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Plaster Saints

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'Please return tomorrow to find out who your Teammates and Sensei are, Congratulations again on passing everyone!" Everyone had shot up and was out of the classroom before he'd even finished his sentence. Only Sakura and Shikamaru had remained, the latter still napping on his desk.

The new kunoichi walked up to his desk and bowed, 'Thank you for guiding me these past four years Iruka-Sensei.'

He choked up at the sight of her, 'Thank you Sakura-San, make sure you come and visit, and if you need advice on a technique, I'll try my best to help you.' With a final nod in gratitude, she bid him goodbye and left the classroom.  

The second she was out of the Academy doors, a shiny new headband replacing the old tattered red ribbon, the first thing Sakura did was run home to her parents to show it off. On her way out of the courtyard, she caught a brief glimpse of Uchiha Sasuke-kun, who stood by his big brother and mother, both of whom wore soft smiles and pride in their posture.

When she entered the front yard, her parents were already waiting for her. She was met with thin smiles and disappointed eyes, along with barely concealed disgust from Mama. Sakura had to beg Papa and Mama just to enroll four years ago and they allowed it, desperately hoping that her fickle nature would kick in and she'd drop out from boredom.

No wonder they were so unenthusiastic, it was unheard of for a civilian daughter of a Silk merchant, to join the Shinobi Academy and actually pass. Mama must be constantly taunted at for even allowing her to enroll. In any case, she slowed to a halt and bowed to her parents, headband glinting in the setting sun.

'Oh? You actually passed?' Mama pulled a face at the blue cloth around her head. 'Congratulations I suppose, Sakura-tan, but you're not wearing that thing at the table.' Mama had said with a rigid pat on the head as they all walked into the house.

Papa, turning his back the silent chastising manner she was used to, didn't even say anything to her.

A quiet 'Yes Mama' was her only answer before she walked up the stairs, into her simple room.

Due to the contract, they weren't allowed to repaint or refurnish anything in the house as per the Landlord's request, so the peeling yellow paint and the scuffed wooden floors had remained over the 12 years of her life. Walking over to her desk, she pulled her headband off and placed it on the surface with barely a sound and looked in the mirror, the blue had paired nicely with her rose colored hair.

After quietly changing into a simple red cheongsam with a white embroidered circle on both the collar and the bottom hem, she pulled her hair into a low resting bun with hair sticks and went back downstairs to set the table for dinner.

Then towards the end of dinner, with a calm not normally possible in a human, 'Papa and I are going on our annual Route trip for the upcoming year, we will be gone for roughly six months. By then either renounce your career as a shinobi or be out of the house. We leave in a week.'

Both remaining Family member's chopsticks halted midair as they looked at Mama, but she left no room for argument and had made her decision. With one final sip from her cup, Mama rose from the table and went into the kitchen to clean her dishes.

Heart thundering in her chest, 'Yes Mama..' The back of her throat burned fiercely, her eyes stung.

Bowing to her Papa, she washed her bowl and locked herself into her room again to think. With each step her chest felt heavier and heavier, by the time she was sat on her bed she was having trouble breathing.

"What am I going to do, I can't afford a place of my own! Both Papa and Mama struggle to pay rent for this place and it's small and practically a dump" Her mind blanked on what to do as her breathing grew more ragged.

For once in her life she had no idea what to do. Her heart clenched painfully in her chest as realization quickly set in that, in six months time, she would be kicked out of the house of her childhood.

As the lack of proper oxygen got to her head, "Kunoichi if the Year, my ass", She thought. And didn't even have time to catch herself as her vision blurred around the edges before all she saw was black. 

Chapter Text

When Sakura opened her eyes, all she could notice was the crick in her neck. Sitting up, she realized it was because she had fallen asleep on top of her bed as if she had been sitting on it, still in her clothes and with the hair sticks tangled in her hair.

Getting up, Sakura wondered to the mirror, ‘Why are my eyes so puffy? It looks like I’ve been cry-’, The heavy weight on her chest returned as she finally remembered what had happened at dinner. Mama and Papa were not ones to bluff. She peeked at the clock and yelped when she realized she was late to class. Quickly putting her Hitai-Ate around her head, brushing her teeth, and fixing her bun, she raced out of the house, barely putting her shoes on in the process.

By the time she reached her classroom, she could hear Iruka-Sensei speaking, she waited for him to stop before she opened the door, bowed to him, and quietly rushed to the only seat available which was next to the Aburame of the Class. Sakura and Shino had never talked beyond the occasional greeting when they happened to both be at the park.

As she took her seat she mumbled ‘Good Morning, Aburame-San.’

‘It is a good morning, why? Because we get placed on our Genin teams today.’

She would never understand the reason behind his strange speaking pattern, but she appreciated that he had answered her. They both turned to the front as Sensei started to talk again.

‘I will now begin to call out the teams now… so be quiet! Ahem, Team One! Ami…”

I turned back to Shino quietly, ‘Who do you think will be on your team?’

‘Hopefully someone smart like Nara-San or an offensive fighter like Uchiha-San, why? My abilities are more support oriented, so I need someone to back up.’ Shino re-adjusted his sleeves, ‘Who do you hope is on your team?’

‘Sasuke-Kun! I really hope Sasuke-Kun is on my team, I don’t care who else is on my team.’

Shino looked at Sakura with what could only be described as an underwhelmed expression, although the glasses and high collar made it hard to identify.

‘If you put half as much energy into your taijutsu and katas as you do into your infatuation with Sasuke, you’d not only be a better shinobi but also have a better chance with him, why? Sasuke seems to be the type that is attracted to power and strength, therefore if you train more, you don’t have anything to lose’

Sakura was about to retort when—

‘Team Seven! Haruno Sakura, Uchiha Sasuke, and Uzumaki Naruto. Team Eight! Inuzuka Kiba, Aburame Shino, and Hyuuga Hinata…’

Sakura and Shino looked at each other, ‘Well Aburame-San, you got your offensive fighter.’

‘And you got your Sasuke, Haruno-San’ They both got up and joined the class in sitting with their teammates. As Sakura approached Sasuke, her face began to heat up.

Sitting down between Naruto and Sasuke, she turn to each of them and bowed a greeting before turning forward again to watch as Sensei after Sensei came to collect their teams. Soon enough Iruka-Sensei walked up to Team Seven and huffed an apology.

‘I’m sorry, your new sensei is going to be late, you guys can just wait here until he arrives, but I have to leave to finish up some information with Hokage-sama.’ Without another word, he left them in the classroom to their own devices. As usual, Naruto and Sasuke-Kun started arguing and Sakura nearly did a doubletake when she looked at the blush Sasuke had creeping up his ears and neck as Naruto grabbed his shirt and got up in his face.

Oh.” No wonder Sasuke never paid attention to Sakura or any of the other fangirls. He liked Naruto. “No matter, I need to work on doing the missions and becoming a good kunoichi so I can get better missions. How else could I pay for rent?! Maybe I could get a part time job? I’ll look after I get settled in with the team and figure out my schedule.”

Meanwhile:

Sasuke and Naruto had managed to get into a brawl over Naruto’s eraser prank and a desk was thrown and next thing she knew, Sakura was pinned by a solid oak desk and a few chairs, effectively snapping her back to reality.

It was quiet.

Then an eraser fell on top of a silver head and she heard a muffled, ‘My first impression is that I hate you two, where’s the other one?’ Sakura moved the chairs and Naruto and Sasuke moved to help the desk off her.

‘Nice to meet you Sensei.’ She bowed lightly and began fixing the desks.

‘Maa, well, meet me on the roof in five minutes’ a puff of smoke and he was gone.

The boys bolted out the door after him and Sakura moved to the emergency staircase at the end of the hall that lead straight from the roof to ground level. A minute later, she emerged onto the roof and took a seat across from her new sensei. Neither said a word. Two minutes of silence later and the door burst open with Sasuke and Naruto shouldering each other back, each of them with a foot over the threshold.

‘I was first Teme. Ha!’

‘My foot went over the threshold first, dead last.’

‘Okay everyone take a seat let’s start with introductions.’ Sensei clapped; a lone eye closed in a smile.

‘Well, what do we say?’ Sakura asked

‘Your name, likes, dislikes, hobbies, dreams, stuff like that.’

‘You go first, you’re suspicious!’ Naruto pointed at Sensei with a scowl.

‘Very well, my name is Hatake Kakashi, I have many likes, and many dislikes, I don’t have many hobbies…and I suppose I do have a dream too.’ Hatake-Sensei’s eye crinkled again and opened again, ‘You with the orange, go first.’

‘You only told us your name!’ Clearing his throat, he started again, ‘My name is Uzumaki Naruto, I like ramen, my Kaa-san, Ichiraku, and Iruka-Sensei. I don’t like Sasuke-Teme, the three minutes it takes for ramen to cook, and Mizuki-Sensei. My hobbies are Pranking, and my dream is to be Hokage, dattebayo!’

‘Great, next is the blue one’

“I’m Uchiha Sasuke, I like training with my brother and tomatoes, I don’t like sweet things or weakness. My hobbies are training and I’m going to be head of police.’

‘Cool, Pinky you’re up.’

‘Uh, my name is Haruno Sakura, I like reading and dango. I don’t like spicy foods or rudeness. I don’t have a dream.’ Smiling, she looked back at Hatake-Sensei. “Don’t have a dream until I can afford to have one, literally” She thought.

‘Okay! You’re all unique, meet me at training ground 7 tomorrow at 6 for your survival training.’

‘But Sensei, we already did survival training,’ Naruto protested.

‘This is a secondary exam that I will use to determine if you are going to become Genin. You’ll go up against me.’

‘That’s impossible, we already took the graduation ceremony,’ Sasuke glared at the man with the mask.

‘It’s a 66.6% fail rate so I’d take this seriously, oh and don’t eat breakfast, or you’ll throw it up.’ A poof of leaves later and he was gone again.

All three students were stunned into silence before the boys shrugged and got up.

Sakura’s breathing shot up as Sasuke and Naruto began to leave, ‘Wait!’ she ran to catch up with them. ‘We have to work together if we’re going to pass, there’s no way we can beat a Jounin by ourselves, we just graduated!’

I’ll be fine, you two however will just drag me down,’ firmly brushed off, Sakura recoiled as Sasuke left.

