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Fanfic / Dead Garden

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Dead Garden is a Naruto For Want of a Nail fic written by our own Anowack, who also wrote One Hundred Days and its sequel One Hundred Weeks.

It retells Naruto as it might have been if it were called Sakura instead - in this world, for as-yet-undisclosed reasons, the 4th Hokage sealed the Kyuubi into Haruno Sakura instead of his own son Naruto. Naruto's mother Kushina survived and Sakura's mother, Haruno Amaya, died in her place. The story extrapolates how these changes would affect the way the cast would have developed - Sakura growing up as the village pariah, Naruto being raised by his loving (but crippled) mother, Sasuke having Naruto as a good friend from childhood - as they are assigned to Team 7 and begin their ninja careers.


Discussion and drafts of upcoming chapters can be found on the SpaceBattles forum thread. Unfortunately the thread (and the fanfic) haven't been updated in over 4 years and it is a Dead Fic.

This fanfic provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Sakura is growing into one, however slowly; Hinata has seemingly already reached this. Tsubaki and Hana are no pushovers, either, and their performances in the Land of Waves far outweigh anything Canon ever let them do.
  • Almighty Janitor: Takeru is a "Career-Genin", being in his position for nearly 30 years. This and his age might lead to younger people underestimating him, but he's likely more experienced and competant than most Chuunin.
  • Alpha Bitch: Ino and Ami. Naruto points this out when he explains why he doesn't consider the former his friend (though Sakura herself notes she's not as bad as Ami).
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  • The Atoner: Kushina, who blames herself for the death of Sakura's mother.
  • Berserk Button: Sakura's is threatening or hurting her loved ones - Kushina is often on the recieving end of the Death Glare (not that she tries to defend herself), and the Cloud Team made a big mistake in hurting her teammates.
  • Best Served Cold: Yugito intends to take her brother's crippling out on Tetsu's hide. And quite possibly Sakura's as well.
    • Orochimaru is intent on bringing Haku to his side with the promise of revenge against Konoha for Zabuza's death.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Kabuto takes this a step further by acting the part of a friend towards both Sakura and her father, even going with Takeru on the Wave Country mission.
  • Bloody Murder: Hidan possessed this kind of power before gaining the immortality powers of Jashin he has in canon.
  • Broken Bird: Sakura.
    • Kushina as well - while she's still Konoha's most prominent sealing master, she's also a crippled single mother who can no longer fight for her village and on top of that, she's wrought with guilt over leading her friend Amaya to her death and for burdening Amaya's husband and daughter with the Kyuubi.
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  • Childhood Friends: Naruto and Sasuke, due to Kushina having been friends with Sasuke's mother Mikoto. Also Naruto and Hinata.
  • Combat Medic: Naruto, and of course Kabuto.
  • Dark-Skinned Redhead: Kasumi.
  • Dead Fic: Not updated since 2012.
  • Death by Adaptation:
    • Misumi Tsurugi in Chapter 1 is a Type II (if you consider anime Filler canon), as is Hidan.
    • One of the Haimaru triplets in Chapter 8.
  • Determinator: Sakura finally gets to display this in the battle against Hidan.
  • Disappeared Dad: Minato, for his son Naruto. He didn't even know who his father was until he became a genin.
  • Divide and Conquer: Tetsu's distraction of Kakashi was meant to ensure his genin team would defeat Team 7 so they can steal their coveted bloodlines, or at least Sasuke's Sharingan. It would have worked, were it not for Sakura's jinchuuriki abilities.
  • Drop the Hammer: Kasumi's weapon of choice.
    • It's broken by Sakura later.
  • For Want of a Nail: This world is "close to canon" fundamentally (even in terms of backstory), with a few noteworthy differences that effect the overall formula.
    • Most importantly, Sakura is not Naruto - she is a Shrinking Violet with much less self-esteem; she doesn't have the Uzumaki's genetic traits which would give her his massive chakra reserves and stamina (and her seal isn't custom-made for her); and because of differing circumstances, she doesn't learn the Shadow Clone technique (and neither does Naruto).
