I don't know. Do I deserve this pain of not updating for a long period of time? I thank the two Guests and 01Trycia-chan01 for taking time out of their busy schedule to review. The others, I thank you for reading it on your spare time. Just to let you know, I'm thankful for people that notice me at all for my work. Thank you. – 2-19-13
"Won't Kaa-san be angry that you didn't tell her?" Sakura asked as they walked, more like Haori carrying her as he jumped from roof to roof.
"She won't be after the reason I give her," he shrugged and quickened his pace. His chakra was chaotic as he still tried to reign in his anger. It was like a hurricane swaying the trees side to side from its vicious winds. A growl silently slipped from his lips as he tightened his grip on his daughter.
How dare they hurt his daughter? She was barely six years old and yet the other kids had the decency to leave her looking like a bloody mess. He thought of gruesome tactics to torture the parents of the assailants, but then sighed in defeat. Those people didn't know better – they only saw the evil inside him, not the exterior. Naruto Uzumaki is the same age, yet they only look at the demon aspect that is a part of his very being. In the end, he was punished for the deeds of the Kyuubi.
With these chaotic thoughts running through his mind, he did not notice Sakura staring at him. His face aged with some battle-earned scars had a frown that turned to a scowl and then a look that seemed tired of life. It made him seem older than he was and she didn't favor it at all. She felt his arms tighten to the point of little discomfort, but she ignored it because she held on to him tighter.
She looked as buildings blended into a blur of white and red while the trees were a mesh of evergreen and brownish black. The wind whipped her hair back and her body jostled each time her father lifted his feet from the tile roof. Barely heard footsteps grazed the roof, sometimes looking like he was not even touching it, before they touched another identical one a second later. She saw other black or green figures speed by and Haori nodded to them, a face devoid of emotion, but focus.
He landed on the dirt ground in front of the compound where he was greeted by a few Uchiha men. They all had defensive stances as they watched Haori, bristling with barely contained anger and chakra uncontrolled, stand there with her cradled in his arms. When they laid their eyes on the pink-haired child, they relaxed and bowed, moving to the side to let them through.
"Thank you," Haori said in a clear voice and stalked past with purposeful strides to the head of the compound.
Many greeted the young girl as she made her way through the area, children asking if she would want to play. She declined and bid goodbye as her father continued forward. As they reach the door, Itachi held open the door on cue as if he knew they were coming, which was true. The young shinobi felt the veteran's chakra a mile away.
"Haori-san," Itachi bowed and when he straightened himself, he saw Sakura's battered form. She gave him a toothy smile, not noticing the twitch of his finger, which Haori had caught.
"Itachi, I need to speak to your parents, including you if you desire," Haori stated, not as a request, but more like a demand.
Itachi glanced at her again and lead them towards the dining room where the rest of his family resided. Sasuke looked up with delight at his friend, but was confused at the amount of bruises and scratched to cuts that decorated her petite form. They seemed to have finished dinner and Mikoto was cleaning up. Fugaku stared emotionless, but a glint of anger flashed briefly in his dark brown pupils. The Uchiha matriarch almost dropped a plate when she gasped at the sight.
"I apologize for intruding, but we need to have a discussion," Haori declared after he bowed to the family when he set Sakura on her dainty feet. Fugaku nodded and Mikoto cleaned the area quickly as they all made their way to the living room.
Sasuke followed behind his brother as he trotted down the hallway. He had a look of confusion as he didn't understand the current situation. Itachi silently trailed behind his father, nothing betraying his feelings of it except the constant twitching of his finger. They sat around in the living room and Mikoto sat next to her husband, kneading her hands together in worry.
Sakura sat with Sasuke on the floor as they watched their parents stare in each other's gaze without a peep. The ominous silence was broken as Haori started with, "I want Sakura to be trained as a ninja."
Fugaku looked at him with a calculating gaze that flickered to Sakura as she glanced back and forth to the adults. He said after a minute, "You want us to find you an instructor."
