Author's note: Yes, another story, sorry! But I really like this idea! Sorry about the OOCness and this is slightly AU, so not all the events are going to line up, so... yeah. Let me know what you think! Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I own nothing!
Warnings: Child death, death and possibly language.
Word Count: 5,278
"Hey! Wake up!
"Brother, go get mother!"
"She may need help. Now go!"
Thudding sound that retreats away rouses the girl from her half lucid blackness.
Her eyes open, revealing two large light green orbs, looking up at the swirling flower peddles falling from the beautiful tree above her. Her mind is foggy, yet somewhere in that fog, she can see something. A memory of nothing, but a pair of lips. So close to them, she must have looked at them with great intensity, for they come in great detail. She has no way of knowing if they belong to a man's face or a woman's, but she sees them in her mind so well. They are saying something, but she doesn't know what. Over and over again, they say something.
"Hey!" A boy with dark brown hair that frames his face and large dark brown eyes. "Are you okay?" She sits up slowly, feeling weighed down heavily by something. The thin white dress around her body is soaked and clings to her tiny frame like a second skin. "Hey, careful now! Take it slowly!"
He wraps his arms around her and pulls her to her feet, accepting her weight against him. If she had to guess, he was a few years older than her. He's about almost two heads taller than her and is easily able to hold her weight.
She leans against him, feeling his warmth seep into her.
"Hey," the boy says, adjusting his grip on her. "My name is Hashirama. Who are you?"
She looks up at the kind eyed boy, opening her mouth, but no noise came out. She didn't know who she was and how to say that. She just stared up at him, shaking because of the cold.
"Can you talk?" Hashirama asks, eyebrows pulling together. "Do you know who you are? How did you get here?" She didn't know how to answer, let alone what the answer was. She just looked up at him with her mouth hanging open and shaking. "You're freezing," Hashirama says after a few minutes of silence as the two of them just stared at each other. He smiles faintly, holding her closer. "How did you end up in the river?"
She shakes her head, finally closing her mouth. She leans in closer to the taller boy, closing her eyes, feeling exhausted. She manages to lift her heavy hands and wrap them around the boy - Hashirama - and starts to fall asleep, standing there. She can feel one of his arms unravel from around her, pushing some of her hair aside and mumbling something about a wound on her head.
"Brother!" A voice behind her calls.
"Tobi, mother," Hashirama says. "Come here. This girl is hurt and she can't speak."
"Is she an enemy," the other boy - Tobi - says wearily. She feels the hands around her tighten a bit.
"Shut up, Tobi, she's hurt!" Hashirama says, gripping her tightly and putting himself a bit between them with a sound of warning. "Mother, we have to help her. She's freezing and soaking wet. We have to help her. Mother, please."
She feels a presence at her back and larger, thin hands rest against her forehead, pressing hard for a moment. The hand moves to the side of her face and then pushes some hair around, gently probing for something. The little girl hisses in pain and buries her head closer to Hashirama, wishing she could just absorb more of his warmth and curses everything that is trying to deny her that.
"Poor girl," the woman says, running her hand through the little girl's hair. "You're right, Hashirama, she's definitely not an Uchiha, but as for if she's an enemy, that is for us to find out for later."
"How old do you think she is?" Hashirama asks as the woman keeps running her fingers through the girl's hair, looking at her roots closely.
"I'm not sure," the woman says, "six or seven, perhaps? Do you know, sweetheart?" She turns the girl around by the shoulders to make her look at the older woman. "Do you have any idea who we are?" The little girl shakes her head. None of them look familiar. Not the beautiful long, white haired woman with large red eyes. Not the little boy, younger than Hashirama by about two or three years but probably older than she is, but a carbon copy of the woman and not Hashirama. None of them seem familiar to her. She doesn't seem familiar to herself.
"Do you know who you are?" the woman asks, tilting her head to the side. The little girl shakes her head, leaning back against Hashirama, wanting to go to sleep. Her body is heavy and cold.
"What will we do, mother?" the other boy - Tobi - asks, looking at the little girl with narrowed eyes. "Father will not approve."
The woman tilts her head a little bit more, before reaching out and picking the little girl up and cradling the small child in her arms. "You're soaking wet, little blossom." A pause, then, "I'm not sure, sweetie. We will just have to talk to him, won't we?"
