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An Imperfect Spectrum

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The blood dripped from her forced smile as she looked at the horror stricken face of her longest friend. She brushed a tear off the blonde's cheek before succumbing to a coughing fit, blood splattering the ground before her. "Take... care..." Sakura glanced up at her terrified face, "Ino-pig." She coughed again, eyes shuttering shut as her body hit the blood soaked earth.


 

One can imagine the Haruno's confusion when she opened her eyes, the sun beating down on her body, a stark contrast to the cool earth beneath her. Memories rushed into her head and she bolted upright, her hand grasping at her chest as her breathing increased greatly, turning into gasps of air as she tried to calm herself. She tried to ground herself by looking down towards the grass and her feet. Key word: tried.

She stared at the short legs before her, moving her foot to check that they were hers, not that they could've been anyone else's legs anyways, as they were attached to her body. After trying to release the genjutsu she believed to be upon her, each ending in failure, she quickly pulled herself to her feet, stumbling slightly from her lack of practice with her now much smaller proportions. She took shaky steps towards Konoha, towards the place she's called home for years.

As she passed gate into Konoha, she spotted the two guards, asleep at their post. She shrugged and walked past them as quietly as possible. They did not stir as she walked past them and into the village. As she made her way through the crowded streets, mind deep in thought. Was she here because some kami thought her to be worthy of a second chance at life? What happened after she died? Is everything still the-. Her thoughts were interrupted by a very familiar voice.

"SAKURA!" Her mother called out, standing a ways away. Sakura walked towards her, attempting to keep her emotions in check. It was almost too much, to see her mom alive and well, standing before her.

She threw herself into her mother's arms for a hug. Mebuki smiled down at her child, picking her up off the ground and looking into her eyes. "I told you not to run off."

Sakura smiled at her mom. "I know." Mebuki readjusted her grasp on Sakura and began her walk home.

Dinner at the Haruno house was loud, filled with her Kizashi horrible jokes and Sakura's tales about the adventures of her day, while Mebuki placed food in front of everyone. Between every bite was a comment, and today was no difference.

"Sakura?" She looked at her parents, her mom's hand clasped around her dad's shoulder. "Remember when you told us you wanted to be a shinobi?" Sakura nodded, vague memory of her old childhood dream flowing into her mind. "Well, we enrolled you into the academy!" Mebuki clasped her hands together in joy, watching her child's face for her reaction.

Sakura didn't know what to say. To relive the academy again? She didn't know if she really wanted to do that. She kept her thoughts to herself as she threw on a smile. "Thank you so much!" She exclaimed in false joy, pulling her parents into a hug. "I'm gonna get my things ready for it!" She broke the hug and raced up the stairs to her room.

Sakura smiled as she threw herself onto her bed, soaking in the familiar space.

She decided she would do better to mull over her situation with some anmitsu in front of her. As carefully as possible, she made a 'Sakura' with pillows and a few stuffed animals and tucked it in, assurance that she would not get caught sneaking out. Grabbing a pair of shoes, she slid open her window, slipped them on, and jumped out onto her roof. The night air rushed past her as she jumped down to the street.

The dango shop neared in her range of vision as the last of the sun's light disappeared from the horizon. She masked her presence out of habit, making herself as invisible as a pink haired child can get, before walking up to the counter, purchasing some anmitsu and walking towards the corner she usually inhabited, only, there was already someone sitting in her space.

She approached the table, giving the boy who sat there a small smile, before asking him if the seat was taken. She knew it wasn't. There was only one other person who was in the shop. He stared at her as she scarfed down her treat, quickly finishing it. With no words spoken between the two, she got up, placing her trash into a rubbish bin before looking back at the boy in the corner. "Maybe I'll see you later!" Her feet hit the ground soundlessly, making her movements seem that of an illusion.

Chapter Text

"Sakura! Wake up. It's your first day at the academy." Mebuki's voice echoed through Sakura's room. She groaned and lifted herself from her bed, the sun streaming through her curtains and brightening her room to obnoxious levels. She swung her legs from underneath her blankets and placed them on the cold floor.

She had bought all her things the week before, so, when she opened her closet to grab clothes, she wasn't surprised by the sea of red clothes. She shuffled through the countless qipao dresses her mother insisted on buying her, looking for one specific outfit. It was a pair of black pants, and a shirt that was reminiscent of her chunin days. It was practically designed for good mobility. She slipped on her clothes and reached for her kunai pouch. Her hand grasped the strap before she stopped herself.

Her mom came into view as she reached the top of the staircase. The house smelled of eggs and toast, making Sakura's stomach growl from hunger.

"There you are." Mebuki walked to her daughter, pushing her to the table. "Hurry up and eat so we're not late."