‘Not true Teme! I can beat him all by myself, sorry Sakura-Chan.’

‘San.’

‘What?’

‘San. You can call me Sakura-San not Chan, Naruto-San’

‘Oh, Okay Sakura-San, thanks for letting me know.’

‘You’re welcome.’

Naruto went after Sasuke and left Sakura alone on the roof. A few minutes later she exited the Academy building and went home to eat a large dinner and get some sleep.

--

When she woke up in the morning, she put on a forest green shirt with a mandarin collar and some dark brown pants since the red would be to obvious in the forests. She tied her Hitai-ate around her throat Hinata-style and put on her ninja sandals as well before she headed to the training grounds.

Halfway there she ran into Sasuke walking with his Brother, who seemed to be accompanying him to the training ground.

‘Good morning Sasuke-San, Uchiha-San.’ She spoke softly and Sasuke turned to her.

‘I’m not considering your stupid offer you’ll only get in my way. And Dead last can’t do anything.’ He scoffed.

‘Okay, I don’t really care though, I need to pass and whether you like it or not you’re not strong enough to beat a Jounin fresh out of the academy all alone. It’s just a fact. I need to pass; I don’t need a jackenapes* as a teammate.’ She crossed her arms and looked at Sasuke who had a rather undignified look on his face. He also totally didn’t squawk when his brother chuckled.

They arrived at the training grounds and as Sasuke’s brother was about to leave he turned and spoke, ‘Otouto, you’re a team for a reason, it wouldn’t kill you to work with your teammates.’ And then was gone before Sakura could blink.

‘…Fine. What’s your plan?’ Sasuke grumbled.

Chapter Text

For a moment, everything was silent, and Sakura was awe struck at the fact that she had gone deaf so early in life, there was no way Uchiha Sasuke just agreed to work with her so that meant she’s probably gone crazy too. Inner had short circuited as well, mumbling something about how someone was bound to die or something.

Despite the obvious loop this turn of events through her for, Sakura smiled and told Sasuke her plan

 


 

 

When they walked up to Naruto, he was on the ground whining about how he didn’t eat breakfast.

‘Naruto-San, Sasuke-San and I are going to work together, would you please help us too?’ Sasuke glared at the Orange Boy as Sakura spoke.

‘What kind of Idiot wears orange in a forest?’

Me- wait HEY I’m not an Idiot!’

‘Shut up, please Naruto-San, Sasuke-San. Answer the question? Will you work with us?’ Sasuke had no idea how she flipped the switch between fan girl and this in the span of a day and a half.

Naruto, on the other hand, seemed to be really hurting himself with all the ‘thinking’ he was doing. Finally, he simply said ‘Sure, why not?’ and Sakura quickly filled him in on the plan.

By the time Hatake-Sensei arrived, Sakura had gone over the plan three times.

They were ready.

 


 

 

They were not ready.

Sakura had never been more betrayed or humiliated in her life. Not only did she have to break out of a genjutsu within the first twenty minutes, but the one time both Sasuke and Naruto agree with something, it was that ditching her was the best course of action.

After Hatake-sensei revealed the rules, the plan was to retreat into the trees and then move to surround him before going at him all at once.

So, imagine Sakura’s surprise when she was the only one to jump back and both Naruto and Sasuke went straight for their teacher without hesitation. Sakura tried to get behind the Jounin, but a clone got her with the genjutsu and when she broke out a few seconds later, Naruto was in a tree and Sasuke was nowhere out in sight.

Even after Sakura cut Naruto down, he refused to accept her help. After she pulled Sasuke out of the dirt, he still refused to accept her help.

So, what did she do?

Well, she wanted to scream and curse and smack them both, but Mama raised her to be polite and she barely knew her teammates.

If she could even call them that.

 


 

 

They failed the first time, obviously. And when Hatake-Sensei revealed that teamwork was the key to passing, both Sasuke and Naruto paled and looked at her.

Her smile was saccharine, her eyes were a storm of irritation and murderous.

When they passed the second time due to her forcing Sasuke to spoon feed Naruto with her, she nearly cried. Keyword: Nearly. She still had work to do.

‘Sensei how many missions will we be taking?’ She asked with a smile.

‘Good question, I’ll go over the schedule. We meet Monday through Friday at Six in the morning for training, then we will do one mission each day after training. You’ll have the weekends off and the rest of the day after we finish the mission.’

Sakura blanched and quickly did the math in her head. She’d need to find a job ASAP before she passed out. She wasn’t paying attention but when she finally clued back in Sensei was gone and Sasuke was walking away, Naruto still tied to the post.

‘Haha…Sakura-San, could you let me down? Please?’

She thought about not cutting him down but decided to be nice, without even waiting for a thank you, she cut him down and went back to her house to pick up her kit, she had an appointment to go to.

 


 

 

When Twenty-One-year-old Ritsuka Namiashi opened her door to see a pissed off pinkette carrying a small cloth scroll, she let the girl in without hesitation.

‘Sorry, Sakura-Chan, I forgot you were coming today so my husband has people over, you can still sit with us while you work’ Ritsuka bustled around the girl to lead her into the living room where four other people sat. she recognized one as Raido-San, who was Ritsuka-Sans Husband.

She stared at the other three as they stared back at her, unsettled. ‘…It’s no problem Ritsuka-San, I’ll grab the books’ She walked into the living room as Ritsuka-San went into the kitchen for tea and snacks.

‘Hey, Sakura-Chan, these are my friends, Iwashi, Genma, and Ebisu. Guys, this is Haruno Sakura-Chan, she’s the one who fixes up my clothes and is embroidering the photo albums.’ Raido-San pointed each one and she nodded.

‘Nice to meet all of you, sorry for intruding.’ She bowed slightly.

‘It’s okay Sakura-Chan, how was your first day as a genin?’

Raido knew that was the wrong thing to say the minute it came out of his mouth because Sakura’s placid smile became the most strained thing he’d ever seen.

‘Absolutely horrible Raido-San, you’d think the Hokage’s son and an Uchiha would know the definition of teamwork and refrain from betraying a teammate,’ She set towards the bookshelf to grab four album books from it.

Raido cringed at the passive aggressiveness in her voice.

‘Wait a second, did you say the Hokage’s son?’ Iwashi spoke up.

‘Ah, yeah my teammates are Uzumaki Naruto and Uchiha Sasuke.’ She fumed silently in the chair next to the coffee table, books laid out in front of her.

‘The Uchiha I can understand, his dad has a stick up his ass. Mikoto-san is nice though. I’ve never met Itachi-San either, but he seems fine. Naruto though? Kushina is always harping on him about teamwork.’ Genma spoke up.

Sakura looked at him incredulously before cracking her knuckles, ‘Well, Genma-San, you must be mistaken because after we had worked out a plan, the second Sensei said “go” they both left me and tried to take him down themselves, they didn’t even partner up. Just attempted to snatch the goddamn bells and left me on the sideline. I even got them both out of traps they were stupid enough to get caught in and they just ignored me.’

‘H-hey Sakura-Chan, it’s okay, here’s some tea to calm down.’ Ritsuka-San handed her a warm cup and she smiled.

‘This smells different, did you put chamomile in with the passionflower?’ Sakura asked and sipped the tea when Ritsuka-san nodded, ‘It’s great, thank you.’

‘Hey Sakura-Chan, do your little trick.’ Raido motioned to her scroll.

It was a small red scroll made of satin, barely anything worth mentioning. When Iwashi looked at it, there was chakra imbued into it.

‘Sure thing, Raido-San.’ Sakura unfurled the scroll and laid it on the table before taking a kunai and making a small slice on her thumb, holding her thumb to the scroll, an embroidery kit soon appeared.

‘Wait just a second, can I see that scroll?’ Genma said around the senbon in his mouth, Sakura took the kit and handed the scroll to Genma, who looked at the scroll with a critical eye. Iwashi and Ebisu both moved to look at it too. Meanwhile, Sakura was quickly embroidering the remaining letters on the album and moving to the next one.

After thirty minutes, they handed her the scroll back and looked at Raido, who simply shrugged when they asked where he “found” Sakura.

‘Hey Sakura-San where did you find this at?’ Ebisu asked as he pushed up his sunglasses.

‘I didn’t find it anywhere, I made it.’

‘…I’m sorry?’

‘I made it, just finished it a few weeks ago, actually.’

‘What do you mean “made it” no one has managed to make a sealing scroll on cloth before, how did you?!’ Ebisu squawked.

‘Chakra thread and blood? You can’t really make one on the spot, but I could probably embroider one into my clothes or headband. And my Aunt taught me how to…’

Ritsuka-San cleared her throat, ‘Anyways, Sakura-Chan what’s going to happen with your team now?’

Sakura handed the final finished book to Ritsuka, ‘Maybe Sensei will help train me and we’ll work on team work then?’

Chapter Text

Chapter 4:

 

Sakura was pissed, but what else is new?

It’s been a week since the bell test, and her parent left during the night, leaving a single note.

 

Dear Sakura,

The paperwork for shinobi resignation is in your dad’s top right-hand drawer.

See you in six months

Love,

Mama and Papa

 

She found it taped to her vanity mirror when she woke up.

Heading into the closet, she quickly got ready. Throwing on dark brown training pants and a green sleeveless shirt made from lycra, tying her hair into a loose ponytail, she wondered into the back yard to do stretches before her run. As she stretched, she thought about her teacher.

  


 

 

Hatake-Sensei was three and a half hours late when he arrived the next morning, and Sakura couldn’t help but feel that was just going to be the new normal, he gave a smile from under his mask and waved hello with the orange book that he always carried.

‘Good Morning my cute little genin, are we ready to get started?’ He spoke directly over Naruto’s shouts of “HEY, you’re late!”

Sakura honestly was still mad at them from the stunt they pulled yesterday and couldn’t bring herself to speak to her teammates, so she only nodded and asked sensei what they were going to do today.

‘Naruto and Sasuke, get ready to spar, Sakura why don’t you just sit over by that tree while I referee?’ Hatake-Sensei’s eye crinkled as he motioned to the same tree Naruto got stuck in less than twenty-four hours ago. Sakura stiffly nodded and sat.

And sat.

And sat.

The two boys had done several spars and Hatake-Sensei barely even acknowledged her. Eventually, she got so bored that she started doing the chakra control exercise that Iruka-Sensei taught her, where you connect a leaf to your body with chakra and try and get it to stick and spin. Even as Sakura stuck three leaves on her forehead and got one of them to spin, they were still sparring.