"Yeah!" Hashirama says, stepping closer. "If we ask nicely, maybe he'll let us keep her!"
"She's a person, not a dog," the woman says softly, petting down Sakura's hair. "But perhaps you're right, Hashirama. Let us go see."
The pink haired girl curls tightly into the older woman's arms, slipping into an easy slumber.
"Where did you find it?" A sharp voice pulled the small girl from her slumber. She moved to sit up but a hand on her head kept her in place. Green eyes look over at the white haired boy with narrow red eyes, looking down at her. He shakes his head, making a shushing motion with his hand when she opened her mouth to make an incoherent noise before looking forward.
"Butsuma!" The elegant white haired woman says, eyes wide. "Don't call her that!"
"Where?" the man - Butsuma - says, eyes flickering down to the third person in the conversation. "Hashirama?"
Hashirama's hands curl into fists and he lifts his chin, as if trying to make himself look bigger as he stared up into the eyes of the man. "Tobirama and I found her washed up on the riverbed. She's so little, father, she doesn't know anything."
"Can you read minds now, Hashirama? Spectacular," Butsuma says stiffly, not sounding all that amazed. "Perhaps you should be part of the interrogation unit, rather than be in the battle front."
Hashirama's hand clenched into tighter fists, turning a little to look away, as if trying to control his temper.
"Butsuma," the woman says, stepping between Hashirama and the man, "I'll watch over her. If she seems to be dangerous I'll take care of her myself. Okay?" She steps closer, reaching out for his hands.
"Is this because of Kawarama? This girl is no replacement for our son!" There is a deathly silence that follows. The woman's shoulders tense up as she stares at the man in front of her. The angry snarl on his face molds into a look of surprise before adapting a grim expression. "Dallia, I didn't mean-"
"No," the white haired woman - Dallia - says sharply, holding up her hand to silence him. "You don't get to say that to me, Butsuma. I told you. I told you he was too young and you sent him out there anyway! And on top of that, you slapped Hashirama? And told Itama not to cry because he lost his little brother? What's next, are you going to tell me not to cry? I lost my baby! My little boy to your war. Have you no heart?" Her voice is shaking, arms crossing her chest and clenching her kimono tightly, hands trembling.
Kawarama? The pink haired girl had to wonder who that was and why that name caused the seemingly very kind white haired woman suddenly so mean. No, angry was the better word.
She appears to be trying to be strong but suddenly puts a hand to her chest as if suddenly pained. The look of anger on Butsuma's face vanishes immediately as he reaches out toward her, worried. She pulls away before he can touch her, seemingly willing to uphold her resolve. She stares at him with slightly pained red eyes before relaxing. Whatever was hurting her, the pink haired girl notes, must have vanished again.
"Dallia, I'm sorry, I didn't mean it like that," Butsuma says softly, before his eyes and face harden again. "And this isn't my war. The Uchiha started it when they decided to conquer the land! But they aren't who we are talking about right now, we are talking about that girl," he continues coldly, glancing over at the small pink haired girl, who's looking up at him from behind Tobirama with big green eyes. "We know nothing about her. She could be a spy."
"Father," Hashirama says, stepping around the woman, his mother, to look up at the narrow eyed man, "I don't think so. Tobi and I going to lake was spur of the moment. There is no way that she could have planned it. If I hadn't fished her out of the water, she would have floated further down stream, away from camp. And she was unconscious."
"It all seems too coincidental to me," Butsuma huffs, glaring down at the girl.
Dallia, having calmed down, reaches out and puts a hand on her husband's arm, smiling sadly into his eyes. "She isn't here to replace my little Kawarama, Butsuma, she here because she needs help. If we find her parents, we will return her to them, and if not..." she hesitates, looking down at Hashirama, reaching out and petting his wild brown hair away from his big brown eyes before looking back at Butsuma. "And if not, is it wrong to try and heal with her help?"
"I don't want her here," Butsuma says simply, shaking his head, but he didn't sound angry anymore.
"I know," Dallia says, cupping his face and looking up into his eyes. "Please?"
Butsuma sighs, glancing over at the pink haired girl with a hard look on his face. He stares at her for a long moment before turning back to the eloquent white haired woman. "You may do as you wish, Dallia. She is your responsibility."
