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Trail Mix

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1: Hanami

Summary: I'm named after dango; guess who my mother is. I'm a manipulative little shit; guess who my father is. We're not a conventional family but we make it work.

In the far back corner of the examination room, a nine-year-old girl with purple-tinted grey hair lay sprawled over a table, head hanging off the edge and absently bouncing a pink rubber ball against the wall.

A shadow fell over the girl's form as her teammate approached. "You done 'sussing out the competition' Hanami?"

Not bothering to look up from her ball bouncing, the little girl hummed. "Yup. Got everyone who'd play ball with me."

A tiny wobble signaled the older boy joining her on the table. "And what, exactly, could you deduce from how someone plays catch?" He asked skeptically.

Only at this did Hanami sit up to glower at her teammate. "Would you shut up?" She hissed irritably. "We're surrounded by competitors Kaito, do you really think now is the time to talk about this?" Before Kaito could respond, a new wave of leaf genin swept into the room and Hanami groaned. "Seriously? Some moron probably spewed their yap about the genjutsu trap and let everyone else in on the gig. Now we have even more competition."

"You know," Kaito mused, "I can kind of see why you were kicked out of all your other teams. Getting told off by a bossy little girl can be a real pain in the ass."

Hanami scoffed. "Hmph. Nobody can handle my awesomeness. Besides, it's good to get practice working with different people." She hopped off the table with a flourish, stuffing her ball back in one of the many pockets on her long trench coat. "Whelp, let's go greet the newcomers."

"This should be fun." Kaito muttered, following behind.

"Ne, pretty kunoichi, wanna play catch with me?" Hanami smiled cutely up at a girl wearing her hair in two buns.

The girl blinked, then smiled. "Sure thing! I'm Tenten, what's your name?"

Hanami giggled coyly and tossed Tenten a ball. "Guess!" As she tested her newest target's reflexes, speed, ambidexterity and movement, she kept her on her toes, multitasking with small talk and the game of guessing her name. "Oops!" Hanami intentionally missed a catch, allowing the ball to fly past her and towards a Hyuga leaning up against the wall. The boy caught it on reflex and glared in the direction the projectile had come from.

"Heh, sorry Neji!" Tenten apologized.

"No I'm sorry!" Hanami cut in faux earnestly. "It's my fault for not catching it. Would you like to play catch with us Neji?" Hanami purposefully fumbled the ball when Neji tossed it back in her face.

Kaito huffed a laugh beside her. "Still as much as an asshole as always, eh Neji?"

Tenten's expression lit with recognition. "Ah, Kaito! I haven't seen you since we all graduated together. I hear you were put on a team with Mu Aburame and…" her eyes looked at Hanami in realization, "you must be Hanami, the early grad!"

The younger girl puffed up in pride. "That's right! I'm Hanami, the horrible handful, tiny terror, and the precocious prat!"

Kaito landed a fist on top of her head. "Also the least humble."

"That's not alliterative." Hanami pouted.

"Lee has arrived." Neji interrupted the banter. "Let us gather ourselves someplace less conspicuous."

Tenten nodded her affirmation and sent the other two genin a genial wave.

"All right, who's next…?" Hanami muttered to herself while Kaito took up Neji's previous spot of leaning against the wall.

"How much trouble have you two gotten up to before I got here?" A low drawl enquired. Hanami and Kaito looked up at the towering figure of their final teammate and grinned.

"Mu!" Hanami exclaimed, promptly climbing the freakishly tall Aburame and sitting on his shoulders. "I wasn't getting into trouble at all, just playing catch with everybody I could."

Mu sighed and pushed his glasses up with a finger, sending Kaito a glance. "And you just let her." It was more statement than question but Kaito shrugged and answered anyway.

"I saw no harm in it. Besides, Hanami said she could use it to-,"

"Shhhh!" Hanami interrupted, swatting at the civilian-born's head.

"Yarra, yarra," Kaito grunted.

Suddenly the doors to the examination room were slammed open by a boy in orange, followed by a girl in red and another boy in blue. Hanami sweat dropped, comparing her plain beige trench coat and overall neutral-toned clothing of the room to the three brightly colored entrants. Er, make that four. A girl in purple who she'd gotten to play catch with her, (Ino Yamanaka, right handed, reflexes could use work, likely a sideline fighter, intelligence gatherer,) loudly glommed onto Blue boy, sparking an argument between her and Red. Purple's team joined her, followed by another, and then the three rookie groups were conversing loudly by the door. Hanami rolled her eyes and jumped off of Mu's back, only for the taller genin to grab her ponytail before she could walk over.

