Chapter 1: Prologue
She was painted in blood. It was said that the color of her hair came from being soaked in it. A faded shade of reddish pink. Iron tinged locks.
They called her nightshade. It had everything to do with the flower. She was as poisonous as its roots and as pretty as its petals. She hated the codename so she carried it on her and stuffed it down their throats in retaliation.
She had a family once. A big boisterous clan that made a place feel like a home. They were the only ones to call her by her name. People came and killed them. So she went and killed people. It was the only thing that made sense to her 10 year old self.
One killer said she looked as pretty as a flower. She made sure flowers were the last thing he saw.
At the age of 13 her face appeared in the Assassin bingo book under the name NightShade. She didn’t think her record was worth an entry. She also thought they didn’t draw her eyes right.
The night she killed her family’s killers she met death. She sat by a pile of bodies her face covered in blood her hair soaked in it. It had been too easy. She laughed towards the night sky at the cycle she had completed. They killed and she killed. Everyone dead, except for her. She didn’t know where she fit anymore. She tried to ask death.
She just stared upwards hoping that death would give her an answer. Her mother told her that death is a job and those that find their career in it find answers. She didn’t understand. She just felt broken and there was only death around her to answer. Death said nothing.
Her laughing had caught someones attention as she looked towards the ground she saw Silver. It stared at her behind its porcelain mask. She laughed at it. So this is who death sent. A lightning bolt to kill a flower.
He was surrounded by it.
It was a S Rank Anbu mission. The same type he had done for the past year. Go in terminate and leave. No traces, no witnesses, no questions.
The small team arrived to blood. As he looked down at the girl painted in crimson, he thought so this is death.
A hand grabbed his shoulder and whispered in his ear
" She beat us to it."
It clicked. The blood wasn’t hers. She wore it like a ceremonial garb. The proof of her brutality.
She is death he thought. Should he kill death?
Could he kill death a sinister thought proclaimed.
"Head back this wasn’t part of the plan."
"But she’s a witness."
How can death be a witness he thought.
"No." he said "She did our job for us. We were never here."
They left but he took one last look at her and she looked down at him and laughed. He felt his blood burn. Death. Death. Death.
He could never forget those green eyes that seemed to whisper to him. They seemed to say I've found my kin in you.
When he was shown a bingo book with her face in it months later he felt they hadn’t done her justice
"that isn’t death" he murmured to no one but the wind. he swore he could hear her laugh howl through the night.
Chapter 2: She carried an ocean that only a desert could dry
First off. So excited about the response to the first chapter. Thank you!
I refer to death with they/them pronouns.
I am going to be jumping around a bit with the next chapters and doing some world building.
If you get confused don't worry! It'll make more sense later on. The current mental state of Sakura and kakashi aren't the best so we see things in their logic which isn't exactly coherent... yet.
Thank you for sticking with me. I'm really excited to show you more.
Sorry no Kakashi in this chapter just my main girl.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
She killed for money.
It was in her blood. At least that's what she told herself. She had thought if she worked her hands in the way of her ancestors then she would find what they had left behind. So she cut arteries and sliced away toes, hands, legs, arms, hearts, mouths, ears, eyes, and tried to decipher the hidden knowledge she was sure her family had left for her. She made sure to follow the customs she remembered being taught. She mimicked the way her father pressed his palm to his head after a kill. She left a portion of food out at night, just as her mother use to do. Every strange gesture she could remember she put into practice even though she rarely remembered the reasoning for them. She became a collection of memories she didn't understand. She was the embodiment of a ritual to a god long forgotten. The only thing she did remember with clarity was a small prayer. She whispered it often.
The god of death is lingering over us,
keeping a watchful eye upon the living.
They wait, patiently, for eternity is theirs.
They still called her nightshade, so she started eating it in retaliation. Low doses didn’t kill her but she did hallucinate heavily. She loved it. Death seemed to speak then. They had answers like riddles she seemed not able to understand. It was maddening, but she kept on with her pursuit. Death was the answer and she desperately searched for the right question to ask it.
It was blood and guts and so much ryo for a 13 year old with no idea what to do with it.
It was all a jumble. jumble. jumble.. until she was dried out.
She was eating at a small food stand when it happened.
There was a good 5ft radius around her that people seemed to stay out of. Maybe it was the way she smelled or the way her entire body, clothes included, were stained with slightly washed out blood. Either way a woman with black hair and brown skin decided to sit down next to her.
