|A Book of Five Rings
Author: Tintinnabula PM
Sakura has returned to Konoha, four year old, silver haired son in tow. She'd do anything to avoid meeting his father: last time she did so, she cried for days. They're better off without him. Too bad Tsunade thinks differently. KakaSaku KakaxSakuRated: Fiction M - English - Romance - Kakashi H. & Sakura H. - Chapters: 30 - Words: 222,835 - Reviews: 1,876 - Favs: 1,450 - Follows: 671 - Updated: 03-20-09 - Published: 06-11-07 - Status: Complete - id: 3588825
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: Naruto and associated characters are property of Masashi Kishimoto. They are not my property!
A Book of Five Rings—Go Rin No Sho
Author's note: Be warned: this is likely to be a pretty long story. It is also likely to have adult scenes (although not for a while), as both Sakura and Kakashi are definitely of age. If that is likely to bother you, please don't read. The same holds true if you are under age eighteen yourself. You've been warned. Also, please recognize that each author has his or her take on how each character may act. Given that this story is an extrapolation, and that the idea of Kakashi and Sakura together is definitely non-canon, I don't think that how they behave to each other can be held to any in- or out- of character standard. In the manga, we haven't seen Kakashi in love-- so each of our ideas about how he might act are pure speculation.
That said, I hope you enjoy the story.
Chapter 1: Prologue
Fuyuno Sakura knew coming home would be difficult, so she'd put it off for as long as possible. Too long, in fact. She'd wanted her parents to meet her son, but for four years she'd forestalled the seemingly inevitable. Now they were gone.
She never would have imagined they'd meet their end in such a colorful way—as a child, she'd been the neighborhood kid with the boring, older parents. She was a "change of life" baby, or so the more callous gossips said. She'd been treated like a princess by her parents, who'd rushed to meet her every need. In that way, and in others, they'd been the antithesis of most of her friends' parents. They weren't shinobi, and were far too old to party, or stay out late drinking and gambling, as so many in Konoha did. But by the time Sakura had turned eighteen, her parents had retired, and with Sakura away on missions, they'd taken the opportunity to begin a new life. They boated, they skied, they hiked. They even rock-climbed. Then, at age sixty, their kayak capsized on the deceptively calm, glassy waters of Hinode bay. Her parents were swept away from their party by a fierce undertow, only to wash up weeks later on an isolated Fire beach. They'd been barely recognizable, or so she'd been told—they'd been identified by the engraved rings each wore.
It would be strange to bury them without the traditional viewing period, and stranger still not to see them a final time before laying their bodies to rest. Sakura smiled as she remembered the comparisons that had been drawn between her and her mother. As Sakura grew older, people remarked that it was her mother and not Sakura, who was the one changing. Her mother's hair, which had been brilliant cerise at Sakura's birth, slowly took on more and more white, causing her overall color to fade closer and closer to Sakura's shade. She'd gotten her hair from her mother, but her eyes from her dad. The photos she'd seen of him in his youth showed that he had been quite handsome, with raven hair and olive skin that brought out the hidden blue tinge in his emerald eyes. She didn't remember him this way, though. His hair had been snowy white by the time she'd been born, his face crinkled with laugh lines and the signs of hard work. When she thought of him, she immediately heard his laugh. He was always one punch line away from a chuckle. No wonder his customers had been so loyal to him over the many years he'd been in business. He had a way of putting people completely at ease.
Tsukiakari was curious about his grandparents. He knew the mule-drawn wagon they were following held their bodies, and he'd asked Sakura innumerable questions about them. He wanted to see them, although that definitely wasn't a possibility. Tsuki, despite his tremendous skills, had yet to see a dead body, and Sakura hoped this would remain true for some time.
She'd decided there was no reason not to return home permanently. With civil war breaking out in the Waterfall country, it was no longer a safe place to be. And her work there was almost complete. She'd been instrumental in setting up a modern hospital and in training a corps of ninja as medics. Medicine in Waterfall had advanced tremendously due to her efforts, and she was rightly proud of this achievement.
There were things she'd miss about the place, though. Takigakure's residents had an earnestness she had seen nowhere else. They were eager to grow and develop their shinobi-based economy, and eagerly accepted any assistance given. In many ways, her medics-in-training had been perfect students—always prepared, ever diligent. And of course, she'd been tremendously respected, despite her young age. It had been such a change from the life she'd led in Konoha. Not that things hadn't begun to change in her late teen years. As Tsunade's student she had instantly commanded respect, and not a little residual fear. But in Takigakure it had been different—she'd been respected for what she brought to her work, not because of the fact that her shisou was hokage.
She'd miss the woods, too. Fire's forests were beautiful, and as she'd reentered her native territory she'd sighed with wonder at the sight of the tall trees that nearly blotted out the sky. But, again, the Waterfall country's were different. The trees there were draped with moss and starry chains of lichen, and mistletoe grew in abundance. The ground underfoot was spongy, due to the thick layers of spaghnum moss that covered the ground under every tree, and sometimes the lower portion of tree trunks. There was nothing like sitting in the woods, examining the bizarre fungi and protozoa that grew up overnight after a brief rain. They had bizarre, though appropriate names, too: dead man's fingers, dog vomit, destroying angel. Tsuki would miss the woods as much as she. He'd turned into quite a naturalist in the time they'd lived there.
