Hush Little Baby
written by: ohwhatsherface

For Elizabeth
happy birthday!


i.

You are three when you watch from your bedroom window right above the front door as Father walks out on you and Mama.

"Ugh! Why am I still even here? I don't want you! I don't want a kid! I don't want any of this!"

He slams the door and stomps away but not without screaming at Mama about how he does not want her and how he does not want a child (you) and how he does not want any of 'this'.

You do not know what he means when said 'this'. You understand that Father does not want Mama and that he does not want you, but what is 'this'? It does not matter much to you now because you are three and the definition of such a word does not hold much of a meaning to you.

Father is Abandonment Number One.


ii.

When you are five, Mama met Daddy Number One. He is tall and he is bright and he is always smiling. You like him because he smiles and you think he would make a Good Daddy although you do not know how to judge whether or not he was a Good Daddy because you never had one to begin with.

Mama falls in love with Daddy Number One two months before you turn six.

Daddy Number One is good to you and he is good to Mama. He gives you presents for your sixth and seventh birthdays and he buys you ice cream and toys and ribbons. He and Mama never marry but you still consider Daddy Number One as your Daddy at the time because he does what you see other Daddies do for their kids. Daddy Number One walks you to the Ninja Academy every morning and always picks you up. He makes you breakfast and kisses your band-aids and tucks you in at night.

"Goodnight, Sakura."

"Goodnight, Daddy! You're the best Daddy ever!"

He is a Good Daddy, you decide. Children want to be like Good Daddies, and if you want to be a ninja like Daddy Number One, then that meant he was a Good Daddy.

Daddy Number One dies when you are seven and three quarters.

His body is carried home from a mission one evening by a man with lines on his face and a hard expression and a fan on his shirt who tells you that he is very sorry for your loss and that Daddy Number One was a Good Man and a Good Comrade and in your head, you add to the verbal list made by the man with lines on his face and a hard expression and a fan on his shirt that Daddy Number One was also a Good Daddy.

Daddy Number One is Abandonment Number Two.


iii.

You are twelve when you are assigned on to Team Seven under the leadership and guidance (but not really) of the famous copycat ninja, Kakashi-sensei, with the Uchiha genius and the Uzumaki idiot. All those boys are competitive (although not really Kakashi-sensei) and arrogant and stupid but they are still family to you.

They are lonely, like you, although they are also good at hiding the loneliness, like you.

Kakashi-sensei protects you and takes care of you and teaches you and you unconsciously form him into Daddy Number Two, in your mind. He reminds you of Daddy Number One with his constant vigilance and wrinkling eye and the way he pats you on the head. Kakashi-sensei also reminds you of what little you remember about Father with his usual calmness and hidden smiles and the way he pats you on the head.

Father and Daddy Number One both patted you on the head, the way Kakashi-sensei does too, and their similarities all stand out even more.

(They both also abandoned you, but you ignore that fact.)

When you are thirteen, your hair is short and you are a tad bit stronger but you still lost when Sasuke-kun and Naruto won.

You run to the hospital to drop of your flower for Sasuke—and only drop them off—so you can go to Kakashi-sensei and ask him to train you because you want to become stronger and you want to succeed and you want to be a ninja because Daddy Number One was a ninja too.

When you get there, you see Daddy Number Two—oops, Kakashi-sensei, talking to Naruto.

"Relax Naruto, I got you another teacher."

Your heart tightens when Naruto, albeit reluctantly, accepts the teacher that Kakashi-sensei got for him and makes due so he can train and because he wants to become stronger and he wants to succeed and he wants to be a ninja because he wants to the Hokage and he wants to be a hero.

You slump down against the hospital wall when Naruto i gone with his teacher so he can get stronger and Daddy Number Two leaves so he can train Sasuke-kun and Sasuke-kun can get stronger and you are left alone with no one to help train you so you can become stronger and you can succeed and you can be a better ninja.

Kakashi-sensei is Abandonment Number Three.


iv.

You are still thirteen when you are left behind one more time.

He is your first love and the boy who would (sadly, unfortunately) always hold your (broken) heart.

You cry to Sasuke-kun to not leave. You tell him that revenge will not make him happy and that you would do anything for him and that you love him. You struggle in persuading him to just stay with you (and Naruto and Kakashi-sensei) in Konoha. You say that if he was to stay with you, there would be no regrets and that you would always be happy.

"I love you more than anything!"

You can not lose another close person. You may not have been ostracized by your entire village, nor has your whole family been slaughtered by someone who you trusted the most, but you have always been lonely. You have always been clingy.

You have always attached yourself to a male you were somewhat close to, to make up for the fact that your father abandoned you.

(But then again, they tend to abandon you as well.)

"Don't leave! If you do, I'll scream—"

"Sakura… Thank you."

And as you slump down against him after he jabs you in the neck to knock you out, you think you're numb because you don't feel your heart breaking but then you realize that that is only because it has already been broken.

Sasuke-kun is Abandonment Number Four.


v.

Still, you are thirteen, and tomorrow morning Naruto is leaving the village with Jiraiya-sama.

You are angry because he is all you have left and now he is abandoning you too.

The two of you eat ramen together at Ichiraku that night and it's your treat. You both order your food and you sit on your stool, calm and apathetic while Naruto is excited. He is leaving with Jiraiya-sama for more training because he wants to become stronger and he wants to succeed and he wants to be a hero.

To you.

And to his best friend.

"What's wrong, Sakura-chan?"

Naruto is Naruto and he notices your discomfort immediately and is concerned. Being quiet and cool and collected, apparently, is not you. You smile at him weakly and tell him that everything is okay, you're just a little bit tired, but Naruto knows you better than anyone and he sees through your lies.

"Aw, is Sakura-chan gonna miss me?"

He is only teasing you but you flinch and he notices and he frowns. He loses the playful feeling and gives you his ever classic, reassuring, Naruto grin.

"I'm gonna come back, Sakura-chan, believe it!"

The corners of your lips quirk a slight bit and you almost find it in yourself to smile because Naruto is Naruto and you know that Naruto will never get tired of 'this' or die on you or forget about you or reject you.

"It's a Promise of a Lifetime!"

You'll hold him to it.

The next day you go straight to training.

There is no need to say goodbye because you know he will come back.

Naruto will never Abandon you.