"So you’re Nightshade" she said.
Blood was the answer as a knife struck her hand.
The raven woman laughed and pulled the knife out leaving blood to stain the wood below, "I take that as a yes." She then gestured to the man behind the counter for sake. "You look like you could use some drying out. You're soaked." She replied nonchalantly as she swigged down her first cup.
It didn’t make sense she was completely dry, but she still looked at her clothes to confirm. She wondered if the woman could see all the blood she had been soaked in.
It was neither. The woman could see the oceans inside of the young girl beside her. Just because she didn’t cry didn’t mean the water wasn’t leaking.
"I've got a proposition for you." She stated.
"No thanks" The little assassin replied, but the raven like woman cooed promises of money, food, and a bed with a pillow.
"I’m only good at killing." was the response.
"Well I’ll let you be my bodyguard then."
"Didn’t you hear me. That’s the opposite of killing." This was the longest conversation she had with someone breathing in years.
"Not if you think about it this way. As long as you keep me alive you can kill whoever you want. That means more income with a constant client. Anyway i’m leaving for Suna tomorrow."
She didn’t care about money, but she had never seen the desert. She had only been in this rainy country and it wasn't like death wouldn't follow her wherever she went.
"Fine." She gave in.
"Well, meet me tomorrow at the inn down the road at sunrise." The woman stated as she threw down payment for her drink. "The name's Shiki. What do I call you?"
A name. She had one, or at least she thought she did. No one had used it in so long, she had started to think she had made it up. It was hard to tell the memories from her flower induced hallucinations.
So she started with the part she couldn't forget. "Haruno" Her tie to a world and culture almost lost. Then she said, in a smaller voice, the whisper of a name she only heard from a gentle voice in her dreams and hallucinations "Sakura".
Shiki smiled down at the girl, "I'll see you bright and early Sakura." She was halfway down the road before she yelled out. "OH AND MAKE SURE TO SHOWER YOU REEK." Sakura had the answer to her 5 ft radius.
The next morning the new companions set off to the desert and when Sakura's sandals touched sand for the first time she felt something swell up inside of her.
She began to dry.
Next chapter we explore a bit of history about the Haruno Clan.
Excited? Cause I sure am.
I've always loved the idea that the Haruno Clan was something more than what canon has lead us to believe.
Chapter 3: Gods have walked this world
Still floored by all the wonderful responses to this!
As promised here is a little introduction to the Haruno Clan.
Really short chapter!
I'm going to try and get the next chapter up as soon as possible to make it up to you all.
Before shinobi there were samurai.
Before chakra there was hand crafted weapons.
The Rabbit Goddess changed much of the landscape of the world with her choices. The wars of previous generations were fought for lands, power, fame, and for Gods. Samurai worked for rulers, but the rulers worshipped Gods. It was common to meet a God and have fortune or travesty given. Actions were the loudest prayers one could bestow. Warring Gods thrived on bloodshed. Gods of harvest thrived with land. Gods of mischief thrived on choas. All thrived on the actions of the humans. Gods died and Gods were forgotten until they were given a new name and born again.
Samurai were not the only hired warriors. There were the silent killers. The Haruno clan were known as such. They solely worshipped the god of death and killed in exchange for goods. It was their craft and their religion. They took it as duty to carry on the will of the Shinigami and they were the best at it. The samurai fought wars, but the silent killers won wars. It was the quick and dirty kills of leaders that changed the tides of most battles. The Haruno clan's tactics became a model for many. Which brought about the first name for these silent killers; Assassins.
It wasn’t until the woman Kaguya made herself the first God of chakra that people began to forget their other Gods. She ruled the world with love and she ruled with fear. She filled it so much with herself that people forgot their prayers and rituals. Gods began to fade. The world became new and full of chakra. Gods realized they must change again to survive so the names of Gods became names of techniques and the prayers became hand seals. Gods were forgotten and remade into something new. They became the fire and will of people. Shinobi unknowingly prayed to them with every jutsu and Gods found their new place in a chakra filled world.
There was only one god that did not change. The God of death never needed to change. Death was a truth even chakra and shinobi couldn't alter. The Haruno clan continued to practice the prayers and rituals passed down to them. Their livelihood was so ingrained with their God they found no reason to change, but just like the Gods of old the Haruno clan began to fade. The samurai became shinobi. Chakra was the new tool used for war. Shinobi clans became more common and they sold their services of loud war and silent deaths.
