Sakura could list the things she loved on two hands, and while her hands weren’t very big and didn’t accurately represent the full amount of love she felt for these things, they would have to do for now.
She loved anmitsu and mitarashi dango.
She loved learning how to be a shinobi from Iruka-sensei.
She loved her friends, Naruto, Sasuke, Ino, Shikamaru, and Choji.
She loved reading.
She loved her okaa-san.
Sakura didn’t know how many fingers she would need to count the things she hated. Maybe she would know, but her okaa-san had always said that ladies shouldn’t hate anything. Ladies should always be polite and ready to help their husbands or other men in their lives. Ladies shouldn’t be angry, shouldn’t louder than a soft whisper, and they definitely should not become shinobi.
‘“Shinobi?” Her okaa-san scoffed one afternoon as she washed dishes. “You want to become a shinobi? Ladies shouldn’t want to become trained assassins. Wherever did that absolutely preposterous idea get into your head?:
Sakura lowered her hands from where they had been clasped together hopefully by her chest. “I dunno.” Looking down at her feet scuffing around on the floor was easier now then looking into her okaa-san’s reproachful gaze. “All my friends are gonna become shinobi, and I thought-”
A light smacking sound echoed through the kitchen. A four-year-old Sakura reeled back, her hands now covering her smarting forehead. Her okaa-san still had her hand raised when she sighed. “It’s those friends of yours, always putting foolish thoughts into your head, making you want to become something you’re clearly not cut out for.” She went back to washing the dishes, not paying any mind to her daughter who was in tears at her side, hands still over her forehead. “If they’re going to make you think those things, then I forbid you from being around them-”
“Don’t argue with me, young lady.” There was a dangerous look in her eyes, but Sakura wasn’t able to comprehend that as thoughts began to bombard her brain.
“But I’m supposed to bring snacks for tomorrow’s meeting and I-”
“Sakura.” Her okaa-san tried to interrupt, but Sakura was clearly in distress and wouldn’t stop rambling, her breathing becoming heavy.
“Ino is gonna braid my hair later an’ she’s gonna show me how to do it-”
“An’, an’, I just met this boy on the swings two days ago, an’ he said his name was Naruto-” Sakura’s breaths were rushing in now at such a speed that she couldn’t feel the air coming in anymore.
“Sakura.” Sakura’s okaa-san’s voice made Sakura suck in air and suddenly stop. The voice was back.
“Clearly these,” a huff of air was expelled as if saying the word was the most awful thing in the world, “shinobi children are corrupting you. You will not see them again. And if you see that demon boy around, don’t interact with him. He is the reason your father is dead.” The grip around her arm and the steely look in her okaa-san’s eyes were staring straight into Sakura’s soul.
“You had better be.”
Sakura loved her okaa-san because she was supposed to. She listened to her okaa-san because she was supposed to. She hid her forehead because her okaa-san said it made her look ugly. She never told anyone what she was actually feeling because ladies don’t tell anyone what they’re feeling. No one would care about what she’s feeling. She just needed to do what her okaa-san said and everything would be fine.
Everything would be fine.