After what seems like an eternity, they went on a mission, which was, arguably, worse.

Not that Tora wasn’t a handful, but he came right up to Sakura when she beckoned him whilst Sasuke and Naruto fought over who got the to capture the cat.

No, the issue was that no one listened to her. If she said, ‘Tora spotted in the Sarutobi District,’ they’d go and check the Academy grounds instead, when she said, ‘He’s near the Dango shop,’ Naruto ran off towards the Flower shop instead.

So, what did Sakura do when she finally had Tora situated on her shoulder while she was walking around looking for her “team”, and spotted a Clothing store with a sign that said, ‘Help Wanted’?

She forgot about her Team and walked in.

Turns out, Hari to Ito was run by an old woman named Fuku-Baasan and her thirteen-year-old granddaughter Tenten, who helped when she wasn’t training. And they were just looking for someone to run the cashier and maybe help with sewing if they needed it.

Sakura was hired immediately and scheduled to work on the weekends from Four in the evening to Eight at night starting the next Saturday. Ecstatic, Sakura returned to her team with Tora and reluctantly handed him over to the Daimyō’s wife.

And thus, Team Seven’s first mission was a Success! They headed to the Mission desk for their pay and the thin envelope made Sakura shudder.

“O-Only 1,250 ryō?! For all that work? I’m only going to make 6,250 ryō a week and that’s not enough for rent!” Sakura wilted and walked home to put her money in a safe place before heading to the Library to look for places to rent on the bulletin board.

 


 

 

And that was her week. A horrendous rinse, wash, and repeat. Waking up early, waiting three and a half hours for Hatake-Sensei, Sitting for another three hours spinning leaves on her forehead before going on a four hour mission of either catching Tora, painting fences, pulling weeds, or dog walking, for a measly 1,250 ryō before she’d go to check for more listings at the library and roam around looking for books.

By the fifth day Sakura started showing up late to training too, just so she could do her own training instead of waiting around.

Every morning, she’d be up at Five, straighten up her room and eat a light breakfast, then at Six, she’d get dressed and stretched before running around the village, then she’d come home and stretch again before eating a snack and walking to Team Seven’s training ground at a quarter to nine, where she was barely noticed. This was a routine she’d force herself to adhere to just to spite them.

She’d be instructed to sit at the tree while Naruto and Sasuke sparred, and she’d pull out whatever book she had that day. For the past week she’d been reading all about chakra exercises like the leaf one. There was tree and water walking, leaf splitting, leaf spinning, Chakra threads-

She exited her house and started running to the outer wall of Konoha, already wanting to burn off some energy. She had her first day of work later and wanted to check the library for more listings, so far there was nothing available, but she still had hope.

Whilst Sakura was running along the wall, she ran into a Genin team. Two people in green spandex, Tenten from Fuku-Baasan’s shop, and one of Hanabi’s cousins.

“Best not to interrupt their training” She thought and moved to turn the opposite direction when Tenten called out to her.

‘Sakura-San!’ Tenten motioned for her to join her team, who had stopped and waited for her, she jogged and bowed a greeting.

‘Everyone, this is Sakura-San, she’s working at my grandmother’s shop now. Sakura-San, this is my Jounin sensei Maito Guy, you can call him Guy-Sensei, and these are my two teammates Rock Lee and Hyuuga Neji.’ Tenten pointed to each member and Sakura waved shyly.

‘A pleasure to meet you all.’

‘Sakura-San! It’s so YOUTHFUL of you to take part in such YOUTHFUL ACTIVITIES before the sun has fully risen! JOIN US In our springtime of YOUTH!!’ Guy-Sensei had somehow manifested the tide breaking against a large rock in the morning sun as he fist bumped the heavens. Tenten and Neji watched with quiet resignation as Lee cried tears of joy and muttered ‘Guy-Sensei!’ in admiration.

‘You don’t have to if you don’t wanna, Sensei is kind of loud.’ Tenten whispered.

‘No, I think I will, it beats running by myself. It’ll be fun!’ Sakura said as she and the team started running again. She was a lot slower than everyone, and Lee and Guy-Sensei took off into the horizon, but it was extremely exhausting and fun.

Tenten walked her off at the entrance of the civilian district and told her she’d be at Hari to Ito when her first shift started. Sakura’s leg muscles screamed in protest, but she asked Tenten if she could join her team for running again.

‘Sure, I’m sure Guy-Sensei will love that. We meet at the southern gate at 5:30 every morning and run for three or so hours.’

‘Great, I’ll see you later this evening.’ Sakura waved Tenten goodbye and walked back to her parents’ house and situated herself in her room. Sitting on her floor with her back against the wall she set herself up for a good few hours of meditation.

 


 

She stood outside Hari to Ito, subconsciously wiping her palms off on her pants, barely leaving a mark against the black cloth. Opening the door, she went in and Fuku-Baasan showed her what she would be doing and how to ring up a customer and where everything was. It wasn’t difficult to get the hang of since Sakura was the daughter of a silk merchant, she knew how a clothing shop worked. She hung fabric, rung up customers, and even helped on a few commissions before her shift was up and it was time to head home.

Once home she went straight outside to stretch and meditate in her back yard for a while but was interrupted by her empty stomach and Inner yelling at her to eat something.

After eating a healthy portion of tempura and rice, she took a shower and braided her hair before getting into bed and relaxing.

Sakura fell asleep before her head even hit the pillow.

Chapter Text

 

 

Mama taught her five simple rules when she was young, and even though her mother has disowned her, Sakura stood firmly by these rules because they shaped who she is today, even if she wasn’t the strongest.

Number 1: Real Ladies don’t raise their voices, stop shouting.

Number 2: Real Ladies never look unkempt Sakura-Tan, fix your dress.

Number 3: Sakura-Tan, you’re cute. use that to make the other merchants underestimate how smart you are.

Number 4: Kunoichi are glorified Yūjo, you’re in the academy because you begged and you should learn self-defense, you’re not there to learn how to seduce men and then kill them.

Number 5: Always keep a needle and thread on you, you don’t know when you’ll need to fix a rip.

Sakura, at the time, just replied with ‘Yes, Mama’ and tried her best to adhere to them. Over time they became her nature, always polite, patient, and proper. Occasionally she lost her temper and would be scolded by her mother but that was normal for a child. She learned her mother's scathing indirect insults but never voiced them on other because she wanted to make friends not make everyone hate her. Nevertheless, Ino was still her only close friend, besides Hanabi, who she met three years prior to graduating.

Sakura flitted about the Library, with each scroll she pulled from the shelf she became more exasperated. The chuunin at the front desk took pity and asked her what she was looking for.

‘I’m trying to find a fighting style that suits me, but all of these don’t align with what I need, I’ve gone through almost all the scrolls and only 3 are close to what I want. Kotetsu-San you have to help me.’ She motioned to the unfurled scrolls on the table she had claimed an hour before.

‘Well, whatcha looking for? Maybe I can help out’, leaning over the table for a better look, he scrutinized the scrolls. The white bandage over the bridge of his nose sliding down slightly.

‘I need something leg oriented, with strong kicks. I also want to take advantage of my flexibility.’

‘Nothing like that rings a bell, so why don’t you develop your own?’

‘I’m sorry?’

‘You know, you study things that are similar but create your own that suits what you need perfectly? Another advantage is that no one else will know it so it’ll be unpredictable.’

‘T-That’s genius!’ Sakura jumped up and down and began rambling on about the three scrolls and how she’d incorporate each one.

‘Look! If I can merge the use of inverted kicks from here, and the acrobatics from here than-’

‘Sakura, you’re babbling again.’ Kotetsu smiled as Sakura blushed and apologized shyly.

‘If you can draft up some katas and come back to me once you’ve got them down, I’ll spar with you, loser has to buy lunch?’ Grinning, he ruffled Sakura’s hair despite the bun, she swatted his hand away.

‘That would be great, if I have time, I’ll come bother you, I’m just busy looking for apartments, work, and missions.’ Sakura sighed and sat down at the table.

‘I’m sorry Sak, I’m keeping my eyes peeled in here but there’s nowhere in the normal districts. Have you thought about any clan districts?’

‘I’d do the Yamanaka’s but…’ Sakura wrung her hands together, ‘I haven’t spoken to Ino in months, and the Hyuuga’s don’t have apartment housing, the Uchiha’s I’m not even close with despite my teammate and any other clan is just gonna laugh in my face.’

‘Well, maybe find a roomie? As weird as it is, it’d cut rent in half at least.’

‘I’ll keep a lookout, maybe ask some people.’

‘I’ll let you know if anything comes up.’ Kotetsu told her. She thanked him again, and took her leave, toting the three scrolls in her bag. When she got into her room she immediately began pouring over the scrolls and jotted down some katas in a blank scroll, scraping some as she went through each one. Soon enough, it was time for her nightly routine of stretching, target practice, and a shower. Although she experimentally threw in some kata practice to see how she would adjust it for her body.

 


 

 

When Team Seven stood in the Hokage Office, receiving yet another D-rank mission, Naruto screamed in frustration.

‘I want a real mission! If I’m gonna become Hokage I need to get stronger by going on tough missions, dattebayo!’

Sakura stood in silence, oozing mortification. Sasuke glared at his teammate.

As usual, Hatake-Sensei did nothing but eye crinkle.

‘Naruto, D-ranks are real missions. You’re not skilled enough to do anything too dangerous yet.’ Iruka-Sensei, bless his heart, tried to explain. But the Sandaime spoke up.

‘Very well Naruto-Kun, I’ll give you a C-ranked Escort mission. It shouldn’t be too hard. The time frame is roughly two weeks. Iruka, bring in the client.’

‘Ohh is it a princess in need of my protection?!’ Naruto jumped for joy and Sakura was floored by how easy it was to get a higher ranked mission.

‘Obviously not Dobe, a princess escort wouldn’t be a C-rank.’

Just then, the door opened, and an old man walked in with a bottle of Sake in his hands. He reeked of Alcohol and his voice was more than slurred, ‘These are the ninja that are supposed to protect me? What’s the pipsqueak and pinky gonna do?’

