Chapter 1: 1
Ever since Senju Sakura could remember, she saw red strings tied to everyone's fingers. Two for each person.
One string for your romantic soulmate and one string for your platonic soulmate. She also knows that different fingers mean different connections.
But for some reason, she had four. She had only ever seen one person with more than two, he had three, and that person was a kid in her pre-school class named Naruto. Uzumaki Naruto was another child of the Hokage (well, former Hokage) just like she was.
So what was it that made them special? All she knew was that it was important.
There was too much curiosity inside one little body to let all these clues and hints pass by.
Chapter 2: 2
Didn't your mother teach you not to talk about other people's secrets?
Sakura knows that her birthday is coming up soon. Yuck. She hates it when things are all about her. She didn't want to be a princess, or a Lady, or -sama. But she knows it makes other people happy to call her those things, so she lets it go.
On occasion, Sakura can almost hear her mother's laugh and feel the warm summer breeze because Kaa-san always left all the windows and back screen door open. Even now, she can fully recall all of the stories of her mother's homeland, Kiri, and all of her stories of magical water nymphs who could use magic and make others see things the things that they saw.
And Sakura can clearly remember the time she told her Kaa-san about the red strings that she always saw- attached to the fingers of everyone.
"Kaa-san! You have a string attached to Tou-san's finger too! Just like with the secret person always in the trees!"
"Sakura-chan," her mother warned, suddenly serious, "you must never tell anyone that you see those strings. You cannot tell Tou-san or anyone. Do you understand?"
Afraid, she nodded, "O-okay, Kaa-san."
The strings were never mentioned again. Besides, that made Kaa-san happy, and Sakura always wanted to please those around her.
Okay, my chapters are starting to get a little blurry about the line in the sand on how many words are going to go into my chapters. I'm confused about everything. Send me some love. <3
Chapter 3: Tabby
Field trip turns wild.
Sometimes, when she's allowed out of the compound, on those very rare occasions, Sakura sees old people with only one or no strings. She tries not to look at them with pity. Her mother once told her that it's rude to do so. Her mother isn't here anymore- but she still tries to remember her advice.
On a monthly trip to the store, the young Senju finds a (familiar?) black and orange tabby cat with... a string! Green eyes lit up and looked up at her baby sitter cautiously. He loved to gossip with some of the ladies at the market, always trying to keep up with everything happening around the village. So, when he was distracted enough, the youngest Senju slipped away and followed the path that the cat had taken.
After finding him, she followed him, as secretly as an untrained ninja kid could. Everything was going smoothly until he all but evaporated into thin air!
"How...?" Green orbs scanned the streets.
The cat reappeared in front of her, sufficiently startling her, "How the hell are you following me?"
Now she'd seen everything. This cat, this odd tabby cat, with a red string... talked.
Definitely not normal.
Just an FYI, I love making odd chapter summaries. And thank you so much for all the dang love!
Chapter 4: Curiosity Saved the Cat
Cats are so weird.
Curiosity seemed to have gotten the better of Sakura, she tilted her head in question, "I feel like I've known you my whole life, kitty." She reached out her small hand to pet the tabby cat.
The cat leaned into the toddler's touch. "I, apparently, can't go too far from you." Getting used to her delicate pets, he purred softly.
The young Senju's nose scrunched, "I don't get it." There was too much that Sakura didn't understand. She wanted to know everything by six... hopefully.
If it was possible because what the hell else can't be possible by now, the cat chuckled. "Well, kid, I'm not too sure how to explain reincarnation."
"Reincar-... uh, what was that word again?" Too big of a word for too small of a brain. Sakura needed to get a bigger dictionary for her studies. She felt so far behind her classmates already. She was only three reading levels ahead of everyone in her class and she knew that most clan kids didn't even go to her preschool.
"Hey... earth to Sakura!" The cat growled, "shouldn't you ask why you can understand me?"
She hadn't thought about that. She shrugged her shoulders. "Who cares?"
Wow, I didn't think I was going to write this chapter, but it was just too cute! The next chapter features the same scene but with a little stress for small Sakura at the end. I'm so happy that everyone likes this story so far. You all make me so happy. (:
Chapter 5: Well, I guess
Kids are so strange.
Sakura rocked back and forth on her stubby legs when she finally seemed to process everything that was going on. She decided, "Kitty, since you have to stick with me anyways, why don't you come home with me?" She held her arms out so her new kitty could jump into them.
"Uh, no thanks kid," he deadpanned. He swore that this child before him was some sort of psycho for not questioning any part of this whole situation. What kind of kid isn't curious about everything? "Besides," he stretched, "I've got some grown-up business to do."