"Their naiveté is painting targets on their own backs, getting involved to tell them off will only draw undue attention to yourself as well."

Hanami's only response was to narrow her eyes and yank her hair out of his grasp, rebelliously marching over anyway.

Kaito huffed softly at his teammate's misfortune. "I don't know why you bother man, whatever you tell her not to do she always makes a point to do anyway. It's just the way little siblings act."

"I admit such is a dynamic that I am unfamiliar with."

Over by the entrance, Hanami put her hands on her hips. "Dudes, as touching as it is to witness this heartwarming class reunion, ya might not want to do it in the doorway while people are walking through. This isn't recess at the academy. Some of us actually want to get promoted."

"Hey, you're that kid who always got picked on for having an ugly dad!" Naruto exclaimed loudly.

Hanami felt her eyebrow twitch and widened her eyes exaggeratedly, "Hey, you're that masochistic hero complex guy who always failed to save me and got his ass kicked doing it!"

"Wha! You ungrateful little-!"

"Brat?" Hanami interrupted, "Menace? Pipsqueak? Jerk? Asshole? I'm all of the above, really. Besides, Dad's not even ugly. Sure, he's got resting bitch face from hell and a ton of gruesome scars but he's got a great laugh!"

Over to the side, Hanami's teammates sweat dropped at how the previously loud conversation had escalated to a shouting match. "She's making it worse…" Mu morosely observed.

"Think that's her point?" Kaito asked, "to get everyone to hate them even more?"

A little ways off, Kabuto adjusted his glasses and held his tongue.It wouldn't be prudent to show my cards now that the daughter of two intelligence members is there. He smirked at his own pun and turned away. There will be time enough later to gain their trust. As long as Sasuke makes it to the finals my task is done.

"Gaaah~! Whatever!" Naruto shouted. "What's a little squirt like you doing here anyway? Are ya lost? The academy classes are downstairs."

"Are you blind?" Hanami rebutted, "Or just as stupid as you look? I'm a genin like you. Have been since I was seven."

"Nani? You graduated when you were seven? Not even teme graduated when he was seven!" Naruto waved wildly about, nearly smacking Sasuke in the face.

"Tch. Dobe." he growled at Naruto's embarrassing observation.

"Yeah Naruto, way to state the obvious!" Sakura added in, completely missing the point of Sasuke's ire.

"But Sakura-!"

"Yeah, duh Naruto. You need parental consent to graduate early." Hanami quipped. "Besides," she jerked a thumb at the boy in blue, "he looks like he just came from getting his butt whooped and the exam hasn't even started! I doubt he could've handled being an early grad like me."

"You-!" Sasuke snarled while Naruto and Kiba laughed uproariously, Shikamaru sighed, and Ino and Sakura took turns at ineffectively placating Sasuke and knocking heads with Naruto and Kiba. Amidst the chaos of the rookie crowd, Hanami smirked at Sasuke and stuck her tongue out with a wink. Fresh from his humiliating defeat by Rock Lee, furious at Hanami's reminder of his inability to graduate early due to both lack of skill and lack of parents to consent, ashamed in the face of his continued inferiority to the elder brother he strove to kill, Sasuke snapped, grabbing the infuriating little girl by the collar and pulling back his fist.

Mu and Kaito jumped to intervene, but before they could move, a puff of smoke at the front of the room signaled the arrival of a dozen T&I workers, lead by head interrogator himself.

"All right you baby-faced degenerates. Pipe down and listen up! It's time to begin. I'm Ibiki Morino, your proctor and from this moment, your worst enemy."

The hall was silent from the dramatic entrance and ominous proclamation until someone decided to break the carefully crafted tension like a sledgehammer to a light bulb.

"Hi dad!" Hanami chirped. Whispers broke out across the hall.

From her position of hanging from Sasuke's grip she pointed at Naruto. "That guy called you ugly."

Naruto squawked in protest when a menacing glare was leveled their way. "That's your dad?"

Hanami ignored him and pointed to the boy still lifting her by her shirt. "And this guy is trying to attack me."

"Everybody shut up if you know what's good for you!" Ibiki boomed. Silence once again fell upon the room and Hanami rolled her eyes.

Ibiki bit back a sigh and glowered menacingly at the room. "I guess this is as good a time as any to tell you that there will be no altercations without the proctors' express permission. Even so, the use of lethal force is prohibited. Those who disobey will be disqualified. Am I understood?"

