Here's a little story cooked up for the Itachi/Sarada fans out there. It features an alive Itachi who returned to Konoha. It definitely veers from canon but was written to give you a little taste of something special to celebrate their friendship.

Disclaimer: Naruto and its characters belong to Masashi Kishimoto.

Filled with warmth and affection, Sakura turned toward the living room to settle in on the couch and enjoy some light reading while they took over the kitchen. Her 'little boss' was busy critiquing her uncle's work, eying his every move to make sure he wasn't 'messing anything up.' She smiled at the sight of them and purposely faded into the background to give them time alone.

"Are you sure it's supposed to look like that?" his niece questioned, as she wrinkled her nose. "Don't you think it looks kinda... lumpy?"

He suppressed a smile at her remarks. His little sous chef was no doubt leery of his culinary skills and concerned her precious dango would be ruined.

"We shall find out shortly," he said evenly, knowing his dismissal would only serve to infuriate her.

"Oh c'mon Uncle Itachi! I thought you said you did this before!" she complained, brows furrowed as she stood on a chair and glanced over his shoulder at the mass in the bowl.

Sakura suppressed the urge to chuckle. Little did her daughter know that her Uncle Itachi was a perfectionist in all areas of his life, dango being no exception. The truth was, his childhood love of it only fueled his desire to make his sinfully perfect.

The lucky girl didn't know he was sharing his own personal recipe with her and it was a definitely a delectable treat.

Continuing to mix the blob of deliciousness and testing its readiness, he finally divided the dough and carefully molded them into perfect bite-sized balls. Ever so gently, he slipped a few of them into the pot of boiling water, making sure to scoop them out only after they rose to the surface and had undergone the precise amount of cooking time necessary for perfection. Transferring them carefully to the bowl of cold water, he waited a minute before gingerly placing them on a plate. They skewered them three at a time, then he summoned her over to watch him make his secret sauce. Alas, when everything was finished and the effortless lighting of the grill led to a quick searing of the dango sticks, she found mouth-watering, perfect examples, lain out in front of her.

Eager hands hoped to taste one but he gently guided her away to the sink to help him clean up before she could.

Once the last of the dishes was dried, Itachi looked over at his young niece. There she stood, looking expectantly back at him. "I wonder how we did?" she asked, barely able to contain her excitement. Her eyes shifted to see what his reaction was, but his reserved nature made him difficult to read.

"Let's taste one!" she all but demanded. "Do you think they will be as good as the ones at dango shop?"

Her impatience and doubt were endearing and he inwardly smiled. Sarada was just like her Dad sometimes.

"You be the judge," he said, watching her eye him, then move her gaze over to the tantalizing dessert on the table.

Nudging the plate toward her, he gestured for Sarada to be the first to taste. Though the overwhelming urge was there to immediately dig in, she held herself back to do one last thing.

"Um, Uncle Itachi?" she asked tentatively to get his attention.


All at once, she lunged forward and tightly embraced him in the biggest hug she could muster. "Thank you!" she gushed. The thrill in her voice and her genuine smile caught him off guard, but it wasn't unpleasant. Blatant displays of happiness like this were never a part of his Uchiha upbringing, but the warm fuzzy feeling he felt was a welcomed change. How fitting her mother's kind and caring nature was inherent in her personality too. Delighted, he relaxed and returned her affection with a tiny squeeze. Her enthusiasm was definitely contagious, and undoubtedly irresistible.

"My pleasure Sarada," he replied.

As he guided her to sit down at the table, both let their attention drift back to the tempting morsels on the plate. He carefully handed her a skewer and took one of his own. She gladly accepted, then all at once, her uncontrollable cravings took hold and with lightning speed she put her hands together, blurting "Itadakimasu!" before she stuffed one of the flavored treats into her mouth.

The moment her teeth sunk into the soft, sweet bliss, her eyes suddenly widened before slowly sliding shut.




Each heavenly bite was simply...sublime. Time slowed, and only after the last swallow did she come to her senses.

He watched her with deep satisfaction. For a moment she'd been speechless, eyes glazed over with the look of utter euphoria. He smiled as he knew that feeling well, especially when it came to dango.

"I love you!" she declared, to him or to the dango, it wasn't clear. It didn't matter though. He knew exactly how she felt.

Itachi had been tentative with Sakura's suggestion of spending some time alone with his niece. He had no idea how she would receive him and further worried if they had anything in common at all.

He leaned back in his chair enjoying his own pleasurable moment as he contemplated this enigma, his niece. What a delightful mixture of everyone she embodied, her parents and himself. Free time was not always a luxury he could indulge in, but after this experience, he decided perhaps it might be enjoyable to meet with her again. She had already won him over in a very special way, and if he learned anything from the past, working to treasure precious moments, and fostering family love and understanding, might just be the changes needed to mold the future into a happy one. Sarada he smiled. The Uchiha legacy holds new possibilities with you.

~The End~

Author's Note:

'Itadakimasu' is a Japanese saying uttered before one partakes in a meal. Basically it's a way of saying 'thank you' and expressing gratitude for all who have played a role in making the meal possible.

This story was inspired after seeing the Itachi episodes and his love of dango. Ta-da! A special virtual dango stick for those who review. You're the best!

At this time, I'd like to thank all who have joined the Fanfiction Review Movement. You've supported the constructive reviewing process which provides vital feedback and inspires authors to continue to write for this site. It certainly has motivated me to write and share. To all who haven't joined, I encourage you to review when you read, even if it's just a word or two. It often means much more than you know. Thanks so much!