Haruno Sakura was four when she first witnessed a flower grow in a short span of a few seconds.
It had been a rainy day, and Sakura was stuck in her house. Her father, Haruno Kizashi was asleep, tired after a long mission whilst her mother, Mebuki was currently out having a meeting with a potential trade partner.
This left young Sakura, technically, unattended. And an unattended child, cooped up in the house with nothing interesting to do leaves for trouble and mischief.
And Sakura was bored.
Sure she could always reread her books but she wasn't entirely in the mood to read something. No, she wanted something fun, something exciting but Sakura didn't know how exactly was she to find something enjoyable. She didn't have an urge to read, and her toys just weren't any fun anymore. Sakura paced around her room, frustrated. The pacing continued on for another two minutes when suddenly a thought formed in her mind.
Sakura would bake! Ino's birthday was coming up in a week and what better way to give your best friend than a birthday cake. But wait, Sakura thought. Ino would already have a birthday cake from her parents. She should bake something else. Oh! Sakura smashed her fist into her palm. She could make anmitsu, with cherries! Ino loved cherries.
A plan was formed.
And a disaster was born.
Sakura was still a four year old kid of course, and something troublesome was bound to happen eventually.
The pink haired child had managed to assemble the ingredients, Mebuki had a recipe book kept around just in case. Sakura couldn't reach the counter yet, so she dragged a nearby chair and stood atop it. The chair that Sakura stood on was old and wobbly, and was the very same chair Kizashi had placed aside so he could fix it. Sakura had swayed a little bit but balanced herself after a short while. Sakura picked up the chopping board, her weight leaning to the side.
Four things happened at once.
One of the chair's legs broke.
Surprised, Sakura instinctively raised her arms and with that physics worked its way.
The chopping board flew out of her hands,hitting one of the pots of plants her mother had been growing.
Said pot is inevitably destroyed, and her mother's geraniums crushed.
Sakura took deep breaths, trying to calm her rapidly racing heart. She stood still, waiting for something, for her father to come running down. He didn't. A relieved sigh escaped her lips, but that was soon gone when she looked at the mess on the ground. To the right of her, where her mother's plants were, and on the ground, was the broken pot. One of it's shards had crushed the red geraniums. The geraniums were one of her mother's favorite flowers, and also one that she had recently cultivated. Her mother would undoubtedly become sad, and maybe angry at what she had just done.
Sakura knelt down, gathering up the soil and the flower and brought it to her chest. Her heart wrenched, the uncomfortable tugging feeling resonating throughout her whole body. Tears welled up her eyes.
"I'm sorry," she choked out. It starts as a quiet sniff, but later evolved into a hiccup and then to sobs. Unbeknownst to her, nature cried too.
Nature cried with her, and ached with her because it felt for Sakura. Felt for the sadness, the guilt. Most of all however, Nature felt the pure sorrow the young girl felt, as if the geranium were something more to her than a mere plant.
Nature felt her sadness, and Nature decided that they didn't like that.
They didn't want to see this young child hurt and crying.
And so they reached out. Nature reached out to the girl's soul, and eventually reached out in front of her in the form of a new, blooming, geranium.
Sakura felt something soft brush against her face. She opened her eyes and then gasped at the sight in front of her. Her mother's geranium was now alive and just as vibrant as when it first bloomed. Her crying ceased, and happiness slowly bubbled out of rushed to get another pot. She returned with another one a bit bigger than the one that broke but it would do. She wasted no time in transferring the soil and now well and once again blooming geraniums. Once settled, Sakura leaned a bit closer to the plant, amazed.
"Did you grow yourself back?" she asked. The plant, of course, gave no verbal answer. It was a silly thing to do. Talking to a plant. Pfft. Still however, it was worth a shot. Sakura waited, not really expecting a reply, but still hoping. Nothing came.
"Well," Sakura started. "That's okay. I'm just happy you're back again. I promise I won't hurt you and the other's anymore okay? And mama will be sad if I did too." She finished.
Not thinking much of it anymore, Sakura cleaned up the mess she had made, before returning back to the counter, this time standing on a firm and not so wobbly chair.
So instead of seeing their daughter potentially being the first mokuton user since Hashirama Senju, Kizashi and Mebuki would arrive to a messy scene of uneven fruit slices, scattered utensils, and in the center of it all, a tiny pink-haired girl whose face is redder than the cherries currently on her hand.
Mebuki glared at her husband, who was now making himself look small and unassuming, which was a hilarious look considering how tall and broad the latter was.
Needless to say someone would be sleeping on the couch tonight.
Haruno Sakura was six when her mother told her about Senju Tobirama.
"The Nidaime Hokage mama?" their daughter asks innocently.
Sakura is cuddled up between her mother and father. Mebuki gives her a soft kiss on her forehead. "Yes dear," she replies.
