “Get the children down!” Still keeping to the shadows Sakura did just that. She hadn’t known that Sinestro had planned to blow the blasted thing up. If she had known she wouldn’t have gone along with it. She would have forced Sinestro to do things another way. And then things started to fall apart.
“No!” Sinestro shouted. “This isn’t supposed to happen this way. How could he screw this up? How could…” His voice trailed off, and Sakura’s clone who was nearby said, “What did you plan to happen? What happened to Hal?”
Sakura didn’t understand the expression that crossed Sinestro’s face. Or maybe it was a case of her not wanting to comprehend? Either way, Sakura’s heart began to pound wildly as she shook her head in denial.
“No.” She should have followed Hal. She should have gone in his place. It would have made more sense for her to take the lantern in the first place. Sinestro and Hal knew each other. They knew how the other fought. He would have been a better backup to Sinestro than she was. But it was too late for what she should have done.
“I think Jordan is dead.”
Seconds after his words they were overrun and captured. Sakura barely had enough time to switch places with her clone and send it to look for Hal’s…body.
In the end, the giant Yellow Lantern did not explode. Hal’s death had been for nothing.
He wasn’t dead. She would not believe that until she saw the body with her own eyes.
“Contact Arkillo! Tell him we have the traitor and his friend.”
Sakura glared at Sinestro wanting to rip his heart out. But the Yellow Lanterns had separated her from him so she gnashed her teeth in anger. The Lanterns talked about them as if they couldn’t hear them. One Lantern that looked like an odd combination of fish and a bird said, “How could Sinestro betray his corps? What if he’s under the Guardian’s influence? What if it’s not Sinestro that’s the problem but this green ring?”
Sakura snorted. “Cut it off then.”
A few Yellow Lanterns eyed at her speculatively while Sinestro began to struggle anew. He looked at as ready to murder her as she was willing to kill him. Sakura was okay with that.
Good. Her mind said with relish.
They didn’t cut Sinestro’s finger off. Sakura would have if she had been in their place, but she wasn’t, and that’s why she had been captured in the first place. Instead, they gathered her, Sinestro, as well as the people they had come to save and locked them in a dark prison cell that Sinestro didn’t look the least bit happy to be contained in.
Chapter 45: The Girl Who Grudgingly Admired
Sinestro is complicated & Hal explains his attitude.
Hal was aware that he was barely conscious with a trio of Yellow Lanterns standing over him. He was at their mercy, and it made him angrier than he could imagine, but the anger only tired him out quicker.
“What do we do with Hal Jordan?” One inquired.
“Let’s take him to the decharging cells. As soon as he’s out of power, we’ll kill him.”
It wasn’t long before the Lanterns dragged and tossed Hal none too gently on the ground. He rolled onto his back and tried to get to his feet, but they didn’t look concerned about him attacking. He didn’t think he could anyway. The goon wouldn’t walk away without the obligatory warning, “Do not bother wasting your energy trying to escape my beautiful lantern. The walls are filled with fuel cells mainlined to our central battery.” Of course, yellow light. How wonderful.
“Sorry, you’re not my type.” The Lantern scowled and dismissed him turning to his companions.
As they were walking away, he idly listened to their conversation. “Let us go deal with Sinestro.”
Hal blinked. Sinestro? Why would they--? Unless? Maybe Sinestro hadn’t betrayed him…yet.
When the door is fully closed, Hal found himself locked in pitch blackness. He had to get out quick before his battery lost his charge. He willed a chainsaw into existence trying to cut through the door that held him to no avail. Next, he made a giant hammer and pounded at the door only for his construct to shatter.
“Stop!” A voice echoed in the darkness. Hal turned his head and eyed it warily. The voice was familiar but..”
“It’s me…sort of.” The person stepped closer, and he let out a sigh of relief to see Kunoichi.
“How did you get in here?” Hal questioned. “And what do you mean sort of?”
“Sakura was captured with Sinestro. I’m a shadow clone.” Hal blinked slowly not understanding the turn of the conversation. “How do I explain in words that you will understand?” Sakura rubbed her forehead. “I am a copy of Sakura and only a temporary one.”
“She sent you to me?”
“She thought you were dead. She wanted me to find your body to confirm.”
“But if she wanted confirmation why didn’t she come and send you with Sinestro so that she could escape easily.”
The clone chuckled. “Escape and go where? We’re stuck on this planet without a Green Lantern to take us home. Sakura’s not going to let Sinestro out of her sight—especially if she knew you were dead.”
“Point taken.” Hal rolled his head on his shoulders popping a few bones. “So what’s the plan? I’m almost out of power.”
“I was supposed to confirm your death. If you were dead, then I dispel. If not, well, we wing it.”
“Not much of a planner, is she?”
Sakura chuckled. “She can. But I think her old team rubbed off on her a bit too much. They were an impulsive lot.”
“Oh? Sakura’s worked with a team before?” He hadn’t known that. In fact, there was a lot about Sakura he didn’t know that he’d like to.
“Yes. Maybe you’ll meet them when they come for her.”
“Come for her. Yes, Sakura’s team will come. It’s just a matter of when. They’ll find a way. Believe me. They don’t believe in the impossible.”
“And I take it Sakura doesn’t either?”
The clone shrugged its shoulder. “She can be skeptical, but she’s generally open-minded.”
“She’s not normally as chatty as you are.” Hal gave the clone an assessing look.
“No. She isn’t.”
“Then why are you so talkative?”
“I thought you were dead. I thought you died on my watch. For right now I can be a bit forgiving of your personality flaws.”
Hal laughed. “Personality flaws? Like what?”
“You’re a flirt, and you’re presumptuous.”
“Is that it?” Because it didn’t sound like a bad list to him.
“And you’re annoying.”
“Thank you for telling me what you think of me.”
“You’re very welcome.”
“Do I at least get the chance to defend myself?”
The look Sakura’s clone gave him in the dim light his ring gave off said he didn’t think he possibly could so he had to prove her wrong.
“Tell me, if I wasn’t annoying would you even see me past your super-powered alien friend?”
She blinked. “Superman?”
“Yeah, him.” She seemed to think about it before slowly answering, “I would see you.”
“But I would fade into the background and be wholly forgotten.” She didn’t deny his words. “And now the flirting. You, Kunoichi, are a beautiful, strong woman. I am interested in getting to know you better. If I didn’t flirt with you would you realize that?”
“And given my earlier arguments of you not noticing me, well then, what would be my chances with you if I behave otherwise?”
“There would be no chance.”
“Exactly! So I do what I must.”
The clone stared at him flatly. “You didn’t say anything about your presumptuousness.”
Hal sighed. “I’m not perfect Kunoichi—although you may end up thinking so.”
The clone rolled her eyes and opened her mouth, but Hal held up a hand forestalling her words. “Do you hear that?”
The Yellow Lanterns made her watch as they tortured Sinestro. It was enough to make her reconsider the possibility of his betrayal. She didn’t flinch at the sight of it, though she had a feeling that was what the Yellow Lanterns expected of her. Sakura let her eyes slyly scan the area around her taking in what details she could so that when they escaped—it would be a true possibility. She had no doubt that Sinestro knew more than she did but she’d have to heal him first and that, judging by Sinestro’s screams would take a while.
Those screams were likely to get worse if Sinestro continued to threaten the Yellow Lanterns whenever the opportunity arose. Sinestro, Sakura learned, was resilient. Eventually, they released them and threw them back in prison with the others. Though Sinestro was able to walk in on his own power, he did collapse once the prison doors closed. No showing weakness to the enemy for him. Sakura grudgingly approved.
Sakura turned her head when she heard movement behind her. The other prisoners she surmised.
“Keep your distance.” One of them shouted, and Sakura looked at them puzzled as Sinestro rose to his feet a little unsteady but mostly able. Sakura’s admiration for the man went up a notch. He looked around at the people catching the eye of the prisoner who had almost been a snack. Sinestro moved to her and gently touched her shoulder.
“Child? Are you alright?”
The girl was snatched away from him and pulled back. Sakura took a step forward thinking something was wrong with the girl, and she needed to be healed, but Sinestro knew better. He asked the relevant question.
“What are you afraid of?”
Fear. It kept coming back to that. Sakura turned and looked at Sinestro and delivered the news that none of the people wanted to say out loud in fear of his reaction.
“Sinestro, they’re afraid of you.”
Chapter 46: The Girl Who Found a Lantern
Sakura mediates. It doesn't go badly, but it doesn't go well either.
Sinestro looked genuinely stunned at Sakura’s words. Sakura glanced around at the people who looked at them with mixed looks of hate and fear, and Sakura felt saddened that one man could inspire so much negativity. She was also very irritated that some of that fear and loathing was directed at her, but she hid it and didn’t take it personally. It was the company she kept.
“She’s right.” A woman, the one Sakura recalled Sinestro identifying as Arsona said.
Sinestro took a step towards her. “Officer Arsona. You’re alive?”
Her lips twisted into a sneer. “I won’t be for very long. None of us will—including you.”
Sinestro sighed. “I realize you’re upset.” His tone was placating, and Sakura found herself enraged on the woman’s behalf. The situation was going to go downhill relatively quickly, of that the Kunoichi was certain. Sakura covered her face with her hand knowing that she would have to jump in and save Sinestro if things went too badly. After all, she had to make it home somehow. Sakura was so deep in her thoughts that she realized that Sinestro’s ill-phrased comment caused Arsona to start ranting at him.