Dallia nods, smiling brightly.
"Isn't this great!" Another boy next to the door, who was probably waiting there for the fighting to stop, runs over to the pink haired girl, dropping down at the edge of the bed in front of the girl. "You can stay with us." He grins. One half of his hair is white while the other half is brown. Even the respected eyebrows on the either side matched the strange hair colors. "Isn't this great, Tobirama?" He looks over at the older boy with big brown eyes.
Tobirama finally removes his hand from the little girl's head. "Sure..." he sighs and looks away.
Hashirama drops down next to the two hair toned boy and grins broadly up at the pink haired girl. "It's great, Itama. Now what are we going to call her?"
"Pink!" Itama says, looking between Hashirama and Tobirama. "You know, like her hair!"
"We know why you picked that, Itama," Tobirama groans, looking back over at him with narrowed eyes. "And it's a stupid name."
Itama glares up at the middle boy. "Shut up, Tobirama! You don't have to be mean! And it's not a stupid name!"
Tobirama narrows his red eyes. "It is stupid, Itama, it's the same as calling you White-Brown. Now that's even more stupid! Besides, she's a human being, not a dog. Let her have some dignity, shall we?"
Itama pouts. "Fine!" A glare at the older boy, and then he mumbles, "Such proper language, spend enough time with father?" Tobirama scowls down at his younger brother.
"Come on, guys," Hashirama says, putting his hands on Itama's shoulders, acting as a mediator as the pink haired amnesiac sat up slowly. "I've got a great idea, how about Pinkrama?" He smiles broadly, staring at the two of them with wide eyes and an opened mouth, waiting for their two responses.
Dallia, who was still standing next to a rolling eyed Butsuma, laughs softly, laying her head on his shoulder.
"Stupid Hashirama!" Tobirama and Itama yell in unison. Hashirama and the pink haired girl both jump at the sudden noise. The pink haired girl settles down, looking between them confused while Hashirama pouts, falling backward onto the floor in a bout of depression.
"You guys don't have to be so mean about it," Hashirama mutters before sitting and looking over his shoulder at his parents. "What do you think, mother?"
Dallia pulls away from Butsuma and walks over to the bed. She sits down were Sakura's head was only minutes before and reaches out to grab a stand of short, shoulder length pink hair, twirling it around with her fingers. She hums quietly to herself in thought. She looks down at the boys. "How about the name of a flower? Pretty, like her."
All three heads bobble up and down.
"What are some good flower names?" Dallia asks.
"Hana?" Hashirama asks.
"Tsubaki?" Itama guesses.
Tobirama shakes his head to both of them. "I don't like either of those, but I don't know any other flower names."
Dallia hums again, running a hand through the little girl's hair in thought. The pink haired girl closes her eyes and enjoys the feeling of gentle nails massaging her scalp even if there was a bandage wrapped around her head, blocking some of the minstrations.
"Hey Mother," Itama says, putting a hand on her knee to get her attention.
"Yes, Itama?" she asks, looking down at her now youngest son with loving eyes.
"Can we keep something with her name the same as ours? Since we're family now? You know, the 'ma' at the end of all of our names?" Itama asks with big eyes. "You know, so she feels more like family?"
Butsuma sighs, but one look from Dallia silences anything he probably would have said. Once she's sure he won't say anything, Dallia looks back down at Itama with kind red eyes. "Sure, but I don't have a 'ma' to my name. Just an 'a'."
Itama makes a face at that, looking around with his eyebrows pulled together in thought, making a humming noise under his breath. Hashirama rubs his chin in contemplation before looking up at Dallia and suggesting, "How about just the 'a'? All the men of our family is 'ma' and all the women can be just 'a'." He smiles kindly up at the pink haired girl. "So all we need is a name with just an 'a' at the end."
Dallia smiles, nodding. "Just 'a' then." She looks around the room at nothing in particular, then, a smile crosses her face as she looks down at her boys and then into the green eyes of the little girl. "I just thought of the perfect name for you. Do you want to hear it?"
She nods, silently wishing that Dallia would continue rubbing her scalp. It felt nice.
"Sakura," Dallia says, running her hands through the pretty pink hair, making the little girl smile at getting what she wanted.
"Oh!" Hashirama says, eyes wide. "I like it!"