After sitting at the table, and thanking her mother for the food, she began shoveling eggs into her mouth at ridiculous speeds. In just three minutes, she had finished her plate, and gotten up to wash it and put it away. Her mom was surprised when she raced to the front door to put on her shoes, only five minutes after she began eating. She slipped out the door, quickly followed by her mom.

The crowd of students to be filled the front lot of the academy, the sea of children surrounded by their parents and future instructors. The Hokage stood on a platform, welcoming everybody to the academy. Sakura watched the crowd, looking for promising students that could be competition. She followed them as they moved inside, students following their respective teachers into the building.

Her Sensei stood at the front of the room, staring about as the rest of the class chatted quietly to one another. "How about you all introduce yourself and say your dream for the future." No one looked at him, save Sakura herself. "Alright, we'll go by number."

She waited for the teacher to call out her name, preparing her dream for the future. Once, in a past like, she would've said to marry Sasuke. But that dream faded years ago, after he betrayed the village and left her for dead. The next dream she had was to keep her friends alive, as she only had a few that remained in the realm of the living. But this was a new life, a new start, and she was going to change the future for everybody. She heard her name, pulling her from her thoughts.

"My name is Haruno Sakura, and my dream is to keep my people safe and save the lives of as many as possible." It was wishful thinking, she knew, but the world she had seen, the people she had lost... she didn't want to experience it again. Not when it could be avoided. Several people whispered about her, about her hair, her dream, her name, but they ceased as the teacher called out the next person's name.

"Uchiha Itachi."

He stood and walked to the front of the room, Sakura gazing at him with her piercing green eyes. "I'm Uchiha Itachi. My dream is..." His voice faltered, attracting the gaze of his teacher.

"It's alright. Go on," The teacher urged, and Sakura watched as he began again.

"I want to be the greatest ninja ever, great enough that I can erase all the fighting from this world." Sakura let out a sad sigh as she watched Itachi retreat to his seat while the mechanic applause of their peers filled the room. If only it were possible, she thought, for the world to be at peace.

"Alright, now that we all know each other," he began a quick overview of the course. "You'll be learning about all the aspects of being a ninja at this academy." Sakura laughed in her head, thinking of all the things she should've learned but didn't until she was in the field.

Chapter Text

Sakura Haruno made a name for herself quickly, known competitor with Itachi Uchiha as top in class. She hid her main abilities from the academy, but every once in a while they were released, hence her ranking in first in taijutsu. She was compared to the likes of Itachi Uchiha, the top student in the academy.

When she had first met Itachi, it had been in the Dango shop. The meeting, though pure coincidence, was shocking at first once she learned the identity of the mysterious boy from the corner. To think that, in less than ten years, he would be a murderer, the reason Sasuke left and the reason the Uchiha were gone. She decided, that was why she was sent to here, to now. She was to change the past.

When Itachi Uchiha approached her, asking for her help training, her face bore a confused expression, before morphing into a great smile, eyes shining. "Sure!"

The other children began teasing her more after that, teasing her about her every breath, mostly out of jealousy because of her time spent with Itachi. She paid them no mind, their insults nothing compared to the likes of that she has faced. A few times, she had been approached by Izumi Uchiha, who was curious of Itachi's whereabouts during the days he knew they all had off. She had no answer for her, sure the Uchiha prodigy would wish for their training sessions to remain secret.

"That was good, but your stance is still a bit too stiff." Itachi declared, eyeing her kunai as they hit the targets, almost dead center.

She looked at him with confusion, but said nothing as he came over and showed her a more proper form again. This process repeated, Sakura throwing the kunai, Itachi criticizing her technique and helping her adjust her position, then making comments on the results.

"Alright. That's enough with me. We'll take a break then start with improving your taijutsu."

"Hn." Sakura shook her head at the Uchiha, who took to leaning against the nearest tree. She laid down on the grass, blocking the sun with her forearm, resting the other one on the ground. She lazily blinked a few times before looking back at Itachi. He was resting peacefully against the tree, feet barely touching the edge of the shade it cast.

She watched as the sun hit the sole of his shoe before pulling herself up, muttering. "Alright, let's get to it then!"

"Itachi!" She called out to him, his eyes opening, at his name. "We got work to do!"

They fought, though Sakura did not attack him, but danced around his motions, tagging him with light taps every time she had an opening. He grew frustrated at her, and she smiled, seeing his attacks become more impulsive, instead of the calculated attacks he was striking with before. Sakura took her chance, striking Itachi with an actual attack across his head. He fell, grasping it in pain as she knelt over him. He took her outstretched hand and she pulled him up without difficulty.