The Haruno became a story told and changed until only the few sought them out. They no longer thrived but scavenged for work. The only thing that did not change was their connection with their Shinigami, believing that they would be as constant as the death they dealt in.
Until one day Shinobi came and looked upon the clan of old and decided its story needed an ending. So they ended it, but It was only the beginning for one young survivor who continued the practices of old.
She kept death alive.
Chapter 4: Falling
Just as promised here is the next chapter.
Also here is my tumblr if you guys are interested. I post more writing snippets as well as discuss other amazing stories. https://www.tumblr.com/blog/mywritingandramblings
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Sakura knew it was him right away. He looked the same, but the lighting bolt had changed.
On the other hand she had never looked different, but inside she was still the raging horror of that night. She still caught herself talking with death. Shiki had done much to condition her to seem different in social situations, but it was just a facade. It was many years of soft reminders that hallucinations weren’t visions and sharpening knives wasn’t normal dinner etiquette. That we all had ghost but you don’t see us communicating with them. Why not she would ask. Because it's dangerous to show others how you are broken. She learned to keep her prayers to herself and to hide her thoughts.
So seeing him there. Her death. Her end. She had never felt more alone. If the man death sent could become whole then why couldn’t she. Why did she still find herself trailing blood. A tug at her waist, it dragged endlessly behind her.
It was the feeling of missing something that you’ve never had, nostalgia for something you’ve never experienced. Her meeting with him was bittersweet like a parting. She had built up a companionship with the lighting bolt in her head and this reality came in and shattered it. She felt a loss of kin.
The next time he saw her she no longer resembled death and he didn’t recognize her.
Kakashi was what they called a poor tape job. He had been put back together so many times that he never felt truly whole. He became familiar with death, like a young boy becomes familiar with learning how to read. He found his dead father and couldn’t even read the letter left behind. Death seemed to follow him like an unwanted parasite. It fed off the joy in his life till everyone that had stubbornly opened up his heart had died. He only had the ramblings of a young man in a green jumpsuit to keep him sane, but he ran from him. He ran to the darkest of places and decided if death wanted him then he could have him. So he flung himself into every dangerous situation. A constant gamble with his life. Still Death never took him.
Death left him a patchwork of a man by his twenties. When The Hokage looked up at him and ordered he take up teaching. How could he teach death to a bunch of 12 year olds who could barely throw a kunai. So he failed them, until the Hokage gave him his kryptonite. Three boys that would break his heart day after day so he could pick up the small pieces and put himself back together. They remade him.
It was a situation he never thought he would get into. Teaching the last Uchiha, Minato’s son, and a child breed from root. Every day he had to face down the eyes of his best friend who he failed, the guilt of leaving the son of the man he considered family alone in the world, and the boy that grew up surrounded by death like himself. Hiruzen knew the root boy with the fake smiles was sent to spy on the two volatile children of Konoha. Kakashi knew it as well, but he didn’t change his teaching tactics. He showed up late, he pranked his students, he did everything he could to make sure they had a foundation of absurdity before the world tried to break them more. He didn’t realize until much later that they had made him whole again.
When he saw her again it was the day he became Hokage and Tsunade had invited more than half the world. He was introduced to Shiki-sama a tall woman with black hair and brown skin who had a friendly exterior. Tsunade exclaimed that the woman would change the civilian world one day. She smiled and was pleasant to him as she told the two guards with her to take the night off. One seemed immediately pleased as she punched the shoulder of her pink haired companion. The latter frowned and told Shiki she had no reason to celebrate a shinobi event. They wore all black similar to an ANBU outfit but had no masks or anything indicating they were shinobi. Civilian bodyguards he thought. Strange breed.
Shiki seemed to smile at the comment. “Well if you want to work Haruno feel free to protect Hokage-sama for the night.”
The bright pink haired woman looked at Shiki in surprise “You’ve got to be kidding me.”
As if it explained everything Shiki placed her palm to her forehead.
“Fine” Sakura responded.
“Maa I’m flattered Shiki-sama, but I have a whole team supporting me tonight. There really is no reason.” Kakashi replied. If the rumors he heard about civilian bodyguards were true he did not want her around.
“Well I bet one or two of them would appreciate the night off.” Shiki smiled and Kakashi realized the game she was playing. Tsunade was right this woman would survive well in politics.