‘Haha Teme he called you a pipsqueak,’ Naruto laughed, until he realized that he was, in fact, the aforementioned pipsqueak. ‘HEY, I’ll show you what this “pipsqueak” can do, dattebayo!’ Before he could run at the man, Hatake-Sensei grabbed his collar.

‘You can’t kill a client when you’re supposed to protect them.’

Iruka cleared his throat, ‘This is Tazuna-San, a master bridge builder. You’ll be escorting him to the Land of Waves, staying with him until the bridge is completed, and then returning home.’

Naruto cheered despite the glowering drunk man in the corner, then it hit her. She was leaving the village, for Wave.

There was no way she was prepared for this.

And so, as soon as they got out of the Hokage tower with instructions to be at the gate by 9am the next morning, she hightails to Raido-Sans house, not bothering with the door, she comes through the window, interrupting the weekly meeting he has we Genma, Iwashi, and Ebisu. Stumbling through the window and landing on the ground, she started hyperventilating. Raido and the other jumped up but didn’t move towards her for fear of making her lash out.

‘Sakura-Chan, just breathe! Calm down and tell us what happened.’ Raido spoke softly while Iwashi ran to get some water for her. She gulped air down and tried to shove her heart out of her throat and back into her chest again. When Iwashi put the cup on the table, she reached out and gently picked it up, sipping gingerly. After a few more minutes and sips of water, she could speak. She stood up and paced.

‘Naruto-San convinced Hokage-Sama to give us a C-rank! I can’t- I’m not prepared- We- I- Hatake-Sensei said we leave tomorrow at 9am, that’s not nearly enough time! I’m a civvie! I don’t have the proper supplies or packs and-! And! My papers! They’re such a mess-’

Iwashi put a hand on her head and she stopped running a hole in the rug beneath her. He guided her to sit on the couch between Genma and him. Iwashi pat her head softly and Genma turned to her.

‘Everything is gonna be fine, okay? Yeah Kakashi was a dick for not opposing a C-Rank when you graduated only a few weeks ago, but there’s no time to teach you anything new either so let’s go over what you do know, hm?’ He chewed on his senbon, obviously annoyed with Hatake-Sensei, but smiled when she looked at him.

‘I…I can use chakra threads, throw kunai with roughly 75% accuracy, and that’s about it.’

‘Well, that’s not ideal but maybe I can think of something, I am one of the best teachers of specialized ninja in Konoha!’ Ebisu boasted, earning a smack from Raido.

‘Ne, ne Sakura-chan, you’re good at sewing right?’

‘Um, yes Raido-san, otherwise I don’t know why you pay me.’ Genma snickered at her comment.

Rolling his eyes, he reached into his pack and grabbed a roll of ninja wire, he unrolled it and tied the two ends together, ‘besides that, I’m sure you know how to do this!’

They all huddled in the living room of Raido’s house, going through her bag and lending her materials and a first aid kit, Ritsuka made dinner for them when she got back home from work, and soon enough it was midnight and both Ebisu and Iwashi walked her home.

 


 

 

‘Sakura, aren’t your parents worried? It’s pretty late.’ Ebisu asked her, she flinched a little bit.

‘They’re not home right now and won’t be for a while. Plus...they plan to disown me the second they get back and realize I haven’t resigned as a shinobi like they wanted me to.’ She sighed and kicked the dirt, ‘It’s irritating really, do you know how little D-ranks pay? I have a little under 6 months to find an apartment and then I’ll be kicked out.’

‘That’s…really tough, Sakura. I’m sorry.’ Ebisu tried to apologize ad Iwashi elbowed him, but she waved them off.

‘It’s fine, I thought they would support me but in the end I’m not very surprised. Mama has always been fake and passive aggressive, and whatever Mama says, Papa agrees to. I’m just saving up as much as I can, but I’ve only got 7,500 ryō to my name, but I’ll get enough to have an apartment soon, and I picked up a part time job too and I’ve recently considered getting a roomie,’ Sakura flashed a grin, ‘I also picked up something called extreme couponing! It’s quite fun to see how cheap groceries can get.’

‘That’s good, I’ll ask if anyone is looking for a roommate.’ Ebisu promised and Iwashi agreed with him. After wishing them a goodnight, Sakura quickly laid out her outfit for tomorrow and went to sleep.

Chapter Text

 

Sakura woke up three hours before she was supposed to be at the gates, took a shower, braided her hair straight down her back and got changed, then ate a big breakfast before roaming her room for a certain book she wanted.

Her closet was mostly empty right now, since she’d gone and fixed her dresses a few days ago, undoing all the embroidered circles on the backs, sleeves, and bottoms of her dresses was tough, but she didn’t want to throw away the expensive fabric, not when she can repurpose it into something else. (Half of the dresses sat downstairs waiting to be re-dyed green.)

The amount of thread piled in the corner of her room was large, the hole in her heart even larger.

A pile of collapsed boxes sat against her wall, ready to be folded up when she finally found a place to move to. A stack of three boxes was also pushed against the wall, waiting to be sealed in a scroll in 5 months.

The rest of her room had been cleaned out, she’d gotten rid of anything she didn’t need, donating clothes to the orphanage that didn’t fit or she wouldn’t wear, tossing old decorations out. She went through the attic, and got some more of her things, winter clothes, old furniture, spare fabrics and threads, and a lot of the books she’d moved up there when she’d filled up her bookshelf. The books were sealed in a scroll with the fabrics, and the furniture she would move another day when she got back. She still had a few months after all, she’d done enough for the time being.

She’d grabbed her book about flowers and then snatched the beginners first aid book too, “just in case”. Then she locked the door and walked to the gates.

 


 

 

When Sasuke arrived, he didn’t expect Haruno to be sitting Seiza-style under a tree book in her hands as she flipped through it. The young Uchiha almost didn’t recognize her. She wasn’t wearing her normal red dress and it threw him off, instead a deep green short sleeved kimono top with white obi and brown pants took place of the qipao she had practically patented. Her Hitai-ate was wrapped around her neck snuggly and she wrapped her arms from wrist to elbow. When Sasuke got closer, his older brother trailing behind him to drop him off, she looked up.

‘Good morning, Uchiha-San.’ She greeted the older Uchiha politely before ignoring her teammate and going back to her book.

‘Hn, Sakura.’ Sasuke replied. Itachi noticed the twitch of irritation on the girl’s brow when his brother didn’t address her properly.

‘Likewise, Haruno-San. Sasuke, I’ll be off now, good luck on your mission.’ Itachi tapped his brothers forehead and disappeared with a swirl of leaves. Sasuke grunted and sat next to the tree next to Sakura, closed his eyes, and waited for the inevitable fangirling he was going to ignore once she realized his brother was gone.

Except it didn’t happen.

Sakura didn’t look up from the stupid book, and he knew for a fact she knew Itachi left them because she’d looked at him for a second, an almost-scowl on her face.

‘Oiiiii, Sakura-Chan!!’ Sakura looked up at the guard calling her name, Sasuke had never seen him before. ‘Come over here a minute.’ Sakura got up and trotted over to the guard desk, talked quietly with the men, filled out a few forms, then stayed and talked to them until Naruto, Kakashi, and the Bridge Builder arrived, 15 minutes later. 

‘Maa maa, my cute little genin, let’s head out, shall we?’ Hatake-Sensei clapped his hands, Sakura went to her tree and picked up her bag and began to follow her team down the road with Tazuna-San by her side.

‘Oi princess, are you from Kiri? You look weird.’ He slurred, although there wasn’t a hint of the smell of alcohol on him.

‘Tazuna-San, that’s rude, I’m a citizen of Konoha.’

‘Yeah Old Man, Sakura-San has lived in the village her entire life, dattebayo!’ Naruto fist pumped the air.

 


 

 

Sakura just continued walking, keeping light conversation up when she could, until she saw a puddle on the side of the road.

It hasn’t rained in weeks, what are idiots doing, posing as a puddle during drought season, Inner snorted maliciously. Sakura guided Tazuna-San to a tree further ahead on the opposite side of the road, telling him how it was known for being really sturdy and lasted for years.

Just as she was far enough, two men burst from the puddles and attacked Kakashi, tearing him to shreds. She guarded Tazuna like she was supposed to, but palmed a senbon just in case, hiding it in the bandages up her arm. Sasuke attacked one of the men and Naruto was frozen in shock. When she saw splinters instead of innards, she focused on the second man coming straight for her, before she could throw her weapon, Sasuke leapt out and took the man down. Naruto had a cut on his hand that was healing right before her eyes, which he promptly cut open again to get the poison out, Sasuke was acting high and mighty, chastising him for getting hurt on a mission, and Hatake-Sensei was glowering at Tazuna.

‘You need to start talking. Now.’ He growled. Tazuna jumped behind Sakura and used her as a human shield from Kakashi.

‘Oi, Kiri-hime, fix your sensei and I’ll talk.’

‘I’m not a Kiri-nin Tazuna-San, please stop, it’s rude.’ Sakura turned to her teacher, ‘Let’s calm down and let him talk.’ She grabbed Tazuna’s hand gently and had the old man sit down on a log, her team following her silently.

As Tazuna spoke, Sakura blanched further, this wasn’t a C-rank anymore, this was more like a B-rank. They should go home.

Or, we finish the mission and get the sweet mission pay that comes with it.

“What if we die?” She thought.

Then we don’t.

Sakura shook her head and sighed, Inner was right, she needed the money.

‘We should head back; this mission is out of our league.’ Kakashi said. Naruto immediately protested, Sasuke right behind him.

“It’s very sweet of him to think we should go home, but I need that money.” Sakura thought calmly.

‘Sensei, we’re already more than halfway there, let’s camp here tonight, head to wave and finish the mission. It makes no sense to head back, besides, you’re here to protect us, right? You won’t let anything happen to your team.’ Logic and a blow below the belt put the final nail in the coffin as Hatake-Sensei’s resolve crumbled and he agreed. They set up camp and Sasuke took the first watch. The fact that he wasn’t exhausted was amazing, and Naruto was fine even after being poisoned was incredible too.

She thanked inner for making her read the bingo book all that time ago, and Iwashi for being on guard duty the day that tragic incident occurred. Honestly?

She didn’t know how Kakashi got him out from under that rock.