“I was on your side when no one else was! I fought for the department to recognize your authority instead of rebelling against it. I convinced the people and the police you were only looking out for us.” A glimmer of tears could be seen in Arsona’s eyes even with the dim light. “I was your sole liaison. Your trusted source of information that helped you capture Korugar’s most wanted and toppled it's most corrupt.”
Sinestro smirked. “You were right to support me.”
Sakura gasped and then threw her body between Sinestro and the woman because Arsona went for his throat. Sakura grabbed the woman’s arms and held her in place.
“Let me go! You're no better than he is if his lies fool you!” That told Sakura a lot about how Arsona saw herself. “I gave everything to him!”
And Sakura realized what she had to do. It’s what she wished she had a chance to do when Sasuke left. She remembered the pain she carried in her heart. She remembered the confusion and wondering why she wasn’t enough. As she grew older, the pain remained, and the anger grew. She wanted so badly for the opportunity just to hit Sasuke and let him know how he made her feel by leaving. It wouldn’t solve anything. It was an irrational feeling, but it would have made her feel better. Sakura let Arsona go, moved quickly and grabbed Sinestro, subduing you.
“What are you doing!” Sinestro demanded as he struggled against her. “How dare you?” Sakura knew he was going to use his ring against her, so she whispered harshly, “Don’t.”
Sinestro slightly stopped his struggles, so Sakura didn’t have to explain to either Arsona nor Sinestro. Opportunity knocked, and Arsona opened the door when she punched Sinestro in the face and then followed up with a slap. Sakura released Sinestro and stepped between the two even though she thought Sinestro had gotten off lightly. When Sinestro looked like he was about to harm her, Sakura arched a brow. “Try me Sinestro and see what happens. You’re the Lantern that’s running out of power. I operate on a different type of battery. Who do you think will last?” Sakura knew that at the very least she could escape and hide from the Yellow Lanterns. It was just a question of how long it would be possible. With their numbers, the answer was not long enough.
When he refrained from violence Sakura had her answer, and yet Sinestro still refused to see reason, and the argument between the two carried on. “It was my duty to reshape this world.”
“You turned the Green Lantern symbol into one of terror. You struck down anyone who got in your way!”
“No child suffered.”
Sakura snorted and intercepted, “Who do you think takes care of those children Sinestro? If you think for one second that harming a person who has a child doesn’t harm the child too then, you’re a fool.” Sakura turned and looked at the children that clung to their parents wide-eyed. Sinestro paused and looked at Sakura as if the thought had never before occurred to him. Sakura felt a granule of pity for him.
“My Corps has done things here I would never have allowed.” He admitted.
Arsona chuckled mirthlessly, “We believed in you. We trusted you. And that’s all you have to say to us? Your Corps slaughters our people for pleasure. This is their world now.”
“I never intended for it to be this way. I wanted to bring safety to Korugar.”
Arsona sneered. “And look how well that turned out. You know what Sinestro we don’t want your help and if you for one second believe that all this isn’t your fault then you’re a delusional narcissistic crazy bastard!”
“I—“ Arsona turned her back on Sinestro and moved to join the others. “Arsona wait! I made a mistake. I’m sorry. I am sorry.”
“And what does your regret change Sinestro?”
“It could change a lot of things if he’s willing.”
Sakura looked around trying to figure out from where the voice came. She glanced at Sinestro who looked just as puzzled as she did—and then her mind registered to whom the voice belonged.
“Hal? Are you alive?” Sakura asked incredulously and whirled around.
“Sure am, Beautiful.”
Sakura quickly began walking around the cell to see if he was hiding among the prisoners. They moved out of her way allowing her to move around quickly. “Where are you? I can’t see you. I can’t—“
“I’m in a different cell with your friend.”
Sakura started laughing. It would explain why her clone hadn’t yet dispelled. She hadn’t the time to wonder about why but it was sitting in the back of her mind waiting for her to ponder over.
“Who is that?” Arsona asked.
Happily, Sakura replied, “A Green Lantern.”
Chapter 47: The Girl Who Sympathized With a Woman Scorned
Sakura made quick work of finding the wall that Hal was on the other side of. She pressed her hand against the wall as if she could feel his hand if she tried hard enough. Her heart was still beating out of her chest in relief that he was alive. But she pushed those feelings away in hopes that she could focus.
“You have a plan, Hal?” Sakura said.
“I do. Is Sinestro near you?” Sakura turned her head to see Sinestro hovering over her shoulder. “He’s here, Hal. He’s listening.”
“Sinestro, I’ve seen you do this before so I know you can do it now. I need you to create Green Lantern rings from your own. They probably won’t hold a charge well, but they’ll give the people a chance to fight back.”
Sinestro scowled. “You saw me create one ring Jordan. You want me to create a hundred rings from mine? The charge will only last about five minutes maybe ten.” Sakura blinked. For a moment she thought that Sinestro was saying it wasn’t possible which would have made Hal’s whole plan pointless. But he could do it and with that many Green Lanterns on their side…
“What can we do in ten minutes?”
Sakura said, “A lot can be accomplished in ten minutes. Can you do it? Will you do it?”
Hal chimed in, “Korugar isn’t dead until we are. I say we fight for it until the bitter end.”
Sinestro looked into Sakura’s eyes. Sakura didn’t know what he was searching for, but she let every bit of confidence she was feeling fill her eyes. Sinestro looked away from her and down at his ring as if coming to a decision.
“I can do it.” Sinestro lifted his head and projected his voice across the room. “Stand back.” The people weren’t that close, to begin with. They didn’t want to be near Sinestro, but they managed to shuffle back even further.
Their prison was suddenly filled with emerald light. Sakura watched as sweat covered Sinestro’s brow. His concentration was deep, and Sakura found that she was holding her breath in expectation.
“You can do this Sinestro. You can do it.”
Sakura clutched her hands together and nodded encouragingly.
“Shut up Jordan!”
Sakura knowing it was an asshole move said, “You can do it!” Sinestro cut his eyes to her, and she heard Hal laughing from his side of their cage.
The rings started appearing one after another.
The rings one by one flew to the people of Korugar upon completion slipping on to the finger of person after person.
“Sakura, he did it, didn’t he?”
Sakura grinned. “Yeah, Hal. He did it.”
Sinestro collapsed to his knees, and Sakura went to him and put a hand on his shoulder and squeezed it firmly. Sinestro who had been relaxed under her touch suddenly stiffened. Sakura returned the gesture and slowly turned her head to see a room full of Green Lanterns with their rings pointed in their direction.
“Hal,” Sakura began. “This was a terrible idea.”
“What? What’s happening?”
“If I get out of this alive I’m going to kill you, Hal.”
“There’s no reason to laugh,” Arsona said. “Because now you just foolishly gave us the chance to get our revenge on you.”
Sakura slowly began inching away from Sinestro’s vicinity. Sinestro saw what she was doing and scowled at her. Sakura just shrugged because Arsona was really angry. She wanted Sinestro dead. Sakura whispered, “Maybe in the future, you’ll think twice about pissing a woman off.” Because that was never a good idea.
Sinestro seemed to be making a habit of throwing dirty looks at her. He rose to his feet and turned to face the firing squad. Sakura wasn’t sure if he was one brave man or an idiotic one. Before Sakura had a chance to come up with a semblance of a plan Arsona yelled, “Fire!”
Sakura’s heart leaped within her chest. She moved slightly toward Sinestro but froze when nothing happened. Sakura turned her head and looked at the man in question who looked smug. Slowly Sakura looked back and forth between Sinestro and the newly created Green Lanterns. They seemed to be at a standstill.
A ripple of worry flowed through the crowd. Sakura heard people begin to murmur, “It’s not working Arsona!”
“Sinestro’s going to kill us all!”
Sakura didn’t know what, precisely, Sinestro had done to these people, but he hadn’t inspired much confidence.
“No,” Arsona commanded. “Sinestro told me how the rings work. You can’t be afraid of him. Don’t be. Overcome your fear, and you can use the rings. We can have our revenge!”
Sakura looked at Sinestro and said softly, “You did this. You made them feel as if only your death can keep them safe—intentional or not. If we get out of this if you ever come back to this planet again you won’t have to worry about them killing you. I will do it for them.”
Sinestro heard her words, Sakura was sure, but he didn’t acknowledge them. If Hal heard her words, he ignored them as well. Hal instead, was focused on the current threat to their lives which Sakura should have been as well. She wasn’t naïve enough to believe that these people would exempt her from Sinestro’s crimes.
“Hey guys, wait a second. I don’t like him any more than you do, but we have dozens of Sinestro wannabes outside these cells that you’ll want to conserve your power for. The rings aren’t going to last very long.”
Sakura opened her mouth to confirm Hal’s words even though she didn’t know how accurate they were but Arsona wasn’t looking at her. She only had eyes for Sinestro, and though those eyes were fierce and determined, there were still tears in them showing just how much Sinestro had hurt her.
“I was nothing to you, wasn’t I?”
Sinestro stone-faced and coldly said, “Less than nothing.”
Arsona raised her hand, and the prison was emblazoned in bright green light.
Chapter 48: The Girl Who Didn't Know What To Make of the Lantern
Arsona’s strike was a powerful one. Strong enough to blast through the other side of the prison that Hal had been inside. The blow threw him backward, but he quickly scrambled to his feet and crawled through the hole. His head may have been spinning a little, but it wasn’t something Hal couldn’t brush off. Besides, he had more important matters to be concerned about.