  • Freudian Trio:
  • Generation Xerox: Sakura's mother was "dead last" in her graduating class, just like her daughter. Daresay this is Foreshadowing?
  • Genius Cripple: Kushina.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Mizuki is an Anti-Villain in this story, forced into betraying Konoha by Orochimaru threatening one of his loved ones and reaches his limit when Sakura is put at risk.
    • If Word of God is to be believed, Mizuki originally turned traitor willingly but, due to his greater conscience (resulting from not growing apart from his teammate Takeru), he had second thoughts until Tsubaki is threatened. However, he does go quietly into interrogation after saving Sakura.
  • Heroic BSoD: Sakura doesn't take the revelation that she's the host of the Kyuubi nearly as well as Naruto does in canon. It really comes to a head when she misunderstands the bell test as an attempt by Kakashi to get rid of her by rigging it against her, causing her to try and quit as a ninja.
  • Heroic Resolve: Sakura channels this trope in its most pure form to become the only genin able to withstand the suffocating pressure of Hidan's killing intent (although the Kyuubi takes the credit for this when it and Sakura meet).
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: Sakura starts off in the story with zero self-confidence and a crippling lack of self-worth, thanks to not having the Heroic Willpower of Naruto. She's slowly getting better, though.
  • I Always Wanted to Say That: Kasumi says this when Naruto accidentally sees her naked at the hot springs, before screaming "Pervert!" Not that she really cares.
  • Jerkass: While normally friendly enough, Kasumi is really a bit of a bully and a thug.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Sasuke.
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind: As in canon, Sakura goes to a dreamscape inside of her where the Kyuubi is imprisoned. Unlike in canon, it takes the form of a devastated version of Konoha, frozen in time, with the Kyuubi in the form of a beastlike Sakura imprisoned in an iron cage hanging from a dead sakura tree in the middle of a dead garden.
  • Knight Templar Big Brother: Or rather, sister: Yugito Nii, Hikaru's elder sister, is positively livid with Tetsu for getting her brother critically injured and comatose in a failed, unsanctioned and blatantly stupid attempt to get Team 7's bloodlines - she promises his punishment will not be merciful in the least. What this will mean for Sakura - the one who injured Hikaru while defending her own True Companions - remains to be seen.
  • Legacy Character: Meta example: the names of Sakura parents (Amaya and Takeru) as well as a certain Hidden Cloud jounin (Tetsu) are taken from Anowack's earlier Naruto fic One Hundred Days, although their characters and backstories are completely different.
  • Long-Lost Relative: Sakura's mother's maiden name is the same as Kurenai's sugesting a relation between them. It also explains why Kurenai wanted Team 7.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Kabuto, to a far greater degree than even in canon.
  • Missing Mom: Amaya, for Sakura. Araimi - the daughter of Team 7's client on their first C-Rank client, Keikan - also doesn't have a living mother.
  • Nice Guy: Naruto. Sakura is also shown to be quite kind-hearted, albeit very broken as well.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Takeru, we get that you dislike Kushina and have pretty good reason for it, but telling Sakura not to hang out with Naruto (because he's her son) was probably not a really good idea - he and Hinata were the only students who wanted to befriend your daughter, and being cold to Naruto meant that, in turn, Hinata refused to hang out with Sakura unless she made peace with Naruto (which took years). Good job, man.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Sakura, with the aid of the Kyuubi unleashes one of these on the Cloud team when they try to kidnap Sasuke and Naruto (especially Sasuke) for their bloodlines.
  • Oh, Crap!: Kasumi's reaction when Sakura handily breaks her hammer, rendering her powerless before she resumes the beatdown.
  • Out-of-Character Alert/Spotting the Thread: The Kyuubi has almost managed to convince Sakura that she and it are one and the same being, when it misspeaks, referring to Naruto and Sasuke as "your friends" rather than "our friends".
  • Papa Wolf: Haruno Takeru threatens to kill Kakashi if he "allows" Sakura to have an "accident" while she's under his supervision, regardless of the fact that Kakashi is a famous jounin and he's just a career genin.