Iwashi told her the story of how Kakashi stumbled into the gates, both his teammates in his arms, severely wounded, Uchiha Obito, with half his body crushed from a rock, and Nohara Rin with a wound right through her stomach from an enemy sword. Both were admitted to the hospital and made full recoveries, although Rin retired as a shinobi and now works at the hospital as a nurse. It was amazing, Sensei had lost his eye, Obito gave him one of his (that, caused a lot of trouble in the clan), Rin patched her stomach up as best as she could, and staunched the bleeding for both of their eyes.

He was the powerhouse and monster of his generation. Sasuke and Naruto are going to go big places under his tutelage.

Sakura stared up at the sky, wondering what she did to be put on a team like this, the academy promised her bonds stronger than steel, a family closer than her own, trust.

And all she got was ignorant, arrogant men who didn’t think twice about her, who abandoned her, left without a second thought because they “Didn’t need her help”.

Who was the hypocrite? Konoha? Her Team?

She remembered Team Eight, even though they’ve been a team the same amount of time as Team Seven, they were so much closer. She imagined Ino’s team is the same way, they’re all childhood friends. Trust comes so easily to them, so why her?

Why is it only her that’s left out?

Her team bonded without her, even before she was on it. Kushina-Sama was best friends with Mikoto-Sama, and Minato-Sama was Hatake-Sensei’s old Sensei, they all relatively knew each other, she was just thrown in for the hell of it. And now, her livelihood was dependent on people who didn’t acknowledge her?

Kunoichi classes taught her that strength comes in many forms, and that appearing weak gives you the advantage of surprise, Sakura took this to heart and held it close. Sakura could flower arrange, sew, dance, play the erhu, and for each thing that they taught her in class, she learned a way to kill with it. Poison, senbon and chakra threads, Taijutsu, and strangulation. It didn’t matter if you had as much strength as your opponent, the second they show you they’re vulnerable, they’re dead. And vice versa too. Sakura doesn’t feel things in the right way, her emotions tamped down into a jewel encrusted box labeled ‘Recklessness’ and locked with silver. She showed people what they wanted to see, what she saw from their body language and what she felt from their voice. Evidence took her half the way, the other half was guess work and background knowledge.

Sasuke let her know it was time for her to be on watch, she spent the rest of the night with one bitter thought, even as she dreamed.

“If those who abandon their teammates are scum, what are those who don’t acknowledge them in the first place?”

Inner answered for her.

They’re Monsters.

Chapter Text

 

Again.

Why her?

Walking next to Tazuna-san the next day, they’d just gotten off the boat and were walking the final stretch to his house when Sensei yelled for her to get down. She tackled Tazuna with her as a heavy thunk hit the tree fifteen feet away from her, a ninja perched on top of the massive sword was looking down at her.

But not just any ninja, this was Momochi Zabuza, one of the Seven Swordsman of the Mist.

He looked at her curiously before saying, ‘What’s the princess here doing on a shinobi team? You’re gonna get yourself killed; you know.’ Eyes flashing murderously, ‘Just give me the bridge builder and you might live a little longer.’ A powerful aura radiated from him.

‘Why does every Kiri citizen call me princess? I’m not even a Kiri citizen. How rude.’ She muttered and clicked her tongue. Calling for her teacher she said, ‘Hatake-sensei this is your job, not mine.’

That snapped him out of his daze, ‘Yes, Momochi-san, what are you doing here?’ Hatake-sensei asked. Zabuza’s previously murderous glare was replaced by a mischievous look and he responded by hopping down from his sword, strutting over to Sakura, patting her head roughly, and posturing in front of the Jounin.

‘Mizukage-Sama sent me to use the bridge builder to lure out Gatō,’ He snickered, ‘Seriously Hatake, why do you have the princess on your team? Isn’t that illegal?’

‘Princess?’ Her sensei parroted. Naruto and Sasuke looked at her, confused. Tazuna looked at her, shocked. Sakura radiated irritation.

‘Did…did you even read her file?! Surely she has one.’ Zabuza was exasperated, ‘She’s known as the princess of the Haruno clan, and her Uncle is head of the Haruno Conglomeration, but—'

She shot the Swordsman an icy look. He whistled.

‘That glare is cold princess, you’d put Haku to shame.”

‘So, Sakura-san is like, a clan kid, Dattebayo?’

‘No, you idiot, she’s just a civilian with a fancy family,’

Sakura’s irritation spiked high that time, just because it’s a civilian clan doesn’t mean she doesn’t have any power in the world! Well, now she won’t since she won’t be a Haruno for much longer. She almost scowled, but with both Zabuza and Kakashi looking at her, she smashed it down as quickly as it arrived and schooled her features, ‘Let’s just go to Tazuna’s house. Momochi-San can find a tree to perch in somewhere. Lead the way Tazuna-San.’ She flashed a sugary smile and Tazuna stumbled forward and began walking with Sakura down the path, leaving the rest of Team Seven and Zabuza together.

Grinning, he said, ‘You guys are funny.’ And strolled after the pinkette, hands clasped behind his head.

 


 

Tsunami, Tazuna’s daughter, was a kind, warm person. The kind you just had to be nice to otherwise you’d feel guilty. She greeted Team Seven and urged the silent boy behind her to do the same.

‘Inari say hello. These are the strong shinobi that protected grandpa.’

The little boy, Inari, turned his back in disgust, ‘They’re just gonna die, there’s no need.’

Blinking, the pinkette cocked her head to the right. Naruto, bless him, shouted at the boy, ‘That’s not true, Dattebayo! I’m gonna be Hokage someday, I can’t die yet’

‘No one is as strong as Dad and look what they did to him! You guys don’t stand a chance!’

It is then that the shinobi in the room collectively noticed the man sitting in the living room, his arms in thick casts and propped up on wooden braces that definitely dug into his sides. He didn’t say anything, just offered a strained smile and went back to looking out of the window at the ocean.

‘Inari!’ Tsunami scolded her son but all he did was run upstairs in defiance. Typical for a kid, Sakura probably would have done the same. Instead, Sakura went and introduced herself to the man while the rest of her team talked to the bridge builder and his daughter about Inari.

He didn’t look her way when she approached, probably didn’t even hear her. She shuffled a foot on the wooden floor and he finally looked over. ‘Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t notice you, how rude of me.’

‘It’s okay, My name is Haruno Sakura, I’m part of the team that guarded Tazuna-San on his way home.’ She didn’t offer to shake hands, instead she bowed politely.

‘My name is Kaiza, I’m Tsunami’s Husband and Inari’s step-dad.’ He nodded his head in greeting.

‘You have a lovely family.’ I’m a bit jealous, ‘You must be someone great as well to have Inari’s devotion like that.’

‘I’m not all that special, I just stood up to Gatō and his men, helped other in the village, but look what they did to my arms, I can’t help anyone now.’ He moved to sit on the old battered couch, Sakura sitting with him a polite distance away. She didn’t speak, fearing he would dissociate again if she interrupted him. He smiled warmly as he remembered something, ‘When I first met Inari, it was because he was being bullied, some kids threw his puppy in the water, and it couldn’t swim, I rescued it and then shooed the kids away from him. Then I met Tsunami, and now I’m part of a family who I want nothing more than to be happy.’ His face sunk, ‘And we were, for a while. But once Gatō and his men started messing things up, I rebelled. These men took my family’s and the village’s happiness away, I couldn’t just sit and do nothing.’ The once warm smile turned mocking, crude, Sakura didn’t know this man, but she wanted that crack to be mended as soon as it could be.

‘But now, I’m reduced to someone on the sidelines, watching my family and friends suffer, because I made a stupid mistake, I let myself be caught, I let myself and everyone else down and now I’ll never be able to help them.’ He was spiraling, ‘My arms are broken, I’m—’

‘Kaiza-San, please don’t think you’re letting your family and friends down, I’m sure if you asked them, they’d say how proud they are of you. As for you not being able to help them, you can trust my team to help them in your stead, just tell us what we need to know. We’ll be your arms for the duration of this mission.’

He smiled then, not fully genuine but better than the crude imitation earlier. Sakura looked at his arms one more time. ‘Your arms will heal in time, all wounds do. Just stick by the ones who help you out. Your family is right through that door, probably really worried about you.’

‘Heh. You’re right Sakura-San, I shouldn’t worry everyone anymore.’ And with that, he got up and headed, slowly, into the kitchen. Where everyone was still talking. Sakura followed shortly after.

 


 

 

‘It doesn’t matter, Dattebayo! I’m gonna teach him a lesson! I’m gonna be Hokage one day and I’m super strong-!’

‘Now now, Tazuna, Tsunami, where are your manners? We have to offer lunch to the ninja that protected the future of Wave, right?’

‘K-Kaiza! You’re speaking again!' Tazuna nearly jumped out of his skin in shock. 'Yes yes of course, hey brats what do you want to eat? Tsunami makes the best Okoyaki.’ Tazuna rambled on.

Tsunami was crying, when the first sob came out everyone panicked but she just hugged her husband tightly around the waist and said, ‘I thought I’d lost you! Don’t worry me like that again!’ Kaiza laughed and told her he wasn’t leaving anytime soon, and she smiled before moving to make lunch.

Sakura sat in the corner, ignored for now. The Demon of the Hidden Mist sidled up to the Pink Princess and whispered almost inaudibly, ‘Sakura. Just so you know, your parents have already announced they’ve repudiated you, everyone is scrambling to make sense of it. Since it is so sudden and you’re so young. Your uncle, though he is the Head of the Conglomeration, he’s the youngest brother so he can’t do much to change your parents minds. Your relatives won’t let him, with them being a civilian organization. Instead, He gave this package and asked the Mizukage to have it discreetly delivered to you.’

‘I see,’ She took the parcel and stuffed it in her thigh pouch for later, ‘you clearly have more questions, I’ll answer them later, I guess. Let’s go eat Zabuza-jiisan’

He chuckled at the old nickname, ‘Of course Sakura, we can talk later.’

 


 

 

When night fell, and Sakura’s team had yet to talk to her about anything and they’d gone to sleep, she quietly went downstairs and met Zabuza in the kitchen, everyone in the house was asleep save for the two. Sakura filled her pseudo-uncle in on everything that happened in the past couple weeks, whilst taking out the package from earlier and beginning it open it.

‘So, you’re tellin’ me that your team is a mess, and you haven’t applied to be reassigned yet?’

‘That takes too much time, I’d leave the team, then spent weeks or months waiting for a new one and I wouldn’t have a way of making money, then by the time my parents came back and kicked me out I’d have nowhere to go.’