“Kunoichi!” Hal called out. His eyes scanned the room looking for her petite form but were unable to find her. His eyes alighted on Sinestro who was still standing eyes locked with the one he assumed was Arsona. Hal knew that Sakura had been nearby, but he couldn’t see her anywhere nearby.
All he could see was a pile of broken wood...and that didn’t make any sense. But that was better than finding her broken and bloody on the ground. Suddenly the image of Sakura lying at his feet flashed vividly in his mind and a surge of panic almost overtook him until she saw people shifting.
“I’m here, Hal.” Sakura maneuvered herself until she was standing right in front of him. Hal didn’t think. He just grabbed Sakura and pulled her close to him. Hal shuddered when she slipped her arms around his waist. She gave him a tight squeeze that made him grin despite himself. When she pulled away, he saw something in her eyes that he didn’t understand and didn’t have the time to question.
“I can take care of myself.” She grumbled, and Hal was so happy that she could. Sakura pulled away first and looked around. His gaze followed hers only to see that everyone was looking at them. Arsona was looking sheepish. And he could tell that she hadn’t meant to kill anyone but Sinestro, but that didn’t make him feel better about anything. He glared at her until she averted her gaze.
Sakura slapped her hands together drawing all attention to herself. “Alright, so now that we know that none of you can kill Sinestro with the rings he has made I think we should move on. How do we get out of here? I mean the rings managed to get Hal in here with us, so maybe we can blast through the doors.”
“Kunoichi, you’re strong enough to knock the door down,” Hal interjected.
“I may be.” Sakura nodded her head. “But it also may require more than one hit. If they hear us making noise—more noise than the previous blast that may have made us lose the element of surprise,” Sakura gave Arsona a reproachful look, “it will attract their attention faster than we want to. I’d prefer it if we found another way out if we can.”
Hal nodded his head, but Sinestro shook his.
“We want to lure as many of them as we can here so that we can take them out quickly. The rings will only last for so long.”
Sakura placed her hands on her hips. “So then you want me to break open the door.”
“No,” Sinestro countered, and Sakura rolled her eyes. “I will draw them to us.”
“But how?” Hal asked exasperatedly.
“My lantern is out there. I will bring it to me, and they will undoubtedly follow it. And when they do…”
Sakura grinned savagely, “We’ll be waiting for them.”
They had a plan, and Sakura hoped it would work. She was not happy that the plan didn’t include her fighting with the others, but Hal didn’t want them to separate. In truth, Sakura didn’t want that either so she complied.
Sakura heard the commotion outside. She couldn’t make out the words being said, but there was apparently chaos afoot. Sinestro stood in front of them all and Sakura, and Hal stood slightly behind him. Sakura gave Hal a small smile which he returned before he squared his shoulders and stood tall and ready to fight.
“Remember,” Sinestro said to them all, “No fear.”
Sakura’s lips twitched. Sinestro’s speech was simple. It was a reminder of what they could accomplish if they didn’t become frightened about what could happen. She liked it. A lot.
Seconds later the lantern burst through the door and into Sinestro’s hand. Hal rushed to it to give himself a bit of a charge before they battle began.
In Brightest Day
In Blackest Night
No evil shall escape my sight
Let those who worship evil’s might
Beware my power, Green Lantern’s light
It was the first time Sakura had heard Hal say those words and she was moved by them. The emotion hidden in the layers touched her heart. He meant every word of them. Being a Lantern was very important to him probably just as much as being a shinobi of Konoha was important to her.
He hid it well. He often gave off the impression that he sort of fell into being a Green Lantern and it didn’t mean much but watching him give that oath gave Sakura new respect for the man.
The Yellow Lanterns were upon them.
The Korugarians held them off while the three of them flew (well, Sakura was carried) to the power core. It was a plan that Hal hadn’t liked since tossing the green lantern into the power core before hadn’t worked well for him. He was still grumbling about it.
“It didn’t work last time so why are we doing this again?”
“You did it wrong last time.” Sinestro sounded slightly bored with the conversation, but Sakura could see it on Sinestro’s face. He was also getting a kick out of harassing Hal. With a glance at his face, he seemed impassive, but there was something in his eyes that changed when he was getting Hal’s goat.
The relationship between the two men was so strange.
“I did it wrong! Your big golden lantern tried to absorb me!”
“It wasn’t trying to absorb you. It must’ve thought you were me. You had my lantern. It was trying to help you.”
“By trying to kill me,” Hal said flatly, and Sakura giggled causing Hal to give her an unimpressed look.
“You’re not dead Hal. That’s the important part. Can we let this go and complete this mission? I’m ready to leave.” Hal’s gaze softened before he finally stopped arguing.
Sinestro looked at her calculatingly. Sakura didn’t like that look.
Chapter 49: The Girl Whose First Adventure With Lanterns Ended
They had made it to the central core of the Yellow Battery. Hal shifted Sakura’s body so that she was on his back so that he could free his hands to disable the battery.
“We need to funnel the yellow energy from the battery into my Lantern. Sensing the loss of energy the battery will go into survival mode.”
Sakura narrowed her eyes because the words didn’t sit right with her. When people went into survival mode, they did whatever they had to do to make it through a situation alive. Was the battery sentient?
“What does that mean?” Sakura asked sharply.
“It means as long as Jordan, and I concentrate the yellow battery will retract the yellow energy from the rings nearby to keep its fire lit.”
Sakura squeezed Hal lightly. “Can you do it?”
“Of course I can do it.”
Mostly, it was his arrogance talking. Sakura was starting to be able to tell the difference, but there was an undercurrent of certainty in his words that made the Kunoichi smile.
“Then let’s finish it.”
The people of Korugar battled on. The light from the rings was fading, but they made every shot count. Arsona led them all, and with her, at the forefront, they were formidable foes for the unsuspecting yellow lanterns.
Immediately, Sakura knew that something was wrong. The energy from the yellow Lantern wasn’t just retracting as Sinestro had said it would. Instead, it was…
“Sinestro…” Sakura began.
“It is destroying itself.” He confirmed, and Sakura blinked back tears. In a way, Sinestro was a lot like Hal. So full of pride and arrogance. He knew that creating the Yellow Lanterns had been a bad thing and he sought to correct it. Maybe he was doing it for Arsona or perhaps he was doing it for himself. Sakura wasn’t sure his reasons why were important because he was freeing a people.
The light around them burned bright, and it almost felt hot to Sakura, but instead, it became a warm rush of power that expanded out and enveloped them all and subsequently subduing all the Yellow Lanterns in one fell swoop.
Hal and Sinestro, with Sakura riding piggyback, flew back to Sinestro’s people.
“Are they dead?” Hal asked while he set Sakura on her feet. Sakura moved to the Yellow Lanterns one by one finding a pulse on each one she touched.
“No,” Sinestro said, but Sakura kept checking just in case. “They’re in a forced coma. Their minds shut down.”
“Until I turn the battery back on which I won’t.”
Sakura silently debated whether or not to kill them anyway. She shared a glance with Hal who only shook his head. Sakura disagreed, but she was amendable to following Hal’s lead. Still, so that he knew she wasn’t happy with his decision she scowled at him. He didn’t bother to hide his grin.
“How do we know that?” Sakura recognized Arsona’s still angry voice and looked at Hal who just shrugged and said softly, “It’s their battle Sakura. We only came here to free them.”
“If they attack Sinestro…”
Sinestro was a dick. Sakura understood that, but he had risked a lot to come here for them and because he was that dick he didn’t have to do it. She wasn’t about to let him die.
“We’ll leave. We’ll drag Sinestro away if we have to Sakura.”
“That’s all I need to know.”
“You started this!” Arsona yelled.
Someone a man that Sakura didn’t know said, “But he ended it Arsona.”
Opinions continued to vary. “Sinestro’s the real enemy here!”
The children said, “But Sinestro saved us, didn’t he?”
“Yes! Horrary for Sinestro!”
Sinestro moved and stood before the children and kneeled down to their level.
“I do not deserve your praise or your trust, little ones. I will remove these monsters and the battery that fueled them from Korugar. Though there are still more active members beyond our world I will find them. I will make sure they never hurt you again.”
Sinestro then turned to Arsona. “I am sorry for everything I’ve done to Korugar and you Arsona. One day perhaps I will be welcomed here…”
“No,” Arsona shut that line of thought down immediately. “The children may be young to remember, but we are not. Go. And if you ever return to Korugar again, you will return as our enemy.”
Sakura couldn’t do much to help Hal and Sinestro grab the yellow lantern and haul it off the planet. While they made their preparations, Sakura went and stood with Arsona.
Arsona stood quietly with Sakura for a while before the silence got to her. “I was angry at Sinestro. I never meant for you to get caught in the crossfire.”
Sakura nodded. “I know. You seem like the type of woman who wants to protect and it’s an admirable trait.”
“You don’t agree with my methods.”
“I don’t—not entirely. It’s none of my business and know that I’m only bringing it up because opportunity knocked. Don’t let your rage at Sinestro consume you. Don’t let it take over your life and smother out all the good things. Don’t let it make you less trusting, because not every person out there is like him.”
“You stand at his side.”
“He asked for help. I think you guys needed it.”
“And will you stand with him again?”
“If the cause is right. I will. I’m not in the hurting-people-just-because business. I’ll go where I’m needed.”
“I hate him.”
Sakura smiled. “You love him. It’s why you hate him. And he loves you too. That’s why he’ll respect your wishes and never come back here.”
Arsona blinked and looked at Sakura stunned. “You think so?”
“I know so and if I don’t send word for me. I’ll kick his ass for you. You shouldn’t have to deal with that if you don’t want to.”