“I’m worth at least three of them.” Sakura muttered.
“What did Shiki say about humility Haruno.” The other guard whispered back.
“As I was saying. What could one more to your collection hurt. Haruno is the best bodyguard in the wind country.”
“Yeah your bodyguard.” Haruno responded.
Shiki side eyed her bodyguard “She would love to show her expertise tonight.”
Kakashi gave up he wasn't one for mind games, “Well if you insist.”
“There you go Haruno now you can enjoy your night.”
Sakura hated how sly Shiki was. She could read Sakura like a book at this point and had seen the complex expression on Sakura’s face during their meeting with the Hokage. Well it wouldn’t change anything. She would just guard him. She wouldn’t make any contact with the man.
Kakashi didn’t know what to expect from a civilian bodyguard but her sitting on the roof closest to him staring down the partygoers was not what he had imagined. She had a very interesting way of guarding. She didn’t interfere with his movements or follow him closely. She didn’t try to drink or eat anything before him like he heard some bodyguards did. She just watched from above. She didn’t even try to hide. The 6 anbu guards that were somewhere in the shadows tonight keeping a lookout for him where probably on high alert because of her. She found a way to be extremely obvious about her intentions without bothering him. It was as she was showcasing to all that he was hers and she would stop anyone that challenged that idea. Every time he locked eyes with her green eyes he felt like he was falling, but he didn’t know why.
It wasn’t until later when he looked up did he catch her gaze wandering to a part of the celebrations where Tsunade was drinking and laughing with Shiki. She had a soft smile as she watched them. He was reminded of a spring morning. At this point of the night he had had a bit to drink and decided that the only way to face the falling he felt was to confront it. If it meant actually falling off a roof then so be it.
He surprised her. Which she internally cursed herself for letting him slide so easily next to her on her roof perch.
“Things do look better higher up”
“Shouldn’t you be enjoying the party Hokage-sama”
“I’m not one for social gatherings actually. I’m still not use to being called Hokage. Feels like Kakashi Hatake is dying.” The alcohol was making him more talkative than usual, but he didn't mind if it coaxed something out of the woman next to him.
“Is that your name?” She asked finally putting a name to the lightning in front of her. She could smell it off of him; like dirt after rain.
“Ahh yes. I sometimes forget people don’t know that. Too many enemies yelling it at me had me thinking it was common knowledge.” He paused and pondered the crowds below. “Well thank you for protecting me tonight. Hope it hasn’t been too much work.”
She laughed. “Only if you count the eight women I had to stop from drugging your drinks. You seem to be a popular man.”
Kakashi’s eyebrows shot up. He hadn’t seen her leave her perch once. “Who says they were putting my life in danger?”
At this she finally turned towards him and he was falling again in those green eyes. “I did. Epena isn’t a plant you want in your bloodstream if you’ve been drinking. You would of been jumping off rooftops by now.” Maybe he had been drugged because it would explain this feeling he couldn’t quite place. It was like he found something lost after years of searching.
“I guess my gratitude is due then.” Kakashi replied turning his head to look at anything other than her. “Does my bodyguard for the night have a name?”
“Haruno.” she replied still looking at the crowd. She thought if she didn’t look at him he would fade away. It worked with death so why not him.
“Haruno is the important part.” At this she stood up. “It’s the part I can’t let die.”
He followed her eye line to see Shiki stumbling further away. “My actual client seems to be leaving. Goodnight Kakashi Hatake.”
With that Haruno leapt from the roof. He had half a mind to follow her, just to feel like he was falling once more.
I'm super stocked for the next few chapters. We get lots of interactions of my favs.
Chapter 5: abstain
My formal apology about how long it took to get out, but I'm very glad to be continuing this story.
Sakura had assumed she would quit her bodyguard position after a couple of months. She never expected to last ten years. The main reason being Shiki’s frequent run ins with mortality. She was constantly being targeted by powerful rich men that wanted her out of their schemes. Sakura’s first months were absolute hell trying to figure out how to be a bodyguard. She couldn’t find a balance of guarding and tracking her targets. It left her exhausted.
She was 14 and her life was changing rapidly once again. Shiki had even started to find and hide Sakura’s stashes of nightshade. It was annoying to say the least. She kept a secret stash on her at all times, but she rarely found time to immerse herself in it’s haze filled state. Death was still soaked in her bones, but she felt the spiritual connection dimming.