"I do too," Itama says, smiling brightly.
Tobirama nods, but says nothing. He glances up to see what his father thinks, but the tall, dark haired man is gone.
A pained wail pulled Sakura from her herb gathering. She turned around in the wide open field to find the source of the scream. Up on a hill about ten feet away from Sakura was her new mother, Dallia. She was half fallen into the arms of a man she knew to be her new uncle Kotama. The second oldest brother in her new father's family. Dallia clings to Kotama, sobbing uncontrollably. He's the only thing holding her up.
It's been almost a year since Sakura became a Senju and joined the main family, and while people still gave her weird looks but have managed to get used to her being there and have even let her join the other little girls her age, seven, they had decided about a week after she was brought into the family. Her birthday is coming up, in March, they decided. When her namesake would bloom. Now she was eight, same age as her would-be brother Kawarama. Itama is nine, Tobirama is eleven and Hashirama is thirteen.
Sakura climbs to her feet and runs up the hill to her new mother. Sakura slows down, walking up to Dallia and reaching out to touch her kimono gently. Dallia, face red and streaking with tears, reaches out and grabs Sakura. She falls to her knees and pulls Sakura to her. Dallia holds Sakura to her tight, sobbing loudly and burying her face into Sakura's hair.
"Itama!" Dallia cries, cradling Sakura to her like a lifeline. "Not my baby! Not my Itama!"
Other women, mother's who know exactly what Dallia is going through, converge on her location, allowing their presence to be of comfort to the distraught mother. Sakura didn't know if it helped at all. In this situation, there is nothing that anyone could do that would help Dallia just short of bringing her sons back to life. Yes, Sakura knew, by the distraught cries and the furious trembling that Itama, the sweet, duo colored haired brother, was gone.
Sakura knew it at the time. She didn't know how she knew, just that she did. She didn't need Dallia whispering that he couldn't be gone to know that he was.
Sakura didn't move. Didn't say anything. She just sat in Dallia's lap, with little arms wrapped around the weeping woman as much as she could and relax in her hold, letting the woman who took her in and loved her like one of her own wet her mid-back length pink hair with her sorrowful tears.
The pink haired girl didn't know how to express how she felt about Itama being gone. She couldn't cry at that moment. In her mind, it somehow took away from Dallia's pain. And this was her time to cry and express her pain. Sakura wasn't going to do anything that could get in the way. She buries her head into Dallia's chest and listened to her cry.
"I'm sorry, mama," Sakura whispers, not knowing what else to say. She said it so quietly she didn't know if Dallia heard her or not, but the older woman's grip on her did tighten.
Two weeks after Itama's funeral, Sakura followed Hashirama. She had noticed him slipping away for a while now when he was suppose to be watching her. Tobirama and Hashirama took turns looking after her. Butsuma didn't want her being alone. The man didn't love her like a father would love his daughter, but she had become part of the family. And he had little faith in her. She was good at gathering things and her memory was great, but as he got to know her, he became less and less concerned about her possibly being a spy.
Sakura peaks out from behind a tree to look at her eldest brother and his dark haired friend sitting by the river. They were both skipping rocks and talking quietly to each other. Sakura steps out into the open and tilts her head, waiting for them to notice her. As she expected, about ten seconds later, the black haired boy whipped around, jumping to his feet.
"Who's there?" The boy calls, hands poised in front of his body ready to strike. Pitch black eyes land on her right away, at first in warning, and then they melt into a look of confusion.
Hashirama jumps up too and turns around, eyes locking onto Sakura too. "Oh no!" Hashirama closes the distance between them quickly, putting his hands lightly on Sakura's shoulders. "You shouldn't have followed me, imouto. Go on home now," Hashirama says, waving his hand for her to go before walking back to the river to sit down. "Sorry, Madara, that's my little sister."
Madara, still staring at Sakura, lowers back to his spot. He looks at Hashirama with wide black eyes. "Your sister? I didn't know that you had one."
"We're not related by blood," Hashirama says, looking over at Sakura, who hadn't moved from where she was standing, despite his words. "She joined our family last year. If you promise not to tell father about me meeting with Madara, I'll let you sit on my lap and hang out with us, okay?"
