I don’t want to do another Friendship is a (Mutual) Con ‘verse, because I’ve done a lot for this ask box event and there’s also another post in that ‘verse on the way. Not that I don’t love that ‘verse, but I’d like to explore others.
… or come up with new ones?!
So I know you mentioned Sai and Sakura so that I wouldn’t exclude them, but I thought about it and I like the idea of a ‘verse about the two of them specifically.
Like a post-bad-guys-win/comeback/time travel!AU except instead of Shikako going back in time, it’s Sai and Sakura. Or, alternatively, a dimension travel!AU more in line with this anon’s original ask…
But so as not to just recycle previous posts, let’s go in depth into this Sai and Sakura Save The World.
It’s pretty interesting because Sai has shown up early in DoS and yet he and Sakura haven’t met yet (as far as I know?) and their relationship would be inherently different from their canon relationship because while we consider Sakura as part of Team Seven still, in universe, nobody except Shikako would think that.
I mean, Project Miracle–she did help save Kakashi’s life–but she is firmly Team Anko now so…
Why would Team Seven send Sai, a ROOT trained spy, and Sakura, an elite combat medic taught by Tsunade, back in time instead of the three walking forces of nature that is the “core” Team Seven or even Kakashi (or Tenzo!) who have years more experience/information?
Maybe BECAUSE they’re a ROOT trained spy and elite combat medic taught by Tsunade.
So then we have to consider when and where such a pairing would be more effective than the other possible combinations…
The night of Naruto’s birth would be the most recent, I think (the Uchiha Massacre is already too late, they have to show up before then to be effective and stop the underlying political tensions and machinations). Sakura would be there to heal Kushina and Minato on the night of, and the both of them would be able to advise them in, primarily, getting rid of Danzo much earlier on and preparing for future catastrophes.
Reverse chronologically, the other possibilities are during the Third Shinobi World War, specifically when Team Minato are in danger, and maybe whenever Sakumo’s failed mission but at that point the information would be spread so thin and the repercussions so difficult to track that it’s unlikely.
And, anyway, I quite like the idea of Sai and Sakura hanging out with Kushin and Minato and seeing all of their friends as babies. It gives them a tangible reason to keep going because, frankly, by changing the timeline they no longer have a home to go back to.
And just the idea of irreversible time travel makes the title very ironic and sad and lovely 😀
To make it more sad, I wonder if the baby!Sai and Sakura die when time traveler!Sai and Sakura appear–like, the universe self edits and there can only be one of each, and obviously the babies don’t have as strong existences as these badass teenagers. And, also, there’s an excuse. Now I’m morbidly curious as to how many babies might have died due to Kyuubi chakra in the air.
Additionally, I wonder whether or not, because there are time travelers and the universe doesn’t need an SIOC to correct problems (not in a the-universe-is-sentient kind of way but in a balance-the-scales kind of way), Shikako’s existence is the same. Maybe there is a Shikako Nara but no SQ soul attached. Or maybe, even though they went back in time to help, their actions meant the Kyuubi was out longer and thus the baby that would have been Shikako (and Sai and Sakura) died from bijuu chakra exposure.
… I don’t think I want to go that far, though. Maybe no SQ soul at most, but no dead!Shikako, only because I think that’d be such a major blow to the time traveling team so early on that they wouldn’t want to make any other changes for fear of killing any more of their friends. And the whole “replacing their younger selves in the time stream” thing is already pretty bleak, for Sakura especially, since she actually grew up with her parents.
Anyway, I just quite liked the idea of Sai and Sakura time traveling together to save the world by saving Team Seven before they even know it. And also, Sai dismantling ROOT over a decade early and saving Shin.
And the possibility of Sai and Sakura getting swarmed by baby versions of Konoha Twelve is just too cute to pass up.