“Look, Sasuke, ducks!”
Sakura bounces over to the river, her shoes forgotten. Mama duck was waddling in the water, a trail of ducklings jittering after her.
“You forgot your shoes, Sakura,” Sasuke went around to gather the footwear, his own and hers, “wait, ducks? Sakura, we can’t go near the river, Itachi-nii said it’s dangerous.”
“But ducks!” she reasons.
“Uh, okay then,” Sasuke approaches the river, crouching down near the edge.
The duck is a sheen of white, looking harmless and still fluffy despite being drenched. It looks soft enough to cuddle, but Sasuke knew better than to touch it.
With the grip unbecoming of a little girl, Sakura scoops a duckling out of the water. Mama duck squawks, literally leaping out of the water in alarm.
“Now we run!”
In a second Sakura bobbled up, a struggling duckling in her hand, and without wearing her shoes she was scampering right off.
Mama duck attacks Sasuke, who shrieks, and runs after Sakura with their shoes in hand. Mama duck hops out of the water, a murderous glint in her eyes-- and gives chase.
Sasuke is terrified. Sakura is laughing.
To their saving grace, a figure crosses their path, seemingly having been searching for him already. Sasuke’s eyes lit up at the sight of his brother.
Sakura turns around, “weasel?” then crashes into Itachi because she hadn’t been looking. Right after that, Sasuke jumps onto Itachi’s shoulders, tears in his eyes.
“The duck’s gonna kill us!”
“Mama duck will chase us down to the depths of the sky!”
Itachi, crowded by two shrieking mongrels, holds onto the kids and shunshins away with them.
They find themselves in front of the main house, and Sasuke promptly hobbles off and runs to his mother, crying about how ducks were demons.
Itachi sighs, and turns his attention to the little girl still clinging one-handed to her waist.
“So, I suppose you are Haruno Sakura?” he says, because well, at this point, there wasn’t a soul in the village that didn’t know this troublemaker.
Sakura beams, “hi!”
The eight-year-old manages to smile back with the maturity of a saint, “hi, I’m Itachi. What are you doing in the Uchiha Compound?”
“I was trying to find pixies!” she responds, like it was a common, daily thing in this ninja land.
To Itachi’s freezing horror Sasuke emerges beside him, talking back, “no, we can’t find them, if we find them they’ll disappear!” he clings to the other side of Itachi.
Sakura, still cupping something in her hand, pouts.
“Then I can be captured and put into fairy jail in fairy land,” she says defiantly.
“They’ll suck your happiness out!” Sasuke whines.
Itachi wonders how exactly he ended up in the middle of this quarrel that made absolutely no sense. He didn’t want to think about it.
“Sakura, what’s that in your hand?”
“A new friend!”
Composure lost, Itachi shoots down, trying to snatch the duck out of the girl’s hands-- but the girl is quicker, dodging him.
“We need to give that back to Mama duck,” he reasons, sounding very less like the ninja he was supposed to be and sounding rightfully more like an eight year old older brother.
“No, we’re keeping him!” Sakura pouts.
“I wanna keep him too,” Sasuke agrees and Itachi whirls around, oh no, Sasuke’s been corrupted in less than an hour!
“I’m naming him Chicken!” Sakura declares proudly.
“No, we’re naming him Eagle!” Sasuke says, tightening his grip on Itachi’s shirt.
“Kids, that’s a duck,” Itachi mutters in resignation.