Sakura was sprawled out gazing at the stars struggling for breath on the roof of an inn they were staying at after her eighth kill that week. She counted the stars as she picked at the dry blood on her arms.
“There you are.”
Sakura looked up to find Shiki hoistering herself onto the roof. “Want to go grab some food?”
“Aren’t bodyguards suppose to be silent and invisible.” Sakura grumbled out. This was also the eighth attempt by Shiki to get Sakura to do anything with her.
“Yeah well I thought I told you I didn’t hire a bodyguard. I hired an assassin. The best one too.” Shiki smiled a too bright smile as she looked down at her hire. “Although you really need to get better at your hygiene. You know I thought your hair was a light red this whole time, but no you just need a bath pinkie.” Sakura glared.
“Don’t call me that, and don’t call me Sakura in public. Just Haruno.”
“Whatever you say boss. Now come on I want something fried!” Shiki kicked at Sakura’s legs until she got to her feet and finally gave in to the wicked woman’s request.
Shiki had a way of getting underneath her skin. She seemed to figure out the questions Sakura would never voice and answer them. Over a pile of delicious fried food and her drunk companion Sakura realized she didn’t have to change at all. She would find her way to guard Shiki. An assassin’s way.
Sakura found a makeshift home in Shiki. It happened slowly. Just a collection of moments that started to make Sakura remember what she had truly lost. It was in the way Shiki repeated prayers Sakura would mumble during food, Shiki’s laughter when Sakura told the story of her first kiss with a nearby village boy and how he had been “all teeth”, watching sunsets as they journeyed through the desert, and the way Shiki would find Sakura one day a year and silently watch as Sakura tried to remember burial rites she never spoke for graves she never dug. Shiki became the one source of knowledge on the subject of Sakura Haruno. She listened and learned from Sakura’s rants and rambles. Once Sakura began she became quite adamant about her opinions. Her favorite rant though would always be about Shinobi.
She hated shinobi. She told everyone who would listen, but not why. Shiki had been firm when telling her not to discuss her talks with death with others. People didn’t talk about gods anymore. Sakura just couldn’t wrap around why death would send a shinobi when it was in her blood to do deaths bidding. So she trash talked shinobi every chance she got “what useless lot.” “Can spot one a mile away, they seriously should tone down the whole thing.” “who needs chakra when you have knives?” Sakura had lots of knives.
So after ten years of working for Shiki Sakura shouldn’t of been surprised when the first stop the morning after the hokage’s party was at the tower the man resided in. She didn’t know what Shiki was planing, but regardless she wasn’t happy that it involved more shinobi and less killing.
Kuro walked into the room with Sakura as they both followed their charge. Shiki had started to keep two guards since her rise in popularity to the Suna people. Sakura was the one to decide who to hire and level of training. It began small, but Shiki had attained a collection of rotating guards all disciplined under Sakura.
Kuro looked over to Sakura and rolled her eyes. Sakura was glad that she wasn’t the only one bored in the Shinobi village. She hadn't killed someone in weeks and it left her anxious. She could feel the phantom blood rolling over her arms. Her body screamed for her to slice something. She was full of blood and flowers and death until Shiki's voice brought her back to the conversation at hand.
“I’ve come with another offer Hokage-sama. I’m going to start a long journey these next few months traveling throughout the Wind country and researching the countries resources, stabilities, and needs for the daimyo.” Lies Sakura thought. They had just finished doing that. “As such I don’t want to take both my bodyguards with me as they are a sign of wealth and intimidation in the smaller villages I’ll be visiting. It’s uncommon unfortunately for three women to be traveling alone.” Another lie. Sakura almost scoffed at that. The wind country took care to respect its women more so than the fire country. “I don’t expect much resistance as my travels are kept a secret at the highest level, so I’m willing to part with one for the three months. Haruno seemed like a good match for this place would you mind housing her here?”
“Why are you talking like I’m not in the room.” Sakura retorted. She didn’t feel like playing whatever game Shiki had set. Last night had been more than enough of that.
“Aren’t bodyguards suppose to be silent and invisible.” Shiki responded. No one in the room except for Sakura understood the lie. Sakura immediately switched to fight mode. This was something else. This was a task only she could do. Maybe she would even get to kill someone. Her hands tightened the strap of knives concealed on her arm.
