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I search my skin for the entry point (where love went in)

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Sakura leans against her hoe, pondering the rows of plants before her. She's glad that she over-planted; over-planned the same way she used to at the hospital. Though she is of much simpler means now, old habits die hard. Considering the number of people currently infirmed on her property, she'll need every last one of her crops to feed people in the upcoming lean months.

"Will we have enough, Sakura-dono?"

Sakura glances at her aide, a girl of Akimichi heritage whose legs Sakura saved from sepsis. Even though she is fully healed, she chose to stay on Sakura's land as do a few others.

"Barring the addition of a full troop to our numbers, we should be fine, Bina-chan," Sakura replies dryly. "I can finish here. Go assist Tomiko with the jarring process. I'm sure he's a bit overwhelmed by all of the jams and jellies."

Bina gives her a look clearly questioning the idea of leaving Sakura alone but, when Sakura makes a shooing motion, she goes.

Sakura snorts to herself, wondering what Bina thinks she can do to protect Sakura should something arise. Most of her wards who stay have taken up the cause of Sakura's well-being and she leaves them be as their meddling amuses her.

She raises a cloth-covered wrist to her forehead, wiping at the sweat that gathers there. She glares down at the coverings on her wrist, glad that it's helpful for once.

Even after years here, Sakura is unused to the writing that mars her skin. She's already tried every method she knows of to remove it and, as a medic-nin, those methods are extensive and each more dangerous and painful than the one that came before. No matter what she does, the writing reappears in the same locations, one on her left forearm and the other scrawled across her right hip.

Two soulmarks, as the natives call them, are seen as cause for celebration.

Sakura sees them as a pain in the ass.

Or hip and arm as the case happens to be.

So she keeps them covered for her own peace of mind. And to keep nosy residents from asking too many questions.

Sakura gathers the ripe produce into the large baskets she brought with her, enjoying the heat of the sun against her back.

She pauses in the process as one of the bells at her waist begins to ring. Sakura frowns, glancing askance at the tree line. Someone has crossed her barrier, a feat that has not occurred in all of her time living here.

When he steps out of the darkness, Sakura is prepared for him.

"What the hell do you want?" Sakura demands of the man.

He is tall and muscled, his dark hair plaited out of his face. A rugged jaw, defined cheekbones, and sloe eyes make up a handsome, open face. Currently, his expression is surprised. He schools his expression, examining her with keen interest. "Well, I suppose what I want is you."

Sakura gasps as her hip begins to tingle, almost burning. "Why are you here?" she asks, falling into a defensive stance.

"I heard that this forest houses a spirit or god of sorts. Many of my relatives have been treated by this forest spirit, though they've remained rather tight-lipped on the subject. I suspect some have stayed."

"What do you intend to do if that is true?" Sakura asks, taking in his stormy gaze.

"Take them home," he replies. "They have a duty to their clan."

"You will do no such thing," Sakura says. "I care not for clans or wars, but this land is mine." Her eyes blaze as she strikes the ground with her bare toes. It shakes the earth beneath the man, knocking him off balance. "You will not make any of them leave against their will."

He drinks her in, her resolute will and fiery passion, before smiling. He shakes out his clothes and moves closer, stopping when she tenses. "Of course. I apologize for starting us off on the wrong foot. I certainly won't do anything against my soulmate's wishes." Sakura shivers at the sheer intent in his eyes. "I am Senju Hashirama. Might I have your name in turn?"

Sakura stares at him in muted surprise. The first Hokage is one of her soulmates. He looks quite different from the visages of him captured in Konoha's Monument and the Valley of the End. "You may call me Sakura," she says, almost reluctant to even give him that. She rubs at her hip absently. "Is there a procedure for this?" She wrinkles her nose. "This whole soulmate business is odd to me."

"Generally, soulmates display their soulmarks upon meeting," Hashirama says, tugging his shirt up. Sakura watches as a familiar looping scrawl is revealed upon his sternum in a green that matches her eyes. "Huh," he says, tracing the letters. Sakura ignores the frisson of heat that shoots up her spine. "It used to be black lettering." He grins at her. "I guess it's because we finally met."

Sakura shrugs, shifting her shirt and rolling down her pants to display her hip. She is ignorant to the way Hashirama flushes and his eyes darken. "You recognize the writing?" she asks, staring down at the brown scribbles that follow the curve of her hip. "Its coloring changed too."

The same bell jingles again. Sakura groans, hastily doing up her pants once more.

"Did someone follow you?" Sakura demands, glaring at Hashirama. Soulmate or not, she's going to kick his ass for destroying the safety of her haven.

"Wait, Sakura—" Hashirama begins but it is too late.

Sakura springs into action, releasing the seals on a few of the traps near the intruder. The flash bangs go off immediately, filling the the clearing with blinding light. As they do so, Sakura Shunshins forward, loosening the earth around the intruder's feet. As he sinks up to his knees, Sakura knocks him down, pinning him with a foot to his throat.

In the handful of seconds it takes to complete all of this, Sakura doesn't get a chance to look at the intruder. She does so now.

And, unlike Hashirama, she does recognize him. The monuments do him justice.

Uchiha Madara.

He stares up at her with a smirk, Sharingan spinning. "Damn woman. If you wanted me prostrated before you, you could've just asked."

Sakura inhales sharply as her arm begins to burn. "Not you too," she mutters, oblivious to the way his eyes widen then narrow in contemplation.

Well, things just got a lot more complicated.


Original tags: #hashisakumada #hashisaku #madasaku#sakura haruno #hashirama senju #madara uchiha #soulmate!au#time travel!au#you best believe that madara's soulmark gives him a hell of a complex#not you too i mean damn#he tries to compensate for the inadequacy his mark makes him feel with his skills as a shinobi#and now i'm making myself sad#hashirama just constantly throws himself into volatile situations hoping that he'll find his soulmate that way#basically the bois are walking disasters and sakura is stuck with them#and she absolutely complains about it #she doesn't want none of that nonsense#they manage to persuade her that soulmates aren't terrible #my fic #anon#drabble #prompt