Sasuke slowly lowered Hanami to the ground.

"But Sir, she started it by provoking a fight!" Sakura protested.

"Somehow I'm not surprised." Ibiki deadpanned. "Still, the rules stand and if you're immature enough to be provoked by some mean words from a little brat of a girl then you don't deserve to be shinobi. And Hanami! Any more trouble from you and not only will I have you disqualified, but while everyone else is taking the exam, you'll be cleaning out torture cells. Understood?"

Hanami pouted and begrudgingly let the rest of the test commence without a hitch.

Bounce, bounce-bounce, bu-bounce… Mu and Kaito kept their eyes and ears trained on Hanami's bouncing ball as she seemingly fiddled with it on the tabletop. Every now and then the nine year old would roll it around, and the seemingly random movements translated into a comprehensive code. Now, the downside of practically being raised by the T&I department was that all the proctors monitoring the examinees for cheating knew of Hanami's particular code. That was why the things she relayed to her teammates weren't related to the questions on the test. Instead she pointed out the purpose of the test itself and which examinees were chunin plants. It wasn't cheating if she didn't give them the answers but rather told them where they could find them for themselves. That was the upside of practically being raised by the T&I department. Hanami knew all their tricks and gags.

The tenth question came and Hanami put her pencil down, studying her father for tension. Of course as a tokubetsu jonin he was too good to give any tells that his nine-year-old daughter could pick up, neither staring at her nor avoiding her gaze. Hanami guessed he must be at least a little tense though considering it was this tenth question or something like it that had caused uncle Idate to defect and subsequently die. Ibiki had been vehemently against allowing Hanami to even partake in the exam considering both her parents were proctors but Anko was totally for it. And, predictably, Hanami's mother used the guilt-tripping tactic; you knocked me up when I was fifteen, you irresponsible scar-face jerk, so you better do what I say about this hell spawn child that you put into my unsuspecting body and buy me some dango on the side- to get what she wants. And her dad, big softie that he is, would always cave and go along with Anko's less than stellar ideas -(even if it put at risk Ibiki's own emotional health by making him relive the guilt over his brother's death)- just because he felt bad that his own daughter was born. Sometimes Hanami wondered what it would be like to be part of a mentally balanced family.

Hanami looked around at some of other genin in the hall, picking out the ones she'd been on teams with before and sighed. She wondered what it would be like to be part of an actual permanent team too. Her first jonin sensei passed the team solely based on the fact that he was terrified of what Hanami's parents would do to him if he failed them. Needless to say the team was a disaster and was eventually split up. Since then Hanami had been the spare third for numerous teams, all of whom it either ended up they couldn't stand her or she hated them for being condescending pricks. The few teams that had been compatible were dismantled once one of the members was promoted. Mu and Kaito were nice, and they'd lasted the longest out of all her teammates but they were really more like close acquaintances than anything. Hanami wouldn't even call them friends, much less the kind of family that some teams grew to be. Sure Mu let her climb all over him and Kaito looked at her with the fond exasperation of an elder brother but Hanami knew that neither of them would complain if the team got reassigned. Neither would she, really. Their bonds just weren't that strong. Hanami just didn't have any strong bonds.

A loud crash signaled Anko's entrance and Hanami looked up from her musings to realize that she'd entirely missed the last question. Well, going by the fact that her mother was here, it probably didn't need to be answered anyway. As Anko and Ibiki proceeded with their sadistically tinted banter Hanami dry heaved and proceeded to draw dicks all over her now useless test to piss her dad off. Tomorrow would be mom's turn.

As soon as Anko dismissed them Hanami launched over her desk and scrambled to the front, ignoring the irritated protests of genin knocked from their shuffling towards the doors. "Mommy! Daddy! Let's all go get some dango together! Can we train? Ooh, let's have a picnic!"

"Aiya! Don't call me Mom in front of so many people!" Anko whined. "It makes me seem old!"

Hanami rolled her eyes. "Oi, previously teen mom and deadbeat dad, get me some dango!"

"Maggot! Respect your parents." in a flash Anko flung something at her daughter and Hanami jumped just a hair too late, suddenly finding a wooden skewer piercing her ear. "Who sthaid I didn'th get'cha dango?" Anko asked around a mouthful of the sweet treat. "But with attitude like that I guess I'll just eat it myself!"

"Awe, no fair!" Hanami groaned.