"Teach me how to do that." He demanded, staring at the pink haired kunoichi in training. She smirked at his eagerness, reaching her hand to pat his head.

"Maybe once you can land an attack on me, Itachi." She laughed at his pouting face at her words. "Lets go get some dessert and head back to class before they notice, ne?" His pout morphed into a smile, following her out of the training grounds and into Konoha.

Chapter Text

 It was during a similar training session, where she met Shisui Uchiha. The academy students were working on their aim, Sakura's aim being at Itachi's level, they thought it would be productive to train on the same thing. As the kunai hit the targets, another person made their presence known. He glanced at the targets before whistling at their success.

"That was pretty good!" Sakura smiled weakly as Itachi broke into a great grin. Then, as if he had just taken notice of Sakura, and had not acknowledged her existence moments ago, Shisui stepped towards Sakura, then looked between her and Itachi grinning deviously. "Itachi, I didn't know you had a girlfriend."

Itachi glared at him, as if strongly willing him to catch fire. It was a familiar glare. A horrifying glare that brought up horrifying memories.

"Hn. Pathetic. You can't even hit me." Sasuke sneered at Naruto as he attacked again, his fist missing their former teammate as he stepped to the side. Sakura was ignored, she was still too weak to compare to them, there was no way she could think of winning in a head-on fight against one of them.

She knew what she needed to do, though it broke her soul. She had to end him before he ended everything.

"RASENGAN" Naruto's loud jutsu was the perfect distraction, and as Sakura saw the direction Sasuke dodged, she jumped into action. She ran behind him, her speed unknown to the boys engaged in battle. She paid no mind to the loud crash as Rasengan hit the rocky earth, just as she paid no mind to the massive crater it had left. Her eyes never left her Sasuke, no, her prey. He did not notice her, not until she was behind him, and her hand that wielded a chakra scalpel was against his neck. The widening of his eyes was not noticed by her, however the hitch of his breath as she took her hand through his neck, severing his head was something she heard all too well.

"S-Sakura?" Naruto stared at her, fear and confusion swirling in his eyes. Her arm was drenched in blood, as was the body on the ground in front of her. She grimaced at the sight, before looking into the blonde's brilliant blue eyes.

"What is done is done." Sakura said, her voice matching the dull gleam in her eyes.

It was a mistake on his part. Everyone knew it as the air around Sakura darkened. She jumped behind Itachi with speed Shisui had never seen in a genin, pressing the side of her hand against his neck. His shock kept him still, the hand against his throat unbelievably sharp for the soft flesh it should've been. As soon as it happened, it was over, Sakura's hand retreating from his neck as she blinked, as if she wasn't entirely there before.

"I, uh, sorry about that." She said, peering at her friend. "I didn't damage anything, did I?"

"No. I'm fine." Itachi took in her appearance again, taking notice of the darkened look in her eyes.

"That was a pretty dangerous attack, you know. You could've killed him." Shisui glanced at her in a ready stance. Concern for Itachi, along with suspicion of Sakura, filled his eyes.

She crossed her arms. "Listen, it was an acciden-" Memories rushed through her head, though it was from the academy, and not from the past life she had lived.

Her clone had disappeared, it's memories filling her head. There was a fight. Itachi's clone was still there, her clone sacrificed it's life for him. Figures as much. She threw on a slight smile, one that didn't reach her eyes. She knew they could see through it, but it did make her feel more in control of the situation.

 "Fuck."

The boys turned to face her, Shisui lowered his weapon, keeping it in fighting range just in case, and Itachi stared at her like she'd just insulted his mother.

"Itachi, we must go now." He nodded and she directed her gaze to Shisui, who was still scrutinizing her form. They met eyes, his analytical black ones to her darkened green ones "You can ask questions later, we have pressing matters to attend to." The pair walked past him and he shunshined to the tree, watching as the girl lead Itachi through the woods on the border of the Uchiha compound.

Chapter Text

Sprinting past the people in town to get to the ninja academy without getting caught is a lot easier than you would think, considering the mass of ninja that are constantly in the village.

"After you?" Sakura gestured to Itachi, then the window.

He climbed in, chakra gathered in the soles of his feet to prevent slipping as he jumped in. Sakura followed quickly after, climbing in through the window of their classroom just in time to see their panicked sensei run in, take a glance at them as if he had seen a ghost, and silently turned around to leave the room. Whoops.

Sakura gestured to their seats, which sat on opposite sides of the almost empty classroom. Several students sat in a circle, gossiping as they ate their lunch, but none of them took notice of the pair sneaking in through the window.

'They'll be shit shinobi when the grow up, ignoring their surroundings like that.' Sakura coughed in her hand, one of the kids looked towards her, sneered, and brought her attention back to her lunch.