“You are an odd woman.”
“And you are a bloodthirsty one. I can respect that. Can’t you?”
Chapter 50: The Girl Who Didn't Go Home Yet
Sinestro silently watched as Jordan mooned over his partner. She was standing some distance away talking to Arsona.
Sinestro briefly closed his eyes before continuing his preparations.
“Why don’t you just tell her you want her?”
The words came out before Sinestro thought them through and he cursed himself. He hadn’t wanted to open a dialogue, but now it was too late.
“She wants someone else.”
“And yet she has interest in you.”
Jordan waved off his words. “Nah, you’re picking up on the friend vibe.”
“She respects you.” He just shrugged. “She’s loyal to you—and loyalty in a woman is priceless.” Hal looked at him then, and Sinestro didn’t like what he saw in his eyes, but he didn’t turn away from it. “You should take her.”
He spluttered for a moment before he threw his hands up in the air. “Sinestro, you can’t just take a woman. That’s not how it works.”
“It is. You’re just not willing to try it. You’d be a fool to let the woman walk away…then again I suppose that is your default setting.”
Hal Jordan growled.
“Are we ready?” Sakura approached Hal and Sinestro noting that the tension between them was substantial. She wasn’t surprised by it. What she would give to know the history between these two men.
“Anytime you are, Beautiful.” Sakura stepped closer to Hal’s side and glanced at Sinestro then at the huge yellow lantern.
“Where are you taking that thing, anyway?”
“To Oa.” Sakura arched a brow not knowing what that was. Hal supplied an answer.
“It’s the home of the Green Lanterns.” Sakura furrowed her brow.
“Then why don’t you live there, instead of Earth?”
Hal grinned. “Because then I couldn’t be close to you.”
Sakura swatted his arms. “Be serious.” Sakura had no hope of him accomplishing that feat but hope tended to spring eternal.
But Hal’s face grew grim, but he looked at Sinestro instead of her. “What do you think the Guardians are going to say when they see you? ‘Welcome back?’”
“Probably the same thing they’d say if they saw you, ‘Get the hell out.’”
Hal snorted, and Sakura looked back and forth between the two of them having little idea what they were talking about but was piecing it together slowly. The Guardians were apparently in charge of the Lanterns, and Hal and Sinestro were rebels. Sakura supposed it made sense if that were the case then Sinestro would come to Hal for help first. Outcasts have to stick together.
It also explained why Hal didn’t live on Oa.
“Still, you shouldn’t be flippant about the Guardians. They aren’t just troubled. They’re insidious.” Sinestro cautioned.
Sakura interrupted. “Are you saying Hal’s not safe in their presence? Are you saying you aren’t?”
Sinestro glanced at her. “I’m saying they’re far more dangerous to the universe than I ever was—and that’s saying a lot.”
Sakura glanced at Hal and arched a brow. If there was going to be another battle Sakura was ready for it—but maybe after some food and rest.
“No, Sakura we’re not going to Oa to take out the Guardians.”
“It’s a good idea,” Sinestro interjected.
“It’s a terrible idea and unnecessary. The Guardians only want peace for the universe.”
Sakura sighed. “Their definition of peace…or everyone’s?”
Neither man answered her question.
They parted ways. Hal refused to return to Oa with Sakura in tow even though Sakura protested.
“No, Sakura. We came to save a planet—which we did now we’re leaving.”
“But if Sinestro needs us—“
“Sinestro is a big boy. He can take care of himself.”
Sakura gave him a dubious look and Sinestro turned and left without another word. Sakura hadn’t expected the man to say goodbye. He didn’t seem the type. Somehow, though, she knew she’d see him again. Whether as an enemy or an ally was probably anyone’s guess.
“Fine. Let’s go home then.”
“Or…” Hal said tentatively, and Sakura raised a brow.
Hal Jordan was a smooth talking son of a bitch. How did she let him get her into this? They were on the Xanshi which was abuzz with life from every planet imaginable. If Sakura were honest with herself, she’d say that she was excited about everything. Life on Earth was very similar to living in Konoha as far as the people were concerned.
Xanshi was something completely different. Saying everyone was different was an exaggeration—but it wasn’t a big one. The languages were tongues she didn’t necessarily understand at first—but she knew a jutsu or two for just such an occasion.
Hal took her first to a food stall. Sakura didn’t recognize anything, but she promptly told Hal.
“I want one of everything.”
Hal laughed. “Not rich, Sakura.”
“I’m a ninja.”
Sakura watched the scandalized look cross his face and giggled.
“And here I was starting to think you were fun, Jordan.” Sakura let the teasing note enter her voice while Hal chuckled.
“You are more than a handful. I don’t know if I can keep up.”
Hal ordered them both what he called calamishi. It was deep fried and on a stick. It had a fishy flavor to it that Sakura approved. Sakura munched happily.
“Where to next?”
A man brushed against Sakura and tried to lift a weapon or two off her person. She broke his finger, took her weapon back, and kept going while delaying his pain long enough for her and Hal to get away. Hal didn’t notice. Instead, he just grinned at her.
“I know just the place.”
He took her to an alien karaoke bar. When they entered the dimly lit establishment with the high pitched wailing that hurt her eardrums Sakura felt her eye twitch.
“Give it a chance. I promise you’ll like it.”
Sakura sighed amendable until she saw a huge guy trying to get their attention. He was a Green Lantern if his uniform was anything to go by and he was scary looking.
“Jordan!” His voice boomed, and Sakura watched as Hal lit up.
“Kilowog! I didn’t expect to see you here.” He waved them to his table, so their duo was once again a trio. Oddly enough, Sakura didn’t mind.
Chapter 51: The Girl Who Used Trickery
Kilowog was an alien. Sakura was too, but she wasn’t sure if she could classify him as humanoid. He had appendages, but Sakura wondered if his internal organs were in the same place as hers. It could make the difference between life and death if they fought together. She didn’t like losing people, especially over something as simple as missing information.
Sakura missed Kilowog and Hal sharing a look. Sakura sighed when she realized she had spoken out loud. “Sorry, it’s an occupational hazard. Strategy is always on my brain and since you’re one of Hal’s friends I automatically started thinking of how best to protect you. By the way, I’m Sakura.”
Out of the corner of her eye, Sakura saw Hal start to smile. Before she had the chance to remark on it, Sakura winced as a person singing hit a rough note. “Really Jordan?”
“It’s all for fun Sakura. You should sing yourself. The point is to enjoy yourself.”
Sakura took one glance at Hal, and she didn’t think it had anything to do with her enjoying herself. “I don’t see you going up there.”
Hal gestured at Kilowog, “We have to catch up.”
Sakura narrowed her eyes. “You think I’m going to go up there and make a fool of myself.”
“I’m sure that’s not what he means,” Kilowog interjected, but Hal’s grin made it a bit difficult for Sakura to believe him.
“I can’t sing,” Sakura stated flatly. “But I bet you a hundred dollars that I can move everyone in this room—except you--to tears with a song that I sing.”
Hal started laughing. “You’re on.”
Sakura rose gracefully to her feet, then put a hand on Hal’s shoulder and squeezed it slightly before she made her way to the front. Kilowog looked at him.
“You think it’s wise, riling her up?”
“She likes to fight. If I didn’t do anything, she would sit here and make strategies on how to protect us both should a fight start.”
“Is that something that happens often?”
Hal shrugged. “We started a team back home to protect the planet. Fighting is kind of a thing. I don’t think she gets out enough.”
“What is she?” Hal assumed he meant what her power was. She wasn’t a Lantern but if she was on a team of people who regularly kept the planet safe she had to be something.
Sakura had finally made it to the stage. She turned her gaze to him and dazzled him with a smile before she opened her mouth and the most horrible sound he had ever heard came out of her mouth. Hal supposed it was a ballad. It was even worse than the screeching they heard when they first came in. Hal stared hard at Sakura, who merely raised a brow.
Hal glanced at Kilowog and frowned. He was entranced by that horrible noise Sakura was making. When Kilowog muttered, “She’s really good.” Hal knew something was going on. Next, he looked around the room only to see similar expressions on everyone’s face. Hal felt a hundred dollars slipping through his fingers.
Hal had a sinking suspicion that he had been tricked. He should have known better. The ninja was a wily one, and he was certain he didn’t know everything that she could do. She was a woman with secrets and he was dying to know every one of them.
“You really like her, don’t you?” Hal blinked and saw Kilowog looking at him. “I mean, I know you like women Hal. You’ve always been a bit of a womanizer, but this is different isn’t it?”
Hal shifted uncomfortably in his chair. “It doesn’t matter if it is or isn’t.” Before Kilowog could reply Sakura hit a note that made Hal wince but Kilowog rolled his eyes in pleasure.
“Where did you find her? Her voice is amazing.”
Amazingly bad, but Hal didn’t mention it.
“She just kind of showed up on Earth. I don’t really know much about it.”
Sakura’s song concluded and everyone jumped to their feet and applauded. Hal had to stand as well because some of the looks that he got when he hadn’t were hostile.
As Sakura approached there table she looked ridiculously smug. Hal scowled at her and once she sat down he said, “You cheated. I don’t know how you cheated but you did.”
Sakura waved her hand dismissively. “I don’t recall it being said that I couldn’t.”
“It’s an unspoken rule.”
Sakura shrugged and grinned. “I’m not from around here. Maybe you should have spoken it.”
