When does the path we walk on lock around our feet?
“Haruno-san, they’re ready for you.”
When does the road become a river with only one destination?
“We’re gathered here today to discuss what has become a glaring issue that can no longer be ignored.” Councilman Makoto’s hardened eyes scan over every occupant in the meeting room but they slide over Sakura as if she’s not there.
“It’s come to our attention Haruno Sakura that you’ve broken numerous codes of conducts as per our shinobi handbook of rules,” Koharu’s disdain rumbles in her age-roughened voice; around her various council members nod gravely.
In their midst sits the Hokage, grave in a way Sakura has never seen her. With her fingers steepled under her chin, and her gaze carefully shuttered, Tsunade appears to be the perfect picture of a leader.
“Rule 72: a good ninja must always prioritise his mission above all. Rule 34: a good ninja must kill his emotions and act only on the will of his village. Rule 89: a good ninja must always differ to the judgement of his team captain. Rule 11: a good ninja will never take decisions that could compromise the safety of his village. Are you not familiar with those rules, Haruno Sakura?” Makoto barks. He doesn’t slam his hand over the desk the way Tsunade might do in a fit of explosive anger but there’s enough fury in his voice to make Sakura’s finger twitch in the direction of her sword.
“Your actions have cost us greatly,” councilman Haru intones. “We have lost valuable intel because of your rash judgement. Your mission was to secure a scroll at all costs. Not only have you failed your mission objective, but you’ve compromised your whole team in the quest to save one person. What’ve you to say for yourself?”
Sakura stands under the stripping gaze of nine councilmen feeling naked. The mask clipped to her hip is a sharp reminder of how much she’d gotten used to being anonymous; just another bone-white monster killing in Konoha’s name.
Sakura bitterly reflects on where that has landed her and doesn’t deign the council with a response.