Sakura nods, a slow smile crossing her lips as she walks over to him. Hashirama holds open his hands and Sakura easily slips into his arms. Sakura sits sideways on his lap, facing a weary eyed Madara. After a long moment of contemplation before leaning forward and lightly tapping Madara on the nose with her pointer finger, murmuring an airy, "Boop" before pulling back to relax in his arms.
Madara stares at her blankly, looking between Sakura and Hashirama, raising an eyebrow. "Is your sister...?"
Hashirama looks at her. "Simple? People always say that, but she's not, right?" Hashirama grins down at Sakura, who smiles back up at him.
Sakura nods her head and leans her head against Hashirama's shoulder.
Madara suddenly looks thoughtful. "How do you know that? If people say..." Madara shrugs his shoulders. "I mean, how do you know she's not...?"
"Mother says Sakura is an old soul. Even though she look so small, she's actually really wise and knows lots of things. She remembers things easily and has great intuition, ain't that right, little sister?" Hashirama asks, teasingly. Sakura nods. "They only say that stuff about her because she doesn't talk. Just says easy things because she doesn't want to be silent all the time."
"Can you says something?" Madara asks Sakura, tilting his head to the side.
Sakura nods again, leaning forward once more and lightly poking the tip of Madara's nose and makes the same airy, "Boop" before retreating again and relaxing back in Hashirama's grip, smiling contently.
Hashirama laughs while Madara smiles a bit. "Cute," the darker haired boy murmurs. "How old is she?"
"She'll be eight in about a week, right? March 28th," Hashirama says proudly, as if he was the one that's going to have a birthday in about a week.
"What's your name?" Madara asks.
Sakura tilts her head to the side, in thought. Then, she crawls out of Hashirama' lap and wades into the water, not minding her green kimono getting all wet.
"Water walk!" Hashirama calls out to her. "Mom will be mad that you got your kimono all dirty!"
Sakura pauses, looking over her shoulder at Madara and Hashirama. She stares at them for a long moment, then tilts her head to the side cutely. "Ah?"
Hashirama crosses his arms, giving the little pink haired girl a strict look. "Don't look at me like that, little missy! Water walk."
Sakura obeys, lifting her right foot out of the water and stepping onto the water's surface before pulling out her other foot and stepping up onto the surface as well. She pauses a moment to see Hashirama nod in approval before continuing to the other side of the river and disappearing into the trees beyond, onto to return a few minutes later and walk across the water back to the side with the two boys. She drops to her knees in front of Madara and holds out her open hand to him, palm facing up.
Madara peaks down at the small pink flower in her hand. "Uh, Hana?"
Sakura shakes her head, smiling broadly.
"Oh, uh, Sakura?" Madara asks.
Sakura nods briskly. She put the flower behind Madara's ear before standing up and turning back toward the water. She walks out into the middle of it, not seeming to mind the moving water beneath her. She dips her big toe on her right foot into the water before pulling it back out and staring down at the fish swimming around beneath her.
"Isn't she the cutest?" Hashirama gushes, grinning broadly at his little sister.
Madara tilts his head to the side, reaching up to lightly touch the little flower behind his ear. "Uh, sure..."
Sakura jolts suddenly, as if zapped and turns to look over at Hashirama and Madara. Her eyes drift up, past them. "Tobi," she says softly. Hashirama, who was staring at her blankly immediately jumps to his feet and spins around. Stepping out from behind one of the many trees is none other than the boy in question. His eyes locked on a tense Madara, who also jumped onto his feet.
"Uchiha," Tobirama hisses, spinning around on his heel and racing off.
"No, Tobirama, wait!" Hashirama calls after, taking a few steps after his little brother, hand outstretched.
Sakura's eyebrows pull together in worry, walking to the edge of the water.
"'Uchiha'?" Madara murmurs, eyes wide. He glances over at Hashirama's back a look of betrayal flickering across his face, then over at Sakura, black eyes sad and scared. He steps away from Hashirama.
The brown haired boy catches the movement and turns to him. "Wait, Madara! It's okay! This doesn't change anything!"
Madara shakes his head when the other boy tries to reach out for him. "No," Madara says softly, still retreating and shaking his head. "No, this changes everything."
"No," Hashirama says desperately, taking a hesitant step after the black haired boy. "Listen to me, Madara, it doesn't have to change anything! We can still make our shared dream a reality!"
