Title: Butterfly Wings
[A/N]: Sorry for the wait; I was caught up with summer and moving up to college life. I should pick up to a more reasonable update schedule now though. This is also totally late, but I'm quite proud of the cover photo I made for this; heheheheheheh.
Summary: The beat of a butterfly's wings causes a hurricane on the other side of the world. What storm will rise with the existence of a life that wasn't meant to happen?
Funny how time flies when you don't really think about it. I know that you'd think, being stuck in a toddler's body would make you acutely aware of just how slow time could pass, but I already told you how I managed that; become one with the baby, and all that stuff. Not noticing when a year passes, now, that's something that makes you whip your head around and go 'Shit, it's been that long? No, c'mon, stop joking. No seriously. A year?'
At first, I didn't even know it was my birthday being celebrated, when the day rolled around. Living in the Hatake household consisted of me, Sakumo, and little Kakashi… that was it. I'd never been outside of the house, not counting the little garden out back that had a tree and a pond. Not a single soul otherwise crossed into the hallowed halls of home, and it was enough to make you think that you didn't actually live in the middle of a village stuffed with people and ninjas alike.
So it was quite understandable when, coming downstairs after a relatively quiet morning, suddenly finding our living room packed with other people threw me a little out of sorts.
It did explain why Sakumo had woken me up and promptly given me a hardcore bubble bath, with nice-smelling soap and everything before dressing me up in a nice new kimono, though. When we entered the room, him holding my hand as I toddled on unsteady legs, we were met by a loud chorus of generally excited noises, and I nearly plopped right down where I stood. The hell!? I protested in my head as I grabbed at my dad's leg and hid, caught off guard enough for childish impulse to take over.
"Botan, don't be shy," Sakumo gently scolded, plucking me up and bringing me into range of all the strangers.
"Dada!?" I squeaked, because what the hell I was unprepared for this and it totally wasn't fair to surprise me like this did I mention I hated surprise parties—
"Oh my! She's so big, I can hardly believe it!"
"To think it's been a year already. Bet it went a lot more quickly the second time around, eh Sakumo?"
"C'mere Botan, give us a smile!"
Disconcertingly all these strangers talked as if they knew me. Which was odd because I definitely didn't remember seeing them before… Oh… wait, hitai-ate. Ninjas. Ninjas everywhere.
And so it went.
I was slowly introduced to all the adults in the room, though I'm ashamed to say I promptly forgot most of their names a few minutes later. It was an off-handed way of introduction anyway, with grown ninjas slipping into cutesy tones as they introduced themselves as 'Uncle-so-and-so' or 'Auntie-thingummy.' I did find that the earlier illusion of a room full of people was false, however; everyone else was just a lot bigger. In actuality there were about five adults or so. None of them were characters I recognized from the main series, and I wondered if they were, in fact, Sakumo's friends that the reader never got a chance to know.
Interestingly enough there were two adults in particular, a ninja and a kunoichi, who were particularly chummy with Sakumo. The ninja kept laughing and thumping my dad on the back as he rambled about being a bachelor. Sakumo kept trying to wiggle away, rolling his eyes, but there wasn't any real annoyance in the gestures. As for the kunoichi, she managed to successfully wrestle me into her own arms, cooing and beaming as she wondered what kind of person I'd grow up to be. Dad hadn't let anyone else hold me, being the naturally suspicious ninja he was.
Were these two… Sakumo's teammates? It was possible. Again, the books had never touched on any sort of backstory for his character, and I could feel the trust radiating from the three of them in waves. I stared wide-eyed at them as they chattered at my dad, key word here being 'at' since he seemed sort of embarrassed by all the attention they were giving him. This was funny, since I'd never pegged him as the socially awkward kind of guy.
Eventually I was released from most of the adult's scrutiny, and placed with little Kakashi who was bored by the whole debacle. Ninja talk turned out to be boring, so we tuned out everyone else quite effectively and started messing with toys for most of the day; some hours later I was plucked up again and placed in front of some colorfully wrapped packages. That was when it dawned on me that it was my birthday, since there weren't many occasions when people gathered around and gave you presents wrapped in pretty paper.
Get this; for my birthday, I received the following items: a plush puppy doll with a black ribbon; a brand new blanket patterned with the leaf symbol of Konoha; a pair of child-size metal kunai (dull at the edges); and a tiny cloth pouch filled with little throwing stars made of wood.
The first two seem okay, but the last two sort of make you double-take, huh?
Granted, while at first I was like holy crap these are awesome! those thoughts quickly went down to wait something doesn't seem right about giving a little kid fake weapons like this.
Even Kakashi seemed pretty interested with the toy weapons. He promptly snatched the kunai away and fell into a clumsy pose, grinning happily when some of the ninja applauded him. One guy even corrected his grip and pointed out where to bend his knees. It was… odd. On one hand with the way everyone acted, and the general feeling in the room, this scene seemed as natural as the average family living daily life. On the other hand, when you thought about it this was a room full of trained killers giving a baby weapons on her first birthday and showing a kid how to hold a proper attack stance.