"Haori-san, we need to know the reason and I have an idea why," Mikoto talked with a slow voice as she treaded lightly. "Just to make sure – did you?"
"Why would I ever do such a thing? She is one of my loved ones – my daughter, none the less," he growled and Fugaku shot a warning glare at him.
"I'm sorry, but I had to ask just for confirmation," she sighed in relief. "What happened?"
"My daughter has befriended the Uzumaki kid, who has gained the approval of my wife, for a while now. The consequences had arrived and some kids decided to act upon the hatred of their parents. They beat her and I wonder why they stopped when I know they would have continued. I'm not saying I'm ungrateful, but we know they would have left her on the brink of death," Haori pointed out.
"They saw my necklace," Sakura piped in with a quiet tone. "They know I'm friends with Sasuke and Itachi, so they ran."
"You're okay though, right?" Sasuke asked with a hopeful voice and she nodded as an answer.
"Back to the topic, I've decided to allow Sakura to pursue her career as being a shinobi," Haori finished.
"Of course," Fugaku said and Haori furrowed his eyebrows before nodding in realization. "She has grown accustomed to my sons, along with myself, surprisingly. She could join Sasuke in his training and share instructors. Also, I could have Itachi train her when he has the time. I know that Sakura would make a fine kunoichi in the long run."
"Thank you, Fugaku-san," Haori said relieved, "I'm forever in your debt."
"No need for that, Haori-san. Your daughter is a part of the Uchiha family too," Fugaku shook his head.
"Thank you again. I must be going since I didn't notify Akira," Haori stood and Sakura stood with her father.
"Goodbye, Sakura!" Mikoto hugged the girl. "Come again soon, okay?"
"Yes, Mikoto-san," Sakura promised and waved goodbye. Itachi led them out and Sakura gripped his legs tightly in an embrace. "Bye, Itachi-san!"
He waited until she released him and kneeled down to her height. He held her by the arms and stared in her innocent doe-like eyes. "No one will hurt you again when I'm still here." Then he poked her forehead in a teasing manner. She glared playfully at him, but a smile ruined her façade.
Haori watched the scene with a peaceful expression and then took off with his daughter using the rooftops as way of transportation.
When they arrived home, they saw Akira pacing the kitchen with a worried expression. She looked up at their entrance and sighed in relief, putting a hand to her chest, but glared angrily.
"I allow you to pick her up and you guys end up two hours late!" she barked out, her hair flying around her from her fury. Sakura heard an audible gulp behind her and looked at her father who seemed relaxed despite the bobbing of his Adam's apple.
"We can talk about this in the room," he said as he nodded in Sakura's direction. Akira followed his line of sight and her eyes widened. In three long strides, she held her daughter's face in her hands. She moved Sakura's face side to side almost tearing up at the sight as she continued around her body. She lifted up her daughter to the chair of the kitchen table and sat her there and grabbed a plate of food. Sakura, without asking, picked up her chopsticks and quietly ate.
Her eyes followed her parents until they vanished down the hallway. She heard the door close faintly and glass shattering soon after. She stared worriedly at what was happening, but continued to nibble on a piece of shrimp.
"I'll kill them!" her mother's voice rang out like a lion's roar. Everything was silent except the muttering of her parents' voices and the crash of something breaking. She soon finished her food so when she had placed it in the sink, her mother entered the kitchen along with her father trailing behind.
"Early birthday present, Sakura, you get to be a ninja!" Akira gleefully stated, but she was seething in anger. Sakura gasped in excitement since she wanted to gain her mother's acceptance from the start. She ran and hugged her mother thanking her profusely and Akira held her daughter in a protective manner.
"Anything for my daughter," she whispered.
Sakura went back to the park the next day, but the kids stayed far away from her as if she had a contagious disease. She was thankful for that because she didn't want to have another reoccurring event. That day Naruto had accompanied her and was horrified at the damage done to her. He wanted to beat them for injuring "his Sakura-chan," but Sakura pleaded him not to.
