Summer at Port Honju
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto.
Sakura pushed her trolley out of the sliding doors. Finally. After four and a half long hours on the plane, she had arrived. First thing though—she had to find her uncle.
The girl stood on her toes, trying to peer over the sea of heads. Uncle Takaraka said he'd be near the car park—but all Sakura could see where people bustling around, hugging and kissing relatives or waiting for the next plane. A person nearly knocked her over when the pinkette tried to ask for directions to the parking lot.
After walking around, lost for a few more minutes, she came to a stop when nearly running over a girl her age with her trolley.
"Oh, sorry, I'm sorta in a hurry…"
The other girl just smiled, clearly unaware of the anxiety settled in Sakura's green eyes. Instead, she jumped around the trolley and gave her a big, warm hug. The pink-haired teen gasped at the strength of the grip and sighed in relief when the over-excited girl let go.
"Sakura-chan! It's been so long! How are you? Sorry dad isn't here—says he's too old to walk—but of course that's a lie cuz he won last year's swimming contest—but then I was cheering him on and mum says he's very superstitious, maybe that's why he won? Oh, but then he was always a good swimmer—"
Sakura let out the breath she was holding in slowly. Her mother had taught her many breathing techniques and this particular one was for calming down. Finishing off the last of her exercise, Sakura chose then, to interrupt the loud girl.
"…Er, ah…excuse me?" The other teen stopped immediately. "Yes, well er…who…are you?"
The green-eyed teen took a step back. The blabbering girl had lowered her head and looked like she was about to burst out crying. Sakura could see liquid forming in her light green eyes—her strangely familiar green eyes. Panicking, Sakura held out her hands, praying the girl would not make a scene. She cringed when the teen screamed out loud.
"Ahahahaha! Sakura-chan, you are so funny! I remember you had the best pranks and, and dad nearly got a heart attack from the time you planted a snake on—"
Her words were drowned out by more laughter. Then—
"I'm Mizu remember? C'mon Sakura-chan! Isn't there any memory in that big head of yours?"
At that moment, Sakura felt everything come rushing back. It hit her like a bulldozer, ramming into her with full speed.
Mizu…Mizu…She was sure she'd heard the name before…
"Mizuki-chan! Wait for me!" The little 6-year-old girl called out. "You're running too fast!"
The black-haired girl giggled, slowing down and turning to face her cousin. She watched as Sakura panted heavily, also laughing crazily. They were off to the beach, excited to find rare seashells and worn down treasures.
"Okay, Saku, but next time, you'd better be quick!"
The girl grabbed onto the pinkette's arm and they both skipped over to the rock pools that sat next to the warm sand. Mizuki snatched up as many shells as she could find, in contrast to her careful cousin, who was turning over each shell or rock she had picked up, gazing at every aspect of the small objects. When seeing one she agreed with, the pinkette pocketed it, knowing that one day, everyone would want one just like it…just like her.
"Look, Saku, a crab!" Mizuki had crawled over to one of the larger pools, discreetly peering over the edge of the rock.
Sakura sneaked over to her cousin, examining the creature curiously. Her cousin whispered excitedly about all the facts she knew about the little white crab while the pinkette looked onward eagerly. She looked up at the cheerful dark-haired child and smiled. Almost the same shade of green eyes smiled back at her.
Another hug was initiated when the naïve girl finally remembered her older cousin. Now that she thought about it, how could she forget? Mizu may have been only a year older, but she had practically been her best friend back then, protecting Sakura at times when the pinkette needed her the most.
Letting go of the fact that people all around were staring, she jumped on the girl, just as the other teen had done before. Laughing out loud, Sakura couldn't help but think how stupid she had been. After so many years away from Port Honju, she had almost completely forgotten about her favourite cousin!
Takaraka lifted his large, purple sunglasses off his head when he saw his daughter and niece approaching him. Letting out a large, bellowing laugh, he walked over to the two teens who were chatting animatedly.
Sakura immediately let a grin spread across her face when recognizing her Uncle Takaraka. She hadn't seen him for so long, but nothing had changed. Still the same laugh, smile and of course, purple shades. The one thing about her uncle was that he could always make her feel better, no matter how awkward the situation.
"Sakura!" The tall man called out. His niece ran toward him, abandoning her trolley. "How are you?"
Sakura hugged her uncle fiercely, her reply muffled by his bright, hawaiian shirt. The man gestured for his daughter's help in pushing along the trolley whilst he led the two teens to the van.
Piling the light luggage into the back seat, the three of them buckled in and listened to each other's adventures. Sakura had forgotten why she didn't want to come to Port Honju in the first place—it was just like home. If only Ino or Ten Ten had been here. Then it would've been perfect…
The van pulled up into a small driveway, which led up to a large beach house. Sakura remembered coming here all those years ago, with Mizu by her side. The two never separated during Sakura's stays and Takaraka had called them the 'Devil Fish'. Sakura loved the connection between the three of them and she was more than happy to find nothing had changed.
Two oak trees sat on either sides of the house and small bushes littered the land. The beach house used to be a bright, ocean blue building, but through the years of erosion from the wind and salt, the paint had been worn down to a pale blue. The large verandah contained two arm chairs and a small, wooden table. In the afternoon, Sakura's Aunt and Uncle usually settled down to relax there, drinking tropical juice as an evening snack. At least that's what the teen remembered. Hopefully, things between her aunt wouldn't be too awkward.