Hal narrowed his eyes while Kilowog laughed. “Fair is fair Jordan. Allow the lady her victory.” If anything the amount of smugness on Sakura’s face grew. “I was just talking to Jordan about you. Where are you from?”
“Konoha. The Village Hidden in the Leaves.”
“What sector of the galaxy is that?”
Sakura looked at Hal who shrugged. He had never heard of her homeworld, so he knew it wasn’t in his sector. He didn’t know where Sakura was from.
“I don’t know.” She looked sad and a little lost and it was a sight that made Hal unhappy so he rose to his feet, grabbed her hand, and dragged her to the dance floor. No one had wanted to approach the stage after Sakura brought the house down with her trickery. Instead, they turned on music.
“You could have asked.” She said sullenly.
Hal laughed. “So you could say no? Not likely.”
Sakura rolled her eyes but she didn’t go back to sit with Kilowog. She danced with him until they exhausted themselves. As he escorted them to the rooms he’d gotten them he realized that he wasn’t ready to go back to Earth and part ways with her.
He thought about the words that he and Kilowog had parted with.
“You should tell her. She likes you.” It was a conversation that was entirely too similar to the one he’d had with Sinestro and he told Kilowog so. It caused him to scowl but then he had just shrugged and said, “For once, maybe’s he’s right.”
Hal hadn’t known what to think about that.
Chapter 52: The Girl Who Had a Visitor
Hal was quiet for most of the trip home. Sakura didn’t know what to think about that. She didn’t realize she would become so used to his flirting so quickly.
Earth was rapidly approaching. Since they will be separating soon, Sakura ventured, “Are you all right Hal?”
Hal turned his head and looked at her. His smile was blinding but fake. That was something that was obvious to Sakura because she has seen a phony smile or two. “I’m fine, Beautiful. I’m just thinking.”
“About what you would think about having dinner with me.”
Sakura bit her bottom lip. Before this trip, she would’ve automatically said no. She was still going to say no. Still, there was a part of her that hesitated. She liked Hal. She enjoyed spending time with him. Then she thought about Clark. His blue eyes, his smile, the way her heart fluttered just thinking about him.
“I can’t Hal.”
Hal sighed softly. “I suspected as much. How long have the two of you been together? Since the beginning?”
Sakura blinked. Was her attraction to Clark obvious even then?
“We’re not together.” Hal opened his mouth, but Sakura would not allow him to speak, “We’re working it out. I think.”
“And you’re not attracted to me at all? Not even a little?”
Sakura couldn’t lie. He was an attractive man. She did want to get to know him better. But Clark.
“It’s not about that Hal, and you know it.”
Hal held up his hands in surrender. “I know. I really like you Sakura.”
Sakura could feel a blush stain her cheeks. “I like you too Hal but I can’t.”
The rest of their trip was completed in silence.
Sakura didn’t let Hal drop her off directly at Clark’s place. It was enough that he brought her to Metropolis. It had been a while since she had seen the city, so she didn’t mind the walk home. She also needed a little time to herself to think.
The mission had taken an unexpected turn. She hadn’t expected to like Hal as much as she did. Sakura didn’t want to admit it to herself because he hadn’t been gone long, but without him, she felt lonely. How many times had she thought about Clark while she was with Hal? She didn’t know.
What did that mean?
She couldn’t deny that she was excited to see Clark again. She wondered if he had missed her. Sakura frowned. She hoped this wasn’t the beginning of a really awkward love triangle. Her life couldn’t be that awful. Sakura chuckled. Of course, it could.
It took Sakura while to leisurely walk back to Clark’s apartment. Clark’s home was in the heart of the city. It was a decision that made sense because of who he was. She knocked on the door before she entered even though she had a key. She wanted to provide the man with a heads up just in case he was inappropriately dressed before she opened the door. Although, he probably heard her coming a mile away. If he was naked when she opened the door, it was very intentional.
The door was unlocked. This disturbed Sakura because while she knew Clark could protect himself if he weren’t inside, he couldn’t defend his belongings. It seemed odd that Clark would be so careless. It was strange enough that Sakura didn’t announce herself as she entered. Cautiously the kunoichi stepped inside and searched the room to check and see if anything was out of place. She noticed nothing but that didn’t eliminate her unease.
She was considering calling out to Clark when a voice greeted her, “Hello Sakura.”
Sakura froze at the familiar face. It wasn’t an old friend but rather a new enemy. She had inky black hair and cracked orange skin. Her blackened lips stretched into a facsimile of a smile. Terror gripped Sakura’s heart.
“What did you do to Clark?”
The Chaos Bringer was stretched out on his sofa like a lazy cat. She behaved like she was exactly where she belonged, and it made Sakura angry.
“What makes you think I did anything to him?”
“Answer the question,” Sakura said through gritted teeth.
Kaiyo waved a dismissive hand. “Relax. He wasn’t here when I arrived. I’m here for you.”
Sakura wasn’t sure that she believed her. However, she had no evidence to the contrary. “All right, what do you want with me?”
“I want you to die. Preferably a horrible death.”
Sakura was flabbergasted at the hate the woman exuded. She had never met her before the battle of Darkseid. “I’ve never done anything to you. Why do you hate me so much?”
Kaiyo rolled her eyes. “Because you’re a terrible person.”
It wasn’t an answer. It was an evasion, and Sakura let herself fall for it. “And you aren’t?”
Kaiyo laughed, and it was an awful thing. It was a combination of nails on the chalkboard in a car accident. Sakura cringed and could tell that the creature delighted in her discomfort.
“Sakura dearest, I am beyond terrible, but that’s neither here nor there. This is about you.”
“You still haven’t explained why that is?”
Kaiyo rose slowly from the couch and walked predatorily over to Sakura. “An explanation is what you want? An explanation you’ll get.”
The closer the Chaos Bringer came to Sakura the more her eyes began to glow golden. Sakura prepared herself for a fight, but Kaiyo stopped right in front of her and stared at her face as if fascinated. Her fingers twitched as if she wanted to reach out and touch Sakura but couldn’t. Sakura would have questioned her on it but before she could Kaiyo flicked Sakura’s forehead.
Sakura fell to her knees screaming in pain as images bombarded her brain. She curled into herself and crawled into a corner unaware that she was wailing the entire time. The Chaos Bringer watched the whole thing impassively.
Eventually, her voice faded and with it her consciousness.
Sakura opened her eyes noting that something about her surroundings was off. The room was dark, and she could feel the moisture in the air. That was wrong. Sakura briefly closed her eyes as a wave of dizziness washed over her. Unbeknownst to her, a moan escaped her lips.
Sakura felt a hand take hers and squeeze slightly. The lightness of the touch caused her to open her eyes. Seeing Clark’s bright blue eyes made her heart clench and before she could stop herself, she flinched. She raised her free hand and touched her heart to cover it, to make it seem like he had startled her, and she hoped that was enough.
Before he could answer the memory washed over her. The Chaos Bringer and the memories that she inserted in her brain, the reason why she was so uncomfortable around Clark right now. Sakura unconsciously tightened her grip on his hand. He hadn’t done anything nor was it his fault. Clark would never…
“I was hoping you could tell me. I came home, and you were…you were screaming Sakura, and I couldn’t help you. I didn’t know what was wrong.”
“I brought you to Bruce. Alfred had to sedate you. You’ve been out for three days.”
“Three days!” Sakura gasped, and rage washed over her at what had been done to her. She tried to sit up, but Clark pushed her back down.
“No, Sakura. Just rest. I’ll get you whatever you need.”
“I’m not an invalid, Clark.” Something in his expression shifted. He tried to draw away, but Sakura couldn’t let him. But she should—no she shouldn’t. None of what the Chaos Bringer had shown her was real. She couldn’t let it affect her relationship with Clark. “No. Don’t go. I didn’t mean—“
Clark settled. “I know.”
Sakura smiled at him crookedly. “This isn’t exactly how I imagined our reunion would go.” Clark reached for her face and trailed a finger down her jawline. Sakura had to force herself not to flinch again. Clark noticed.
“Sakura, what happened?”
She didn’t want to talk about it. She couldn’t even get herself to voice what she had seen especially since she didn’t know if it were real or not. Or a cruel joke being played on her by the Chaos Bringer but she knew she had to give him something. It wouldn’t be fair to leave him in the dark.
“The Chaos Bringer. She was in your apartment when I got there.”
Sakura watched him look horrified. “How did she know where you were?”
“I don’t know.”
Which wasn’t exactly right if the memories that Kaiyo had inserted into her brain weren’t false. Sakura hoped they were fake. A shiver rolled through her body. She saw Clark move to take her into his arms and she wanted that. More than anything she needed him to hold her but she couldn’t…
“It’s good to see you’re awake, Beautiful.”
“Hal!” Sakura exclaimed and craned her head to see him walking down the stairs and into the cave. “I thought you’d be long gone.”
“And leave while you’re injured? What sort of man would that make me?” Sakura darted her eyes away from Hal only to see Clark watching her strangely. This time he wouldn’t let her fight him when he pulled his hand away.
“A man with other responsibilities.” Sakura retorted. Hal’s face was suddenly hovering above hers with a crooked grin on his lips.
“They can wait. You’re more important.”
Sakura fought not to blush and was pretty sure her effort was met with failure. Clark rose to his feet.
“No, Clark. Don’t go.”
He smiled at her though; it was strained. “I won’t be gone long. I’m going to let Bruce know you’re awake.”
Sakura nodded and watched him go.
Hal waited a moment or two before he continued, “He is gone on you.”
“And you were doing your utmost to make him jealous.”