    • Overprotective Dad: Unfortunately he tends to be a bit too protective of her, ordering her to have nothing to do with the one of the only people who actually wanted to be friends with her (Naruto), resulting in her being alone and friendless during her time at the academy.
    • Mizuki, Takeru's old teammate, also qualifies - years ago, he took a kunai to the hand protecting Sakura, and in the present he killed Tsurugi for threatening her.
  • Parental Substitute: Kushina was a secondary mother-figure to Sasuke, especially after Mikoto's death. Sasuke being who he is means he's always been a little unsure of how to interact with her.
  • Red Baron: Sakura's mother was "Five-Element Amaya".
  • Role Swap AU: The role of Jinchuuriki and medic are swapped between Naruto and Sakura.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Tora.
  • Shameless Fanservice Girl: Kasumi.
  • Shock and Awe: Tetsu can channel electricity through his prosthetic metal arm and Eimi uses several lightning techniques, one of which Sasuke steals with his Sharingan.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Haku - and contrary to popular presentation, this is decisively not a good thing.
  • Starter Villain: Hidan, although he subverts the usual Sorting Algorithm of Evil. The Cloud Team, too.
  • Tell Me About My Father!: Played straight with Sakura, concerning her mother. Inverted with Naruto - when he's calling out Kushina for not telling him how or why she's responsible for "killing" Sakura's mother, he furiously prepares to storm out after declaring how she never even told him about Minato; this prompts her to finally tell her son that his father was the Fourth Hokage.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: Takeru's attitude towards Kushina and Minato. Tragically, his grief for Amaya leaks over towards Naruto as well despite the latter having no awareness of all this - most likely because Naruto should've been the jinchuuriki (Anowack heavily hints that the seal was indeed meant for Naruto, but for some reason Minato was forced to instead use Sakura to contain the demon).
  • Too Dumb to Live: Besides his getting her brother probably crippled for life, Yugito is also unimpressed with Tetsu's "flagrant violation of the truce between [their] villages" - making it very clear than even if she wasn't feeling vengeful towards him, his complete idiocy in defying the Leaf-Cloud treaty means that they owe Konoha his head to compensate for his backstabbing. Even if his attempted kidnapping were successful, he'd essentially sealed his fate the moment he cooked up the scheme.
  • Unstoppable Rage: When Sakura unleashes her Kyuubi power against the Cloud ninja. Doubly so when Kasumi spitefully injures an already-unconscious Naruto.
  • Variable-Length Chain: Naruto's trademark ability is the Chakra Chain Snare he learned from his mother.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Naruto and Sasuke.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Kakashi demands to know what the hell Kushina was thinking when she told Sakura that she killed Sakura's mother - even if Kushina does feel responsible, it's making his job far more difficult than necessary.
  • Would You Like to Hear How They Died?: Hidan taunts Tora like this after massacring the Hot Springs Village.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: While Anowack is good at keeping details consistent, there is one jarring example of this in-story: specifically, Mizuki's being Takeru's old friend and teammate. While interesting in context, makes no sense in regards to the ages of the characters; Takeru and Amaya were in the same graduating class as Minato & Kushina , meaning they would've been in their mid- to late-20's at the time the Kyuubi attacked, putting Takeru in his late 30s at the youngest (it's unlikely he graduated at a considerably younger age than Minato or Kushina). Mizuki meanwhile is somewhere in his 20s in the present, and his being Iruka's old friend as well in-universe means he couldn't have graduated before the Kyuubi attack. The only explanation which completely fits is that they became teammates in Dead Garden only after Amaya's death, which appears to contradict some statements made by Word of God.
  • You Should Have Died Instead: Takeru never forgave Kushina for living when Amaya died. However, in a subversion, after it happened he insisted that she had to live - both so she wouldn't take the easy way out and because he didn't want Naruto to grow up without a mother as well.
  • Zero-Approval Gambit: Kakashi improvises a short-term one to unify Team 7 by ordering Naruto and Sasuke to kill Sakura after she attempts to quit as a ninja. Instead they both fight him to protect Sakura.