‘Why not come here? You could stay with me and Haku. I wouldn’t mind you.’

‘I like Konoha, I made friends there. I’d like to stay there for as long as possible. But once I become a chūnin,  I’ll come visit you enough to make it seem like I live there, don’t worry.’

‘Well, the invitation is open indefinitely. Open the package.’

She removed the brown paper and revealed a wooden box inlaid with stones, a letter was attached to the lid, she picked it up and opened it,

Dear, Sakura-Chan:

I have heard the news of your parents decision and cannot agree with it, especially since they were once themselves shinobi, if only genin. Coming from Hidden villages comes with the normal happenstance that most children will want to become shinobi at some point. Regardless, I want to help you in any way I can, even more that I can’t adopt you as my own or give you any money.

The Haruno Conglomeration is going through some tough times right now, hence why Mebuki and Kizashi-niisan are on the trade route trip a month early. However, all the stores and businesses that are apart of our group have been instructed to help the person wearing the March Cards. I had the Zabuza Momochi commission them since he knows you better. They can be either earrings or a hair piece, anything a civi;ian can recognize. I wish I could do more, but as of right now, this is all I can do. You may not share the Haruno name since your parents have cut it from you but you’re always going to be my niece. Please write your dear old uncle more.

Regards,

Haruno Sumashi

Sure enough, when she opened the box, two hanafuda cards sat on the cushion in the box, depicting her namesake. She picked them up and looked them over, they were made of colored metal.

‘It’s made of chakra absorbing steel, so you can probably find a way to put a storage seal on there. They also won’t break, like I said, they’re made of steel, and if they bend you can use chakra to remold it. I hope you like them, I figured you’d rather wear earrings than a hair piece considering it’ll draw attention to your hair more.’

‘Yes, thank you Zabuza-jisan. I love them.’ Her eyes burning and throat closing, ‘I love them. Zabuza-jisan…’ Hot Tears burned in her eyes as they finally won her over and she moved to wipe her eyes, ‘Zabuza-jisan, I Love them, so why are they doing this to me? Ami was a civilian and her parents encouraged her to go to the academy to be strong, do they not want me to be happy? I spent 13 years in their lives, and they cast me aside the second I want something for myself?’

Zabuza pat her head solemnly, he didn’t know Mebuki that well, but her Dad was part of his Genin team before he resigned and immigrated to Konoha. A quiet and passive man, loyal to those he loves. When the pinkette was just a little thing, Kizashi would bring her over to be babysat and he had sent gifts to Konoha every spring for her birthday. It didn’t make sense but what’s done is done.

Sakura was officially Clanless and as he pulled the girl into a hug and held her like the kid she still was, he cursed the two that hurt the kid he watched grow up. It’s one thing to lose a family, it’s another for them to reject you being theirs.

Chapter Text

 

Zabuza laid the pinkette down on the couch and went outside to keep watch, stepping out into the chilly ocean air, he sensed for nearby chakras but found none. He picked a tree and climbed up for a light sleep, still keeping his senses open for a chakra signature. Throughout the night, nothing came.

 


 

 

When Sakura woke up, Tsunami was gently shaking her shoulder, ‘Sakura-San, are you okay? Your eyes are red…’

She rubbed her face harshly, ‘Ah, yes Tsunami-San thank you for asking. I’m fine, just not used to it being so humid so I was uncomfortable upstairs.’ She got up and retrieved her bag from her room of sleeping teammates and claimed the bathroom to get changed.

To match her new earrings, she wore a dark red dress that went to her thigh, with slits on either side going up to her hips, A white sash wrapped around her, and she pulled on her brown pants underneath it all. She pulled her hair into her signature braid and put the hanafuda earrings in, the red metal only slightly clashing with her hair.

She went downstairs and offered to help make breakfast. Tsunami gratefully accepted and the two whipped up enough fried eggs and rice to feed an army, Team Seven came down and both Naruto and Sasuke scarfed down their food as Hatake-Sensei’s food disappeared bite after bite, mask not moving. Kaiza and Tazuna ate with small conversation and Inari was nowhere to be found. Zabuza was probably lurking outside somewhere in a bush.

‘Right, so. Today we all are going to the bridge, including Momochi-san, and we are going to figure out what to do, since he is waiting for Gatō to make a move.’ Hatake-sensei said, and the genin nodded. Sakura, already done her food, excused herself and went outside to let Zabuza know what was happening.

‘I’m just waiting for Haku to let me know when to move. Probably in a few days when the bridge is almost done.’

‘Hmmm…Well, I guess just follow us around I guess.’

And that he did, everywhere. Into the market, onto the bridge, he just stuck to Sakura’s side like glue and followed her around. Day after day. His excuse? “The princess needs to be protected.”

He actually just wanted to rile up Hatake-Sensei, of course. ‘You should see how pissed he is,’ Zabuza screeched and laughed whenever he looked away. Of course, Sasuke didn’t care and Naruto only had eyes on Sasuke, and Hatake-Sensei just read his book and glowered at Zabuza, not even caring that his genin was currently talking to a mist nin disguised as a girl in a simple yukata.

‘Hey, Sakura I know it was already said, but you’re welcome with us. This is just painful, to watch them exclude you.’ Haku spoke softly as he put a flower in her hair, Sakura smiled.

‘I know, you can just visit me in Konoha okay? I have five months of my old house left, you and Zabuza should stay with me for a few days to catch up and have fun and write me letters too.’

He nodded, ‘If you say so, I’ll await your letters then. Oh and,’ He reached up and flicked the metal hanging by her right ear, she jerked her head, ‘do you like these?’

‘I do. I’m gonna put seals on them at some point once I get home.’

‘That’s good. You’re teammat—’

‘Oiiii, Sakura-chan!! Who’re you talking too?!’ Naruto bounded up to them and stared at Haku intently with a blush on his face.

‘San, Naruto-San. Use San not Chan.’

‘Right. Sorry, Dattebayo. Anyways, Kaka-jii said you can head back to the house and we’ll wait here for the rest of the day and meet you for dinner! Anyways bye, see you tonight Sakura-chan—I mean Sakura-san!’ And just like that, he raced back towards the other builders and Sakura stood stock still like the scarecrow her sensei was named after. Haku however, sent an icy glare towards her team.

‘How…irresponsible,’ He offered. ‘This is technically enemy territory and to leave you on your own is dangerous, you’re a genin.’

‘Haku, it’s fine, let’s go to the forest and you can teach me a new jutsu or something, okay?’

Haku spared Zabuza a look, who watched them from the ledge of the bridge about ten feet away, slightly irritated, mostly concerned, before turning back to the ocean and nodded. Haku and her walked into the forest and for the next five hours, Sakura learned how to walk on water and did target practice with her. Sakura also spent two hours practicing her Katas and having Haku correct her and give her pointers.

When the sun began to set, she left Haku to meet with Zabuza and she went to Tazuna’s house. Her team hadn’t arrived yet, so she set the table for Tsunami and they waited the few minutes until her Team and Tazuna arrived. They ate and Inari joined them, still spouting nonsense but relatively happier since Kaiza-san was responsive. Yet again, her team said nothing, Sakura took two bowls of food out to Zabuza and Haku, who thanked her. They talked to her as they ate and when they finished, she wished them a good night and took their dishes back inside. Tsunami was finished the dishes, so she washed and put them away before going up to her shared room. Sakura walked in to Sasuke and Naruto fighting and Kakashi reading, typical Team Seven behavior. They didn’t speak to her, so she set up her borrowed futon in the corner, removed her weapons pouches and put them next to her head, then she fell back and went to sleep.

 


  

They had been here for three weeks now, Gatō in a fit of stupidity, set fire to the building supplies to they had to wait for new ones to be delivered, which took a week and a half alone. Then, one of his henchmen destroyed the scaffolding and killed two builders, Sasuke grabbed the man before he could get away.

That night, Haku and Zabuza went to assassinate Gatō, when they came to meet Sakura outside, blood discreetly wiped off their hands, they brought her some anmitsu dango.

‘Our mission is done, but we’d rather stay until you leave, and I don’t want to leave you alone with your team unless I have to.’ Haku said. ‘Gatō is dead so his henchmen have no where to go, they’ll probably just disperse, and we’ll never hear of them again.’

‘Okay, in that case I’ll stay out here with you guys and talk.’ She took a seat on a branch in the tree and her, Zabuza, and Haku talked about anything and everything until she finally fell asleep.

 


 

 

Waking up in a tree startled her. She tipped over and landed on the ground in a heap. Zabuza laughed in her face from his spot on the ground and Haku jumped down to help her up. She brushed herself off and talked to the two a little while longer before heading to brush her teeth, her braid was kept mostly intact, so she smoothed it down and ate breakfast with Tsunami.

Her team had taken to just leaving without her and she’d have to meet them at the bridge, where she’d be sent off again after an hour or two.

She practiced Katas a lot, they were getting more familiar to her now. She also practiced sparring a few times with Haku, naturally she was beaten in seconds. Every time he landed a hit she’d tack on another lap around the clearing for her run, every hit that she landed would be an extra jutsu he’d have to show her.

She didn’t learn much jutsu.

That’s only because he’s so damn fast. Inner reasoned.

“True, but we still have to land something otherwise there’s no point.”

Just as she’d thought it, she saw a punch coming her way. Instead of leaning back to dodge, she bent forward, using one arm to hold her up, and used the momentum to swing a leg up and hook it around Haku. Using her other leg, she grappled the poor boy and pulled him to the ground in a heap, Sakura landing firmly on his stomach with a senbon pointed at an artery.

‘That’s new, your instincts are starting to show with your new style, I yield,’ Sakura rolled off him. ‘Good, I’ll spar you later today but until then I have to go check on Zabuza, just keep walking up a tree or meditating.’ Haku zipped away without disturbing a single leaf or blade of grass.

Taking the time to think, she walked up the tallest tree in the clearing, up and down, up and down. Over and over until she sat and perched herself at the top branch and pulled her book on first aid out.

‘Huh, I wonder if Haku knew you weren’t supposed to tilt your head back when you had a nosebleed.’ She flipped through the chapter on bandaging and stuffed the book in her pouch, as she began to climb down the tree, something caught her eye.

