Origins: Color Me Pink

Summary: Sakura's pink hair used to be brown just like any normal Asian; her name later became a funny coincidence. The famous medical ninja came about her profession and way of life on the same day her locks changed. Read on to find out the origins of Sakura.

Forewarning: I wrote this at about one o'clock in the morning on a whim, so if it sucks so bad it makes you want to puke, blame the sand man for not giving me the goods.

Sakura had her life figured out at the age of eight. She was going to become a teacher like her mom, meet her prince charming, have bundles of kids and live in a huge mansion all by the reasonable age of twenty, mind you. The initial step was to advance to a better school. After going to a public school for a few years, Sakura had managed to pass the grueling test for Konoha Private Elementary School. It was her first of many crowning achievements.

Her parents insisted that this was a glorious occasion and should be celebrated by the whole family. And whole family meant just that. Cousins, nephews, nieces, uncles and aunts (some removed several times) whom the poor child had never even heard of before showed up at the front door of the small home, rushing in to congratulate her on a job well done and leapt upon the free food available.

Sakura took all this in great stride for her age, brushing off compliments and giving directions for the bathroom when necessary. She was to be the next greatest excuse for a party…ahem, addition to the family that no one really knew about.

The Haruno Family believed themselves to be infamous as jacks-of-all-trades. They were teachers, carpenters, scholars, beauticians, explorers, street sweepers, booksellers, gypsies and any other livelihood that you could think of. Some were more mundane than others were; though not a single one carried the same profession at the same time. It had taken some convincing that being a high school teacher was a completely different career than an elementary instructor. So that is what Sakura did for a good four hours and the party wasn't even in full swing.

Try getting a group of people with no similarities beside blood all in one place. It spells out chaos and disaster for anyone nearby. How do you think Sakura felt after such a long time of trying to memorizes faces and names she'd only ever see maybe twice in her life? I'd try to escape too.

So the plain Jane with muddy brown hair ran outside to the cherry tree in the back yard for some privacy. Not a single person missed the free-meal ticket.

Sakura was surprised to see she was not alone. Sitting under the bare tree was the absolute oldest, strangest creature she had ever seen. The woman's hair was a good substitute for the missing pink cherry blossoms and her features were so wrinkled they sagged down her face like layers of melting wax. The thing seemed asleep, and a sick sense of curiosity took over the girl.

She took a step forward as quietly as she could, trying not to wake the beast. Softly, gently, she tip-toed through the grass, not making a sound. Just as she was about to check if the thing were still alive, a pair of rheumy aquamarine eyes (the same shade as her own) snapped open in front of her. "What do you want, child?" the old hag asked, her voice gravelly and harsh.

After a whole day of answering some variation of the question, she blurted out, "I want to be a teacher!" For a moment, it was silent. Then the woman let out a low chuckle that rumbled from her chest. It shook her frame like an earthquake attacking a flimsy tower.

"What's so funny?" Sakura was being relatively civil for someone who had yet to reach double digits. But the woman was rude for some in the triple. Another minute passed with the laughter in her ears, and she repeated the question hotly with a stamp of her foot.

This only sent the woman into a loud, hysterical, maniacal fit of laughter that only evil geniuses or the insane could properly pull off. Senile might have been better word choice. "You are too feisty to be a housewife, little girl. Look at that raw fury in her eyes; she'd make a mighty fine ninja." The crazy old bat seemed to be talking to the tree behind her like an old friend.

"Well, I don't want to," Sakura whined, "Being a ninja is stupid. You get hurt and turn ugly from scars and stuff. I want my prince charming, and there aren't ninja prince charmings."

Those eyes went sharp, gazing right through her soul, though the child didn't really understand the concept of it. It just seemed creepy at the time. "Where in the world are you going to find your prince? Riding on an office chair waving around a pencil? Don't be stupid. When you are a ninja, there are surprises and challenges around every corner. Anyone like you would shoot themselves after two minutes behind a desk." The woman was shaking with such emotion, her bright pink hair flew wildly in the air.

Sakura was decently intelligent, so the stab at said intelligence burned. For heaven's sake, she made it into the most prestigious school in the whole Leaf Village. "What do you know about being a ninja, lady? You can't possibly be one."

"Don't test me, girly. I'm more than powerful enough to take on anyone whom comes my way."