"But how are you going to do that if I'm the only one who can understand you?" She giggled at the idea of a cat meowing his problems away.
The cat hung his head in shame, "okay kid, I guess you're right." He could use her as a medium for his problems.
The rosette jumped in joy, "you're gonna love being my kitty! We can eat cool food, play outside, sleep in the sun, and-"
"Sakura-sama!" came an angry shout. A teenaged blond boy stomped over to his charge mumbling profanities.
Sakura shrieked in terror, running home as fast as possible, "Kitty!"
Oh boy, I hope you guys didn't forget that Sakura had snuck away! The poor child is in for a world of trouble! I'd personally be terrified if I ever lost a child I was in charge of. Hope you all are well!
Daddy 101 means answering questions.
"Tou-chan!" Young Sakura ran into the main house, desperately trying to ditch her babysitter who'd been chasing her since the market.
Senju Nawaki turned towards his daughter, opening his arms wide to catch her as she jumped. He laughed joyously, "what's my girl doing?"
The teenaged Senju shook his fist in Sakura's direction since she could see him out the window. She stuck her tongue out in defiance. "Tou-chan! I've got a question," Sakura began.
"And I have an answer!" He teased, "let's see if they match."
"Is reincar... recare... uh...?" Why couldn't she remember the word the kitty used? She was always good at remembering!
"Reincarnation?" Nawaki supplied.
Sakura nodded her head vigorously. "Real?"
"I, personally, don't believe so." He saw Sakura's souring face and sighed, "y'know, your mother used to believe in spirits that would save the people they love if they were ever in danger." He hoped that a little information about her mother would brighten up her spirit.
Sakura's eyes widened at any information about her mother. They rarely talked about her since she... died. She soaked up everything and anything about her beloved mother.
"I need to go Sakura-chan, Hokage business, sweetie," the Godaime Hokage patted his daughter's head softly when he noticed the time on the clock behind her.
Sakura nodded sadly, "okay, Tou-san." She flashed him a fake smile, running upstairs. Why did her daddy always have to leave?
I hope you're all doing okay! Did you notice our little Sakura call her dad a different suffix in the last section? It broke my heart to write that.
Also! My chapters on AO3 are slightly different than the ones on FF and I just generally like updating here more. So enjoy the extra content and enjoy all the tags on this site!
Chapter 7: Her father's Garden and Its Hidden Kitty
Sakura moves her plan "Get-the-kitty-safe" into action and we get a little garden beauty. ANBU are funny people.
After Sakura felt her father leave the compound she got up from her bed, as quietly as she could, went down her house's staircase and opened the back sliding door as nonchalantly as she could, which lead to the Senju main house's garden area. The fresh floral scent of her father's garden made her feel warm inside, a feeling that was not taken lightly.
She knew how hard her father worked to create the exact garden he wanted, how he created blue-green roses because they reminded him of her mother's eyes. He had grown a collection of carnations that had her mother's beautiful rose-pink hair color. Sakura even remembered how he grew a patch of forget-me-nots in the corner of the garden where Haruna painted the various flora and fauna of their private garden.
Haruna Senju was truly beautiful. Sakura looked up to her for so long. To the young Senju heiress, her mother lived through the flowers that grew and lived happily in their garden.
After saying hello to the various greenery, Sakura looked around for the exact string she came out to see.
She tried not to stare at the strings connected to everyone around her, but when she grew bored in her room she often stared at how her various strings were different shades of red. So looking for a rather dark orange string was much easier to pick out from other shades she had grown accustomed to.
"Kitty!" She shouted happily. The odd tabby cat jumped down to her feet and followed her as she beckoned it to follow her. "I'm so glad you came home with me." She slid the door shut behind her and continued to converse with the rather large cat.
The hidden figures in the trees took note of how she talked to it as if it could understand, and how the cat would mewl back, as if in response. Their conversation lasted well over three hours, at which they knew their Hokage was out at a clan meeting.
A silent ninja dressed head to toe in black and silver plating dropped down a branch to watch their charge with hidden amusement shielded by the cat mask on their face. "Mouse, should we intervene? The cat has lurked around her since she was two. It's a ninkin with an unknown master."
"Hold for now," Mouse replied. "Lady Sakura has willingly let it inside. She's not under any jutsu that I'm aware of."
Cat nodded silently. They would let their Hokage know nonetheless.
I hope you enjoyed this chapter and a little bit more about what Sakura's background and family life looked like. These chapters are going to get a little bit longers now, but nothing over 500-words per chapter.
Chapter 8: Asking For Trouble
Nawaki is stressed and tired, Sakura is adorable, the cat is mischevious, and there's too many ANBU.