Holding a kunai in my chubby hands, I pondered this. Of course there was going to be expectations. I had been born into a ninja family, instead of a civilian's. I really should have been expecting it. If Kakashi was shaping up to be a genius, there'd be eyes on me as well. (Not helping was the stunt with my chakra I'd tried a few months ago. Great, now I kinda regretted it…)
"…Can I twy?"
I blinked. Looked up. Standing in front of me was a little kid I'd somehow failed to notice sneaking up to me. He didn't look much older than Kakashi; with his wide brown eyes and messy black hair, he was actually kind of adorable. Plus, he appeared to have a lisp. The question was, who exactly was this again…? He was pointedly looking at my hands, I noticed, to where the kunai was clenched in my fingers. I silently held it out to him, and his face split into a wide, toothy grin. He was missing a tooth. D'aawwww.
"Thanks!" he beamed, plopping down next to me and swiping the toy around in the air.
"Hey!" In a flash, Kakashi was at my side, scowling at the kid. "That's hers. It's her birthday, you can't have it," he said stubbornly, reaching out for the toy, never mind that he himself had seized it not too long ago. The other kid pouted.
"B-but she thaid I can uthe it!" he pointed out. I tried to look innocent.
"She's a baby. She can't say anything yet."
Aw, bro, I'm not a baby.
"Now, now, boys, I'm sure Botan won't mind if you share it nicely." A kindly voice chuckled overhead, and I squinted as I craned my neck up in an effort to see who. For some odd reason I could hear the other ninja in the room sounding a bit breathless and awe-struck, some stumbling over words in an effort to speak. You'd think there was a celebrity in the room… Who was this guy in front of me, exactly?
First, I thought why is that old guy wearing a dress?
And then, Oh. Oh.
It probably wasn't every day that the third Hokage showed up to your first birthday.
"Lord Hokage…" I heard dad say almost awkwardly, confirming that he hadn't exactly been expecting the surprise guest, and the third Hokage of Konohagakure turned away from my sight to speak, leaving me back with the other two children in the room; it certainly didn't stop me from trying to listen in, though, as this was the Hokage, in the flesh. (Except this other kid… it couldn't be… Asuma!? He was so… little.)
"It is good to see you well, Sakumo," Sarutobi Hiruzen said warmly, speaking to the older Hatake in the context of a close friend, "I apologize for the distance this first year, and thought I'd drop by to give my congratulations on your second…"
"It wasn't necessary, sir," Sakumo returned, ever formal and still a bit surprised, I think, "It's an honor you even remembered at all—"
"Nonsense! Of course I'd remember—"
The other adults returned to conversation, and I lost track of the words exchanged. Kakashi and Asuma(?) were arguing over toy-weapons again, so I just sat and played with an awesome ball that was gifted to me by the Hokage himself... Though, it was a little weird for the Hokage to be showing up for my birthday at all; I wondered if it wasn't politically motivated in one way or another. I heard the words 'White Fang' and 'Shinobi war' thrown around a few times, until the focus landed back on me. Try as I might, I couldn't help but squirm under the scrutiny of the most important man in the village.
"…She has her mother's eyes…" I heard him say quietly. Sakumo bowed his head at that. I blinked; I hadn't seen myself in any sort of mirror yet, and wondered what color that was.
Gradually the gathering began winding down. I had an overall fun time with little-Kakashi and mini-Asuma alike, though to my vast disappointment there hadn't been any sign of birthday cake. It was near to the end when guests began to leave, vanishing one by one in a manner most befitting of ninjas. The shinobi and kunoichi who may-or-may-not-have-been Sakumo's teammates were the last to go, dwindling until they, too, finally called it a day. When they left, so did the Hokage, with a loud and satisfied sigh as he called out for Asuma to take his hand— (Ha! It was him!)
The day would have ended quite pleasantly, had the Hokage not turned in an almost casual manner on the way out and said quite clearly, "I expect you back on the roster full time by next week. Don't forget, now."
My dad was holding me in his arms in order to wave goodbye to the people who'd given me presents, and so the sudden stiffness in his figure did not go unnoticed as he nodded and replied with a simple "Yes, Hokage-sama."
His voice was oddly flat.
Three days later a strange woman I'd never seen before was bustling about the house, doing the chores and keeping a watchful eye on my brother and I in a way that previously only Sakumo had done.
As for Sakumo… well, he was nowhere to be seen.
So Kakashi and Asuma's little argument about Botan's toys, true story that; I was babysitting some cousins, and while the wording wasn't quite like that, it was adorable as heck.
As for the author's note last chapter, everyone who guessed that Botan's primary chakra alignment would be water were correct! She's not going to be proficient in all the elements (I'm not that crazy to try) but rather I was using some experimental thoughts on how chakra and its element is conducted. Having never had chakra, Botan is much more aware of it, but as such in a way it'll be harder to control because of that. Viewing her chakra as taking on the characteristics of a certain element will a way to understand what the flow of chakra actually is… hope that makes sense? Eh.
COMING UP NEXT: Botan slugs her big brother a good one.