Disclaimer: Naruto does not belong to me but to Masashi Kishimoto.

Summary: Sasuke had begun to think about his past, the life & people he'd left behind in Konoha. What he didn't think about was his future & how his busy life would become exceedingly difficult. A kid Sakura would become his biggest challenge."


(日本古 謡)

さくら さくら
野山も里も 見わたす限り
かすみか雲か 朝日ににおう
さくら さくら 花ざかり

さ くら さくら
やよいの空は 見わたす限り
かすみか雲か 匂いぞ出ずる
いざや いざや 見にゆかん

. : : : : .

Sakura

Sakura, sakura, mountains and villages,
Stretching everywhere within sight.
Is it mist or clouds? You shine with the rising sun.
Sakura, sakura
The flowers are blooming.

Sakura, sakura in the spring sky
Stretching everywhere within sight.
Is it mist or clouds? The fragrance and colors.
Let's go let's go
Watching, we will enjoy

Song By: Robert J. Gould


ICHI

(One)


Time was not an inconvenience to him anymore. If something were to happen it happened, if it didn't well he would wait for other circumstances. He was rather relaxed now; laying silently on the dewy grass near the waterfall, his muscled arms tucked under his head in a lazy way. The man seemed tranquil, undisturbed in the outside though in the inside there was a myriad of thoughts and malicious plans all concerning his older brother.

A sinister smirk made its way to his lips, showing a row of pearly white teeth. Inside his mind he thought of a merciless way to execute his brother.

Scratch that, they were many painful and heartless executions.

The plans in his mind played more like a movie of a mad man chasing after a defenseless person who ran for dear life. Him as the predator with his dear katana making several punctures to the helpless Itachi.

The images seemed spectacular to him, it was sort of ridiculous in a way. And he knew.

Like that would ever happen.

Miraculously he happened to find Itachi and he were to cower and run off in fear.

If it were only that easy.

He snorted at such ridiculous ideas he's gotten lately. More like childish thoughts, simulating from when he used to be just eight.

Onyx eyes closed to the world again, mostly trying to find himself at peace in the little time he had. His journey in search of his brother had still led him nowhere. His new team was doing all they could but it appeared futile every time they reached their destination of where his older brother could be.

If Sasuke was smart, Itachi was smarter.

Karin's ability was helpful to an extent, but when it came to faint chakras and Sasuke's nearness. She lost her concentration most of the time. This was stressful to him, moreover to the rest of the team. So to get a good time to himself he decided to leave their team for a short period, telling them he was just going to go to the nearest bar to relax. To this of course Karin signed up saying , to keep him company. But that was the last thing Sasuke wanted.

He snorted at the memory of her clinging onto his arm, trying to convince him to let her go with him. He as polite as he could be (which was actually never) pulled his arm free, ignoring her completely and walked out the door.

That woman never learned, and such behavior always reminded him of his time in Konoha and of certain girls who would of died to do the same. Such actions also reminded him of his ex-teammate, whom in occasions made her way into his significant mind. Her thoughtful caring deeds towards him and her effective way to always placate Naruto. Yes, she was somehow unique and still he wondered if she was the same.

He let out a contented sigh as the water lulled him, trying to convince him to go to sleep. This was the only time he could relax without going crazy over the smallest hint of Itachi. If times like this didn't exist, every time he detected the smallest clue of his brother's whereabouts, he would of gone "Itachi! Itachi!" but such clues were always in vane, leading him nowhere in particular but empty cabins and abandoned hotel buildings.

Sasuke froze in his movements when he tried to shuffle into a more comfortable position, the ruffling of leaves behind him making him aware of the presence of someone. He waited for some animal to pop out from the bushes, but it seemed the poor animal was stuck. The man couldn't care less if the animal spent his last days trapped there.

Not his problem.

He closed his eyes again.

But much to his pretend game of not hearing a thing, he could not ignore the small cry of what appeared to be of a child coming from the same spot he thought an animal was trapped in.

Sasuke quickly sat up from his spot and stared at the blueberry covered bush.

First a hand popped out. The small fingers curled up into fists that expressed how much strength the child used to attempt to free itself.

Then a foot. Bare foot in fact, who looked extremely small to be someone who could threaten his life.

Then a head. He could only see the top of the child's head. Short pink hair disheveled with blueberries smeared all over her pretty hair.

Then, she looked at him.

Her giant emerald eyes filled with tears she couldn't get to stop from rolling down her rosy cheeks. She gave a hard pull on her red dress (in which after further inspection he realized was just a shirt) and fell on her stomach just in front of him.

Sasuke arched a brow at the whole situation. She reminded him a lot of his old teammate. Clumsy, cry-baby, gullible, the list goes on...

The girl looked up at him.

Bottom lip trembling.

Eyes once more pooled with fresh tears.

He knew what was next and Sasuke could only flinch before the hit.

Oh no, here come the waterworks.

"Waaahh!" she cried loudly. The fat tears running down her cheeks freely now.

This was such an inconvenience and he didn't know what to do, never really being the type to comfort someone. But he tried his best none the less, being completely softened by her pitiful cries.