"Sakura, Mizu, it's only about noon right now, Sakura, why don't you let Mizu take you around for a while? I'll get your stuff." Takaraka waved off the pair, already hauling two of Sakura's bags up the small steps onto the verandah. He easily kicked open the door and strided in. "Aunt Sophie isn't back from her grocery shopping yet, so don't be surprised when she screams at you later."
Nodding in reply, Sakura followed the dark-haired girl down the driveway, over the hill, and finally, onto a large, sandy beach. The sun shone brightly and seagulls squawked loudly overhead. Everywhere she looked, Sakura could see people having fun. Children splashed around in the shallow areas whilst strong swimmers fought against the small waves.
Looking further on, there were several yachts out along the horizon dotting the clam water scene and surfers riding the roaring waves.
Along the beach sat the parents and elderly, either smiling fondly at the youngsters or tutting and shaking heads. Sakura could smell the salt in the sea air and feel the sand prickling her legs. Taking a big breath in, she let out a sigh. Being here felt incredible.
Mizu pointed in the direction of the fish and chips shop, thongs leaving footprints in her wake. Turning to take one last look at the perfect scenery, Sakura spotted a few girls her age, splashing in the water and screaming with laughter. She felt a stab of guilt.
Ino had begged her not to leave her behind at their summer job. Despite her pleas, Sakura had to leave. It wasn't her fault though. She didn't even want to come here…after so many years away, she had pretty much adapted to life in University, forgetting all her more free and younger days at the Port. Mrs Haruno had made her come, said she needed to take a break from her busy all-study-no-fun schedule.
"Here, Saku, want some sauce with your chips?"
"Nah, I'm fine."
The two cousins sat on a short bench just outside the take away store. They ate their meals quietly, enjoying the afternoon sun on their backs. Sakura looked out at the sea, chewing politely whilst Mizuki stabbed her fish.
"What's up in Konoha?"
Swallowing, the pinkette smiled and replied.
"Oh, just Uni stuff, you know…I'm continuing with my art next year after summer break. Hopefully I'll earn enough money from my part-time job to pay for all the expenses—mum says she'll only pay for half now that I'm going into my second year. How 'bout you?"
"Oh, the usual…nothing really happens during summer breaks…probably just more hours of swimming and eating seafood." Pausing to smother her chips in more tomato sauce, the older teen continued. "Ah—I forgot to tell you, Yuri—you remember right? Well she's coming over next week to stay at the house for a while! Isn't it great?"
"Her parents are taking a business trip in Europe—dunno for what exactly, but dad invited her over!"
Sakura's smile faltered as she listened to her cousin continue with her plans for the next few weeks. It turned out Yuri was going to make herself at home. A calm break with her family? So much for that. Mizu seemed to have everything squashed into one summer! Beaches, food, fun and guys seemed to be the only agendas on the schedule.
At least I'm doing what mum suggested…having…a break?
Finishing off the last of her fish, Sakura dusted her top, brushing off the excess crumbs before stretching. Mizu threw her empty plate into the trash, gesturing for Sakura to follow her back to the house.
The pair chatted happily to each other, catching up on their current lives and reliving memories pushed to the back of their minds. By the time Sakura walked up the last couple steps of the beach house, she had pretty much lived Mizu's teenage life. It sounded exciting—not that she was agreeing with her mother's rash choice of sending her away.
Stepping into the cool house, Sakura stared around. It looked exactly as it did years ago! With only a few additions to the already, photograph-covered walls, it felt familiar. Running her fingers along the window sill to the left of the door, Sakura took a deep breath, smelling the sweet scent of the warm house and…mangoes?
"Sakura!" screamed the blonde woman, laughing with glee. "Look at how tall you are now!"
Aunt Sophie strolled into the small living room, holding a small cup of mango juice, complete with a mini umbrella sticking out the side.
"Come give your aunt a hug!"
Sakura wrapped her arms comfortably around the cheerful lady, smiling silently. It was good to back. Letting go, she laughed as the woman ran back to the kitchen to fetch more glasses of juice for the two of them.
"Thanks!" Sakura accepted it, careful not to spill any on the wooden floors (much more convenient than carpet). Settling down on the soft couch, she repeated what she told Mizu to her enthusiastic aunt, smiling as the older woman jumped up and down in her seat.
"So, that's pretty much for now…I just need a break."
Sophie suddenly frowned. Grabbing the empty glass from Sakura's unsuspecting hands, she ushered the girl upstairs, muttering to herself.
"How could I be so selfish? You must be so tired right now Sakura! Go unpack and take a shower. Then I'll bring up some more mango juice and you can go rest for a little while!"
Knowing arguing would be no use, Sakura trudged up the steps, guessing her room and taking a peek inside. Yes, her bags were sitting neatly on the floor, and Mizu had been considerate enough to open up her blinds, allowing the sunlight to filter into the small bedroom.
Unpacking was easy and before Sakura knew it, she was lying in her bed, staring up at the ceiling, mind wandering back to Konoha. She missed her friends, and wished they could've at least cared to—
Jumping up in her bed, Sakura rushed to her backpack, pulling out her blue laptop, plugging it in and switching it on with lightening speed. Logging into her email, Sakura was immediately bombarded with instant messages, mainly from Ino and Ten Ten.
Laughing quietly at the beeping screen and desperate messages, Sakura shook her head, taking her time to answer each one, recounting her trip to her friends, agreeing instantly when they hoped she would be returning soon.