Hal just grinned causing Sakura to roll her eyes. “You’re incorrigible.” The Lantern didn’t deny it as he occupied the seat that Clark had just vacated.
“What happened to you?”
Sakura bit her bottom lip wondering whether or not she could tell Hal. She wanted to, but she knew that if Clark wanted to he’d be able to hear every word she said and she didn’t want him to know. She decided to keep it general.
“I was attacked by the Chaos Bringer.”
Hal frowned. “Wasn’t that the crazy lady from after we battled Darkseid?”
“The one and only.”
“How did she find out where you and Supes were living?”
Sakura shrugged. Hal snorted. “Come on Sakura. You expect me to believe you don’t know?”
“Nope. Not going to let you lie to me. She attacked you, and you could have died. We had only just parted ways. You’ve been unconscious for three days, and she knows where you live. You’ve got to give me something.”
Sakura nodded. “Ok, Hal. Just—not now. I can’t.”
“Okay, that’s fair. Do you want me to talk to the others? Have Clark and Bruce back off?”
Sakura snorted at the idea of someone making Bruce do anything but the expression on Hal’s face told her that if she said the word he’d make it happen.
“Yes, please Hal.”
Hal nodded but didn’t leave to go in search of both men immediately. He waited until Alfred arrived and agreed to stay with her. Before he left he reached for her hand and squeezed it.
“You know we started this thing so that none of us would have to take on the big bads alone. You aren’t alone Sakura. I’ll always have your back.”
“Why? Because I had yours?”
“You did—and you didn’t even know me or any of us then. Now I know you. I won’t abandon you.”
Sakura’s entire body trembled with the need to cry, but she forced herself not to.
Still, she was grateful that he hadn’t left her alone.
Well...this got finished a lot earlier than expected.
Chapter 54: The Girl Who Spilled the Beans (Or Did She?)
Two days later it was a unanimous decision if you exclude Sakura’s vote—and Sakura didn’t, that she could no longer live with Clark. It wasn’t that Clark couldn’t keep her safe. Sakura could take care of herself and so could Clark, but no one wanted the Chaos Bringer to get the jump on her again.
Clark agreed to find a new place with better security once his lease was up. He severely objected to Bruce paying to break his contract. Sakura had protested that one but only half-heartedly because…she didn’t know if she could live with Clark right now. She wanted to. She hated so much that it felt like she was abandoning him because of a villain but she couldn’t….
Hal had kept his promise, and the League didn’t ply her with too many questions, but she knew Hal was going to expect the truth. She was going to have to find some way around that.
In the meantime, it was agreed that she’d live with Bruce in the Manor effective immediately until the whole situation with the Chaos Bringer calmed down or was eliminated.
It was so bad that they wouldn’t even let her return to get her belongings. Clark would be bringing them to her the following day.
After the decision was made, most of the League dispersed the exception being Batman, since it was his home, Green Lantern, because he wanted to talk to her, and Superman because he wanted to say goodbye.
They were just outside the front doors of the Manor. There were no paparazzi around, Clark checked before they stepped out. He was shifting awkwardly, and Sakura wanted to step closer to him and lay a hand on him in comfort but found that she couldn’t.
“Hal told me not to ask you about what happened.” Sakura stiffened, thinking he was about to do just that, but instead, he reached out and touched her face gently with his fingertip. “I won’t. Don’t worry Sakura. I won’t. Just—if you want to talk I’m always here for you.”
Sakura felt tears spring to her eyes and couldn’t stop herself from wrapping her arms around the Man of Steel and holding him tight. She inhaled his scent, wondering if she could ever allow herself to be this close to him again. “I know, Clark.”
That was the problem.
Sakura stood outside watching the skies long after Clark had left. She knew that if she just called for him, he’d be back in seconds. The thought was a tortuous one. When she came back inside, Bruce had disappeared. She assumed he was in his cave and Hal was standing there waiting for her to come in. He looked anxious and worried. Sakura thought that was endearing, but she was too overwhelmed to focus on it.
“You alright, Beautiful?” Sakura wasn’t sure how she sobbed and laughed at the same time, but she managed it. Hal didn’t remark on it for which she was grateful. “Let me take you to your room.”
Hal gently clasped her elbow and began leading her away. He had wanted to carry her, but Sakura wouldn’t allow it. She could walk. She had to. If she couldn’t get through today, how would she get through any of the others? Waking up without Clark had been easy when she had been with Hal, but now it was different. This was a separation that was being forced upon her. So how was she supposed to wake up now and not see that dimpled smile in the morning? How had she done it before? She couldn’t remember. Why couldn’t she remember?
She made it halfway up Bruce’s very grand staircase before Hal swept her into his arms and continued walking with her. She swatted at his chest, angrily. “Put me down, Hal. I can walk.”
“I know you can. But every step you take hurts me. Let me be selfish and ease my pain.”
Sakura opened her mouth to protest, but she closed it slowly and curled in on herself closer to Hal. Moving was quick after that. Sakura didn’t know how Hal knew where her bedroom was. She didn’t even know since it was her first day out of the cave, but she didn’t question it. She didn’t even bother to look around once they entered the room.
Hal strode to her bed purposefully and laid her down in it. The covers had already been pulled back, so it was an easy thing to slip between the sheets. He waited until she was settled before he sat down on the bed beside her. He wasn’t looking at her and Sakura’s chest clenched because she knew that it was time. She didn’t wait for him to ask.
“She showed me something called a multiverse. Have you heard of it?”
“Yeah, different worlds, different versions of us, living life. Sometimes their lives are better than ours and vice versa. Sometimes it’s the same except for minute details.”
“She showed my life in all these different worlds, and in each one of them, my decisions led to the destruction of the universe.”
“Do you believe she’s telling the truth?” Hal turned and looked at her concerned written on his features. He reached for her hand, and she let him hold it because she needed comfort.
“I don’t want to…but I do.”
“Because each one of me who’s life I saw…I can see their thought process. It’s what I would do when faced with…certain situations. It was me. She called me a terrible person, and I think she’s right.”
“You’re not a terrible person.” Sakura snorted. “You may be an awful one but not terrible.” Sakura gasped at then hit Hal’s hand.
“You!” She grabbed the pillow behind her and began hitting him with it. “You suck at comfort Hal Jordan!”
Hal laughed as she continued to pummel him. Eventually, she joined him. When they settled, he said, “Look, I told you before that you aren’t alone and I mean that. Every last one of us has to think carefully about our actions because there can be serious consequences if we take things lightly. If you find yourself in a situation that you’re uncomfortable with, ask one of us for advice. You don’t have to do everything by yourself. We’re your team. We’re here to help not just the world, but each other.”
Sakura reflected on his words for a while before she leaned in and hugged him. “Thank you, Hal.”
Hal held Sakura a little tighter as he whispered, “You’re welcome.”
Sakura was quiet for a long moment before she said, “You still owe me a hundred dollars.”
Chapter 55: The Girl Who Protested
Living with Bruce was vastly different from life with Clark. With Clark, on slow days they would sit on the couch, cuddle, and watch TV. Sometimes, they’d eat popcorn while they did so. Sometimes they would take late evening strolls.
She loved every second that she spent with the Man of Steel.
Bruce…did not stroll. Even if he did Sakura couldn’t imagine going with him. There were so many romantic connotations in the thought that just didn’t apply to his relationship with Sakura. Bruce was all about ‘the life.’
The crime-fighting life. Slowly, Sakura became about it too, and for some reason, Bruce was okay with that—for the most part.
There were no slow nights in Gotham. If the Penguin and Joker weren’t making mayhem, then it was Falcone or Inzerillo. There was always something.
Now while Sakura loved giving a good ass whipping, she didn’t like not having downtime. So as soon as she was able, she protested.
Sakura entered the Cave to find Bruce typing at his computer. She assumed he was doing a bit of research before they headed out for the night. She knew that the time to enact her plan was now. The Kunoichi waltzed up to the Dark Knight and sat at his feet. Promptly, she wrapped her arms around his leg and held on tightly.
He ignored her for a while, but Sakura didn’t let go.
“Sakura, what are you doing?”
“I’m not going out tonight.”
Bruce paused for a second. “What does that have to do with you holding my leg?”
Sakura realized her error quickly. “We’re not going out tonight.”
“You can stay at home. I’m going out.”
Sakura raised her head and let tears come to her eyes while she made her bottom lip wobble. “But I’ll be lonely.”
Bruce stared down at her impassively for a while before he said, “It’s time you met my sons.”
Sakura raised an incredulous brow. “Are you trying to foist me off on other people?”
“Yes,” came the succinct reply.
Sakura smiled grimly and held on a little tighter. “It’s not going to work.”
It worked. Bruce called Red Robin home. Sakura didn’t know much about the heroes that worked in Gotham, but Bruce told her before he started working solo Red Robin had worked with him personally. Sakura had been shocked by that information, but when she mulled it over, it explained why he was willing to work with a team.
When Red Robin entered the cave and saw Batman wasn’t alone—and that he had a ninja clinging to his leg, he faltered.
“…Are you in trouble, B?”
“Yes.” Sakura hadn’t disagreed because she really didn’t want him to leave. Sakura peered at Red Robin who suddenly inhaled sharply.
“Is that Kunoichi?”
“She’s living here for the time being, and she’s bored. Take her out.”
Sakura scowled. “On patrol?” Red Robin asked questioningly.
“No!” Sakura shouted. “We are not going on patrol tonight. No.”
Bruce looked down at her, and Red Robin shifted awkwardly.
