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Time Braid is a Naruto fanfic that uses a Groundhog Day Loop device similar to that in Chunin Exam Day. The similarities end there.

It begins with a loop. Specifically, Sakura is looping. There are the usual time-loop issues before she decides to buckle down and get strong enough to actually pass the exam and (she thinks) end the loop. Things are going along fine until she runs into a looping version of Naruto, who apparently has his own loop in a parallel universe and crosses over with hers at long intervals. Then things go off the rails.

Contains examples of: Edit

  • A God Am I: Pein, of course, as in canon. Notable for Sakura immediately laughing in his face that he's nowhere near as powerful as the looping Naruto. Then, Sakura herself, when she uses the Shiki Fuuin to bind the Kyuubi; due to her small portion of kami ancestry, she sacrifices only her human life, leaving her as a full kami living on borrowed time. Of course, that's enough time to get to the Throne of the Gods.
  • Amnesiac Hero: Sakura.
  • And I Must Scream: Hidan in the final battle.
  • Ax Crazy: Hinata (both the original looping version and Sakura's), the looping version after going insane living in the loops for years on end alone, Sakura's due to her semi-brainwashing by demon!Sakura.
  • Badass Boast and World of Cardboard Speech: Sakura gets one to Hidan.

 Hidan: You'll run out of chakra soon, but Jashin won't. He's a god, but you're just a fancy medic-nin.

Sakura: You know, I've been telling myself that for years. But as long as my Heaven Seal is active I can't fool myself. I see too much, and I can't miss the implications. I'm not just a medic-nin, Hidan. I'm the last native kami of this demon-haunted world, and my domains are insight and mystery. Not to mention that I just took about six levels of badass. Don't make me fight you, or you'll lose.