Ibiki sighed and knelt to remove the skewer from his daughter's ear. "What did I say about attacking comrades with eating utensils, Anko? It's unsanitary and could get infected."

"Hmph. You're not my boss scar-face." Anko petulantly retorted.

"Actually I am."

Anko ignored him as he pulled out an alcohol wipe to sterilize Hanami's bleeding ear. "You're not even my husband, so what right do you have to tell me what to do?"

Ibiki looked at the ceiling as if asking god for patience. "One, even if I was your husband you wouldn't let me tell you what to do. And two, you don't even like me like that Anko, so you can stop dropping hints about me asking you to marry you."

Hanami scoffed, pulling the rest of the splinters from her ear herself. "Dad, Mommy doesn't even know what she likes, of course she doesn't seem to like you. She's obviously got abandonment issues and will fall for anything she's confidant she can tie down. Mommy already has me to hold you accountable, as well as the assurance that no one else will look twice at you because you're her scar-face! Just marry her already!"

A menacing silence descended upon the room and everyone who hadn't already left hurriedly did so. Hanami sent a wide, innocent look up into her parents' ticked off faces. "What? It's true."

"Brat." Ibiki muttered darkly. "People do too look twice at me."

A spider vein pulsed in Anko's temple. "Yeah, no thanks for the help kid, but I can seduce your father all on my own. And I don't have abandonment issues!"

Hanami squeaked under the combined menacing auras of Konoha's top interrogators then squared her shoulders and blew a raspberry. "I was only trying to help! You guys never pay any attention to me, we never spend any time together; it's like we're not even a real family!"

"Real families don't psychoanalyze each other." Anko retorted. "So if you want a real family then stop doing it!"

"Like you never do it to me, you fat ugly whore!" Hanami shouted back.

"Watch your language!" Ibiki scolded. "What did I do to deserve a kid like you?"

Hanami angrily stomped her foot. "You didn't keep it in yer pants, that's what! I hate you both!" She screamed over her shoulder as she bolted for the exit. The door slammed loudly behind her, leaving the two weary tokubetsu jonin alone in the examination hall.

Ibiki let out a long-suffering sigh. "You should probably go after her." He suggested.

"Me?" Anko protested, "Why don't you do it?"

"…We really suck at parenting, don't we?" Ibiki asked in lieu of answering.

"Yup." Anko agreed.

Out in the hall a suspiciously dry-eyed Hanami felt her mouth pull into a sadistic grin, giggles pulling at her throat.

"I heard that." Mu commented from his place waiting outside the door.

"Why do you always pretend to have tantrums if you're not actually upset?" Kaito asked with a tilt of his head.

Hanami snickered and leaned her hands behind her head. "I was an oopsie baby as you know. I feel like it's my right to terrorize them. I live to torment the poor clueless shits who conceived me!"

Mu shook his head and Kaito shivered. "You really are a menace, Hanami."


Later that day Hanami was calmly writing down the intel she'd gathered on the other contestants when the door to her room in ANBU HQ was slammed open to the sight of her mom bodily dragging Ibiki behind her. "Brat!" Anko yelled, "Biki and I are sorry for whatever the hell it is we said, I don't really remember. Now apologize for being a tactless shit or I'll make out with your father in front of you."

The scarred man blushed from his hunched over position, forced to bend due to the woman's grip of his collar. "Anko, I didn't agree to-,"

"Shut up." Anko interrupted, smashing her lips to his scarred ones mid sentence.

Hanami blanched, "EEW! Mom! Dad! Stop, my eyes!"

"What do you say?" Anko teased between kisses.

Their daughter groaned behind her hands obscuring her vision. "Please stop? Ugh, I'm sorry for being a tactless shit now stop sucking face, you're scarring me for life!"

"All right!" Anko chirped, roughly shoving Ibiki away from her. "Apology accepted. Have a g'night kiddo!" And with that she flounced out of the room, leaving a breathless Ibiki and traumatized Hanami behind.

"She… is such a tease." Ibiki muttered absently.

"AArgh! That's it! Get out! Get out!" Hanami screamed, leaping out of her chair to beat her tiny fists at Ibiki's back. "You're head of T&I Dad, not TMI! Get out!"



Note: Gosh, I love Hanami so much. I started writing her and never wanted to stop. Unfortunately I have no idea what to do for plot so this is all I got.

P.S. Hanami fights with special pink, green and white bouncy balls. The pink ones are plain, the green ones are covered in contact poison and the white ones explode. She has perfect aim and ricochet prediction making battle with her into a calculated chaos.