They stared at the duo with such disdain and hatred; she flinched every time they made eye contact. The Kyuubi container and the pink-haired child ignored their unwavering gaze in favor of playing on the swings. Sakura also spent the majority of her time teaching Naruto how to read. He had some difficulty with some of the words, but he managed to read a sentence with few pauses.
The next few days were spent idly resting at the park, visits from Naruto, and Sasuke and Itachi. Her bruises faded and her cuts healed into little pink scars or nothing at all. When Haori noticed her well-being, he insisted that she spend her time at the Uchiha's from now on. She obliged with no complaint since she enjoyed her time there. What she didn't know was that as soon as she was there, they would start her training.
Fugaku stood in the large backyard with another anonymous man that she could identify as another Uchiha. He placed a small smile on his face as Sakura grinned at him, surprising him when she launched herself at him. He chuckled silently at her childish antics, but then refocused his attention to the other man.
"Shiki this is Haruno Sakura, Sakura this is one of my family members," Fugaku introduced and Sakura bowed deeply to show her respect.
Shiki Uchiha nodded in approval and bowed slightly. "You can call me Sensei during our training, Sakura-san."
Sakura looked at her new teacher and he was genetically similar to the average Uchiha. He had raven silk hair that was cropped to his ear and left tousled. He had piercing black eyes and a scar from his left temple to right cheek. He simply wore dark brown ninja pants and a mesh shirt over a fishnet tank. A weapons pouch hung by his left hip and bandages were wrapped on both of his forearms.
"I am honored to be your student, Sensei," she said with excitement. He smirked at her enthusiasm.
"I'll leave you to your training, Sakura," Fugaku said and left them. Shiki walked around her as he analyzed her form. He grunted and muttered to himself, and then stopped right in front of her.
"For the rest of the month, we're going to work on gaining muscle. I need to know where you stand relative to stamina, speed, and strength," he told her and she nodded.
He pointed to a tree about 20 yards away, "I want you to run there at your top speed and back at least until you start breathing hard."
She took off at the tree he had assigned and watched as it got closer and closer. When she reached the tree, she brushed it with her hand and rounded around the trunk towards her teacher. She stopped in front of him before she launched herself again, but was feeling her breathing become labored. She pushed away from the tree to give her a boost and sprinted with all her might to her teacher. Her chest was heaving as her legs burned from the lactic acid.
"Not bad, but not good either," he nodded. When she had enough rest, he put her to work again. "Get into push up position. Yes, like that, but put your feet farther away so that you are parallel to the ground. Hn, now put your hands close together until they form a diamond. When I say 'down', you stay down until I say 'up', understood?"
"Yes, Sensei!" she called out from her position. She waited for his command as her arms supported her weight along with her feet and legs.
She slowly eased her way down which was difficult with her arm position. Her arms trembled as the seconds ticked by. After ten seconds that seemed to be an eternity, her sensei released her from her burden. Sakura lifted herself up with tremulous arms and exhaled a long breath shakily.
"Down," his voice demanded with superiority and she could just imagine a smirk plastered on his face.
She groaned mentally as she bent her knees and held the position until it seemed she would collapse.
"Up," he commanded and she sang hallelujah, in her mind, of course. She released her hold and her face met the soft grass. She sighed in contentment and he looked at her amused.
"Come on – we're not done yet," Shiki prodded her lightly on the side with his foot and she literally groaned. "From that, we'll double it."
And that day she hated the fact that her father and friends for being or wanting to be a shinobi and that she was probably going to die after the training. And the next day, with the next following after that.
Yes, yes? How was it? I would have made it longer, like 3,000 more words longer, but I want to make it up to you guys by updating a little faster for this one. You know what I'm feeling. I think I lost most of my readers because I barely got any views or reviews. I feel bad now, but have a good year!