  • Bad Future: loop!Sasuke shows Sakura one, in which the Eye of the Moon Plan was successfully enacted and drove everyone insane; all the righteous people were killed, allowing the demons to take control of the world forever. Averting this is the reason why he wants to kill loop!Naruto. Of course, he's under the Curse of Despair just like everyone else, so it's going badly wrong.
  • Brainwashed: This is loop!Sasuke's modus operandi. Leading to (kind of)...
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Sakura is never used as a main combatant against her allies, but loop!Hinata is.
  • Body Surf: Sakura is rather fond of hitchhiking inside the minds of her companions, not rarely as a battle tactic.
  • Book Ends: There are at least three of those in the last chapter, related to Anko, Jiraya and Kakashi. Understandable, since it's the last loop (unless something goes wrong).
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Demon Sakura. After the forced merge early on, it seems this aspect is gone, but then she's discovered in a kind of 'inactive aspects' area of Sakura's Mental World, and Sakura uses her to guard the box containing the memories she doesn't want Sasuke to see. Later, her mastery of the Sharingan is used to give Sakura the chance at her Heroic Sacrifice, and afterwards she becomes half of Sakura's new demon/kami split axis.
  • Demonic Possession: Sakura meets a new inhabitant of her mind after some poorly thought-out decisions.
  • The Chosen One: Naruto has the Mandate of Heaven (basically the title of "Chosen One" with different wording), is unaffected by the Curse of Despair, and is their world's only hope to fix things.
    • Goes a bit further than that: the Mandate of Heaven is supposed to be proof of Imperial lineage, i.e. Naruto is the descendant (and heir) of the Emperor. Unfortunately the story never goes into that, beyond Naruto being immune to the Curse of Despair.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: This can be the case, depending on how they explain their powerups after the loop gets done with.
  • Epic Fail: Some of Sakura's deaths due to the Groundhog Day Loop are pretty embarrassing. She, at one point, gets Naruto to teach her Kage Bunshin no Jutsu, believe that if an imbecile like him can do it, she'd have no problem. She fails to make even a single clone before dying of chakra exhaustion.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Demon Sakura is horrified at what loop!Sasuke did to Sakura with the Tsukuyomi, more so because, since she just locked up Sakura with the same power, Sakura expects much the same from her. Demon Sakura comments that beating her into submission would be "way too much like raping myself repeatedly", and decides to resolve the conflict of which personality will be dominant by seeing who can make a better life in the loops.
  • Face Heel Turn: Happens to Sakura and Hinata due to brainwashing.
  • Face Palm of Doom: Rasengan manifested inside the brain. Regenerate that, Kabuto.
  • Foreshadowing: During Sakura's first apprenticeships with Anko, at one point she asks about brainwashing (in context, because of its superficial familiarity to the manipulation used with Anko's seduction techniques). Anko replies that the only reliable method of actual brainwashing that doesn't damage the victim into uselessness is pleasure-pain conditioning, but that's not much used because it requires a couple of days isolated with the victim. The astute will remember the duration of the Tsukuyomi genjutsu of the Mangekyo Sharingan. Guess who shows up a few loops later?
  • Future Me Scares Me: A variation occurs when during a loop at a Chunin exam, a normal not-yet-crazy Sasuke has everything explained to him and expresses horror when he hears what his looping self did to Sakura.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Sakura is reluctant to continue stealing Sasuke’s eyes because she’s afraid it will make her used to choosing solutions like that.
  • Heel Face Brainwashing: Sakura does this to one of her brainwashed selves, redirecting the puppy love from Sasuke towards Naruto.
  • Heel Face Revolving Door: At first real!Hinata tries killing Sakura. Then decides not to kill her, heed her advice and deal with her slipping sanity problems. Then gets brainwashed by Sasuke and captures Sakura for him. Then manages to recover from said brainwashing enough to knock Sasuke out at a critical juncture. Then succumbs to demonic corruption and breaks Naruto’s seal, making Kyūbi gain control and get a chance of consuming Naruto’s soul.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Sakura binds the Kyuubi with Shiki Fuuin. It's noted specifically that she was quite capable of escaping to a parallel universe, but loop!Naruto and Hinata were prisoners in the Kyuubi's mind, and she would not leave them.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • To Sakura for not trying to render Sasuke unconcious first before trying to copy his memories;
    • To Sakura again for making herself almost completely vulnerable to Hinata even though she knows by that point that Sasuke has learned how to travel between dimensions, so Hinata shoud’ve been considered a potential brainwashed enemy agent.
    • To Sasuke for not doing any maintenance on his brainwashed minions.
  • In Spite of a Nail: The crazy looping!Hinata spent one of her loops as Naruto's wife and mothering several children, but everything was reset when Naruto is killed in battle and she was left in despair because she figures she wouldn't have the same children again even if she had another loop similar to that one. Sakura explains that due to some kind of divine order, if Hinata and Naruto ended up together again, she in fact would have the same children.
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind: This is how mind-control techniques work--including, as it turns out, the Tsukuyomi. Sakura makes hers a maze of traps with the goal well hidden; Naruto's requires the user to fight the Kyuubi.
  • Mental World: Sakura has one. It's far more like a 'real' world than anyone else's, because she's part kami. She ends up partitioning it five ways from next Sunday and trapping the hell out of the outside bit, as a defense against mental attacks.
  • Mugging the Monster: This happens a lot to Sakura and Hinata when they go undercover as nukenin. It's noted that after a few months of Sakura letting Hinata do what she wants to the attackers, there stop being so many of them.
  • Offing the Offspring: Given how unlocking advanced Sharingan forms works, one could guess from Sakura’s unfinished explanation that Sasuke had to kill a daughter of his in one of the loops..
  • Polyamory: Sakura, Hinata and Naruto eventually end romantically involved with each other, though Sakura does state that it takes effort to make it work.
  • Power Perversion Potential: Sakura's ability to make herself into older and bustier is used like this as well as Naruto's Shadow Clone Jutsu (useful for when you have more that one woman to please).
  • Split Personality: Sakura can divide herself into aspects, which embody different sides of her personality. The original 'Inner Sakura' is one of these.
  • Split Personality Takeover: An ill-considered decision activates a curse that makes a 'dark' aspect of Sakura, then turns it into a literal demon. This demon imprisons the original in her Mental World and goes about several loops controlling her, before Sakura takes a level (one of many) and forces a merge with her.
  • Super-Powered Evil Side: Sakura, kind of. Her demon aspect is actually quite a bit less powerful than she is, but being a demon and hence related to its creators, she has all the powers of the Sharingan without needing to have committed the requisite mortal sins.
  • Take That: A few to Chunin Exam Day. Sakura has a "don't act like a psycho" rule, and she notes that going through a long series of loops stealing Sasuke's eyes each time would most definitely violate it.
  • Transferable Memory: Transferring “memory bubbles” from one character to another is a common occurrence and often a free action.
  • Took a Level In Badass: The characters take advantage of the oodles of extra time at their disposal by training like mad. Sakura in particular goes to pretty much everyone she can think of (friend and foe) to learn new techniques, and even trades techniques with rival villages.
  • Unreliable Narrator: One of the most obvious ways in which Sakura matures is the way in which she views the people around her, and how that changes over time. Discussed by her and loop!Naruto in the end with regards to Kakashi.
  • Verbal Backspace: During the final battle, Sakura has been fuming for some time over a comment by loop!Sasuke that she is "not a frontline combatant". (Which isn't her specialty, but she's S-rank for a reason.) After a skirmish in which she takes out most of Akatsuki single-handedly, she is exulting to herself that "I am the champion of ass-kicking!" Then she looks over and notices Naruto's fight against three copies of himself with their will suppressed to release the Kyuubi entirely.
  • Wham! Episode: Sakura sees Hinata and Naruto officially hooking up before taking one Chuunin Exam. That's when she learns that she's not alone in the loop, and that others are conscious of looping as well.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Hidan's immortality is of this variant—relying on it too much in a fight will leave him crippled with the secondary damage, but he can never actually die. Sakura ends up cutting off his head, encasing it in unbreakable stone and throwing it randomly into the middle of nowhere.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: "I don't make villain speeches, Kabuto. You'll just have to die not knowing."