Thick, dark smoke billowed up from the bridge, barely kilometer away from her, as she saw a piece collapse into the sea below, she snapped into action and jumped towards the tree in front of her and tore through the forest towards everyone.

This was bad, very bad.

Chapter Text

 

One second, Sasuke was watching Naruto goof around with some of the workers, the next Naruto was nearly ran through with what looked like a piece of the scaffolding that was holding up the supplies needed for making the main entrance. The bridge men ran out of range, some jumping over and into the water below and swimming to shore.

‘Everyone, Evacuate! Get to the Village!’ He shouted. The chaos of everyone stampeding towards the main land left Sasuke to find his idiot teammate.

By the huge pile of, now burning, building materials, seriously what is it with people and fire? Didn’t they have anything better to do? He found Naruto half buried under a piece of sheet metal, unfortunately alive and still loudly kicking.

‘What the Fuck?! Teme, Get me out from under here, dattebayo!’

‘Hn, if you were a better ninja you wouldn’t have even gotten stuck.’ Scoffing, he pushed the metal over anyways to reveal a ragged looking orange idiot, his shirt shredded, and a battered orange jacket wrapped around his waist.

‘Where’s Kakashi?’ Sasuke whipped his head around, ‘I thought he was over by Tazuna?’ Naruto shook his head.

‘No, he said he would be around, but I don’t know where he went.’

A slippery sounding voice lilted from behind them, ‘Oh? That’s too bad.’

Sasuke's neck prickled and he and Naruto jumped away from the voice. A tall, skinny figure stood in front of them, bouncing on one leg like a money. ‘When Gatō’s men hired me to destroy the bridge even though their boss was dead, I was just gonna take the money and kill them. But then I heard you had Hatake Kakashi, a member of the Uchiha Clan, and the son of the Red Hot Habenero? All on one team?’ The person chortled, ‘It was just too good to resist, I mean really, how could I?’

Really, where was Kakashi, you wonder? What do you figure, “lost on the road of life”? walking an old lady somewhere? Well, normally you’d be right but today he’s actually doing something useful!

‘You see, I’m just a clone, the real me is going toe to toe with the copy nin right now and—’

‘Hold up a minute, why are you monologuing if you’re going to kill us? Aren’t you, giving us time to, I don’t know, plan our escape, dattebayo?’

‘Oh, I don’t mind telling you because it doesn’t matter what you do, you’re going to die anyways, silly!’ Something about the way they said that put Sasuke on edge.

‘Now, say your prayers, may God bless you to hell, hehee!’ The person, no man shunshined in front of Sasuke and aimed a kunai for his abdomen, Sasuke dived to the left and let the blade clip him in the side, Naruto getting scratched on the arm as he disappeared from the spot where he was about to get impaled. Next thing he knew he was pulled through space and deposited next to a panting Sakura, Naruto in a heap next to him.

 


 

 

Sakura never ran so fast in her life, silently thanking the Gods for her decision to start her running again. Hopefully Haku or Zabuza saw the smoke through the mist starting to settle over the coast.

‘What the hell, Haruno? You couldn’t get us further away?’ Sasuke clutched his bleeding side and snarled.

‘…Do you want me to stitch that up for you or no?’

‘You know how to suture a wound?’

‘Of course, all Shinobi are trained in first aid, you can even take outside lessons.’ She wasn’t going to tell him that she read it in a book less then ten minutes earlier but hey, it can’t be that different then embroidery, right?

If not done properly you could permanently damage their tissue, just an “fyi”.

Right, well. Don’t try this at home, kids! Luckily Sakura is awfully far away from Konoha so it’s all free game.

Sasuke grumbled but lifted his shirt up, hissing when his arm pulled at the skin. Sakura fished out the medical kit she’d gotten from one of the guys, Genma probably, and pulled a needle out but couldn’t find any of the thread needed.

Number 5: Always keep a needle and thread on you, you don’t know when you’ll need to fix a rip.

This can qualify as a rip for now. She reached for her pocket embroidery kit and yanked a length of thread out.

Dumping water on the wound, she then pinched the skin and after making sure it wouldn’t pucker, tied the knot and quickly sewed it up, wincing when Sasuke glared at her every time she faltered slightly. In her mind’s eye, the pages of the book printed clearly with Inner reading instructions.

‘Done.’

‘Did you really think you could simply get a few hundred feet and not expect me to figure it out?’

‘Took you a few minute, dattebayo.’ Naruto piped up from the spot where he was quietly watching his scratches heal up in front of his eyes.

“That’s because one of you left clones to distract me!” Their attacker said.

The man stepped towards them and Sakura pulled a kunai, mind flashing, what could she do?

Remember your training you dimwit!

The moment they’re vulnerable is the moment they’re dead. Great, that helps, really, thanks.” She thought.

Your other training, stupid, you’d think with all that forehead she’d have a brain.

“Number 3: Sakura-Tan, you’re cute. use that to make the other merchants underestimate how smart you are.” Thinking quickly, her once steady hands began to shake as she watched Sasuke’s head loll to the side, face paler than usual and breathing fast. Naruto had also gone quiet behind her.

Poison?

She felt a chakra racing towards her from the end of the bridge.

Haku? He won’t make it in time outer, we gotta stall him.

An idea popped into her head, and she hated it. But at least it would work.

And now, readers, watch as Sakura-chan throws her dignity over the edge of the bridge.

‘M-Mister! I swear if you come near my precious teammates, I’ll…I’ll kill you! I mean it!’ She hiccupped and let tears stream down her face, as if someone had flipped a switch. Brandishing some kunai and sniveling. She caught the man off guard and she shakily threw four Kunai at him, all of which missed and caught on the pillars of the main entrance.

‘What in the… Hey girl! Are you a civilian? Don’t play with the fancy knives okay?’

The mist around them turned cold and icy, Mirrors surrounded the man and he spun around as Haku appeared in a mirror. He turned to jump out of range when—

‘N-Nekonoyurikago.’

Ninja wire, attached to the kunai he thought had missed him entirely, sprung up with chakra and wrapped around him in the pattern of Sakura’s childhood, sitting with her aunt as she pulled at the yarn on her fingertips.

‘It’s just a clone, Haku. But Naruto-san and Sasuke-san have been poisoned, I think.’

With that, Haku threw a senbon and dispelled the clone before coming to look at them both, he patched up Naruto’s arm and Sakura used the bandages around her wrists to bandage Sasuke up.

 


  

‘Shūntaaro Saiko. Missing nin formerly of Kirigakure. What are you doing here?’ Kakashi spoke between dodging and delivering hits.

‘I was hired? Figured that would be obvious.’ He stopped abruptly, ‘My clone has been dispelled.’ He clicked his tongue irritably.

The missing nin swiped at Kakashi with his kunai as he deadpanned, ‘I wonder why you have the reputation you do, Saiko. What’s the man who killed his graduating class in the academy doing back on home ground? Don’t you have a kill on sight order?’

Mist thickened around them and suddenly they couldn’t see, ‘He does.’ There was a gurgle and a thud before the mist cleared and Zabuza was revealed, Kubikiribocho resting where it had taken the ninja’s head clean off.

‘Don’t know why he thought he could enter the country again. Someone was bound to find out he was within boarders.’ He wiped off his blade and sealed both pieces of the man in a scroll.

‘Where are Naruto and Sasuke?’ Kakashi said as he dusted himself off.

‘With the princess and Haku, my partner and apprentice. They’re at the entrance of the bridge.’

Kakashi, in a poof of leaves appeared in front of his team as Sakura finished up bandaging a half unconscious Sasuke and who he assumed was Haku administering an antidote to Naruto. Sakura’s eyes were red, she must have been crying. He went over and pat her head.

‘Maa, Sakura it’s normal to be scared in this situation, but you should’ve been with Tazuna, why are you here?’

 


 

 

Cha! He thinks we were SCARED? I mean yeah, we were crying but I’m not even shaking! Who does he think he is, asking why we were here, Tazuna was at the bridge! You decided to leave me at the house!

‘Ah, Sorry Sensei, I saw the smoke and panicked. It won’t happen again.’

Damn right it won’t, after the chuunin exams We’re off this team, right outer?

“Right, Inner,” She mentally nodded.

‘Good, I’m glad everyone is relatively safe, let’s head back to the house.’ He hefted the two boys over his shoulders and disappeared. Haku appeared to her right and wrapped an arm around her shoulders. They reappeared next to Zabuza in front of Tazuna’s house.

‘It was nice to see you again, Zabuza-jii, Haku. Make sure you come visit me.’ Sakura hugged the two briefly.

‘We will pinky, go see what’s up. And send a message if you need me to kill someone!’ Zabuza grinned.

‘Hai, hai, I will.’

‘Feel free to come move in if you change your mind.’ Haku smiled hopefully.

‘If I do, you’ll find me taking over one of your rooms.’ She teased and nudged him to the side. ‘Bye guys, travel safe, send me a letter when you get home, yeah?’

They nodded and disappeared. Sakura opened the door to the house and found her team in the living room talking to Tazuna, she made her way to the kitchen and helped Tsunami with the Yaki Udon she was making.

Hatake-Sensei poked his head through the threshold, ‘Sakura, we’re gonna leave first thing in the morning, make sure you’re ready.’ He retreated before she could respond. She sighed and looked at Tsunami, who shrugged and offered her a green bean to chew on.

 


  

Her bag sat by the door, ready to leave once her team got ready. It was barely sunrise, she was sitting on the couch meditating, with Inner cataloging all the information from the first aid book, embroidering it on a bolt of fabric in her minds eye.

Kaiza watched her from the kitchen, curiosity in his gaze when she didn’t move for the twentieth straight minute. ‘Tsunami, she hasn’t moved in a while, what do you think she’s doing?’ He whispered, leaning on the counter with his arms freshly out of a cast.

‘She told me it’s meditation and basically she’s just reflecting on her thoughts. Or something. Sakura-san?’ The girl opened her eyes and looked towards them, ‘Breakfast is ready would you like to eat?’ Nodding, she got up and came to the table.

‘Good morning, Kaiza-san, Tsunami-san. Thank you for the food.’ She sat down at the table and Tsunami handed her a bowl of rice with a fried egg on top and a cup of tea. She was halfway through it when her team loudly came downstairs and inhaled everything in sight.

 


  

Bicker, bicker, bicker. The entire two days it took to get back to Konoha. When they pulled up to the gates, two people she didn’t know were guarding the booth.