Kakashi stared at the guests in his office. He honestly had no idea what to do. The strange bodyguard wasn’t a shinobi. He couldn’t detect any chakra from her now or last night, unless she was that good at hiding it, but he doubted that. It wouldn’t be against any rules as she was technically a civilian, but something about the idea of keeping this bodyguard around felt dangerous. Like he was allowing a neighboring anbu officer food, home, and their lives.
“I can earn my keep if necessary.” Sakura added. “I can work somewhere if you’d like. Hell I’ll even guard someone if it helps.”
Her immediate acceptance of the situation seemed strange to Kakashi. He could feel the webs of something tying itself around him. The question was would Konoha come out better or worse? He knew he had to accept Shiki’s request. His meeting with the village elders earlier that morning had made that all too clear.
“Guard me then.” Kakashi responded. It was the only way to keep the bodyguard watched without her knowing about it. He was certain she would know if anbu were tracking her. He didn’t trust anyone else to spy on her as she guarded them and he knew she would scoff at guarding anyone not in a high position in the village. He was the only one up for this mission. She would always be near and he would always be paying attention.
Sakura soured. This was not what she wanted. She didn’t want to spend her next three months next to the man of lightning. His content life surrounding her as she drowned in it. She always new he would destroy her one day she just never expected it to be this mundane.
It seemed Sakura didn’t have a choice as Shiki pulled out a small knife and cut the tip of her finger and pressed it to her forehead. “The deed is done.” Sakura hated herself for telling Shiki anything about her family's culture. Shiki always remembered and always used it against her. A blood promise could never be broken.
Chapter 6: Stranded
I can't believe it's been this long! Well I'm back on this as much as possible. I've had a turbulent few months so I really do appreciate the kind comments and support.
“Should we have really left her in that village” Kuro asked, as she watched Shiki haggle with a man selling fruit just on the border of the fire country and the Land of waves.
“You should know I have my reasons.” Shiki replied as she examined the yellow fruit in front of her as if it were gold. She turned towards the old merchant. “Where do you farm these?.”
“Interesting. Is any other part of the plant edible?”
“There’s medicinal value to its leaves and some use the roots for tea.”
Shiki thanked the merchant and set the fruit down and moved to the next item. Kuro watched Shiki’s moves intently trying to ascertain their meaning. “As much as I love watching Haruno squirm around Shinobi I still don’t think it was the smartest idea to leave her there.”
“You may have a point, but I just couldn’t resist the way she stared daggers at that man.” Shiki responded as she grinned at a basket of wheat. “It reminded me of something she would say after coming home bloody from a kill.”
“Nothing like a good kill first thing in the morning?” Kuro said in her best Haruno monotone voice.
“No not that. Earlier on I would fuss a bit about her recklessness and she would laugh and say that she could only die by lightning’s hand. Well that man reminds me of lightning so I thought I’d tease her a bit.” Shiki took a bite out of a purple shaped fruit and immediately spit it out.
“Mam you usually peel the skin off of that.”
Shiki grimaced and paid the man for the basket of wheat and left. Kuro laughed all the way to Rain territory.
Kakashi had no idea what to do with his self imposed problem. It was one week since she was all but dropped off like Konoha was some daycare. He had immediately pawned her off to Shikamaru to show her where she would be staying. He was supposed to give a brief tour of the village, but Kakashi knew Shikamaru wouldn’t get that far along without dipping out. That’s why he had chosen him for the job. No need to show her anything without reason. She had taken to perching on the roof connected to the window of his office and stare at the village while he worked. He almost wished she would just ignore her obviously fake mission and just get on with whatever she was suppose to do. The feeling of having her sitting behind him was not pleasant. He stared at the imposing stack of paperwork and tried to ignore the woman behind him who seemed to be napping.
She was dreaming about her mother.
“Sakura you know you can’t go with your dad just yet.”
“But he needs my help.”
“That’s why I’ll be there.”
“But mom I don’t want to be alone...” Sakura whispered as she looked at her hands. They felt clean.
“You won't be alone you have uncle and auntie and…. and...” she gave a list of names Sakura couldn't remember. The names just floated away on the wind. “..besides we all have to make sacrifices for what we want.”