“Sakura, you really don’t want to be seen in this city with Bruce Wayne.”
“Your name is Sakura?” Red Robin asked.
Sakura nodded. “Sakura Haruno.”
“It’s nice to meet you.”
Tim held out a hand for her to shake, and she frowned, realizing she was still wrapped around Bruce’s leg. She also realized that she was probably being a little childish-which, knowing Batman, was the point. She released Bruce’s leg and rose to her feet, taking Tim’s hand.
Bruce insisted that Tim take her out and show her Gotham. Sakura had never really seen any part of the city besides the seedy underworld, but Bruce told her he wanted her to know the parts that he was trying to protect. So she left with Tim after he had changed into something more suitable.
When she first saw Red Robin Sakura’s first thought was that he seemed capable. Tim Drake, other the other hand, after shedding the costume was adorable.
It was evident within seconds that Tim was brilliant. It was equally apparent that fighting crime was the main focus for him because he was stumbling quite a bit over his words when he tried to make the conversation more personal.
“So…you’re Kunoi—I mean…how long have you worked with the League—“
“Really, Tim, Sakura is fine. And I think we both know what would happen to both of us if he found out we were using our…other names. He jumps all over me constantly about calling Superman by his real name.” Tim opened his mouth, seemingly wanting to comment on that but shook his head, changing his mind.
“Right. So where do you want to go?”
Sakura shrugged. “I don’t care where we go. I don’t really care what we do either—as long as no crime-fighting is involved. Just let me…”
Sakura’s fingers moved rapidly, disguising herself with a genjutsu. She watched Tim’s eyes grow wide at the little things that she did to alter her appearance. There were only slight changes. She left her hair pink but made it appear longer. Her bosom was ampler, and her shape was curvier. She made sure her cheekbones were higher, and her eyes were a rich mocha.
“Okay, I’m ready.” At Tim’s expression, Sakura laughed. “I can’t just go out with you as I am. You know that.”
“Yeah, but I’ve never seen footage of you doing that before.”
Sakura’s eyes rounded then she nodded. “Well, yeah. It’s not something I want everyone to know I can do.”
Tim nodded. “I won’t tell anyone…but I have to know. Does Bruce know?”
Sakura paused, thinking about that. “Yes, he does.” If he hadn’t seen her do it, she was sure she mentioned it to him after the League grounded her and he was concerned about the public seeing her running around Gotham and Wayne Manor.
The hope that had been blooming on his face disappeared. Sakura almost questioned it but at the last minute changed her mind because she had a feeling nothing good would come of it. Sakura clapped her hands together and said, “Alright, where are we going?”
Before Tim could answer light caught the two of them off guard. Sakura turned her head to see the Green Lantern.
Chapter 56: The Girl Who Couldn't
When she saw Hal before her, she couldn’t stop the first question out of her mouth.
“How did you know it was me?”
Hal grinned and pointed at Tim. “I didn’t know for certain. I knew who he was. I just came up from the cave and Bats told me you were with him. Plus, you guys hadn’t left the Manor yet, the odds were in my favor.”
He had a point, so Sakura shrugged. “I’m not fighting any crime so if you’ve come for help then the villains are winning tonight.”
Sakura heard Tim choke back a gasp as Hal laughed. She forgot that Tim didn’t know her. Of course, if the need arose, she’d go out and help, but sometimes enough was enough.
“Batman is working you to death, huh?”
Sakura had a hard time forcing herself not to pout, and she didn’t think she succeeded. “There are no nights off in Gotham.”
Out the corner of her eye, she saw Tim easing away, and she snorted and turned in his direction. “You’re off the hook Drake. I’m going to force the Lantern to entertain me instead.”
“Hey!” Hal said, but Sakura kept her attention on the other man.
“Thank you for being willing to entertain a stranger.”
Tim shrugged. “It’s not a problem.”
Sakura grinned evilly. “Good. Then next time I start going stir crazy, I know who to call.”
Tim let his head hang low while Sakura mentally patted herself on the back. “I walked into that, didn’t I?”
“You did,” Sakura confirmed. “And I appreciate it.”
It was Tim’s turn to laugh. It was a pleasant sound.
When Tim left, she found herself alone in the Manor with Hal. She eyed him curiously for a brief moment. “Are we going out? Or are you going to power down and relax with me?”
Hal arched a brow. “I have options? Cause I only came to give you the money I owe you and got wrapped into so much more.”
“I’ll take the money and the company too. I need friends.”
“You have friends.”
“I need friends who don’t kick ass and take names for fun.”
Sakura thought about that and all her ninja friends from her homeworld and her new friends now. It was a substantial question that she approved of. “I think I’m just trash-talking because I couldn’t get Batman to stay home with me. Clark would have stayed if I asked.” She hadn’t meant to lodge the complaint. Her thoughts never strayed too far from Clark but he wasn’t something he wanted to talk about.
“Then why didn’t you ask him to come stay with you?” Sakura didn’t wipe the emotion off her face fast enough and cursed herself for it. “You’re hiding something.”
“I’m not—and even if I was, I’m sure I’d be hiding it for a reason.”
Hal was silent for a long moment before powering down. “Come on, Sakura let’s go watch a movie.” He grabbed her hand around her wrist and began dragging her along. Something stirred within her at his lack of complaint about her secrets. Hal didn’t pressure her. He just let it go, and she appreciated that. She didn’t know why she thought before he was nothing but an incorrigible flirt. He was a lot more than that.
He wouldn’t tell her what movie, and in the end, she realized that she would never be able to look at dolls again and not be sure they weren’t going to try and murder her.
Hal had terrible movie tastes.
Hal started to play a more prominent part in her life. While in the League Bruce and Hal were the ones she spent the most time with. It was something that was noticed by all of them.
They had just stopped a robbery by the Royal Flush Gang when Clark approached her. “Kunoichi, can I speak with you for a moment?”
Sakura looked up at the man who haunted her dreams and choked back a sigh. “Yeah.”
He led her a little away from the group. “How have you been?”
“Good. I can’t complain.”
“I miss you.”
“I miss you too.” Sakura quickly found herself horrified at how easily the truth spilled from her lips, but Clark didn’t notice.
“My lease will be up soon, and then you can come home.”
Because her home was at his side. Looking at him, she could tell she wasn’t the only one who believed that. She needed to talk to him, but she couldn’t seem to find the words to say to him that they couldn’t be what either of them wanted.
“I-“ Sakura felt a hand on her shoulder, and all the tension in her both released at Hal’s arrival.
“You ready to go? I’ll give you a lift home.”
“Give me one second, Lantern.” Sakura began, but Clark interrupted.
“I’ll take her home.” Immediately after his words, Sakura saw Clark’s face contort. She glanced at Hal only to find him smiling. She narrowed her eyes at him and then for good measure, punched him in the arm.
“Ow! That hurt.”
“It was supposed to. Go away. I’m in the middle of a conversation.”
Hal sighed. “Fine. I’ll be over with Flash when you’re done.” Sakura nodded.
Hal hadn’t been gone long when Clark leaped to his conclusion. “You’re leaving with him.”
“Why are you angry with me? Is it because I wasn’t there to protect you from the Chaos Bringer?”
“Superman, I can take care of myself. My safety is not your responsibility.”
“Am I wrong if I want to take on that duty anyway? Is it wrong that I feel guilty for not being there for you when you needed me?”
Sakura felt tears prick the back of her eyes. It wasn’t long before they spilled down her cheeks. “No, but I can’t be with you like that.”
“You love me, and if you don’t you’re almost there. Why are you pulling away from me?” Sakura took a step back. Superman reached for her but dropped his arm before he could grab her. “Even now that’s what you’re doing.”
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry but I can’t.”
Chapter 57: The Girl Who Dealt With Change
Life moved on as it was wont to do. The distance between Sakura and Clark grew, but eventually, Sakura became numb to the pain. She told herself every day that it was better this way. Most times she believed it.
Sakura and Clark were professionals. They didn’t let a simple thing like ‘feelings’ keep them from working together, but whatever could have been between them was gone. Clark stopped pushing and pulled away. Sakura tried not to let herself regret it.
Hal hadn’t pressured her to tell him her secret but as time passed, she knew he hadn’t forgotten it.
Sakura focused on strengthening her other relationships. It went without saying that she and Hal were close. What she hadn’t realized was that with Hal came Barry. The two were thick as thieves and she and hadn’t known it. So the two became three. As much as she wanted Bruce to be their fourth i,t wasn’t something he allowed because what did Barry Allen and Bruce Wayne have in common? He was a man in the public eye. Someone would have gone searching for the connection, so she hadn’t pressed the issue.
“Sakura,” Barry said as she bustled about his kitchen. Barry was something of a slob, and Sakura couldn’t stop herself from straightening up when she could. Her actions never made Barry happy. He had told her once that she wasn’t his maid. She replied with a firm, ‘I know,’ and kept working. Nowadays, he didn’t do much more than sigh when she did things to keep herself busy.
“Yeah?” Sakura finally answered after she had successfully started the dishwasher and began wiping down the counters.
“I want to ask you a question, but I don’t know how well received it will be.”
Sakura paused, frowned, then turned and looked at Barry head-on. “Is the question perverted?”
“What? No!” Barry shouted and took a few steps back. Sakura couldn’t help but grin.
“Then we’re okay, Barry. Ask.”
He didn’t immediately jump into his question as Sakura expected. Instead, he studied her for a moment, and she let him because she had grown to know Barry and something was seriously on his mind.
“You and Hal are friends, right?”
