title: friends in high places
prompt: sarada meets aoda
disclaimer: naruto, not mine since 1999.
note: I started writing this as something else, and then my brain went different places with it. Enjoy.

This is part of a three part series in which Sarada meets her parents' summons.

"Papa, I'm tired."

Sasuke pauses and looks down at Sarada, who has been holding his hand as she walks beside him. In a lot of ways, his daugher is a lot like him, even at five years old. She doesn't like to admit when she's tired or needs help, so when she tells this to him, he knows she's reached her limit.

They are walking back from Suna after visiting Sakura, who is staying there on an extended medical-based mission for several weeks. A one-way trip from Konoha to Suna is four days of solid, fast-paced travel for the average shinobi.

But walking with a small child increases the travel time significantly, and even though Sasuke could easily carry Sarada on his back, he doesn't. He enjoys this time with his daughter and is in no rush to make it back to the hustle and bustle of Konoha.

They're two days out of Suna, and most likely Sarada is drained and slightly dehydrated from heat that she's not used to. His lips press together in a thin line of consternation, and he is irritated with himself for not keeping a better eye on her condition.

He picks her up and seats her on a fallen log, opening his water canteen and handing it to her. As she drinks, he has a thought.

"Sarada, when you're finished I have someone I want you to meet."

She looks at him quizzically over the canteen, but doesn't object. She looks on curiously as he bites his thumb, drawing blood, and places it on the ground.

As a seal appears on the ground, he tells her, "Don't be afraid. No harm will come to you." She is naturally apprehensive at these words, and he adds, "I promise."

Sarada stands, and Sasuke pulls her against him as a large white puff of smoke materializes.


Sarada laughs in pure joy as their bodies cut through the clouds, and she tries to grasp them as they pass by. She's sitting firmly on top of her papa's shoulders, and Sasuke smirks to himself at the sound of her shrieks of glee.

As expected, Sarada took to Aoda immediately. It took her a moment to get over the shock of seeing a giant snake appear from nowhere, but once she did she was fascinated.

Aoda, for his part, insantly loved the girl, and Sasuke can feel the protective aura radiating off the large reptile. He will protect and serve her with the same level of devotion that he gives his master.

They will reach Konoha quicker traveling on the snake than they otherwise would, but seeing his daughter enjoying herself so immensely leaves him with no regrets.

"Papa, can Mama summon Aoda too?" Sarada leans down so that her face is hanging upside down in front of his.

Sasuke smirks. "Aa. No, she can't."

Sarada pouts and puffs out her cheeks. The older Uchiha chuckles.

"Mama can summon slugs. Particularly a large one named Katsuyu, who is the same size as Aoda."

Sarada scrunches her nose in disgust. "Ewww, slugs are gross." A brief flash of panic crosses her face. "But don't tell Mama I said that! Promise you won't say anything, Papa, please!"

Sasuke's laugh rumbles deep in his chest. "I won't. So snakes are cooler than slugs?"

Sarada flashes her miniature version of Sakura's grin at him. "Totally. One day I'm gonna be as strong as Mama and summon snakes like you, Papa. I'll be the strongest kunoichi ever!"

As Aoda continues onward toward home, Sasuke thinks that her prediction will be more true than she could possibly know.