“We all make sacrifices Sakura”
Sakura opened her eyes slowly to the sun streaming from behind a few clouds. The weather was perfect in Konoha today. Just a tickling warmth from the sun and a slight breeze rolling through. It was the bittersweetness of the dream that left a strange taste in her mouth. She hadn’t had a dream about her mother in years. The feeling of warm hands and smiles lingered with her. She absently traced the white circle she had sewn into the underside of her sleeve. A token to carry with her. It was almost a perfect moment, but the man with the fake face had arrived. He had been keeping an eye on her for the past week. She was wondering when he would finally confront her. It was unfortunate it had to be now.
“Why are you sitting on this roof?” The younger man questioned through squinched up eyes and tight lips.
“Because I prefer the view.” Sakura replied replicating the face he gave her.
“Your face seems strange.” He replied keeping his eyes on her.
“Amazing deduction. You must be a master shinobi.” She retaliated as she slipped her gaze to the room behind her to see the lightning man shuffling through papers and ignoring her. Turning back to the shinobi in front of her she splits her face into a grin that would make shiki scowl at her. “What a loved Hokage he is.” The eye roll was an added bonus.
“I don’t like your face.”
“The feelings mutual” She responded and knocked on the window. “Hey lightning bolt come get this piece of paper off my post.”
Kakashi turned to see that Sai was perched next to Haruno. He was studying her with the same intent he studied books on social norms. She was the next in a long line of enigmas for him. “Sai come inside. Haruno bites.” At this she smirked and let out a laugh that had Kakashi’s arms shivering. Sai obeyed his sensei and entered the room through the window closing it on Haruno and enacting the soundproof seal.
“Glad to see your deductions skills about people's’ characters are getting better Sai.” Kakashi chuckled out. He looked towards Haruno to see she had once again turned her attention to the town. He wondered what she found.
“I know a killer when I see one.”
Kakashi sighed and turned his attention to his paperwork. “I’ve got it covered, but thank you for the check up.” He smiled up at Sai. “It makes me happy to see you worry.” Sai’s lips twitched in what Kakashi had come to know was his way of handling happiness. The stoic boy that showed no emotion had grown so much through the years. Now stood a young man slowly coming to know himself.
“You know if the other two are back before she is gone they won’t be as… discreet.” Sai mused as he left Kakashi with another thing to worry about. The last thing he needed was for Naruto or Sasuke to get into a fight with her.
Sai brought Kakashi out of his musings as he took out his pen and scroll. “She has this etched into the underside of her clothing.” He slowly began filling in the entire page until only a circle of white was left. “Do you know what it means?”
“No” Kakashi stated looking closely at the circle. With the black dot in its center it felt like an eye staring at him. If it was a clan symbol it was not one he was familiar with.
“I’ll start looking into it.” Sai stated as he left through the front door. Kakashi wondered if it was worth it. He wondered if any of this would prove to be valuable.
Sakura had decided to not eavesdrop on the conversation that was obviously about her. She had a feeling she could guess most of the contents said. Shiki had left her. She focused on that particular detail instead as she looked at the hidden village. Something in the way the trees sounded in the wind here left her heart aching. She didn’t hear much trees in Wind Country. It seemed like it might rain soon. Sakura hated the rain. It left old wounds open and the rain seemed to bore into them leaving it to fester.
It was going to be another night sitting in a tree trying not to get wet. They had given her a place to stay and even a small allowance for food but she would hold onto her word to Shiki. Hatake Kakashi was her priority and that meant being outside his small apartment every night. It didn’t matter that this was most likely a colossal waste of her time and that Shiki would send her an actual mission at some point. She had made a blood pact and that mattered.
Sakura was watching the clouds slowly roll in and was once again surprised at the presence next to her.
“I always thought I’d die in combat, but it’s looking like my end is going to be paperwork.” Kakashi stated dryly as he looked out to the village and chuckled. “How disappointing.”
“Trust me the feeling is quite mutual” She responded trying to ignore the way his laugh sounded. She had tried to ignore everything about him this past week and once again had failed miserably. He seemed to sneak up on her in her thoughts as well which was frustrating to no end. She caught the way he stayed entirely too late going over each shinobi mission report, how he poured over political letters from other villages, and the way his eyes crinkled at the younger shinobi as they stammered through their mission recaps.
His lack of response to her insult led her to look at him. He was quietly studying the village and something in the look was familiar. “Their similar” She whispered without realization.
“What are?” Kakashi replied keeping his gaze locked on the home he swore to protect.
“Our promise to protect.” The words seemed to leave her without consent.
He was contemplating his answer, but to his dismay she had slipped away from him. She was good at disappearing.