Sakura scoffed because it was a ridiculous question. Of course, she was friends with the Lantern. There was no way Barry didn’t know that.
“Yes, Barry.” Before she could say anything further, he prodded.
“Yes,” Sakura said, biting back the bit of irritation that started to climb up her chest. “We’re just friends.”
Barry didn’t say anything further, but he did nod and drop the subject while frowning.
Diana had disappeared on a personal mission, and the results of that grated on Sakura in ways that she couldn’t begin to verbalize. They were at the Watchtower, and Sakura was busy checking over Wonder Woman after she had attempted to fight off the villainess Cheetah.
The woman had knocked Wonder Woman unconscious, and Sakura did not doubt that the woman had let her do it. Sakura had a feeling she knew why.
They found her body in Central Park. Thankfully a civilian with good intentions reported that she needed help, and it reached them in the Watchtower. They were able to get to her before any unsavory characters did.
“I’m fine,” Wonder Woman said for the millionth time, which made Sakura scowl and cross her arms across her chest.
“Of course, you’re fine. I just healed the nasty bump on your head to make it so. Demi-goddess or not, you aren’t infallible, Diana.”
“Sakura,” Superman cautioned, and Sakura barely held back a scowl as Superman backed up Diana again. Every time Diana did something reckless, he never listened to Sakura. He always defended Wonder Woman, and it made Sakura frustrated.
Flash, sensing a very serious need to intervene, spoke up. “We know you’re fine. We’ve just never seen you, uh, knocked down before.”
“Wonder Woman was holding back, Flash.” Superman countered.
Sakura was thinking about the time that she held back from killing Sasuke when the opportunity presented itself, what seemed like so long ago growled.
“Holding back is the fastest way to get you killed. I know. I’ve almost died because of it.”
“Sakura,” Green Lantern said and put a hand on her arm, but she shrugged him off. “No. Don’t you see her relationship with this woman is going to get her killed? All of you are sitting here mollycoddling her when you should be trying to talk some sense into her before this path she’s set herself on gets one of us but more likely her killed.” Before the Lantern could say another word, Sakura stormed off.
Green Lantern looked at Cyborg, Superman, and Flash-the only members of the team present besides Diana and said, “I’ll go talk to her.”
“Sakura.” She didn’t answer the first time Green Lantern said her name, and he knew her well enough now to know she wouldn’t—not when she was this angry. “Sakura,” Hal said and reached out and grabbed her arm, holding tightly. She didn’t wrench her arm away as he expected but instead turned around and faced him.
Something flashed in her eyes that he couldn’t identify immediately, but when he did something clenched in his stomach. She was jealous of Wonder Woman. Although he couldn’t understand why, they were both beautiful, smart, and strong women. They were both valuable assets to the team.
“Talk to me, beautiful girl.” Hal slid his hand down her arm and grasped her hand. She looked down but didn’t pull her hand back.
“I-“ She cut herself off and shook her head. “It’s not something I can explain.”
“You kind of have to. You just blew up on Wonder Woman back there.”
Sakura sighed. “She’s reckless.”
“You’re wild yourself, Miss I-make-the-ground-crumble-whenever-I-want.”
Sakura pouted. “That’s part of the problem, I guess. In some ways, she reminds me so much of myself. It’s hard to sit by and watch her make the same mistakes I made—especially since she’s older than I am.”
“She led a very sheltered life before she came here. You know that, Sakura.”
“I get that, but that doesn’t mean that we gloss over her every action. Clark doesn’t-“
Hal let his hand fall away. “Oh. I see.”
Hal watched her brow furrow. He saw her hand reach for him, but she slowly let her hand drop back down to her side.
“I’ll apologize later, Hal. I need a few minutes.”
With that, she turned and strode away. Hal watched her go. How could he not? He was starting to suspect he was falling in love with her.
Chapter 58: The Girl Who Wanted to Set the Universe Ablaze
He caught her as she returned from a patrol of Gotham in the early hours of the morning. Hal stopped bothering with the front door. He had a feeling that if Bruce knew how much time he spent in their home, then it would be a problem. Sakura told him not to worry about Bruce. She’d take care of him if necessary and to come to see her whenever he wished.
It was probably a very selfish thing that he took her up on the offer. He had just landed on her balcony and tapped on the doors. He waited a bit impatiently for her to open the door. He hadn’t seen her in a while. He had just come back from a mission for the Guardians, and all he had wanted was—
Her doors swung open, and the minute she saw who it was, she smiled. Or at least Hal hoped that smile was entirely for him. He still remembered clearly the jealousy she had a few months back because of Wonder Woman. He knew of her feelings for Superman. Still, it was nice to hope. “You’re back!” She exclaimed. She took a step forward then paused frowning. Hal threw open his arms because he wanted to hug her, and he had a feeling she wanted that too but would never admit it.
She scowled at him, but he was confident most of it was just an act. Sakura had this thing about being tough. She always expected people to treat her like she was incapable. Hal didn’t understand it. When she stepped forward and wrapped her arms around him anyway, he counted it as a personal victory.
He leaned down and pulled her closer, letting himself revel in her warmth before she pulled away and put a polite distance between them.
“Your mission was a success?” She inquired, and Hal nodded. She gestured for him to come inside, and he did so willingly enough. He glanced around as he always did. It never failed to surprise him the splendor that Bruce lived in and shared so freely with Sakura.
“Of course,” Hal said with a grin that made her roll her eyes. “How has everything been here? No problems with the League? You’re behaving yourself?”
Sakura scoffed. “I think you’re the troublemaker of the group.”
Hal chuckled. “Nah, that’s Barry.” They both had a good laugh at that.
Barry was everyone’s favorite. Even if you wanted to be mad at the speedster, you couldn’t stay that way for long. He was like a puppy that no one wanted to kick.
“Did you just get back?” Sakura reached out and dragged him to a nearby chair, silently inviting him to take a load off. She sat down nearby, within touching distance, and yet Hal wanted to be closer.
She tilted her head and looked at him, puzzled. “And you came here first?”
Hal bit back a sigh and grinned brightly. Sakura was oblivious to his feelings for her. He had never thought someone could friendzone him as hard as Sakura had. Most of him was amused by this, another part, the part that new that she loved Clark was bitter.
“Where else would I go?”
“Hal, don’t you have a family?”
She had never asked about his family before. He assumed that it was because she didn’t care or being a ninja that she had found out the information on her own.
“I do. I have brothers. My mother is still alive, but my father isn’t.” He hesitated as he studied the expression on Sakura’s face. She looked sad, but he didn’t know what he could have said to make it so. “Sakura?”
“My parents…they’re both alive. Or they were the last I heard. I’m an only child.”
He had forgotten that she wasn’t from this world. She never talked about it, so it slipped his mind more often than not.
She shrugged. “It’s not important.”
“It is if it’s important to you. Just because I’ve never experienced what you have before doesn’t mean I’d belittle it.”
Her lips twitched slightly. “I know, Hal.”
“Do you?” He countered.
“I do.” She assured him, but he sensed that wasn’t the end of it.
“What’s going on, Sakura?”
When Sakura sighed and slumped forward, Hal leaned forward and grabbed her hand, linking their fingers. She didn’t pull away, so Hal tightened his hold. “We formed a new branch of the Justice League while you were gone.” Hal didn’t understand why this was bad news. They needed all the help they could get. The threats on Earth were only growing in size. “They’re called Justice League Dark. They deal with things magical in nature.”
“Something happened while I was gone,” Hal noted. “But we can talk about it later. Go on.”
“After the battle, I spoke with two of the members—Constantine and Zatanna. Constantine is an ass, by the way, of a high caliber.” Hal chuckled.
A small smile emerged but quickly faded away as she continued talking. “I asked them a question about other worlds and if they exist.”
“Sakura, I took you to other planets myself. You know they do.”
Sakura shook her head. “That’s not what I meant. I guess the appropriate term would be dimensions, worlds that mirror this one.”
“They told you they did.” Hal guessed, but he still didn’t see where the problem lay.
“Yes, but I knew that even before they answered because the Chaos Bringer told me.”
Hal sucked in a breath. He hadn’t expected to hear that. It had gotten to the point that he thought he’d never know what had occurred between the two women. He hadn’t wanted to pressure Sakura. He wanted her to trust him.
“Zatanna confirmed her words. I’m not from this dimension, and neither is the Chaos Bringer.” That wasn’t it. Hal could tell she still hadn’t told him everything. There were certain times when Sakura was very adept at hiding the truth, which was whenever the information didn’t concern her personally. Now was not one of those times. “I don’t think there’s a way for me to go back home, but they said that they’d look into it.”
“Is that what you want? To leave?”
“What is there for me here, Lantern?”
Hal shrugged. “I don’t know. Ask all the people you help regularly.” Sakura didn’t look impressed by his reply.
“I can’t live off Bruce forever. It wouldn’t be right.”
Hal suddenly had an idea, a selfish one, but possibly brilliant. “Then come with me.”
“Hal, I’m not going to—“
“You won’t be. You’ll take care of yourself, and we’ll take care of each other. We’ll explore the galaxy, Sakura.”
“You want to leave the League.”
Hal shook his head negatively. “Not forever. I come back all the time, and you know it. If you come with me, you’ll have more freedom, more control.” Hal grinned at Sakura and tugged at her hand that remained nestled in his. “What do you say, Sakura? Let’s set the world ablaze.”
Sakura giggled and shook her head. “No.” Hal’s face fell before he could stop it, but Sakura merely corrected him. “The universe.”