"'Shared dream'?" Madara hisses, face contorting into a look of rage. "Don't play me as a fool, Senju!" With that, he spins around and runs off, disappearing into the woods.
"No, Madara, wait, please!" Hashiram takes a few steps after him but then pulls back, looking pained. He shakes himself, gritting his teeth before holding out a hand to Sakura, eyes narrowed. "Sakura, come on. We have to get home, climb onto my back. We have to try and catch up with Tobirama."
Sakura obeyed, climbing onto his back, wrapping her legs around his waist, as much as she can while wearing her kimono, and locks her hands onto his shoulders. Hashirama quickly adjusts her weight on his back before taking off into the forest after Tobirama.
Hashirama was doubly punished. One, and the most sever, because he was meeting up with an Uchiha boy. And second because he took Sakura with him to do so. Neither of them mentioned that Sakura found her way to him herself. Butsuma was angry because Sakura has no control of herself and may have said or insinuated something important about the Senju and their defenses or plans that would somehow give the Uchiha an upper hand.
"Sakura hardly speaks, father," Hashirama says softly, avoiding his gaze. "She wouldn't have said anything."
Butsuma closes the three feet between them and slams Hashirama hard across the face, sending the boy to the ground.
"Hashirama!" Sakura calls out softly, trying to go to her older brother but Tobirama's hands on her shoulders hold her in place.
"Father!" Tobirama calls out too, holding Sakura close, less she come between Hashirama and Butsuma and becomes the center of his father's newfound rage. "Isn't that a bit too far?"
"Hashirama!" Sakura calls out again, weakly trying to pull away from Tobirama. "Hashirama! Hashirama!"
"I'm okay, Sakura," Hashirama says, grunting in pain as he pulls himself to his feet. He reaches a hand up to his stinging cheek, flinching in pain, before giving his father a level eyed look, holding his ground. "Don't cry, okay?"
Sakura whimpers Hashirama's name over and over again softly until Butsuma could have no more of it.
"Enough!" Butsuma snaps, turning his glare toward the pink haired girl. "I'm fed up with your crying, girl!" Both her and Tobirama jump at becoming the Senju patriarch's sudden rage. Sakura backs up a bit into Tobirama, fearfully.
"Father!" Hashirama says sharply, putting himself between his father and younger siblings. "You can't talk to Sakura like that!"
"I can do as I like," Butsuma snarls, glaring down at Hashirama. "I'm-"
"Lord Butsuma!" A Senju woman comes running up to them, she doubles over, out of breath. "Lord Butsuma, come quick! It's Lady Dallia! She's collapsed and isn't responding!" All four turn toward her in shock. His rage forgotten, Butsuma races off toward their home, all three children at his heels.
Three months later, Dallia died. Sakura remembered overhearing two of the woman that usually took care of Dallia before her passing that the Senju matriarch had a weak body. Ever since she was young she was easily sickened and spent most of her life in bed. Butsuma fell in love with her and against the wishes of the clan elders, he married her. There was no guarantee that she could ever carry any children to term and each of her four children left her bedridden for most of the time. The youngest brother, Kawarama, was especially difficult but once they made it through it, Dallia and Butsuma agreed to have no more for her health.
The pain of losing two of her children along with having to constantly keep moving because of the Uchiha's sudden advancement had put too much strain on Dallia's body. She collapsed one day out of the blue and quickly degraded after that. Three months later, she was gone.
This time, Sakura couldn't contain herself. The woman who had taken her in, insisted that she be called Mama, was gone. She cried and cried for days, unable to stop, alongside Hashirama and Tobirama.
After Dallia died, Butsuma finally shut down. He cared for nothing anymore other than to kill all the Uchiha. He took Hashirama and Tobirama to the front lines with him and a few years passed and he never came back. Even when he came back for a short reprieve, he thought only of returning to the front line. One of the more major battles against the Uchiha claimed his life.
By that time, Hashirama was sixteen years old and able to take over the clan immediately.
Butsuma's funeral was a solemn one and none of his three orphaned children cried for him. But they did look on remorsefully, wishing that things could have been different. But it was too late. The man was already gone.
The end of Butsuma's life was the beginning of Hashirama's reign and great changes for the Senju clan. It was the beginning of the end of Sengoku Jidai.