Sakura scrunches up her nose. "I already know about him mama. He was a genius and invented many cool jutsus!" She raised her arms at the last part. "But he died during the war."
That is where Mebuki smiles. "Oh really?" Sakura nods her head. "Yes really mama, that's what the books and sensei said. " She replies back. But mama is making the face she makes when she knows something and you don't. Sakura is curious as to why.
"Well then," her mother starts. "What if I told you that the Nidaime Hokage didn't die during the war?" Sakura sits up straight, paying attention solely to her mother. Her mother continues her story, of how Senju Tobirama does not die but instead uses his hiraishin at the last minute to escape the clutches of death. She tells her of how he returned to his family, to his wife and daughter. This surprises Sakura, for there weren't any records of him having a family. But she stays quiet and listens to her mother.
His wife had been a civilian of the village, and because of that their relation was kept a secret.
Their daughter grew up to be a ninja, who later retired and married a merchant. The daughter then later gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. This girl was named Mebuki.
"You have the same name!" Sakura exclaims. To her right, her father snorts and her mother is looking at her amusedly. All is quiet for a while save for her father's laughter when Sakura starts to realize. "You are her," she gasps out. Her mother nods in confirmation.
"So if you are her, does that make grandmother the Nidaime's daughter? And-and if that's the case he's your grandfather. And that makes him my great-grandfather!"
It is her father that answers her. "That's right my petal. Your mother right here is descended from the great Senju Clan!" If Sakura turned to look at her mother, she would see her roll her eyes. But she didn't and instead goes to voice out the next thing that bothers her.
"I can understand hiding it from the village, but why didn't the Nidaime tell his brother, The First, or the rest of the family?"
"That, my dear petal, is something I do not know either." Mebuki replies. "But," her mother continued. "Maybe you can ask him yourself." Sakura's eyes go wide. "He's alive!?" She screeches out. "Where is he staying? Why isn't he with us? Can we meet him?" The questions are thrown rapidly and the couple cannot help but chuckle at their daughter's excitement.
It was understandable. To find out that you were related to the Nidaime, and who was also still alive was something to get excited about.
"Yes, with your grandmother outside the village, because it's too dangerous, and maybe when you're older." are the answers to her questions.
This satisfies Sakura enough, but not enough to stop her from bouncing.
Kizashi laughs. "Clearly you're too hyper to sleep yet, so how about I tell you a story."
And this time Haruno Kizashi talks to Sakura about Uzushio. Of the Village hidden by Whirling Tides. A village of encompassing wide rivers and large bridges. A village of towering buildings adorned with seals of many kinds. He tells her of their specialty in fuinjutsu and of their red hair. He tells her of Hi Matsuri, the Fire Festival. How people would gather in the roads connecting right to the heart of the city, bringing with them torches, and how as night settles, each torch is lit by the High Priest using the sacred flame. How, as the fires light up they form a swirling symbol. The symbol of Uzushiogakure. The symbol of change, growth, evolution.
He tells her of the beautiful weaving patterns of their clothes. Of warm colors red, royal purple and bright orange. Of waves and spirals embroidered on it. He tells her of the many storms that come, and how Uzushio always remained strong and unscathed.
Kizashi Haruno tells her a lot of things about Uzushio, and Sakura falls asleep listening to the stories of a now forgotten city.
Haruno Sakura was eight when she was finally able to attend the Ninja Academy, and it is also the year she finally meets her great-grandfather.
Sakura grips her mother's hand tight. The two of them are standing in front of a quaint small house. There is nothing particularly remarkable about it. The paint of the walls a dull white, the windows black, the door a chestnut brown, and the roof a dark red.
Her mother gestures with her other hand, as if to say 'go on.' And that's enough encouragement Sakura needs to knock the door. Ten seconds pass, then thirty, and by the forty-eighth the door finally opens.
Sakura holds her breath, and her grandmother's face appears. Haruno Hanabi smiles warmly at the sight of her. "Sakura-Chan! My you've grown."
Sakura smiles back at her, "Hello, oba-san." Her grandmother is wearing a dark blue kimono, with white clouds.. Her hair is tied into a bun with chopsticks holding it up.
Hanabi opens the door to let the two of them inside.
"Come in, come in. Mebuki, my dear it has been a while since i've seen you. And where is Kizashi?"
Hanabi queries. Sakura looks around and takes in the view. She hears her mother reply to grandmother, but she tunes out what they say next in favor of observing the house.
While the outside may look like the modern houses of Konoha, the inside is largely more traditional, and minimalistic in design. It's not plain unlike outside, rather it has a subtle beauty about the way the decorations and paint are placed.
She returns back to the two adults once her name is called.
Her mother is smiling at her. "I believe there is someone you want to meet right?" She says.