And there was Yuki, or the memory of him. He'd been her first friend and closest companion in Waterfall and she'd cried bitterly on learning of his death. He'd been buried, not cremated, so she didn't have his ashes to relocate, just a few photos of the short year they'd had together. She'd packed those and the few other documents she possessed into a metal strongbox, and had loaded it, along with several boxes of clothes and toys onto the back of the wagon as they'd set off to retrieve Sakura's parents. She'd sold everything else. What was the point of moving household when similar awaited her in Konoha?
She'd have to settle her parents' estate. They'd bought a new house since she'd left, and apparently had rented out the old one. She therefore had a least one household to sort through, pack up and donate to charity. She wasn't looking forward to the task. Her parents had lived through some of Konoha's leanest years, and had developed the habits of collecting and saving. Her dad had been worse than her mom. He had seemed incapable of throwing anything away.
Sakura smiled as she remembered the arguments her parents often had over "stuff." The problem was that each valued different "stuff." Their bickering had always been kind-hearted though, and often comical. She missed them. Although they'd never made it to Taki, they'd corresponded often, keeping Sakura up to date on their travels, and their non-shinobis' view of Konoha. She'd thought it would be cruel to tell them of their grandson by means of a letter. Now she bitterly wished she had done so.
They would have liked him. He was smart as a whip, and as lively. Yuki had suggested his name as he'd held the newborn Tsuki in his arms. He reminded him of the moonlight, with his shock of silver white hair and pale skin. Sakura had agreed, happy to see how lovingly Yuki looked at the infant. She really couldn't have asked for more of a friend or partner.
Sakura looked over at her four year old son. She'd run out of things to teach him by the time he turned three. He would ask a question, and unlike most children his age, listen intently until he understood completely. As a toddler, she'd often take him with her when training, and he had mimicked her moves so perfectly, that it had only seemed natural to start him on taijutsu. Ninjutsu had quickly followed, as Sakura had learned in a somewhat frightening way that her son had inherited her near-perfect chakra control. She'd entered his bedroom one morning and found it empty. Immediately she'd feared kidnapping and had rushed from the room, pounding down the seven flights of stairs to the street below. She'd been halfway to the koban when she cued in to the commotion behind her. She'd turned around to see her son nonchalantly walking down the side of their apartment building. Sakura had quickly decided that teaching her son ninjutsu would be the best strategy to avoid future self-taught exhibitions. With chakra control as his at such a young age, he could easily hurt himself if left to his own devices. She'd drawn the line at genjutsu, however, as the idea of her son constructing elaborate illusions to avoid eating his vegetables or cleaning his room had seemed a likely outcome of such training. She was sure she didn't have the patience to endure it.
He was the reason they were moving back to Konoha permanently. Her mission in Takigakure initially was to last only three years. She'd pleaded with Tsunade to extend it another two, and despite misgivings the hokage had done so. Sakura was sure she would have been able to stay even longer in Waterfall, but over time it became clear that Tsuki would not meet his potential by training in his birthplace. Takigakure's shinobi simply weren't of comparable caliber to those of the Leaf, and their training methods were nowhere near as rigorous. In her monthly letter to Tsunade she had broached the subject of coming home, only to have a return message specially delivered by carrier kite. Tsunade was ecstatic at the possibility of having her on her staff, and had a hard time hiding this, even on learning the news of the death of Sakura's parents. Tsunade promised to test Tsuki and place him in the academy, at whichever level was most appropriate. Sakura was sure he would thrive there.
"Five days, 16 hours, 22 minutes and 6, 7, 8, 9, 10…"
"What are you doing?"
"Counting the time we've been traveling. You said it would take about five and a half days to get to Konoha. But so far, it's taken three percent longer."
She stifled a laugh. The watch she'd given him for his last birthday had been more trouble than it had been worth. "Three percent, huh? We'll be there soon. Really soon. I recognize these woods."
"It's different here. Drier." He brushed his hands along the waxy leaves of camellias and rhodendrons as he spoke.
She'd never thought of Konoha as dry, especially considering the length of its rainy season, but it was dry, compared to Taki. In that place, anything that didn't move was soon covered in algae, moss or lichen. It was the greenest place she'd ever lived.
But Fire was pretty, too, far prettier than any of the other countries she'd visited. She moved off the path to show Tsuki a plant she associated with Konoha, the rattlesnake plantain. She plucked a leaf from the tiny, spotted orchid and rubbed it briskly between her fingers. She then blew into it, and handed the tiny balloon she'd created to her son. He ran over to find another leaf and soon amassed a small collection of green and purple mottled playthings.
See, Mom and Dad? He's a collector, too.