After another all-nighter to finish the mounds of endless paperwork, Senju Nawaki opened the front door to his home. As always, the blond went to check on his sole child and make sure the traps in her room were adequately placed, earlier on the previous night. His amber eyes picked apart her room, which he quickly agreed it needed to be cleaned and eyed the tabby cat sleeping on Sakura's bed. He heard from Mouse that the cat was let inside by his daughter but he couldn't decide on if it was a good idea or not to keep it inside the house, much less in Sakura's room.
Almost on cue, the cat yawned and slipped under the covers of the petite girl's bed and purred lightly against her side. Nawaki didn't miss the cat's eyes fall on him almost challenging him, watching him, daring him to make a move. The Senju clan's head narrowed his eyes on the creature. He would discuss this more thoroughly with his ANBU later on. For now, he was rather tired.
His finger pointed towards the window across the hall and beckoned the ANBU currently stationed outside of it. "Bear, you mentioned that she spoke with the cat in an understanding context?"
The ANBU in a bear mask nodded. "It seemed like they understood each other," Bear added.
The Hokage nodded. "There are some things that will be changing soon. Starting with, her meeting children her age outside of the pre-academy classroom and clan walls."
"We'll arrange it, Hokage-sama."
"No," the Senju interrupted, "this will happen naturally. Have Ichijogi take her to the park. Watch her from afar, but do not interfere unless absolutely necessary."
Yay! We're going to take a look at Sakura's schooling soon and she's gonna meet some great friends! I'm excited!
I'm still doing my best to have several chapters prepared ahead of time so I can update on a regular schedule. Have fun reading!
Chapter 9: Friends First and Clan Rules Second
Some Senju's are weird as heck and Naruto makes a very good friend to shy people.
It's been a month since Sakura has been let out with her rather odd clansman, Ichijogi Senju. The young brunet often left her alone, in the middle of a park, without any supervision, without anyone watching her. He was... much different than her usual baby sitter. He has been way more than relaxed with her. This time he walked her halfway to the park and "shoo-ed" her away the rest of the way. The youngest Senju wouldn't dare tell her father or any other clansman, she rather liked her newfound freedom.
Sakura walked around the playground area with her hands holding each other behind her back, she argued with herself on whether or not she wanted to meet the people attached to her fingers. She often decided on the fact that she'd rather meet them as people as opposed to meeting them as people who will mean everything to her. So, behind her back, they stayed.
When Sakura arrived at the park she noticed the one boy in her class who's smile was as bright as the sun in the sky. Uzumaki Naruto, they were in the same pre-academy class together, alongside other non-ninja clan children. Those from prominent clans tended to only enroll their children in the actual ninja academy and nothing before that. Thinking about the academy she'd be enrolled into next year gave her jitters she never knew how to handle. Focusing on her goal at hand, she marched over towards the ball of sunshine on the swings.
"H-hello?" Her greeting came out more as a question than she intended to. She cleared her throat when he didn't notice her.
"Oh hey!" The young Uzumaki shouted when he noticed his classmate. "Sakura-chan, you're here," the blond jumped off the swing set and hugged her tightly, "wait, why are ya by yourself?" He didn't release her as he turned jerkily trying to find her caretaker.
Sakura didn't realize how much she needed a hug lately until he shook her shoulders and shouted in her face when tears started pouring out. She sniffled softly and tried to wipe her tears away quickly and quietly, but he had noticed them much too long ago.
"Sakura-chan..." his own eyes began to glass over, "are ya o-kay? Did I make you cry? Did I hurt ya?" His lower lip began to wobble.
She shook her head and tried to hastily wipe away her tears that seemed to stop flowing. "I-I'm okay, N-Naruto-san."
He perked up slowly as he saw her tears fading. "Then why'd ya cry, ya know?" His whiskered face still held its pout.
Sakura decided then and there that she hated seeing anything but a smile on her classmate's face, "I, uh, I..." She couldn't come up with an answer that seemed plausible other than the truth. "I just don't get hugs that often," she admitted quietly, emerald eyes downcast.
Naruto scrunched his nose and snorted, "Well then I'm just gonna have'ta give ya buncha hugs 'cause that's what friends do, dattebayo!"
Sakura's eyes widened slightly, "I'm your friend?" She held him at an arm's distance.
Naruto flashed his trademark smile and gave her a thumbs up, "of course!"
A warm feeling radiated throughout Sakura's being and slowly seeped out of her. The rosette's smile grew to a new width. She had a friend. Her very first friend.
I'm crying, you guys! Sakura has a friend who isn't one of her clansmen. A friend! And the best friend anyone could ever ask for if you asked me.
Also, here's a brand new chapter waaaaay ahead of FF.net! Enjoy brand new content early!