They were about to sit in their respective seats when their now slightly composed sensei ran back in. "Haruno, Uchiha, follow me." Some of the other kids in the class, who had not noticed their presence before looked up at them as they walked towards the door.

Their sensei turned towards them after shutting the door. "That was a jonin rank jutsu. Where did you learn it?" Itachi glanced at Sakura, who stared at the teacher with a stony expression.

"Itachi?"

"Sakura showed me how."

The teacher stared disapprovingly at the pink haired girl. She continued to stare back, unnerving him.

"I taught Itachi the jutsu, because I believed he could use it without injuring himself."

"That doesn't change the fact that it is a high rank jutsu that academy students have no business knowing."

Sakura shrugged. "I read a lot of books."

The teacher stared at her in frustrated disbelief. "Fine. Return to your class. You'll stay behind after school to discuss this more."

"Yes sir."

They turned toward the door, Itachi reaching out to open it for Sakura. They entered, ignored once again by the group sitting in the back. The bell rang above head and they made their way to their tables just as the rest of the class walked in, chatting loudly amongst themselves.

The pair made eye contact as the teacher cleared his throat, quieting the masses, before beginning a long lecture on the importance of mathematics and its practical applications in the shinobi world.

*<>*

The doors of the Hokage's office bust open, revealing a breathless chunin carrying a small file. He bowed before the table before speaking.

"Lord Hokage sir, I have some news for you." The chunin straightened out before continuing. "I believe there are two students whose talents are being wasted in the academy."

Danzo stiffened in his chair before leaning forward. Hiruzen motioned for him to continue. "Report."

"Sir, students Uchiha Itachi and Haruno Sakura are more than ready to graduate the academy. Along with the basic clone jutsu, they already show mastery of the forbidden Shadow Clone Jutsu. They are the top two students in their year, excelling in all subjects. There is no purpose for them to remain in the academy."

"Aren't they only freshmen?" Hiruzen said questioningly.

"That doesn't matter.This has happened before." Danzo spoke up, eyeing Hiruzen from his seat.

"That was a different era, this is not the age of war, old friend."

"The girl is brilliant, no?" Danzo asked the chunin.

"Yes."

"So then it'd be better for her to graduate then." Hiruzen sat back in his chair. "Very well. The girl may graduate."

The chunin stood for a moment in silence before realizing the implications of what was said. "And what of the Uchiha?"

"I suppose that-" Danzo cut him off.

"With all due respect, Lord Hokage, would it not be better for the Uchiha to graduate than for the civilian girl? She is, after all, and unknown, and may not be up to the lifestyle of a shinobi." He shifted his gaze towards the other elders that nodded with his every word. "I say we keep her in the academy for at least another semester to better gauge her abilities."

The chunin glanced back and forth between the two speakers before shuffling the papers in his hands.

"Very well." Hiruzen motioned for the chunin to bring the files closer. He pulled out the one on Uchiha Itachi, stamping it with approval for graduation. "Uchiha Itachi is approved to graduate at end of term, and Haruno Sakura is to be watched for another semester at the academy."

The chunin gathered up the files before escaping through the door.

.<>.

As the end of day bell rung, Sakura stayed in her seat, but placed her books back into her bag. A quick glance in the direction of Itachi told her he did the same, choosing to flip a kunai in and out of his hand.

After a good 10 minutes, their teacher stepped into the room, glancing at the two children before walking to the front of the room. Gaining the pair's attention by clearing his throat, he began speaking.

"You two were were reckless today. Your use of the Shadow Clone Jutsu could've been cause of major injury to you or your fellow students. However," he stared directly at Sakura, "your clones managed to protect your peers, and so I see little reason to punish you."

Sakura smirked as the teacher glared intensely at them in attempts to scare them. "That being said-" He walked towards the front row of seats, "If you attempt anything of the sorts again whilst under my tutelage, you will be held for detention after school for a month."

"Alright but," She stared at him, her gaze unyielding as sweat formed on the top of his forehead. "Your intimidation tactics need a bit more work." She smiled at him as he gulped.

A knock at the door shook him out of her gaze.

"I'll take my leave now. Haruno, you are free to head home. Uchiha, stay put." He quickly made his way out of the room, shivering slightly as he felt Sakura's eyes on his back.

"Hey Itachi, why do you think you have to stay here longer?" He shrugged. "Well, when you find out, tell me, alright?"

"Hn."

"Thanks!"

Sakura grabbed her things and made her way towards the teacher's desk. With Itachi distracted by his kunai once again, she grabbed the files that were laying across the wood and headed out the window. With the file tucked under one arm, she turned back to wave at him.

"See you later, Itachi!"