Chapter 14: Nightmare
Justifying his actions by telling himself that he would now know where Sakura lived, Wu walked the uncharacteristically timid girl to one of the poorer districts of Konoha.
Stopping before they reached the street leading to her home, Sakura turned to Wu and said, “My house is just around the corner. Thanks for walking me this far, Wu-kun…”
Realizing Sakura was trying to chase him off after he had spent the last twenty minutes escorting her, Wu narrowed his eyes and unashamedly inquired, “Are you embarrassed of your family”
Panicking slightly, Sakura waved her hands and insisted, “No, no! Its not that! Its just…you know…”
Becoming increasingly embarrassed, Sakura averted her eyes from Wu and softly muttered, “I just…I kind of thought that Sasuke would be the first boy I brought home. I dont want my parents to misunderstand our relationship…”
Adopting his mostradiant smile, Wu replied, “Oh, no worries about that! If they try to tease you, Ill make itvery clear were just friends. You have my word.”
Furrowing her brows slightly, Sakura looked to Wu, silence lingering for a few seconds before she pointedly muttered, “You know, you can be a real jerk sometimes…”
Relaxing his smile a bit, Wu shrugged his shoulders, responding, “I prefer the termhonest. I know you like Sasuke, so the thought of pursuing you has never once crossed my mind. What, would you rather have me pining after you like Naruto”
Shuddering at the thought, Sakura turned away from Wu and muttered, “Whatever…” before taking the initiative to lead the way. Their destination was a small, two-story house with two bedrooms, a small kitchen, and an even smaller living room. Konoha had a limited amount of space, so they had the habit of buildingup rather than allowing residences to take up a lot of space. Unless you were rich, of course.
Gesturing toward the somewhat declining structure, Sakuras expression and tone were flat as she said, “Home sweet home…”
Before Wu could comment, the door to Sakuras home abruptly opened, a fairly tall woman with fair skin emerging. She had shoulder-length blonde hair that was weirdly fashioned into a single bang, green eyes, and, much like what Sakura was wearing, a green dress with a pattern of pink flowers sewn into it.
Having heard Sakuras words, the woman wore a severe expression on her face as she asked, “Something wrong with our-” before stopping as she noticed Wu. His presence caused her eyes to widen before a teasing smile developed across her face, followed by her cupping her cheek and asking, ” Are you Wu-kun Sakura has been telling us all about you as of late…”
While her mothers words were true, Sakura stomped the ground in anger, whining, “Kaa-chaaaan! Youre going to make him misunderstand…!”
Waving his hand sideways in front of his face, Wu retorted, “No chance. I know full well how infatuated Sakura is with herbeloved Sasuke-kun. Its nice to meet you, by the way, Mrs…”
Directing a deadpan stare at her daughter, the woman asked, “You havent even told him our names” before quickly regaining a smile, turning to Wu, and adding, “My name is Haruno Mebuki. My husband isnt here right now, but his name is Haruno Kizashi. On behalf of both of us, thanks for helping our daughter come to her senses, Wu-kun. We were seriously worried this girl was about to start dieting in the next year or two…”
As she had actually been planning to do exactly that, Sakura averted her eyes from both her mother and Wu. In hindsight, she realized that would have been pretty foolish, as, according to some of the medical texts she had read, failing to consume adequate nutrients during the developmental years of a childs life could lead to all kinds of issues.
Shattering Sakuras reverie, Wu adopted a naturally charismatic smile as he said, “Sakura is too intelligent to do something that foolish. I consider myself pretty smart, but she even teaches me during our study sessions. If she really did start dieting, dont worry. Ill smack some sense into her.”
Though she would typically disprove of someone talking about hitting her daughter, Mebuki found Wus words rather amusing. Sakura had informed them that he was the most intelligent boy in their class and potentially the strongest in the Academy. He was also a member of the Sarutobi Clan, so if Mebuki was being honest, she had a much better impression of Wu than the young heir of the Uchiha Clan.
Believing she might be able to give the duo a push in the right direction, Mebuki exhaled a chuckle before narrowing her eyes and replying, “Then Ill leave Sakura in your care, Wu-kun. If you catch her doing anything she shouldnt, be sure to correct her or let us know.”
Unable to believe what she was hearing, Sakura shouted, “Kaa-chan…!” with an expression that was equal parts pouty and furious. If she had known her mother was going to embarrass her like this, she would have put her foot down a few minutes ago.
Providing Sakura a bit of relief, Wu interjected to say, “I should be going. I still have some training to conduct before I turn in for the day. See you at school tomorrow, Sakura.”
Without waiting for the duo to respond, Wu promptly turned around and ran at his fastest speed. His sudden action left the mother-daughter pair at a loss for words, but Mebuki quickly recovered, a serious expression on her face as she looked down at her daughter and said, “Head inside and get cleaned up. Then I want to hear all about yourtraining. Understood”
Though she wanted to refuse, Sakura was still just an eight-year-old girl. From her and her fathers perspective, her mothers word was law within the Haruno household. Thus, after a moment of indecision, she exhaled a defeated sigh, hanging her head and shoulders as she replied, “Yes, Kaa-chan…” At the same time, she was thinking about how she would get even with Wu in the future, disregarding the detail about whether or not he had done anything wrong…
As Hiruzen really did have other matters to attend to, Wu threw himself into his training for a few hours before taking a bath, eating dinner alone, and retiring to his room. Wu felt markedly more exhausted than usual, so even though he usually reflected upon his day before falling asleep, he convinced himself nothing of import had happened before succumbing to the sweet embrace of unconsciousness…
Having never once dreamed, Wu was confused when heawoke to find himself lying in the middle of what appeared to be his usual training area. The differences were that the sky overhead was twisting and distorted, while the grass, trees, and even the dirt around him seemed more colorful than usual.