‘Team Seven Jōnin Hatake Kakashi, #009720 returning from mission.’

‘Team Seven Genin Uzumaki Naruto, #012607 returning from mission, dattebayo.’

‘Hn, Team Seven Genin Uchiha Sasuke, #012606 returning from mission.’

‘Team Seven Genin Haruno Sakura, #012601 returning from mission.’

Once looking for her registration number the guards looked at her, ‘Genin #012601 please present your PRC for authorization.’

Her gaze went hard, ‘…The papers should already be there, Sir.’ Nonetheless, she fished out the metal plate from her pouch anyways.

‘Your due date was a week ago.’

Her teams eyes were on her as she handed over the card and she heard Naruto ask, ‘What’s a PRC?’

‘Permanent Residence Card. It’s given to immigrants and allows them to have the rights, benefits, and privileges of permanently residing in Konohagakure.’ Kakashi spoke up, ‘Sakura I didn’t know you had one.’

‘It’s all written in my file, Sensei.’

The guard handed her back her card, stamped something on a piece of paper and handed her a copy. ‘Report to the Hokage for your mission report.’

‘Hai, sir, thank you.’ She bowed to the two guards and joined her team who looked at her warily.

They made it to the Hokage’s office and gave the Sandaime and Iruka their verbal report.

‘Well, I’m glad you managed to return successfully and with minor injuries. You’ll be paid for a B-rank. Please go home and rest. You also can have the week off from missions to recover. Dismissed.’

And with that they each collected 40,000 Ryō and went their separate ways.

Chapter Text

 

Sakura walked to her house to see a figure standing outside her house, looking nervous.

‘Uh, Hello?’

They whirled around as she spoke, revealing a girl with brown hair and black eyes, she had black eyes, ‘H-Hello, I have a message for a Haruno Sakura?’

She had dreaded this moment, then remembered she’d have to change her registration at some point too, ‘…Just Sakura now.’ The girls eyes widened in understanding before bowing an apology,

‘Mikoto Uchiha requests your presence in the main house as soon as possible.’

‘Hai, just let me put my things away, come in, have a seat, I’ll only be a moment.’ She ushered the girl inside and sat her in the living room. ‘What’s your name?’

‘Uchiha Izumi, Sakura-san. Sorry for the intrusion.’

‘Not at all, Uchiha-san. I’ll be a moment please make yourself comfortable.’ Sakura said before walking upstairs, she put her mission pay away and tossed her pack on the bed. She quickly changed into a green kimono top and brown pants before fixing her thigh and hip pouches to her. Smoothing down her hair she greeted the Uchiha in her house and they walked to the compound together.

 


 

 

When they arrived, Izumi left her in front of the main house and walked away. She steeled herself and brought up all the memories of proper etiquette her mother taught her. Her politely knocked at the door and waited.

Two seconds later footsteps approached, and the door slid open to reveal Sasuke’s older brother.

‘Hello Uchiha-san. I was told that Mikoto-Sama wished to see me.’

He didn’t react outwardly, except for the brief moment where he stalled and didn’t respond, which was her only indication that he was shocked to see her here. ‘Of course, Haruno-san, right this way.’

‘Thank you, but it’s just Sakura-san now, Uchiha-san.’ She stepped inside and removed her sandals and stepping onto the tatami mats.

‘Ah, My apologies, Sakura-san.’

‘It’s no trouble.’

They walked the short distance into the kitchen where Mikoto Uchiha was making tea. She turned when her son opened the door.

‘Ah, Hello, I’m Uchiha Mikoto, so nice to meet you Haruno-chan.’

‘It’s a pleasure to meet you too, Uchiha-Sama, although it’s just Sakura now, I’m afraid.’ She smiled and bowed to the woman as Itachi left the room and closed the door again.

‘Oh my goodness! I’m so sorry!’ She said as she bowed frantically.

‘It’s okay Uchiha-sama, you couldn’t have known, it was very recent. My registration isn’t even changed yet.’ Sakura waved her off and bowed.

‘Still, it was rude of me. Anyways, I called you here because I have yet to meet the final member of my son’s team! I’ve known Naruto-kun and Kakashi-kun for ages, but I’ve never met you, Sakura-san.’ She gestured to the teapot on the counter and smiled, ‘Tea?’

‘…I’d love some, thank you.’

 


 

 

‘So, are you looking forward to the chūnin exams?’ Mikoto laughed as Sakura smiled.

‘Oh yes, I can’t wait. No offense to you Uchiha-sama, but I want to get off the team as much as possible.’ Sakura sighed.

Mikoto blinked. ‘Oh? Why’s that?'

Should she tell her? Sakura wrung her hands together before looking at the older woman. ‘Uchiha-sama,’ She looked at her feet and bit her cheek. ‘It’s my team.’

‘What happened?’ The matriarch looked pissed. Not at her, though.

But she told her what happened anyways, she spoke of the bell test and the missions and the exclusion. Everything up until this point. Mikoto looked as if she would go and rip her teams heads off.

‘Don’t yell or ridicule Sasuke into treating me differently, Uchiha-sama. Please?’

‘But, Why Sakura-san?’ She took Sakura’s hands in her own, ‘He’s been so rude, I must!’

Sakura sighed and grasped the older woman’s hands. ‘If you have to tell him, then he won’t really be treating me different, he’ll just pretend to.’

Mikoto reluctantly nodded and poured more tea for Sakura. The two talked about many things, flower arranging and the latest sale at Yamanaka Flowers, Sakura’s embroidering, and Mikoto’s riceball recipe.

‘Wait, Sakura-san, where are you staying if your parents have repudiated you?’

‘Currently, they’re on a trade route check and won’t be back for another 4 months. I’m staying there until I find a place,’ She took a sip of her tea. ‘I’ve been taking commissions and I also got a part-time job to add to my mission pays to rack up money. I’m slowly working my way up.’

‘In that case, Could I commission you? I need a tapestry restored.’

‘Well, sure but depending on how old, large, and damaged, it could take a while.’

‘That doesn’t matter I’ll let you create an estimated price. Would you like to see it?’ Mikoto smiled. Once Sakura nodded, she was dragged through the house, Mikoto called for both Itachi and the Clan head, Uchiha Fugaku and they all went into a room in the back of the house. Sakura gaped, appalled.

‘Oh my Kami, what have you done to it?!’ She clutched her heart. Threads were pulled and uneven, frayed, cloth and thread dull the edges. ‘Did you try to scrap it with a kunai?’

Fugaku sputtered while Mikoto laughed loudly. Sakura fanned her face and took deep breaths. ‘…We were unaware it was in such a desolate state. It was recently found in a chamber underneath the compound.’ Fugaku cleared his throat as Sakura choked up.

Itachi looked at the cloth curiously, it looked like it was supposed to be the Uchiwa fan of the clan, but it was…not that.

Mikoto, after finally calming down spoke, ‘Sakura-san what do you think? Can you repair it?’ Fugaku and Itachi whipped their heads to look at the small girl nearly in tears after looking at the cloth. She straightened and walked forward to inspect the piece.

‘Well, it’s pre-warring states era silk with fine threads that are extremely frayed and torn, though if it’s been in a chamber its probably not dry rotted. But it is rather large, and I’d have to either re-dye the cloth or go through the entire thing with new thread. It would be better if I just made a new one, but you probably want it restored to save the chakra and message imbued in it.’ She mumbled. Fugaku froze and pinned Sakura down with a glare.

‘You can read the message?’ He asked coldly.

‘What? There’s a message? With chakra embroidered next to the thread, anyone with training could identify the trend. Look, see how the tapestry looks embossed even though its clearly not? That’s the chakra reflecting light particles and dye molecules as it sticks to the fabric. It’s honestly really not secure; you shouldn’t keep it in the open like this.’

‘Huh? What do you mean, Sakura-san?’ Mikoto looked nervously at her husband. ‘This is an ancient Uchiha heirloom.’

‘Yes, I know, but the technique is so old that the chakra is threatening to be released, if it’s destroyed any further, you’ll lose it.’ She picked at a thread on the edge.

‘Please tell me you’re joking!’ Mikoto started pacing and further lamenting. Fugaku cursed and turned to look at the fabric with his sharingan activated.

Breaking the chaos, Itachi looked at Sakura, who tilted her head and analyzed the fabric more, ‘Can you fix it?’

‘I’m sorry?’

‘The tapestry, Sakura-san. Would you be able to repair it? Money and supplies would not be an issue.’ Itachi looked at her. ‘It’s very important that we repair it.’

Mikoto looked at her desperately.

‘Well, it would take a while. And I’d need someone with a Sharingan with me to make sure I don’t damage anything. But I could probably do it? It’ll take a long time, maybe a year or more.’

Next thing she knew, lips were pressed against hers for a brief moment and she was wrapped into a hug. Mikoto was the culprit as she let out a brief sigh of relief. Itachi nodded and looked to his father who, shocked his wife had just kissed a genin on the lips, just stared.

Clearing his throat, he spoke ‘Sakura-San, was it? If you would kindly allow us, we’d like to commission you to restore this piece.’

‘I accept, Uchiha-sama. Would you like to work out the details now or later?’

 


 

 

Sakura walked through the doors to the Ninja Registration office next to the mission desk the following morning. The Chūnin at the desk looked at her.

‘Good Morning, how may I help you?’

‘I need to update my file.’

‘Okay, I’ll need your registration number and the reason for the update, as well as your Ninja ID and any other forms of identification you have, if any.’

Sakura reached in her pouch and pulled her ID and PRC out. ‘#012601 and Familial Repudiation.’

‘Hai,’ The cards were snatched out of her hands and with a burst of chakra and a few scribbles on her file, she was now officially Sakura. No surname. ‘Here, all done. Enjoy your day.’ Her things were given back to her and she walked back out of the office less then ten minutes after she entered. She wandered back down the streets and into her house and stared at the wall where the family photo hung. Mama’s prim and proper aura permeating through the ink, Papa’s cool aloofness, even Sakura’s own happiness as she was tucked between the two people she loved most.

She turned away from the frame and walked back out of the house. Next thing she knew she was with Mikoto in the back room of the compound mapping out how she was going to embroider and restore the tapestry without dispersing the chakra.

The rest of her week consisted of mapping the Uchiha commission, work, and training with Team Guy in the mornings.