Sakura's face lights up, and replies back with a cheerful yes.
Hanabi is chuckling, "Well then my dear, he should be in the center of the garden, past the greenhouse. Go on now while your mother and I catch up and prepare something to eat."
Sakura leaves with a bounce in her step, leaving them with a quick 'thank you'.
The backyard she sees is is a pond to the right of her. To the left lies the greenhouse. Inside are vegetations. Sakura surmises that it makes sense for the house to have a greenhouse to grow their food. The nearest village is a 15-minute walk, and Konoha is an hour away from here.
Sakura proceeds to walk past the greenhouse, towards the garden. The entryway has an arch of flowers, shrubs lining up the sides like a fence. Sakura heads inside.
The garden is beautiful, consisting of all different kinds of flowers. Sakura can only name a few, which are roses, asters, chrysanthemums, and cosmos.
It takes her a minute to finally arrive at the center. A beautifully carved marble fountain is what Sakura first sees. She circles around, looking for him, and there he was.
He was just behind the fountain, sitting. His back was turned to her but before Sakura could announce her presence he beat her to it.
"Sakura Haruno." He says her name. His voice is gruff, deep and commanding.. Sakura stands to attention.
"Yes, great-grandfather." There is a tilt in her tone. She clasps her hands tightly, though she can feel it becoming clammy. Her stomach isn't doing any help either, doing flips and all in all making her all the more uncomfortable. The excitement and eagerness she has felt earlier is gone now.
Tobirama is unaware of all this however, and just proceeds. "Come. Let me see you."
Sakura tentatively walks and makes her way to face him. Sakura can't help it. She is anxious, and she remembers all the stories and accomplishments the man right in front of her has done, and she feels… inadequate somehow. Or unworthy to be graced by his presence. Her great-grandfather is wearing a plain black yukata in contrast to his white hair. Time indeed had weathered him. The trademark tattoos under his eyes and chin which once was red had now faded into a dull pink. His face is gaunt and his shoulders are hunched. Though for someone in his nineties however, he still looked like someone in his seventies.
Red orbs finally met green.
Where Sakura's was full of nervous yet sparked with curiosity, Tobirama's was sharp and held wisdom and intelligence.
The next thing that happened was unexpected. Tobirama lifted his hand, near to Sakura's forehead and flicked it. It wasn't painful per se, but it did startle the young girl enough to put a hand on it. What just happened?
"A kunoichi does not slouch, " Tobirama huffed, scowling.
Sakura immediately stood straight.
"Nor does she open her mouth like a fool."
Sakura snapped her jaw shut.
All was quiet great-grandfather was staring intently at her. Sakura wanted to look away, but forced herself not too. She gazed back at him with all the seriousness an eight year old could muster. It was weird. The Nidaime having a staredown with a child.
Finally, Tobirama's scowl melted away into a soft smile. "It is finally nice to meet you, my great-granddaughter." Sakura grinned. "And you as well, great-grandfather."
Sakura spends the rest of the day talking with her great-grandfather, who listens with rapt attention. She tells him of her favorite interests. Her favorite food, favorite color, favorite book. She tells him of how she will be starting studying in the Ninja Academy next week. She tells him of her father's current mission, an escort mission of sending a merchant to and from Suna.
She tells him how she meets her first friend Ino. He frowns when she tells him of Ami and her gang, but she assures him that they have stopped bullying her once she met Ino. That was how we became friends, she says. Ino saved me. They both end it at that. Sakura tells her more stories. And when she is done, Tobirama tells her his. He tells her about her brother, Hashirama Senju. How he is the opposite of him. Where he is cool and rational, Hashirama is boisterous and impulsive. He tells him of stories of their childhood, and then about the Founding of Konoha. He tells her about his days as hokage. He tells her of how he met her great-grandmother. She was fierce, passionate, and deeply loyal to her loved ones, he says. He tells her of his favorites. Favorite food, book, jutsu, stories.
By the time Mebuki Haruno comes to call them for lunch, they are still talking with each other. Sakura waving her hands animatedly, and Tobirama listening and gazing at her with fondness.
The whole family talks and catches up with each other. Mebuki converses with Tobirama, Sakura with Hanabi, all of them just peacefully chatting with one another. Hours pass, and finally Mebuki and Sakura are preparing to leave. Sakura hugs her grandparents goodbye.
"I promise we'll visit again soon." She vows. "I'll tell you all about my ninja training!"
Her great-grandfather chuckles. "I look forward to that Sakura-chan. Maybe one day I shall teach you some things of my own." With that, Sakura's face lights up all the more brighter.
Mebuki and Sakura safely arrive back at Konoha just as dusk settles.
Days after Sakura meets her great-grandfather, she finally attends her first day in the Ninja Academy.