Catching the confused youth by surprise, a familiar voice startled him to his feet. When he turned around, he found Sakura staring up at him with a potent blush and a dazed expression on her face. However, instead of the Sakura he was familiar with, she was much older and had a tiny diamond in the center of her forehead…
Leaving Wu even more confused, Sakura began to pull at the zipper of her red, sleeveless top as she repeated, “Wu-kun…” in an audibly impassioned tone.
Hearing multiple people whisper his name, Wu shuddered before looking around to find himself encircled by most of the girls in his class. They, too, appeared much older, with Hinata, in particular, having a full and shapely figure that left Wu feeling what he could only describe asstifled.
Tensing even further, Wu turned back to Sakura to find that she was now being embraced by her mother. Both were staring at him with expectation while the girls surrounding him began to close in from all sides. Then, with one final “Wu-kun…” whispered directly into his ear, the young boy awoke to find his body covered in sweat.
As was often the case when he was genuinely annoyed or frustrated, Wu placed his hand on his chest and softly exclaimed, “What the actual ** was that…” His heart was palpitating furiously within his chest, so much so that his inner ears and temples were pounding. Unfortunately, the only thing greeting Wus outburst was silence. After all, he was the only one in the room…
Convincing himself he had just had a nightmare, even though he had never even dreamed before, Wu plopped backward onto his bed and just stared listlessly at the ceiling. As his thoughts began to settle, a resolve gradually formed within his heart, compelling him to close his eyes and attempt to recall the frightening experience. Lord Enma had taught him that being afraid wasnt a sin. Fearing to face and try to understand them, however, was inexcusable…
As the scene gradually repeated in his mind, Wu took special note of the diamond-shaped mark on Sakuras forehead. He could explain everyone aging up as being just his imagination running wild, but the peculiar seal was something completely foreign to him. So, too, were the clothes that she, and many of the other girls, were wearing. Thus, even though he felt a lingering sense of discomfort, Wu replayed the scene over and over until he eventually succumbed to unconsciousness a second time…
Feeling uncharacteristically fatigued, Wu was nearly late for the first time since he had started attending the Academy. He usually showed up a few minutes early to greet and chat with people, so his Sensei and classmates were fairly surprised to see him enter the classroom just before the bell.
Noticing the state Wu was in, Daikoku asked, “Are you okay, Sarutobi-san If youre feeling ill, please go to the medical ward.”
Waving off his Senseis concerns, Wu asserted, “Im okay. I just stayed up late and missed breakfast. Ill be fine after lunch.”
Since Wu had an immaculate record within the Academy, both in terms of academics and practical skills, Daikoku politely insisted, “You should head over, just to be sure. If nothing else, you can use the opportunity to grab something from the vending machines on your way back.”
Not wanting to argue, Wu gave a curt, seemingly appreciative nod before turning around and departing the classroom. A few of his classmates took exception to his clearly preferential treatment, but Daikoku shut them up fairly quickly, telling them they could also receive special treatment if they got perfect marks in every class…
Reaching his destination less than a minute later, Wu opened the door to the schools medical ward while covering his mouth to stifle a yawn. He didnt notice, but there was a sign posted outside advising students to a smaller office on the opposite side of the facility. The door had also been locked, but due to his inordinate strength and distracted state, Wu had just assumed it was jammed.
As the eyes of twenty-seven girls and a female instructor shifted to him, a look of confusion marred Wus face as he remarked, “Huh Did I enter the wrong place”
Before anyone could answer him, Wu raised his gaze to the images being projected onto the infirmarys wall. He didnt recognize what was on the left, but he immediately concluded that the anatomical reference on the right was a penis. By process of elimination-
Interrupting Wus absentminded analysis, the female instructor switched off the projector, her face contorted into a judgmental glower as she said, “This is a class for fourth-year girls, only. Did you not see the sign posted beside the door”
Instead of answering the womans question, Wu took a step back to look at the sign, noting, “Huh…would you look at that…” in a dull monotone. His behavior wasnt very appreciated by the female instructor, but before she could think to reprimand him, one of the girls pointed out, “Hey, isnt that Sarutobi-kun from Class 3-A” while another replied, “Yeah, but he kind of seems…out of it Is he sick”
As realization donned on the instructor, the anger disappeared from her expression. She was a temporary lecturer arranged after the audit, but she had still been made aware of Wus existence. After all, he was the grandson of the Hokage and the most talented member of his generation.
Dismissing any thoughts of punishing Wus impropriety, the instructor told the class, “Read through pages 27 through 29. Ill be back shortly.”
Rising to her feet, the instructor attempted to approach Wu but stopped when he raised his hand, shook his head, and said, “Theres no need for Sensei to trouble herself. I know where the room mentioned on the sign is. I can make my way there just fine.”
Though she would have been inclined to acquiesce if Wu was an ordinary student, the instructor didnt want to imagine what would happen to her if she permitted the grandson of the Hokage to collapse in the middle of the hallway. Instead of escorting him herself, however, she turned to a bright-eyed girl with brown hair, blush marks, and two tiny buns at the sides of her head, saying, “Tenten. Please see to it that Sarutobi-san reaches his destination safely.”
Raising her right hand, Tenten replied with a boisterous, “Yes, Sensei~!” before rising to her feet and rushing over to Wus side. He felt inclined to refuse her help, but Tenten preempted his refusal by grabbing his hand and saying, “Lets go~!” in a cheerful, optimistic tone.