Sakura was already a smart alleck and a kiss up then, but hadn't perfected the art just yet. Her subtlety needed working on. "You're just too old for a ninja. They all die young because they're brainless, just like Mommy said. And my name is Sakura, not gir…" A strong hand flung out, grasping the brunette by the collar, cutting off her response. She was pulled down close enough to smell moth balls and baby powder with the overpowering scent of old.

Sakura struggled to no avail. "So, friend, what should we do?" The woman asked the tree again. Listening to the breeze a moment, she let a wicked grin show all the missing teeth. "Oh, that will do nicely. Sakura becomes a sakura and sees the harsh truths of the ninja and the world first-hand."

With her free hand, a series of unknown symbols were made, and she uttered "Ninja art: Kaleidoscope jutsu." Everything went still.

Sakura freaking flipped out. Civilians knew enough about ninjas to know that hand signs plus the word 'jutsu' meant something bad just happened. The poor girl started screaming bloody murder, fighting and kicking and shrieking, waiting for the pain to come.

But it didn't.

However, her parents did, bringing half of the guests out with them. Sakura could burst with happiness. They would surely save her from the loony holding her captive! However, the moment Mrs. Haruno laid eyes on her daughter, she fainted. Not a hand on your forehead, well-planned stage fall, but a full on, out cold, dead to the world faint.

Mr. Haruno, being the current firefighter of the clan, rushed forward and grabbed his daughter heroically while the onlookers fawned over his unconscious spouse. All events after that were a blur to the girl.

Later, Sakura found out that the old woman had actually died after that last jutsu having used up the last of her life force. That was one of the two reasons her mother had fainted.

The other was that Sakura's boring, plain, normal, run of the mill brown hair had become a very noticeable shade of pink. Every follicle of hair, from her head to her toes, had gone fuchsia. The jutsu the old woman had performed on her had caused the change. Now it was irreversible because it had been an original jutsu of the woman's own design. While on missions, it had been used to blend in with surroundings and become practically invisible, giving her the nickname 'Chameleon'. In this instance, it did the opposite. The girl couldn't stand out more if she tried.

Konoha Private Elementary School had a strict dress code, and Sakura, now a pinkette, could not attend. Her parents fought for weeks for the school to let her in because of the circumstances of the change but they would not allow it. Her "coloring" would "distract the learning experience of the other students" said the superintendent. Even if she were to shave her head or wear a wig, her bright pink lashes and eyebrows refused to be dyed to a normal color.

This might have only been a minor setback in Sakura's future if it had happened a few weeks earlier. Now, even the public school in the area was bursting beyond capacity and would not accept any more students. Mr. and Mrs. Haruno considered moving to a different village for a while but scratched the idea.

Konoha's Ninja Academy was the only option left.

The whole family agreed that it was a great choice. Their old ninja was dead, and now her "protégé" could take her place. Many insisted that the girl had been learning about the ninja arts from the woman secretly though they had never met until that day. Old Lady Tsubaki had even graced Sakura with lovely pink hair so they could match. "How wonderful," the Haruno family cried, "She is the spitting image of her grandmother."

But the unfortunate Sakura was heartbroken and could not be cheered up. Her dreams had been shattered because of one ridiculous old fool in a matter of minutes. There would be no high school teaching job, no prince charming, no kids or mansion. Just living alone for the rest of her life, killing people and living in a one-bedroom apartment.

Despite her gloomy outlook, Sakura survived basic training and even made it into Team 7. That was where her true life really began. She blossomed.

~Years Later~

On one of the few days off she had from training under Lady Tsunade, Sakura visited the old hag's grave. It was situated outside of town on a lonely hill with a weeping sakura tree like a cliché movie. The pinkette did not cry, for she had not known Tsubaki long enough to care that deeply. She did not thank her for throwing her life upside down because sometimes she didn't want to live the life of a ninja and would have rather made the choice herself.

All she did was lay out some camellias on her grave and say in an even tone, "I understand. I need the challenge, the thrill, the rush of saving lives and helping others to keep me going but I know all the risk that comes with it. My skills, intelligence and strength can be put to good use even though it is so hard sometimes to keep going. I've met wonderful people that I'd never have even considered friends and I hate the pain they cause me just as much as I love them. My prince charming isn't princely or charming but I still love him all the same. I'm going to to get stronger and bring him back no matter what they say. I may not like what you put me through, but I understand."

And she swore she could hear that cackling in the breeze going through her bright pink hair.

Author's Note: Tsubaki means camellia in Japanese, which is a bright pink flower.