"Hey no crying, you're not OK so get up" he ordered.

Yeah, that was as far as fatherly as he could go. The girl though, only looked at him in surprise with those giant emerald eyes staring in awe at what he had just told her.

She didn't get it, what did he mean she was OK? She was lost, hurt and afraid. How was that OK?

With only one thing in her mind at the moment, wanting to find her mommy soon. But with her not knowing where she was she could only keep crying.

He groaned loudly, partially becoming inpatient.

"Enough"

Her lip trembled.

"Don't..."

She pouted

"I'm warning you…"

She began to harshly breath through her nose, her eyes becoming filled with tears again.

"Don't you-…"

"Wahh!" she wailed, her small fists rubbing her eyes slowly.

She looked around four years old, so he guessed she could talk. Sasuke at this moment was frustrated but for some reason could not find the courage to shut her up.

After what seemed like an eternity, he came up with an idea. She was a little kid and like any little kid you had to treat her the same.

And what do little kids like?

"If you be quiet, I promise I'll buy you some candy"

The crying stopped. Curious apple green eyes staring at him incredulously.

"You…have candy?" she asked him in a very small voice. With a small hand she tried to brush the tears that soaked her cheeks as she slowly approached the man. He gave a stiff nod. Inwardly he was glad she stopped crying, but now he had just received some unwanted task. Taking care of this child who looked awfully similar to Sakura.

Just a few minutes ago he was attempting to have the most peaceful nap he would get in centuries just before his haunting over his brother. But now, he was talking to this little Sakura-look-alike girl who just happened to appear out of no where.

What was a girl of her age doing all alone in a forest away from the nearest village (that happened to be miles away from their location). Not just that, the village itself was not one to play around in and he knew. Crooks always fiddled around the Mist village, this was no safe place. He looked at her oddly, but nodded none the less to her question.

"I don't think you have candy" she pouted again, the corner of her eyes filled with sparkly rivulets of her salty tears.

She was smarter than what he thought.

"Where are your parents?" he asked her. In return she began to sniffle again, constantly looking around her. Her mud stained cheeks swelled from the quick intake of breath. He guessed she was trying to hold back the cries but it was futile she began to wail again.

Growing frustrated by this, and the crying leading him nowhere (even though he didn't know why he even bothered to help her)

He could of just left her there to find her way herself for all he cared. But he found himself somehow forced to help her. A menacing growl left his throat, gaining the attention of the little girl who stopped in her cries just to look at the angry man.

Inside her head, a little voice told her to stop angering the nice Mr. stranger who promised her candy.

"Don't cry again, or I will not give you candy anymore"

He gave a nod when she became silent "now where are they? Why are you here in the woods all alone?"

"I…" her lip trembled as she tried to speak, but with a wary look from him she held back the tears.

"Brave girls don't cry, so hold it"

"But…"

"No buts, do you like to be called a wimp?"

She shook her head aggressively, her short pink hair sticking to her muddy face all the more. The girl found it weird to be taught by a mysterious man on how she should behave, but strangely enough she found herself drawn to this strange person.

"I don't know where my mommy is" she replied shakily.

Tiredly he took a seat just in front of her, his elbows resting on his knees as he leaned closer to the girl who stood still on her spot waiting for more questions. She was short and dirty, only wearing that red shirt he at first mistook for a dress. For a moment he thought he went crazy and thought he was actually seeing his old teammate, but that thought later vanished from his mind when he realized that was rather impossible.

"Then what are you doing here in the forest all alone? You do know bad people like to come around here" Sasuke coldly interrogated.

"I woke up over there" she pointed behind her, emphasizing from where "there is lots of blood all over" the girl sniffled again, the tears threatening to fall, but with a look from him she stopped herself before she could start to cry. "there was no one around except the dead men lying on the floor. I ran off 'cause I was scared"

"Can you take me there?"

She nodded reluctantly. He swiftly scooped her up, not really minding her messy appearance and walked the way she told him.

Maybe her parents were there and he could still find them alive, enough to help them into a hospital(even though he just didn't know why he even bothered) Sasuke wanted to feel optimistic when he reached the clearing and the only thing he could see were a few dead men scattered all over. The center of the place was disturbed, giant boulders bulging out from the ground and some of the trees nearby had been brutally taken down.

"I was over there" the little girl pointed to the center of the place, from where he could see the crater had been originated. He cocked an eye brow and hesitantly walked over to the spot.

Sasuke remembered the remains of the clothes that laid now shredded inside of the crater…

A few years ago he had seen an specific girl wear those, he was sure of that. Sasuke had memorized her outfit then. He looked down at the girl next to him, almost as if afraid he looked behind her red dress. There it was in fact.

The white ring that was his ex-teammates family emblem.

Onyx eyes narrowed into slits, not really wanting to think the worse he asked.

"What is your name?"

The little girl looked up in surprise to his question, then with a small smile she answered "Haruno Sakura"


To be Continued…


A/N: I've been itching to write a story like this. And finally got the guts to do so *squeals*

Thank you for reading!

-Shinrin-chan